Opinion (Michael Dittmar, physicist): “…there are currently 440 operating nuclear reactors with a further 65 under construction. Operating nuclear reactors require the equivalent of about 68 000 tons of natural uranium ore every year.
“Given that one-third of the ‘known’ deposits are only an estimate, a more accurate interpretation would be that perhaps enough uranium exists to operate the existing nuclear power plants for about 70 years.
“Many countries import close to 100% of their uranium needs today; this is especially true for the USA, France and the rest of the European Union. Thirty years ago, the USA produced about 16 000 tons of uranium ore annually; today, that has declined to less than 2000 tons, whereas its power plants require about 20 000 tons. Thus, less than 10% of their needs are satisfied by mines on their huge territory.
“Every year, the USA has to import about 10 000 tons of natural uranium equivalent nuclear fuel from Russian military reserves.
“Unfortunately, biogas and wind and solar energy still play only minor roles worldwide. Even if the strong growth in renewables over the past couple of years continues, their share of the total electrical energy mix will remain small. Neither nuclear energy nor new renewable forms of energy will be able to forestall the inevitable decline in energy production in the coming decades. This decline will result from the combination of a slow nuclear phase-out and a decline in fossil-fuel use as a corollary of both the drop in oil extraction after stocks peak and concern about climate change.
“Once we have exhausted fossil fuels and uranium, the alternative energy options will all be renewable. But renewable sources of energy will never be able to compete with current energy production levels, so we shall have no choice but to become more economical with energy.”
My Comment: Indeed, there is no alternative—we need to become more economical, and this is only possible by reducing unnecessary production and transportation, that is, by bringing all our activities to a reasonable (required) level of consumption.