Footprints from Clean Energy Sources

Alex Kernan | 5-Minute Nuclear


This picture shows the scale of wind vs nuclear for the same generation, including their fuel sources. What isn’t shown is that both of these and every other form of energy production require cement, steel, silver, copper, and a number of other materials. All of which need to be mined, purified, manufactured, and transported to the site.

This means more pollution, granted they don’t emit once they’re up, but it doesn’t end there. Some require large amounts of materials, silver and tellurium are a limiting factor for renewables. There is only enough to shift the grid to 50% electric for silver. That means it all goes to renewables, not to phones, computers, jewelry, or anything else that uses it. Sure, some people would give up some things but the vast majority wouldn’t want to lose all of their electronic capabilities. Governments especially.

The amount of land taken, as shown in the picture, is also vastly different for the same capacity. As discussed on a post1 (, the safety distance for housing is about a mile away. So all of the land taken in that picture can’t be used for anything else besides farming. We need farms, and a number of wind farms try to work with farmers to address this concern. But with an increased desire to add wind to the grid, there will be fewer and fewer suitable options that mesh like that. Wind can only be put in certain places after all.

People will talk about radioactivity from nuclear fuel mining. Yes, it’s there, but just because you can measure it doesn’t mean that it’s bad. But did they also tell you that a number of the rare earth materials needed for solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars also produce radioactive waste. It’s actually pretty even if you look at it by amount of energy produced. It’s a little disappointing really.

All of this doesn’t even account for biomass. It’s lumped under renewables, but it really isn’t.

These sources are all geared towards our homes and businesses…what about our cars/trucks? How do we clean that up? What about hydrogen fuel? It makes water when used. We’ll go into how it can be produced here and how we can eliminate the footprint from oil.

So footprint wise, radiation is even across the board. Materials used limits wind/solar greatly, and far more land is used by wind/solar. We aren’t saying nuclear is the only option. Let’s use all clean sources, since each has areas it is best suited for. Climate change means we need to act now. So let’s team up against fossil fuels and make the air we breathe and water we drink cleaner. Not just for us, but for the environment and future generations.


Partanen, Rauli, and Janne M. Korhonen. “Is “Wishing for the Best” Really the Only Plan?” Climate Gamble: Is Anti-nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future? Finland: Rauli Partanen & Janne A. Korhonen, 2015. N. pag. Print.


  1. Pingback: The Most Advanced Way to Boil Water | 5-Minute Nuclear

  2. What picture?
    FWIW I am using Google Chrome. Maybe the picture on shows up on only some browsers.

    • Thank you for pointing this out to us! We have fixed the problem, and hope the picture helps clear up some of the material!

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