Standard: 1000 MW
4.8 million tonnes of CO2 per year
from natural gas
That's 2.4 billion cubic meters
From a nuke producing the same electricity:
1 tonne of high-level nuclear waste
|Natural gas is the natural fuel
with the fewest contaminants. It is also the easiest to burn cleanly
--- producing the least amount of unburned fuel that might escape into
the environment. To produce 1000 MW of electricity around the clock
for a year requires (at a thermal efficiency of 1/3), about 1,800,000 tonnes
(1 tonne = 1000 kg = 1.1 tons) of methane.
The waste products from burning pure methane are water vapor and carbon dioxide. Every 16 grams of methane (CH4) results in 44 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2). The production of CO2 from the 1000-MW electrical plant is therefore 4.8 million tonnes per year.
As pure carbon dioxide at atmospheric pressure, the CO2 would occupy 2.4 billion cubic meters, equivalent to a cube 1.3 km (the better part of a mile) on a side.
The high-level waste from a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of electricity is 1 (one) tonne. With all the uranium-238, the fuel cladding, and all necessary shielding, the nuclear waste occupies no more than a few tens of cubic meters; the waste by itself occupies less than a cubic meter.
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