According to the European Atomic Energy Association 1 kg of enriched uranium is capable of producing 45,000 kWh of electricity. After a reasonable search I have been unable to find out how much power, in the form of kWh it takes to enrich Uranium, which is composed of mostly U238 and on only about .7 % U235. It is the U235 that through various processes such as gaseous diffusion that is enriched to about 4%-5%. Given the fact that no process can be 100% it can be surmised that this enrichment requires more than 45,000 kWh to produce the desired result. Is it no wonder that the energy industry is no longer pushing for nuclear power generation, not only because it is not efficient but whose waste no one wants or can find a place to store?
The European energy industry is caught between a rock and a hard place because it is running out of coal and the price of oil has escalated. European governments have to subsidize the production of enriched uranium because of low demand in the market and the need to keep existing plants running. Talk about a Catch-22.
China is the largest generator of electricity through the use of water power. The Three rivers dam alone generates 22,400 MWh and the potential for even more power from the rivers that supply the water is as yet untapped. The potential for water power in the United States, which is nearly 100% efficient, is not only untapped, but existing dams are being dismantled for of all reasons to protect the spawning grounds of fish or habitat. Not only would power generating dams generate clean energy but would serve to reduce the damage from floods. I know of no provision in the U. S. Constitution that gives the government the power to prevent the construction of electricity generating dams or enact laws protecting fish or wildlife, but I do recognize the power to defend the lives, freedoms and property of its citizens. Roosevelt recognized this obligation of the government when his administration created the Tennessee Valley Authority that produces 13.9 million kWh of electricity from its dams and provides flood control, navigation enhancement and recreational boating. It was probably the only good thing he did, even though his true purpose was only to create jobs.
Because of our economic system, private enterprise cannot profitably construct dams and generate electricity to recoup the development and operating costs and certainly could not forcibly take private land for private use. If our government was to adhere to the obligations it was assigned it would put forth a plan to harness the energy now wasted, protect property from flooding and insure adequate water for irrigation now lost to the oceans. The cost of all of this would eventually be retrieved through the use of the electricity generated. It would also produce productive jobs for the many years it would take to implement such a plan.
Green energy in the form of solar and wind cannot compete with hydro. The problem is that the people who are touting these sources would not make any money or lobby their Congressmen for favorable tax breaks or outright subsidies. Our bought and paid for representatives will therefore eschew the right thing to do in order to placate those who pay for their power to do so.