The nuclear process emits 2-6 grams of carbon equivalent per kilowatt-hour, while coal, oil and natural gas emit 100-360 grams of carbon per kilowatt-hour .
(actually thats The Age's paraphrase; hopefully they can report figures accurately).
After my last post, an anonymomous commenter pointed me to the opendemocracy posting which asserts that:
A complete life-cycle analysis shows that generating electricity from nuclear power emits 20-40% of the carbon dioxide per kiloWatt hour (kWh) of a gas-fired system when the whole system is taken into account.
Hmm... how do we reconcile these two estimates? Firstly gas is better than oil or coal so perhaps we can take the "100" from the first; but even then taking the "6" from the first and the lowest, 20%, from the second we have 6% compared to 20%, a factor of 3 disparity. Unfortunately the source for the second lot (http://www.oprit.rug.nl/deenen/) is currently offline.
Based on a simple argument (I think most of the monetary costs of nukes is engineering and safety and disposal; if the CO2 costs were really 40% nukes would probably be even more uneconomic than they are) I'm disinclined to believe the second set. That doesn't mean I do believe the first, though.
I do agree with SB on the comments to my first post: that there are vast energy efficiency gains possible. BS's argument that nukes are too safe is worth reading too. But having said that, any other refs to nukes CO2 would be welcome.
Oh... and this *isn't* going to become an energy-sources blog... back to the science soon!