Updated: Jan 8, 2020
According to The Institute of Energy Research, the fabrication and construction of wind turbines depends upon ‘rare earth minerals’. The mining of ‘rare earth minerals’ in the United States is virtually prohibited by Federal Regulation. Consequently, these minerals are available through poor environmental steward, China. The manufacture of wind turbines contain more than eight thousand (8,000) components. One of the components are magnets made from neodymium and dysprosium which are exclusively mined in China. China controls ninety five percent (95%) of the world’s supply of rare earth minerals. The mining of these minerals generates radioactive waste. The villages around the mines have extraordinarily high rates of cancer, osteoporosis and skin and respiratory disease sufferers and ten (10) times the radiation levels of those villages in the countryside away from the mines. According to an MIT study, wind industry growth projections indicate that the demand for neodymium will grow by as much as seven hundred percent (700%) over the next decade … and twenty six hundred percent (2600%) for dysprosium.
The MIT study found that the average 2MW turbine contains approximately 800 lbs of rare earth minerals. According to the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, mining one ton of rare earth minerals produces approximately one ton of radioactive waste. In 2012, the US added over 13,000 MW of wind generating capacity … generating between 4,900,000* – 6,100,000 lbs** of radioactive waste. The American nuclear industry annually produces 4,400,000 – 5,000,000 lbs of spent nuclear fuel. Consequently, our wind generating capacity generated more nuclear waste than our entire nuclear industry last year … with nuclear providing twenty percent (20%) of our electrical generating capacity … wind accounting for approximately three and one half percent (3.5%). While the US painstakingly addresses the disposal of nuclear waste … China does not.***
_____________________ *MIT Study **Bulletin of Atomic Science ***This post does not address the waste water generated by mining. One ton of ore generates 9,600 to 12,000 cubic meters of waste water and waste gases containing hydrofluoric acid, sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid and acidic wastewater.