Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Why Greens are Converting to Nuclear

Below are the writings from some prominent environmentalists and thinkers who have come out in favor of nuclear power. These are quoted endlessly by the pro-nuclear people, but are still good and cogent arguments.

Even for those of you readers who are suspicious of nuclear power, I urge you to read these with an open mind.

Patrick Moore, former founder of Greenpeace

Nuclear energy is the only non-greenhouse gas-emitting power source that can effectively replace fossil fuels and satisfy global demand.

I believe the majority of environmental activists, including those at Greenpeace, have now become so blinded by their extremism that they fail to consider the enormous and obvious benefits of harnessing nuclear power to meet and secure America’s growing energy needs. These benefits far outweigh any risks.

Stewart Brand, creator of Whole Earth Catalog

The primary cause of global climate change is our burning of fossil fuels for energy. So everything must be done to increase energy efficiency and decarbonize energy production. Kyoto accords, radical conservation in energy transmission and use, wind energy, solar energy, passive solar, hydroelectric energy, biomass, the whole gamut. But add them all up and it’s still only a fraction of enough. The only technology ready to fill the gap and stop the carbon dioxide loading of the atmosphere is nuclear power.

Technology Review Article

BBC News

Nuclear power looks as if it should be the answer to all our energy conundrums, and perhaps even to climate change. It provides a steady stream of energy, and does not depend on hydrocarbon supplies from unstable regimes. It is the nearest thing we have to a non-polluting energy source, apart from natural renewables. But it still engenders massive distrust, so much that many people say it can never be part of the way to avoid a disastrously warming world.

Mikko Elo, Finnish Member of Parliment

…if we are to help our economy as well as the environment, the answer has to be more nuclear power…We simply could not honour our commitments to the Kyoto Protocol without it.

Wired Magazine

…we've searched for alternatives, pouring billions of dollars into windmills, solar panels, and biofuels. We've designed fantastically efficient lightbulbs, air conditioners, and refrigerators. We've built enough gas-fired generators to bankrupt California. But mainly, each year we hack 400 million more tons of coal out of Earth's crust than we did a quarter century before, light it on fire, and shoot the proceeds into the atmosphere. Believe it or not, a coal-fired plant releases 100 times more radioactive material than an equivalent nuclear reactor - right into the air, too, not into some carefully guarded storage site. (And, by the way, more than 5,200 Chinese coal miners perished in accidents last year.)

The environmental movement, once staunchly antinuclear, is facing resistance from within.

Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer-Prize Author and Historian

Shocking as the statement may sound after all the years of misrepresentation, nuclear power is demonstrably the greenest form of large‑scale energy generation at hand. France, by generating 80 percent of its electricity with nuclear power,
has reduced its air pollution by a factor of five. The U.S. nuclear power industry, by improving capacity and performance alone, has already made the largest contribution of any American industry to meeting the U.S. Kyoto commitment to limiting CO2 releases into the atmosphere...

...from the nuclear power plant, about 20 cubic meters of spent fuel and low‑ and intermediate‑level waste, a volume so small (roughly the volume of two automobiles) that it can be and is meticulously sequestered from the environment; but from the fossil‑fuel plant, thousands of tonnes of greenhouse and noxious gases, particulates, heavy‑metal‑bearing (and radioactive) ash and solid hazardous waste, far too much to allow for sequestration even with the most stringent pollution controls.


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