We’d like to direct your attention to an op-ed by Jeff Jacoby in this Sunday’s Boston Globe: “The Coming Nuclear Renaissance.” Here are some of the highlights:
There is no small irony in this turnabout. Nuclear power used to be the environmentalist’s ultimate pariah, thanks mostly to overblown claims about the dangers of reactor meltdowns and nuclear waste. But now the green movement has a new pariah – fossil fuels and their carbon dioxide emissions. To many environmentalists alarmed about global warming, nuclear power has an irresistible appeal: It releases no greenhouse gases. Indeed – another irony – nuclear power plants don’t even release as much radiation as coal-fired plants, since coal ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste.
As a result, some of the world’s most ardent Greens have come around to embracing nuclear power.
“Only nuclear power can now halt global warming,” wrote James Lovelock, the father of the celebrated Gaia theory, which regards the Earth and life on the planet as one complex, interacting “organism,” in 2004. In Wired magazine the following year, a much-discussed article – “Nuclear Now!” – made the case that only “clean, green atomic energy can stop global warming.”
The problems with nuclear energy have not vanished. To build a nuclear plant is an expensive undertaking, the disposal of spent fuel rods remains politically contentious, and at least some environmental activists will continue to do what they can to exacerbate fear of nuclear power’s dangers.
But 30 years after Three Mile Island, the nuclear future looks brighter than it has in a long time. Right now, 104 commercial reactors generate 20 percent of America’s electricity. As the war against the atom continues to wind down, expect to see those numbers go up.
The whole article is excellent; check it out. We, of course, would like to point out that the question of spent fuel rod disposal will become much more manageable when we start recycling spent fuel here in the U.S. rather than just using it once and calling it waste. AREVA is leading the way in the nuclear industry toward a more efficient fuel cycle.
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