18 April 2006

More on Nuclear Power

The co-founder of Greenpeace decides nuclear power is good after all. His view on proliferation:

· Nuclear fuel can be diverted to make nuclear weapons. This is the most serious issue associated with nuclear energy and the most difficult to address, as the example of Iran shows. But just because nuclear technology can be put to evil purposes is not an argument to ban its use.

Over the past 20 years, one of the simplest tools -- the machete -- has been used to kill more than a million people in Africa, far more than were killed in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings combined. What are car bombs made of? Diesel oil, fertilizer and cars. If we banned everything that can be used to kill people, we would never have harnessed fire.

Pretty much all the opinions I've looked at so far have said nuclear power operation is very safe. So the main issues are proliferation, terrorist attacks, and disposal of nuclear wastes. I think we can hand the last two, and even if the U.S. stops producing nuclear power, that doesn't affect the proliferation -- so diplomacy is necessary there.


James Aach said...

Safe is a relative term of course, and, of course, its often hard to balance what is or isn't safe when you don't understand the things you're balancing. That's where we seem to be with respect to nuclear power.

In Dr. Moore's article he mentions other environmentalists who’ve called for a second look at nuclear power, including Stewart Brand, founder of The Whole Earth Catalog. Mr. Brand has also recently endorsed my techno-thriller novel about the inside world of nuclear power, “Rad Decision”. This book is available at no cost to readers – who seem to like it, judging from the comments they’re leaving on the home page. “Rad Decision” is written as an “airport paperback” and is a great way to learn about the good and bad of this energy source. (There’s plenty of both.) It’s based on my two decades in the US nuclear industry. RadDecision.blogspot.com

Matt O said...

The big difference between a nuke and a machete that the writer doesn't mention is how much faster a bomb can kill many people.

Also, another big problem with nuclear fuel is storage of the waste biproducts. The amount of waste that would be generated if nuclear fuel replaced fossil fuels would be large.