Nuclear power is one of those buzzphrases that gets immediate negative responses from many people, but I’ve never heard anything as to quite why other than vague prohecies of catastrophe. Indeed, the founder of Greenpeace has now changed his mind, and is fully supporting new nuclear power plants. His article, here, lists the reasons why he believes nuclear power is the only way forward. A Wired article from last year goes into more detail, and it seems to make sense. It seems that current reactors are safe1, contribute effectively nothing to global warming, and are not all that expensive. Most nuclear waste can be reprocessed and the rest can be packaged in glass that degrades 10% in one million years, and then maybe pushed into subduction zones, never to be seen again.
The only objection to nuclear power seems to be that the public are nervous. Now that climate change has been proven to be a reality, can we afford to let this override a practical and well-understood solution? It wouldn’t fix everything, but it’s something that can be done right now.
- the accident at three-mile island in the US showed that a sixteen-hour meltdown could be contained – there were no fatalities. Chernobyl was a disaster waiting to happen, and such a reactor would no longer be permitted. New pebble bed reactors have been shown to survive all surrounding machinery being switched off [↩]