Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Stewart Brand at NEA 2006

Back in February, I first mentioned that Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, would be addressing the 2006 Nuclear Energy Assembly in San Francisco, and now I'm finally able to share the video of his speech with you.



Brand was invited to address the assembly based on the article he wrote in 2005 for MIT Technology Review entitled, Environmental Heresies, where he endorsed an expanded use of nuclear energy as a way to provide abundant electric power while curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

In this speech, Brand speaks extensively about how the nuclear industry needs to interact with committed environmentalists in order to work with them toward common goals. The whole speech comes in at a little more than 27 minutes, but I can't recommend it strongly enough. Please take some time to watch it today.

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4 comments:

gunter said...

Greetings,

Just a note on Brand's point regarding proliferation:

Brand makes his February 2006 pitch in the heat of the forging the India-US nuclear technology deal which intensifies and further destablizes the Pakistan/India nuclear arms race.

The Bush Administration in cutting this deal to help his "friends" in the nuclear industry has undermined and destabilized the NPT.

Sorry Stewart, but reality once again steps in on your dream where a "preponderance of evidence" shows that the spread of commercial nuclear technology simultaneous provides the building blocks for both the horizontal (number of possessors) and vertical (number of weapons) proliferation of the nuclear arms race.

The "finessing" of such a foundational issue, as Brands puts it, and is dishonest and uncuts the credibility of the "Nuclear Brand" of the "Stewart's Environmental Classification System."

As my daddy used to say "its like trying to put wings on a frog so he doesn't have to bump his ass."

Nuclear weapons and nuclear power are just the different sides to the same coin.

I concur the "abrupt climate change" is becoming ever more a concern. That's all the more reason why we dont want to waste more precious time and resource on this already demonstrated failed technology.

Paul Primavera said...

What Paul Gunter states is NOT true. The more that we help nations such as India become energy independent through the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the less likely they are to embark on wars of foreign adventure to secure steady supplies of fossil fuel. And the more that we use nuclear energy to consume downblended HEU and plutonium in MOX fuel, the less there is available to use in weapons systems. Additionally, commercial light water reactors and India's proposal to go to a heavy water thorium fuel cycle are both highly unsuited to the production of any weapons grade material. President Bush's GNEP initiative is one of the best proposals for answering the world's energy needs while providing superior proliferation resistance that has yet come from any administration. Former President Carter's and Ford's initiative to ban spent fuel reprocessing was the most damning in both dealing with proliferation concerns and providing for disposition of spent nuclear fuel. This ban has helped NOT one iota in preventing Pakistan and North Korea and now perhaps Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. It is a failed policy that emasculates American strength while doing nothing to discourage nuclear weapons development by two-bit dictators intent on subjugating Western civilization to Mediaeval terrorism.

I for one fully support the President's initiative to help India, the world's largest free nation in terms of population. Every time we help another free country, we put one more sword in the side of evil. Who can or would possibly oppose that?

gunter said...

What huey...!

If you commercialize MOX and HEU for reactor fuel its incentive (or excuse) to put more weapons grade material into the production pipe line for more sophisticated bombs, not less. Simple law of supply and demand.

No enforcement to the NPT is a serious erosion and nuclear weapons will proliferate both in number of possessors and number of weapons.

Flash points for nuclear war like Kashmir are growing. Providing more nuclear technology pours fuel on the flames on these rivalries bringing the world closer to triggering nuclear war.

Paul Primavera said...

Paul Gunter,

That is incorrect. If we commercialize downblending HEU and plutonium reprocessing into MOX, then we burn it up in reactors and make it forever unuseable for weapons production.

That's the point.

And on top of it, we end up reducing nuclear waste.

Everybody wins.