From today's edition:
Other environmentalists say the need to address global warming means taking a harder look at nuclear.And some folks like to make it look like Patrick Moore is the only one coming to this sort of conclusion.
Besides Pew, at least three leading environmental organizations — Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Environmental Defense — say they are willing to consider nuclear power as part of a long-term solution to global warming.
Bill Chameides, chief scientist for Environmental Defense, says his group's position "has evolved."
"Global warming is the environmental issue of our generation," he says. "Clearly to solve this problem we need to have all technologies on the table. Therefore, nuclear energy … needs to be considered."
However, he says a big expansion of nuclear power would be "foolhardy" until a solution is found for where to put nuclear wastes.
Christopher Paine, senior nuclear analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, says his group is also willing to give nuclear a look.
"Our position is that nuclear is not off the table as an energy source, but we believe there are cheaper, cleaner and faster ways to reduce pollution and provide reliable energy than nuclear power," Paine said.
Even the Union of Concerned Scientists, which has been sounding alarms about nuclear safety since before Three Mile Island, said in a position paper revised this month that nukes "should be considered as a longer-term option if other climate-neutral means for producing electricity prove inadequate."
UPDATE: Captain's Quarters has some related thoughts:
Nuclear power has proven itself more reliable, less damaging to the environment, and safer than coal for creating energy. Dozens of miners die every year retrieving coal to produce our electricity, but no one has died from operating a nuclear power plant in the US. The worst accident we had, Three Mile Island in 1979, killed no one and resulted in only a short, small release of radioactivity outside the plant. Although older plants have operated for decades since then, the US has not built another reactor since Three Mile Island, just as we have not built an oil refinery since before that.
We have to start getting realistic about our energy needs. We need to start tapping our own oil resources for national security purposes as well as economic health; we send far too much of our money outside the US for oil. We need to expand our refining capability to meet the expanding needs of our population, at least in the short term. If environmentalists believe these to be dangerous, then they need to allow for the use of nuclear power as a replacement for coal, at least.