Skip to main content

No Hope, All Is Lost: A New Argument Against Nuclear Energy

MV5BNTE3MjI2NjM2N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNzUxNjY2._V1._CR96,0,221,221_SS100_Glenn Compton, chairman of ManaSota-88, a regional environmental  group (the region being Florida), writes in the Sarasota Herald Tribune about the utter terribleness of nuclear energy. Now, it's not really fun or enlightening to find these little screeds and promote them to you, because the arguments are mostly identical, have long been discredited and, we should note, are fading: a fair number of environmental activists are finding a place at their tables for nuclear energy.

However, a couple of Glenn's angles struck us as different enough, if a little grim, to highlight:

In the United States, electricity generation emits less than half of the carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide is a major contributing greenhouse gas and comes mainly from burning fossil fuels.

Demand for gasoline and coal is expected to increase greatly with the predicted growth of global economies. Even if the United States were to construct as many nuclear power plants as quickly as possible, carbon dioxide emissions are projected to double worldwide by 2025. The greenhouse effect is likely to become far worse before it ever gets better.

His solution? He offers none. Things are going to get worse, nothing can stop or mitigate it, and cats will be living with dogs.

Well, here's a stab at a solution:

The choice is not between the continued use of fossil fuels or building additional nuclear power plants. Another option, cheaper than any new energy supply and causing no increase in greenhouse gas emissions, is energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency and conservation save money, reduce the need for coal mining and oil and natural gas drilling, reduce power plant emissions and make America less dependent on foreign oil interests.

Actually, this kind of thinking makes us happy we live in a society - and really a world - where corporate citizens, for all their manifest flaws, act in concert with human citizens, for all their manifest flaws, to think up ways to improve a situation in which they are essentially partners. This hands-off-the-corporate-world argument is very unusual from someone running an environmental group and one we turn a fishy eye to.

(To be fair, Glenn does tout solar energy a bit - Florida seems the place for it sunshine-wise, though perhaps solar is a bit problematic because the parts of the state that aren't built up are protected wetlands and such.)

And finally:

Proponents of nuclear power are exploiting public concern about global warming to justify nuclear power expansion, but nuclear energy is not the answer to global warming.

No, no, not the answer, an answer. Really, it's not an all-or-nothing proposition.

And hey, let's not use "exploit" like it's a dirty word - the public concern is real, nuclear energy is part of the solution and what else are proponents to do but exploit (to make productive use of) that reality. After all, Compton is propounding some fatalist notions and exploiting fears that all will end in grief - oops, that's actually the other definition of exploit (to make use of meanly or unfairly).

Well, read the whole thing. We really do hope that the environmental movement isn't entering an end-of-days period - there's more hope than not on this issue. You don't have to trust us on this - just look around you.

Picture from The Day After Tomorrow. Silly movie, but good special effects.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…

Innovation Fuels the Nuclear Legacy: Southern Nuclear Employees Share Their Stories

Blake Bolt and Sharimar Colon are excited about nuclear energy. Each works at Southern Nuclear Co. and sees firsthand how their ingenuity powers the nation’s largest supply of clean energy. For Powered by Our People, they shared their stories of advocacy, innovation in the workplace and efforts to promote efficiency. Their passion for nuclear energy casts a bright future for the industry.

Blake Bolt has worked in the nuclear industry for six years and is currently the work week manager at Hatch Nuclear Plant in Georgia. He takes pride in an industry he might one day pass on to his children.

What is your job and why do you enjoy doing it?
As a Work Week Manager at Plant Hatch, my primary responsibility is to ensure nuclear safety and manage the risk associated with work by planning, scheduling, preparing and executing work to maximize the availability and reliability of station equipment and systems. I love my job because it enables me to work directly with every department on the plant…