James Lovelock, a father of the modern environmentalist / green movement, is now a strong and outspoken advocate of Nuclear power. In a recent SONE (Supporters of Nuclear Energy) podcast, Lovelock expands on the benefits of Nuclear power and chides the modern green movement for being based so strongly on scaring people about cancer even though today people live longer than ever before and cancer rates (when adjusted for age) continue to decrease.
The Earth itself, Lovelock says, is actually the left over debris of a giant nuclear explosion. Planets form from the debris of supernovae explosions, where stars, exhausting too much of their nuclear fuel, explode in sudden bursts of energy that outshine galaxies. The uranium and heavy elements the earth is made of was formed from these explosions. The implication being that, to be afraid of ‘nuclear’ power in general, but for ‘the earth, is to ignore the very evolution of the Earth and its natural ties to Nuclear reactions.
Lovelock warns that as global warming gets worse, no rational person ought to oppose nuclear power in the face of these global environmental changes. I would argue, in fact, that the modern green movement is largely responsible, to whatever degree it is actually occuring, for global warming, because they elevated a completely irrational fear of nuclear power and thus drove the United States to be almost wholly dependant on oil and coal. It has, in fact, been *illegal* to build a nuclear reactor in this country since the Carter administration. Thus dependance on foreign oil has also funded the murderous dictatorships of the middle east and bred the terrorist that now threaten the western world.
“I think we need nuclear power, urgently, and soon” warns Lovelock. What of Nuclear waste? Lovelock laughs in this interview, and says “I have offered to store nuclear waste in my backyard, because I know that in a proper storage container in a concrete pit there is no danger, and in fact I could run a pipe into the ground to pick up the exceess heat” Lock notes that these the waste from nuclear power is one of it’s greatest benefits because there is so little of it! Think of the invisible mountains, hundreds of cubic miles, of CO2 that is produced from the combustion of fossil fuels, compared to 10’s of cubic meters from a nuclear plant.
Natural gas, he notes, though it produces less than half the amount of CO2 through combustion, is often in practice much work because, as a gas, it is piped through lines and industry standards are around 4% for leakage rates, but methane, a primary component of natural gas, is over 25 times worse as a green house gas than CO2 is. The gas that leaks out is worse than burning the original fuel.
As I expand on in me Nuclear vs Coal essay, new nuclear technologies are even safer and impossible to melt down, and fast breeder reactors can create over 100 times the power existing reactors can, and can be used to consume their own waste. A handful of these kinds of reactors could power the entire United States.
If you care about the health and well being about yourself and the people on the Earth, nuclear power is the way to go. If you think Global Warming is a big issue than Nuclear power is also the best possible choice. If you want cheap, safe, reliable electricity, Nuclear power is also still the way to go.
Nuclear Power vs Coal Power