Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nuclear Power, Folks

I've been meaning to post this for months but I keep forgetting to. It's a series of blog posts by an environmentalist who is not exactly supporting nuclear power, but has changed his position from knee-jerk anti, to cautious acceptance. Even in the face of the Fukushima nuclear disaster following the Japanese tsunami, George Monbiot pits nuclear against one of the only realistic alternatives, coal; and finds coal to be quite a bit crappier:

Coal, the most carbon-dense of fossil fuels, is the primary driver of human-caused climate change. If its combustion is not curtailed, it could kill millions of times more people than nuclear power plants have done so far. Yes, I really do mean millions. The Chernobyl meltdown was hideous and traumatic. The official death toll so far appears to be 43 – 28 workers in the initial few months then a further 15 civilians by 2005. Totally unacceptable, of course; but a tiny fraction of the deaths for which climate change is likely to be responsible, through its damage to the food supply, its contribution to the spread of infectious diseases and its degradation of the quality of life for many of the world's poorest people.

Monbiot still feels that low-carbon, alternative solutions would be superior to both coal and nuclear, but the question is, how much time do we have to develop these solutions? According to Fugu's dad (a geologist of some prominence), not much time at all.

Nuclear Power scares a lot of people, but you have to wonder: If the Earth can throw an 8.9 earthquake and a tsunami at an aging nuclear power plant, and this is all that happens; then maybe our stupid fears are little misplaced, especially given the dangers of extracting and using fossil fuels.

Here's the post.


Galspanic said...

I think Mr. Pony should show this article to Gabby Schulz.

Mr. Pony said...

You've been following him on Twitter, I assume? I probably disagree with him completely on just about everything he says, but I admire the conviction with which he says it; and I enjoy his panic. His panic is delicious to me.

Galspanic said...

His panic is infectious! Like half of the diseases he constantly thinks about!