Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Greenpeace Going Nuclear

The times they are a-changin'. Are the activists becoming more realistic or is the environmental crisis so bad that it requires an Earth triage of sorts? It is often said that when the green activists embrace nuclear power and the conservatives embrace ethanol, we know things are changing.

Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore, speaking in Texas last week before the Gulf Coast Power Association, said he remains in favor of moving away from fossil fuels. From the Houston Chronicle:

Moore, who is chairman and chief scientist of consulting firm Greenspirit Strategies and co-chair of a pro-nuclear energy group called the CASEnergy Coalition, said nuclear power could help wean the U.S. from its reliance on foreign oil and natural gas. It could also reduce the health effects of power plant emissions and save oil and gas for better uses, such as creating plastics, he said.

About one year ago in April, Moore wrote this essay, "Going Nuclear, A Green Makes the Case," in favor of nuclear power in the Washington Post, with this powerful opener:

In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. That's the conviction that inspired Greenpeace's first voyage up the spectacular rocky northwest coast to protest the testing of U.S. hydrogen bombs in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change.

Look at it this way: More than 600 coal-fired electric plants in the United States produce 36 percent of U.S. emissions -- or nearly 10 percent of global emissions -- of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas responsible for climate change. Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy source that can reduce these emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for power. And these days it can do so safely.

An interesting take on one of the ethical questions of total destruction caused by nuclear materials:

Over the past 20 years, one of the simplest tools -- the machete -- has been used to kill more than a million people in Africa, far more than were killed in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings combined. What are car bombs made of? Diesel oil, fertilizer and cars. If we banned everything that can be used to kill people, we would never have harnessed fire.

And then back to Japan as providing one of the technological solutions:

And new technologies such as the reprocessing system recently introduced in Japan (in which the plutonium is never separated from the uranium) can make it much more difficult for terrorists or rogue states to use civilian materials to manufacture weapons.

1 comment:

paxus said...

Patrick Moore is a shill for the nuclear industry. One should believe him no more than one would believe Dick Chency on the accuracy of Halliburton bills for Iraq.