Nuclear Energy: An Inconvenient Truth, A Missed Opportunity

By May 25, 2006Global Warming

A good piece by John Tierney of the New York Times on Tuesday, noting that Al Gore missed a golden opportunity in his new home movie by not making the pitch for nuclear. Says Tierney:

“Gore shows the obligatory pictures of windmills and other alternative sources of energy. But he ignores nuclear power plants, which don’t spew carbon dioxide and currently produce far more electricity than all ecologically fashionable sources combined.

A few environmentalists, like Patrick Moore, a founder of Greenpeace, have recognized that their movement is making a mistake in continuing to demonize nuclear power. Balanced against the risks of global warming, nukes suddenly look good — or at least deserve to be considered rationally. Gore had a rare chance to reshape the debate, because a documentary about global warming attracts just the sort of person who marches in anti-nuke demonstrations.

Gore could have dared, once he enticed the faithful into the theater, to challenge them with an inconvenient truth or two. But that would have been a different movie.”

Coincidentally, yesterday found the President touring a nuclear plant in Pennsylvania and touting the benefits of nuclear energy. Bush is the first sitting President since Jimmy Carter (a nuclear engineer by training himself) to visit a nuclear plant. This was actually Bush’s second visit to a nuke plant, having visited one in Maryland a few months back. At the same time, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was in New Hampshire — apparently he likes it up there — saying that the US needs to embrace nuclear technology.

In any event, you’ll see from this chart that France gets almost 80% of its power from nuclear. Yet the last nuclear plant was ordered in the US in 1973. The enviros can’t just keep saying no to everything. Time to unleash all fuel sources, including nuclear.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Dave Smith says:

    I attended a NAM Fly-In several years ago and had an interesting discussion w/ a gentleman from Southern Electric. He commented that there is a 5 year regulatory process to have a new plant approved and at least a 5 year “construction” window to build one after approval. To me, a 10 year wait is unacceptable if we are to use nuclear energy as an alternative energy source. Perhaps NAM should be lobbying to expedite the regulatory process so that this resource can actually be utilized.

  • Pat says:

    So, why would we need nuclear power if global warming isn’t caused by human emmissions? There’s tons of coal to burn and it’s much cheaper…

    Me thinks you doth move your goalposts – again…

  • I disagree with this statement

    “because a documentary about global warming attracts just the sort of person who marches in anti-nuke demonstrations”

    There are plenty of enviros who support nuclear energy. yes, they are inclined to ask questions like ‘where to put the waste?’, and ‘how much impact and effort to process ore?’, and ‘is it safe?’, but that does not mean all enviros belong to greenpeace. They just ask some of the same questions.

    People buy free range chicken, and share some concerns of Peta, but they still light up the bbq.