Nuclear Power: Thanks, but No Thanks

By Stephan Lewandowsky
Professor, School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol
Posted on 8 August 2011
Filed under Energy, Specific Solutions

In two recent posts (here and here), colleague David Hodgkinson eloquently presented the case for nuclear power as one strategy to deal with climate change. Rather than revisiting all arguments in favour of nuclear power or against it, he focused on three core issues: (a) expense, (b) nuclear waste, and (c) militarization. In addition, Hodgkinson suggests that unless we put in place an infrastructure now, an ostensibly “cheap” nuclear power option will be precluded when the world gets serious about emission cuts within the next 10 years or so.

In this counterpoint, I note several points of agreement with Hodgkinson while also raising several other issues that, in my view, speak against reliance on nuclear power as an alternative source of energy.

(a) Expenses

There is no question that coal-generated power today is comparatively cheap only because the full externalities—namely, the short-term environmental and long-term climatological costs of emissions from fossil fuels—are not included in the cost of power generation. But does this necessarily mean that nuclear power would be the preferred alternative if the externalities of fossil fuels were considered?

Two points speak against that: First, throughout the history of nuclear power realistic insurance coverage has proved impossible to obtain on the free market. This suggests that the costing of the nuclear option has been ignoring large externalities—namely the true risk of its operation—in much the same way as coal.

The true cost of nuclear power is hidden because around the world governments have been condoning the operation of reactors without insisting on insurance coverage that is commensurate to the actual risks. (The situation varies from country to country, but this statement is an accurate summary).

It is extremely doubtful that a privately-insured nuclear industry would be viable at all. The world’s taxpayers are thus ultimately underwriting an industry that private insurers won’t cover in full.

Does this sound like the energy of the future?

(b) Waste

The issue of nuclear waste is sufficiently complex to escape summary in a few blog posts. What is certain, however, is that nuclear power generation to date has created a large amount of “legacy waste” that is as nasty as it is long-lasting. Nastier, by far, than the original nuclear fuel which seems vegetarian by comparison to the waste product.

How long-lasting? Thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years.

So, in a less-than-benign sense, nuclear power already is the power of the future—and it will remain a future consideration for thousands or more years even after the last reactor is switched off. (There may be a technological solution to this problem but at the moment it appears inadvisable to take it for granted.)

Philosopher John Nolt from the University of Tennessee has recently argued (e.g., Nolt, 2011) that our inaction with respect to climate change is tantamount to the “domination” of future generations—and hence deeply unethical because those future generations have had no say in the fate that we bequeath upon them. The same argument can be made about leaving behind nuclear waste for generations to come: None of those generations had a choice in the matter, and yet we are forcing them to deal with the potentially devastating consequences that arise from our (arguably) poor policy decisions.

In a nutshell, a strong argument can be made that passing on a large and inescapable risk to future generations is unethical.

And surely, our future energy should not be unethical.

(c) Militarization

Hodgkinson argues that militarization of nuclear power is without precedent and the risk overstated. I agree. But recent events surrounding Iran, which by the accounts of the IAEA only has a peaceful nuclear program (no military activities have been convincingly uncovered to date), shed another light on this matter.

And that is the risk to peace and democracy not by direct militarization but by possibly even more pernicious indirect routes that inevitably arise from civilian generation of nuclear power. Simply put, nuclear power, even if pursued entirely for peaceful purposes, poses a security risk. Unlike a wind turbine, which may at worst rob a bank, nuclear reactors are an acknowledged attractive target for terrorists.

And because they are a target for terrorism, and because the consequences of a terror attack on nuclear installations are particularly devastating, responsible governments are forced to ramp up the security apparatus surrounding nuclear power. The resulting likely erosion of democracy was analysed by Robert Jungk in the 1970s in his book the Nuclear State. (Google link here.)

A full analysis of Jungk’s thesis is beyond the present scope: Suffice it to say that at the very least, awareness of the implications of nuclear power for democracy must be firmly on the radar for anyone who is considering the future of energy generation in Australia.

(d) Future options

Hodgkinson argues that once the world gets serious about emission cuts, Australia needs to be ready by preparing a nuclear infrastructure now, lest we get caught out by having to rely entirely on renewable energy sources.

But would that be all that bad?  

In this context it is crucial to consider the actions of Germany, which has just decided to exit nuclear power at a rapid pace. At the same time, Germany is pursuing aggressive emission cuts—40% by 2020 compared to 1990 and 80-95% by 2050.

How?

By pursuing a three-pronged strategic plan.

Lest one think that Australia does not have the intellectual or material resources to pursue a similar energy future, a blueprint for our future can be found here.

At the moment, however, the future is taking place elsewhere. While some Australian cities are blessed with 3000 or more hours of sunshine per year (e.g., Perth, with 3200 hours), German cities must make do with just over half that (1700 hours is considered luxurious by German standards).

Yet, Germany has 17,000 MW of installed solar power-generating capacity, compared to Australia’s 300 MW.  Adjusted for hours of sunshine, that’s 100 times more than Australia. Which is one reason why we are one of the dirtiest power generators on this planet.

References

Nolt, J. (2011). Greenhouse gas emission and the domination of posterity. In Arnold, D. G. (Ed.),  The ethics of global climate change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 60-76

Bookmark and Share

43 Comments


Comments 1 to 43:

  1. This is highly informatics, crisp and clear. I think that everything has been described in systematic manner so that reader could get maximum information and learn many things.
    dj und hochzeit
  2. japan.comp234 at 20:27 PM on 6 October, 2015
    Your work is very good and I appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts. Thank you for sharing great information to us.
    where to eat in phuket
  3. I like this post,And I guess that they having fun to read this post,they shall take a good site to make a information,thanks for sharing it to me.
    facebook likes
    youtube views
  4. brad.haddon234 at 19:46 PM on 13 October, 2015
    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free.
    free twitter followers
    youtube subscribers
  5. japan.comp234 at 19:47 PM on 14 October, 2015
    Great post, you have pointed out some excellent points, I as well believe this is a very superb website.
    wedding planner phuket
  6. japan.comp234 at 17:28 PM on 15 October, 2015
    Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here...
    fat diminisher system review
  7. japan.comp234 at 20:03 PM on 23 October, 2015
    Thank you for some other informative blog. Where else could I get that type of information written in such an ideal means? I have a mission that I’m just now working on, and I have been at the look out for such information.
    title loan Los Angeles
  8. i read a lot of stuff and i found that the way of writing to clearifing that exactly want to say was very good so i am impressed and ilike to come again in future..
    The Venus Factor Review
  9. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly that love and read more on this topic. If possible, such as gain knowledge, would you mind updating your blog with additional information? It is very useful for me.
    MintsApp Review
  10. japan.comp234 at 20:14 PM on 6 November, 2015
    Keep up the good work , I read few posts on this web site and I conceive that your blog is very interesting and has sets of fantastic information. Build my list 2.0
  11. japan.comp234 at 23:01 PM on 9 November, 2015
    thanks this is good blog. Genius marketing pro bonus
  12. This is actually the kind of information I have been trying to find. Thank you for writing this information. mp3 tag editor android
  13. This is really a nice and informative, containing all information and also has a great impact on the new technology. Thanks for sharing it
    http://papersweetsatelier.tumblr.com
  14. brad.haddon234 at 20:22 PM on 22 November, 2015
    I as of late discovered numerous helpful data in your site particularly this site page. Among the loads of remarks on your articles. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing. find more information
  15. brad.haddon234 at 17:51 PM on 28 November, 2015
    Incredible Information sharing .. I am exceptionally glad to peruse this article .. a debt of gratitude is in order for giving us experience info.Fantastic pleasant. I welcome this post. this article
  16. japan.comp234 at 17:56 PM on 3 December, 2015
    Hey what a splendid post I have go over and trust me I have been looking out for this comparable sort of post for recent week and scarcely went over this. Much thanks and will search for more postings from you. bali deals
  17. japan.comp234 at 20:39 PM on 3 January, 2016
    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. Smart Member 2.0
  18. Only aspire to mention ones content can be as incredible. This clarity with your post is superb and that i may think you’re a guru for this issue. High-quality along with your concur permit me to to seize your current give to keep modified by using approaching blog post. Thanks a lot hundreds of along with you should go on the pleasurable get the job done.
    online Casinos mit Startguthaben ohne einzahlung
  19. brad.haddon234 at 00:23 AM on 6 January, 2016
    Super-Duper site! I am Loving it!! Will come back again, Im taking your feed also, Thanks. instant twitter followers gain youtube subscribers
  20. brad.haddon234 at 16:21 PM on 7 January, 2016
    Awesome review, I am a major devotee to remarking on web journals to advise the website essayists realize that they've added something beneficial to the internet!.. The Woodlands Custom Web Design
  21. japan.comp234 at 19:53 PM on 11 January, 2016
    Thank you so much Love your blog.. seriöse Online Casinos
  22. japan.comp234 at 18:44 PM on 12 January, 2016
    Your website is really cool and this is a great inspiring article. Thank you so much. Tree Care Houston treecare.tv
  23. japan.comp234 at 21:46 PM on 18 January, 2016
    Thank you for some other informative website. The place else may just I get that kind of information written in such a perfect method? I have a venture that I am simply now running on, and I’ve been at the glance out for such info. how to get instagram followers fast
  24. japan.comp234 at 21:16 PM on 21 January, 2016
    Nice knowledge gaining article. This post is really the best on this valuable topic. hampton bay lighting
  25. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work buy followers on instagram free buy instagram likes instant delivery
  26. amsbosstoolsmobi at 17:15 PM on 27 January, 2016
    I really love the quality writing as offered on this post, cheers to the writer.
    Buy High Pagerank Backlinks
  27. amsbosstoolsmobi at 18:13 PM on 27 January, 2016
    Good post. I learn some thing tougher on distinct blogs everyday.

    India angel investing
  28. japan.comp234 at 20:08 PM on 29 January, 2016
    I learn some new stuff from it too, thanks for sharing your information. marketing blogs
  29. brad.haddon234 at 22:58 PM on 30 January, 2016
    Very nice article, I enjoyed reading your post, very nice share, I want to twit this to my followers. Thanks!. http://www.gottaloseweight.com/ - web site
  30. Your strategy for facebook page b likes b engagement should include a schedule for delivering content and the resources your social media management staff will need to respond to comments most facebook likes and feedback.
  31. Most importantly, engagement likes for facebook is about being genuine and helpful. Look for people you can help instead of seeking out people who can help increase facebook likes you.
  32. Look for the influencers get free facebook likes in your industry and reach out to them for partnership opportunities like guest blogs and inclusion of your events in their online calendars and buying likes on facebook newsletters.
  33. Include your fake facebook likes corporate sponsors in your engagement strategy. Thank them and ask your followers to follow your sponsors and ask your sponsors if they’d promote your events and fundraising efforts to their clients and followers cheap facebook likes as well.
  34. By collaborating with how to get fake likes on facebook your corporate sponsors, you can reach far more potential advocates than you would going it alone. People are also more likely to follow and share content on social networks if others in their network how to buy facebook likes are also engaging with that content.
  35. japan.comp234 at 23:21 PM on 1 February, 2016
    Howdy, I discover perusing this article a delight. It is to a great degree supportive and fascinating and all that much anticipating perusing a greater amount of your work.. clementine
  36. amsbosstoolsmobi at 23:20 PM on 2 February, 2016
    Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article.
    lettre en bois
  37. japan.comp234 at 18:13 PM on 4 February, 2016
    I am happy to find this post Very useful for me, as it contains lot of information. I Always prefer to read The Quality and glad I found this thing in you post. Thanks male testosterone
  38. japan.comp234 at 22:33 PM on 9 February, 2016
    I concede, I have not been on this website page in quite a while... in any case it was another delight to see It is such an essential point and overlooked by such a variety of, even experts. experts. I thank you to help making individuals more mindful of conceivable issues. Super Affiliate System review
  39. brad.haddon234 at 16:38 PM on 1 April, 2016
    I like this post,And I guess that they having fun to read this post,they shall take a good site to make a information,thanks for sharing it to me. how to get real instagram followers auto like instagram gratis
  40. jeparaonline at 23:48 PM on 27 April, 2016
    I am very happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation t hat's at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best posting.
    Furniture Jepara :
    Mebel Jepara :
    Meja Makan Minimalis :
    Furniture Jepara :
    Mebel Jepara :
    Kursi Tamu Mewah :
    Mebel Jepara :
    Kursi Tamu Mewah :
    Mebel Jepara :
    Kamar Set Mewah :
    Kamar Set Mewah :
    Tempat Tidur Minimalis :
    Meja Makan Klasik Mewah :
    Furniture Jepara :
    Meja Makan Jati :
    Meja Makan Mewah :
    Mebel Jepara :
    Kamar Set Mewah :
    Mebel Jepara :
    Kamar Set Mewah :
    Kursi Tamu Mewah :
    Tempat Tidur Minimalis :
    Furniture Jepara :
    Mebel Jepara :
    Kursi Tamu Mewah :
    Mebel Jepara :
    Kursi Tamu Mewah :
    Mebel Jepara :
    Jual Mebel Jepara :
    Kamar Set Mewah :
    Meja Makan Jati :
    Kursi Tamu Mewah :
    Kursi Tamu Mewah :
    Kamar Set Mewah :
    Tempat Tidur Minimalis :
    Jual Mebel Jepara
    Mebel Jepara
    Kursi Tamu Mewah
    Jual Mebel Jepara
    Furniture Jepara
    Kursi Tamu Mewah
    Kursi Tamu Mewah
    Tempat Tidur Minimalis
    Kursi Tiffany Murah
    Kursi Tiffany Murah
    Kamar Set Mewah
    Jual Kursi Tiffany Murah
    Tempat Tidur Minimalis
    Kamar Set Mewah
    Kursi Tamu Mewah
    Tempat Tidur Tingkat Minimalis
    Kamar Set Mewah
    Kursi Tamu Mewah kualitas Terbaik
    Kursi Tamu Mewah
    Kamar Set Mewah
    Kamar Set Mewah
    Kursi Tamu Mewah
    Kursi Tamu Mewah
    Toko Furniture
    Kamar Set Mewah
    Jual Kursi Tiffany
    Kamar Set Mewah
  41. jeparaonline at 23:49 PM on 27 April, 2016
    Selain meliputi kursi tamu putri ayu, Mebel Jepara berbagai macam kursi tamu jati yang bisa Anda pilih dan gunakan diruang tamu Anda termasuk kursi tamu ukir ganesha dari bahan baku kayu jati.
    Mebel Jati Tak hanya meliputi kursi minimalis, jajaran kursi tamu berbahan jati yang bisa Anda dapatkan saat ini juga meliputi kursi minimalis berbahan jati, kursi tamu monako, serta kursi tamu jati romawi.
    Mebel Jepara Murah Kursi tamu berbahan jati lainnya yang bisa Anda gunakan di ruang tamu Anda yaitu kursi jati dengan desain kepiting khas Jepara dan tentu saja, kursi tersebut bukan pilihan terakhir yang bisa Anda ambil jika Anda hendak menggunakan kursi jati di ruang tamu Anda. Kursi Tamu Jati

    berbagai warna menarik yang bisa Anda dapatkan saat ini dan menggunakan sofa jati tentu bisa cukup menguntungkan mengingat selain berbentuk menarik, sofa tersebut juga nyaman untuk Furniture Jati dipakai duduk. Selain sofa jati, kursi jati mewah juga merupakan salah satu pilihan yang bisa Anda ambil jika Anda menghendaki menggunakan kursi tamu berbahan jati di rumah Anda. Kursi tamu jati, tentu saja, selain hadir dalam berbagai desain diatas, Kursi Tamu Jati juga hadir satu paket dengan meja tamu jati seperti meja jati berbentuk kotak, bulat, oval, dan lain sebagainya.
    Tak hanya hadir satu paket dengan berbagai meja tamu jati, Furniture jepara Online kursi ruang tamu berbahan jati yang ada saat ini juga tersedia dalam berbagai warna menarik dan elegan. Sebagai contoh, kursi tamu bisa hadir dalam warna coklat atau warna asli kayu jati namun selain tersedia dalam warna coklat, kursi jati yang ada saat ini juga tersedia dalam berbagai warna lain. Warna-warna lain tersebut bisa meluputi warna emas, silver, Mebel jepara motif marmer dan masih banyak lagi. Kursi berbahan jati sendiri tersedia dengan harga berkisar mulai dari Rp. 3.000.000,00 sampai Rp. 25.000.000,00 atau bahkan lebih tinggi lagi dan jika Anda berniat untuk memakai kursi tamu jati , Anda bisa membelinya secara online saat ini.
    Mebel Jati

    asli dari Jepara mempermudah anda dalam membeli kursi tamu berbahan baku kayu jati khas kota Jepara, untuk informasi lebih lanjut silahkan hubungi kami di nomor yang telah kami sediakan. Mebel Jepara

    Merupakan mahakarya peninggalan dari leluhur yang merupakan perpaduan antara unsur budaya, keahlian dan seni bernilai tinggi lahirlah model dan desain yang indah pada setiap produk mebel dan hasil karya Mebel Jepara Murah seni lainnya yang selalu digunakan oleh para raja dan para bangsawan sebagai simbol dari suatu keindahan.

    Seiring dengan perkembangan zaman, Mebel Minimalis Jepara semakin berkembang dengan indutri mebelnya. Tidak hanya terkenal di Nusantara tapi juga ke mancanegara. Mengundang para importir untuk ikut memasarkan produk - produk Jepara yang semakin banyak peminatnya. Mebel Jepara Terbaru

    Tempat tidur minimalis dengan gaya minimalis memang sedang banyak dijual di pasaran. Furniture Jati Jepara Banyak sekali yang menawarkan produk tempat tidur dengan desain minimalis dari harga kisaran 1 - 10 jutaan. Tetapi anda juga harus teliti sebelum membelinya. Saya akan memberikan beberapa gambaran untuk anda jadikan pedoman sebelum membeli Tempat Tidur. Mebel Jepara Online

    Ada beberapa bahan yang bisa dibuat untuk tempat tidur, saya disini hanya memberikan sample dari besi ( stainless ) dan kayu. Untuk tempat tidur dari besi harganya berkisar antara 3 jt hingga 7 jutaan tergantung dari model dan motif tempat tidur
    Toko Mebel Jepara yang anda inginkan. Tetapi ada kelemahan dari produk yang terbuat dari besi, yaitu lama kelamaan produk dari besi tersebut akan memuai dan saat itu produk akan mudah melengkung.
    Toko Mebel Online


    Tips Memilih Meja Makan Kayu - Meja makan merupakan salah satu furniture yang cukup penting di dalam rumah. Meja Makan Jati Jepara Disini kita bisa menikmati kelezatan hidangan masakan bersama dengan keluarga tercinta, sambil ngobrol topik topik ringan.

    Pada kesempatan kali ini saya mau membeberkan beberapa tips yang patut anda perhatikan sebelum membeli meja makan Toko Mebel Online , terutama yang berbahan kayu. Menentukan model dari meja makan sebetulnya tidak terlalu sulit, hanya ada beberapa saja yang harus anda cermati, berikut beberapa tips yang harus anda perhatikan. Mebel Jati Murah


    Pemilihan bahan - Jika anda ingin penampilan ruang makan anda bernuansa alami, anda bisa memakai kayu murni keras. Mebel Jepara Murah Sebagai contoh kayu jati atau mahoni. Jangan lupa pastikan bahan baku meja makan yang berbahan kayu itu berasal dari kayu tua atau kayu perhutani ( olahan pemerintah ) jadi kualitasnya sangat bagus dan tahan lama.


    Finishing modern - Jika anda berkeinginan ruang makan anda bernuansa modern, anda bisa memakai bahan baku kayu mahoni dengan diaplikasikan finishing cat duco seperti yang lagi ngetrend di beberapa tahun terakhir. Mebel Jepara Murah


    Mebel Jepara yang sesuai dengan rumah modern memiliki karakter yang sesuai dengan karakter modern interior rumah. Biasanya sesuai dengan sifat ini mebel yang kita gunakan juga simple, fungsional dan tidak berornamen atau tidak ada hiasan sama sekali. Hal ini karena bila kita menggunakan mebel berornamen, maka kesan modern dari desain sebuah ruangan bisa kacau. Mebel Jepara Murah Pada saat ini, banyak sekali bermunculan toko mebel baru yang jual mebel jenis-jenis mebel kayu Oleh karena itu mulai dari lima tahun terakhir kami sudah mengembangkan untuk pembelian produk furniture dengan menawarkannya di dalam hal ini saya ada rekomendasi untuk anda untuk berkonsultasi terlebih dahulu dengan pakarnya Produk unggulan mebel jepara seperti Sekarang rata rata dijual dengan harga standart yaitu di kisaran Rp. 7.000.000 Toko Furniture Jepara
  42. brad.haddon234 at 23:42 PM on 18 May, 2016
    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your site. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested. Thank you! high pr backlink service …………… Buy BackLinks
Comments Policy

Post a Comment

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or register a new account.