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.: April 2006 --> Greenpeace Co-Founder embraces Nuclear Energy

Greenpeace Co-Founder embraces Nuclear Energy

» A Co-Founder of Greenpeace makes the case for nuclear energy. (thanks, Mark!)

It's thoughtful and plausible, though I'm sure an anti-nuclear activist could make a counter-argument that sounds just as plausible to me, since I know almost nothing real about the subject. I do think there's a bit of technophobia entwined with people's objections (as with their objections to GM crops and cloning). A death by radiation sounds horrible.

I honestly wish the government would spend the equivalent money on super-insulating people's houses and maybe subsidizing alternate energy sources before spending the money on nukes, though.

 [ 04.27.06 ]


It seems to me that his defense is based mostly on the lack of safety of the other industries not the inherent safety of the source fuel itself. It is like comparing the performance of two cars while one is being driven by a reckless drunk and the other by a cautious defensive driver. My conclusion is to wonder why aren't the other industries run with the same criterion as the nuclear industry.

I think you are entirely correct that the first order of business with regards to energy is conservation. The cheapest, safest energy is that which we don't use.

You might be interested to know that Stewart Brand, the founder of The Whole Earth Catalog mentioned in the linked article above, has also endorsed a novel about nuclear power by a longtime industry insider (me). This story serves as an entertaining lay person's guide to the good and the bad of this power source. (There's plenty of both.) The book is available at no cost to readers at - and they seem to like it, judging from their comments on the homepage.

So far the house I'm building in Florida is staying in the 70's and low 80's with just a central attic fan running.

I figured it made more sense to add as much insulation as I could and I split the attic into two levels which blocks most of the reradiated heat from the underside of the roof. There is generally about a 20 degree tempurature difference above and below the partition.

I know Patrick and worked with him when he was on the Greenpeace International Board, and I've watched with dismay as he's found new ways over the last few years to parlay his "Greenpeace Founder" status into lucrative contracts with the forest industry, the Genetic Engineering Industry, and now the nuclear industry. The argument here looks extremely slick and solid, primarily because it has been written by a PR agency as a part of a multi-million dollar rehabilitation effort for the single most expensive and dangerous way to boil water ever invented.

--The waste is dangerous for +10,000 years.
--Uranium is not a renewable resource and is in fact extremely scarce (by some estimates, a significant increase in the 2% share of electical energy provision from nuclear power would mean an end to known deposits within forty years)
--Reprocessing of fuel creates plutonium, the stuff that terrorist dreams are made of.
--The mining, extraction, processing, and plant builds required to actually use nuclear power are not carbon-neutral, and it was for this reason that when the Kyoto Protocol was signed, credits for nuclear power plant builds were rejected as contributing to a nation's reduction in carbon.

You can dress up the pro-nuclear arguments with plenty of marketing speak, false comparisons, tautologies and spin, but the basics above are pretty inescapable. And if it's safe, why can't it be insured? If it's economical, why is it being subsidized? And if it's green, why does the only Greenpeace voice speaking out for it have to be paid to have a positive opinion of it?

See the hilarious "Patrick Moore is a Big Fat Liar" site for a glimpse of the role Patrick played in the "War in the Woods" to protect the Great Bear Raiforest. He lost that one too.



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