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Friday
Nov152013

Don't trade global warming for nuclear meltdown

Read the oped by Linda Gunter and Kevin Kamps, published by CNN, on why nuclear power is not the answer to climate change. The oped was commissioned to rebut CNN's screening of Pandora's Promise on November 7th.

Here is the lead, then read more:

The climate change crisis is upon us. The world's leading climate scientists agree that time is rapidly running out and that urgent steps are needed in the next 10 years to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions. But exchanging global warming for nuclear meltdown is not the answer.

From a purely practical standpoint — and ignoring for a moment nuclear power's other showstoppers such as cost, unmanaged nuclear waste, atomic weapons proliferation and catastrophic accident — there simply isn't time to choose nuclear power. There are faster, affordable alternatives, including energy efficiency and renewable energy installations such as wind farms and solar arrays that can be completed in months to a few years.

The average construction time for a new nuclear power reactor is close to 10 years. A 2003 Massachusetts Institute of Technology study concluded that more than two new reactors would have to start operating somewhere in the world every month over the next 50 years to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil-fuel generation.

Such a fantasy does not pass the reality check in corporate boardrooms or on Wall Street where nuclear power has been soundly rejected. The exorbitant costs and unpredictably long completion time -- a reactor at Watts Bar in Tennessee, for example, was "under construction" for 23 years and may be connected to the grid by 2015 -- make nuclear power an unappealing, even reckless, business choice for corporations and shareholders. Read the rest of the article.