Sunday, October 25, 2009

Can Nuclear Energy Save The Planet?

Here is more from Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto ...

One of the main themes of this book is the idea that a renaissance of nuclear power is required in order to head off global warming. Mr. Brand gives many reasons to support this, but the one I am most interested in is safety. He contends that nuclear energy is safer than traditional forms of energy, especially when you consider the deaths from air pollution caused by coal-fired power plants. He backs this up with numbers, although I decided to look into this myself. (Some of Mr. Brand's sources throughout the book are less than reputable, including Wikipedia.)

Here is an article from the International Atomic Energy Association Bulletin. Granted the name of the organization makes them sound a little biased, but they are a well-respected, scientific, non-profit organization that is part of the United Nations. Their article is based on a study published in an independent, peer-reviewed journal that is not associated with the nuclear industry. In the interest of factual blogging I have ordered a copy of that article from my local library.

In the mean time, you can see that Mr. Brand appears to be correct, and the risk of death to the public from nuclear accidents and long-term illnesses is lower than that from fossil fuel power generation. And these numbers don't even include projected deaths from global warming.

This is an interesting topic ... more on this another day!


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