Let existing and new nuclear power help in the battle against carbon emissions: stop opposing it when it is critical to our ability to break the global dependence on fossil fuels in the time frame that will save our planet from the worst impacts.
Do you think nuclear power is "bad," like nuclear bombs? Opposition to nuclear power is a legacy of the 70's anti-war movements. Now we know that the threat from climate change is far worse than the risks from existing nuclear power plants. Deaths from coal mining and power plants far, far outnumber all nuclear power-related deaths. Yet archaic "fact" myths fuel opposition to nuclear power, which currently provides 65% of our "clean" energy. Nuclear is needed to address climate change in the time frame and at the scale we need. We need to "remember who the real enemy is" (fossil fuels and carbon emissions) and allow nuclear energy to be on the team that is working to save the planet. We may even like 4th generation new nukes!
We HAVE solutions—environmentalists just don't prefer them!
This image grabbed from the trailer for "Pandora's Promise" produced by Michael Stone.
Trailer for Pandora's Promise, which you should watch, as well as the movie itself!
Anyone who seriously cares to solve the climate crisis needs to be willing to look to
and all solutions to the problem—not just the ones that they find more aesthetically appealing. The magnitude of the crisis is too huge! Replacing oil and gas use with solar and wind in the time frame we have available is simply not realistic when we take into account the use of energy across 195 nations, most of which are impoverished! Coal plants continue to be built at a rapid pace. These could be replaced with safer, smaller, better-designed nuclear plants.
Old Nuclear Technology is like old cars — no seatbelts or airbags.
Old technology is never as good as the newer versions. The problems with older nuclear have been reduced but not eliminated—yet 4th Generation Nuclear is working to re-design modern reactors to eliminate proliferation risks, operating risks, materials risks and facility costs. New designs are even converting old, radioactive waste stockpiles into energy! We need both older and new forms of nuclear technology to be allowed to flourish, so we can reduce our unsolved waste issues and solve our urgent "clean" energy needs.
Big-Tent Realistic Environmental Policy or Closed-Minded Idealists?
I loved being a part of the People's Climate March, supported by thousands of groups of all stripes and colors. Today's young nuclear physicists want to use their knowledge and capabilities to address our climate problems and we need their help! Unfortunately, today's environmental leaders virtually across the board all grew up in the 60's and are stuck in their "No Nukes" mentality, without having taken a really good look at the safety or efficiency data on nuclear power, which this country has successfully used since the 1960's. This is not to say that Nuclear power and its current regulatory framework don't need a lot of rethinking and reform: they do! But this technology absolutely must be a part of the clean energy solutions that we are putting all of our efforts into supporting—so as to replace Oil and Gas.
An Environmental Policy Shift Could Kill Fossil Fuel Investments!
Do you know that the Coal Industry funds Anti-Nuke Campaigns? They know that their main competition is nuclear power and they want to keep the Anti-Nuke sentiment alive. Alternatively, would you like to see the Keystone Pipeline plan being abandoned? Would you like to put a torch to future fracking well investment and developmemt deals? If enough environmental leaders decide to support nuclear, this would certainly send a big chill over future investments in new oil and gas development as investors move to support new nuclear power and acknowledge that there will be no further growth in the fossil fuel business.
What community does this idea benefit and who are the main players?
This idea benefits everyone because it hurts fossil fuels. Individuals and community leaders should demand that local and national environment groups accept nuclear as a part of the necessary transition to clean energy as a solution to climate change. Listen to the many experts who support nuclear and stop trying to close nuclear power plants. Instead demand more accountability from federal regulators and regional power industry professionals. Evaluate new nuclear technologies and learn the real facts : don't allow myths to make you harbor unrealistic fear of something that you have a near zero risk of injury from. Work together to support smart nuclear policies to help diminish the economic and political power of hostile fossil fuel interests, who are successfully buying our elections and holding our politicians hostage. With every nuclear power plant that staying in operation, re-opens or is built, we keep oil and gas from replacing that energy and force oil and gas to keep those fossil fuels in the ground, where they are needed.
By the way, here is a list (created by the Breakthrough Institute plus some) of people who already support the need for more nuclear power.
President Barack Obama,
Sir Richard Branson, The Breakthrough Institute,
Dr. Stephen Chu,
The Dalai Lama,
Senator Al Franken,
Dr. James Hansen,
Dr. James Lovelock,
Dr. Jane Long,
. . . and many more
How does your idea specifically help your community rapidly transition to renewables?
This idea empowers communities to aggressively seek renewable energy while also having as "back-up" a clean energy source that reliability backs up their renewable power. Currently our major source of "reliable"back-up power is coal and gas. Dependable energy storage is still a long ways off. Nuclear power can be designed to supplant fossil fuels now but to operate at reduced levels when not needed to support community energy needs. Nuclear makes full-implementation of renewable power feasible, since all renewable power is still intermitten in nature and is not enough by itself, such as when it rains, at night, when there is no wind, and when there is peak demand, etc. without the need to resort to burning coal. NUCLEAR POWER IS BETTER FOR THE CLIMATE THAN COAL AND WE NEED TO ALLOW IT TO CO-EXIST UNTIL WE CAN SOLVE ALL OF THE PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH BUILDING OUT SUFFICIENT RENEWABLE ENERGY.
What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?
I am looking to organize a summit of environmental leaders and pro-nuclear leaders who recognize that fossil fuels "are the real enemy" in our climate-threatened world. I would like this summit to air legitimate grievances with nuclear power and address realistic solutions that could enable nuclear power to regain acceptance by environmental groups as well as the broader general public. This summit should present credible experts and allow for real debate by participants. Let's be sure that we have left no stone unturned (or feasible technology unexplored) in our search for rapid solutions to our climate crisis. It would be my hope that this summit could result in a statement of acceptance of a nuclear roadmap by the collective group prior to the Paris COP, that could help provide meaningful solutions for countries seeking to make ambitious commitments to reduce their carbon emissions by 2020 and onward.
What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?
I am calling this the "Silver Bullet Summit" and I need help getting financial and organizational support for this summit from foundations and non-profits and determining the key environmental leaders and experts to bring together for this life and planet-saving summit to be held in the late fall of 2015. I am at an early stage of conceptual development, and starting to prepare materials for it but I would love to have more people interested in working on this with me to make it happen.
Please indicate which type of energy is most relevant to this post:
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