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It's Time to Expand Nuclear Power

It's Time to Expand Nuclear Power
The BriefGet Up To Speed

For decades, the development of nuclear power has sparked staunch debate among scientists, politicians, and activists alike. For its proponents, the promise of nuclear energy is clear: It's the most effective means of reducing greenhouse gases and combating climate change while still meeting the world's growing demand for energy. And to date, nuclear energy produces approximately 10% of the world's power and rakes in billions in revenue in the United States alone. But its critics argue that expanding nuclear energy is dangerous and ill-advised. They cite the high costs of building powerplants, the potential consequences of a meltdown, and the challenge of managing waste. Rather, they argue, we should look to wind and solar to meet our energy demands. Should nuclear energy fuel our future? 

Background
"Nuclear energy is the energy in the nucleus, or core, of an atom. Nuclear energy can be used to create electricity, but it must first be released from the atom."
 
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
National Geographic
"Serious nuclear accidents have been few and far between—but their stories will help prevent future catastrophes."
 
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Union of Concerned Scientists
49% of Americans favor use of nuclear energy; 49% oppose
47% of Americans believe nuclear power plants are safe
65% of Republicans, 42% of Democrats favor use of nuclear energy
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
RJ Reinhart

"From a climate perspective, there are three separate issues to understand: existing power plants, the prospect of building new power plants now, and new, yet-to-be deployed technology in development."

Thursday, December 19, 2019
David Roberts
"The Fukushima disaster sparked a worldwide phaseout of nuclear reactors. As climate change worsens, it may be time to reconsider."
 
Sunday, December 22, 2019
Carolyn Kormann
"Some back readiness to expand nuclear power, if only as last resort in warming planet. Pros and cons of nuclear energy in context of climate change."
 
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Bruce Lieberman

"What if the world eventually discovers that renewables can’t do the job alone?"

Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Eduardo Porter

"The United States government was earmarking billions of dollars for a new atomic age, in part to help tame a warming global climate. But a remarkable confluence of events is bringing that to an end, capped in recent days by Toshiba’s decision to take a $6 billion loss and pull Westinghouse, its American nuclear power subsidiary, out of the construction business."

Saturday, February 18, 2017
Diane Cardwell
For The Motion

"If the crisis is as severe as Sanders, Warren, and the United Nations suggest, then there isn’t really a credible argument against throwing at least some public capital at “Hail Mary” advanced nuclear technologies like small-scale reactors that could — at least theoretically — deliver safe, affordable nuclear energy at scale." 

Thursday, September 5, 2019
Eric Levitz
"To solve the climate problem, policy must be based on facts and not prejudice. Alongside renewables, Nuclear will make the difference between the world missing crucial climate targets or achieving them."
 
Thursday, December 3, 2015
James Hansen, Kerry Emanuel, Ken Caldeira and Tom Wigley

"We’ve seen several nuclear plants shut down in recent years and now have a pretty good idea what replaces them. It’s mostly natural gas and some coal."

Thursday, April 5, 2018
David Roberts

"Conservatives should support America’s nuclear-energy sector for three reasons: generation diversity, technological leadership, and land sparing."

Friday, December 16, 2016
Robert Bryce
Against The Motion
"The key to decarbonizing our economy is to build a new energy system that does not rely on carbon-based fuels. Scientific studies show that that can be done, it can be done soon and it does not require nuclear power."
 

 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Naomi Oreskes

"Without active pushback from Congress and the public, the NRC’s march toward less regulation may be unstoppable."

Thursday, August 29, 2019
Edwin Lyman

"Nuclear industry apologists sow confusion about radiation risks, and, in my view, in much the same way that the tobacco industry did in previous decades about the risks of smoking."

Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Helen Caldicott

"A film about nuclear energy, Pandora’s Promise, features five “converts” who argue that the dire threat of climate change requires humanity to embrace nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels...The Nation’s environment correspondent, who has been covering the nuclear industry since investigating it for his book Nuclear Inc., lays out the myths the film peddles, followed by the facts about nuclear energy."

Monday, June 10, 2013
Mark Hertsgaard
Costs & Investments

"More than safety or waste issues, cost is nuclear's Achilles' heel…In theory, nuclear is capable of providing reliable, carbon-free power at a reasonable price." 

Monday, February 29, 2016
Brad Plumer

"In contrast to the rapid cost escalation that characterized nuclear construction in the United States, we find evidence of much milder cost escalation in many countries, including absolute cost declines in some countries and specific eras. Our new findings suggest that there is no inherent cost escalation trend associated with nuclear technology."

Friday, April 1, 2016
Jessica Loverling, Arthur Yip and Ted Nordhaus

"While the share of energy produced by solar and wind has grown rapidly, nuclear remains America’s largest source of clean, zero-emissions electricity. Anyone seriously interested in preventing dangerous levels of global warming should be advocating nuclear power."

Thursday, April 4, 2019
James Hansen and Michael Shellenberger

"Nuclear power has a negative learning curve. The availability and security of nuclear waste storage are unresolved problems." 

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Ryan Koronowski and Joe Romm

"Building new reactors, or operating most existing ones, makes climate change worse compared with spending the same money on more-climate-effective ways to deliver the same energy services." 

Monday, November 18, 2019
Amory Lovins
"If asked whether we should increase our reliance on caviar to fight world hunger, most people would laugh. Relying on an overly expensive commodity to perform an essential task spends too much money for too little benefit, while foreclosing more-promising approaches."
 
Monday, October 8, 2012
Peter A. Bradford
Waste & Risk
"All the reasons put forward to oppose nuclear power amount to over-hyped fears that in no way stack up to the real dangers facing humanity from climate change."
 
Friday, January 11, 2019
Joshua S. Goldstein and Staffan A. Qvist

"Studies indicate even the worst possible accident at a nuclear plant is less destructive than other major industrial accidents. Nuclear waste disposal, although a continuing political problem, is not any longer a technological problem."

Thursday, July 19, 2018
RIchard Rhodes

"If nuclear energy is to enjoy a sustained renaissance, the challenge of managing nuclear waste for thousands of years must be met." 

 

Thursday, December 1, 2011
Ernest Moniz

"There is the gravest of dangers: plutonium and enriched uranium derived from nuclear reactors contributing to the building of nuclear weapons. The technology needed to enrich uranium to commercial reactor grade can easily be scaled up to enrich uranium to weapons grade." 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Robert Jay Lifton and Naomi Oreskes

"'Not in my backyard' means that the waste is left in everyone’s backyard. Unless put out of harm’s way, plutonium is virtually a permanent radioactive threat, and a potential attraction for would-be nuclear terrorists or malevolent governments of the future."

Thursday, May 24, 2018
Fred Pearce

"We are skeptical that many localities would volunteer to host waste facilities, particularly the permanent repository, no matter the economic benefits." 

Sunday, February 3, 2013
Editorial Board
Global Response
"An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty."
 
Monday, October 8, 2018
IPCC

"What’s happened to the nation’s largest source of clean energy in the year since the IPCC’s warnings?"

Thursday, October 10, 2019
Robbie Hayunga