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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?

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For:

Kirsty Gogan

8 Items
Kirsty Gogan
  • Co-founder & Executive Director of Energy for Humanity
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"Kirsty Gogan discusses the The UK’s communications response to Fukushima and the lessons learned about nuclear safety protocols and her work at Energy for Humanity to help make nuclear more cost effective, scalable, and viable as a sustainable energy source."

Wednesday, September 5, 2018
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"This discussion with Kirsty Gogan, Co-Founder and Global Director, Energy for Humanity focused on deep decarbonization and the intersection of environmentalism and nuclear technology."

Friday, March 24, 2017
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"The nuclear industry therefore needs to undertake a radical transformation if it is to rebuild trust and credibility that it can deliver on time and on budget, provide certainty to investors, and confidence to support a political mandate as well as regaining public support. There some green shoots of hope that nuclear energy can still step up to the challenge."

Monday, September 18, 2017
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“If you believe that climate or air pollution, poverty or destruction of nature are the greatest risks to human health, and to environmental and public wellbeing, then the question you need to be asking is how do we tackle those risks in the fastest, most feasible and most cost-effective way possible. And when you start from that point it just makes no sense to limit the technologies at our disposal based on ideological opposition to some tools.”

Thursday, September 14, 2017
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"Natural disasters, such as the Japanese earthquake in 2011 leading to an industrial accident at Fukushima, prompted Japan and Germany to shutter their nuclear fleets, but this caused a huge switch to fossil fuels. So the consequence of the nuclear taboo is to make climate change worse."

Thursday, October 18, 2018
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"Kirsty Gogan discusses the The UK’s communications response to Fukushima and the lessons learned about nuclear safety protocols and her work at Energy for Humanity to help make nuclear more cost effective, scalable, and viable as a sustainable energy source."

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

“If you believe that climate or air pollution, poverty or destruction of nature are the greatest risks to human health, and to environmental and public wellbeing, then the question you need to be asking is how do we tackle those risks in the fastest, most feasible and most cost-effective way possible. And when you start from that point it just makes no sense to limit the technologies at our disposal based on ideological opposition to some tools.”

Thursday, September 14, 2017

"Natural disasters, such as the Japanese earthquake in 2011 leading to an industrial accident at Fukushima, prompted Japan and Germany to shutter their nuclear fleets, but this caused a huge switch to fossil fuels. So the consequence of the nuclear taboo is to make climate change worse."

Thursday, October 18, 2018
For:

Daniel Poneman

6 Items
Daniel Poneman
  • Former Deputy Secretary of Energy
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Former Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman argues for the expanded use of nuclear energy to reduce the threat of climate change.

Friday, July 12, 2019
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"The key question is whether we can use nuclear energy to reduce the threat of climate change without increasing the risk that nuclear weapons will be used."

Thursday, May 9, 2019
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Daniel Poneman discusses the Paris Accord climate targets and his time as deputy secretary

Friday, August 9, 2019
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"Daniel Poneman share his insights on combating climate change and nuclear terror."

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
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"The United States will study the lessons of Fukushima to improve the safety of our reactors, but we continue to believe nuclear power has an important role to play as part of a diversified clean energy portfolio that will promote economic prosperity, enhance our security, and reduce global carbon pollution."

Thursday, December 15, 2011
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"We can enhance the ability of nuclear power to combat climate change even as we reduce the risks of nuclear terror. Doing so will require well-crafted laws and policies, implemented with an ethos of constant vigilance and embedded in a culture that weaves safety and security goals into the fabric of our nuclear programs."

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
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Against:

Gregory B. Jaczko

4 Items
Gregory B. Jaczko
  • Former Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
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Gregory Jaczko recounts his time with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, for which he served as chair from 2009-2012.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
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"I think the current type of reactors we have in this country will always operate kind of on this narrow precipice of safe operation and catastrophe on the other side."

Friday, January 25, 2019
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"All 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology, the former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said. Shutting them all down at once is not practical, he said, but he supports phasing them out rather than trying to extend their lives."

Monday, April 8, 2013
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"Despite working in the industry for more than a decade, I now believe that nuclear power’s benefits are no longer enough to risk the welfare of people living near these plants. I became so convinced that, years after departing office, I’ve now made alternative energy development my new career, leaving nuclear power behind. The current and potential costs — in lives and dollars — are just too high."

Friday, May 17, 2019
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Against:

Arjun Makhijani

4 Items
Arjun Makhijani
  • President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
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"Is Japan right to switch reactors back on at its nuclear power stations seven years after a earthquake and tsunami caused the worst nuclear accident in the country's history? Presenter Manuela Saragosa puts the question to nuclear sceptic Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research."

Thursday, December 7, 2017
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There is no good solution for the problem of spent fuel...It would be sensible if we would transition to renewable energy so we are not burdening future generations even more with the waste from our economic activities."

Friday, June 1, 2018
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"Relying upon nuclear power to combat global warming poses risks that are too severe, given that safer alternatives are available."

Sunday, October 1, 2006
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"We don’t need a costly, cumbersome, water-intensive, plutonium-making, financially risky method to boil water."

Thursday, September 8, 2011
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Background

8 Items
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"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
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National Geographic

"Serious nuclear accidents have been few and far between—but their stories will help prevent future catastrophes."

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Bruce Lieberman

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016
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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
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Diane Cardwell

For The Motion

4 Items
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"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
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Eric Levitz

Nuclear power paves the only viable path forward on climate change "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
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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
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David Roberts

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

Friday, December 16, 2016
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Robert Bryce

Against The Motion

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"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
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Naomi Oreskes

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

Thursday, August 29, 2019
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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
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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
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Mark Hertsgaard

Costs & Investments

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"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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Amory Lovins

Should the World Increase Its Reliance on Nuclear Energy? "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
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Peter A. Bradford

Waste & Risk

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"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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Editorial Board

Global Response

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"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
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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
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Robbie Hayunga