Discussion over at Slashdot about nuclear power, touched
off by this
piece in the Washington Post. (See also this response the
Daily Kos: "Patrick Moore is a paid consultant for the mining, logging, biotech and energy industries, and putting him out as "ex-Greenpeace" is a lot like calling Scooter Libby an "ex-Hill staffer.")
Some excerpts from my posts on the topic:
Is fission less dangerous to the environment than coal? Perhaps. If it
were a choice between only between building more coal plants and building
fission ones, it's possible that fission might win out. (Though I think it
would have to depend of the specifics of the technologies and
But that's the wrong question.
At best, fission is still a stop-gap: supplies of fissionables are
limited, on the order of a century or two at most, perhaps much less. So is
it not more reasonable to divert resources to solving the problem right -
with fusion reseach, renewables (i.e., using that big fusion reactor in the
sky, including ideas like orbital photovoltaics) and better energy
efficiency - than to build fission reactors and [push] the problem onto
our great-grandchildren? (Or rather, for us non-breeders, our friends'
[The Moore editorial] mentions the Iran situation only to gloss over it,
but there are massive security concerns with fission technology.
Also [the Moore editorial] is inaccurate in talking about nuclear
waste; the problem is not the U and Pu in spent fuel, which can be
processed and reused, but thorium, radium, radon, and radioactive lead
Is some of the opposition to fission irrational? Yes. But so is some of
its support, based on an almost romantic notion of "man harnassing the
mighty power of the atom!"