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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Say No to 'No Nukes' Revival

My colleague Sara Mansur & I have an op ed in today's San Francisco Chronicle, issuing a stern rebuttal to the revival of the "No Nukes" concerts this Sunday at Shoreline in Mountain View, CA.

The world has changed since the original five-night concert series in 1979. An anti-nuclear position may have made good sense then, but is no longer tenable today.

Graham Nash and the MUSE cadre of septuagenerian rockers appear woefully ignorant of the real intergenerational threat faced in the 21st century -- climate change -- and the implications that a 'No Nukes' world would have for public health and the environment.

You can find the print edition in today's Chronicle and an extended edition online here.


chaganti said...
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Peter Sharma III said...

Nuclear Fission is not a carbon neutral process. Mining, storage, transport, refining, security are all carbon intensive

Damage to watershed and wildlife are endemic.

No Nukes is as appropriate attitude as ever.

Jesse Jenkins said...

Peter, precisely the same thing can be said of wind and solar power, which require the mining, processing, transport and disposal of steel, cement, silicon etc., just as nuclear power does.

According to renewable energy expert Jacob Delluchi at Stanford University, the lifecycle CO2 emissions of nuclear power compare favorably to renewables, with lower lifecycle CO2 than an equivalent quantity of solar panels and slightly more than the equivalent wind turbines.

Furthermore, these processes need not be carbon intensive if themselves powered by a clean energy system.

Furthermore, while uranium mining does continue in small quantities, we mine an equivalent quantity of rare earth elements destined for use in everything from wind turbines and CFLs to lithium ion batteries in hybrid and electric cars. Rare earth mining also produces large amounts of radioactive thorium tailings that must be carefully disposed of.

All energy sources have their impacts on public health and the environment. In any rational terms, nuclear power's impacts are dwarfed by fossil fuels and provide huge benefits in the form of large quantities of low-carbon electricity.

If you think climate change is a serious threat or take a clear-eyed look at the relative public health impacts of nuclear vs fossil fuels, then a "No Nukes" attitude quite simply makes no rational sense.

Peter Sharma III said...

@Jesse - Your logic is spurious at best. You are correct that Big Wind sucks and does huge damage. PV Solar is a boondoggle.

Thermal Solar is cheap, efficient and mostly reliant upon glass, and is low impact.

Distributed generation using Samll Wind devices, such as mine and others, using induction generators rather than PMAs avoid the rare earth battle and BS. Mine uses very little mined material whatsoever.

AND none of the solutions you decry offer a million years or more of poison.

You want nukes? Put the waste in your garage or shut the hell up. I live in a sacrifice zone. Nothing requiring designation of a sacrifice zone in which the residents are asked, in case of emergency, to kiss their asses goodbye is acceptable.