Thursday, March 17, 2011


Is Nuclear Power a ‘Bargain with the Devil’?

From the God's Politics blog:

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson wonders, in the midst of the ongoing horror in Japan, if nuclear power is a “bargain with the devil.” The main reason for his concern is that “there is no such thing as a fail-safe system. Stuff happens.” And we’re seeing the magnitude — and the unpredictability — of what can happen in the unfolding crisis in Japan.

Humans have a tendency to assume they can construct technological and other safeguards against catastrophe. Harold Meyerson, also in today’s Post, looks at three areas where the experts and insiders promised that “foolproof” systems would be “immune to disaster”: the financial system, deep-water oil drilling, and nuclear power plants. It’s safe to say that none of the three areas serve as stellar cases for human infallibility.

More here.

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A Non-Nuclear Future

Amory Lovins, founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, points out that "In 2009, 69 percent of U.S. electricity was generated from fossil fuels, accounting for 40 percent of U.S. carbon emissions. ... On current trends, the global electric power sector will emit twice as much carbon dioxide in 2030 as it did in 2007."

For Lovins, this presents an opportunity to "transform our energy system" to a low- or no-carbon system. An important component of this transformed approach to energy will be the transition away from nuclear power. Lovins (and coauthor Bennett Cohen) give a good summary on how to get there in "Renewables, Micropower, and the Transforming Electricity Landscape."

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