In the Energy Debate “Dumbing Down” is Dumb

In the energy/climate discussion, pros and cons are considered by many on the nuclear option. And, as you know, many countries decided to discontinue their nuclear plants in the near future.

Taking that into reflection, and being as I am an unpaid nuclear energy promoter, I propose to you a reflection on this subject, especially on the basis of being a “zero emissions” energy source. It is not. Dumbing down energy/climate conversations is disrespectful for educated and informed people. So, non-nuclear,and even nuclear, promoters should probably clearly underline the following thoughts.

Is nuclear an option with so many accidents?

There will be more nuclear power plant accidents. This is inevitable. The airline industry will NEVER state that there will not be more airplane disasters; we shouldn’t either. Yes, in spite of past and future nuclear accident, nuclear energy will almost certainly continue to be the safest energy we have; bar none.

This is equivalent to air travel: even though airplane accidents are more newsworthy, planes are by far safer than automobiles per mile travelled. Actually,  the most dangerous thing concerning nuclear energy is when governments overreact to nuclear accidents and order unnecessary (or unnecessarily long) evacuations.

A low CO2 emission technology

Nuclear is a low CO2 emission technology. Actually, of the current non-marginal energy sources, nuclear is the best in this respect, clocking at 12 grams per kWh (hydro measures in at 24 grams). Nuclear usually replaces coal with emissions of 820 grams per kWh.

What about the nuclear waste?

Nuclear waste is still an issue, even though the amount generated is minute compared to, say, coal. Some countries, like France, have pretty much solved the problem and there are better nuclear designs in the pipeline that should produce much less waste. Also, nuclear waste can be turned into valuable material. There is a psychological fear-factor towards nuclear. Thus, a lot of (not dumbed down) education for the public will be required.

They give the example to empower confidence.

However, once we state the above points we should underline that nuclear is low pollution, low CO2, safer than any other energy we have, scalable, dense, reliable, affordable, constant, produces high paying jobs, is proven,  has even better designs in the pipeline and the fuel (uranium and/or thorium) will last for at least hundreds of years.

Once all facts are considered, it is hard to find a better energy source than nuclear.