The embrace of nuclear power by the environmental community surprised me. About five years ago I wrote:
Lots of research says that I will overestimate the risk of events such as a core meltdown in a nuclear power plant. And I’m sure I do. But knowing and allowing for that, or trying, I still can’t find a way to endorse a strong movement toward nuclear power. My hesitation to support nuclear power is not very green according to many environmentalists. But are we positive we can’t find any other solutions? Should simply resign ourselves to the nuclear power age?
Here’s my question. Will the events in Japan change this at all, or — assuming in the end the radiation leaks are minimal — will it be a testimonial to the safety of nuclear power plants (even with an unprecedented earthquake, the systems worked to prevent major radiation releases…)?
As you can probably tell from my remarks above, I hope it pushes us to develop alternative sources of energy besides nuclear. Knowing nuclear is there as a backup could have reduced to the push to innovate in other areas, and hopefully that will change. But I wouldn’t bet the house on it (unless it was underwater).