Nuclear is apparently the least popular energy source among EU citizens, with 37% opposed to it but almost as many (36%) having a more balanced view.
In the US, despite Forbes famously labelling America’s nuclear program “the largest managerial disaster in business history” in the mid-Eighties, with running costs exceeding all predictions, a Gallup poll recently found that 59% of Americans are now supportive of its use (27% strongly so). Florida may even allow the nuclear industry to qualify for renewable energy subsidies, even though it’s not renewable.
In the UK, now that the nuclear industry has been privatised, nuclear is suddenly acceptable again. Surely it’s a complete coincidence that the Prime Minister’s brother is head of Media Relations at the world’s largest nuclear operator.
This very large nuclear operator, by the way, is also trying to bully the UK government into lowering its proposed renewable electricity targets by 10%, as it wants a bigger share of government spoils more than it wants a greener future.
It’s probably also a coincidence that, in 2006, it became compulsory for UK schools to teach all pupils between 14 and 16 about nuclear power; the nuclear industry spending millions on teaching aids naturally heavily-biased in their favour.
Now, because of climate change and the clear need to reduce our use of fossil fuels, the pro-nuclear brigade insist that theirs is the answer to our energy crisis… ignoring the fact that it takes considerable time to complete nuclear sites and that we need an urgent reduction in carbon emissions.
Besides, it’s not as though nuclear means zero emissions. The plants may not directly create CO2, but the cycle certainly does – more than 10 times the industry estimates, according to some, which is more than any renewable alternative.
Then there’s the not-exactly-small matter of all that deadly radioactive waste, which remains dangerous for thousands of years, which has to be stored safely. Have we forgotten about Chernobyl already, perhaps the greatest ecological disaster ever known, which was unfolding so horrifically this time 23 years ago?
In any sense, aren’t nuclear power plants a prime target for terrorists?
What do you think? Is nuclear a dead-end option and ‘quick’ fix for governments (and, in Britain’s case, another way of meekly handing over vast bounties to US companies in yet another sickening corporate give-away), or is it a necessary evil?
Are renewables too risky in that they require considerable investment and, critics say, are never likely to be able to produce enough energy to meet our needs? Shell must think so, having halted all wind and solar schemes worldwide last month.
Which would you rather see funded through your taxes: nuclear or renewable energy? And which would you rather have sited near your community: a wind turbine or a nuclear reactor?