Nuclear power – How Greenpeace got it wrong


Twenty years ago, I was a supporter of Greenpeace. I made monthly contributions by standing order. I wasn’t 100% convinced about the need to rid the world of nuclear power but what I did admire was the stauch belief that the world was at risk from humanity.

Unfortunately, Greenpeace got it wrong. Nuclear power may be dangerous to humans, but nothing like as dangerous as carbon-based power. It’s not really their fault. In 1990, no one had woken up to the possibility of global warming so Greenpeace focussed on what appeared to be the greatest threat. Even now, we’re still working with incomplete – and in some cases possibly flawed – science, but now only people with their heads buried in the sand or with a vested interest in the staus quo will deny that there is a real probability that the world is at risk from CO2 emissions.

Yes Nuclear power still has risks, but I just can’t see how any of the renewables are going to be a big part of the energy equation. The Finacial Times published a fascinating supplement this week which is available online as "The Future of Energy"

According to the managing director of EDF’s nuclear business in Britain, we will all have to subsidise his efforts to the tune of 227.UKP per family per year to build the nuclear reactors we need to retain some energy independence over the next 50 years. Now I have to say that I’d rather subsidise a British company to build nuclear reactors in Britain but that’s not really an option. We sold out the rights to own our own power generation years ago. That being the case, we just need to bite the bullet and pay. Never mind who builds the reactors as long as we are cleaning up our energy generation and better still that they are on our soil. That way we do have the ultimate sanction should push come to shove.

Finally, let us not imagine that this is the only problem we need to be looking at. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past. We’re still pumping out toxic chemicals and heavy metals into the small, earthly vessel we live in. There WILL be consequences, so we need organisations like Greenpeace raising our awareness and hopefully, they will look at the big picture and use all the best science available! All I need to do now is decide whether to restart contributions…

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