May 15, 2006

Al Gore: An Inconvenient Truth

I have to say, I am more than ready to watch Al Gore's new film: An Inconvenient Truth. What's most inconvenient for me is that it doesn't show in my area until June 9th.

Don't miss Grist's interview with Al (h/t to Liberal Oasis). One particularly good question and answer section covered Nuclear energy here:

Question: Let's turn briefly to some proposed solutions. Nuclear power is making a big resurgence now, rebranded as a solution to climate change. What do you think?

Answer: I doubt nuclear power will play a much larger role than it does now.

Question: Won't, or shouldn't?

Answer: Won't. There are serious problems that have to be solved, and they are not limited to the long-term waste-storage issue and the vulnerability-to-terrorist-attack issue. Let's assume for the sake of argument that both of those problems can be solved.

We still have other issues. For eight years in the White House, every weapons-proliferation problem we dealt with was connected to a civilian reactor program. And if we ever got to the point where we wanted to use nuclear reactors to back out a lot of coal -- which is the real issue: coal -- then we'd have to put them in so many places we'd run that proliferation risk right off the reasonability scale. And we'd run short of uranium, unless they went to a breeder cycle or something like it, which would increase the risk of weapons-grade material being available.

When energy prices go up, the difficulty of projecting demand also goes up -- uncertainty goes up. So utility executives naturally want to place their bets for future generating capacity on smaller increments that are available more quickly, to give themselves flexibility. Nuclear reactors are the biggest increments, that cost the most money, and take the most time to build.

In any case, if they can design a new generation [of reactors] that's manifestly safer, more flexible, etc., it may play some role, but I don't think it will play a big role.

This is one of the same arguments that Rocky Mountain Institute has given as far as the Nuclear Energy providing some benefit for providing energy while reducing global greenhouse gasses.

(No other energy technology spreads do-ityourself kits and innocent disguises for making weapons of mass destruction, nor creates terrorist targets or potential for mishaps that can devastate a region, nor creates wastes so hazardous, nor is unable to restart for days after an unexpected shutdown.)

Do catch the trailer (Google video) here.

Posted by Mary at May 15, 2006 12:04 AM | Environment | Technorati links |

Wow. Isn't it refreshing to see an interview with a President who actually knows what he's talking about?

Posted by: Jason Stokes at May 15, 2006 08:21 AM

A colleague of mine, David Bradish, has taken a hard look at RMI's work, and found it wanting.

Posted by: Eric McErlain at May 24, 2006 01:20 PM