I'm reading a book about renewable energy, and the author really hates uranium nuclear energy. He puts it right next to coal as an "expensive, dangerous and dirty" process.

I know it's not actually renewable, but does anyone have an insight as to why someone would have such fangs for it? It's definitely not expensive; france has almost no cost for energy because they use more nuclear than anyone.

He even admits a few times in the book that there are some things we need to live with as a transition to long term sustainable stuff, but wants to abolish nuclear asap.

@sage Perhaps because of the history of very public catastrophes? Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island… these names resonate more in popular culture than the name of all the coal-powered plants that cause global warming (and therefore that are in the process of killing/displacing millions of people around the globe)


Right, that's fair enough for most people, but this guy interviewed 700 experts on energy production and the climate. I feel like he should have a bit more of a nuanced opinion of nuclear than comes across in his writing.

But I haven't interviewed 700 people about it, so maybe I'm the one with the bad opinion. I am definitely affected by the fact that I went into my engineering career because, at 17, I wanted to help the climate by getting into nuclear energy production one day

@sage I assume it is that the remaining uranium needs to be stored for a long long time and is very toxic.


yeah, that's true. That is definitely a reason to transition away from it, but I think that the storage techniques we use are safe enough to worry about transitioning away once we have the climate thing figured out. That's a much more existential threat, and nuclear is such an abundant source which will not pollute the air

@sage I agree, nuclear has a place in the transition away from fossil fuels. I do hope the final target is solar and wind and other renewables without significant waste.

Perhaps he's just an agenda driven individual? Nuclear is the best transition solution until renewables are more efficient and widespread...


See that's where I'm at. Dude has some other good points though. it's interesting

Just because he has some points that are of the rails does not mean he can't have valid points too. ;)
I'm all for renewables, but the "demonisation" of nuclear is going too far too fast imho.

Here in the US, uranium mining hasn't been done in an environmentally sustainable way, and often took place on indigenous land. This resulted in a lot of health and environmental consequences for vulnerable populations which is usually the case for extractive industries.

Based on some nuclear engineering classes I took as an undergrad, my understanding is that if we allowed reprocessing of nuclear material and breeder reactors, we already have several hundred years of energy sitting in storage at Oak Ridge. Not doing anymore uranium mining is a valid environmental concern. Not using the fuel we've already dug up is just silly.

For a very PRO nuke survey of historical energy use, check out Energy by Richard Rhodes. I wrote a short review here:

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