Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Nuclear Solution to Global Warming

After reading these Al Gore posts and the following quote from David Friedman at NEI Nuclear Notes I was struck by two illogical aspects about nuclear power and man-made global warming.
Nuclear power is the one energy source that does not produce greenhouse gases and, using current technology, can be expanded over the next couple of decades to replace many, arguably almost all, uses of fossil fuel. So anyone who believes that the great threat facing us, the threat we should be willing to pay large costs to deal with, is global warming due to greenhouse gases should be strongly inclined to favor nuclear power.
First, it is all too common for Al Gore and other carbon-phobes to also be anti-nuclear. This makes no sense. Nuclear energy is one of the great hopes to reduce carbon emissions and by Mr. Gore's logic, reduce global warming. Something more important than stopping man-made global warming must be on the Gore agenda.

On the other hand, it is my anecdotal observation that most workers in the commercial nuclear world are skeptical (at best) about global warming and the role of man-made carbon emissions in any warming. If anyone has a vested interest in promoting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, it should be nuclear workers. More restrictions on fossil fueled electricity means greater demand for nuke power and greater demand for nuke workers. This in turn will lead to higher compensation for those working in this industry.

But these nuclear workers are probably more skeptical about global warming than average Americans. On the surface it doesn't make sense, but many also have financial interests in electric utilities burning fossil fuels and they have better science educations than most Americans. They can see through the hype and apply scientific thinking to the facts that are presented.


Dad29 said...

Nukers are realistic, and they've been defending their industry from wacko loonies for so long...

Billiam said...

Dad, Headless, while true, the media plays up every little incident like it's a Chernobyl type disaspter. Remember Three Mile Island? It wasn't the crisis they made it out to be. Since so many Americans are too lazy to go beyond what gets on their tv's, I don't see much increase in Nuc over the next decade or more.

Headless Blogger said...

Billiam - There has actually been a rash of announcements for new nuclear units in the last year. One of the driving forces is that electric utilities are reluctant to build more fossil plants and increase their greenhouse gas emissions. Most of the plants are in the Southeast and South, but a unit was announced for Southern Illinois, too.

TMI was 28 years ago next week and polling has shown that the public is in favor of more nuclear energy. I think this is also in part attributable to global warming fears. The public actually has made the Nukes-No CO2 connection.

Dad29 said...

Headless, only people with common-friggin'-SENSE have desired nukes.

That excludes the current governing majority in Wisconsin ipso facto.