The Homer factor
The face of nuclear power in America
A Green Makes the Case
By Patrick Moore
Sunday, April 16, 2006; Page B01
In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. That's the conviction that inspired Greenpeace's first voyage up the spectacular rocky northwest coast to protest the testing of U.S. hydrogen bombs in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change.
Look at it this way: More than 600 coal-fired electric plants in the United States produce 36 percent of U.S. emissions -- or nearly 10 percent of global emissions -- of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas responsible for climate change. Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy source that can reduce these emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for power. And these days it can do so safely.
I say that guardedly, of course, just days after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that his country had enriched uranium. "The nuclear technology is only for the purpose of peace and nothing else," he said. But there is widespread speculation that, even though the process is ostensibly dedicated to producing electricity, it is in fact a cover for building nuclear weapons.
And although I don't want to underestimate the very real dangers of nuclear technology in the hands of rogue states, we cannot simply ban every technology that is dangerous. That was the all-or-nothing mentality at the height of the Cold War, when anything nuclear seemed to spell doom for humanity and the environment. In 1979, Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon produced a frisson of fear with their starring roles in "The China Syndrome," a fictional evocation of nuclear disaster in which a reactor meltdown threatens a city's survival. Less than two weeks after the blockbuster film opened, a reactor core meltdown at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island nuclear power plant sent shivers of very real anguish throughout the country.
A Kos diary goes into detail about what a shill he is, but he's talking around the issue. The reason no one wants a nuclear plant in their backyard is Homer Simpson. Nuclear industry people have admitted as much.
The nuclear industry has been seriously damaged by 16 years of Homer Simpson and Mr. Burns. The incompetent safety officer and his greedy boss have defined nuclear power far more than Three Mile Island or Chernobyl.
And by the constant showing of indifference as the standard for the nuclear industry portrayed by the Simpsons, the odds of locating a nuclear plant anywhere in the US are slim to none. No matter how professional the industry is, the Simpsons reflect the fear we have of nuclear power, complete with three eyed fish and plutonium grown tomacco.
posted by Steve @ 12:00:00 AM