We are environmentalists and we’ve been searching for ways to prevent carbon dioxide emissions from over-heating our climate and destroying our future. We have looked far and wide for clean energy solutions and, somehow, we have each found our way over to a distant place with highly advanced technology that provides tons of energy without emitting carbon: NUCLEAR POWER. An obvious but too often overlooked solution for eliminating fossil fuel use.
Some of us arrive here in a state of shock. Some came after reading warnings by Dr. James Hansen. Some of us found our way after attending a clean energy conference with sessions on nuclear energy. Some from having studied at universities where nuclear engineering is all the rage. We find that we’ve stumbled into a technologically sophisticated yet rather isolated community of brilliant professionals who are equally panicked about climate change but who believe that generating clean energy from atoms is our best chance of survival. We are drawn in by their obvious expertise and their historic achievements—having succeeded in producing the vast majority of all of the world’s clean energy to date. They offer compelling evidence that nuclear can do even more to generate the carbon-free energy we need to end our dependence upon fossil fuels. Yet, for so many complex reasons, they are being excluded from the climate solution conversations going between environmentalists. We think this is wrong!
Can we really afford to be exclusionary when the future of our planet is at stake?
We have each made our own unique journey over to the pronuclear camp. We have learned that every day, nuclear safely generates 20% of U.S. energy, over 60% of our carbon-free energy and has caused no American deaths (and very few from even the worst international incidents). Yet for decades, nuclear energy has been the target of environmentalist’s seemingly most urgent protests. There are taboos about even mentioning nuclear. Which explains why environmental leaders appear afraid to have anything to do with it. Except the most courageous, like Dr. James Hansen, who was the first climate scientist to testify to Congress about the risks from climate change and now advocates loudly for more nuclear energy. And Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog. And many others who are joining in . . . !
We are happy to be in this kind of company. We want renewables to grow but we also now realize that we need nuclear’s dense, reliable and always-on clean power. Renewables and nuclear complement each other, they reduce risk and together they can provide a 100% zero emission solution that can end our dependence on fossil fuels. With nuclear, we can solve humanity’s demand for power while being less damaging to the natural environment. Despite the taboos and prejudices, more and more of us are realizing that to address this climate crisis, nuclear power must be supported and deployed or we will not be able to transition to 100% clean energy fast enough! In denying nuclear a role, we only let the world become dependent on natural gas, which delights the fossil fuel industry, but which dooms the climate. We need this erroneous thinking to end now!
Climate activists should have one goal: zero emissions. If that is true, none would choose to close our largest sources of clean energy and allow them to be replaced with gas! If zero emissions are not the goal, might it be because they have other priorities? The more we look, the more obvious it becomes that because nuclear power poses the greatest threat to fossil fuel’s continued hegemony, fossil fuel supporters have contributed to the perpetuation of misleading press and “environmental” campaigns designed to promote fear of nuclear.
Unless we succeed in clarify facts, reducing myths and calling out damaging taboo behavior while reinstating paradigms of dialog and debate, we will lose this fight. So we are a coalition that is working to rebuild trust, bring nuclear advocates into the environmental tent, so we can collaborate on zero emission grids that are nuclear-inclusive. We believe we need everyone working to fight for our collective future. We only get one chance to achieve an emission-free future in time and we simply can’t do it if we deny facts and refuse to work together.
We hope you will join us.