Alex Scoble

Best hope to curb global warming? Nuclear power

By Alex Scoble
June 29, 2005 1:59 AM EDT
OK, so this isn't directly an IT related issue, but it is indirectly as all of the devices that we use to deal with data on a daily basis are powered by electricity and as such, the looming crisis of energy shortages and adverse environmental changes certainly affect all of us that work in IT related fields.

Oil went over $60 a barrel today. An event unthinkable just 5 short years ago. As economies in developing countries such as China and India continue to grow at a rapid pace, the demand for oil and other fossil based fuels increases as well. Some experts think that we are at or near the point where supply is outstripped by demand, meaning that we can expect gas prices to continue to rise for the foreseeable future as we continue to fuel our societies primarily from these types of energy sources.

These types of fuel also have a secondary effect on the world around us as they tend to create carbon dioxide when combusted, which has been linked to global warming.

There is a solution available today that is relatively inexpensive, safe, efficient and clean. Nuclear power.

Think about it. The last time we had an accident where radiation was released into the public was almost 30 years ago at 3 Mile Island. Every coal powered generating plant puts out the same amount of radiation that was leaked in that one accident yearly. Basically, this means that the short sighted Not In MY Backyard (NIMBY) "environmentalists" have caused the public to be exposed to thirty 3 Mile Islands worth of radiation for every coal power plant we run.

Why in this day and age, when we have suffered power outages because of shortages in fossil fuel supplies as well as the shortage of generating facilities do we continue to harbor fears about one of the safest technologies known to man?

I'd rather live next to a Nuclear Power Plant than just about any other industrial facility you can think of. Refineries explode all the time, trains derail, planes crash, auto accidents abound, yet a safety record of one accident in 30 years isn't good enough?

"What about other alternative energy sources?", you might think. None of them are cheap enough, efficient enough or large scale enough TODAY, to give us the power that we need. Perhaps in 10 or 20 years, technologies like solar energy will be able to better meet our needs, but we can't wait that long.

Basically, for the last 30 years, environmentalists have wanted their cake and to eat it too. They wanted us to keep emissions down, conserve energy, reduce our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels and at the same time not increase our use of nuclear energy.

Well, the day is drawing near, if it isn't already here, when we have to address our energy problems and that means going with the one power source that we have left that can meet our current needs of safety, low emissions, value and capacity...Nuclear power.

It's time we stopped saying Not In My Backyard and started really doing what it takes to take on our modern problems of pollution and energy needs.

It's time to start building more Nuclear power plants in the US.