by Elizah Leigh
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bill gatesHunting down viable, eco-friendly energy options that don’t rely on fossil fuel deposits is perhaps one of the greatest challenges that man has faced in recent memory. This quest is made all the more pressing by palpable signs that global warming may indeed be more legitimate than we’d like to acknowledge. Proponents of nuclear power are metaphorically jumping up and down these days, waving their hands in the air and saying, “Pick me! Pick me!!” because in theory, power generated from atomic energy releases minimal CO2 (as opposed to coal and natural gas power plants) at far less fiscal cost than conventional sources — but what about the environmental cost? Everyone remembers what happened at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl

With memories now a little blurry around the edges and plenty of time finally passed, nuclear power is once again being viewed in a favorable light, simply because we need alternatives and we need them NOW. Most people are probably not aware of the fact that as of February 2010, 436 nuclear power plants are currently operating in 30 countries and 56 additional plants are currently being constructed…so it’s a serious reality that’s happening in our backyards right here and now. Even President Obama acknowledges that it is “a necessary step” in spite of its “serious (waste safety) drawbacks” in order for us to meet our energy challenges for generations to come.

Another unlikely supporter is Bill Gates, who clearly must think that nuclear power is the way to go since he has invested in an alternative nuclear startup called TerraPower, a move which only backs his belief that “the world needs to get to zero carbon emissions by 2050.” Currently in talks with Toshiba, Gates’ TerraPower compadres stand out in the crowd because their nuclear reactor will run on depleted “waste” uranium, making it theoretically eco-friendly since it will “extend the available supply of the world’s uranium” and run for several hundred years until the reactor meets the end of its usable life. Industry experts believe that Gatesnuclear aspirations will be a boon to the resurgence of this form of alternative power as a cleaner energy source, one that all of us appear to embracing whether we realize it or not.

Via Earth2Tech

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=754430220 Remy C.

    “alternative power as a cleaner energy source, one that all of us appear to embracing whether we realize it or not.” Yeah, well, we’re not throwing in the towel so easily. Four fires in 3 states at 3 nuke plants over weekend! Wake up people!
    http://www.rockthereactors.com
    Shut Down Indian Point!

  • snowisfun

    I happen to be an environmentalist who supports nuclear energy. It must be said that Bill Maher also supports nuclear energy & nuclear energy is less of a partisan issue given that it has gotten support by both spectrums. The arguments against nuclear energy are little with science & more on politics rerunning the same 1970s arguments. Yes, we must be humble, but nuclear energy can benefit the environment. Nuclear powerplants generate less waste (which is contained) & they’re cleaner than coal & natural gas. With radiation it’s the amount 1 is exposed to & you’re exposed to more coal waste radiation.

    Also alternative energies such as windmills & solar panels aren’t so green as they’ve been promoted. Wind & sun are intermittent. It requires more land with less energy to make solar panels & windmills. Solar panels use dangerous chemicals such as arsenic, cadmium & Selenium. Windmills have caused hearing losses, migraines & windmills can kill birds, bats & cause miscarriages in bats & birds. Yet windmills have gotten minor criticism from environmental groups. Yes, when BP oil disasters happen, we must get tough on the Oil Companies for such endangerment to wildlife. Yet the same hasn’t usu. been done for windmills & solar panels.

    The Wildlife Habitat Council has certified the Fermi 2 Plant in Detroit & Nuclear powerplants actually have done things to benefit wildlife such as the Turkey Point nuclear powerplant has worked to save endangered American crocodiles & alligators. More environmentalists support nuclear energy incl. some who were previously against it. Given that there are environmentalists such as Bill Maher who support nuclear power, whether you like it or not, nuclear power is not going away & it’ll expand.

  • Michael Raymer

    Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are examples that need to be remembered, but not to the point of boorishness. Both were a long time ago and both provided data on how to prevent such occurances in the future. It should also be noted that if nuclear power was that unsafe, there would be much more recent examples to point too. There isn’t.

    Don’t get me wrong, once we find a way to eliminate fossil fuels, hopefully we will begin to try to find a way to eliminate nuclear power. But, one thing at a time, and the current thing is carbon emissions.

  • snowisfun

    Nuclear power can be recycled. In France & Japan, they reprocess the spent fuel rods thus reducing the nuclear waste. If they can figure out how to recycle the entire nuclear waste then that would be great. Thorium is better than Uranium, but it needs to be perfected. Thorium is too weak to be used as nuclear weapons components. Nuclear physicist Kirk F. Sorensen has gotten accolades for his work on Thorium. The arguments against nuclear power which go back to the 1970s is more on the religion that in order to be an environmentalist you have to be anti-nuclear, but since the late 1990s & esp. since the 2000s, more environmentalists support nuclear energy.

    Norris McDonald the President of African-American Environmentalists Assoc. & Center for Environment Commerce & Energy (CECE) was 1 of the 1st environmentalists to support nuclear power in the late 1980s, years before Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy (www.ecolo.org) was founded in 1996 with Bruno Comby as President. During the 1970s & 80s, the environmental movement was against nuclear power & when Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy was formed, during it’s early years, they got alot of hostility incl. violence by anti-nuclear groups who didn’t tolerate their views.

    Since the late 1990s or more so since the 2000s, more environmentalists have changed their previous anti-nuclear positions & now support nuclear power. Stephen Tindale former Executive Director of Greenpeace U.K. (2000-2005) & founder of Climate Answers is 1 eg. For years he talked about how evil nuclear energy is but he has changed his view & now supports nuclear power. Stephen Tindale in 2009 didn’t get the same bashing as Patrick Moore (former Greenpeace cofounder) has gotten for supporting nuclear power esp. when Patrick Moore has been condemned by being called an ‘Eco-Judas’ & ‘Darth Vader’. But others incl. Mark Lynas & Chris Goodall (SPL?) of the Green Party U.K. are 2 men who support nuclear energy. The group Friends of the Earth said in 2009 that while they’re not going to promote nuclear power, they will also no longer protest it. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) was opposed to nuclear power in 2005, but the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) now supports it with moderation with Steven Cochran as the EDF President.

    Former host of Politically Incorrect Bill Maher supports nuclear energy & he got letters from the Sierra Club in 2007 who were disappointed with his support for nuclear energy. Bill Maher supports nuclear power after thinking about this. President Obama & Senator H.R. Clinton both support nuclear energy with moderation.

    Now yes we must be humble with nuclear energy but it can again be consistent with environmentalism. We keep hearing the same reruns about terrorism, meltdown, etc. repeated, but with terrorism, terrorists have easier & more efficient ways to kill people be it chemicals (incl. the chemicals found in solar panels such as aresenic & selenium) that can be put in the water supply, bombing trains & biological weapons. For nuclear waste to be used in terrorist attacks, it would require large amounts & the newer nuclear powerplants use less Uranium which lasts longer & which generate less waste. Once Thorium is perfected, the amount of nuclear waste will be even less & the nuclear waste made by Thorium is too weak to be used as components for atomic weapons. There’s much more which can be written but the arguments made that the environmentalists who support nuclear energy must be shills for the nuclear industry is wrong.

    • Michael Raymer

      I wish this was a forum where we could award “rep” points. Definitely a gold star post. Thank you and well done.

      • snowisfun

        Thanks for the gold star. The Turkey Point Nuclear Powerplant in Florida works with Game & Fish & they helped build canals to protect the American alligators & American crocodiles. The Fermi 2 Nuclear Powerplant near Detroit is certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council for the good work that they do to protect wildlife near the plant.

        This poster has done a tour of a nuclear powerplant. Science always advances & science on nuclear powerplants are always advancing. President Obama did the right thing in giving loans to build nuclear powerplants in the U.S. for the 1st time since the 1970s Bill Maher must be given credit for supporting nuclear power. The American Lung Association supports nuclear energy. Environmentalists who support nuclear power have studied the topic & thus we support nuclear power.