NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 27, 2005

Environmentalists have discovered a nonpolluting renewable resource that they feel may be the only way to save the planet and meet the goals of the Kyoto Protocol: nuclear power.

Furthermore, it is the only technology ready to fill the gap and stop the carbon-dioxide loading, says Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog.

Echoing his sentiments is Sir David King, the British government's chief scientific adviser. He expresses doubts that wind and solar power could do much to fill Britain's looming energy gap. "I would imagine that one further generation of nuclear power stations would be all that is required," says King.

Nuclear power is already a major resource in many countries:

  • France gets 77 percent of its energy from nuclear power; Belgium (58 percent), Sweden (45 percent), Switzerland (37 percent), Japan (31 percent), Spain (27 percent) and Britain (22 percent).
  • China is planning to build 40 nuclear power plants in the next 15 years.
  • And some countries are already reprocessing some of their spent fuel -- which retains 95 percent of its energy -- making nuclear power a "renewable resource."

The irony is that the antinuclear hysteria of environmentalists has driven the United States to increase the use of fossil fuels that pollute the air and contribute to global warming. If we had simply built all the nuclear power plants that were in the pipeline at the time of the over-hyped Three Mile Island incident, we'd have reduced our current coal consumption by more than enough to satisfy the requirements of Kyoto, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

Moreover, after decades of heavy subsidies and quasi-religious support, renewable energy sources other than hydroelectric account for about a measly 1 percent of our electricity generation, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Greenie Meltdown," Investor's Business Daily, May 20, 2005.


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