What Will Work: Fighting Climate Change with Renewable Energy, Not Nuclear Power

By Kristin Shrader-Frechette | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
The Solution:
USING RENEWABLE ENERGY, EFFICIENCY, AND
CONSERVATION TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE

The classic, pro-nuclear MIT energy study showed that, for decades, 77 percent of Americans have favored the expansion of solar and wind, while less than 30 percent have supported atomic energy.1 Partly as a result, more than a thousand people repeatedly have been arrested at a single US nuclear plant, in a single year, in protests.2 More than 300 national, state, and local citizens’ organizations have issued statements outlining their reasons for opposing use of nuclear power to address CC, while not a single major environmental group (only various individuals who claim to be environmentalists) officially supports it.3 In fact, in the 48 hours following President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address, over 3,000 clean-energy advocates wrote him lett ers protesting his assertions that atomic energy is safe and that the US should provide $54 billion in subsidies for new federal-loan guarantees for new reactors.4 As the pro-nuclear International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) notes, massive environmental opposition to nuclear fission puts any reactor expansion at risk; it also jeopardizes uranium mining, which, in turn, could delay or prohibit use of uranium for nuclear plants.5


Chapter Overview

Are members of the public correct to reject nuclear power and instead to support greater efficiency and clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar? This chapter argues that the public is right. It shows (1) that energy efficiency and conservation are the cheapest ways to address CC; (2) that wind is cheaper than nuclear power; (3) that solar photovoltaic (PV) also is cheaper than fission; (4) that market proponents confirm that renewable energy is cheaper than atomic power; (5) that renewable energy is becoming progressively cheaper, while fission is becoming progressively more expensive; (6) that renewable-energy sources could supply all global

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