I’m mad as hell and I don’t want to take it any more. Groups that fight any and all use of nuclear energy and also spend time advocating for the increased use of massive, industrial scale energy collectors on undeveloped, virgin land should NEVER be called “environmental groups”. I am not saying that the groups are full of bad people, I am saying that the “environmental” label is contradicted by the facts.
People who care about the natural environment should seek ways of living that use less material and create less of a footprint on that environment. If they still love humanity and love his creations, they should also want to provide sufficient energy to do the work that allows more people to live with a light footprint.
Uranium and thorium are roughly two million times more energy dense than the nearest competitor; they provide the capability of producing a massive quantity of power per unit of material input. Even using our rather primitive 1950s vintage design concepts, a complete nuclear power plant will require between 1/6th and 1/10th as much construction material as a wind installation that can produce the same amount of energy. The routine need for more fuel is limited to a few truckloads every 18-24 months.
Building and operating wind and solar collectors that are far from any human habitation – industrial scale versions of those energy sources are often located in deserts, on mountain tops or in oceans – requires lengthy transmission paths and a continuing transportation burden associated with maintenance and repair.
Nuclear plants can be located wherever they are needed; the traditional requirements for low population zones near the plant are a legacy from a time when we did not know how safe they could be. Even under that obsolete thinking, 55 years worth of operating nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers has proven that it is pretty darned safe to live within a few hundred feet of an operating nuclear power plant.
Bottom line; if you like clean air, clean water, and open spaces that are not filled with intrusive, enormous, man-made devices like square miles full of solar panels or wind turbines on 100 meter tall towers on deep, massive foundations with blades that sweep through the air at several hundred miles per hour at the blade tip, you should fight FOR nuclear energy and against industrial scale wind and solar. Stop campaigning on the silly notion that carefully engineered, constructed and maintained buildings and equipment that are even younger than I am are “too old” to be considered for the important environmental concepts of recycle, repair, restore and reuse. If you don’t follow this advice and decide not to do everything in your power to protect the natural environment for whatever reasons you might have, at least be honest and stop calling yourself an environmentalist.
Actually, I suppose my real targets for this post are other writers. No matter what other people label themselves, you have the ability to apply the truth. Stop calling groups that continue to do everything in their power to both obstruct the construction of new nuclear power plants AND hasten the abandonment of already completed and operating nuclear plants “environmental groups”, especially if they also reveal their true colors by actively promoting ridge line development and desert destruction so they can build their ugly, intrusive collection systems.
My preferred terms are anti nuclear and/or wind advocacy groups. (Actually, I sometimes like to get under their skin and accurately tag their preferred power sources as “unreliables”.)