On one of my favorite radio progams: BBC World Have Your Say.
And this is what I had to say:
This is not an area I have much knowledge in, but I do think that nuclear fuel as a clean alternative is more maligned than it deserves to be.
Coal energy, something we don’t give much thought to in the US, is far more damaging to the environment, and kills and sickens more people than nuclear power.
Hydro-electric is not without its pitfalls either. In the emerging economies, such as India and China, dams not only disrupt the environment, and aquatic life, but have disastrous social consequences. They displace people who have sustained themselves for generations in these “dammed” lands – economically, socially, culturally and psychologically.
Even renewable energies, with our current technologies, are not completely green, since producing solar cells, entail their own pollution during manufacturing – as do hybrid cars.
Nuclear power, I believe, shares the media reputation akin to air-travel. Even though air travel is one of the safest forms of travel – safer than crossing an urban street, or driving a car, air crashes make big news, just as nuclear plant mishaps do.
Having said that, yes, ideally we should get all our energy from renewable sources + reduce our energy consumption to meet future needs for energy safely, and sustainably.
However, till we get to the point, which is impossible with the current technology, nuclear is one of the safest interim choices. No technology is without risk – nuclear plants, or air travel – because the humans who finally operate it – are not infallible. Most accidents occur, because of human failures in the technical chain of operation.
But the first step to resolving the energy crisis, is “less is more”, as I learned in my years as a sustainable building design specialist.
This Blog continues on BBC World Have Your Say.