Op-ed: Climate-change activists must not be nuclear-power 'deniers'

The Trillo Nuclear Power Plant in Spain.
The Trillo Nuclear Power Plant in Spain. | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
In a recent op-ed piece published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bart Hinkle, deputy editor of the editorial pages of that newspaper, wrote that “climate change activists can be deniers, too.”

Hinkle's article focused on how climate-change activists also suffer from “confirmation bias," especially in regard to nuclear energy, which has become a necessary contributor to meeting 2030 and 2050 air-quality goals.

Hinkle told Power News Wire that based on research, President Obama's new climate-change plan and his support for nuclear energy still offer little promise that nuclear-power opponents will change their minds, “That’s certainly possible, but I haven’t seen any evidence of it.”

“In my experience, interest groups want elected leaders to move toward their own position. They don’t want to move toward someone else’s.” Hinkle said.

Hinkle said some of the arguments against nuclear energy seem as uninformed as those who think climate change isn't an issue at all.

“Many people seem to have a weak grasp of radiation and its dangers. They don’t realize the prevalence of background radiation and the related fact that, say, airline flight crews are exposed to more radiation than nuclear-plant personnel. Or that, as a piece in Scientific American noted a while back, coal ash releases more radiation than nuclear waste.” Hinkle said.

Hinkle said nuclear gets a lot of exposure when something goes wrong, but that despite the possible risks with nuclear, there seem to be more ecological and economical risks in not using it. “As I wrote in my column, there is a difference between what is technically possible and what is realistically achievable.”

“It’s technically possible for the U.S. to sharply curtail carbon dioxide (and methane) emissions without nuclear power -- if millions of people are willing to reduce their standard of living to Third World levels,” Hinkle said. “But to slash emissions while maintaining living standards, we need lots more nuclear generation.”

Hinkle quotes James Hansen, one of the godfathers of the climate-change movement, as recently saying, "Nuclear power paves the only viable path forward on climate change."

Hinkle agrees and said other climate-change activists should follow suit if they are serious about the fate of the planet.

Organizations in this Story

White House

Want to get notified whenever we write about White House ?
Next time we write about White House, we'll email you a link to the story. You may edit your settings or unsubscribe at any time.