A Question to an "Environmentalist" Organization
Recently a member of the thorium-forum who has also been a member of the “environmental” group Environmental Action, received a form letter asking him to renew his membership. He perused their website and found nothing about nuclear energy, except for the fact that here in the U.S. we now get 19% of our electricity from nuclear. On the other hand, on one of their web pages was a statement that we get 2% of our energy from “clean” sources. He wrote a letter to them and enclosed it in their return envelope, and gave me permission to re-post it here. I do so in the hopes that others might follow his example and ask these groups why they oppose the source of energy that has the very best chance for lifting the human race out of poverty and suffering AND drastically reducing our impact on the environment:
44 Winter Street
Boston, MA 02108
SUBJECT: PLEASE EXPLAIN
Today I received a request from your organization to renew my support. However, before doing so, I want a question answered and to make some points. My renewal depends on your response.
I found the following statement on your web site:
“We get only 2% [of our electricity] from clean energy sources such as wind and solar power.”
However, we get about 19% of our electricity from nuclear power, as you already know, yet you have not included nuclear power as clean energy. Why?
China emits more CO2 than we do. Both China and India have a population of approximately one billion. India has a population density 11 times greater than ours, and China has a population density 4.3 times greater than ours. Because of their high population densities, it would be totally impossible for China and India to meet more than a fraction of their growing power needs with wind and solar power. Thus, unless they and other densely populated countries use nuclear power, they will use huge amounts coal in which case our attempts to reduce CO2 emissions would be meaningless. In fact, it is doubtful that we could meet all of our power requirements without using nuclear.
Thirty years ago, fear of nuclear power was valid. However, there have been considerable advances in nuclear power over the last 30 years, and the advances should allay the fears that formerly were valid.
Nuclear “waste” need no longer be a problem. The “waste” is actually contains more than 60% U238 plus considerable plutonium and can be burned in fast breeder reactors, thereby reducing the “waste” to a tiny fraction. The remaining waste would have a short life and would need to be sequestered for only a few hundred years, rather than thousands of years.
Also, reactors can be, and have been, designed to use thorium for fuel instead of uranium. A thorium reactor produces only a fraction as much waste as a pressurized water thermal reactor (the most common type currently in use), and the waste decays quickly.
Obviously Environmental Action has one of two problems:
1. It’s anti-nuclear stance is like a religion and will not change regardless of what evidence is presented, or
2. It has failed to do the necessary research to keep its knowledge up to date.
There are many sources of information that Environmental Action can use to update its understanding of nuclear power. I particularly recommend the book, Prescription for the Planet by Tom Blees; it is available from Amazon.com. Even though the book is not perfect, it does make many good and valid points regarding nuclear energy and the imperative to use it. Because the book does not cover thorium as a reactor fuel, I suggest doing a google search on “thorium reactor.” Thorium reactor technology has been proven effective.
If you do the necessary research work, I believe that you will be convinced that nuclear power can be safe, that it is essential to solving our environmental problems, and that opposing nuclear power is a serious mistake.