Advantages of Nuclear Power – A Debate

Those interested in energy development, energy independence, clean energy and/or global warming may be interested in a debate about the advantages and feasibility of nuclear energy ongoing presently in Scientific American and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Writing in the December Scientific American (go here for a pdf of the article sent to me by the authors), physicists William Hannun, Gerald Marsh and George Stanford say the U.S. is missing out on a global trend as as more people worldwide are realizing nuclear power “may be the most environmentally-friendly way to generate large amounts of electricity.”

Furthermore, they write:

If developed sensibly, nuclear power could be truly sustainable and essentially inexhaustible and could operate without contributing to climate change. In particular, a relatively new form of nuclear technology could overcome the principal drawbacks of current methods – namely, worries about reactor accidents, the potential for diversion of nuclear fuel into highly destructive weapons, the management of dangerous, long-lived radioactive waste, and the depletion of global reserves of economically available uranium.

After public policy consultant Tom Randall described key aspects of the Hannum/Marsh/Stanford thesis in a piece for the Chicago Sun-Times, Edwin Lyman, senior staff scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote to the paper with a contrary view. Marsh and Stanford then responded.

Addendum: John Rennie, editor-in-chief of Scientific American, writes about the Hannum/Marsh/Stanford article on the Scientific American blog here.

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