Stewart Brand on Nuclear Power

Fascinating short interview with Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog. In his recent book, An Eco-Pragmatist Manifesto, Brand calls for many more nuclear power stations to be built. Watch the video to find out why he thinks this is a solution, rather than a hindrance to the fight against climate change:

Compelling viewing. But isn’t Brand missing something? Doesn’t nuclear power produce carbon? Isn’t nuclear power a safety and health hazard?

Brand certainly raises some important points – many of which we are still very far from consensus.  I’m still unsure as to where I stand on the nuclear versus renewables debate. However, I do admire Brand’s pragmatism on issues as contentious and shrouded in misinformation as the nuclear debate is.

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One thought on “Stewart Brand on Nuclear Power

  1. Japan, one of the world’s most technologically-advanced nations, has been incapable of stemming the radiation leaks from the damaged reactors at Fukoshima, this almost 2 weeks after the tsunami wiped out the plant’s electrical cooling system! Furthermore, none of the other nuclear superpowers, including the United States and France, have yet been able to help come up with a technological solution for this situation. In the face of such impotence, Stewart Brand, is it not perverse, hugely irresponsible and callous to still claim that nuclear technology is safe and the best option for our planet?

    The situation in Japan is a tragedy of untold proportions and could even get worse unless the runaway heating of the reactors is brought under control. It is increasingly obvious that nuclear technology has a LONG way to go before it can be demonstrated safe. Obviously, the nuclear waste problem is still unresolved. And closer to home, nuclear plants off the coast of California could be vulnerable as they are located in an area of significant seismic activity, and, as those of Fukoshima, keep spent nuclear fuel in water-cooled, potentially vulnerable containment vessels…and of even greater concern, the surrounding areas are home to millions of people, rather than the tens of thousands in the affected areas of Japan.

    We need to get over our suicidal belief that we should wait for a technological fix for the problems confronting us in this ‘modern age’. We have to face the reality that we have brought them on ourselves – they stem from our greed, addiction to technology and overconsumption of energy. The solution lies not in gambling with nuclear and fossil fuel-dependent technology but in re-learning to live sustainably and in harmony with the earth – that is the true green solution, has many precedents (both past and present), and is the only viable option for our planet. Our survival is at stake – let’s hope we learn that essential lesson before it is too late.

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