Sunday, April 3, 2011

What he said

Lateline - 31/03/2011: George Monbiot joins Lateline

GEORGE MONBIOT: Well, it's a horrible, traumatic, extremely dangerous thing that's happening in Fukushima and it's devastating to the lives of many people living around there. But the extraordinary fact is that no-one has yet received what is believed by scientists to be a lethal dose of radiation. And what has happened is that that power station there has been hit by a force nine earthquake, a major tsunami. Those have exposed a horrendous legacy of corner-cutting, poor design and of course appalling siting on an earthquake zone and all sorts of horrible effects in terms of the necessity for evacuation and the spread of low-level radiation and the rest of it. It's about the worst possible nuclear catastrophe that you could envisage and it rates very high on the scale of nuclear disasters. And yet even so, the extraordinary case remains that so far - touch wood, and let's hope very much that this remains the case - no-one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.

And that has forced me, really, to challenge myself and to re-examine my preconceptions and to think, well, this is a nasty technology. I don't like it at all. But if the result of the great switch-off of nuclear power in Japan, in Germany, possibly in China, possibly the US, possibly in the UK, many other countries in response to this disaster is to move more into coal burning, which already seems to be the case, then we're talking about moving from a bad technology to a much, much worse one. And faced with a choice between those two options, it has to be nuclear.

This is what I have been thinking! Coal vs nuclear, not solar or wind vs nuclear!!

Economic?? Give me a break. Yes, nuclear has failed to internalize all costs... but how about coal? Heh? We are on the brink of destroying our ecosystem because we burn fossil fuels? How much is it going to cost to fix that (even if we could )?

Another thing that I've been thinking about is how much we might have learned about dealing with the problems of nuclear power in the last 40 years if environmentalists had been more open minded to it.

We are going to be doing lots and lots of stuff to save the planet, each with with unknown side affects. So hold your nose and tolerate nuclear as a transitional power source.

HT Paulm over at Climate Progress.

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