The Green movement has an atom-sized problem that is destroying its credibility. On the one hand, scientists and engineers are refining and advancing ecologically friendly ways of producing nuclear power. There is a rejuvenated interest in this nuclear power option. Rolls Royce is planning to build small reactors in England. Emmanuel Macron recently announced the construction of new nuclear reactors in France.
In addition, nuclear energy fulfills all the points on the Green checklist. It creates large amounts of sustainable power that can be easily integrated into the power grid. It allows energy sources to be more localized and thus more responsive to the needs of individuals and small groups. It leaves a small carbon footprint. What is there not to like about nuclear power?
The Green Reality of Nuclear Energy
The subtitle of a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece indicates just how green nuclear power is. It reads, “It’s total greenhouse gas emissions are 1/700th those of coal—and one-fourth those of solar.” When it comes to maintaining land and nature, nuclear uses 1/2000th as much land as wind and 1/400th as much land as solar. Although more dangerous and more difficult to dispose of, nuclear waste also represents a tiny fraction of the waste volume of other sources.
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The Federal Government’s Office of Nuclear Energy reports that nuclear power is the most reliable energy source available. Nuclear plants operate at full power approximately 92.5% of the time, compared to solar at 24.9%. The second-highest capacity power energy source is geothermal, which runs a distant second, with a capacity factor of 74.3%. Other positive aspects of nuclear power are its contributions to national security through energy sufficiency and diplomacy and job creation which is 30% higher than other sources.
The Green Left’s Mysterious Antagonism towards Nuclear Power
Leftist politicians and policymakers have put up stubborn resistance to the nuclear alternative to fossil fuels. Familiar names such as Bernie Sanders and Tom Steyer (a big investor in fossil fuels) have opposed nuclear power despite its relative safety.
Many Greens point to the three power plant accidents at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima, where 200 people will die from the effects of these tragedies. However, almost all of those deaths result from the meltdown at the Soviet-era plant in Chernobyl. Such misconceptions contribute to the climate of anti-nuclear hysteria that prevents the construction of nuclear power plants.
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Another objection is the issue of cost-effectiveness. While operating costs are financially sustainable once a nuclear power plant is put into operation, the capital investment in design and construction can be substantial. However, the same Greens that enthusiastically endorse solar and wind energy subsidies oppose them for nuclear power. They also ignore the cost-effectiveness of newer model small plants that promise to be more economical. The costly Build Back Better plan contains no provisions to support this climate-friendly energy source.
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Thus, it becomes clear that the problem with nuclear energy is not economical or even ecological. It is political and ideological. The left’s resistance to nuclear power is based on its egalitarian ideals that oppose anything that favors humanity’s dominion over nature.
The radical ecologists oppose the technology and progress of the modern world because it favors humans over other living and non-living beings. They favor egalitarian ways of organizing societies that are tribal and earth-friendly. Some Greens exhibit a hatred for humanity and even favor human extinction.
Thus, nuclear power presupposes a highly developed system that is contrary to their egalitarian ideology. Their cries for “systemic” change oppose the notion of civilization and culture. Thus, rather than working for cost-effective solutions like nuclear power, the Green left provokes irrational fear of nuclear power. They will even favor energy sources that are more wasteful, less earth-friendly and less advanced in their energy productivity.
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No amount of progress in nuclear technology can change Green minds. Technological advancements include more advanced cooling systems that use molten sodium, nuclear fusion to create energy, and small modular reactors. The Greens reject all as part of its anti-progress agenda.
Fighting the Left for Our Energy Future
The battle lines are now clear between advocates of a less prosperous and a more miserable primitive society and those that desire to develop successful energy policies. With proper care, fears of nuclear disaster are unfounded. Educating people on the ideological nature of this fight with the Green left is the first step toward developing truly ecological energy in America.