More nuclear discussions

FG replied to my thoughts on nuclear power and climate change HERE. So thanks for giving some more thoughts and discussions to this interesting topic.

In a nutshell, FG suggests that we should think about relying on nuclear power for future energy supply, since a nuclear disaster is less costly than future climate change. Judging by the author’s reply, I think I might not have been very clear in my previous post. So here is another shot at it:

What I am saying is that we have a pretty unclear picture of what we should expect from climate change, but at the same time I have not yet seen a good Cost-Benefit Analysis that tells me how costly a nuclear disaster actually is! And I also agree with FG and think that we should be cautious, very cautious indeed, and that it is likely that the costs from climate change may turn out to be very high indeed. We have a large uncertainty surrounding any estimate, and I also prefer a more precautionary approach to our future. But, if one wants to say that nuclear power should be increased since a nuclear accident will be less costly than climate change, then I ask for the numbers in order to prove that.

However, and here I think we should be on the same line, I argue that it is a mistake to believe that the trade-off should be phrased in a way of: Either climate change, or potential nuclear disasters. It is simply a mistake to define the trade-off along only these lines, since there are other options out there, like relying on alternative sources of energy and social change. Though per unit costs for e.g. alternative energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal) are somewhat larger than those for nuclear energy, they will not have this negative impact on future generations like a potential nuclear disaster or nuclear waste has.

In other words, if a guy on the streets asks you whether you want to be punched or stabbed, then one shouldn’t forget that one has a third alternative, namely inviting him for a beer to talk things over. If one forgets that there are other alternatives, then the discussion will obviously only center around the choice between two bad alternatives while neglecting the third less nasty one…

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