Is nuclear energy the solution to a more sustainable future?
Nuclear energy is not only environmentally friendly. It is dependable and overcomes the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources such as wind, hydro, and solar power.
“How do you provide cheap, reliable, and pollution-free energy for a world of 8 billion people? Nuclear energy is really the only scalable version of that, renewables are not reliable,” Michael Shellenberger, founder of the environmental organization Environmental Progress, told CNBC.
The International Energy Agency only a few years ago warned that nuclear power was “at risk of future decline.” According to the 2019 report, “nuclear power has begun to fade, with plants closing and little new investment made, just when the world requires more low-carbon electricity.”
While the tragedies of Chernobyl and Fukushima must never be forgotten, nuclear energy is one of the safest ways to generate energy, even when nuclear waste must be stored.
Nuclear power is a “distraction” from the “answer we need” — such as renewables and energy storage solutions to mitigate the unreliability of renewables, said Dave Sweeney, a nuclear analyst and nuclear-free campaigner with the Australian Conservation Foundation.