Posted by: r.m. | April 5, 2011

debating nuclear energy…

A student of mine requested that I post this debate between Helen Caldicott and George Monbiot: to use nuclear power or not.

So here it is, from Democracy Now:

“Prescription for Survival”: A Debate on the Future of Nuclear Energy Between Anti-Coal Advocate George Monbiot and Anti-Nuclear Activist Dr. Helen Caldicott

The crisis in Japan has refueled the rigorous global debate about the viability of nuclear power. Japan remains in a “state of maximum alert” as the experts scramble to contain radiation that is leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. Nuclear energy remains a controversial topic in climate change discourse, as environmental activists argue how to best reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere—often the debate pits one non-renewable energy against another as renewable energy technology and research remains underfunded. Democracy Now! hosts a debate today about the future of nuclear energy between British journalist George Monbiot and Dr. Helen Caldicott. Monbiot has written extensively about the environmental and health dangers caused by burning coal for energy, and despite the Fukushima catastrophe, stands behind nuclear power. Caldicott is a world-renowned anti-nuclear advocate who has spent decades warning of the medical hazards posed by nuclear technologies, and while agreeing about the dangers of burning coal, insists the best option is to ban nuclear power.



  1. Unfortunately, the two non-renewable resources that seem to be the cleanest (natural gas and nuclear power) also seem to pose the most danger to the health and safety of humans and other organisms. Coal remains a desirable fuel source because it is less likely to end up in the news as the source of devastating catastrophe. The negative effect of this is the tremendous amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere upon use. It is easier for people to see the immediate effects of a fuel source (nuclear meltdown or explosion on a ship carrying natural gas) than it is to see the long term effects (climate change as a result of increased greenhouse gas emissions).

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