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August 20, 2022
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Opinion: Ukraine demonstrates the problem with nuclear power

Many of my colleagues have long maintained that the best solution to climate change is nuclear power. Free of greenhouse gasses, nuclear is a powerful, scalable energy technology. We know how to build these plants, and most have operated without incident for many decades. However, nuclear power is also, as Barry Commoner once wrote, “A hell of a complicated way to boil water.” While I am far from anti-technology, I have always had two problems with nuclear energy. First, the waste remains toxic for hundreds of thousands of years, and second, the possibility of radioactive release due to poor design, poor operation and maintenance, or from a terrorist attack. I had never thought that the military of a legitimate sovereign state would be demented enough to attack an operating nuclear power plant, but then Vladimir Putin proved me wrong. His twisted, evil attack on the people of Ukraine has also become an attack on the ecological well-being of all of Europe and a large chunk of his own country. Any species that can produce a Putin and give him an army cannot be trusted with the management of such a complex and potentially dangerous technology.Many of my colleagues have long maintained that the best solution to climate change is nuclear power. Free of greenhouse gasses, nuclear is a powerful, scalable energy technology. We know how to build these plants, and most have operated without incident for many decades. However, nuclear power is also, as Barry Commoner once wrote, “A hell of a complicated way to boil water.” While I am far from anti-technology, I have always had two problems with nuclear energy. First, the waste remains toxic for hundreds of thousands of years, and second, the possibility of radioactive release due to poor design, poor operation and maintenance, or from a terrorist attack. I had never thought that the military of a legitimate sovereign state would be demented enough to attack an operating nuclear power plant, but then Vladimir Putin proved me wrong. His twisted, evil attack on the people of Ukraine has also become an attack on the ecological well-being of all of Europe and a large chunk of his own country. Any species that can produce a Putin and give him an army cannot be trusted with the management of such a complex and potentially dangerous technology.

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