Nuclear Power & Climate Change

Pro-Nuclear Articles

  • The Future of Nuclear Power: An Interdisciplinary MIT Study. John Duetch, Ernest Moniz, et al., 29 July 2003. An interdisciplinary MIT faculty group decided to study the future of nuclear power because of a belief that this technology is an important option to meet future energy needs without emitting carbon dioxide and other atmospheric pollutants. This study discusses the interrelated technical, economic, environmental, and political challenges facing a significant increase in global nuclear power utilization over the next half century and what might be done to overcome those challenges.
  • Nuclear Energy: Rise, Fall, and Resurrection. Michelle Tweener, Cicero Working Paper 2006:01, March 2006. This study charts the rise, fall, and resurrection of nuclear power in the United Kingdom over the past fifty years by examining the forces underlying the agenda-setting process.
  • Energy Balances and CO2 Implications. World Nuclear Association, March 2006. In this paper, the World Nuclear Association conducts a Life Cycle Analysis, focused on energy, and concludes that the amount of energy inputs to the nuclear fuel cycle has implications for carbon dioxide emissions, and in any scenario nuclear power has negligible emissions.
  • The Japanese Nuclear Energy Option: What Price? Endo Tetsuya and Arjun Makhijani, Japan Focus, 13 March, 2008. Endo Tetsuya, Chairman of the Taskforce on Atoms for the Sustainable Future organized by The Japan Institute of International Affairs, argues that nuclear energy has great potential in coping with the challenges of energy security and global warming if it is properly introduced and operated. Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, counters by arguing that the costs and proliferation dangers associated with nuclear energy are too high to make it an acceptable option.

Anti-Nuclear Articles

  • Nuclear power – the energy balance, Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith, revised 3 August 2005. This study looks at the full technical and industrial complex, needed to generate electricity from uranium. The production of electricity by nuclear reactors, as long as rich uranium ores are still available, leads to considerably less CO2-emission than does the use of fossil fuels for the purpose. In the course of time, as the rich ores become exhausted and poorer and poorer ores are perforce used, continuing use of nuclear reactors for electricity generation will finally result in the production of more CO2 than if fossil fuels were to be burned directly.
  • Nuclear Power: Economics and Climate Protection Potential. Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute, 11 September 2005. Lovins argues that nuclear power is an inherently limited way to address climate change because it must run steadily rather than varying with load as other power plants must, and its units are too big for many countries or rural consumers. Moreover, it is the slowest option to deploy and the most costly.
  • Nuclear Energy and Greenhouse: Is Going Nuclear the Answer? Mark Diesendorf, 17 April 2006. This article presents evidence that supporters of nuclear energy have omitted to address two fundamental problems: CO2 emissions from the nuclear fuel chain and inherent constraints on the speed of deployment of nuclear energy.
  • Insurmountable Risks: The Dangers of Using Nuclear Power to Combat Climate Change. Brice Smith, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, May 2006. This book documents accident, proliferation and contamination threats associated with reviving the nuclear industry as part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The book also details economically competitive alternative fuel sources which can address U.S. and world electricity needs.
  • The Rise of Renewable Energy, Daniel M. Kammen, Scientific American, September 2006. Kammen examines the costs of developing renewable energy as a means of reducing carbon emissions, and concludes that the United States and other countries must make a major commitment to developing renewable energy sources that generate little or no carbon.