Nukes or No?
Fashionable or not, Finland has become the first European country in fifteen years to begin construction of a new plant and Sweden recently scrapped plans to phase out its dozen nuke plants in the coming years. All across Europe, in fact, governments are reconsidering the role of nuclear power. What's more, even some environmentalists, including the Gaia-hypothesist, James Lovelock, are on the nuclear bandwagon, citing the looming specter of a destabilized climate as the reason to back the carbon-free power supply.
Many nagging problems remain: How to avert accidents or sabotage and what to do with all the waste, which will remain radioactive for eons? As Britons debate the nukes question, the Guardian reports official figures showing that a "new generation of nuclear power stations would increase five-fold the amount of a lethal and long-lasting form of highly radioactive nuclear waste stored in the UK."
One thing's certain, the worldwide debate on nuclear energy is now underway. This week in San Francisco, for instance, the Long Now Foundation will host a discussion between two energy experts whose outlooks differ on the subject. The topic: "Nuclear Power, Climate Change, and the Next 10,000 Years"