Nuclear Energy Laser Talk

This page was updated on 05/10/18 20:44 CDT.

Question:  Where does CCL stand on nuclear energy?

Answer:  Citizens’ Climate Lobby does not advocate for or against nuclear energy. Nuclear power is very low in life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions – the ‘externality’ that economists talk about when discussing climate change. [1] The main objections raised against nuclear power are radioactive waste, plant safety, and the potential for weaponization. [2] These are also ‘externalities’ that should be addressed.

Nuclear energy today consists mainly of decades-old plant designs that still face these challenges. [3] Researchers have also developed ‘Generation IV’ designs that promise to be inherently meltdown-proof, produce vastly less radioactive waste, and resist weaponization, but the practicality of these designs has yet to be proven in commercial operation. [4]

CCL does not have the expertise to judge whether advanced nuclear energy can fulfill its promises. That’s a mission for engineers and investors who choose to take the risk to develop, demonstrate, and build these advanced reactors. Our mission is to tackle the externality of climate change by putting an effective price on carbon.

We acknowledge and support the efforts of others to ensure that externalities specific to nuclear energy are fully accounted for as our energy systems undergo the decarbonization that’s needed to stop climate change.

  1. Schlömer S., et al. “IPCC Working Group III – Mitigation of Climate Change, Annex III: Technology – specific cost and performance parameters.” In Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press (2014).
  2. “Nuclear Power.” Wikipedia (20 Apr 2018).
  3. “Nuclear Reactor.” Wikipedia (19 Apr 2018).
  4. “Generation IV Reactor.” Wikipedia (18 Apr 2018).

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