(Thanks to Steven Starr, at the Energy Justice Network, from whom I got most of this.)
This is all strange to me. The January/February 2007 edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists says (on page 71): “Major progress towards a safer world would include engaging in serious and candid discussion about the potential expansion of nuclear power worldwide. As a means of addressing the threats from climate change, nuclear power should be considered as an alternative energy source.” They also say that “nuclear energy production does not produce carbon dioxide.”
They don’t say anything about how producing and maintaining nuclear facilities, about how the very infrastructure that could make this CO2-free power source viable requires exorbitant amounts of CO2 production.
They also, curiously, ignore their own history of observing the links between nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.
What is more, there is a curious ad on the back cover of the magazine, by the McGraw-Hill Companies for the 3rd Annual Platts Nuclear Energy conference, offering “Opportunities for Growth and Investment in North America.”
Beyond the thorny issue of energy consumption and CO2 emissions, there is also the matter of nuclear war and climate change. Will a nuclear explosion give us a Big Chill? (Articles from Science News, ABC, and Defense Tech all speak to this. Defense Tech’s piece is also laudable for using a Mr. Plow reference.)
And, as a final curiosity, In the same issue of the same magazine, Amory Lovins (“Mr. Green,” as Elizabeth Kolbert called him in her Jan. 22, 2007 New Yorker profile [not available on-line]), noted that the carbon offsets from nuclear production are less significant than that from micropower or efficient use, and that they are slower at doing so. So, the BAS board either disagrees with what it prints, or didn’t read its own magazine.