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PRESS MEETING DURING COP21: JAMES HANSEN et. al. explaining why we need nuclear now

David Mackay showing why renewables are simply not enough

Kirk Sorensen on Thorium at TED

Kirk Sorensen deepening his message

Climate Gamble

Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future?

By Rauli Partanen & Janne M. Korhonen

This book is strongly recommendable

”Climate Gamble – Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future?” is a thought-provoking, short and easy to read book on one of the biggest problems of our time, climate change, and one of its most misunderstood and misrepresented solution, nuclear power.

The book is now available in Amazon worldwide in both ebook and print edition. For larger orders, please contact us directly

Book information

Title: Climate Gamble
Subtitle: Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future?
Print length: 108 pages
ISBN 978-952-7139-05-9 (paperback)
ISBN 978-952-7139-04-2 (e-book)
Publisher: Rauli Partanen & Janne M. Korhonen

Clicking the button below will lead you to the homepage of “Climate Gamble”.


Below you find the headlines of each chapter of the book.

Clicking the + brings you to the main takeaways from each chapter:

• The whole energy mix, including electricity, heat (both space and industrial) and liquid fuels, needs to be mostly decarbonized in western countries by 2050.
• Even that might not be enough, and so far the climate fight has been an utter failure.
• There is very little chance of that happening unless we use absolutely all low-carbon tools at our disposal, to a much more aggressive extent than they are used today.

• The low energy -scenarios tend to forget the very real phenomenon called rebound, and often implicitly expect that the poor of the world agree to remain poor.
• Scenarios where renewables alone can and will manage the decarbonization of our energy mix systematically dismiss the fact that their intermittency is a problem that will grow exponentially more complex as the share of intermittent generation in the energy mix grows larger.
• To decarbonize our electricity, current renewables installation rates would need to grow by several orders of magnitude, and then stay at that level for the foreseeable future. This would represent build rates we have never witnessed even from all energy sources put together. To decarbonize the whole energy mix, that rate would need to be even faster.
• The use of biomass, the cornerstone of many non-nuclear scenarios, would need to grow tremendously from current levels. Required increases would have severe effects for both biodiversity and food production.
• Even with technological development, certain key minerals such as silver and tellurium are likely to become increasingly scarce before even half of our global electricity comes from renewables.
• All major energy sources humanity has used so far have developed in a similar manner: with large growth percentages in the beginning and then leveling off. There is no reason to believe renewables would be an exception. Due to their intermittency, there is even reason to believe the contrary – that their growth will level off sooner.
• Early growth of renewable energy has been fueled mainly by politically set tariffs – whenever these have been reduced, new renewable installations have plummeted.
• The imminent breakthrough of solar and wind energy has been forecast for about a hundred years already.
• Various environmental groups have been intentionally distorting statistics to make nuclear power look far worse climate mitigation tool than it really is.
• To accomplish this, electricity from nuclear power is arbitrarily and with no scientific justification whatsoever assumed to emit as much greenhouse gases as electricity from gas or even coal plants.
• Making policy based on these reports would reward a country that closed low-carbon nuclear and built instead basically anything from burning biomass to anything but the dirtiest coal, depending on the report in question.
• Comparing even the badly failed Olkiluoto 3 project alone on a per capita basis to any national record speed of building solar and wind together will show nuclear power has been on the long term at least twice as fast in adding low-carbon energy generation.
• Many Green and environmental groups are prisoners of strongly anti-nuclear thinking prevalent during their founding in the 1970s and 1980s. Being locked in outdated mindset and in their own success in stoking anti-nuclear attitudes, these groups tend to oppose nuclear power first and worry about climate change and biodiversity loss later, provided as such worries do not threaten their anti-nuclear message.
• Since bioenergy has been successfully framed as “clean and renewable” despite its very evident problems with both descriptions, the opposition of nuclear power often leads to more hacking, slashing and burning of our environment.
• The goal and the tools are often mixed up for the detriment of serious discussion. The goal is to reduce emissions enough to mitigate dangerous climate change; the tools are, for example, methods for producing low carbon energy.
• It is counterproductive to pit one tool against other tools, when the situation clearly demands the use of all the tools available.
• There are different tools for different tasks, and a tool that works well in one place may not work as well elsewhere. For example, saving emissions with solar power in Germany can be ten times more expensive than doing it with wind power.
• Anti-nuclear activists try to discredit the science and scientists supportive of nuclear power by accusations of corruption or global conspiracy.
• Besides smear campaigns against science and scientists, alarmingly many anti-nuclear arguments are rhetorical and logical equivalents of argumentation used by climate deniers. While such arguments may contain a kernel of truth, they repeatedly leave out relevant details and comparisons.
• Arguments labeling nuclear power “dangerous” rely on biased perception of risk where the mere possibility of some harm caused in the far future is given far more weight than the near-certainty of large harm caused today or in the near future.
• Radiation is not as dangerous as it is commonly made out to be.
• There are vast differences in radiation doses people receive from background radiation, but health records show little to no difference between these groups.
• Average evacuees from Fukushima got a radiation dose that roughly matches the dose they would have received by living in Finland for a year.
• In Fukushima, fear, anxiety and social stigma along with forced and prolonged evacuation cause much more harm than the actual radiation would.
• Nuclear power is statistically one of the safest, if not the safest, way to produce energy – even after harmful effects of uranium mining, accidents and nuclear waste are accounted for.
• Mainstream media and environmental organizations tend to use vague and/or opaque units and terminology when reporting about radiation, and almost never provide relevant comparisons. Such reporting tells non-experts almost nothing about the true risks involved.
• There is reason to suspect such vagueness is a direct result of the inconvenient truth: almost always, radiation releases reported are not nearly as harmful as the anti-nuclear activists would like them to be. But vague language allows the reader’s imagination to fill in the blanks with desired horrors.
• Storing nuclear waste, or spent fuel (High Level Waste or HLW), is more a political problem than a technical one. We have several technically sound and economically sensible solutions for the waste, from deep geological repositories to burning the waste in fast reactors.
• The long-term risks from nuclear waste (for example, a repository leaking) are rarely quantified and never compared with any other relevant risks. There are grounds to suspect the reason is the fact that these risks are so small that most comparisons would immediately show how meaninglessly small the risks of waste disposal are likely to be.
• Living atop a badly leaking geological repository would give a person a radiation dose roughly equal to eating a bunch of bananas every year – in the worst case scenario.
• The nuclear industry is one of the few industries that is required to collect and store its wastes in the first place.
• The whole history of modern society is a history of increasing efficiency of primary production that has freed more and more people to do something else beyond generating energy. Yet now some people are seriously suggesting that creating jobs in energy production by making it less efficient and more labor-intensive is a good thing. It is not.
• Jobs that are created with subsidies have two central weaknesses:
o They disappear when the subsidies stop.
o They are not added jobs, but shifted jobs, as the money and productivity for the subsidies always comes from somewhere else in the economy – that’s the whole reason it’s called a subsidy.
• Facing a future with more automation and less jobs is scary and difficult for many and we need to help with these hardships, but decreasing effectiveness in primary production and putting people to work the fields is not “helping.”
• The major justification for subsidizing some energy sources is the fact that fossil fuels largely externalize their costs and therefore have an unfair and distorting effect on the market.
• The estimated amount of costs fossil fuels externalize is roughly an order of magnitude larger than subsidies to either nuclear or renewables. Total renewable subsidies soon exceed total nuclear subsidies.
• Feed-in tariffs alone have proven themselves to be a poor way to subsidize clean energy sources – it is possible that investment grants or R&D support would work better.
1. What can we still do?
We need all available options
2. Are environmental organizations part of the problem or part of the solution?
3. What can you do?