This wasn’t an easy transition. He has offended former environmental allies and it took a while to escape a mindset that ‘regarded anything “nuclear” as irredeemably dangerous and evil’. The numbers, however, were impossible to ignore. In Nuclear 2.0: Why a Green Future Needs Nuclear Power, Lynas tells us that renewable energy is wonderful, and that he is all for it, but according to his calculations, it won’t suffice.
Uranium, however, has extraordinary ‘energy density’, we already have enough to keep us going for a very long time, and if we could also utilise thorium, all would be set fair. Nuclear waste is, apparently, less of a menace than we’ve been led to believe and when it comes to reactor disasters, we shouldn’t ignore the tragedy but we’re advised to look at the actual figures behind the doom-laden headlines.
In summation, most anti-nuclear nostrums are ‘either myths or misconceptions’ and there are ‘no a priori reasons why environmentalists should be against’ nuclear power. Lynas accepts that we need cheaper, safer and more efficient power stations (modular design is suggested as one solution), but he sees a potentially bright nuclear future ahead of us.
This book will send you straight to the library or internet so that you can do your own research about ‘half-lives’ and related topics, but whatever conclusions you eventually reach, and even if you think the author paints an overly rosy picture, there’s certainly space to admire Lynas’s pluck.
NUCLEAR 2.0: Why a Green Future Needs Nuclear Power by Mark Lynas, UIT Cambridge, £6.99