Have you ever had that feeling when something which has plagued your thoughts and gripped you with dread has abruptly melted away as you finally comprehend that your fear is unnecessary? That almost indescribable, almost embarassing relief that comes when your mind, working with newly-aquired knowledge, is freed from some crushing weight of anxiety?
I think this is happening with humans and nuclear energy. The deployment of more nuclear energy – already the largest source of climate-friendly electricity in the US and the EU – as called for by the IPCC, the IEA, the UNFCCC, and the WEC, has suffered a partly vocal and partly perceived opposition for decades, substantially influenced by disciplined anti-nuclear organisations.
Michael Shellenberger recently explored the background to this fear-based opposition.
When Friends of the Earth – represented by Dr Jim Green – phones in its contribution to the debate with stale fear-mongering; when South Australia’s anti-nuclear parliamentarian resorts to sabotaging his own parliamentary delegation to France’s waste facility; when such thought-leaders – who dig inexpertly for their own answers when they can’t face the questions – organise a 1970s-style demonstration to crap on the official consultation process while simultaneously being more than fairly represented in that very process… it starts looking like the desperate fear of becoming irrelevant to the grown-up discussion is eclipsing the fear of nuclear itself. The songbook they continue to sing from is really starting to show its age, considering that mere years have passed since a triple reactor meltdown in an OECD country, and that this shift in perception – this accelerating lifting of the public’s fear – is the opposite affect they had hoped for.