Nuclear Power Must Make a Comeback for Climate's Sake
James Hansen and other climate scientists argue for more reactors to cut coal consumption
By Gayathri Vaidyanathan, ClimateWire on December 4, 2015
James Hansen, former NASA climate scientist, and three other prominent climate scientists are calling for an enlarged focus on nuclear energy in the ongoing Paris climate negotiations.
"Nuclear, especially next-generation nuclear, has tremendous potential to be part of the solution to climate change," Hansen said during a panel discussion yesterday. "The dangers of fossil fuels are staring us in the face. So for us to say we won't use all the tools [such as nuclear energy] to solve the problem is crazy."
He was joined by Tom Wigley, a climate scientist at the University of Adelaide; Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science; and Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Their stance clashes with those of environmental groups such as Greenpeace that advocate against nuclear energy.
Beyond 2030, nations would need a portfolio of technology options to decarbonize, said Gokul Iyer, a researcher with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's (PNNL) Joint Global Change Research Institute and a co-author of the study.
"That is going to entail premature retirements of fossil fuel power plants, and also additional renewable, nuclear and carbon capture and sequestration power plants," Iyer said.
Or can renewables go it alone?...