There are many negative connotations associated with the phrase ‘nuclear energy.’ People fear it because of its potential for meltdown, its waste product, and its association with weapons. However, Micheal Shellenberger, environmental policy expert and co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute, believes that shouldn’t be the case.
Shellenberger sees nuclear energy as an underutilized (and safe) energy source. There’s no doubt that nuclear energy provides a lot of power. But, nuclear energy is also clean. It provides low carbon emissions — about 12 grams of CO2 per kWh, according to data from the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — compared to most power sources, renewables included.
Lately, nuclear technology has seen a boost, with projects similar to Bill Gates’ TerraPower. Engineers have also developed, and are continually working on, reactors that don’t meltdown. Essentially, many fears people previously held about nuclear energy are really no longer issues today. Despite this, these negative associations persist.
In a TED Talk, Shellenberger describes how this fear is hurting the environment. He also explains why there’s no reason to fear this energy source, which is potentially cheaper, more viable, and more efficient than any other renewable sources around.