Why Nuclear Power Slows Action on Climate Change: Talking Points #1 via Beyond Nuclear

An analysis by Amory B. Lovins

Our new series of Talking Points begins with Amory Lovins’ work on carbon emissions + time + cost which, taken together, eliminate nuclear power as useful in addressing climate change

All this is argued effectively — and laid out simply —in the first of our series of Talking Points — a double-sided single page handout called Why nuclear power slows action on climate change. 

We’ll be doing a series of these Talking Points, on different topics, drawn from the many excellent studies and reports out there, but which are sometimes a lot to take on board. However, when condensed down, they can provide a useful, empirically-supported script for our work, whether writing opeds or letters to the editor, educating and lobbying our elected officials, or doing media outreach. (If you’d like to support future such Talking Points, we gratefully accept donations to help pay for them.)


Last September, we ran a shortened version of Lovins’s original, longer Forbes article, laying out the key points against using nuclear power to address climate change. But we still felt we needed something even shorter and handier. We continually confront the hollow arguments of the pro-nuclear lobby, or hear them on the air as we did recently on NPR. Their statements sound deceptively compelling, even as they parse the truth and scratch no deeper than superficial, but palatable-sounding, illusions.

The nugget of Lovins’s argument is that expensive and slow energy options will inevitably save less carbon than faster, cheaper ones. While the nuclear industry centers its advocacy around the “low-carbon emissions” assertion— which is only justified if you ignore the entire fuel chain and look only at the generation phase — that facet is irrelevant as soon as you factor in time and cost.

In fact, the nuclear industry and/or its boosters, sometimes even call nuclear power “zero carbon” which is more than stretching the truth.  And they completely ignore those other, inconvenient emissions — radioactive isotopes.


In fact, as Lovins says on our Talking Points handout. “Building new reactors, or operating most existing ones, makes climate change worse.”

Our elected officials need to know this and hear this and understand this. And then act. Only we can ensure they do. Please download and distribute Why nuclear power slows action on climate change. And watch for new Talking Points to come in the ensuing months.


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