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Obama’s Energy Pick Goes Nuclear

Karl Grossman: Dr. Chu’s Nuclear Prescription

The Half-Life of the Lesser Evil

Dr. Chu’s Nuclear Prescription

By KARL GROSSMAN

The reaction from safe-energy advocates is mixed to the proposed appointment of Steven Chu as U.S. energy secretary by President-Elect Barak Obama. Mixed is a charitable response to the prospects of Chu being in charge of the U.S. Department of Energy.Although he has a keen interest in energy efficiency and solar power and other clean forms of renewable energy, Chu is a staunch advocate of nuclear power.

“Nuclear has to be a necessary part of the portfolio,” declared Chu, the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, at an economic gathering last March in Palo Alto, California organized by Stanford University.” http://news.cnet.com/8301-10787_3-9888608-60.html

“The fear of radiation shouldn’t even enter into this,” he said in comparing nuclear and coal. “Coal is very, very bad.” Chu, a physicist, repeated a claim of nuclear proponents that coal plants produce more radioactivity than nuclear plants—a contention based on coal containing trace amounts of uranium and thorium. But the claim—and Chu—ignore the huge amount of radioactive products created by fission or atom-splitting in nuclear plants, the gaseous ones routinely released, and the many tons that are left, classified as nuclear waste and needing to be isolated, some virtually forever. The claim—and Chu—also ignore the potential of a catastrophic nuclear plant accident discharging much or all of  these lethal radioactive fission products into the environment as occurred in the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident, a potential for which there is no comparison with coal.

BONUS: A wilderside video about nuclear energy, global warming, etc…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DreaESqjs_4]

5 Responses

  1. […] Obama’s Energy Pick Goes Nuclear « OntheWilderSide […]

  2. […] On the Wilder Side: Obama’s Energy Pick Goes Nuclear quotes Karl Grossman in Counterpunch: Dr. Chu’s Nuclear Prescription The reaction from safe-energy advocates is mixed to the proposed appointment of Steven Chu as U.S. energy secretary by President-Elect Barak Obama. Mixed is a charitable response to the prospects of Chu being in charge of the U.S. Department of Energy.Although he has a keen interest in energy efficiency and solar power and other clean forms of renewable energy, Chu is a staunch advocate of nuclear power. […]

  3. […] Chu is a Great Energy Pick. By Joseph Romm, Grist, December 15, 2008. “Here are the top five reasons Steven Chu is one of the best cabinet picks in recent memory: 5) His ‘views on climate change would be among the most forceful ever held by a cabinet member.’ He said last year, scientists had come to ‘realize that the climate is much more sensitive than we thought’ (see Scientists are Underestimating Climate Change, Part I). He said people who said they were uncertain whether climate change is being caused by humans were ‘reminiscent of the dialogue in the 1950s and ’60s on tobacco.’ In a speech earlier this year, he said that climate change of the scale we face ‘will cause enormous resource wars, over water, arable land, and massive population displacements… We’re talking about hundreds of millions to billions of people being flooded out, permanently.” 4) As a Chinese American and Nobel Prize winner, he will be uniquely poised to help enable the crucial energy and climate negotiations the Obama team must undertake immediately with the world’s other big emitter… 3) He has experience running a major DOE lab, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, so he knows the archaic and bureaucratic DOE system well… 2) The lab he runs is responsible for developing the technologies that have paid for all the clean energy research the tax payers have ever supported. So while even the most knowledgeable clean energy experts focus too much on supply side solutions, Chu will ensure efficiency gets the equal time it deserves. 1) He isn’t fooled by clean coal claptrap. Earlier this year he said, ‘Coal is my worst nightmare.’”  [Wilderside disagrees: http://www.onthewilderside.com/2008/12/15/obamas-energy-pick-goes-nuclear/%5D […]

  4. […] after some more research I have to give Steven Chu some props for being for nuclear power. But I still don’t want someone who thinks gasoline needs to be $8/gal. Possibly related […]

  5. […] Obama’s Energy Pick Goes Nuclear […]

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