Victory! Pro-Nuclear Win in South Korea Gives Momentum to Atomic Humanists Everywhere

Victory! Pro-Nuclear Win in South Korea Gives Momentum to Atomic Humanists Everywhere

In a stunning come-from-behind victory, South Korean citizens on a special jury voted 60 percent to 40 percent to re-start construction of two halted nuclear reactors.

Environmental Progress applauds the citizens jury for choosing wisdom over ideology, and praises South Korean President Moon Jae-in for honoring their decision.

EP especially applauds the university students, professors, and workers who protested and fought for a re-start to construction.

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Energy Secretary Perry’s Electric Resiliency Rule Could Be a Big Win for Nuclear and the Climate. Here’s Why

Energy Secretary Perry’s Electric Resiliency Rule Could Be a Big Win for Nuclear and the Climate. Here’s Why

This morning Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposed that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issue a rule requiring payments to nuclear and coal power plants to maintain a resilient electrical grid.

The Trump administration can’t say it, but Environmental Progress can: the rule could be a huge win for the climate.

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South Korea's High Cost of Nuclear Fear

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By Michael Shellenberger, Mark Nelson, Madi Czerwinski, Michael Light, John Lindberg and Minshu Deng

Executive Summary

“The High Cost of Fear,” a new in-depth Environmental Progress report, uses publicly available data, the best-available peer-reviewed scientific research and simple methods to calculate economic and environmental impacts of a nuclear phase-out in South Korea. 

We find a nuclear phase-out would:

  • Cost at least $10 billion per year for additional natural gas purchases alone, the equivalent of 343,000 salaries of jobs paying South Korea’s per capita annual average salary of $29,125;
  • Almost all of the cost would be in the form of payments for fuel, thereby reducing South Korea’s trade surplus;
  • Require a significant increase in fossil fuel use given South Korea’s lack of renewable energy resources;
  • Increase premature deaths from air pollution by replacing nuclear plants instead of coal plants with natural gas;
  • Damage and perhaps destroy South Korea’s lucrative nuclear export business;
  • If measured against the average U.S. car mileage, it would increase carbon emissions the equivalent of adding 15 - 27 million cars to the road, an amount that would prevent South Korea from achieving its Paris climate commitments.

"High Cost" also examines the historical and sociological drivers of the proposed nuclear phase-out and finds:

  • Anti-nuclear misinformation stems from well-funded foreign organizations, particularly Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, which oppose cheap and abundant energy;
  • Arrogance and fear of public panic by the nuclear industry were primary causes of the Fukushima accident and its aftermath;
  • Anti-nuclear attitudes and concerns are reflected in a lack of South Korean trust in industry and government, as well as a lack of understanding of nuclear and radiation;
  • Anti-nuclear advocates used Fukushima to exaggerate the seriousness of South Korea's 2014 paperwork falsification scandal, which demonstrated the independence of South Korea’s regulator, as well as the 2016 earthquake, which was 350,000 times less powerful than the 2011 earthquake that resulted in the tsunami and meltdowns.  

“High Cost” points to the following lessons to be learned from the backlash to nuclear in South Korea and other nations:

  • No nation — even energy-poor ones, like South Korea and France — is immune to the war on nuclear, which is the ultimate factor driving the decline of nuclear energy globally;
  • The nuclear industry, governments, and the UN IAEA are unable to protect and expand nuclear energy — in South Korea and in much of the rest of the world — for cultural, pecuniary and institutional reasons;
  • A new vision, new institutions and new leadership are required to save and expand nuclear;
  • Nuclear’s radical vision and foundational moral purpose must be revitalized as atomic humanism;
  • New institutions — such as science associations, universities, private philanthropies and NGOs — must be supported to defend nuclear and engage the public;
  • Nations must overcome fears by standing up to nuclear fear-mongering and learning from successful efforts to reduce public fears.

Renewables Can't Save the Planet. Only Nuclear Can

Renewables Can't Save the Planet. Only Nuclear Can

The lesson Vaclav Smil's Energy and Civilization does not draw, but that flows inevitably from his work, is that for modern societies to do less environmental damage, every country must move toward more reliable and denser energy sources. In recent decades, governments have spent billions of dollars subsidizing renewables, with predictably underwhelming results. It’s high time for countries to turn to the safer, cheaper, and cleaner alternative.

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Are we really going to allow global nuclear domination by Russia?

Are we really going to allow global nuclear domination by Russia?

Sometime this fall, a U.S. federal bankruptcy judge in New York will decide the fate of Westinghouse, the venerable nuclear power company that failed financially earlier this year.

When the decision is made, it will determine something far more important: whether the West will play an active role in mitigating the twin threats of nuclear proliferation and climate change, or instead cede the global market for nuclear energy to Russia.

To succeed, a reorganized Westinghouse will need a management team capable of breaking from the past and adopting a different, well-tested nuclear plant design; as well as the long-term, low-interest financing required to compete with the Russians.

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New South Carolina Nuclear Plant Would Cut Coal Use by 86%, New Analysis Finds

New South Carolina Nuclear Plant Would Cut Coal Use by 86%, New Analysis Finds

In 2016, the president of the Sierra Club stated publicly that he opposed replacing nuclear plants with fossil fuels generating attention that green groups had softened their strident anti-nuclear position.

But just a few weeks later, Sierra Club loudly endorsed closing Indian Point and Diablo Canyon nuclear plants in New York and California respectively.

Now, Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth (FOE) are celebrating the temporary halting of construction on a new nuclear plant in South Carolina — V.C. Summer — which they had lobbied strenuously to kill.

A new Environmental Progress analysis finds that if Summer were completed, the share of electricity South Carolina generates from coal would decline by 86 percent — the equivalent of 3.8 million cars.

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Greenpeace’s Dirty War on Clean Energy, Part I: South Korean Version

Greenpeace’s Dirty War on Clean Energy, Part I: South Korean Version

Last fall, a South Korean filmmaker released the trailer for "Pandora," a feature-length disaster movie that opens with a nuclear power plant exploding. After it was accused of secretly financing the film, whose filmmaker claimed cost just a half-million dollars, Greenpeace insisted it had merely funded the screenings, street protests and lawsuits.

Atomic humanists will likely never have the resources of Greenpeace and other anti-humanists. But we don’t need them. We have something far more important on our side: the truth.

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The case for 100 percent renewables rested on a lie. Here's what it teaches us about energy and the environment

The case for 100 percent renewables rested on a lie. Here's what it teaches us about energy and the environment

A study published earlier this week shows that the proposal to power the US on wind, water and solar rests on a single, gigantic lie — and an opportunity for policymakers, informed citizens and journalists to understand how the energy density of fuels largely determines their human and environmental impact. 

Nowhere is the relationship between energy density and environmental impact more clear than in the production of toxic waste.

While we hear a lot about nuclear, a new EP investigation has discovered that solar panels produces 300 times more toxic waste than nuclear plants, and no nation outside of Europe has a plan to prevent them from contaminating water supplies in Asia and Africa.  

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Are we headed for a solar waste crisis?

Are we headed for a solar waste crisis?

How big of a problem is solar waste?

Environmental Progress investigated the problem to see how the problem compared to the much more high-profile issue of nuclear waste. 

We found:

  • Solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than do nuclear power plants.

  • If solar and nuclear produce the same amount of electricity over the next 25 years that nuclear produced in 2016, and the wastes are stacked on football fields, the nuclear waste would reach the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (52 meters), while the solar waste would reach the height of two Mt. Everests (16 km). 

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Nope, there’s no perinatal mortality surge from Fukushima fallout

Nope, there’s no perinatal mortality surge from Fukushima fallout

Biostatistician Hagen Scherb, a prominent anti-nuclear researcher at Germany’s prestigious Helmholtz Institute, specializes in statistical analyses that link Chernobyl radiation to vast increases of disease and death in infants and fetuses all over Europe. Now he’s weighing in on the Fukushima accident.

Health threats to children in Fukushima have been a major theme of alarmist claims since the accident. And like the thyroid-cancer scare, they have been thoroughly debunked. Scherb’s new claim is no different.

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