"Nuclear is Most Important Environmental Technology of 21st Century"

EP President Michael Shellenberger in E&E, "To cut carbon emissions, some argue for the nuclear option":

Nuclear energy's clean bona fides may be its saving grace in a wobbling global energy market that is trying to balance climate change ambitions, skittish economies and low prices for oil and natural gas. Many countries are wrestling with the nuclear option as stalwarts like France tap the brakes, Japan uneasily presses on and China drops a cinder block on the gas pedal.

Some nuclear advocates argue that in the climate fight, nuclear energy deserves many of the same considerations as wind, solar and other renewable energy. Callaway and 98 reactors like it in the United States are facing an identity crisis over whether they count as clean. In a country about to go on a strict carbon diet, the nuclear energy industry wants to make sure it's still on the menu.

However, sticker shock and staunch public opposition continue to haunt the nuclear industry, and other nations are watching the sector closely to see whether they should make billion-dollar investments in reactors to fight climate change and grow their economies.

"Nuclear is without a question the most important environmental technology in the 21st century," said Michael Shellenberger, an advocate for nuclear power and president of Environmental Progress.

He said nuclear is the highest rung on the energy ladder that civilizations climb as they move to denser fuels from biomass, to coal, to oil, to gas and finally to uranium. "From an energy and environmental and development perspective, I want everybody to go up the hierarchy of energy," Shellenberger said.

Under U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan to reduce emissions in the power sector, new nuclear power plants and reactors upgraded to produce more power count toward states' carbon goals.