Updated October 18, 2017
Environmental Progress is working with our friends and allies in South Korea to save its nuclear plants, and protect its valuable nuclear export business.
EP published a comprehensive report, "The High Cost of Fear," outlining the impacts of a proposed nuclear phase-out in South Korea. A copy of the report can be found here.
EP sent an open letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in in July 2017 urging him to reconsider his phase-out proposal given the importance of South Korea's nuclear program to protecting the climate.
EP wrote President Moon again in August warning of misinformation being spread by Greenpeace.
And in October, EP wrote the "citizens jury" created by President Moon to make a comprehensive case for saving the country's nuclear plants, and warning of misinformation from anti-nuclear groups.
Nuclear power is a key component to achieving peace with North Korea and improving relations among world powers.
Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Rhodes and Michael Shellenberger co-authored an op-ed in Foreign Affairs urging peace talks and the use of nuclear energy as an incentive for North Korea.
Environmental Progress coordinated an open letter signed by Rhodes and climate scientists including Jim Hansen, urging peace talks.
South Korea is the world leader in nuclear.
South Korea's 25 nuclear reactors provide it with one third of its total electricity.
Nuclear capacity in the country was set to increase from 23 GWe to 38 GWe by 2029, but under newly elected President Moon Jae-in, South Korea plans to completely phase-out its nuclear sector by 2060.
Without nuclear, South Korea’s emissions would increase the equivalent of up to 27 million cars added to the road.
South Korea is the only remaining Western competitor with China and Russia for the export of nuclear technology. It is today finishing construction on a $20 billion contract to build four reactors in the United Arab Emirates
EP’s work saving nuclear in Illinois, New York, Connecticut, France and South Korea will reduce carbon pollution the equivalent of keeping 22 million cars off the road by 2025
The work of saving nuclear by Environmental Progress will prevent $25 billion in economic damages from climate change damage by 2025, based on the US EPA's social cost of carbon.
If EP were to take just 10 percent of the credit for those victories, every dollar donated to EP resulted in a nearly 2,000-fold impact.
Nuclear power is the only energy source that can lift all humans out of poverty while protecting the natural environment. Why, then, is it in danger of going away?
In my keynote address yesterday to the IAEA’s quadrennial ministerial meeting in the United Arab Emirates, I trace the anti-nuclear movement’s roots to a famous essay by the German philosopher (and, yes, Nazi) Martin Heidegger.
Intermittent renewable energies like wind, Heidegger and his anti-humanist, anti-nuclear followers argued, were the key to restraining human ambition.
Should we thus be surprised that the big increases in solar and wind over the last decade still weren’t enough to make up for even the decline of nuclear over the last decade?
Sting said it best last year: “If we’re going to tackle global warming, nuclear is the only way you can create massive amounts of power.”
Nuclear power’s important for something else, I argue: averting thermonuclear war between the US and North Korea.
Atomic humanists must take a page from South Korea — whose “citizen jury” decided to continue that country’s nuclear expansion — and seek our saving power precisely where the danger lies.
Ten South Korean labor, student, and academic leaders will receive the James Hansen Courage Award for their successful defense of nuclear power on Thursday, October 26 in two separate ceremonies in Ulsan and in Gyeongju.
The distinction will be awarded to the 10 South Korean pro-nuclear leaders by Environmental Progress (EP) President and Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment” Michael Shellenberger.
The award is “For courageous leadership in fighting climate change with nuclear energy and preserving the Earth for future generations.”
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.
“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.
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.
Leading South Korean newspaper Chosun interviewed Michael Shellenberger about his recent visit to South Korea to help save its nuclear power. Read the full English translation of the article here.
Leading South Korean newspaper Chosun published an op-ed by Michael Shellenberger, in which he discusses the global importance of South Korea's nuclear energy. Read the original English version here.
Leading South Korean newspaper Chosun Biz interviewed Michael Shellenberger and asked him why American environmentalists and scientists sent a letter to President Moon. Read the full English translation of the article here.