Summary of How Fear of Nuclear Power Is Hurting the Environment

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How Fear of Nuclear Power Is Hurting the Environment summary
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After the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster, several nations committed to ending their nuclear programs. Lacking an abundant alternative source of clean energy, this shift increased global dependence on fossil fuels. Instead of pandering to people’s fears of radioactivity and a nuclear holocaust, says climate policy expert Michael Shellenberger, governments should attempt to change society’s attitudes toward atomic energy. getAbstract believes Shellenberger’s cogent but meandering lecture neatly encapsulates the arguments in favor of pursuing a nuclear energy strategy.

About the Speaker

Michael Shellenberger co-founded the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental think tank.



Although clean energy is increasing in absolute terms, its share of total energy production fell from 36% in 1995 to 31% in 2013. Emerging economies’ growing dependence on fossil fuels is partly responsible for clean energy’s declining influence, but another significant factor is the recent global shift away from nuclear energy, which dropped by 7% between 2006 and 2014. For instance, the United States closed four nuclear power plants in recent years and replaced their output primarily with fossil fuels. Clean energies are neither sufficiently abundant nor sufficiently reliable to offset the shortfall. Even California, a solar-energy pioneer, derives ...

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