Nuclear, an important part of climate change mitigation way forward says former Greenpeace UK
Interviewed in the framework of the Nuclear for Climate initiative, Stephen Tindale, CEO, Alvin Weinberg Foundation, a pro-advanced nuclear group in the UK and former Executive Director, Greenpeace UK explains why nuclear needs to be an important part of the climate change mitigation way forward.
Stephen Tindale spent twenty years campaigning against nuclear, but in the mid 2005 or so he began to realise that the climate crisis was so severe that environmentalists needed to rethink their opposition to technologies and approaches that they opposed. The melting of the Siberian permafrost in the summer of 2005 was a tipping point for him: “I thought this really is very serious and I then began questioning my opposition to nuclear. I was then working for Greenpeace and I couldn’t have changed my line on nuclear while still working for Greenpeace, but I left Greenpeace in 2007. So after that I decided it was an obligation on me having been reasonably prominent in the anti-nuclear camp to say I now accept I was wrong and nuclear is a necessary part of the solution.”
According to Stephen Tindale, the question is, which energy source should we face out first and people concerned about climate change usually are saying that coal must go first before nuclear goes. “Even if you want to be a hundred percent renewables, which not everyone does, but even if you do it’s going to take many decades to get there, probably sixty or seventy at least. So nuclear is an essential low-carbon bridge technology for those decades.” He adds that nuclear is not the whole answer and points out that “technology tribalism for those concerned about climate change is one of the big failings.” All the low-carbon options are needed to address climate change: nuclear, renewables, carbon capture and storage, and energy efficiency. “We must accept that it has to be an all of the above approach.”
Note to the Editor: Nuclear for Climate is an initiative of the French Nuclear Society (SFEN), the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and the European Nuclear Society (ENS), which is supported by FORATOM. It brings together over 50,000 scientists from all over the world represented by 40 regional, national and international associations.