Uranium is sustainable

Uranium is a sustainable and relatively renewable. Nuclear energy could solve the most crucial energy problems that our species is facing in this era. Why is nobody talking about it?

I vote for Michael Shellenberger to talk about it in his next Quillette article. Everyone who is with me say “aye”.

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Shellenberger is definitely the guy to do the article. It’d be good to also hear the “con” side. I have a connection with Jon Bonano who is virulently anti-nuclear. He might be able to provide the opposite side. That way we might be able to have a genuinely fruitful discussion.

What are Bonano’s objections?

There is a really good line of objection from Marvin Harris using Karl Wittfogel’s “Hydraulic Theory” for the development of the autocratic-bureaucratic state that holds that control over centralized forms of energy production lead to more autocratic government. In this vein, Harris argues (using historical data from a large number of societies in a non-trivial number of historical cycles that revamped their energy systems similarly) that we would end up with a more autocratic system following nuclear energy - simply because such forms of energy and energy extraction would have to be government controlled.

James Conca wrote an article proving uranium was renewable in Forbes (Seaweed). He has been advocating for nuclear common sense decades before Shellenberger crossed over. Having said that Shellenberger is awesome and I’m proud to be his friend. I attended the first pro-nuclear protest with him in San Francisco.

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Definitely agree. One of my favourite points in Steven Pinker’s book ‘Enlightenment Now’ is where he talks about the French having two types of reactor and over 200 types of cheese, and America having over two hundred types of reactor and two types of cheese.

Bonano’s objections? I’d have to go back and listen to the interview I did with him to get the specifics. In general, I got the impression that he doesn’t think 4th Gen will ever be real. And even if it does end up being brought to market, it will be controlled by people who don’t care about the things he cares about. But it is really unfair for me to try to summarize his position. He is an educated and passionate critic of nuclear, and deserves a listen.

Not every viewpoint deserves equal time.

Good move to say “uranium is sustainable” instead of “nuclear power”. The word nuclear is already something that seemingly can’t get past its negative association. Saying you are “pro nuclear” is like saying you’re “pro hate speech” or “pro racism” nowadays.
It’s a damn shame. If the government is to listen to the voters on nuclear power, like it happened in Italy, it will never be a go.

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