Greenpeace was founded to be an anti-nuclear organization. See, most of the founding members were members of the Sierra Club (another environmentalist organization) but the Sierra Club was actually pro-nuclear power. The Sierra Club was actually fighting against the installation of new dams due to the effect of wiping out large swaths of river habitat and preventing salmon runs and such.

Anyway, in 1971 there was an underground nuclear bomb test by the US government in an area that was geologically unstable. (there were a bunch of tests to see just how geologically unstable). Protesters thought that the test would cause an earthquake and a tsunami.

Anyway, the people who were unhappy with the Sierra club not actively protesting nuclear power, wanted to protest this nuclear bomb test too, so they formed an organization called the "Don't make a wave committee". They sued, the suit was decided in the US's favor, the test went off, and no earthquake happened (which is how the earlier tests said it would go).

At some point, the "Don't make a wave committee" turned into Greenpeace.

Also about this timeframe, Greenpeace started receiving yearly donations from the Rockefeller Foundation.

The Rockefeller Foundation is the charitable foundation created by the Rockefeller heirs that "uses oil money to make the world a better place" but they kind of don't. They've been anti-nuclear since the beginning, and even directly funded some radiation research in the 1950s that lied about safe exposure limits to radiation, claiming that there was no safe limit. That research went on to shape international policy, and by the time new research came out, the policy was already written and thus hard to change.

As a side note, another alumnus of the Sierra Club was approached by the then CEO of Atlantic Oil and directly paid a sum of something like $100k (in 1970 money) to found another anti-nuclear environmentalist organization called Friends of the Earth.


Any good sources on this that you could recommend?


Thanks for these!

Buelldozer, avatar

The Sierra Club and many other Western Environmental Groups have been receiving Russian money for a long time. Money that Russia is specifically spending to increase Western dependence on the Oil and Gas it sells. If it hampers a Western Nation’s O&G or Nuclear development then Russia wants to invest in it.


Yup, but that Russian funding started after the Sierra Club stopped being pro-nuclear power. Which is sad.


I always feel like I’m taking fucking crazy pill when we talk about nuclear energy.

Are we forgetting Chernoble, 3 mile island, or even more recenlty fukishima?

Sure, nuclear energy is great, cheap and reliable… but IF something goes catastrophically wrong, like I dunno… earth quakes, hurricanes, tornados, floods, etc (IE things we can’t really plan for) you run the risk of not being able to fix it easily…

I guess I"m not a huge fan of making large swaths of the earth uninhabital if shit goes sideways.


There are talks about civil war in the US and fears of a further escalation of the war in Ukraine, while Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is in the war zone right now.


Uninhabitable by humans. Chernobyl created a nature preserve in an instant. The coal pollution you’ve inhaled has affected you more than all 3 of these nuclear disasters.


Chernobyl is an acceptable outcome for you? Scary af


3800 people a year die from coal plant pollution in the US alone; there are, in fact, much worse things than Chernobyl


Great reasons to not use coal either.

there are, in fact, much worse things than Chernobyl

So then anything not as bad is A-OK?


More nuclear = less coal, that's the thrust of like half of the comments here dude


I mean, we are using less coal in the US than we were… and that’s without more nuclear.


Chernobyl was a worst case scenario. It has affected millions of people and will have an unknown death toll due to the inability to measure it.

It’s still less harmful than any non renewal able energy source.

Nuclear is a safe, intermediate bandaid while we find a long term solution.

Semi-Hemi-Demigod avatar

This was true a decade ago but since then renewables have plummeted in price. Solar is 5x cheaper than it was a decade ago. Nuclear, meanwhile, has gone up in price by 50%.


A baseline power source is required, until battery tech catches up, or we build a fuckload of dams, something needs to fill the gap.

Semi-Hemi-Demigod avatar

Right, and battery tech is going down in price and nuclear is going up. Which is the better investment?


Where are you going to get all the materials for global energy battery storage boss man?

We’re not talking about storing a couple Kw here and there for each household, there is also industry energy requirements.

Once we start producing batteries for the kind of storage the price of lithium will skyrocket, and you’re in the same, maybe even worse boat of nuclear.

Honestly your best bet is both, idk why you’re so scared of nuclear. If one of these battery storage centres goes up in flames, the amount of toxins released would be disastrous for anyone nearby. And lithium doesn’t really stop once the reaction starts.

There are other battery technologies in the works, which would be environmentally more sound, and be far far cheaper. But it’s not ready yet.

Uranium3006 avatar

Coal emits more radioactive particles into the air than nuclear power plants


Right, but arguably more when they have catastrophic failures


Are we forgetting about airplane catastrophes every time we fly? Or do we live in fear of flying, despite the risk of getting injured being significantly less than when driving a car?


This is like the covid argument. I don’t want to be put in danger by other’s decisions. If you want to fly/drive/go out without covid protection, whatever high-risk activity, don’t force it on me.


An airplane crash doesn’t directly impact people completely unrelated to the airplane. Nuclear radiation has no known boundary. Just look at China being pissed at Japan right now for releasing water back into the ocean.


Depends who it crashes into


Just look at China being pissed at Japan right now for releasing water back into the ocean.

China can be pissed all they like, the water Japan is releasing is heavily diluted, and effectively no more radioactive than normal sea water.


China's not actually pissed about that, they just love coming up with excuses to get their population riled up against Japan.


I mean it’s possible to be both, right?

I live on a great lake, and if Canada started dumping their treated toxic waste into the water, I’d be pretty upset.


I live on a great lake, and if Canada started dumping their treated toxic waste into the water, I’d be pretty upset.

The city of Toronto already does that into Lake Ontario, and probably the same for other cities there.


All of these items are accounted for when feasibility studies are conducted for new plants (and even old plants up for license renewal). Chernobyl was due to the type of reactor (which doesn’t exist in the US), 3 Mile Island resulted in no adverse effects to health or environment and led to more stringent training and equipment upgrades, and Fukushima was built in a poorly selected location.

Of course there’s risk involved with nuclear, but we mitigate those risks appropriately. We don’t stop driving cars because of deadly accidents - we engineer safety systems to mitigate risk.


A car accident doesn’t have ripple effects for those no where near the car accident.

I just think it’s absolutely nuts that, given the volatility of the earth, that we would even risk it.


Id say the immediate risks of climate change are worst.

Semi-Hemi-Demigod avatar

Nuclear power isn't even cheap anymore. Solar power is 5x cheaper per megawatt than it was 10 years ago. Wind power is half the price. Both are cheaper than nuclear, which has gone up in price despite a decade of research to make it cheaper.


My goal is not really to turn this into a discussion, but I feel like your concerns might be based on common misconceptions about nuclear energy.

Chornobyl (Ukrainian spelling) was such a big disaster because it was the first major nuclear disaster. The reactor was built without hands-on experience with the consequences of a nuclear disaster driving the design of the facility itself. We have since learnt a lot about proper design of nuclear reactors and about how to respond to any incidents.

The Fukushima reactor was designed with that knowledge in mind, but the event was a perfect shitstorm consisting of both an earthquake and a tsunami hitting the facility at the same time. And even though the local population might disagree, the disaster was arguably less serious than Chornobyl was. Due in large part to a better design and proper disaster response.

We’re more capable than ever of modeling and simulating natural disasters, so I’d argue we acutally CAN plan for most of those. Any disaster we can’t plan for nowadays is likely to also fuck up an area even worse than the resulting nuclear disaster would.

But probably the most important thing to mention is that nuclear power is a lot more diverse in the modern world. Gone are the days that uranium fission reactors are the norm. They were only popular because they serve a secondary purpose of creating resources for nuclear weapons, in addition to their power generation. With molten salt reactors, thorium-based reactors and SMR (small modular reactors) there’s really not a good reason to build any more “classic” nuclear reactors other than continuing the production of nuclear weapons, which I hope we can just stop doing.

The best way to prevent large scale incidents is to prevent large scale reactors, which is why there’s so much interest in SMR lately.

All in all, we likely can’t fully transition to renewables fast enough without the use of nuclear power as an intermediary. But the actual dangers with modern designs are far fewer than they used to be and we should take care not to give in to irrational fears too much.

To put things into perspective: We currently have no way of stopping a major solar storm that would thouroughly disrupt all modern life, nor can we stop large asteroids heading our way. Both are potentially planet-ending disasters, but the possibility that they might occur doesn’t stop us from trying to build a better earth for the future, right?

Uranium3006 avatar

we're not forgetting, we just know that theyvwern't that big a deal and new reactor designs can't have that happen


The safety of a region is fairly predictable even if the individual disasters aren’t as predictable. If you don’t build on fault lines, earth quakes aren’t generally going to be a risk. If you don’t build in tornado alley, or on the coast, tornadoes and hurricanes aren’t going to be a risk. If you build at higher elevations, flooding isn’t going to be a risk, etc.

And even with those nuclear disasters (that we’ve now learned from and can design reactors to prevent), nuclear has a far, far, far lower death rate per kWh of energy than all fossil fuels. The cost of continued fossil fuel use is already killing the planet, and already too high of a cost. We need to be switching away as fast as we possibly can, and nuclear is a viable alternative among many.


There aren’t “large swaths of thr earth” that aren’t inhabitable because of nuclear. Nuclear kills less people than coal mining - where hundreds of people dying during one catastrophe happens. Renewables aren’t a solution for every country either and cover large swaths of land you mentioned. Hydro also has a huge effect on the environment, despite being the “most green” solution (unless you count the concrete needed to build dams).

Nuclear should be the default. It’s not “profitable” for the people building them who think short term.


Correct me if I’m wrong, but coal powered plants have caused more cancer than any of those events on their own and when operated safely to modern standards they have a very low to no risk of release whereas coal plants release pollutants by design. Nuclear waste is in a solid state so it’s far easier to dispose of underground vs coal which immediately gets put into the atmosphere



Chernobyl right now is an awesome nature preserve thanks to humans being gone. The entire area has been slowly moving back to its original state with even wolves moving back. That last bit is important as wolves have a huge influence on stability in natural habitats.

I know, silver linings, but still.

To the point: nuclear energy doesn’t need to be that bad. Well designed reactor are pretty much safe, and toxic end products are relatively little and manageable in comparison to gas and coal reactors. Chernobyl just was a shit reactor managed by idiots.

Ironically, because of their desig, nuclear power plants do not emit any radiation while coal and oill reactors do emit radiation coming from their fuels. That adds to all the other pollution classic power plants emit.

Then there are other fuels that could / should be used to avoid the “we don’t want people to have plutonium” issue.

Then the two big alternative energy generators wind and solar both have their own issues. No wind? No power. Night? No power. Clouds? No power. Wind farms kill birds. Solar panels require replacement every x amount of years because they degrade. The “no power” problem require huge batteries, or if you’re lucky, an entire lake to store that energy but now that late basically can’t be used for anything else and won’t be able to sustain any life.

Then finally: in comparison, nuclear energy generates enormous amounts of power where wind and solar generates very little. Humanity needs huge amounts of power to live.

Nuclear power plants take a long time to build but then give us huge amounts of power for as long as we need it to. If we really want to move away from CO2 emitting power generation, which we really really really do, I really think we can’t ignore nuclear energy


That’s fair, but you are assuming that the US, or any other nation with a nuclear plant will be run by competent people. I don’t have that faith. Perhaps because I’m pessamistic, but perhaps because I see people like Trump getting elected, or the rise of right wing, anti science, governments getting elected across the globe.

Ukraine likely wasn’t thinking they would be invaded by their neighbor and neighboring countries are now put at risk because of one rogue nation attacking their neighbor.

My problem with nuclear is that IF shit goes sideways, you can’t put that genie back in the bottle. I just watched a documentary on Fukishima, and despite the fact it was built on the ocean, it’s a nightmare of engineering to try to contain the shit show…

Look, I know I’m not going to convince this group that I’m right, but your also not going to convince me that I’m wrong… because you can’t engineer end users or nature out of the discussion. They are always wild cards.


There is 54 nuclear powerplant in US my dude, how many of it exploded catastrophically?


I mean, time is on my side with this argument, no?

Talaraine avatar

Time isn't when you're inhaling smog.


It’s all pretty much been said already, but I feel like I’m taking crazy pills when I read takes like yours.

You mention the possibility of things going wrong with nuclear, but you don’t mention the things currently going wrong with fossil fuels. Coal is killing people right now, and actively “making large swaths of the earth uninhabital”.

Depending on your source, nuclear is either the safest or second safest energy production method, even when including Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Nuclear is not the end goal of power generation, but it is the best we have right now.


3 Mile Island had completely minimal impact. And Fukishima, despite being a cataclysmic combination of unfortunate events and poor planning on that possibly happening, the impact there was also extremely minimal, with the only negative effects more on the evacuation reaction being way wider than necessary.

And, of course, all of that is with decades old facilities that lack many of the mechanisms of modern technology that even further protect and minimize any possible negative impacts.

Heck, a thorium nuclear plant physically can't melt down.


There’s a lot of money in the nuclear industry and they spend a lot of money to shape public opinion about it. No doubt they use troll farms to manufacture consent too. For me, the biggest and most glaring problem with nuclear power is the human element that can’t be trusted long term. Governments and industry will go to any length to cut costs, to line their own pockets, to lie, and put their personal ambitions above anything else. That’s how you get Chernobyls and 3 mile islands and fukushimas. It’s also not financially viable without massive government subsidies and government insurance. It’s highly centralized, and easily controlled and monetized by capitalists. It requires a readily available and reliable source of water which is something that climate change will cause problems for. Plus they take forever to build and cost billions. The answer nuclear bros have to that is to cut red tape, but then you have the problem of Chernobyls and Fukushimas. The fact is, nuclear is not a solution. Capitalism and the idiotic need for endless growth and exploitation is the problem. We need de-growth and switch to a combination of wind, solar and other real clean energy.


This comment has gained me the most attention on the fediverse so I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of these comments are from or directly related to those type of content farms


There are currently 401 operational nuclear power plants worldwide, and you’ve managed to list three (with three mile island not even breaching facilty containment) accidents in 70 years of nuclear energy exploitation. If that doesn’t vouch for safety and reliability of nuclear, I don’t know what does. Unlearn cold war hysteria.

Uranium3006 avatar

Anti nuclear was from a time when you couldn't learn how it works on the internet and people were scared of nuclear weapons and thought power plants were just thinly veiled bomb factories


Ironically, burning fossil fuels is actually making large swaths of the earth uninhabitable. Even if you include nuclear disasters nuclear is outrageously safe…/death-rate-worldwide-by-energy-sou…

And when operating properly coal plants irradiate their surroundings significantly more than nuclear plants…/coal-ash-is-more-radioac…

And we actually can plan for natural disasters. Fukushima was avoidable…/why-fukushima-was-prevent…

Also it’s worth noting that most of the world has the luxury of not building nuclear plants on seismically active, volcanic islands.

blazera avatar

Nuclear energy produces the worst toxic waste guaranteed, and can and has a record of leaking a lot of radioactive material.

When wind and solar are ready alternatives it just makes no sense.


It’s not a question of nuclear vs wind/solar. It’s a question of running baseline power from nuclear or coal/gas, which kill people every single day. It just doesn’t make the news.


Please don’t down vote just because you don’t agree. Please please don’t let this be reddit again


what’s wrong with downvoting because I don’t agree? Isn’t that the whole point of downvotes?


Not really. Ideally people should only downvote when something isn’t contributing to the conversation, and if you disagree you reply to it and voice your disagreement.

But people are going to be people, so it eventually always turns into a “disagree” button, cause it’s much easier than commenting.


how do you determine if something is not contributing to the conversation though?

For example, if I made a pro vaxx post and someone posted some anti vaxx propaganda, would you downvote it?

Helldiver_M avatar

Isn't that just a soft 'rule' established via Reddiquette?


Who decided that's how downvoting should be used? There is no official rulebook (especially on the fediverse), and etiquette is decided as a group, but there isn't clear consensus on this.

The technical function of the downvote is to push the comment down far enough that people won't see it. And so people will continue to use it as a way to communicate that they do not approve of the comment. And telling people to stop downvoting comments they don't like is trying to enforce a rule they never agreed to.


I was adding context to the “downvote button is a disagree button”. We’re in complete agreement.


I down voted you because I disagree.


I'm not downvoting because I don't agree, I'm downvoting because the statement is factually inaccurate - coal power produces more radioactive waste than nuclear power does.


But isn’t the whole point to have a discussion, instead of hiding (related) opinions?

Cylusthevirus avatar

I'm not here to discuss oil and gas industry funded propaganda and disinfo.

troyunrau, avatar

Wind and solar are not magic bullets. Better than fossil fuels, yes. But they come with their own “the ocean is too big to pollute” type quagmires that we overlook when deployed on the small scale. The most basic example: solar panels are dark in colour – deploying a few of them is trivial, but deploying a lot of them over time will cause the average albedo of the earth to change, heating it. This won’t be a problem today, but would be in a century. Etc. Still better than greenhouse gasses though.

Nuclear likewise has issues. You’re just straight up adding heat to the system. And depending on the reactor design, you have waste. But it’s a huge improvement over fossil fuels.

blazera avatar

Solar panels arent typical light surfaces, they dont convert all the light absorbed into heat, their whole point is they convert some light absorbed into electricity.

Add onto the fact black is already a popular roof color.


A coal power station belches far more radioactive contaminants in to the atmosphere than any nuclear power station.

Wind and solar aren’t ready, that’s the whole point! They’re great when it’s windy and sunny, but useless when it’s still and night time. Until mass power storage is a solved problem, wind and solar are unable to provide the base load power that can be provided by fossil fuel/nuclear power stations needed by advanced nations.

blazera avatar

Alright its later today so heres how renewable energy as a baseline supply works. We actually already have a working example of it, hydro electric. Renewable energy thats used as baseline. When you think energy storage i think most people think of batteries, but theyre mostly suited for mobile energy storage, like cars and handheld devices. For utility power we have much more scalable, and simpler energy storage. For hydroelectric, they take excess electricity generated, and power pumps to pump the water back uphill, to use for later demand. Its physical energy storage. You can power a motor to lift a weight and pulley system with excess energy, then run it in reverse as a generator for demand. This is basic engineering, and its as scalable as you need it.


I understand pumped storage well. The problem with it is the required size of the reservoirs and the availability of suitable locations.

Pumped storage as it stands in the UK is really very useful for managing dips and spikes in power demand but unfortunately far, far short of being able to get us through a day or two of no wind.

blazera avatar

Right, pumped storage hydro electric was an example of renewable electricity being baseline load. I gave a different suggestion for wind and solar storage if you dont have a good location for pumped storage.

13esq, (edited )

I honestly think the weight lifting and dropping idea is pipe dream stuff. It’s good on a black board but near impossible to implement practically in real life.

Can you imagine how much stored weight we’d need to cover the energy demands of a nation given a few days of no wind?

You need to ask yourself why, if these ideas are so great, have they not already been implemented.

blazera avatar

Oh god lifting and dropping a weight near impossible to implement? You cant mean that, you cant be that simple minded that you cant imagine an electric motor winding a chain hooked up to a pulley lifting a stone block. What part of this process is unfathomable for you?

It is already implemented, i gave you an example of it being implemented, its an everyday fact of life that we use electricity to lift enough weight uphill to cover times of demand surpassing immediate supply for massive regions.


If we’re going to talk to eachother like we’re cunts;

I wish I could return to a time where I was so naive, the world was a magical place!

I’ll ask again since you avoided the question. Do you have any idea how much lifted weight would be required to power a nation through a few days of no wind?!

Hint: A metric shit tonne would not even be a scratch on the required amount. Where are you going to source that sort of weight, leave alone infrastructure required to repeatedly lift and lower it?

I’ll tell you once again, I’m well aware of hydro pumped storage, its abilities and its short comings. I work as an electrician on a hydro scheme, FFS, you dumb twat.

A weight you could lift and drop to power your own house alone through a few days of no power in itself would be an extremely impressive system and you want to power every house in the nation and all its industry with that concept? It’s time to get a grip on reality and share what ever drug you’re on with me because its obviously some really good shit.

blazera avatar

I will reiterate, that it is an amount of weight lifted that we already achieve, everyday to power entire utility areas. And Im tired of these strawmen. You know what would be an even more impressive feat? Building a nuclear plant to power your own house alone. Building one power plant to power the entire nation, from any source. We're not building to power one home, we're not building to power the entire nation at once.

blazera avatar

To preface, i dont support coal at all, its way worse than nuclear.

If i remember right, the coal thing was measuring radioactivity in the air around coal and power plants. Thats not the nuclear waste im talking about. Spent nuclear fuel is dangerously radioactively for longer than the whole of human civilization. It puts plastic's lifespan to shame. Its no where on the scale of volume as fossil fuel waste, but pound for pound i believe it is the worst substance we can produce.

If you remind me later today ill explain how energy storage is easily solvable, itll take longer than i have now


So you don’t mind radioactivity in the air you breathe around the power stations, but when it’s buried deep inside a mountain it bothers you?

blazera avatar

The air radiation thing is misleading, saying the area around coal plants is more radioactive than nuclear plants isnt saying anything, because the air around nuclear plants isnt radioactive.

Most US nuclear waste isnt buried, because we dont have anywhere ready to. Its stuck in on site storage. It might be safely stored for now, but that waste is gonna accumulate like nothing before because of how crazy long it remains dangerously radioactive. Nuclear waste produced 10000 years from now is still gonna be competing with nuclear waste produced today for room to be safely stored.


@blazera @sv1sjp @13esq
The company Moltex Energy claims they can “recycle waste from existing nuclear power stations, and use it to produce more clean energy”. If true it could solve several problems at once.

osma, avatar

Inaccurate. To take it back to basics:

Radioactive material radiates, because it decays. The more it radiates, the faster it decays. The highest level radioactive material from nuclear fission reactors has half-life measured in decades (30 years), that is, half of it will decay in that time. It does NOT take thousands of years. Conversely, the long-lived isotopes radiate much less, thus are easier to store and process.

blazera avatar

I dont think you read your source quite right. The classification for high level waste is the most radioactive spent fuel, but it is absolutely not safe after a few decades, it decays into still dangerously radioactive isotopes. Maybe you read the part about the dry casques being rated for 40 years but keep reading. They are a temporary solution, and the waste still needs to be buried for tens of thousands of years. Which is a big problem right now because, from your source

At this time there are no facilities for permanent disposal of high-level waste.

osma, avatar

I did not say it was safe, I said after a few decades is far easier to process. It does not remain "crazy" high radioactive for thousands of years - that is pure hyperbole. The chart attached illustrates radiotoxicity if ingested - and no one advises anyone to eat nuclear waste.

Ps. There is a country which has solved long term storage. Guess where I live.

blazera avatar

And what you said was still wrong, it still remains dangerously radioactive, and must be stored for tens of thousands of years. Like, youre not gonna find me a source saying this shit doesnt need to be stored for tens of thousands of years.


Bullshit. Nuclear waste (more precisely, spent fuel that can be reprocessed for new fuel or other useful radionuclids) is the only waste we have actual good solutions for. It's not an engineering problem, we know very well how to safely dispose of the small amount of ultimate nuclear waste.

All the other waste, including waste from producing new and retiring old solar panels and wind turbines, basically just gets thrown into the landscape with no containment whatsoever. And some of that stuff is toxic, some will never degrade (plastics used in composite materials the wind turbine blades and towers are made of).

Plus, if you only used nuclear energy throughout you life, the amount of ultimate waste can literally fit into a coke can. That's how efficient and energy dense it is.


What’s this amazing waste disposal method you’re convinced exists? Last I checked, the waste will still be around for at least a millennia and the only process we have to deal with it is bury it in a hole with a sign that says ‘BAD’ in a way we hope future generations can still interpret.


Kyle Hill has a very educational video about this if you’re interested:


“There would still be waste that would have to be disposed, but the amount of long-lived waste can be significantly reduced,” Gehin said.

“Significantly less” is not defined. Is it 80% less? 50? 30? 10? The guy they’re quoting, who has a vested interest in selling us this tech, sure doesn’t say and uses the qualifier ‘can be’. In fact, I can’t seem to find that information anywhere, let alone this article.

Irregardless, there’s still waste that will take hundreds (thousands?) of years to decay. The solution is renewable energy.


You’re obviously not willing to change your mind, so this will be my last response. Googling “breeder reactor” will show you plenty of peer reviewed papers and findings from past experimental reactors that can answer your questions.

Apart from that, the point of the technology is obviously not to replace renewables, it’s to

  1. Phase out coal and oil as fast as possible.
  2. Get rid of the nuclear waste we already accumulated (by turning it into energy).

Especially point 2, you are obviously and rightfully worried about nuclear waste - breeder reactors are the solution, the only one we currently know of. What else do you suggest we should do with that waste? Store it for millennia?


It’s not that I’m not willing to change my mind, it’s that I’m hugely suspicious of the recent push for Nuclear. Energy companies dumped massive amounts of money into the technology and want to see a return on those failed investments. So I am skeptical that there’s not some astroturfing and/or disinformation going on.

That said, when I was doing the research, I was looking up Fast Fusion, not Breeder Reactors so I’ll look into it.

Also, your point about using nuclear to phase out of coal and into renewable has merit, but I think there’s a danger that we get stuck on nuclear as it becomes easier/cheaper than coal and so development in green tech, like batteries, languishes for another four decades or whatever.

Anyways, I’ll look into breeder reactors and, who knows, maybe have a change of heart (maybe).


Can't you chuck it back into a reactor and reuse it that way, to help reduce the radioactivity, and get more power back out of it?


Out of sight out of mind, right? Great solution. Coke can? Ummmmmmmmmmm nope.


Where do you think the discarded blade of wind turbine go? 🤔

blazera avatar

Not into underground storage for tens of thousands of years


That's precisely where they go—landfills. They're made of non-recyclable glass fiber-plastic composites that won't degrade for millions of years.

blazera avatar

Landfills arent underground, and theyll break down within a millenia. Well the plastic anyway. Then youre left with recyclable glass if it isnt crushed into sand first


Landfills not being underground is even worse (but normally they are buried under soil when they go unused).

While the plastics degrade mechanically, being reduced into small particles, chemically they are not. They just turn into microplastics which I'm sure you're aware is a huge problem.

With the small amount of ultimate nuclear waste that cannot be reprocessed further, the solution is simple: drill a km deep shaft into the bedrock, place them at the bottom, fill the shaft with rubble and cement. Done. No-one's going to accidentally dig them up and they pose absolutely no threat to anyone. The finns are doing something like this as we speak.

blazera avatar

We already have more nuclear waste than we have capacity to store. And we arent reusing that nuclear waste. If you wanna become a nuclear engineer and get them to start using it please do, but right now the nuclear waste plan is to bury it for many millenia

halfempty avatar

Nuclear power is neither safe nor ecologically sustainable. The waste is immensely toxic for hundreds of thousands of years. The model is centralized so wealthy oligarchs own the power source and sell it to everyone else. Better to move toward distributed power generation that isn't massively toxic. Greenpeace must stay anti-nuke.


Kyoto was in 1997. 2030 is 33 years, you can’t seriously consider 1.5 generations is a sprint.

Which, by the way, there is almost no conceivable way we are going to meet the 2030 deadline to maintain 1.5C. We have to think longer term.

There still is no zero emissions technology for long haul airlines, shipping, or pouring concrete for infrastructure. Those are all huge emitters.


If the Great Filter theory is correct, climate change will most likely be our Great Filter.

Our species is simply not equipped with the ability to deal with the problems it created. Many people can, but they’re not powerful to do anything, and there’s too many uneducated people for the masses to rise up about this problem.

We think so short term, it’s impossible for some people to think about the future and accept that we’ll need to change the way we live now so that we can keep living then. They’re hung up on Chernobyl because it was a big bang that killed lots of people at once and it was televised everywhere that has a society and TVs, but they are unable to see that in the long term coal and gas have killed and are still killing way more people than nuclear accidents, because it’s a process that’s continuous and kills people in indirect ways instead of a big blast.


Climate change isn’t really an existential threat. To be a filter it has to kill all humans and even the bleakest models don’t predict that.

Also for it to be a Great Filter it has to be something that ALL civilizations do to kill themselves. Seems unlikely that all civs wou ld even have analogs to gossil fuels in quantities sufficient to do this kind of damage. And the idea that zero of them actually course-correct when they notice it seems equally implausible


I still don’t think it will be our great filter. It will be a filter. But not the end all/be all.


Coal has the same yearly death toll and chernobyl’s total death toll. 80,000.


This is the same problem/argument you have with the argument/perception of planes being unsafe.

In 2022 almost 43000 people died in “motor vehicle traffic crashes”. And yet many believe that Planes are much more dangerous to use than cars because hundreds of people die all at once in a Plane crash.

A Plane crash is automatically a sensation, something that doesn’t happen every day but a car accident happens every day but this isn’t reported as much because it is already a daily routine.

The same goes with the “Coal kills more than nuclear” argument which is even less likely to be grasped by the normal population.

I mean just look at the climate change denier who say “but it is snowing so climate change isn’t real” while at the same time complaining that each summer is so incredibly hot.

All of those things are so incredibly complex that the vast majority can’t understand and outright deny them because they read/heard somewhere that they actually can understand, that it is a hoax. I mean, I wouldn’t count myself to the people that understand climate change but I can understand that it will have a drastic impact on our lives if this goes on.


I think it’s worse than that. We humans are inherently selfish and self-preserving.

People who live far away from any coal mines do not feel threatened by coal, because it will not impact them directly (besides fu**ing up the planet, of course, but that’s another issue humans have with big pictures and long term effect correlation to present small scale actions).

But most people can’t tell where a nuclear plant can be built, so it could be close enough to expose them to a risk of disaster?

Therefore: “Nuclear is more dangerous than coal (for my personal case)”


Apple and oranges. It’s unhealthy and unsafe to live near Chernobyl. It took nearly a decade for people to start moving back to Fukushima Prefecture after decontamination and subsides to lure people back.

The actual cost of a Nuclear disaster is incredibly costly.

It still requires mining, processing and it still produces waste, waste which has to sit at the site of the nuclear reactor or be transported across country to some other temporary site. To my knowledge there is still no permanent disposal site for nuclear waste in the United States.


It’s unhealthy and unsafe to live near Chernobyl.

I’m with you most of the way, but it’s also extremely unhealthy to live near a coal power plant. That’s why they keep building them in or next to neighborhoods where the residents are too poor to be able to effectively sue them for all the cancer and other nasty deaths.


I agree that we need to get away from coal and natural gas. I don’t think Nuclear is the answer though. You’re trading one set of major health and financial problems for another.


Agreed. At CURRENT technology levels, renewable energy is the most cost-effective, creates more and better jobs, can cover 100%+ of the world’s energy needs and is much more reliable and flexible than fossil fuel or nuclear to boot. All that on top of being the only kind that never runs out. Only thing missing is the political will to break with the fossil barons and their cousins the radioactive lordlings to make the transition.

halfempty avatar

Holding up coal as a strawman argument in support of Nuclear power is a fallacy. Both are massively toxic in different ways. One does not legitimize the other.

Designate6361, avatar

Cause once again no one can see the potential advancements nuclear technology can have if it had proper investment. Everyone see’s Chernobyl and Fukushima and then they switch off.

Yes Renewables are better than nuclear for the moment but to demonize and not even discuss it is just burying your head in the sand


To be fair, I also see Hanford (Washington state). I see that we can’t commit to 50 years of maintenance, let alone hundreds of years. I see saddling generations with cost and care so we can have electricity today. I’d feel better about nuclear if we paid for the full cost upfront.


A critical point is that basically all the nuclear power plants ever built are either bomb factories, or modified bomb factories. A lot of the nasty waste is a by-product of this side of things.

A lot of the newer designs are done to not produce significant medium or long term waste. They are also a lot more fail-safe, rather than the “fail-deadly” with layers of protection.

It’s also worth noting that nuclear regulations are extremely strict. If regulated in the same way, most coal power stations would be in breach of the regs. There is more radioactive material in coal dust than a nuclear power plant is allowed to emit. Unfortunately the press loves being alarmist over any nuclear release. Readers don’t have the context for what is safe Vs dangerous.


My hang up is actually on how long the site and materials would need to be cared for to be safe. Unless the technology has shortened that aspect substantially, I have reservations. I really worry about leaving future generations with commitments they had no say in and may have limited benefit from.


I fully agree with you. The newer plant designs use different types of nuclear fission. They don’t produce the really nasty waste. In fact, some designs can effectively eat it as fuel. There is still some waste, but it’s generally the low grade stuff e.g. gloves with slightly toxic materials on them. You want to keep them away from the water table, but you likely wouldn’t be able to tell, without specialist equipment.

Thorium reactors are a good example.


The European Commission is being sued by environmental campaigners over a decision to include gas and nuclear in an EU guide to “green” investments.

Eight national and regional Greenpeace organisations including France, Germany and EU office in Brussels are asking the court to rule the inclusion of gas and nuclear invalid.…/eu-faces-legal-action-gas-nucle…

I totally support Greenpeace in this. Neither nuclear nor gas should be considered a “green” investment. Ia Aanstoot, the “18 year old climate activist”, is wrong to support the European Commission’s stance on this.


I agree with not including gas. But not including nuclear is counter to the notion of being green. Nuclear does NOT produce carbon pollution and it is important to decarbonizing


Nuclear costs a huge amount. It does produce waste. There are still safety concerns regarding nuclear power, which only increase as our reliance upon it increases. Investing in renewable energy makes more sense.


You need to have base power and either be nuclear or hydro and hydro is heavily dependant on the environment. So we should invest in both

For example Ontario is 60% nuclear, 20% hydro, 9% renewables and 11% gas about. So we should invest in both to eliminate natural gas.


They are considered green because they’re as green as fossil fuel gets (pretty much) and they’re very important for base load and peak covering


This thread: nuclear is far better than fossil fuels

Everyone else: nuclear is not as good as renewables

This thread: nuclear is far better than fossil fuels



I wouldn’t even agree with the middle.


Yeah nah, no one is saying that. What people are saying is that neither is fundamentally better than the other, and usage should depend on geographic conditions, sociopolitical considerations, materials and experience. Moreover, while both are not receiving sufficient investment and development, Nuclear in particular receives unwarranted opposition and remains unable to advance due to a lack of funding and support


We’ll have to disagree. Renewables can be scaled faster and cheaper and also secure the grid through decentralization.


It’s me, I’m the nuclear lobby.

Nuclear is the achievable & practical interim solution to power an industrial society until renewables become practical / scale up to meet demand. We can build reactors in the short term, they uncouple the economy from bad faith actors like russia & opec, and their more efficient than renewables at scaling right now. Small modular reactors can even be dropped into existing coal plants and recycle their steam turbine hardware.

Frankly I don’t care if renewables are better in the long term, because there won’t be one if we don’t kill coal plants entirely very soon.


We’ll have to disagree. Renewables can be scaled faster and cheaper and have the added benefit of securing the grid through decentralization.



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  • rusticus,

    Lol. Helium is the only element in the periodic table that is non-renewable.

    And you forgot to mention dilithium crystals.


    Amazing to me that on a platform that is the epitome of the power of decentralization we don’t see the same advantages with energy production and storage.

    I am not in favor of development of nuclear power for 2 reasons:

    1. Uncertain future costs. Building a nuclear reactor is very expensive and takes a long time. The cost curve for renewable production (solar, wind) as well as storage (batteries) has fallen so dramatically in the last decade it’s impossible to make a financial commitment to building a nuclear plant. That’s why there are very few applications in the US (…/new-reactor-map.html) - nobody wants to financially back an investment that is likely a money loser.
    2. Grid security and stability. Having centralized power sources has exposed the US grid to inadequate security and protection from attack (…/problem-us-power-grid-its-too-vuln….). The solution is decentralization, which occurs naturally when solar/wind and batteries are used for storage. For those arguing battery technology and deployment is inadequate and impossible for grid stabilization, there is an easy solution to this problem - VTG. We are deploying hundreds of thousands (soon to be millions) of EVs. Vehicle-to-Grid technology can solve the storage problem with renewables very easily and in parallel to the goal of transitioning to renewables.

    Are you in favor of shutting down existing nuclear plants in favor of coal? This is for example the action that Germany has taken, supported by the “Green” party


    Of course not. Existing serviceable plants should be producing. However, regulation needs to be improved. For example, many of the existing plants in the US have non-functional back up generators and pumps. Nuclear power is theoretically incredibly safe. Unfortunately with deregulation and human’s natural tendency, nuclear power is practically unsafe. My simple goal is to decarbonize in the fastest and cheapest way possible. And that is maximize existing and employ solar/wind/batteries as fast as possible.


    I completely agree. At this point it is probably more possible to quickly decarbonize the grid with wind, solar, etc. We should’ve been building nuclear 30 or 40 years ago. At this point it’s too late to replace fossil fuels with nuclear, though we probably ought to build some nuclear for the stability of its output to decrease energy storage needs as we transition to renewables.


    To those of you who propose 100% renewables + storage. In cases with no access to hydro power. How much energy storage do you need? How does it scale with production/consumption? What about a system with 100TWh yearly production/consumption?


    Interesting product. Reading about it quickly it seems to have a problem with self discharge. But perhaps they have ironed out that problem. There is no shortage of promising battery news, but there seems to be a problem getting them to mass production. Hoping this one is different.


    EVs with VTG. Problem solved. More importantly, energy production (solar plus wind) and storage (batteries) are completely decentralized, which is a huge security improvement for the grid. It amazes me that a platform that is decentralized doesn’t beat the drum for the same for energy production and storage.


    Is there any more in-depth analysis to show how many EVs would be needed to make this feasible, how this would work with time of day use of power from commutes vs generation from solar power, how long the grid could stay powered this way, impact on consumers range, etc? I think the concept seems simple at first but would it actually be resiliant relying on just EV batteries? A cloudy week could see everyone run out of power, for example.


    A single Tesla powerwall has 13.5kwh of usable energy. An average Tesla car has between 70-100kwh of usable energy. The average American home uses about 30kwh/day ( There are about 141 million houses in the US. There are 275 million personal and commercial vehicles in the US. So there would be plenty of capacity once you replace a significant chunk of those vehicles with EV.

    Cloudy weeks don’t occur over large areas - if you look at solar or wind production over an entire county or state, for example, it varies very little (that’s also the advantage of using both sun and wind - when one is bad the other is typically good). So the solution to intermittency is mass adoption.


    I live in a 1000 square foot two bedroom condo. When it gets below 20° f, which does a lot during the winter, I have to use the auxiliary heat on my heat pump unit.

    That’s 7.5 kW.

    So just to stay warm during the night, when solar stops working, I would need 3-5 Power Walls?


    Nice to meet you MrFagtron An EV would be a much better investment than powerwalls but it’s hard to be specific on a case by case basis. Hope that helps MrFagtron.


    Get a better heat pump that doesn’t need aux heat? I know Mitsu “hyper heat” minisplits advertise high efficiency to -10F.

    Powerwalls are overpriced for their capacity. Grid storage operators pay ~$150/kwh for batteries, then I’d guess about the same for charging/inverter electronics. I also see EV West sells 3.5kwh Samsung batteries to average consumers for $700 (I’m sure they’re charging a large markup as well).


    Are you going to buy me a new heat pump?

    Also why doesn’t anyone make a hyper efficient central system? I’ve only seen those hyper efficient units as mini splits.

    Are you going to replace my 2016 Sonata I spent $13k on buying in 2018 with a $55k EV with car to grid for me?

    What happens if it’s dark and cold for multiple days? I just can’t drive because my car emptied out running my minisplits?


    Lol. Was just offering suggestions you may have not known about. Off-grid isn’t practical for many people who aren’t willing make sacrifices just for the sake of it. Some people like the challenge and lifestyle. Renewable power plants are more efficient than residential. I think used Leafs can be pretty cheap, and even new EVs, solar panels (grid-tied), and more efficient appliances can save you money in the long run. Not sure if it makes sense to sell EV charge back to the grid (I guess it does if the price is right).

    I’ve heard of some people on certain electricity plans overheat or overcool their house when electricity is cheap to save money (acting kinda like storage for when electricity is more expensive).

    penitentOne, (edited )

    In regards to V2G. Tesla is not even supporting bi-directional charging at this point and it is just now starting to become a bit more common in newer models. It would be interesting to see more detailed example about this. You would also need to include the usage of industry and commercial which as far as I know together account for more than residential usage. How about availability in terms of SOC and being plugged in or not. I think this is a bit more difficult to solve than you are alluding to but I’m happy to be proved wrong.


    This is a far easier problem and solution than building a nuclear reactor. And it’s utilizing something (EVs) that we need anyway so improved utilization of resources.

    MattMastodon, avatar


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  • penitentOne,

    Probably a good move by Tesla. I’ve been on team EV for a decade and hope V2G works out. But I’ve yet to see a convincing argument that it will work as the main storage method.

    MattMastodon, avatar


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  • penitentOne,

    Ok this is interesting. Do you have a source for this figure? You are saying that 1.3 million EVs would be enough to support the UK were it to transition to wind + solar entirely (my initial question)?

    MattMastodon, avatar


    1.3m EV could store 1.3million x 50kwh = 65gwh

    The UK uses 28gwh on an average day

    It seems to add up quite well. These guys looked at it.


    Yeah at higher latitudes the energy consumption is highest when renewable production is lowest.


    Geothermal would work, but it is very expensive unless you have a large property or a decent sized pond.

    It would still require power from other sources, but would dramatically reduce demand.


    Geothermal was trialed and deemed unprofitable. Nuclear power has been serving our baseload needs for 50 years.


    Solar yes but not wind.


    On coldest days in jan and feb the wind production here is nearly zero.


    I’m glad your fellow countrymen have already got this figured out. Finland is a world leader in bioenergy.…/finland-energy#:~:text=Renewable ….


    Doesn’t energy made out biomass (like wood-fuels) release a lot of CO2 as it’s still a carbon source?

    Also, in the same article, nuclear energy seems to be pretty high up too (if not higher) and they’re building a new reactor, showing that it’s not one or the other, but a combination that’s probably the best.


    Present day carbon cycling is okay. It’s when you take captured carbon from millions of years ago and release it without capturing it that has gotten us into trouble.


    How do you generate energy during the winter? Are we going to run HVDC to the Sahara and connect them globally?


    Finland has it figured out - see link below.


    Yes: nuclear plant:

    Over time, Olkiluoto-3 is expected to reduce the need for electricity imports from Russia, Sweden and Norway and lead to lower prices. Olkiluoto-3 will run alongside two existing reactors, eventually becoming Europe's most powerful reactor.

    Once regular energy production ramps up in July, the reactor will supply about 14% of Finland's energy at 1,650 megawatts


    I am not sure when the narrative around nuclear power became nuclear energy vs renewables when it should be nuclear and renewables vs fossil fuels.

    We need both nuclear and renewable energy where we try to use and develop renewables as much as possible while using nuclear energy to plug the gaps in the renewable energy supply

    rikudou, avatar

    Easy, by paying people to spread misinformation.


    That’s the “how”. The other commenter was unsure about “when”.


    Nuclear energy can not be used to “plug gaps”. The power that it produces can not be varied very quickly. The goal should be to only have renewable in the end.


    What I meant by gaps was that nuclear can be used in areas where solar or wind is not feasible yet or in areas where solar or wind cannot fulfill the energy demands.

    Also we have very good control over nuclear power generation. There are a variety of methods using which we can control the reaction rate of the fission process


    Solar panels aren’t truly renewable since they degrade over time and need to be replaced after around 20-30 years. Yes they can be recycled, but so can (and is) nuclear waste.

    Everything has a cost and you can’t escape entropy.

    LoveSausage, avatar

    Minimum warranty for good solar panels at 90% is 30 years , they will last 60 (no one knows exactly) albeit not as efficient.

    lewis6991, (edited )

    I just had some installed. Guaranteed 80% efficiency for 20 years. I heavily doubt they will last 60 years.

    Had energy storage installed as well. Only guaranteed 90% (~4500 cycles) for 10 years.

    EDIT: double checked the data sheet. They are actually 86% for 25 years with a rated 0.5% per year degradation rate.

    LoveSausage, (edited ) avatar

    Quite sure mine had 30 years at 90 % . But it was the really good mono ones. Storage is a completely different story. But hey even if they are down to 25% I would keep them and just add new ones.

    0.5 would mean 30 for 60 years also…


    This is true; nothing is sustainable at geological time scales. Human technological civilization even less so. Just look at how badly North Africa, the Middle East and China’s environment has been degraded through thousands of years of organic (!) farming. The Middle East used to have enormous cypress forests, and North Africa was full of wetlands where the Qattara Depression now resides.

    SMITHandWESSON, avatar

    Let’s not forget about nuclear fusion, which will be way more efficient and have less waste if we can figure it out!!!😉




    This is the product of a couple of cultural movements in previous generations.

    1. People who conflated their Cold War-era opposition to nuclear weapons with opposition to nuclear energy. The Venn diagram with early environmental movements has considerable overlap.
    2. A more general and mostly-irrational fear of nuclear energy mostly stoked in the U.S. by Three Mile Island, which is a case study in good nuclear accident management with piss-poor public relations. (See: the first few seasons of the Simpsons many gags about the dangers of the power plant.)
    3. The current environmental movement’s general unwillingness to acknowledge nuclear energy as a very advantageous tool in the push to eliminate fossil fuels. Why? Over-optimism about where renewables are now and continued influence of the Boomers from #1 who taught all of their university classes.
    4. Over-reaction to Fukushima, particularly in the EU (other than France). And then doubling down until Ukraine forced their hands when Russian gas became an embarrassment.
    SpaceCowboy, avatar

    A decade ago I’d agree with you. But given the amount of time needed to get a nuclear power plant online, if we tried to use nuclear to replace fossil fuels, it’ll probably be too late. Add to that the fact that the cost of wind and solar has dropped significantly and the fact we’d be trading dependency on resources from a group of unstable countries to a dependency on resources from another group of unstable countries, it just seems like nuclear just isn’t a very good option any more.

    Of course there could be a tech change (like fusion) which alters this, but the days of fission are past. Keep the plants that are currently operational going, and if there’s construction near completion, then sure. But I feel like fission has become a bad option for new developments. Takes too long and there’s better solutions available that don’t depend on resources from other countries.