Another statement/interview by Patrick Moore, Greenpeace
founder. Not new, but worth reading and distributing!
Regards, Jim Muckerheide
no longer involved with Greenpeace
BY DAVID FALCHEK
As a founder of the
international organization Greenpeace, Patrick Moore helped create the
environmental movement but today stands largely alienated from it.
In 1971, he and a handful of long-haired friends in a leaking fishing
boat were arrested by the Coast Guard for trying to disrupt a U.S. nuclear test in the Aleutian
Islands. At other times, they shielded baby seals from clubs. Mr.
Moore went on to be president and later director of Greenpeace until he
divorced himself from the group that he viewed as opposing all, endorsing
little and losing touch with science.
Now he heads a consulting firm that works with timber, pharmaceutical, and
chemical companies and finds himself on the opposite side of the fence from his
former organization on issues such as genetically enhanced foods, clear-cut
timbering, vinyl manufacturing and nuclear power.
Mr. Moore shared
his views of nuclear power during a recent talk with BusinessWeekly:
Q: As a Greenpeace founder, you opposed uranium mining and toxic waste dumping,
often getting arrested in process. Now you support nuclear power. Does the
turnaround have something to do with age?
A: I guess only in the sense that you learn more when you get older.
Circumstances have changed in last 30 years. In the early ‘70s when I
helped found Greenpeace, nuclear technology was unproven and new. European
nuclear plants were dumping waste in the Atlantic,
if you could believe it.
Today, we have 6 billion people who need food, fuel and material every day, and
we need to find a way to provide them.
exception of Chernobyl,
which for design reasons was an accident waiting to happen, we have a good
record with nuclear power. It’s even safer than coal, when you consider
people who die in coal mines. Three Mile Island
contained radiation in an accident about as serious as it could get. It was a
success, but scary. “The China Syndrome” just
came out, and we thought we were all going to die. In the end, no harm was
done. We have 441 reactors operating as we speak, and all have good safety
is the exception that proves the rule.
Q: How would you describe the difference between how a coal-fired plant affects
the environment and a nuclear plant?
A: Coal-fired plants emit a great deal of air pollution. They are improved but
still a burden. They also release a great deal of carbon dioxide, which I
don’t view as pollution, since it is plant food. But CO2 is thought to be
part of the global warming trend, so it’s prudent not to increase it.
Also, we need to
preserve valuable non-renewable resources like coal, oil, and gas — not
just for energy, but for other things we can use them for, like making
plastics. It’s a shame we are burning them all up. Uranium, on the other
hand, has no known use other than energy production.
Q: With the Yucca
Mountain plan delayed,
the issue of long-term storage of high-level radioactive waste hasn’t
been addressed yet. What’s the solution?
A: The waste issue is always brought up, but we haven’t had an accident
with nuclear waste. We’ve had no catastrophic problems like in the
chemical industry, where 3,000 were killed in Bhopal
Unlike the chemical industry then, the nuclear industry knows how dangerous
spent fuel is. Really,
it is not waste at all. We don’t need to dispose it, we need to store it
because it is a valuable future energy source. Only 5 percent of the potential
energy is used in the reactor. It needs to be recycled and reprocessed into new
energy. There’s a policy of not reprocessing fuel in
the United States
because of nuclear proliferation, and that makes no sense. You can’t not
do it just because someone could make a weapon out of it. Machetes kill more
people worldwide than guns — should we ban big knives? If anyone can
police nuclear reprocessing, the United States can.
Q: Do you anticipate an alternative to nuclear energy and fossil fuels in the
next century, something like cold fusion, that would provide an endless supply
of clean energy?
A: Not I don’t. They’ve been working on hot fusion and I guess
there’s some possibility of a breakthrough. Cold fusion just is not real.
I’ve always said we need a combination of renewables, like solar and
wind, with nuclear and fossil fuels. In renewables, I include geothermal, not
just volcanic geothermal, but ground-source heat pumps, which can heat, cool
and make hot water for a building using energy in the earth. Everyone is so
fixated on solar panels, which are still too expensive, when the answer is in
their back yard. Wind also has at least as much potential as hydro. But I
don’t count on a cheap, unlimited source of power in the future.
Q: Were disputes
over energy part of the reason you split from the Greenpeace in 1986?
A: The radical environmentalists have no solutions. I’ve done the math on
how much energy we use and how much we need, and I see no other way to
significantly reduce the use of fossil fuel without nuclear in combination with
hydro and wind. Today’s so-called environmentalists have no appreciation
for technology and how it could be employed to benefit humanity and the
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org