Shellenberger is training people to actively campaign to keep old, first and second generation, nuclear power stations in Europe open. He has done so in South Korea and in California (USA) and he is now moving to what he calls "the next battleground", Europe. He focuses on countries as Belgium, Sweden, Spain and Switzerland.
Several organisations (like the 'Nuclear for Climate' gang, the Environmental Progress Foundation and of course the older pro-nuclear industry lobby platfoms) are actively abusing the fear for, and debate about, climate change to more active than ever campaign for nuclear energy as part of the solution to prohibit further dangerous climate change. They often do this very smart with communication in which they say to fully support the further development of renewables and savings but always adding that "this won't do the job in time and in an affordable way. We will also need to have more nuclear power". And they invite environmental and renewable energy groups and businesses all over the globe to "fight together against the powers of the fossil industry".
But it is not only about new nuclear power (Thorium, MSR, 4th generation etc); Shellenberger and his allies actively campaign to further postpone the lifetimes of the existing fleet of first- and second generation NPP's. Very strange to call yourself a ecomodernist and at the same time fight for total obsolete and outdated technology.
A technology from the seventies to solve today’s biggest problem?
It’s true, nuclear power produces less CO2 than coal power plants. However, nuclear power isn’t carbon free energy. Besides, there are a lot of other disadvantages to nuclear energy. Nuclear isn’t flexible, it produces dangerous waste and if something goes wrong, it can be disastrous and huge parts of Europe could become uninhabitable for a long period of time.
Old age has its infirmities, also in nuclear power plants. If we want to even more extend the lifespan of power plants in Europe, we are creating an unnecessary risk. We all clearly remember the extreme consequences of Chernobyl and Fukushima. Let us, please, not increase the chance on such an incident in Europe. Furthermore, keeping old nuclear plants open frustrates the development of truly clean and renewable energy. The 'Atomausstieg' of Germany fuelled a great increase of renewables. Moreover, the nuclear waste problem remains unsolved op to now. A dangerous problem for many generations to come, sofar without a proper solution. Most people already decided that nuclear energy is an outdated technology. They are looking forward to a future with truly clean, safe and renewable energy. By continuously casting doubt about modern technology, organisations, such as Environmental Progress, delay our progress towards a sustainable future.
You want to build a house and, as you should nowadays, want to insulate it well. Suddenly someone’s at your front door with an incredible solution: "Asbestos insulation! A beautiful material which has served us well throughout the 70ies, 80ies and 90ies of last century.....". Fortunately you know better. Asbestos is a clear threat to public health and we are removing it very carefully at high costs. Would you buy it, while there are many more sustainable, modern alternatives without risks?
You want to build a society, which doesn’t run on fossil fuels anymore. Suddenly someone’s at your front door with an incredible solution: Nuclear power! he tries to sell it: A wonderfull technology which has served us well throughout the 70ies, 80ies and 90ies of last century.....". Fortunately you know better. Nuclear power is dangerous, dirty, too expensive and un-reliable. It should not be used anymore. Luckily most of the countries that ones believed in nuclear are choosing other energy-paths. They still have to deal with the nuclear legacy, the radwaste that has to be taken care of for 240.000 years. Luckily we have safer, more reliable, cheaper and more abundant alternatives.
A sales trick, we won’t fall for.
Here some extra background articles on Shellenberger, the Ecomodernists and the debate whether nuclear should / can play a role in the fight against climate change.