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22nd November 2022|Energy

What is the pro-nuclear movement?

Things in the energy industry appear to be changing for the better when it comes to the nuclear energy sector. It is being argued that the nuclear energy is a form of renewable energy that reduces carbon emissions and increases energy security by reducing reliance on imported energy sources. Although several environmentalist organisations have historically opposed nuclear power, the vast majority are starting to support it, as do some scientists.

Nuclear energy is a heavily debated topic in the society. Nuclear power discussions peaked during the 1970s and 1980s, when they “reached an intensity unprecedented in the history of technology controversies.” In comparison to fossil fuels, the pro-nuclear movement supporters emphasize that nuclear energy produces practically no air pollution, greenhouse gases, or smog. They also claim that the perceived risks of accumulating waste are completely overblown and point to the Western world’s exceptional safety record when compared to the other significant types of power generation. There have been many pro-nuclear movement supporters throughout history, including Georges Charpak, Glenn T. Seaborg, Edward Teller, Alvin M. Weinberg, Eugene Wigner, Ted Taylor, and Jeff Eerkens.

Things that have been done to support nuclear energy

Areva, BHP, Cameco, China National Nuclear Corporation, EDF, Iberdrola, Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Ontario Power Generation, Rosatom, Tokyo Electric Power Company, and Vattenfall are just a few of the global corporations with an interest in the nuclear sector. Many of these businesses engage in public relations and work together with other decision-makers to achieve the expansion of nuclear power.

The nuclear sector has already “tried to convince the public to accept nuclear power,” including the release of various “fact sheets” that address concerns of the general public. By presenting better, safer reactor designs, supporters of nuclear power have attempted to increase public support.

The Nuclear Energy Institute has established a number of subgroups to advance nuclear energy. Among them is the Patrick Moore-led Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, which was established in 2006 and is based in Washington. The former head of the USEPA Christine Todd Whitman has also been involved.

James Lovelock, a British scientist well-known for his Gaia Hypothesis, started supporting nuclear energy production in 2004. He serves as the patron of the Nuclear Energy Supporters. SONE also acknowledges that an electric system dependent on sporadic and low-density sources of electricity presents significant technical difficulties.

In 2014, the American nuclear industry launched a new campaign, hiring William M. Daley, a former Obama administration aide, together with three former senators: Republicans Judd Gregg, Spencer Abraham, and Evan Bayh. Nuclear Matters is the project’s name, and it has started running newspaper advertisements.

The pro-nuclear movement across the US

The Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act S. 512 was presented by a group of eight senators in March 2017. (NEIMA). The Act would enhance the effectiveness of uranium control while supporting the development of the nation’s nuclear industry, modernising the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and creating the regulatory framework necessary to grant licences for sophisticated nuclear reactors. 36 groups, including for-profit businesses, non-profits, and educational institutions, wrote letters in support of this legislation. Even the most notable members of that group, along with other well-known organisations, advocate for the ongoing or increased use of nuclear energy as a source of safe, dependable energy.

Nuclear power facilities produce around 19% of the electricity in the US. Nuclear energy accounts for around 60% of all clean energy produced in the United States. According to studies, when a nuclear power plant closes, carbon emissions skyrocket because only coal burning or natural gas can make up for the enormous amount of energy lost. Despite the fact that there have long been anti-nuclear demonstrations, years of industry-wide examination have increased safety, making nuclear power the safest source of energy now in use.

In contrast to oil, coal, or gas plants, which expose their employees and neighbours to disease and environmental harm, most nuclear power plants’ workers work in health and safety jobs, and they appeal more to the area residents because they generate large amounts of economic activity, attract highly educated workers, and leave the air clean and safe. Hence, they rarely encounter protests from local residents. Traditionally, nuclear engineers have had positions in academia, government laboratories, or the nuclear power business, either directly or indirectly. Young nuclear engineers have proceeded to innovate and start new businesses, taking on the role of entrepreneurs to channel their passion for harnessing the power of the atom to address the climate challenge. In a report published in June 2015, Third Way identified 48 nuclear start-ups or projects set up to work on nuclear improvements in so-called “advanced nuclear” designs. The goal of current industry research is to develop reactor designs that are affordable, proliferation-resistant, and have passive safety features.

Government laboratories examine a variety of additional topics in addition to the same fields that industry does, including new reactor designs, nuclear fuels and cycles, and the design and upkeep of nuclear weapons. The Navy Nuclear Power Program is a key source of qualified personnel for US reactor installations. Due to the retirement of many senior nuclear engineers, the need for improved safety systems in power plants, and advancements in nuclear medicine, the job outlook for nuclear engineers is expected to increase by 9% between 2012 and 2022.

 

The pro-nuclear movement across the UK

One of the biggest proof of the pro-nuclear movement in the UK is certainly the official sign off of the nuclear power plant Sizewell C by the British government. The 3,200 MWe nuclear power station Sizewell C will be located in Suffolk, England and it is to commence before 2024. Its construction is expected to take between 9-12 years, heavily depending on developments at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station which is being built as we speak.

The Sizewell C is a £20bn project and according to Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, it was the “only one way to stop being at the mercy of international gas prices”. It is expected that once the power plant is up and running, it will be able to cover over 7% of the UK’s electricity needs.

As mentioned earlier in this article, nuclear power plants are generally welcomed by the residents in the nuclear power plant area, and this time was no exception – over 61% of Suffolk residents voted in favour of the Sizewell C. They can look forward to 10,000 highly skilled jobs being created in Suffolk and the surrounding areas as a result of this decision.

Pro-nuclear movement supporters

One of the main arguments in favour of nuclear energy and the pro-nuclear movement is the practical requirement for a reliable energy source. Many people now believe that nuclear power is essential for lowering carbon dioxide emissions, including past opponents of the industry. They understand that the threat posed by climate change to humanity is much greater than any risk connected with nuclear power. Although not all, the pro-nuclear movement proponents accept the value of renewable energy in the fight against emissions.

James Lovelock, the man behind the Gaia hypothesis, Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace and the former head of Greenpeace Canada, George Monbiot, and Stewart Brand, the man behind the Whole Earth Catalog, are just a few early environmentalists who openly expressed their support for nuclear power. Lovelock goes further to debunk assertions regarding the peril of nuclear energy and its waste. Moore stated in a January 2008 interview that “I didn’t start evaluating energy policy in general and realise that I had been mistaken in my analysis of nuclear as being some kind of diabolical conspiracy until after I’d left Greenpeace and the climate change issue started coming to the forefront.” The number of scientists and non-scientists who hold environmentalist views that differ from the mainstream environmental position that rejects the use of nuclear power in the battle against climate change is growing (once labelled “Nuclear Greens,” some now consider themselves Ecomodernists). Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information is an organisation made up of other academics and professionals who have founded it in response to the negative effects of the excessive media coverage of nuclear accidents (SARI). This was created after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant unintentionally released radiation in 2011 as a result of a tsunami in Japan, causing unnecessary uprooting and psychological anguish among the locals.

Jobs in the clean energy sector

MAC Projects have been helping energy companies find suitable candidates since 2012, and as mentioned earlier in this article, the energy sector is to increase its workforce further in the upcoming years. Check out some of the renewable energy jobs we are currently recruiting for.

If you are a company operating in the energy industry, please reach out to Shaun on shaundocherty@mac-projects.com or call us on +44(0)191 446 0340 and we will be in touch soon.

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