I think there is no way to explain the existence of this website without a personal note. Although I’ve felt deep concern for our environment ever since I was 8 years old, I’ve never been much of an activist. Really being for or against things felt like limiting my perspective – I rather took sides with the curious.
In 2010, I considered to take up a journalistic project on energy and especially sustainable energy. I felt that most of what I read about in papers and magazines was confusing – most articles left me guessing about the relevance of all sorts of solutions and techniques discussed. My son, by the time doing his master degree of physics, advised me not to write anything before I had read David MacKay’s Sustainable Energy – without the hot air.
I read the book.
MacKay’s position that we need ‘a plan that adds up’ struck a note. His scheme on page 164, about ‘the first sustainable figure that beats current consumption‘ got me interested in nuclear energy. His references on thorium put me on the track of molten salt reactors. That’s where I got really interested.
Obviously, I had my beliefs about nuclear power. Beliefs that had remained unquestioned for decades – I simply never stumbled upon a reason to question them. I did not feel strongly opposed to the idea of nuclear power – my position was, simply put ‘nuclear energy may not be as bad as many believe, but the question of long term nuclear waste remains unanswered, so maybe better avoid that road’.
In the process that followed, I discovered I had quite a few mythconceptions about energy, nuclear energy and its real and perceived risks. I’ve come to believe that these mythconception are widespread and are a major obstacle in any effort to make energy plans that add up.
So, yet another site of a blind-for-the-dangers-pro-nuke-enthusiast? Nope. Even Alvin Weinberg, known in his day as probably the most vehement advocate of a bright nuclear future, has admitted that grave mistakes have been made by himself and his fellow advocates. But mistakes in the past should be no excuse for ignoring developments that may allow us to make a plan that adds up – starting a few years from now. Anyone who wants to end the use of fossil fuels make a big mistake by ignoring nuclear power, and especially the development of a new generation of nuclear technology.
Yes, nuclear power plants can be dangerous. Coal power plants, wind-mills, roofs full of solar panels and fireplaces in homes can also be dangerous. Unlike these, nuclear power plants based on presently unused but available technologies have the potential to provide human kind with clean power in a responsible way for tens of thousands of years. Once these technologies will start being deployed, human kind may even have to prepare itself for a future based on clean, affordable and plentyfull energy.
Meanwhile, closing existing nuclear power plants will be severely hampering our ability to reduce CO2-emissions. Anyone who is serious about CO2-reductions should be aware of of the fact that closing a nuclear power plant equals introducing about a million new cars on the road.
Nobody’s asking you to believe this. This site aims to provide you with information, encourage you to check what you hear and think you know, and challenge you to dare to think for yourself.
Gijs Zwartsenberg, March 2014