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nuclear power has returned to the energy debate

"3 Reasons Nuclear Power Has Returned to the Energy Debate" by Jason Bordoff:

A decade after the Fukushima nuclear accident set back nuclear power’s prospects worldwide, the outlook may finally be brightening for three reasons: the urgency of meeting increasingly ambitious climate goals, significant advances in nuclear technology, and national security concerns about China’s and Russia’s growing leadership in nuclear power....

[A]s the urgency to combat the climate crisis grows, there is growing recognition that the pathway to net-zero emissions will be faster, easier, and cheaper if nuclear energy is part of the mix of solutions....

Chernobyl and Fukushima remain seared in the public’s memory, weakening popular support for nuclear energy. Yet nuclear power has resulted in vastly fewer deaths than other energy sources—especially when the basis of comparison is the amount of energy generated. For example, the number of deaths associated with coal-fired energy—including from mining accidents and air pollution—is around 350 times higher than from nuclear plants per terawatt-hour of power produced.

Nuclear power is not without problems. But at the same time, when we refer to climate change as a crisis and existential risk, too often we do not act as if we believe that rhetoric to be true. If we did, we would approach many of the tradeoffs involved in accelerating the pace of climate action differently. When it comes to nuclear power, support would be much stronger if we took our own rhetoric seriously. This is not to ignore the risks and the many other reasons to be skeptical about nuclear power. The question to ask, however, is whether it is easier to address nuclear power’s risks and challenges than to try to achieve net-zero without nuclear in the mix. Available evidence suggests it is.

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