Answering Objections

Kristin Shrader-Frechette

in What Will Work

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794638
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919277 | DOI:

Series: Environmental Ethics and Science Policy Series

 Answering Objections

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Chapter 7 answers 8 of the most common objections that nuclear advocates might make to the arguments of the preceding chapters. These objections are as follows: Why did the US even begin using atomic energy, if fission is as expensive and risky as the preceding chapters have argued? Why does France have such an apparently successful atomic-energy program, if fission is as expensive and risky as the preceding chapters have argued? How is it plausible that official government and nuclear-industry cost estimates could err by 400 or more percent, as previous chapters have argued? Why is there now an apparent renaissance of nuclear-power construction, if this technology is expensive, carbon-intensive, and risky, as this book has argued? Why is renewable energy apparently growing so slowly if it is both cheaper and safer than nuclear fission? How can renewable energy possibly take the place of coal or nuclear power—both of which apparently supply baseload electricity—whereas renewables like wind and solar energy allegedly supply intermittent electricity? Given the severity of CC, why isn’t a mixture of various technologies, including nuclear fission (rather than merely conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy alone), a more reliable way to address CC? Why can’t other technologies, such as breeder reactors, address the uranium shortage? The chapter calls these 8 questions, respectively, (1) the US Objection, (2) the France Objection, (3) the Implausibility Objection, (4) the Nuclear-Renaissance Objection, (5) the Growth-in-Renewables Objection, (6) the Intermittency Objection, (7) the Energy-Mixture Objection, and (8) the Uranium-Depletion Objection. The chapter shows all these objections err, that the public has been grossly misled by nuclear-industry PR, and that efficiencies and renewable energy are cheaper, safer, more ethical, and less GHG-emissions-intensive, than atomic power.

Keywords: coal power; ethics; France; nuclear advocates; United States

Chapter.  14603 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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