GreenWorld is published by Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS, http://www.nirs.org). As you might expect, we will be covering nuclear power in all its manifestations and issues: nuclear reactors, old and new; radioactive waste; uranium and the front end of the nuclear fuel chain, the effects of radiation, and more. We make no effort to shroud our position: NIRS was founded in 1978 to work with grassroots groups and individuals across the world for the speediest possible end to nuclear power. In short, we’re against it–and for good reason: the facts show that it is a dangerous, dirty and expensive way to produce electricity, among other drawbacks.
But it’s not, of course, enough to be simply against something. If nuclear power were the only way to generate electricity, the facts might look differently. Context matters. Electricity is a necessity, and we’re not Luddites. For that matter, no one who publishes an internet blog could seriously claim such a title anyway. Fortunately, there are many ways to generate electricity, and increasingly many ways to store and distribute electricity. Some, like coal, are also dangerous and dirty. We’re against those too.
What we’re for, what we strive for, is a clean, sustainable, affordable energy future; one that we encapsulate in the phrase “nuclear-free, carbon-free.” That means renewable energy, especially solar and wind, but also geothermal in appropriate locations, and some types of biomass–though certainly not the industrial, forest-clearing, polluting technologies that currently encompass far too much of what is termed “biomass” these days. It means energy efficiency and distributed generation; energy storage too, which is becoming increasingly practical on almost a daily basis.
As we move further into the 21st century, it’s clear we are beginning to develop entirely new models of electricity production and distribution. The model that initially served well to electrify the nation and much of the world last century, that relied on large “baseload” power plants with their electricity distributed through centralized electric utilities private and public to homes and businesses, is growing obsolete, as are the technologies–nuclear, coal and the like–that formed the basis for the model. Too much electricity–about two-thirds of that generated–is simply wasted as heat or on long-distance power lines. Too much carbon is emitted into the air, endangering our entire planet. Too much radioactive waste is created and radiation routinely released into our air and water. There are better ways to meet our planet’s need for power.
We’d like to say that the sustainable energy future we envision is inevitable. And in the long run–if indeed our planet still has a long run to go despite the best efforts of some to destroy it–it probably is inevitable. But the electric utility industry is large and powerful–in many Congressional districts for example, the local utility is the largest single employer. That gives them clout. And the nuclear, coal and other polluting energy industries are also large, powerful, and persistent. They’re not going to just give up. The natural gas fracking revolution shows that dirty industries can take advantage of new technology just as clean ones can: change is always inevitable; the right change requires people to care, to learn, and to act.
All of which makes this, from the perspective of an advocate and an author, an exciting time. Times of great transition and conflict usually are–and that’s what GreenWorld will be covering and commenting upon.
We’ll be linking to the most interesting and/or important news stories of the day, and often writing about them–providing background journalists and other scribes either leave off or don’t know themselves. We’ll be providing in-depth coverage of issues otherwise entirely uncovered. We hope we’ll be doing this in a manner that is both informative and fun to read. You, the readers, will be the ones who will let us know if we’re accomplishing those goals.
At the onset, GreenWorld will be written and produced by NIRS’ President, Michael Mariotte. In the coming weeks and months, all of NIRS’ staffers will be provided their own pages on this site to write about their own areas of expertise and their own opinions. While this is a NIRS site, opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of NIRS–we want to give our staff free reign to comment how they please.
Which brings us to reader comments….we will accept and encourage reader comments. However, they will be moderated. Flaming, ad hominem attacks, assertions not backed up by fact, etc, won’t be published–so don’t even waste your time writing them. And don’t bother telling us things like the sun doesn’t always shine or the wind doesn’t always blow. Believe it or not, we’re alive and we’ve all spent time outdoors–we know that. What’s interesting to us is the success (and sometimes failures) of technologies and practices that attempt to address that reality.
We hope that our readers will find this site to be a useful platform to connect with others across the U.S., and the world, interested in ending nuclear power and other polluting energy sources and building a society based on clean, affordable and sustainable energy. We hope you’ll trade ideas and experiences and support each other’s campaigns. We hope you’ll learn something every time you stop here, we hope you’ll teach as well.
It’s with great optimism that we enter the new year. The nuclear industry found itself on the run in 2013. It’s our intent to keep them that way–to support campaigns to close more aging, decrepit, uneconomic atomic reactors, to stop any new ones still hoping for a construction license, to redirect radioactive waste policy away from what is best for the nuclear industry and toward what is best for the American people.
Optimism can be infectious–and can lead to great things. It’s a wild time. And we’ll do our best to chronicle it right here.
December 30, 2013