Richard Rhodes – who has spent his entire career looking at the lives and work of men and women who wrested energy from the atom – has a cogent rumination on the need for nuclear power, stimulated in part by Robert Stone’s noteworthy new documentary Pandora’s Promise which I previously reviewed here. His thoughts have been highlighted by NYT columnist and blogger Andrew Revkin.

For environmentalists and concerned citizens like Rhodes, the transition from nuclear power skeptic to enthusiastic supporter was driven in part by simple logic and research and, more urgently, by concerns about global warming:

We all, one way or another, started out opposed to nuclear power. Each of us then learned more about it or confronted challenging conditions — global warming in particular — that led us to reconsider our opposition and change our minds. That intrigued Stone, since we all now speak and write in favor of expanding its use.

(Gweneth) Cravens and I, for example, both encountered respected scientists, men of honesty and integrity — in my case, the Nobel laureate physicists Hans Bethe and Luis Alvarez, among others — who quietly educated us in the relative risks and benefits of nuclear energy. As a result, we both concluded, independently, that the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.”

By Ashutosh Jogalekar

Read full article on Scientific American