On Friday, French president Emmanuel Macron received a letter from 45 activists, writers and academics spearheaded by eminent climate scientist James Hansen and Francois-Marie Breon, the lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment report, warning that closing nuclear power plants would be a big step backward for France.
Contained in the letter was the comment: “For France, the next necessary step to help combat climate change and improve air quality is to increase clean electricity from all non-fossil sources and massively reduce fossil fuels used in heating and the transportation sector. Nuclear power must play a central role in this.”
Their pledge follows a similar letter delivered to South Korea’s President, urging him to reconsider his strategy of closing nuclear plants, saying that it would be a negative move when it comes to combating climate change and pollution.
Also this week, a Washington, DC-based organization led by former US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz called for greater federal-level recognition of the importance of America’s nuclear energy supply chain to national security. In its first major report, Energy Future Initiatives (EFI) recommends immediate government action to support and encourage existing and future new-build projects and strengthen the supply chain.
While nuclear power had previously been shunned by environmentalists, now improving technology coupled with better awareness has led to the realization that nuclear power is one of the most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly means of electricity generation is causing environmentalists to warm up to nuclear power as an important part of the global energy mix. As a result, they are encouraging increased nuclear power use, especially in situations where the best alternative to nuclear power is fossil fuels.