Enlightenment Now is Steven Pinker’s latest book. Pinker was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2004 and his books are regularly featured in the best-selling lists.
For years, grid parity – the time when solar and wind would be cost-competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear – was the holy grail of renewables energy, a target to reach in a distant future. But the future is now.
Having access to the Seattle Public Library I was able to borrow this book that was strongly recommended to me by Jimmy Jia, one of the many bright faculty of Pinchot University.
Would you buy two examples of a very expensive and complex product that nobody has ever seen functioning ? The most likely answer is ” No “. Yet that’s exactly what the United Kingdom did buy buying Monday two EPR reactors.
The European Pressurized Reactor is an evolution of third generation nuclear reactors. It was developed by Areva and Siemens – who since withdrew from the project – in the 1990s and 2000s.
Safe and clean nuclear energy seems everyday further away as the horror story of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan unfolds. Each passing year seems to bring its flow of bad news. As the New York Times notes : ” Problems at the plant seemed to take a sharp turn for the worse in July … Read more
While I am not advocating nuclear as much as I was doing a few years ago – the incident in Fukushima have shown how the technology can be dangerous – I am still believing that it is better than coal. (Sidenote : anything IS better than coal…)
According to a study quoted by Cleantechies, ” The use of nuclear power from 1971 to 2009 prevented more than 1.8 million premature deaths related to air pollution and 64 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions. “
Of course, there are huge safety concerns over nuclear and having it based on plutonium over thorium wasn’t the best idea Humankind had, but who knows what will happen.