Nuclear Power - What's missing from the debate?

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Nuclear Power - What's missing from the debate? It is not generally a great idea to apologize for one's paper at the beginning, but the majority of this essay is going to include something which Swatties (or at least, I) have a great tendency to do - through attempting to think critically about issues, end up tearing apart the reasoning/argument of the author we don't think has thought everything through, or with whose opinion we do not agree (which, as some of us were informed by a professor of ours, is not very nice). However, I do think this is a worthwhile exercise, especially when dealing with a very real world problem/debate such as that surrounding nuclear power, as everyone can learn from the holes others see in one's argument. Hopefully, as well, you all will help to point out further discrepancies for me and refute my attacks on the author's behalf. In his essay Yes: Nuclear Power Is Safe, and We Need It, Jagger presents a litany of reasons for why nuclear power is safer than other energy-gathering technologies, why it is economically viable, why all of the fears surrounding its by-products are unfounded. He presents his case for nuclear power almost exclusively in relation to coal-burning energy, however. If nuclear power really will solve all the world's energy problems, including reducing the amount of air pollution released each year (which cuts down on respiratory disease, acid rain, ozone depletion, and the greenhouse effect), providing limitless energy to the world through the use of an infinite resource, and doing everything safely and at extremely low cost, why would one consider it in terms of purely the dirty, environmentally unfriendly, dangerous coal industry? Why not take on all possible energy te... ... middle of paper ... .... It does not require an extreme view, but if one looks at the natural environment as being worthy of consideration, in addition to human life, one may find extremely compelling reasons for rejecting nuclear power on ethical grounds. This ethical rejection would be grounded firmly in reasoning and based on facts surrounding the debate, but would not accept the requisite disposal problems associated with nuclear power. I believe that this is the approach we have discussed in class on numerous occasions, and that Hans has been hoping we would adopt it as the way to defend ourselves and our environment. However, it requires critical thinking, constant questioning, a lot of refuting, and awareness of the (disappointing) potential for impurity in science. I hope we can work on developing these kind of ethical approaches to many of the problems we encounter in the future.

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