Is such a thing possible? Is it possible to do everything that the critics of nuclear power demand? My answer is, yes it is. Nuclear scientists have known since the 1950s how to do it. The design and construction of safe, low-waste or no-waste, low-cost reactors has not occurred because doing so lacked support, or encountered strong opposition. Opponents of advanced solutions for nuclear power have included the builders of existing reactor designs, fossil-fuel producers, and environmentalists. Far from being enemies, there has always been a tacit alliance between fossil-fuel interests and and anti-nuclear environmentalists. As early as 1975, Environmentalist Amory Lovins and John Price, proposed that a "coal based, fusion free bridge," to solar power be used in preference to nuclear power. Thus for Lovins and Price, CO2-emitting coal burning power plants constituted an ethical intermediate phase between the present energy scheme and an ultimate renewable energy plan. (See "Non-Nuclear Futures: The case for an ethical energy strategy, by Amory B. Lovins and John H. Price, (1975)). And yes, Lovins and Price were warned about the dangers of Anthropogenic Global Warming by Alvin Weinberg, and no they did not pay the slightest attention.
Weinberg asked of Lovins,
Granted that nuclear energy is imperfect, ought we not try, to improve both technology and social institutions, to remove the imperfections?Amory Lovins tends to ignore difficult questions that point to weaknesses in his positions. And surely Alvin Weinberg pointed to a major weakness in Lovins's views. Indeed the weakness which Weinberg pointed too is one shared by all anti-nuclear environmentalists. Given that the safety record of the conventional nuclear industry has grown steadily more impressive, and that options for making nuclear power even safer are now better understood, and that some of these options involve the use of technologies that solve the problem of nuclear waste, while lowering nuclear costs, why don't anti-nuclear environmentalists support improving nuclear technology and the human institutions that safeguard nuclear power? Are we dealing with rational and valid opposition to nuclear power, or simply nuclear-phobia?