Former Greenpeace director explains his support for nuclear energy

July 13, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe


“Nuclear energy is the safest of all the electricity technologies we have.” This statement by Patrick Moore, former director of Greenpeace in a recent interview on NewsNation’s “Special Report,” is at odds with the position of the environmental organization he helped found.

New EU taxonomy: Moore did the interview in the wake of the European Parliament’s controversial action to support the addition of nuclear energy and natural gas to the European Union’s taxonomy of environmentally sustainable, green technologies. In response to that action, Greenpeace announced that it would submit a formal request to the European Commission to review the move and, if necessary, mount a legal challenge to the action with the European Court of Justice.

Accidents are the exception, not the rule: Moore expressed his strong disagreement with Greenpeace’s antinuclear position, emphasizing that there are more than 100 operational nuclear power plants in the United States and Canada—none of which have ever caused an injury or death from radiation or an accident. Even the well-known accidents at the Three Mile Island and Fukushima “did not harm anyone, never mind kill anyone from radiation.” The only nuclear accident that has resulted in human injury, he pointed out, was the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union, which he attributed to the Russians’ faulty reactor design, adding, “No other nuclear plant in the world has ever had that kind of nuclear accident.”

Being sensible: For an avowed environmentalist, Moore presented an unusually practical perspective on energy options. “Nuclear is the one technology that can actually replace a lot of the fossil fuels. Not because of [carbon dioxide] or climate change, but because fossil fuels are precious, and we should save them for things that can only be done with fossil fuels, like flying airplanes, [or powering] large trucks and big farm equipment.”

Moore’s new remarks are in line with his previous calls for “sensible environmentalism” that balances “environmental, social, and economic priorities.”

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