TED Talk: Pro vs Con on Nuclear Energy

  • Published on June 23rd, 2010

Should we be taking a serious second look at Nuclear Energy?

There have always been those – even after Three Mile Island and Chernobyl – who have been staunch supporters. But the country hasn’t built a new nuclear plant in three decades – among other reasons, nobody would finance them.

With climate change the biggest potential disaster facing humanity, there are even environmentalists who now think nuclear power is actually a lower risk. The Obama administration seems to be on board – the recent stimulus package included billions of dollars in direct and indirect subsidies for the industry.

Take a look at this debate from TED, in which Stewart Brand and Mark Z. Jacobson go at it, and then tell us what you think.


Well? Is nuclear power the work of the devil? Or is this a case of “The Devil we know is better than the Devil we can barely imagine”?

And… did this debate influence your thinking?

About Stewart Brand –  Since the counterculture Sixties, Stewart Brand has been a critical thinker and innovator who helped lay the foundations of our internetworked world. Full bio and more links

About Mark Z. Jacobson –  At Stanford, Mark Z. Jacobson uses numerical models to study the effects of energy systems and vehicles on climate and air pollution, and to analyze renewable energy resources. Full bio and more links

About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.
  • disigny

    This discussion is totally out of date. I was against “nuclear power” for 50 years until I heard that there is an ATERNATIVE form of nuclear fission power which doe NOT have Uranium fuel rods, water , steam, hydrogen explosions, or high pressures, or unmanageable wastes. I mean the Thorium Liquid Fueled Reactor (LFTR) It has none of the scary , dangerous aspects of the Uranium LWR plants. This technology was invented and demonstrated as a nuclear fission Aircraft engine during the Cold War. It was of course secret, and after it was cancelled (because of missiles) , it was forgotten about 40 years ago. But we need it now. No CO2 at all. Energy Cheaper than Coal (see book) or Youtube.

  • What I didn’t hear in this debate is how we reduce the amount of energy we use. Seems that this is the place to start.

    • There'll be a panmilierry investment. The nice thing though , is that in the light of depleting resources, many executives are supplying their voters grants to help with the price of installing solar equipment. Remember that if there's excess power produced by a home solar system it can be sold back to the power company.

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  • Nuclear energy is by far the best energy choice for a carbon free energy future.