Activists debated whether nuclear power has any place in the fight against climate change at a meeting organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change last week.
Stephen Tindale, former executive director of Greenpeace and a recent convert to nuclear power, put the case for.
“Nuclear power is pretty nasty, and Fukushima has demonstrated that again,” he said. “But it is less nasty than coal.
“The numbers already being killed by climate change are more than the number ever killed by nuclear power.”
He said it was possible for the world to be powered by renewable energy, but it would take decades to get there. “We need to live in the real world – we need low carbon bridging technologies.”
Darren Johnson of the Green Party put the case against nuclear.
“Campaigning against nuclear is what got me involved in the green movement and in politics 25 years ago when Chernobyl happened,” he said.
“Not only is nuclear power too dangerous, it’s too costly and it’s too slow.”
He pointed out that even if a new nuclear reactor was built every ten days for the next 40 years, nuclear would still only provide a tenth of the world’s energy by 2050.
“If we are to get serious about tackling climate change we need a real transformation of our economy.”
He backed the campaign’s Million Climate Jobs programme as part of that solution.