World Bill Gates: nuclear power will once again become essential
The Right Path Forward on Climate Change | Opinion
Whether we have a climate crisis is no longer a matter of worthy debate. Precisely how we solve it is. Gates and I are both optimistic. We both see a path forward. And ultimately, it may be the same one. Michael E. Mann is distinguished professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. He is author of the recently released book, The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet. The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.
"Nuclear energy will become politically acceptable again, because it is safer and cleaner than oil, coal and natural gas." Here is the clear observation that Bill Gates addressed to television during an interview onon February 25th.
The billionaire, who has always pleaded in favor of nuclear power, puts forward two shocking arguments in favor of this energy: the fight against global warming (nuclear power does not produce greenhouse gases) and, paradoxically, security.
Although the Chernobyl or Fukushima accidents have attracted the attention of the public, "nuclear is safer than any other source of energy", assures the ex-boss of Microsoft.
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According to a compilation of studies cited by the, nuclear energy causes the death of 90 people for every 1,000 TWh produced, against 100,000 deaths for coal, 36,000 deaths for oil, 440 for solar or 150 for wind.
When the renewable energies so adored by environmentalists, they would be impossible to implement on a large scale, argues the billionaire. "Renewable energies [which must be stored because they are intermittent] are facing an insurmountable problem:".
And he knows what he's talking about. “I lost more money than anyone in battery technology,” recalls the investor, immediately adding that he is still engaged in 5 companies related to energy storage.
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Moving on to the question of radioactive waste storage, Bill Gates still concedes a fault with current nuclear power: its staggering price.
Due to ever stricter safety standards, an EPR-type nuclear power plant like the one at Hinkley Point in England, built under the aegis of EDF, costs between 24.3 and 25.4 billion euros.
Not to mention that such a nuclear power plant takes around ten years to be commissioned, when solar panels or wind turbines can be installed in a few months.See also
According to Bill Gates, the solution will come from, modular, safer in the event of an incident and adapted to decentralized production. That's good: , a startup that plans to market small fast neutron reactors cooled with liquid sodium.
Bill Gates is customary to go against the grain of political correctness. In addition to nuclear power, his Foundation also finances programs on genetically modified mosquitoesagainst dengue or the zika virus, contraception, and defends GMOs which according to him can " . Between environmentalists, Catholics and anti-capitalists, that makes a lot of potential enemies.
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To meet its global climate commitments, Japan will need to restart almost every reactor it shuttered after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and then build more.Each has a printed agenda, tablet computer and carton of green tea neatly laid out before them, and politely flips over a rectangular name card to request a turn to speak. Beneath the rigid formality, there’s an increasingly divisive debate: what’s the role of nuclear energy a decade after the Fukushima disaster.