In addition to the openly imperialist interests of Russia, the authoritarian verve of Vladimir Putin and the complete ineptitude of the main western leaders to face the anti-democratic powers that emerge in the East, the war in Ukraine served to highlight another problem to be faced by the nations that claim to be free: the severe dependence of much of the European continent on Russian gas.
Behind the rise in fuel prices around the world, the scenario is aggravated by a mixture of ideology with denialism: while even the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPCC) and even the World Health Organization (WHO) recognize the importance of nuclear energy as a clean and profitable alternative for energy production, environmental activism continues to convince global leaders to delay or suspend the construction of new plants, leaving them at the mercy of traditional producers. The case of Germany, which closed three of its six nuclear plants to, today, deal with threats of cutting energy supply, is the most emblematic.
The good news is that, despite radical groups such as Extinction Rebellion – which even don’t hide their objective of ending not only nuclear production, but capitalism itself – continue to exert influence over environmental decisions that end up punishing the population’s pocket, on the other hand, new movements arise with the objective of making the population aware of the benefits of nuclear technology. This is the case of the Emergency Reactor, founded in 2021 by a team of environmentalists led by activist Zion Lights, former spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion. After recounting the reasons for his abandonment of radical environmentalism in an open letter, Lights describes how his trajectory led to the creation of the NGO:
“I used to defend that battery storage as a way to improve renewable energy production was right there, and I still hear people using that argument. But over time, I realized that climate change is getting worse and that we don’t have time to wait for solutions that are ‘right there’. So I decided to publicly defend nuclear power”, writes Lights, on the Emergency Reactor portal.
“The changes we will make to deal with climate change need to be based on robust evidence, otherwise we run the risk of risk of making things worse. We need to react now, rationally, based on scientific evidence. Environmentalism has done very well, but when it comes to clean energy sources, we’ve made a mistake. This mistake cost us the solution to the problem, which is nuclear energy, and led to a greater dependence on fossil fuels that are destroying our planet and our lungs.”
With science and against the Greenpeace lobby
In addition to Lights, the group has the participation of filmmaker Robert Stone who, in 2013, was awarded at the Sundance Festival for his documentary “Pandora’s Promise”, telling the story of other environmentalists who have become pro-nuclear energy. The board of advisors also includes the name of engineer Sue Ion, one of the UK’s leading references in renewable energy, honored with the title of “lady” by Buckingham Palace. “I think that even in our era nuclear energy will be seen as a positive resource to be used. It is an incredible source of energy – without a doubt one of the most sustainable resources ever offered to humanity”, says Ion, in a publication of the group. There are also artists, professors and scientists involved in the movement, whose initial costs were covered by Swiss businessman Daniel Aegerter, son of two nuclear scientists.
You can learn more about Emergency Reactor’s work on social media. , mainly focused on communication: there are publications debunking various myths about nuclear plants – from the fact that they take a long time to be built to the fallacy that they cause water pollution. In July of this year, some representatives went to Greenpeace’s London headquarters to protest against the billionaire group’s aggressive anti-nuclear lobby and were not received. The open letter sent to the NGO’s leaders also remains unanswered:
“Greenpeace has been lobbying against nuclear energy for decades, making it more difficult for countries to build new plants. Recently, Greenpeace launched a legal action against the European Union for including nuclear energy in its taxonomy, despite the fact that the decision was based on science”, reads the text.
“We understand that you have concerns about nuclear energy and some of us already share these fears. Perhaps it will be reassuring to know that while waste management methods vary from country to country, nuclear waste is actually treated well and does no harm to anyone. Meanwhile, fossil fuel waste continue to be stored in the Earth’s atmosphere. Which one should environmentalists oppose?”.