Today: 21.Jun.2018
John Shanahan

John Shanahan

University of Notre Dame, Pope Francis: Three years ago, Pope Francis issued a sweeping letter that highlighted the global crisis posed by climate change and called for swift action to save the environment and the planet. On June 9, 2018, the Pope gathered money managers and titans of the world’s biggest oil companies during a closed-door conference at the Vatican and asked them if they had gotten the message. “There is no time to lose,” Francis told them.

Nadine Freischlad, writer for Mongabay Series: In the early 2000s, Kirk Sorensen had begun trying to revive interest in an alternative type of reactor, one that uses the element thorium instead of uranium to start the nuclear reaction, and liquid fuel instead of solid rods to sustain it. He believes thorium could make the next generation of nuclear power plants safer and easier to manage, and provide the world with an abundance of clean, cheap and safe energy. Nuclear had been considered in Indonesia before, but plans never materialized due to safety concerns. After all, Indonesia is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, a country of thousands of islands draped across the seismic Ring of Fire.

Fritz Vahrenholt, PhD Chemistry, Chairman, German Wildlife Foundations: You have called the German energy transition a "disaster". How so? Fritz Vahrenholt : First of all, after the tsunami in Japan, the German government decided within a weekend to renounce nuclear energy, which until then had created the base load for German industry. Since then, the government wants to replace this secure energy with fluctuating electricity from sun and wind. Everyone knows that this is not sensible.

Vaclav Smil, Czech-Canadian scientist and policy analyst. Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Manitoba in Canada: The age of commercial nuclear electricity generation began on 17 October 1956, when Queen Elizabeth II switched on Calder Hall, on the Cumberland coast of England. Sixty years is long enough to judge the technology, and I still cannot improve on my evaluation from the early 2000s: a “successful failure.” He says that we have to have better technology. The record for nuclear safety and production of electricity exceeds all other forms of generating electricity. For some, nuclear will never be safe or good enough.