Vaclav Smil, Czech-Canadian scientist and policy analyst. Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Manitoba in Canada: The human craving for novelty is insatiable, and in a small matter you can meet it in no time at all, particularly when Moore’s Law can help you. It took a single decade to come up with entirely new mobile phones. But you just can’t replicate that pace of adoption with techniques that form the structure of modern civilization—growing food, extracting energy, producing bulk materials, or providing transport on mass scales.
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.
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.
Fritz Vahrenholt, PhD Chemistry, Chairman, German Wildlife Foundations: What was demanded in the Green Party program in 1986, the abolition of the nuclear industry, the automotive industry and parts of the chemical industry, has long since become consensus in the middle of society. How could that succeed? With apocalyptic horror scenarios, the cleavage of the atom, as well as the slight increase of the vital molecule CO2 in the atmosphere, become ciphers of disaster. What country, what state will lead the world to the bottom of the reliable, environmentally sound energy policy: Germany, California? What countries will be outstanding sound energy program leaders: Canada, China, France, Jordan, Russia, South Africa, South Korea?