Typewriting a Nuclear Dilemma

There’s a metaphor in my country — I’m brazilian, — about how people from the 20th century thought that the typist career was a safe one to study, master and practice — at least until the computer came in the late 90s and early 2000s, turning those expectations upside down.

Nuclear power can be seen, in my point of view, as this typist career. An expensive, unreliable way to produce tons of energy, that, because it is the most known — or perhaps magnificent — way to do so, is visualized as a clear and only path to power transitioning (in the Vaillancourt 2008 research is pointed out that “In all scenarios, nuclear reaches 50% or more of electricity production by 2100”).

In her Guardian article, Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard historian, quotes a friend that says something I quite agree: “nuclear power is an extraordinarily elaborate and expensive way to boil water.” Not because nuclear should be dismissed, but because it shouldn’t be our first — and definetely not our only — option to tackle climate change.

Nuclear isn’t a renewable resource. It’s “least damaging” disposal can produce environmental damages for ages and even the perspective of nuclear power investment will probably cause environmental and social damage by mining, international trafficking and labour exploitation in developing countries.

As shown in a 2010 study of the World Information Service on Energy (WISE) published by SOMO, the african exploration of uranium ore causes more damage than the — most publicized — exploration in developed nations, such as Canada and Australia.

Therefore, I do believe there is a future to nuclear power — it could be very well aplied in space and deep sea exploration. — I just believe we should invest more time and money researching ways to make truly renewable energy affordable and more powerful. Remembering that climate change and social inequality are problems that can’t be dissociated, we have to research ways to be environmental and social responsible simultaneously.

Having that said, I’d advice people not to rely on the typist carrer alone, always remember there can be a computer by the corner.


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