Nuclear power has prevented about 1.8 million air pollution related deaths and could save up to another 7 million lives by 2050, a long time campaigner against man made climate change says.
James Hansen, known by some as the "grandfather" or "godfather" of the global warming fight, also says that nuclear has prevented 64 gigatonnes (that's a lot) of greenhouse gas emissions, and has the potential to spare another 240 gigatonnes by mid-century.
Hansen retired this week as the head of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) to spend more time on his climate change fight, including promoting nuclear power as a source of clean energy that does not pollute or emit greenhouse gases (GHG), as fossil fuels do. His analysis of lives and emissions appears in an article he co-wrote for Environmental Science & Technology.
In case any of you have just returned from a long stay in another universe, GHGs such as CO2 contribute to global warming. Nuclear power, like many renewables, does not release GHG in the electricity generation process, while fossil fuels like coal and natural gas do.
On a life cycle comparison of materials, construction, operation and retirement,, including photovoltaics.
As I reported last year, Hansen joined with entrepreneur Richard Branson and the then head of the American Nuclear Society in writing acalled an integral fast reactor that can burn nuclear waste as fuel. A film supporting fast reactors .
NASA's New York City-based GISS specializes in climate studies. Hansen, a Columbia University adjunct professor, had run it since 1981. He has been campaigning against fossil fuels for decades. His protests have landed him in jail several times.
Photo from Tarsandsaction via Wikimedia.
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