mark hertsgaard

Independent Journalist & Author


Who’s Afraid of Nuclear Power


Welcome to Spotlight, Link TV’s weekly series of investigative reports from
around the world. I’m Mark Hertsgaard in San Francisco. This episode the
spotlight is on nuclear power and global warming.


Global warming may be the best thing to happen to the nuclear industry in a
long time.

The industry has been on its back for more than thirty years now. The last
order for a new reactor in the United States was in 1974.

Five years later came a partial reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island. Seven
years after that, a total meltdown at Chernobyl.

But economics remains the biggest shortcoming. Nuclear power plants take so
long to build and cost so much that Wall Street turned its back on them twenty
years ago.

Global warming fears haven’t changed that, so far, but they have re-ignited
interest in nuclear power, especially in some countries overseas, as you’re
about to see.

Here at Spotlight we’re proud to present, from the Australian Broadcasting
Corporation, the US premier of “Who’s Afraid of Nuclear Power?” on Link TV,
your connection to the world.


You’re watching Spotlight on Link TV. I’m Mark Hertsgaard.

The film you just saw assumes that, whatever its safety risks, nuclear power
can fight global warming. But what if going nuclear actually makes global
warming worse?

So says Amory Lovins, one of the world’s leading energy economists. Set aside
any safety and proliferation concerns, says Lovins, who consults for
governments and corporations around the world.

Nuclear’s key flaw is economic-nuclear power simply costs too much to compete
with other options, especially energy efficiency.

Installing more efficient lights and appliances may not sound sexy, but energy
efficiency has become the most powerful source of energy in the world.

How is that? Because using energy more efficiently means not having to
produce extra energy in the first place.

What’s more, improved efficiency is so much cheaper than nuclear power that it
delivers two to ten times more greenhouse gas reductions per dollar invested.

In a world where private and government budgets are limited, diverting money
from energy efficiency to nuclear power actually limits our ability to make
greenhouse gas reductions.

Here at Spotlight we’re proud to bring this film “Who’s afraid of nuclear
power?” to American audiences for the first time.

If you want to find out more about the nuclear power debate, you can check out
the resources listed at the end of this program.

You can also find those resources at our website,

Following those listings you’ll see a clip from next week’s program. Until
then, this is Mark Hertsgaard in San Francisco for Spotlight. Thanks for
joining us.



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About Mark

Independent journalist Mark Hertsgaard is the author of seven books that have been translated into sixteen languages, including Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden; HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth; and A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles. He has reported from twenty-five countries about politics, culture and the environment for leading outlets, including The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Time, Mother Jones, NPR, the BBC and The Nation, where is the environment correspondent. He lives in San Francisco.