Introduction: The WLEA response to The Sierra Club Nuclear Position
“The great problem that the environmental, the ecologic movement has is its failure to recognize how deep it has to go to be authentic.” – Fr. Thomas Berry
This is a response to the Sierra Club’s position that SMRs are nuclear reactors and therefore must be eliminated, period! We don’t like our conventional reactors any more than the Sierra Club does, for many of the same reasons, but we certainly do like a totally different type of reactor, superior by every measure to any conventional reactor. Below, we discuss the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR, “lifter”) as a small modular reactor. We address no other type of SMR.
If a goal of a program to provide electric power while meeting the challenge of climate change is to go green by increasingly incorporating renewables into our electric power mix (to reduce GHG emissions), appropriate reliance on these intermittent sources of electric power absolutely requires continuous provision of electric power from another source. Today, heat sources for such large-scale continuous electric power generation comprise coal/gas/oil-fired boilers and nuclear reactors. If an additional goal is to quit burning hydrocarbons (to reduce GHG emissions), then nuclear reactors must fire our power plants for the program to work. If a third goal is to rid the planet of nuclear reactors (to reduce danger from radiation and threat of disaster), then the whole plan is inadequate in scope, problematic in detail, and unworkable.