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Background Information on Climate Change and Nuclear Power

February 2, 2016. Paris and Onward: the Path Forward to a Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free energy future. NIRS telebriefing with Dr. Mark Jacobson, Stanford University; The Solutions Project ( and Dr. Arjun Makhijani Institute for Energy and Environmental Research ( Moderated By: Tim Judson, Executive Director, Nuclear Information and Resource Service. MP3 recording.

January 29, 2016. Maryland's Renewable Grid of the Future. Presentations given at symposium at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. All files are pdf.

Maryland's Renewable Grid of the Future. Dr. Arjun Makhijani (IEER)

Grid of the Future: Lessons from New York's Reforming the Energy Vision Proceeding, Jessica Azulay (AGREE)

Goals and Principles to Guide Maryland's Grid of the Future. Tim Judson (NIRS) and Arjun Makhijani (IEER)

The Grid of the Future: Enabling and Rewarding Utility Performance, Service and Value in a Distributed Energy Age. Karl Rabago (Pace Energy and Climate Center)

Connecting the Dots on Germany's Energiewende. Rebecca Bertram (Heinrich Boll Foundation)


December 1, 2015. Webinar on the grid of the future in Maryland, with Dr. Arjun Mahkijani of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Corey Ramsden of Maryland SUN, and Jessica Azulay of Alliance for a Green Economy; moderated by Tim Judson of NIRS. How we can build a statewide grid that can support a system run on renewables and increased energy efficiency.

Video of webinar (mp4)

Powerpoint of Dr. Arjun Mahkijani, IEER.

Powerpoint of Corey Ramsden, MD SUN.

Powerpoint of Jessica Azulay, AGREE.

August 4, 2015. New report by Germany's Prognos AG for Agora Energiewende: Comparing the Cost of Low-Carbon Technologies: What is the Cheapest Option? Concludes, based on current experience in Germany and the UK, that a reliable system based on solar and wind with gas backup is 20% cheaper than a system with nuclear and gas backup.

June 30, 2015. Don't Nuke the Climate telebriefing: lessons from Japan and Germany. Featuring Amory Lovins and Tim Judson with Michael Mariotte moderating. mp3 file.

June 22, 2015. Pope Francis' Encyclical on climate includes several passages highly skeptical of nuclear power as a technology, and thus as a climate solution. Excerpts here.

June 17, 2015. Important new report from Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School's Mark Cooper: Power Shift: The Deployment of a 21st Century Electricity Sector and the Nuclear War to Stop It. Describes how the nuclear power industry is seeking consumer bailouts for its uneconomic reactors while working to undermine adoption of clean renewable energy.

December 1, 2014. 148 groups, thousands of individuals, tell EPA to remove nuclear power support from Clean Power Plan Proposal. Comments. Press Release. Additional technical comments submitted by NIRS.

32 organizations submitted additional substantive comments on legal and technical deficiencies in the Clean Power Plan proposal.

Comments, overview

Exhibit A: Supporting comments from Dr. Arjun Mahkijani of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

Exhibit B: Supporting comments from Mark Cooper, Vermont Law School

Exhibit C: Literature survey of health effects of uranium mining from Chris Shuey, Southwest Research and Information Center


October 7, 2014. Naomi Klein: Dr. James Hansen is wrong on nuclear power.

July 16, 2014. Flyer: Talking Points on nuclear power in EPA's proposed carbon reduction rule. pdf version. jpg version.

June 19, 2014. Recording of last night's NIRS national telebriefing on nuclear power and climate, featuring Michael Mariotte, Hunter Lovins and Tim Judson. mp3 format.

June 18, 2014. Conversation between Professor Benjamin Sovacool and NIRS' Executive Director Tim Judson on nuclear power and climate. Prepared for June 18, 2014 national teleconference on nukes and climate. mp3 file.

June 4, 2014. NIRS factsheet: Nuclear Power and Climate: Why Nukes Can't Save the Planet. Two-page sheet suitable for downloading/printing on the basic reasons nuclear power is not a global warming solution and, in fact, would be counterproductive at addressing the climate crisis.

June 2, 2014. EPA carbon rule offers misguided subsidies for uneconomic, aging and dangerous nuclear reactors; carbon reductions would be greater and costs lower if such reactors were replaced with renewables and efficiency. NIRS press release.

February 5, 2014. Important new post on GreenWorld. Japanese scientists/diplomat respond to Dr. Hansen et al: Nuclear power is not the answer to climate change mitigation.

February 4, 2014. Civil Society Institute (CSI): The Renewable Energy Transition Has Begun. Reply in Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to an article in support of nuclear as a climate change strategy, which itself was a response to Hansen et al letter and NIRS/CSI grassroots statement in opposition to nuclear.

January 8, 2014. 300+ environmental and clean energy organizations urge Dr. James Hansen and three other climate scientists to rethink embrace of nuclear power--it's no solution to the climate crisis. Press release from NIRS and Civil Society Institute. Text of letter, including signers.

December 12, 2013. Detailed memo from Civil Society Institute rebutting November 3, 2013 letter from four climate scientists, including Dr. James Hansen, urging environmental groups to support expanded use of "safer" nuclear power. Note: at this time, memo is still in draft form and may be revised.PDF

June 24, 2013. Professor Benjamin Sovacool (Virginia Tech) and several others rebut pro-nuclear climate scientist James Hansen's recent error-filled article in support of new nuclear.

November 18, 2010: Nuclear Power: No Solution to the Climate Crisis. PDF Powerpoint from NIRS’ Executive Director prepared for debate with Nuclear Energy Institute for Clean Air Council in Philadelphia. Explains why nuclear power can’t save the climate and discusses genuinely clean technologies that can.

June 2010: Physicians for Social Responsibility analysis of nuclear power provisions of the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act. Long version. PDF Two-page summary. PDF

May 12, 2010: Help Stop Senate Dirty Energy Bill. NIRS Alert.

May 12, 2010: 200 organizations announce opposition to Kerry-Lieberman dirty energy “climate” bill. Press release (now with 213 organizational signers). PDF

May 11, 2010. Section-by-section Congressional staff analysis of Kerry-Lieberman climate bill (may change on final release of bill). PDF

Powering a Green Planet. Interactive website put together by Scientific American that amplifies on the November 2009 cover story: A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030, in which two California professors lay out a clear plan for the U.S. to become 100% renewable-powered by 2030.

October 13, 2009: “Four Nuclear Myths: A commentary on Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Discipline and on similar writings.” PDF New piece by Rocky Mountain Institute’s Amory Lovins debunks four key myths often propounded by nuclear power supporters:

  1. variable renewable sources of electricity (windpower and photovoltaics) can provide little or no reliable electricity because they are not “baseload”—able to run all the time;
  2. those renewable sources require such enormous amounts of land, hundreds of times more than nuclear power does, that they’re environmentally unacceptable;
  3. all options, including nuclear power, are needed to combat climate change; and
  4. nuclear power’s economics matter little because governments must use it anyway to protect the climate.
August 26, 2009: Take Action Now for a Strong Climate Bill and Against Taxpayer Bailouts of the Nuclear Power Industry! Alert.

August 18, 2009: Top 10 Reasons Nukes Won’t Save Climate. PDF Article from Michael Mariotte, first posted on DailyKos.

June 30, 2009: Tell President Obama: Don't Let the Senate Climate Bill Get Hijacked by the Nuclear Power Industry! NIRS Alert.

June 22, 2009. 47 organizations, including NIRS, send letter calling for major improvements in House climate change legislation. PDF

Spring 2009: No Nukes, No Coal, No Kidding. PDF 34.6KB NIRS Factsheet.

April 19, 2009: Presentation from Michael Mariotte's talk on nukes and climate at SUNY Stonybrook. PDF

December 2008: New study from Stanford researcher ranks solutions to climate crisis; concludes nuclear and “clean” coal are least effective, least desirable means of addressing climate change. Press release from Stanford University. PDF Article in Energy and Environmental Science

December 10, 2008: World's environmental movement says "Keep nukes out of Kyoto Protocol":
Press Release PDF
Press Advisory, including main statement PDF
List of organizational signers PDF

November 9, 2008: Al Gore issues a five-part, non-nuclear plan for the Obama administration to address the climate crisis. NY Times op-ed. PDF

July 2008: New study (which reviews 103 previous studies and finds nearly all lacking) concludes that nuclear power is not carbon-free, and its carbon emissions, while far lower than all fossil fuels, are higher than renewable sources of energy. Published in Energy Policy, by Benjamin Sovacool, University of Singapore & Virginia Tech. PDF

June 2008: Four-page summary of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research’s groundbreaking Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free book, with main recommendations. PDF

May 12, 2008: Friends of the Earth memo on nuclear power and the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill. PDF

February 2008: Power Point presentation on Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy, by Dr. Arjun Makhijani of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. PDF Updated periodically.

December 17, 2007: 500+ organizations sign statement rejecting nuclear power as a solution to climate change. NIRS Press Release.

November 2007: German Green Party has released an English version of its plan to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 while keeping to Germany’s timetable for phasing out nuclear power. You can download a copy of the document here.

November 26, 2007: A new report argues that the world's supply of uranium ore is now so depleted that the nuclear industry may already have passed the point at which it is able to supply the energy needed even to dispose of its own wastes. In The Lean Guide to Nuclear Energy, A Life-Cycle in Trouble, British energy economist David Fleming details how the nuclear industry will be forced to become a major net user of energy, almost all of it from fossil fuels. 'The evidence is clear: even under the most optimistic scenarios for uranium supplies, the industry will face `energy bankruptcy' in a matter of decades,' says Fleming. PDF

November 1, 2007: Profitable, Business-Led Solutions to the Climate, Oil, and Nuclear Proliferation Problems: Powerpoint presentation from Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute, at Volvo Environmental Prize Awards, in Stockholm, Sweden.

September 26, 2007: Resource Paper (including 2 pages of citations) by Mary Olson: "The New Nuclear Deal with India and the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership are Not a Solution to Nuclear Weapons Proliferation; Expanding Nuclear Power is Not a Solution to the Climate Crisis" PDF

September 2007: NIRS hand-out on why nuclear energy is incapable of reversing the Climate Crisis -- 3.5 pages with 21 references by Mary Olson. PDF

August 23, 2007: Union of Concerned Scientists Backgrounder: Rising Temperatures Undermine Nuclear Power’s Promise PDF

August 2007: Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy, A new report from Institute for Energy and Environmental Research is available at  

July 2007: Study from Oxford Research Group finds nuclear power still poses all of its traditional problems, and cannot help with climate change. “If one were to set out to design from scratch a solution for the problem of climate change in a world without nuclear power, there is little chance that anyone would come up with nuclear power as that solution, or, if they did, that anyone would think that nuclear power was anywhere near acceptable.”

June 2007: Major study from Austrian government re-examines nuclear power. Conclusion: “Austria takes the view that electricity production from Nuclear Energy is neither sustainable nor environmentally sound and is therefore not suitable to contribute to the solution of the climate problem or the peak oil crisis…” . PDF (4 mb).

June 14, 2007: Union of Concerned Scientists statement on Keystone Center report. “Nuclear power is not a current solution for global warming.” pdf

June 14, 2007: National Wildlife Federation position on nuclear power and climate: “there is a wide range of safer, cheaper, and faster ways to reduce global warming pollution other than expanding nuclear power.” pdf

January 25, 2007: Sign-on to Oppose Nukes in McClain-Lieberman Climate Change Bill! NIRS Alert.

September 18, 2006: Report from coalition of organizations on World Bank energy and climate lending policies. pdf

Click here to hear a radio show broadcast on WPFW, Pacifica radio in Washington DC, on September 12, 2006, on upcoming NGO report on World Bank energy lending policies. Guests include NIRS executive director Michael Mariotte.

The Safety and Reliability – or Lack Thereof – of Nuclear Reactors in a Destabilized Climate,” at IEER training workshop on “Insurmountable Risks: The Dangers of Using Nuclear Power to Combat Global Climate Change. pdf July 8, 2006. NIRS power point presentation.

Insurmountable Risks: The Dangers of Using Nuclear Power to Combat Global Climate Change, Brice Smith, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. The large number of reactors required for nuclear power to play any meaningful role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions greatly complicates the efforts required to deal with its unique vulnerabilities including the potential for the nuclear fuel cycle to enable nuclear weapons proliferation, the risks from catastrophicreactor accidents, and the difficulties of managing long-lived and highly radiotoxic nuclear waste. June 2006.

A False Myth of Nuclear Power: Nuclear Power Expansion is No Remedy for
Climate Change
, a talk by Mary Olson, Director of the Southeast Office of
Nuclear Information and Resource Service during the Commission on
Sustainable Development, United Nations May 3, 2006

Comparison of Greenhouse-Gas Emissions and Abatement Cost of Nuclear and Alternative Energy Options from a Life-Cycle Perspective. pdf Oko Institute, updated January 2006.

Heinrich Boell Foundation Issue Paper No. 6. Climate Change: Does nuclear power offer a solution to climate change? By Felix. Ch. Matthes. Ökoinstitut.

Nuclear power: economics and climate-protection potential. Amory Lovins. Rocky Mountain Institute. 06 January 2006

Is Nuclear Energy Sustainable? Presentation by José Goldemberg and Oswaldo Lucon, São Paulo State Environment Agency, Brazil, at NIRS/Sierra Club of Canada/Heinrich Boell Foundation event in Montreal, December 7, 2005. (Powerpoint presentation).

Nuclear Energy – Threat to the World – No Solution to Climate Change. PDF 43.18KB Statement of Michael Mariotte, Executive Director of NIRS in Montreal, Canada. December 7, 2005.

Nuclear is no solution to climate change: PDF 94.14KB NIRS, Sierra Club of Canada and Heinrich Boll Foundation sponsor an event at COP 11 in Montreal, December 7, 2005, including release of a new paper on nuclear power and climate change. December 5, 2005.

NIRS comments to the California Energy Commission on Nuclear Power in California; calling for opposition to relicensing of Diablo Canyon and San Onofre and discussion of nuclear power/global warming. August 12, 2005 PDF 84.48KB

Nuclear Power - The Energy Balance, a study by Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith, finds that uranium reserves are diminishing rapidly and use of poorer quality ores would greatly increase carbon emissions to a level even beyond use of fossil fuels. August 2005; a rebuttal to World Nuclear Association criticism of the report is also included.

Nearly 300 Groups Reject Nuclear Energy as a Global Warming Solution. Groups Urge Congress to Choose Clean Energy Path, Not Embrace Dangerous and Dirty Nuclear Power. June 16, 2005.

Environmental Statement on Nuclear Energy and Global Warming. PDF 116.45KB June 2005

Tell Congress Nuclear Power Has no Role in Addressing Climate Change! NIRS alert. June 1, 2005.

Ten Reasons Why We Don’t Need To Build More Nuclear Power Plants. May 2005.

Nuclear Power: No Solution to Climate Change PDF 180.67KB NIRS/WISE study. January-February 2005

Climate Change Factsheet PDF

Clean Energy Experts Call National Commission Climate Report "Misguided". December 14, 2004

NIRS comments March 2003 to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services PDF 45.04KB in opposition to nitrogen oxide trading credits for the operation of the Seabrook nuclear power station.

NIRS background piece on nuclear power and Kyoto Protocol

Factsheet on Hydrogen Production by Nuclear Power PDF 35.62KB

Background paper on Clean Development Mechanisms (prepared by Greenpeace International).

Nuclear Power and "Clean Development Mechanisms". NIRS factsheet.

Throwing Good Money After Bad: Nuclear Power as a Clean Air "Solution". By Christopher Sherry, Safe Energy Communication Council.

Profiting From a Nuclear-Free Third Millenium, by Amory Lovins

Statement of the U.K.'s Royal Commission on Environmental Protection on climate change, June 2000