Common ground on nuclear power?

Like many other people who care about the environment and worry about global warming, I’m a former opponent of nuclear power who has now reconciled myself to it as a necessary part of the the future if the world is to reduce its dependence on CO2-producing fossil fuels.

As The Washington Post reports:

Rather than deride the emphasis on nuclear power, some environmentalists are embracing it. Stephen Tindale typifies the shift.

When a brigade of Greenpeace activists stormed a nuclear power plant on the shores of the North Sea a few years ago, scrawling “danger” on its reactor, Tindale was their commander. Then head of the group’s British office, he remembers, he stood outside the plant just east of London telling TV crews all the reasons “why nuclear power was evil.”

The construction of nuclear plants was banned in Britain for years after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in what was then the Soviet Union. But now the British are weighing the idea of new nuclear plants as part of the battle against climate change, and Tindale is among several environmentalists who are backing the plan.

“It really is a question about the greater evil — nuclear waste or climate change,” Tindale said. “But there is no contest anymore. Climate change is the bigger threat, and nuclear is part of the answer.”

So isn’t there some common ground here for global warming believers and skeptics– especially skeptics who regard solar panels and windmills alone as insufficient (or excessively hippie-ish) means of generating power?

And even if you’re a skeptic, surely you can appreciate that reducing demand for oil has the side benefit of reducing the global influence, and power to do ill, of regimes like Hugo Chavez’s in Venezuela, the royals in Saudi Arabia and the mullahs in Iran.