Hard to imagine an effective strategy against mounting climate change that does not include the expanded use of nuclear power. Nuclear represents the one proven, clean-burning technology that can deliver electricity in a big way. Thus, it is encouraging to see FirstEnergy now looking seriously at the new, smaller reactor in the works at Babcock & Wilcox.
The Akron-based power company didnít make any promises. Still, the B&W reactor has crucial elements in its favor, including a much lower cost and a simpler design than the nuclear behemoths currently in operation. More, the technology is safer, though nuclear power today hardly poses the risk that critics suggest, especially if appropriately located and managed.
The point isnít to diminish the importance of pushing ahead with wind, solar and other renewable and advanced energy sources. Energy efficiency, too, is indispensable. At the same time, the climate has been signaling there isnít time to waste in curbing greenhouse gases.
Scientists reported last week that the sharp decline in sea ice around the Arctic is at least 70 percent due to human causes. Estimates are the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer by the late 2020s. States have cited the impact of higher temperatures, drought and stronger storms: roads cracking, rails expanding, communities battered. Scientists explain how those severe thunderstorms threaten the protective ozone layer. All of it suggests the risk in not expanding clean, nuclear power.