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ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE LETTERS
Atmos. Sci. Let. 6: 224 (2006)
Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/asl.120
Commentary
Sholto Maud1 * and James Lovelock2
1 412 Tooronga Road, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3123
2 Green College, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HG
*Correspondence to:
Sholto Maud, 412 Tooronga
Road, Melbourne,
Victoria, Australia 3123.
E-mail: sholtom@yahoo.com
Received: 25 October 2005
Accepted: 23 November 2005
Question from Sholto Maud:
J. Lovelock has talked about the climatic importance
of nuclear fission for the regulation of our atmosphere.
He has also mentioned the idea that with the appropriate technology we might at some time be able to
use the waste products of fission as an energy source.
I would like to invite Lovelock to speculate further
what this technology might be and how we might go
about achieving it.
Reply from James Lovelock:
I apologise for not making clear in my article that I
advocate nuclear energy as an essential but temporary
energy source, not as a global scale panacea. It is
particularly needed by nations such as Japan and those
of Europe that are dependent on massive imports
of fuel from distant places. During the next 30 to
50 years, adverse climate changes may make these
Copyright  2006 Royal Meteorological Society
imports unreliable or impossible. Nuclear energy is the
only tried and tested large-scale source of electricity
that we now have available and that is free of carbon
emissions. Hopefully, nuclear fusion energy and other
energy sources free of greenhouse gas emissions will
eventually be ready for large-scale use and then
nuclear fission will have served its purpose.
Nuclear energy plants running at present often
discard large quantities of unused uranium and other
actinides in nuclear waste (Nuttall, 2005). This is set
aside and not used for energy production. Nuttall’s
book gives detailed descriptions of the several ways
for utilising the huge stocks of energy in what is
inappropriately called nuclear waste.
Reference
Nuttall WJ. 2005. Nuclear Renaissance.
Publishing: Bristol.
Institute
of
Physics
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