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James Lovelock urged to get his nuclear facts straight

Friends of the Earth, Australia is urging conservationist and scientist James Lovelock to get his facts straight on nuclear issues. Prof. Lovelock, famous for his 'Gaia Theory' of the Earth as a self-regulating organism, will be in Adelaide this weekend speaking at the Festival of Ideas.

"Modern nuclear power stations are useless for making bombs," Lovelock told ABC's Lateline television program on May 30, 2006. In response, Dr. Jim Green, FoE's national nuclear campaigner, said: "Lovelock's claim that nuclear power plants cannot be used for weapons production is false, irresponsible and dangerous. A typical nuclear power reactor produces about 300 kilograms of plutonium each year, enough for 30 nuclear weapons."

"The proliferation risks associated with nuclear power are not just hypothetical. India uses power reactors in its nuclear weapons program. North Korea's nuclear bomb test last October used plutonium produced in a so-called 'Experimental Power Reactor'. The US uses a power reactor to produce tritium, which is used to increase the destructive force of its nuclear weapons."

"Australia's nuclear history provides another demonstration of the link between nuclear power and weapons. From 1969 until his resignation in 1971, Prime Minister John Gorton pursued a plan to build a power reactor at Jervis Bay on the NSW coast, and he later acknowledged that the purpose of the reactor was to produce not just electricity but also plutonium for potential use in weapons."

"Nuclear power is the one and only energy source with a repeatedly-demonstrated connection to the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. To deny that connection – as James Lovelock does – is inaccurate, irresponsible and dangerous," Dr. Green said.

More information: briefing paper(pdf) on James Lovelock
Gaia and accelerating climate change, It was in the late 1960s that James Lovelock first suggested the Earth acted as a single organism. He named his observation, Gaia. He was ridiculed and the idea was ignored for decades. It wasn't until the end of the 90s that a new branch of science grew out of his theory; that of Earth System Science. Now, as the effects of climate change have become obvious for all to see, James Lovelock has taken his theory further in a book, The Revenge of Gaia. Lovelock claims we've passed the point of no return with climate change. This week, The Science Show traces the growth of Lovelock's theory and gathers views from climate scientists about his apocalyptic vision...

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Left Atomics | July 05, 2007

But he's still basically correct. It's not enough to have just a nuclear plant. You need massive reprocessing facilities. The amount of plutonium produced is not as relevant as being able to retreive that plutonium.

Fortuntally, most of the left gov'ts and movements in the *developing* world are more or less pro-nuclear and reject age-old dogma against nuclear power. Most especially Hugo Chavez who is interested in developing peaceful nuclear energy.

David Walters

Dave Riley | July 05, 2007

Then Chavez is wrong too, David. Here in Australia this is a no brainer and it is primarily the government of John Howard who is pro nuclear...And this Jim Green is a socialist who, among other things happened to draft an early version of the Socialist Alliance's environment policy.

But even in consideration of the broader issues -- it would be political suicide for any 'left' formation here to embrace both uranium mining and nuclear energy.The movement here against both goes back a long time.It is a core campaign.

Then there is the waste issue which is now a factor in regard to indigenous land rights. So it's not age old dogma in play so much for Australia. but the product of many exchanges and debates.

Informed debates too, I suggest.

Lovelock's problem --and the audio reviews that very well indeed I think -- is that he is a political pessimist and he is touring here not because we're all a bunch of dullards on the left and in the environment movement, but because the energy and mining sector wants to make a massive killing with the open cheque backing of billions of dollars from the Australian government.

Thats' the main game and it would be disingenuous to suggest otherwise as you prefer to do.

dan | July 08, 2007

i follow lovelock. polar cities are needed. google POLAR CITIES or wiki it. see blog at climatechange3000.blogspot.com


dan | July 08, 2007

dave riley

btw, did you see thta rock group at LIVE EARTH on TV last night, they were wearing SAY NO TO NUCLEAR POWER, all 5 band members on global tv.....in Australia i think.....terrible!

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