The unsustainable legacy of the Nuclear AgeHe goes on to detail costs of nuclear power.
In the dispute on the beginning of the Anthropocene it has been proposed, among many, a precise date, July 16th 1945, when the Trinity Test exploded the first atomic bomb in the desert of Alamogordo2, which inaugurated the Nuclear Age. On the other hand, the almost contemporaneous Ecomodernist Manifesto proposed that, among other things, "nuclear fission today represents the only present-day zero-carbon technology with the demonstrated ability to meet most, if not all, of the energy demands of a modern economy."3
I do not agree with either of these thesis. The Atomic Age has undoubtedly been a tremendous acceleration of the impact of human activities on natural environment, but in my opinion it joined, however it exacerbated, the trend embarked upon since the First Industrial Revolution, when Capitalism adopted radically new (scientific) methods to exploit and "commodise" Nature and its resources. This breakthrough kicked off the development of industrial processes carried out in physical and chemical conditions further and further away from the conditions of the natural environment on Earth surface, so that they introduced products and procedures which are incompatible with such environment, and therefore produce a permanent and irreversible contamination.4 ...
It is seldom acknowledged the tremendous burden that the Nuclear Age leaves on future generations, and the environment, for an extremely long time. Nuclear processes, and products, are activated at energies millions of times higher than the energies of chemical processes, and consequently they cannot be eliminated by the natural environment on Earth.
My problem with this is that there is no comparison to the costs of the alternatives. An article on the costs of coal power would be much worse.
While he has many gripes about nuclear power, he doesn't refute the thesis that nuclear fission is the only practical zero-carbon technology.