While the full consequences of the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan cannot yet be known, it is worth speculating about what impact this will have on the co-called ‘nuclear renaissance’ and global efforts to combat climate change.
Certainly, the accident demonstrates some of the special risks associated with nuclear power. Like renewable forms of energy, nuclear is relatively costly and slow to deploy. Using nuclear power also creates the risk of very serious accidents, nuclear waste, and weapon proliferation. That being said, it is possible that climate change is such a severe problem that it is worth running those risks in order to improve our odds of dealing with it.