Quarterly Essay 27: Reaction Time

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Australia is at a crossroads: if we are to halt global warming, do we need to stride resolutely into a nuclear future?

In this engrossing and persuasive essay, Ian Lowe discusses his one-time belief in the benefits of nuclear power and explains why that belief has faltered. He engages with the leading environmentalists, like James Lovelock, who advocate going nuclear, as well as with the less savoury aspects of the Australian politicking. He discusses whether other countries might need to use nuclear power, even if Australia doesn't, and offers an authoritative survey of Australia's energy alternatives – from solar and wind power to clean coal.

Above all, Lowe explains why taking up the nuclear option would be a decisive step in the wrong direction – economically, environmentally, politically and socially.


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