Nuclear power provides 77 percent of France’s electricity, according to the government, and relatively few public doubts are expressed in a country with little coal, oil or natural gas.
France generates half of its own total energy, up from 23 percent in 1973, despite increased consumption.
Electrical power generation accounts for only 10 percent of France’s greenhouse gases, compared with an average of 40 percent in other industrialized countries, according to EDF.
There is No Free Lunch, and life is about trade offs. Those who live in the American Pacific Northwest know this well; hydroelectric power is great and low risk, and results in cheap electricity which helps drive high tech industry such as aerospace and electronics. But, there are ecological downsides.
The key isn’t to rely on a silver-bullet energy source which we need faith in. Rather, it’s to evaluate and weight the risks and rewards of various technological portfolios. Any given action will have costs, we simply have to judge whether the benefits are worth those costs. As it is, most of the objection nuclear to power seems almost animistic at the root. These sorts of “gut-level” heuristics and biases draw upon the same “wisdom of repugnance” which is wielded against biological engineering and technology, though of course with coalitional politics being what they are different sects, so to speak, emphasize different domains when it comes to unleashing their intuitive aversion.
Note: The sign of the reflexive vector can go in both directions. Today many people have a strong bias against nuclear energy based on a small number of accidents and disasters, while in the 1950s the belief in its ability to free up humanity was almost religious and messianic. Both stances are problematic, and I believe fundamentally not rooted in empiricism as opposed to faith.