Author gives boost to nuclear power

Patrick Moore thinks the environmental movement made a mistake in its early days by not supporting nuclear power.

Moore, one of the original members of Greenpeace, spoke about sustainable energy in Kennewick on Thursday at a forum sponsored by Energy Northwest.

He has been an outspoken supporter of nuclear energy since the mid-'90s, when he says he realized environmentalists had taken a wrong turn.

"I realized we made an error in judgment back then," Moore, 63, said. "We made the mistake of lumping in nuclear power with nuclear weapons."

Moore left Greenpeace in the late 1980s but said if activists had embraced nuclear power as a clean energy solution in the early days of the movement, "the air would be cleaner and (carbon dioxide) would be lower."

Energy Northwest is a consortium of about two dozen public utilities and operates the Columbia Generating Station at Hanford, the only nuclear power plant operating in the Pacific Northwest.

Moore, who is an author and runs a consulting firm, talked about the safety of nuclear plants and how they don't add carbon dioxide to the air. Carbon dioxide emissions often are cited as a major cause of global warming.

He also addressed other clean power sources, saying they aren't a complete solution.

Wind and solar energy can't be counted on for continuous power, he said, so hydroelectric power and biofuel plants are needed to fill in the gaps when the wind isn't blowing and it's cloudy.

"Every time you build a wind farm, you have to build something to back it up."

Moore described the rapid growth of solar and wind power as a "bubble that will break -- as bubbles do."

Much of his talk revolved around his disbelief of the threat from global warming. He said the Earth's temperature has fluctuated over time and continues to change.

He called much of former Vice President Al Gore's warnings of cataclysmic global warming "junk science."

Moore said disappearing glaciers are a natural occurrence. He compared glaciers to forests, saying a glacier doesn't add to the ecosystem the way the plants and animals that replace it do.

"When a glacier melts, a new forest is born," Moore said.