Ireland’s Energy: We need to debate the nuclear option honestly

There are pros and cons to nuclear energy, but the debate is often acrimonious and too often falls back to rhetoric instead of facts

The  Fukushima  nuclear power plant.  The second-worst nuclear disaster in history was caused by a tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people, but Fukushima killed no one. Photograph: Kimimasa Mayama/Reuters

The Fukushima nuclear power plant. The second-worst nuclear disaster in history was caused by a tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people, but Fukushima killed no one. Photograph: Kimimasa Mayama/Reuters

The world’s traditional means of generating energy have been intensely polluting, expelling millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere with scant regard for the consequences. Ireland has been complicit in this: Moneypoint, the coal-powered station in Co Clare, releases 3.12 million tonnes of CO2 in the atmosphere annually.

But as Moneypoint comes to the end of its operational life cycle, it is time to have a serious discussion about Ireland’s energy future, and nuclear power needs to be part of that discussion.

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