Despite all the recent hype, Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Hydrogen Economy: The Creation of the World Wide Energy Web and the Redistribution of Power on Earth, argues in this article that nuclear reactors are still a poor choice as an energy source. Among his reasons are that we still don't know how to effectively deal with nuclear waste; uranium may soon fail to meet global demand; nuclear reactors are the ultimate soft target for terror attacks (duh, didn't you see Season Four of 24?); and that nuclear energy "represents the kind of highly centralized, clunky technology of a bygone era."
His last point is the most interesting. Rifkin envisions a future of "decentralized, renewable technologies" which would include solar, wind, geothermal, hydro and biomass supplemented by a hydrogen infrastructure to store all of this clean energy. His description is akin to that of a poetic version of the Internet, but instead of data flowing across vast networks, he argues for a global electricity grid supplying energy wherever needed.
(Photo: Front page, New York Times / May 5, 1940)
[Source: San Jose Mercury News]