I have no doubt than engineers can design nuclear power stations that are as much as possible foolproof. This is essential because humans are fools even at the best of times; we need to recall that all the nuclear energy disasters have been the result of human stupidity. This is, however, not the point, at least not directly.

The point is not whether nuclear power stations can be rendered human-proof. The point is that we are an extremely stupid species with zero capacity for sustained coherent thought. That's why we're burning the rainforests and denuding the oceans. It's why we have our stupid little wars and why we have road rage. As we're not going to become less stupid, it's imperative that we acknowledge this core fact about our species. When we do that, and we remember that some of the nuclear waste we create will remain hazardous for up to 100,000 years, we have to ask ourselves whether there is any possibility whatsoever of our descendants failing to screw things up. Remember: only 30 years ago we were dumping nuclear waste into the ocean and not bothering to record where we dumped it. And we dumped waste that has a half-life of 30,000 years in barrels that will rust away in less than 100 years. How can we expect people 2,000 years from now, living in conditions we cannot predict in any way, to be less idiotic than we are? The overwhelming probability is that we will do very stupid things indeed with some of the highly toxic radioactive waste we're accumulating. So do we really, truly, want to add to the problem by creating even more?

We simply waste the energy we already have. Why not, instead of looking for more and more, simply reduce what we need by not wasting so much? If white collar jobs can be done from home, that would cut our energy needs by the equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil per day in the developed nations. If we build houses that were more adequately insulated, this would remove another 3 million barrels per day from our consumption. If we reforested instead of cutting it all down, we could remove up to 75% of all the CO2 we've put into the atmosphere over the last 200 years.

Nuclear power is the wrong answer to the wrong question. Which simply proves how poorly we reason and hence how irresponsible it would be to add to the hazards we've already created by playing with nuclear technologies we're far too simple-minded to be trusted with.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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