The environmental movement remains monolithic in its opposition to nuclear energy. Although global warming is the most serious environmental issue facing the world today, and although nuclear power emits no greenhouse gases that cause global warming, green groups remain unalterably opposed to the technology. This opposition would appear to be illogical in the face of such a universally agreed upon global threat to life as we know it, but the fact remains that no environmental group publicly supports nuclear power. Not one. Nada. None. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even uses this fact as a weapon in opposing Yucca Mountain as the national repository for spent nuclear fuel.
What is behind this phenomenon? Why would every single environmental group in the United States continue to oppose nuclear power when it is seemingly an off the shelf solution to the global warming problem? We have two hypotheses: 1) the groups continue to believe that the technology is dangerous - even more dangerous than global warming, 2) supporting nuclear energy would be a bad business decision. The environmental movement is a $6 billion per year industry and there is no funding for supporting nuclear power for the groups. No foundation is going to fund pronuclear activities. In fact, supporting nuclear power would render any group bold enough to step forward a pariah in the foundation community, which would be supported by condemnation from the entire environmental movement. Moreover, any green group executive director or board member would risk losing his or her job or board position by independently supporting nuclear power.
The nuclear industry might be salivating over a pending renaissance, but antinuclear groups are also salivating over, and still quietly working for, a resurgence in aggressive opposition to nuclear power, from funders and the general public.