The Dahli Lama seems to think nuclear energy is a good idea. I suggest that's a pretty good citation for "spirtual" support for this technology. See my report here.
I have long felt that much of the debate over nuclear versus renewables is tied up in philosophical and lifestyle concerns as well as hard engineering and economic analysis. I think that some of the push back on nuclear is its larger than human scale of industrial organization, its technological opacity and its de facto symbolism of being a monument to advanced industrial civilization.
People are overwhelmed by the scale of industrial society and, without adequate education, seek a simple framework that includes solar and wind power.
Why do these renewables have high public acceptance?
First, they are transparent technologies. People readily grasp how they work. Aside from Walt Disney's example of bouncing ping pong balls sprung from mousetraps, it remains a challenge for people in the nuclear field to explain how a nuclear reactor really works.
Second, if wind or solar projects fail, the effects are local with no risk of invisible ionizing radiation.
Third, green groups have promoted them as "lifestyle" technologies, e.g., work on these energy projects and you will be “doing good” for the planet. By branding solar and wind technologies with social acceptance, green groups leverage the normal human emotional desire people have to be admired for the work that they do.
I feel the challenge for the nuclear energy industry is to promote science and engineering education, starting in high school, that creates a better understanding of energy technologies, and to shift the debate back to economics, fuel independence and energy efficiency.
This challenge is made more complicated by the fact that anti-nuclear groups use a second tactic which is to scare people away from nuclear and towards solar and wind. For example, anti-nuclear groups will include a picture of an mushroom cloud from an atomic bomb test on their web site even though commercial reactors in service to generate electricity are not used to make weapons grade materials.
Fear evokes a powerful set of emotional responses. This combines with the desire of people to be liked and to avoid not being liked for supporting nuclear, an energy source they can’t understand or explain.
Abe Lincoln said, “We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.” Truth be known, nuclear power advocates accept the fact that all energy sources will be needed to meet growing demand for electricity. While our intent is not to defame other sources that are non-polluting like nuclear, it is time to stand our ground in a more visible way for the positive aspects of nuclear energy – safe, clean, reliable, affordable.
Dan Yurman, publisher of Idaho Samizdat, a blog about nuclear energy
Citation: Mousetrap fission http://youtu.be/vjqIJW_Qr3c