Nuclear fission is an innately dangerous process – and the nuclear industry’s record of handling the dangers has been well short of perfect. Traditionally, that’s been enough for the environment movement to reject nuclear energy.
Climate change, though, subjects this established position to an important challenge. The final death toll from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, by some estimates, could reach hundreds of thousands. But a full-scale climate disaster could kill most of humanity − thousands of millions of people.