Podcast: TED Talks series - Debate: Does the World Need Nuclear Energy?

TED Talks


23:00 minutes

TED Talks series, FILMED FEB 2010 - POSTED JUN 2010 - TED2010

Nuclear power: the energy crisis has even die-hard environmentalists reconsidering it. In this first-ever TED debate, Stewart Brand and Mark Z. Jacobson square off over the pros and cons. A discussion that'll make you think -- and might even change your mind.

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Learning Goals

This debate has the purpose of opening discussion for what a future with nuclear energy, the pros and cons, could bring the Earth and humans.

Context for Use


Description and Teaching Materials

If all of your electricity in your lifetime came from nuclear [energy], the waste from that lifetime of electricity would go in a Coke can." (Stewart Brand).

Nuclear energy puts out more carbon dioxide, puts out more air pollutants, enhances mortality more and take longer to put up than real renewable energy systems, namely wind, solar, geothermal power, hydro-tidal wave power. And it also enhances nuclear weapons proliferation." (Mark Z. Jacobson)

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Teaching Notes and Tips

This material can be used to explore what nuclear energy consists of, and why professionals either believe or do not believe that nuclear energy should be pursued.


Assessment is at the discretion of the educator and how this material is applied.

References and Resources

Since the counterculture Sixties, Stewart Brand has been a critical thinker and innovator who helped lay the foundations of our internetworked world. Full Bio >>

At Stanford, Mark Z. Jacobson uses numerical models to study the effects of energy systems and vehicles on climate and air pollution, and to analyze renewable energy resources. Full Bio >>


Talks, T. (2012). Podcast: TED Talks series - Debate: Does the World Need Nuclear Energy?