Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:

I’m torn a bit as I used to donate to Greenpeace and believe(d) in the cause of environmental protection. However, their opposition to nuclear power makes me sick and I have stopped donating to them and donating to other organizations like the WWF and Chengeta. Anyone who opposes nuclear power is not a big friend of the environment as I will explain below (Going Green? Then Go Nuclear).

Developing countries have only 3 options:

  1. Nuclear power
  2. Coal power
  3. Live in poverty

Anything else, including solar power, is way too expensive. Assuming we don’t want to live in poverty, the choice boils down to just two: nuclear or coal. If you oppose nuclear, you support coal. Plain and simple.

By every metric, coal is a terrible source of energy. It is a massive polluter and kills far, far more people than nuclear power. But, by opposing nuclear power, you are actually encouraging coal. Hence, I was outright disgusted with Greenpeace supporting the troublemakers of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

I’m ok with them pointing to the various effluents from the nuclear plants and pressurizing authorities to cleanup the water before they release into the ocean [they do]. But, blocking nuclear power is clearly against India’s economic interests and by extension against its people.

To develop a great appreciation for the environment, you either have to be very rich or be a tribal. With our current population of 1.2 billion, the latter option is ruled out for India [nature cannot manage 1.2 billion humans living in a primitive hunter-gatherer lifestyle – that lifestyle requires 1 sq mile per human]. Thus, we have to get rich to protect our environment. To get rich, we have to invest on nuclear power and other cleaner sources of energy [including Solar, Thorium, etc].

In summary, by being very short-sighted in its opposition to nuclear energy, Greenpeace is impeding India’s economy and by extension preventing India from having enough resources to protect its environment. Until they remove their opposition to nuclear power, they are a menace who need to be managed, not saints who need to be appreciated.

For the commenters below who are arguing for solar power based on some cost projections, it is still expensive on per kWh basis. They are often not including the costs other than than PV cells and mirrors [such as energy storage, land and other infrastructure costs], not accounting for the subsidies that already go into it and not accounting for non-peak production and not accounting for drop in efficiency. I believe in solar, but we are not yet there.
Why the Best Path to a Low-Carbon Future is Not Wind or Solar Power

Is Greenpeace a threat to Indian economical development?