Virgin’s Richard Branson Defends Nuclear

Sir Richard Urges People to Watch 'Pandora's Promise'

Few would question the environmental credentials of Britain’s business magnate Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group. As founder and chief benefactor of the Carbon War Room, Branson has long advocated carbon pricing, energy efficiency measures, and transforming business as the answer to global warming. Add to that list the expansion of nuclear energy. In his personal blog, Branson explicitly calls for investment in better nuclear technologies and a more pragmatic conversation around nuclear energy. To that end, he urges his readers to watch Pandora’s Promise. Far from a technology tribalist, Branson makes clear: to fight climate change, we need a broad mix of clean energy sources at our disposal, including nuclear. Here is his post in full:

Recently, four of the world’s leading climate scientists released an open letter to world environmental policy makers urging the development and deployment of advanced nuclear power as a necessary measure to avert a climate catastrophe.

Their report has received criticism by organizations who claim we should stop all nuclear energy development.

This is wrong. There are many examples of successful and safe nuclear programs in the world and we should continue to develop advanced nuclear power to add to the mix.

I fully support the use of renewable energy. We need to ensure the world uses less energy, uses it efficiently and produces it sustainably.

However, I’m also a realist. We need to invest in nuclear energy as well as solar, wind and biofuels to create a broad-based solution to the climate crisis in which all options are on the table.

Perhaps it is time to re-think our approach to how we build nuclear power plants? For nuclear to succeed, I think it is important that people understand it. That’s why I was one of the executive producers for Pandora’s Promise, a new film that examines the future of nuclear energy.

I hope that you will watch the movie and join the conversation. Nuclear power is a very important decision - one we can’t afford not to get right.