Greenpeace was right to stop the bomb and save the whales, but it should never have opposed nuclear energy, the environmental group's co-founder and former director, Patrick Moore, said in Sandton yesterday.
Moore is doing a lecture tour of local universities sponsored by the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa.
"Climate change has made me a strong supporter of nuclear power," Moore said.
"I find it logically inconsistent for people in the environmental movement, who say that climate change threatens the very existence of our civilisation and could drive millions of species into extinction, to then oppose one of the most important technologies that could bring about the resolution of this crisis."
The former president of Greenpeace Canada left the organisation in 1986 and now dismisses modern environmental activism as spreading dangerous myths that lead "young people into total pessimism" instead of encouraging them to change their behaviour and develop technologies.
According to Moore most arguments against nuclear power are based on emotion and not facts.
Questioned on what to do about nuclear waste, Moore replied: "That is a problem solved by France 30 years ago. Nuclear plants produce very little waste, which is the first reason environmentalists should be in favour of them. Nearly all of their waste can be recycled to be run through nuclear power stations again.
"This has not been possible in the US because of laws introduced by the Carter administration. But France has demonstrated nuclear waste is a manageable problem."