This show was inspired by a post on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Healthiness titled Why I’m Not Afraid of Fukushima. That post was written by a guest blogger named Jeremiah Scott; he is an electrical engineering student who is attending college in the Pacific Northwest with the help of the GI bill. He earned that benefit while serving as a nuclear-trained electrician in the US Navy submarine fleet.
Jeremiah wrote his post in an effort to use his nuclear knowledge to dispel harmful rumors that have been spread through the healthy living community to which his wife belongs. As he told us during the show, there are members of that community that are not only telling each other scary stories about the effects of Fukushima, but they are also taking harmful actions – like continuing to take daily iodine tablets – as a result of their worrying about the possibility that they are being harmed by exposure to radioactive material released from Fukushima Daiichi.
That damaged power station is on the other side of a large ocean; it stopped releasing significant quantities of radioactive material almost 1000 days ago. It is the daily workplace of thousands of people who are not exceeding any dose limits; even if people lived right outside the fence of the facility, they could go about their daily living without receiving a radiation dose that would exceed routine doses allowed for radiation workers who spend their entire career in the field.
Jeremiah, after several private “rants” to his wife about the situation, decided that it was time to try to help people understand more about the subject that had caused them to live in fear and to take actions that were actually harming their health.
His post made me think – how can we encourage more Navy nukes to come forward and share their knowledge in the various communities that they populate. Because of the large number of people who move through the program and the fact that the commercial nuclear power business has been rather constrained in the US for a few decades, a substantial portion of the people who leave the Navy nuclear power program enter other fields. We are all members of extended communities and through our families and friends have a large reach into groups where nuclear knowledge is not common.
I gathered a group of bloggers and podcasters that are already actively communicating about nuclear energy who share a common trait; we obtained our first helping of nuclear expertise by serving in the Navy nuclear power program. We talked about our current communications efforts, the roots of the Navy’s long standing security policy, and ways to encourage more Navy nukes to recognize the boundaries of legitimate classified material and the information they learned from the program that is readily available to the public but is not as widely shared as it should be.
Guests on this show include:
Cal Abel, a former submarine engineer officer and current PhD candidate at Georgia Tech
Jeremiah Scott, a former submarine electrician and a guest blogger at Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Healthiness
John Wheeler, a former civilian Navy nuke who served as a shift engineer at the S3G facility in West Milton for the first five years of his nuclear career. John blogs and shares audio thoughts at This Week in Nuclear.
Aside: John has been focused on numerous other aspects of his life for the past year and has not been terribly prolific. I was pleased when he accepted my invitation and also pleased to hear that he might be finding some time in the near future for a little more communicating. Many of us have missed his knowledgable voice and keen observations from inside the operating industry. End Aside.
Les Corrice, a former submarine engineering laboratory technician (ELT) who later worked as a health physicist and educator. He operates the Hiroshima Syndrome blog and has been publishing a twice weekly Fukushima accident update for the past 1000 days.
Will Davis, a former submarine reactor operator (RO) who blogs at Atomic Power Review, ANS Nuclear Cafe, and Fuel Cycle Week.
Note: During the show, Cal reminded me that this show would probably be posted on December 2, which is an important day in nuclear energy history. He and I like to call it “Critmass” (short for critical mass); it is the anniversary of the first self sustaining chain reaction. That world-changing event occurred on December 2, 1942 in a former squash court under the stadium at Stagg Field in Chicago. I’ll post more information about Critmass later in the day.
Note 2: This show was initially posted with an incorrectly edited version that included an outtake. I apologize for any downloading issues associated with deleting that file and replacing it with a new one.