CNN’s carefully timed attack on nuclear energy and NRC credibility

Last night, CNN Presents aired a completely one sided and inaccurate portrayal of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. It extensively quoted both Arnie Gundersen and Bernie Sanders and included a staged interview that made the Nuclear Regulatory Commission look both incompetent and unresponsive. That episode is scheduled to be repeated tonight. Here is a video excerpt from the story.

It has been just a little more than a week since the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued its first combined license (COL) ever for a new nuclear power station under the “new” one step licensing process that was developed in the late 1980s and issued as 10 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 52.

That COL for Southern Company’s Vogtle nuclear power plant units 3 & 4 was also the first time that the NRC has issued a construction permit for a new nuclear power station in the United States since 1978, the year before the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power station experienced a highly publicized partial meltdown.

Since that expensive industrial accident – which only damaged a small portion of the internals of an industrial facility and did not hurt a single person – the effort to discourage the use of nuclear energy made the letters “TMI” one of the most frequently repeated acronyms in the United States. That happened decades before someone decided that they can also mean “too much information.”

Part of the effort to halt the growth of nuclear energy included a well-supported media campaign designed to question the credibility and integrity of nuclear energy professionals and to paint the industry as an uncaring behemoth that was more worried about profits than people. I have long suspected that a major reason there was so much pressure against the use of nuclear energy is that the technology strongly threatens the profitability of selling hydrocarbon fuels like coal, natural gas and oil.

After all, it uses an emission free fuel source that is currently selling for about 65 cents per million BTUs – and that price is for fuel that is fully refined and delivered to a power plant. Even when compared to the incredibly low spot market price for natural gas in the US of $2.65 (February 18, 2012) nuclear fuel is really cheap. When converted to the same units of energy, the current spot market price for Brent dated crude oil is $21 and the current spot market price for refined heating oil is $44 per million BTU.

Sure, people will correctly point out that the cost of constructing nuclear power plants is outrageously higher than the cost of constructing fossil fuel burners, but the fundamental truth is that nuclear plants use virtually the same machinery for converting heat into electricity as fossil fuel plants do. The real reason that nuclear plants cost so much more than fossil plants is that every step in the process takes a lot longer and gets a lot more scrutiny.

The hydrocarbon fuel business is one of the world’s largest and most lucrative enterprises. It is also tightly tied to governments around the world and, despite the fact that no one can really tell one gasoline or natural gas molecule from another, it is an industry that spends heavily on advertising in the popular media.

Aside: In fact, during the commercial break that immediately preceded the story about Vermont Yankee, CNN aired a Chevron commercial touting “clean natural gas”. I am sure that few viewers recognize that the natural gas industry would be the primary beneficiary of a decision to shut down that plant. The appearance of that commercial might have been pure coincidence, but due to the concentration of those commercials on venues like CNN, it was not a low probability accident. End Aside.

One of the aspects of the program that has gotten me fired up is the way that CNN was able to portray the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as an unresponsive industry lapdog that believes that open government means publishing documents on a web site. I happen to know differently – even as a blogger, when I contact the NRC Director of Public Relations, I get an almost immediate response.

I could not help but think that the response to a request from CNN for comment was a purposeful setup. My suspicions were reinforced the third time I watched the above video and paid close attention to the exchange between Amber Lyon and an unnamed NRC spokesman. It was almost inaudible, but the unnamed NRC spokesman stated that all five of the commissioners, including the chairman were, at the very same time that Amber was outside of the NRC’s office with a CNN film crew, testifying in front of a House committee.

That means that the film had to have been shot on December 14, 2011 when all five commissioners were invited to testify in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That event was well publicized before it happened. There is almost no conceivable way that CNN producers would not have known that the commissioners were unavailable that morning.

It also means that video footage is more than two months old, yet the segment was timed to air just one week after a lot of positive news about the first approval for the construction of a new nuclear power plant since 1978.

A couple of hours ago, I sent my contacts at the NRC an inquiry to find out why the agency was so unresponsive to interview requests from CNN, a major news network working on a story with a strong potential for harming the industry, at such a key time in the deployment of new nuclear power stations.

Here is an excerpt from the response I received. It turned out that my contact was the person who made the decision not to engage CNN on camera.

My decision was based on long experience as a public affairs professional, with substantial news magazine experience, and on a conversation with our general counsel. It would have been wholly inappropriate to accommodate their request for the chairman to discuss the Vermont Yankee case while it was in the federal courts.

By the way, we have something up in For the Record reinforcing the reason for the decision.

I apologize for my earlier, incorrect guess that decision came from the chairman.

PS – There is another set of coincidences that I cannot resist pointing out. At the same time that the operators at TMI made their expensive mistakes, there was a relatively obscure movie running in the theaters that included a line about the way that a reactor accident could contaminate an area the size of the state of Pennsylvania.

That movie, The China Syndrome, suddenly became a box office hit when there was a nuclear reactor accident that just happened to be in the state of Pennsylvania. It starred Jane Fonda, a hereditary member of the Hollywood branch of the media establishment and a famous anti-Vietnam war activist, who combined her starring role in The China Syndrome and her experience as an activist to become one of the harshest critics of the nuclear industry.

More than a decade later, Jane married Ted Turner, the media mogul who built upon his family’s outdoor advertising business to found a superstation called TBS and followed that with founding CNN, the first 24 hour news network. Ted and Jane remained married for ten years until their 2001 divorce. Turner has gradually become a major player in the US natural gas industry. He owns enormous tracts of land in the western United States that are home to tens of thousands of natural gas wells.

Additional Reading

Yes Vermont Yankee published an excellent warning about the upcoming CNN segment titled CNN Hatchet Job About Vermont Yankee

NEI Nuclear Notes also recognized the threat and published a series of advanced warning articles:
A Preview of CNN’s Report on Vermont Yankee
Some Facts on Vermont Yankee That Didn’t Make the CNN Report
How Safe is Vermont Yankee? Ask the NRC, Not CNN.

Idaho Samizdat has a post titled Vermont Yankee in the Spottlight.

About Rod Adams

50 Responses to “CNN’s carefully timed attack on nuclear energy and NRC credibility”

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  1. Filiatrault Simon says:

    Rod, this is so sad, I wonder more and more if special interest group will prevent humanity from fullfilling it’s full potential… That is, use the best technologies, the more denser energy sources etc…

    The cost of this is well known, poverty, diseases and growth of a very small group at the expense of the PEOPLE.

    Who said: it’s going to take a new generation to see the benefit of nulear power…. We have been so brainwashed that full potential use of nuclear is almost impossible for this generation.

    Sad state of affair.

  2. Daniel says:

    This is a story based in the US. There is some local clout and the pro nuclear forces have to respond. The NRC could have sent a smarter communication person to talk to the CNN journalist.

    • Cal Abel says:

      Rod,
      So I ma not going crazy, with seeing a concerted effort to discredit the nuclear industry, where the COL with the loan dissent, the lawsuit against the NRC for the COL “not incorporating measures to protect against F-D”

      See Jazcko’s disenting opinion:
      http://theenergycollective.com/ansorg/76189/nrc-issues-licenses-southern-s-vogtle-project

      I think the little man is pissed off that he got publicly called out for being a punk.

      All this near the 1-year anniversary of F-D and Japan struggling through shutting down all their nuclear reactors and “heroic efforts to enact energy efficiency”. It is very difficult to find in the news or even online the monthly average price of energy in Japan from before and after the accident. That price skyrocketed. We are seeing here in Georgia a large number of Japanese manufacturing firms seeking to build new industrial facilities. I wonder why…

      The “energy efficiency” in Japan is causing manufacturing to relocate to areas where the price of energy is low. We have 4 reactors and God willing we will have another 2. However, I am deeply concerned that unless the “nuclear party” mounts a massive advertising campaign we will be DOA.

      At the ANS student conference this last April, a gentleman from Southern said that you don’t advertise unless you have somebody to convince. We as an industry are facing an all out frontal assault by the Oil and gas industry. They are purposefully seeking to restrict our access to energy through political legerdemain in order to maximize their profit.

      Unless we start advertising, the news media won’t give two hoots about our technology even if it is the cat’s meow because we provide them nothing other than the most inexpensive and reliable form of energy. They don’t see that as important.

      • Rod Adams says:

        @Cal – I agree that we need to start advertising. In fact, I am toying with the idea of a focused, short term fund raising effort to take out a full page ad in section A of the New York Times on March 11, 2012.

        The gist of the ad will be to express sadness for the victims of the earthquake and the tsunami along with the hundred thousand people who were forced to leave their homes by government edict and the media induced fear of radiation.

        Is anyone willing to write a check for such a cause? Nuclear professionals must have a little bit of free cash – after all, a trip to an ANS meeting will easily set you back $1000-$2000 when you include conference fees, meals and room costs.

        I am thinking we can probably collect the funds through one of the non-profit groups that have recently been given 501(c)(3) status as groups focused on nuclear energy education.

        Suzy – are you reading this thread?

        • John Englert says:

          Rod,

          It would be too late for the earthquake anniversary, but for the future how about a non-profit listed in the Combined Federal Campaign? Think of all the DOE and nuclear Navy employees that could be tapped for relatively painless regular donation via payroll deductions.

        • Joel Riddle says:

          Rod, any idea on a ballpark $ figure?

  3. John Englert says:

    Notice that the only pro-VY people they interviewed were a bunch of drunks downing Tritium shots.

    • CNN called me in November, saying they wanted “both sides of the story.” But they only pro-VY people they actually interviewed were at that tavern. CNN knew better.

      • Rod Adams says:

        Meredith – of course they knew better! That is my point; this story was not an effort to investigate or to tell the truth, it was a carefully timed attack against nuclear energy technology, the license extension program, the NRC, and the effort to build new nuclear power stations.

        There is no doubt in my mind that the reason is that nuclear energy is a disruptive technology that threatens the wealth and power of the establishment.

        It is going to remain a hard slog, but we have the benefit of the truth on our side. We just have to find larger megaphones.

        • Rod.

          I agree. However. Bigger megaphones cost money, and I don’t see a source for the money. Sorry to sound discouraging, but think of those ads on the show! One after another “I vote”…for fossil fuels! The message: Fossil Fuels are the American Way!

          Pro-nuclear people have made headway, no doubt. I think that it is feels safer for ordinary people to be pro-nuclear now then it was several years ago, mostly due to individual efforts. You get calls from media in the Northwest, Howard and I get calls from around here. But we are up against those fossil ads, and I think ads are important.

        • John Englert says:

          Maybe we just need a catchy slogan.

          America – First in Freedom…First in Fission

  4. Daniel says:

    Rod,

    I cannot see the thread htru Apple-Chrome… I can with Apple-Safari ….

    • Rod Adams says:

      Daniel – I also use Chrome on a Mac. The site is working well for me, including the comment threads. (Though the delay still seems to be happening.)

  5. Atomikrabbit says:

    Last night I tweeted Amber Lyon (@AmberLyon): “How about a hard-hitting investigative journalism report on how much CNN sponsorship $$ came from fossil fuel industry vs. nuclear?”

    Now THAT is a report I would like to see! If anyone else is interested I urge you to also send them a message. (also tweet @CNNPresents and @CNN)

    Rod, by the way – just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get you! ;-)

  6. James Greenidge says:

    The Ted-Fonda tie-in regards CNN’s anti-nuclear bias is so on the head! So damn vexing to see CNN smugly getting away with deceit so! Not trying to play favorites here, but time’s past to put CNN on the carpet with a challenge that behooves them to respond. If bombarded by emails and Twitters challenging CNN’s objectivity and to get its stooge Arnie to debate or answer to Rod Adams (yes, there’re lots of nuclear spokesman talent out there but we need a focused single point rep here who does step up to the plate) via emails and endless Twitter challenges to embarrass them to respond. Be great if the atomic workers union coughed up some dough for a commercial rebuffing and presenting such a CNN challenge but sadly their honchos seem clueless in the art of self-preservation or off on lavish vacations. So that’s my meager request all; Twitter-flood CNN with a Rod challenge. Twitter in all CNN forum topics and categories and challenge CNN’s truthfulness with rep Rod and openly demand the reason why they don’t!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    • Atomikrabbit says:

      “during the commercial break that immediately preceded the story about Vermont Yankee, CNN aired a Chevron commercial touting “clean natural gas”

      Yep – during the twenty minutes that the segment ran, there were three fossil fuel ads, including the one you mention.

      In 1972 a Watergate informant code-named “Deep Throat’ (who was actually FBI Associate Director Mark Felt) gave investigative reporters Woodward and Bernstein some sage advice: “Follow the money!”

      But who will investigate the investigators?

  7. Bad Media stories –> Widespread Public Fear of Radiation and Nuclear Energy –> Bad Advice given by Congress to NRC –> Bad and overly restrictive regulation at NRC which greatly increases the difficulty of obtaining construction licenses for new reactors –> Excessive regulation prices up nuclear to the point it is no longer selected and built by American communities needing power.
    Bad Media stories like the recent CNN’s Report on Vermont Yankee matter (and deserve to be countered), Is there a major media outlet that would run a balanced pro-nuclear story?
    All of the networks chose the hyped sensationalist anti-nuclear approach to Fukushima Daiichi when that story recently broke. None of the networks ran interviews from Ted Rockwell or Rod Adams during the aftermath of the tsunami.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Robert – don’t lose hope – there were a number of media outlets that ran interviews with Margaret Harding – she did a bang up job.

      I did get a couple of interview requests from a local radio station in the Pacific Northwest. I responded each time I was asked, and by the end of the series the host was calling me his go to guy on nuclear energy.

      One step at a time.

  8. Daniel says:

    Just now, Iran has decided to halt oil sales to France and the UK way before the target date of July 1st set by the 2 European countries.

    Really, wat was France and the UK thinking that when announcing July 1st as a stop import date that things would hum along?

    England will realize now that the best time to build a nuclear reactor was 10 years ago. Then ext best time is FRIGGING NOW !!!!!

  9. Daniel says:

    The comment I posted at 8:52 this morning is just appearing at 11:56 ….

  10. Daniel says:

    It’s Sunday, but things are happening in Spain. No worries on old nuclear plants over there.

    SEVILLE (AFP) – Spain will extend operations at its oldest nuclear power plant by five years, Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria said on Saturday as the country seeks to make the most of its energy sources.

    The decision was immediately slammed as ‘irresponsible’ by environmentalists.

  11. DV82XL says:

    Look, we can whine all we want about how unfair it is that Big Carbon uses money-amplified free speech to undermine nuclear in the public’s eyes – the real question is what to do about it. For one reason or another, the nuclear industry, such as it is, cannot mount an effective PR campaign, and unless this changes, or someone else acts, these attacks will be effective.

    I know I’ve bitched about this for years and haven’t done anything about it and I know that impacts my credibility. Nevertheless I have racked my brain trying to come up with a way this can be done, and I know it won’t be easy, but it must be discussed with more vigor than we have done to this point.

    Looking around the internet, it is incredible how many very bad ideas have garnered a significant and vocal following. Even if one eliminates all those that are against something, (which is arguably the easier position) the number of those that are for is astonishing. These run the gambit between reasonable issues and the bizarre, but many at the latter end do have a constituency, particularly in the area of so-called alternative medicine, and they have made modest political gains in some jurisdictions. I cannot see any good reason why nuclear cannot use many of the same general techniques these folks have to develop a grassroots bloc of supporters, something we sorely lack.

    Part of the problem is that we come from different countries, with very different general attitudes to nuclear; the situation right now in the U.K. seems very positive, while Australia is quite the opposite and thus have much farther to go. Between Canada and the U.S. things are different, not only between the nations, but also within them, with some regions more positive, and others negative. A solution that cuts across these differences is a problem, but not I believe, an insoluble one.

    It strikes me that we need high-profile spokespeople to push the message. This is not to take anything away from those that are walking the talk right now, but we need some star power to drive outreach beyond the converted. I was thinking something along the lines of a small group (or even one) from popular Science Fiction television series. These people, assuming they could be recruited, would have automatic credence among the rather large number of fans that follow this genre, many of whom identify themselves as being on the side of science. If a majority of these fans can be motivated to make this issue their own, I believe that they have shown the degree of cohesiveness, and the passion, and the organizational skills to form the core of an effective movement. All they need is someone to plant the idea, and get them focused initially.

    While it would be great to have several actors take on this project, even if we could get one major SF star onside, progress could be made. What we now need is someone with a high enough profile in nuclear power to convince one or more of these stars to get on board.

    • Daniel says:

      DV82XL,

      I think that Sheldon from Big bang theory would be a blast as a spoke person.

      • DV82XL says:

        I was thinking somewhat along the lines of a Tricia Helfer or Jeri Ryan. Imagine a nuclear power information session M/Ced by one or the other. You would be able to sell tickets, and probably need to turn fanboys away. I’m not sure that Jim Parsons (Sheldon) would have the same draw.

        I mostly want to get our side thinking about what we can do to build some grassroots support, because without it we are shouting into the wind.

    • Atomikrabbit says:

      How about contributing 50 bucks to the production of a fresh and brilliant documentary film about the potential of nuclear energy?

      What if it were so well done and innovative that it started winning awards at film festivals and developed a buzz among the enviros in Hollywood?

      What if it won the Academy Award for Best Documentary?

      If Thorium is regarded as The Next Big Thing, let it lead the way: http://energyfromthorium.com/2012/02/20/support-gordon/

      • Joel Riddle says:

        I think I may try to time it so that I am the 232nd contributor to this project.

        It is already more than halfway there, with 53 more days to go.

        • Atomikrabbit says:

          I’ll go right behind you – it’s the U233 doing all the work anyway!

          No, seriously, this young filmmaker is brilliant and he is gung-ho on Thorium beyond belief. Here is another example of what he can do, on a shoestring: http://thoriumremix.com/2011 .

          As I said before, if Thorium has the PR buzz, let it take the lead. The “small boatload of Thorium fanatics” and the IFRites just need to refrain from throwing bombs at each other and their LWR brethren. We’ve been down that fratricidal road before and look where it got us.

          With all due respect Rod, I think this project could have a far greater impact than a very expensive one-off in the NYT (although maybe if we bought advertizing Matt Wald would include some links to pronuclear greens on his blog, instead of just anties!)

        • Joel Riddle says:

          Rabbit,

          I was thinking that if I aim to be #232 and miss and end up as 233 that that would have been a fine situation.

          It is at 222 (and $12,807) as of this morning, so only 10 to go for our turns.

        • Joel Riddle says:

          Well, I missed out on number 232, but I was barely able to snag 233. Sorry, Rabbit.

          It is up to 237 backers now (U-238/Pu-238, Pu-239, and Pu-240 spots are up next) and $13,268.

      • Andrew Jaremko says:

        Atomikrabbit – I’m glad you posted the Thorium Remix link. I came by to make sure it had been noticed here. IMO Gordon is brilliant, the independent crowd sourced documentary is brilliant and his scope needs to be expanded. Or, if not him, some other committed documentarians. The pro-energy and pro-nuclear community needs to get the word out on all the technologies, all of the basics of reactors and radiation, and all of the benefits.

        All he needs is encouragement and comparatively small amounts of money. We need to provide both. Let’s get on board!

    • Wayne SW says:

      I have bitched about the lack of effective PR and the response I get, from posters here and elsewhere is two-fold, both related:

      1. Money. This prevents groups like ANS and bloggers from doing much. There is NEI, but my impression is that it exists mainly to lobby for nuclear-related things in Congress and the White House. EPRI is a research organization, not PR or lobbying. INPO focuses on operations. There is no group dedicated to PR (which is what we’re bitching about). It isn’t funded. ANS is the most likely vehicle for promoting the business, but when I was in national ANS governance, the focus was on how to keep the organization from going bankrupt, much less produce any high-priced PR.

      2. There is no single “nuclear industry” entity. There is GE and the former CE/ABB/AREVA who are both into fossil fuel power generation as well as nuclear. B&W is out of the business. Westinghouse is a shell of its former self. If there were one single, strong, monolithic “nuclear industrry”, even if made up of separate companies whose focus was on nuclear and nothing else, then maybe there would be a single, effective voice. As it is, there is no one voice who isn’t also compromised by interests in the competition. The utilities won’t speak up either, because almost all of them has the majority of the generating assets using fossil fuels. My local power company, for example, is 79% coal-generated. I don’t think they’re going to step up and saying anything that implies that their 79% generation is “bad” compared to their 21% “good”, and conversely they’re not going to tout their 21% as being so great, if that implies their other 79% is somehow a bad guy.

    • DV82XL says:

      Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and activist Bonnie Raitt is coming to Chicago this May, playing two shows in support of locally-based Nuclear Energy Information Service .

      The Nuclear Energy Information Service is a non-profit organization committed to ending nuclear power. “Through the application of nonviolent and democratic principles NEIS is determined to end nuclear power … on Planet Earth.”

      I ask you: what have we got to counter this? Right now nothing. We need high-profile support from outside the industry, even if they are not A-list celebrities, otherwise we are not playing in the same league as our opponents.

  12. Paul Wick says:

    I’ve lamented the death of Carl Sagan who might have risen to the task of a popularizer of nuclear energy. At the moment, I’m hoping the Chinese actually do sign contracts with Terrapower for prototyping the Traveling Wave Reactor there. This could further propel Bill Gates into a role of pied piper for 4th Generation nuclear power. That is significant Star Power. Incidentally, could the Chinese be interested in the TWave from the angle of it having appropriate outlet temperature to replace coal burning plant front ends?

  13. Hoosier Daddy says:

    For some reason I have an affinity for groups that the MSM or the left in general like to slander. I am an off road motorcycle (OHV) enthusiast which is often in the cross-hairs of environmental groups. There is no single method to fight back because they have dollars and ignorance on their side (There is no armor against logic like ignorance – Peter ??).

    I would not advocate a large ad because I don’t think the cost benefit is there. These suggestions may be in place, but I am just a new bystander, so my apologies.

    1) You need advocates in the Senate and the House. They may be neutral at this point, but you may be able to educate those that have a technical background and win them over based on facts….not emotion. Obvious targets are those with nuclear plants in their districts. Know your friends, but know your enemies as well. These advocates can probably help identify the fossil fuel reps that will undermine the effort. Sen Ben Nelson was a popular figure for supporting the AMA (American Motorcyclist Association). On the flip side, watch out for the big dollar guy in Texas who went from oil to natural gas / wind. I am sure he didn’t get to where he is by being impartial.

    2) Employees of nuclear facilities would likely sign up if there was a 501c3 organization that was advocating nuclear energy. (So would I…..and I am just an M.E. in the pharma industry).

    3) Easily accessible information. Web sites, Facebook, etc that people can be referred to. Obviously a quick, memorable name – Nukefacts.com would be best.

    4) You need a committed spokesman. Some to make the circuits as these things come out. As a Catholic, I follow Americans United for Life and they do a very good job of poking holes in the Planned Parenthood propaganda machine and initiated the report that put PP under investigation in Congress. My point here is you need to look at groups that are fighting slander from the same MSM/Left and note their techniques. How about a similar report on the nuclear industry for Congress?

    5) What about getting some of the conservative talk show hosts on board…Glenn Beck, Hannity, etc. If they are convinced about nuclear energy and you have the aforementioned spokesman ready, they will be glad to give air time for a cause they (indirectly) support when these attacks come out.

    Ok, time to get junior ready for school. Keep up the great work!

    • Brian Mays says:

      What about getting some of the conservative talk show hosts on board … Glenn Beck

      For what it’s worth, Beck has been an outspoken supporter of nuclear power since back in the days when he was still at CNN.

      You also can search and find video of him using M&M’s to explain how a nuclear plant works, post Fukushima. He’s not 100% accurate — he gets a couple of things wrong — but he does a much better job than Bill Nye the science idiot, who gets even the simplest stuff wrong.

  14. Leslie Corrice says:

    Rod,

    What really roasts my apple is CNN’s utter arrogance. They seem to feel they have been given divine license to exaggerate, confabulate, and treat Arnie “the-sky-is-falling” Gunderson with utter reverence. Hmmm…makes me wonder if their divine license is up for renewal?

    Les

  15. Atomikrabbit says:

    Did you let them know that via email, or Twitter at @AmberLyon or @CNNPresents?

    They have to be shown they will feel it in the wallet when enough viewers decide to swap their source of news and information. It’s all about the benjamins, which in their world means ratings. These determine how much their numerous fossil fuel sponsors will be paying for each spot.

    CNN seems already to be not doing so well, often falling behind even MSNBC: http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/category/ratings

    (BTW, I prefer the term “really toasts my cannoli” – somehow that image sends me in paroxysms of laughter!) ;-)

  16. Pete51 says:

    Have there ever been any multi-billionaires who made their fortunes from nuclear power? In the last century, John D. Rockefeller made his money from oil. Today, people like T. Boone Pickens also make lots of money from the sale of petro-fuels. I can’t think of any one person who has made a fortune from atomic energy or uranium. Is this something to be proud of, or something to lament?

    • Joel Riddle says:

      Pete51, I am not aware of anyone even ever making $100 Million from nuclear power.

      I would say that in many ways, it is something to be proud of. I think it speaks to nuclear energy’s benefits being spread amongst society as a whole a lot moreso than being concentrated to a limited number of individuals.

      I would guess Rod would be more than happy to expound on this topic some more.

  17. Hoosier Daddy says:

    Purdue University featured a series of articles on nuclear power in it’s Winter 2011 engineering magazine.

    https://engineering.purdue.edu/Engr/AboutUs/News/Publications/EngineeringImpact/2011_1/COE/IMPACT_CoE_Winter_2011.pdf

  18. Hoosier Daddy says:

    “There are many complex events occurring with some of Japan’s nuclear power plants as a result of the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. This FREE Webinar will discuss the causes of the disaster, the current situation, and what is being done to attempt to protect life and the environment in the area.”

    http://www.thinkreliability.com/root-cause-analysis-webinars.aspx

  19. Dave Runyon says:

    About the comparison in fuel costs: It would be interesting to see the cost of fuel (per million BTUs) over the life of a nuclear plant (or at least 10 years) for coal, natural gas and nuclear – I would guess the price for fuel is both more consistent for nuclear and (as Rod pointed out) much less. On The Oil Drum, there has been very good analysis that the “100 years of natural gas” is more like 12-23 years. Then another chart for total fuel cost (and weight) per 1 GW produced in a year for those 3 sources. A few charts like these might be useful for ads or education. If someone already knows where to find something like this, I would be interested in the link.

  20. James Greenidge says:

    Rod:

    While I was following up a Will Davis thread on Mk-1 reactors on YouTube, I noticed how many anti-nuke videos were there featuring atom aces like American Indian Studies prof Philip Klasky and San Fran State U’s “environmental justice” anti-nuker Carlos Davidson feeding unreal disinformation to largely cluelessly terrified audiences. All totally toe-to-toe unchallenged — and regarded as “references” for schools from junior high to college. It occurred to me that, while it’s not like tackling CNN, why not have the Nuclear Carnival’s best spokespeople taking and picking apart each point and assertion of these anti-nuclear YouTube videos with their own? It’d be cheap, informative and kill the anti-nuke monopoly of atomic perspectives on YouTube, and maybe draw the the attention of the media networks to feature the lone wolves against the tide.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  21. Daniel says:

    Looking to dismiss Dr J with just cause? New information is coming out these days regarding his statements about spent fuel and the 50 mile evacuation zone for US citizen in late March.

    All based on poor science, deficient judgment and lack of evidence.

    There is nothing like getting at someone’s credibility. Even more so at the helm of the NRC.

  22. James Greenidge says:

    Just belatedly found out via a Queens school board member that this site http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Into_the_no-mans_land_of_Fukushima_999.html is but one “recommended reference” in NYC high schools libraries — but staff at this site won’t take your calls for rebuttal or critical comment!

    Ominous feature music sound-over please!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY