Barbara Billing is the author of a novel titled The Nuclear Catastrophe. Here is how she has chosen to begin her description of the book on the blog of the same name.
TAKE ACTION BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.
Nuclear accidents are recognized as part of the nuclear package. They are a threat to our health, well-being and even our survival as a world. Many people would like to see nuclear power plants dismantled, shut down, phased out. Especially since the spent fuel has no place to be safely stored.
Several days ago, I posted a comment on that blog post to explain that nuclear professionals are not ogres.
The entities that stand to benefit the most from efforts to hamstring nuclear energy by slowing development or shutting down existing reactors are the corporations that extract, transport, refine, market, finance and distribute coal, oil and natural gas.
Last week, ExxonMobil, one of the most profitable corporation of all time, reported a quarterly profit from selling hydrocarbon fuels of $16 BILLION. That company has just a 2% share of the oil and gas market.
What did the gas companies do to compensate the people in San Bruno when their neighborhood exploded as a result of a gas pipeline leak? What did the gas industry do for the people who live around the Gulf of Mexico when a gas explosion on the Deepwater Horizon resulted in an oil eruption that lasted for six months and dumped millions of barrels of oil into that body of publicly owned water? Have you even heard about the 7 workers who were killed at the Kleen Energy Plant in Middletown CT when a natural gas explosion occurred?
Give me a break. Do your research before publishing FUD and expecting educated readers to believe it.
Publisher, Atomic Insights
Host and producer, The Atomic Show Podcast
Barbara reacted to that comment in a surprising way. She took offense and called it a personal attack. She has decided not to publish another comment that I neglected to save, but that comment simply attempted to explain that nuclear professionals are dedicated to a mission of providing safe, clean energy. It also described how we often choose to live quite close to the facilities that we operate.
I am pretty sure I repeated my refrain that, as a former submarine engineer, I have spent months at a time within 200 feet of a nuclear reactor and I located my family in a city where the harbor often had a half dozen or more reactors moored to the piers. Barbara has refused to publish that comment, and recently challenged me on Twitter with a series of posts @Atomicrod, including the following:
@Atomicrod I published your first comment on my blog http://thenuclearcatastrophe.blogspot.com with its personal attack on me. Use your own blog…
Even people who attack nuclear energy often have good ideas, so here is a copy of the comment that I just attempted to submit to Barbara’s most recent post titled Trashed by the Trashy, in which she clearly implies that anyone who is in favor of the effective use of nuclear energy qualifies for the sobriquet of “trashy.”
I am a nuclear energy professional and a atomic energy advocate. I have weighed all of the arguments and balanced them with my personal experience as the man in charge of a submarine propulsion reactor for several years.
In a society whose viability is threatened by atmospheric chemistry changes, limitations on fuel availability for the 2/3 of the world’s population whose income puts most reliable energy out of reach, and whose political stability is threatened with great regularity by battles over limited fossil fuels, I cannot understand why people refuse to learn some basic facts about nuclear energy and radiation.
No one will die from the Fukushima accident, which was arguably about as bad as it can get, with three reactors experiencing substantial core melting. Virtually none of the radioactive material in those reactor cores entered the biosphere – the only isotopes that were measured were noble gases, iodine and cesium. All of those left the core because they were either gases or water soluble. The solid materials could not escape through what are most likely just cracks in the pressure vessel in the areas where the vessel has welded penetrations for control rod mechanisms.
Please consider that the primary beneficiaries of excessive fear, uncertainty and doubt about nuclear energy are the people that continue selling expensive fossil fuels.
In the 9 months after Fukushima, Japan spent $55 billion more on fossil fuel imports to replace the energy that was not produced in their reactors as they shut down 50 operable reactors because 4 of their reactors had been damaged by a massive tsunami caused by the 4th worst earthquake in recorded history.
A part of my aggressive response is motivated by the fact that I just spent a wonderful evening surround by nuclear professionals. I live in Lynchburg, VA a little city with one of the most nuclear centric economies in the United States. B&W and Areva each employ several thousand local residents. Last night, a random group of us gathered in the picnic area on the first base side of the Hillcats baseball stadium to watch a minor league ballgame, socialize with friends, and enjoy a summer evening watching the sun set over the Blue Ridge mountains.
Aside: If you live in Lynchburg, you can join in. There is a group that gathers for every Wednesday night game. End Aside.
We chatted about many topics, including the recent ribbon cutting at B&W’s new Fuel Technology Center. One member of the crowd overheard the conversation and introduced himself as an employee at B&W’s Mt Athos road facility. He asked me if I worked at mPower. When I told him yes, he shook my hand and mentioned how he had read several recent articles about us in the News and Advance. He told me that everyone at the plant is rooting for us to succeed and to make a difference for the US’s energy supply.
After that experience, I am even less interested in having people like Barbara call me and my colleagues “trashy.”