One of the benefits of being “out there” in the social media world – which includes old fashioned email lists – is the opportunity to meet like minded souls without being limited to people who happen to be in your neighborhood or your physical social circle.
I recently saw an exceptional commentary about Pandora’s Promise from a man who asked to be identified as “an angel working in the clean-safe-nuclear field”. He gave me permission to share this.
By the way, this movie Pandora’s Promise shows the path of prominent Green leaders towards the pro-nuclear position.
It is likely to be influential among people who respect these leaders. And useful to nuclear power advocates, green or otherwise.
It shows how the post WWII effort to beat swords into ploughshares, while poetic, was perhaps misguided in turning the actual machines of bomb production into energy producers. The real revolution in clean-safe-nuclear power was sacrificed in its cradle. Neither the environmentalists of the day, nor the nuclear contractors wanted to redesign nuclear power for safety. But our soon-to-be secretary of State, John Kerry was the man that took credit for killing one of the most promising and safe designs, IFR.
Today we know more about how we would design reactors that don’t make bomb materials. Today we have 40 extra years of public health statistics showing the effect of radiation. We know what radiation does to the body. Today we know more about climate change.
It’s time to look again at the risks and rewards.
A few thoughts of mine about the question.
The point I would make, that the movie fails to make strongly enough, is that what we really need is leadership.
We need an Eisenhower or John F. Kennedy to set the goal of clean safe cheap energy technology within 5 years, and appoint young engineers and scientists to accomplish it.
What we have instead is Congress covering the cost plus profit for their favorite old companies to think about energy, with no stretch goals or fixed deadlines. Congress is responding to the demands of lobbyists for “innovation free zones” where they can be assured profits for resurrecting 50 year old designs, left over from those days when innovation was mandatory.
Technology for clean safe energy is not as hard to come by as putting a man on the moon was. But it takes leadership and risk-tolerant funding. It takes the courage to put power in the hands of young engineers and scientists to make the right choices.
Robert Oppenheimer was 38 and had never run anything when he was handed responsibility for the Manhattan Project, with management assistance from General Groves and $2 billion. ($33 billion in today’s dollars). An effort of that scale would not fail. Why can we not mobilize against climate catastrophe the way we mobilized against the Axis and the Empire of the Rising Sun?
Our rhetoric certainly isn’t up to the standard of that era. Rhetoric is cheap- we can afford to do that with enough zeal. Let’s try to measure up to Roosevelt and Churchill. They weren’t always polite to appeasers of the enemy. They did say what they meant, and it was sensible, and most people accepted it.
(Emphasis in original.)