Smoking gun – Antinuclear talking points coined by coal interests

Some of the earliest documented instances of opposition to the development of commercial nuclear power in the United States originated from designated representatives of the coal industry. They were the first people to mount sustained opposition to the use of taxpayer money to support the development of nuclear power stations.

They testified against the implied subsidy associated with nuclear fuel leasing and complained about the value credited to commercial plant operators for the plutonium produced during operation, even though that material was locked up inside used fuel rods. They were the first people to label the Price-Anderson nuclear liability limitations as a subsidy.

The coal industry, frequently referred to as “King Coal” in the era up to the end of World War II, had legitimate commercial reasons for striving to convince the Government to stop pushing atomic power into the electricity market. The industry had experienced a 30% slide in sales by weight during the fifteen year period between the end of the war and 1960. It nearly completely lost both the home heating market and the railroad locomotive market to diesel fuel and natural gas. The utility power market was the coal industry’s only real growth area.

However, by the early 1970s, the coal industry quietly backed away from the political struggle against atomic energy, apparently recognizing that more effective recruits had arrived to continue the fight.

After 1971, it appears that the coal industry decided to focus its internal efforts on continuing to improve mine productivity and reduce transportation costs while allowing others to take the visible lead on the political part of their battle to maintain sales growth by slowing the atomic competition.

After that introduction, it is incumbent on me to provide evidence that support the claims. First, however, I’d like to let you know how I happened to come across a new, rather rich seam of material that backs up a theory I have been developing for many years.
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Smoking gun: AEC told President Kennedy why coal industry was opposed to nuclear energy

It’s been quite a while since my last smoking gun post on Atomic Insights. It may be time to revive the series to remind nuclear energy advocates to follow the money and know their opponents. In the battle for hearts, minds and market share it is always useful to know why vocal opposition exists, but […]

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Cape Wind scrambling to meet deadline to qualify for $780 million taxpayer gift

Cape Wind is the leading offshore wind energy project in the United States. In 2001, more than 12 years ago, Jim Gordon, the project founder, started the process of promoting his vision of a building a 430 MWe (peak capacity) field of 130 massive (rotor diameter – 110 m, hub height – 80 m, nacelle […]

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Smoking Gun research continuing in earnest

In 1993, after I had made a decision to resign my active duty commission and design a small atomic engine, a colleague warned me that “the oil companies will never let you succeed.” At the time, I was pretty naive, so I didn’t heed his warning. Over the years, I have gradually learned more about […]

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How important has oil money been to antinuclear movement?

A couple of days ago, I wrote about my discovery that Robert O. Anderson, a long time leader in the global petroleum business, had provided the seed money that David Brower used to fund Friends of the Earth, an organization that has been fighting against nuclear energy for more than 40 years. I pointed out […]

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Smoking gun: Robert Anderson provided initial funds to form Friends of the Earth

In 1970, Robert O. Anderson, an oil man whose long career included a stint as the Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) (now part of BP, the company formerly known as British Petroleum), gave David Brower $200,000 to start Friends of the Earth (FOE). Here is a quote from that organization’s page about nuclear […]

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Dieter Helm – Coal Critic, Atomic Agnostic, Natural Gas Enthusiast

Dieter Helm’s The Carbon Crunch: How We’re Getting Climate Change Wrong–and How to Fix It has the potential to be an influential energy policy book, not just for the UK but for the rest of Europe and the United States. Helm has been making the rounds to promote the book and recently gave a concise […]

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CNN promotes natural gas as “safer” than nuclear – smoking gun

An article titled Fukushima inspires safety features for Georgia nuclear reactors is a recent addition to CNN’s Powering the Planet series. It is packed full of misinformation about nuclear energy along with subtle and not so subtle promotion of natural gas, one of nuclear energy’s strongest competitors. The most important misinformation in the article is […]

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Why are North American natural gas prices so much lower than rest of world?

I’ve been involved in a reasoned discussion with an oil field accountant / attorney about US natural gas prices and total resource base. I thought that it would be worth preserving and sharing that discussion here so that it would not get buried. If you read closely between the lines, you will see why I […]

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Smoking gun – CEO of U.S.-Central Asia Biofuels Ltd decrying nuclear energy

A commenter on my last smoking gun report claimed that it did not provide direct evidence of antinuclear activity by the beneficiaries – in that case, the people selling LNG tankers to a market that is growing because of the forced shutdown of operable nuclear power plants in Japan and Germany. Today I ran across […]

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Smoking gun: LNG ship builders and their financial backers stoke nuclear fears

It’s been a while since my last ‘smoking gun’ report so it might be worth a brief reminder of what that categorization means. For Atomic Insights, the tag ‘smoking gun’ means a story that includes evidence of fossil fuel related interests working to oppose nuclear energy development, usually at a specific project. Some of the […]

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Smoking gun – Russia’s plan to dominate energy markets

I came across an article on RosBusinessConsulting titled Russia floods global markets with O&G that supports my theory that at least some of more crafty segments of the world’s oil and gas providers recognize the return on investment (ROI) available to them from steady efforts to stoke irrational fears about the use of nuclear energy. […]

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