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26 Comments

  1. I have a dream that energy related decisions will be made based on testable logical metrics such as reliability, availability, and maintainability instead of undefined feelgood concepts such as its Greenness.

    1. After finally sifting through some of the comments under the conundrum posting, this does provide quite a decent contrast.

  2. It is safe to say this wasn’t written by former frequent discussion participant Kit P.

    A few more things that could be added:

    I have a dream that nuclear energy production will soon be allowed to finally enter its 2nd product cycle, implementing countless lessons learned from the first product cycle.

    I have a dream that nuclear energy in the not-too-distant future will be able to provide primary energy in more than merely the electricity generation market.

  3. I just had the misfortune of watching part of the CBS Evening News.

    They had a report on Fukushima, ten months later. Reporters, including CBS’s Lucy Craft, were invited into the restricted area for a tour. They were required to don full protective clothing (she likened them to hazmat suits) and full-face respirators. They could only linger a few minutes and were all issued “Geiger counters” because authorities told them “the radiation levels were still dangerously high at 3 microsieverts”.

    That’s not a typo, and I didn’t misunderstand her – I was paying close attention. So 3 microsieverts (300 microRem = 0.3 milliRem) is now considered “dangerously high”.

    They were all carefully frisked at the end of their suicide mission, and of course “no radiation” was found on anybody.

    It seems the authorities are going to try to talk residents into returning to their homes. Good luck with that – now that these kind of images have been seared into the minds of tens of millions of viewers worldwide (and even more on Youtube) you can explain how tiny a microsievert is until the cows come home. It’s like, who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes? The only way Greenpeace could have orchestrated it better would have been to paint skulls and crossbones on everything.

    Ok, I have a dream too. It’s that journalists will find a better meme than fear-mongering, and that some of them will educate themselves in a numerate way on energy, atomic energy, and radiation.

    Might as well throw eternal world peace in there while I’m at it.

    1. @atomikrabbit – that is one of the reasons that I continue to remind people just how much money the fossil fuel industry spends on advertising. The journalists not only feel free to attack nuclear energy (since nuclear advertising is exceedingly rare and easy to live without) but they are probably subtly encouraged by their editorial bosses to do all they can to inflame fear, uncertainty and doubt about nuclear energy.

      Take another look at the video about the coverage of Fukushima from the point of view of a center that provides scientific experts to the UK press. It provides some pretty good evidence of the pressure that editors can exert on journalists to sensationalize coverage designed to make nuclear energy seem scary – even if that coverage bears no relationship with reality.

      https://atomicinsights.com/2011/08/worldbytes-after-fukushima-the-fear-factor.html

      1. Unfortunately even public television and radio news editors may be compelled to bias news coverage against nuclear power because of their reliance on corporate donations.

        1. @John Englert – I often listen to the No Agenda podcast with Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak. They are both long time media professionals who call themselves “media assassins”. They deconstruct the story behind the story and explain how often the stories are chosen and shaped to the purposes of people who run the networks and their corporate or political sponsors. The “drama” is often scripted and political shows like the Republican series of debates are often compared to the way that “reality” television works. (Adam was once a star of a reality television show in the Netherlands.)

          The funding sources of NPR and PBS are a frequent topic of discussion. One clip that No Agenda plays occasionally has one of the executives from NPR talking about how “corporate sponsorships, advertising, whatever you want to call it” were negatively affected by the recession of 2008.

        2. And outside the United States, two of the biggest news networks are the BBC (which seems to have bought into a lot of the Green agenda) and al-Jazeera (which may be biased against nuclear because it competes with Qatari LNG).

    2. @Atomikrabbit
      “I just had the misfortune of watching part of the CBS Evening News.”

      My angst has always been — who do we call to rebut and correct this type of biased coverage? Where is the nuclear energy truth response squad to get on the air and on-line to put such coyly pernicious agenda-laden “reporting” on the carpet? Regrettably it must be left to nuclear workers/unions and engineers to do this since technically there’s no “nuclear industry” to defend nuclear energy it appears — and fat good that’s done. The media gives environmentalists the key to their front door while nukers can’t even break into the back basement to get their side heard. It’s really pathetic and maddening and hypocritical of all espousing “fairness in reporting”.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

  4. “I have a dream that access to copious amounts of energy in the future will not be limited to the elite members of society.”

    Many who live in America fail to realize that just living in America makes them part of the wealthy elite of the world.

    You can walk into almost any building here and get free clean drinking water.

    Even the water the welfare class gives to their plants has already been filtered, cleaned and sanitized.

    This is how deep the inequalities run.

  5. ’bout time :

    TOKYO—The chief executive of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said he expects Japan’s idled nuclear reactors to restart operations this spring despite widespread safety concerns among the Japanese public, and that the domestic backlash against nuclear technology won’t affect overseas demand.

    1. And today, Japanese Officials are ready to grant life extension of 20 years to all nuclear plants.

      So why don’t they just turn the plants back online….. It will happen anyway.

  6. I just finished watching the PBS special ‘Nuclear Aftershocks’.

    Well Dr J from the NRC thinks that a Fukushima event has a small chance of occurring in the US and that we must take this into account.

    As for the Indian Point plant and the evacuation plant, the report was not well balanced at all. Nuclear accidents from commercial and civil plants do not cause nuclear explosions and they tend to develop very very slowly within a small and limited radius.

    We still have work to do.

    1. I watched the Frontline episode as well.

      Miles O’Brien, a CNN science reporter, I think made an effort to be “fair”. He interviewed the Japanese radiation health expert who said the additional risk to residents around Fukushima amounted to only about 0.2% (based obviously on a LNT assumption). He sought frequent opinions from David Lochbaum, the UCS “nuclear expert”, but none from the Greenpeace crazies or, God forbid, Helen Caldicott. He gave Joe Pollock, the former VP at Indian Point some face time as well (he has subsequently gone to the NEI).

      On the Indian Point earthquake risk discussion, O’Brien could have dug a little deeper and shown that in the unlikely event of a major NY tremor the residents would be far more threatened by a rupturing of the 60 year old, 36 inch pressurized natural gas Algonquin pipeline (and its many branches) that run right over the Ramapo fault and under thousands of businesses, highways, and residences. Those numerous fires and explosions we saw following the Loma Prieta quake in California in 1989 and the Japanese quake last year were not caused by nuke plants. The only time this gas line is ever mentioned is when it is pointed out that. as it emerges from the east side of its passage under the Hudson River, it runs within a few hundred yards of the Unit 3 containment building – as if it could damage an enormously fortified structure like that, with no mention of the thousands of people who routinely live, work, or travel within yards of the pipeline every day.

      There was also no mention, when it comes to risk comparison, of the two 110 year old stone dams within 20 miles of the plant (and therefore within the hypothetical Ramapo fault zone), the New Croton and the Kensico dams, which have tens of thousands of persons living downstream in their flood plains.

      There is no evacuation plan, or any discussion, about risks from these far less robust structures, whose seismic failure, unlike the nuke plant, would be rapid and catastrophic. I’m disappointed that O’Brien, who I think is a bright guy, failed to explore the comparative risks associated with some of these other infrastructure features in the neighborhood. Cuomo doesn’t seem to think there is any political capital in calling for a shutdown and dismantling of the Algonquin pipeline or the Kensico dam, although they are far more likely to harm his constituents if they fail.

      Yes, we have a whole lot of work to do.

  7. @Daniel
    “January 17, 2012 | 11:00 PM
    As for the Indian Point plant and the evacuation plant, the report was not well balanced at all”

    What’s good for the goose is long overdue for the gander; where’s the outcry for evacuation zones with medical and bio labs experimenting with and storing potentially pernicious pathogens and plague microbes — even inside our densest cities? (It wasn’t a coincidence that the Center of Disease Control is the only major uniformed gov’t agency headquartered far outside Washington!) Ditto precaution zones and sirens and drills around gas and chemical plants to mitigate another Bhopal right? (the worst chemical mishap vs nuclear energy’s worst mishap “hurt” how many more people??) Yea, the public safety hypocrisy of anti-nukers is so thick it’d clog any toilet.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  8. I had a nightmare in which mankind loses control of multiple reactors and their ridiculous stockpiles of spent fuel. (maybe because of war, cant remember.) One by one they blow up, there is widespread panic and the economic system collapses quickly in the region as people try to get as far away as possible. There are some valiant Nuclear workers that hold their post in neighboring power plants but eventually conditions become too extreme and the supply of food and external power fail leaving no choice but to make a run for it. One after the other they go, as the system supporting them fragments. As the entire world economy collapses shipping and commercial travel stops almost overnight. Cities empty out quickly as supplies dwindle and cannibalism becomes common. The illusion of money holds for a short while and may buy basic supplies or passage on a ship or hijacked plane, but inflation goes through the roof very quickly and before long the only real value is food and clean water. Within a year all of the worlds 450 reactors have blown their load but no one really knows whats going on because all electronic communications have been down for months.
    Wandering tribes of people make their way to the most remote places on earth in the hope of escape, but the locals don’t take kindly to the foreign invaders and are not hospitable. Many large bloody battles take place, as it really is down to survival of the most ruthless.
    But even then the fight is in vain. Those that live the longest are rewarded an even more horrific fate. the radioactive monsoon is coming.

    If there is any greater danger to humanity I cannot think of it. can you?

      1. “A planet where apes evolved from men? There’s got to be an answer.”

        “Don’t look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find.”

        Personally, I’d just like to find out what the poor fellow ate before he went to bed. I’d like to avoid it.

    1. @Joe B

      Do you write fiction for a living? Have you sought assistance to help you work through these irrational nightmares?

      My nightmare is that our society will keep traveling on its current course and speed. We will keep finding more and more difficult to extract pockets of fossil fuels, keep forcibly breaking the ground on which we walk, and keep dumping our waste products into our common “nest”.

      My nightmare is that our ability to meet daily energy needs for a growing world population will result in ever higher prices, pushing a larger and larger portion of the world’s population into poverty. Of course, the vendors of the remaining fuels will prosper, especially if they already own or control – often by force of arms – reservoirs of relatively easy to extract fossil fuels.

      My nightmare includes an increasing level of instability as the gap between rich and poor expands and the formerly growing middle class that fills the gap falls away to the side of the poor.

      Wait a minute – I think I am actually awake and reading the real news, not dreaming. Time to get busy!!

      (There is a reason why you can find so many comments and tweets from me with time stamps from hours when almost no one else in my time zone is awake.)

    2. Joe B.,

      One major omission, which really goes back to the error in your overall thinking:

      You state that in your scenario “the only real value is food and clean water”.

      Don’t you think sources of energy would hold a great deal of value in such a scenario?

      If you don’t, your ability to have such a nightmare is not all that surprising. Food and clean water can be much more easily made available when there is access to energy.

      I personally think a scenario of a societal collapse as a result of people fighting over dwindling fossil fuel resources would be much more plausible than the nightmare you described.

    3. I had a nightmare myself (I dozed off reading Audubon Magazine).

      Monstrous groaning windmills were shredding eagles, bats, and condors; solar array controllers had gone berserk and were barbequing endangered desert tortoises with their concentrated beams; freezing homeowners by the thousands were falling to their deaths while trying to clean snow off their subsidized rooftop solar panels.

      Meanwhile, gypsy bands of tie-dyed Greenpeace mimes, courageously risking forfeiture of their welfare benefits, roamed the world on recycled bicycles trying to replace the missing electrical generation. Running low on methane-rich unicorn farts, the GPs raided the offices of their K Street paymasters and strapped overweight fossil fuel lobbyists to treadmills. The black-pantsuited blonde was cryptically screaming “Marcellus, Marcellus!” And then, mercifully, I woke up.

      If there is a more terrifying scenario to befall mankind I don’t want to know about it.

  9. This thread reminded me of remarks I often heard when I was in college in the 80s, “If only we had another Rickover to move nuclear forward.” Perhaps your thread is right on: we need an MLK instead?

    1. @Margolis
      “This thread reminded me of remarks I often heard when I was in college in the 80s, “If only we had another Rickover to move nuclear forward.”

      It’s a tired example but it’s tried and true; you need the literal equivalent of a Carl Sagan to do it. He managed to buoy high interest in space science and the space program during a period when everyone had their knives out for NASA and were deeply questioning the entire space program in the “Age of The Earth”. I dare say we wouldn’t have Cassini and High Horizons and further Mars missions weren’t for Sagan’s subtle showmanship of space (he was intimately involved in the famous Voyager gold record and having schoolchildren name space probes). I liked Rod’s presentation in the video clip, and if he just gleaned a little of Carl’s folksy mellow style and used a few hard-hitting punchlines he could fill Carl’s shoes in the nuclear arena nicely!

      BTW, notice the suffocating lack of mention in the media about Nuclear Week! Disgusting bias.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

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