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26 Comments

  1. This was a very good one and (for me) still wasn’t long enough! The public speaking points were very well done, and I wish such were applied to aggressive media/web ed campaigns as well, and IMHO he core of any nuke education program is being anti-FUD. Educating how atoms work is nice but demystifying radiation in layman’s terms and fighting and defeating FUD is where public nuclear acceptance’s at. Only thing I wish was covered more was the slaggard and pitiful public nuclear education responsibilities of nuclear professional organizations and the nuclear community (nuke labs, engineering schools, nuke publications, nuke manufacturing) to promote the cause. I liked that it was brought up of a nuclear 9-1-1 media fact correction squad to immediately respond to FUD-seeding erroneous and slanted nuke incident reporting in the media and web, and wish this could’ve been expanded some as to those what the parties and groups might be to run and sponsor such. The joint venture economics of mass media nuclear education would be a nice additional feature next time. I miss the inclusion of Meredith and Steve and Will in this and maybe a future grand slam roundtable II on this will include them also!

    Good show!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  2. One participant on this board mentioned that he was wearing a florescent USB key that had gamma radiation in one of its material.

    I want to get one, wear it to start educating.

    Anyone remembers what it was ?

    1. I thought it was Beta, not Gamma (Tritium). Same for the Colman Lantern Mantels, but I also believe they use other “rare earths” and no longer use Thorium (another beta emitter).

        1. Thanks Speedy !

          I think we should Fed Ex one each to the Governors of Vermont and New York. They are afraid sick of tritium and wanted their nukes shut down because of immaterial emissions.

          1. I’d like to splurge for a low-cost (cheap!) tritium or radium dial watch, so if any of you can offer recommedations I’d much appreciate it. I partly hope to also use it for a cheap bubble chamber demo at the library.

            James Greenidge
            Queens NY

          2. James and Speedy,

            The NRC says no no … I will se you both in jail !!! No frivolous use of Tritium.

            In response to your electronic mail dated October 23, 2007, concerning
            keyrings containing tritium, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has
            determined that a license is required to distribute products similar to
            the Traser “glowring” key chains. �Although the devices are allowed in
            the United Kingdom, they are not licensed here. �NRC regulations [10 CFR
            30.19(c) and 10 CFR 32.22(b)] and policy (Federal Register Notice of
            March 16, 1965, 30 FR 3462) do not allow licensing toys, novelties,
            adornments or any consumer product containing radioactive material
            considered a frivolous use of radioactive material and where the end use
            of the product cannot be reasonably foreseen. � Other consumer products
            that are not frivolous use, but contain self-luminous radioactive
            material, must go through a two step safety review process consisting
            of: �(1) an engineering evaluation and registration for the device as
            well as (2) a licensing review of the program involved in possession and
            distribution of radioactive material.

        2. You have to go thru a licensing review if you want to import or own those in the US …

          Way to go NRC … See my email below…

        3. About tritium based key rings :

          The problem is that even if the manufacturer and distributors were willing to go through that process, the NRC has already decided the key chains are “frivolous” and therefore won’t even entertain the notion of approving them.�� So it is simply impossible and they seem to not have the slightest willingness to revisit the decision.� DAMN!

          On depleted cranium here :

          http://depletedcranium.com/my-attempt-to-import-tritium-key-chains/

  3. About getting names and brands of products we have in our house that emit gamma rays

    That would help communicating in some ways. Dosage is the poison. If you stay away you will be OK.

    Coleman lamps have such radio active components.

  4. I’m fairly new to the nuclear industry but have worked within Engineering for over 4 decades and my input would be to tone down the hubris. Your message is strong enough but attitudes can put people off, especially the majority of undecideds who want more information. You’ll never convince the anti’s as you’ll not be convinced by them, so focus on educating, not lecturing, those who want to know.

  5. Good discussion. I have the willingness to communicate but find that I want to rally like minded already converted pronuclear people to a cause. I have not had much success.
    I feel strongly about getting the message out but I don’t have the skills.

    My latest idea is to form a group that educates the average person about energy and create a bunch of pronuclear energy desciples. I need an organizer with the skills I am missing.

    The Energy Reality Project or Energy Reality Lab are two names I have come up with.
    http://EnergyRealityProject.com I created the website at my own expense and have a few participants. I would like it to be a place where people can do an exam and get a certificate.

    If anybody is willing to participate or even take charge please let me know. My skills are graphics, multimedia, music, audio, web design, communication (so I thought) but I want to reach the game changer who can put together a mission statement and proposal and to clearly define the goals.

    1. How hard is it to understand nuclear energy? It’s easier than most people think. That message needs to be sent out there. I know Glenn Gould said “everything there is to know about playing the piano can be taught in half an hour.” Well I would say that everything a person needs to know about nuclear energy could be taught in half an hour. Same for radiation. Same for safety systems and relative risk. OK so that’s an hour and a half but why has nobody tried to make a set of learning books, videos or both that will do just that?

      If various people the public respects were to participate then we would have a potential winner. I can think of a few. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Stewart Brand, Jeffrey Sachs. Now how much would it cost to get them to say a few good things? Not much. The hard part is finding the team to do it.

  6. A RT article bragging about Russia’s superior nuclear power infrastructure:

    Uranium diet: US nuclear power industry could face fuel shortage ( http://rt.com/op-edge/russia-usa-nuclear-power-shortage-318/ )

    Im not believing they published that considering how they report on nuclear power elsewhere. Or perhaps thats the plan.

    I notice the Russians dont tolerate Greenpeace antics in their own country. They certainly dont encourage a public or debate when it comes to Russian energy.

    1. As for the TEPCO discussion on the show. Here is my take:

      TEPCO is the Japanese government now. Its not a separate entity and hasn’t been since jan 2012 or before ( http://forumonenergy.com/2012/06/27/timeline-of-tepco-ownership/ )

      So TEPCO is a shell; a PR fall guy. There is no incentive to “protect” its own interests, nuclear power, or the environment for that matter. Its “goals” are whatever the real goals of the Japanese government are. Varied and convoluted as those may be.

      1. Tepco Applies for Niigata Restart Amid Fukushima Cleanup

        If operations at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa remain suspended, Tepco would need to increase the rate it charges consumers for electricity by 8.5 percent to 10 percent as early as January to achieve a pretax profit for the year to March 2014, a company document obtained last month by Bloomberg News showed. Tepco serves 29 million people in the Tokyo metropolitan area, the world’s largest. It raised household rates by about 8.5 percent in September 2012. ( http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-26/niigata-to-allow-tepco-to-apply-for-nuclear-plant-safety-checks.html )

        Its odd they are proactively giving the exact amount of increases necessary to offset a potential refusal of the request to restart. Profitability is the rule I guess. It was obviously purposely leaked so im not sure what this means. I am pretty sure the “decision” will be played out in the media theater.

        1. The English Japan press at least seems a bit more affirmative of an impending restart of this plant. This is what I would go by. Because of its size and output this reactor complex is one of the ones id expect them to maintain in any circumstance. Its restart was also a stipulation of the TEPCO restructuring apparently, along with a promise of profitability. (note the photo of the TEPCO official bowing to the governor)

          Niigata governor approves TEPCO reactor-restart plan on one condition ( http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201309260077 )

          Niigata governor gives Tepco green light on reactor inspections ( http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/09/26/national/niigata-governor-gives-tepco-green-light-on-reactor-inspections/#.UkVSkrxlc4I )

      1. Their irrational claims motivate people to react irrationally and in turn place them in danger.

  7. I wondered about the older woman who asked about something horrible like Chernobyl happening at the plant nearby. I think it would help when there is a meeting like that one to have models and visual aids to help explain how the plant works and the safety features it has. Years ago, I took a class where we went to a Westinghouse facilty about nuclear plants. The lecturer just had crude blackboard drawings and no visual aids. He did not make a good impression. Also photos that show like how thick the walls are would help too. Too many times I notice on TV, all you see is the face of someone talking which is boring (why is that?). A good example though is Walt Disney who used maps and models when he made films explaining Disney World and Epcot and I think the industry can learn from that.

    1. I am in total agreement with this view.

      We need to put people in front of models and multimedia exhibitions about the wonderful science behind nuclear technology and radiation.

      This is exacly what is done in the nuclear power plants in the country where I live, Switzerland.

      Each one of the 5 NPPs has a visitor center, always open to walk-ins, weekends included. The amount of information available is amazing!

      And if you arrange a visit at least a week in advance, it is not a problem to tour inside the facility.

      I have done it in August, and will do it again in November with a group of nuclear supporters coming from Italy.

      Sharing information is the right thing to do. Knowledge is (atomic) power.

  8. To the risk of repeating myself. I think Danny Roderick, CEO of Westinghouse, has the clout to change things.

    He is putting his foot in the door everywhere with the AP1000 and he is 1) charismatic, 2) knowledgeable 3) motivated.

    I honestly think Westinghouse should go a great commercial like Areva did a while ago. But this time, focusing on energy density, waste generated and scope of management of such waste.

    Danny, why won’t you help your industry ? You have the means.

    We have been looking for a great communicator and there he is. Right in front of us.

  9. 2 thoughts kept going through my mind while listening to this episode:

    1) Fear of flying is considered irrational and people who are afraid of flying are encouraged to seek professional help. Meanwhile, nuclear power plants are far, far safer in both theory and practice when compared to powered flight, yet I would guess a majority of people continue to harbor a very real (to them) concern despite the safety record of the industry.

    2) Educating the public is going to be a long, tough slog. I’m a ham radio operator and we constantly have to defend our hobby from perceived threats to a neighbor’s environment. One common complaint is that the radio waves “radiating” from the antenna are going to cause cancer. This is also a common complaint when a new cell tower is planned for an area. This has been studied for decades now and there’s no evidence that RF in a typical installation is any cause for concern. If you try to explain things like ionizing -vs- non-ionizing radiation and the inverse square law to them they’ll shut down. But if you use simple, accurate analogies, like comparing the light from an LED, a 75 Watt light bulb and a lighthouse to a cell phone, ham radio and TV broadcast station (you wouldn’t stand a foot from a lighthouse and stare into the light now, would you? But if you were 100 feet away from a 75 Watt light you’d hardly notice it).

    It’s going to take time, especially when trying to convince the guy with the pacemaker that throwing his Whopper in the microwave at Burger King isn’t going to stop his heart (well, maybe the burger will, but that’s got nothing to do with the cooking method), but public perception can be changed.

    I wonder if James Watt had these problems?

    1. No, but one thing that would help with communication is to answer me responses. But I must have been a bad boy, because you don’t answer me but answer Bas.

  10. Great reference to Toastmasters towards the end of the podcast, Rod!

    I have been a member of the local Toastmasters Club in both Milano, Italy, and now in Lausanne, Switzerland, where I now live.

    Being part of a Toastmaster Club has been a very interesting way to improve my public speaking skills, and also the leadership skills needed to perform the Club duties that come with being part of a Club. It’s not only a matter of speaking, but with Toastmasters you will also very much improve your listening skills, as you will be an evaluator of other speeches.

    And we all very well know that most communicators in nuclear are very good at communicating one way. Somthing which was very well highlighted by Margaret during the podcast.

    So, you all, do yourself a favour and go pay a visit to a local Toastmasters Club. It won’t hurt, and you might even have some fun! One thing is for sure, nuclear has been frequently used as a topic in my speeches. And rest assured that some people have changed a bit their views on nuclear after my speeches… 😉

    Luca
    Lausanne, Switzerland

  11. Rod, When we criticize our selves we only add fuel to the to the anti-nuke cause. Remember those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I mean Fukushima when you stand there and criticize them and say that can never happen here we still have to defend what happens here. No it may not be a earthquake or a tsunami but the next accident in the USA no matter how small the anti- nukes will go back to Fukushima. Don’t say it won’t happen! I am out on the streets fighting for nuclear power and I have to fight against Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island. With that being said when we fight the anti-nukes we are fighting them we are also fighting Pete Seeger, Billy Joel,Bruce Springsteen,James Taylor,Carly Simon, Alec Baldwin. My point is when people in the nuclear industry buy their products they are supporting the anti -nuke people. Now that they are closing Vermont Yankee how many people who work at VY wish they never ate Ben And Jerry’s ice cream. They signed a partition to close VY. Also how many people still do eat that ice cream. Also how many people in the nuclear industry that are not at VY are indifferent and say that is VY that’s not me or my plant. This is what is closing plants. Now with this being said, This FRI. at Rockland Community Collage, Alec Baldwin is going to be there for a fund raiser for Joe Mangano(The tooth fairy project )What really gets to me is this. Now Alec Baldwin is a big star on 30 Rock. 30 Rock is on NBC. NBC is owned by GE, The same GE that makes BWR power plants, and supplies them with fuel and other things. So how come GE doesn’t pull the plug on this BUM.

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