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  1. As one attuned to scansion I have to pick at this a little bit:

    The ice caps are all melting, as the water levels rise
    The ocean’s getting sicker, Hear the bird and mammal cries
    The Green’s and Anti Nukes have had a field day with their lies
    But the truth is marching on.

    Trying to squeeze in “But the” interrupts the flow of the last line of this stanza.  I’d delete “the” and make it “But truth is marching on.”

    Renewables commit us to a future filled with pain,
    A planet hotter, poisoned water await us with methane.
    To choose this vision over fission would be insane
    Nuclear shows the way

    Same problem with “await us with methane”.  “seething with methane” or “choking with methane” scans.

    Third line is missing a syllable.  “would be quite insane” fixes that bit.

    Mine eyes have seen the terror of the burning of the coal
    The smokey gruel from ancient fuel has left a wicked toll
    But now we have technology to make the planet whole
    And Nuclear shows the way

    Tolls aren’t left, they’re taken/paid.  “cost a wicked toll”, maybe.  And “gruel” is food, not a good image.  That line needs work.

    I’d re-write it thusly:

    “The filthy smoke in which we choke is still taking its toll”

    Last line has the extra syllable problem again.  Delete “And”.

    1. This is fantastic–love the proposed changes.

      I’m going to include all of these suggestions in the next edition of the “radioactive songbook!” (which is currently just a piece of paper.)

      Now we have four people that have contributed to this song.
      Kristin Zaitz (Mothers for Nuclear), Rick Maltese (Energy Reality Project), Engineer-Poet(?), and Myself (Eric Meyer)!

      If you’d like to exercise your scansion skillz further– I’m in the process of writing an operetta about climate change and nuclear power and I’m parodying several famous tunes– I’d love your help!

        1. I took a gander at the source material “Battle hymn of the republic.” and noticed that indeed the final lines always include 6 syllables, so I added back in the “AND”s and a couple other things! I’ll post current iteration below!

  2. Heartened Mr. Lovins has acknowledged the benefits of shipboard fission. Landward, he still appears challenged by factors of 2 million:
    Obligatory xkcd.

    1. @Ed Leaver

      Lovins has acknowledged the usefulness of fission for ships and submarines for at least a decade. He’d never have gotten any Navy or DOD consulting contracts without that obsequious concession. He’s never been a purist about whose money he takes.

    2. Fascinating.

      So if nuclear is good enough and safe enough for shipping, then logically it’s good enough and safe enough for land-based applications.

      Similarly, people who agree that existing nuclear plants should not be closed prematurely should logically also have to agree to build more of them.

  3. This is a very clever hymn, compliments to the lyricist(s). Taking nothing away from any and all, some of it could be construed as fomenting a pitch battle between Nuclear and Renewables that could encourage greater Energy Tribalism.

    My understanding of the Breakthrough Institute’s position and others (and quite frankly mine), is that Renewables and Conservation will certainly be contributors but there is a serious risk to the environment if Solar and Wind are permitted to be used capriciously – that the size of the footprint on nature required to extract, condense and distribute energy from diffuse sources and the need to supplement their use with Natural Gas due to their intermittency relegates them to very defined roles – utilized when a variety of factors converge making them the technology of choice.

    Additionally, the use of words like “terror” and “wicked” leads us down a path of fear-mongering and maligning employed by Anti-Nukes. As has been discussed here and elsewhere, the emergence of fossil fuel use by earlier generations lead to significant improvements for mankinds’ circumstance in the past, but times have changed.

    With the above in mind, if we take Dale Carnegie’s advice on “Winning Friends and Influencing People” perhaps some changes could be entertained.

    First, set the assertion ! – by moving the last verse to the first.

    Replace “terror” with “consequence” demonstrating considered judgement rather than frightened emotion. Similarly, replacing “wicked” with “tragic” would remove the implied aspersion that the thousands of miners who toiled in coal mines for over a century were complicit in an evil practice rather than merely earning a living while improving our standard of living and theirs. The use of the term “tragic” would connote a regrettable outcome without an implication of malice.

    Verse 1 could become:

    Mine eyes have seen the consequence of burning so much coal
    The smokey gruel of this ancient fuel exacts a tragic toll
    But now we have technologies to make the planet whole
    And Nuclear LEADS the Way.

    As one who supports the use of Renewables where appropriate, changing “technology” to the plural “technologies” should be considered. This is not to suggest an equivalency between Nuclear and Renewables, as is implied by many who advance an “All of the Above” strategy but merely to be more inclusive by recognizing that other technologies can play a role, albeit more limited than Nuclear. This is emphasized by the use of “Nuclear LEADS the Way” in the final line of the stanza.

    Verse 2. (Suggestions and explanations)

    Renewables alone portend a future filled with pain,
    A hotter planet as they must be partnered with Methane.
    This vision over fission would be patently insane
    Have Nuclear SHOW the Way

    Here, without castigating Renewables, it is a direct shot at Amory Lovins and Mark Jacobson, et al, for suggesting that Renewables and Energy Efficiency ALONE can provide for a clean, secure energy future.

    The 2nd line changes would make the direct connection, (using the words “must be partnered”) between Climate Warming and the required supplementing of Renewables by Natural Gas due to their Intermittency, without using the fear-mongering tactics that many of us deplore when it is used by Anti-Nukes, as there is no credible evidence that, “poisoned water awaits us with methane”

    Additionally, it enhances credibility, for as anyone who follows Energy and CO2 emissions knows, the lions share of CO2 reductions in recent years is the result of burning Natural Gas rather than Coal.

    Verse 3

    The Ice Caps are all melting, as the water levels rise
    The ocean’s getting sicker. Hear the bird and mammal cries.
    The Environment’s at risk from Anti-Nukes who spew their lies
    BUT THE TRUTH IS MARCHING NOW !

    Here, remove “The Green’s”. There are people I know personally who still consider themselves “Greens” that have altered their opinion on Nuclear Energy. There are as well, many luminaries who have changed their position yet still self-identify as “Greens”

    By focusing exclusively on “Anti-Nukes” we’re taking on the expressed adversary to our cause and an adversary whose LIES (not too strong a term) should be exposed and whose practitioners excoriated.

    And the final line, “BUT THE TRUTH IS MARCHING NOW !” acknowledges that the Nuclear Energy community has been complacent and remiss in not challenging the false assertions of the Anti-Nukes earlier and more assertively, BUT THOSE DAYS ARE OVER !

    1. Agree with your comments about what constitute “Greens and why we should try not to demonise “the Greens” as a group.. I would say there are three types of ‘Green’:

      – Antinuke Greens: sizeable fraction, but there is some evidence that less than 50% of self-professed Greens are true full-blown antinukes).

      – Silent pro-nuke Greens: Significant fraction – possibly the majority – of Greens fit this description.

      – Openly pro-nuke Greens: this is a tiny but growing fraction which should be nurtured and applauded by pronukes.

    2. Bryan– Well done sir. I totally agree and have made the adjustments. I’ll post the current iteration below! E

  4. Quick revision….The Smokey Gruel of Ancient Fuel exacts a Tragic Toll…..the “this” is not needed and disrupts the flow.

  5. Couldn’t resist writing a verse 😀

    Power that is always on, affordable and clean.
    Enough to last a million years, think what that would mean:
    Our needs and aspirations met, no smokestack to be seen.
    Nuclear shows the way.

    1. Nice work!
      I tweaked it to this:

      Power that is always on, affordable and clean.
      Enough to last a million years JUST think what that would mean:
      Our needs and aspirations met, no smokestacks to be seen.
      AND Nuclear shows the way.

      1. Great. Looking it again, maybe “could mean” instead of “would mean”. Wouldn’t want to imply that clean affordable energy is all that is needed to meet needs and aspirations though it is probably a prerequisite.

    1. @hunster

      Somehow, I’m not convinced by a 2015 opinion piece by a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute. Especially one who “studied” atmospheric science, majored in government and earned a JD.

      He’s a policy guy working for an organization with an agenda, not a source of technical information.

      1. He’s certainly a master at looking at graphs and seeing ( or saying ) the reverse of what’s obvious. For example, his article talks about ‘ polar ice ‘ rather than ‘ arctic ice ‘ – the thin sea ice round Antarctica has been growing in winter, though not enough to offset losses in the northern hemisphere, and for different reasons. He’s also careful to only mention ice extent, not volume. NASA’s extraordinary Grace satellites have been measuring the ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica since 2002.
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_Recovery_and_Climate_Experiment#/media/File%3AGreenland%2BAntarctica_Mass_Loss.png
        ( A Gigatonne – a billion metric tons – of ice melts to make a cubic kilometre of seawater. ) You probably know a bit about this stuff anyway, Rod, since the US navy’s submarines pioneered exploration under the Arctic Ocean.

        1. For example, his article talks about ‘polar ice’ rather than ‘arctic ice’

          That’s because Antarctica is where the ice is. Compared to the Antarctic sheet, the Arctic sheet is nothing. Because there is no land mass to provide some thermal inertia, the size of the sheet grows and shrinks throughout the year. The variation in size in any particular year depends as much on changes in the currents in the polar regions as it does on the temperature. A sudden change in the wind patterns, as was observed almost a decade ago, can have a significant effect on the amount of ice loss in a given year, which has nothing at all to do with “global warming.”

          The Arctic is popular with modern day Cassandras and left-wing propagandists (e.g., Joe Romm), because it gives them something to write about (when it’s behaving the way they want it to), but it’s a poor measure of anything.

          … the thin sea ice round Antarctica has been growing in winter, …

          It’s not just sea ice. Ice has been accumulating in Antarctica for the last 10,000 years.

          http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses

          Grace satellites have been measuring the ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica since 2002.

          And if the conclusions from last year’s study by Zwally et al. pan out, it means that the GRACE measurements have been wrong, because they have been using the wrong models for how the bedrock under the ice behaves.

          This is the problem with people commenting here on “climate science.” They don’t follow it enough to talk intelligently about it and just rattle off the talking points that they have gleaned from sources that are at least as dubious as the Heartland Institute and in many cases are even worse (e.g., Wikipedia). And this goes for both sides of the debate.

          If there is anything to learn from the Zwally et al. paper, it’s that much of what is claimed to be known about global climate indicators (e.g., ice melt) still has enormous uncertainties. I put little faith in a field with enormous uncertainties and a prominent history of publication bias.

          At the public relations level, I found it fascinating to observe how quickly the usual suspects rallied to circle the wagons and “debunk” this particular paper. This has all the hallmarks of science driven by agenda and policy rather than policy driven by science. And that’s what’s at the heart of the matter.

          1. ‘ Compared to the Antarctic sheet, the Arctic sheet is nothing .’ No, there’s barely enough ice on Greenland to raise the oceans by seven metres. Greenland, according to the Grace satellite graph I posted above, was credited with losing more than twice as much mass as Antarctica every year. As Zwally remarks in your link, if Antarctica is actually gaining ice, where’s the extra sea water coming from, which they had attributed to Antarctica? I know there’s some coming from the glaciers here – New Zealand’s lost a third of its ice in forty years, our senior glaciologist announced today. Further from Zwally – ‘ If the losses of the Antarctic Peninsular and parts of West Antarctica continue to increase at the rate they’ve been increasing for the last two decades, the losses will catch up with the long term gain in East Antarctica in 20 or 30 years – I don’t think there will be enough snowfall increase to offset these losses. ‘ Since the Antarctic Peninsular is the fastest-warming place on Earth, and the grounding line of the big West Antarctic glaciers has moved back past the outlet shelves and has a clear run downhill deep into the interior, there’s every reason to suppose that those losses will, in fact, keep increasing. Of course, West Antarctica has hardly any ice either, compared to East Antarctica – only about enough for another 7 metres SL rise.

  6. Worked in everyone’s suggestions. How’s the order? Any other folks want to add a verse? Solidarity Forever has 6!

    Battle Hymn of the Atom

    Verse
    Mine eyes have seen the consequence of burning so much coal
    The filthy smoke on which we choke exacts a tragic toll
    But now we have technologies to make the planet whole
    And Nuclear leads the way

    Chorus
    Power, power for the people
    Power, power for the people
    Power, power for the people
    The Atom Makes us Strong

    Verse
    Renewables alone portend a future filled with pain,
    A hotter planet as they must be partnered with Methane.
    This vision over fission would be patently insane
    Have Nuclear Show the Way

    Verse
    The ice caps are all melting, as the water levels rise
    The ocean’s getting sicker. Hear the bird and mammal cries.
    Th’environment’s at risk from Anti-Nukes who spew their lies
    But the truth is marching now!

    Verse
    Power that is always on, affordable and clean.
    Enough to last a million years just think what that would mean:
    Our needs and aspirations met, no smokestacks to be seen.
    And Nuclear shows the way.

    1. @EricMeyer

      When all is finalized, I will replace the version in the post to minimize future confusion. Traveling today, but will be able to complete task this evening.

      1. Thanks Rod, and thanks for the platform for improvement and revision! Every movement needs its music. I couldn’t think of a better inaugural tune.

    2. Another chorus idea

      Power, Power for the Planet
      There’s no winners if you ban it.
      Change can happen if you plan it.
      ‘Cause nuclear makes us strong.

      1. Pow-er, power to the plan-et
        There’s no winners if you ban it
        Change can happen if you plan it
        Nu-cle-ar makes us strong.

        1. Thanks I think we sacrifice too many opportunities for good words sticking with a syllable count.

          Nuclear power to the planet.
          There’s no winner if you ban it.
          Helping people understand it,
          Will surely make us strong.

  7. Has come a long way since my original Support a Nuke song which was originally inspired by the same Battle hymn.

  8. I’ve just read the latest book by Mark Lynas — Nuclear 2.0 — in which he reports his conversion from anti- to pro-nuke. The message of the book is that while renewables have a place, the sheer size of the electrical demand from developing countries and a growing population makes it implausible that renewables can be ramped up fast enough to make much difference with climate change. He quotes numbers and makes a persuasive case.

    I’ve long been an advocate of nuclear power done right, and I feel the U.S. followed the wrong road in settling so early on PWRs and BWRs for commercial power. That’s an opinion I owe to another book, which I review here:

    http://www.chris-winter.com/Erudition/Reviews/Technolg/Morone_Woodhouse/Nuclear_Demise.html

  9. Brian Mays- ‘Sea level rise has been occurring fairly consistently since 1880, long before people were driving those ‘ evil ‘SUVs. ‘
    – That was about when they got serious on trains, steamships and blast furnaces. Most of the sea level increase, though, has been since 1980, and the original Jeep Cherokee came out in 1984. I rest my case.
    By the way, if you’re calling people who pay attention to climate science ‘ modern-day Cassandras ‘, the original Cassandra was cursed to make accurate prophecies which nobody listened to.

    1. It’s not a ‘dialogue ‘, Brian, it’s a joke. I’ve been reading your comments for years now, as the climate warms up, and in a bewildering world, you’ve stayed reassuringly constant. Have a lovely day.

  10. Subsequent to my earlier post, I was having a conversation with a friend, one of the “Greens” I alluded to that had changed his position on Nuclear. He graciously thanked us for not including all “Greens” as Anti-Nuclear.

    Part of the discussion focused on “The Battle Hymn of the Atom” and your comment “Every movement needs its Music”. He felt it was an inspiring and galvanizing anthem around which to rally action by those already committed to Nuclear Power. He then made a very astute comment, “Don’t fail to recognize the role of seduction in the act of persuasion”, he went on to relate how “Power”, an ironically gentle song, by John Hall, sung by beautiful people at an Anti-Nuclear rally had “totally captured” him back in 1979. He volunteered that he also had “the Hots” for Carly Simon at the time. His take was, as difficult as it might be to develop a song of seduction for Nuclear Power and equally difficult if not more so to get some of the “beautiful people” to perform it, its power to persuade the unaligned middle, especially the young, could prove to be incalculable.