“In These Times” published an article that was slanted in favor of the groups that have organized themselves to fight against the licensing and construction of Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power plants throughout the southeast United States. The article, titled After Fukushima, New Fears in U.S. quotes people from NC Warn, the Friends of the Earth, and the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League along with the ever present antinuclear “nuclear engineer” named Arnie Gundersen.
Here is the “In These Times” mission statement on the organization’s “About Us” page.
In These Times is a nonprofit and independent newsmagazine committed to political and economic democracy and opposed to the dominance of transnational corporations and the tyranny of marketplace values over human values. In These Times is dedicated to reporting the news with the highest journalistic standards; to informing and analyzing movements for social, environmental and economic justice; and to providing an accessible forum for debate about the policies that shape our future.
Based on that statement, I derived a reasonably good guess about the interests of the readers and composed a response comment that I hope will encourage some critical thinking about why they have been told so many negative things about nuclear energy.
There is nothing like a little cognitive dissonance to initiate a complete change of mind and attitude. Here is the comment I posted – I am looking forward to some interesting discussion. I will let you know if that actually happens or if I end up getting completely ignored.
The stability of the world’s climate and the productivity of the world’s oceans are being severely threatened by the effects of continuously dumping massive quantities of CO2 (and other more noxious combustion byproducts) into our global atmosphere. That dumping is caused by the fact that 85% of human society’s energy needs are supplied by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.
The only reliable alternative to continuing to burn hydrocarbons is fissioning uranium in nuclear energy facilities. World-wide, starting from proof in 1942 that it was possible to build a reactor that could sustain an energy producing chain reaction, hundreds of thousands of highly trained and educated engineers, technicians and scientists have worked diligently to develop nuclear power systems that now produce the energy equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil per day (as much as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait combined).
That incredible feat has come with less than 100 fatalities around the world – quite an impressive safety record for such a productive industrial enterprise.
There are a few isolated critics with accepted technical credentials who do not like the technology and work diligently to spread Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. At least some of those critics, like the quoted Gundersen, do it for a substantial paycheck (often $300 per hour) for his “expert witness” services. That beats the $40K per year he was earning as a school teacher after being fired from his job as a corporate VP in the early 1990s and before he took up antinuclear activism as a product line for his consulting company.
Fossil fuel interests provide at least some of the money that funds the organized opposition groups that are fighting against the only real competition that the fossil fuel industry has. Those interested parties (oil&gas companies, pipeline companies, banks, governments, oil oligarchs, OPEC, Russia, etc) want to keep their 85% market share and the wealth and power that goes with it.
The AP1000 is a safe design that is being built today in China. It was developed over a long period of time with strong support from US taxpayers. It should be built in large quantities here in the US.
Publisher, Atomic Insights