1. Just to say that this report has been described by quite prominent anti-nuclear campaigners as either “report by the New York Academy of Sciences” or a “report by the Russian Academy of Sciences”, neither of which is true.

    I have noticed that these people aren’t mentioning this report so much anymore or making the 1 million deaths claim either.

    I think it is quite a good tactic when Chernobyl comes up in a debate to ask why they don’t mention it anymore and see what they have to say.

  2. I really hope Ted and others in the scientific community can get traction in calling BS on the Yablakov book. . . but I’m afraid that Ted showed entirely too much deference to the NYAS. By allowing it to go more-or-less publically unchallenged for 2 years, the moment to refute it in the media/public awareness may have passed.

    When a respected scientific body publishes junk-science, giving it the authority of *actual science* to the public, those who see it’s faults must aggressively and *immediately* make as much noise as possible and try to as quickly as possible get the attention of the media.

    Why? Because modern media is driven by “the story”. When the Yablakov book came out in the US, it was “the story”, and you had a small window of opportunity to be part of that story as a dissenting voice. But, the media isn’t likely to go back and re-visit the issue now that it’s “old news”. The media has a serious case of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) in my experience.

    Still, for whatever it’s worth, I’ll do my part to try to share this story with people I know. Maybe we can get the story to “go viral” as they say.

    1. The publishing arm of the NYAS was challenged over this book right at the time of its publishing. Search this blog for this backstory.

      1. crf,

        Yeah, I’m familiar with that, but as we can see, it mostly lead to 2 years of hemming, hawing, and foot-dragging. I will give them some credit for at least putting up an analysis on the book’s page on their website which details some of the bad flaws in the book, but might point is, I think a bit more aggressive reaction to the publishing of this might have been able to get some coverage in the media while the book was still “news”.

        I don’t know – I’m no media relations expert, and I’m certainly no scientific expert, and I realize it’s easy to criticize decisions with the benefit of hindsight, but, I’m just saying, I think because of his ties to NYAS, Ted (and others) might’ve has played it too soft.

  3. This cannot be a case of simple incompetence. It just goes to show us how deeply the Environmental Cult has managed to permeate academia.

    1. …or lots of funding from old, oil money. There does seem to be a sect of environmentalism that holds the believe that if humans were to have access to nearly unlimited and affordable energy, that we would consume and destroy nature.

  4. A minute after writing the above, a thought occurred to me. One way to make this “news” again might be to start a “Defund the NYAS!” campaign on the grounds of scientific fraud.

    Does anyone know if the NYAS gets any Federal funding, at all? If they get even a dollar, we could, and SHOULD start a Defund! campaign. I don’t want any of my tax dollars going to an organization, under the guise of scientific funding, which perpetrates scientific fraud.

    Such a campaign, if it got enough attention from Congress, would become a new “story” for the media to focus on.

      1. Overall, The whole concept of secret funding for non-profits needs to be revisited. All too often they become a sock puppet for god-knows-who. Fortuantely they sometimes get caught, as per this old story we all know about:

        26 million…. The equivalent of 260,000 one hundred dollar contributions… Well, we know who the Sierra Club is a sock puppet for. I simply don’t think they received that many contributions greater than or equal to $100….. yet ever.

        We need to change the status that allows secret funding for Non-Profits. If the American public could “follow the money” with respect to non-profit entities, then the whole energy debate would change overnight.

        1. And we know Russian gas finances Greenpeace in Europe. It is just a matter of knowing how much.

          When you look at the financial resolve of Greenpeace Germany, you have to wonder.

          1. @ George

            We have had a crack at this a while ago when you asked me to provide some sort of proof. At the time, I had read an article, (that I wish I had saved), stating that the leaders of the German chapter of Greenpeace received millions from Gazprom. (was it thru Greenpeace or another channel, I do not remember)

            But it is interesting to witness the riches of those Greenpeace leaders who are operating organic farms netting hundred of millions in revenues while they go out of their way to destroy properties and projects of GM foods that can ultimately help feed the planet.

            There is too much money floating thru Greenpeace for it to come from small donations. One day the truth will surface.

            I wish I had saved that article.

          2. Actually, the Sierra Club was being corrupted by Big Oil money before nuclear energy was even invented.

            The Sierra Club began as a conservation organization, and it was opposed to hydroelectric dams (initially for aesthetic reasons). However, oil interests in California realized that instead of flaring off their natural gas output as a dangerous waste product, they could turn it into an additional profit centre if it was burned for the purposes of electricity generation. A group campaigning against the rival power source of hydroelectric dams was an ideal proxy for their money-making ambitions.

            The same old corruption is still happening, only now the threat to Big Oil comes from nuclear power rather than (mostly maxed out) hydroelectric.

            1. George – good point. Many nuclear advocates cannot understand why environmental groups actively campaign against both nuclear and large hydro projects. They cannot see that both are technologies that successfully reduce the market demand for coal, oil and natural gas both here in the US and all around the world.

              Environmentalists have been proxies for the oil industry since the days when they were used to protest the killer fogs caused by burning coal for heat in the UK. There might be an even older example.

  5. I know I keep harping on it, but it’s time as this when all members of the Nuclear Carnival ought sign up in one voice about this and email NYAS or jot up here for a partition sign in along with regular folk. This is a BIG deal because the NYC Board of Ed (a leader in the country) eats hook line and sinker any recommendations NYAS gives on teaching curricula, which is why primary schools here have little solar powered wiindvanes with “save energy” on and off switches on them sitting on school windowsills. Sure, I can submit my voice, but nuclear bloggers and pro organizations pull far more weight and respect than my fly-turd email.

    I originally logged in here to remark on a “Modern Marvels” on a cable I was just watching over breakfast about massive ships. Featured were LNG tankers which, I swear, they just as well been doing a feature in the Disney cruisers with the lively upbeat music and espousing ultra-positive without-a-doubt safety features and the casual manner they muted any hazards relating these behemoths, even stating that if a terrorist airplane flew into one that the most would happen is some of the liquid gas in the tanks would vaporize and engulf the ship, which even if detonated would only severely damage the ship. True or not, the casual manner that Modern Marvels shrugged off ANY possibility of hazard just flipped me. I swear, see if you can view this ep on Youtube. Yet when Modern Marvels did their dark feature on nuclear power, it about left you shaking under your sheets with dark deep ominous music and the undertones of “hope they work!” safety controls and procedures and portraying containment buildings as almost over sized eggshells for terrorists and tornado to breech. I just don’t know why all these nuclear conferences everywhere NEVER touch on the media/TV perspective of nuclear power and how it effects public acceptance! They can sure learn a point or two about reality from our bold advocates in Vermont! It just completely boggles me that such great minds and organizations are complete ostriches on this crucial issue which impacts their own careers and the energy security of this country!
    (Picture Arnie and Helen laughing past a gaggle of ostriches….)

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  6. I’m afraid that the damage that the publication of this tripe has caused has already been done. Thus there is little to be gained by attempting to have it removed, and much to be lost as the antinuclear side will only use such efforts to claim that the “nuclear industry” is trying to suppress the truth.

    The fact remains that the material is already out there and those that would use it to smear nuclear energy will not stop using it even if it is removed from the NYAS web site. On the other hand, anyone with any scientific training will see straight through the garbage and will not give it any weight.

    We have seen this sort of poor work before on several occasions and clearly once it has been debunked; the best thing is to leave it alone and not keep the debate going as it only provides fuel to the other side. The fact is the public will not read the material directly anyway and will only assign it importance based on the degree of interest it is shown by the protagonists.

    That is not to say it should not be answered when it is brought forward, but it doesn’t need to be continuously attacked unless it is.

  7. I sent a comment to nyas@nyas.org as suggested in the article, and I received a notice that delivery failed. Details below:

    Reporting-MTA: dns;host142.NYAS.org
    Received-From-MTA: dns;ironport01.nyas.org
    Arrival-Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2012 12:00:13 -0400

    Final-Recipient: rfc822;NYAS@nyas.org
    Action: failed
    Status: 5.2.2
    X-Display-Name: NYAS

  8. I just sent an email to Ray Suarez of PBS regarding this cause. I do not know if I will get any attention from him but it is worth a shot.

    I already know the outcome of doing nothing.

    Like Gandhi said : Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.

    1. Nuclear reactions need not bring about the destruction of mankind any more than the discovery of matches

      …Albert Einstien

  9. The thing is, as we are getting serious about addressing climate change and ocean acidification and are truly poised to renew our commitment to space exploration we need precise bias free radiation health studies. Several “scientific” groups have taken populist approaches to radiation studies, not just NYAS. That needs to end, and past mistakes need to be admitted and apologized for.

  10. “as we are getting serious about addressing climate change and ocean acidification”

    I don’t know who “we” are in that sentence, but it certainly doesn’t include most governments. I doubt they will get serious before the global temperature rise is abot 6 or 7 degrees C.

    The German government is actually increasing the number of coal-powered stations in use. Serious??

    1. “Starting to get serious about getting serious” I think I should say?, eh?? It took too much time just getting acceptance of the reality across. Now we are stuck with too many anti nukes in populist environmental movements and much too timid scientific authorities.

      Germany is not a good example of serious environmental consideration. Theirs is a PR game – a shuffling of industries and numbers for political purposes. In terms of trends the US is actually doing much better than they are.

  11. @ DV82XL and Brian

    A while ago I was stating that the Chernobyl reactor was of a military nature. You were both asking for me to provide some sort of source as you were pointing out that they were of original military design but not used for military purposes. I do not doubt you.

    But here is a quote from Mr Rockwell from this thread:

    ‘The Chernobyl meltdown occurred in 1986 in a fundamentally unstable Soviet weapons reactor.’

    I knew I heard it somewhere. It was not from Mr Rockwell. But he seems to have the same opinion that I had before you corrected me.


    1. The RBMK-1000 unit that was destroyed at The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was not a military reactor but rather a power reactor and that is a matter of record and is not disputed. It was a RBMK type which is an early Generation II reactor and the oldest commercial reactor design still in wide operation.

      While it is true that plutonium breeding is done in this class of graphite-moderated nuclear reactor, there is no evidence that this was the mission of the plant at Chernobyl or that there was any work of that sort being done there. Thus we can categorically state that this was NOT a “weapons reactor.”

    2. Daniel – DV82XL’s comment is (almost) entirely correct, but perhaps I can add some additional explanation that is a little more satisfying.

      The devil is in the details, and the distinctions to be made are somewhat subtle. First of all, let’s get something clear: the RBMK reactor design was essentially a scaled-up version of a plutonium-production reactor that was used by the Soviet Union to produce weapons material. In that respect, it is not entirely incorrect to call a the RBMK a “weapons reactor.”

      The objection expressed by DV82XL and me earlier was that there is no credible evidence that the Soviet Union actually used the RBMK reactors to produce weapons material. In fact, they already had dedicated, more efficient, reactors available for that purpose. I’m more than willing to accept that these reactors were used for such a purpose if someone can provide any credible evidence to support it. However, given the information that I have today, it appears that the RBMK was merely a technical “short cut” to get a high-power nuclear electricity-generating station online with the technology that was currently available and with resources that were available at the time.

      It’s not surprising, considering this, that the Soviet Union was quick to adopt the VVER design (a pressurized water reactor design, based on Western technology) for all of the later reactors that they built.

      Note that DV82XL is slightly wrong in his claims that the RBMK is “the oldest commercial reactor design still in wide operation.” I think that this distinction belongs to the Magnox reactors in the UK, some of which were clearly used for the dual purpose of producing both electricity and weapons material. But this is a very minor point, hardly worthy of comment. I’m merely being academic.

      I hope that this clears up some of the confusion.

      1. The first RBMK type power reactor at Obninsk started to supply power to the grid in 1954 while the first Magnox reactor at Calder Hall wasn’t connected to the grid until 1956. Arguably the former was a scaled down semi-experimental reactor producing only 5MWe, and the latter more or less full size at 60MWe, nevertheless the Russian example was first.

        Furthermore it should be noted that only one Magnox power station remains in operation; Wylfa, and that will close in 2014, while some ten RBMK-1000 units are still in use with no set dates for closure.

        And since we are being pedantic – the statement that the Chernobyl reactor was of a military nature – the point being argued by Daniel, is categorically incorrect and that is what I was asserting.

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