1. As more people around the world begin to receive the benefits of nuclear energy, some of them are going to start asking the big question, “Why? Why have so many of us gone without for so long when you [modern industrialized nations] knew how to do this technology but worked so hard to suppress it?”

    Here’s an interesting and somewhat related paragraph from “The Causes of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation,” by Scott D. Sagan
    Department of Political Science, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305;

    …This is ironic, for although some nonprolife­ration specialist­s may not want more countries to start nuclear power programs, once a state starts a nuclear power program its nonprolife­ration behavior may be strongly influenced by the degree to which its civilian nuclear industry is a successful contributo­r to national energy production­. The leaders and bureaucrat­ic organizati­ons that run successful nuclear power enterprise­s may have increased incentives to maintain strong ties to the global nuclear power industry, to internatio­nal capital and technology markets, and to global regulatory agencies—a­nd hence may be more likely to cooperate with the nuclear nonprolife­ration regime. Leaders of less successful or struggling nuclear power enterprise­s, in contrast, may be more likely to support clandestin­e or breakout nuclear weapons developmen­t programs to justify their existence, prestige, and high budgets within their state.

  2. Rod, I have to give credit to you and Suzy and the rest who waded in there (on the Facebook wall) and tried to bring a voice of reason to those comment threads. When I see comments like this:

    “Molly LaCombe: Ms Baker, next time use a less biased reference to base your claims.”

    I tend to feel like I’m going to be outnumbered by morons who can’t recognize the worst sort of ad hominem attack (that is, it doesn’t at all address the substance of the lengthy rebuttal, and completely ignores the fact that NEI is just summarizing peer reviewed science which *is from* organizations and scientists who are likely fairly unbiased, but instead just dismisses it as “biased” and ignores it), and that it’s a completely futile waste of time to try to talk to such people.

    I’m a person who cares about the truth, particularly on issues of national policy like this where *so much* is at stake. It’s why I’ve spent considerable time for the last 2 years or so, trying to learn more about nuclear power, and radiation health. I have little patience for people who so easily dismiss 10 pages of work someone else did in preparing a detailed rebuttal based on peer reviewed science.

    But, anyhow, kudos to you folk for getting in the thick of it and pushing back. I can only hope most people are smart enough to see through such BS.

    1. “Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.” ― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged.

    2. I am having a real fun time on Christie Brinkley’s Facebook page lately! Made a bunch of cool new nuke friends, and noticed that the anti-nukes use the same mantra worldwide. I feel lucky I am perfectly bilingual, infact my english is probably better than that of some bozos that write on Mrs Brinkley’s page.

      Boy, there’s so many of you Navy nukes out there! I have just gotten “The Rickover Effect” from Amazon, I really must start it soon! I blame Rod and Shane Brown for a bunch of the books on my to read list now… 🙂

      Ciao, Luca

      1. my english is probably better than that of some bozos that write on Mrs Brinkley’s page.

        Your English is probably better than that of Ms. Brinkley herself.

        These days, she’s known for hawking exercise equipment with Chuck Norris. She was never known for being an intellectual.

        Ciao and thanks.

  3. It’ll probably amuse you, then, to know that I used to post on the “Guardian” website as “EddieWillers”!

  4. I am reading “Atlas Shrugged” for the first time now, and rather frightened to see how much it resonates. I had absolutely no interest in this sort of book in college. It’s a fairly scary book for a first-time reader. I am glad you posted that you are re-reading it.

    I am giving a course at ILEAD (local life-time learning at Dartmouth) in the winter about two other books. These books also describe technology/ government interactions. The first book is Nevil Shute’s autobiography, “Slide Rule”, with the devastating history of two airships, one built by a private firm and one by a government outfit. (Guess which one crashed?) The second is rather more about technology, and how problems are found and (hopefully) fixed, and people who have a vested interest in denying the problems. (it was pilot error that made that plane crash.) This is Shute’s “No Highway” which is really the story of the Comet airplane. It’s also a movie with Jimmy Stewart and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

    1. Meredith-
      It was Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Deitrich.

      I too thought that the story was a fictionization of the Comet jet crashes, but no. The movie was released in 1951, before the first crash in 1952. But the story is eerie in the number of similarities — the plane being named for one of the animals that pull Santa Claus’ flying sleigh, the crash being caused by metal fatigue, the unheeded warning of one of the design engineers.

      Getting back to Atlas Shrugged, I sometimes think it will require us reaching the moment when the lights go off in New York for the anti-nuclear types to see what they are doing.

      1. “I sometimes think it will require us reaching the moment when the price of electricity spikes upward in New York for the anti-nuclear types to see what they are doing.”

        There, fixed that for you. I may be wrong, but I don’t think the lights will turn off. . . there may eventually be some black outs (rolling or otherwise), but what I fully expect is that price of electricity to rise steeply and rapidly if they shut down the nuclear plant there.

        1. Yes, There’s going to be a ‘full court press’ to achieve the shutdown of the two reactors at Indian point, closer than the pretentious 50 mile limit recently scored by those who derive benefit from shutting prodigious electrical generators. Ironically enough, the price of Natural gas is so low, that the price of electricity won’t spike at all in the mind of the general public. For proof, simply ask anyone how much he pays per KWH, delivered. I do this, and find that even among reasonably sophisticated folk, ~95% don’t know, and in fact are totally clueless.

          I expect shutting down Indian Point will simply blow by most people in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. I *do* expect that business that relies on electrical energy will feel the pinch a great deal. I expect Foundries will disappear, layoff, or otherwise feel the pinch to greatly effect their business.

          Shutting down Indian point is completely politically feasible, and our Governor Andrew Quomo is out front in his desire to do so.

          I find it ironic. Beside the loss of life, the worst consequence of the Earthquake and Tsunami at Fukishima was the loss of Industrial facilities such as the Fukisima reactors.
          The reactors at Indian Point would most likely suffer the same fate only if this disaster is foisted upon us politically, and Andrew Quomo, and his Natch-Gas buddies are working hard to do so.

    2. Before the metal-fatigue related disasters, the Comet also suffered some take-off accidents caused by pilots not understanding the different handling qualities of jet aircraft.

      There was a movie based on this called “Cone of Silence” about a fictional early jetliner called the “Atlas Aviation Phoenix” — really the six-engined Olympus testbed version (two Olympus engines plus the four Nenes) of the Avro Ashton.

  5. “Rand might have chosen a different motive force for Galt’s magical motor if she had understood much about nuclear energy.”

    Or perhaps she did know about it, but intentionally chose something which doesn’t exist (and never will), to keep people from getting too hung up on the specifics of nuclear power, because she had a set of more general principles about freedom, economics, and government which she cared more about?

    I believe that science fiction authors very often intentionally choose to use ‘magical technology’ which can never exist, so that they can have ‘big picture’ discussions in the abstract about science/technology/culture/whatever without getting bogged down in specific details about a specific technology.

    1. Jeff – you are apparently not an Issac Asimov fan. His science fiction was written in the days where there was real science behind the fiction and whee the technology was more of a projection along known physical possibilities than in the fantasy world that covers much of what is called science fiction today.

      For the record, the magical motive force that enabled the societies described in Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy was atomic fission.

      1. Really? I thought it was the power of the mathematics developed by Hari Seldon and his disciples.

        It worked really well until something completely unpredictable (the Mule) showed up.

        1. Hari Seldon’s math did not provide any power. It simply allowed predictions of the general trends of society development. The power that allowed the civilizations to exist was atomic fission.

    2. doesn’t exist (and never will)… right! Tell that to all the Indian Point workers, security guards, Buchanan and Peekskill police, hundreds of people, who in 1984 witnessed it hovering 30 feet away from reactor 3 for 15 minutes. One guard was so freaked out, he took a shot at it. It’s all a matter of public record. So by never, you mean what exactly?

      1. RockTheReactors

        Your Indian Point mention is so absurd. Don’t you know that night’s showtime for magicians and pranksters, whether using kites to flights of Piper Cubs to mimic UFOs? When all these witnesses see the same thing in broad daylight — cameras rolling — then I’ll believe Micheal Rennie’s landing. Since you want the “rock the reactors” so much to justify your life looking all PC cool and holy-than-thou concerned for the purity of life, why not go after things long KNOWN to’ve ACTUALLY committed health hazards and respiratory aliments you can find in most hospitals, namely coal and oil emissions. Or are you just another public health/safety hypocrite?

        You know, the funny thing is I’d rather believe the reports and statements from the Fukushima or other nuclear plant companies than anything from anti-nukers because companies are standing targets who can be reached and accounted for with penalties and legal action for lying, but anti-nukers just spew misleading dirt and outright lies just to maliciously scare the bejeesus out of people before running back into their anonymous holes like cockroaches, smug that they’ve soiled fact and truth for their own wanna-leave-my-mark-on-the-world benefit. And the hell with others needing clean cheap real energy.

        You anti-nuclears make me puke.

        James Greenidge
        Queens NY

  6. Rod,

    Great post! I think I’m going to have to re-read Atlas Shrugged as soon.

    Something we’ve discussed frequently is that the goal of a debate is not to persuade your opponent, but rather the audience. I decided to post on Ms. Brinkley’s page because there is a huge audience of non-technical, but probably pretty caring people subscribed to forum.

    However the cult of celebrity is a rather scary phenomenon in that many people will believe anything that comes out of the mouth of a celebrity- which is strange considering the bulk of their professional experience is in memorizing words written by someone else. then reciting them in a convincing way in a public forum (aka acting).

    Anyhow, as nuclear communicators this is a huge part of our challenge- how to we resonate scientific information with popular culture? I’ve long thought this will be the only way to gain considerable public support for nuclear, but must admit, I still haven’t figured out exactly how to do it…



    1. What would ne neat if someone were to make a film of normal everyday activities except with a brightly colored hue over everything with the color or brightness proportional to the radiation field intensity.

    2. Suzy Hobbs’ asks: “how [do] we resonate scientific information with popular culture?” The answer is that we cannot, but in the end we do not need to, and Ayn Rand is the ideal illustration why that is true.

      The unvarnished truth is that Rand was a fraud: a turgid writer who imagined herself an author in the great Russian tradition of philosophical novels. However all she created was an ideological movement rather than a well-grounded philosophy. As any good purveyor of a shallow pseudophilosophy, her rhetoric worked against a good understanding, thus allowing the reader to imagine that something profound is being asserted, when in fact the opposite is true. Yet she does have a following.

      What the pronuclear movement should learn from this is that our job is not to educate the public on nuclear energy as much as it is to sell it to them. This is in fact what the opposition has been doing, and to great effect; they ‘sell’ imagined dangers from nuclear energy and hardly pay even lip service to the truth.

      1. @ DV82XL, thanks for catching my spelling error- looking back at my post, it’s riddled with grammar problems. Apparently I’ve been spending too much time communicating with supermodels 😉

        Also, interesting thoughts on “selling” nuclear…I don’t think I’m the woman for that job, but appreciate the perspective.

        1. Suzy, your doing more to sell nuclear in the non-technical way I believe is needed than most. I consider your efforts to be of major importance, if not at this time, then in the future. You are breaking new ground in a field that, in my opinion, desperately needs to change tactics.

      2. @DV82XL
        I am in the process of going through my philosophical foundations for several reasons. Where in Rand’s epistemology is it ideological? I think interpretations may be skewed by idealoglgy, but the core content is fairly good.

        I have also found validation for her work in Cox’s axiomatic approach to probability theory. Janyes takes it a step further and links it with epogage, of Aristotlean fame.

        I am living through a class where the professor is a Kantian through and through and the consequence of the abdication of reason as a meaningful tool is downright frightening.

        1. Cal Abel – I will give you the short answer, and unless Rod wants to see this thread move on to the topic, this is all I will do. Your going to have to chase down the references yourself.

          Rand basically restated (without giving proper credit to)the philosophy of Christian Freiherr von Wolff which itself was an attempt to methodized and reduce to dogmatic form the logical system developed by Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz to simplify it to become a comprehensive view of philosophy, embracing the whole field of human knowledge. Central to this is his insistence everywhere on clear and methodic exposition, and his confidence in the power of reason to reduce all subjects to this form.

          This Wolffian philosophy held almost undisputed sway in Germany until it was displaced by the Kantian revolution. Kant, it must be understood, was reacting to this doctrinaire system, and exposing its limits, rather than the all out assault on reason that Rand accuses him of.

          Wolff’s ideas failed, not because they were attacked by Kant, but because they are too narrow to encompass the full spectrum of what humans need to think about. The same holds for Objectivism; it is overly simplistic. Perhaps that is why it mostly appeals to the young, but doesn’t seem to stick as they grow older.

          So to answer your question Rand’s epistemology is ideological because since it does not clearly refute Kant’s ideas, only rejects them in favor of Wolff’s because they do not support her preferred world view.

          That’s not to assert that the Kantian system itself is correct in all aspects, however as it pertains to Rand’s view of the individual vs the collective, it is safe to say that the Kantian teleology understands that in any society the relationship of the individual and the group must always be both in tension and continual flux, whereas Rand takes a far more rigid stance.

          Thus her moral/ethical stand is also ideological because it does not recognize that the social contract needs to be continuously renegotiated as conditions change.

        2. If you are looking for an ‘anti-Kantian’ (as it were)philosophy look up Rational Pragmatism. At the very least it has a well formed epistemology i.e. less ranting, more structure, than you get from Rand.

        3. Thank you for the look at pragmatism. Didn’t find anything directly on “rational pragmatism”. I have read William James and some of the derivatives of his work.

          Pierce seems to be a good lead with his work in the logic of science. So I’ll head there and see what he put in an epistemological framework.

          One thing that caught my eye in particular was his use of logical induction. This principle has guided my research and thinking over the past year when I discovered Ed Jaynes. His book, “Probability Theory: The Logic of Science” has proven to be very useful in shaping my thinking. He uses epagoge, inductive reasoning, a weaker form of syllogism, to derive a comprehensive probability theory. The use of induction in probability is not unique, Laplace. Pierce’s use may provide the epistemology that I need for my methods.

          Rand seems to rely on traditional apodeixes, duductive reasoning. Which explains her rigidity and from looking at historical accounts of objectivism is what caused a schism in the group over what seemed a trifle.

          There has been a similar split in statistics that has been on going since the time of Laplace over Bayes Theorem. Frequentists, probability is an intrinsic property of an object, rely on deductive logic to form the basis of their work. Bayesians, probability represents our knowledge of something, derive our framework from inductive reasoning. Jaynes shows how duductive logic and the frequentist approach are only special limiting cases of inductive reasoning. It does not mean that the conclusions of frequentists are not invalid or not even useful. Quite the contrary. They are quite useful in aiding understanding of limiting situations. However, the user must be aware that they are constrained.

          I have not gone through Rand’s theory’s nor am able to show that she uses deductive logic almost exclusively. It is a hypothethis. From the analogy above it does not mean her work is useless either,just limited. It is the first critique of our societal abandonment of reason I came across. That is the crime of our age.

          From a personal standpoint I’ve always had trouble integrating ER philosophy into a way of life. If rational pragmatism or something else has the frame work I need then all the better.

          Thanks for the tips.

        4. Rand’s work is limited because she did not do the ‘pick-and-shovel- work that Peirce, James, and Dewey did for pragmatics. The folks that tried to massage her writings into a logical framework (Objectivism) where limited by the fact she didn’t really provide a good foundation. Too many of her ideas are at odds with her others, making it difficult to forge a consistent epistemology.

          She always claimed that her novels were the best explanation of her ideas, yet in all of them the characters are cardboard cut-outs, and the plot excessively contrived. This is fine for fiction written to entertain, but fiction that is claiming a deeper didactic purpose needs to stay very close to the possible.

          If you want to accept Rand as a ideologist for Capitalism, fine. Do not however make the mistake of believing she was a philosopher.

  7. I made the mistake of reading a few of the comments on Ms. Brinkley’s anti-nuke facebook page. It’s a bit scary when you consider many of these people are products of US public schools.

  8. Who, as president, do you think would be best for nuclear power? Obama and Chu have done nothing. The DOE still plans to destroy fissile material needed to start up future breeders, and when Bill Gates approached the DOE to build fast reactors, they told him to do it in another country. Without fast reactors to recycle fuel, shutting down Yucca is extremely anti-nuclear. We may build a few more light water reactors by 2020, but that will be after “Megatons to Megawatts” has ended, so it won’t really matter. I think Ron Paul will support nuclear. His energy plan is more drilling at home, and making it easier for nuclear:

    More drilling won’t help. Oil and conventional gas peaked in the early `70s, coal peaked in 1998 in terms of energy produced, and shale gas is a chimera with a horribly low flow rate and EROEI. We need more drilling just to slowly decline. So, his plan is by default all nuclear. In my view, fast reactors will become our primary source of energy around 2065. This is in line with a new MIT study on the future of nuclear after Fukushima. So, we will just have to permanently end economic growth and population growth, and become more efficient and conserve, as we survive the transition to safe, reliable, clean, cheap, unlimited fast reactors. I think Ron Paul is the best choice to lead us in this direction, rather than starting all these wars all over Africa and Eurasia to secure foreign imports. He also understands the value of gold and silver, which are set to explode.

    1. Republicans do not believe in climate change but are for energy independence and will support nuclear for that reason.

      Democrats are more environmentalists in nature, believe in climate change but are against nuclear. (go figure)

      Republicans initiated the concept of carbon tax which would be of great help to nuclear as this would account for economic externalities and provide for a levelled playing field against coal and gas notably. Republicans are no longer supporting the concept of the carbon tax as it could slow down the economy.

      Democrats are for the carbon tax as they think it will help push solar and wind which are totally ineffective. This however would help nuclear, but the dems will find a way to circumvent the carbon tax benefits for nuclear. They have this thing about being green and against nuclear.

      So we need leadership. Or we can watch China and India and Russia overtake the western world with cheap, reliable, abundant and clean base load energy.

      1. Wouldn’t it be great if we actually elected a smart, tough, honest man who has a good chance of remaining uncorrupted by monetary seduction.

      2. I very much like Ron Paul’s view on a lot of issues, particularly on the economic concepts he deeply believes in, which come from the Austrian school of economics, with economists such as the late Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard. I’ve learned a lot about economy from the LvM Institute online at http://mises.org/

        The US should lead the world in returning to a gold-backed money standard, and forget as soon as possible the damages done by Bernanke, who has printed so much paper money in the last few years… and we’re about to see the results of the injection of all this fake money. Unfortunately.

        And this is not a matter of Democrat vs Republican presidential candidate. This is about someone who knows what he is talking about, or someone who is able to read a teleprompter or a sheet of paper. Biiig difference!

        Ciao, Luca (not a voter in the US)

        1. The gold-backed money standard is a thing of the past. In today’s world, it would be conducive to deflation.

        2. Gold-backed currency is inherently most suited to no-growth economies. Why not have the best of both worlds (commodity money and fiat money), and have a currency backed by uranium-233, plutonium-239 or both?

        3. I am not sure I can agree with your statement about inflation vs deflation, but I am no expert in this field.

          I’ve already read “The Case for Gold”, but I just did a bit of research and another interesting book by Rep. Ron Paul came up, “Gold, Peace, and Prosperity: The Birth of a New Currency” which can be found in PDF here:


          Speaking of the Austrian approach to gold, in one of the episodes of Atomic Show Shane and Rod mentioned Murray Rothbard and the use of gold as a currency, and speculated on a possible scenario where uranium might become a currency. After all, it is scarce in nature, and cannot be “printed” like they are doing with the dollar today… I loved that reference to Austrian economy in the podcast!

          Ciao, Luca

        4. Actually, I specifically mentioned fissile isotopes that do not exist in nature, but are produced in reactors from thorium or uranium-238 respectively.

          This means that governments could still do quantitative easing (by breeding more of the relevant fissile isotopes) but that the currency would always have an intrinsic value (as it it could be reclaimed for fissile material that could be burned to produce energy).

        5. Actually, I think Pu 238 is much more valuable. Nasa would kill for the stuff as it has always been used in galactic travel as a battery fuel. (I think Strontium also has a use as a reliable propelling fuel)

        6. I have been doing some reasoning in economics and statistical physics. I have been trying to understand how the economy works, or rather why it is falling apart. In this search, I have come to an understanding of the role that energy plays in our economy and propose a new standard for money. One that is more absolute than gold.

          I propose basing the dollar on the Joule.

          I am working through the derivations now. A major consequence of this approach is thinking our fuel sources.

          What is the utility that a fuel source delivers to the economy? Is it just the $ value of the fuel or is it something more? I found that it is also the energy content of the fuel.

          Uranium or Thorium would be ideal for a currency standard. They have a very high specific energy content.

    2. Democrats have the same reflex to nuclear as do creationists towards antibiotics, whose invention requires a theory of evolution.

      But who cares what somebody’s motivation is for using an antibiotic? Should we really object to someone using a technology who has a different belief system than the technology’s creator? If such a requirement were imposed on our technologies the world could scarcely function.

      Nuclear power should be embraced by democrats as it would solve climate change. Must their motivations align before we make the necessary investments to make nuclear power cheaper, safer and cleaner?

      1. Are creationists really opposed to antibiotics though? I’d expect they gladly engage in a bit of doublethink in order to have the practical benefits of antibiotics. As I understand it there are even some oil prospectors who believe in young-earth creationism!

        Another piece of religious doublethink would be those Christians who do accept the theory of evolution, but also believe sex is only for procreation. This is in fact a contradiction, exposed by the fact that humans have very low fertility compared with other mammals of comparable size…

    3. Closing Yucca would be “Pro-nuclear” if it were followed by a program to burn nuclear waste that would have been destined for geologic sequestration.

      I supported Obama’s initiative to halt the Yucca mountain project thinking that it would be followed by a program to construct waste burning reactors such as the LFTR.

      I am still waiting for this second shoe to drop.

      1. It will be a long wait. The so-called Blue Ribbon Commission basically kicked the can down the road (“interim storage”). I knew that would happen, and anyone who thinks probably came to the same conclusion. “Blue Ribbon Commissions” serve two purposes. One, delay. Second, political cover.

      2. I am midway thru Blees’ book ‘Prescription for the planet’. Pretty interesting but one point caught my attention.

        He states that many countries ship their nuclear wastes to the US by contractual obligation. I know that Europe keeps their wastes and so do Japan ans Russia. So what countries are actually shipping their nuclear wastes to the US?

        That is news to me. Is it true ?

        1. Under the Atoms for Peace program some countries did have agreements with the States to ship their spent fuel back here, though I’d have to do some digging to find the details. It was sort of the early fuel bank idea that is being resurrected now. Ironically, the first nuclear reactors in Pakistan and Iran were built under that program!

        2. Don’t forget India, Tom. Note that the chairman of India’s atomic energy agency recently called Atoms for Peace the “bedrock on which India’s nuclear program was built.”

        3. If memory serves me right, I think you wrote that 41 countries ship the stuff back to the US …

      3. Well, you have to consider Obama’s reasons for killing the YM project. They have nothing to do with building anything, and they never did.

  9. Just watched a new Conoco-Philips safe clean natural gas commercial. This one was with a family putting away the groceries as they talk about how wonderful methane is. Man, these guys are pros at the PR business.

    1. It’s pretty easy stuff. You just put clean in front. Clean arsenic, clean mercury, clean coal.

      A book was once written in 1841 about popular folly.

      It was called ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds’. We have not progressed at all.

      1. What’s funny is the commercial aired during the show “Destroyed on Seconds” right after a segment that featured a gas pipeline explosion that left a 75 foot hole and burned four apartment buildings down.

    2. Yesterday evening I took a train and went to Turin to listen to a pro-nuclear Professor do a speech, and brought a friend of mine, an engineer who is anti-nuke (go figure!) to listen to the gig.

      After the event we chatted some more, and he told me that Shell has marketing budgets for “university champions”, young students like him that were trained in Paris over a couple of days on the many things that Shell does, to then go back to their university and spread the good word about how nice oil and gas companies are. Not a big budget, but he was able to print some leaflets and have an event.

      This is how deep the pockets of O&G companies are. He did not really care about Shell per se, but liked the trip to Paris a lot!

      But we are different. We do what we do because we care, and we believe. And that is much more powerful. But some money would surely help…

      Ciao, Luca

    3. Anyone could stroll down Madison Avenue and at random pick an advertising agency that within six months could have most Americans believing black was white.

      For a tiny fraction of their annual operating revenues the nuclear industry (such as it is) could do the same – but they would have the much easier task of only having to persuade the public that white was not black.

      Yet inexplicably, despite the fact that they are one headline away from losing the use of their most profitable assets, they refuse to do it until (like Indian Point) they are under extreme political duress.

  10. @Rod
    Got my hands on another book of Ayn Rand, “The New Left: The Anti-Industial Revolution”. Interesting epistemology.

    I was motivated to read this book as a result of a class I’m taking this semester, “Sustainability and Environmental Policy” taught by a student of Dr. Simon Pritchett. I am not kidding. To quote my professor from the last class, “I believe that methodological Individualism is no longer required. We should look instead toward the societal good.” He does not understand that if that is done then you will have a totalitarian regime, the “People’s States” in Atlas Shrugged. What is even more scary than his proclamation of the death of reason is that in most if not all of the readings in the class are espousing similar concepts.

    A large part of the environmental movement falls into this form of thinking. I can’t in good consciousness call it reasoning. The environmentalists who have broken from this dogmatic approach at least from my perspective embrace nuclear power, notably Pattrick Moore and recently Mark Lynas.

    As for the COG industries. Machiavelli called it:
    “It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favor; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it.” [The Prince]

    1. Cal,
      While I am impressed by Ayn Rand, clearly Macchiavelli is a better communicator.

      The profound comment that you quote is one of many gems in “The Prince”, yet the book is so short that it can be read in an evening.

      In chapter XVI, Machiavelli declares:
      “Therefore, any one wishing to maintain among men the name of liberal is obliged to avoid no attribute of magnificence; so that a prince thus inclined will consume in such acts all his property, and will be compelled in the end, if he wish to maintain the name of liberal, to unduly weigh down his people, and tax them, and do everything he can to get money.”

      The Porkulus and the proposed mini-Porkulus would have been no surprise to Niccolo.

      1. That’s because Rand was expounding a philosophy and thus was encumbered all of the supererogatory BS that such a task entails.

        Machiavelli was merely giving career advice.

  11. Hi Rod, great post, I really enjoyed that. The ranks of guiltless people are swelling and I am growing in confidence that it will go critical in the next few years. It’s a beauty of a concept, one I think I will have much use for.

  12. The most vexing thing, Rod, is that the media in general simply “has it in” for nuclear energy (maybe because it’s regarded a “war baby” of WWII or bad scifi B-movies or what). When I see all the anti-nuclear rumors and bogus new reports being slung around in Twitter (and picked up bt schools as well) with no major rebuttal agencies on the scene you wonder how many people are being poisoned far more by malacious misinformation than anything nuclear. Between that and the nuclear industry/unions’ suicidual MIA on self-preservation ads and educational PSAs, I just don’t see a way for nuclear in the U.S. to surface to its promise beyond treading water.

    James Greenidge

    1. Which bogus news reports? Oh you mean the triple meltdown involving thousands of tons of fuel, or that reactor 5 now seems to be experiencing problems as well (get this, a possibility of a fourth meltdown!), or did you mean the hundred thousand nuclear refugees?

      Did you know that reactor 4 with its fresh hot fuel pool is on the verge of collapse, possibly necessitating the evacuation of Tokyo?

      Did you know that 143 onsite workers have ‘gone missing’?

      the people who are being poisoned by misinformation are also the people breathing and eating fallout. The workers on ground zero are a bunch of subcontracted employees without formal professional training and mostly without proper understanding of the hazards.

      From an outsiders point of view what is damaging the nuclear industries image most is the fact that in a crisis everyone involved has gone into complete denial. No one is manning up and taking any responsibility.

      The priority right now should be to make sure something similar does not occur in your country. Make sure those spent fuel pools are moved to a distance from the reactors so that neither can affect the other if something goes wrong and blows the building apart.

      I shudder to think of the consequences of a similar accident on US soil and its less docile population.

      1. Joe :

        Your comment: Did you know that reactor 4 with its fresh hot fuel pool is on the verge of collapse, possibly necessitating the evacuation of Tokyo?

        My comment: Is this TMI at over again ?

        1. If by TMI all over again, you mean a lot of sound and fury signifying little then yes, it is TMI all over again.

          It must be told over and over – TMI was an example of why most professional nukes are comfortable with their machines. Even when nearly everything that can go wrong does go wrong, the operators and the public are not put into danger.

        2. TMI – 1 partial contained meltdown, release of some radioactive water

          Fukushima Daichi – 3 full uncontained meltdowns plus perhaps another 20 cores in troubled fuel ponds with plenty of fallout into the atmosphere and ocean.

          There are a few orders of magnitude difference here.

        3. Ok then how many tons of fuel are in a GE mark1 BWR when in operation?

          And How many tones -where- sitting in all 4 spent fuel pools?

        4. Joe – You’re so stupid.

          The spent fuel pools directly adjacent to the reactor are used for loading and unloading the reactor. If the entire reactor core has been unloaded, then the pool might contain one-and-a-third core’s worth of fuel.

          Long term storage of spent fuel is provided by a separate common pool that was never in danger.

        5. Thanks, luckily not stupid enough that i now believe bananas are dangerous though.

          What you say is not wrong.

          Yet the unloaded assemblies need to cool for years before being moved to the larger shared pool.

          1496 assemblies weighing 254 tonnes in reactor 1-3
          2724 assemblies weighing 463 tonnes in pools 1-4 no reactor was empty and the pool had both fresh used, and a brand new load.

          A Total of 4220 assemblies in the four buildings weighing around 717 tonnes.

      2. @Joe – where do you get your news? The situation that you are describing is not what is being described in traditional sources.

        1. Hi Rod, I would say for the most part it is not mentioned in traditional sources. when it is the true scope of the disaster is rarely portrayed.

          Google news search on ‘fukushima’, Google news is really an aggregator so results are very diverse but include many reputable sources.

          Obviously Google search on relevant keywords.
          ‘fukushima reactor 4 leaning’ , ‘fukushima mox fuel’ or ‘fukushima sfp fuel assemblies’ for example.

          Tepco Website, though it is amazing how a company in charge of splitting the atom cannot even run a decent website, you may have to zoom to 400% just to read some sections.

          Youtube – Loads of stuff there

          ENENEWS – Another aggregate so news comes from diverse sources including many reputable ones.

          Fairewinds – I know you don’t respect Arnie, but his analysis makes a lot of sense. look at the no. 3 explosion, then look at the roof damage, the hole is clearly over the spent fuel pool as was the explosion. maybe that MOX had something to do with it.

          Then what is not being said, the lack of coverage, lies and denials just reaffirm that its bad enough that the truth is being avoided. The fact that citizens are the ones finding hotspots is a perfect example.

        2. Joe – It’s apparent that you have no idea what constitutes a reputable source if you give weight to reports of this nature. Giving credence to claims that are so off the wall that they are ridiculous and then asserting all others are lies and denials boarders on paranoia. If you want to be taken seriously here, research your sources more carefully or you will be dismissed outright as delusional.

        3. Care to give me some reputable sources? Where do you go for your intel?

          Lol funny how you dismiss all my sources, TEPCO included. I agree they are not ‘reputable’ but they are hardly an irrelevant source of information.

        4. Yes most of your sources are irrelevant. So is any further conversation with you.

          Frankly I no longer care what people like you think. In the long run you don’t really count.

        5. Like most conspiracy nutbars you have zero credibility outside you own little circle of fellow travelers. Normal folk think you are all bores, and thus you have no capacity to have any real effect on broad public opinion. About the only thing you do is sulk around the internet with other nitwits, feeding each other’s paranoia.

          Every once in a while you may get into an exchange on a site like this, but your inability to judge sources, and you incapacity to see reason soon mark you out for what you are. After that you get ignored, because in the end you are a waste of time.

          Your not the first like this, nor will you be the last on these pages.

        6. What arrogance you possess, Could you at least point me to sources that you find trustworthy?

  13. Know what’s funny (or pathetic)? I’ve never seen such spitting wailing outcries and frets and fear and alarm over a maxed nightmare “disaster” and “catastrophe” that killed no one (and now seem less likely to’ve anyway) and caused no damage outside the plant’s fence. I mean, if Fukushima and TMI were “disasters” and “catastrophes”, then what do you call oil and gas refineries and rigs blowing up and taking a neighborhood with them — and let’s not get into the chemical and aviation industries. Just wondering what public safety/health hypocrites anti-nukers and most greens are.

    James Greenidge

    1. James,

      while I agree with you on how mild this “catastrophe” has been compared to the 24,000 dead for the earthquake and tsunami, we should never forget that a forced evacuation due to a radiation scare can have a lifetime effect on normal people’s lives.

      And this is the bulk of the discussion that’s at stake. We need to be able to articulate the fact that radiation is not dangerous, it is part of normal life, and even if there is a release in the environment, it is not bound to affect life expectancy or cancers or tumors development for those who live nearby.

      But saying that a forced evacuation is not a disaster in itself, no, that I quite frankly cannot do.

      The sooner we will see people getting back to their homes, cesium or not, the better. But even if the ban is lifted, will people move back home, will businesses open again?

      Ciao, Luca

      1. Luca, thanks for your input. Naturally I was talking about the direct physical effect of the incident itself, not what social or political consequences resulting from the varied knee-jerk response to it. The evacuation IMO was grossly excessive and hopefully lessons learned will be far more reasonable and cool-headed. Nevertheless, even this pitiful mass evacuation would be personally far more preferable on the misery-stress scale to the permanent suffering of the loss of a family member or mass loss of lives taken and mangled by oil and gas explosions and incidents, like what’s happening out west and Mexico with whole towns literally blown up and lives managed and lost forever because of gas mishaps. The media’s morbid interest will follow the angst and plight of intact evacuees as a pretext to kill nuclear, but they don’t relate the grief and impact of the survivors of oil or gas or coal accidents to banish those industries.

        James Greenidge

  14. Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged was about the suppression of an atmospheric electricity motor… she based her character of John Galt on Nikola Tesla. Ayn Rand certainly was no fan of the type of nuclear power that generates lethal ionizing radiation. She was advocating something totally different. So don’t bring her name into this as if she was some big supporter of nuclear energy as it exists today. She wasn’t, you’re misrepresenting her philosophy.

    1. What evidence do you have to offer that she disapproved of nuclear fission? Electrical shock is much more hazardous than ionizing radiation.

      1. And electrical shock is still the last resort treatment for otherwise medication based untreatable depression.

        Not all things are bad in themselves.

    2. Sickly Rand made a “Tomorrow Show” with Tom Syder I remember, and she was VERY much for Israel having nukes and nuclear plants (at a time neither was admitted).

      James Greenidge

    3. Ayn Rand did support nuclear energy. She also had a kind of love affair—with the atomic bomb. In late 1945 and early 1946, a film was being developed by Hal Wallis who hired Ayn Rand to write the script.

      The film was to be titled Top Secret. There is a sixteen-page outline by Rand from January 19, 1946. The plot folllow the lead character, named John, during the rise of Hitler, early work on the physics of the Bomb abroad, his service in the Army and then his assignment—to guard J. Robert Oppenheimer, the so-called Father of the Bomb, at Los Alamos. Much like the key scene in The Beginning or the End, it shows Truman deciding to use the bomb against Japan as a last resort and strictly “to save American lives.”

      Oppenheimer, after Hiroshima, tells John at Los Alamos that “the achievement was not an accident—only free men in voluntary co-operation could have done it—so long as they’re free, men do not have to fear those who preach slavery and violence.” It ends with another classic Randism:
      “Man can harness the universe—but nobody can harness man!”

      She also wrote for Wallis an amazing and quite lengthy memo: An Analysis of the Proper Approach to a Picture on the Atomic Bomb.

      Rand’s memo opens with the astounding claim that it was not the bomb itself, a mere “inanimate object”, but a bad movie about it that could turn out to be the “greatest moral crime in the history of civilization.” After all,she wrote: “whether the Bomb is used again depends on the thinking of men,” and movies were now the most influential elements in all of society.

      She goes on to extol the Bomb’s creation as “an eloquent example of, argument for and tribute to free enterprise.” As evidence she cites the fact that despite its massive state power, Germany could not create the weapon but the United States did. And if the studio followed her script, “the general tone of our pivcture will be that of a tribute to America—an epic of the American spirit.”

  15. Rand also wrote in “The New Left: The Anti-industrial Revolution” talking about the only way to prevent nuclear war was through protecting the individual and avoiding collectivism. In that book she also talked about nuclear power but only briefly. She was not against nuclear energy, nor was she particularly against nuclear weapons in those writings.

    1. Certainly the current stand of the Ayn Rand Institute is very much in favor of nuclear energy. As an example read The Enemies of Nuclear Power which explores the thesis that the opposition to nuclear power is based, not on science, but on a hostility to science, technology and capitalism.

    2. Thanks Cal, I ordered the book, and will read it. The point I am trying to make is that if Ayn Rand had wanted to make Atlas Shrugged about nuclear power, she would have. Instead it was about another type of energy, which some may say is fantasy, others believe suppressed.

      1. Rand probably didn’t make Atlas Shrugged about nuclear power because she didn’t want facts to bother the dramatic construction of the novel. To the best of my knowledge, Ayn Rand was not a Tesla advocate.

      2. @Rock the Reactors – you need a better understanding of history. Atlas Shrugged was published in 1957. The very first commercial reactor in the world did not start up until 1956 (Calder Hall in the UK). There was no basis for optimism about the impact that the power source could make considering nearly all information about the technology during the time that Rand was writing would have been classified by the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. The declassification process did not even start until 1954, by which time I am pretty sure that Rand had already laid out the general plot lines for her story. It is, after all, a very long and densely written novel.

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