1. Has the depicted effect of fallout in On The Beach been critically assessed by an expert? Knowing what I know now, long after having seen the film, I’m having trouble accepting that airborne contamination passing between hemispheres would even come close to dooming all human life in the short time intimated in the story – so much so that cyanide pills are presented as preferable!

    1. @ActinideAge

      While nuclear war would be devastating for many reasons, the health effects of fall out well outside of the blast zone is not terribly significant. The dose rates would be quite low, but I have never done or seen any deep computational studies.

    2. Excellent point.  Such a radioactive cloud would have to be very, very “hot” (either short half-lives or vast amounts of material) and it would have to avoid decaying on the way or simply falling out.  Even in the “nuclear winter” scenarios with vast amounts of stuff lofted into the air, you’d have lots of convection and evaporation off bodies of water followed by precipitation, pulling the nuclei out again.  And the hottest stuff like I-131 would largely disappear over the weeks it takes for stuff to circulate even around a single hemisphere, let alone across the tropical convergence zone.

      Caldicott reminds me of the Ogden Nash poem about the person’s Female Relation Who Has Read An Article.

      1. Another boner about this film is how the Aussies/New Zealanders didn’t even put up a fight to survive! They had MONTHS to crash-program hermetically seal off whole buildings along with connecting plastic tube tunnels between them and create habitable caverns with air filtering and sea water hydrolysis systems and erect acres of sealed plastic tents and greenhouses over farms and grazing fields against such a radiation “fog”. Do SOMETHING instead of rolling over with death pills!

    3. You can get some idea of the relative effect of fallout aka “residual radiation” from the RERF studies of the atomic bombings of Japan. Of the estimated 200,000 estimated deaths about 2000 are excess cancer deaths among the survivors. Radiation dose incurred by the survivors was overwhelming due to gamma and neutron radiation from the blast and residual radiation played a minor role. There is an RERF statement on residual radiation:


      Basically you would have had to have been within a few hundred meters of the hypocentre within the first few days to incur a significant dose.

      One other area to look at would be the effects of atmospheric weapons testing and scale that up to get an order of magnitude estimate. As I recall at the height of weapons testing world wide background radiation was raised by about 5%. The data is in UNSCEAR 2008 Sources and Effects of Ionizing radiation.

      On the Beach looks completely implausible and not required in order to conclude that nuclear war would be an unimaginable horror.

      1. I’ve read already, and was left a bit suspicious of the RERF claims about residual radiation. There was several kg of unexploded 239Pu and 235U left for each explosion. There was about one or two kg of fission products. Plus the activation of some material in the vicinity of the blast.
        There was no measurement at all at the time, and anyway in 1945 the technology didn’t allow to measure small amounts of radiation, sensibility of the measurements had nothing to see with we’ve become able to do later on.

        So the RERF says that at the end the amount of fallout radiation was totally negligible. While their reasoning behind that of course makes sense, it’s still surprising that there could be so much radioactive material released, and so little radiation on the spot. And given how much time went by before there was any attempt to evaluate that amount of radiation, the RERF could be strongly wrong about the correct amount without anything demonstrating the opposite.

        I’m 100% certain Hiroshima and Nagasaki would today never be repopulated as easily as they were back at the time, and I’m very suspicious that despite the evaluation of the RERF studies, we would if such an event were to happen against, detect many times more residual radiation on the explosion spot that the RERF studies say.

    4. There has been lots of research into the effects of global nuclear war. Brian Martin wrote a very good paper, The global health effects of nuclear war, in 1982. It’s a little out of date in some areas but on the whole it’s not too bad. Basically, a global nuclear war would be an unprecedented disaster, but it would not come close to destroying life on Earth, or even just human life in the Northern Hemisphere.

  2. God Bless those as Gordon McDowell spreading the positive nuclear story! My only reservations, as I am with other unconventional nuclear types, that in trying to sway the public for Thorium (or whatever) one only confuses the public more on the merits and reasons of a competing reactor type especially with the relative safety hype. To the public a nuke is a nuke is a nuke, and a Thorium reactor is “just as bad” as the current crop and why shouldn’t we believe it. The public mentality is that if Thorium/Salt/Florine/etc REALLY is so “super safe” then that implies what we already have is not so safe and all ought be scrapped pronto. Believe me, people on the street think this way. Ditto this idea of shipping nuke plants offshore; for all its merits it’d be a huge P.R. boomerang for all nuclear plants (at least in the U.S.). It’s this reactor-type rivalry public confusion-doubt that has helped green start-ups get royal treatment. It’s vital that the nuclear community of all nuclear types all get on the same page and hawk the safety record of our _current_ plants and get public plant tours going to get them used to the idea that nuclear is and has always been safe, because by doing that rolls out the red carpet of public acceptance and confidence in nuclear that your unconventional nuke types need to see commercial daylight.
    Re: “While you are watching, please remember that she is also someone who is in high demand for appearances at college campuses, community meetings and on nation-wide media programs…How did our supposedly rational society get to the point where someone like Caldicott is considered by such a wide range of people to be a respectable source of information?”

    Damn me for saying this but can I begrudge Helen’s public success at sowing FUD? If I pass up a free ice cream cone that the guy behind me grabs up, who should I be angry at? My one main question is this: Has NEI or ANS or any other nuclear energy/power organization ever hammered out to these college campuses and civic organization groups speaker and lecture requests? Here in NYC, it’s been a ZERO for the whole CUNY college system! Can you spell Shoreham as the price? Way back the early ’70s at my parents place near Kingston NY when Central Hudson and other utilities were just exploring sites for a nuclear plant between Albany and Kingston (much further upriver than Indian Point), the Knights of Columbus and LIONS and garden clubs in Ulster and Greene Counties were assailed by anti-nuke speakers who help nipped that plant in the bud — and pro-nuke speakers in all these groups were MIA. Why are Helen and Arnie and Doc Kaku so darn popular on campuses and media? The magic give-the-devil-his-due factor is — Ta Da: THEY GET OUT THERE in the grass roots to sow their FUD, not sit back in their P.R. dept armchairs moaning in their tea and nuke certifications. Who’s the public going to believe more; a guy on a megaphone on a soapbox or a guy who’s bound-and-gagged himself in a basement closet? Guess which nuclear’s been all this time? The solution isn’t Saturn-V science; Nuke Orgs; get your certified nuclear speakers stomping campuses and civic groups and hire an Ad firm to hawk nuclear power for you! NEI and ANS and Co. don’t even have to spend eons learning the P.R. ropes; let “Mad Men” do it for them! It can turn your bad name around in no time! Tylenol and B.P. Gulf anyone??

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  3. How can this be? There are thousands who will fill the tents of shrieking revivalist preachers, people still buy snake-oil by the gallon. People haven’t changed a lot. The level of education is the determining factor in whether people buy into nonsense like Caldicott’s. Perhaps that has fallen … I don’t know.

    1. @SteveK9

      The level of education is the determining factor in whether people buy into nonsense like Caldicott’s.

      Don’t forget that Dr. Caldicott is in high demand on college campuses. In addition, please do not start a separate conversation about the lack of technical education in US colleges. There are some very well educated people who oppose nuclear energy.

      BTW, I do not want to live in a place where there is some kind of universal “Common Core” of requirements in order for one to be called “educated.”

      1. Oh come on, Rod, you mean you don’t want to shoehorn us into neat little categories? Get with the program, man, you’re rockin’ the boat.

  4. Note how many times HC makes statements that are fabrications. She appears to be the starting point for many of her untrue claims. HC has been confronted for some of her most notorious claims by health physicists, and other professionals. Her responce has been to make the statement, that “I don’t have to answer them because they are such bad people.

    I don
    t know if HC is aware that her case against nuclear power amounts to nothing more than a string of factually inaccurate statements. Perhaps she fools herself with her own factual errors.

    1. @Charles Barton

      Perhaps she fools herself with her own factual errors.

      If Caldicott only fooled herself, it would be one thing. However, she has apparently fooled a whole lot of other people and continues searching for fresh young minds to corrupt with her falsehoods. This has to be addressed. I am proud of Gordon for taking a big step.

      Robert Stone and George Monbiot are also to be commended for their forthright exposes of Caldicott’s irrationality.

      1. Rod, the question here is wether or not Caldicott should be ;abled a lier. I am here calling attention to the possibility that she is deceiving herself, as well as her audience and readers. She appears to believe that, “I am good, and the people who disagre with me are bad. Because they are bad, I am not morally required to answer them. My sole answer should be to expose their evil intent.

        1. Sure! Why suffer the cognitive dissonance? It is easier to believe in nonsense than it is to lie. After 30 years of her ranting, you can bet Helen Caldicott believes the bulk of what she’s saying against Nuclear Energy. As for the stuff she makes up as she goes along, like the AP1000 Eggshell reactor comment, little white fibs in support of her supposed great truth for which she dedicated her life’s work does no harm, but great good in here scheming take on reality.

        2. I’m afraid it’s even worse than that.


          She is deluded to the point that she confidently asserts that “she just knows”.

          Watch that interview and ask yourself if you’d submit your child to her apparently qualified ministrations.

  5. Can an Australian sue a Canadian? If Ms Caldicott has such support, she’s probably got the bucks for a good lawyer. She could cause the young film maker a lot of grief.

    Why don’t people get out there and profess their support for nuke plants? Well, some of us do not want to be confronted by a mob of people like Helen Caldicott and her ilk. You’ve got to hand it to people like McDowell and Rod for having the strength of character to do it.

    1. It just seems to me if you’re confident of your argument, and your science stands scrutiny, what is there to fear? Shouldn’t you be rubbing it in her face?

      How come its not you pro-nukers that are giving these symposiums, lectures, and talks to college audiences and the such?

      And as far as nuclear war goes, I think a bit of exageration and doom and gloom is a very healthy message. Convince these frigging maniacs that are steering the global ships of state that “Ohh…it won’t be that bad”, and they’ll be tossin’ nukes at each other like rice at a wedding.

      1. @POA

        It just seems to me if you’re confident of your argument, and your science stands scrutiny, what is there to fear? Shouldn’t you be rubbing it in her face?

        How come its not you pro-nukers that are giving these symposiums, lectures, and talks to college audiences and the such?

        Who are you accusing of being afraid? I’m working as hard as I know how to attract an audience and the resources required. I’m slightly hobbled by my strongly reinforced (parents, mentors, and institutional) and developed sense of integrity, however, so I cannot use the same techniques as Dr. Caldicott has employed.

        That makes the task a bit harder, but there is plenty of time.

        1. Eino expressing some open trepidation, and thats who I was responding to.

      2. POA, this link leads to my original study of HC’s arguments:

        Unfortunately the links inside the post no longer work, but they all refer to material published by the LA Times. Caldicott has stated that there is only one side in the nuclear debate, and in effect equate civilian power reactors with nuclear weapons. In my study of Caldicott’s mistakes, I looked at Professor Bernard Cohen’s criticism of HC and her response:

        “Professor Bernard L. Cohen, a Physicist at the University of Pittsburg criticized Coldicott’s alligation that nuclear power does nothing to cut CO2 emissions. According to Cohen, Coldicott misrepresent her sourse, “it is not supported, as she implies, by the Friends of the Earth (FOE) study she cites.” Cohen also notes that Coldicott also stacks the deck by ignoring important facts, her claim “is belied by the fact that France, which derives 70% of its electricity from nuclear power, has far lower per capita carbon dioxide releases than any other industrialized nation.”

        Caldicott responded to Cohen:
        ‘Should I defend myself when in the 1970s 3 uranium diffusion plants used 6700 megawatts of coal produced electricity per year- the equivalent of almost 7 large nuclear reactors to enrich uranium for this country – all done at tax payers expense. As you also know, these enrichment plants are the single largest point source of CFC114 gas to the environment, a material that is both a potent global warmer and also an effective destroyer of the ozone layer. Is there therefore any doubt to this day that uranium enrichment, which remains hidden from public view and debate adds, enormously to global warming’

        Here the focuse of the attack is on the alleged wong doing of the nuclear industry. Caldicott conpounds this logical error by failing to distinguish between military and civilian nuclear programs. She referrs to the three Uranium enrichment facilities during the 1970’s, yet as she was aware one was being shut down, and a second had already been closed. Her account of electricity use described peak coldwar operations during the 1970’s, when most Uranium enrichment activity was directed towards weapons production. Logicians call attributing to a part the characterists of the whole, the fallacy of composition. Caldicutt does not tell her readers that most of the U235 the taxpayers were purchasing electricity for in the 1970’s went into nuclear weapons. The amount of electricity used for cold war weapons production has nothing to do with the amount of CO2, emitted in the process of nuclear generation of electric power. Thus Caldicutt once again answers an argument with a fallacious argument.”

        Other instances are pointed to in my 2007 post

  6. I watched the 2 hour video. I’m most struck by Helen’s demeanor is as always a rant; There’s no room for exploratory conceptualization, and no room for nuance.

    I suspect she’s only popular among an audience whom is as tightly blinkered. I think the damage she does is overrated.

    1. @John Chatelle

      In all fairness to Dr. Caldicott, the videographer selected the ranting portions of her talks. I have never been in her audience, so I do not know if the samples were representative or not.

      1. Rod, I have seen a couple of Caldicott’s lectures in person, and can attest that her whole diatribe is well represented in this video. She made the standard assertions on each occasion and provided stock ‘rebuttals’ to all counter-arguments that exist, debunking her. She interjects and cuts off all but the most rabidly anti-nuclear speakers during question periods. She attacks critics personally, too, and i felt humiliated and embarrassed when I asked her to clarify her claim that all mined uranium (tailings, depleted uranium and spent fuel) is directly convertible into nuclear weapons.

        Justifications rest on her paradigm of malevolent conspiracy and this should be enough to relegate her to the laughable fringe. But unfortunately, most of her supporters lack any ability to evaluate arguments critically and adopt hers as their world view. If any conspiracy does exist, it exists to the detriment of nuclear power.

        If she was a practising physician, I think she’d be in a whole lot of trouble, as she universally advises that no one, ever, under any circumstance, should undertake radio-therapy for illnesses, or even diagnostic procedures.

        Lastly, Rod, continue being the modest, reasonable and respectful advocate that you are, but please do not refrain from being as critical as Calidcott as you can possibly can be; she deserves every criticism levelled against her.

  7. Point missed here is it doesn’t matter whether Caldicott believes her own snake oil or not; what matters is it’s convincing millions of people whose critical college ed ought know better. If you don’t get out and debunk the preacher then the only other course is to turn her flock, but nuclear folks done neither. We let antis win by not even turning up to fight for hearts and minds.

      1. It’s easy to be cynical about Caldicott’s motive, but I think that there is more to it than just money – she would have made far more as a doctor than as an activist. Unfortunately I’ve had far more to do with Caldicott’s lies and the harm that she causes than I would like, so her motives are something that I have thought about in some detail. In my opinion her motive is something like this:

        Caldicott grew up in a reasonably wealthy family and was an intelligent child. She would have had significant pressure to achieve, and would have believed that she could not only do well individually but also make a real difference in the world. She was involved with both the feminist and the anti war movements so she would have seen the difference that the leaders of these successful movements made to the world. Piggybacking of these movements, she was able to move into the relatively new and vacant anti-nuclear movement. Once she was in the anti nuclear movement she was able to rise quickly to the top as she is well spoken and was able to devote large amounts of time to the movement. Being able to claim to be an expert thanks to her medical training certainly didn’t hurt her standing. She became so involved with her cause that to admit nuclear power isn’t as dangerous as she has always said would be to admit that she has wasted her life. This leads to the absolutely fanatical stance she has today and also allows her lies to be justified as essential to the cause.

        Do I think that this excuses her actions? No. Her lies cause direct harm and create real, identifiable victims. This is even without taking into account the broader losses to society from not taking advantage of nuclear power. I do think that it explains why an initially well intentioned person would end up doing evil things to support an untenable position though.

        1. @Australian Physicist

          Wow … I’ve never heard such a well reasoned conspiracy theory as this. It’s not her ignorance that motivates her action but her smarts, and her eagerness to please (a child’s sensibility). I’m not sure you get to have it both ways?

          Caldicott appears to be afflicted with a similar condition of other doctors who work in her field (particularly those who work on brain oncology, in my personal experience). They feel defeated, their enemy is intractable and they are faced with a distinct loss of control. There is nothing they can do but blame a foreign agent, or engage in a very elaborate diversion such as orchid horticulture (as is the case with my oncological specialist). If the plant dies, at least you know it is your fault (and not something beyond your control). I don’t find Caldicott all that compelling, or all that smart. I guess we beg to differ.

          1. Caldicott doesn’t work in any medical field, and hasn’t for decades.
            It’s written on her facebook page : “devoted the last 40 years to an international campaign to /educate/ the public”.

            Note also that for centuries doctors were not able to do much anything about most diseases, and the current situation is almost the complete opposite, even if the rate of progress is slowing down.

  8. Here’s a short, but instructive, Google search sequence to try. It will take you all of five minutes, or you can spend hours reading. Just copy each line of keywords and paste them into Google, and hit enter/return.

    Helen Broinowski Caldicott

    Richard Broinowski

    Anna Broinowski

    Alison Broinowski

    Adam Broinowski

    Gillis Broinowski Cockatoo

    — And for background:

    Gracius Broinowski

    This should get you started; but keep in mind that the people listed have diverse interests, some of which you may find agreeable.

    Good hunting, all!

  9. …supposedly rational society? The vast majority of Americans don’t buy the theory of evolution.

    1. @Russ

      At the risk of violating my own rules about staying on topic, what is so all fired “rational” about a theory that insists random chance eventually results in ordered creatures merely due to “natural selection?”

      1. Because selective pressures are not random, simulation yields results conforming to theory, and genetic algorithms based on the same principles have proven very useful to produce designs better-optimized than deliberate human engineering.

        1. @E-P

          Can you provide more specific examples? Have any of these algorithms resulted in starting from raw materials and forming working systems that even approach the order required to sustain life by using available materials to provide energy, healing, reproduction, etc.?

          Just because we cannot comprehend what kind of creative force was required to produce the original algorithms and continue modifying them over the eons to produce countless generations of improvements does not mean that we should postulate that it all happened as a result of an undirected “big bang.”

          If a human excavates an old dump and finds layers of similar, but improved technology that indicate numerous adjustments and alterations over time, do they assume that those happen because of random chance?

          1. Have any of these algorithms resulted in starting from raw materials and forming working systems that even approach the order required to sustain life by using available materials to provide energy, healing, reproduction, etc.?

            Normally I would answer such a question directly and seriously, but the conflation of evolution with abiogenesis is part of creationist frame-setting and usually indicates a firmly closed mind.  However, you ought to know (because creationists would never tell you) that Paley’s watchmaker was considered theologically unsatisfactory even at the time, drawing a rebuttal from another theologian long before Darwin set foot on the Beagle (I’m trying to find the cite, but it was around 1804).

            Readers may also be interested in the list of logical fallacies of the watchmaker argument I discovered here.

            Incidentally, some RNA sequences are auto-catalytic and self-replication of RNA sequences has been demonstrated in the laboratory.  Once a sufficiently accurate self-replicator exists, it can evolve by mutation (creating variation) and selection (making different variants more or less frequent in the population).

            1. @E-P

              Please do not get insulting and accusatory. I do not have a closed mind; I have an educated mind with a questioning attitude for whom laws of physics and thermodynamics make sense. Though I was raised in a church-going household and also raised my children in one, I have little current involvement with religion; I’m what might be known these days as a “Chreaster.”

              One of the things I have noticed over many decades of attendance at large public gatherings of technical and military groups. People who think of themselves as “scientists” generally deny the possibility of a creator or higher being. People who think of themselves as creative beings or engineers are often in awe of the beauty and order they observe and give respect to a god, Gaia, or “Mother Nature.”

              Among highly educated and technically competent military leaders, it is difficult to find people who deny the existence of a higher being.

            2. @E-P

              By the way, I find your “watchmaker fallacies” to be an example of narrow thinking. Proposing creative, purposeful choices by an existing “god” is not anything like talking about the very limited specialities (watchmaker, shoemaker, etc) that your linked article considers.

              I have no real understanding of how it all works; for all I know there is some kind of infinite team approach not unlike the overlapping teams of human creators required to produce avionics, propulsion, aircraft, squadrons, wings and entire air forces happening.

              I don’t marvel at a leaf because it is complex, I marvel at the way that it gathers energy, grows, resembles other leaves, uses chemicals in ways similar to leaves from thousands of other species of trees, provides food for an amazing variety of creatures from deer to caterpillars, changes colors, drops provide later nourishment, etc.

              As a system technologist, the number of different functional feedback loops observable are impressive and awe-inspiring. As a thermodynamicist who knows that substances tend toward states of disorder without added energy or work, I simply cannot understand a theory that supposes all of those interactions developed by chance.

          2. I’ve twice attempted to post a reply to this, and it simply vanishes.

            1. @E-P

              The behavior of the spam filter is a mystery to me. Please be patient; multiple retries simply make it more challenging to dig the wheat out of the spam chaff.

          3. The typical spam-trapped comment generates an e-mail requesting confirmation by clicking a link.  That didn’t happen (I checked).  Faced with a new and perplexing behavior, you cannot blame intelligent folks for investigating it.

            1. I didn’t design the software and don’t even have a good set of instructions that explains how it works. The behavior you describe only happens the first time someone posts here. After that, individual posts sometimes run afoul of the filter and get categorized as spam. I review the folder regularly and dig out real comments quite frequently. Sometimes I get behind and have so many that I simply dump the folder and hope that if someone had something really important to say that they try again later.

              Recently, Atomic Insights spam volume increased by an order of magnitude and I had to take some actions to knock that down or get overwhelmed. One of those actions was gradually closing the comment section in older posts. That took quite a bit of time because it is a purely manual effort – as far as I could tell.

              My reply to you was not intended to be blame, but an explanation of what happens and a request to help make it a little easier.

          4. I do not find evolution as an explanation for our existence that negates the concept of a higher power. One can believe in evolution without discounting God’s hand in the process.

            1. @poa

              Agreed totally. The process of changing and adapting makes a lot more sense to me if there is some amount of guidance. On the other hand, I have no faith at all in the image of an all knowing, perfect god who has everything all planned out.

              Words that make more sense to me are “creator” and “father.” Constantly tweaking but also allowing creation free choice – especially those creatures gifted with big brains, language, complex reasoning, creative skills of their own, and long term vision/planning skills.

          5. “On the other hand, I have no faith at all in the image of an all knowing, perfect god who has everything all planned out”

            Yeah. You’d kinda have to pick one with a perfect plan, wouldn’t you? Then you’d run headlong into disagreement from choir boys, World Trade Center victims, Palestinian fisherman, Chumash Indians, and the myriad of other victims fallen prey to centuries of murderous religious insanity carried out in the name of one God or another.

            Not alotta perfection to choose from, is there?

          6. Rod, I personnally use WP-Hashcash https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-hashcash/ on my own blog, and just no spam gets through while normal users are still able to post.

            It requires javascript, but your blog already does also. The smart part is that it requires the user’s PC to do a calculation that uses some CPU do send the correct answer. This means that even if an attacker finds out the way it works, he still have to do that calculation and consumes some CPU power for each posted spam. Given the low monetary value of a single spam, it quickly becomes unprofitable for him.

  10. I don’t have time to sit through all of this but I’m critical of three points:

    1) I don’t debate technology that does not exist in commercially viable format–fast breeder reactors etc (this is what renewable energy advocates always do). Existing nuclear power technology can stand on its own merits, improved technology would be icing on the cake.
    2) The guy blaming the demise of the EV1 electric car on an oil company conspiracy theory instead of a lack of consumer demand damages the film’s credibility.
    3) The part about poverty and cheap power misses the point in that renewable energy advocates have been convinced that renewables can do it all and for less cost.

    I’m sure that had I watched the whole thing I would have found more. Films like this should be carefully edited to make them impervious to legitimate critique. Pandora’s promise did a better job of vetting.

    1. No 2 re: the EV1: Was it lack of consumer demand? Was this simply GM hype?

      From the following link: http://www.altfuels.org/misc/onlygm.html

      “The blog post refers to a number of statistics, purporting to show a lack of demand for the EV1. The “biggie” is that only 800 vehicles were leased during a four-year period (late 1996 to late 2000); if that’s all the lessees GM could find, then clearly that’s inadequate demand to build a market, as they claim. However, that four-year period only includes two actual model-years of vehicles, 1997 and 1999; between these was a long period of zero availability, after the 1997s were gone and before the 1999s were finally released (near the end of calendar 1999 due to some engineering tweaks, a year after every other 1999 model!). Moreover, every new vehicle that was made available for lease was leased; that is, the fact that only that many EV1s were leased was a result of GM’s decision not to make any more to meet additional demand, but it is (and long has been) misrepresented as a reason that they decided not to make any more. Actually, there were about 1100 EV1s made; the other 300 included in-house demonstrators and testbeds, test-drive cars for EV1 specialists, and a substantial number that went to utility-company lease programs in Florida and Georgia, so the figure of 800 includes only “regular” leases in California and Arizona. But some commentators have taken the difference between 1100 and the quoted four-year total of 800 to mean that 300 EV1s sat on lots going begging! Nothing could be further from the truth, but GM is clearly encouraging that impression.”

      My impression is that there was a period of time where American car companies had to be dragged into innovation. Whereas, many years ago they were run by innovative engineers, they became the slaves to the bean-counters and innovations came from abroad.

      Sadly, the same may happen with nukes although SMRs, the AP1000 and the Thorium movement are a clear exception.

  11. “The level of education is the determining factor in whether people buy into nonsense like Caldicott’s.”

    The higher the level of education, the more a person is likely to believe in nonsense. They have spent years listening to lectures that make very little sense to them, but which they have to believe in and memorize in order to pass the courses. They are trained to be gullible.

    It is very hard for such a person to retain robust common sense. Fortunately, some do — Feynman being a good example.

  12. I think it is clear from this video that you cannot debate with people like Helen Caldicott. They are blinded by their beliefs, and what beliefs. Candle-light! What ignorant tosh! As for knowing the difference between an old reactor and newer AP1000. Umm, tricky.

    What is there to say about such an individual, well listening reveals that in general Helen Caldicott relies on emotional superficialism. How can anyone listen to her.

    1. @Barry Sheridan

      I disagree. The video shows me that a debate with Dr. Caldicott would be a wonderful opportunity if it could be arranged. It would require a reasonably competent moderator, but anyone who is prepared with facts buttressed by courage and and emotional connection to the topic should sway most audiences.

      George Monbiot’s debate with Caldicott on Democracy Now! is a classic example.

      Remember, the goal in a debate is to convince the audience, not to try to change the mind of your opponent.

      1. Mr Adams,
        frankly Helen Caldicott is beyond reach via rational argument. What you find with people like that is that no matter how you frame the debate they will shift ground to another point or angle. Often this comes from a sweeping generalisation or partial fact that can be refuted, but not within the fast moving fluidity of a verbal exchange. You may prefer to dispute this conclusion but you ought not, I have met her type before and well know how fruitless it can be.

        As always I enjoy your blog and the contribution you make to the future of us all. Many thanks.

      2. For any one moved by emotion, energy, conviction, self promotion, and aggressive debate style, the prize goes to the anti-nuke. It was like listening to Ken Starr vs. James Carville. Note she leaned on the NYAS Chernobyl publication (not NYAS study) and the plutonium = most deadly poison canard.

    2. Re: Barry,
      It’s disheartening to know that antinukes as Helen can harvest such a “learned” audience. I always wonder/pray when is the nuclear “industry”/community going to get hip and get it together and throw some competent speakers on their tails. My view is not go gently exposing Helen’s facts and “reasoning” before the widest audience. In most academic debates the two sides slug words out then go home and slug back beer with nothing more bruised than egos and reputes. Helen’s FUD sowing sways and beguiles the beliefs of hundreds of campuses and citizens all over which in turn impacts pols and policy determining whether tens of millions of poor and improvised receive cheap clean energy and water by such. Maybe it’s hyperbole to some, but to me Helen and Arnie and their ilk have blood and starvation on their happy hands by depriving developing nations the means to low footprint and low environmental impact high density power to lift their lives from squalor and the pits. No, I cannot go gently on the antinukers.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

  13. Since she is opposed to paper napkins, I guess that means Helen must be virulently against biomass. Would have been fair to include a segment on the biomass component of the alternative energies advocated against nuclear.

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