1. Gosh, it’s amazing how much like Vermont it looks! (you can take that as similar northern woodlands or similar people…)
    What did Paul Gunther say to you? Something about not being paid to protest coal, as I remember.

  2. Just find this demonstration incredible in a country that one would expect to be a lot more civilized. I am sure we don’t have anything like this here in the UK. This is a kind of fundamentalism, these are militant people and no doubt some criminal involvement as well. If only they would go to the trouble of reading a few proper books on the subject.
    I certainly agree with you that the industry has been almost too scared to tell the public what it does. There should be loads of adverts on the TV about the the process of making reliable energy from fission and why it is superior to other forms of generation.

  3. Man, my mind just boggles. I mean, I can understand being opposed to nuclear power if you think it’s dangerous (although, such people need more education about the state of the nuclear industry). BUT:
    If you honestly think that nuclear waste transport is terribly dangerous, WHY would you seemingly do everything in your power to try to create an accident with the train? That makes no sense. Epic Failure.
    Granted, I realize that there is about nothing these activists could do to turn this into a radiological disaster – if they managed to derail the train, well, the transport containers are designed to withstand such an event, so it would be a terrible train accident, but not a radiological disasters.
    But still, if you are *that worried* about the dangers of radioactivity, why would you actively try to sabotage the train?
    Ok, I gotta stop trying to make sense of these people before I pass out lol.

  4. When I see these videos, it seems as though the nuclear debate is almost cordial here in the United States. This serves as a great reminder we should not be lulled into thinking the debate is any less intense here though it may take on a different style from place to place. I am also reminded that anti-nuclearism pathology has taken on a cultural life of its own.
    There is no easy “fix” for this. Most people cannot be reasoned out of a position in which they have arrived without reason.

    1. Yes, it is not easy, but people can be persuaded with clear facts and reasoning. We don’t need to persuade everyone – some will always be opposed, but I find that many people are interested in Nuclear energy and when I am talking to them their first question is always about waste. This seems to be the area where people opposed to atomic power have gained the most ground, but with a few facts most people are satisfied.

  5. Engaging people such as this is bit like trying to convince an alcoholic to stop drinking. No magic combination of words is going to change their mind; it will require something painful in their life (in the case of an alcoholic getting a DUI or facing liver damage) such as having Russia shut off the supply of natural gas that will be needed to load balance all the German wind and solar. It may take power outages and skyrocketing electricity prices for them to reconsider their position. I’m almost looking forward to the grid instability that will surely come if Vermont Yankee and/or Indian Point are forced to shut down.

    1. You’re sadly correct, it takes economic pain before people listen. It actually happened in Armenia in 1993: natural gas pipelines were disrupted, causing blackouts, so they restarted (in 1995) one of their reactors that had been shut down due to the usual fearmongering and diplomatic anti-nuclear pressure. It’s still running today and provides 40% of the (small) country’s electricity and they earn money by exporting some of it.
      If only we could divide the grid into a “renewable only” grid that serves electricity on an “as available” basis, and a nuclear&fossil grid that provides “on demand” power. Then the people who purchase 100% wind power (available in Texas) would get what they pay for.

  6. Rod,
    And you still wonder why I think that movements like greenpeace are ideological beasts? They may have a corporate front – and they may come across as ‘cool’ and ‘reasonable’ to attract donations – but its the zealotry of the True Believers that keep movements like theirs alive.
    Here’s a quick fact; when I first started college I belonged to a PIRG (MPIRG in fact). Until that is, they drove me away with their heated, warlike rhetoric and anti-everything bias. Everything I hear about the inner party of these orgainizations shouts to me a variant of the same.

    1. @Ed – I do not dispute the fact that there are a few nuts in the antinuclear movement. In the case of the protesters pictured, there might be more than just a few nuts. However, would they be able to gather without the funding that they receive from the groups that are interested in doing all that they can to slow the use of nuclear energy because it competes with their establishment fuel sources or expensive fossil fuel alternatives? You also need to put the protests in perspective. The largest number I have see that estimates the number of participants is about 50,000 in a country with 82 million inhabitants. They are being allowed to impose their will on a far larger, less vocal group. Sure, many Germans say they are opposed to nuclear, but that is because they have been effectively made to think that is what they are supposed to say.
      There is no easy way to obtain funding information from “non-profit” groups, but I once had a lengthy conversation with Patrick Moore about the substantial income generated by Greenpeace on an annual basis. Though his information was dated, he acknowledged that a major portion of that funding came in much larger than admitted chunks; in many cases canvassers collecting donations from people on the street cost more in hourly wages than they are able to bring in. However, their visibility is important cover for the real money making activity.
      We live in a world where deception is widely practiced – do you watch football? Ever notice how many times the phrase “play action” pass is used? For the international readers, a “play action” pass is an arrangement where one team pretends to do one thing to get the defenders moving to defend that action while all the time planning to do something completely different. It is a standard part of the game in American football but it is also widely practiced in many other team sports.
      This weekend, I visited the D-Day memorial in nearby Bedford, VA. (Terrific place to spend a few hours, by the way, especially on a clear fall day.) As my wife and I walked around the site and read the plaques about the heroic efforts of the people storming the beach, we also noted that the loss of life was much lower than it could have been because of an effective strategy to keep the day, time and even the place of the assault a secret. Part of the success came because the Germans expected the attack to occur somewhere else and had arranged their defenses to counter that faked attack.
      Pro-nuclear advocates have allowed themselves to be distracted for far too long. The real fight is against the established fuel sources – they currently own the market. The secondary battle is against the well supported , but rather useless alternatives to the establishment. (Their very uselessness is one of the reasons they attract as much funding as they do from the establishment.) The weak and unreliable alternatives are purposely be set up as the saving forces – not unlike the inflatable tanks and aircraft used to deceive German bombers.
      The loud, media-hungry ideological protesters are mere distractions aimed to get nuclear folks fighting the wrong battle. Some who get fooled by the deception program end up trying to make friends with people who seem sympathetic but are actually quite strong in their opposition to real development that will capture market share. Anti-government “Conservatives” might say they like nuclear and might even work to pass laws like the Energy Policy Act of 2005, but one needs to watch their lack of follow-through to discern their real plan.

      1. Oh, I see. So you’re saying that the nuclear industry should have hinted that the waste would be transported through Calais, perhaps using an inflatable train or something to deceive the German protesters. 😉

        1. @Brian – gee, that might have worked, especially if we exhumed a cadaver and put plenty of misleading papers on it.
          Actually, I was trying to encourage people to recognize that deceptions occur. I am not advocating that we become deceivers, but that we become alert defenders a la Troy Polamalu who rarely bites on a play action pass. Instead, he watches the eyes of the QB for hints on where to be when the ball gets thrown.

    1. @Brian – there is a subtle difference between a feint and a strategic deception. If a punt returner or running back puts on a move that causes a defender to miss a tackle, I would consider that to be a feint. It is not well planned in advance, it is almost instinctive and it is generally over quickly. It is also normally and individual effort. The play action pass is a planned maneuver that requires a team effort.
      Larger scale strategic deceptions, often require even more planning and careful execution. They can be quite effective, however, like the effort that has convinced many people that driving a big truck makes you more manly, that “fat free” means low calorie, or that ideological opposition killed the nuclear industry.

  7. A rapidly changing playing field is going to catch young Germans and Americans off guard. The driving issue is economics here and there and how to expand the sphere of economic influence shifted to favor a particular sector. It is one thing to call a nuclear steam turbine a nuclear power plant and something that does the same thing a steam power plant. Rod is right. Industry here and there organize the field of play with emotions and not by informing the public about alternative methods to generate steam for power plants other than coal or gas. That will change soon when world markets begin repositioning themselves to adjust to new steam generating technology. The word nuclear or fusion will simply become unaceptable terms to describe the new technology sources. It will be back to watching TV or going to the football game. After all, the power will flow and the TV’s will run and somehow grouping along a rail line lacks appeal for weekend entertainment.

  8. A little clarification from a German reader: Germany’s nuclear waste may at one time be stored in a stable salt formation in Gorleben, but nothing has been decided yet. For now the waste remains in an above ground interim storage near Gorleben, while the salt formation is being explored further.
    A little anecdote: A few years ago we had a Green environment minister who at that time urged his party members not to protest against the so-called castor transports which were his responsibility back then. Now that he is part of the opposition you can probably guess what he had to say in the days leading up to the transport.

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