Similar Posts

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar
  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

61 Comments

  1. Rod, You’ve been on a roll lately, producing a stream of helpful articles. Thanks.

  2. Re: “…I cannot help but wonder why Jimmy Carter’s promoters made such a big deal about his nuclear expertise. My wonder turns to cynicism when I think about the policies that his administration imposed and the damage that they did to the growth of the industry.”

    You have to think in the reverse: “If a man with a nuclear background after touring TMI has doubts on a technology that he’s expertise in, then it can’t do much good.” That was the message I got from the TMI coverage then with Carter.

    The Greens have been expert at misconstruing or recruiting disaffected or disgruntled nuclear workers to their side with diddies like that. The Energy Department head’s recommendation fiasco with Fukushima was a prime point.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY
    On the countdown for the lights to go out at Indian Point

    1. @James Greenidge

      TMI didn’t happen until March 28, 1979, more than 2 years after Carter’s inauguration. He had already done major damage to growth prospects for nuclear technology by that time.

    2. Were there any Trump tweets on IP? Should be right up his street as an attack on energy independence and security brought about by corruption. But instead he has appointed Riverkeepers chairman, Robert F Kennedy junior to head a committe on”vaccine safety and scintific integrity”. Next is propably Arne Gundersson heading “nuclear safety and scientific integrity”.

      1. RR<eyer
        Trump's tepid regard of nukes is no surprise here in NYC. I can tell you Trump's people were less than impressed by the way Indian Point (and so other NPPs) failed to defend much less promote themselves over the decades and were very impressed by research in fracking and "clean coal" technology going on upstate and their aggressive PR. He'd rather support a power source that the public is more or less are familiar with and feel safe having around than the grueling task of reversing nuclear's worldwide Darth Vader image when that's the nuclear community's job. I can see anyone taking the easier road here.

        James Greenidge
        Queens NY

  3. I served with a “Plank Owner” ( Sailor assigned to the construction crew) of the Nautilus, He had no recollection of ever seeing Carter at any time he served on the Nautilus. However, some officers had a tendency to stay in the office to do paperwork and never visit the construction site (not the better ones though) so it is possible he could have been there, but not likely.
    Also, Admiral Rickover interviewed and “approved” all officers prior to their assignment to Nuclear Power School. The rumor I heard throughout my Naval career was that Carter was rejected by Rickover. Even retired Captains and Admirals that I worked with in the commercial nuclear industry affirmed the rumor. However, I have spent years searching the internet trying to verify that rumor and have been unable to do so.
    While searching the internet several months ago, I am sure I saw a picture of Jimmy Carter “working on an experimental reactor” for the AEC while in the Navy. I have tried to find it again and can not. All of the various biographies I have found on the internet do not mention this. Was this a real assignment or just a photo-op?

    1. Why not simply ask Carter, instead of ruminating? He is accessable through the Habitat For Humanity websites. Perhaps a civil inquiry might bear results.

      Whatever Carter’s past sins, real or imagined, to discount his humanitarian efforts, regarding housing, ignores an important aspect of the man. Who, casting insult at Carter, has done more for his fellows? Yes, Rod will opine that the harm done by Carter’s stance and actions regarding NE far outweigh his HFH efforts over the years. But perhaps Carter’s actions concerning NE were driven by conviction, based on erroneous information fed to him by the very interests that Rod constantly holds up as the true villains. I believe Carter to be an honorable man, and have seen firsthand the fruits of his concern for the underprivileged and unfortunates among us. Have any of you devoted yourselves so unselfishly?

      1. @poa

        I’ve made no fewer than a half a dozen attempts to make contact with President Carter to obtain his comment. I’ve never received any responses or returned phone calls.

        My post says nothing about any topic other than the fact that Carter was not a “nuclear engineer” and that he never served on board a nuclear submarine. There is no doubt about those two facts.

        There is also no doubt that Carter either claimed or allowed others to claim that he was a nuclear engineer and that he did serve on board nuclear submarines. (Point of fact, he was, for a short time, assigned to the preconstruction crew of the USS Seawolf, which would eventually become a nuclear submarine after it was completed. The Seawolf keel laying ceremony marking the beginning of construction occurred in September 1953, the month before Carter’s separation from the Navy was complete. That ship was commissioned in 1957, long after Carter returned to Georgia to farm peanuts.

        There is, by the way, a strong tie between Jimmy Carter’s successful run for office and the support provided by his fellow Trilateral Commission member – David Rockefeller. Quite a few of his senior advisors and Cabinent members were also members of the Trilaterial Commission, so many that some have called Carter’s Administration the Trilateralist Presidncy.

        http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1977/07/jimmy-carter-revealed-rockefeller-republican/404908/

        So, yes, Carter was definitely influenced by the interests that I have railed against, but he was also a US Naval Academy graduate who should have adhered to the Honor Concept he was taught. No amount of good deeds make up for the fact that he lied to the public about his expertise and then used the trust they gave him based on the lie to discredit and discourage the use of nuclear technology.

        I cannot forgive that history.

        1. Rod….at the Carter museum’s link, where they list his navy history, that make no claim that he served aboard a nuclear submarine. They do claim he served a very short time involved in nuclear sub design (?) and crew training.

        2. “No amount of good deeds make up for the fact that he lied to the public about his expertise….”

          Please provide a direct quote of him lying to the public.

          1. Is that the extent of it, Rod??? Dang, he coulda really profited by attending the same prevarication seminars that Trump was a student of. If lying to the public is an issue for you….

            ….or does lying only matter sometimes, depending on the issue, and who the lie benefits??

          2. Btw way Rod…please read the paragraph you linked to again. That IS NOT a direct quote. When citing someone’s comment, “along these lines” does not constitute a quote, it is simply paraphrasing. So, if ya wanna give it another shot, I would still be interested in seeing a DIRECT QUOTE from Carter, where he lies to the public about his nuclear background or experience.

            1. @poa

              I’m away from my desk and library. My usual search tools don’t work very well using mobile devices.

              I’ll address your question on Tuesday, but others can feel free to jump in.

              There is no doubt that Presidential Candidate Carter gave the impression that he was a nuclear engineer with experience operating a nuclear submarine and that he has allowed that impression to remain in place for more than 40 years.

              In the meantime, this post goes a little deeper into why I believe that “resume inflation” is a problem worth recognizing and discussing.

          3. Rod…

            Does it really make sense to slam the door on bringing another president, or president elect, into a discussion about “lying to the public”, yet stress a discussion about the destructive and misleading practice of “resume inflation”?? If you really wanna get into resume inflation, there is a President Elect, and a whole slew of cabinet nominees that can give us a week’s worth of discussion.

            1. @poa

              Yes. It does make sense to keep the topic of this discussion focused on a specific issue, not a broad topic like “do politicians lie?”

        3. “……but he was also a US Naval Academy graduate who should have adhered to the Honor Concept he was taught.”

          Does that Honor Concept allow supporting a man like Trump to be the CIC?

          1. Sure, the Honor Concept allows that.
            USNA Honor Concept: “A Midshipman does not lie, cheat, or steal.”
            Now, under the USMA Honor Code (“A Cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate anyone who does.”) — there could be a problem (same with Obama, of course, but that has never REALLY been of any consequence to you).

          2. @poa

            Stay on topic. This thread is about Jimmy Carter and the fact that he cleimed expertise that he did not have as part of an effort to push a policy that has helped to result in nearly 40 years of extra coal and natural gas burning.

            No other president is involved in this specific conversation.

    2. Lt Carter was sent to Chalk River in Canada to assist in dismantling the NRX reactor after the 1952 partial melt down of that experimental reactor. Evidently the people practiced on a mock up and then were given a short time interval to do as much as they could to dismantle the radioactive assembly.

      1. @northcoast

        That is correct. Specifically, Carter spent about 90 seconds in the radiation field.

        At the time, he had been SELECTED for the nuclear power program but he was on a temporary assignment to the Naval Reactors office while waiting for his class to begin. (His status was what we called being “stashed” in the Navy. There are frequent times when one of our jobs has ended and the new job is not yet ready for us to arrive.)

      2. “dismantling the NRX reactor” is not correct. The NRX reactor was cleaned up & restarted.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NRX

        I guess Carter did his 90 seconds somewhat after my father did his. Dad was working at the Chalk River Labs when the accident occurred.

        1. OK. Quote from your reference: ” The NRX reactor core and calandria, damaged beyond repair, were removed and buried . . .”

          1. @northcoast

            There is a difference between a “reactor core” and a “reactor.” During refueling outages, reactor cores (which is that portion of the system made up of reactor fuel assemblies) are sometimes completely removed from the reactor pressure vessel and then reinstalled.

            At the very least, the reactor core is rearranged, some assemblies removed and some inserted.

            Sometimes, the word “reactor” is used to mean the whole system of components that make up the unit that is able to safely use an actinide fission reaction to produce useful heat.

  4. Here is a passage, directly from the Carter library account of Carter’s naval history as it applie to his nuclear experience in the navy. One would think, if it was Carter’s intention to “lie to the public”, here is where he would do it….

    “(16 OCT 1952 – 08 OCT 1953 — Duty with US Atomic Energy Commission (Division of Reactor Development, Schenectady Operations Office) From 3 NOV 1952 to 1 MAR 1953 he served on temporary duty with Naval Reactors Branch, US Atomic Energy Commission, Washington, D.C. “assisting in the design and development of nuclear propulsion plants for naval vessels.” From 1 MAR 1953 to 8 OCT 1953 he was under instruction to become an engineering officer for a nuclear power plant. He also assisted in setting up on-the-job training for the enlisted men being instructed in nuclear propulsion for the USS Seawolf (SSN575)”

    1. @poa

      The passage you quoted from the Carter library is interesting and accurate, though still somewhat deceptive. Most members of the general public have no idea what kind of duties a LT with a 7 year-old general engineering degree and experience as a diesel boat trained engineer might be doing during a temporary duty assignment to “assist in the design and development of nuclear propulsion plants for naval vessels.”

      My list of possible duties includes: Filing drawings, proofreading documents prepared by others, checking calculations, making coffee, providing expertise about the underwater shipboard environment, boning up on differential equations, chemistry, physics, material science, etc.

      I wonder when that description of his service was written. (Note: According to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, the entry has been the same since first posted in Oct 2004.)

      I promised that I would provide more pertinent examples of Carter’s deception when I returned to my desk.

      Here is a quote from the first debate between President Ford and Governor Jimmy Carter during the 1976 presidential campaign as transcribed in the Sep 24, 1976 issue of the New York Times:

      Q: Governor Carter, I’d like to turn to what we used to call the energy crisis. Yesterday a British Government commission on air pollution, but one headed by a nuclear physicist, recommended that any further expansion of nuclear energy be delayed in Britain as long as possible. Now this is a subject that is quite controversial among our own people and there seems to be a clear difference between you and the President on the use of nuclear power plants, which you say you would use as a last priority. Why, sir, are they unsafe?

      ‘Capabilities of Atomic Power’

      CARTER: Well among my other experiences in the past, I’ve been a nuclear engineer, and did graduate work in this field. I think I know the capabilities and limitations of atomic power.

      The organization proposal that I have put forward is one first step. In addition to that, we need a realization that we’ve got about 35 years worth of oil left in the whole world. We’re going to run out of oil. When Mr. Nixon made his famous speech on Operation Independence we were importing about 35 percent of our oil. Now we’ve increased that amount 25 percent. We now import about 44 percent of our oil. We need to shift from oil to coal. We need to concentrate our research and developrnent effort on coal burning and extraction, with safer mines, but also is clean burning. We ‘need to shift very strongly toward solar energy and have strict conservation measures. And then as a last resort only, continue to use atomic power.

      Would Insure Nuclear Safety

      I would certainly not cut out atomic power altogether. We can’t afford to give up that opportunity until later. But to the extent that we continue to use atomic power, I would be responsible as President to make sure that the safety precautions were initiated and maintained. For instance, some that have been forgotten. We need to have the reactor core below ground level. The entire power plant that uses atomic power tightly sealed and a heavy vacuum maintained. There ought to be a standardized design. There ought to be a full‐time atomic energy specialist independent of the power company in the control room, full time, 24 hours a day, to shut down a plant if it has an abnormality develop.

      These kinds of procedures, along with evacuation procedures, adequate insurance, ought to be initiated. So shift from oil to coal, emphasize research and development on coal use and also on solar power, strict conservation measures, not yield every time that special interest groups put pressure on the President, like this Administration has done, and use atomic energy only as a last resort with the strictest possible, safety precautions. That’s the best overall energy policy in the brief time we have to discuss it.

      1. Well….apparently, he lied.

        But what is more interesting to me, is finding out the we ran out of oil six years ago.

        1. @poa

          Once again, let’s remain on topic. So you finally agree that Carter directly lied to tens of millions of Americans watching a presidential debate about having been a “nuclear engineer.” Did you also notice that he apparently chose to make that false statement as a way to claim technical expertise and then make statements designed to create or sustain fear of nuclear energy – while promoting the importance of shifting from oil to coal, imposing energy austerity, and making major investments in solar?

          Since you remember enough about the 1950s/early 1960s to have been traumatized by “duck and cover” drills, you are old enough to personally recall the public’s interest in the energy crisis that was precipitated by the October 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. Do you recall how interested some people were in stimulating investments in more nuclear power as a means of reducing America’s vulnerability to another attempt to use oil as a weapon?

          My interpretation of the history is that Carter’s friends in the upper elites of the hydrocarbon economy took advantage of his political ambition and his tenuous connection to nuclear energy to help put him into position to sabotage “the plutonium economy.” He might have had other goals and priorities, but once his purpose had been served, he lost enough support to make him a single term president.

          Do you happen to recall that the title of Carter’s campaign book was “Why not the best?” and that he explained that choice of title in homage to the influence that Admiral Rickover had on his performance in life?

        2. “So you finally agree that Carter directly lied to tens of millions of Americans watching a presidential debate about having been a “nuclear engineer.” ”

          Yep. Looks like a lie…smells like a lie….by golly, I think its a lie!!

          Kinda nice seeing a lie ya gotta research a bit to be sure its a lie, isn’t it? Them kinda lies are a bit tedious, though. Modern lying is much more reasonable, requiring far less work. Out comes the lie, and all ya gotta do is mutter “Well, thats BS”, and bingo, you ain’t gotta do anything to disprove it. No research required. Those kinds of liars are really quite considerate. Pretty soon you don’t even need to listen to them. Just a quick glance, and if their mouth is moving….

          1. @poa

            You’re diverging again from the topic at hand.

            One of the reasons that the service academies emphasize integrity with what used to amount to a zero tolerance policy is that the really dangerous lies are those that come from people who are trusted. Effective deception and propaganda cannot be conducted by people who are disbelieved as soon as they move their mouths.

            The majority of the American public has no problem discounting the proclamations about nuclear safety of lawyers, rock concert organizers, actors or folk musicians. Their expressions of fear, uncertainty and doubt spread much faster if they are supported by a Presidential candidate [a successful one who actually became President] with a reputation as a straight shooter, family man, born again Christian and formal naval officer/USNA graduate who claims to be a nuclear engineer with post graduate study.

          2. “Effective deception and propaganda cannot be conducted by people who are disbelieved as soon as they move their mouths”

            Yeah, true that. But apparently there is a portion of our population that believes such people can govern.

      2. Excellent quote, thank you. It appears his affinity to the coal industry was far more important in his anti-nuclearism than any Rockefeller connection.

        1. @RRMeyer

          Yes, Carter had an affinity for the coal industry. When Carter was running for President, roughly 40% of US coal production was from companies that were oil company subsidiaries. Here is a supporting quote from an Oct 3, 1976 NY Times article titled “Breaking Up Big Oil.”

          Right now oil companies control between 26 percent and 40 percent of coal production (the lower figure comes from the Haskell committee, the higher from the United Mine Workers). Seven of the 15 largest coal companies are subsidiaries of oil companies. As Big Oil’s coal ownership climbed, so did coal prices: 300 percent. There was probably a connection. The nuclear‐energy industry is also being swallowed by the oil industry, which owned about 30 percent of our uranium reserves 10 years ago and today holds between 50 and 55 percent. As for shale and geothermal lands, virtually all of those leased to date have gone to oil companies.

          Note: Like many commenters on the energy industry, the author of the NY Times piece did not understand that uranium was (and remains) only a small portion (5-20% depending on how it’s counted) of the nuclear energy business.

      3. Carter’s September 1976 response reads a lot like a summary of Amory Lovin’s October 1976 Foreign Affairs article “The Road Not Taken?”:

        “transitional technologies that use fossil fuels briefly and sparingly to build a bridge to the energy-income economy of 2025…Neglected for so many years, coal technology is now experiencing a virtual revolution… Properly used, coal, conservation, and soft technologies together can squeeze the “oil and gas” wedge in Figure 2 from both sides—so far that most of the frontier extraction and medium-term imports of oil and gas become unnecessary and our conventional resources are greatly stretched. Coal can fill the real gaps in our fuel economy with only a temporary and modest (less than twofold at peak) expansion of mining, not requiring the enormous infrastructure and social impacts implied by the scale of coal use in Figure i.”

        Aside: Its been previously mentioned on AI that the RMI’s 1099s show it receives large contributions from FF interests, however, I had no idea how euphoric Armory was on coal in 1976. He dedicates a whole page of his article to highlight all the amazing progress made in coal at that time. End Aside

          1. I apologize for any improper non-attribution for your original 2007 post. I was not reading AI in 2007 (At that time I remember thinking “why don’t we just build more solar panels”). The 1976 Foreign Affairs article 1st came to my attention from “Rethinking Environmentalism” by Paul Lorenzini and an Environmental Progress article:
            http://www.environmentalprogress.org/why-clean-energy-is-in-crisis/
            If I were to guess, I would assume your blog/writing has had substantial influence on some of EP’s work.

            The fact that Carter made those statements in 1976 made me re/read the Foreign Affairs article. I assume “Carter’s friends in the upper elites of the hydrocarbon economy” were also friends with Mr. Lovins at the time?

            Thank you for highlighting Carter’s affinity for coal. Everyone always extols Carter for putting solar panels on the White House. Oddly, no one mentions him stating “We need to shift from oil to coal.”

      4. Also looked up the trilateral commission members. Yea, there are a lot of oil&gas execs there, but also Heinz Riesenhuber, one of the most pro-nuclear politicians in Germany.

          1. These days not very, but he was science and technology minister from 1982 to 1993, when he was a voice of reason, even making antis responsible for the enforonmental damage by fossil fuels.

  5. You pro nucs could use a good dose of humility. Most if not all the melt downs and contamination at WIPP were the direct result of human error. President Carter does not shy away from being human.

    1. @Dan Solitz

      I’m not sure I follow. Please elaborate on why you seem to believe us pro nukes lack humility. That is a pretty broad accusation to apply to a rather large group of individuals with various characteristics.

      1. @RodAdams, “Please elaborate on why you seem to believe us pro nukes lack humility.”

        I can’t speak for Dan Solitz, but I can elaborate some. Jimmy Carter was one of the most honest and down to earth presidents in “recent” history. Only a person with a gigantic ego would dig for ways to discredit Carter’s character to try to discredit his views on nuclear industry. Such people cannot fathom how a president, with similar education and background, could go to the dark side and not be blindly supportive of all things nuke. More humble people can step back and understand he is fully entitled to reach different conclusions based on his life experience, and this does not make him wrong or unethical. In fact, having been privy to more information than the average academy grad’, perhaps he is better informed, and reached better conclusions.

        You say Jimmy Carter told a “lie” or used “deception.” I say he simplified. At most, he slightly exaggerated. Was he an “engineer?” You like to think that serving as an “engineering officer” is virtually the same thing. It’s not, in my opinion, but I wouldn’t call you a liar for having a different opinion. Did he have nuclear experience or expertise? It seems he was admitted into the Nuc Navy program, and studied at least some graduate physics, etc.

        Let’s take a look at another example of exaggeration.

        “Publisher: Rod Adams – Independent atomic energy expert with more than 25 years of experience in making atomic energy information accessible…”

        Publisher? Blogger
        Independent? Asks for donations, and is restricted by loyalty oaths (sworn to secrecy)
        atomic energy expert? Perhaps, but this is the opposite of humility.
        25 years of experience…? I could take that to mean a 25 year career in Publishing, but we know that’s not what you mean, and I wouldn’t call you a “liar” for it.

        So Jimmy Carter said things like:

        “My background is in nuclear physics. I was a nuclear engineer, working under a great Jewish citizen, Admiral Rickover. He was my mentor. Except for my father, Admiral Rickover affected my life more than any other man. Anyway, I was sent to North Korea because I knew nuclear engineering.”

        and

        “I WAS TRAINED AS A NUCLEAR ENGINEER AND ABLE TO DISCUSS THE ISSUES IN DETAIL. ROSALYNN AND I WERE SURPRISED AT HOW KNOWLEDGEABLE PRESIDENT KIM WAS ON EVERY MATTER.”

        He also said more humble things like:

        That was James E. Carter, who spent the 1942-43 school year at Tech before transferring to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. Carter told Marilyn Somers, director of the Living History Program for the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, that the electrical engineering courses he took here were among the hardest he ever studied.
        “Georgia Tech was the best school in the nation to prepare me for the Naval Academy,” he said. “I took the most advanced courses I could in chemistry and physics. The Tech experience was wonderful for me. Tech was much more difficult academically than I thought it would be. I’ve been to four universities, and Tech was the most difficult. I made fairly good grades because I was a dedicated student.”

        1. @Pu239

          I’ll admit that I’m proud of my knowledge and my experience. I’ve done well in school and worked hard to both gain that knowledge and to share it. I have never called myself a “nuclear engineer”. I repeatedly emphasize that I earned my BS in English and served as an engineer officer on a nuclear submarine. I completed 6 strategic deterrent patrols and 3 successful Operational Reactor Safeguards Exams as the Engineer Officer.

          After that experience I was assigned to shore duty at the US Naval Academy. I audited several advanced engineering classes (including taking the tests and doing the homework.) I engaged in independent energy system research under the tutelage of a couple of USNA professors (Mark Harper and Chih Wu). One output of that research was a patent on a control system for a closed cycle nuclear gas turbine (which I allowed to enter in the public domain) and formed a small company to complete and market a power system design. The company failed but was a learning experience.

          Carter earned a BS in general engineering and served as an engineer officer on a diesel powered submarine.

          You can dismissively call Atomic Insights just a blog. Others might disagree.

          In my opinion, it is the height of vanity for someone with a general engineering degree and service on diesel power submarines who did not even finish nuclear power school — which is the first baby step in a lengthy process of developing nuclear energy expertise in the US Navy program — to assert that he “knew nuclear engineering.”

          When Carter made his policy decisions, he was asserting that he understood more about nuclear engineering and safety than thousands of nuclear scientists and engineers who had, by then, spent a couple of decades adding professional experience to their formal education on the topic while Carter, who left the Navy in Oct 1953 and never again focused on nuclear physics or engineering, raised and processed peanuts, made a fortune, and served as the governor of Georgia.

          I could humbly state that I was a dedicated student who found academic courses more difficult than I thought they would be.

          However, my classmates and especially my roommates (one of whom actually reads and comments here) would probably call me out as a liar if I made that kind of claim. The fact is that I thoroughly enjoyed school, rarely struggled with assignments, asked (and answered) a lot of questions in class and never spent much time outside of the classroom studying. (I did my homework quickly and moved on to other activities.)

          1. @RodAdams,

            “I have never called myself a “nuclear engineer”.”

            Yet your resume says, “Nuclear Engineer Officer,” which looks very similar, to the untrained eye.

            “In my opinion, it is the height of vanity …”

            The height of vanity is, perhaps, a trait common to academy grad’s. It is not, however, the same as lying.

            “When Carter made his policy decisions, he was asserting that he understood more about nuclear engineering and safety than thousands of nuclear scientists and engineers…”

            Policy decisions are not made on just “nuclear engineering and safety” merits alone, and you assume all scientists and engineers are in agreement on their recommendations, which is not true.

            “I could humbly state…”

            Humility is not at one of your traits. Dan Solitz’ didn’t need to elaborate. You’ve proven his point for him.

            1. @Pu239

              My resume accurately states the job title of the position in which I served on USS Von Steuben, SSBN 632 from Oct 1987 – Dec 1990. It also accurately states the title of the qualification that I earned by meeting the stringent standards in the US Navy’s nuclear power training program.

              The minimum requirements for that qualification include two years of service as an officer on a nuclear powered submarine including at least one year as a division officer in one of several nuclear divisions, qualification as engineering officer of the watch and engineering duty officer, and successful completion of the Engineer’s Exam. That exam process includes an 8 hour essay test followed by a series of oral interviews culminating with a personal interview by the 4-star admiral assigned as the head of Naval Reactors.

              Carter’s statements about why he was making his policy decisions about nuclear energy development were focused on nuclear engineering and safety concerns. I assume that the portion of scientists and engineers working on nuclear energy who support its continued development and deployment is approximately as high as the portion of climate science researchers who are worried about CO2 emissions and advocate efforts to find solutions.

              There have been a few engineers and scientists who have joined the opposition to nuclear energy, but even there, a substantial portion are people whose courses of study and professional experience were either unrelated to nuclear power production or were only tangentially related. For example, there is a large group of people with degrees in nuclear physics who fight nuclear energy, but whose studies and careers were topics like fusion, high energy particle physics or politics.

  6. Yes off topic for this thread (inflated resumes and politician’s public mis-representations). But the history of killing reprocessing is never correctly represented in stories. Carter gets the blame, because it was banned under him, but both R&D administrations at the time were under the same heavy influence of the exact same people who though reprocessing added to the threat of nuke weapons proliferation. And with the cold war with the USSR at the time, there was an influential policy group that wanted no more players in the nuke weapons community. Ford ‘suspended’ reprocessing. Read some history of James R Schlesinger (and his connection to the Rand Corporation). He was Sec Def under Ford, and first Sec of E under Carter. Carter was no doubt heavily influenced on this issue by the same set of ‘experts’ advising the Ford administration; and for the exact same reasons. Which still stand today. Ultimately it was the Rand Corporation (at the time) who got reprocessing banned.

    1. @mjd

      Schlesinger and Rand were certainly members of the hydrocarbon establishment that worked diligently to prevent the “plutonium economy” from gaining any momentum. James Rodney was also a member of Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission along with Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Walter Mondale, Cyrus Vance, Michael Blumenthal, Harold Brown, Elliot Richardson and Andrew Young, all of whom served in the Carter Administration.

      Schlesinger was also the last chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission under Nixon and led the reorganization effort that created the NRC while leaving the “promotional” mission adrift in the ERDA. He was the guy who rolled over and readily accepted the notion that granting a nuclear plant construction permit was a “major federal action” subjected to NEPA, and he accepted Gofman’s recommendations regarding radiation risk assessments. In a NY Times article published at the time that Nixon moved Schlesinger from the Office of Management and Budget to the AEC, Gofman was quoted as having “nothing unfavorable” to say about Schlesinger.

      1. I Concur. And even concur with adding the hydrocarbon establishment influence. My point was Carter gets the historical blame as if he did this in isolation, according to some personal view he possessed. When in fact it was the mindset of both parties at that time and the influence of all the same folks advising both R&D administrations; for all the same reasons both parties endorsed.

        And it has pretty much stayed that way for decades, choking development of advanced designs. A couple bumps on the road along the way (probably for some perceived political advantage); Clinton killed the IFR project; Bush2 gave lip service to reprocessing but provided no funding.

        My point is in ‘who’s to blame’ there is enough evidence to go around indicating neither party really wants an energy policy advocating “all of the above” with nukes competing on a level playing field.

        Looking at where we (nukes) are today it is hard for me to believe anything other than that. I know in your view you remain more optimistic than me. And that’s OK, we don’t agree on everything. But if both parties can’t get on board with nukes it is just going to continually be an on-again-off-again process. And we can all project all day long about what that may lead to in the future.

        1. @mjd

          I focused on Carter’s deception about his expertise, but I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I blame him as solely responsible. In fact, I see him as a “useful tool” in a lengthy campaign designed to propagate fear, uncertainty and doubt about an energy source with the capability of drastically remaking the world’s power structure.

          Real culprits are people like Kissinger, Brzezinski and David Rockefeller, but they had a lot of help. (Interesting aside: did you know that Rockefeller was an OSS operative during WWII? I suspect that many others involved had specific training in propaganda and deception tactics.)

          I almost forgot to mention why I’m optimistic. Reality is hard to hide forever. If both parties persist in their old approaches to energy, they will simply leave the playing field open to new parties and new outsiders.

        2. Bush2 gave lip service to reprocessing but provided no funding.

          Not true. The budgets submitted by the Bush administration included ample funding for GNEP (the global reprocessing initiative started in 2006), but the President doesn’t control the purse, Congress does. Year after year, Congress transferred the money in the budget that was designated for GNEP to NGNP (the gas-cooled reactor program). The result was disastrous for both programs: GNEP never received the funds it was anticipating, and NGNP received more money than it had planned for, which meant that much of the money that actually went into the program was wasted on last-minute projects that weren’t well planned and that went nowhere.

          Your tax dollars at work, folks.

          1. @Brian Mays

            We’re getting off topic, but I will make one more point before halting discussion about the Bush Administration’s choices.

            The Bush Administration could have easily included sufficient money for BOTH GNEP and NGNP. It is disingenuous to say that they funded GNEP because all they really did was to keep the NE budget flat or slightly declining while trying to force Congress to make the choice between a program they had already decided to support and one that the Executive Branch thought was more important.

            You’re right, though, that it was a clear example of how our tax dollars are often [not] put to work in ways that promote the common defense and security of the US.

          2. “You’re right, though, that it was a clear example of how our tax dollars are often [not] put to work in ways that promote the common defense and security of the US.”

            You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Get ready.

          3. Rod – No. It’s disingenuous to say that Bush did not fund GNEP, and that is what I was trying to correct, without getting too far off topic. The Bush administration did indeed try to fund the program (and his record when it comes to the NE budget is certainly far better than the administrations that proceeded and followed him), but he was not given the last word.

            End of discussion.

  7. Rod, considering your request that we only discuss Carter’s single disingenuous transgression, while ignoring and discounting the more timely, relevent, and numerous lies told by our President Elect…

    I’m curious about your motive, reasoning, and timing for this discussion about Carter. Why now? What is a positive result that you feel can be gained by rehashing Carter’s claims? And how is this discussion more important than a discussion about the credibilty of the incoming presidential administration would be?

    1. @poa

      As far as I can tell, the incoming administration hasn’t said or done anything regarding nuclear energy that has not already been covered here.

      The reason for discussing Carter’s lie and its impact on US foreign policy regarding plutonium and used fuel recycling is that the best time to overturn a policy that is founded on a lie is when there are new policy makers coming into power.

      I’d like to make our current plutonium policy into a topic of discussion and debate with the goal of potentially returning to the policy that was in place before the petroleum interests created the antinuclear movement to disrupt its plutonium competition.

      I’m not the only one who is bringing up Jimmy Carter’s nuclear expertise (or lack thereof) in relation to the upcoming power transition in Washington. Here is a quote from an article titled Angst Simmers In Washington As Trump Presidency Nears that was published just yesterday in the NY Times.

      When President Carter left, the capital traded a Georgia peanut farmer and Navy-trained nuclear engineer [Not true] for an actor turned politician from California, Ronald Reagan.

      Endless repeated falsehoods take on the veneer of truth. The only possible correction I know of that might work is to repeatedly publish the true story so that others can repeat it often.

      1. “Endless repeated falsehoods take on the veneer of truth. The only possible correction I know of that might work is to repeatedly publish the true story so that others can repeat it often”

        Yes, I’m quite sure as I enjoy my morning coffee tomorrow, the couple in the next booth will be discussing their new found appreciation for nuclear energy…

        “Gee, Harry, didcha hear? That peanut farmer, Carter, lied about being a nuklagineer. Gosh, maybe we shouldn’t have shut down ‘ol San Ofreno.”

        Or, uh, gee…..if they’re talkin’ about energy or environment, do you think its possible they might just be talking about someone else a bit more relevant, a bit more closer to 2017, a bit more likely to have an effect on energy policy?

        Hey, whatever, Rod.

        1. @poa

          The conversations I want to influence with factual information about history and well organized efforts to hamstring nuclear technology as a competitor in the vast and lucrative business of supplying people with the power they need and want will not be happening in a diner located in inland California.

  8. Off topic, but I thought it important to bring attention to the article by Eduardo Porter in the 2017 Jan 18 issue of The New York Times. Something of a sea change for TNYT.

Comments are closed.