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9 Comments

  1. Rod,

    Not many are commenting on this but I just finished watching the video and this is THE crucial issue for Nuclear power. I don’t really care if LNT is accurate or not, pushing regulations to levels below background radiation is an evil scam to bilk tax payers.

    Bob Applebaum hides behind science when the real issue is the money in his back pocket. The defense of a “protection” industry that is not more ethical than the “protection” rackets run by the guys downtown. Cheating people out of money is the same if you use legal means or illegal means. Wrapping yourself in regulations you know – KNOW are not providing real benefit for the cost is immoral.

    1. Amen, Rod. I’ve long said that LNT isn’t the main problem, it’s the fact that it’s selectively applied.

      According to LNT, impacts (deaths) scale with collective exposure (man-Rem). Well, humanity’s exposure from other (mainly natural) sources is millions of times larger than what it has gotten from nuclear power, accidents included. And yet, almost nothing is done to reduce those exposures (almost nothing is even said). Many of those large sources of collective exposure (such as radon) could be reduced at a cost orders of magnitude lower than that associated with achieving absurdly strict standards in a post-accident cleanup program.

      That said, the costs associated with cleaning up after very rare meltdowns does not actually affect nuclear’s overall cost much. The overwhelming majority of the cost is due to excessively strict safety regulations, aimed at reducing the frequency of releases to ever more negligible levels. This begs the 2nd question. Even if LNT were repudiated, would NRC react by deeming meltdowns to be acceptable, and repealing all of the strict regulations and QA requirements? Obviously not.

      Repudiating LNT is, at best, only a small part of the battle we face. The more general and significant problem is the public’s prejudice against nuclear, where nuclear risks are intolerable but other (e.g., fossil) risks orders of magnitude larger are (apparently) OK. The selective application of LNT is just one example (manifestation) of this.

      1. Agreed.

        I suppose part of the reason why the public makes so much of the small risk posed by low radiation doses is that they are not aware of the benefits of nuclear power. On the contrary, they have been led to believe by well-funded, highly visible antinuclear pseudo-environmental organisations that renewable energy is – or will soon be – cheaper even than fossil fuels. In that context, accepting even the smallest risk of exposure to radiation from nuclear waste or nuclear accidents does seem idiotic. Moreover, it then also seems quite right to maintain the very strictest of regulations on the nuclear industry.

        Perhaps successfully reducing fear of radiation among the public is tied inextricably to correcting the public’s wholely unwarranted belief in the “renewables will save us” version of reality peddled by popular, in-your-face antinuke pseudo-environmentalism.

        Speaking for myself, the main reason I decided years ago to find out for myself whether nuclear power was really the boogyman I was taught to believe it was, was after I had worked out that the “renewables will save us” dream was in fact mostly nonsense and a nightmare if anything.

        1. @Joris Van Dorp

          A sundial may be cheaper than a clock, and it can sort of do the same job during part of the day. Which would most people choose?

  2. “The more general and significant problem is the public’s prejudice against nuclear”

    Its all about lobbying, and PR. And effective lobbying is expensive. Heres an idea of how expensive…..

    https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/indusclient.php?id=E01

    So, can the NE industry shovel out 64 mil annually for lobbying? Because, to compete, thats what you have to do. And that is just the lobbying. The PR gets reeeaaaaally expensive. And what, you are going to spend countless millions on a PR campaign using science that bores the crap out of the general population. To say nothing of the fact that it is the rare John Q that has even heard of LNT, much less wants to listen to scientific prattle seeking to discredit LNT. The good ‘ol Disney days of yesteryear are long gone, replaced by a half century of FUD and highly publicized nuclear “accidents”. Your competition is not only outspending you now, but have been doing so for decades. You’re way behind the 8 ball. And you ain’t gonna catch up by squeezing the nuts of LNT. Citing examples of succesful and safe long term usage of NE would be a far greater gamble of lobbying and PR monies. But you gotta cross your fingers, because any safe plant you point to might just experience one of these “it can’t happen” events that has brought your industry to its knees. An event like Fukushima is free advertising for the renewable and fossil fuel folks. Worth billions, really. And I’m not sure theres enough money on planet Earth to buy your way outta that kind of bad PR.

    1. Well, there is one really big PR event on the horizon, and that is the implosion of the renewable energy pipe-dream in Germany. It could happen any day, and it could change everything.

      Such an implosion has already happened Spain, and the RE lobby has been desperately trying to paint that implosion as being caused by Spain’s utilities working with the government to ‘make solar power illegal’.

      But when Germany fails too – which seems inevitable – the RE advocates will be caught with their pants down in a really big way, for the first time in many years. With the RE pipedream suddenly and traumatically removed from the game, all eyes will come to rest on nuclear again. Hopefully, nuclear will be ready to catch the gaze of the world again and hold it’s attention this time.

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