One vignette in radiation fear campaign 1

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  1. “coal, oil, gas, freight and banking industries”
    The first three have obvious motivation. Freight becomes obvious as soon as you think about how much fossil fuel is moved around by the freight industry.
    Please explain why the banking industry would have a motive to oppose nuclear?

    1. @James R. Baerg

      The fossil fuel business is highly capital intensive. One of the reasons for Rockefeller’s huge success was his recognition of the importance of developing deep ties to the banking industry in the form of lots of borrowing even when times were good.

      Banks holding massive quantities of “paper” from an industry have an interest in helping that industry succeed and defend itself from new competition. Yes, not all banks, and yes, some banks might even be more interested in lending money to a new industry. But new lending is generally less important than ensuring that the loans that are already outstanding get paid back.

      By the time the third generation of Rockefellers came along (John D. III, Nelson, Laurence, Winthrod and David) the ties to banking including ensuring at least one of them went into the business and rose to be a leader in the industry. (David)

      Why do you think the World Bank and other multinational development lenders have policies that either prevent or strongly restrict their ability to lend to nuclear projects? The World Bank has made exactly one loan to nuclear and that was to a 1950s era Italian project.

  2. Love the ‘Radiation linked to retardation’ clipping… was that paid for by the Leaded Gasoline Alliance?

    It’s amazing how triggered people are by fear. Fear of coronavirus, fear of radiation…. very few fear big government. People have ‘faith’ that things like radiation and covid are out there, waiting to kill them. If they had faith in something else, something thousands of years old, people would have less fear of these ‘deadly’ things. They would be at peace.

    1. “very few fear big government”
      Oh really?
      There does seem to be an irrational tendency for some people to fear big corporations & others to fear big government, rather than for everyone to regard both with suspicion as having the ability to do great harm as well as some good.

      1. Indeed, there is a common line of fear of nuclear and fear of big government and big corporatism.

        As if the cute little solar panels that are supposed to save the world are not produced by massive multi billion dollar profit minded corporations that produce their panels in low wage low environmental law countries to cut corners. As if big governments aren’t doling out billions of dollars in subsidies, tax breaks, feed-in-tariffs, must-take-power-even-when-there-is-no-demand-for-the-power regulations for these cute little solar panels.

      2. Big government is something to fear. There is a lot of historical precedent for big government not ending well (e.g. USSR).

      3. scaryjello: There were 2 things wrong with the USSR. 1) Trying to run *everything* by the government 2) nothing like a real democracy.
        If there had been real democratic control of the government. probably there would have been undoing of the many of the more disastrous policies like the collectivization of agriculture, if that policy could have been started in the 1st place.

  3. What enables, or catalyses fear, seems to be a general lack of knowledge on the field of radiation and nuclear science, as well as the engineering actually involved.

    Mainstream media are doing their darndest to obfuscate rather than elucidate. They never explain how a nuclear plant works, or what this so called waste is. They just extricate on how “dangerous” this stuff is – without explaining what scenario is supposed to vaporize these refractory fuel elements into a fine vapor to be inhaled by the public.

    Most people don’t know a thing about radiation or nuclear engineering. Not the slightest. Most don’t even know that reactors are basically boilers. They are heat exchangers that make steam to drive a turbine to generate power.

    Most people don’t know the difference between alpha or gamma radiation. Or even the difference between radiation and dose. Or even the difference between a toxic substance and a toxic dose. Tomorrow’s production of chlorine for bleach and other cleaning agents could kill the world’s population many times over. But it doesn’t because the chlorine doesn’t get into humans. Even though chlorine is very volatile, unlike spent nuclear fuel which is just a bunch of ceramic pellets in metal tubes.

    People know essentially nothing that would be required to espouse a dogmatic opinion. Yet everyone has a dogmatic opinion on nuclear power. And the less they know, the more opinions they have.

    I am convinced that a major key is just simple understanding of the basics. This will get people thinking. I’ve found that when people learn more they drop their opinions and start an amazing creative thinking process. All of a sudden they challenge their assumptions and beliefs. They start to question. They become scientists.

    I’ve tried to do my part with a nuclear FAQ of sorts. Download it here.

  4. If there is ever a part two to this article, perhaps the focus could be about the enormous difference in awareness and attention to the harmful effects and radioactive content of coal smoke and ash. JP McBride and others published a paper for Science magazine in Dec. 1978 detailing this difference. This received a mild revival some 10 years ago in SciAm.

    Coal ash gets another pass by being virtually unregulated by the EPA. All things considered, the radiation exposure one may receive from coal burning is still going to be minimal, yet it is still at least “100x” more than any regularly running nuclear plant.

    My hunch as to why there is hardly any awareness or outrage directed at coal and it’s radioactive pollution is that it’s just not “sexy”. The threat isn’t perceived as urgent or threatening enough to matter much.

    1. Plus, coal is organic material; any radiation from it is therefore natural and quite different to the radiation from the nuclear plants.

  5. What are your comments about the latest posting in the June 12, 2020 “Perspectives – viewpoint” section of World Nuclear News website about major oil and gas companies investing in new nuclear power projects?

  6. There is reportedly a gender gap with regard to fear of radiation, however that doesn’t mean that all women have radio phobia. I bring this up because Joe Biden has pledged to choose a woman as his running mate. Perhaps you can come up with a list of women that it would be desirable to have as a VP. Given his age it’s likely that his running mate will become president if he’s elected.

  7. A roentgen is an obsolete unit, about 10 mGy or 10 mSv in humans, so the doses quoted would not be considered low nowadays. Modern students can be reassured that modern x-rays are very much lower still, numbered in microsieverts.

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