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32 Comments

  1. Rod, great round up of all this. Truly inspiring. Stone has done what a lot of us have tried to do and spark a debate IN the anti-nuclear community and forced them to deal, as audience members, with scores of new pro-nuclear environmentalists. This film has shifted the debate to a real debate instead of within a pro-nuclear echo chamber we often find ourselves in.

    I share with the dismay you have over the announced closing of SONGS in my state, California, which has added *thousands* of dangerous natural gas fired gas turbines. The comment by by Kennedy was very appropriate: solar plants should be seen as gas plants is so true, as almost every KW of installed subsidized rooftop PV is matched by the capacity increase in natural gas, which fuels fracking and…more GHG emissions.

    We should be adding units to SONGS and Diablo Canyon focusing on the increase in installed methane plants.

    David

    1. The closure of San Onofre is, in my opinion, a tragic waste of a ready built and paid-for green power machine along with what appeared to be the premature closure of Crystal and Kewaunee.

  2. If it’s any consolation, Rod, I did see your name listed in the movie credits.

    1. Yes Rod, you are well known. I’ve even seen your name mentioned in Dutch popular engineering magazines and newspaper opinion articles, when it concerns the potential of small nukes for example.

      I also think that Pandora’s Promise will help turn things around for nuclear power. Lately, I’m already running into people more often who surprisingly claim to be pro-nuclear. Since Fukushima, there has been a long time during which that was not happening at all in my experience. To the contrary. Some people who were sympathetic before Fukushima lost their sympathy. But they are coming around.

      Perhaps we will soon be entering a period where Fukushima will be seen for what it is. A period when Fukushima is no-longer seen as so-called proof that nuclear power is ‘necessarily deadly and uncontrollable’, but rather that Fukushima has (once again) proven that nuclear *is* safe and controllable, even when the worst happens.

      In other developments, in The Netherlands, there is a national multi-stakeholder debate now running on how The Netherlands will reach it’s carbon reduction targets. Unfortunately, I couldn’t obtain a place at the table, but from what little has been reported about progress in the negotiations, things are not looking good. Somewhat predictably, the ‘green’ delegation to the talks has locked horns with the business delegation about how much The Netherlands should spend on reaching co2 reduction goals. I am therefore rather expecting that the talks will end up failing, or that a plan will emerge that will be so repugnant that it will get massacred in the media or by politicians quite quickly.

      Either of which outcome makes for a good opportunity to try to again convince Dutchmen we *really* need to be including nuclear power in our suite of co2 reduction options, or otherwise we are simply not going to get anywhere fast. Most Dutchmen still have to come to this conclusion, being still under the expression that ‘wind is free, solar is free’ and so on, but it will happen sooner or later I wager.

      1. How to drive that point home?  Would this translate to Dutch?

        The wind and sun are free.
        Windmills and solar panels aren’t.
        Batteries wear out and pollute.
        Uranium is the answer.

      2. Does anyone know if and when Pandora’s Promise will be shown in other countries too? I’ve looked for info, but couldn’t find anything about it in the Netherlands.

        1. Go to their website and contact them, or via their social media team on Twitter @PandorasPromise.

          Stone said that, since the message runs counter to the prevailing Hollywood mindset, their chances for Academy Award nomination basically depends upon box office numbers.

      3. Re: Joris van Dorp

        “…A period when Fukushima is no-longer seen as so-called proof that nuclear power is ‘necessarily deadly and uncontrollable’, but rather that Fukushima has (once again) proven that nuclear *is* safe and controllable, even when the worst happens.”

        Why this ultimate proof of nuclear resilience hasn’t been trumpeted by pro-nukes floors me, and I have to wonder at the ingenuously of antis to turn a negative around by harping on a catastrophe that DIDN’T happen.

        James Greenidge
        Queens NY

  3. Rod,

    You are a key to the revolution. An opportunity will come up !

    Take the game to them is the approach that some great hockey coaches have adopted when winning the most recent Stanley cups in Detroit.

    I smell blood with this movie.

  4. Robert F Kennedy Jr stating that the WHO and IAEA are in bed together and that studies by the WHO on health impacts of radiation in both Chernobyl and Fukushima are bogus is fascinating.

    It goes to discredit him.

  5. Rod
    .
    Thank you for including a link to my post.

    I think that if any movie could bring a “road to Damuscus” moment about nuclear, this is the one. I especially like the comparison of radiation readings in Central Park with readings near Fukushima, etc.

    However, I don’t think one movie can do everything. I think back to when I moved from the renewable group to the nuclear group at EPRI. I would not have moved groups unless I thought nuclear was important to the country, but was I completely sold on it? No. I wasn’t.

    I remember annoying some of the other group members by asking about “what to do with the waste.” They seemed very certain of themselves that the waste was merely a “political problem.” I remember wondering if these guys lived on the same planet I lived on.

    I realize now that they were correct. However, some of them were also arrogant and inarticulate. That was a bad combination. It took me years to figure out that there wasn’t very much waste, actually, and it wasn’t as dangerous as coal ash, and so forth. I had to convince myself. It took time. I worked in the field, and I was very favor of nuclear energy. But for years, I had no answer to “what do we do with the waste” because the assertion that the problem was merely political just didn’t fly with me.

    I think this movie can move the conversation and open people’s eyes. I think we need to follow it up with smaller group meetings, all over the country, where people can ask questions and get solid, serious answers to their concerns.

    Meredith

  6. Help needed.

    I read all of the linked documents and somewhere it is said that Mark Lynas shows the readings of a dosimeter in Fukushima and another one in Central Park.

    What are the readings for both ? I did not find that info and I think it is crucial to the debate.

    1. Daniel, the French IRSN a few month ago send an employee to the town of Fukushima, he went also to the evacuated city of Kawamata. He was carrying an electronic radiation counter, that allowed to show exactly during the 3 weeks were he was carrying it, bot in France and in Japan, how much dose he received.
      Not only did he as expected receive most of the dose inside the airplane, but actually the dose was 88nSv/h in France, near Paris and only 77nSv/h in Japan. Even though in the town in Fukushima, he identified quite a few hotspots, inside the buildings the radiation was as low as in Paris.

      Here’s the picture (with captions in French, but easy to understand anyway I think) showing the curve of the received dose : https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_cJfo-nsaDFVFZPZ2NWcGVPbDQ/edit?usp=sharing

      If anyone is interested, here the full document the picture comes from http://www.irsn.fr/FR/Actualites_presse/Actualites/Documents/IRSN_Residents-Japon_Bulletin10_04062013.pdf all in French, but there’s some photographs of the hotspots with the radiation levels.

  7. Anti-nuclear environmentalists are largely responsible for Global Warming becoming as bad as it is as fast as it did.

    They persuaded the world to stop building large nuclear power plants and resume building massive coal burning power plants.

  8. And in today’s news it is reported that at least 30 have been injured in a petrochemical plant explosion in Louisiana:

    http://news.yahoo.com/least-30-injured-la-plant-explosion-162017122.html

    SONGS never did this. IPEC could never do this. But every solar and wind facility is by definition a combustible fossil energy facility with all the dangers and hazards that that entails. With no wind and no sunlight sufficient for electrical production for 70% of the time, spinning reserve is always required. Every anti-nuclear activist is therefore by definition a supporter in deed if not in word of such toxic conflagrations as just occurred in Geismar La. This is why I become enraged and best not write any more. While I may disagree with many of Rod’s political views, I applaud his efforts to educate the imbecilic and ignorant. He is a good man trying to do the very difficult with the very stubborn. I am unable to do this with any dispassion or equanimity (being far too ill-tempered, a defect of character that has sadly never left me), so I will pray the Rosary for Rod’s success and stop typing on the keyboard lest I lose what little composure I have left.

    1. Paul,

      I think DV82XL also felt the way you feel and we have not heard of him lately. He said a while ago that he was leaving the discussions here.

      I think he should at least give his input on Stone’s Pandora’s Promise.

      1. Agreed, Daniel. I have always found DV82XL’s perspectives well thought out and illuminating. I am not however leaving. I’m just going to calm down. 🙁

        Death. That’s what these anti-nukes support, whether intended or not: death.

        1. Paul,

          I am sure DV82XL is from Québec. Maybe a little referendum would be him back !

        2. In case you’re actually worried, I’ve just seen a recent comment by DV82XL on another pro-nuclear site. So he’s taking some vacation from Atomic Insights but obviously still going well and just active elsewhere.

    2. But we will still have this type of danger even when all our power production is nuclear and transport is electrified. This plant was making feedstock for the chemical industry, not producing fuel.

  9. I find UCS to be a joke. They would be much better off using their time and resources fighting weapons not the technology that turns weapons into energy. UCS makes claims that this film is full of unsubstantiated claims and conjecture. Well, have you ever read something by UCS? Fission Stories maybe? It amazes me how a group that has the word “scientist” in their name can take an example of a procedure catching a safety issue, or a safety system working to safely shut down a plant and spin that to somehow be an example of the system *not* working. They love to present information in a vaccuume and not qualify thier statements. It drives me NUTS! If you challenge them on it and leave a comment asking for clarification they will never respond. It makes me angry that an organization that could be doing so much to stop weapons proliferation and help humanity is instead fighting one of the things that will help eliminate weapons stockpiles and potentially safe the planet from climate change.

  10. I don’t see any indication of when the movie might be shown outside the US. I wish this had been available when there was a possibility of building some CANDU reactors in this province. I certainly want to know when I can see it locally.

    J B Calgary, Alberta

  11. The aside that Rod Adams offered at the end of this Blog spoke to me and my recent experience.
    With the recent closure of four legacy nuclear power plants, all of which had plenty of safe operational life left in them, pro-nukes that have a penchant to worry (like me) start to worry.

    It is my hope that America will not turn its back on the cleanest, safest, and most reliable form of power generation yet invented. What was only a few months ago a fleet of 104 is now down to a proud fleet of 100 nuclear reactors.

    Recent experience indicates that it takes in excess of a decade to get NRC COL license approval when building a new plant and it requires only moderate delays of ~8 months or so in NRC deliberation on requests to perform reactor restarts to put utilities in a position where they have to consider closing reactors permanently because of accumulating monetary loss.

    Regulatory delays in restarting plants and in safety evaluations were key to closing both SONGs Units 2&3 and the Crystal River Nuclear Plant. When the US nuclear regulator moves so slowly as to contribute to plant closures, it is time to reform NRC.

    World Nuclear News – Regulatory delay closes San Onofre
    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C_Regulatory_delay_closes_San_Onofre_0706132.html

  12. ” When the US nuclear regulator moves so slowly as to contribute to plant closures, it is time to reform NRC.”

    I think the behaviour of the NRC is a feature, not a bug. What interests benefit from NRC behaviour? What industry has the most power in Washington: oil + gas or nuclear power? When you look at it from that perspective, that of money and influence, the answer is quite obvious.

    I think there is no mystery and it is no accident why things are turning out they way they are. As a result, the revolution of cheap, abundant, zero-carbon energy via the atom will have to come from China where they have a huge population, soaring demand for energy, a population choking on fossil fuel emissions, declining oil + gas reserves, a HUGE and growing population of scientists and engineers, and a political class not in thrall of Texas Billionaires and other interests vested in Big Oil.

    Can the American Ruling Class beholden to global Oil and Gas money (yes, I’m looking at you Al Gore) actually make such a dramatic conversion as to support zero-carbon fission energy, effectively slitting their own throats?

    I think the chances are as good as the Pope denouncing Christian doctrine. Ain’t gonna happen until we have a Sputnik moment, i.e. a point in time when the ruling class suddenly realizes we are being out-flanked by a global politico-economic challenger and have to wake up fast or lose.

    If we are lucky that moment will arrive in another 5-10 years when Peak Oil and the true economics of frac’d wells becomes impossible to deny, even by the Madison Ave. propaganda machine powered by oil + gas money. Chinese success with lowering the cost of Gen III reactors, followed by breakthroughs in commercial mass production of molten-salt reactors, high-temperature gas reactors, liquid-metal cooled fast reactors, etc., will be the time at which things might change here out of geo-strategic necessity – the only thing that can trump American Corporate Cash.

    I just feel so incredibly saddened by the fact we are going to have to wait a long time before this ship can be righted simply because of the power, greed and callousness of the defenders of the current fossil-fuelled order.

  13. “I think the chances are as good as the Pope denouncing Christian doctrine. Ain’t gonna happen…” ever. Not ever.

    The Holy See’s statement to the IAEA in 2007 may be found here: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/2007/documents/rc_seg-st_20070917_51-iaea_en.html.

    Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did not oppose nuclear energy. However, after Fukushima in 2011, certain national Bishop’s Conferences (e.g., that of South Korea and Japan) issued statements against nuclear energy. But in the Church’s hierarchy, national Bishop’s councils are administrative tools of the national Bishops and do not have any authority to change doctrine or dogma (thank God!). Indeed Canon Law ascribes no special authority to them and they can be dissolved with just a word from the Holy See (which is done very rarely if at all, but lots of times they are ignored). Frankly, I rarely pay any attention to anything that the US Council of Catholic Bishops says (particularly on energy) because they are wholly given over to the greenie weenies (oh, there are good priests and bishops, don’t get me wrong; but you don’t go to the USCCB for science and engineering, just as you don’t go to MIT for theology and Scripture study).

    As for Pope Francis 1st, I don’t know what he thinks. Too soon to tell. Besides, this isn’t at the top of his agenda. He’s got bigger fish to fry right now (like cleaning out the Curia Romana from 40+ years of the smoke of Vatican II – waaayyyyyy beyond the scope of this post and not relevant either). But I will say this: devout Roman Catholics are as ignorant (I don’t mean that derogatorily) as the rest of population and (back to the topic of this post) that’s the reason why I have told the folks in my adult Christian education class that I teach on Sundays to go see this movie “Pandora’s Promise”. I can’t do any more than that: educate. Frankly, it’s decidedly unchristian to suffocate people in fossil fuel excrement.

    PS, I am an anomaly in my Church. I drive my Bishop nuts with science. Oh well!

  14. I was fortunate to watch the film recently, it’s great.

    What Robert has done so, so well is de-construct the anti-nuclear position while remaining empathetic and respectful towards it and it’s origins. This is impressive. Peter Sandman would approve.

  15. Rod, I thought you would have wrote about San Onofre by now. To be truthful, I can understand why SCE shut the place down for good. Here is a story that explains:

    My sister bought an over the range expensive microwave oven from Sears. It ran well for just after the 90 day warranty but she had a service agreement. One day it was struck by lightning and the repairman said it needed a lot of parts and would have cost $400. Could she just have a new microwave? No, they needed 3 tries to repair that one. Over 6 months it was repaired 3 times and died a 4th time. Then Sears said it was OK to get a new one, but it had to be a Kenmore. 2 months later, after I install it and bring the old one back, the new one died. She does not want to “go through all this song and dance with repairmen” with Sears and may get one for the counter. This is after they spend $600.

    I think the same thing happened with San Onofre. SCE does not want to go through the “SONGS and dance” (pun intended) to get the place going again. Some what ifs:

    What if they end up needing all new steam generators? Do they have to make the hole in the concrete AGAIN?

    What if they try it at 70% and there is still tube wearing? Even if it is not a hazard, eventually all the tubes would wear and soon, there would not be a powerplant anyways.

    What if Mitsubishi gets stingy and does not want to pay on the warranty?

    What would the new, new steam generators be like? Would they be like the originals?

    Besides, isn’t SO one of the lesser known brands and a unique design that requires all custom parts which are expensive? Didn’t the manufacturer go out of business?

    I do think it is going to be a hot and stinky summer in LA. Maybe Edison can give away antiperpirants for 8 million people and it would still cost less than to try to fix San Onofre.

    1. Didn’t the manufacturer go out of business?

      No, it didn’t really “go out of business.” It was acquired by ABB, and then the nuclear part was sold to Westinghouse.

      Like it’s competitor B&W, C-E was plagued by the legacy of it’s boiler business and the asbestos liability suits that resulted from it.

  16. Saw the film today at Kendall Square in Cambridge, Ma It was excellent. Even my fiancé who is not technically minded and could care less about nuke power enjoyed the film and got a lot out of it. Excellent job!

  17. Lets hope that Pandora’s Promise gets on CNN or Current TV or someplace like that. If you are wondering why such a sparse attendance, tell me: When was the last time you paid money or took a date out to see a documentary? With me, it is never. People don’t pay money for those kind of films. Paul, for example, can show it in his classes and get a lot more exposure.

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