Poll results depend on the question selection
Bloomberg.com’s Reed V. Landberg wrote an article titled Blair’s Decision on U.K. Nuclear Power May Cost Popularity that was published on April 14, 2006.
The article discusses how polls that were conducted in Britain in October and November of 2005 indicate that nuclear power is not a “popular” choice when compared to investments in renewable energy. The article begs as many questions as it answers, so I wrote the author a letter. Here is a copy of what I sent to him.
Dear Mr. Landberg:
I read with interest your article titled “Blair’s Decision on U.K. Nuclear Power May Cost Popularity”.
The inclusion of a section titled “Nuclear vs. Renewable” without including one titled “Nuclear vs. Fossil Fuel” illustrates one of the problems with the general understanding of the issue of future energy supplies.
The following sentence comes close to touching the issue that concerns me, but your readers might not quite understand the implications: “Around the globe, nuclear power is being reconsidered as a hedge against rising oil prices and to combat damage to the Earth’s climate. Unlike power stations that burn coal, oil or natural gas, nuclear generators produce none of the carbon dioxide blamed for climate change.”
If nuclear power can provide a hedge against rising oil (plus coal and natural gas) prices, and if nuclear fission can generate reliable electrical and ship propulsion power without producing climate changing gases, it provides a possible way to power our existing lifestyles without using as much fossil fuel.
Since some of the world’s most profitable companies, most prosperous countries, and most wealthy individuals trace their money and power to the fossil fuel industry, it seems pretty obvious that they might not like losing market share to an upstart like uranium.
The industry leaders, as good businessmen that are pledged to protect the financial interests of their company, probably recognize the threat to their long term prosperity. It would not surprise me at all to find that they have been actively working to derail the successful completion of new fission power plants.
I wonder how people would respond to a poll question that asks them whether they would prefer to invest hundreds of billions into nuclear fission power plants or give hundreds of billions each year to the fossil fuel industry in the form of ever rising fuel prices and damage to the earth’s climate.
The response might be even more interesting if they were asked whether they would prefer to have their billions spent close to home in construction, engineering, and operations jobs associated with building nuclear power plants or sent overseas to empower people like Chavez and Ahmadinejad.
Editor, Atomic Insights
For some reason, the last four or five letters that I have written to journalists have not elicited any response at all. I am beginning to wonder if my email address – with its rather unusual domain name (atomicinsights.com) is being filtered. Would any of you like to help me test that theory? Send me an email (rod_adams at atomicinsights.com) and I will respond. If some of you do not receive my response, I might be able to track down the cause of the failed deliveries.