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54 Comments

    1. @Bob Applebaum

      And random comments from a guy with a technical degree awarded for the ability to regurgitate conventional wisdom on command is? The fact that you also became a wealthy man based on building a business that profited from that conventional, but incorrect, wisdom is a side issue.

      Please stop comparing a questioning attitude about an assertion of a linear response to ionizing radiation (a natural force on earth and in the universe) down to doses far below variations in natural background exposure with people who think it is okay for humans to dump 36 billion tons (and growing) of inert refuse into the atmosphere every single year.

        1. No, the scientific consensus is not LNT. The scientific consensus is that below 100 mSv the predicted effect is so small that we are not able to tell for sure if we only see random variations or the effect predicted by LNT.

          The *regulatory* (not scientific) consensus has long been as long as we don’t know, it’s safer to assume that the effect predicted by LNT is really there.

          But even that consensus doesn’t exist since quite a while. The UNSCEAR has long concluded that it makes no sense to multiply very low cancer probability by a very large number of people to calculate a virtual number of deaths that we have *no way* of knowing if they really exist and officially warned against doing that.

          And this has been reiterated after Fukushima where the situation definitely proved that choosing that option causes many more deaths that the theoretical calculation would give. Opposite to the naive popular wisdom, using LNT does not put us on the safe side, but quite the opposite, directly results in increasing the number of death and amount of suffering compared to what LNT at low dose predicts.

          And here we are seeing one more proof of that. Delaying appendectomy results in a higher risk than the theoretical one coming from a CT scan. But because we are not able to properly calculate those risk, because the *perception* of LNT is “it’s dangerous”, and not “it increases your risk by 0.01% which is basically nothing”, the reaction of the pediatrician was inadequate, and this inadequacy is directly the result of LNT.

    2. So the Father was wrong to ask for a CT scan of his boy? Is that what you are saying Bob?

      You have taken to criticizing everything that is not “consensus” as being a fraud. I am wondering if we rolled back the clock 170 years…. if you would still agree that consensus science should be the main way to determine if someone is a crackpot or not. Let’s see, Germ theory… yep can’t suggest that those invisible ghosts are making us sick. Let’s see, Oh yes, there was that guy…. what was his name? He wrote a book about something and it was not peer reviewed… something about the origin of the first life… oh I mean the origin of species. And then, just about 100 years ago this clerk, who was not accepted in the science community wrote a little book that kind of stirred things up with the people who were convinced that an ether must exist in the universe. I don’t recall that he was peer reviewed. And then there was this lady who worked out of her home to get radium identified. Was she peer reviewed?

      You see, your desire for consensus and peer review would bite us very hard if had been applied in previous generations. Me thinks thou doest protest too loudly.

      Are you sure there is no other motivation for your rejections of a father’s educated assessment of the dangers of a CT scan than the desire to quench error?

      1. Rod has censored my comments before so he may censor some more (like religious folks do).

        No, I’m not saying it’s wrong for the CT scan. But the argument that the consensus has been wrong before, is ridiculous. Science is based on scientific consensus…it represents our best knowledge at a particular time. If you have evidence to overturn it, publish it. Otherwise, the scientific consensus continues to be the best knowledge we have as of today.

        1. Bob,

          Why is the argument that the consensus was wrong before ridiculous? Are you saying that the system in the past (100 years ago) was faulty but now is perfect? I am seriously asking this question and not simply trying to poke at you. I frankly don’t understand why a fact based response to a CT scan has you saying someone is rejecting science.

          You said, “And the NIPCC tells us that climate change is a hoax. …
          Bogus cults of people with science degrees, isn’t science”

          1. No human system of anything is perfect. Democracy isn’t a perfect form of government but it’s the best we’ve devised. The scientific consensus process isn’t the best form of knowing the Truth, but it is the best process we’ve devised.

            Science is a process where one honestly tries to not fool oneself. That’s why we have peer reviewed papers and scientific consensus bodies (consisting of experts elected by other experts based on their technical expertise and objectivity).

            Scientific consensus bodies work for you and me….they exist so we don’t have to be experts on every single subject.

            If you evidence to overturn the work of a scientific consensus body, then to ensure you’re not fooling yourself, publish it in the peer reviewed literature. Otherwise, stick to scientific consensus body conclusions or you will likely fool yourself.

          2. Bob,

            “The scientific consensus process isn’t the best form of knowing the Truth, but it is the best process we’ve devised.”

            What protects this process from being biased in itself? Of being merely self-reflective and not inquisitive? If the requirement to publish is controlled by people who have a vested interest in the “consensus” how will challenges to the current paradigm ever see the light of day?

            I agree that the current pattern for science is not the best form of knowing the truth.

            I am much more interested in the truth than I am in a consensus. I bet there is a scholarly consensus that you would reject. In a different forum you stated you are an Atheist. Would you agree that the tomb of Jesus was empty on the 3rd day after his death and burial? This is supported by the overwhelming majority of New Testament scholars. Would you agree with their assessment? Or will you tell me that historical sciences are not bound by the same rules of consensus? Are you a historical science denier?

          3. If you evidence to overturn the work of a scientific consensus body, then to ensure you’re not fooling yourself, publish it in the peer reviewed literature.

            Here you are, Bob.  BEIR, 1958:  rodents exposed to 0.8 R/day lived up to 30% longer than unexposed controls.  This is backed up by centuries of epidemiological evidence in humans, who have been visiting radioactive beaches and hot springs and drinking radioactive water for the healthful effects.

            If you’re skeptical, you could call for this experiment to be repeated.  A few dozen rodents, observed for a couple of years, wouldn’t cost very much.  I suspect that instead you’ll punt and appeal to the “consensus” again.

        2. Bob,

          Do you really believe the optimum level of ionizing radiation to be Zero, as in zero stresses on biological structures and systems caused by ionizing radiation are optimal?

          Do you really believe the systems and structures of life haven’t evolved to benefit from of ionizing radiation at any intensity whatsoever?

          Do you really see the null concepts of “no safe dose” or “no beneficial dose” as a “scientific consensus”?

          1. It doesn’t matter what I believe, it matters what the scientific consensus is. The scientific consensus is LNT. If you have a problem with that, you should ask yourself why that is. You might have a bias.

          2. Bob,

            That type of answer avoids the question and exposes you as biased. You are not willing to debate the facts and demonstrate a superior understanding or model. You simply appeal to the authority of a crowd. A fairly small crowd.

            If a model is correct, it can withstand questions about it, even hostile questions by demonstration of the way the facts are better explained. However, you refuse to respond to any suggestion that there are healing mechanisms that can respond to any degree to radiation. That refusal to debate that issue is what makes me doubt you are on the right side of accurate modeling in this case.

            I also do not bow my intellect to the authority of anyone just because they tell me too, especially when that group – as a group – has been proven wrong over and over for the past several hundred years. Sorry, but skepticism of the current model and openness to the full range of information about a topic is not denial. It’s call listening to both sides of a debate and making up my own mind.

          3. Bob,

            You’re conflating a convenient convention as a scientific consensus. LNT is clearly a convenient convention, not a scientific consensus.

            No collection of scientists as individuals worthy of the term “scientist” would base a scientific proof on a null hypothesis, of which the whole concept of “no safe dose” clearly is.

            Thanks for showing up regarding this topic.

        3. Bob,

          You said ” If you have evidence to overturn it, publish it.” but I don’t think you are serious about this statement. You only want people to publish in venues controlled by people with a motive to reject new ideas that challenge the current consensus.

          Just 30 years ago I was told that the current consensus was that butter was bad for me. It now turns out that butter is good for me. Should all the research that shows natural butter to be better than the fake stuff have been rejected because it was not consensus at that time?

          I have a friend who was told that he had to take a cholesterol drug. He took this for 10 years and was incapacitated with no energy at all. When he complained about the energy problem his doctor gave many reasons OTHER than the cholesterol drug. He was told he must take this drug to save his life. Finally after 10 years another doctor took him off that drug. His energy returned and his life is back to normal. The first doctor was following the consensus science of today that says the drug could not be causing the problem. Both doctors told my friend that they were working to save his life, but they gave opposite advice. Should he follow the doctor that used consensus science?

          1. All of you are failing to cite the true Achilles heel of “concensus”. And that is our fear of straying from the herd in regards to expressing our beliefs or opinions. “Concensus” gave us the invasion of Iraq. And such a concensus, when founded in a purposely generated false narrative, is not trustworthy. The same can be said about our congress’s subservience to lobbies such as AIPAC. Sometimes, concensus is formed through intimidation, bribery, or financial incentive. The idea that a premise, “fact”, theory, or opinion should be admired or believed simply because it is the popular concensus is ludicrous. Bob would have us all behaving as puppets if we danced to his tune.

            1. @poa

              Truth is never determined by voting, especially when the people who have votes were appointed by a suspect process involving large sums of money. That is the current state of “consensus” as determined by the US National Academies of Science.

        4. ” Science is based on scientific consensus”

          No, not really. Science is based on falsifying ideas using rigorous methods of experimentation and data-collecting with criteria such as reproducibility. You could say the methods are accepted by consensus.

          LNT is an idea. It is a scientific idea in that it can methodologically tested and falsified. It has been falsified repeatedly in many experimental studies.

          Apart from being falsified, LNT was never a really good idea. It is based on interpolating data from bomb surivors that received hundreds to thousands of millisieverts per second, down to low dose rates of below 0.00001 millisievert per second. Interpolating any biological effects data, whether radiation or chemical or other, by several orders of magnitude, should be rejected on methodological grounds.

  1. Rod,

    Thank you for publishing this. I agree that the radio phobia is a real problem. Even doctors I know personally, who are very careful in the way they express themselves, confess – in relation to radiation – that they are just uncomfortable with something dangerous they cannot see. I find the attitude amazing in a doctor, but that is what my friend said.

    Even using LNT as a baseline, it is far safer to have a CT scan than to wait for an appendix to get worse. I frankly don’t care if LNT or Hormesis is accurate. Both of them tell me that at radiation levels below the highest background levels the chance of me getting sick in any way from any effect is so small that it cannot be measured. That is small enough for me.

    1. And there you have it, David. There is such a thing as “relative risk”, and from Dr. Ulsh’s description, his sons pediatrician was relieved to hear someone with some radiation authority tell her what her gut already had: appendicitis is no fucking joke: get the best diagnosis possible as rapidly as possible and get the dammed thing out if that’s what it is.

      There’s a huge difference between “appendicitis” and “acute appendicitis”. One is a medical emergency requiring prompt surgical intervention. Wait until after the appendix bursts, and you have a Genuine Problem.

      1. Ed,

        I had a friend who had a burst appendix, flooded his body cavity with poison it was really touch and go for a week and then it took nearly six months for complete healing. For Bob to even imply that this was an “anti-science” position as he did in his first post shows how biased and knee-jerk he is. I am glad that he at least admitted the father made the right decision.

        I am mildly interested to know if hormesis or LNT is the true dose response but in terms of the regulatory response it makes little difference. The current regulations are far far to strict and there is every reason to modify them as Wade Allison suggests. This is NOT a scientific decision but a “relative risk” decision. When the effect of a “harm” drops below our ability to detect that harm, it is too low to regulate.

        I am a bit sorry for being “off topic” in my previous comments but the idea that a consensus determines science is so very very far from actual history or from the reality of the secret reviews of “peer reviewed” science that I have little patience for the appeal. Bob’s model simply locks all knowledge into the current paradigm – never advancing since new ideas are never seriously considered. Let the “consensus” be free and open. Publish at will and let whoever is persuaded be persuaded!

  2. OT:  Rod, something changed in the template and now the masthead image sticks to the top of the window, eating a big chunk of it.  Can you change it back, so it stays at the top of the page and scrolls off normally?

    1. There’s also a ghost of navbar stuff that sits on top of the content now.  I thought it was a monitor defect at first.

      All this stuff needs to be positioned at the top of the page, not floated.

      1. Engineer-Poet August 29, 2014 at 11:38 AM
        Might be an html problem in the template (I’m not exactly sure how this one works). If you right click a blank page spot, then select “view page source”, that menu (that is a floating “ghost”), has code at 2 locations. First one starts on line 113 and it is on a layer (), then same menu code also appears again starting at line 123 also on a layer. So sorta looks like the page is acting as coded.

      2. @E-P

        Working on it. Sometimes one needs to give creatives the opportunity to experiment. I’ve asked for a restoration of the previous code; this particular experiment has produced negative results.

  3. LNT has become an ideology to be supported and defended, requiring the “non-believers” to be eliminated. Those commenting here should reread all of the above comments and consider another “theory” that has a “97%” consensus that does not appear to follow the predictions of the believers. The parallels are amazing.

    1. @Rich

      Though you are correct that the abuse of LNT has parallels with the abuse of the risk of climate change from CO2, I hope you can recognize that there is another parallel. Those who question the LNT are NOT questioning the notion that radiation can be dangerous if the dose is too high. Those scientists who pointed out that radiation at the doses accepted prior to about 1920 were also correct in pointing out that there are risks from over exposure. The bad science and dishonesty occurred a few years later when Muller started the effort to extend the idea to the breaking point by saying that ALL radiation carried some risk.

      The honest scientists who point out the risk of unknown effects from an unsafe accumulation of CO2 are also on solid ground. It is probably okay for human society to produce the rate of emissions from say 1950 or 1970 or even 1990. What is not okay is the rate of today and the rate planned for the future under business as usual.

  4. That a CT scan may be beneficial should not distract from the facts and problems correctly discussed in the NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/opinion/we-are-giving-ourselves-cancer.html?_r=0. The authors of the Australian childhood cancer CT investigation found new and direct evidence for increases in cancers … following CT scans: rate ratio 1.027 per mSv (http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f2360). We found increases of the human birth sex odds with Chernobyl fallout across Europe with a sex odds ratio of 1.015 per mSv/a (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17482426). Results like this strengthen the evidence that LNT is not merely a theoretical concept but rather is reality. A nearby and well known explanation for the observed effects of such “very small doses” might be that the dose concept energy/mass is much to crude to be meaningful for events at subcellular levels. Hagen Scherb

    1. Dear Hagen,
      The NY Times article that you referred to is deeply flawed. You can read my line-by-line criticism of the article at: http://are-we-really-giving-ourselves-cancer.blogspot.com/
      Regarding the Australian childhood CT study: There are major problems with their methods, and the observations they made are not consistent with present knowledge, as shown in the detailed critique: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24594968
      Regarding sex odds ratio: Your paper was included in a recent review that considered also other publications: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3168220/pdf/EHTJ-4-7109.pdf and its conclusion was “In summary, there is little consistent evidence that
      ionizing radiation affects the sex ratio”.
      If you wish to know of the current status of the debate on this subject, you may read the latest moderated, peer-reviewed debate published in Medical Physics journal: http://scitation.aip.org/content/aapm/journal/medphys/41/7/10.1118/1.4881095
      If you read the opening statements of the two sides and the rebuttals, it would be clear the LNT side lost the debate.
      At present, there is no credible evidence to support the LNT model, and plenty of evidence against it. Superficially examining publications, you can come to wrong conclusions. One needs to examine them reasonably thoroughly to find the problems in data, analysis, and/or interpretation. There is not one publication that has withstood such scrutiny, amont the tens that I have examined closely. If you have even one solid evidence for the LNT model, please research it carefully and then let me know the reference.
      Mohan Doss

  5. “The idea that one can determine the biological effects of any external influence on complex, evolved creatures by finding out what happens on a molecular level strikes me as equivalent to deciding that a single minded focus on transistor responses to electrical signals will provide an understanding of the functioning of a modern computer.”

    Of course, chip designers do exactly that, every day. Without their focus on transistor construction on the die we’d still be in the pocket calculator age. If the science of biology had evolved the way electronics engineering has we’d likely have a very different approach to medicine.

  6. If a threshold based model best represents reality, then does the concept of a lifetime dose limit make any sense?

  7. There’s a huge problem no one is talking about … Neither an ultrasound nor a CT scan is necessary to diagnose an appendicitis (wasn’t even considered for me in 2001, with symptoms similar to the above story). Radiation aside, this is a huge incremental expense to the cost of having an appendix removed (which is often not medically necessary and no one is researching that since the easiest way to deal with an inflamed appendix is to remove it, denying all the benefits we now realize the appendix brings (which amusingly enough have only been ‘discovered’ in the past 10 years or so)). What’s really amusing is how the scientific ‘consensus’ that the appendix was no longer useful or needed by our bodies has completely reversed …

    1. @Brian

      You contradicted yourself. Sure, the easy way to deal with a diagnosis of potential appendicitis is to perform surgery to remove it. That is not the safest way to confirm or contradict the diagnosis, however.

      The CT scan is a good way to confirm the diagnosis that does not require anesthesia or scalpels. It may increase the overall cost if the diagnosis is confirmed and surgery is subsequently required, but it would lower the cost if it detects that there is a different reason for the symptoms. Preventing unnecessary surgery through enhanced diagnostic imagery is a valuable benefit that should not be overlooked.

  8. Rod, my point is the CT scan should not be needed (and was not in the past) since the CT scan is not used to contradict the diagnosis but rather to confirm it. But after doing further research I stand partially corrected as it appears that appendicitis is apparently misdiagnosed in women in a frighteningly large percentage of cases, so it would appear a CT scan is needed for women (at least with the current crop of doctors represented in the study) – see this interesting article here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=12354996&d=

    For those of you interested in the fallacy of the ‘it must be removed immediately in all cases or you will die’ argument, I found an NPR article of all things discussing the subject of ‘alternative’ healing of the appendix (avoiding removal and likely the cost of a CT scan) altogether: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/04/06/150125527/no-need-for-the-knife-antibiotics-may-suffice-in-some-appendicitis-cases

  9. Rod, please remember this reasoning when looking at the global temperature data and analysis … Legitimate scientists who question the ‘consensus’ are intimidated and mocked. “Truth is never determined by voting, especially when the people who have votes were appointed by a suspect process involving large sums of money. That is the current state of “consensus” as determined by the US National Academies of Science.”

    1. @Brian

      I am well aware of the way that people with questions about the consensus view of catastrophic global warming are treated. On the other hand, I am also well aware of the enormous sums of money in play that seek to persuade everyone that there is nothing to worry about as a result of dumping 36 billion tons of CO2 into our atmosphere every year – with plans to continue to increase that rate as our economy and populations grow.

      Global warming and the accuracy of climate models to predict exact temperature trends are distractions from the main concerns. Are we really on solid technical ground if we assume that nothing humans can do will result in unpredictable and potentially quite serious consequences? Shouldn’t we give some weight to the notion that the free dumping distorts competitive markets when the option to continue burning hydrocarbons is compared to energy sources that produce no atmospheric dumping at all?

      1. @Rod
        (just to be clear I am very pro-nuclear)
        ::I am much more concerned about global cooling … if you look at the data (for more than 100 years) we may actually be preventing another ice age (if you believe CO2 is a strong heat reflector, which it’s not when compared to others including water vapor). I think you’d agree that would be a very good thing unless you’re one of the very few low-lying island nations in the world (Tahitians will have to move). It’s interesting to note that according to geologists, the Earth has been historically much warmer than it is now (with ups and downs), so it doesn’t sound incredible to me that it could get warmer or cooler over time. The ‘hockey stick’ graph that Al Gore showed however is just fear-mongering. The danger is that we drastically pillage our economy (with wind and solar mandates) while sending money to 3rd world nations and the UN (we know how those programs ALWAYS go).

        Personally I’m for a ’emission-free energy’ standard which would enable the market to determine the best solutions – nuclear would the obvious economic choice!

        1. @Brian

          I grew up in South Florida, a place that is at sea level with the only hills being overpasses. There are several million people living there and perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars — or more — worth of homes, commercial buildings, roads and other infrastructure. I have traveled extensively along numerous coastal areas and know that the place where I grew up, while not representative of the human habitation pattern of the entire Earth, is not all that unusual for having a large concentration of people and property near the water at elevations of a few feet above sea level.

          Are you aware of the effects on ocean chemistry from an increased concentration of CO2?

          Water vapor, though it is a greenhouse gas, is not an inert gas whose concentration ratchets up as more and more is added to the atmosphere. There is a well-understood “water cycle” that holds H2O vapor concentration in rough balance.

          H2O is a hydrocarbon combustion product, so burning stuff also adds that greenhouse gas to the atmosphere.

          We are in complete agreement with regard to the flim-flam artists who have seized on the concerns expressed by scientists and how they have used them as a forcing function to coax people into taking action that provided financial gain for the flim-flammer’s without addressing the real challenges. I am also aware that there are proposed action pathways that would threaten global prosperity.

          However, since you are “very pro-nuclear” I hope you recognize that there is a path available for making substantial reductions in the rate at which we produce CO2 and the rate at which we consume valuable hydrocarbons that future generations might want to use for their own prosperity. Hydrocarbons are a good source of energy storage that enable people to control their local environment, build things that shelter them, move freely from place to place, and produce value from materials that would be waste without energy inputs.

          By taking more advantage of the wealth provided to all of us in the form of stored atomic energy in the nuclei of uranium and thorium, we can gradually reduce hydrocarbon consumption to a more sustainable level and gradually reach a stage where CO2 concentration begins to fall. (That does not require a path towards “zero emissions” as some of the flim-flammers advocate.)

        2. “Some, but not a lot” is different than saying “None, not at all and impossible” Brian. Ive never watched or read a single Al Gore production either. That issue is between you and him.

          I dont understand the “much more” concerned with cooling? As mentioned, all things considered (thermal expansion, dissolved CO2, deglaciation… etc), that even with a historically slow, natural shift towards cooling the scale seems to be weighted overwhelmingly in the other direction.

        3. Brian. You seem to be unfamiliar with the rate and extent of the global warming that has been observed since the start of large-scale co2 production. The following image represents the state-of-the-art scientific consensus of global temperatures, as assessed by the IPCC and confirmed by all national academies of science of each nation on earth.

          Please notice that ‘preventing global cooling’ would rank as the understatement of the century.

          The following graph contains no data from computer models. The graph contains only measured temperatures (blue line) and historical temperatures as derived from many different lines of geophysical analysis.

          http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/regemcrufull.jpg

          Aren’t you just a little bit concerned about this issue?

  10. @John Tucker
    While Rod has genuine concern for millions of people who live along the coast, actual significant global warming creates new tillable land where permafrost exists currently and vast new liveable land with a relatively small tradeoff of reduced coastal land. Whereas global cooling (ice age?) reduces our tillable land even further and greatly reduces the land area where people can live. While polar bears may be threatened by global warming, vastly more would be threatened by global cooling.

    1. @Brian

      In value terms, trading the homes and businesses of hundreds of millions of people for a bit more “tillable” land that is obviously low in natural nutrients because it has not been the home of forests and crops in the past does not seem like a good deal to me.

      There is a tremendous amount of built infrastructure along the world’s coast lines that would be threatened by rising sea levels, which is one of the possible effects of ever rising levels of CO2.

    2. I doint know if thats true brian. Especially with respect to increased desertification. Also in Alaska, when I was there, it seems they were always having trouble with land becoming unstable/erosion due/assisted by melting permafrost. Large area landslides and subsidence also become a issue.

      There there is the methane release thing – which no one seems absolutely sure of – that ranges from nothing to catastrophic.

    3. The argument that global warming will do more good than harm is old. Scientific analysis as can be found documented and reviewed in the latest IPCC assessment lays waste to this argument. Indeed, all National Academies of Science of the major industrialised nations have stated flatly that the urgent need to address anthropogenic global warming is undisputable.

      http://www.nationalacademies.org/includes/G8+5energy-climate09.pdf

      When scientists use the word ‘undisputable’, non-scientists do well to pay attention.

      However, for individuals and individual nations the need to combat climate change depends on their geographical location and economic power. Wealthy nations will probably be able to fund climate adaptation and protection measures that may protect them well enough at least until the end of this century, even if climate change progresses according to the reference scenario (which constitutes sustained greenhouse gas emissions and relentless global warming).

      But developing nations and nations in regions which stand to receive the brunt of negative climate change impacts are not so lucky. Many millions of people there do not have the means to protect themselves. In an age of increasing terrorism, one wonders what these millions of people will do after they come to realize that their lives have been destroyed because people in wealthy nations have determined that stopping anthropogenic climate change was simply not in *their own* interest?

      Moreover, the most recent UN statement on climate change has determined that *no one* will be left untouched by the negative effects of climate impacts.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26810559

      1. @ Joris van Dorp,

        I have been following Rod for quite a while, and listening to arguments over AGW. Rod is constantly forwarding the idea that the real opponents to Nuclear Power are Fossil fuel producers. I am persuaded by his contention, but I guess I take it a bit further and I am cynical enough to believe that global warming is actually a creation of these same interests. I say this because when I began to study Nuclear power back in 2007 I had already spent about 4 years studying every type of renewable energy available – with the idea of deploying it. This long study led me to understand why we use fossil fuels – they are energy dense and light weight.

        When I discovered Nuclear power and worked through the calculations for energy density I was blown away.

        The final point for me came when I understood the need to back up any renewable installation with fossil fuels. I saw that the drive to install wind and solar – especially using government subsidies was a means of increasing market share for natural gas over coal and nuclear. This is ALL about the market share for energy.

        I respect those environmentalists who say we need nuclear to stop global warming. But I am deeply skeptical of the conclusions that are “undisputable” when those conclusions are being driven by a lot of money changing hands. Especially those who only support wind and solar – which is the majority of the organizations and governments.

        I support Nuclear because it is the very best energy source, lowest environmental impact and once the capital costs are covered the lowest marginal cost for power. Also, nuclear power is sustainable for thousands of years. I wonder what we would think of the Romans if they had discovered the industrial uses for oil at the time of Jesus. Now in the year 2000 all those resources would have been exhausted. In fact I am a bit amazed that heat engines were not discovered sooner.

        What will our great great grand children say about us if we consume all the fossil fuels in the next couple of hundred years?

        So, until a majority of environmental organizations support Nuclear power, and a majority of governments use reasonable regulations when dealing with Nuclear power I will believe that AGW is a scam. A scam supported and funded by the very fossil fuel interests who claim to be harmed by the movement. The point is to drive out Nuclear power through market manipulations while rising the price points for other energy sources making their owners very wealthy. Restricting supply makes prices go up.

        So, I don’t argue against AGW exactly, but I am deeply skeptical of the recommendations. I am deeply skeptical that the ocean will rise enough to swamp my relatives who also live in Florida.

        1. It seems we have very similar backgrounds. I too came to become (rather fervently) pro-nuclear as a direct result of studying all alternatives, apparently pretty much in the same period as you did.

          Where we seem to differ is the issue of anthropogenic global warming. This is not place to go deeply into this topic. I must therefore refer again to the fact that all national academies of science call the need to address anthropogenic climate change indisputable.

          Climate science denial of the type that you seem to promote will do nothing but hurt the cause of nuclear power. It will hand opponents of nuclear power a stick which which to beat you for being anti-scientific.

          Notice that the national academies of science (see the pdf I linked) specifically recommend the advancement of nuclear power, so what’s not to like about what these scientists are saying?

          On the other hand, the rational embrace of the purport of climate science has the added benefit of potentially helping to spur political action on neutral carbon pricing, which would obviously benefit nuclear power. After all, if co2 emissions were not a problem the world could probably run on fossil fuels for another century or more, which would mean that the benefits of nuclear (not just its co2 performance) would perhaps not be realized in our lifetimes.

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