1. I watched a few of Lovins’ interviews. He did not impress me at all. I am surprised he gets any press at all.

  2. And 5 decades later, the Saudis are about to build at least 6 reactors so that they can keep selling oil to the western world.

    Who makes the money and who is smart and who has business savvy ?

  3. The damn pity of such fine expose articles as this is that its truth is _being kept out_ of the public awareness by mainstream media to protect their green comrades in arms. Not even “bold mavericks” like NPR or the likes of the Discovery (“Question Everything!” logo, right sic?) Channel dare bring this stuff to light. Could they hate/fear nuclear so bad as not to do their jobs to report just the facts?

    Re: “…In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, it is clear that there can and must be a thorough debate on our energy future and the need to move beyond this dangerous and dirty technology to the clean renewable energy and efficiency technologies of the 21st century.”

    You know, if antis and greens are going to keep making this tired assertion it’d be nice if for just once they stood on their hind legs and specifically told us exactly just what is “dirty and dangerous” about nuclear energy in lieu the fact that label logically and historically best befits nuclear’s fossil rivals. It also gets me how they keep pointing to Fukushima — a rare nature instigated incident — as an example of why nuclear is so “dirty and dangerous”. The last I heard no one was even seriously injured in or outside Fukushima and no property damaged outside its gates with wildlife and trees are doing very well there, thank you (hear that Germany?). We talk nuclear waste and antis act like we’re burning it in playgrounds like bonfires instead of its tiny amount being sealed up in steel-concrete casks as dormant as a rock — oh woe if only the stuff belching from smokestacks were treated the same, but we’re not suppose to think that way, right? I guess some evils are more equal than others. Maybe its petty of me but I just hate to see poisionous seeds of anti-nuke venom go unchallenged in public.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. Never bite the hand that feeds you. It’s well known that they’re all covered in oil money. “Public” radio and TV get paid off by various Rockerfeller trust funds. TDC and the like run tons of commericals for gasoline stations. In fact, the other week on the History channel show “American Pickers” the cast took a minute or so for a Marathon Oil “in program promotion.” That had to be worth a few hundred thousand dollars and was about as effective as the junk advertising they find in barns (not to mention Frank’s obsession with old gas and oil cans and releated paraphernalia, which always gets a cut-away to the “confessional” when an oil can is spotted)

      And remember no media outlet actually hires people who work in an industry to report on it anymore (except maybe CNBC, as long as they’re always bulls). They hire “journalists” who only know how to report what they see and hear, not what is actually going on. But at least they look good on camera.

      Finally, let’s not forget that a well run nuclear power plant is BORING! The way it just sits there, not poluting, not bubbling, not exploding… not exactly exciting TV. Seeing Cherenkov radiation on TV just isn’t the same as seeing it in person (and most people wouldn’t know what they are seeing anyway). But boy is it SCARY! Make sure you report exactly what the NRC report states about the amount of tritium leaked, using the exact amount of millisieverts (what? 10 million mSv? That sounds like a lot!). So downplay the boring and play up the potential problems. Maybe thow in some stock footage of Fukushima and Chernobol just to raise the fear. Now cut to a large windmill field, all those turbines turning in the wind… looks almost hypnotic, and “beautiful” in a way, espeically if you shoot it at sunset (AKA the magic hour). Maybe slow down the footage a little for added effect. And fade out to an ad for Chevy Trucks.

      Now that’s good TV.

      1. Eric

        For the record, 10 million mSv is a heck of a lot of radiation. On the other hand, 10 million picocuries should not be a scary number for people that understand reality.

        1. The worst is the use of bequerels as a unit of activity. That allows the kooks and media types to quote numbers in the peta-exa Bq range as if were a lot of scary stuff. Well, it is a lot, a whole lot of nothing.

          1. Just recently I saw a “report” foaming at the mouth that 200-400 terabecqurel of tritium may have leaked from Fukushima.

            Well, there’s a 100 GBq of tritium in an exit sign.

          2. Another case of picking one’s units to make the numbers sound however you want them to. I came across an article a few days ago that I should have bookmarked, that defined the various units and their relationships. Could be useful to find that, although once people hear “leaked X amount of radioactive material,” they usually don’t care to know from picocuries or Sieverts.

          3. Here it is:


            My point is that all these units can be confusing (even I have to look them up — I am an engineer by education, but not in the nuclear field), and people make strategic use of that. A list of radiation levels of various common items — such as that exit sign, a watch dial, a smoke detector, etc. — could be a handy tool for countering that sort of misuse of terms.

          4. My statement that there’s 100 GBq of tritium in an exit sign is wrong. There’s actually nearly a TBq in an exit sign.

            Google can do unit conversions, but someone at Google got the conversion factor between Bq and Ci an order of magnitude wrong(3.7*10^9 instead of 3.7*10^10) and I didn’t notice until later.

        2. Rod,

          Good investigative journalism. But are there not people whose job it is to do what you just did ?

          You deserve a pen name. Once you get it, go under cover. Spread your stuff!

        3. Thanks. But that just reenforces my point. I’m just a layman/fanboy when it comes to nuclear power, and the media is not in any mood to educate us. Most issues are reported in a vacuum without any reference that might offer some perspective as to the severity of the issue. For example, when I hear that a plant had several dozen safety violations I think it’s likely something like expired first aid kits or outdated signage (and every expired kit counts as a violation), but unless we laypeople actually do some digging we’ll never know if it is that or something much worse.

          Which is why I check this site often and read ALL the comments. It’s quite an education!

      2. You know I hate to sound cynical, but this little Alabama nuke alert ditty popped up just before I was logging off for the day today:


        This alert has already made the rounds on the web as a nameless heart-stopping “nuclear alert”. Apparently it’s not much to do with the crucial normal function of the plant — maybe a localized personnel hazard thingie — but the FUD die has been cast by the happily obliging media. A “nuclear alert” has been summoned and any nuclear alert is always a brushing Doomsday alert. Yes I know, NRC regulations to publicly announce if even a bucket of mildly radioactive water is kicked over deep the bowels of a plant, but can’t there be more discretion as what constitutes as a legit public-right-to-know real-hazard broadcasted warning as opposed a minor non-injurious “event” that only scares the bejezzers out of a FUD-bathed public? Again, I don’t want to sound off the wall cynical, but it’s almost like requiring nuke plants to issue such public minor almost relatively trivial “nuclear” alerts were somehow slyly politically mandated to “incidentally” spook and disaffect the public even more from nuclear power and in favor of fossil.

        James Greenidge
        Queens NY

        1. Wonderful. Meanwhile, we have a new $4-billion coal-to-gas plant here in Edwardsport, Indiana, that has apparently shut down at least one unit. We are not really sure whether the unit is back online or not.


          The kicker? A spokesperson “declined to say how much electricity, if any, the plant was putting on the grid Thursday. Doing so could effect the energy trading market, she said. ‘We don’t confirm whether a unit is online,’ she said. ‘We aren’t in the habit of telling people that information.'”

          Just think of what would happen if a nuclear plant were to switch off a reactor and fail to inform the public they had done so.

          1. @Eric,

            You raise a good point. Nuclear is the only type of plant legally required to notify the public when they are off-line.

            So there is another public perception issue in favor of non-nuclear especially wind. The public has no way of evaluating apples to apple when it comes to operational time.

            When the competition can hide how much of the year they are off-line but the nuclear plants can’t then that just allows bad information to be published. In a competitive market this legal requirement nuclear plants must follow can then falsely affect day-ahead wholesale electricity rates and spot natural gas market rates.

            This bad information also becomes a “fundamental” data point for the anti-nuclear types to hype.

            1. @Bill and Eric

              Excellent points. The required reporting takes advantage of a natural human tendency to draw lines and make predictions based on either recently heard or easily accessible information. If the public is told about every outage and every reportable issue, they can develop a completely false perspective because they hear only silence during the times when there is no issue or outage.

              One example that Meredith at Yes Vermont Yankee can corroborate. Since the public has been repeatedly told about a collapsed cooling tower and about tritium found in a few monitoring wells within a few hundred feet of the plant, they believe that Vermont Yankee is a leaky, unreliable plant.

              They don’t see the NEI annual performance reports that would show the following annual capacity factors:

              2009 – 98.7
              2010 – 88.4
              2011 – 90.6
              2012 – 92.1

              Unreliable machinery could not achieve those numbers.

          2. I also note two other items:

            * “That’s not unusual with any new plant, but it is more common with advanced technology on this scale,” she said. “We expect to deal with technical issues early in operations.”

            * According to a monthly compliance report filed with state regulators, the plant ran at less than 10 percent capacity in June.

            Once again, would a nuclear plant ever be allowed to get away with such operations or excuses? I’m thinking of SCE (their other problems notwithstanding) begging cap-in-hand to run SONGS Unit 2 at 70%.

            Eric Schmitz
            Bloomington, Indiana

      3. Now cut to a large windmill field, all those turbines turning in the wind… looks almost hypnotic, and “beautiful” in a way, espeically if you shoot it at sunset (AKA the magic hour). Maybe slow down the footage a little for added effect. And fade out to an ad for Chevy Trucks.

        And remember to never, ever use sound while showing those spinning wind turbines. Or substitute appropriate calming music. Anything, except actually recording and playing the health destroying sound that the turbines actually make.

        1. Sounds causing insomnia, stress leading to depression.

          Heck. I wonder why Denmark the motherland of wind turbine now had 170 organized anti wind groups.

  4. Not news. Known that since the seventies.
    Big oil created and paid for the anti-nuke power movement.
    Easily researched.
    Mr Anderson and his London backers also cheated patriot Harry Sinclair out of the Alaska leases if my memory serves me correctly.

    1. @George Chamberlain

      I’d love to have more sources and information. It may easy for you to research, but I have been looking for proof and documenting the hints/clues I discovered since about 2006 in my ‘smoking gun’ category.

      Where have you been?

  5. Let’s make sure we have the WHOLE picture here:

    “President Ford, the incumbent, carried out a secret study, and issued a nuclear policy statement on Oct. 28, 1976, just five days before the election, which advocated an end to reprocessing.

    Jimmy Carter, who won that election, then carried out the policy to stop U.S. reprocessing; and the next President, Ronald Reagan, sealed the lid on the fuel-cycle coffin with the idea of “privatizing” both reprocessing and breeder reactors.

    The full story of how reprocessing was stopped still has to be told. But the ending of the story is clear: The United States shot itself in the foot—twice: 1) The United States stopped an important technology, which this country had pioneered, and 2) the U.S. anti-reprocessing policy did absolutely nothing in the rest of the world to stop other countries from developing the full nuclear fuel cycle, or desiring to.5

    Interestingly, the Ford Administration’s policy in 1976, which advocated killing U.S. reprocessing for the same fallacious reasons that President Carter later elaborated, was written under the direction of Ford’s chief of staff—Dick Cheney (AKA Mr Oil). And one of the key reports supporting Carter’s ban on reprocessing was written by the mentor of the leading neo-cons in the Bush Administration, Albert Wohlstetter, then a consultant to the Department of Defense.”


    1. @George Chamberlain

      Interesting, but the link you provided does not seem related to the comment. You have quotes around the paragraphs; are they from different source?

      1. Actually this other text by the same author presents a more detailed version of the story http://larouchepac.com/node/14724 , precisely claiming a Presidential advisory committee directed by Cheney wrote that proposal for Ford under the influence of Wohlstetter.

        *If* substantiated, that’s intriguing. What’s for sure is that Wohlstetter is indeed one the main force behind early concerns about the proliferation risks of civilian atom :

  6. This just out from Japan after a beach in Fukushima was re opened this week end:

    Inn reopens in nuclear no-entry zone

    A bed and breakfast hotel in the no-entry zone in Fukushima has reopened, more than 2 years after the nuclear accident. The inn is in the first district in the zone to complete decontamination work.

    Officials have lifted the ban on overnight stays in Miyakoji district in the city of Tamura for a period of 3 months. This will allow residents to prepare for their return home once the evacuation order has been lifted.

    Four volunteers from the Tokyo area were the inn’s first guests since the disaster. They said they were glad to find a place to stay at the last minute.

    Inn manager Rimiko Nomita said it was a joy to have guests. She said it is the first big step toward reconstruction.

    As of the end of July, only 20 percent of former residents in the district had applied to stay overnight at their homes to plan their return.

    Some former residents remain concerned about radiation and are doubtful of government moves to lift the evacuation order.

    1. Now can someone point them to the Pandora’s Promise section were the dosimeter from Fukushima and one from Manhattan shows the same reading.

      Or will the PM of Japan have to do its job.

  7. Three cautions, all from memory so pehaps incorrect. Not too hard to check though:

    1) The Robert Anderson whom Eisenhower dispatched to Saudi Arabia was not Arco’s Robert Anderson and therefore not the person who gave money to Freinds of the Earth. He also served for a time as Eisenhower’s Treasury Secretary.

    2) ARCO had substantial investments in the nuclear fuel cycle – not much beside its oil investments, but enough so that Anderson may have been indulging his well-known penchant for contrarian philanthropy rather than pursuing a pro-oil agenda in financing both FOE and the Aspen Institute.

    3) Lovins’ 1976 Foreign Affairs article was as negative toward oil and coal as it was toward nuclear. Entitled “The Road Not Taken”, it advocated “soft energy paths”, i.e. efficiency and renewables over hard paths, i.e. oil, coal and nuclear. It was not a piece likely to have been promoted by fossil fuel interests for business reasons.

    1. @Peter Bradford

      1. Robert B. Anderson served as Eisenhower’s Administration as Secretary of the Navy until 1954, as Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1954 through 1957, and as Secretary of the Treasury from 1957-1961. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKanderson.htm Though you may be correct that he was the man that Eisenhower sent to visit with King Saud, I find it highly unlikely. Yergin is a careful writer; why would he describe Anderson as a special envoy if he had an official title? Since the episode is described as a one of applying behind the scenes pressure in a sensitive situation, why would he sent a deputy secretary of defense?

      2. What investments did ARCO have in nuclear energy? Even if they did, why would that motivate providing the critical seed money for Friends of the Earth, which was antinuclear from its initial founding?

      3. I’ve read Lovins’s essay a few times. One of the few things it got right was a prediction that coal consumption could double by using advanced techniques like fluidized beds and scrubbers. Allowing for a doubling of coal while closing the door on nuclear sounds pretty favorable to fossil fuels to me, especially in combination with promotion of gas fired cogeneration.


      1. Advocacy of the “soft energy path” is simply a stealth (liar) endorsement of fossil fuel use in the form of natural gas. The cat is out of the bag on this one and the cover is blown. Even people like Robert Kennedy and Boone Pickens admit it. There is no other way to make up the shortfall when the wind doesn’t blow other than quick-start natural gas-fired turbines, assuming you’ve trashed all the nuclear and coal plants.

      2. Robert B. Anderson made a trip to the Middle East as Eisenhower’s special envoy in 1956, probably when he was out of government. I don’t see anything indicating that Robert O. ever did, but it’s possible. Sending both in 1956 seems a stretch though.

        Googling Atlanic Richfield and nuclear for a minute produces references to litigation involving cleanup, as well as to the NUMEC facility. I just don’t know how extensive these interests were.

        As an adjunct professor at Vermont Law School, I teach a course entitled Nuclear Power and Public Policy. I have no involvement n fundraising or in administration.

        1. @Peter Bradford

          If I am wrong, I’d like to find out so that I can correct my post. Do you have a reference supporting your statement that Robert B. Anderson made a Middle East trip?

        2. In this case, though, does “no involvement” mean “no knowledge of” or does it mean “I know about the funding, but I don’t care to discuss it in the comment stream on the blog of the staunchest atomic advocate around”?

          I have become very interested to know more about some of the Vermont Law School’s motives, from noticing a trend amongst many publications that have originated there.

          1. Neither. I know very little about VLS funding and don’t know of any that comes from fossil fuel sources. I’ve also been writing pretty much as I do now for far longer than my affiliation with VLS.

        3. @Peter Bradford

          I found a reference to Eisenhower sending Robert B. Anderson to Egypt in Jan and Feb 1956.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suez_Crisis (Travels of Anderson)

          However, as coincidental as it sounds, it seems likely that it was Robert O. Anderson who was sent to Saudi Arabia in September 1956. He was the Robert Anderson who was an oil man and who would have had an in with King Saud, not the Robert B. Anderson who was a lawyer/politician/banker.

          As I said, I would love to have definitive information so I can correct my post if necessary.

          1. Have a look at King Saud’s August, 1956 note to Eisenhower, http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1955-57v16/d131. If you follow the link to Robert B on the right hand side of the page., you’ll find that he made two trips to the Middle East as a special envoy in 1956, the one you found and one in the summer. His NYT obit refers to directorships and advisry positions for several oil companies, so – though not the oilman that Robert O – was, he seems to have been well connected.

            Also, I can find no trace on Robert O. ever serving an Eisenhower’s emissary to Saudi Arabia.

            1. @Peter Bradford

              Thank you for the link. I have corrected both of the posts on Atomic Insights that mentioned the episode and attributed the warning to the wrong Robert Anderson.

              Of course, that does not change the primary point of the post; the crucial seed money for Friends of the Earth came directly from an oil man. Though some people have already suggested to me that Anderson might have been conflicted about oil and trying to make amends for its environmental damage, that does not seem very logical considering that he made the donation in 1970 and then proceeded to remain in the business for another quarter of a century before retirement.

        4. Mr Bradford could easily change It’s course label to :

          Anti Nuclear Energy And Public Policy to match.

      3. @Rod,

        Atlantic Richfield Company was into chemical reprocessing at the DOE Hanford site under the name Atlantic Richfield Handford Co. or ARHCO. This was the late 1960’s to mid 1970’s. They were also running support services for Handford site until 1977.

        However, that was the time many petroleum companies were getting involved with reprocessing due to their chemical engineering experience and knowledge.

        All of which makes ARCO one of many large industrial companies to feed out of the DOE trough during the past 30-40 years. In other words, not commercial nuclear operations but the DOE weapons side which of course has nothing to do using nuclear energy for electricity.

        Google Robert William Kupp’s book and see page 156 for another Atlantic Richfield reference.

        BTW, ARCO was also into solar and was incredibly huge in coal during its history. It also owns the most expensive Superfund site othewise known as Anaconda Mining in Butte Mt. which ARCO bought in 1977 then shut down in 1983. Anderson had hoped buying Anaconda’s mining resources would help him start shale oil ventures but it backfired since ARCO became responsible for the Berkeley Pit. However the Anaconda purchase allowed ARCO and Anderson to go big into coal since Anaconda owned Thunder Basin in Wyoming at the time.



        So one could ask if Richard O. Anderson was the first industrialist to pursue green washing?

  8. Anderson played the leading role in stopping the Malibu nuke (too near his home) and almost stopped Diablo Canyon.

    He would send his geologists out to find earthquake faults near the proposed site. The HosGri fault at Diablo was named for two of his employees.

    It is covered well in the book “The War Against the Atom”


    1. @Joseph Somsel

      Thank you for the pointer. Thank you also for your recent article in American Thinker. I disagree with your interpretation of events and hope that you apply your insights to look for “tells” that show you how much the established energy suppliers (including their construction firms and financial backers) dislike the notion of competing against nuclear energy. They are the people with both the power and the motive to have created the current success of the antinuclear movement.

      1. Rod,

        Reasonable men may disagree, especially over a tactical matter such as whether to embrace our johnny-come-lately environmentalist friends. WUWT just posted another evolution of that article.

        One statistic in support of your point about competitors was that in 1970, 35% of US electricity came from burning oil. Today, it’s about 2% Nuclear and coal displaced oil, even with total kW-hr consumption growth. ARCO lost a big market for their oil when California’s 5 reactors came on line.

          1. Doesn’t oil make up an even higher proportion of electricity generation in Hawaii? Or did you mean to write “the only place in the contiguous United States”?

            1. Hawaii’s power is virtually 100% oil. Puerto Rico, Guam, and Alaska still burn quite a bit of oil.

              as late as 1978, oil supplied as much as 17% of the electricity in the US. That year, we burned 1.5 million barrels of oil per day in electric power plants.

              Nuclear and coal pushed oil out of the market.

    1. @Engineer Poet

      There are links to the Wikipedia entries for both of the Robert Andersons in the posts. There are other bios available on the web; both of the men were pretty well known.

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