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15 Comments

  1. Hey Rod, I know what you mean. I engage in comment threads in the Toronto Star, Daily Kos and the occasional site here and there in spite of the apparent futileness of the endeavour. I do this because I believe voices that bring facts about nuclear energy to the public debate helps to counter general ignorance and fossil-fuel funded misinformation. We can’t really know how many people are made to re-think, or even possibly experience a change of mind, by what we say in the form of online comments. However, the number is surely greater than it would be if we just gave up. So,I say to all – pick up the keyboard and keep hammering away! This is a very important battle…

    1. I believe you posted a link to your own book on Thorium (which may have been seen as unrelated to the original article). Presumably, the original article was about Obama administration, and potential upcoming plans to scale development of uranium power plants and SMRs in the States.

      Just guessing.

    2. Actually Robert you ran into Idyl a rabid antinuclear commenter that has an in with management. If he wants your post deleted it is gone almost immediately for the least of excuses. It’s likely listing your own book was the excuse used.

      Try reposting again without the the reference.

  2. Also on her article, Tina points to the new Moniz’s DOE appointment as an Obama pro nuclear move.

    Well, the DOE is in a third attempt to secure a loan for the Votgle plants. What’s the beef? Third attempt?

    Well, it is very simple. Moniz states that nuclear plants have to be able to prove that they can be built on time and on budget. Financing is a bit of an issue and loan guarantee are an accepted paradigm in this context on plants that can provide clear and safe electricity for the next 100 years. (The next 100 years paradigm comes from Nnadir on a well maintained plant)

    So the DOE offers Geogia Power, a company with 12 billions in quality annual revenue, a loan at the same prohibitive interest rate they would charge a Solyndra that has no credit history. Fair game ?

    I do not think so.

    So do not ask yourself if the DOE understands basic financial risks and are pro nuclear and if Georgia Power knows a raw deal when it sees one.

  3. Several tears ago I was introduced to a subject that is very hot among psychologists and neuroscientists and it deals with how people think and how they make decisions. The results of all the studies introduces us to the difficult acknowledgement that people make illogical and irrational decisions, contrary to accepted belief otherwise. Another book published in 2008 called Risk and the irresistible draw of illogic and irrational decision making by Ira and Rom Bromfman.
    It highlights how many rational and responsible people are often drawn into making irrational decisions contrary to their training and understanding. What I have learned from these studies is how useless it is to discuss and try to persuade anti-nuclear people to accept facts that range outside their mind set. Perhaps a few, that are borderline can be persuaded by facts and logic. The only realistic solution to this dilemma is follow the science and ignore the irrational. Leaders, that are successful have always done this in spite of criticism.

  4. I’m one of the ones that started thinking because of such striking examples. Like the fact that Chernobyl has an unintended natural reserve instead of being a waste land, or that the best way to get rid of nuclear weapons is by burning its plutonium in power plants, or indeed the incredible energy density of uranium.
    When I was irritated by the sensationalism and lack of information in the news about the tsunami and Fukushima accident, I searched for better info myself, and found more than I ever could have imagined before I started that journey. It turned my ideas about the subject completely, though I wasn’t really anti anymore like in my teens and I hadn’t emotionally invested in an anti stance, so the change wasn’t so heart-wrenching.

    Now I try to set the feet of other people on a similar path of discovery. This evening I talked about it with a woman who didn’t like the idea of more nuclear power but was willing to listen and said she didn’t know a lot of the things I said. I don’t have the illustion that she thinks differently about it now after just a talk of some minutes, but she was interested in hearing something else than she thought was true. Who knows if a couple more of such encounters and a bit of reading will start her on such a journey.

    So posts like yours can have an effect, and especially the ones in your blog, for people that search for more info. The fierce anti’s you can’t reach, but people in two minds like I was, you can and do.

  5. Hi Rod.

    I recently took John Daly of Oilprice.com (someone I note you’ve taken to task before) to task over his recent article Chernobyl at Sea? Russia Building Floating Nuclear Power Plants, and was quite surprised and delighted by the support I received from others who took the time to post.

    It’s definitely worth making the occasional stand when you see the rubbish some people publish.

  6. Rod,

    I occasionaly post comments to nuclear power stories at Huffington and have run into the same commentor that you did. That commentor, and many others, will never change their minds no matter what or who proves them wrong.

    But I still dip my toe in every so often for the fact that there are many more silent people who read the comments but never make a comment. Some of those people are amenable to reason, or at least may be lead to question the FUD and do some follow up research of their own.

    There is a hard core group at both extremes of just about any issue that will never change their opinions. But the greater number of people are floating in the middle and can be nudged to either side. And if only the antis do the nudging then the floaters will tend to flow that way.

    1. Trashing Genders posts can be fun. Since he posts the same stupid statements over and over again, I just post the same debunking. He used to be known as Research before finally getting the boot for outrageous ad homs.

      Unfortunately, he also has an in with management – so keep in mind he can say anything he wants. You on the other hand, will get the boot if you respond in kind. Mr Mann here has developed an incredibly thick skin when dealing on Huffpo which explains his longevity their.

  7. Rod,
    As a prolific commenter on the Huffington Post I try to ignore the personal attacks, “paid poster” “shill” “lying murdering purveyor of nuclear poison” and colloquial “Mikie” label which seems to be a favorite and focus on the issue, to provide accurate information for that third party “lurker” who just might be open to reason. I don’t always succeed and sometimes I get drawn into extended discussions on my motivation for posting. I appreciate it when others lend their voice to help counter the avalanche of misinformation posted by anti-nuclear propagandists. Thank You!
    Michael Mann

  8. When I participated in a comments section for a nuclear related Huffington Post article (“Christine Todd Whitman: Envisioning a Sustainable Energy Future”) that Genders person also showed up there.

    She is impervious to outside input and it is only worth debating her in order to put on a calm and informative show for any lurkers who might be amenable to persuasion.

    At one point she claimed that every nuclear reactor in the USA receives a half billion dollar subsidy per year. I pointed out that that would be more than $50 billion per year, which is 40% larger than the DOE’s entire budget.

    She didn’t even slow down. No matter how wrong you prove her, it has no effect on her opinions.

  9. The supposed “dangers” of nuclear power are based on the assumption that no level of radiation is safe. This comes from an outdated “linear no-threshold model” (LNT) that is only applied to radiation and not to other mutagens (like food). The French Academy of Sciences, the Health Physics Society and the American Nuclear Society have all rejected LNT, having found that doses below 10 rem (which includes allowable occupational and environmental exposures) result in risks of health effects that are either too small to be observed or are non-existent (take your pick). These organizations are made up of individuals who actually work in the field providing protection for workers and the public from radiation exposure. Their position on LNT actually puts their livelihood in jeopardy because it implies levels below concern and therefore lessens the demand for experts in their field. On the other hand, anti-nuke organizations like the U of Concerned Scientists rake in money by stirring up public sentiment against nuclear power. I work in the nuclear industry on the west coast and the only isotope that we saw in the air from Fukishima was I-131 – barely detectable and with 8-day half-life, and barely detectable Cs-134 that was entrained and concentrated by our cooling towers. These trace amounts were completely decayed below detectable levels within a week.

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