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12 Comments

  1. I like how you would approach on the article much better Rod! So far, Alec hasn’t received one supportive comment on that article. My degree is in industrial design and I took one nuclear course in college that really opened my eyes about all things nuclear and continued to study it and energy years afterwards. One of my operating principles in weighing new information is to always ask “does this pass the baloney tests?“.
    Alec Baldwin is certainly entitled to his opinion, but I think he arrives at those opinions with no humility, no baloney tests for him. He is also actively involved with a group of people where a differing opinion would get him out-casted (always bad for an actor). No one thinks very critically in these circles and their conversations are ego showcases, not discussions. This is evident in his article on the Huffington Post. Baldwin and Wasserman have very similar delivery styles in this manner I think.
    I have nothing against actors, I wish that nuclear energy had a few actor supporters who could speak intelligently on the subject to counter-balance Baldwin.

  2. Why do they always refer to “safety problems”, but never highlight and discuss them. They just claim out of thin air that there are ambiguous “safety problems”.

    1. I think that’s part of the technique. They will say things such as “nuclear is inherently unsafe” and just leave it at that without any explanation beyond. They make accusations without substantiation as to why or how and to what degree are the risks. We shouldn’t be surprised they get a fair amount of people who follow them without question, they’ve got their own believes and indulge their confirmation biases.

  3. It’s also terribly unfair to castigate nuclear power without comparing it against the safety record of other industries. For example, the explosion in Connecticut earlier this month; tragic coal mine collapses; and countless leaks and accidents at various chemical plants all make for a less-than-stellar safety record of other industries.
    The nuclear industry is a shining example of safety done right … it’s just that the alarm threshold is set far lower for the nuclear industry than for other industries.

  4. It’s a coincidence that I posted this comment to Baldwin’s article on Huffpost.
    Steven Chu only has a Nobel Prize in Physics, so of course I should get my technical information on nuclear energy from Alec Baldwin.

  5. While it is easy to hold in contempt those that hang on the words of celebrities when the same are extending an opinion far outside their area of expertise, it must be said that ‘qualifications’ in and of themselves are no guarantor of of unbiased and accurate statements ether these days. It would seen that everyone is ether for sale, or is willing to to take a stand based on ideology, rather than to offer a balanced evaluation of the facts. This being the case, an honest opinion from an actor, is perhaps of greater value than the politically motivated one from an expert.

  6. I would be cautious before I would call into question whether anything an actor says at any time can be relied on in any way just because of what an actor does to make a living.
    If Obama’s move on nuclear is going to prove to be as significant as Nixon going to China, the people who bought in to become anti nukes in the way Baldwin claims he has in his Huffington post piece will end up losing their conviction that they are right.
    Baldwin seems like a guy who wants to contribute to a good cause, which he takes anti nuke activity to be. What he writes is that being an anti nuke is: “the most important work I have ever undertaken”. He says he first got into anti nuke activity as a result of his involvement with STAR (Standing for Truth About Radiation). He sounds like a lot of people who call themselves environmentalists. They don’t generally think about themselves as lying scum.
    Baldwin claims he “gathered information”, and “worried” about things, and he seems to think it is convincing that evil things were “reported”, or found by “opponents of BNL” or whatever, but it seems clear he relies on people he takes to be authorities to do the original assessment of what information he should be gathering or what he should worry about. Individuals he named were Karl Grossman, Ernest Sternglass, Jay Gould, and Joe Mangano.
    As Baldwin spent the most words in his Huffington Post piece describing the qualifications of Sternglass compared to any other named individual, Sternglas seems to be the one you’d want to look at first if you were thinking about debating Baldwin.
    A Nuclear renaissance isn’t going to get that far unless a serious debate takes place about the past history of the US industry, and about the fears people have about the technology. The more prominent the debate becomes the better. If anti nukes think calling Stewart Brand’s line “outrageous pablum” is an effective way to proceed, let them go to it.

  7. Here’s irony:
    ‘Michael Douglas a supporter of nuclear power?
    Yes, the star and producer of The China Syndrome — released less than two weeks before the incident at Three Mile Island — told NPR that he “was against nuclear power for a long time, but have dealt with the realities of global warming, and what the alternatives are….I do support nuclear power now. I wish there were other alternatives, but I don’t think there are.”‘
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/02/the-china-syndrome-no-more.html

    1. I have a feeling this is sarcasm, but any way…
      Because natural gas is the scarcest of fossil fuels, is difficult to stockpile in any great quantity leading to volatile pricing, still emits a great deal of CO2 and has a poor safety record in comparison to the near-spotless record of nuclear energy.
      If shale gas was subjected to the same level of scrutiny as nuclear energy people would avoid piping it into their homes for fear of radon gas and obcess about the various fracking fluids used which contain some nasty compounds(e.g. aromatic hydrocarbons including low concentrations of benzene) that eventually might leak into the water table.

      1. No doubt.
        Here’s an article which suggests that the fracking process puts any issues at nuclear power plants (such as Vt. Yankee’s tritium problems) to shame, even if one specifically only looks at the issue of radioactivity in groundwater.
        http://www.tiogapublishing.com/articles/2010/02/17/free_press_courier/doc4b7c54d436533553501632.txt
        And yet, their much greater problems/impacts are barely discussed. I’ve even heard that fracking is simply exempt from the Clean Water Act. Compare that to having to provide absolute proof that not a single person will get more than 4 mrem/year, 10,000 years from now, assuming that their only source of fluid intake is grondwater with the highest concentration.

    2. The bloom box report done by 60 Minutes this last Sunday deserves a blog post in itself. Leslie Stahl didn’t ask any critical questions that I would have asked. No questions were asked like “what is the source of the fuel it uses?” or “how efficient is this compared to burning fuel?” or “what is the CO2 output per unit of energy?”. All we know is that it’s a fuel cell built on a few new techniques. If it requires a replenishment of fossil fuel on a regular basis, I don’t see how it can be a breakthrough.

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