There is a new pronuclear voice in town – CleanEnergy4America.org. I read about it on NEI Nuclear Notes this morning and just had to check it out. I recommend that you do the same – right now. After you have perused the well designed site, come back here for a little more discussion.
While I followed my own advice, I discovered CleanEnergy4America’s Blog and read the growing collection of posts. Surprisingly enough, I figured I could add to the discussion – there were not many comments yet. So I picked a post titled Think Green – Go Nuclear that expressed some amount of frustration with the lack of attention being paid to nuclear power as a leading supplier of clean, reliable energy in the United States. RobK – the blogger – cannot understand why lists of solutions to the challenge of supplying clean power often list nuclear as the last alternative if they mention it at all. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link to find my response to RobK
You seem frustrated – with good reason – that more people do not understand what you understand to be the truth about nuclear power’s value.
Part of the problem has been that the people who understand nuclear energy benefits have been WAY too quiet. Perhaps it is because they (we) tend to have been successful students who believe that once someone learns a fact they should remember it and apply it.
Most of the rest of the world does not work that way. Most people learn by repetition. They need to be told over and over again, in many venues and in many ways before they absorb and remember even obviously true statements. Unfortunately, they can also learn and remember often repeated lies.
The energy industries that compete with nuclear power seem to have more participants that have recognized this facet of human learning, and they have used it to their advantage for many decades.
- They have told people that they should fear nuclear materials, even though there is nothing to fear if the materials are handled with due respect to time, distance and shielding.
- They have told people that nuclear power is expensive, even though the power coming from our existing fleet of reactors is the second cheapest (behind hydro) source of controllable electricity on the grid.
- They have told people that nuclear plants are primary terrorist targets, even though oil and gas pipelines are attacked with great regularity and tankers have been attacked on numerous occasions on the high seas.
- They have told the world that we do not have enough uranium to power our plants for very long.
- They have told the world that we have plenty of uranium to negate the need to recycle slightly used fuel materials that still contain 95-97% of their initial potential energy.
- They have told people that nuclear power is not worth the investment, since wind and solar are sufficient.
- They have told people that if wind and solar are not sufficient, we can also include “clean coal” in the mix, as if the necessary technology actually existed and as if the only destructive part of the coal fuel cycle was the smokestack.
- They have told people that if wind and solar are not enough, we can included “clean, natural gas” in the mix as if that fuel source was infinitely available and as if increased demand would not drive up the price to levels that make it completely unaffordable for many important existing customers.
Of course, if you sell wind mills, solar panels, coal or natural gas, the financial benefits of selling those lies are pretty obvious. They should also be obvious to anyone who follows the business sections of the newspaper and TV dial.
I am greatly encouraged by the fact that you and your colleagues at CleanEnergy4America.org are standing up and planning to talk more about the positive benefits of a greatly expanded use of nuclear fission power.
My advice to you is to speak loudly, speak often, do not worry about being repetitive, and most of all, do not forget that there will be some people in the audience that will never be convinced. That is okay, we live in a world where the desires of the majority can be implemented. We just have to get through all of the distractions to reach that majority with the real story about power sources.
Editor, Atomic Insights
For those of you who have been in this struggle for a while, please encourage the fresh young voices at CleanEnergy4America.org. Comment on their blog, link to their presentations, provide them sage advice. If you are part of the organization that employs them full time, do all you can to make it possible for them to frequently contribute to this worthwhile endeavor.