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Action List Nuclear Advocacy

Fukushima lesson from Hans Christian Anderson

The story goes an emperor only interested in looking good hires deceitful tailors and is persuaded that his new clothes of special invisible material are only visible to intelligent people. The emperor resists believing he has been swindled. It takes a little boy to speak out. The boy is too young to care about being seen as stupid. Of course the adults are afraid what people will think or how they might be treated if they admit to seeing nothing.

The nuclear accident is like that but in reverse. The public are being fooled by swindlers. The swindlers are the news media and anti-nuke groups and individuals. The so-called radiation is like the clothes and no official will speak out about the false claims. The public is reluctant to accept that the radiation is harmless. Like the emperor and his subjects remain fooled, so do the public. Who gains from all of this? The swindlers. That is the news media and anti-nukes (the tailors) who keep perpetuating the fear and mythology around the subject of nuclear energy.

So what is the lesson? There will always be opportunists willing to make exaggerated claims in an attempt to satisfy their greed or perhaps their more base needs. Of course the Anderson story rang true to our ears because we have all witnessed this social phenomenon. Not that different from witch hunters, it’s the fear of the unknown that enables such myths to persist. The citizen’s of Japan feel that if they were to admit that they question the real dangers of so-called “high levels” of radiation they risk being ostracized. So the myth of “high radiation” is allowed to exist for fear of retaliation or loss of face. Now some citizens like in this article are willing to take advantage of the situation. It also demonstrates that the longer you allow a myth to perpetuate the harder it is to admit to it’s falsehood.

Action List Contributors Nuclear Advocacy

Does Obama Really Prefer Natural Gas Over Nuclear Power?

Guest post by Steve Aplin

Last week’s state of the union speech by the U.S. president got a lot of attention for its mention of climate change and the need to curtail carbon emissions. Few observers however caught the irony of a president touting solar power as a solution to climate change, in a speech that took place between nine and ten p.m. — a time at which few if any solar panels in the entire continent of North America were generating any electricity at all.Surely the president does not think that the the manufacturing centres, which he also called for in his speech, will be powered with an energy source that quits delivering when the sun goes down.

How will those centres be powered? I hope, with the only carbon-free non-hydro power source that does not rely on the planet’s rotation or the whims of wind: nuclear power. Nuclear plants in the U.S. not only generated around 79 billion watts during the president’s hour-long speech, (79 million kilowatt-hours in total) but did so without emitting a gram of CO2, the principal manmade greenhouse gas.

More important, those nuclear plants kept right on generating those 79 billion watts even after the speech wound up, and are still at it — reliably providing some of America’s cheapest and by far its cleanest energy.

But natural gas is the politically correct fuel of choice for the anti-nuke crowd, and certainly the fuel the president extolled. So how much CO2 would have been emitted if that same energy came from natural gas? That figure would then be 79 million kWh (79 billion watts times 1 hour, divided by 1000 to get kW) times 550 grams per kWh (CO2 emission factor for gas-fired generation) = 43 million metric tons avoided by the unmentioned and unsung energy source during the state of the union speech.

Nuclear Power

in one hour
79 Million kWh

that produced zero emissions

Natural gas estimate
in one hour
79 Million kWh

43 Thousand Metric tons of CO2 (43 Million Kg.)

That was in one hour. To project that over a year, multiply by 8,760 (number of hours in a year) to get 380.6 MILLION tons avoided by nuclear (380 Billion Kg.)
Plus, the biggest and most stunning scientific achievements of the last year — the landing and ensuing data stream from the Curiosity Mars rover, and the glimpses of the Higgs particle at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Europe — were made possible by nuclear energy.Curiosity is powered by the decay heat of plutonium-238, and the LCH runs on French nuclear power. Yes, those 8-trillion-electronvolt particles get their energy from fission in power reactors.

Nuclear power, in other words, provides many of the things the president called for in his speech: clean cheap energy, cutting edge scientific research, and economic progress.

What a pity the president did not mention nuclear power. It has done him and the world so many favours. It’s the unknown soldier, it’s the unknown battalion.

Action List Nuclear Advocacy

What did I do on Valentines?

I played a gig on my usual Thursday night and played all my favorite romantic melodies. But still managed to post a comment that struck a different chord.

I managed to write something in Rod Adam’s comments for his atomic insights post on the same day that shows my appreciation and almost religious point of view toward nuclear energy:

“… The complexities of a nuclear plant are the best example of our civilized worlds best engineering and would never have evolved in primitive society. Not sure what point I am making other than the fact that we are not humbled by our own awesome discoveries. Not humbled enough to recognize that we have a gift before us that only evolved because we made science and physics an institution that allowed us to “stand on the shoulders of giants” so to speak and yet we are arrogant enough to think we ( I mean civilization as a whole) can look for better alternatives than the miracle that has been placed before us. It is very unfortunate…”

“…It does challenge us to question the existent of a higher intelligence when such a natural order exists in the creation of fission. I have had similar thoughts about the delicate balance that keeps our atmosphere and biosphere from being destroyed. It is fitting that fission, whether seen as divine or not, be the one discovery that allows us to maintain that delicate balance… “

“… We are not bad at collecting information/knowledge and expanding and creating based on that knowledge. Unfortunately they are a minority and not so influential when it comes to deciding large scale adoption of practical technologies. Profit is always the prime motivator.

Not that it matters a great deal but I like to think of ourselves as co-creators with a ‘higher intelligence.’

We seem to be pretty good at getting the technology right but emotional, psychological and humanist insights do not seem to be part of the shared intelligence with that ‘higher intelligence.’ …”

Well I hope we use nuclear energy more before it’s too late.

Action List

A Response to Obama’s State of the Union Speech – Nuclear Jobs

This is NEI's Response by Alex Flint to Obabma's State of the Union Speech.

The President's speech did address the subject of jobs and stimulating the economy. He still avoids the word Nuclear. There is no way that pleading on blogs will ever directly reach someone like Obama. All any of us can hope for is that our efforts trickle upward by motivating others to contact their local politicians about their feelings about energy and that nuclear is so much better than coal and natural gas.

What Obama said:

"... Now, it's true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods - all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science - and act before it's too late. ..."

Here's a quote from Alex Flint of NEI:

"... Beyond the massive amounts of electricity they generate, nuclear energy facilities create hundreds of millions of dollars in direct and indirect revenue for state and local economies. With five reactors being built in the United States and nearly 70 more under construction internationally, it’s important that American energy companies have a fair chance to compete in a global nuclear market that could be as large as $750 billion over the next 10 years. Every $1 billion of exports represents 5,000 to 10,000 American jobs ..."

Steve Aplin made a comment on about the Obama State of the Union Speech

"... Even solar power, which did not across the entire continent of North America generate a single watt of electricity between nine and ten p.m. EST yesterday, was mentioned in the state of the union. Is that how those manufacturing centres will be powered?

Nuclear, which not only generated around 79 billion watts in the U.S. during the SOTU but did so without emitting a gram of CO2, did not get mentioned -- except in the context of locking down loose material.

I console myself by remembering that those nuclear plants kept right on generating those 79 billion watts even after the speech wound up, and are still at it.

Plus, the biggest scientific achievements of the last year -- the landing and ensuing data stream from Curiosity and the glimpses of the Higgs particle at the LHC -- were made possible by nuclear energy. Curiosity because it is powered by plutonium, the LCH because it runs on French nuclear power. Yes, those 7-TeV particles got their energy from fission in power reactors.

This isn't the unknown soldier, it's the unknown battalion. ..."

A friend who made a good observation said that Obama chooses to speak about what he thinks people want to hear. His words don't seem to be emotionally driven or even represent his own feelings. We do get a glimpse occasionally when he connects such as the response to the Sandy School shootings but it's rare. Why this is the case may come down to the simple fact that Obama has made up his mind. We can speculate that he's been bought. None of that makes any difference. The voices of the people can make a difference. The question is, are you one of them?

Action List Contributors Nuclear Advocacy

Reducing the costs of making nuclear plants!!!

A recent post by Jim Hopf titled How Can Nuclear Construction Costs Be Reduced? Jan. 24, 2013 at ANS Nuclear Cafe

Definitely worth a read. The comments are also important and Jim responds to regular contributors on other blogs.
I will summarize when I find the time. The obstacles to affordable nuclear plants are the reason this website exists. As expected the NRC is a big part of the discussion.
Action List Contributors Nuclear Advocacy

Good Review on Pandora’s Promise at Sundance

'Pandora's Promise,' a radically sane and important documentary about how nuclear power could save us
By Owen Gleiberman

This is another one of those rare times when I push the rules for the sake of educating the public. This story is lifted directly from Entertainment Weekly Inside Movies column because it required scrolling down and risked losing the readers.

When was the last time you saw a documentary that fundamentally changed the way you think? It’s no secret that just about every political and socially-minded documentary shown at Sundance is preaching to the liberal-left choir. The issue may be dairy farming, human rights abuses in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the marketing of AIDS drugs, or Occupy Wall Street (to list the topics of four festival docs this year), but the point of view is almost always conventionally “progressive” and orthodox. So when Robert Stone, who may be the most under-celebrated great documentary filmmaker in America (watch Oswald’s Ghost if you want to touch the elusive truth of the JFK assassination), arrived at Sundance this year with Pandora’s Promise, a look at the myths and realities of nuclear power, he was walking into the lion’s den. For this isn’t a movie that preaches to the choir. It’s a movie that says: “Stop thinking what you’ve been thinking, because if you don’t, you’re going to collude in wrecking the world.” Pandora’s Promise is built around what should be the real liberal agenda: looking at an issue not with orthodoxy, but with open eyes.
In Pandora’s Promise, Stone interviews a major swath of environmentalists, scientists, and energy planners, all of whom spent years being anti-nuclear power — and then, as they began to look at the evidence, changed their minds. The film begins with a deep examination of the psychology of the anti-nuclear view: how it took hold and became dogma. It goes all the way back to 1945, of course, and the horror of the atomic bomb. From that moment, really, the very word nuclear was tainted. It meant something that was going to kill you, in the form of lethal radiation that you can’t see. By the time of the “No Nukes” protests of the ’70s, to be “anti-nuclear” was to conflate nuclear weapons and nuclear power into a single category of scientific evil, a point of view whipped up, over the years, into a doctrinaire frenzy of righteous fear and loathing by anti-nuclear activists like Dr. Helen Caldicott and reinforced by movies like The China Syndrome and even, in its benign satirical way, The Simpsons.
Stone, a lifelong environmental lefty himself, unravels that thinking. The film’s incredibly articulate — and deeply progressive — spokemen and women explain the nuts and bolts of why nuclear power, manufactured with the sophisticated breeder reactors that are available today, is fundamentally clean, efficient, and, yes, safe. As Richard Rhodes puts it in the movie: “To be anti-nuclear is basically to be in favor of burning fossil fuels.” Pandora’s Promise makes a powerful case that in an age when former Third World countries, striving for modernization, are beginning to consume energy in much vaster amounts (and why shouldn’t they have the right to do so?), none of the alternative energy sources that are commonly talked about by environmentalists (wind, solar, etc.) can begin to fill the planet’s energy needs. Only nuclear energy can. That’s why France, faced with its own energy crisis several decades ago, went nuclear. (Eighty percent of France’s energy is now generated by nuclear power plants.)
Ah, you say, but what about Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima? The ultimate issue raised by nuclear power — the one that, according to conventional progressive thinking, stops the pro-nuclear argument right in its tracks — is, of course, the issue of safety. And the very names of those three locales cast a dark mythological shadow. You hear them and think: Meltdown. Radiation poisoning. Death. Disaster. But this is where, as a society, we desperately need more filmmakers like Robert Stone. Carefully, piece by piece, without hysteria and without dogma, he looks at the evidence of what actually happened during those three infamous catastrophes: the reality of the damage, and the reality of the aftermath. The results, if you truly listen to them, are almost spectacularly counterintuitive. They won’t leave you shaken. They will begin to shake you out of your old tired ways of thinking.
The most startling argument mounted by Pandora’s Promise is that the rise of nuclear power is not merely a good thing, but probably inevitable, because it is, in fact, the only way that we can power the planet and save it at the same time. In what has to be the ultimate liberal-documentary irony, Stone demonstrates that the dire threat of global warming all but demands nuclear power as the key to its solution. Without it, the debate will go on, but carbon dioxide will continue to fill the atmosphere, and liberals everywhere, caught up in reflexive modes of environmental “activism” that are now not just complacent but perilously out-of-date, will continue to let their anxieties trump reality.
Action List Nuclear Advocacy

Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers 139th Issue

"Yes Vermont Yankee" is host to a little more thoughtful and educational presentation than is often the case. Meredith Angwin has pieced together the themes in a structured way that covers the topics in three categories. The first most prominent is radiation which has been a hot issue ever since the Fukushima incident of March 11, 2011. The others are Energy and Politics.

Take a look. It will get you up to speed on current issues. As I predicted over a year ago the Fukushima incident will have some good consequences. Not only has the incident converted some people to the pro-nuclear side but it's own people voted in a new government that is pro-nuclear after months of news reports about the protests and so-called end to the nuclear industry in Japan. It could be argued that the Fukushima incident has helped move things forward in the nuclear energy field.


Action List Contributors Nuclear Advocacy Uncategorized

Review of this years posts

  1. The recent presidential election has left a bad impression to most people. The election process needs changing so that more people can learn about the real issues and stop wasting cash for character attacks and useless ads and only letting those with money call the shots.
    One Term Amendment Needed to Flush Out the Abuse of Power Jan. 4, 2012
  2. Guest Post by Robert Gauthier (DV82XL) who has been an active critic of the way the nuclear industry and it’s advocates treat the subject of proliferation here is his post.
    Uncovering the Truth about the Threat of Nuclear Proliferation by DV82XL Jan. 18, 2012
  3. After a year of hype and propaganda regarding Fukushima an attempt to put it all in perspective.
    Fukushima Foolishness Amongst Tohoku Terror Mar. 15, 2012
  4. Taking action and making change needs props and here are some listed.
    Your Nuclear Advocate Activist Kit Apr. 10, 2012
  5. First of two excellent books published in the same year Superfuel is one of them.
    See my book review of SUPERFUEL by Richard Martin Apr. 20, 2012 and also
    My review of Thorium: energy cheaper than coal by Robert Hargraves
  6. Another post that is a direct copy and paste but felt that my readers needed to see
    How Congress Goes Nuclear May. 1, 2012
  7. Nuclear Bloggers Extraordinaire exposing the dishonesty May. 18, 2012
  8. The getting-to-be-obvious fact, to many people, that the NRC has been controlled by anti-nuclear forces like Harry Reid’s sidekick Jaczko
    Jaczko announced his resignation May. 21, 2012
  9. Obama keeps picking the staff based on what appears politically correct.
    Obama picks an anti-nuke!!! MacFarlane has no nuclear background. We must object. May. 24, 2012
  10. A different take on the subject of Yucca and the situation in Nevada
    The History of Nuclear Waste told by Matt Stroud Jun. 15, 2012
  11. My plea to appeal to rational minds about FukushimaMusic and facts to calm residents near Fukushima Jul. 2, 2012
  12. My view about how making the argument for global change is too ambitious for many and that it leads people to remain fence-sitters on an important issue.How the focus on climate change allows complacency – macro vs micro Aug. 16, 2012
  13. About how the close contests for leadership have made the campaigners into phonies and adoescents.Fear of losing only happens in close contests. Rod Adams explains the low risk campaigning. Sep. 20, 2012
  14. When leadership is sadly missing among world leaders my letter to a new candidate spells out what is needed to make them better leaders.A Letter to the Newest Federal Liberal Candidate – Justin Trudeau Oct. 7, 2012
  15. Pertaining to Fossil Fuel Industry Fighting Nuclear Using Propaganda Oct. 8, 2012
  16. Social Risk Assessment and Data Mining vs. Good PR Planning? Nov. 14, 2012
Action List Nuclear Advocacy

Social Risk Assessment and Data Mining vs. Good PR Planning?

A New York Times article China Mandates Social Risk Reviews for Big Projects by Keith Bradsher published on November 12, 2012 discusses proposed measures to be taken in China to avoid violent protests over major installations such as coal plants, chemical plants and copper smelters.

When I read this it immediately struck me as both progressive and short-sighted at the same time. I thought that any projects that pose a perceived threat to the public can be handled in a planned methodical way. But like so many governments when it comes to doing risk assessment it is rarely done to determine feasibility of a project. And if it is done at all it is only done in response to violent protests. And even then discussion about risk assessment is often a way to keep the critics off their backs.

The idea that data mining or predictions could be made based on using the internet and social media to get a pulse of the people is a progressive idea. To my mind it seems that more valuable information could be gathered than about where the risk of violence could happen. What about areas that the public is misinformed or needs educating on crucial facts. We know propaganda is a misused tool in dictatorships but what about the truth about nuclear energy and radiation. Could we learn from this? How about trying to read the pulse of Americans and Canadians? The leaning of various groups toward superstition and irrational fear could be alleviated by ads and documentaries. This would not be wasteful spending.

The so-called risk they are trying to avoid is not the environmental damage. That is usually a secondary concern. The risk they are trying to deal with is the reaction of the public. It appears that the Chinese public are suffering more at the expense of industrial growth. Growing pains maybe.

In October of this year over fifteen hundred demonstrators marched in Ningbo City against the government to protest the expansion of a petrochemical plant. There was a clash with the local riot police. Roads were blocked. The government agreed to halt the plants expansion. Earlier this year in July there was a protest in Shifang that also drew thousands and influenced the outcome. In this case it was construction of a copper mine that had been halted. Both these projects were stopped after the local protests spread nationally through the social networks. See map of Protests Over Large Projects None of them are nuclear although there was a report in January, 2012 about a new nuclear plant in Pengze county in Jiangxi.

So the question I want answered is this: Why not use money needed in doing a risk assessment that requires spending on research and analysis to include creating ads or mini documentaries that can educate the public about the benefits. Public pressure is often the result of misinformation. It would be a more holistic approach. Remove the fears and prevent the protests. This is a sensible way to help bring about positive change.

Action List Nuclear Advocacy

A Letter to the Newest Federal Liberal Candidate – Justin Trudeau

Dear Justin Trudeau

I am in favour of any leader who knows energy science. That tells me they care about the environment and recognize that in order to protect the planet from disaster from climate change we cannot simply adapt an “all of the above” outlook on energy. The days of politicians who rely on other politicians to guide them on policy has to end. Consult with the experts, scientists and engineers. The need for energy will keep getting bigger and our resources will keep getting smaller. There is only one reliable source of energy that is sustainable and will never run out and that is nuclear energy. Look at the facts. and

I also urge you to consider the hysteria over radiation. (read F.E.A.R. Fukushima Emits Acceptable Radiation )

Two of the biggest discoveries I have made in recent years is related to radiation. One is that we all have experienced radiation from the beginning of time. (read Leslie Corrice’s page “The ‘Nuclear isn’t Natural’ Myth“) The same elements that have been around since the big bang are still releasing their radiation except perhaps the elements that have nearly disappeared from natural decay, the point is that our bodies have learned to deal with small amounts of radiation like what has occurred in Fukushima. In fact we evolved from a time when natural radiation was much stronger. (see The Time is Right For Discussing Hormesis )

Second is that nuclear activity is what keeps the earth’s core in a molten state and that without out it we would not have a magnetic field that enables the planet to deflect solar winds from the sun preventing us from turning into a dead planet.

The problem with wind and solar are a double whammy of expense and unreliability. The energy from nuclear is just so much more dense and reliable it occupies much less space. When you actually look at their differences you will be shocked. (see Nuclear power compared to other sources )

You can learn a lot by reading my two blogs above but also and
following the “Energy From Thorium” page on facebook.

Suggested Reading

Robert Hargraves Thorium: energy cheaper than coal

Gwyneth Cravens

Follow and Barry Brook from Australia

also news columnists George Monbiot and Mark Lynas from the UK

or google Kirk Sorensen on Youtube and find his many talks.