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Wed Apr 11, 2012, 05:36 PM

Vicious words mark the war between pro and anti-nuclear environmentalists

Vicious words mark the war between pro and anti-nuclear environmentalists
The dispute is getting personal and much closer to the political bone with the fallout potentially damaging the whole idea of 'environmentalism'


The war of words between the pro- and anti-nuclear environmentalists shows no sign of ending, with those writers in favour – George Monbiot, Mark Lynas, Fred Pearce and Stephen Tindale – now slugging it out with those campaigning against – Jonathon Porritt, Tom Burke, Tony Juniper and Charles Secrett. Everyone is pretending to be quite grown-up, polite and cool, but actually it's getting vicious.

Apart from a few gratuitous insults on either side, the dispute that has rumbled on for a few years has so far been largely technocratic and conducted with political and personal respect. In the latest skirmishes, the four former heads of Friends of the Earth (FoE) politely wrote to the prime minister advising him to drop nuclear power on cost and other grounds; whereupon the hacks also wrote to No 10 saying this advice undermined government climate change policy. Over the next month Porritt, Burke & co will issue four or five more intellectual blasts, and will convene a press conference, and we can expect the hacks to respond.

Until now it has been a classic "fundi" and "realo" split with the pros' (the realos) desperation to address climate change set against the antis' (the fundis) conviction that nuclear takes too long, is too expensive and won't actually work.

But now, the dispute is getting personal and much closer to the political bone with the fallout potentially damaging the whole idea of "environmentalism". First we have Lynas suggesting that nuclear protesters are not really environmentalists at all, then Monbiot doubted Burke's commitment to the environment – despite his 40 years' active service. Now, in an extraordinary exchange of emails between Monbiot and Theo Simon – who is one half of the renowned radical protest band Seize the Day – all opponents of nuclear power are said to have made their arguments "with levels of bullshit and junk science".

Here's part of Monbiot's letter ...


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/apr/10/war-nuclear-environmentalists-vicious

Many many background links embedded in original.




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Reply Vicious words mark the war between pro and anti-nuclear environmentalists (Original post)
kristopher Apr 2012 OP
izquierdista Apr 2012 #1
freshwest Apr 2012 #3
kristopher Apr 2012 #8
izquierdista Apr 2012 #16
kristopher Apr 2012 #18
izquierdista Apr 2012 #21
kristopher Apr 2012 #22
izquierdista Apr 2012 #23
kristopher Apr 2012 #24
PamW Apr 2012 #28
kristopher Apr 2012 #29
izquierdista Apr 2012 #36
PamW Apr 2012 #44
freshwest Apr 2012 #2
bananas Apr 2012 #4
freshwest Apr 2012 #6
bananas Apr 2012 #10
cprise Apr 2012 #27
PamW Apr 2012 #30
kristopher Apr 2012 #31
bananas Apr 2012 #5
freshwest Apr 2012 #7
bananas Apr 2012 #11
bananas Apr 2012 #12
bananas Apr 2012 #13
freshwest Apr 2012 #14
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #32
kristopher Apr 2012 #35
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #41
kristopher Apr 2012 #42
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #43
Nederland Apr 2012 #37
kristopher Apr 2012 #38
freshwest Apr 2012 #40
Nederland Apr 2012 #45
freshwest Apr 2012 #39
GliderGuider Apr 2012 #9
freshwest Apr 2012 #15
XemaSab Apr 2012 #17
freshwest Apr 2012 #19
XemaSab Apr 2012 #20
kristopher Apr 2012 #25
kristopher Apr 2012 #26
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #33
kristopher Apr 2012 #34

Response to kristopher (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 05:51 PM

1. They need to BURY the hatchet

 

I think the common ground between the two is to get nuclear out of the biosphere that we inhabit. That can be done, while still having the benefits of nuclear power if we BURY the reactors. This idea is not new, and a detailed article in the October 1971 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists provides an engineering insight into how it could be done (find it here: http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/21569695/underground-nuclear-power-plants)

A more modern version of the idea can be found here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2011/03/29/singapore-considers-underground-nuclear-reactors/

There's no doubt that nuclear power plant guts are toxic to all forms of life on the planet. The obvious solution is to make sure they are not on the planet, but in the planet. It's amazing the amount of radiation shielding you get from just a half a mile of overburden. And there are plenty of played out mines that, with a little bit of geo-engineering, would be perfect for siting a nuclear power plant. When something goes wrong, not even if, but when something eventually goes wrong, isolating it can be done cheaply and quickly.

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 06:16 PM

3. And that was Michio Kaku's solution to the ongoing mess in Japan:



And although I disagree with where Michio Kaku has gone since then in some of his corporate seminars, he knew exactly what he was talking about there, but his advice was not heeded.

What was it that stopped this from being done? Was it corporate greed, pressure from forces not reported in the media, pride, ego or stupidity?

I don't for one single second, believe the Japanese are stupid, but they may be enslaved to corporations who seem to be more powerful than governments. IDK.

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 06:53 PM

8. We started to discuss this a while back and I never got back to you

Contrary to your assumption I did read the article before I said that the economics are almost certainly prohibitive. In that discussion you are going off of one *advocacy* article that is 40 years old and taking it as if it were offering a definitive analysis of the cost/benefit of the concept. That simply isn't true. It is one thing to make a claim and propose a novel solution to complex problems, but it is quite another to have that concept survive the process of rigorous technical, environmental and economic analysis. I think it is absolutely safe to assume that this is an idea which has been looked at by nuclear industry planners around the world who are looking for a better mousetrap - and it hasn't passed muster.

You post now contains a link to a more modern proposal, one we've heard a pretty fair amount about. The Forbes article links to this NewScientist article:
Several designs for such "mini reactors" have been proposed by companies like TerraPower and Hyperion Power. And while their proponents argue they could provide cheap, reliable, and safe sources of energy, they are still years away from being plugged into any electrical grid.

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/onepercent/2011/03/nuclear-power-to-go-undergroun.html

Contrary to the claims of the proponents of this technology, it too faces some extremely tough challenges. Among other things, the claim that cost reductions can be achieve by harness economy of scale from mass production really don't stand close scrutiny for those cost reductions are only available at a substantial level after you have mass produced tens or hundreds of thousands of units. Each of the units on the way to an inexpensive unit has to be bought by someone willing to pay prices for the technology that are almost certain to be far above what the large-scale units can be built for (per KW) and thus also more than the competing renewable technologies.

Then there is the original point that is of interest to you - burying the units underground for safety. My understanding is that while that is talked about as a "neighborhood nuke" solution, in practice most people think the actual path to deployment, if it can happen at all will be above ground, on site at existing plants where they can be added in small increments to grow the capacity of the plant slowly and avoid the huge up-front capital outlay of a 1GW reactor.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #8)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 07:43 PM

16. 'the economics are almost certainly prohibitive'

 

Is that before or after you factor in the cost of a Chernobyl or a Fukushima? I would think that retrofitting an old coal or hardrock mine would be much less time and money than building a multibillion dollar above ground sarcophagus after the fact. Many centuries into the future archaeologists may get confused as to why there was such a time lag between the construction of the pyramids at Giza and the ones at Chernobyl and Fukushima.

I didn't become an advocate for this idea from reading an old article. I came up with it independently when I was standing at the edge of a burial pit at Hanford and staring down at the cores of 3 submarines lying in a trench. It was after that informative visit that I began to dig up old articles and think about them. The history of nuclear power is full of bad decisions, ones that were usually made by managers who looked at the economics rather than engineers who looked at the safety.

The real competition for nuclear power should be from geothermal. The question that should be asked is "If we drill a hole here, will we get enough natural steam coming up to power a turbine, or do we have to bury a nuclear reactor to make more?"

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #16)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 09:12 PM

18. OK I understand; are you a denier?

Are you one of those who, like climate deniers, ignores the huge body of evidence that tells us that renewable energy sources go together to produce a system that is superior in every way to the nuclear/coal paradigm? I ask because you just don't get to any justification of nuclear that ignores cost without first pretending there are no options.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #18)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 10:14 PM

21. Put your broad brush away

 

I am not going to deny what is obvious, that humanity gets one shot at using the fossil fuels that have been stored up over geologic time. True, once peak fossil fuels is far in the rear view mirror, we're back to renewables and let's hope that wind, solar, geothermal, and all others are more advanced than what they were when fossil fuel extraction started. But even with those improvements, it might not be enough to keep up with the demands for energy. What then?

Do you ration it? Or do you have turn to some non-renewable technology, which really only leaves nuclear, either fission or fusion? Even if fusion technology is figured out far into the future, you still have a nuclear waste problem because of all the tritium generated (although not nearly as horrendous a problem as for fission reactors). And the best way to keep that tritium waste from a fusion reactor contained would be to bury the reactor before it's even started.

I'm being realistic in saying that there probably are reasons for keeping some nuclear reactors running -- production of medical isotopes, Pu thermoelectric units for space exploration, research, etc. Now if you grant that some need to be kept running we're back to the age old question -- how to keep it out of the biosphere completely? This is the question that should have been solved first, not left as an afterthought. After people found out how dangerous radioactivity was, and they were well aware of it by even the 1930s because of the history of workers who made radium watch dials, they should have banished all work with radioactivity to deep underground locations.

Nuclear technology stands the old saw "familiarity breeds contempt" upside down: there are many who are unfamiliar with it and have great contempt for it; yet those who work with it daily get complacent and don't have enough contempt for the dangers of it. Having worked in the industry, I've seen a lot of irrational thinking on both sides. In the ideal world of the future, the use of nuclear should use as its motto its own ALARA principle -- As Little As Reasonable Allowable. But if we are going to have cities with millions of people in the future, like Shanghai or New York or Mexico City, I wonder how you get all that renewable energy they will require into that small area, or would it just be more cost effective to have a nuclear reactor a half-mile under the city.

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #21)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:09 PM

22. "I am not going to deny what is obvious" - But that is exactly what you are doing

The existing renewable technologies are fully capable of powering the modern world many, many times over. You really have crossed into the same camp as climate deniers when you posit that they are somehow inferior to the way we produce power now.

You cannot support that belief any more effectively than a climate denier can support their beliefs and you merit the same respect.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #22)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:21 AM

23. I puke out the words you stuff in my mouth

 

and put you on ignore.

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #23)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:48 AM

24. That's unfortunate

However it doesn't change the basic leap into faulty logic required to sustain your reasoning - that renewable energy sources are somehow inadequate. Everything you write, eloquent as you are, is predicated on that untrue nugget of misinformation,

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 02:47 PM

28. Actually....

If you look at the design of the typical PWR - Pressurized Water Reactor; the reactor itself is below grade.

The reactor isn't buried deep in the ground, but it is below grade and has a very strong, and sealed building called the containment building built above and around it.

Such a building does better than if the volume above the reactor were just regular ground.

Nuclear engineers and proponents of nuclear power understand how toxic and dangerous the innards of the reactor core are; I would say that they understand that better than the anti-nukes.

However, where the two sides differ is that the nuclear engineers and pros believe the challenges can be handled.

It's like the difference between those that are in favor of flying and the crowd that says that "if God had meant Man to fly, He would have given him wings". Aeronautical engineers and pilots are not oblivious to the fact that we can't maintain flight at altitude without a working aircraft. Gravity is always working to pull you down.

The anti-flight crowd looks at that and just gives up. They say that aircraft and pilots will never be perfect, that there is the possibility of the aircraft crashing and killing those aboard. They believe that means we can't fly, because we can't be perfect.

However, those that design airplanes and those that pilot them don't take that tack. Engineers are always working to make airliners safer. To that end, they have largely succeeded. Mile for mile, airliner travel is much safer than automobile travel that practically everyone accepts.

If we look at the last half century or 50 years; we have lost in the USA over 2 million people to automobile accidents. We have an annual death rate of 40,000 to 50,000 people each year due to automobile crashes; or over 2 million deaths for the 50 years. However, we don't let that stop us because of all the positive things that having the mobility of a car engenders.

Likewise, we haven't stopped flying in airliners, even though there have been crashes that have killed thousands if not tens of thousands of people in the last 50 years. The positive effects are worth the very small risk that we will be in one of the unlucky flights. As well, engineers and pilots are constantly working to make flight safer.

In the last 50 years that we have had nuclear power; NOT a SINGLE member of the general public has been killed or injured in the accident of a US-operated nuclear power plant. Nobody was killed or injured in the single bad US accident.

Sure - the Russians and Japanese have fared worse. However, that is due to their own failings.

If you look at the history of Russian airliners, it is much worse and less safe than US carriers. They have made a lot of mistakes. We don't let that bother us - because our engineers and regulators have not made the same mistakes that the Russians have. Therefore, the poor flight experience of the Russians really tells us NOTHING about the safety of US aircraft.

Likewise, the Russians and Japanese have made some terrible mistakes. The Russians built an over-moderated and unstable reactor, and were informed of that by the USA. They disregarded the US advice until one of those RBMK reactors, Chernobyl Unit 4 had a very bad accident.

Likewise, the Japanese were told that they have to ensure that electric power is available to run the shutdown cooling for their reactors, and they have to ensure that power is available even under the accident scenarios of earthquake and tsunami. They were told that it was a bad idea to put the fuel tanks for the back-up diesel generators at dockside. Sure it's convenient to have the tanks there, but they are vulnerable to tsunami. They were also told that the diesel generators had to be in water-tight vaults and not in a non watertight basement because a tsunami could flood those generators and they'd be useless for needed shutdown cooling. The Japanese were told that their Mark I containment buildings needed a hardened vent to vent hydrogen gas in the event of fuel cladding failure. In all cases, they ignored the US advice. Many ask what we can learn from the Japanese accident. In fact, the answer is "not much". Most of the problems / deficiencies in the Japanese plants are ones that US reactor vendors and regulators thought of without having to have an accident.

PamW

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Response to PamW (Reply #28)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 02:58 PM

29. Beyond our imagination: Fukushima and the problem of assessing risk

Beyond our imagination: Fukushima and the problem of assessing risk
BY M. V. RAMANA | 19 APRIL 2011
Article Highlights
- Severe accidents at nuclear reactors have occurred much more frequently than what risk-assessment models predicted.
- The probabilistic risk assessment method does a poor job of anticipating accidents in which a single event, such as a tsunami, causes failures in multiple safety systems.

- Catastrophic nuclear accidents are inevitable, because designers and risk modelers cannot envision all possible ways in which complex systems can fail.

The multiple and ongoing accidents at the Fukushima reactors come as a reminder of the hazards associated with nuclear power. As with the earlier severe accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, it will take a long time before the full extent of what happened at Fukushima becomes clear. Even now, though, Fukushima sheds light on the troublesome and important question of whether nuclear reactors can ever be operated safely.

Engineers and other technical experts have two approaches for making nuclear reactors safe: The first is to design the reactor so that it is likely to recover from various initiating failures -- lowering the probability that the damage will spread, even in the absence of any protective actions, automatic or deliberate. The second approach, used in addition to the first, is to incorporate multiple protective systems, all of which would have to fail before a radioactive release could occur. This latter approach is known as "defense-in-depth," and it is often advertised as an assurance of nuclear safety. The World Nuclear Association, for example, claims that "reactors in the western world" use defense-in-depth "to achieve optimum safety."

Within this perspective, accidents are usually blamed, at least in part, on a lack of properly functioning safety systems, or on poor technical design. For example, analysts typically traced the catastrophic impacts of the Chernobyl accident to the reactor's lack of containment and its behavior when being operated at low power. Similarly, in response to the current Fukushima accidents, many analysts have focused on the weaknesses of the reactors' Mark 1 containment system.

Unfortunately, focusing on individual components -- rather than the system as a whole -- gives analysts a false sense of security. Here's how their thinking goes: For each safety system, there is only a small chance of failure at any given time, so it's exceedingly unlikely that more than one safety system will fail at the same moment. A severe accident can't happen unless multiple safety systems fail simultaneously or sequentially. Therefore, a severe accident is exceedingly unlikely.

Unfortunately, there are occasions when multiple safety systems do fail at the same time -- and these occur far more frequently than analysts assume. This is what happened at Fukushima. Accidents can also happen when the failure of one safety component triggers failures in other components. And in some cases, individual components work properly but the system as a whole fails. An example PDF is the Mars Polar Lander accident of 1999, when the lander's software -- working as designed -- interpreted transient signals as confirmation that the space vehicle had touched down. The software then turned off the descent engines prematurely, causing the vehicle to crash on Mars' surface. Such failure modes are hard to model within the mechanistic framework adopted by most safety analysts.

Calculating risk...


http://thebulletin.org/web-edition/features/beyond-our-imagination-fukushima-and-the-problem-of-assessing-risk


M. V. Ramana
A physicist, Ramana is currently appointed jointly with the Nuclear Futures Laboratory and the Program on Science and Global Security, both at Princeton University, and works on the future of nuclear energy in the context of climate change and nuclear disarmament. He is the author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India, to be published later this year by Penguin Books. Ramana is a member of the Bulletin's Science and Security Board.

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Response to PamW (Reply #28)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 10:37 PM

36. Since you spout propaganda instead of facts,

 

I will also ignore you. "Nobody was killed"? That's just not factual.

And I won't get into an argument about comparative safety, when both Fukushima and Chernobyl demonstrate the need for absolute safety.

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #36)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 10:33 AM

44. IS FACTUAL!!!

It is FACTUAL that NOBODY was either killed or injured due to the accident at Three Mile Island.

In fact nobody's health was damaged. There were residents around Three Mile Island that claimed their health was harmed and they sued Metropolitan Edison, the owner of TMI.

Their lawsuit was DISMISSED without a trial. Here's the ruling of the US Chief Judge for Eastern Pennsylvania, Judge Sylvia Rambo:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/readings/tmi.html

..the discrepancies between Defendants, proffer of evidence and that put forth by Plaintiffs in both volume and complexity are vast. The paucity of proof alleged in support of Plaintiffs, case is manifest. The court has searched the record for any and all evidence which construed in a light most favorable to Plaintiffs creates a genuine issue of material fact warranting submission of their claims to a jury. This effort has been in vain.

PamW

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 06:10 PM

2. Disappointed at Monbiot, but this sentence in reply said it all for me:

'Describing Monbiot's email as "patronising", he waited a few days and then wrote back with a series of points that the pro-nukers have not so far addressed - like the assertion that the technology demands a stable and continuous technocratic society to exist for centuries, and entrenches power in the hands of a state-protected, unaccountable and ruthless elite.' - Theo Simon.


The bigger issue is mankind's current love affair with technology, no matter what its cost to other humans, such as those being exploited manufacturing and dying horribly in third world facilities, with no rights, no respect for their bodies, their very lives. The continuation of this system leads to a social system of castes, and it will not be confined to those the first world may see as expendable now.

Those who mindlessly and viciously support the technocracy, deny the harm to the environment in many ways, the wealth chasm from all of this. At least they do to the faces of their fellows in the first world, but most likely know exactly what they're doing and simply are looking to their own wealth and power.

Some who adore all things shiny and new are working on the assumption that they will continue to live at the top of the social heap. They are also propagandizing the masses to accept this unjust technocracy, a very Brave New World organization of humanity, without an free will, destined to be nothing more than tools for a social machine with only these physical values, that we seem to be hurdling toward with a large helping of 1984-style overt brutality inflicted on humans and everything else, to the level it is obscene.

As we see from the Libertarians and Randians, who Monbiot eviscerated in the past, they are determined and unashamed in their quest, and like Michio Kaku, some believe it is worth any amount of slaughter to obtain their immortality in mechanical bodies.

It was for something similar that I broke from Marxists in a classroom debate in the past, whey they asserted that the native american way of life and even them, had to be eliminated, so that the stages of social evolution could take place. That wouldn't do for me.

No, I possess a broader conception of what would have been possible had the settling of the Americans been done differently than it was. And what this world and its people could be, instead of this deadly model.

But to all of this, this transformation of this planet into a grid what would as the technocrats want, build an artificial intelligence field, which is sold to us in so many ways in media, institutions of higher learning and employment, many of us might very well ask:

Why is this is so essential, that it must be done without a fair debate? To what purpose? And for whose gain, would you destroy the life carrying capacity of the planet that gave us everything? Are you nothing more than a locusts, devouring everything and then intending to move onto other planets or realms, with no regard for what you have done?

Anyway, thanks for the thread. Interesting.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 06:24 PM

4. Greenpeace has NOT come out in favor of nuclear.

I've heard this a few times - it's nuclear industry propaganda.

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/nuclear/

End the nuclear age
Greenpeace has always fought - and will continue to fight - vigorously against nuclear power because it is an unacceptable risk to the environment and to humanity. The only solution is to halt the expansion of all nuclear power, and for the shutdown of existing plants.

<snip>

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Response to bananas (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 06:29 PM

6. Thank you for correcting that, I hadn't seen the disclaimer. I will edit. Any comment on the impact

Of these technologies and social stratification?

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Response to freshwest (Reply #6)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 07:04 PM

10. Social stratification is a major problem with nuclear energy - on a number of levels

Security threats have resulted in nuclear plants being turned into private prisons complete with paramilitary guards armed with automatic weapons and sawed off shotguns: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=102&topic_id=4057045&mesg_id=4057045

Nuclear plants are no longer part of an open society.
Who's going to want to work in that kind of environment?
Don't expect whistleblowers to come forward anymore.

It used to be thought that cheap nuclear energy would raise everyone's standard of living,
but we now know the energy they make is more expensive than wind,
and it will be more expensive than solar before the decade is out.
This will just increase the disparity between rich and poor.

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Response to bananas (Reply #10)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 07:43 PM

27. Rec'ing thread b/c of responses like this

Nuclear energy has greatly compounded the power madness in our society.

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Response to bananas (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 03:02 PM

30. Perhaps the explanation is...

Perhaps the explanation is that one of Greenpeace's co-founders is pro-nuclear; Dr. Patrick Moore.

Yes - I've heard all the nonsense that Moore really isn't a co-founder; but until Moore came out in favor of nuclear power, Greenpeace cited him as a co-founder.

One can see what Dr. Patrick Moore says at:

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/199958-1

PamW

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Response to PamW (Reply #30)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 03:11 PM

31. Moore is a paid spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute

Hired by a PR firm.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 06:28 PM

5. The nuclear industry hired Hill & Knowlton to do PR

Hill & Knowlton is the same company the tobacco companies used,
it's the same company responsible for "Nariyah" selling the first Gulf War,
etc etc.

edit to add some links from sourcewatch,
watch out Nuclear Nariyah's pretending to be environmentalists.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Hill_%26_Knowlton

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Citizens_for_a_Free_Kuwait


Citizens for a Free Kuwait (CFK) was a front group established by the Hill & Knowlton PR firm to promote the 1991 U.S. war in the Persian Gulf (Operation Desert Storm).

<snip>

In fact, the most emotionally moving testimony on October 10 came from a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, known only by her first name of Nayirah. According to the Caucus, Nayirah's full name was being kept confidential to prevent Iraqi reprisals against her family in occupied Kuwait. Sobbing, she described what she had seen with her own eyes in a hospital in Kuwait City. Her written testimony was passed out in a media kit prepared by Citizens for a Free Kuwait. "I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital," Nayirah said. "While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where . . . babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die."

Three months passed between Nayirah's testimony and the start of the war. During those months, the story of babies torn from their incubators was repeated over and over again. President Bush told the story. It was recited as fact in Congressional testimony, on TV and radio talk shows, and at the UN Security Council. "Of all the accusations made against the dictator," MacArthur observed, "none had more impact on American public opinion than the one about Iraqi soldiers removing 312 babies from their incubators and leaving them to die on the cold hospital floors of Kuwait City."

At the Human Rights Caucus, however, Hill & Knowlton and Congressman Lantos had failed to reveal that Nayirah was a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family. Her father, in fact, was Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait's Ambassador to the US, who sat listening in the hearing room during her testimony. The Caucus also failed to reveal that H&K vice-president Lauri Fitz-Pegado had coached Nayirah in what even the Kuwaitis' own investigators later confirmed was false testimony. In an opinion column in the New York Times in January 1992, MacArthur wrote that "a Hill and Knowlton vice president, Gary Hymel, helped organize the Congressional Human Rights Caucus hearing in meetings with Mr. Lantos and Mr. Porter and the chairman of Citizens for a Free Kuwait, Hassan al-Ebraheem. Mr. Hymel presented the witnesses, including Nayirah. (He later told me he knew who she was at the time.)"

If Nayirah's outrageous lie had been exposed at the time it was told, it might have at least caused some in Congress and the news media to soberly reevaluate the extent to which they were being skillfully manipulated to support military action. Public opinion was deeply divided on Bush's Gulf policy. As late as December 1990, a New York Times/CBS News poll indicated that 48 percent of the American people wanted Bush to wait before taking any action if Iraq failed to withdraw from Kuwait by Bush's January 15 deadline.85 On January 12, the US Senate voted by a narrow, five-vote margin to support the Bush administration in a declaration of war. Given the narrowness of the vote, the babies-thrown-from-incubators story may have turned the tide in Bush's favor.

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Response to bananas (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 06:36 PM

7. Yes, that was disproved. But the M$M did the bidding of the MIC to generate sympathy.

I was unaware that the nuke people put that lie about Greenpeace out, and have been anti-nuclear since the early 1970's, working with groups to slow or stop construction. The Gulf wars, like the invasions of Grenada and Panama were based on frauds. IMHO.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #7)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 07:19 PM

11. None of the major environmental groups support nuclear energy, almost all are against it.

And those positions are based on science and economics.
I'll try posting some links later.

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Response to bananas (Reply #11)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 07:22 PM

12. The Union of Concerned Scientists: "Nuclear power today does not meet these criteria."

http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_and_global_warming/ucs-position-on-nuclear-power.html

UCS Position on Nuclear Power and Global Warming

<snip>

In this context, the Union of Concerned Scientists contends that:

  1. Prudence dictates that we develop as many options to reduce global warming emissions as possible, and begin by deploying those that achieve the largest reductions most quickly and with the lowest costs and risk. Nuclear power today does not meet these criteria.
  2. Nuclear power is not the silver bullet for "solving" the global warming problem. Many other technologies will be needed to address global warming even if a major expansion of nuclear power were to occur.
  3. A major expansion of nuclear power in the United States is not feasible in the near term. Even under an ambitious deployment scenario, new plants could not make a substantial contribution to reducing U.S. global warming emissions for at least two decades.
  4. Until long-standing problems regarding the security of nuclear plants—from accidents and acts of terrorism—are fixed, the potential of nuclear power to play a significant role in addressing global warming will be held hostage to the industry's worst performers.
  5. An expansion of nuclear power under effective regulations and an appropriate level of oversight should be considered as a longer-term option if other climate-neutral means for producing electricity prove inadequate. Nuclear energy research and development (R&D) should therefore continue, with a focus on enhancing safety, security, and waste disposal.

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Response to bananas (Reply #11)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 07:27 PM

13. "The Sierra Club remains unequivocally opposed to nuclear energy."

http://www.sierraclub.org/nuclear/

Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer

The Sierra Club remains unequivocally opposed to nuclear energy. Although nuclear plants have been in operation for less than 60 years, we now have seen three serious disasters.

<snip>


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Response to bananas (Reply #11)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 07:34 PM

14. I'm aware. Helen Caldicott is still getting the word out, too.

http://www.helencaldicott.com/

Keep on posting links for those who somehow believe that environmentalist support nuclear power instead of alternatives or conservation.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 07:44 PM

32. And here come the Luddites.



As we see from the Libertarians and Randians, who Monbiot eviscerated in the past, they are determined and unashamed in their quest, and like Michio Kaku, some believe it is worth any amount of slaughter to obtain their immortality in mechanical bodies.


As a Transhumanist I am DEEPLY offended by this comment.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #32)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 08:39 PM

35. If you think objecting to nuclear automatically make someone a "Luddite"

...then you either do not know the meaning of the word or you are using it only as a pejorative with no actual consideration.

There are strong, valid reasons for opposing nuclear. You are challenged in post 34 to discuss the matter further.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #35)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 02:19 AM

41. The poster was going off on a rant...

...about the evils of technology and then bashes MICHIO KAKU for supporting transhumanist things like life extension, implying it's a fantasy of the 1%. Personally I wish we had a little more technocracy and less anti-science BS in politics.

And I won't get into an argument with anti-nuke people on nuclear because it's useless.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #41)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 03:31 AM

42. Do you ever consider the cultural implications of technological choices?

The problem in politics isn't questioning mature questioning of the cultural implications technology, it is the deliberate misuse of information distribution systems to convince people to adopt false beliefs about established fact.

As to not arguing with people who oppose nuclear, I can't say as I blame you. The factual case for nuclear is so poor that I too would never want to argue for it with anyone knowledgeable in the subject of our energy choices. Unfortunately it is one of those topics like fossil fuels, where money and political influence have set the misinformation machine in overdrive.

My request about Monbiot's arguments actually wasn't meant to lead to a discussion of the pros and cons of nuclear since he really has not made any real arguments on the topic. He starts with a singe point - he has converted - and then goes on to attempt to gain converts on the basis of has past writings as an environmentalist. I was attempting to highlight the dearth of actual content in his writings.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #42)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 08:38 AM

43. Monbiot isn't the only environmentalist who supports nuclear.

Many "Old-School" environmentalists like James Lovelock and Jared Diamond support nuclear.

I don't like to argue because most of the discussions about the cost-effectiveness about nuclear vs. renewables go over my head, and when the words "nuclear waste" and "meltdown" are uttered a reasoned argument becomes impossible, it becomes all emotion, exaggerated death figures, and accusations of having no respect for the people of Fukishima and Chernobyl.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 12:33 AM

37. Does the irony escape you?

The bigger issue is mankind's current love affair with technology, no matter what its cost to other humans, such as those being exploited manufacturing and dying horribly in third world facilities, with no rights, no respect for their bodies, their very lives. The continuation of this system leads to a social system of castes, and it will not be confined to those the first world may see as expendable now.

Does the irony of posting this statement on an internet forum completely escape you?

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Response to Nederland (Reply #37)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 12:39 AM

38. Does the difference between electronic manufacturing and highly centralized control of energy...

...escape you?

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Response to kristopher (Reply #38)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 12:53 AM

40. Yes, bigger picture. You don't have to give up everything to be independent of systems of control.

That includes other people's lives and well-being and the planet that sustains us. It's not impossible to have a balance by resisting or guiding authorities that seek to control so much of life on Earth.

We either believe that people are created equal and don't deserve to live in a caste system created by a technocracy which has no regard for democracy, or we don't believe in it and intend to balance ourselves on top of that pyramid. There isn't much room there, though, as proven by the fight between the 99% and the 1% worldwide.

It doesn't have to be that way, but giving in to all of it allows the 1% to enslave more people than currently are done so now. I don't want my luxuries to come from the suffering of others.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #38)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 07:37 PM

45. No (nt)

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Response to Nederland (Reply #37)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 12:42 AM

39. Micro, macro.

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 06:57 PM

9. There's one consideration that makes the whole debate moot...

...as for the ‘transformation of our energy systems’: the minute you ask this question in this way, you are trapped in a paradigm, with no hope of escape. What are ‘our energy systems’ for? Who is us? Us, I’d guess, is the bourgeois consumer class of the ‘developed’ world, and ‘our energy systems’ are needed to provide us with our cars, planes, central heating, Twitter feeds, ambulances, schools, asphalt roads and shopping malls. How are we going to transform these systems, in short order, globally, busting through economic vested interests and political stalemate and cultural patterns, in less than 100 months, to prevent more than a 2 degree climate change? How, in other words, are we going to change the operating system of the entire global economy in a decade or so?

IMHO and that of Paul Kingsnorth, of course.

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 07:41 PM

15. A few snippets from Helen Caldicott's response to Monbiot:

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Response to freshwest (Reply #15)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 08:59 PM

17. You might wish to edit this down

in order to meet DU's copyright policy.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #17)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 09:30 PM

19. Thought that was for OPs. Consider it edited.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #19)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 10:12 PM

20. Great

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:16 PM

25. Comparison of different views of a specific point - learning curve of nuclear power

This is from a post I made on DU2 when my comment was that "i was struck by the radical qualitative difference between these two discussions - both dealing with learning curves for nuclear power."

Learning Curves – Why Costs Should Fall With Repetition – Even In Nuclear Energy?
by Rod Adams on January 3, 2011

After having sat out of the real estate market since 2003, I recently jumped back in by purchasing a home. I had a learning curves experience yesterday that might help me explain why I stubbornly believe that one of the best ways to lower the cost of manufacturing and constructing any product is to keep repeating the process with improving refinements as you learn more about the steps required.

Our new (to us) home included some windows that did not have any kind of blinds or curtains, so I was motivated yesterday morning to take corrective action. There were two windows at the top our our priority list. Fortunately, both windows were exactly the same size.

Some of the windows in the house had blinds that had been installed by the previous owner and we had decided that we liked the look and functionality of the 2 inch wide, faux wood blinds. Since we had recently looked through a lot of homes in the area of relatively recent vintage, we knew that these blinds were not custom or unique; they were fairly common.

We also figured that, since our home included 4-5 windows with common dimensions, we might be lucky enough to need a size that we could purchase off the shelf. (There are too many different sizes and shapes of windows to call any of them “standard.”) Because we wanted to mount the blinds inside the window frame, we needed to accurately match the dimensions with either off-the-shelf items or by taking advantage of the in store trimming services that some retailers offer.

I measured both windows carefully...

http://atomicinsights.com/2011/01/learning-curves-why-costs-should-fall-with-repetition-even-in-nuclear-energy.html




Does nuclear power have a negative learning curve?
‘Forgetting by doing’? Real escalation in reactor investment costs

By Joe Romm on Apr 6, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Drawing on largely unknown public records, the paper reveals for the first time both absolute as well as yearly and specific reactor costs and their evolution over time. Its most significant finding is that even this most successful nuclear scale-up was characterized by a substantial escalation of real-term construction costs.




Fig. 13. Average and min/max reactor construction costs per year of completion date for US and France versus cumulative capacity completed

We’ve known for a while that the cost of new nuclear power plants in this county have been soaring (see Nuclear power: The price is not right and Exclusive analysis: The staggering cost of new nuclear power).

Before 2007, price estimates of $4000/kw for new U.S. nukes were common, but by October 2007 Moody’s Investors Service report, “New Nuclear Generation in the United States,” concluded, “Moody’s believes the all-in cost of a nuclear generating facility could come in at between $5,000 – $6,000/kw.” That same month, Florida Power and Light, “a leader in nuclear power generation,” presented its detailed cost estimate for new nukes to the Florida Public Service Commission. It concluded that two units totaling 2,200 megawatts would cost from $5,500 to $8,100 per kilowatt “” $12 billion to $18 billion total! In 2008, Progress Energy informed state regulators that the twin 1,100-megawatt plants it intended to build in Florida would cost $14 billion, which “triples estimates the utility offered little more than a year ago.” That would be more than $6,400 a kilowatt. (And that didn’t even count the 200-mile $3 billion transmission system utility needs, which would bring the price up to a staggering $7,700 a kilowatt).

Historical data cost on the French nukes have not been as well publicized. But Arnulf Grubler of the International Institute for Applied Systems in Austria, using “largely unknown public records” was able to perform an analysis of French (and U.S.) nuclear plants for Energy Policy, “The costs of the French nuclear scale-up: A case of negative learning by doing” (subs. req’d).

Before discussing that paper...


http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/04/06/207833/does-nuclear-power-have-a-negative-learning-curve/

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:11 PM

26. Emails between George Monbiot and Theo Simon on nuclear power

Emails between George Monbiot and Theo Simon on nuclear power
The full exchange of emails between George Monbiot and Theo Simon on nuclear power



http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/apr/10/monbiot-simon-nuclear-letter

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 07:46 PM

33. Monboit is right, as usual.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #33)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 08:33 PM

34. Would you care to lay out the Arguments Monbiot makes that show he is "right" about needing nuclear?

I dare you.

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