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America Needs France’s Atomic Anne

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IDemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-24-08 09:10 AM
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America Needs France’s Atomic Anne
By ROGER COHEN
New York Times
Published: January 24, 2008

It’s not often that I find myself recommending a French state-owned industry as the answer to major U.S. problems, but I guess there’s an exception to every rule.

In this case the exception is the French nuclear energy company Areva, which provides about 80 percent of the country’s electricity from 58 nuclear power plants, is building a new generation of reactor that will come on line at Flamanville in 2012, and is exporting its expertise to countries from China to the United Arab Emirates.

Contrast that with the United States, where just 20 percent of electricity comes from nuclear plants, no commercial reactor has come on line since 1996, no new reactor has been ordered for decades, and debate about nuclear power remains paralyzing despite its clean-air electricity generation in the age of global warming.

Areva is headed by Anne Lauvergeon, a brilliant product of France’s top schools. She’s earned the sobriquet “Atomic Anne,” a stylish “Vive les Nukes” saleswoman. The United States needs her equivalent to cut through its nuclear power hang-ups.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/24/opinion/24cohen.html?...

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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-24-08 11:55 AM
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1. It's not just one person
The French nuclear system is run by a single governmental agency. They built and now run largely identical plants.

Here, our plants are built by several different companies, using a variety of designs and operated by several different companies. They're all motivated by profit; which means they'll find any way they can to cut corners.

The accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl were partly caused by a poor design, but made much worse by operator error.

Reactor design has improved. Operators, however, will still make errors. Errors might have less serious consequences if operators were all better trained, to work on a single, standard, plant design.

If we were serious about nuclear power, we should have handed the whole thing over to the Department of Energy from the get-go.

Why on Earth we have our highways controlled by the government but not our nuclear industry is simply beyond me.
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-24-08 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. and in Ohio, operators lie to federal NRC inspectors
The latest I have heard is that the NRC inspectors were likely in collusion with the First Energy operators who faked and back dated inspection reports at Davis Besse.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-24-08 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
2. Instead, they get Hill & Knowlton
Edited on Thu Jan-24-08 12:08 PM by bananas
One of the sleaziest PR firms.

http://www.prwatch.org/node/5833

Moore Spin: Or, How Reporters Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Nuclear Front Groups
Submitted by Diane Farsetta on Wed, 03/14/2007 - 08:52.

"We just find it maddening that Hill & Knowlton, which has an $8 million account with the nuclear industry, should have such an easy time working the press," concluded the Columbia Journalism Review in an editorial in its July / August 2006 issue.

The magazine was rightly bemoaning the tendency of news outlets to present former Greenpeace activist Patrick Moore and former EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman as environmentalists who support nuclear power, without noting that both are paid spokespeople for a group bankrolled by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). NEI represents nuclear power plant operators, plant designers, fuel suppliers and other sectors of the nuclear power industry. Hill & Knowlton is NEI's public relations firm, though it's not the only firm working to build support for nuclear power.

<snip>

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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-24-08 12:18 PM
Response to Original message
3. America needs Nuclear Nayirah
Edited on Thu Jan-24-08 12:21 PM by bananas
Another scam by H&K:

http://www.prwatch.org/books/tsigfy10.html

<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."83

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."84

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.

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.

<snip>

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