Thursday, October 4, 2018

Last Gasp of the Nuclear Industry Prompts All Out RESCUE by Nuclearists

The civilian nuclear industry is dying because there are less costly market solutions for energy.

Nuclear energy was never an efficient, market-based energy option.

Now the civilian industry that was heavily subsidized by government is facing aging reactors and decommissioning costs that are exorbitant.

The proposed solution is to subsidize nuclear once again NOT by paying for decommissioning, which is what should happen, but rather by extending the lifespan of decrepit plants that are continuously polluting their local environments with tritium and vent other radionuclides into the air every year when their fuel is replaced.

One ploy for nuclearists is to argue that nuclear energy is carbon free or low-carbon. However, life-cycle analysis that includes uranium mining and supply chains and decommissioning debunks the myth that nuclear is low carbon.

Another ploy for nuclearists that is currently being deployed (although historically rejected) entails explicating the links between nuclear weapons' arsenals and civilian nuclear energy.

I think this ploy is born of desperation because emphasizing the links between nuclear weapons and nuclear energy has been anathema since Atoms for Peace.

Yet another ploy is to justify the nuclear project by reducing perceptions of the risks of nuclear accidents, which are inevitable due to structural weaknesses across time that are exacerbated in aging plants subjected to flooding, power outages, etc. caused by intensifying storms.

How are perceptions of nuclear risk lessened?

The answer is simple: risk perceptions of nuclear are closely tied to perceptions of radiation as highly dangerous.

So, if you want to make people support nuclear when you know that contamination is inevitable the obvious strategy is to change perceptions of dangerousness.

This strategy involves many tactics.

1. It entails a policy shift that rejects the linear no-threshold model. Read about this strategy here:
Mole, Beth - 10/4/2018, A little radiation may be good for you, EPA witness argues for rule change. Ars technica
Here is the EPA page under scrutiny in Mole's article above:
2. It entails articulation of a narrative of energy that valorizes nuclear and ignores the many, many hazards that lead to public perceptions of dangerousness.  For example, see Seth Larsons' excellent critique of Richard Rhodes' Energy:
Larson, Seth (2018, August 18). Energy: Missing from the Nuclear Story. Resilience.
3. It entails a normalization of small scale nuclear devices such as weapons and small modular reactors and this normalization symbolically erases any discussion of biological hazards.

These tactics display disregard for known hazards and leave me without words.

I believe this is part of the strategy of a full frontal assault against established consensus on nuclear's infrastructural and biological hazards.

We are entering into a very dangerous period wherein the emotional tenor echoes the insanity that lead to WWI, WWII, and the Cold War period where we bombed ourselves, potentially to extinction as we're still waiting for genetic and epigenetic effects to fully unfold....


  1. Superficially it looks like the nuclearists are simply avaricious. Ambitious, avaricious and clever people; but isn't there an element of malice? Even avaricious people value their own skin and their kids. This group like some others seems propelled by something closer to hatred. That would explain why they ignore common sense behavior, And as a matter of fact there seems to be a lot of malice in the air these days like the kind that things like the Thiry Year War generated in Europe . . . WWII was laced with malice. Lots of malice aforesight.

    The great thinker Leibnitz was born at the tail end of the Thirty Years War and famouly wrote years later: This is the best of all possible worlds. That is a very deep perception.

    1. Erratum: not malice of foresight but malice of forethought. Speaking of which where have "our better angels" gone? Aldous Huxley rather convincingly tied The Two European Wars of the 20th century back to the Thirty Years War which killed one third of central Europe's population. Might it not be the case that every time America takes a break from destroying some nation as it has of late this remanant of the Civil War thrusts up? All these wars do appear to soak up this hostility. So who then wants peace if it means brother against brother and neighbor against neighbor and so forth. Subconsciously we all know that if a war broke out say with Iran everything on the home front would quiet down. Nothing like a good enemy to bring every one together.


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