The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Climate deniers use legalistic bullying to shut down a journal article

intimidationThe journal that gave in to climate deniers’ intimidation The Conversation,  Elaine McKewon,  Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney 1 April 14, 

In February 2013, the journal Frontiers in Psychology published a peer-reviewed paper which found that people who reject climate science are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. Predictably enough, those people didn’t like it.The paper, which I helped to peer-review, is called “Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation”. In it, cognitive scientist Stephan Lewandowsky and his colleagues survey and analyse the outcry generated on climate skeptic blogs to their earlier work on climate denial.

The earlier study had also linked climate denial with conspiracist thinking. And so by reacting with yet more conspiracy theorising, the bloggers rather proved the researchers’ point.

Yet soon after Recursive Fury was published, threats of litigation started to roll in, and the journal took the paper down (it survives on the website of the University of Western Australia, where Lewandowsky carried out the study).

A lengthy investigation ensued, which eventually found the paper to be scientifically and ethically sound. Yet on March 21 this year, Frontiers retracted the paper because of the legal threats.

The episode offers some of the clearest evidence yet that threats of libel lawsuits have a chilling effect on scientific research………

the journal’s management and editors were clearly intimidated by climate deniers who threatened to sue. So Frontiers bowed to their demands, retracted the paper, damaged its own reputation, and ultimately gave a free kick to aggressive climate deniers.

I would have expected a scientific journal to have more backbone, certainly when it comes to the crucially important issue of academic freedom.

April 2, 2014 Posted by | climate change, media | 1 Comment

Public broadcasting suppressing film “Nuclear Savgage”

U.S. Human Radiation Experiments Covered Up by Public Broadcasting Op Ed News, By William Boardman — Reader Supported News 10 Jan 14 “….. hen the military scientists of an advanced technological nation deliberately explode their largest nuclear bomb (and 66 others) over Pacific islands and use the opportunities to study the effects of radiation on nearby native people, which group is best described as “savage”?  And what should you call the people who prevent a documentary about these American post-war crimes from reaching a wide audience in the United States?  


 Nuclear Savage ” is a recent documentary film that explores American nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands, 1946-1958, and particularly the secret Project 4.1: an American experiment in exposing Pacific Islanders to overdoses of radiation — deliberate human radiation poisoning — just to get better data on this method of maiming and killing people. The public broadcasting establishment has spent more that two years keeping this story off the air.

The preview reel of “Nuclear Savage” includes a clip with a stentorian newsreel announcer reporting on the American treatment of Marshall Islanders in April 1957, and explaining to his predominantly American audience:

“The Marshallese caught by fallout got 175 roentgens of radiation . These are fishing people, savages by our standards, so a cross-section was brought to Chicago for testing. The first was John, the mayor of Rongelap Atoll “. John, as we said, is a savage, but a happy, amenable savage.”

So how serious is 175 roentgens (assuming the measurement is accurate)? In 1950, the  International Commission on Radiological Protection  (ICRP) recommended that human radiation contact should not exceed 0.3 roentgen per week for whole-body exposure [“roentgen” as a measure of radiation dose has since been replaced by “rem” (for “roentgen equivalent man”)]. It’s not clear how long the Marshallese were exposed to radiation levels of 175 roentgens — or on how many occasions — but that amount was more than 580 times what was then considered a safe weekly exposure.

Public broadcasting paid for this film — and is now suppressing it …….

…….Given the unpalatibility this story might have for an American television audience, it’s little wonder that public broadcasting executives are content to spend public money to keep the public under-informed.


January 11, 2014 Posted by | media, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 1 Comment

Sins of omission in mainstream media’s praise of nuclear power

news-nukeMajor Media Sing Nuclear Praises Washington Spectator, January 7, 2014  |  by Joe Mangano  The nuclear power industry is having its roughest time since reactors were first conceived in the 1950s. Health risks are at the core of the problem……Closer to home, things are not going well. U.S. reactors are aging and leaking more often as they reach the end of their operating lives…..Chief executives of utilities, faced with high costs of maintaining old reactors and skidding stock prices, say they’re considering more closings.

But recent major media stories make one think that all is rosy………

But in addition to what big media is reporting, an equally disturbing trend is what it is omitting—especially at Fukushima, including:

-The ongoing story about the perilous attempt to move rods at containing high-level nuclear waste

-Last week’s study by Fukushima Medical University which documented 26 actual and 33 suspected thyroid cancer cases in local children since 2011 (one or two is normal), and that a staggering 56 percent of the children have pre-cancerous thyroid nodules or cysts

-A November 2 story by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation announcing University of Alaska-Fairbanks scientists’ discovery of rising radiation levels in Alaskan waters from Japanese fallout—which they estimated will match the high levels at the apex of above-ground atomic bomb testing in the 1960s

Major media coverage has ignored or made deceptive claims on nuclear health and safety issues………..

The fault lies with a media that fall short of standards of good journalism so integral to a free society. Along with Fukushima and other meltdowns, a growing number of scientific studies link routine emissions from aging, leaking reactors to high local cancer rates. This “dirty laundry” terrifies leaders of the powerful nuclear industry. Fearing this information will speed the demise of their product, they encourage the all-too-obliging media to say anything to stop the current slide.

January 8, 2014 Posted by | media | Leave a comment

Engineering professor shows the flaws in pro nuclear film Pandora’s promise

He argues that nuclear power’s primary drawback — …. is that the amount of energy it requires is too high, from construction costs to waste disposal to the high volumes of water it requires. Kreith says we can’t afford to wait two decades — we need to accelerate the move to renewable energy before we run nuke-bubbleout of fossil fuels

the idea of nuclear solving our energy problems is “ridiculous” because the types of reactors that would be needed haven’t even been invented yet

Book-PandoraReportCoverCU prof: Don’t buy the promise of nuclear energy  Pandora’s Promise is not realistic  Boulder Weekly By Jefferson Dodge 26 Dec 13, A retired University of Colorado mechanical engineering professor is challenging a new documentary that espouses the virtues of nuclear power…….Kreith argues that the pro-nuclear stance outlined in Pandora’s Promise is not realistic, given that the technology needed to make it a viable source of energy is decades away. He says society should begin an aggressive transition to renewables like solar and wind now — while we still have the surplus energy needed to make that shift.

Kreith presented his views to a packed auditorium in CU’s Engineering Center on Dec. 12, showing clips from the film and countering its claims with his own charts and graphs. His central argument revolves a concept known as “energy return on energy investment,” or EROI, which compares the amount of energy that a given system, like a nuclear power plant, produces during its lifetime against the amount of energy that needs to be expended in its production. Dividing the amount of energy produced by the amount expended, both directly and indirectly, Kreith translates the EROI into a number.

Continue reading

December 27, 2013 Posted by | media, spinbuster | 1 Comment

Huffington Post, CNN pal up with Nuclear Regulatory Commission

news-nukeGov’t Report: CNN, Huffington Post listed as ‘external stakeholders’ in NRC, alongside nuclear industry and pro-nuclear blogs — Both outlets help NRC to increase online influence, as CNN produces pro-nuclear infomercial

Flag-USAIndependent Evaluation of NRC’s Use and Security of Social Media, Office of the Inspector General, Jan. 2013:

Internal Stakeholders (NRC staff) […]
External Stakeholders (Press) Energy Editor, AOL, Huffington Post — Nuclear Writer, Huffington Post — Producer, CNN News
External Stakeholders (Digital Influencers) Blogger, Atomic Power Review — Blogger, Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes — Blogger, Yes Vermont Yankee
External Stakeholders (Nuclear Industry) […] Senior Manager for Social — Media, Nuclear Energy Institute […]
External Stakeholders (US Government and US Senate Staff) US-CERT Representative, United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team — Policy Director, US Senate

Excerpts from the evaluation:

As part of the press, I have to be able to quickly communicate a lot of technical information into something our readers will grasp. But it helps if NRC had strong info graphics or a section that provided a breakdown of technical info so I can understand the translation from its source. — Huffington Post
NRC‘s materials are very basic and not very viral. Other agencies do a better job of including information graphics, photos, even clickable links. There‘s no extra. It‘s not influential. — Managing Editor, Huffington Post
One producer from Cable News Network (CNN) suggested that what was currently offered on Flickr does not compel him to return and urged NRC to provide more content that did not involve people in a conference room or of the chairperson speaking from a podium.
Read the report here (pdf)     See also: Paper: CNN’s nuclear propaganda film “is dishonest to its core” — It’s “actually an infomercial”

December 17, 2013 Posted by | media, USA | Leave a comment

“Fallout” a film for today, about an old film on nuclear war

Back then we were closer to WWII and the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We knew the destructive power. Now, time blurs memories and people don’t realize how devastating those weapons are. The kilotons in nuclear bombs today dwarf the power of nuclear bombs when we grew up. ……..

Thanks Kat for bringing awareness in an industry that is more prone to “Hangover III” than hard-hitting documentaries. 

When ActivistsMake Movies: The Nuclear Arms Race is Relevant Again With ‘Fallout’  The Wrap,  HOLLYBLOGS | ByRichard Stellar on December 10, 2013 The documentary details the making of Stanley Kramer’s epic “On the Beach”

Below – Lily Tomlin, Dr Helen Caldicott, Kat Kramer, Karen Kramer

Lily.Tomlin.Dr_.Helen_.Caldicott.Kat_.Kramer.Karen_.Sharpe.Kramer 13You wouldn’t know that Kat Kramer was an activist. The daughter of director Stanley Kramer (above, second from right) looks as if she’d be more comfortable on the cover of Vogue than she would in a cramped editing room, poring over footage of films that, in her estimation, “change the world.”

One such film that efforts to do just that premiered a few weeks ago at the famed Sunset-Gower Studios lot,……  “Fallout” details the making of Stanley Kramer’s epic “On the Beach” — adapted from the fertile mind of Nevil Shute’s novel of a post-apocalyptic world ……..“Fallout” is about a movie about “the bomb” — and its relevance to today is staggering. Continue reading

December 11, 2013 Posted by | media, Resources -audiovicual | 2 Comments

Pandora’s Patronising Propaganda for the nuclear industry – film review

Book-PandoraReportCoverPandora’s Promise doesn’t live up to the hype – review   by  Monday 9 December 2013 20. “…….. Pandora’s Promise presents a pro-nuclear documentary……The key problem I had, however, was how politically disempowering their message was, and how they used allusions to science to do this. Clips of news coverage of radiation are used to suggest – oh so sympathetically, but also rather patronisingly – that we normal people can’t possibly understand.


We get references from Rhodes about talking to experts, and a few expert witnesses, but very little detail. Explanations are heavily abstracted and stylised. They feel comforting, but scratch the surface and you’re left with many questions. Moreover, as Damian Carrington’s reviewpointed out, there is a massive hole in its discussion of economics. It also misses a lot from the history of Atoms for Peace. The nuclear story is not just one of images of nature, science and technology, and they shouldn’t be used to obfuscate the politics and economics at play. Because energy policy needs to take it all seriously: science, politics, economics, engineering, culture and more.

The film clearly paints anti-nuclear activists as irrationally emotional; carefully juxtaposed with Brand, Lynas et al as calm, silently brooding in deep, wise thought. There’s even a line from Cravens about women being hardwired to protect their families (apparently as opposed to thinking rationally). At one point it shows activists handing out and eating bananas accompanied by a voiceover explanation of how much naturally occurring radiation there is in the fruit anyway. It’s a neat trick, making the activists look stupid, but it’s science communication by way of laughing at others’ ignorance. I don’t like it…..

I also felt the film seems to exhibit a rather depressing lack of faith in social change, especially when it came to global negations and energy efficiency. The concluding message seemed to be that we should give in to the particular idea of growth we currently work by; spread it, fuel it and accept it but don’t question or imagine anything new. The pro-nuclear lobby often presents itself as the hopeful, optimistic end of environmentalism, but with such a lack of belief in people, who exactly are the pessimists?. …..

December 10, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Laughable lies from film “Pandora’s Promise”

Book-PandoraReportCoverAcademy Award for presenting:  FALSEHOOD AND FABRICATION
CNN Airs Outrageous  Lies About Nuclear Energy  Pandora’s Propaganda  By Dick Allgire Honolulu 11-8-13
I happened to catch the CNN special program “Pandora’s Promise” last night. CNN has reached a new zenith of falsehood and fabrication……. Interesting title, alluding to Pandora’s Box, the artifact of Greek mythology that when opened released all the evil that spread throughout the world. We may have indeed opened Pandora’s Box with the full China Syndrome meltdown of three reactors and the upcoming ignition of the thousands of tons of highly radioactive spent fuel rods at Fukushima. But this is not a problem, according to the producers of “Pandora’s Promise.”

The show was produced by the nuclear industry, and dutifully broadcast by CNN without any attempt at balance, fairness or accuracy…… Now, with deadly radiation pouring constantly and continuously out of Fukushima, and no conceivable way to stop it, with the Pacific Ocean being destroyed, CNN gives us these absurd declarations:

“No birth defects resulted from the Chernobyl disaster.”

“No American has ever been killed as a result of nuclear energy.”

“Solar power is many time more dangerous than nuclear power.”

“No one living in the exclusion zone near Chernobyl has ever died of cancer or any other diseases because of the radiation.”

“Nuclear energy is the safe solution to global warming.”

Really, it was better than Baghdad Bob, delivered with great videography, beautiful graphics. The outrageous lies in Pandora’s Promise were so absurd as to be humorous. But this is no laughing matter. Fukushima is the worst catastrophe in human history.

Millions of years from now, when the earth’s crust reforms and obliterates the scars and ditritus of our failed time on the planet, a new civilization may detect a layer of abnormally high radioactivity and wonder how the entire planet was so contaminated all at once. Pandora’s Promise.

November 11, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | 7 Comments

Film “Pandora’s Promise” – a flawed love song to nuclear power

Book-PandoraReportCoverNuclear energy film overstates positives, underplays negatives By Ralph Cavanagh and Tom Cochran,   CNN November 6, 2013 – Editor’s note: Ralph Cavanagh is co-director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s energy program and formerly served as a member of the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board. Tom Cochran is an expert on nuclear energy and an NRDC consultant. He sits on three subcommittees of U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee.

 The new film “Pandora’s Promise” is a love song to nuclear power that claims to be a documentary, but like all good propaganda it omits key parts of the story, overstates the positives and underplays the negatives.

Built around the (false) proposition that improved quality of life requires commensurate growth in energy use (a recurring visual theme is a globe that glows brighter and brighter), the movie presents nuclear power as the only plausible solution to global warming.

No American utility today would consider building a new nuclear power plant without massive government support. Of 29 power plants on the drawing boards in 2009, only a handful are going forward, with government help, and even those are experiencing delays and cost overruns.

No major U.S. environmental group endorses nuclear power as a solution to climate change caused by fossil fuels, but this movie lionizes environmental activists who have become nuclear power enthusiasts, led by Michael Shellenberger and Stewart Brand. Shellenberger notes in the film that he at one time worked for NRDC and other major environmental groups in a consulting role. Their narratives are juxtaposed against unflattering, decades-old clips of veteran anti-nuclear activists like Helen Caldicott, Jane Fonda and Ralph Nader, suggesting that being pro-nuke is modern and hip……..

James Hansen certainly would not agree, however, with the film’s curt dismissal of the potential contributions of energy efficiency and renewable energy resources to meeting global energy needs….

Dismissing facts

Meanwhile, the movie contends that anti-nuclear activists have grossly overstated radiation risks, even as it overlooks scientific findings from, for example, the World Health Organization on actual impacts of radiation releases.

The film also dismisses energy efficiency in light of the allegedly inherent energy intensity of modern life, perpetuating the decade-old urban myth that a smartphone uses as much electricity as a refrigerator. (Repeated demonstrations show that if you take everything into account, a smartphone and the cloud data it uses only represent 15-20% as much electricity as an average refrigerator.)………

November 8, 2013 Posted by | media | Leave a comment

On Integral Fast Reactor and France “Pandora’s Promise” gets it wrong

Book-PandoraReportCoverNuclear energy film overstates positives, underplays negatives By Ralph Cavanagh and Tom Cochran,   CNN November 6, 2013 - “………The still-unrealized Integral Fast Reactor is the real star of the film, along with the nation of France, whose nuclear generation program is extolled as “one of the most inspiring stories ever” (“the trains are electric powered, they have clean air, and they have the cheapest electricity in Europe”). Nuclear power debates are the only places where you will ever see those at the conservative edge of the political spectrum argue that the United States should reorganize its economy to be more like France.

The Clinton administration killed the Integral Fast Reactor in 1994 because of concern over the potential diversion of the plutonium fuel by terrorists and non-nuclear weapon states of concern. Yet the film’s closing argument is that a “fourth-generation” reactor modeled on the Integral Fast Reactor will sweep the globe, burning waste created by the first three generations and “solving” the nagging problem of long-term disposal of nuclear waste. The film fails to mention that this would take hundreds to thousands of plutonium-fueled reactors operating over hundreds of years, resulting most likely in an increase in the releases of radioactivity to the environment as a consequence of operations by the Integral Fast Reactor’s fuel processing and fabricating facilities.

The film invokes Bill Gates as one of many forward-thinking new investors in nuclear innovation, but surely even Gates would recoil from the Integral Fast Reactor’s poor economic outlook compared to conventional reactors and the financial risks associated with building just one Integral Fast Reactor, let alone a global fleet of them. The film fails to acknowledge that the flagship fast reactor development efforts in the United States, France, Germany, Japan and Italy all failed, and that fast reactors were abandoned by both the U.S. and Soviet navies, hardly a strong selling point for resurrecting the Integral Fast Reactor program………..

November 8, 2013 Posted by | media, Reference, reprocessing | 1 Comment

Divisive film at least opens up discussion on nuclear power

Why Divisive Pro-Nuclear Power Film ‘Pandora’s Promise’ is the Right Kind of Doc for CNN to Air, Indiewire, BY ALISON WILLMORE  NOVEMBER 7, 2013 “…………”Pandora’s Promise” has its series of experts calmly countering anti-nuclear power arguments, sometimes while posed in the midst of natural landscapes. But its claim that “to be anti-nuclear is basically to be in favor of burning fossil fuels” is a shaky one — not the least because it’s based on the idea that conservation and curbing energy use on any global scale is off the table, as is larger reliance on alternative energy sources like wind and solar power which are by nature sporadic and requiring of some kind of backup, like oil.

Discussions about the economics of different power sources and the expense of building nuclear plants are likewise not brought up. The anti-nuke forces are represented mainly in shots of crowds gathered outside plants holding signs, or Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. or Helen Caldicott addressing them (“There is no safe level of radiation!” she shouts) or scattered addressing questions from the filmmaker at an event — never through sit-down interviews……..

November 8, 2013 Posted by | media | Leave a comment

With Murdoch Block you can free yourself from Rupert Murdoch’s disinformation

News-Limited1How to block Murdoch   Independent Australia, Torin Peel 3 November 2013,  Sick of News Corp spin? Technology whiz Torin Peel explains how to erase Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda from your computer screens completely.  IF YOU’RE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE who simply won’t stand for Rupert Murdoch’s crap anymore, now might be the time to completely erase him from your computer screens for good. There are many ways to do this, and they’re remarkably simple.

If you’re ready to block News Corpse, the first way we can do this is using a plugin for Google Chrome. If you don’t use Chrome, I recommend you download it. It’s a lot faster and more modern than Internet Explorer. It’s also a lot easier to use and works better with most web pages, including websites like Twitter and Facebook.

The Google Chrome plugin is called Murdoch Block, and can be added to Chrome with relative ease through the Chrome extensions library……,5861

November 4, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AUSTRALIA, media | Leave a comment

Media denial in Tokyo, about health effects of Fukushima radiation

flag-japanTokyo Mother: “Total media blackout” in Japan of lots and lots of people developing symptoms related to Fukushima disaster (VIDEO) — “Many cases of sickness and death among young generations” not reported

World Network For Saving Children From Radiation, Oct. 26, 2013: […] A case like this is just a tip of iceburg […] Continue reading

October 31, 2013 Posted by | Japan, media | Leave a comment

Public opinion misled on global warming, by biased mainstream media

Media false balance as illustrated in the IPCC reporting by outlets like the BBC, Wall Street Journal, and Fox News is largely to blame for this “consensus gap.” This practice of false balance misinforms the public and does us all a disservice.

spin-global.nukeConservative media outlets found guilty of biased global warming coverage  by John Abraham and Dana Nuccitelli  

New studies show conservative and politically neutral media outlets are creating false balance in climate change reporting There’s a 97 percent consensus on human-caused global warmingin the peer-reviewed climate science literature and among climate experts. There’s a 96 percent consensus in the climate research that humans are responsible for most of the current global warming. The 2013 IPCC report agrees with this position with 95 percent confidence, and states that humans are most likely responsible for 100 percent of the global warming since 1951.

Yet a new study conducted by Media Matters for America shows that in stories about the 2013 IPCC report, rather than accurately reflect this expert consensus, certain media outlets have created a false perception of discord amongst climate scientists.ipcc-chart3_450

Background of guests who accept and reject human-caused global warming in IPCC media stories, courtesy of Media Matters.

The 19 percent of guests classified as ‘climate scientists’ in the above graphic is also very generous to the conservative American media outlets. Continue reading

October 17, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, media | Leave a comment

White males dominate the media

conservative-white-malesIf there are plenty of women working as correspondents and reporters, then relatively few female opinion writers and editors, then this indicates a problem in the industry

A study by Women in Journalism earlier this year found that across national newspapers, 78% of bylined front page stories were written by men, and of those quoted as experts or sources in lead stories, 84% were men. The Women’s Media Centre in the United States, on conducting similar research reported that during the 2012 presidential election, 75% of front page bylined articles at top newspapers were written by men and that women made up a mere 14% of Sunday TV talk show interviewees, and 29% of “roundtable” guests. Women in Journalism were quick to highlight one of the most worrying aspects of this imbalance: most stories involving women in the four week period surveyed, portrayed them as either victims or celebrities.

While the gender gap in print is insidious, in broadcast media it’s glaringly obvious 

Women in journalism: not a trivial subject,Open Democracy, DAWN FOSTER 14 October 2013 The biggest newspapers in the United States, Britain and Europe still reserve pages of the most serious political and foreign policy analysis for older white men.

Can girls even find Syria on a map? Jill Filipovic’s (tongue in cheek) rejoinder on the Guardian website last month aimed to poke fun at the bias in commissioning opinion pieces on foreign policy issues, noting the heavy weighting towards male bylines on the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post. Filipovic’s piece swiftly garnered a huge response online, and an article from Buzzfeed’s Sheera Frenkel, claiming that most correspondents covering the Syrian conflict were women. Filipovic’s central argument wasn’t disputed by Frenkel – the vast majority of opinion writers embraced across the global media continue to be male.

This matters, because it frames the national debate, and in the case of Syria, influences political decision on military intervention, purporting to be a bell-weather for public opinion at large.  Continue reading

October 16, 2013 Posted by | media, women | Leave a comment


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