As the world prepares for the Paris Climate Talks, th nuclear lobby aims to get its status approved there as clean, green and the solution to climate change.
In September we pointed out that new nuclear reactors do NOT solve the radioactive trash problem, despite the nuclear lobby’s pretense on this.
In October we point out that the nuclear lobby is intensifying its lies about ionising radiation, with the cruel lie that it is harmless, even beneficial. The nuclear liars claim that radioactive isotopes like Cesium 137 and Strontium 90 are the same as the harmless Potassium 40 in bananas. They espouse the quack science of “radiation homesis” – i.e. a little more ionising radiation is good for you.
Ionising radiation is the most proven cause of cancer. The nuclear industry from uranium mining through nuclear power, nuclear weapons, nuclear waste, is the planet’s recent new source of ionising radiation. Even medical radiation has its cancer risk. Radioactive minerals left in the ground are a minor source.
Denial of the health effects of ionising radiation is the latest and the most sinister, of the lies against science. That lie is now being used as part of the campaign to get nuclear recognised at the UN December Paris Climate Conference as a “clean” technology – worthy of tax-payer funded incentives.
Denial of science is not new – goes back to Flat Earth and beyond. It does have to do with complex psychological issues. These include resentment and jealousy of the respected position of scientists, fear of change, and a kind of helplessness in the face of challenging circumstances.
There are other motivations – such as the desire to be famous and important – as being someone “brave enough to oppose the mainstream”
Then there’s the “libertarian idea” – so strongly believed by Rupert Murdoch, that government must not interfere with personal freedom. This idea would include – the freedom to promote smoking to young people, to get a job as an asbestos miner, to refuse to vaccinate children against fatal diseases, to accept that low level irradiation of one’s children is OK.
But none of these motivations would get “air play”, would prevail, if it were not for the Money Motive – the good old “What’s In It For Whom?” That’s the impetus behind public relations people, “consultants” , journalists, commentators, TV producers, film-makers etc who are paid by think tanks that are fronts for polluting industries, and for corporate giants like the Koch brothers. And – don’t let’s forget, – the scientists and science media who are paid by governments that are trapped – financially beholden to polluting corporations, and to the military industrial complex
So -new nuclear reactors leave a smaller amount of radioactive trash. But it’s so highly toxic that it requires the same volume of space for its final disposal. The reactors themselves become radioactive trash eventually.
Thorium nuclear reactors produce these radioactive wastes:
- Technetium-99 has a half life of 220,000 years
- uranium-232 produces thallium-208 (a nasty wee gamma emitter)
- Selenium-79 (another gamma emitter with a 327,000 year half-life),
- even Thorium-232 is a problem with its half life of 14 Billion years (and while the T-232 isn’t a major worry, all the time during this 14 Billion years it will be decaying and producing stuff that is!)
Mixed-oxide (MOX) nuclear fuel reprocessing turns out to be twice as expensive as burial of nuclear wastes. according to an unreleased US Department of Energy report – and the World Nuclear Association knows this!
But – let’s pretend that nuclear reactors really could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
TIME: To do that, 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed within a few yeas to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology Study on “The Future of Nuclear Power” projected that a global growth scenario for as many as 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation. Average 115 built per year would reduce our CO2 use by only 16%.
When we talk about Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – that 1500 reactors needed translates to millions, (and these SMRs are already shown to be more costly than large ones,)
COSTS: historically and now, the costs of the nuclear industry are staggering. Cost estimates have increased in the past decade from $1,000 to $7,000 per kW installed. And that’s before additional costs – e.g new safety measures, decommissioning are added. U.S. Vogtle project originally budgeted at $660 million, by 2013 cost $9 billion. Rating agencies consider nuclear investment risky and the abandoning of nuclear projects explicitly “credit positive”.
Meanwhile – if the nuclear “climate cure” were to be pursued, the enormous costs and efforts involved would take away from the clean, fast, and ever cheaper solutions of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Over the next 3 months, the nuclear lobby’s focus will be on 3 major lies – 1. the lie about Gen IV reactors, esp thorium and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) solving nuclear wastes, 2. the lie about “harmless” low dose ionising radiation, 3. the lie about nuclear solving climate change.
The nuclear lobby’s goal is to resuscitate their dying industry – to create a new nuclear renaissance.
For September, we focus on Nuclear Lie No. 1 – “New Gen IV reactors, esp thorium and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) WILL SOLVE THE NUCLEAR WASTE PROBLEM.”
That lie is terribly important, because new nuclear power cannot go ahead until they have convinced the world that radioactive trash is a”resource” not the garbage that it really is.
“Generation IV” nuclear reactors do not exist. The dream of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors remains a mirage. The Small Modular Nuclear Reactor has been shown to be uneconomic (has to be ordered en masse , has to be funded by tax-parers), vulnerable to terrorism, and wouldn’t be ready for decades. All of them still leave toxic wastes – smaller amounts, but so toxic and long-lasting that they require the same volume of deep burial space as the wastes that they purport to remove.
That hasn’t stopped the nuclear enthusiasts from conning governments for funding, and in the UK, even getting themselves classed as a charity!!
I would like to say that in 2014 progress has really been made – world-wide. But I’m not sure that this is true.
One area of progress is, without doubt, the rapid growth of renewable energy, both in large scale projects, and in small-scale diversified solar and wind energy. China is leading the way in renewable energy, but there are remarkable achievements in Europe, especially Germany, and also in some States of USA.
Another area – hard to pin down – a degree of public awakening to climate and nuclear issues – as exemplified in the global response to the People’s Climate Marches on September 21st.
Below. I found this inspirational photograph by Robert Rodriguez Jr http://robertrodriguezjr.com/2014/08/19/storm-king-mountain-environmental-movement/#comment-20272
Will that public awakening translate to action, in time? Even big businesses, corporations are now pledging support for climate action. Yet then immoral nuclear lobby now jumps on that bandwagon, with its massive ability to buy politicians.
When it comes to the nuclear horror, very little progress in the weapons area – it seems that the boys just can’t stop “improving” their nuclear weapons toys.
It’s a bit better concerning commercial nuclear power – the realities of its stupendous costs are now biting.
Wikipedia gives some encouraging facts concerning nuclear power in 2014:
” As of 2014, countries such as Australia, Austria, Denmark,Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Norway have no nuclear power stations and some remain opposed to nuclear power. Germany and Switzerland are phasing-out nuclear power. Globally, more nuclear power reactors have closed than opened in recent years.…..
In March 2014, around 130,000 Taiwanese marched for an anti-nuclear protest around Taiwan. They demanded that the government remove nuclear power plants in Taiwan. The march came ahead of the 3rd anniversary of Fukushima disaster. Around 50,000 people marched in Taipei while another three separate events were held around other Taiwanese cities attended by around 30,000 people. Among the participants are the organizations from Green Citizen Action’s Alliance, Homemakers United Foundation, Taiwan Association for Human Rights and Taiwan Environmental Protection Union.Facing on-going opposition and a host of delays, construction of the Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant was halted in April 2014.”[
Record summer heat is bringing fire danger to nuclear stations in the Northern Hemisphere. That’s bad enough, and already is placing pressure on precious water supplies, as near Chernobyl, and in California, fire-fighting goes on.
Shortage of water means that uranium and nuclear facilities are taking much needed water away from agriculture and town supplies. In South Australia, BHP’s massive Olympic Dam uranium mine is the biggest water guzzler in the State.
Extremely hot weather means that rivers and marine areas risk heat pollution from nuclear cooling water. When this happens, nuclear reactors must close down.
China, for example, with its plan for inland nuclear reactors, is faced with this problem.
But China also shares with other nuclear countries,the climate change problem of its many reactors located on the coast. That’s the threatening problem of rising sea levels, storm surges, typhoons, even tsunamis.
Nuclear power and sea level rise – All reactors on sea coasts endangered by sea level rise Over the next hundred years there will be significant sea rises, one meter or more, and many closed nuclear reactor sites could be flooded, including the stored nuclear waste. That could contaminate much of the coast lines for decades.
Nuclear power and water shortage – Climate Change is already bringing droughts and changed rainfall patterns. Even if the vloume of rain might be the same, or greater, with the warming planet – it’s not much help if it falls in the oceans, or if it falls intermittently – in flooding torrents.
As water becomes scarcer, and more expensive, nuclear power becomes a very uneconomic way to use it.
As temperatures rise, nuclear reactors will more and more often be forced to shut down – adding to the already well known diseconomics of nuclear power
As well as radioactive wastes, the uranium/nuclear industry releases greenhouse gases, increasing global warming.
At successive steps in the uranium/nuclear cycle, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. This is shown above, with black dots as the carbon rising. The industry also uses enormous amounts of fuel – as electricity and in the huge amounts of oil in transporting uranium, nuclear fuel and wastes.
I felt that I must go back to a “theme” for this month, because this one is such an important one.
The nuclear industry has put it over the world with a number of lies. Yet one by one, each nuclear lie has been exposed.
Nuclear power is not clean. It’s not cheap. It’s not safe. It’s not necessary.
Today – those nuclear promoters who in the past denied that global warming was happening – are now changing their tune.
The only seemingly valid argument for nuclear power is that it will “combat global warming” because nuclear is “emissions free. It is “low carbon”
But that’s just another lie.
We must admire the gall, and the duplicity, of the nuclear lobby
On the one hand, just recently – they’re making a big fuss about how serious climate change is – because hey presto! – they claim (falsely) that nuclear power can solve the problem of climate change – and save the world!
On the other hand – not a peep out of the nuclear lobby, about how badly climate change already is, and will, more and more, do damage to nuclear facilities, and make them ever more expensive.
It’s no surprise that the nuclear lobby is going all out at the moment to convince the world that ionising radiation is not dangerous – indeed , that it is good for human heath.
Because – when there’s a climate disaster – wildfire, flooding, storm surges – affected nuclear facilities might release ionising radiation into the air, the water, the food chain.
No other technology carries that particular threat. So – despite the evidence from Chernobyl, and Fukushima, the nuclear lobby pretends that the risk of ionising radiation into the ecosphere is nothing special. But it is. Only nuclear fission and its waste products carry that danger.
The nuclear power lobby and the fossil fuel lobby spend $billions in publicising their industries and in combatting established information on nuclear dangers and on global warming. This is done through “front groups” such as (for pro nuclear) the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition., (for climate denial) American Enterprise Institute.
It’s getting more difficult to spot these propagandists, because increasingly, they are using sophisticated Internet techniques. These have been beautifully explained in How to spot an astroturfer or an online fake -some of the organisations and techniques are summarised in the sidebar at right.
However, the words alone can help you to spot a fake. Look out for these two types of language:
BIG WORDS – in long complicated sentences – guaranteed to confuse the ordinary reader. The aim is to make you think that the writer is much smarter than you, and his opinion must be right. Amongst the big words, some quack science ones – like hormesis, adaptive radiation, and radiophobia Also,you are referred, by links, to obscure articles in even more complicated language.
SMALL WORDS and CLICHES – short positive ones, with no backup information, e.g. “clean -green-safe-cheap nuclear power”. Or negative cliches e.g. “hysterical- paranoid- emotional – irrational – delusional – extremists –alarmist – scare mongerer” applied to anti nuclear people, or those who want action on climate change.
- They say nuclear cycle – when it’s really a nuclear chain (around the global neck)
- They talk generally of “radiation” – as relatively harmless stuff. They don’t distinguish between visible light waves, radio waves, ultraviolet radiation, electromagnetic radiation, and ionising radiation. Ionising radiation is the bad stuff – from nuclear activities.
- They don’t say “radioactive trash“, even avoid saying “wastes”. They want us to see it as a “resource”.
They also use normal words as pejoratives, for example – labelling critics as “emotional”. Yet on reflection, doesn’t it seem reasonable to be emotional about the effects of ionising radiation on people – cancers, birth defects – and on the environment – toxic lakes, polluted water supplies…?
And they coin words that insult health experts who warn on the risks of ionising radiation. They say have “radiophobia”. (Nuclear critic Brett Stokes has replied with a word to describe the condition that the nuclear lobby has “radophilia“)
Pro thorium nuclear shills tweet endlessly about bananas, making them out to be more hazardous than the radioactive products of nuclear fission, such as Cesium 137. But the potassium-40 in our bodies remains constant, no matter how many bananas we eat. The body’s process of homeostasis simply gets rid of any excess. Not so with the far more radioactive cesium 137, and other nuclear fission isotopes, that build up in our bodies.
Even the environmental movement becomes unconsciously seduced into using the terms that the nuclear industry finds convenient for greenwashing and whitewashing its toxic product.
For example, they talk of : the nuclear fuel cycle.
It’s not a cycle – it’s a chain, and a chain around the global neck, the nuclear fuel chain.
This terminology is part of their whole strategy to resuscitate their industry . They would have us believe that the nuclear fuel chain ends with a resource – not with a waste , which it really is – radioactive trash .
- Their favourite is, of course, jargon designed to make the ordinary pedestrian decide that it’s all too hard to have an opinion.
- Then there are all the words used to confuse people.
- And still, even in 2015, the lobby finds it effective to use words to belittle their critics -the good old “emotional” and “hysterical”
The global nuclear lobby is in a panic. They know what they don’t want you to know – that, based on the historical record, it’s likely that a serious nuclear accident will occur within the next 25 years. It could be tomorrow.
So – the captains of the nuclear industry conclude – “We must LOCK IN contracts to sell new reactors – ASAP“
The strategy is not working. The countries with experience in nuclear power now know that – never mind the dangers – it’s UNAFFORDABLE. USA, France, UK all in a tizzy because of that. No-one will invest in this financially toxic industry. And the new gee-whiz reactors don’t actually exist.
Even Russia, China, Japan – all locked in to some degree to tax-payer funded nukes – are still having trouble – due also to public opposition, and to the annoying success of those darned solar panels and wind turbines.
The battle for nuclear industry survival continues, as the nuclear countries squabble amongst themselves, to sell reactors:
- appealing to countries that just might like to have nuclear weapons later on,
- appealing to anxiety about climate change, (with nuclear as its mythical cure),
- appealing to greed – promising ignoramuses like some South Australians that they can make $squillions from new nuclear reactors (that mythically eat up all the wastes)
- appealing to those worried about wastes – (we can pass this problem , and its costs, over to our grandchildren)
- 1 NUCLEAR ISSUES
- business and costs
- climate change
- indigenous issues
- marketing of nuclear
- opposition to nuclear
- politics international
- Religion and ethics
- secrets,lies and civil liberties
- weapons and war
- 2 WORLD
- MIDDLE EAST
- NORTH AMERICA
- SOUTH AMERICA
- Christina's notes
- Christina's themes
- RARE EARTHS
- resources – print
- Resources -audiovicual