The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Climate News. What is the IPCC AR6 synthesis report and why does it matter?

The fourth and final instalment of the sixth assessment report (AR6) by the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body of the world’s leading
climate scientists, is the synthesis report, so called because it draws
together the key findings of the preceding three main sections.

Together, they make a comprehensive review of global knowledge of the climate. The
first three sections covered the physical science of the climate crisis,
including observations and projections of global heating, the impacts of
the climate crisis and how to adapt to them, and ways of reducing
greenhouse gas emissions. They were published in August 2021, February and
April 2022 respectively.

The synthesis report also includes three other
shorter IPCC reports published since 2018, on the impacts of global heating
of more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, climate change and land, and
climate change and the oceans and cryosphere (the ice caps and glaciers).

Guardian 19th March 2023


March 22, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Samoa’s desperate plea for world climate action

Samoa PM urges world to save Pacific people from climate crisis
obliteration. The world must step back from the brink of climate disaster
to save the people of the Pacific from obliteration, the prime minister of
Samoa has urged.

On the eve of a landmark report by the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, which is expected to deliver a scientific “final
warning” on the climate emergency, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Samoa’s prime
minister, issued a desperate plea for action. “We’re all impacted, but
the degree of the impact is in the particular circumstance of countries. So
our low-lying atoll countries, it’s right there, we’re living with it,”
said Mata’afa. “There are already examples in the Pacific of communities,
whole communities, that have relocated to different countries,” she said.
“They’re really having to address issues of sovereignty through loss of

Guardian 19th March 2023

March 22, 2023 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Thorium fake charity group cons El Salvador into joining the “Nuclear Power Club”

Power, 20 Mar 23,

“…… the government of El Salvador and the Thorium Energy Alliance, a Harvard, Illinois–based non-profit advocacy group that endorses thorium-fueled reactors, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote the “El Salvador Energy Bridge” plan. The MOU was signed by Daniel Alvarez, El Salvador’s director general of Energy, Hydrocarbons, and Mines (DGEHM), and John Kutsch, executive director of the Thorium Energy Alliance, at the Embassy of El Salvador in Washington, D.C. (Figure 1), with Ambassador Milena Mayorga present to witness the event.

El Salvador has historically gotten much of its power from hydro and geothermal resources, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) data. In 2020, the most recent numbers available on the IEA’s website, hydropower accounted for about 32.8% of the electricity generation in El Salvador. Geothermal was second, supplying 24.6% of the mix, while oil (15.5%), solar PV (14.3%), and biofuels (12.9%) rounded out the list. El Salvador’s total generation in 2020 was about 6.321 TWh………………..”

March 22, 2023 Posted by | marketing, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

South Korea coming for a slice of Africa’s emerging nuclear power market

As African countries firm up their nuclear power ambitions, South Korea’s Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), a subsidiary of state-owned Korea Electric Power Corporation is coming for a share of the continent’s emerging market.…… (Subscribers only

March 22, 2023 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, South Korea | Leave a comment

Just another U.S. nuclear front group, marketing to Indonesia (never mind about the volcanoes)

USA, Indonesia announce partnership on SMRs

WNN, 20 March 2023

The USA and Indonesia have announced a strategic partnership to help Indonesia develop its nuclear energy programme, supporting Indonesia’s interest in deploying small modular reactor (SMR) technology to meet its energy security and climate goals.

A Memorandum of Agreement, as well as affiliated grants and contracts, was signed during the Indo-Pacific Business Dialogue in Bali, Indonesia. The agreement advances the goals of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) and will strengthen Indonesia’s leadership in the ASEAN region on the deployment of advanced, safe and secure nuclear energy technologies, working toward the goal of net-zero emissions in Indonesia by 2060.

Under the agreement, the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded a grant to PLN Indonesia Power to provide assistance to assess the technical and economic viability of a proposed nuclear power plant, to be located in West Kalimantan. It will include a site selection plan, power plant and interconnection system design, preliminary environmental and social impact assessment, risk assessment, cost estimate and regulatory review.

Indonesia Power selected NuScale Power to carry out the assistance in partnership with a subsidiary of Fluor Corporation and Japan’s JGC Corporation. The proposed 462 MWe facility would utilise NuScale’s SMR technology…………………………………..

In August 2019, Indonesia’s National Atomic Energy Agency (Batan) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with utility Indonesia Power to cooperate in the use of nuclear technology in the energy sector. One area of cooperation will be a feasibility study on the use of nuclear power plants.,-Indonesia-announce-partnership-on-SMRs

March 22, 2023 Posted by | Indonesia, marketing | Leave a comment

TODAY. Two ways of looking at the world

There is certainly a transformation going on in the media. As far as news media goes, there’s a growing chasm between the “mainstream” corporate media, and the “alternative” media.

To give the most topical example – the coverage of the Ukraine war, by the Western media. The permitted themes are – “atrocities by Russians” “Ukraine is winning”, “Zelensky is a hero”. Any more nuanced views (e.g atrocities by Ukrainians) are covered only by the alternative media.

We see and hear only the big guys (and believe me, they’re very much the guys – though wherever possible they push attractive younger women to the forefront). The result is a glorification of big corporate, military, technical, ways to deal with problems, as against more low-key approaches – stuff like negotiation, compromise, diplomacy.

This gulf is happening also in education. Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, are now not just very important (which they are), but are now accepted as pretty much the only subjects that matter. The sissy stuff – languages, literature, art, history – are now second-rate studies.

There is a trend now, for people to distrust the corporate media, because it is too close to government, the military, and industry.

Meanwhile, alternative media of all kinds are multiplying. In amongst all this, are the voices of the “smaller” people – women, indigenous , old, young – keeping alive the culture of art, humanity, hope and peace. This alternative culture is surely what we need, rather than the pompous chest-thumping of the world’s political, military, corporate, financial and media leaders.

March 21, 2023 Posted by | Christina's notes | 2 Comments

France in national denial- rejecting renewable energy, clinging to out-dated nuclear.

our country seems to be in a form of denial of the difficulties of the
nuclear sector and has been rehashing the same arguments against renewable energies for twenty years: supposed overconsumption of materials, lack of aesthetics, presumed destruction of biodiversity… and a allegedly
astronomical cost.

The debate in the energy sector has intensified in recent years as
important deadlines have come and gone in terms of choices regarding
France’s climate and energy future. But this confrontation of proposals,
necessary and commendable, is struggling to find its place, as illustrated
by the failure of the debate organized by the National Commission for
Public Debate on the construction of the EPR2 reactors, which ended on
February 27.

It usually boils down to invective, at the expense of the
quality of the information brought to the attention of the greatest number.

This desperate state of affairs must change so as not to mislead us
collectively about the choices that determine the country’s energy future.
The debate on energy in France is skewed by the place of nuclear power
which, for a long time, relegated renewable energies to the bare minimum.

At a time when the question arises of renewing our electricity generation
system, it is appropriate to question the relevance of maintaining the same
technological choices as fifty years ago in an eminently different context.

But our country seems to be in a form of denial of the difficulties of the
nuclear sector and has been rehashing the same arguments against renewable
energies for twenty years: supposed overconsumption of materials, lack of
aesthetics, presumed destruction of biodiversity… and a allegedly
astronomical cost.

Le Monde 16th March 2023

Jerome in Paris 18th March 2023

March 21, 2023 Posted by | culture and arts, France | Leave a comment

Rebooting memories of life before the nuclear devastation of Hiroshima

20 March 2023Peace and Security

A Japanese initiative to colourize photos of Hiroshima survivors, taken before the war, has been hailed by the UN as a way to breathe new life into conversations about peace, and a world without nuclear weapons.

Only a few survivors of the World War Two Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings are still alive to share their memories. Acutely aware that she is part of the last generation to be able to talk directly to the hibakusha – those who survived the Hiroshima nuclear bomb – Anju Niwata, a young Japanese peace activist born and raised in Hiroshima, launched a project called “Rebooting Memories”, which involves colourizing photos taken in the city before the war, featuring survivors, and the families and places lost in the bombing.

Ms. Niwata uses a combination of software and interviews with survivors to accurately bring colour to the black and white photos she borrows from the survivors. “The black and white photos may appear lifeless, static, and frozen to us”, she says.

“By colourizing the photos, however, the frozen time and memories of the peaceful lives before the bombing gradually advance and start breathing. It takes a long time, but I am always encouraged by the hibakusha’s joy at seeing the colour photos.

Her efforts have been warmly welcomed by the hibakusha, who played a big part in helping people around the world to understand the devastating impact of nuclear weapons, in the years following the Second World War.

Tokuso Hamai was evacuated from Hiroshima when he was two-years-old, before the bombing. All of his family members were killed. As part of Ms. Niwata’s project, he went with her to the site of the barber shop that his father used to run, in Hiroshima’s Nakajima district.

Today, any remains of the shop, and the buildings around it, have disappeared, buried under the Peace Park built to commemorate the tragic event, and remember the victims.

Standing at the site, and looking at the colour photographs, sparked Mr. Hamai’s memories of pre-War Hiroshima. “I recalled what I had forgotten”, he says. “If the photos were black and white, this would not have happened. What I recalled first was a green avenue of cedars. I remember picking cedar buds as bullets for a toy gun.”

Ms. Niwata’s aim of reviving awareness of the consequences of nuclear war is wholeheartedly supported by Izumi Nakamitsu, the UN Under-Secretary-General of Disarmament Affairs, who is herself Japanese.

“Disarmament is part of the DNA of the United Nations. The first General Assembly session took place in London, just a few months after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The shock of the nuclear bombings made a huge impact on everyone in the world at the time.

“Since then, it’s been part of a priority agenda of the United Nations and it is even more important today because we are again in a dangerous world where conflicts and tensions are on the rise. There are some 13,000 nuclear weapons in the world’s arsenals, relations between nuclear weapons states are tense. This poses existential threats, and I think it’s important that people start to imagine the impact if they are ever used.

I think Ms. Niwata’s project will have an enormous impact. if you can visualize how things were, it enters your imagination more vividly, and will do something to your mind and then your heart.”

When she took part in the SDG Global Festival of Action, a UN event filled with dozens of inspiring speakers from around the world, Ms. Niwata was encouraged to see that she was far from the only young activist working towards peace, each using different methods to achieve the same goal. “It is my mission to continue spreading the thoughts and memories of the atomic bomb survivors into the future and realize a world free from nuclear weapons”.

  • In 2019, a General Assembly resolution, “Youth, Disarmament, and Non-proliferation”, reaffirmed the important and positive contribution that young people can make in sustaining peace and security.
  • That same year, the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) launched the #Youth4Disarmament outreach initiative, recognizing that young people like Ms. Niwata play a critical role in raising awareness and developing new ways to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction and conventional arms.
  • The initiative connects geographically diverse young people with experts to learn about current international security challenges, the work of the United Nations, and how to actively participate.

March 21, 2023 Posted by | culture and arts, Japan | Leave a comment

Seven countries reject nuclear-derived hydrogen from EU renewables law

By Frédéric Simon |, Mar 20, 2023

A group of seven EU countries led by Germany have rejected calls to incorporate nuclear-made hydrogen into the bloc’s green transport targets, reigniting a dispute with France that has held back an agreement on the bloc’s renewable energy directive.

In a letter to the European Commission, the seven countries reiterate their opposition to including nuclear power in calculating green transport fuel targets.

“We share the view that the production and use of low-carbon hydrogen and low-carbon fuels should not be incentivised through a directive on the promotion of renewable energy,” says the letter, dated 16 March and signed by Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Spain.

France and eight other EU countries have called for exempting nuclear-derived fuels from green transport targets in the renewables directive. In practice, this would be done by withdrawing those from the denominator used to calculate binding targets for green transport fuels….

This pro-nuclear coalition [led by France] includes Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania,  Slovakia, and Slovenia.

But the seven EU countries disagree, saying low-carbon fuels should be left out of the renewable energy directive, “especially by accounting them towards the overall 2030 or any sectoral renewable energy targets or deducting them from the denominator”.

They also express their “clear opposition to the link between low-carbon fuels and [renewable energy] targets under Article 8a of the Gas Directive,” supported by France and the other pro-nuclear countries.

Counting low-carbon energy towards renewable targets would rather reduce our climate efforts and slow down investment in the much needed additional renewable capacity,” they argue, adding that the renewable energy directive “does not prevent or prohibit Member States from using other low-carbon hydrogen and low-carbon fuels.”

The seven countries acknowledge that nuclear-derived hydrogen “may play a role in some member states” and that “a clear regulatory framework for them is needed”. But according to them, this should be addressed in the ongoing revision of EU gas legislation.

France has pushed for the European Union to recognise nuclear power as a low-carbon energy source alongside renewables.

Earlier this month, Paris launched a “nuclear alliance” with 10 other EU member states, aiming to cooperate more closely along the entire nuclear supply chain and promote “common industrial projects” in new generation capacity……..

March 21, 2023 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

EU to ship $2 billion more in shells, other ammunition to Ukraine — Anti-bellum

Deutsche WelleMarch 20, 2023 Ukraine updates: EU agrees €2 billion ammo plan for Kyiv European Union ministers signed off on a plan to supply €2 billion ($2.1 billion) worth of ammunition to Ukraine on Monday. The bloc aims to deliver 1 million 155-millimeter artillery shells to Ukraine in the next 12 months as well as […]

EU to ship $2 billion more in shells, other ammunition to Ukraine — Anti-bellum

March 21, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U.S. government marketing nuclear power to Indonesia

Indonesia plans to develop a nuclear power plant with a potential capacity
of 462MW in West Kalimantan with funding and technological support from the
United States government.

Infrastructure Journal 20th March 2023

March 21, 2023 Posted by | Indonesia, marketing | Leave a comment

21 March at US Embassy , London, Crowds to protest against nuclear weapons at Suffolk airbase

A protest will take place next week over fears RAF Lakenheath will be
holding nuclear weapons. Campaign for Nuclear Disarnment (CND) has raised
concerns that nuclear weapons are going to be held at the Suffolk airbase.

On Tuesday, crowds are expected to gather outside the US Embassy in London
to protest against the return of nuclear weapons to Britain. Peace activist
and joint coordinator of the Campaign for the Accountability of American
Bases Lindis Percy said nuclear weapons should not be kept at RAF
Lakenheath because they are to dangerous.

Eastern Daily Press 19th March 2023

March 20, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear news – week to 20 March

A bit of good news Sir David Attenborough urges people to unite to save ‘nature in crisis’

Premiere of this so timely movie –

The Road to War – new film premiering in Australia is just so very timely – as Australia is currently foremost in nuclear news.

World premiere–   Melbourne at 6.30pm on 22 March at the Nova in Carlton.  Then in Hobart on 23 March (not 24th as stated in trailer) at the State Cinema .    Q & A panel with Bradbury and special guest, Bob Brown. Capri Theatre in Adelaide 29 March. Other cities and regional centres yet to be announced.        

Christina notesAustralia’s splendid nuclear submarine goat rodeo – funny, but it’s really serious.    Isn’t it wonderful how the men in opposing political parties can unite in hate and belligerence? Nuclear wastes 30 years away. So -no problem for present decision-makers – happily superannuated when the shit hits the fa

CLIMATE. Wiped out: Scientist’s ‘gigantic tsunami’ warning signals ‘grave threat’ to Sizewell C.. UN Secretary-General’s video message to the 58th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

CULTUREPermission to speak?– Who gets to talk about nuclear power should not be controlled by the nuclear lobby

ECONOMICS. Despite UK government’s enthusiasm, nuclear power is just not a good investment. UK government is urged to “come clean” over the real cost of Sizewell C nuclear power station . EDF confirms nuclear power target for 2023, despite corrosion problems, and plummeting output in 2022. 

A $18 million a job? The AUKUS subs plan will cost Australia way more than that. Australian nuclear submarine program to cost up to $368b as AUKUS details unveiled in the US.Australia’s Productivity Commission casts doubt on the federal government’s decision to build nuclear-powered submarines.

ETHICS and RELIGIONGrief – Japan marks 12 years since Fukushima nuclear disaster as concerns grow over treated radioactive water release.

ENERGY. Taiwan phasing out nuclear power.

ENVIRONMENTCampaigners claim permit change at Hinkley Point would kill billions of fish. UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt wants nuclear power classified as ‘environmentally sustainable’ . But is it?

HEALTHLife on a nuclear submarine takes its toll.

INDIGENOUS ISSUES. Why is Australia’s Labor government determined to silence the Barngarla people, at the same time as Labor promotes the indigenous Voice to Parliament ?. 

MEDIA. “Atomic Bamboozle” Probes False Hopes for the Future of Nuclear Power.

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGYBritain does not have the capacity to support Australia’s plan to build its own nuclear submarine fleet – Rear Admiral. Transparent oceans – Technologies for detection of nuclear submarines will still be all too successful by 2050. Georgia’s big new nuclear reactors could be the ‘last built in the US‘ . World’s largest nuclear fusion reactor promises clean energy, but the challenges are huge.

OPPOSITION to NUCLEAR. Japanese students’ nuclear abolition petition tops 2.5 million signatures. New Mexico says no to storing spent nuclear fuel as Biden touts nuclear energy: ‘The trouble is this is a forever decision’.



PUBLIC OPINION. Something Is Missing From Americans’ Greatest Fears. It’s the Bomb..

SAFETY. Incident. 400,000 gallons of radioactive water leaked from a nuclear plant in Minnesota.

SECRETS and LIES. Libyan general says uranium reported missing by UN nuclear watchdog IAEA has been recoveredTons of uranium missing from Libyan site, UN nuclear watchdog tells member states. Alarm over 10 drums of uranium missing in Libya.

SPINBUSTERSIX WAR MONGERING THINK TANKS AND THE MILITARY CONTRACTORS THAT FUND THEM. Lesson from Fukushima: Collusion in the nuclear domain“Great British Nuclear” launch – an eccentric fraud by the UK government.

WASTES. The (Vancouver) Columbian Editorial Board: Congress must recognize urgency at HanfordDumping Fukushima contaminated water is a “cheap and dirty” approach that must be stopped.  Australia hasn’t figured out low-level nuclear waste storage yet – let alone high-level waste from submarines.

From the archivesNo country in the world has worked out what to do with its old dead, radioactive, nuclear submarines. UK’s costly struggle to deal with dead nuclear submarines. The daunting, long and untested effort to deal with UK’s dead nuclear submarines. What to do with dead nuclear submarines? A cautionary tale for Australia.

WAR and CONFLICT. Some countries plan to decentralize control of nuclear weapons in a crisis. Here’s why that’s dangerous. Seymour Hersh warns of potential US plan B in UkraineU.S. Army launches new headquarters in Poland . North Korea’s Kim led drills ‘simulating nuclear counterattack.’ 

March 20, 2023 Posted by | Christina's notes | 2 Comments

 The (Vancouver) Columbian Editorial Board: Congress must recognize urgency at Hanford.

Hanford represents “the costliest environmental remediation project the world has ever seen and, arguably, the most contaminated place on the entire planet.”

as Washington residents learned long ago, it is difficult to draw federal attention to a remote site in our state.

The (Vancouver) Columbian Editorial Board, Mar 17, 2023

For too long, the federal government has kept cleanup at the Hanford nuclear reservation toward the bottom of its to-do list. “It’s a nice idea,” a long string of presidential administrations have seemed to say. “We’ll get to it eventually.”

With such nonchalance being the prevailing attitude for decades, the fact that President Joe Biden’s proposed 2024 federal budget includes record funding for Hanford is encouraging. But it is far from cause for celebration.

Congress must join the administration in recognizing the importance of the site and approving the president’s request for some $3 billion for Hanford. The issue is not only a matter of cleaning up hazardous, radioactive waste in Washington; it is about the federal government fulfilling its moral and court-ordered duty.

“There’s more work to do, but this is a big step in the right direction to getting this cleanup done efficiently, effectively and safely,” Gov. Jay Inslee wrote on Twitter this week.

Beggars, as they say, can’t be choosers, which puts Washington leaders in a difficult spot. While the proposal for increased funding is a step in the right direction, it does not mitigate years of inattention by the federal government. Nor does it fully fund cleanup at what is considered the nation’s most contaminated radioactive site.

Hanford, once the hub of plutonium production for the United States’ arsenal of nuclear weapons, now is home to underground tanks holding 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. Many of those tanks are known to be leaking, and with the site’s proximity to the Columbia River — 200 miles upstream from Vancouver — federal officials should have brought urgency to the project long ago.

“The citizens living along banks of the Columbia River deserve to know the full story of what is happening with the Hanford tanks,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., once wrote to Department of Energy officials, who oversee Hanford cleanup.

That was in 2014. Citizens still are waiting for significant progress.

According to the Tri-City Herald, Biden’s proposed budget would increase spending on a vitrification plant at Hanford from its current $875 million to $1 billion; that plant is being prepared to treat radioactive waste for disposal. The budget also would add an extra $34 million for work at the tank farms.

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, whose district includes the Hanford site, long has worked to draw attention to the cleanup. So have Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. As Congress considers the details of Biden’s budget proposal, Washington lawmakers — including Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Skamania — should impress upon their colleagues the importance of Hanford.

Every state and every congressional district has its own needs, but a site largely unknown to the rest of the country warrants special attention. As journalist Joshua Frank wrote last year in the book “Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America,” Hanford represents “the costliest environmental remediation project the world has ever seen and, arguably, the most contaminated place on the entire planet.”

With Murray serving as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee — and with Newhouse sitting on the House Appropriations Committee — there is hope that Hanford funding will remain unscathed when Congress takes a scalpel to Biden’s proposed budget. But as Washington residents learned long ago, it is difficult to draw federal attention to a remote site in our state.

March 20, 2023 Posted by | USA, wastes | 1 Comment

Permission to speak? — Beyond Nuclear International

No science degree required to call out nuclear dangers

Permission to speak? — Beyond Nuclear International

Who gets to talk about nuclear power should not be controlled by the nuclear lobby

By Linda Pentz Gunter

If you are not a fan of English soccer (football), you might not have been following the brouhaha over comments made recently by Gary Lineker, one of the UK’s most well known — and arguably well respected — former England football stars.

You might also be wondering why I am writing about it here. Hold that thought.

Lineker was responding to the Conservative UK government’s new “We must stop the boats” policy, designed to turn away so-called “illegal” asylum seekers fleeing for their lives and attempting to land on UK shores, something the government described as “a crisis” of numbers that the British people want solved.

Lineker, who has housed refugees in his home, wrote on his personal Twitter site: “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used in Germany in the 30s.”

The BBC duly suspended him from Match of the Day, one of the most popular shows on British television and which he has hosted since 1999. Athletes, they seemed to be saying, should stick to sport. Supporters of the government’s “let them sink” policy seemed to agree, loading up the vitriolic attacks on Lineker for stepping over the touch line. The same critics also used “othering” language toward asylum-seekers, calling them “these people” and “rapists and murders”, thus giving full credence to Lineker’s fears that the government rhetoric did indeed smack of the rise of Nazism. Which brings me to my point.

In our movement, we are routinely confronted by those who argue that if we don’t have a nuclear engineering degree, we have no scientific knowledge on which to base our opposition to nuclear power.

The media seems to share this view and considers “experts” worth quoting as limited to those with corporate ties, neckties, and government lanyards. How often do we read articles about nuclear power (or any environmental issue for that matter), in which government and industry spokespeople are quoted at length, while a hapless representative from civil society is granted a soundbite snippet in one of the concluding paragraphs, only seen by those willing to read to the end?

I have a degree in English and Italian literature. But on social media platforms I’ve been characterized mockingly as “only an English teacher,” the assumption being that I therefore cannot possibly know anything about nuclear power. (I was never an English teacher — but since when has the pro-nuclear crowd been attentive to facts?)

One New York radio shock jock tried to trip me up during a dawn interview in March 2011, as the Fukushima nuclear disaster unfolded, by demanding an explanation of the difference between becquerels, curies and rads. Being absolutely certain that no one in his listening audience of up-before-coffee, right wing conspiracy theorists had the slightest interest in the matter, I told him so. He then tried the “hysterical woman” tack, to which I responded that since he was the one who was shouting it seemed to me that he was the hysterical one.

It’s ridiculous to suggest — and a deliberate suppression of freedom of speech — that your degree, however long ago you might have acquired it, henceforth limits your thinking to that subject alone and that after the age of about 21 the human brain loses the capacity to learn anything new. The day you threw your mortar board joyfully into the air, or signed with a premier league team, that was the moment when all new thinking stopped. Whether it’s English literature or English football, that is the only topic on which you are qualified to comment. For the rest of your life.

By the same logic, then, only those who make nuclear bombs should be allowed to discuss them publicly. What kind of a world would that be?

I am reminded of the famous Marcel Pagnol quote: “My advice is to look out for engineers. They begin with sewing machines and end up with nuclear bombs.”

Gary Lineker, like many high profile people, discusses all sorts of topics of interest on his personal twitter account. So does former tennis player, Martina Navratilova, and Star Trek actor, George Takei, who endured the Japanese internment camps right here in the freedom-loving USA. During Trump’s tenure as US President, Takei’s twitter feed was chock full of searingly biting — and often wickedly funny —bullseyes. No one banned him from stage and screen.

During his playing days, tennis great Arthur Ashe, an African-American, led a boycott of his sport against apartheid South Africa. That move fed into the wider sanctions and global outcry that eventually ended that cruel regime. But Ashe was “only” a tennis player. He, too, faced endless reprimands that “politics and sport shouldn’t mix.”

Many celebrities, like many of us, are intelligent, thinking and caring human beings. Unlike us, they have a platform and a huge audience. If they sound the warning about Nazi-style rhetoric and policies — or  even, if we are very lucky, the unacceptable horrors of nuclear power and nuclear weapons — thank goodness for that.

We can’t let the voices who speak up for humanity — and humanitarianism — be silenced, even though that is what the BBC thought it was doing by suspending Lineker. Instead, in a brilliant backfire — or to use a soccer term, own goal — the BBC ended up silencing itself with a mass walkout by football match commentators and studio hosts. After which, they quickly reinstated Lineker. And in a clue as to what kind of gag order they might have struck, Lineker promptly tweeted that “however difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away. It’s heartwarming to have seen empathy towards their plight from so many of you.”

This skillfully put to rest the other criticism thrown at Lineker and those of us who joined the outcry at his suspension: that now all the attention was on him and not on the plight of asylum seekers. I disagree. His tweets and the attempts to silence him may have constituted a battle over free speech but it also rocketed the inhumanity of the UK government’s immigration policy into the spotlight in a way no amount of earnest editorials or picket lines in Whitehall might have done.

So with or without that PhD in quantum physics, we will keep speaking out against the extreme dangers of nuclear power. Because as human beings who can read, think and analyze for ourselves, who can separate fact from fiction, and who know the difference between empirical evidence and pro-nuclear propaganda, we have a duty and a responsibility to do so. Otherwise the next nuclear tragedy will be on us.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and curates Beyond Nuclear International.

March 20, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment