the long-term effects of low-level radiation exposure have consistently been downplayed, distorted or concealed by scientists, the nuclear industry and the government.
It seems that while the US and the USSR had a hard time cooperating on nuclear arms at that time, they had a tacit agreement to cover up each other’s nuclear power mistakes.
these facts, like all those about nuclear power and nuclear weapons testing, were kept secret and released only through the efforts of private citizens and a few courageous researchers and journalists.
At least 250,000 American troops were directly exposed to atomic radiation during the 17 years of bomb testing here and in the Pacific, but they have been totally ignored by the government and the Army.
There is little doubt that hundreds died and that countless others developed illnesses that led to death from various cancers, blood disorders and chronic body ailments. Today the government still rejects all claims for such illnesses.
The press also played a role in soothing public fears.
the US has led the world in setting examples of deliberate deceit, suppression of information and harassment of nuclear critics
Professionals, in order to perform their work, resist truth strongly if it calls the morality of their work into question. They sincerely believe they are helping humankind. In addition, scientific research involves so many uncertainties that scientists can, with an easy conscience, rationalize away dangers that are hypothetical or not immediately observable. They also have an intellectual investment if not a financial one in continuing their work as well as families to support, and nuclear science in particular has been endowed not only with government money and support but great status and prestige.
In order to perform professional work, one must not only believe one is doing good but must also rationalize the dangers. Indeed, with regard to ionizing radiation, this is quite easy inasmuch as the risks of radiation exposure at any level are statistical and not immediately manifested.
Pro Nuclear Propaganda: How Science, Government and the Press Conspire to Misinform the Public http://www.lornasalzman.com/collectedwritings/pro-nuclear.html by Lorna Salzman Hunter College, Energy Studies program, 1986 After the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in the Soviet Union, there was much finger-wagging in the US about the suppression of information there, and the purported differences in reactor design and safety requirements between Russia and the US, which made a similar accident here unlikely if not impossible Continue reading
Dr Paterson highlighted the importance of changing the conversation around nuclear issues through both outreach and education to address the knowledge gap and a lack of understanding that exists in society……
“People’s awareness has to be raised about the benefits of nuclear technology for health, the environment and important research,” said Dr Paterson.
Inspiring tomorrow’s scientists: The IAEA presents a new nuclear science and technology educational resource package for secondary schools,International Atomic Energy Agency 30 September 2016 “…… a new educational resource package developed by the IAEA in partnership with education and communication experts from around the world aims to answer. The Compendium of Resources and Activities on Nuclear Science and technology for Secondary School Teachers and Students, presented this week at a side event entitled ‘Introducing Nuclear Science and Technology in Secondary Schools’ on the margins of the 60th IAEA General Conference, aims to make nuclear science more interesting and attractive to students, and to encourage young people to enter the fields of nuclear science and technology……. we need to ensure that the nuclear knowledge is passed on to the next generations. This project is an opportunity for the youth, for developing countries, for women! ” said Ms Najat Mokhtar, Director of the IAEA’s Division for Asia and the Pacific in her opening statement to the side event……
engaging their interest while still in high school is key to ensuring a cohort of students and graduates interested in pursuing careers as scientists, and ready to take on the challenge of developing nuclear knowledge and capacity in their countries……
“In the Philippines, 46 Science Department Heads and around 200 teachers were trained by IAEA experts. ……..Over 900 high school teachers and 10,000 high-school students benefitted from the pilot project. Many of the teachers who received training from IAEA experts in turn trained other teachers back in their countries. …….
Dr Adrian Paterson, Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and Dr Takeshi Iimoto, Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo, who had both provided expert advice to the preparation of the Compendium, shared their experience and talked about some of the ideas that they had contributed. Dr Paterson highlighted the importance of changing the conversation around nuclear issues through both outreach and education to address the knowledge gap and a lack of understanding that exists in society……
“People’s awareness has to be raised about the benefits of nuclear technology for health, the environment and important research,” said Dr Paterson.
The pilot Compendium initiative was successfully completed under a regional technical cooperation project RAS0065 supported by the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications and the Department of Technical Cooperation. A follow-up regional project for Asia and the Pacific is being prepared for 2018–2020 to expand and sustain nuclear science and technology information, education and communication among secondary school students and teachers in the region. https://www.iaea.org/technicalcooperation/Home/Highlights-Archive/Archive-2016/0930016-GC-comp.html
Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 1 Oct 16 In Geraldine Thomas’s recent talk she showed dosimeter data from students in Japan, but she didn’t make it clear that the students were kept out of the “Restricted zone” (funny about that). But if you read the paper, it mentions that a teacher went into the zone for 2 hours (to Okuma) and had readings of 5 microSieverts per hour. Thought I would show how the graph would look with this data included. (Note: Okuma is not the “hottest” area, some areas in the restricted zone are over 20 microSieverts per hour) [relevant graph can be seen on original on Facebook] Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/
Measurement and comparison of individual external doses of high-school students living in Japan, France, Poland and Belarus—the ‘D-shuttle’ project— N Adachi1, V Adamovitch2, Y Adjovi3, K Aida4, H Akamatsu5, S Akiyama6, A Akli7, A Ando8, T Andrault9,H Antonietti3 Show full author list 27 November 2015 , ,
Twelve high schools in Japan (of which six are in Fukushima Prefecture), four in France, eight in Poland and two in Belarus cooperated in the measurement and comparison of individual external doses in 2014. In total 216 high-school students and teachers participated in the study. Each participant wore an electronic personal dosimeter ‘D-shuttle’ for two weeks, and kept a journal of his/her whereabouts and activities. The distributions of annual external doses estimated for each region overlap with each other, demonstrating that the personal external individual doses in locations where residence is currently allowed in Fukushima Prefecture and in Belarus are well within the range of estimated annual doses due to the terrestrial background radiation level of other regions/countries………..
A large value of 5 μSv h−1 was recorded for one participant from Fukushima high school (figure10 top) [on orioginal]. This was when this person (teacher) visited Okuma town in the restricted zone, close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (figure 1) for research purposes. For two hours, 15:00 and 16:00, high hourly doses were recorded, and this coincided with the activity journal entry of this person……..http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0952-4746/36/1/49
This is part of a very important article, in which Dr Baverstock thoroughly refutes the claims that Professor Geraldine Thomas’ made in a BBC interview, about Fukushima ionising radiation not being much to worry about. The BBC has since withdrawn her statements.
Thomas’ comments in the video were insulting to the intelligence of the Japanese authorities and their advisors, and extremely ill-judged from a professional radiological point of view. The BBC was right to withdraw her comments as incorrect
‘This was quite clearly scientific misconduct’ by Dr Keith Baverstock, Fissiononline 23 Sept 16 . I will take the BBC interview first. In this interview Thomas questions the whole basis of the Japanese response to the Fukushima accident in terms of its evacuation policy. Is one to imagine that those authorities and the Japanese scientific establishment are so stupid as not to recognise that there is no risk entailing living in those areas?
The internationally agreed public dose limit is 1 mSv per year in addition to approximately 2 mSv per year from natural background radiation. The single measurement made in that television interview indicate 2.8 microsieverts per hour, which is close to 25 mSv per year. That includes the natural background doses o at that point the dose rate is at least 20 times the public dose limit.
Surely Thomas can recognise that this must demand serious consideration by the appropriate authorities as to the safety of those who would live there? However, to determine the safety or otherwise of living there it would be necessary to do a comprehensive survey of the area. My guess is that five years after the deposition of the radioactivity there will be a high degree of variability in measurements: some may be less in the measurement made on the programme, but others more and perhaps considerably more. Furthermore, if one were looking at a situation, for example in the UK, one would have to ensure that the most exposed person could not receive more that 1 mSv per annum. Therefore promises arguments that being indoors for example would reduce the dose rate are not valid in the context of the radiological protection of the public in general.
Whether a special dispensation applies when determining the return of evacuees to their homes is a question that I believe needs to be discussed, because as far as I’m aware the current situation in Japan is unique. Furthermore, we are not talking about a total dose of 20 mSv for someone who returns to live in this village. In many such villages remedial measures to reduce the dose rate are being taken, but only for the main “living areas”. Straying beyond these areas could lead to much higher doses, and eating natural produce, mushrooms etc, to even higher doses.
In the light of these considerations, Thomas’ comments in the video were insulting to the intelligence of the Japanese authorities and their advisors, and extremely ill-judged from a professional radiological point of view. The BBC was right to withdraw her comments as incorrect if that is indeed what they did.
Watching the video I am inclined to believe that Thomas is being disingenuous when she says she made a numeric al error when calculating the dose from the interviewer’s measurement. She made no attempt to do any kind of calculation: the figure she cited was something she clearly had in mond at the outset: she was delivering propaganda for the nuclear industry
That in the context in which the interview took place and the way in which she was introduced to the audience, is clearly scientific misconduct. One must also say here that the ninterviewer must have been, for an experienced journalist, amazingly gullible to have allowed the interview to be broadcast……….. https://issuu.com/fission/docs/fissionline_44
Dr Keith Baverstock led the Radiation Programme at the World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for Europe from 1991 to 2003.
Eskom’s R150 billion cash-reserves claim is wishful thinking – Natahsa Mazzone http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politics/eskoms-r150-billion-cashreserves-claim-is-wishful- Natasha Mazzone | 23 September 2016
DA says power utility’s profit of R4,6 billion a far cry from the R15 billion need a year to make up amount. The claim by Head of Generation for Eskom, Mr Matshela Koko, that Eskom could pay for the nuclear build programme by using cash-reserves, which he indicated could be R150 billion in 10 years’ time, is wishful thinking.
Eskom recorded a R4.6 billion profit in the 2015/16 financial year, a far cry from the R15 billion in profits it would need to generate consistently for the next 10 years to make up R150 billion.
Considering that by Eskom’s admission electricity demand is down, coupled with economic growth projected at a mere 0.6%, this raises serious questions about the assumptions underlying their projections.
I will therefore be submitting parliamentary questions to Eskom to find out how they intend to generate these massive cash reserves.
The validity of their projections notwithstanding, spending any cash reserves on a nuclear build program would be financially irresponsible. Eskom currently owes its creditors R322 billion underwritten by R350 billion in government guarantees. The entity should rather use excess cash reserves to decrease these liabilities.
Moreover, the fact that Eskom believe they can generate these massive profits whilst pushing for well-above inflation tariff increases on electricity, should be a slap in the face of the majority of poor citizens in our country. Energy and electricity costs are eating into their limited budget and now with these tariff increases, their pockets will be hurting even more.
The big question is why Eskom needs to be building nuclear in the first place when future electricity shortages would be better addressed by cheaper and more sustainable renewable and gas projects. With advancements in storage and battery technologies, these would be the better alternative by 2035.
The Minister is the only person with the prerogative to choose nuclear over any other form of energy, in this vein Mr Koko is overstepping his fiduciary duties to even suggest that Eskom would be investing in Nuclear.
In the context of its massive debt, and repeated requests for above inflation tariff increases, it is irrational to utilise any cash reserves in pursuit of the much maligned nuclear “wonder” programme and once again calls the motivation for the nuke deal into question.
Issued by Natasha Mazzone, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, 23 September 2016
Dissolving the WHO-IAEA agreement is a necessary first step to restoring the WHO’s independence to research the true health impacts of ionising radiation and publish its findings.
it is time the WHO regained the freedom to impart independent, objective advice on the health risks of radiation.
Toxic link: the WHO and the IAEA, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/may/28/who-nuclear-power-chernobyl Oliver Tickell, A 50-year-old agreement with the IAEA has effectively gagged the WHO from telling the truth about the health risks of radiation. F
Fifty years ago, on 28 May 1959, the World Health Organisation‘s assembly voted into force an obscure but important agreement with theInternational Atomic Energy Agency – the United Nations “Atoms for Peace” organisation, founded just two years before in 1957. The effect of this agreement has been to give the IAEA an effective veto on any actions by the WHO that relate in any way to nuclear power – and so prevent the WHO from playing its proper role in investigating and warning of the dangers of nuclear radiation on human health.
The WHO’s objective is to promote “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health”, while the IAEA’s mission is to “accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world”. Although best known for its work to restrict nuclear proliferation, the IAEA’s main role has been to promote the interests of the nuclear power industry worldwide, and it has used the agreement to suppress the growing body of scientific information on the real health risks of nuclear radiation.
Under the agreement, whenever either organisation wants to do anything in which the other may have an interest, it “shall consult the other with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual agreement”. The two agencies must “keep each other fully informed concerning all projected activities and all programs of work which may be of interest to both parties”. And in the realm of statistics – a key area in the epidemiology of nuclear risk – the two undertake “to consult with each other on the most efficient use of information, resources, and technical personnel in the field of statistics and in regard to all statistical projects dealing with matters of common interest”.
The language appears to be evenhanded, but the effect has been one-sided. For example, investigations into the health impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine on 26 April 1986 have been effectively taken over by IAEA and dissenting information has been suppressed. The health effects of the accident were the subject of two major conferences, in Geneva in 1995, and in Kiev in 2001. But the full proceedings of those conferences remain unpublished – despiteclaims to the contrary by a senior WHO spokesman reported in Le Monde Diplomatique.
Meanwhile, the 2005 report of the IAEA-dominated Chernobyl Forum, which estimates a total death toll from the accident of only several thousand, is widely regarded as a whitewash as it ignores a host of peer-reviewed epidemiological studies indicating far higher mortality and widespread genomic damage. Many of these studies were presented at the Geneva and Kiev conferences but they, and the ensuing learned discussions, have yet to see the light of day thanks to the non-publication of the proceedings.
The British radiation biologist Keith Baverstock is another casualty of the agreement, and of the mindset it has created in the WHO. He served as a radiation scientist and regional adviser at the WHO’s European Office from 1991 to 2003, when he was sacked after expressing concern to his senior managers that new epidemiological evidence from nuclear test veterans and from soldiers exposed to depleted uranium indicated that current risk models for nuclear radiation were understating the real hazards.
Now a professor at the University of Kuopio, Finland, Baverstock finally published his paper in the peer-reviewed journal Medicine, Conflict and Survival in April 2005. He concluded by calling for “reform from within the profession” and stressing “the political imperative for freely independent scientific institutions” – a clear reference to the non-independence of his former employer, the WHO, which had so long ignored his concerns.
Since the 21st anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in April 2007, a daily “Hippocratic vigil” has taken place at the WHO’s offices in Geneva, organised byIndependent WHO to persuade the WHO to abandon its the WHO-IAEA Agreement. The protest has continued through the WHO’s 62nd World Health Assembly, which ended yesterday, and will endure through the executive board meeting that begins today. The group has struggled to win support from WHO’s member states. But the scientific case against the agreement is building up, most recently when the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) called for its abandonment at its conference earlier this month in Lesvos, Greece.
At the conference, research was presented indicating that as many as a million children across Europe and Asia may have died in the womb as a result of radiation from Chernobyl, as well as hundreds of thousands of others exposed to radiation fallout, backing up earlier findings published by the ECRR in Chernobyl 20 Years On: Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident. Delegates heard that the standard risk models for radiation risk published by the International Committee on Radiological Protection (ICRP), and accepted by WHO, underestimate the health impacts of low levels of internal radiation by between 100 and 1,000 times – consistent with the ECRR’s own 2003 model of radiological risk (The Health Effects of Ionising Radiation Exposure at Low Doses and Low Dose Rates for Radiation Protection Purposes: Regulators’ Edition). According to Chris Busby, the ECRR’s scientific secretary and visiting professor at the University of Ulster’s school of biomedical sciences:
“The subordination of the WHO to IAEA is a key part of the systematic falsification of nuclear risk which has been under way ever since Hiroshima, the agreement creates an unacceptable conflict of interest in which the UN organisation concerned with promoting our health has been made subservient to those whose main interest is the expansion of nuclear power. Dissolving the WHO-IAEA agreement is a necessary first step to restoring the WHO’s independence to research the true health impacts of ionising radiation and publish its findings.”
Some birthdays deserve celebration – but not this one. After five decades, it is time the WHO regained the freedom to impart independent, objective advice on the health risks of radiation.
Last year, coal mining executives attending the annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute were treated to a presentation on the future of American mining titled:“Survival Is Victory: Lessons From the Tobacco Wars.” As the title implies, the presentation laid out a path for the fossil fuel industry to weather a barrage of lawsuits and new safety and health regulations, modeled on the efforts of the tobacco industry in the 90s and early 2000s. (See John Schwartz’s story in The New York Times.)
Richard Reavey, the Cloud Peak Energy vice president who delivered the presentation, described the similarities between what Big Tobacco went through and the challenges facing coal today as “remarkable and eerie.” (We should take his word for it. Before working for Cloud Peak, a mining company, Reavey was an executive at tobacco giant Philip Morris for 17 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.) His advice to the coal execs: do what tobacco did and “cut a deal while we are still relevant.” After all, “a much more heavily regulated tobacco industry is still viable and profitable.”
Ironically, Reavey’s presentation on these similarities between tobacco and fossil fuel strategies has a much deeper parallel.
For decades, cigarette makers hid from the public and from policymakers the scientific evidence they had of their product’s dangers. The Justice Department brought, and ultimately won, a civil racketeering lawsuit against the major tobacco companies for carrying out that fraud. Today, researchers often compare this tobacco fraud on the public to the fossil fuel industry’s suppression of its research on the dangers of carbon pollution.
Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University has written about the pattern followed by both industries: hiring their own scientists to churn out favorable research; creating (and bankrolling) front groups to sow doubt in the public debate about scientific consensus, while obscuring the hand of the industry; and even attacking and harassing individual scientists whose work may discredit the industry propaganda. Professor Mann himself has been the target of vexatious “investigations” and efforts to intimidate and harass him, including death threats—just for producing peer-reviewed academic research shedding light on the effects of increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Dr. Robert Brulle of Drexel University has documented an intricate propaganda web of climate denial, with over one hundred organizations, from industry trade associations to conservative think tanks to plain old phony front groups. The purpose of this sophisticated denial apparatus, he says, is “a deliberate and organized effort to misdirect the public discussion and distort the public’s understanding of climate.” These are tactics that were developed, tested, and proven effective by the tobacco industry—and in some cases the very same front groups were involved.
Public lawyers demanded that the “tobacco files”” behind this fraud be made a public record. A recentanalysis by the Center for International Environmental Law of millions of documents from these tobacco industry archives reveals close collaboration over the better part of a century between cigarette manufacturers and oil producers on research, lobbying, and public relations. The new bookPoison Tea, by Climate Nexus Executive Director Jeff Nesbit, chronicles this same relationship.
In the book and film Merchants of Doubt, Drs. Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway identify spin doctors, spokespeople and even scientists-for-hire who were involved in the tobacco and now fossil fuel campaigns. Not only has the energy industry recycled tobacco’s strategies and front groups, it’s redeploying some of the same personnel, like Mr. Reavey, the coal convention presenter.
Sharon Eubanks, lead counsel on behalf of the United States in United States v. Phillip Morris, the federal tobacco litigation, has said she believes the government could make a case against fossil fuel producers very similar to the one she led against tobacco under federal civil racketeering laws. That’s not just because coal companies are openly taking cues from tobacco’s legal and regulatory fight. It’s because mounting evidence indicates that, like tobacco, the fossil fuel industry may have engaged in a deliberate, protracted fraud to mislead the public, to protect their profits, to the peril of us all.
The troubling evolution of corporate greenwashing The term “greenwashing” was coined in the 1980s to describe outrageous corporate environmental claims. Three decades later, the practice has grown vastly more sophisticated, Guardian, Bruce Watson, 21 Aug 16, In the mid-1980s, oil company Chevron commissioned a series of expensive television and print ads to convince the public of its environmental bonafides. Titled People Do, the campaign showed Chevron employees protecting bears, butterflies, sea turtles and all manner of cute and cuddly animals.
The commercials were very effective – in 1990, they won an Effie advertising award, and subsequently became a case study at Harvard Business school. They also became notorious among environmentalists, who have proclaimed them the gold standard of greenwashing – the corporate practice of making diverting sustainability claims to cover a questionable environmental record.
The term greenwashing was coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986, back when most consumers received their news from television, radio and print media – the same outlets that corporations regularly flooded with a wave of high-priced, slickly-produced commercials and print ads. The combination of limited public access to information and seemingly unlimited advertising enabled companies to present themselves as caring environmental stewards, even as they were engaging in environmentally unsustainable practices.
But greenwashing dates back even earlier. American electrical behemoth Westinghouse’s nuclear power division was a greenwashing pioneer. Threatened by the 1960’s anti-nuclear movement, which raised questions about its safety and environmental impact, it fought back with a series of ads proclaiming the cleanliness and safety of nuclear power plants. One, featuring a photograph of a nuclear plant nestled by a pristine lake, proclaimed that “We’re building nuclear power plants to give you more electricity,” and went on to say that nuclear plants were “odorless […] neat, clean, and safe”……
One shift has been outreach. Many companies are now working to engage customers in their sustainability efforts, even as their core business model remains environmentally unsustainable. The Home Depot and Lowes, for example, both encourage customers to do their part by offering onsite recycling for several products, including compact fluorescent lights and plastic bags. Meanwhile, they continue to sell billions of dollars per year worth of environmentally damaging products, such as paints that are loaded with toxic ingredients and which release noxious fumes.
“It’s misdirection, and it’s intended to shift the customer’s focus from a company’s appalling behaviors to something that’s peripheral,” Ballard says.
The bottled water conundrum
The water industry trades heavily on images of rugged mountains and pristine lakes to sell its products. And many companies – Nestle, in particular – spend millions of dollars trying to convince the public that their bottled water isn’t only good to drink, but is also good for the planet. Over the past few years, the bottled water giant has claimed that its Eco-Shape bottle is more efficient, that itsResource recycled plastic bottle is more environmentally responsible and that its use of plant-based plastics is less damaging to the planet.
In 2008, Nestle Waters Canada even ran an ad claiming: “Bottled water is the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world.”…….
A golden oldie
What the commercial failed to mention was that, two years earlier, Westinghouse was cited by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for concealing flaws in its reactor designs and submitting false information to regulators. And, in February 2016, another plant that uses Westinghouse reactors, New York’s Indian Point,leaked radioactive material into the surrounding area’s groundwater.
Greenwashing may have taken on a new shape in the last decade, but it’s still as murky as ever. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/aug/20/greenwashing-environmentalism-lies-companies
Jigar Shah rebuts Bill Gates’ fossil fuel vision for energy access in developing countries. GreenTech Media by Jigar Shah August 22, 2014 “……In 2012, I wrote in the Huffington Post that Bill Gates had zero qualifications to understand energy and its costs. I also acknowledged that I am not qualified to run a global software company.
So, Bill Gates doesn’t know much about energy outside of his vested interests in nuclear power, and I don’t know much about running a software company outside of my bumbling with my Android apps. I say this about myself even though I have helped with smart metering and oversaw the global implementation for monitoring solar systems worldwide for SunEdison.
But Bill Gates has more money and power than I, as well as a powerful — and wonderful — charity. In this instance, however, his charity is misguided. And nothing is more dangerous than misguided charity.
Gates’ misguided path starts with the fact that he cited a notorious climate confusionist, Bjorn Lomborg. Lomborg has stubbornly refused to acknowledge the fact that renewable energy is cost-competitive with fossil fuels as an energy source.
Given Gates’ stature, framing energy poverty as a climate issue reveals a depth of ignorance that poses a serious problem. So here is reality.
Ending energy poverty requires the right tool for the job: distributed energy
The truth is that an over-reliance on centralized grid extension and large-scale power plants will keep a billion people in the dark. It is time to recognize what even the IEA says is overwhelmingly necessary, but dramatically under-invested in: distributed renewable energy for those living beyond the grid.
To understand why this is so important, take a step back and consider the reaction if Gates wrote a blog suggesting that Mark Zuckerberg is a fool and that the solution for universal internet access around the world is connecting every home around the world via physical fiber-optic cable. The reaction would be riotous laughter. In emerging markets, they are busy ripping out copper and everyone is using wireless. Yet that’s exactly analogous to what Gates is proposing for energy.
No expert on energy access is paying any attention to Gates’ folly on energy for the poor…… When it comes to energy poverty, Gates is arguing for outdated and ineffective solutions that will keep people energy-poor. It is time that we deploy our 21st century energy solutions and put power directly in the hands of the impoverished. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/sorry-bill-gates-you-are-wrong-on-clean-energy
Why Eskom’s Brian Molefe is pumping up the nuclear propaganda
The issue of relative costs is an area in which Eskom likes to play fast and loose with facts. Molefe, for instance, loves to talk about the relative cheapness of nuclear power Rand Daily mail CAROL PATON
26 JULY 2016 “……..As Eskom prepares to roll back the rise of independent power producers (IPPs) and lay the basis for the nuclear build, the propaganda war is going to be critical. This is because, on the facts alone, Eskom’s central argument — that SA’s energy future is a straight choice between variable and unreliable renewables and reliable base load nuclear — is nonsense.
What SA needs to do to break Eskom’s stranglehold
Even before Eskom’s letter to Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson drawing the line under the IPP programme surfaced last week, Molefe and Eskom’s head of generation, Matshela Koko, have been pushing this line. As SA can’t have more coal plants because of its commitments to reduce emissions, and as renewable energy is available during the day, when it’s not really required, the only solution lies with nuclear power.
This is a misrepresentation of the choices available. A great deal of technical work and international experience has shown that the next round of large investments SA should be making should be in gas. Unlike renewable energy, nuclear energy or a coal-fired power station, gas can be switched on and off to provide peaking power. The turbines need to turn only when you need them. With large discoveries in Mozambique, investing in gas is the logical next step. The CSIR has done detailed work on this and has put forward a third option to the baseload debate: to use gas and renewables — now by far the cheapest — in concert to create baseload power.
The issue of the relative costs of the technologies is another area in which Eskom likes to play fast and loose with the facts. Molefe, for instance, loves to talk about the relative cheapness of nuclear power. Koeberg — built in 1985 and long since paid for — supplies energy at R0.43/kWh. This should be compared with solar thermal power — the only renewable energy technology that can store energy — he says, the cost of which ranges between R2/kWh and R6/kWh. It’s a ridiculous comparison. In the absence of an agreed-on and updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that would provide an authoritative view on the relative costs of the technologies, the CSIR’s Energy Centre calculated the following in 2015: new nuclear power is projected to cost at least R1/kWh, but very likely more; new coal R0.80/kWh — it is now much higher at about R1; wind R0.60/kWh and solar R0.80/kWh.
A new draft of the IRP by Eskom’s technical modellers — that has been sent back to the drawing board by the Department of Energy — has suggested that the overnight cost (capital cost excluding interest) of building new nuclear power would be $6 000/kW. The department reckoned on about $4 166/kW.
These are not numbers Eskom is likely to use in the public debate. Eskom, in particular Molefe, has a talent for spinning a good story. After less than five months in the job, he made the startling and completely untrue statement that Eskom’s plant performance had improved vastly. At that point, Eskom’s plant performance was still in decline. More recently, in May, he insisted at a news conference in Parliament that Eskom’s ability to meet demand had nothing to do with lower-than-anticipated demand. This too, turned out not to be true, with Eskom’s own demand curve showing real decline over 2015.
These are perhaps minor skirmishes with the truth. But getting the nuclear build on track is a far bigger fight. Expect Eskom to pump up the propaganda war. — Business Day http://www.rdm.co.za/business/2016/07/26/why-eskom-s-brian-molefe-is-pumping-up-the-nuclear-propaganda
Engineering students intern at US nuclear testing company Grad Plus Friday, 08 July 2016 Four engineering students from the University of Sheffield have travelled to the US to take up internships at NuScale Power’s nuclear test facilities.
In each case, career opportunities were discussed……In addition, the evening programs included a panel discussion of local educational opportunities, led by Mindy Mets, the nuclear workforce initiative program manager for the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization, and a challenging presentation by Capt. Kevin Byrne, commanding officer of the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command at the Navy Nuclear Power School.
The institute included a series of workshop sessions over the three days to emphasize atomic and nuclear fundamentals; power generation fundamentals; nuclear technology applications; risk (real vs. perceived); and nuclear workforce opportunities ……
Lodging (if needed) and meals were provided at the University of South Carolina Aiken along with free educational resources and teacher guides for classroom presentations. In addition, each participant received two $25 gift cards to help cover travel expenses.
SSNI IS LED BY Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness, a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide education and information on nuclear subjects for the public. Other sponsors include the American Nuclear Society – Savannah River and Columbia, AREVA, Atkins, Georgia Power Co./Plant Vogtle, SCE&G, SRSCRO, SUNRISE Universities, USC Aiken and the Aiken Rotary Club.
(The writer – a retired program manager from the Savannah River National Laboratory – is a member of the Citizens for Nuclear Technology http://chronicle.augusta.com/opinion/opinion-columns/2016-07-03/teachers-two-states-go-nuclear-educational-summer-institute#
So are there prominent climate scientists and self-described environmentalists advocating for nuclear power? To be sure. But their stance doesn’t necessarily define the larger movement of low-carbon, renewable energy advocates who hold a decidedly different position.
WSJ Fakes a Green Shift Toward Nuclear Power http://fair.org/home/wsj-fakes-a-green-shift-toward-nuclear-power/ By Miranda C. Spencer The Wall Street Journal(6/16/16) published an article headlined “Environmental Groups Change Tune on Nuclear Power: Focus on Climate Change Has Raised Profile of Reactors, Now Viewed as Reliable, Carbon-Free Source of Energy.” Written by Amy Harder, the approximately 600-word piece appeared on the front page of the Journal’s B section.
Its dramatic lead-in: Continue reading
Fukushima and Nuclear Power: Does the Advertising Giant Dentsu Pull the Strings of Japan’s Media? By Mathieu Gaulène
1 June 2016 “………Advertisements in Japan are literally everywhere: a veritable hell of posters or screens in trains and stations, giant posters on buildings, bearers of advertising placards or lorries with huge posters and loud PA systems in the streets: even advertising displays mounted atop urinals in some restaurants. In this advertising empire, the media are no exception. In the press, naturally, as in France, major companies pay for full page advertisements. But, above all in television. An entertainment show generally starts with the announcement of sponsors, and is interrupted every five minutes by numerous short advertising spots, where we often find the same sponsors. There is virtually no time for thinking, most TV channels offer programs close to the world of pachinko: garish colors, constant noise, and frat humor even of the most vulgar kind.
In this immense television arena, advertising is orchestrated by one of the global giants, Dentsu, the 5th communication group in the world and the number one ad agency. With its rival Hakuhodo, 2nd in the archipelago, the two agencies nicknamed “Denpaku,” combine advertising, public relations, media monitoring, crisis management for the largest Japanese and foreign companies, the local authorities, political parties or the government. Together they hold nearly 70% of the market. A true empire that some accuse of ruling the roost in the Japanese media.
Dentsu and information on nuclear power…..
In a book published in 2012, Honma Ryu looked into some of Dentsu’s backstage, and its tight control over the media, especially on behalf of one of its major clients: Tokyo Electric Power Company, Tepco. ……
n 2012, his book Dentsu and Nuclear Coverage became a bestseller within a few months, despite almost universal media blackout.
Honma meticulously described the mechanisms by which Dentsu, the inevitable intermediary, implicitly imposes on media what can or cannot be written on nuclear power, and under what conditions. “Dentsu occupies a special position since the agency holds 80% of the market for nuclear advertising in Japan,” he reminded us during an interview in a coffee shop at Ueno Station. In 2010, in this huge advertising market, Tepco, a regional firm, indeed ranked 10th in terms of advertising expenses, next to power plant manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. That year, on the eve of the Fukushima accident, Tepco had spent more than 2 million euros on advertising. The overall advertising expenses of the 10 regional electrical power companies amounted to 7 million euros.
For decades, especially since the 1990s when public opinion began to become critical of nuclear power following several accidents, Tepco and other power companies stepped up commercials and advertorials in the press.
On television, the advertisements can be enough in themselves to overwhelm criticism. Big groups often sponsor TV programs, talk shows or series for an entire season. Sometimes, entire documentaries are produced by Denjiren, [the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC)], a key player in the nuclear lobby, to promote the industry. Any dissenting voice is unwelcome for fear of losing sponsors.
After Fukushima, Yamamoto Taro paid the price; appearing regularly on TV as a tarento [talent] until then when he suddenly became persona non grata on TV and even in cinema for having expressed opposition to nuclear power. This is hardly new since the great figures of the anti-nuclear movement, best-selling authors such as Hirose Takashi or Koide Hiroaki are almost never invited to appear on TV, especially after the Fukushima accident.
This “control by media” denounced by Honma Ryu obviously is not limited to the nuclear power industry.
Amid all these private media groups, only NHK escapes this advertising empire and can claim to be independent, receiving its funding directly from viewers. Alas, the situation at NHK is even more disastrous, its president Momii Katsuto having said without embarrassment on several occasions that the chain had to be the spokesman for the Abe government. In a recent statement before 200 retired NHK employees, he even seemingly acknowledged having ordered NHK journalists to confine broadcasts to reassuring communiqués from the authorities about Kyushu earthquakes and potential risks they pose to nuclear plants and instructing them not to interview independent experts.
Indirect pressures on the press
What about the press? Dentsu has long had a special relationship with the two news agencies Kyodo News and Jiji Press: the three entities formed a single information group before the war. If information in the press is more difficult to control, Dentsu not only advertises, but provides after-sales customer service — media monitoring, advice on crisis management, and indirect pressure on newspapers.
Whereas in France, the acquisition of media companies by large industrial groups is the prelude to direct pressure, in Japan pressure comes via advertising agencies that act as true ambassadors for the groups. ……..
Advertisements of nuclear power are mainly distributed in weekly and daily newspapers. Since the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, they stopped; but for Dentsu, a profitable new business emerged: promoting agricultural products from Fukushima. Since 2011, with the participation of star singers, Fukushima Prefecture has never skimped on promoting its peaches, rice, or tomatoes, with slogans like “Fukushima Pride” or “Fukushima is well!”…….
Dentsu thus occupies a very special position in the promotion of nuclear power, beside Tepco but also the powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), both clients of the advertising company. Under these conditions, can Dentsu not be considered to actively underwrite the “nuclear village”?…….
Dentsu is a member of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF), the main organization of nuclear lobbying, along with Japanese electric utility companies and EDF [Electricity of France, Électricité de France],…….
Source: Asia-Pacific Journal
Specifically, renowned climate scientist Dr. James Hansen and industry-oriented Michael Shellenberger of the Breakthrough Institute, came to Illinois this week to weigh in on the Exelon bailout debate. And no, they didn’t support renewables or other clean energy technologies. They didn’t question whether the nation’s largest electric utility really needs to gouge Illinoisans for another $300 million to keep aging, money-losing reactors open. Their message was pretty simple: in an open letter to Illinois legislators they, and several dozen others (most of whom are long-standing nuclear advocates) urged them to “do everything in your power to keep all of Illinois’s nuclear power plants running for their full lifetimes.”
Sometimes Dr. Hansen just makes you wonder if he isn’t undertaking some bizarre experiment to see how far he can undermine his own credibility before it all blows up in his face.
Back in November 2013 he and three colleagues wrote an open letter to us nuclear opponents urging us to reconsider nuclear power. It’s worth going back and reading some of that letter.
“As climate and energy scientists concerned with global climate change, we are writing to urge you to advocate the development and deployment of safer nuclear energy systems,” the letter began. It added, “We call on your organization to support the development and deployment of safer nuclear power systems as a practical means of addressing the climate change problem.” And: “We understand that today’s nuclear plants are far from perfect. Fortunately, passive safety systems and other advances can make new plants much safer.”
Note the emphasis: Hansen is clearly talking about “safer” nuclear reactors. To be precise, he was seeking environmentalist support for development and deployment of Generation IV reactors. Which, to date, do not exist.
NIRS and Civil Society Institute organized a response, signed by 300+ organizations, to Hansen’s letter explaining our continued opposition to nuclear power as a climate response and calling for a public debate on the issue. We never received a reply.
Now jump ahead to December 2015, just four months ago. Shortly before the Paris COP 21 climate talks, Hansen et. al. issued a new missive: “Nuclear power, particularly next-generation nuclear power with a closed fuel cycle (where spent fuel is reprocessed), is uniquely scalable, and environmentally advantageous. Over the past 50 years, nuclear power stations – by offsetting fossil fuel combustion – have avoided the emission of an estimated 60bn tonnes of carbon dioxide. Nuclear energy can power whole civilizations, and produce waste streams that are trivial compared to the waste produced by fossil fuel combustion. There are technical means to dispose of this small amount of waste safely. However, nuclear does pose unique safety and proliferation concerns that must be addressed with strong and binding international standards and safeguards. Most importantly for climate, nuclear produces no CO2 during power generation.”
While there is much to dispute in this paragraph, again note the emphasis on safety and “next-generation nuclear power” and continued acknowledgement of nuclear’s “unique safety and proliferation concerns.”
Fukushima-clone Quad Cities, which began operation in 1972, and Clinton, which began operation in 1987, clearly do not fall under the “safer” or “next-generation” nuclear memes. By endorsing not only their continued operation, but their continued operation enabled by forcing the people of Illinois to further line Exelon’s pockets, Hansen has made a mockery of his earlier safety concerns and exposed himself as no different than any other Exelon-paid-for Nuclear Matters spokesperson.
But it gets worse, because by allying himself with the Breakthrough Institute’s Shellenberger, Hansen has gone a step even further, a step right over the credibility cliff. Because asMidwest Energy News reported, “Shellenberger described next-generation technology as farther away from viability than he had previously hoped, and urged more focus on the nation’s existing reactors.
“How much safer could they be?” he said. “If you have nuclear plants that don’t hurt anyone, keep running them.”
In other words, Shellenberger dismisses Hansen’s support of Generation IV reactors in one phrase and argues in essence that because Fukushima hasn’t happened yet at Quad Cities, well, hell, it never will; keep them running… But Fukushima did, in fact, happen. And there were supposed to have been lessons learned from that disaster. One of those is to be highly skeptical of GE Mark I nuclear reactor designs that are essentially identical to Fukushima, and that have been highly controversial even since their inception in the 1960s.
Thus, Hansen and Shellenberger (and the rest of the letter’s signers, most of whom probably know little about the actual situation in Illinois) are now dismissing any pretense of caring about nuclear safety. For what? To enable Exelon, the largest electric utility in the nation, to gouge Illinoisans for another $300 million to keep open three aging, uneconomic and unsafe nuclear reactors, because of their low carbon emissions.
Seriously, do Hansen and Shellenberger really intend to argue that the world’s climate depends on whether three midwestern nuclear reactors stay open or not? Especially when, to the extent their power needs to be replaced at all it will not be replaced by coal (check out the growing list of coal bankruptcies, there won’t be any new coal plants in Illinois) but to some limited and temporary extent by gas and over the longer and larger term by clean energy. Genuinely clean energy. The kind that doesn’t routinely spew out toxic radiation into the air and water nor create lethal radioactive waste that–their protestations to the contrary–there is not yet, and may not be for centuries, a scientifically-responsible and publicly-acceptable storage solution.
And why have they even entered this debate at all? Shellenberger has gone so far as to establish a new organization called Environmental Progress Illinois to “protect and grow solar, wind and nuclear energy.” He claims that the group hasn’t taken a position on state legislative proposals yet, but expressed support for the concept of having nuclear power treated like renewables in a new “clean energy portfolio standard.” Which happens to be Exelon’s proposal.
Shellenberger, for the record, says his new group takes no money from the energy industry.
And why is Hansen jumping into this battle? This is not the Keystone pipeline. Closing three reactors–or 30 reactors over the next few years for that matter–is not “game over” for climate, not when those reactors can be replaced by clean energy technologies, as both EPA and EIA analyses project they will be.
Arguing for environmentalists to consider Generation IV reactor technology was one thing. For many reasons, we rejected that approach and explained in detail why we did so, but at least it was a fair challenge. But actively working to prevent the shutdown of three reactors of 1960s nuclear technology under the pretense that it would matter for the climate is a leap too far. I hate to say it, but it is a leap so far that it brings into question Hansen’s credibility on the far more important issues of his climate science generally. I have long trusted Hansen on climate issues; now, I am nervous about that. If he can be so wrong in Illinois, and so far removed from his own previous statements on nuclear safety, and seems willing to sell himself to the nation’s largest, and quite possibly greediest, electric utility, well, how can I trust his other work?
I have been telling myself–and others– as Hansen’s pro-nuclear statements have become more and more strident and outlandish over the past few years that, well, Hansen is a climate expert, not an energy expert, and there is a big difference between the two. That’s still true, of course. But I’m having my doubts. Could some of his climate statements–that I’m not expert enough to evaluate the way I am expert enough to evaluate his nuclear statements–be as far removed from reality as his Illinois positions? Fortunately, there are a lot of other climate experts out there. I’ll start listening more closely to them. And there are lots of real energy experts out there, but I already know them and I’ll continue to listen to them. As for Hansen, I probably won’t listen to him anymore on either subject.
As for Illinois, closing Clinton and Quad Cities would not only save its citizens money and reduce the daily risk these dangerous reactors pose, it would help usher in substantial new clean energy investment, something the state desperately could use. That would be the kind of win-win situation–for the state and the climate, if not for Exelon–that the legislature hopefully will recognize. https://safeenergy.org/2016/04/06/how-low-can-they-go/
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