Sunday, March 22, 2009

Myths in the 5 Myths of Nuclear Energy Propaganda

Horror Story Appears in the Washington Post: The 5 "Myths" of Nuclear Energy.

How to read suspected propaganda material:

Propaganda is the dissemination of information aimed at influencing the opinions or behaviors of large numbers of people. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense presents information in order to influence its audience.

Some of the techniques include:

Half-truth: For example, Three Mile Island 1 is still working, BUT TMI2 continues to require constant monitoring that will be required for at least another 50 years and will need to be completely sealed for long term storage when TMI1 is decommissioned and retired. The cost of clean up through 1993, for TMI2, was $975 Million Dollars. Current monitoring is included in the operating costs of TMI1.

Oversimplification: For example, *But the problem isn't the material's half-life -- it's the level of radioactivity it possesses.* Yes, carbon 14 is useful, radioactive and harmless, **but no one is using it in nuclear reactors!** Every fuel used in nuclear plants IS DANGEROUS.

Appeal to fear: Saying that nuclear power doesn't cause global warming is an attempt to directly prey on the general fear of climate change with a few mountain decapitations and sludge ponds thrown in for good measure. This argument is based on making the reader more afraid of current energy sources that they are of nuclear power.

Demonizing the enemy: Notice the writer's use of "quasi-religious", relying on the fact that a large number of readers will have negative feelings to that phrase and to the association that environmentalists are "quasi-religious".

Flag-Waving: It's OK that the US has nuclear power and nuclear weapons as long as no other countries try to do it too? If nuclear power is so terrific, we should build a plant every 100 miles all over the world, right?

5 Myths of Nuclear Power was written by Todd Tucker. His new book, Atomic America, discusses a nuclear accident in Idaho in 1961. Today that site has 52 reactors, of which 3 are reported to be working--the other 49 are slated for long-term storage(when that becomes available.) He also served in the Navy on a nuclear submarine.

The Truth about Nuclear Power is:

1) Nuclear Power is EXTREMELY expensive, and no power plants would have ever been built as an energy investment without Governmental Funding for weapons application. Electricity is just a by-product.

2) Nuclear Power uses a LOT of water, and affects the whole ecosystem around it. Down wind areas get more rain and more snow from the water vapor created. The river where the cooling water is taken and returned will be warmed for miles downstream, killing many species and promoting others. Accidental releases of radioactive water has happened many times in the past and will happen in the future. Water taken from a river and exhausted as excess heat is no longer reliable for agriculture--the level and flow of the river will be permanently lowered.

3) Unlike buying and installing a wind turbine or solar plant, the cost of a Nuclear Plant NEVER ENDS. The materials will need to be decommissioned and stored forever--that takes manpower and money. If we change our minds about a solar plant, it can be taken down and moved somewhere else--a Nuclear Plant is going to be a Nuclear Plant forever.

4) All man-made machines are subject to human shortcomings and human mistakes. Just like in the Simpson's--if you have a single idiot in the Plant, mistakes are going to happen and no human is perfect 100% of the time no matter how smart or diligent they are.

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