Nuclear Power

'Atomic Humanism' and the Eco-Modernist Campaign to Promote Nuclear Power

"Only nuclear can lift all humans out of poverty while saving the natural environment."

|

ProNuclearActivistsBlockNRDC
Environmental Progress

"Only nuclear can lift all humans out of poverty while saving the natural environment," Michael Shellenberger said in his keynote address at yesterday's annual meeting of the American Nuclear Society. "Nothing else—not coal, not solar, not geo-engineering—can do that." This, he declared, was one of the first principles of "atomic humanism."

Shellenberger is the founder of the pro-nuclear green group Environmental Progress, which argues that the best tool for fighting climate change is the no-carbon power generated by nuclear reactors. His speech offered a tour through the sorry history of environmentalist falsehoods and exaggerations about nuclear power.

He began with Ralph Nader, who started training activists on how to stop new nuclear plants in the 1960s. (At one inflammatory moment, Nader declared: "A nuclear plant could wipe out Cleveland, and the survivors would envy the dead.") The Sierra Club soon jumped on board the anti-nuclear campaign. Shellenberger quoted a secret 1974 memo from then-executive director Michael McCloskey: "Our campaign stressing the hazards of nuclear power will supply a rationale for increasing regulation…and add to the cost of the industry." Unfortunately, this strategy worked to perfection.

What was the activists' alternative to nuclear power? Fossil fuels. For example, Nader argued that we didn't "need nuclear power" because we "have a far greater amount of fossil fuels in this country than we're owning up to…the tar sands…oil out of shale…methane in coal beds." In 1976 Sierra Club consultant Amory Lovins declared that coal "can fill the real gaps in our fuel economy with only a temporary and modest (less than twofold at peak) expansion of mining." That same year, California Gov. Jerry Brown actually advocated the construction of coal-fired plants in place of nuclear power stations.

The results? According to Shellenberger, California's carbon dioxide emissions are now two and a half times higher than they would have been had the planned nuclear plants been allowed to go forward. Meanwhile, vastly more people have died as a result of pollution from fossil fuel power generation than from nuclear power.

It gets worse. Many prominent environmentalists, worried that abundant nuclear power would lead to overpopulation, endorsed strong anti-human sentiments. As Shellenberger noted:

"Giving society cheap and abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun," said Paul Ehrlich. "It'd be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of cheap, clean and abundant energy because of what we would do with it [emphasis original]," said Amory Lovins in 1977.

"I didn't really worry about the accidents because there are too many people anyway….I think that playing dirty if you have a noble end is fine," confessed Martin Litton, the Sierra Club member who led the campaign to kill Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California.

Shellenberger concluded by arguing for pro-nuclear activism including mass protests and sit-ins:

There is no short-cut around political engagement. Nuclear energy's opponents are well-financed and well-organized. But they have this huge achilles heel: Their entire agenda rests on a rejection of simple physics and basic ethics. They are in the wrong factually and morally. As such, when they are confronted with the truth—when it is pointed out that the emperor is wearing no clothes—they lose their power….

It's time for action. We have to move. We must confront the truth, and confront the threat. By standing up to Sierra Club, NRDC, and other anti-nuclear greenwashers, we saved nuclear plants in Illinois and New York.

A new grassroots movement, Generation Atomic, is backing measures to keep current nuclear power plants operating and also advocating the deployment of new advanced reactors. For example, Generation Atomic activists are now going door-to-door in Ohio urging voters to pressure state legislators to support the ZEN (Zero Emissions Nuclear) bill, which aims to keep both Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants operating. They note that those plants provide 90 percent of Ohio's non-carbon energy.

Though you may not agree with all of Shellenberger's arguments, his whole keynote is well worth your attention.

Bonus links: For more on new nuclear power generation technologies, go here. For more on the ways excessive regulation is boosting the costs of nuclear power, go here. For more on environmentalist opposition to nuclear power, go here.

NEXT: Colorado's Tough New Forfeiture Law Provides Real Police Oversight, Transparency

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Nader declared: “A nuclear plant could wipe out Cleveland, and the survivors would envy the dead.”

    “Survivors envy the dead” is Cleveland’s city motto.

    1. Nader declared: “A nuclear plant could wipe out Cleveland, and the survivors would envy the dead.”

      Good line– Nader should be flattered Carl Sagan substituted ‘winrter’ for ‘plant’ and ‘America’ for ‘Cleveland’.

  2. The fear-mongering on the left re: nuclear energy is absolutely stunning. Even in Europe, you see countries like Germany decommissioning nuclear reactors and filling the gap with more fossil fuels.

    I’m hoping sometime in the long-term future we will see viable fusion reactors. Until then, I would hope to see molten-salt reactors and other modern fission reactors enter the mix for our energy sources.

    1. You won’t. Instead, the democrats will insist on unlimited subsidies to promote powering the grid with faerie dust and unicorn farts. Which both have a very high cost to produce per kWh.

      1. Unicorn farts are up 39% this year alone.

      2. The Greens will keep pushing wind and solar right up to the moment when the environmental cost becomes too clear to ignore, then they will oppose them. The truth is that the Greens fear cheap energy, despise the poor and wish to keep them so, and consider themselves to be the natural leaders of the world.

        The guillotine is too good for most of them.

    2. Until then, I would hope to see molten-salt reactors and other modern fission reactors enter the mix for our energy sources.

      In China or India before the US. Gates is doing TerraPower in China.

  3. In 1976 … California Gov. Jerry Brown actually advocated the construction of coal-fired plants

    Probably ripped at the time, though, right?

    1. Well that was the old Gov. Brown, whose aura smiled and never frowned.

    2. No, that’s Schwarzenegger.

      1. That word is offensive to both Jews, especially Mel Brooks, and African American’s!

        You should just refer to him as ‘The Arnold’.

      2. In 1976, each of his arms was about the size of Governor Brown’s entire torso.

  4. “Giving society cheap and abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun,” said Paul Ehrlich.

    Paul Ehrlich is so drastically wrong about everything that i am forced to conclude that giving an idiot child a machine gun would turn out awesome.

    “I didn’t really worry about the accidents because there are too many people anyway….I think that playing dirty if you have a noble end is fine,” confessed Martin Litton

    I wonder if Mr. Litton ever switched to supporting a noble end.

    1. Well, we already know giving a chimp a machine gun is awesome.

    2. Too many people he says? Well, we clearly don’t need any Martin Littons. So we can cut there first.

    3. He’s not wrong, he just hates humanity.

    4. Paul ehrlich demonstrates what happens when we give an idiot tenure.

      1. The same could be said for pretty much the whole of the Higher Education cabal.

  5. Up and atom!

  6. Cue kooky John Oliver rant about how dumb the idea going nuclear is for the environment is.

  7. ” the no-carbon power generated by nuclear reactors.”

    Mining, refining, transporting and disposing of nuclear fuel all burn carbon. Consider the entire cycle, rather than just a convenient section of it, when figuring out carbon impact of a particular power generation system.

    1. Fossil fuels have to be mined, refined, transported, and eventually disposed of too, so nuclear is still a net gain for cleanliness.

      1. Until we have a solution for the disposal of nuclear waste, it can hardly be considered a gain for cleanliness.

        1. Send it to Cleveland. No one will notice.

        2. Well, part of the waste can be recycled into more fuel and the rest of it we have an entire hollowed out mountain to put it in that’s already been built and furnished, although never used.

          1. A built, furnished, though unused facility doesn’t sound like much of a solution. Sounds more like another government white elephant.

            1. The technical solution is there, you just choose not to accept it because “science is scary yo”… ironically the thing you fear is made more likely because your fear prevents anyone from addressing it.

              1. My fears? Is that all you have to talk about? What makes you think you know about my fears?

        3. We have plenty of ideas that we should be trying. It’s just that none of them move forward since no politician wants to risk the political unpopularity of allowing their state to store nuclear waste

          1. “no politician wants to risk the political unpopularity of allowing their state to store nuclear waste”

            You mean no American politician wants to risk his popularity. Communist China is the place to be if you want to see a thriving nuclear industry. Their leaders aren’t so afraid to take risks with their popularity or the lives of their constituents.

            1. I don’t know the politics of China particularly well. Do they deal with an aggressive and well-funded environmental movement like we do here?

              1. I really, truly do not know China very well. I see them make promises in these climate agreements and I end up curious if there are people within the government who do actually care in the same way a leftist here does (certainly the average citizen probably does not), or whether it is a utilitarian disregard for life that prompted the construction of more nuclear energy

                They certainly cared a lot about overpopulation once upon a time

                1. “if there are people within the government who do actually care in the same way a leftist here does ”

                  Probably not, if the leftists I know are similar to those you know. The government of China has its own reasons. Geopolitical concerns over their lack of easy access to clean(ish) fossil fuels, I think, weigh pretty heavily on their calculations.

              2. Well, if it’s anything like how they deal with the Falun Gong tai chi club, I suspect they deal with them in ways that involve arbitrary prison sentences and “organ donor programs” that circumvent the need for a bad car wreck or anything like that.

              3. “I don’t know the politics of China particularly well. ”

                There are lots of differences between China and the USA. The Chinese government deal with opposition with brutality and bureaucratic legalisms. Much the same can be said of the US government, though not so bad. I think the most interesting difference is the fear that the Chinese have of their population. They genuinely fear their own people.

                1. I doubt it, as they are unarmed.

                  1. Get yourself a passport. Then go there. You may even see some guns, openly carried, by civilians. They are not as rare as you think they are.

                2. One similarity is the belief in totalitarianism held by both the communist party in China and the democrat party here.

        4. Until we have a solution for the disposal of nuclear waste, it can hardly be considered a gain for cleanliness.

          Is the waste itself, the actual radioactivity, or the metaphorical radioactivity the problem? My understanding is was that even relatively trivial pools of water are capable of handling nuclear waste and/or that deep ocean trenches are ideal but that those ideas are a no-go because people worry about the homeopathic effects of radioactivity.

          Like if you were thirsty, I could hand you a glass of tap water from Flint Michigan, tell you it’s plain old tap water and you’d presume it’s clean and drink it. But, if I distilled a glass of water pulled from the Rock River downstream from the Exelon-Byron generating station and told you where I got the water, you wouldn’t drink because radiation exists in places.

          1. While they live in a house made of bricks and eat bananas regularly.

        5. We have plenty of solutions for disposing of nuclear waste; they are being blocked by hysterics. No, I don’t want to wear the stuff. But if you put it in tight containers and build a secure concrete blockhouse for them, I’ll take the stuff in my back yard. The idea that nuclear waste is a serious problem is propaganda. Coal ash is a much worse problem, simply because there is so much more of it per kilowatt…and is also radioactive.

          1. “build a secure concrete blockhouse for them,”

            It’s not just some shed in your backyard. It’s gotta have enough concrete to secure its contents for some 10,000 years, longer than any structure on the planet has lasted, including the pyramids. Hardly a carbon neutral venture.

            1. How convenient that we have a boatload of dirt to do the same thing pretty easily. I mean do you drive a car? Ever really look at the stats… like really look at them. If you were really afraid for safeties sake you’d be clamouring for automobile bans… but your not because you see cars every day. Your totally okay with the fact that many bodies are sacrificed on the altar of the automobile so you don’t have to walk to the grocery store simply because you have a better feel for the car.

              1. Note: it’s gonna be “your” at some point.

    2. That applies to absolutely any possible fuel source you use.

      Manufacturing solar panels? It burns carbon.

      Transporting solar panels? It burns carbon.

      Your concerns can be completely dismissed as they apply to exactly every possible fuel source that humanity will ever use until hydrocarbons are no longer the major source of energy for transportation and electricity.

      1. “That applies to absolutely any possible fuel source you use.”

        Exactly. So why does our science editor claim that nuclear is a no carbon source of power?

        1. Because most people aren’t as willfully retarded as you, and they recognize that the electricity generation process itself does not generate carbon you colossal idiot.

          1. To reach that stage is not carbon free. There are a large number of necessary steps to take, all of them intensively non carbon free. Pretending otherwise is dishonest.

            1. Who is pretending that, other than yourself?

              1. “Who is pretending that?”

                Anyone claiming that nuclear power generation is ‘carbon free.’

                1. Nuclear power generation is indeed carbon free. You’re literally the only person considering second and third order carbon sources during transmission and transport into the consideration of generation.

                  Under your set of calculus, no source of power is carbon free considering the people who work there exhale carbon. That’s the type of metric you appear to be using here to consider nuclear generation a carbon emitting power source.

                  1. “Under your set of calculus, no source of power is carbon free considering the people who work there exhale carbon.”

                    What is your set of calculus? One where the fuel magically appears without having to be mined, milled etc?

                    1. The set of calculus most people use is “taking for granted” that which is miniscule and roughly equal for all potential candidates. You’re acting like this is a useful point of discussion but it isn’t. It’s a fucking useless side-note.

                    2. Everything would be carbon free if all electricity was made from nuclear power and all machines and vehicles were electric.

                    3. Isn’t that a tautology? If A then A? Maybe some logicians can chime in here.

                    4. “The set of calculus most people use is “taking for granted” that which is miniscule and roughly equal for all potential candidates.”

                      How do you arrive at that conclusion? The handling of nuclear wastes is not settled so beware of anyone claiming that it is miniscule or at a par with wind or beasts of burden.

                    5. It actually kind of is settled.

                      You bury it in a place where the water table really isn’t an issue (preferably in something like a salt mine which will tend to entoumb it over time if we forget about it), then occasionally dig it up to use it in our new nuke plants that can extract even more of the energy.

                      It’s really not that hard if you can get people over their fear of ghosts, and the fact that a lot of people die in the fossil fuel process as well (again not in scary sounding ways)

        2. In theory we might all end up with electric vehicles powered by nuclear plants doing all the mining and transportation too.

          1. There are what, 2? 3? nuclear power plants under construction in the USA today. You want to mining and transport to be nuclear powered, you’ll have to increase that number by a great great deal. Not even China has that kind of nuclear programme. It’s not gonna happen due to lack of will, lack of funds.

            1. And exactly why are “[t]here are what, 2? 3? nuclear power plants under construction in the USA today”?

              There are coal fired plants int the world today that are built next to huge coal mining operations that exist solely to provide fuel for steam generation. The symbiosis between the generating plant and and coal extraction is such that if even one of the electrical powered machines (from the dragline stripping overburden to the power shovels loading trucks to haul the product to the plant) at the mine fails the plant will shut down.

              I think you missed that Hazel was referring to some future time. Perhaps after nuclear development in more aggressively pursued.

              1. “Perhaps after nuclear development in more aggressively pursued.”

                I don’t think that’s in the cards. If you want mining, milling and so on to be nuclear powered, it’s gonna take 1000s of new generators. The cost is prohibitive, I really can’t see who you think is going to foot the bill. (Assuming you have someone other than the taxpayer in mind.)

            2. So you’re against nuclear power because we’d need to build even more of it to make it completely carbon free? Unlike solar and wind?

              1. “So you’re against nuclear power ”

                There are many reasons to resist nuclear power, Libertarians should object to its reliance on the state. It’s no coincidence that the only places where nuclear is on the rise is in countries like China or North Korea.

                1. There are many reasons to resist nuclear power, Libertarians should object to its reliance on the state. It’s no coincidence that the only places where nuclear is on the rise is in countries like China or North Korea.

                  Gee, I wonder if that reliance on the state could be due to the fact that the state has made it nearly prohibitively expensive for a private institution to build nuclear reactors.

                  You won’t find many people here saying that the government should start subsidizing nuclear power like they do wind and solar. We’re saying that the government should stop the excessive burden placed on potential future reactor sites.

                  1. The last thing I would want is for the government to dip their hands in the nuclear energy industry. De-regulate, and leave it alone. It’s really fascinating tech when you get down to it.

                  2. “We’re saying that the government should stop the excessive burden placed on potential future reactor sites.”

                    It’s a self-placed burden. You’ve heard of regulatory capture, I suppose, where those subject to regulations write and even enforce the regulations themselves. That goes for the nuclear industry as well. Excessive burden, my ass. It’s the only industry I know of that has persuaded congress to pass laws exempting it from civil liability, though you can correct me if I’m mistaken.

        3. Because it is the general term used for renewables. You are arguing about silly semantics. Every keystroke I make produces a little extra carbon. Producing solar panels is energy intensive and they have lifespans of only 20 years or so.
          I don’t know where, but I saw a study that put nuclear’s lifetime CO2 cost per unit of energy, including mining, refining, and transportation, below solar but higher than wind and geothermal.

          1. “I don’t know where, but I saw a study that put nuclear’s lifetime CO2 cost per unit of energy, including mining, refining, and transportation, below solar but higher than wind and geothermal.”

            Too bad there isn’t a handy science editor around who could set us straight.

            1. You don’t need a science editor. You’re literally replacing hundreds of tons of coal with ounces of Uranium. You’re worrying about the carbon output of a tugboat at full bore while the supertanker it’s pushing is belching twice as much at idle.

              1. Operating a tugboat is not carbon free. Why pretend otherwise?

                1. The same reason we don’t put “ant crossing” signs on roads.

        4. There is the fact that Nuclear can produce enough energy to produce more nuclear plants, unlike wind and solar. I think you’re nitpicking on ‘zero carbon’ when the real issue here is that Nuclear can produce a HELL of a lot of energy that isn’t expelling carbon into the atmosphere as a byproduct.

          Wind and solar, on the other hand, don’t displace anywhere near as much carbon as they purport.

        5. m: You do know that it takes carbon-based fuels to make solar panels and wind turbines? If the carbon can be wrung out of renewables, it will be even easier with new nuclear. With new nuclear another name for waste is fuel.

          1. “You do know that it takes carbon-based fuels to make solar panels and wind turbines?”

            I do know that. I wouldn’t call them carbon free either. They are not. So why make an exception with nuclear?

      2. In fact, prices are all you need to know. Prices represent resources used. Unfortunately, government distorts prices so thoroughly that it’s hard to tell the true cost of things. Solar and wind subsidies, nuclear obstacles, taxes and regulations all over the map, all distort prices all out of touch with costs. Good luck trying to actually compare them without a heck of a lot of deep diving.

      3. Your concerns can be completely dismissed as they apply to exactly every possible fuel source that humanity will ever use until hydrocarbons are no longer the major source of energy for transportation and electricity.

        Technically, any power source that proliferates most any/all organisms that performs aerobic respiration independent of or disproportionate with carbon fixation would count too. Semantically, anything conceived of or built by carbon-based lifeforms might count.

        1. Indeed, which is why his argument is incredibly fucking stupid and inane.

          1. “Indeed, which is why his argument is incredibly fucking stupid and inane.”

            It’s not an argument. It’s a statement of fact. The nuclear fuel cycle is not ‘carbon free.’ If this fact bothers you somehow, it’s entirely down to you. I’m just speaking the unspeakable.

    3. All of that could be done with nuclear generated electricity or hydrogen.

      1. “or hydrogen”

        Or wind power, or even beasts of burden like camels and llamas.

        1. Good, so you agree that nuclear plants don’t necessarily have any carbon footprint.

          1. All the nuclear plants in operation today and all those under construction have, will have a carbon foot print. The reason is simple. Nuclear power generation is not carbon free. It never has been.

            1. So what? It can be. You have to start from where you are.

              1. No, a carbon-based lifeform conceived of it first. Ergo, original sin applies and no power is carbon-free. Not until the carbon-Jews crucify wind-Jesus and he is reborn can we be free.

                1. “No, a carbon-based lifeform conceived of it first. Ergo, original sin applies and no power is carbon-free.”

                  Is nuclear power generation carbon free or not? Ron says it is. I disagree.

              2. “You have to start from where you are.”

                The nuclear power industry started some 50 years ago. You want to restart it on a ‘carbon free’ basis, it’s gonna cost you and fellow tax payers plenty. Is that what you want?

                1. The lifecycle carbon footprint of nuclear is a rounding error when combined with fossil fuels. It’s insignificant in comparison.

                  1. Why are we worrying about CO2? Isn’t that for people that buy into the AGW cult?

          2. Well, you see in mtrueman’s universe even beasts of burden emit carbon, as well as wind generation, so they aren’t carbon free power either. I’m just using his logic, you see, which isn’t really logical at all. Under his metrics, even raw human muscle power emits carbon so nothing is ever carbon free.

            That appears to be his only argument, as incredibly stupid as it is.

            1. “Under his metrics…”

              Under Ron’s metrics, nuclear fuel appears by magic, without having to be mined, milled, transported, and ultimately disposed of.

              1. Who gives a fuck? You’re tediously useless.

                1. Carbon free it is then.

                  1. Nobody cares about your meaningless distinction which does not contribute to the discussion. Quit parroting your bullshit.

                    1. Didn’t mean to offend you. If it makes you feel better, we can pretend that nuclear fuel cycle is carbon free. I was wrong to suggest otherwise.

                    2. Who gives a shit if it is or not? CO2 is harmless.

      2. Hydrogen is not a power source; it is a method of storing and transporting power generated elsewhere.

    4. You know who else burned a lot of carbon?

      1. Vlad the Impaler?

      2. Your mom?

      3. Stars >8 solar masses?

      4. My grow room?

    5. Unless they use electric trucks and equipment, of course.

      Or…are you saying that you’re against Prius and solar panels now?

      Should I take this to mean that you encourage humanity to go back to the dark ages of the early 1800’s? Or do we need to go back to pre-kerosene and stop burning wood too? After all, how much CO2 is too much!? We want to be safe, after all.

      Oh, and by-the-by we need to kill about 4 billion people. I guess we should probably do that first so we can use our tanks, then we’ll have Utopia! Right?

      1. If you like your whale-oil lantern, you can keep your whale-oil lantern.

        1. It is carbon neutral.

          1. Or would be if stupid whales would just reproduce faster.

    6. @mtrueman – Uranium mining and refining when using the in-sutu method requires only a small amount of energy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmaNoyfQtWQ The transportation of the packaged yellow-cake also does not require much energy. A typical nuclear power plant in a year generates 20 metric tons of used nuclear fuel and can fit on a single truck. The waste is also a valuable asset as it can be recycled into new fuel.

  8. Anyone who thinks nuclear energy is safe should watch the excellent movie The China Syndrome (four stars from Roger Ebert!!).

    Nuclear endangers us all, and for my money it’s just not safe.

    1. Thanks for your two cents, Crusty.

    2. LOL

      Anyone who is considering becoming a parent should watch “Rosemary’s Baby” or “The Omen.”

      And we should also forget about archeology — just watch “The Mummy” (any version) and see what happens when ancient tombs get unsealed.

      1. This guy gets it.

        Movies keep us safe.

        1. The important thing is to watch factual documentaries like Loose Change, Food, inc. and Sicko. Then you will truly understand how the corporate conspiracy / UN world government is trying to destroy the planet.

          1. I will watch anything made by Morgan Spurlock. That guys is the truth-teller pursuivant.

        2. The four stars from Roger Ebert gave it away, but I still lol’ed.

      2. And for ‘carbon’, we can watch that sci-fi film for pre-schoolers, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’..

  9. Ok guys, I just searched this page, and the word “thorium” does not appear anywhere. You call yourselves libertarians?

    1. Thank you

    2. Although I think my post about molten-salt should count.

    3. Is your mining skill high enough to mine thorium nodes?

  10. While I’m glad to see this development, I won’t hold my breath that it will become mainstream among environmentalists.

    It is too rational, reasonable, and close to a practical method of addressing the main issue they purport to care about.

    At least among the leadership of the movement, actual solutions seem to be undesirable and worthy of fighting against. If something actually catches on and starts allaying all the fear they’ve stirred up, where does that leave them and their lust for power?

    In addition, swapping current energy sources for clean, high-tech, more efficient ones don’t entail the self-sacrifice and penance they want to see (from their flock, of course — not themselves). There’s no fun for them in a punishment-free remedy.

    1. “It is too rational, ”

      I don’t think you understand environmentalists. They dislike pollution. They dislike (and fear) nuclear waste more than CO2. Please explain how this is irrational. CO2, while a greenhouse gas, is essential to life on earth. We can live without nuclear wastes quite well, as we’ve done for millions of years.

      1. It is irrational because radiation isn’t nearly as harmful as many people believe it is. Especially not low-level radiation. There is very little evidence that long-term exposure to low-level radiation is actually harmful. The body has natural repair mechanisms which allow it to tolerate natural background radiation. The amount of radiation exposure from nuclear plants and even nuclear waste is below background radiation levels in most places. Even in the event of a nuclear waste spill or a severe nuclear accident such as at Fukushima, even if we accept the notion that low-level radiation causes cancers, the worst case scenario is that long-term rates of certain types of cancer may slightly increase. That’s it. There were not one but THREE simultaneous reactor meltdowns at Fukushima. Not one person died or received a lethal dose of radiation. People are running around freaking out over radiation “hotspots” that have at best a speculative and long term effect on human health.

        It’s time for people to chill out. We dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan and there’s not even any evidence that birth defects in Japanese babies increased over the last 70 years. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not uninhabitable nuclear wastelands.

        1. Hell, Tsutomu Yamaguchi survived the bombings of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Of course, he died of stomach cancer.

          At the age of 93.

          In 2010.

          1. He shouldn’t have eaten so much kimchi.

        2. Is CO2 more dangerous than nuclear wastes? Most people think that such materials like depleted uranium are toxic to humans. Do you have a different view?

          1. You maybe need to do a bit of research on modern nuclear reactor technology. This is not the 1970s and the technology has advanced quite a bit in the past few decades, in spite of efforts to stop it.

            For people that ACTUALLY fucking love science, what “most people think” is more a source for amusement than anything else.

            1. “You maybe need to do a bit of research on modern nuclear reactor technology. You maybe need to do a bit of research on modern nuclear reactor technology. ”

              Why? It’s America’s financial situation that is dooming further nuclear development. There’s just nobody interested in taking the risks involved in building the 1000s of reactors that nuclear powered mining and transport will require.

          2. Last time I checked, CO2 was pretty damn toxic to humans too.

            1. Last time I checked, CO2 was pretty damn toxic to humans too.

              Not really depending on how you consider things. 5-8% concentrations of atmospheric CO2 start to bring down your average human but 5-8% concentrations or a 5-8% increase (or decrease) in concentration of lots of things that aren’t generally regarded as toxic will bring down your average human. Shit, nitrogen’s inert and simply changing the pressure at which it’s consumed without changing the concentration can fuck your shit up pretty good.

              I don’t know for sure but strongly suspect that much above about 1,000 fps and 30-40 gr. the difference between dry ice and copper-jacketed lead becomes somewhat moot with regard to terminal ballistics.

              1. The Mythbusters proved as much about dry ice, if I recall correctly.

          3. If you inhaled depleted uranium dust you might have a somewhat increased chance of getting certain types of cancer. But that would be decades later. You would be no worse off than (say) a person who worked cleaning up a nuclear waste spill.

            So if by toxic you mean “something that might increase your long-term chances of getting certain diseases”, sure, it’s bad for you. Sort of like eating too much sugar and not exercising.

            1. You have a different meaning for toxic?

              1. Maybe you do. Perhaps you should look it up. There is “acute” toxicity, but DU is not acutely toxic.

                http://www.medicinenet.com/scr…..ekey=34093

                Toxicity: The degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm humans or animals. Acute toxicity involves harmful effects in an organism through a single or short-term exposure. Subchronic toxicity is the ability of a toxic substance to cause effects for more than one year but less than the lifetime of the exposed organism. Chronic toxicity is the ability of a substance or mixture of substances to cause harmful effects over an extended period, usually upon repeated or continuous exposure, sometimes lasting for the entire life of the exposed organism.

                DU is a heavy medal which is where the most toxicity comes from. The radiation level is the same long-term unproven fluff. You could get heavy metal toxicity if you ingested enough, but it might take a while if it’s just from inhaling dust from munitions.

                1. “The radiation level is the same long-term unproven fluff. ”

                  Is there a way to prove long term effects without a long term commitment for study? You seem to accept that there are long term effects but how do you want them proved?

                  1. There have studies. They have not detected any effects.
                    https://tinyurl.com/ycd7k3hn

                    There have also been long-term studies on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, which show marginal increases in certain types of cancer, but you can’t really extrapolate a short-term high dose to long-term low-dose radiation. In any case, as I previously stated. The WORST CASE result is that we might see slight increases in certain types of cancer, IF there was a nuclear meltdown or spill of waste, in the local area near the accident. It would not be the catastrophe that many anti-nuclear activists portray it as.

                  2. There have studies. They have not detected any effects.
                    https://tinyurl.com/ycd7k3hn

                    There have also been long-term studies on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, which show marginal increases in certain types of cancer, but you can’t really extrapolate a short-term high dose to long-term low-dose radiation. In any case, as I previously stated. The WORST CASE result is that we might see slight increases in certain types of cancer, IF there was a nuclear meltdown or spill of waste, in the local area near the accident. It would not be the catastrophe that many anti-nuclear activists portray it as.

                    1. “It would not be the catastrophe that many anti-nuclear activists portray it as.”

                      In other words, you can live with a few people getting cancer. As the price of progress, no doubt.

        3. I agree, HazelMeade, but part of the problem is that people closely associate the A bombs dropped on Japan with atomic power generation.

          Lots of people think that if things go particularly badly at a nuclear power plant near them, they’ll get the huge blast, the mushroom cloud, fallout — the whole 9 yards. They really have no clue how the two things differ.

          1. nuclear power:nuclear explosion::combustion:detonation

        4. And there is already bonuses from releasing radiation. Like Godzilla, or the spontaneous development of super powers.

          1. THATS RIGHT! I FORGOT TO MENTION THE GIANT MUTANT DINOSAURS ROAMING JAPAN AS WE SPEAK!

      2. They literally believe that CO2 will destroy the entire planet, en masse, so I’m hard pressed to see why they would be more concerned about nuclear waste when it literally does not have the capacity to destroy the planet. Well, beyond the obvious hypocrisy of their NIMBYism anyway.

        We have exploded probably hundreds of nuclear devices of various sizes, and several reactors have had radiation leaks, and yet the Earth keeps spinning and people continue being able to live here. If that doesn’t illustrate your lie for the unscientific bullshit that it is, than there is no hope for you. Not to say radiation isn’t dangerous, obviously it is, but the waste can be safely stored and plants built in safe area’s, no problem. Some form of fusion will no doubt replace it, and I suppose then you’ll be paranoid that Fusion will ignite the atmosphere or something equally amusing.

        Personally, I actually agree in the sense that CO2 isn’t a pollutant at all but the greenies and the watermelons have made this bed for themselves with their incendiary and false allegations. They painted themselves into a corner, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to feel sorry for them when they have directly advocated in the mass murder of humanity in the name of Mother Earth.

        1. the waste can be safely stored

          Because it just sits there, nice and solid, instead of floating away. Don’t forget that fusion will probably produce activated waste unless aneutronic fusion makes some leaps and bounds, it’s just not as long-lived, so the storage capacity at Yucca will last longer.

          Have they figured out where all the deuterium will come from for commercial deployment of fusion? Since it’s perpetually 50years away, I guess we still have time to figure that out.

      3. Without nuclear “waste” life on this planet would probably never have existed.

        1. “Without nuclear “waste” life on this planet would probably never have existed.”

          Easy to say, but unless you can prove it, or disprove it, it’s merely empty bloviating.

          1. Where do you think plate tectonics and our geomagnetic field come from, dumbass?

            1. Magic. It is known.

            2. “Where do you think plate tectonics and our geomagnetic field come from, dumbass?”

              That’s almost as easy as your first comment. That’s not how science works. It requires more than idle speculation.

  11. “Only nuclear can lift all humans out of poverty while saving the natural environment,” Michael Shellenberger said in his keynote address at yesterday’s annual meeting of the American Nuclear Society.

    This is an improvement over those environmentalists who argue that the only solution to AGW is poverty (self-sacrifice, forced sacrifice, etc.), but I’m still dismissive of anyone saying that what we need is one grand solution.

    Billions of individuals choosing from among thousands of solutions that are best for each of them individually, that’s the solution–to the problem of AGW or any other problem. Certainly, nuclear power is a great option for a lot of people.

    It was unusually cold where I am last night. I used a zero emission solution a lot of people never think of as such–I got an extra blanket out of the linen closet. Worked like a charm. No questions about what to do with radioactive waste–and best of all, it was completely voluntary on my part. It was an inexpensive solution, as well!

    There are other solutions besides nuclear power. We don’t need a giant nuclear power infrastructure program.

    1. We don’t need a giant nuclear power infrastructure program.

      No, we don’t necessarily need one. I wouldn’t complain if we ended up replacing our fossil fuel infrastructure with nuclear power infrastructure at some point down the line though.

    2. This is an improvement over those environmentalists who argue that the only solution to AGW is poverty (self-sacrifice, forced sacrifice, etc.), but I’m still dismissive of anyone saying that what we need is one grand solution.

      I think much of the crazed puritanical impulse was bled out of environmentalism into SJ, leaving room for actual solutions, instead of of ever escalating holier than thou demands for ever more magical sources of power that don’t contaminate the pristine world with evidence of human activity.

      SJ is much more attractive for a puritanical religion. Combines guilt, self righteousness, and purity spirals with tribalist hatred. That’s the good stuff, baby.

  12. ARE YOU PEOPLE CRAZY?
    Japan is a nuclear wasteland now, because of Fukushima. The multinational-corporate hegemony is just covering it up. it’s all fake news and lies. Everyone is Japan is dead or has cancer and all the babies are born with three heads. it’s like that episode of Rick and Morty where everything is Cronenberged. Why do you think there has been no news from Japan lately, huh? Because it doesn’t exist anymore! There is a super-secret security cordon around the place manned by multi-national soldiers from the secret UN world government, black helicopers and everything. The survivors envy the dead!

    1. Where do you think all the tentacle porn got its inspiration?

      1. Actually, tentacle porn predates Hiroshima by several centuries. It’s prophecy.

        1. So… Cthulu?

          1. So apparently Cthulhu is some pretty hot porno shit?

  13. Fukushima is a false flag, an Illuminati gag, a Russian ruse and totally fake news.

    1. YES! They are totally covering up the three headed babies and bizarre horrific mutations. Everyone over there has extra arms and legs now. And giant tumors growing out of their heads. The skies rain blood and the air is filled with noxious gas!

      1. And don’t forget about Chernobyl! They have mutant zombies all over that place. Actual fucking zombies that run around eating people!

        There was even a thoughtful documentary about it called “The Chernobyl Diaries,” but I guess it got a bad rating from RogerEbert.com, so no one watched it — which is exactly what THEY hoped the low rating would achieve.

  14. I always take articles that quote Paul Ehrlich seriously, but my dad was trained in nuclear engineering back when it still seemed like a budding field, so he’s always considered the offhand rejection of nuclear proof that “environmentalists” aren’t serious. If fossil fuels were actually destroying the planet, whatever that means,/we’ve had a solution for the better part of a century. Put up or shut up.

    1. Is any solution too risky if the alternative is the end of the world or whatever? Thats literally (i mean that figuratively) a dying person refusing a treatment that could save his life because it might kill him.

    2. It would be such an easy bipartisan compromise. If AGW is truly going to end civilization as we know it, isn’t the (overstated) risk posed by nuclear energy then worth the tradeoff?

      Then again, the left never believes that old Sowell quote: there are no solutions, only tradeoffs. To them every idea must be magical and absolute, so we aren’t debating the tradeoffs of any of their policies

      1. I’m certainly not saying there aren’t any risks or potential downsides, maybe even some that nobody’s thought of yet, but again, if the alternative is the end of the world…

        1. And who’s to say we don’t innovate in ways that mitigate many of those risks within a few decades

    3. Exactly this. If CO2 is truly the end of days looming disaster they claim, nuclear is our savior without killing off 4 billion people. You know something is amiss when mass murder appears to be the preferred solution.

    4. proof that “environmentalists” aren’t serious

      They’re plenty serious, but you have to understand *what* they’re serious about.

      Environmentalism is a guilt based, purity religion.

      Criticizing Environmentalists on *scientific* grounds is like criticizing communion wafers on nutritional grounds.

  15. The environmental movement deserves more shit for being blatantly anti-human. The whole “there are too many humans” hysteria of the Ehrlich crowd inspired China’s one-child policy and the mass infanticide of unwanted baby girls and coerced abortions that followed and they should always have to reckon with that legacy.

    They hide it better now than in the 70s, but I bet a few questions in and the Sierra Club crowd will still tell you all about how they sorta wish a plague would wipe out half of all life on Earth, or that we shouldn’t have access to the cheap energy that has brought countless people out of poverty throughout human history (living a short life of poverty is preferrable to harming Mother Earth I guess)

    1. It wasn’t environmentalism that inspired China’s one-child policy, it was communism. People are seen as a drain on the state, so you have to limit population. Yes, the ideology comes from pretty much the same place, but Mao couldn’t give two shits about the environment.

      1. You’re probably right that they didn’t care, but I believe an official in China came up with the idea for the policy after reading some of the books from that era of environmentalism. They themselves posed that idea, along with things like forced sterilization. And the link between the ideologies is certainly strong. In both cases, top intellectuals looked at population growth, looked at what they believed the available resources were, and solved equations to determine the healthiest number for the preservation of the state/environment while ignoring the possibility of technological innovation and the morality of telling people when they can have children

    2. “They hide it better now than in the 70s, but I bet a few questions in and the Sierra Club crowd will still tell you all about how they sorta wish a plague would wipe out half of all life on Earth, or that we shouldn’t have access to the cheap energy that has brought countless people out of poverty throughout human history (living a short life of poverty is preferrable to harming Mother Earth I guess).”

      This is another area where the most workable solution is dutifully ignored or viciously rejected. If they really wanted to see a smaller global population, the best thing to do would be to endorse capitalism because it’s the quickest way to bring prosperity. What happens when people who had been having lots and lots of children get even a little taste of actual prosperity? Their birthrate drops to at or below replacement rates! Bailey wrote about this very thing in his book “The End of Doom.”

  16. “Giving society cheap and abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun,” said Paul Ehrlich.

    Has that little fuckstain ever been right about anything? Why anyone still gives any credence to anything that blithering moron has to say or ever has said is beyond me.

    1. Replace “energy” with “marijuana” and you get Jeff Sessions instead of Paul Ehrlich.

  17. I live in OH where First Energy is pleading with state regulators to keep its uneconomic nuclear power plants open by forcing its customers to pay higher rates.

    Wonder if they are funding this door to door campaign?

  18. “I didn’t really worry about the accidents because there are too many people anyway….I think that playing dirty if you have a noble end is fine,” confessed Martin Litton, the Sierra Club member who led the campaign to kill Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California.

    Marxists gonna Marxist

    Always remember that the 100 million corpses of Communism in the 20th century were neither an accident nor *anywhere near enough* for these people.

    1. So when are we going to get Sessions to drop the drug war and start putting progressive democrats in prison? Sure, everyone complains about Joe McCarthy, but at least he was getting rid of those subversive totalitarians.

      He had the right idea.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.