Positive Energy

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The New Nuclear Debate (Version 2)

I've read enough anti-nuclear web sites to recognize the patterns in their writing. A few themes appear repeatedly, sometimes with almost the same wording, providing a mantra for the faithful. Constant repetition keeps these memes alive, shoring up the spirits of the environmentalist foot soldiers sent out into the dangerous world to collect donations. The principal hooks are:
  • waste
  • cost and subsidization
  • terrorism
  • uranium shortage
  • accidents
  • wind
These ideas are favoured because they put the onus for doing anything on other organizations. The environmentalist donation seeker picks up the cash without picking up any responsibilities, other than to continue complaining and ask for more cash in six months. Not a bad job if you can get it.

Some posts on "iNuclear" such as "California Part II -- The Shifting Debate" made me realize that this situation is changing. The discussion is moving away from the above cliches. You know that you have come across a significant piece of writing about nuclear energy if it addresses:
  • cleanliness and global heating
  • reuse of slightly used uranium
  • fast reactors
  • stockpiling energy
  • radiation hormesis
  • liquid fuel as apposed to solid fuel
  • life cycle expenses
  • conflict reduction associated with energy sources
  • energy stability
  • thorium
  • safety statistics, safety culture
  • lessons learned (e.g. Chernobyl)
  • skills and expertise
  • religion, ethics, and values associated with an energized life style
  • the French success
The above topics need to be reported, debated, and widely understood if we expect the public to have a role in energy supply decisions.


  • I think you are correct

    By Blogger Apartmento, at 09 June, 2006 19:01  

  • This is an excellent blueprint for a proactive discussion on the issue.

    I think that nuclear can win as a major energy option when the discussion moves from defensive mode to a proactive mode. You mentioned some excellent topics for discussion in the context of the other energy problems that are occurring regarding fossil fuels.

    By Blogger .., at 14 June, 2006 08:04  

  • This was an excellent post. I think that nuclear can win as a major energy option when the debate is done in a proactive manner, rather than in defensive mode. It is very hard to win any debate in a defensive mode.

    The keywords listed in your post are major topics of discussion in the context of the general energy situation regarding fossil fuel supplies, energy dependence on foreign countries, fossil fuel pollution, and the like.

    I particularly like the mentions of safety culture and of radiation hormesis, as well as of the ethics of assuring an adequate energy supply versus what would happen with depending too heavily on renewables - - creation of a situation in which people compete unnecessarily with each other for artificially constrained resources.

    By Blogger .., at 14 June, 2006 08:10  

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