[ RadSafe ] New villainy for Fukushima?

Steven Dapra sjd at swcp.com
Sat Feb 18 14:07:37 CST 2012

Feb. 18

         It's comical --- isn't it? --- to listen to anti-nukers rant 
and rave and fulminate about the power of the reactor industry, and 
then watch as the industry cowers in fear.

Steven Dapra

At 12:22 PM 2/18/2012, you wrote:
>Sadly, despite Jerry Cohen's post below, there was an impact in Australia,
>Austria, Alaska, ..............and every country in the world, A-Z. thru
>Zambia. There were negative attitudinal & psychological negative impacts in
>the public's perception and acceptance of nuclear technologies. There is a
>massive amount of public outreach/relations needed to gain public
>acceptance. Unfortunately too many utilities and other interests promoting
>nuclear energy consider the public too stupid in my experience to even try
>to approach and tell of nuclear power's benefits and trivial risks per unit
>energy produced. The nuclear industry has not learned to reach and impact
>the public -- whose attitudes drive the actions of legislators and
>But without nuclear interests telling their story, any nuclear project in
>the US and most Western nations will be adversely affected as to schedule an
>budget, or simply doomed to fail.
>Back in 1988 during the 1988 US Presidential election campaign,  I was the
>invited speaker to a dinner meeting of the NE Chapter of the HPS which was
>held at Seabrook Station. My talk was titled: "Nuclear Power and Public
>Information -Suicide on the Installment Plan." I reviewed a number of cases
>that I had seen to be successful in helping to make people think more
>openly, to reach the public in a positive way,  and mistakes I had seen of
>poorly conceived actions or simply inactions by nuclear interests. I
>reviewed cases of active industry hostility toward public outreach including
>a case where I was criticized for getting an op-ed column in the Boston
>Globe. My B. Globe op-ed criticized nonsensical actions by the State of Mass
>to have State troopers seal off a square mile of South Boston because a
>medical technician had lost a 2 micro-Curie Co-57 source in his tool box
>when his car was stolen. The Globe reported in banner headlines that a
>COBALT source had been lost and anyone handling it would suffer "radiation
>sickness and radiation burns".   Working through the Globe ombudsman the
>Boston Globe gave me an op-ed in which I discussed how a 2 micro-Ci Co-57
>source would increase background radiation levels at 1 foot distance by a
>trivial amount, a fraction of normal background, and less than the elevated
>exposure from use of granite at locations I had surveyed all around Boston
>-the steps of the MA statehouse, the Christian Science Church, Bunker Hill
>Monument, South Station, and others. The Globe front-page had showed MA
>State Police running around with Civil Defense old yellow Geiger counters
>thinking they would be able to find a check source at arm's length from the
>ground when they couldn't find it if they were surveying at one foot. I
>ended up being chastised by my then employer, a nuclear utility, for getting
>an op-ed and publishing a few facts about normal background and slight
>variations in it that dwarfed this radiation emergency with the check source
>because the MA Dept. of Public Health was embarrassed they had done such a
>lousy job of responding to this trivial incident.
>My ANS talk title "Nuclear Power and Public Information -Suicide on the
>Installment Plan"  was not meant to be flip. As of that date, the nuclear
>industry had done an atrocious job of interacting and reaching out to the
>public, and continued to generally shoot itself in the foot in its poorly
>conceived initiatives to gain public acceptance. The nuclear utility
>industry had had a foolish attitude that if they kept their head down, kept
>a low profile and essentially hid in the trenches in dealing with the public
>about radiation issues, the problem would pass.
>At one HPS annual meeting in DC at the Plenary Session many years ago,  a
>senior executive with the Nuclear Energy Institute [formerly the Atomic
>Industrial Forum [AIF] heavily funded by utilities to promote nuclear
>electric generation by its presence in Washington, DC] gave a keynote
>speech. He said that radiation scientists should simply "learn to embrace
>zero" as he put it. He stated that scientists should not say, for example,
>that nuclear plants release trivial amounts of radiation and  present a
>trivial theoretical risk,  but say that there are "zero releases" and zero
>risk. I spoke with this NEI exec after his talk and told him that if nuclear
>technologists tried to tell the public that there were zero releases during
>routine operations, the public would learn that there were not zero
>releases, and regard the industry as being either stupid or duplicitous. He
>dismissed this and refused to think about the futility of his NEI
>recommended approach.
>Prior to my talk at the ANS NE Chapter meeting, I had written a satire about
>the health hazards of "Strepdukakis Anti-nucleosis". This satire was
>published in newspapers throughout New England including the Boston Herald,
>the HPS Newsletter, as a "Backscatter" contribution to the ANS Nuclear News
>monthly, and many other places,  and irritated the Dukakis campaign beyond
>belief. But it also helped make some important points about politicians
>promoting false fears and obstructionism in a manner that made people think,
>and cut through their defenses. Shortly after this, more for the benefit of
>beleaguered nuclear staff-people than public relations, I issued a call for
>the organization of the "Scientists' Committee for Opposing Radiation
>Nescience" [SCORN]. SCORN was an acronym I chose because it so fit a quote
>by the French philosopher, Albert Camus, in which he wrote: "There is no
>fate which cannot be surmounted by scorn." This  comment in Camus' book, The
>Myth of Sisyphus so perfectly fit the situation we  face.  Regarding the
>endless task faced  by Sisyphus who has been condemned by the gods to push a
>big rock up a hill for all time, only to have it roll down, to push up again
>Camus wrote: "One has  to believe that Sisyphus was happy."
>Well, enough ramblings for a Saturday morning. I'll have to post some links
>to my "Strepdukis-antinucleosis" satire, a few columns, and
>letters-to-the-editor about nuclear issues along with my SCORN initiative.
>The US has to figure out a way to reach the public and change public opinion
>or it can and will not participate in any significant way in a "nuclear
>Stewart Farber
>farber at farber.info


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