[ RadSafe ] New villainy for Fukushima?

Maury maurysis at peoplepc.com
Sat Feb 18 14:56:25 CST 2012

It is comical, but also sad in other ways. I think the public image 
thing is a serious detriment to the advancement of nuclear power and 
other scientific applications of nuclear knowledge.

Couldn't a group like radsafe organize something like 'adopt a 
newspaper'? I receive Nuc News which contains a list of newspapers and 
news items in each one that promotes the anti-nuclear programs. 
Sometimes I write a letter to the editor trying to straighten out some 
distortion in a paper. Anyone interested in organizing a division of 
papers to some radsafers so that some counter-pressure could be added by 
refuting some of the insane crap that appears in newspapers -- trouble 
is, the general public does not know any better.

Anyone interested?


On 2/18/2012 2:07 PM, Steven Dapra wrote:
> 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
>> regulators.
>> 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
>> renaissance".
>> Stewart Farber
>> farber at farber.info
> [edit]
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