Debunking: Does it Work?
Yurman starts by pointing out all the bogus news stories about nuclear ("weapons-grade plutonium ejected from Fukushima!") that crowd the internet. He then asks the question: Is Debunking nonsense likely to be successful? To answer that question, he refers to my post about Fuel Pools, Cheryl Rofer's post about the fake video about Fukushima, David Bradish of NEI debunking Grist's anti-nuclear campaign (especially the economics). Will Davis at Atomic Power Review describes "How the Misinformation Superhighway Affects Nuclear Energy" in a thoughtful post with many comments. At his own blog, Idaho Samizdat, Dan Yurman debunks the conspiracy theories around Fort Calhoun plant and the Mississippi River flooding. Meanwhile, Rod Adams points out that the German retreat from nuclear energy will not cause the renewables revolution. At ANS Nuclear Cafe, Ted Rockwell debunks myths about radiation harm.
Jaczko and Safety
NRC Commissioner Jaczko asked for a fifty-mile evacuation zone for Americans in Japan in the early days of Fukushima. Jaczko apparently ignored NRC staff to make this recommendation, and of course, ignores everybody about Yucca Mountain. In the Carnival, Brian Wang at Next Big Future comments on people who are calling for Jaczko's resignation, while Margaret Harding does some digging and concludes that Jaczko is untouchable. The only man who can fire him is President Obama, and Obama won't do it. Obama needs the support of Jaczko's former boss, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Meanwhile, two bloggers talk about real nuclear safety, not the Jaczko version. Gail Marcus of Nuke Power Talk discusses beefing up safety regulation in Japan. Having worked in Japan on nuclear regulatory issues, Marcus speaks with authority. Meanwhile, at Nuclear Green, Charles Barton assesses the safety of nuclear power (already the safest form of energy production) and how new generations of reactors can improve safety even further. He discusses (debunks) the Vermont Yankee tritium scare, the Fukushima escaping-plutonium excitement, and has a lovely picture of the first test of the storage of used nuclear fuel: the Oklo natural reactor, where nuclear byproducts were retained in place for a billion years. And new types of reactors will be even safer than our current reactors.
In the spirit of leaving on an upbeat note, Dan finished the post with some good news. Brian Wang describes the Economist Intelligence Unit seeing a decade of growth for nuclear, with capacity 27% higher in 2020 than in 2010. Brian also points out that he has won several bets (for example about the amount of uranium produced in 2010) against nuclear naysayers. Meanwhile, Rick Maltese of Deregulate the Atom looks at what Germany and Switzerland will have to do in terms of land use to substitute renewables for nuclear. And Steve Aplin of Canadian Energy issues talks about the excitement of working with students of nuclear and chemical engineering to solve the problems of the future.
Like Brian Wang, I also had a chance to read the Economist Intelligence Unit report on nuclear power worldwide. The Economist titled the report "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back" and that sums it up. In the U. S. we tend to be focused on anti-nuclear sentiment and Jaczko and so forth. The Economist group looked at the whole world, and sees a different picture. Slower growth after Fukushima, but growth nevertheless. A 25% increase within 10 years is important and significant, and I found the Economist report both well done and reassuring.
Yesterday, Rod Adams reviewed Arnie Gundersen's incorrect statements about Fukushima. I wrote about some of these statements in my Fuel Pool post, but Rod reviews more: tiny particles, Gundersen on Al Jareeza, Gundersen's own website. Rod's post, Gundersen Going International, went up yesterday, and already has about 40 comments. I have noticed this rapid-comment phenomenon myself. In my post, Hot Climate and Cold Fish, I showed the folly of Gundersen's claim that there were a total of 16 shad in the Connecticut River. I got thirty comments very quickly, with a high percentage of those comments taking me to task for daring to claim that Arnie could be wrong! At any rate, I recommend Rod's post which is complete, helpful and authoritative.