Recently I wrote a post about carbon dioxide and nuclear energy. Specifically, I posted about why people concerned with climate change seldom talk about nuclear power (though it is a VERY low-carbon source of electricity) and why pro-nuclear people like myself rarely mention climate change.
The simple answer for both groups (climate-change activists and pro-nuclear activists) is that we are both afraid of losing our core supporters. Pro-nuclear people are often conservative and do not believe climate change is a major issue. Climate change activists are often liberal and don't approve of nuclear power. If a speaker crosses the line to say: "we need nuclear" (in front of a climate change group) or "nuclear will help prevent accelerated global warming" (in front of a pro-nuclear group)...well, that speaker will probably lose half of her audience.
My original post appeared in my blog, Carbon Dioxide and Nuclear Energy: The Great Divide and How to Cross It. It was syndicated by The Energy Collective and appeared on their site, also. The post received a lot of comments both places...as a matter of fact, 34 comments on both sites. The Energy Collective recently sent their contributors an email that contained a Leaderboard (part of the Leaderboard is at the upper left). From that board, I learned I had written the top-commented post for July. I decided I would look a little more closely at all the comments.
Before I talking about the comments, however, I want to note that my friend Suzy Hobbs Baker has written an excellent post on the same subject at ANS Nuclear Cafe today. Climate Change and Nuclear Energy: We Need to Talk.
The Comments and the Numbers
The Energy Collective is a much bigger site than Yes Vermont Yankee, and that is reflected in the number of people who read the post on the two sites. As of this writing, 710 people have read my post at The Energy Collective, and 392 have read it at my own blog.
The comment streams on the two posts were so different that they might as well have been about different posts.
The Energy Collective comments started with a discussion of renewables but quickly moved to the idea that nuclear was not implemented safely, and then went on to a discussion of thermodynamics and Ocean Thermal Energy (OTEC). Rod Adams, Paul O, Aggie Engineer and I were sticking up for classical thermodynamics and heat transfer, while others argued against what the second law tells us about the requirements of heat engines. My favorite quote was from Aggie Engineer. He said I should think of myself as "grief counselor" as people came to terms with the second law.
|OTEC Diagram from Wikipedia|
The comments also included references to Vermont energy sources and the effects of thermal pollution and pumped storage on the Connecticut River. In other words, many of the comments on my blog were more detailed and closer to home than the comments on The Energy Collective blog. I am sorry to say there was also more snideness on my blog, crossing the border to ad hominem attacks.
Vermont is a Small Town, and so is Yes Vermont Yankee
Most of the posts, on both boards, were about the science: thermodynamics, OTEC, ocean acidification, coal plant clean-up. There were very few comments about the politics: who speaks about global warming, and in what context. This is probably because both blogs are technology-oriented.
My blog was more like a small town discussion, getting right down to talking about Connecticut River issues and getting snide. The Energy Collective comments took a wider view.
I guess that is what would be expected.
I am grateful for everyone who commented on either of the posts! Thank you all!