Skip to main content

Looking Back at ABC News and "Loose Nukes" with Dr. Andrew Karam (Part I)

As I've been cruising around the Web this morning, I've come across a boatload of reaction to last night's report on Primetime Live on university research reactors -- most of it rather negative. The first item I'd like to share comes from an e-mail exchange between a reporter and Dr Andrew Karam of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Dr. Karam had some interesting observations to say the least.

The note is rather lengthy, so I'll be breaking it up into a series of posts:
I was surprised to see the Committee to Bridge the Gap (a strident anti-nuclear group) presented as the "voice of reason" in opposition to the NRC. I was also surprised at the continued insistence that research reactors are "potential dirty bombs." I was also surprised to hear Graham Allison's suggestion of the amount of havoc that a bomb could cause - in my opinion, he overstated the risks from radioactive contamination. However, I also feel he overstated the risk of cancer from dirty bombs in his recent book, which I communicated to him via e-mail after reading the book last year (never did hear back from him...). Dr. Allison is very well-informed regarding the risks of an attack, but I feel he overestimates the risks of exposure to low levels of radiation. I would have liked to have seen a radiation safety professional to discuss the potential health risks, but I suspect this would not have advanced the aims of the show.
That's for sure. More later.

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Comments

Thank you! This detailed criticism of the ABC alarmist report is much more rational than my own, which was really more an emotional response immediately after watching the report. One thing though: isn't the fuel in an active reactor going to be too radioactive and thermally hot to handle to steal? I could see a cold reactor being a possible target, but even then, aren't the rods full of medium-lifed radionuclides that would ruin any attempt at transport or bomb making?
Or do low-power reactors have different aspects than power reactors?

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…

Innovation Fuels the Nuclear Legacy: Southern Nuclear Employees Share Their Stories

Blake Bolt and Sharimar Colon are excited about nuclear energy. Each works at Southern Nuclear Co. and sees firsthand how their ingenuity powers the nation’s largest supply of clean energy. For Powered by Our People, they shared their stories of advocacy, innovation in the workplace and efforts to promote efficiency. Their passion for nuclear energy casts a bright future for the industry.

Blake Bolt has worked in the nuclear industry for six years and is currently the work week manager at Hatch Nuclear Plant in Georgia. He takes pride in an industry he might one day pass on to his children.

What is your job and why do you enjoy doing it?
As a Work Week Manager at Plant Hatch, my primary responsibility is to ensure nuclear safety and manage the risk associated with work by planning, scheduling, preparing and executing work to maximize the availability and reliability of station equipment and systems. I love my job because it enables me to work directly with every department on the plant…