Skip to main content

More Reaction to ABC News' 'Loose Nukes'

In an op-ed in the Indy Star this week, Lefteri Tsoukalas - head of the nuclear engineering department at Purdue University - condemns ABC News for "cynically exploiting people's instinctive fear of nuclear energy by misrepresenting both the threat from, and the nature of, research reactors such as the one for which I am responsible at Purdue University."

ABC sent college students who were working as journalism interns to a number of university reactor facilities, including the one at Purdue. The idea was to see whether they could get into the facilities and assess security measures.

The interns had no trouble gaining access because we welcome visitors to the reactor. In fact, our Web site and printed literature invite the public to schedule tours, which are conducted by staff trained in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's security measures. The ABC interns saw what any visitor would see. If they had identified themselves as investigative journalists, they would have been given the same tour and the same information.

By the time they had been to two universities, the interns' behavior had given them away, and all the subsequent sites they visited knew their purpose. They still were given escorted tours. Yet ABC's report maintained the fiction that the interns had duped those responsible for security at each of the reactors. It also accepted at face value evaluations of security measures that the interns were not qualified to make.

The network's premise was that the American public is threatened by the ease with which research reactors can be accessed. This is patently false.
Technorati tags: , , , , ,

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Knowing What You’ve Got Before It’s Gone in Nuclear Energy

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

Nuclear energy is by far the largest source of carbon prevention in the United States, but this is a rough time to be in the business of selling electricity due to cheap natural gas and a flood of subsidized renewable energy. Some nuclear plants have closed prematurely, and others likely will follow.
In recent weeks, Exelon and the Omaha Public Power District said that they might close the Clinton, Quad Cities and Fort Calhoun nuclear reactors. As Joni Mitchell’s famous song says, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
More than 100 energy and policy experts will gather in a U.S. Senate meeting room on May 19 to talk about how to improve the viability of existing nuclear plants. The event will be webcast, and a link will be available here.
Unlike other energy sources, nuclear power plants get no specia…

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…