Thursday, February 21, 2008

Baldwin on Oyster Creek ... Again

Last night Alec Baldwin moderated a forum on the health effects of the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey. From APP.com:

Actor Alec Baldwin said he would like to see the state force the owners of the Oyster Creek Generating Station to build cooling towers to replace an outdated boiling water reactor system.

...

"This is one of the truly complicated issues I've ever dealt with,'' Baldwin said.
Um, replacing cooling towers is not the same as replacing a BWR system. If he thinks that is the case, then I can see why he thinks this is a complicated issue. I wonder if Mr. Baldwin can locate the cooling towers in this diagram of a BWR system. Hint: the towers are not there.

I could get more into this but I think the comments on the article speak for themselves:
Just because he is a celebrity, people put a microphone in front of him, and just because someone put a microphone in front of him he thinks he is an expert on all things.

...

Alec Baldwin has no business speaking on this issue. He has no ties to NJ or the power plant. Personally I do not care what his opinion is.

...

Note to Hollywood; until doctors, scientists, and engineers try acting, please do your job and let them do theirs.
And these are some of the more moderate comments. For our archives on Mr. Baldwin, click here.

12 comments:

Matthew66 said...

As a US citizen, Mr. Baldwin is as entitled to voice his opinion as anyone else. The fact that his opinions seems to be singularly uninformed by scientific fact speaks volume of their worth.

When seeking information on the safety or otherwise of Oyster Creek NPP, I think I'll rely on the expertise of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Anonymous said...

The line about BWR systems that you're having so much fun with is NOT a quote from Baldwin; it's the reporter's wording.

Also, I'm not sure why a failure to explicitly distinguish reactor systems from BOP completely invalidates the broader point.

KenG said...

The reporter didn't use quotation marks but he did say "Alec Baldwin said..." Sounds like a quote to me. It's pretty clear from the full article that Baldwin somehow thinks that having or not having cooling towers has something to do with release of contamination. It seems pretty evident that he is technically muddled.

Anonymous said...

"Note to Hollywood; until doctors, scientists, and engineers try acting, please do your job and let them do theirs."

Hey Entergy: Will this note also be sent to Paul Newman? Of course not; the opinion of that actor is valid, and touted by the industry in press releases, because he supports nuclear power.

Ashutosh said...

alec baldwin: trying to redeem his failed dream of becoming a nuclear engineer.

robert merkel said...

To be fair to Mr. Baldwin, it seems that he has a slightly better understanding about what cooling towers are for than this article implies.

On this blog post, Baldwin states that the reason he believes that the Oyster Creek plant needs cooling towers is that "Oyster Creek is pumping millions of gallons of extremely hot cooling water directly into the river, killing large stocks of fish."

I don't have any information about the truth or falsity of this claim but it shows at least a basic understanding of the difference between a cooling tower and a once-through cooling system.

In this specific instance, the mistake appears to have been made by the reporter, rather than Baldwin.

And our anonymous posters do have a point - it's easy to have double standards about celebrity endorsements of your particular political position.

Anonymous said...

I don't think its a double standard when comparing the way Mr. Baldwin is treated to the way Mr. Newman is treated.

From what I've heard Mr. Newman has taken the time to properly educate himself on the matter, including visiting plant sites and speaking with the engineers and operators.

Has Mr. Baldwin done the same?

As for "Note to Hollywood; until doctors, scientists, and engineers try acting, please do your job and let them do theirs," there are some exceptions like the lead singer of Offspring, who has a doctorate in microbiology. Although, all I've heard from him is good music. I haven't seen any press where he's out a campaign concerning stem cell research.

Anonymous said...

Even Baldwin's post on the blog about hot water entering the "river" is wrong. Oyster Creek does not discharge to a "river". It has intake and discharge canals that were dredged to connect to Barnegat Bay. There is no "river".

I used to go with my Dad to fish for flounder and catch blue claw crabs in those canals. It was a fine area for crab spawning and we were obliged to throw back many of our catches as they were female crabs. Evidently the warmer water didn't bother them.

One very cold winter the plant saved several groups of swan as the warmer water of the discharge canal was the only open water for many miles around. So in those cases the presence of the plant had a beneficial environmental impact.

Anonymous said...

Baldwin is wasting his time. He will never get what he wants in this regard. Californians always want the rest of the US to act like them. They have killed the new nuclear option in California, and they want to do the same in New Jersey or anywhere else where an opportunity exists, plant life extension in this case. NJ will never be able to meet greenhouse gas requirements if Oyster Creek (not to mention Salem and Hope Creek) was made uneconomical, and if all new nuclear in NJ were prevented.

Anonymous said...

Thank You Mr. Baldwin. It is great to see someone from Hollywood who actually is trying to do some good.

People typically don't care unless it personally impacts their life.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Actually I go to a school for marine science and Oyster Creek is infact killing off marine life in Barnegat Bay. For different reason but two main reason is due to the fact there is no cooling towers. And if a new BWR system is placed in the plant the cooling towers would not be necessary because newer systems cool the water before it is discharged. Another reason is the lack of a looped sysem which would just reuse the same water instead of constantly taking water from the bay and replacing in back in to the bay contaminated.

And don't try to argue with me because I have done numerous projects about the bay. I have visited the bay and the plant, and i have spoken to operators, supervisors and plant workers. SO I'm actually involved.

Joffan said...

On the last anon. comment: anyone doing a research project on this subject should know that the water does not come back to the bay "contaminated" - just warmer. The reactor water is indeed in a loop (see the diagram in the article).

On the earlier quote from Baldwin, my impression is that fish kills seem to occur not due to "extremely hot water" but more when nuclear plants go offline and the fish lose their warm water sanctuary.

(dated 2008 May 16 - how about showing the date on the comments, NEI?)