Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ralph Nader to Visit NEI

nader We bow to no one in our respect for Ralph Nader and the work he has done to expose government and corporate corruption and to work always for his fellow citizens. By extension, he has done good work for many other people throughout the world by inspiring them to look closely at their own institutions and to find fault where fault is found.

Mr. Nader has always been a gadfly, and a highly effective one, buzzing through the last several presidential elections, often with the Green Party, and persisting despite a certain wariness on the part of the press. Nader is completely free of any spin and external agenda aside from his own; his willingness to speak truth to the various powers that can overwhelm our lives is vital if the idea of America is to function at all - he cuts through the cant to get at the truth and then tries to make the truth more powerful than the myths that many prefer to subscribe to.

We ruminate about Mr. Nader because he will be speaking about nuclear energy outside the building NEI occupies. He will be there because NEI is here (we have two floors of a 13 story building, so our neighbors are in for a treat). Mr. Nader really, really doesn't like nuclear energy and hasn't liked it since at least the seventies.

Here's some of the announcement:

Now, nuclear power is resurgent.


Because politicians like McCain, Obama and Clinton all want to keep nuclear power on the table.

All three support legislation that would provide government taxpayer subsidies and guarantees to power companies to build nuclear power plants.


The billions are far safer and better spent supporting energy efficiency and solar energy projects than building these nuclear national security risk boondoggles.


Once again, we will be saying loud and clear - No Nukes.

To us, this has the whiff of the coffee house and of earnest folk singers singing earnest songs. The flyer mentions solar, but Nader favors any renewable, emission-free energy source that isn't nuclear.

We could quibble quite a lot about Nader's stances around nuclear - you can read all about it at his Web site - but won't in this post. We will say that Nader is holding tightly to ideas that have seen their best days come and go, but he's allowed. After all, if Robert De Niro can play in Bullwinkle, Ralph Nader can stage slightly old-style No Nukes gatherings without endangering his legacy. It is what it is.

So if you find yourself around 19th and I in DC today at noon, stop on by and see Ralph Nader. Shake hands with him: he's a living legend, after all - a vexing one for us, certainly, but there you go.

By all means, visit Mr. Nader's Web site and see what you think. They have a blog (where the above snippets come from), a way for you to contribute to his campaign, and various position papers.


Anonymous said...

Wow ... that guy will do anything for attention. I almost feel sorry for him.

Kirk Sorensen said...

And here I thought he was going to come inside and actually talk to you...too bad for him.

Anonymous said...

Certainly a man with impressive achievements.
1. Instrumental in the election of G.W.B. in 2000.
2. Instrumental in the establishment of the SUV as the American car (as small, efficient ones are after all "Unsafe at any speed").
3. A pioneer in the anti-nuclear movement and therefore partially responsible for thousands of coal deaths per year.

Those credentials alone show a man with large influence in the creation and maintenance of global warming and dependence on fossil fuels. What a career to be proud of.

David Bradish said...

The funniest part was seeing one of Nader's protesters smoking a cigarette. One receives more radiation from smoking a cigarette than standing next to a nuclear plant for a year.

Mark Flanagan said...

We wish he would have come up, too. I can guarantee there would have been no contentiousness and a lot of NEI folks would have loved to hear him in a more intimate setting than downtown DC at lunch hour.

There is certainly a lot you can criticize Nader for, but the idea of Nader - and much of what the man has accomplished - is so overwhelmingly positive, we'll take the bitter with the sweet.

That said, shame about that 2000 election - especially if you're a Democrat - but Nader didn't stand in voting booths and wrestle votes away from Mr. Gore (or Mr. Bush, either). Our fellow Americans did that all by themselves. Some folks call it democracy.

David Walters said...

As Nader often states, it was Gore that caused him to lose the electoin in 2000. Ha!

Well, I for one respect Nader even if I disagree with him. Interestingly, his absolute worse positions, most poorly argued, of other non-experts is on nuclear energy. Simply terrible. And sad, because at the end of the say, every minus he place next to fission is a plus next to fossil, whether he knows it or not.

David Walters

gunter said...

It was great to see NEI employees out there getting Ralph's autograph; evidence that this can be about issues and not personalities with perhaps the exception of "anonymous."

Anon, remember, it was Ralph who effectively fought to get us all in seatbelts--now standard issue for both SUVs and compact cars alike. Same can be said for Ralph's efforts to level the playingfield for the energy market. I remind you that NEI was chaired by Mr. Anthony Early Jr., the coal tycoon---so you can get off your high horse that there is some sort of distinction in the thermoelectric industry's agenda.

Anonymous said...

I feel quite positive about the world after reading these posts.

When US nuclear power capacity factors were in the low 60's in the 1980's, those in the industry projected much of their blame on outside forces. In the 1990's, as the first several poorly performing nuclear plants were sold to more competent utilities and then their performance rapidly improved, the industry learned that the most important ingredient for success is competent management and listening to criticism, and then striving to improve.

Now we need to learn whether this can be the case for new construction too. So far the evidence is mixed.

It has been a very long time since the public has been willing to give nuclear the benefit of the doubt, and nuclear's reemergence has come about only because its performance has improved. Nuclear must set the highest of expectations for its managers and workers, and accept criticism as a valuable input to further improve its performance.