Friday, April 22, 2011

No Fear Detected

Cook The headline blares “Indiana fears future of nearby nukes,” then fails to find anyone in Indiana fearing those nearby nukes.

There’s an anti-nuclear advocate:

"They have no idea exactly what it's going to cost, how they will operate or respond," said Kerwin Olson, program director for the Citizens Action Coalition in Indianapolis. "What this bill does is says any and all costs of extending Cook beyond 40 years can be passed on to consumers."

The subject of the story (and this quote) is pending legislation in Michigan implementing a variation of CWIP, Construction Work in Progress, which allows utilities to collect a fee from ratepayers while a new plant is under construction rather than after the plant is operational. In this instance, the fee will help extend the life of the Cook plant in Michigan (it sends electricity to Indiana.) But I don’t detect fear here – annoyance, maybe, no fear.

(To be honest, I’m not sure why a surcharge would be used for this purpose, but let’s set that aside for now.)

There’s the spokesman for Cook:

David Mayne, spokesman for Indiana Michigan Power, said Cook has a long history of safety and plans to continue that into the future.

"The Cook plant has an outstanding safety record and is recognized in the industry as having the highest standards of operational excellence," Mayne said. "Both units at Cook are operating safely and reliably today and our commitment to safe operations remains steadfast."

No fear here, obviously.

In some quarters of the media, if it’s about nuclear, it’s about fear. But really: no fear.

---

At the Hill, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) celebrates Earth Day:

It is likely that one in five of you reading this online right now is doing it on a computer powered by nuclear energy. There are more than 100 reactors in 31 states supplying about 20 percent of our nation’s electricity. Unfortunately that number hasn’t changed much since go-go boots and bell bottoms were all the rage.

His message is simple and germane:

On this Earth Day we need to commit to making nuclear power a larger part of our nation’s clean energy future.

I have supported nuclear power since I was elected in 1984. The industry has faced many challenges since then and even though no new reactors have been built in the United States during that time, safety has continued to improve at those facilities already in existence.

And addresses safety concerns:

The safety record at nuclear plants in the United States is impeccable and the systems that keep it that way are much more robust than those in Japan. The safety systems at reactors are redundant and automatic, meaning they don’t need to be activated by people or have backup generators to operate. Plus, each reactor in this nation is subject to aggressive oversight and thorough inspections by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

There’s a lot more. Barton makes a solid case.

The Cook nuclear plant. I’ve always thought Cook was one of the better designed power stations – maybe because it actually looks designed to fit its locale rather than as another hulking metal beast on the shoreline.

1 comment:

jimwg said...

I would not just let Lauri Keagle and hit and run outfits like NWI.com sashay away whistling after making such a coyly slanderous accusation. I'd royally call them on the carpet in spades to back-up what they reported because they irresponsibly and maliciously fan the flames among the largely science ignorant public which know more about the newest American Idol than what makes the lights go on in their homes. Ditto the slings of anti-Millstone Nancy Burton. I'd have such "activists" whip up more proof than fear that nuke plants are inherently imminent hazards via the plausibility of an asteroid strike. I want to call out their standards of safety concern to range across the full spectrum of the energy industry in injuries, deaths and property destroyed. I'd even go beyond that and ask whether they're as concerned of super-pathogens stored at medical and bio research centers which if escaped might generate plagues more horrid and inescapable than any nuclear event. I wonder -- are there any evacuation plans set around these research facilities?

More over, most all school teachers indiscriminately pick-up what's cited by anti-nuclear power people more than the government or industry or scientific literature. While the atom is the ultimate core of nature ("green"), children are discouraged from presenting nuclear energy as science fair projects. The mostly nuclear-clueless public, whose concepts of radioactivity stem from anti-corporate activists to 1950's B-movies, is tossed catchy fear phrases such as "The reality and scientific fact of nuclear energy is what I call the three C's, You can't control it, you can't contain it, and you can't clean it up. These are three facts you have to accept if you support nuclear power." I don't know what rock such quoters have been living under to state that atomic power hasn't overwhelmingly been successfully controlled (hence contained) nearly sixty years from power plants to seagoing vessels. One would have to be zealously and implacably philosophically anti-nuclear to overlook such. Nor have I heard that residual radioactivity has exactly left Hiroshima and Nagasaki or Three Mile Island's local communities sterile glowing deserts.

Such disinformation needs to be countered by factual information and education, but those facts are useless locked up within one church. More than ever nuclear power and research is fighting for acceptability and its life and such an't be left to the media to correct the activities and pitchforks of fear legistation popping up to abolish nuclear power. This Blog and NEI have superb nuclear facts vs myths entries of enormous fair and factual educational quality, but they're virtually quarantined from enlightening the public where it counts. I'd like to see their articles -- even just as a gesture -- sent to major media outlets just to see the response they'd receive -- if they receive any notice at all much less are responsibly and fairly featured.

Then we can proceed with the most basic question of all, why not?

James Greenidge