Skip to main content

Readers are Catching on to Helen Caldicott's Alarmist Rhetoric About Nuclear Energy

Dr. Helen Caldicott
For a number of years now, we've been sure to follow the public pronouncements of anti-nuclear activist Dr. Helen Caldicott and how the public is beginning to push back against her radical agenda.

The latest example comes from the Sydney Morning Herald, where Caldicott's latest op-ed was greeted frostily in the comments section following the article.

Here's a sampler:
As someone who worked as a medical physicist, whose job it was to be on to of these sorts of issues. I must say this is alarmist, unbalanced and inaccurate and should be treated with a healthy degree of suspicion.,

Long on rhetoric, short on actual data.


I'm very surprised such a vague article could be published in the SMH. "Growing body of scientific evidence", "unprecedented increase" and "huge continuing" are the words used here to back up the basic premise. No numbers, emotive language and non-specifics - these are the hallmarks of spin, propaganda and a hidden agenda.


When someone writes an article without data it's always worth looking a little more. And indeed, this author should be presented as 'Helen Caldicott is a physician, author and anti-nuclear activist'. Once you know that, and consider that no facts are presented you know to take what she says with a pinch of salt.
When it comes to monitoring the potential health effects from the accident at Fukushima, I always come back to the following passage that Mike Moyer of Scientific American wrote in response to the publication of research by anti-nuclear activist Joseph Mangano:
This is not to say that the radiation from Fukushima is not dangerous (it is), nor that we shouldn’t closely monitor its potential to spread (we should). But picking only the data that suits your analysis isn’t science—it’s politics. Beware those who would confuse the latter with the former.
For a more sober assessment on Fukushima, read this piece from Dr. Robert Peter Gale that appeared in the Los Angeles Times. As for Dr. Caldicott, you might want to consult a post from our archives by David Bradish from 2005 that puts her positions on commercial nuclear energy in the proper perspective.


Anonymous said…
I went to one of Dr. Caldicott's lectures several years ago and was not impressed. It wasn't the fact that she is radically anti-nuclear that was disheartening, it was the fact that she had very limited knowledge of how a nuclear plant even worked. I am unsure how someone can be considered an "expert" in nuclear power and radiation and barely understand more than the general public.

Like everything in life nuclear power is not perfect and I can respect people who argue against nuclear based on facts and logical thinking. What I cannot respect is someone who argues against it based on irrational fear and a total misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the facts.
jmdesp said…
It's also interesting to read how Monbiot investigated all the claims Caldicott was making in front of him, and not one was left standing :
Ben Heard said…
Her recent visits back home to Australia seem to have been largely speaking to the seriously converted. Echo chamber events organised by left of centre coalitions. This may be premature, but I think she is largely a spent force. So many of her statements captured on film are absurd beyond parody, and I believe there is some pretty choice examples in Pandora's Promise
Anonymous said…
I attended her speech last night in santa barbara at the lobero theater. I was very excited and quickly unimpressed. What bothered me so much was her personal attacks on prominent figures from Regan(100 iq at best based on her opinion) Clinton the worst president ever, Bush well need we say more John Kerry the would be pacifist turned war monger is her personal friend so he is a great guy. The final straw was her comment to a Jewish gentleman who asked her about Israel. She told him as she cackled away that The Prime Minister is a NUT! Nothing but a NUT! Clearly anti jew is alive and well in this windbag. She could not muster the decency or grace to stick to the issues other than her graphic image of a little boy at hiroshima nuked high. Her phony hand wringing and brown wiping just came off as entirely insincere and she presents no actual facts. She told us Poor Putin, Poor Russia all the worlds problems are caused by the USA. I would happily tell her to shove off back to Australia but she never lets anyone get a word in edgewise. This man tried three times to have this question answered what will Israel do if Iran attacks them and all she could do was slam the prime minister. Sad. She is a shriveled up old woman who was a medical doctor, who thinks she is a rocket scientist or better yet a nuclear phy. she is not. F- =fail. Her message may be important but henny penny lost all my respect when she gracelessly bashed America and everyone in power unless it was mother russia.

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…

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

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…