Skip to main content

Memo to Fox News: Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Energy Are Not The Same

Last Wednesday, word leaked out through media channels that President Obama would include a call for further nuclear arms reduction in a speech has was scheduled to deliver in Berlin, Germany at the famous Brandenberg Gate. When Fox News got hold of the story, they figured the best image to twin with a picture of the President would be a shot of a cooling tower at an unnamed nuclear power plant.
Now you see the cooling tower ...
Needless to say, while I understand why editors and reporters often conflate nuclear weapons and commercial nuclear energy, it doesn't make it any less annoying when it happens. As we've pointed out in the past, generating nuclear electricity actually contributes to a more peaceful world. The best example of why that's true has to be the Megatons to Megawatts program, an effort to downblend former Soviet nuclear warheads into reactor fuel. Right now, about half of the electricity generated by our nation’s nuclear energy facilities is from fuel that was once part of the Soviet Union's Cold War nuclear arsenal.

It's a powerful story, and one that's actually part of Pandora's Promise. Here's Stewart Brand:


Thankfully, the error didn't persist for long thanks to nuclear energy consultant Brian Gutherman:
And then a few minutes later ...
... And now you don't.
Thanks to Brian for the heads up, and thanks to Fox News for correcting the error so quickly.

Comments

jimwg said…
Major kudos to Brian and NEI for springing to their feet to correct this mass misconception. Unfortunately, to way too many, nuclear plants and bombs are just sides of the same coin. Call me semi-conspiratorial, but maybe by local political experience I always had long doubts that such feature image "mismatches" are simply accidental by ignorance or incompetence in lieu a media that largely hates nuclear's guts and go out of their way coyly fanning FUD (re: the infamous Tokyo oil fire featured during Fukushima stories during and AFTER the quake) than fairly educate their public more about nukes. I'd love to see the percentage of positive/neutral nuclear plant stories against windmill/solar farms presented in the media in one year. No doubt the tallies would be shocking!

James Greenidge
Queens NY
Jeff Schmidt said…
The way those cable news channels work is that whenever there's any story, they need to find something, anything to show on screen related to that story. What will they show? A mushroom cloud?

There's not a lot of pics or video available commonly for nuclear weapons. Since Fox crowd tends to try to craft a message which is pro-nuclear weapons (or, at least, the opposite of whatever Obama is for, it seems at times) , they don't want to show a nuclear explosion, as that might be a bit alarming and tend to make people watching think maybe Obama is right about arms reductions (and Obama can't be right about anything, at least to Fox News).

So, they try to show something which people readily associate with nuclear, but which doesn't appear to be too scary.

I know, it's sad, and I too wish they wouldn't conflate civilian nuclear power with weapons of mass destruction, but nuclear weapons is just a topic, at least I think, for which there is virtually no footage available.

I don't know, though, there's got to be some pics/videos of ICBM's somewhere, they could use.

Popular posts from this blog

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…