Skip to main content

Nuclear Energy and the Fear-Respect Nexus



They write letters:
A reader, whom I assume is opposed to nuclear generation, has recently written listing various incidents that have occurred at nuclear sites, some more than 60 years ago in experimental facilities. The writer described these incidents in highly dramatic fashion.
This is a letter by James Lindsay to the Kawartha Lakes (Ontario)This Week. Most of it refutes the earlier letter, which I did not look up. But this struck me:
If nuclear energy is respected, there is no need for fear.
I’m going to guess, based on the letter, that Lindsay means that nuclear energy should be respected enough that people who are going to spout off against it should know something about it.
That works. Facts beat fear. I’m not sure I’d adopt “Respect, don’t fear” as a motto – it has an intimidating air for what is, after all, a tool for making electricity (among many other things, of course). But the thought behind it is solid.
John Grossenbacher from the Idaho National Labs makes much the same argument vis à vis used fuel in the Idaho Statesman:
Environmental risks created by past waste disposal and storage activities are being addressed by DOE. Very real progress is being made. The cleanup pace and effectiveness should be visible to and understood by the public. These are serious and complicated issues. This discourse is important and will continue for a long time to come.
To improve this vital public discussion about activities at the INL site, we have endeavored to make information available to anyone who is interested - online, in public meetings, through news media and via public tours. We challenge those interested in these issues to seriously consider the following suggestions.
You can read his suggestions at the link, but here’s the summary:  learn about the issues and let that inform commentary about them.
The issues surrounding INL and cleanup activities are not so complex that they can't be accurately explained by public officials, interest groups and media outlets who take the time to inform themselves.
That may seem naïve, but it’s really not. Especially with nuclear energy, which is often a victim of fear-based demagoguery, respecting it enough to learn something about it is well worthwhile.
Visit the Idaho National Labs for more. Grossenbacher isn’t kidding – there’s a lot of good information there.

Comments

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…

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…

Innovation Fuels the Nuclear Legacy: Southern Nuclear Employees Share Their Stories

Blake Bolt and Sharimar Colon are excited about nuclear energy. Each works at Southern Nuclear Co. and sees firsthand how their ingenuity powers the nation’s largest supply of clean energy. For Powered by Our People, they shared their stories of advocacy, innovation in the workplace and efforts to promote efficiency. Their passion for nuclear energy casts a bright future for the industry.

Blake Bolt has worked in the nuclear industry for six years and is currently the work week manager at Hatch Nuclear Plant in Georgia. He takes pride in an industry he might one day pass on to his children.

What is your job and why do you enjoy doing it?
As a Work Week Manager at Plant Hatch, my primary responsibility is to ensure nuclear safety and manage the risk associated with work by planning, scheduling, preparing and executing work to maximize the availability and reliability of station equipment and systems. I love my job because it enables me to work directly with every department on the plant…