Faux environmentalists allowing more pollution by fighting nuclear

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A colleague sent me an email the other day prefaced with this remark: “Enviros will never get it.”

He sent me an article from Bloomberg News on Nov. 5 reporting that California’s Air Resources Board’s website posted data showing that emissions from natural-gas-fired power plants rose 35 percent to 41.6 million tons last year in California. Chief among the reasons for the rise was the shutting down of the San Onofre nuclear power plant in January 2012.

THIS PLANT HAD long been a target of anti-nuclear activists masquerading as environmentalists. There was nothing wrong with the reactor, but the new steam generators were undergoing some vibration problems at full power, and the utility, state regulators and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission could not agree on how to economically return the unit to full power. Tiring of the uproar, the bad press and the frustration of dealing with indecisive regulation, the utility did what any good business entity would do – it took advantage of
record-low natural gas prices and replaced the emission-free nuclear power with power producing tens of metric tons of air pollution.

Californians, and to a lesser extent all of us, are left to deal with the consequences of this “victory” for the bogus environmentalists. We cannot blame utilities for behaving as rational economic beings when it comes to their choices for providing the electricity we all demand. If regulation and lack of energy policy make it financially risky to invest in nuclear power, utilities are left with only one real alternative – fossil fuels. If hydropower is available, it can help. Wind and solar cannot be relied upon without equivalent capacity available from fossil or nuclear.

CONSIDER THESE consequences: No less than the World Health Organization estimates that as many as 7 million people die each year because of the burning of fossil fuels. This is the immediate impact on human health, and ignores the probable longer-term impacts on climate change and acidification of our oceans.

If we use data from peer-reviewed scientific studies by James Hansen, who first sounded the alarm as a NASA climatologist concerning the potential for climate change, we can quantify the effect on human health of the San Onofre shutdown. Hansen’s data showed about 30 deaths per million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Since California had about 41.6 million tons of emissions in 2012, more than 1,200 people probably died because of air pollution there. About 300 deaths would therefore be attributed to shutting down San Onofre. These rates apply to 2012 and to every year in the future where the current status quo is maintained.

It is frustrating to know that most anti-nuclear sentiment stems from fear of radiation exposure. It’s frustrating because this country’s nuclear power safety record is spotless with respect to harming the public, despite persistent,
erroneous claims to the contrary.

It’s frustrating because fear of radiation is unwarranted except for very high doses, yet we let unwarranted fear deny us the
benefits of clean, affordable energy.

It’s frustrating because no matter how many unbiased, well-designed studies debunk the myth of the dangers of low-level radiation, many people prefer to cling to the fallacy that low levels of radiation are dangerous.

THIS LEADS TO our country relying on energy sources known to pollute, sicken and kill rather than a source that never has had a fatality after 55 years of providing what is now about 20 percent of the nation’s electricity. All credible scientific studies of low levels of radiation are at worst inconclusive regarding negative effects on human health, and at best show a beneficial effect.

It is time we came out of the nuclear dark ages into the bright light of clean, safe energy for our people and our planet.

(The writer is executive director for Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness in Aiken, S.C.)

Comments (9) Add comment
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Bulldog
1296
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Bulldog 11/17/13 - 10:20 am
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Spot on!

The safety record of nuclear power in this country is so obvious that I am amazed that anyone still opposes the implementation of this cleanest of reliable power sources. The term luddite comes to mind...

soapy_725
43527
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soapy_725 11/17/13 - 10:36 am
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China Syndrome script dead on. Three Mile Island two days after
Unpublished

movie opened. Where are the Japanese mutants? Where are the Chernobyl mutants?

soapy_725
43527
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soapy_725 11/17/13 - 10:37 am
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What about the "coal fired" electric cars. LOL LOL
Unpublished

What about the "coal fired" electric cars. LOL LOL

soapy_725
43527
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soapy_725 11/17/13 - 10:38 am
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The Three Sisters know all the answers. Exxom, Shell & BP.
Unpublished

The Three Sisters know all the answers. Exxom, Shell & BP.

soapy_725
43527
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soapy_725 11/17/13 - 10:39 am
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Where are the stats on low level radiation and cancer?
Unpublished

Where are the stats on low level radiation and cancer?

soapy_725
43527
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soapy_725 11/17/13 - 10:41 am
1
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Low level radiation gave us a new industry. War on Cancer.
Unpublished

Low level radiation gave us a new industry. War on Cancer.

blh
43
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blh 11/17/13 - 11:16 am
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the safety of the plant is not the issue

the issue(s) are eliminating coal fired nuclear plants altogether and then making a rational decision about what to do with the nuclear waste generated. Unless you send it directly into the sun it will be a problem for us for a long time.

deestafford
22661
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deestafford 11/17/13 - 11:25 am
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The first part of the writer is right on point; however, when he

starts using the discredited James Hansen as a source his argument from that point on looses credibility. I totally agree with what he says about nuclear power and its benefits.

It seems what the writer either doesn't know, unknowingly doesn't understand, or unknowingly puts himself in the same boat with Hansen and others of that ilk, is they are all against progress and for government power over the lives of the people. That is what the global warming movement is all about. Hansen has been wrong on nearly all his positions .

Take the case of CO2. By volume it is the fourth largest gas in the atmosphere behind Nitrogen (78.08%), Oxygen (20.95%), Argon (O.93%) and Carbon Dioxide (0.04%). Yet, to hear the alarmists one would think is is a major part of the atmosphere by volume. It is however critical to survival of all plants and animals on earth. Water vapor has a larger effect on the weather and climate. There is no proof that increased warming comes AFTER increased CO2. As a matter of fact, there is some evidence that increased warming comes BEFORE increased CO2. The models used by Hansen and others to predict the future climate have not been able to have previous data put in them and accurately predict today's climate. Also, don't get weather and climate confused...they are not the same.

The entire "climate change" movement is nothing more than a wealth distribution transfer of the developed countries (which are responsible for the increased standards of living throughout history) to the undeveloped countries who are mainly that way because of decades and centuries of corrupt leaders and governments who have not believed in free markets and private property.

History has shown that civilization advances when the climate is warm and retreats when it is colder. And, who is to say what the ideal temperature is supposed to be. There is a difference in unhealthy air and over burdensome, power grubbing regulations by environmental wackos.

Bizkit
28303
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Bizkit 11/17/13 - 04:40 pm
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Why build safe, clean, green,

Why build safe, clean, green, nuclear power plants (which also make nuclear medicines like Canada's Chalk plant) when you can build nuclear bombs?

oldredneckman96
4873
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oldredneckman96 11/17/13 - 05:15 pm
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Energy
Unpublished

One way to take over a county is to create a crisis and then pretend to “ride” to the rescue as a cover to take over control. Obama is doing that with health care and has our utilities up in the slot for the next attack. Vote, DANG IT, Vote!

LSuschena
11
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LSuschena 11/22/13 - 12:05 pm
0
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Red Herring

You incorrect. The anti-nuclear crowd push for, and got, a full license re-application review to restart SONGS. That process costs millions and made it uneconomical to restart SONGS. Did most previous nukes have huge cost over runs? YES! But why? Most skeptics say, oh they just don't know what the heck they are doing? Seabrook originally estimated at 2 units to 500 million. Unit 1 went on line a 4.7 billion? Holy poop!!! Why? First TMI added some. Interest rates added a bunch. Yes some mismanagement. Nuke plants are complicated machines with strick quality standards. But the single key factor, was the anti-nukes. Just before fuel load the utility did a cost analysis. They directly attributed 47% (nearly 2 billion) to litigation. So they shot themselves in the foot, the unit went on line and the attorney fees got added to the rate base.

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