The nuclear industry always has a 'next' better version of something. They make all kinds of promises about the next, new, better nuclear reactor design. Does that mean all of the dangers disappear? Does that mean humanity should now build thousands of 'new generation' nuclear reactors?
Arnie Gunderson, a nuclear expert, is trying to warn humanity about existing and newer nuclear technology. He worked inside the nuclear industry for many years. He knows the industry, from the inside.
What people tell Arnie is that the promoters, designers, builders and operators of nuclear plants are safety conscious, they are good people, and they would NEVER allow an accident to happen. They are our neighbors, friends and community members. They have high integrity, are smart, go to church and have kids that go to school with everyone else's kids. They would not allow an accident to happen, because they LOVE their community and neighbors, and they lavish money on the community.
Arnie says that this argument is false, because good intentions, good neighbors, smartness, and going to church does not do away with the dangers or hazards of nuclear radiation, nuclear accidents and human tendencies to make mistakes.
The people living around Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Santa Susana and Fukushima all said the same things before those 'accidents' happened. Those communities all argued FOR nuclear power based on their interaction with these good intentioned, well meaning, smart nuclear experts. All of the money they tossed around the community did not hurt either. That taxpayer money bought off a lot of people, as money most often does.
This same dead end argument described above also applies to new generation reactors, no matter what they are called. The pro new generation nuclear reactor apologists argue the same way as the pro nuclear apologists did for the first generation nuclear reactors.
They say that the new generation reactors are simple, easy, small, cheap, safe, and clean. They promise that nothing bad will ever happen, and no radiation will EVER be released. Have you heard these promises before anywhere? Hmmmm.... these promises seem to have a familiar ring to them. The same thing was promised about open air nuclear bomb testing.. The same thing was promised about nuclear reactors that have had over 100 accidents so far.
But the reality of what actually happens when these things are built is quite different from how it all looks on paper or the verbal promises.
One of the most fundamental problems with all of these promises and assurances is that whole nuclear industry was built on secrecy and lies from the very beginning, and this secrecy continues up to today. The whole industry cannot be and will not be transparent or truthful by it's very nature, organizational culture and industry practices from the beginning up until today. Yes, they can theoretically change, but most people judge other people and organizations based on what they have done in the past, and look at that as a track record.
The odds of someone repeating what they have done in the past are MUCH greater than starting some new, different and better behavior, wouldn't you agree? Someone who has stolen and lied for 40 years, will most likely continue to do so, no matter how many promises they make to do the opposite.
Someone who lies and deceives others as a general way of operating is generally viewed with suspicion and is avoided by those who want to deal with straight shooters. Most of humanity prefers to deal with honest, law abiding citizens and corporations, correct? So what is the track record of the nuclear industry, including the same players who are now proposing 'new' nuclear technology?
30 Ways The Nuclear Industry Deceives Everyone; via @AGreenRoad
A Primer In The Art Of Deception; via @AGreenRoad
Human Radiation Experiments Performed Without Consent Or Knowledge; via @AGreenRoad
On top of the lies, there is a basic truth with nuclear technology that cannot be avoided. Up front, these supposedly smart folks draw up simple, easy, cheap designs on paper. Those things on paper always appear wonderful, magical and easy to implement. But what actually happens when one tries to put money behind it and make it happen?
In Paper Reactors, Real Reactors (1953) by Hyman Rickover (Father of the nuclear navy and US nuclear power) warns humanity about new generation reactors; âIt is incumbent on those in high places to make wise decisions and it is reasonable and important that the public be correctly informed.
An academic (paper) reactor or reactor plant almost always has the following basic characteristics: (1) It is simple. (2) It is small. (3) It is cheap. (4) It is light. (5) It can be built very quickly. (6) It is very flexible in purpose. (7) Very little development will be required. It will use off-the-shelf components. (8) The reactor is in the study phase. It is not being built now.
On the other hand a practical reactor can be distinguished by the following characteristics: (1) It is being built now. (2) It is behind schedule. (3) It requires an immense amount of development on apparently trivial items. (4) It is very expensive. (5) It takes a long time to build because of its engineering development problems. (6) It is large. (7) It is heavy. (8) It is complicated.
The tools of the academic designer are a piece of paper and a pencil with an eraser. If a mistake is made, it can always be erased and changed. If the practical-reactor designer errs, he wears the mistake around his neck; it cannot be erased. Everyone sees it.
The academic-reactor designer is a dilettante. He has not had to assume any real responsibility in connection with his projects. He is free to luxuriate in elegant ideas, the practical shortcomings of which can be relegated to the category of âmere technical details.â The practical-reactor designer must live with these same technical details. Although recalcitrant and awkward, they must be solved and cannot be put off until tomorrow. Their solution requires manpower, time and money.
Unfortunately for those who must make far-reaching decision without the benefit of an intimate knowledge of reactor technology, and unfortunately for the interested public, it is much easier to get the academic side of an issue than the practical side.
For a large part those involved with the academic reactors have more inclination and time to present their ideas in reports and orally to those who will listen. Since they are innocently unaware of the real but hidden difficulties of their plans, they speak with great facility and confidence. Those involved with practical reactors, humbled by their experiences, speak less and worry more.
Yet it is incumbent on those in high places to make wise decisions and it is reasonable and important that the public be correctly informed. It is consequently incumbent on all of us to state the facts as forthrightly as possible.â
The translation of something from paper to reality is hard enough. But when one adds on the lack of honesty and transparency, it makes the obstacles and difficulties plus negative consequences orders of magnitude greater.
The regulatory, scientific and academic nuclear community is not known these days for being honest, straightforward and transparent. Rather, the opposite is the case...
Scientific Nuclear Fraud At Major Universities; Uncovered And Analyzed; via @AGreenRoad
Bottom line, what we need in every community, in every nation, is to have a discussion about the best options for seven generations of our children, not what is 'good' here and now financially speaking. Anything can be made to look good for now, by just throwing a bunch of money at it. The discussion changes when we look at things long range, for seven future generations.
Does this 'solution' cause any harm to any of the seventy future generations coming behind us? Does it leave radioactive waste behind for them to deal with? Do we have a right to make them deal with our messes? Shouldn't we have to clean up our own messes and leave future generations with a cleaner, better world? When we start asking and answering questions like this, we will automatically end up with the best answers, even with partisan differences included.
The monopolies (like nuclear) do not like long range discussions or bottom's up locally based and decentralized or zero carbon solutions, because it takes away from their profits, their power and their control.
So if you like community based, jobs creating, seven future generations friendly solutions, you will have to fight for them, because the 1% at the top only like solutions that make them money, that keep them in control and that serve their interests. What are we all fighting for? Here is a reminder, from the mouth of a child.
Nuclear power is one of those 1%, top down, short term solutions. So far, we have not seen anything come from the nuclear industry that works without causing harm to seventy future generations. Have you?
The Paper Fantasy And Real Dangers Of New Generation Reactors; via @AGreenRoad