Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
very provocative, passionate and almost convincing...

i respect your conviction enormously, it makes solid sense, your logic is irrefutable...

but...you never mention conservation, or the moral imperative of meeting somewhere in the middle between concorde and mombai.

you paint a graphic, poetically tragic picture of mud-eating malian mothers, and my gut is duly wrenched...

you buttress your opinions with excellent writing, and your sincerity is indubitable...

also, you are very honest about your own inability to face giving up the goodies you've allowed yourself to feel entitled to, and i feel the same way.

your superior scientific background and obviously conscientious due diligence on your subject is nothing short of awesome, and i have no argument whatsoever with all that you say, it's what you don't that leaves me disturbed and a bit hopeless, as all i have is a gut-level response to the idea of what kind of world would ensue if we took the road you suggest, and it seems like jumping out of a frying pan into a fire....

the carbon crisis is poised above us like a damoclean sword, and i resonate strongly with your awareness of this, and the compassion that i believe is the driver for your sense of mission, exposing yourself to the abuse you do by espousing your position takes courage, much more courage than i feel, making the choices i feel myself gravitating to.

i wish so hard that nuclear power really was as safe and clean as it was promised to be. my partner's father worked as a nuclear engineer, till he died in his 30's from thymus gland cancer. apparently the measurement of the radioactivity on the workers was blown off by many of the workers themselves, so to work more overtime.

i wish i trusted human nature more, so i'd be happier to give over more personal control over my own sense of security to the kind of 'security system', created around the mortal dangers around so many stages of the nuclear industry, set up by huge institutional entities whose probity and objectivity were above reproach...etc, etc

i wish...

but not even the fear engendered by our political 'mis'leaders whistling past the graveyard and further delaying facing and really dealing with the huge challenge it will be to make a slow descent into the future shock, is as big a fear than the one i feel contemplating your projected world, and if you mentioned conservation, changing social values, re-engineering the grid to a more p2p approach, and celebrated the many innovative ideas that are popping up, (such as adam seigel does), and believed more in peoples' ability to sacrifice together to have a better world, (which will need a hitherto never-seen level of committed populist consensus), rather than just digging ourselves deeper into a centrally-controlled, big-daddy authoritarian dystopia, where there may be less carbon in the air, but there'd be a whole hell of a lot of other pollution of our social topography, and i'm not just talking about isotopes!

i'll shut up now, as i have nothing remotely rational to counter your well-tailored arguments...maybe another, like deanander, can balance out this hymn to nukes with something much denser and soundly reasoned than my terrified concern, which is possibly all in my head.

i feel right, but i don't know...it seems you feel and know you're right.

probably jerome's version, backed by dkos' energy buddies, will be the one we run with.... we 'll use more nukes, which'll make you happy, and we'll pump for many more other solutions too, for the good and simple reason that very few people have the deep confidence as you and starvid seem to do, to live happily in the shadow of a nuke plant, see it outside the window every day, and feel a warm glow of pride in human achievement...

great diary, even though i could not disagree more wholeheartedly with you conclusion, i cannot but heartily respect your dedication and sincerity.

+ you write your ass off, up there in noo joisy!


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 18th, 2007 at 08:08:24 PM EST
Without launching into my usual nastiness, I cannot say how many times someone has reported to me that they knew someone who had some kind of nuclear exposure that "caused" their cancer.    This assumes that there is no other way to get cancer other than working with nuclear energy.

Both of my parents died from cancer and neither of them worked in nuclear plants.   In fact when they got cancer neither of them were given special insights to the cause of their conditions.

Many people die each year from automobiles, but there is no movement afoot to ban automobiles, even though I personally know many people personally who have definitively and unambiguously been killed by automobiles.

Moreover, there are many people who are definitively and unambiguously been killed by fossil fuel processing plants and fossil fuel waste.

I am more inclined than most to call for limits on automobiles and bans on fossil fuel wastes.

I have a term for the claim that only nuclear energy must be perfect to be acceptable.   I call it "nuclear exceptionalism."  

No form of energy is risk free.   Some energy is risk minimized.   That energy is nuclear energy.

by NNadir on Tue Jun 19th, 2007 at 02:19:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I want to ban automobiles. And coal plants. And nuclear plants. So there.

The risks minimized for nuclear are only those well-known and quantified beforehand, and not even all of them (those that would make nuclear much more expensive, like retrofitting protection hulls, are ignored). Yet several incidents show up risks that weren't realised by the risk calculators. The appearance of such is more likely in more complex systems. Thus your risk calculations cover always only a fraction of the actual risks.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 20th, 2007 at 06:06:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Without launching into my usual nastiness, I cannot say how many times someone has reported to me that they knew someone who had some kind of nuclear exposure that "caused" their cancer.    This assumes that there is no other way to get cancer other than working with nuclear energy.

So if other things could have caused cancer, we just can't establish whether the nuclear industry caused it, and we should just assume it is not there?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 20th, 2007 at 06:08:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well let's put it this way:   There have been zillions of epidemiological studies on the subject and they're all over the place, but mostly they don't show much.  One I heard about suggested it was more dangerous to work in an office than in a nuclear plant.   (In a nuclear plant you're monitored.

If people did zillions of epidemiological studies of coal plants - and they don't - one would find cancers as well.

If we did studies of people who work with silicon, we might find something there.

I don't understand why only nuclear energy gets an "assumption" of cancer.    I'll bet that the number of cancers of the lung resulting from air pollution number in the millions each year.  

by NNadir on Wed Jun 20th, 2007 at 09:01:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]

People are studying the effects of silicon, and in the Netherlands working with sandstone (cutting, polishing) is classed as dangerous (or higher?) than removing asbestos.

We should ban sand!! No, wait...

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Wed Jun 20th, 2007 at 11:18:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks for the vote of confidence melo :-)

it is indeed a very impressive bit of agitprop -- where on earth does he get the time, or is this written on company time?  however as with many pronuke arguments today, it expends a great deal of energy (so to speak) shooting down an argument that I think no one at ET is seriously making, i.e. that coal is a desirable energy source (whether via sequestration or liquefaction or just plain suicidally burning the stuff raw).

it's easy to "win the argument" by proving that the coal "solutions" are pure self-serving BS from the filth industry -- but that doesn't prove that the nuke "solution" is not also BS from the other filth industry, or that it best serves the common good or posterity, or that a nuclear expansion on the required scale is technically and energetically feasible.

the weak points of the presentation are

a) the failure to examine conservation and demand reduction in first world venues... the underlying assumption here is TAWOLINN, despite cleverly crafted gestures of "humility" such as critiquing supersonic jet travel and sympathising with poor women in 3rd world locales -- in the end it comes down to "I have a 1st world lifestyle and I will maintain it by any means necessary, and that is a reasonable starting position."

b) failure to address the technical feasbility of an enormous nuclear rampup w/in the necessary time period (10 years according to the present crop of pessimists led by D Hansen)

c) failure to consider the socipolitical implications (in terms of centralisation, security-statism, locking out of devolutionary and local possibilities)

d) failure to assess the true GHG cost of new nuke plant construction and lifecycle, focussing only on "tailpipe emissions" -- much like the agitprop for "electric cars" which misleadingly calls them ZEVs instead of EEVs and focuses narrowly on the use period between roll-off and trade-in rather than the entire product lifecycle from ore to scrap

e) passive acceptance of major externalised costs of extraction and refinement -- which will be borne by persons other than the affluent electricity utility customer who feels entitled to 120/240VAC at nearly unlimited amperage 24x7

imho and as I've said repeatedly. the question is not "coal or nuclear".

the question is "an unsustainable or a sustainble energy consumption level," and what quality of life and what equity factor is compatible with a sustainable energy consumption level.  it is pointless to wrangle over whether soya oil or palm oil or sugar ethanol or corn ethanol is "best" for fuelling private automobiles, when the real question is whether we want to divert food from human and animal mouths to private automobiles (or whether private automobiles have any major role in a sustainable culture).  and the debate over coal vs nuke, while its technical details are beguiling in an Alice-in-Wonderland way, is just as pointless w/o a debate over the wisdom of using exhaustible vs replenishable resources, the consequences of exceeding the annual biotic energy budget, the inefficiencies of huge centralised electric generation plants, the costs of using most-toxic rather than least-toxic tech, the politics of externalised and displaced risk, etc.

coal vs nuke is a bit like Demoblicans versus Republicrats :-) neither of them plans to stop colonising Iraq or shrink the metastatic military/security command economy;  the issue of whether Amurka can afford to be an Imperium or not isn't even on their radar.  so this carefully crafted screed is (to my ear; ymmv) a bit like a gorgeous and well-researched appeal to vote for Hillary rather than Obama, or Obams rather than McCain (or whoever).  if you're an antiwar voter, it's just not all that relevant.

top marks for well-crafted demolition of the coal industry's line of BS, though.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Jun 21st, 2007 at 10:24:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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