The Ignorance of the Anti-Nuclear Power Press

German physicist Peter Heller has written a passionate defense of nuclear power, titled "A plea for a return to science on the nuclear power issue," posted at Watts Up with That?

A representative sample:

Over the recent days I have grown concerned that we are headed again for such dark times. Hysterical and sensationalist media reporting, paired with a remarkably stark display of ignorance of technical and scientific interrelations, and the attempt by a vast majority of journalists to fan the public's angst and opposition to nuclear energy - pure witch-burning disguised as modernity.

One shining example of a "stark display of ignorance" is James Carroll's Boston Globe column, Our Silent Spring, which invokes Rachel Carson to describe the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor.

Carson's book [Silent Spring] was heard as a resounding alarm, jumpstarting the contemporary environmental movement. In important ways, her warning was heeded (restrictions on DDT), but the human assault on the natural world only escalated in the decades since, with last week's catastrophe in Japan a latest signal of the danger...The global anxiety attached to this multivalent catastrophe rises to another level of concern. Alarm is drowning out all the other sounds of spring this week...The issue suddenly is not just the radiation danger of commercial nuclear power, but the true and total cost of industrial technology.

Note that Carroll acknowledges the anxiety and alarm, but he thinks it's long overdue.

Unwittingly, Carroll makes a valid comparison. Rachel Carson's alarmist and fallacious hysteria about DDT led to what Carroll terms, "restrictions" on its use-an EPA ban in 1972 and worldwide abandonment of a miracle chemical developed by modern "industrial technology" that was successfully controlling the perennial pestilence of malaria. Fortunately, the World Health Organization reversed the DDT ban in 2006, but the 34-year ban had enormous negative consequences. Steven Milloy writes of the "terrible toll in human lives (tens of millions dead - mostly pregnant women and children under the age of 5), illness (billions sickened) and poverty (more than $1 trillion dollars in lost GDP in sub-Saharan Africa alone) caused by the tragic, decades-long ban."
An alarmist anti-nuclear campaign capitalizing on Fukushima might succeed in convincing the world to abandon nuclear power, another miraculous industrial technology, with similar negative consequences. Nuclear power provides 14% of the world's energy, 24% in OECD countries. Worldwide demand for electricity is expanding rapidly; the International Energy Agency estimates 76% growth in demand by 2030. To voluntarily reduce or abandon nuclear power will increase poverty, illiteracy, sickness and early death.

As Peter Heller writes in the article cited above:

Electricity illuminates our world, drives our machines, allow us to communicate over great distances, thus making our lives easier and more comfortable. It is a source of energy that staves off poverty and enables prosperity.

The choice could not be greater: science and modern technology, or ignorance and witch-burning.
German physicist Peter Heller has written a passionate defense of nuclear power, titled "A plea for a return to science on the nuclear power issue," posted at Watts Up with That?

A representative sample:

Over the recent days I have grown concerned that we are headed again for such dark times. Hysterical and sensationalist media reporting, paired with a remarkably stark display of ignorance of technical and scientific interrelations, and the attempt by a vast majority of journalists to fan the public's angst and opposition to nuclear energy - pure witch-burning disguised as modernity.

One shining example of a "stark display of ignorance" is James Carroll's Boston Globe column, Our Silent Spring, which invokes Rachel Carson to describe the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor.

Carson's book [Silent Spring] was heard as a resounding alarm, jumpstarting the contemporary environmental movement. In important ways, her warning was heeded (restrictions on DDT), but the human assault on the natural world only escalated in the decades since, with last week's catastrophe in Japan a latest signal of the danger...The global anxiety attached to this multivalent catastrophe rises to another level of concern. Alarm is drowning out all the other sounds of spring this week...The issue suddenly is not just the radiation danger of commercial nuclear power, but the true and total cost of industrial technology.

Note that Carroll acknowledges the anxiety and alarm, but he thinks it's long overdue.

Unwittingly, Carroll makes a valid comparison. Rachel Carson's alarmist and fallacious hysteria about DDT led to what Carroll terms, "restrictions" on its use-an EPA ban in 1972 and worldwide abandonment of a miracle chemical developed by modern "industrial technology" that was successfully controlling the perennial pestilence of malaria. Fortunately, the World Health Organization reversed the DDT ban in 2006, but the 34-year ban had enormous negative consequences. Steven Milloy writes of the "terrible toll in human lives (tens of millions dead - mostly pregnant women and children under the age of 5), illness (billions sickened) and poverty (more than $1 trillion dollars in lost GDP in sub-Saharan Africa alone) caused by the tragic, decades-long ban."
An alarmist anti-nuclear campaign capitalizing on Fukushima might succeed in convincing the world to abandon nuclear power, another miraculous industrial technology, with similar negative consequences. Nuclear power provides 14% of the world's energy, 24% in OECD countries. Worldwide demand for electricity is expanding rapidly; the International Energy Agency estimates 76% growth in demand by 2030. To voluntarily reduce or abandon nuclear power will increase poverty, illiteracy, sickness and early death.

As Peter Heller writes in the article cited above:

Electricity illuminates our world, drives our machines, allow us to communicate over great distances, thus making our lives easier and more comfortable. It is a source of energy that staves off poverty and enables prosperity.

The choice could not be greater: science and modern technology, or ignorance and witch-burning.

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