Lifting the Veil on Nuclear Paranoia: Part 2
This blog continues the response to Courtney Hansen’s article “Lifting The Veil On Georgia Power’s Dirty Nuclear Dealings,” located here.
Nuclear energy suffered incredible image-abuse over the years, most recently in the Fukushima media frenzy, and continuing in Ms. Hansen’s published commentary: “Images of nuclear reactors up in flames, of parents swiping Geiger counters over their radioactive children, of abandoned playgrounds and schools have saturated the media since the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in March – the worst nuclear catastrophe in history, and a dire warning against America’s so-called ‘nuclear renaissance.’”
Peculiarly, if the accident at Fukushima is the worst catastrophe on nuclear energy’s track record, I do not believe Ms. Hansen’s warning against nuclear power is particularly dire at all. Dr. Ted Rockwell addresses this topic in his article “Let the People of Fukushima Go Home and Get Back to Work,” located here. In a nutshell, Dr. Rockwell explains that we have failed to learn the right lessons from Fukushima in relation to nuclear power. Quite simply, there was not nor is not any radiation catastrophe, nor any related public health crisis. The IAEA International Expert Fact-Finding Mission concluded: "To date no health effects have been reported in any person as a result of radiation exposure from the nuclear accident."
The Hollywood-style horror used in descriptions of Fukushima is a product of media manipulation designed to produce exactly the type of reaction displayed by Ms. Hansen. Images of “Fukushima reactors” up in flames were played for several days on major news outlets. These images were incredible, disturbing, and false. In the disarray during the first hours after the quake and tsunami, and in some cases understandably, many reporting errors surfaced. A famous video image aired hundreds of times, underscored with the caption “Fukushima Workers Evacuated From Nuclear Plant.” In fact, the image was a petroleum fire at an oil refinery. Apparently, many in the international press thought it looked like a nuclear plant. I am not sure that I buy that reasoning. The oil refinery does not resemble any nuclear facility I have seen. This fire burned for 5 or 6 days and the injury or fatalities remain unpublished. Notably, hydrogen build-up explosions did occur in two of the nuclear plants, as a result of failed vent function. But these ten-second explosions were brief and uneventful, so much so that the media had to loop them to play, in repeat fashion, to resemble a much more frightening scenario. Do you like manipulation like that? Even at the height of the Fukushima disaster, where was the voice of reason in the media, saying, “Remember, zero deaths is still the applicable number.” You could only find these voices in the blogosphere.
The fact is that nuclear energy can be made safe to a reasonable standard, far safer than any other viable energy options out there. While the health risk to any power generation source will never be zero, nuclear offers a higher threshold of safety standards than all other major sources. We can take satisfaction in the incredible safety we have achieved and continue to improve upon with nuclear energy. Cancer speculations and fireball imagery represent malicious fear mongering, and should be called what they are: irresponsible lies.
Video of Oil Refinery fire under guise of Fukushima plant
IAEA Report PDF