Talk:Anti-nuclear movement

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

"The accident was a product a massive pile-up of screwups that would be completely unthinkable outside of the Soviet Union."

That is a false statement. I'd rather see something that illustrates the point that with modern technology and (global) regulation it's next to impossible. But I guess my tongue sucks too much. -- (talk) 18:50, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

The statement is true. The accident wouldn't have happened if any of the following conditions were not met:
  • An unnecessary experiment was attempted.
  • A similar near-accident in Ignalina was ignored.
  • A fossil fuel plant nearby had failed just before the scheduled experiment.
  • The night shift which had to take over the experiment was significantly less experienced.
  • The operator pressed the scram button instead of bringing the reactor back to safe power levels before shutdown.
  • There was a design error in the control rods which caused them to initially accelerate the fission rate.
Even one of those would be unthinkable in the West. The experiment would not be attempted in the first place; it would have been abandoned under those circumstances; and the design errors would not make it through the regulator. --Tweenk (talk) 00:47, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
No mention of Godzilla...--Thanatos (talk) 03:21, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
I intend to address the problem of Godzilla in a future article on radioactivity ;) --Tweenk (talk) 03:36, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
I know I'm late to the party, but the biggest reason is the frigging huge positive void coefficient of reactivity. We simply do not build reactors in the west like that. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 03:03, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

The term "anti-nukes" appears to be an example of name calling. I have never heard this term before but perhaps it is popular among true believers in nuclear power generation of electricity. In any event it adds nothing to the discussion. If this point is difficult to grasp, perhaps it would akin to calling pro-nuclear activists "uran-heads." Thorvelden (talk)

Some name-calling is acceptable on this wiki, especially since most of anti-nuclear claims are pseudoscientific. --Tweenk (talk) 20:53, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

The claim that, "This (legislated ceilings on liabilityt for nuclear accidents) is relevant only in the United States," is incorrect. Many countries have such ceilings, including Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan and others. See Anthony Heyes and Catherine Liston-Heyes. "Capping Environmental Liability: The Case of North American Nuclear Power." Geneva Papers on Risk & Insurance. April 2000. Vol 25, No. 2, pl. 196-205. Thorvelden (talk)

Good find. --Tweenk (talk) 20:53, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

The following is an especially silly attack: "As such, this argument is rather patronizing towards our descendants. Note that this analysis assumes we'll put the waste underground before our civilization is destroyed; if the activists are successful, this assumption might be false. That's yet another reason to oppose anti-nuclear sentiments." Does the author of that snippet of text actually believe that anti-nuclear activists are going to destroy cvilization? This is the kind of thing one hears from bug-eyed tea party activists. Thorvelden (talk)

You have failed to understand the sentence. Anti-nuclear activists will postpone doing anything with nuclear waste "forever" until our civilization is destroyed in an unrelated event. --Tweenk (talk) 20:53, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
In your opinion. Which I find unfounded. Purple (talk) 03:13, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
I have changed the wording to avoid further confusion. --Tweenk (talk) 03:20, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Separate page for arguments[edit]

The article is growing rather long, and the bulk of it is related to discussing arguments against nuclear power used by the movement. I think the arguments should get a separate page, so the main article can be more focused. I tried to do it before, but it was reverted. To User:Thorvelden - I am not trying to censor your changes due to "mental cowardice", I'm just trying to make the article more readable. In future, I also plan to make a similar page for arguments against food irradiation, which would expand this article beyond reason. --Tweenk (talk) 03:17, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree with the split, it makes the article look cleaner. Plus arguments against nuclear power should have its own page, it is long and there is probably more to add. -- EWildman (talk)


While I'm glad that the original author has reacted to criticism and removed some of the most idelogy-laden pieces in the article, it still has major issues. If I'd edit it, I'd have to rewrite or fact-tag most of it, so I'll bring the most important points up here first.

  • History of the movement: this section is devoid of any relevant references and contains some major errors. The test-ban treaty was negotiated and adopted in the mid-nineties, but the resistance against nuclear energy, as opposed to weapons, goes back to the early eighties, at least in Western Europe. Next, I had no clue what "hard green" referred to, but if our article on that topic is accurate, it's ridiculous to argue that these people form the majority of the ANM. Likewise, the charges of pseudoscience and the allegation that few scientists oppose nuclear energy are simply wrong. Technophobes certainly exist and may be among the most vocal activists, but that doesn't discredit all of the opposition. I already pointed out the role of groups such as the UCS and NDRC over at the general discussion, and a single 30-year-old poll doesn't really constitute solid evidence in favour of this position.
    • History: needs better sources. I think a separate article on the "anti-weapons" arm, e.g. "nuclear disarmament movement", would be a good idea.
    • Charges of pseudoscience are completely true, for example look at this.
    • UCS actually claims to be "not anti-nuclear", yet criticism of nuclear energy is in their main site navigation, their comparisons are skewed against nuclear, and they have nothing on oil spills, offshore drilling, coal pollution, dam failures, and so on - which are far more real concerns than nuclear safety. So they're not only anti-nuclear, but also dishonest. For now I have only this blog post to offer.
    • I'm not very familiar with NRDC at the moment.
    • About the poll: This shows 70% of U.S. scientists in support, but doesn't have a category for 'energy experts' like the old poll (though if people like van der Leewuen can call themselves 'energy experts', the term lost any meaning). This is of some note. I'm also thinking about adding a paragraph on why basing energy policy on public opinion is wrong. --Tweenk (talk) 01:36, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
  • "General tactics" - again, no relevant sources, yet raises some wild accusations. Suggests that opponents have to resort to lies and propaganda because they don't have any actual arguments against nuclear energy, and makes it seem like this side is the only one which uses dishonest tactics.
    • They have some actual arguments, but the problem is more with the purpose of those arguments. They want to unconditionally ban all nuclear power, rather than have their concerns addressed. Their arguments are completely inadequate to support such an extreme position. Exploitation of the general fear of radiation is so obvious that I thought it doesn't require a citation. --Tweenk (talk) 01:36, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
You see, the basic flaw of this article is that you're assuming that the most extreme oponents are characteristic for the whole movement. That's simply not true. A typical position is not to shut down all plants immediately, that's unfeasible in countries where they make a significant contribution to the overall energy supply, and it would almost certainly violate the terms of the companies' licences. The aim is to gradually phase nuclear power out by abstaining from building new plants, shutting down old ones (those which have been in service for approximately 40 years), and replacing them with renewables as they come available in increasing quantities. And not all of the arguments for such a program are born from an irrational hatred for nuclear energy, it's a question of economic efficiency and long-term planning. It's the same thing as the pseudoscience accusations mentioned above - nobody denies that some of the participants are loons, but that doesn't mean all anti-nuke arguments are based on it. Röstigraben (talk) 15:51, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
The moderate groups do not push obvious bullshit, but they generally accept the counter-consensus positions of more extreme anti-nuclear groups about radiation protection and nuclear waste disposal. This is why they consider the nuclear waste externality to be very large. In a sense the situation is similar to the relationship between moderate and fundamentalist Christanity. Consider this as an example. The Green Party's position (which could be described as a moderate group) implicitly references claims about safety, waste and terrorist threats made by more extreme groups.
The moderate position doesn't appear very wise to me either, on simple factual grounds. There was never a clear example of nuclear power being replaced by renewables. Every time a nuclear power plant was closed, it was replaced by a baseload source, such as coal or imports (examples: Germany - eastern post-Soviet plants replaced by brown coal; Italy - replaced by French nuclear; Lithuania - replaced by Finnish and Russian imports). It doesn't matter what they would like to happen when reactors are shut down, it matters what actually happens. --Tweenk (talk) 02:54, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
  • "Effects" quote from the article: The biggest success of the movement is successful lobbying to impose draconian regulations embodying nuclear exceptionalism and eroding public trust in information provided by the government and the nuclear industry. The nuclear industry did not fight those irrational changes as well as it could, mainly because it believed in appeasement(...) Seriously, this reads like something straight out of an industry PR bulletin. The poor, persecuted nuclear energy outfits, being mercilessly pursued by these oh-so-powerful activist groups and forced to implement unreasonable security measures. Like everything else in this article, it would benefit from a citation making the case that we're suffering from too much regulation here.
    • Source about regulatory ratcheting, which this paragraph referred to. Unified document. I don't know whether the author is affiliated with the nuclear industry, but even if he is, it does not invalidate his arguments. Another link, somewhat old, but the information is still applicable. And another (this site sounds a bit extreme but the arguments are convincing). Ever stricter regulation of the nuclear industry, in particular lowering the allowed dose limits, causes deaths rather than prevents them, because it allows more people to die from coal pollution. If you actually read some PR bulletins or press releases of nuclear companies, you'd find out that they don't contain the above interpretation, they rarely mention the anti-nuclear movement at all. --Tweenk (talk) 01:36, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
OK, that's a valid perspective. But even when accomodating these requirements, nuclear energy seems to be profitable enough for companies to want to stay in the business, as you mention yourself. Under these circumstances, it's hard to see how this acts as an economic deterrent. And another explanation for the slowdown of nuclear research in the 1970s is that the very generous subsidies that governments offered the sector in the 1960s ran out. Röstigraben (talk) 15:51, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
If you reduce someone's profits and make him jump through hoops to conduct business, it does act as an economic deterrent. You don't need to drive him out of business. For example, investors can expect a quicker return if they invest in fossil fuels. The fact that there are still some nuclear companies doesn't prove that there wouldn't be more of them if the regulations were less strict. As an example, there are thousands of small fossil fuel power plants in factories and chemical processing plants to provide power locally for a big consumer, but no small reactors in this role - even though there is no technological barrier to this. The situation is analogical to the GMO situation. The regulations are so onerous that only the largest companies can fulfill them and bring a product to market, which is why the market is monopolized by a few small companies.
The subsidies ran out (or more accurately - governments cut financing of nuclear power research and prioritized renewables and fossil fuel research instead) because governments listened to anti-nuclear groups which were opposed to such research. Some of the programs, for example the IFR program, were canceled just as they were approaching completion. --Tweenk (talk) 02:54, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
  • "Important groups" - improved, but now it insinuates that the crazies within the movement are the only ones who are strongly opposed to it, while more rational and serious players are much more sympathetic to it. Again, no citations in favor of this distinction. Since these are public advocacy groups, their stances should be easy to find out.
    • I need to find some better idea for this section. We definitely need to list who is part of the movement, but I don't yet know how to satisfactorily differentiate between the groups. Maybe we should only list groups and people which we have articles on. On the other hand, researching them all will take some time. --Tweenk (talk) 01:36, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

So much up until now, as I said, I'd like to discuss these issues first, but in my opinion, this article needs serious balancing, to the point of a major rewrite. Röstigraben (talk) 19:24, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Yep, still incredibly whitewashy! There's work to be done here. DogP (talk) 18:58, 15 March 2011 (UTC)


For all the sniping about anti-nukes and their hysterical distortions of reality, can I just point out that to refer to Fukushima as simply having "reactor problems" is so blatantly whitewashy and head-in-the-sandy as to be exactly the same kind of codswallop. But I fixed that for you. --DogP (talk) 05:26, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Considering all the [citation needed] tags, it looks like lots of other things need fixing. I need to read up more on nukes. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:48, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Fukushima. Sure, more than just "reactor problems". Guess what though? Thus far less than 3 have died from radiation exposure from Fukushima, and the estimates put it at a few hundred or a few thousand radiation deaths for the future. Yes. Bad things happened, but if you compare that to the deaths caused by coal, oil, solar power, wind power, it pales in comparison. What annoys me is this hypocritical double standard employed where the rest of the power generation kinds get all sorts of leeway that nuclear does not at all. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 03:06, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Yeah! Nuclear waste and meltdowns pale in comparison to people falling off of rooftops and turbines. (talk) 03:27, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Do you want electricity? Do you want to minimize deaths as a result of us getting our electricity? I want both. Your analogy is bullshit. It is a simple fact that nuclear is by far and away the safest and cleanest form of energy production known to man (excepting the waste issue, which I think is overblown. I also think that reprocessing can greatly help, along with alternate reactor technologies.) LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 03:33, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
"Far and away the safest" is a bit of a stretch, I think. Per kWh produced, it has killed twice as many people as wind, for instance, though if it doesn't have another Chernobyl it will become safer than wind in a few decades. Hmmph (talk) 00:00, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

This article needs work[edit]

There are a lot of maintenance tags and it is an overall rather important topic. Is there a user who is an expert or at least above average interested in this topic? another Jewish conspiracy by (((Laurogeita Hamabost))) (talk) 20:25, 4 August 2016 (UTC)