Talk:Nuclear paranoia

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This has some serious problems. The example at the end is fraught with potential biases and problems - not to mention being completely anecdotal - if you manipulate the search times you can say whatever you like, particularly if you specifically search for an event that wasn't branded in the media as that title!! Scarlet A.pngpathetic 17:00, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

Looks like a lot of bullshit to me. I am going to delete the unsourced claims of what "it"s propositions are now, which is not going to leave much of an article. Purple (talk) 03:20, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
The article reads mostly like a fanboy of the sole footnote wrote it, based on the essay linked. I see no reason for even to exist on RW, what thinkest others? Purple (talk) 03:24, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
I, um, agree. Green (talk) 05:09, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Well, perhaps any points here belong in the Anti-nuclear movement or [[Anti-nuclear arguments]] articles? Broccoli (talk) 07:35, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Probably. Also, any facts, references, etc.? Green (talk) 08:19, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
I'd say they could be moved into those two articles. The attitude described in this article exists, IMHO, but it's difficult to properly define in a way that would justify the separate article. If you want to call it something better it's more like "nuclear paranoia". Scarlet A.pngpathetic 02:06, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

OK, that Google thing was over the top. I added a cite to the nuclear power cost claim. The article could be moved to something like "radiophobia" or "radiation hysteria", which are terms used more often, though they're not exactly what is referred to here. --Tweenk (talk) 04:19, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Addendum, "nuclear paranoia" is also good and it seems to be more used. --Tweenk (talk) 04:21, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Useful term[edit]

I'd say that to an extent we should be a about "paranoid" about nuclear power - though perhaps cautious would be a better term. Why?

Well every single system can fail either through bad engineering, human error as a consequence of black swans. The recent problems at Fukushima reinforce that point. If we have nuclear reactors they will sometimes cause problems no matter how good our safety systems are.

The question then becomes "Are we prepared to accept nuclear accidents every twenty or thirty years?" Given the increasing scarcity of fossil fuels, global warming and delays on renewables the answer could be "Yes".

Or, given the problems with nuclear fuel disposal, public unease and horror of nuclear accidents then the answer could be "no".

But I think it's the question to answer.--BobSpring is sprung! 11:58, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Since some people are advocating a doubling or trebling in nuclear power plants, the question could become "Are we prepared to accept nuclear accidents every decade?" –SuspectedReplicant retire me 12:03, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Fukushima was built earlier than Chernobyl, so if we can expect the new plants to be 4x safer then accidents will decrease as old plants get decommissioned. -- (talk) 12:07, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
As somebody who has, in the past few years, been advocating an expansion of nuclear power generation, I must say that both of your questions give me pause on the subject. On one hand, certainly nuclear power is (in my opinion) much more viable for the long-term than traditional forms of energy such as coal. Nuclear waste (so long as it is reprocessed and recycled) can be mitigated (though some countries, like the US, have Cold War-era laws against it for fear that "they" might steal some. On the other hand, even the new pebble bed reactors that I've been advocating more research into aren't 100% meltdown proof (though they are far safer than light water reactors). Thus, I, too, am stuck back on the fence regarding nuclear energy. Lord Goonie Hooray! I'm helping! 12:11, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
That assumes that all meltdowns are equal. AFAIK Fukushima resisted the meltdowns well for the melting part, but the zircaloy used in the fuel rods reacted with hot steam and released hydrogen, which then exploded and killed two workers when steam was vented. I'm not sure if that was a design issue or mismanagement (was venting necessary?). -- (talk) 12:46, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Mostly agree with Goonie. I see nuclear as a viable stop-gap measure until solar, wind, etc. really become viable. ТyTalk. 12:13, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
That's essentially my position too. I only look so anti-nuclear right now because of the relentlessly-pro nuclear stance of these articles. I also believe (though I could have been misinformed) that continued fission research could with the research into fusion reactors, which is a form of nuclear I largely support. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 12:21, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
A couple of points: 1) Nuclear safety, both as culture and technology, is much higher than 15 years ago, and improving fast, at least in some countries; 2) for new reactors, the probability of core meltdown must be less than 1 in 100 000 (IIRC) and the probability of significant radioactivity leaks less than one in 10 million, per reactor per year. These probabilities are continuously being calculated for existing reactors, though they have lower thresholds. Everything you can think of, from meteorites to Mr. Burns going crazy, is counted; 3) Solar and wind will never become viable alternatives to nuclear. Our world, especially its industries, needs guaranteed base power. Until fusion will be an option, the alternatives are either nuclear or fossil. Of which the latter is the one which is destroying our planet and killing people. Regarding SuspectedReplicant's last point, I disagree. Fusion is being researched and it's difficult to improve the speed of its realization. Keep in mind that most research to improve fission is being made and paid for by the nuclear industry (at least the countries I am more aware of). Editor at CPmały książe 12:31, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
My point is that accidents will happen - they are inevitable. Are we prepared to accept the occasional problem? --BobSpring is sprung! 13:14, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
"Are we prepared to accept the occasional problem?" What about fossil fuels, which have been basically raping the environment for over a century? Surely a 4.9-million barrel oil spill that kills entire ecosystems is much worse than a radiation leak that causes little to no long-term damage. I'm not saying an accident or meltdown at a nuclear plant would be completely harmless - only that the damage caused by the oil industry far, far outweigh it. Blue Talk 14:31, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
One in ten million reactor years is for me good enough, especially given that the consequences are not *so* catastrophic. Editor at CPmały książe 13:27, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Except that figure is PIDOOMA without a ref. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 13:47, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
ESBWR. EPR. These figures are based at least on an engineering analysis. These analyses typically use conservative assumptions (e.g. overestimate the risk rather than underestimate it). Not sure about the other ones yet. --Tweenk (talk) 00:46, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
You'll find it for sure in IAEA's website, or your National Radiation/Nuclear Authority website. Or you could just believe me. Editor at CPmały książe 13:56, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
An explicit link for that value would be nice. But according to WP such accidents occur with varying degrees of seriousness every decade. We need to decide if this is a valid price to pay. It's clearly a question of looking at the costs and benefits.--BobSpring is sprung! 14:07, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Bob, apart from Chernobyl and, possibly though certainly on a much lesser scale, Japan, there isn't a really serious accident or contamination in that list - compare with other industrial activities or energy production systems. One scale 7 and a few scale 5. And most of them a completely different technology than Generation III plants. For those numbers you'll have to take my word for the moment. For the 10^(-7), "significant release of radioactivity", I am sure, for the other "core meltdown", I don't remember anymore if it's 10^(-5) or 0.2-0.5 times 10^(-4). And this for new plants, older plants can have higher probabilities of those accidents. Editor at CPmały książe 14:15, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes I could just believe you, but then I could just believe that nice Dana Ullman about homeopathy too. This page (pro-nuke) agrees with your figure, but this page (anti-nuke) suggests a figure far larger. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 14:19, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
If you have to compare me to someone regarding medicine and homeopathy, I think PalMD would be more fitting than Dana Ullman. I am not a "nuclear activist". Two times Greenpeace "attacked" us, it was quite nice. Seriously speaking - and again you can believe me or not - they usually have no idea of what they are talking about. I've found World-nuclear to get more information right, though I didn't like their propaganda either, for example their minimizing the casualties of Chernobyl. For sure they are biased too. That's why I suggested turning to IAEA and/or the national equivalent, as they, I hope you agree, are unbiased. Editor at CPmały kiąże 14:26, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Greenpeace#The bad calls those studies pseudoscience. -- (talk) 14:30, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
I wonder why? This is really getting ridiculous. (talk) 15:50, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Greenpeace is a cruel joke. Wikipedia says it more subtly w:Greenpeace#Nuclear power. -- (talk) 16:52, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── SuspectedReplicant, the anti-nuke page you linked is rather worthless (which I have come to except of material released by Greenpeace on this topic).

  • The first paragraph presents a coincidence and tries to use it as an argument. They fail to mention that TMI did not harm anyone in any way, except the plant operator. The risk from meltdowns is misrepresented throughout the article.
  • They present meltdowns at early experimental reactors as if they were representative of the risk of a meltdown at production reactors. I think you can see for yourself why this is bogus.
  • They quote extensively from past NRC commissioners who make statements that are apparently based on w:WASH-740.
  • On the risk of accidents, they quote Hal Lewis, who is a global warming denialist.
  • They suggest that when NRC declined to give a probability of a core meltdown, they were lying and/or misleading. In reality, they refused because they would have to pull a the number out of someone's ass. See w:NUREG-1150 and W:SOARCA.
  • Recycled Chernobyl propaganda. Nobody denies that the accident had large economic consequences. It's just that those consequences were caused by panic and uninformed decisions, not by radiation.
  • Pipe dreams about nuclear being replaced by renewables and efficieny. This has never happened to date and there is no reason to presume it will happen in the U.S. in the near future.
  • Implicitly pretending that nuclear power is a bigger threat than global warming.

--Tweenk (talk) 01:19, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Do we really need all these different articles?[edit]

We've got so many articles now on various aspects of nuclear, and so many dialogues going on so many different talk pages, that the debate isn' really happening properly. Shouldn't we integrate all these articles somehow, perhaps into sections of the Nuclear Power article? DogP (talk) 16:59, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps we need a nuclear power debate page, though that wouldn't stop people talking on different article pages - and would really just create an additional place to debate the same issues.
But the people who have an interest in the different aspects seem to turn up on the talk pages that interest them so it doesn't look too problematic to me.
Furthermore, each article (that I've actually read) seems reasonable to have as an article to me and if they provoke different discussions that's how wikis work. (Incidentally, I'd definitely be agaisnt sending them all to "essay space limbo" because they don't fit somebody's per-conceived ideas about some non-existent RW POV on nuclear power.)--BobSpring is sprung! 17:10, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. The articles work as articles. However, the debating needs to be just that, shifted to debate spaces otherwise we end up heavily off track of how to directly improve the articles themselves - and this is what causes the "essay space limbo". Scarlet A.pngpathetic 17:19, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

On the recent additions[edit]

  • "It took nearly a quarter of a century for Scottish sheep to be certified free from contamination." The sheep were never dangerous in any way. This is a result of completely arbitrary, unscientific limits on radioactivity in food. Sheep from some areas of the UK still fail the contamination tests - not because they are contaminated, but because the background radiation is higher in those areas. This is actually an example of nuclear paranoia in action.
  • "spinach and milk was found to have been contaminated with radiation despite claims that the cloud posed no threat." If something is contaminated, it's not automatically dangerous. Radiation can be detected at extremely low levels and the spinach and milk would not be harmful even if you ate / drank nothing else for an entire year. The frenzy over this is also an example of nuclear paranoia.
  • Public polling. I don't think this is relevant to the article.

--Tweenk (talk) 03:50, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Public polling could show the extent of nuclear paranoia, if anyone can bother to find reliable results. The "effects of contamination" sound like good examples that deserve to be in the article. -- (talk) 11:37, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Prove it. That's not what the sources I supplied said.
The polling is extremely useful because it illustrates wide variations in the perception (what you call Paranoia) of nuclear power. That survey is reliable too - YouGov have become one of the most respected polling organisations in recent years. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 11:50, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Japanese spinach and milk: [1] - if you ate only the most contaminated milk and spinach, you would get a dose lower than a CT scan, which is 10 mSv. But the releases are not going to last for an entire year, and the iodine will decay almost completely in 80 days. For Scottish sheep I don't have an equivalent link, but the reasoning is similar. Nobody would die or get cancer from eating those sheep. (I see that I made a mistake - the elevated background radiation was referring to something in Cornwall, not to Scottish sheep, I don't remember what is was right now.)
The public poll is about support for nuclear power, not about the perception of the risks from radiation, so it is irrelevant. You can put it in the nuclear power article if you really want to have it somewhere. --Tweenk (talk) 23:26, 23 March 2011 (UTC)


Unlike a few of the other "controversial" nuke articles, this really doesn't seem to have any value. Its basic argument is a combination of straw men and random fallacies; after listing those, it launches into a "nukes are being repressed!" bit, which is followed by reasons the argument is wrong. I suggest killing it. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 16:10, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea to me. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 16:14, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
You know I agree. P-Foster (talk) 16:19, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
No. It's worth keeping and at least working on. Needlessly dumping tons of milk or meat because of radiation, thinking that Chernobyl killed a million people and so on. There's a significant amount of paranoia, it just needs worked on as an article and deletion is not the way forward. ADK...I'll quantify your businessman! 16:27, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Fair enough (if there's really enough to justify this), but deletion still seems better than leaving this schizophrenic piece here. It can always respawn when someone is ready to write it. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 17:28, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Implying anybody ever will. -- (talk) 17:33, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm also against deletion, maybe move it to essay space like the other ones while people work on it. It's just as ridiculously biased as the others are or were. The only problem is that Tweenk seems to have left (or at least hasn't edited in two weeks), so we won't be able to discuss this with him. I'm just as opposed to turning the article around 180 degrees and making it a strict anti-nuke piece, I'd just like to have some balance that will be hard to achieve without the principal author. Röstigraben (talk) 18:00, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I think the title is wrong. It's such a pejorative phrase that the article is always going to be either biased or schizophrenic. Concerns about Nuclear Power? Public Perception of Nuclear Power? Something like that? –SuspectedReplicant retire me 18:03, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Nuclear exceptionalism was the original title. -- (talk) 18:06, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Which was a lot better. "Nuclear exceptionalism" could be an informative piece about why we're actually handling this differently than other sources of energy, "nuclear paranoia" suggest that all concerns are illegitimate and crazy. That's loaded language right from the start. Röstigraben (talk) 18:11, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Still potentially misleading (as shown by the previous version), but yeah, that would have the capacity for a decent article. I wouldn't mind dumping this one in user/essay space, though it's been chopped up so much that it isn't really anyone's essay now. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 18:14, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Hello again[edit]

I returned (for some time at least). There is a new and better sourced article at radiation hysteria, which could use the examples from this article. This one could be deleted, or at least the references to alarmist bullshit from Huffington Post should be purged. We have a very critical article about them on RW. Denouncing them on one page but linking to them as a source on another seems somewhat hypocritical. --Tweenk (talk) 20:29, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Two articles that are attempts at blanket apologies for the nuke industry[edit]

This one and concerns about nuclear radiation. Can we get rid of this one? B♭maj7 (talk) Anachronistically anachronistic 00:00, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

See above. Relevant content should be merged into the other article. The "nuke industry" does not actually need any "apologists" because despite what you've been led to believe it is abysmally ineffective at killing people (see here). You could go to the vaccine hysteria article and claim it is a "blanket apology for Big Pharma". --Tweenk (talk) 01:44, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Go ahead and delete, then. B♭maj7 (talk) Anachronistically anachronistic 01:47, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I was not commenting that there is no need for these articles, but that the nuclear industry can defend itself with facts without resorting to dishonest spin doctors. Back on topic, I will remove the article once I move the content that is worthy of salvaging, now I have to sleep. --Tweenk (talk) 02:43, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I meant to delete the present article, after having moved over whatever you think in necessary. B♭maj7 (talk) Anachronistically anachronistic 02:54, 3 November 2011 (UTC)