He’s Baaaaaack

George Erickson

 

Like Jack Nicholson’s scary character in The Shining, John Laforge has returned with wrong-headed stories designed to frighten people about nuclear power, most recently by rehashing a nine-year-old article from a great scientific publication called Grist that criticized environmentalist Stewart Brand, who now supports nuclear power. 

In his effort, John relies on Amory Lovins, a man with close ties to the carbon industries. 

Rod Adams, a nuclear engineer and the publisher of Atomic Insights, had this to say about Lovins, “Helen Caldicott and Amory Lovins are millionaires who make money from oil companies, coal, natural gas - they are paid to spread fear. Lovins is particularly open and proud of his association with the Petroleum and Gas companies… They know who buys their first-class tickets for their pollution-rich trips to sell their books and give speeches subsidized by the industries they claim to hate.

“He never completed any disciplined course of study to earn any degree, yet he touted the fact that he was “educated at Harvard and Oxford” for about thirty years. [He has admitted that he had dropped out of both schools.]

“In 2008, during an interview on Democracy Now, Lovins… admitted that he had worked for oil companies for thirty-five years, an association that helps explain his many awards and honors. In 2012, he drew a salary of $725,000 from RMI.”
Please see Pandora’s Promise at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-_p_l3eA_E and Michael Shellenberger’s Ted Talk at TinyURL.com/NukeFear. 

 Carl Wurtz, in Why Nuclear Power Declined, wrote that “… The anti-growth [and ani-immigrant] activists [in the Sierra Club] had a problem: their message was unpopular. So, they shifted their strategy. They worked hard instead to scare the public by preying on their ignorance. Doris Sloan, an anti-nuclear activist, said, ‘If you’re trying to get people aroused about what is going on... you use the most emotional issue you can find.’ “This included publicizing images of Hiroshima victims and photos of babies born with birth defects. Millions were convinced that a nuclear meltdown was the same as a nuclear bomb.

“… the fear-mongering worked on a young, renewable energy advocate named Amory Lovins, who began his career crusading against nuclear weapons. 

“The priority of the environmental movement was to phase out nuclear, not fossil fuels. ‘It is, above all, the sophisticated use of coal, chiefly at modest scale, that needs development,’ Lovins wrote in 1976.” 

Laforge then argued via Lovins that wind and solar “can keep the lights on.” Sure they can, John, but only if you over-build enough of them to compensate for their miserable 30% capacity factor that requires baseline power plants that primarily burn CARBON to make up the 70% of their rated power that they fail to provide. And how about the millions of birds and bats that windmills kill every year, especially when insect borne diseases like Zika, malaria and dengue fever are rising. How green is that?

How about the thousands of acres of solar panels that change the ecosystems they shade while forcing animals to seek shelter and sustenance elsewhere? How green is that? How about the radiant heat that these dark panels create that further warms our atmosphere? 

What about their dependence on rare earth elements and the toxic pollutants left behind where those elements are mined, not to mention their short, 20-year lifespan during which PV cells become even less efficient. What about the fact that solar panels lose 20% of their they age during those 20 years, and unless they are regularly cleaned, especially in snow or dust-storm country they produce even less electricity.  

 And how about the difficult, expensive job of recycling all of that material every 20 years instead of using 90% efficient, CO2-FREE, nuclear power plants that last for 60 years while providing the safest, most environment-benign way to generate electricity by far. 

Must taxpayers be forced to pay for recycling these chimeras just as they had to pay subsidies to build these things? For every government dollar dedicated to efficient nuclear power, inefficient windmills received $18 and equally inefficient solar netted $775, which is insane. 

In addition, as climate change worsens, these relatively fragile - yes, fragile - “renewable” installations will increasingly fall victim to the storms produced by climate change, as they did in 2017 near Houston and across the Caribbean, where windmills were stripped of their blades, and solar farms were converted to trash by winds that mean nothing to a concrete nuclear power plant. Perhaps that is why wind and solar are called “renewable.”  How green is that? It’s enough to make Rube Goldberg jealous!  Please see the video at https://tinyurl.com/y83g6htx

Perhaps the undeniable message in these charts and images will eventually get through to Mr. Laforge, but I doubt it, partly because most humans, unlike Stewart Brand, don’t like to admit to error, and because the leaders of every anti-nuclear organization profit by telling these tales.   

 

For a free pdf of the author’s 5th pro-science book, Unintended Consequences: the Lie That Killed Millions and Accelerated Climate Change, email tundracub@mediacombb.net or download it from http://www.unintended-consequences.org. 

George Erickson (Eveleth, MN) is a member of the Thorium Energy Alliance and the National Center for Science Education. His website is www.tundracub.com.  To schedule a free, PowerPoint presentation on nuclear power and alternative energy sources, call 218-744-2003 or email tundracub@mediacombb.net.