02 April 2011

The Fukushima Dissenter

There is a very strong consensus among the sort of people I read (reg, Tim, Neil, isegoria) that the reporting about the nuclear reactor problems at Fukushima is a typical hysterical overreaction by ignorant greens, lefty ideologues, and sensationalist media.

I threw my own rotten tomatoes at the target, when I looked at deaths from other kinds of power stations.

There is just one voice among my hundred or so blogroll subscriptions saying that in fact a major disaster has occurred that will seriously affect Tokyo.

Well, it's hard to score 100%, isn't it? So one guy happened to fall for the bullshit. Big deal.

The thing is that the one guy isn't a green, a lefty, or a journalist. He isn't as a rule overly trusting of the MSM. And he knows a good bit about nuclear reactors. I'm talking about M Simon of the blog Power and Control.

He could still be wrong. I'm not bringing the question up now to guess at whether he is or not: I don't have to do anything different either way, and we'll know in due course.

I'm interested, though, in the shape of the argument. We know we're surrounded by ignorant greens, lefty ideologues and sensationalist media. But what if, by coincidence, this time they're right?

The situation reminds me of the Anthropogenic Global Warming argument in reverse. Mainstream western scientists know that "science is under attack from a well-organized, politically well-connected and, above all, well-financed opposition", and that "The real war is between rationalism and superstition", and if a small proportion of Richard Lindzens and Freeman Dysons are mysteriously on the wrong side, well, weird stuff happens in politics.

Mr Simon is so keen on fusion that he wants to get rid of fission generation. And he doesn't like the Japanese. (I knew an old guy who was in the US Navy, and he didn't like the Japanese. Stands to reason). Yeah, that will cover it, I don't need to bother with his extremely detailed arguments.

Easy to do, easy to do... As I said, it doesn't matter this time, because we'll know one way or the other soon enough anyway. But I'm fascinated by how the story plays out.


Grim said...

The problem with anything as political as nuclear power is everyone lies all the time to support their side. The pro people lie, the anti people lie, the engineers who's livelihood relies on the tech lies, ect. If you want good solution and mostly basis free information you need to remove politics from the process.

The other thing that's going on is this is the first time we have something of this scale go wrong. It's like the titanic: We couldn't have told you all the possible problems and solutions because we didn't really know what was possible until it happened. Reality is one old hard-ass bitch of an instructor.

Vladimir said...

Here's another interesting comment which you may not have seen. It's possible that the incident has been handled quite badly in an effort to save face.

A Nonny Mouse said...

It is probably not a good idea to base the whole of your political philosophy on the seating plan of the French Revolutionary parliament. There are lots of ideas out there, but whether they should be placed on the left or the right wing is completely arbitrary.

In the U.S., Rightism is associated with Creationism: that is not the case here.

Green ideas are not inherently leftish: the Soviet Union, widely reputed to be a left wing country, accomplished wonderful things in pioneering man made radiation hotspot deserts and mass infantile leukaemia outbreaks. It is, I suppose, a tendency of all established regimes that they will try to solve their energy problems by resorting to massively dangerous and inappropriate short term solutions.

The Green ideologues do not have the problem of being anywhere in power and needing to persuade a recalcitrant populace that they have to sacrifice their game-boys and cheap flights to the Med in order to implement a caring energy policy. Therefore they can point out the shortcomings of nuclear power stations to their hearts’ desire. It is the establishment who are obliged to lie and cover up.

This does not make them left-wing, it makes them avant-garde.

One thing I should say is that, in the 30+ years since I was involved with Fritz Schumacher and the Centre for Alternative Technology, tremendous progress has been made towards producing sensible alternatives to nuclear and even fossil fuels. If there had been greater government investment in this area, there would have been greater progress.