Nuclear safety: it’s like the Wisconsin judicial election

The Fukushima incident has prompted safety experts to take a look at their nuclear plants. The problem is, there is only one outcome of such an examination that is politically safe. The Guardian has a report to illustrate the problems that reason and reality face.

An enormous row broke out on Wednesday after the chief nuclear safety inspector gave Britain’s reactor fleet the all-clear and made modest “recommendations” to be incorporated in the planned new plant design

Like in Wisconsin where the November election losers cost the state $8m to repair and cleanup after demonstrations and the loser of an election who requested a recount that cost the state another few million in an effort that appears to be simply a prelude to lawsuits that will cost yet more millions, the nuclear-ophobics raise outrage to extreme levels when someone reports that reality is not in line with their fantasies. One of the more distinguishing tactics used in expressing this outrage is the personal attack.

Critics immediately accused Mike Weightman of rushing to judgment and “complacency” in his interim report on the lessons to be learned from the Fukushima atomic crisis.

The more rational among those phobics use another tactic – the “never enough information to make a conclusion we don’t like” approach.

Paul Dorfman, an academic and member of the Nuclear Consultation Group, said it was an “outrage” that conclusions on Fukushima had been made while facts from Japan remained so sketchy and the crisis was far from over. He added: “There is really not enough information around yet to base any rational decisions on.”

This is similar to the climate alarmist who asserted that the null hypothesis has been inverted and that it is up to those raising questions to prove that mankind has not caused, and will not cause, catastrophic climate change.

They have learned that the squeaky wheel does get some grease and, like a kid who learns that a tantrum can get desired attention, they elevate their efforts so they can get more and more of what they want.

Japan’s prime minister, Naoto Kan, said last week that the country was starting from scratch on its energy policy and was likely to abandon plans to increase the amount of Japan’s electricity provided by nuclear from the existing 30% to 50%.

The reality here that will likely come back to the fore as this re-examination continues, is the cost of eschewing a reliable base power source that has proven itself to be safe even when placed under unprecedented catastrophe. The problem, of course, is that safe does not mean zero risk but rather much less risk that other options or the risk of doing without. The presumption that safety and risk are binary concepts is another logical fallacy to look for in this debate.

Meanwhile – check out Commentary on how Global Warming Activists Bully Scholastic Into Submission, “the kids of the world are depending on you.”

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