Are Anti-Nuclear Activists Mysogynists?

Are Anti-Nuclear Activists Misogynists? I fully realize that question is a loaded one. Before I attempt to answer, please watch the following TED talk by Hans Rosling.

Here are some points he makes in the video:

1. Two billion people in the world currently live on less than $2 per day

2. Five billion people in the world today do not have access to a washing machine.  The burden for washing the families clothes falls almost exclusively to women.

Women washing in Rio Favella

Women washing clothes in Rio de Janeiro Favella (slum)

3. Hans’ grandmother, two generations ago, was one of those women doing laundry almost incessantly for her family of 7 children.

Hans Rosling Grandmother

Hans Rosling’s Grandmother washing clothes

4. Hans credits the washing machine that his family bought with his education because his mother and grandmother had time to go to the library and read to him after they were able to purchase the washer.

5. Where women have access to electricity, they have been liberated from a great burden.

6. Hans makes the assertion that those 5 billion people want washing machines to reduce their toil. (I fully agree)

7. We need more green energy because those 5 billion people desperately want a washing machine and the freedom it brings.  (Nuclear is green!)

Thus, I conclude that to the extent that anti-nuclear activists prevent the adoption of cheap, safe, clean, abundant nuclear power, they are engaging in msyogynistic behavior.

Blistering Bureaucratic Incompetence

By now, we all know that Nurse Vinson, who treated Ebola “patient zero”, Thomas Duncan, who later died of the virus, had asked the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) if she could travel to Cleveland and then return to home to Dallas. In fact, she called the CDC several times to report her temperature and to ask if it was safe to travel commercially. The CDC said that since her temperature was only 99.5°F instead of 100.4°F, it was OK to travel by commercial airline!

However, when it was first reported in the national news that Nurse Vinson had traveled to Cleveland and then returned to Dallas, CDC Director Tom Frieden stated in a press conference that she should not have traveled, since she was one of the health care workers known to have exposure to Duncan.

Director Frieden basically threw Nurse Vinson under the bus. The next day the national news reported that Nurse Vinson had, in fact, contacted the CDC multiple times to ask if it was OK to travel with the low grade fever she had at the time.

Why Director Frieden did not know (or did not care to reveal) that his organization had been contacted by Nurse Vinson to ask for permission to travel escapes me and probably most other people in this country.

The CDC has received billions of dollars over the last 68 years to prepare for just this type of event, which in my opinion, they have failed at. (The CDC budget for 2014 alone was $6.9 billion.)

This is what I call Blistering Bureaucratic Incompetence. What does this have to do with thorium energy? Plenty.

There are a couple of other three letter agencies that are at least as bureaucratically incompetent as the CDC in regards to nuclear energy. Let me name them for you:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and The Department of Energy (DOE).

The NRC is legally charged with:

  1. Increasing the productivity of the national economy
  1. Strengthening its position in regard to international trade
  1. Making the Nation self-sufficient in energy
  1. Improving the general welfare
  1. Increasing the standard of living
  1. Strengthening free competition in private enterprise
  1. Restoring, protecting, and advancing environmental quality

Since the NRC was created by Congress forty years ago in 1974, I don’t think they have performed to their charter, as outlined, in part, in these seven items.

Additionally, the DOE spends billions of dollars on all sorts of projects, including billions of dollars on nuclear bombs, but it can’t seem to find a dime for molten salt reactors. The DOE has never spent less than $2 billion per year on nuclear bombs since 1948.

Like a stock prospectus says, past performance is no guarantee of future results. But in this case it is. The NRC and the DOE are business as usual. If you like the performance of the last 50 years by the folks legally charted to develop commercial nuclear power, then keep the NRC and the DOE.

I don’t want the future to be the same as the past has been where fossil fuels continue their dominance as nuclear shrinks and withers away. I want to see nuclear power flourish. I want to see breathtaking innovation in all things nuclear because I believe that it will benefit myself, my family, neighbors, and ultimately all humanity.

I submit to you that the federal agencies and regulations are established to protect incumbent companies and industries from competition from newcomers and particularly have empowered the anti-nuclear folks (funded by the incumbents) to delay/stop the licensing and permitting of nuclear plants through the federal judiciary. This is the key one must see if they are to understand what happened to nuclear power in the US.

Let me reiterate my point. If things don’t ever change, they won’t be different.

Let’s change the legal and regulatory structure that has specifically hampered nuclear energy. I call for a devolution in the regulation of nuclear power from the Federal Government back to the states. Let the states decide how and what kind of nuclear power (if any) they want in their states. California can continue to hate nuclear power, but I hope my home state of Utah will eventually embrace it.

Besides, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Baja California Norte, and maybe even Oregon can sell nuclear power to California to charge their Tesla cars and power the air conditioning of those unfortunate souls who don’t live on the beach.


The Way Back Machine – Todd and Erin

Todd and Erin are a husband and wife team of radio show hosts here in Utah.  They were on one of the three radio stations that I preset into my car radio to pass the time during my morning commute to a remote part of Box Elder County.

Todd and Erin Radio Show Hosts

Todd and Erin
Utah Radio Show Hosts

Way back in 2006, Private Fuel Storage (PFS) was a going concern to store once through nuclear fuel on the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation out yonder past Toole, Utah.  You can imagine the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that the PFS proposal spawned.  Todd and Erin contributed to that wailing on their morning show.

I recall a particular morning where most of the show was their plea for their listeners to send letters and call the director of the BLM for the Mountain Region. Somehow, the BLM was involved in the PFS proposal, but I can’t recall why.  (Utah is a vast Federal Land nightmare were Uncle Sam owns 70% of the State.)

I remember Erin being the most insistent that listeners do something or else the arch evil nukler waste was going to come to Utah.  Notice that the Native American Reservation where it was proposed is called “Skull Valley”.  For those of you not familiar with Utah, the west desert of Utah is very desolate, ugly, forsaken, and pretty much worthless. The USAF uses a very large chunk of it for live fire target practice.

Utah Governor at the time, Michael “Hairspray” Leavitt was also rabidly opposed to PFS and even went so far as to “nationalize” the county road that would have been used to truck the once through nuclear fuel from the railhead to the Skull Valley Reservation and then made it illegal (with the help of the Utah State Legislature) to transport once through nuclear fuel over state roads. (I nicknamed Gov. Leavitt, “Hairspray” because it was reported on the local news during his first gubernatorial campaign that he kept a can of hairspray in his glove compartment to insure he was well coiffed.)

Anyway, back to Todd and Erin.  Just a few days after their radiothon against radioactivity, they were talking about their twin sons and how they took them to preschool at ….. wait for it……. the University of Utah, the home of the TRIGA reactor!

Of course, they had no idea about any nuclear reactor, but I was gobsmacked (as my English friend Lorraine likes to say) at the irony.  According to Todd and Erin, once through nuclear fuel in dry storage casks located 100 miles from Salt Lake City posed a significant risk to their safety, but taking their kids to the U, which operates a nuclear research reactor (which they apparently knew nothing about) was safe. I think both PFS and the TRIGA are so safe and the risks so small, that they shouldn’t be given another thought.

I wrote Todd and Erin a letter at the time and commended them for their concern for their children, but asked them why they so feared the nuclear waste.  I didn’t get an answer. I also wrote that my wife and I have 5 children and we also care about them and their safety, but I think storing once through nuclear fuel would be completely safe if it were in my back yard.

The way back machine has returned me to the present.  The whole PFS thing is long dead.  Todd and Erin are on a new radio station, but the irony still runs strong. Governor Leavitt was promoted to the Fedgov and moved to Washington. (The only way to get rid of some politicians).  The Delta Center, where the Utah Jazz play is now the Energy Solutions Arena and the steam generators from San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station are stored at the Energy Solutions site by Toole after a long road trip(s) on a 192 wheeled truck.

192 Wheeled TruckI couldn’t make up fiction like this.