“Pandora’s Promise” a dishonest pro nuclear propaganda film

The movie also illustrates that none of its five layman “converts” to pro-nuke views knows enough about nuclear plants or other energy solutions to evaluate them fairly. They only know the Nuclear Dream.

A Nuclear Submariner Challenges a Pro-Nuclear Film  NYT, By ANDREW C. REVKIN, 16 Aug 13 John Dudley Miller, a former nuclear engineering officer in the Navy with a doctorate in social psychology and a long career in journalism, sent this “Your Dot” critique of “Pandora’s Promise,” the new documentary defending nuclear power,

When I saw “Pandora’s Promise,” I didn’t believe a word of it. I served as a submarine nuclear engineering officer for my four-year stint in the Navy years ago. I qualified as an Engineering Officer of the Watch (a guy who’s in charge of the plant and its other technicians during four-hour shifts) on two different sub reactors. I know the truth about reactors, and the movie replaces it with the demonstrably false Nuclear Dream, a just-so mythical story claiming that nukes are safe, clean and cheap…..

the movie –   It spews out a stream of untruths, for instance, telling us only that Chernobyl killed56 people. It leaves out that a United Nations World Health Organization agency predicts 16,000 more will die from Chernobyl cancers and that the European Environment Agency estimates 34,000 more. It omits that non-fatalthyroid cancer struck another 6,000, mostly children

Even the movie’s two reactor designers distort truth. Physicist Charles Till claims that fast-breeder reactors are inherently safe. Actually, they’re riskier than ordinary reactorsHans BetheManhattan Project scientist and Nobel laureatecalculated in 1956 that if a breeder’s liquid sodium coolant leaked out, it could melt in 40 seconds, become a small unintended atom bomb and spontaneously explode. (Modern designers believe breeders are more likely to melt down like Three Mile Island than to explode like Chernobyl.)

The breeder reactors EBR-1 in Idaho and Fermi-1 near Detroit partially melted. Several breeders have suffered sodium coolant fires, because sodium automatically burns in air and explodes in water.

Engineer Len Koch tells us that breeders create plutoniumthat can all be recycled to power other reactors that will produce more plutonium in an endless chain. But the Idaho National Laboratory has been trying for 13 years to separate the plutonium bred inside the EBR-2, and 24 to 35 percent of each batch cannot be removed.

The leftover plutonium must be isolated for 240,000 yearsbefore it is safe, because breathing air contaminated with it sooner can cause fatal lung cancers. Creating it is the most immoral action humans have ever taken. We get electricity for a few decades; future generations inherit an impossible burden essentially forever.

The world’s 990,000 pounds of already-separated plutonium can make more than 35,000 A-bombs. Procure29 pounds of it and you can make your very own.

The movie also illustrates that none of its five layman “converts” to pro-nuke views knows enough about nuclear plants or other energy solutions to evaluate them fairly. They only know the Nuclear Dream.

For instance, author Stewart Brand tells us that thinking even 10,000 years in the future is “science fiction,” so we should just forget about sequestering long-lived waste for 240,000 years. That’s fatally irresponsible.

Career public relations man Michael Shellenberger dismisses energy efficiency as inconsequential. But the international consulting firm McKinsey & Companycalculated in 2009 that by 2020 the United States could cut non-transportation energy use 23 percent.

In the film, activist Mark Lynas claims that because wind and solar power are intermittent, we must build 100 percent redundant natural gas backup plants for them. But the National Renewable Energy Laboratory says that if we build a more flexible electricity gridrenewables can provide 80 percent of the non-transportation electricity we will use in 2050, without backups.

Lynas also asserts that natural radiation is much more harmful than man-made radiation. That’s backwards. While we absorb background radiation every day, standing next to a newly removed reactor spent fuel rod for a few seconds will kill you, David Lochbaum, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ (UCS) nuclear safety engineer, calculates.

Last, the documentary includes an interview in which the novelist Gwyneth Cravens claims that drinking one day’stritium leakage from the Vermont Yankee plant in 2010 would have deposited no more radiation inside someone than eating one banana. Actually, it would have delivered about 150,000 times that much, calculates Ed Lyman, a UCS physicist. (Here’s more from UCS on that plant’s problems.)……….. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/16/a-nuclear-submariner-challenges-a-pro-nuclear-film/?_r=0

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