Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

The role of the BBC and the Science Media Center in promoting the nuclear industry

November 21, 2016

the BBC Science team’s involvement in a shocking display of bad science during the commemorations of the 2011 disaster in 2016 March this year. Even though there was outrage in the scientific community at the Fukushima video, it was some months before the BBC quietly took down the video.

the public that saw the biased Fukushima video were unaware of the wrong and dangerous information that was given.

There are many other articles out there that show the BBC defending Geraldine Thomas (BBC Expert) after the complaints came in and rebuffs for that on fissionline magazine and this was also added pressure that forced the BBC to take the Fukushima video down. (Ed note: Geraldine Thomas is currently in Australia, extolling the benefits of the nuclear industry, and downplaying the health effects of ionising radiation) )


Sellafield – Contempt of Parliament – BBC News missed
it. 
https://europeannewsweekly.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/sellafield-contempt-of-parliament-bbc-news-missed-it/
by arclight2011part2   The nuclear industry supported press, in rebuffing the BBC Panorama teams claims of safety issues and lies to Parliament, we see some counters to the safety concerns but no response to the well documented evidence of the head of the Sellafield consortium lying to the Parliamentary committee and covering up the grave incident of plutonium release (and its cost) in November 2014.

Tony Price lies to Parliament (from Panorama Documentary) [on original]

The Spokesperson for Sellafield can be seen on the video acting a bit surprised at the questioning and revelations the Panorama reporter revealed. He just denied that any “spin” (ie lies) were said during the Parliamentary committee and that is the last word we have on this explosive revelation of criminality from the nuclear industry.

It is most surprising that the BBC News office did not pick this up as we see on the BBC web site they are fully aware of the issue of contempt of parliamentary procedure;

“….Examples of contempt include giving false evidence to a parliamentary committee, ….The Commons has the power to order anyone who has committed a contempt of Parliament to appear at the Bar of the House and to punish the offender…..”2008 BBC

Since that report was uncovered, the nuclear industry and their PR and government connections have swayed the public and eased their fears. The BBC and Science Media Centre (SMC UK) (Also called Sense About Science) was crucial to doing this and at the same time minimising the environmental and health impacts of the 2011 Fukushima disaster that had caused a huge drop in investor interest in nuclear projects.

So in the last 5 years the BBC has produced many supportive documentaries and educational materials favouring nuclear energy (Since the SMC UK started to receive large corporate funding) . In fact at the end of last year, the BBC science department was involved with promoting Sellafield and largely  ignoring the many problems that existed there.

That was followed up by the BBC Science teams involvement in a shocking display of bad science during the commemorations of the 2011 disaster in 2016 March this year. Even though there was outrage in the scientific community at the Fukushima video, it was some months before the BBC quietly took down the video. Thereby, much of the public that saw the biased Fukushima video were unaware of the wrong and dangerous information that was given. Then just a couple of months ago a high profile visit to Sellafield by dignitaries was to underline the improvements and give Sellafield the all clear. Still other experts tried to combat the BBC and SMC UK PR management of all media regarding nuclear;

“The Ecologist, 12th August 2015 Dr David Lowry
Professor ‘Jim’ Al’Khalili’s ‘Inside Sellafield’ programme was a tour de force of pro-nuclear propaganda, writes David Lowry – understating the severity of accidents, concealing the role of the UK’s nuclear power stations in breeding military plutonium, and giving false reassurance over the unsolved problems of high level nuclear waste…”

The main thing for the BBC, government and nuclear industry was that the nuclear industry was still being perceived as above board and transparent. We saw a similar maneuver after the release of the Panorama Documentary on its You Tube site (Under BBC management orders?). The video was removed after just a few hours of being uploaded and after the link had been shared to an international social media audience. The video was put back up sometime later but after the interest had passed.

Although the media has largely ignored this story many experts have been commenting on the situation in Sellafield and there is a lot of well sourced data that bears the whistleblowers observations and claims (See source links below) . But it is the criminal manipulation of politicians during the Parliamentary committee process that demands our immediate attention. It undermines our Democracy.

Whilst discussing the issue of coverage, by the BBC, of the nuclear industry (with the exception of the excellent undercover investigative abilities of the BBC Panorama team) , I asked an experienced Science Media journalist and Author on how he viewed the BBC`s general coverage of nuclear matters over recent years and he had this to say;

“The BBC is guilty of a journalistic disgrace.” Karl Grossman, Professor of Journalism, State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, USA. [11th September 2016]

Meanwhile in the UK Paul Dorfman (Energy analyst spokesman for main stream UK media) said to me;

”Recent events reveal the ongoing national disgrace that is Sellafield, including the truly appalling state of the historic spent fuel ponds’….”
And Paul Dorfman was able to qualify his point through the excellent investigative work of the Panorama team. [11th September 2016]

In France an Energy systems engineer, well versed in La Hague (The French equivalent to Sellafield) and its impacts said this in response to a discussion on the Panorama revelations;

“….those plants, Sellafield and La Hague, would exterminate the whole world population in under 40 years, because there are tons of plutonium in Sellafield and tons in La Hague adding thousand times more than necessary to exterminate all animals through the world. The biggest aberration of history, the timing bomb for the global extinction, a potential aschimothusia .[“sacrifices” committed by force of a state ] …”  Xavier Nast 11 September 2016

Marianne Birkby confirmed to me the ongoing “legacy” of dangerous safety practices at Sellafield;

“…The state of the Sellafield ponds is described by the BBC as an “historic legacy” but the “legacy” is ongoing with every reactor that continues to burn nuclear fuel whose waste is sent to Sellafield for reprocessing. . The now infamous photographs of the shocking state of the Sellafield ponds that were given to Radiation Free Lakeland by a brave whistleblower are not “historic.” Those shocking photographs are a graphic illustration of the continuing madness of nuclear power….” Marianne Birkby, Founder of Radiation Free Lakeland 11 September 2016

Sources for this article (Not already linked above)

The BBC Panorama You Tube documentary linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ1i3HScYak

Dr Lowry  http://drdavidlowry.blogspot.ie/2016/09/inside-sellafield-and-military.html?spref=tw

Dr Ian Fairlie  response to the Panorama findings and historical summary on Sellafield here http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/bbc-panorama-programme-sellafield/

Critical scientific analysis of the BBC Science departments dangerous and insulting attempts of reporting on Fukushima (And the reason that the BBC had to take down the video, some months later. The comments on this video are enlightening and you can see both pro nuclear and anti nuclear people actually agreeing and making known their complaints to the BBC) – March 2016https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrgdAA5oiIA

Note from writer; There are many other articles out there that show the BBC defending Geraldine Thomas (BBC Expert) after the complaints came in and rebuffs for that on fissionline magazine and this was also added pressure that forced the BBC to take the Fukushima video down.. The whole story of BBC bias in Energy matters is too vast to cover here but I leave you with the above Key words and links (for the researcher) . The truth will out!!  – Shaun McGee

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Santa Susana Field Nuclear Laboratory’s toxic secrets revealed – investigative journalism

June 11, 2016

LA’S NUCLEAR SECRET http://data.nbcstations.com/national/KNBC/la-nuclear-secret/

You really need to go to the link above and read the original article. It makes it easy for you to follow up aspects and find details

Years of mishandling dangerous radioactive materials and chemicals has also left a toxic legacy for generations of people living near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory.  BY JOEL GROVER AND MATTHEW GLASSER

Tucked away in the hills above the San Fernando and Simi valleys was a 2,800-acre laboratory with a mission that was a mystery to the thousands of people who lived in its shadow. In a place called Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), there was a secret collaboration between the U.S. government and private companies to test the limits of nuclear power.

For decades, scientists and staff at SSFL experimented with new types of nuclear reactors, advanced rocket systems and futuristic weapons. While this research helped launch Americans into space and provided a better understanding of nuclear power, years of mishandling dangerous radioactive materials and chemicals has also left a toxic legacy for generations of people living near the site. The scientists are now gone, but acres and acres of radioactive and chemical contamination remains right above the neighborhoods of thousands.

The NBC4 I-Team spent a year investigating the story of the Santa Susana Field Lab. Our work involved interviews with whistleblowers, an intense review of more than 15,000 pages of government, academic and corporate documents, and interviews with dozens of community members, experts and public officials. We now know these families have been living in the shadow of one of the nation’s worst nuclear disasters in history and for the first time, NBC4 is revealing LA’s Nuclear Secret.

THE SITE

The Santa Susana Field Lab occupies more than 2,800 acres in the rocky terrain of the Simi Hills at the intersection of Simi Valley and the West San Fernando Valley. It sits atop the Simi Hills overlooking Simi Valley to the north, Chatsworth, West Hills and Canoga Park to the east, Woodland Hills and Thousand Oaks to the south, and Moorpark to the west.

When the site was initially developed by North American Aviation, it was in a remote, but growing part of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Suburban housing developments were springing up nearby, but cows still roamed freely and local farms grew oranges and other produce.

But things have changed. Today, there are more than a half million people living within 10 miles of the site surrounded by dense suburban populations. Thousands live within two miles of the lab.

The Santa Susana Field Lab went into operation in 1947 and would eventually become home to 10 experimental nuclear reactors as well as the site of thousands of rocket, energy and weapons tests. Because of corporate mergers and acquisitions over the years, SSFL has had several owners throughout the decades. It’s also been used by the U.S. government. Its nuclear activities at Area IV were once supervised by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission which later became the United States Department of Energy. Another section of the field lab is actually owned by the federal government and was used by NASA for rocket tests and scientific experiments.

TO BETTER UNDERSTAND WHAT WENT ON AT THE SITE, IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW IT OPERATED.

With the detonation of the world’s first nuclear weapon by the United States Army on July 16, 1945, the world ushered in the “Atomic Age.” Two years later, an American aerospace company called North American Aviation selected a rural location in the hills above Simi Valley to build a secret research facility. At first, the purpose of the site was to test rocket engines. But in 1953, under the supervision of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, the predecessor of the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Field Lab added Area IV. This 209-acre section of the Field Lab was dedicated to nuclear research including the development and testing of experimental nuclear reactors. Over the course of four decades, Area IV would be home to 10 reactors, a plutonium fuel fabrication facility, a uranium fuel facility and a “hot lab” for remotely cutting up dangerous radioactive material. The rest of the site, more than 2,000 acres was used for the testing and development of rocket engines for the U.S. space program and for advanced weapons research. During its operational history, more than 30,000 rocket engine tests were conducted at SSFL.

Why was it called a Field Lab?

Where is the Field Lab located?

Why did they pick that location for the Field Lab?

How is the Santa Susana Field Lab organized?

Who owns SSFL?

Who is responsible for the clean-up of the Santa Susana Field Lab?

What is the status of the clean-up at SSFL?

TIMELINE

Throughout the years, most of the people who lived near the Lab knew very little about the work being conducted at the location. Only a select few knew its full history of scientific achievements and toxic failures.

HISTORY OF NUCLEAR ACCIDENTS

During its history, there were several nuclear accidents at the Santa Susana Field Lab. Some experts believe the 1959 partial meltdown at SSFL could be the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history, surpassing the radiation released during the Three Mile Island accident.

STATEMENTS

We asked the responsible parties to speak to us on camera and answer our questions. The U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, Boeing and Brandeis-Bardin Institute all declined our requests for an on-camera interview. Instead, they provided us with written statements………

THE WHISTLEBLOWERSFor decades, two former Santa Susana employees lived with the secrets that they witnessed at the site. John Pace was working at the Sodium Reactor Experiment in 1959 when it experienced a partial meltdown. His account of what happened, supported by documents obtained by NBC4’s I-Team and interviews with government officials, experts and academics, varies greatly from the official accounting of the incident.

While the Atomic Energy Commission, the predecessor of the U.S. Department of Energy, claims that there was “no release of radioactive materials” to the environment, Pace says that dangerous radiation was released for weeks and went which ever direction the wind was blowing. Pace says the large door in the reactor was opened so they could vent the radiation from inside the building. He also remembers that the exhaust stack of the reactor was opened so that radiation could be released from inside the damaged reactor straight into the atmosphere.

For more than three hours, we interviewed John Pace about what happened in 1959. Only a fraction of what he told us ended up in our broadcast stories. Here are some of the other things that Pace had to say:

What went wrong?…
How bad was the accident?….
Was there a containment facility?….
What was done with the radioactive material?….
That night, were the workers scared?….
Why would the government lie?….
Where did the radiation go?….
How did the workers feel?…
Do you know how much radiation you were exposed to?….
Why speak out now?….
PACE ALSO PROVIDED US WITH A TIMELINE OF HIS ACTIVITIES AT THE FIELD LAB

Dan Parks worked at the Santa Susana Field Lab in the early 1960s. He was a health physicist and his job was to monitor radiation at the site. During a nearly three-hour interview, Parks told us that he witnessed the release of radioactive materials from several of the site’s nuclear reactors into the environment. He also witnessed the burning of radioactive waste in at the Field Lab’s burn pits. These were manmade lakes where waste was dumped and burned.

Here are some of Dan Park’s observations from his time at the Santa Susana Field Lab.

What was the attitude about safety?
How bad was the radiation that you found?
How bad was this?
What are all the places you found contamination?
Why are you speaking out now, more than 50 years later?
Did the government tell the public this was happening?
Do you get frustrated when people say, ‘This didn’t happen?’
Do you believe there is radioactive contamination in surrounding communities?
Are you concerned about what happened?
Do you think the site should be cleaned up?

THE COMMUNITY

For decades, people living in neighborhoods around the Santa Susana Field Lab have worried about the impact of the activities at the site on their health. Because the Lab sits on top of a hill, some neighbors we spoke with worry that the contamination isn’t staying on the site. They may have good reason to worry. Experts we spoke with, including a former Secretary of the California EPA, a medical doctor who studies radiation and a top government scientist told us that when the wind blows or the rains come and the water flows downhill from the site, radioactive and chemical contamination can come with it. And several studies, lawsuits and expert opinions raise serious concerns about off-site contamination as a result of what went on at the Santa Susana Field Lab.

Through months of research, the use of social media and old fashioned investigation, the NBC4 I-Team identified dozens of people who believe their health or their family’s health was impacted by the research at the Santa Susana Field Lab. Many of them agreed to sit down with us for a daylong interview. Each shared their opinion on why they believe the Field Lab is to blame for their family’s suffering.

Click on a photo [on the original story] to learn more about each person’s story:

THE BRANDEIS-BARDIN INSTITUTEIn 1947, Dr. Shlomo Bardin purchased 2,200 acres of land in the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains downhill from the Santa Susana Field Lab. Over the next 68 years, the land would become home to The Brandeis-Bardin Institute, a center for Jewish study, learning and culture. Home to Camp Alonim, a sleep-away-camp for kids, the Brandeis Collegiate Institute and numerous events and activities for Jews of all ages, BBI now encompasses 2,800 acres and operates year-round. It is the largest piece of Jewish-owned land outside of Israel. Today, the campus is part of American Jewish University, which owns the Institute.

The Brandeis-Bardin Institute came into existence at the same time as the Santa Susana Field Lab was being built. While the employees at the Field Lab performed nuclear research and rocket tests, children and adults were participating in activities just a few miles downhill at Brandeis. In 1993, a U.S. EPA-supervised study found “radioactive elements” in a limited number of soil samples from the Brandeis property. While the EPA said the levels were safe at the time, the National Academies of Sciences now say there is no safe level of radiation.

In December 1995, Brandeis-Bardin sued the owner of the Field Lab at the time (Rocketdyne), alleging that “hazardous materials” from Santa Susana, including radioactive elements, have “seeped into… the soil and groundwater” of Brandeis. In May 1997, Brandeis settled that suit for $3.2 million and agreed never again to sue Boeing (the current owner of the Field Lab). Six years later, the California Department of Toxic Substance Control found the chemical perchlorate, often used in rocket testing, in a well on the Brandeis property at levels exceeding California’s drinking water standards.

A Brandeis spokesman, Rabbi Jay Strear, told the I-Team that BBI routinely tests its groundwater and soil and believes “the site is safe.” NBC4 asked to see all of their environmental tests conducted during the Institute’s 68-year history, but were only given tests from 1996, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 that were limited in where and what was tested.

NBC4 has repeatedly asked the American Jewish University (AJU), which took ownership of The Brandeis-Bardin Institute in 2007, for an interview for this story. They declined. Instead, AJU emailed us a 6-page letter, which includes their official response. NBC4 has elected to publish AJU’s entire letter in addition to their official statement. Because they have not provided us with a forum to ask follow-up questions, we have added our responses to their letter. The AJU’s official statement can be found below. For months, NBC4 asked for all soil and water tests ever done on Brandeis property and AJU refused. Several days before our story aired, AJU did provide us with brief memoranda about eight tests but many were missing key elements, such as lab reports. AJU gave us no test data for 13 out of the last 20 years, even though they say their groundwater is tested several times a year.

DOCUMENTS

These are some of the key documents [on original story] NBC4 uncovered during our investigation of contamination at The Brandeis-Bardin Institute. You can click on a document to read it for yourself. You can also click on the yellow annotations to learn more about what we found in the documents.

THE PAPER TRAIL

Piecing together the history of the Santa Susana Field Lab and especially AREA IV, where the nuclear research took place, wasn’t easy. Many of the original documents have been lost, destroyed or withheld. The official version of the 1959 meltdown sought to minimize the impact of the incident and the radioactive releases. Dr. Jan Beyea, who studied the 1959 accident for California’s Santa Susana Field Laboratory Advisory Panel, wrote in a paper that “had there been a large release [of radiation] kept secret at SRE, it would have been consistent with earlier behavior in the United States.” This effort to keep the story secret is what we discovered during our yearlong investigation.

Despite the challenges, the NBC4 I-Team spent months collecting and reviewing more than 15,000 pages of documents. Some of these documents were obtained through government Freedom of Information Act requests, others were provided by whistleblowers and experts who have studied the site. In the end, we performed an intensive review of hundreds of government, corporate, academic and community documents. Through this effort, we were able to piece together LA’s Nuclear Secret.

We invite you to review some of these documents for yourself. [go to original story]

THE LEGACY

While our current investigation took us a year, this is actually a story 36 years in the making. In 1979, KNBC was the first station in the country to report on a nuclear accident in Area IV at the Santa Susana Field Lab. At the time, we were told that no radiation had escaped into the community. Over the years, we followed the fight for a clean-up of the site and reported on new developments. This year, we decided to connect-the-dots for the first time and conduct a yearlong investigation into what really happened in Area IV. And 4 the first time, we’ve documented the truth behind LA’s Nuclear Secret.

Here are some of our original 1979 stories featuring the investigative work of reporter Warren Olney and producer Pete Noyes.

Segment 1
Segment 2
Segment 3
Segment 4
Segment 5

Analysis of mainstream media’s coverage of Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

March 20, 2016

Pascale’s analysis initially characterized the risk to the general population in one of three ways: low, uncertain, or high. However, when examining the bases on which these characterizations were made, it was clear that all media characterizations of uncertain risk were subsequently interpreted as evidence of low risk.

“The mainstream media–in print and online–did little to report on health risks to the general population or to challenge the narratives of public officials and their experts,”


News coverage of Fukushima disaster found lacking http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/au-nco031016.php  American University sociologist’s new research finds few reports identified health risks to public
AMERICAN UNIVERSITY (WASHINGTON, D.C.) March 10, 2016 –– Five years after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, the disaster no longer dominates U.S. news headlines, although experts say it is a continuing disaster with broad implications. A new analysis by American University sociology professor Celine-Marie Pascale finds that U.S. news media coverage following the disaster minimized health risks to the general population.

Pascale analyzed more than 2,000 news articles from four major U.S. outlets following the disaster’s occurrence from March 11, 2011 through March 11, 2013. Only 6 percent of the coverage–129 articles–focused on health risks to the public in Japan or elsewhere. Human risks were framed, instead, in terms of workers in the disabled nuclear plant. Pascale’s research has published in the flagship journal for the International Sociology Association,Current Sociology.

Disproportionate access

“It’s shocking to see how few articles discussed risk to the general population, and when they did, they typically characterized risk as low,” said Pascale, who studies the social construction of risk and meanings of risk in the 21st century. “We see articles in prestigious news outlets claiming that radioactivity from cosmic rays and rocks is more dangerous than the radiation emanating from the collapsing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.”

Pascale studied news articles, editorials, and letters to the editor from two newspapers, The Washington Post and The New York Times, and two nationally prominent online news sites, Politico and The Huffington Post. These four media outlets are among the most prominent in the United States. They also are among the most cited by television news, talk shows, other newspapers, social media and blogs Pascale said.

Nuclear disasters have potentially large-scale and long-term consequences for people, environments, and economies around the globe. Given limited public knowledge about the details of nuclear energy and encumbered access to disaster sites, the media have disproportionate power around the globe to shape public knowledge, perception, and reaction to nuclear crises, Pascale said. Pascale’s article illustrates how systematic media practices minimized the presence of health risks, contributed to misinformation, and exacerbated uncertainties.

Pascale’s analysis initially characterized the risk to the general population in one of three ways: low, uncertain, or high. However, when examining the bases on which these characterizations were made, it was clear that all media characterizations of uncertain risk were subsequently interpreted as evidence of low risk. In two years of reporting, across all four media outlets, there were only a combined total of 17 articles reporting any noteworthy risk from the largest nuclear disaster in history.

Corporations and government agencies had disproportionate access to framing the event in the media, Pascale says. Even years after the disaster, government and corporate spokespersons constituted the majority of voices published. News accounts about local impact–for example, parents organizing to protect their children from radiation in school lunches–were also scarce.

Globalization of risk

Pascale says her findings show the need for the public to be critical consumers of news; expert knowledge can be used to create misinformation and uncertainty–especially in the information vacuums that arise during disasters.

“The mainstream media–in print and online–did little to report on health risks to the general population or to challenge the narratives of public officials and their experts,” Pascale said. “Discourses of the risks surrounding disasters are political struggles to control the presence and meaning of events and their consequences. How knowledge about disasters is reported can have more to do with relations of power than it does with the material consequences to people’s lives.”

While it is clear that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown was a consequence of an earthquake and tsunami, like all disasters, it was also the result of political, economic and social choices that created or exacerbated broad-scale risks. In the 21st century, there’s an increasing “globalization of risk,” Pascale argues.

“People’s understanding of disasters will continue to be constructed primarily by media. How media members frame the presence of risk and the nature of disaster has enormous consequence for our well-being,” she said.

How USA media minimised health effects of Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

March 13, 2015

News coverage of Fukushima disaster minimized health risks to general population http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150311124202.htm March 11, 2015 Source: American University

 
Summary:
A new analysis finds that U.S. news media coverage of the Fukushima disaster largely minimized health risks to the general population. Researchers analyzed more than 2,000 news articles from four major U.S. outlets.
Four years after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the disaster no longer dominates U.S. news headlines, though the disabled plant continues to pour three tons of radioactive water into the ocean each day. Homes, schools and businesses in the Japanese prefecture are uninhabitable, and will likely be so forever. Yet the U.S. media has dropped the story while public risks remain.

A new analysis by American University sociology professor Celine Marie Pascale finds that U.S. news media coverage of the disaster largely minimized health risks to the general population. Pascale analyzed more than 2,000 news articles from four major U.S. outlets following the disaster’s occurrence March 11, 2011 through the second anniversary on March 11, 2013. Only 6 percent of the coverage — 129 articles — focused on health risks to the public in Japan or elsewhere. Human risks were framed, instead, in terms of workers in the disabled nuclear plant.

Disproportionate access

“It’s shocking to see how few articles discussed risk to the general population, and when they did, they typically characterized risk as low,” said Pascale, who studies the social construction of risk and meanings of risk in the 21st century. “We see articles in prestigious news outlets claiming that radioactivity from cosmic rays and rocks is more dangerous than the radiation emanating from the collapsing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.”

Pascale studied news articles, editorials, and letters from two newspapers, The Washington Post and The New York Times, and two nationally prominent online news sites, Politico and The Huffington Post. These four media outlets are not only among the most prominent in the United States, they are also among the most cited by television news and talk shows, by other newspapers and blogs and are often taken up in social media, Pascale said. In this sense, she added, understanding how risk is constructed in media gives insight into how national concerns and conversations get framed.

Pascale’s analysis identified three primary ways in which the news outlets minimized the risk posed by radioactive contamination to the general population. Articles made comparisons to mundane, low-level forms of radiation;defined the risks as unknowable, given the lack of long-term studies; and largely excluded concerns expressed by experts and residents who challenged the dominant narrative.

The research shows that corporations and government agencies had disproportionate access to framing the event in the media, Pascale says. Even years after the disaster, government and corporate spokespersons constituted the majority of voices published. News accounts about local impact — for example, parents organizing to protect their children from radiation in school lunches — were also scarce.

Globalization of risk

Pascale says her findings show the need for the public to be critical consumers of news; expert knowledge can be used to create misinformation and uncertainty — especially in the information vacuums that arise during disasters.

“The mainstream media — in print and online — did little to report on health risks to the general population or to challenge the narratives of public officials and their experts,” Pascale said. “Discourses of the risks surrounding disasters are political struggles to control the presence and meaning of events and their consequences. How knowledge about disasters is reported can have more to do with relations of power than it does with the material consequences to people’s lives.”

While it is clear that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown was a consequence of an earthquake and tsunami, like all disasters, it was also the result of political, economic and social choices that created or exacerbated broad-scale risks. In the 21st century, there’s an increasing “globalization of risk,” Pascale argues. Major disasters have potentially large-scale and long-term consequences for people, environments, and economies.

“People’s understanding of disasters will continue to be constructed by media. How media members frame the presence of risk and the nature of disaster matters,” she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American University. The original article was written by Rebecca Basu. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

USA’s failing nuclear industry is frantically spinning media

February 2, 2015
Killing the Competition
The Nuclear Power Agenda to Block Climate Action,  Stop Renewable Energy, and Subsidize Old Reactors, Report by Nuclear Information and Resource Center (NIRS) Sept 14 
The electric utility industry has begun an aggressive push to change energy policy in the  United States to favor nuclear power. Led by the country’s largest nuclear generators,  Exelon and Entergy, this campaign represents what would be the single largest change in  energy policy in twenty years. While their intent is to make nuclear the preferred energy  source, the changes they seek necessarily go far beyond that. They would also support  coal and natural gas-fired electricity generation, and block the growth of renewable energy and attempts to address climate change.
Exelon and Entergy see sustainable energy  solutions—renewable energy, efficiency,  conservation, etc.—as a long-term threat to

their profits. This is not because of excessive  regulations or safety requirements on nuclear  power: the industry has not had to implement  a single safety upgrade due to the Fukushima  meltdowns and faces less regulatory  enforcement than it did twenty years ago. The  closure of a record number of reactors since  2013 has exposed fundamental economic  problems facing the industry, and a growing  number of nuclear plants simply cannot  compete with modern, efficient, cost-effective
energy resources.

The industry’s campaign is an attempt to “fix”  this problem and restore the economic  viability of nuclear power for the next 20 years  or more. But in effect, these corporations  would have us sacrifice our best opportunity to create millions of jobs, revitalize our  economy, and rise to the challenge of  addressing climate change—just to keep old,
obsolete, uncompetitive nuclear reactors in business
This agenda would be unpopular at best, so  Exelon and Entergy have focused on  drumming up fears of job losses, power
shortages, and carbon emissions if some of  their unprofitable reactors were to close in the  coming years. They have only discussed their agenda in vague terms, and disclosed  particulars in piecemeal fashion.
Like the Manhattan Project that gave birth to nuclear  technology, they are counting on people not  putting the pieces together so they can see the full picture. The purpose of this brief is to  complete that picture, and enable America to  see the nuclear industry’s plan in full and to  understand the implications.
Nuclear’s Economic ProblemIn order to survive, the nuclear industry must remain economically competitive or prove that
it is necessary and should be propped up. But if uncompetitive reactors close and more of our energy needs are met by economically and environmentally sustainable solutions,  the rationales offered for producing electricity  by splitting atoms would lose relevance The industry’s economic problem is actually quite simple:
 Running nuclear reactors is becoming
more expensive as they age.
 Electricity markets generally favor the
lowest-cost energy sources.
 Energy prices have fallen to levels
lower than the costs of running
reactors.
 Energy efficiency has reduced growth
in electricity demand.
 The costs of renewable energy
sources are falling dramatically………
The industry has settled on a three-part
strategy:
 Repeal or weaken renewable energy
and efficiency programs
 Include subsidies for nuclear in carbon
reduction programs.
 Rig energy markets to guarantee

 

The news gap in information about Fukushima nuclear plant ‘s situation

October 31, 2013

Nuclear Industry Report: ‘Reduced stability’ of fuel pool in Fukushima Unit 4; Admits there’s damaged fuel inside? — Gundersen: Fuel racks moved and damaged; Fallen debris distorted tops (AUDIO) http://enenews.com/nuclear-industry-report-reduced-stability-of-unit-4-fuel-pool-at-fukushima-admits-some-fuel-inside-is-damaged-gundersen-fuel-racks-moved-from-quake-fallen-debris-distorted-tops-audio

World Nuclear News,Sept. 26, 2013 (Emphasis Added): […] Underwater inspections in the [Unit 4] pond have shown most of the fuel to be undamaged, but the pond contains a lot of dust and debris which will complicate operations. […] Its full core load of fuel, plus used fuel from previous operation, was being stored in a fuel pool at the top of the reactor building. […] The stability of the pool was then reduced by major structural damage to the building caused by the ignition of hydrogen […]

World Nuclear News is funded by the World Nuclear Association. The WNA represents the interests of the international nuclear industry. -Source

Bridging the News Gap, with Professor Matt Noyes

 

Fairewinds Energy Education Podcast, Sept.. 26, 2013 (at 21:15 in) – Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Chief Engineer: These racks [in the Unit 4 fuel pool] have moved, they’ve been distorted by the earthquake, there’s junk that’s fallen on top of them and distorted the tops. […] One of two things is going to happen. They’re either going to pull too hard and snap the bundle, or they’re going to be unable to pull all of the fuel out of the pool.   Full podcast available here

1300 spent fuel rods the most dangerous aspect of Fukushima’s wrecked nuclear reactors

September 14, 2013

Glowing Green with Outrage By  OpEdNews Op Eds 8/27/2013  ”………Unfortunately the reality has been that the media have simply not been doing their job. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has been allowed to dictate the narrative of what is occurring with basically no oversight. It turns out that the site was never actually contained and radioactive water has been leaking with “no accurate figures for radiation levels.” You may say that since this issue is being reported by all major news organizations now, the media is doing their job albeit in a very tardy fashion.

However, that would be missing the reality that this leaking radiation water is the least of our worries vis-a-vis the plant. Much less reported by the media is what will be required by the clean-up crew to end this whole saga. Reliable old Reuters often provides the on-the-ground breaking scoops that our local media then report to us. Despite their well-deserved reputation, it seems that most media organizations have chosen to ignore their recent scoop about the dangers involved in the clean-up process.

Essentially, Tepco needs to remove 1300 spent fuel rods, containing 14,000 times the amount of radiation dropped onto Japan in WWII, from a dilapidated, flooding, and collapsing power plant that still sits in an earthquake-prone location. The whole process will take about 40 years and cost about eleven billion dollars. Each rod weighs 660 pounds, is 15 feet long, and cannot get too close to each other or will trigger a chain-reaction. If exposed to air, they may also trigger a chain-reaction. Usually, when these rods are moved as part of normal operations, a sophisticated robot is used to guide the work and ensure accuracy down to millimeters. Due to the damage caused by the earthquake/tsunami, this is not possible and the cranes will be operated in a poisonously radioactive area by scared human hands with all of their limitations. These rods will be removed individually, one at a time, and a mistake on any of them could trigger an unstoppable chain-reaction…….. http://www.opednews.com/articles/Glowing-Green-with-Outrage-by-Adam-Smith-Cancer_Energy_Energy_Energy-130827-96.html

Deliberate media lying about renewable energy

September 14, 2013
 press coverage is important because it can influence not only “what people perceive and believe” but also “what politicians think they believe.” 
This misleading coverage fuels policy uncertainty and doubt, reducing investment security and industry development. Disinformation hurts the industry and retards its—and our nation’s—progress. As Germany has shown, investing in renewables can grow economies and create jobs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions even in a climate as “sunny” as Seattle. We just have to get the facts right, and insist that our reporters and media tell us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Debunking the Renewables “Disinformation Campaign”, Mother Earth News, Despite vast evidence supporting the advancement of renewable energy, various media outlets insist on denying its progress, blurring the lines between inefficient reporting and deliberate lying.  By Rocky Mountain Institute  August 19, 2013  According to Fox Business reporter Shibani Joshi, renewables are successful in Germany and not in the U.S. because Germany has “got a lot more sun than we do.” Sure, California might get sun now and then, Joshi conceded during her now-infamous flub, “but here on the East Coast, it’s just not going to work.” (She recanted the next day while adding new errors.)

Actually, Germany gets only about as much annual sun as Seattle or Alaska; its sunniest region gets less sun than almost anywhere in the lower 48 states. This underscores an important point: solar power works and competes not only in the sunniest places, but in some pretty cloudy places, too.

A pervasive pattern

The Fox Business example is not a singular incident. Some mainstream media around the world have a tendency to publish misinformed or, worse, systematically and falsely negative stories about renewable energy. Some of those stories’ misinformation looks innocent, due to careless reporting, sloppy fact checking, and perpetuation of old myths. But other coverage walks, or crosses, the dangerous line of a disinformation campaign—a persistent pattern of coverage meant to undermine renewables’ strong market reality. This has become common enough in mainstream media that some researchers have focused their attention on this balance of accurate and positive coverage vs. inaccurate and negative coverage.

Tim Holmes, researcher for the U.K.’s Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC), points out press coverage is important because it can influence not only “what people perceive and believe” but also “what politicians think they believe.” PIRC’s 2011 study of renewable energy media coverage surveyed how four of the highest-circulation British daily newspapers reported on renewables during July 2009. A newspaper’s balance of positive and negative renewables coverage tended to align with its editorial ideology. The difference was astounding. In one instance, negative coverage of renewables was just 2.5 percent; in another, upwards of 75 percent.

A follow-up 2012 study by public relations consultancy CCGroup examined five of the most-read newspapers in the U.K. during July 2012. Researchers found more than 51 percent of the articles featuring renewables were negative, 21 percent positive.

In case that seems lopsided, the U.K.’s opinion climate is probably the most anti-renewables in any major country. That’s largely due to a longstanding campaign by nuclear advocates fearing competition, especially from windpower, whose British resources are the best in Europe. Sir Bernard Ingham, former Chief Press Secretary to Prime Minister Thatcher and later Britain’s leading spokesman for nuclear power, reportedly claimed to have personally stopped two-thirds of Britain’s windpower projects. At over 80, he’s still at it.

Such ideologically correlated bias, and a growing body of misinformed and disinformational negative media coverage in other countries, prompted the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) in 2012 to launch an Energy Fact Check website for journalists, policymakers, and the general public……..

The sad truth is that the debate on clean and renewable energy is unbalanced, and seldom by accident. The CCGroup’s study showed that only 10 percent of articles focusing on renewables even contained comment from a spokesperson from the renewable energy industry. This violates basic journalistic standards. Renewables must be a part of their own conversation. Much of the conversation on renewables is misinformed and misrepresented. And when bad news does happen, says ACORE president and retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, opponents of renewables are pushing it “as if it’s the only news. They are dominating the conversation through misrepresentation, exaggeration, distraction, and millions of dollars in lobbying and advertising.”

This misleading coverage fuels policy uncertainty and doubt, reducing investment security and industry development. Disinformation hurts the industry and retards its—and our nation’s—progress. As Germany has shown, investing in renewables can grow economies and create jobs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions even in a climate as “sunny” as Seattle. We just have to get the facts right, and insist that our reporters and media tell us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. http://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/debunking-the-renewables-disinformation-campaign-zm0z1308zsal.aspx?PageId=3#ixzz2cYjFxTWz

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

August 18, 2013

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

Historic photographs of Hiroshima, by Yoshito Matsushige

August 18, 2013

 the American military confiscated all of the post-bomb prints, just as they seized the Japanese newsreel footage, 

Journalist Took Five Historic Pictures—That Must Never Be Repeated The Nation, Greg Mitchell on August 8, 2013    Yoshito Matsushige, a photographer for the Chugoku Shimbun, took the only pictures in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, that have surfaced since. It was these five photos Life magazine published on September 29, 1952, hailing them as the “First Pictures—Atom Blasts Through Eyes of Victims,” breaking the long media blackout on graphic images from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On August 6, 1945, Matsushige wandered around Hiroshima for ten hours, carrying one of the few cameras that survived the atomic bombing and two rolls of film with twenty-four possible exposures. This was no ordinary photo opportunity. He lined up one gripping shot after another, but he could only push the shutter seven times.When he was done he returned to his home and developed the pictures in the most primitive way, since every darkroom in the city, including his own, had been destroyed. Under a star-filled sky, with the landscape around him littered with collapsed homes and the center of Hiroshima still smoldering in the distance, he washed his film in a radiated creek and hung it out to dry on the burned branch of a tree.

Five of the seven images had survived, and they are all the world will ever know of what Hiroshima looked like on that day. Only Matsushige knows what the seventeen photos he didn’t take would have looked like. Even more graphic film footage, shot by the US military, remained hidden for decades (as I probe in my book Atomic Cover-up).

Two of his pictures have been widely reprinted in magazines and books. In one, a ragged line of bomb victims sit along the side of Miyuki Bridge, two miles from ground zero, legs folded to their chests. It’s hard to tell if it is torn clothing or skin that hangs from them in tatters. No one cries out. They simply stare at what lies across the bridge: a tornado of flame and smoke rushing toward the suburbs. The second picture is a tighter version of the first, focusing on a policeman and a few school girls standing in the center……..

When Matsushige, then retired (he has since passed away), came to meet me in an eighth-floor conference room at his old newspaper—a small man, dapper in white shoes—he explained that he could not take more photos that day because “it was so atrocious” and he was afraid burned and battered people “would be enraged if someone took their picture.” He tried to capture more images but he could not “muster the courage” to press the shutter.

A few weeks later, the American military confiscated all of the post-bomb prints, just as they seized the Japanese newsreel footage, “but they didn’t ask for the negatives,” Matsushige said, grinning like a cat. These were the pictures that caused a stir worldwide when they appeared inLife seven years later. No photographic images of Nagasaki taken on August 9 have survived.

“Sometimes I think I should have gathered my courage and taken more photos, but at other times I feel I did all I could do,” he added. “I could not endure taking any more pictures that day. It was too heartbreaking.” With that, Matsushige packed up his belongings, bowed deeply, and left the room, vibrant in straw hat, blue suit and bright white shoes, carrying in his arms a portfolio of pictures that are utterly unique, and must remain so. http://www.thenation.com/blog/175652/journalist-took-five-historic-pictures-must-never-be-repeated#