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Nuclear spin part II May 23, 2007

Posted by Andreas in Environment, Nuclear Power, South Africa, Sustainable Living.

I sent an email to Arlene Cameron, the editor of Greenprint asking her some questions with regards to the pro-nuclear power article and educational posters in their current issue.

I thought it would only be fair to put up her reply here:

Dear Andreas,

This is indeed the first time I have seen your email. I have no idea who Mike Freedman’s clients are, and he had nothing at all to do with the creation of the posters. They were my idea, in fact.

I was introduced to Mike by a mutual friend, had a brief meeting, and mentioned the educational resources I was putting together, as I believe that if we continue to burn fossil fuels we will destroy the earth in a very short space of time. It seems that nuclear is the only viable, clean option that we currently possess in order to generate energy in the quantities needed by the human race for the next century.

Perhaps it will buy us time until we find a way to master the way the universe itself generates energy – fusion. We can’t continue to burn old plants, and other options are limited in their respective applications.

The article was most definitely not “advertorial” and was not paid for by anyone except me, in that I have to find the financial resources to publish Greenprint. I have no idea who Mike’s clients are, but I got the impression that he was representing the same client as I do – The Earth.

I am prepared to re-address any pre-conceived, outdated ideas in the light of new technologies and risk management. After all, what good is money if there’s no air or water?

But I welcome your response, and your objections, and if you would refrain from being personal I would be delighted to publish your viewpoint in the next edition.

Yours sincerely,

Arlene Cameron

Hmm, tempting offer. Maybe I should stop looking for industry sponsored PR spin (South African editors and publishers seem to be quite happy to do plenty of pro-nuclear spinning without being prompted, it would seem!) and try to get a counter-argument into Greenprint. Will let you know if I do…


1. Carolize Jansen - May 23, 2007

Haha, always room for schmaltz, even at the most ‘hard science’ level: “…I got the impression that he was representing the same client as I do – The Earth”.

Hilary Joffe had an interesting piece yesterday in the Business Day (http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/article.aspx?ID=BD4A469079) about the PBMR project – for which, it now seems, we might have no international financial backers at all!

2. Andreas - May 23, 2007

Yup, I laughed at that one, too.

Interesting Business Day article, thanks for the link. R15bn, R16bn, R17bn, R25bn, maybe even R32bn? Makes you wonder how much tax payers’ money the government is going to end up spending on this. Compared to what we’re spending on renewable energy resources – R15, R16, R17, R25 maybe even R32?

3. Glen - May 24, 2007

Yeah just imagine what the same research funding spent on renewables could have achieved by now.
Great posts Andreas. I must say that seeing those PBMR “educational resources” in the Greenprint did not sit well with me, especially all the squeaky clean scores for Nuclear, except the public perception score (“we’ll have to give the ill-informed public a 1 on that one”).
I really urge you to write that article for the Greenprint and see if Arlene does publish it. I believe all your arguments anti-Nuclear are strong ones and more debate is sorely needed.

4. Andreas - May 24, 2007

I’ll think about writing the story. I’ve got all the material, it’s probably just a matter of finding the time to do it.

I am feeling a little bad about looking for a sinister PR connection when there apparently wasn’t one, but I still think it was worth finding out. The whole Greenprint package (the article and the posters) was definitely way too biased, though, and as you say, Glen, there needs to be much more discussion about this whole issue.

People need to be allowed to make up their own minds on nuclear power and for that, they need all of the info that’s out there – pro and con. My main worry is that in SA, the government is so heavily invested in the atomic industry itself that “the People” will not actually have much say in the matter.

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