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Boston Blatte

Raised in Boston, remade in Sweden

Japan’s Tsunami Swamps Sweden’s Nuclear Power Push.

The devastating wave of destruction after Japan’s 8.9 earthquake last Friday has figuratively reached Sweden’s shores. As the world sits glued to watching the explosive developments of Japan’s troubled nuclear power plants, Swedish anti-nuclear protesters are harnessing their own reactive fuel to reclaim the tiny plots of ground the pro-nuclear movement has recently enjoyed. One of Sweden’s largest daily newspapers opened with an article “Kärnkraft har ingen framtid” (Nuclear energy has no future).

Several of Sweden’s shut down reactors are coming back on line as we speak and there has been wind in the sails for talks about further developing the capacity of nuclear energy.
ja kärnkraft

There’s no doubt that the future of Sweden’s nuclear power plants is in jeopardy as we await the fallout of the precarious situation of the damaged reactors in Japan.

It’s already on record that I’m not a bunny hugger and it’s probably obvious that I support the development of nuclear energy. So I sit with everyone, watching, listening and trying to discern which bits of “expert” information presented by the many media sources are reliable and which are riding the wave of sensational fear. Sometimes I am assured that this is all going to be contained. Sometimes I am very scared.

Which is the accurate outcome? I don’t know. What I fear most is that when this is settled and the factual reports (and I will presume they’re honest and accurate) come in, will we be able to interpret them for what they say if they demonstrate a manageable result or at we already at a point of no return to nuclear energy development in Sweden?

Edit: And it seems there is indeed a push to scare Swedes about the frights of nuclear plants when you have a comment like this: (link to article)

“There are places in Sweden where a similar accident could cause a blast equal to 15,000 Nagasakis,” said Göran Bryntse, head of the Swedish Anti-Nuclear Movement (Folkkampanjen mot kärnkraft) which is planning demonstrations for Wednesday evening.

Makes me want to ask him: Where and how exactly?

Edit 2 (March 16th). My new nuclear hero is Ian Hore-Lacy who is the Director of Public Communications for the World Nuclear Association. Listen and watch to how he explains on Bloomberg TV the circumstances in the reactors and assures there is nothing more to fear.

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8 responses to “Japan’s Tsunami Swamps Sweden’s Nuclear Power Push.”

  1. poiuy says:

    Director of Public Communications for the World Nuclear Association? Guess he’s unbiased.

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  2. Boston Blatte says:

    @poiuy. Yes, he is certainly in favor of nuclear energy but he is not in a position to benefit or lose as world opinion is formed. And he has knowledge regarding how the reactors are designed. Better him than someone with no knowledge.

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  3. poiuy says:

    He’s not in a position to benefit? He’s paid to have those opinions. He represents the nuclear industry. An industry that is paid by governments. Many of whom are democratic and accountable to their populations. The nuclear industry has every reason to spin the truth and influence public opinion. Therefore, I’d remain critical of anything uttered by a spokesman for the industry.

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  4. Boston Blatte says:

    @poiuy. You should never accept one source as the only source. However, if you eliminate his “opinions” and listen to his factual explanations (which are very easy to refute if inaccurate) he provides information that is based on reality and not speculation and conjecture which is popular when spinning hype on something that can catch the audience’s attention. FWIW, looking into this guy’s background, I highly doubt he’s in this position for the paycheck. To me it’s clear that this guy says what he believes and not what he’s supposed to say.

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  5. poiuy says:

    I never said that you should accept one source of information. Neither have i tried to paint out anyone who disagrees with nuclear power, as being a scare mongerer using irrational arguments. That the spokesman in question could find a well paid job somewhere else, doesn’t have anything to do with his arguments or motive. Well paid tobacco or weapons industry executives could also find work in other flieds. The spokesman in question may not be in the position for a paycheck, however he does represent an organisation that is reliant upon governments investing in nuclear technology. Germany has put on hold making descisions on about their nuclear plants. So public opinion does have a huge role to play. So its not like a representative for the nuclar industry is going to speak the truth and be damned, just because he has a whole load of letters after his name. You may find that idea comforting that he does, when looking at the mess in Japan. But the company responsible for the reactors there seems to be economical with the truth. That may be an asian cultural trait of saving face. Or it could just be evidence of the PR-damage-limitation-machine in action.

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  6. Boston Blatte says:

    @ poiuy. My point is not to paint all those against nuclear power as scare mongerers nor to say that if one source says all is safe then it must be. My concern stems from the natural human reaction to overreact and panic when faced with a presumed looming crisis. People fear flying in airplanes because the prospect of falling from the sky is terrifying yet they complacently drive a car daily when we all know the risks do not match the fears.

    So back to the future of nuclear energy as a power source in Sweden. Are the ongoing events with Japan’s nuclear facilities something to motivate whether Sweden would or wouldn’t develop its nuclear power output? I certainly hope not. And I hope that when we can fully understand exactly what happened and the real (and not hyped) risk the people of Japan and indeed the world may or may not have experienced people will use their fundamental ability to apply logic over irrational fear.

    But I still like Ian Hore-Lacy’s style while being interviewed (whichever employer he has)

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  7. Juni says:

    The bottom line is, if we can’t afford the worst case scenario ( partial or full meltdown) then we can’t afford the energy. If we don’t have a way to clean it up, or can’t fix a problem should it arise- we have no business using it. By the way, they just found radiation from Japan in Milk in Washington state- just across the border from where I live. We also have detected radiation in the rain and seaweed here in Vancouver, BC. Many experts are in disagreement how much ‘low radiation’ is tolerable when ingested ( very different from x-rays) and it is accumulative when ingested and stays in the fat tissue. So a little in the milk, a little in the air, a little in the water etc.. all adds up.Not something I’d want for myself or anyone else. Personally I’m horrified by the whole thing-

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  8. Henry says:

    Why is it that no one cares to find out that reactors can be designed and build such that it will not have a core melt down? That it has been build and demonstrated by more than one country, that it is a know fact but no one seems to cares about it.
    Scientists from USA, Germany, even China have build and demonstrated that such a design with passive system is not only possible, but actually functional.
    What we need is our politicians to spend time to understand the technology, and let the professionals do their job to build a better system.
    We need, and must use the safest Nuclear Technology available, and that means a reactor that will not melt, even in the face of total failure of all safety system. In fact, for such a reactor, those safety system is not even necessary. The reactor will shut down itself due to the laws of physics, passively, without human intervention.
    I am all for absolutely safe nuclear power. Put in plans to phase out the unsafe ones, and replace them with safe ones. The key is PASSIVE SAFETY!

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