Anti-Nuclear Power and Pro-Fossil Fuels

Back when I began looking at energy issues and discovered I was so wrong on nuclear power, I looked into why people dislike nuclear power. Many reasons were given.

See Wikipedia’s summary on how the public does risk analysis -“ one interesting result from the surveys of Slovic, et al (eg, Perceived Risk: Psychological Factors and Social Implications [and Discussion]) is how non-experts rate risk – they consider nuclear power the riskiest activity in spite of considering it safer than food coloring in normal years and safer than automobile accidents in disaster years. Not only do non-experts not know how safe or unsafe various activities are, perceptions of risk do not correlate with perceptions of danger. More frequent nuclear power plant accidents might even lead to a lower perceived sense of risk.

Of the half dozen or more explanations I read a decade ago, the one I gave least credence to at the time was coal company influence. Yes, coal and oil companies provide talking points on climate change, talking points adopted by substantial numbers with no connection to coal interests. But I had never heard of them providing anti-nuclear information – mainstream environmentalists do this without help.

They don’t have to buy talking points; they have another method. Fossil fuel interests buy politicians, in the US, Australia, and Germany.

NNadir at Daily Kos discusses former German Chancellor Gerard Schroeder, from the left of center Social Democratic Party, in Bait and Switch: German Nuclear Phase Out, Renewables, Coal and Carbon Dioxide:

In case you’re wondering about what Gerhard Schroeder is doing now that he’s left politics, one of his new jobs is as a Member of the Supervisory Board of Gazprom, the Russian natural gas conglomerate, a conglomerate that benefited by Schroeder’s policies, in particular with respect to the European Baltic gas pipeline.

We Support Lee has posted A Directory of Posts that Link Anti-Nuclear Interests with Fossil Fuel Interests.

Anti-nuclear, pro-fossil fuel policies and politicians from Australia, Germany, Wisconsin, Maine, and Texas are among those included. The intention of SPD and green politicians in Germany to continue closing nuclear plants, replace them with fossil fuel plants, and oppose strict greenhouse gas emissions reductions makes me curious about German Greens.

5 Responses to “Anti-Nuclear Power and Pro-Fossil Fuels”

  1. Oliver says:

    “The intention of SPD and green politicians in Germany to continue closing nuclear plants, replace them with fossil fuel plants, and oppose strict greenhouse gas emissions reductions makes me curious about German Greens”

    Funny. Greenhouse gas emissions HAVE been drastically reduced in Germany not the least by replacing old eastern-german power plants with more modern and efficient ones. I am not sure where you got your “oppose strict greenhouse gas emissions reductions” from. Both parties are, in fact, working to increase efficiency. And even the Social Democrats are now working towards a shut-down of domestic coal production. Thus, if anything, less efficient coal power plants will be replaced by more efficient gas power plants. This will very much result in a decrease of greenhouse gas emissions.

    It is funny that you suggest a linkage between anti-nuclear and pro-fossil-fuel groups when in fact, power production in Germany is in the hands of four giants (RWE, E.on, EnBW and Vattenfall) who make money totally independently of how the power is actually produced. So are you suggesting that these groups are engaged in company-internal politics, striving to help one department over the other?

    Fact is that the German minister for the environment is actually in favor for imposing CO2 restrictions even on the car industry, forcing it to become more efficient. This is hardly in favor of fossil fuel companies. Looking at power production alone is a rather one-sided look at CO2 reduction.

    The actual fact is that the nuclear power providing business branches in Germany have a long track record of sweeping problems under the carpet and not informing authorities or the public of incidents. That is not bound to generate trust within the public. Your suggestions of anyone influencing the discussion is thus completely off mark. They don’t need anyone to ruin their reputation, they’re doing that all on their own. Regardless of whether an incident actually represented any danger, cover-ups spread distrust.

  2. Oliver,

    There is good objective evidence for the linkage between the SPD and fossil fuel interests, especially coal interests.

    The SPD is against ending unprofitable coal mining in Germany.

    Not only that, but the SPD has urged Angela Merkel to resist the EU’s call for carbon emissions reductions.

    A quote from the above link: “The centre-left SPD, which had led a coalition with the Green party until elections in 2005, now fears the curbs could put the modernisation of Germany’s coal industry at risk and endanger jobs.

    Coal subsidies grew massively in Germany during the 1980s-1990s, as is shown in a policy paper by RWI Essen, a center for scientific research and evidence-based policy.

    I acknowledge that Germany’s transportation system, along with the transportation systems of many other European countries, is far superior to the American highway-automobile system.

    It’s a really bad idea to reject nuclear energy out-of-hand, as it has a great potential for carbon stabilisation. France has succeeded in cutting its carbon emissions to 1990 levels through a combination of electrified rail transit, conservation, and nuclear energy.

  3. There may be a problem accessing the policy paper. Try this link, and then click on the .pdf icon.

  4. Jack Gamble says:

    A pronuke providing detailed evidence and backing it up. An antinuke recycling generic rhetoric and anti-corporate talking points. Why am I not surprised?

    The facts are the same in the US where natural gas companies are pouring money into groups like Friends of the Earth and The Sierra Club who are filing law suits to shutdown existing nuclear plants or stop construction of new ones. Each plant that shuts down is worth US$1-2 Million per DAY. Look no further than Vermont and Maine where fossil fuel companies are licking their chops at closing nuclear facilities.

  5. Karen Street says:

    Natural gas companies are donating to FoE and Sierra Club?????? I know that in VT, there is an environmentalist link between support of natural gas and opposition to nuclear power, but do you have a source showing natural gas companies are contributing to the larger environmental groups?