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The Longest Now

A feisty talk about nuclear power
Wednesday September 28th 2005, 4:37 pm
Filed under: poetic justice

This afternoon’s panel on the resurgence of interest in Nuclear Power
got off to a quiet enough start; but climaxed in a few emotional
exchanges among its five panelists shortly before the end. 

An embarrassingly rough transcript (as usual, better
ones to come) is online.  A quick summary
: big power gorups are conflicted; both trying to support their existing
power investments and trying to pursue nuclear and other options
without taking on more risk than necessary.  Few energy activists
(or policy-makers in the right gov’t offices!) have the money or
authority to put their necks out, even when they feel they know the
right technical steps to make.

The big point that noone picked up was nuclear education :
how to educate the public about nuclear power; something which hasn’t
happened well.  This is also one place where Wikipedia-style
projects could help immensely… There wasn’t enough interest in the
panelist fesponses to tell how much if any they would care for such a

Regarding your comments on 9/28/05 on nuclear education and Stewart Brand.

You might be interested to know that Stewart Brand has recently endorsed a techno-thriller novel about the American nuclear power industry, written by a longtime nuclear engineer (me). This book provides an entertaining and accurate portrait of the nuclear industry today and how a nuclear accident would be handled. It is called “Rad Decision”, and is currently running as a serial at There is no cost to readers.

If arguments about nuclear energy are to move beyond editorial pages and scientific journals, popular and accurate works on the topic are needed. A substantial segment of the U.S. population doesn’t care to delve into the gritty details on energy issues. But they are willing to be entertained – so why not provide some energy education at the same time?

All sides of the nuclear power debate will find items to like, and dislike, within Rad Decision. I’m not sure myself what the future of nuclear energy should be. What I am sure of is that we will make better decisions if we understand what nuclear energy is right now.

If you find Rad Decision valuable, as Mr. Brand did, I’d appreciate it if you would spread the word. The more readers I get, the better.

James Aach

20+ years in the nuclear industry

“I’d like to see RAD DECISION widely read.” – – Stewart Brand.

(quote used with permission)

Comment by James Aach 10.22.05 @ 2:18 am

One cheap & useful way to educate the public is writing to the newspapers. Papers are particularly interested in writers from their own catchment areas & & in replies to letters or articles in the paper.

The luddite movement have been very good at this & have been able to get away with large amounts of nonsense. We should reply to every silly assertion.

There are a number of examples on my blog.

When writing always include your address & phone no – the paper probably won’t ring to check you are who you say you are but they need to be able to.

Comment by Neil Craig 12.04.05 @ 4:02 pm

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