Their ads always say “clean safe nuclear energy.” Why is that?
by Bruce Brown
This is the first post in a series on clean safe nuclear energy. It takes a brief look at history, then it discusses safety. Future posts will cover how clean nuclear power is and will look at the Palisades plant, on Lake Michigan near South Haven. Much of this post may seem like stuff everyone knows, but I knew hardly any of it until recently. It seems important for me to do my small part in helping people learn what I haven’t known about “clean safe nuclear energy.” Important note: After its original publication on December 10, 2015, this piece was updated on December 14. Thanks to Jan Boudart, Michael Keegan, and Kevin Kamps for providing additional information, clarification, and improved accuracy. My education continues.
In your browser’s search field, enter clean safe n. Most likely, that’s all you’ll enter before clean safe nuclear energy appears near the top of your suggestion list. The words just go together. About the only time you see the phrase “nuclear energy” without “clean” and “safe” is when it’s coming from someone who’s not trying to turn you into a nuclear energy believer.
Nuclear plant operators and utility companies are so consistent with their “clean safe nuclear energy” message that most of us believe them without thinking about it. We’ve heard it for decades. Back in the beginning, some of us wondered, “Why do they keep calling it clean and safe all the time? Are they afraid someone will think it isn’t? Do some people already think it isn’t?”
In the 60s and 70s, the shadow of The Bomb – Hiroshima, Nagasaki, mushroom clouds, instant vaporization, radiation poisoning, fallout – gave safety top billing in nuclear energy’s PR work.
That’s just a power plant next to the beach at South Haven. It’s not The Bomb.Read more