Nuclear advocates follow well-worn path

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Pandora’s box contained the plagues that bedevil humanity

Urging us to open our minds and listen to the facts, a collection of high profile environmentalists marshaled by film-maker Robert Stone are leading the way for an assault on our opposition to Nuclear Energy.

The film is Pandora’s Promise and Academy Award nominated director Robert Stone will be in Brisbane on October 14, to put the proposition to the people that we have no alternative but to go down the nuclear path.

The argument, as presented by Stone in various TedX talks and various identities from the film in promotional interviews is an old one.

“Given the choice between poverty and a consumer lifestyle, the developing world is choosing a consumer lifestyle in droves, and no amount of pious lecturing from concerned climate scientists and activists is going to stop them.

“Given that energy is the fundamental input to a consumer economy and that burning things creates carbon dioxide we have no choice but to adopt nuclear energy.”

I first heard the argument from James Lovelock, developer of the Gaia hypothesis (that the planet is an organism) in 2004. The facts have not changed in the nine years since then. Yes, an energy descent is going to radically change society and cause a great deal of discomfort, but the alternative is a crisis.

The implication in the marketing of the film is that there are now safe ways to build reactors and extract energy from what was previously nuclear waste. To the best of my knowledge this is just repackaging of the old arguments that were presented by Howard and Bush when they signed a global agreement with Canada to build reactors in America, and lease them to the rest of the world, using rods produced in America from Australian and Canadian Uranium with the waste to be transferred to Australia.

I look forward to being proved wrong, but that was the outcome of my research at the time and I have read no new science on the technology since then.

Nuclear energy has the potential to fill the energy gap but the costs are radioactive pollution from mining, processing and waste disposal. Neither can energy be seen in isolation. In addition to peak energy, we face peak water and peak soil limitations on growth, and nuclear energy is a huge consumer of water.

The film makers may have been a little too cute in naming the film. The myth of Pandora is that she was the first mortal female, constructed by the gods to tempt and plague mankind as punishment for Promotheus’ theft of fire. Each god gave her a gift, among which is the famous box that contained all the plagues that have bedevilled humanity since Prometheus brother, who married Pandora, sneaked a peek inside.

if they really believe that nuclear energy is a pandora’w box, then why would you attempt to promote the notion that we should be seduced by Pandora?

Of course, like any scientifically-motivated and rational citizen, I welcome the opportunity to hear new evidence. Until the evidence is presented and convincingly answers the basic concerns I have outlined above, I will wholeheartedly resist another round of pseudo-science harnessed to the task of maintaining economic growth at all costs so that we do not have to confront the twin realities that there are too many of us and we are too greedy.

To participate in the opening round of this next wave of the endgame in the geopolitical power struggle over energy economics, head over to to get the background and to book your tickets.

You’ll see me there with my pencils and questions sharpened.

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