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About the Author
My academic resume includes a Bachelors degree in Nuclear Technologyand Environmental Sciences. I also have a Masters degree in Philosophy. Experientially, I spent my first career of 21 years as (in order) a nuclear power plant operator, environmental monitoring technician, health physics design engineer, public relations spokesperson, public education coordinator and emergency planner. During that time, I was exposed to the numerous misunderstandings and misconceptions which were the unquestionable foundation of the public’s aversion to the generation of electricity from nuclear power plants. In trying to share this discovery with executives in the nuclear industry, I was shocked to find that they held the very same aversions for the very same reasons as the public and press. Further, the non-nuclear scientific and medical communities also embraced these aversions for much the same reasons. 25 years ago, virtually no one wanted to hear the truth about nuclear power plants and their environmental benefits. Because of global warming, nuclear energy must be considered as a major alternative to burning fossil fuels.
Personal inquiry allowed me to realize nearly all of the existent nuclear aversions can be traced back to America’s dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I promised myself to eventually set the record straight, if and when the situation presented itself. I have waited a long time. No new understanding can hope to replace incorrect paradigms until the world is ready for it. Copernicus’ discovery of the Earth not being the center of the universe would never have taken hold if not for the Protestant Reformation, which created a sufficient audience willing to accept the truth. The past 20 years of changes in the energy arena, and the dark emergence of global warming, may well have created a wide audience willing to replace the mythic bases of nuclear energy aversion with correct understanding.
The widespread proliferation of nuclear energy misunderstandings spawned by Hiroshima has gone essentially unchecked for more than 6 decades. As a result, they are embraced as unquestioned fact by nearly everyone. They have become paradigm. The dictionary definition of paradigm is, "A framework of thought or beliefs through which one's world or reality is interpreted". Nearly all nuclear aversion paradigms turn out to be as unfounded as the pre-Copernican paradigm of an Earth-centered universe. Further, many of these principles are necessarily exaggerated, some wildly so, resulting from confusing reactors with atomic bombs. These risk-related exaggerations have unquestionably had severe psychological impact on the public mind, resulting in a generally phobic response to the mention of anything nuclear. Thus, the phrase “Hiroshima Syndrome” seems perfectly appropriate. This sort of fear ought to be applied to nuclear weapons. But, not with respect to the generation of electricity from the fissioning of Uranium. The healing must eventually occur, for truth will inevitably be known. The question is when ought the healing begin?
Now in retirement after my second career teaching science and math on the high school level, I have totally distanced myself technically and financially from the nuclear industry. No vested interest remains, if you will. In addition, retirement on a teacher’s pension, IRA, and Social Security has me in the position of having literally nothing to lose by going public. I firmly believe that exposing the Hiroshima Syndrome is something that must be done. The Philosopher in me said this ought to be done as soon as a possible audience exists, and not later. The Environmentalist in me says the time is at hand.
The dark threat of global warming cries out for the replacement of fossil fuel burning in order to continue producing large, round-the-clock volumes of electricity without bankrupting our existing electricity infrastructure. The combination of solar, wind, hydroelectric, wave, geothermal, and conservation cannot realistically hope to do this soon enough to avoid climatic catastrophe. In order to remove America's carbon footprint from electricity production within a reasonable time frame, and hopefully end America's greatest contibution to global warming, we need to build at least 100 one-thousand megawatt nuclear power plants. Before this can ever hope to happen, the Hiroshima Syndrome must be exposed for what it is…a subtle but significant widespread psychosis predicated on fictions!