YouTube video: Facts are on nuclear’s side

April 28, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Author Joshua Goldstein, from the video "The Nuclear Option"

Climate activists rarely mention nuclear power as a tool in the battle against climate change, consumer reporter John Stossel comments during the video "The Nuclear Option" on his YouTube channel.

Stossel notes during the brief video, which was posted to YouTube last week, that France and Sweden cut their carbon emissions by using nuclear power. Yet there are antinuclear groups claiming that nuclear is too dangerous and costly to be considered as a climate solution.

As shown in the video, a young, bohemian activist, who is taking part in a staged nuclear "meltdown" during a small group protest at New York City's Grand Central Station, claims, "The future of Earth is not going to be brought to us by nuclear power." The activist then screams out "meltdown!" similar to what the Wicked Witch might proclaim as she dissolves away. The activist then slowly collapses to the floor and is followed by other protestors who do the same.

Some history: Stossel says that nuclear power came to a halt in the United States 40 years ago because of the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island-2, an accident that killed no one, he notes.

Less than two weeks before the TMI accident occurred, Hollywood released the movie The China Syndrome about an accident at a fictional nuclear power plant. That movie, in combination with the real-life TMI accident, scared a lot of people away from nuclear, Stossel explains.

Pronuclear environmentalist Joshua Goldstein agrees. "We'd have a lot more nuclear power if not for that movie," he says in the video. Goldstein is the author of A Bright Future, a book about how nuclear power can help to decarbonize the world.

The antinuclear side: Also interviewed is Harvey Wasserman, an aging environmental activist and author of the book Solartopia, which calls for the banning of all fossil fuels and nuclear power by 2030. "I live in terror of the next accident," Wasserman tells Stossel.

Wasserman says that as a young reporter in the 1970s, he went to the TMI area after the accident and talked with residents who had tumors and suffered from hair loss. Stossel counters that claim, saying that the accident's aftereffects have been studied and that Wasserman's findings are "bunk." Yet Wasserman holds to his position, stating that people were killed at TMI.

Other accidents: Stossel's video then turns to Fukushima, where Goldstein notes that the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident caused panic, which led to suicides, depression, and other effects. “But it was the fear of radioactivity that killed people” and not radiation itself, Goldstein says.

The discussion turns to the Chernobyl accident, which did result in deaths. "It happened in the old socialist Soviet Union,” Stossel says, “where those who built the plant cut corners to please the dictators. Investigations revealed both procedural and design errors.”

Bottom line: Stossel then displays charts that show that even including Chernobyl, nuclear power is much safer than coal, oil, and natural gas, and is almost as safe as solar and wind. "Facts are on your side,” he confirms to Goldstein.


Related Articles

Meltdown: Drama disguised as a documentary

June 3, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear NewsJohn Fabian

The Three Mile Island accident in 1979 was the most-studied nuclear reactor event in the U.S. There is a plethora of research about the accident available to the general public, including the...

Insights from the Three Mile Island accident—Part 2: Improvements

The accident at Three Mile Island revealed many areas for improvement in the safety of nuclear power that have been addressed continuously in the past 40 years.

May 6, 2022, 3:06PMNuclear NewsWilliam E. Burchill

Part one of this article, published in the May 2019 issue of Nuclear News[1] and last Friday on Nuclear Newswire, presented insights from the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island-­2 and...

Insights from the Three Mile Island accident—Part 1: The accident

Sparked by an article on the TMI accident that appeared in the March 2019 issue of Nuclear News, ANS past president William E. Burchill (2008–2009) offered his own views on the subject. Part 1 of the article appeared in the May 2019 issue of NN and Part 2 was published in June 2019.

April 29, 2022, 3:59PMNuclear NewsWilliam E. Burchill

The accident at Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant on March 28, 1979, was an extremely complex event. It was produced by numerous preexisting plant conditions, many systemic...

Update on Ukraine

April 29, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, led a mission to Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear plant this week to address ongoing radiological safety...