Hysteria, Dogma Risk Catapulting Germany Back To The Dark Ages

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Progress is not achieved by abandoning development

Imagine if the Wright Brothers had abandoned flight after the first mishap, only listening to the voices of fear that heavy objects have no place in the air and that it isn’t possible to eliminate accidents? Imagine if society had abandoned the automobile after the first deadly accident? Imagine if early doctors had been prevented from attempting surgery on a seriously ill person. Of course, if humans had given up after every failure, we’d still be in the Stone Ages – if not extinct.

Japan’s disaster will provide valuable lessons learned

I believe the disaster in Japan will act as a blessing is disguise. I say this because many lessons will be learned from this incident. This is not to say we are pleased about any injury or death resulting there – that’s tragic. I’m saying we have the chance to learn from it. It’s already quite impressive that the Fukushima facility survived the 9.0 mega-earthquake and was done in only by the ensuing mega-tsunami. Fukushima was subjected to an extreme natural event and the results will lead to many valuable findings. It’s up to us if they will be applied to future power plants. It’s a chance to improve our lives.

China and applying lessons learned

China has announced it will put its plans to build new nuclear facilities on hold for now. This in no way means China is abandoning its ambitious plan to build nuclear power plants. Indeed it is going to pause and take a look at what went wrong at Fukushima, and then apply the lessons learned to its own plants, making them more sound, and equipped with better and even more reliable redundant safety systems. The result: China’s nuclear power plants of the future will be even safer, more modern and thus will end up saving many lives with the reliable supply of electricity they will provide.

China’s bold electrical energy plan: 200 reactors

Along with 2000 coal-fired power plants, with each one getting more modern, China will also add a huge number of nuclear reactors to its energy supply infrastructure over the next 2 decades. Already China is currently constructing 27 reactors, another 50 have been approved and funded, and a whopping 110 additional reactors are proposed. China today is already the number 2 economy globally. With addition of hundreds of power plants, China will surely be the powerhouse of the future. That does not come from being chicken with small risks, but from boldness and belief in huge technological progress.

Some western countries are abandoning development

Many western countries, on the other hand are taking the opposite approach. Instead applying lessons learned, they are moving back to the Dark Ages, when energy was harnessed from the wind or direct sunlight, where the energy yield per square meter is in the range of watts, and not kilowatts or megawatts. Oil is being abandoned, so is coal – and now nuclear.

The west reacts with fear and hysteria

The accident in Japan did not lead Germany to examine what went wrong and to attempt applying lessons learned to improve safety and reliability at its own reactors, rather it has decided, in a fit panic and hysteria, to abandon the technology altogether and relinquish it to other competing countries. No othe rcountry has reacted so rashly. Physicist Dr. Peter Heller at Science Skeptical explains why:

There were times in history when ignorance and cowardice overshadowed human life. It was a time when our ancestors were forced to lead a life filled with superstition and fear because they were forbidden to use their creativity and fantasy. Religious dogma, like the earth being the centre of the unverse, or creationism, forbade people to question. The forbiddance of opening a human body and examining it prevented questions from being answered. Today these Medieval rules appear to us as backwards and close-minded. We simply cannot imagine this way of thinking having any acceptance.

Unfortunately today, they do. It is well-documented in nuclear and climate science.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s response to Fuskushima? She blinked, panicked and immediately shut down 7 of Germany’s nuclear reactors, and then announced an accelerated shut down of nuclear energy in Germany overall. I’m not aware of earthquake-prone Japan even shutting down its other nuclear reactors. Such actions are undertaken only by hysterical minds.

Superstition and prophesies of disaster pervade

Today in modern Germany, and in many western countries, phony catastrophe scenarios, both in nuclear science and climate science, are being served up as science when in fact they are pure dogma – i.e. gross departures of science – and are solely intended to spread fear. We are discouraged from asking questions; we are told to believe the “experts”. Do not dare to ask questions.

Religion in technology

The media and anti-nuclear technology activists are now applying religious terms to describe the Fukushima disaster: Armegeddon, mega-disaster, catastrophe, etc. Some have even attempted to connect the earthquake and tsunami to climate change, caused by man’s activity, without producing an iota of data to support this. Like God’s wrath on man in the Bible, it’s Nature’s wrath on man. Nuclear power has been branded as evil, although it has a very high level of safety in almost every country where it is used.

Sure there will be accidents and mishaps, but they will become rarer and smaller, and the benefits will far outweigh them. Just like all other technical products and systems.

Heller ends his essay:

I am a physicist. I’d like to live in a world that is willing to learn and to improve whatever is good. I would only like to live in a world where great strides in physics are viewed with fascination, pride and hope because they show us the way to a better future. I would only like to live in a world that has the courage for a better world. Any other world for me is unacceptable. Never. That’s why I am going to fight for this world, without ever relenting.

I agree with Dr. Heller and he has plenty of company. There are many out there who share his view. As dogma, fear, superstition take hold and western society slips backwards into dark times, more and more on Heller’s side will make their voices heard.

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18 responses to “Hysteria, Dogma Risk Catapulting Germany Back To The Dark Ages”

  1. DirkH

    I agree with all you say. BTW, the Chinese are exploring Thorium as fuel, as we know – i’ve just read that they licensed the German pebble bed reactor technology we abandoned in the 80ies.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTR-10

  2. R. de Haan
  3. Harry Dale Huffman

    I am the only person, let alone scientist (I am a physicist), that I am aware of, who understands that the whole world is engaged in the playing out of entrenched dogmas, old and new, both inside and outside of science, and why it is all happening at this time in human history. (Because neither our science, nor our religions, nor our political governments, can go forward in peace, on the world stage that all of them must now act upon, without confronting and throwing out the accumulated basic errors, both ancient and modern, that have become unquestioned assumptions that poison any hope of peaceful, lasting solution.) Climate science is just the tip of the problem in science, and is comparable to the current rise of Islamic jihadism in the religious and political spheres. Belief, in all three spheres, has for too long been substituted for the understanding that comes from disciplined observation and precise explanation of all the relevant facts, not just those that support one’s prejudiced beliefs. As a hard scientist who has discovered the single, objective source of all the ancient mysteries that yet haunt mankind as mysticism and superstition (check my writings on the internet), I know better than anyone that we must fix our reasoning, and our sciences, if we want to fix the world.

    1. DirkH

      Harry, your argument about Venus sounds very elegant, and i find no flaw in your reasoning. Very nice!

  4. business daily

    .This can be controlled by using and to change the portion of neutrons that will go on to cause more fissions. Typically the hot coolant will be used as a heat source for a and the pressurized steam from that boiler will power one or more driven .

  5. mindert eiting

    I am looking here at a nice time series of ‘global’ temperatures. Shortly after 1800 it was pretty cold (before that time it was warmer-cooler-warmer) but the temperatures went up till pretty warm around 1860-1870. It became cooler next but, god bless us, warmer again till 1920-1930. This optimum could not last and so it became cold during 1950-1970. Since then it became warmer again. The slope of linear regression through this waves equals 0.000. Nevertheless, mankind became hysterical about unprecedented global warming. There remains something to be explained.

    1. mindert eiting

      Interesting comment on Japanese events here:
      http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/10296/

  6. Juraj V.

    Earthquake and tsunami killed tenths of thousands.
    Radiation killed nobody.

    Shouldn’t Frau Merkel ban earthquakes instead?

    From the media it sometimes seems, that all that widespread carnage was caused by the Fuku power station or what.

  7. Edward

    The West is declining, as it does so too is our certainty.

    Politicians have venally sensed this decline and play on human fears and emotions.

    In science, experimentation and empiricism has been replaced by statistics and computer models, hocus pocus.

    These two threads when coupled lead to superstition and fear of the future, this is not a new phenomenon, man has bouts of mass depression, it is in our psyche.

    Good education and pure science is the only cure or of course War.

    Good education – look at how many graduates in Maths and Physics China produces, whilst in Britain we churn out ill-educated kids who hold pieces of paper, saying ‘BA in tourism and beach management’ (!) and in the background another University physics faculty is closed down.

    In Britain, that road leads to nowhere, we no longer value men of substance, of engineering and science but it is small wonder when science now so often shoots itself in the foot – climategate being a recent example.
    Too many scientists take the government shilling to legitimise the ideas of politicians – that’s not science, it’s feeding the fires of superstition and fear.

    We must reverse this hopeless trend, or else Western Europe is finished.

    1. Bernd Felsche

      It’s a long struggle … even the lowest levels of the education system are tormented by preachers pretending to be teachers.

      The object appears to be to build generations of gullible idiots.

  8. Steve Koch

    Site selection for the nuclear reactors is critical. Putting them within range of a tsunami is insane (i.e. don’t put them on the coast).

    Failure mode has to be fail safe, when power is lost the nuclear fuel must naturally, physically fall apart in separate chunks that are much less than critical mass. The pebble bed approach is fail safe, IIRC. Why was it dropped?

    Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors are much smaller and don’t require massive containment system (they operate at near normal atmospheric pressure), we should expedite research.

    Terrible to see a scientist such as Merkel providing such backward leadership for one of the most technologically brilliant nations on earth. The world needs to master nuclear power and the Germans could make desperately needed great contributions given the opportunity.
    ==========================
    Agreed on all points. Science here has been kidnapped by dogmatists and it really is being moved back to the Dark Ages. We are told that going green is the new future – about advancing science. What a joke – it’s about going back to the old dark past. It’s too bad Peter Heller’s essay is not in English as well. – PG

  9. Peter Heller

    Dear Pierre,

    thanks for the positive view on my essay. I would appreciate a translation by yourself or any other reader of your blog. I cannot do this by myself because I am not talented in foreign languages. You are allowed to translate the whole text and to make it public here or on any other place in the web you like if you want to.

    best regards, Peter

    1. Bernd Felsche

      I can do this today, I think. I’d send the result to Pierre and he can check that all the necessary nuances are conveyed appropriately.

      I’d already translated the opening paragraph for my Facebook wall:
      “There is no other place that I’d rather be right now on this Earth than in Fukushima. In the nuclear plant, at the centre of the action. It’s because I’m a physicst and there can be no other place more exciting and interesting for a physicist. Much the same goes for many, if not the most physcists and engineers on the planet.”

      That was easy… the rest will take a while but it should be ready for Pierre to post this evening, CET. I’m in Australia, 7 hours ahead by the clock on the wall.

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