environment

Should Socialists Support Nuclear Power?

Unknown 12.15.37 PM 

The “captains of industry” – from the Koch brothers to Bill Gates to Warren Buffett – are daily proving themselves incapable of running the world. Rather than “running” it, they are ruining it. We see this in the fact that now 80% of the US population is in or near poverty and economic uncertainty. We see it in the continual wars that are devastating lives around the planet. Perhaps more than anything else, we see it in the devastation of the environment that their system – capitalism – is wreaking upon us.

This is why 49% of young adults view socialism favorably.

But socialism means that working class people will run society. If they – we – are to do so, then we must have a basic understanding of the issues that confront us so that we can solve them. Nowhere is this more so than in the issue of global warming, which is caused by the infamous “greenhouse effect” caused by carbon dioxide and methane in the upper atmosphere. But what are the alternatives to the fossil fuel-based technology?

 

Global Warming Scientists

Recently, James Hansen, considered the “father of global warming science” was joined by three other scientists (Drs. Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel and Tom Wigley) in writing an open letter to environmental groups calling on them to support the development of nuclear power. Their reason was to reduce the burning of fossil fuel, which creates global climate disruption/global warming. Renewables like wind and solar and biomass will certainly play roles in a future energy economy, but those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough to deliver cheap and reliable power at the scale the global economy requires…. Regardless of these advantages, nuclear needs to be encouraged based on its societal benefits.” They have joined environmental journalist George Monbiot (author of “Heat”) in taking this position.

But are they right?  Read more: socialism & nuclear power

Categories: environment

3 replies »

  1. Tom Lehrer commented on one of his records from the late 1950s or early 1960s in his introductory patter to one of his songs, regarding the fad at the time for talking about “people who can’t communicate”, “I think that if people can’t communicate, the very least they can do is shut up.”

    If one has no education relating to science or medicine or engineering or math, and zero experience professionally or otherwise either constructing good scientific studies or distinguishing good science from junk science or valid and honest medicine form quackery, the very least you should do is shut up. John Reimann, instead, fills pages with the most embarrassingly deceitful of junk science, outright lies, lies of selective neglect of data, and lies of cherry picking data. To say he embarrasses himself and socialism with this post would be a massive understatement.

    Collections of outrageous lies and credulous true belief such as this essay John Reimann wrote about nuclear power are poster children for all that the right and center mock about avowed revolutionaries and anti-capitalists. John manages to embrace on this blog all of the major, malignant, superstitious, politically-correct nuttery one finds on the left:

    (a) Belief in science-denying, child-killing anti-VAXX drivel.
    (b) Support of the deadly quackery that is “alternative / integrative / holistic / complementary medicine”
    (c) Deadly denial of science, math, and medicine and deadly fake-environmentalism that is the credulous and ignorant support of the fraud and scam and total failure that is solar and wind power as proposed to replace fossil fuel.
    (d) The spewing of hysterical and superstitious lies concerning the non-existent dangers of nuclear power and of radiation.
    (e) Trotting out the usual big lies about the (non existent, or at least totally solved) “problem” of what to do with spent nuclear fuel (SNF)… that which anti-nuclear liars prefer to call “Nuclear Waste”.

    On this blog in the John Reimann review of “VAXXED”… a malignant promotion of the contemptibly junk science that were Andrew Wakefield’s efforts to lie about MMR vaccine in order to get a new vaccine he invented adopted… John Reimann credulously and profoundly ignorantly supports those who would sicken and kill children around the world by spreading lies about the entirely non-existent dangers of MMR (and other) vaccination. See what a totally cravenly ignorant, true-believing, truly contemptible fool he makes of himself in his review on this blog of “VAXXED”:

    https://oaklandsocialist.com/2016/05/15/vaxxed-the-movie/

    What better indication of an overwhelmingly total lack of any training or experience in medicine or science by John!
    Most educated researchers and physicians recognized the original report by Wakefield in Lancet to be complete junk science. In the end Lancet retracted it. And Britain rightly removed rights to practice medicine from Andrew Wakefield.

    [Note that while the left in general and avowed revolutionary left in particular tends in large part to be involved with denial of evidence based science and overcome by mindless “political correctness” in taking anti-nuclear, radiation-o-phobic, pro solar and wind fraud positions (with a few notable exceptions, such as SL (ICL) and the IG), at least most of the avowed revolutionary left in their publications denounce the malignant, child-killing, incredidibly gullible and stupid nuttery that is the anti-VAXX movement and such transparently malignant, lying pieces of propaganda as the movie VAXX.]

    Like John, I’ve identified as an anti-capitalist, a socialist, a communist, and a Marxist all my adult life. I’ve been vigorously fighting US imperialism since age 18, during my days of protesting the Vietnam War (and as a member of SDS , helping close down Harvard College as part of that protest) back in 1969. I’ve also (I don’t know if this is like or unlike John) all my life been an environmentalist, in part because of my having been for decades an avid mountaineer, hiker, backpacker, river rafter, and long distance bicyclist.

    But… Unlike John, who has demonstrated in his writing absolutely zero training in or experience applying science or medicine, I’ve educated myself as a scientist all my life, including having a degree in the sciences from Harvard. John in his science and medicine-related essays on this blog demonstrates zero training in medicine, and zero experience evaluating medical research. I’m an MD, and at times the lives of my patients depended on my ability to distinguish between good clinical research and garbage research as I read studies that purported to provide guides for how to treat such patients. With peoples lives hanging in the balance, I took developing my ability to distinguish between good and junk research very seriously. John, I am rather confident never had anything remotely like that responsibility.

    In this essay John states outright falsehoods time after time. He quotes numerous medical “studies” he picked solely because they support his ignorant superstition… near all of which have been refuted and debunked as garbage, junk, and invalid and held as such by pretty near every respected scientist and doctor. The junk science conclusions of the thyroid study after Fukushima is so infamous among those with a medical or public health education today that it’s rightly used as an example of bad science to teach new epidemiology and public health students. But credulous true-believer John cites it as if it were considered a valid study, even though it is a classic teaching case of what junk science looks like. John also cites the LONG discredited as junk science studies that claimed there were “cancer clusters” (or leukemia clusters, or clusters of higher infant mortality) around nuclear power plants in people in general, or in children in particular. Such claims have been proven entirely false with a level of total confidence at or exceeding that at which we are confident the earth is round, not flat.

    The junk science reports were advanced by true-believers in anti-nuclear dogma who cherry picked data, deleted data, mistook random fluctuation for significant data, and in some cases it appears fabricated their data entirely from the whole cloth. The fact that such reports are entirely bogus is consistent with what we know of the effects of radiation on life: Radiation has NO ill effect on life at even 1000 times the levels that is released in the immediate vicinity of operating nuclear power plants. A level that is 100 fold lower than even already harmless background radiation. Coal and natural gas plants put out more radiation … by a factor of 100… into the environment than do nuclear power plants, but even THAT level is harmless. Note that people in Ramsar, Iran, have been living for generations exposed to levels of background radiation up to 200 times that which most people are exposed to. With zero evidence of any medical harm to any who have lived their entire lives there… for generations. This and many similar real world observations prove how completely harmless radiation is, outside of insanely massive exposures.

    For the record: Below a pretty high dose (at least 100 mSV and likely 200 mSv or more… acquired in a year) radiation causes no harm at all. Repeated exposures do not produce an additive danger of harm. Exposures below the threshold that causes harm we know to have NO negative effect. For comparison, typical normal background exposure to radiation in the USA is around 3 mSv per year. Add to that the total exposure from other things (such as medical testing), and the average American gets about a total of 6 mSv of exposure to radiation per year. The contribution to this yearly exposure from the Chernobyl accident has been around .002 mSv per year, world wide. Flying in an airplane at 35,000 ft. exposes one to added cosmic ray radiation at a dose of .003 mSv per hour.

    There are some who believe there is evidence that low to medium exposures to radiation improve health, and protect against cancer. I’m not ready to accept that, but the fact that there are more respected scientists and doctors that believe modest radiation exposure is good for you than those who believe it is harmful in any way at least supports the more conservative conclusion that radiation in other than extremely high doses does no harm. And while at a certain high-ish dose level you begin to see increased instances of leukemia years later, that dose has to be very high, and even at THAT dose there is no ill effect on a pregnant mother’s child. Studies of survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed zero increase in birth defects in babies born to mothers who survived the imperialist slaughter there.

    John Reimann, clearly (by the methods he used to construct this essay) is ignorant of how science is conducted, included references to numerous junk science reports, and made no effort to check out their status, because those reports were consistent with the dogma he deeply believes on faith. Similarly, he rejected accepted reports by respected doctors and scientists published in leading peer review journals that contradicted his faith in anti-nuclear lies and dogma. This is what one finds in the bulk of anti-nuclear and pro solar and wind fraud drivel… both on the left, and elsewhere. This is the behavior of an evangelist. A true believer. NOT of a Marxist. Not of a scientist. Not of a physician. Let alone one who, like me, is all three.

    John engages in citing entirely discredited lies as his presented statistics for deaths form Chernobyl, then neglects to post the most accepted figures. If you believe the lies he repeats, the range of deaths from the Chernobyl accident is between 4000 and 1,000,000. John conveniently doesn’t mention the paper that predicted 1,000,000 deaths was universally condemned as junk science by respected epidemiologists and public health doctors. The 4000 death prediction is a very high one. The best accepted predictions today… and those most in accord with what we know of the measured radiation levels… have it that there will be around 2000 to 6000 additional cancers caused by radiation exposure from Chernobyl (in its relatively immediate vicinity) over the next 50 years. And most of these will be thyroid cancer, which is nearly 100% treatable. In the end, over the next 50 years, the death toll from the ONLY nuclear disaster in 60 years of otherwise safe and clean use of nuclear power that killed anyone… in an obsolete plant whose design was dictated by the cold war… will probably be no more than around 400 deaths over the next fifty years, in addition to the 70 or so deaths that occurred acutely. Again, that was the ONLY nuclear disaster at a power station that caused ANY loss of life due to radiation in 60 years of using nuclear power. And the only one that likely ever will. Making nuclear power overwhelmingly more safe than any viable form of making electricity. By orders of magnitude.

    Both the UN World Health Organization and Nature studied radiation levels around Fukshima after the meltdowns, and found they were so low that even by very conservative measures, the predicted death or illness toll from anyone living even within 5 km of the meltdowns was ZERO. Not low. Not very low. ZERO. John prefers not to cite the most respected peer-reviewed sources in medicine, but turns to hysteria-mongering raving anti-nuclear liars for his figures.

    John also conveniently neglects to compare risks of nuclear power to other viable means of making electricity.
    In the case of hydro, there are dozens of major disasters involving tens, hundreds, and even thousands of deaths, including just one that killed instantly 100,000 people and made 1,000,000 homeless. Nor does he note that near totally safe nuclear power is THE ONLY viable non fossil fuel alternative to coal power, which kills 15,000 per year in the USA and 200,000 or more per year or more world wide from effects of normal operation (not disaster situation!) coal mining and burning.

    As a scientist and doctor who has gone over dozens of books and hundreds of medical and scientific papers on the subject I KNOW radiation is essentially harmless in other than truly massive doses of an amount that near no one has any chance of ever encountering. I know that below hefty levels radiation produces NO risk of acute or long term delayed harm. This has been established by good science and medicine as solidly as it has been established that the earth is round, not flat. But John, who believes nuttery comparable to flat-earther stuff (again, such as anti-VAXX stupidity and support of quack medicine) insists otherwise.

    What killed people… in large numbers… at Fukushima was not radiation, but rather the sort of hysteria and ignorance John puts forth in this essay: Credulous, ignorant, and irrational fear of radiation killed 1000 to 2000 Japanese due to the totally needless forced and prolonged evacuation of the area around Fukushima. Their blood is on the hands of science-denying, ignorant and credulous radiation-o-phobic hysteria mongers, like John Reimann.

    The bottom line: Nuclear power has been proven to be overwhelmingly THE safest viable form of making power in a fashion that can replace all use of fossil fuel. Even compared to the non-viable frauds and scams of solar and wind power, it is safer by any objective measurement. For example, number of deaths per kilowatt hour of electricity produced, illness caused, or impact on the environment.

    The denial of science-based medicine, of evidence based science, of scientific method, and of intellectual honesty which constitutes the bulk of this essay does real harm to efforts to advance the cause of socialism. Associating such credulous ignorance and denial of science and medicine with the “left” repels honest scientists and doctors who are not already socialists. It already is having the effect of making socialists (understandably) look like nut cases to scientists and doctors.

    I have repeatedly over the years offered to debate, within the left, on the subject of energy policy in general and clean safe economical nuclear power and the fraud and scam and failure that is renewable power in particular with those who have credentials (as I have) to being bona fide socialists. NEVER have any who take the side of anti-nuclear hysteria and pro renewable fraud and superstition had the courage to take me up on this offer, I doubt any will, for at some level they probably know what credulous and malignant lies and superstition they are peddling

    Then again… there have been multiple good social science studies that confirm what all of us know from experience: Those most incompetent and ignorant regarding a given issue and subject are most convinced of their own competence and knowledge. This essay by John Reimann is one of the more compelling pieces of evidence of the truth of that!

    Those wishing honest and accurate and clear information on the subjects of solar power, wind power, and nuclear power can find it in the following excellent, entertaining, and readable references:

    Nuclear Power:

    “Climate Gamble / How Antinuclear Activism is Endangering Our Future” by Partanen and Korhonen

    ($7.00 for the paperback, $2.00 for the Kindle edition)

    The fraud and scam that is solar and wind power:

    “The Roadmap to Nowhere” by Mike Conly and Tim Maloney.

    available free as a .pdf file at this site:

    https://www.roadmaptonowhere.com/

    The political perspective of authors of both of the above books appears to be leftist, oriented to social justice.

    There’s an earlier, shorter, easier and quicker to read book on the fraud that is solar and wind power. It’s extremely honest and accurate, and I’d have recommended it first over the better but much longer free book, above. But I hesitated to put it first because its author, an excellent scientist when it come to the subject of energy policy, whose writing on solar and wind and tidal and biomass power is of superlative accuracy and intellectual honesty, has a reputation tarred by his having put out a book denying climate change. And the guy likely is somewhat right wing, politically. However, in his book explaining why solar and wind power are frauds, he hardly mentioned global warming, and demolishes solar and wind fraud on strictly science and engineering grounds.

    Ideology-driven true-believers who substitute faith for evidence based science and science-based medicine… like John Reimann … those whose idea of writing a scientific paper is that of picking everything that supports his beliefs, regardless of its validity, and leaving out most of what might challenge his beliefs, no matter how solidly established and widely accepted by good science and medicine it is… will object to the fact that the superb book…

    “The Solar Fraud” by Howard Hayden
    https://www.amazon.com/Solar-Fraud-Energy-World-Second/dp/0971484546

    …was written by a right winger who denied global warming. And will not look at the arguments in the Solar Fraud book on their own merit.

    Such people fail to understand that if Hitler, Stalin, and Trump all stated that “2 + 2 = 4”, that DOES NOT make 2 + 2 not equal to 4.

    As Trotsky wrote: “Science and Art have their own rules” [Trotsky was warning against substituting political ideology for scientific method in determining scientific or medical truth, and against using ideology as the sole or even primary measure of artistic truth. John Reimann would likely have been at Stalin’s right hand when socialist realism and Lysenko’s theories were being mandated by the state.]

    Scientific and medical truth and validity are determined by good evidence, well and properly constructed
    studies adhering to good scientific method, and intellectual honesty. Not raving true belief and anecdotal reports. John completely fails to understanding this, given his apparent lack of any training or experience in scientific research or medical research or medicine.

    In part because of such credulous and ignorant individuals who support such lethal medical quackery as anti-VAXX propaganda and alternative medicine generally, deny science and oppose nuclear power, support the fraud and scam of solar and wind power (which forces commitment to continuing to burn fossil fuel for most of our electricity, and never ever has or can either cause the closing of a coal power plant or significantly in any sustained way reduce CO2 output from making electricity, as Germany has overwhelmingly proven) thousands to millions of workers and their chlidren sicken and die each year.

    Quackery and junk science IS NOT SOCIALISM. Rather, they are a murderous attack on the working masses. And on the environment, and all life on earth.

    —marty

    Martin H. Goodman MD
    B.A. in biochemistry (Harvard ’71)
    MD U.C.S.D. (’75)

    Director, Riazanov Library revolutionary digital archive projects

    • The good Doctor waffles on and on, with his first main point being that simple ordinary workers like myself should leave all scientific opinions to the experts like himself. And he has the gall to consider himself a socialist! Sorry, Doctor, but workers have the obligation to read all different scientists find and believe and then to make up our own minds! (I suppose he considers Theo Colborn to be a quack also. Or, more likely, he’s never heard of her.)

      That’s where he runs into an obvious problem, since he really doesn’t dispute the points made in the article by showing how the studies were wrong. Instead, he just dismisses it all as quackery. Saying something is so doesn’t make it so. It’s also interesting to note that he takes the same position as Trump’s “experts” on radiation. Maybe next he’ll join Trump on global warming!

      The good doctor gives us a lesson in arithmetic. He points out that no matter what scoundrel says 2+2=4, it still equals four. Of course he’s right. But here’s another little arithmetic lesson: The IPCC gives us about 10 years to make a major reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Yet it takes about that amount of time to simply build a nuclear plant. How does he plan to resolve that little problem? And, by the way, does the fact that I’m not a professional mathematician disqualify me from posing that little problem? Or maybe the good doctor simply disbelieves the scientific experts on the IPCC?

      In sum, I’d just say this: Even if we grant that the good Doctor is the final word on science and that we have to just leave it all to his wisdom because he knows all, then we have to say this: He may be the scientific expert but that’s where it stops. Even the good Doctor can’t be an expert on everything (despite what he seems to think). Therefore, our advice to the good Doctor is to confine himself to medicine and leave politics to those of us who are the real experts… the working class.

  2. We got a further similar polemic from the good doctor. It is filled with more of the ad hominem attacks and bald assertions without anything to back it up. It’s must more of the same – asserting that something is true and expecting everybody to believe it. It is similar in the world of politics in general; it’s all too common for somebody to call somebody else counter revolutionary, or reformist, or anything they like and just expect everybody to believe them. That is not the Marxist method and it is an insult to people’s intelligence. If and when the good doctor takes on a serious analysis of the specific issues raised here, rather than simply claiming that what was written is untrue without showing why, we will be happy to publish it. Until then, we prefer not to waste our space with his polemics.

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