Immediately after the Lima Climate Summit, there has been a spate of pro nuclear articles appearing in the media and across the Internet. In a surprising number of articles, the pro nuclear advocates are scientists, working in prestigious universities in UK, USA, and in Australia , too.
In Australia, this is orchestrated by Barry Brook, who purports to be a climate scientist, but whose agenda is clearly to promote nuclear power.
How is it that reputable scientists now fall for the propaganda for “new” small nuclear reactors – thorium reactors, which require plutonium and/or enriched uranium to function. These thorium nuclear designs are not new – they were designed and abandoned in USA decades ago. To have them in Australia would pretty well necessitate having the entire nuclear chain around our necks. They need plutonium to start with – so we’d have to import plutonium, or set up nuclear reactors to produce it. Similarly we’d have to set up uranium enrichment plants. We would need radioactive waste dumps, because, contrary to the thorium pushers’ propaganda, these reactors do produce highly toxic and long lasting radioactive wastes.
So – how come Australian and other scientists are now jumping on the nuclear thorium bandwagon? Some are simply paid by nuclear interests – like Stefan Simons and Pamela Sykes, in South Australia. Yes the nuclear industry has bought quite a few scientists internationally.
But it’s not that simple. Part of our Australian cultural cringe is that scientists are impressed by other scientists – feel that they should go along with the current tide, even if they haven’t done their homework on the issue. After all, they’re scientists, not economists or health experts, and there’s a prevailing cringing attitude that “hard scientists” i.e nuclear physicists “know best”.
Fortunately, Australia does have some scientists who do see the whole picture, and are not swayed by the present propaganda about nuclear power fixing climate change.