Nuclear Public Radio

On its "Weekend Edition Saturday" show, NPR aired a segment titled, "Environmentalists Rethink Stance on Nuclear Power." Who was their one example of an environmentalist turned nuclear power proponent? None other than Greenpeace co-founder turned industry flack Patrick Moore. (Environmental Defense's chief scientist was also interviewed, but cautioned about nuclear power's waste, safety and security issues.) After the first of Moore's two soundbites, NPR reporter Christopher Joyce did mention that Moore's "former [environmentalist] colleagues call him an eco-Judas. They note that Moore takes money from the nuclear industry to sing its praises. Moore replies that he embraced nuclear long before he took industry money." While NPR presented disclosure of Moore's gig as a paid spokesperson for the Nuclear Energy Institute as a "he said, she said" matter, NPR let stand without question Moore's assertion that clean power advocates either "have not done the arithmetic" or "don't realize" U.S. energy needs.


This week's "Living on Earth" (10/2/06) added to NPR's record of, shall we say, nuclear greenwashing disingenuity?

In an interview with Bruce Gellerman, Dr. Helen Caldicott thoroughly debunked the purported environmental friendliness of nuclear generators, enumerating all the up-front greenhouse gas costs of uranium mining, refining, and enrichment, not to mention the distinctly environmentally unfriendly problems of reactor accidents and radioactive waste storage. (For extra effect, she kicked Patrick Moore squarely in his metaphorical butt, pointing out that even Greenpeace disowned him.)

Caldicott's voice had hardly faded from the air when Gellerman turned to a candy-coated interview with Weather Channel "Climatologist" Heidi Cullen. (I'm not questioning whether Cullen has a credential; just pointing out that in her professional role, she is an info-tainer not a scientist.) Without the slightest demurrer, Gellerman allowed Cullen to insinuate that "a nuclear power plant being built in a small town in Georgia" was "an alternative energy option" to greenhouse gas-producing, climate-altering, fossil fuel-fired power plants.

Nathaniel Wander