Andrew Bolt can’t understand the difference between an atomic bomb and reactor meltdown. And really, the atomic bombings weren’t that bad…

Andrew Bolt, the Herald Sun’s resident climate change sceptic and all-round universal genius (how is it possible one man can prove every true expert on the planet wrong?) continues to downplay the serious of the situation in Japan.

I assume Andrew thinks being “against” nuclear energy is ploy be “greens” to de-industrialise the world.

Therefore he must – MUST – rush to defend nuclear power and downplay the risks.

Today’s parade of posts are amusing, and notable for their basic misunderstanding of the risks.

Bolt uses Nagasaki – the site of the second atomic bomb dropped during WW2 to counter the idea of that we should be concerned about the long-term effects of radiation:

“…Yes, if you have a massive nuclear explosion go off a kilometre away, there is a good chance you will die – probably from the blast itself, but in many cases from the radiation. If you are two kilometres away, you will almost certainly survive.

If you don’t die in the initial blast, or from burns or acute radiation sickness soon after, the chances are you will survive. It’s astonishing that “only” 400 or so people have since died of causes related to the blast…”

I mean, really the incarnation of 100,000s of people by the two atomic bombs weren’t that bad. I mean, it is surprising more didn’t die…

What’s the worry?

He then produces this image to “prove” everything will work out in the end:

He then states:

I really don’t think Americans and Australians need to panic for their safety, do you?

Oh Andrew, Andrew, Andrew…

The Japanese ARE panicked for their safety!

Nagasaki was a single incident. All the available “fuel” was consumed during the explosion. A leaking nuclear reactor continue to leak for centuries, and can’t be removed from its site.

It continues to remain a hazard.

Just like Chernobyl, which to this day has an extensive 30 km “zone of exclusion“:

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone, which is sometimes referred to as The Chernobyl Zone, The 30 Kilometer Zone, The Zone of Alienation, or simply The Zone (Ukrainian official designation: Зона відчуження Чорнобильської АЕС, zona vidchuzhennya Chornobyl’s’koyi AES, colloquially: Чорнобильська зона, Chornobyl’s’ka zona оr Четверта зона, Chetverta zona) is the 30 km/19 mi exclusion zone around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster and is administered by a special administration under the Ukrainian Ministry of Extraordinary Situations (Emergencies).

If you want to know what a city impacted by the “melt down” of a nuclear reactor actually looks like, then just look at Pripyat.

This city of 50,000 was evacuated following the Chernobyl disaster, and remains deserted to this day. The city is slowly falling apart, a sad reminder of the disaster that cost the lives of thousands.

This is what Pripyat looks like today:

And Andrew continues to push the lie that “only 50 or so people died”:.

Oh really?

Watch this to get an understanding of the human toll…

Warning the images will disturb:

Right now over 200,000 Japanese are fleeing the area around the reactor:

And Andrew thinks it is OK?

Nothing to worry about?

This is an enormous tragedy, and Andrew is trying to play it down?


39 thoughts on “Andrew Bolt can’t understand the difference between an atomic bomb and reactor meltdown. And really, the atomic bombings weren’t that bad…

  1. john byatt says:

    that sounds like just what we need , lets compare fukushima with Nagasaki


  2. Geoff Brown says:

    Gosh, you deniers never can get it right, can you. Your first line on Andrew Bolt – resident climate change sceptic. Oh no he’s not! Andrew, like all us sceptics would tell you that climate changers, that climate has always changed. It was the IPCC/CRU Climate Change Cabal that tried to pretend that climate never changed before the late 20th century warming.

    Self confessed Jonathan Overpeck pre hockey-stick –

    You deniers used to call us sceptics “AGW sceptics” but when the warming slowed or stopped, the deniers started calling it Climate change to “Hide the decline”


    Gee, I loved your last anti-Bolt post comparing the hypocrisy of Bolt’s -Trust the Government – Don’t trust the Government. Very clever and well phrased.

    But can’t you Deniers realise that us sceptic KNOW that climate changes. We are NOT climate change sceptics.

    • john byatt says:

      I loved your muller hide the decline drivel .

      Geoff B
      But can’t you Deniers realise that us sceptic KNOW that Global warming is always occurring we are not global warming sceptics

    • ianash says:

      That’s right support Bolt – the guy who thinks nuclear bombing of innocent people is a trivial matter. Deniers really are haters arent they Geoff.

      (and no we didnt miss the inbuilt racism in Bolt’s comments)

  3. john byatt says:

    Calling you on this Geoff

    You deniers used to call us sceptics “AGW sceptics” but when the warming slowed or stopped, the deniers started calling it Climate change to “Hide the decline”

    want to play with johnny?

  4. john byatt says:

    I will serve ,

    The First World Climate Conference recognized climate change as a serious problem in 1979. This scientific gathering explored how climate change might affect human activities. It issued a declaration calling on the world’s governments “to foresee and prevent potential man-made changes in climate that might be adverse to the well-being of humanity”. It also endorsed plans to establish a World Climate Programme (WCP) under the joint responsibility of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU).

    A number of intergovernmental conferences focusing on climate change were held in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Together with increasing scientific evidence, these conferences helped to raise international concern about the issue. Participants included government policy-makers, scientists, and environmentalists. The meetings addressed both scientific and policy issues and called for global action. The key events were the Villach Conference (October 1985), the Toronto Conference (June 1988), the Ottawa Conference (February 1989), the Tata Conference (February 1989), the Hague Conference and Declaration (March 1989), the Noordwijk Ministerial Conference (November 1989), the Cairo Compact (December 1989), the Bergen Conference (May 1990), and the Second World Climate Conference (November 1990).

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its First Assessment Report in 1990. Established in 1988 by UNEP and WMO, the Panel was given a mandate to assess the state of existing knowledge about the climate system and climate change; the environmental, economic, and social impacts of climate change; and the possible response strategies. Approved after a painstaking peer review process, the Report confirmed the scientific evidence for climate change. This had a powerful effect on both policy-makers and the general public and provided the basis for negotiations on the Climate Change Convention.

    In December 1990, the UN General Assembly approved the start of treaty negotiations. The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change (INC/FCCC) met for five sessions between February 1991 and May 1992. Facing a strict deadline – the June 1992 Rio “Earth Summit” – negotiators from 150 countries finalized the Convention in just 15 months. It was adopted in New York on 9 May 1992.

    The 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed by 154 states (plus the EC) at Rio de Janeiro. Twenty years after the 1972 Stockholm Declaration first laid the foundations of contemporary environmental policy, the Earth Summit became the largest-ever gathering of Heads of State. Other agreements adopted at Rio were the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Forest Principles.

  5. john byatt says:

    The media started to use the term global warming after Hansen Congress warning , The republicans (deniers) did not like the term so sort to change it back to its original and correct term of climate change, but not for the reason you may think


    In an advisory memo to the Republican Party written in 2002, political strategist
    Frank Luntz said, “It’s time for us to start talking about ‘climate change’ instead
    of global warming. … ‘Climate change’ is less frightening than ‘global warming.’ As
    one focus group participant noted, climate change ‘sounds like you’re going from
    Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale.’ While global warming has catastrophic connotations
    attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional
    challenge” (Luntz 2002, p. 142).
    Luntz went on: “Republicans can redefine the environmental debate and make
    inroads on what conventional wisdom calls a traditionally Democratic constituency,
    because we offer better policy choices to the Washington-run Bureaucracy. But we
    have to get the talk right to capture that segment of the public that is willing to give
    President Bush the benef it of the doubt on the environment—and they are out there
    waiting. The words on these pages are tested—they work!” (Luntz 2002, p. 142,
    emphasis added).

    ,IT failed to have any impact on opinions polls however as most knew that the terms were interchangeable,,

    • JeffT says:

      Nice copy and paste B3,
      No question, no thought, just copy and paste.
      Dumb, robotic, programmed response from a denier warmista.
      Psst !

      • john byatt says:

        you still have problems with your displayed ignorance to the paper that you linked on the other thread ,

        all you are doing now is confirming your failure to address issues,

        Porkie “i don’t know stuff all so i will just yell poo when i am stumped”

      • ianash says:

        Ah JeffT, back again to lose another argument. Are you a racist Japanese hater like Bolt?

  6. JeffT says:

    Oh John Byatt (B3 & B4),
    Displaying ignorance is your stock in trade.
    The other thread is the other thread, do you want to cross post in your ignorance ?

    Now that you’ve had your wonk, why don’t you go The Australian Greens website and see what their policies and platform are regarding nuclear energy.
    No nuclear power stations in Australia,
    No mining of uranium in Australia, once contractual agreement have finished their term. Uranium mining to cease.

    Then see what they offer for electrical energy – solar (must be PV, no solar concentrators, as that would mean grid connected power lines).
    Geo-thermal (ask Tim Flannery how much he collected out of that failed venture.)
    Wind farms – say no more, only works when ths wind blows, at the right speed, and consume energy to keep them alive when there’s not enough wind. They are known to breakdown, catch fire and drop burning debris on the ground – real intelligent in Australia, with bush fires as a hazard during dry conditions.

    No new dams.

    I’d just love to know how Bob Brown warms his residence during the Tasmanian winter.
    Maybe JB3 knows. Maybe he could cut and paste the answer.

    • ianash says:

      Hahaha JeffT, you cant even get the basics of denial correct. You have to stick to one well discredited point and bang on about it endlessly. If you chop and chnage you look like a wingnut…which no doubt you are…

      Your drivel proves the knucklescrapers like you and TCS Party really have no idea. Back to the 9//11 truther and UFO websites for you young fella!

  7. Bolt’s a pig that appeals only to Australia’s rednecks. He should try out for a job with FoxNews – I’m sure that’d pay him big bucks to sprout his usual nonsense. On the other hand, I guess The Australian isn’t far off Fox anyway and seeing as HS seems to stand behind Andrew Dolt, I mean Bolt, that rag can’t be any better.
    You make a good point – the energy is largely spent following a bomb and radiation in the area doesn’t last that long in high levels (depending on the material). This stuff is enriched and will continue to radiate for a long time.
    What’s always stuck me is the waste – they have to use energy to keep the waste cool. Why the hell is it waste if there’s so much heat available? Then again, I’m not a physicist and have limited understanding of nuclear fuel.

  8. john byatt says:

    nuclear fuel currently only uses about 1% of the available energy, their are new reactors in the pipeline which will be able to use most of the remaining energy,

    there is a lot of good stuff in the nuclear pipeline but we just do not have the time , down the track, if we get there, then some really good stuff coming , thorium as mentioned and reactors that reduce the fuel to a condition that it would be useless for bombs ,

    i would say that bob brown probably uses timber fuel or even recycles paper
    as most in tasmania, so recycled carbon at worst , not fossil fuel that is for sure .

    • BNC? Barry Brook talks a lot about the 4th gen reactors.. Can’t say I’m completely against them, but I’m more in favour of diversifying our energy supply rather than, as some of Barry’s favourite commentators would argue, continuing business as usual on reactors rather than fossil fuel.

    • JeffT says:

      John Byatt B3 & B4,
      This I will agree with you on re nuclear not using the available energy efficiently.
      The reactors damaged in Fukushima were stated as 40 year old GE designed.
      There are newer designs that would take into account disasters such as Three Mile Island.
      But installation of any nuclear reactor adjacent to an active fault line, in a known earthquake area such as Japan, is gambling with peoples lives.

      Logically for Australia, Thorium based reactors should be implemented, as Australia also has the worlds largest sources of Thorium, which has been treated as a waste product up until present. India and China have working Thorium reactors as pilots, the US has also been working on Thorium power. The US also has a stockpile of Thorium material, left over from the Manhattan Project and later atomic weapons projects.

      Use of information about Chernobyl is not relevant, as it was an old Soviet design, lacking safeguards and poor containment. Using pictures and stories about Chernobyl, Nagasaki and Hiroshima is emotive, but just reinforces known nuclear contamination effects.

      From pictures of Bob Browns residence producing bluish smoke from the chimney, it is probably wood smoke.
      If it is wood smoke, it would mean he is using material which should be left on the ground. (according to greens policies – leave it on the ground.

      Use of wood for fuel results increased the air borne particles responsible for brown haze smog, and is higher than diesel in particulate matter.
      See DECCW –
      So it is not just “recycled carbon at worst”, it would be better to use oil heating (fossil fuel).

      From Health Canada:

      One of the by-products of wood burning is (wood) creosote, a product (chemically similar to pitch ) that used to be used to treat railway sleepers
      for termite and wood rot prevention ,but was found to be carcinogenic.

  9. Sou says:

    Bolt must think his current crew is not loony enough, so he’s weeding out the more compassionate, thinking, almost rational loonies so he can talk just to those of his own kind.

    BTW – I took this screenshot of a climate ‘tax’ survey Julie Bishop had up on her website for a couple of weeks. She’s taken it down now, along with all previous surveys that she used to have! Probably didn’t like it that 80.2% of her website visitors support a carbon tax 🙂

    • john byatt says:

      Don’t think that our Jefft will abandon bolt !!

      just a guess

      • JeffT says:

        John Byatt B3 & B4,
        Sorry to be a disappointment re Andrew Bolt, but I don’t agree with a lot of Bolt’s journalism.
        But when he uses links to articles that can be cross referenced, yes I will take notice.

        It’s amazing how net polls can be stacked isn’t it?

        Sen Bishop’s climate tax poll at 80.2% is completely inconsistent with many other polls. (have you been busy on your ‘puter ?)
        And check the US polls on Cap and Tax, CO2 relevance, just for a comparison.

        With all the monies being spent on hammering CPRS, ETS, now carbon tax into the public, it should have resulted in complete climate reversal, with even Hell freezing over. (LOL)
        Yes, possibly that’s what is happening.

  10. john byatt says:

    Last time when the CPRS was on, the loonies at steve fielding blog were sending out multiple emails daily, so loonies like Joyce Barnaby would not check names for multiple posts, just count them up as they supported his loony logic

    , did not hear much about the protest rallies up here ,

  11. Watching the Deniers says:

    Situation is getting… well… interesting?

    World anger and frustration is growing at “misinformation” surrounding the deepening nuclear crisis in Japan from the company that operates the ravaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant.

    An Australian nuclear expert is among a chorus of international voices questioning Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (Tepco) ability to handle the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

    The criticism comes after Tepco’s conflicting reports and ambiguous and evasive language this week as the Fukushima situation worsened.

    • JeffT says:

      Now we’ve got Prof Barry Brook and BNC in the equation – Wonder if he has used his connection to Supreme Master Ching Hai as a source of this information ?
      He has done at least two “interviews” on the SuMa television/satellite system with Ching Hai, mostly on cow burps, vegetarianism, climate change.
      Don’t take my word for it (which you won’t )
      Look it up FYI.
      Here’s the result of a quick search on Barry Brook/Supreme Master TV||wr_content&sop=and&stx=Barry+Brook
      Gives you a menu to select from.

      And you lot like to knock, criticise and ad hom Barry Brook’s neighbour down the corridor in the Univ of Adelaide – Ian Plimer.

      • john byatt says:

        Why are you so thick, by reducing methane from cattle you increase productivity

        Methane is a potent greenhouse gas associated with global climate changes. Ruminant livestock are the
        largest source of methane in Australia. In cattle, methane is produced naturally as a by-product of digestion that
        is eventually breathed out, eructated or passed in the flatus. Methane production in cattle is also associated with
        loss of productivity, therefore strategies to mitigate methane emissions from cattle are desirable for both
        environmental and production reasons. Prior to investigating such mitigation strategies in Victoria, methods need
        to be established for measuring methane emissions in free-grazing cows. Such techniques exist overseas but have
        not been commissioned for use on dairy cattle in Australia.

        why do we have to suffer these porkie telling ignorant fools?

  12. john byatt says:

    Before this nuclear threat brave new climate had about 500,000 hits, they have just passed the two million mark,

    We must understand that while the Jap Nuclear industry may be downplaying much, the Media has also been involved in news by headline



    Barry’s Mea culpa moment was yesterday but you will get real nuclear physicists commenting, without being on the ground though this is very difficult,

    Lets all hope that even his his ignorance Dolt gets to say “i told you so”


  13. Spatch says:

    Just in – If this is correct then Fukushima is completely FUKED!

    Reporting from Los Angeles, Kesennuma, Japan, and— U.S. government nuclear experts believe a spent fuel pool at Japan’s crippled Fukushima reactor complex has a breach in the wall or floor, a situation that creates a major obstacle to refilling the pool with cooling water and keeping dangerous levels of radiation from escaping.

    That assessment by U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials is based on the sequence of events since the earthquake and information provided by key American contractors who were in the plant at the time, said government officials familiar with the evaluation. It was compelling evidence, they said, that the wall of the No. 4 reactor pool has a significant hole or crack.

    A breach in the pool would leave engineers with a problem that has no precedent or ready-made solution, said Edwin Lyman, a physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    “My intuition is that this is a terrible situation and it is only going to get worse,” he said. “There may not be any way to deal with it.”,0,2262753.story


    Must watch video. (if only for the cool touch screens)

  14. JeffT says:

    john byatt @ (05:10:07) :
    You really missed the point AGAIN didn’t you JB ?

    Giving me a lecture on the production of methane from ruminants is stupid and unwarranted.

    If you must lecture about ruminants, ask yourself about the cattle, goats, sheep, giraffes, bison, moose, elk, yaks, water buffalo, deer, camels, alpacas, llamas, wildebeest, antelope, pronghorn, and nilgai , that all have some form of rumen to allow consumed vegetation to be partially digested by bacteria in this first stomach. (and produce methane )
    Even reindeer are ruminants, so Rudolph also burps methane.
    Would you like to fit all these variety of animals with methane measuring equipment ?

    The point of the post was the credibility of a professor who has involvement with a cult figure in the form of “Supreme Master” Ching Hai, a self proclaimed leader, who claims she has a “direct connection to God”.

    Watch the videos, complete with B.B.’s shining dome.

    “why do we have to suffer these porkie telling ignorant fools?”

    Look it all up turkey neck, before you show some more of your intellectual inadequacy.

    • JeffT says:

      And if you can’t find the subject, just go to the websites Home page and enter –
      Barry Brook – in the search box.

      Credibility ? climate change partially caused by cattle and sheep ?

      And you are sprouting off about Bolt’s credibility.

    • john byatt says:

      so you do not think that increasing productivity is a good idea ,,
      cow- cockies might not agree with you

      therefore strategies to mitigate methane emissions from cattle are desirable for both
      environmental and production reasons.

  15. JeffT says:

    @ ianash (12:08:32) :

    Apparently you are either a member of The Australian Greens, and don’t like the policies brought into scrutiny or-

    You haven’t had a good read of The Australian Greens policies as posted on their website.

    It’s is only a conspiracy if it is out of sight, a conspiracy to deceive.
    This is not the case, the website is freely available.
    So that shoots holes in your blind denier statement:-

    “Your drivel proves the knucklescrapers like you and TCS Party really have no idea. Back to the 9//11 truther and UFO websites for you young fella! ”

    Been out watching the visiting extra-terrestrials ?

    No ianash, that’s a Supermoon, a full moon on the 19th March, closer to Earth, 14% larger than normal.

    And it’s the Apocalypse coming (LOL).
    Think I’ll go “scrape some knuckles”, or maybe “drag some knuckles”
    You is such funny fellas on “Wait till Dark” ( WtD). Especially young Johhny.

  16. john byatt says:

    most people in tas do not produce smoke from their fires except for light up, and use dried low creosote timber, otherwise you can end up with a flue fire , you city slickers

    “If you can see or smell smoke from your wood heater then you are causing a problem for yourself, your family and your neighbors.”

    as they say a little knowledge is dangerous

  17. JeffT says:

    Jeez John Byatt,
    Right on time, another thing you can DENY –
    Bob Brown’s home in Tasmania, with the Senator out the front feeding horses.
    Reported surprisingly, The Sydney Morning Herald.

    This is not the photo I have seen previously, which was a couple of years ago, but the smoke from his chimney is still the same light blue smoke that comes from wood burning, and still is a source of CO2 and particulate matter.
    Don’tya just love hypocrites.

    • john byatt says:

      how do you communicate with these people, again re bob browns fire

      john byatt (14:01:18) :
      most people in tas do not produce smoke from their fires except for light up, and use dried low creosote timber, otherwise you can end up with a flue fire , you city slickers

      “If you can see or smell smoke from your wood heater then you are causing a problem for yourself, your family and your neighbors.”

      as they say a little knowledge is dangerous


  18. john byatt says:

    Geoff it is not fossil fuel.

    in major areas of Africa the poor rely on the burning of timber for cooking, warming,

    they are not adding to atmospheric levels of CO2 as they are using carbon that is a natural part of the current cycle

    in your absurdity you are in effect blaming the Africans for there use of timber as fuel while excusing yourself for using fossil fuel.
    knew that you did not have a clue on the difference ,

    most of the poor of Africa are not just Carbon neutral they actually, by their lifestyle offset some of our atmospheric indulgence ,

    no wonder no one bothers reading your blog, its crap

    got you sockies and sandals ready for next week? don’t forget a sensible cardigan .

    hold up a sign

    “carbon related extra tax is no-go”

    CRETIN, should do ya

  19. JeffT says:

    John Byatt,
    I presume the “Geoff” and the insults above are directed at me –
    My ID is JeffT.
    It was a question I asked, what does Sen Bob Brown warm his house with in the cold Tasmanian winters ?
    No one mentioned Africans or for that matter carbon pricing rallies, except John Byatt, who likes to obscurant the scene.

    If you had the guts to talk about Africans and their wood burning, we can add cattle dung to the mix, because a lot do not have access to wood – due to the wholesale movement of native populations by green do-gooders, with an agenda. Then they die from lung diseases at the ripe old age of around 30 year old – Just what you carbonista eugenicists would like.
    Add reference to Paul Driessen’s “Green Power – Black Death” for good measure.
    In your instance John Byatt, the banner you could wave would carry the slogan:-
    ” I am a Carbonista CRETIN “. Actually it would look better on a sandwich board, with the slogan “End of the World is Nigh” on the alternate side.

  20. john byatt says:

    You both sound the same i will call you both Geff,

    bob brown warms his house with wood, Africans cook and warm with wood, wood is atmospheric carbon neutral it is part of the current carbon cycle.

    bush fires are carbon neutral, it grows back in a few years

    geff by reducing the methane emissions of their cattle the farmers will increase productivity , more yummy t bones geff

    Now what are you on about with this jumble of contradiction

    If you had the guts to talk about Africans and their wood burning, we can add cattle dung to the mix, because a lot do not have access to wood – due to the wholesale movement of native populations by green do-gooders, with an agenda. Then they die from lung diseases at the ripe old age of around 30 year old – ?????

  21. john byatt says:

    Australians are lucky to have Bob Brown

    from geffs smh story

    This weekend Senator Bob Brown gives his property ‘‘oura oura’’ in Tasmania’s Liffey Valley to conservation group, Bush Heritage Australia. Photographs by Angela Wylie, Words by Michael Gordon

  22. Watching the Deniers says:

    John Quiggen has a good article:

    “…As the crisis in Japan continues to worsen, advocates of nuclear power have hastened to offer reassurance that their preferred power source is still a viable option in the race to replace carbon-based sources of energy. The earthquake and tsunami represent an extreme worst case, unlike to be observed in less seismically active areas than Japan.

    So far at least, the worst case outcomes of a core meltdown and Chernobyl-style release of radioactivity have been avoided. Although some radioactive steam has been omitted, the total health risks remain far below those of coal-fired power, even disregarding CO2 emissions.

    As Ziggy Switkowski observed yesterday, “We will learn from the tragic Japanese experience how to build more robust reactors, how to ensure multiple layers of protection work properly, how to better contain radioactive gases,”

    All these points are valid, but, unfortunately, irrelevant. The attempt to restart the nuclear industry, sometimes optimistically called the ‘nuclear renaissance’ was already on the edge of failure before this crisis. Even with the best possible outcomes from the current crisis, nuclear power is off the agenda for a decade or more, at least in the developed world.

    The nuclear renaissance was launched in the United States by George W Bush with the Nuclear Power 2010 program, unveiled in 2002. This was followed by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which authorized $18.5 billion in loan guarantees. All of these initiatives were carried on and extended by the Obama Administration, which proposing to triple federal loan guarantees.

    The initial reaction was highly positive, with dozens of proposals being announced. By the end of 2008, 26 proposals had been received by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But by the end of 2010, more than half of these had been abandoned, and ground had been broken on only two sites, with a total of four reactors. In October 2010, Constellation Energy pulled out of a joint venture with French firm EDF, saying that more loan guarantees, with less stringent conditions, were needed. Similar problems have emerged in France, Finland and other developed countries, where construction projects have encountered delays and massive cost over-runs, with the result that plans for expansion have been scaled back sharply.

    Even assuming the best possible outcome from the Japanese crisis, the economic case for nuclear power, already fragile, has been severely, and probably fatally, damaged. At least eleven reactors have been taken off line. Three of the reactors at the Fukushima site have already been rendered permanently inoperable by the pumping of seawater into the storage pools and three others may follow. The evacuation of 200 000 people, at a time when the earthquake and tsunami have already stretched resources to the limit, will have massive costs, running into the billions unless the situation is resolved rapidly.”

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