George Monbiot Goes Nuclear and I Give Up Predicting the World

Monbiot is the Great Leftist Enviroweirdo of all time, so when I read one of his columns and find myself nodding enthusiastically, it either means there’s hope for the world or that the physicists are right about the Brane Multiverse and I’ve just dropped into one of the alternatives by means of a metaphysical accident: 

You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.

A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.

What can I say? You’re right, George Monbiot. 

Wow, roll that sentence around in your mouth a bit. You’re right, George Monbiot. Doesn’t that feel weird? It’s kind of messing with my mind, I have to say. It’s making me wonder if the sun’s even going to rise tomorrow.

  1. Kennedy Smith

     Wow.  Unlike a stopped clock, he’s not even right once a day.  What happened?  Maybe it was that axis shift caused by the quake.

    However, this reminds me, O Editrix of the International Desk, we should really get Tim Blair on a podcast.  Somebody (Lileks?) mentioned him last week.  Gaia-worship is his beat, especially with the Australian Carbon Tax coming down the pike.  And he’s a Murdoch employee with occasional broadcast experience.  Plus he sometimes shows up stateside to hang out with Iowahawk. 

    For the suggestion box.

  2. Cas Balicki

    Even Monbiot can’t deny the laws of physics.

  3. Robert Barraud Taylor
    Cas Balicki: Even Monbiot can’t deny the laws of physics. · Mar 22 at 10:15am

    That’s never stopped him before.

  4. CoolHand

    His logic is sound, at least on this single topic, save one caveat.

    Even after being hit with the quake, tsunami, and power outage, all at once, the plant still didn’t breach containment and cause loss of life.

    To me, that sounds like highly adequate safety features coupled with sound construction, rather than the inadequate features and corner cutting construction he claims.

    I will never understand why people conflate ensuring public safety with never allowing physical plant damage.

    It is entirely possible for a engineered system to fail utterly and destroy itself without ever endangering public health.

    That’s what happened here.

    The plant is gonna be a near total loss, IMO.  The four reactors in question will almost certainly be written off.

    And yet, the safety measures did their jobs, and the damage to the surrounding areas seems to be minimal, with no attendant loss of life.

    From an engineering standpoint, that’s a win.

  5. Irene F. Starkehaus
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Monbiot is the Great Leftist Enviroweirdo of all time, so when I read one of his columns and find myself nodding enthusiastically, it either means there’s hope for the world or that the physicists are right about the Brane Multiverse and I’ve just dropped into one of the alternatives by means of a metaphysical accident:   

    Slightly off topic, but this possibly one of the greatest paragraphs written…ever.

  6. Claire Berlinski
    C
    Cranky1

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Monbiot is the Great Leftist Enviroweirdo of all time, so when I read one of his columns and find myself nodding enthusiastically, it either means there’s hope for the world or that the physicists are right about the Brane Multiverse and I’ve just dropped into one of the alternatives by means of a metaphysical accident:   

    Slightly off topic, but this possibly one of the greatest paragraphs written…ever. · Mar 22 at 2:53pm

    That’s definitely the best comment written so far on Ricochet … ever. 

  7. Chris Johnson

     Cranky is right and Kennedy echoed my thoughts; Tim Blair would be fun.  I’m already looking forward to his reaction to this story.

    As to Monbiot (and Coolhand), I have been thinking the same things: for a crappy old plant, WOW it has hung in there!

  8. sierra

    Paul Krugman: “Perhaps we’re spending a bit too much.”

  9. Humphrey Benjamin

    Monbiot has gone against green orthodoxy before. Unlike most enviro-luddites, he does seem to believe in his cause without the hidden agenda that most of the movement carries with it. As such, he is willing to accept nuclear as the best possible source to replace fossil fuels that we have now. All environmentalists should be hugely pro-nuclear based on the scientific evidence. Unfortunately, facts are of no use to them  unless they conform to their pre-conceived notions. Reasonably priced, clean power plus desalination through waste heat are two huge pluses on the enviro side that I would think far outweigh any risks.

  10. TheRoyalFamily

    I’m surprised that he was “neutral” on the subject before. Usually his type is irrationally anti-nuke. Shows he has at least one logic circuit in his head. This issue seems to have jammed it, so that nothing else could have its use.