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Get Ready for The Nuclear Energy Spin Assault

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The tragedy in Japan will quickly produce an army of PR flacks, fighting to protect the interests of those who have a stake in the building and maintaining of nuclear reactors and related nuclear energy facilities.

We know, from Wendell Potter's book, Deadly Spin, that there is a pattern of reaction that major industries engage in when they consider themselves under attack. The industry's primary corporations will work together to establish teams assigned to minimize damage and control message.

A Wall Street Journal article, Japan Nuclear Crisis Could Cause Reassessment in U.S. reports "The U.S. nuclear power industry believed it was poised for a renaissance." The industry had been "chipping away" at US citizens' concerns about nuclear power that developed in response to the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island disasters.

Further, President Obama's proposed budget has $35 billion in loan guarantees to fund new Nuclear reactors.  Obama has political capital invested in Nuclear energy, just as he had foolhardily invested political capital in offshore drilling-- a mistake made painfully evident when BP's Macondo well exploded.

it is becoming clear that the Japanese were lied to, at least at first, about just how bad things were.

Already, the spin has begun. The Wall Street Journal article reports,
Mitch Singer, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry trade group  said the explosion should reassure Americans that their own plants will be prepared for any emergency, because the industry will disseminate lessons learned in Japan around the globe, helping other reactors shore up their defenses against even devastating natural disasters, like the quake and the tsunami that followed. 

"At this point," Mr. Singer said, "I don't think we're going to see a major impact on the U.S. nuclear industry."

I think we can assume that Singer's statement is what the Nuclear Energy industry WANTS.

A New York Times article, Crisis Underscores Fears About Safety of Nuclear Energy, gives an indication of the kinds of PR flacking that can be expected.  The NY Times quotes Nils J. Diaz, former head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 2003-2006 under George W. Bush. We might assume that as a Bush appointee his role was most like deregulation rather than regulation. Not surprisingly, the NY Times, quotes Diaz criticizing Japan, suggesting that the disasters occurred because of too many regulations. The Times article reports,
Mr. Diaz suggested that the Japanese might have acted too slowly to prevent overheating, including procedures that might have required the venting of small amounts of steam and radiation, rather than risk a wholesale meltdown. Fear among Japanese regulators over public reaction to such small releases may have delayed plant operators from acting as quickly as they might have, he said -- a problem arising in part from the country's larger nuclear regulatory culture. 

"They would rather wait and do things in a perfect manner instead of doing it as good as it needs to be now," Mr. Diaz said. "And this search for perfection has often led to people sometimes hiding things or waiting too long to do things."

What the New York Times fails to do is report what is easily Googled, that Diaz is now chief strategic officer for Blue Castle Holdings, a Utah Nuclear Energy company. It's not hard to guess how the senators from Utah will lean in dealing with nuclear regulations.

Perhaps most important, we see the NY Times first report that people have had concerns, followed by citing of experts who say there is nothing to worry about. later in the article, the writers pass onto readers this unattributed statement that could easily be a PR operatives perfect plant, "In the case of Saturday's blast, experts said that problem was avoidable." It is followed by a closing assurance, "Mr. Diaz said that a comprehensive nuclear power plant safety program developed in the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks would have prevented a similar accident at any of the nation's nuclear facilities."

Ha'aretz reports, in an article, Japan nuclear blast could be more deadly than Chernobyl, experts fear. Have we heard this from the US media?

No. We get this kind of message: Nothing to worry about. Don't interfere with the building of eight more US nuclear reactors before 2020. Don't increase the regulations and safety assessments of the existing 104 nuclear reactors in 31 states producing 20% of the USA's electricity.

And with Obama so heavily politically invested in nuclear energy, we can expect to see a slow, weak response, with obscure information from government officials, exactly as we saw during the BP disaster. It doesn't have to be that way. There's a chance there are people of integrity working in the Nuclear Energy field. Will they risk losing their jobs?

The American media are owned by major corporations. Will they follow in the footsteps of the NY Times, which already failed to do its job, simply informing readers who it was using as expert sources?

Wendell Potter has reported that there are far more people working as PR flacks than there are journalists, and the PR people are paid a lot more. We can expect a major investment in putting spin on nuclear safety and regulations and not much push-back from most of the mainstream media. It will take a bottom-up, grass-roots, alternative media, blogosphere, twitter, Facebook uprising to get the word out and counter the messaging that has already begun.


 

Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of Storycon.org, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

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With his experience as architect and founder of a technorati top 100 blog, he is also a new media / social media consultant and trainer for corporations, non-profits, entrepreneurs and authors.

Rob is a frequent Speaker on the bottom-up revolution, politics, The art, science and power of story, heroes and the hero's journey and Positive Psychology. He is a campaign consultant specializing in tapping the power of stories for issue positioning, stump speeches and debates, and optimizing tapping the power of new media. Watch me speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

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Wash, rinse, spin. Wash, rinse, spin. Repeat. ... by Ned Lud on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 9:13:13 AM
The tragedy in Japan will quickly produce an army... by Joe Reeser on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 10:13:31 AM
Atta boy, Joe.Me and you and a dog named Boo, trav... by Ned Lud on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 10:27:56 AM
This is precisely the intellectual level of respon... by Phil Weingart on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 5:04:11 PM
I only use facts when they are, in fact, useful. T... by Ned Lud on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 6:22:41 PM
I'm not sure whether you are a fool, stupid or jus... by Rob Kall on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 6:19:09 AM
I agree with ya Rob 110%... by Georga Grivois on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 2:30:33 PM
You got this right!... by Georga Grivois on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 2:32:27 PM
But the progressive PR machine is a kind of patche... by James Hadstate on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 8:23:22 AM
Fukushima # 3 uses MOX, a different, Plutonium ba... by Stephen Salgaller on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 11:07:46 AM
Very good to point this out. It tells us that Plut... by Vaikunthanath Kaviraj on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 12:20:43 PM
As Vaikkanath points out, "It tells us that Pluton... by James Hadstate on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 8:43:12 AM
of the National Resources Defense Council give a t... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 11:20:16 AM
When I was growing up in NYC, ConEd, the local ele... by Paul Roden on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 11:36:11 AM
What everyone promoting nuke power plants forgets ... by Vaikunthanath Kaviraj on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 12:14:32 PM
Your availability statistics are ridiculous. The N... by Phil Weingart on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 5:30:32 PM
the victims of Chernobyl. At least the ones who ar... by Daniel Geery on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 7:04:35 AM
may well become as evident as the wartime nukes in... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 12:22:03 PM
It has been known since the advent of nuclear ener... by Bill Cain on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 1:20:21 PM
What magical technologies would those be? and what... by Phil Weingart on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 4:57:52 PM
Don't worry Bill, when you get one of these it's a... by steve windisch on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 8:08:49 PM
continued from above comment.Besides the above tha... by steve windisch on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 8:16:45 PM
The zero-point energy is the minimum energy a quan... by Maxwell on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 1:02:01 PM
Sorry, but Dr. Claus Turtur of Germany has proved ... by steve windisch on Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 7:57:05 AM
There are dozens of examples of free energy invent... by Bill Cain on Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 2:53:18 PM
Show me how to build an "over unity" system and I ... by Maxwell on Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011 at 10:42:06 AM
Oh, you read Dr. Nocera's paper and are qualified ... by steve windisch on Friday, Mar 18, 2011 at 8:53:29 PM
Yeah, anything that is not understood in the scien... by Bill Cain on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 11:03:35 AM
He warned FDR about using nuclear for energy. He s... by shirley reese on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 1:28:57 PM
Big banks and corporations sponsor elected officia... by Steven G. Erickson on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 2:11:20 PM
Ha ha ha Rob, this is a funny story, like when a l... by Tim Fromla on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 2:35:11 PM
Often lost in the various discussions on the benef... by George Hug on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 2:46:39 PM
I saw, on "that bastion of liberalism"... MSNBC (s... by steve windisch on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 3:14:08 PM
There's petroleum and its evidently endless wars. ... by GLloyd Rowsey on Sunday, Mar 13, 2011 at 11:47:56 PM
You must have crawled back into your backyard bomb... by James Hadstate on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 9:02:28 AM
We can say with near certainty (as only the unfear... by Ned Lud on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 10:56:14 AM
Try not to connect support for safe nuclear power ... by GLloyd Rowsey on Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 12:59:34 AM
Toxicity is not aided with the application of perf... by Ned Lud on Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 7:22:20 AM
.... I think worth considering:"I am writing this ... by Natalie Oberman on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 3:04:42 AM
Yes and let's not be idiots about the important us... by Ned Lud on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 11:08:03 AM
It's obvious you know little about the nuclear pow... by April Legate on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 7:11:16 AM
That playing with loaded guns could be dangerous. ... by Ned Lud on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 11:18:24 AM
YOU are a PR specialist. And you just signed up t... by Rob Kall on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 1:32:23 PM
Sorry, Rob. I am not now nor have I ever been any ... by April Legate on Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 at 7:28:49 AM
need the Price-Anderson Act to protect them?http:/... by Daniel Geery on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 1:44:00 PM
If we threaten Santa Claus, he might just end the ... by Ned Lud on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 3:50:03 PM
but you are doing a dogshit job of responding. Her... by Daniel Geery on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 5:49:07 PM
My thoughts on your article are simple: It's nothi... by April Legate on Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 at 8:17:38 AM
I wasn't trying to blow you off or start some sort... by April Legate on Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 at 8:33:25 AM
gladly repeat and elaborate on here: Why do the bo... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 at 10:55:13 AM
I'm not an expert in the Price-Anderson Act. I've ... by April Legate on Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 at 1:26:43 PM
and really do sympathize. My Dad (88) is doing tha... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 at 3:16:24 PM
The nuclear plants in the US are worlds safer than... by April Legate on Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 at 5:40:18 PM
It's getting harder and harder to take these clima... by Natalie Oberman on Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 12:53:12 AM
I don't think it behooves liberals/progressives wh... by Maxwell on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 11:03:10 AM
Well, I definitely do not think that the snail dar... by Ned Lud on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 11:26:38 AM
"Well, I definitely do not think that the snail da... by Maxwell on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 2:24:48 PM
Hey Max.I was referring to the fact that science--... by Ned Lud on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 3:39:08 PM
The "Atoms for Peace" program, launched after the ... by Maxwell on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 11:51:52 AM
...but with the requirement that every single plan... by Nikk Katzman on Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 12:22:39 PM
One of the sites I've worked on actually has the p... by April Legate on Monday, Mar 21, 2011 at 6:13:16 AM