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Earth News
Written by Joan Russow
Friday, 05 February 2016 13:37


At cop21, The IAEA was continuing the promotion of Nuclear energy:


 Nuclear power can make a "significant contribution" to combatting climate change - "one of the most important environmental challenges facing the world today" - while providing energy for economic growth, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The IAEA yesterday announced the publication of its report entitled Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2015. The annual publication, it says, "provides a comprehensive review of the potential role of nuclear power in mitigating global climate change and its contribution to other economic, energy and environmental challengers." The report also looks at the economics of nuclear energy, safety, waste management and non-proliferation.





 IN 1992  I attended, on behalf of the Whistler Foundation For a Sustainable Environment,the United Nations Conference on Climate Change and distributed an Statement prepared by”Dr Fred Knelman, Vice President of the Whistler Foundation For a Sustainable Environment; and Dr David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.


Nobel Laureate Statement to UNCED 92

In the statement which was signed by the following Nobel Laureates;  was the  Call


·        to establish a time –table for phasing our fossil fuel and nuclear energy and for the rapid development of solar and other forms of non-polluting energy, and for more efficient energy use;


Signed: Gerd Binnig, The XI  Dalai Lama, Leo Esaki, Val L. Fitch, Herbert A. Hauptman, Dudley Herschbach, GerhardHerzberg, David H. Hubel, Jerome Karle, Gregory S. Kavka, Klaus von Klitzing, Leon M. Lederman, Yuan T. Lee, Wassily Leontief,  Bernard Lown, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Barbara McClintock, J.E. Meade, Sinon van der Meer, Bruce Merrifield, Marshall W. Nirenberg, Linus Pauling, John Polanyi, Carlo Rubbia, Abdus Salam, Claude Simon, Herbert A. Simon, George D. Snell, Roger W. Sperry, Henry Taube, Jan Tinbergen, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, George Wald, Elie Wiesel, Robert W. Wilson.l

Hans Blix, the thenSecretary General of IAEA, made a presentation, to the UNGA plenary, at UNCED exclaiming that `nuclear Energy is the solution  to climate change. At the final plenary, boxes and boxes of IAEA nuclear promotion pamphlets were dropped off at the lobby in front of the general Assembly.  They were piled up on a table and I covered each pile with piles of  Statements by the Nobel Laureates.


When I returned to Canada ,  I worked with Dr Fred Knelman on extracting systemic constraints from the IAEA Pamphlets.


By Joan Russow  and Fred Knelman, June 1992


iThe "blatant misrepresentation or expedient omission" device


This device involves the convenient exclusion of any part that could be detrimental to one's position.

            The IAEA through expedient omission (possibly for advantageous "clarification") has left out a significant section in Agenda 21 which does not include nuclear energy in the list of "safe" technologies for the future.

To "clarify" Agenda 21, the IAEA in its UNCED document stated the following:


The UNCED Agenda 21 notes the need for a transition to environmentally sound energy systems, which will entail major changes in the patterns of energy production and consumption (IAEA Document, p.5, 1992)


In the Atmosphere chapter of Agenda 21, the following [safe] and sound technologies are advocated:


cooperate to increase the availability of capacity, capabilities and relevant technologies ...for utilizing and producing environmentally [safe and} sound renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and biomass,... Each resource should be utilized in a manner that ... minimizes environmental stress and health impacts, .... (Section 9. Subsection 9 g Agenda 21, 1992)


             Thus, we see that in the Energy section of Agenda 21, Nuclear energy is not mentioned as being one of the [safe] or sound technology.


ii The "coopted terms" strategy


This strategy involves the stipulating of a new definition for a term that would jeopardize one's own argument.


In the Rio Declaration the following precautionary principle was advocated:


 Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation." ( Rio Declaration, 1992).



In the following statement, the IAEA redefines the important precautionary principle that was agreed to in the Rio Declaration, 1992.


The basic principles for radiation protection and safety in all applications and activities in nuclear science and technology are precautionary (IAEA Document , p. 2, authors emphasis)


The Rio principle, however, if enacted and truly adhered to, would bring about a moratorium on new nuclear power plants while phasing out currently existing ones.


iii The "comparison of convenience" device


This device involves the narrowing down of alternatives so that whatever aspect is compared will appear favourable to the proposed alternative.


In the following statement from the IAEA document, the IAEA narrows the alternatives used for comparison to those which would appear to be favourable within the terms of reference of their comparison. Thus, for example, they compare the relatively low volume of nuclear wastes to the much larger volume of wastes from fossil fuels. However, it is the volume of wastes multiplied by their toxicity that is significant. Merely comparing volumes is a "comparison of convenience". The same false comparison is used to compare fuel requirements for the same energy output.


 A nuclear plant would require 27 tonnes of slightly enriched uranium each year, which corresponds to a few truckloads. The corresponding quantity of natural uranium is 160 tonnes.

a coal fired plant would need 2.6 million tonnes of coal each year... which corresponds to the load carried by 5 trains, each transporting 1400 tones every day

an oil fired plant would require 2 million tonnes of fuel oil per year, which is about 10 supertanker loads. (IAEA document, 1992, p.12)


The nuclear establishment never fails to compare coal and nuclear as competing energy sources, always claiming the inherent superiority of nuclear . Usually this is accomplished by failing to include the entire fuel cycle over its full life of impacts, social and environmental. They conveniently exclude "safety" factors," "production of wastes,". "disposability of wastes," "degree of potential for bioaccumulation," lifetimes of wastes, toxicity and proliferation problems associated with nuclear.


Yet no bombs are built of coal, no terrorist is interested in hijacking coal or in the clandestine acquisition of coal weapons, coal plants do not have to be decommissioned and mothballed after some 30 to 50 years of operation, their hazardous wastes do not have to be guarded for 100,000 years, coal dust is easier to contain than radon and coal plants do not require liability subsidies by acts of parliament" ( Knelman, 1992)



iii The "lull and lure of the technological fix" syndrome

( the "misleading assurance" device or the fallacy of "technological omnipotence")


This syndrome, device or fallacy involves the revealing of the seriousness of the problem and the offering of a "solution" which is usually worse than the problem

The proponents of a potentially dangerous act indicate that they recognize the danger and focus on one area for which they can offer a technological fix


In the following statement from the Radioactive Wastes section of Agenda 21, into which it appears that the IAEA had input, the following situation is recognized:


Annually about 200,000 m3 of low-level and intermediate-level waste and 10,000 m3 of high-level waste ( as well as spent nuclear fuel destined for final disposal) is generated world wide from nuclear power production. These volumes are increasing as more nuclear power units are taken into operation, nuclear facilities are decommissioned and the use of radionuclides increases. The high level waste contains about 99 percent of the radionuclides and thus represents the largest radiological risk. ( Agenda 21, Radio Active wastes, 21.1.).


In the IAEA document the authors affirm the certainty of the technological fix.


There is nevertheless a consensus among experts that safe geological disposal of high level wastes, including spent nuclear fuel, is technically feasible. ( IAEA Document, p.17)

The view of experts in the field is that safe technological solutions exist for managing the waste. (IAEA Document, 1992, p. 15)


Knelman (1992) pointed out that


The assumption behind the notion of permanent disposal of High level wastes deep in a stable geological formation is false because this assumption relies on the mistaken belief that anything we do technologically can be permanent This assumption of permanence is particularly false when we are dealing with the lithosphere over some 100,000 years and when we must first disturb the geological structure by digging a very deep hole. AECL(Atomic Energy of Canada Limited) has dug a deep hole near Lac du Bonnet in Manitoba which is totally inappropriate for such so-called "permanent" disposal. For one thing you must, in all events, avoid water. Yet, The AECL hole must be soaked Walt Patterson, a nuclear critic described this AECL research as follows: A drunk has lost his keys and is discovered by a police officer crawling around a street light. When questioned, the drunk admitted that he had lost his keys in front of a dark building, a block away. When asked why the drunk was then searching around the street light, the drunk said " you see, officer, the light is better here" and as Dr. Martin Resnikoff, an expert on geological waste disposal has put it " the earth does not stand still. In other words, experts in the relevant fields do not agree. (Knelman, 1992, in progress)


iv The "rhetoric of notwithstanding clause" doctrine.


This doctrine allows for the indulging in strong statements about deep concern and the need for significant change and then including a notwithstanding clause that negates the strong statement.


In the Rio declaration (1992) there is a strong statement about third world dumping:


States should effectively cooperate to discourage or prevent the relocation and transfer to other States of any activities and substances that cause sever environmental degradation or are found to be harmful to human health. (Principle 14 Rio Declaration, 1992)


There are, however, disturbing "notwithstanding clauses" that appear such as in the following statements:


Develop regulatory and non-regulatory measures and procedures aimed at preventing the export of chemicals that are banned, severely restricted, withdrawn or not approved for health or environmental reasons, except when such export has received prior written consent from he importing country or is other wise in accordance with the PIC procedure; ( Section 19. subsection 53 f , Agenda 21, 1992)


In the following statement in the IAEA document, the IAEA energetically adopts the spirit of the " rhetoric of notwithstanding clauses"


The IAEA in 1990 promulgated a Code of Practice on the International Transboundary Movement of Radioactive Waste as a basis for harmonization of national legislation and policies. The code lays down the conditions and principles for international waste transfers, such as that movement must be made in a manner consistent with the international safety standards, that there must be prior notification and consent of the sending, receiving and transit States, and that each State involved should have a regulatory authority...( IAEA Document, 1992, p. 20


v. The "flamboyant absurdity" doctrine or dogma


This doctrine or dogma carries the concerns of one's opponents to the point where the regulations governing the opponents concerns should become the standard by which other potentially lesser concerns will be addressed.


The IAEA appears to advocate that, what is considered to be the most dangerous industry, just because it is dangerous, has developed stringent standards, and that they who contribute to possibly the greatest uncontrollable hazard are the ones who should assist the community in dealing with other hazards.


The basic principles for radiation protection and safety in all applications and activities in nuclear science and technology are precautionary and are so well founded in science and so widely accepted that they are now also being regarded as a source of guidance in controlling pollutants and impacts arising from other human activities. Their wider application would undoubtedly contribute towards sustainable development. (p.2)


vi. The "justification through dire consequences of alternatives" device


This device involves the revealing of the dire consequences of the current practices and offering one own practice as the salvation for the problem


In the following statement the IAEA cites the dire consequences of the other alternatives to justify their proposed alternative:


The problem of acid rain, which is linked to emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, has been recognized for decades..... . the primary concern about the continued and increasing use of fossil fuels is the problem of CO2 emission and the potential impact on world climate....... World conference on the Changing Atmosphere... need to reduce CO2 emission (IAEA document, p. 5)

climate change in connection with fossil fuels (p. 9)


vii. The "benevolent outcome exploitation" strategy


This strategy involves the selection of the outcome which the opposition to the proposed alternative would advocate and the subsequent attempt to demonstrate that the proposed alternative, which the opposition would condemn, would

be the best way of achieving that outcome.


In the following statements from the IAEA document, the IAEA focuses on the desired outcomes of reducing acid rain and limiting greenhouse gas to justify the selection of their proposed alternative:


Several governments have already made commitments to reduce carbon emission, while recognizing that this will be hard to achieve except through drastic policy decisions in the energy sector. (IAEA Document, 1992, p.6)


Nuclear power plants in normal operations cause very little environmental detriment and are beneficial when they replace plants which would emit CO2, SO2, and NO2 (p. 12). In this respect they would help to reduce acid rain and limit greenhouse gas emissions (IAEA Document 1992 , p. 12)


To accomplish the above, IAEA and other nuclear proponents are recommending the construction of some 4000 to 5000 new commercial nuclear power plants. The combination of the multi- trillion cost and the time required for construction renders this proposal no less than bewildering. By the 6 to 10 year period required for construction, other sources of climate-altering gases would wipe out all gains. Secondly at 1/7th to 1/10th the above cost, a much greater reduction in CO 2 and other climate-altering gases can be achieved through simple available conservation and efficiency measures.


viii. The "shelter of fragmentation" syndrome

This syndrome involves the dissociating of the problem from a more generic problem by placing the problem in its own isolated category.


In the agenda 21 document, Nuclear wastes are not included in the section of hazardous wastes because atomic wastes has its own section. Nuclear wastes thus seem to appear apart from hazardous wastes and from the strong recommendation associated with hazardous wastes such as:


Governments should intensify research and development activities on cost-effective alternatives for processes and substances that currently result in the generation of hazardous wastes that pose particular problems for environmentally sound disposal or treatment, the possibility of ultimate phase-out of those substances that present and unreasonable or otherwise unmanageable risk and are toxic, persistent and bio-accumulative to be considered as soon as practicable. Section 20 subsection 13c, Agenda 21, 1992)


ix. The "flaunting and condoning of the vicious circle principle" strategy


This strategy is best explained by the economic principle that "bad money drives out good,". that is the opportunity costs of nuclear power are unacceptable and prohibitive Thus the money spent to subsidize nuclear power is at the expense of the funds required to solve the energy problem with safe alternatives, and consequently, because the research into alternatives will not be effectively carried out, the safe alternatives will not be able to adequately replace the non-renewable forms of energy.


In the 1992 report to UNCED, following was stated:

Nuclear energy has safety risks associated with the entire uranium cycle, from mining through processing to the ultimate disposal of high-level radioactive wastes. In addition, there are safety risks associated with the reactors used to generate electricity from uranium . And the use of fossil fuel to drive conventional thermal generation produces carbon dioxide and waste heat. (Canada's National report UNCED p. 46- 47)

From a domestic consumption point of view, the least environmentally damaging energy option is energy efficiency. (Canada's National report UNCED p. 47)


Despite the above statement, the document concludes::


New, cleaner technologies such as solar energy may help, but the hard fact is that to a large extent we will have to rely on either thermal, hydro, or nuclear energy in the future. In addition, energy projects for both export and domestic supply provide jobs and economic wealth to the country, and are especially important in some regions of Canada" ( p. 47. Canada's National report UNCED June, 1992, authors' emphasis)




The " nukespeak" and the seductive devices, strategies, syndromes used by the Nuclear Industry involve the language of delusion and distortion. Hopefully, through the continued revealing and categorizing of these words of delusion we could, in some small way, counteract the impact of the not too-hidden-agenda of the IAEA, and the rest of the nuclear establishment and their government supporters.



Agenda 21, (1992) UNCED document,


Hilgartner S. Richard C. Bell, R. O'Connor 1982 Nukespeak the Selling of     Nuclear Technology in America. Markam Ontario, Penquin Books        Ltd.

IAEA ( 1992) Nuclear Power, Nuclear Techniques and Sustainable   Development. Vienna, Austria: IAEA

Knelman, F. ( 1976) Nuclear Energy the Unforgiving Technology.

             Edmonton: Hurtsig Publishers

Knelman , F(. 1986) " Beyond 1984: The Future of Peace". in Arnopoulos

            (ed). Prospects for Peace: An Anthology of Canadian Perspectives           on Social Conflict and Peaceful Change. Montreal: Gamma    Institute Press.

Knelman, F. (1992, in progress) Nuclear Power: the Conspiracy of the Like-minded.

Patterson, W. (1992) " In search of the peaceful atom" Energy Policy,        June 1986, pp 196-200

Rio Declaration (1992) UNCED document

Russow, J and White,D ((1991) Systemic Constraints Preventing Change.

introduced at the Learned Societies Congress, Kingston

Russow, J (1992). Content Analysis of the UNCED documents that were     adopted by Global Consensus: Agenda 21 and the Rio  Declaration.

Russow, J. (1992). "Seductive Devices and Strategies in , IAEA document that was prepared for UNCED" paper presented "Nuclear Issues          and Rio," public lecture sponsored by the Greater Victoria Disarmament Group 

and the Vancouver Island Peace Society

Last Updated on Saturday, 20 February 2016 23:10

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