Looking back–for just one day

Still got a long way to go....Vogtle Units 3 (left) and 4, July 30, 2015.

Still got a long way to go….Vogtle Units 3 (left) and 4, July 30, 2015.

At GreenWorld, we like to look forward. Forward to the day that nuclear power is a bad but fading memory and our planet is powered as safely, cleanly and affordably as possible with renewable energy and advanced 21st century efficiency, storage and grid technologies. Forward to that day of a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy system.

It’s a day that we believe is coming, and is coming sooner than could have been believed even five years ago. But while we believe that day is inevitable, the timing is important: if it comes too late to turn back the worst effects of climate chaos, then its inevitableness won’t matter. And it won’t come on its own in time. As we’ve said here often, it will take all of us who believe in that future to act to bring it about in time.

Nor will that day just suddenly happen. It is the product of a transition, a transition that already has begun but that is still in its infancy and whose stumbling steps could be blocked or halted for years or even decades at any time. Chronicling–and urging along–that transition is the purpose of GreenWorld. So, naturally, we tend to look forward.

As we enter our third year of publication next week, however, it is appropriate to both look back for just one day and to turn our focus toward you, our readers. Who you are, and, of the 89 posts we published last year (about 1.7 per week, if you’re counting) on topics ranging from solar power in Indiana, Fukushima’s aftermath, the growing interest and viability of electricity storage highlighted by Tesla’s release of the consumer-oriented PowerWall, Russia’s increasingly aggressive efforts to market nuclear power abroad, to continuing coverage of the economically threatened reactors owned by Exelon, Entergy and FirstEnergy, what you found most interesting in 2015.

The most-read article on GreenWorld this past year pretty much sums up the state of nuclear power in 2015. Titled Vogtle: at $65 billion and counting, it’s a case study of nuclear power’s staggeringly awful economics, the piece examines the cost overruns and construction delays of America’s symbol of the “nuclear renaissance.” While the focus of the piece is on the Vogtle reactors being built, slowly and expensively, near the Georgia/South Carolina border, the fundamental conclusion–that the economics of not only Vogtle but nuclear power generally don’t add up, that nuclear reactors are not only too costly to build but even to operate–permeated throughout GreenWorld, and the real world, during the year.

Close behind were two articles focused on France: Yves Marignac of WISE-Paris’ expose of the serious problems found with manufacture of Areva’s EPR reactors, The EPR “anamoly;” what’s at stake for Areva and my piece on a presentation on nuclear power’s dwindling status in France Yves provided at NIRS’ office, The accelerating decline of French nuclear power.

The effects of radiation–the basic reason we all oppose nuclear power in the first place–ranked high in interest, especially two pieces based on work by Dr. Ian Fairlie on the link between normal operation of nuclear reactors and leukemia. The evidence that radiation from nuclear reactors causes childhood leukemia not only ranked third in GreenWorld readership for the year, it was linked to on Facebook by our readers more than 1,000 times and on Pinterest 100 times. The second piece, Powerful new study shows radiogenic risks of leukemia 50% greater than previously thought ranked tenth for the year in readership.

In a year that brought both the final version of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and the international COP21 conference, nuclear power and climate was unsurprisingly a topic of great interest to you. Tim Judson’s triumphant analysis of the Clean Power Plan, EPA took nuclear out of the Clean Power Plan, was our fifth most-read post of the year. Two articles I wrote, one on why nuclear power has become irrelevant as a possible climate solution, The nuclear industry’s COP 21 dilemma: 100% renewables is attainable and my expose of the Energy Information Administration’s analysis of the Clean Power Plan that found a nuclear emphasis would not result in greater carbon emission reductions, New EIA analysis shows nukes don’t help reduce carbon emissions under EPA’s Clean Power Plan also were in the year’s top ten most-read posts.

Filling out the top ten were a look at the nuclear industry’s near-apocalyptic reaction to the permanent shutdown of the Vermont Yankee reactor, Nuclear industry goes hysterically ballistic over Yankee shutdown and a somewhat tongue-in-cheek report on a slipup at the Baltimore Sun that revealed that the nuclear industry’s astroturf trade group Nuclear Matters had paid for a full-page ad in that newspaper in support of the proposed Exelon-Pepco merger at the very time Exelon was claiming to the Maryland Public Service Commission that the merger had nothing to do with helping bail out its economically-failing nuclear fleet, Oops! Real reason for Exelon-Pepco merger inadvertently revealed.

Our least-read story of the year? An article I wrote looking at President Obama’s proposed Energy Department budget, Obama energy budget continues “all of the above” delusion. Maybe you’re just not that interested in energy budget details. Or maybe you figured that it doesn’t matter what kind of budget Obama submits, Congress is going to do whatever it wants anyway.

Perhaps this is the kind of thing of more interest to publishers and editors than readers, but in case you find it as fascinating as we do, here’s just a little bit of who you–GreenWorld readers–are: The vast majority of you–more than 32,000 in 2015–were not surprisingly from the U.S. And also unsurprisingly, the next three nations with the highest readership are also English-speaking: the UK, Canada and Australia. Perhaps because of the quality of our posts on France, that nation came in fifth in GreenWorld readership, followed closely by Germany. Rounding out the top ten were India, Finland, Japan and South Africa.

In all, we could nearly do our own COP 21 negotiation: we had readers from 148 different countries. Only 30 of those were from the world’s most populous nation, and the one with currently both the largest renewable and largest nuclear construction programs, China. Language certainly is a barrier there, and perhaps censorship of the site–we don’t know–but we do hope that number can increase this year. Only one solitary, but brave, reader came from another nation currently the focus of a lot of nuclear attention, Iran. That’s a number we’d like to see grow this year too.

Since we don’t collect or keep any other data about you, we can’t tell you much more. We have no idea how old/young you are, what kind of money you make, what you do for a living, what level of education you have. We don’t sell ads, so while it would be fun to know some of that info, it isn’t necessary for our survival.

What is necessary, however, is your support, and below you can find out how you can donate to keep GreenWorld publishing. We hope you will. Our outreach and influence are growing, but our bank balance isn’t, and that isn’t sustainable. The other necessity is your action, and we encourage you, if you are not already on it, to join NIRS’ e-mail Alert list and make your voice heard whenever possible. It’s easy, just fill out the short form here. The change we all want, the energy future our planet needs, depends on your action. We’ll do our best to keep you informed, but we can’t speak for you. So please keep those voices raised high and often.

Michael Mariotte

December 30, 2015

Permalink: https://safeenergy.org/2015/12/29/looking-back-for-just-one-day/

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