Category Archives: Nuclear Energy

Reporting without proportions

2011-03-14 Monday
My daily reflections on this website have often – maybe too often – something to do with the writings in Dagens Nyheter. The reason is nevertheless quite natural since DN is the leading newspaper in Sweden and thus sets the agenda for a large part of the discussion. I should add that there is an overwhelming majority of center-right, what we call “borgerliga” (bourgeoisie) papers and that the Social Democrats control a shrinking number of newspapers with minute circulations and based mostly in smaller cities around the country.

In spite of the center-right dominance, media is often accused of harboring too many leftist (liberal, in US terms) journalists, which is a gross exaggeration, probably used mostly as an attempt to defend a disproportionate reality. Anyhow, since we have a tendency to point at the top, Dagens Nyheter has got the role of leading the herd.

We noticed in yesterdays DN a stunning blindness for the mass deaths and for the suffering people in Japan, in favor of an unmotivated fixation on the operational problems in a nuclear plant. Today the editor in chief seems to have sobered up, and the real and horrendous catastrophe in Japan was reasonably reported on. Only two pages were spent on the nuclear issue, mostly reporting that the problems are probably no problems… but on the other hand it’s leaking here and there, and you never know… etcetera.

Misconceptions, myths, sensationalism, and ignorance about facts are inherited from the last nuclear incident in a way so consistent that it must be considered intentional. If I should be wrong here, there is a heavy burden of proof for those who refutes that claim.

The terrible catastrophe in Japan – and then nuclear energy

2011-03-13 Sunday
Our sacrosanct newspaper DN spends eight full pages of today’s edition to increase the feelings of catastrophe with regard to the damaged nuclear plant in Japan. On the really dead, and the suffering people, they spend much fewer words.

A large majority of Swedish journalists have for many years had a horrified attitude towards nuclear energy. The main purpose of that is self-evident. To intimidate readers by creating fear is supposed to be a positive market factor. People are supposed to buy more papers if the head-lines are really terrifying. The rational for that beats me, and I’ve never seen any empirical studies which supports that seemingly crazy idea. Still it is constantly practiced.

On this website I have written a good deal in Swedish about nuclear energy, for instance about the UNSCEAR 2000-study, conducted by an expert committee formed and monitored by the United Nations. The committee’s conclusions implied in fact that almost all popular media reports about the nuclear accident in Chernobyl had grossly overestimated the harm done by radiation. Most suffering and premature deaths was caused by the evacuation of large populations and the social catastrophe for many people that followed.

During a conference in Davos, Switzerland in 2008, the following numbers of deaths in accidents directly associated with a specific energy source was reported:

The nuclear death toll disappears in the diagram, because it is only 31, and that is from Chernobyl. I believe this diagram deserves some contemplating thinking.