September 16, 2002

Once again, Greenpeace's addled leaders have subverted common sense to their principles. CNN reports that Greenpeace "activists" (are they the same kind of activists as Reuters' "Palestinian Activists"?) are sailing to intercept two transports filled with spent nuclear fuel.

The fuel was originally shipped to Japan, intended for use in a nuclear facility there. BNFL discovered, during shipment, that some of the pellets were inadequate for use in the Japanese plant, and agreed to refund the customer and pay for the return of the assemblies to Britain.

Now, Greenpeace is launching a flotilla of more than 20 ships to intercept the two purpose-built tankers, although it is not clear what they plan to do, other than create a media circus; Greenpeace has mastered the art of manipulating the media, who are already sympathetic to their cause.

Greenpeace alleges that the assemblies are vulnerable to terrorist attack, and therefore should not be transported by sea. Of course, they also allege that it should not travel by rail, and the sheer size of the assemblies (80-100 tons each) precludes their transport by air, which is not at all safe either. Of course, by preventing their transport by any method, they hope to make it uneconomical to use nuclear energy for any purpose whatsoever, despite the fact that it causes far less pollution than any fossil fuel, and does not require special environmental conditions (such as sunshine, wind, flowing water, or geothermal energy) in contrast to their preferred renewable energy sources.

Greenpeace has one of their celebrity puppets dancing for the media; this time it is Jim Corr, of the Irish band The Corrs.

Among the protesters is Jim Corr, a member of the Irish rock band The Corrs, who told Reuters: "The Irish Sea should never be used as a nuclear highway ever again."

Please stick to music, Jim. At least you have some credibility there.

CNN provided a link to BNFL's website, which has an exhaustive review of the whole brouhaha. Included is this statement, under "Environmental inpact":

A study by the Japanese Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry shows that even in the highly implausible circumstances of a vessel sinking and the cask being breached in coastal waters, the impact on those living near the incident would amount to one millionth of natural background radiation. If such an incident occurred in deep waters, the impact would be equivalent to one ten-millionth of background radiation.

So much for danger.

BNFL also has a section, entitled "separating facts from fiction", that carefully dismisses each overblown claim by the enviro-extremists. Some of these claims are ludicrous, and at least one of them is offensive and recklessly irresponsible. Implying that the ships are of substandard construction is an insult to every British Steelworker and every British shipbuilder who participated in the construction of these vessels.

posted on September 16, 2002 02:14 PM


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