Arnie recently appeared on the Ecoshock radio show to discuss extreme nuclear dangers with host Alex Smith. One of Alex's listeners had told him that "Even if one reactor blows in America or Europe... the impact and the number of dead will be far less than the millions of all species who will die in a rapid climate shift." Listen as Arnie debunks this claim and covers even more topics, such as Trump and his call to develop more nuclear weapons, the relationship between the nuclear power industry and nuclear weapons development, and the risks of keeping old reactors operating past their prime. Listen below and please head over to the Ecoshock webpage and see the full blog post for the Interview.
Radio Ecoshock (ES): Normally, I introduce our guest. It’s the polite thing to do. This time, though, I will first ask a question to keep our climate listeners tuned in. Several Radio Ecoshock supporters suggest I go easy on the nuclear power industry. Maybe we should keep the existing old reactors going as long as we can to avoid burning more fossil fuels. Even if one reactor blows in America or Europe, says one of my correspondents, the impact and the number of dead will be far less than the millions of all species who will die in a rapid climate shift. So there’s the question. Should we keep old reactors going to reduce our damage to the atmosphere? Mystery guest, what do you say?
Arnie Gundersen (AG): Definitely not. Building nukes and even keeping the old ones running actually is going to make climate change worse.
ES: All right. Well, we’re going to get into the details of why that is and for those who don’t know already, we’re talking with nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen. All through the Fukushima nuclear tragedy and some close calls in America, Arnie has been our repeat guest on Radio Ecoshock. He’s an expert who testifies in court cases connected to nuclear power. He’s been in the nuclear industry. He knows how it operates Arnie is the chief engineer and scientist for the nuclear education agency, Fairewinds.org, founded by his wife, Maggie Gundersen. Arnie, a warm welcome to Radio Ecoshock.
AG: Hey, it’s nice to be back, Alex.
ES: Well, I really appreciate talking with you again even though it’s kind of a tough subject every time we do talk. A little later, we’ll have our necessary chat about Donald Trump. But first let’s talk about another disaster that’s been around for a little bit longer. Please talk about your trip to Fukushima, Japan in 2016.
AG: Oh, yes. I was there just about a year ago today and I spent a month collecting data. It was exciting because it was crowd sourced. We had individuals helped pay for my plane fare over and then the Japanese paid for my lodging and things like that. So it was truly a worldwide effort to get some good data. I guess the single biggest impression I come away with is the gross inhumanity of the Japanese government to their own people. They are in this to keep Tokyo Electric alive. They’re in it for the industrial sector. Let’s get these old nukes back on line so the banks can make money. But they are not in it for the people of Japan. An example is, I met a doctor who was filling out forms – he ran a clinic in Fukushima, and he was diagnosing people with radiation illnesses. And they refused to pay unless he changed the diagnosis to stress. And if he wrote down that these people – their hair was falling out or they had bloody noses or their skin was all blotchy because they were under stress, they would pay him. This guy had integrity and he said no, I would rather close my clinic than do that. I had many people come to me - one woman – literally, her hair fell out, bloody nose for two months, splotches all over her body and she went to a doctor who said don’t worry, it’s just stress. I’m sorry. Bloody noses for two months, your hair falling out is not stress; it’s radiation. The inhumanity of the Japanese government to its own people is my single biggest takeaway.
ES: Do you think it’s safe to hold the Olympic games at Fukushima City in 2020 or does that matter compared to what you’ve just described, the lifelong exposure suffered by many Japanese people?
AG: You know, I think you hit the nail on the head. The contamination in the Fukushima prefecture is significant and apparently they’re going to do the baseball games in Fukushima Prefecture – not all of the Olympics. So here you have elite athletes who are going to be there for two weeks. And if we worry about those guys – and we should - I found significant contamination wherever I went. We should worry about them, but what about the people who have been there for the last nine years living in this 24/7, 365. So I think it’s a little callous on our part to be worried about the elite American athletes for a couple of weeks when the focus really should be on people who are essentially trapped there.
ES: You’ve written and spoken about the Japanese efforts to try and filter out hot radiation - ultra-hot radiation as they’ve processed the water that’s running right through that site. They’ve got a massive tank farm. What’s happening with that?
AG: Well, they still have a massive tank farm. What they’re doing - the tanks are loaded with lots of radioactive material. Especially what I’m worried about is Cesium and Strontium but there’s a witches’ brew in those tanks. What they’re proposing to do is run that through a filter which may get 90 to 95 percent of those isotopes and then take the remaining contents of the tank and dump it in the Pacific. The thing you can’t filter out is tritium. And the tritium in those tanks is also huge. Tritium is identical to water, so it can’t be filtered. So they’re going to try to strip out the Cesium and the Strontium and then just discharge the rest into the Pacific. And to their credit, the Japanese fishermen aren’t buying it. More and more now, they’re being bought off by the government to allow the dumping to occur. But in my mind, it’s unconscionable to do that.
ES: But hey, I live on the other side of that same Pacific Ocean, and I don’t seem to get a say about whether they go ahead and dump their nuclear waste into it.
AG: Yeah. When I went to school, the saying was “dilution is the solution to pollution,” and that’s what the Japanese believe. If they dump it on their side and it floats over to the west coast of the U.S., the Pacific’s a big place; it’ll dilute out. I don’t think that’s appropriate and I’ve spoken about that at length, but people are going to die. Regardless of how low the radiation is, it does cause cellular damage and cancer. So if you spread it out in a big body of water, the concentration goes down, but on the other hand, you’ve got a couple billion people exposed to it because they’re on the edge of that big body of water. So the concentration is down but the population is up and you’re still going to get cancer; it’s inevitable.
ES: Well, super dangerous plutonium blew up with reactor number 3 at Fukushima and I presume that’s because the Japanese, like the British and the French, experimented with burning plutonium as a nuclear fuel. Arnie, what’s happened with the multi-million dollar breeder reactor at Monju, Japan?
AG: (6:44) Well, first of all, all the nuclear reactors in Fukushima had plutonium in them. A nuclear reactor creates about 500 pounds of plutonium a year. So one had been running for a couple of years so there was a thousand pounds of plutonium in it. Same with unit 2 and unit 3. What made unit 3 a little different was that unit 3 had a little more plutonium because it had some test mixed oxide fuel bundles. But compared to the total amount of uranium in there and the total amount of plutonium, each of those reactors has huge inventory of plutonium. So we should worry about all three. Now Monju, Monju has been canceled and delayed and it ran for a couple of months in the 90’s. Monju is a breeder reactor. And the Japanese finally threw in the towel on it, but it’s part of the myth in Japan. The Japanese believe that they can recycle every bit of uranium so therefore, they won’t have to worry about building a waste dump for the spent nuclear fuel. On a seismic island, it’s really hard to find a place that you can put something for a quarter of a million years. So they’ve created this myth that they can burn all of the plutonium from all the other reactors and essentially never have to get rid of the nuclear waste. So the Monju plant was part of that myth, and they canceled it, which is great because I think it was about 30 years delayed and about 10 years under construction. Billions of dollars were spent on that plant and it was a total waste of money and time and energy.
ES: Well, no doubt you’ve heard President Trump says he’s going to advance America’s nuclear arsenal and it’s been my long experience that nuclear power and nuclear weapons are deeply entwined. The history of nuclear power shows it was encouraged and heavily subsidized by successive presidencies that wanted to maintain the expertise and a flow of nuclear material for bombs. Is that your understanding as well?
AG: Yeah. You know, the first bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima was a uranium bomb. And it was made by enriching raw uranium in these huge enrichment plants in Tennessee. But the second bomb on Nagasaki was a plutonium bomb. And that was made from nuclear reactors in the United States at Hanford and then later down in South Carolina. We had nuclear reactors whose sole job was to produce plutonium for nuclear bombs, which is how the North Koreans have their nuclear bombs now. They have an operating reactor, they strip out the plutonium and they make a weapon. It’s also how the Indians and the Pakistanis made their bombs. Actually, they bought the reactors from Canada. The Canadian reactors make an enormous amount of plutonium. So they bought the reactors, signed a contract saying they wouldn’t do what they did, and then they stripped the plutonium off to make bombs. So the reactors and bombs are inextricably intertwined.
ES: Well, I realize this isn’t your main area of nuclear expertise, but I bring this weapons thing up because as a nuclear engineer and as a really active citizen, I wonder what you think of this news. Russian media reports, complete with photographs, that they’ve developed a gigantic new missile. They say it can evade the American ballistic missile shield. This mega missile contains enough nuclear warheads, they say, to completely destroy an area the size of Texas. Arnie, what do you make of that?
AG: (10:19) There’s two countries in the world that have the most nukes; it’s the U.S. and Russia. If the Russians decided to shoot their old nukes at us, so many would get through the missile shield that we’d be toast anyway. So now that they’ve got a bigger one, we’re still toast. At the end of the day, if we go to war with Russia on nuclear weapons, we’re toast. They are, too, but we are definitely toast. And I think Trump’s rhetoric is amplifying this up. Just today, the clock people – the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists advanced the clock to 2-1/2 minutes from midnight because basically Trump has terrified the world that we might have a nuclear weapon. Let’s forget about the Russians with their huge arsenal and America with our huge arsenal. What concerns me are the small players – the Iranians and the North Koreans. The North Koreans have perhaps half a dozen to a dozen nukes and a few missiles. We did a piece on our site by a renowned engineer called Matt Stein. We looked at what would happen if a nuke was exploded in space. Now forget blowing up a city. If you fire off a nuke 100 miles high, nothing gets destroyed on the planet, but an electromagnetic pulse comes down and knocks out everything – all your computers, all your transformers, everything. And it would devastate the East Coast of America for 10 to 20 years. And the estimates are 100 million people die because of lack of refrigeration, etc. So without destroying a single building, one nuke in space can take out all of the infrastructure that we rely on. There’s a couple of those actors out there. There’s also the possibility of a small war between Pakistan and India. And small wars can escalate into bigger ones where both sides start to use nukes which draw on superpowers. So I guess I view the conflict with Russia as, if it happens, we’re toast, but both sides know that. But I’m more concerned about one of these small actors who really has nothing to lose, doing damage to our infrastructure and driving us to our knees.
ES: Have you heard any rumors in the nuclear industry about whether Trump is reactor friendly or not?
AG: Oh, that’s a good question. I’ve heard both sides of it. I was interviewed on Projected Censored a couple of weeks ago about that. He claims to be a businessman, and building new nukes makes no economic sense. So if you’re a real businessman, you’re going to say I don’t want nukes. He also claims to be pro coal and pro coal doesn’t make any economic sense, either, but if you’re digging coal, you certainly don’t need nuclear plants. And he also claims to be pro American. Well, all of the nuclear power plants now are being made in China. We don’t have the capability in America to build a nuclear power plant. So what happens is there was a couple of plants being built down south in South Carolina and in Georgia and in those cases, all the components are built in China. And large systems are pre-plumbed and put on a boat and then they’re just lifted up, put in place, and all the employees do is connect these blocks – Lego blocks, if you will. So all of the work is being done in China, in South Korea and in Japan. So to think that we’re creating American jobs because Westinghouse is on the side of the reactor – well, Westinghouse is owned by Toshiba and they’re in Japan and General Electric is owned by Hitachi and they’re in Japan. So all this work is going offshore anyway. And then on the issue of energy independence, only about 20 percent of the uranium that’s in American nuclear power plants actually comes from America. We get it from Canada, we get it from Australia, we get it from Russia. As a matter of fact, the American uranium mines are owned by Russian companies, so that you can’t claim that we’re energy independent because we’ve got nuclear plants because all that uranium is coming from elsewhere, too. So if he’s a smart businessman, it makes no economic sense. On the other hand, a lot of his advisors are pro-nuclear. Rick Perry, for instance, who’s going to be running the Department of Energy, has deep connections to people who would love to build a waste dump in Texas. The business community has his ear. Let’s look at what the future is going to be. The nuclear industry says we need a thousand large nukes between now and 2050. Well, that would cost $8 trillion to build a thousand new nukes. We’ve addressed this on the site. I’m going to pitch the site: Fairewinds.org. But if you go to Smokescreen, we have a two-minute animation up there that talks about what a colossal waste of money building new nukes would be. Now there’s this thing called opportunity cost. Basically, if I spend money on one thing, I can’t spend it on something else. Well, if we invest $8 trillion in a thousand nukes, first off, it takes 35 years to build, and carbon dioxide is not going to take a break in the meantime. And secondly, if we had spent that $8 trillion on renewables – solar and wind – we would make a big dent right now in carbon dioxide. So if you believe in global warming, you wouldn’t want to build nukes because the money is being misspent. And if you’re a business person, you wouldn’t build nukes because they don’t make economic sense. And oh, by the way, one may blow up and take out the State of Illinois.
ES: Well, nuclear reactors made in China. What could possibly go wrong? Now Donald Trump says he will slash federal government regulations by 75 percent. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is a mass pile of regulations. What if Trump slashes lots and lots of nuclear regulations without really looking into the ramifications? What then, Arnie?
AG: Well, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission doesn’t enforce its own regulations anyway. So I’m not sure we’d miss anything. I lived on the same street with Bernie Sanders. Bernie’s moved and I’ve moved since then. I saw him one night and I said, Bernie, I want to be the next Nuclear Regulatory Commission Commissioner, which is a political appointee. And he looked at me and he laughed and he says, Arnie, are you kidding? There’s no way in hell they’d let you have that job. And I think that really speaks to it. The nuclear industry already controls the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and by that, I mean the five commissioners are all political appointees and they’re all vetted by NEI, which is Nuclear Energy Institute, which is the nuclear lobbying arm. So if we really think that we’ve got an independent regulator, that’s a joke. They’ve locked on – the Union of Concerned Scientists has said if you want to shut down nuclear power, just enforce the regulations we have. We don’t need tougher regulations. We just need to enforce the ones we have. Now, a fascinating story on that is that twice, worker bee people within the NRC have come forward with major concerns. The first was Dr. Peck out in California who had huge seismic concerns about Diablo Canyon. And the inspector general investigated him three times because he expressed these concerns publicly. Every time he was exonerated, but I mean talk about the toll of having the NRC cops investigating you because you got at the truth. Another guy is Larry – I think it’s pronounced Crissioni (18:12), but I’m not sure. He’s up on our site, too, if you want to click through to the site. We have a testimonial to him. Well, Larry identified that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was covering up the fact that the Oconee plants, which are in the south, were in danger of being flooded if the upstream dam failed. Now the NRC knew it, the owner of the plant knew it, and they didn’t tell the public. So Larry wrote a letter to the commissioners and he carboned Congress. Well, the inspector general came out and said, Larry, you have a choice: You can either quit or we’ll throw you in jail. And Larry said, I’m not going to do, either. He said, I’m going to stay. So they investigated him and the Department of Justice said this man’s done nothing wrong. So dissent within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission isn’t just frowned upon; it’s prosecuted. And you know, of course, Maggie and I have the story that trumps it all, where we had – back in the 90’s, we found safety violations and the NRC went out of the way to destroy us and not resolve the safety violations. I ran into the guy who screwed me. This is John White – back in 2012 – and Maggie confronted him with the report that said, you deliberately misled the law and screwed Mr. Gundersen. And White looked her in the eye and he said, if I had it to do over again, I’d do the same thing. So that’s the mentality at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It’s a priesthood. They know, we don’t, and as long as we don’t argue with what the priests are saying, they’re happy. But as soon as you disagree with the nuclear priesthood at the NRC and the industry, you’re in the bull’s eye.
ES: Boy, that’s an attitude that is just cultivating the next big accident. (Ad for Ecoshock to 20:15) This is Radio Ecoshock. I’m Alex Smith with nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen from Fairewinds.org. Arnie, we began by talking about the climate benefits versus regional risks of keeping old reactors running decades past their due date. This past year, New York Governor Cuomo said it was insane to keep the Indian Point reactor operating near New York City. Tell us about the risks there.
AG: Yeah, the Indian Point reactors are 26 miles from Manhattan. And they’re one mile from a fault that was undiscovered when they were built, and that fault would generate an earthquake worse than what they are designed to handle. So the question – if any of your listeners are familiar with the Hudson River, basically it blocks flow east to west. So the reactor is on the east side, as are big towns. And if you tried to run, you can either go north or south, but you can’t cross the river and run to the west because the river has very few bridges. And all of these are little country roads. Well, what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission did, assuming in their emergency planning, is they assumed that when they gave the order to evacuate, only the people within 5 miles would leave, and therefore the roads wouldn’t be crowded. Well, can you imagine if you get an order that if you’re within 5 miles of a power plant and you’ve got to evacuate, do you think the people at 10 miles are going to hang around? So they never looked at the congestion on the roads in the event of an accident. And of course, you’ve got people trying to escape from New York City, too. So the real issue at Indian Point was first off, it’s over 40 years old; and second off, it’s near this seismic fault; and third, it’s right outside of Manhattan. So I think Cuomo was right in insisting that it be shut down because even back when I was in the industry in the 80’s, everybody knew emergency planning at Indian Point was a joke.
ES: (22:14) And they reached some kind of deal to shut down Indian Point, but it sounds like a day with a lot of loopholes. What did they agree on?
AG: Well, the state and the non-governmental organizations were using the existing law to say, look, if you want to keep this power plant running, you’ve got to build cooling towers, which is the correct interpretation. And the owner of the plant, Entergy, didn’t want to spend $5 billion on cooling towers, and it looked like they were going to lose the legal argument. So they cut a deal. And they said we’ll shut the plant down in 2021, but in the meantime, we’re not going to build a cooling tower. So they get to make money for another 4 or 5 years, and hopefully, there won’t be a disaster in the meantime that’s going to require the evacuation of Manhattan.
ES: One of my personal worries is the overstock of nuclear waste right at reactor sites. You’ve done a lot of work on that. Is it just happening in America or is it a problem all over the world?
AG: Right now, only the Finns have a dump that’s anywhere near ready to put nuclear waste in. And it’s full from the few reactors they have right now. So if they wanted more reactors, they’d have to build another one. Nobody else in the world has a working nuclear dump, and this is high level nuclear fuel; the stuff that’s got to stay out of harm’s way for a quarter of a million years. There’s a great movie out on this. It’s called Into Eternity. And it’s agnostic. It just talks about the problems you face when you design something that has to be kept out of harm’s way for a quarter of a million years. A quick example is, you put a sign on it saying “Don’t Dig Here” and realizing that a thousand years from now, people’s language is going to change and they won’t be able to read it. In the states, the situation’s no better than anywhere else, we have no dump available. Yucca Mountain was never scientifically the right place, but it was basically forced on the State of Nevada by all the other politicians in the country. When the bill went through, it was affectionately called The Screw Nevada Bill. And now, of course, under the regime change in Washington, it looks like they’re going to try to revive Yucca Mountain over the dissent of the people of the State of Nevada. So we, just like the other states, don’t have an effective dump. So to get to the question, though, right now we’ve got 100 dumps and 100 different nukes around the country. And they’re all sitting out in the open as a terrorist target. The Europeans have the same problem but they handle it differently. They have something called HOSS – H-O-S-S – Hardened On-Site Storage. And they build a berm around the nuclear fuel and they put a hardened roof over the outside over the top, which prevents terrorists and it also prevents airplanes from crashing into it. We don’t do that in the States. So we’ve got 100 unprotected dumps around the country now. It looks like Rick Perry and the people at the Department of Energy are going to try to move all of that waste to Texas. And it’s one of these environmental justice things where the poor community in Texas has no idea what they’re getting into but they’ll make some money in the meantime. So the waste will be shipped to Texas, where it will sit until there’s a long-term place to put it. I’m against that because you’ve got thousands of trainloads of nuclear waste that has to get shipped from Maine or from Vermont or from Washington State or from San Onofre. And it’s not going to the final repository so it has to get shipped twice. So the tradeoff is, is the risk of shipping it twice worse than the risk of keeping it at the hundred nuclear reactors. And I am very afraid of the shipping risk.
ES: (26:10) Climate aware nuclear fans like Dr. James Hanson promise next generation nuclear reactors will be very safe and they will power maybe all of the world’s needs. Arnie Gundersen, what do you think?
AG: Well, first off, Dr. Hanson’s a brilliant guy and a courageous guy. In I think ’88, he was the first person to tell Congress, look, the world is increasing in temperature and it’s because of carbon dioxide. And if he had stopped there, it would have been great. Now he’s got a chair at a university funded by a prominent nuclear sponsor. He talks about global warming, which he should, but he proposes that the solution is nuclear power. And again, I’ll ask your viewers to ask this thing called Smokescreen – this two-minute animation – but building a thousand new nukes, and he wants to build 2,500 – a thousand new nukes is a nuke every twelve days for the next thirty-five years. 2,500 is a nuke every three or four days for the next thirty-five years. And a thousand new nukes is $8 trillion. Of course, his number would be 2-1/2 times that or about $20 trillion. He doesn’t look at where that money would be better spent. And that’s the problem. Everybody can claim that the next generation nuclear is going to be better than the 70 years that went before, and there’s always another gimmick in the nuclear industry. Oh, the next one’s going to be cheaper and on paper, I can prove it. And then when it gets out in the field, it’s not cheaper. So my problem with Dr. Hanson isn’t his issues with global warming; it’s that he doesn’t look at the economics of his solution, which is to build 2,500 new nukes. And if he did – if you build 2,500 new nukes, you only put about a 20 percent dent in the carbon dioxide growth, but that dent would only begin to be important 35 years out when those nukes are running. So he doesn’t look at this thing called opportunity cost, which is that we can build windmills, we can build solar farms in a year or two or three, and for a hell of a lot less money than $8 trillion. And begin to reverse the carbon dioxide levels right now at a cost cheaper per kilowatt of electricity than his nuclear solution. So we have a solution on the table now that’s cheaper and faster. Why are we even considering the next generation nuclear – I don’t know.
ES: Tell us about Marco Kaltofen (28:38) and his results at the Boston Chemical Data.
AG: Dr. Kaltofen is the principal at Boston Chemical Data and a lot of the samples that I got in Japan, he was able to analyze. And if you go up on his site – and I had the link – a funny link – you can get to see almost all the data. The exciting part about what Dr. Kaltofen is doing is he’s open sourcing the data that people are sending us from Japan. So if you go – your readers are going to have to take a pen out, but the site that has all of this data on it is goo.gl/ZTPMmT.
ES: They’ll never make it. But I’ll tell you what – I will put that link in my Ecoshock blog. So at ecoshock.org, the Wednesday after this show, that link will be there. Anybody can grab it and look for themselves.
AG: (29:42) So what we’ve been able to do, people have sent us – we now have the complete set of worker’s clothes – not from in the reactor, but the guys that are working on the piles of nuclear waste that are scattered through the Prefecture. So we were able to get a complete set of worker’s clothes. And frankly, we expected that the bottoms of their pants would be radioactive and as you work your way up, you get less radioactivity. We’ve got the gloves, we’ve got the shoes, we’ve got the pants, we’ve got the shirt. But the highest point of radioactivity on this guy’s clothing was his zipper, which is truly frightening. He’s obviously not taking any kind of personal protection when he pulls down his fly, so now his pants are radioactive in the crotch. So that’s just an example of the carelessness – the careless conditions the Japanese are working under.
ES: Well, we’ll get that link up at Ecoshock.org. I wanted to ask you about any lawsuits that you’ve appeared in in the last year or so or is there something you’re working on now?
AG: We are working on one now, and by the time your show airs, I will be able to tell you what it is. So as soon as I can tell you, Alex, I’ll send you an email about the testimony we’re working on right now. It’s a very important project, but the attorneys have said that until the reports are published, I have to be quiet.
ES: No worries. I’ll put it in my blog as soon as I get it from you. So why don’t you tell people a little bit more about what they can expect to find at Fairewinds.org. Is it only for experts or for nuclear nerds or for all of us?
AG: I think it’s for all of us. I was a senior VP in the nuclear industry and when I got blackballed from the nuclear industry, I became a schoolteacher. And I would work at night doing nuclear consulting, but my day job was school teaching. And I learned how to talk to high school seniors, juniors and 10th graders and get the material in a form that a high school senior could understand or a high school 10th grader could understand. I’m not saying we dumb it down because we don’t. But we deliver the material in a format that people can understand, and I think we are appreciated for doing that. It’s a real data intensive site and we’re in the process, once again, of trying to make it a little more user friendly. But it’s got a great search function, so if you can’t find it on the home page and you know what you’re looking for, you can hit the search function and find it.
ES: Unfortunately, it looks like we’re going into a dark place where government transparency will be dumped in favor of industry profits. I know climate scientists are duplicating some key databases offshore. It’s possible people like you and I will be at best labeled fake news and at worst labeled terrorists. Do you think your struggle is about to get more difficult?
AG: You know, Maggie and I have been in a dark place since 1990. The nuclear industry has tried repeatedly to screw us. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has refused to defend us. We lost our house, we went bankrupt. So if the world is coming into a dark place, I’ll say welcome, I’ve already been there and remain there. We had a DDOS attack – a distributive denial of service attack – on our website while I was working on the San Onofre steam generator project. We could never find out who did it, but it knocked the site down for about six days and cost us thousands of dollars to rebuild, and we never were able to rebuild our Japanese translation section. So we have been in the bull’s eye for years and years and now other climate scientists I guess are going to learn that the government is not benign, and the only thing I can say is, welcome to my world.
EC: Do you have any parting words for our listeners, Arnie Gundersen?
AG: I’d just love to thank everybody for watching the Fairewinds site. We are reader sponsored, so if anybody can spare some money, we’d sure appreciate it. We are in this for the long haul and we really believe that nuclear is not the solution; in fact, it’s the problem.
ES: Our guest is Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with experience in the industry who speaks out for greater nuclear safety. With wife, Maggie, Arnie can be found at the website, Fairewinds.org – and that’s Fair – plus an e – winds.org. Think of the old English Faire – with an e at the end of it. And there you will find free online videos and nuclear information. Arnie, as always, I thank you so much for providing the clarity on Radio Ecoshock.
AG: Thanks. Alex. I really appreciate this longstanding conversation you and I have been having.
ES: We’ll keep it up as long as we can. I’m Alex Smith. Get it all at our website, Ecoshock.org.