Patrick Moore Background Information

Page - December 10, 2008
Patrick Moore, a paid spokesman for the nuclear industry, frequently cites a long-ago affiliation with Greenpeace to gain legitimacy in the media. Several media outlets recently either stated or implied that Mr. Moore still represents Greenpeace, or failed to mention his current ties to the nuclear industry. This page contains all the information journalists need to accurately describe Mr. Moore and to judge his credibility. We’ve included some information below and have attached several recent articles about Mr. Moore.

Patrick Moore is a Paid Spokesperson for the Nuclear Industry

In April 2006, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the principal lobby for the nuclear industry, launched the Clean And Safe Energy Coalition and installed former Bush Administration EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman and Mr. Moore as its co-chairs. The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition was part of a public relations project spearheaded by the public relations giant Hill & Knowlton as part of its estimated $8 million contract with the nuclear industry.(1)

Patrick Moore Does Not Represent Greenpeace

For more than 20 years, Mr. Moore has been a paid spokesman for a variety of polluting industries, including the timber, mining, chemical and the aquaculture industries. Most of these industries hired Mr. Moore only after becoming the focus of a Greenpeace campaign to improve their environmental performance. Mr. Moore has now worked for polluters for far longer than he ever worked for Greenpeace. Greenpeace opposes the use of nuclear energy because it is a dangerous and expensive distraction from real solutions to climate change.

Patrick Moore Did Not Found Greenpeace

Patrick Moore frequently portrays himself as a founder or co-founder of Greenpeace, and many news outlets have repeated this characterization. Although Mr. Moore played a significant role in Greenpeace Canada for several years, he did not found Greenpeace. Phil Cotes, Irving Stowe, and Jim Bohlen founded Greenpeace in 1970. Patrick Moore applied for a berth on the Phyllis Cormack in March, 1971 after the organization had already been in existence for a year. A copy of his application letter and Greenpeace's response are available here (PDF).

Patrick Moore Has Provided Inaccurate Information on Nuclear Power

In 2004, Mr. Moore published an article in the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) journal entitled "Nuclear Re-think." According to Mr. Moore, "Three Mile Island was a success story. The concrete containment structure did as it was designed to do: it prevented radiation from escaping into the environment."(2)

Contrary to Mr. Moore's claim, the damaged reactor spewed radiation into the environment for days. It appears that Mr. Moore didn't even bother to check his facts. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's fact sheet on Three Mile Island (TMI) acknowledges that the meltdown resulted in "a significant release of radiation…"(3)

Even the International Atomic Energy Agency, which published Mr. Moore's article, acknowledges that the TMI meltdown released radiation into the surrounding community. As a result, the IAEA ranks the accident as a Level 5 on a scale of 7, an Accident With Wider Consequences. (Only Chernobyl & the Soviet nuclear waste tank explosion in 1957 rank worse than the Three Mile Island meltdown.)(4)

According to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 10 million curies of radiation escaped the damaged reactor core. However, nuclear engineers who reexamined the accident estimate that as much as 150 million curies of radiation may have escaped from the reactor.(5) The meltdown at Three Mile Island turned a multimillion dollar asset into a multibillion dollar liability overnight and helped seal the fate of nuclear power in the United States. To claim otherwise is nothing but public relations spin.

Unfortunately, Mr. Moore's pro nuclear spin is not confined to the Three Mile Island meltdown. While praising the Bush Administration for rejecting the Kyoto Protocol(6), Moore promotes nuclear power as a solution to global warming because,"(i)t produces no harmful greenhouse gases…"(7)

However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) already determined in 1999 that the Nuclear Energy Institute's claims touting nuclear power's supposed environmental benefits were misleading because it did not disclose the fact that the production of nuclear fuel produced greenhouse gases. The FTC concluded that NEI's claims could not be substantiated, "(s)ince there is not yet any permanent disposal system for radioactive waste and since the process of uranium enrichment that fuels nuclear reactors emits greenhouse gases…"(8)

Patrick Moore's Own Words

Consider Patrick Moore's own words when considering his claims and those of the nuclear industry: "It should be remembered that there are employed in the nuclear industry some very high-powered public relations organizations. One can no more trust them to tell the truth about nuclear power than about which brand of toothpaste will result in the sexiest smile,"(9) he wrote before becoming a spokesman for polluters.

References

1. "False Fronts." Columbia Journalism Review. April, 2006. (http://cjrarchives.org/issues/2006/4/editorial.asp)

2. Moore, Patrick. "Nuclear Re-Think." IAEA Bulletin. Vol. 48, No. 1. September, 2006. p. 56-58. (http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Magazines/Bulletin/Bull481/pdfs/nuclear_rethink.pdf)

3. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. "Fact Sheet on the Three Mile Island Accident" (http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/3mile-isle.pdf)

4. International Atomic Energy Agency and OECD Nuclear Energy Agency. "INES - The International Nuclear and Radiological Scale." (http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Factsheets/English/ines.pdf)

5. Allen, Scott. "Findings underplayed disaster, 3 say" The Boston Globe. March 28, 1999. (http://research.greenpeaceusa.org/?a=view&d=4592)

6. Morano, Marc. "Former Greenpeace Co-Founder Praises US for Rejecting Kyoto" CNSNews.com. December 8, 2005.

7. Whitman, Christine Todd and Patrick Moore. "Nuclear should be a part of our energy future." The Boston Globe. May 15, 2006. (http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/ oped/articles/2006/05/15/nuclear _should_be_a_part_of_our_energy_future/)

8. Bernstein, Joan Z (Director, Federal Trade Commission). Letter to Joseph Colvin, President and CEO, Nuclear Energy Institute, December 15, 1999. (http://www.ftc.gov/os/closings/staff/991215nuclearenergyinstitute.pdf)

9. Moore, Patrick. "Assault on Future Generations." Greenpeace Annual Report, 1976.