Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it

by Jim Riccio

August 14, 2008

This post was originally published April 26, 2008:

As American nuclear corporations move toward constructing new reactors in the U.S., it’s important that we remember the downside of the nuclear industry on this 22nd Anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster.

The fact is that none of these corporations would ever construct another reactor if they were held liable for the consequences of the catastrophic accident that could occur. Less than a month after the disaster, NRC Commissioner James K. Asselstine testified to Congress that,

While we hope that their occurrence is unlikely, there are accident sequences for U.S. plants that can lead to rupture or bypassing of containment in U.S. reactors which would result in the off-site release of fission products comparable or worse than the releases estimated by the NRC staff to have taken place during the Chernobyl accident.

That is why the Commission told Congress recently that it could not rule out a commercial nuclear power plant accident in the United States resulting in tens of billions of dollars of property losses and injuries to the public.

The nuclear industry and their propagandists would like the public to forget or ignore this nuclear disaster.  But those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  

Unfortunately, former Greenpeace activist Patrick Moore is now one of these pro-nuclear propagandists downplaying the consequences of this disaster. In the wake of the Chernobyl disaster,  and prior to pulling a paycheck from the Nuclear Energy Institute and forming CASEnergy, he issued a document entitled:

by Patrick Moore, Ph. D.
Greenpeace Foundation of Canada



Mr. Moore went on to conclude that:


The facts concerning the Chernobyl disaster haven’t changed and neither has the nuclear industry. Nuclear power is a dangerous technology that would never be built if corporations bore the true cost and liability for the potential consequences. However, it seems Mr. Moore has either forgotten the facts about Chernobyl or has been paid to ignore them. Neither of which is acceptable.  

For more information on the Chernobyl Accident and reactor risks:

American Chernobyl: Nuclear “Near Misses” at U.S. Reactors Since 1986.
Greenpeace 2007

Risky Business: The Probability and Consequences of a Nuclear Accident

CHERNOBYL: Some Lessons  and Implications for Lower Quality Electric Utilities,  Donaldson. Lutkin & Jenrette Securities Corporation, 1986

For additional information on Mr. Moore & his current activities see:

Spinning the Atom in Mother Jones Magazine


Jim Riccio

By Jim Riccio

Jim Riccio served as Greenpeace’s Nuclear Policy Analyst from 2001 to 2017 and has over two decades of nuclear activist experience. He has been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Boston Globe, and has appeared on ABC News, NBC News, Al Jazeera, CNN, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel.

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