Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why is it always alpha males that like nuclear power?

I have been against nuclear power since the 1970s, when I was living near Heysham power station.

One thing has always struck me about advocates of nuclear power, and by and large I have kept this thought to myself, and intended to do so, until for the first time recently someone else mentioned the same thought quite spontaneously to me.

A colleague said, “Haven't you noticed that advocates of nuclear power tend to be middle-class, alpha males?"

Absolutely. I have. Haven't you?

For example, you will find very few women in favour of nuclear power.

This is not to say that all middle-class - or upper-class - alpha males are supporters of the technology. But by and large, all supporters tend to be alpha males.

What's wrong with this? Er, well...

In my 1987 novel about nuclear-power, I satirised this tendency: I characterised the workers inside the control room of Chernobyl number four reactor 25 years ago as being sexually turned on by their activities....

...pulling those control rods out, pushing them in, into the core, perpetuating the climax, keeping this huge energy force purring away...

There is no more potent form of energy exploited by human beings.

How powerful you must feel manipulating this!

It is the same force as that powering the sun - how symbolic is that?

The very building blocks of the universe under the control of - men.

In the Greek story of Prometheus, this mortal - the original alpha male - dared to ascend to the Olympian home of the gods in order to steal fire, until then only enjoyed by deities.

Prometheus returned to Earth and was heralded as a hero for bringing warmth and energy to humanity.

He had dared go where no human had dared to go before, and taken - without permission - what was not rightfully his.

When the gods found out, they punished the whole of humanity for this mortal sin.

They sent down a box, filled with worries and cares, for until then humanity had also lived an innocent, carefree life.

The box was Pandora's, and, as the story goes, she couldn't resist opening it, letting loose all of these worries over the whole of the world, from which we have been suffering ever since.

What better metaphor for the concept of radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion?

Over the last week, as we have marked the anniversary of the tragic Chernobyl accident, we have learnt that there is still suffering, fallout and repercussions from this incident.

We've seen pictures in the newspapers of deformed children, despite official reports from alpha males that in fact hardly anybody died or was badly affected, statistically speaking, by the disaster.

There have been debates and polls held by alpha male-dominated organisations like the Economist magazine, which have come out in favour of nuclear power.

We've been assured by the Government's chief scientist that nuclear power is the safest of all sources of power. Here is an alpha male if there ever was one.

I don't trust alpha males. They get carried away. Alpha males take us to war. Alpha males are reckless and aggressive.

The fact is, most sources of energy from renewable sources are far safer than nuclear power.

I would rather listen to ordinary people, the vast majority of whom know in their hearts that nuclear power is not safe, that there are safer alternatives, that we can solve our energy problems without it by using energy efficiency and renewable energy...

...And if we don't listen to the reckless, aggressive alpha males.


Mr Potarto said...

Is coal safer than nuclear?

More people die in the mining of it and a coal plant emits more radiation than a nuclear one, so how is it safer?

David said...

I didn't say coal is safer, I said nuclear isn't the safest. Quite the opposoite:

MikeinAppalachia said...

"...vast majority of whom know in their hearts that nuclear power is not safe,..."

I think there is the answer. Middle class "Alpha Males" tend to think with their brains.

David said...

And they are not at all arrogant, or believe they are right all the time.