On Slow Progress and Trust

After a couple weeks that brought some very discouraging news, as well as a lot of “pseudo-news” that had nuclear supporters in full-on FUD-busting* mode, this was a refreshing article to find in my Inbox on Thursday.

Nuclear progress is usually a slow-moving process, and often doesn’t seem to go anywhere at all. This is partly because of the public environment, but it also comes from a very necessary aspect of the industry. You don’t cut corners or use the cheap parts in this field. This meticulous attention to detail and improvement may slow things down, but it also forms the basis of trust:

It is our duty to make sure that we never lose ground, that we document things to this level, that we perform beyond what we think our limit is. It is our duty to always be better. Every document that we sign, every peer or family member that finally comes around, every congressman we persuade, every argument in which we triumph, that is an inch that does not slip

How do we ensure that? Through our culture. Our nuclear safety culture is the only thing that can breed the trust that we deserve to be a viable energy solution for the future.

via Fighting for the Next Inch | ANS Nuclear Cafe.

With that, I am going to make an assertion that may seem rather bold, but it needs to be said: Nobody — no person or group of people — cares more about the safety of nuclear power generation than the scientists and engineers and plant operators that make it all work. Nobody. Not the politicians, not the pundits, not the media, not even the inspectors and regulators, and certainly not the anti-nuclear activists, much as they may claim the contrary. Not even me.

This is why I choose to get my news not from the “mainstream” media, or the activists (even though I myself could be called an activist), but from the educated professionals, the scientists and engineers. I, too, am an engineer, though in a different field, and when I see my fellow engineers disparaged as being untrustworthy because they are “industry insiders,” or worse, “paid shills,” it makes my blood boil. Those are my fellows, and if you attack them, you attack me.

I’ll say it again, with complete confidence: These “industry insiders” care far more — and understand far more — about the safety and integrity of their industry, and its benefit to our environment and humanity, than any anti-nuclear activist or purveyor of fear and doubt ever could or will. And I will not again hesitate to say so.

(*FUD: fear, uncertainty, and doubt)

1 Comment

  1. EntrepreNuke says:

    As one of those engineers, I must say that I fully concur with your post here, Eric.

Leave a Reply