Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Now why might that be?

The BBC's environment correspondent reports under the headline 'Nuclear power support in UK falls over Japan fears'. Interestingly the first line of the actual report reveals that 'More Britons support the building of new nuclear power stations than oppose it, despite the crisis at Japan's Fukushima plant, an opinion poll says.'

Richard Black's report continues 'But almost a half say they are worried about the safety of nuclear plants.'

After the BBC's scaremongering coverage of the Fukushima plant's problems I am surprised that more people are not worried about nuclear safety. The BBC line has been to ramp up the fears and exaggerate the radiation risks. This has worked, wherever I go I speak with people who think that the Fukushima plant is leaking huge amounts of lethal radiation and that large parts of north east Japan are all but death zones. This is of course mostly rubbish but scary rubbish is good television.

The opinion poll quoted was carried out by Friends of the Earth so I would like to know what the questions were and in what order they were asked. For instance was there a question along the lines of 'How worried are you by the recent leak of radiation at the Fukushima nuclear plant?' asked before the 'How worried are you by UK nuclear safety?' It is very easy to slant opinion poll questions to get the answers that you want. I am not saying that this is what Friends of the Earth have done but I would be very interested to know for sure.

Once you get past the headline and first few paragraphs, and we know that that is as far as many people get, Richard Black does admit that 'The Fukushima crisis has come with disturbing imagery - but the statistics suggest little impact' and 'Although the incident has put the issue of nuclear risk high up the news agenda, proponents can point to the fact that so far there has not been any impact on human health other than a few events involving workers at the power station.'

It is my opinion that the BBC have used the Fukushima incident as a way of pushing nuclear safety up the agenda as a way of helping the wind power industry out. The fact that reliance on wind power for 20% or more of power generation would have left the UK short of power on many days this winter is not something that the BBC and its 'expert' correspondents acknowledge, they have an agenda and they will continue to promote that agenda.

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