Just curious – have you ever read Daniel Yergin”s “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power” or “The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World?”
Those massive works aren’t light reading, but my copies are seriously dogeared, highlighted and underlined. They are only a couple of the half dozen or more tombs about the energy industry that I use as the basis for understanding that there is serious competition, there are characters who recognize that profits increase when supplies are constrained and others who work diligently to constrain supplies provided by their competitors.
How about “The Rockefeller Century?”
Are you aware how deeply involved David Rockefeller, as the CEO of Chase Manhattan, was in the global oil business or how involved Laurence Rockefeller was in funding “environmental” aka antinuclear organizations?
Have you looked at the financial statements for the Rockefeller Foundation at the time when they were funding to effort to shift the official radiation protection model from a threshold “tolerance dose” to the no threshold (no safe dose) model. Fully 70% of its portfolio was in stocks and bonds traceable to Standard Oil. About 70% or more of its annual income was produced from interests and dividends on those stocks.
You have very clearly documented the almost unlimited cost increases that As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) imposes on the industry. You also recognize how the Rockefeller Foundation helped create the Linear NO THRESHOLD radiation protection model. I’m not sure why you can’t see that ALARA follows directly from the belief that there is NO THRESHOLD (no safe dose). If there is no safe dose, regulators are justified in making doses as low as reasonably achievable.
The quote you use in telling why the RF invested in no threshold is interesting reading.
Fosdick wondered “whether the new energies can be controlled” and hoped that the RF could contribute to that control. I’s possible that he was only talking about controlling the bomb; but he clearly referred to “the energies”, which would include the commercial use of atomic power.
I have never implied that the RF or the petroleum industry were trying to completely HALT nuclear energy. They wanted to CONTROL its growth and expansion. They wanted to tamper enthusiasm and increase caution – which they knew would increase costs.
In December of 1953, the President of the United States gave a seminal speech to the United Nations promising to share technical knowledge about peaceful atomic energy uses and stated that controllable power from the atom had already been achieved. (In the summer of 1953, the Submarine Thermal Reactor (STR-1) began operating in Idaho and immediately conducted a full power run equivalent to a simulated journey across the Atlantic Ocean. EBR-1 had powered its building.)
Immediately after Eisenhower’s speech his administration began working with congressional leaders to amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, which had effectively bottled up nuclear energy development by making it a government monopoly and then putting power reactor development on a starvation diet while the “civilian” Atomic Energy Commission focused on bomb making and building out a massive manufacturing complex.
Ater the act was amended enough to rename it as the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, there was strong interest in commercial development. The US government funded a demonstration project, but GE began a project with PG&E and Bechtel to build their own reactor almost immediately. Construction on that plant began in 1955, so surely its planning was know among people at the top echelon’s of the energy business.
The New York Times published several articles in 1954 about the coming of commercial nuclear power. The RF’s decision to ask the NAS to produce the BEAR report came at the end of 1954.
Your brief document gives Big Oil a pass on being opposed to nuclear because they made a few minor – relative to their size – investments. Several of those investments became serious impediments to nuclear energy growth.
You say that electricity generation wasn’t an important part of their business, but from the earliest days of the petroleum business it has been interested in selling every part of the barrel – including the bottom part. Power plants might have been a “dumping ground” for the bottom of the barrel, but oil companies liked having a market where that material could be sold for useful revenue.
Oil is a multinational business. The UK, France, Sweden, Japan, Taiwan were all places with a high portion of their power being generated by burning oil. Other than the UK, they weren’t yet building nuclear plants in the 1950s, but they had certainly made their interest known at international conferences. Leaders in the hydrocarbon industry don’t just focus on the next quarter or even the next year. They think in terms of decades because their investments take so long to develop and last so long after they begin producing revenues.
Anyway, you are free to interpret history your way. But I’d appreciate it if you did not call me a “fossil fuel conspiracist.”