VIRGINIA — Dr. George Erickson is on a mission to inform the public about the benefits of nuclear power and the defects of wind and solar power.
To further that mission, the Virginia native and best-selling author of five pro-science books will present a three-part series of free talks based on his book, “Unintended Consequences: The Lie That Killed Millions and Accelerated Climate Change.”
The presentations are open to the public and will be held on three consecutive Thursdays at 2:20 and 6:30 p.m. in the theater at Mesabi Range College’s Virginia campus.
The first talk, “Climate Change: A 100 Megaton Economic and Environmental Bomb,” will be held today.
The second, “The Truth About Highly Efficient, 24/7, CO2–free Nuclear Power — By Far the Safest Way to Generate Electricity,” is set for Nov. 14.
The third, “Renewables and the Green New Deal — But Green for Whom?” will be held Nov. 21.
Each presentation will run about 40 minutes.
Erickson travels the country at his own expense, giving climate change and energy presentations at colleges, schools, service clubs and affinity groups, he said.
The former bush pilot and retired dentist emphasized that “Unintended Consequences” is based on science, not opinion, and said numerous experts are cited throughout the book.
The 12-chapter book explains, he says, how carbon dioxide-free nuclear power can drastically reduce reliance on inefficient, environment-damaging, carbon-dependent wind and solar farms. It further illustrates how “our fear of minor amounts of radiation arose from a lie that became science dogma in the 1950s.”
Erickson will delve into those topics during his talks at MRC, where his father taught for about 40 years.
“I was initially a fan of wind and solar,” he noted on Wednesday.
But about eight years ago, Erickson changed his views after becoming a member of the Thorium Energy Alliance, a group of about 80 independent physicists, engineers, medical doctors, energy and radiology experts and journalists concerned about climate change, the environment and energy issues.
Through the group he became aware, he said, of the inefficiencies and carbon footprint of wind and solar power.
Wind and solar are about 32% and 20% efficient, respectively, compared to nuclear, which has a capacity factor of 90%, said Erickson, referring to a chart included in “Unintended Consequences.”
In the forward of the book Erickson writes: “I must mention two discoveries that came as a huge surprise — the fact that our radiation safety standards are based on a fraud that became dogma not long after World War II, and the existence of compelling evidence that low levels of background radiation can even improve our lives. I know that sounds crazy. At first it did to me, but there is abundant science to back it up.”
Erickson says that it would take less than 40 years to reverse “the dark side” of the Industrial Revolution — such as rising sea levels and melting ice caps — by replacing carbon-burning power plants with new, molten salt reactors that are safe, “create very little waste, and can burn the waste from our older reactors and unused nuclear bombs.”
The United States, by 1959, had a design for a molten salt, thorium-powered reactor that had proven advantages over uranium, he said. “But it was killed by the Nixon administration.”
Countries such as France, which uses 70-80% nuclear power, he said, have a low carbon footprint compared to Germany, which burns much coal and produces a high carbon footprint.
In various parts of the world, the value of nuclear power is finally being acknowledged — but there is a long way yet to go, he added.
Erickson also said audiences are receptive to the information presented during his talks.
Erickson, who flew as a bush pilot from 1967 to 2008, spending parts of 38 summers in Canada and Alaska, reinforced that something needs to be done before the effects of carbon further damage the environment.
Winters in those locations, he says in his writing, “are now at least five weeks shorter than they were just 60 years ago, and the shrinking icepack is leaving polar bears insufficient time to fatten up on seals, with many bears coming off of the springtime ice severely underweight. Some are drowning, having become too weak to survive what was once, for a healthy polar bear, an easy 100-mile swim to shore.”
“So,” he said, “this is why we need nuclear power.”