By Sarah Mosko
Appeared: Voice of OC, 07-Jul, 2022
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to obfuscate is to be evasive, unclear or confusing. Other synonyms include cloud, muddy, fog, blur, obscure, divert, complicate, and confound.
On May 26, Voice of OC published an opinion piece from professor emeritus Roger Johnson which explains why California rightfully decided in 1976 to ban construction of new nuclear power plants and why recent calls, to both extend the operating license of Diablo Canyon, the state’s last operating nuclear plant, and to build new ones nationwide, are seriously misguided. His reasoning includes that “nuclear power is the most expensive, the most unreliable, the most dangerous, and the most environmentally unfriendly form of energy production.”
John Dobken is a spokesperson for Southern California Edison, the operator of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station near San Clemente which was shuttered in 2013 following radiation releases caused by steam generator failure. His rebuttal to Johnson, published in the Voice of OC on June 6, is a lesson in the art of obfuscation.
In his opening salvo, Dobken’s examples of “new supporters” for nuclear energy are a Brazilian model, an advocacy group headed by a singer-turned-nuclear-enthusiast, California voters identified in an online poll, and unnamed “various community members who value service through membership in civic groups.” The listing intentionally obscures the fact that no nuclear experts are cited. Omitted, for example, is the blockbuster joint statement issued in January by nuclear authorities from the United States, France, Germany and Great Britain detailing strong opposition to any expansion of nuclear power as a strategy to combat climate change.