Talk:Price–Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act/Talk5

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Mediation

It appears that Ed Poor has quit Wikipedia (see his talk page). I recommend that we seek another mediator at RFM. · Katefan0(scribble) 17:19, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

There seemingly being no way to continue with Uncle Ed, I have applied for a new Mediator. We should all read wp:rfm. Simesa 00:38, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
I'll be taking over the mediation. See below. Ral315 WS 03:55, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
For what it's worth, he will be missed - flaws and all. Benjamin Gatti

I didn't really quit: I was just having a bad day. In any case, there's a new Mediator on duty now. Anything I say from this point on is in my private capacity as an ordinary contributor. Uncle Ed 18:40, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

New mediator

I've stepped in for Ed Poor as mediator. I'd like to hear from each party specifically what you believe the problems are on this article. Please DO NOT respond to each other's comments; I'm just looking for your personal opinion on where the dispute is. We can worry about ground rules and other details after I get an opinion from all four of you as to exactly what you think are the problems here. Ral315 WS 04:02, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Welcome! We're at sort of a stalemate and have been for awhile now. It's basically Simesa, katefan and I on one side and Ben on the other. Ben wants to make the article tilt towards the anti-nuclear crowd while generally, we think that the article is fine as it is even though it does need some background info still

. --Woohookitty 04:26, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

At this point, I would settle for a readable "How the law works" section. In the past, there has been insistence on stating how Chernobyl's consequences would have overwhelmed the resources - which is true, but should be balanced by a brief discussion by a few points that non-Soviet Union plants are very much unlike the RBMK-type reactor for that very reason. Simesa 13:20, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
P.S. - I will be unavailable until Sunday night, working at an event. Simesa 13:20, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Ral, glad to have you here. We really have made pretty much no progress on substantive disagreements. I am going to re-post my initial thoughts from when mediation began:

I came here as a result of an RFC listed by Simesa asking for some NPOV eyes on Benjamin Gatti's edits (and his own, too, of course). I have no particular axe to grind or bone to pick except making sure the article is NPOV. My involvement has mainly been trying to help Benjamin understand NPOV and trying to help him properly insert the criticsm he thought was necessary, while attempting to rein in some of his anti-nuke POV. I anticipate that, similarly, my involvement in this mediation will come in the form of answering the things Benjamin thinks needs to be changed, although I will try to keep an open mind.

Primarily, the change he has sought that I have fought against most recently is that Benjamin thinks the GAO information on the historicity of the Price-Anderson Act (the "history" or "background" section, can't remember now what it's called) should not be stated authoritatively. That, rather, it should say "According to government documents," or "According to the GAO," which tends to cast doubt on the information in much the same fashion as with an interest group's opinion. My own feeling -- backed up by standard Wikipedia practices, I think -- is that the GAO is a nonpartisan, nonideological research organization and that its information is quite accurate. As such it's fine to use it as a source for factual information (as opposed to summaries of opinions) without attribution, as long as an in-line link is cited, which it is. The specifics of the information being summarized is factual on its base -- it isn't describing a debate or characterizing an opinion, it's simply the facts behind the creation of the Price-Anderson Act, which make Benjamin's objections even more confusing to me.

I also tend to feel that the criticsm section is a bit overstuffed as it stands now, though it would be fairly easy to consolidate when the bulk of the issues are resolved.

· Katefan0(scribble) 14:52, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

This article is very anti nuke POV. Some examples:

  1. The law suspends U.S. liability laws for nuclear power plants. No, it defines a no fault liability.
  2. ...taxpayers would have to foot most of the bill for a catastrophic accident Well, this is not different than with any other industry, such as when airplanes crash into skyscrapers.
  3. ...injured victims are precluded from directly suing vendors or manufacturers responsible for the accident This is because the act uses strict liability. One does not have to prove fault, only injury. A less POV way of expressing this would be to say Nuclear plant owners are not allowed to defend themselves in court against charges of negligence.

pstudier 23:11, 14 October 2005 (UTC)


  1. I think more accurately - it suspends state liability laws for a particular class of person - that is nuclear plant operators; quite unfair to "windfarm" operators, or PV operators, because it fails to provide "equal protection." I doubt there is such a thing as US liability laws. Federal court is not the best place for tort litigation.
  2. the law would hold taxpayers liable before it held the reactors operator liable - even if criminal malfeasance or supreme neglact were proven - such is not the case with airline carriers.
  3. Nuclear operators don't need to defend themselves, because they aren't liable beyond their insurance policy - the victom is.
I agree that the criticism section is bloated. The issue should not be framed as for and against, with for going first. It should be framed as fact following more important fact and the introduction should stipulate
Benjamin Gatti

Ground rules for mediation, and a few questions.

Now that I've got everybody's opinions, let's get to my own.

This seems like a relatively stable article right now, albeit disputed. Nevertheless, I think it's important to lay down a few ground rules right now:

  1. One revert per day per person; any more reverts will result in a 24-hour block.
  2. All edits should be discussed on the talk page; see below.
  3. Try not to make any major changes without first discussing it on this page and getting my agreement.

On another, less authoritarian note, I made two minor changes: Changing AEC and DOE to proper links, rather than linking to their disambig pages, and making Energy Policy Act of 2005 a bullet point in the "See Also" section.

Some questions I personally had about the article, both major and minor:

  • We all seem to agree that the "Criticisms" section is bad. It's very large, and in a lot of places, seems to be a hodgepodge of information, with absolutely no organization. Is there a way that we can agree to cut this section down, while still maintaining a Neutral Point of View? This may be the hardest part to do. Tell me, what can we cut?
  • In the "how the law works" section, we use "ibid" to source a document. While I understand that "Ibid" means the previous source, a good number of people don't. Also, ibid says that it really deals with endnotes and footnotes primarily, not in-line sources. Should we link to the source again? Or perhaps just link it to ibid?
  • Are all the HTML comments throughout the source necessary in the "Price-Anderson covers United States Department of Energy facilities." area? It seems to me like we should either have the information, or remove it completely.

I want everyone's opinion on these questions, and any other questions you may have...I'd really like to get this article in better shape. Ral315 WS 07:33, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

____ I suggest that the graveman of this mediation has little to do with excessive reverts, failure to discuss, or even failure to vet changes with the mediator - the article as you suggest is stable, worts and all. Where we have disagreed in the past is whether or not the opinions expressed by certain government sources - include the GAO - were "facts" to be asserted by the voice of WP in the first person, or expressions of third parties, to appear in quotes with due attribution. As the chief critic amongst the warring tribes, it is worth noting that I don't care what is said under the heading "CRITICISM". The mere existence of a cordoned-off area for criticisms is offense. Moreover, the rules for criticisms have been different than the rules for supporters in that criticisms are diluted by attributions, while supporters have been permitted access to the first voice of WP. I'm no fan of in-line comments, but I think it's preferable when deleting material which is awkward, to leave it in place for a while so that one is not accused of deleting - only of hiding. Benjamin Gatti

I agree that I don't think that any of these are problems. I'm just setting them down as ground rules in general. Understand that my questions are mainly for discussion, to see exactly what people want, and more importantly, to figure out a place where all parties can agree, and the article is stable, NPOV, and most importantly, a good article. Ral315 WS 22:12, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
I think referencing the source again is preferable - editors don't always check for ibids.
I suggest we delete the hidden text and say simply "Price-Anderson also covers DOE facilities and contractors such as the USEC uranium enrichment plants, national laboratories and the Yucca Mountain disposal site."
I once tried to boil down the Criticims to the following:
The law is not without its detractors, including the libertarian thinktank CATO Institute, Greenpeace International, Public Citizen, Taxpayers for Common Sense and other interest groups, who charge that Price-Anderson has amounted to an enormous giveaway to private industry at the American taxpayers' expense. According to Public Citizen, a 1990 study calculated that without Price-Anderson, nuclear power corporations would pay more than $3 billion annually to fully insure their operations. [1] According to research done by the United States Public Interest Research Group, a consumer advocacy group, estimates of the subsidy to nuclear power plant owners range from $3.45 million to $33 million per reactor per year (in 2001 dollars). With 106 reactors covered, this would represent $366 million to $3.5 billion annually, USPIRG legislative director Anna Aurilio said.[2] Even the United States Department of Energy has said Price-Anderson is essentially a subsidy for the nuclear industry [3]. Public Citizen has been particularly critical of Price-Anderson, arguing that it understates the risks inherent in atomic power and does not require reactors to carry enough insurance — as a result taxpayers would have to foot most of the bill for a catastrophic accident, the group says.[4] Public Citizen has also criticized the act as having insufficient insurance coverage to compensate for victims' injuries and loss. [5]
Some of these groups also argue that the Price-Anderson Act was enacted when nuclear power was an immature industry that needed governmental protections to spur development, but that after 48 years such protections are no longer needed. In 1957, according to Public Citizen, the United States Senate stated that Price Anderson should only be needed for ten years because "the problem of reactor safety will be to a great extent solved and the insurance people will have had an experience on which to base a sound program of their own." [6][7]US Gov
However, the Energy Department has said it is "widely perceived that no new nuclear plants would be built in the United States without the cap on liability provided by the Price-Anderson Act." [8] (The last civilian nuclear plant completed in the United States started up in 1996 but new plants are proposed under the Nuclear Power 2010 Program and the Energy Policy Act of 2005.)
Additionally, Price-Anderson has drawn fire from these groups for a portion of the law that indemnifies Department of Energy private contractors from nuclear incidents even if there were gross negligence or willful misconduct. "No other government agency provides this level of taxpayer indemnification to non-government personnel," Public Citizen has said. [9] However, the Energy Department counters those critics by saying that the distinction is irrelevant, since the damage to the public would be the same - the goal of Price-Anderson is to provide coverage. [10]
As I recall, the above misses one point introduced after August 5th.
Simesa 22:38, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm glad Ral is here. I'd like to join the team - purely as a contributor, not as Mediator Emeritus or anything.

My problem with the article is it gives hardly the slightest clue about how anyone expects it work in practice. What is indemnified? Who pays money to whom, and how much? Is all negligence excused, even if it amounts to criminal mischief? Where does the act draw the line?

Also, I'd like lay out (or see laid out) the major arguments in favor of the act, and opposing the act. (I hear it's been signed already, so I guess there are grumblings about it or campaigns to repeal it, but usually these financial bills just go into effect upon presidential signature, don't they?)

Now to reveal my "position" on nuclear energy: I'm generally in favor of it, but I think extraordinary precautions should be taken to make it safe. I don't think Three Mile Island resulted in a significant amount of radiation leakage. What I've picked up about background radiation says to me me that the few millirems that went out of TMI just fade into the "background" in comparison.

Although I'm proud to be an American, I also doubt that the U.S. federal government is so trustworthy in all respects that it merits the endorsement of Wikipedia. Partisanship shows up in odd places, even in supposedly "nonpartisan" agencies. Case in point is global warming and the Kyoto Protocol. The EPA says one thing, the White House says another. Should Wikipedia endorse the agency or the president on this? Uncle Ed 19:00, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree in general, but agencies like the EPA are arms of the administration. The opinions they give are expected to jibe with the administration's opinion. The GAO, CRS, etc., are for the most part independent bodies, functioning as Congress' investigative/research arm. Agencies often toe the administration line because that's what they are -- appendages of the administration. Not so with entities such as the GAO and CRS, CBO etc. I'm not saying they are infallible, but when it comes to something like the historicity behind something like this, I think it's pretty safe to say their summation should be considered accurate. · Katefan0(scribble) 20:43, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm sure that the GAO appreciates your endorsement. but an endorsement is an opinion, and just like mine, yours are not the proper stuff of encyclopedias. I suggest that we inform the reader of the source, and leave it to the reader to weight the credibility of sources. That would be black-belt NPOV. Now to Ed, welcome back in more ways than one. You realize that with extraordinary precautions, nuclear is more expensive, more dangerous, creates fewer jobs, and is less exportable than - for example - wind. Benjamin Gatti

What amazes me is that I've been involved in this since April and basically zilch has been decided. Not sure how many times we need to say that the GAO is a non-partisan group that has no stake in this or any other matters its involved in. The GAO comes out with FACTS, not opinion. This isn't a thinktank nor is it a partisan group. --Woohookitty 11:10, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

New intro

Cut from intro:

(commonly called the Price-Anderson Act) limits liability insurance obligations for nuclear plant operators. The act currently provides indemnity to all nuclear facilities (except Navy aircraft carriers and submarines) constructed in the United States before 2026. The Act is broadly viewed as a requirement for nuclear energy in the United States.

I decided that a very short quote from the NEI page didn't merit quotation marks; I just supplied a [1] style web link instead.

The rest of the verbiage seems confusing, and I think it's what we've all been contending about anyway, so I just text moved it here for discussion.

I would like to know more about how Price-Anderson imits liability insurance obligations.

I would like "indemnity" to be defined.

I'm not sure why we are mentioning the Navy. Are we trying to say the law applies only to civilian power plants?

"Broadly viewed" needs attribution. As the sailor said to the marine, Who are ya calling a broad? ;-) But seriously, which advocates regard the art as a requirement for nuclear energy in the United States, and why? Uncle Ed 14:32, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Ed's new intro is much clearer than the previous. Yes, incidents involving military-operated reactors are NOT covered. Simesa 19:07, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Here's the beauty of accepting the Supreme Court's "findings of fact" - the Duke case found that nuclear plants (in particular the Duke plant) would not be built. The fact that it has recently been extended demonstrated that someone is arguing for it, and I believe Katefan submitted testimony from Cheney that is was critic today - also, taken with the new subsidies (50% of new building costs) - it remains clear that nuclear plants are a form of subsidy farming, and even with these subsidies, we do not see new plants popping up like mushrooms after a rain. As always, its tricky to say which subsidies are fungible (that is to say easily replaced by alternative incentives having the same avoided cost value, but liability subsidy is a slight-of-hand; it "costs" very little on a typical day, but "risk" is a major component in buying decisions for long-term capital investments. Any competative technology - with most or all of the risk removed, becomes advantageous. I have no problem with nuclear energy being the energy of choice - if it is truly the least cost option in a fairly costed world. My complaint and opinion, is that the costs of nuclear are being tortured in a manner which does not provide equal protection to persons seeking to compete in the energy market with alternatives which are more safe, and for this readon, less costly in a free market wherein each seller pays the true costs of production. Benjamin Gatti
Two clarifications: First, the construction subsidies are, for two reactors only, 50% of cost overruns due to delays and, for the next four reactors only, 25%. No delays, no such subsidies. "Subsidy farming" is a term once applied to wind power. As for "popping up", I am aware of five planned plants, of one or more reactors each. Simesa 00:58, 19 October 2005 (UTC)


But you admit that there are no 50% subsidies in place for cost overruns at - say Cape Wind. And you admit that Nuclear has recieved 97% of subsidies, so Wind can only claim to be subsidy gardening at best, (and with only 3% of the energy subsidy Wind is quite probably fully competative with nuclear (adjusted for the Price risk subsidy). And you don't deny the simple unfairness of granting "headstarts" to one form of energy - without providing equal time to clean safe alternatives. There hasn't been a new nuclear plant commissioned in this country since like the 1980's? I wouldn't call that popping up. In fact, even if they dent the golden shovels tomorrow morning, it would be another ten years before the first new nuclear kilowatt is pumped into the grid. Benjamin Gatti
I was thinking of the turbines at Altamont Pass, of which it has been said that their primary productivity was not electricity but rather tax write-offs - that was clearly a headstart. The last plant went on-line in 1996. New construction schedules are expected to be five years, the Japanese do it in a little under four. Simesa 02:45, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
I heard the Russians can do it in three. Apparently there are some tradeoffs available in the scheduling, maybe the jury is still mulling the risk/benefit. Did you mean a headstart IN FRONT of nuclear - its chief competitor? Logic review: Nuclear gets 97% of government support, while Wind energy gets 3% and Simesa calls the race for Wind? I doubt that would fly in middle school debate class, I'm afraid that sermon only rings true with the choir. Fun aside - we agree that the Supreme court found the act was necessary, and that that should be authority enough? Benjamin Gatti 03:09, 19 October 2005 (UTC)


This just got complicated

Ed took the liberty to edit the intro - but I would like to adjust it - but then "we" are under some kind of comment first edit later protocol. So are we in this together? or is there going to be different rules for each party? I'll agree to this: So long as the article is being edited by the rules - I'll agree to discuss first - but if the article is being edited without pre-discussion, than I will not be held to a lesser standard. Benjamin Gatti

Yes, this is exactly the problem. I see that you have indeed gone ahead and modified it to something I find unacceptable. Now what? I'd rather not edit war. · Katefan0(scribble) 04:04, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
As much as I agree with Ed's changes - I think Pstudier has done the only practical thing to keep the train on the tracks. The agreement to take it slow is worth keeping, because without it, we will quickly be at each other's throats, RfC, RfM - oh that's where we are - then maybe we shouldn't make it worse.Benjamin Gatti

Vote to accept Ed's changes:

  1. Accept:
    • pstudier 05:12, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
    • Simesa 07:00, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
  2. Reject:
  3. Comment:
  4. Abstain: Benjamin Gatti 04:32, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Caution: "Wikipedia is not a democracy" - "Wikipedia is not an experiment in democracy. Its primary method of finding consensus is discussion, not voting. In difficult cases, straw polls may be conducted to help determine consensus, but are to be used with caution and not to be treated as binding votes." (see Consensus) Simesa 17:51, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

I've rejected my own changes, because unless all of us agree that the intro is correct and unbiased, I don't want it. I don't need the aggravation!
Seriously, a tense standoff, thrown together as "consensus" and supported by a shaky coalition of votes, is nothing but a house of cards.
I swung and missed. Next up to the plate is . . . ? Uncle Ed 18:44, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

With respect then to the Intro Paragraph - I suggest that we list the issues on which we disagree.

Facts I would assert:

  1. The DOE has called Price a "Subsidy for investors"
  2. The act exists because nuclear energy is "too" dangerous to insure.
  3. Put another way, if nuclear had to pay the cost of insurance at the same rate as windpower, nuclear energy would be more expensive than alternatives - including wind.
  4. The act limits the amount a victim can be compensated as a result of pain of lost loved one's, suffering, and real damages resulting from criminal negligence on the part of nuclear plant operators.
  5. Nuclear power has recieved 97% of government energy subsidies.
  6. Clean safe alternatives get fewer subsidies and must pay the full freight for their risk profiles (which while different, are no less significant and costly)

Over the months, each of these points has been supported by citations - which can be dug up if that's the issue. Benjamin Gatti

  1. We treated that.
  2. Nonsense, it's insured now, and the industry contribution alone is 140 times the claims at Three Mile Island.
  3. That doesn't belong in this article.
  4. With Congress's required action, it is open-ended - unlike car insurance coupled with a person's assets.
  5. That belongs in Criticisms, if anywhere.
  6. That belongs in Criticisms, if anywhere.
Is there anyone who can't live with the current intro?
Simesa 07:42, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
That would be me right - that's why we're here more or less?
  • The DOE has called Price a "Subsidy for investors"

So why does the introduction suggest that opponents has said its a subsidy? - it ought to say the DOE and opponenents have said ...

  1. The act exists because nuclear energy is "too" dangerous to insure.

"Notwithstanding comprehensive testing and study, the uniqueness of this form of energy production made it impossible totally to rule out the risk of a major nuclear accident resulting in extensive damage." SCOTUS "Thus, while repeatedly stressing that the risk of a major nuclear accident was extremely remote, spokesmen for the private sector informed Congress that they would be forced to withdraw from the field if their liability were not limited by appropriate legislation." SCOTUS

  1. Put another way, if nuclear had to pay the cost of insurance at the same rate as windpower, nuclear energy would be more expensive than alternatives - including wind.
  • "It soon became apparent that profits from the private exploitation of atomic energy were uncertain and the accompanying risks substantial." SCOTUS
  1. The act limits the amount a victim can be compensated as a result of pain of lost loved one's, suffering, and real damages resulting from criminal negligence on the part of nuclear plant operators.
  • (d) The Act provides a reasonably just substitute for the commonlaw or state tort law remedies it replaces, - SCOTUS
  1. Nuclear power has recieved 97% of government energy subsidies.
  • If this is a fact - then it is not a criticism, real facts are neutral.
  1. Clean safe alternatives get fewer subsidies and must pay the full freight for their risk profiles (which while different, are no less significant and costly)
  • As often as this wiki asserts the various relative costs of reneables over trads, it must to be fair, assert the reverse where it is true. Benjamin Gatti
So then Ben, doesn't that make the GAO information neutral? Or are you arguing that what they come out with on this and others issues are not "real facts"? --Woohookitty 13:11, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes-likely. The line I propose, in the context of risk and liability, is that there is a difference between 1. what is. 2. what optimists believe the future holds, 3. what pessimists believe. 1 is simply neutral - negative facts are not "the facts according to critics."
I think we've gotten ahead of our Mediator. Simesa 14:18, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm also a little confused as to why anybody's suggesting rewriting the intro at all. It was my impression that the only person who had a problem with it was Benjamin. I would think it then falls on him to suggest what changes he seeks. · Katefan0(scribble) 14:43, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

New Intro cont ...

He has. see history. ([11]). Benjamin Gatti
And with that version I object to leaving out all of the DOE facilities, and to the line ", which continue to be more dangerous than insurance companies are willing or able to insure at a price competative with cheaper, safer, and cleaner alternatives such as wind" - reactors aren't necessarily more dangerous (as shown by TMI), they're assumed to possibly be more dangerous, "are willing" has been repeatedly been shown to be wrong, "price" has nothing to do with it as plants are required to buy all that is available, and "competative (sic) with whatever" belongs in Criticisms. Simesa 04:10, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
In a free market, the price of risk is not determined by Simesa pecking comments into a BB, Risk associated costs are priced according to terms a competant party is willing to accept in a voluntary transaction. For all the obfuscation, we DO have an estimate of those prices. Nuclear plants are no longer required to buy all the available insurance, they get a special dispensation which in effect dramatically lowers their costs of production. They then "dump" their energy on the market which puts clean, safe, alternatives out of business. Benjamin Gatti
Ignoring the pointless personal attack and the incompetent economics lesson, we do have data for non-Soviet (i.e., crummy plants operated poorly with no containment buildings) meltdowns - $71 million. Nuclear plants are still required to purchase all the insurance available to them [12] [13]. Selling your power competitively is not dumping. Simesa 01:00, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

A personalized comment is not a personal attack, c'mon Sim, I just wrote an appeal brief which condemns's the state's position as McCarthian and beyond the lunar fringe of precedent - if there were to be a personal attack, it would be obvious. (NC wants to criminalize collecting litter)

  • I accept your citation - nuclear plants may be required - however, you'll notice that only a single company offers nuclear insurance, and that's probably all it does - meaning it probably doesn't even have the assets to cover two claims simultaneously. The problem is that the market for insuring nuclear plants is artificially manipulated. Who wants to be in a business when the government is giving away the product for free?

This is a fun quote - the purpose of Price (According to the DOE is an investor subsidy - and the real purpose is to protect investors in the event of a crime.)

Selling power at prices which are less than the free market costs of production is predatory (under color of law even) when your competition is denied (equal protection) access to the same level of subsidies - I'd love to make that case, might buy a windmill, just to gain standing. Benjamin Gatti

I'm afraid

That we're getting right back into bickering. Mr. Mediator, what would you like for us to do? Uncle Ed had us try using a separate mediation page. Not alot of came of it, but I think it'd be more useful than just continually bickering here. I still think we should just go to arbcom and finish this, but that's just my opinion. --Woohookitty 04:27, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm just afraid that I'll be 45 years old and we'll still be discussing whether or not the GAO is an authoritative resource. It just never ends. --Woohookitty 04:36, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
I apologize for not responding in a while...I've been watching what you've been suggesting with interest. To be perfectly frank, I don't think that ArbCom will take your case; ArbCom usually doesn't deal with content disputes, and you've all been very civil about the article. Ral315 WS 18:09, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
Since you came aboard, yes. :-D It's actually been more civil than it was initially. --Woohookitty 01:39, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Referencing the GAO?

Let's keep GAO comments in this section for clarity reasons. I'd like to pose a few questions that I have about this particular portion of the dispute.

  • To the people who think that we should say "the GAO says", why? The GAO is "the non-partisan audit, evaluation, and investigative agency of the United States Congress." It's strictly a non-partisan outfit, isn't it?
  • Cite everything or nothing at all. This is a contested issue, must of which revolves around speculation into possible future events, and anyone's opinion on future events must needs be taken with more than a grain of salt. Choosing one oracle to speak in the first voice, dismisses the other oracles to the lesser role of also ran. I believe this topic is one for which the policy is meant, and it should just be followed without departure. It is rude to interject policy arguments into a discussion of substance. Any argument on whether or not sources should be "couched" belongs in the appropriate wiki forum, and I object to continuing it here. Whooo is right, we need to move on with respect to that question, He is just wasting time anymore, it's a tired issue, two mediators have indicated the sources must be indentifyied in-line, and if it continues, then I suggest it is a form of interuption and vandalism suitable for the arbcomm to sanction. It certainly is consuming more time than Ed's five minute retirement of the RfD.;-) Benjamin Gatti 22:36, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
From wikipedia:cite_your_sources:
When you add content
For all of the above reasons, if you add information to an article which you gleaned from a specific external source, please cite where you got your information. If you can properly format your citation, that's great! If not, others can re-format it for you, as long as you provide all the information necessary to find the original source.
In general, even if you are writing from memory, you should actively search for authoritative references to cite. (If you are writing from your own knowledge, then you should know enough to identify good references that the reader can consult on the subject—you will not be around forever to answer questions.) The main point is to help the reader and other editors, which is why you should try to go beyond those sources you happened to use yourself.
The need for citations is especially important when writing about the opinions held on a particular issue. Avoid weasel phrases such as, "Some people say ..." Instead, find a specific person or group who holds that opinion, mention them by name, and give a citation to some place where they can be seen or heard expressing that opinion.
Just because a statement is referenced does not mean that it is appropriate or conveys an accurate impression. As implicitly described in the official NPOV policy, even if a citation is from a reputable source, it should provide the reader the gist of the research on a certain subject and not merely carefully selected or out-of-context quotes to support a certain point of view.
Remember that Wikipedia is not for your opinions or for original research.
au·thor·i·ta·tive
  • Having or arising from authority; official: an authoritative decree; authoritative sources.
  • Of acknowledged accuracy or excellence; highly reliable: an authoritative account of the revolution.
  • Wielding authority; commanding: the captain's authoritative manner.
non·par·ti·san
  • Based on, influenced by, affiliated with, or supporting the interests or policies of no single political party: a nonpartisan commission; nonpartisan opinions.
By the above, I submit that the GAO is an acceptable, non-partisan source.
Simesa 01:54, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
While I object to the pasting because it is rude - a link would suffice - I don't disagree, and it doesn't matter. The Union of Concerned Scientists is not based on, influenced by, or otherwise affiliated with a single political party. I suggest that both the Green party and the Democractic party would be comfortable with their positions. Other parties may be affiliated with crooks, I don't think a sourc has to please everyone to be non-partisan. All of which changes nothing. I never suggested the GOA was an improper source. I would suggest that mind-reading is an improper assertion for anyone, and the Wiki should refrain from engaging is the astrological arts. If the GAO feels that it can devine the intent of Congress, less it tarnish its own name, why should we lend the reputation of the Wikipedia to idle speculations? Bad enough we have to report on them (see hubris peak) Benjamin Gatti
  • To the people who think we should leave the GAO out, why? It's generally Wikipedia style to cite all sources, isn't it? Even if they're non-partisan audit agencies, shouldn't they still be cited?]

I want you to tell me why. Don't argue, don't bicker, don't fight. Just try to convince me why we should or should not cite the GAO.

I don't mean to start a fight, but could you get my name right, Ben? Hell, call me Mike if you want to. I don't care. But it's a little rude to keep mussing up my name. And you've been doing it despite repeated warnings. I know you type fast, but try to get my name right. Thanks.
Anyway, I don't mean to speak for Ben, but essentially, he sees the GAO as being on equal footing as his sources. He doesn't believe that they should be used in the authoritative voice because what they say is opinion and not fact. And he basically sees the GAO as pro-government because it's a government agency and in this case, the government's case would be to keep Price-Anderson. If I'm wrong Ben, say so. My argument that the GAO is non-partisan and has no vested interest in any of this. They are generally used in the authoritative voice on Wikipedia and that should be the case here. But Ben doesn't see it that way and I'm pretty certain he's not going to budge off of that position. And I don't see us budging.
As for arbcom, honestly, we've moved about an inch since I got into this back in June. The same issues then are the same issues we have now. Ben wants the criticism section even bigger...he wants it integrated into the rest of the article...he wants the GAO to be treated as an opinion source just like his sources are. Meanwhile, we think that the criticism section is already too big (but we don't want to shorten it) and that any other anti-price anderson information put in will essentially make the article biased towards anti-nuke people. Ii other words, we did alot of moving early on, but at this point, we're not willing to move any further towards making this anti-nuke. And actually, simesa, katefan0 and I aren't even pro-nuclear power! We just feel as though this article needs to be NPOV and that letting in the kind of language Ben wants in would just tilt it. here is a version Ben tried to put in a few weeks ago when he unilaterally declared mediation "over". So it's not like this is ancient history. I know arbcom doesn't usually take content disputes, but honestly, I just don't see the sides moving here. We go round and round and round and round and nothing changes. The kicker is that, generally, Simesa, Kate and I are happy with the article as it is. We feel like we need to add more on the background of the law and all of that, but if this article wasn't altered, we wouldn't be dissatisfied.
I know this is long, but the main point is that we're ok with things as they are and Ben wants to keep tilting the article towards anti-nuke. That's essentially the issue with GAO and everything else. --Woohookitty 04:11, 22 October 2005 (UTC)


Mike, about the name - may I politely decline the offer to take your absurdonym seriously. You've played the namegame by your own choice, perhaps you shouldn't be offended when others join the fun.
As to budging off of my insistance that every voice be treated equally, it sure doesn't help to have mediator(s) agree with me. Perhaps Mike is shopping for opinions and is hoping one of the four in arbcomm will validate his position. Good luck. I'm not holding you back. Serve the papers - but I warn you, I and others believe you would be wasting their time. Benjamin Gatti
I'm not anti-nuke; I am anti 97% of subsidies being funnelled into a nonrenewable energy source, which is dangerous, when we have cheaper alternatives which are largely unexplored (wind, waves, solar). I do believe with similar levels of funding, wind and wave energy would both be competitive. But mosly, Price is an admission that nuclear is dangerous, and I do intent to have the Supreme Court's expression of that simple fact blazened across the front of this article. (BTW, a very non-partisan, independant group). Do you agree to give the Supreme court the authoritative voice? ie "Despite years of improvements, the possibility of a nuclear accident still exists - therefore PI is (still) required to subsidize a gaggle of 6 figure Ph.D's"? Benjamin Gatti
Sorry, I never responded to the question. Yes, I believe that the GAO is an authoritative source. Frankly, if they aren't authoritative, no one is. Ben, no personal attacks. I am not playing the game with you anymore. Stick to the issues. --Woohookitty 04:17, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
And, despite prodding several times, Ben has yet to come up with another case on Wikipedia where the GAO is not treated as authoritative. --Woohookitty 04:24, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
First, this (and Hubris Peak) are both speculative subjects. The GAO report on matters of fact may be uncontested and not require further couching. I this case, the GAO - if I remember - is being used to list the motives of Congresspersons. Well, anyone who claims to know what motivates congress needs couching regardless of the source. I would suggest that there are no "sources" beyond reproach, but there are "assertions" which are so universally accepted as to merit the unquestioned voice. The "motives" of politicians is not even within the lunar fringe of universal acceptance - just let it go. You have yet to find anyone who agrees with you on this, you've had more than 6 months and two mediations to make this point, and you've yet to convince anyone. Sheesh? Benjamin Gatti
And you didn't answer me. Where are the other places in Wikipedia where the GAO is not used as an authoritative source? I want an answer on that. You always avoid it. You have the burden of proof here, not us.--Woohookitty 05:35, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
To answer ye yet again, it depends on the assertion. If the GOA is asserting tax revenue for 2004, and no one contests the assertion, the the authoritative voice is appropriate; however, when it claims to read minds - by suggesting the "intent" of the legislature, that is a different matter. So I'll turn the question and invite you to "prove the negative". Show where the GAO is referenced with respect to "mind reading" elsewhere in the wk, but I must warn you, that it wouldn't matter to me if they were. What matters is whether there is a non-trivial objection to the use of the authoritative voice. As there is here, usual couching applies. For one thing, assertions must be "VERIFYABLE" which means it is possible by some means to determine the truth of the assertion. Consequentially, the assertion "Congress intended ..." is unveryfiable on its face. "The GAO reports that Congress intended ..." or "The SCOTUS found that Congress intended ..." are both perfectly verifyable statements. Those three words aren't going to melt the servers. Benjamin Gatti


As a technical matter, Congress is incapable of owning a "motivation", it is a body which acts in accordance with the majority of its members, as such, it is limited to "Acts of Congress". Individuals may have motives, concerns, and an array of human emotions. They may also be motivated individually by the promise of campaign financial support, or as in the case of DeLay, by large and obsequious donations to his legal defense fund (routed through swiss banks if necessary of course). But "Congress" would have to vote in order to hold a motive, and consequently, it is bizarre to lay claim to knowledge about what truly motivated Congress. It is clear by the record that they were made aware of the threatened pullout of private participation in nuclear power. It is far less clear that there was any public or private outcry of concern over who would pay for a nuclear accident, and in any case Price doesn't really address or change the source of funds. The government had the ultimate responsability before, and after, to deal with such an affair, thus the "claim" of concern for "protecting the public" amounts clearly to window dressing a subsidy for public consumption, and I suggest the Wikipedia can do better than playing sychophant to congress. Speaking of sychophant - have you read Harriet Miers flattery of the CIC? I could cry, it was so touching. Benjamin Gatti
Actually, given that the matter is not settled, and there is no clear answer, all of you have the burden of proof. But I do agree with Woohookitty on the Personal Attacks...final warning for everyone. Any more personal attacks will result in a block, no questions asked. Try to remember that this can be worked out amicably. Ral315 WS 07:56, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
Ral, as you've said we're a civil group; heated, informed, diverse, and opinionated, but "mostly harmless." One has been sensative about the spelling of one's screen "interjection"; I find that some screen names are intended to inspire levity, and consequently, the assertion that the failure of others to observe one's arbitrary collection of purient syllables with funereal decorum amounts to a personal attack to be specious. Benjamin Gatti
I'd take that as a personal attack on me, Ral. It has abolutely nothing to do with the case at hand. It's just an attempt to make fun of me and he's done that twice in the last 12 hours. --Woohookitty 13:37, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
I would take the specious claim of a personal attack where none exists to be character asassination, but I'm not complaining about it. Benjamin Gatti
How is making fun of someone else's username not a personal attack? If I started calling you Bennnnnny (which I won't), I don't think you'd like it. What my name is on here is completely immaterial. It was just a cheap shot, which is a personal attack. --Woohookitty 14:22, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
Deal - I'll call you Mike, and we focus on substance. Benjamin Gatti
Works for me. --Woohookitty 02:38, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

Proposed Intro

The Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act (commonly called the Price-Anderson Act) protects investors in nuclear power plants from liability, even for criminal neglect, for the death and destruction caused by nuclear incidents such as Chernobyl. The act currently provides indemnity to all nuclear facilities (except Navy aircraft carriers and submarines) constructed in the United States before 2026. The Act as been recognized by the United States Supreme Court as a requirement for the private generation of nuclear energy in the United States. In addition, the Supreme Court found [14] that the risk of a major nuclear accident has not been eliminated by 40 years of research and testing. Environmental groups, consumer groups and taxpayer watchdogs as well as the Department of Energy have described the act as a transfer of wealth from those who earn it (taxpayers) to those who own it (investors). Benjamin Gatti

I'd say you are trying to cram your entire POV, unbalanced, into the first paragraph. I strongly prefer the current Intro over the above. "Private generation" isn't all the Act is necessary for. Criminal neglect is still speculative (it wasn't, for example, a factor at TMI), and if "wholesale irradiation" were possible in U.S. plants the NRC wouldn't have mandated only a 10 mile Emergency Planning Zone. One agency (the EIA) of the DOE described it as a subsidy - but there has been no "transfer of wealth" as the government has never paid a dime for commercial plants' incidents, and it's very unlikely it will ever have to. Simesa 20:08, 23 October 2005 (UTC)
  • according to the Supreme court, private participation was the thrust of the act. If you are unwilling to accept the Supreme Court's conclusions, then I think you bear the burden of proof. "Criminal Neglect" is not speculative. we had cite after cite which shows the act does not allow companies to be sued for the damages arising as a consequence of knowing and intentional violations of law. The transfer of wealth has already occured. "Wealth" includes "avoided costs". The cost of insuring nuclear plants has been avoided by transfering it from those who invest in nuclear energy and to those who invest in safe clean alternatives. Thus, the investments (ie Wealth) which would, in a fairer market, have been available to safe clean energy, were "transfered" to unsafe, dirty nuclear plants. That is a transfer, the taxpayer is the victim along with those who have invested time, effort or money into safe clean energy. Benjamin Gatti
The burden of proof is easy, read the first line of the Supreme Court's decision: "The Price-Anderson Act (Act), having the dual purpose of protecting the public [including from incidents at DOE facilities] and encouraging the development of the nuclear energy industry..." (my text in brackets). If we were to list one thing that the Act would cover, then we should list all the incidents it would cover: a very long laundry list. I disagree with your somewhat twisted reasoning - no costs have been added to anyone, no other energy producer has paid anything for Price-Anderson. Market fairness is a subsidiary issue to be dealt with in Criticisms. "Unsafe" is stil your POV not borne out by the IPE examinations, "dirty" is relative (ever worked around coal?). And are you really claiming that wealth was transferred away from you specifically? So now you believe you do have a fiduciary interest in this? Simesa 02:07, 24 October 2005 (UTC)


SCOTUS: The Price-Anderson Act (Act), having the dual purpose of protecting the public and encouraging the development of the nuclear energy industry, imposes a $560 million limitation on liability for nuclear accidents resulting from the operation of federally licensed private nuclear power plants, requires those indemnified by the $560 million fund established under the Act to waive all legal defenses in the event of a substantial nuclear accident, and further provides that in the event of a nuclear accident involving damages in excess of the amount of aggregate liability Congress "will take whatever action is deemed necessary and appropriate to protect the public from the consequences of a disaster of such magnitude."

It's a long sentence, but the best minds in the country couldn't be complete with less (trust me, they tried). I believe it would be premature for me - at this point to claim personal fiduciary interest. In fairness, I have invented and patented an alternative to nuclear energy, however, there is no substantial interest in the idea, therefore the value, even in a nuclear-free world is speculative at best. Full disclosure doesn't poisen the well. Nuclear energy also lowers the cost of energy (at significant risk to those who live close to the plant, route, and storage sites) - which I pay, thus the savings from nuclear in simple dollars and cents outweight the personal financial benefit of an unlikely alternative. Moreover nuclear energy cannot be used to stabilize developing countries, and it cannot be easily exported, so it imposes a significant cost on global standards of living. Provided reactor operator don't cut corners, lie steal and cheat like an energy company, and there is not major accident, it possible that a nuclear scenario could cost me less than a non-nuclear scenario, its also possible that it would not. I believe the choice should be up to the market, and I object to not having the freedom of choice. Benjamin Gatti