Friday, August 10, 2007

Berkeley Lab Not Getting Support

I mentioned earlier on how Fermilab has been retroactive in getting the support of the surrounding community in its plan to be the host of the International Linear Collider. It has learned its lessons from the failed attempt at getting the SSC.

One would think that most US National Labs would have learned from the mistakes done at their sister facilities. But noooooo... It looks like Berkeley lab is being pounded for not consulting with its neighbors for a couple of the projects that it is going to build.

“You guys have no concept how insulting it is for you to lay out a six-month schedule for doing something without even consulting us first,” said George Oram.

“What can’t it be in the middle of Nevada, or in Merced?” he said. “Why haven’t you talked at all about why all these buildings have to be up there on the hillsides?”

Or what about this old scare-tactics of impending doomsday?

Gianna Ranuzzi thank the lab “for providing a wonderful rallying point for the citizens of Berkeley.” Her concerns included impacts of the Strawberry Creek watershed, and the possible health risks from demolitions at the lab and from the technology that is used at the lab.

“It’s the wrong place,” she said. You’re making a terrible mistake. Welcome Chernobyl.”

Again, folks, none of these type of arguments are new. Brookhaven lab faced almost the same type of impending-doom argument that caused the shut-down of the High Flux Beam Reactor neutrino source. It doesn't matter that for most of us who understand the science that these arguments are irrational and unjustified. What is most important is that the public knows nothing about it and therefore will distrust you because you kept them in the dark, regardless of the science. We saw this happening at many different places on various national laboratories. How come we haven't learned from these already?

I just hope those at Berkeley can repair the damage. But from the way this news report sounds, it appears that the damage has been done and I don't see the surrounding community will back these projects, no matter how much they the Berkeley administration tries to answer their concerns.


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