When Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews accepted a paper last year arguing that nuclear power is Iran’s “assured right,” the editor, Lawrence Kazmirski, thought the article would be at least somewhat controversial. He was right — but for the wrong reason.
Shortly after publication, Kazmirski, director of the National Center for Photovoltaics at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in Golden, Colo., received an email from one of the listed co-authors of the article complaining that he and another co-author had not consented to submit the work. Kazmirski contacted the lead author, Afshin Mazandarani, who agreed to withdraw the paper.
The result was the following notice, which appeared in October (we only recently saw it):
WITHDRAWN: Investigating the need of nuclear power plants for sustainable energy in Iran
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 15, Issue 8, October 2011, Pages 3575-3587
This article has been retracted at the request of the author as it contains significant scientific errors. The paper was also submitted without the consent of the co-authors. The lead author apologizes sincerely for the technical oversight and to the coauthors for submitting without consultation.
As a consequence, pages 3575–3587 originally occupied by the retracted article are missing from the printed issue. The publisher apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.
In addition to Mazandarani are three other authors, T.M.I., Mahlia , W.T., Chong , M., Moghavvemi, all at the University of Malaya. We’re guessing — although we couldn’t confirm this — that Chong did not lodge the complaint, because his website lists the article, whereas Mahlia’s and Moghavvemi’s do not.
Kazmerski told us that in cases of authorship disputes, his journal’s policy has been to allow the paper to be resubmitted — provided, of course, the problem can be straightened out. He said that in the past year or so, he has dealt with “four or five” articles that have involved authorship issues.
I as the editor will always write the [main] author and say, How do you respond to this?
We wondered whether Mazandarani’s colleagues didn’t pull away from the article given its controversial nature. Although we couldn’t find the full paper, we did manage to dig up the abstract, which makes the politically charged claim that Iran not only should have a nuclear power complex, it is the country’s “assured right”:
Over the decades, the consumption of all types of energy such as electricity increased rapidly in Iran. Therefore, the government decided to redevelop its nuclear program to meet the rising electricity demand and decrease consumption of fossil fuels. In this paper, the effect of this policy in four major aspects of energy sustainability in the country, including energy price, environmental issues, energy demand and energy security have been verified. To investigate the relative cost of electricity generated in each alternative generator, the simple levelized electricity cost was selected as a method. The results show that electricity cost in fossil fuel… Highlights: • Using nuclear energy including its fuel cycle is Iran’s assured right. • Electricity cost in fossil fuel power plants presumably will be cheaper than nuclear. • Constructing more nuclear power plants will not cause the energy sustainability in Iran. • The main threats for Iran’s energy security are economic dependency on crude oil export. • Most important action is reforming inefficient oil and gas consumption in all sectors.
Kazmerski said that while Mazandarani (who did not reply to a request for comment) was cooperative and agreed to resubmit the paper, he has not heard anything from the researcher in months. Still, he liked the article and would be glad to republish it.
I found the paper quite interesting. The authors wrote it from a sustainable energy point of view, and we don’t get a lot of articles about nuclear power.
Indeed, the journal does not have a section editor for nuclear matters.
My argument is that the nuclear and the renewable people should be a hell of a lot more friendly. We both have problems and we both have benefits.