sound rational argument that nuclear is not so bad. Summary : The Skeptic 26/2 Winter 2006

The physists sound rational argument that nuclear is not so bad.

a)Coal often emits more radiation than nuclear; cos of the traces of Uranium in coal and the vast amount used.
b)Radiation isn't so dangerous anyway ; There is always an amount of natural background radiation. Some towns naturally have many times more than others. Such levels would result in the closure if they were detected in a nuclear plant. But it's actually huge bursts which are dangerous.
c)Nuclear accidents aren't so dangerous - Firstly new plants are safer than ever. Secondly neither 3 Mile Island nor Chernobyl were so bad. In the 3 Mile Island accident no radiation escaped the safety zone. Chernobyl was much more serious : in an experiment to test a theory many safety systems had been switched off, the reactor overheated and since it didn't have a safety container radioactive material escaped. He put total deaths around 4000 most of these occur after many years upto 60 of normal life. There were no increase in disease apart from 2000 cases of thyroid cancer which was only fatal in 4-5 cases. His figures sound optimistic as Soviet stats aren't that reliable I think, but I can accept his statement that the accident was much smaller than big Earthquakes and Tsunamis
d)They believe nuclear waste can be stored safely for millions of years in rock form or mile deep bore holes.
e)Nuclear power doesn't mean Nuclear weapons. There is a vast difference in enrichment needed; for power the enrichment has to be 7 times natural levels, wheras weapons grade is 140 times natural levels.
The opponents arguments lacked credibility cos he's a retired Medical professor and his arguments were of the type "of course, there will be a catastrophe", "it's all spin". His insubstantiated statement was Chernobyl caused 100,000 deaths

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