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[personal profile] androktone
Radiation and Reason By Wade Allison - if you have time to read this book, there is a limited preview on google which gives you the gist of what he's talking about.. I'd be interested if somebody else would read it and discuss what they think!

This is a very reputable academic who has re-analysed the threats and dangers of nuclear power (ie as a source of electricity) in the light of what we know now, and contends that it is substantially safer than we realise..

I'm having trouble picking holes in his reasoning although I would quite like to as my knee jerk reaction is to be terrified of nuclear power, the same way as everyone growing up in the 60s and 70s was. I used to work designing the logic for safety systems (one of which was used in sellafield - after the meltdown I hasten to add) and the level of care in design, maintenance and calibration was intense.

Anyway, it is interesting - and topical, in that Britain will most likely be getting a lot more nuclear capability over the next few years. Thoughts?

Date: 2010-01-08 12:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] evisceracat.livejournal.com
I thought the issue wasn't so much how safe it could be, but that the potential effects were too serious to be worth risking at all.

Date: 2010-01-08 01:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] steer.livejournal.com
I only found time to flip through chapter one I'm afraid. I'm pretty heavily in favour despite having been very hostile in the early 90s. It seems to me that a combination of nuclear and renewables is the most eco friendly solution available.

The waste management issue is a problem still of course but perhaps not one as bad as we used to envisage.

In Chernobyl we saw I think something approaching the worst case scenario and it's not actually so bad -- I mean compared with, say, the yearly number of deaths from coal mining.

Nuclear does have a huge image problem though. We tolerate a huge number of "hidden" deaths from particulate pollution from coal-fired and gas stations because it's not really exciting. People don't even think about it. A relatively low number of deaths from radiation as a result of an accident however... pretty glamorous. I can remember a big scare because of some dead seagulls near Dounray (which had really been doing some pretty shonky things with safety). It would be a brave politician who would order anything other than renewables where we can and then coal and gas for everything else.

Date: 2010-01-08 02:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sheepthief.livejournal.com
I seem to recall reading that deaths due to Chenobyl are likely to be distributed geographically and chronologically and will only show up as a slight rise in deaths due to background noise - but that they'll be there nevertheless. However, I've also read that recent evidence suggests that the risk of death due to radiation dose isn't a linear graph as was previously supposed - there's a kink at the lower levels that suggests that low-level radiation isn't dangerous.

I'm a fan, simply because there don't seem to be any workable alternatives at the moment, despite the almost frantic endeavours of many disparate groups.

Date: 2010-01-08 02:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] steer.livejournal.com
deaths due to Chenobyl are likely to be distributed geographically and chronologically and will only show up as a slight rise in deaths due to background noise

Sure -- there's the immediate deaths and the knock on "years later" deaths. Both of these are lower than the coal mining industry gives us every single year though.

risk of death due to radiation dose isn't a linear graph as was previously supposed

I don't really know I'm afraid.

Date: 2010-01-08 01:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spoox.livejournal.com
I've not read the book. I have never really had any fears about nuclear power. Sellafield went wrong and did hardly any damage. The safety technology is constantly improving. Chernobyl was bad but the Russians were always a bit sketchy on health and safety. The French have been using nuclear power much more than us for years and if they have had any problems, they have not been serious. I prefer nuclear to coal or oil.

Date: 2010-01-09 02:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jonny-eol.livejournal.com
New nuclear build is the best route the UK could take towards long term energy security. Renewables are good as a top-up and locally-based 'microgeneration', but for baseload it's either nuclear or 'clean coal'. What little gas we have left will soon be needed to be kept aside for direct heating purposes.

Most of the people who doubt it use outdated examples (Chernobyl, Three Mile Island) or play the 'terrorist card'. And I'm tired of having to toe the populist line on issues like these. You can't teach an old dog new-clear physics.

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