This is all but a short post to sincerely thank everyone who has ‘followed’ me on twitter in the last few months. I have a few things in the works, and considerably more free time coming up quite soon; I hope you will not be disappointed, considering the wait.
All along I have grown more convinced of an essential point: nuclear radiation carries no exceptional risks. At the sorts of levels to which professionals or the public are likely to be exposed – yes, even in the event of reactor accident – existing precautions are more than adequate. Folks need be no more alarmed, and, ideally informed, about radiation than they are about any other sources of toxicity. The unfortunate but instructive Australian experience with asbestos shows that we can move past the fear to sensible caution, manage the risk, and make dealing with easily-identifiable hazardous material commonplace. But unlike asbestos, nuclear isotopes are the best materials for the job, be it medicine, materials testing, or energy production.
Continued paranoia is not supported by evidence, indeed 2014 has seen much easily-accessible information become available. Entrenched nuclear paranoids are morally obliged to challenge themselves and read e.g. Geoff Russel’s Greenjacked. Neither he, nor I, claim to be radiation professionals. But I’m a chemist, with training in biochemistry, physics and toxicology, I understand the principles of ionising radiation interacting with cells, and I am capable, like Geoff, of engaging in narrative in an effort to argue for nuclear energy. Stakes are high.
Because, since the risks are not exceptional, nuclear power should be considered on its merits as an ultra-low reliable electricity source, without exceptional opposition. And most certainly without arbitrary prohibitions which protect no one and nothing from unappreciable hazards. The US scientific advisory body which has been largely responsible for establishing the strict radiation exposure standards accepted globally today, is considering making a new report. I won’t be surprised when their conclusions disappoint those who are just hell-bent on hating nuclear power.
Every year hundreds of millions of cycling fans watch Le Tour wind its way through picturesque France – over 75% powered by conventional nuclear energy. Where precisely is this unendurable environmental burden that is so much worse than potential global climate disruption?