We’re Used to It

On practically the same day as the restart of Ikata unit 3 in Shikoku, Japan, despite ceaseless protests and intervention…

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…two coal-fired power stations suffered major accidents, in China and the US.

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Some Chinese workers sadly lost their lives. Yet the irony is the undouted benefit to human health with these plants inoperable.

A general fear of radiation throws off people’s sense of what’s dangerous. Generating electricity from coal—which kicks out particulate matter (soot) and noxious gases—is worse than making power from nuclear reactors… Particulates kill people. Radiation kills fewer people. Those particulates are in the air in part because we’re afraid of turning on nukes.

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“What makes nuclear power so easy to hate may actually be deeply rooted in our psyche. We have little problems burning coal because we’re used to it. We’ve been burning matter in a controlled fashion for tens of thousands of years. We don’t have a problem with fire; but nuclear energy is a whole different matter. Very few people understand how nuclear fission works. Instead, what most people get to see are these huge reactors that are waiting to blow in any minute into a mushroom cloud, which is obviously absurd.”

 

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