Nuclear Podium – A Masterpiece in Storytelling

20155631_1776628839264396_887608923600896029_n.jpgPODIUM

The Westmorland Gazette’s Podium is often given over to the fans of nuclear energy.

This one in particular was a masterpiece and neatly encapsulates in one article all the deceitful pro-nuclear ‘renaissance’ propaganda that we have been treated to over the last decade or more.   Dr Kent Brooks has appeared in the Westmorland Gazette many times before. He is a fan of fracking as well as nuclear. But given Dr Brooks vehement opposition to coal as voiced in this Podium piece, we look forward to him joining those opposing the coal mine planned near Sellafield.   A previous article features Dr Brooks shooting and wounding a polar bear (which had to be killed) while working for the Northern Mining Company in Greenland looking for earth metals….uranium by any chance?

Here is the full Podium article…

Westmorland Gazette 13/7/17

Cast aside your fear and embrace nuclear energy.

Kent Brooks of Kendal, formerly a radiochemist working at Harwell, argues in favour of nuclear power.

Homophobia, Islamaphobia, arachnophobia and others are all fears or dislikes of something, usually irrational. The Westmorland Gazette has carried a rash of letters over the years that argue vigorously against nuclear energy in Cumbria.

Their predictions of doom and disaster caused by the nuclear industry are ill-informed. It is in fact ‘radiophobia’ and perpetrates myths and irrational fears.

There are two questions here. First, how dangerous is low level radioactivity? Second, can the high level wastes be disposed of safely?

Lakeland, like everywhere else, is bathed in radiation from ultra-violet light every time the sun shines, natural radioactivity from the rocks and air and even from radioactive substances in our own bodies. Add to this life-saving X rays and CT scans. 

 

Coal fired power stations have put more radioactivity into the environment than all the nuclear power stations and nuclear weapons testing combined. The belief that radiation, even in the lowest doses, causes cancers and even deformed babies is erroneous (though pervasive). Evolution has equipped us to deal with damage caused by radiation and it is only with massive doses that cancers appear.

The fear that low doses of radiation cause cancer was based on the erroneous extrapolation from high doses (the ‘linear no threshold model’) and it has led to disastrous results.

Unnecessary evacuation of populations exposed to low levels of radioactive contamination has been done at huge expense at both Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Expense has been monetary, psychological and in some cases fatal (the evacuation of Fukushima is reported to have caused 1,600 deaths). There is no evidence that the populations of Chernobyl or Fukushima were at risk.

 

This is not to deny that there were a few deaths, but these were of a few brave people who exposed themselves to massive radiation doses to control the accident.

One of the most bizarre effects of Fukushima was that all the nuclear power stations in Germany were closed down in spite of the fact that they were not threatened by earthquakes and tsunamis.

The result was that Germany was forced to increase energy production from coal, which is probably the most polluting of all energy sources. Nuclear energy does not significantly contribute to global warming.

The other criticism concerns the disposal of high level waste. The long periods required for safe storage are perfectly feasible, as shown by the fact that radioactive products of natural nuclear chain reactions, which took place about 1.7 billion years ago in Gabon, West Africa have been retained.

Alternatively, nuclear reactors based on thorium, which is much more abundant than fissile uranium, can be used to destroy high level nuclear wastes as well as generating electricity.

Such high level wastes include plutonium – which can be used to make atomic weapons – and safe destruction would be a godsend.

Unfortunately nuclear energy has been inadequately investigated due to the negative atmosphere created by scaremongers.

The plutonium at Sellafield whose disposal causes so much trouble, could produce enough energy to power the country for hundreds of years. Nuclear is the most rational replacement for our dwindling power stations – few experts think that renewables will suffice.

The nuclear industry is a huge employer in Cumbria. Let us cast aside irrational fears, disregard the doom-mongers and work towards using this clean, efficient process to keep the lights on.

++++++++++++++

following this Podium article there were excellent letters in the Westmorland Gazette rebutting Dr Kent Brooks tall nuclear tales. 

3 thoughts on “Nuclear Podium – A Masterpiece in Storytelling

  1. There are some very unpleasant people inhabiting what could be a very beautiful planet. This character is at least as disagreeable as many I read about from day to day across various worldwide media.

    Interesting to know how he proposes to do with the highly radioactive waste from nuclear power (and weapon) production.

  2. Richard Wells

    Quite apart from the unanswered questions; the major problems seem to me to be two-fold. The “ordinary person” does not have the detail knowledge and experience to understand the problems, or their order of importance. There remains the fact that nuclear power is now of the order of twice the cost of new off-shore wind installations, making it a loss making enterprise. That in addition to all the other factors. Ken Brookes above “makes light” of radiation risks, but everyone has seen photos of scientists and workers in their radiation protective suits and breathing apparatus. The lessons are obvious.

  3. Pingback: Following the “Embrace Nuclear” Podium Piece (of work) in the Westmorland Gazette ….

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