Why do people fear nuclear power?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Stokes Pennwalt, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. MacM Registered Senior Member


    On this point I will concur with Mr Chips. There is indeed material being disseminated which disagrees with what I have presented.

    For example I saw last night where "GreenPeace" has an article on Chernobyl. It starts with the introduction "Thousands have died as a result of Chernobyl and even thousands more will die in the future".

    Yet the WHO (World Health Organization) has studied the issue in depth for decades and the statistics don't support any kind of minor deaths associated with Chernobyl for the general public much less massive deaths.

    The Thyroid cancers of those in nearby exposed areas on showed a 3 - 6 % increase over a 6-8 year period but only for 0 - 17 year olds, with an overall population affect of 0.004% to 0.01% average and then the numbers start to decline back to normal. Now that may sound terriable but one has to remember that this simply means "If you would have had 100 thyroid cancers develope, that Chernobyl will cause the numbers temporarily to go to 103 to 106" .

    While that is not a good thing, one must first and formost realize that many, many of those thyroid cancers can be traced to radioactive carbon inhaled from the atmosphere which was released by the burning of coal.

    Inotherwords, the facts are it is more likely than not that nuclear power (in absence of coal burning) would actually reflect a decrease in such cancers. You cannot and should not judge the temporary increase in thyroid cancers data in absence of knowing what the affect on cancer increases would have been had we simply added another cancer causing coal burning plant instead of a nuclear plant. One would find in such case that it is the increase in overall power generation that shows an increase of thyroid cancer and not an issue linked just to nuclear power. Adding nuclear power instead can statistically see thyroid cancers decrease as older coal fired technology is shut down in the future. That is the reality of this issue.

    But that reversal is not necessary to make nuclear power not only acceptable but desireable. There is nothing (including sleeping with a woman) that doesn't expose you to radiation. We simply must gage which activities yield more benefit to our lives than risk and go with the flow. We must either decrease our dependance on energy or go nuclear since hydrocarbon fuel resources are being depleted and renewable energy sources are not yet available to replace the loss of petrolum.

    The most important thing to keep in mind is the meaning of the numbers and the tricks of the trade of those agenda driven protestors. To state a supportable fact i.e. - "10,000 people have died of cancer since TMI", has absolutely no meaning what-so-ever in absence of knowing how many would have simularily died without the accident. Nor not to get facts regarding the cancers (or black lung deaths) that would have been caused by the coal industry that it replaced.

    It is entirely possible, indeed highly likely, that any minor increase in the national cancer rate would be offset by a radical decrease in black lung deaths. That is to say the total number of deaths will surely decline because nuclear actually causes fewer cancers than coal. So what are we saying?

    It takes more than a soap box and paranoia to develope good policy. There are those that spout numbers which are fabricated out of whole cloth without any basis what-so-ever and/or use distorted statistics. You must look at the credentials of the source and the methodology and purpose in forming the statistic

    Lastly you should remember that governments, nations, workers as well as investors and business owners, all live in the same country. It is not reasonable to assume they all are profit driven advocates that disregard the risk to their own and their families lives.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2004
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  3. MacM Registered Senior Member

    Mr Chips,

    ANS: You are welcome and nothing personal. I hope collectively our discourse can have an enlightening affect on the readership.

    I too look forward to the days of fusion and alternative energy soon to come.

    PS: I just filed another patent. It is for a new wind machine. Investors have formed a new corporation and signed a license agreement with me for $1M and I am hopeful that in 2 - 3 years you will see this marvelous technology in journals (at least in Popular Science)

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  5. Mr. Chips Banned Banned

    MacM, I have seen a wind machine far superior than any on the market and it makes all the sense when you see it. The inventor has passed away but he did give me rights to build it though I'm not supposed to share the particulars. I consider making this thing really small and hanging many of them between trees and buildings. The inventor was William Hotine who told me he was given the title of inventor of the year in something like 1981 from I don't know who. It is simply beautiful. imagine, close to 100% feathering while accepting the wind immediately from any direction.

    I commend you for your efforts and wish you the best of success.
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  7. MacM Registered Senior Member

    Mr Chips,

    Thanks. I would look forward to seeing such a small wind device. Mine are far superior to what is on the market but still to large for home use. They will be commercial but more cost effective to build and operate.
  8. funny thing about the name, is there a pun in this, or just being sarcastic?

    are you sure? and what is the percentage from its supporters?

    funny thing about so-called 'nuclear power', is that it is a big steam engine, using the heat from radiation to turn water into steam, which turns a turbine, which makes electricity

    my problem with nuclear power, is that there are too many radioactive isotopes in the waste water, that most nukes produce so much waste, that needs to be buried, some isotopes with half-lives of millions of years, it can't just be drained into the nearest stream or public pool

    yep, look up the facts, but not on some moron site, get a little more science behind you

    what? that nuclear power plants need to be subsidized, it costs more in electricity to refine nuclear power rods, than what a plant will put out with those rods. so that we eat the costs, on this, on decommissioning, on storage of waste. Why you ask? because it provides us with plutonium, that can be refined into weapons-grade quality for our nuclear arsenal. These facts have been known for over 30 years, if not more. Don’t make me look up past research, look it up yourself. Use key words like; nuclear waste, Hanford, contamination, etc…
  9. Stokes Pennwalt Nuke them from orbit. Registered Senior Member

    Just the name of the site, as it happens.
    Not that simple. If you really knew, you wouldn't say things like:
    Yeah, you don't know the steam cycle of a PWR or BWR plant. Not to mention your half life timetables are completely off the mark.
    That's mighty presumptuous of you. It would behoove you to read threads before replying, especially when you're going to be attacking the character of another poster.
    Um, no.
    Protip: light water reactors don't breed Plutonium. You're thinking of the Soviet RBMK piles. Nice try though.
  10. hypewaders Save Changes Registered Senior Member

    I imagine that visceral fear, especially among humans with the least familiarity with the technology, accompanied the discovery of fire. I have far less knowledge than Stokes and Mac on the subject of nuclear power, but have had brief experience aboard nuclear-powered vessels. While having lived and worked in proximity to a reactor does not necessarily impart any special knowledge, it does impart the visceral realization that this "fire" is both wonderful and reliably controllable.

    I have no reason to believe there exists any sinister suppression of horrible consequences to the present or future exploitation of nuclear power. Radioactive energy can be gathered, concentrated, do work, and be returned to a status no more threatening than naturally-occuring sources. Along the way, weapons can also be produced, but that is an entirely different topic, in which I might not be as inclined to agree with Stokes. The history of nuclear power production has caused less environmental risk and damage than fossil fuels. The more we leave fear and superstition behind, the more this technology is going to enable us to do.

    Thanks, Stokes, and Mac, for a very informative thread.
  11. MacM Registered Senior Member


    You are welcome. It is a pleasure to see a level head on this issue. I do not intend to make light of potential hazards of nuclear power but those are limited primarily to the nuclear workers, etc and not the general public.

    With regard to nuclear weapons we agree that is entirely a different subject and the dangers there are very real but I for one think they still serve a purpose but it is a tricky and serious business.
  12. Stokes Pennwalt Nuke them from orbit. Registered Senior Member

    Always a pleasure to expound on one of my strong points. You're quite welcome.

  13. Why are you defending nuke power?
    This isn’t the ‘Simpson’s’, do you work on the Pilgrim plant?

    interesting sites:


    from this site, we get this little bit of info:
  14. DarkMadMax Registered Senior Member

    What are you simply scared of "nuke" word? BTW there is fusion and fission nuclear power , you consider fusion "nuke" too? And your knowledge of nuclear power is based on Simpsons?

    You know that longer the half life is - more harmless it is? - Half lives and radiation intensity are inversly proportional. "billion years" half lifes isotopes are hardly distinguishable from background radiation. In fact they are below it.
  15. Stokes Pennwalt Nuke them from orbit. Registered Senior Member

    Incidentally, The History Channel is airing a program about the Three Mile Island incident tonight. You guys might want to check it out.

    Never seen it so I dunno how accurate it'll be, but I'll try to catch it anyway.
  16. Mr. Chips Banned Banned

    I appreciated a couple of those URLs, Randolfo. You also duplicated that one about Concord, MA which I posted in this thread earlier. Did they actually go through with that plan to transport more wastes to Hanford, WA for storage? Most of those URls were for rather dated information. So far I've logged three scientists who are claiming with many shared statistics that radiation levels far lower than what is allowed to be released by the nooookleeer industry are dangerous. Sternglass, Goffman and Wires, who is spear-heading a recent collection and analysis of samples from various populations to monitor the exposure to the public (specifically baby teeth, you too can donate to the cause!). I saw a mention of a group of researchers who endorse the findings who are a safety analysis and recommendation consortium of researchers. Maybe I got to go out on the web and find these again but, actually, I prefer to just take it easy. I got other work to do and posting here is a low priority if at all for me. I've just lost the desire to push against the walls of banality and they are thick amongst maybe most of the posters in this thread.

    To sum it up, I have come to believe that the virtual opposite of this thread's main hypothesis must have more validity. But rather than just go so far as to claim these individuals are too ignorant to believe in the total acceptability and safety of nuclear energy, I would state that you have to have a basic sociopathic dysfunction to support using nuclear reactors on earth for power.

    DarkMadMax, so you believe that fusion is not nuclear? Check out my first two contributions to this thread. They were designed to point out a basic flaw in how terminology is used and I can see this abuse of science in main stream media has lead you to have a piss poor understanding of basic physics. BTW, Long half life isotopes decay into short lived ones that release more radiation than the parent element. Half-life also does not designate how long it takes before the parent isotope goes non-radioactive. Half life refers to how long it will take for a single mass to lose half of the parent isotope. Every moment some of that mass decays into a daughter radionuclide. We are talking about some very large collections of atoms and though the percentage may be small, it still amounts to a considerable amount of released radiation BUT


    Heck, there is no truth on an online forum such as this. Those who are the most outrageous and persistent will win out over those who are perhaps emulating reality more closely. It is not a fair and equtable relationship. It rewards the callous and vain.

    Stokey, that channel will often give you quite doctored perspectives. Look who owns it and advertises there for some clues.
  17. Stokes Pennwalt Nuke them from orbit. Registered Senior Member

    Your clever use of the caps lock key has validated your previously fallacious argument. Good show.
  18. Mr. Chips Banned Banned


    Sure is quiet in here, nothin' concrete enough to call a communication lately.
  19. antifreeze defrosting agent Registered Senior Member

    i recall reading something about chernobyl recently. the article did make mention of the cases of thyroid cancer, but more prominent were/are the birth defects exhibited by the inhabitants of chernobyl. one of the main problems being varying degrees of mental retardation. also, did anyone know there is supposedly a museum in chernobyl displaying all of the stillborn, deformed babies born there?

    anyone heard anything on the progress of this laser-fusion-system-thing?

    and i always thought it was the pot which called the kettle black, no? :bugeye:
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2004
  20. Stokes Pennwalt Nuke them from orbit. Registered Senior Member

    The thing to remember about birth defects is that the threshold of radiation exposure necessary to cause generational genetic effect is significantly higher than that which will cause permanent sterility. Thus, there has never been a single case of genetic damage observed, ever. The human fetus, however, is very vulnerable to radiologically induced abnormalities, so a deformation caused by radiological contamination would have had to occur during the nine month gestation period.
  21. Let's see, you'll have to post a link to where there is an active fusion plant, all I found was articles like this:

    as to fission, here are more sites:


    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2004
  22. Mr. Chips Banned Banned

    Interesting that they are planning the site for a fusion plant but fail to state in that article at least, that there is yet to be any working plans. I've heard claims that payback, less energy required to sustain the reaction than the harnessable energy produced, would be reached within one or two years for about three decades now. All of that time, the planet has been awash in fusion and fission derived heat and light that is converted into most of the electrical power humans use. Didn't cost any one to build the sun and we reap power from it every day, payback from fusion derived energy started with the first Homo saps. We should not be afraid of fusion energy. We should embrace it far and wide with every effort we can muster. We can start by admitting that it's predominant form is the so-called solar energy that gets shafted in this thread.

    The claims about the teeth, seems that would be a pretty straight forward interpretation of the facts. The Radiation and Public Health Project in NY, RPHP,was the organization I was trying to recall earlier. Thanks for the URLs. That RAIS is worthy of some more perusal. No mention of the "Sievert" kinds of dates at least one site but the breakdown of reactor pollutants was good to see.

  23. hypewaders Save Changes Registered Senior Member

    Wouldja like to swing on a star-
    Carry moonbeams home in a jar-
    And be better off than you are?

    Or would you rather be a[n-ignorant-radiophobe]

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