Is Nuclear power Safe?
- Watch how the politicians duck and dive.
- Watch how they pick and choose which bits of ‘science’ to believe!
Last week, smiley Alan Johnson fell out with serious Professor Nutt because the professor said some factual scientific things, things proven by statistics and analysis to have an overwhelming degree of proof. This was that drinking alcohol and smoking is far more dangerous than cannabis and ecstasy pills. See dont-shoot-the-messenger-if-you-dont-like-the-message and associated links.
Now, this week, Ed Milliband has taken the opposite approach and said:
So, despite there being three major accidents involving nuclear power, he says it’s safe! In actual fact, he said this:
“I do understand the anxieties that there are because there have been concerns about nuclear power.” “I think it is right that we go ahead with this. It has a good safety record. There is no evidence that people’s fears about nuclear are grounded, in my view.”
The trouble with this, is that a nuclear accident isn’t the same as a car crash, it isn’t at all like a train crash or a plane crash. It actually isn’t anything like an earthquake or tsunami, natural hazards that many have to live with.
In a nutshell, if Hinkley Point Power Station down the road from me goes up in a similar fashion to Chernobyl, because of the prevailing wind, most of England will be uninhabitable and we’ll all have to go to Scotland!
The Three Close Shaves
In order, there was Windscale when I was a child and was exposed to Strontium in the milk which had to be chucked away for months. The records show that this was a really close shave for us in Britain and Scandinavia – only half an hour away from a worse-than-Chernobyl disaster!
Then we had Three-Mile Island, another skin of the teeth episode but this time by the Americans.
Then there was Chernobyl which has left a 100 mile square piece of Russia uninhabitable and left sheep inedible thousands of miles away in Britain for years. If the Chernobyl event had been here, as I say, all the Midlands would’ve needed evacuating. As it is, Russia is very, very big, and they’ve room to move….. We don’t. It’s a little island. Full of jobs-worth’s and idiots, by the sound of it.
Q. So which scientist is Milliband believing? Which scientist says it’s “safe”?
Q. What evidence is Milliband ignoring that leads him to think people’s fears are “ungrounded”, as he says?
A. The evidence of his head in the sand, that’s what!
In this case he is using the infrequent bad events and calling them safe because they don’t happen often. And because we’ve been very, very lucky; that’s all.
The stats show something different, because there are only about a couple of hundred nuclear plants across the globe! Three have gone up!!! For me, this is piss-poor odds and I don’t wish the lottery-like risks, especially when there are a host of other alternatives.
He’s a clever man, but that doesn’t mean he’s always correct.
In his same speech (on TV some years ago), he said that an incident killing about 1 million people every 100 years was almost inevitable, but comparing it to road transport, or to dying from an overheating world, or the natural cancers we’d get anyway, then many more would die in the same period….
That’s statistics and that’s a scientist speaking. It’s the balance of probabilities and the the certainty of proof expressed in numbers.
However, it does not make it right and it does not make it something to which we should aspire.
There has to be a better way – and there is. There are a pot of technologies available, especially when the economies of scale in mass manufacture are taken into account. I don’t mean battery cars, the biggest red herring ever. But there ARE a host of solutions and the biggest obstacles are:
- Vested interests – oil companies and the politicians and businessmen that are attached.
- Lack of belief – we people can do anything we set our minds to – even splitting the atom and making global war with it!
- Stasis in Innovation – a host of tools are already available but people are scared and no-one wants to take the first step…
But look at it this way. If all houses and industrial premises are forced by law to be covered with low cost film photovoltaic cells, how much electricity will we have and how many people MIGHT get hurt if a roof collapses?
A. A lot of electric and not many people!
Surely, something like this is worth trying rather than putting a host of concrete death stars on our doorsteps?