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George Monbiot: Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power [View All]

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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 02:59 PM
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George Monbiot: Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power
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Some greens have wildly exaggerated the dangers of radioactive pollution. For a clearer view, look at the graphic published by xkcd.com. It shows that the average total dose from the Three Mile Island disaster for someone living within 10 miles of the plant was one 625th of the maximum yearly amount permitted for US radiation workers. This, in turn, is half of the lowest one-year dose clearly linked to an increased cancer risk, which, in its turn, is one 80th of an invariably fatal exposure. I'm not proposing complacency here. I am proposing perspective.

If other forms of energy production caused no damage, these impacts would weigh more heavily. But energy is like medicine: if there are no side-effects, the chances are that it doesn't work.

<snip>

But the energy source to which most economies will revert if they shut down their nuclear plants is not wood, water, wind or sun, but fossil fuel. On every measure (climate change, mining impact, local pollution, industrial injury and death, even radioactive discharges) coal is 100 times worse than nuclear power. Thanks to the expansion of shale gas production, the impacts of natural gas are catching up fast.

Yes, I still loathe the liars who run the nuclear industry. Yes, I would prefer to see the entire sector shut down, if there were harmless alternatives. But there are no ideal solutions. Every energy technology carries a cost; so does the absence of energy technologies. Atomic energy has just been subjected to one of the harshest of possible tests, and the impact on people and the planet has been small. The crisis at Fukushima has converted me to the cause of nuclear power.

Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/21/pro...


The above was from a few days ago (March 21st). Mobiot has a follow-up now:
The double standards of green anti-nuclear opponents
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/201...
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