"Any increase in radiation is not acceptable and must not be tolerated."
The reasoning behind this idea is that the existence of nuclear reactors causes a slight increase in overall radiation, from the uranium mining stage to the
final burning and disposal of fuel. This is criminal and must be stopped at all costs.
For the average person who has no knowledge of radiation this makes sense and he will usually agree with this argument.
"Sure," he says. "I'd be crazy to just lie down and let them nuke me with more radiation. Give'm hell!"
Because of this gross ignorance, the public has fallen lock step behind the activists and made it impossible to get approval for a new nuclear power plant since 1974. The loss of this great technology is the result of a nation ruled by sound bites. The average person has two or three sound bites of knowledge in their head on matters of national importance and this forms the basis of their support. Unfortunately, these sound bite impressions mold public opinion and public opinion is the main power which molds public policy.
Public opinion does not have to be right. It only has to be, to exist in order to create reality.
Examples of this are as follows:
When the dominate public opinion was that the world was flat and that if you sailed far enough you would fall off the edge, then for thousands of years
no one dared venture forth.
When the dominate public opinion was that you did not question religious authorities, when you spoke out you were tortured to death.
When the dominate public opinion was that civilization would fall apart without slavery then we had slavery which also lasted for millennia.
When the dominate public opinion was that Hitler was a European problem the United States did not enter the war.
But after Pearl Harbor public opinion shifted, the people saw the error of their ways, and war was immediately declared.
Right or wrong, all but a few leaders follow definite public opinion.
Yesteryear public opinion supported slavery and we had slaves. Today it overwhelmingly is against it so leaders follow along and are against it also.
When public opinion is wrong it eventually sees the light and makes a change, but that illusion which holds it in place is often dispersed slowly and sometimes takes a thousand years.
Let us hope that the illusion around nuclear power can make a Pearl Harbor type of quick change rather than a slow flat earth one.
So what is the reality here? Is the increase in radiation caused directly or indirectly by nuclear energy a concern? To understand, all we need do is look at a few figures and then the logical mind can piece together the true situation.
According to a United Nations study, the average person on planet earth is already exposed to considerable radiation equal to 2.4 mSv (millisievert) per year. In addition to this outside exposure we also have internal radioactivity to the tune of 16,000,000 atomic radiations per hour. This internal radioactivity comes from small amounts of radioactive elements in our body, which if it was reported to exist within any distanced from a nuclear reactor, the activists would be scaring people to death with a report of its existence.
We know, however, that radioactivity in our bodies can't be that bad because we've managed to continue as a race for thousands, perhaps millions of years with no ill effects.
But what about that 2.4 mSv per year of outside radiation? Where does that come from?
It comes from several sources. About 57% comes from deep within the earth and an additional 17% comes from the earth's surface. In addition about 11% comes from cosmic rays. But here's a shocker. Over 14% of our average radiation exposure comes from the medical industry such as dental X-rays, chest X-rays, chemotherapy, and general exposure to medical equipment.
But what about all the testing of atomic bombs the United States and Russians did? How much of this exposure comes from them?
Answer: About one third of one percent of the average yearly radiation comes from this source.
Well, what about nuclear reactors, all the uranium and radioactive materials hauled to and fro - plus all the waste? Why the waste alone has to be blasting us with 110% exposure right there!
Hold on to your hat and awake...
The whole contribution of the entire nuclear industry worldwide to the radiation exposure of the average person is a
whopping .0002 mSv per year out of the 2.4 total. Let us see what part of 2.4 is .0002?
Well, I'll be. My third grade math reveals that is one part in 12,000. In other words, only one radioactive particle in 12,000 that passes through the average body comes from the nuclear industry. In fact the average person receives 2000 times more radiation from medical authorities than from nuclear reactors, nuclear waste or the transporting thereof.
If we eliminated the billions of poverty stricken people of the earth who never receive X-rays or civilized medical treatment then the ratio would be much greater.
Perhaps the nuclear activist should ask himself this question: "Why am I so fearful and paranoid about an industry which has not had one accidental death due to radiation in the western Hemisphere since the beginning of the nuclear age? Why am I so fearful when the average person receives 2000 times more radiation from medical sources? Why am I protesting nuclear facilities rather than hospitals? Why am I not more fearful of the luminous dial on my watch which gives me more exposure to radiation than all the nuclear power plants in the world?"
Too bad such an individual has a fixed mindset that prevents any self examination.
Actually the deluded soul should be angry at mother earth rather than nuclear plants since the earth we stand on is our prime source of radiation exposure giving us much more exposure than the medical establishment.
"But," says the activist, "even though nuclear power plants may not give off a lot at present, every little bit counts and can upset the balance of nature."
Consider this: Each location on the earth has a different level of radiation. The average for the planet is 2.4 mSv per year, but it differs in each location. In the United States the average person receives more than average or 3.6 mSv per year.
Her are some averages for some other nations:
Austria - 2.8
Belgium - 3.3
Finland - 7.6
France - 5.1
Germany - 3.3
Ireland - 3.8
Netherlands - 2.1
Spain - 4.9
Sweden - 6.0
UK - 2.2
Some countries are higher than these. Parts of India receive 15 mSv and places in Africa reach as high as 50 mSv. Scientists estimate that we do not have
much to worry about unless we reach above the 50 mSv level
As you can see there is a tremendous difference of radioactive exposure in different countries just from natural causes.
Even if you live in the United States, the difference of radioactivity in one part of the country will be much different than another. If you live in Denver you receive twice the radiation as you do in New York. Why? Mountainous areas have more radiation than seaports and there is more radiation in higher altitudes such as Denver than at sea level as is the case with New York.
In fact, if you fly in a commercial airline you increase your dosage from cosmic radiation by about 200 times during that period you are in the air.
An activist gets a bigger dose of radiation flying to a nuclear protest than anyone will receive from the radiation against which he is protesting.
-- End Of Part Eight --
Ten Deceptions of Nuclear & Alternative Energy (Article Index)
Global Warming Enlightenment (Article Index)
Copyright 2001 by JJ Dewey, All Rights Reserved