FEAR OF NUCLEAR

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Roger Graves

Susquehanna steam electric nuclear power station Susquehanna steam electric nuclear power station

Whether or not one accepts the need to reduce CO2 emissions, a power source capable of providing reliable base load power with minimal fuel requirements should not be dismissed lightly. Yet nuclear power is commonly dismissed by many people, including journalists and public intellectuals, as too dangerous to be considered. This essay is an attempt to look at the dangers of nuclear power in a dispassionate manner. There will be two parts to it. The present essay is an examination of the facts regarding nuclear power, and nuclear accidents in particular, while a second essay will examine the theoretical aspects, particularly of radiation effects.

First, a few definitions. The energy associated with electromagnetic radiation, or more specifically with each quantum of radiation, is proportional to its frequency. If the frequency is high enough, and here we are talking of…

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