Thursday, September 30, 2004


The big disaster was the reaction to the accident:

"Eighteen years ago, the world's worst nuclear accident occurred. Newspaper reports at the time reflected the near-universal public hysteria: The Daily Mail filled half its front page with the words '2000 DEAD;' the New York Post claimed that 15,000 bodies had been bulldozed into nuclear waste pits. But the overreaction to the accident caused far more harm than the meltdown itself, as it mistakenly led to the halting of nuclear programs in most Western countries, including the United States.....

The graphite burned for nine days, releasing a total of about 12 x 1018 becquerels of radioactivity - about 30 to 40 times that of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It just could not be any worse: Corners had been cut from the very inception of the reactor's design, right through construction, operation, and maintenance. Training and safety procedures were negligible. The Supreme Soviet that routinely disregarded human life was as negligent in nuclear-reactor policy as it was in everything else. Even The Simpsons's woeful nuclear power-plant owner, Mr. Burns, would have been ashamed of it.

The complete destruction of the reactor killed 31 people, including 28 from radiation exposure, most of whom were firefighters working on the roof. A further 209 people on site were treated for acute radiation poisoning and 134 cases were confirmed (all of whom recovered). Since then, an increase in childhood thyroid cancer has been reported, although it is not certain that this is not due to increased surveillance. There has been no other increase in radiation-induced disease, congenital abnormalities, or adverse pregnancy outcomes.....

No, the biggest tragedy of Chernobyl was that radioactivity was governed by preposterous safety regulations that forced the authorities to take extreme and damaging action against the very people they were trying to protect. Until very recently, radiological protection (and chemical regulations) depended on the linear no-threshold (LNT) theory. This says that, because high levels of exposure can cause death, there is no safe lower limit. If this sounds like a reasonable level of precaution, consider this: 750 F will cause fatal burns, while 75 F is a lovely summer's day. Vitamin A is an essential trace chemical in our diet but is toxic at high levels. The dose makes the poison, for chemicals and for radiation.

On the basis of this false assumption, nearly 400,000 people were forcibly evacuated from areas around Chernobyl where radiation was actually lower than the normal background levels in Cornwall and five times lower than at Grand Central Station in New York. To these poor unfortunates, there was damage done...... Perhaps saddest of all is that as many as 200,000 "wanted" pregnancies ended in abortion, in order to avoid non-existent radiation damage to the fetuses.....

Apportioning blame between the media and the Supreme Soviet is a difficult task. But unfounded Western fears based on the LNT hypothesis undoubtedly encouraged the Soviet mass evacuation program. Yet that inaccurate LNT hypothesis still forms the basis of radiation thinking - and it's past time that was changed. Nuclear power has dangers, which are less in terms of actual deaths per unit energy produced than most other forms of energy generation. But as long as this exaggerated image of Chernobyl endures, people will continue to imagine the costs of nuclear energy to be far higher than they really are".


So, commuters get less exercise. Tell us something else new

"Warning: suburban sprawl may be hazardous to your health. A report scheduled to be released today found that people who live in areas with a high degree of sprawl are more likely to report chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, arthritis, headaches and breathing difficulties, compared to residents in less sprawled-out areas.

The differences remained even when researchers accounted for factors such as age, economic status and race. "People who live in more sprawling areas are more likely to have chronic health problems over time," said Roland Sturm, co-author of the report by Rand Corp., a nonprofit research group. "People drive more in these areas; they walk less." Researchers said the findings suggest that an adult who lives in a sprawling city such as Atlanta will have health characteristics similar to someone four years older, but otherwise similar, who lives in a more compact city like Seattle.

A sprawling area is defined in the study as a place that has streets not well connected, lower population density and areas that are far from each other, such as schools and shopping malls. The report is not the first to suggest that sprawl cramps a healthy lifestyle. Last year, major studies found that residents of such areas - where driving to work or school is routine and walking and bike riding difficult or dangerous - weighed more than their counterparts in walkable cities like New York".

More here.


The policies of bthe Australian Green Party reveal how extensive Greenie nuttiness is:

"The Greens' energy policies are simply wrong-headed. At a time when many countries are looking at expanding the use of coal - for which Australia is a major supplier - as a clean fuel source using new technology, the Greens' policy is to "establish an ecologically sustainable post-carbon economy in Australia by phasing out the use of coal by 2050".

Obsessed with the idea that greenhouse gas-induced climate change must be stopped by punitive controls over energy usage, it is also opposed to the one energy source which clearly makes no contribution to greenhouse gases: nuclear power.

It calls for an "immediate end to uranium mining and the export of uranium from Australia", although Australian governments require the strictest standards of export anywhere in the world, and supply much of the uranium used in countries such as Japan, Western Europe and the UK.

Its fixation with nuclear energy extends to a call for the closure of the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney, no replacement, and a ban on the transport of nuclear material, meaning that thousands of Australians who depend on nuclear medicines used in anti-cancer therapies would be denied medical treatment.....

It proposes bans on the use of drugs on farm animals, except where they are prescribed by veterinarians. In other words, routine preventive treatment to deal with internal and external parasites, and vaccination programs used on every farm, would be banned.

More here.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

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