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It sounds crazy, but Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island show why nuclear is inherently safe




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Fukushima was a public health disaster that was not caused by radiation. Shutterstock

After a tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant Eight in Japan Many years ago, which triggered the collapse of three reactors, many believed it would lead to a public health disaster.

"Nearly a million people have died from causes associated with the Chernobyl disaster. Helen Caldicott, an Australian doctor, wrote Fukushima could far outstrip "Chernobyl's public health impact."

The accident was the evidence that the prevailing shape of the nuclear reactor cooled by water is fatally flawed, calling for radically different species n of reactors to make the technology "inherently safe".

But now, eight years after Fukushima, is the best available science It clearly shows that Caldicott underestimated the number of people killed by nuclear accidents by one million. Chernobyl radiation will kill no more than 200 people, while the radiation from Fukushima and Three Mile Island will kill zero people.

In other words, the most important lesson to be learned from the worst nuclear accidents is that nuclear energy has always been inherently safe.

The Shocking Truth

The truth about the safety of atomic energy is so shocking that it's worth it. Let's take a closer look at the worst accidents and start with the worst of the worst: Chernobyl.

The nuclear power plant is located in Ukraine, which in 1

986, the year of the accident, was a Soviet republic. The operators lost control of an unauthorized experiment that caused the reactor to catch fire.

There was no containment dome, and the fire spit out radioactive particles that went all over the world, and many came to the conclusion that Chernobyl is not only the worst nuclear accident in history, but also the worst nuclear accident possible is.

28 firefighters died after extinguishing the Chernobyl fire. While the death of a firefighter is tragic, it pays to put that number in perspective. Eighty-six firefighters died in the United States in 2018 and 343 firefighters died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

According to 19 first responders have died since the Chernobyl accident. United Nations for various reasons, including tuberculosis, cirrhosis, heart attack and trauma. The US agency concluded that "the assignment of radiation as a cause of death has become less clear".

What about cancer? By 2065 it may be 16,000 thyroid cancer; So far, there was 6,000 . Since thyroid cancer has a mortality rate of only one percent – this is an easy to treat cancer – 160 deaths are expected.

The World Health Organization (WHO) claims on its website that Chernobyl could lead to premature deaths of 4,000 people. According to Dr. Geraldine Thomas, who founded and directs the Chernobyl Tissue Bank, bases this figure on a disproved methodology.

"This WHO number is based on LNT," she explained with the abbreviation for "linear no-threshold" method for extrapolating deaths from radiation.

LNT assumes that there is no threshold below the radiation however, it is certain that this assumption has been discredited by several data sources in recent decades.

The assumption that radiation is harmless at a low level is due to the fact that people living in places with higher background radiation, such as Colorado, suffer not among elevated cancer rates.

In fact, residents of Colorado, where radiation is higher due to high uranium concentrations in the soil, have some of the lowest cancer rates in the US.

Even relatively high radiation doses cause wide Less damage than most people think Careful, extensive and long-term research by survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima et al nd Nagasaki offer convincing demonstrations.

Cancer rates were only 10 percent higher among survivors of nuclear weapons, most of whom never had cancer. Even those who received a 1,000-fold higher dose than today's safety limit found that their lives were shortened on average by 16 months.

But the Japanese government has recently awarded a financial compensation to the family of a Fukushima worker who claimed these was cancer from the accident?

It did, but for reasons that were clearly political, and in the context of the consensus-based, conflictual style of the Japanese government, as well as keeping track of the political leaders of the elite against the Fukushima staff feeling guilty Residents who felt doubly annoyed by the tsunami and the collapse of the soil.

It is very unlikely that the worker's cancer came from Fukushima, as the number of radiation workers treated by the Hiroshima / Nagasaki was significantly lower, with a (moderately) higher cancer rate.

What about Three Mile Island? After the accident in 1979 Time Magazine delivered a cover story that overlaid the shining headline "Nuclear Nightmare" over a picture of the plant. Nightmare ? More like a dream. What other industrial technology can suffer catastrophic failure and kill anyone?

Do you remember when the oil rig Deepwater Horizon caught fire and killed eleven people? Four months later, a natural gas pipeline from Pacific Gas & Electric exploded south of San Francisco and killed eight people sleeping in their beds. And that was only a year in 2010.

The worst energy accident of all time was the 1975 collapse of the Banqiao Dam in China. It collapsed and died between 170,000 and 230,000 people .

The worst accidents at Nuclear show that the technology was always so safe for the same reason that it was always so small. Effects on the natural environment: the high energy density of the fuel.

Splitting atoms to create heat rather than splitting chemical bonds by fire requires tiny amounts of fuel. A single uranium soda can provide enough energy for a lifetime of high energy.

When the worst occurs and the fuel melts, the amount of particulate matter exiting the plant is insignificant, unlike the fiery explosions of fossil fuels and the daily emissions of particulate matter from fossil and biomass incinerators, cars, and power plants, which [19659058] kill seven million people a year.

Due to the inherent safety of nuclear power, the best available science shows that nuclear power saved at least two million lives by preventing nuclear power from burning biomass and fossil fuels. Replacing nuclear power plants or not building thus leads to more deaths.

In this sense, Fukushima has led to a disaster in the field of public health. Only the tiny amounts of radiation expelled from the plant left none.

Anxiety Displacement and Panic

The Japanese government, according to Chernobyl expert Geraldine Thomas and other radiation experts, has contributed to the widespread belief that radiation is a potentially potent poison by residents not moving to Fukushima province after the accident return the radiation in soil and water to unnecessarily low levels.

The problem started with an evacuation. Sixty thousand people were evacuated, but only 30,000 have returned. Although a degree of temporary evacuation may have been justified, there was simply no reason for such a large and long-term evacuation.

About 2,000 people died of evacuation, while others who were expelled from loneliness and depression suffered suicide, school bullying and anxiety.

"In retrospect, we can say that the evacuation was a mistake," said Philip Thomas, professor of risk management at the University of Bristol and head of a research project on nuclear accidents. "We would have recommended that no one be evacuated."

Beyond the evacuation was the government's massive overhaul of the government. To give you a sense of how exaggerated the cleanup was, keep in mind that most of Colorado was (of course) more radioactive than Fukushima after the accident.

Even residents living in the areas with the highest soil contamination were not affected by the radiation, according to a large study of nearly 8,000 residents in the two to three years since the accident.

When I was in Fukushima for the second time in 2017, I lost my coolness on the subject. Jet lag and hungry, and when I witnessed the ridiculous and expensive bull sleep of the fertile topsoil of the region in green plastic bags, I started to grill a scientist with the Department of the Environment.

Why did they destroy Fukushima's precious topsoil to do so? Reduce levels of radiation that were already far lower than a danger? Why did the government spend billions to do the same with water near the plant? Was nobody in Japan familiar with mainstream radiation health science?

First, the government scientist responded by simply repeating the official line – she fixed the top floor to remove the radiation from the accident.

I decided to force the issue. I repeated my question. My translator told me that the expert did not understand my question. I started arguing with my translator.

Then the government scientist started talking again. I could tell by the tone of his voice that he said something else.

"Every scientist and radiation expert in the world who comes here says the same thing," he said. "We know that we do not have to reduce the public health burden. We do that because people want us to do it. "

The truth of the matter had been recognized, and the tension that prevailed between us was finally broken. " Arigato gozaimasu !" I said, genuinely grateful for the honesty of the man.

The man's face was sad when he explained the situation, but he was also calmer, the mania behind his aspiration that the "contaminated" topsoil had called for "cleaning" had been lost.

And I was no longer crazy, only relieved, I understood his dilemma, he had just been the repetitive official dogma, because of his work and the wider culture and politics force him to do so.

For more than 60 years, scientists and government officials, not only in Japan, have been worried about radiation fears.

There is no evidence that low levels of exposure hurt people, but instead of being honest Scientists in the past often concealed the truth from a false sense of error on the side of caution, but this allows widespread misunderstanding about Strahlun g remains.

We also now know that non-nuclear companies mostly use fossil fuels and no renewable energy. After Fukushima, Japan closed its nuclear power plants and saw deadly air pollution.

The biggest losers, as usual, are the most vulnerable: respiratory diseases such as emphysema and asthma, children, the elderly, the sick, and the poor living in the most polluted areas of cities.

It is also clear that people are spreading fears about other things about nuclear accidents. From in-depth qualitative research in the 1970's, we know that at the beginning of this decade, young people were repressing fears of nuclear bombs in nuclear plants.

Nuclear facilities are regarded as small bombs and nuclear accidents as little atomic explosions, complete with failures and the fear of pollution.

It is impossible to see the panic overreaction of the Japanese people towards Fukushima and not see them as partially motivated by the horror of seeing 15,897 citizens killed immediately and another 2,533 19659016] disappeared after a tsunami in the region.

Sociologist Kyle Cleveland argues convincingly that Fukushima is a "moral panic," in which panic was sparked by a human desire to criticize Japan's news media and the public for revenge on an industrial and technical elite who is callous, arrogant and is considered corrupt.

See Opportunity in Fear

After Fukushima, investors invested millions of so-called "Advanced Nuclear" companies, which claimed to use chemicals, metals or gases instead of water to cool uranium or thorium fuels in nuclear power plants [19659003] Often, they unintentionally aggravated the worst fears of the public. It is one thing, if anti-nuclear activists fear Fukushima, it is something else, if supposedly pro-nuclear advocates do this.

Worse, the notion that you look at the design of a nuclear plant and it's safer than existing nuclear power plants, is transcience at best, pseudoscience in the worst case scenario.

Comparing the relative safety of different types of nuclear reactors requires decades of operational data, which by definition is not the case for non-existent designs. And even then you would probably need more accidents and deaths to filter out any kind of correlation.

Pushing for alleged safety benefits, proponents of radical nuclear innovation often glibly claim that this or that design will be far cheaper than current designs.

But cheapest atom is the kind that man has most with the construction, operation and regulation. Slow, conservative and incremental innovations have made nuclear power plants cheaper, while radical innovations have made them more expensive.

Was anything better for the US nuclear industry than Three Mile Island? At that time, not a single executive of the nuclear industry would have said that. But in the decades, many of them believed that.

In response to Three Mile Island, the nuclear industry stepped up training, checklists and better oversight. The result was that nuclear power plants in the US exceeded an average capacity factor of 55 percent to a capacity factor of over 90 percent.

Anti-nuclear activists have long claimed that there is a compromise between nuclear safety and plant operating efficiency when in fact the opposite is true. Improved performance led to much higher revenues from electricity sales.

Could Japanese nuclear leaders Fukushima one day look back in the same way? That depends on what they are doing now.

So far, Japanese leaders have been trying to make up for the Fukushima accident, but in a way that has reinforced the view of radiation as an extremely potent toxin without increasing confidence in the technology.

For decades, nuclear leaders in Japan and the US have reiterated the notion that nuclear technology is an inherently dangerous technology that they could control. When it became clear that they could not control them The public understandably assumed that they were in danger.

The truth is partly reassuring. The radiant particulate matter that escapes the worst nuclear accidents is not that dangerous because it's not that much of it.

Another lesson is that humans never have our technologies under control. If not, no one would be killed by the explosion of natural gas pipelines, plane crashes or collapsed dams.

The question is not how humans can gain absolute mastery, since this is impossible, but rather, which machines deliver the whole thing best with the least amount of damage. In this metric, atomic energy has always been the surest way to strengthen civilization.

>

Fukushima was a public health disaster, just not caused by radiation. Shutterstock

After a tsunami hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan eight years ago today, it triggered the collapse of three reactors, many of which believed that this would lead to a public health disaster.

"Meanwhile, nearly a million people have died as a result of the Chernobyl disaster," wrote Helen Caldicott, an Australian doctor, in The New York Times. Fukushima could far outshine "Chernobyl in terms of public health impact. "

Many pro-nuclear people believed the accident was proof that the prevailing shape of the nuclear reactor, which is cooled by water, is fatally flawed. They demanded radically different types of reactors to make the technology "inherently safe". [19659122]

But now, eight years after Fukushima, the best available science clearly shows that Caldicott estimated the number of people killed by nuclear accidents by one million. Chernobyl radiation will kill no more than 200 people, while the radiation from Fukushima and Three Mile Island will kill zero people.

In other words, the most important lesson to be learned from the worst nuclear accidents is that nuclear energy has always been inherently safe.

The Shocking Truth

The truth about the safety of nuclear energy is so shocking that it's worth it. Let's take a closer look at the worst accidents and start with the worst of the worst: Chernobyl.

The nuclear power plant is located in Ukraine, which in 1986, the year of the accident, was a Soviet republic. The operators lost control of an unauthorized experiment that caused the reactor to catch fire.

There was no containment dome, and the fire spit out radioactive particles that went all over the world, and many came to the conclusion that Chernobyl is not only the worst nuclear accident in history, but also the worst nuclear accident possible is.

28 firefighters died after extinguishing the Chernobyl fire. While the death of a firefighter is tragic, it pays to put that number in perspective. Eighty-six firefighters died in the United States in 2018 and 343 firefighters died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

According to 19 first responders have died since the Chernobyl accident. United Nations for various reasons, including tuberculosis, cirrhosis, heart attack and trauma. The US agency concluded that "the assignment of radiation as a cause of death has become less clear".

What about cancer? By 2065 it may be 16,000 thyroid cancer; So far, there was 6,000 . Since thyroid cancer has a mortality rate of only one percent – this is an easy to treat cancer – 160 deaths are expected.

The World Health Organization (WHO) claims on its website that Chernobyl could lead to premature deaths of 4,000 people. According to Dr. Geraldine Thomas, who founded and directs the Chernobyl Tissue Bank, bases this figure on a disproved methodology.

"This WHO number is based on LNT," she explained with the abbreviation for "linear no-threshold" method for extrapolating deaths from radiation.

LNT assumes that there is no threshold below the radiation however, it is certain that this assumption has been discredited by several data sources in recent decades.

The assumption that radiation is harmless at a low level is due to the fact that people living in places with higher background radiation, such as Colorado, suffer not among elevated cancer rates.

In fact, residents of Colorado, where radiation is higher due to high uranium concentrations in the soil, have some of the lowest cancer rates in the US.

Even relatively high radiation doses cause wide Less damage than most people think Careful, extensive and long-term research by survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima et al nd Nagasaki offer convincing demonstrations.

Cancer rates were only 10 percent higher among survivors of nuclear weapons, most of whom never had cancer. Even those who received a 1,000-fold higher dose than today's safety limit found that their lives were shortened on average by 16 months.

The Japanese government has recently awarded a financial compensation to the family of a Fukushima worker who claimed these was cancer from the accident?

It did, but for reasons that were clearly political, and in the context of the consensus-based, conflictual style of the Japanese government, as well as keeping track of the political leaders of the elite against the Fukushima staff feeling guilty Residents who felt doubly annoyed by the tsunami and the collapse of the soil.

It is very unlikely that the worker's cancer came from Fukushima, as the number of radiation workers treated by the Hiroshima / Nagasaki was significantly lower, with a (moderately) higher cancer rate.

What about Three Mile Island? After the accident in 1979 Time Magazine delivered a cover story that overlaid the shining headline "Nuclear Nightmare" over a picture of the plant. Nightmare ? More like a dream. What other industrial technology can suffer catastrophic failure and kill anyone?

Do you remember when the oil rig Deepwater Horizon caught fire and killed eleven people? Four months later, a natural gas pipeline from Pacific Gas & Electric exploded south of San Francisco and killed eight people sleeping in their beds. And that was only a year in 2010.

The worst energy accident of all time was the 1975 collapse of the Banqiao Dam in China. It collapsed and died between 170,000 and 230,000 people .

The worst accidents at Nuclear show that the technology was always so safe for the same reason that it was always so small. Effects on the natural environment: the high energy density of the fuel.

Splitting atoms to create heat rather than splitting chemical bonds by fire requires tiny amounts of fuel. A single uranium soda can provide enough energy for a lifetime of high energy.

When the worst occurs and the fuel melts, the amount of particulate matter exiting the plant is insignificant, unlike the fiery explosions of fossil fuels and the daily emissions of particulate matter from fossil and biomass incinerators, cars, and power plants, which [19659058] kill seven million people a year.

Due to the inherent safety of nuclear power, the best available science shows that nuclear power saved at least two million lives by preventing nuclear power from burning biomass and fossil fuels. Replacing nuclear power plants or not building thus leads to more deaths.

In this sense, Fukushima has led to a disaster in the field of public health. It was just not that created by the tiny amounts of radiation that escaped the plant.

Anxiety Disorder and Panic

According to Chernobyl expert Geraldine Thomas and other radiation experts, the Japanese government has contributed to the widespread view of radiation as an extremely potent toxin by failing to bring the population back to the US to bring Fukushima Province after the accident and reduce the radiation in soil and water to unnecessarily low levels.

The problem started with an evacuation. Sixty thousand people were evacuated, but only 30,000 have returned. Although a degree of temporary evacuation may have been justified, there was simply no reason for such a large and long-term evacuation.

About 2,000 people died of evacuation, while others who were expelled from loneliness and depression suffered suicide, school bullying and anxiety.

"In retrospect, we can say that the evacuation was a mistake," said Philip Thomas, professor of risk management at the University of Bristol and head of a research project on nuclear accidents. "We would have recommended that no one be evacuated."

Beyond the evacuation was the government's massive overhaul of the government. To give you a sense of how exaggerated the cleanup was, keep in mind that most of Colorado was (of course) more radioactive than Fukushima after the accident.

Even residents living in the areas with the highest soil contamination were not affected by the radiation, according to a large study of nearly 8,000 residents in the two to three years since the accident.

When I was in Fukushima for the second time in 2017, I lost my coolness on the subject. Jet lag and hungry, and when I witnessed the ridiculous and expensive bull sleep of the fertile topsoil of the region in green plastic bags, I started to grill a scientist with the Department of the Environment.

Why did they destroy Fukushima's precious topsoil to do so? Reduce levels of radiation that were already far lower than a danger? Why did the government spend billions to do the same with water near the plant? Was nobody in Japan familiar with mainstream radiation health science?

First, the government scientist responded by simply repeating the official line – she fixed the top floor to remove the radiation from the accident.

I decided to force the issue. I repeated my question. My translator told me that the expert did not understand my question. I started arguing with my translator.

Then the government scientist started talking again. I could tell by the tone of his voice that he said something else.

"Every scientist and radiation expert in the world who comes here says the same thing," he said. "We know that we do not have to reduce the public health burden. We do that because people want us to do it. "

The truth of the matter had been recognized, and the tension that prevailed between us was finally broken. " Arigato gozaimasu !" I said, genuinely grateful for the honesty of the man.

The man's face was sad when he explained the situation, but he was also calmer, the mania behind his aspiration that the "contaminated" topsoil had called for "cleaning" had been lost.

And I was no longer crazy, only relieved, I understood his dilemma, he had just been the repetitive official dogma, because of his work and the breitere Kultur und Politik ihn dazu zwingen.

Seit über 60 Jahren behandeln Wissenschaftler und Regierungsbeamte, nicht nur in Japan, Strahlungsängste.

Es gibt keine Anzeichen dafür, dass geringe Strahlenbelastung die Menschen verletzt, aber statt ehrlich zu sein, haben Wissenschaftler in der Vergangenheit die Wahrheit oft aus einem falschen Gefühl des Irrens auf der Seite der Vorsicht verborgen, aber dies erlaubt Weit verbreitetes Missverständnis über Strahlun g bleibt bestehen.

Wir wissen jetzt auch, dass Gesellschaften, die keine Atomkraft nutzen, meist fossile Brennstoffe verwenden und keine erneuerbaren Energien. Nach Fukushima schloss Japan seine Atomkraftwerke und sah tödliche Luftverschmutzung.

Die größten Verlierer sind, wie üblich, die am stärksten gefährdeten Personen: Atemwegserkrankungen wie Emphysem und Asthma, Kinder, ältere Menschen, Kranke, und die Armen, die in den am stärksten verschmutzten Gebieten der Städte leben.

Es ist auch klar, dass die Menschen Ängste über andere Dinge auf Atomunfälle verteilen. Aus eingehenden qualitativen Untersuchungen der siebziger Jahre wissen wir, dass junge Menschen zu Beginn dieses Jahrzehnts Ängste vor Atombomben in Atomanlagen verdrängten.

Atomanlagen werden als kleine Bomben und Atomunfälle als wenig atomar angesehen Explosionen, komplett mit Ausfällen und der Angst vor Verschmutzung.

Es ist unmöglich, die panische Überreaktion der japanischen Bevölkerung gegenüber Fukushima zu sehen und sie nicht als teilweise durch den Schrecken motiviert zu sehen, 15,897 Bürger sofort gesehen zu haben getötet und ein weiterer 2.533 verschwand nach einem Tsunami in der Region.

Der Soziologe Kyle Cleveland argumentiert überzeugend, dass Fukushima eine "moralische Panik" sei, in der die Panik durch einen Wunsch des Menschen ausgelöst wurde Japans Nachrichtenmedien und die Öffentlichkeit für Rache an einer industriellen und technischen Elite, die als gefühllos, arrogant und korrupt angesehen wird.

Opportunity in Fear sehen

Nach Fukushima investierten die Investoren Millionen von so genannten „Advanced Nuclear“ -Unternehmen, die vorgaben, Chemikalien, Metalle oder Gase anstelle von Wasser zur Kühlung der Uran- oder Thoriumbrennstoffe in Kernkraftwerken zu verwenden

Oft verstärkten sie unbeabsichtigt die schlimmsten Ängste der Öffentlichkeit. Es ist eine Sache, wenn sich Anti-Atom-Aktivisten vor Fukushima fürchten, es ist etwas anderes, wenn angeblich pro-nukleare Befürworter dies tun.

Schlimmer noch, die Vorstellung, dass man sich das -Design eines Atomkraftwerks und Es ist sicherer als bestehende Kernkraftwerke, ist Transcience bestenfalls, Pseudowissenschaft im schlimmsten Fall.

Zum Vergleich der relativen Sicherheit verschiedener Arten von Kernreaktoren benötigt man jahrzehntelange Betriebsdaten, was definitionsgemäß nicht der Fall ist existieren für nicht existierende Designs. Und selbst dann würde man wahrscheinlich noch mehr Unfälle und Todesfälle benötigen, um jegliche Art von Korrelation herauszufiltern.

Wenn man auf vermeintliche Sicherheitsvorteile drängt, gleiten die Befürworter radikaler Innovationen im Nuklearbereich häufig in der Behauptung auf, dass dies oder jenes Design sein wird weit billiger als heutige Designs.

Aber das billigste Atom ist die Art, die der Mensch am meisten mit dem Bau, Betrieb und der Regulierung hat. Langsame, konservative und inkrementelle Innovationen haben Kernkraftwerke billiger gemacht, während radikale Innovationen sie teurer gemacht haben.

War etwas besser für die US-Atomindustrie als Three Mile Island? Not a single nuclear industry executive would have said so at the time. But in the decades since, many of them came to believe precisely that.

In response to Three Mile Island, the nuclear industry stepped up training, checklists, and better oversight. The result was that nuclear plants in the U.S. went from operating at 55 percent capacity factor, on average, to operating at over 90 percent capacity factor.

Anti-nuclear activists have long claimed that there is a trade-off between nuclear safety and economics when it comes to the operation of plants, when in reality the opposite is the case. With improved performance came far higher income from electricity sales.

Might Japanese nuclear leaders look back on Fukushima the same way one day? That depends on what they do now.

To date, Japanese leaders have tried to make amends to the public for the Fukushima accident, but they’ve done so in ways that have reinforced the view of radiation as a super-potent toxin, and without building any greater trust in the technology.

For decades, nuclear leaders in Japan and the U.S. reinforced the notion that nuclear is an inherently dangerous technology, but one that they could control. When it became clear that they couldn’t control it, the public understandably assumed that they had been put in danger.

The truth is, in part, more reassuring. The radiant particulate matter that escapes from the worst nuclear accidents isn’t all that dangerous because there isn’t all that much of it.

But another lesson is that humans are never in absolute control of our technologies. If we were, then nobody would die from exploding natural gas pipelines, plane crashes, or collapsed hydroelectric dams.

The question is not how humans can gain absolute mastery, since that’s impossible, but rather which machines, on balance, deliver the most good with the least harm. On that metric, nuclear power has always been, inherently, the safest way to power civilization.


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