Physics

The Issues around Nuclear Power



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When I became involved in the nuclear waste issue in 1980, the Concerned Citizens of Manitoba (CCM), attempted to locate scientists in a variety of disciplines who could help us in our effort to gather and analyze information to deal with the underground radioactive waste test facility under construction in the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet. My assumption that this would not be difficult- turned out to be false.

What did become quickly apparent, was that the nuclear industry had its tentacles into the scientific community to the point that we could not beg, borrow or steal objective advice and help from any member of the main-stream establishment scientific community. Those physicists, biologists, chemists, nuclear engineers, geo-scientists, medical specialists, etc., who would have anything to do with such a citizens group, were simply non-existent. The only help we could get was from among a handful of independent scientists who had courageously taken a public anti-nuclear stance.

When I use the word "tentacles," I am talking largely about economic forces. For example, the nuclear establishment and the Physics Department at the University of Manitoba were twins joined at the hip. The geo-scientists were salivating over the many lucrative opportunities provided by the nuclear industry bent on radioactive waste burial. There was plenty of money for this, much of which was in the form of massive government subsidies.

Is it any wonder then, that today, in the midst of a near mass hysteria over "global warming" or "climate change," the nuclear establishment is up-front and center advertising its wares.

Unfortunately, the public is so frightened by disaster predictions, it overlooks the fact that sciences such as climatology and geology are essentially in their infancy and are not at all reliable predictors. Geology cannot predict the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that occur ever year, and climatologists produce computer models, the validity and reliability of which simply cannot be checked.

Nuclear energy, on the other hand, has the potential, in the near term, to cause untold misery and hardship in the world. We know from Chernobyl and Three Mile Island what nuclear energy can do when at its worst. It can lay waste the land, cause widespread illness and death, provide the substances for nuclear weaponry and terrorism dirty bomb construction. We don't need to speculate over those outcomes, we already have empirical evidence.

Much of science, in general, has been co-opted by the nuclear establishment. It is politically incorrect for scientists and technologists to openly criticize nuclear energy. For many, it could literally ruin their careers if they did so. I won't go so far as to say that "global warming-climate change" hysteria is the result of a nuclear establishment conspiracy, but the end result is the same; nuclear power "coming to the rescue."

But, if it takes such a scare to get the air cleaned up and the waters decontaminated, so be it. Those are real time, very measurable conditions which must and can be corrected. People are getting sick and dying NOW from air and water pollution. That clean up should be the main priority, along with a rapid increase in energy efficiency and safe, clean renewables.

Can this really be done without expanding nuclear energy. Just ask German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabrial, who recently was reported as saying: "We are expanding the share of renewable energy faster than other EU states." "...Renewable energy had risen almost 13 percent last year to account for 11.8 percent of the country's total electricity supply..." "This means that we can reach Germany's ambitious climate protection goals in parallel with the phasing out of atomic energy," said Gabriel. "There will be no power gaps and so there is no reason to abandon our course of getting out of atomic power."

If they can do it, so can the rest of us!





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