This is part one of a three-part series on the amazing safety of nuclear energy. We will show that the hysteria over this form of energy production is unfounded. It is incredibly safe and environmentally friendly. It is more so than all the other major forms of energy production.
We will start by looking at the issue and the hysterical paranoia over nuclear energy. Then we will show why this is largely unfounded. Furthermore, we shall show why nuclear energy is often safer than the alternatives.
The Issue: Nuclear Hysteria
People widely believe that radiation of any kind is highly dangerous. Therefore, many members of the public have an irrational fear of anything to do with radiation. This assumption that radiation is dangerous leads people to assume that nuclear energy cannot possibly be safe.
Is this based on scientific data? No! The scientific data makes it clear that radiation is an inescapable part of life. It is an unavoidable product of biology and the natural world. There is no escaping some degree of exposure to radiation.
Most people believe that it is something only the smartest people can understand. But that does not stop most people believing that it is inherently highly dangerous.
Should we fear nuclear energy? If people handled nuclear energy without any restraint or concern for safety, then certainly we should be concerned.
But in real life, people manage nuclear energy in a very safe way, as we shall see later in this series. The people designing and running these systems understand the dangers very well. They know how to manage these dangers to greatly minimize the chances of any critical failure. Even when such failures occur, they know how to manage them to greatly reduce the probability of injury or death.
Exposure to radiation is not inherently harmful. We can easily endure small doses of radiation without any long-term or serious harm. Nuclear power plants typically expose workers to much smaller doses of radiation than required to create any serious risk of harm.
Yes, radioactive exposure can damage biological material and mutate cells. But this typically requires radiation exposure far beyond any realistic scenario or repeated exposure to smaller doses of radiation. This might be why cancer rates in the nuclear industry are not, despite what the public might think, significantly higher than in other industries. And may not be higher on average than the average for other industries.
People often believe that nuclear energy production is about as dangerous as nuclear weapons. But this could not be more false. It is not possible to use the nuclear material used by the nuclear energy industry to easily make a bomb. That requires time and resource intensive enrichment processes.
It is not difficult to grasp that radiation is not always dangerous. Especially when you consider that our bodies are not defenceless against it. Our bodies have developed all kinds of mechanisms to compensate for it and mitigate its potentially harmful effects.
Most people consider nuclear physics too hard for them to grasp. And so, they do not make any real effort to understand it. But it is not difficult to grasp the most crucial essentials as to what it is. Nor is it difficult to understand how we may immensely mitigate the risks of nuclear energy. Later in this series, we shall see that the industry has a great understanding of such risks. We shall see that it is already acting on these so that the risks of nuclear energy are very low.’
Let us look at some of the reality of nuclear energy and why it is in fact incredibly safe. And why we should happily accept the statistically minuscule risk presented by properly managed nuclear energy plants.
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