Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The media coverage of the Japanese nuclear "catastrophe" in which not one person has been killed ot injured, far outpaced the coverage of the real catastrophe in which around 10,000 people have died. While nobody is dead of radiation people are dying of hypothermia, but that is infinitely less newsworthy, as relatives of the 25,000 pensioners who die, unnecessarily, of fuel poverty in Britain annually, know well.
Nuclear remains far and away the safest method of generating power, as well as being the least polluting and least expensive. This is known by all those who have looked seriously at the issues and acknowledged by all of them who are honest. has been both inaccurate and hysterical. Or perhaps they will simply move on to the next scare story expecting their readers not to notice
Steuart told me I also have a letter in the Sunday Times. It is behind a paywall but I have been sent it and it was this one. The bits in bold were edited out.
We see the "environmentalists" are eager to talk about the Japanese catastrophe. Not the earthquake and Tsunami which has killed more than 2,000 people, probably far more, but the consequent failure of 2 reactors which have caused neither death not injury to anybody. This disproportionate coverage of anything with the magic word "nuclear" is normal across our media.While we are at it here is a letter Spiked published online. It was a response to an article giving 5 reasons the Japanese accident isn't that bad.
For example compare the coverage of Chernobyl, where a total of 56 people died with that of the Ufa train disaster also in the dying days of the USSR, where over 500 people died. Both were equally the result of incompetent management, but the latter, though 10 times worse, was never newsworthy because no nuclear "black magic" was involved.
The fact is that nuclear power is orders of magnitude safer than any other comparable industrial process. For example in the last 20 years 2 people have died in one nuclear accident, a figure not today altered, in an industry that produces 20% of the world's electricity, whereas over 50 have died falling from wind turbines, in a subsidy driven "industry" that produces under 0.1%. I don't know if the earthquake has caused any Japanese windmills to fail - because I do know that if it has happened it would not be "newsworthy."
A sixth point I would like to raise in addition to Lyons’ five is that the assumption of any deaths from even intermediate levels of radiation, such as those at Chernobyl, depend entirely on the ‘Linear No Threshold’ hypothesis, that radiation damage falls in a direct line for any amount of radiation. This is a ‘precautionary principle’ hypothesis for which there is not and never has been any evidence.I have sent out a number of other letters to all and sundry, partly cannibalised from each other. I think now is an important time to be doing this since in the next few days either nuclear power will have been successfully demonised by media hysteria, as happened over Three Mile Island, or the MSM coverage will be discredited by the hysteria becoming apparent. My opinion, looking at the balance of online comments, such as this for Channel 4, suggests sense is winning.
It goes against all experience in other fields: for example, the linear no threshold theory of mass would say that since the chances that an elephant falling on you will kill you are roughly 100 per cent, the chance that putting on a hat will kill you must be must be about 0.1 per cent and multiplying that by the hat-wearing population of London would mean hundreds of deaths daily. On this basis the LNT theory was used to predict 500,000 deaths from Chernobyl, none of which have happened. Predictions that it will ultimately kill 9,000 or 4,000 assume that after 20 years of not happening these deaths will start shortly.
As I say there is no actual evidence for LNT. However there is a mass of statistical evidence for the opposite theory, known as hormesis, that such radiation actually stimulates health. This comes from statistical measures of background radiation; of radon in homes; of experience of nuclear workers; of accidents; of naturally occuring background radiation; of experiments with plants: and animals: and of the subsequent histories of Chernobyl: and of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Here is a collection of links to the evidence.
I sent the Herald a letter in reply to a reply to mine. They are entitled to the first chance to publish it. It contained this link to the UN reports 56 dead at Chernobyl http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2005/09/05/UN_Chernobyl20050905.html
To the Scotsman (I initially thought this first one was the one Salter was replying to but no.
Once again we have Stephen Salter claiming nuclear is not cheaper than "renewables" - so long as you invent some imaginary cost for waste disposal, something which any engineer knows has long been, technologically a non-problem; and so long as he is allowed to invent posit massive reduction in "renewable" costs at some unknown future date. We have previously been here when in this letter page it was proven that his figures were wrong and that nuclear is 1/10th the cost of onshore windmills. Offshore are about 50% more.A short and fun reply to the Scotsman
Of course I could always posit that if the political regulatory regime were less onerous the cost could be more than halved. This is justified by the fact that nuclear, even after the Japanese debacle, has a safety record undeniably hundreds and arguably many thousands of times better than any comparable industry. It could be halved again if true mass production of reactors for a world market were permitted. On the other hand if we were to demand clean up standards for windmills matching those of nuclear (removal of the thousand tons of poured concrete in the bases & a full environmental investigation to ensure the replacement soil were exactly the same, containing no new organisms, that was there originally) the cost of windmills could be pushed up at least 10 fold.
On that basis we could calculate a price differential of 600 times. However the real and proven differential of windmills costing 10 times what nuclear can, while being conservative, adequately shows that the former can only be supported on ideological Luddite grounds rather than engineering ones. It is to be regretted that the ratio of engineers to Luddites in politics and the subsidy dependent "industries" runs at far less than 1:10.
John Addison's invocation of the shades of Dan Dare and Flash Gordon to solve our problems is unnecessary (letter today). There are no such problems that need solving. Humanity is doing better than at any time in history. Neither Gaddafi, catastrophic warming, a reactor that exposes locals to less radioactivity than eating a banana, nor passive smoking threaten us. Can we not get rid of, or at least stop giving tax money, to all these people battening on such false scares?To newspapersw eveywhere.
We see the "environmentalists" are eager to talk about the Japanese catastrophe. Not the earthquake and Tsunami which has killed more than 2,000 people, probably far more, but the consequent failure of 2 reactors which have caused neither death not injury to anybody. This disproportionate coverage of anything with the magic word "nuclear" is normal across our media.
For example compare the coverage of Chernobyl, where a total of 56 people died with that of the Ufa train disaster also in the dying days of the USSR, where over 500 people died. Both were equally the result of incompetent management, but the latter, though 10 times worse, was never "newsworthy" because no nuclear "black magic" was involved.
Ref - radiation hormesis overwhelming evidence http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2010/03/low-level-radiation-evidence-that-it-is.html
The fact is that nuclear power is orders of magnitude safer than any other comparable industrial process. For example in the last 20 years 2 people have died in one nuclear accident, a fighure not today altered, in an industry that produces 20% of the world's electricity, whereas over 50 have died falling from wind turbines, in a subsidy driven "industry" that produces under 0.1%. I don't know if the earthquake has caused any Japanese windmills to fail - because I do know that if it has happened it would not be "newsworthy."
Perhaps some will say that the radiation hazard justifies coverage unrelated to real casualties. A
fter all did they not predict half a million deaths from Chernobyl, based on the No Lower Threshold (LNT) theory of radiation damage? Indeed they did. However statistical examination since then has shown not one of those 500,000 deaths they predicted happened. The LNT hypothesis has never been anything but an evidence free scare story. Despite it's"official" acceptance by government apparatchiks in both the Soviet and "democratic" worlds it has never had any scientific evidence whatsoever behind it. Ask any government authority what evidence they have that low level radiation is harmful and they will say "trust us" and change the subject. In fact there is massive evidence, from many unrelated sources, that low level radiation is not only not harmful but beneficial, as anybody who has taken spa waters, or indeed the current inhabitants of the Chernobly region testify.
What the anti-technology crowd won't say is that, when disasters strike, far and away the most important factor in saving lives is having an advanced technology. Compare the 2,000 dead in Japan with the Chinese earthquake of 1976. It was a magnitude 7.8, less that 1/10 the 8.9 of this one (the Richter scale goes up 10 fold for each level). The difference is that then China was dirt poor whereas modern Japan isn't. If the "greens" really cared about human wellbeing they would enthusiastically support every instance of human progress, including more (CO2 free) nuclear power.
Locals at Chernobyl enjoying hormesis http://alfin2100.blogspot.com/2011/03/in-chernobyl-60-year-old-men-appear-not.html
Ufa Soviet train crash 500 killed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ufa_train_disaster
Chernobyl 56 killed http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article563041.ece
And finally, and nothing to do with me, is compelling evidence that the media hysteria story is collapsing. The Guardian's George Moonbat has thrown in the towel and accepted that nuclear is a good thing and all the media lies have been destructive. Of course he still has the bad grace to denounce the nuclear industry "liars" who told him this years ago and has no word of condemnation of the real liars from Greenpeaces, FoE, the LudDims, Professor Salter, the SNP etc. etc. not least himself, who have battened on this scare lie and attendent subsidies for decades.
You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.As if the corrupt bastard had only just found out what the true TMI radiation level was.
A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.
Some greens have wildly exaggerated the dangers of radioactive pollution. For a clearer view, look at the graphic published by xkcd.com. It shows that the average total dose from the Three Mile Island disaster for someone living within 10 miles of the plant was one 625th of the maximum yearly amount permitted for US radiation workers....
UPDATE I find the Independent yesterday also published the first letter in the Scotsman though omitting "While nobody is dead of radiation people are dying of hypothermia, but that is infinitely less newsworthy, as relatives of the 25,000 pensioners who die, unnecessarily, of fuel poverty in Britain annually, know well."
At present, workers cannot remain in the room for long hours due to high radiation levels and power outages.
If you believe that the French government are subsidising the nuclear industry to make a profit for the taxpayer you are more gullible than I thought.
New Finish nuclear power plant Olkiluoto with enormous financial losses