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Tuesday, March 29, 2011


IT IS unfortunate that Tim Flinn (Letters, 28 March), while regaling us with the spectacular claim that each kwh of nuclear electricity costs more in disposal than "the number of particles in the universe", didn't say how this figure, incredible even by the normal unexacting standards of Luddite scare stories, was calculated.

I invite anybody promoting anti-nuclear fears, from Scottish Renewables to the SNP, to at least dissociate themselves from such nonsense if they ever want anything else they may say, on any subject, to be treated as credible.

On the one point where he gives a figure - that reactor radiation remains dangerous for 150,000 years - he is wrong. The most radioactive isotopes decay the fastest. (That's what being most radioactive amounts to). About one cubic metre of waste per year is generated by a power plant. It needs to be kept away from people. After ten years, the fission products are 1,000 times less radioactive, and after 500 years, they will be less radioactive than the uranium ore they are originally derived from
  The original letter was indeed stupid. If the anti-nuclear movement were remotely interested in facts its members would jump on idiots like this from a great height. The fact that they don't proves they are a religious rather than intellectual movement, and a religion fit only for the congenitally stupid at that. I doubt if any newspaper would print a letter saying that the Greens are wrong because allowing a Green party member to go unhung anywhere within quatter of a million miles of here creates a 99.7% chance chldren will die of cancer within the week, though, arithmetically, that is a much more sensible claim.

    I would like to acknowledge that the last few sentences, in bold, were lifted verbatim from Professor John McCarthy's excellent website debunking the Luddites and promoting human progress.

  Online comments are 1 from a numerically literate source who estimates "Between 10^72 and 10^87" and 2 from Luddites. one an ad hom attack the other bringing in another, false, claim. Neither, as would be statisticaly expected if the entire Luddite movement consists of people with no slightest trace of honesty or even any shame about it, have a single word of criicsm for Flinn's lies. I will send this to the SNP, LudDims and Greens. We will see if  they make any attempt to ensure that "anything else they may say, on any subject, [ought] to be treated as credible."

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