Wired has an interview with Gwyneth Cravens, a former nuclear protester who has done the research and determined nuclear power is indeed our best option for the future of power. If the interview is any reflection of her book, she spends her time talking about facts rather than pushing emotional hotbuttons.
It’s too bad Cravens and her comrades waited this long to do so, because they’ve already done the damage to the nuclear industry. Thanks to their fear mongering and lobbying, no new reactors have come online in almost 30 years. Congress has recently starting discussing legislation to make it more attractive to build nuclear power plants, but by the time those new reactors go online, several more will reach their end of life and there will be that much less power circulating through the infrastructure.
Protesters and lobbyists — whether we’re talking about those who protest national issues like nuke power and gun control or local issues like school district consolidations and wind farm construction — are bad enough at doing their research, but an even bigger problem is they always want guarantees. In the case of nuke power, they want 100% safety or no nuke at all.
Meanwhile they’re sucking in the pollution caused by fossil fuel plants pumping carbon into the atmosphere. They conjure images of radioactive death clouds and nuclear explosions, but neglect to look at stats like those Cravens provides:
“In the U.S., 24,000 people a year die from coal pollution. Hundreds of thousands more people suffer from lung and heart disease directly attributable to coal pollution.”
This is exactly why insurance companies, retailers, and just about everyone in safety and/or security roles talk about risk management versus risk elimination: nothing you can do is going to guarantee safety or eliminate risk. When I was a retail manager, we knew there was no way to prevent shoplifting, we merely did everything we could to minimize it. Risk managers weigh the pros and cons of given actions and do whatever will have the least impact.
60 deaths at Chernobyl + 0 deaths from TMI, versus 24,000 deaths annually from coal. One would think that’s a no-brainer.