Are we not forgetting something?

There appears to be a new movement towards the use of more nuclear energy in the west, which claims this to be the only clean, safe and economically viable solution to the worlds environmental and energy problems.

But can this be so?

In many discussions with the chief science editor of the German magazine “Der Spiegel”, a good friend of mine, I have learned many a thing about the real risks (from a scientific and empirical view) for a variety of strongly opinionated things.

– Asbestos fibres pose a smaller health risk than heavy smoking – for example. We also discussed Fukushima at length, discussing media hype and science fact.

There is a reason why most scientists would happily fly to Mars or the Moon.

They consider it safe.

But, anybody who has seen the tinfoil wrapt moon lander pod in the British science museum might have a different opinion.

Does “is safe” really make it safe?

Below is a reference to a blog which I am following setting me off on this, and at the bottom my very personal reaction.

Extract from a blog, written by Jerry Graf
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/03/

world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists-letter/index.html

“……No energy system is without downsides. We ask only that energy system decisions be based on facts, and not on emotions and biases that do not apply to 21st century nuclear technology.”

Their request sounds very much like the words I often use to summarize my viewpoint…………..There is no doubt that we in the USA need to alter our energy strategy. The question of how we will change it, however, needs to be determined by scientific evaluation of fact and logical analysis of performance and economics; not by emotion, political considerations, and “feel good” methodologies.

Here is my reply to him.

Nothing is often More! Wrong than the attitude to know better.
Chernobyl happend, because an expert superviser overruled the concerns of the responsible operator during a stress test, to the point of dismissing him from his function, and of course the known end-result.
Communism and Religion claim the almighty wisdom leading, when given the opportunity, to dictatorial roule.
I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but “emotions” are not just a silly notion of the uneducated masses. Quite often they are a very real indication of the “quality” of something. I recommend “Blink” from Malcom Gladwell.
Yes! Air travel is safer than all other means of modern communication, but this is not intuitiv to a lot of people. The risks though small are perceived as horrible and gruesome (because they can’t be avoided once they happen). Statistically flying is still safer, but try tell this to any victim of a plane-crash!
Most plan crashes are a result of human error of cours, but so are most industrial disasters.
Life is about living! And not about economics.

Note: I always say, “For a dying soldier, any conflict, no matter how small, is the ultimate war”