Mar 15, 2011 08:03 pm
Re: Benefits of nuclear energy
What the EPA and nuclear industry won't tell you -- there are elevated levels of radioisotopes in the soil and plants for miles around all (operating to spec and code) nuclear plants, and in some nearby drinking water systems, including Tritium, Cesium-137, and Strontium-90, which have half-lives from 12 to in excess of 30 years, which means that they will be around for hundreds of years after they are released. Exposure to even a small amount is damaging to biological tissues and can result in an increased risk of cancer.
Reactors also release isotopes of Krypton, Xenon, and Argon, which are fat-soluble and if inhaled by persons living near a nuclear reactor, are absorbed through the lungs, migrating to the fatty tissues of the body, including the abdominal fat pad and upper thighs, near the reproductive organs. These radioactive elements, which emit high-energy gamma radiation, can mutate the genes in the eggs and sperm and cause genetic disease. Tritium forms a kind of radioactive water which can be absorbed into the body and incorporated into the DNA molecules, where it is mutagenic. Moreover, Strontium-90 is mistaken for calcium and Cesium-137 is mistaken for potassium by living organisms and taken up as part of the fluid electrolytes and deposited in teeth and bones. This means that it is passed up the food chain and concentrated from the environment into higher organisms, including people, similar to how DDT was concentrated from insects into a raptor epidemic.
So, while individual environmental readings at any one time won't be high enough to report to the EPA or NRC (who claims that the radiation released by these isotopes is little more than that of normal background sources), the effect is cumulative and deadly. As time goes on, more and more people will be exposed to high levels of radiation, which will eventually become an epidemic. And this exponential process will be accelerated geometrically with the construction of more nuclear plants.
But neither environmentalists nor those in the nuclear industry will admit this to the public. And the EPA is in their pocket. But the Radiation and Public Health Project, a non-profit and non-government organization, has found that childhood cancer rates have increased significantly in the counties surrounding nuclear plants in the years after they began operation. Other studies have come to similar conclusions.
And remember that all of these risks exist without even factoring in the risks from natural or man-made disasters. As we've seen in Japan, the risks are simply not worth it. I would be extremely vocal against any new proposed nuclear plants closer than a few dozen miles, particularly upwind from me.
I don't think we should even be looking to use the centralized generation and distribution system in the future, but if we do, natural gas is the way to go. We have hundreds of years worth right here in the U.S. and it is quite clean.
Better would be to transition to a distributed power infrastructure with residential or neighborhood renewable (wind/solar/hydro) or natural gas co-generation. Dismantle the costly and inefficient grid.