NUCLEAR forum: I See

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May 5, 2011 1:19 PM CST
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ
(Meant to be a part of the discussion of Chernobyl Nuclear disaster. The question was how many casualties resulted from the disaster.)

Susie, thank you for the citations. I can see that there is a good deal of discrepancy between sources. It seems that deaths caused directly from Chernobyl, workers exposed to radiation during the emergency response and so on, fall at about 4,000.

The effects from materials such as radioactive iodine, cesium, and strontium being strewn liberally about in Belarus and other nearby states are both more profound and more difficult to measure. I was not patient enough to watch the whole video, but I might buy the book Chernobyl, Consequences of the Nuclear Disaster by Yablokov, Nesterenko, and Nesterenko.

Chernobyl was clearly a great disaster. Understanding it well is a requirement in making good choices about our energy future. I am normally not very optimistic about humans and human institutions being able to do the right thing; so it is uncharacteristic of me to feel hopeful that a technology as dangerous as nuclear power should be allowed to play a role in our energy future. But I think that it must. I am tempted to believe that the loss of affordable power could prove to be a disaster several orders of magnitude bigger than Chernobyl since everything we consume including food and water depends on it.
[Last edited May 6, 2011 9:05 AM CST]
Quote | Post #646769 (1)
May 13, 2011 9:28 PM CST
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ
Well expressed, Steve. You pretty much covered how I'm thinking, as well.

It's sometimes a dangerous panacea to compare tragic events (say, death) that are joined by a common denominator... say, production of energy. It seems that there is fatal danger no matter where the world mines for it's energy. Seems to be unintended consequences no matter the technology being exploited, like growing switchgrass or natural gas extraction (loss of grasslands, pollution of a clean water source in extracting a clean burning fuel).

I really take the Bill Gates vids and his Web site seriously ( - or something close). He really looks at the pitfalls, drawbacks, negatives, positives -- the entire processing of "turning on a light" into account. Lots of talk of "carbon footprint" and "greenhouse gases/footprint" as the ultimate test.

I wonder if we'll be surprised that nuclear energy production is the most "earth/people friendly".
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --Albert Einstein

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