My Issues and Support of Nuclear Power
In the past year or so I’ve been writing articles in opposition to the proliferation of nuclear power stations, not only in the United States, but in the world. The responses have been enlightening, intelligent, pedestrian and downright rude.
In each case, the respondents seem to have either missed my general point, or ignored it altogether in order to make their point that nuclear power is clean and safe. So I want to go on record, again, that in and of itself, a nuclear power generating station does not pollute the air with toxic smoke and chemicals. In a limited sense it’s “clean”. That, I support, but there’s more to consider.
My entire case revolves around the mining, processing and storage of spent uranium and radioactive materials, the effects they have on the environment and the people who populate it.
It’s no secret that many people around the world are afraid of nuclear energy, partially because of the Chernobyl disaster, but also the stories of miners and their families who have been affected by radiation during their lives, and still live in “dirty” areas. The move to build a hundred or more nuclear power facilities in the coming years means more mining, milling and production of highly toxic, radioactive waste.
With that in mind, I want to pose some questions on behalf of ordinary citizens in the world, of which I am one. That may sound arrogant, but that’s ok, I’ve never been known for my humility. I’m not a scientist, or an expert on anything but managing to stay alive for 77 hectic and sometimes downright destructive years.
Mining and Milling Issues – Will You Assure Us That:
- An open-pit or underground uranium mine will not contaminate ground water aquifers, streams or rivers, the soil and plants in or near the mine, and that tailings will be properly covered or processed to prevent dust from becoming airborne?
- An in-situ process facility will not contaminate ground water aquifers, streams or rivers, the soil and plants in or near the facility?
- Mining companies will immediately return their area to an environmentally safe condition once the last bit of uranium has been removed? Will they bear some or all of the clean-up costs as specified in an agreement with partners in the operation, and make monies available upon request?
- Workers at mining and milling operations be properly protected from radiation? Should they acquire a disease directly linked to radiation exposure, will their health care be covered after leaving the company?
Reactor Issues – Will You Assure Us That:
- All nuclear power facilities are operated in a safe manner, that employees are properly trained and equipment is maintained on a regular basis?
- Human error has been ruled out of the operation, and that the equipment will prevent spills, leaks and the release of other materials into the environment?
- Security of all facilities is sufficient to ward off or detect any terrorist, disgruntled employee or random attack?
- Decommissioning of a facility will result in immediate and appropriate clean-up and safe transportation and disposal of all materials that have been exposed to radiation?
- Those aging facilities, many of which are reaching or have exceeded their intended service life, are safe and immune from accidents?
Disposal of Radioactive Materials – Will You Assure Us That:
- Current methods of storing spent nuclear materials is done safely and poses no threat whatsoever to the environment?
- Those storage areas are properly maintained, and that security is present to thwart any terrorist, disgruntled employee or random attack?
- Very soon, you will work with the federal government to establish a permanent storage area(s) for all used radioactive materials?
- You will encourage and help fund research and development of the reuse of spent uranium?
How About Us – Will You Assure Us That:
- We count; that our health and safety is not only your concern, but your responsibility?
- If spills or other mishaps occur because of equipment failure or human error, you will provide fully-paid medical care for those afflicted with radiation poisoning?
- We can believe you?
Maybe, but let’s face it, there are many areas around the world that need clean-up, and the responsible companies are dragging their feet and not living up to their agreements. There’s enough evidence to support that inquiry.
So, bring on your comments, but more than that, I’d like to hear from someone who represents the international nuclear industry, since this is a world issue. Of course, I’ll always entertain and welcome a response from an American industry representative. You can contact me through Green Options and we can either discuss these points in a podcast interview, or in written form.
We have a right to know what’s in store if the nuclear industry takes off once again, and we also have the right to oppose further construction of nuclear power plants and the resumption of uranium mining in the United States.
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