Energy

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl, Fukushima, and you

By Peter Ormond
Published August 08, 2012

At this time of year, we remember the anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs that killed over 400,000 people. It's important to also understand the relevance to our current global situation.

If you still dismiss nuclear power as safe, spend 1.5 hours and watch the film "The Battle of Chernobyl" on Youtube. This is a life-changing video, and highlights the fact that over 800,00 human lives were sacrificed to some degree to save the lives of countless more.

There is a reason why nuclear power is shrouded with a veil of secrecy. It is dangerous beyond comprehension.

Japan's Fukushima disaster is a testament to this horror. It's largely ignored by the media, yet still remains the world's greatest threat. The Japanese have experienced first-hand the devastation. That is why millions of Japanese are demanding a total nuclear-free future.

The nuclear saga has relevance to all of us. In Canada, we are implicit in global proliferation of nuclear technologies, including nuclear weapons.

The Bruce Power plant is the largest nuclear plant in the world. Right now, Canada plans to bury Ontario's low and medium-level nuclear waste in a 680 metre deep hole near Goderich, Ontario. The proposed Deep Geological Repository is located just 1 km from the shores of Lake Huron, and will have a design life of 500,000 years.

This is the year 2012 AD, and we recognize all of the changes that have occurred in our own lifetimes. Is this a responsible legacy to leave the next 20,000 generations? Of course not.

The repository will have provincial parks on both sides of it, sits in the middle of cottage country, and most importantly sits adjacent to Lake Huron which flow into Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

I've submitted a letter protesting this project to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. It is too late to make additional submissions.

Please watch "Battle of Chernobyl" and visit the Ontario Clean Air Alliance website.

There's only one way to "Be The Change".

First published on Peter's personal website.

Peter lives near Bayfront Park in Hamilton's historic North End. He enjoys writing about sustainable possibilities and the local benefits that result. Peter is the Green Party of Ontario Candidate for Hamilton Centre.

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted August 08, 2012 at 14:15:07

If you still dismiss nuclear power as safe...

Nuclear power is safest per TWH of electricity generated.

over 800,000 human lives were sacrificed to some degree to save the lives of countless more.

From wikipedia:

During mid-1986 the official Soviet death toll rose from 2 to 31, a figure that has often been repeated. While some claim that deaths as a result of the immediate aftermath and the cleanup operation may number at least 6000, that exceeds the number of workers known to have died from all causes by the National Committee for Radiation Protection of the Ukrainian Population.

How they got from 6,000 to 800,000 I'm not sure. Six thousand deaths is still a tragedy, but excessive hyperbole does no one any favours.

There is a reason why nuclear power is shrouded with a veil of secrecy. It is dangerous beyond comprehension.

Hot rock makes water boil, steam turns generator.

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By Peter Ormond (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2012 at 21:14:47

For those technically-minded individuals, I'd like to refer you to the following references by Dr. Helen Caldicott, a world renowned pediatrician who has dedicated her life to promote a nuclear-free planet.

Here's an article written by Helen Caldicott:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/apr/11/nuclear-apologists-radiation

A recent video of Helen Caldicott:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsrik7HEvh8&feature=related

And another video of Helen Caldicott speaking:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rbj9BnM3WI

The first step is to acknowledge that nuclear technologies and the uranium cycle carry great risks. In many ways, this is a maternal (spiritual) appeal to a paternal (mechanical) system.

Watch the video "Battle of Chernobyl", and please invite someone to watch it with you.

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted August 09, 2012 at 07:57:04

Most experimentation with power sources is dangerous until the technology matures and is refined. This is true of steam engines, internal combustion engines, turbines, jets and rockets. Likewise nuclear. Nuclear technology is maturing though - there have been nuclear powered submarines for many years and Curiosity, the rover now on Mars, is a nuclear powered vehicle. Nuclear power generation will eventually become the safest, cleanest, greenest energy of any predecessors, but maybe not in our lifetimes.

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By lies (anonymous) | Posted August 10, 2012 at 08:57:29

Peter's post is why I will never vote for the Green Party. Lies, lies, lies about nuclear safety. these lies have delayed the necessary steps to save the planet from climate change. The only large scale climate and health friendly energy source is nuclear. These lies have extended the life of coal and other fossil fuels that are the real climate and human killers.

Greens and Greenpeace are a new religion. Go to school, get the facts, stop being so ignorant and buying into their lies.

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted August 11, 2012 at 07:44:46 in reply to Comment 79649

I have to agree. Playing the Hiroshima card is devious and insulting. Lethal weapons can be made from fertilizer too. Does that mean we should ban fertilizer?

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 13, 2012 at 21:10:27

The reason Hiroshima keeps coming up in these discussions is that the two atom-bombings during WWII are still our largest source for direct knowledge of the effects of nuclear radiation on people. Even now, people are suffering excess cancers from those bombings, many of whom received well under the 100msv "safe" level quoted so often in the past year. We do not know how many died or got cancer as a result of Chernobyl - it will be decades before we're able to study rates the same way.

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, I read a lot of emphatic dismissals of the dangers. I certainly wasn't too popular with many people here for what I wrote, which, in hindsight, still didn't come close to what we now know took place at the plant. Over and over, people complained that anti-nuclear statements were "un-scientific" and backed by no evidence. Since I lived, at the time, with an X-ray tech, I borrowed an old textbook and did a little homework. It quickly became clear that many of the pro-nuclear claims being made were utterly untrue, or at the very least, taken grossly out of context.

Greenpeace isn't the "religion" that scares me here, "science" is. There are a frightening number of people who believe absolute truth can be found with white coats and big words. It doesn't. Any fantasy can be dressed up to look like science, but without things like research, rigorous testing and peer review, one might as well be preaching with a big hat and funny robes.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted August 14, 2012 at 06:50:24 in reply to Comment 79710

...with white coats and big words...with a big hat and funny robes.

IT's poetry in motion all over the globe.

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted August 14, 2012 at 11:06:37 in reply to Comment 79710

You've missed the point. It's simply faulty logic to use the existence of nuclear weapons as an argument against nuclear power generation.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 16, 2012 at 02:42:12 in reply to Comment 79755

Yeah, because it's not like reactors officially built for "research" or "power generation" could ever be used for enriching weapons-grade isotopes. Or are you unfamiliar with how China, India and Pakistan managed to become nuclear powers?

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted August 16, 2012 at 16:46:42 in reply to Comment 79839

I guess you're right. We should just continue to use fossil fuels to devour the earth and its inhabitants and outlaw all research to refine nuclear power generation.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 18, 2012 at 16:42:53 in reply to Comment 79864

No, we should stop using fossil fuels and nuclear technologies to devour the earth and its inhabitants.

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