The debate in your magazine over the
Apart from the usual complaints about such issues as global warming and acid rain, anyone who thinks fossil fuels such as coal are a safe option should also consider the many injuries suffered by those responsible for mining it.
It would be interesting to look at the statistics to see how many injuries have occurred since the 1950s in the coal mining industry compared to the nuclear industry.
And how many people are still paying the price, with respiratory problems, vibration white finger, cuts, bruises and back injuries from working in cramped dangerous conditions? We always select the option that is least detrimental or injurious to ourselves.
For example, when you pass a coal-fired power station do you immediately think of the personal injury/risks taken by the miners to put the fuel in it? You consider it inherently safe. But pass a nuclear station and your first thought is anything atomic must be associated with explosions.
Atomic energy is therefore a shared risk for the whole of the population. if you use the electricity that it generates then you should be prepared to partake in this risk.
If the option to build new nuclear stations is taken, then I believe controlling and running them should remain with the government as a nationalised industry, so that safety comes before profit. We also need to be building them rather quickly, while we still have the skills base to do it, otherwise some of those who worked on the
The hopes and optimism of the nuclear industry in the 1950s is portrayed in the book Calder Hall by Kenneth Jay, who takes the reader through the development of the early reactors and explains fission in a way that even a non-scientific minded politician could understand. The final chapter, ‘Nuclear power, the future’ is apt.