Positive Energy

Friday, May 25, 2007

7. Transport of Nuclear Materials

Do you agree or disagree with the Government's views on the transport of nuclear materials? What are your reasons? Are there any significant considerations that you believe are missing? If so, what are they?

Disagree. The UK government's approach is based on theories of radiation exposure that have been experimentally shown to be wrong. Low dose exposure is not harmful. So the risks are not "low" or "very small", they are negative - in other words the measures being used are excessive, making transportation much more expensive than necessary. If the UK government refuses to apply the proven facts about radiation hormesis for its assessment of transportation risks, then it is not being scientifically honest. The UK government is trying to appease the strident opponents of nuclear power, people who view science as an impediment to be overcome in their quest for political advantage. Appeasement is not the best method for determining the optimal transportation policy - scientific, objective honesty works much better.

I don't see any reason for emphasizing in this section that fuel reprocessing will not happen. It seems that the UK government is trying to set up as many roadblocks as possible to prevent a nuclear power renaissance. At every turn the UK government emphasizes that the new nuclear industry will be hampered and restricted. This attitude will seriously reduce the benefits that could be obtained.

The UK government's assessment of transportation does not address theft. The public should be told truth about this, namely that the materials being moved cannot be used to manufacture bombs. It should be noted that widely publishing these truths will have a discouraging effect on people whose ignorance might cause them to attempt such acts.

It is also worth pointing out that the nuclear power industry requires much less transportation than other industries such as coal, oil, and biofuels for an equivalent amount of electricity production. So the risks for conventional accidents are greatly reduced by the transition to nuclear power.

The transition to nuclear power will reduce or eliminate the need for much of the transportation infrastructure currently used for fossil fuels. Oil pipelines, coal trains and ports, and automobile fuel stations will no longer be needed. The UK government should be clear about how the costs of removing these systems will be addressed.

Since there are no risks involved in transporting nuclear material, it should be allowed to happen as necessary. If reprocessing turns out to be feasible then it should be possible to move material around for this reason or any other.


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