bias of the media is obvious
Fact 1 ==>
Fact 2 ==>
Fact 3 ==>
Fact 4 ==>
fact 5 ==>
|It is an open secret that newspapers are not a source of information
and only a poor transmitter of it. More obvious yet is that the great majority
of them are against nuclear power. Still, with a little care, an intelligent
reader can extract some important information, for the writers and editors
are rarely intelligent enough to censor out all information damaging to
their doctrine. The numbered statements below are typical of the litany.
When you burn coal, most of the waste products go up the stack (CO2,
NOx, and other gases, along with particulates, some of which are precipitated
electrostatically). That is, as soon as the coal is burned, there is no
control whatsoever of the wastes: it is discharged into what is lovingly
called The Environment. The media mavens thus tell us something important:
the nuclear wastes do not escape into The Environment, but remain right
there in the power plant.
Storing all their waste on site? Indeed. If we needed proof that the
nuclear waste is minimal, there it is, staring us in the face. Such storage
is possible only because the total quantity of high-level waste occupies
very little volume. (Try doing that with coal!)
True again. How many years' worth of coal waste can be stored on site?
(Better yet, how many days' worth, even ignoring whatever goes up the chimney?)
All of the high-level waste from all nuclear power plants from Day 1 remains
Without that shielding, a passer-by would soon be dead. However, with that shielding, the operators of the reactor spend years of their lives within a hundred feet of that radioactivity _ all of it from years of operation _ and survive quite nicely. What's more, the radiation from the reactor when it is producing power is far greater than the radiation from the waste, and the same shielding keeps the operators safe.
How much shielding is there? It takes no expertise to know that there
can't be a hundred feet of shielding, because there would be no room for
any work to go on inside the buildings; clearly, underground burial can
easily provide shielding that is even better _ vastly so.
The oxygen in the environment has a half-life of infinity. Does that make it a radioactive hazard?
With nuclear power, the high-level radioactive waste occurs precisely because of the nuclear reactions that produce the energy. It is therefore possible to calculate how much high-level radioactive waste will result from running (say) a 1000 MWe power plant for a year, and the answer is one tonne (1000 kg), the mass of a compact car. In a future issue, we'll show how that calculation is done. Meanwhile, some readers may wish to figure out how we arrive at the 1-tonne figure.