[LINK] Radiation - For Robins Eyes Only...

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Thu Mar 17 11:56:24 AEDT 2011

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robin Whittle [mailto:rw at firstpr.com.au] 
> Sent: Thursday, 17 March 2011 3:51 AM
> To: link at anu.edu.au
> Cc: Tom Koltai
> Subject: Re: [LINK] Radiation
> Hi Tom,
> OK - I tentatively conclude you are a one-eyed booster for 
> the nuclear industry and nothing short of you or your family 
> being killed by radiation will probably change your mind.
> Can you convince me otherwise?

I'm happy to try Robin, yet am curious why you keep dodging the answer
to my question.

Why ? [Do you feel the need to beat up this topic ?]

OK - Convince Robin Whittle of why I am not a one-eyed booster for the
Nuclear industry...

(Which is basically the old trick - if you can't take the ball off the
man, take the man off the field...)

Option A. Lobbying Power.
Hungary is home to four Russian designed carbon Nuclear Reactors. 
The only family I have left of consequence are cousins who live within
100 km of those reactors.
And it scares the shi& out of the irrational side of me, every time I
drive from Pecs to Budapest through Paks even though I know the chances
of an explosive melt-down are infinitesimally remote.

The locals who built, maintain and grew up around those reactors view
them as normal, a part of every day life.

The difference between Hungary and Australia ?
Hungarian Journalists up to a few years ago were careful of what they
wrote about.
Even today, with enlightened attitudes, it would be difficult for a
journalist who wrote negative stuff about nuclear reactors to get a well
paying job in Hungary.

Just as in Australia, a journo sprouting negativity about the coal lobby
might find vocational options decreasing.
So I guess what is acceptable and what is not depends on what you have
grown up with and which of tho sides has spent the most money lobbying,
Coal or Nuclear.

You grew up with Coal. I grew up with Hydro [NZ] but received my
education in countries heavily invested in nuclear.
In other words, my "programming" was influenced by both the anti nuclear
lobby and the cheap power from nuclear lobby.

As an aside, the anti nuclear lobby appear to fight much harder than the
pro nuclear power guys. Aided no doubt by the lack of understanding and
irrational fear generated by an invisible enemy (radiation). 

Option B. Economic Logic 
I worked on a PBMR project a few years ago rubbing shoulders with a
number of nuclear scientists and was fortunate in that direct access to
have learnt sufficient about Nuclear safety protocols to feel a lot more
sanguine about the outcome in Japan than persons that have not had the
benefit of that insight or a formal education in Nuclear technologies.

In fact, from an economic perspective, I arrived [after much research
into alternatives], at the conclusion that sealed PBMR's are the ideal
solution for community low emission, low cost power delivery (sub ten
cents per kilowatt for thirty years...).  

Option C. Sue 'em all Americans Drive Anti Nuclear "Industry"
The anti nuclear lobby probably started as a result of the three mile
island incident with the millions paid out to "fall-out" victims.
The predicted "thousands dead" after Chernobyl failed to materialise.
There have been relatively few documented radiation illness related

The economic damage from the anti-nuclear lobby on the other hand is
very real and the resulting human collateral damage, (persons living
below the poverty line) due to industry not being able to compete with
overseas countries because of lower power [and labour] costs, is

By comparison human fatalities/injuries attributable to radiation
poisoning, [excluding weapons use] worldwide are less than the
casualties of one plane crash;

I think it's time that Journalists research past nuclear incidents,
establish the facts and then with a clearer understanding of the issues
and potential consequences, revisit the Japanese incident.

Option D.  Economic Reality - FACT
It is a medical fact that on the Eastern Seaboard of Australia, you are
much more likely to die of a lung related disorder than radiation
poisoning and we have three nuclear reactors. Carbon trading won't
prevent a single Australian from dying of respiratory disease unless the
Power companies have an option for alternative clean energy.

Wind farms, Solar and biogas will not I fear, [repeating myself] make it
before we start to suffer economically. The only shortcut to continued
economic prosperity is probably a couple of large Nuclear facilities in
the desert...
However, I regularly read the alternative energy offerings and am
optimistic that science one day will bring us safe clean Fusion energy.
In the interim, I think Australians need to get over their irrational
illogical fear and man up to Nuclear power (or start wearing face masks
against the increasing pollution levels). 

If Aussies really want $0.05 cents per kilowatt electricity bills, then
coal ain't gunna get us there.

Option E.   Spy vs Spy   [Just to inject a little levity into an
otherwise boring monologue...]
The Hungarian Secret Service have arrested 503 of my relatives and
informed me that they will eliminate one for every day that western
journalists continue writing rubbish about nuclear power...

I have not been paid for my opinion by anyone. Nor have I sold any

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