This clip might seem like a bit of a detour from the normal topics on Atomic Insights, but there is a relationship. A major reason why nuclear energy has not grown more rapidly here in the US is that too many people have passively accepted the fear-promoting efforts of people with hidden agendas rather than looking at objective reality and asking hard questions.
Congressman Paul provides some eye opening statistics comparing the total number of Americans who have died from various preventable circumstances during the last 10 years to the number of Americans that were killed in the 9-11 attacks. The context of his argument is to point out the kinds of burdens on our freedom and economic activity that we have accepted as a result of being sold a bill of goods about how we would make sure that another 9-11 never happened.
In some ways, it is similar to the bill of goods that we have been sold by people who claim to want to make sure that TMI and Chernobyl will never happen again. How many additional fossil fuel related deaths and illnesses have been caused by our thirty year hiatus in building new nuclear power plants? Often, the real goal of people who spread misinformation about radiation or nuclear power plant safety is to make money.
They do that by using fear to promote passive acceptance of excessively expensive (also known as profitable for those on the sale side of the transaction) responses to relatively minor industrial accidents whose chances of recurrence had already been minimized by far less onerous actions. In the case of airport security and other enormously expensive responses to 9-11, there are brand new office buildings and McMansions throughout the DC area populated by people who are making money capitalizing on fear.
As FDR reminded the American public after another attack from a far more organized and well resourced foe, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Stop asking the government to spend your money and take away your freedom in the hopes that it will protect you from something that is far less likely to cause injury or your early demise than the simple act of getting into your car every morning. Stop allowing more and more layers of binding restrictions on nuclear energy that are advocated by people who claim to be protecting you from quantities of radiation that will do you no harm and might even improve your resistance to disease.
Those restrictions add cost and reduce nuclear energy’s competitive place in the market. A number of individuals and companies profit from the added costs; a large number of competitive energy suppliers profit from the restrictions that hold back a formidable energy production source.