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  1. Rod,

    I’m over in the UK and have listened to the last few of your podcast to attempt to keep up with developments. However, I am frustrated by the lack of impetus in the pro-nuclear debate at this period of golden opportunity and I appeal to you and your listeners to pursue a different tack.

    As an ex-coal miner and later (after obtaining qualifications in mechanical engineering) a design engineer in the nuclear reactor industry, I witnessed firsthand the vast superiority of the safety ethos in nuclear engineering, vis-à-vis ‘conventional’ engineering.

    Strangely, over the two hundred years or so of mechanised fossil fuel extraction, decline of fatalities and injuries from the tens of thousands per annum, to just a few thousands is deemed successful by society at large and, presumably, accepted as a price well worth paying. Even more strangely, a million premature deaths per annum (this excludes wood-burning type deaths) from fossil fuel use has not entered the psyche of the general public and does not feature in everyday conversation; little is made of it in any of the media.

    By contrast, Chernobyl features again and again, with the latest propaganda of 900,000 extra cases of cancer resulting in 450,000 premature deaths. If a magic wand could be waved and tomorrow, nuclear power generation, combined with a hydrogen economy, could completely replace fossil fuel for all forms of power use, a simpleton should accept that we could have two Chernobyl-type incidents per annum and still be better off; a statistician would probably calculate that the likelihood of two such events would be once every 50,000 years (my guess).

    The failure of proponents of nuclear power to pursue this line of attack, in every debate I have accessed on-line or witnessed in the popular media, is tragic in the extreme and remiss to the point of being labeled disgraceful. Instead, politicians and public find them locking horns with global warming deniers and oil industry apologists, in bemusing debates which are singularly lacking in persuasive powers.

    The tide is flowing in the right direction to kill off fossil fuel power generation and replace it entirely with the nuclear/hydrogen alternative and to do it quickly, over the next four or five decades.

    Campaign strategy would be hammering home to politicians and media:

    (a) Prevention of one million premature deaths per annum, linked to case after case of personal accounts of family tragedies, regarded as nothing more than collateral damage of our compulsive use of filthy power generation.

    (b) The noticeably cleaner world we can live in: cleaner air; cleaner rivers, lakes, groundwater and oceans; cleaner eco-systems, devoid of devastating mining operations and oil contamination.

    (c) As a by-product, it may even prove whether anthropogenic global warming is a reality or not. The general public isn’t bothered either way at the moment, since the costs remain largely externalized. Maybe, after 50 years or so, one or other of the opposing camps will be able to say ‘I told you so’.

    (d) Such rapid change in technology will create a boom in growth and initial prosperity for the technologically-savvy nuclear economies, which, to the benefit of all, might quickly include many in the developing world. Nirvana beckons those politicians who come onside.

    Is there anyone out there who is persuaded by my arguments and who would care to contact me about such a campaign? I have little experience in these matters and would need all the help I can get. If so, please e-mail me at: colin.megson@hotmail.co.uk