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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/not-belittling-at-least-not-intentionally-i-31231992.aspx

Subject:  Re: The American Middle Class Is No Longer the W Date:  5/1/2014  2:36 AM
Author:  salaryguru Number:  57159 of 59179

Not belittling. At least not intentionally. I simply pointed out that statistically coal (fossil fuels) are much more hazardous than nuclear in terms of effects on humans and the planet. Even Chernobyl was unable to alter that calculus.

Okay. Perhaps I am a little sensitive to the fact that I am a technologist who has done a large amount of work in my lifetime promoting the advance of technology and supporting technology research, yet whenever I discuss my (I think very legitimate) concerns about the nuclear story, I tend to get the same response. That response is to accuse me of being irrational, hysterical, and or uninformed. Yet, when I try to discuss details, I usually find that I understand the specific issues to much greater degree than those that choose to be critical of me.

So I will only comment on the one portion of your post that I quoted above this time. Then you can go on believing whatever you want.

You should understand that the comparison you draw above is completely invalid. I know that nuclear proponents all love to quote it, but it really is invalid analysis. Here is an analogy that explains why: Imagine that we are comparing two weapons. One is a suit of armor with prickly barbs on it. The other is a missile capable of launching explosives a distance of a several miles. The suit of armor is a technology that has been around for 2000 years. Anyone who has ever brushed up against the barbs has suffered cuts and injuries. Occasionally over the history of the armor, some have been pummeled and squashed by prickly armor wearing enemies. Many injuries, even deaths have resulted. The missile was invented only moments ago and the first launch happened a fraction of a second ago. So far, the missile has never hurt anyone. Therefore we can conclude that barbed armor is far more dangerous to humans than missiles filled with explosives.

The coal that has been burned releasing Carbon into the air has done most of the damage it is going to do. That damage is not insignificant, but if we stopped burning coal and oil today, most of the damage would stop and begin to reverse itself. But concluding that because the death and injury count from TMI or Chernobyl or Fukushima is low today means we are safe exhibits ignorance of the impact of time constants on the probability of damage. Once you begin to factor those time constants into the equation, all nuclear reactors and nuclear waste (not just the ones where accidents have occurred) are still producing potential deadly risk to humans . . . not just today, but for several thousand years. Looking at our current nuclear history and concluding that there is no significant danger is like looking at the results from a missile a fraction of a second after the first launch and assuming that you can extrapolate the damage it will do from that instantaneous result.
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