Nuclear power: Are we worried about the dangers of radiation?

This week, Boris Johnson reaffirmed the UK Government's commitment to nuclear energy. 

Nuclear power: Are we worried about the dangers of radiation?


But six sites identified in the country for replacement of aging nuclear reactors have been identified’ three of which have now been abandoned, two are awaiting approval and only one is under construction. So is it time to rethink our approach to nuclear power?

 

Consider this outline: When you talk to climate scientists, you soon realize that they are more concerned about the dangers of global warming than most of us. Some tell you privately that they have been counseled’ to deal with the psychological effects of knowing that the world is facing an impending catastrophe and that it is not being done enough.

 

In the meantime, talk to experts on the effects of ionizing radiation and you will find that they are surprisingly relieved of the dangers posed by low levels of exposure to human health - certainly more so than most people. Are less

 

Despite the public outcry over this form of energy, it is difficult to see how the UK government can meet its carbon reduction targets without new nuclear weapons. Not least because of the massive increase in demand for electricity in decarbonizing transport and home heating.

 


Nuclear dream

All you have to do is watch HBO's amazing drama Chernobyl to understand people's fears.

 

Who can see the bodies of power plant workers when they are in the hospital and not afraid of radiation?

 

You will have even more trouble if you make online rabbit hole the centerpiece

 

Estimates of the number of deaths from the Chernobyl disaster that you may encounter there quickly spiral into the hundreds of thousands.

 

Some studies claim that one million people have already died from the toxic plague that has spread across Europe since the accident back in April 1986.

 

Real number

Any idea how many deaths could really be directly linked’ to Chernobyl?

 

Take care of yourself.

 

According to the United Nations Scientific Committee on Nuclear Radiation (UNSCER), the exposure to radiation killed 28 plant workers and emergency workers.

 

There were more than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer in children or adolescents at the time of the accident. Fortunately, because thyroid cancer survival rates are so good, by 2005 only 15 cases had been fatal.

 

And according to UNSCEAR, these deaths could have been’ avoided. He says the cancers were’ caused "almost entirely" by Soviet authorities' failure to stop people from drinking radioactive iodine-contaminated milk.

 

But, even if we join them, according to the United Nations, in 2005, only 43 deaths could be directly responsible for the world's worst nuclear catastrophe.

 

Radiation experts say the actual death toll, which could be directly attributed’ to Chernobyl, will eventually be slightly higher.

 

What about low-level radiation exposure?

But what about all the other people who have been exposed to radiation? The Chernobyl disaster has been calculated’ to be 400 times more radioactive than the bombs found on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 

What the United Nations says: "To date, there is no convincing evidence of other health effects in the general population, which could be attributed to radiation exposure."

 

Even among the millions of people involved in cleaning the area around the reactor, there is "no evidence of health effects that can be attributed to radiation exposure." In addition to a small and unconfirmed increase in leukemia and a slightly higher incidence of cataracts.

 

And remember, these figures are not from a flight at night. The United Nations is a part of what has been called the "unprecedented effort of the international community" to assess the health effects of the accident.

 

 

 

So is Chernobyl going to show any kind of radiation?

This is not the case, as evidenced by the evidence of other nuclear events.

 

Let's start with the big ones.

 

Let's go back to the moment when the world was awakened’ by the power of nuclear energy: in August 1945, the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 

The blasts caused massive casualties - more than 200,000 people were’ killed.

 

The death toll is not very reliable due to the post-surrender chaos in Japan, but we do know that the physical impact of the two explosions caused by the two bombs and the extreme heat caused the deaths. Most of the people died.

 

Thousands of people were also exposed’ to high levels of radiation, and many of them exploded immediately. He died in the following weeks.

 

But, just like in Chernobyl, the long-term effects of ongoing radiation have been less dramatic than expected.

 

How do we know what the effects of the bombs were?

We know because, once again, there has been a very complete, international study that estimated the health effects on some 120,000 people that began in the late 1940s and continues to this day. Is.

 

So where did the predictions of tens of thousands of deaths come from?

The death toll is’ estimated.

 

It is well established’ that moderate and high levels of radiation can lead to poor health and can be fatal.

 

Radiation-related cancer deaths are due to these high doses in the population.

 

Uncertainty comes with low levels of radiation.

 

Thousands of deaths have been predicted’ using assumptions about the potential effects of these low doses, leading to a huge increase in the number of people exposed.

 

Which makes these assumptions about the effects of radiation very important.

 

So, what is a low dose? It depends on how you were exposed and for how long.

 

But remember, we all face radiation all the time because there are so many sources of radioactivity in our world.

 

Everything is really a little radioactive. Seawater is slightly radioactive, as are Brazil's nuts, bananas, and many rocks.

 

Our own bodies emit a small amount of radiation.

 

To put this context in perspective, this "background radiation rate" gives you about 25 times the average annual dose of chest x-rays. A high dose would be several hundred times that.


What effect does radiation have on the body?

There are many types of radiation.

 

Visible light is a form of radiation, as are radio waves.

 

The type of radiation we are talking about removes electrons from the atoms in our body. The technical term is "ionizing".

 

When an atom in a living cell has one of three things ion - the cell dies, the cell repairs itself or it changes incorrectly and can become cancerous.

 

Therefore, the important question is how good our cells are in their repair after exposure to radiation.

 

This is a hotly debated topic.

 

To some extent, there are those who say that our bodies are not very good at dealing with low levels of radiation. He says UNSCEAR is optimistic and predicts more deaths than Chernobyl and other radiation events.

 

USCER follows mainstream ideology. He considered his starting point to be the fact that all life has evolved in a radioactive world. From this point of view, our bodies are accustomed to dealing with low levels of radiation and therefore the effects of low doses are minimal.

 

The other extremes are people who say that low levels of radiation are good for you. There is a good deal of evidence about the effects of low-level radiation.

 

But you may be wondering why we can't say for sure which of these positions is correct when it comes to low doses of radiation.

 

The answer is simple: the evidence is not clear because the effects of small amounts of radiation are so small that they are difficult to measure.

 

What does this tell us about the dangers of low levels of radiation?

Well, for starters, that means there are still risks.

 

As Nuclear Power, the UK's anti-nuclear power pressure group No. 2, puts it, "There is no such thing as a perfectly safe level of radiation: all exposure, no matter how small the risk - even background radiation." ۔ "

 

Therefore, the question is how the risks of low radiation compare with other hazards.

 

Let's start with the final report on Chernobyl's legacy, prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005. It predicts that about 9,000 people will die from exposure to low levels of radiation.

 

Remember, this is an estimate of deaths. As we have seen, only 43 people died of cancer that could be directly linked’ to radiation exposure.

 

However, he is a terrible person but we need to look at him in context. These potential deaths represent a small fraction. About seven million people were exposed’ to radiation, according to the WHO.

 

And remember how common cancer is. Half of people in developed countries will develop cancer in their lifetime. A quarter of us can expect to die from it.

 

The WHO says that of the 600,000 people most affected by the disaster, the rise in radiation-related cancers will be "difficult to observe" because many people will develop other cancers.

 

So, when it comes to the seven million people from Chernobyl, it should come as no surprise that he says there is no disease that can be’ identified.

 

 

 

So what does this tell us about radiation?

This confirms what most radiation experts say: exposure to low levels of radiation is not a major health risk.

 

Don't get me wrong, they are not saying that these deaths are not important - of course, they are.

 

But we can expect another 1.75 million similar cancer deaths among those affected by the disaster.

 

For example, the American Cancer Society estimates that smoking causes 1 in 5 deaths in the United States, and we know that things like poor diet, inactivity, obesity and alcohol can also cause cancer. Can

 

What the WHO report confirms is that other factors like these put us at the highest risk of cancer. Even those of us who have had the misfortune fear that Chernobyl's radiation levels will drop.

 

What this means is that we should focus our efforts on dealing with them, and perhaps be a little more concerned about the potential effects of low levels of radiation from things like nuclear accidents.

 

 

 

Other concerns about nuclear power

However, the fear of radiation is not just about nuclear power - there are concerns about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and waste disposal, not to mention the huge cost of building new nuclear power plants and then dismantling them. ۔

 

But the thing is: if we were a little less concerned about the dangers of low-level radiation, we might be able to take a more balanced view of nuclear power.

 

Evidence of coal-fired uranium and thorium makes coal-fired power plants emit more radiation into the atmosphere than regular nuclear power plants.

 

And, since we're talking about thinking about the right things, don't forget the environment.

 

A more balanced view of the dangers of radiation can help all those restless climate scientists I mentioned at the beginning of this piece to get a little easier sleep in their beds at night.

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