Nuclear Power – The Green Scapegoat

By Lloyd L. Mielke

America is being slowly brought to her knees by needless and extreme fear of radiation and other technical advances even as we celebrate the 50th anniversary on the ending of World War II.

A stranglehold is being firmly applied to all forms of technology. The people of America have been made fearful of everything, including the air we breath, food we eat and the water we drink. To the majority of the scientific world there is insufficient justification for this concern. This fear is having an effect on our very existence.

Ironically it is the atom that is under the greatest attack. While the atom without question is a powerful force for destruction, it can be without question a force for benefit to man.  As we all know, in the medical field X-rays and radioactive materials are used to check the condition of our health. We should also be made aware of its healing and life giving potential.

The common measurement of radiation is called millirems (mrem). In Washington, D.C., we are bombarded by radiation from space and the environment of about 200 mrem per year. In Denver, you will receive about 800 mrem per year. In some areas of Tibet you receive about 1,000 mrem per year.

Radiation is one of the easiest things to monitor. Workers using X-rays and radioactive isotopes carry film badges and dosimeters or both to measure the amount of radiation they receive.

The tolerance permitted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for people who work around radiation was 12 rem (12,000 mrem) per year. It has now been reduced to 5 rem (5,000 mrem) per year. `

The inordinate fear of radiation in our country has caused our government to shut down all of our nuclear reactors that used to make our radioactive isotopes. Now the radioactive isotopes needed for our health and industry comes from other countries. When Barbara Bush needed some radioactive iodine to treat her thyroid condition, it had to be obtained from Canada.

The commonest complaint heard regarding nuclear power is, “what can we do with the nuclear waste?” In reality, most of it can be recycled or reprocessed. We used to reprocess the spent nuclear fuel from our reactors. Unfortunately, needless fear has forced the shutdown of all of our reprocessing facilities.

Most of the world reprocesses their spent nuclear fuel; this includes England, France, Russia, Germany and others. Japan is currently spending $6.8 billion in building its own reprocessing plant. All these countries are using the American developed reprocessing technology.

Because of the short half-life of some radioactive isotopes, they have to be replaced frequently. However, because all our reactors are shut down, the price of isotopes has gone out of sight. The license fees to handle isotopes charged by our government has increased to where industry can hardly afford them.

It should be pointed out that Japan, which has seen the horror of the atom, is smart enough the use the atom to supply the power for their very successful industries and that both Hiroshima and Nagasaki use nuclear power to make their electricity.

The anti-nuclear movement is so entrenched they managed to get our government to destroy all its books and pamphlets on all things nuclear. This action has been likened to the “book burning” in Adolf Hitler’s Germany (See Oak Ridger, newspaper of Oak Ridge, Tenn. dated May 9, 1977).

Is all of this worry about radiation necessary? Not to those who have studied radiation Hormosis (the stimulation of any system by law doses of any agent). Many scientists have felt for many years that low level radiation is beneficial to our health. One of the most prominent leaders in this field is T. Don Luckey, professor emeritus from the University of Missouri at Columbia, Mo. Dr. Luckey’s book titled, “Radiation Hormosis” (CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla.) has gained worldwide attention. The results in his study initiated about 20 research plans at more than 10 universities in Japan.

To substantiate in part some of Dr. Luckey’s findings, Mr. Sadao Hattori of CRIEPI in Tokyo states that groups exposed to low doses of radiation of the atom bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are living longer and have less cancer then those who were not exposed. (Belle Newsletter, University of Massachusetts, July 1994.)

Another bug-a-boo is the constant reports released by our government regarding radon in our basements. This invisible gas causes fear for many people and has caused many property owners around the country to expend millions of dollars to reduce this presumed threat.

An arbitrary guideline for radon in the home has been established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This limit is 4 pico curie per liter (4 pCi/L) whereas Canada has 20 pCi/L. Studies by Bernard L. Cohen at the University of Pittsburgh show the EPA’s tolerance for radon of 4 pCi/L or less causes more cancer deaths than higher tolerances.

With some in our government destroying and/or submitting unproven data on several subjects it is no wonder the American people are confused and anxious.

Lloyd L. Mielke is a former structural engineer for Trans World Airlines, Inc. and a subscriber to Speak Up America.§

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