Zubrin on Safety of Nuclear Power

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Robert Zubrin, who recently appeared on Alex Epstein's Power Hour podcast (episode embedded below), is releasing a three-part series of short essays about nuclear power.

I am really glad he is doing this since the first thing I remember thinking after listening to that podcast was something like, Boy! Wouldn't it be nice if this material was publicly available in readable form.

As you can see from the below, Zubrin is a very clear writer, and nicely cuts through, with equal ease, both the conceptual fog of the scientific layman and the dishonest smoke of the anti-nuclear left.

Here's an example, from his essay on nuclear safety, where he walks us through the ridiculous "Linear No Threshold" (LNT) methodology, which is used to frighten the public and hobble the industry in the name of "safety."
According to the LNT methodology, a low dose of radiation carries a proportional fraction of the risk of a larger dose. So, according to LNT theory, since a 1000-rem dose represents a 100 percent risk of death, then a 100-mrem dose should carry a 0.01 percent risk. If this were true, then one person would die for every 10,000 people exposed to 100 mrem. Since there are 330 million Americans and they already receive an average of 270 mrem per year, this would work out to 90,000 Americans dying every year from background radiation, a result with no relationship to reality. Fundamentally, the fallacy of the LNT theory is the same as concluding that since drinking 100 glasses of wine in an hour would kill you, drinking one glass represents a one percent risk of death. It's quite absurd, and the regulators know it. But we are talking government regulators here, so, naturally, they use it anyway. That said, let's look at the data.
The rest is just as good, and is worth a read for anyone with a serious interest in energy policy or -- considering what too much of that is these days -- simply keeping the lights on.

-- CAV

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