I first heard about you from a friend of mine who attended a lecture you gave about nuclear power and nuclear war. She felt that many of the points you tried to make about nuclear power were at the very least one-sided and incomplete. As a future Nuclear Chemist I felt I should look over your work and judge it for myself.
While I admit that there are many dangers related to radiation, your article titled "Medical Implications of Nuclear Power" comes across as either poorly researched or intentionally censored to direct people towards the conclusion you have already reached. You talk extensively about how radiation can cause cancer, but completely fail to mention the medical uses of many radiological isotopes in diagnosing and treating cancer. PET scans, which rely on isotopes which can only be formed in reactors and linear accelerators (which are far too few in number and too expensive to run to provide all the isotopes needed) also have proven useful in studying and developing treatments for diseases completely unrelated to radiation..
You also fail to mention that with the exception of Chernobyl, more radioactive material is released into the atmosphere by coal burning power plants than by nuclear power plants. And, although there are many power plants in the former USSR and other poorer regions like Cuba that could certainly use more shielding, there is no reason to believe that a complete meltdown in a US nuclear power plant would result in any radioactive material escaping. There are two layers of containment each of which was designed to be able to contain a complete meltdown. All those who I have encountered with any connection to nuclear power do not even worry about the possibility of a terrorist crashing a plane into a power plant as it is doubtful it would even penetrate the outer containment layer..
While you seem to love mentioning that there are containment tanks with leaks, you fail to mention that the containment tanks that are causing problems were built during WWII when all the good materials were being diverted to build ships and planes for the war effort..
With proper funding and support, which you are out to destroy, it is also possible to turn most if not all of the long-lived isotopes in nuclear waste into useable fuel either to go back in the reactor that burned it in the first place, or for a specially designed reactor. Once these isotopes are removed (which make up the majority of nuclear waste) there are many useful elements such as Platinum which can be seperated out and used for industry or research purposes. After all this is done, the worst things left to worry about are things like Cs-137 with half-lives around 30 years. That means that if things are done intelligently, all the "waste" will either be used for constructive purposes or effectively degrade in only 300 years. Again, with funding and support, it may be possible to devise a way to speed up this process by bombaring the various components of the waste with either particle or energy beams and to power the process off of a reactor using some of the reclaimed fuel..
What yo ualso don't seem to realize is that under current US regulations (assuming they are followed) no profession in any way conected to nuclear power is exposed to anywhere near as much radiation as pilots and flight attendants. In fact, the average frequent flier has more exposure to radiation than most if not all nuclear chemist and nuclear power plant workers. Do you want to close down all the airports to protect people from cancer as well?.
You claim that the nuclear industry has no idea how to remove plutonium from the enviroment. While they have not perfected a large scale method to clean up such sites as Hanford yet, they have made and are making steps towards this end at several research facilities strongly connected to the nuclear industry including Berkeley and Washington State University. Where does the money for this research come from? Out of the billions you claim are being wasted on the nuclear industry. .
One last point. You say that "it has been claimed that 80-90% of all cancers may be caused by environmental pollutants." First of all, "facts" without sources are never trustworthy so I am suspicious to begin with. Secondly, you say nothing as to how much of this supposedly has anything to do with radiation. There are atleast as many carcinogens that are in no way radioactive as there are radioactive ones. While this may have an impact on the "unwashed masses," such a sloppy and intentionally misleading tactic will have little impact on the educated among us..
If you care to defend your stance or attack mine I promise to give your responce as much concideration as you give my points..
Student at WWU.
Participant in the 2002 DOE sponsored Nuclear Summer School.
Future nuclear chemist