Energy sources (Re: The Motives of Scientists)

B. Alan Guthrie zcbag at
Mon Oct 30 17:28:54 EST 1995

In article <46u1ne$uht at>,
Cornelius Krasel <krasel at> wrote:
>[ and sci.econ snipped from newsgroup line]
>John Palkovic (palkovic at wrote:
>> There is an interesting letter from Bernard L. Cohen (a nuclear
>> Physicist) in the Oct. "Physics Today."  Here are a few excerpts:
>>    The uranium impurity in the coal [burned in power plants] and its
>>    thorium-230 and radium-226 daughters end up in the ground and
>>    eventually become radon, an important radiotoxic that the EPA is
>>    killing 14,000 Americans per year.
>>    It is interesting to contrast the effects of burning coal for
>>    energy with those using nuclear power, which removes uranium from
>>    the ground and thus saves people from radon's radiotoxicity. In
>>    principle, the 800 x 10^8 tons of coal burned annually in the US
>>    could be replaced by mining 40,000 tons of uranium, eventually
>>    saving 230,000 lives by removing the uranium from the ground, in
>>    addition to the 8600 lives that would be saved by not burning coal.
>>    The conclusion is very clear: if one considers the very-long-term
>>    effects of radiotoxicity, coal burning is a major killer, and
>>    nuclear power is a major lifesaver.
>Unfortunately Mr. Cohen is assuming that nuclear power plants never
>fail. (Besides, I think these numbers have been refuted, but I don't
>have my copy of Frederic Vester's "Neuland des Denkens" here.)

    Can you inform us of the casualities from the failures of
    Western nuclear power plants?

B. Alan Guthrie, III          |   Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin 
alan.guthrie at  |   

More information about the Bioforum mailing list