George Monbiot Goes Sane on Nuclear Power

Maybe radiation leaked from the Fukushima plant rode the air currents to the far side of the world, where it caused a mutation in George Monbiot’s brain. It would be strange enough if he grew gills or an eye on his forehead, but this is downright bizarre. The ultra-left Guardian scribbler whose very name means moonbat is actually talking sense:

A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.

Some greens have wildly exaggerated the dangers of radioactive pollution. For a clearer view, look at the graphic published by xkcd.com. It shows that the average total dose from the Three Mile Island disaster for someone living within 10 miles of the plant was one 625th of the maximum yearly amount permitted for US radiation workers. This, in turn, is half of the lowest one-year dose clearly linked to an increased cancer risk, which, in its turn, is one 80th of an invariably fatal exposure. I’m not proposing complacency here. I am proposing perspective.

If other forms of energy production caused no damage, these impacts would weigh more heavily. But energy is like medicine: if there are no side-effects, the chances are that it doesn’t work.

Then there are renewables, which have side effects even though they don’t work. Since what little energy they do produce has to be transported over vast distances, the impact on the environment is substantial.

Generating solar power in the UK involves a spectacular waste of scarce resources. It’s hopelessly inefficient and poorly matched to the pattern of demand. Wind power in populated areas is largely worthless. … And how do we drive our textile mills, brick kilns, blast furnaces and electric railways — not to mention advanced industrial processes? Rooftop solar panels? The moment you consider the demands of the whole economy is the moment at which you fall out of love with local energy production. … Deep green energy production — decentralised, based on the products of the land — is far more damaging to humanity than nuclear meltdown.

Not even George Moonbat can help but conclude that nuclear power makes sense:

Yes, I would prefer to see the entire sector shut down, if there were harmless alternatives. But there are no ideal solutions. Every energy technology carries a cost; so does the absence of energy technologies. Atomic energy has just been subjected to one of the harshest of possible tests, and the impact on people and the planet has been small. The crisis at Fukushima has converted me to the cause of nuclear power.

Obviously a massive earthquake and tsunami are going to cause problems with any technology. After the last one, the earth-friendly grass hut technology of Indonesians presented some problems too. The long-term damage will be minimized if we learn from what happened at the Fukushima plant, instead of indulging in moonbat hysteria that could deprive us of what should be a primary source of energy.

On tips from Byron and Mark. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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