Nuclear Sanity? Investigating Nuclear Power

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Karen Street

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Karen Street

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Karen Street had a jarring experience in 1995 - she found that her prejudices and beliefs opposing nuclear power were ill-founded, and that the alternatives were doing much greater damage to people, other animals & the Earth. Carefully researched and examined, Karen provides a compelling, compassionate case for using nuclear power.

Karen's most recent articles in Friends Journal can be found in the Nuclear Power in a Warming World section of her blog, .

She is associated with Friends Energy Project

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Broadcast Date(s): 

10/23/2011
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Comments

Terrific interview - thanks

Terrific interview - thanks for giving Karen a fair hearing. More people need to think this through and hear hor as openly as you have done. Climage change is here, she says, and we need to question our 'favorite solutions' for whether they really help as much as we wish they did. And we need to question our fears to see if the are well-founded.

Karen Street is a friend of

Karen Street is a friend of mine whom I know through Quaker meeting. I am a member of another meeting in Berkeley. She says I helped her prepare for this interview and just shared the link with me. I am very impressed with how well she was able to articulate her ideas with you. I am also impressed with how thoughtfully you engaged her in this process. I am sure you know now that Karen is a very special person. Her story of her loss and regaining of her hearing is worth an interview in itself. It was great that you included that in the conversation, as well as her spiritual journey that led her to the Society of Friends. My assistance with preparation was to suggest questions that may come up that she should be ready to answer. I suggested she be able to respond to the weapons proliferation issue. Good program. Thanks for your work.

Ms. Street is largely correct

Ms. Street is largely correct about the relative risks and benefits of nuclear power, and is to be commended for speaking out. However, she has overstated the nuclear risk in two areas. First, her projected eventual cancer deaths from Chernobyl and Hiroshima are not well established. Such projections have no empirical basis -- they are merely calculations based on the so-called LNT assumption, the arbitrary notion that the health effects of a radiation dose can be extrapolated linearly from high doses all the way down to zero. In fact, the 2,000-death number from Chernobyl that Ms. Street quotes (from an international committee) is not a prediction, but rather an upper limit, with zero extra deaths not ruled out. Second,the waste will not necessarily have to have guaranteed isolation for thousands of years. With new fast reactor technology, such as the U.S.-developed IFR (Integral Fast Reactor), the long-lived components of used fuel can be consumed to make power, and the resulting waste will be below any level of reasonable concern in 500 years or less. See <http://tinyurl.com/34uxob>. -- George S. Stanford, Ph.D. Reactor physicist, retired from Argonne National Laboratory. 11/13/11

Thanks Karen It's great to

Thanks Karen It's great to hear from someone who has changed their mind about Nuclear Energy and now supports Nuclear Energy.

Although I think Ms. Street

Although I think Ms. Street did an excellent job presenting her argument, I found the argument itself odd. Of the 53 minutes of the program, about 50 of them consisted of various arguments boiling down to "nuclear isn't as deadly as you think". Well, who cares? The question isn't "which power system kills less people", the question is "which power system has the best combination of features", or "which power system best solves the problems we need to fix". Unfortunately, the program never actually talked about this - not once. Oh sure, there were comparisons to coal in terms of CO2, and brief mentions of other sources like wind, but that's it. At no point did she say something to the effect of "we should build out nuclear instead of wind because…" I'm not sure Ms. Street is helping the argument in favour of nuclear.

A thoughtful discussion on an

A thoughtful discussion on an important issue. We need to look beyond the narrow perspectives and rethink our energy options.

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