It seems that we've managed to convince people that nearly every one of nuclear power's unique advantages is an unprecedented, and perhaps unsolvable, problem. I'm astonished that this could be accomplished, for even a fleeting moment. But many people are solidly holding on to, and defending, these illogical conclusions, as the years go by without any support for them.
- Radiation is said to be scary and spooky because "you can't see it, or feel it or taste it." But in fact, cheap and simple instruments can detect radioactivity down to the level of a single atom. You simply cannot even envision doing better than that.
- Some people claim that nuclear power is somehow alien or unnatural, and that "being exposed to radiation" is the worst thing that can happen to you, whereas radiation has been a fundamental part of the natural universe since before the emergence of any life forms, and life apparently cannot survive in the absence of nuclear radiation.
- Some people express concern that nuclear technology is harmful to the earth, despite the fact that atomic fission does its job using a millionth as much material as any non-nuclear process. No research can change that fact, which is based on the difference between the binding energy of the atomic nucleus , and the binding energy of the chemical molecule. Of course, the derivative energy sources, like solar, wind and waves are even more dilute and inefficient.
- The early developers of nuclear power realized that one of its great advantages is that its waste problem is trivial. Now we find that many power plants that should have been nuclear have been coal-fired, because people were afraid of "nuclear waste."
- "Nuclear waste" is a misnomer for an extremely valuable material made up of three components: a) partially used fuel that will be recycled in breeder reactors to generate more fuel in the very process of generating electricity; b) fission products worth billions of dollars, that will be recovered; and c) a small amount of material that has no further use. That material (about 2 pounds, produced from each persons's lifetime's worth of electricity), is in the form of a refractory ceramic, clad is stainless zirconium alloy, or other material that is fused into a hard glass. We know from tests with millennia-old glass objects, that even primative glasses are impervious to efforts to leach anything out of them. It is hard to see how this material could ever cause any harm to people or the environment. So, in real world terms, just what is this "nuclear waste problem" that we keep hearing needs to be solved?
It's hard to see why anyone was ever convinced that this was a problem, requiring a multi-billion dollar solution (except that one person's wasted money is another's bread and butter).
Below is a link to a brief essay on "The Nuclear Waste Scam."