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Study contradicts expert

Simcoe Reformer - Letter to the editor: Graeme Dunn - December 16, 2008

http://www.simcoereformer.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1347899

Re: Public's fear of radiation big hurdle: professor, Times-Reformer Nov. 25

Some of Doug Boreham's remarks are a little ingenious. For instance, he states that, in 200 years, someone who stands near one spent fuel rod for one hour will absorb as much radiation as the average CT scan. Now aside from the fact that most of us will not be around in 200 years, he is talking about one rod. I am not a nuclear expert by any stretch of the imagination but even I know that reactors take a great many more rods than one. Presumably, 10 rods would equate to 10 CAT scans and if you have all the rods from a reactor, there would be enough radioactivity to kill you very quickly. It is not that the radioactivity is gone that makes the rods relatively less harmful, but that the longer half-life of the breakdown products means that the radioactivity is produced over a much longer period.

It would be interesting to know how Mr. Boreham reconciles his position that nuclear reactors are safe with the German study that found that children under five are at 60 per cent greater risk of getting leukemia if they live within five kilometres of a nuclear station. The study dealt with 16 stations over a 24-year period. Researchers from the University of Mainz found that 37 children living within five kilometres of a reactor developed leukemia whereas the statistical average is 17. One member of the research team considers that the conclusions are understated and that the data indicate an increased risk for children living within 50 km of a reactor.

Mr. Boreham also states that a reactors waste from the electricity supply for one person would fit into a pop can, whereas the waste from a coal-fired plant would fit into four dump trucks. The difference, which he does not point out, is that the waste from the coal-fired station is not particularly dangerous whereas the waste from the nuclear reactor is deadly. Further, he makes no comment on the relatively numerous accidents that occur with nuclear reactors; Three-mile Island and Chernobyl are only the really serious ones!

I wonder if Mr. Boreham would be prepared to move his family close to the proposed reactor, assuming we are stupid enough to allow it to be built.

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