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Saving Lives & Saving Hides

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Michael Greenwell     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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At this precise moment of writing (13.30 - 14/03/2011) there are nuclear engineers risking their lives to keep the situation under control in Japan. These are brave people. They are doing this in the interests primarily of themselves and their families, but also in the long-term interest of everyone.

The reports coming out are mixed but at the moment it seems that a full meltdown is unlikely. We can only hope that things remain that way.

Although the scale of the disaster may not be as big as feared (thought it might yet be huge) certainly there are people being treated already for the effects of certain types of radiation.

Also, at this precise time of writing there are people sitting in offices trying to mitigate the effects of the problems in the Japanese nuclear sites that are currently going on. However, they are not trying to do it for the sake of public health and nor are they doing it for the environment.

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No, their own version of damage control is one that will attempt to control the bad publicity against the nuclear power industry. They will be working hard to find a way to make things seem like they aren't all that bad and to find a way to convincingly say that nuclear power is cheap and safe. That new generation nuclear power stations will be safer etc etc. They will not be doing this in your interests but in their own.

If nuclear power, from uraniam extraction all the way to disposal could be proved to be safe then it would of course be mad to oppose it. It can't of course be proved to be so, and neither can any other method of electricity generation. The major point here is that when, for example, a wind turbine has a problem, the consequences are considerably less grave. The lobbyists will not be saying that of course. They will right now be working on media strategies and thinking about what politicians they can't count on as friends so that can continue on with their business.

Finally, when this has all calmed down a bit, those engineers who are right now working at enormous personal risk to stop a disaster will be given medals and medical treatment if they need it. Those lobbyists, possibly after a short interlude, will be given big fat contracts with which to present their paymasters.

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Scotland's Michael Greenwell has worked, at various times, as a university tutor, a barman, a DJ ("not a very good one," he clarifies), an office lackey, supermarket worker, president of a small charity, a researcher, a librarian, a volunteer worker in Nepal during the civil war there, and "some other things that were too tedious to mention." Nowadays, he explains, "I am always in (more...)

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