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And BTW there is a big difference between risks that one knowingly consents to, and risks that others expose you to without asking.

People massively mis-estimate risks, and underestimate them even more when they think they are in control. That's why plane and train crashes seems so much worse than car crashes - you think 'that could have happened to me' for trains, but nor for a car accident, when the reverse is actually true in practice.

Same with terrorism - it scares people even more because of the intent, but the likelihood of being harmed is even less (and the harm done is not materially different to what happens to you in a car crash or other similar accident - mangled bodies are mangled bodies).

I think people fear radiation because they don't understand how it could kill them and how they could protect themselves. They should worry more about the death toll from coal, but that seems somehow more acceptable - after all, we all produce smoke in our lives and understand coughing, it's just part of "normal" civilization, whereas nuclear can obviously be understood only by a select few. It's a form of death completely and obviously controlled by an elite, so people worry about it more (the others are also fully controlled by an elite, but it looks less obvious)


Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 03:58:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
I think people fear radiation because they don't understand how it could kill them and how they could protect themselves.

people fear radiation because they have seen pics pf the deformed children, the ruins of chernobyl, the health costs of hiroshima and nagasaki, the delusions of dr strangelove grandeur of the MAD years and the equally delusional promises of 'too cheap to meter', coupled with the downwind testing effects in nevada and bikini atoll.
they also fear how entwined the worlds of nuclear weaponry and energy production are, and how corporations with massive money to ply the public with soothing pablum PR, together with their cousins in the fossil fuels industries have conspired for years too keep energy in the rentier monopoly distribution model that favour bleeding the public with monthly bills for eternity.

they fear companies who have routinely and systematically propagandised the public for decades about how alternative energy doesn't work, or overwhelms the grid, or kills mosquitos, or... or... or... the same lying liars that brought the financial world to its knees through addiction to risky bets and control freakery of every stripe including capturing governments and spying on citizens.

be anti-nukes and you will be branded as a dissident or worse, be anti solar/wind and you will be invited to join the tink-tonks and create ever more polished gold-plated turds.

and so on...

i fear nukes because people are non-mechanical organic beings and expecting them to attain and maintain the levels of responsibility to control the power inherent on nuclear energy and channel it safely. no other industry has got it wrong so many times and deceived the public so shamelessly. TEPCO is no better than Bechtel or Westinghouse, and the public went along with the lies because we trusted the lies, like we trusted G. Sachs when we lost our money in lehman brothers, like we trusted the ECB to do a proper job of being a central bank, etc etc.

we have learned to judge companies on their track record for veracity, because if these criminals really had something beneficial to sell us telling us the truth would have been fine!

and lastly people choose not to believe nuclear power is inherently unsafe (and astronomically expensive to clean up after the 'oopsies' that occur whenever we expect squishy organic beings to master mechanical heights of perfect reliability) for one very understandable reason.

we are surrounded by these rusting behemoths we were stupid enough to trust, and the safety of europeans depends on these things being safe, and that if things go pearshaped these entities can be depended on to lie like rugs while radiation leaks.

acknowledging the risk honestly is just too damn terrifying, it's like admitting your kid has been playing in traffic for years and you only just realised the appalling lack of responsibility you have shown.

the nuke industry is very clever at harvesting talent to shill for them. i have a cousin who is one. his dad made propaganda for the tobacco companies.

so it goes...

thanks CH for being a strong voice for sanity and speaking out so often for humanity. there is so much vested interest in keeping the status quo in its destructive greed, and far too few people willing to try and change it for good. :)

birds of a feather flock together, the easiest way to ascertain nuclear power is not our friend is to see whose company it keeps...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 05:52:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They should worry more about the death toll from coal, but that seems somehow more acceptable - after all, we all produce smoke in our lives and understand coughing, it's just part of "normal" civilization,

Yep. That hits the nail on the head. Coal, its dirt and dangers, and its vested interests have been with us forever. Familiarity breeds contempt, also for risks. Sometimes I'd wish humans weren't so damn adaptable.

by mustakissa on Mon Aug 5th, 2013 at 11:58:22 AM EST
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