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#544#545#546#547 Episode #548 - What You Don't Know Can Kill You
(Dirty Secrets of The Nuclear Safety Sideshow)



Sat 23 April 2011  Adam Curtis, Christopher Busby, Kay Drey, David Freeman
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2An unusually topical show for you this week. We start by adapting an Adam Curtis film on the development of the nuclear industry. Next the scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, Christopher Busby, explains that the nuclear industry relies on a massive underestimation of the health effects of radiation. We conclude with a compilation of recordings on shutting down nuclear power plants from TUC Radio.
We start this week's episode with a radio adaptation of Adam Curtis' film, A is for Atom, which tells the story of the nuclear industry. Ignoring political pressures to use nuclear power plants as a source of radionuclides for making atomic weapons, Curtis focuses instead on the lies told to the public in order to "ram through" the business of nuclear power, comparing UK, USA and USSR. Huge cost overruns were tolerated and scientific objections as regards safety were swept aside in an effort to promote the viability of atomic power.

Echoing an observation from Adam Curtis' film, Christopher Busby notes the fictional nature of the models used for safety. Astonishingly, the tells how US safety models for ionising radiation are still based on models produced by physicists in 1951, which lack the most basic facts of human biology. The human body is not the uniform bag of water it was assumed to be for those calculations, and according to calculations based on biological data, he explains that the real risk from low level radiation is around 600 times higher than the model predicts. Busby notes some basic vested interests which have retarded the acceptance of a more realistic model. The World Health Organisation (WHO), for example, does not address the health effects of ionising radiation - having ceded this territory to the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), which is charged with promoting the development of nuclear power.

We conclude with a compilation of speakers by TUC radio. Kay Drey speaks on the routine releases of emit dangerous gases and fission products by nuclear power plants during their day to day operations. Then David Freeman states that no nuclear power plants should be built since they are dangerous, cost prohibitive, and can easily be replaced with renewable energy. He also says that we need a police state to live with them. He closed down 8 nuclear reactors during his tenure as Chief Executive at the Tennessee Valley Authority, and one more when he was General Manager of the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District.
Thanks to John Barkhausen and Maria Gilardin.
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