Saturday, October 31, 2009
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Sometimes bad things happen to good people for no apparent reason. This is particularly true when it come to illness. Sometimes people get sick and sometimes people die without ever knowing why or how they became ill. This can be difficult to accept because we believe we deserve answers and we want to find the cause of our suffering. We want to have someone or some thing to blame for our illness - that's human nature.
Over the years anti-nuclear activists have taken advantage of this aspect of human nature to spread fear about nuclear energy. I was listening to a radio show the other day and a gentleman called in to the show who was apparently the victim of this kind of misinformation.
[you’ll have to listen to the clip to hear what he said]
This gentleman firmly believes that radiation from a nuclear plant caused his father's death, and somehow influenced the health of his entire school class. He also claimed there are thousands of other people similarly affected. We all have friends and family members who have developed illnesses for no apparent reason, so it is easy to empathize with this gentleman.
I really do feel for him and his family, but the facts tell the opposite story: working in a nuclear plant is safer than just about any other profession, safer even than working in a retail store. Today, there are over 60,000 people working for nuclear utilities around the USA, and many thousands more at national laboratories and in related industries, plus hundreds of thousands who have worked there in the past. To suggest there is some grand conspiracy to cover up an epidemic of health effects is not only unrealistic, it is pure fantasy. There is no evidence to suggest that occupational radiation exposure at commercial nuclear plants has caused any ill health affects to workers or to the public.
In fact, many progressive scientists are beginning to consider the possibility that that low levels of radiation may have beneficial health effects because radiation may stimulate cellular repair mechanisms that protect against disease. This is called the “hormesis theory”. Here are some links to information about the hormesis theory. By the way, the hormesis theory does not only apply to radiation, it is a widely acknowledged affect that is the basis for homeopathic medicine.
Radiation Hormesis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_hormesis
Introduction to Radiation Hormesis http://www.angelfire.com/mo/radioadaptive/inthorm.html