Quick references



Advantages of nuclear


Find out more about the advantages of nuclear power in Ireland:

Nuclear is the cheapest

Nuclear is the cleanest

Nuclear power is the safest electricity

New nuclear power is ideal for Ireland


Supporters of nuclear in Ireland


Many Irish organisations have called for nuclear power to be considered here. (These links to external sites open in a new window).

ESB

EirGrid

Forfas

Irish Academy of Engineering

ICTU

IBEC


Political supporters of a debate


Calls for a national nuclear debate have come from (external sites open in a new window):

Minister for Energy, Eamon Ryan

Dáil Joint C’tee on Climate Change


Exploded myths about nuclear


These facts may surprise you:

Reactors would fit the Irish grid

There is a solution for nuclear waste

We can afford nuclear power

Nuclear fuel is plentiful


Other information


General items of interest about nuclear:

Types of reactors

History of nuclear power

IRIS - a suitable reactor for Ireland

Nuclear power is illegal in Ireland

Can we not just use Renewables?

Hydrogen - fuel of the future?

Who is BENE?

I want to be a Supporter

UN Chernobyl Health Report ‘Reconfirms Earlier Findings’ (March 2011)

Major conclusions regarding the scale and nature of the health consequences of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident are “essentially consistent with previous assessments”, UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) says in a new report. The report concludes:


The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 was a tragic event for its victims, and those most affected suffered major hardship. Some of the people who dealt with the emergency lost their lives. Although those exposed as children and the emergency and recovery workers are at increased risk of radiation-induced effects, the vast majority of the population need not live in fear of serious health consequences due to the radiation from the Chernobyl accident. For the most part, they were exposed to radiation levels comparable to or a few times higher than annual levels of natural background, and future exposures continue to slowly diminish as the radionuclides decay. Lives have been seriously disrupted by the Chernobyl accident, but from the radiological point of view, generally positive prospects for the future health of most individuals should prevail.”

What were the cancer and other health impacts of the 1986 Chernobyl accident?

Sean Moncrieff, on his Afternoon show on Newstalk 106, interviewed Dr Gerry Thomas of the Chernobyl Tissue Bank (CTB) on the health impacts of Chernobyl. CTB is the first international cooperation that seeks to establish a collection of biological samples from tumours and normal tissues from patients for whom the aetiology of their disease is known - exposure to radioiodine in childhood. The CTB confirms that the only detectable cancer impact of the accident was Thyroid cancer in those children and young adolescents who lived close to Chernobyl in 1986. The incidents of Thyroid cancer fell rapidly since then, in line with the decay of the radioactive Iodine (which has a half-life of 8 days). There has been no detectable increase in other cancers or in genetic birth defects. There are, of course, the deep psychological impacts brought about by the fear of radiation. Dr Thomas says that our fear of radiation would appear to be too great given our improved knowledge of the known impacts following studies of the large radioactivity releases that have occurred to date. Listen to the interview here (11MB mp3 file).

British, Finnish and German nuclear safety reports on implications of Fukushima

Safety authorities of three European countries have concluded that there is no reason to shut down nuclear plants as a response to the Fukushima accident, despite varying political views on the technology.

Why we fear radiation

David Spiegelhalter, Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge University, explains in a BBC article why we fear radiation as we do, and offers some interesting facts which suggest that our fears may be exaggerated or, at least, unnecessary.

Health risks of Fukushima

Wade Allison, retired Professor of Physics and author of Radiation and Reason - The Impact of Science on a Culture of Fear, put the effects of Fukushima into scientific perspective in an interview on RTE Radio’s Morning Ireland.

Assessment by Dr. Richard Wakeford

Read this excellent assessment by Richard Wakeford of the situation as it was in early May 2011.

A great many people are frightened by nuclear power. They fear the possible impact on their health of living near a nuclear plant or of the consequences of a serious accident at the plant. And yet many experts and scientists, including doctors, medical physicists and radiation experts, assure us that excessive fears are not justified and may not even be helpful.


Much of the fear is “fear of the unknown” but can also be heightened by inaccurate reporting or by “scare-mongering” by various sources, for whatever reason.


To help people reach an informed opinion on the matter, we present below a range of articles and reports concerning the health implications of nuclear power. While every form of power generation has its dangers, the important thing is to manage the dangers, learn from mistakes and keep the risks to a minimum. The result is that nuclear power is actually the safest form of large-scale power generation.

Introduction

Impact of Fukushima

Impact of Chernobyl

Some people find this article by James Chater of use in understanding how nuclear power developed and continues to develop. Note, however, that the article fails to mention Ernest TS Walton (1903-1995), the only Irish person to win a Nobel prize for science. Walton was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1951, jointly with J.D. Cockroft, for ‘splitting the atom’.

Senator John  Crown writes in the Sunday Independent that “our judgement was distorted by Chernobyl  tales”. He goes on to say that “We  need to discuss nuclear power as a serious option. So let's do it openly”.  John Crown is a consultant oncologist.

There is a widespread belief that all levels of ionizing radiation are dangerous. Radiation Hormesis studies show there is a high threshold of danger, and that low dose radiation is safe and beneficial to life.

Radiation ca be frightening and confusing, particularly when it is not well understood. If you want to improve your understanding of radiation, where it comes from, how useful or harmful it can be, and how to know what is dangerous and what is not, then please check out this powerpoint presentation (287kB) on Radiation Dose, from the US Department of Energy. It is written in a way that is easily understood by the general public but contains lots of useful information for everyone.

Childhood leukaemia not linked to nuclear plants

An extended in-depth study by COMARE has found no significant evidence of an increased risk of childhood leukaemia for children living close to the UK's nuclear power plants over the period 1969-2004. COMARE is the independent Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment, and their report, published on 9 May 2011, considers additional factors not addressed in previous COMARE reports which the organisation says may account for differences in leukaemia risks in studies from other countries.


Previous COMARE reports, covering the period 1969-1993, found no evidence that living within 25 km of a nuclear generating site in Britain was associated with an increased risk of childhood cancer. However, prompted in part by the 2007 German study Kinderkrebs in der Umgebung von Kernkraftwerken (KiKK), in 2009 the UK's Department of Health asked COMARE to conduct a further review in addition to its previous studies. Read more.

According to the newly released report, the pathology of cases of leukaemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma occurring in children living within 10 km of a UK nuclear power plant did not appear to differ from a larger group of control patients. The risk estimate for childhood leukaemia associated with proximity to a nuclear power plant is "extremely small, if not zero", the study concludes.

Swiss study shows no nuclear link to cancer

A nationwide study involving more than 1.3 million children in Switzerland has concluded that there is no evidence of an increased risk of cancer for children born near nuclear power plants.

Radiation comparison chart

This is an interesting chart that compares radiation exposure from different sources.