Saturday, August 30, 2014

Nuclear power and human reaction to risks

Yesterday, I saw a documentary "Gentilly or not to be" about the closure or refurbishing of a nuclear power plant in Quebec. I was deeply affected. Was the increase in the risk of cancer in children being deliberately ignored? I spent a couple of hours searching and reading various articles, especially related to the German study.

I then went for a walk and while reflecting on it, started to wonder about my fear of flying. Even today, as the plane takes off or lands, my stomach tightens, my heartbeat increases. I am unreasonably stressed. I think it is related to the minimal survival chances should there be an accident. The true risk is the probability of not surviving and there is an accident! Our emotions seem to ignore the second factor!

I started to look at some numbers to, at least, get a non-emotive perspective.

acute respiratory infections
The most common cancers in children are (childhood) leukemia (34%), brain tumors (23%), and lymphomas (12%).[11] In 2005, 4.1 of every 100,000 young people under 20 years of age in the U.S. were diagnosed with leukemia, and 0.8 per 100,000 died from it.[5]
The issue is not just cancer. It is overall health. I think I will still choose to stay close to a nuclear power plant than downstream from a dam or near a thermal power plant.

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