Nuclear Panic in the Mass Media

Blog, Energy, Les Routledge

A couple of submissions over at Small Dead Animals caught my attention today about how the media tends to get irrational about potential risks of anything nuclear or related to radiation exposure.

Remember back in the ’50s and early ’60s, when we set off something like 900 atomic bombs in Nevada? And how we just let the fallout blow wherever and it landed all over the eastern
US? And how it wiped out life as we know it and all that was left from Colorado to the Atlantic were six-legged rats battling two-headed cockroaches in the glowing ruins?

and the following tutorial on radiation exposure…

I wish the media would put the potential risks of the nuclear accident in perspective.  For example, it would be interesting if someone would add a 4th diagram to the dose chartthat relates the probability of mortality and morbidity at different does levels and compares to those risks to other behaviors such as driving your children to school, participating in back country skiing or snowmobiling, or working in a solar panel production facility.

This process involves multiple potentially hazardous materials and byproducts that without proper safeguards can pose a significant risk to human and environmental health. Chlorosilanes and hydrogen chloride are toxic and highly volatile, reacting explosively with water. Chlorosilanes and silane can also spontaneously ignite and under some conditions explode.18  Silicon tetrachloride can cause skin burns and is also an eye and respiratory irritant.19  Silicon tetrachloride has recently gained notoriety due to news accounts of its dumping near a polysilicon plant in China.20