The Times melts down again on nuclear power

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The New York Times would have you believe that the anti-nuclear energy organization, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), is a perfectly reliable authority on nuclear power. Appearing in The Times Saturday was an op-ed by PSR founder Dr. Helen Caldicott, who believes there’s no such thing as a safe dose of radiation and argues that physicians should “stand up to the physicists of the nuclear industry,” given the nuclear fallout from the recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and other nuclear plant accidents.

Nuclear accidents never cease. We’re decades if not generations away from seeing the full effects of the radioactive emissions from Chernobyl...

When patients come to us with cancer, we deem it rude to inquire if they lived downwind of Three Mile Island in the 1980s or might have eaten Hershey’s chocolate made with milk from cows that grazed in irradiated pastures nearby. We tend to treat the disaster after the fact, instead of fighting to stop it from happening in the first place. Doctors need to confront the nuclear industry...

Nuclear power is neither clean, nor sustainable, nor an alternative to fossil fuels — in fact, it adds substantially to global warming. Solar, wind and geothermal energy, along with conservation, can meet our energy needs.

Physicists had the knowledge to begin the nuclear age. Physicians have the knowledge, credibility and legitimacy to end it.

“The writer, a well-known anti-nuclear activist, is just making stuff up, the heck with science and truth,” laments ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. “Talk about a false scare — she thinks that our grandchildren will be ticking time bombs as a result of fallout. There was no detectable radiation outside the local area of Three Mile Island, and to imagine that eating Hershey’s chocolate made from the milk of cows who grazed outside the plant could possibly have an effect when the half-life of the radioactive iodine is only eight days is ridiculous. And we are also curious about her assertion that nuclear energy contributes to global warming. The alternative energy sources cannot possibly supply all of our energy needs, anyway. She should be embarrassed, but The Times, of course, has no excuse for printing such prevarications.”

In related news, it seems that, despite strong support — including promises of loan guarantees for new construction — from both the Bush and Obama administrations, nuclear power plant projects are not breaking ground, mostly due to financial issues. Dr. Ross finds it comforting to see that both administrations have strongly supported increasing the use of nuclear energy. “There is no question that, whether from a scientific, economic, or climate change point of view, nuclear energy is a win-win-win — everywhere but in the circles of the Physicians for Social Responsibility — and The New York Times.”