Office Rumors

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*Ring* *Ring*

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It’s 1978 calling, telling us nuclear power plants are safer to live near than those of the coal-fired variety.

This, per a Gristmill article:

Former ORNL researchers J. P. McBride, R. E. Moore, J. P. Witherspoon, and R. E. Blanco made this point in their article “Radiological Impact of Airborne Effluents of Coal and Nuclear Plants” [PDF] in the December 8, 1978, issue of Science magazine. They concluded that Americans living near coal-fired power plants are exposed to higher radiation doses than those living near nuclear power plants that meet government regulations.


The fact that coal-fired power plants throughout the world are the major sources of radioactive materials released to the environment has several implications. It suggests that coal combustion is more hazardous to health than nuclear power and that it adds to the background radiation burden even more than does nuclear power. It also suggests that if radiation emissions from coal plants were regulated, their capital and operating costs would increase, making coal-fired power less economically competitive.

Hmmmm. Don’t we look silly for wasting our time on coal? Sure, we’ve got a ton of it, but we can surely find some other use for that black stuff (hard, not liquid variety) than our open-pit strip mining.

Used under a Creative Commons License. "Coal mine Lake" by Nitin Kirloskar (via Flickr).

Used under a Creative Commons License. "Coal mine Lake" by Nitin Kirloskar (via Flickr).

Sure makes for cool pictures, though.


Written by walonline

August 6, 2008 at 10:44 pm

One Response

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  1. You are right, that coal is dirty, dangerous, and polluting. But poverty is far, far worse–much more hazardous to your health. If you want the western world to have all the economic dynamism of Zimbabwe or Haiti, then put coal off-limits. But if you want the economic motive power to make the transition to cleaner fuels and energies, you will push the use of clean coal technologies and nuclear energy.

    The infrastructure we have now–trillions of dollars worth of it–are built around fossil fuels. It takes time and a lot of money and energy, expertise, inventiveness, and commitment to transition to a new energy regime. It can be done, but we have to pay as we go. There are no magic ruby slippers for getting from here to there.

    Alistair O'Finn

    August 8, 2008 at 10:57 am

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