Wade Allison, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Keble College, Oxford University, UK: This article discusses the importance of plentiful, reliable energy for humanity. It includes the topic of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels reportedly going to cause serious climate change problems. This leads to recommendations to dramatically cut back on fossil fuels and quickly switch to nuclear. Several things may stand in the way: 1) Nature. It may remain the primary cause of climate change. Any energy source we select may have little influence on future climate change. If it gets colder, we will need lots of energy from fossil fuels and nuclear. 2) The world will not be ready for a long time to implement nuclear like Canada, France and the USA did. Bad government, corruption, egotism, weak economies, inferior education will stand in the way. 3) When planning globally, it is essential to have global solutions that work.
Michael Shellenberger, Environmental Progress: We find a nuclear phase-out in South Korea would: Cost at least $10 billion per year for additional natural gas purchases alone, the equivalent of 343,000 salaries; Almost all of the cost would be in the form of payments for fuel; Require a significant increase in fossil fuel use; Increase premature deaths from air pollution by replacing nuclear plants instead of coal plants with natural gas; Damage and perhaps destroy South Korea’s lucrative nuclear export business;
David R. Grimes,physicist and cancer researcher at Oxford University. Thirty years has passed since events in Chernobyl, while Japan marks the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. We need more than ever to have a reasoned discussion on the issues. It is important also to see these disasters in the wider context of energy production: when the Banqiao hydroelectric dam failed in China in 1975 it led to at least 171000 deaths and displaced 11 million people. Our reliance on fossil fuels is particularly costly, not only to the environment but to human health; each year, at least 1.3 million people are estimated to die from air pollution. Shutdown of the plants in Japan has led to not only increased pollution, but rolling blackouts and protests. By contrast, France has for decades produced 75% of its energy through nuclear, and enjoys the cleanest air and among the lowest carbon emissions of any industrialised nature.
Wade Allison, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Oxford University - This book expands on the message of Radiation and Reason (2009) following the Fukushima accident (2011). It is a broader study of the historical, cultural and scientific interactions of radiation with life; it asks why society takes such a cautious view of nuclear technology; it looks at the effects of nuclear accidents and other radiation exposures; it looks at the efficacy of safety, as provided by nature and as imposed by regulation; it explains how biological evolution prepared life to survive exposures to low and moderate levels of radiation; it asks if nuclear energy would be expensive, if normal levels of information, education, safety and design were applied.