Nuclear Power, Surfing, and Sharks

I was just thinking about my relationship with Nuclear Power.  I think we need to apply it at a much larger scale if we are to practically hit reasonable climate and energy targets, but i still have that irrational fear that says that I’d prefer to get there without it.  I resolved this by thinking about my relationship with sharks when I go surfing or kitesurfing or windsurfing.  The risk associated with shark attack is much much smaller than the risk of a car accident getting to the beach, yet some days that risk scares the willies out of me.  I still do go surfing, of course, but I can’t take all those sharp little teeth off my mind.  Most of the time I’m really comfortable with the idea of nuclear power, and it’s inherent risks (very low), yet there are some days where I am just spooked by the consequence of all those little particles and rays.  Life is about risks.  Given climate change versus the managable risk of nuclear energy, I’ll take nuclear energy.

2 comments to Nuclear Power, Surfing, and Sharks

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  • Axel

    Hi Saul,
    an interesting risk evaluation strategy – likelihood of shark attack against risks of nuclear energy – but I am not sure if it is applicable in terms of the consequences – if you were to be attacked by a shark even if highly unlikely it would be only you directly affected, as compared to a nuclear accident lets say at the Tschernobyl scale it would be thousands of people affected and the toxic waste lasting for thousands of years even under normal operation – so I am not sure that it can be evaluated with personal risk taking scenarios. Of course the same can be said for the consequences of climate change and you point that out in the end preferring the managable nuclear risks over climate change risks. But from all the recent debates on managing spent nuclear fuel in Germany particular where there is a case of gross mismanagement of “final” resting place of spent nuclear fuel in Asse, the German former salt mine, I am less optimistic people are very good at coming up with solutions that last 20000 years if their own reward cycle is focused more on their own lifetime/a few generations. Again, the same is probably true for the consequences connected with climate change.

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