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Fission for a safe new energy source
14/03/2012 - Nuclear energy is the only viable non-carbon-based energy source for the future, despite the recent nuclear accident in Japan, according to a James Cook University professor.
Professor Peter Ridd, Head of the School of Physics at JCU recently delivered a lecture titled The Fukushima Nuclear Incident, reanalysis of the safety of nuclear energy. The lecture examined the Fukushima Disaster of 12 months ago and the potential impacts on human health.
"The Fukushima nuclear incident was easily the worst accident of a western-designed nuclear reactor and one of the repercussions has been a re-analysis of the safety of nuclear energy," he said.
"Germany has since decided to close down all its nuclear plants while other countries such as the UK, China and India have remained committed to nuclear energy."
Professor Ridd said he had analysed the Fukushima accident and came to the conclusion that excessive and irrational fear of low-level radiation from the reactor would cause far more deaths than the radiation itself.
"From the experience of the Chernobyl disaster, the excessively large exclusion zone around the affected area will cause severe psychological problems, and the unnecessary dislocation of people from their homes will cause many premature deaths especially amongst older people," he said.
"There is also likely to be a large number of unnecessary pregnancy terminations as scared pregnant women react to the excessive hype and hysteria about radiation."
He also argues that nuclear energy remains the only viable non-carbon-based energy source for the future.
"All other alternative energy sources cannot at present provide base load power to replace coal, gas or nuclear power," Professor Ridd said.