www.

Roots of Radicalism

.com

THE MIGHTY ATOM: FRIEND OR FOE?

By Steve Brady

[Note: the issue of nuclear power was contentious within Nationalist circles in the early 1980s. In the interests of free debate this article in favour of nuclear power was published in issue 6. In issue 8, also reproduced on this website, an article opposing nuclear power was published.]

THE QUESTION of our Nation's energy supply is of vital importance to us as Nationalists. Without an adequate supply of economically obtainable energy Britain cannot maintain the level of industry it must have to survive in the modern world. So, when a new source of energy is found by the genius of our White Race, we should consider how best to use that power.

The subject of nuclear power must be discussed rationally in an atmosphere un-contaminated by hysteria and unscientific panic-mongering.

When we do that, and consider facts, rather than irrational scare-stories, we find that atomic power comes out very well.

Whilst the fossil fuels ― coal and oil ― are fast running out around the world, nuclear fuel ― uranium and the plutonium made from it ― are expected to last much longer. After all, one gramme of nuclear fuel, smaller than a dried pea, produces as much electricity ― 25 kilowatt hours ― as twenty tons of coal or oil. And, contrary to the doomsters' wailings, nuclear power stations are actually cleaner, safer and less polluting than oil or coal fired ones!

Much has been made of 'nuclear waste'. But most such waste is only mildly radioactive, and consists of short-lived radio-isotopes which become safe after a few years at most. They can safely be encased in concrete and dropped into the depths of the sea. Even if the concrete cracked, the radiation would be absorbed by a few feet of sea-water, and by the time the containers erode away their contents are quite harmless.

More radioactive waste is stored in liquid form in pressure vessels for the moment. Certainly, by a feat of careful precision bombing, an enemy in wartime might crack these vessels, contaminating the surrounding area. But he would do far more damage, far more reliably, by dropping one economy-size atom bomb than by smashing all the waste stores in Britain. And eventually that waste will be permanently disposed of.

There are many safe ways of doing this. One way would be to mix it with molten glass, making a glassy block which will virtually never wear away.

There isn't all that much waste involved, anyway. What the 'anti-nuke' scaremongers don't tell you is that all the nuclear waste ever produced since we started making it during the 1940s could be made into a secure glass block less than 100 feet on each side. And by far the greater part of that waste would have come from nuclear weapons production, which all Nationalists can see we need, not from peaceful power stations.

Meanwhile, coal and oil-fired power stations belch forth masses of deadly poisons into the air (the air around atom plants is crystal clear). Each 1000 megawatts of coal-fired power station pumps nine million tons of carbon dioxide gas into the air we breathe, every year. According to scientists this carbon dioxide could build up, trapping ever more of the sun's heat on the earth's surface until a 'greenhouse effect' cooks our world in the same way it cooked our sister plant Venus. Coal-fired stations also pour out 157,000 tons of deadly poisonous, lung-disease and cancer-causing sulphur dioxide, leaving 474,000 tons of ash to be dumped over the landscape. This gas has fallen as acid into many Scandinavian rivers and lakes, killing all fish. In addition a million tons of other assorted waste is also pumped into the atmosphere, much of it poisonous, cancer causing and, in some cases, capable of causing mutations and deformities in unborn babies. No one has ever been killed, or even provably harmed, by atomic waste. Waste from coal and oil burning kills tens of thousands of our old folk through respiratory diseases every year. In 1952 4,000 Londoners were killed when freak conditions allowed coal wastes to build up for weeks in a deadly smog.

But what about radiation? If people lived next door to nuclear power stations (and no one does, they are all miles from anywhere), they would receive on average every year 5 millirems of radiation from it. Horrors! We all receive in the same period 20 millirems from the potassium-40 in our blood, to say nothing of 35 millirems in cosmic rays from Outer Space. We receive 11 millirems from the ground, except in Aberdeen which gets lots more from the radioisotope-rich granite on which it is built. Aberdonians still look recognisably human after 1000 years, but perhaps we should evacuate the place anyway, just to be safe! We even get 1 millirem a year from sitting in front of the television. Any coal and oil fired power station acually releases more radioactivity, in the form of the radon gas and radium dust present in fossil fuels, than a nuclear plant the same size.

But what about long term effects on us and our children? Well, in 1945, 24,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki survived 140,000 millirems. This is 280 times the maximum limit set by nuclear plant planners for those who work inside their plants, let alone the public, in a year. By 1979, 34 years later, less than 200 (0.8%) had died of cancer. Their descendants are recognisably human and today there is hardly a mutant to be seen shambling the streets of those cities. Some mutants were conceived in the wake of the blasts, but nearly all were stillborn or died as babies: They never lived to pollute anyone's gene pool, and remember we are talking about being atom bombed, a long way from atom planted!

Dungeness Atomic Power Station: Clean, safe and cheap energy for Britain

Finally, we come to accidents. Anyone who, like the author, has been inside a nuclear reactor, will know that there are safety precautions on the safety precautions. Many reactors are designed to survive an aircraft being crash-dived into the reactor core ― or at least not to leak radiation, though their electric output might be curtailed! The worst that can happen, assuming nothing less than deliberate and open sabotage, would be a 'melt-down'. This ruins the pile for good but the steel and concrete pressure vessel the pile is in is designed to hold it in safely, even if this occurred. To blow up an atomic reactor, you need a very, very big bomb ― try an atom-bomb! At worst you'd make a few square miles around radioactive. But a few little IRA bombs, maybe just one, at the oil refinery on Canvey Island and 250,000 Londoners would die in seconds.

No one has ever died in a nuclear power accident. Three Mile Island never even looked like hurting anyone, except through the panic generated by media trendies.

Nuclear power workers are kept in strict conditions of safety. But how many coal miners have been buried alive in pit disasters? How many more have coughed their lungs up with silicosis or pneumoconiosis after a lifetime slaving down a dark, dirty, dangerous hole? How many oilmen have drowned with their ocean rigs, or been burned alive in explosions? Nuclear power never killed anyone.

So let's get this into perspective. Atomic power is safer ― a lot safer ― than oil or coal. It is cleaner and less likely to run out. Britain needs that power now. Anybody still in doubt should think about one last thing. Whilst Communists in the West are in the forefront of the anti-nuclear reactionaries in their war against Science and Progress, their bosses in Moscow are quietly getting on with the biggest nuclear power construction programme in the world.