THERE’S a new bureaucratic lie about radiation doing the rounds, and it goes something like this — since background radiation is always present in the environment, a couple of extra roentgens won’t kill you. Which is like saying having a few x-rays for dinner is good for women and children and forgetting the nasty effects of gamma and other short bursts of radioactive energy on the human body.
I’m not a nuclear scientist but the point made by environmentalists seems to be that we need to eliminate the risk of radiation sickness and genetic mutation altogether because the effects of a nuclear disaster are so dire and the consequences so massive. The risks of another Chernobyl far outweigh any advantages, notwithstanding the side-effects on health — extra cancers, carcinomas, melanomas etc.
What Earthlife Africa are not weighing up unfortunately is the half-life of the plutonium still sitting at Pelindaba, the 200 000 years or so it will take for our nuclear programme to cool down and to get the surrounding environment back to normal. What they should be saying is that people who support nuclear energy are real fools – the same fools who believe putting asbestos in homes is economical. The same idiots who spray poisonous DDT to get rid of malaria, or pollute our rivers and destroy wetlands to increase production.
Lets end this debate once and for all by saying a big fat NO to nuclear energy, down with the dirty radiation lobby and YES to geothermal power, wave power, wind power and other sources of clean electricity. Lets work to free our continent from the antiquated Cold War nuclear industry and its terrible contribution to the arms race and in so doing, set an example for the rest of the world to follow.