Errors and half truths (incomplete):
Slower population growth rates do not require higher death rates: they may be achieved by lower birth rates, and in fact this is what has produced the reduction in population growth rate in the last few decades. Further, "sharp" changes are not required to produce these results: the given predictions are approximately the median projections of the United Nations Population Division 2004 estimate.
Equating economic productivity and environmental harm is misleading. Countries with more per capita economic productivity are able to afford choices with less environmental impact. Much of the increase in economic productivity in recent decades reflects greater contributions from service and information sectors, which tend to have much lower environmental impacts than manufacturing, for example, for the same amount of productivity.
The risk associated with a radioisotope is a function of activity level which in turn is a function of both decay rate and quantity of radioisotope. It is erroneous to represent it as a function of half-life alone. Under this reasoning water would be dangerous forever because it has an infinite half-life.
This analogy is misleading. First, it implies that both absolute population and population growth rates are potentially disasterous, which is not established apart from issues of poverty. Second, it does a poor job of conflating these characteristics. A very large motionless truck poses little threat, but Miller would apparently claim that a very large population is a problem even with no population growth.
This listing fails to acknowledge the widely varying significance of these factors. Legalization of abortion, for example, came almost at the end of the fertility decline from 1955 to 1975. "Social acceptance of childless couples" has been increasing probably since early in the century in developed nations.
These models of population/resource interaction are seriously flawed and have been discredited.
This data is incorrect. The graph shown here was produced in the 1960s with projections from that time forward using flawed models. Actual rate of increase in petroleum consumption has been slower than depicted, and known reserves of petroleum have significantly increased in the intervening decades.
"High levels" is a deceivingly vague term. Exposures to this group was mostly in the 5-25 rem range; no resident was exposed to more than 25 rem. Only three acute radiation casualties resulted: the two workers performing the unauthorized procedure died, and one worker nearby suffered radiation sickness but recovered.
This figure is meaningless without specifying how these accidents were "similar"; these accidents were not similar to the Toki-mura accident in most of the indicated characteristics. The stated count refers to criticality accidents but includes many with no injuries and most not involving civilian processing plants. Additionally, the Toki-mura is probably unique among criticality accidents in involving any exposure of people outside the facility.
The figure of $2 trillion is questionable. Nuclear power opponents have claimed cumulative nuclear power expenditures of $0.5 trillion for the United States, but such figures probably include costs related to military applications apart from power production. In any case, the result of this investment has been the production worldwide of the energy equivalent of about 38 billion barrels of oil. Even using the inflated figure of $2 trillion this translates to $50 per barrel of oil equivalent, significantly below current oil prices, and with significantly less environmental impact.
From 1989 to 2003 total world nuclear energy production increased 36.9%, with the U.S. Energy Information Agency predicting an additional 13% increase through 2020. The predicted decline applies primarily to Western Europe, but not to the world in general.
Total nuclear energy production has continued to increase, with a 36.9% increase from 1989 to 2003.
The Three Mile Island demonstrated that even with a partial meltdown, safety design for U.S. plants is sufficient to prevent any significant radiation release. The explosion risk associated with the RBMK reactor design of Chernobyl does not apply to Western reactor types.
This statement by one NRC commissioner was made in 1985 (21 years ago) and referred to a crude extrapolation of the estimated single reactor probability of a core meltdown; it is not clear that he was referring only to complete meltdowns. This does not reflect the significantly lower probability of an accident that has off-site impact, nor does it take into full account the significant improvements in plant safety implemented following the TMI accident. This statement does not appear to represent the position of the NRC in general, either then or now.
These NAS estimates use the linear no threshold hypothesis regarding radiation risk; this hypothesis is not supported by existing studies of the effects of low-level radiation and overestimates risk. No "much less harmful" alternatives exist for large scale power production.
Low-level wastes involve a wide range of activity levels; some such wastes need only be stored a few years to decay to safe levels. The definition of "safe" is again an issue here but is not defined.
Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but a naturally occurring substance and an essential part of the environment.
This description supports misconceptions regarding the greenhouse effect. The temperature of the Earth's surface and the atmosphere are comparable, so it is inaccurate to describe the blackbody radiation from the atmosphere as "longer-wavelength."
These figures are poorly represented by the graphs, which uses various scales to depict a 10% increase and a 120% increase as similar upward slopes.
Not scientific evidence.
© 2006, 2008 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 1 March 2008.
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