On Tuesday Nov 13, our host Aaron Perry spoke with Gar Smith, author of Nuclear Roulette: The Truth about the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth. Gar, an environmental activist and writer, has been an outspoken critic of nuclear energy since before writing the book. Listing the difficulty and risk involved with operating old reactors, and citing the incidence of nuclear reactor leaks as some of the dangers posed to humans and the environment, Gar stresses the importance of decommissioning the old reactors. He also explains that the climate change that is now a reality on our planet today is a factor that we must take into account now, because when many of these reactors were designed, the climate issues were not present, “we’re getting storm waves, surges, floods, hurricanes, massive wildfires…that were unprecedented by the people who designed these plants. The NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission]has also realized that the danger from earthquakes is triple what they believed it would be for the majority of the US plants.” Says Gar, The Scientific American had predicted, in 2000, the flooding of Manhattan due to storm surges in 2090; however, the reality is that it already happened, in 2012. “So we’re well ahead of the predicted scale of damage that we’re now having to face.” Gar explains that Hurricane Sandy actually knocked down three reactors, and the grave risk it poses to us.
Gar says that there have been nearly 50 major nuclear disasters across the world, including Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and more. He says that the government and the agencies work together to both deny and cover up. “When the radiation level in schoolyards became too extreme [in Japan], the government’s response was to simply increase the permissible level of radiation exposure. When the Fukushima cloud passed over the US, Washington did the same thing; they changed the permissible amount of radiation.” Greenpeace discovered that radiation monitors that had been set up in Japan had actually been placed in areas that had been decontaminated, so it showed a lower level or radiation than there really was in the area itself. Russian engineer and Chernobyl survivor Natalia Mironova was reported as warning, “When there is a nuclear accident, run, run as fast as you can. Don’t believe the government; the government will lie to you.” Gar cites the different threats and dangers that we face from nuclear plants and their. He points to renewable energy as a positive alternative, and says that the last third of the book is devoted to offering solutions and steps that can be taken to resolve these issues.
Listen to the interview here: