The Ten Deceptions, Part IX


The Cost of Obstruction

Deception Nine Nuclear activists are saving lives and insuring a healthier state of living.

This is perhaps the greatest deception of them all. Because of the success of the activists we have not had a nuclear power plant approved since 1974. Before the activists rose to power there was reason to assume that nuclear power would be our prime source of power by the turn of the century.

As it is because of their interference, protests and lawsuits the U.S. only gets a around 23% of its electricity from nuclear power rather than 50% or more that was projected.

What have the activists accomplished by creating this standstill in technology? How would things be different if activists never existed and we were currently getting over half of our power from nuclear?

The first question to ask is what energy source would have been replaced?

It is unlikely it would have replaced much hydro because it is such a clean source and the concern over pollution has only increased over the years.

Natural gas is also a relatively clean source and we would have been reluctant to drop that.

Alternatives such as wind, solar, geothermal etc would have been little affected and would still be supplying just over 2% of our electricity.

But there is one biggie which is the main polluter that clean nuclear power would have replaced…

What is that?


Coal-fired plants currently supply over 51% of U.S. power and create much more pollution than any other power source. Consequently, this is the main power source which would have been replaced by nuclear. If the activists did not exist then we would have at least 50% less coal burning than is now the case.

That would mean that instead of burning 1,000,000,000 tons of coal a year we would only be burning 500,000,000 tons. This means that we would have about 10 million fewer tons of sulfur dioxide emitted into the atmosphere and over three million fewer tons of oxides of nitrogen, both dreaded pollutants. We would also have 1,000 tons of mercury, lead, arsenic and other poisonous metals that do not find their way into the air, land and sea. This would mean that mercury poisoning of our fish would not be such a concern.

It would also mean that we would have less nuclear waste because coal produces more radioactive waste than do nuclear power plants due to the uranium in coal dust. 10,000 tons of uranium would not be exposed to the surface area each year.

Billions of tons of carbon dioxide would not be released into the atmosphere which would calm fears of global warming.

Thousands of coal miners would not be suffering from black lung disease and other health problems.

Pollution from coal burning plants increases the number of deaths due to emphysema, bronchitis, lung cancer, heart disease and other problems.

There would most likely be over 500,000 fewer deaths due to pollution if the production of nuclear power plants had progressed on schedule. This does not take into consideration the millions of people who have additional health problems due to breathing impure air.

Partially because of activism the nuclear industry spends more money to save a life than any other industry by far. Here is what Bernard Cohen wrote about it in 1982:

“…the Nuclear Regulatory Commission also requires an $8 million expenditure per life saved in controlling normal emission of radioactivity from nuclear power plants. But NRC furthermore, has special rules for special substances; regulations on emissions of radioactive iodine correspond to spending $100 million per life saved.”

I can’t find current figures on this, but must assume with inflation and other added costs that the figure is over twice as much today.

Even so using these old figures Dr. Cohen points out that this expenditure is extremely excessive and could save many more lives in other directions.

For instance it costs $90,000 to save as life by spending the money on pap smears.

Highway safety takes about $140,000 to save a life plus 40 times as many injuries.

If we spent the money on smoke alarms it would cost only $60,000 to save a life.

Treating high blood pressure takes about $75,000 investment to save a life.

Investing in Mobile medical care units would only require as little as $12,000 to save a life.

These figures are from his book written in 1982 and would be much higher across the board today.

But there are many ways to save or extend life with less money than these figures even in today’s money.

Buying a good multi vitamin and giving them to the poor would add several years to many lives with a small investment.

Then for as little as $100 some service organizations can save the life of a child from starvation in the Third World..

Thus we see the ridiculousness of spending $100 million or more to save a life from death by nuclear energy when hundreds of times more lives can be saved by other methods.

We could reverse this logic and ask this question:

How many deaths have been caused by directing money to saving lives from nuclear radiation at the expense of saving lives by other means?

The answer – thousands of possible deaths have been caused because of this. The exact number no one will know.

In addition to wasteful spending on these standard costs of nuclear operation, as we mentioned before, activism has caused the cost of the construction of a power plant to increase over ten times. The additional costs for just five power plants was $21.6 billion. Heaven only knows the total cost they have ran up in all power plants in the construction alone – over $50, billion would be conservative.

What good did it do to waste that $50 billion???

Did it make the air cleaner? No

Did it make us safer? No.

Did it save lives? No. It cost many lives.

Did it help the economy? No. It hurt the economy and caused financial hardship for many common people.

Was there any good that came out of the wasted $50 billion? I can’t think of any.

There is one more way that nuclear energy can save lives. That is studies have shown that nations with a higher standard of living produce a longer life span for their inhabitants. When a poor nation increases its standard of living the life expectancy goes up. Dr. Cohen notes: “that Japanese have ten years more life expectancy than other East Asians, and blacks in the United States have more than 20 years longer life expectancy than African blacks.”

It is also a fact that the middle and upper class live longer than the poor.

This low standard of living with high death rate is where the activists are leading us, but imagine what life would be like if we had the 100-200 extra nuclear power plants approved since 1974 without excessive restrictions and lawsuits.

The power cost of the nation would be much lower, the reason to go to war over oil much less and the advancement toward electrical cars very probable. What is sure is that many lives would saved and untold thousands would have improved quality of life. The standard of living would be higher and everyone would be living longer healthier lives.

“On the physical plane, the great scientific discovery, called colloquially the “splitting of the atom,” will be turned eventually to the production of those conditions which will enable mankind to follow the good, the beautiful and the true. This men will then be able to do, freed from the dread presence of purely materialistic thinking. This is no idle vision or vague dream. Many scientists today (and particularly those who love their fellowmen) [Page 648] are not only visioning the non-destructive aspect of atomic energy but are already engaged in harnessing-for the good of humanity-some of its products and its radioactive properties.

“Curiously enough, it is the wise, controlled use of the results of this scientific adventure in connection with the atomic bomb which will eventually bring about a specific revelation of the nature of certain forces in relation to light; this event will transform world thinking and lead to a new type of transmutative process, as far as man is concerned.” Djwhal Khul – Rays and Initiations, Pages 647-648

Copyright by J J Dewey

Nov 12, 2001

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