Alternative Energy Sources

Trillions of US tax dollars have funded alternative energy sources in an irrational and misguided attempt to destroy the petroleum industry which provides the only source of energy generation that is inexpensive, reliable, portable, scalable, and plentiful.  Like most illogical and wasteful government spending, politicians and bureaucrats somehow expect the world to somehow shift its generation of power to sources that are relatively scarce, more expensive, unreliable, unportable, and relatively non-scalable.  Idiotic politicians and bureaucrats also waste millions of tax dollars promoting sex education, hoping that the spread of venereal disease will be stopped.  Most people will not spend more of their hard-earned dollars on more expensive energy sources anymore than they will stop having sex or embracing responsible sexual behaviors.  If its cheap, and gets results, and it’s fun, they will do it.

Sequestration of atmospheric CO2 through regenerative agriculture and rational tree harvesting, lumber production and construction are our only feasible options to arrest and lower CO2 as levels (and probably global warming as well) in next century and beyond.  Along the way, development of non-carbon-based forms of energy production will help slightly to lower the release of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. Of these options – wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal etc. – you might be surprised to discover that nuclear energy is by far the safest[1],[2] and despite it’s expense, is the most promising despite the plethora of fake news propaganda from environmental alarmists and the bad press of the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima Daiichi disasters.  Perhaps something better will be discovered, like fusion power,[3] so we should not stop looking. 

Once upon a time, before I studied the actual science about nuclear power, I too had bought into the fairy tale about the risks, thinking that radioactivity added to the growing list of pollutants that were endangering my patients.  I routinely avoid ordering radiological studies on patients that use radioactive and other toxic tracer substances to improve the diagnostic images and rely more on ultrasound testing and other non-invasive methods. My detoxification work in environmental medicine naturally converted me into an anti-nuclear sympathizer, and in my ignorance, I have exacerbated the problem of excess atmospheric CO2 by joining the deluded masses who espouse anti-nuclear power sentiments. Nuclear power is by far the safest, most reliable and a completely non-carbon polluting source of energy.[4]

From the standpoint of an environmental medicine physician, since nuclear power is the least polluting option and safest form of energy production of all, I wholeheartedly it now.  Consider a quote from an article in Scientific American;[5] Nuclear Power May Have Saved 1.8 Million Lives Otherwise Lost To Fossil Fuels, and May Save Up To 7 Million More.

the low-carbon electricity produced by such reactors provides 20 percent of the nation’s power (i.e., the USA) and, by the estimates of climate scientist James Hansen of Columbia University, avoided 64 billion metric tons[6] of greenhouse gas pollution. They also avoided spewing soot and other air pollution like coal-fired power plants do and thus have saved some 1.8 million lives.”

Does “1.8 million lives” saved mean much to those who might prioritize oak trees ahead of humans? The figure above summarizes the deaths per trillion kilowatt hours for major sources of electricity, taken from a well-referenced article by Dr. Stuart Hardwick[7] published in the science fact section in Analog and which is derived from numerous publications like the CDC and other authoritative sources.  The deaths attributed to coal are about 100,000 times greater in the US than for nuclear energy, despite the fact that coal and nuclear energy generation are comparable sources of electricity generation (coal accounts for about 32% of electricity generation and nuclear is about 19% in the US).  I am an environmental physician.  I face death and disability every clinical day caused by toxins.  The saving of “1.8 million lives” matters to me.

Ten myths about nuclear power are listed below.[8]   We must ask ourselves how Hollywood fantasy drama,  the media and social media’s “fake news”[9] and political propaganda could be powerful enough to instill false beliefs about nuclear power into our minds so effectively, causing us to believe that these myths are true.  I refer you to read about the chilling technique of “brain hacking” discussed in the recent book by Roger McNamee[10] to begin to grasp how our brains have been herded like cattle into “bubbles” by out “likes and dislikes.”  The next thought you have may have been maliciously implanted into your brain, and although you may believe it to be true and believe you came up with it, you may never have consciously created that thought or have considered the evidence for it.  I struggle with this frequently in my own thinking.

Myth # 1: Americans get most of their yearly radiation dose from nuclear power plants.

Truth: We are surrounded by naturally occurring radiation.  Only 0.005% of the average American’s yearly radiation dose comes from nuclear power; 100 times less than we get from coal[11], 200 times less than a cross-country flight, and about the same as eating 1 banana per year.[12]

Myth # 2: A nuclear reactor can explode like a nuclear bomb.

Truth: It is impossible for a reactor to explode like a nuclear weapon; these weapons contain very special materials in very particular configurations, neither of which are present in a nuclear reactor.

Myth #3: Nuclear energy is bad for the environment.

Truth: Nuclear reactors emit no greenhouse gases during operation.  Over their full lifetimes, they result in comparable emissions to renewable forms of energy such as wind and solar.[13]  Nuclear energy requires less land use than most other forms of energy.  Newer technologies of nuclear power use up their nuclear fuel completely with little or no waste.  Much of the waste is now used as tracer materials in medicine.

Myth # 4: Nuclear energy is not safe.

Truth: Nuclear energy is as safe or safer than any other form of energy available.  No member of the public has ever been injured or killed in the entire 50-year history of commercial nuclear power in the U.S.  In fact, recent studies have shown that it is safer to work in a nuclear power plant than an office[14].

Myth # 5: There is no solution for huge amounts of nuclear waste being generated.

Truth: All of the used nuclear fuel generated in every nuclear plant in the past 50 years would fill a football field to a depth of less than 10 yards, and 96 % of this “waste” can be recycled[15].  Used fuel is currently being safely stored.  The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the equivalent scientific advisory panels in every major country support geological disposal of such wastes as the preferred safe method for their ultimate disposal[16].

Myth # 6: Most Americans don’t support nuclear power.

Truth: In a survey[17] conducted in September 2013, it was found that 75% of Americans feel nuclear energy will be important in meeting the country’s future electricity needs, and 45% believe this importance will increase with time. In addition, 80% of respondents favor renewing operating licenses for nuclear power plants that continue to meet federal safety standards. Also, 68% believe that nuclear power plants operating in the United States are safe and secure.  Apparently, Abraham Lincoln was right when he said, “You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

Myth # 7: An American “Chernobyl” would kill thousands of people.

Truth: A Chernobyl-type accident could not have happened outside of the Soviet Union because this type of reactor was never built or operated here.  The known fatalities during the Chernobyl accident were mostly emergency first responders.[18] Of the people known to have received a high radiation dose, the increase in cancer incidence is too small to measure due to other causes of cancer such as air pollution and tobacco use.

Myth # 8: Nuclear waste cannot be safely transported.

Truth: Used fuel is being safely shipped by truck, rail, and cargo ship today.  To date, thousands of shipments have been transported with no leaks or cracks of the specially-designed casks.[19]

Myth # 9: Used nuclear fuel is deadly for 10,000 years.

Truth: Used nuclear fuel can be recycled to make new fuel and byproducts[20].  Most of the waste from this process will require a storage time of less than 300 years.  Finally, less than 1% is radioactive for 10,000 years.  This portion is not much more radioactive than some things found in nature, and can be easily shielded to protect humans and wildlife.

Myth # 10: Nuclear energy can’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Truth: Nuclear-generated electricity powers electric trains and subway cars as well as autos today.  It has also been used in propelling ships for more than 50 years. That use can be increased since it has been restricted by unofficial policy to military vessels and ice breakers.  In the near-term, nuclear power can provide electricity for expanded mass-transit and plug-in hybrid cars.  Small modular reactors can provide power to islands like Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Nantucket and Guam that currently run their electrical grids on imported oil.  In the longer-term, nuclear power can directly reduce our dependence on foreign oil by producing hydrogen for use in fuel cells and synthetic liquid fuels.

Nuclear power has provided us with a safe and non-carbon-polluting source of energy generation.  Nuclear power is too expensive due to archaic management techniques and obsolete technologies that are 50 years old.  There is still An Earthly Chance that nuclear power could assume a greater role in energy generation if people would wake up to the facts and let go of the myths perpetrated by Hollywood, the media and social media’s “fake news”[21] and political propaganda.



[3] Fusion of hydrogen into helium is how the sun works and most stellar masses throughout the universe.  We have not yet found a way to generate energy like our sun does in a controlled manner ( ).  Fusion energy has been promised to be only a few decades away, for the last 50 years, and it never comes!


[5]  – Incidentally, Scientific American promotes true science, not hysteria and political correctness, and distills it down to make it more popularly understandable.

[6] AKA gigatons


Science Fact – Taming the Genie: How Fear of the Atom Threatens Our Future C. Stuart Hardwick, 25-32.

[8] Ibid.,

[9] Ibid., MIT article.  5/6ths of social media information is an outright fabrication.

[10] Zucked:  Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe.

[11] National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.

[12] Brodsky, A. 1978. CRC Handbook of Radiation Measurement and Protection. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Inc.

[13] Meier,P.J., 2002. Life-Cycle Assessment of Electricity Generation Systems and Applications for Climate Change Policy Analysis.

[14] Nuclear Energy Institute (

[15] Krane, K.S., 1988. Introductory Nuclear Physics. John Wiley and Sons

[16] Nuclear Energy Agency, OECD report, 1999. Progress Towards Geologic Disposal of Radioactive Waste: Where do We Stand?

[17] Questionnaire for September 2013: National Public Opinion Tracking Survey, Bisconti Research, Inc.,

[18] Chernobyl Forum reports 20-year findings, offers recommendations, Nuclear News, Oct-05

[19] NRC: Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel, 2012

[20] K.S. Krane, Introductory Nuclear Physics, John Wiley and Sons, 1988

[21] Ibid., MIT article.  5/6ths of social media information is an outright fabrication.