by miriam berg
January, 2003

        i understand that Karen Street has an overpowering concern that we should use nuclear power sources instead of fossil fuels; that nuclear power sources are not as dangerous as we think they are; and that fossil fuels are much more harmful to ourselves and the environment than nuclear power sources.

        however, i have not been convinced of all these things; and i remain much more disturbed by the problem of nuclear wastes which we have only had for a few decades and do not know how to handle them than i am by pollution caused by consumption of fossil fuels, which we have lived with for several centuries and, except for its effect on those living or working near fossil fuel mines or plants, does not seem to pose the same degree of threat as nuclear power sources and the wastes they create, which last for millions of years and fill our entire atmosphere with harmful radiation with untold effects upon life.

        then also i have worked in the past with statistical studies which show that the health hazards posed by radiation sources and the risk of disease from radioactivity, especially cancer, are of the same order of magnitude as pouring chlorine gas into the atmosphere, which is lethal to all life. These studies show beyond a doubt that 1) persons working in or near nuclear power plants or nuclear research laboratories have a much higher incidence of cancer and radiation disease that others in the population; 2) that persons who have worked even for relatively short periods in such nuclear radiation centers have health issues and birth defects exceeding those even of the people they laster live among, so that the effects of radiation exposure are not only hazardous but longlasting.