Energy News Today

One Reason Nuclear Power Has Been Overlooked

Oct. 4, 2021 3:59 pm ET

The Byron Generating Station in Byron, Ill.


Arturo Fernadez/Associated Press

Robert Hargraves

is right to reject the theory that “any level of radiation is harmful” (“How Much Radiation Is Too Much?” op-ed, Sept. 22). This theory, proposed in 1946, before DNA was discovered, is a grave impairment to accurate public perception of radiation risks and the use of nuclear energy. Unfortunately, it has been the dominant belief of the Atomic Energy Commission and now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, although there was scant evidence of its truth in 1946 and even less now.

We now understand how radiation can damage our DNA, which is also damaged constantly due to exposure to sunlight and natural and artificial carcinogens in our food and air. We also know that our cells have no less than five molecular pathways that are active to repair DNA and prevent the development of cancer. Thus, low-level molecular damage from radiation or carcinogens is routinely repaired by our body, rendering these exposures harmless.

A 2018 meta-analysis of studies totaling 900,000 subjects concluded that low-level natural exposure to radon, common in some parts of the U.S., does not cause cancer. Nuclear remains the most practical, carbon-free source of energy for the world.

David R. Minor, M.D.

Walnut Creek, Calif.

Mr. Hargraves accurately outlines the problem with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But I think we need to be more direct. The environmentalists that opposed nuclear power and brought about the ridiculous NRC regulations are responsible for any global warming they now whine about. They forced America to keep burning oil, coal and natural gas instead of converting to nuclear energy. We could have been like France, which derives 70% of its electricity from nuclear energy and even exports some. But environmentalists (and the NRC) caused America to stick with fossil fuels.

Martin R. Wellens

Shorewood, Minn.

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