In reponse to “A view from the bridge” (Economist, March 9 2019)

This letter is in response to “A view from the bridge”, a review of three books on Chernobyl, including the recent book by Kate Brown…

Written by

David Watson

May 10, 2019

This letter is in response to “A view from the bridge”, a review of three books on Chernobyl, including the recent book by Kate Brown, published by the Economist in their March 9 2019 edition.

A Chernobyl tourist enjoying themself with a dose meter (credit Flickr)

Reading your review of three books on Chernobyl (“A view from the bridge”, March 9th 2019), I was concerned by the suggestion that tens of thousands of scientists around the world — including at the IAEA and WHO — might have colluded to “cover up” the “true medical and environmental effects” of radiation from nuclear accidents, operating nuclear plants and nuclear medicine. Such conspiracy theories only serve to stoke exaggerated fears of radiation and foment distrust in science and experts. Nuclear techniques have given us, amongst many other things, life-saving medical imaging and cancer treatments, new varieties of drought-resistant wheat and high-yielding rice, and one of the best tools we have in the fight against climate change: clean, reliable and low-carbon nuclear power. A study from climate scientists at NASA estimated that by displacing more polluting energy sources nuclear power has saved 1.8 million lives (and counting).

Instead of fearing radiation from nuclear plants, readers would do better to worry about the air pollution from burning fossil fuels known to be responsible for around 8 million deaths every year, according to the WHO. But then again, what do the experts know?

David Watson

Editor-in-Chief, Generation Atomic

Guildford, UK

WRITTEN BY

David Watson

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