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Title: Environmental hazards of fossil and nuclear power production.
Authors: Watson, GM
Issue Date: Jun-1972
Publisher: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
Abstract: It is now essential for engineers to recognise the environmental hazards which may be associated with their constructions and to make proper allowance from them when costing different solutions to a problem. Both nuclear and fossil-fuelled power stations present environmental hazards, and these can be traced from mines through processing plants to power station wastes. It is necessary that engineers develop an appropriate basis of comparison if they are to assess the relative environmental costs of nuclear and fossil-fuelled power stations; this must allow for effects on health, ecological effects and aesthetic effects. The biological effects of radiation have been fairly well quantified with respect to major exposures, but there is still uncertainty on the precise form of dose-response relationships at low doses, such as might be relevant to industrial and public health. There are also uncertainties for non-radioactive pollutants, and it is probably not very logical to treat the dose-effect relationships of radioactive and chemical pollutants as being quite different in nature, as is commonly done at present. There are internationally accepted standards for allowable radiation exposure. It is possible to base allowable discharges of radioactive contaminants to the environment on these standards, provided the modes of dispersion are understood and possible pathways to the exposure of man are recognised. The philosophy of radiation protection recognises that although radiation risks can be made very small, they cannot be abolished entirely, and that these risks must be balanced against the benefits of using radiation. These risks can be quantified and compared with other hazards of work and life which people accept, voluntarily or involuntarily. There are insufficient data available on the effects of health of various pollutants, and there is too little public agreement on the relative worth of mined and unmined natural resources, to allow a detailed comparison of the environmental hazards of nuclear and fossil-fuelled power stations, but it is possible to begin this comparison in limited areas.
ISBN: 064299465X
Appears in Collections:Scientific and Technical Reports

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