TrueNorth put some effort into a first comment. Excerpts:
It seems the big PR problem with nuclear is that when an accident happens the authorities seem to be winging it.
Nuke PR has been totally defensive since at least Three Mile Island. It’s terrible, though I wouldn’t blame anyone personally.
But, once an accident happens, I would have thought that an emergency response team, with heavy equipment, robots etc. should be able to handle pretty well anything.
He’s got further thoughts, well worth reading. But there are huge problems with the specialized response idea. Rather than making this a super-lengthy post, here’s how I answered. You’d have to spend millions upon millions for a situation never really expected to come up, and which might prove utterly useless anyway given a single unanticipated condition.
And cate also joins us in excellent style. She brought a gift: a very nice conversion chart for rad units.
She asks about radon, which we mention frequently but have never discussed. But in this post we’ll just relate another…Atomic Annn-ecccc-dote!
Ever wonder how we learned about home radon problems? I believe it was at Peach Bottom, a Pennsylvania nuclear station. A guy came in to work. He walked inside the gate, then remembered he’d left something in his car. To go back out he had to walk through the “portal monitor”, a radiation detector set right before the exit.
WHOOP WHOOP!! FLASHING RED LIGHTS!! WHOOP WHOOP!!
Those suckers are designed to make people want to never set them off again.
Rad techs come running out, he’s massively crapped up, head to toe. “Where have you been?!” “I just got here!” Yeah, right…
Then they find his car’s got detectable contamination all over the inside. They go to the house, start checking around, get into the basement aaaaand…it’s The OMG Hour.
He had one of the homes that really trapped radon, and a lot of coal country is just loaded with the stuff. The percentage of places like that is really low, but there are a few. Assuming they are dangerous (and some of them probably are), then nuclear power should get credit for potentially saving lives.
It doesn’t, of course.