Energy Quote of the Day

There has been much discussion of the prospect of developing industrial power from the nuclear fission of uranium. This problem is enormously more complicated than the utilization of solar energy. . . . [W]hereas the solar radiations have been made harmless by natural forces, the artificially induced radiation retains all of its virgin malignity. Whereas the generation of solar energy presents no problem for us, the generation of nuclear energy from uranium is beset with dozens of very serious problems.Whereas solar energy is essentially perpetual, the supplies of uranium are definitely limited.

Eugene Ayres, “Power from the Sun,” Scientific American, August 1950, quoted in Frank Laird’s  Constructing the Future: Advocating Energy Technologies in the Cold War, Technology and Culture – Volume 44, Number 1, January 2003, pp. 27-49


  1. Has anyone compared the cancer risk/gigawatt from fission power plants to the risk of melanoma from sun exposure working on a solar plant? I know that as a uranium exploration geologist, our biggest radiation risk is the sun, but I’m curious if anyone has done a lifecycle analysis.

  2. As a radiation biologist who studied DNA replication in the presence of various forms of radiation, I know that such studies exist. The original ones are from the late ’60s or early ’70s. Google searches on ‘radiation biology’ or radiation induced cancers should find these studies. If that does not work, search for cell biology textbooks for advanced under graduates or first year graduates. The books in which the information would be easiest to find are ones from the early ’80s. Since then many pages in these books have been taken over by molecular biology and genomics so the studies that you desire only appear in the footnotes if they appear at all.

    Good luck.

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