A Calculated Risk, Brass Tacks, BBC2 (1978)

Brass Tacks
A Calculated Risk
Radio Times, 19 April 1978

Tonight Brass Tacks examines some of the calculated risks involved in the development of nuclear power.

If the predictions of the nuclear industry are correct we can look forward to limitless cheap energy, economic growth and an increasingly powerful role in world affairs. If, however, the predictions of the opponents of nuclear power are correct, there is serious cause for concern. The dangers of the creation of plutonium in large quantities in conditions of increasing world unrest are genuine and serious. We should not rely for energy supply on a process that produces such hazardous substances as plutonium unless there is no reasonable alternative.

How far do you live from a nuclear Power Station?

*First ever TV programme to enable multimedia audience participation with live local radio phone-ins nationwide.

**The only TV programme to examine the long-term health effects of increasing radiation in the environment from nuclear power and reprocessing plants.

***No clips of this programme are available as the BBC wiped the tapes shortly after it was transmitted!

Despite Justice Parker’s report, despite parliamentary approval, the decision to allow British Nuclear Fuels to develop further at Windscale is meeting growing opposition. So how do we hold the public debate Peter Shore promised? How can we decide whether we are willing to accept the risks inherent in the development of nuclear energy? Eric Robson and Mike Dornan talk to people directly involved inside and outside the Brass Tacks Studio.

RAD: A unit used to measure the amount of radiation dose in the body.

REPROCESSING: The chemical separation of used nuclear fuel into uranium and plutonium and radioactive waste.

SOMATIC EFFECTS: Effects produced by radiation in the body of a person irradiated – usually cancer.

CURIE: Unit of radioactivity. The amount of radiation emitted by one gram of radium = 1 curie.

ENVIRONMENTAL PATHWAY: The route by which a radioactive substance which finds its way into the environment is transferred to man, e.g. air through grass to cows to milk to man; sea through fish to man.

CRITICAL GROUP: A group of members of the public who receive more radiation than any other people as a result of the discharge of radioactivity into their environment.

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