Nuclear Power: Podcast Brunch Club (February 2020)

A curated episode list by Adela Mizrachi
Creation Date January 29th, 2020
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In February 2020, Podcast Brunch Club members around the world will be listening to and discussing episodes about Nuclear Power. Join us at one of our 70+ in-person chapters worldwide:
Fukushima. Chernobyl. Three Mile Island. There’s been some big nuclear accidents over the past few decades, but how dangerous is nuclear power really? We take you inside the core of America’s biggest nuclear power plant and trace what went wrong at Fukushima to try to figure out: when will the next meltdown happen? And what our chances are of getting cancer from it? This week we talk to Dr. Spencer Wheatley, Dr. Jonathan Samet, and Jack Cadogan, an executive at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station.UPDATE! We’ve made a couple of small changes to this episode, thank you to all the listeners who picked up on them.  1. We called the energy that comes from nuclear power a chemical reaction… it’s not. It’s a nuclear reaction. Chemical reactions involve the electrons in an atom. Nuclear reactions involve the nucleus.  2. We said that the Joker became The Joker After falling into a vat of radioactive waste. This is disputed. It seems it was a vat chemicals.. But what those chemicals were , that’s unclear. 3. A clarification: We said that the waste that nuclear power produces in the US… 2200 metric tons per year… was like 323 male African Elephants. That was a weight comparison. They weigh roughly the same… It wasn’t a three dimensional size comparison. Nuclear waste is much denser than an elephant, and so it takes up much less room. And if you want to read the most amazing calculation from an academic of how much bigger 323 African Elephants are in 3D space you’ve got to sign up to our brand spanking new newsletter! To do that head to  And FINALLY! We got a lot of feedback from that episode that listeners really wanted to hear how nuclear power compares to other energy sources: like coal, solar and wind! Now we decided that to do a fair comparison that really needs it’s own episode - it wasn’t as simple as just throwing out some numbers. So we’re working on that episode for next season. Our Sponsors:Cloudflare - To learn more visit episode has been produced by Heather Rogers, Ben Kuebrich, Shruti Ravindran and Wendy Zukerman.Kaitlyn Sawrey is our senior producer. We’re edited by Annie-Rose Strasser. Fact checking by Ben Kuebrich and Heather Rogers. Original music and mixing by Bobby Lord. Extra thanks to Leo Rogers, Joseph Lavelle Wilson as well as Prof. Steven Biegalski, Prof. Mark Jacobson, Jussi Heinonen, and Dr. Eric Grant.Selected References:Radiation Basics Primer from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory CommissionDr. Spencer Wheatley’s paper ‘Reassessing the safety of nuclear power’National Research Council Report on Health Risks from Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation
If we're going to embrace nuclear energy, we want to understand the effects of radiation and how to handle them. And that’s just the sort of work Dr. Lauren Jackson does! She joins us to talk about how radiation affects people, and what steps are being taken to protect the public in the event of a nuclear incident. Plus, she answers some caller questions, including one from Tiffany in Detroit who wonders: Should I be as scared of nuclear radiation as I am!? You can listen to ad-free new episodes of Science Rules! only on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of Stitcher Premium, go to and use promo code ‘SCIENCE.'This episode is sponsored by American Dental Association (, Credo Mobile (, DoorDash (code: SCIENCERULES), MagellanTV (, and Quality Logo Products ( code: SCIENCERULES).
Nuclear energy is still a controversial idea for many people, with dangerous accidents and destructive bombs being at the top of their minds when they hear the words, yet other renewable energy sources are not without their critics, and arguably are not yet at a place where they can entirely replace our current energy systems. So what role can, or should, nuclear be playing in the UK energy sector as we move towards a sustainable future? Join our host, philosopher Peter Millican, as he explores this topic with Professor Nick Eyre, Director of the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions, who in 1997 wrote the first published study on how the then Government’s 20% carbon emission reduction target might be achieved; Dr Sarah Darby, Acting Leader of the Energy Programme at Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, who has a particular interest in how energy systems might develop in more environmentally and socially-benign ways; and James Marrow, James Martin Professor of Energy Materials, whose work is focussed on the degradation of structural materials. Find out more about Oxford’s climate research at 
Every day, we go about our lives doing thousands of routine, mundane tasks. And sometimes, we make mistakes. Human error. It happens all the time. It just doesn’t always happen in a nuclear missile silo. This story was produced in collaboration with This American Life. *** If you enjoy this podcast, please consider making a donation to support our work! Thank you!

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