Watching one of the History Channel's "Mega Disasters" episodes, one about train derailments and nuclear waste. Brooke watching with me. It is astonishing how much science FAIL is in this episode. Claims like "nuclear waste is dangerous for tens of thousands of years" (when it's more like 300 years), and constant claims that the derailment of a train carrying nuclear waste would be this humongous catastrophe, worse than chemical spills. Which is such crap. The nuclear waste is transported so safely that a derailment of nuclear waste would be LOADS safer than the chemicals that are already being transported. Certain chemicals (like chlorine) in a derailment could disperse and wipe out an entire city, and those aren't being transported even 1/50th as safely. Whereas with the nuclear waste, the transport casks are so sturdy that you'd have to hit them with a powerful bomb to get any leakage at all. And nuclear leakage isn't as dangerous as things like the chlorine. Everyone freaks out about the nuclear waste, which is highly unlikely to kill anyone when it leaks,1 but nobody bats and eye at the hundreds of tanks of toxic chemicals, any one of which could kill every living person in the city. A nuclear waste spill would mean cleaning up a few blocks around the site. A chlorine spill could create a toxic cloud capable of killing everyone in the city. Yet it's the nuclear waste everyone goes nuts over.
Basically, the whole fucking episode boils down to "OMG NYOOCYOOLER WASTE!!! AHHHHHHH! BE AFRAID! BE AFRAID! RUN AROUND IN CIRCLES SCREAMING!!!"
And the critics' arguments boil down to "We will not be satisfied until you make nuclear waste shipping containers that even GOD ALMIGHTY couldn't break open!!!"
EDIT: Now they're doing their bullshit "oooh, nuclear waste spreading in a cloud over Las Vegas." I think they're assuming the nuclear waste is like the green goo on TMNT. When the truth is, things like the fuel pellets inside the rods are ceramic. (Keep in mind, some ceramics are so hard that you could hit them with a sledgehammer and they wouldn't even crack). How exactly does a cloud of ceramics go over a city?
1 = I asked Brooke if she thought that a train derailment of nuclear waste could kill someone, and she basically said that you'd have a much greater chance of being squashed by the container than of being killed by the nuclear waste spilling out.