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Prof Wade Allison is Emeritus Professor of Physics and a Fellow of Keble College, Oxford. He spent his career in Particle Physics, and 20 years ago started an undergraduate Option in Medical Physics for which he published “Fundamental Physics for Probing and Imaging”. Since 2006 he has lectured around the world on the safety of radiation and the exceptional worldwide aversion to it that has been a cultural hallmark of the past 70 years.
He wrote an accessible account in his second book, “Radiation and Reason”, contrasting the acceptability of nuclear technology when used for human health with the phobia of it when used in the environment. Later, following the accident, he visited Fukushima several times and published “Nuclear is for Life”, a book in which he explores why such a powerful agent should be almost harmless to life. In his talk, he explains how such a powerful agent comes to be surprisingly harmless, and then why fossil fuels should be replaced by nuclear power, not “renewables”. To survive climate change we should be prepared for great changes to many aspects of life as we know it today. Such a transition will involve a bigger cultural transition than that of the Industrial Revolution. More significant than the required technical change is the transformation of education and lifelong learning. To construct a new society will take a generation, but only then may mankind be in a position to survive climate change.