Anti-Nuclear Power Hysteria and its Significant Contribution to Global Warming

Guest post by Michael Dickey (cross posted from his website matus1976.com)

The decline of nuclear power has had a significant effect on global carbon emissions and subsequently any anthropogenic global warming effect. To see the extent of this influence, let us first take a look at total U.S. carbon emissions since 1900.

According to the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, from 1900 to 2006, US carbon emissions rose from 181 MMT (million metric tons) to 1,569 MMT.

Taking a look at US electricity generation by type, according to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. generates 51% of its power from coal, and cumulatively about 71% of its power from fossil fuel sources.

Comparing the energy source to Carbon emissions, the burning of coal to generate electricity alone emits more CO2 than any other single source, about one-third of the total.

As the US Electrical Generation by Type figure shows, about 20% of the U.S. electrical supply comes from nuclear power. Let us now imagine that the U.S. never built any nuclear power plants, but instead built more coal plants to generate the electricity those nuclear plants would have generated.

According to the Energy Information Administration, since 1971, 18.6 billion MW•h (Megawatt hour) of electrical power have been generated by nuclear sources (1). According to the US Department of Energy, every kW•h (kilowatt hour) of electricity generated by coal produces 2.095 lbs of CO2 (2).

As the calculations in the table above show, every MW•h of electricity generated by coal generates 2,095 pounds of carbon dioxide. For 18.6 billion MW•h at 2,095 pounds of CO2 per MW•h, this amounts to 39.0 trillion additional lbs of CO2, or 17.7 billion metric tons. Finally, converting the 17.7 billion metric tons of CO2 to carbon results in 4.842 billion, or 4,842 million metric tons of carbon.

What all this shows is that had this power been generated by coal plants, an additional 4,842 million metric tons of carbon would have been released into the atmosphere. Breaking this calculation down by year, what would this have made our carbon emissions record look like?

Again in blue we see the real world US carbon emissions, but in green we see what the carbon emissions would have been if all the electricity generated by our nuclear infrastructure had instead been generated by coal power plants.

In all, carbon emissions would have been 14.6% higher, with 1,782 MMT of carbon released without nuclear power plants, while only 1,552 MMT are released with our current nuclear infrastructure. This is why many leading environmentalists, such as James Lovelock (author of the Gaia Hypothesis) are vocal supporters of nuclear power.

But this chart is not entirely fair to nuclear power, because the growth of nuclear power was severely derailed by environmentalist hyperbole and outright scaremongering. Because of the attacks by environmentalists on nuclear power, many planned power plants were cancelled, and many existing plants licenses were not renewed. The result, according to Al Gore himself in “Our Choice” was:

“Of the 253 nuclear power reactors originally ordered in the United States from 1953 to 2008, 48 percent were canceled, 11 percent were prematurely shut down, 14 percent experienced at least a one-year-or-more outage…Thus, only about one-fourth of those ordered, or about half of those completed, are still operating.” (3)

Let us take a look then at U.S. carbon emissions if the U.S. had simply built and operated the power plants that were originally planned.

Yup, that’s right people: if the US had simply built and operated the nuclear power plants it had planned and licensed, it would today be producing not only less carbon emissions than it did in 1972, but would in fact be emitting almost half the carbon emissions it is now.

But let’s not forget that the very planning and licensing of nuclear power plants was drastically affected by the anti-scientific opposition. Looking again at the Energy Information Administrations figures, the average sustained growth for nuclear generating capacity was increasing by about 28.8 million Megawatt hours for a 20 year period from 1971 to 1989

Here we see a chart taken from the EIA data which shows the growth of real nuclear generating capacity in blue, and the projected growth in red, had the growth of the previous 20 year period been sustained (remember, this is still only about one-fourth of the intended capacity). In this graph, any year which produced less than the average of the previous 20 years was increased to that average of 28.8 million MW•h.

Now let’s take this projected growth and imagine the U.S. had actually built a nuclear infrastructure at this level. What would our carbon emissions look like?

Incredibly, U.S. carbon emissions today would be almost one-fourth of what they are currently. These numbers are estimated by taking the average yearly increase from 1971 to 1989 in nuclear generating capacity and projecting it to the current day, and since these numbers are only one-fourth of the original planned capacity, the result is multiplied by four. In case you think my numbers are fanciful, let’s see if there are any countries out there that did not get entirely persuaded by the anti-nuclear hysteria, and how that affected their carbon emissions.

After the energy crisis of the 70s, France, which was highly dependent on imported oil for electricity production, decided to divest themselves of Middle Eastern oil dependence. Lacking significant fossil fuel deposits, they opted for a nuclear infrastructure. Today nuclear power generates about 78% of France’s electrical power supply, and it is today the world’s largest exporter of electrical energy. France alone accounts for 47% of Western Europe’s nuclear generated electricity (3).

While we do not see the production in France dropping to half of its 1970s levels as we would have in the U.S. had it continued the transition to a nuclear infrastructure, nevertheless the 40% reductions are close and tremendously significant.

Consider from the presented information what the total potential nuclear generating capacity for the US would be if it sustained the high level growth and achieved its planned capacity.

By the year 2000, the US nuclear infrastructure could have been generating 100% of the domestic electrical supply. This is not an extraordinary claim considering, again, that France generates 78% of electrical energy from nuclear power.

Extrapolating this to the global climate, let’s take a look at the global carbon emissions levels and compare them against a world where the U.S. sustained the first two decades of its nuclear infrastructure growth perpetually and ultimately achieved the original planned capacity.

In green, we see the existing global carbon emissions levels and in purple is the U.S. carbon emission levels if it continued to adopt a nuclear infrastructure. In red then, as a result, we see the global carbon levels would have been almost 15% lower than current levels.

I invite readers to extrapolate then where the total global carbon emissions would be if all the post-industrialized nations had adopted nuclear power – as their natural technological progressions would have dictated – if it were not for the hijacking of this process by anti-scientific hyperbole by scaremongering environmental activists. Many organizations – such as Green Peace, still ardently oppose nuclear power. And these levels, mind you, are only about one-tenth of what the Atomic Energy Commission was projecting based on demand during the 60s, where at its height 25 new nuclear power plants were being built every year, and the AEC anticipated that by the year 2000 over 1,000 nuclear power plants would be in operation in the U.S.. Today only 104 operate.

Let us project an educated guess as to what the resulting reduction in carbon emissions would have been had the European Union (which in 2005 generated 15% of their electricity with nuclear) Japan (34.5% nuclear) and finally, going into the future China and India as they fully industrialize.

All of these facts lead to one conclusion: if manmade global warming is a real problem, then it was in fact caused by environmental alarmism. That is not to say that some environmentalism has not been good, but this atrocious abandonment of reason hangs as an ominous cloud over everything environmentalists advocate. Rational environmentalists, such as James Lovelock, who want a high standard of living for humans and a clean planet are quick to change their minds about nuclear power. Irrational environmentalists who actually do not desire wealthy, comfortable lives for all people on the planet–as well as a clean planet–actively oppose nuclear power. Nuclear power is a litmus test for integrity within the environmentalist community.

If you want to spur the economy, stop global warming, and undermine the oil-fueled, terrorist-breeding, murderous theocracies of the world, the solution is simple: build nuclear power plants.

- Sources -

Energy Information Administration – http://www.eia.doe.gov/

US Electrical Generation Sources by Type – http://www.clean-coal.info/drupal/node/164

Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) – http://cdiac.ornl.gov/

CDIAC US Carbon Emissions – http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/emissions/usa.dat

CDIAC France Carbon Emissions – http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/fra.html

(1) – “18.6 billion MW•h (Megawatt hours) of electrical power have been generated by nuclear sources” – Energy Information Administration – http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/mer/pdf/pages/sec8_3.pdf

(2) – “every kW•h of electricity generated by coal produces 2.095 lbs of CO2” – US Department of Energy “Carbon Dioxide Emissions from the Generation of Electrical Power in the United States” – http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/FTPROOT/environment/co2emiss00.pdf

(3) – Al Gore (2009). Our Choice, Bloomsbury, p. 157.

(4) – “France alone accounts for 47% of western Europe’s nuclear generated electricity” – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 2008 World Nuclear Industry Status Report, http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/reports/2008-world-nuclear-industry-status-report/2008-world-nuclear-industry-status-re-1

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295 thoughts on “Anti-Nuclear Power Hysteria and its Significant Contribution to Global Warming

  1. “[...] Amid increasing fears of workers being exposed to high levels of radiation at the plant, hospitals in Tokyo called on the workers to provide samples of their blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells ahead of possible massive exposure.

    ”Anything could happen at the nuclear plant, so preparation is important,” said Shuichi Taniguchi, head of the hematology department at Toranomon Hospital.

    A person’s ability to form blood, when lost through radiation exposure, can be restored by transplanting his or her hematopoietic stem cells. Such a procedure is better than receiving a bone marrow transplant from another person as it avoids the risk of rejection.

    Toranomon Hospital in Tokyo’s Minato Ward said it is making preparations to take samples of the stem cells of around 50 to 100 workers on the front line at the plant. The cells will be preserved in a frozen state.

    The National Cancer Center in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward is also recommending that workers provide samples of their stem cells.”

    Source: Kyodo News

  2. Unfortunately projections and predictions aren’t all that accurate. But I do agree that energy security is being hijacked by the opponents of all forms of power production. The anti-nuclear campaigners protest new nuke stations. Global warming scaremongers protest fossil fuel stations. Other self-interest groups protest hydro.

    Buy stock in candles.

  3. So now we have come full circle for Marget Thatcher’s “CO2 is bad” science funding.

  4. Dang good post. Even though I do not agree with the CO2 hysteria, I hold that we should proceed with an accelerated nuclear power programme. Diversity makes sound sense.

    In the long run, there may be some advantage to the delay, as any nuclear plant constructed from today will be safe, even in a disaster. That is not true of some of the earlier designs.

  5. This is an excellent analysis showing just how much anti-nuke hysteria, often by the very same Greens who hyperventilate on global warming, has created the very “crisis” that the same anti-nuker, anti-fossil alarmists now are complaining about.

  6. Are picture links correct? All others on the site appear but not this post.

    [They show up fine on Firefox 4.0, try refreshing. Note if you are using Chrome, there is a good chance that Google is messing with rendering of stuff from our site . - MikeL]

  7. Nuclear power is not secure.

    Most scientists are wrong about global warming.

    This proofs: Science is not secure.
    If science is not secure, nuclear power is not secure.

  8. Alarmist reporting!

    Why do people still talk in terms of mass of CO2, I repeat CO2 not carbon, instead the proportion of the total annual global CO2 budget?

    The importance is the proportion not the mass because natures input is many times ours. In fact it has now been discovered that the global tectonic ridge system, which is the most volcanic system on the planet albeit below 2.5km of sea water, produces many more times the volume of CO2 than was previously thought. This will reduce the proportion of our CO2 input to that produced naturally.

    But anyway CO2 does not drive climate so why worry.

  9. No mention of the fact the the military demands for plutonium steered the technology in the 50′s and 60′s away from much safer nuclear power generation methods, such as thorium-based reactors.

    So while it may be true that the greens prevented nuclear growth, it is equally true that the military prevented safe nuclear in the first place – without that the greens would have had little grounds to object.

  10. Fail. When the author has graphs that purportedly represent carbon dioxide but have titles saying “carbon emissions,” I get the impression the author is ignorant (at best) or deliberately deceptive (at worst). Anyway, since any warming signal from CO2 is drowned out by the noise from natural variation, the article fails in its premise. How can a colorless gas that is food for plants be considered a pollutant that dirties the planet? Unless a barren world bereft of flora is the author’s ideal planet?

  11. No FT, no comment.

    George Monbiot (Guardian) – 21 March 2011
    “Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power”

    George Monbiot (Guardian) – 16 March 2011
    “Nuclear power remains far safer than coal”

    The Scotsman – 27 December 2010
    ‘Green’ Scotland relying on French nuclear power
    “SCOTLAND’S wind farms are unable to cope with the freezing weather conditions – grinding to a halt at a time when electricity demand is at a peak, forcing the country to rely on power generated by French nuclear plants. ”

    Lowering Deaths per Terawatt Hour for Civilization
    [Nuclear energy deaths are lowest]

    We have already seen how the push for biofuels has helped to push food prices up and increased deforestation [e.g. Indonesia palm oil / deforestation]. Are we seeing the same thing with the push to abandon nuclear energy? Are we seeing the law of unintended consequences unfolding?

  12. Ursula von den Laien says:
    March 30, 2011 at 12:26 am

    “[...] Amid increasing fears of workers being exposed to high levels of radiation at the plant, hospitals in Tokyo called on the workers to provide samples of their blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells ahead of possible massive exposure.

    Seems like a pretty sensible risk mitigation strategy to me. I would want some kind of insurance if there was even a slight risk of harm from radiation. could you tell us what you point actually was?

    If it was that there are risks in nuclear power, you miss the point that the fears appear to be unfounded, and the mitigation is a cheap and effective one that will allay fears in the main. If we did the same for every coal miner, what would we have to do?

    How many nuclear power workers have died from their job, and how many coal miners? How many people have died because of hydro-electric dams? Get some perspective!

  13. Dr. James Lovelock – [Gaia hypothesis] 2004
    ‘Only nuclear power can now halt global warming’

    Lovelock is a supporter of Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy

    “I hope that it is not too late for the world to emulate France and make nuclear power our principal source of energy. There is at present no other safe, practical and economic substitute for the dangerous practice of burning carbon fuels.”

    http://www.ecolo.org/lovelock/loveprefaceen.htm

    Though I disagree with his hypothesis about burning carbon fuels would lead to global destruction via tiny warmth. Cold is the real killer. The tropics flourish! Co2 and warmth is good.

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=574

  14. “Finally, converting the 17.7 billion metric tons of CO2 to carbon results in 4.842 billion, or 4,842 million metric tons of carbon.”

    That may be true, but carbon emission isn’t carbon, it’s carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

    So the 17.7 billion metric tons should applied to graph not 4.842 billion metric tons

  15. Not only is AGW Theory unsound, but the so-called ‘environmentalism’ that drives it is so illogical that it rejects the very power source that would have solved the imaginary problem. Coal mines, coal and gas fired power-stations, windmills, and even hydro-power kill more people than the nuclear power industry has managed and the statistics are easy to find. However people would rather believe in their nightmares.

  16. For the record, my opinion on Global Warming can be found here

    http://matus1976.blogsome.com/2008/10/24/global-warming-primer-solutions-and-complications-and-my-position/

    In short it is that while AGW might plausible it is unproven and is being used by power mongers tapping into our collective remnant of original sin to concentrate even more power into wannabe tyrants while curtailing industrial growth and putting us at a dangerous risk to the numerous other REAL threats to human life, civilization, and all life that only rapid and extensive industrialization can combat.

  17. In the UK, over the last 24 hours the power generation mix was coal 38%, nuclear 22% and wind a miserable 0.7%.
    Although coal is our biggest power source, our air had probably never been cleaner. Ironically, much of the warming in the UK over recent decades may be due to the cleaner air. We should be planning on building more coal-fired plants, but that’s effectively been cut off by the global warming delusion.
    Wind power is a complete joke, so naturally that’s what our government is going for.
    So that leaves nuclear. Despite recent events in Japan, nuclear is extremely safe. It’s bizarre to see the Germans abandoning nuclear in almost unseemly haste. When was there last a huge earthquake followed by a huge tsunami in Germany?

    Yes, quite possibly widespread use of nuclear would cut CO2 emissions.
    “If you want to spur the economy, stop global warming….”
    This is where I part company with the author. Almost certainly the mild global warming we experienced in the last century was of vast benefit for the world. History shows that the world is stormier when it’s cold (during the Little Ice Age there were storms in Europe that individually killed around 100,000 people), and that mankind has prospered when the world was warmer.
    Almost certainly AGW is wrong and CO2 has very little effect on the climate, as demonstrated by the ice cores.
    Over the next few decades nuclear and coal are the best options. Hopefully by around 2050 fusion will become viable. It promises an abundant source of cheap and clean energy. Hopefully also by then the global warming hysteria that today threatens mankind’s future well-being will be just a bad dream….
    Chris

  18. Of course, we have to remember that, with cooling ahead, we will need the advantages of all of this additional realized CO2 to augment and maximize our food supply. This lack of nuclear a may be for the good in the end.

  19. I have noted that the Chernobyl disaster has in fact not yet been resolved. It needs to be re-encapsulated but they don’t have the money for it. I would have thought that after the Japan disaster, which, in severity, is beginning to look as bad as the Chernobyl disaster, nobody in their right mind would still want to propogate nuclear energy. Rather stick to using natural gas. The extra carbon dioxide is just fine!
    A bigger carbon footprint is better!

    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/more-carbon-dioxide-is-ok-ok

  20. Michael, I refer to your concluding statement.
    “If you want to spur the economy, stop global warming, and undermine the oil-fueled, terrorist-breeding, murderous theocracies of the world, the solution is simple: build nuclear power plants.”

    Oh Michael!
    The economy is most effecient when power is prodcued most economically.
    Coal fired power stations are more economical than necular.

    And unfortunately you will not banish terorists by reducing the income of the countries in which some of them live.
    Their ideology was developed hundreds of years ago, long before the Western nations came out of their long medieval sleep.
    Many terorists come from very poor countries as it is.

    You also have failed to realise the positive impact on food production caused by the increasing level of CO2 emissions.
    Your “solution” would lead to starvation in the porest parts of the world.
    That would only encourage extermism as people battle to survive.

    Your “simple solution” is simply wrong.

  21. The future of nuclear power is controlled entirely by politics, and the politics requires that all nuclear power be phased out. The economics are irrelevant. The technology is irrelevant. CO2 emissions are irrelevant. Nuclear power is perceived by both the public and politicians to be inherently unsafe, and no amount of “public education” will change that.

    Unfortunately, the only alternative to nuclear power is fossil fuels. Wind, solar, bioethanol, biodiesel, et al are not alternatives, they are instances of large-scale criminal fraud.

  22. Really no comparison here. CO2 is as risk-free as any substance can be, while nuclear power is demonstrably not so.

  23. Stephen Brown says:
    March 30, 2011 at 12:53 am
    Rational minds can understand easily that nuclear powered electricity generation is the sensible path to follow

    I would rephrase as follows:
    Rational minds Short Term Thinking can understand rationalise easily that nuclear powered electricity generation is the sensible expedient path to follow

    Or perhaps:
    Rational minds can understand easily that nuclear powered electricity generation is the sensible path to follow if you wish to develop nuclear weapons and long term nuclear waste storage facilities while running the long term risks of nuclear accidents.

    Or perhaps:
    Rational minds can understand easily that nuclear powered electricity generation is the sensible path to follow an accident waiting to happen.

  24. Is anyone who is pro-nuclear actually aware that accidents like the one in Fukishima are supposedly happening every 17000 years, according to Official Doctrine, and that we have already witnessed 4 (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Mayak, Fukushima) over the last 42 years, not to mention a far larger number of near-accidents?

    That means that the statistics are wrong and misguiding. Let’s assume more realistically with a maximum likelihood approach on the basis of the empirical data we have now that roughly every 15 years (if we optimistially assume that 3 Mile Island wasn’t too bad in its consequences), we will render large areas of our planet uninhabitable, and then have to guard these areas for centuries, and they still cause nasty disease and genetic defects in the population. Every 15 years on average. Now, do you still like the nuclear option?

    This analysis doesn’t even mention yet the invisible costs of safety management, and waste processing.

    Cheers,

    JP

  25. This site has contributed more than any other to debunking the baseless notion that the CO2 we are emitting is some kind of universal evildoer that will bring the world to catastrophe if we don’t stop emitting it. It has been shown convincingly here, over and over, from all possible angles, that this notion is ridiculous, and that the effects, if any, of the CO2 concentration increase we may expect to achieve even after burning all remaining fossil fuels, will probably be positive on balance.

    Concerns about the effects of nuclear accidents, and about the effects of a proliferation of nuclear plants that will very likely increase the frequency of such accidents, belong in a completely different category.

    We have become so used to seeing one silly alarmist story after another regarding climate, that we now transfer our dismissive reflex to something that is genuinely serious and worrisome, such as the very real and very nasty effects of spilling radioactive materials in the air, the ground and the water.

    I don’t know if the author of this post really believes in the official fairy tale of CO2 as a pollutant and ruthless ruler of temperatures, floods, droughts, quakes and whatnot — and that therefore it is an urgent matter to reduce emissions of this tyrant — or if he is just using this as a rhetorical device to promote the virtues of nuclear energy.

    In any case, it’s very odd that an article on this site rests its entire argument on the very premise that this site has been justifiably demolishing since its inception, and that commenters who know full well how fake this premise is, pretend to go along with it for the ride.

    CO2 induced “climate disruption” or whatever the latest name is, is a totally discredited pseudo-scientific bogeyman story, and this site has contributed greatly to the important task of exposing it for what it is.

    The effects of liberating radioactive materials through nuclear plant accidents, the statistical probability of such accidents recurring periodically if nuclear energy is allowed to proliferate with current technology — that kind of discussion belongs in a totally different universe. It is dishonest to momentarily pretend to go along with the CO2 nonsense in order to promote nuclear energy. Unless of course you are George Monbiot, who sincerely believes in the nastiness of CO2 and the kindness of radioactive plutonium, cesium and the rest of the gang.

  26. “Incredibly, U.S. carbon emissions today would be almost one-fourth of what they are currently.”

    Impossible. The first figure shows surface transportation accounts for 30% of emissions and I don’t see how any number of nuclear stations are going to reduce the total emissions to 25% of present levels.

  27. Nuclear energy costs 20% more to generate than coal. Coal has increased atomospheric CO2 which in turn has boosted agricultural output by an estimated 15%.

    Figure out the cumulative effect on global economy which would happen if agricultural output had not grown by 15% while at the same time energy cost had grown by 20%.

    Unless one accepts the hysterical fantasy that increasing atmospheric CO2 is bad then nuclear power has no redeeming virtues at all. I fail to see why any global warming skeptic would be a nuclear power proponent. Non sequitur!

  28. C777 says:
    March 30, 2011 at 1:38 am

    At the moment the terminally stupid UK government are to demand safety standards on new Nuclear plants in the UK to adhear to irrationally high safety standards thus making them uneconomical to build and run.
    It’s obviously just a knee jerk reaction to a forty year old power plant in 9.0 earthquake !
    How foolish is that ?
    ====================
    This attitude is discouraging. There is no such thing as”irrationally high safety standards” when the objective is trying to ensure that someting as uniquely nasty as a major nuclear plant accident occurs. If you are going to have nuclear plants, the standards have to be high, sky high, to ensure at all costs that these messes cannot happen. If our current technology does not allow us to ensure this, then we wait until it does.
    The 40-year old bit and the 9.0 earthquake bit don’t make sense either. There are many old nuclear plants in the world. And as for big earthquakes, they are also part of our world — we cannot legislate them out of existence.

    This kind of stuff needs to be prevented at all costs:

    http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/elephants-foot.html

    And until someone demonstrates that CO2 can accomplish anything remotely similar, carbon emissions should be left out of the discussion.

  29. Or perhaps:
    Rational minds can understand easily that nuclear powered electricity generation is the sensible path to follow if you wish to manufacture depleted uranium munitions

    Or perhaps:
    Rational minds can understand easily that nuclear powered electricity generation is the sensible path to follow provided you don’t disclose the true costs

    Or perhaps:
    Rational minds can understand easily that nuclear powered electricity generation is the sensible path to follow provided future generations keep paying your nuclear waste disposal bills

    Or perhaps:
    Rational minds can understand easily that nuclear powered electricity generation is the sensible path to follow provided you can afford the insurance premiums

    Or perhaps:
    Rational minds can understand easily that nuclear powered electricity generation is the sensible path to follow if you don’t pay the insurance premiums

  30. Great graphs!

    Another factor that happened at roughly the same time for roughly the same reason: we stopped building hydroelectric dams around 1970. Part of the reason at that point was just good old NIMBY. Later the Greens enforced the ban with the anti-scientific and anti-Darwinian Endangered Species Act. But more dams wouldn’t help nearly as much as more nukes, because (as Patrick Moore points out) the biggest and best hydro rivers in North America are already dammed.

  31. I am reminded, from time to time, of a quote from “Independence Day”. Select groups of environmentalists sound like the alien when the president asks it what we can do to get along… the alien answers: “Die!”

  32. Jer0me says:
    March 30, 2011 at 2:38 am

    “How many nuclear power workers have died from their job, and how many coal miners?”

    The salient question would be how many uranium miners have died from their jobs.

    You people seem to think uranium fuel rods grow in trees. One might also inquire about how many nuclear weapons there would be on this planet if there weren’t any nuclear power plants churning out the fissionable materials required to make them.

    Once one rightly eliminates lower carbon emission as a virture then nuclear power is all downside and no upside.

  33. I see a lot of commenters on this thread are in agreement with me. Please excuse my insinuation that most are not. It appears that the authors writing pro-nuclear articles for this blog are the ones with their heads positioned where the sun don’t shine and there is no representative for the con-nuclear side except amongst the commenters. Nuclear energy has no redeeming virtues unless one is an AGW alarmist so either the authors are:

    1) AGW appeasers, or

    2) so knee-jerk anti-green they’re willing to embrace any energy source the greens oppose, or

    3) are closet AGW believers that oppose it only because amelioration is expensive, or

    4) aren’t playing with a full deck

  34. One way to destroy a modern civilization economically is to eliminate the ability to produce adequate and reliable electricity. To accomplish such a suicidal task there must be a reason that the very power that has brought success and a better life must be abandoned. That reason does not have to be true, just that people believe it. Unfortunately there are politicians and scientists willing to promote disaster.

    And while the power generating capacity is being destroyed the demand for power can be reduced by moving power consuming industry out of the countries of the West to the third world that will use the technology, equipment and procedures developed in the West to grow their economy and improve their way of life at the expense of the West. The reason for such a transfer of wealth is we will have customers for the products we no longer produce. Maybe two ways among others.

  35. Or perhaps:
    Rational minds can understand easily that nuclear powered electricity generation is the sensible path to follow until nuclear fallout / emissions raise the level of background radiation to dangerous levels

    Or perhaps:
    Rational minds can understand easily that nuclear powered electricity generation is the sensible path to follow provided you are willing to accept that some land will be permanently uninhabitable

  36. Don’t me wrong though. If nuclear power were cheaper than coal I’d be singing a different tune. I’m all for cheap, renewable, abundant, clean energy with my priorities in that order. If it isn’t first and foremost less expensive than extant sources then I’m not going to get very excited about it. Energy cost is a major component in just about everything that raises living standards. Higher cost means lowered living standards and vice versa. My interest is in continued rise of living standards i.e. the greatest good for the greatest number. Increasing the cost of energy and lowering the amount of atmospheric CO2 are both counter-productive to rising standard of living.

  37. Interesting analysis.

    Certainly nuclear safety concerns are now paramount. We also know the newest plants are much safer with their passive cooling systems.

    However, the largest barrier to nuclear power expansion is cost. Cheap power = prosperity. The latest designs (like the Westinghouse AP1000, know as gen III+) are simpler designs that can be approved once and then replicated. In 2005, Westinghouse touted $2000/kw construction costs for the first reactor and then falling to $1000/kw in volume.

    If $1000/kw and the promised 3 year construction cycles can be achieved these plants will be cheaper than coal. Unfortunately, now the first plants are coming in at least $3500/kw. At that price they are no longer competitive (about $.08/kwh).

    I’ve seen no analysis in the press why the price has changed or if there is any hope in eventually hitting the $1000/kw target. This is the key question for nuclear growth.

  38. Excellent post. But I have one quibble with the statement at the end about undermining “the oil-fueled, terrorist-breeding, murderous theocracies of the world.” More nukes would have little effect on oil imports. Nuclear power plants produce electricity. Electricity is not produced by burning oil except in negligible amounts by diesel generators, residual oil burned in boilers, etc. We make electricity from coal, nukes, natural gas, hydro – and in minute amounts from wind and solar. We import oil primarily for transportation fuels – gasoline, diesel and jet fuel – and secondarily for heating oil. And as long as batteries have far less energy density and cost far more than petroleum based fuels, we will continue to do so. Unfortunately this is a misconception shared by politicians on both sides of the aisle – dems want to reduce oil imports with more windmills and solar panels, repubs with more nukes. Both approaches produce electricity; neither does anything about oil imports.

  39. I am generally pro-nuclear power. I took physics classes in a lecture hall on top of one. However, I have always found it odd that the right was pro-nuclear as nuclear power involves big government subsides and protections. Ironic? It is indeed tragic that the left became so invested in being anti-nuclear power. Of course, there are real risks and legitimate fears and I am leery that a right leaning administration would be negligent in enforcing safety. I’d prefer the approval process was easier but the inspection and enforcement was very tough.

    Today many environmental activists are pro-nuclear power but many are not. It seems the current administration will continue to push for nuclear with Republican support. For a pro-nuclear power pro-climate change mitigation site see: http://bravenewclimate.com/

  40. This entire post is irritating, because so very much in it is wrong. If one wanted to stop warming the planet, as if that were a good thing, one would shut down immediately every nuclear power plant and replace it with a natural-gas-fired combined cycle gas turbine plant. The thermal emissions are less by about 2 to 1. Secondly, if one wanted to be a responsible steward of the Earth’s limited fresh water resources, one would shut down every nuclear power plant that is cooled by a river – such as the South Texas Nuclear Power plant near Houston, Texas. The water required for cooling the nuke is not available for farming or domestic purposes.

    But most importantly, if one wanted to provide affordable, reliable power to the people of this world, one cannot do that by building nuclear power plants. They simply cost far too much to build, and must charge at least 30 cents per kWh to recover those costs. Perhaps that is the reason that Warren Buffet, a well-known billionaire, has not invested in a new nuclear power plant venture. He has the money, he could easily write a check.

    Today’s grim news from Japan is that plutonium is leaking from at least one of the reactors, indicating a meltdown of some degree has occurred. This is in Japan, one of the most technologically advanced nations on Earth. One shudders to think of how a less-advanced nation would (and someday will) cope with a similar or even worse nuclear disaster.

    For more on why nuclear power is not safe, not clean, not affordable, see my entry at

    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/reconsider-nuclear-power-is-it-ever.html

    Forget the CO2-climate-is-warming scaremongering.

  41. Chris Wright says:
    March 30, 2011 at 3:31 am

    “This is where I part company with the author. Almost certainly the mild global warming we experienced in the last century was of vast benefit for the world. History shows that the world is stormier when it’s cold (during the Little Ice Age there were storms in Europe that individually killed around 100,000 people), and that mankind has prospered when the world was warmer. Almost certainly AGW is wrong and CO2 has very little effect on the climate, as demonstrated by the ice cores.”

    Right on.

    “Over the next few decades nuclear and coal are the best options. Hopefully by around 2050 fusion will become viable. It promises an abundant source of cheap and clean energy.”

    Fusion isn’t going to be viable until materials are invented that can withstand for long the intense environment of the reaction chamber. So far there is nothing conceivable that can do it. And that’s just one hurdle albeit the worst one IMO – a real show stopper. “Abundant source of cheap and clean energy”… where I have I heard that before? Oh yeah, back in the 1960′s they were saying that about nuclear power. That didn’t pan out either due to the same class of problems – initial capital cost and ongoing maintenance expense. At least nuclear fission reactors were known to be possible and practical at the time which is more than you can say for fusion even after 50 years of R&D.

    Synthetic biology is the next revolutionary technology. It’s imminent. Mark my words.

  42. @Jer0me on March 30, 2011 at 2:38 am,

    Re how many people died from hydroelectric dams.

    One might consider how many people’s lives were saved over the centuries from well-built, long-lasting dams that prevented catastrophic flooding. Then, consider how many people’s lives were prolonged, made better, by having steady, reliable access to life-giving fresh water for farming and domestic use because the water was stored behind a dam, and did not run destructively down a river valley into the sea in a very short time.

    Most dams were built to stop the flooding and horrible loss of life that occurred, and the hydro-electric systems were installed because they could be and should be, so as not to waste a valuable resource.

  43. @C777 says: March 30, 2011 at 1:38 am
    “At the moment the terminally stupid UK government are to demand safety standards on new Nuclear plants in the UK to adhear to irrationally high safety standards thus making them uneconomical to build and run.
    It’s obviously just a knee jerk reaction to a forty year old power plant in 9.0 earthquake !
    How foolish is that ?”

    As foolish as you might expect from the Coalition (or the Tories, or the Dims, or Labour, or the Greens).

    Don’t forget that the LibDem Election 2010 manifesto promised 100% carbon emission cuts by 2050 without nuclear.

    Don’t forget both Clegg & Cameron have direct personal financial interests (through spouse / spouse’s father) in BigWind.

    From the Telegraph piece you quote:-
    “They [the next generation power stations] have to be safe, and we cannot let the taxpayer be ripped off, which is what they always have been in the past.”

    Which is why they like BigWind? No rip-off there, surely?

    Lastly, a superb piece from The Register:-

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/28/osbourne_new_green_elite/

    Truly, we are governed by a bunch of greedy, dogmatic incompetents.

    And as Roy Spencer has pointed out, the war on Global Warming is, in reality, a war on the poor.

  44. “I will take 100 trillion tons of co2 instead of one ton of plutonium over me thank you”

    Why would the plutonium be “over” you?

    As medieval peasants feared witches and demons, the modern peasant fears “nuclear”.

  45. “If you want to spur the economy, stop global warming, and undermine the oil-fueled, terrorist-breeding, murderous theocracies of the world, the solution is simple: build nuclear power plants.”
    ———-
    Building nuclear plants will have no effect on despots and terrorist theocracies—oil is used primarily for transportation not electrical generation. Only increasing domestic production will put the squeeze on the Middle East, Venezuela et al.

  46. So in the last 100 years the global climate has warmed a few tenths, maybe. Nobody yet knows why or even if it is a good or bad thing. There’s also nothing new about this as the temperature has been rising for thousands of years. CO2 has gone up but is creating no obvious problems. What, exactly, is the measured contribution of the missing nuclear energy to the temperature rise, and how much nuclear energy would be required to reverse the rise caused by the lack of nuclear energy and over what time frame? How cold would it be today if we had brought nuclear onto the grid 500 years ago?

  47. Bull Cr**.

    That only works if the government mandates Nuclear power exclusively. CO2 isn’t evil and coal is cheaper. If you power the grid with Nuke power by stifling competition through government mandates, I will heat my home with coal that is so cheap transporting it will be 90% of the cost. Every industrial application that requires heat or steam would still be coal powered unless there was some sort of ban on it.

    Only government anti-competition laws like Nuke plant subsidies could force us to buy m0re expensive energy. When the coal runs out, you can build all the nuke plants you want.

    By the way, I love technology and have no fear of nuclear power. I work in a coal fired plant and would love to work at a nuke plant.

  48. While this article is bright and well-written, it misses the point trying to show reason to the econuts. Their real objective is to take us back to preindustrial times. Coal is evil, so is nuclear, and comparing them is irrelevant for them, except as the argument of the moment. Imagine you managed to switch from coal to nuclear, decreasing CO2 emissions by 50%. The econuts would at once start attacking nuclear plants for being extremely dangerous. And so on and on. To the paleolithic and far beyond.

  49. First of all, coal is carbon. When burned, the result is carbon dioxide, not more ‘carbon’. If we could get plain carbon from burning coal, we could feed it right back into the fire and get close to perpetual motion—or perpetual fire, anyway!

    Second, there is no evidence that mankind’s contribution of carbon dioxide to the terrestrial environment (atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere) has any measurable effect on weather, climate, or anything else except perhaps a bit of enhanced plant growth.

    Third, as we repeat ad infinitum here, if we could somehow warm up the Earth’s many climates and stave off the next Ice Age, by generating more CO2 or by any other means, that would be a Good Thing. How is it that a guest author doesn’t know this?

    But fourth, yes, more nuclear power would be dandy, especially the new technologies which recycle and re-use nuclear waste, and small, modular nuclear units that are much safer than giant plants that depend on complex cooling systems. And yes, the whacko enviro-nazis have stymied nuclear power development in the USA with the same irrational fervor that they insist we stop burning anything.

    But let’s not base our pro-nuclear argument on the false premise that CO2 (not to mention ‘carbon’) is somehow bad for us.

    /Mr Lynn

  50. Nuclear is only our best route IF the effects of more CO2 emissions are as risky as the inevitable occasional releases of radioactive material.

    It seems increasingly likely that the effects of CO2 emissions have been grossly overstated.

    So the Law of Unintended Consequences applies. In an effort to avoid unproven risks we are now being pushed in a demonstrably riskier direction by many of those who profess to be supporting risk reduction.

    In the meantime there are new technologies being researched that could greatly help to reduce reliance both on fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

    We should stick with fossil fuels and use them freely but invest heavily in research into sensible non nuclear alternatives. Solar and windpower are NOT sensible alternatives.

    On the basis that CO2 is not as problematic as first thought we should be looking at timescales of a century or two to stabilise global population and find more sustainable energy production systems.

    Time for all policy makers to take a deep breath and to take stock.

  51. My personal take:

    CO2 has little to do with “global warming”.

    Nuclear power is generally safe, and makes sense.

    Nuclear power can be even safer (Thorium reactors for example).

    Diversifying energy sources is usually a good idea (although diversifying into things that are expensive and terribly inefficient (read “windmills”) is pretty nonsensical).

    Cheap and abundant energy is what causes prosperity. Expensive and insufficient energy causes poverty.

  52. I work at a nuclear plant. Carbon/CO2 emissions are irrelevent other pollutants from fossil fuels are relevent but should not turn us completely away from fossel fuels. The legitimate economic benefit of nuclear is it provides some price stability to changing fossil fuel prices. If you believe nat gas will stay cheap for at least the next 60 years then we should build NOTHING but combined cycle nat gas plants. If you would like to buy some of tomorrow’s electricity generation with today’s dollars then nuclear has some merit. Existing nuclear plants are some of the cheapest generation on the grid because they have low O&M costs. The only source that is consistently cheaper is hydro when available.

  53. Steveta_uk says:

    “No mention of the fact the the military demands for plutonium steered the technology in the 50′s and 60′s away from much safer nuclear power generation methods, such as thorium-based reactors.

    So while it may be true that the greens prevented nuclear growth, it is equally true that the military prevented safe nuclear in the first place – without that the greens would have had little grounds to object.”

    Whilst mostly true regarding the U cycle cf Th, you are wrong about the greens’ objections, which were more about radiophobia than proliferation. Just refer to the Neville Shute’s book : “On the Beach” which greatly influenced successful anti-nuke campaigner Helen Caldecott. I have always believed proliferation to be the greater problem – though the U cycle has, thus far, has evidently been prolifiation resistant.

  54. Well Patrick You are making a bad choice. I will take Nuclear over absolutely any other source for long term safety and environmental impact. Even the primitive plants affected by the earthquake in Japan are hugely safer and cleaner than any possible alternative.

    Think about it, If they had been top of the line coal plants wouldn’t the ground water be permanently polluted for many miles around? Wouldn’t everyone working at the plant be dead already? In fact wouldn’t the radiation released into the environment be higher? The answer is, of course, yes to all of these questions.

  55. Here are some of the things I’ve read or seen today. I need to stay away from the news.

    From a CNN video a few days ago, a Japanese-American theoretical physicist, Michio Kaku, is urging the Japanese government to start entombing the reactors immediately, saying the politicians are in a fantasy land abut the seriousness of the problem, and that it will not go away.

    From The Guardian today:
    Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian workers at the site appeared to have “lost the race” to save the reactor, but said there was no danger of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/29/japan-lost-race-save-nuclear-reactor

    From Bloomberg today, reporting the Japanese are now considering entombing the site.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-30/record-high-levels-of-radiation-found-in-sea-near-crippled-nuclear-reactor.html

    Finally, a certain Dr. Tom Burnett writing at the HawaiiD aily News wears that this will “dwarf Chernobyl” when the mass of molten nuclear material reaches the water table under the site. I assume and hope he is only babbling or describing a nightmare he has had.

    http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2011/03/when-the-fukushima-meltdown-hits-groundwater/

  56. Dave Springer says:
    March 30, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Increasing the cost of energy and lowering the amount of atmospheric CO2 are both counter-productive to rising standard of living.

    I would suggest that were nuclear power generation more widely accepted and used the cost would naturally be significantly lower. That’s just how economics works. Add an hysterical fear of radiation, and various “social” priorities to the mix, then it starts getting expensive.

    Radiophobia — or an irrational fear of radiation — is, in my half-wit opinion, the sole reason for the ridiculous cost of nuclear power generation. Far, far more people die from skin cancer caused by the sun, yet there is no rush to ban daylight.

  57. Supercritical carbon dioxide (S-CO2) is, I believe, used as an extraction solvent for decaffeinating coffee, dry cleaning, extracting hash oil ( from cannabis), determining PAH levels and, by drug companies, in the production of nano particles .

    Now researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are shortly hoping to be able to demonstrate vastly improved power generation using S-CO2 Brayton-cycle turbines.

    They hope to demonstrate that thermal-to-electric conversion efficiency will be increased by 50 percent for nuclear power stations equipped with steam turbines, or 40 percent for gas turbines.

    https://share.sandia.gov/news/resources/news_releases/brayton-cycle-turbines/

  58. C777 says:
    March 30, 2011 at 1:38 am

    At the moment the terminally stupid UK government are to demand safety standards on new Nuclear plants in the UK to adhear to irrationally high safety standards thus making them uneconomical to build and run.

    There will be lessons learned from Japan. Most of it will involve relatively inexpensive safety upgrades. Even if an additional $100 million were spent on safety upgrades it doesn’t impact the overall cost that much.

    Given the current cost of coal in Europe, $130/tonne as of yesterday, keeping a coal fired plant running 24/7 fed with coal for a year costs $520 million.

  59. I note that virtually none of the advocates of increased
    use of fission reactors will discuss accelerated
    additional research funding for fusion reactors.

    Fusion reactions don’t require uranium or plutonium for
    fuel. They don’t generate the cesium, iodine, strontium
    or other isotopes that come with fission reactions.

    If you advocate nuclear and mean fusion for power
    generation in the future, I’m right there with you.

    Otherwise, I’ll go with “clean coal” technologies.

  60. Increased CO2 = increased atmospheric warming is merely a hypothesis right now – Increased CO2 from coal-fired electrical generators = increased plant growth + electricity supply is a fact – the real risk to human life lies in be mining safety and ‘dirty’ stack emissions. I am sure that by the use of appropriate engineering standards, risks can be minimised from coal mining, just as the risks from nuclear electricity generation can be minimised. In my view, the use of both seems sensible.

  61. With nuclear, gas, coal and oil power all being attacked by irrationality beyond reason, I shall take note of likely future trends and get “ahead of the wave” in selecting a nice, natural cave to live in and try to corner the market in stone age tools ahead of the “green” idiots forcing us all to live like stone age cavemen!

  62. 9.0 Earthquake and tsunami: more than 10,000 dead, 20,000 missing, $300B in damage, several % reduction in Japanese GDP, shortages of Japanese manufactured goods (including shutdowns in US auto plants). What part of this damage is due to nuclear power? Almost none. Conclusion: In a major earthquake, nuclear power wasn’t a major contributor to the disaster. What’s on the news: Detection of non-hazardous amounts of radioactivity, a few workers with high, but safe, exposure. What should be on the news? a) Did the design of this plant (and others) anticipate a tsunami? Was this danger reviewed after the recent tsunami in South Asia? b) Loss of power to cool reactor cores and spent fuel will lead to release of hydrogen, explosions, and loss of total containment: How secure is the backup power supply at US plants in natural disaster or terrorist incidents? c) How does this incident compare with Chernobyl and TMI. How much worse can it get based on what has happened so far?

  63. Someone commented on “land will never be inhabitable again”.

    This is simply not true. Chernobyl is nearing normal levels (you can visit, but I wouldn’t recommend living there for a year), and I guess all those people currently living in Hiroshima are just figments of our collective imagination?

    @ “How about all the uranium miners who have been killed” – a simple price floor on uranium (doubling it) would make it economically feasible to extract it from seawater with virtually no increase in the cost of actual nuclear power plants. This would also solve any “we’ll run out in 50 years!” nonsense doomsayers.

    @ “BUT CO2 IS NOT BAD” – CO2 is not the only bad thing produced by fossil-fuel burning plants. I challenge you to inhale burning coal straight into your lungs.

    Yes, nuclear is a much worse option if a bunch of random fears you learned from movies about it were true. Luckily, they aren’t.

  64. The environmental decision on nuclear power generation should not be solely focused on carbon dioxide emissions but rather on heat energy and water released to the atmosphere. Nuclear power plants are not as efficient as coal fired power plants so emit more heat energy and water into the atmosphere.

    In the electric power generation process both yellow cake and coal change potential energy into kinetic energy when the heat is released as useable electricity and rejected as water vapor and water aerosols via the evaporative cooling towers.

    The electricity is converted back into specific heat when consumed by the end devices and illumination. The water vapor rises and is converted back into specific heat when it is condensed to rainfall in the cooler atmosphere. The aerosols form clouds and coalesce into rainfall at somewhat lower altitudes. The specific heats warm the atmosphere.

    Coal fired power plants have considerably lower capital and operating costs. Nuclear power plants have lower cost fuel. Coal fired power plants have a considerably better catastrophic failure record. The hazard zone from a catastrophic failure of a coal plant is much smaller than a nuclear plant. From a national security perspective, the US has much larger reserves of coal than yellow cake.

    Natural gas as fuel for electric power generation beats both coal and yellow cake in almost all aspects. However, natural gas is a much better source of feedstock for petrochemical plants. Coal can be used for feedstock but is very costly to convert into a synthetic gas.

    Many things need to go into selecting a fuel for electric power generation. Simply claiming that nuclear power generation plants do not cause global warming so should be selected is myopic.

  65. Do you really expect people to be logical and consistent? Particularly the anti-nuke and anti-fossil fuel people whose zealotry is driven by feelings and not facts? Dealing with the real-world, and the messy trade-offs it entails, is not one of their key strengths.

  66. Am I missing something here but isnt Co2 simply a beneficial plant food whereas nuclear material will either kill you or make you seriously unhappy depending on exposure?

    Yes I know nukes are meant to be be safe and perhaps they really are as safe as human ingenuity can make them however if the worst case scenarios actually play out and safety systems fail the radiation fallout could be disastrous. So what is the choice here?

    A method of generation that sprays out life giving CO2 plant food or a method that may just may kill lots of people and produces a wholly poisonous and polluting waste product, Hmmm, now let me think…still thinking…er…uhm I think on balance I would go for the harmless plant food.

    Now dont get me wrong, I am not a greenshirt watermellon Luddite and fossil fuels will not last forever but why not use fossils up while letting real science loose to do what real science does best. Lets face it tradition fission plants are the past, they are an old technology used primarily to produce the working parts of the Wests biggest foreign policy stick and maybe thorium will work better cleaner safer but IHMO there is nothing in this world a finer and awesome sight(just walking through a DRAX turbine hall is an almost religious experience)than a massive DRAX power station kicking out industrial quantities of cheap reliable power and equally massive amounts of lovely plant food, I love both these products.

    I have always had the dream of building a new type V double bank triple expansion steam engine with the newest materials big and powerful enough to make the titanic engines look like portable generators. What a sight they would be eh? And a line of them in a big generating hall, oh well one can dream!

  67. Hmmmm. Let’s see. Countries where “anti-nuclear power hysteria” doesn’t exist. What might those countries have in common. France, former soviet states, Scandinavian countries, Japan.

    I can’t think of anythi….

    Oh. Wait.

    They all have highly centralized energy policies enacted by governments which invest tax money in infrastructure rather than waiting around for the private sector to invest in incredibly expensive and risky ventures that have a huge time scale for a ROI.

    Too bad all those anti-government libz and environmentalistz in the U.S. are always crying about “government overreach” and “government interference in the economy.” If they hand’t been doing so, we might have more nuclear power here.

  68. Ah, but this analysis is based on data and rational thinking. Butthe Age of Reason is over, people!

    We are now living in the Age of Feelings. Hence PMS. Ooobs, sorry, I meant PNS.

  69. This is simply not true. Chernobyl is nearing normal levels (you can visit, but I wouldn’t recommend living there for a year)

    Flyingorc – So you’re saying that the reports of a dangerous deterioration in Chernobyl’s “sarcophagus” are wrong?

  70. May I remind those who think coal is cheap that this cost kept cheap by miners paying with their blood.
    Emotional twaddle? Not at all:
    “The Senghenydd Colliery Disaster, also known as the Senghenydd Explosion, occurred in Senghenydd [1], near Caerphilly, Glamorgan, South Wales on 14 October 1913, killing 439 miners. It is the worst Mining accident in the United Kingdom, and one of the most serious in terms of loss of life globally since.”
    Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senghenydd_Colliery_Disaster

    And that doesn’t take the long-lasting diseases into account which affet miners (google ‘black lung disease ..’)

    So think before you condemn more generations to such a dangerous life – and think how ‘cheap’ coal will suddenly become if miners were paid the danger geld they surely deserve.

    Or are you planning to go down the mines to hew coal yourselves?

  71. It’s interesting that US carbon emissions flatlined from about 1973 to 1988. The latter year is when construction of nuclear power plants began to slacken, according to a subsequent graph. Yes, there’s a connection between anti-nuke politics and carbon emissions taking off again. I don’t consider that carbon a problem, but it certainly casts doubt on the wisdom of those who brought it about, and it highlights a lost opportunity to have less dependence on foreign oil.

  72. i think we need a real BIG north american nuclear disaster before people finally understand that Nuclear Power in the way of Uranium and Plutonium is NOT the way of the future. It’s unfortunate that with the Chernobyl disaster and the ever evolving Fukushima disaster, people still don’t quite grasp the instability of Nuclear Power and the deadly consequences should something go wrong.

    Watts. I would appreciate it if this site could publish an article on the subject of Thorium since little is known about it. If one already exists, is there a link to it?

  73. Anthony, are you trying to achieve a reputation as a “luke-warmer”? What is the purpose of this post by Michael Dickey– that we “should” lower our “carbon” output? Isn’t that CO2? What is “carbon”? Do we want to lower it? Do we need to lower it? Has it been proven that we have “harmed” the environment in any way by increasing the output of CO2 (not “carbon) into the atmosphere? Is small warming, if any is actually proven (has it? completely? truthfully? no possible falsification?), any harm to our planet? Weren’t global living conditions better during a warm environment? Listen to the commenters. Keep the integrity of WUWT.

    Also listen to those who are knowledgeable about energy generation through nuclear power, too.

  74. Michio Kaku is a co-author on string theory. I have been trying to chew my way through a book on string theory but after watching Michio Kaku on the news about the Japanese nuke issue me thinks I will add the book to my garage sale.

  75. Frank says: How much worse can it get based on what has happened so far?

    Henry said;
    I have noted that the Chernobyl disaster has in fact not yet been resolved. It needs to be re-encapsulated but they don’t have the money for it. I would have thought that after the Japan disaster, which, in severity, is beginning to look as bad as the Chernobyl disaster, nobody in their right mind would still want to propogate nuclear energy. Rather stick to using natural gas. The extra carbon dioxide is just fine!
    A bigger carbon footprint is better!

    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/more-carbon-dioxide-is-ok-ok

  76. This article is bunk! The AGW theory is dead and I’m not happy you even posted this weak and hysterical screed here. Our nuclear plants and our NRC are poorly run and the NRC itself is incompetent. We need a massive scientific effort on the scale of the Manhattan Project to power this country. We can build the sodium tank farm solar project outlined in Scientific American 3 years ago and that would provide a great deal of energy. there are also other areas to explore that never get mentioned.

  77. Flying Orc- your lies about Chernobyl, not even wrong. You should put a muzzle on it.
    The radiation there is severe in the exclusion zone, and will be for thousands of years.

  78. Still no solution for storing spent fuel safely. There is no Nuclear plant that a private insurance company will insure. The results of radiation exposure take 20-30 years to become fully obvious (of which makes it difficult to isolate as the direct cause).

    So the true costs of Nuclear power (most of which are being pushed into the future) do not make it a viable option. You can see when a disaster strikes, just like war, the first casualty is the truth. We can’t have a technology where you get BS when something goes wrong.

  79. Wow – what an impressive array of comments.

    Even a few commenters whose opinions I normally respect seem to jump the shark when it comes to the evil, scary monster “nuclear”.

    Well here’s the thing. I work in a nuclear facility. Before I could even start here I got a significant amount of training. Every individual here has more training and knowledge about their jobs than anywhere else I’ve ever worked. This is the first workplace I’ve ever seen where workers take SAFETY as more than a passing joke, where SAFETY MEETINGS actually mean safety instead of an excuse to smoke and drink coffee.

    Our little operation is scary to some. We’ve had people apply for work, look around at what happens here, and flee. Our neighboring businesses don’t even park their vehicles on our side of their property. There has never been a break-in attempt, those Nuclear signs are scarier than having a police cruiser parked in the lot.

    As for radioactivity, I’ve taken meters home and had some fun comparing my workplace environment to the natural environment. There is a higher reading, for example, at Banff’s main street than in my office, which is a few feet away from a 62 curie source. I get a measurable reading in my basement. I haven’t managed to take a meter on an airplane yet.

    Reactors are not inherently dangerous. Those commenters above who insist that this is so are just plain wrong. The production, usage, and storage of nuclear material is NOT inherently dangerous, mostly because everyone who works in the industry is hyper-aware of the risks, dangers, and consequences. The very things that would make nuclear a safer form of power generation have been hobbled and crippled by ignorant (but well meaning) people over the years. Fuel reprocessing, breeders, etc. have fallen by the wayside because of the irrational and ridiculous terror of the mushroom cloud.

    As others have pointed out above, the original designs for reactors involved using them for weapons. Current designs involve using nuclear for power generation, not creating weapons grade byproducts.

    Anyone above who has compared Fukushima with Chernobyl really needs to give their heads a shake and learn some facts. How can you compare a massive explosion caused by deliberate action by an insanely reckless individual at a poorly designed, uncontained graphite moderated reactor with what is going on in Japan? There is still a worst case failsafe they can employ, but they don’t want to definitively destroy what is left of the reactor. Small amounts of radiation leakage that are either happening or possible are nothing compared to the naturally occuring radioactives in our environment. NOTHING.

    It doesn’t matter one whit if you find some online anti-nuke site telling you the horrors of what COULD happen. What COULD happen is another Bhopal, or another few dozen coal miners trapped underground, or a few people killed at a well blowout, or another CO2 bubble emerging from a lake and wiping out entire villages, or another tsnunami wiping out millions, or more floods washing people into the sea from Bangladesh, or… any of the numerous and effective ways people die.

    It is not physically possible for Fukushima to become another Chernobyl. It’s inexcuseable that so many people still think Three Mile Island was a disaster. Or even anything. It was a relatively minor industrial incident that was blown so far out of proportion it should make your head spin when you think about it. More people were injured in the oil industry LAST WEEK than ever in the history of nuclear. Where are the headlines? Where are the calls to stop using petroleum?

  80. My dad worked on several nuclear reactors as a pipefitter. Why are we wanting to build high risk reactors when we could be building salt reactors, shutting down the coal plants, and become less dependent on foreign oil, etc.? Maybe we could even build our own things again…i.e. television sets, etc. and give Americans something to be proud of again and OUT distance ourselves from everyother country on the earth by being clever instead of trying to be a bunch of insane money mongers trying to save a buck!

  81. Look at all that O2 in CO2. I think O2 is being given a free pass in this issue.

    It occurred to me that if we got rid of all the O2, it would prevent any more CO2 from forming. That would mitigate the warming and save the planet… taa daa !

    Sometimes my insight is truly “breath-taking”… just as it would be in having success with this scenario. /sarc.

  82. @HenryP:
    March 30, 2011 at 9:00 am
    ==================
    The CO2-climate change pseudo-scientific hoax as been a real bonanza of revival for the nuclear industry, as it has converted many, many greens (or merely greenishes) who are concerned about CO2, like George Monbiot, to the fantasy that nuclear power is nice and cheap and clean. So all the enthusiasts of nuclear power here should recognize that global warming propaganda has had at least some positive effects for their cause.

    As for me, I now think nuclear power in the present state is the worst possible source of energy. I would much rather see all electricity produced with coal, whose combustion can now apparently be made relatively clean with current technologies to trap real pollutants (CO2 is irrelevant) than further proliferation of nuclear plants.

    According to the US Department of Energy, there are now 63,000 metric tons of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel sitting in overcrowded pools inside US plants, and we are in the midst of another major reactor catastrophe, the second big mess of this kind in 25 years. So I fully agree with you: how anyone can keep saying that nuclear power is “clean” and “cheap” and “safe” is well beyond me.

    “The death of a nuclear reactor has a beginning; the world is watching this unfold now on the coast of Japan. But it doesn’t have an end.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/weekinreview/20chernobyl.html

  83. JFD, your argument about thermal efficiency is irrelevant. Coal has alternative uses to power generation, as does natural gas. Uranium does not.

    Your argument of catastrophic accident record is equally irrelevant. All that matters is total fatalities per unit energy generated over time, which makes coal about two orders of magnitude more hazardous than nuclear.

    Dave Springer: your repeated propaganda about the hazards of uranium mining is false. The industrial accident rate for uranium miners globally is about half the industrial average.

    Galvanium: nuclear proliferation exists as a problem regardless of whether or not nuclear power is used for electricity generation. And it is not diminished one iota if all nuclear power generation is removed from service. Production of nuclear weapons has nothing to do with power generation reactors.

    Stephen Wilde: there are no sensible non-nuclear alternative options to nuclear and fossil fuels even conceptually. Hence they will not be available within our lifetimes.

    Scott Covert: please outline what you think the nuclear subsidies are. You should be aware that all nuclear power plant operators shoulder the full cost of building, operating and maintaining, and decommissioning a nuclear plant. In addition, they must pay the full cost of used fuel disposal.

    You should also be aware that France built its nuclear fleet solely for economic reasons. The cost of imported coal was much higher than nuclear when the transportation infrastructure required was included. Coal is cheaper than nuclear when it is readily available and close at hand or can be offloaded by ship. When long land transportation distances are involved, the cost starts to become excessive. Even in the 1990s, coal fired generation was more expensive than nuclear, given the transport costs. Electricity generation economics are wholly situational and dependent upon access and distance from fuel sources.

    Roger Sowell: you seem to want to consider second order effects because you don’t like the fact that hydraulic energy kills about an order of magnitude more people than does nuclear. Dams do indeed prevent flooding but there is a difference between power dams and flood control dams, as the most trivial examination of Hydro Quebec’s James Bay project would show. You’ve posed a what-if that cannot be seriously quantified. I can just as easily suggest that all a power dam does is magnify the damage when it ruptures, causing an enormous number of fatalities all at once rather than scattering them over time.

  84. JP says:
    March 30, 2011 at 4:40 am

    Is anyone who is pro-nuclear actually aware that accidents like the one in Fukishima are supposedly happening every 17000 years, according to Official Doctrine, and that we have already witnessed 4 (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Mayak, Fukushima) over the last 42 years, not to mention a far larger number of near-accidents?

    That means that the statistics are wrong and misguiding. Let’s assume more realistically with a maximum likelihood approach on the basis of the empirical data we have now that roughly every 15 years (if we optimistially assume that 3 Mile Island wasn’t too bad in its consequences), we will render large areas of our planet uninhabitable, and then have to guard these areas for centuries, and they still cause nasty disease and genetic defects in the population. Every 15 years on average. Now, do you still like the nuclear option?

    JP: Your statement that accidents like Fukushima occur every 17000 years is erroneous. What that number represents is what is called “a recurrence interval” which is simply the probability that such an accident will occur in any year. 1/17000=5.88^-5 (0.006%/year) Keep in mind that number stays the same every year. That’s a pretty low probability that such an event is likely to occur in any given year. Does that mean it could happen? Sure it could. Is it likely to happen? Probably not.

    As someone pointed out above the area around Chernobyl is recovering nicely; although it is not recommended that one live inside the exclusion zone for very long. Most of the really nasty radiation decay products have fairly short half-lives, which means within 5 half-life cycles you are down to about 3% of what you originally started with. The high level radiation producers (the ones with half-lives measured in tenss-of-thousands of years)are in the form of solid waste and are not moving any where soon. That very miniscule percent of the Earth’s surface will be off limits to humans for many centuries. We are not talking about large portions of the Earth being uninhabitable.

  85. I would take nuke power even at the cost of wind or solar.
    At least I know the nuke will give constant electrons to run my stuff.
    Not so with wind or solar.
    Raise the construction and operational safety standards and it will still be cheaper and better than green machines.

  86. All this assumes the nuke industry is telling the truth about risks and deaths. In fact, they understate deaths by a thousand to 10 million-fold. That is a far bigger lie than even global warming. The arguments presented in this article and others like it lead me to suspect that the nuclear industry may be the culprits behind the global warming scare.

    But the real stakes are far beyond money. Carbon dioxide can turn Earth’s vast deserts green, providing both food for everyone and a huge increase in flora, fauna and biodiversity.

    Nuclear power did so much damage to the Soviet Union besides the 90,000 or so sarcophagus workers who died from their efforts, that life expectacy was cut five years–and the Soviet Union collapsed.

    Nuclear damage to the thyroid causes brain damage. This is not necessarily so severe that you have a death or an institutionalized case. Smaller IQ drops must logically be far more common. In fact, this was proven by Ernest Sternglass from the 1978 American SAT’s. The drop in scores was most serious at the highest levels.

    Almost everyone reading this has a slight decrease in his/her own brain power as a result of fallout from bomb testing and nuclear power plants. The exceptions are both over 65 AND lucky enough to have been exposed to little fallout after birth–or blessed with genes that benefitted from the radiation.

  87. Dave Springer,
    Actually only breeder reactors produce plutonium, the stuff nuclear arms are made of. Almost all commercial nuclear reactors for power generation are PWR’sand BWR’s which don’t produce plutonium.

    Navy Bob,
    There is the Boone Pickens solution: convert to natural gas for transportation, use other, in this case nuclear, for electrical generation. For the US this would result in a reduction in petroleum consumption.

  88. In the extreme, imagine all land on the planet completely covered wall to wall with structures kept at a comfortable 70F / 21C . All heating / cooling would be from Nuclear Power. Would that cause the planet to warm ? I think yes. Is that bad ? I say no.

    In the winter, the buildings would warm the air around / above them. The nuke plant would also put out excess heat to the system. In the summer, the buildings will cool hotter air around them, like on the desert, but would not reduce any net gain of heat from the sun into the system because that same heat just comes out the air conditioner exhaust. Again the nuke plant puts out more heat during it’s process.

    Having people on the planet doing work and being comfortable is going to use energy that can’t help but add heat to the system. Warmers need to relax as any human activity will cause some warming by just the physics involved. In addition to us though, the planet is still warming from the last ice age anyway, which is beyond our control. A resulting equilibrium from the additional heat automatically occurs naturally and is nothing to be concerned with. Can’t we all just get along? Forget Global Warming and Climate Change. It can’t be stopped or controlled anyway.

    Maybe an alternative for hysterical humans is to return to shivering in caves, like in Afghanistan. I’ll pass on that option, my feet get too cold…

  89. the anti-nuke ignorance on display in these comments is astounding …
    what a bunch of terrifed little children who go around all day saying “what if” to shoot down anything …
    you all most likely drive a car daily, drink alchohol weekly, take asprin occasionally and use a furnace during the winter … I could “what if” all those activities to death and scare you off the roads, out of your favorite bars, cause you to suffer thru your next pain and have you freeze thru the next winter … but I won’t … because I can manage to control my fear of “what if” unknowns … you should try it …

  90. I disagree with the premise implied by the title of the article. The data presented certainly shows that had we shifted much of our electricity production to nuclear power we would have released a substantially smaller amount of CO2 to the atmosphere. Whether the released CO2 caused a significant part of the warming observed last century is a point constantly being debated here at WUWT. While I appreciate the advantages of nuclear power I am not sure that the nuclear power industry is willing and/or able to invest in plants whose safety is commensurate with the magnitude of the environmental threat that they pose. At this point I think it is also important to remember that it was the nuclear power supporters both in Government and outside of it who started the AGW hysteria a long time ago. It is no coincidence that an Office of Climate Research was established at the US Dept. of Energy in 1978, said office being the founder of the AGW research gravy train that has produced the situation we all live through today.

  91. Nomen Nescio, March 30, 2011 at 11:21 am:

    There is the Boone Pickens solution: convert to natural gas for transportation,

    What’s the color of a natural gas flame again?

    I don’t want to see that on the highway(s) …

    .

  92. There are also second order effects because energy prices would be lower – the existing fleet of nuclear power plants in the US produces power for 2c/kWh.

    More households would use electric heat instead of gas or oil and the adoption of electric transport options would be a bit faster.

    The key is to fix the NRC. They are the reason that an AP100 built in the US is expected to cost 4x as much as the exact same plant built in China.

  93. What a pathetic text. So we are seeing in WUWT the same tricks we are seeing in G.Warming sites and MSM media. Wonderful…

  94. Fixing the headline for you:

    “Anti-Nuclear Power Hysteria and its Significant Contribution to Global Warming Atmospheric CO2″

    – since it’s unclear whether the extra CO2 actually does any harm. Warm is Good!

    Well, maybe not in Phoenix in June….

    Thanks for an interesting article.

  95. >>HenryP says: March 30, 2011 at 3:59 am
    >>Nobody in their right mind would still want to propogate nuclear
    >>energy. Rather stick to using natural gas. The extra carbon dioxide
    >>is just fine!

    Gas from where? From Algeria? From Russia? From Israel?

    Have you ever heard of energy security? Have you ever considered being held to ransom during a bitterly cold winter, just like Ukraine was a few years ago?

    The advantage of nuclear, is that we can stockpile a couple of year’s supply, just in case. Try doing that with gas. And let’s not reconsider the proposal for storing gas in Cheshire salt mines – I am not living on top of a potential gas blowout (the salt seams were shown to leak a little).

    Fase facts. Energy is dangerous, it is in the nature of the beast. Best we understand the forces involved and tame and constrain them to the best of our ability.

    The very worst thing we could do is either be held to ransom, because of an over reliance on foreign fossil fuels – or to be becalmed in a month of calm winds that reduces renewable energy to a mere trickle.

    These are the wind charts for Liverpool Bay for January-February 2010, one of the coldest periods in British history.

    http://coastobs.pol.ac.uk/cobs/met/hilbre/sadata_met_month.php?code=5&span=jan2010

    http://coastobs.pol.ac.uk/cobs/met/hilbre/sadata_met_month.php?code=5&span=feb2010

    The blue line is the sustained wind speed, and anything less than 7kts not supplying any worthwhile electrical power. Here we see more than a month – a full 40 days – without any significant wind, and so without any significant wind- or wave-inspired electrical power. Had we been relying on wind/wave power during this period, Britain would have ground to a halt and hundreds of thousands would have died – especially the old and the infirm.

    This is the seriousness of the decisions we now have to make.

    .

  96. Nomen Nescio says:
    March 30, 2011 at 11:21 am
    Dave Springer,
    Actually only breeder reactors produce plutonium, the stuff nuclear arms are made of. Almost all commercial nuclear reactors for power generation are PWR’sand BWR’s which don’t produce plutonium.

    Very wrong.

    Weapons can be produced from uranium. One of those dropped on Japan in WWII was a uranium weapon. The same equipment and process that enriches uranium for reactor fuel can further enrich it for weapon fuel.

    All uranium reactors produce plutonium. The question is the isotope mix – Pu-239/Pu-240. Pu-240 has a high rate of spontaneous fission and isn’t well suited for nuclear weapons although there’s controversy over just how much is too much. Under 7% is desirable for greatest yield but more than that just reduces the yield and increases the poisoning of the blast area by spreading plutonium all over the place (gives it more of a “dirty bomb” flavor). A highly destructive dirty bomb can be made from the normal Pu isotope mix in normal spent PWR and BWR fuel.

    However, all you have to do to get high quality weapons grade Pu-239 from a PWR or BWR reactor is remove the fuel after about 4 months of operation. Pu-240 accumulates in the fuel at a much slower rate than Pu-239 so by removing the fuel early for Pu extraction you get a 93% or better mix of Pu-239.

    You should really educate yourself on these matters before writing about them!

  97. Francisco says:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/30/anti-nuclear-power-hysteria-and-it%e2%80%99s-significant-contribution-to-global-warming/#comment-632638

    I knew nuclear was not safe – there are just too many things that can go wrong, especially with the waste.
    in fact, one of the reasons why I started to study “global warming” was people starting to push for nuclear as the best possible ” alternative” for fossil fuel.
    I am afraid we have not seen the end of Fukishima yet- the worst is still to come.
    The whole plant needs to be encapsulated but you cannot go near. I think the helicopter pilots who threw that water on already got too much radiation. The poor workers at Chernobyl had the same problem. They did their best to encapsulate it and have all died since. Unfortunately they failed – it now still needs to be re-encapsulated but the country does not have the money for it.
    Better stick to natural gas, or, like you suggest, use coal and then remove the heavy metals, CO and SO2.
    We agree on the fact that more CO2 is just fine! The bigger your carbon footprint the better it is for nature.

    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/more-carbon-dioxide-is-ok-ok

  98. [[[vboring says:
    March 30, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    ...The key is to fix the NRC. They are the reason that an AP100 built in the US is expected to cost 4x as much as the exact same plant built in China.]]]

    Most of the Native Americans appear to have originated from China. It could be argued that the entire “New World” should belong to China as the “Motherland”. That argument not withstanding, by the way China takes on our debt, they will eventually own a good chunk of the US anyway.

    Let China build the plants over here, it’s “their” land. (semi-sarc)

    We have somewhat lost our direction and common sense, politically, financially, and technologically (plus a few more). We can get our focus back, but it’s a fight against ingrained entrenched bureaucratic irrationality and stupidity. It only takes “a few good brains” to reverse it… and I see a few of them are here on WUWT.
    The phrase “Let’s roll” seems appropriate here…

  99. Gilbert K. Arnold says:

    JP: Your statement that accidents like Fukushima occur every 17000 years is erroneous. What that number represents is what is called “a recurrence interval” which is simply the probability that such an accident will occur in any year. 1/17000=5.88^-5 (0.006%/year) Keep in mind that number stays the same every year. That’s a pretty low probability that such an event is likely to occur in any given year. Does that mean it could happen? Sure it could. Is it likely to happen? Probably not.

    Gilbert, if the probability per year is 1/17000 the statistical expectation according to so-called frequentist notions of probability is that, on average, this type of accident will occur once every 17000 years.

    If in fact the 1/17000 value were correct (which I don’t believe, for reasons about to become clear), the probability of such an event occurring 3 times in 42 years (which actually happened in reality), would be about 2.34*10^-9. That is very very small. So what this tells us is that either the number of 1/17000 is way too small, or reality is wrong.

    JP

  100. @Norman Nescio (con’t)

    Light water reactors (LWR) are said to be “proliferation resistant”. This is because an LWR must be shut down to remove the fuel. If a gigawatt LWR reactor producing electricity commercially is shut down after just 4 months of operation it is difficult to impossible to hide the early shutdown from the IEAA. PWR and BWR reactors can have fuel rods surreptitiously removed early without shutting down the reactor and thus it is far more difficult for the IEAA to detect that activity.

    FWIW now you know and hopefully won’t the mistake of thinking that only specialized nuclear reactors can be used to generate weapons grade plutonium.

  101. Nomen Nescio says:
    March 30, 2011 at 11:21 am
    Dave Springer,
    Actually only breeder reactors produce plutonium, the stuff nuclear arms are made of. Almost all commercial nuclear reactors for power generation are PWR’s and BWR’s which don’t produce plutonium.

    Also not true. Plutonium usable for nuclear weapons is ONLY produced in specialized plutonium generator reactors. The reason is the high purity required for weaponizable Pu. It has to be better than 99% pure Pu239, otherwise the bomb won’t work. Neither regular uranium reactors nor breeder reactors can produce that. In normal Uranium reactors the generated small amount of Plutonium is a highly diverse mix of all kinds of Plutonium isotopes, which cannot be separated (enriched) to extract Pu239 only. Breeder reactors of course are designed to produce Plutonium from the otherwise unused Uranium 238 (99.3% of natural Uranium), but at the same time it is generated in a breeder, also fissions to create power.
    Of course Thorium reactors don’t produce Pu. But they do produce Uranium 233, which could be used to make a bomb, but if you would try to take enough material out of the reactor to make one, the reactor would stop before you had enough collected. And that material would be contaminated with U232 (not separable from the U233), which decays quickly to highly radioactive daughter products that would kill any would-be bomb maker before he gets a bomb assembled or transported.

  102. [[[Ralph says:
    March 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm ]]]

    Ralph, a lot of those fireballs look just like the surface of the sun.

    It’s not ironic that the sun is where all that energy originally came from… combined with life itself. All fossil fuels are a gift from the sun, a nuclear furnace.

    We could not have developed our civilizations without fossil fuels, and we still need them in large quantities, even to transition to alternate sources of energy. They are a blessing.

    We must respect any form of energy’s power and toxicity. At breakfast, I never drink a glass of gasoline to get me started… I know it would kill me, but it’s great for the car. Good judgment and operational designs of systems rule the day here.

  103. Michael . . . . “total U.S. carbon emissions since 1900.” if that is so . . . big deal . . . that would make it is a cumulative chart . . . if not it should say annualized . . . . and still kind of a no big deal . . . look at poplulation . . .

    I will check your site but, it would be nice if it was just a link to the source . . .

  104. vboring says:
    March 30, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    “There are also second order effects because energy prices would be lower – the existing fleet of nuclear power plants in the US produces power for 2c/kWh.”

    That’s nonsense. Combined cycle natural gas produces electricity for close to half the price of nuclear ($0.69/mwh vs. $1.14/mwh). Conventional coal comes in at $0.95/mwh. I don’t know what costs you’re leaving out but they must be huge. You’re probably only comparing the cost of the fuel which is a large fraction of the cost of running a gas or coal plant and only a small fraction of a nuclear plant. The capital, maintenance, and decommissioning costs are what drives up the price of nuclear generated electricity.

  105. Basing decisions for the future of direction of power generation on how it impacts the level of CO2 is the last thing we should do. The real issues are finding low cost production methods which are simple to operate and safe.

    After the Fukushima disaster, nuclear will only be developed if a way can be found to safely dispose of (or reprocess) the spent fuel and a better system for containment is developed to keep all radioactivity within the plant when (not if) things go wrong.

    Without these conditions being met there will be no new reactors projects being started in the West, politics and common sense will ensure this.

  106. KLA says:
    March 30, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Plutonium usable for nuclear weapons is ONLY produced in specialized plutonium generator reactors. The reason is the high purity required for weaponizable Pu. It has to be better than 99% pure Pu239

    Oh I see, so “proliferation risk” is just a fairy tale.

    Not.

    93% Pu-239 is the magic number for bomb making although the plutonium weapon dropped on Japan in WWII was less than 90% Pu-239 and it worked well enough.

    I do need to correct a mistake I made. PWR and BWR reactors are sub-types of light water reactors and must be shut down to remove the fuel. Thus it’s easy for the IEAA to determine that PWR and BWR reactors have been shut down early when the fuel has a high percentage of weapons grade plutonium. After operating for four continuous months enough Pu-240 has accumulated to make it unsuitable for reliable high yield weapons. However even the normal spent fuel from an LWR (30% Pu-240) makes a jim dandy dirty bomb that will do greater harm from poisoning the air and land with plutonium particles (Pu-240 is just as toxic as Pu-239) than a clean bomb would do from blast radius alone. The greater the concentration of Pu-239 the less plutonium is left over after the bomb detonates.

  107. @Dave Springer

    “Weapons can be produced from uranium.”

    “All uranium reactors produce plutonium.”

    “However, all you have to do to get high quality weapons grade Pu-239 from a PWR or BWR reactor is remove the fuel after about 4 months of operation.”

    Sticks and stones has been used to heat homes and for weapons for hundreds of thousands of years.

    However, and although the PU-239 is, well, “high grade” PU-239, it’s still very much mixed with the rest of the radioactive ingredients in the fuel rod, so it’s probably a tad bit harder to get to than what you seem to believe. But hey if you want to try and get it, I’m sure the North Koreans are all ears to any and all wikipedia solutions to their problems. :p

  108. Lady Life Grows says:
    March 30, 2011 at 11:11 am

    “All this assumes the nuke industry is telling the truth about risks and deaths.”

    Tobacco and nuclear power industry boffins appear to be indistinguishable in this regard. Follow the money.

  109. Another correction to me:

    levelized cost of electrical production (no subsidies)

    combined cycle natural gas $0.69/mwh $69/mwh
    conventional coal $0.95/mwh $95/mwh
    nuclear $1.14/mwh $114/mwh

    Relative cost doesn’t change. I just put the decimal point in the wrong place for megawatt hours. Kilowatt hour cost would be 6.9 cents, 9.5 cents, and 11.4 cents respectively.

  110. Some responses to some of my responses:

    Apparently there is a problem with the concrete sarcophagus around Chernobyl. They’re working on re-sealing it. This isn’t that bad.

    And at the person who said “look at all the children with the deformities” – I specifically said you can visit but you wouldn’t want to live there for a year. And yes, you CAN visit the area. You can even pay for a guided tour. Also, all birth defects in the area are attributed to Chernobyl (even though, y’know, birth defects happen everywhere sometimes), and the majority of the damage from the blast comes from Radiated Iodine getting into milk, which then caused Thyroid cancer in children (this is luckily one of the easiest types of cancer to treat).

    Chernobyl was awful, let’s not mince words. It was, however, not as bad as we thought it was going to be, and it doesn’t even compare to the worst hydroelectric disaster in terms of loss of life/damage.

    And Fukushima is so far removed from that that it’s laughable. Fukushima cannot generate the continuous graphite fire that caused the radiation from Chernobyl to spread so badly.

    And, of course, coal kills thousands every year, even if you’re a climate change skeptic. Coal miners get crushed, plants explode, and lots of things other than CO2 are released into the atmosphere. Nuclear isn’t a magic bullet, but it’s the best weapon in our arsenal by a long shot.

  111. Ursula von den Laien says:
    March 30, 2011 at 12:26 am

    “[...] Amid increasing fears of workers being exposed to high levels of radiation at the plant, hospitals in Tokyo called on the workers to provide samples of their blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells ahead of possible massive exposure.

    Haemopoietic syndrome occurs only after very high radiation doses of one or more Grays. Even severe accidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima only expose people very rarely to this level of dose. Only workers in the immediate vicinity of a damaged reactor will receive such doses. Contamination related doses experienced by many more people are many orders of magnitude less.

    Can you suggest a prophylactic organ transplant that would have saved the lives the 11 workers burned to death on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, or the 150 or so who burned on the Piper Alpha rig in the North sea? What medical intervention would have prevented 160,000 Chinese from drowning when a hydroelectric dam burst recently? How about the dozens of coal miners who die every month worldwide? What should they transplant to avoid such risks?

  112. Does anyone know what a mound of nuclear fuel pellets (no zirconium cladding, but enough to start a reaction) piled on a sand dune in the dry desert would do?
    Does it just keep getting hotter and hotter until it vaporizes and creates uranium gas?
    Is that the end result of an unimpeded meltdown… radioactive gas… ?
    or don’t we know?
    I know that silica has a boiling point, that seems to indicate a gaseous state for silica.
    Thinking of glass boiling away is difficult to visualize…

    Did the US or anyone else ever conduct a nuclear “meltdown” experiment ?
    At the time, I probably would have done that if I were boss during the 50′s or 60′s just out of curiosity. I can’t imagine them not having done that.
    I can’t imagine the residual effects of that being any worse than the thousands of nuclear bombs that we set off…
    Enquiring minds want to know…

  113. Tenuc says:
    March 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    After the Fukushima disaster….Without these conditions being met there will be no new reactors projects being started in the West, politics and common sense will ensure this.

    I wouldn’t bet any significant amount of money on that. Acceptance of nuclear power varies widely with region. There will be lots of handwaving and those regions that generally had positive views of nucear power will still have positive view.

    Those regions that would rather pay 50 cents/KWh for solar power and have rolling blackouts when the sun doesn’t shine will still be happy to pay 50 cents/KWh for solar power and suffer rolling blackouts.

  114. Dave Springer says:
    March 30, 2011 at 5:15 am
    Jer0me says:
    March 30, 2011 at 2:38 am

    “How many nuclear power workers have died from their job, and how many coal miners?”

    The salient question would be how many uranium miners have died from their jobs.

    And the salient answer to your salient question is a bloody site fewer. Hundreds die every month worldwide in coal mines, a tiny fraction of this in uranium mines. Since nuclear power is much more concentrated in a smaller volume of ore than the chemical energy in coal, less mining is needed, so less deaths. Mine deaths are all tragic even if they are Chinese.

    You people seem to think uranium fuel rods grow in trees. One might also inquire about how many nuclear weapons there would be on this planet if there weren’t any nuclear power plants churning out the fissionable materials required to make them.

    And it is questionable whether “you person” have even come down out of your tree. Strange – on other questions here about climate here on WUWT you seem knowledgable and balanced, but on the nuclear question you are irrationally hysterical and delusional. What happened to unhinge your views on this subject?

    What is wrong with nuclear weapons? Cant be un-invented. What would you like, for the USA and NATO to unilaterally disarm? The nation making nuclear weapons the fastest today is Pakistan. Go and spend a few months there haranguing them to stop making nukes – and while you’re at it, throw in a few insults against the prophet Muhammed.

    Once one rightly eliminates lower carbon emission as a virture then nuclear power is all downside and no upside.

    Please list for us the litany of deaths and disasters that have befallen the nation of France as a result of having derived 80% of their electricity from nuclear power for the last few decades. By your “logic”, there cant be many of them left by now. But then again, maybe they’re no better than the Chinese.

  115. Dave, I’ve been over this with you before. You don’t listen and you keep repeating false statements. Power reactor fuel is nearly useless for weapons purposes because it is oxidized. All weapons production systems use uranium metal targets which cannot be put into any power reactor.

  116. kbray, in the absence of a moderator, it does nothing, and there is no nuclear reaction. It simply radiates.

    Yes, there was indeed a nuclear meltdown experiment. It’s called Three Mile Island. As the fuel melted, it flowed down the sides of the vessel. As such, the surface area increased, thus increasing the rate of cooling, and it solidified into a solid mass at the bottom. What TMI demonstrated is that the China Syndrome is in fact impossible for power reactors, because the fuel doesn’t have enough thermal energy to melt through the vessel.

    The consequence of all melting of nuclear fuel is a solidified mass in the bottom of the vessel as long as the vessel has not been breached by some external force. It may be radioactive, but there’s no nuclear chain reaction in the absence of a moderator.

    Under more controlled conditions, all nuclear fuel is tested for its consequences under destruction so that the effects are known. Please try to understand this; no nuclear reactor can explode like a nuclear bomb. It is literally impossible because the quantity of fissile material is far too low.

  117. Gilbert K. Arnold says:
    March 30, 2011 at 11:09 am

    JP says:
    March 30, 2011 at 4:40 am

    JP: Your statement that accidents like Fukushima occur every 17000 years is erroneous. What that number represents is what is called “a recurrence interval” which is simply the probability that such an accident will occur in any year. 1/17000=5.88^-5 (0.006%/year) Keep in mind that number stays the same every year. That’s a pretty low probability that such an event is likely to occur in any given year.

    GK Arnold: The probability of at least one event per reactor in N years is,

    J = 1 – (1-P)^N

    For a service life of 40 years this becomes, 0.235%. It is assumed here that the events are not serially correlated.

    That is for a single reactor. We have some 300 reactors or so in service. So the likelihood of a single reactor of all these having an accident in 40 years is more like 70%. We have had 3 or 4 major accidents in 50 years, and this is about what we should expect.

  118. @bob sykes

    “We have some 300 reactors or so in service. So the likelihood of a single reactor of all these having an accident in 40 years is more like 70%.”

    For your probability calculations to begin to work you have to disregard the fact that the Fukushima nuclear power plants didn’t have any accidents what so ever. It was mother nature that had an upheaval and that’s not an accident but a natural disaster.

  119. kbray in California says:
    March 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Does anyone know what a mound of nuclear fuel pellets (no zirconium cladding, but enough to start a reaction) piled on a sand dune in the dry desert would do?

    If someone could start a nuclear reaction by just piling a mound of uranium pellets in the desert we would have a lot to worry about. How many old nuclear bombs do you think are sitting somewhere ‘out in the desert’?

  120. Nuclear Power gets CO2 taxed and demonised in the UK…

    UK government introduces carbon floor price
    The UK has become the first country in the world to introduce a carbon price floor for the power generation sector. Chancellor George Osborne announced in his budget speech today that the government will introduce a floor price for carbon from 1 April 2013, aimed at “driving investment in the low-carbon power sector.” He said that the price floor will start at around £16 ($26) per tonne of carbon dioxide and follow a linear path to £30 ($49) per tonne in 2020. Osborne said that the government intends to introduce relief for carbon capture and storage and combined heat and power (CHP), and remove an existing exemption in the climate change levy for electricity CHP plants supply indirectly to an energy consumer. The carbon floor is expected to generate revenues of £740 million ($1.2 billion) in 2013-14, £1.07 billion ($1.74 billion) in 2014-15, and £1.41 billion ($2.29 billion) in 2015-16. Vincent de Rivaz, CEO of EDF Energy, commented: “It is important that the UK maintains momentum for investment in secure, low-carbon and affordable energy including nuclear, renewables and carbon capture and storage.” He added, “Investment in low carbon energy will provide a massive boost to the UK economy, creating billions of pounds of business opportunities and thousands of jobs.” De Rivaz noted, “For nuclear, helping to restore the carbon price to what was originally intended is important to encourage investment in existing plants and in new build.”

    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/indtalk.aspx

    While nature and reality responds at Fukushima in Japan…

    Japan Weighs Entombing Nuclear Plant in Bid to Halt Radiation
    Japan will consider pouring concrete into its crippled Fukushima atomic plant to reduce radiation and contain the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano yesterday ruled out the possibility that the two undamaged reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s six-unit Dai-Ichi plant would be salvaged. Units 1 through 4 suffered from explosions, presumed meltdowns and corrosion from seawater sprayed on radioactive fuel rods after a March 11 earthquake and tsunami cut power to reactor cooling systems.

    Workers have averted the threat of a total meltdown by injecting water into the damaged reactors for the past two weeks. The complex’s six units are connected with the power grid and two are using temporary motor-driven pumps. Work to repair the plant’s monitoring and cooling systems has been hampered by discoveries of hazardous radioactive water.

    The risk to workers might be greater than previously thought because melted fuel in the No. 1 reactor building may be causing isolated, uncontrolled nuclear chain reactions, Denis Flory, nuclear safety director for the International Atomic Energy Agency, said at a press conference in Vienna.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-30/record-high-levels-of-radiation-found-in-sea-near-crippled-nuclear-reactor.html

    The Fukushima-Daiichi Incident, Dr. Matthias Braun, AREVA, March 29, 2011

    http://energyfromthorium.com/pps/FukushimaDaiichiAREVA.pps

  121. Amazing insights….

    Deconstructing Nuclear Experts
    What these people have in common is ignorance. You may think a professor at a university must actually know something about their subject. But this is not so. Nearly all of these experts who appear and pontificate have not actually done any research on the issue of radiation and health. Or if they have, they seem to have missed all the key studies and references.

    http://thealphanews.com/news-articles/earth-disaster-geo/japan-disaster/393-deconstructing-nuclear-experts

  122. [[[ brackets for Colin ]]] ( for kbray )

    [[[ Colin says:
    March 30, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    kbray, in the absence of a moderator, it does nothing, and there is no nuclear reaction. It simply radiates. ]]]

    kbray (I am not convinced of what you say because within the reactor, the correct number of fuel rods are close enough together to hit each other with neutrons, causing an excitement reaction and the release of heat. Boron control rods can be inserted between the fuel rod clusters to halt the reaction. Putting that same quantity of nuclear fuel pellets in a pile on the sand would allow an identical reaction to occur as is inside the reactor, but no way to stop it. It is a proximity event.)

    [[[ Yes, there was indeed a nuclear meltdown experiment. It’s called Three Mile Island. As the fuel melted, it flowed down the sides of the vessel. As such, the surface area increased, thus increasing the rate of cooling, and it solidified into a solid mass at the bottom. What TMI demonstrated is that the China Syndrome is in fact impossible for power reactors, because the fuel doesn’t have enough thermal energy to melt through the vessel.]]]

    kbray ( T-M-I does not qual-i-fy.) (there was probably water in the reactor, there was zirconium, and it was not an experiment, it was a mistake. Plus everything was done to stop it. Sorry. I want to eliminate most of those variables in my setup.)

    [[[ The consequence of all melting of nuclear fuel is a solidified mass in the bottom of the vessel as long as the vessel has not been breached by some external force. It may be radioactive, but there’s no nuclear chain reaction in the absence of a moderator.]]]

    kbray ( what moderator are you speaking of…? a WUWT moderator ? … you must mean like boron…? A nuclear bomb explosion needs exacting conditions. It needs the right kind of fuel, and it needs a spherical compressive explosion to slam the molecules together to create the fission. Of course, that cannot occur in a meltdown, even with a hydrogen bang. The problem is that the nuclear fuel can boil a lot of water during its lifetime and that energy has to be dissipated over time somehow or the reaction needs to be slowed by interference from a neutron absorber.)

    [[[ Under more controlled conditions, all nuclear fuel is tested for its consequences under destruction so that the effects are known. Please try to understand this; no nuclear reactor can explode like a nuclear bomb. It is literally impossible because the quantity of fissile material is far too low. ]]]

    [[[ controlled conditions ? tested for its consequences ? under destruction ? effects are known ?]]] kbray ( What are you talking about ? and I never implied it could explode.)

    kbray ( Colin, suppose a nuclear fuel rod was traveling into earth’s atmosphere from outer space at the speed of a meteor say 50,000 mph… Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere and vaporize before they hit earth. This radioactive fuel rod will also vaporize as it hits the atmosphere, unless uranium behaves in some different manner than I know of.
    As it vaporizes, it must be leaving a radioactive trail of oxidized ash. But in the end, alas, it is gone… vanished. The uranium has to be somewhere, where does it go ? And is it still radioactive ?)

  123. There is a gap between them and us. Between the phoney scientists and the public who don’t believe what they say. Between those who are employed and paid to protect us from radioactive pollution and those who die from its consequences. Between those who talk down what is arguably the greatest public health scandal in human history, and the facts that they ignore.

    http://thealphanews.com/news-articles/earth-disaster-geo/japan-disaster/393-deconstructing-nuclear-experts

  124. Malaga View says:
    March 30, 2011 at 5:13 am

    Rational minds can understand easily that nuclear powered electricity generation is the sensible path to follow provided you don’t disclose the true costs

    No, no, nuclear is great. No such thing as cost not talked about. Nuclear is cheaper than coal.

    Rational minds can understand easily that nuclear powered electricity generation is the sensible path to follow provided future generations keep paying your nuclear waste disposal bills

    No, no, no such thing as depleted rods problem. Nuclear is safe. Nuclear is great.

    /sarc/

  125. So which country is rich in rocks that can be used as nuclear fuel? Could the US just be exchanging one form of dependence for another?

  126. [[[ harrywr2 says:
    March 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    kbray in California says:
    March 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Does anyone know what a mound of nuclear fuel pellets (no zirconium cladding, but enough to start a reaction) piled on a sand dune in the dry desert would do?

    If someone could start a nuclear reaction by just piling a mound of uranium pellets in the desert we would have a lot to worry about. How many old nuclear bombs do you think are sitting somewhere ‘out in the desert’? ]]]

    kbray ( I see there is big confusion here between a slow nuclear reaction ( a power plant) and a nuclear chain reaction (a bomb). The reaction in a nuclear power plant can be started and stopped at will. It is one type of nuclear reaction. Think of it like lying down on a tanning bed and turning the tanning lights on…. fairly harmless. The reaction in an atom bomb is an “out of control” nuclear chain reaction happening all at once with a tremendous release of energy. It is also a type of nuclear reaction but it cannot be stopped, and is finished in fractions of a second. Think of it like…. well… a big mushroom cloud..!!!! Please stay away from those and don’t do this at home !! That can never happen at a power plant. There is no comparison between the two.) ( I’m also certain one can start a little “glowing campfire” in the desert, if the pile of radioactive pellets, that is what is inside a fuel rod, is large enough. It would glow and get hot…. but to what natural end result ? That is my unanswered question.)

  127. Dave Springer says:
    March 30, 2011 at 5:15 am

    You people seem to think uranium fuel rods grow in trees. One might also inquire about how many nuclear weapons there would be on this planet if there weren’t any nuclear power plants churning out the fissionable materials required to make them.

    Dirty bombs? No such thing. All the world loves America and all other Western nations. No one would ever, not ever, smuggle a suitcase bomb into America, or any other Western nation, and set it off in a very big and very busy city. That could never happen. 9/11 was an aberration. All humans are gentle and non-violent. Once 9/11 was over all terrorist saw how awful it was and repented themselves of murderous, power hungry intentions towards all people not like them.

    Nuclear is safe. Nuclear is great. Move to a big city and tell everyone you know to come along. Spend most of your time in that big city in crowded places like subways and malls. Those are, by far, the safest places on earth. Because the bigger the crowd the lower the odds are terrorists with dirty bombs would target that location. They want to bomb the most rural, deserted areas that have a very low likelihood of anyone being there. They go through the effort of buying and smuggling dirty bombs to set them off in places they hope, and hope, no one will be there.

    What we should do is deliver all out used rods to known terrorists because we know how they will dispose of them in a safe way, never intending to construct dirty bombs. We can trust them. They’ve proven to us we can. What sort of Islamophobia would make anyone think otherwise?

    Everything is safe in the world, most of all nuclear power. Nuclear reactors should be used as a place to improve your tan. Just minor burns will occur. Thank God for nuclear power. Coal? What backwards, redneck, hick would want to use primitive coal for electricity? What, are we going to go back to the stone ages?

    /sarc

  128. Pamela Gray:

    So which country is rich in rocks that can be used as nuclear fuel? Could the US just be exchanging one form of dependence for another?

    The worldwide production of uranium in 2009 amounted to 50,572 tonnes, of which 27% was mined in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan, Canada, and Australia are the top three producers and together account for 63% of world uranium production. Other important uranium producing countries in excess of 1000 tonnes per year are Namibia, Russia, Niger, Uzbekistan, and the United States. (Uranium mining in Wikipedia)

  129. @Colin on March 30, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Re flood control dams.

    I’m not sure where you are, nor your familiarity with the dams and flooding problems in the United States. However, I grew up in Texas and became very familiar with the Colorado River (Texas) and its flooding problems. The series of six dams on the Colorado were built for flood control, yet each has hydroelectric generation. The Lower Colorado River Authority, LCRA, operates the dams and generation.

    A similar situation exists for the Tennessee Valley Authority, on the Tennessee River in a large part of the eastern United States. There are 29 hydroelectric generating stations, yet those were built for multiple purposes of flood control, water management, power generation, navigation, and others.

  130. 1DandyTroll says:
    March 30, 2011 at 4:09 pm
    For your probability calculations to begin to work you have to disregard the fact that the Fukushima nuclear power plants didn’t have any accidents what so ever. It was mother nature that had an upheaval and that’s not an accident but a natural disaster.
    ==================
    This kind of reasoning is apt for vaudeville, and there is a lot of it here. The cause of an accident does not eliminate the accident. All accidents have some cause or other. There was a nuclear accident that was caused by a natural disaster. The natural disaster did not erase the nuclear accident by causing it. Quite the opposite: it brought it into existence. By bringing it into existence, nature proved that the accident was possible, and it proved it beyond all doubt. And if it was possible, then it must be part of probability calculations.
    Note that your reasoning, if it were valid, could be extended to any cause you happen to dislike. If a plant operator receives the wrong medication from his psychiatrist and sabotages the nuclear plant in the middle of the night, you could say it wasn’t an accident, it was just a crazy operator gone wild, or an incompetent psychiatrist…and so on with any cause you care to imagine.
    Believe me: there was a nuclear accident in Japan recently.

  131. Perhaps the title should be changed to:
    Anti-Nuclear Power Hysteria and its Significant Contribution to Panic Among Blog Commentors

    Seriously, this is quite amazing!

    I stand in awe at the sheer misinformation, parading around as TRUE FACTS. Is it Nuke0phobia? Atomiphobia? Irrational bogeyman fears? Blind terror?

  132. Is nuclear power safe? Not according to one former manager at California’s SONGS, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, who filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in which he “alleges retaliation for raising concerns about worker fatigue, [and] overtime.”

    From the story: the lawsuit also alleges there were “safety violations and the promotion of a culture of cover-up at the plant, which SCE operates.”

    Also, “Paul Diaz, a former plant manager who filed the suit, told those gathered today for a news conference that his concerns about worker fatigue and excessive overtime were ignored or punished.

    Diaz, speaking in front of the towering domes of the plant, said that, as a manager, workers came to him with their concerns because they felt other supervisors weren’t listening.”

    source:

    http://lagunabeach.patch.com/articles/suit-alleges-safety-problems-nuke-plant-officials-say-they-take-concerns-seriously

    These places are accidents waiting to happen.

  133. kbray,

    A pile of new nuclear fuel will produce negligible amounts of heat and can not go critical without a moderator present since uranium is a thermal neutron fuel. That is, it absorbs neutrons that are at thermal equilibrium with their surroundings. The moderator is what thermalizes the neutrons in a reactor. In a typical US reactor the moderator is light water, at Chernobyl it was graphite, at CANDU plants it is heavy water.

    Spent nuclear fuel produces heat but not from fission. It produces heat due to the decay of the radioactive elements that are produced in an operating reactor. As a source of heat it is just like any other source of heat. How hot it gets will be dependent on how much energy it is producing and how much energy is being removed from it via thermodynamic processes; heat transfer via convection, conduction and radiation. The amount of heat produced by the fuel would be dependent on the power history of the reactor it came from and time since shutdown. The rate of heat transfer away from the spent fuel would depend on the same things heat transfer always depends on………….insulation, fluid flow (liquids and gasses) around the “pile”, and the temperature of its surroundings, etc. Fuel pellets are ceramic and melt at about 5000F. At these temperatures, especially in a desert, I think uninsulated pellets would never melt because they would reach equilibrium due to radiation heat transfer. A big enough pile would be self insulating and might melt in its interior but it still ain’t a reactor. Its just a really hot pile of radioactive spent fuel. If you stand next to an unshielded pile of spent fuel your dead though so I wouldn’t plan on roasting marshmallows.

  134. kbray in California, March 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm :

    Did the US or anyone else ever conduct a nuclear “meltdown” experiment ?

    Yes; BORAX I was ‘run until destruction’ intentionally …

    BORAX-I was intentionally destroyed, the reactor breached containment, causing the “aerial distribution of contaminants resulting from the final experiment of the BORAX-I reactor”

    Wiki for starters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BORAX_experiments

    Waybackmachine for ANL.gov archived material: http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20041010094631/http://www.anlw.anl.gov/anlw_history/reactors/borax_i.html

    In 1952, Samuel Untermyer suggested that direct boiling reactors might be practical. Previous to this time it had been thought that any bubble formation in the core would result in nuclear instabilities. Untermyer suggested that steam formation would actually help stabilize the reaction. Accordingly, a series of experimental boiling water reactors (BWR’s) were built on the INEEL site. These reactors were known as the BORAX (Boiling Reactor Experiment) series.

    The Final Experiment:

    It was proposed that, before its replacement, BORAX-I be subjected to a single, very quick, destructive excursion. The purpose of such an experiment was to determine its inherent safety under extreme conditions. After discussion with the AEC Reactor Development Divison and the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, it was decided that such a final experiment was worthwhile.

    The facility was deliberately destroyed in July 1954. Fuel plate fragments were scattered for a distance of 200-300 feet, but no widespread dangerous dispersal was observed.

    .

  135. I’d still like to see a thread dissecting the pros/cons of Thorium reactors.
    I have a big gripe with spent fuel rods containing 95% unreacted UO2 lying around in pools of water looking for an excuse to have an accident. I have an even bigger gripe with Plutonium being generated, which is highly poisonous stuff that kills in the ppb range.
    So, can we replace current reactors with Thorium/Uranium salt solutions and avoid having spent fuel rods littering the plants? And what about the Plutonium?

  136. fukushima is FAR from over.
    in my opinion, the Greens are simply pawns of the nuclear industry (think GE in particular) in the CAGW scam.
    if the Green alarmists think they can now reap all the CAGW rewards because of Fukushima, they are deluded.
    if the nuclear alarmists think they can reap their share (the major share in their minds) from the CAGW scam now that we have the ongoing disaster at Fukushima, including at another site, Daini reactor number 1, which is seven miles from Fukushima Dai-ichi, then they are deluded.

    this is what masquerades as a Nuclear Industry:

    23 March: The Hindu: Brahma Chellaney: Corrupt means taint the nuclear deal
    The new bribery revelations, a rigged process to import reactors and safety-related concerns must lead to the long-blocked scrutiny of the nuclear deal by Parliament.

    http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/23/stories/2011032356301200.htm

  137. Doug Badgero says:
    March 30, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks Doug,

    It was confusing me that the reactor core needs water (the moderator) in order to initiate the thermal reaction, but yet overheats and melts when it runs out of water. One would logically wonder that if the reactor were to be drained during an active thermal reaction, and it needs the water to make it work, why doesn’t it just stop? I made the assumption that water was only needed for cooling and as a steam transfer medium. I see now that it is required for the reaction as well… surprise! That changes the whole concept. The Wikipedia article I read was not clear on those “minor” details for me….

    So again, why doesn’t the reactor just stop dead by draining out the core water if it needs the water to produce the reaction? That relationship is not clear to me yet. And why does it keep melting down after it runs dry of water?

    I see that the spent fuel will not react the same as when it was in the reactor. It seemed counter-intuitive, but I get it now. I can see why there is a lot of misunderstanding and misconception about nuclear issues. I thought I had a good handle on it but my visual concept was quite flawed. Thanks for the clarification. And of course, no marshmallows for me… the pile of fuel in the desert was just to clarify the science. It worked. Thanks again.

    As a side note:
    @ Colin says:
    March 30, 2011 at 3:37 pm
    My apologies to Colin. Now I understand.

  138. Just an impression after reading the thread so far. The misinformation presented in the comments in this thread by those both for and against nuclear power is appalling. Well below the usual standard of discussion. (Not talking to the few who have actually make knowledgeable comments.)

  139. While we are discussing the Fukushima nuclear plants. The two plants at Fukushima are apparently called “number one” and “number two.” In Japanese “Dai” means number and ichi is “one” and “ni” is two. There are six reactors at at Fukushima No. 1, off hand can’t remember how many reactors at Fukushima No. 2.

  140. _Jim says:
    March 30, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    kbray in California, March 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm :

    Did the US or anyone else ever conduct a nuclear “meltdown” experiment ?

    Yes; BORAX I was ‘run until destruction’ intentionally …

    kbray says: thanks Jim. I knew they had to have done this. The mess does not sound that bad…

    …Cleanup
    When BORAX-I was intentionally destroyed, the reactor breached containment, causing the “aerial distribution of contaminants resulting from the final experiment of the BORAX-I reactor” and the likely contamination of the topmost 1 foot of soil over about 2 acres in the vicinity….

    kbray says: that sounds only like a medium hassle. That’s manageable for a major failure. A meltdown should be much less contamination than that intentional dynamite explosion made. I can live with those results.

  141. It’s amazing to me that the same people who scoff at the idea of this invisible bogeyman Global Warming cower in fear of the invisible bogeyman that is Radiation. I guess all the Cold War propaganda is hard to shake.

    I think this simple chart speaks for itself: http://i.min.us/im0DYI.jpg

    America is going to look awfully foolish in 20-30 years when China is bringing thorium nuke plants online every year and we are still wedded to coal/oil and having to fight these silly international battles over CO2 emissions.

    Nuclear power isn’t THE answer. It’s AN answer. One we need to be using much more than we currently are.

  142. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    March 30, 2011 at 10:37 pm
    Everything at Fukushima is under control. To say there are continuing problems is just pure hysteria:

    Elevated radiation detected in ocean: “A reading of 3355 times the legal limit”

    This is a classic media trick, “x times the background / legal limit”. Usually the background or legal limit is so negligible that activities many orders of magnitude greater are still not an objective hazard.

    Activities should be related to something more meaningful, such as an LD50 – dose needed to kill half of some test organism such as a cell culture or marine plankton or copepod or suchlike. Some isotopes released from reactors are totally absent in the environment. So does this allow the media to express environmental amounts as a multiple of zero?

  143. To all the nuclear nay-sayers:

    a. Fossil fuels will run out, sometime; it may be 50 years, it may be 100 years, but they will run out sometime. And you will have burned all our chemical feed-stocks too.
    b. You cannot power a 24/7 technological civilisation from thousands of windelecs that all stop together under the same anticyclone for weeks on end (see ‘Liverpool Bay’ above). It has been calculated that the energy density of windelecs is so low, that you could only power 30% of the UK from windelecs, even if you plastered all the land and sea with the blighters – and this STILL does not cure the problem of losing all power for two or three weeks at a time due to an anticyclone.

    So what do you all suggest?

    Go back to our caves? Endure a wild winter, with no heating, with righteous fortitude? Produce just 1% of the current agricultural crop, using shire horses? Relish the Medieval life-span of 35 years? Be proud that 95% of our populations will have to be – err – ‘liquidated’?

    You all sound like Jeremiahs – the subversive Old Testament priest who called upon god to destroy his own people, to somehow demonstrate that this same god was really kind and loving, but only if you worshipped him as Jeremiah demanded. With so many Jeremiahs praying for the destruction of the West, through the destruction of energy supplies, the future for our children looks bleak.

    .

  144. Alarmist belief in radiation risk (carcinogenesis) at low doses has this in common with alarmist belief in global warming from human CO2 emissions: neither are derived from direct experimental observations, but both are constructed inductively from arcane statistics and mathematical treatment of large, sparse, noisy and untidy sets of raw data which is susceptible to being massaged – and all raw data BTW in the custody of organisations / institutions with an overwhelming vested interest in the acceptance of belief in these two alarmist theories.

    The official Radiophobia at the heart of radiation protection practice is based on the notorious LNT hypotheses – linear no threshold. This was originally formulated from the Japan bomb survivor data. They carefully reconstructed the gamma dose received from survivors based on where they were standing at the time fo the bomb detonation, together with reconstruction of the bomb cartesian coordinates (spatial location) at detonation. They found clearly measureable increased cancer risk in the high dose catogories, in the hundreds of milligrays to grays. But in the low doses, below 60-100 mGy, they found nothing.

    However this did not deter them from extrapolating a straight line o cancer risk from the high dose measurements all the way down to zero. The assumption was that at low doses the risk must be there, but it cant be detected statistically.

    However there are sound scientific reasons to assert that there is an actual THRESHOLD below which ionising radiation does not increase risk at all (may even decrease it). They are summarised in this paper by Bernard Cohen:

    http://www.jpands.org/vol13no3/cohen.pdf

    The existence of a threshold or not is fundamental to the whole radiation risk question. There is an exponential, power law distribution of radiation doses from any major nuclear incident such as Chernobyl or Fukushima:

    millions get dose in micro-Gy range
    a few thousand in mGy range
    a few hundred in tens of mGy
    a few dozen maybe in hundreds of mGy – usually nuclear workers, firemen etc.
    an unfortunate handful maybe Gy level and lethal doses

    So the vast majority of dose is up to tens or single digit mGy. So for there to be any problem with radiation for the general population, the LNT hypothesis must be true.

    It is not. This is as big a political con-trick as CAGW. The psycological / socio-political driving force is the same – hatred and rejection by a dominant societal sub-culture of technology, industry, science and scientists.

  145. “TEPCO is reportedly offering up to Y400,000 (£2,995) per day for anyone willing to brave the rigours of the plant – with the employees now being described in the media here as modern-day samurai or “suicide squads.”
    (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8416302/Japan-nuclear-crisis-evacuees-turned-away-from-shelters.html)

    This is a good opportunity for all of the nooklar lovers in here to go and do their bit, get paid for it and prove how harmless it is.

    Or………are the many forms of radioactive particles only OK for other people to breathe or ingest.

  146. >>Sunspot says: March 31, 2011 at 2:05 am
    >>This is a good opportunity for all of the nooklar lovers in here to go and do
    >>their bit, get paid for it and prove how harmless it is.

    Would gladly, but don’t have the relevant expertise or language. I am sure they will find sufficient willing engineers in Japan.

    .

  147. Sunspot, you are being struck by ionizing radiation everywhere you go and every day you live, so what’s the difference? As long as it’s under the regulatory limit it’s fine. As for volunteering, what’s the point of that if you’re not qualified to do the work required? I have no doubt that you’re not qualified to do anything.

    Old Engineer, there are four reactors at Dai-ichi, and six and Dai-ini.

    Kbray, all nuclear reactors need a moderator. Think of it as filling the role of a copper wire in an electric circuit. Without the moderator, the neutrons cannot flow freely and are readily absorbed by surrounding materials. Now, at one time it was believed that the most serious possible reactor accident was a reactor runaway chain reaction. The safety system devised was to empty the moderator out of the reactor, thus stopping all nuclear fission.

    However, in the wake of TMI and other unrelated research, it was realized that in fact this possibility did not really exist. What was a significant concern was a loss of coolant accident. Under such a condition, the decay heat from the fuel would simply continue to heat up, melting the fuel. This was seen to a small extent with the events at Fermi 1. By emptying the moderator to shut the reactor down, the operators would be doing exactly the wrong thing for an LOC event, because all that water serves as a large heat sink. Nothing can happen until it’s all boiled off.

    There are three kinds of moderators used by reactors: light water, heavy water, and lead graphite. The problem with lead graphite is that it’s flammable, which was a serious problem at Chernobyl after the steam explosion. The problem with water is that it is explosive when it goes through a state change rapidly (converting from liquid to gas). In the case of light water reactors, the moderator and the heat transport system are one and the same. In CANDUs they are separate systems.

    Now the problem with light water reactors is that their high power densities mean there’s relatively little water inventory in them. The boiling off time is several hours or so. For CANDUs with much larger water inventories, it takes several days to boil off all the water in the core, not counting the huge volume in the shield tank (the moderator temperature in a CANDU is only about 70 C, so it’s a huge heat sink). I repeat, as long as there’s water in the core, the system temperature is limited. The trouble starts when the water is boiled off and the fuel starts to become exposed to air. That’s when the fuel can continue to heat up and release fission products.

    One last technical point. The speed of a nuclear reaction is entirely determined by the proportion of fissile material in the fuel. A nuclear weapon is 99 per cent pure fissile material, usually Pu-239. At that concentration, the fission reaction occurs in micro-seconds. For a nuclear reactor, the concentration of fissile material is only about 4-5 per cent U-235, all the rest being non-fissile U-238. So, the reactor cannot explode in a nuclear explosion. The fissile content is simply too low; it would be like trying to fly to the Moon in an airplane.

    Finally, radioactivity and half life are usually in an inverse relationship. That means that something that is highly radioactive has a very short half life, and vice versa. There has been a great deal of hysteria about the hazards of plutonium, which has a half life of a half a million years or so. That means that its radiation is trivial, not to mention the fact that it’s an alpha emitter so its external dose is negligible. In the case of Fukushima, nearly all of the radiation outside the plant is coming from Iodine-131. It has a half life of eight days. So in a year or so, there will be no trace of it, just as a year after Chernobyl there was no trace of its Iodine plume.

  148. Ralph, I’m sure you could use a mop & bucket, squirt a fire hose, make the peanut butter sandwiches or some other much needed menial task, don’t be shy, there is plenty of work there for you.

    I’d be interested to hear in future how this working holiday has affected your much shortened life, I’d also be interested in comparing your potential offspring to those that are affected by the unlawful use of Depleted Uranium.

    You see Ralph, there would be many benefits that would come out of you getting nooked.

    You might even learn something ?

  149. I continue to see no attempt at distinguishing between internal and external radiation in all these references to background radiation, chest x-rays and so on.
    You don’t eat radioactive matter or breathe radioactive dust when you get a chest x-ray or receive normal background radiation. Once an area becomes contaminated through radioactive water spilling into the ground, or radioactive matter dispersed through smoke particles in the air, it can get into you, and once it does it stays there and keeps radiating until it decays.

    The damage potential of internal radiation from ingested or inhaled radioactive matter cannot be compared in any way to external radiation. As Burby puts it:

    http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/deconstructing-nuclear-experts/

    [...]
    “A milliSievert is one milliJoule of energy diluted into one kilogram of tissue. ***As such it would not distinguish between warming yourself in front of a fire and eating a red hot coal.*** It is the local distribution of energy that is the problem. The dose from a single internal alpha particle track to a single cell is 500mSv! The dose to the whole body from the same alpha track is 5 x 10-11 mSv. That is 0.000000000005mSv. But it is the dose to the cell that causes the genetic damage and the ultimate cancer. The cancer yield per unit dose employed by ICRP is based entirely on external acute high dose radiation at Hiroshima, where the average dose to a cell was the same for all cells.”

    The red hot coal comparison is apt. You will get more heat by standing in front of a hot fire for a while, than by swallowing one single red hot coal, and measuring the damage in terms of the amount of heat received is absurd, yet this is what many of you keep doing over and over.

    See also:

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/03/radioactivity-sieverts-and-other-units.html

    [...]
    In reactors, one creates lots of other messy stuff. Plutonium-239 has half-life of 24 thousand years and another isotope, uranium-233, has half-life of 160 thousand years. Those things decay much more quickly than the uranium isotopes. One typically gets lung cancer from this kind of junk and we will discuss similar issues momentarily.

    However, the nuclear reactors produce a lot of radioactive material whose lifetime is much shorter than those thousands of years. Let’s jump to the opposite extreme, the short-lived nuclei, and discuss the health effects at the same time.
    [...]
    You often encounter iodine-131 whose half-life is just 8 days. That means that it decays mercifully quickly. What about the animals like us? We have the thyroid gland somewhere in the neck and you know that “iodine is healthy”. So this element is being stored and used over there. The thyroids can’t really tell the difference between iodine-127 which is completely stable and healthy and the radioactive iodine-131 – their chemical properties are pretty much identical because they only depend on the number of protons, not neutrons.

    So the thyroids just absorb the radioactive eight-day iodine-131 if there’s a lot of it around. It decays in your body and typically causes thyroid cancer, a frequent diseases around Chernobyl. A way to fight this threat is to eat lots of ordinary healthy iodine-127 (in iodide tablets) and put the imported radioactive iodine-131 into a comparative disadvantage (an overcrowded market).

    Strontium-90 is another bastard that emerges from such nuclear reactions. Its half-life is 29 years. If you eat it or absorb it, only 3/4 of it are excreted. The rest is searching for your bones – because it has similar chemical properties as calcium – and because it may stay there for quite some time, it is somewhat likely to cause things like bone cancer or leukemia (some blood cells are produced by bones etc.).

    Similarly, caesium-137 has lifetime of 30 years. It’s similar to strontium-90 but their fate in the body is very different. This caesium nucleus imitates potassium which is why it spreads across the muscles of your body. It stays in your body for 70 days or so. A treatment is a chemical called Prussian blue with the idealized formula Fe7(CN)18⋅14H2O. Whatever is the reason, this compound may bind to the caesium nuclei and help you to remove it from your body soon.

    Again, plutonium-239 has half-life of 24 thousand years. It is really a primary “fuel”, playing a similar role to uranium-235 (the thing whose concentration you or Mahmoud increase if you or he “enriches” the uranium). It causes lung cancer but fortunately, those things have only been tested at the end of the war and shortly afterwards.
    [...]

  150. phlogiston says:
    March 31, 2011 at 12:57 am

    This is a classic media trick

    I’m sure they have a bag of nuclear power tricks.

    I said this before, if you want to be heard you have to be careful with exaggeration. The radiation there is way too high. Why don’t you guys just admit that?

  151. kbray in California, March 30, 2011 at 10:31 pm :

    So again, why doesn’t the reactor just stop dead by draining out the core water if it needs the water to produce the reaction? That relationship is not clear to me yet. And why does it keep melting down after it runs dry of water?

    kbray, it is my understanding that once ‘nuclear reactions’ are commenced it takes some time for the the fissioning process in the fuel rods to ‘finish’ in the fuel material (Uranium) to the point where heat output is brought down to match pre-fissioning reaction heat output … I am no nuclear physicist, but that is my ‘black-box’ understanding …

    The ‘water’ as a moderator is used to commence and maintain the chain reaction (continues to operate as a moderator while present), and, is used as the medium for heat removal … removing the water, however, while now absent for moderation purposes (when present the water acts to slow down a number of Neutrons to they may interact with Uranium nuclei) will have little effect on the material (Uranium atoms) _already involved_ in the fissioning process, and that continued fissioning process generates the thermal energy (heat) that must be removed until most all fissioning has ceased.

    .

  152. Natural gas being relatively cheap, and the prospect of huge new supplies being made available from shale will continue to make the prospect of new nuclear facilities being built unattractive to investors. They require huge loan guarrantees from the government, and the money for those is very tight, especially now. Estimated costs for a new 1,100 MW plant run between 6 – 9 $Billion, but cost overruns run rampant in the industry, meaning they could easily be double that. Some of the cost overruns, of course are due to delays caused by opposition to their construction. It is estimated that only about four new nuclear plants will be on line by 2020. The issue of what to do with nuclear waste hasn’t been resolved, which is a cause for concern. Safety doesn’t appear to be much of an issue, and C02 is of course, a non-issue. Overall, a go-slow approach is probably the best one. Possibly in 20 years or so, and with new technologies nuclear could become more attractive.

  153. Original poster said

    “If you want to spur the economy”

    which must be hard to stomach if you are a TEPCO executive or shareholder at present

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12916254

    when there is a real big disaster, such as the banking disaster of recent times, then socialism rears it’s head and greedy capitalism has to be “helped”.

    Japanese economy is being worsened by this nuclear plant at a time it can ill afford it.

    And there is no timeline yet for when things can get better.

    Andy

  154. Colin says:
    March 31, 2011 at 4:55 am

    When I went to school in the 1960′s I was taught: critical mass = nuclear explosion.
    We used to hide under the tables… “duck and cover”…. a big fear as a child.
    As I update my knowledge I see my science teacher’s lesson from that era was incomplete. People remember what they were taught. This nuclear thread really shows the depth of misconception that is present in the general knowledge base. This must clearly be what is adding to the polarized attitudes. But some of us were taught wrongly and even some current explanations in the media are clearly wrong.

    I asked the questions because I didn’t understand. This blog helps correct the misconceptions. Brutal frankness is great as long as it’s the truth. But when information is contradictory, somebody must be wrong. Truth trumps.

    Colin, some Questions for Clarity….

    So once the Reactor + Moderator has reached critical mass, it stays at critical mass even with the loss of the moderator ? And that is why it melts ? Because it doesn’t need the moderator any longer except for cooling ? And when it melts into a glowing blob, does it stay at critical mass ?

    also back to the pile of nuclear pellets in the desert… I put a tub of water on top of that sand dune and used my robot to fill the tub with those loose new fuel pellets.
    Now what happens…?

  155. Despite Flying Orc’s ridiculous comments that ‘Chernobyl is not that bad’( stupidity of a shocking nature on this site)the situation is actually at panic level. Which will be the first country that will have a large un-liveable zone for 24,000 years or maybe 15 million years depending upon which half-life we use? How many other countries will be able to take in the world’s nuclear refugees? It was time to prepare for this long ago and it wasn’t done. It needs to be done now because it will happen inevitably.

  156. _Jim says:
    March 31, 2011 at 7:28 am

    So the fuel rods “ignite” and “start burning” when they reach critical mass using the water and then are self sustaining without it….? like a house is OK until a fire starts then it’s hard to put out… the house has reached “critical mass” and the fire is self sustaining until the fuel is exhausted… Is it like that?

  157. I get so sick of the blasted hysteria.

    How come everyone forgets all the nuclear bombs exploded above ground in the fifties and sixties at White Sands and Trinity???

    There were over 900 atmospheric and underground nuclear test in the USA alone. There were 12 high-altitude nuclear tests during the late 1950′s and early 1960′s off the coast of California at Johnston Island.

    From 1945 until 2008, there have been over 2,000 nuclear tests conducted worldwide.

    From: http://www.atomicarchive.com/Almanac/Testing.shtml

    Starvation from not enough energy is a heck of a lot more lethal than a well built Nuclear reactor!

  158. kbray in California, March 31, 2011 at 9:15 am

    _Jim says: March 31, 2011 at 7:28 am

    IANAL nor a nuclear physicist (previously a disclaimer was issued); this critical mass ‘business’ you bring in is outside my scope as it relates to use of nuclear fuel in a reactor … other than that, please see my previous post where I offered a simple ‘black-box’ analogy giving observed relative cause and effect (what a large part of science is composed of, along with quantifying the associated parameters).

    .

  159. Bruce Cobb, March 31, 2011 at 8:17 am :

    … the prospect of new nuclear facilities being built unattractive to investors. They require huge loan guarrantees [sic] from the government,

    Has there ever been a default on a loan?

    .

  160. kbray:

    I have worked in nuclear power all of my life. Spent fuel produces heat but NOT due to fission. The heat is produced due to the radioactive decay of products of fission………the fission fragments. When a U-235 atom fissions it splits in two, this results in two atoms with smaller atomic numbers and masses. The decay of these elements and their daughters is what results in the “decay heat” after shutdown. Two of the elements in this decay chain are Cs-137 and I-131 they are typically the elements that cause the problems when a Fukishima or Chernobyl occur. This decay heat is produced whether a moderator is present or not.

  161. kbray and Jim:

    The term critical simply refers to whether the reaction is self sustaining. That is one fission in one generation is producing exactly one fission in the next generation. Remember a fission produces energy but power is energy per time; e.g. 1 watt is 1 joule per second. Super critical means power is rising, critical means power is stable and sub critical means power is dropping. There are many things that effect this “change in reactivity”; rod position, moderator temperature, fuel temperature, soluble poison concentration, etc. Adjusting these parameters and steam flow to the turbine is how we raise and lower reactor power. Note: I am speaking from a PWR perspective but the basics shouldn’t change much except BWRs don’t use soluble poisons during normal ops.

  162. Dear 1DandyTroll,

    I don’t know the source of the 1 in 17,000 year probability. However, if it restricted to the plant’s machinery itself, then an event like the Fukuyama earthquake/tsunami would be another independent cause of failure, and the 70% estimate would have to be increased.

    Also, it is likely that the 1/17000 probability is an a priori engineering estimate. As such, it would be based on some known equipment failure rates and some guesses. It would not be based on actual failure rates.

    The important point is that we have experienced four significant failure in 40-50 years, so we know that with the existing stock of reactors we can expect a significant failure every 10 years or so. If the the planned/suggested reactors were built, the time between failures might become smaller. It depends on the design. Some of the newer designs have much smaller failure probabilities than our existing reactors.

    That said, two of the four failures (TMI and Chernobyl) were due to human error, and Fukuyama was due to a very large earthquake. Human error can be reduced by clever engineering (human factors stuff) but not eliminated. Earthquakes on the scale of 8 to 9 occur on the Pacific rim every ten years or so. But good siting can reduce the problem there. But what about New Madrid? So, I think that once every 10 years or so will be the normal rate of failure of nuclear power plants for long into the future

    Anyway, probabilities are not the real issue. The real issue is “risk.” This is the “product” of the probability of an accident and the severity of its impact. In the case of nuclear power, the probability of any single plant experiencing a failure during its service life (40 years or so) is small: 0.235% for an annual rate of 1/17000. However, the impact is severe. Any utility considering a nuclear power plant will focus its attention on the impact. This will likely prevent it from building such plants. One failure would bankrupt the company and destroy its share holders equity.

    As many people here have commented, fear of nuclear power is also an issue. But this fear drives the politics. And regardless of what engineering fixes are proposed, the fear/politics will not allow the plants to be built. The relatively benign accident at TMI (no deaths, no injuries, trace levels of emissions) killed nuclear power in the US for a generation.

    Nuclear power is effectively dead.

    Unfortunately, for a modern (as opposed to medieval) civilization, that leaves only fossil fuels. Solar, wind and wave power have surprisingly small capacity factors; wind is on line only about 10% of the time (Texas’ experience). This means that each wind/solar installation needs 1 kW of standby generating capacity for each kW of wind/solar. Since wind/solar is so much more expensive and used so little, there is no point to building it. Present day wind/solar/wave installations are parasitic on the existing capacity surpluses.

    So, regardless of whether you believe in AGW and CO2, the industrial world will continue its CO2 emissions, and the developing world will greatly add to it. AGW, Climategate, deniers, etc et al, all irrelevant.

    Charles Perrow’s book “Normal Accidents” (Basic Books, 1984) is still relevant to this discussion. He addresses TMI in some detail.

  163. _Jim says:
    March 31, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Has there ever been a default on a loan?

    The program only started in 2005, so that’s a bit of a red herring. In any case, the CBO has estimated the “risk of default on such a loan guarantee to be very high—well above 50 percent.” Wall street won’t touch them. Obama is seeking an expansion of the loan program, from $20B to $56B. So, in future years the taxpayers could be on the hook for as much as $28B of that. Time will tell.

  164. Gail Combs says:
    March 31, 2011 at 10:03 am
    I get so sick of the blasted hysteria. …

    Sounds like your pining for the good old blow-em-up days.
    Well, lucky for us, high altitude tests were not conducted off the coast of California.
    Johnston Island is a low sand and coral island, 717 miles W.S.W. of Honolulu.

    Doug Badgero says:
    March 31, 2011 at 10:11 am
    I have worked in nuclear power all of my life. Spent fuel produces heat but NOT due to fission. The heat is produced due to the radioactive decay of products of fission………the fission fragments.

    No, spent fuel still contains uranium, just not enough to be as efficient as new fuel rods.

    “Any utility considering a nuclear power plant will focus its attention on the impact. This will likely prevent it from building such plants. One failure would bankrupt the company and destroy its share holders equity.”

    Which is why in the US Congress exempted the plants from required insurance. There is a pool to cover the first, I think $12 billion, then the US taxpayer picks up any damages above that.

  165. Jakers,

    “No, spent fuel still contains uranium, just not enough to be as efficient as new fuel rods.”

    Please do not assign statements to me which I did not say. I repeat, the heat produced in spent fuel IS NOT FROM FISSION. IT IS FROM THE RADIOACTIVE DECAY OF THE PRODUCTS OF FISSION. Spent fuel contains lots of uranium and some plutonium too. However, there is not enough and it is not in the correct configuration to produce any sensible heat due to fission. Any more than uranium ore produces any sensible heat due to fission.

  166. Video interview with Chris Busby, Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk

    http://lightonhawaii.com/2011/03/30/fukushima-worse-than-chernobyl-expect-large-exclusion-zone-in-northern-japan/

    And the following article by Dr Tom Burnett on March 27 is something else. Burnett insists, in the comments section to his own article, that he is a big proponent of nuclear power, but only “safe nuclear” power. He also insists that the situation in Fukushima is going to dwarf Chrenobyl, that the meltdown cannot be stopped at this point, and describes what he suposes will happen when/if it reaches the water table below.

    When the Fukushima Meltdown Hits Groundwater

    http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2011/03/when-the-fukushima-meltdown-hits-groundwater/

    In the comments to that article, Burnett gives the following replies regarding moderators and other topics.

    “The problem here, and at Chernobyl, and in most of the reactors currently in use and in production, is that they are not CANDU or PWR reactors. They are Generation I and II BWR reactors. They don’t work the way you describe.”

    And later:

    To address your point directly: moderators only work on non-critical fuel piles. Once criticality is reached no moderator can physically contact it without burning or vaporizing. At that point human-induced moderation becomes impossible and the pile must reach equilibrium with the earth through processes of which we really know virtually nothing.

    But we do know, from 2.000+ nuclear tests, and hundreds of active reactors, that the world is not going to end because one, or all four F-D-I reactors melt down.

    We also know that s critical fuel pile at 5,000 degrees C is impervious to everything except something hotter – a supercritical fusion device – or the center of the earth – or an eventual self-entombment in it’s own lava cyst inside the lithosphere unless the pressures become so great, or some other natural reaction occurs which causes it to go supercritical and detonate as a thermonuclear device – I do not believe that is possible.

    Back in the Hyman Rickover days you had to be a nuclear physicist to run a nuclear reactor. Now you don’t. You can go to any of several schools which teach you how to control what you CAN control – and each lesson invariably ends with: “But this can’t happen because……..”

    If you ask “What would happen if a MAG9.0 EQ hits my 6.9 containment and then my aux power goes out?”, you get one of two answers (1) that will never happen, or (2) You are fvcked.

    I believe the instructors who answered truthfully are in a tiny minority – because it serves no purpose to train operators to try to deal with events they cannot deal with.

    There is a line – it is dictated by profit vs risk. Anything which passes that line is neither planned for, nor considered in ANY phase of the plant operation. That is why Tokyo Power seems helpless. They are. This contingency was not part of their plan and they have no way to adapt to it.

    Blaming them is useless. They did not approve the plant design. Blaming GE is pointless. Their containments are designed for MAG6.9EQ events. The plant – and ALL gen I and II AND III plants are designed to withstand a MAG6.9EQ. No planning for a subsequent tsunami which might be generated over a 6.9 is required. In California, NO requirements exist – but the Gen 1 and II GE containments are still manufactured to 6.9 standards. But so are the new GEH (GE-Hitachi) and the Westinghouse Gen III+ containments.
    They will ALL fall to shit in a MAG9.0EQ event. Fuhgeddaboudit.

    So what do we have? We have a situation. We started it but we can’t stop it. However, the earth can stop it and will at some point. We simply have to live with the consequences of our actions until that time. Did we learn anything? Yep. Put nuclear reactors on ships. Is that a good idea in the long run? No. Since when has that deterred us?

  167. Francisco says:
    March 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    And the following article by Dr Tom Burnett on March 27

    Are you taking seriously an article?

    Hawaii News Daily is also known as Dope Smokers Daily.

  168. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    March 31, 2011 at 7:24 am
    phlogiston says:
    March 31, 2011 at 12:57 am

    This is a classic media trick

    I’m sure they have a bag of nuclear power tricks.

    I said this before, if you want to be heard you have to be careful with exaggeration. The radiation there is way too high. Why don’t you guys just admit that?

    The radioactivity in the sea off Fukushima is from two isotopes of iodine, I-131 (8 day half life) and I-133 (20 hour half life). It follows from this that they will be a source of marine contamination worldwide for thousands of years.

  169. K-Bray, it remains at critical mass. The amount of critical mass is determined by the amount and concentration of fissile material. If the fissile content is low, then you need an enormous amount of fuel and a highly efficient moderator. If the fissile content is pure, like a nuclear weapon, then you need no moderator at all and only a small total mass.

    The rate of reaction is adjusted by moving control rods in and out of the reactor. They adjust the rate of reaction by absorbing neutrons. At a certain point, so many neutrons are absorbed that the reaction is no longer self sustaining and it ceases. All reactors have two sets of rods; the control rods used to regulate reactor power, and the shutdown rods. Either set is capable of shutting down the reactor under any operating condition, with one exception. Light water reactors must have power in the building, because the rods must be driven into the reactor. This is not the case with CANDUs because their reactor calandrias are not pressurized.

    Even though the nuclear reaction has been stopped, there is still a lot of thermal heat in the reactor. This all comes from the fission fragments in the fuel, all of which are highly radioactive. So, there must still be coolant circulation to remove this decay heat. Otherwise, this heat will eventually boil off all the water and start to melt the fuel. This is much less of a problem in CANDUs. Because the reactor is so big, and has such low power density compared to PWRs and BWRs (it’s a consequence of using natural rather than enriched uranium for fuel), the reactor can in fact radiate most of the heat into the surrounding building structure, and thus greatly reducing cooling requirement.

    Now to your pile of fuel pellets. It all depends on the concentration of fissile material and the amount of the fissile material. If you don’t have enough fissile material for a critical mass, then absolutely nothing happens. If you have enough fissile material but at low concentration and no moderator, nothing happens. If you have enough fissile material and a moderator but the material is separated, nothing happens. If you have enough fissile material but its surrounded by things which absorb neutrons, (which is most of the substances in the universe), then nothing happens.

    A nuclear reaction is something that is not that easy to produce by accident.

    It has happened in nature. Because the decay rate of U-238 is much slower than that of U-235 (the fissile part of uranium), the proportion of U-235 was much higher eons ago than the 0.7% it is today. At a site called Oklo in Africa, volcanic activity about a billion years ago created a rich deposit of uranium. Water got into the deposit and it started a chain reaction. Drawn by the heat, microbes started growing in the water, turning it saline and increasing the moderator efficiency and the rate of nuclear reaction. There were about two dozen nuclear reaction sites in this uranium deposit. They functioned for about 40-50 million years before depleting most of the U-235 content. What’s interesting about it is that even though it was thoroughly penetrated by flowing water, none of the fissile products moved more than two metres from where they were created.

    Such a geologic event is impossible today, because the concentration of U-235 is too low. However, radioactive decay accounts for most of the thermal heat coming from the core of our planet and providing the heat radiating naturally from the ground.

    Bob Sykes, please stop spreading misinformation. Chernobyl failed because of a critical design flaw in which the shutdown system initiated the steam explosion. The operators may have created the situation, but at no time were they violating their operating requirements and instructions. The RBMK was a fatally flawed reactor design.

    Francisco, do you even understand what a moderator is and what it does in a fission reaction?

  170. Francisco says:
    March 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Blaming them is useless. They did not approve the plant design. Blaming GE is pointless. Their containments are designed for MAG6.9EQ events. The plant – and ALL gen I and II AND III plants are designed to withstand a MAG6.9EQ. No planning for a subsequent tsunami which might be generated over a 6.9 is required. In California, NO requirements exist – but the Gen 1 and II GE containments are still manufactured to 6.9 standards. But so are the new GEH (GE-Hitachi) and the Westinghouse Gen III+ containments.
    They will ALL fall to shit in a MAG9.0EQ event. Fuhgeddaboudit.

    So what do we have? We have a situation. We started it but we can’t stop it. However, the earth can stop it and will at some point.

    It must be a big disappointment for people with your agenda, that a force 9.0 earthquake, near the surface a few km from several half-century old first generation nuclear power stations, and followed by a tsunami that took out the auxiliary power of these power stations, has produced such a minor catastrophe – relative to the potential nuclear meltdown about which you anti-nukes no doubt endlessly fantasize. Where are the thousands of deaths? Where are the vast tracts of uninhabitable land. Where is your dreamed-of apocalypse?

    The same thing happenned after Chernobyl – the catastrophe to which the eco-apparatchiks become instantly emotionally wedded, turns out to be so disappointingly trivial in the cold light of day that they have to strive to find ways of amplifying the perception of disaster – evacuating citizens from regions of ever lower and lower measured radiation levels until they reach the variation range of background radiation. Broadcasting as scientific fact idiotic peasant folklore about depression and toothaches and varicose veins being caused by radiation.

    If the Japanese are rational about the real radiological and radiobiological situation, life will be pretty well back to normal around Fukushima after 18 months.

    You wont get another chance like this one so you had better milk it for all its worth.

  171. Colin,

    I can tell you know a considerable amount about nuclear power but the operators at Chernobyl did violate procedures and bypass protective features. It is true that the rod followers added positive reactivity that contributed to the overpower excursion and steam explosion but the operators had bypassed the auto scram system. If memory serves from the WANO report the scram was initiated manually a few seconds after it would have occurred automatically. They had also removed too many of the rods from the core so that the available rods didn’t have enough “bite” as they initially began to move into the core. I do agree though the design was fatally flawed. It was poor understanding of the reactor kinetics of the plant they were operating that caused those design flaws to surface so violently.

  172. Colin says:
    March 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Bob Sykes, please stop spreading misinformation. Chernobyl failed because of a critical design flaw in which the shutdown system initiated the steam explosion. The operators may have created the situation, but at no time were they violating their operating requirements and instructions. The RBMK was a fatally flawed reactor design.

    Colin I agree with everything in your last post except the conclusion that the RBMK was grossly flawed and unsafe in design. Although there is inherent danger in using a graphite moderator in the RBMK (the most efficient moderator and resulting in the best plutonium yield), the design is basically sound. However there was flagrant and catastrophic human error which led to the explosion.

    The accident began 3 years before April 1986, when the reactor was commissioned. Big bonusses and promotions and other Soviet governmental perks were on offer if the Chernobyl station was completed on time – in time for the May day communist jamboree of 1983. But one thing was not ready in time – the inertial power backup system needed in case of power failure. So it was swept under th carpet – not completed, and the fact concealed. The reactor opened on time, everyone got their bonuses and perks.

    Three years later and a Moscow manager finds out that the inertial power backup is still not installed. He goes ballistic and demands that the backup system is put in place immediately. The plant operators explain that the reactor is near the end of its 3 year cycle and soon to be refuelled, so better wait till after refuelling. (An accident just before refuelling results in the maximum release of radioactivity). Moscow Murdock will have none of it – “dont care – do it now”. So the order is given for the inertial power backup system to be installed and tested – 3 years after it should have been in place, and just before refuelling with a maximum load of radioactive decay products in the reactor.

    For the installation and test it was necessary to power down the reactor to simulate a loss of power. But a nuclear reactor doesnt like having its power level changed (this is why nuclear power is ideal for baseline electricity, not peak). So it turns out to be difficult to get the reactor to reduce power to the necessary low level. But we’ll return to this later. First – the intransigent, impatient and irresponsible order to go ahead immeiately with the inertial system istallation came near the end of the month of April. In the Soviet union, economic activity was run on the basis of “normi” or targets – 5 year targets, year targets, month targets. The end of every month was a hectic pressured time for managers to attain their targets. So when the Chernobyl station chief informs the localpower users that, on the day of April 25, power availability will be reduced due to the procedure, all hell breaks loose. Irate managers demand that maximum power is maintained all day to allow them to meet their targets for April.

    So the installation and test are postponed to the night. The experienced and competent day shift, who had originally been designated to conduct the risky and delicate operation, go home. They are replaced by the night shift – a much less qualified and competent bunch. So – back to the power down. First the power output has to be reduced to a low level. Again – not what a reactor likes. As the power is reduced it falls to far to a very low level – much lower than planned. (The operators were I believe comrades Bevisich and Buttheddovich). This causes the problem of xenon poisoning – buildup of xenon 135 which efficiently absorbs neutrons, slowing the nuclear reaction and making it hard to restart the reactor. A fw hours wait and the problem would resolve itself. But the operators either did not uderstand xenon poisoning, or were driven by apopleptic managers who would not take no for an answer, so the reactor had to be powered back up to full power. The new day and full industrial end-of-month demand were waiting. So the operators put the accellerator to the floor – so to speak – and removed all the control rods of the reactor. To do this they had to physically disable the reactor’s safety lock – they did this.

    The result is that power returned rapidly leading to voids in the coolant and a criticality based catastrophic explosion.

    But it was maniacally idiotic management, incompetent operators and Soviet industrial oplitics that combined to cause the accident. Not a design flaw of the RBMK. Other RBMKs have run safely for decades in Russia and eastern Europe.

    For more on the xenon poisoning at Chernobyl:

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/nucene/xenon.html

  173. Francisco, March 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm :

    and describes what he suposes will happen when/if it reaches the water table below.

    Please; at a boundary between a landmass and a large body of water, which way do you suppose the ‘water’ (underground) runs? (Hint: It is still down hill, therefore, contamination of the Pacific ocean, the largest ‘sink’ in the world, is the result)

    Have you seen a topographic map of the Fukushima area along the coast, and seen the underlying rock structure?

    I could buy these kinds of arguments for an inland site, but not the Fukushima sites …

    .

  174. phlogiston says:
    March 31, 2011 at 3:29 pm
    “It must be a big disappointment for people with your agenda, that a force 9.0 earthquake, near the surface a few km from several half-century old first generation nuclear power stations, and followed by a tsunami that took out the auxiliary power of these power stations, has produced such a minor catastrophe – relative to the potential nuclear meltdown about which you anti-nukes no doubt endlessly fantasize. Where are the thousands of deaths? Where are the vast tracts of uninhabitable land. Where is your dreamed-of apocalypse?
    The same thing happenned after Chernobyl – the catastrophe to which the eco-apparatchiks become instantly emotionally wedded, turns out to be so disappointingly trivial in the cold light of day that they have to strive to find ways of amplifying the perception of disaster – evacuating citizens from regions of ever lower and lower measured radiation levels until they reach the variation range of background radiation. Broadcasting as scientific fact idiotic peasant folklore about depression and toothaches and varicose veins being caused by radiation.”
    ======================

    You are presuming apocalyptic wishes I’ve never had. What I wish for is that this thing could go away *immediately*, better yet, that it had never happened at all. I wasn’t even giving much thought to nuclear power until this prompted me to start looking.
    What is a “big disappointment” to me is the vast choir of meretricious or deluded louts like you trying frantically to minimize a very grave mess, caused by an industry you swear is extremely safe, but which simultaneously no entity on this planet will insure, except tax payers, who are never asked. And who go on drivelling endlessly about how Chernobyl was just a “trivial” non-event who killed only a few people and all the rest of the claptrap you keep jiving about.

    Maybe you could engage Tom Burnett in the comments section. He is answering anyone who posts reasonable comments or questions. I certainly hope his “best case scenario” comes to pass. He describes it as follows:
    “No one has ever asked me for the BEST possible scenario, but you are pushing the boundary. Best case: all the reactors and buildings and fuel rods melt together and sink 100 kilometers into the lithosphere. Problem solved.”

    http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2011/03/when-the-fukushima-meltdown-hits-groundwater/

  175. @_Jim
    March 31, 2011 at 4:30 pm
    =============
    I haven’t seen any maps. Aparently there is a water table not too deep below the plant. If the thing stops in the rock underneath before it gets to the water table, that won’t stop the problem but it would be a fairly good outcome. If it gets to the water table, the assumption seems to be it would create a fairly large explosion.

    Well, at least according to Burnett, in one of his comments:

    ***quote**
    I would have to see the blueprints, but at least one containment is breached and it’s not going to be fixed. IF that blob of critical mass makes it to the water table, the reaction will not be to cool off the core – it will be to convert water to H and O2 – which will explode. Period. And that process may well continue multiple times and could easily draw in the other three damaged fuel cores and the ~600,000 depleted fuel cells laying around.

    This is still not an apocalyptic event.

    IF, however, the core stops before it hits the water table, it will probably encase itself in a molten ball and remain in that state without exploding – however, as water seeps in, it will flash to steam and continue ejecting particulate matter into the atmosphere – and water (no one is quite sure how at the moment, but it is happening).

    I would not like to be the person who takes the job of mitigating the problem. Unless the reaction is stopped, there is no short-term solution and there is no long-term solution. So WORST CASE, NOT MY PREDICTION, is a million pound blob of fissile material sitting in a fissure in the water table ejecting Hydrogen particulate matter.
    ***end of quote***

    http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2011/03/when-the-fukushima-meltdown-hits-groundwater/

  176. phlogiston says:
    March 31, 2011 at 4:06 pm
    But it was maniacally idiotic management, incompetent operators and Soviet industrial oplitics that combined to cause the accident. Not a design flaw of the RBMK. Other RBMKs have run safely for decades in Russia and eastern Europe.
    =================
    The old siren song goes on and on and on.
    The plants are all very safe. TMI does not count because there was nothing to see there. Chernobyl does not count because it was human error, which by definition doesn’t count (especially if it’s Soviet human error). Fukushima doesn’t count because it was an overdone temper tantrum by natural forces. The plants are safe. The insurance industry that adamantly refuses to insure them doesn’t count because the insurance industry doesn’t know how to assess risk. The industry is safe. Radiation is safe, and the Chernobyl sarcophagous will be a wonderful tourist destination for the next few hundred years, stimulating the local economy.

  177. Francisco,

    They all “count”, but they all occurred just as you sarcastically described. TMI had no health consequences to anyone. Chernobyl was about as bad as it could ever get since the reactor core was dispersed into the atmosphere almost immediately. And Japan is not as bad as Chernobyl but worse than TMI. This is not a new technology and the effects of radiation exposure are pretty well understood. You can like this reality or not but it is still reality.

    You are certainly entitled to your own opinions based on reality but you are not entitled to your own reality.

  178. Doug, the bypassing of the auto-scram system was a necessary part of the turbine spin-down test. The procedure had been approved months before by both the Kurchatov Institute (the reactor designer) and the safety authority. The test was in fact invented by the Kurchatov Institute in the first place. Second, it didn’t matter whether the scram system was bypassed or not. The scram system ignited the explosion. The business about too many rods removed from the core was the bogus argument raised by the Soviet September 1986 delegation. It was shown to be false 20 years ago.

    Under NO circumstances, should a shut down system EVER inject positive reactivity into a reactor under ANY circumstances. THAT was the initiating event of the accident, and so WANO concluded. It should further be noted that the insertion time of the shutdown system was way too long by design, in excess of 12 seconds.

    Phlogiston, not quite. Reactors can indeed be powered down easily and safely. What you cannot do is then try to restart it when it’s loaded with xenon. What you are not apparently aware of is the dismal condition of instrumentation at RBMKs during those years. There was NO real time monitoring of neutron flux in the reactor. An operator had to order a reading of the flux from the detectors and then go down to the computer room to get the printout. At best, reactor power levels were available from five minutes ago. Because of the lousy instrumentation of RBMKs it was literally like flying an airplane with no radar and no windows.

    What you are referring to was the disconnection of the emergency core cooling system. This is irrelevant to the accident. With the steam blast, there was no core left to cool.

    Further, the operators did not deliberately power down to such a low level. When they started to power down, the grid at the last minute ordered them to power back up. Reactor operators in the USSR did not have the right to override a grid order. So, they hauled out all the rods and struggled back up to about 30% nominal, the designated test power level. By the time the test was started, it had already been delayed by the grid operations by about eight hours and the new shift took over, inheriting a situation with which they were unfamiliar because it had been created by the previous one. To pretend that the new crew was a gang of illiterate bumpkins is simply more Soviet propaganda. The deputy station chief and station chief physicist was on hand in the control room at the time. It should be noted that the power down to 30% which was the designated test level had to be done by hand. There was no computer control. All that the operator had to go on was the pressure in the steam drums; there was no monitoring of either reactor flux or xenon levels on a real time basis.

    While powering down the reactor the operator apparently noticed something wrong and pushed AZ-5, the scram button. No one knows why, because he died four weeks later. Pushing the scram was the initiating event of the explosion.

    It should be noted that at no time did the reactor operators violate their operating instructions. The Soviets in September 1986 accused the operators of a string of violations of the safety manual. However, at the Operators Trial in 1987 it was shown that this supposed manual was written AFTER the accident and was not what the operators were working with.

    As to the basic reactor physics itself, only the RBMK combines both water and graphite in a reactor core. All other power reactors using graphite as a moderator use gas for heat transport. Combining two explosive (water) and flammable (graphite) substances in a reactor core is inherently dangerous.

    Second, the basic physics of the RBMK is that it is very difficult to shut down. Less than 30 per cent of the core is all you need for a self-sustaining chain reaction. Every other reactor in the world requires at least two-thirds of the core for a self sustaining nuclear reaction.

    So what do we have?
    1. a reactor highly unstable because such a small part of the core is needed for a nuclear reaction;
    2. Instrumentation that allowed NO real time monitoring of the flux;
    3. Combining both water and graphite in a reactor core;
    4. A shutdown system that operated far too slowly;
    5. A shutdown system with no redundancy;
    6. A shutdown system that injected positive reactivity into the reactor core. This one might not have mattered, except that 1 makes it a lethal problem;
    7. An operating manual that indicated none of these hazards or procedures to handle them.

    Please note that the combination of 1, 2 and 4 are particularly dangerous, let alone 6.
    And after all these grotesque design flaws, you want to blame the operators?

    It’s hardly surprising that the Soviets did a massive technical propaganda effort at IAEA in September 1986. Far more was at stake than just a blown reactor for them; it was the entire Soviet scientific and political elite which would be on trial otherwise. The trial of the Chernobyl operators has been rightly labeled by Piers Paul Reid as the last great Soviet political show trial. It should be noted by the way that every outside nuclear physicist and engineer had rejected the Soviet explanation of operator error within eight months of seeing operating data from the plant. Remember the inherent corruption of the Soviet system. The system is never guilty. Therefore, individuals had to be framed for it.

  179. Doug: “…since the reactor core was dispersed into the atmosphere almost immediately.”

    No it was not. The source term for Chernobyl unit 4 is that about 90 per cent of the Iodine 131 was released. About half the Cesium and Strontium was released. About 5% of the uranium and plutonium was released. All of the rest remains in the reactor core to this day. These were confirmed by an independent UNSCEAR review in 2000.

    I agree entirely with your comments re. Francisco. The antinuclear industry salivates with glee over the prospect of any nuclear disaster. They are going to have some trouble with Fukushima. At this point, the fatality count is one, a crane operator at the time of the quake. It has also not quite dawned on the media yet that nearly everything in the surrounding countryside has been leveled to the ground. Even an old nuclear plant is still standing and its containment still largely intact despite every possible system failure.

  180. Colin,

    Fair enough, I knew that the event resulted in very little Pu and U in the environment. I meant that it is hard to imagine a more effective way to disperse core material.

  181. Francisco says:
    March 31, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    @_Jim
    March 31, 2011 at 4:30 pm
    =============
    I haven’t seen any maps. Aparently there is a water table not too deep

    Bzzzzt!

    EVERYBODY thinks they’re a hydrologist when they’re not … since you haven’t even seen a map nor a geological survey (to depth) off the area your words or thoughts on this are – pretty much meaningless …

    .

  182. Quite right, Doug. A steam blast of that magnitude is the most effective way to disperse it. Particularly since RBMKs have no upper containment. And what is more, virtually all the U and Pu fell out within 2 km. Not surprising given its weight.

    One of the interesting results of Chernobyl is that a surprising amount of I-131 residue was found on what little was left of the upper building structure. Because of the readiness of I to bond with most anything, some of it plated out on structures. For a reactor with full containment which is breached it suggests that a lot of it will still not escape the plant.

  183. “Acids”, yes, the Bilderbergers are keeping you in the dark by… publishing this info? How does that work? Anyway, the monster concrete pumps are being used to pump water into the cool-down ponds for the spent fuel rods. In fact, some of them are already on site being used for that purpose, which is within the design specifications of the pumps.

    Eventually, they can switch from water to concrete, if the managers on site decide it is appropriate. Sorry to have punctured your bubble.

  184. For those that are interested, here is a paper that tells of the real consequence’s of Chernobyl. The past, present and ongoing !

    Chernobyl
    Consequences of the Catastrophe for People
    and the Environment
    ALEXEY V. YABLOKOV, VASSILY B. NESTERENKO, AND ALEXEY V. NESTERENKO
    Consulting Editor
    JANETTE D. SHERMAN-NEVINGER
    CONTENTS
    Foreword. By Prof. Dr. Biol. DimitroM. Grodzinsky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii
    Preface. By Alexey V. Yablokov and Vassily B. Nesterenko . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . x
    Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiv
    Introduction: The Difficult Truth about Chernobyl. By Alexey V. Nesterenko,
    Vassily B. Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Yablokov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
    Chapter I. Chernobyl Contamination: An Overview
    1. Chernobyl Contamination through Time and Space. By Alexey V. Yablokov
    and Vassily B. Nesterenko . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
    Chapter II. Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe
    for Public Health
    2. Chernobyl’s Public Health Consequences: Some Methodological Problems.
    By Alexey V. Yablokov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
    3. General Morbidity, Impairment, and Disability after the Chernobyl
    Catastrophe. By Alexey V. Yablokov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
    4. Accelerated Aging as a Consequence of the Chernobyl Catastrophe. By Alexey
    V. Yablokov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
    5. Nonmalignant Diseases after the Chernobyl Catastrophe. By Alexey V.
    Yablokov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
    6. Oncological Diseases after the Chernobyl Catastrophe. By Alexey V.
    Yablokov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
    7. Mortality after the Chernobyl Catastrophe. By Alexey V. Yablokov . . . . . . . . . . 192
    Conclusion to Chapter II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
    v
    vi Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
    Chapter III. Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe
    for the Environment
    8. Atmospheric, Water, and Soil Contamination after Chernobyl. By Alexey V.
    Yablokov, Vassily B. Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Nesterenko . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
    9. Chernobyl’s Radioactive Impact on Flora. By Alexey V. Yablokov . . . . . . . . . . . 237
    10. Chernobyl’s Radioactive Impact on Fauna. By Alexey V. Yablokov . . . . . . . . . . 255
    11. Chernobyl’s Radioactive Impact on Microbial Biota. By Alexey V.
    Yablokov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
    Conclusion to Chapter III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285
    Chapter IV. Radiation Protection after the Chernobyl Catastrophe
    12. Chernobyl’s Radioactive Contamination of Food and People. By Alexey V.
    Nesterenko, Vassily B. Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Yablokov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289
    13. Decorporation of Chernobyl Radionuclides. By Vassily B. Nesterenko and
    Alexey V. Nesterenko . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303
    14. Protective Measures for Activities in Chernobyl’s Radioactively Contaminated
    Territories. By Alexey V. Nesterenko and Vassily B. Nesterenko . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
    15. Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe for Public Health and the
    Environment 23 Years Later. By Alexey V. Yablokov, Vassily B. Nesterenko,
    and Alexey V. Nesterenko . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
    Conclusion to Chapter IV

    (http://www.strahlentelex.de/Yablokov%20Chernobyl%20book.pdf)

  185. Colin says:
    March 31, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Phlogiston, not quite. Reactors can indeed be powered down easily and safely. What you cannot do is then try to restart it when it’s loaded with xenon. What you are not apparently aware of is the dismal condition of instrumentation at RBMKs during those years. There was NO real time monitoring of neutron flux in the reactor. An operator had to order a reading of the flux from the detectors and then go down to the computer room to get the printout. At best, reactor power levels were available from five minutes ago. Because of the lousy instrumentation of RBMKs it was literally like flying an airplane with no radar and no windows.

    What you are referring to was the disconnection of the emergency core cooling system. This is irrelevant to the accident. With the steam blast, there was no core left to cool.

    I defer to your deep knowledge of the incident and familiarity with detailed reports from it. From the book by Zhores Medvedeev “The Legacy of Chernobyl”, I read that in order to power back up the reactor, the operators disabled locks which limited how far the boron control rods could be removed from the core. Later they tried desperately to push them back in but too late.

    I accepted at the outset that a graphite moderated reactor has the inherent risk that loss of coolant does not shut down the nuclear reaction – unlike where water is both coolant and moderator.

    It seems clear that both bad practice and flawed design combined to cause the accident.

  186. Doug Badgero says:
    March 31, 2011 at 6:38 pm
    Francisco,
    They all “count”, but they all occurred just as you sarcastically described. TMI had no health consequences to anyone. Chernobyl was about as bad as it could ever get since the reactor core was dispersed into the atmosphere almost immediately. And Japan is not as bad as Chernobyl but worse than TMI. This is not a new technology and the effects of radiation exposure are pretty well understood. You can like this reality or not but it is still reality.

    You are certainly entitled to your own opinions based on reality but you are not entitled to your own reality.
    =======================

    It is beyond me how you guys keep pointing out certain causes for any accident in order to dismiss safety concerns about the probability of accidents — on the grounds that the cause you point to is somehow exceptional. Whether it is a bad location for diesel generators, or a suspect design that is no longer being made, or operator incompetence, or bad management, or natural disasters… your whole point boils down to the argument that these are *exceptions* and therefore cannot be used to gauge the safety of nuclear plants. Why, of course they are exceptions!! So what?? The periodic appearance of black sheep in a flock of white ones is always an exception, and that doesn’t make them disappear. To me, arguments cannot get any more absurd than this. The Wikipedia entry on “nuclear meltdown” lists at least 14 such events. I suppose every singele one of them had a cause that can be seen as exceptional (after all, if the causes were routine, the accidents should be routine) and I am sure in your mind none of those accidents has any bearing on the safety of the industry. It’s just bizarre beyond comprehension.

    Look, since these things have happenned, it is reasonable to suppose they will continue to happen, and it is reasonable to suppose that they will happen more frequently if the number of plants keeps getting larger. And we are not even getting into the subject of spent fuel piling up in plants everywhere.

    You have to know this perfectly well: shit happens. So the other aspect of your campaign is to downplay the effects of any thing that may happen, even if it involves contaminating large areas pretty much forever (in human time frames), and keep promoting the lunatic notion that high levels of radioactive matter getting into the atmosphere, the food chain or the water supply are not that bad.

    Mitsuhiko Tanaka, one of the engineers that built Fukushima, has made some pretty clear statements that reveal the gap between the dream world you nuclear fans pretend to live in (talk about entitling yourselves to your own reality) and the real world. Tanaka, “turned his back on the nuclear industry after the Chernobyl disaster” and began writing to explain why he belives the industry is not safe.

    Fukushima Engineer Says He Helped Cover Up Flaw at Dai-Ichi Reactor No. 4

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-23/fukushima-engineer-says-he-covered-up-flaw-at-shut-reactor.html

    And here is Tanaka explaining (starting about minute 9) why he thinks reactor 1 probably lost cooling before the tsunami, i..e. as a consequence of the earthquake.

    http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/13573218

  187. Phlogiston, what many do not realize is that RBMKs have only a single boron rod system. The control rods and the emergency shutdown system were one and the same. Every other reactor system in the world has at least one dedicated shutdown system, with CANDUs having two. And these shutdown systems all operate independently of the control system.

    There is one further fact here regarding institutional corruption. The Leningrad RBMK station had had a similar event a few years before, in Unit 2 I believe. The event involved some small melting of fuel with a power surge. The event was safely contained with minimal damage. But the point is that the episode was covered up and was prevented by Kurchatov from being reported to any other RBMK stations. They knew there were serious design flaws, but they deliberately left all operators in the dark.

  188. The paper Sunspot refers to is not supported by science. Vassili Nesterenko was a nuclear physicist and engineer with no background in radiation health physics. Yablokov was an environmental activist with no relevant physics or science background.

    The findings in this paper are entirely contradicted by the exhaustive analysis done by UNSCEAR in 2000.

  189. bbgun says:
    March 31, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    if the managers on site decide it is appropriate.

    I have no bubble to be punctured. I’m sure there was no other way to pump water. They had to move that huge piece of equipment 1/2 way around the world for pumping water. And it’s such a small task to do it. So simple, like falling off a chair. There’s no water hoses in Japan I guess. And they really didn’t need it for any project in Atlanta for pumping concrete. Heck, who needs a concrete pump for pumping concrete when it has so much more value in pumping water. Those poor Japanese, just don’t have the means of pumping water to be found anywhere in the nation. They must have got together and said, “We got no water hoses. We need the Americans to send a very big piece of equipment to use, say maybe some kind of concrete pump, ya, maybe the Americans will transport some kind of big machinery to us to pump water. Everything’s big in America. And at this time we have so much money to spare to pay the transporting costs. This tsunami has had this way of putting money in our pockets.”

    Thanks for the angle on things that makes the most sense of everything I’ve seen in the past 3 weeks. It’s good to know that, well, just in case, if they ever had to pump concrete anywhere at Fukushima, who’s knows why they would, well heck, what do you know, they just happen to have a concrete pump brought all the way from Atlanta there. Who woulda thunk a the biggest concrete pump in the world would just happen to be on site?! And here they were, all the while, pumping water with it. It’s like that slap to the forehead on those V-8 commercials, “Hey, we coulda been using this for pumping concrete! Who knew?”

    But your reply to me must have been sarcasm and you didn’t put “/sarc” after it.

  190. UNSCEAR – the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation – is the exact equivalent of the UNIPCC on climate change.

    UNSCEAR wouldn’t manipulate the truth now would they ?

    You don’t think that maybe the two have the same ultimate adgenda ?

    Cover the planet with toxic waste from nooklar spills, bombs, depleted uranium, toxic medical waste.

    Only an extremely small percentage of the population want noooks, those with a vested interest, and gullible people that have swallowed the noooklar propaganda.

    Noooklar power plants are filthy, dirty old technology ! They need to be phased out as quickly as possible and the same effort that was put into building them in the first place should now be put into new clean energy.

    For all I care, all you noooklar sycophant’s can get a job cleaning dunnies !

  191. Francisco,

    I do not downplay Chernobyl. It is the poster child of how not to design a reactor and its containment systems. The problem is the antinuke crowd overplay the radiological consequences of all of these accidents……..including Chernobyl. Chernobyl radiological consequences were significant to both plant workers and the surrounding environs and people but there is no evidence except that manufactured in activist’s minds that 100s of thousands or millions will die even from this the worst possible accident.

    Not a single worker is likely to die from acute radiation exposure in Japan. To date 20 employees have recieved exposures between 100 and 200mSV (10 to 20 REM) no other employee has exceeded 100mSv. Any increase in latent fatalities in this population will be too small to see, if they occur at all.

    Meanwhile, 26000 die when two dams fail in China and another 150000+ die in the following epidemics and famine and no one even blinks.

  192. AAM,

    As opposed to those who use disasters in the former Soviet Union. What’s the difference? I am not suggesting that all hydro should be abandoned, I am suggesting the anti nuclear crowd is hypocritical on the subject. The issue is can this industrial hazard be managed safely like thousands of other hazards are managed? You say no for reasons I don’t understand. I say yes.

  193. Re: Amino Acids in Meteorites on April 1, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Please select which side of your mouth you wish to speak from. The concrete pump is an excellent means for precisely delivering water directly where needed, in this case the spent fuel pools. Through your sarcasm, you’re implying the Japanese can use mere water hoses. Yet they have been criticized for using sloppy methods like fire hoses and helicopter water drops which aren’t precisely putting water into those pools. You have posted a link to an article about groundwater contamination involving the pooling of water at the plant. Apparently you are concerned about such, therefore it would seem to follow you would prefer non-sloppy methods of water dispensing into the pools, minimizing the pooling at the plant. Yet you are sarcastically critical of the planned use of a non-sloppy precise water dispensing method.

    Which side of your mouth will you speak out of next? Haven’t you run out of sides yet?

  194. jakers,

    An article sourced from the mother of one of the workers……..powerful evidence indeed. Absent credible evidence of a massive coverup I will continue to rely on the information coming from the IAEA and my 25 years experience as a radiation worker.

  195. Japan is working around the clock to clean up after their nuclear crisis; could the US be next? What can we do to prevent and prepare?
    WPSU discusses the situation on Nuclear Energy: Lessons From Japan:

    http://bit.ly/e02awE

  196. “Acids”, do you look under your bed every time you come home, to check for gremlins?

    There is nothing mysterious about these big self-propelled pumps. And no, the Japanese have nothing comparable, that’s why they have to be flown in.

    http://www.pmw.de/cps/rde/xchg/pm_online/hs.xsl/9419_ENU_HTML.htm

    “Since Tuesday, 22.3.2011, a 58-metre Putzmeister large-boom pump has been pumping water for cooling at the atomic power plant in Fukushima.

    A few days ago, the Japanese operator decided to use another four Putzmeister machines at the damaged reactor blocks in Fukushima: Two 62-metre-high machines with 6 arms (M 62-6) and two 70-metre-high machines (M 70-5). All the machines are from Germany. The two 70-metre pumps are to be taken from construction sites in the USA. The first machine will probably be flown from Stuttgart to Japan on 31.03 in an Antonov wide-bodied aircraft, and the other machines will be flown in during the following days. Initially, they will probably pump water; later they will be used for any necessary concreting work.”

  197. Francisco says:
    March 31, 2011 at 5:58 pm
    phlogiston says:
    March 31, 2011 at 4:06 pm
    But it was maniacally idiotic management, incompetent operators and Soviet industrial oplitics that combined to cause the accident. Not a design flaw of the RBMK. Other RBMKs have run safely for decades in Russia and eastern Europe.
    =================
    The old siren song goes on and on and on.
    The plants are all very safe.

    OK this debate drives each side to exaggeration as usual. No, nuclear power is not safe. Being a human being is not safe. It is impossible to generate a large amount of electical power at a single industrial installation in a manner without dangers. The point that frustrated many of us is that there is a specially irrational vendetta against nuclear power. The risks are there but the evidence for health risk at the low radiation doses that affect most people after a nuclear incident is weak and contradictory. The public attitude to nuclear technology is not rational.

    The constructive response is to learn lessons from incidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima without throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

  198. jakers says:
    April 1, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    Heroic plant workers are resigned to radiation death

    http://www.foxnew.com/world/2011/03/31/japans-nuclear-rescuers-inevitable-die-weeks/?test=latestnews#

    Doug Badgero replies:
    April 1, 2011 @ 11:42 am

    jakers

    An article sourced from a mother of one of the workers………powerful evidence indeed.

    Yes indeed, powerful evidence. The workers have been saying that since the beginning when they first went in. There’s been a lot of coverage about it, they are resigned to their fate.

    “Japanese Workers Send Messages to Families As They Battle To Save Japan” AFP, Reuters, Yahoo!7 March 18, 2011, 2:35 pm

    Absent credible evidence of a massive coverup I will continue to rely on the information coming from the IAEA and my 25 years experience as a radiation worker.

    Obviously, these radiation workers must be much less experienced than you and know nothing about the real neglible effects to worry their families with such talk.. tsk

    Hmm, you will rely only on information coming from the IAEA and without credible evidence you won’t believe in a coverup.

    So, why are you relying on evidence from an organisation created to promote the use of nuclear energy, the International Atomic Energy Agency, a branch of the UN? -

    quote: ..the position of the IAEA, set up through the UN in 1957 “to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy,” and its 1959 agreement with WHO. There is a “need to change,” it says, the IAEA-WHO pact. It has muzzled the WHO, providing for the “hiding” from the “public of any information “unwanted” by the nuclear industry.
    “An important lesson from the Chernobyl experience is that experts and organizations tied to the nuclear industry have dismissed and ignored the consequences of the catastrophe,” it states. unquote

    What is “it” ? – The Book which is scaring pro-nuclear apologists, which sunspot posted April, 1 @ 2:03 am.

    The above extract from an article about the book: http://www.napf.org/articles/db_article.php?print&article_id=141

    From which: quote Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment was published by the New York Academy of Sciences. It is authored by three noted scientists:

    Russian biologist Dr. Alexey Yablokov, former environmental advisor to the Russian president; Dr. Alexey Nesterenko, a biologist and ecologist in Belarus; and Dr. Vassili Nesterenko, a physicist and at the time of the accident director of the Institute of Nuclear Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. Its editor is Dr. Janetter Sherman, a physician and toxicologist long-involved in studying the health impacts of radioactivity.

    The book is solidly based–on health data, radiological surveys and scientific reports–some 5,000 in all. unquote

    The article goes on to give Alice Slater’s opinion on The Book [representative in NY of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation] –

    “Aided by a corrupt IAEA, the world has been subjected to a massive cover-up and deception about the true damages caused by Chernobyl.”

    You, and the others here arguing that nuclear is safe and death and health effects from nuclear radiation exaggerated, can follow sunspot’s link and read the book and decided whether or not you agree with her, do let us know.

    Meanwhile you can read this: http://www.ratical.org/radiation/CNR/HoloVsNoProb.html

    From which, quote: On May 21, 1991, the IAEA released a 60-page summary of the conclusions reached by these traveling experts (IAEA 1991-a). The report itself was withheld and not made available for examination by the press or by independent analysts. unquote.

    It then gives examples of what the Press made from this Summary, and continues, quote:

    It is a scandal for the IAEA Summary to be treated respectfully by the press as a scientifically valid study of radiation health effects from Chernobyl. The IAEA study was pre-destined to find no provable health differences between the study’s so-called exposed and so called unexposed groups — and hence no provable radiation-induced health effects — because the IAEA used two groups which experienced only a negligible dose-difference. unquote.

    So, what do you do now? The source you rely on, IAEA, is proved corrupt, and you now have the credible evidence of a massive cover-up you required.

    This isn’t anyone’s opinion which y’all can dismiss or denigrate, you can go to the report itself and see how the statistics were used to lie about this, to deliberately deceive the public.

    What I find interesting is that the Japanese nuclear workers are in no doubt as to their fate, while others here ‘in the radiation business’ turn out to be educated by the contrived deceit of the nuclear energy government/industry alliance and so ignorant of the effects to be expected from exposure.

  199. I haven’t commented on this issue because of ‘the fog of war.’ There are reliable reports, and completely unreliable reports. Time will sort them out as the fog lifts.

    Until then, here is another view, for what it’s worth.

  200. “Hey Germany, you can pumping water? We can’t do no water pumping here. We so technically challenged. We still rubbing sticks for making fire. You know how water pumping?….. Oh? Ya? You got any big ones? ……….. No, we can afford it. We don’t got no housing problem for 17 years. That just baboon telling you that. We got plenty money to pay for using your big water pumping. Send it over!”

    “Hey America, what you say? You can do water pumping too? We can’t do no water pumping. We don’t got that in Japan. We still using Dixie cups and string for talking our far away family. You can do that water pumping over there? ……… Ya? You can do it too? …….. Okay! We want the biggest one you got!……… Huh? No, that little tsunami was no expensive. We got so much money. Earthquake and tsunami not so bad. You should try one some time. Send over that biggie!”

  201. Myrhh, the Belarus study you referred to has been confirmed by no other scientific health reviews. It was smacked down earlier in this thread. The rest of your entire post is nothing but unsubstantiated claims made by you. Your ad hominem condemnation of the IAEA simply proves the vacuousness of your statements. You offer not a single shred of evidence that what they publish is not accurate. Hence, you either have evidence you haven’t told us, or you’re lying your face off.

    Which is it?

  202. Smokey says:
    April 1, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I haven’t commented on this issue because of ‘the fog of war.’ There are reliable reports, and completely unreliable reports. Time will sort them out as the fog lifts.

    Until then, here is another view, for what it’s worth.

    Exactly, we simply do not have reliable information to evaluate, (it is highly probable that even the “experts” on scene do not have reliable information yet.)

    It will take weeks or months of followup examination to get a good picture of what did happen and how it happened. Until then we are all just howling at the moon.

    The one thing that is certain, is that historically the anti-nuclear folks have consistently blown radiological incidents completely out of proportion, and their worst case scenarios are so far out of bounds compared to the real after the fact analysis, you can almost use them as a negative indicator of the one situation that you can be quite sure will not develop.

    Larry

  203. If some would kindly explain to me what Amino Acid’s problem is, I’d be grateful. Can’t make heads nor tails of what appears to me as gibberish.

  204. Doug Badgero says:
    April 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Myrrh,
    Neither their nor your ignorance on this subject is my responsibility>

    ? Your ignorance is your responsibility.

    But that’s the best you can come up with in response to showing you that there is credible evidence of widespread cover-up you asked for? And to boot, in the very organisation you say is your source of information on the subject?

    What you are responsible for is the message you promote here.

    Now that it is shown your source of information is deliberately deceitful and is organised to con the public, then your continuing to promote their deceit can no longer be claimed to be done in ignorance. If it ever was.

    Your very next utterance downplaying the effects of Chernobyl, or the dangers to the health of the Japanese and others affected by the Fukushima, or in general the downplaying of the dangers of nuclear radiation coming from these reactors, broke and unbroke, and the dismissal of the observed health problems and the denigration of those who protest at the cover-up and deceit, will be done in the knowledge that you also have proof of the duplicity of the nuclear industry because you’ve been given it here. And we here know you know.

    You can no longer claim ignorance, or pretend to ignorance, about the true motives of those promoting your industry. Although I have naturally, and because I have no proof otherwise, not presumed that you are knowingly part and parcel of the monstrous propaganda machine churning out this deceit, doesn’t mean I have ignored the possibility that you could be. If you are likewise with the general public duped by an industry which has no regard for people, then I’m sorry, but I hope you will decide to investigate this further. The example of the method used by the IAEA shows it knows what it needs to do to hide the true results, they’re certainly not ignorant of this who organised the disinformation.

  205. Colin says:
    April 1, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Myrhh, the Belarus study you referred to has been confirmed by no other scientific health reviews. It was smacked down earlier in this thread.

    I’ve posted enough from the ground level from people who have to deal with the real effects. That it was “smacked down” by an unthinking, illogical and irrational, comment is supposed to prove what?

    The rest of your entire post is nothing but unsubstantiated claims made by you. Your ad hominem condemnation of the IAEA simply proves the vacuousness of your statements. You offer not a single shred of evidence that what they publish is not accurate. Hence, you either have evidence you haven’t told us, or you’re lying your face off.

    Which is it?

    Nope, what my post proves is that your view is vacuous and you’re the one using ad hominem instead of dealing with the facts presented. The IAEA is shown to be deliberately manipulating studies to make it appear there is no problem, that’s a fact. I have presented the evidence. You can look it up for yourself. And you can check out the other references.

    Until you do, you’re p*ss*ng in the wind. The fall out from you isn’t coming my way…

  206. re the concret pumps, it’s hard to see what other option there is but to eventually bury the whole thing.
    These are very clear pictures taken from a drone above the site:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1372589/First-clear-pictures-true-devastation-Fukushima-nuclear-plant-Japan-flies-unmanned-drone-stricken-reactor.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    What is there to do there? The cooling systems must be inoperable beyond repair. As water keeps being pumped in, highly radioactive water keeps coming out which they can’t possibly contain, and the best that can happen is that it goes into the ocean, I suppose. Tepco keeps receiving orders to “review” the sea water radiation readings near the site downward. The top of the reactors buildings are wide open and the little plumes that keep coming out must not be exactly refreshing breathng material (unless you are a nuclear groupie), otherwise they would not need to send drones to take pictures. The whole thing keeps spilling out crap in gaseous and fluid form through all its orifices. And this will go on indefinitely, I guess, unless they somehow manage to bury it under a lot of concrete — a daunting task, to be sure. But then again maybe they can’t start burying it until it cools down sufficiently. And how long will that take, with no cooling systems? Months? Years?
    So yes, I suppose those “monster” concrete pumps that are being sent over there will have to be used for their main purpose eventually. The sooner they can do it, the better. The longer it takes, the more radioactive stuff will keep coming out.

    They are going to need a very powerful PR team and a lot of media and government collaboration to convince the public that this fouling orgy is not too serious a problem for the environment, and does not have any bearing on the remarkable cleanliness and purity of nuclear power.

  207. Washington Post today:
    Radioactive water found leaking into sea from pit at Japan plant

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/radioactive-water-found-leaking-into-sea-from-pit-at-japan-nuclear-plant/2011/04/02/AFtwIkOC_story.html

    By David Nakamura, Saturday, April 2, 12:40 PM
    TOKYO — Authorities discovered highly radioactive water leaking from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the ocean Saturday, the latest sign that the desperate strategies being used to cool the overheating reactors could be creating new problems.

    The toxic water had pooled by an almost eight-inch-long crack in the concrete wall of a pit at the No. 2 reactor where power cables are stored, Japan’s nuclear regulatory office said. The radioactivity level in the air above the water was measured at 1,000 millisieverts per hour, four times the maximum level that workers can be exposed to under Japanese
    [snip]

    =============
    The March 26th online edition of Mainichi Daily News reported that the International Commission of Radiological Protection (ICRP) “has recommended the Japanese government temporarily raise the annual limit of radiation exposure for the general public in light of the ongoing crisis at the quake- and tsunami-crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture. http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110326p2a00m0na005000c.html
    […]
    the European Union has just recently raised the legal thresholds for radioactive contamination of food coming from the affected regions of Japan. The organizations warn that the EU has elevated the threshold for cumulated radioactivity from caesium-134 and caesium-137 from 600 becquerel per kilogram to 12.500 becquerel per kilogram for determined products imported from Japan, which amounts to an almost twenty-fold increase of the formerly established values. (8) With regard to the above mentioned “base threshold” of 600 becquerel per kilogram it must be said that any food item measured by the Munich Environmental Institute back in 1989 which would have amounted to 30, 20 or to even 15 becquerel per kilogram would already have been cause for concern, and anything beyond 100 becquerel per kilogram would have been considered unsuitable for consumption.

    http://www.cmaq.net/fr/node/43701

  208. So yes, I suppose those “monster” concrete pumps that are being sent over there will have to be used for their main purpose eventually.

    Michio Kaku recommended weeks ago that the reactors be entombed in concrete. We already have the experience of Chernobyl to learn from.

    I quoted a press release from the pump manufacturer above. These monster pumps, the biggest and most powerful in the world, are used to deliver water directly where it’s needed. They have always had this capability and the manufacturer advertises them for this secondary use. Later they will probably switch to pumping concrete to create a “sarcophagus” around the ruins.

    Why Acids thinks “[t]here’s something going on at Fukushima that we are not being told about” is a mystery to me… unless he is one of the millions of tinfoil-hat-wearing Americans who feel they are being victimized by “the elite”, “Bilderbergers”, etc.

  209. I really feel sorry for the Japanese in this problem. Instead of spending 1 billion a week in Libya America should be spending it rather in Japan to help end this terrible problem. The Japanese are really in a bad way now. They should be freed up from Fukushima to focus on the displaced people, and clean up from the tsunami.

  210. From Amino Acids in Meteorites on April 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm:

    I really feel sorry for the Japanese in this problem.

    Your concern really shines through in your sterling commentary, quite reminiscent of WWII US war propaganda. I’m certain any Japanese citizens reading your words would be quite impressed with how deep you feel their pain.

  211. kadaka (KD Knoebel)
    April 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I was responding to bbgun’s comment:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/30/anti-nuclear-power-hysteria-and-it%E2%80%99s-significant-contribution-to-global-warming/#comment-634245

    kadaka ,
    I am going to ask to you re-address your comment toward me. Your comment is a mischaracterization of me that has come from a misunderstanding of what I said. What I said in that comment was sarcasm directed at bbgun.

    You can understand that now, can’t you? I should have labeled the comment as humor and sarcasm. Though I thought the sarcasm was so obvious that no one could have took it any other way.

  212. From bbgun on April 2, 2011 at 1:18 pm:

    Michio Kaku recommended weeks ago that the reactors be entombed in concrete. We already have the experience of Chernobyl to learn from.

    Kaku, who was appearing prominently on ABC News (US), was also shouting since Day One that this was a “true China Syndrome.” The timing is also worth noting. As I found here: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/03/17-11


    As all other methods fail to stop the tragic slide toward full meltdown, physicist Dr. Michio Kaku emphatically exclaimed in an interview on ABC News that the “Chernobyl option” must now be employed. This was the use of military helicopters to “entomb” and seal the reactor by dropping massive amounts of sand and concrete. Here is a brief two minute clip of Kaku explaining why the time has come to utilize this last ditch maneuver.

    Kaku describes this as the last “ace card” we can play in the desperate fight to fend off catastrophe. (…)

    (…) Citizens everywhere should be LOUDLY INSISTING that the Japanese government act responsibly and employ the last ditch Chernobyl option. NOW is the only chance to act preventatively and prevent what could become a massive cesium and strontium poisoning of hundreds of thousands of people and a huge swath of the Pacific Ocean ecosystem.

    The “Chernobyl option” was ABSOLUTELY NEEDED and must be IMMEDIATELY DEPLOYED, it is the ONLY CHANCE. Way back on March 17. Now it is April 2.

    The “Chernobyl option” was not used. Teams on the ground, consulting with real experts worldwide, continue to plod forward into territory that is practically uncharted due to the incredible rarity of these events, learning as they go. The reactors are not as dangerous, there will be no further meltdowns. From World Nuclear News comes info that the tsunami likely filled the trenches at Fukushima Daiichi, and engineers have plans to deal with the contaminated water.

    When the site gets cleaned up some more and better stabilized, it looks like there can be a cleanup like at TMI, where the contaminated equipment was broken up and hauled away with the area reclaimed. In the meanwhile there could be some new structures built around the equipment to protect them, for which the concrete pumps may be utilized.

    I have a reliable indicator of the situation. I listen to what “theoretically a physicist” Michio Kaku says it is and what (very very most likely) will happen, and I know it is not nor will become that bad. It’s worked so far.

    Dr. Richard Besser has been handling the medical side of this for ABC News, tirelessly explaining about the relative risk of radiation and the radioactive substances mentioned. I caught one segment where Besser and Kaku were sitting side by side. Besser spoke calmly, as a professional. Then Kaku launched into his spiel. Besser looked over at Kaku. “Disdain” might be a strong enough term to describe that look.

  213. From Far Labs, a Vivid Picture Emerges of Japan Crisis
    New York Times, April 2, 2001

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/science/03meltdown.html

    A few excerpts:
    For the clearest picture of what is happening at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, talk to scientists thousands of miles away
    Thanks to the unfamiliar but sophisticated art of atomic forensics, experts around the world have been able to document the situation vividly. Over decades, they have become very good at illuminating the hidden workings of nuclear power plants from afar, turning scraps of information into detailed analyses.
    [...]
    Governments and companies now possess dozens of these independently developed computer programs, known in industry jargon as “safety codes.” Many of these institutions — including ones in Japan — are relying on forensic modeling to analyze the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi to plan for a range of activities, from evacuations to forecasting the likely outcome.

    “The codes got better and better” after the accident at Three Mile Island revealed the poor state of reactor assessment, said Michael W. Golay, a professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    These portraits of the Japanese disaster tend to be proprietary and confidential, and in some cases secret. One reason the assessments are enormously sensitive for industry and government is the relative lack of precedent: The atomic age has seen the construction of nearly 600 civilian power plants, but according to the World Nuclear Association, only three have undergone serious accidents in which their fuel cores melted down.

    Now, as a result of the crisis in Japan, the atomic simulations suggest that the number of serious accidents has suddenly doubled, with three of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi complex in some stage of meltdown. Even so, the public authorities have sought to avoid grim technical details that might trigger alarm or even panic.

    “They don’t want to go there,” said Robert Alvarez, a nuclear expert who, from 1993 to 1999, was a policy adviser to the secretary of energy. “The spin is all about reassurance.”

    See also:
    Cleanup Questions as Radiation Spreads
    New York Times, March 31, 2011

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/01/world/asia/01clean.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fscience%2Findex.jsonp

    Excerpt:
    As it struggles with the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Japanese government now faces another problem spawned by the disaster: whether and how to clean up areas that have been heavily contaminated by radioactivity.
    On Wednesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said a soil sample from Iitate, a village of 7,000 people about 25 miles northwest of the plant, showed very high concentrations of cesium 137 — an isotope that produces harmful gamma rays, accumulates in the food chain and persists in the environment for hundreds of years.

    The cesium levels were about double the minimums found in the area declared uninhabitable around the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine, raising the question whether the evacuation zones around Fukushima should be extended beyond the current 18 miles. On Thursday, the Japanese government said it had no plans to expand the zone.

    Experts said the Japanese government must also decide what to do about the cesium contamination in the village, especially since radiation releases from the plant could continue for months. [snip]

  214. jakers said on April 1, 2011 at 9:42 am:

    Heroic plant workers are resigned to radiation death

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/31/japans-nuclear-rescuers-inevitable-die-weeks/?test=latestnews

    As mentioned here:

    The Fukushima 50+

    Tepco have said that some 370 people are at work at the Fukushima Daiichi site, 51 of whom are contractors.

    At the fully stabilised Daini site, which remains under emergency status, there are 626 workers, of which 64 are contractors.

    So far, 21 workers have received radiation doses of more than 100 millisieverts, while none have reached the level of 200 millisieverts. The regulatory limit for this emergency situation is 250 milliseiverts.

    The “noble death of a warrior in battle” concept has long been noted in Japanese culture, as arguably exploited during WWII, and also found in many other cultures as well. If thinking they are “bravely fighting onwards to the death” helps them get through another grueling exhausting shift, I’m not going to begrudge them that.

  215. There are at least 2 puzzling things about this post:

    (1) The numbers shown don’t pass the “smell test”. In particular, the “U.S. sustained nuclear growth” scenario shows CO2 emissions cut by 75% relative to current levels. Since electrical generation accounts for only about 40% of our CO2 emissions, it is a little difficult to fathom how this would have been possible. I.e., even 100% conversion of electricity generation to nuclear wouldn’t do it…We’d have had to made significant inroads into converting our current use of fossil fuels for transportation, heating, etc. into electrical use. In fact, transportation alone accounts for ~30% of our emissions, so even if we’d completely foresworn off fossil fuels for EVERYTHING but transportation, we wouldn’t be there. (See here for numbers: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads11/US-GHG-Inventory-2011-Chapter-2-Trends.pdf , particularly Table 2.1.)

    (2) There is no actual evidence presented that the only, or even the major , barrier to greater adoption of nuclear power was “environmental alarmism”. I am not claiming that this didn’t play some role, but everything that I have seen shows that the economics of nuclear was the main problem (even with some subsidization of the risks)…And, I remember seeing cross-national comparisons to Japan and France that showed that the reason for the economics of nuclear being different than in those two countries was not that nuclear power was any cheaper there but rather that fossil fuels were more expensive (presumably due to some combination of fewer domestic sources, less subsidization, and higher taxation of fossil fuels).

    This post seems like more of a “hit job” on environmentalists than a sober and reasoned analysis of why nuclear has not made a greater contribution in the U.S. (I will say that I personally, while not completely unconcerned about the risks of nuclear power, am happy overall when I look at my electric bill and see that most of my electricity has come from the local nuclear power plant and not from fossil-fuel-fired plants.)

  216. Francisco,

    “…………said a soil sample from Iitate, a village of 7,000 people about 25 miles northwest of the plant, showed very high concentrations of cesium 137 — an isotope that produces harmful gamma rays, accumulates in the food chain and persists in the environment for hundreds of years.”

    This is an issue. It has been known for about two weeks that there are elevated levels of Cs-137 offsite. The ability to use these areas in the future is a concern. The claim that it persists in the environment for “centuries” is a stretch. In 155 years (5 half lives) less than 1% will be left.

  217. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    April 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    From Amino Acids in Meteorites on April 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm:

    I really feel sorry for the Japanese in this problem.

    Your concern really shines through in your sterling commentary,

    It was a joke, sarcasm. Would you acknowledge that please?

  218. The Weather Channel reported a second crack in a reactor has been found. I don’t have a link. It was on live tv. Though certainly the same must have been reported elsewhere.

    I am left wondering if these ‘cracks’ have been known about before and are only now being released to the media. It’s an unbelievable grief for the Japanese. I’m not talking about Fukushima, but all the wiped out cities. It is a sad time there. Like I already said, the 1 billion a week being spent in Libya (for who really knows why) could have been spent on helping Japan. God may hold America to task for why it didn’t do more. One day America may need just as much, if not more, help after a disaster.

  219. (2) There is no actual evidence presented that the only, or even the major , barrier to greater adoption of nuclear power was “environmental alarmism”. I am not claiming that this didn’t play some role, but everything that I have seen shows that the economics of nuclear was the main problem (even with some subsidization of the risks)…

    That is because the costs associated with “environmental alarmism” are largely hidden.
    Due to persistent decades long opposition to long term spent fuel storage repositories or reprocessing in the country of origin, the spent fuel (all that stuff in the cooling pools that caused so much trouble) wouldn’t have even been there if effective strategies for reprocessing and or off site storage had been developed.

    The economics of getting a plant off the drafting table and into production is dominated by all the jumping through the hoops necessary to satisfy a bewilderingly complex approval process and public opposition which is directly the result of decades of misinformation by the anti-nuclear crowd.

    If those problems were not drowning the plant owners in paper work and uncertainty, and problems with insurance the economics would be much different.

    We had the technology 20 years ago to design and approve standardized modular reactor designs that could have been put in service with much less hassle. We also had the technology to eliminate the “problem” of high level waste storage but those efforts have been dragged out and torpedoed by decades of stalling and obfuscation so that in the process of seeking a “perfect solution” no practical solution was ever achieved.

    The public pressure for NIMBY (not in my back yard) is primarily driven by over hyping situations like TMI so that rational discussion and mitigation has been economically impossible, and building delays and all the razzle dazzle public relations necessary to get a plant built has effectively throttled the industry.

    The U.S. Navy has shown nuclear power can be operated safely, and even though we have these off the shelf modular designs available, the current approval process forces designers to come up with unique plant designs for each location to satisfy the very complex approval process.

    Historically if you look back at the safety record of the steam industry in the 1850-1880′s they had a terrible record and killed far more people due to boiler explosions than have been killed and injured by all commercial nuclear accidents combined, but they eventually learned how to build safe and reliable high pressure steam systems that today are so reliable we do not even think of them as being industrial risks.

    The same will eventually happen with Nuclear power but it will take time to wear down all the bogus hype and get the general public to rationally address the risks and treat Nuclear power just like they do other industrial processes.

    If history is good precedent I would wager that many of the Fukashima 50 will live to old age, and their “expectation” of death is probably more public relations than fact. Some of the responders at Chernyoble received stunningly high whole body doses and survived contrary to all the dire predictions. Best I can determine the Fukashima 50 are no where close to those levels of acute exposure. If the exposure they are getting was properly distributed over a pool of perhaps 250 workers there would be little long term risk at all, but by concentrating exposure in such a small group they are going directly opposite to accepted good practice in the field which is to keep exposure as low as reasonably achievable.

    That is best done by distributing the exposure over a large pool of workers who receive trivial doses of whole body exposure rather than to intentionally limit the pool of workers and in effect maximizing there exposure by declaring them sacrificial lambs to public relations.

    It is good PR but totally sucks as good radiation exposure management.

    As mentioned above, it is likely driven by a cultural disposition to self sacrifice rather than good practice.

    Larry

  220. Acids, not only was your joke in poor taste, no one here has any idea what your point was or why you claimed that the shipment of the world’s biggest truck-mounted pump (equally equipped for pumping water or concrete) to Japan shows that “[t]here’s something going on at Fukushima that we are not being told about”.

    Moreover, you have yet to answer kadaka’s post two days ago: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/30/anti-nuclear-power-hysteria-and-it%e2%80%99s-significant-contribution-to-global-warming/#comment-634167

  221. hotrod ( Larry L ):
    April 2, 2011 at 8:56 pm
    “Best I can determine the Fukashima 50 are no where close to those levels of acute exposure. If the exposure they are getting was properly distributed over a pool of perhaps 250 workers there would be little long term risk at all, but by concentrating exposure in such a small group they are going directly opposite to accepted good practice in the field which is to keep exposure as low as reasonably achievable.”
    ================
    First of all, the “Fukushima 50″ is the name given to a group of some 370 workes, not 50.
    “Best you can determine” is not exactly reassuring, because many of the workers themselves couldn’t determine anything, as they were, amazingly, working without dosimeters just a few days ago. It’s not clear whether they have been provided by now. That in itself is mind boggling. In any case, the air above the radioactive water that keeps coming out has been measured at 1000 mSv/h. How much is that? Let’s see.

    There was a chart passed around by the providers of nuclear succor a few days ago, comparing different amounts of radiation in little colored boxes: http://xkcd.com/radiation/

    Well, 1000 mSv/h measured above that water will give you (in just 1 hour of exposure) the following presents:

    *nearly 17,000 times all the blue boxes in that chart combined
    *13 times all the green boxes combined
    *4 times the dose limit for emergency workers in lifesaving operator (250 mSv in the red chart)

    * In 8 hours, it will give you the largest dose in the chart, called “fatal dose, even with treatment”) at bottom right.
    *And in 16 hours it will give you the equivalent of the entire chart (blue, green and red).

    I suppose it helps you keep your spirits up if you are not provided with a dosimeter.

    The systematic trivialization, dishonest tergiversation, and concealment of serious health matters is a pervasive disease surrounding the nuclear industry. And stop comparing this with CO2 alarmism. Most people are perceptive enough to know CAGW is a canard, in spite of the massive propaganda. And most people are also perceptive enough to sense that the large army of nuclear apologists that rises up when some cat gets out of the bag, are, at best deluded, at worst very dishonest.

    I wonder how many people are aware of the astonishing increase in childhood cancers over the last few decades?
    You often need to dig into it and read between the lines and do your own calculations to get the figures. They are not gladly offered. Emphasis is never on the ominous cloud, but on its lining, if any (in this case, the fact that suvival rates have increased for those who get proper treatment)

    From the National Cancer Institute we learn:

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/childhood

    “Over the past 20 years, there has been *some* increase in the incidence of children diagnosed with all forms of invasive cancer, from 11.5 cases per 100,000 children in 1975 to 14.8 per 100,000 children in 2004.”
    Well, how much is “some increase”? It’s “only” a 28% increase since 1975.

    “Incidence of childhood leukemias appeared to rise in the early 1980s, with rates increasing from 3.3 cases per 100,000 in 1975 to 4.6 cases per 100,000 in 1985.”

    How much is that? That’s a 39% increase in 10 years.

    “For childhood brain tumors, the overall incidence rose from 1975 through 2004, from 2.3 to 3.2 cases per 100,000”

    How much is that? That’s 39% increase.

    The BBC in 2001 tells us:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1715741.stm

    “A team from the Department of Paediatric Oncology at Manchester University looked at the rates of children’s cancer from 1954 to 1998.”
    “They found that some of the commonest children’s cancers, including brain tumours and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, have been gradually increasing over the last 45 years.”
    “The average annual increase is between 1% and 3%.”

    So, at the lower end of the range, you have an increase of 45% over that time span. At the upper end, the increase is 135%.
    But don’t worry becasue it’s “gradual”. If would have been worse if it had happened in only 1 year.

    They also say:
    “The current rate of brain cancer is 36% higher than it was in the 1950s, while the rate of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia has also gone up by more than a third.”

    This article sums a study of childhood cancer trends in Europe:

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/17687.php

    “Research from 19 European countries in this week’s issue of THE LANCET (pp 2074, 2097) documents how childhood cancer, while still rare, has been slowly increasing over the past 3 decades.”
    “The investigators obtained high-quality data from 63 European population based cancer registries in 19 European countries. Analysis of 113,000 cancers in children and over 18,000 cancers in adolescents during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s showed how the incidence rates of cancer increased by around 1% for children and 1.5% for adolescents per year.”

    Again, that’s an increase of 30% for children and 45% for adolescents over 3 decades.

    But if you skim through the articles, throwing in words like “slow increase” and emphasizing the improvement in survival rates, you just may get the impression there is nothing to worry about. What good is it that survival rates have increased if cancer rates are steadily on the rise? How is that supposed to be good news? Do you prefer a society heading toward a higher proportion of cancer-free children, or a society whose health is advertised as improving on the grounds that these astonishing increases in childhood cancer have brought about higher survival rates?

    Truth is, a serious disease that keeps increasing steadily for several decades at between 1 and 3 percent per year, as these articles indicate, is a very ominous development.
    Something is causing this. I am sure it has nothing whatsoever to do with environmental issues, and all those who are concerned about it are hysterical fearmongers with a liberal bent. That’s the knee-jerk assured reaction of robots around these parts.

  222. Also – http://www.alfred-koerblein.de/chernobyl/downloads/infantmortality.pdf

    for the effects of Chernobyl in Germany and Poland.

    Like raising the levels of acceptable exposure far beyond accepted current norms for the Japanese workers and for foods in the EU, and now same planned for US, how long before what is now known as unacceptable high levels, accept to those denying any effects of note, will be globally considered normal? When we all get used to seeing deformed children being born in great numbers around our own neighbourhoods and cancer rates soaring even higher?

    It’s not difficult to credit how successful the disinformation campaign given the funds and organisation, but I find it absolutely astonishing that when evidence of the manipulative techniques are given that some continue to argue that the disinformation is reality. Perhaps the fear of having to admit one is of the many conned is greater than the fear of the possible effects, to rather believe that there are neglible effects as per the disinformation? We are human, we are easy to con, but not all the time, because we have inbuilt co-operation blue-print, that’s how societies work on small scale and when not taken over by power hunger and the rest.

    So, how long before the readers here from the US really have to consider whether the effects are real or imagined? The forecast from the Department of Atmospheric and Climate Research, The Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) has a projection to April 6th.

    http://www.infiniteunknown.net/2011/04/02/fukushima-xe-133-radiation-forecast-apr-2-6-northwest-of-us-under-threat/

    And like AGW, the US nuclear interests are busy removing stations monitoring the wrong sort of information.

  223. ECRR Chernobyl 20 Years On: Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident
    Second Edition
    (Note: the downloadable first edition is still available)

    http://www.euradcom.org/publications/chernobylbook2009.htm

    [...]
    …The calculations made by the author of this review showed that the average age of 162 liquidators who died during last 10 years in the town of Tollyaty (Samarskaya province, Russia) was about 46.2 years old (Tymonin, 2005). The average lifespan for 169 liguidators from nuclear industry institutes who died between 1986 – 1990 was 45.5 years (Tukov et al., 2000). In the Kaluga province – National register data, – the average age of death for 84.7 % of liquidators was only 30 – 39 years old
    (Lushnykov and Lantzov, 1999)…” – A.V. Yablokov

    “The dose dependence of the radiation effect may be non-linear, non-monotonic and polymodal in character…Over certain dose ranges, low-level irradiation is more effective with regard to the results of its action on an organism or a population than acute high-level radiation…

    …Radiation-induced changes in the population structure result in an unpredictable response of the population to various events. In the work by A.P. Akif’ev et al. [12], an apparently healthy population of the posterity of exposed Drosophila exhibited a so-called ‘populational breakdown’ in one of its generations and was ruined by a law other than that for other generations. In the work by I.I. Pelevina et al. [13], it was shown that 15 generations of cells irradiated with the doses 10 to 50 cGy “remember” the irradiation and respond to external stimuli differently than the control…

    ….The results of surveys and biological monitoring of children and adults of Chernobyl point unambiguously to a steady, rapid and dramatic (for an individual human life) deterioration of health of all victims of the radiation impact of the Chernobyl accident…”- E.B. Burlakova & A.G. Nazarov

    “According to a wide range of scientific data reviewed, the following hypotheses can be proposed: 1) exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation is a risk factor for accelerated aging processes and neurodegeneration; 2) aging and neurodegeneration processes after exposure to ionizing radiation could be enhanced by the synergetic influence of heterogeneous pathogenetic factors, such as immunological, oxidative stress and molecular-genetic changes.”- K.N. Loganovsky

    “The detected cytogenetic effects of chronic low-intensive irradiation in the germ and somatic cells of wild animals exceeded the expected levels deduced from extrapolation of the data from the high-dose range of acute or chronic irradiation. In wild murine rodents increased frequencies of cytogenetic injuries in somatic and germ cells, as well as embryonal lethality, were shown to remain over the life spans of no less than 22 generations (Goncharova & Ryabokon, 1998)…” – E. Yu. Krysanov

    “In addition, a view of the radiobiological processes induced in plants by chronic irradiation should elucidate the main tendencies in the formation of late effects of irradiation. As this takes place we bear in mind that these late effects in plants could not be related to ‘radio-phobia’, as it is called, as there is a tendency to assign the cause of injuries observed after the Chernobyl catastrophe merely to a fear of irradiation. We have seen, since the accident, clear and diverse effects of irradiation in plants over time…

    …It appears that there are two adaptive strategies to stress impacts in plants, namely; ontogenetic and population or phylogenetic adaptation. The first type of adaptive strategy is revealed by radioadaptation and resides in an augmentation of radioresistance after irradiation in low doses. The second type of adaptive strategy lies in an increase in frequency of genetic diversification, which enlarges the possibilities for active natural selection…”- D.M. Grodzinsky

    “Using new infant leukemia data from the UK supplied by the Childhood Cancer Research Group, Oxford, it is possible to combine the populations of Germany, Greece and the UK and carry out a meta analysis of infant leukemia in those children who were in the womb at the time of the fallout. Using published exposure doses to the foetus the infant leukemia yield in Europe is more than 160 times higher than that predicted on the basis of the external irradiation yields found by the obstetric X-ray data studies. This means that the ICRP risk model is at minimum in error here by a factor of 160-fold. The dose response is biphasic…” – C. Busby

    “Clearly, the true damage to health attributable to the Chernobyl disaster has been kept from the general public through poor and incomplete scientific investigation…”- R. Bertell

    The European Committee on Radiation Risk
    (Comite Europeen sur le Risque de l’Irradiation)

    The European Committee on Radiation Risk was formed in 1997 following a resolution made at a conference in Brussels arranged by the Green Group in the European Parliament.

    The ECRRs remit is:

    To independently estimate, based on its own evaluation of all scientific sources, in as much detail as necessary and using the most appropriate scientific framework, all of the risks arising from exposure to radiation, taking a precautionary approach.
    To develop the best scientific predictive model of detriment following exposure to radiation, presenting observations which appear to support or challenge this model, and highlighting areas of research which are needed to further complete the picture.
    To develop an ethical analysis and philosophical framework to form the basis of its policy recommendations, related to the state of scientific knowledge, lived experience and the Precautionary Principle.
    To present the risks and the detriment model, with the supporting analysis, in a manner to enable and assist transparent policy decisions to be made on radiation protection of the public and the wider environment.

    The committee now has more than 50 experts from many countries collaborating on the issue of radiation risk and has set up a number of sub-committees and groups. The committee’s risk model was presented in 2003 in Brussels and is published as the ECRR2003 Recommendations: the Health Effects of Ionising Radiation Exposure at Low Dose for Radiation Protection Purposes (ISBN 1897761 24 4). The report, now in its second printing, has been widely circulated and translated and published in French, Russian, Spanish and Japanese. The price of the English edition is £45 with a concession price of £15 for students/ NGOs. It is available by order from any bookseller or direct by emailing an order to adminsec@euradcom.org or from the publisher, Green Audit, at the address below.

  224. From Amino Acids in Meteorites on April 2, 2011 at 8:42 pm:

    It was a joke, sarcasm. Would you acknowledge that please?

    “Sarcasm” like that gets people fired. You have to be a Farrakhan, Jackson, or at least a Biden to get a free pass on “humor” like that. Note I’m not much for Political Correctness, this was largely a situational event.

    Oh, thank you for participating in this cooking lesson, “stewing in one’s own juices.” Hope you enjoyed it, son.

  225. On the infiniteunknown.net page there’s an article on what measurements mean re health – http://www.infiniteunknown.net/2011/04/01/what-theyre-covering-up-at-fukushima-you-get-3500000-the-normal-dose-you-call-that-safe-and-what-media-have-reported-this-none/

    From an interview with Hirose Takashi, who’s written extensively on the nuclear industry, on the “inverse ratio of the square of the distance” –

    “What is dangerous is when that material enters your body and irradiates it from inside. These industry-mouthpiece scholars come on TV and what do they say? They say as you move away the radiation is reduced in inverse ratio to the square of the distance. I want to say the reverse. Internal irradiation happens when radioactive material is ingested into the body.What happens? Say there is a nuclear particle one meter away from you. You breathe it in, it sticks inside your body; the distance between you and it is now at the micron level. One meter is 1000 millmeters, one micron is one thousandth of a millimeter. That’s a thousand times a thousand squared. That’ s the real meaning of “inverse ratio of the square of the distance.” Radiation exposure is increased by a factor of a trillion. Inhaling even the tiniest particle, that’s the danger.”

    I’ve come across this ‘one particle sticking inside is enough’ in descriptions of the Gulf war veterans and their ongoing problems. So, how do we get rid of it if it ‘sticks inside’?

  226. From Francisco on April 3, 2011 at 4:23 am:

    First of all, the “Fukushima 50″ is the name given to a group of some 370 workes, not 50.

    Not that one could tell from the TV news reports. “The Fukushima 50″ sounds very noble, a great story of the ultimate personal sacrifice, very newsworthy.

    “Best you can determine” is not exactly reassuring, because many of the workers themselves couldn’t determine anything, as they were, amazingly, working without dosimeters just a few days ago. (…)

    I suppose it helps you keep your spirits up if you are not provided with a dosimeter.

    To put some some numbers on it and clear up a misconception you inadvertently introduced: http://www.dailyindia.com/show/432769.php

    Tokyo, Apr 1: The Japanese government’s nuclear regulatory agency has issued another warning to Tokyo Electric Power Corporation (TEPC) over concerns that the management workers are constantly getting exposed to high levels of radiation at the earthquake-cum-tsunami hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, after it was found that there were not enough dosimeters to cover all of the workers.

    The Kyodo news agency quoted the agency’s spokesman, Hidehiko Nishiyama, as saying that some workers have been found sharing dosimeters while doing the same job because many of the devices were destroyed in the March 11 disaster, adding that this trend is unsafe for the workers.

    “From today, all of the workers will wear dosimeters. And if each individual cannot get one, the work should not take place,” he added.

    TEPCO officials have that said the number of dosimeters had declined from 5,000 to 320 after the tsunami damaged the devices at the plant.

    As mentioned in the WSJ and in this worker’s account, one person had a dosimeter while the others stayed close. Not an ideal situation, even though it is a Hollywood staple. As it is, there are no reports of nobody in a group having a dosimeter.

  227. From Myrrh on April 3, 2011 at 11:30 am:

    From an interview with Hirose Takashi, who’s written extensively on the nuclear industry, on the “inverse ratio of the square of the distance” –

    Who promptly demonstrates he’s an asinine alarmist who doesn’t understand the science nor the math. “Radiation exposure is increased by a factor of a trillion. Inhaling even the tiniest particle, that’s the danger.” Puh-lease!

    The basic math is the area of a sphere, 4 times pi times (radius squared), using the simplification of a point source of radiation. For the same amount of surface area, with a given constant rate of irradiation, 10 times the radius yields 1/100th the amount of irradiation. That’s the “inverse ratio of the square of the distance.”

    But when the radiation source is inside of you, you are completely surrounding it. 100% of the radiation emitted will hit the inside. Distance does not matter, “increased by a factor of a trillion” is raving nonsense. This is what makes even lowly emitters of alpha particles like Polonium-210 so dangerous when ingested, as alpha particles are easily stopped by the skin, or even a few centimeters of air.

  228. kadaka,

    It may be that only one in a group had an alarming and indicating dosimeter. If they use TLDs (or a film badge) for their official records then all workers likely had a TLD just not a dosimeter you can read in real time. Here in the USA everyone has a TLD that is issued to them and read periodically, typically quarterly. However, when you are in a high radiation area you are also required to have a dosimeter that can be read in real time so you can tell what your dose received on that job is and what the local dose rates are.

    There is a good chance that everyone’s dose is recorded but they did not each have a dosimeter with them that they could read in real time as they were working in the high radiation area.

  229. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    April 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm
    “Who promptly demonstrates he’s an asinine alarmist who doesn’t understand the science nor the math. “Radiation exposure is increased by a factor of a trillion. Inhaling even the tiniest particle, that’s the danger.” Puh-lease!”

    “The basic math is the area of a sphere, 4 times pi times (radius squared), using the simplification of a point source of radiation. For the same amount of surface area, with a given constant rate of irradiation, 10 times the radius yields 1/100th the amount of irradiation. That’s the “inverse ratio of the square of the distance.”

    “But when the radiation source is inside of you, you are completely surrounding it. 100% of the radiation emitted will hit the inside. Distance does not matter, “increased by a factor of a trillion” is raving nonsense. This is what makes even lowly emitters of alpha particles like Polonium-210 so dangerous when ingested, as alpha particles are easily stopped by the skin, or even a few centimeters of air.”
    ===============================
    Your message does not have exaclly the claryfying power one would like. I’m not even sure what you are trying to say. I’ll tell you how I see it, and where the “trillion” comes from.

    Most of those little missiles sent by a point source of radiation emitting in all directions one meter away from you will miss your body. None will if it’s inside, and they will all concentrate on the same area where the radiation source is lodged.

    So far so good. We agree on that.

    Let’s assume for a moment, for the sake of argument and simplification, that ALL the particles emitted by a point source from one meter away hit your body, evenly distributed on its surface (as if your body were stretched out and wrapped around the surface of a sphere whose center is the radiation point one meter away — in other words, you are going out of your way, so to speak, not to miss anything the radiation source throws away).

    Now let’s move the source inside of you for real. Now it is one micron away from surrounding tissue. So you’ve decreased the radius by one million. So the surface of that sphere is now one millionth square (1/10^12) smaller than the surface of the big sphere. So the tissue surrounding the radiation source is now getting one 10^12 times more hits per unit of surface.

    Now, 10^12 is called one trillion in some places (the US for example) and one billion in others. So it’s either one trillion or one billion, depending on where you are. But it’s the same number. Other than that, I have no clue what you are talking about.

  230. kadaka (KD Knoebel)

    It’s only you that sees it this way. The only thing I didn’t do, and should have done, is label it ‘sarcasm’ so there could have been no way for anyone to turn it into a problem. It was obviously a joke. But, for some reason, you saw it in another way.

    But since I have made it clear it was sarcasm and you have blown up your accusation into something larger, and strange, I ask for an apology.

  231. Re: Amino Acids in Meteorites on
    April 3, 2011 at 8:10 pm
    and
    April 3, 2011 at 8:11 pm
    and
    April 3, 2011 at 8:20 pm
    and likely earlier comments…

    What can you rightfully take,
    which can be expensive to have,
    and foolish to defend?

    Hint: It’s in the position of the Summer, thus goes after the Spring.

  232. All the news agencies are reporting Japan has announced it will dump 11,500 tons of radioactive water into the sea, to make room in its storage tanks for the “highly radioactive” water that also keeps leaking out. Information seems deliberately vague and opaque. No information available in these reports on the levels of radiation of the water to be dumped, except that it is 100 times the “legal” limit according to the NYT, whatever that means. No new information either on the current level of radiation of the “highly radioactive” water coming out, which a few days ago was measured at 1000 mSv/hour. No updated information on radiation levels at different distances from the plant. But they have repeatedly acknowledged in the last couple of days that this situation is likely to continue “for months”.
    However long it takes, we may expect the choir of cheering crickets to continue to sing the praises of this extraordinarily cheap, safe and clean industry.

  233. kadaka (KD Knoebel)
    April 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm
    =============
    Still wondering what the point of your rant was exactly. The “factor of a trillion” given by Hirose Takashi is absolutely right if you assume all the radiation from a point source 1 meter away gets to your body. If now you put it inside of you, 1 micron away from surrounding tissue, the irradiation to that tissue is 1 trillion (10^12) times bigger, because the surface of a 1 micron (radius) sphere is 1 trillion times smaller than the surface of a 1 meter sphere.

    Now, if you compensate for the fact that the only a fraction of the radiation emitted from a point source 1 meter away from you will go towards you, then the difference between that and putting the source inside of you will not be 1 trillion. It will be a lot more. If you were only getting, say, 1/15 of the radition emitted by the point source when it was 1 meter away, then when the point source is inside of you the radiation to the surrounding tissue would be 15 trillion times larger.

    So it’s hard to see what you are complaining about. Maybe you can explain it.

  234. kadaka (KD Knoebel)

    Apparently you are living in your own world, and I don’t care. Why did I even pay attention to you. Have a nice life.

  235. The Bay Citizen is a New York Times affiliate:

    http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/california/sanfranciscobayarea/index.html

    A story here reports high levels of Iodine-131 being measured in rain water by UC Berkeley Dept of Nuclear Energy about a week ago.

    http://www.baycitizen.org/japan-disaster/story/government-under-fire-radiation-milk/2/

    Exceprt:
    A rooftop water monitoring program managed by UC Berkeley’s Department of Nuclear Engineering detected substantial spikes in rain-borne iodine-131 during torrential downpours a week ago.

    As shown in this graph published by UC Berkeley: http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/RainWaterSampling
    Iodine-131 peaked at 20.1 becquerels per liter, a measure of radioactivity, on the roof of Etcheverry Hall during heavy rains a week ago. The federal maximum level of iodine-131 allowed in drinking water is 0.111 becquerels per liter.

    So that peak is some 200 times above legal level in drinking water.

    This story is being followed by a certain Alexander Higgins on his blog. He says they also found low levels of iodine-131 in drinking water and shows what he says is a UCB log indicating so. He says:

    ¨[...] Since, I first posted my report UCB has suddenly stopped publishing updated sample results on their web site. It is possible that a gag order has been issued and the data may be scrubbed altogether. So here is a screen shot of the University of Berkeley results log¨

    http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2011/04/03/media-confirms-high-ca-rainwater-radiation-lies-tap-water-radiation-13742/

  236. Thanks harrywr2, (April 2, 4:43 pm), for the links.

    I have a vague recollection that ‘something’ is good for getting rid of stuff like heavy metals from the body, maybe there is something to counteract or boost immunity to these specifically. As iodine is to radioactive iodine, giving a measure of protection, perhaps it’s 100% don’t know, sources like kelp. The Japanese are big consumers of seaweeds, so perhaps we won’t see the same amount of thyroid problems there?

    In the Cesium link it says it leaves the body along the same pathways as potassium. Now I think I’m right in saying that one effect of eating too much salt is that potassium gets depleted. Would this work for cesium? Once got rid of eat lots of bananas…

    The Strontium link says can be more of problem for those fasting or on low calcium diets because the body takes it up thinking its calcium, somehow, if there’s not enough calcium? So perhaps making sure one’s diet was optimum for calcium would be some measure of protection.

  237. ECRR Risk Model And Radiation From Fukushima
    By Chris Busby, Scientific Secretary, European Committee on Radiation Risk
    3-20-11

    http://www.thepowerhour.com/news4/busby_radiation.htm

    [...]
    Authorities are downplaying the risk on the basis of absorbed dose levels using the dose coefficients of the International Commission on Radiological Protection the ICRP. These dose coefficients and the ICRP radiation risk model is unsafe for this purpose.

    This is clear from hundreds of research studies of the Chernobyl accident outcomes. It has also been conceded by the editor of the ICRP risk model, Dr Jack Valentin, in a discussion with Chris Busby in Stockholm, Sweden in April 2009. Valentin specifically stated in a videoed interview (available on http://www.llrc.org and vimeo.com) that the ICRP model could not be used to advise politicians of the health consequences of a nuclear release like the one from Fukushima. Valentin agreed that for certain internal exposures the risk model was insecure by 2 orders of magnitude. The CERRIE committee stated that the range of insecurity was between 10 and members of the committee put the error at nearer to 1000, a factor which would be necessary to explain the nuclear site child leukemia clusters. The ECRR risk model was developed for situations like Fukushima

    Since the ECRR 2003 Radiation Risk Model, updated in 2010, was developed for just this situation it can be employed to assess the risk in terms of cancer and other ill health. See http://www.euradcom.org. It has been checked against many situations where the public has been exposed to internal radioactivity and shown to be accurate.

    Using the ECRR 2010 radiation risk model the following guide to the health effects of exposure can be employed.

    Take the dose which is published by the authorities. Multiply it by 600. This is the approximate ECRR dose for the mixture of internal radionuclides released from Fukushima. Then multiply this number by 0.1. This is the ECRR 2010 cancer risk.

    Example 1 : the dose from exposure to radioactive milk from Fukushima is said by the authorities to be so low that you would have to drink milk for a year to get the equivalent of a CT scan dose. A CT scan dose is about 10 milliSieverts (mSv) Assuming you drink 500ml a day, the annual intake is 180litres so the dose per litre is 0.055mSv. The ECRR dose per litre is at maximum 0.055 x 600 = 33mSv. Thus the lifetime risk of cancer following drinking a litre of such contaminated milk is 0.0033 or 0.33%. Thus 1000 people each drinking 1 litre of milk will result in 3.3 cancers in the 50 years following the intake.

    From the results in Sweden and elsewhere following Chernobyl, these cancers will probably appear in the 10 years following the exposure.

    Example 2. : External doses measured by a Geiger counter increased from 100nSv/h to 500nSv/h. What is the risk from a weeks exposure? Because the external dose is only a flag for the internal dose we assume that this is the internal ICRP dose from the range of radionuclides released which include radiodines, radiocaesium, plutonium and uranium particles, tritium etc. A weeks exposure is thus 400 x 10-9 x 24 x 7days or 6.72 x 10-5 Sv . We multiply by 600 to get the ECRR dose which is 0.04Sv and then by 0.1 to get the lifetime cancer risk which is 0.4%. Thus in this case, in 1000 individuals exposed for a week at this level, 4 will develop cancer because of this exposure. In 30 million, the population of Tokyo, this would result in 120,000 cancers in the next 50 years. The ICRP risk model would predict 100 cancers from the same exposure. Again we should expect to see a rise in cancer in the 10 years following the exposure. This is due to early clinical expression of pre-cancerous genomes.

    Other health effects are predicted, including birth effects, heart disease and a range of other conditions and diseases. For details see ECRR2010.

    These calculations have been shown to be accurate in the case of the population of Northern Sweden exposed to fallout for the Chernobyl accident, and also are accurate for the increased in cancer in northern hemisphere countries following the 1960s weapons testing fallout (the cancer epidemic). The public and the Japanese and other authorities would do well to calculate exposure risks on the basis of these approximations and to abandon the ICRP model which does not protect the public. This was the conclusion of a group of international experts who signed the 2009 Lesvos Declaration (this can be found on http://www.euradcom.org)

    Reference

    ECRR 2010. The 2010 Recommendations of the European Committee on Radiation Risk. The health effects of exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation. Regulators Edition. EDs: Chris Busby, Alexey V Yablokov, Rosalie Bertell, Molly Scott Cato, Inge.Schmitze Feuehake, Brussels: ECRR.

    http://www.llrc.org

  238. I wondered about the recent spate of anti-oxidant reason for eating certain foods and began looking for specific to nuclear, found this on basil: http://www.aromatherapy-school.com/aromatherapy-schools/aromatherapy-articles/radioprotective-effects-of-holy-basil.html referencing two studies from India 1986 and 1997

    Looking for what else I could find on the potassium angle, I found a reference to a study of cesium and mice and diets with less and less potassium; conclusion was that cesium half-life decreased with potassium intake. So, forget the extra salt! Keep up potassium levels.

    Francisco – would you take a look at this page, it seems inactive, but my computer is reduced to basic at the moment so I’m not sure, I can’t call up any of the docs or sections. http://www.ithyroid.com/cesium.htm

    There are several more interesting studies but without more detail they could be referring to different caesium, however, an alfalfa polymer recommended for everyone’s diet to block absorption of Caesium-137 and Strontium 85.

  239. From Francisco on April 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm:

    Your message does not have exaclly the claryfying power one would like. I’m not even sure what you are trying to say. I’ll tell you how I see it, and where the “trillion” comes from.

    And you don’t get it…

    Let the point source approach the skin, until in theory the point source lies on (in?) the flat plane of the skin surface. 50% of the emitted radiation is directed under the skin. Now move the point source under the skin. 100% of the radiation is released under the surface. Has the exposure now doubled?

    Depends on the radiation. Alpha particles, which are basically large chunky helium nuclei, can’t penetrate a sheet of paper, or the skin which normally has outer layers of dead and dying cells. Thus a small amount of an alpha-emitting substance on dry skin poses very little risk. But said amount, when ingested or perhaps absorbed through the open pores of sweaty skin, is far more dangerous as the radiation is hitting living cells. As it says in the “Biological effects” section of the Wikipedia Alpha particle entry:

    Because of the short range of absorption, alphas are not, in general, dangerous to life unless the source is ingested or inhaled, in which case they become extremely dangerous. Because of this high mass and strong absorption, if alpha-emitting radionuclides do enter the body (upon being inhaled, ingested, or injected, as with the use of Thorotrast for high-quality X-ray images prior to the 1950s), alpha radiation is the most destructive form of ionizing radiation. It is the most strongly ionizing, and with large enough doses can cause any or all of the symptoms of radiation poisoning. It is estimated that chromosome damage from alpha particles is anywhere from 10 to 1000 times greater than that caused by an equivalent amount of gamma or beta radiation, with the average being set at 20 times.

    Beta particles are basically just electrons or positrons that are moving fast. They’re not particularly dangerous as they have very little mass. Shielding is easy, a few mm of aluminum works. Lower-atomic-number materials are preferred for shielding since when beta particles decelerate they may emit bremsstrahlung x-rays, with the production increasing with higher-atomic-number materials, so plastic is often used. (Reference on radiation shielding.)

    Gamma rays are basically X-rays, they occupy the same part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The distinction is essentially artificial, gamma rays emerge from a nucleus, x-rays are emitted by electrons outside of a nucleus. Some portable “X-ray” devices actually use a gamma-emitting substance. As they are deeply penetrating, the radiation from an ingested gamma-emitting substance may just pass right out of the body. Higher-energy gamma rays are actually less damaging than lower-energy ones:

    The most biological damaging forms of gamma radiation occur in the gamma ray window, between 3 and 10 MeV, with higher energy gamma rays being less harmful because the body is relatively transparent to them.

    So “trillions” is wrong because it doesn’t take into account the type of radiation. It is also “wrong” in that it doesn’t properly take into account the risk level. Remember the chart? If you receive a 4 Sievert dose in a few hours, which can come from ingesting a highly-radioactive rapidly-decaying radioactive substance, that’s very bad and likely fatal. But a 40 micro-Sievert dose over a few hours (airplane flight from New York to Los Angeles) is trivial. That’s a factor difference of only 100,000.

    Granted “TRILLIONS!!!” sounds much more alarming than “one hundred thousand,” but to speak in such terms when describing risk from radiation is very non-scientific, for multiple reasons.

  240. From Francisco on April 3, 2011 at 4:23 am:

    I wonder how many people are aware of the astonishing increase in childhood cancers over the last few decades?
    You often need to dig into it and read between the lines and do your own calculations to get the figures. They are not gladly offered. Emphasis is never on the ominous cloud, but on its lining, if any (in this case, the fact that suvival rates have increased for those who get proper treatment)

    From the National Cancer Institute we learn:

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/childhood

    “Over the past 20 years, there has been *some* increase in the incidence of children diagnosed with all forms of invasive cancer, from 11.5 cases per 100,000 children in 1975 to 14.8 per 100,000 children in 2004.”
    Well, how much is “some increase”? It’s “only” a 28% increase since 1975.

    Wrong.

    For someone willing to “dig into it” you really didn’t look very far into the numbers. Your reference cites Reference 2:

    Ries LAG, Melbert D, Krapcho M, et al. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975–2004. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Retrieved December 26, 2007, from http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2004.

    From there comes CSR section 28, “Childhood cancers” (pdf). Referring to Table XXVIII-2, “AGE-ADJUSTED SEER CANCER INCIDENCE RATES, 1975-2004″ found on pdf page 3, comes the numbers for “All sites: All races.” First line is year, second is “Ages 0-14″ (source of the provided numbers) rates, third is “Ages 0-19″ rates, with rates being per 100,000.

    1975 1980 1985 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995
    11.5 12.9 14.5 14.2 15.1 13.4 14.9 13.9 14.0
    12.9 14.3 15.9 15.6 16.3 16.0 16.1 15.5 15.7

    1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
    14.7 14.0 15.3 14.4 15.4 15.6 15.2 12.9 14.8
    16.1 15.6 16.2 15.6 16.8 16.9 17.2 15.5 16.0

    Your “28% increase” is only valid when comparing 1975 directly to 2004 using 0-14 numbers. It does not indicate a trend. If 2001 and 2004 are selected, there’s a 5% decrease. For the 18 data points, 6 of them have higher rates than 2004. For 0-19 age range, 7 are higher than 2004 with 1 being equal.

    Putting the data in a spreadsheet and graphing it, limiting to the one-year periods (1990-2004) to avoid the missing data of the five-year periods, applying a linear regression reveals a rate of increase of 0.0311/yr for 0-14, 0.0393/yr for 0-19 (same # of significant digits as data). That’s it. For 0-14 the average per year is 14.5, using the 0.0311/yr increase yields a yearly percentage rate of increase of… nothing, actually. The average is only known to tenths, the 0.0311 would be rounded to the tenths position for the percentage math [(((average + one year increase)/average)-1)*100], which would leave it at ZERO. Thus the yearly percentage rate of increase is ZERO. Same happens for 0-19 with the 0.0393, the yearly percentage rate of increase is ZERO.

    Not quite as dramatic as your “28%!!!!” for the whole range, using only the beginning and end numbers, but there it is. The yearly percentage rate of increase from 1990 to 2004 is zero, nothing, zilch, nada, for 0-14 and 0-19. Now, if you wish to talk about the full 1975 to 2004 range, you’ll have to first locate the info for the missing years to have a meaningful examination.

    “Incidence of childhood leukemias appeared to rise in the early 1980s, with rates increasing from 3.3 cases per 100,000 in 1975 to 4.6 cases per 100,000 in 1985.”

    How much is that? That’s a 39% increase in 10 years.

    From the same table, first line is year, second is leukemia for 0-14, third is for 0-19 (underscores for spacing purposes):

    1975 1980 1985 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995
    3.3_ 4.0_ 4.6_ 4.4_ 4.6_ 4.0_ 4.2_ 3.7_ 4.4
    3.0_ 3.5_ 4.0_ 3.8_ 4.1_ 3.7_ 3.7_ 3.4_ 3.9

    1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
    4.6_ 4.2_ 4.8_ 4.7_ 4.6_ 4.4_ 4.8_ 4.0_ 4.9
    3.9_ 3.7_ 4.2_ 4.0_ 4.1_ 3.9_ 4.5_ 3.7_ 4.3

    Again, that’s 0-14, and only using the beginning and end points, 1975 and 1985. Also, you can’t say “in 10 years” as you only have 3 of the 11 data points for the full 10 year period.

    For the one-year periods, 1990 to 2004, do you want to guess what the yearly percentage rate of increase is for both 0-14 and 0-19? Answer: ZERO. For the same reason as before.

    “For childhood brain tumors, the overall incidence rose from 1975 through 2004, from 2.3 to 3.2 cases per 100,000”

    How much is that? That’s 39% increase.

    First off, you inadvertently left off the rest of that sentence without indicating the cut. The full line was:

    For childhood brain tumors, the overall incidence rose from 1975 through 2004, from 2.3 to 3.2 cases per 100,000 (2), with the greatest increase occurring from 1983 through l986.

    Thus, for some mysterious reason, you inadvertently dropped the part that placed “the greatest increase” before the Chernobyl explosion in 1986. After the full line, possible reasons for “the greatest increase” are given, such as increased ability to detect tumors and also a classification change. But that last line of that paragraph is really important. I’ll highlight it:

    Regardless of the explanation for the increase in incidence that occurred from 1983 to 1986, childhood brain tumor incidence has been essentially stable since the mid-1980s.

    Got that? Post-Chernobyl, essentially stable.

    For consistency, here are the numbers, same layout. The numbers already given (2.3 in 1975, 3.2 in 2004) correspond to the listing “Brain & Other nervous” for 0-14 age range.

    1975 1980 1985 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995
    2.3_ 2.8_ 3.0_ 3.5_ 3.5_ 3.2_ 3.4_ 3.3_ 3.3
    2.1_ 2.5_ 2.7_ 3.2_ 3.0_ 3.3_ 3.0_ 2.9_ 3.0

    1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
    3.1_ 2.7_ 3.2_ 3.4_ 3.4_ 3.8_ 3.6_ 2.9_ 3.2
    3.0_ 2.5_ 2.8_ 3.0_ 3.1_ 3.4_ 3.3_ 2.8_ 2.8

    The yearly percentage rate of increase, for 1990 to 2004, as figured before, for both 0-14 and 0-19, is once again ZERO.

    To summarize, according to the National Cancer Institute numbers, from 1990 to 2004, the yearly percentage rates of increase in incidence for the age groups 0-14 and 0-19 were:
    All sites, all races: ZERO
    Leukemia: ZERO
    Brain & Other nervous: ZERO

    By these numbers, your “astonishing increase in childhood cancers over the last few decades,” for the three groupings you mentioned, DOES NOT EXIST. If you’re looking for something you can blame on NUCLEAR POWER, and Chernobyl in particular, this ain’t it.

  241. kadaka (KD Knoebel):
    April 4, 2011 at 3:04 pm
    ============
    Well, it looks like you are in full agreement with the points raised by Takashi and all the people who very reasonably insist that the methods being used to assess risk for internal radiation following ingestion, inhalation, etc, are woefully wrong. You are in full agrement but you keep complaining about it, somehow. For further agreement, see my post on April 4, 2011 at 10:15 am with quotes from this article: http://www.thepowerhour.com/news4/busby_radiation.htm

    Or see this: Comparing Japan’s Radiation Release to ‘background radiation’
    http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2011/03/comparing-japans-radiation-release-to.html where the utter silliness of thse comparisons is made clear. Background radiation does not contain the main culprits that you get from air, ground, rain, a food contamination after a nuclear accident like this. And all that stuff is pretty harmless unless you ingest it, which you eventually WILL if it rains on you, or gets in the soil, the food, etc. And again, you cannot compare in any way the effects of it once you ingest it with the equivalent radiation dose from an external source like an x-ray or a CT scan. Those comparisons are meaningless.

    Or see this article: http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/deconstructing-nuclear-experts/ and begin reading at “Why is the ICRP model unsafe?”

    Arnold Gundersen, a nuclear power engineer, has been putting out a series of short updates on video on Fukushima. They are worth watching. Very calm and clear headed guy.

    There is something seriously insane about the supposition that we can keep creating and piling huge quantities of stuff whose nastiness is very long lasting and, in some cases, virtually eternal from a human timeframe perspective. These kinds of catastrophes are not comparable to any other for those reasons, and attempting to drown the voices of concern by whistling merry tunes about “background radiation” is rather moronic.

    I should say that at the beginning, right after the earthquake, I was not very concerned about this and thought it was mostly alarmist reports. Within a few days it became very clear this was developping into a major mess, and I am astonished at the amount of nonsense that so many people here have posted in attempts to downplay it. We probably will never know the true amounts of radioactive contamination that has been released and will continue to be released to the environment from this plant.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/04/20114219250664111.html

    “Sullivan uses Fukushima reactor No. 3 as an example, because it is fueled with Mox fuel uranium and plutonium. Plutonium has a half-life of 24,000 years, which means it is carcinogenic and mutagenic for up to 250,000 years, or 12,000 human generations.
    That’s not really understandable or explainable in a conventional sense of knowing,” Sullivan said [...] “We have to apply our moral imagination to 12,000 generations to even begin to understand what we are doing in this moment.”

  242. By these numbers, your “astonishing increase in childhood cancers over the last few decades,” for the three groupings you mentioned, DOES NOT EXIST. If you’re looking for something you can blame on NUCLEAR POWER, and Chernobyl in particular, this ain’t it.

    Textbook case of demolition, using the very stats cited by Francisco to take down his argument. Thanks, kadaka, for spending that time on analysis.

  243. Surprises never cease to arrive. I’ve just read this article by Greg Palast, titled:
    “Tokyo Electric to Build US Nuclear Plants”

    http://www.gregpalast.com/no-bs-info-on-japan-nuclearobama-invites-tokyo-electric-to-build-us-nukes-with-taxpayer-funds/

    What that article describes regarding the nuclear industry in general, and the Japanese nuclear industry in particular (yes they are going to be building plants in the US), is not very reassuring. Greg Palast is a reporter specialising in corporate crime. He was also a lead investigator, back in the 80s, in a civil racketeering case against a nuclear plant builder, the Long Island Lighting Company.

    Then, shortly after I read his rather disturbing article, I ran into this one at Money Week, mentioning a few things about a book by Alex Kerr titled Dogs and Demons :

    “The appalling track record of Japan’s nuclear industry”

    http://www.moneyweek.com/blog/the-appalling-track-record-of-japans-nuclear-industry-00336

    [...]
    But there is one section of Japan that really is working all too well to type. The nuclear industry. In 1995, there was a major leak at Monju, a fast breeder reactor. The authorities (as represented by Donen which managed Japan’s nuclear programme) said it was “minimal.” It wasn’t. Instead it was the largest accident of its type ever. In the world.

    Still as Alex Kerr points out in his excellent Dogs and Demons that was nothing that couldn’t be dealt with by “hiding the evidence.” Donen staff edited the film of the accident, taking out the 15 minutes that showed the actual damage and releasing only five minutes of very innocuous material.

    However this level of secrecy was nothing next to what happened in 1997. Then drums filled with nuclear waste exploded at the Tokai plant just north of Tokyo. This was – or should have been – a particular worry given that only three years earlier it had been discovered that 70kgs of plutonium (enough for 20 bombs) had been lost in the plant’s pipes at some point.

    Yet Donen simply pretended everything was fine. Managers pressurized workers to say the fire was under control when it was not and mis-stated the amount of material leaked by a factor of 20. But that’s not all. Incredibly, says Kerr, “on the day of the explosion, 64 people including science and engineering students and foreign trainees toured the complex… and no one ever informed them of the accident.”

    The list of the madness is almost endless. There was the later accident at the Tokai plant which degenerated into uncontrolled fission (something it took the authorities seven hours to figure out as they couldn’t find a neutron measurer) and revealed that for years workers had been disposing of nuclear materials with buckets (rather than dissolution cylinders).

    Then there were the 2,000 drums of radioactive waste stored in drums in pits filled with rainwater, and most surreal of all perhaps, a PR video produced by Donen to show that plutonium is not as dangerous as the activists say. Kerr quotes the storyline: “A small character named Pu… gives his friend a glass of plutonium water and says it is safe to drink. His friend, duly impressed, drinks no less than six cups of the substance before declaring ‘I feel refreshed!’”

    Many secrets on (included 11 leaks of tritium in two and a half years) Donen was sort of shut down. I say sort of because it actually just carried on as before. Same staff and same ethos. Just with a different name – Genden.

    For more on all this I strongly suggest reading Kerr’s book (it was written in 2001 but remains one of the best books I have ever read on Japan). But for now we should just note that it isn’t particularly reassuring. That’s particularly the case given that officials now say that current levels of radiation are “hazardous to human health.” When even the Japanese government is telling people “Please do not go outside. Please stay indoors. Please close windows and make your homes airtight,” it seems reasonable to worry.

  244. The fragmentary, opaque nature of the reports, and the general lack of interest in this mess with no end in sight is remarkable. Here’s some stuff, starting with an excellent poem I found at the Oil Drum:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7762?page=1

    –> In the western united states you can get
    breathless hourly updates on the state of
    a years old sample of a baseball player’s urine.
    But nothing on the makeup and flow of this
    continually evolving radioactive debris.
    On five different stations it was
    “Aliens and Egyptian monuments”. Another five had
    a Punch-and-Judy show about Charlie Sheen.
    “Coast to Coast” and “The Phil Hendrie Show”
    OWN the night everywhere here in the states.

    These are comments on a Japanese blog:
    http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/04/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-radiation-level.html –> “I’ve seen an occasional slip or two where the newspapers report that TEPCO/NISA didn’t really know how radioactive it was (whether it’s air inside the Reactor 2 building or the water from the pit by the ocean), because the needle of the dosimeter immediately swung to the max (1,000 milli-sievert).

    And that was precisely the case with the pit water. TEPCO made a worker measure the radiation about 1.2 to 1.4 meters from the surface of the pit water, and the worker couldn’t measure it because the needle of the dosimeter immediately swung to the max. So they announced it was “over 1,000 milli-sievert/hour”.

    [...] I’ve had the same problem. I can’t find a counter that goes over 200 millisieverts. I’ve read that modern counters don’t go very high because we are more concerned with lower levels than during the threat of atomic warfare.

    http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/04/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-neutron-measured.html#comments –> It has been three weeks and TEPCO is still using radiation survey equipment they know is under reporting the actual levels with the government blessing. This is going to work in the nuclear industry’s favor when they write the “official” history of the Fukushima “incident” they will claim the radiation levels were never measured above 1,000 milli-sieverts when in actuality they could be many times higher than the officially vague “above 1,000″. It isn’t like Japan doesn’t have access to proper high range equipment they run nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities and research centers. If they were really concerned about the health of their workforce they could have been issued small pieces of X-Ray film to measure their dose instead of having to rely on somebody else’s numbers. Radiation is very similar to light the guy with the dosimeter can be standing in a radiation “shadow” while the guy right next to him is bathed directly in the source’s deadly rays at a much higher level. You can bet none of the top officials would be willing to work without individual dosimetry … too bad it isn’t a law that they have to be the first responders regardless of the danger I bet safety would become paramount then. Nuclear power supporters around the world should make a point of buying all the radioactive food that has been turning up and eating it to prove how “safe” it is their kids can show the world just how harmless a few “sunshine units” can be.

    http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/04/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-tepco-says.html –> OK. So the water is going elsewhere.
    It’s getting to be like “Whack a Mole”. One hole seemingly plugged, and water spews out somewhere else.
    However, if any Fukushima I Nuke Plant news was reported in Japan in the past few days, it was either about this hole that was spewing radioactive water, or the dumping of contaminated water into the ocean. Wag the Dog.

    The real deal is their sheer inability and impossibility to cool the Reactors on a permanent basis because of way too much radiation in the reactor buildings and turbine buildings. Sure they can use the temporary pumps hooked up to the external power, or concrete pumps to sprinkle water to the Spent Fuel Pools, but these operations simply generate more highly contaminated water.

    NHK News:
    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/05_38.html –> A radiation monitor at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says workers there are exposed to immeasurable levels of radiation.
    The monitor told NHK that no one can enter the plant’s No. 1 through 3 reactor buildings because radiation levels are so high that monitoring devices have been rendered useless. He said even levels outside the buildings exceed 100 millisieverts in some places. Pools and streams of water contaminated by high-level radiation are being found throughout the facility.

    The monitor said he takes measurements as soon as he finds water, because he can’t determine whether it’s contaminated just by looking at it. He said he’s very worried about the safety of workers there.

  245. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/06_30.html –> “The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says at least 50,000 tons of wastewater contaminated with highly radioactive material has pooled in reactor turbine buildings and outdoor trenches.”

    50,000 tons of water fills a cube of about 224 x 224 x 224 meters.

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7765#more –> “But about 500 tons of fresh water is injected into reactor buildings each day to cool down the reactors. Some of the water is believed to be leaking outside after becoming contaminated.”

    That would be a cube of water 22 meters side being injected daily.

  246. Sorry for the alarm, I calculated the wrong root (square instead of cubic) and became paralyzed with horror before I realized it was a mistake.

    50,000 tons of water take up only a cube of about 37 meters, and the 500 tons take up a cube of about 8 meters.

  247. Sunspot – thanks, I hadn’t heard of zeolite before. The one I vaguely remembered for heavy metal removal was Chlorella, but it’s also a good food supplement also.

    The zeolite is very interesting, if the references to it being used to give cows in contaminated from Chernobyl areas are right.

  248. From Francisco on April 5, 2011 at 3:39 am:

    kadaka (KD Knoebel):
    April 4, 2011 at 3:04 pm
    ============
    Well, it looks like you are in full agreement with the points raised by Takashi and all the people who very reasonably insist that the methods being used to assess risk for internal radiation following ingestion, inhalation, etc, are woefully wrong. You are in full agrement but you keep complaining about it, somehow. For further agreement, see my post on April 4, 2011 at 10:15 am with quotes from this article: http://www.thepowerhour.com/news4/busby_radiation.htm

    I am not in full agreement. After looking at the sloppy mess the ECRR is trying to pass off as science, I’d be hard pressed to find any of it I agree with. To wit:

    Take the dose which is published by the authorities. Multiply it by 600. This is the approximate ECRR dose for the mixture of internal radionuclides released from Fukushima. Then multiply this number by 0.1. This is the ECRR 2010 cancer risk.

    Example 1 : the dose from exposure to radioactive milk from Fukushima is said by the authorities to be so low that you would have to drink milk for a year to get the equivalent of a CT scan dose. A CT scan dose is about 10 milliSieverts (mSv) Assuming you drink 500ml a day, the annual intake is 180litres so the dose per litre is 0.055mSv. The ECRR dose per litre is at maximum 0.055 x 600 = 33mSv. Thus the lifetime risk of cancer following drinking a litre of such contaminated milk is 0.0033 or 0.33%. Thus 1000 people each drinking 1 litre of milk will result in 3.3 cancers in the 50 years following the intake.

    When reporting doses in sieverts or rems, it has already been taken into account to what extent the dosing is internal or external. Thus the ECRR is double-counting.

    Their simple numerical model (x 600) talks about “the mixture of internal radionuclides released from Fukushima” yet does not address which particular ones would be taken up in the milk, thus throwing off the ratio.

    This guy can’t even keep his numbers right. He starts of talking about drinking a half-liter a day for a year, then finishes with drinking a full liter, while somehow dropping the “a day for a year.” The model says to start with the dose reported by the authorities. He doesn’t do that, and whips out some other number to arrive at something else.

    When done with the number mangling, he reports 3.3 cancers per 1000 people, which apparently comes from drinking a full liter of that milk every day for a year, although he started off talking about drinking a half-liter, and all those cancers will manifest within 50 years.

    If he had actually followed the numerical model presented, that would have been the does reported (10 mSv was chosen, which is high as a chest CT scan is only 5.8 mSv) times 600 times 0.1, yielding a 0.6 ECRR 2010 cancer risk, or 60% (0.010 Sv x 600 x 0.1). No wonder he fumbled his own numbers, as actually following the presented model yields a ludicrous result.

    Heck, he even said the .33% is a lifetime risk, then says the intake will cause 3.3 cancers among 1000 people within 50 years. This will be quite surprising to those 50 years of age and up, to know such milk intake can give them cancer after they are dead.

    Further, according to the National Cancer Institute, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with cancer, all sites (invasive and in-situ), for all races, is 43.61%. That’s right, 436 of 1000 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Note those are US statistics. Thus using Busby’s mangled numbers, for US residents consuming an exceedingly high daily intake of this milk for a full year, that would be less than one percent additional cancers diagnosed.

    They propose a model, don’t use the model, and pull out some number they believe sounds alarming enough. I don’t agree with that, and I should be amazed that you would agree with that. But given the postings you are making, by their quantity and their quality without you doing anything resembling analysis of what’s presented, I am not amazed.

  249. Cancer was practically unknown before the 20th Century.

    Now 44%?! Nearly half the population will get cancer in the US?!

  250. @ Myrrh on April 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm:
    And that’s good news. We humans used to be slaughtered by infections. There were vast pandemics, like the Black Death which was estimated to have killed between 30-60% of Europe’s population. The 1918 flu pandemic (Spanish flu) killed 3-6% of the world’s population. Even now we still have infectious diseases that used to kill much more of us, like typhoid and cholera, that strike the developing world but will also devastate the developed world when our systems of clean water and sanitation are disrupted. There are many other such diseases afflicting us, from measles to tuberculosis. Then there are the common infections, which lead to even small cuts being lethal without treatment.

    Such infections, of course, tend to preferentially kill those who are weaker, which can be those already weakened by an emerging cancer. Also cancer tends to hit later in life. We humans used to live rather short lives on the whole. Our expected lifespans increased tremendously from better prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, and of other conditions such as cardiovascular disease, as well as increased knowledge and availability of things like better sanitation and even better nutrition.

    Thus now we live long enough to get cancer, and don’t die of other things before the sickness is noticeable and cancer is diagnosed. When you hear that cancer is practically unheard of in the developing world, that’s why, something else will kill those people first. Heck, it wasn’t until late in the 19th century we had cytopathology (cellular pathology) so we could identify cancer microscopically. We’ve also developed imaging and other technologies that allow cancer to be diagnosed earlier, and diagnosed at all. That’s progress.

  251. The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children (53 min)

    The film exposes the use and impact of radioactive weapons during the current war against Iraq.

    The story is told by citizens of many nations. It opens with comments by two British veterans, Kenny Duncan and Jenny Moore, describing their exposure to radioactive, so-called depleted uranium (DU), weapons …

    …and

    the congenital abnormalities of their children.

    An award winning documentary film produced for German television by Freider Wagner and Valentin Thurn.

    (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5146778547681767408#)

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