The Age of iStupid: Using the iPhone to terrify people about nuclear power

While looking at some of the organizations that our “amateur Wikipedia grapher cum UNEP cited as peer reviewed source” belongs to I came across the German webpage of “Friends of the Earth”. This is an organization that Hanno Sandvik says he himself belongs to.

This is what I found on the German “Friends of the Earth” page:

Atom-Alarm-game

Click for alarming action, then press START

Main link here Translated link here

The absurd Atom-Alarm game shows airplanes crashing into the pressure vessel, nuclear waste casks spewing out directly into the ground, and the cooling towers cracking. In other words, things that haven’t happened in real life operation of nuclear plants. The Nuclear Energy Institute has a report about what would happen if a plane crashed (Boeing 767) into a nuclear power plant here. They write:

The containment structure was not breached, despite some crushing and spalling (chipping of material at the impact point) of the concrete.

They’ve even done crash tests with a fighter jet into the wall segments of a nuclear plant. Would a nuclear power plant withstand a 9/11 style terrorist attack? Yes.

According to the Atom-Alarm game instructions, your task, as one individual, is to keep any of this happening for a period of a million years. This of course is impossible, since the game is rigged to ensure failure.

Here’s what they say about it (via Google Translation which is broadly imperfect):

Nuclear waste casks, terrorist pilots, temperature fluctuations

As an operator of a fictional nuclear power plants will be after you press the start button immediately often claimed. Some appear as routine – as if the increasing number of dangerous nuclear waste drums to be disposed of brilliant.  It is important to keep risky temperature fluctuations under control.  Or the unexpected happens, when it comes to earthquakes, and the aging nuclear power plant in cracked concrete. No sooner are the cracks forming, then a bomber pilot on the horizon and wants to throw himself on the reactors.

Power plant management, desperately overstretched

A million years is to ensure the safety of the players of the nuclear plant. For this purpose a counter runs backwards. Even after ten or twenty years ago – played three, and felt hectic 15 minutes – is the infernal noise of sonicated power plant management, desperately overstretched. Damp hands cramp the finger and a steadily increasing accident rate can rise to serious doubts – first at the response and later on his own megalomania to try to keep such a risky technology and the ever-radiant nuclear waste for millennia under control.

Yeah, whatever. So that you can remain terrorized on the go, or terrorize nearby people at the bus/train/plane station, you can download and install the iPhone app direct from Apple’s app store. Here’s what it looks like in use:

Direkt zum Spiel

Atomic Alarm for iPhone and iPod (for free)

There’s a recent alarmist film out called “The Age of Stupid”. When I see things like this, I agree that we certainly seem to be living in it.

Of course the engineering testing proving that planes don’t actually penetrate the pressure vessels of nuclear plants doesn’t stop organizations like Greenpeace from spreading more stupid:

http://www.bund.net/bundnet/themen_und_projekte/atomkraft/atomkraft_in_deutschland/spiel_atomalarm/
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106 thoughts on “The Age of iStupid: Using the iPhone to terrify people about nuclear power

  1. well I suppose we’d better get rid of all the nuclear subs and aircraft carriers. Someone might fly a plane, or even a missile, into them as well.

  2. When we get on the topic of climate, or environment, or deviance, I give my students the links to RC, Tamino, and STOAT before I tell them about CA, Jo Nova, WUWT or Jeff Id. I tell them to take no one’s word, not even mine. I know that facts don’t speak for themselves, but I’m hoping that my students will eventually come to understand the meaning of “cognitive dissonance”. The Age of Stupid” is the “Age of Scientific Consensus”.

  3. OK, everyone drop everything and go look at climateaudit.org for Steve’s destruction of the Yamal series. I don’t think you are going to believe your eyes.
    ======================================

  4. Seems they didn’t succeed to frighten the german voters today, socialists thrown out of the government liberals get in, and the latter are pro nuclear.

  5. janama (13:55:43) :
    well I suppose we’d better get rid of all the nuclear subs and aircraft carriers. Someone might fly a plane, or even a missile, into them as well.

    That will be known as the end of the world as we know, aka WWIII.

  6. When the UK government moved to reinforced concrete pressure vessels for the Magnox and later AGR programmes the new designs took into account resistance to a nuclear strike.
    Kindest Regards.

  7. kim (14:14:27) :
    “OK, everyone drop everything and go look at climateaudit.org for Steve’s destruction of the Yamal series. I don’t think you are going to believe your eyes”.
    Don’t tell me, he is killing another hockey stick?

  8. Here in Canada, we’ve had some interesting discussions about the crash-resistance of various parts of nuclear reactors. The video game isn’t an accurate scientific assessment, but it may be about as close as the blanket reassurances! Saying that a caution about nuclear power includes “things that haven’t happened in real life operation of nuclear plants” is also scant reassurance, Anthony, don’t you think?
    Nobody’s actually disposed of any spent fuel yet, so I guess the people who claim it’s going to happen (and safely so for the ~million-year toxic life of the wastes) are also part of the age of Stupid? Warnings about an accident like TMI and later Chernobyl, before the fact, were given and some of them were brilliant and prescient — but they included “things that hadn’t happened in real life operation of nuclear plants”.
    The funniest reassurance that was made on that basis was made by a Soviet delegation that appeared before a US congressional committee between the TMI and Chernobyl accidents. The Soviet officials praised their home-grown RBMK design (which later became famous at Chernobyl), and teased the Americans for licensing a design as unsafe as TMI, which they claimed (maybe correctly) could never receive a license in the USSR.
    Sure, it’s a bit of a silly video game, but if we lined up all the world’s video games in order of silliness, this one might be a stone’s throw from the extreme smart end. You haven’t run out of important and seriously dangerous silliness to attack, have you?
    REPLY: I’ll believe engineers and their results over activists every day of the week and twice on Sundays. The engineer view: “We have to get this right or people die” The activist view: “If people die that helps our cause”.
    Nuclear safety hasn’t stood still since Chernobyl or TMI. To assume it has would be folly. Thirty years have passed since TMI. BTW can you show me any nuclear power plant that throws waste casks out onto the ground? Or can you show me any nuclear power plant that can’t withstand a light plane crash like the Cessna style aircraft depicted in the silly game? Or can you show me any nuclear power plant where the cooling towers have cracked like that?
    Meanwhile while the West goes through hand-wringing and video game angst, China is building new nuclear power plants, and fast, 5 new ones, 22 under construction:
    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2009-04/21/content_7697913.htm
    I don’t agree with your claim that the game is near smart. Since when is cartoonish propaganda like this “smart”? – A

  9. “Håkan B (14:18:42) :
    Seems they didn’t succeed to frighten the german voters today, socialists thrown out of the government liberals get in, and the latter are pro nuclear.”
    “Liberals” in the old European sense; those who want to let you have your freedom if it does not compromise the freedom of others. The contrary to US-liberals.
    You may call their boss “Schwesterwelle”, but he is a success story.

  10. Are terrorists stupid? Where would you choose to crash a plane to make your point? A hardened nuclear plant? The White House? The Houses of Parliament? A football stadium (Superbowl or Cup Final or World Cup)? The Olympics opening ceremony? A city centre? The vatican? There is an endless list of locations better than a hardened nuclear plant, where all you would likely do is put the plant out of operation for a year or so.

  11. And on the subject of nuclear: Question: how many people did the accident at Three Mile Island kill? Answer: zero. I remember after Chappaquidick the joke ” who has killed more people, the nuclear industry or Edward Kennedy?”, an anti-nuclear politician.

  12. Ron de Haan 14:31:31
    It’s genocide, Ron; he’s killing all the hockey stick’s progeny, too. Especially read Ross McKitrick’s comment #10.
    ==========================================

  13. And, of course, you have to protect your million-year-old nuclear plant so it’s just like all the other million-year-old nuclear plants. In real life we don’t get an increasing number of problems due to a nuclear plant being 200 years old… we’ve already torn down a few after only a few decades. Many industrial plants that are decades old get all of the working parts replaced, so a 100-year-old building is full of microcomputer-controlled conveyors and robots.

  14. An airliner that is perceived to be an actual threat to a nuclear power plant WILL be shot down if it continues on its course. In the meantime, the nuclear power plant that is threatened will be in the process of shutting down in the time remaining before the anticipated strike, which is assumed to hit the weaker areas of the plant, which is NOT the reactor building. An airliner, even full of fuel is NOT a threat to the reactor or the building it is contained in.
    Hardened nuclear power plants are becoming more hardened, at least in the United States — new fences and walls, intruder delaying devices and heavier weapons, including automatic machine weapons.

  15. While that F-4 Phantom video is impressive, a 767 carries x7 the amount of fuel (and x12.7 without its external tanks).
    @ Phillip Bratby (14:56:54)
    A better target would be the Houston refineries.

  16. Just for the record; there is no neuclear material in the cooling towers, so even if they crack, it would not be any disaster. But the coolingtowers has come to be the symbol of neuclear power and all evil.
    Secondly the facility in the Greenpeace video is not a powrplant but a radar installation, as seen by the white dome.

  17. Whether a nuclear power station can withstand or not withstand an attack is one question. The other question is whether a power station (including coal, hydro, etc) is armed or not armed with a ground-to-air defence system as all of them should be.

  18. I live in Hamburg/Germany and I can say nuclear power is no fun. Nearby is the now infamous nuclear power plant “Krümmel”, which had to be switched off two years ago after a transformer burned down (which looked quite spectacular, as I might add). In the wake of this accident, they “found” several serious weaknesses in the safety of this power plant. It was like “How would have thought, this and that is not up to spec!” – only it supplying power for over twenty years! And this one of the more “modern” nuclear power plants.
    So they had to fix the most important problems over the course of the last two years. When they finally switched it on again it was preceded and followed by a number of accidents.
    Less then two weeks after switch on they had an emergency shutdown. I was currently shopping and the lights went briefly out in the supermarket where I was. I need half an hour to get home (for a five minute ride), because a quarter of the traffic lights switch off. A couple of power mains ruptured and flooded streets due to pumps stopping and starting again. Oh, what fun it was.
    So again, this is a modern power plant. I say, the companies running them only look for the bucks they can make and they give a chicken shit about safety. All nuclear power plants should be shut down, ASAP, and the companies running them (including the profits they made over the last ten years) should be socialized.
    And I haven’t even started talking about the problem with the nuclear waste…

  19. Isn’t the real question, if France can recycle nuclear fuel why can’t the USA? Simple answer, because Congressional Democrats passed a law banning the reprocessing of spent fuel into usable reactor fuel.
    Yep, it was legislation signed by Jimmy Carter back in the 70s that prohibits the recycling-reprocessing of spent fuel. The things you learn when you pay attention to what Congress actually does, instead of what it says it does. Read the bills is a good place to start.
    If we did reprocess the spent fuel, the only thing left to dispose of would be low level wastes for the most part.

  20. I tried to post this on the Tips and Notes thread, but I couldn’t get a comment box to open. This article from the WSJ, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125383160812639013.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLTopStories
    discusses the granting of loans totaling almost a billion dollars, from one of the fed’s green jobs programs, to two companies, Fisker and Tesla, who produce or plan to produce vehicles that are mostly over priced electric toys to provide feel good emotional satisfaction to the celebutard class. Tesla makes an electric version of a Lotus roadster which admittedly has startling performance, if overstated range capability, but sells for over $100K. The cars are mostly built in ENGLAND. Fisker has plans for a somewhat more practical 4 door sedan which will also be priced near six figures and it’s mostly vaporware at this point. If it does go into production, it will be built in FINLAND. One might suspect that the reason these projects were deemed worthy recipients of public monies, supposedly marked to develop green jobs in the US, has more to do with the long list of Democratic party contributors who are backers of the companies than with any prospect they have of creating a meaningful number if jobs in the US economy.

  21. For the sake of us all I really hope we can limit the “Age of Stupid” to the “Decade of Stupid”. That will leave the people with a full year and two months to wise up.
    The German Elections show some evidence we’re heading or the right direction.

  22. Chernobyl was an on-the-cheap no-containment graphite reactor, unlike anything in the west, and its total, calamitous failure has so far produced what, 50 fatals?
    Three Mile Island is a modern, well designed system, and even though the operators did everything wrong, all we lost there was a couple hundred million bucks worth of equipment. No fatalities, no casualties, no injuries, just a lot of ill-informed press hype.
    The nuke industry has spent a lot of time what-if-ing, and it’s hard to imagine someone with the I Q of protester coming up with a scenario that the engineers haven’t run through the simulator and beaten into submission.
    On the terrorist side, every airline pilot knew you could hijack a plane and crash it into a tall building, but where would you find someone stupid enough to do that? Okay, so now we know, but Saudi Arabia didn’t exactly spring to mind back then.
    Airliners are a thin aluminum shell filled mostly with air and some liquids. Think of an empty soda can. Whacking into the thickness of steel reinforced concrete of the containment structure is gonna make a big splat and kill everyone on board. Also squash any greenpeace types who we up on the side of the building painting eco-slogans.
    Hose down the fuel spill, scrape the plane off the wall, separate the aluminum out from the organics for recycling, repave the parking lot down below, and you’re back in business. Shouldn’t take more than a couple weeks.
    Clean, green nuclear power, the energy of ancient supernovae delivered to your door. Natural, pristine, sustainable, renewable, but unfortunately it isn’t organic, like coal.

  23. I love how everyone always point to TMI and Chernobyl as signs to end all nuclear power plant production. Were they disasters? of course, but every seems to forget that both accidents were caused by operator error. Wierd things happen when you shut cooling water off to your reactors…

  24. Ron de Haan (14:31:31) :
    No, Ron, he’s coming real close to using the “F” word… and I’m not refering to the pleasureable activity most of us engage in…

  25. Good news–“Friends of the Earth” admits there is a terrorist threat!
    Bad news–the only thing to do about it is to give terrorists Constitutional rights, and embargo ourselves out of energy use.

  26. Norman Rubin says:

    Warnings about an accident like TMI

    More people died in the back seat of Edward Kennedy’s car than died in TMI.

  27. Hanno Sandvik, Lisa Jackson are on the Obama agenda to drive the cost of non endorsed energy into the stratosphere. No nukes no coal! No heat, no power, very ‘green’, not very human. I wonder how they propose to process sewage without power.

  28. TonyS:
    If it had an emergency shutdown, then it shows that the safety systems are working.
    Gas plant I work on has an emergency shutdown a couple of times a year, and not one of these is even CLOSE to a loss of containment / major accident.

  29. I had a roommate in college who worked for Carolina Power and Light, a major operator of nuclear facilities in North Carolina. I remember him showing me construction blueprints of the containment vessel for a plant being built at the time (1974) which was over ten feet thick of reinforced concrete. The rebar lattice was almost solid itself, then the concrete was poured around that.
    About the only thing a passenger jet would do to the containment vessel of an American-made nuclear plant is scratch the paint. That’s all. Only a purposefully designed penetrator weapon is going to get through all that steel and concrete. Oh, and did I mention that the reactor itself is usually below ground level inside another reinforced concrete and steel vessel? So, blowing a hole in the side of the containment vessel will not be enough by itself to liberate any radioactive materials from the reactor or the radioactive side of the cooling/heat exchange system.

  30. In fairness, one should note that the German nuclear program has been plagued by a series of confidence eroding management failures, exemplified by a recent reactor glitch that senior management only learned of when the local politicians called up to get the corporate reaction. Likewise, the showcase nuclear waste storage site in an old salt mine at Asse has been found to be poorly characterized and subject to water intrusion, so the entombed nuclear wastes are getting dissolved in a corrosive salt solution and migrating into the outside environment. Given this performance, it is unsurprising that public trust in the nuclear industry is minimal in Germany. That makes absurd scare stories an easy sale.

  31. @INGSOC (17:52:39) :
    “How on earth did you find the video of my wife’s first solo flight?”
    My condolences…

  32. OT — but the usual suspects are trying to get Anthony Watts deleted from Wikipedia. See debate here: here.
    REPLY: I hope they do remove me. The page is wholly inaccurate and full of junk put there by Atmoz (Nate Johnson) and William Connolley. With the kind of food fights that develop there over privately held views translated onto articles, who’d want to be on it? – Anthony

  33. ” Tom in Texas (15:22:16) :
    While that F-4 Phantom video is impressive, a 767 carries x7 the amount of fuel (and x12.7 without its external tanks).”
    What counts is the mass and speed (=momentum) of the biggest solid part, so a fast flying fighter with one relatively big engine is the greatest danger.

  34. The real problem with nuclear power is cost.
    More recent calamities that had large price tags were Davis Besse in the US (shut down just before the vessel got a hole), and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa was shut down as well for a couple of years after an earthquake.
    I believe nuclear power is essentially subsidized by governments worldwide, both through insurance and fuel disposal in the US.
    If you really don’t believe in global warming, there is absolutely no reason for the US to build any more nuclear power plants, at least in the 48 states.

  35. _Jim (17:57:10) :
    Silly me, and I was expecting a bit about that recent ‘piece’ discussing “phone radiation”
    Warning about nuclear disaster or….brain cancer from your phone?
    I wonder if when they get up in the morning, they decide what will
    kill them today?

  36. “They’ve even done crash tests with a fighter jet into the wall segments of a nuclear plant. ”
    Now that’s alpha, beta and gamma testing!
    Those videos should be publicized more widely
    to counter the Greenpeace idiocy.

  37. TerryBixler (17:21:21) : “I wonder how they propose to process sewage without power.”
    Terry, that is quite a conundrum for those of us living in the Washington, DC area.

  38. since atomic power started being used there have been 3 deaths directly attributed to nuclear accidents all three were near where i live in Idaho only 2 were due to radiation the third was impaled by a control rod to the ceiling. this is where we learned to clean up messes when they happen. people work in the area every day and nobody suffers from any radiation caused problems. life goes on and nobody remembers the real accident while everyone remembers the anti-accident TMI.

  39. H.R. @ 18:14:31:
    No worries old bean! She ejected before takeoff!
    On a more sombre note; Lazlo Manchuk, a young native of Newfoundland, who’s life ambition was to be a stud, was driven into a snow tire by his girlfriends irate father.
    Sorry. A bit OT for sure eh?
    Seriously though. The game Anthony highlights is just one of thousands of little propaganda pieces assailing the young and feeble minded. Have you seen the latest version of Monopoly where you can ruin your neighbor’s property value by putting a “big stinky polluting power plant” next door?

  40. “I don’t agree with your claim that the game is near smart. Since when is cartoonish propaganda like this “smart”? – A”
    Unfortunately, cartoons appeal to infantile minds.
    “Mike McMillan (16:43:51) :
    Chernobyl was an on-the-cheap no-containment graphite reactor, unlike anything in the west, and its total, calamitous failure has so far produced what, 50 fatals?”
    I believe the guy who had to crawl under the reactor, and was splashed with contaminated water (A vague recollection), is still alive and kicking. Don’t recall his name however.

  41. It’s just a game…if you don’t like it don’t play it.
    You sure did enough to advertise it though 😉

  42. “Richard Sharpe (17:16:13) :
    Norman Rubin says:
    Warnings about an accident like TMI
    More people died in the back seat of Edward Kennedy’s car than died in TMI.”
    I also understand TMI didn’t sell a single watt of power before being dismantled.
    A Romaininan colleague of mine used to work in a nuclear power plant, he did tell me but I don’t recall which one. He said the control centre was 400km from the main reactor plant.

  43. I do not dispute that nuclear power is expensive.
    I do dispute that it is dangerous: for instance it’s death toll is a fraction that of miners digging for coal per Kwh produced. As is its pollution, mines are a very messy business.
    Even where major incidents have occurred such as Chernobyl deaths, injuries and local pollution hve been far less than than catastrophic failures of chemical plants: mine collapases and underground fires or for that matter even aeroplane crashes.
    Given that the USA has enormous reserves of natural gas, and that gas/steam power stations are cheap and quick to build that is by far and away the cheapest source of electric power for the next hundred years or so.
    And given too that the USA has oil reserves for the next hundred years too the cheapest and simplest solution is to drill, extract and refine.
    So what’s the problem?
    Kindest Regards.

  44. TonyS (15:40:36) :
    Tony,
    Read this publication about the future of nuclear power which could even bring a solution for all our resources.
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig9/hogan3.1.1.html
    The short term future nuclear technology will be based on “Thorium Reactors”:
    http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/348/
    and the so called “Traveling Wave Reactor”.
    http://www.technologyreview.com/video/?vid=266&channel=tr10
    The latter is a solid state reactor (think battery) that allows us to clean up our nuclear deposits in a safe manner, generating cheap energy for “off grid” and “closed grid” applications.
    The first technology is more suitable for larger plants.
    Both technologies are safe and without the need for Uranium which is a limited resource.
    Nuclear energy would allow us to make the transfer to a hydrogen economy or if we have the right battery technology (a matter of price and high energy density versus weight) make the switch to electric.
    Just to keep the discussion about energy clear, we are far from a ‘PEAK OIL’ situation and new scientific insights in regard to the process that generates oil and gas, indicate there never will be a peak oil situation.
    Read this publication about abiotic oil and gas:
    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/09/abiotic-oil-part-3/
    Unless the current doctrine of Extreme Greens that hold our societies hostage with with scary stories and flawed science about our climate succeed with their plot to put the brakes on the development of humanity, energy will be the last problem to worry about.
    I am an optimist so I think the Green schemes will fail.

  45. one of the byproducts of Chernobyl was that they closed off the land surrounding the facility and special permission was required to enter the area.
    The consequence was the plethora of wildlife that turned up (now that man wasn’t around) and they’ve found species they thought were endangered thriving in the closed off area.

  46. Mike McMillan (16:43:51) : 50 fatals?
    The question mark is a good idea as the problems from Chernobyl continue as you will learn if you follow this link:
    http://www.cofcusa.org/
    Still, there are problems with any significant energy system so there is little sense in focusing on the evil of nuclear reactors. I don’t think anything is gained by being complacent with respect to the problems of any of them.

  47. Oh dear.
    Ihave heard all this about alternative nuclear reactors for forty years.
    The only practical one, and we will see how it does, is the high pressure steam moderated reactor: which if it works will do all that is required.
    And a very safe design it is too, and at a very affordable price.
    So we will see how it does over the next few years.
    Kindest Regards.

  48. Tony S.
    ” I live in Hamburg/Germany and I can say nuclear power is no fun. Nearby is the now infamous nuclear power plant “Krümmel”, which had to be switched off two years ago after a transformer burned down (which looked quite spectacular, as I might add). In the wake of this accident, they “found” several serious weaknesses in the safety of this power plant. It was like “How would have thought, this and that is not up to spec!” – only it supplying power for over twenty years! And this one of the more “modern” nuclear power plants.
    So they had to fix the most important problems over the course of the last two years. When they finally switched it on again it was preceded and followed by a number of accidents.
    Less then two weeks after switch on they had an emergency shutdown. I was currently shopping and the lights went briefly out in the supermarket where I was. I need half an hour to get home (for a five minute ride), because a quarter of the traffic lights switch off. A couple of power mains ruptured and flooded streets due to pumps stopping and starting again. Oh, what fun it was.
    So again, this is a modern power plant. I say, the companies running them only look for the bucks they can make and they give a chicken shit about safety. All nuclear power plants should be shut down, ASAP, and the companies running them (including the profits they made over the last ten years) should be socialized.
    And I haven’t even started talking about the problem with the nuclear waste…”
    AWWWW, gee, Tony. Have a schnapps and a lie down. What happened to German industry, intelligence, work habits, national identity, education, logic, pride, confidence, and manhood in the sixty plus years that you have safely survived under the American nuclear umbrella? Germans can’t operate a nuclear plant? Why? Could it possibly be because your brains have been softened by the overweening motherhood of the European Socialist movement? Do you believe that the government can do it better? Cite me an example.

  49. TonyS (15:40:36) :
    I live in Hamburg/Germany and I can say nuclear power is no fun. Nearby is the now infamous nuclear power plant “Krümmel”, which had to be switched off two years ago after a transformer burned down (which looked quite spectacular, as I might add). In the wake of this accident, they “found” several serious weaknesses in the safety of this power plant. It was like “How would have thought, this and that is not up to spec!” – only it supplying power for over twenty years! And this one of the more “modern” nuclear power plants.
    So they had to fix the most important problems over the course of the last two years. When they finally switched it on again it was preceded and followed by a number of accidents.
    Less then two weeks after switch on they had an emergency shutdown. I was currently shopping and the lights went briefly out in the supermarket where I was. I need half an hour to get home (for a five minute ride), because a quarter of the traffic lights switch off. A couple of power mains ruptured and flooded streets due to pumps stopping and starting again. Oh, what fun it was.
    So again, this is a modern power plant. I say, the companies running them only look for the bucks they can make and they give a chicken shit about safety. All nuclear power plants should be shut down, ASAP, and the companies running them (including the profits they made over the last ten years) should be socialized.
    And I haven’t even started talking about the problem with the nuclear waste…

    Absolutely nothing you named here has anything to do with the reactor. These are all peripheral component failures. What you refer to as nuclear waste should really be viewed as a nuclear resource since through reprocessing up to 90% can be recycled and used again.


  50. Patrick Davis (19:51:37) :
    I also understand TMI didn’t sell a single watt of power before being dismantled.

    TMI unit 1 or unit 2?
    TMI reactor Unit 1 is showing to be operating at 100% according to the NRC nuke status website as of Friday (9-25-2009).
    TMI reactor Unit 2 received its operating license on 8 February 1978 and began commercial operation on 30 December 1978. On March 29, 1979, there was a cooling system malfunction that caused a partial melt-down of the reactor core. (This bit per Wicked-pedia.)


    A Romaininan colleague of mine used to work in a nuclear power plant, he did tell me but I don’t recall which one. He said the control centre was 400km from the main reactor plant.

    Perhaps he was referring to some other component in power generation/regional power coordination operations? Seems a little far to tele-connect sensors, metering and control lines (180 miles worth of mircowave links or ‘phone lines’ with analog – digital encoding on each end? Seems … unlikely.)
    .
    .
    .

  51. I still believe that fusion is the future for energy , safe and clean as far as radiation goes.
    It amazes me that governments are not pushing full steam ahead on the construction of ITER . JET demonstrated the break even point, the rest is mainly engineering and will to get a working fusion reactor.
    As an analogy, JET was like the invention of the two cylinder engine and ITER is the 16. Not a bad analogy if you realize that the common auto engine is a controlled explosion of what otherwise would be a Molotov bomb.

  52. “_Jim (21:52:29) : ”
    Interesting points Jim, I can’t find my reference (It may have been a late night documentary a while back which had this stuck in my mind). I’ll have to do some more searching (Not on Wiki) if I have the time.
    As to my ex-Romaninan colleague, I have only what he said to go on. At the time he mentioned it I did think it odd, but given the nature of Eastern-block cost cutting, I figured 400 from the reactor is where I’d want to be too.

  53. Patrick Davis (22:39:08) :
    Oh Dear
    they are really pulling all the stops.
    I will start wishing/witching for the Thames to Freeze over by the Copenhagen meeting :).

  54. Quote TerryBixler (17:21:21) :
    Hanno Sandvik, Lisa Jackson are on the Obama agenda to drive the cost of non endorsed energy into the stratosphere. No nukes no coal! No heat, no power, very ‘green’, not very human. I wonder how they propose to process sewage without power.
    There are already sewage treatment plants that don’t use any power at all – Not a problem anymore see http://www.biorock-uk.com

  55. “Sewage Treatment without power (23:54:26) :
    There are already sewage treatment plants that don’t use any power at all – Not a problem anymore see http://www.biorock-uk.com
    So, how exactly, will this work in a multi storey apartment complex?

  56. This is slightly OT to the anti- nuke theme of this thread, but is at least related to the title. The following is a link to a post on Mark Perry’s econ blog Carpe Diem which includes a YouTube video of a journalist trying to quiz the attendees at the NYC premiere of the new AGW propaganda opus “The Age of Stupid” about how they traveled to the premiere, with the thuggery that you would expect to ensue clearly shown. Well, not to clearly, as they made every effort to block the camera after bumrushing him away from the celebs
    http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2009/09/inconvenient-question-did-you-fly-to.html

  57. BTW, the choice of title for this “terrific” new film demonstrates how humor challenged the alarmist crowd is, since even a relatively short continuation of recent events in the global climate is going to make their title choice wonderfully and ironically appropriate for a multitude of reasons that they don’t even seem to have considered.

  58. Hehehehe…. Tony S thinks we should get rid of all nuclear reactors because…wait for it….. It TOOK HIM HALF AN HOUR TO GET HOME!!!
    HALF AN HOUR, PEOPLE!!! Plus there was water in the streets and everything!!!
    God save us all.
    Tony S: please please please go live for a year in a third world country and then come back and tell us about what you think about Nuclear Power. It’d be most illuminating.

  59. And the moral of the Greenpeace scare-film? Abandon all technology and return to the Stone Age, because someone might attack you. Where is my animal-hide cloak and flint knife?
    Hmm. Would not ‘defence’ be a better strategy? And is not the best method of defence to attack?
    .

  60. Tony Quote:
    Less then two weeks after switch on they had an emergency shutdown. I was currently shopping and the lights went briefly out in the supermarket where I was. I need half an hour to get home (for a five minute ride), because a quarter of the traffic lights switch off. A couple of power mains ruptured and flooded streets due to pumps stopping and starting again. Oh, what fun it was.
    Endquote.
    Thank you. A very good illustration of why we do NOT need windelecs. These would give you a power cut a week.
    .

  61. “TonyS (15:40:36) :
    I need half an hour to get home (for a five minute ride), because a quarter of the traffic lights switch off. A couple of power mains ruptured and flooded streets due to pumps stopping and starting again. Oh, what fun it was.”
    Yeah, as another poster suggested, go visit a third world country to get a dose of reality (And where Al Gore, the IPCC and the other AGW supporters are taking us).

  62. The Germans just said this weekend, that they don’t want such fools governing their country and voted for pro-nuclear CDU/CSU and FDP.
    Well done.

  63. The Germans just said this weekend that they don’t want such fools governing their country and voted for the pro-nuclear CDU/CSU and FDP.
    Well done.

  64. Let’s face it – a group that would have you believe that electricity from a nuclear power station makes your lightbulbs radioactive would only ever accept one result from the plane-crashing-into-reactor-vessel-test!

  65. The powerplant blew up because it had one radioactive drum left outside? C’mon! Everyone knows that only causes zombies!
    I heard PETA had a new game where you get to abuse puppies I’ll be over there for a while. 😉

  66. Thanks for the video, my teenage son thought it was funny. There are similar ones of test spent fuel transport canisters. They put rockets on a locomotive and crash it into the transport canisters. What fun, how do you find those jobs?

  67. Hmmm – I’m not normally one to slap labels on people, but it seems to me that ALL those who call themselves “progressives” are actually “regressives”.
    I work in a nuclear facility. As everyone else who has ever dealt with nuclear facilities can confirm, we emit LESS radioactivity than some non-nuclear businesses, and are less exposed than many non-nuclear workers… mostly because we are hyper-aware of what we work with and are constantly testing and monitoring radiation.
    As I type this I have a geiger counter at my desk, and the needle is sitting at zero. When I took this same device over to a friend’s place, a house built in the 1910s, I found measurable radiation levels in his basement. And a trip over to a coal facility was almost scary for a few minutes.
    Too bad so many people are blissfully unaware of “background radiation”, and where it comes from… they might wake up to reality. I won’t, however, hold my breath.

  68. Kit P – I was bemused when some state legislators suggested protecting nuclear fuel casks inside buildings, rather than sitting on flat concrete pads as they do now. They quickly shut up. I assume someone explained to them that if they are hit by something they’ll just roll around unbroken, unless there’s something like a building support column to help damage them.

  69. Okay, here is the issue. Solar and wind CANNOT satisfy energy demands without devastating Eco-Systems. So I have either Fossil Fuels, Fission, or Fusion… One they complain about CO2… One they say will cause a nuclear holocaust… One is not really working… Hmmmm…

  70. Sewage Treatment without power (23:54:26) :
    Patrick Davis (00:04:20) :

    I think Kirk W. Hanneman’s (19:26:29) comment about sewage treatment in Washington, DC was more about legislation than sanitation.

  71. Norm at 14:35: Norm, please do take your particular form of insanity somewhere else. Since you blew yourself up in the NLA trial in 1994, you’ve had no credibility on this or any other nuclear issue.

  72. John Klug (18:48:57) :
    “I believe nuclear power is essentially subsidized by governments worldwide, both through insurance and fuel disposal in the US.”
    ALL forms of energy and electrical energy are subsidized in one form or another.
    A search of http://www.eia.doe.gov for ‘energy subsidies’ yields in $ per MWh:
    Natural Gas – $0.25
    Coal – $0.44
    Fission – $1.59
    Wind – $23.37
    Solar – $24.34
    “If you really don’t believe in global warming, there is absolutely no reason for the US to build any more nuclear power plants, at least in the 48 states.”
    Generally agree with you on this.

  73. The Age of Stupid,
    Channel 4 Sept 28th, TV uk, dispatches program, uk MP visiting South sea islands to see climate change suggests sea level rise can be stopped in the short term with sand bags on the beach.
    Reminds me of a certain King.

  74. The whole thing’s really simple – the US Government must go totally green, no exceptions, low carbon footprint, Senators and Congresspersons on bikes, President and Cabinet in eCars. No exceptions. No Jumbo Jet Air Force One – electric only. Bert Rutan could do it!
    Cut the official carbon footprint to what they tell us we’ll have to have. By the way, while we’re at it, they have to have the same pension plan/health plan we do. No exceptions there either.
    I’m betting being green won’t be so very well supported.

  75. Right – totally green. That’s why activists have managed to stop the solar power plant in the Mojave desert. Apparently one is not even allowed to shade a few lizards and snakes. Of course, the activists happily go home and use electricity themselves – presumably they haven’t made the mental connection between power generation and their own lifestyle…
    Visiting the local nuclear power plant on a tour, not too long after 9/11, the tour guide pointed out that having an aircraft crash into the containment building was one of the scenarios taken into account when the building was designed.

  76. This is an interesting post. There is some good data, some incomplete data, some misconceptions, and some outright fallacies.
    I work at the Advanced Test Reactor in Idaho and have over 20 years in operations and engineering at nuclear plants.The guys in the three cubicles around me worked at Davis-Bessie (hole in the head incident), at the Loss of Flow Testing Facility (intentional melting of TMI type fuel to validate analysis done on the fuel), and on the fuel analysis of fuel recovered from TMI (the TMI fuel is stored a few hundred yards off of the road that I use to get to work). We test materials and fuels for use in reactors and make isotopes for other uses. Any time I have a question about other reactors, there is a wealth of firsthand knowledge available.
    Yes, there was a facility just up the road (low power, portable reactor prototype for the US Army called SL-1) that had an inadvertent criticality during maintenance that killed all three operators. Yes, the site is cleaned up so that it presents no risk for spread of contamination. Based on this accident, requirements for all subsequent US reactor designs were changed so that a similar accident cannot happen.
    These are not the only nuclear related fatalities in the US, much less the world. They may be the only reactor related fatalities in the US (not sure), but are definitely not the only deaths. Additionally, there have been fatalities at several research facilities, fuel processing facilities, power plants, and (several?) Russian subs that have had criticality or reactor accidents with deaths.
    I don’t think the RBMK (Chernobyl) design is that bad, it just has to be operated by the book. Failure to do that is what resulted in the accident. It was compounded by the design, though. Changing the rod followers would probably fix the concern.
    I agree with CodeTech as far as background radiation. We have strong temperature inversions in Idaho and the layer of trapped air under the inversion acts like a well insulated house. It fills with radon. So much so that we often have trouble getting in and out of the plant because of static cling. Charged particle+charged clothing=store for decay. And some people claim the g’ment doesn’t tell us how much exposure we really get!
    As far as why to use nuclear. There are plenty of good reasons. In my mind it is because it is cheap, safe, and has essentially zero emissions. A subsidy of $1.59/MW of power is 0.15 cents per KW. Even if that were passed on to the consumer through the power bill instead of the IRS, cost to the consumer would go down, on average, if all power in the US came from nuclear. Nuclear is safe, our operating history shows that. Tony said that there were safety concerns found at the plant near his home after a transformer melted that resulted in (I assume) an automatic shutdown. Nothing like automatic protective actions to get the regulator breathing down your neck. The safety violations could run from very minor (for example failure to properly calibrate instruments resulting in no real degradation in the protective function) to major (the emergency cooling system is inoperable while the reactor is at power). To the news weenies any safety violation at a nuke is serious. Zero emissions is good. I don’t care about CO2. I do care about heavy metal, radioactive, and other waste products that get released up the stack or into the water.
    Andy

  77. But what if someone dropped an atomic bomb on a nuclear plant?????!!!!!!! The containment wouldn’t hold then and imagine the radioactive material that would leak out.
    Nuclear power is just too dangerous.

  78. More hysterical nonsense from Geckko. If someone drops a nuclear bomb, we’ve got much bigger problems than worrying about the consequences of a nuclear accident.

  79. CodeTech raises an interesting point about background radiation, and reminds me of a case study we did during my geochemistry Masters – Investigating the potential for a ‘nuclear material’ repository at Sellafield
    For those that don’t know, Sellafield (originally Calder Hall, then Windscale) is the UKs nuclear reprocessing plant as well as the site of the original 1950s experimental/military reactor, and was the site of a serious fire in the 1960s.
    The plan for the repository was to build a large underground cavern and use it to store low and medium grade nuclear waste. It turned out that the waste likely to go into the ground actually had a lower radioactivity that the natural rock that was excavated…

  80. so running a plant from 400 miles (KM ?) is far fetched.
    NO. Entirely normal.
    UK to Sweden is somewhat more than 400 miles. Yet i regularly ‘visit’ a plant there – I don’t ‘run’ the plant – I engineer it; ‘running’ it is the easy bit.
    Oh by the way I was working ‘in’ Japan today – between sorting out a problem on a plant in Bugaria.
    We’ve being doing remote engineering for years. Fortunately at the moment; the regulators are being sensible (maybe they’re listening to us Engineers for a change) and do NOT allow remote OPERATION of plants.
    As to Nuclear – well no regulator in the West would ever have allowed Chenobyl – antiquated rubbish control system; wouldn’t even be allowed to run a milking parlour.
    Why is it when the safeties work the stupid think its a disaster ?

  81. peter_dtm (12:56:07) : As to Nuclear – well no regulator in the West would ever have allowed Chenobyl – antiquated rubbish control system; wouldn’t even be allowed to run a milking parlour.
    Agreed that we would never allow the design in the west. However, there were 17 RBMK reactors built, as far as I can find, with 15 of them still operating. They have had good operating records for reliability and safety. Chernobyl unit 4 is the obvious exception. That accident was caused by operator error primarily from operating outside the approved limits for a special test and disabling safety interlocks. Just when you think you’ve made something idiot proof, they invent a bigger idiot.
    Andy

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