Those Promised "Green" Jobs? Sending Construction Workers into a Radioactive Wasteland

A radioactive sign hangs on barbed wire outside a café in Pripyat.

A radioactive sign hangs on barbed wire outside a café in Pripyat. Diana Markosian [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

One of the problems with renewables is the enormous amount of space renewable installations require. Gathering low intensity power requires a lot of real-estate. But solar entrepreneurs and the Ukrainian Government think they have a solution – they want to build the world’s largest solar plant on land nobody in their right mind would want; the site of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster.

Chernobyl could be reinvented as a solar farm, says Ukraine

Ministers create presentation to show how idle land around nuclear disaster site can be used to produce renewable energy.

The contaminated nuclear wasteland around Chernobyl could be turned into one of the world’s largest solar farms, producing nearly a third of the electricity that the stricken plant generated at its height 30 years ago, according to the Ukrainian government.

In a presentation sent to major banks and seen by the Guardian, 6,000 hectares of “idle” land in Chernobyl’s 1,000 square km exclusion zone, which is considered too dangerous for people to live in or farm, could be turned to solar, biogas and heat and power generation.

Pressure has been mounting for years to allow industrial development, but no indication is given of where the solar panels would be located. “There has been a change in the perception of the exclusion zone in Ukraine. Thirty years after the Chernobyl tragedy [it] reveals opportunities for development. A special industrial area is to be created in compliance with all rules and regulations of radiation safety within the exclusion zone,” says the presentation.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) this week indicated it would be prepared to lend money for the renewable energy plan. The EBRD has already provided more than $500m (£379m) to build a large stainless steel “sarcophagus” over the destroyed reactor, which will remain dangerous for thousands of years.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/29/chernobyl-could-be-reinvented-as-a-solar-farm-says-ukraine

The Ukraine is desperately poor, so the Ukrainian government should have no problem finding thousands of workers willing to risk their health, to construct this new green power monstrosity.

And who knows, maybe the idea will catch on – no doubt there are other highly contaminated industrial disaster sites around the world, which could be profitably converted into renewable installations.

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169 thoughts on “Those Promised "Green" Jobs? Sending Construction Workers into a Radioactive Wasteland

  1. Not quite sure what you are saying here. Is it wrong to send workers into low level radiation? but I thought the general agreement was that it was quite safe (c.f Fukushima exclusion zone comments).
    Or are you just complaining about solar power irrespective of were it is put in place?
    Many people are still working in the accident site trying to make it safe, the original sarcophagus is crumbling and with large holes.

    • “Or are you just complaining about solar power irrespective of were it is put in place?”
      I agree for the first time reader, the post is short on facts and long on assumptions but generally solar is chastised here due to is intermittent power, large footprint and requires subsidies (other peoples money) to exist. Usually the benefits are oversold using nameplate output when in fact output is just a fraction of this. Lastly, if you are not a believer in CAGW the justification used for their installation is a null point. Solar has it’s place, Anthony even has panels installed on his roof, but not to solely power Western economies (at all costs) as the greens would hope.

      • Well, the footprint here can hardly impact – I mean what else can you use this for?
        at standard 1MW a hectare that’s 6GW of capacity.
        Ukraine is about same latitude a S Germany, so they should see about 4GW a day for 6 hours plus from April to end September. worthwhile contribution to reduce reliance on Russian gas …

    • I notice you are quite willing to send someone else in. How about you volunteering to work in the zone? Fun fact! Every current widely held scientific belief replaced another equally wide held belief. Asbestos was safe, till it wasn’t.

      • Me? I wouldn’t want to go there but some people might. They could open it as a spa and offer a treatment for work deal. A lot of people might take them up on it going by the prices at places like this
        http://www.laznejachymov.cz/en/traditional-radon-treatment/
        http://www.czechtourism.com/t/jachymov/
        Lázně Jáchymov
        Discover Jáchymov – a spa that gave its name to the dollar!
        In a wooded valley at the foot of the Krušné Mountains you will find the spa town of Jáchymov, which was established as the first radon spa in the world. Come to cure your maladies in this beautiful submontane environment, which for centuries has been associated with its mining past. Whether you travel here in summer or winter, you can enjoy a spa stay with all the trimmings.

      • “Asbestos was safe, till it wasn’t”, cell phones in hospitals interfered with sensitive hospital equipment until they didn’t, birth control pills were safe until they weren’t, fat was bad for you until it was discovered that we needed some in our diet, the consensus, 97% group think list goes on and on.

      • Maybe not “equally wide” in the case of asbestos. Here in Quebec, not far from the town called “Asbestos”, many people still believe the mineral is not harmful, because many people in the region have worked and lived with it without showing any signs of associated illness.

    • From what I’ve heard, the main danger around Chernobyl is from the flourishing population of wolves, bison, and wild boar.

      • I’d heard that the main danger surrounding the facility was the amount of radioactive deadfall tree leaves and branches. Since the radioactivity had sterilized the soil microbes, the leaf drop doesn’t decay. This would make the greatest threat wildfire which would release the radio activity into the smoke.

      • Eric were you born stupid or do work at it?
        We are all born ignorant but unless you are really stupid, you can learn about things. Since Eric writes lots of essays he was not born stupid but works really hard at being stupid.
        The decay of fission product is well established science. Eric enjoys the drama of being stupid.

      • What Hot Particles are is not very clear, but they proebbably refer to alfa emitters like Plutonium, Americium and other Transuranics. During the Manhattan project, these elements were used, and not very carefully. There was no knowledge about the health effects and there was immense pressure to get the bomb ready. As a result several people were contaminated. At the Univ Seattle is an institute that collects corpses of those people and tries to correlate their exposure/contamination to their health. Although these people are probably the most contaminated in the world, there is no proof of extra cancer there. The institute is here: https://stage.ustur.wsu.edu/ustur-mission-statement/

      • After the UK’s own nuclear accident in 1957 when the core of the air cooled reactor at Windscale went up in flames burning out of control for three days radioactive material was found for miles around and a radioactive cloud spread over much of the UK and Europe.
        It’s one of the strange things with radioactivity people instantly think it’s bad and only recently appeared when in fact it’s always been here sometimes stronger sometimes weaker.
        I have mentioned before the report on how there was an increase of cancers near many military installations in the UK and how the anti brigade got up in arms about it till it was revealed that the “military” installations were old castles built on granite hills.
        James Bull

      • you can pretty much put the panels up on any flat ground without digging.
        The remaining hot spots in the area are mostly in enclosed buildings – on open ground particles have long since been washed into soil/absorbed… road surfaces are quite safe (rain washes particles off cambered roads.

      • Eric: ‘Hot spots’ is a Health Physics concept that takes into account the dose to a person from localized irradiation. Typically when we are trying to assign a radiation dose to a person, we look first at the whole body dose in terms of uniform distribution of the radiation. This works well with gamma/X-ray irradiation whether the source is external or internal. However with internally deposited sources of alpha/beta emitters we have to look at the localized dose because these forms of radiation deposit the energy in an extremely short distance.
        Don’t forget that all radioactive materials are chemicals that will behave in the body exactly as that chemical will normally behave. So we also have to look at the distribution of the chemical in the body and its clearance rate. There are some chemicals that will stay put and not clear quickly, notably in the transuranics and notably in the lungs or bone. I’m retired and haven’t kept up on what radionuclides remain in the Chernobyl countryside, but the prime one would be Cs-137. Cs-137 is a beta/gamma emitter and being Cesium does not normally concentrate as a hot spot anywhere in the body. The whole science of determining dose whether from whole body or localized hot spots is extremely complex. Whether ingestion of a nuclide will cause a hot spot dose is best left to the experts.
        It should be noted that a hot spot dose has one of three outcomes: 1) nothing, 2) destruction of the localized tissue/cells, or 3) a mutation of a cell or two in the area. Numbers 1 & 2 are almost always the result. With #2 the body’s response to a dead cell is to remove it.

    • “Is it wrong to send workers into low level radiation?”
      It’s wrong and it isn’t. It’s wrong if you say:
      – “Chernobyl” (explosion in the reactor 4 of the Lenin plant) is the worst nuclear catastrophe
      – any serious accident in a NPP can render the whole region (we are talking about thousands of square km) inhabitable for centuries
      – nuclear technology is unique in its ability to create such “exclusion zones”
      and then
      – let’s build a “renewable” facility there!
      The unit of time for a radioactive contamination is the period of the most widespread isotope. Only one period of Cs-137 have elapsed. And people apparently can work there… according to solar energy promoters.
      It’s wrong to send people when you believe it will harm them. Even if you are wrong, it’s still morally wrong. If you believe it’s harmful, you don’t put worker there for a work that could be done elsewhere. And if you don’t believe it’s dangerous, then you don’t propagate the idea of a multi-centuries nuclear catastrophe.

  2. Suns out….you get power
    suns not out….you don’t
    Doesn’t matter how many panels they put out…until they solve that problem

  3. One third? That’s it? How about just letting this place be what it is now. An amazing nature preserve. I don’t see why the UN wouldn’t declare this place a World Heritage site or something.

  4. 100,000 to 200,000 of industrialize nature for solar or wind, to equal one Nuclear power plant. World needs to move onto the Molten Salt Reactor from the 1950s, low pressure, walk away safe, fuel burns thoroughly, no pressure domes or 150 atmosphere plumbing, thermally suited for co-industrial processes. egeneration.org

      • LWRs have two very serious safety issues:
        One, the use of a volatile coolant under pressure, which must be circulated to avoid boiling. (Think car radiator on steroids, and you have the idea)
        Two, the use of zirconium alloys for fuel pin/rod casings. Zirconium is chosen for its low neutron absorbtion. It was also chosen for pre-electronic camera flashbulbs, because once ignited it burns even more fiercely and gives more light than magnesium. Zirconium is not easy to ignite, requiring white heat to get it going. Once alight though, it is extremely hard to extinguish. Submerging burning zirconium in water will simply result in it robbing the oxygen from the water as a means of continuing burning. That process liberates hydrogen, which if it builds up inside a pressure vessel along with air, will eventually result in an explosion.
        A safer reactor would avoid the use of both of these problem materials. Molten salt (not necessarily thorium-based, but could be) is the known way to achieve this.

  5. Looks like Ukraine has come up with a gambit to get their hands on some of that international Climate Change money. The proposal is a double plus. They build a “clean, green” facility, and remediate a much hated nuclear area. The international green development people won’t be able to control themselves in their urge to fund it.
    Smooth, Ukraine, very smooth.

    • Plus at the end, when the money runs out, the can cite “unecpected health concerns” and shut the whole lot down to rust.

    • well if ends up as “wellmade” as their recent tanks n ammo have..
      the tanks are a hoot, using cctv elcheapo and it failed.
      they have to use remove views cos they designed them to be impossible for the driver to see OUT of:-0 LoL
      the ammo rusted and had a bad failrate within months..
      so at best, maybe?
      it will last for about 3mths or so.

  6. “..producing nearly a third of the electricity that the stricken plant generated at its height 30 years ago…”
    Only at noon on a clear day could a very large solar array do this. Overall, they would be lucky to average a few percent of the nuclear plant. And between sunset and sunrise, nothing. As to radiation in the exclusion zone, the danger of radioactivity is grossly overstated, very grossly. It would likely be practical to install such a facility within radiation safety guidelines but the details would have to be studied.

    • Plus, nobody mentions that Chernobyl is at 51° Latitude – far to the North. About the middle of Vancouver Island, British Columbia – not much light up there. Even during the summer it is coming in at a low angle. During winter?

  7. Tourists go to the site. Farmers live there, and plant their food crops, like carrots.
    Leave the place as it is, a wildlife refuge. It is the only one Ukraine has I believe.

    • It’s not the background radiation that gets you. It’s the hot spots. Lets see one of them take a dip in the primary cooling channels waters.

      • I take it you have not watched River Monsters or at least missed the episode when they fished there. The fish are well undersized for their age and are mutants at the cellular level. The main cooling channel is a very hot spot.
        http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/river-monsters/videos/jeremy-wade-looks-back-on-chernobyl/
        There are other hot spots also. Places that would be deadly to inhabit or hang around for long.
        BTW there were several reactors at that large facility. All the others are still working and have been for 30 years.

      • Nobody goes to Chernobyl to swim or drink radioactive water in the same way nobody goes to Guarapari beach to eat the radioactive monazite sand. It’s a bit of a stretch to claim Guarapari is a dangerous place because people might accidentally eat monazite sand

      • Yes the hot spot is inside the sarcophagus and tourists don’t hang out there. Nobody goes to Chernobyl to swim or drink the radioactive water in the same way nobody goes to Guarapari beach to eat the radioactive monazite sand. It’s a bit of a stretch to claim Guarapari is a dangerous place because people might accidentally eat monazite sand. In that case, all operating nuclear plants are dangerous because workers might swim or drink the radioactive water in the cooling pond.

      • Yes the hot spot is inside the sarcophagus and tourists don’t hang out there. If Chernobyl is dangerous because of radioactive water, then all operating nuclear plants are dangerous because workers might swim or drink the radioactive water in the cooling pond. But no worker tried and died doing this

      • (Sorry for duplicate posts. Something wrong)
        Jeremy Wade’s fear of mutant cells in the fish at Chernobyl is overrated. Cancer is caused by mutant cells. 4 out of 10 Americans have or will have cancer in their lifetime. This is actual statistics. How many Americans swim in Chernobyl’s radioactive water? Wade should check if 4 out of 10 fishes in Chernobyl have mutant cells. By the way, it’s more than 4 out of 10 Americans because some cancer cases are not diagnosed or detected

      • It was not Wades fear. The fish he caught were taken to the lab and studied. Wade does not even state it as a fear but as a fact discovered by others.

      • If Wade was not afraid of the fish, he should have eaten it. Like this Japanese politician who drank the radioactive waste water from Fukushima. Fortunately he didn’t turn into a mutant ninja turtle. Stan Lee was not impressed, he didn’t even invite the guy to appear in the Superhumans show. Apparently Lee had seen more dangerous stunts in his show. I wouldn’t be surprised if some guy tries to eat the radioactive monazite sand in Guarapari beach. He is more likely to die of choking than cancer.

      • Assuming there are any hot spots in the city, it won’t take long to find them and clean them up.

      • Thanks for confirming multiple times now you didn’t even watch the video before spouting off about what Wade should do or could do or said.

      • Macho Jeremy Wade afraid of a “radioactive” fish LOL Don’t go to Chernobyl you might turn into a mutant fish. The radiation level around Reactor 4 is 2.6 uSv/hr. In radiation therapy, patients get 83,333 uSv/hr. That’s just 32,000 times higher! It’s a therapy. It’s to cure people, not to kill them. Still scared of the fish Wade?
        http://static.diffen.com/uploadz/2/20/radiation.jpg

      • Leo, that is interesting. I was in Guarapari (Brazil where the radiation on the beaches is similar or higher than Chernobyl. But this picture is new to me, what is the location?

      • theorichel July 31, 2016 at 12:47 pm
        Leo, that is interesting. I was in Guarapari (Brazil where the radiation on the beaches is similar or higher than Chernobyl. But this picture is new to me, what is the location?

        theorichel Google is your friend. In Chrome right click in the image then click “search Google for image”.
        (Answer is Hay Tor in Dartmoor.)

    • A misleading situation because many of the fission products are alpha emitters, and alphas do not contribute significantly to the background count. Reason is that the range of an alpha in air is simply too short to reach the detector, from the ground. But, inhale dust containing alpha emitters, and you are asking for a dose of radiation sickness.
      So, whilst it may be safe to walk around on tarmac areas now, that is because the rain has long since washed any contamination off those surfaces. It does not mean that the soil and and any stirred-up dust are considered safe. Yet.

      • Radon. the most prominent cause of natural radiation, is an alpha emitter,
        Radon is detectable by radiation detectors.
        keep clear of those fact exclusion zones folks!

    • I think you got this wrong. This site lists radiation values in units of micro-Sieverts per hour, not year. I don’t know the accuracy or variability of those numbers, but it really wouldn’t seem likely that radiation levels have dropped below natural background.

  8. Leave the place alone as it is. You see shows that concentrate on the disaster and the quickly abandoned ghost town but little about how it is a laboratory extraordinaire for researching the long term effects of radiological contamination/high radiation levels on living and reproducing flora and fauna. Lots of data being gathered and research being done as real scientists do the hazardous and grinding work to constantly monitor and document the changes. If there is a better place on earth for such long term in depth research I haven’t heard of it. We humans seem to want to erase so much of the past we deem undesirable but Chernobyl is a place that provides the opportunity like no other to document and analyze the changes over time from initial contamination far into the future.

    • Completely agree with you. Can even be of interest to climatologists since at the site below, they can look at tree rings changing due to radiation at 3:27 of the video. Also other interesting videos on youtube about the fauna and flora. Unique for scientific studies on radiation.

      • A lot of observational data.
        The bug patterns and all. If a genuine effect, this should be easily replicable in the lab.

      • “How do you import pictures.”
        Depends. For this one, it is not relay a picture, it is a picture being displayed for the video presented at this particular site.
        For this one, simply copy the the link of the YouTube site where the video is and paste it in your reply here or paste it somewhere else.
        So, click on the link showed in your browser of the site you are visiting, the lettering will turn white and highlighted blue. Right click on it, click on Copy on the opening menu.
        Then go on this site, start writing your text and then hold the Ctrl key down and hit the letter V. This will paste the site link with your text. Now hit reply. When your reply open on this site it will display the photo of the site with an arrow superimpose on it to start the video.
        If it is a photo, right click on the photo, click on Copy on the opening menu and as above hold the Ctrl key down and hit the letter V to paste the photo. The other way to paste it is simply, to right click
        on the photo and click on Paste on the opening menu.

      • SMC: > dang it, how do you import pictures?
        If the photo is on your computer, you basically don’t, sorry.
        If the photo is a URL to a publicly accessible web site, include it in your comment on its own line. The URL has to end with .jpg for WP to try to display it. See https://wattsupwiththat.com/test/ for more details and practice.

  9. The people may not want to live there, but flora and fauna do. The windmill and solar farms are major hazards that disrupt the environment, destroy the habitat of greens, and displace Bambi, too, for marginal returns. Why so pro-choice?

  10. I have yet to see a so-called new green job that isn’t just an existing role re-directed into the renewables field.
    This story is another example – it’s just another construction project.

  11. They make an excellent point – large scale solar is best suited to places like Chernobyl and the Mojave Desert where land has zero value and no way to be productively used for anything, and where huge sovereign or supra sovereign subsidies are available.

  12. Lawrence Solomon points to research showing that low level radiation may actually be good for people.
    It may be that the exclusion zone is much too large.

    • It may be that the exclusion zone is much too large.
      Only immediately inside the reactor site is it in anyway dangerous

    • Over recent years, I have stumbled on quite a few articles (of seemingly good provenance) that delve into the issue. Homo sapiens always has been subject to background radiation (varying considerably from place to place, of one sort or another). It was axiomatic (and likely still is in the Halls of Received Wisdom & Settled-Science Orthodoxy) that *any* irradiation is bad for us, and that any exceeding that background level is even worse.
      From what I gleaned, the researchers demonstrated that increases in irradiation above background levels are not necessarily detrimental, and in many cases advantageous! ‘They’ posited a cut-off beyond which it really is detrimental, that that level is considerably higher than most people’s background irradiation, and that the benefits generally outweigh the disbenefits up to that level.
      The cynics will doubtless argue that such research is funded by purveyors of irradiated meat products (or whatever) but I’d be interested to hear more — please! — from you egg-heads on this site!

      • P.S. That’s it! — radiation hormesis. Thank you brycenuc!
        See art. in Wikip for starters.

      • The radiation hormesis idea is derived from the pharmaceutical hormesis idea, whereby a deadly substance will have a beneficial effect at low doses. A good pharmaceutical example is the highly toxic digoxin which has huge beneficial heart effects at low doses. Radiation hormesis has a different beneficial effect mechanism than the pharm hormesis, but it definitely has beneficial effects at low doses. I can pull up literally thousands of articles that show the effect. Here is how the effect is believed to occur.
        Particulate (alpha, beta, neutron) and electromagnetic (gamma, X-ray) have enough initial energy to break chemical bonds via a couple of mechanisms: direct and indirect actions. As the particle or ray interacts, it loses energy with each interaction until there is not enough energy left to cause ionization. The breaking of the chemical bonds is call ionization. For example the ionizing radiation interacts with a water molecule, H2O. The water molecule is broken into O+ and OH- molecules. Because we are ~80% water, most radiation interactions in the body create these ionized molecules. These ionized molecules are free to interact with other chemicals OR reunite back into water. The former can cause chemical problems in the cell, whereas the latter is ‘no harm, no foul’. Of course the radiation can interact and disrupt the chemical bonds of any chemical in the cell. Because the anti-nuclear types like to focus on genetic (DNA, rNA)disruptions, let’s go there.
        Absolutely radiation can break apart the chemical bonds of a DNA strand. However it must be noted that there are all sorts of non-radioactive mechanisms that can break the bonds. Heck, even mechanical trauma can do it. This is where the anti-nuclear types are disingenuous for they report that they found anomalies in some critter’s DNA, which of course they attribute to radiation when in fact it could be due to all sorts of natural mechanisms. Finding the anomalies is only the beginning of the story because the rest to the story is, ‘How does the cell (or organ/body at the macro level) handle the chemical error whether radioactive or otherwise?’
        When we exercise, we create lactic acid in the musculature cells. Lactic acid is toxic to a cell. Everyone understands that the more we exercise, then the stronger and healthier (hopefully) we become. Getting rid of the lactic acid from the cell is critical in order for the cells to be stronger/healthier. The more lactic acid buildup, the cell responds by improving its response mechanism to get rid of the lactic acid. This is the concept behind the radiation hormesis theory. In response to a problem in the cell, it ramps up its defenses to correct the fault. Radiation is only one thing that assaults our cells every second of the day. The hormesis theory states that a low level assault helps to ramp up our repair mechanisms. Hence low levels of radiation may improve our defense mechanisms making for a stronger, more viable organism.

    • Thanks for the link. I’ve been trying for years to find out why the mitigation threshholds set by the WHO, the EPA, and Health Canada are 2.7, 4.0 and 5.0 PicoCuries/L , respectively, or even why until a few years ago, Health Canada’s was set at 20.0.
      I thought I was making at least some progress in understanding the scope of the problem (described by the government of Quebec as affecting less than 5% of provincial dwellings) when I found a map published online by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation that showed the locations of a national residential radon survey conducted in 2012. Unfortunately, the map didn’t save properly, and I neglected to check the saves at the time (or I would have taken screen shots). When I went back after discovering this, the map had been removed, leaving a note to check with Statistics Canada for the data. Neither map nor data appear at the given link.
      IIRC, there was exactly one measuring device emplaced on the entire island of Montreal, and the siting requirements permitted the placement of the device as high as the third floor of a condominium building(in Montreal, condominiums typically have residential units on the lowest level, below the level of the street).
      I’ve now had opportunity to take long-term “radon” measurements in two basement bedrooms in Quebec, and both produced readings well above the Health Canada mitigation threshold year-round, with levels three to four times higher when unventilated for three or more days.
      “… Springer’s book is not for the pop-cure reader, as attested to by its $240 price tag and its intimidating title, Radiation Hormesis and the Linear-No-Threshold Assumption….”
      Dang! Where’s my wallet?
      Reminds me of looking to buy the revised edition of “The Natural History of Rabies”, which is selling for $741 new, $498 used, despite being more than 25 years old now. An e-version of Volume 1 of 2 was once advertised for a mere $95, but am having finding any such version now.
      I settled for the 1st edition, published in 1975, and found it rather disappointing.

      • Maybe the book ‘Underexposed’ by Ed Hiserodt is available somewhere. It is a popular remake of a book by prof Don Luckey who started the radiation hormesis thing decades ago. Also you can try http://radiationeffects.org/ where the scientists in the radiation hormesis fields gather.

    • @ commieBob
      July 31, 2016 at 7:41 am
      “Lawrence Solomon points to research showing that low level radiation may actually be good for people.”
      thanks much for your link. My previous reply somehow got misplaced. Sorry for any confusion. I would point out that the price quoted in the linked article (circa 2010) for the book Hormesis, has gone down somewhat, at least with US vendors. The US/Canada differential between amazon.ca and amazon.com is striking:
      Amazon.ca
      by Charles L. Sanders
      CDN$ 992.61new(1 offer)
      CDN$ 435.05used(1 offer)
      CDN$ 231.56Kindle Edition
      Amazon.com
      Kindle Edition
      $177.71
      Paperback
      $219.00Prime
      Get it by Thursday, Aug 4
      More Buying Choices
      $194.98used & new(23 offers)
      [a few minutes ago amazon.com still showed one very good hard cover copy for $97, and 20 for $148]
      Product Details
      Radiation Hormesis and the Linear-No-Threshold Assumption by Charles L. Sanders (2009-11-10)1656
      by Charles L. Sanders
      three cheers for NAFTA! Can hardly wait for the Pacific version.

  13. The greens will be against it. Wouldn’t the electricity become radioactive and that mess then delivered through every wall socket. Think of the children. /sarc just in case

  14. It is stated above that Ukraine is very poor. It cannot build the installation without finance from the rest of Europe, including no doubt the debt strapped , energy challenged , UK .
    Solar power on this industrial sense will not be profitable without subsidies. If the average Ukrainian consumer is poor then presumably the rest of Europe will provide the subsidies , year on year, indefinitely .
    How about the bankers and solar energy moguls asking the taxpayers in the rest of Europe what they think of this idea?

    • Why will it be Europeans rather than Americans? The US is in charge in Ukraine, after all. They installed the Government and didn’t care too much what the EU thought about it.
      They can hardly turn around and expect European governments to subsidise their cronies swindling the peoples of Europe now……

      • National European government’s won’t be asked. The Brussels oligarchy will decree, after consultations with their German paymasters, and the cash-strapped peons will comply. That’s just one reason why the UK left the EU.

  15. Is it not kind of far north and kind of cloudy in this part of the world?
    Much of the year the sun angle is very low and it is frequently cloudy.
    I agree that this place is best kept as a nature preserve.
    I know!
    Build a nuke plant, but a safe one like France has, and get 100% of the electricity of the old power plant there!
    And keep the animal preserve, plus have steady rather than intermittent power.
    Wonder what the relative costs are…I am sure someone here has those numbers right in the tip of their tongue.

  16. We have a truly unprecedented opportunity to get hard data on the long term effects of a radiation excursion in the this zone. Not only how animals fare, but botany and the natural processes that have been burying the radioactive dust.
    I don’t think it wise that there should be soil disturbances like those involved in footings for solar and wind installations. Use the area for research and build a tour industry as many are now doing.
    Very interesting tour and photojournalism (although it is by a nuclear doomsdayer) here from Elena V. Filatova, whose father was employed as a govt radiation monitor, IIRC.

    • This is in Russian, but shows the present operations in the exclusion zone. I think I picked up words from the context.

      • Yes, visit the area. Absolutely fascinating.
        Bring your radiation monitor with you. Now, wait a minute, is there an app for this?

  17. The Chernobyl area of exclusion has less background radiation than Grand Central Station or the U. S. Capitol Building. It also below the level of where radiation is harmful and where it is beneficial due to radiation hormesis. What a shame that knowledge of radiation is so lacking among members of the general public.

    • “radiation hormesis”?
      You would like to have the public know about that? A little ambitious, I would say.
      Let’s check in and see how things are going with educating the public.
      Engineering:
      Getting people to understand that building a power production system that will never produce as much power as it took to build it represents a deadweight loss.
      Success Quotient: Poor to Dismal
      Economics:
      Getting people to understand that pouring huge taxpayer subsidies into something does not make it cheaper.
      Success Quotient: Dismal and Depressing
      Biology:
      Getting people to understand that CO2 and sunlight is called photosynthesis, and is how living things grow.
      Success Quotient: Discouraging and Strongly Negative – People now believe CO2 is a pollutant.
      Anything you teach the public about radiation will be instantly forgotten the next time a Godzilla movie comes out.

    • Yes, but what to do with all the metal objects, the Ferris wheel, the bumper cars, the fire engines, trucks and tractors that are still very hot with radiation? I understand the folks in Belarus and Ukrain check out a used car or machinery with their Geiger counter before purchasing.
      Also the low background levels depend on not disturbing the fallout buried under decades of vegetation debris and dust.

      • but what to do with all the metal objects, the Ferris wheel, the bumper cars, the fire engines, trucks and tractors that are still very hot with radiation? I understand the folks in Belarus and Ukraine check out a used car or machinery with their Geiger counter before purchasing.
        I understand that they dont. I understand that there isn’t a shred of scientific or other evidence for your statement.
        Anything massively radioactive has decayed by now. If it hasn’t decayed, it isn’t massively radioactive. Thats science.

  18. The land around Chernobyl has turned into a modern day Garden of Eden with plentiful wildlife, trees etc…. Yes, it still has detectable levels of radiation but with much less effect on nature than was thought possible. Now they want to pave over nature and install their Borg-like blight. Leave it alone — we’ll never have a better laboratory for (actual) recovery times in nature versus the science-y guesswork of catastrophic speculation.

    • The land around Dartmoor has turned into a modern day Garden of Eden with plentiful wildlife, trees etc….Yes, it still has detectable levels of radiation but with much less effect on nature than was thought possible.
      Dartmoor is a granite landscape popular with holidaymakers in the UK. It is more radioactive than the evacuated city of Pripyat.
      There is no place on earth that does not have detectable levels of radiation. Except maybe inside a lead lined box.
      The record is held by Ramsar, in Iran at 70-100msv/a:
      “Ramsar’s Talesh Mahalleh district is the most radioactive inhabited area known on Earth, due to nearby hot springs and building materials originating from them.[8] A combined population of 2,000 residents from this district and other high radiation neighbourhoods receive an average radiation dose of 10 mGy per year, ten times more than the ICRP recommended limit for exposure to the public from artificial sources.[9] Record levels were found in a house where the effective radiation dose due to external radiation was 131 mSv/a, and the committed dose from radon was 72 mSv/a.[10] This unique case is over 80 times higher than the world average background radiation.” (wiki)
      Dartmoor in the UK :
      “The largest source of exposure to naturally occurring radioactivity in England and Wales is from the build-up of radon gas in houses. For the country as a whole, the mean annual dose is 1 milliSievert per year (mSv/y). Higher than average doses arise because of geological factors, particularly the natural uranium content of the ground, and the permeability of the rock and soil to radon. The National Radiological Protection Board has been carrying out national and regional studies to identify houses where radon gives rise to high annual doses of radioactivity. The results are not necessarily representative of the housing stock as a whole in the area, as they represented a deliberate attempt to identify houses with high radon concentrations. But the areas identified by the NRPB with the highest mean indoor exposure to radon products are:
      Location and County Grid Square Number of dwellings surveyed Mean annual dose (mSv/y)
      Eastern part of Sedgemoor, Somerset ST 43 1 56
      North-eastern edge of Dartmoor, Devon SX 88 4 41
      Coast area of Mount’s Bay, Cornwall SW 52 2 40
      North-eastern edge of Dartmoor, Devon SX 78 11 38…”
      Extract from Hansard, the official record of the UK parliament Dec.. 05 February 1987
      Fukushima:
      “I look down at my radiation monitor. It’s reading 3 microsieverts per hour – not enough to get me worried on a short visit, but more than ten times above what the Japanese government has declared “safe” for people to return.
      Because of that, this place has been declared off limits for the foreseeable future. That means the people who once lived here are now permanent exiles.”
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-35761136
      3uSv/hr is around 26msV/yr. Half some areas of Dartmoor and less than a third of the natural radiation in Ramsar.
      It is almost impossible to find any reliable data on Chernobyl radiation levels. A Google search will simply list a thousand sites claiming almost anything as long as it is factually incorrect and hysterical.
      Certainly in the reactor building itself, its pretty lethal, but people are working there and not dying. In the exclusion zone the average levels are very low. – in the 10-20mSv/a level, but there are significant hotspots where lumps of reactor ended up.

    • I’m a mused a t the concern from posters here over paving over the environment…
      Seems OK when its for new nuclear or coal plant!
      anyway this is 6,000 out of 100,000 affected hectares – 6%

  19. Is the estimated power output of this 23+ square mile solar farm really about 0.5 W /ft^2? Seems like it would have more value to science/scientists left alone.

    • 10-20W/sq m is about average for solar.
      which is about 1-2W /sq ft
      [??? What location? Near 1000 W/m^2 at noon in a clear sky, 800-900 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, and much lower between 3:00 pm and 9:00 am the next day of course. .mod]

  20. I didn’t read all the comments but do they kill all the wildlife that moved in to make room for this EU white elephant ? Just a question for green piece 😉

  21. I suppose a 6 mile square of PV panels wouldn’t make much of a dent in the total exclusion zone, plus it would be an experiment on wildlife impacts. Though, it sure is expensive and unnecessary IMO.

  22. Eric Worrel apparently has no clue about “contaminated radioactive sites.” One huge advantage to Chernobl area is that one can know precisely whether there are any dangerous subareas. Radioactivity doesn’t only appear out at night – it will be present at all times and can easily be measured – even a greenie understands what a geiger counter is. Workers in nucear plants are always wearing a radiation detector
    that can remember any unsafe levels. Maybe Eric has seen too many 1950’s sci fi movies about the evils of radiation and expects to find giant grasshoppers at Chernobyl.

    • Authur4563 – I am sure Eric is fully aware of preventive measures and Geiger counters. He is pointing out the extremes to which the radical environmental movement and governments will stoop, especially when other governments are handing out free money. The project would not even be drawn on the back of a napkin if not for the free money. So the sarcasm Eric is known for, while dry, is lost on others who actually find a projects like this defensible, especially when someone else is paying for it. Have you ever invested YOUR money in renewable technology start-ups? I should not be forced to invest MY money. Eric does go onto say, “And who knows, maybe the idea will catch on – no doubt there are other highly contaminated industrial disaster sites around the world, which could be profitably converted into renewable installations.”
      So maybe he supports it on good land use alone??

      • Doesn’t work that way. When an area is contaminated with radioactive dust its mainly heavy metals, and they dont blow far and they soon get covered up by natural processes. If its lighter elements like caesium, they soon get incorporated into organic material which itself dies and turns into compost.
        Most of what is left in the exclusion zone of any note is caesium. There are the odd lumps of heavy metal, but they aren’t going anywhere.
        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2c/AirDoseChernobylVector.svg/800px-AirDoseChernobylVector.svg.png
        shows that after 30 years, caesium-137 is peaking and almost everything else has gone, except low level radiation from things like plutonium.
        “As of 2005, caesium-137 is the principal source of radiation in the zone of alienation around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Together with caesium-134, iodine-131, and strontium-90, caesium-137 was among the isotopes distributed by the reactor explosion that constitute the greatest risk to health. The mean contamination of caesium-137 in Germany following the Chernobyl disaster was 2000 to 4000 Bq/m2. This corresponds to a contamination of 1 mg/km2 of caesium-137, totalling about 500 grams deposited over all of Germany. In Scandinavia, some reindeer and sheep exceeded the Norwegian legal limit (3000 Bq/kg) 26 years after Chernobyl”
        “Caesium-137 reacts with water, producing a water-soluble compound (caesium hydroxide)”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesium-137
        So no, the chief risk is not from dust blowing around, or plutonium, or americium, it’s from caesium 137 in the water and in the organic tissue.
        However the wildlife has been eating it all and is doing just fine.
        Wade Allison, in his book ‘Radiation and Reason’ shows strong medical and statistical evidence that the threshold for any detectable increase in cancer is exposure to a single dose in as short period of time that exceeds 100mSv. Such a dose spread over a year has no detectable effect. Only if biological mechanisms concentrate this locally is it significant.
        Hence the worry about caesium 137. Wiki again:
        “The biological half-life of caesium is rather short, at about 70 days. A 1972 experiment showed that when dogs are subjected to a whole body burden of 3800 μCi/kg (140 MBq/kg, or approximately 44 μg/kg) of caesium-137 (and 950 to 1400 rads), they die within 33 days, while animals with half of that burden all survived for a year.”
        950 rads is 9,500 msV!! In a single dose!
        So even Caesium 137 is out of the body reasonably quickly.
        Look the real and final point is this. ‘Radiation’ is as scary as ‘man made climate change’ when all you have to go on are activists’ sites on the Internet. The real facts are very hard to come by, but are far far less scary than even the most optimistic nuclear protagonists would have believed.
        The safety standards for radiation were set in almost total ignorance of the actual effects: Wade Allison points out that the policy for nuclear power was set to ALARA – As Low As Reasonably Achievable.
        “Although the public accepts moderate to high doses of radiation when used benignly for their own health, non-medical international safety standards are set extremely low to appease popular concerns – these specify levels found in nature or as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). Yet modern biology and medicine confirm that no harm comes from radiation levels up to 1000 times higher and realistic safety levels could be set as high as relatively safe (AHARS).
        Indeed the local damage to public health and the social economy caused by ALARA regulations imposed at
        Chernobyl and Fukushima has been extremely serious and without benefit.”
        http://www.templar.co.uk/downloads/Public_Trust_in_Nuclear_Energy.pdf
        Because of this very conservative policy, which also for simplicity relied upon the LNT (Linear, No Threshold) model, that defined harmful effects as linearly related to e.g. total annual dosage, the door was left open for anti-nuclear alarmists to cry ‘ten times the permitted dose…100 times the permitted levels …no such thing as a safe level for radiation…the governments own figures admit it“… and so on.
        It has been remarked that “you may believe everything you read in the newspapers except on those subjects where you have deep and expert knowledge” 🙂
        Indeed. As I [found] out from early involvement with activist politics – I was there but what the papers reported had no resemblance whatsoever to what happened. The ‘activists’ grabbed the microphones and claimed it for their own. I left politics…
        In my personal Odyssey through renewable energy, to the politics of climate change, I discovered that renewable energy, nuclear power and climate change all shared a common feature. In every case what ‘everybody knew’ from casual exposure to the media was in direct contradiction to the best data used by the best scientific and technical studies. In fact the truth appeared to be almost the complete opposite of the public perception.
        My conclusions is that certain commercial and political interests have every incentive to spread disinformation. And, of course, the biggest disinformation they spread, was that anyone who disagreed with them was in the business of spreading political and commercial disinformation.
        Cute huh?

      • I wholly concur with Leo. Nice explanation Leo! One correction: Cs-137 has a 30 year half-life. Half of my Health Physics career I was involved in trying to counter the BS the anti-nuclear folks put out. Most times I was spitting in the wind. People love to doom sayers. Don’t get me started on the LNT theory unless Anthony will allow violence on this web site. ; ) I call it the make work theory for health physicists and the EPA.

  23. Perhaps EBRD should consider other nuclear contamination sites like Muslumovo and Semipalatinsk. Even as “renewable” energy schemes are just UN-sponsored and state-sponsored fraud at least a small portion of the vast monies would perhaps leak to the local peoples.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/04/nuclear_contamination_in_former_ussr_radioactivity_in_muslomovo_on_techa.html
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semipalatinsk_Test_Site

  24. ‘workers willing to risk their health’
    According to Cohen, the most dangerous occupation is being unemployed. My speculation is that a safety culture is an important part of many occupations and something you bring home. Safely dealing with radiation and contaminated is not the difficult.
    Eric’s arguments against renewable energy are absurd. Using sarcasm to tell a lie is still lying.
    For the record Chernobyl is not an interesting experiment. We learned nothing new about the biological effects of radiation. Do not expose children to I-131.
    Unfortunately, the evil empire learned nothing from TMI. A timely evacuation plan would have prevented all but a few deaths.

    • For the record Chernobyl is not an interesting experiment. We learned nothing new about the biological effects of radiation. Do not expose children to I-131.
      Unfortunately, the evil empire learned nothing from TMI. A timely evacuation plan would have prevented all but a few deaths.

      Actually we have learnt a hell of a lot. Enormously high levels of background radiation (by accepted industry standards) have resulted in no adverse health effects on the wildlife that stayed.
      AS far as the thyroid cancers go that was less the result of not evacuating than the result of not issuing iodine pills
      10 weeks on iodine pills and the I-131 has all fizzled out.
      What we learnt from TMI is that a contained core meltdown is expensive but utterly harmless.

  25. “I’m not stupid enough to get a construction job …”
    Eric is not smart enough to get a construction job period. Eric appears to get all his information from reading the guardian.
    As far as being a troll, if posting on subjects that I am knowledgeable is what a troll does than I am guilty. Duncan when the clueless call me a troll, I take as a complement.

    • Respectfully, classifying others as “clueless” or whatever your slogan happens to be, only relieves you of the courtesy of open-mindedness and consideration. Folks usually find that to be fringe thinking.

      • Good comment Pop. Some things are easy to say in a comment. Easy to say does not make the correct or conducive to advancing our knowledge.
        Thanks for the post Eric, it caused many to think.

      • The goal is to educate them, not describe them. Please be positive in your assertions and avoid those kind of “put-downs” which polarize you from them. We are searching for a common truth here.

      • I’d have no problem at all with that, Eric. Stick a tonne of plutonium in my garage if you like.

      • Eric why dont you give us the scientific arguments why you are so scared of radiation/hot particles. Where is that graveyard of victims of hot particles?
        If you look at the history of radiation protection than the world is now in a comparable situation as it will be when the climate alarmists have their way, immensely expensive super overprotection with no (health) benefits whatsoever.
        Again: show me the proof of the dangers of your hot particles.

      • Dang, the following was a previous post the didn’t go up or disappeared.
        Eric: The term “hot spots” also known as “hot particles” is a Health Physics term that we use to help us determine a person’s dose from radiation. For any gamma/X-ray emitter, the term is not really applicable unless the radioactive chemical is exceptionally concentrated in a tissue type. Cs-137 is the primary radioactive left in Chernobyl. It is a gamma emitter. So your concern over hot particle ingestion is not warranted. I would suggest you are misusing or do not fully understand the term. When Health Physicists talk about hot particles, we are talking about alpha and beta emitters.
        A hot particle (alpha/beta emitter) may be ingested principally via respiration or oral ingestion. With oral ingestion, the relative risk of the hot particle completely depends on the radioactive material’s chemical form and whether the alimentary canal will absorb the chemical form. In those chemical forms we would expect to have some reasonable likelihood of being transported via a pathway to the alimentary canal, almost all of these have poor uptakes by the alimentary canal. Thus there is a high probability that if you swallow a hot particle, you will poop it out a few days later.
        Ingestion via respiration has many complex routes. It must first be noted that very few particles of anything which have greater than 10 AMD size get past our filtration systems e.g. nose and the tracheal cilia. Your dust particle example is unrealistic as most dust consists of relatively large particles. Our filtration systems push these particles into the alimentary canal or trap them in an expectorant. However, if a hot particle gets past the filter systems and into the alveoli, then there a numerous pathways it may take depending on its chemical nature. It can get trapped there, in which case the hot particle will irradiate only a few cell lengths. Three things can happen in this case: nothing, cellular death, or mutation of one or more of the cells. The latter is relatively rare. Cellular death may happen if the hot particle is “hot” enough. In this case the cell(s) die in a small area and the body rids itself of the dead cell(s) taking the hot particle with it. Most times, a hot particle seems to have little to no effect – perhaps not enough radiation and the cell is able to maintain repair of any damage.
        Depending on the chemical nature of the radionuclide, the hot particle may be moved out of the lungs quite quickly. We have graphs and tables that will tell us the clearance rate of thousands of different chemical forms of radioactive materials. I inhaled a tiny amount of plutonium when responding to a spill of pure powdered plutonium. I got tested (they measure it in your poop) and retested 6 weeks later. None could be found after six weeks. Whatever I ingested moved from the lungs to my poop – there are a couple different pathways this could have happened. One of the things about plutonium is that our body has no use for it nor is it seen as an analog to necessary chemicals, so the body gets rid of it. There are numerous people who have ingested complexed chemical forms of plutonium which remained in their body, but I have yet to hear of any having problems from it.
        So if you are worried about hot particle ingestion, I would be happy to help you get a better understanding of all the factors involved. Be advised it took me a few years to learn what I know as it is a very complex subject.

    • Kit P – I find this blog refreshing, it supports my view point that we are not all going over a cliff tomorrow. Calling Eric “stupid” is trolling case closed. I welcome and actually desire if more people with opposite view points posted here. Please come back when you can have a respectful and hopefully enlightening conversation or view point. We all might learn something. Good day to you.

      • Duncan
        That is Mr. P to you! You can reply sir, yes sir. If you read Eric’s essay he is not civil.
        I am very respectful for those that want to engage in civil discourse. Apparently Duncan does not how to do it.

  26. For those who understand German (but Google translate may help), there is a very good report with lots of details and background about the causes of the Tsjernobyl disaster and the current situation, including comparisons of the background levels at the exclusion zone with other places on earth from Dr. Walter Rüegg, Switzerland, who visited the site in September 2015 with a group of nuclear experts from different countries:
    http://kaltduschenmitdoris.ch/images/pdf/Reise%20ins%20Innere.pdf
    The main (not too) hot spots are at moss spots: moss does fixate Cs (whatever isotope) from falling dust, which it takes as Na which it needs, including the fallout of the disaster…
    I do agree with many here to leave the exclusion zone to what it did become nowadays: a paradise for wildlife…

  27. In contrast, think about all the “green jobs” HRC plans for the U.S. Putting Chinese-made solar panels on millions of homes will create thousands and thousands of jobs for solar panel installers. Think of all the ambitious young people putting their “free” college educations to good use as glorified roofers.

  28. “collects corpses”
    Wow! I am trying to figure out how theoretical came up with so much BS from his link.
    The reason ‘hot particles’ are not very clear is it is something idiots talk about.
    ‘uranium, plutonium, americium, and thorium’
    These are not hot particles. Long lived isotopes are not radiological hazards but may be a health hazard as heavy metals.
    The Manhattan Project and the subsequent US weapons program did an excellent job of handling radioactive material which is why we have so little data. The evil empire not so much. What I learned from those studies is that people in the evil empire smoked too much and drank too much vodka.
    Let me put in perspective. Plutonium has the same toxicity as nicotine. The latter is inhaled by school children to be cool.
    “probably the most contaminated in the world, there is no proof of extra cancer there”
    No, it is everyday folks who have naturally occurring uranium in there water wells. Check out the CDC on this subject. Cancer is not the problem, kidney failure is. Uranium who accidentally ingest stuff have their urine sampled.
    According to the CDC, there are no examples of environmental problems with uranium. Mercury, lead, and arsenic do have problems.

    • Americium isotopes have half lives of 432 and 7370 years. Plutonium 244 is relatively inert, but other isotopes are a lot hotter.
      I’m a fan of nuclear power, but sending people into the contamination zone to build a solar plant is just nuts.

      • Let the applicants choose … forget “Sending-In” anyone’.
        Lots of otherwise unemployed young people choose to join the military to a) get a job, b) get to start a c.v., and c) learn a skill.
        I’ll leave it to readers to decide which is the riskier ….
        My proviso is that the inductees be presented with *all* know facts and an unbiased health-risk-assessment.
        If that said, for example, “You are at no more risk working in Radiation Zone ‘Red’ for 2 months than staying at home; Zone ‘Yellow’ for 6 months [ditto] or ‘Blue’ for 2 years, and you will be tested [daily’weekly’monthly] for aggregated irradiation, and the pay is twice/thrice the going-rate, why shdn’t young risk-takers get ahead with their lives?
        Living and personal risk are inseparable: just in case a slate may slide off the roof and split your skull, do you, Eric, stay at home 24/7/52 and get yr dole e-credited to yr bank?

      • ‘just nuts’
        Again Eric is very wrong. That is why I keep calling him an idiot. He loves to post on things that he is clueless and refuses to learn.
        ‘Brownfield’ development is an accepted practice. The first step is to perform a survey to establish the level contamination.
        The Hanford Reservation is where plutonium was first produced during the Manhattan Project and continued up until the US and USSR agreed to stop producing plutonium. All the liquid waste is stored in tanks waiting to turned into glass. Besides the cold war waste buried here and there, it is also a modern low level waste repository.
        It is the mother of all brownfields.
        Columbia generating station and a solar PV farm are also located there. I am writing someplace I lived and worked.

      • Again you seem to have lost the plot. If its persistent, it ain’t very radioactive. Its also likely to be a heavy metal. Heavy metals are…heavy. They stay put. And wont get ingested unless you eat dirt. They are more poisonous than radioactive.
        Hand-wavy qualitative statements are not science.

  29. As I said in my last post, ‘hot particles’ are not very clear is it is something idiots talk about. Generally fear mongers try to relate nuclear weapons to using nuclear reactors to produce power.
    Nuclear weapons release huge amounts of energy in a short period of time instantly killing most of the victims. Those surviving the blast could be exposed directly radiation and die of radiation poisoning in the next 30 days.
    Fallout from particulate fission products could result in contamination. So take a shower.
    In the context of commercial nuclear power, the most common particulate is activated corrosion products. Cobalt-60 is an example of something we are concerned about during maintenance.
    There are fission products that particulate. Since Chernobyl was a graphite moderated reactor without a containment large amounts of particulate fission products were released. So take a shower.
    So what is the bottom line. Idiots like Eric make lists of reasons to be against something. I am not saying that renewable energy at Chernobyl is a good idea.

    • been a bit so I may be remembering wrong but wasn’t the soil in whole area/surrounding areas heavily coated with caesium?
      iirc (again I may be remembering wrong) it had penetrated fairly deep into soil.

      • isn’t it water soluble and easily absorbed into plants and drinking water?
        thought that was one of the major cancer risks but I have not had chance to check and may be thinking of something else.

    • I feel your pain. Every time Eric talks about something that I actually know a bit about, I end up with a bad headache. He is driven by his ideology, not his knowledge of the subjects.

  30. @Ross King
    Working a hazardous job requires training if for no other reason to keep them from freaking out. In the navy that training was one one of my responsibilities as naval nuke officer. While the nuclear trained workers has extensive training, others who enter ‘radiation area’ had to be trained. This included ‘mess cooks’. The risk was explained.
    I have worked in restaurants and did the mess cook thing when I was first enlisted. Everything in a kitchen is more dangerous than radiation.

    • TVM for yr factual support.
      If current Health-and-Safety Regs. were in force in Columbus’s day (or Cook or Magellan — or NASA’s space-riders) we’d still be stuck in the paddy-fields.
      “(S)he who dares, Wins!” (isn’t that the motto of the military elite in UK?)
      The converse of which is, of course, “(S)he who doesn’t dare, loses!”
      In my Albertan/B.C. view, having lived in both for many years, the difference in attitudes is *very* constructive in life. In Alberta, they say (or said, pre-Notley?): “If there’s nothing to say you *can’t* do “it”, then do it!” In B.C.: “If there’s nothing to say you *can* do it, then you *can’t do it”!
      Today’s society is dominated by the latter, methinks. The over-reaching tentacles of Big Gov’t and the ever-willing-to-expand bureaucracy, intent on more Rules, more Power, and preservation of Sinecures, will — in my view — lead to the next Dark Age. Long live entrepreneurial freedom! Since when did inventions come out of a Gov’t Dept?
      Yours, in exasperation about my grandchildren’s future …

      • @Ross
        I do not have a problem with safety regulations. If you are in a hazardous occupation and can not handle the paperwork, maybe you should find a different line of work.
        Codes and standards are just engineering best practices codified. Regulations put the force of law behind them. Utility A operates nuke safer and more economically by using new maintenance strategies. While many voluntary adopt the concept some do not. After following the legal process, the NRC issue the maintenance rule to enforce better methods.
        The methodologies for building nuke plants while protecting the neighbors were forced upon the chemical industry only after the worst industrial accident killed 4,000. Process safety is now a regulation.
        As far as renewable energy is concerned, power is a public service. If the public wants wind and solar give it to them. It is not about entrepreneurial freedom.
        If you are going to do something you have responsibility to your employees and neighbors.

    • Much as you might think that’s a smart & enlightening remark, it isn’t!
      I invite you to visit my 0-20 Scale of Morons, and consider where *I* might place *you*. Think it over and let me know, please?
      Or was it just a bad joke?

  31. Let me translate Ian’s BS.
    “the use of a volatile coolant under pressure, which must be circulated to avoid boiling”
    That would be water for the rest of us. When it boils it produces steam which is a very effective heat transfer mechanism. Steam also drives turbine which turn pumps to pump water back into the reactor vessel.
    “the use of zirconium alloys”
    Yes, we understand and design for the properties of the material we use.
    “safer reactor”
    No one has been hurt by LWR designed to standards. Since LWR have a perfect safety record, how are you going to make it safer?
    Our operating reactor experience trumps your paper reactor claims.
    Power plants of all kinds must be safe. No brownie points for insignificant claims.

  32. No one really want to admit it but the danger time is far lower than any estimates we are given. The high intensity half life elements are spent as they are of short duration and we are now into the moderate level longer half life and low level near harmless thousand year half life ones.
    Also semiconductors do not work well in high radiation areas so either the levels are now quite safe or they are in for some efficiency problems.
    As for giving people solar and wind if they want it they should be first given the same level of brainwashing about the cost and unreliability they are given about it being “free” energy rather than capital intensive and high maintenance but low fuel running costs that overall costs two to three times the fossil fuel alternatives. More if you count the true infrastructure costs of connection of highly distributed sources.

    • David: you are correct. There are seven factors that influence the hazard of a radioactive material. Two of those factors are half-life and quantity (# of atoms). Not many understand that there is a relationship with these factors. That a nuclide has a long half-life actually works in our favor if there are only a few atoms. Let’s say five atoms of U-238 gets in our body. The odds are that none of the five atoms will emit their radiation in our lifetime. In this case, there will be no harm – period. However, there is a point where the number of atoms does make a difference and a longer lived nuclide becomes potentially more harmful than a shorter lived nuclide, though this is where to other five factors come into play and must be accounted for. For the shorter lived nuclides, say less than seven year, all of the atoms are guaranteed to emit their radiation during your lifetime.

  33. From everything I have read, there is little to no reason to maintain the exclusion zone around most of Chernobyl. With the exception of a mile or two around the plant itself, most of it is safe.

    • Prezactly. Likewise Fukushima.
      Except that you just KNOW what would happen. Someone moves back on and dies of cancer 5 years later and his /her relatives sue the guv-mint for billions. And some whackjob judge allows it to succeed.

      • “Someone moves back on and dies of cancer 5 years later and his /her relatives sue the guv-mint for billions.”
        Which would seem to be a potential problem with the Chernobyl solar scheme as well?

  34. It has two things going for it, 1) low cost land, and 2) throw away money from the UN and other other agencies. On the down side, I will not employ many after construction.

  35. This idea is rank with problems. Not only is Chernobyl at a high latitude, which limits solar energy intensity as well as causes huge seasonal variation, but solar thermal plants require huge infrastructure for all the mirrors and huge amounts of water. This means bringing water in from elsewhere, unless they are willing to contaminate all their equipment with radioactive local water. So, who is going to suffer from their water being diverted to this plant? And, the worst negative is the fact that solar energy is only available during part of each day. Saying that such a plant would produce a third of what the original nuclear plants produced is to ignore the unstable, variable, and expense of this plant. Systems for storing heat energy to be able to generate electricity at night are also very expensive. All of this includes disturbing the radioactive subsurface layers that probably lurk in the area.
    This is a very bad idea and represents throwing money at a non-problem, money stolen from other people for wealth redistribution by the UN.

  36. @dmacleo
    “thought that was one of the major cancer risks”
    I would have to see the assumptions in the analysis. For LWRs with contaminants, the risk is insignificant.

  37. I had the opportunity to visit the Nevada test site in the late 1980s. An estimated 650 atomic detonations, all but 2 of them underground. They had pretty white picket fences around the detonations to mark out the collapse areas. We visited one of the at-surface detonations (20 min limit). No photos please. I can see the appeal of visiting Chernobyl especially if they talk about radioactivity and speak about the only scientist to ever win 2 Nobel prizes in science prior to 1950. I quiz the ladies about this – always to blank stares.

  38. As I understand Fukashima the main issue was the water from the tsunami flooding the emergency generators. No power, no water circulation. Heat build-up. Bang.

  39. “I’m retired and haven’t kept up on what radionuclides remain in the Chernobyl countryside”
    Why would you keep up with at all?
    If I am planning work in an area with the potential for the workers to get contaminated with radioactive material or get radiation from other than a natural source; I would then have a Health Physics technician perform a survey of the area. Identifying general area radiation, ‘hot spots’, and fixed and loose contamination.
    My last job in the in the navy included responsibilities ‘Health Physics’ department.
    “The whole science of determining dose whether from whole body or localized hot spots is extremely complex. ”
    Not really! Out at sea operating a reactor often you do not have time for complex calculations. We would use radcon math to get a ballpark number that was good enough to get the job done. We were not dealing with modes, we were dealing with verifiable results. After the job was done we checked to see that we were conservative.
    When my wife was working at Hanford’s N-reactor (shutdown at the end of the cold war), she brought home a publish research paper that one of the phd engineers had published. I read the abstract and said 3. Then I read the paper and found the answer was 3 something. The next night, my wife said the engineer had spent a million dollars of DOE’s money getting the answer.
    The models for determining worker and off-site does after an accident are very complex. One of my last task was to come up with an engineering fix for an assumption in the model. They assumed 0%. I found that the as designed number was 10% and the best fix would be 2% at a very high cost of the life of the plant. I looked at the model, and we had a 75% margin.
    I convinced people that we should reperform the calculation. This time they assumed my system did not work (or 100% failure to buffer water). The reduced the margin to 74.8%.
    In Other words, the safety system did not need to be a safety system.
    The real answer is to not expose workers to internal contamination. Put the panels someplace else and avoid the cost of complex caclulations.

  40. @Pop
    “The goal is to educate them, not describe them.”
    Not my goal. Information is available from many sources. Idiots with an agenda are not interested in education. For many years I was anti-coal. With good reason! However, when information became available that showed me things had changed.
    I have two goal. One is too learn. The other is to educate where I can.
    “ a common truth ”
    Is that code for consensus? Some share my goals. Eric is not one of them.

  41. @ theorichel
    August 2, 2016 at 10:07 am
    “Maybe the book ‘Underexposed’ by Ed Hiserodt is available somewhere. It is a popular remake of a book by prof Don Luckey who started the radiation hormesis thing decades ago. Also you can try http://radiationeffects.org/ where the scientists in the radiation hormesis fields gather.”
    Thanks very much. Very promising site. Have saved most of the offerings for later study.
    The most frustrating issue I’ve encountered in my several years of trying to measure meaningfully and understand residential radon levels is that I’ve yet to find anywhere a discussion of the issues of reliable measurement. EPA and Health Canada simply point the homeowner to the standard short and long term testing devices, without any attempt to make sense of the issues of documentation.
    Even though there are States in the USA which require all homes to be “radon tested” before being sold, I haven’t found an explanation of how such testing can be reliable, given the vendor/occupant’s strong financial interest in “documenting” low readings, never mind the time constraints, which completely conflict with the dictum that three day tests should be conducted during the heating season.
    I understand that US realtors may use expensive recorders capable of functioning properly in a high humidity environment, and encased in a cage that can be locked in place. However, I’ve never read anything dealing with the issue of the occupant/owner opening doors and windows in the space to be measured and/or putting a temporary fan to work.
    Even with the best of intentions to obtain an accurate and meaningful reading/readings, there is no clearly reliable methodology. In fact, it took me several years to find an official government definition of a level requiring mitigation. It was on a Quebec government site, and defined the Health Canada mitigation level to be the average of one year’s readings. This would seem to make meaningful measurement for the purpose of selling or buying a home, or even for determining the need for mitigation, practically impossible.
    My own experience demonstrates this. I started with a properly conducted three day cannister test (ie. in the lowest bedroom, during the heating season, with all doors and windows closed for 72 hours). The result that came back from the lab was 17.7 picoCuries/L, more than three times the Health Canada mitigation threshold.
    I immediately searched for radon mitigation “professionals” as advised by both Health Canada and the EPA, and found two, both part-time “professionals”, both located several hours’ drive from my home. Both expressed eagerness to embark on major structural changes to my home without further testing, and both wanted several thousand dollars for this work. They “guaranteed” only that the radon level would be reduced to the Health Canada mitigation threshold level of 5 picoCuries/L. Neither offered an explanation of how this figure was arrived at, nor how it would be measured in case of dispute.
    I asked what they used themselves to measure radon, and both name the S3 professional, the least expensive electronic radon detector,. And so I bought the same model myself and also began a one-year cannister test, thus doubly replicating my three day test, but in a normal day-to-day environment
    The result of my 365 day cannister test was reported as 2.3 picoCuries/L, and my S3 professional never read higher than 13 (a peak 48 hour average) during the course of the year, and the average of the entire year hovered at the mitigation level of 5. Of course I was using the room normally, airing it when possible (it was my bedroom).
    Had I listened to the “professionals” licensed and recommended by the government of Canada, I would have spent thousands of dollars to damage my house when (again, according to the same government) there was no need for any mitigation.
    Since then, I have offered the loan of my S3 Professional to a number of neighbours, including my physician, who had just become a new father and moved into a new house. Not one accepted my offer.
    And it’s not hard to see why. Since Radon in a home is condemned by the government as a health risk, it must be disclosed when a home is put up for sale. And since any level of Radon is deemed, again by the government, as damaging to health, even a low recorded level will make any home less desirable, possibly entirely undesirable, to potential buyers.
    Are Health Canada, EPA, and the WHO, and their political masters too stupid to grasp that their Radon mitigation crusade is actually discouraging homeowners from testing for Radon levels in their homes or is this part of a strategy to eventually require government-controlled Radon testing (for the public good, of course) in every dwelling?

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