Risk and Nuclear Power Plants

By Andy May

The financial risk is too great.

Updated post (2/21/2017)

In any discussion of the future of energy, nuclear power generation is brought up. Once a nuclear power plant is built and operating, it can produce cheap electricity reliably for decades. Further, in terms of human health, some claim it is the safest source of energy in the U.S. Others, like Benjamin Sovacool, claim the worldwide economic cost (worldwide total: $177B) of nuclear accidents is higher than for any other energy source and nuclear power is less safe than all other sources of energy except for hydroelectric power. Some of the costs could be due to an over-reaction to nuclear accidents, especially Chernobyl and Fukushima.  Others have much lower fatality estimates than Sovacool, it is unclear how many later cases of cancer are, or potentially will be, due to Chernobyl.

Permitting a new nuclear power plant and building it is a problem because there have been more than 105 significant nuclear accidents around the world since 1952, out of an IAEA total of 2,400 separate incidents. Thirty-three serious nuclear accidents compiled by The Guardian are listed and ranked here and mapped in figure 1. As figure 1 shows these incidents have occurred all over the world, some are design flaws, like the Fukashima-Diachi 2011 disaster and some are due to human error, like the loss of a Cobalt-60 source in Ikitelli, Turkey.

Figure 1: All nuclear power plant incidents, source The Guardian.

There is an ongoing debate about the safety of nuclear power. Roger Graves has written persuasively that:

“… there is no justification for singling out nuclear power as being especially dangerous. The fear of nuclear espoused by much of the media is vastly exaggerated.”

There have been either 4,231 fatalities due to nuclear accidents since 1952 or fewer than 100 depending upon who is estimating.  The biggest difference is how many died due to the Chernobyl disaster.  Was it the 31 who died right away or were there thousands that died later due to radiation induced cancer as Benjamin Sovacool argues?  Either way, this is small compared to the number of fatalities due to hydroelectric dam failures, like the 171,000 people who died when the Shimantan Dam and 60 other dams, including Banqiao, broke in China in 1975 or the 4.3 million who die every year due to indoor air pollution from burning biomass or coal indoors. So, do we irrationally fear anything that glows in the dark? Or, are Benjamin Sovacool’s arguments more valid than Roger Graves? The differences are mostly due to what fatalities and costs are included in the calculation, both use reasonable methods and criteria. Either way nuclear is different from other sources and the risks are different. I’m not sure a valid safety comparison between nuclear and other sources of energy can be made.

If we include all air pollution from coal as a cost, coal becomes the most expensive and dangerous, except for hydroelectric. Yet, most of the problems are from personal, household use of coal or antiquated coal power plants with no pollution control equipment. Modern coal plants, used in western countries for decades, produce very little pollution and are safe. Households do not have nuclear power, nor do they have personal hydroelectric dams, so this seems like an invalid comparison.

It seems that nuclear power is here to stay, there are nuclear power plants all over the world after all. Why is it so hard to permit and build one? Why did Germany shut down so many nuclear plants? How serious are the dangers? We will not answer these questions here, but we can present what data we could find.

By nuclear we mean fission reactors. Fusion reactors always seem to be 20 years away and this seems unlikely to change. The most recently completed U.S. nuclear power plant, Watts Bar Unit 2 in Rhea County, Tennessee entered commercial service October 19, 2016.

Figure 2: Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear power plant, source TVA.

Unit 2 was 80% complete in 1980. Construction was stopped at that time due to a projected decline in demand. Construction resumed in 2007. The Fukushima-Daichi disaster in 2011 caused construction to be halted again and the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) ordered some design modifications. The delays and the late design modifications caused the initial estimate cost of $2.5B to almost double. The final cost, when it was completed in 2016, was $4.7B. So, this older generation “2” nuclear reactor, from beginning to end, took over 40 years to build. Over the 40 years the cost doubled.

TVA has also spent more than six billion dollars on two partially constructed nuclear plants at their Bellefonte site near Hollywood, Alabama. These were to be Units 1 and 2. They have also applied for permits for two more plants, units 3 and 4. Recently, they announced they have no plans to finish the first two plants and withdrew their permit requests for the second two. Obviously, nuclear power plant planning and construction has its problems. The problems seem to be the uncertain permitting process, high initial costs, and the very long construction period. The long permitting and construction times complicate financing and mean that revenue, profit and demand forecasts are obsolete long before the plants are completed. Thus, as the plants are being constructed, markets change, there are periods when the project appears uneconomic, and construction is shut down. Once shut down, any project is hard to restart.

There are two big problems here. The first is a perceived danger to the public, that may or may not really exist. The second, partially caused by the first, is the huge length of time from inception to completion and the very high and uncertain front end costs. I think anyone who has ever worked in a capital-intensive business will instantly see the problem. The problem is not safety per se, it is risk. This is not an industry that can survive in the marketplace without government guarantees, the risk to capital invested and the potential liability costs are so large no private company would ever touch it. Or stated another way, only a government would be foolish enough to put their money into building a nuclear power plant.

Without a viable business outlook, nuclear is probably doomed unless the design to completion timeline is shortened. The permitting time needs to be shortened and made more certain. This means the industry needs to mature and standardize the components of their commercial reactor designs, so approval of the standard components is guaranteed. Second, construction times need to be radically shorter. Standard components will help here as well. You must be able to propose, design, permit and build a plant before your economic forecasts become useless. There is no way around this, cash flow is king, design to startup times must be short and predictable. Time is often the most expensive component in long term projects, ask any construction company or oil and gas company.

Consider what Hollywood, Alabama Mayor Frank “Buster” Duke, who worked as a pipefitter helping build Bellefonte from 1974 to 1984, said about the TVA Bellefonte construction site:

“I think this was one of the best nuclear plants TVA ever built, but it’s not looking good for any nuclear use of Bellefonte. I’m afraid everything is outdated there now like an old computer. I just hope TVA can do something with all [these] assets.”

The radioactive waste created by nuclear power plants is also a serious problem. Every year nuclear power plants, worldwide, produce 200,000 m3 of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste and about 11,000 m3 tonnes of high level waste. In the U.S. there is no infrastructure to permanently dispose of the waste, some of which is dangerous for many thousands of years or more. Some countries, including the UK, France, Germany and Japan, reprocess their high-level waste and recycle the remaining uranium and plutonium which decreases the volume of waste. For a list showing how various countries dispose of their waste see this report by the World Nuclear Association.

Waste products are also a problem for thorium molten salt reactors. Besides generating waste, thorium reactors are a nuclear proliferation threat, as discussed by Ashley, et al., 2012 in Nature. This is because one of the waste products is 233U and 8 kg of 233U is enough for a nuclear weapon.

Nuclear power plants have many attractive features, if they don’t leak any radioactivity to the environment and their waste is safely disposed of, they are pollution free. If you can get one permitted and built (no small feat) it produces cheap power and little waste. But, it seems unlikely to be a significant source of new electricity generation due to the public fear of accidents and the high financial risk. To be sure, the actual accidents to date have not caused a lot of injuries or deaths, relative to other energy sources, but the economic cost of the accidents, and the builder and operators liability, is extremely high.

Nuclear power generation has produced no deaths in the U.S. or in the UK. A Caithness Windfarm Information Forum (CWIF) compendium tabulated a yearly UK average of 164 windfarm accidents from 2012-2016 inclusive. Over the same period, 34 of the UK accidents were fatal. In total, in the UK, there have been at least 170 fatalities due to wind farms, so by this measure nuclear is safer than wind. While the safety record of nuclear in the U.S. and in the UK is quite good, the concern is the potential catastrophe. Certainly, the economic costs of nuclear accidents are much higher than for any other form of energy at least according to Benjamin Sovacool here. Sovacool has also shown that 94% of accidental electricity generation fatalities are due to hydroelectric dams, especially one large accident at Shimantan Dam in China. The nuclear catastrophe that can be imagined is horrific, particularly with regard to terrorism. Plus, we have all that nuclear waste being stored on the surface in temporary facilities. To quote Sovacool (source):

“… , nuclear power is less safe than alternatives. When overall fatalities from other energy sources are compared independent of the amount of energy they produce, nuclear power ranks as the second most fatal source of energy supply – after hydroelectric dams – and is responsible for more onsite deaths than oil, coal, and natural gas systems (Sovacool 2008).”

Coal mining is very hazardous, especially in China. But, elsewhere it has become much safer, especially in the U.S., in recent years. Urban indoor pollution, from burning biomass (wood, dung and charcoal) and coal indoors, kills 4.3 million people each year per the World Health Organization. This is the largest killer of all energy sources.

So, although we have estimates of how many have been injured or killed by nuclear accidents that range from less than 100 to over 4,000, both numbers pale in comparison to the deaths caused by other power sources, especially biofuels, coal and hydroelectric.  By this measure, nuclear is safer.  The problem is the perceived danger from a possible nuclear accident or terrorist attack, not the actual safety record.  This fear causes expensive actions (over-reactions?) to be taken when an accident occurs, raising the accidents cost and the potential liability of the operator and builder of the reactor.

It is unlikely, after 60 years of building nuclear power stations, that the cost and time to build them has to be what we see today.  After this much time, there is no need for every reactor to be a one-off and approved piecemeal one at a time.  But, this is where we are.  It is a capital intensive business with high front-end costs and the regulations and lack of standardized pre-approved components drag out the construction (no-revenue) period and private companies cannot get into the business.

I suspect that if a standardized power plant design can be agreed upon by the government and industry, a permanent storage facility built for the waste and permitting and construction streamlined; nuclear would be a success. But, until that happens, I doubt it will ever succeed. No one, outside of government, is foolish enough to invest in the industry the way it is now.

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crosspatch

Organic bean sprouts in Germany and cantaloupe in Colorado killed more people in 2011 than have so far died from Chernobyl. Fukushima was an absolute worst case with three melts on one site — 0 dead, 0 injured, 0 sickened and the initial projections of any future issues now have to be scaled back because it has been determined that the radiation dose received by the nearby population was only half what it had been initially estimated to be.
Nuclear power is expensive because of lawfare. People seem to be much more afraid of radiation than they need to be. More people died at Deepwater Horizon than died at Three Mile Island. An oil train burned dozens of people alive in a town in Quebec, Canada. It is only the massive war against nuclear power than makes “renewable energy” even a consideration in Germany.
Nuclear power is expensive because of what I believe are quite idiotic regulations. State regulations prevented replacement of San Onofre heat exchanger tubes that had been discovered to have a manufacturing defect and as a result, that plant has closed. It’s just idiotic. Spent fuel should be reprocessed ON SITE to provide new fuel and prevent shipment of nuclear fuel around our highways. Instead we have engaged in an idiotic “burial” disposal process that will probably never actually happen for fuel that has had only about 5% of the potential energy used up.
The WHO estimates that the greatest health impact from Fukushima will be stress due to inaccurate reporting.

Walt D.

” More people died at Deepwater Horizon than died at Three Mile Island.”
I remember the slogans:
“More people died in Ted Kennedy’s car than died at Three Mile Island.”
Latest score:” Chappaquiddick 1 Harrisburg 0″

James Francisco

And still the majority of folks in Massachusetts voted Ted into office for years afterwards.

MarkW

Free stuff is more important than someone else’s daughter.

Neillusion

Your trivialization and none negative reporting of the effects of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster diminishes to zero the perceived value of anything you have to say.
Only .5% of the energy in uranium is extracted.
[“None negative reporting” ?? .mod]

Neillusion

@ crosspatch

Neillusion

Mod – see what you mean… but to explain…None negative reporting – there are a lot of terrible consequences – negatives to associate with the nuclear aspect of the accident – none were mentioned.

Leo Smith

That’s because there aren’t any.
Apart from the cost .

N, three points. 1. Fukushima was an (in hindsight) improperly designed and sited gen 1. Its sister gen 2 Fukushima Daini complex just 10 km away shut safely after the earthquake. 2. There have been no,deaths or injuries from radiation despite the mess. Japanese officials over reacted, both to Fukushima Daichi and generally.
That a low percentage of uranium energy is extracted is a food reason to research gen 4 designs, not give up.

Neillusion

@Leo – Aren’t any? Really.
It is only right to acknowledge (that there are) serious aspects of nuclear disaster in the debate. To claim/say/suggest no one died so nuclear is ok just diminishes respect for the author of that comment. The case for nuclear is strong, very strong, on nearly all the facts/comparisons. But a disaster has many aspects and a balanced argument would acknowledge these.

Neillusion

@ristvan. Acknowledged. My point was more about the fact that there are serious consequences when something does go wrong. Radiation release, land, sea, nature, food, housing contaminated for decades, 1000’s of people lose their homes towns livelihoods . To just say no one died from radiation does not do the issue justice.

les

I’ve always supported nuclear power – properly built. But if anyone takes Tepco/Japanese Gov. (they are one an the same) stats on this story at face value, they you should all be part of the fabled 97%… Was there a single piece of truth they did admit to without skeptics first making it impossible to do otherwise?? Just sayin…

N, your point is well taken. But of that sort of incident, there are exactly 2: Chernobyl and Fukushima. Chernobyl,was bad. The thing should never have been built, and the erringnoowrators paid with their lives. Fukushima is harder, because al lot ofbthe anciliary costs seem due to Japanese over reaction from what I have read. Since notbthere, hard to know for sure. No doubt the site is a disaster that will take decades to clean up. But that workers are there cleaning up raises real questions about the possible over reaction in the surrounding countryside for many kilometers.

“It is only right to acknowledge (that there are) serious aspects of nuclear disaster in the debate. To claim/say/suggest no one died so nuclear is ok just diminishes respect for the author of that comment. The case for nuclear is strong, very strong, on nearly all the facts/comparisons. But a disaster has many aspects and a balanced argument would acknowledge these.”

Double talk.
A) No one died. period.
B) Radioactivity released, very little.
C) Radiation injuries are virtually nil.
D) Permanent, in human terms, radiation; contained within the reactor.
Few of your claims are clearly stated; leaving readers confused.
Your accusations, inclarity and slurs are without documentation and frankly are not supported by any official or expert reports.
Leaving your confusing series of words vague, contradictory and without basis.
The author above performed an admirable job of reporting on an article published in the Guardian.
After reading Guardian’s rationale and cause descriptions for what they term accidents, I remain completely unconcerned.

Malcolm Carter

This article seems to contradict itself. Nuclear is the worst of sources nuclear is the best of sources. Then the death rate for a year of wind farms is tallied higher than two generations of nuclear power. And that Guardian article listing all nuclear accidents not only those concerning nuclear energy. Are we supposed to include accidents with medical equipment or in radioisotope labs, or accidents that occurred in producing U-235 and Pu-239 for bombs. How are these relevant? Surely the many lives saved by the use of radioisotopes is on the plus side. More demonization of nuclear power is throwing away one of the great promises. With breeder reactors producing more fuel than they consume using 50 tonnes of fuel over a 50 year life cycle. So little waste with actinide depletion that it could be stored in the volume of second bedroom. Energy for the entire world for more than 10000 years with present proven resources. Research the perils and promise of nuclear but look beyond the Guardian.

Neillusion

@ athrok – Not sure who/what am dealing with here
– please tick ‘I am not a Robot’ or ‘I am Human’
Just to pick one point ref B & D, radioactivity released was huge and via contaminated water most of which went straight into the sea.
I made one point about the reporting, that’s all. Anyone who can click a mouse can find ‘Fukushima disaster’ and, tho’ thankfully no-one has been reported to have died, from radiation, see the disaster was real. I merely wanted due respect/acknowledgement that it was a disaster, balanced reporting. When someone brushes this disaster off with ‘no one died’, I am not inclined to read/trust the rest of what they have to say.
I am for nuclear, especially Thorium MS when it gets here. Taking the ‘disaster’ aspects of the various power generation mechanisms and the numbers who died, I think nuclear comes out very well.
You might check the criticisms you cast at me against your own comment. The original point I made goes for you too, I think.

skorrent1

What % of the “energy” (E=Mc^2) in coal is extracted?

Yawrate

See Transatomic for a much safer reactor design that uses nuclear waste for fuel.
http://www.transatomicpower.com/

Walter Sobchak

“Only .5% of the energy in uranium is extracted.”
Actually. About 5% of the U-235/Pu 239 in the fuel rods used in existing (mostly Gen 2) water cooled reactors, fissions before the rods must be replaced. A rational response to that fact would be to recycle and reprocess the rods which would reduce the amount of high level waste by a factor of about 20. This is what they do in France.
Our problem is that the genius “nuclear engineer” President Carter decided to abandon that process and shut down all attempts at building a recycling plant in the US. His partisans, like the Thief Harry Reid, then conducted a 30 year campaign to block the building of a high level waste repository. They object to the storage facility on the grounds that it might leak thousands of years from now. In fact, the future of any such repository is that the fuel rods will be removed and reprocessed for the for use in a small span of years. As soon as the idiocy of anti-nuclearism and environmentalism decays to its background level.

ripshin

Neillusion,
Fair points, but it also bears mentioning that the non-nuclear related effects of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Fukishima were far greater than the nuclear related effects. Meaning, loss of life, injuries, property damage, etc, from the earthquake/tsunami were the real story. Not the fairly benign release of radiation to the surroundings resulting from, ultimately (iirc) the diesel tanks washing away (not the generators, as is often cited).
With regards to the seawater release, which, btw, does continue to this day, the effects have yet to be determined. And, not to trivialize it, but imprecise descriptors like “huge” aren’t necessarily fair or accurate either.
Finally, and this applies to the conversation in general, we fundamentally have a catch-22 of sorts. The current prohibitive costs of nuclear power are, in large part, due to burdensome regulations…which we complain about as hindering the industry. These regulations dictate everything from siting studies, seismic and other probabilistic risk assessments, redundant safety system designs, over-engineered components, and astronomical quantities of concrete (a surprisingly significant % of the cost of a new reactor).
But, out of the other side of our mouth, we fiercely argue that every significant event/accident is due to human error, design deficiency, or both. All of which are the very reason for these burdensome regulations. So, we can’t honestly claim the safety of nuclear power and argue against costly regulations. The two, largely, go hand in hand. And that, fundamentally, is the problem.
At the end of the day, despite a VERY motivated industry, the costs are still too prohibitive for the very smart and creative, and often well-funded, lovers of nuclear to make a solid case for new reactors. (Certain exceptions notwithstanding.)
rip

“Neillusion February 21, 2017 at 1:34 am
@ athrok – Not sure who/what am dealing with here
– please tick ‘I am not a Robot’ or ‘I am Human’
Just to pick one point ref B & D, radioactivity released was huge and via contaminated water most of which went straight into the sea.
I made one point about the reporting, that’s all. Anyone who can click a mouse can find ‘Fukushima disaster’ and, tho’ thankfully no-one has been reported to have died, from radiation, see the disaster was real. I merely wanted due respect/acknowledgement that it was a disaster, balanced reporting. When someone brushes this disaster off with ‘no one died’, I am not inclined to read/trust the rest of what they have to say.
I am for nuclear, especially Thorium MS when it gets here. Taking the ‘disaster’ aspects of the various power generation mechanisms and the numbers who died, I think nuclear comes out very well.
You might check the criticisms you cast at me against your own comment. The original point I made goes for you too, I think.”

Illusionary neil:
“Just to pick one point ref B & D, radioactivity released was huge and via contaminated water most of which went straight into the sea”
Straw man distraction. Without documentation, it is simply your claim.
Searches for anything Fukushima and nuclear bring up many spurious claims. Your suggestion to mouse click is bogus.
The relevant government agencies, which are still involved, have searched extensively and meticulously. Their results prove all claims of oceanic disaster are false.
You fail to make any point in your earlier comments. Your writing rambles through fragmented sentences, jumping subjects without providing clarity.
The Guardian is responsible for it’s own reporting, though most will agree that the Guardian is heavily biased progressive left; which means the Guardian posits Fukushima as much of a disaster that they can prove.
Your inclination to read/not read is solely yours. The authors here and most commenters have established their credibility over years.
Andy May, whose article brought us the report about Guardian’s article, is quite reputable and reliable. His research tends toward meticulous and extensive.
Disagreement with article claims here, in general, require the commenter to provide proof for their personal opinions and claims. If articles here counter your opinions or beliefs, it means you need to check your sources assiduously, not flail and hand wave accusatory words here.
You provide copious noisy disconnected blather, but zero proof. Proof needs to be explicit, definitive and from reliable sources.
‘Tu quoque’, is not a reply nor a rebuttal; beyond the third grade bully stage. It is rather pitiful that you resort to such responses in what should be a learned converse.

Latitude

except for hydroelectric power…
No different…either one, if not built correctly..like Chernobyl or Lake Oroville..it’s the same

Crosspatch
You are right, all the obstacles and challenges of nuclear power are completely artificial – they are there because of policies and choices society has made. Not based on physical reality.
The challenges Andy lists are all addressed in third and fourth generation reactor designs, if they will only be given a chance by rational policy making:
Capital costs are reduced
Modular design makes dealing with radioactive waste cheaper and easier
Passive safety makes criticality and meltdown virtually impossible
Proliferation risk from actinides is substantially reduced

Slipstick

I doubt those organic bean sprouts and cantaloupe will be responsible 4000 premature deaths due to cancer or a 1000 sq mi exclusion zone.

dan no longer in CA

And yet, hundreds of studies of people living in areas with high levels of background radiation have shown *fewer* cancer cases with elevated background. It’s only the governments of the world enforcing the zero credibility LNT (linear no threshold) rules that give rise to such fears.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2477686/

skorrent1

How can an article on nuclear safety be written without mention of the safety record of the navies around the world? These bouncing, jostling powerplants have been operating for 60 years, and as far as I know, there has been only one nuclear incident, involving a Russian (of course) sub.

Betapug

If only Green frustration of anything nuclear (keeping Europe dependent on Russian gas and oil) would allow the development of nuclear waste burning reactors like the Copenhagen Atomics proposal.
“The primary purpose of the reactor will be to destroy Plutonium and actinides from nuclear waste through transmutation and fission. Therefore Thorium will be used instead of Uranium, to avoid breeding new transuranic elements and to avoid enrichment of Uranium. None of the isotopes produced in the reactor can be used for atomic bombs in any meaningful way.”
http://www.copenhagenatomics.com/

higley7

From the article above: “Besides generating waste, thorium reactors are a nuclear proliferation threat, as discussed by Ashley, et al., 2012 in Nature. This is because one of the waste products is 233U and 8 kg of 233U is enough for a nuclear weapon.”
Clearly the author simply wants to dismiss liquid salt reactors. The waste they create is minuscule compared to solid state reactors. And he is wrong, U-233 cannot be used in a bomb as it is too radioactive and would advertise its presence to the word as well as probably kill those trying to build it as well as breakdown the electronics needed to make the bomb happen.

Rainer Bensch

Right, U233 isn’t a waste product, it’s the fuel.

Risk? From NP? Let’s talk about coal plant emissions …

MarkW

Solved in the US and other western countries 30+ years ago.

Only a portion of the overall ‘issue’, then, has been addressed.

MarkW

Everything relevant has been addressed.

No.

MarkW

Yes

A parliamentarian’s voice in the well of the assembly says “The noes have it.”

Paul Penrose

Jim,
So what other issues with coal have not yet been addressed? And if you say CO2, then GONG, you get the hook.

MarkW

I suspect that _Jim is either a troll who’s only objective is to sidetrack the conversation, or he actually is as dumb as he makes himself sound.

Hivemind

“So what other issues with coal have not yet been addressed?”
How about the emission of thousands of tons of radioactive C14 every year?

Paul Penrose

Hivemind,
OK, that’s ture, but pretty innocuous. C14 is a low level beta emitter and is a common, naturally occurring element. The total estimated exposure to C14 from all sources is about 1mrem/yr. The proportion due to C14 releases from coal plants isn’t even measurable. To put it in perspective, your increased exposure to living at high altitude (like Denver) is many times higher. Even moderate air travel is a greater exposure. So it’s a non-problem.

BobM

_Jim February 20, 2017 at 1:05 pm
“Only a portion of the overall ‘issue’, then, has been addressed.”
OK, so which portion of the overall ‘issue’ has NOT been addressed ??

Steve

Be specific…are you referring to the radionuclides released or gases or particulates?

Paul Penrose

Almost all the problems with siting and building a new nuclear power plant are due to government regulations and fear whipped up by green organizations. Natural gas electrical generation would be too expensive it if took 30 years and several redesigns along the way to build one! And we have a storage site for “spent” fuel, but the green activists saw that it was never approved for use, even after spending billions of rate-payer dollars (in the form of fees) building it. And the government is still collecting those fees! Even though they have reneged on their promise to build and open this site.

Leo Smith

Hear Hear. If you exaggerate the dangers, lie about the death toll, and generally make people panic,, you can justify draconian ‘safety regulations’ and ensure that insurance is massively expensive by specifying ridiculous decontamination criteria for trivial releases.
Use of legislation based on public perception, engendered by faux nuclear news, such as this article is based on, is the commercial way to suppress nuclear power -0 eh only real rivall to Big OIl.
Nearly every ‘fact quoited in this article is disingenuous at best, or at worst a simple lie.

Macha

Similar for deep sea oil exploration….Only happens coz no one allows it near their back yard. Nimby’s.

MarkW

I love the way the activists use legal shenanigans and political dirty tricks in order to make nuclear more expensive. Then they turn around and tell us, in a oh so reasonable voice, we have to abandon nuclear because it’s too expensive.

Tom Halla

Exactly! Green chutzpah

The risk of nuclear power is far less than hydroelectricity. When the Banqiao Dam failed in China in 1975:
Eventually:
90,000 – 230,000 people died as a result of the break.
To protect other dams from failure, several flood diversion areas were evacuated and inundated, and
several dams were deliberately destroyed by air strikes to release water in desired directions.
26,000 people died at the province from flooding and
another 145,000 died during subsequent epidemics and famine.
about 5,960,000 buildings collapsed, and 11 million residents were displaced
Given the cost of nuclear disasters seems to be in today’s money, let me translate this too:
5.96 million buildings. Let’s say $100k each = $596 bn
4 major dams. Let’s say $5 billion each = $20 bn
90,000 people = $2m each = $180 bn
Notice how I deliberately undervalued everything ignoring the cost of handling 11 million displaced persons?
Total damage at least $800 bn

I thought that dam was intentionally blown in order to stop some disease outbreak.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Well, that’s what I heard.

Paul Penrose

The truth is, we don’t know to this day. I’m not sure we ever will.

MarkW

If the Chinese kept records, we might find out when the Bamboo Curtain falls.

In 1962 the AEC recommend to JFK to build all civilian nuclear plants using the ORNL Molten Salt Reactor design due to it’s inherent low-pressure safety; It can’t blow up, melt down and walk away safe due to its gravity drain cooling tanks with a freeze plug.
MSRs will be 1/3 the cost due to no pressure domes, 70-150 atmosphere plumbing, triple redundant cooling and power backup systems.
Thorium breeding isn’t a proliferation problem, they tried to make a nuclear bomb with 233, it was a failure as weapon material and the active radiation is high enough to not be useful for a terror dirty bomb attack.
http://www.egeneration.org

The U-233 bomb worked. Not as well as U-235 and Pu-239 bombs, but they hadn’t as much experience with U-233. So U-233 is a proliferation risk; as are U-235 and Pu-239.
On the plus side, I’d argue that a thorium molten salt reactor can be designed to leave almost no transuranic waste. All the fuel could be burnt up leaving only fission products. Atom bombs can’t be made from fission products. Both the US and Israeli military did studies showing dirty bombs are no military threat – just a psychological one. For U-235, after 300 years only 21% of the fission products remain as long term waste with half-lifes between 200k and 15 million years. The situation should be similar for U-233. This kind of material is not a threat.
In proliferation terms, waste fuel of a thorium molten salt reactor can represent best practice. None of it can make a fission bomb. In contrast, existing light water reactors leave about 22 tonnes of spent fuel each year per Gigawatt reactor. All of that spent fuel contains 0.8% Pu-239. About 1.8 tonnes of Pu-239 per GW reactor, per year. Despite being contaminated with Pu-240 and Pu-241 it is possible to make fission bombs with impure plutonium. Not good bombs, but way more harmful than so-called ‘dirty bombs‘. In UK we built a reprocessing plant to extract plutonium from spent Magnox fuel. The plant is not economically viable. It appears to have been made just to clean the Magnox waste. It will shut when there is no more Magnox spent fuel to reprocess. Naturally, that’s not the ‘official story‘. The official story has it this reprocessing plant was built to make money. Of all reactors built Magnox has the cleanest plutonium, so was the greatest proliferation threat. That didn’t stop us selling a couple of reactors to Italy and Japan.
The present practice of leaving vast amounts of spent fuel is far more of a proliferation threat than a best practice thorium molten salt reactor would be.
Finally, reprocessing thorium molten salt reactor fuel should be far cheaper than the current PUREX process. If we can reign in the crazy regulators, it will be safe and profitable.

Gil Paton

The Magnox reprocessing plant at Sellafield was never built to make money. It was built to extract plutonium from the Windscale Piles and later from the Calder Hall reactors in a race to explode a nuclear bomb. It has been used since to reprocess fuel from the other UK Magnox reactors.and those from Italy and Japan. Another reprocessing plant, the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) was built at Sellafield to reprocess oxide fuel mainly from reactors in Japan, Germany and Swizerland as well as the UK AGR and PWR reactors. This was built as a commercial venture and at the time of its completion in 1994 cost-plus contracts had been signed for over 10,000 tonnes of fuel. A full report on the history of the Thorp plant appeared in the April 1994 edition of Atomwirtschaft Atomtechnik.

dan no longer in CA

Do we have a hint as to who the new head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be? That’s a presidential appointment.

U233 id going to be contaminated with U232 as will all the other U products in a thorium molten salt reactor as it is way to difficult to separate U232 isotopically. U232 is a high deadly gamma emitter and no one can work around it.

Janice Moore

Mr. May, you obviously did a lot of research for your article and it includes many facts which show that nuclear power is the best source of energy production for the U.S. and how regulation artificially excludes it from the energy market. Overall, nevertheless, your article’s potential to mislead FAR outweighs any good it might do.
You:

There are two big problems here. The first is a perceived danger to the public,…

Yes. And your erroneous writing (despite all the truth sprinkled throughout) loaded with misleadingly inaccurate qualifiers is only exacerbating that public irrational (in the U.S.) fear:
(this is not an exhaustive list — just a couple of examples)
1. may or may not {be a significant danger}
This qualifier is nonsensical in the U.S. there is such a lack of facts to support it.
2. … some claim it is the safest source of energy in the U.S. But, worldwide, the economic cost (worldwide total: $177B) of nuclear accidents is higher than for any other energy source and nuclear power is less safe than all other sources of energy
This comparison is disingenuous — “the world” and “the U.S.” are far too different for such a comparison to be any rational basis for making a decision. And you lead off with this monstrosity of inaccuracy in the opening paragraph!
Come now, Mr. May. You are better than that.

Walt D.

Here are a few points:
The public has been educated to equate nuclear power plants with nuclear bombs.
One of the reasons why there were costs overruns at Diablo Canyon and Hanford was faulty engineering – I seem to recall that one unit was built backwards. Also the high cost of the overruns what exacerbated by short term borrowing rates being above 10% in the early 80’s.
More recently, SCE’s nuclear power plant at San Onofre was closed down due the faulty maintenance.
Most nuclear power plants in the US were built over 35 years ago. Technology has improved.
Comparing Chernoblyl to a modern nuclear plant is like comparing a Yugo to a Lexus.

Tom Halla

What would fission power plants cost without the lawfare from the devout anti-nuclear advocates? Given the time value of money, delays are expensive, and much of the cost is due to endless appeal of the byzantine approval process in the US, and currently in Europe.
Some of the problems in the US are a holdover from the malevolently mischievous administration of Jimmy Carter, who banned reprocessing of spent fuel in the US to set a good example on proliferation. Carter did not seem to care that no country has used reprocessed power plant fuel to create a bomb, either before or since, but his policy remains in place. This gives the anti-nuclear advocates the talking point that spent fuel remains dangerous for a very long time, and there is no means of “safe” disposal.

The estimates I have read are from a third to a half less. Not so much actual plant construction as all the time delays, permit lawyering, legal,challenges, and other soft construction overhead costs.

Tom Halla

IIRC, another problem with the construction/permitting process was the lack of standardized design, where the regulators were requiring a one-off design for each plant.

Over-regulation doubles or trebles the cost of nuclear power plant construction. Cost at Kudankulam, India, of 2 × 1GWe nukes = $2.57 bn ~ $1.3bn each. Optimistic cost in UK to build 1 AP1000 (1.15 GWe) = $5 bn. Cost in China to build something similar to AP1000 ~ $2bn.
The important point about nuclear power plant safety is we now know what can go wrong now and how to stop it. Expecting the same nuclear disasters today because decades ago the Soviet Union built a badly designed power plant, run with a ridiculously high positive void of 4.5 (so: unstable / hard to control), no outer containment, operated by badly trained personnel. Then: in between shifts they ran an unscheduled emergency shutdown ‘test‘. That kind of cowboy operation will never be seen again – regulators or none.

MarkW

Another point is that what do we do about the fact that over regulation and lawfare are making nuclear power way more expensive than necessary.
From his comments in this post, it seems to me that the author of this article feels that we should just admit defeat and give up on nuclear power.

dan no longer in CA

Rud: Here’s an excellent report on the cost of building plants as a function of year started and what country. My summary is that nuclear power in fact is cheap in countries that allow it to be. Dan
http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/The-Myth-Of-Expensive-Nuclear-Power.html

I’m going to mention this just once – SunCell; debuting in a ‘test’ on Feb 28th (sans the PV assembly) about a week out. Conduct your own due diligence accordingly going forward on how this may effect ‘conventional’ generation resources..

AP

So let me get this straight Jim: some solar cell startup company is doing a public trial minus the solar photovoltaic cell?

No.

SlyRik

I think he means this… http://brilliantlightpower.com/suncell/
smells like BS to me but a professional looking website (not that that means anything)

SlyRik February 20, 2017 at 1:02 pm
I think he means …
We could do w/o the slander on NO factual basis other than ‘wild hairs’; meanwhile DO you own due diligence. If you lack the ability to evaluate emerging technology then stay OUT of the market and stay OUT of the discussion. If you THINK it is a scam, It IS as simple as that to avoid ‘falling prey’.

SlyRik February 20, 2017 at 1:02 pm
I think he means …
We could do w/o the s l a n d e r on NO factual basis other than ‘wild hairs’; meanwhile DO you own due diligence. If you lack the ability to evaluate emerging technology then stay OUT of the market and stay OUT of the discussion. If you THINK it is a s c a m, It IS as simple as that to avoid ‘falling prey’.

SlyRik

From Wikipedia… (yeh iknow but the quote is verifiable)
“Critics say it lacks corroborating scientific evidence, and is a relic of cold fusion. Critical analysis of the claims have been published in the peer reviewed journals Physics Letters A, New Journal of Physics, Journal of Applied Physics, and Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics. These works note that the proposed theory is inconsistent with quantum mechanics, and that the proposed hydrino states are unphysical and incompatible with key equations that have been experimentally verified many times.”
duy diligent enough??

SlyRik February 20, 2017 at 1:23 pm
From Wikipedia …
A MOST reputable source.
Fail.
(If you note, moron, THEY can’t even CORRECTLY state Mills’ CV, so DOUBLE FAIL.)
Qui habet aures audiendi, audiat.
.

-Jim, this is the latest reincarnation of Randy Mills hydrino scam. Right there on the front page of the website. I eviscerated 3 previous incarnations plus his supposed underlying physics theory as an illustrated example in The Arts of Truth. The theory is gobbeldygook; for example, the math is not Lorenz invariant, a requirement for this universe. This is a long running scam that has already cost gullible investors in previous reincarnations (Blacklight Power, Catalyst Induced Hydrino Transition (CIHT) electricity generation, 1000 mpg from water cars…) over $60 million at the time (2012) I wrote the book. You need to do more due diligence, and stop hyping an obvious con here.

SlyRik

ooo oooo oooo being called amoron by someone I have never met on the internet… oooOOOOoo that hurts…
(do I need the /sarc tag???)
put your money where your mouth is … remortgage your house and sink all your savings into it.. 😀

ristvan February 20, 2017 at 1:34 pm
this is the latest reincarnation of …
You’re not credible on this subject anymore, restvan.
Your ‘work’ is *dated* and was on dated material, and DOES NOT take into account nor reflect ANY experiential work (WHICH I take it you REFUSE to examine) since then.
‘nuf said.
AS I wrote above, “I’m going to mention this just once” and to which I would add: Qui habet aures audiendi, audiat.
To others I would advise DO YOUR OWN DUE DILIGENCE.

-Jim, anything having to with Mills and hydrinos is not dated. There is no such thing as a hydrino, and that information is timeless. So there can be no credible experiment comcerning them—unless you assert that all of quantum physics, with its myriad experimentally proven predictions (including the quantum base state for hydrogen, the only atom for which the Schroedinger wave equation can be solved exactly) is wrong. That assertion is part of how you can determine Mills is running a delusional con. Your indignation says you either did not do due diligence (you would not be alone), are a shill, or both.

MarkW

ristvan, it’s beginning to sound as if _Jim is in on the scam or is somehow hoping to recoup his investment.

MarkW , 3.02 He is probably invested and has just realized it is a scam.

If you lack the ability to evaluate emerging technology

1878: Augustin Mouchot displayed a solar power generator at the Universal Exhibition in Paris. 5 years later in 1883 there was a rooftop PV solar array built by Charles Fritts on the rooftop of 42 Nassau Street, NY.
How can 139 year old technology be called ‘emerging‘?

Dan

Everything that _Jim says is 100% truth except that the plan is to have the ‘test’ on February 29th for the next 3 years.

SlyRik

well… since Jim doesn’t say very much… that’s not saying very much

To: SlyRik
Perhaps reading comprehension is not your strong suite? NOTE the opening line: “I’m going to mention this just once”.
Anthony’s blog on an off-topic is not the place for this. I do this out of respect for Anthony and WUWT. Qui habet aures audiendi, audiat.

SlyRik

With all due respect you opened the topic so must expect some response.. as for your latin.. I’m deaf not daft unlike some on here
finally has anyone ever met anyone with their head shoved so far up their own rectum he doesn’t know from which orifice he speaks?? reading comprehension wha??

Javert Chip

re Jim
At least he’s (probably) not Griff. This whole troll thing has me guessing that folks who live long-term in their mother’s basement are congenitally cranky and don’t develop the ability to interact with anything other than a keyboard.
But I digress:
I’m in awe of Jim’s powers of persuasion (an uncharitable few might say the thinness of Jim’s skin is only exceeded by that of the logic in his arguments). Couple of Jim’s antics befuddle me:
1) His espoused respect for WUWT and staying on topic, yet he’s taken us off topic, but at least Jim promised to only say it once (I guess that makes it ok, ya know, because Jim says so).
2) I gave up impressing people with my Latin in the 7th grade
So, Jim, I’m only going to say this once: cuius cerebro cogitet. Oh yea, and adios.

george e. smith

So _jim is only going to mention this once, but I think he has mentioned it at least three times so far.
g

Paul Penrose

Jim,
I’ve been watching these people for a long time produce nothing practical, so I’m skeptical. But we will see in 8 days time if they finally have something useful to show. If not, then it is just another failure in a long series.

Mike the Morlock

_Jim February 20, 2017 at 1:59 pm
“To others I would advise DO YOUR OWN DUE DILIGENCE.”
As one of the “others”, why? If it works it works. Period. No need to get testy and call people names. Are you trying to get people to invest in it? If you have invested, and have faith in it, great. You will get to laugh all the way to the bank.
Your remarks appear panicky as if the lack of enthusiasm by some commentators here will jinx it.
If you have invested in this enterprise and a lack of agreement to it’s utility by some people here causes you this level of anxiety, perhaps you might consider a reassessment.
Best of luck
michael

My neighbour explained the dangers of nuclear to me in some detail. Droned on for a considerable period of time about all the different cancers it can cause, and how that justifies laws that prevent people from being exposed to such awful substances.
Then she calmly lit a cigarette…

… have to ask her next time if she’s had her house tested for Radon Gas …

DH, it is true that the dangers of nuclear power have been overstated. And it is also truemthatnthe consequences have worsened nuclear generation economics. But it was never good even before 3 Mile Island. See comment below.

Retired Kit P

“Then she calmly lit a cigarette…”
This is a risk when working in nuclear power. I was representing my church at convention (near TMI). My minister introduced me to an NRC employee thinking we had a common interest. A woman overheard this and jumped into the conversation with the usual anti-nuke rant. The NRC guy declined to comment as it would be a conflict of interest which it would have been. If the question had been raised at a public meeting he could have provided the NRC position.
Her wrath to me. I declined to answer because it was neither the time or place. She continued to badger me. Even after others pointed out I did not want to argue about nuclear power at a church function. Finally I gave in, telling her that I can explian risk to someone with a drink in one hand, a cigarette in the other, with a deep suntan, wearing high heels.

I assume you meant “can’t explain”, in which case ROFL

Leo Smith

ROFL. Reminds me of my ‘green’ sister decades ago getting very incensed when I told her that Germany actually had lots of nuclear power plants (she lives there). As we drove down the autobahn she was getsici8lating and getting hysterical about ‘the danger it represented to her children’ who were sitting bemused in the back seat.
I mildly pointed out that in fact the greatest danger to her children was being driven down the autobahn by a hysterical woman at 130km/h with no seat belts worn by them.
Things went very quiet….for a while

Ozonebust

A major consideration that is constantly overlooked is where they are currently located, and where they are building new ones. Also the location of waster storage.
Most are located where the ice sheet in the next ice age will cover. Given the number of them, the reluctance for anyone to act swiftly in decomissioning, The cost, the long time period required to decomission and the available specialists poses a huge risk. They can be built to the highest spec, but it wont match a 3 km high moving ice sheet.
This interglacial is well advanced, with some specialists recently predicting that an ice age is imminent. Those that have studied ice ages will know that things can change fast. Access to them may be a problem.
Again there is little focus on any future climate movement, as its only going to warm according to the AGW crowd.
Crazy ??? – we will see

MarkW

Even if a new ice age were to start, it would take hundreds of years for the ice sheets to reach the places where nuclear plants are located.
That gives plenty of time for decomissioning and cleanup. Your irrational panicking is noted and duly ridiculed.

MarkW
Not irrational, no panicking. Comment only. Your ridicule unwarranted.
It may take years (number unknown, unless you have data to the contrary) for the ice sheet to build to that height, but these places may become very difficult to access and work in.

Paul Penrose

We may not know the exact number of years it would take for ice sheets miles high to form, but our experience with mountain glaciers, the Greenland ice sheets, and the Antarctic ice sheets tells us it will be many decades and probably hundreds of years. Plenty of time to decommission the nuclear plants. On the other hand, if we don’t get going now to build up our energy technology, old nuclear plants getting bulldozed by the ice sheets will be the least of our worries.

Mike the Morlock

ozonebust February 20, 2017 at 1:15 pm
These are nuke power plants remember? Just get some big space heaters and long extension cords……
michael :->

Matt Bergin

Plus I don’t think the ice would survive the waste heat from the plant. Should cure the cooling issue though.:-)

Retired Kit P

“Your ridicule unwarranted.”
MarkW was being too nice. Stupid and clueless fits better for ozone.

MarkW

I think that is the first time anyone has said that about me.

We can just launch some power-sats and microwave the ice and melt it back a bit

Eustace Cranch

“4,231 fatalities due to nuclear accidents”
Misleading. How many fatalities from commercial nuclear power plants?

I agree. I tried to verify that number, and I can’t find supporting information for it. As near as I can figure:
1) Most of these deaths (~4,000) are estimates from Chernobyl for excess cancer deaths in the region around the plant. The number is likely valid, but it’s hard to condemn an entire industry for terribly shoddy practices in Soviet Russia. Estimates range from 56 direct deaths to 985,000 deaths (a ridiculous figure.)
2) Several other nuclear disasters in Soviet Russia, both military and civilian are most of the remainder of the total. The 2nd worst disaster was Khyshtom in 1957 with no reliable estimates on deaths. (Submarines K-431, K-27, and K-19 are also serious accidents with a total of 27 deaths and 162 exposed.)
3) The next worst accidents were a uranium metal fire in Windscale UK (1957) — part of their atomic weapons program (estimated 33 excess cancer deaths) and Fukushima (six employees died and an estimate of 1600 excess deaths reported from “evacuation stress.” — that’s right, the evacuation was worse than the accident.)
4) There have been many incidents of “radiotherapy deaths” all across the world. For instance, there were 17 deaths in Panama and 13 in Costa Rica. The worst in the United States was in Houston in 1980 with 7 deaths (one year after TMI with 7 more deaths — why didn’t that receive seven times the coverage?)
5) The worst nuclear accident in the United States was SL-1 in 1961. Three people died.
So, outside of the Soviet Union, there have been very few commercial nuclear accidents which have created risks to the public since 1961.
That’s a pretty good track record. However, we should actively pursue an end to radiation therapy. {sarcasm intended.}

Paul Penrose

Think of all the people that get radiation therapy and still die of cancer. Isn’t that a failure of radiation therapy? /sarc just in case

Retired Kit P

“six employees died”
How did they die?
Pond scum use personal tragedy to support their sick agenda. They have no concern for safety. One was in a crane when the earthquake occurred. Two drowned because of the tsunami.
The safest place to be in a natural disaster is working at a nuke.

Retired Kit P — the six deaths are Fukushima are still attributed to the use of nuclear power. Not one died from radiation exposure. However, the point I was making is that 1600 people died due to the stress of the evacuation. That’s when you have to wonder about our priorities.

Most of these deaths (~4,000) are estimates from Chernobyl for excess cancer deaths in the region around the plant. The number is likely valid

Those 4,000 deaths are a projection using the no safe dose – linear no threshold model (LNT) for carcinogens. That hypothesis dates back to, at least, the 1920s. I think we know a lot more about radiation, the genome, etc. since then. We even discovered DNA in the intervening years. Since 2015, science officially recognises Nobel prize winners who characterized several DNA repair mechanisms in organisms too. LNT is wrong. 4000 people did not die as a consequence of Chernobyl.
Here is my transcription of Mohan Doss’ submission to the US NRC, Nuclear Regulatory Commission arguing and presenting evidence for new radiation protection standards. A link to his original (pdf) is also there.

Keith J

Fission power works great in the US Navy. There is the model to follow.
And get rid of that Jimmy Carter hobble. He’s got one foot in the grave already…

MarkW

He’s been brain dead for decades.

Keith J

At least five decades by my count. Comparing soviet era fission to PWR is like comparing a Trabant to a Porsche. Both are German but the rift starts right after that fact.

Fission power works great in the US Navy. There is the model to follow.

Indeed – Adm Rickover literally wrote the book on safe operation of nuclear systems and there was no compromise allowed in the personnel or procedures. I’ve always had a bit of a problem allowing public nuclear utilities being run ‘for profit’. If making money is an incentive for the bottom line, safety may be compromised as an acceptable & allowed risk. The US Nuclear Navy does not allow risk to be compromised and it shows in their record of safety.

Retired Kit P

I spent the last 35 years after the navy in commercial nuclear power. About one third of the workers in the commercial nuclear field have a navy background.
And it ‘shows in their record of safety’ which is perfect. No one has ever been hurt by radiation from a commercial PWR or BWR.

MarkW

One of the costs of business is insurance. Both liability and health.
One of the best ways to keep both costs down is to operate safely.
Every place I have ever worked has had yearly, mandatory safety seminars. Additionally, if a manager caught you doing something unsafe you were written up, and fired if it continued.

KJ, Navy stuff cannot be ported to civilian use. The reactors use highly enriched uranium (close to weapons grade) and are never refueled. Just buried at Hanford after 20 years operation.

EW3

I think you may want to check your facts.
CVNs and Subs have been getting refueled for the last 50 years.
The newer reactors that last longer do not require refueling but it’s because of improved efficiencies and methodologies.

Navy Refueling involves replacing the reactor, not refueling what is in it. Google is your friend here.

The main reason CVN-65 USS Enterprise can’t be turned into a monument/museum is the fact that they would have to cut open the ship to remove the reactor & fuel. While this can be justified for a mid-life SLEP for a $4 billion (2015 USD) capital warship, it is prohibitively expensive for a museum.

ristvan said:

KJ, Navy stuff cannot be ported to civilian use. The reactors use highly enriched uranium (close to weapons grade) and are never refueled.

how stupid – of course they can ‘be ported to civilian use’…because they were. Rickover chose the PWR design because it was already established. *ALL* PWR use highly enriched uranium fuel and.of course they are refueled. Follow your own advice concerning Google…

Navy Refueling involves replacing the reactor, not refueling what is in it. Google is your friend here.

yes, Google is your friend…when used properly 😉
In a nuclear-powered ship, the nuclear fuel is essentially a solid inside a reactor core which is inside the ship’s nuclear reactor. Once a reactor core has gone critical, meaning it has been used during a reactor operation, highly radioactive nuclear fission products have formed in the core, and the core has become highly radioactive. Refueling involves taking the expended core out of the reactor and putting in a new core with fresh nuclear fuel.
I was in the Navy & served on a nuclear ship…please, I thought you were smarter than that…

JKrob said:

*ALL* PWR use highly enriched uranium fuel

Oooops – my bad. not all PWR use HEU (Highly-Enriched-Uranium)…but it is irrelevant whether HEU vs LEU is used.

Retired Kit P

“Just buried at Hanford after 20 years operation.”
Spent navy fuel will end up at Yucca Mountain. Activated components like the reactor vessel go to the low level landfill at Hanford.

emsnews

Yucca Mountain was stopped by Obama. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mountain_nuclear_waste_repository
The project was approved in 2002 by the United States Congress, but Federal funding for the site ended in 2011 under the Obama Administration via amendment to the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, passed on April 14, 2011.[2] The project has had many difficulties and was highly contested by the general public, the Western Shoshone peoples, and many politicians.[3] The Government Accountability Office stated that the closure was for political, not technical or safety reasons.[2]
This leaves the US government and utilities without any designated long-term storage site for the high-level radioactive waste stored on-site at various nuclear facilities around the country. The US government disposes of transuranic waste at WIPP in New Mexico, in rooms 2,150 feet (660 m) underground.[4]
My comment here: it is interesting to me, I grew up in Arizona and lived next to the Papago reservation and dumping stuff where the Tribes live is…ahem…well…’not in MY backyard’ stuff.

Retired Kit P

Spent 10 years in the US nuclear navy with my last job being radiation safety officer. No one has been hurt by radiation from the reactor on a US navy ship.
Just for the record, POTUS Carter entered the nuclear program but left before getting qualified. I am not suggesting they he could not have qualified but he he had dumb ideas about energy.

Joe Public

The irony is, those expressing concern about nuclear risk have no fear about using the output from renewables.comment image
There’s no reason to suspect the UK’s electrical safety record is worse than that of most other countries.
Source:
http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/what-we-do/policies-and-research/statistics/

Retired Kit P

If you have a fire at your power plant and it is on the roof of your house, tell me why solar is safer for your family.

AP

Thank you for presenting the facts on Nuclear power. Ultimately coal is by far the most superior fuel for electricity generation.
I would rather live beside a coal plant than a nuclear plant any day of the week.
In terms of “pollution” from coal fired power, even the ageing plants in the Hunter Valley do not have a discernable signature above background levels at the nearest population centres. This was proven by the Upper Hunter Particle Characterisation Study which is available online. Interestingly, in these mining towns the largest source of particulate matter was from household wood fires.

MarkW

You get more radiation from living next to a coal plant than you would get from living next to a nuclear plant.

Retired Kit P

So!
A coal plant does not have the risk of harmful levels of radiation.

emsnews

A nuclear plant releases very little radiation until…there is a flood! Then it can blow up like Fukushima! I would suggest that this is a very scary thing.

MarkW

Kit P, make it a chemical processing plant, or any of the hundreds of types of commercial facilities that handle toxic materials.

MarkW

ems, first it was a hydrogen explosion, not a nuclear one.
second, the release of radiation was small and has been cleaned up
third, had they moved the generator as the regulators had requested, there never would have been a problem.

@Retired Kit P:

A coal plant does not have the risk of harmful levels of radiation.

So I guess you think LNT is nonsense. Because LNT says all radiation is harmful. In which case you are only worried about large scale radiation which escaping confinement. Molten salt reactors, MSR, can be made with no possible mechanisms leading to widespread radiation contamination.
So you must support MSRs and oppose LNT – you are most of the way to being a pro-nuke already!

Natural gas on CCGT plants … they produce 50 percent more electricity from the same fuel than a traditional simple-cycle plant. The waste heat from the gas turbine is routed to the nearby steam turbine, which generates ‘extra power’ normally otherwise wasted …

One can’t really store the gas. That makes natural gas susceptible to economic / political disruption. That’s why the French built their nuclear fleet – in the 1970s their mostly diesel generated electricity was badly hit by the oil crisis.

Retired Kit P

AP
I do not have a problem living next to a coal plant or a nuke plant and have done both.
Nuclear is a superior fuel if you do not have coal.

Leo Smith

I would rather live beside a coal plant than a nuclear plant any day of the week.

I wouldn’t. I’ve visited both.
Apart from anything else, coal plants emit more radioactivity than nuclear plants do.
Fly ash is as radioactive as ‘low level nuclear waste’ but its routinely made into blocks and has houses built from it.
Coal is cheap but filthy.
Nuclear is very very clean and has almost zero emissions of anything except heat and electricity.

Retired Kit P

So Leo where do you live?
I visited the location of the worst US coal ash spill at Kingston, Tennessee.
What a beautiful place? It would be nice if I could afford a house on the lake looking at the power plant.
Cleaning up the mess cost TVA rate payers more than the TMI cleanup.

Leo Smith

Suffolk. Near (40miles) the UKs biggest nuclear plant. Not that you would notice it.

Nuclear accident = limited & local. Predicted CO2 catastrophe = total & global.
Most opposition from the greens (warmists) to nuclear stems from fears of a catastrophic accident. The warmists think that CO2 emissions will cause a global catastrophe on an unprecedented scale, while the damage of even the worst conceivable nuclear power accident would be primarily confined to a local area. Arguably the most influential warmist, NASA’s James Hansen, has warned of “the oceans boiling” in a runaway greenhouse effect if CO2 emissions are not checked and cut by like 90%. If that threat and the other threats the Chicken Littles squawk about from CO2 were true then it makes sense that *everything* be done to limit that threat, and the most obvious thing to do is develop non-CO2 emitting nuclear power to the hilt. Again, even the worst conceivable nuclear accident would have minimal and essentially local impact versus the bs predictions of “boiling oceans” and global destruction caused by CO2 emissions. But most all warmists oppose nuclear. That seems nonsensical but is consistent with the idea that in truth climate has nothing to do with what motivates the ideologically driven prophets of doom.
I add that the greens support of fanciful wind and solar can be seen as little more than a smokescreen to camouflage their opposition to energy itself. Arguably wind and solar increase emissions because of the complex economics involved in their production. Regardless, costly wind and solar would economically destroy and bankrupt countries before they ever were able to truly provide for a country’s energy needs.

Renewables can’t actually generate enough energy ever, in most national scenarios. Their energy sources far to weak, diffuse and intermittent to meet current demand, when needed, never mind the tripled electricalenrgy levels required after fossil.
I do a lecture on the physics of this, here’s a key summary slide.comment image or let Sir David MacKay FRS the UK DECC Chief Scientist from 2008-2014 and author of world renowned “Sustainable Energy – Without Hot Air” , explain: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/03/idea-of-renewables-powering-uk-is-an-appalling-delusion-david-mackay?CMP=share_btn_fb
As for safety, what is this “some say”. It is te clearly documented fact nuclear is the stand out safety winner on the record of decades. No opinion relevant. You can check the nuclear record in the UN UNSCEAR papers but this summary is well referenced and supported by the base data. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-deathprint-a-price-always-paid/#7d8ed65449d2

Leo Smith

Greens are by and large not very technically ‘ept’. Any technology scares them because they dont understand it, they probably didn’t do science and certainly didn’t do it at university level, or did science that has little to do with climatology or nuclear physics.
I spent Xmas with sister and in-laws and HER in-laws. Three men, with nuclear physics, geology and engineering degrees, two women with arts qualifications. Guess who believes in climate change and scary nuclear power. You guessed it, the ‘liberal ‘ arts not-even-graduates.

Predicted CO2 catastrophe = total & global.

Hardly anyone believes in that here. Those who do probably hate nukes. There are many other reasons to support nuclear power too. You should tailor your arguments to your audience. E.g.
* security of supply. It is easy to store a decades worth of unused nuclear fuel at a plant.
* It is the safest form of electricity generation,
* it is one of only 2 forms of baseload electricity generation which is ‘non-carbon’,
* the other form of RE baseload is far more dangerous and is resource limited,
* we will eventually run out of fossil fuels, …

Mark - Helsinki

More people probably die transporting coal to power stations than Nuclear has ever harmed

AP

Two can play that game. More people probably die constructing nuclear plants than coal plants.

MarkW

Not even close to being true.

That is rubbish. did you make it up? This is a discussion of technical fact. Please give references to the source data that proves your assertion.

RWturner

Most claims in the article were rubbish with no source or poor sources, so why not just make up more rubbish in the comments?

Keith J

Name one person killed in construction of a fission power plant.
My cousin was killed in construction of a natural gas fueled power plant. Game, set, point.

More people died at Chappaquiddick than at Three Mile Island… 😉

Obviously wrong. The safety procedures one must follow doing any kind of civilian nuclear are out of this world.

Mark – Helsinki February 20, 2017 at 12:48 pm
More people probably die transporting coal to power stations than Nuclear has ever harmed
Analysis: True.
See, for instance, coal train accidents:
https://www.google.com/search?q=education+CV&rlz=1C1AOHY_enUS708US708&oq=education+CV&aqs=chrome..69i57&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=coal+train+accidents

Javert Chip

Never heard of anybody evacuating hundreds of thousands of people & establishing a lifetime 20-mile radius exclusion zone around a train wreck. I could be wrong.

Javert Chip

Oh yea, Jim, I forgot: e pluribus unum!

Leo Smith

On the night of 2-3 December 1984, over half a million people were exposed to methyl isocyanate gas and other dangerous chemicals. The government of Madya Pradesh region confirmed 558,125 injuries and a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release.

Maybe they SHOULD have been evacuated.
Of course whilst chernobyl (1986, <100 dead), and three mile island (1979, no dead) remain fixed in public memory by continuous hysterical follow-ups, who even remembers Bhopal?

Retired Kit P

So!
A coal plant does not have the risk of harmful levels of radiation.

Leo Smith

Coal plants generate more radiation than nuclear plants do.

G. Karst

Leo – replace the word “generate” with “release” for a more accurate statement. GK

Leo Smith

‘release’ would apply to nuclear plants as well.

Retired Kit P

According to Cohen transportation is the most significant risk factor in making electricity. The most dangerous occupation is being unemployed but at least there are not safety meetings.
“Name one person killed in construction of a fission power plant.”
Construction is a dangerous occupation but has improved at power plants. One worker was killed working on the EPR in Finland.

G. Karst

I have commissioned 8 reactors in N.A. We lost 4 workers while constructing in total. All due to falls. Two by a failed temporary construction elevators and two falling off the structure. Blood alcohol was suspect on those that fell. Nuclear construction is like any large construction. They are not idiot proof and accidents will happen. GK

I’m astounded that Andy May is so ignorant of the new nuclear power designs that will make all of his rather exaggerated negative claims obsolete. Molten salt nuclear reactors will cost less than a third what current light water reactors cost,can be built and operated virtually anywhere with not the slightest risk or danger to man nor property. They will be built in factories and can be installed very quckly. They also can burn nuclear wastes and are extremely resitant to proliferation and do not produce plutonium, unless built to be fueled by Thorium, something that is not recommeded by the designers. Andy must be living on Mars or has zero conections to the field of nuclear power to be so completely ignorant of the most revolutionary change in nuclear designs in the past 80 years. While the design of molten salt reactors goes way back and several experimental reactors have
been built and operated , previously they were impractical due to the mass of the moderator required , which limited their efficiency unless highly enriched uranium was used, a no-no for commercial power plants. They also lacked a sufficiently corrosive resistant material that could withstand molten salt environment. They have such materials now, and alternately some designs use sacrificial material. There are three companies currently proceeding well along with their varying designs, and also the Chinese govt is rushing to build such plants. They will have a
levelized cost of power that is the cheapest of any technology, less than 4 cents per kWhr,
with a build cost under $2 per watt, about a third of the cost of current nuclear plants. They can be built and deployed very rapidly. The reactors do not require massive structures, as the fuel
(radioactive) side of the plant is not under any significant pressure, rendering any unlikely breaches as innoculous events. They are walk-away safe and fission operations cease almost immediately
after an accidental shutdown. They do not require water for reactor cooling or any operator actions to shut down quickly and safely should something go amiss. Core meltdowns are physically impossible and it is impossible for the fission process to go out of control, regardless of what may occur to the plant. A terrorist bomb would be of no significance. They are the future of nuclear power, not the current light water reactors we are building today.
But I must point out that Andy May has exaggerated the danger of current reactor (light water) designs. Regardless of what he imagines has happened in the past (quite frankly, not much – the greatest accidents ever -Three Mile Island, Fukushima – resulted in zero human casualties, excepting what happened at a primitive Communist reactor at Chernobyl, where less than 30 were killed). Today’s light water reactories are so much advanced that past history makes any attempt to label them dangerous , using events that occurred with completely different safety designs,an ignorant, anti-nuclear fraud. Considering also the two sites maintained in this country that have the ability to airlift emergency equipment to any nuclear plant in trouble, May also grossly exaggerates any safety concerns for even the older model reactors. The newer models are thousands of times less likely to ever experience a meltdown or ejection of radioactive material int the environment. As for the cost and time requred to build, the U.S. is not the place to go to to understand the current state of affairs, as virtually all of the 74 or so reactors currently under construction are being built elsewhere. Here in the U.S., just recently the first new reactor went online at TVA in Tennessee, and two AP1000s are being built in South Carolina (making their total 9 reactors, and over 80% nuclear generated electricity) and two more in Georgia. But these, in my opinion, will be the last of the non-molten salt design that will be built. Peter Thiel, a Trump associate has invested in Transatomic Energy’s design of the molten salt reactor. Terrestrial Energy and Moltex Energy are also proceeding quite nicley with their alternative molten salt designs. All can render current nuclear wastes easily stored for the relatively short time required for their very reduced radioactive status to achieve background levels. Molten salt reactors can extract such a large amount of the energy that remains in our nuclear wastes that those wastes can provide all of the power this country needs for hundreds of years. Fuel costs are totally insignificant for molten salt reactors, regardless of whether that fuel come from nuclear wastes, terrestrially mined uranium, or uranium extracted from sea water (and endless supply and newly improved by Standford scientists just recently).

Those are all gen four designs. Not have been demonstarted even at commercial pilot scale. The bery early ONR molten salt that operated as PoP for a few years could not have been scaled. IMO, Transatomic Power’s white paper is the best summarynofmthe remaining engineering challenges to be solved, and possible solutions. None yet tested at. Ommercial pilot scale. For at least the next decade, nuclear means current gen 3 designs with associated cost overrun and spent fuel disposal issues.

george e. smith

Where is there one of these operating commercially, with some track record for performance and safety.
If they are that good they should be all over the place.
G

They will be. Give them time. Remember this the the most over-regulated industry on the planet.
Apart from the lower cost another great thing about the MSRs is they can be built faster than coal plants. So a large part of the risk will be removed from the equation. MSRs should take no more than 18 – 24 months to build once the tech is established.

Retired Kit P

“But these, in my opinion,…”
Do you have any experience with design, construction, or operation of nuclear power plants?

Pablo
Bindidon

Many thanks to Andy May to what, as an European person, I consider one of the best US-originating problem reviews I read in the last years concerning the use of nuclear energy for electricity production.
I lack the time today but I’ill try tomorrow to give some more precision on what this my opinion is based on.
One thing is evident: it is a well-done trial to offer readers a kind of ‘360° overview’ over a really difficult context.

Leo Smith

Its not a US originating problem review. Its recycled anti-nuclear waste from green smear sources in the UK, namely sovacool.
” Professor Sovacool is the founding Editor-in-Chief for the international peer-reviewed journal Energy Research & Social Science”
WTF has social science got to do with energy research?
Sovacool has written over a dozen books all purporting to be scholarly reports on energy, and how we shopuld all go green.
This article is simply a regurgitation of the rubbish spouted in his book
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contesting_the_Future_of_Nuclear_Power
Pure ‘concern trolling’
Just take one aspect. He insist that CO2 emissions of the nuclear power cycle would rise as uranium gets harder to mine, and needs more energy to do it. This is monstrously stupid extrapolation. If Uranium gets more expensive to mine
1/. You build breeders to turn all the fuel into energy instead of 1% of it
2/. You extract it from sea water at an energy and real dollar cost of about 4 times current mining costs.
Sovacool is fundamentally a green ‘concern troll’*, faking up spurious data to ensure that the average Champagne socialist who buys his book, will feel comfortable in his confirmation bias that nuclear ain’t worth the candle.
* I agree with you but I do have these ‘concerns’….

Don’t forget his joke anti-nuclear paper from last year. ‘Peer reviewed‘ (by his mates?) then but now retracted. His fellow researcher (ha ha!) took 27 rows from a published table of data. Subtracted the number in one column from another (27 subtractions). Somehow managed to get 26 of their numbers completely wrong. Then they tried it again in a proposed addendum. They even managed to get some of those subtractions wrong! Did Sovocool somehow miss his primary education? Then the addendum was scrubbed and they just accepted defeat with a retraction.
Just for a laugh. Here are his colleague’s errors
Correct values are in column ‘2005-2012’
Published paper (retracted values) in column ‘OLD DATA’
Attempted correction (but withdrawn) in column ‘CORRECTION’

“Although, there have been 4,231 fatalities due to nuclear accidents since 1952”
Where did this number come from? For power plant accidents, more like 100 than thousands. Source, please.

It includes the estimated excess cancer deaths from Chernobyl.

Leo Smith

The output of a completely debunked ‘model’

David L. Hagen

Andy May
Thanks for the review. Please correct “Shimantan Dam” to “Banqiao Dam”
See Forgotton Legacy of the Banqiao Dam Collapse.
Typhoon Nina–Banqiao dam failure Britannica

David L. Hagen

Andy May Yes, the Shimantan Dam did fail first, but it was on a separate tributary/catchment from the Banqiao Dam. See The World’s Most Catastrophic Dam Failures: The 1975 collapse of the Banqiao and Shimantan Dams Yi Si. Several sources indicate that all told, 62 dams failed. A week later they dynamited some remaining dams to drain the flood waters and rescue people.
A Profile of Dams in China Shui Fu

By 1980, 2,796 dams had collapsed, including two large-scale dams (the Shimantan and Banqiao dams). One hundred and seventeen medium-sized and 2,263 small dams had also collapsed. . . .The official death toll resulting from dam failures came to 9,937 (not including the Banqiao and Shimantan collapses, which had a combined estimated death toll of up to 230,000).

This is a complex subject. I wrote a thesis on it a few decades ago. Was able to rigorously show back then that nuclear was likely uneconomic in the greater scheme of things. Method was to develop then employ dynamic input/output analysis. Situation has since gotten worse for three reasons, at least in US. 1. No spent fuel repository and no fuel reprocessing. 2. More adverse regulatory/safety environment. (Which is bankrupting Toshiba at gen 3 westinghouse AP1200 designs Voglte 3 and 4.) 3. Development of inexpensive shale gas plus cheap efficient CCGT. Units can be emplaced in 2-2.5 years at an all in capital cost under $1500/kw, with thermal efficieny 61%.
At least for the US (and probably UK) this provides decades of time to develop one or more gen 4 fission concepts. These all have three defining features: inherently safe, fuller consumption of nuclear fuel, and reduced radwaste. Wrote about the more interesting ones in essay Going Nuclear in ebook Blowing Smoke.

YES. Shale gas wil give the UK time to deploy trials of various nuclear technologies. US too. We have time, UK at least 40 years to get enough Nukes on stream to meet base load while we max out decarboisation by replacing coal with gas. Al this is on grid based sites, no renewable eco vandalism required – i fact quite pointless in science fact. . BTW someone said the US had enough nuclear base load – at 20%? Not really. Good mix is 80% nuclear and 20% hydro, that can handle the daily variations, keep the fossil fuel for other chemical stuff and essential transport use, not baseload generation we can do sustainably for ever with nuclear.. You won’t get any more highly energetic portable hydrocarbon fuel unless you synthesise it expensively with nuclear electricity by sucking it our of the air. .

Matt Bergin

Brian there is absolutely no need to De-carbonize whatsoever. In fact we should produce more CO2.

Leo Smith

Of and by itself nuclear is highly economic . Its what the cost to assign to insurance, cleanup and fuel reprocessing that alter it as well as the regulatory library you have to fill out to build.
Around 85% of the cost of nuclear is directly or indirectly the result of political legislation.

The beauty of dynamic I/O was it captured all these indirect effects. Why Harvard granted my undergrad summa thesis Ph.D status. So the technology of the time was uneconomic. Gen 4 (as commented above) addresses the main excess cost drivers: instinsic safety, much better fuel utilization, and much lower and easier to handle radwaste disposal. Hit that trifecta, we have a new nuclear ball game.
My view is fracked shale gas gives us the decades to figure this gen 4 stuff out correctly. But we should start to do so now.

Retired Kit P

“I wrote a thesis on it …”
Do you have any power industry experience? Idiot!

Retired Kit P

It always amazes me that the benefits of an Ivy League do not include common sense. Like John Kerry ristvan is an over educated idiot.
With an intercity education, I figured out how not to get wounded in Viet Nam and still serve. I have the greatest respect for combat vets but not rich kids who do it for political reasons.

Leo Smith

Course not. Costing a project like a reactor and working with O & M costs is something only engineers have a chance of actually getting near.
Its clear from the things ristvan handwaves into the arena that he has no intrinsic understanding of the real costs risk and engineering aspects of nuclear power.
Example: He claims that gen 4 or breeders would improve costs by using the fuel more efficiently.
Actually no, they wouldn’t. Today there are almost no breeders running, because URANIUM IS SO CHEAP that the extra cost of a more efficient reactor wasn’t justified.
EDF who run France and the UK’s reactors have stated that Fully finished fuel rods represent 15% of the final cost of the electricity., The actual cost of the raw uranium going into them is a tiny fraction of that. Actual raw uranium costs barely move the needle on the cost scale.
But to an uneducated mind, the idea that ‘uses less fuel = cheaper’ transported over from fossil to nuclear, has traction, as does the idea that ‘renewable energy is free’
These are typical ways to mislead the public used by the green energy brigade.
Likewise Prof. Cohen made the very clear point, that watt for watt, building a nuclear plant uses no more materials and labour than a coal plant, until you add in the regulatory stuff.
http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/
Two thirds of the cost of building a nuclear plant is making sure it meets the most swingeing of regulations.
And yet the worlds expert in radiation effects on living cells, Wade Allison, estimates from a lifetime experience in the lab dealing with nuclear medicine, that we are by an order of TWO TO THREE MAGNITUDES being more paranoid about radiation than we need to be
http://www.templar.co.uk/downloads/Public_Trust_in_Nuclear_Energy.pdf

So for all practical purposes there is a threshold of risk at 100mSv – what happens at lower doses is unmeasurable, even when nuclear bombs are dropped on two major cities and the health of the survivors is followed for 50 years.”

(data from Hiroshima and Nagasaki)
Fukushima exclusion zone is less than 20mSV per year similar to parts of Dartmoor in the UK, which is so ‘radioactive’ that it would not be possible to build a nuclear power station there under current regulations, as workers would receive an illegal dose over a year even if there were no reactor running….

The reasons for the fear of radiation are instinctive and historical. It is natural to shun what is powerful and unseen, and the legacy of the Cold War with its weapon of nuclear fear has added to that. 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.

.
There is an organised effort by parties unknown, but suspected, to ensure in anyway possible that nuclear energy fails. Sovakool is just one of many…
Cui Bono?
It is notable that once you perform even a perfunctory analysis of Renewable Energy ™ http://www.templar.co.uk/downloads/Renewable%20Energy%20Limitations.pdf you will ascertain it is uncompetitive against fossil fuel, and therefore it is of no commercial disadvantage to fossil fuel operations. The world needs fossil fuel and renewable energy cannot replace it.
But cheap nuclear power, engineered to reasonable safety levels, could destroy for sure the coal and gas baseload electricity markets, and if cheap enough, could undercut fossil fuel in all except transport applications. Renewable energy becomes even more pointless than it already is with nuclear providing an emission free generating standard.
Cheap nuclear means profits will be lost in coil, oil, gas, renewable energy markets.
To stop it, needs two prongs of attack. Firstly, on the Green side, you challenge the ‘zero emissions’ orthodoxy by claiming that actually, unseen, huge amounts of fossil fuel WILL be used in mining and milling it, based on the false premises that it will get more difficult to extract, and that there is no alternative to using vast amounts of it.
As I pointed out earlier, these are false assumptions both: Anyone basing arguments on these assumptions is either ignorant of the subject, or deliberately misleading the public – or indeed both.
The second prong is the concern troll approach to costing and safety – yes it would be lovely if it were only cheaper and not so dangerous….
Point one, Real examination of the hard data, instead of discredited model outputs, shows it is in fact alarmingly safe. Very few peole have died from radiation induced by nuclear power accidents, with one notable exception. In the UK 2000-3000 people a year die from radiation induced cancer, from lying in the sun too long. That big fusion reactor in the sky that powers all those solar panels and windmills kills a world trade centre of people every year in the UK alone.
Point two, it is expensive precisely because public perception of danger has been whipped up over many years by agencies with skin in the game. In the days when commercial reactors handily bred plutonium for bombs, attacking the power industry attacked the weapon’s industry. CND was part funded from the USSR, and organised there. It morphed into the politically correct cultural Marxism (sorry ‘Liberalism’ :-)) of today, and the Green movement. Both have proved entirely useful in achieving commercial goals once they have been subverted to the cause of profit: Legislation can change the price of anything and environmental politics can justify it.
And that is precisely why nuclear power is so expensive. Its been legislated into near extinction. Its easy to see how this escalates beautifully.
First of all, set ridiculously low radiation emission standards. OK they can be met, BUT what then happens if an accident happens?. They are breached. Then its EASY to claim that massive evacuations and cleanups at enormous expense are needed because regulatory limits have been breached. That means operators now must carry enormous insurance premiums.
Or take waste and decommissioning. Frankly 99% of nuclear waste put in steel embedded in concrete and dropped in the bottom of the ocean would be 100% safe forever. So we can’t allow that, its far too cheap. So let’s object to each and every proposal on how to deal with waste, and spin that into ‘nobody knows what to do with the waste or how much it will cost’.
And the same line is applied to decommissioning. Its standard practice to leave a reactor once the fuel is extracted for around 40-60 years before starting to cut it up. That way its safe to do so with no especial precautions.
That becomes ‘no single reactor has ever been decommissioned’ …’and we dont know how much it will cost’…so its OK to throw in whatever inflated cost you think will support your fundamental thesis that ‘nuclear power is too expensive and dangerous’
Sovacool and Andy May are both witting or unwitting parts of that process. Unbeknownst to them they are in the pay of Big Something. The normal Marxist phrase is, IIRC, ‘Useful idiots’.
Nuclear power is to be stopped because it threatens a lot of very deep pockets.
Deep enough to get this post written on the most important skeptic site in the world, and to pay enough people to up tick the post and comment on how great it is, when fundamentally its a pack of lies and greenspin.
Civilisation as we know it won’t survive without nuclear power.
If that is of any concern to anyone.

ron long

These “nuclear power plant incidents” source the Guardian, appear to be a mixture of actual serious incidents and no pasa nada. The one in Argentina, at the Atucha 1 nuclear power plant is a good example. There a worker exceeded by a small amount the annual dose limit, determined by personal dosimeter. This type of one worker exceeding the limit is almost certainly due to some conduct outside the established safety protocol. I personally consulted with ARN (Agencia Regulatoria Nuclear) in Argentina in establishing a safety protocol for the company I was managing and found them to be up-to-date in protocol (but a little under-funded with respect to modern personal dosimeters). We had outcrops saturated with uranium to the extent that the modern scintillometers sounded an over-dose alarm at the reading, but we never exceeded ten percent of the monthly limit in any worker! Remember dose is time-rate.
There are only two events that represent actual excursion into the danger zone, Chernobyl and Fukushima, and only Chernobyl, a human-induced failure, actually did damage to people. Nuclear is the safest and least expensive way to go, and for sure fusion is coming soon. The actual biggest safety issue is eco-terrorism!

Not aure about fusion. The idea is to put the sun in a box. The difficulty is the box. Only even quasi credible thing out there is Lockeed Skunkworks high beta magnetic confinement. And then only because of the Skunkworks reputation, plus fact program has gone dark.

Leo Smith

Internal combustion fusion reactor.
Take a V8, attach a deuterium tank to the inlet, replace the spark plugs with pulsed high energy lasers, crank her up and hear that V8 burble..

george e. smith

Can’t put the sun in a box.
The sun is powered by ….. GRAVITY ….. And gravity sucks; VERY VERY weakly !
We don’t have any place nearly big enough to put enough material in a box to create enough sucking to produce nuclear fusion reactions.
The EM force does not suck; it blows (pushes) and it needs something outside of it to push the stuff inside small enough to give fusion reactions. Earnshaw’s theorem says no such thing exists.
The Livermore Whack-a-mole machine is still trying to light the match. Charles H. Townes told them all years ago, they were all nuts if they thought laser implosion was a way to fusion energy.
G

GE, completely agree. Trashed the inertial fusion effort at Stanford in the named essay. Coulombs Law is very difficult to overcome. =Like charges repel, opposite charges attract. And per the four forces of nature, there are exactly two EM charges, positive and negative.
Sun’s gravitational field overcomes Coulomb’s Law in its core enough to sustain fusion. Otherwise, the box is very difficult.

Barbara Hamrick

Good point, Ron. A regulatory violation (exceeding the annual dose limit by a small amount) doth not a “nuclear incident” make. It occurs with some frequency in interventional radiology suites around the country…much more likely to happen there than at a nuclear power plant.

george e. smith

For sure, fusion is NOT coming soon; or even later. And you wouldn’t believe just how damn dangerous it is to get close to a working fusion reactor.
Even 93 million miles might be too close to get on a steady basis.
G

Leo Smith

yeah but that’s a gen I fusion reactor without even primary containment.

Wharfplank

Nuclear power generation is expensive for the same reason that capital punishment is expensive.

EW3

lawyers

Plus many. Too true.

george e. smith

Capital punishment is expensive because it is never used.
There is no record of a criminal, administered capital punishment ever committing a crime of violence again; or any other crime.
The recidivism rate is zero.
Studies of the effectiveness of the deterrence of capital punishment universally exclude subjects who ever received such punishment. They only study persons who are not in the class of capital punishment recipients. Idiocy; excluding the only subjects you should be studying.
G

https://www.google.com/search?site=&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1366&bih=653&q=chernobyl+children+mutations&oq=Chernobyl+children
Russians found out valuable information from the destroyed DNA of Chernobyl’s victims. The DNA does NOT recover!
Nuclear power has to answer for millions to billions of deaths, not a few thousand, which is just a lie. Look at the pictures. After these pictures, ask Google Images to show you the depleted uranium mutations from Iraq and Afghanistan we Americans are all responsible for. It’s disgusting.

MarkW

The p@ar@noid fringe has been heard from.
So nuclear is responsible for everyone who has died since the first nuclear plant went on line?
Really, that’s the story you want to go with.
DNA does recover, that’s been shown over and over and over again. In fact if DNA didn’t recover life would have died off a few thousand years after it got started on this planet, since the planet is and has always been radioactive. BTW, you’ll get more radiation from a banana than you will get living next to a nuclear power plant.
As to depleted uranium, it is less radioactive than the ore that was taken out of the ground.

Butch

You cant be serious ?

Leo Smith

Oh dear oh dear.
The lunatic fringe are out tonight

Leo Smith

Depleted uranium is a poisonous heavy metal, like lead.
Its a carciniogen, but not because of its trivial radioactivity.

Especially dangerous when fired as a bullet. Identical result to lead bullet ‘poisoning’. Good old A10 (Warthog) tank killer cannon. 4 depleted uraniums followed by 1 HE round.

MarkW

The 4 DU crack the armor, than the HE cooks the inhabitants?

Tom Halla

Not quite. The depleted uranium at that velocity is pyrophoric, i.e. it spontaneously catches fire with great intensity. The HE is for soft targets, i.e. not armored.

Smart Rock

What exactly do depleted uranium armour-piercing shells have to do with nuclear power stations generating electricity?
That’s a whole issue on its own that has been swept under the rug by governments, as far as I can tell, but it has nothing to do with fission reactors. The words “straw man” and “red herring” come to mind when reading your silly comment., Larry.
BTW “uranium” as an element with nothing but negative connotations in the minds of the less well informed has now been replaced by “carbon”, which can do many, many things, all of them bad
Better add /sarc, you never know around here..

Well, its a blog, and off tooic trolls showed up trashing almost not radioactive depleted uranium as causing horrible radiation stuff in Iraq and Syria. So we fired some depleted uranium bullets at the off topic trolls. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

“Depleted” ought to be a pretty good clue… DU ammo has never irradiated a T-72… But it probably sieved a few… 😉

Leo Smith

Well exactly. In essence nothing, but the linkage between bad deaths due to depleted uranium, and implied deaths die to radioactivity from uranium powered reactors can be forged there easily in the New Left Mind and kept alive by constant repetitions…

Leo Smith

actually DU (U238) is very very very slightly radioactive. With a half life of 4.468 billion years, says wiki

DDP

Highly unlikely there would be much if any usage in Afghan seeing as there is no need to use more expensive DU rounds when simple HEI does exactly the same job for far less. As the Taliban has no armour capability, there is no need for AP. rounds. Put simply, you don’t bother using rounds designed to penetrate the armour of tanks, on mud and brick buildings. It’s expensive overkill and the DOD doesn’t like the bad PR surrounding the usage, or the potential fallout from having NATO/ISAF troops operating in a DU dust filled environment.
As for birth defects in Iraq, do you know how many chemical plants were hit in 1991? DU gets the blame, but there were far bigger sources for contamination in the air. Those same kids who grew up in that environment after being slimed in 1991 and lived in the area for a decade, were having the deformed kids in the early 2000s. I recall seeing a news report back in 2004 about birth defects in Anbar province, focusing on Fallujah that blamed the use of DU for birth defects but ignored the fact that a fair number of chemical plants were hit near there in Desert Storm, including the infamous ‘Baby Milk Plant’. But never let facts get in the way of the narrative, and/or a potential legal suit.
Post 2003 invasion, see the above on Afghan. No point on firing a kinetic energy AP round at a building when HE or even non explosive practice round will do the job with far better results, and to which they were designed to do. Were DU munitions used, absolutely. You load ammunition type for the job requirements, when armour was no longer a threat the amount used would have been non-existent. That applies to both armour and aircraft.
Birth defects happen, and at a higher rate when incest and inbreeding come into play. Looking at you Afghanistan.
As for billions of deaths, pffft. Ridiculous claim with no merit, or any facts whatsoever.

MarkW

The earth’s population is only in the 8 billion range. He’s saying that 1/8th the world’s population has been killed by nuclear power.

Gary Pearse

Larry, this is a science site, not a hysteria vent. The most dangerous and costly thing one can do is not nuclear, it is lap up the BS on the internet. This has cost Trillions to society. People with an agenda can pollute the internet, Wikipedia has handlers that take perfectly good information and trash it with neomarxbrothers poison.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_power_accidents_by_country
Here you are, I’ll even give you Wiki, which even you know is in the hands of the “brothers”. Count the nuclear accident deaths. Note that most were high pressure steam explosions. UK has had zero deaths, US has had 3 and these were at a testing facility at Idaho falls. France, the most nuked country has had only one and this was in a spent fuel processing plant – not mention of how it happened – could have been a forklift accident. Here is a test. Without looking it up, how radioactive do you think Hiroshima is? If you answered what I think you did, you will get the drift if I tell you it dropped to background levels within one year. They rebuilt it and live in it. 4000 of Chernobyls “deaths” were based on anti nuclear modeled expectations at the time. They never materialized. Like CAGW, if your purpose is to spread scare and promote dismantling of western civilization, your models are going to give you what you want or you will change them. They even change the data to suit as well.

Wow, some really serious photoshopping skills there, but I’m more an H. R. Geiger fan.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

there have been 4,231 fatalities due to nuclear accidents since 1952

Andy: what’s your source for this figure? This is an order of magnitude higher than I have found from other sources. The total actual deaths from radiation or other nuclear reactor accidents since 1947 is less than 200 (not including China and N. Korea, for which there are no published figures). Nearly half of those were from radiography accidents.
There are wildly varying estimates of excess cancer deaths attributed to reactor accidents, for example Chernobyl:

Estimates of the total number of deaths potentially resulting from the Chernobyl disaster vary enormously: Thirty one deaths are directly attributed to the accident, all among the reactor staff and emergency workers.[4] A UNSCEAR report places the total confirmed deaths from radiation at 64 as of 2008. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests it could reach 4,000 civilian deaths, a figure which does not include military clean-up worker casualties.[5] A 2006 report predicted 30,000 to 60,000 cancer deaths as a result of Chernobyl fallout.[6] A Greenpeace report puts this figure at 200,000 or more.[7] A disputed Russian publication, Chernobyl, concludes that 985,000 premature cancer deaths occurred worldwide between 1986 and 2004 as a result of radioactive contamination from Chernobyl.

I question the methodologies used when the estimates range from 4,000 to 200,000 or even more.

RWturner

Yaaawwwwwn, wrong…

Paul Nevins

Why is Fukushima considered a nuclear accident at all? It was caused by an earthquake a full order of magnitude greater than it was built to withstand. Wouldn’t it more fairly be considered a natural disaster? Even worse the unstable dual purpose reactor at Chernobyl was not something that could happen in most places simply because no one would build one like that for power generation alone..
Comparing the costs of nuclear to other sources of power will show nuclear cheapest in terms of clean up and ongoing costs as well if we use anything approaching a fair measuring stick.

MarkW

Depends on whether your goal is an honest accounting of the facts, or an attempt to scare people.

Coeur de Lion

Coupla points
Safest place away from radiation is dived in a nuclear submarine.
Fukushima deaths by radiation – none.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Andy: the Sovacool report which you reference claims 4,056 deaths from Chernobyl, but does not give a reference. If you look at the UNSCEAR assessment, they list 28 deaths within three months among the group of 134 highly exposed workers, and another 28 deaths in the years 1987-2004 “of various causes not necessarily associated with radiation exposure.” The report also says:

Among the residents of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, there had been up to the year 2002 about 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer reported in children and adolescents who were exposed at the time of the accident, and more cases can be expected during the next decades. Notwithstanding problems associated with screening, many of those cancers were most likely caused by radiation exposures shortly after the accident. Apart from this increase, there is no evidence of a major public health impact attributable to radiation exposure 20 years after the accident. There is no scientific evidence of increases in overall cancer incidence or mortality rates or in rates of non-malignant disorders that could be related to radiation exposure. The risk of leukaemia in the general population, one of the main concerns owing to its short latency time, does not appear to be elevated. Although those most highly exposed individuals are at an increased risk of radiation-associated effects, the great majority of the population is not likely to experience serious health consequences as a result of radiation from the Chernobyl accident. Many other health problems have been noted in the populations that are not related to radiation exposure.

This is from an exposed population numbering about 340,000, going by the number evacuated in the years following the accident.
I think the Sovacool report includes all the cases of thyroid cancers among as fatalities. Depending on type and stage, thyroid cancer survival rates are mostly above 50% and in early stages close to 100%. So while many of the child thyroid cancer cases are likely due to radiation exposure, not all of them are and not all them resulted in deaths. I have not seen a more detailed assessment of post-Chernobyl thyroid cancer deaths.

MarkW

I would like to know how many thyroid cancers would normally occur in such a population.

RWturner

If it’s the same report I’m familiar with, it also attributes most of the 4,000+ cancer cases to a much higher rate of screening, which has led to a higher rate of diagnosis and a much earlier diagnosis than would normally be found. So for the ones that would have got thyroid cancer regardless, the accident ironically helped save or prolong their life.

Barbara Hamrick

They do not have good numbers for the background rate of thyroid cancer in children for that population (i.e., no reliable cancer registry). Although they eventually began a large screening program, when you screen symptom-less children you will find many more pre-cancerous and cancerous conditions than if that population were left to simply head to the doctor when symptoms occur – thus, screening leads to the identification of a large number of cancers above what would have previously been seen in the population even if there were a registry.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

…and another 28 deaths in the years 1987-2004 …

The figure 28 was mis-typed by me; the correct figure is 19.

Leo Smith

The sovacol is the usual LNT model output result. Based on the principle that if 5 Sieverts kills half the people exposed to it, a lifetime dose of 5 Sieverts spread out over 50 years (100mSv/yr) will also kill half the people exposed to it.
In fact no single does below around 100mSV shows any cancer probability increase at all. Response to low level chronic radiation is non linear.

That is misleading. The LNT only applies to the rates of cancer and leukemia induced by varying but low dosages of radiation; it does not encompass the high dosages that will cause acute radiation syndrome.

Leo Smith

I can assure you that LNT applies to ALL levels of radiation, or purports to.

The linear no-threshold model (LNT) is a model used in radiation protection to quantify radiation exposure and set regulatory limits. It assumes that the long term, biological damage caused by ionizing radiation (essentially the cancer risk) is directly proportional to the dose. This allows the summation by dosimeters of all radiation exposure, without taking into consideration dose levels or dose rates. In other words, radiation is always considered harmful with no safety threshold, and the sum of several very small exposures are considered to have the same effect as one larger exposure (response linearity). (wiki)

In other words a straight line is drawn between Total dose4 sieverts 50% chance of death and total dose 0, zero chance of death and the regulations are framed around that.
And yet cancer patients receive massive total amounts of radiation, in smaller doses and survive. And peole live in places where whole life doses are massive, and show no signs of cancer.

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.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. This unique case is over 80 times higher than the world average background radiation.
The prevailing model of radiation-induced cancer posits that the risk rises linearly with dose at a rate of 5% per Sv. If this linear no-threshold model is correct, it should be possible to observe an increased incidence of cancer in Ramsar through careful long-term studies currently underway. Early anecdotal evidence from local doctors and preliminary cytogenetic studies suggested that there may be no such harmful effect, and possibly even a radioadaptive effect.[11] More recent epidemiological data show a slightly reduced lung cancer rate[12] and non-significantly elevated morbidity, but the small size of the population (only 1800 inhabitants in the high-background areas) will require a longer monitoring period to draw definitive conclusions

30 years at 130mSv/a is just under 4 sieverts total dose. Which is about a 50% mortality rate if taken in a single dose. If radiation at that level had been that dangerous people in ramsar would be dying of radiation induce illnesses like flies.
Average background is 3mSv/a.
That’s what set Wade Allison on track.
The data shows that peak single doses are far far more damaging than chronic low level exposure.
Just as one day of bad sunburn is way more dangerous than living in a sunny place with a good tan all year round
LNT is a busted flush, but its what current regulations are built upon, and it allows people with axes to grind to say:
“There is no such thing as a safe dose of radiation”
“Its over government limits so its must be dangerous”
and so on ad nauseam.
And that’s the reaosn for the HUGE discrepancies in death tolls.
There are deaths that are unequivocally due to radiation – acute radiation sickness that got around 50 workers at chernobyl. Plus data that is statistically significant. 3000 excess thyroid cancers in Pripyat post Chernobyl, though few were fatal.
Those are the facts.
THEN there are ‘projections ‘ or ‘model outputs’ Do I hear WUWT readers laughing…of course, LNT is a ‘model’ and like all ‘models’ its only as good as its ability to predict, and its frankly useless.
LNT predicted upwards of quarter of a million excess deaths from cancer long term in the whole of NE Europe.
You cant hide quarter of a million blip in cancer statistics. Well my ‘green’ sister claims that governments can do that, but then believes that the givernment , that supports LNT, is terribly right about the dangers of nuclear energy.
She has a degree, but sometimes she’s not very bright…or she has learnt to double think. I am never sure whether the government which regulates nuclear power out of existence in Germany, is the good guy, or whether its responsible for ‘suppressing the true facts about nuclear energy’. Sigh.
Anyway, Sovakool and et Guardian (US readers think NYT) reading LeftyBrains like the sound of models that make it all scary, because it supports their emotional narrative. And they never let facts get in the way of a good anti-nuclear scare story. And it works:
A CND friend assured me that a professors had proved that there were some excess leukaemias due to the accident at Windscale UK, and that back in the day he had ‘read it in the New Scientist’.
I searched online, and all I came up with was that a professor had predicted that there would be excess deaths due to something or other.
NO story about there having BEEN any REAL deaths was to be found.
And that is how propaganda and myths are spun for very unpleasant reasons of commercial profit and fighting of cold wars.

The thyroid cancer aspect of it would have been highly preventable simply by giving iodine supplements to reduce I131 uptake.

Barbara Hamrick

With respect to the experience at Chernobyl, there were a number of contributing factors resulting in the excess childhood thyroid cancers, including the lack of KI distribution, delayed interdiction of milk, failure to effectively communicate milk interdiction orders to rural populations dependent on locally-produced milk, and low iodine in the local diet (resulting in higher uptakes of the radioactive iodine in the milk and leafy vegetables). That is not to say the releases from Chernobyl are not to blame, they are; but, the entire response was mishandled, and made the situation much worse than necessary.

This extensive detailed assessment shows nuclear power to be safest. Safer even than rooftop solar.
http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html
The perception that nuclear plants can not be designed to load follow is nonsense. Think submarines.
Thorium/molten-salt reactors should be cheaper and eliminate many concerns.
Radioactive waste disposal is a red herring.

Leo Smith

Reactors can be designed to load follow reasonably well and a large number of French reactors do, although the process is not without issues.
http://www.templar.co.uk/downloads/0203_Pouret_Nuttall.pdf

RWturner

Yes, almost all accidents were from gen II reactors. Gen IV reactors will be very safe and produce little waste.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

A 2008 update on the UNSCEAR report states:

The contamination of milk with I(131), for which prompt countermeasures were lacking, resulted in large doses to the thyroids of members of the general public; this led to a substantial fraction of the more than 6,000 thyroid cancers observed to date among people who were children or adolescents at the time of the accident (by 2005, 15 cases had proved fatal).

So I make that 28 immediate deaths, plus 19 among the heavily exposed over the following 15 years, and 15 thyroid cancer deaths likely due to I-131 exposure. Total comes to 62.

MarkW

Unless thyroid cancers were unknown in this population prior to the accident, at least some of those cases would have occurred anyway.

emsnews

Oh this hurts so much: When I was young, my family was involved in the entire nuclear bomb thing in the Mohave Desert and the ranchers living downwind from the nuke bomb tests of the 1950s were told, radiation was no problem.
But it was a ‘problem’. One of my dear friends died as a child due to nuclear radiation exposure from living downwind. I freaked out after her funeral and had a fight with my father about this.
These deaths never made the news back then! But inside the ‘machine’ there were raging arguments about nuclear bomb side effects with downwind radiation being a major issue. Thus, the push for underground tests.
It was signed and the above ground tests stopped but not after doing grave damage.

Retired Kit P

It takes an enormous amount of radiation to kill someone. How did friend get so much and no one else did?
It is human nature to want to find blame.

Gary Pearse

Alan, I recall it was Strontium-90 in milk. I’ve made it to within a year of 80 so far and I’m feeling pretty good – still working, too.

Leo Smith

The total number of recorded deaths from all nuclear POWER – as opposed to other radiological accidents – is less than 300.
Any figure higher than that is an estimate based on a model – the LNT model – that is even more discredited than the Climate Change model
See Wade Allison http://www.templar.co.uk/downloads/Public_Trust_in_Nuclear_Energy.pdf and the late Professor Cohen http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/ for a far more balanced view of radiation and financial risk

michael hart

“…compiled by The Guardian..”

Stopped reading at that point.

“Stopped reading at that point.”
Pity, you may have learned something not seen on Fox news or Alec Jones.

MarkW

He might have learned something true.
Learning something true on the other hand is contraindicated.

MarkW.
He might have learned something true.
Learning something true on the other hand is contraindicated.
Yes, he may well have learned something true, however,
Do you think Fox news, Alec Jones and Breitbart are paragons of truth? Really?

MarkW

Yes, they are. Especially compared to the Guardian.
I realize that as a socialist you are required to believe that only things that fit the left wing narrative are true.
However the rest of us do not suffer from such delusions.

Really Mark, you believe what Alec Jones tells you about pedophile rings run by politicians from Pizza houses? And many other outrageous allegations. That’s a sad reflection on your belief in climate scepticism. I mean , can anyone who believes Alec Jones and Breibart are unbiased and truthful news sources be relied on to be objective in climate science?
The Guardian is biased and tends to support LibDems ( though not , as you believe, the hard left like Corbyn) but it rarely lies or makes up outrageous deceits in the manner of Alec Jones.

MarkW

It really takes a total moron, but then again, you have fallen for the socialist chimera, to lump Fox and those others together.
But then again, you have been trained to believe that anything you don’t agree with is a lie.

MarkW

BTW, Breitbart has been proven to be accurate.
Of the three Jones has the distinction of being slightly more accurate than the Guardian. The others are virtues of honesty compared to the Guardian.

Berényi Péter

Cold war Plutonium factories called pressurized, boiling and supercritical water reactors are dangerous indeed. Whenever you put hot water under high pressure into a reactor core composed of solid metal components, it is a disaster waiting to happen. Also, as you only use up half a percent or so of fuel, you end up with a tremendous amount of waste, containing lots of long half life Plutonium. That is, waste can be mined for bomb material for tens of thousands of years. I do not know of any object that was guarded continuously since the dawn of civilization.
On the other hand fuel dissolved in molten salt can’t be damaged structurally by neutrons, the molten salt itself does not have to be pressurized, since its boiling point is extremely high, the system has a negative temperature coefficient of reactivity, and almost all fuel can be burnt, meaning a hundred times less waste for the same energy output, containing no long half life radioisotopes.
There is a huge difference between different basic nuclear reactor designs. Some are inherently safe with barely any control, others are like balancing a pencil on its tip.

It’s worth remembering that more US citizens have been killed by firearms in the last 25 years than have died in every war she has fought. I think this puts the dangers of nuclear power in perspective.

Better supply some reliably sourced numbers on that. Cause probably isn’t true and smacks of anti second amendment nonsense. Civil war Union deaths 359,000. Confederate deaths 258,000. WW1 116,000. WW2 405, 000. This ignores Revolution, 1812, Spanish American, Vietnam…
In 2013 (last years stats available) there were ~11000 homicides, ~500 axcidental gun deaths, and ~21000 gun suicides. The suicides don’t count for your purposes..

MarkW

When you are going to make up facts, you might as well go for the gold and make up BIG numbers.

MarkW

Many of the homicides don’t count either. When a person is determined to kill another, they will find a way.

Javert Chip

MarkW
If your comments were aimed at ristvan’s numbers, then this is he QED he left for you (otherwise, I apologize for incorrect target assumption)
ristvans numbers for just the Civil, WW1 & WW2 wars add up to about 1.1M (historians will argue about numbers forever, but those are reasonably consensus, which counts in history…). I think most would agree suicides don’t count (if no gun, than something else).
So you’re left with 25 yeas of 12,000/year = 300,000. Maybe YOU should have gone for the big number an claimed the last 100 years.

MarkW

I thought that it was pretty obvious that I was concurring with ristvan not contradicting him.

This is one of my sources below, there are many others. Even if you don’t believe it, the number killed by guns is stunningly high in the US. The post was meant to make a point on how we assess risk. In nuclear power any fatality results in substantial efforts to improve safety. In gun control the result of the wholesale slaughter is for a President to reduce the restriction on people who are deemed to be a risk obtaining firearms. It is a great example of national cognitive dissonance. The actual figures are included if anyone is interested.
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jan/18/mark-shields/pbs-commentator-mark-shields-says-more-killed-guns/

MarkW

I love the way leftists use political commentators as their source of ultimate truth.
Unless you are a gang banger or suicidal, your risk of being killed by a gun is very, very low.

Mark W whines:
“I love the way leftists use political commentators as their source of ultimate truth.
Unless you are a gang banger or suicidal, your risk of being killed by a gun is very, very low.”
But substantially higher than being a victim of Islamic terrorism or as a result of a nuclear accident.
Interesting that being hurt by Islamic terrorism is an infinitely small chance, as is harm from nuclear power. But Trump bans Muslims, revokes gun controls and people here worry about nuclear safety ? Weird or what?
By the way, the source material is not a left wing site, but even low IQ right wingers should be able to understand its unbiased and straightforward information. You may eventually realise it is a check on whether certain facts are correct or not, it is not political commentary as in Fox news and Breibart.

Apologies, that should be MarkW “opines” ! Cursed predictive text .

MarkW

They weeny Gareth complains about Fox news, then he repeats many times refuted lies from his favorite propaganda site, the Guardian.
Trump never banned muslims. He temporarily halted immigration from seven countries known to harbor terrorists.
Trump hasn’t revoked any gun controls. Not a single one.
Regardless, none of the gun control actually controls violence, they just make it harder for the victims to fight back. Which is how socialists like the world to be.
I could repeat my refutations from earlier, but Gareth, like most socialists is impervious to any fact that hasn’t been filtered through the proper authorities and declared fit for human consumption.
It beats actually having to think for yourself.

Visited construction site at Moscow, Ohio, with reporters and local Chamber of Commerce. A relative was a grunt at a coal-, oil- & gas-fired plant some 40-50 miles away of the same firm. Months later, there was much fuss. The construction firm had not been doing any of the weld tests and were caught faking some by copying materials from more recent tests, so the nuclear plan was ditched.
There was also fuss because some of the crew pranked the inspectors, dumping water and fire extinguisher down on them. This was a typical prank — along with shmearing limburger cheese on hot valve wheels — from the older plants, that the workers played amongst themselves, but this time the media and government went hysterical.
In the end, it became a conventional fuel fired plant…the company just could not afford the furor and panic, and then they became Cinergy, then consolidated into Duke.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Andy:
My own research, drawn from here, plus some additional digging, yields a total of 184 direct deaths from radiation exposure or other accidents at nuclear plants, plus another 103 attributed excess cancer deaths since 1947. The breakdown is as follows:
military research, tests and reactors (excluding weapons use): 34 actual / 33 attributed.
civilian reactors: 61 actual / 70 attributed.
radiography and radiotherapy accidents: 89 actual (there should be some attributable excess deaths, but I could not find any).
Civilian reactor death figures include non-radiation causes, as these are fairly accounted as part of the risks of nuclear power.
Most of the deaths from both civilian and military accidents were in the USSR. If we had figures for China and N. Korea, I expect these numbers would be higher.

hunter

I doubt the claim of 4231 victims of nuclear power.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Your doubts are well founded. See above.

emsnews

Genetic injuries are obviously not important to some people but I would very much beg to differ. The ongoing horrors of Fukushima and Chernobyl are not minor incidents. They are ongoing messes. And then there is all the natural life forms forever damaged by nuke accidents…plants, animals, even humans…

MarkW

As always, emsnews just makes it up has he/she/it goes.
This nutcase is still trying to claim that last year, half the Humback whales in the Pacific suddenly died from radiation poisoning.

Barbara

Emsnews-there is no credible evidence for genetic effects in humans, based on the studies of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors.

emsnews

The fact that you call me names is telling…pretending nuclear disasters are nothing won’t travel far where people have some sense of reality. I beg you all: prove me wrong.
Move to Fukushima and get pregnant if you are a woman, if a man, volunteer to clean it up. The robots failed so maybe you can do the job there.

Javert Chip

emsnews
You made the claim, you ned to provide the evidence.
You have (tried to) put Barbara in the position of proving a negative.
If you have evidence of genetic effects on Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, cite it (I mean assuming it’s not the Daily Mail).

Barbara

Emsnews – I did not call you any names. You may read about the lack of evidence of genetic effects here: http://www.rerf.jp/radefx/genetics_e/geneefx.html

hunter

You have no evidence for your clsim about genetic problems.

emsnewws, the Fukushima did not fail they were build at great expense for very specific areas of the plant to locate burned and spent fuel ( like through small openings like pipes etc. and under water) and operated on battery power when the battery power ran out they,…….
you know stopped moving. and were left in place as it would have cost a fortune to design a new robot to retrieve them. Most of the reports on the robots are simply not true, yes they have had problems operating them because of the fact that they are remote controlled, operate under water in confined spaces and radiation interfered with video and with wiring, the controllers lost contact. Each one though has led to improvements but at a great cost. Not monetary but time wise, it can take 2 to 3 years to develope a new one.
But hey, I hope your basement is warm.

AAARRGH emsnews I was talking about the ROBOTS. at Fukushima

Sheri

emsnews: I drive by one of those yellow radiation signs on my way to my cabin. It’s a former uranium mine where my husband worked.
I would love to visit and study Chernobyl, though the access is very limited by Russia. (Your “help clean-up” in nonsense. Neither country will allow such a thing and you most certainly know that.) It is a fascinating area, and many areas of study are being suppressed to maintain the fear level. The women who still live in the area are a golden opportunity to study why some people are not affected by radiation as much as others, but politics says that’s impossible, so no one is studying this and science is completely shut out. It’s criminal. To simply refuse to look at reality in the name of continuing to terrify people.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Steam boiler explosions in the 19th century killed a lot more people than nuclear power has. In one incident alone, the Sultana in 1865, an estimated 1,700 people died from the explosion, steam burns, or drowning when the ship sank. Granted, the Sultana was criminally overloaded, but the same explosion if loaded to legal capacity would still have killed more than all the reactor deaths to date.

emsnews

How many generations of survivors of that ship disaster had to deal with birth mutations, early deaths, etc? These two types of events cannot be compared. Fukushima is still polluting Japan and causing genetic problems. Not to mention, where the Sultana sank isn’t a disaster zone to this day, too dangerous to stay for long unlike Fukushima where even robots die from radiation effects trying to just ‘see’ what is going on there.

emsnews

Carol died of thyroid cancer. I had to be operated on that same year because my own thyroid had problems, too. I can’t tell you all how frightening this is. It is no joke, not a thing to swipe aside with ‘few died’ when it hits home.

MarkW

You receive more radiation from your granite counter top than most people who lived near Fukushima received.

Tom Halla

emsnews, what you are engaging in is what I will call the “Silent Spring” fallacy, that artificial risks are much worse than natural risks. If the level of radioactivity does not go up appreciably, it does not matter that part of that level is produced by evil man. Try doing research on the failure of the so-called “Linear-no threshold ” model of radiation effects.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

emsnews: I was reacting to Andy May’s claim of “4,231 fatalities due to nuclear accidents since 1952.” This number was an order of magnitude higher than I had gleaned from previous research, so I challenged it.
You can discuss non-fatal injuries resulting from nuclear power, but that’s a separate issue from getting the fatality numbers correct and in perspective.

emsnews

I didn’t know there is an army of people desiring to move to places where nuclear disasters are happening. Seriously, they are in desperate need for volunteers. Sitting safe at home while this goes on is wrong. Contact the Japanese and Ukrainians and tell them you are ready and willing.

hunter

I doubt if you or anyone you has had cancer probably linked to cancer. I think you are just another troll pushing lies.

Are you aware, emsnews, that over 4000 potassium atoms emit radiation every second within your body? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium#Isotopes

Sheri

emsnews: I got tongue cancer with ZERO risk factors. NONE. NADA. ZIP. Very depressing—nothing to blame, nothing to sit around in terror of…..oh, wait, maybe it’s better that way. I just dealt with it and went on, not looking under rocks with a geiger counter or eating only organic and wearing a charcoal filter mask everywhere (though acquaintances of mine do that due to fear of “chemicals”). Having things to blame is not always a good thing.

I didn’t know there is an army of people desiring to move to places where nuclear disasters are happening. Seriously, they are in desperate need for volunteers

There are a lot of people in the third world who would jump at the chance to live in a modern country like Japan. And the fact that the would be exposed to tiny amounts of additional radiation would not be any kind of deterrent.
Not that there’s any need for volunteers now. But in the unlikely event that something like that would happen again in a modern country, working there would be a lot safer than trying to get into Europe in a leaky boat, like many refugees have been trying to do recently.
BTW I’m sorry that your Carol died of thyroid cancer, and that you’ve had thyroid problems too. I’ve had cancer three times and two were quite threatening.

MarkW

In emsnews’ world. Cancer did not exist until nuclear power was invented.

MarkW

In another forum I once debated a young man who was 100% opposed to automobiles. He wanted the government to ban them and he would not accept any compromise.
When pressed we finally found out that his mother was killed in an auto accident when he was young.
From this he had concluded that cars were unacceptably dangerous and there was absolutely nothing that would ever change his mind. The more people ignored him and kept using their cars, the angrier he got.
emsnews reminds me of that young man.

Add 19th century railroad accident deaths, too. No source.’ Just recall seeing article or TV show that pointed out traveling by rail in the 1800s was much more dangerous than I thought.

Hobbitess

According to Erik Larson (don’t have the book so don’t know his reference), around 1900, two pedestrians a day were killed by trains in Chicago alone, a larger number maimed, and a dozen daily in fires. That’s not even counting things like diphtheria, typhus, cholera, influenza, etc. (they’d reversed the Chicago River by then but enough rain could still push sewage out into Lake Michigan and into the city’s water system).
Don’t recall the numbers, but I’ve seen stats on farmers (and, in particular, on farm kids) from that era that were pretty ugly. Life in general in the 1800s was much more dangerous than most people think. Most Americans take for granted a level of safety that earlier generations would consider paradisaical.

Hobbitess

That should be “a dozen killed daily in fires.”

TonyL

Here in the US, it is not just nuclear, it is everything. The regulatory agencies seem to have an agenda to kill any proposal with a hugely complex and expensive permitting process. Then you have the third party actors. In Massachusetts, there is the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), ostensibly dedicated to protecting the environment. A spox for CLF stated once “We have shut down bigger projects than this. We just tie them up in court and force them to burn through all their cash.”
A case for a Gas Fired plant:
After a few years of wrangling, a power company built a plant in Bellingham, MA. It was successful, and the company wanted to build a second plant in Franklin, MA, which is right beside Bellingham. So the local populace was familiar with the plant, and knew it to be a good neighbor. Nonetheless, the Greenies went wild. Pollution, toxic waste, poisoning the children, explosion hazard, the works. All for a gas fired plant. Then the Franklin Town Council got involved. They negotiated point after point, getting concession after concession. Then they would negotiate something else, and reopen settled issues, Then they wanted to restart the negotiations from the beginning. All the while playing politics with their local base.
The company gave up and offered the second plant to Bellingham, which eagerly accepted.
The town of Franklin then filed a lawsuit to “recover” taxes they would have gotten if they would have approved to plant.
Now try this with a nuclear plant. Imagine all these regulatory and permitting games being played at the local and the state and the federal levels. Add in third parties pinning you down in court, just to make you burn through cash.
And then people will turn around and say “It costs too much, and takes too long, it just is not viable.” Why do you suppose that is?

MarkW

No regulator ever got fired for turning down a project.
On the other hand agencies have gotten into a lot of trouble when something went wrong at a project they had approved.
Institutionally, there is a huge bias towards rejecting everything.

Mankind has only one limiting resource, cheap energy. With cheap energy we can make all the fresh water we need to bloom all the deserts we want. We can suck gold out of seawater and melt tunnels through mountains. All we need is cheap energy. Eventually we will need to go nuclear. We can do this people.

The CDC says bicycles are dangerous …
Deaths and Injuries
In 2013 in the U.S., over 900 bicyclists were killed and there were an estimated 494,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries.
Cost
Data from 2010 show fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists resulted in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses of $10 billion.
Numbers are for US.
https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/bicycle/index.html

Retired Kit P

I finally gave away my mountain bike for heath reasons. Falling off is not good.

Mike G

Why mention loss of Cobalt-60 source in conjunction with discussion of the risk of nuclear power? We would be making and using cobalt-60 sources whether or not we build and operate nuclear power plants.

emsnews

It is not at all safe in geologically active regions with violent earthquakes, tsunamis and active volcanoes. Japan and Indonesia being two prime examples of this. Nor should nuclear power be used by dictators running crazy governments like we saw in Ukraine.

MarkW

P@ranoia, it’s what’s for breakfast.

Barbara Hamrick

emsnews – you are partially correct. Geologically active regions are very, very dangerous. Approximately 20,000 people died in the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Zero of them died from radiation. If you really care about saving lives, I suggest you campaign to evacuate Japan.

emsnews

How clever. Ahem: Fukushima is still polluting the ocean and Japan. It is not over. It is certainly not ‘fixed’ or even ‘cleaned up.’ The side effects are serious. Humans cannot get anywhere near where the radiation is happening, the recent robot that was supposed to be able to enter and see what is going on, fell apart quickly due to the violence of the radiation. This is no joking matter.

Javert Chip

…or repurpose CAGW money to malaria cure (saving millions of lives)

Barbara

Emnews – the robots that have recently entered to obtain additional information on the fuel melt penetrated farther than they’d gone in before. Closer to the core, the higher the radiation – not unexpected, nor was the eventual failure of the robots. It was expected due to the known very, very high radiations levels near the fuel. In part the problems with the clean-up have been driven by the very fear you express. I believe it is real fear, but not rational based on actual residual levels of contamination in the vast majority of cases.

hunter

emsnews is just trolling with reactionary fibbing. He hasn’t posted an honest point yet.

emsnews

I am not a ‘he’ I am a female who knows how to hold up my end in an argument and I can speed type, too.
The solidarity front on this topic is interesting to me. It shows how people can fool themselves when they choose ideology over reality. The reality here is, Fukushima didn’t just ‘blow up’…it was flooded with mere water and then blew up!
Now…think carefully…if mere water can cause a massive catastrophe that continues for years…who could resist doing something nasty in the future to another nuclear power plant to make life very hard or impossible for someone else?
Remember: simple water did this! And a number of nations have plenty of bombs that can do worse.

MarkW

emsnews, these side effects exist only in your fevered imagination.

MarkW

This is the way a p@r@noid mind works.
The fact that everyone disagrees with it, is just proof of how big the conspiracy is.
It’s a lot like the people who are convinced that the moon landings were fake.
To them it’s so obvious that they are totally dumb founded that there is anyone who disagrees with them.
When you try to explain the science to them, they refuse to listen.

DonM

“It is not at all safe in geologically active regions with violent earthquakes, tsunamis …” I assume you mean nuclear power generation, but you could insert anything there and be correct.
Lots and lots of things aren’t safe in geologically active regions with violent earthquakes, tsunamis … lots and lots of things aren’t safe..
Bathtubs, without the little rubber adhesive ducks in the bottom, aren’t safe in geologically active regions with violent earthquakes, tsunamis, or volcanoes. Bathtubs, WITH rubber ducks, in areas of violent earthquakes and volcanoes, are safer (but still not completely safe).
Bathtubs, with adhesive ducks, in Akron Ohio (no earthquakes or volcanoes there), with grab bars and walk in doors, might be the safest place on earth to bathe. Notwithstanding, I’ll take the risk and bathe at home instead of going to Akron, but I draw the line at a potentially slippery bathtub.
You draw the line at nuclear power generation and I’ll draw the line at bathtubs without adhesive rubber ducks. Let us both keep up the good fight.

emsnews

A bathtub isn’t Fukushima. And as I pointed out earlier, the disaster wasn’t caused by the earthquake there, it was caused by a sudden flood. WATER caused the disaster which is still very much a disaster. I call that ‘very fragile systems’ not ‘robust and safe systems’.

A massive tsunami is different from a normal flood. (Said wave was also caused by the earthquake, by the way) Comparing the two shows that you are fundamentally unserious. And now US plants are designed with even more redundancy, with outside power facilities in water-tight buildings.

MarkW

Even in Fukushima, the earthquake alone would have been easily handled.