Skip to comments.Rise of the Nuclear Greens - Some environmentalists see atomic energy as the answer to global...
Posted on 03/07/2013 5:57:08 PM PST by neverdem
Some environmentalists see atomic energy as the answer to global warming.
In theory, the March 11, 2011, disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant should have bolstered environmentalists opposition to new nuclear-energy projects. But in the wake of the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, some of the worlds leading Greens have done just the opposite: they have come out in favor of nuclear power. Perhaps the most prominent convert is British activist and journalist George Monbiot, who even cites the disaster as one reason for his change of heart. Just ten days after Fukushima, in a column for the Guardian, Monbiot called the use of solar energy in the United Kingdom a spectacular waste of scarce resources and declared that wind energy was hopelessly inefficient and largely worthless. Moreover, he wrote, on every measure (climate change, mining impact, local pollution, industrial injury and death, even radioactive discharges) coal is 100 times worse than nuclear power. He concluded: Atomic energy has just been subjected to one of the harshest of possible tests, and the impact on people and the planet has been small. The crisis at Fukushima has converted me to the cause of nuclear power.
A number of prominent British and American environmentalists were pronuclear before Fukushima. Among the Americans are longtime environmental activist and publisher Stewart Brand, as well as Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, founders of the Oakland-based Breakthrough Institute, a center-left think tank. The Brits include environmentalist Mark Lynas, former British prime minister Tony Blair, and scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock. Theres also a Canadian in the group: Greenpeace cofounder Patrick Moore.
The emergence of the pronuclear Greens represents an important schism in modern environmentalism. For decades, groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace have pushed an antinuclear agenda and contended that the only energy path for the future is the widespread deployment of wind turbines and solar panels. But fear of carbon emissions and climate change has catalyzed a major rethinking. As Brand puts it in a new documentary, Pandoras Promise, which explores the conversion of antinuclear activists to the pronuclear side: The question is often asked, Can you be an environmentalist and be pronuclear? I would turn that around and say, In light of climate change, can you be an environmentalist and not be pronuclear?
Newfound support can only help the nuclear-energy sector, but it remains to be seen whether nuclear will play a major role in the burgeoning global electricity market, which has grown by about 3 percent per year since 1985. Its already clear that the Greens pronuclear stance wont have a significant impact on the American electricity market over the next decade or so, for a simple reason: the shale-gas revolution here has produced abundant supplies of low-cost natural gas. In 2010, one of the largest electric utilities in the country, Exelon, said that for new nuclear projects to be economically viable, natural gas would have to cost at least $8 per million Btu. Today, the price is about $3.50, and the shale-gas boom means that a price anywhere near $8 is exceedingly unlikely for years to come. Four nuclear reactors are now being built in the United States—the Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors in Georgia and the Summer 2 and 3 reactors in South Carolina—but the projects are going forward only because regulators in those states have allowed the utilities that own them to recover costs from ratepayers before the projects are finished.
Nuclear advocates may have more influence in Asia and Europe, where natural gas remains relatively expensive. For instance, in Japan, where the nuclear industry is fighting to stay alive after Fukushima, natural gas must be imported in liquefied form, and it currently costs about $17 per million Btu. In Western Europe, imported, liquefied natural gas costs nearly $12 per million Btu. When natural gas is that expensive, nuclear reactors can make economic sense. According to the World Nuclear Association, a trade group, some 62,000 megawatts worth of new reactors are now being built—58,000 in Europe and Asia and the remainder in South America and the Middle East. (The WNA figures dont count all 4,400 megawatts of capacity under construction in the United States.)
The biggest obstacle to a rapid expansion of the global nuclear fleet isnt natural gas, however; its coal, the leading source of carbon-dioxide emissions. In China, for example, about 500,000 megawatts of new coal-fired electric generation capacity came online between 2000 and 2011. Between 2013 and 2016, China will probably build another 315,000 megawatts of new coal-fired capacity. Electricity producers are building new coal-fired power plants because coal is relatively cheap and abundant and because no OPEC-like cartel controls the global market (see Coal Comfort, Summer 2012). Those factors help explain why, over the past decade, the global consumption of energy from coal grew by about the same amount as the consumption of energy from oil, natural gas, hydropower, and nuclear power combined. In just one year, 2011, global coal use increased by the equivalent of about 3.9 million barrels of oil per day. That daily increase was nearly as much energy as the total amount provided each day by all global non-hydro renewables.
For nuclear energy to gain significant momentum in the global marketplace, then, it has to get much cheaper. In a September essay published in Foreign Policy, Nordhaus and Shellenberger, with coauthor Jessica Levering, provided a road map for revitalizing the nuclear sector. They called for a new national commitment to the development and commercialization of next-generation nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors. The goal, they said, should be reactors that can be built at a significantly lower cost than current designs, as well as a new, more nimble regulatory framework that can review and approve the new designs.
While that plan is sensible enough, its not clear whether groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace can be persuaded to abandon their antinuclear zealotry. Nevertheless, its encouraging to see that some influential environmentalists are realizing that we have no choice but to embrace the astonishing power of the atom. We do have to get better at nuclear power, and that will take time. But were only at the beginning of the Nuclear Age.
If energy companies could build new plants the obsolete plants like Fukushima would be gone, and the meltdown likely would not have happened.
What do you want for polution, CO2 that only lasts till a plant breaths it, or radio-active crap that kills everything for a hundred thousand years. For some strange reason, the enviro-weenies always end up wrong side up.
Could you explain the issue with Fukushima in real terms. Meltdown and all? what were the actual results as you see them? Just curious.
Results of the meltdowns? As I understand it there is a slightly elevated amount of radiation in the area surrounding the plant. Up to about 10 miles out. Some reports that incidents of cancer will increase but so far no real data.
In other words a fraction of what the anti-nuke people have been claiming would happen.
Molton Salt Thorium reactors are a very big deal in some sectors.
Modern-design reactors, i.e. those that the Watermelons so vehemently oppose, are far cleaner than the old designs. Thorium/molten-salt reactors not only don’t produce much long-life radioactive waste, they can be used to process such waste from older reactors into much more benign substances. The half-life of thorium reactors is measured in decades or less, instead of centuries or millennia.
I guess that would be my point there was no real problem. But somehow we should spend Billions, upon Billion to replace functional plants with unproven "safe plants" or additional Billions on "Green Energy" plant that are proven failures in terms of sustainable energy production. just saying
“Some environmentalists see atomic energy as the answer to global warming.”
1. It’s about time.
2. Man made global warming is a farce.
Who wrote this article, an energy company heavily invested in nuke plants? What propaganda. The only thing an environmentalist would consider green about a nuke plant is the glow from the spent fuel containment ponds.
Don’t believe this article. Enviros do not support nuclear power plants. They support measures like conservation and solar, mostly distributed solar generation as opposed to large utility scale solar.
Hey, how is that brand new equipment at San Onofre working out?
Its a great idea, but it will never happen, because the ultimate goal of the Greenies is to thwart the progress that the industrialized nations have made over the last couple of centuries.
Very cool, have not kept up on reactors since my military days.
I had an acquaintance make a good point about nuclear energy the other day: who will be building the plants? The same people who build new homes? Who will work at the plants? The same people working in government now? Scary thought.
That said, i am all for nuclear energy sources.
Thorium or bust!!!
The chumps think that after they build billions of dollars of infrastructure that relies on a large 24x7 supply of natural gas that they'll just be able to snap their fingers when the price of gas hits $20 instead of $3.50.
Something is only “pollution” if it is released into the environment.
Submarines are designed to run for twenty-five years on one load of fuel that could fit under your desk, and the sailors aboard, breathing air created by the power from that reactor, get less exposure to radiation than the average surface-dweller. You want “zero emissions?” That’s the very definition of submarine warfare.
Let's look at reality: How many were hurt or killed by radioactive attributes of the Fukushima meltdowns? Answer; none. How many were hurt or killed at the Three Mile Island meltdown? None.
Chernobyl was not a commercial reactor, and not just because it was built in Communist country. Westinghouse was building boiling water reactors, the basis for the Fukushima and Three Mile Island designs, when Chernobyl was built. Chernobyl was a graphite core reactor, not much different from the Fermi pile at Chicago. It's objective was to produce plutonium for weapons; its excess energy drove steam turbines and provided heat for nurseries in the vicinity. It had no pressure vessel and no six foot thick reinforced containment. Still it killed only three men outright. The range of excess leukemia deaths ranged from 20 to 60 deaths over five years.
The epidemiology remains in doubt because the average death rates in Chernobyl were lower than the average in most of Ukraine, and much lower than those in major cities. By being off line the Chenobyl reactor's power was replaced by importing coal generated electricity, which, according to US EPA estimates, results in 200 premature deaths each year. In other words Chernobyl was saving 967 lives over the five years of measuring the injuries resulting from the meltdown.
The author's assumptions about costs may have been naïve, and some of the assumptions about hazards certainly were. Natural gas is a source of radionuclides in the atomosphere. Natural gas, like coal and uranium comes from deep underground where nuclear activation occurs naturally. When natural gas is burned radionuclides are simply release into the atmosphere, along with minor waste products and CO2, which the plants love. When nuclear fuel is consumed by fission the radioactive atoms give up some of their energy as heat, are concentrated, shielded, and later, chemically bound for storage or, if we ever get back to it, reprocessing. It is alpha emitters in the air we breath that the small risk of inhalation is known to increase cancer risks. Neither coal nor natural gas plants would meet, if they were tested as nuclear plants are, NRC emissions standards.
The economics of nuclear generated electricity are massively skewed by regulatory overhead. Regulation also raises the cost of money to pay the lawyers and pay the interest on loans while construction is stalled in the courts. Last I heard China was still on track to build 135 new nuclear plants in the 2 GW range before 2025. Anyone who has experience or knows of the air pollution in Beijing understands China's urgency. The world's largest manufacturer knows it must employ more and more, and to do it efficiently requires lots of power. The importance of having no air pollutants emitted while generating electricity is more obvious to the Chinese than to our bureaucrats and our naïve environmental elite.
If you live in Minnesota, or on granite, as I do, you probably have more background radiation coming from your basement than you would from a house built over nuclear waste storage tanks. Too bad Yucca Mountain lost to politicians, who only have a decade or so of cronyism to survive. But long half lives are associated with low radiation power. Grandpa's wristwatch with the radium dial was much more radioactive. Don't learn your physics from the Sierra Club, which, by the way, was a major supporter of nuclear power in the 60s, before some wealthy New Yorkers learned that the power lines from a new plant would be visible from their estates on the Hudson).
So let’s recap:
We’ll al pretend that Chernobyl isn’t still killing people today with cancer, leukemia, early dementia, birthdefects, and what is termed a ‘host of other illness’ and that it will continue to do so for countless generations. Let’s call it a success story.
We should also plan on pretending that Fukushima is NOT an ongoing disaster despite the evidence, with a lasting legacy of pain suffering and early death. I know, I know...you’d like to limit any discussion of nuclear disasters to ARS (accute radiation sickness) so that if a person doesn’t die within weeks of exposure it ‘just doesn’t count’, but it’s well known that cancer, dementia, leukemia etc. take some time and that radioactive waste is very very patient and will kill for countless generations.
So, you think three nuclear core melt throughs is ‘no harm no foul’? The fact that tons of radioactive fuel now sits in an uncovered, damaged pool in the open air, on a building foundation that went through an explosion and tsunami and can’t be approached too closely to conduct needed repairs is ‘good news’?
I remember the good old days when contemptuous nuclear engineers would ridicule members of the public who were concerned about containment of nuclear fuel - the nuclear engineers would sneer that nuke plants are designed to withstand a direct strike by a commercial jet. Rembmer that? Now that water washed away the capacity for the nuke plants to avoid explosive releases of nuclear fuel and catastrophic melt-throughs...it’s no longer a topic they want to discuss.
Nuclear engineers would like to turn the discusion toward how it’s all the public’s fault - if only we have given them MORE responsiblity and resources!!! I have never seen the nuclear pimps accept responsibility for their actions - and I never will.
The way that the Japanese government withheld it’s early warning system (SPEEDI) data from the populace so they “wouldn’t panic” and therefore the populace fled downwind into the radioctive plumes itself during the early aftermath is a “good move” in your opinion? And watching Japan compel school children to eat food known to be contaminated with radioactive waste is not the least bit disturbing?
Contaminated water, air and food is ...what....good for you? So let’s ignore the fact that the government has prohibited doctors from evaluating the health of Fukushima residents without obtaining explicit permission and with it, the nasty, depressing news that approx 50% of children living in Fukushima have numerous thyroid cysts.
Heck, while we are at it lets just praise the presence of 3 nuclear cores which have escaped containment and continue to emit radioative isotopes into the air we breathe with no end in sight...where the contaminated plume joins the radioative waste that Japan has decided to BURN (well how else to spread it around?) I’d think you’d be slightly concerned that there are radioactive hotspots in Tokyo but no...you seem pretty comfortable to me.
Gee...I wonder what the Japanese government would have done if the initial, dense plume of radioactive waste headed straight for Tokyo in the first hours? Would they have done what the Soviet government did in the aftermath of Chernobyl? Would they have brought the airborne waste to earth with cloud seeding (rain) in ‘less populated areas’ before the radiation could reach the metropolis? That’s what the Soviets did - of course the waste was so toxic that entire villages full of people died outright - but hey...they ‘saved’ the metropolis from heavy, unrecoverable contamination. Tough break living in low density areas, huh?
Now looking at the mismanagement, denial and lies and lets admit it...outright incompetence of those running our nuclear power plants (worldwide), you think we should give them thorium reactors...what...as a reward?
Those nuke people who come on to boards like FR and shriek that anyone who questions their decisions or deceptions is a tree hugger etc. Those nuclear experts who demand that the rest of us shut up or perform dosimetry calculations and “post our work” in order earn the right to participate in the public discourse around the disasterous, damaging history of nuclear power and yet who themselves do not understand the difference between bananas and radioactive cesium should just be given more nuclear power plants and never, ever be made to accept responsibility for their actions? The nuclear engineers who post dosimetry calculations which have no medical relevence...should be given a promotion?
I am suprised so see some FReepers join in the gutter with the propagandists (gee - three core melt-throughs in Japan and I feel GREAT! Now, that wasn’t so bad now was it?) I am surprised to see those who feel we should get comforatble to core melt-throughs because we have proven we can’t stop them from happening and we can’t clean them up!
You posted so many outright lies and I have so little time to reply...where to start?
Liar says: Let’s look at reality: How many were hurt or killed by radioactive attributes of the Fukushima meltdowns? Answer; none.
Reply: the..uh...”radioactive attributes”? Why word it like that? Because you are attemption to limit the count to ARS again (only those receiving such massive doss they die within days) and not counting those who will lose their health in slow, agonizing steps?
Liar: Chernobyl wasn’t a commercial reactor.....
Reply: Yeah I see that dodge alot - like somehow it matters that it wasn’t a COMMERCIAL reactor. Watch the video titled “The Battle for Chernobyl” and once again discover that mismanagement lead to the Chernobyl melt down, not the non-commercial status. Don’t believe me? Well then why didn’t the others of the same noncommercial design go too? WATER washed away Fukushima’s capacity for containment - it really doesn’t matter whether these are commercial or not.
Liar:Still it killed only three men outright. The range of excess leukemia deaths ranged from 20 to 60 deaths over five years
Reply: Still going for ‘outirght kills’ only, eh? Cancer and lifetimes robbed of health from the day of birth don’t count. WHy? Your numbers of 20-60 deaths over 5 years are more than just an offensive joke. The Soviet government made it illegal for physicians to report deaths from radiation exposure but those who lived through the disaster discovered the truth much later - then they held tribunals exposing the horror denied so many years. Oh and then researches have followed along afterwards and pooled medical information coming out of the region - yes you really have no conscinece if you can dismiss the hell those poeople have gone through and will continue to go through for countless geneartions.
Liar: The epidemiology remains in doubt because the average death rates in Chernobyl were lower than the average in most of Ukraine, and much lower than those in major cities.
Reply: Your commentary is nasuatingly fact-free and meant to decieve...wait...you MUST be a nuclear professional! I spoke with a woman whose famly lived in the region where large amounts of Chernobyl waste fell directly on the populace...everyone was ‘down’ and family members were not allowed into the region to collect the dead...nor will they ever be because it will be radioactive for thousands of years. Even the IEAE, those who were first to distort the truth by under reporting levels of radiation released by a factor of 10 (again - watch the video called the Battle For Chernobyl, Hans Blix admits they only ‘accepted’ and reported 10% of the radiation releases initially reported by the Soviets) has over the years admitted to something liek 4thousand deaths and they are known to low ball. The numbers vary because of the way the Soviets supprssed the data but even a modest figure would be 10’s of thousands in the first years and this stuff will continue to contaminate and kill for thousands of years.
Liar: In other words Chernobyl was saving 967 lives over the five years of measuring the injuries resulting from the meltdown
Reply, Read the accounts coming out of the region, those who survived, made videos, wrote diaries. What you say is grossly untrue and is at the core of why the nuclear industry has the gall to demand more resources - outright denial of catastrophe...
Liar says: When nuclear fuel is consumed by fission the radioactive atoms give up some of their energy as heat, are concentrated, shielded, and later, chemically bound for storage or, if we ever get back to it, reprocessing.
Reply - unless of course you blow it all sky high (fukushima, Chernobyl) See the containment dome was blown off of two reactors in Fukushima. TEPCO claims it was hydrogen buildup but an engineer demonstrated mathmatically that the second exploding containment dome heaved a chunk of fuel and a speed and trajectory that was only obtainable through the force generated by nuclear reaction.
Or you could wash so much radiation into the ocean that the some offshore fish caught within the past 2 months have 500x the safety limit of nuclear contamination, and have 3 nuclear corse which have melted through containmnet and now emit radioactive waste without containment. The Fukushima cores are believed to be under the basement of the buildings and there is some indication of sporadic criticality. I know, that’s not supposed to happen but then, neither are core melts...
The economics of nuclear generated electricity are massively skewed by regulatory overhead.
Reply: Oh but the government is the insurer of the plants so they save so many billions in claims by refusing to admit to damages they cause and therefore denying repsonibility to pay for it. They claim exclusive right to report how much radiation is released and what harm was done and that’s where the problem lies...
Liar says: The importance of having no air pollutants emitted while generating electricity is more obvious to the Chinese than to our bureaucrats and our naïve environmental elite.
Reply: ok your whole section is just bizarre but I’ll take a swing at the easy stuff. Don’t you think radioactive plumes as “air pollution”? The japanese have made it legal to burn heavily contaminated debris...sending it into the air again. Oh the air quality in Japan is shot anyway because three nuclear cores are exposed...well come to think of it, high levels of radioactive Xenon was detected all over the planet, even south of the equator, shortly after Fukushima went...the heavier stuff like Cesium and Plutonium were much slower moving but WHAT is your defnition of air pollution?
Liar: If you live in Minnesota, or on granite, as I do, you probably have more background radiation coming from your basement than you would from a house built over nuclear waste storage tanks
Reply: Seriously? You want to compare naturally occuring radiation to nuclear waste mismanged by the nuke industry? Man is that pathetic angle thread bare!
Liar says: But long half lives are associated with low radiation power. Grandpa’s wristwatch with the radium dial was much more radioactive. Don’t learn your physics from the Sierra Club, which, by the way, was a major supporter of nuclear power in the 60s, before some wealthy New Yorkers learned that the power lines from a new plant would be visible from their estates on the Hudson).
Reply - man you really finished off with a splat, didn’t you? Face down in your very own cesspool.
Grandpa’s radium watch is a sad tale...factory workers used to get a fine point on their radium brushes by tocching it to their lips, and then they suffered horrible types of mouth cancer and that’s why radium watches died with granpa...
Low energy radiation is more damaging to human health than high energy radiation. Want proof? Radioactive potassium in bananas is a higher energy isotope than nuclear fuel. According to the EPA, the human body is almost transparent to higher radiation emitions but incurs more damage at lower radiation levels. My professer in college conceded that this is counter intuitive - we comapre the terms ‘high level’ and ‘low level’ mentally with electricity - but the comparison is false. He said at the time (this was awhile ago) scientists believed that high energy radiation like that found in bananas (potassium 80) was believed to have enough velocity to make one trajectory as it passed through human tissue (like a high powered rifle bullet) whereas low energy radiation (like nuclear waste) did not have the same velocity and was therefore believed to richoceht around the body making multiple passes through tissue and therefore causing more damage. Oh there are many reasons why different radioactive materials damage the body at different rates etc. but low eenrgy radiation should not keep you warm at night.
Liar: Don’t learn your physics from the Sierra Club, which, by the way, was a major supporter of nuclear power in the 60s, before some wealthy New Yorkers learned that the power lines from a new plant would be visible from their estates on the Hudson).
Reply: I wish you’d bother to learn about the medical ramifications of radiation instead of just making it up. Or bother to find out the true, horrific scope of damage caused by Chernobyl, Fukushima etc. But...that’s not your job is it? Your job is to SELL.
"In 2010, one of the largest electric utilities in the country, Exelon, said that for new nuclear projects to be economically viable, natural gas would have to cost at least $8 per million Btu. Today, the price is about $3.50, and the shale-gas boom means that a price anywhere near $8 is exceedingly unlikely for years to come."
That looks like a shill for nukes?
Read the first two paragraphs again.
I just read the headline again and it says "some" so okay, as the first two paragraphs note, some have taken a position in favor of nukes.
Those some do not represent the sum total or anything close to it. Now I don't know everybody but I touch base with conservation and environmental groups and I have not heard in any conversation anyone (or even some) advocating a rush to nuclear power.
I'd ask but would probably get laughed out of the room.
I guess I was just laughing so hard at a story about environmentalists being in favor of nuclear power that I must have missed that paragraph.
Generally speaking, the notion put forward by this article that there is some mass acceptance of nukes in the conservation and environmental community is just not credible.
George Monbiot probably got tire of going hungry as an environmental writer and took a job with a utility company.
Now that may be unfair to Mr. Monbiot since I did not look it up but he is an idiot just the same for thinking we need nuclear power. We don’t.
As you no doubt already know, the San Onofre stuff is not doing well. However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that the problems are due to non-reviewed design changes to the steam turbines, and have nothing to do with the actual reactor designs (which nevertheless are “old” designs). I don’t think anyone is saying it’s ok to adopt a wild-west attitude to reactor/generation equipment design; these are still precision systems requiring staggering amounts of engineering and manufacturing. However, new designs such as the thorium systems are more safe than older designs like the vessels used at San Onofre. As the OP article points out, part of the problem, the reason so many older reactors are still in use, is that it is extremely laborious to get new reactors approved, and doubly so for reactors that aren’t using already-approved (and coincidentally 50-years-old) designs. If the approval process, and especially the ability to file frivolous lawsuits to stop approval and/or construction, are cleaned up, new safer reactors could be put in to replace older less-safe designs much more rapidly.
I very much appreciate your reply. You are obviously up to speed on these issues. And I did not miss your point regarding new reactor designs.
What happened at San Onofre is an indictment on the industry in my view, so does speak to some of the points you make. That I suppose is a good reason for interjecting it the discussion.
I do agree with you that it is possible to build and operate safe plants. I just don’t have faith in the industry.
Most of all I don’t believe nuclear reactors are necessary. We can do without them. We don’t shut them down instantly. But we should be phasing them out - quickly and in an orderly process.
San Onofre does not need to be fired back up, even at the requested 70%, to meet the electrical power needs of Southern California. That’s one old technology reactor gone. If Edison wants to make application for a new safer reactor to be put in to replace its older less-safe design, that would be another issue. Edison of course won’t propose that so they don’t agree with either you or me.
What evidence do you have that we can do without them? How do you propose to replace 800 terawatt-hours of electrical generation, 20% of the nation's entire electricity consumption?
Remember, electricity is so vital to human existence that people are infuriated when they have to go a few hours without it, and people can die when they go without it for days: eighty-seven people died of causes connected directly to the Hurricane Sandy power outages. So no hand-waving, no BS answers here, this is a life-or-death question. HOW? How will you replace 800 terawatt-hours per year of generating capacity?
You don't believe we have the ability to replace 20 percent of our electrical generation? Seriously? You don't believe that in a phased in effort that we could not reduce our reliance on nuclear by 5%, then 10% and eventually eliminate the need for nuclear completely?
With that kind of thinking we might just as well give up. I don't know if you were alive at the time, but when Kennedy announced our goal to put a man on the moon did you say no way.
You say "phased," but what does that even mean? When you take one power plant offline, you have to replace that power with something. People die without electricity, remember. What are you going to replace it with?
Electricity is not magic, it's the output of machines which convert fuel into power. And all such machines have tradeoffs, have risk-to-reward ratios, advantages and drawbacks.
But you seem to be engaged in magical thinking here, that if we just think long and hard enough about it before this decade is out, some sort of solution will appear.
Going to the moon was just a problem of shoving a large enough mass fast and hard enough to get there. There was nothing in the laws of physics obstructing it.
But the laws of physics are the solid bedrock of the problem of creating electricity. There's only so much energy you can extract from breaking carbon bonds or shuffling photons. There's only so much mass in a gallon of water behind a dam, only so many joules in a gust of wind. It's all right there in the fundamental laws of nature that describe electricity, magnetism, and atoms.
The real magical solution to this problem was invented just over 70 years ago, when the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction began, turning rocks into mind-bogglingly vast quantities of energy by leveraging Einstein's E=mc2 equation to convert matter itself directly into energy.
How else can you describe power so vast that it can propel a 100,000 ton aircraft carrier at 30 knots for 20 years on a single load of fuel that would fit under your desk, with zero emissions? Could anyone in 1940 have imagined such a thing? Such vast abundance just waiting for us to tap into it to better the lives of every last human being on the planet? And on other planets!!
Humans were not meant to scrape by, to scratch out a bleak and limited existence constrained on every side by the their lack of power. The fact that so many still do is frankly obscene. There was a man who spent TWENTY-TWO freaking years digging a road through a mountain - some people see that as inspiring and worthy of acclaim, but I see it as sick and sad that this man wasted 22 years of his life doing something that could be done in 22 weeks if only he'd had enough power at his disposal.
Thanks to the minds and imaginations of truly great people, we have a way to turn rocks - rocks!! - into virtually unlimited amounts of power; enough power to supply everyone in the world with American standards of electricity for as long as the sun will survive, without dumping waste products into the air or onto the ground like fossil fuels do on a daily basis.
That's how humans were meant to live - comfortable, prosperous, empowered. And uranium and thorium can bring that comfort, prosperity, and empowerment to every person on the planet.
Did you ever hear about the oil refinery that burned for a week after the tsunami? Yet that's the kind of energy they're doubling their use of, creating Japan's first trade deficit in 30 years to the tune of $32 billion, while Russia laughs all the way to the bank and keeps building nuclear power plants.
I did not say we convert to oil. Why are you limiting our options.
We have a nuke plant that has been offline for 18 months. Its power was thought to be necessary before it went offline. I’m talking about San Onofre. cal ISO has just issued a position that for the second summer peak season it will not be needed.
That is one nuke plant. Not every nuke plant can go offline at once. But I never said they could or should. You on the other hand seem to be arguing against any movement to replace nuclear as if that goal is impossible. Do you believe it to be impossible?
I have personal experience with California electricity - I lived in what’s now described as one of the most generation-deficient areas of the state - San Jose - during the blackouts and the brownouts. I personally measured 107 volts coming from my wall socket. I also witnessed the pitched but futile battle against the construction of Calpine’s Metcalf 600MW gas-turbine power plant, across the way from the county shooting range I frequented, which now spews three tons of emissions per day into the atmosphere.
In 2008 to 2009 California shed 1.3 million non-farm jobs, don’t you think that might have had an effect on electricity demand?
You point out that the San Onofre capacity is not needed right now, but with its nearly 2.5 gigawatts offline, the power instead has to come - in the best possible case - from four plants like Metcalf running at 100% capacity 24x7x365, spewing twelve tons of emissions per day. Does California’s air need twelve tons per day that could be completely eliminated by SONGS?
And what happens if California through some miracle turns its abusive and job-killing government around and starts to grow again like it did in the old days, instead of turning into Northern Mexico as they seem determined to do? Converting everyone to LED lightbulbs will only get you so far - eventually, somewhere, someone has to build and use a machine to turn fuel into electricity, because people die without electricity.
I certainly don’t believe it’s “impossible” to shut down all nuclear power plants. Japan did it, Germany’s doing it. But what I do believe is that the costs of doing so - in fuel, in pollution, in a life-or-death addiction to an uninterrupted supply of fuel sucking away our wealth and our freedom - would be far more staggering than you seem to realize. I’m not interested in seeing nations cut their own throats - even Germany.
Japan was $32 billion in the hole after only one year because they shut down perfectly good power plants on the basis of irrational hysteria, and thus more than doubled their fossil fuel consumption. And that $32 billion is just the smallest beginning of their economic suicide. America should never, ever go down that road.
According to information obtained several months later, the MAXIMUM potential dose of radiation to anyone was 5.2E-5 millirem (0.000000052 rem) which is one billion times lower than the annual limit for radiation workers at the time that I first became a nuclear energy professional.
For this vanishingly small amount of radiation, about 10 million times lower than you get from bananas every year, you're willing to spew, best case, 12 tons of emissions per day into the atmosphere. Shouldn't it tell you something when people like Feinstein and Markey are leading the charge? That maybe you should be on the opposite side?
You omit from your data the square miles of land lost in a nuclear plant accident. In an assessment of risks and benefits, especially in a densely populated urban or suburban area, the risk in the case of failure is great. That can’t be argued. You can argue the likely hood of failure. On that point, you can only be proved correct if no large scale accident occurs and I can only be proved correct if one does.
I have a few examples on my side of that argument, albeit in other countries, most notably Japan. We do have the example in this country of San Onofre only in the failure of a system that was caught in time, a failure that was known even before the system was installed.
You make a good point about the day to day impacts regarding emissions from alternative forms of electrical generation using natural gas or fossil fuels.
I admit my opposition to nuclear plants is based on an assessment of the larger risk. I view them as so catastrophic as not worth the risk.
The company I keep on this issue is irrelevant unless the standard is to be blindly partisan. I’m not.
In the Kingston fly ash slurry spill, "1.1 billion US gallons (4,200,000 m3) of coal fly ash slurry was released. The coal-fired power plant, located across the Clinch River from the city of Kingston, uses ponds to dewater the fly ash, a byproduct of coal combustion, which is then stored in wet form in dredge cells. The slurry (a mixture of fly ash and water) traveled across the Emory River and its Swan Pond embayment, on to the opposite shore, covering up to 300 acres (1.2 km2) of the surrounding land, damaging homes and flowing up and down stream in nearby waterways such as the Emory River and Clinch River (tributaries of the Tennessee River). It was the largest fly ash release in United States history."
It's been estimated that a million people die prematurely from coal emissions around the world every year.
An oil refinery in Chiba Japan burned for ten days, spewing black toxic smoke the whole time, but everyone was apparently fixated on Fukushima, where there were zero radiaiton-related deaths.
Chernobyl was a nuclear weapons production facility with electricity as a side job, with a tin roof as "containment," and even though it blew its guts apart and scattered them across the landscape, only 64 people died due to acute radiation poisoning. Wildlife is flourishing in the exclusion zone. I wonder how many people were evacuated from Chernobyl only to be resettled in one of the Soviet Union's many chemically-toxic wastelands?
And the number of city blocks completely levelled by natural gas explosions continues to rise every year, but because it's not "nuclear," it doesn't get national press coverage.
And even at Fukushima, which was far and away the worst accident at a comparatively modern commercial reactor, nobody was killed by radiation, and nobody is expected to die early. The plant survived a literally earth-shattering quake and could have been restarted - but things only went south when the tsunami flooded their backup generators.
In early 2013, The World Health Organization (WHO) released a comprehensive health risk assessment report which concluded that, for the general population inside and outside of Japan, the predicted health risks are small, and that no observable increases in cancer rates above background rates are expected.
The thing about nuclear fuel is that the energy source is so compact, so dense, that you can afford to build layer after layer of protection around it and contain every last scrap of waste within those layers. An amount of fuel that would fit under a desk is enough to power an enormous submarine for 14 years, running inside an airtight vessel. That is to say, ZERO emissions.
Every power source comes with risks, but the fact is that you can count the list of serious nuclear powerplant accidents over the last fifty years on one hand should tell you something. The fact that Three Mile Island exposed someone at the fence of the plant to the equivalent radiation of a single cross-country airline flight is not "catastrophic."
You say that they're "so catastrophic," but actual recorded history of commercial electrical power doesn't support that assertion.
And it's possible to build nuclear systems in such a way that they CANNOT fail catastrophically, bound by the fundamental laws of physics.
Chernobyl was a nuclear weapons production facility with electricity as a side job, with a tin roof as “containment,” and even though it blew its guts apart and scattered them across the landscape, only 64 people died due to acute radiation poisoning. Wildlife is flourishing in the exclusion zone. I wonder how many people were evacuated from Chernobyl only to be resettled in one of the Soviet Union’s many chemically-toxic wastelands?
“Only 64 people died due to acute radiation poisoning.”
Well - this is not true of course. The Soviets didn’t want people to panic so they allowed an outdoor parade and celebration to take place in the shadow of the smoldering ruins of Chernobyl. They didn’t evacuate the town until they did calculations on current dose and figured out everyone still in town would be dead in a week or so. The Soviets made it illegal to report people dying of radiation.
In the aftermath of the explosion - ambulance personnel transported firemen and other victims to nearby hospitals taking no precautionary measures at all. Highly radioactive ambulances would drive up and unload highly radioactive people who would be taken to treatment rooms and treated by medical staff there - not one person had any protection from the massive levels of radiation they were exposed to.
A woman wrote of her experience during this time - her husband was a fireman and when she visited him in the hospital, she was told that his body was emitting so much radiation she could not hug or approach him - they told her he was effectively a reactor himself (to get her to understand the gravity). She wrote of his grueling death. She visited him through the days of his suffering and would only realize much later that medical staff were dying all around her- dropping rapidly from their exposure. Basically she didn’t notice the turnover in staff and no one was permitted to speak of it. Large numbers of people went to hospitals in the first few days of CHernobyl. They were then forcibly ejected when declared ‘cured’ even though they were not.
I just spoke with someone whose family lived in the region during Chernobyl. Her relatives lived in outlying areas and as the heavily radioactive plume extended toward populous areas, the Soviets seeded the clouds to knock down the radiation. The effect was so toxic that the people living in those rural areas were killed outright and she and other family members were not allowed to go into the area and recover the bodies.
WHen the Soviet Union fell, the people held hearings and discovered that the claims that people weren’t harmed by Chernobyl were blatant lies. As always, the officials responsible for the deceit said they didn’t want to cause panic. Videos like “The Battle For Chernobyl” reveal a shockingly different picture than the rosey “only 64 people died” meme. And can someone tell me why it doesn’t matter if people die more slowly from radiation? The pro nuke position is to cite SARS only deaths (massive doses resulting in death within days) as if cancer and leukemia etc. don’t count. Being born and raised in regions contaminated with radioactive waste doesn’t count even with all the debility and birth defects?
Well the Soviets created an ‘exclusion zone’ (high contamination) where people still can’t live but officials couldn’t find enough space to move that many people so they were forced to live in contaminated zones. And this will be true of the region for many many generations.
Early on, the Japanese said that they had “Learned the lessons of Chernobyl.” This might be why the Japanese have refused to help people leave portions of Fukushima that are as contaminated as Soviet Union’s ‘exclusion zone’. This might explain why the Japanese diligently shipped radioactive produce throughout Japan (don’t want the Fukushima region to have more cases of cancer/leukemia than the rest of Japan now do we?) and burn radioactive waste etc. Oh and Hilary made a public statement welcoming Japanese exported fruits, vegetables etc.
It’s not just health that Fukushima is damaging for those exposed. It’s entire ways of life. There’s a Japanese video of a family who has for generations raised elite horses. The family had to leave for public safety (too radioactive) and the family patriarch stayed behind until their last prized horse gave birth to her foal. They look out over the beautiful landscape and marvel that it could harm them. THey must leave and not come back. Ever.
Farmers in Fukushmia are given the option of not selling their radioactive tea or wheat crops. Japan gives them this option so Japan will not have to compensate them which they would have to do if they prohibited them from selling their crops.
That’s the real cost saving behind nuclear power - use the government to underwrite the power plant and when disasters happen, deny legitimate claims.
There’s been Freepers who have come to threads like this and said something like “What about above ground testing? That never hurt anyone...” and then there’d be a post from another Freeper responding “My wife is a Downwinder. She is the only surviving member of her school that was downwind. Everyone else died of cancer etc.” So I looked into the term Downwinder and discovered that years of denial on the part of the US regarding any hazard above ground nuclear testing presented to people were of course false. People and their livelihoods suffered greatly (entire flocks of sheep or herds of cattle down and no compensation) but of course if it’s not ARS then the pro nuke lobby doesn’t care. But I read about the financial settlements taking place - the gov doesn’t have to pay as much if you wait for most people to die. And they never accepted responsibility for damaging quality of life. It’s not just death - what about quality of life? Would it be ok if radiation had only caused those kids downwind a medical suffering but they didn’t die?
If you’re like me, you heard that 3 Mile Island was all blown out of proportion at the time, right?
Go back now and read how it was worse than admitted at the time. Read the accounts of people experience negative effects from 3 Mile that were denied by the power plant. Pools of iodine colored rainwater on the back porch and a brand new 50 year roof eaten through overnight? Not the power plant’s fault! (That kind of thing happens all the time, am I right?/s) The accounts of people being hit with a metallic tasting blast of air and then experiencing medical effects that can’t be explained. (No not even the popular ‘hysteria’ meme). For example, one women’s kidney simply resolved itself (disappeared). Her physician couldn’t explain why that would happen but noted that it was consistent with exposure to radiation.
The reason people point to cost savings re nuclear power is that those responsible never have to pay those they harm.
It isn’t superstition - it’s science. The harmful effects of radiation are well documented and medical studies extend back to the 50’s. Current, state of the art research continues to expand the documented evidence that ionizing radiation is harmful to human health.
“And it’s possible to build nuclear systems in such a way that they CANNOT fail catastrophically, bound by the fundamental laws of physics.”
That is true gall on your part. This very same meme was in effect for decades. Any concern the public had re radiation was batted back in their face with the assertion that the containment of nuke plants was by design impossible to breach. This was a statement made on countless NRC and other nuke publications. They treated it as law and cited it as often. I THOUGHT that when Fukushima had 3 catastrophic failures and now that molten fuel rests somewhere in the basement of the power plants, people like you would stop asserting that it’s possible to design a no fail system.
DId you see the flooding back east? How about that nuke plan immersed in water all the way to the roof. Yeah I am SURE that was all part of the plan, eh?
Nuclear waste cannot be removed from the large expanses of arable land now contaminated in Japan. In fact, scientists studying the Chernobyl region have been surprise to discover that the soil around the destroyed plant is actually now MORE contaminated than back in the 80’s. They have no explanation for that.
The evidence is there. Damage via radiation is not theoretical. If you don’t believe that I have some land to sell you in the Ukraine.
National Academy of Sciences publication is a good place to start: http://dels-old.nas.edu/dels/rpt_briefs/beir_vii_final.pdf
The “BEIR VII develops the most up-to-date and comprehensive risk estimates for cancer and other
health effects from exposure to low-level ionizing radiation. “
According to the BEIR VII study “Very high doses can produce damaging effects in tissues that can be evident within
days after exposure. Late effects such as cancer, which can occur after more modest doses including the
lowdose exposures that are the subject of this report, may take many years to develop.”
There are people suffering the lasting effects of radioactive contamination in the Ukraine right now. No covering it up anymore. Even the duplicitous IAEA admits to more deaths than you do and their charter states they support nuclear power. (How honest is the IAEA? THey received information from Gorbachev regarding the amount of radiation released by CHernobyl and ‘accepted’ 10 percent of that value as official. Don’t believe me - watch Gorbachev and Hans Blix both say it on film in “The Battle For Chernobyl”) Check out the IAEA website - sure it low balls the damage done to life and limb but it does admit to at least 4000 deaths: http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/chernobyl/faqs.shtml
Here’s a quote from that page:
“For the majority of the five million people living in the contaminated areas, exposures are within the recommended dose limit for the general public, though about 100,000 residents still receive more. Remediation of those areas and application of some agricultural countermeasures continues. “
Yeah 100000 people living in zones that even the IAEA will admit is contaminated! That is saying something.
You say:I wonder how many people were evacuated from Chernobyl only to be resettled in one of the Soviet Union’s many chemically-toxic wastelands?
I say: Had it occurred to you that both situations are preventable? People shouldn’t be forced to live in toxic waste or radioactive waste?
The peddlers of fossil fuel want you to believe the exaggerations and outright lies about Fukushima and Chernobyl, and ignore burning refineries and exploding neighborhoods, because nuclear power is the only real threat to their leviathan cash flow.
WHO had a nasty habit of publishing things that the IAEA did not like. Laws were ammended to require WHO to submit reports regarding radiation hazards to IAEA for approval before publication. I’ll find a better link if I have time but this document words it softly:http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Magazines/Bulletin/Bull373/37305381015.pdf
Note that the right side of page 3 says that a practice has been developed (no mention of the legal requirement) whereby manuals, standards, regulations and recommendations are issued under ‘joint sponsorship’ including the IAEA, FAO and WHO.
WHO did vow about 2 years ago to escape the yoke of IAEA approval but has not been able to do so.
Here’s a good video re effects of Chernobyl (Toxicologist who participated in international study).
Includes at the 3:40 mark a description of WHO’s submission to IAEA, an ‘agreement’ that was reached in 1959 and has never been changed. More mention of the agreement and modern protests against it at the 10:38 mark. The agreement is referred to as “WHA 12-40.”
At the 5:30 minute mark, the toxicologist addresses the issue of the problem being worse than she had heard. It’s a 29 minute video - lots of good information. She makes the point that Chernobyl is not contained, it’s seeping into the ground water and the structure covering is unsound. We don’t hear that from the IAEA do we?
Some depressing maps in the video showing world wide impact.
At the 13:30 mark, only 20% of children are considered healthy in Belarus compared with pre Chernobyl population. I remember reading earlier documentation from international researchers saying that soon after Chernobyl, “Most children in Belarus were sick...” Another pro nuke international report said that after Chernobyl, “all instances of disease increased”. I had to go back and read that twice. Exposure to radiation suppressed immune systems so people sicken and or die from diseases they could otherwise resist.
22:15 she says “we need to separate the WHO from IAEA...”
She says she worked for the AEC (Atomic Energy COmmision) in 1952. She laments the secrecy and lies, coverups, falsification of data used to protect the nuclear power industry.
She makes the point in the last few minutes of the video that we can’t depend on humans to operate this technology and notes that Chernobyl was human failure. Having watched the documentary videos and read the reports - I too came to this realization, particularly after watching “The Battle for Chernobyl” on Youtube. The video I linked above (toxicologist) hi-lights a US reactor that almost had a melt through (within one inch of melting through containment) because of poor maintenance.
The reason people dare to claim that radiation is harmless is because of government collusion with nuclear power (a match made in hades) - together they cast decades of research proving the harmful effects of radiation as mere ‘superstition’ and minimize the suffering they cause. Medical Researcher and “Father of Plutonium” was initially a hero for discovering plutonium and helping provide Oppenheim with needed isotopes on a deadline. But now the nuclear power industry hates him because, when his medical research demonstrated the harmful effects of radiation on humans (and this was late 1950’s) they HAD to try to discredit him. They stripped his colleagues of labs and funds and try to destroy his reputation. The National Academy of Sciences stood by him back then - which was a real shock because the gov funds the NAS. The government and the nuclear power industry had access to medical evidence for decades...but they act like were just being superstitious if we cite it.
Ah at the end of my post I left off the name of the “Father of Plutonium”, John Gofman.
All the wild claims of damage from Three Mile Island through mysterious and unexplained/inexplicable physical mechanisms couldn't possibly be coming from opportunistic cretins looking to cash in, could they?
I've seen pictures of plants that obviously had been treated with 2-4D weed killer presented as "evidence" of damage from Fukushima.
The effects and mechanisms of radiation exposure are well-understood and fully characterized. The survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are carefully studied to this day. If someone claims that their kidney "disappeared" - are they sure they had two to begin with? And how is that "consistent with radiation exposure?" How many survivors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima had their kidneys "disappear?" And I doubt many doctors have heard of emphysematous pyelonephritis, either.
"Metallic tasting blast of air?" From what, an above-ground nuclear test? We're talking about nuclear power plants, not nuclear bombs here.
Obviously, high levels of ionizing radiation are harmful to human health - nobody is trying to deny that.
What I object to is this idea that a 0.0000001% increase over background radiation levels that humanity has lived with since the dawn of time is catastrophic, and the idea that this tiny risk represents a reason to shut down one of the only emissions-free sources of large-scale base-load electricity in order to enslave ourselves to the fossil-fuel pushers. Buying iodine pills in Seattle because of Fukushima? F---ing stupid. People need to get a grip.
There are reactor designs that are constrained by the laws of physics such that they cannot generate enough heat to melt the fuel, even with a complete absence of external cooling. The hotter they get, the less power they produce. But since it takes a decade or more to get approval for a design, we keep running the outdated plants like those at Fukushima.
Flooded to the roof? What power plant are you talking about? Ft. Calhoun in Nebraska? No... That was designed to deal with 10 feet of floodwater and got only four or so. "Back east?" Oyster Creek, maybe? No... Which one?
Let’s start with your most deceiptful comment first:
What I object to is this idea that a 0.0000001% increase over background radiation levels that humanity has lived with since the dawn of time is catastrophic, and the idea that this tiny risk represents a reason to shut down one of the only emissions-free sources of large-scale base-load electricity in order to enslave ourselves to the fossil-fuel pushers. Buying iodine pills in Seattle because of Fukushima? F-—ing stupid. People need to get a grip.
Nuke apologists always average the increase in background radiation. Of course such an ‘average’ is about as useful as averaging the body temperatures of all patients in a hospital. In Japan, the increase in background radiation is several orders of magnitude and it will be for countless generations. Do you think the people suffering the effects of living their entire lives in contaminated zones will rejoice when they hear that the planetary increase in background radiation is low? Does dumping radioactive waste into the environment just ‘not count’ until you raise the entire planetary average by 10%?
Hmmmm....why did people living in Seattle buy iodine? Well because they knew that they would be lied to and probably decided to look after themselves. In Fukushima, the government ordered city leaders NOT to distribute iodine tablets. Don’t want to cause ‘panic’ do we? ‘Panic’ is the code word for ‘don’t want to accept responsibility for our actions’.
Or perhaps they were watching news reports in the US which indicated air monitors were detecting radioactive isotopes and were therefore being removed from service (Radnet). Or maybe they looked at this map of the minute amounts of sampling done in the US (don’t want to find anything right? keep sampling to a minimum) which indicated fallout reached the US? http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es203217u
Here’s a quote from a related page “Variable amounts of 131I, 134Cs, or 137Cs were measured at approximately 21% of sampled NADP sites distributed widely across the contiguous United States and Alaska. Calculated 1- to 2-week individual radionuclide deposition fluxes ranged from 0.47 to 5100 Becquerels per square meter during the sampling period. “ http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es203217u
If nuclear power had a history of honesty, people living in Seattle would be far less likely to take the action that some apparently did. Lied to, deceived, and pro active - they earn the contempt and wrath of those who lie to them.
What possible physical mechanism connected to any kind of problem at any kind of nuclear power plant could eat through a new roof “overnight” as claimed? I have iodine-colored rainwater sometimes too - it’s from dead leaves.
All the wild claims of damage from Three Mile Island through mysterious and unexplained/inexplicable physical mechanisms couldn’t possibly be coming from opportunistic cretins looking to cash in, could they?
An ‘event’ happens, is denied, those reporting medical responses to said event are ridiculed...this is routine you know? Ever heard of Downwinders? Do you think the nuclear power industries shoddy history has anything to do with the public’s response to being dismissed? WIth the nuclear power plant’s history of ‘lie and deny’ from it’s inception?
I’ve seen pictures of plants that obviously had been treated with 2-4D weed killer presented as “evidence” of damage from Fukushima.
Yes the lies and coverups of the nuke industry sometimes come back to bite them, don’t they? Observers noting the weed killer on a website I was frequenting back then wondered why the Japanese sprayed weed killer on the plants around the power plant. Some theorized it was to conceal the impending death of the plants but I’ve never heard an explanation. Given that nuclear fuel was ejected from the reactor, we won’t have to look to vegetation for the ‘effects’ of Fukushima:
Newly released neutron data from three University of California San Diego scientists confirms Fairewinds’ April analysis that the nuclear core at Fukushima Daiichi turned on and off after TEPCO claimed its reactors had been shutdown. This periodic nuclear chain reaction (inadvertent criticality) continued to contaminate the surrounding environment and upper atmosphere with large doses of radioactivity. In a second area of concern, Fairewinds disagrees the NRC’s latest report claiming that all Fukushima spent fuel pools had no problems following the earthquake. In a new revelation, the NRC claims that the plutonium found more than 1 mile offsite actually came from inside the nuclear reactors.”http://www.fairewinds.com/content/new-data-supports-previous-fairewinds-analysis-contamination-spreads-japan-and-worldwide
The effects and mechanisms of radiation exposure are well-understood and fully characterized.
And fully denied and lied about. One writer had this to say re TMI: “I read everything I could lay my hands on, groping for the truth behind the evasive reports published by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. I finally read verbatim transcripts of the Commissioners’ meeting held the day after the accident. The words these men said to each other stunned me. They had no idea what was happening and no idea how to stop it. And meanwhile they were issuing reassuring reports to the public.” http://www.ratical.org/radiation/inetSeries/nwJWG.html
The survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are carefully studied to this day. If someone claims that their kidney “disappeared” - are they sure they had two to begin with? And how is that “consistent with radiation exposure?” How many survivors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima had their kidneys “disappear?” And I doubt many doctors have heard of emphysematous pyelonephritis, either.
John Gofman (http://www.rightlivelihood.org/gofman.html and an excellent overview of his contributions to science here: http://www.nirs.org/radiation/gofman.pdf) documents the ways in which researchers worked to scramble the data on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki studies. Now WHY would researchers want to do THAT?
Oh and he wasn’t alone in determining that, by design, the study of A-bomb survivors was designed in such a way that it would be blind to actual genetic harm done to people:
* In other words, when the study was initiated, it was expected in advance that such a study would be inherently incapable of detecting the radiation-induction of inherited afflictions at any statistically significant level. The famous negative “findings” were built-in before the study began. “
Here’s another quote re the intentional distortion of the data: Gofman recognizes how easy it is to slant research on the effects
of radiation, and how important it is to be meticulous in
discovering these effects. The study of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki
survivors and those affected by the Chernobyl accident provide
essential data bases for the effects of ionizing radiation on
human health. If such research work is poorly designed or biased,
false conclusions will enter the textbooks and become medical lore
for very many years to come. The resulting misinformation can lead
to untold human suffering, magnified over time. Thus a trustworthy
data base is a sacred obligation to humanity.In the cases of both the atomic bomb survivors and the Chernobyl
study, he has shown how standard rules of research have been
violated. For example, in 1986 the original groupings (called
cohorts) of the atomic bomb survivors were shuffled. Doing such a
shuffle of data allows you to arrange for results you like. Gofman
has shown the effects of this shuffle using the old and new data
bases. The new data base suggests that low dose radiation is less
harmful per dose-unit than high dose radiation. The original data
base suggests the opposite. The retroactively altered data base
can be construed as consistent with threshold speculations,
whereas the unaltered data base argues strongly against any “safe
*The best overview of Gofman’s analysis re the distortion about the A-bomb studies is mid-way down the page under the title “4. Criticism of the A-Bomb Study” http://www.ratical.org/radiation/CNR/RIC/chp5F.html
“Metallic tasting blast of air?” From what, an above-ground nuclear test? We’re talking about nuclear power plants, not nuclear bombs here.
Apparently you are unaware that persons exposed to radiation (including medical uses) report a metallic taste in their mouth and you are likewise unaware of the event at TMI and also you are unaware that containment domes exploded at Fukushima.
Obviously, high levels of ionizing radiation are harmful to human health - nobody is trying to deny that.
Obviously even low levels of radiation are harmful to human health. The nuke pimps are always trying to limit the discussion of radiation health impacts to ARS (acute radiation sickness) but for decades medical research has proven that low levels, even those found in x-rays contribute to cancer. John Gofman’s work influenced the acknowledgement in the medical community that medical uses of radiation contribute to cancer risk - that’s why we now sign a medical release acknowledging radiation hazards when we have isotope treatments/xrays etc. Gofman was the first to reveal xray risks.
There are reactor designs that are constrained by the laws of physics such that they cannot generate enough heat to melt the fuel, even with a complete absence of external cooling. The hotter they get, the less power they produce. But since it takes a decade or more to get approval for a design, we keep running the outdated plants like those at Fukushima.
Nuke pimps always claim that the public is responsible for disasters like Fukushima because we won’t approve more designs which they deem ‘safer’. The problem with nuclear power is the people involved - the people are the weakest link. For example, nuke pimps treated the public’s concerns with contempt for years and rejected caution with statements declaring that it was physically impossible for containment to fail.
We have three nuclear cores which have melted through containment structures in Fukushima right now and the nuke pimps haven’t changed their story. Most disheartening (to me) was that there was an insider email circulated shortly after Fukushima explaining that the nuke industry officials were aware of a design flaw that could (and did) result in containment failure. Watch the youtube video “The Battle For Chernobyl” and discover that the design of the reactor was less of a problem than the people running the reactor. Incompetent management.
The nuke industry lies and treats the public with contempt. They damage human health and ridicule those who object. WHy give employees like these a promotion?(thorium) Is it possible that the nuke industry fouled it’s own nest, and our nests, so much that we don’t trust them or want them to do us any more ‘favors’? Oh yes, shortly after Fukushima some nuke engineer on FR sneered that the people of Fukushima or Japan for that matter, had no reason to object because they’d gotten cheap energy for years!
Flooded to the roof? What power plant are you talking about? Ft. Calhoun in Nebraska? No... That was designed to deal with 10 feet of floodwater and got only four or so. “Back east?” Oyster Creek, maybe? No... Which one?
If I have time, I’ll look for the links on FR.
Okay, that's just bullshit. You can pull up the real-time radiation monitoring graphs right on the web and see that it's bullshit.
Per the link, the highest radiation level in the immediate vicinity of Fukushima Daiichi is 7 microsieverts per hour. This compares to about five microsieverts per hour during an airline flight, and is a bit over ONE order of magnitude - not "several" - higher than typical urban background levels of 0.25 microsieverts per hour. And that's right in the plant's back yard.
And "countless generations?" You do realize that people are living and working in both Nagasaki and Hiroshima, don't you? How many generations is that, three? I can count that high.
Your ‘real time monitoring’ - locations and calibration are set by the gov and Tepco. Try the links below for locations not shown in your politically correct map:
I guess you never read up on Nagasaki and Hiroshima,eh? Ironically, nuclear bombs leave less radioactive contamination behind than do nuclear power plants with molten cores which have escaped containment. Nuclear bombs are more efficient in converting matter to energy (most of the fuel is converted to energy and is typically exploded one time above ground). Yes I know people live in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
Fukushima continues to release isotopes today and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. There is no known way of containment. Even Chernobyl is secreting isotopes into the ground water. Part of the fuel that Fukushima has distributed in the region contains long lasting isotopes which have half lives of thousands of years. Even Cesium and Strontium will take hundreds of years to diminish significantly.
So you posit a vast government/industry conspiracy to in order rebut live web links to real-time radiation monitoring systems, such that they are underreporting radiation levels by a factor of 100,000-1,000,000 (to get to “several orders of magnitude”), is that right?
Anyone can buy a Geiger counter and make their own readings. People who work for Tepco have children too.
You say Cs and Sr will need “hundreds of years to diminish significantly...”
The half-life of Cs-137 is 30 years, and that of Sr-90 about the same. Wouldn’t you call 50% a “significantly” diminished? 75% after 60 years? 7/8 after 90 years? That’s not “hundreds of years.”
You’re just completely off the rails here, man.
You’re off the rails again. It isn’t much of a conspiracy. Even back in 1960’s the NRC directed it’s scientists to prevent a researcher from publishing facts about above ground nuclear testing which proved that the US government under reported the amount of radiation released by 90%. The researchers met with the angry scientist and didn’t know what was expected of them so they asked him a few questions, made a few suggestions and ‘let him go’ publish. The NRC management threw a tantrum - he said they were to have stopped him. The scientist released his research proving the government lied (under reported by 90%)to the detriment of the health and well-fare of it’s people and...crickets. Nothing happened. They lie - they get away with it.
The Downwinder’s demanded their day in court. The government allowed it - but barred the victims’ veterinarian’s from testifying and sent in their own government vet and...can you figure out how that trial turned out?
Three Mile Island: Only the power plant’s radiation estimates get recorded as official. He who writes history...
Before the nuclear accident, the average background radiation level in Tokyo was slightly above 0.03 microsievert/hour. So what did you think of the discovery of 23,300 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium in a park in Tokyo? That’s several orders of magnitude larger than original background radiation. When diminished 7/8, it’s 2912.5 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium which is still 5 decimal points above original background - and still damaging to people, plants and animals.
You don’t think that there’s only one spot like that in all of Japan, do you? Or that the Japanese government is posting information about such highly radioactive hot spots? (must avoid ‘panic’, right?) or that it is even looking for them, right? You do understand that there are entire mountain ranges that are considered too radioactive to visit for the traditional viewing of the cherry blossoms, right? SO the official stance is that the ‘trees are resting’ from being visited too much in the past.
The more optimistic radiation maps distributed by the Japanese government were created by helicopter - off the ground the radiation is measured...ahem lower. Several schools in Fukushima have radiation monitors in the front yard. Those monitors are set up to measure higher off the ground than necessary (again it lowers the reading) so others have come along and set up ‘real’ radiation monitors right next to them to display the disparity.
Here’s a quote “Radiation Exposure
About a fifth of the 1,600 schools in Fukushima are exposed to at least 20 millisieverts of radiation a year, the Network to Protect Fukushima Children from Radiation said, citing the most recent government readings in April. Thats the limit for an atomic plant worker set by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.”
Or as you said, any citizen can buy a geiger counter: Here’s a photo of a citizen measuring the radiation in front of a junior high school (shown in the background). The radiation there is 0.54 microsievert/hour. So five days of school could be 21.6 microsieverts of exposure per child. But of course that’s not their total dose because they move around, go inside etc and then they go home to live in an area contaminated by radiation an eat/drink contaminated food and water. (Fukushima)
Note that this last link has a good radiation contour map made by an independent Japanese scientist. Any citizen can buy a Geiger counter...
This series of maps is excellent: http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/search?q=radiation+map
Here’s a quote:
“Use of school yard:
On April 14 in Kanagawa, iodine-131 was detected at 48,000 becquerels/square meters, and cesium-134 and cesium-137 were detected at 53,000 becquerels/square meters each on the surface of the soil with small gravels.” http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/05/professor-kunihiko-takeda-teachers-wake.html
As long as the government downplays levels of radiation, it refuses to compensate the residents for moving out of the area, losing jobs, houses etc.
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