Nuclear Musings

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

75px-AbombOperationSandstoneApril1948It has always seemed to me that the use of nuclear energy is a bad idea given the current technology. My opinion is perhaps formed because I was in school during the 1950’s and due to the “Cold War” and the bomb tests, there developed in most of us, a deep fear of nuclear annihilation. I can remember watching in fascinated fear, in 1952, as they exploded a Hydrogen Bomb at Eniwetok, one of the Marshall Islands. The blast was covered on TV as I guess a reassurance to the American People of the power and might of our government and to give us a feeling of safety from those “Commies” in the USSR. Being eight years old at the time this demonstration of US power was not comforting in the slightest. We had “duck and cover” exercises in Elementary School, where we would go under our desks and cover our eyes in case of a nuclear attack. Given the actual nuclear explosions I had witnessed on TV, the idea that “duck and cover” would save me cast a skeptical suspicion in my eight year old mind.

120px-Atombombentest_Greenhouse-GeorgeAs I grew I learned that beyond the immediate effect of a nuclear blast, the subsequent radiation was even more dangerous. Radiation poisoning could maim you and it could kill you in a slow, lingering death. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings did more than just kill many people. Beyond the maiming of the immediate victims who survived, we learned about the rates of cancer which were off the charts, especially in the infants of pregnant women. As the threat of nuclear destruction faded, the idea of radiation poisoning was nevertheless present as the United States began using nuclear power and a large industry sprang up around it. The industry was fostered by the then named Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which was soon in thrall of the industry it was supposed to regulate. As with cigarette smoking the stories of rising cancer rates were downplayed by the AEC and the “nuclear industry. The AEC has now become the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) because the AEC had developed the reputation as an industry shill, rather than regulator. This is hardly a surprise because it seems that all government regulation today is in the hands of industry lobbyists and an exchange program where the regulators find jobs with the industry they regulate. The “revolving door”.This Wiki article on nuclear power is rather even handed in its approach, but will supply you with all the background you might need on nuclear power plants: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_plant One item from it sets up my thoughts for today:

“In many countries, plants are often located on the coast, in order to provide a ready source of cooling water for the essential service water system. As a consequence the design needs to take the risk of flooding and tsunamis into account. The World Energy Council (WEC) argues disaster risks are changing and increasing the likelihood of disasters such as earthquakes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons, flooding.[29] High temperatures, low precipitation levels and severe droughts may lead to fresh water shortages.[29] Seawater is corrosive and so nuclear energy supply is likely to be negatively affected by the fresh water shortage.[29] This generic problem may become increasingly significant over time.[29] Failure to calculate the risk of flooding correctly lead to a Level 2 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale during the 1999 Blayais Nuclear Power Plant flood,[30] while flooding caused by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami lead to the Fukushima I nuclear accidents.[31]

The design of plants located in seismically active zones also requires the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis to be taken into account. Japan, India, China and the USA are among the countries to have plants in earthquake-prone regions. Damage caused to Japan’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant during the 2007 Chūetsu offshore earthquake[32][33] underlined concerns expressed by experts in Japan prior to the Fukushima accidents, who have warned of a genpatsu-shinsai (domino-effect nuclear power plant earthquake disaster).[34]

In this time of global warning worries, with the distinct signs of a rising sea level, nevertheless the economics are such that the optimal way to build nuclear plants is by large bodies of water, preferably the ocean. Which brings me to the disaster at the Fukishima Nuclear Plant in Japan:

“The Fukushima nuclear disaster illustrated the dangers of building multiple nuclear reactor units close to one another. This proximity triggered the parallel, chain-reaction accidents that led to hydrogen explosions damaging reactor buildings and water draining from open-air spent fuel pools — a situation that was potentially more dangerous than the loss of reactor cooling itself. Because of the closeness of the reactors, Plant Director Masao Yoshida “was put in the position of trying to cope simultaneously with core meltdowns at three reactors and exposed fuel pools at three units”.

Some more about Fukushima:

“The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster  Fukushima Dai-ichi was an energy accident at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, initiated primarily by the tsunami of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011.[5] The damage caused by the tsunami produced equipment failures, and without this equipment a Loss of Coolant Accident followed with nuclear meltdowns and releases of radioactive materials beginning on March 12.[6] It is the largest nuclear disaster” since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 and the second disaster (along with Chernobyl) to measure Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale,[7] releasing an estimated 10 to 30% of the radiation of the Chernobyl accident.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_nuclear_disaster

A September 1, 2013 story from the BBC related that the radiation levels around the Fukushima Nuclear Plant are now 18 times higher than was initially thought. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23918882

“The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) had originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was around 100 millisieverts an hour. However, the company said the equipment used to make that recording could only read measurements of up to 100 millisieverts. The new recording, using a more sensitive device, showed a level of 1,800 millisieverts an hour.The new reading will have direct implications for radiation doses received by workers who spent several days trying to stop the leak last week, the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports from Tokyo.

In addition, Tepco says it has discovered a leak on another pipe emitting radiation levels of 230 millisieverts an hour. The plant has seen a series of water leaks and power failures. The 2011 tsunami knocked out cooling systems to the reactors, three of which melted down. The damage from the tsunami has necessitated the constant pumping of water to cool the reactors. This is believed to be the fourth major leak from storage tanks at Fukushima since 2011 and the worst so far in terms of volume.”

It doesn’t surprise me that these new revelations have come out re-estimating the radiation levels at Fukishima. I am in the camp one could describe as skeptical and/or hostile to the nuclear industry. However, I’ve supplied enough information in the various links above and below for people to come to a different conclusion. Indeed, I realize that nuclear power has many beneficial pluses to it use. My specific worries can be classified as its danger to the surrounding community, the long lasting after effects of nuclear radiation and the fact that industry invariably co-opts its regulators. When these factors are put together with the business imperative, which must always be to continually raise profitability, I worry.

“Nuclear power plants are some of the most sophisticated and complex energy systems ever designed.[13] Any complex system, no matter how well it is designed and engineered, cannot be deemed failure-proof.[14] Veteran anti-nuclear activist and author Stephanie Cooke has argued:

The reactors themselves were enormously complex machines with an incalculable number of things that could go wrong. When that happened at Three Mile Island in 1979, another fault line in the nuclear world was exposed. One malfunction led to another, and then to a series of others, until the core of the reactor itself began to melt, and even the world’s most highly trained nuclear engineers did not know how to respond. The accident revealed serious deficiencies in a system that was meant to protect public health and safety.[15]

The 1979 Three Mile Island accident inspired Perrow’s book Normal Accidents, where a nuclear accident occurs, resulting from an unanticipated interaction of multiple failures in a complex system. TMI was an example of a normal accident because it was “unexpected, incomprehensible, uncontrollable and unavoidable”.[16]

Perrow concluded that the failure at Three Mile Island was a consequence of the system’s immense complexity. Such modern high-risk systems, he realized, were prone to failures however well they were managed. It was inevitable that they would eventually suffer what he termed a ‘normal accident’. Therefore, he suggested, we might do better to contemplate a radical redesign, or if that was not possible, to abandon such technology entirely.[17] .

A fundamental issue contributing to a nuclear power system’s complexity is its extremely long lifetime. The timeframe from the start of construction of a commercial nuclear power station through the safe disposal of its last radioactive waste, may be 100 to 150 years.[13]

We live in an age where the “Captains of Industry” believe that efficient management is one that lays off workers, cuts wages and looks to cost savings of all kinds in order to increase profitability. Why would we expect that the nuclear industry is immune to the management fashion of the day? These plants are admittedly among the most complex power delivering entities on the planet. There have been innumerable accidents, with disastrous consequences, that have occurred through the years some of which are referenced in the links I’ve supplied. My position is that I could be open to the idea of using nuclear energy for power, providing that I could be certain that safeguards exist. I don’t believe they currently do exist, despite reassurances from the industry and the NRC. Currently, my two children, my grandchildren and my beloved mother-in-law live in close proximity to a nuclear power plant, Indian Point, in New York. A little history of this plant impacts my concerns for their safety:

“According to the New York Times, the Indian Point plant “has encountered a string of accidents and mishaps since its beginnings, and has appeared on the federal list of the nation’s worst nuclear power plants”.[10] A 2003 report commissioned by then Governor George Pataki concluded that the “current radiological response system and capabilities are not adequate to…protect the people from an unacceptable dose of radiation in the event of a release from Indian Point”.[11] On March 10, 2009 the Indian Point Power Plant was awarded the fifth consecutive top safety rating for annual operations by the Federal regulators. According to the Hudson Valley Journal News, the plant had shown substantial improvement in its “safety culture” in the previous two years.[12]

This is a history of the nuclear incidents at Indian Point, on the important Hudson River, thus far:

  • In 1973, five months after Indian Point 2 opened, the plant was shut down when engineers discovered buckling in the steel liner of the concrete dome in which the nuclear reactor is housed.[10]
  • On October 17, 1980,[13] 100,000 gallons of Hudson River water leaked into the Indian Point 2 containment building from the fan cooling unit, undetected by a safety device designed to detect hot water. The flooding, covering the first 9 feet of the reactor vessel, was discovered when technicians entered the building. Two pumps which should have removed the water were found to be inoperative. NRC proposed a $2,100,000 fine for the incident.[14]
  • There was intense scrutiny of the Indian Point plant between 1993 and 1997, when it was on the Federal list of the nation’s worst nuclear power plants.[15]
  • In February 2000, the most serious incident at the plant occurred, when a small radioactive leak from a steam generator tube forced the plant to close for 11 months.[10]
  • In 2001, a series of leaks sprung up in non-nuclear parts of the plant.[10]
  • In 2005, Entergy workers while digging discovered a small leak in a spent fuel pool. Water containing tritium and strontium-90 was leaking through a crack in the pool building “and then finding its way into the nearby Hudson River.” Workers were able to keep the fuel rods “safely covered” despite the leak.[16] On March 22, 2006 The New York Times also reported finding radioactive nickel-63 and strontium in groundwater on site.[17]
  • In 2007 a transformer at Unit 3 caught fire, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission raised its level of inspections, because the plant had experienced many unplanned shutdowns. According to The New York Times, Indian Point “has a history of transformer problems”.[4]
  • On April 23, 2007, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission fined the owner of the Indian Point nuclear plant $130,000 for failing to meet a deadline for a new emergency siren plan. The 150 sirens at the plant are meant to alert residents within 10 miles to a plant emergency. Since 2008, a Rockland County based private company has taken over responsibility for the infrastructure used to trigger and maintain the ATI siren system. The sirens, once plagued with failures, have functioned nearly flawlessly ever since.[18]
  • On January 7, 2010, NRC inspectors reported that an estimated 600,000 gallons of mildly radioactive steam was intentionally vented to the atmosphere after an automatic shutdown of Unit 2. After the vent, one of the vent valves unintentionally remained slightly open for two days. The levels of tritium in the steam were within the allowable safety limits defined in NRC standards.[19]
  • On November 7, 2010, an explosion occurred in the main transformer for Indian Point 2, spilling oil into the Hudson River.[20] The owner of the Indian Point nuclear plant later agreed to pay a $1.2 million penalty for the transformer explosion.[4]
  • In the middle of February [2013], employee error caused an accidental shutdown of Reactor Two. This incident released no radiation.

Now these incidents have occurred at a nuclear plant that has a “relatively safe” history, but from my perspective it remains a potential threat to those I love.  There are also some who say that nuclear plants contaminate the surrounding area and raise cancer risks. This has devolved in a “he said, she said” argument between environmentalists and the industry, with the NRC siding with industry. There is another Indian Point safety issue to be mulled:

“Indian Point stores used fuel rods in two spent fuel pools at the facility.[16] According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Indian Point spent fuel pools, which contain more nuclear material than the reactors, “have no containment structure”.[28] While the spent fuel pools at Indian Point are not stored under a containment dome like the reactor, they are contained within a 40-foot-deep pool and submerged under 27 feet of water. The spent fuel pools at Indian Point are made of concrete walls that are four to six feet wide with a half-inch thick stainless steel inner liner.[29][30] According to Jonathan Alter, the pools are located in bedrock, not above-ground as at many other plants including the Japanese ones.[31]

And then:

“In 2008 researchers from Columbia University‘s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have located a previously unknown active seismic zone running from Stamford, Connecticut, to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, New York – the intersection of the Stamford-Peekskill line with the well known Ramapo Fault – which passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant.[35] The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast, but scientists dispute how active this roughly 200 million-year-old fault really is. Many earthquakes in the state’s surprisingly varied seismic history are believed to have occurred on or near it. Visible at ground level, the fault line likely extends as deep as nine miles below the surface.[36]

Indian Point was built to withstand an earthquake of 6.1 on the Richter scale, according to a company spokesman.[37] Entergy executives have also noted “that Indian Point had been designed to withstand an earthquake much stronger than any on record in the region, though not one as powerful as the quake that rocked Japan”.[38]

So in the end “you pays your money and you takes your choice”, as the old canard goes. My choice is that nuclear power comes at too great a potential cost to be relied on as the power source of the future, given current technology. There are semi valid arguments that it doesn’t pollute the atmosphere and that it helps keep energy costs down. The fact is, that all things considered, these plants are quite costly to build and maintain. The plants are expected to last 100 to 150 years because of both initial cost and the need to clean up the nuclear waste produced. The question also comes about as to the cost both financial an physical of the disposal of nuclear waste.   I concede that neither do I have a scientific bent, nor am I an expert. I further concede that there are points to be made that favor nuclear energy used as a power source. Nevertheless, in my opinion the downside exceeds the benefits. Where do you stand?

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eniwetok

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibakusha

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster

88 thoughts on “Nuclear Musings

  1. Mike,
    Great topic. I do not like nuclear power because of the inherent dangers you dicussed. It is just a matter of time until we have a catastrophic event. Your family may need to move for their own safety.

  2. In Russia, they were able to cover the Chernobyl mess by pouring massive concrete over it. In Japan, the Fukushima disaster is next to the sea, and water is needed to cool the rods to keep them from melting. They are not going to be able to use a Chernobyl type solution. I cannot see where Fukushima ends. And of all countries in the world sensitive to anything radioactive, it is Japan. Boggles the mind.

    We use enormous amounts of energy, and as third world countries develop, they will add to the demand for energy. Where are the fuels going to come from as natural reserves are depleted? Looks like we are going to either suffocate on smog or sizzle with radioactive isotopes.

  3. We live on a sailboat with solar panels providing electric to the batteries and all the lighting we need. We heat with propane. We sail with the wind and use very little diesel fuel to motor. Houses could subsist off of solar. Try it you will like it.

  4. Interesting Article Mike S,

    Are you advocating for Solar Power & Wind Energy? Or do you want us to continue to use fossil fuels (i.e. coal)? If you don’t want (or fearful of) nuclear energy (and I am not taking sides on which to use), then you have to be advocating for a particular energy source.

  5. Can someone help locate a copy of an article based on a letter by a business/management professor sent, early in the event, to family members in Japan explaining that they had absolutely nothing go fear from Fukushima because nuclear power plants are designed with defense in depth?

    I did save a copy, at that time, for my special clippings folder, but seem to have lost it after a hard disk failure.

    Any help locating a URL for the article would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Currently, my two children, my grandchildren and my beloved mother-in-law live in close proximity to a nuclear power plant, Indian Point, in New York.

    Now these incidents have occurred at a nuclear plant that has a “relatively safe” history, but from my perspective it remains a potential threat to those I love. There are also some who say that nuclear plants contaminate the surrounding area and raise cancer risks.

    I concede that neither do I have a scientific bent, nor am I an expert. I further concede that there are points to be made that favor nuclear energy used as a power source. Nevertheless, in my opinion the downside exceeds the benefits. Where do you stand?
    ” – Mike S

    The framing of the issue in the U.S. news media is typical: “balancing” a heavenly story with a hellish story, never contemplating that one is false and one is true.

    The industrially, technically, and scientifically very competent Germans –after watching the Fukushima Catastrophe (which is worse than Chernobyl already) immediately passed laws to shutdown and remove existing nuclear power plants by 2022, and to immediately forbid any beginning of any more of them (Washington Post).

  7. Mike,

    Most unusually, I find myself disagreeing with you on this topic. Personally, I think that fission power is an appropriate part of the short-term solution to our power needs. As compared with coal-fired power plants, nuclear plants are much cleaner and safer (they aren’t putting out carcinogens into the air every day, nor are they producing radiation). We certainly should learn from disasters like Fukushima and Chernobyl and take steps to improve safety, especially in seismically active locations near the ocean, but if the choice is between coal and uranium, the latter seems a far better solution to me.

  8. BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s coalition government agreed early Monday to shut down all the country’s nuclear power plants by 2022, the environment minister said, making it the first major industrialized power to go nuclear-free since the Japanese disaster.

    The country’s seven oldest reactors already taken off the grid pending safety inspections following the catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March will remain offline permanently, Norbert Roettgen added. The country has 17 reactors total.” (USA Today).

  9. Los Alamos testing resulted in radioactive waste to be carried by ambient air currents into America’s wheat basket. Cows chewed cuds that were of contaminated sweet grasses. Families unknowingly purchased contaminated foods and dairy products. Children then started coming down with cancers which were unknown in America at any time prior in history.

  10. Slartibartfast 1, October 19, 2013 at 7:37 am

    … As compared with coal-fired power plants, nuclear plants are much cleaner and safer (they aren’t putting out carcinogens into the air every day, nor are they producing radiation) … if the choice is between coal and uranium, the latter seems a far better solution to me.
    ====================
    The real choice is between deadly energy that is not renewable and life sustaining energy that is renewable.

    Your statement that nuclear power plants “aren’t putting out carcinogens into the air every day” is false propaganda.

    Using a false statement in a false equivalence is also brazen, like Clapper “telling the least falsehood available” under oath.

    First of all, federal regulations allow the daily release of radioactive steam from nuclear power plants:

    Many people do not realize that every nuclear power reactor dumps radioactive water, scatters radioactive particles, and disperses radioactive gases as part of its routine, everyday operation. It doesn’t take an accident. Federal regulations permit these radioactive releases.

    (Beyond Nuclear, “Pamphlets”). That corrupt practice happens even though there is no such thing as a safe dose level:

    The U.S. Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiations concludes that, despite some evidence of a partial repair mechanism, recent low-dose radiation data “do not contradict the hypothesis, at least with respect to cancer induction and hereditary genetic effects, that the frequency of such effects increases with low-level radiation as a linear, non-threshold function of the dose.” (National Research Council BEIR V 1990)

    A panel from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) charged to investigate the dangers of low-energy, low-dose ionizing radiation has concluded, “that it is unlikely that a threshold exists for the induction of cancers… (BIER VII, 2005)

    (No Safe Dose, PDF).

  11. Mike, Excellent posting.

    You have bookended the nuclear monsters that our generation will not see the end of with your illustrations.

    Last I heard the plan was to pour concrete on the ocean floor around the Fukushima plant to a depth of 2 feet and cover about 3/4 million square feet to keep the particulate contaminated seabed from moving/being dispersed further into the ocean. That’s about 8 football fields I think.

    From a Fairewinds article reblogged at Enenews, Aug 28 2013 summarized:
    The 100′ deep wall around the plants on the seaward side which is under construction and will be finished in mid 2014 doesn’t, on second look seem to be capable of doing the job effectively because water that was just cursing through the plant and running off out to the ocean is trapped and turning relatively dry and stable ground to wet and no so stable ground. The plant sits lower than the land behind it and higher, barely, than the ocean. This changes the way the ground will behave if there are seismic events. The water is not going to stop coming, it’s run off, given time it will leak from around the ‘ends’ of the wall and over top it.

    Fairewinds also:
    “The operation, to remove 400 tons of highly irradiated spent fuel beneath the plant’s damaged Reactor No. 4, could set off a catastrophe greater than any we have ever seen, independent experts warn. An operation of this scale, says plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company, has never been attempted before, and is wrought with danger.

    An uncontrolled leak of nuclear fuel could cause more radiation than the March 2011 disaster or the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, say consultants Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggatt. “Full release from the Unit-4 spent fuel pool, without any containment or control, could cause by far the most serious radiological disaster to date,” the scientists say in their World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013.

    The operation has been tried before – but only with the aid of computers. This time it will be a painstaking manual process.

    Here’s what needs to be done: more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies, packing radiation 14,000 times the equivalent of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb, need to carefully be removed from their cooling pool.

    Arnie Gunderson, a veteran US nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, told Reuters that “they are going to have difficulty in removing a significant number of the rods,” especially given their close proximity to each other, which risks breakage and the release of radiation.

    Gundersen told Reuters of an incredibly dangerous “criticality” that would result if a chain reaction takes place at any point, if the rods break or even so much as collide with each other in the wrong way. The resulting radiation is too great for the cooling pool to absorb – it simply has not been designed to do so.

    “The problem with a fuel pool criticality is that you can’t stop it. There are no control rods to control it,”Gundsersen said. “The spent fuel pool cooling system is designed only to remove decay heat, not heat from an ongoing nuclear reaction.” ”

    http://fairewinds.org/media/in-the-news/mission-impossible-fukushima-scientists-brace-for-riskiest-nuclear-fuel-clean-up-yet

  12. This is the other big thing, the reactor cores melted and cracked the containment vessels, that’s why there is the leakage problems and the explosion of #3. All of the moves, dangerous measures, to remove the spent fuel rods described above, that is necessary to find the cores. The spent fuel rods are just that: spent fuel that was being stored (but now presents its own unique problems.) and must be removed with other contaminated debris so scientists can find where the melted cores went.

    Worst case, there’s as little as 8′ of concrete between the cores and the China Syndrome but that is a guess that doesn’t mean anything. The word “Unprecedented” was invented for the Fukushima accident, it’s all guesswork and the treatment of symptoms in hope of resolving the disease. Like Rabies was treated.

    “Nuclear Expert: “The Melted Core Cracked The Containment Vessel … There Really Is No Containment” At Fukushima Reactors

    Asahi Shimbum notes that the location of Fukushima melted fuel is unknown. It could be ‘scattered’ in piping, vessels … “we’ve yet to identify all hotspots” around plant.

    While the Japanese government tried to cover up the lack of containment with “mission accomplished” type announcements of “cold shutdown“, the loss of containment has been known for years.

    For example, AP wrote in December 2011:

    The nuclear fuel moved as it melted, so its condition and locations are little known.

    AP noted a couple of days later:

    The complex still faces numerous concerns, triggering criticism that the announcement of “cold shutdown conditions” is based on a political decision rather than science. Nobody knows exactly where and how the melted fuel ended up in each reactor ….”

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/02/nuclear-expert-the-melted-core-cracked-the-containment-vessel-there-really-is-no-containment-at-fukushima-reactors.html

    This is the problem with nuclear: what we call ‘accidents’ and have as our concept to differentiate between the chronic ‘problems’ with some of our plants contrasted against a Three Mile Island or Chernobyl, don’t happen very often. But when they do they are catastrophic in ways we can’t even imagine.

  13. The International Journal of Cancer published a study entitled: French Geocap study confirms increased leukemia risks in young children near nuclear power plants.

    The U.S. scenario is equavalent:

    Are tiny Amounts of Strontium-90 Dangerous to Human Health?
    Sr-90 is a known carcinogen. When it lodges near the bone marrow, where stem cells form blood and immune cells, there is an increased risk of leukemia and other cancers. Our initial research found that a minute amount of Sr-90 in baby teeth is associated with nearly a doubled risk of childhood cancer and a high incidence of breast cancer.

    Can the Radiation in Baby Teeth be from Past Bomb Tests?
    No, because the observed vs. expected levels of Sr-90 in baby teeth have been increasing during the 1970-1990s, after U.S. bomb testing ended in 1963 and soon after commercial nuclear reactors were built throughout the United States. Most Sr-90 in teeth now comes from nuclear reactor emissions, not past bomb tests. Our initial results show significantly higher Sr-90 levels in western Long Island, New York (which is surrounded by three nuclear reactors) that in eastern Long Island (which is not downwind from nuclear reactors). Bomb test fallout would have deposited Sr-90 evenly over a small geographical area, such as Long Island, New York.

    (The Baby Teeth Project).

  14. Yes, the NRC is reputed to be a “shill” for the nuclear industry. Their revolving door extends to K street. My son is an energy consultant for the green side, and I have heard quite a few stories but particularly about the California plants.

  15. Dread,

    I’m neither making a false statement nor a false equivalence. I honestly believe that coal-fired plants are more deleterious for our species and our planet and think the issue should be decided on the science and the realities of the situation rather than the knee-jerk anti-nuclear response you seem to favor. When exacerbating climate change is on one side of the equation it counterbalances many problems on the other. Long-term we need to be using renewable resources or fusion power, but they’re not ready to go yet and I think that fission is far superior to coal and fracked natural gas. You might try looking at the matter objectively and considering all of the facts before you post your myopic rants.

    Some facts about radiation for you to think about:

    The radiation dose from…

    Living within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant for a year: 0.09 microSieverts

    Eating one banana: 0.1 microSievert

    Living within 50 miles of a coal power plant for a year: 0.3 microSieverts

    Source

    That doesn’t include, of course, the carcinogenic compounds and carbon released into the atmosphere by a coal-fired plant—things which are negligible in both nuclear plants and bananas.

  16. Swarthmore Mom,

    My brother-in-law works for the NRC and I’m as proud of his service in helping to keep us all safe as I am of his service in the Navy or I would be if he worked for the EPA or FDA. I know he takes the responsibility of his job very seriously and I’m sure that most of his coworkers do as well. While I’m sure you’re right about K street, can you name an industry that doesn’t lobby? Personally, I think the government should control the entire energy industry so that decisions wont be made based on a market which is distorted by the effective subsidies given to polluters allowing people like the Koch brothers to make billions while poisoning our planet.

  17. Dredd,

    I’m not saying that nuclear power is perfectly safe, I’m saying that the available alternatives are worse (at least in my opinion), so your responses to me are little more than a straw man argument.

  18. Slarti, It is rampant in all agencies. A young attorney goes to work for the NRC or other agency. They get lured away by a much higher salary to lobby for the industry at the regulatory hearings and thus we have the revolving door. The NRC is known for this.

  19. Slartifartfast 1, October 19, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Dredd,

    I’m neither making a false statement nor a false equivalence.

    ====================================
    You wrote, concerning nuclear power plants, that “they aren’t putting out carcinogens into the air every day, nor are they producing radiation“.

    That is patently false.

    Then you equate unsafe nuclear power plants with unsafe coal plants to support the lie you proclaimed.

    Next, you double down on that quoting the fox guarding the hen house who says it is not interested in the chickens.

    Typical denialism from (R-Bullshitistan).

    I will continue my exposure of your false premise and argument with another independent source:

    The BEIR VII report concludes that the current scientific evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that, at the low doses of interest in this report, there is a linear dose-response relationship between exposure to ionizing radiation and the development of solid cancers in humans. It is unlikely that there is a threshold below which cancers are not induced …

    (National Academy of Sciences, PDF).

  20. What the average American does not realize is that it is not the nuclear power that is making the energy. It is the nuclear power that is heating the water. It is the heated water that makes the electricity. So we are using the most DANGEROUS of all ways to heat water!

  21. The San Onofre NPP was the most negligent in terms of citations for safety violations in the U.S.

    To fix it they remodeled it with the latest and greatest technology.

    The result was that leaks appeared and it was permanently shut down.

    But not without having done this:


    3. From 1982-1993, San Onofre released the 6th greatest amount of radioactivity into the air out of 76 U.S. nuclear plants. These enter human bodies through breathing and the food chain. Recent releases exceed most U.S. plants.

    4. San Diego County child cancer incidence is the highest of the 16 most populated California counties, with 85% of state residents. The Orange County rate also exceeds the state and nation. Children are especially sensitive to radiation.

    5. Child cancer mortality in Orange and San Diego counties jumped from 1.00% above the U.S. in 1968-1983 to 21.35% higher in 1999-2010.

    6. The recent Orange County rate of thyroid cancer is 2 highest of the 16 most populated California counties. The San Diego rate also exceeds the state. Thyroid cancer is especially sensitive to radiation exposure.

    (San Onofre NPP Report PDF).

  22. The French are all in w/ nuclear power. Aren’t we supposed to worship the French? At this point in our existence, we need ALL type of energy to get us away from having depend on the craziest part of the globe. That includes nuclear and fracking. Long term, there will be better options as we get smarter and develop new technologies.

  23. Dredd,

    While I did misspeak (I should have said nuclear plants do not produce as much radiation as coal-fired plants, which is true as documented in the chart I linked), I haven’t lied and I sincerely doubt that you will convince anyone here that I am either a Republican or an idiot.

    Sometimes we have to choose the least bad of several options and your refusal to consider that there might be worse effects from the choices that you would make is narrow-minded and inane. Would you rather live downstream from a fracking operation or a nuclear plant? If you’re smart, you’ll pick the nuclear plant. Which would you rather have to deal with, radioactive waste or greatly increased climate change? Personally, on that scale radioactive waste seems like a pretty trivial problem. How much potable water are you willing to trade for natural gas so you can shut down all of the nuclear power plants? That seems like an extremely poor deal to me.

    Your unwillingness to consider the pluses and minuses of all of the available choices and determine what’s best based on a realistic cost/benefit analysis seems pretty short-sighted and unscientific to me.

  24. Nick,

    I don’t think that trading potable water for fuel is a good idea (at least until we have reasonably cheap desalinization technology), which is essentially what fracking does, nor do I think we should go “all-in” on fission like the French. I just think it is the best available stop-gap solution until renewable energy becomes cost-effective or we achieve a breakthrough in fusion power.

  25. I don’t eat seafood anymore. I was down to seafood from the Pacific Polar current/gyre but I haven’t had any seafood since the Fukushima meltdown. Radioactive water draining into the ocean isn’t going to be stopped with the subsurface wall that is being built. It’s going to go on for a long time.

    Currents:

    OCTOBER 4, 2013
    is history about to repeat itself at Fukushima?

    “Let me assure you, the situation is under control,” Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said during lobbying for the 2020 Olympics. “There are no health-related problems until now, nor will there be in the future.”

    But why would anyone believe them…? Here is part of a report from the Georgia Straight:

    About 800 people worldwide will get cancer from radiation due to Fukushima in fish eaten to date, according to Georgia Straight calculations. The Straight results relied on a widely used cancer-risk formula developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well as radiation levels in 33,000 fish tested by the Japanese Fisheries Agency.

    Half the cancers will be fatal. About 500 will be in Japan; 75 will be due to Japanese fish exports to other countries; and 225 will be from fishing in the Pacific by nations other than Japan.

    And that’s likely only a small part of the actual long-term cancer impacts from eating the fish. Two nuclear experts who saw the Straight’s figures said the real cancer toll could be 100 times higher—or 80,000 cancers.

    “The potential numbers could be two orders of magnitude [100 times] higher than your numbers,” Daniel Hirsch, a nuclear-policy lecturer at the University of California at Santa Cruz, said in a phone interview. “Hundreds of cancers are nothing to sneeze at, and it is a fraction of what I suspect the total will be.” […]

    The Straight also sent its cancer calculations to Eiichiro Ochiai, a retired chemistry professor in Vancouver who taught at UBC and the University of Tokyo and has written a book titled Hiroshima to Fukushima: Biohazards of Radiation (to be released on October 31).

    In a phone interview, Ochiai agreed the calculations were done correctly and that the actual cancer toll will likely be higher. He said cancer-risk formulas used by governments underestimate the true cancer impact, especially those cases that arise from eating contaminated food.

    “The official data is all denial,” Ochiai said. “The nuclear industry tries to suppress the truth.”4

    http://wallofcontroversy.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/is-history-about-to-repeat-itself-at-fukushima/

  26. The Nuclear energy ideal is good….. But man cannot harness nature….. Nature can cause seemingly immovable objects to move….

    Good spot Mike….

  27. Bron,

    Well, I guess my support of President Obama or all of the arguments I’ve had with you on economic issues might have been a clue… ;-)

  28. Slartibartfast 1, October 19, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Dredd,

    While I did misspeak (I should have said nuclear plants do not produce as much radiation as coal-fired plants, which is true as documented in the chart I linked), I haven’t lied and I sincerely doubt that you will convince anyone here that I am either a Republican or an idiot.
    =========================
    Your words are your responsibility, not mine, and not anyone else’s.

    Your popularity or the lack thereof is no concern of mine.

    The facts are worth more than all that, and that is what I addressed.

    Once the facts are admitted to, the past is history.

    We have all at one time or another been indoctrinated with propaganda, and may still be.

    The important thing is to not double down to perpetuate the propaganda, but rather to adhere to the new found freedom from propaganda –once that better understanding appears.

  29. While I agree with Slarts that Nuclear is better than coal, I do think the reliance on Nuclear power will delay the investment in renewable sources of energy to our peril.

  30. Slartibartfast, He’s forgotten because you’ve been so scarce for so long! I was starting to wonder if that math-heavy project you were working on was a TARDIS and you were gone for good. Nice to see you back for a while.

    You know or can guess that I’m not one for ripping the tops of mountains, fracking and the violence it does to water resources (as does mountaintop mining) or other short term and destructive methods of energy extraction. I’m not into tar-sand exploitation either. These things reek of desperation. That we use them at all should tell anybody paying attention that we should be actively and aggressive transitioning to renewable and be farther along than we are.

    Nuclear on the other hand is great until there is a serious problem. Actually it isn’t great because the industry has a bunch of sites that seem to be limping along from day to day, dying by degrees; low level leaks and opportunities for big problems are ongoing.

    it’s an industry with ageing plants that have had their lives artificially increased by the expense of building new plants and decommissioning old ones. It is not cost effective at all and industry nor government wants to take on the expense. For sure the consumers wouldn’t if the knew the real price.

    I haven’t kept count or started a file but I get on jags and start reading about the industry whenever my curiosity is piqued by a relevant news story. The industry isn’t what it’s cracked up to be safety wise or ‘clean’ wise and never has been.

    I live 300 miles from Chicago give or take about 40 miles and I’m not downwind of it either but a serious accident in one of its nearby nuclear power generating facilities could leave Chicago and its environs uninhabitable. It’s not like nuclear Illinois has a spotless safety record.

    We need a Marshall plan to transition to green energy in the next 15-20 years. Our energy dependence is a serious security concern and we’re killing our environment, local and global. Regrow some middle class manufacturing jobs, think of it as a jobs program. Solar and wind while working on other more esoteric forms. Overhaul building codes and build in passive and active solar in all new construction. Pave Arizona and any other sunshiny state and turn Oklahoma into one big wind farm -the wind comes whistling down the plains there, I have heard :-)

    Yeah, yeah, I know, we’re just going to plod along….

  31. Slartibartfast 1, October 19, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Dredd,

    Sometimes we have to choose the least bad of several options and your refusal to consider that there might be worse effects from the choices that you would make is narrow-minded and inane.

    False least of two evils fallacy.

    Would you rather live downstream from a fracking operation or a nuclear plant? If you’re smart, you’ll pick the nuclear plant.

    False framing, false equivalence. I reject both as being part of a mature civilization.

    Which would you rather have to deal with, radioactive waste or greatly increased climate change?

    Same response as response just above.

    Personally, on that scale radioactive waste seems like a pretty trivial problem.

    You have a warped sense of trivial.

    How much potable water are you willing to trade for natural gas so you can shut down all of the nuclear power plants? That seems like an extremely poor deal to me.

    Study German’s example which I provided up-thread.

    Your unwillingness to consider the pluses and minuses of all of the available choices and determine what’s best based on a realistic cost/benefit analysis seems pretty short-sighted and unscientific to me.

    And what are the available choices?

    You have mentioned coal, natural gas, and nuclear -unless I missed others you mentioned.

    I can think of a large list of renewable, clean energy that is being suppressed.

  32. I have mentioned a couple of times before that one of my best friends from high school is a heavy hitter in theoretical physics. His specialty is dense matter and energy. About four years ago, we were having a similar discussion. He dropped this bombshell on me, which shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did: “There are no known energy sources that don’t have a deleterious impact on the environment.”

    He went down the list, which included nuclear, windmills, and all the rest. You really don’t want to get him started on those “energy saving” fluorescent bulbs, because toxic materials are used in their manufacture, and are usually disposed of in landfills. He hates them and won’t buy them.

    We discussed using water as the perfect fuel, and how it could possibly be fractured to break the extremely tight molecular bond between hydrogen and oxygen. The perfect fuel and oxidizer all in one. All fuels that burn are nothing more than carriers of hydrogen. The more hydrogen in a hydrocarbon, the better it is as a fuel. My friend wants to simply eliminate the carbon part, cut straight to the chase, and use hydrogen. The trick is to break the molecular bond and isolate the two elements without violating the First Law of Thermodynamics. If more power is expended in the process of making fuel than you get back, that makes no sense economically or protecting the environment.

  33. Otteray Scribe 1, October 19, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I have mentioned a couple of times before that one of my best friends from high school is a heavy hitter in theoretical physics. His specialty is dense matter and energy.

    ======================
    Some of the most dangerous people on the planet are nuclear and other types of physicists.

    While Oil-Qaeda gave us one way of destroying civilization (Oil-Qaeda – The Indictment), but with some species living on, the physicists gave us the way to destroy all vertebrate and most invertebrate species along with all of civilization (The Most Dangerous Moment in Recorded History [so far]).

    These types sometimes can’t tell the difference between the pollution caused by taking a shit on the leaves during a camping trip from pumping billions of tons of shit into the ocean.

    Or, in John Boehner’s case, cow farts and 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere of the entire Earth.

  34. Nick, I’d kill for a big plate full of thick, fried Cod fillets, cole slaw, fries, some string beans or maybe corn on the cob, a salad and a cold beer. Kill. For. It.

    I stopped eating Atlantic cod because it was becoming over-fished. I eventually migrated to pacific cod. Then the meltdown. Curse you Fukushima, Fukushima is why I can’t have nice foods.

  35. Otteray Scribe 1, October 19, 2013 at 11:53 am

    … If more power is expended in the process of making fuel than you get back, that makes no sense economically or protecting the environment.
    ==================
    I think economists and some others call it EROEI (energy returned on energy invested).

    Nuclear is a dog in that department.

    It is only for the use in making the weapons that threaten our existence, the rest is propaganda.

    The problems with this concept of EROEI is that it is only as good as the honesty invested in finding the truth.

    The disease, harm, death, and/or destruction of civilization upon its use has only very lately figured into the equation.

    That is why fossil fuels are now seen around the world as dogs too.

    Garbage in, garbage out.

  36. Dredd sez, “Some of the most dangerous people on the planet are nuclear and other types of physicists.”

    ********************************
    That is quite a broad brush you are using to tar physicists. The solution to the problems are going to come from physics and chemistry. My old friend is working on a solution, when he is not puzzling over black hole paradoxes. He knows full well there is a Nobel prize waiting for the first scientist to crack the problem. IMHO, he has already done enough in other areas of physics to have earned a Nobel.

  37. Otteray Scribe 1, October 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Dredd sez, “Some of the most dangerous people on the planet are nuclear and other types of physicists.”
    ———————————-
    [The Scribe sez:] That is quite a broad brush you are using to tar physicists.
    ==========================
    The scribe needs to look up the meaning of “some”, lest a pharisee evolve, and then reckon with this reality:

    Einstein, upon hearing the news of the Hiroshima bombing, was reported to have dropped his head in his hands and cried, simply, “Woe is me!” Though he never once worked on the production of such a weapon, it was his scientific discoveries and ultimately his words that created this new scenario. In a later interview with Newsweek magazine, he said, “Had I known that the Germans would not succeed in developing an atomic bomb, I would have done nothing. I would have never [written that letter].”

    Yet, that one letter has changed all our lives, and possibly the lives of every person on the planet since. Today, there are some 20,000 active nuclear weapons on the planet. All of us, and our children, will live in the shadow of this threat for the rest of our lives.

    Einstein was a fairly good physicist who fits into some, just as those who continue to make the planet destroyer are also “some”.

    The “tar” you mention is also a mental mirage.

    Some physicists are the most dangerous people on the planet.

  38. OS, The Kingston spill was nasty, unnecessary and just like every other crime against nature. it was covered up as much as possible as I recall and people were kept away so that an independent assessment couldn’t be done of how toxic it was. BP and the government used the same tactics the next year wasn’t it? That seems to be the format.

    From your link: “EPA might have been a little too quick to judge that mercury was not a problem”. Kind of a self serving initial finding eh?

  39. James Knauer 1, October 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    The Japanese response appears to have been dreadful.

    ===============================
    The Americans your video link speaks of, like the Japanese you speak of, learned their reality from the same source.

    The Japanese learned it from those who built Fukushima and who Hiroshima’d & Nagasaki’d them.

    The Americans learned it from the military who NSA’d them.

    Almost the same amount of Americans, mentioned in your video link, also believe that the military is the most competent institution in American culture (Stockholm Syndrome on Steroids? – 2).

    They don’t realize that “their” plutonomy is a feudal construct that impoverishes everyone except the top percent who command the military (American Feudalism – 3).

    The Americans also think that those good guys brought them clean nuclear and clean coal.

    They also believe that anyone who helps open their eyes must be the ones who did it to them (kill the messenger syndrome).

  40. “They also believe that anyone who helps open their eyes must be the ones who did it to them (kill the messenger syndrome).”

    Now we get to the unsustainable part. The sub-1% are now highly outnumbered and have relied overmuch on control of information. Those who were raised on data-gathering and not belief will soon be taking power in a world where, for the first time in my life, wealthy people are not looked upon with favor. Accumulation of wealth used to considered secure and successful. But when that wealth is concentrated, we get “too big to fail” banks that are really covers for “too rich to prosecute.” Ditto, torture.

    And that imbalance endangers us all, regardless of wealth.

  41. James Knauer 1, October 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    “They also believe that anyone who helps open their eyes must be the ones who did it to them (kill the messenger syndrome).”

    Now we get to the unsustainable part. The sub-1% are now highly outnumbered and have relied overmuch on control of information. Those who were raised on data-gathering and not belief will soon be taking power in a world where, for the first time in my life, wealthy people are not looked upon with favor. Accumulation of wealth used to considered secure and successful. But when that wealth is concentrated, we get “too big to fail” banks that are really covers for “too rich to prosecute.” Ditto, torture.

    And that imbalance endangers us all, regardless of wealth.
    ==========================
    Indeed.

    The 1% control the nukes and nightsticks as well as the propaganda “spin” about “nukular” …

    Not promising, but we must keep swimming upstream at this point.

  42. raff, The peril from Islamic fascists is much more imminent than any energy crisis. Get free from their tyranny, then focus on better alternatives. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.

  43. lotta,
    I like your Marshall plan to switch to renewable sources of energy. What are the odds of Congress and the White House getting on board??

  44. lotta, I know fishermen in San Diego and the east coast. You may know this, but in case you don’t, there are always fish that are overfished and then under fished. The problem is the country discovered about 30-40 years ago that seafood is REALLY good and VERY healthy. A fish gets “hot” in restaurants and it’s quickly overfished. Redfish is a good example. That was a blue collar, cheaper fish until blackened redfish hit this country like a category 4 hurricane. It was quickly overfished. So, it’s a constant battle and the list is always changing. Here’s a partial list of fish that are sustainable now. None come from the west Pacific[which I also avoid]. They’re all good and they run the gamut from flaky[Halibut] to oily[bluefish]. Clams, scallops and mussels. I love raw clams but won’t eat them raw anymore. Rockfish, black cod, arctic char, black sea bass, mullet, bluefish, pompano and sanddab. There are more but that runs a gamut in texture and price. I always knew fishermen when I lived on the east coast. When we started spending winters in San Diego I made sure I got to know some.

  45. Looking through some files I haven;t seen you of my old post yet, but this one is very close to what I’ve been wriiting fot sometimes now.

    lol, At least this prolly has less typos then one of mine.

    ***

    Nuclear might begin to address global carbon emissions if a reactor is built somewhere in the world every two weeks. But this is an economically unrealistic, in fact impossible, proposition, with the estimated construction tab beginning at $12 billion apiece and current new reactors under construction already falling years behind schedule.

    According to a 2003 MIT study, “The Future of Nuclear Power,” such an unprecedented industrial ramping up would also mean opening a new Yucca Mountain?size nuclear waste dump somewhere in the world “every three to four years,” a task still unaccomplished even once in the 70 years of the industry’s existence. Further, such a massive scale expansion of nuclear energy would fuel proliferation risks and multiply anxieties about nuclear weapons development, exemplified by the current concern over Iran. As Al Gore stated while Vice President: “For eight years in the White House, every weapons-proliferation problem we dealt with was connected to a civilian reactor program.”

    Many experts also say that the “energy return on investment” from nuclear power is lower than many other forms of energy. In other words, non-nuclear energy sources produce more energy for a given input.

    David Swanson summarizes one of the key findings of the International Forum on Globalization report:

    The energy put into mining, processing, and shipping uranium, plant construction, operation, and decommissioning is roughly equal to the energy a nuclear plant can produce in its lifetime. In other words, nuclear energy does not add any net energy.

    Not counted in that calculation is the energy needed to store nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of years.

    Also not counted is any mitigation of the relatively routine damage done to the environment, including human health, at each stage of the process.

    ***

  46. Yea, TED Talks! remove the [ ^ ]

    Better, safer nuclear

    ^http://www.ted.com/talks/kirk_sorensen_thorium_an_alternative_nuclear_fuel.html

    ^http://www.ted.com/talks/taylor_wilson_my_radical_plan_for_small_nuclear_fission_reactors.html

    Nuclear is green

    ^http://www.ted.com/playlists/58/the_end_of_oil.html

    Population growth (and thus energy needs) might flatline at 10 billion

    ^http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen.html

    ^http://www.ted.com/playlists/6/sex_can_we_talk.html

  47. Dredd:
    Among your pieces of evidence was a study claiming 14,000 American deaths in the U.S. as a result of Fukushima.

    Alarm bell one: The interview was on freaking Coast to Coast AM. For those who don’t know, this is your one stop shop for Bigfoot, alien abuction, and general conspiracy theory claptrap.

    Alarm bell two: The “peer-reviewed” journal is, to put it charitably, not exactly at the top of the heap. http://www.reportingonhealth.org/blogs/2011/12/20/fukushima-alarmist-claim-obscure-medical-journal-proceed-caution

    Alarm bell three: The study has been debunked. See above link as well as http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2011/12/20/researchers-trumpet-another-flawed-fukushima-death-study/ . I’ve got another link that tears it up, but isn’t there a two link limit or something?

    This is not to say that nuclear power is all rainbows and unicorns. There is no free ride. Every current and near-future solution exacts a price.

  48. Jason: “Alarm bell one: The interview was on freaking Coast to Coast AM. …bullsheeet, bullsheeet, bullsheeet….., and general conspiracy theory claptrap. ”

    Well, Jason, just where the he’ll has the old dying dinosaur media been on this Nuke Kook Disaster the last 60 years?

    Phk’in no where other then busily attempting to cover up what a total FUBAR the so called Nuke Industry is & has always been & always will be.

    So of course anyone serious about getting factual data out to the public or the public attempt to find out that truthful data are forced to turn to coast to coast, infowars, etc..

    Yes, there’s bullsheeet there sometimes also.

    But I like posters like you, readers know just exactly who you guys are as soon as you post 2+2=5 & the likes.

  49. Jason,

    Where the he’ll has the NRC, EPA, CDC, USDA, FDA, etc & old dying dinosaur media been with the daily/weekly/monthly Public Service Announcements explaining to the general population the about radiation levels from Fukushima here in the US & what safety precautions the public/pregnant women should be taking?

    Those Baastards!

    Had CBS’s Edward R Murrow old boss had not been the known American Hating piece of Trash, Hitler supporting Nazi, board member of both a Nazi enterprise & CBS, the former Sen Prescott Bush, then maybe Murrow could have told us all the truth back then without the fear of having his microphone unplugged.

    Mean while that Nazi piece of trash’s grandson, GW, a mass murdering slime ball in his own right was just up the road the other evening, walking around freely as the local polecats kissed his Nazi Azz.

    How do those Nazi azzholes walk free, because they have Obama & Impeachment is off the table, U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi & Ted Cruz & others covering their backsides.

    Jason, it’s about over, either those Nazi creeps completely destroy the world right now or some how we are going to get those ring leaders in front of a judge & have them hung Nuremberg Style!

  50. Japan has a strong incentive to carefully test food exports so as to not risk broadly tarnishing a deeply respected brand. I believe they will be vigilant on this front, despite a government that continues to understate certain risks within the country. It’s going to be a long haul, and I would expect growing concern going into the 2020 Olympics.

    I found this video interesting to reflect on the scale and permanence of the problem, although sad to see the abandoned dogs (especially 9:15):

  51. these incidents have occurred at a nuclear plant that has a “relatively safe” history
    ===========================================================

    considering what’s at stake “relatively safe” and “should be okay” aren’t good enough. 100% safety is not possible and anything less is not acceptable given the consequences.

    how many fukushimas and chernobyls can we survive. the earth will live on, the question is, will we.

  52. Oky1:
    The fact that the mainstream media often sucks at their job does not rain credibility down on Coast to Coast, a show that regularly gives Richard “Giant Glass Structures on the Moon” Hoagland a forum.

    I could keep going with everything wrong with what you said (or more accurately, what you didn’t say, like refuting the flaws in the study in question), but I’m dealing with someone who uses the term “puppet masters” without irony so it’s probably a waste of time.

  53. I find the effectiveness of the brainwashing of the Price/Anderson Act Apologist just amazing.

    After all that’s happened and yet some will still attempt to argue Nuke industry is a viable industry.

    Look in the mirror, you’re what insanity looks like.

    Scary Update! Fukushima Nuclear Radiation, Depopulation begins.

  54. LOL LMAO …… Woe is me, something is puckering!!!!!

    ““The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) had originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was around 100 millisieverts an hour. However, the company said the equipment used to make that recording could only read measurements of up to 100 millisieverts”.

    Joseph Heller at his height of Genius (Catch 22) would have blushed at imagining the above statement to be true. Truth can be more absurd than fiction.

  55. The choice between the dangers of nuclear power vs. coal are like the choice between having your head cut and a death of a thousand cuts. How would you like to go? Slarti is correct about the hazards of coal, however, there really is no such thing as a completely safe nuclear plant. The way forward is to insist that coal plant emissions be tightened. And, while there may be drawbacks to virtually every type of enrgy production, we need to move ahead with the least harmful method now, until that perfect grand discovery for splitting hydrogen from oxygen is achieved.

    Oh, and Bron, I’m not sure what part of the energy debate you’re not getting. Slart is anti-coal, right? He’s been saying that energy production from coal is worse than nuclear. Meanwhile, repubs have been desperately fighting every effort to regulate coal plant emissions. So why on earth would you presume that slart is a repub?

  56. Nick: fracking is probably the worst way to develop energy, short of shoveling puppies into a furnace. In case you’re not paying attention, it’s your first clue that the world is running out of fossil fuels.

  57. @lottakatz

    Thanks for checking. Is is so frustrating to have a clear memory and not be able to Google a trace.

    I was reduced to looking back through sent email. No luck but I was reminded of this quote from the Christian Science Monitor:

    “I think GE should really be saluted for their design of the
    reactors,” says Dr. Meshkati. “[The crisis] really hasn’t been a
    problem with the reactor design.”

    and this:

    Megan McArdle in the Atlantic writes:

    “That left the question: who pays? According to the New York Times,
    the answer is that while the global reinsurance industry will bear
    some substantial losses, in many cases, the losses will be borne by
    the government–or by people and companies whose insurance does not
    cover the damage that was done. The nuclear industry was required to
    buy insurance through a special industry insurer with liability limits
    that now seem laughably small–about $2 billion. And many of the
    damages simply aren’t insured at all:”

    I think it is ironic that some who argue the loudest for the free market also support policies that protect the nuclear industry.

    I don’t have the facts to prove it, but I suspect that full costing of nuclear power would remove it as an alternative for consideration.

  58. Silly {^..^ * many}, if I had been working on a TARDIS, I would have shown up the day after I left after taking as much time as I needed… :-P

    I’m still working on my project, but I’ve finished the “basic software development and learn about entrepreneurship” phase and I’m working on actually launching the business. In partnership with an academic lab doing bench research on cellular subsystems (and some other talented people), I’ll be applying for a small business grant from the NSF (and probably the NIH as well) this spring in an attempt to start a company that will provide a service helping pharmaceutical companies reduce the cost of developing new drugs (as well as possibly allowing them to tailor combinations of drugs—such as chemotherapeutic agents—to an individual’s actual gene expression levels, although that’s somewhat speculative at present). We’ll also be helping academic labs do research more efficiently as well.

    That’s about as good as I can do in a paragraph, but I am back and certainly intend to continue making a comment or two when I’ve got something to say.

    As for Dredd, I realize he doesn’t remember me, but I remember him and it really doesn’t matter as trolls like him only pay attention to other people’s arguments when they’re trying to make a straw man. Besides, for Dredd to actually have a productive conversation he would have to accept that I wasn’t just completely evil and that my beliefs and positions, even if they are different from his, are honestly held and I think that is probably something that is beyond him. I think that the knee-jerk vilification of opponents probably correlates well with and unscientific worldview, but maybe that’s just because both traits are strong in the Teahaddi… ;-)

    I agree about the need for an “energy Marshall plan”, as you put it, and also about how likely it is to happen, in part because of people like Dredd, who have staked out a position and consider the matter settled—apparently they don’t feel the need to reevaluate their decision in light of new evidence or new contexts. But it’s hardly surprising to find Dredd holding an unscientific mindset.

    OS,

    The problem is that there aren’t many people like your friend who can properly triage the negative impacts of various forms of energy production (as well as their strengths) and fewer still who could come up with an accurate cost/benefit analysis. Which is a problem, since any policy which isn’t based upon such an analysis is much less likely to be correct.

  59. RTC:

    I was joking around with him. I know he is not a republican.

    Slarti is pretty interesting, he is right on the nuclear power, at least in my opinion.

    Although solar farms and wind farms sure look like hell.

  60. Slarti,
    Thanks for those kind words. He was thinking outside the box when still in the tenth grade. And has a wicked sense of humor to boot. He commented in an email that it is a wonder either one of us managed to keep our teeth, considering some of the science based pranks we pulled. We did stuff back then that would certainly attract the attention of the ATF if kids did it now.

    We are both getting older now, but I told him that if he got that call to go to Stockholm, I would be glad to help him carry his luggage.

  61. My bad, Bron, From your comment and slart’s reaction, it sounded like the accusation was there. Make no mistake, nuclear power is no long solution. Power plants are always located near water and water moves. In the event of a leak, contamination is extremely difficult to contain. Wind farms are much more appealing compared to coal plants

  62. Slartibartfast
    1, October 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm
    Silly {^..^ * many}, if I had been working on a TARDIS, I would have shown up the day after I left after taking as much time as I needed… :-P
    ————

    Not if you were stuck outside the universe or in another dimension, as the Doctor was a couple of times. I expect though that your mods would have fixed those bugs so you are of course correct ;-)

    ***

    Slartibartfast: “such as chemotherapeutic agents—to an individual’s actual gene expression levels,”
    ————-

    There were a couple of article in the popular press about that new (potential) form of treatment that I read and the results of studies were good. the numbers were small as I recall but the method appears to be sound and is in its infancy so it would seem to be a good field to be in on the ground floor of. All my best on your new venture.
    ***

    Re: Dredd: Ouch! My posting to you was in response to your comment to BRON, and just a hook to say hi:

    “Bron,
    Well, I guess my support of President Obama or all of the arguments I’ve had with you on economic issues might have been a clue… ;-)”

    Other postings intervened so it was disassociated.
    That misunderstanding got out of hand and escalated quickly.

    B**ch at Dredd, not to me about him; I enjoy you both and don’t want to become a conduit for negative messaging between you and him. Or anyone.
    ***

    A Marshall plan for energy is easy to agree to because it’s really an insubstantial bit of rhetoric. But I will illustrate my concern. Do you recall a statement, roundly made fun of, by a Republican operative that they (Republicans/Conservatives) would make their own reality and while (Democrats and others) were running around, behind the curve, responding to the new reality they (Republicans/Conservatives) would have moved forward and constructed another new reality?

    I stopped making fun of that pretty quickly. It’s true. We need some things to pull it off but it’s eminently doable. Untapped human capacity or capacity that can be built and assembled, a unifying moment, wealth enough to do it, leadership. We have missed opportunities.

    I recall Kennedy saying that we would put a man on the moon in 10 years. We not only put a man on the moon we sent along a car because, America! We sent a couple of guys and their little car to the moon like some kind of extra-terrestrial Route 66. Hell Yeah!

    Carter was into alternate energy, mostly nuclear but he put those solar panels on the White House and call for research. He didn’t get any play for anything because Congress hated him for being an outsider, a usurper to conventional politics. Missed opportunity to continue the patronage to science and forward thinking.

    911 was the perfect moment for a new energy initiative, just perfect. If energy independence had been the rallying cry and the money spent on wars had been thrown at it we would be running our cars on water now, or very soon.

    A missed opportunity and a massive one, it could have transformed this country and raised up another couple of generations of children channeled into science, just like the space race did. I fear we are stagnating, following not leading, not even doing a good job of following either considering what other countries are doing.

    We need a Marshall Plan for a number of reasons. We need to be making our new reality and get back in the habit of doing so.
    ***

  63. Lottakatz,

    Sorry, I did not mean to put you or anyone else in the middle between myself and Dredd, I was just trying to respond to everything in your comment. For the record, I stand by what I said about Dredd and did not mean to imply that you in any way agreed nor do I expect you to respond on that topic.

    As for your thoughts on an energy Marshall plan, I’ve long believed in setting one’s sights high (because even if you fail to achieve your aim, you tend to make significant accomplishments). I do think that it would make an extremely good core issue for the Democratic party (or a bipartisan issue once responsible Republicans decide to denounce the members of their party who want to see American fail if they don’t get their way).

    Honestly, I think that making an election into a referendum on a proposed policy would be a very effective tactic—especially for the Democrats in midterm elections.

  64. Lottakatz said:

    There were a couple of article in the popular press about that new (potential) form of treatment that I read and the results of studies were good. the numbers were small as I recall but the method appears to be sound and is in its infancy so it would seem to be a good field to be in on the ground floor of. All my best on your new venture.

    Thanks. I doubt you’ve seen anything in the popular press about what I’m talking about, since, as far as I or any of my colleagues can determine, there isn’t anyone else doing this sort of thing. We wont know whether our idea about tailoring drugs to individuals works until we can actually do some experiments (which is, at best, years away), but whether the time (or our technique) is the right one to crack this problem now or not, I do believe that someone will eventually find a method to design pharmaceuticals that are customized for each individual and that the idea of tailoring chemotherapeutic agents, in particular, will play an important role in its development.

    As far as getting into a field in its infancy, I believe that innovations have their times—if the time is wrong then it doesn’t matter how much of a genius you are and if the time is right then eventually someone will do it. I think this is why DaVinci, as brilliant as he was, couldn’t make a flying machine (but the Wright brothers didn’t have a problem even though they weren’t nearly as clever) and why calculus was invented independently by Leibniz and Newton. Time will tell if I’ve picked the right time to try and build a railroad.

  65. Three typhoons plagued Japan and areas around it, causing more leaks of radioactive, cancer causing material.

    It must be raining heavy water by now:

    Heavy rain at the Fukushima nuclear plant caused a leak of radioactive water containing a cancer-causing isotope, possibly into the sea, its operator said Monday, as a typhoon approaching Japan threatened further downpours.

    It is the latest in a long line of setbacks at the site and further undermines agreements between operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) and the government, which limit the level of radioactive contamination in water that goes outside the plant.

    TEPCO said a barrier intended to contain radioactive overflow was breached in one spot by water contaminated with strontium-90 at 70 times the legal limit for safe disposal.

    Strontium-90 is produced during nuclear reactions. It accumulates in bones and remains potent for many years, and it can cause several types of cancer in humans.

    (Fukushima Blues). But this type info is NSFW in the U.S.A. cause Daddy Warbucks sez so:

    “I was fired because I raised nuclear safety issues about the Hanford site,” former URS Corp. nuclear engineer Walter Tamosaitis told HuffPost Live on Monday.

    Tamosaitis, who worked for the company for 44 years, said he first expressed his concerns about safety at the nation’s most-contaminated nuclear site in 2009. He also warned others about design issues with a radioactive waste treatment plant on the site in 2011. Federal investigators validated his concerns, but Tamosaitis was reassigned to a windowless basement office, reported the Los Angeles Times.

    He was then laid off earlier this month. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) recently penned letters to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, warning that Tamosaitis’ firing could put the Department of Energy’s commitment to improving its safety culture in jeopardy.

    (Sounds of Silence). Propaganda Flakes is the breakfast cereal of chumpions.

  66. Slartifartfast 1, October 19, 2013 at 8:33 am

    You wrote, concerning nuclear power plants, that “they aren’t putting out carcinogens into the air every day, nor are they producing radiation“.

    That is patently false.

  67. What you are not supposed to know:

    It doesn’t take an accident for a nuclear power plant to release radioactivity into our air, water and soil. All it takes is the plant’s everyday routine operation, and federal regulations permit these radioactive releases.

    Radioactivity is measured in “curies.” A large medical center, with as many as 1000 laboratories in which radioactive materials are used, may have a combined inventory of only about two curies. In contrast, an average operating nuclear power reactor will have approximately 16 billion curies in its reactor core. This is the equivalent long-lived radioactivity of at least 1,000 Hiroshima bombs.

    A reactor’s fuel rods, pipes, tanks and valves can leak. Mechanical failure and human error can also cause leaks. As a nuclear plant ages, so does its equipment – and leaks generally increase.

    Some contaminated water is intentionally removed from the reactor vessel to reduce the amount of the radioactive and corrosive chemicals that damage valves and pipes. The water is filtered and then either recycled back into the cooling system or released into the environment.

    A typical 1000-megawatt pressurized-water reactor (with a cooling tower) takes in 20,000 gallons of river, lake or ocean water per minute for cooling, circulates it through a 50-mile maze of pipes, returns 5,000 gallons per minute to the same body of water, and releases the remainder to the atmosphere as vapor. A 1000-megawatt reactor without a cooling tower takes in even more water–as much as one-half million gallons per minute. The discharge water is contaminated with radioactive elements in amounts that are not precisely known or knowable, but are biologically active.

    Some radioactive fission gases, stripped from the reactor cooling water, are contained in decay tanks for days before being released into the atmosphere through filtered rooftop vents. Some gases leak into the power plant buildings’ interiors and are released during periodic “purges” and “ventings.” These airborne gases contaminate not only the air, but also soil and water.

    Radioactive releases from a nuclear power reactor’s routine operation often are not fully detected or reported. Accidental releases may not be completely verified or documented.

    Accurate, economically-feasible filtering and monitoring technologies do not exist for some of the major reactor by-products, such as radioactive hydrogen (tritium) and noble gases, such as krypton and xenon. Some liquids and gases are retained in tanks so that the shorter-lived radioactive materials can break down before the batch is released to the environment.

    Government regulations allow radioactive water to be released to the environment containing “permissible” levels of contamination. Permissible does not mean safe. Detectors at reactors are set to allow contaminated water to be released, unfiltered, if below “permissible” legal levels.

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission relies upon self-reporting and computer modeling from reactor operators to track radioactive releases and their projected dispersion. A significant portion of the environmental monitoring data is extrapolated – virtual, not real.

    Accurate accounting of all radioactive wastes released to the air, water and soil from the entire reactor fuel production system is simply not available. The system includes uranium mines and mills, chemical conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication plants, nuclear power reactors, and radioactive waste storage pools, casks, and trenches.

    Increasing economic pressures to reduce costs, due to the deregulation of the electric power industry, could further reduce the already unreliable monitoring and reporting of radioactive releases. Deferred maintenance can increase the radioactivity released – and the risks.

    Many of the reactor’s radioactive by-products continue giving off radioactive particles and rays for enormously long periods – described in terms of “half-lives.” A radioactive material gives off hazardous radiation for at least ten half-lives. One of the radioactive isotopes of iodine (iodine- 129) has a half-life of 16 million years; technetium-99 = 211,000 years; and plutonium-239 = 24,000 years. Xenon-135, a noble gas, decays into cesium-135, an isotope with a 2.3 million-year half-life.

    It is scientifically established that low-level radiation damages tissues, cells, DNA and other vital molecules – causing programmed cell death (apoptosis), genetic mutations, cancers, leukemia, birth defects, and reproductive, immune and endocrine system disorders.

    (Nuclear Information Resource Service, emphasis added).

  68. Dredd,

    You can never attack my premise if all you talk about is how unsafe nuclear power is—I’m not arguing that it is safe. Until you are willing to consider the RELATIVE problems of nuclear and other forms of power production, then you are doing nothing but trolling the conversation with your propaganda. Yes, radiation is bad. But so are carcinogenic chemicals. The difference is that your body has had millions of years to evolve defenses against radiation and scant decades or at most centuries to react to carcinogenic compounds. Not to mention what the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is doing. Whatever pseudo-idealistic platitude you think you’re serving, nothing you or I or anyone else does is going to make our society voluntarily radically reduce our energy consumption and if you’re not willing to discuss how ALL of the options can be used to transition from our current addiction to fossil fuels to a society which uses renewable power sources (or fusion), then you are nothing more than a naive and petulant child and deserve to be ignored.

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