Adam Curry Exposes Robert Alvarez’s Fukushima Spent Fuel Pool Fable on No Agenda

I’ve been following a couple of conversations about a recent story that has been floating around the web from an antinuclear Chicken Little named Robert Alvarez. According to Alvarez, a man who seems to believe that it is physically possible for dense, corrosion-resistant, solid material to instantaneously vaporize, the spend fuel pool at Fukushima Daiichi unit 4 poses an imminent risk to the safety of everyone on earth.

Of course, I am exaggerating slightly for effect. It’s called literary license.

Here is one media source’s version of what Alvarez has actually written about the risk from that spent fuel pool:

A report released in February by the Independent Investigation Commission on the nuclear accident called this pool “the weakest link” at Fukushima. Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy warns that, “If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain it could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident.”

How likely is this? While the structure of Reactor 4 is stable for the moment, the Dai-ichi plant lies miles from a big earthquake fault– as large as the one that caused last year’s quake, but much closer to Fukushima. According to a study published in February in the European Geosciences Union´s journal Solid Earth, that fault is now overdue for a quake.

You can find a more apocalyptic version at The Largest Short-Term Threat to Humanity: The Fuel Pools of Fukushima or you can try this one if that does not scare you enough Fukushima reactor is a threat to all (Please understand that I am NOT recommending fear and thing that the people publishing this junk are incredibly naive – or think all of the rest of us are.)

However, the story is somehow gaining some traction on the web and has even captured the attention of Senator Roy Wyden, who issued a press release on April 16 calling for urgent action.

Yesterday, Adam Curry, who produces a popular “media assassination” podcast called No Agenda with John C. Dvorak, contacted me. His email included an article that started out with the following hair raising tale.

Recently, former diplomats and experts both in Japan and abroad stressed the extremely risky condition of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent nuclear fuel pool and this is being widely reported by world media.

Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), who is one of the best-known experts on spent nuclear fuel, stated that in Unit 4 there is spent nuclear fuel which contains Cesium-137 (Cs-137) that is equivalent to 10 times the amount that was released at the time of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

Thus, if an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain, this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident.

Nearly all of the 10,893 spent fuel assemblies at the Fukushima Daiichi plant sit in pools vulnerable to future earthquakes, with roughly 85 times more long-lived radioactivity than released at Chernobyl.

Nuclear experts from the US and Japan such as Arnie Gundersen, Robert Alvarez, Hiroaki Koide, Masashi Goto, and Mitsuhei Murata, a former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland, and, Akio Matsumura, a former UN diplomat, have continually warned against the high risk of the Fukushima Unit 4 spent nuclear fuel pool.

Adam asked: “What do you make of this? Fear mongering?”

Adam and I have been corresponding about nuclear energy issues for years, but I was a little busy, so I gave a very brief response.

“Absolutely. A more precise term is a crock of BS.”

Adam immediately fired back with “Can you give me something concrete to say about it on the show?”

That was my opening, so I provided a few credible sources and background material. Here is the way the story played, starting at 2:30:00 of Episode 405 of the No Agenda Show.

I suspect that discussion was heard by more people in the past few days than I could have reached in a whole year on Atomic Insights. My fervent hope is that it will cause at least a few reporters to check their sources more carefully before crowning them with the title of “nuclear energy expert.”

I also hope at least a few people slept just a little more soundly knowing that their fears were being irrationally stimulated by a music major dropout who has been milking an antinuclear gig for a couple of decades.

BTW – if you want a bit of an education about how the media works to pick memes and distract the public from obtaining important information, I highly recommend listening to No Agenda. It is not necessarily the most family friendly show on the web, and no matter what your political affiliation, I suspect that you will get a little defensive now and again. I suspect, however, that you will enjoy the experience, especially if you take some time to understand the inside jokes.

Additional Reading

The Neutron Economy – Overheated Rods and Rhetoric

About Rod Adams

301 Responses to “Adam Curry Exposes Robert Alvarez’s Fukushima Spent Fuel Pool Fable on No Agenda”

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  1. moineau says:

    “a man who seems to believe that it is physically possible for dense, corrosion-resistent, solid material to instantaneous vaporize”

    you have definitely forgotten chernobyl… sad, really sad.

    • John Englert says:

      @ moineau – there’s a very big difference between a steam explosion in the Chernobyl reactor and the spent fuel that’s been decaying in the #4 storage pool for over a year. The power in the fuel bundles decreases exponentially with time since the core has been shut down. After a year, fuel is only generating around 5 watts per kilogram of uranium, which is cool enough for air cooling.

      • atomic says:

        hahahahaha It takes eternity for spent fuel to decay to a point where it is not dangerous. Any person who knows one tiny bit about nuclear would know that fact. The radiation does not fade in a year… or 20,000 years in some cases, such as is the case with plutonium-which was in the MOX fuel which blew out of no. 3… so- get geiger counters folks-keep your children out of the rain and be aware and awake. This fallout is happening all over the planet. It is being measured all over the globe. Be careful out there-some folks do not have your best interests at heart is the sad fact of the matter.

        • DV82XL says:

          No it does not take an eternity, I suggest you try and lean the physics of radioactive decay before making unwarranted statements like this.

          Be careful out there-some folks do not have any understanding of this subject yet think they can offer up their ignorance as knowledge.

        • NuclearGrrl says:

          For someone named “atomic”, you are rather short on nuclear knowledge.

          Kilowatts (kW) is a unit of power. Not a unit of radioactivity. The power emitted by the rods decays exponentially with time (as does the radioactivity). After over a year, those rods have sufficiently little POWER that they might be able to be air cooled, and certainly don’t have enough power to self sustain a fire in a sparse loading pattern.

        • atomic lies says:

          to dv82xl: I have no idea what your agenda is, but I understand the decay chains perfectly PU has a HALF LIFE of 24,000 years… that means it loses HALF if its radioactivity in that time… that IS eternity as far as we as humans can comprehend time. Also cesium 137 has a half life of just over 30 years… that means it takes 300 years for it to not be radioactive any longer. I think before advice is given to others about their knowledge it might be a good idea to check ones own, huh? And MANY of the isotopes with very short half lives, decay into the nastiest deadliest stuff that is known to man kind.

        • DV82XL says:

          My agenda, (such as it is) is to champion the truth.

          You think because you have looked at the table of nuclides that you have any understanding of how decay works? Your lack of understanding of what decay really is may serve you well in the antinuclear haunts you frequent, but here most of us understand the physics of this in some detail.

          Radioactivity is a broad term that is used often without qualification, but there are several different kinds and they have dissimilar properties. As well, the longer the half-life, the less energy the substance is emitting at any given time. It is only in the hysterical minds of the anti-nukes that radioactive substances stay dangerous for eons.

          Please try and grasp just how little you know about this subject and stop making an ass of yourself among those that do – that or get a proper grounding in the subject.

      • atomic lies says:

        The radiation does not decrease exponentially during the same time period… if anything, it gets worse…The core is not shut down. The CORES, plural, are melted down, and then melted through, and having to be cooled by pouring in 9000 tons of water per HOUR, to this day, with 200,000 tons of contaminated water on site, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of tons that have leaked into the ground and the sea. It being one year later is like a minute to this melted radioactive mess… it means nothing in terms of the effects for humans for decades to come, who live nearby it especially.

        • DV82XL says:

          Do go and look up nuclear decay and try to understand it before making such idiotic statements. The physics are relativity simple, and do donot support what you are saying

        • John Tucker says:

          What a ridiculous post. Reference it. Unless you reference it, it is misinformation and should be removed from a reasonable forum.

          It is more offensive to me than profanity and degrades the entire discussion.

          People that think like atomiclies should not be making decisions that involve the lives of others. This poster has been caught spreading misinformation before.

        • NuclearGrrl says:

          n(t)=n(0) e^-λt

          BAZINGA!!! Exponential radioactive decay.

          Assuming Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 reactor was operating at 784 MWe for 18 months, the decay heat from the full core at shutdown would be 55 MW, at 1 hour it would be 11 MW, at 1 year it would be 0.125 MW. That is for the FULL CORE. There are 548 fuel assemblies in Unit 4 when operational. That means each assembly offloaded from that core over a year ago is giving off less than a kilowatt of heat. They are still highly radioactive. But they’re not that hot.

        • hp says:

          Why do they not address the fact the core(s) are not shut down?
          This is now Oct. 24, 2013 and it is widely known and supported that there have been THREE REACTOR CORE meltdowns; ongoing.

          To state causally the core is shut down is blatant evil lies.
          First in implying it’s a single core and second that it has been shut down.

          • Rod Adams says:

            @hp

            Do you have any idea what you are talking about? All of the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi were shutdown immediately upon indication of the earthquake that preceded the tsunami. That was done by inserting the neutron poison control rods.

            All other heat generation at the facility was a result of decay heat, which comes from the radioactive materials that are produced when uranium is fissioned. That heat comes after the reactor has been shutdown.

            The material in shutdown cores can melt if the decay heat is not actively removed, but the extent of the melting is limited by the characteristics of the other materials used in plant construction. There are numerous heat removal mechanisms that get involved once melting starts.

            Radiation measurements indicate that there was no melt through and that the cores remain inside the pressure vessels. The cores from units 1-3 of Fukushima Daiichi are seriously damaged, but have most likely refrozen into an mass of metal and ceramic material inside those thick-walled vessels. Their condition is most likely similar to that of the TMI core, which was carefully chipped out of the pressure vessel after having penetrated no more than 5/8 of an inch into the vessel before refreezing.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3CWS1z_py4

          • hp says:

            OK. You’re right and so many others are wrong.
            You’ve actually been there and done that? (it’s almost 2014 now)
            Well, what’s the holdup? Why isn’t this getting better instead of worse?

            Perhaps you need to get over there and straighten everyone out..

            Dec. 2011 – “Japan PM: Crippled nuke plant stable by year’s end”
            (yeah, right, it’s almost 2014)

            “A representative of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it doesn’t know what’s going on inside the reactors” (but you do)

            guessed at

            “The melted core cracked the containment vessel, there really is no containment. So as soon as they pump the water in it leaks out again.”

            triple meltdowns

            “A former nuclear engineer with three decades of experience at a major engineering firm … who has worked at all three nuclear power complexes operated by Tokyo Electric [said] “If the fuel is still inside the reactor core, that’s one thing” …. But if the fuel has been dispersed more widely, then we are far from any stable shutdown.”

            “Indeed, if the center of the reactors are in fact relatively “cold”, it may be because most of the hot radioactive fuel has leaked out of the containment vessels and escaped into areas where it can do damage to the environment.”

            fear of fission

    • Sean Smith says:

      Chernobyl was a steam explosion caused by a super criticality and a graphite fire. It seems to me that accusing rod of “completely forgetting” Chernobyl is factually not relevant to the SFP 4 situation and typical of the uninformed scare tactics that “antis” often resort too.

      There is no critical mass in the current configuration of SFP 4 and no high pressure steam production. There is also no graphite to burn.

      I find it despicable that people would dishonor the soldiers who fought bravely to contain the disaster at Chernobyl by using the memory of that tragedy to further thier own agenda. “SAD, REALLY SAD.”

      • atomic lies says:

        Over 200 thousand of those guys who fought bravely at Chernobyl are dead from radiation induced illnesses. And their children are sick and dying. I do not find it dishonorable to reveal the truth.

        There may be no graphite to burn but there is a brand new thing, uranium peroxide, which acts as a tiny cage to carry other deadly isotopes in the wind… created because of the salt water dumped into the reactors… there is ZERO data on how this will affect humans…

        If you are reading these comments-take precautions, wash your food well, stay out of the rain and the snow, take your shoes off before entering your homes, small precautions can make a big difference. And get yourself a radiation detector- they make them in pocket size so you can be safe- and know when you are not.

        PS) I am no “anti” I am PRO NO NUKES!!!

        • DV82XL says:

          again without reference your comment is nothing but noise. As a mater of fact only a little more than fifty died fighting the fire at Chernobyl, kids are not dying, and there is nothing new about uranium peroxide, it is a well understood compound that is found present at one stage of the enriched uranium fuel cycle and in yellowcake prepared via the in situ leaching and resin ion exchange system.

          You are basically an uninformed idiot.

        • Rod Adams says:

          The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, which was tasked with studying the effects of Chernobyl over a 25 year period with support from hundreds of highly qualified scientists and other professionals from all over the world has reached a different conclusion.

          Their Chernobyl report, available at http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/chernobyl.html includes the following summary:

          The accident caused the deaths, within a few weeks, of 30 workers and radiation injuries to over a hundred others. In response, the authorities evacuated, in 1986, about 115,000 people from areas surrounding the reactor and subsequently relocated, after 1986, about 220,000 people from Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The accident caused serious social and psychological disruption in the lives of those affected and vast economic losses over the entire region. Large areas of the three countries were contaminated with radioactive materials, and radionuclides from the Chernobyl release were measurable in all countries of the northern hemisphere.

          Among the residents of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, there had been up to the year 2005 more than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer reported in children and adolescents who were exposed at the time of the accident, and more cases can be expected during the next decades. Notwithstanding the influence of enhanced screening regimes, many of those cancers were most likely caused by radiation exposures shortly after the accident. Apart from this increase, there is no evidence of a major public health impact attributable to radiation exposure two decades after the accident. There is no scientific evidence of increases in overall cancer incidence or mortality rates or in rates of non-malignant disorders that could be related to radiation exposure. The incidence of leukaemia in the general population, one of the main concerns owing to the shorter time expected between exposure and its occurrence compared with solid cancers, does not appear to be elevated. Although those most highly exposed individuals are at an increased risk of radiation-associated effects, the great majority of the population is not likely to experience serious health consequences as a result of radiation from the Chernobyl accident. Many other health problems have been noted in the populations that are not related to radiation exposure.

          That is quite a bit different from the number you have found. I would bet that your source can be traced to a single work done by a couple of individuals who perused 5,000 articles, mostly published in the press and other non peer reviewed outlets. That work, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, by Alexey Yablokov was PRINTED by the presses of the New York Academy of Sciences.

          If you do a little searching on Atomic Insights for “Yablokov” you will find several articles that combine to detail a fascinating backstory about that decision and the efforts made by Ted Rockwell, a longtime member of the Academy, to find out how it was made. He has also worked to encourage the Board of Governors to more firmly repudiate the work as fiction, not science.

        • Lantzelot says:

          “And get yourself a radiation detector- they make them in pocket size so you can be safe- and know when you are not.”

          The main outcome of loads of people walking around with pocket size dosimeters is that there will be loads of people feeling unsafe, because they do not understand how to measure, what they measure, and how to interpret the readings. You seem to have spent far to much time listening to Michael Collins.

        • NuclearGrrl says:

          Rod,

          That link to UNSCEAR is brilliant! Thanks!

          S

    • Curtis says:

      Do you care to share with the class the physics of how a Solid piece of material is going to instantly Vaporize and wipe out the entire planet?

      Even Chernobyl, the to date Worst Case scenario, only caused a small handful of immediate deaths, and a small number of ongoing cancer related issues, and NOT A SINGLE 3 HEADED BABY!!!!!

      Or are we just running around saying the sky is falling?

      • Daniel says:

        Where are the mass graves of Chernobyl again ?

      • atomic lies says:

        Maybe no three headed ones, but quite a few two headed ones, one eyed ones, ones born with no limbs, or too many limbs, or their noses in the wrong location on top of their heads… not to mention the close to one million who have succumbed to various radiation induced illnesses and died since then… and the number keeps climbing. Less than 10% of the children born in Belarus TODAY are healthy if that gives you any idea how longlasting the effects are from radiation fallout. Shut them all down NOW!

      • atomic lies says:

        I do not know where you are getting your “data” but it is terribly flawed. Thousands upon thousands of cases of thyroid cancer in children is hardly a small number, not to mention the hundreds of thousands who are sick right now, today, because of Cherobyl.

        Here is the process, if cooling is lost, the long outer zirconium tubes will catch fire, and the heat from the fuel pellets stacked inside of this tube will allow them to melt down, into a liquid form, which then, during an explosion, can be distributed into the atmosphere in tiny pieces known as particles… not instant vaporization, but it will get into us regardless if it takes a day, a month or a year… and what is the funny thing is, this stuff won’t differentiate, it will get the pro nukes the same as it does everyone else, and they too will die with cancers, and heart disease, and diabetes killing off their organs, and all manner of horror, ALL brought on by a little thing called bio-accumulation… it adds up and once you cross a thresh hold of exposure, or a unit of time has elapsed that allows damage to incur to nearby cells, the cancers will come calling for us one and all. None will escape it when it does get to this point so we better ALL hope that it does not reach this level.

  2. John Englert says:

    Rod,

    Sen. Wyden has a good reason for traveling to Japan and hyping the #4amount SFP story. His home state of Oregon is working on becoming a port of departure for coal and liquefied natural gas shipments to Asia and with nukes shut down, Japan becomes a reliable customer for that coal and gas. The failure of the media to investigate these connections is despicable.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @John – thanks for pointing out Wyden’s “means, motive and opportunity”. Following the money and solving the mystery can be satisfying when it comes to understanding why some are opposed to nuclear energy development and what do do about their opposition.

      • Alex says:

        I find it amusing that pro-nuclear folks dismiss any questions of moral hazard or self-interest on their side as tinfoil-hat nonsense, but enthusiastically create conspiracy theories to avoid giving legitimate answers to questions such as, “why would the only American politician to visit Fukushima come back with grave concerns?”

        • Rod Adams says:

          @Alex – pointing out the economic motive for antinuclear activism is not “conspiracy theory”. The energy supply industry is arguably the world’s largest business but its profitability is very cyclic. Profitability is highly dependent on both market volume and market prices. Nuclear energy use has a major affect on both the amount of fossil fuel needed to supply the world’s energy demands and the price at which trades will occur.

          Replacing the output of a single large nuclear power station requires burning about 180 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day. At current prices in the United States, replacing that output requires the power generator to spend an additional $400,000 per day to buy fuel. On the other hand, the fuel supplier’s revenue increases by $400,000 per day. Roll back to 2008, when natural gas prices were at least 5 times higher than they are today. Replacing the output of a single large nuclear plant forced off line, perhaps as a result of a requirement to do a detailed inspection following an earthquake, would require the utility to spend an additional $2 million per day. Once again, there is another side to that cost equation – the fuel supplier’s revenue increases by that same $2 million per day.

          Just suppose – and this never would happen – that the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is led by a man who spent all of his pre commission career working for avowedly antinuclear politicians. Suppose that some of his friends and colleagues from that era called him up and expressed their deep concern about the “safety” of allowing a reactor on a beautiful big lake not far from Washington DC to start up after the plant owners have determined that it suffered no damage during a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, even though that quake officially exceeded the plant’s design basis for ground acceleration for less than 10 seconds.

          Just imagine how happy fuel suppliers would be if the NRC determined that the plant needed to stay shut down for a couple of extra months for an even more detailed set of inspections. Even for a gas company, a million per day in additional revenue is worth a few phone calls. (There happen to be two units that each generate more than 1000 MWe at this particular hypothetical location and the local price of natural gas is a little higher than at the trading hubs due to delivery costs.)

          The situation in Japan is at least 50 times worse than the one I just described, since 50 operational nuclear plants have been idled due to antinuclear activism. Since natural gas prices are about 6 times as high in Japan than in the US, the situation is actually 300 times as bad for the power companies and 300 times as beneficial for the natural gas suppliers. All of the power customers are on the same side of the accounting ledger as the power company.

          Japan’s petroleum import bill increased by $55 billion in the nine months of 2011 after March 11. It will be even worse in 2012 if current trends continue. As a commenter has pointed out, Oregon stands to rake in at least some of the additional cash flowing to fossil fuels by exporting coal and possibly natural gas from its ports.

          Hmm. Conspiracy? I think not.

        • Alex says:

          @Rod, your explanation is very valid. I certainly have no love for the fossil fuel industry, so I see nothing wrong with your assertions. But wouldn’t it be equally valid to suggest that the companies that own and operate nuclear power plants are just as likely to cut corners, cover up risks, and play politics?

          • Rod Adams says:

            @Alex – first of all, manipulating the market by trying to make a competitor look bad is WAY different from cutting corners, and covering up risks. I am confident that the people in the energy industry are at least as trustworthy as people anywhere. Actually, since we all know that we are dealing with powerful stuff (otherwise it would not be “energy” now would it) we tend to be more careful than average. We also have some very expensive equipment that could be damaged or made inoperable by cutting corners. No manager would willingly risk the permanent loss of tens of millions to billions in capital equipment to make a little more daily profit.

            I will not say that nuclear industry leaders are above politics, but I will say that the coal, oil and gas industries are far more skilled at playing the game. They have, after all, been at it for several generations now.

        • atomic lies says:

          I would love to answer that question: because he saw with his own eyes what is being hidden from the world? Could that be the answer… and now I have a question for you-

          WHY is he the only American politician TO visit? And why have our military been evacuated from there, for the first time in history since WWII? Do tell…

        • Wayne SW says:

          Why did Wyden go to Japan and come back with “grave concerns”? My guess is that it is the same motivation that any politicians has for doing anything: to get re-elected. Look at the state he represents. Do you think he is going to get more votes from his constituents if he goes over there and comes back with “grave concerns” and is critical of nuclear things, or if he is complimentary of the efforts to manage the situation under difficult circumstances? Note that it doesn’t matter what Wyden really thinks or what the truth really is. The question is if what he says score him points among his potential voters.

          And what are Sen. Wyden’s credentials for making sweeping judgements on things nuclear? Well, he is a lawyer. He has a J.D. I guess that makes him an “expert witness”, at least for the anti-nuclear side.

  3. Christine Strickland says:

    This industry called nuclear has pulled the wool over the eyes of humanity for so long, that I sometimes think that they have come to believe their own pile of lies and propaganda. What Bob Alvarez states is pure truth-and the fact that he is singled out here, by a known industry supporter is par for the course. This is how they do it folks-this is it exactly. If you listen to the video, these guys make jokes about people dying of cancer from radiation. This is not a funny subject whatsoever, and for them to joke in this manner, when I personally have seen the devastating truth of the reality of nuclear is not only unacceptable, but it is also inhuman and shallow.

    Almost one million people have already died from Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and their land was much less densely populated than in Japan. There will be catastrophic health consequences from this, and if you want to see how much the nuclear industry cares? Look to people like the one in this article, Adam Curry. YOUR life and your children’s means NOTHING to them, less than nothing really, and they protect their nuclear affiliations and throw you and your children onto their nuclear altar to sacrifice in order that they may profit.

    If not for folks like Bob Alvarez? You would never know the true side of this, and that is that radiation kills, mutates, damages and destroys LIFE~ the best way to protect humanity is to shut them all down NOW!!!

    • Curtis says:

      Please provide evidence of this MILLIONS Dead Claim from Chernobyl? My Evidence is taken from the United Nations Scientific Committee on the effects of Atomic Radiation: http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/chernobyl.html

      This is what they say on the workers at the plant and the recovery operations workers:

      “The Chernobyl accident caused many severe radiation effects almost immediately. Of 600 workers present on the site during the early morning of 26 April 1986, 134 received high doses (0.8-16 Gy) and suffered from radiation sickness. Of these, 28 died in the first three months and another 19 died in 1987-2004 of various causes not necessarily associated with radiation exposure. In addition, according to the UNSCEAR 2008 Report, the majority of the 530,000 registered recovery operation workers received doses of between 0.02 Gy and 0.5 Gy between 1986 and 1990. That cohort is still at potential risk of late consequences such as cancer and other diseases and their health will be followed closely.”

      This is what they say on the population at large:

      For the last two decades, attention has been focused on investigating the association between exposure caused by radionuclides released in the Chernobyl accident and late effects, in particular thyroid cancer in children. Doses to the thyroid received in the first few months after the accident were particularly high in those who were children and adolescents at the time in Belarus, Ukraine and the most affected Russian regions and drank milk with high levels of radioactive iodine. By 2005, more than 6,000 thyroid cancer cases had been diagnosed in this group, and it is most likely that a large fraction of these thyroid cancers is attributable to radioiodine intake. It is expected that the increase in thyroid cancer incidence due to the Chernobyl accident will continue for many more years, although the long-term increase is difficult to quantify precisely.

      So the experts that have been studying the area since 86 come up with a number less than 7000.

      They also not that that as time goes along the chance of Cancers goes down.

      From this Lessons are learned. Many of the Thyroid cancers were due to children drinking Iodine contaminated Milk. In Japan, Parents were warned almost immediately to avoid milk, and now the Iodine has long since decayed away to nothing.

      The health effects of Japan are going to be too small to measure.

    • George Carty says:

      Japan is a densely populated country with almost no domestic fossil fuel supplies. In the era before nuclear power was invented, this meant that Japan pursued an aggressive policy of militarism in order to capture fossil fuel supplies — coal in Manchuria, and oil in Indonesia. The latter need was what led to Pearl Harbor, as Japan’s route to Indonesia was blocked by the American-controlled Philippines.

      Won’t eschewing nuclear power now — when Japan’s population is almost twice what it was at the time of World War II — make Japan hopelessly dependent on imported fossil fuels?

      • Rod Adams says:

        After media driven Fukushima Frenzy, Japan considering a natural gas pipeline project from Russia. Are there any historians out there who can explain just how revolutionary it would be for Japan to accept Russian dominance over its energy supply?

        I have no way of tracking this down, but I would bet that there has been a lot of Gazprom money spent propping up the antinuclear activists who have captured so much attention.

        • George Carty says:

          I’ve made the same suggestion (that Japanese antinukes are paid by Gazprom) multiple times on Facebook.

          I can’t understand how they’d get away with it, as I can’t imagine Japan feels as guilty about the Russo-Japanese War as Germany does about WWII (which I imagine may deter pro-nuclear Germans playing the “anti-nukes are pro-Russian quislings” card).

        • Daniel says:

          @ George

          You gotta love India and its attitude to the anti nukes. You are protesting and you are financed from outside the country.

          GO TO JAIL BABY ….

          Gotta love sanskript for back at you moron …

        • John Englert says:

          Not sure that the information you seek is be available through the usual channels. Russian connections to German and international Green groups pre-date the latest push to abandon nuclear fission as a source of energy so I doubt a simple internet search would reveal much. I believe that Soviet funding of these groups to oppose the deployment of enhanced radiation weapons in Europe helped establish connections that are still exploited today. The Cold War was never extinguished, it just smoldered for a couple of decades waiting for new fuel (methane) to be added to the fire.

  4. Alex says:

    First of all, let me say that I sincerely hope that you are right, and that there is no significant risk to the USA from Fukushima. However, five minutes of ad hominem attacks on Robert Alvarez did nothing to debunk the specific concerns that respected Japanese diplomats and U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (the only American politician to actually visit Fukushima) have raised.

    I read the ANS report as well. Since it was written by industry insiders whose careers depend on the continued use of nuclear energy, I don’t have as much confidence in its objectivity as you do.

    To say “no one died from radiation” at Fukushima is a little premature, isn’t it? This slideshow of disfigured children and dying people from the Chernobyl area 26 years post-meltdown is hardly reassuring.

    As someone who HAS been losing sleep over this issue, just hearing you call Robert Alvarez a “douchebag” didn’t exactly allay my concerns. I would love nothing more than to read a point-by-point rebuttal of the following assertions:

    1) TEPCO, has only recently confirmed that there were three meltdowns, and they have been ongoing, unabated, for thirteen months, and no substantial effort has been made to contain them. http://en.ria.ru/world/20110524/164190621.html

    2) Reactor #1 suffered a hydrogen gas buildup and explosion, rupturing containment and exposing the core and 8 years of spent fuel to the atmosphere. The core then melted through containment and fell into the basement of the reactor building. Reactor #2 melted through containment and fell into the basement of the reactor building.http://brc.gov/sites/default/files/meetings/presentations/brc_staff_memo_re_fukushima_5-10-11.pdf

    3) Reactor #3 also suffered a hydrogen explosion, but because MOX (containing Plutonium) was being used as fuel, the hydrogen explosion triggered what appeared to be a nuclear explosion, ejecting some of the contents of Unit 3 into the atmosphere. The ten tons of fuel in this reactor contained an amount of Plutonium orders of magnitude greater than that necessary to extinguish all life on Earth. The core then melted through containment and fell into the basement of the reactor building. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZSSx12pvuk

    4) The cores of Units 1, 2 and 3 likely melted through the concrete basements and entered the ground and water tables. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110607005367.htm

    5) The water in Spent Fuel pool #4 boiled off, exposing the fuel rods to the air. Hydrogen was released, and another explosion occurs, rupturing containment. http://mainichi.jp/english/english/perspectives/news/20120402p2a00m0na002000c.html

    6) Water being used to cool the site is pouring into the Pacific ocean, and steaming up through the ground. The jet stream and troposphere have been swirling around massive amounts of radioactive “hot particles” and settling them out, mostly in rain, over the entire northern hemisphere. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13819767

    7) “Hot particles” from Fukushima have reached the USA. http://www.datapoke.org/blog/89/study-modeling-fukushima-npp-p-239-and-np-239-atmospheric-dispersion/ and http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/node/5840

    8) Kelp from Corona del Mar was found to contain 40,000,000 bcq/kg of radioactive iodine, as reported in Scientific American only a month after the accident. Although Iodine 131 decays quickly, scientists have not tested for isotopes such as Cesium 137, which has a 30-year half-life. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=radioactive-iodine-from-from-fukushima-found-in-california-kelp
    Indeed the FDA refuses to test seafood for radioactivity, insisting that “the ocean is too big,” despite the scientist’s explanation that “In Southern California, the kelp was collected after rainstorms, which would have washed the radioactive material from the air onto land and then into the ocean.” http://www.adn.com/2011/04/16/1813982/fda-claims-no-need-to-test-pacific.html#ixzz1JlrzUS7x

    9) Radiation is so intense that equipment used for cleanup has been unable to function properly, slowing critical efforts. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/world/asia/inquiry-suggests-worse-damage-at-japan-nuclear-plant.html

    10) An enormous, partially radioactive debris field is floating across the Pacific ocean, towards the American coast. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1374520/Japan-earthquake-tsunami-debris-floating-US-West-Coast.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    11) Unlike Chernobyl, where the reaction was actually stopped by the explosion, the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima is a self-sustaining reaction, and will continue INDEFINITELY. This is why the IAEA has stated that Fukushima is a disaster on the level of Chernobyl. http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2011/04/what-does-fukushima-bad-chernobyl-actually-mean/36575/

    • mike says:

      Alex,

      Your post is so long that I can’t answer all of your questions, but here is a reply to the first one you mention.

      The slide show with dying and mentally ill children is indeed tragic and I can guarantee you it was designed to be “not reassuring” .
      In my city there are also many tragic cases like these as there are in all regions. For example based on the US national Institute of Health studies in the USA based on rates from 2007-2009, 1.03% of men and women born today will be diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid at some time during their lifetime. On January 1, 2009, in the United States there were approximately 496,901 men and women alive who had a history of cancer of the thyroid. Where is the link to nuclear radiation?

      1) What is your understanding of the phrase “Meltdown”? The fuel in the reactors did partially melt. That was widely known early on. Most people think a “Melt down” equals a frightening disaster of some sort, but the engineers have taken the melting of the fuel into account with their designs and so it may be very expensive to the reactor owners, but doesn’t automatically mean catastrophic radiation is released.

      2) I read the report you linked to. Where does it say the core was exposed to the atmosphere? The cores of the reactors were not exposed to the atmosphere. Where did you get the information that the cores melted through containment and into the basement? Are you just making stuff up?

      3) Well the level of misinformation is now getting to extreme levels. I don’t think refuting stuff that is so easy to research will convince you. Maybe you should start doing some work to research this stuff more fully. I don’t know why you would believe these things? Have you done any critical unbiased research?
      It seems you are searching for data that supports your prejudices and fears.
      4) see # 3 above.
      5) through 11…see # 4 above.

      • atomic lies says:

        My understanding of the word meltdown, is a catastrophe beyond human imagining. It is a thing that robots cannot even approach and men will die if they get near it in a matter of moments. It is what happened in at least 3 nuclear reactors in Fukushima Japan, the likes of which has never occurred on the planet before.

        As for the “plans” of those who built these death traps? They were sorely insufficient. The outer containments blew up. The primary containments were damaged by both earthquake AND pressure and then explosions. The MOLTEN fuel fell to the bottom of each one, and it is believed all three melted through and leaked into the basements of the containments. Also their is huge jeopardy from 4 spent fuel pools in all of these damaged buildings, one of which the condition is rubble with no plans how to remove the fuel, and one threatening us all if another earthquake should come and shake it from its already weakened state.

        Tepco ADMITS billions of bequerals of radiation have poured out every moment of every day since day one, when the meltdowns actually occurred, right into the atmosphere. This also has never happened on earth. Oh yes, and it is leaking into the groundwater and into the sea.

        So my personal understanding of a meltdown is, it ain’t no good thing…

        • DV82XL says:

          “My understanding of the word meltdown, is a catastrophe beyond human imagining. “

          Given that there have been three so far, we now have a rather good understanding of them. Needless to say they turned out to be somewhat less spectacular than you imagine.

          Your hysterics are doing nothing to advance this debate but they are marking you as a mindless troll.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @atomic lies

          You said one thing that will not get any argument from even the most pro of nuclear professionals.

          “So my personal understanding of a meltdown is, it ain’t no good thing…”

          I’ve been in a number of gatherings of nukes that have said something very similar:

          “A meltdown can ruin your whole day.”

          That is why we work so darned hard to avoid them. However, we also assume they are possible, so we build several layers of protection that can sacrificially fail and give people who are nearby the time to take protective precautions. That is in direct contrast to our energy industry competition – the coal, oil and gas guys know that their systems can fail. However, they cannot afford all of the barriers that can protect people so they simply work hard to make sure that we love their products enough so that we accept several thousand fatal accidents every year as simply the cost of getting the benefits that we enjoy from fossil fuel.

          They also purchase enough advertising so that they have plenty of friends in the media – or at least greedy editors who will take their calls and kill or bury negative stories.

          Did you happen to read or seen any coverage of the enormous explosion and inferno at the Thailand petrochemical complex that killed 12, injured more than 100 and spewed toxic black smoke over a wide area for more than four solid hours before the fire was extinguished?

          http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/12-die-blast-thai-petrochemical-plant-blast-16288711#.T6tEXp9YvPo

          I thought not. That event is not ancient history – it just occurred on May 6, 2012 (4 days ago) and was reported by the Associated Press with about 5 paragraphs. As far as I can tell, no video ever made it to any of the dozens of 24 hour news stations around the world. Quite a contrast between that and the non-fatal, very brief hydrogen explosions that occurred at Fukushima Daiichi and have been endlessly replayed by the fossil fuel funded commercial media.

    • Curtis says:

      Alex you should be proud. had you been doing an interview, or a live panel, your spewing of 11 separate lies that cannot be challenged in a reasonable time frame it might have worked.

      LIE #4: 4) The cores of Units 1, 2 and 3 likely melted through the concrete basements and entered the ground and water tables. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110607005367.htm

      Go read your link in full. Never once does is say the cores melted through the basements and entered the water table.

      In fact this is the first line: Nuclear fuel in three reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has possibly melted through pressure vessels and accumulated at the bottom of outer containment vessels

      Lets look at that sentence. The Fuel melted through the Pressure Vessel and accumulated at the bottom of the Containment Vessel.

      What’s the important part of that phrase? Accumulated INSIDE the Containment Vessel. So if the accumulation was contained INSIDE the Containment Vessel, Logic would state that it cannot therefore be Outside the Containment Vessel.

      Now in order to contaminate the ground water… it would have to be…… Wait For It…… OUTSIDE the containment vessel. Now as we have now all read from the source that you quoted, the melted core is …… Wait For It…. Inside the Containment Vessel.

      So there we have it. You have given us proof that that melted cores are safely sealed inside their Containment Vessels, and not at all in the ground water. Yet you claim exactly the opposite.

      • Wayne SW says:

        Even the fuel escaping the PV and ending up in the containment drywell is speculative. It says it POSSIBLY did this. We won’t know until they can get a remote camera in there and have a look-see.

        There was a study done at Oak Ridge that seemed to indicate some vulnerability in the BWR PV around the instrument tube penetrations at the bottom of the vessel. It that was an escape path for melted materials then the area is not very large, although there are a fair number of penetrations. In fact, slow drippage of melted material through a small opening may actually be beneficial to avoiding a larger accumulation of slump at the PV bottom and possibly challenging the PV integrity because of greater mass and heat load. It’s easier to scrape up a lot of small dribbles than a larger pool. We’ll jsut have to wit to see what the visual inspections reveal.

    • Wayne SW says:

      11) Unlike Chernobyl, where the reaction was actually stopped by the explosion, the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima is a self-sustaining reaction, and will continue INDEFINITELY. This is why the IAEA has stated that Fukushima is a disaster on the level of Chernobyl.

      There is absolutely no credible evidence that fission occurred in any of the cores after they were shut down in the usual manner following a seismic event (scram). There are no readings on any of the neutron monitors that would indicate ongoing fission. There is no buildup of short-lived fission gases that would indicate a chain reaction. The geometry of the cores has been disrupted to the point of making criticality virtually impossible. They have smothered those cores with borated water to the point of making them subcritical under almost all conceivable circumstances.

      This “uncontrolled criticality” lie has been the most pernicious and vicious of all the lies that have come from the anti-nuclear kooks since this event happened. It is FUD of the worst kind and is utterly despicable and immoral.

      • Alex says:

        @Mike and @Wayne, thank you for taking the time to respond to some of my questions. I am just a regular person who is very concerned about the health and safety of my children and my environment. Obviously, the people on this website are not worried, and I am trying to get some clear information about why I should not be worried either.

        @Curtis, your condescending tone and accusation that I am “spewing lies” is insulting and adds nothing to the conversation. I am here in legitimate search of accurate information. What I see – mostly – is people telling me that all these concerns are nonsense. Well, sorry, but that’s not a very convincing answer. If scientists detected radioactive iodine from Fukushima in fish in California, obviously radioactive material DID escape into the atmosphere and DID wind up in our ecosystem. If iodine did it, then doesn’t it stand to reason that all the other material did as well?

        BTW, @Wayne, Here’s an article from December, 2011 that states that the nuclear fuel did “erode the concrete floor of the containment vessel” to a depth of 67 cm. Since TEPCO has been less than forthcoming about conditions at Fukushima, it is hardly a stretch to wonder whether it wasn’t actually worse than that. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201112010004

        • Rod Adams says:

          @Alex

          I must apologize for all of us. We are a little gun shy – being a pronuclear advocate can be almost as challenging as being yoga instructor in a city where people are proudly obese and sedentary.

          It is possible that one of the reasons that you inspired some animosity is that your first post included so many links and accusations against nuclear advocates that it set a bad tone. If you are truly curious and interested in learning, I suggest that you limit your questions to a few well selected topics at a time. I also suggest that you might invest a little time in reading some of the conversations that have already taken place here on Atomic Insights.

          If iodine did it, then doesn’t it stand to reason that all the other material did as well?

          There is a significant difference between iodine and the rest of the material that makes up nuclear fuel rods. Iodine has a much lower boiling point and is soluble in water. Cesium is the only other element in the mix that shares those qualities. At the temperatures reached in the damaged reactor cores, only iodine and cesium have any substantial mobility and have the ability to mix in with the water used to cool the reactor.

          Nuclear professionals, therefore, were not surprised to see just those isotopes.

          You had another question that is phrased in a way that might cause a nuclear professional to assume that you have an antinuclear agenda.

          “Here’s an article from December, 2011 that states that the nuclear fuel did “erode the concrete floor of the containment vessel” to a depth of 67 cm. Since TEPCO has been less than forthcoming about conditions at Fukushima, it is hardly a stretch to wonder whether it wasn’t actually worse than that.”

          That falls into the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” category. Tepco has been plenty forthcoming and produced daily updates for months. Sometimes, information made into the public domain faster from other sources, but part of the issue is that nukes do not see information dissemination as a race. We care far more about it being right the first time than most other industries. We generally invest in peer reviews and verification processes before completing any official record.

          I would also bet a lot of money that 67 cm was the very deepest that Tepco could find when it did the containment vessel inspection. There is no valid reason to wonder if the real number was actually much worse than that. We like the “conservative” approach almost to the point of pain. For those of us who knew that the material in the place of concern was 2-3 meters thick, hearing that the depth was 67 cm was pretty darned reassuring.

        • Daniel says:

          @ Rod:

          If cesium if soluble, and I believe you, why did the Associated Press on April 15th 2011 make the following statement:

          Regardless, plant workers on Saturday began dumping sandbags filled with zeolite, a mineral that absorbs radioactive cesium, into the sea to combat the radiation leaks.

          Was that misinformation again ?

          • Rod Adams says:

            @Daniel – No. Zeolite is a mineral that does a pretty good job of absorbing dissolved cesium out of water. It does not preferentially absorb radioactive cesium isotopes; all cesium has the same chemical properties.

            The concept is approximately the same as is used in ion exchangers and water softeners.

        • Daniel says:

          Back at you Rod:

          So the Cesium is already diluted in the ocean in 4.5 zillion Olympic swimming pool equivalent. What is the scientific justification to try to capture it with zeolite.

          Seems like an exercice in futility. Unless that zeolite can suck up the Cesium all the way to Vancouver.

          It does not add up to me.

          • Rod Adams says:

            @Daniel – Sorry, I did not read your other comment closely enough. I need to be more careful.

            Dumping anything into the OCEAN in an attempt to reduce anything is rather futile.

            My response was answering a question that you did not ask. It might be worthwhile to use something like zeolite in a flow of water that is known to be contaminated and heading toward the ocean.

            If the AP reported what you said it reported, there was some misinformation or misunderstanding.

        • NuclearGrrl says:

          @Daniel

          The use of zeolite to capture dissolved cesium from the seawater is not actually a futile cause. The contaminated water is released from a finite point at the plant. Think of a slow stream of food coloring being emptied into a large tank of water. The plume of food coloring disperses slowly, spreading through out the tank only after some protracted mixing time.

          It is the same for any contaminants that might be contained in the plant outfall (released water). That water would be concentrated at the plant outfall for some time. Thus there is the opportunity to capture some of that cesium before it becomes well mixed with the bay water and then the Pacific Ocean.

          I hope that explanation makes sense.

    • NuclearGrrl says:

      1-4) There are too many untruths here for me to tackle without writing a book or getting mad.

      5) Spent fuel pool number 4 is intact. Water does begin to boil off if you don’t keep it cooled. But fuel uncovery takes a relatively long time to happen. TEPCO was shooting sea water into that pool, which leads me to believe it was never uncovered. I have not read any credible reports of fuel damage at unit 4.

      6) What? Steaming through the ground???? I am not surprised that detectors have found some atmospheric radioactivity. That used to happen all the time with the atmospheric nuclear testing. That was the reason for the Test Ban Treaty. Don’t worry about it. Those levels are negligible.

      7) That is a computer simulation based on an unconfirmed source. Don’t believe it. There is no credible mechanism for atmospheric Plutonium transport associated with this accident.

      8) The concentration of Iodine in Corona del Mar kelp was NOT EVEN CLOSE to what you have stated above. They found 2.5 bq/g. That’s just 2,500 bq/kg.

      9) High radiation is expected. I would not say high radiation is hampering clean up efforts. The cleanup will be complicated by the fact that there are multiple units there that use interconnected systems, and general uncertainty about the extent of the accident, the location of the core and etc. A lengthy clean up is not unexpected.

      10) They debris floating to the U.S. coast is not radioactive. It’s just regular debris. That’s what happens when a 90 foot tsunami hits a highly populated area. I heard about a soccer ball coming ashore a few months ago. Sad.

      11) The explosions and meltdown of Fukushima reactors wasn’t caused by nuclear fission (frequently referred to as a chain reaction). The melting at Fukushima was caused by radioactive decay heat. After the fission reaction is halted, the core will still put out about 7% of its power from the radioactive decay of fission fragments. That power decreases rapidly with time; but the core must be cooled constantly until that cooling process has progressed to a manageable level.

      What happened at Fukushima is the reactors shut down as they were designed to do. With offsite power down, the diesel generators started as expected. But (was it 40 minutes?) later, the tsunami came in and washed out the diesels that were supplying cooling water to the core. When that happened, the fuel rods overheated, at least partially melted, and the damaged fuel assemblies released hydrogen (a byproduct of chemical reactions in a damaged core).

      So you don’t need the fission chain reaction to be happening to get overheating. Even when the core is sitting at the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel, you could have continued overheating due to decay heat. In such a state, the core is not in a “coolable geometry” (as we say) and could melt through the instrumentation penetrations at the bottom of the vessel, thus dripping onto the bottom of the containment vessel.

      The IAEA says this is an accident on the level of Chernobyl because of the sheer number of plants affected. The tsunami, and this multi-unit crisis is obviously unprecedented. This is obviously a major accident.

  5. PrincessAndDragon says:

    “a man who seems to believe that it is physically possible for dense, corrosion-resistent, solid material to instantaneous vaporize”

    ehh? any material with a vapor pressure can and will evaporate.

    Of course these materials will vaporize given a high enough temperature. We can approximate the vaporization of fission materials based on their vapor pressures and according to the equations of Raoult’s law.

    Here is a very clear study performed AEC highlighting the vaporization percentages of pu239 at specific temperatures:

    http://www.osti.gov/bridge/servlets/purl/4358713-t3CNi0/4358713.pdf

    • mike says:

      The disaster scenario that is being promoted is that the vaporization is so fast that we can not respond fast enough to contain it .
      The heat generated by the fuel rods can be dissipated with air cooling and thus has an upper limit which is below that required for fast vaporization of the fuel rods.
      How are the rods supposed to reach the 1600 degrees C mentioned in your linked report?

    • Rod Adams says:

      PrincessAndDragon says:

      ehh? any material with a vapor pressure can and will evaporate.

      So what does that statement have to do with mine below?

      a man who seems to believe that it is physically possible for dense, corrosion-resistant, solid material to instantaneously vaporize

      What is the vapor pressure of uranium dioxide, the material that makes up about 90-95% of the used fuel?

      What is the rate at which evaporation will occur?

      What is the heat production rate in the used fuel in the unit 4 pool, which was last in an operating fission reactor in November 2010?

  6. DV82XL says:

    I see the antinuclear AstroTurf patrol has found this site. This should be fun!

    • Daniel says:

      Anti nuclear Astro Turf? Like Rod says, meringue time. Lots of fluff but essentially useless calories. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  7. John Tucker says:

    I cant believe there were people so gullible as to believe this one. It not only defies logic and physics but also common sense.

    I dont even want to read and respond to the anti nukes posts as they are so mind-numbingly uniformed

    In the end – the only thing that CLOSE top comparable to Chernobyl is FEAR will harm more than the radiation. In japan it will just end up being much, much more:

    Japan’s Post-Fukushima Earthquake Health Woes Go Beyond Radiation Effects

    A year out, public health experts agree that the radiation fears were overblown. Compared with the effects of the radiation exposure from Fukushima, “the number of expected fatalities are never going to be that large,” says Thomas McKone, of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.

    And some, including Richard Garfield, a professor of Clinical and International Nursing at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, go a step further. “In terms of the health impact, the radiation is negligible ( http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=japans-post-fukushima-earthquake-health-woes-beyond-radiation )

  8. James Greenidge says:

    Really, not to sound haughtily over confident, but I’ve gotten to the point that to be anti-nuclear suggests you’re clueless or a troll or just plain rabid out to avenge Hiroshima for the uniquely evil thing the atom committed at Hiroshima. Then I wish Green”peace” went after the oil industry with the same passion for flame throwers and napalm which are just as horrid as Fat Man’s radiation. I mean, really, who feeds the rank-and-file anti-nuker such garbage they can’t even back up?? Worst — why don’t grass-roots anti-nukers ever question or critique the stuff their leaders hand them, hook, line and sinker? Maybe their leaders don’t have to; just sowing FUD is enough to stain the skittish lamb’s fleece. Unlike anti-nukers, the atomic industry has History and Proof on its side, not vaporware evidence and shrill “could be’s” “if” n”gonna happen” and other such Twilight Zone speculations. As I always say, if you’d your bad luck of a worst case industrial accident to get stuck in, which would you chose? I’d pick Fukushima hands down because 99.99% I’d be walking out of there with barely a bruise. Heck, isn’t the Holy Grail of hope that in any worst case accident there’d be no casualties? Looking a gift horse in the mouth, Japan? — especially since neither Japanese or US media reported much on that massive Tokyo oil facility explosion and fire in that very same quake?} Yet there are people (hopefully from a philosophical standpoint even beyond self-preservation!) who’d contest that. You’d think after nearly sixty years of reactors worldwide operated under various agencies –including accidents — that the chance of a anti-nuclear’s megadeath Doomsday or legions of irradiated freaks would’ve long popped up by now. I mean even Jimmy the Greek would’ve jumped those odds. Yet we haven’t had a worst case nuke accident whose mortality scores even approach the worst oil and gas incidents — which are far more frequent — and forgiven. There are no irradiated mutants and freaks lurking in the hills beyond nuclear accidents much less nuclear plants, yet why do anti-nukers eat the vaporware Doomsday “evidence” that Greenpeace and FOE and such feed them but shun world renown medical and radiological authorities such as the U.N. and major institutions? Nuclear energy can expect no fairness from the media whose basic politio/philosophical bent regards atomic energy as a baby of war and the scourge of the Cold War. Truth on nuclear power can expect no quarter from them. Again, dear Japan and Germany, it seems to me that to replace a reliable power source based on avoiding extremely rare circumstances that historically has killed less people than a single plane crash over many decades (most all of that in Russia), for power sources such as oil and coal which REGULARLY impact the environment and our health even as we’re sitting here with our kids, to me is the height of public health hypocrisy. If society feels that assuaging the off-the-wall nightmares of a small group of implacably frightened loud people by turning nukes off is worth that price then we deserve all the real-life and horrific health maladies fossil fuels has and continues to impact millions worldwide every year.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  9. Atomikrabbit says:

    Just to please DV8 – “They suspended my literary license, but I continue to alliterate abundantly.”

    On another topic, if the pool withstood the 9.0 quake, subsequent 45-foot tsunami, and numerous strong aftershocks, what do they imagine will take it out now? The U4 bridge crane is already in the pool, so you can’t take fear mongering credit for that anymore.

    “former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy” – and a former congressional staffer and Silkwood acolyte. I see he got himself a beltway NNP sinecure at the “Institute for Policy Studies” (God only knows who funds THEM), so its de rigueur that he crank out an antinuclear tract from time to time – publish or perish: http://www.ips-dc.org/staff/bob
    Not a bad technical career path for a music major dropout/pothead!

    And if SFPs are so dangerous why don’t we hear him and his buddies pounding the table at Harry Reid to get out of the way on Yucca Mountain?

    As for the Cs-137, I am letting everyone know here and now, that in the CVS pharmacy less than one mile from my house, there are 20 boxes of sewing implements each containing 1000 pins. That is equivalent to 2000 times the amount of stabbing devices that were released by the Charles Manson gang in their psychopathic rampages of 1969.

    Sharpened sewing implements, also called “needles,” are extraordinarily pointy. In a matter of seconds, an unprotected human eye contacting a single freshly removed sewing needle would receive a blinding dose of pointyness. As one of the most dangerous materials in the world, sewing needles pose significant long-term risks, requiring isolation in a double time-locked vault that can protect the human environment for tens of thousands of years.

    Thus, if an earthquake or other event were to cause this pharmacy to explode, this could result in catastrophic blindings involving nearly 2000 times the amount of carnage released by the Manson incident.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Manson

    Nearly all of the 20,000 sewing needles at the CVS pharmacy sit on shelves vulnerable to future earthquakes, with roughly 2000 times more dangerous pointyness than released at Benedict Canyon.

    Look for my expose of this pending cataclysm in the next Bulletin of the Airhead Seamstresses – if they don’t revoke my literary license completely before then.

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Fact is, Tepco has been lying to us from the get go. Amazingly, they have declared the reactors at Fukushima as being in state of “cold shutdown”. Even the agenda driven and partisan drivel found here on this website would be unable to proclaim such a falsehood about, for instance, reactor # 3. Fact is, TEPCO doesn’t have a CLUE what is occuring inside 3’s containment vessel. Nor do the “experts” here.

    Interesting that the above piece tries to imply that Wyden’s concern was prompted by far mongering alone. No mention is made of the fact that he visited the site, and saw for himself the absolute devastation at Fukushima Daichi, and the precarious structural non-integrity of the building housing 460 tons of spent fuel.

    Missing from this “conversation” is an unbiased and science based conjecture about what WOULD occur if SFP #4 collapses in a heap of rubble due to another quake, or worse, another massive tsunami. I see some blablablah about the unlikelyhood of vaporization., OK. So, if these little poisonous dingleberries can’t vaporize, what WILL they do if dumped willy nilly all over the Fukushima site due to another quake or tsunami???

    Of course, political partisan bias makes every Tom, Dick, and Harry an expert on global warming, nuclear energy, etc, and these armchair jackass scientists are more than willing to drool out whatever partisan claptrap BS Rush Limbaugh, or, on the other side, Rachel Maddow spits into their empty heads.

    Just seems to me an event like this needs to be taken out of the right versus left arena, and discussed with something other than partisan favor pointed at one’s favorite special interest group, whether that be the Nuclear Industry, or the environmental activist movement. Sadly, this site seems to just waving pom poms, and its no mystery who they’re cheering for. And if THAT’S science, I’ve got some beach property to sell ya right outside the gates of Fukushima Daichi. Perhaps Adam Curry will move his family there.

    • john tucker says:

      Cheering complex technologies is the basis of American ingenuity.

      Blaming the technology for what was human incompetence is in itself incompetence.

      Thankfully even in this case that type of Nuclear Power proved itself much safer than other comparable forms of power generation. Of course in most cases its foolish and naive to classify all “nuclear power” under one statement .

      But, that said, we can say in ALL of its forms occurring in the free world Nuclear Power is much cleaner (and safer) than any other non intermittent, high capacity factor, base-load energy source. Thats just fact.

      I think you need to take your own advice and drop the bias. Stick around. Your last comment shows you need some remedial argument instruction to get you up to a reasonable level.

      BTW: I am a college educated artist with no nuclear industry contacts whatsoever and for the most part far left in political beliefs. Those political beliefs dont change my perception of reality or my valuing of truth.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @______American

      The real fact is that Tepco is a credible nuclear power plant operating company that has been demonized by people with economic motives – often because they want to take as much of Tepco’s business away as possible.

      Tepco knows a lot more about its facilities than you imply or that you might find by reading commercial media sources.

      Here is a recent status report that says you are lying.

      http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/info/index-e.html

      By the way – I am not a scientist and do not generally try to engage in “science-based” discussions of “worst case” scenarios. I am a practically trained and experienced engineer and prefer to deal in realities than in speculations. The link above describes the inspections done at the facilities and the reinforcements that have been made.

      The idea that a politician can make any kind of structural integrity assessment during a photo op visit is patently absurd.

    • Rod Adams says:

      By the way, I wonder if you realize that the host of this site voted for the current President and continues to believe that he is the best available choice. Site visitors include a number of avowed Democrats, a few socialists, a sprinkling of unaffiliated, and a few conservative Republicans. In other words, this is not a “partisan” site.

    • Jason Kobos says:

      PoA said

      “TEPCO doesn’t have a CLUE what is occuring inside 3′s containment vessel. Nor do the “experts” here.”

      If the company who runs the plant and has people on the site 24/7 and sensors all over the place doesn’t know what is going on, then who can know what is going on? If people can’t know what is going on, then how can the people who say very bad things are happening know that they are indeed happening?

      If you want to know what will happen to the spent fuel rods if they got dumped all over the landscape then you could ask one of the engineers here to do the math for you and find out. I can’t tell if you are sincerely asking this question because you really want to know. Or are you asking it sarcastically because you believe (falsely) that people can’t know what will happen.

      The decay heat inside the rods will cause the temperature of the rods to rise to some T. Because the rods are exposed to air and ground, some of the heat will be moving from the rods to the air and the ground. Heat transfer is based upon differential. The hotter the rods get the faster the heat will dissipate from them to the environment. However, the heat generated inside due to decay heat is going to stay constant (in the short term) and reduce over time.

      What you can do is calculate the “steady state” temperature of the rods in the air cooled environment based upon how much decay heat is being generated. This will give you a temperature that the rods will try and get to. If this temperature is greater than the melting point of the rods then some of that material will melt. If it is less then the rods won’t melt.

      If the rods fall out then the CS-137 stays in the rod. If the rod melts then the CS-137 ends up in the dirt under the rod. Not that the bulldozers used to clean up the mess would care which one happens.

      If I knew what the decay heat rate was for these fuel rods today then I could run some numbers for you to answer your question more precisely.

  11. john tucker says:

    Beneath the Anti-nuke slippery slopes, the gish gallops, the straw men, the ad hominem – is a motivational foundation in conspiracism:

    “Conspiracism in a public setting is a narrative form of scapegoating. It justifies the blaming of societal problems on a stigmatized “Them” who are demonized as wholly evil for plotting against the common good “Us” Meanwhile the scapegoater is acclaimed as a hero for reveling the plot against the common good.” ( http://tinyurl.com/cn4a786 )

    This is why no matter how well you make an argument anti nukes will never accept it – the reasonable foundation for argument isnt there. They will simply move on to another misconception/misinterpretation/misrepresentation.

    It is a unavoidable repeating type of error “built in” as it were.

    • Rod Adams says:

      I have no illusions about changing the mind of any committed antinuclear activist. My tactic is to expose the fragility of their fables along with the thinness of their ranks.

      The bench on the antinuclear side of the argument is incredibly shallow. I would bet that we could build a reasonably comprehensive list of the major, full-time players within a day. Just off the top of my head

      Caldicott
      Gundersen
      Riccio
      Lyman
      Cochran
      Gunter (more than one)
      Lovins
      Lochbaum
      Busby
      van Leeuwen (Jan Willem Storm)
      Bradford
      Jaczko
      Reid
      Markey
      Sanders

      • James Greenidge says:

        Regrettably, to make up for their relatively small numbers, they’re virtually all highly regarded and sought after “consultant” darlings of a juggernaut national/international/local media, which ruefully gives them far more public visibility and credence than all the members of the Nuclear Carnival combined, and provides their FUD wide stages to effect social influence way out of proportional their small numbers. Without the nuclear industry’s/union’s own self-interest help and input, how do we counter this I wonder, and get to the skittish vote-no sheep before they’re sheared??

        James Greenidge
        Queens NY

      • George Carty says:

        I think that list would be better if it gave their motives, such as:

        van Leeuwen (neo-Malthusianism)
        Markey (LNG vested interests)
        Reid (anti-Yucca Mountain populism)
        Lovins (oil and gas industry money)
        Schroeder (Gazprom money)

        What would the others be?

      • Rod Adams says:

        Listening to Science Friday from May 4. Cannot believe that I forgot to include Makhijani.

        He is one more of those people with a PhD in physics who hate nuclear fission energy. (Jaczko, Lyman, Cochran, Rohm, are others.)

        Does anyone know how I can contact Makhijani? I’d love to debate that man in a well moderated forum.

      • Lantzelot says:

        Sherman (M.D. overconfidence)
        Moret (tough one, probably insanity)
        Mangano (expensive suits?)
        Sternglass (cheating gives more interesting results)
        Bertell (M.D. overconfidence)

  12. Wayne SW says:

    OK. So, if these little poisonous dingleberries can’t vaporize, what WILL they do if dumped willy nilly all over the Fukushima site due to another quake or tsunami???

    Probably very little. There will be local contamination to be managed, probably confined to the building or the plant site. There is already containment in place to limit dispersion.

    You need to understand basic physics. Widespread dispersal occurs only when two conditions are met. First, you have to have a significant inventory of material available for dispsersion (source term). Second, you have to have a significant release of stored internal energy that will drive those materials out into the environment in a widely dispersed manner, particularly if you have significant vaporization of the source material. That allows for maximum mobility of the dispersed material, things like mixing with and dispersal in the atmosphere. Without that, you get primarily local deposition. These are simply the physics of the dispersal process. Following me so far????????????????? (see, others can use multiple question marks too)

    What causes widespread dispersion of significant quantities of materials is this release and expansion of stored energy. Fallout from nuclear weapon detonations has it. So did the releases from Chornobil. Externally-driven events, such as seismic effects, tsunami, violent weather, external explosions (e.g., terrorist bombs) do not involve release of internal energy from the dispersed matter. That means it spreads around in the immediate area, and very little goes any further. It’s basically like pushing a rope.

    So, without meeting both criteria, what are we left with? Not much. The fact that there are oh-so-many bequerels of activity in those SFPs means very little in terms of significant public health effects if you don’t distribute it. You’d be just as well arguing that the gasoline stored in your car sitting in your garage right now is of sufficient quanitity to burn down your entire neighborhood if distributed in the right way. Or that there are enough viable sperm in one ejaculation to impregnate the entire female population of the United States. The problem there, as with the activity in the SFP, is one of distribution.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Wayne SW

      Close, but I would refine the discussion a bit. The energy that causes vaporization cannot be “stored” energy in the sense of having something that is really hot. There has to be a power source that is constantly adding thermal energy (heat). That comes from reactions like combustion, fission, or perhaps really short lived radioactive decay.

      Many people who are light on their technical education do not understand two material constants called “latent heat of fusion” and the “latent heat of vaporization“.

      Using water as an example, it takes one calorie to raise one gram one degree C if the material is in a liquid state. However, if you start off with the material as a solid at exactly freezing, it requires 80 times as much energy to cause a complete phase transformation from solid to liquid.

      Once the temperature of water has risen from the melting point to the boiling point (requiring 100 calories for one gram), it requires about 538 more calories to cause it to turn to vapor.

      In very simplified terms, changing on gram of H2O from a solid at the melting point to a gas at atmospheric pressure requires

      80 cal (solid to liquid) + 100 cal (0 C to 100 C) + 538 cal (liquid to vapor) = 718 cal/gm

      That is a lot of power considering how much material there is in those pools. Where are subcritical fuel bundles that have been decaying for 18 months supposed to find that power?

      Please do not tell me that the power is coming from a combustion reaction with H2O and zirconium. That reaction, if it can happen at all, requires finely ground zirconium (to provide adequate surface area for a self sustaining chemical reaction) and far higher temperatures than are possible in a just emptied fuel pool.

      Here is a link to a video of a UC Berkeley professor working really hard to try to burn a zirconium tube using a blow torch.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x__2yWx9zGY&feature=plcp

      • Wayne SW says:

        I am using “stored energy” in a more general sense. For the case of nuclear material dispersion, you are only going to get it if there is a rapid release of energy stored in the nucleus. It happens in weapons detonations. It can happen in a rapid overpower transient, like Chornobil had. The fuel there was destroyed, a significant fraction vaporized, although not as much as a nuclear explosion, because it wasn’t that. The credible accident scenarios for SFP accidents don’t involve that kind of energy release. The evolution of SFP events occurs over time scales much longer even than core accidents. And an externally-driven event, like a seismic disturbance, will give rise to even longer tine constants. Longer time for energy release generally means less dispersive energy. It’s like comparing a burning candle to an M80 firecracker.

  13. polly says:

    The fact that Japan shut every single nuclear plant – which is having huge repercussions for an already terrible economy – leads me to believe that authorities are a) covering something up and b) extremely afraid of something.

    You do NOT risk throwing your economy into a Depression – or collapsing your economy – unless something is very, very wrong.

    • Rod Adams says:

      You might, however, make seemingly irrational choices if being provided plenty of financial support and political cover from people who are enjoying the shutdowns to the tune of at least $55 billion per year in additional fossil fuel sales.

      That is a very large number and can pay for an awful lot of media time and political access. I know for a fact that the 2002 German decision to phase out nuclear was initiated by a man who started working for Gazprom only a month after being voted out of office as the Chancellor of Germany. His primary task at the Russian natural gas monopoly was to smooth the way for the completion of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline directly from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea.

      The total annual capacity of that pipeline is almost exactly as much fuel as would be needed to operate natural gas power stations producing the same amount of electricity every year as the nuclear plants that he worked hard to force to shut down early.

      Supply and demand. This is all a part of the “Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power.” (From a corporate point of view it is REALLY hard to tell the difference between an oil company and a gas company. Most of the majors produces as many “barrels of oil equivalent” from natural gas each year as they do from crude oil.

    • Daniel says:

      @ Polly,

      Every culture has its own set of words. Hara-Kiri is japanese. Sadly, they are going to apply it collectively.

      Elderlies are going to die, more than last summer, due to heatstrokes. Cannot believe it myself.

    • John Tucker says:

      Non sequitur. Your logic is critically flawed. As actually considering the narrative it likely says the opposite.

      You have a rare catastrophic event, government ignored safety and studies, what better way to cover than go with blaming the technology. Anti Nuclear groups have even embraced the prime minister at the time that was responsible for safety oversight just after he disparaged the technology.

      By the evidence it is political. With a touch of conspiracy even Not based in reason or logic.

      • PissedOffAmerican says:

        “You have a rare catastrophic event…blahblahblah…..”

        Rare???? On the Ring of Fire”???

        Hardly…..

        http://www.iris.edu/dms/seismon.htm

        China, Iran, Indonesia, Mexico, Alaska, California…….yadayadayada…..catacalysmic earthquakes are NOT rare, nor are they “unprecedented”. Yes, tsunamis are somewhat less frequent, but still, they have a high predictability level when paired with seismic activity in certain locales. Certainly, the tsunami that hit Fukushima WAS NOT “unprecedented”, in fact, there is a folklore that insinuates that Fukushima was hit once before, and that folklore is alleged to have saved lives during THIS tsunami. Again, I suggest you all drop this “unprecedented” or “rare” BS, as it is extremely disingenuous in intent.

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hmmm. OK, so the expert here says “Its not as bad as the anti-nuke crowd says it is”.

    OK.

    Just seems a bit fluffy to defend an event as minor by sayin’ “it ain’t gonna kill all of us, its just gonna kill some of us”.

    So, its a non-event, and the only minor side effect is that it will render a large part of Japan as uninhabitable for a few decades or so. No big deal, nuthin’ to see here folks, move along, move along.

    I kinda think you guys are batshit crazy.

    • Rod Adams says:

      It is not only “not as bad as the anti-nuke crowd says it is.” The description that antinuclear activists are giving bears no relationship whatsoever to reality.

      We are not accepting a few deaths, but when there are ZERO deaths despite all of the Chicken Little worst case scenarios endlessly repeated in search of better ratings (and more ad revenue from the coal industry and the natural gas pushers) it is only fair for people who know the facts to keep repeating them in the face of the FUD spreaders.

      The only place in Japan that is “uninhabitable” as a result of the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi is inside of the gate of the power station. Even there, it is possible for people to work regular hours without accumulating radiation doses high enough to cause any measurable harm.

      I am, by no means, “batshit” crazy. I simply know that you are dead wrong.

      • Alex says:

        I certainly hope you’re right. I’m not trying to be argumentative, but when the IAEA says that there was a “major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures” (based on TEPCO’s internal assessment that “the plant had been releasing 10,000 terabecquerels levels of radioactive materials per hour for ‘several hours,”) and that “the radiation leak has not stopped completely and our concern is that it could eventually exceed Chernobyl,” I’m not sure that too many people would your confidence in the safety of the area around the power station.

        In other words, if massive amounts of radiation are being released into the global atmosphere – and even been detected in sealife in California – then, why are you so confident that the radiation is being effectively contained?

        • Rod Adams says:

          @Alex – do you even know what a terrabecquerel is?

          Becquerels are much more commonly used today than they were when I was first training to understand radiation and radioactive material. They are an incredibly tiny unit of measure. In my day here in the US, the common measure was a curie, which is the amount of radioactivity in a single gram of radium.

          However, a curie contains 3.7 x 10^10 becquerels (37 billion becquerels.)

          The total amount of Cs-137 emitted from Fukushima, according to the most pessimistic sources I could find amounted to less than 12 kilograms, but it was much more scary for the reporters to write that the amount was 30,000 to 40,000 terrabequerels.

          There were not massive releases, but you can definitely find sources that use that inaccurate adjective to describe them. Here is what some pretty credible sources are saying about the radiation health consequences of Fukushima now that they have had time to make some initial assessments:

          “When it comes to exposures like that of Fukushima, the question is: What is the relative magnitude of the increased risk from Fukushima compared to our baseline cancer risk? Despite our fears, it is quite small.”
          Robert Peter Gale and F. Owen Hoffman

          http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/11/opinion/la-oe-gale-fukushima-20120311

        • Wayne SW says:

          You’re basically talking about atoms. A terabequeral is one trillion, or 1×10^12, so 10,000 TBq is 1^16 Bq. Sounds impressive, and scary, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not, in terms of absolute numbers. To put it in perspective, a cup of water contains 25,000,000,000,000 tera-atoms, or a factor of 2,500,000,000 more. Point is, when you’re dealing with really small units, its easy to make it sounds scary by throwing a bunch of prefixes and zeros around. Especially if your purpose is to spread FUD.

    • Wayne SW says:

      The only place unhabitable right now because of radiation hazard would be if you wanted to set up housekeeping inside of the plant structures. As far as “kill some of us” goes, tell me the name of anyone who has been killed by radiation effects from Fukushima. One name will do. The fact is, there have been zero fatalities, and zero serious injuries among the general public. And this is about as worse an accident as you can have, multiple reactors running at full power and having an unprecedented natural event disable multple redundant systems.

      Yet the number of deaths resulting from the event has been zero. None. Last I checked, you can’t get any lower than zero. How much safer do you demand the industry to be than if the very worst thing that can happen happens yet no one is harmed?

      If you demand less than zero, then I kinda have to question if you aren’t the one who isn’t batshit crazy.

      • PissedOffAmerican says:

        “unprecedented natural event”

        Indeed.

        Who knew the earth could shake and cause a big wave?

        • Wayne SW says:

          You have to go by historical records and quantify events. You can’t do serious engineering with quantifications like “a big wave”. That fact is, for the reliable and credible recorded history for that area, this tsunami was unprecedented. There is evidence on the slopes of nearby mountains of flooding events in prehistoric times that reached similar heights, but if you are going to go back that far then there are any number of other natural phenomena (volcanoes and resulting lava flows, for example) which would require abandonment of things like cities, towns, villages, roadways, airports, dams, power plants, factories, oil refineries, stores, farms, homes, and any number of other things that we take for granted in modern life. If you are going to play it that way, you might as well go back to living in caves, and subsisting on hunting and gathering, with the concurrent 99.9999999999999999999999999% population reduction. I have a feeling most people would not go for such a prospect.

      • atomic lies says:

        Radiation kills slowly in low doses- not instantly. That is a common confusion tactic used by the nuclear industry proponents… You know that.

        http://www.ippnw-students.org/chernobyl/research.html

        Chernobyl Children Fukushima Children The greatest threat to health, however, is internal exposure through ingestion of radioactive food or drink or inhalation of radioactive isotopes. http://www.ippnw.eu/?expand=755&cHash=f0c92517f7

        IPPNW.EU | http://www.ippnw-europe.org
        http://www.ippnw.eu
        Total atmospheric emission of iodine-131 in the first three to four days of the Fukushima nuclear disaster amounted to about 20% of the total iodine-131 emissions and 40-60% of the total caesium-137 emissions of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. In addition, strontium-90, xenon-133, plutonium-239 and …

        Nuclear Crimes @
        nuclearcrimes.org

        http://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2012/2/4/japanese-authorities-recognize-573-deaths-related-to-fukushi.html

    • John Tucker says:

      Slippery slope, with no basis in science or reality. Thats not even close to approaching an argument. As your theory disputes the scientific and engineering consensus it is your responsibility to prove it is even possible. Something that has not happened.

      You need to support your conclusions on important matters otherwise you will likely make things worse. As the anti nuclear community has done with climate change and acidification.

  15. moineau says:

    so why is there such high radiation readings all over eastern japan then, gentlemen? everyone knows that the fuel is out of containment. not only that, but it’s not just spent fuel; there is new fuel in #4 if you would care research. and that shaky building is on still shaky ground. to minimize it is probably worse than maximizing it.

    i live in oregon, astoria, where we fought lng exports. wyden is worried, and why? he saw it with his own eyes. your suppositions are just that.

    but then, i suppose you are not in touch with many japanese people. they are reporting the very very very high radiation readings.

    you will be proven in the end, sadly.

    • DV82XL says:

      I address this to the regulars who are for the most part pronuclear.

      The antinuclear posts on this thread underline the problem and the futility of arguing with the committed antinuclear commenter – they are deeply ignorant. They are so ignorant in fact they have no idea just how ignorant they are.

      First they seem to think there is a monolithic nuclear industry. This is difficult to understand given the bulk of those companies operating nuclear power stations also operate coal, gas and other types of power stations as well. The major constructors of reactors, like G.E. and Westinghouse certainly derive most of their revenue from other non-nuclear markets including fossil burning thermal and even wind. Even the big mining concerns in uranium have major plays in other minerals. All others in the nuclear business are small, or owned by governments. Just what makes up this ‘nuclear industry’ in the antinuclear mind?

      Second it is painfully obvious that none of them have the faintest shred of grounding in basic nuclear physics; you just can’t make some of the statements we see in this thread with a straight face if you do. But most telling is that they appear to think this is unnecessary when making assertions about the behaviour of specific physical systems. This is telling as it also means they have no concept at all of science, or they would know they are treading on thin ice. Apparently they see scientific facts as opinions which one can accept or reject them as a matter of taste or whim.

      Finally they are also selective about trusting official sources as it would seem that the trustworthiness and the veracity of any government or industry or even academic source is gauged by how closely they adhere to their prejudiced opinions on the matter. If they do, then it is considered carved in stone and is held up in a blatant appeal to authority; if it does not, then it is obviously the product of some sort of corruption or bias.

      This group of people does not think, the process is an anathema, exactly the same way religious fundamentalists do not think. Thinking, you see, implies doubt, and the last thing these types want to do is doubt. To doubt would mean that you would have to do some work to understand what is happening around you and it’s so much easer to buy into someone else’s opinion wholesale. However to do that with some guarantee that you won’t be backing something that might be wrong, the best thing to do is select the side that offers the least movement into the unknown; the Precautionary Principle writ large and elevated to a global philosophy.

      When this sort of ground in stupidity is so deeply entrenched, debating with it is pointless.

      Rob Gauthier

  16. Sean Smith says:

    Why don’t you invite your many Japanese friends here to share their research? I would really like to know what kind of radiation versus background has been “detected” where?

    When is “the end”? by the time that comes none of us will be here any longer to see how wrong YOU really where!

    I think a good slogan for the anti nuke movement would be ” the anti nuclear movement… Saving the world by turning on one fossil fuel plant at a time!”

    GO YOU!

  17. Daniel says:

    Symbolism is important. The Japanese government by allowing the last nuclear reactor to shut down has lacked leadership and gave munitions to the stupid anti nuclear dogma.

    For a year, security capabilities have been shown. Cities have demanded that their nuclear reactors be re started again. But no.

    The Japan government is not worthy.

  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/05/futaba-town-mayor-fukushima-medical-university-stops-us-from-having-exposure-test/

    Ms. Yamatani from The Liberal Democratic Party reads interview with Idogawa, Futaba town mayor.

    “I asked Japanese prime minister Noda, if he thinks Futaba citizens are Japanese people, but Japanese government submit SPEEDI data to US and concealed it from Japanese people. Even now, SPEEDI data is not given to Futaba town.

    If we have had that information, we would have escaped to Sendai. We were not even informed of venting. Tepco also explained they would stop, cool down, and close the reactor in case of an accident, so it’s absolutely safe, but Fukushima accident happened. We don’t even have a place to live.
    Radiation took schools, hospitals, jobs, and everything from us and everything is collapsed.
    I’m losing my hair and have nosebleed everyday. The other day, I asked for blood test at a hospital in Tokyo because I’m exposed but they refused it. We were even exposed and there is even no treatment, or proper inspection. Medical check up for Fukushima citizens are not detailed enough either.”

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And, uh, isn’t it you pro-nuke “experts” that have been telling us, for years now, that these reactors and facilities are perfectly capable of withstanding a major seismic event?

    So, in light of the serious damage at Fukushima, INCLUDING the meltdown of reactors 1, 2, and 3, what all the sudden makes you credible? You know, being wrong isn’t exactly the path to being trusted.

    • Rod Adams says:

      I can’t speak for what others have said. Independent nuclear energy advocates like me do not have to explain what “the industry” has or has not done.

      I have always said that accidents are possible, even accidents that cause major damage to the plant. I have also tried to explain that all of the barriers do not make the reactors perfect; they just enable nuclear reactors to contain their damage. Multiple engineered barriers make them safe neighbors.

      Fukushima proved the defense-in-depth concept. Like crumple zones in a well-engineered automobile, the plant barriers LOOK damaged, but they kept the public and the plant employees protected well enough so that no one received a radiation dose that was high enough to cause any measurable harm.

      Some tell me that I cannot prove that nothing bad will happen in the future, but I can predict, with absolute certainty, that the effects, if any, will be so small that experts will have something to argue about for several decades.

    • john tucker says:

      Looks like it did pretty well to me. So compared to what?

      How many deaths are we up to from radiation? How many deaths from the use of coal have occurred in the last 30 years.

      What would the natural gas and the gas supply system that the Japanese seem so interested in replacing nuclear power do in a major earthquake and tsunami???

      What was the level of contamination from petroleum products and the destruction from fossil fuel fires? Dont know, dont care?

      Why is that? Hysteria and gross incompetence.

    • Wayne SW says:

      They did withstand the seismic event. The plants shut down safely as designed. They were running on emergency diesel power after the loss of offsite power. What caused the damage was the combination of the seismic event with an unprecedented (for that area) tsunami which disabled the diesel generators. Common-mode failure is anticipated in events like this for design basis events plus a margin of uncertainty, but the tsunami exceeded the historical records for that area. There is no reasonable expectation that designers of anything, not just nuclear plants, can be held accountable for historically unprecedented events.

      And, even given all that, the very worst possible thing that you can imagine ever happening to a plant like this, still resulted in zero fatalities. Compare that to other major industrial systems in that country that were damaged by the earthquake and tsunami. I know that thousands were killed by the Okura dam collapse, yet no one uses that to agitate against renewable (hydroelectric) energy. No one pillories the operators/designers of that facility like they do Tepco and GE. No one complains about those people losing their homes and livelihoods. They can’t, because they are dead, and their homes and lands washed away. There was a bullet train washed out to sea by the tsunami that killed hundreds, yet no one uses that as agitprop to shut down the railroad industry, no one complains about the train operator being incompetent and criminal.

      You know, being inconsistent and hypocritical isn’t exactly the path to being trusted.

  20. john tucker says:

    Post evidence. Post the exposure data, as I have been following the medical reports and haven’t seen a exposure yet in a civilian close to that which warrants concern. Radiation isn’t an occult force that undetectably sickens and kills without a trace. Exposure leaves biological traces and high radiation in an area shows up on surveys. Post your evidence.

    Even one of the highest readings form Tokyo that turned out to be related to stored radium posed “no health risk” – and even if it did, all interest in it was dropped as soon as it was reported to be not from Fukushima. ( http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/World/20111013/tokyo-japan-radiation-hotspot-explained-111013/ )

    Post your evidence.

  21. moineau says:

    i’m going, i’m going already. :>>))

    there are plenty of japanese people posting radiation readings, with geiger counters in hand, on youtube. i would ask my japanese friends to come here, but they are smarter than i am.

    it’s really nice how some of you talk past those who are posting and just hold yourself so high.

    what’s the use, huh? someone asked that i come here and talk. but you’re not here to listen, and i guess, i’m not either.

    au revoir.

    • Brian Mays says:

      You could have tens of thousands of clueless people walking around with Geiger counters and it would demonstrate nothing, unless they actually understand how the devices work.

      A Geiger counter is not a particularly useful device for assessing radiological threats. For one thing, it is highly sensitive to certain types of radiation and relatively insensitive to others. Thus, it can often give very high readings for naturally occurring, benign sources.

      Ever held a Geiger counter up to a plate of orange fiestaware manufactured in the mid-twentieth century (particularly the stuff produced before 1959)? The Geiger counter goes crazy — because uranium oxide has been used in the glaze — but the material is more than safe enough to eat off of (assuming the plate has recently been washed, that is).

      I’m sorry to be blunt, but nuclear physics is not for amateurs, and these “citizen surveys” conducted by people who, frankly, don’t know what the hell they’re doing do much more harm than good.

      Before you go, I have to ask … do you really get all of your information on radiation readings from YouTube?!!

    • Daniel says:

      Moineau,

      Pass the readings to those who live in Ramsar, Iran at more than 600 msv a year. They’ll really get out of there in a hurry !!!!

      If only this common knowledge were transmitted to those Japanese citizens that are evacuated for exposures to less than 50 msv a year ….

      And let’s not tell all those women who get lifesaving curietherapy with doses in excess of 20,000 msv over the course of several weeks.

      Japanese radiation readings ? Funny.

  22. Sean Smith says:

    What I requested from you was not YouTube videos of untrained people walking around with Geiger counters measuring NORM or radiation from burning fossil fuels etc…

    I asked to have your “friends” from Japan show us credible evidence of fission products or radiation measurements compared to the normal background for the area.

    Don’t act like a victim here. YOU insulted Rod in your first post on this topic by making a non sensical comparison to Chernobyl. Just because people call you on your mis information and lack of facts does NOT make you a victim.

    I know… I know… How dare we question a champion for humanity like yourself!

  23. Sean Smith says:

    Oh and POA… the plant survived the seismic event. It would have survived the tsunami if not for the station black out. If power had not been lost the plant would have been fine like Danai and every other plant in the area.

    I see the problem as a station blackout should not have happened. If the diesels were installed like in the US it would not have happened. In my opinion it PROVES that the safety strategies employed here in the west are able to protect the public and the environment.

    I am curious how much environmental damage will be done by increasing the burning of fossil fuels in Japan? Unlike the radiation from Fukushima the co2 and other pollutants WILL be carried in the atmosphere effect the entire planet.

  24. john tucker says:

    “there are plenty of Japanese people posting radiation readings, with geiger counters in hand, on youtube.”

    That is the opposite of “evidence.” I hope you know that.

    • DV82XL says:

      Given the quality of the doggerel she posts on her own site as an excuse for poetry I suspect that this woman is incapable of absorbing any criticisms at all. This type of arrogance is incapable of admitting that it is wrong.

    • john tucker says:

      By that logic the Japanese have much more important things to worry about anyway:

      Google search: godzilla youtube – About 11,100,000 results (0.13 seconds) 

  25. Alberto says:

    I can’t stand the people insanely trying to see the DOOM coming from Fukushima.

    Tohoku earthquake “was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900″ (Wikipedia).
    The earthquake and the following tsunami caused 20000 deaths (casualties+missing people), and entire towns has been destroyed.

    But the nuclear plants (four nuclear plants, eleven reactors) on the coast survived the earthquake and, with the exception of Daiichi plant, preserved full functionality after the tsunami.

    Well, I know how this kind of things work, lot of people complaining about air pollution & smoking

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/05/fukushima-valve-failures-led-t.html

    The rest of the comment, which is just a cut and paste from the above link, has been deleted by the moderator. Feel free to insert short quotes from others to back up your point. That is fair use. Copyright violations will not be tolerated.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @POA

      You have violated one of the unwritten rules of commenting here. Actually it is only unwritten on this site, there are copyright laws against the kind of cut and pasting that you just did.

      • Brian Mays says:

        And to make matters worse, he or she quoted New Scientist … eww..

        • PissedOffAmerican says:

          Am I to consider your “ewww” your best rebuttal to the article’s core premise? Now THATS some sound science, by golly!

        • Brian Mays says:

          “Eww” expresses my opinion of New Scientist. I thought that would be clear.

      • PissedOffAmerican says:

        “You have violated one of the unwritten rules of commenting here. Actually it is only unwritten on this site, there are copyright laws against the kind of cut and pasting that you just did”

        I provided a link, and an excerpt from the article. I did not cut and paste the entire content, as your admonition implies. I doubt highly that the site would object to my actions. I do, however, distrust your motives for deleting the excerpt, particularly in light of the fact that you’ve made no attempt to rebut the article’s core premise.

  27. PissedOffAmerican says:

    By the way, calling a predictable event “unprecedented” does not enhance your credibility. To imply that a tsunami of this magnitude is not predictable within the confines of one of the most seismic regions on Earth, is at best disingenuous.

    And, Japanese archival evidence hardly establishes this tsunami as “unprecedented”.

    Large coastal or undersea quakes can, and often do, cause tsunamis. Will you concede that his is a recognized scientific FACT. I imagine, if such an event on North America’s west coast occurs, you will rationalize any meltdowns at Diablo or San Onofre by calling the event “unprecedented”. Your justification for such a rationalization will be the “unprecedented” event, unprecedented ONLY because of its location. Not “unprecedented” because of its predictability based on the science and history that enables such predictability.

    Frankly, to a lay person such as myself, who relies on common sense and logic, having no background in nuclear science, your arguments seem partisan, rather than logical. And no, not partisan in a political sense, but rather biased towards nuclear energy in a manner that asks us cynics to discard our common sense and accept your pie-in-the-sky excuses for disasters such as Fukushima, Chernoble, etc.

    I’d like to suggest that you shelve arguments such as the “unprecedented” nature of a large tsunami following the occurance of a large earthquake. Such arguments are disingenuous and laughable. And blaming reactor meltdowns on the failure of subsytems, as a means of attempting to establish the safety of a nuclear plant is hardly a reassuring argument. The meltdowns occurred, no matter the cause. Generator failures do not contaminate the environment with radiation. Reactor failures DO.

    • DV82XL says:

      “Frankly, to a lay person such as myself, (sic) who relies on common sense and logic, having no background in nuclear science, your arguments seem partisan, rather than logical.”

      If indeed you rely on commonsense then it should tell you that holding opinions on technical matters in which you are admittedly ignorant, is foolish. Commonsense, in fact, should be telling you that in a case like this where there is a plurality of opinion the sensible thing to do would be to spend some time acquiring some basic knowledge of the subject before forming an opinion.

      Instead what you are doing is exactly what I wrote upthread; you are defaulting to a precautionary position and holding on to it rather than seeking the truth and justifying it by choosing to believe (without evidence) that anyone that holds another view is necessarily biased and therefore wrong.

      This is not commonsense – this is intellectual laziness masquerading as such.

      Rob Gauthier

    • Jason Kobos says:

      PoA said ”

      “Large coastal or undersea quakes can, and often do, cause tsunamis. Will you concede that his is a recognized scientific FACT. I imagine, if such an event on North America’s west coast occurs, you will rationalize any meltdowns at Diablo or San Onofre by calling the event “unprecedented”. ”

      Diablo canyon sits 85ft above sea level. A wave high enough to engulf the plant by 15m like in Japan would require said wave to be 130ft. high. This is a most unprecedented height. It would literally require a mountain falling into the ocean rather close to Diablo, or an asteroid impact in the ocean.

      This “unprecedented” 130ft high wave would also hit every other major city on the pacific rim (at some height lesser the greater distant from epicenter. The loss of life would be catastrophic. I’m hazarding a guess at 1/2 million (depending greatly upon evacuation time, and how bad the Pacific islands get hit.

      Then you also have to contend with the event that caused said massive tsunami…

      Whats the point in banning dead people from returning to where their homes once stood?

      I encourage you to go find a seismologist who is neutral on the topic(of nuclear) and let them explain to you what it takes to create a 130ft tsunami and how many people they think would be killed from it, and the event that created it.

      If you going to make “close to home” scare tactics at least do a little research first to make sure your even in the proper comparison ballpark.

    • Wayne SW says:

      Large coastal or undersea quakes can, and often do, cause tsunamis.

      The key word is “can”. This undercuts your argument. Japan is a country that is prone to earthquakes. Those “can” produce tsunamis, but not always. What do you do then? Well, as we’ve been saying, you go to the historical records for the locale of interest. No one ignored the possibility. They looked at what was likely to occur given the location they were working with. That is exactly what you are supposed to do.

      Locale is important in determining if a postulated event is “”unprecedented””. As we’ve seen in recent tsunamis, local geology can have a profound effect on the consequences of a tsunami. There are places where a tsunami will have relatively little effects on the coast or inland. Other locales may experience effects that are “””unprecedented”””. You look back a reasonable way into the history of the area, check the frequency of the postulated events and see what has happened when they occurred. No matter how you slice it, when you do that for the area in question in this case, you come up with the same answer: “”””unprecedented””””. The plant was damaged by a natural event that, while anticipated at some level, could not have been reasonably foreseen at the magnitude that it occurred.

      Now, what do engineers do when faced with the task of constructing a facility in such circumstances? The approach the nuclear industry has taken is the concept of defense in depth. If everything goes south in the face of the “””””unprecedented””””” event, what is the worst that happens? Well, we’ve likely seen it in this case. There is a financial loss, which is unfortunate, but that is likely a small fraction of the total financial loss experienced by the country in this event. What about the impact in terms of lives lost? Zero. What about long-term public health effects? Almost certainly zero from radiation dose. Why> Because the barriers to release of harmful amounts of radioactivity remained intact, even in the face of the “”””””unprecedented”””””” event.

      Based on your screen name and the tone of your posts, you certainly do seem to harbor and express a great deal of anger. But I am wondering, why are you directing it at the nuclear business? I mean, we have been running reactors to produce electricity in commerical quantities for over 40 years in this country, and not a single person has been harmed by that. In fact, tens of thousands of lives have been saved, because use of nuclear to produce electricity avoids that much more use of carbon-based fuels, which have demonstrable deleterious public health consequences. Even the Fukushima event, which is likely the worst-case scenario for a nuclear accident, has resulted in zero fatalities, zero injuries. Is that the kind of record that induces such hostility and anger on your part?

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I notice the round-about way you all avoided rebutting the article that advances the premise that the earthquake caused a cooilng failure, rather than the tsunami. Nor did any of you address my concerns about the use of the term “unprecedented” in presenting your arguments. The ONLY thing “unprecedented” about the tsunami was its locale, and the fact that a nuclear power plant was in its path. Instead, the lot of you have chosen to attack my intelligence, circumventing any constructive rebuttal to my comments and opinions.

    And attacking “moineau”‘s poetry was another symptom displaying the partisan bias I accuse you of. I have no idea how good, or bad, her poetry is, because it is not germaine to the debate, and I am not interested in reading her poetry. Nor do I find her claims about dangerous levels of radiation any more credible than YOUR arguments. However, I do find it somewhat telling that what was considered “dangerous levels” prior to this event are no longer considered “dangerous levels”. Conveiniently, TEPCO in Japan, and the EPA here, keep raising those so called “acceptable levels”. So, of course, to a cynic such as myself, my distrust of the so-called “experts” raises commiserate with the level of the “bar” they keep raising. This logic and common sense of mine that “DV82XL” maligns, (without actually rebutting my arguments), questions how yesterday’s levels were dangerous, but today’s HIGHER levels are not considered so.

    And,. seeing as how I’m passing out unsolicited advice here about how best to advance your arguments, I respectfully suggest that you politely ask “DV82XL” to keep quiet. All he has offered so far is vindictive blather, couched as debate. Not exactly a stellar spokesman for your cause.

    • Brian Mays says:

      PissedOffAs***le – Exactly who do you think your audience is here?

      If you want people to rebut your “arguments,” then you first need to put forward a sensible argument. Right now, you’re just railing and flailing, apparently just to make yourself feel better.

      Your “concerns” are, to be frank, idiotic, and you have fully demonstrated that you haven’t the slightest interest in listening to anything that any sensible person has to say here.

      Rather than wasting your time trying to silence one of your critics with “respectful suggestions” that are nothing of the sort, perhaps you should take your nonsense elsewhere, since I don’t think that anybody reading this blog is interested in what you have to say other than to enjoy a good laugh at your crass buffoonery.

    • DV82XL says:

      First of all no one needs to rebut another’s premises, only stated fact, which you have not supplied. This is the same way I need not rebut the premise that the Moon is made of green cheese; the onus is on those extending the hypothesis to provide proof.

      I made that crack about Laura Tattoo’s poetry to make the point that those that are not familiar with a topic, and have not invested the time to understand it, should not fling about unsubstantiated opinion.

      Debate is something that can only occur where there is some common ground. None of the antinuclear commenters here have demonstrated that they have the least understanding of the fundamentals of the issues under discussion yet demand that they be treated as equals. When there are posters making statements that don’t understand the very units of measurements they are talking about, or those that clearly do not understand just what an instrument like a Geiger counter is reading, or what those readings mean, it is difficult to discuss anything rationally with them.

      Therefore I as again; what makes any of you think that you can hold a considered opinion in a field you clearly know nothing about? This is not some effort to insult you, but to try and make you understand that without grounding yourselves in the fundamentals, not only can you not make valid statements, but clearly you can not understand any argument made against them. Blanket objections of the sort you have made about applying commonsense logic to decide that someone’s statements looked biased on no more evidence than they disagree with your preconceived notions, while admitting to not understanding the topic strikes me as breathtaking arrogance.

  29. Sean Smith says:

    I think the evidence, logs, and operator interviews have PROVEN that from the earthquake until the tsunami the plants were I’m a stable condition with the safety related busses power by the on site diesels.

    The problem here was the diesels and switchgear were not protected against flooding. If they had been there would be no story here. Do SOME plants need to review these events and make changes? Yes. That is what this industry does it tries to learn what it can from events like these and take steps to ensure they won’t happen that way again. Is anything fool proof? No. But the facts are that no one died from radiation exposure here and people who were evacuated will start to move back home.

    I think the fact that everyone who said SPF 4 was on fire and all of the other outrageous stories has been proven wrong and the calm, educated professionals have been proven right in their assessments.

    I would almost harshness that if I googles Fukushima and Godzilla I could find an article or blog saying that radiation released from the plant will create a Godzilla. But… It does not make it true.

    Recently 4 people died in a coal plant near me due to a steam explosion with no earthquake or tsunami. I know 2 workers drowned in the turbine building basement but I hope you can recognize the illustration I am making here. Nothing is 100% safe but based on the history and facts as I know them I would take nuclear over coal, oil, gas, hydro, or wind any day.

  30. Yokohama Michael says:

    I hesitate to suggest this, but I for one don’t think people like POA should be asked to leave. He’s indignant and rather ignorant, but he can string words together, unlike many. People like him should be engaged and countered, and hopefully, converted with evidence.

    I am now firmly pro-nuclear, but a year and a half ago I was like him; I had a layman’s view of nuclear power as dangerous. Living in Japan after 3/11, in a climate of fear and panic, forced me to educate myself. Among other things, I found this site. And I hope and believe that people like him just haven’t read the right information.

    But POA, you need to access some more sources of information before coming in here and flailing blindly around. Being obsessed about the definition of ‘unprededented’ doesn’t help anyone. Sure, Tepco could have anticipated a tsunami greater than 10 meters in height. Or 20. Or 200. But there comes a limit to what cost and engineering can achieve. And, though in my understanding it doesn’t seem likely, so what if the earthquake rather than the tsunami caused the cooling failure? Nobody is arguing that accidents never happen, or that engineering will always be perfect, or that nuclear power is 100% safe. What you have to think about is relative risk, optimising your return for as little risk as possible.

    Some of the things you say are obviously from anti-nuke sites, and not really accurate. For example, since the accident authorities in Japan have tightened, rather than ‘raised’ acceptable radiation levels, mostly in an attempt to mollify a fearful public. Among other things, acceptable contamination levels in food and water of caesium are several times more stringent that in other countries, and the ‘cut-off’ level for decontamination measures around Fukushima is a tiny 5 millisieverts a year, a really extraordinarily unnecessary precaution compared to the level at which, according to scientific consensus, people can actually be harmed, even under the most pessimistic assumptions.

    POA, here’s a challenge. Read the Chernobyl report by the United Nations Scientific Committee on Atomic Radiation. They are the closest thing to a global authority on radiation:

    http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/chernobyl.html

    And perhaps you should apply your common sense and logic to this idea: Fukushima represents the worst nuclear accident in history bar Chernobyl. A massive natural disaster destroyed the cooling functions in a large nuclear plant; as a result, three separate reactors experienced a full or partial meltdown. Yet, nobody was killed, nobody was even injured, and Scientific authorities have stated that the amount of radiation released is very unlikely to affect human health. If this is the result of such a serious accident, shouldn’t we be immediately building nuclear power plants in every city around the world?

    • Hu Bris says:

      Yokohama Michael said @May 7, 2012 at 8:41 AM:

      “POA, here’s a challenge. Read the Chernobyl report by the United Nations Scientific Committee on Atomic Radiation. They are the closest thing to a global authority on radiation:

      http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/chernobyl.html

      from POA’s reply it doesn’t look like he bothered to read any of it, Yokohama.

      Can’t say I’m surprised – In my experience people like POA only read articles that they already know they will agree with – the idea of actually reading something that they might find challanges them and their biases, seems to fill them with complete horror.

    • john tucker says:

      Same here, I started off after 3/11 ignorant and pretty firmly at that point “anti nuclear.” I don’t even think now that is a valid stance with respect to the variety of nuclear power as well as the details and health implications of the science surrounding energy production. Just the term is “anti nuclear” is senseless and uneducated sounding to me now.

      What I had going for me that made me check facts and especially details was a strong commitment to understanding and countering climate change and acidification.

  31. crazy_inventor says:

    @ POA

    notice no measurements are being made, no samples are being collected, and no data is being presented outside of the nuke industry’s own PR product..

    and notice the posturing – if you don’t swallow nuke industry PR, then YOU have an agenda :)

    @ Sean Smith

    “I would take nuclear over … hydro, or wind any day.” (might as well add solar too)

    now, where to bury the renewable energy waste for millenia, hmmm that’s a tough one..

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

  32. Waye SW says:

    now, where to bury the renewable energy waste for millenia, hmmm that’s a tough one..

    Tougher still is where are you going to get the energy you need when your primary energy source is not available. By “renewable” I assume you mean primarily wind and solar. Well, there is this natural phenomenon called “night”, it happens once a day, and the output of PV solar is zero during that time. There is also the phenomenon of “clouds”, which reduce PV solar output significantly. Solar thermal is pretty limited. I was visiting my cousin in Hawaii and they have thermal solar for water heating. You had to like cold showers to live with that.

    Similarly, the wind doesn’t always blow, and when it does it may not be at the optimal speed for your windmill. So where do you go for your energy at those times? Wind and solar are not what is called a dispatchable source of electrical capacity. Read up on dispatchability and get back to us.

    Wind and solar are ancient, ancient “technologies”. Windmills go back to the early medieval era, and solar goes all the way back to the neolithic age. The upward progress of mankind has been marked by one thing, and that is the mastery of energy to free him from the vagaries of natural phenomena. Abundant energy at reasonable cost is the only reason why we can live in densely populated cities, or harness the previously untamed rivers for irrigation and navigation, or have one person grow food that meets the needs of thousands. If we throw that away, it will be a regression in civilization that is wholly undesirable and unnecessary.

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Yet, nobody was killed, nobody was even injured, and Scientific authorities have stated that the amount of radiation released is very unlikely to affect human health”

    As you well know, it is waaaay too early to state that deaths will not occur as a result of this disaster. And, “scientific authorities” are also stating that deaths WILL occur. Just depends on what “scientific authorities” you are listening to.

    Interesting that after your compatriots here repeatedly make claims, such as blaming the lack of cooling on the tsunami, rather than the quake itself, that you now seek to say “so what” to evidence that seemingly would discredit their claims. If the cause is irrelevent, why use cause as a defense of the “safety” of these plants?

    This “no one has died” mantra seems to be the mantlepiece of your arguments here. Well, the event isn’t over, is it? Nor will it be “over” for years to come. Heck, you guys can’t even answer a simple question, posed earlier in this thread. Where are the cores to reactors 1, 2, and 3??? What, exactly, is occurring within those containment vessels? Truth is, no one knows.

    As well, you decry my so-called “obsession” with the word “unprecedented”. I would remind you that it is your compatriots here that introduced the word, repeatedly, to imply that this was not a predictable event that could be protected against. Thats BS, and you know its BS.

    So, you all make specious claims and shallow argument, such as the vindictive blather and evasive garbage issuing forth from “DV82XL”, and when rebutted, say “so what” to evidence and common sensical arguments that would seem to effectively counter some of your arguments and rationales.

    Here is the fact of the matter: Nuclear advocates, such as yourself, have been assuring us for decades that an event such as is occurring at Fukushima WOULD NOT OCCUR. You have THREE reactors in a state of meltdown, and SFPs that are in danger of collapse. The global community has spent decades being assured, by those such as yourself, that adequate safeguards were in place to prevent just such an event.

    And now, we are to accept your reassurances as credible? Sorry, folks, but thats not how it works in the real world. You HIDE behind a bunch of scientific double talk, and with great conceit and patronization, imply that anyone not schooled in your field is an idiot. Reread the CRAP offered up by “DV82XL”. Thats your argument??? I’m the idiot? “Moineau”s concerns are unwarranted because she writes bad poetry?

    And no. Tepco keeps RAISING the acceptable daily dosages for the workers at TEPCO, NOT lowering them, as you state. And the EPA here HAS IN FACT raised the acceptable air and food acceptable doses. To say nothing of the DEPLORABLE condition of the radiation monitoring grid that is supposed to warn us if levels become too high.

    Of course, we could accept Adams’ argument, that its all a big conspiracy to rake in the big bucks for the fossil fuel folks. But, uh, we’d STILL have three reactors in a state of meltdown, wouldn’t we, with hundreds of thousand displaced Japanese citizens?

    So, tell me, if this event was occurring at San Onofre, (Yeah, yeah, it can’t happen, right? Just like Fukushima “couldn’t happen”), how many would be displaced? After all, San Onofre is just fifty miles from the San Diego international airport. Fukushima is over a hundred miles from Tokyo.

    • Brian Mays says:

      Wow, the strawman just keep on coming don’t they? For example, the “would not occur” lie that this anonymous fool keeps blathering about.

      Nobody ever claimed that a meltdown would never occur. In fact, the nuclear industry uses probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) to estimate a “core damage frequency” — i.e., about how often one would expect a meltdown to occur over time — for various reactor designs.

      But hey, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, then I suppose it’s convenient to fixate on words like “unprecedented” or offhand remarks by others about bad poetry. Just like any shelter in a storm, any red-herring in a lost argument will do for some people.

      But finally, there’s the bold assertion that people have died or that people will die because of the accident. Well, we’ve been hearing that one for years. George Mobiot, a former anti-nuke, has summed it up probably as well as anyone could:

      The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made are ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged, and wildly wrong. We have done other people, and ourselves, a terrible disservice.

      … We have a duty to base our judgments on the best available information. This is not only because we owe it to other people to represent the issues fairly, but also because we owe it to ourselves not to squander our lives on fairytales. A great wrong has been done by this movement. We must put it right.

    • Curtis says:

      Ok lets try to tackle Unprecedented for you:

      First off. You seem to be confusing Unprecedented with Unpredictable.

      These are two very different things. I wont insult your intelligence by defining them.

      Short analysis is that something that is Unprecedented has never happened before. For things like earthquakes and tsunamis must be looked at as local locations. Building a Structure in my home town (Calgary, Canada) that is thousands of KM away from any ocean, I can say that there never once has been a tsunami hit my city.

      Now one can do the Math and say that if an asteroid of X Size were to hit the pacific, it would create wave big enough to make it over the Rocky mountains and hit Calgary. This would be a predication.

      Now if it actually happened that would be an Unprecedented event. Never in the history of Calgary, as a wave of ocean water ever reached the city.

      So moving to Fukashima. Never in recorded history has there been an earth quake or tsunami that has been near as big as the one that hit in 2011.

      The engineers that built the plant looked at the precedents for natural phenomenon in that location to predict what would be the most likely event that the plant would see. Thus they predicted the worst case event, based on the precedents set by the science and history at the time.

      The event that hit the plant then was unprecedented because nothing of it’s size had ever struck before. It was also (in the practical sense) Unpredictable due to the lack of evidence showing that it was possible.

      Now to San Offree. I don’t know the geology of the area personally. There are people that are.. they study it all the time. They can (and do) provide engineers with data giving the historical precedent of what has happened in that area. This data is used to predict what is possible in that area.

      You cannot necessarily use data from the coast of Japan to plan for an event on the coast of California. for one the earthquake that happened off Japan may be physically impossible off the coast of California (I don’t know). the coast lines may be so different that flow of a wave would be different , the sea bed will cause different waves etc.

      Well I hope that didn’t just make things worse.

    • john tucker says:

      Long post – no information. Lots of fear. Again:

      , “the number of expected fatalities are never going to be that large,” says Thomas McKone, of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.

      And some, including Richard Garfield, a professor of Clinical and International Nursing at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, go a step further. “In terms of the health impact, the radiation is negligible,” he says. “The radiation will cause very few, close to no deaths.” ( http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=japans-post-fukushima-earthquake-health-woes-beyond-radiation )

      No big Fukushima health impact seen: U.N. body chairman

      “As far as the doses we have seen from the screening of the population … they are very low,” Weiss told Reuters. This was partly “due to the rapid evacuation and this worked very well.”

      ( http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/31/us-japan-fukushima-health-idUSTRE80U1AS20120131 )

      Provide a quality source for your beliefs.

      On natural gas (which they increased use of [ http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/ElectricPower/8236752 ] and are soliciting future plans for) safety:

      List of pipeline accidents ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pipeline_accidents )

      List of recent Natural Gas Explosions with the entertaining
      “This Week In Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions” ( http://www.naturalgaswatch.org/?cat=8 )

      Its entirely arguable Japan has been made substantially less safe by actions precipitated by anti nuclear fear, as well as far more polluting, in a way that does permanent damage to the environment (change/acidification/heavy metals), which is now indeed a hard proven fact.

      Japan flags hunger for LNG, coal ( http://www.smh.com.au/business/japan-flags-hunger-for-lng-coal-20120507-1y8zk.html )

      Post your sources that involve referenced information/narrative, not baseless opinion.

    • DV82XL says:

      First we have heard the ‘latent deaths’ argument before after every nuclear disaster involving radiation, or a release of radioactive material regardless of how big or small it is and the truth is that even in the worst of these, the atomic bombings of Japan, the toll of deaths that can be reasonably said to be the result of radiation over the intervening years has fallen short of predictions by several orders of magnitude. For others, like the event in the Ukraine, they are hardly measurable outside of very small statistical trends that may or may not be the result of secondary causes. I encourage you to verify this by doing your own research, carefully weighting the sources and examining the data.

      Without any understanding of ionizing radiation, radioactive isotopes, and the biology of how these impact living things, it is impossible for you to understand where science leaves off and politics takes over in areas such as acceptable doses. And yes it is clear to those that do understand that some of these have been set to answer political concerns. The agencies involved do not work as independently as you might assume, and take orders from outside the scientific community. Clearly too you do not understand the difference between tightening a legal standard and an increase in the limits that are set by good scientific reasoning. The former is a local decision that is made by fiat, the latter an international consensus based on evidence.

      As for my criticisms of your lack of knowledge, what do you want? I am agreeing with you that you are ignorant, not calling you an idiot. By admitting you do not have a background in the subject, how are we to frame a counterargument that will satisfy you? The fact that you take such exception to this clearly shows that you clearly understand the point being made. Rather than see it as an insult, why don’t you make an effort to study the fundamentals – it’s really not that hard – so that you can ask pertinent questions. I know for a fact that anyone coming to these, or any pronuclear page, with an enquiring mind, free of preconceived notions and willing to learn, will have everyone bending over backwards to point them in the right direction. But come full of bombast, wearing your ignorance like a mantel and claiming you commonsense and logic is somehow equal or superior to our knowledge and you are not going to be taken seriously.

      You reaction to my remarks clearly shows that this is no longer an argument over facts with you, but the reaction of a bruised ego. If you are really concerned with this issue, I suggest you take a step back and examine your own motives for continuing your current thrust in this debate. If you are indeed interested in the truth, it can be found, but not until you accept that it take some effort to find it.

      Rob Gauthier

  34. Hu Bris says:

    Infant mortality increase in the U.S. after Fukushima?

    Very surprising, there are several conclusions to be drawn here:

    — There is no spike in infant mortality due to Fukushima. Instead there is an accidental dip during the 4 weeks before the radioactive releases reached the U.S. west coast.

    — The infant mortality rate in the northwest U.S. was actually 23% higher in the first 7 weeks of 2011 than after Fukushima, 108 cases in 7 weeks give a weekly ratio of 15.43. We can thus say, by using Sherman and Mangano’s own way of phrasing it, that this amounts to a decrease of 23% and is statistically significant.

    — The data for the full time period of weeks 1 – 21 amount to 272 infant deaths over 21 weeks, i.e. a weekly rate of 12.95. This is slightly higher than the weekly rate after Fukushima (12.50).

    — Janette Sherman and Joseph Mangano have a lot to explain for us…if anybody cares to listen to them after this low point in their so called scientific careers.

    any one that wants to intelligently argue with the conclusions of this article would NEED to actually adress the figures (the maths and ‘science’ bit) rather than just attack the source

    • John Tucker says:

      You know someone actully went back and checked.

      Are Babies Dying in the Pacific Northwest Due to Fukushima? A Look at the Numbers

      Let’s first consider the data that the authors left out of their analysis. It’s hard to understand why the authors stopped at these eight cities. Why include Boise but not Tacoma? Or Spokane? Both have about the same size population as Boise, they’re closer to Japan, and the CDC includes data from Tacoma and Spokane in the weekly reports.

      More important, why did the authors choose to use only the four weeks preceding the Fukushima disaster? Here is where we begin to pick up a whiff of data fixing.

      While it certainly is true that there were fewer deaths in the four weeks leading up to Fukushima (in green) than there have been in the 10 weeks following (in red), the entire year has seen no overall trend. When I plotted a best-fit line to the data (in blue), Excel calculated a very slight decrease in the infant mortality rate. ( http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2011/06/21/are-babies-dying-in-the-pacific-northwest-due-to-fukushima-a-look-at-the-numbers/ )

      So by your study Fukushima actually lowerd indfant mortality in 2011 – Halieughh!

    • John Tucker says:

      Then again:

      Researchers Trumpet Another Flawed Fukushima Death Study

      Here, from the abstract, is the chain of reasoning: “U.S. health officials report weekly deaths by age in 122 cities, about 25 to 35 percent of the national total. Deaths rose 4.46 percent from 2010 to 2011 in the 14 weeks after the arrival of Japanese fallout, compared with a 2.34 percent increase in the prior 14 weeks….Projecting these figures for the entire United States yields 13,983 total deaths.” In sum: Sloppy statistics killed 14,000 people.

      No attempt is made at providing systematic error estimates, or error estimates of any kind. No attempt is made to catalog any biases that may have crept into the analysis, though a cursory look finds biases a-plenty (the authors are anti-nuclear activists unaffiliated with any research institution). The analysis assumes that the plume arrived on U.S. shores, spread everywhere, instantly, and started killing people immediately. It assumes that the “excess” deaths after March 20 are a real signal, not just a statistical aberration, and that every one of them is due to Fukushima radiation. ( http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2011/12/20/researchers-trumpet-another-flawed-fukushima-death-study/ )

      No one involved in serious science Ive read takes this “study” seriously. No one. It is scandalously bad by its methodology not just the reputation of its authors.

    • John Tucker says:

      lol – I just saw the reference at the top and launched into the statistical rebuttal before even getting to the bottom!!! That whole “study” was infuriating. That any journal would ever be so incompetent as to publish it – even a Internet journal.

      “if anybody cares to listen to them after this low point in their so called scientific careers.” –
      even that is a understatement of monumental proportions. The article casts doubt and a need to review even the most basic statements of the anti nukes far and wide.

      That “study” and its circulation was one of the original red flags that confirmed to me there were serious problems with science and honesty in the anti nuclear movement.

      • Hu Bris says:

        Yes John – It’s a very common problem on the internet – on all sides of tany argument

        People start replying to what they THINK one said, rather than what one actually said.

        And it appears that NO ONE wants to read what the other side are putting forward as ‘evidence’. But they sure do want to ‘debunk’ it – though how one debunks something which one refuses to read is a mystery to me.

        “That “study” and its circulation was one of the original red flags that confirmed to me there were serious problems with science and honesty in the anti nuclear movement.”

        Oh I think there’s enough serious problems with science and honesty on ALL sides of the argument – that’s THE problem.

  35. crazy_inventor says:

    no one here is talking about the energy and greenhouse gas inputs for nuclear fuel mining and processing, plus the inputs for the construction of the plants themselves, like steel and concrete.

    the total ERoEI

    also, neutron capture making millions of tons of nuclear waste of all these containment materials

    or what to do with nuclear waste at all – just completely ignore that problem..

    insurance companies refuse to cover nuke plants –

    “The nuclear power industry has been dependent on government subsidies for 50 years and still the industry is still not economically viable”

    too cheap to meter

    “The upward progress of mankind has been marked by one thing”

    poisoning the entire earth and leaving the mess for future generations ?

    the price of progress is extinction because black and white thinking forces one to extremes

    no we can’t store energy (I noticed you side-stepped hydro), via flywheels, storage tanks, conversion to hydrogen or even just batteries, no it’s either full nuke everything everywhere or back to the stone age

    and all these other ‘ancient, ancient’ energy methods leave waste we have no way to contain for the vast timespan it remains dangerous..

    but ignore that.

    after all, there’s money to be made today..

    • Wayne SW says:

      no one here is talking about the energy and greenhouse gas inputs for nuclear fuel mining and processing, plus the inputs for the construction of the plants themselves, like steel and concrete.

      Already been done. What you are referring to whether you knew it or not (probably not) is called the lifecycle footprint. That was the subject of a study done at the University of Wisconsin a couple of years ago. It showed that the lifecycle footprint for nuclear is a little smaller than that for solar, a little bigger than that for land-based wind, significantly smaller than that for offshore wind, greatly smaller than that for natural gas, and vastly, vastly, vastly smaller than that for petroleum and coal.

      also, neutron capture making millions of tons of nuclear waste of all these containment materials

      Neutron capture occurs primarily in the fuel assemblies, not “containment”. And even then we are talking about hundreds, not millions, of tons of material. A little of the neutron flux leaks out to the pressure vessel walls. The primary activation products there are 59Fe, 54Mn, and 51Cr, all of which have half-lives on the order of weeks to a little less than one year. And again, we’re talking tons, not millions of tons. Millions of tons is a gross exaggeration.

      or what to do with nuclear waste at all – just completely ignore that problem..

      Plenty of technically feasible options, things like partitioning and recycling of the material, full actinide recycle to reduce heat load, deep geologic disposal. All of them are stalled by politics and lack of courage.

      insurance companies refuse to cover nuke plants -

      An out and out lie. Are you old enough to have an insurance policy like a homeowners policy? The reason it excludes coverage for nuclear events is because you already have it through the no-fault liability pool provided by private insurers. Check out American Nuclear Insurers, a private company. The premiums are paid by the plant operators. Not one dime of taxpayer money has ever gone to provide liability insurance for nuclear plants. And, no, Price-Anderson does not provide coverage. The purpose of P-A was to establish the legal framework within which private insurance could establish and manage the liability pool.

      “The nuclear power industry has been dependent on government subsidies for 50 years and still the industry is still not economically viable”

      Another lie. The government has never paid a dime to any company for generating a single watt-hour of nuclear energy. Contrast that with the wind and solar power industries. They have bullied the government to go so far as to pass laws that REQUIRE utility companies to buy a certain percentage of their power from these sources. Show me a similar law for nuclear generators. Utilities buy power from nuclear generators because it has the lowest unit cost.

      too cheap to meter

      You fell for “The Anatomy of a Cliche”. No one in the nuclear power generating business ever said this. It was said ONE TIME, and ONE TIME ONLY. And that was by Lewis Strauss, in 1954 at a meeting of the National Association of Science Writers, when he was Chairman of the old Atomic Energy Commission. This was 15 years before the first commercial nuclear plant came online. Here is the full context of his quote:

      “Our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter… It is not too much to expect that our children will know of great periodic regional famines in the world only as matters of history, will travel effortlessly over the seas and under them and through the air with a minimum of danger and at great speeds, and will experience a lifespan far longer than ours, as disease yields and man comes to understand what causes him to age.”

      Strauss makes no specific mention of nuclear fission energy. He is simply contemplating the possibility of a future where a common commodity like electricity might be offered either at a flat rate or for free to capture revenue from ancillary services like maintenance and transmission. In fact, Strauss was referring to the eventual use of hydrogen from sea water as a source for fusion reactors. In that case, the fuel cost would be essentially free, and the cost of metering would make a flat-rate price structure very practical.

      poisoning the entire earth and leaving the mess for future generations ?

      Tell me the name of one person in this country who has eve been “poisoned” by the operation of a nuclear plant in the over 40 years of operating commercial facilities. Not using nuclear leaves a much bigger “mess” for future generations, lack of energy, more pollution from the use of fossil fuels, depleted natural resources, degraded standards of living, increase in disease, abandonment of cities for lack of necessary services. All of those things are more likely than any nuclear “poisoning”.

      no we can’t store energy (I noticed you side-stepped hydro), via flywheels, storage tanks, conversion to hydrogen or even just batteries, no it’s either full nuke everything everywhere or back to the stone age

      The only practical hydro storage is a pumped storage reservoir. Did you know that the genesis of the modern “environmentalist movement” was a protest over a proposed pumped storage reservoir? It was the Storm King Mountain project in the Hudson River Valley. Look it up. And it was sparked by the protests of very wealthy landowners, the “one percenters”, not the great unwashed stinky masses of poneytailed hippies. So much for your pumped storage reservoirs. Flywheels? Show me a flywheel big enough to store significant amounts of electrical energy for grid power. Storage tanks? Of what? Show me a calculation of the size and cost of a compressed air storage tank that could store enough energy for, say, 12 hours of grid-based energy. Hydrogen? Develop the infrastructure necessary for large-scale transport and useage. Then show me the comparative cost figures for producing the hydrogen from a nuclear source versus wind or solar, on a per-unit production basis. Batteries? How many deep-charging cycles will your batteries be able to take before needing replacement? What are the costs of that? What are the safety concerns, things like hydrogen evoluition, chemical waste, etc.? How many amp-hours can your batteries supply during an extended period of no sun and no wind? I have to tell you, where I live, we sometimes go weeks with very little sun, days and weeks on end without optimal windspeeds.

      and all these other ‘ancient, ancient’ energy methods leave waste we have no way to contain for the vast timespan it remains dangerous..

      The activity is spent fuel is less than the activity in the original mined uranium after about a thousand years. The waste containers designed for Yucca Mountain have a design life of about 200,000 years. The repository itself was designed to remain sealed for up to a million years. Is that isolation enough fo you?

      but ignore that.

      Not ignoring it at all. Solved it.

      • atomic lies says:

        Can you provide a link to this “Wisconsin study” because according to what I read here if you do not provide links and documentation then nothing you say matters… at least that’s what they tell me.

    • DV82XL says:

      - Over one hundred times as much CO2 is avoided by deployment of the nuclear fuel cycle in place of coal plants than is released by construction, the fuel production process, and decommissioning. The electrical energy output per unit of CO2 released overwhelms that from the direct use of fossil fuel for electrical energy. Source: CNSC

      – In most OECD countries, all short-lived, low- and intermediate-level nuclear wastes, whatever their source, are disposed of using surface or under-ground repositories that are safe for people and the environment during the time that these wastes maintain their radioactivity. These wastes, representing some 90% of total radio-active waste, are conditioned and stored in facilities isolated from the environment by specially engineered barriers. Long-lived and high-level waste, on the other hand, is first deposited in temporary storage facilities, under strict safety conditions, for several decades. It is then usually envisaged that the waste will be placed in a final disposal facility. Source: OECD Observer

      – It is commonly asserted that nuclear power stations are not covered by insurance, and that insurance companies don’t want to know about them either for first-party insurance of the plant itself or third-party liability for accidents. This is incorrect, and the misconception was addressed as follows in 2006 by a broker who had been responsible for a nuclear insurance pool: “it is wrong [to believe] that insurers will not touch nuclear power stations. In fact, wherever they are available to private sector insurers, Western-designed nuclear installations are sought-after business because of their high engineering and risk management standards. This has been the case for fifty years.” He elaborated: “My comment refers very much to the world scene and is not contentious. Apart from Three Mile Island, the claim experience has been very good. Chernobyl was not insured. Significantly, because Chernobyl was of a design that would not have been an acceptable risk at the time, notably the lack of a containment structure, the accident had no impact on premium rates for Western plants. – Source: World Nuclear.org

      – The biggest lie put in the the nuclear industry’s mouth is that it promised nuclear power would be too cheap to meter.Where, then, did the phrase “too cheap to meter” originate? It was used by Lewis L. Strauss in an address to the Ntl. Assn.of Science Writers in New York on 16 Sept. 1954. In fact he was Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and not a member of the nuclear industry. and he was refering to the promice of fusion, not fission. As a matter of fact, as early as 1958 the nuclear industry did explicitly warn that “atomic energy will never be too cheap to meter.”Source:”Too cheap to meter,” Feb. 1987, USCEA.

      You are quick to accuse us of not considering the ERoE for nuclear, please look at those numbers for the storage technologies you mention – they just don’t work out.

      Rob Gauthier.

  36. Sean smith says:

    I do not nor have I ever worked in a power plant or anything involved In the nuclear industry. I own a Taxi company outside of Boston if you must know. I have no financial interest in the nuc industry what so ever.

    I have researched and studied it for ten years out of interest. I also live close to a 4 unit “dirt” burner. I have seen first hand the health effects of living near a coal plant. I also frequent Seabrook nh and Plymouth mass and have seen no negative effects there from the respective nuc plants.

    I would rather not live near a large dam that could wipe out my whole town as had happened many times, I would also prefer power when I need it 24/7 regardless of when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.

    I do not worry about NYC waste. For the amount of power they generate nuc plants generate very little waste unlike coal plants. Ever seen a fly ash slurry pit? Also radioactive waste decays over time I am more concerned with things that don’t like the mercury and other chemical byproducts of solar panel production.

    So when can we say no one has died and no one will? One year? Five years? Ten years? When will you be satisfied? My bet… Never, no matter what the evidence or science shows some people have stopped learning and closed their minds to new ideas or new ways of thinking.

    To echo the first post at the top of this page…

    “Sad… Really sad”

  37. alberto says:

    Yesterday, when I left my comment about the cynicism of people forgetting that Fukushima Daiichi (yes, Fukushima Daini is still OK, thanks) is only a very small part of the pain suffered by Japan after 3/11/11,
    my mind went to Longarone and the Vajont.
    What’s that?
    Obviously I don’t pretend you all have knowledge of this small town in northern Italy, but it has a very sad story to tell (search Longarone on wiki, and on google maps to see the distance from the dam).
    This story is also mine because my father is a civil engineer, born in that area and close friend of some of the designers of the dam (by the way, at the time of the construction the dam was the higher in the world).
    When I was young the picture of the freshly finished dam was proudly displayed on the wall of our living room.
    The dam was an engineering wonder (it survived the biggest landslide ever analyzed) but the death toll was 1909.
    Why this story surfaced in my mind?
    1- because energy is dangerous, any kind of energy
    2- because understanding why things happens is the only way to avoid them repeating
    3- because I was so sad all this pain happened and some people still not realizing that drowning kills way more people than rads.

    • nuclearwinds says:

      Dig a little deeper because you missed some things in your research about radiation and its killing power. Literally millions have died from radiations ill effects but these deaths are covered in the doctored statistics that are propagated through the imagined regulatory bodies such as IAEA and NRC and NISA…

      Children all over Belarus, search that-search Gomel Province and the health of the children due to Chernobyl and see what you see there…

      • Rod Adams says:

        @nuclearwinds – it is delusional in the extreme to believe that there is a worldwide conspiracy to cover up “literally millions of deaths from radiations I’ll effects”. We have been studying the health effects of radiation on human beings for more than a century; there is no evidence of anything remotely close to what you are alleging. The idea that the IAEA, the NRC and NISA are all colluding to cover up injuries and death is absurd and paranoid.

        Such allegations are only worth responding to because there are a few people like you who cannot be bothered to learn the truth.

        Please visit such informative sites as the Health Physics Society, the UNSCEAR, and even BEIR I-VII and you will find that radiation from nuclear energy facilities has been well controlled and has resulted in very few incidents and accidents considering the enormous benefits it has brought our technological society.

  38. NeutrinoDetective says:

    I have been in the nuclear business for over 40 years and here is what I (and others) have claimed can NEVER happen:

    1. The core of an LWR cannot “explode” like an atomic bomb. The physics of the process simply does not allow for that kind of nuclear reaction to take place.

    2. The doomsday scenarios of the FUDdites, wherein millions are killed and hundreds of millions of square miles of territory are contaminated for the next billion years by an LWR accident cannot occur. The reason for this is the inventory of material in the core is insufficient, and the physics of the evolution of an LWR accident do not allow for the kind of explosive energy release necessary for that kind of dispersion and widespread contamination. (Note: Chornobil was not an LWR accident.)

    Here is what I (and others) have claimed is very unlikely to happen:

    1. Fatalites among the general public resulting from the use of nuclear energy. This has not changed.

    2. Accidents in an LWR involving significant core disruption. Fukushima has not changed this. We have operated thousands of reactors cores over the last 70 years and only a handful have experienced significant core disruption. You can count them on the fingers of one hand: SL-1, TMI-2, Fukushima. Chornobil doesn’t count because it is not an LWR. I do not count Fermi-1 and the WTR because those were relatively minor core damage events.

    We have asserted that the defese-in-depth approach would limit the release of the vast majority of the radioactive material inventory, and that which was released would be mainly relatively harmless (noble gases) or mainly confined to the plant boundaries. Anything else could be mitigated with reasonable post-accident precautions (i.e., limiting uptake of 90Sr, 131I, and 137Cs by temporary quarantine of foodstuffs produced in the immediate area). Fukushima did not change this. Again you cannot count Chornobil because it did not have a containment. If it did then what happened would not have happened. Most of the release would have been contained.

    The designers of the plants never assumed that accidents would never occur. If they did, they would not design multiple redundant systems to reduce the probability of common mode failure, nor would they design the kind of containment systems that modern LWRs have. In fact, the presence of these systems shows that designers are very aware of the need to have defense-in-depth. The only thing ever claimed was that these systems were adequate to provide a level of assurance would make large-scale releases to the environemnt of the kind that would lead to serious health consequences to the public (i.e., deaths and injuries) very unlikely. Fukushima has not changed the score on that measure.

    I think I can see what has happened here. Someone has told you, or you read or heard somewhere, that people who advocate the use of nuclear energy said that any kind of accident could never happen. The simple fact that we take precautions and design systems with mutiple barriers of defense-in-depth shows that the industry takes seriously the challange of mitigating the consequences of an accident, even if it is unlikely. Doing that not only makes the chances of an accident relatively small, but also limits the consequences should an unlikely event occur.

    Look at the events at Fukushima with the objective eyes of an engineer. First, it was an event of a magnitude that was extremely unlikely to occur in that area. That is still true. Second, even though the event occurred and peeled away a couple of layers of the defense-in-depth, the systems that remained functional (pressure vessel, steam suppression, containment) functioned as designed and contained the great majority of fission products. Enough so that the effects on the public health were and likely will be non-existent.

  39. Alexander says:

    A few clarifications:
    The fuel-rods that were blasted out of the # 3 unit when it exploded are not ‘inert metal’, they are zirconium-clad containers with liquid uranium-salts and plutonium-salts, which when damaged and mangled, as was clearly shown on pictures before the clean-up, can leak to the environment, even without heating – only by mechanical damage. If damaged and heated, the content can evaporate.

    The spent fuel pool in unit # 4 are not all used, they stored fresh fuel-rod assemblies in the pool for installation in the reactor. Those fuel-rods, if disturbed by an earthquake for example shifting the angle of the pool, might turn critical. This can in turn blast all water out of the pool, and more or less detonate the whole pool contents.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Alexander – you have no idea how technically incorrect you are.

      No fuel rods left any of the affected units. They all remain safely inside the pressure vessels.

      Fuel rods do not contain any “salts”

      Unit 4 spent fuel pool was never emptied and never damaged. Fuel assemblies inside spent fuel pools are in racks that prevent criticality under all conditions.

      • Hu Bris says:

        “@Alexander – you have no idea how technically incorrect you are.”

        I happen to know that Alex read it here : http://tinyurl.com/c5d8aou

        “Canadian Nuclear Scientist: Another, even more dangerous possibility than fire at Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 — Re-initiation of chain reaction can occur if fuel rods move slightly, an “accidental criticality” April 29, 2012 “

        and Alex chose to believe it because the Canadian ‘expert’ said he was an ‘expert’ and he was saying what Alex wanted to hear anyway, so Alex never questioned it.

      • Hu Bris says:

        PS: Alex never questioned it because the ‘expert’ was saying what he wanted to hear

        The expert involved was Gordon Edwards . . . president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility and . . .recipient of the 2006 Nuclear-Free Future Award

        Not at all unbiased, eh? – raising the alram like that, suits Gordon Edward’s political agenda

        Strange how so many people only see bias on one side – never on their own side

        Edward’s article warnimg of this is available in full here- you might find it interesting

        (I’m also fairrly sure that neither POA nor Alex have read Gordon Edward’s full article – despite relying on it to help make their arguments.)

    • Hu Bris says:

      “The spent fuel pool in unit # 4 are not all used, they stored fresh fuel-rod assemblies in the pool for installation in the reactor. Those fuel-rods, if disturbed by an earthquake for example shifting the angle of the pool, might turn critical. This can in turn blast all water out of the pool, and more or less detonate the whole pool contents.”

      That is all pure speculation/suppossition Alex.

      Lots of ‘could’, ‘may’, ‘if’ ‘can’ etc

      There’s an old saying “If your Aunt had Balls, she’d be your Uncle’ -

    • Wayne SW says:

      The fuel-rods that were blasted out of the # 3 unit when it exploded are not ‘inert metal’, they are zirconium-clad containers with liquid uranium-salts and plutonium-salts, which when damaged and mangled, as was clearly shown on pictures before the clean-up, can leak to the environment, even without heating – only by mechanical damage. If damaged and heated, the content can evaporate.

      They are pretty much inert in terms of chemical reactivity. Any leakage that is driven by an external mechanical force will be extremely limited in dispersion. You simply can’t move material like that around very far by pushing it with external forces. It just kind of lays there. Ever try pushing a pile of loose soil around? Same kind of thing. You might spread it over your garden or yard, but not much beyond your own home. Certainly not the “millions of square miles of Japan made uninhabitable” FUD scenario. Solid zirconium will not burn, much less evaporate, unless you are talking about temperatures in the many thousands of degrees, and even then it would not burn. This material has been decaying for over a year now. Use the Way-Wigner equations to calculate the heat generation. There is no way you are going to get temperatures in the range to cause melting, much less vaporization.

      The spent fuel pool in unit # 4 are not all used, they stored fresh fuel-rod assemblies in the pool for installation in the reactor. Those fuel-rods, if disturbed by an earthquake for example shifting the angle of the pool, might turn critical. This can in turn blast all water out of the pool, and more or less detonate the whole pool contents.

      Photographs show the SFP to be intact and relatively undamged. They have taken steps to strengthen the support structures. The pool withstood the initial seismic event. The added supports mean it can withstand an even stronger event. If an event “shifted the angle” of the pool it would likely cause loss of the water, which would mean loss of the moderator (know what that is?) and thus preclude the possibility of accidental criticality. If the pool does not experience a “shifted the angle” event then everything stays as it is and nothing happens. Even if there was uncontrolled criticality there would be no “detonation”. There is no way LWR fuel can undergo a chain reaction at a rate sufficient to cause a “detonation”. Learn something about chain reaction physics before you come on a technical blog and spout such nonsense. So much for that FUD.

  40. Hu Bris says:

    A new research paper finds that some of the alarmist scenarios after the Chernobyl accident have been grossly exaggerated. In all likelihood the same strident alarmism evident after Fukushima is also highly exaggerated.

    J. T. Smith, N. J. Willey, J. T. Hancock. Low dose ionizing radiation produces too few reactive oxygen species to directly affect antioxidant concentrations in cells. Biology Letters, 2012; DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.0150.

    Abstract: It has been hypothesized that radiation-induced oxidative stress is the mechanism for a wide range of negative impacts on biota living in radioactively contaminated areas around Chernobyl. The present study tests this hypothesis mechanistically, for the first time, by modelling the impacts of radiolysis products within the cell resulting from radiations (low linear energy transfer β and γ), and dose rates appropriate to current contamination types and densities in the Chernobyl exclusion zone and at Fukushima. At 417 µGy h−1 (illustrative of the most contaminated areas at Chernobyl), generation of radiolysis products did not significantly impact cellular concentrations of reactive oxygen species, or cellular redox potential. This study does not support the hypothesis that direct oxidizing stress is a mechanism for damage to organisms exposed to chronic radiation at dose rates typical of contaminated environments.

    Science Daily writes:

    Radiation from the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents may not have been as harmful to wildlife as previously thought.

    New research by Professor Jim Smith, of the University of Portsmouth, and colleagues from the University of the West of England has cast doubt on earlier studies on the impact on birds of the catastrophic nuclear accident at Chernobyl in April 1986.

    Their findings, published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, are likely to also apply to wildlife at Fukushima in Japan following its nuclear disaster in 2011 and represent an important step forward in clarifying the debate on the biological effects of radiation.

    Professor Smith, an environmental physicist at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said: “I wasn’t really surprised by these findings — there have been many high profile findings on the radiation damage to wildlife at Chernobyl but it’s very difficult to see significant damage and we are not convinced by some of the claims.

    “We can’t rule out some effect on wildlife of the radiation, but wildlife populations in the exclusion zone around Chernobyl have recovered and are actually doing well and even better than before because the human population has been removed.” ……. Professor Smith said: “We showed that changes in anti-oxidant levels in birds in Chernobyl could not be explained by direct radiation damage. We would expect other wildlife to be similarly resistant to oxidative stress from radiation at these levels. Similarly, radiation levels at Fukushima would not be expected to cause oxidative stress to wildlife. We believe that it is likely that apparent damage to bird populations at Chernobyl is caused by differences in habitat, diet or ecosystem structure rather than radiation”. …..

    Professor Smith has studied contamination at Chernobyl for more than 20 years and regularly visited the exclusion zone for his research. He is author of a major book about the incident, Chernobyl: Catastrophe and Consequences, and is a former member of the International Atomic Energy Agency Chernobyl forum.

  41. Bob Connor says:

    So Rod, what do you think TEPCO should do about all the fuel rods? Leave them in there? Why would you want to do that? To me it would make sense to have a plan to remove the fuel rods from #4 and place them in the shared fuel pool ASAP. Maybe it might be possible to even put some older fuel in dry storage. I saw your friend Arnie on you tube and to be truthful he makes sense. His plan was to use a smaller version of a cask to remove a few assemblies at a time to place in the other pool. Building another building around unit 4 might take too much time. The building had to be “traumatized” by the earthquake/tsunami and the salt water could not do the concrete any good. Also, it looks like some of the bottom 2/3 made out of concrete is gone and it certainly looks bad – is the fuel pool behind there? The others, it looks like just the metal part is gone. Hopefully, the shared pool is in the ground and not 80 feet up there.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Bob Conner – Tepco is in a far better position than I am to determine what to do with the fuel assemblies in the used fuel pools in the buildings that were damaged by the hydrogen explosions.

      Site stabilization and recovery efforts are enormously complicated. The planning is something that cannot be done without detailed information; second guessing from the other side of the planet is not helpful.

  42. Alex says:

    First of all, I want to clarify that there’s an “Alex” and an “Alexander” commenting here. I am not the “Alexander.”

    Secondly, Rod, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer all these questions with patience and understanding. Your colleagues seem to have a lot of useful information to share, but as you pointed out, they’re a little defensive.

    Let me return the favor, and explain something … I’ll “shout” it for clarity. To the general public (of which I am a part), NUCLEAR PHYSICS IS INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM SCIENCE FICTION. When I read that ” Dr. Gordon Edwards, one of Canada’s best known independent experts on nuclear technology, uranium, and weapons proliferation” has written the following, it sounds reasonable:

    “a prolonged loss of coolant — or even loss of circulation of coolant — will lead to overheating of the fuel and extensive fuel damage. This will result in significant releases of radioactive fission products into the atmosphere due to the inadequate or even non-existent containment provided for the spent fuel pool.

    Moreover, a loss of coolant in the spent fuel pool — whether by leakage, spillage, or boiling off of the cooling water — will lead to intense gamma radiation that would prevent human access for hundreds of metres in all directions around the spent fuel pool, making it very difficult to take corrective actions.

    Under adverse circumstances there can even be a fuel meltdown in the spent fuel pool, if the temperature climbs to about 2800 degrees C, which would vastly increase the radioactive releases and spread those releases over a much wider area.

    The overheating of the spent fuel in the pool can be exacerbated by the intense exothermic reaction between the zirconium cladding and the steam produced from the overheated water, and can even result (at around 1000 degrees C) in a very intense zirconium fire which can result in tiny particles of intensely radioactive spent fuel being liberated into the atmosphere.

    Depending on the diameter of these “hot particles” (sometimes referred to as “nuclear fleas”) they can be transported greater or lesser distances by the wind, possibly affecting populations hundreds of kilometers from the spent fuel pool. Once dispersed into the environment, these hot particles will constitute a source of radiation exposure and environmental contamination for centuries to come.

    In addition to the possibility of zirconium fires (which have for a long time been almost completely overlooked by nuclear engineers and regulators) there is another, even more dangerous possibility. An alteration in the geometry of the spent fuel in the pool, by which the separation between the spent fuel rods is slightly but significantly reduced, can lead to re-initiation of the chain reaction in the pool.

    This “accidental criticality” will not only drive the temperature up rapidly, but will also replenish the supply of short-lived heat-producing fission products, accelerating the damage to the fuel, magnifying the heat loading, increasing the probability of a fuel pool meltdown, and vastly increasing the atmospheric releases of radioactivity.

    End of the world stuff, right? I started imagining watching my children die of radiation poisoning, and it scared the crap out of me. Then, I read the information on this site (incidentally, the comments to this post are FAR superior to the original rant by Adam Curry, which had no useful information swhatsoever), in which people are basically saying, A) If there’s another earthquake, the spent fuel might, at worst, fall onto the ground, and sit there, and B) Radiation isn’t as dangerous as you think anyway.

    So, to return to my science fiction point … THE PUBLIC HAS NO IDEA WHAT TO BELIEVE! You could just as easily replace “fuel pool” with “Stargate” and “MOX fuel” with “dilithium crystals,” and the vast majority of the population wouldn’t have any idea whether what you’re saying was BS or not. You’re right, I had no idea what a “becquerel” is, and whether or not “uncontrolled criticality” could result in detonation.

    There’s a theme running through these comments that equates anti-nuclear sentiment with some kind of political ideology. That may be true in the NGO world, but for John Q. Public, it’s just a matter of fearing what we don’t understand. You tell me there’s nothing to worry about, someone else says we’re all gonna die. I don’t have a Phoenix Online Degree in nuclear physics, so I have no f’in clue who’s right, and am therefore very likely to err on the side of caution, and join the crowds screaming “Shut ‘em all down!”

    Rod, why don’t you pull together some of the explanations from this thread and start putting together a Fukushima FAQ that you can post on your site? Get the politics out of it (after all, just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they’re wrong), and just put the science in very basic terms, as you and Wayne and a few others have already done. That would be a great public service, and I’m sure it would bring you a lot of stite traffic.

    I’ll conclude this lengthy post with another “Thank You!” for taking the time to do this. In your original post, you wrote that you hoped, “at least a few people slept just a little more soundly knowing that their fears were being irrationally stimulated.” Well, you have helped me to sleep a little more soundly! Not because somebody I’ve never heard of called Alvarez a douchebag, but because you and your colleagues have taken the time to refute some of the specific claims that have been made.

    • DV82XL says:

      Just for the record Gordon Edwards (quoted above) is a fraud. He is no expert at all other than at gaining attention for himself. He claims to be President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility however he neglects to mention that he is its only member, as the group has not functioned as a coalition since 1981. In fact he is nothing but the equivalent of a senior high school teacher who has cultivated enough contacts in Canadian media to be their antinuclear go to whenever they need a round quotable statement, or sound bite. The problem is not him, all he has done is found a way to augment his income, but the issue is with lazy news writers that give him a platform rather than digging to find the truth themselves.

      Rob Gauthier

      • Hu Bris says:

        Thanks you DV82XL. I was not aware of that – I foolishly presumed that when people like POA, and others that quote Mr Edwards, (despite apparently not having actually READ his document) presented someone they claimed was an ‘expert’ that they might have actually taken the time to confirm his ‘expertise’. Silly me.

        Here’s what Wiki says about him

        Gordon Edwards WIki Profile

        Gordon Edwards was born in Canada in 1940, and graduated from the University of Toronto in 1961 with a gold medal in Mathematics and Physics and a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. In 1972, he obtained a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Queen’s University.[1]

        From 1970 to 1974, he was the editor of Survival magazine and in 1975 he co-founded the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, and has been its president since 1978. Edwards has worked widely as a consultant on nuclear issues and has been qualified as a nuclear expert by courts in Canada and elsewhere.[1]

        Dr. Edwards has written articles and reports on radiation standards, radioactive wastes, uranium mining, nuclear proliferation, the economics of nuclear power, non-nuclear energy strategies. He has been featured on radio and television programs including David Suzuki’s The Nature of Things, Pierre Berton’s The Great Debate, and many others. He has worked as consultant for governmental bodies such as the Auditor General of Canada, the Select Committee on Ontario Hydro Affairs, and the Ontario Royal Commission on Electric Power Planning. In 2006, Edwards received the Nuclear-Free Future Award.[1] He is a teacher of mathematics at Vanier College in Montreal.[2]

        So apparently the courtsM say he is an expert. Well, whoop-dee-doo!

        from reading his wiki I see no absolutely evidence that the man EVER worked at ANYTHING connected to Nuclear Science.

        At the end of the day he’s a mathematician – nothing else – so where his suppossed ‘expertise’ comes form is a bit of a mystery.

        So maybe in future the Anti-Nuke crowd could refrain from claiming that they are quoting ‘experts’ who have little or no professional experience on which to base their claim of ‘expertise’.

        As it is it look decidedly like the Anti-Nuke posters (POA fer instance) not only couldn’t be bothered to read ANY of the opposing ‘evidence’ but also couldn’t even be bothered to read the so-called ‘evidence’ that they themselves rely upon in constructing their arguments

        Perhaps if the Anti-Nuke people here actually took the time to read even the so-called ‘evidence’ that they themselves rely upon in constructing their arguments, it might be a much more fruitful conversation.

        How anyone expects to be taken seriously (POA fer instance) when they couldn’t even be bothered to read ANYTHING posted here, is a mysterty to me at least. Generally such deliberately willful ignorance is frowned upon amongst intelligent people – the honest ones anyway ;-)

        • DV82XL says:

          That Wikipedia entry was posted by a meat-puppet. Let’s parse it out. The claim that he is “qualified as a nuclear expert by courts in Canada,” means that he has been permitted to file amicus curiae briefs and not have them tossed out by a judge. The claim that he “worked as consultant for governmental bodies” is based on the fact that he has presented during open public hearings held by the organizations listed. I too have talked at similar public hearings, but I don’t have the gall to claim I was consulted by them. That he is a media whore and has appeared on the TV shows of known Canadian antinukes is hardly a surprise.

          Finally Vanier College is a community college that offers vocational programs and senior matriculation for those going on to university. Quebec high schools only go as far a junior matriculation and direct entry into a university undergraduate program from there is very rare.

    • Wayne SW says:

      The “hot particle” theory has been largely debunked. It is an inappropriate generalization of the experience of the Los Alamos plutonium workers who accidentally inhaled solid plutonium metal particles when a sealed environmental chamber experienced a seal failure. About 25 individuals were exposed and their health was continuously monitored over about a 50 year period. According to the “hot particle” each of these exposed individuals had a 99.5% chance of developing lung cancer and dying from it by the end of the study period. As it turned out, none of them developed lung cancer.

      Accidental criticality is prevented in a SFP by the presence of neutron-absorbing plates which separate the fuel assemblies. In order to attain criticality you would have to postulate some kind of mechanism to remove those materials, which are secured in place very strongly. Ground accelerations during and earthquake won’t do it. “Tipping” the pool over won’t do it, nor will any kind of collapse of the structure. In those cases, you’d have the fuel assemblies dumped out as well as the water. The water is the moderator, and without it a chain reaction cannot occur, simply because of the physics of criticality and chain reactions in fissile materials.

      Zirconium in solid form will not burn. There is a video on the internet, maybe it was linked here earlier, showing a professor at Berkley trying to ignite a piece of zirconium using a blowtorch. It did not ignite.

  43. Wayne SW says:

    Well, Alex (not Alexander), thank you for taking the time to read and consider what we wrote. Please keep an open mind and check out sources of information other than anti-nuclear sites, even though those seem to be the most popular on the web. In the end, fear sells. Technical facts are interesting to those who understand them, but pretty boring to most of those who don’t. But everyone feels fear at one time or another, whether it is rational or not. The purveyors of FUD understand this and exploit the fear they induce in people to advance their agenda. It’s pretty despicable, like frightening children for no reason, but they do it.

    Before you go, maybe you can provide some insight into something I have been wondering about. In your post you said:

    I don’t have a Phoenix Online Degree in nuclear physics, so I have no f’in clue who’s right, and am therefore very likely to err on the side of caution, and join the crowds screaming “Shut ‘em all down!”

    My question is, given the facts, why would you want to shut down a facility that provides abundant energy on demand and at reasonable cost, with very low or non-existent carbon emissions, very little land use, very little environmental impact, in a manner that has been proven to be the safest form of large-scale energy production? In this country, we have been operating commercial power reactors for over 40 years. There are over a hundred of them operating today. And in all that time and all those reactors and all that energy produced not a single person has been harmed. Not one single fatality, not one single injury among the general public. Surely if they were as unsafe as the critics say, such would not be the case. But given that record of absolutely safe operations, if you asked the average person on the street, they would likely say that nuclear energy is dangerous. Yet you ask them about, for example, air travel, which has over the years experienced thousands of fatalities, and almost everyone will say air travel is safe. You have automobile accidents killing 30,000 or more people in this country every year, yet you ask someone who drives a car if they think automobile travel is safe they’ll likely say yes. You have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people killed by the use of natural gas in this country and elsewhere yet if you ask a person on the street if they think it is safe to use natural gas in their homes, they’ll probably say yes. So I have to wonder, here you have all these other industries/activities with thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of deaths caused among the general public, yet most people deem them “safe”, but the nuclear industry, without a single fatality or injury on its record among the general public, is almost always classified as “dangerous”. I have always wondered why that is.

    • Alex says:

      @Wayne, thanks for the thoughtful response. That’s exactly the kind of information I (and many others) have been looking for.

      Regarding your question. The operative phrase is “given the facts.” The problem is that I have NOT been given the facts. I’m an educated person: I have a college degree, I read a lot, I consider myself to be able to carry on a reasonably intelligent conversation about most topics … Yet I probably know less about nuclear-related issues than any other major issues. Why? Because absolutely nothing in my formal education, or in my general reading in the 15 years since I graduated college, has given me even the most basic sense of what is ACTUALLY involved in nuclear energy. Not only that, but I live in South Carolina, which generates more nuclear power per capita than any other state. Has anybody in this state attempted to educate the populace about the big, scary nuke stations that pepper the map? Not a chance.

      So, with that said, I can tell you what my perceptions are. I suspect that these attitudes are shared by many other members of the general population.

      1) Nuclear energy isn’t really clean, cheap or safe, because even under optimal conditions, the nuclear waste stays dangerous for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, and has to be safely contained for that entire time.

      2) Nuclear power plants take decades to build, cost billions of dollars, only operate safely for about 30 years, and are dependent on government subsidies because private investors don’t want to touch them (Dennis Kucinich recently expressed this point very eloquently).

      3) Fossil fuels may cause more short-term pollution and deaths than nuclear power, but only nuclear plants create material that has the potential to persist in the environment and to be harmful for decades.

      4) The only nuclear professionals I ever learned about were Marie Curie and Karen Silkwood. Both of them died because of radiation exposure. I also saw a couple of characters on the TV show “Stargate” killed by radiation poisoning. This left me with the impression that radiation is a terrible, horrible thing, and that radiation poisoning is probably the worst way to die.

      5) Nuclear power plants and nuclear research costs billions of dollars, and creates many harmful byproducts. It would be much better to divert that money, and the brainpower of the engineers, towards developing more effective technology for sustainable energy production from solar/wind/geothermal/”zero point” power, which has no downside or risks.

      There may be some other points, but those are the main ones. In general, there’s a sense that scientists and engineers (such as yourselves) are excessively cavalier about the dangers of nuclear power, and especially nuclear waste. The perception is that you guys may have complete confidence in the backups for your backups, but that nobody else does because they were probably built by the lowest bidder and/or some politician’s brother-in-law.

      • Wayne SW says:

        OK, Alex, thank you for that. Reading your points (more on that later), my initial feeling was, well, that’s just plain sad. On this blog we have talked many times about the need to get accurate information out to the public, to tell our story, to counter the misinformation and FUD that seems so prevalent. As I said, it is utterly amazing to me that an industry whose activities have caused no harm to the public, whose business provides a valuable and absolutely necessary product reliably and at reasonable cost, whose facilities have very little impact on the natural environment, yet would be demonized at every turn and considered “dangerous”, even though many other things that are accepted without a thought cause tens of thousands of deaths and injuries.

        Anyway, here are some specific comments to consider:

        1) Nuclear energy isn’t really clean, cheap or safe, because even under optimal conditions, the nuclear waste stays dangerous for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, and has to be safely contained for that entire time.

        Clean: very small lifecycle carbon footprint compared to other energy sources, no GHG emissions during operation, waste disposal and decommissioning costs are required to be covered (something no other industry is required to do). Cost: lowest marginal cost of all major electricity producers. You can find the figures on the NEI website. Safe: no fatalaties or injuries to the public in over 40 years of commericial operation. Over 100 units operating today.

        Yes, the waste products have to be managed safely. And they are. We know how to do it. We also know how to do reprocessing, and would if the political conditions were favorable. But reprocessing in this coutry was effectively killed during the Carter years when an Executive Order was issued that stated it would be our national policy to not do fuel reprocessing. I am told this was recinded during the Reagan Administration, but have not been able to find the actual order. Even if it was, the damage has been done. Once the political precedent has established that the government could shut down your business by issuing an EO, nobody would take the chance on doing it.

        2) Nuclear power plants take decades to build, cost billions of dollars, only operate safely for about 30 years, and are dependent on government subsidies because private investors don’t want to touch them (Dennis Kucinich recently expressed this point very eloquently).

        The actual construction time is about four years, which is comparable to other complex industrial facilities. That is about the average construction time in countries like France, which has a streamlined licensing and approval process (standardized designs). In this country, the time is stretched out by the legal and regulatory process.

        Capital cost is high but that is true for any large industrial facility. Costs can be reduced by reforming the approval process and also by adopting standardized designs, which many of the Generation III and IV systems feature.

        There are no “government subsidies”. Commercial power plants are built with private capital. The Department of Energy has initiated a loan guarantee program to encourage the construction of domestic energy resources, but this is for a portfolio of energy production. Nuclear is one of many, including things like solar, wind, “clean coal”, natural gas, hydroelectric, and others, that are targeted for this program. Note that it is not a loan, simply a loan guarantee. Taxpayer dollars are not expended unless there is a default. Interestingly, there have been no defaults from nuclear companies in this program, but there have been from solar (e.g., Solyndra).

        BTW, Dennis Kucinich is a notorious anti-nuclear kook, who lobbied against the Perry Nuclear station in Ohio. Ironically, he was lobbying against the very jobs that kept many of his constituents employed.

        3) Fossil fuels may cause more short-term pollution and deaths than nuclear power, but only nuclear plants create material that has the potential to persist in the environment and to be harmful for decades.

        It is unlikely that nuclear plants will release significant quantities of radioactive materials to the environment. But is is a vital feature of fossil plants that they release their waste products to the environment. They could not operate if they didn’t. And if a nuclear plant did release a few atoms of radioactive substance to the environment, at some point it would be gone because of the process of radioactive decay (i.e., they have a half-life). The waste products released by a fossil plant have no half-life. They remain in the environment forever.

        If you are concerned about releases of radioactivity to the environment, fossil plants release more than nuclear plants. Burning coal produces prodigious amounts of particulates (ash). That ash contains natural radioactive materials like uranium and thorium. Those get concentrated in the ash. Anyone expoosed to that material likely gets more radiation exposure than living near a nuclear plant would ever give you.

        One of the so-called “renewable” energy sources often touted is something called geothermal energy. Did you know that there is a geothermal plant in California that releases more radioactive material to the environment than any nuclear plant ever does? It is because the steam brought up from below the ground captures a lot of radon gas from the surrounding rocks. If that plant were licensed by the NRC, it would not be perimitted to operate because of the radioactivity releases.

        4) The only nuclear professionals I ever learned about were Marie Curie and Karen Silkwood. Both of them died because of radiation exposure. I also saw a couple of characters on the TV show “Stargate” killed by radiation poisoning. This left me with the impression that radiation is a terrible, horrible thing, and that radiation poisoning is probably the worst way to die.

        Marie Curie was a pioneer in the study of radium, which is a strong emitter of alpha radiation. They (she and Pierre) were working with highly concentrated solutions of natural radium using essentially no precautions because they didn’t understand the scince to the point of knowing they needed them or what they should be. Very few people today in the nuclear business work with radium, and those that do don’t do it the way the Curies did. Karen Silkwood died in an automobile accident (where have we discussed that before, automobile safety?), not from radiation exposure. Ironic that she didn’t die from working with plutonium, but was done in by a car accident. As for TV and Hollywood, well, they tend to show a lot of people being killed by a lot of things. I’d say offhand that they are pretty fixated on things like killing, and other bad stuff. Don’t let your worldview be shaped by fiction, especially by what passes for “entertainment” today.

        5) Nuclear power plants and nuclear research costs billions of dollars, and creates many harmful byproducts. It would be much better to divert that money, and the brainpower of the engineers, towards developing more effective technology for sustainable energy production from solar/wind/geothermal/”zero point” power, which has no downside or risks.

        Nuclear research produces many beneficial products for society. Clean and abundant energy is but one. There are many others. Most of the Nobel Prizes awarded in medicine inolved research that used radiotracers. Many, many people have had their lives saved by radiotherapy. My own father was cured of prostate cancer by radiation therapy and lived for another 17 years before he died of heart failure. Millions of people have diagnostic procedures performed using radiation sources and these help maintain their health and cure illnesses. I myself have done research using reactors to develop things like semiconductor materials, advanced composites, polymers, and metallic alloys.

        There are downsides and risks to the alternatives you mentioned (there always are). The main downside risk is lack of electricity supply, which is absolutely vital in modern life. If we don’t have it, we’re probably looking at a lifestyle similar to that of the very early 20th century (circa 1900). I doubt if many of us would find that pleasant, many many likely would not survive.

        Anyway, just some thoughts.

        • Alex says:

          Fascinating! Absolutely fascinating, particularly regarding nuclear vs. fossil fuels. I read recently about radiation exposure near coal plants, and I was wondering how coal produced radiation. Now I know! Thank you for the detailed explanation.

          It does seem to me that waste management is the biggest, legitimate issue. That’s why so much fuel accumulates in the spent fuel pools, right? Nobody wants to take it? What IS the best way to safely dispose of nuclear waste, and what is the real timeframe for danger from nuclear waste?

          BTW, what does “FUD” stand for?

        • Wayne SW says:

          Alex, here you go…

          FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. It is a standard technique in marketing. A supplier of a product or service, when faced with competition, will seek to preserve his customer base by sowing in the mind of his customers a sense of fear and doubt and uncertainty about switching to a competing product. It is often done when they have no competitive advantage over their competitor, and may in fact be inferior to it, but they will induce the fear of change in their customers to keep them loyal. It is also a common tactic in politics (and energy debates).

          Waste management is a legitimate issue and we have discussed on this blog in the past the relative advanatges and disadvantages of the various options. In this country right now the path we have chosen (for the time being) is what is called once-through fuel use and then eventual disposal of the partially-used fuel. That means you use the uranium fuel assemblies one time, and basically throw them away. Other countries have chosen a form of recycling wherein the once-uised fuel is chemically processed to remove unused uranium as well as plutonium, which can then be used in new fuel assemblies. That reduces volume greatly, but adds some steps in the fuel cycle. The cost of reprocessed fuel is also higher but that may change if the cost of uranium goes up. Because of political issues there is no long-term storage/disposal repository in this country. Interim storage is at plant sites and there is no one more anxious to remove that material to a secure, deep, safe repository than nuclear plant operators. Those who oppose disposal of the material (unless it is meant to be recycled) are those who are not really interested in safety or solving a problem, but only in scoring political points.

          In terms of radiological hazard, the activity in used fuel drops to a level below the original mined uranium after about 1000 years. That does not necessarily mean you want to allow it to run loose in the biosphere, because there are longer-lived forms that, if concentrated, can pos a hazard. The half-life for 239Pu is in the range of 24,000 years, and a good rule of thumb is to allow about ten half-lives to pass to reduce the amount by a factor of over a thopusand, so about 250,000 years to get rid of most of the 239Pu. At first glance this seems like a fearful prospect. After all, what do we have on the earth that lasts so long? The Colosseum in Rome is about what, 3000 years old? The pyramids maybe 5,000 years? So how on Earth could we ever build something that will last hundreds of thousands of years? Well, the only reason why those structures have decayed as they have is because they are on the surface of the Earth, where changes due to weathering occur relatively quickly. If you dig down into the eath, even a relatively short distance, a few hundred feet or so, and you find that changes occur with time scales not on the order of hundreds or thousands of years, but millions of years. I did some of the studies on the erosion rates at depths in the Yucca Mountain repository tunnels, and we found that a centimeter of erosion in the native rock takes on the order of 10 million years to occur. So things are very stable at depth and don’t change much. You put something down there and seal it up, is isn’t going anywhere.

          BTW, you said you are in SC? I am considering going there for retirement. North Mrytle Beach is looking pretty good to me. I would dearly love to live in a condo on the beach. I miss the ocean…:-(

  44. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Fact is, it is the general public that has to be sold on the safety of youir industry. So, the condescension, patronization, and ridicule that is underwoven throughout this thread by the nuclear advocates is a self defeating strategy.

    How’s this crap working out for you guys in Japan, eh? Does it escape your notice that “you” have failed to reassure a community seriously damaged by this “unprecedented” disaster? Your industry, in Japan, has only sown distrustm fear, and animous within the general public. One would think you would learn the OBVIOUS lesson, and not make the same mistake here on an obviously biaserd and self-intersted website

    Three reactors in a state of meltdown, precariously perched SFPs, and a pattern of deception by TEPCO. And many here make the absurd contention that this is evidence that THE SYSTEM WORKED.

    Egads. Good luck with that.

    And, may I suggest that you be a tad less judgemental and acidic towards visitors like me. There are those here, both friendly to me, and otherwise, that are ONLY here because they were linked here, by me, in the hopes that it would broaden and expand the debate. And it has. If your industry is as safe as you claim, you should WELCOME cynics such as myself.

    Alex makes an inportant point. When, from the get go, we see someone such as Alvarez referred to as a “douchebag”, it really sets the tone, and influences preconceptions as to your motives, bias, and credibility.

    Personally, in all honesty, I am not convinced that the Fukushima event is a trival and “contained” as those here would have us believe. And I have no doubt, that now that such an event has occurred, should it occur again, we will painfully learn that rather than learn the lessons that Fukushima should ideally teach the industry, those lessons will be ignored due to cost considerations, and once again we willl hear about the “unprecedented” nature of the event.

    Its my belief, that, eventually, those such as yourself will owe mankind a huge apology. But, then, it will be too late, won’t it???

    • DV82XL says:

      Oh get off your high horse POA, you did not come here to learn or discuss, but to vent your bile on this issue. I’ve got news for you; it really doesn’t matter what types like you think because you are not prepared to change your minds regardless of the real facts and indeed you go out of your way to ignore them. That’s why I gave up trying to convince people like you long ago. You don’t want to learn the truth; I suspect because it would mean admitting you were wrong.

      In the end you don’t count. Doesn’t matter what the issue, there are going to be those that will oppose it out of ignorance or unwillingness to adjust their thinking. Topics like abortion, equal rights for women, racial issues, have just as many that will not move from their prejudiced positions as does AGW and nuclear power. Vocal they might be but in the end they are a small minority have or will be pushed aside. The real fight as always is for the hearts and minds of those that are open-minded enough to look at new information, and listen to new reasoning. And they will see you for what you are.

      What is most amusing is your bombastic remarks. These may find resonance with other bigots like yourself, but here it only makes you look like an ass.

    • Hu Bris says:

      “When, from the get go, we see someone such as Alvarez referred to as a “douchebag”, it really sets the tone, and influences preconceptions as to your motives, bias, and credibility.”

      When someone has been presented with a large amount of evidence which he very obviously has absolutely no intention of even reading, let alone actually considering in an adult fashion, it is generally not a good idea to go around trying to impugn the ” motives, bias, and credibility” of others.

      Not that he’ll ever learn anything from that, given his petulant behaviour so far

  45. Septeus7 says:

    Quote: “There’s a theme running through these comments that equates anti-nuclear sentiment with some kind of political ideology. That may be true in the NGO world, but for John Q. Public, it’s just a matter of fearing what we don’t understand. You tell me there’s nothing to worry about, someone else says we’re all gonna die. I don’t have a Phoenix Online Degree in nuclear physics, so I have no f’in clue who’s right, and am therefore very likely to err on the side of caution, and join the crowds screaming “Shut ‘em all down!”

    Ochlocracy is not a good basis of policy as it has historically served the interests of various demagogs and causes harm to the public interest. I suggest you examine the historical record. After every nuclear accident or even financial crisis there are folks who say the “the end is nigh” but it never happens.

    In this story we has “the fuel pools are burning and are out of control” crowd and then the water level is low but thing are still under control crowd. Later, a robot was sent in and video of the non burning water covered pools was released.

    Why is there any question as to who has more credibility? The “radiation isn’t that bad” crowd said don’t move everyone out the region but the “radiation is always death” crowd said move them and you didn’t move them far enough. What happened. The trauma of the exclusion has killed over 500 Japanese elderly just the “think don’t react” said would happen.

    The anti-nukes said that a Nuclear Free German would result a boom for renewables but instead you the largest solar bankruptcy and a coal and fossil gas boom just like the “pro-nuke shills” said it would.

    To a person not under the control fear mongers the credibility issue is clear. In time when you unsure of what is happening the most important think to is not fall into a FUD panic but think and educated yourself.

    In the word of a very wise man “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

    • Curtis says:

      Septus & Alex The biggest problem here is not the Pro Nukes or the Anti Nukes. Both sides need to have their voices heard.

      The problem is with our “Once Through” Media Cycle. Or the “For Profit” Media. Or the Old Guard Media.

      Once upon a time if a major news outlet posted an article about “the fuel pools are burning and are out of control” and this was proved as horribly wrong as it was, they would produce a retraction, then report the truth.

      Likely the source would then be torn out of the “experts to contact” Rolodex and never talked to again.

      For the old media that we glorify, their reputation for the truth was more important than anything (when viewed through rose colored glasses)

      Now tho…. The Media outlets are focused on one thing…….. PROFIT…….. In looking at mass media news, it just ooozes the search for profits.

      So under this model if a news outlet has a story on “the fuel pools are burning and are out of control”, and they get 10000 comments on their website, and their TV Ratings go higher than before, their reaction is not the same.

      When the story is proved wrong, it’s simply ignored, and they move on to the next Sensation and hope no one notices that last weeks Doomsday did not happen.

      The experts then are moved to the “Guaranteed to get Page Hits and Viewers” Rolodex.

      Or even better… they will be given credit for avoiding the Doomsday that was never going to happen!

      The Media no longer cares about the Truth.

      Doom and Fear are new Sex. Doom Sells. .

      If you want to change this, pressure must be put on the Media to DO THEIR JOBS.

      Every time a Gunderson, Alveraz, a Coldicott or any other “expert” are proven wrong, we need to be hounding the Media to expose them.

  46. alberto says:

    @Alex: great post!
    I liked very much the “NUCLEAR PHYSICS IS INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM SCIENCE FICTION” part.
    You are true, many people doesn’t have the basis to understand who believe in a crowd of people playing different tunes, and obviously those shouting louder and offering the most emotional interpretation can have more audience.
    But we can try to stick to the facts (and by the way I will try to respond to PissedOfAmerican)
    One fact is Nuclear industry has the strictest safety standards than any comparable industry.
    How to defend this with “Three reactors in a state of meltdown, precariously perched SFPs, and a pattern of deception by TEPCO”
    well, talking to general public, as Alex says, I will refer to Wikipedia: search “2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami”, then OIL, GAS AND COIL.
    It’s just before NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS, and start with Cosmo Oil refinery, burning ten days and with some casualties… ok it’s not interesting, spreading only few tons of toxic fumes, and, forgot, only SOME casualties.
    It’s only a plant…
    Humm, no, others oil and gas plants suffered heavy damages and fire and by the way, we are talking about what to choose.
    Then there is the part about NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS and, surprise, Fukushima isn’t a power plant, is a city!
    Really the faulted power plant is Fukushima Daiichi, and you will discover that few kilometer from the Daiichi site there is another NPP, Fukushima Daini, that was invested by the same earthquake and the same tsunami but had NO critical faults. Two other Nuclear power plant were in the earthquake-tsunami area and had NO critical faults.
    You ever found informations about these facts on general reports? No? Wow, it’s available on wikipedia.
    And could this be “a pattern of deception by TEPCO”? I’m not particulary sympathetic with TEPCO, but I believe that the real liars are others

  47. Cassandra says:

    Forgive me all for lack of knowledge, I’ve only just become aware of all this last night. A friend on a blog site linked me an article that frankly scared the ever living crap right out of me.
    Said article (That I found clones of on multiple websites):

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31123.htm

    I’d like someone to clarify this and answer a few questions for me (again, forgive me for lack of knowledge on the subject).

    Is this article (the one I linked) and other similar to it a case of mass fear-mongering?

    Are we truly in a “Smoke if you got ‘em” scenario?

    If the cooling pool for #4 goes tits up (pardon my french) what will REALLY happen?

    Can someone tack up some actual facts about what’s really happening with all of this?

    The last question was for my friend who linked me that one article (which I have in turn shared with you). She was on the verge of a huge panic attack from reading it and I really didn’t know what to say to her. I myself was admittedly scared silly last night as well when I discovered this (my mind likes to get away on me like that, shoulda seen me when Bird Flu was the big bad).

    I thank anyone and everyone who kindly responds to this for me, and frankly I’m glad I managed to find this article and the attached comments (both eye opening and highly informative).

    • NeutrinoDetective says:

      Remember that the material in SPF 4 has been cooling down for over a year now at least. That greatly reduces the stored energy in the material. The equation that describes the heat generation in decaying fission products is well-known, the Way-Wigner formula. Using it you can estimate the likely consequences of things that might happen to SPF 4.

      Keep in mind also that the predominant effects we are dealing with here are decay heat and heat transfer. The time constants for both phenomena are relatively long. What that means is if something starts to go wrong, you generally have time to come up with a way of dealing with it. Its not like an aircraft falling out of the sky or an automobile going over a cliff, where things tend to happen rather quickly and you probably don’t have much time to come up with any mitigation strategies.

      So, what is the most likely scenario you are thinking of? Maybe something like another seismic event that disables the active cooling? That’s probably not a bad guess. So, let’s think that one through. Remember that they currently have offsite power available in redundant modes, as well as diesel generators that are available in redundant numbers, so my guess is that if offsite power is lost, they will be able to run on the backup diesels. That will maintain the cooling loop circulation.

      If redundant on-site power is lost, you lose active cooling. The heat removal capacity is then driven by natural convection and the heat capacity of the now-stagnant water in the pools. Remember we are dealing with reduced heat load from the over one year decay time of the fuel. I don’t have the exact numbers for the Fukushima SPFs, but if they are like the ones I know about in this country you are probably looking at a little over one day to reach the boiling point of water in the pools. So you have that much time to either get offsite power back on, or get some kind of auxiliary on-site power source running. If you can’t do that, the water in the pool starts to boil. Now, boiling water in and of itself is not big deal for BWR fuel. It is designed to operate in the reactor with the water boiling. At first you get nucleate boiling, wherein the heat transfer is pretty good because you don’t have a vapor film inhibiting the heat transfer. During that time, my guess is that the operators will start re-flooding the pools with auxiliary water. Remember they did this in the initial accident. Refilling the pools replaces warmed water with cooler water, which allows for enhanced heat transfer.

      If for some reason you could not re-flood the pools, then eventually the departure from nucleate boiling reaches the point of film boiling. It takes some time, but eventually you would reach what is called the critical heat flux. At this point, damage to the fuel cladding is possible. This takes the form of pinhole breaks and the release of decayed fission products. The most volatile will be 85Kr, because it is a noble gas. It is non-reactive from a chemical viewpoint and anyone exposed to it would not accumulate any in their bodies. It produces what is called a submersion dose, which is very limited in terms of absorbed dose. If the cladding is further damaged it may start to delaminate and peel away from the interior fuel, which exposes the fissile material to the air. At this point you get a fission product source term that may include long-lived forms like 85Sr and 137Cs. There will be no radioiodine since that will have long-ago decayed away. Contamination will be very localized, probably within the buildings and plant site. It is not an explosive energy release. Metallic zirconium will not burn. There will have to be adequate ventilation to avoid buildup of gaseous hydrogen, which is what caused the damage to the outer structures of the plants in the initial accident. It is unlikely that if there were another hydrogen gas detonation it would damage the SFP.

      I discount the possibility of uncontrolled fission. I just don’t see a credible scenario that would both remove the neutron-absorbing material and then randomly assemble the fissile materials into a critical geometry.

      • Cassandra says:

        Thank you for the information (Woulda loved to have had YOU as my Science teacher in high school). Forgive me for the wording of this response, my mind was trying to translate into simplified terms for my response.

        As far as the very last lines go; did you mean the worst-case scenario (akin to the catastrophic talk flying around) could not happen, or that if it did happen, the outcome would be far less dire than what we’ve been lead to believe?

        Again, sorry for how my response is word. I’m vastly uneducated in this area (Although I’m compelled to learn more now) and wanted some facts. Thank you kindly for taking the time to respond.

        • NeutrinoDetective says:

          Some of the worst-case scenarios I have seen thrown around (e.g., the SFP “exploding”) are just plain nonsense. The SPF will not “explode”. The zirconium cladding will not burn. In the concluding paragraph above I discount the possibility of uncontrolled fission because it takes a unique set of circumstances to initiate a chain reaction in fissile materials. It happens in atomic weapons because you have essentially pure plutonium or highly enriched uranium (neither are available at Fukushima) brought together very quickly with precisely shaped explosive charges. You have it in reactor cores because the fuel assemblies are arranged in a very precise manner with adequate moderator and removal of neutron-absorbing materials. The SPF has literally hundreds of tons of neutron-absorbing materials separating the fuel assemblies. Fermi was able to make a reactor out of refined natural uranium and ultra-pure graphite, but graphite is not part of the SPF construction.

          There have been videos taken of the condition of the SFP at unit 4 and those show the pool is pretty much undamaged the the fuel contained within it is intact. It did not explode, or burn, or boil dry, as many of the doomsayers and FUDdites said it had. They were wrong, and to this day have not admitted their error, nor has anyone in the media called them to account for their fearmongering.

  48. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “In the end you don’t count.”

    Tell that to TEPCO. They used to think the same thing. How many reactors do they have online now? What is the level of trust the Japanese people hold for TEPCO?

    You really don’t get it, do you? You’re a condescending jackass with too high an opinion of himself. Really, not the ideal kind of spokesman. Advocacy sites such as this one should tell you tro put a cork in it.

    • DV82XL says:

      POA you lost all creditably here days ago, and indeed in the end you don’t count. Both Japan and Germany are going to come crawling back to nuclear on their hand and knees sooner than you think. Economics, unlike politicians, does not change just because of public whim. Both of these countries need nuclear energy and simply cannot do without it. Russian natural gas might keep the wolf at bay for a while, but no country can prosper when another controls their major energy supplies.

      If I am condescending it is because you refuse to learn the truth, and anyone that holds that his opinions have value despite admitting he knows nothing of the subject is indeed an object of my contempt.

      • Hu Bris says:

        “If I am condescending it is because you refuse to learn the truth, and anyone that holds that his opinions have value despite admitting he knows nothing of the subject is indeed an object of my contempt.”

        despite being presented with plenty of sound science-based evidence, POA refuses to read any of it – all this after demanding that he be taken seriously?

        Unbeknownst to people here, myself and POA have already discussed this topic elsewhere – all the evidence I presented here was presented to POA on that occasion. too.

        Like now, he refused to read any of it – that was after loudly, rudely and very very childishly, demanding that I present ‘evidence’ to support my point of view.

        IMHO that is the mark of a pure unadulterated idiot.

        When the evidence was presented POA mysteriously disappeared for several days :-)

        The blog-owner in question was also a Nuclear ALarmist, like POA – and eventually banned me, for IMHO, actually knowing something about the subject, and making chicken-little alarmists like POA look like the clueless fools they so very obviously are.

        POA only returned to the blog in question once he was sure that I had no right of reply on the blog it was all posted to – and then only to crow in triumph at the silencing of an opponent – like the fine upstanding cowardly sleezebag that he is.

        Astute observers will note that, despite rtanting about ‘scientific evidence’, POA has not even once attempted to present a coherent rebuttal of ANY of the evidence posted here – all he has done (in between insulting everyone and making a complete idiot of himself) is keep uselessly banging-on about some nonsense that the ridiculous Gordon Edwards (a non-expert) made-up on the spur-of-the-moment.

        That he apparently never even bothered to actually read Edward’s original article despite relying on it for his main argument, is just more proof of what an idiot he is.

        • Yokohama Michael says:

          Have to agree with you now, I’m afraid. He’s just not being rational.

  49. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “So under this model if a news outlet has a story on “the fuel pools are burning and are out of control”, and they get 10000 comments on their website, and their TV Ratings go higher than before, their reaction is not the same”

    Name one single “news outlet”, TV or otherwise, that has claimed “the fuel pools are burning and are out of control”. Or, show us ANYONE that has made that claim here.

    Talk about strawmen.

    • Curtis says:

      What I wrote there was simply carrying forward an something said in a post above me (hence the Quotes)

      But from the time of the the disaster MSNBC reporting on Chairman Jazco stating the Fuel Pools were empty.

      http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nightly-news/42118834#42118834

      It was around this time I belive he also stated they were on fire. The news at the time was full of these reports. “experts” Like Arnie Gunderson like to say stuff lke the West Coast was being bombarded with the “Hot Particals” that have been pertty soundly debunked by real science.

      The World Was Ending!!! It was Orders of Magnatude worse than Chernobyl! The Childern of California were Mutating as they died.

      Then the world did not end, it was orders of magnatude less severe than Chernobyl, The Childern of Califonia will grow up to be just fine (well as fine as Californians can be! I kid!!)

      So Doomsday #1 did not happen, But don’t Fear Doomsday #2 is Back and it’s bigger and badder than ever!!!!

      SFP #4 has already survided sizable post 3/11 Earthquakes just fine. What no one has bothered to asked the Doomsayers is what the chances of another Mssive quake so close to one another is.

      • Hu Bris says:

        “What I wrote there was simply carrying forward an something said in a post above me (hence the Quotes)

        POA already knows that – he is in fact attempting to construct his OWN strawman because it’s obvious he’s to ignorant to argue the science. That is why in order to keep up the pretence that he’s not an idiot, he has to now find something else to hang his argument on, since he refuses to touch anything scientific

        • Curtis says:

          I realize this… but as one that will “ask for the evidence”.. when I’m asked the same questions, I feel compelled to provide such evidence.

        • Hu Bris says:

          Regarding POA’s pathetic smear attempts posted below/above @ May 9, 2012 at 9:53 AM

          “considering that he was just banned from another site for his prolific non-stop posting of anti-semitic conspiracy theories.”

          this is a village- idiot’s version of LBJ’s “Make the B**tard deny it”

          It’s a measure of how low POA is willing to stoop that he had to invent such a silly accusation., one easily proven ‘false’ .

          See what happens when one accurately describes POA inventing strawmen, so as to avoid discussing the science? He promptly goes and stoops even lower than before.

          Anytime when the subject of actually examining the science is broached, straight away POA tries to change the subject, by inventing a strawman. In this case he chose ‘anti-semitism’ something he knows a lot about – here’s a direct quote from POA posted at the blog MoonOfAlabama:

          “This shithole little wad of sand, Israel, has become a dangerous threat to mankind’s future”

          Hoist by your own petard, you silly little man.

          POA – try to stick to the subject matter at least – TRY, just this once to address the actual science, instead of throwing up a blizzard of strawmen to distract from the fact that you really have no clue whatsoever concerning the matter under discussion.

          “as obsessed as he is with his hatred and paranoia directed towards the Jews”

          A bizzare statement from an even more bizzare & deluded individual. The fact that you have chosen to stoop so low is testament to your essential dishonesty.

          Earlier you upbraided commenters for not being ‘good avocates’ for Nuclear Energy.

          You might want to look up the definition of ‘Irony’ at some point – though judging on the evidence so far it’s highly unlikely you’d ever do so, cos you might actually learn something – and we already have ample evidence of how emotionally attached you are to maintaining, at all costs, your blatant ignorance

          “Fact is, thats why he is here, to malign me

          Oh no – you don’t need ME for that. You’re doing a wonderful job it, all by yourself. Do keep posting, a few more of these comments from you and everyone here, even the people that support your Anti-Nuke stance, will have you firmly labeled ‘Lying nutter’.

  50. Hu Bris says:

    “And could this be “a pattern of deception by TEPCO”? I’m not particulary sympathetic with TEPCO, but I believe that the real liars are others”

    but alberto EVERY witch-hunt needs a clearly identifiable Witch, right?

    Otherwise how would the sheeple know who they are suppossed to burn?

  51. Fudo says:

    I think this is an interesting site and it’s good to hear all sides of a debate. My position on Fukushima is a bit more complex because it has directly impacted my family’s life here.

    What I see as the issue in determining if an energy source is viable is the entire life cycle of the product and necessary safe guards for it’s use. Rod states that the nuclear industry takes greater precautions because of the nature of hard energy, so people shouldn’t malign companies like TEPCO because they don’t cut corners. I strongly disagree with this.

    When assessing the Fukushima site for construction of the plant, they didn’t build the reactors or backup systems to withstand the scale of natural disaster that this area had a history of. The hillsides in the region have marking stones that are hundreds of years old which clearly show the height of prior tsunamis. There are historical documents and geologic studies that were presented to the Japanese government and TEPCO by the scientific community over 20 years ago stating that the sea wall at Fukushima Dainichi was an insufficient height to protect the plant from the size of tsunami that had struck the same coast line twice in the past 1000 years. These warnings were ignored by the government and TEPCO. Also building the facility on limestone substrate, and underbulding the structural integrity of the facility to withstand a .7 earthquake in a region with a high likelihood of a .9 earthquake (Japanese measurements) was not an intelligent cost saving measure. If TEPCO had built the facility properly, positioned the backup generators above the tsunami line on a nearby hillside, and instituted the sea wall upgrades, it would have been a large feather in the cap of the industry because the plant would have survived the disaster relatively unscathed.

    What’s interesting is a couple of townships did follow the recommendations of this report and built higher sea walls so they were spared the devastation that many other communities suffered on 3/11. The fact that TEPCO did nothing with this information is irresponsible on their part.

    The reason for them not doing so is a matter of maintaining quarterly bottom lines rather than taking on additional costs that would impact shareholder returns. This is a problem with publicly held concerns in general and not isolated to the nuclear industry. If it becomes difficult to parlay costs, then problems are overlooked and proper safety upgrades are not instituted. With any aging facility the cost benefits of upgrading have diminishing returns the older a facility gets. Rod is specialist on the technical side of nuclear power, but I am a generalist working on the financial side of company asset valuation, so we see things very differently.

    With Fukushima and many other reactors, the weakest link is full product cycle valuation when factoring cost benefits of operations. Disposal costs are still not factored into operating cost benefits at any of the reactors in Japan which is one reason so much spent material was being temporarily stored inside the reactor buildings. Cleanup costs in the event of a disaster of this scale, loss of agricultural and industrial productivity in the region, the damage done to the local fisheries with the high levels of cesium that has affected the local catch, brand damage done globally to Japan’s once highly regarded exports also need to be factored in as well.

    If you operate under the assumption of best case scenarios, then it’s easy to argue the cost benefit of nuclear energy. If the plant in Washington alongside the beautiful lake, that was built to sustain a 5.8 earthquake were to get hit by a 7, then all perceived cost benefits go out the window.

    Japan has no choice except to bring it’s reactors back on line, but as part of doing so, they need to upgrade the safety of selected sites to realistic expectations for potential seismic events and decommssioning older facilities where the cost benefit of upgrade is not realistic. (in the United States as well) This probably won’t happen as long as TEPCO is a privately held entity because the cost would be too great to reconcile with shareholder interests. The only logical choice is nationalization of the reactors which would remove motivation of profit from the equation. By the way, this was not done after WWII due to US concerns about the government being involved in the production and processing of nuclear materials, but enough time has passed since the war that it’s politically feasible now.

    It’s an uphill battle at this point to positively affect public opinion about nuclear energy in Japan after the Fukushima disaster. Laying out a comprehensive plan for plant safety upgrades is a necessary step. The general public is wary of the current stress tests that were approved because they don’t address the underlying problem that many of the plants are not built to sustain a similar disaster as Fukushima so are equally as vulnerable.

  52. Fudo says:

    There are a couple of point I’d like to add.

    First, about the statistical probability for a Fukushima type event. Many people have stated that this event was an outlier so couldn’t have been anticipated. This was not the case. As a matter of fact, in many of the reactor locations in Japan, there are records which clearly show seismic events within the 1000 year timeline that were of greater magnitude than the plants were constructed to sustain. In Tohoku alone we’ve had 3 verified events within that timeline. Unfortunately the guidelines for geological survey that TEPCO and Kansai Electric currently use only go back 200 years which is insufficient for assessing the strength of a potential seismic event.

    Second, TEPCO’s public statement on why they didn’t take action on the scientific report they received regarding the potential for a seismic event and tsunami of this scale at Fukushima, was that they were reviewing it at the time the disaster struck.

    Considering they had this data for over 20 years, it would seem they had enough time to address the structural issues at the plant.

    • Yokohama Michael says:

      I too live in Japan and have followed the issue closely since 3/11. You make many good points but I believe your emphasis to be a bit off the mark. Noone has argued that TEPCO is a perfect company. As a resident of Japan you will know about the inefficiencies, wastage and inertia that can affect companies there, not to mention the government itself.

      It’s true that TEPCO didn’t act on research in 2008 that mentioned the possibility of a 10-metre tsunami, leaving their seawall at 5.7 metres unchanged. They didn’t build their seawall to 6.1 metres (as at the Tokai plant), or 10 metres, or 20 metres, or 100 metres. In the event the tsunami was between 13 and 15 metres high, and would probably have overwhelmed the seawall even if they had built it to the height recommended. The real killer was that the emergency diesel generators were vulnerable to the resultant flooding. Obviously in retrospect that was a mistake, and equally obviously a mistake that is unlikely to be made in Japan again. I think the ‘stress tests’ the industry is being forced to endure are just attempts to mollify the public so reactors can be restarted, and not really necessary. In regard to nationalization, I’m not sure that is the best way to go, but at the moment the long-term future of the nuclear industry in Japan is very unclear so anything is possible.

      I think the main point that people here want to make is that the severity of the accident has been vastly exaggerated. It is this exaggeration with its associated fear and doubt that has led to the other effects you describe, the clean up, the evacuation, the agricultural and fishing damage, the damage to the global brand of Japan, all of which were largely unnecessary. These effects are due to the fear of radiation, not radiation itself. That is the main message I think you will find at this site.

    • Alex says:

      The folks on this thread may be wondering whether there’s any way to overcome such deeply-entrenched, media-supported, negative messages. If most people’s mental image of a nuclear power plant comes from “The Simpsons,” it’s small wonder that mass freak-outs occur whenever the subject of accidents arise.

      But I’ll tell you what my breakthrough moment was. The moment when I started questioning the narrative.

      I had been absorbing the Gunderson/Alvarez line for a few weeks, and was absolutely distraught. I called my state senators and the White House to urge them to take action, I called the Japanese embassy to encourage them to build an international coalition to address the crisis, and I called Senator Wyden’s office to express my support. While on the phone with Sen. Wyden’s office boy, I asked if there had been any progress on the senator’s efforts to contain the situation. He basically brushed me off, saying that any news would be on the website. Well, there WAS no news on the website. I knew there was no news on Wyden’s Twitter feed either, because I had subscribed to it after his Japan trip, and he hadn’t posted anything further about it. And I started thinking …

      If I took a trip to the site of a nuclear meltdown, put on a white bunny suit and walked around, and was disturbed enough by what I saw to write a letter to the Secretary of State, the Japanese Ambassador, and a dozen other people about how terrible it was, and how we were all in danger … Why would I just let the matter drop? If it were me, I would be working night and day to do everything I could to protect the lives of everyone who might be affected. I wouldn’t be posting photos of me posing with the local softball team on Twitter. But that’s what Senator Wyden was doing.

      And then I thought some more. All the people involved in this situation at the highest levels have families. I don’t care how much money is at stake; nobody is just going to let their kids get irradiated to protect the shareholders’ profits. If this were truly a world-killing event, the people who know what’s going on – who REALLY know what’s going on – would be doing something about it, just to save their own asses. But they weren’t.

      So, I started wondering … If the people who know what’s going on aren’t worried, what do they know that I don’t know? Why aren’t THEY scared for their families? And that’s when I started digging, found this site, and started asking questions. I still don’t pretend to understand the science involved, and I agree with “Fudo” in the comments below, who points out that profit motives do negatively impact safety precautions, but I no longer believe in the “Dial ‘M’ for Mass Murder” video that fed me a load of terrifying bullshit about how we’re all going to die.

      In fact, it really pisses me off that people deliberately scared me with the equivalent of Star Trek pseudo-science. It stressed me out, it cost me time, energy and peace of mind, and it’s high time that we get some accurate facts distributed. I’m glad this site is doing that, and I still think compiling this information into a FAQ form would be a great public service. Maybe I’ll do that, and let you guys fact-check it.

      • Jason Kobos says:

        Alex,

        Over at bravenewclimate.com they just set up a forum that is intended to be a FAQ of many of these nuclear myths and fact checking.

        The forums is brand new so this section is rather barren at this point. Might be right up your alley. http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=nuclearenergy

        Also, the book POWER TO SAVE THE WORLD by Gwyneth Cravens address this very topic. It is a topic by topic discussion of many truths/lies. The author took a very similar path as you. Mostly ignorant but with a negative bias to start. She then learns about what nuclear power really is from a real expert.

  53. Fudo says:

    @NeutrinoDetective

    “Look at the events at Fukushima with the objective eyes of an engineer. First, it was an event of a magnitude that was extremely unlikely to occur in that area. That is still true. Second, even though the event occurred and peeled away a couple of layers of the defense-in-depth, the systems that remained functional (pressure vessel, steam suppression, containment) functioned as designed and contained the great majority of fission products. Enough so that the effects on the public health were and likely will be non-existent.”

    In reality, Fukushima can not be held up as an example of good disaster management.

    According to government transcripts that have since been released about the events of March 11, Masataka Shimizu, TEPCO’s president at the time, asked the Prime Minister’s Official Residence to allow the utility to evacuate all workers at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. Prime Minister Kan denied permission.

    If the plant had been abandoned, the disaster would have been much worse. Shimizu also didn’t want Masao Yoshida, who was the plant manager at the time to flood the cores with sea water, but the fact Yoshida-san didn’t listen and flooded them anyway prevented a much worse disaster from taking place.

    On the night of March 11, when TEPCO sent generator vehicles to provide the crucial electricity needed to get emergency response systems running in the blacked-out plant, no one thought to bring along connecting cords, according to Koichi Kitazawa, a former chairman of the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

    The list of breakdown’s in the chain of command and lack of any comprehensive emergency plan on the part of TEPCO is glaringly obvious, no matter how objectively you view the situation as an engineer.

    TEPCO reported in December 2011 that approximately 462 trillion becquerels of radioactive strontium have leaked to the Pacific Ocean since March 2011. (the levels have not been publicly updated by TEPCO since that time)

    A joint study by Kyoto University and the University of Tsukuba in November 2011, estimated that water flowing from the mouth of the Abukumagawa river running through the prefecture was contaminated with cesium levels of about 50 billion becquerels a day. The researchers estimated the level for cesium-137 at 29.1 billion becquerels a day and that for cesium-134 at 23.4 billion becquerels.

    The NRC transcripts of the disaster from March 11th reported that the ground shine outside of the reactor buildings was 20-30 rem per hour before they bulldozed the materials away.

    As far as containment of radioactive materials is concerned, the official reports don’t support the statement that defense in depth kept the releases within a safe limit.

    What I’d like to see is an honest appraisal of the situation and intelligent dialog about what needs to be implemented to prevent situations like Fukushima from occurring again. As long as people are so deeply divided, and engage in denial or fear, it seems like it’s going to be very difficult to reach any kind of consensus.

    The government here has tried to reduce their and TEPCO’s liabilities, which is one reason they ignored the IAEA’s recommendation of a 50 mile exclusion zone. The compensation payout would be too damaging to Japan’s economy, so they have no choice.

    It doesn’t change the fact that many people have suffered loss of livelihood from the disaster and have little or no recourse for damages. TEPCO has officially stated that any nuclear materials outside of the plant are not their property.

    During recent court proceedings concerning a radioactive golf course, TEPCO stated the utility was not responsible for decontamination because it no longer owned the radioactive substances. “Radioactive materials (such as cesium) that scattered and fell from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant belong to individual landowners there, not TEPCO,” the utility said.

    None of this is conjecture or opinion. These are the facts of what’s happening here and how TEPCO has dealt with the situation. Anyway, people outside of Japan may not be aware of what’s happening here so I thought sharing this information might be useful.

    • Brian Mays says:

      A joint study by Kyoto University and the University of Tsukuba in November 2011, estimated that water flowing from the mouth of the Abukumagawa river running through the prefecture was contaminated with cesium levels of about 50 billion becquerels a day. The researchers estimated the level for cesium-137 at 29.1 billion becquerels a day and that for cesium-134 at 23.4 billion becquerels.

      Wow, that must sound scary to someone without a background in science, so please allow me to provide some perspective.

      First, you should know that 29.1 billion Becquerels of Cs-137 is about 9 milligrams, and 23.4 billion Becquerels Cs-134 is less than half a milligram. So if I were to drop just one Advil tablet into the Abukuma river, there would be twenty times more ibuprofen in the water than radioactive cesium.

      According to Wikipedia, the Abukuma River has a discharge rate of 67.3 cubic meters per second. So a measurement of 52.5 billion Bq per day in this river means a concentration of about 9 Bq per liter. That’s a little over half of the activity concentration that can be found (from natural sources) in a can of Sapporo beer.

      If you need more perspective, then consider the following. Using the standard radiological risk coefficients for the Cs isotopes, I calculate that if I were to drink a liter of this “cesium-contaminated” water from the river every day for the next 70 years, I would increase my lifetime risk of dying from cancer by less than 0.02%.

      • Atomikrabbit says:

        I KNEW when the scientific community replaced Curies with Becquerels that it was going to be, because of the minute size of the unit, (another) public relations disaster for nuclear.

        Story goes, when the AEC representative told the chief of a Pacific Island tribe in the 1950s that his people might be exposed to an extra 200 mR/year of radiation because of the nearby bomb testing the chief reportedly said, “I don’t know what millirems are – but I know that 200 of anything is an awful lot. I don’t like it!” Of course they could have told him it would only be 1/5 of a rem and he would have been fine with it.

        If your predilection is to regularly shoot yourself in the foot, you might as well use a 12-guage shotgun. The ignorance and fear we are seeing manifest on this thread is the result of all the money the “nuclear industry” has saved in the years since TMI by not spending anything significant on public education and outreach.

        • Brian Mays says:

          Atomikrabbit – Yes, good point. I agree that the SI unit system has done a splendid job of replacing units understandable on a human scale with something that is very accurate, but difficult to understand by the average person.

          It makes far more sense to describe the 52.5 billion Bq of activity as less than 1.5 curies. Then, we should explain that one of those old self-illuminated exit signs, which used to be found throughout the US, contained over 17 times as much activity as all of the cesium measured in that river.

    • Curtis says:

      Thanks for the interesting and very well written insights Fudo.

      Please stick around this site!

  54. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “SFP #4 has already survided sizable post 3/11 Earthquakes just fine. What no one has bothered to asked the Doomsayers is what the chances of another Mssive quake so close to one another is”

    Well, if it should happen, we can rest assurred that it will be called “unprecedented”, by those here, which of course, is garbage.

  55. NeutrinoDetective says:

    My comment that you quoted was more addressed to the philosophy of defense-in-depth and the engineering features of the systems designed for nuclear plants and how they performed in this instance. I stand by my conclusion that the systems were effective in this case. They were challenged by an event that by all measures exceeded the maximum postulated event but the containment barriers remained effective in limiting the great majority of potential release. The public health effects are minimal to non-existent.

    I have no interest in engaging in a witch hunt with the goal of making Tepco the whipping boy for this event. You want to grind that ax, go ahead, but I don’t have time for that kind of nonsense.

  56. Alex says:

    @Fudo, the info is VERY useful. I agree completely with your assessment of the public being caught between competing narratives of fear and denial. I think this kind of open, unmoderated discussion is critical to bringing out the truth. Thank you for sharing!

  57. Alexander says:

    WayneSW said:
    Accidental criticality is prevented in a SFP by the presence of neutron-absorbing plates which separate the fuel assemblies. In order to attain criticality you would have to postulate some kind of mechanism to remove those materials, which are secured in place very strongly. Ground accelerations during and earthquake won’t do it. “Tipping” the pool over won’t do it, nor will any kind of collapse of the structure. In those cases, you’d have the fuel assemblies dumped out as well as the water. The water is the moderator, and without it a chain reaction cannot occur, simply because of the physics of criticality and chain reactions in fissile materials.

    If the SFP were to tip 90 degrees, for instance in an earthquake collapsing the temporary framework holding the pool up, then the loss of water would allow the temperature to raise uncontrollably. And this is not heavy water we are talking about, this is ordinary water, with some seawater in the mix. WayneSW is actually wrong saying the water facilitates the chain-reaction, it moderates the reaction by capturing neutrons.

    So, the water acts as a moderator, meaning without it, the fission chain reaction goes out of control, and possibly raising the temperature above 2100 – 2700 C, that could mean melting of the boron moderator-plates on the fuel-assemblies, then there is nothing holding back the chain-reaction.
    Should all the fissile material pool up in a corner of the pool, it could of course be bad. In that case, a scenario of a explosion dispersing the radioactive material, and stopping the chain-reaction with a bang is a possibility. This would still be a pretty badly radioactive incident, but saying all the material would blow up, or none of it would, is not something anyone can say for sure.

    • Brian Mays says:

      WayneSW is actually wrong saying the water facilitates the chain-reaction, it moderates the reaction by capturing neutrons. So, the water acts as a moderator, meaning without it, the fission chain reaction goes out of control, and possibly raising the temperature above 2100 – 2700 C,

      Wow! You really don’t have the first clue, do you?

      First of all, you should learn what neutron moderator means, before you embarrass yourself like this again. It’s not hard, you know — it’s on freak’n Wikipedia for goodness sake!

      While it is true that the H-1 atoms do occasionally capture neutrons, the moderating function of water (either light or heavy) is to slow the neutrons down so that there are enough slow (or “thermal” to use the technical term) neutrons to cause additional fissions.

      The bottom line is that no water means no fission from neutrons.

    • Wayne SW says:

      If the SFP were to tip 90 degrees, for instance in an earthquake collapsing the temporary framework holding the pool up, then the loss of water would allow the temperature to raise uncontrollably. And this is not heavy water we are talking about, this is ordinary water, with some seawater in the mix. WayneSW is actually wrong saying the water facilitates the chain-reaction, it moderates the reaction by capturing neutrons.

      So, the water acts as a moderator, meaning without it, the fission chain reaction goes out of control, and possibly raising the temperature above 2100 – 2700 C, that could mean melting of the boron moderator-plates on the fuel-assemblies, then there is nothing holding back the chain-reaction.
      Should all the fissile material pool up in a corner of the pool, it could of course be bad. In that case, a scenario of a explosion dispersing the radioactive material, and stopping the chain-reaction with a bang is a possibility. This would still be a pretty badly radioactive incident, but saying all the material would blow up, or none of it would, is not something anyone can say for sure.

      You are totally clueless. Please, for your sake, don’t post something like this and embarrass yourself so completely. You obviously have no clue as to what a neutron moderator is or does. Without water or another moderator like high-purity graphite, you cannot sustain a chain reaction in a fissile assembly. Water does not capture neutrons. That is the opposite of its purpose. It moderates (i.e., causes energy loss, lethargy increase [know what lethargy is in neutron physics?], slows down) high-energy neutrons released in fission to lower energies where they are more readily captured by 235U, not water. Boron moderator-plates? LOL. In a SFP, the boral plates are neutron absorbers, not moderators.

      Please, don’t make any more posts like this. It is embarrassing and pianful to have to read them. You really should not come into a blog like this without at least some elementary knowledge of the science you are posting about. Otherwise you’re just making yourself look foolish, and it discredits your “cause”.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Wayne

      Apparently you dozed a little in your nuclear physics classes. In a thermal reactor, the moderator is absolutely vital for sustaining the reaction, not for slowing the reaction down. The moderator slows down fast neutrons, thus increasing the probability that the neutrons will be absorbed in fissile material and cause it to fission.

      There is NO WAY to initiate a self-sustaining chain reaction in low enriched uranium fuel assemblies without any water moderation.

      • Wayne SW says:

        That was poster Alexander’s comment, not mine. I made the point that without moderator you don’t get a chain reaction in the thermal neutron-based reactor. Something you learn in 40 years in the business and six years of grad school.

    • NuclearGrrl says:

      That’s so wrong it’s comical. Sheesh!

  58. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/13/us-japan-tsunami-predictions-idUSTRE73C5IV20110413

    An excerpt…..

    In a commentary in the journal Nature, geophysics professor Robert Geller singled out two tsunamis — the 38-meter Sanriku tsunami of 1896 that killed 22,000, and the Jogan tsunami of 869 that was comparable in size to the March 11 disaster — which pummeled the very same Tohoku region in the northeast.

    “There were very many documented large tsunamis in that area but the point is … even one would have been enough to warrant precaution in designing nuclear power plants,” Geller, of the Graduate School of Science at the University of Tokyo, said in a telephone interview.

    Tokyo Electric Power’s troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which has been spewing radioactive substances for more than a month, was designed to handle water of only up to 6 meters (20 feet) — way below not only the 14-meter tsunami of March 11, but these other documented giants of the past.

    “It’s known to have happened before and it’s well documented and so when they built a nuclear power plant they should have provided for a tsunami of the same size,” Geller said.

    (End excerpt)

    As an aside, you’ll note that I am ignoring Hu Bris’ comments. His disruptive ad hominem, radical anti-semitism, and obsession with following me around the net to cast dispersion has become tiresome. I DO NOT profess to be a scientist, as stated early on in this thread. Scientific opinion is like apparel, as you can find scientific opinion to fit just about ANY bias. As a lay person, I am not qualified to dissect nuclear theories or opinions allegedly founded in science. As stated above, early on in the thread, common sense, intellect, and logic are my only foundations for forming an opinion about the safety of nuclear plants, and the current situation unfolding in Japan. TEPCO’s actions, and the past assurances of the so called “experts” in the nuclear energy sector have proven to be deceptive, and often WRONG. The ongoing debacle at San Onofre only reinforces my distrust of the industry. And the arguments offered above boil down to “well, we had no idea that an earthquake and tsunami of this magnitude would occur”, “well, no body has died yet”, and “well, we only have three meltdowns, so obviously the system worked” seems kinda silly to me.

    But hey, what do I know?

    • Brian Mays says:

      you’ll note that I am ignoring Hu Bris’ comments

      Don’t worry, the rest of us are not.

      But hey, what do I know?

      Some of us think that this has already been summed up nicely.

    • Hu Bris says:

      “As an aside, you’ll note that I am ignoring Hu Bris’ comments.

      yes, I do believe that most people here have noticed that you are avoiding discussing ANY scientific opinion/studies, posted here, just like you did the last time you were presented with EXACTLY what you asked for.

      “His disruptive ad hominem,

      yes I can see how an accurate description of your behaviour might seem like ‘ad hom’ to you.

      “radical anti-semitism,

      Wow . . . “radical” no less – boy, I sound REALLY dangerous, don’t I?
      I don’t even want to meet ME now, after that zinger from the Brain-trust known as POA

      “and obsession with following me around the net to cast dispersion has become tiresome.

      Heeheehee – YOU sent out a OPEN invitation on another blog, to join the conversation here – I did – I presented evidence – and just like last time you childishly acted as if none exisrted.

      “I DO NOT profess to be a scientist,

      Even had you not just told us that, almost everyone here would have easily figured that out for themselves.

      “, common sense, intellect, and logic

      Usually when I hear someone saying those words in combination they usually go on to immediately make some astoundingly silly statements.

      “But hey, what do I know?” – Well yes, I think that’s pretty much sums up the the opinion the majority here hold of you.

    • DV82XL says:

      POA – Since you are immune to arguments that are based on science and claim to be applying “common sense, intellect, and logic” to form an opinion, consider the following:

      Aviation is another industry that is not inherently safe: aircraft do get involved in accidents, life is lost, and often human error is the cause. Since it beginnings aviation has not been without its vocal critics and arguments have ranged from “man is not meant to fly” to ‘what of the innocents on the ground that may die if an aircraft crashes.” Early in the history of commercial aviation, crashes were big news and editorial pages were full of letters from people like you that asserted that the risks were too great, yet today millions fly without incident despite the fact that accidents still occur, and lives are still lost.

      He reason for this is that aviation is simply too useful a mode of transportation to give up and the world economy can ill afford to see it halted. The risks have been evaluated and found that they do not exceed the value of continuing. That is not to say that aviation has rested on this, indeed it has made great strides to improve safety from the point it was 60 years ago, but nothing can ever be made ultimately safe.

      So yes arguments that hinge on recognizing that there will always be unforeseen circumstances, that accidents are kept to a minimum, and so is loss of life, are valid for nuclear energy just as they are for aviation.

      Humanity cannot afford to turn its back on nuclear energy simply because burning fossil-fuels is not sustainable over the long run for a variety of reasons. No one has ever claimed from inside the nuclear industry (such as it is) that there would never be accidents, this like the “too cheap to meter” meme, has been put into its mouth by detractors. What it has claimed is that protocols are in place to minimize the impacts of these and that remains true; mindless panic driven by misinformation and political ass covering notwithstanding.

      In time the public will see that the benefits of this source of energy far exceed the risks, as it has in several other domains, and those that argue as you do will be see for the ignoramuses that you are. Blather on as much as you want, because it will change nothing in the end.

      Rob Gauthier

  59. Alex, I wish ALL Americans (spefically) and people everywhere were as honest and forth coming as you are in the way you asked and engaged here. You are ARE dealing with some real vets of the anti-nuclear wars on the Internet and you stood up real well. For that I think you.

    I was going to reply to you bulleted numbered questions but I see Wayne already did that well. Let’s say “5 years” for a new built really not “4” but we’ll see. The world has only started buildng standarized reactor designs for the last 15 years or so of the Gen III (latest, greatest, safest) reactors. They built two in Japan, APWRs and both came in on time (5 years) and at budget. The Chinese and Koreans are in the process of building even more advanced, safer and ‘modular’ deisgns now. So we can learn from them in terms of the very high construction costs associated with nuclear energy. But the old “decades” long, way-over-budget 1970s/80s nuclear plant builds I believe is a thing of the past as proven by the examples above.

    I’m very left-wing politically, Alex. I don’t trust private fortune 500 companies *instinctively*, but i do trust the record. By whatever means, including regulations, nuclear IS safe, Fukushima and TMI not withstanding. They stand as huge *exceptions* to the 400 plus reactors and closer to 500 that have existed.

    OK, TEPCO lies. I know that. This is also *fact* based. They were *slow* on the uptake in the first few weeks of Fukushima, on the other hand, really, EVERY fact we know of about Fukushima comes from…TEPCO and, the independent teams sent here by the IAEA or, under their sponsorship. Everything else, as the Rabbi said, is just ‘commentary’.

    TEPCO’s record of lying goes back at least 15 years. It is part of the ugly, quite un-transparent corporatist culture there. This needs to be smashed. IT was announced yesterday, I think, that TEPCO is now going to be nationalized. It should never of been privatized in the first place. But that’s only my opinion.

    TEPCO was warned, quite publicly, that their station-black out mitigation (seawall, pump hardening, fuel tank placements) were *inadequate* going back 12 years at least. The Japan Communist Party, represented in the Japanese Diet, in 2006 specifically asked why TEPCO wasn’t addressing what *other* independent hydrologists and geologists had suggested was a possible plus 14meter tsunami. The Communist Senators didn’t make this up, it was presented IN the Diet under testimony by experts. TEPCO defaulted to the “our experts” excuse. The literally built *right to* what they were “required to”. No more.

    So if TEPCO had followed numerous recommendations, we wouldn’t have been sitting here talking about it. So…what does all this mean?

    It means the industry…but this I mean the technology and the utilities and the regulators and the governments now have ways of addressing this. That Fukushima DANIA (the ‘other’ Fukushima plant) had no radiation releases and achieved very quick cold shutdown is a POSSITIVE lessone for the industry.

    The Koreans, via their state owned KEPCO utility, has reviewed Fukushima and started raising (and buttressing) THEIR seawalls, extra hardening on already hardened intake reactor cooling pumps, reviewed auxiliary diesel fuel thank siting and so on. GOOD.

    What you won’t find are anti-nuclear *activists* either cheering or making such recommendations. Why? Because if they did it would be at least a tacit endorsement that engineering and regulations CAN make nuclear safer.

    Many of us in the energy business (I was a union, IBEW power plant control operator for over 20 years) don’t hide when accidents occur. We *address* the accidents and find out how to prevent them. That is why there is an almost binary, indeed schizo like discussion by pro-nuclear folks like me and anti-nuclear folks like, well, here, POA or whomever) We actually WANT to solve the problems. The “antis” want it to go away.

    David Walters

  60. atomic lies says:

    I am not just guessing with what I write in these comments. I am hands on in this, speaking with the people who are suffering, and whose children are in jeopardy. I am friends with many of the PRO no nukes experts who are shouting it to the mountaintops and trying to protect the people. I have researched this day in and day out from day one of 3-11-11 and the people of the earth are in serious trouble and articles like this one, which downplay the risks, later, will go down in history as traitors to the human race. Congratulations on your erroneous opinions… and your courage in sharing those opinions but there are REAL people suffering these consequences this moment. 36% of the children tested from Fukushima have thyroid nodules already. The population density at Chernobyl was much less than the lands and the people that this disaster hit-and so the effects will be multiplied by orders of magnitude. I would rather go down in history as someone who fought, vehemently, for my people rather than for a corrupt regime that considers only its profits in its risk analysis… and discounts the humans who will die, and die horribly, because of their filthy rotten technology.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @atomic lies

      It is really refreshing to have an anonymous commenter with such an honest handle – you are full of atomic lies.

      If you would like to learn more about Fukushima from people who actually understand nuclear energy, nuclear reactors, and the health effects of low level radiation, I suggest that you search this site for “Fukushima” or “health effects”.

      Instead, if you would prefer to continue contributing your atomic lies, feel free. It is good for comic relief.

      • Brian Mays says:

        I was wondering whether someone would catch on to and comment about the appropriateness of this person’s pen name.

    • John Tucker says:

      I would think if you cared so much you would at least make simple checks of the sources. Response below. More harmful anti nuclear fear mongering. Very little sciece.

      And as the ethical argument goes – I think we can pretty much say the ball is lost in your court.

  61. AI, what is the source for the “36% of the children tested from Fukushima have thyroid nodules already. “?

    We have, on this blog, and many, many others, sought to cut through what WE consider to be lies, from the “Spent Fuel Pond No. 4 is a raging inferno” (Anrie Gundersen, Michio Kaku) to “the ongoing metldown in Unit 3″(Gundersen, et al) and others. We’ve specifically addressed the true accurate dosages of radiation that has escaped Fukushima. MORE over, we are trying to address the very real problems of the No. 4 Spent fuel pond. Which, BTW, no one, including yourself, explains *exactly* what the danger ‘could be’ if the pond collapses (which it hasn’t).

    I think the concern you express might be very real, yet it’s based on fear NOT substantiated by any facts, at least not ‘facts’ put forward by yourself.

    The ONLY people suffering in and around Fukushima prefecture are those made to erroneously evacuate from an area that is obviously safe to return to. Who is causing the harm???

    I leave you with this from Scientific American:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=japans-post-fukushima-earthquake-health-woes-beyond-radiation&page=3

    In part:
    Heart disease and depression are likely to claim more lives than radiation after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident, experts say.

    “People who were normally stable were suddenly a burden on health services,” because suddenly they could no longer get the treatments for their managed conditions due to distribution and manufacturing disruptions, Garfield says.

    Fortunately, Japan was well equipped to handle such a disaster and was able to distribute medication relatively quickly. Volunteer medical teams from elsewhere in the country came in to provide services for the ill and displaced. But, as Garfield points out, although these temporary visiting health workers were helpful, they could not replace the long-time doctors that patients had relied on prior to the disaster.

    Of course, no matter how prepared a country is a massive disaster is devastating for individuals. People who lost their homes, villages and family members, and even just those who survived the quake, will likely continue to face mental health challenges and the physical ailments that come with stress, such as heart disease. “Much of the damage was really psychological—the stress of not knowing, of being relocated,” U.C. Berkeley’s McKone says.

    Experts on the ground in Japan agree. “Mental health is the most significant issue,” notes Seiji Yasumura, a gerontologist at Fukushima Medical University’s Department of Public Health. Stress, such as that caused by dislocation, uncertainty and concern about unseen toxicants, has been linked to increased risk for physical ailments, such as heart disease. So even if radiation risks are low, “people are still worried,” he says. And that can also lead to unhealthy behavioral changes, “including dietary choices, lack of exercise and sleep deprivation”—all of which can have long-term negative health consequences. Many of the survivors are elderly, whom either lost a partner or even an entire family. As after the Kobe earthquake of 1995, the Japanese government has created housing for these disconnected older adults. But, as Garfield notes, “the government can’t buy you a new family.”

    There are also what Garfield calls, “the immeasureable, imponderable” effects of the disaster. Those who relocated from the prefecture report having experienced discrimination and, especially immediately following the accident, were considered somehow “contaminated.” Traditional Japanese values also prize stoicism, which means that people who are suffering mental or even physical distress might be less likely to seek the care they need.

    As in previous disasters, however, new services have developed to meet new needs. Awareness of the mental health burden has lead to a spontaneous outpouring of help from around the country. In some ways, Garfield says, “the victims are probably getting better care than they were before.”

  62. Atomic Truths says:

    …36% of the children tested from Fukushima have thyroid nodules already…

    Horsepuckey. There is no credible evidence that anyone has received the kind of radiation dose it takes to induce thyroid cancer. Even if they had, there is typically a 20 year or so latency period between acute exposure and development of thyroid cancer. Fukushima happened a year ago, so you’re only off by 19 years. I guess that’s pretty accurate for an anti-nuke kook.

    • Jason Kobos says:

      I’m not sure Atomic Lies even knows what a thyroid nodule is.

      The Mayo Clinic has some more information on what a thyroid nodule is.

      I didn’t see any statistics on what the normal % of kids with nodules is. However, just from reading it doesn’t sound like its a major hazard, nor directly related to radiation.

      I wouldn’t be surprised that the 36% is in fact a real measurement. I also wouldn’t be surprised if that was also the measurement before the accident happened. And I also wouldn’t be surprised if that number is the same as it was before 1950.

      I hope that Atomic Lies was just duped by someone who was spouting medical data out of context and not purposefully phrasing medical data in such a way as make people reach false conclusions.

      • Hiyodori says:

        It’s important to remember that “thyroid nodule” does not equate to “thyroid cancer”. Statistics for palpable nodules (able to be felt through the skin) run from the 4 to 7% range of the US population. Using ultrasound and/or other imaging techniques, nodules can be found in approximately two-thirds of the population.

        There is a lot of information available on the net and in journals. One general article focused on ultrasound can be found here:

        http://radiology.rsna.org/content/247/3/602.full

      • atomic lies says:

        It is so telling that the attacks get more vicious as the requested data are shared… this seems to always be the case. Thank you for your demonstration of how much YOU know… it is quite revealing to say the least.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if you could ACTUALLY be sure of anything to do with this subject,

  63. Alberto says:

    Hmm…. Atomic lies…
    What means “PRO no nukes experts”?
    That they are making a living from their activism?
    Good for them and bad for the poor Japanese people, hammered by one on one thousand year event and scared by a bunch of interested liars!

    • atomic lies says:

      It means they are against NUCLEAR and its deadly legacy for humanity. It means they know their stuff and are willing to shout it out just as loudly as the PRO nuker’s are oh so fond of doing. And the “poor Japanese” are frightened because their lives have been ripped to shreds by the nuclear catastrophe which has befallen them. I am in constant contact with those on the ground who are resisting this and protesting their own destruction within Japan and unfortunately their biggest problem is attitudes like the one displayed here-no compassion, no understanding for what they are enduring, and certainly no knowledge of the truth of nuclear-the biggest lie ever told to humanity.

      • DV82XL says:

        You are a delusional pathological liar who has zero credibility on this site. Please stop embarrassing yourself.

      • Wayne SW says:

        Sounds like you’re “in constant contact with those on the ground” everywhere on Earth. You said that about the people in Canada and the one uranium mine, right? You said something about going to Chornobil. Man, for a kook you sure get around. Makes one wonder how you even have time to post kooky stuff on a science/technical website like this one. How about people in my area (Ohio)? Are you in contact with those “on the ground” here? Have their lives been “ripped to shreds” by the “nuclear lie”? How about in France, which gets 80% of its electrical energy from nuclear? If anyone would be “ripped to shreds”, I would think it would be the French. You know how “ripped to shreds” they are? France is a net electricity exporter. They have the lowest GHG emissions per capita of any advanced, industrialized country in Europe. They have the lowest electricity costs per capita. Really shredded, that.

  64. alberto says:

    @Fudo,
    thanks for your insight. I knew that TEPCO did quite a gamble on geological chances (perhaps every engineering decision on a new field is) and that their upper management was myopic and poor performing (to be kind); this is a reason why I said in an early post I’m not sympathetic with them.

    But about the gamble some time ago I was reading the story of the Fudai town and his mayor Wamura; my impression was -this guy was a great guy, but he has been also a lucky guy-
    Why lucky? because having such a tsunami so close to the construction of the sea walls (ten years on one thousand) has clearly shown that his decision was an investment, not a waste.
    Well he did a gamble on the safety side and his town won, but I’m sure that many in the past depicted him as a megalomaniac.
    I know you are talking about Fudai when you write “a couple of townships did follow the recommendations of this report and built higher sea walls so they were spared the devastation that many other communities suffered on 3/11″, I wonder why only a couple on.. how many on the Tohoku coastline?

    But as David says “We actually WANT to solve the problems. The “antis” want it to go away”
    This must be applied to everything, from nuclear to tsunami protection in general.
    And this can be obtained only with knowledge and integrity, lies and fear aren’t admitted!

  65. Alexander says:

    I am sorry, I have been misinformed.

  66. Daniel says:

    Prof Albert Bartlett hit it right on the nail when it comes to nuclear:

    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.

  67. James Greenidge says:

    One of my neighbors in the 1980s was a NYC junior high teacher and she wished that instead of sending class trips to zoos and parks, at least once have these kids visit a real prison and let it sink in what it’s like as a way to cut crime and increase concentration on studies and strives for success. I would have to concur. It would save a lot of taxes and social misery in the end. For the same token, I’d like people in the environmental movement to just visit the respiratory disease wards at their nearest general hospital and be aware in no small part much of that misery results by pollution from oil and coal plants. These wards are sealed in stone as long as we use fossil fuels. Also notice there are no wards for radiation exposure. There’s no starker display of “what if” nuke bogeymen vs the hard painful reality of suffering patients (and kids!) which could be avoided by nukes if the fear-mongers truly had hearts as large as their mouths. In the early ’70s a jetliner crashed outside JFK airport not far from where I live, and I still remember being driven on Rockaway Blvd past the swamp and marshes north the airport where you could see white and green sheets covering newly found bodies or parts. That was a “worst case event”. Just like Bupaul India was a worst case event. And Galveston Texas and New Foundland’s oil explosion. Thousands of bodies everywhere. Worst case event in stereo reality, not some nightmare speculation. Yet, very unlike nukes, this keeps happening and happening and society and media just shrug and turn the page. Yet anti-nuclears here and many in Japan act like Fukushima reactors caused the tsunami of death and call a energy complex surviving a natural hammering with zero casualties a “failure”. I’ve seen worst case “failures” close up, and it’s no Fukushima. Japan has to get a serious grip on reality instead of bogeymen that they’re staring a very forgiving energy gift horse in the mouth.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  68. John Tucker says:

    Actually atomiclies brings up a good point. I have been following this. Even the doctor that reported the study says this isn’t likely related to radiation.

    If it is real it is likely something unrelated.

    For one there was a severe influenza infection going around as these tests were done.

    Also Japan in endemic for high iodine thyroid problems in children – giving them supplemental iodine in large doses would probably cause problems. IMHO.

    And like said before there are no biological indications of excessive exposure in ANYONE. None.

    Sources and interesting links:

    About 30 percent of more than 3,000 children tested to date have had thyroid nodules, but it is unclear whether this represents an abnormally high percentage, Urashima said. No thyroid cancers have been detected thus far. However, early screening result may point to an elevated incidence of abnormal thyroid function. ( http://phys.org/news/2012-03-fukushima-chernobyl.html )

    The Reporting physician himself –  Urashima said monitoring of environmental exposures in Kouri indicates that there has been less exposure to radioactivity from the meltdowns than to radiation from normal background sources. ( http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/03/11716/radiation-risks-fukushima-are-likely-be-less-chernobyl )

    Flu hits ‘alarm level’ in Japan for 1st time this winter – Feb 04, 2012 ( http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20120204-325820.html )

    High thyroid volume in children with excess dietary iodine intakes
    ( http://www.ajcn.org/content/81/4/840.full )

    You’re welcome atomiclies – next time investigate the crackpot claims of anti nuclear sites yourself before spamming them all over the place.

  69. Rod Adams says:

    Just deleted a POA comment for repeatedly violating my no profanity rule.

    • Atomic Truths says:

      You should really delete the one at 7:46 pm for vulgarity and abusiveness. There is no reason for that kind of hatred on science/technical blog.

      • DV82XL says:

        Outbursts like that (from POA) have always been the sign that they have lost, not only in the eyes of the group, but in their own hearts. He now knows that he is wrong, and it is eating him up. Nothing explodes quite as spectacularly as a bloated ego pierced from the inside.

        • Brian Mays says:

          Yes. It’s a kind of sick pleasure watching it unfold, isn’t it? I’ve seen it so many times on so many sites.

          It almost makes me feel sorry for them, but then I remember the names that SOB’s like POA have called me, and my sympathy vanishes in an instant.

          • atomic lies says:

            I take no kind of pleasure from the lies of the nuclear industry, and those it damages along the way, such as the damage done in the mining of the uranium ores to the indigenous aboriginal people where they devastate and destroy their lives, their land and their health and then keep it secret, hidden and buried. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8nRU2vuBy8&feature=related

          • DV82XL says:

            Oh you idiot. The damages done to uranium miners in the past (prior to the 1960s) is well documented and mining companies have been sued and been forced to pay compensation. There is nothing hidden about this. Furthermore there was much to be desired about all forms of hard rock mining from a health and safety aspect before that time. This is to say nothing about coal and asbestos mining that sickened and killed men in numbers far beyond anything that can be found in uranium production.

            Current standards and practices in Canada, the US and Australia have made this one of the safest and healthiest mining in the world, as they are probably the most closely monitored underground workers there are.

            As usual, you are blindly parroting the disinformation you have found on antinuclear web pages, without confirming their accuracy independently. You are just a blind tool of others, pushing their lies. Grow yourself a pair and start thinking for yourself, why don’t you?

          • atomic lies says:

            Sticks and stones and name calling is a favored weapon of the season pro nuke defender. Thank you for demonstrating it so openly. I appreciate all the support you can offer. And I am afraid you are mistaken. I am personally friends with First Nations indigenous people whose group of 12,000 are actively engaged in this battle right this very day… so this is hardly a thing of the past. Your information is not only flawed, it is bordering on ridiculous. Cameco’s “standards” as you call them are destroying lives even as we speak. Speak with some boots on the ground in Northern Saskatchewan, some of those whose people’s health are diminishing decade by decade from the toxic mess that the uranium mining industry leaves behind in its wake.

            I find it amusing that only comments from Pro NO nukes are ever deleted, but those that are blatantly rude and insulting, such as your are allowed to remain. I think that also speaks volumes about the entire truth of the matter don’t you?

          • DV82XL says:

            If you are claiming knowledge of the situation in Northern Saskatchewan, you would know that mining standards in Canada the regulation of mining activities on publicly owned mineral leases falls under provincial/territorial government jurisdiction. Thus the safety standards are set by the Saskatchewan government and health standards set by the CNSC.

            As well you would know that the Dene, the most impacted of the First Nations leader from northern Saskatchewan have settled their issues with Cameco, are part owners, and hold positions on that company’s board of directors.

            Compared to many other resource industries, the footprint of uranium mining is small. For example, the world’s largest producing uranium mine is McArthur River in the Athabasca basin. This mine produces enough uranium each year to fuel 34 nuclear power plants or, put another way, enough energy to meet seven per cent of U.S. electricity demand. Yet, the developed surface area at McArthur River occupies less than two square kilometres.

            The environmental effects of all our uranium operations on land, water and air are well below the limits set by Canada’s federal and provincial regulators. Independent monitoring shows it is safe to consume the fish in nearby watersheds.

            Because of some federal laws in the U.S., The utilities who use the fuel produced have conduct sustainable development audits of Canadian uranium mining and processing operations including the various corporation’s commitments to social responsibility and have always found everything meets the highest standards.

            Uranium mining has evolved significantly over the years and is a safe, highly regulated industry in Canada with minimal environmental, social and health impacts.

            Yes there still are on going native land claim issues in that region, but they are mostly plays for a bigger slice of what is going to be produced, rather than redressing issues from the past. The indigenous peoples there are no strangers to propaganda politics and have been using real or imagined issues from previous operations as part of their overall strategy.

            I submit that you boots on the ground should pull his head out of his back end, and look at what is really going down there. That is assuming he is not a complete figment of your imagination.

            More here: http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/mediacentre/updates/2009/December-15-2009-Uranium-Mining-The-Facts-on-a-Well-Regulated-Industry.cfm.

          • atomic lies says:

            Also I have not seen YOU posting any links to the drivel that has been coming from you. Where is YOUR evidence, hmmmm????

        • atomic lies says:

          I can certainly agree with the bloated ego statement… when it explodes, it IS spectacular…It comes for those with those big puffed up egos. Finally something we can agree upon.

  70. John Tucker says:

    hehehe – It would have helped if you could have made one reasoned point.

    Kinda sad really, that such a large, well funded and organized movement as the anti nukes have become has nothing but fear, conspiracy, animosity and deceit at its core. And thats all. Nothing of value whatsoever.

    Most dont even seem to know the basics and realities of modern environmentalism and energy technologies. Much less science and logic.

    Such a waste when we need less waste, answers and constructive energies.

    • atomic lies says:

      And then again? Many DO know the basics, and some know the depths, and the fact is, this industry has been legally killing people from the start. They call it risk management, and in these meetings, they decide it is acceptable risk for a certain no. of people to die from the operation OF the industry. Every nuclear reactor leaks out radiation, every day, all the time. The amount is regulated, so it not over a certain amount at one time, but nonetheless, and you can research the German nuclear plant study done, ( http://tekknorg.wordpress.com/2007/12/17/german-kikk-study-higher-cancer-risc-next-to-atomic-power-plants-unofficial-belarussian-children-cancer-data/ ) which clearly shows that children living within 5 miles of an operating nuke plant have a higher rate of death from leukemia and other cancers… so although it is invisible which makes it difficult to document, children dying more near nuke plants is good enough for me,

      • Rod Adams says:

        Here is a detailed review of the German study that you claim shows that nuclear plants are dangerous. The study’s results are not as clear as you claim.

        http://depletedcranium.com/german-study-finds-nuclear-energy-causes-leukemia-or-maybe-not/

        The other part of the discussion that antinuclear activists rarely enjoy is talking about alternatives. Nuclear fission is the ONLY non combustion source of reliable electrical power that can be made available anywhere on Earth. (Large hydro works well, but it requires large quantities of water, a lot of land, and at least some difference in elevation.)

        If we had not invented fission, we would be burning the equivalent of an addititional 12 million barrels of oil per day. If there had not been such a well supported and funded push back against nuclear energy’s growth – starting in the early 1970s – the fossil fuel industry would be much smaller and less profitable.

        Hmm. I often wonder if there is any correlation between the deniers of nuclear energy benefits and the deniers that are working overtime to ensure we all keep burning fossil fuel and keep dumping massive quantities of CO2 into our common atmosphere. Many of the anti-science techniques are quite similar among both types of deniers.

        • George Carty says:

          I wouldn’t be so harsh on AGW sceptics. While the AGW-sceptic leadership probably is made up primarily of paid shills of the fossil fuel profiteers, most ordinary people sceptical of AGW are motivated primarily by fear of Malthusian environmentalism — the same driving factor that motivates supporters of nuclear energy. Many of them probably only support massive continued use of fossil fuels because they believe the anti-nuclear movement is invincible.

    • atomic lies says:

      Exactly, and those energies do NOT include nuclear and its deadly radioactive life stealing isotopes…

  71. atomic lies says:

    Rod Adams says:
    May 9, 2012 at 8:02 PM
    I get my data on the health effects of the Chernobyl accident from the web site of the United Nations Scientific Committee on The Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).

    http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/chernobyl.html

    Where do you get yours?

    I get mine from the men who are boots on the ground doing the research that UNSCEAR ignored and did not even look at because it was in the Slavic languages. They used very little of the available research to arrive at their conclusions and NONE of those in the languages of the physicians who are there, on the ground, living this, day in and out. It is such a travesty that you are unaware of these men and women-such as Yablokov, Nesterenko ( http://www.strahlentelex.de/Yablokov%20Chernobyl%20book.pdf ) and Bandazhevsky ( http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/humanrights/PGA_043969 ) and many others… here is one more to get you on the path of REALITY instead of misinformation: http://www.ippnw-students.org/chernobyl/research.html

    • Rod Adams says:

      @atomic lies

      Contrary to what Yablokov and Nesterenko claimed, the UNSCEAR science included all valid studies, no matter what language was initially used by the author. The only “information” ignored by the UNSCEAR was folklore whose claims could not be supported or reproduced.

      For the past two years, I’ve been following the story of how an editor at the NYAS, who is no longer employed there, used his position to have the Yablokov book PRINTED by the Annals of the NYAS.

      Here are a couple of links to those posts. There are more available in the Related Posts section of each one of the below.

      http://atomicinsights.com/2011/04/challenging-new-york-academy-of-sciences-to-repudiate-chernobyl-consequences.html

      http://atomicinsights.com/2011/04/why-is-the-new-york-academy-of-sciences-allowing-its-name-to-be-used-in-an-anti-science-fud-campaign.html

      http://atomicinsights.com/2011/10/devastating-review-of-yablokovs-chernobyl-consequences-of-the-catastrophe-for-people-and-the-environment.html

      • atomic lies says:

        Contrary to the misinformation proliferated that UNSCEAR ignored only “folklore” is the reality and the truth-they ignored 5,000 valid, peer reviewed studies by physicians who are right there, treating the people who are dying. I note the author quotes himself to disavow these scientists and hope that drives my point home.

        • Lantzelot says:

          ” I note the author quotes himself to disavow these scientists and hope that drives my point home.

          It doesn’t drive anything anywhere since you obviously never followed the links. Your loss.
          M. I. Balonov has a new paper out that may or may not be comprehensible to you. For the rest of us, it is a nice summary of the flaws in the Yablokov book:
          http://iopscience.iop.org/0952-4746/32/2/181

          The articles by S. V. Jargin are also well worth reading, though they may be difficult to access for most people:
          * Health Phys. 101 (2011) 754-757
          “Validity of thyroid cancer incidence data following the Chernobyl accident.”
          * Radiat Environ Biophys. 49 (2010) 743-745
          “Overestimation of Chernobyl consequences: poorly substantiated information published”

        • Rod Adams says:

          @atomic lies – I did not “quote myself” I gave you a link to an article I wrote that includes extensive quoting of other people. It is more efficient to do that than to reproduce the same effort again.

          I’ll give you a sample, which is from a review of Yablokov’s book that is linked on the Annals of the NYAS site ( http://www.nyas.org/publications/annals/Detail.aspx?cid=f3f3bd16-51ba-4d7b-a086-753f44b3bfc1 ) describing Yablokov’s work of art.

          In the opinion of this reviewer, the authors unfortunately did not appropriately analyze the content of the Russian-language publications, for example, to separate them into those that contain scientific evidence and those based on hasty impressions and ignorant conclusions. Therefore, the main conclusions of Yablokov, Nesterenko, and Nesterenko are the odd mixture of facts (e.g., increased thyroid cancer in children in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine) and uncorroborated statements of mass mortality in emergency and recovery workers caused by radiation, abnormalities in newborns, etc. An inexperienced reader will have difficulty in separating these conclusions, and the present review is intended to assist him/her in doing so.

    • Jason Kobos says:

      From your linked study

      “TABLE 5.32. Respiratory Morbidity among Children
      of Bryansk Province Districts with a Level
      of Contamination above 5 Ci/km2, 1995–1998
      (Fetysov, 1999b: table. 6.1)”

      The 5 Ci/km2 limit is what they commonly use as the cut off level for their studies and graphs. If I did my conversions correctly that amounts to 0.0578 g/km2 of Cs 137. A 325mg aspirin table would be 0.325g.

      It just seems very hard to visualize how when comparing a “contaminated” area with a “control” area that this is the most dominant adverse toxic material difference between the two areas..

      I have a pretty good idea what a square kilometer looks like and what 1/6 of an Aspirin looks like. It seems pretty easy to me for such a small amount of material to be buried under leaves, dirt, rock or absorbed by non-edible plants. If it is taken in by the body of 1 person (and causes harm to them) the it is not available to cause harm to others.

      It just seems like with such a small lower bound on the studies that there is a high chance that other hazards significantly impacting variations of diseases within a population are not properly accounted for. It is difficult to examine the cited studies to see how each one handles other environmental hazards. Most importantly is why this study Fetysov, 1999 only represents dates from 1995 to 1998. Why not earlier dates, when exposure levels were greater?

      From page 300, “Experience has shown that existing official
      radioactive monitoring systems are inadequate
      (not only in the countries of the Former Soviet
      Union). Generally, the systems cover territories
      selectively, do not measure each person,
      and often conceal important facts when releasing
      information.”

      So, if the measurement systems are inadequate and do not measure each person then where did these people get their measurements to do all these studies? We have our answer.

      From page 2 “Why are the assessments of experts so different?
      There are several reasons, including that some experts believe that any conclusions
      about radiation-based disease requires a correlation between an illness and the received
      dose of radioactivity. We believe this is an impossibility because no measurements were
      taken in the first few days. Initial levels could have been a thousand times higher than
      the ones ultimately measured several weeks and months later. It is also impossible to
      calculate variable and “hot spot” deposition
      of nuclides or to measure the contribution
      of all of the isotopes, such as Cs, I, Sr, Pu, and others, or to measure the kinds and total
      amount of radionuclide that a particular individual ingested from food and water.”

      emphasis added. From what I can tell this study does not use measurements of individual exposure levels. Thus, is limited in its ability to link risk levels of diseases to exposure. It accumulated totals for illness for entire populations. Then compares them to “control” groups. They neglect to properly account for distribution of radioactive materials at levels above 5 Ci/km2. This measurement in its self does not accurately depict the exposure of the people. If one square km has 10 people in it and another has 500, then how do you determine what each person actually received? When they talk about iodine damage of the thyroid the included chart is correlated to cs 137 not iodine. Why?

      I also very much disagree with the premise of the authors. Their premise is that since measurement data is sparse then estimates need to be used. All the estimates by other scientists are too low, thus their higher estimates are better. It is more conservative yes, but not necessarily more accurate.

      • DV82XL says:

        One has to also keep in mind that the area around Chernobyl was already a post-industrial wasteland prior to the event, and documentation of public health was poor. Thus much of the apparent increase in many conditions was an artifact of better observation in the aftermath.

        • atomic lies says:

          Nope sorry, that is incorrect. We are talking here about Belarus and about the Gomel District far from Chernobyl-they got hit with the brunt of the fall out on the winds which carried it there, and they are indeed some of the sickest people on this planet-26 years later. I have been to the depths of Chernobyl and at its core is death death death and more death and sickness galore. It is such a disgrace to the children who are sick today that they are STILL left to suffer and to die so that a dishonest industry can continue to flourish. Public health WAS poor and now it is much poorer thanks to Chernobyl.

        • DV82XL says:

          No you have not been to Chernobyl. Obviously you are a pathological liar, and like most of your kind think that everyone else is stupid enough to swallow your nonsense.

      • Wayne SW says:

        I have been to the depths of Chernobyl and at its core is death death death and more death and sickness galore.

        If you were in the “depths” and “core” of Chornobil unit 4 then you would be dead. The fact that you are not indicates you are being untruthful.

        There is no death and sickness at Chornobil because the dangerous stuff is fully contained. There is an exclusion zone to prevent long-term exposure but the people who work there (at the plant site) and the very few, a couple of dozen people maybe, per year, that are permitted to go to the outer areas (not within the unit 4 covering) are not dead or sick.

        I know thousands of people in the nuclear business but only one has been inside the unit 4 housing structure, and that is someone who is an internationally known expert in nuclear safety, who went there at the invitation of the government as a scientific consultant. There are very, very few people in the entire world who have been permitted inside, that close, and that is because of their scientific background and what they can meaningfully contribute to dealing with the problems there. Based on what you have posted here, I would have to say that you are probably not one of them, since you demonstrate relatively litlle knowledge of engineering or basic science, and your posting style is one more suitable to street agitating , “community organizing”, and maybe agitprop FUD. The government isn’t going to let anti-nuclear kooks off the street into that building.

  72. atomic lies says:

    This is a collection of papers translated from the Russian with some revised and updated contributions. Written by leading authorities from Eastern Europe, the volume outlines the history of the health and environmental consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. According to the authors, official discussions from the International Atomic Energy Agency and associated United Nations’ agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl Forum reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments.

    THAT is what it states on the NY Academy of Science concerning Yablokov’s book, and what you have mentioned is a “review”. Written, no doubt, by someone inside of the nuclear industry in all probability…

    The studies in the book were acceptable science and there were 5000 of them, do you get that? And how can any of those doing the “reviews” make any kind of claims about these studies, as they were in languages that these “reviewers” do not even speak.

    The facts are shouting loudly. And the truth IS coming out. Do you see where it says they are “leading authorities”? That means something important in this matter. Leading authorities means they know their stuff.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @atomic lies

      The reviewer I quoted was M.I. Balonov, Institute of Radiation Hygiene, St. Petersburg, Russia. Not only is he fully capable and qualified to review the methods used by Yablokov and Nesterenko, but he is also a native Russian.

      Here is a link to another, more recent treatment of Chernobyl Consequences.

      http://m.iopscience.iop.org/0952-4746/32/2/181/article

    • Brian Mays says:

      THAT is what it states on the NY Academy of Science concerning Yablokov’s book, …

      No, that piece of tripe is most likely the text from the back cover, which was written by the authors themselves. These “leading authorities from Eastern Europe” are merely three crackpots (one of whom is now deceased) writing an incomprehensible rant that was commissioned by Greenpeace.

      The studies in the book were acceptable science and there were 5000 of them, do you get that? And how can any of those doing the “reviews” make any kind of claims about these studies, as they were in languages that these “reviewers” do not even speak.

      About that … well, here is the opinion of M. I. Balonov of the Institute of Radiation Hygiene in St Petersburg, Russia. Believe it or not, the guy speaks, reads, and writes Russian. Do you?

      This is taken from J. Radiol. Prot. 32 (2012) 181–189:

      As already noted by Jargin (2010) and Jackson (2011), Yablokov and his co-authors give extensive references to the media, commercial publications, websites of public organisations or even unidentified ones, to justify their ideas. These are also the sources for statistical data on demography, morbidity, etc., which are not considered seriously by the scientific community for the very good reason of dubious reliability. Most of the references are conference proceedings, abstracts of theses and brochures in Russian, largely unknown to the world and hardly accessible even in the former Soviet Union, not to mention the rest of the world. Thus, independent verification or clari cation of the data presented by the authors is virtually impossible.

      Sorry but media references, commercial publications, brochures, and websites are not considered “acceptable science” to anyone but a conspiracy-theory crackpot.

  73. Entreprenuke says:

    In case anyone is still checking this comment string, here are a few of my thoughts.

    http://entreprenuclear.blogspot.com/2012/05/12-spent-fuel-pools-more-like-vaults.html

  74. Emily says:

    To Rod Adams and others –

    I’ve been reading around this page and others, and I feel the need to say that this is the exact opposite of the “fear-mongering” you are trying to attack. If nothing else, you are a hypocrite for diving into the “nuclear activists” the way you are… instigation works both ways, and I am sure you know that this is exactly the type of know-it-all drama activists feed on?

    And please do look up the difference between a fact and an opinion. Contributing to a discussion means listening to different sides. You can spit out facts and equations all day long to make yourself feel more intelligent, but in the end the suffering of even a small number of families is too much – so give some respect to the thousands of people that have been effected physically and physiologically by nuclear emergencies.

    Moving away from everything you know in fear of your children becoming sick from radiation is no small matter. Or are you suggesting all is good, just as long as your electric is on and none of it happens to your family?

    “I believe it is possible to save Fukushima,” said the supporter, Tatsuhiko Kodama, director of the Radioisotope Center at the University of Tokyo. “But many evacuated residents must accept that it won’t happen in their lifetimes.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/07/world/asia/japans-huge-nuclear-cleanup-makes-returning-home-a-goal.html?pagewanted=all

    “…the Environmental Ministry has pledged to reduce radiation levels by half within two years — a relatively easy goal because short-lived isotopes will deteriorate. The bigger question is how long it will take to reach the ultimate goal of bringing levels down to about 1 millisievert per year, the annual limit for the general public from artificial sources of radiation that is recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.”

    “That is a much more daunting task given that it will require removing cesium 137, an isotope that will remain radioactive for decades.”

    By the way, the “most popular” source doesn’t make it the “most credible” source…
    I don’t believe mainstream media, and don’t respect people that do. I take the time to explore many different sources of information before forming an educated opinion.

    And my OPINION is – Nuclear energy is a dangerous, unethical concept, a bad investment… and hopefully we won’t need any more massive disasters before the world figures that out.

    Energy from coal, oil, and nuclear fission is a privilege… maybe it would do society some good to start making some sacrifices… I’m willing to start tonight if that means making our world a SAFER and CLEANER place.

    Besides, you have massively downplayed the existing risks at Fukushima and Chernobyl. Lives have been ruined, people are still putting themselves as risk to manage clean up, resources are being wasted, and the seriousness of this situation needs to be understood whether nuclear programs continue to grow or not… because we DO NOT want this to get worse or happen again. We DO NOT want another #4 reactor to worry about.

    “No one knows how much exposure to low doses of radiation causes a significant risk of premature death. That means Japanese living in contaminated areas are likely to become the subjects of future studies — the second time in seven decades that Japanese have become a test case for the effects of radiation exposure, after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/07/world/asia/japans-huge-nuclear-cleanup-makes-returning-home-a-goal.html?pagewanted=all

    I mean honestly… most of the potential proof is still being accumulated from incidents AFTER they have happened – but our entire point is to prevent it from happening in the first place. How many cases of cancer haven’t been tied to Chernobyl only because there was no absolute conclusion that radiation was the source? We both know the number is frighteningly large. Do we really want to find out the hard way??

    Overall it is pretty much a no win for those of us that don’t support nuclear.,, it is a matter of waiting for something big enough to happen that just can’t be denied… and even then the profiteers will probably find a way to keep the denial going, as we have seen with dirtier sources of energy. The politics of nuclear are becoming more and more corrupt by the minute.

    Said by you – “Fukushima Daini is shutdown and probably ready to restart, though the Japanese government has announced that it has no plans to restart it.”

    Ready to restart?? What the heck are you talking about?
    Even if Japan wasn’t in the process of turning its back on nuclear, it would be a quite a long period of time to reconstruct even the Diani plant with new and updated safety equipment, procedures, and repairs. Or are you suggesting that they just skip it and restart as is, with no consideration for what has happened or could have happened?

    Here’s a valid reminder of the current situation –

    “Last March a tsunami damaged the cooling systems of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, causing the leak of high levels of radiation. Owner Tokyo Electric Power Company recently released its cleanup plan: a 40-year process of isolating the facility, draining fouled water, and dismantling the buildings.

    2012 – Engineers install equipment that removes radioactive atoms migrating into underground water and seawater. The land must be repeatedly mapped for contamination because rain distributes the material unevenly in the soil. “It’s not a uniform distribution,” says Norman Kleiman, an environmental health sciences professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York. “We have potential hotspots of contamination here and there.” Irradiated soil is removed and stored in secure silos.

    2014 – Workers begin to remove debris using remotely controlled robots. Tokyo Electric has already purchased some industrial demolition robots to tear down irradiated buildings. Contractors extended the 4300-pound robots’ range, added video cameras, and hardened them against radiological contamination. “High fields of gamma radiation can cause plastics and electronic chips to degrade,” says Lake Barrett, who from 1980 to 1984 supervised the cleanup at Three Mile Island for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    2015 – Workers use newly invented chemical sealants to plug holes in areas of the plant flooded with radioactive water. They drain the water from the reactor building and employ custom-made underwater robots to collect debris from inside the spent-fuel pools.

    2016 – A cover for the reactor building is installed to enclose the space. Additional video cameras monitor teleoperated work inside the reactor and turbine buildings, which are drained and repaired.

    2022 – Removal of the fuel rods from the damaged reactors begins. The rods have melted and fallen apart, complicating the cleanup.

    2030 and Beyond – The last of the fuel is removed from the reactor buildings. Demolition crews then dismantle the entire facility, a process that takes decades.”

    Read more: 40 Years of Fukushima Cleanup: Timeline – Popular Mechanics – http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/nuclear/40-years-of-fukushima-cleanup-timeline-7210953

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Emily

      Thank you for visiting and taking the time to produce a thoughtful, lengthy comment. You should not be surprised, however, to find that I disagree with just about everything you wrote.

      My advocacy for nuclear energy is driven by many forces and motivations. One of them is my deep and abiding love for children and for doing everything I can to leave both my direct descendants and the off spring of people that I have never met a world that is cleaner, more prosperous and more inviting than the world that existed when I was born.

      I’ve had the opportunity to visit many places around the world, including El Salvador just before its revolution, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Bahrain, and Egypt. In all of those places I saw or met many people who have never had access to light switches, indoor plumbing, or refrigerators. Though not a complete explanation, part of the reason that billions of people today live without these items that Americans and Western Europeans normally take for granted is that we have been told for fifty years or more that energy sources are constrained and that using them inevitably pollutes our atmosphere. I know that neither of those opinions are true, even though they have been repeated so often that they are ingrained into the psyche of most of us.

      The report published by the UNSCEAR after years of research into the health effects of Chernobyl indicate that the fear of radiation and the subsequent official over-reaction was the cause for most of the suffering. I am working diligently in my own little corner of the universe to do what I can to prevent that same conclusion from being reached with regard to Fukushima.

      The following statement, located between two links to articles published in the New York Times, surely one of the most “popular” sources of news on the planet made me smile and then wryly shake my head at the scale of the challenge that pro nuclear activists have undertaken.

      “By the way, the “most popular” source doesn’t make it the “most credible” source…
      I don’t believe mainstream media, and don’t respect people that do. I take the time to explore many different sources of information before forming an educated opinion.

      And my OPINION is – Nuclear energy is a dangerous, unethical concept, a bad investment… and hopefully we won’t need any more massive disasters before the world figures that out.”

      If Fukushima represents what might be an upper bound on the scale of nuclear energy’s potential for “massive disasters”, I think the world can afford to invest a great deal more into its development. Wiping out four aging reactors is not a good thing, but if melting down three reactors cores does not cause any illness or injury, nuclear energy has proven that it can be handled safely enough to be allowed to provide beneficial power to billions.

    • DV82XL says:

      Emily – Please understand that we do know the difference between fact and opinion; in fact this is the crux of the debate both here and with nuclear energy in the broader forum of public attitudes.

      Those of us with a background in this subject are appalled at both the level and the amount of disinformation that is being spread by both the press and those that should know better and we are frustrated when we try and tell the truth and are opposed by those that know little of the topic. You will note that no one with a verifiable claim to being familiar with the science of nuclear energy comes to these threads with an antinuclear agenda. That is because they have realized that we cannot have the wool pulled over our eyes so easily and that we will push back with fact.

      You must understand that nuclear energy represents a serious threat to the current mix of fossil-fuels that now power our civilization. This is not lost on those whose businesses depend on selling them. In the past this was mostly coal concerns but now these have been joined by natural gas produces. These companies have very deep pockets and a history of using money amplified free speech and money amplified lobbying to improve their positions and avoid legislation that would hold them responsible for the environmental damage their products do. As part of this process they have targeted nuclear energy with a smear campaign of epic proportions.

      The bottom line is that because of this most of what you may believe of nuclear energy, radiation and allied subjects is a tissue of lies. What we are attempting to do is correct some of this.

      No one is suggesting that nuclear energy is without danger – any time one traffics in large amounts of energy of any kind there are dangers. Energy is able to do work and it cares not if that work is constructive or destructive; the onus is on those using it to control it with care. However nothing is perfect and a consequence we have seen coal mines collapse, hydro electricity dams fail, oil wells blow out of control and natural gas explosions that have killed many, many people and caused massive property damage. This is the price we pay for living with the benefits of plentiful energy. The other huge issue is the ongoing damage being done to the biosphere by these modes such as pollution and climate change.

      Now it strikes me that if we cannot live without energy and we cannot eliminate the problems inherent with this, we must at least strive to minimize them. This is what nuclear power can achieve.

      And here is where the propaganda comes in. Faced with the fact that their products are very dangerous and have and will kill tens of thousands of people directly or indirectly, traditional energy suppliers have turned to vilifying nuclear energy at every turn, buying the cooperation of the media and politicians to help them. The fact is that combined, all of the nuclear ‘disasters’ have not and will not kill as many people as what coal by itself does every month, and this is a verifiable fact.

      They have done a great job. They managed to leverage the fears of nuclear weapons (which have as much to do with nuclear power as conventional weapons do with fossil-fuel) to make people think that nuclear energy is far too dangerous for general use. They have also used this fear to make sure that nuclear energy is held to a far higher standard than they will accept for their own products. Again this can be confirmed with a little research.

      I appeal to you to look into this subject with an open mind and in the sort of depth that will revile all of the facts before you come to a conclusion. You will find that all of us here, and on any other pronuclear web site will do everything we can to help you get to the bottom of this. In fact you can e-mail me at dv82xl@gmail.com directly with any questions or if you need some direction to start your research.

      Rob Gauthier.

  75. Alex says:

    Even if we’re safe in America, the Japanese people are getting screwed royally, as CNN reports here. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this piece.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c2#/video/world/2012/05/24/lah-japan-radiation-fears.cnn

  76. Anti-Nuke Dude says:

    I’ve done a fair bit of research– pro and con– and as a result, am quite anti-nuke.
    Then again, I’m also anti-state/gov’t and anti-war.

    Rod’s shades in his icon image are a convenient metaphor.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Anti-Nuke Dude

      I am assuming that your research does not include any personal experience with operating a nuclear power plant. It is virtually impossible to be opposed to nuclear energy if you understand anything about the reality of the technology.

      I happen to be more antiwar than almost anyone I know. Though I spent 33 years in the military service, I never fired a gun at anything but a target. I was in a branch of the service that prided itself on being warriors for peace. One of the most frequent irritants in international relations that often leads to war is a thirst for fossil fuel resources. Nuclear energy cannot replace all fossil use, but it has proven that it can replace fossil fuel in enough applications and markets to free up plenty of resources for everyone else.

      BTW – I am not anti state or anti government. I am pro good government; government by the people and for the people and not for the benefit of the multinational petroleum pushers.

      • Daniel says:

        And Rod, the main one reason Japan got into the last World War was because it was energy stricken.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @Daniel – Agreed. The US oil embargo against Japan was a primary reason for attacking Pearl Harbor. Of course, Japan was already trying to expand its power in China at the time, but once we embargoed our oil, they had to strike out for Indonesia. The attack on Pearl was designed to keep our Navy away while the Japanese solidified their oil supply infrastructure from Indonesia.

          Fortunately for the good guys, the Japanese did not attack the submarine base. Those subs, driven by heroes like Eugene Fluckey, did a bang up job interdicting tankers trying to supply Japan’s war machine.

        • Daniel says:

          Japan did horrible things in China. I adopted a little baby girl from Nanjiing a while ago. When I was touring the area, there was an ‘unrest’ at the market. There was a bunch of Japanese tourists. They were surrounded by local residents and every body pointed their fingers at the japanese tourists.

          If you know chinese culture, the ultimate insult is for someone to point the index finger at you.

  77. David Walters says:

    Actually, given the failure rate of US torpedo, I’m wondering how much value there was in our subs? The real fortunate thing was that it was the 3rd wave that Morimoto failed to send that save the fuel oil tanks that allowed our carriers to continue to receive fuel. Had the Japanese planes bombed that, the outcome later of Midway and other engagements may of been far different.

    David

    • Brian Mays says:

      In the Pacific theater, the US submarine fleet comprised less than 2% of naval personnel, but accounted for over half of all enemy shipping sunk.

      I’d say a lot of value.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @David – torpedo failures only slowed the submariners down; they managed to improvise, adapt and overcome. They even solved the technical issues themselves.

      Here are some tonnage values:

      http://www.valoratsea.com/month1.htm

      One of the historical facts forgotten is that by the end of the war Japan’s fuel supplies were so low that they could only afford to send their planes out with fuel for only one way journeys.

  78. Shawn says:

    Two separate fires were reported in the Unit 4 spent fuel pools, it was also reported that the pools had boiled dry. In addition, the NRC had discussions regarding the spent fuel status and the fact that the pool had boiled dry. If the unit 4 core wasn’t hot and could have been air cooled, how did it boil off ~30′ of water? The water could have leaked out through cracks in the pool but if so, how is it holding water now? Also, in these fuel pools there isn’t anything but metal (of various kinds) and water. If there were fires in the pool, which both the Japanese and the NRC reported on, what burned?

  79. Eddie B says:

    YOU, sir, are as uncredible as the man you try to discredit. I’ve never read someone who builds up his case so much, as if he is about to destroy the argument of the party he is trying to discredit, than uses nothing but attacks on that person, INSTEAD OF FACTS.

    YOU, sir, are the joke. Not the other guy (even if he is wrong).

  80. Eddie B says:

    BTW, Robert Alvarez is former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy.

    YOU are a blogger looking for a job and clicks on your blog.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Eddie B

      Robert Alvarez was a political appointee to a high level job. The appointment was a reward for having helped during the presidential campaign. While in that position of responsibility and trust, after having sworn an oath to uphold and defend the constitution, including the laws that were duly passed in accordance with that document, he and his wife were turned into the police for growing commercial quantities of pot in their Takoma Park basement.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPcap/1999-12/31/032r-123199-idx.html

      I am a retired US Navy Commander with 33 years of naval service who just resigned from a good, well-compensated job in order to focus on writing and sharing what I know about nuclear energy.

      If I was just a blogger looking for clicks, why would I operate a blog that does not display any advertising?

      • Eddie B says:

        It doesn’t matter he got busted for growing pot. What matters is that you claim you are going to discredit someone and their statements, but you present NO facts.

        • Brian Mays says:

          … you present NO facts.

          You’re one to talk.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @Eddie B

          You have apparently failed to read the post or follow the links to the additional information that I provided to refute Alvarez’s fables (aka fear mongering lies.)

          The information that I published regarding Alvarez’s education and demonstrated unreliability while in a position of responsibility and trust was directly aimed at his appeal to his own authority based on an impressive sounding title. (By the way, you repeated that “appeal to authority” by documenting his title and attempting to discredit me by calling me “just a blogger.”)

          People who have earned their positions through study, test-taking and comprehensive interviews with subject matter experts have no reason to respect political appointees who did not even manage to earn a degree, even though they chose to study such a non-technical field as music.

      • Eddie B says:

        … and the fact that you are not displaying ads doesn’t mean you are not looking for clicks. the reward for you is intrinsic: you get your (biased) word out.