Critical Analysis of Mousseau Fukushima Presentation

Editor’s Note: On March 11, 2013, Dr. Timothy Mousseau gave a presentation at the Helen Caldicott sponsored symposium on the Medical and Ecological Consequences of Fukushima. This analysis by Dr. Patrick Walden, was posted as a TRIUMF wiki soon after that event and is republished here with his permission.
Dr. Walden is a retired nuclear physicist who earned his PhD at Caltech.

This is the presentation that Dr. Walden critiques.


Mousseau’s Presentation
to The Helen Caldicott Symposium on the Medical and Ecological Consequences of Fukushima
March 11, 2013
A Criticism

By Patrick Walden

The Helen Caldicott Symposium on the Medical and Ecological Consequences of Fukushima was held March 11 and 12, 2013 on the second anniversary of the incident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant facility in Japan. It was also the second anniversary of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami which killed 15,883 people and caused USD $235 to $300 billion in damage. The reactor incident killed no one but has occupied most of the media attention in the past two years.

The Symposium was not a meeting of scientists and their peers coming together to discuss their respective research. This was organized by the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a Helen Caldicott founded ultra anti-nuclear group, who are committed to bring about a nuclear free planet under any and all circumstances and that also includes nuclear power. This is an ideological driven organization and not a factual driven organization. This meeting could be compared to a Global Climate Change Denial symposium given by the Heartland Institute, or maybe even the equivalent of the Discovery Institute organizing lectures on why Evolution is not true.

It matters not if nuclear power can alleviate CO2 emissions into the atmosphere to mitigate global climate change; Helen Caldicott and the PSR are here to stop that. Do not be fooled by the “New York Academy of Medicine” sign on the podium. This is just the venue. They did not sanction the meeting. The crowd you hear in Mousseau’s presentation are not those of fellow scientists, but are those of the celebrated anti-nuclear activists in the streets.

It was into this setting that Mousseau was invited to give his talk.

Mousseau starts off by making the surprising announcement that his Japanese colleagues have decided to withdraw their names from his talk. I guess the supposed implication being that they were afraid to speak out against the Japanese nuclear industry. However Joji Otaki and his butterfly group were not afraid to publish findings showing increased mutancy rates in butterflies from locations nearby Fukushima Dai-ichi. Jota Kanda, an oceanographer at Toyko University of Marine Science and Technology, was not afraid to stand up to TEPCO and challenge their official statements regarding the magnitude of the radionuclide spills since 11-Mar-2011. TEPCO employees may feel intimidated but the Japanese science establishment does not.

However, perhaps Mousseau’s Japanese colleagues were afraid. Afraid not of the back lash from the nuclear industry but afraid perhaps of having their scientific reputations tarnished by having their names presented at this symposium, or maybe having their names associated with the speaker’s conclusions from the research. But this is just speculation. It suffices to note that I have never seen a conference speaker need to apologize because his collaborators withdrew their names.

Target radiation fields increase as one goes from periphery to the center

Target radiation fields increase as one goes from periphery to the center

However, it is best to move on to my main criticism. I will have you go to 20:07 of the talk. Here Mousseau asks us to look at the map carefully. I will ask you to do the same. Notice how the high radiation zones occupy less area than the lower radiation zones. Now look at the target figure to the right. Imagine that on the periphery of the target we have a low radiation zone and as we go towards the centre, the radiation levels increase accordingly until we reach a maximum in the centre. We will now make a simple geometrical plot of the area of each annulus of the target as a function of the distance from the periphery. We get the plot shown below. Notice how the areas of the annuli decrease as we go towards the centre. Now if this target were transported to any wild location on the earth’s surface, the area occupied by each annulus will be directly proportional to the inventory of fauna or species found in that annulus. Likewise the distance from the periphery will be directly proportional to the radiation field found in each annulus. Hence we do not have a plot showing annulus area vs. distance from the periphery but a plot of fauna or species abundance vs. radiation fields. It shows a steady decline in fauna and species abundance as the radiation field increases, and furthermore this will be the case for every fauna and species count.

annuli area vs. distance from periphery or no. of species vs. radiation field

annuli area vs. distance from periphery
or
no. of species vs. radiation field

But this result has nothing to do with radiation. It is a pure geometrical artifact. Is this not what Mousseau reports from 21:45 to 25:15 for Chernnobyl and from 26:20 to 26:40 for Fukushima? I do not see how he can claim that any of his plots have any significance unless he accounts for this geometrical effect. I have listened carefully and I do not see him state this. Indeed if he did account for geometry it would have to be apparent on the plots. “(Radiation Field)/Area” would have to be plotted along the horizontal axis. Without accounting for this geometrical effect, his results are meaningless. If these plots are meaningless, is not his whole talk meaningless? Q.E.D.?

Another point to note is that there is a lot of scatter in these no. of individuals vs. radiation plots. That is indicative of the accuracy of his data and the correlation coefficients should be close to zero (no dependency whatsoever). There is an obvious negative correlation but it is weak, and the fits seem to be not much more than an aid to the eye to highlight this weak dependence. If the geometrical effect is properly accounted for, there could be no dependence whatsoever.

no. of birds vs. radiation field from Mousseau

no. of birds vs. radiation field from Mousseau

This should be enough to bring into question all of Mousseau’s findings, but I will continue. At 33:15 there is a plot showing sperm abnormalities vs. radiation. The fit shows about 9% abnormalities at 0.1 mRad/h or 1 μSv/h. This is within the upper bound of what can be considered normal background radiation. Indeed nuclear radiation workers can be in such fields 24/7 without restrictions. At 1 μSv/h, 24/7, the annual dose would be 8.8 mSv. A pelvic CT scan delivers 10 mSv all at once. Having 9% sperm abnormalities due to a field of 1 μSv/h seems incredulous. If this were a lecture delivered to his peers, Mousseau would have been called up on that. However this was an audience of anti-nuclear activists and nobody was going to complain. I mean there are tourists walking the beaches in Brazil where the natural background radiation field is 50 μSv/h, and there are guys sitting on these beaches in just their underpants. According to Mousseau they could experience sperm abnormalities of 28%. This does not seem to be happening.

Dormice sequestered in Chernobyl’s Red Forest (Radioactive Wolves @ 36:50) experienced a rate of 4 to 6% slight abnormalities, twice as high as in the clean areas, but the fields here are > 350 μSv/h.

At these fields Mousseau’s sperm abnormalities would be off the chart, and yet the observed dormice birth abnormalities are just 4 to 6%. I am sorry, but Mousseau’s graph is just not believable.

Aside: The fields inside the Chernobyl zone are nowhere near as high as they are in the Red Forest, which is by far the hottest spot in the zone. For more typical levels within the zone here is Bionerd23’s video showing radiation levels in the abandoned city of Pripyat.

Remember the fields on the Brazilian beach were 50 μSv/h.

sperm abnormality vs. radiation field from Mousseau

sperm abnormality vs. radiation field from Mousseau

Then there is this. At 15:49 in the Mousseau presentation we see a spectrum from their radionuclide identifier, which Mousseau claims also, measures the field. The field on the shown graph is 0.06 μSv/h. Natural background is around 0.4 μSv/h almost 10 times that rate. This is obviously not a typical spectrum, and it makes me wonder if this piece of equipment would not experience dead time distortions in the radiation fields found around Chernobyl. There must be some explanation why Mousseau showed this particular spectrum, but it does not give me a great deal of confidence. Again no one in the audience called him up on this, which shows again that this is not an audience of his peers, but an anti-nuclear crowd who do not know very much about nuclear science.

Then there are the firebugs around 32:20. Some Swiss artist named Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, an amateur scientist, has documented abnormalities in firebugs around nuclear power plants in drawings that she has made. She is apparently a great favourite with this crowd because of her findings. Mousseau latches onto this popularity by announcing he has observed the same thing, firebug abnormalities strongly correlated to background radiation fields. There is one problem in this. Nuclear power plants do not give off radiation fields. The increase in the measured background fields around these plants is in the order 0.04 μSv/y.[1] The normal background is around 4mSv/y, 100,000 times larger. No possible effect could ever have been seen by Cornelia Hesse-Honegger. Yet Mousseau accepts her stuff at face value, and compares his stuff to hers. If this were presented before Mousseau’s peers, someone would have questioned that surely this was nonsense.

Throughout the talk Mousseau makes light of his scientific colleagues and competitors to the compliant approval of the crowd. He suggested that the abundance of wildlife around Chernobyl is a hoax fabricated by the Chernobyl Forum in 2006 (go to 18:30) because the Forum had no information to go on. He stated that there were no studies, so the Forum had no evidence that anything was wrong, thus it must be good. He as good as accused the Chernobyl Forum, a world body consisting of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), the OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), the UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation), the WHO (World Health Organization), the World Bank, and representatives from the governments of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, of fabricating its conclusions. This is hardly credible that a world organization would do this. The Forum should have had plenty of reports submitted to it of the rising abundance of the wildlife in the area as witnessed by this account from 2000.

Here Robert J.Baker et al. report on 12 expeditions to the most radioactive areas of the zone. There is but one conclusion, contrary to what Mousseau states, the statement from the Forum regarding the ecosystem around Chernobyl was fully substantiated by observations in the field.

Mousseau continues his disparaging remarks against the Forum and colleagues throughout the talk. He insinuates that mammals are not very plentiful except for the occasional one that wanders in from outside the zone. In order to see mammals, the Ukrainian authorities had to set up a petting zoo.

Yah, some wolves are there, but they’re mostly dogs”, he states.

And on, and on, and on. He claims he is the only one doing any real research and it is obvious to him what devastation the radiation has done. All you have to do is look, he says. Well contrary to what he states, Mousseau is not the only one doing research, and these others are taking a good look as well, and they see something quite different from what Mousseau would have us believe. They do not see devastation, and the documentary Radioactive Wolves confirms this.

Not only are there wolves present, there is a full complement of them, typical of a pristine wilderness and thus evidence of a fully viable healthy ecosystem. Other top predators are present in abundance as well. Wildlife is relatively easy to find as witness this video about Przewalski Horses by Bionerd23, an enthusiastic tourist to the forbidden zone.

Not only are healthy packs of wild horses found, but also there are birds and insects chirping in the background and insects fluttering about in the face of the camera. The horses are twitching their ears, moving their heads, and switching their tails to keep the insects off. If I believe I have correctly interpreted what Mousseau stated, we shouldn’t be seeing or hearing birds and insects. I believe he would be reticent to show this clip after the presentation he made. In short there are many sources that are contradicting what Mousseau says about the environment around Chernobyl.[2]

I was surprised that Mousseau featured a TV personality, Jeremy Wade, host of the BBC show, River Monsters, doing a segment called The Atomic Assassin. He happened upon Mousseau while filming. What is this Atomic Assassin? It’s a dangerous giant mutated catfish that Wade has perilously stalked through hazardous radiation fields and caught.

Big Hero! He was out catching a relatively tame catfish and supposedly killing it. He portrayed the catfish earlier in other clips as a dangerous man-eating mutant.

What malarky, and does Mousseau really want to be asociated with him? Here is Bionerd23’s version.

Here she is looking at and feeding the catfish, as you would gold fish, relatively unconcerned of the radiation dose she is getting. She says quite clearly that the catfish are not mutants. They are large because they are not being caught. They are free of defects and appear normal. They probably have a high concentration of radioactivity in their flesh. What the Jeremy Wade and the Bionerd23 clips do show, however, is how abundant is the aquatic wildlife right in the shadow of the Chernobyl sarcophagus.

What Wade presents is fiction and I would think Mousseau would not want this to be associated with his scientific work. A crowd of his scientific peers would not be impressed with Jeremy Wade’s Atomic Assassin, but perhaps a crowd of anti-nuclear activists would be.

Who were Mousseau’s fellow presenters at this conference?

First of all there is Helen Caldicott, the host, who still maintains that Chernobyl has killed a million people as a result of the accident even though it has been shown the result is demographically impossible and the initial analysis that came up with that number has been shown to be grossly in error. Caldicott’s main weapon is to exploit the irrational fear the public has towards anything that makes a Geiger counter click.
There was Robert Alvarez who was the author of “Fukushima has 85 times the amount of Cesium-137 as Chernobyl”.

One more earthquake at the right place could distribute this deadly material world-wide and wipe out, as claimed by Akio Matsumura, also present at this conference, life on earth as we know it. Caldicott and her associates raised this figure to 200 times more Cesium-137 without any justification. The said earthquake actually did come and go in December 2012 and nothing happened.[3]

There was Joseph Mangano co-author of a paper who, along with Janette Sherman claimed 14,000 Americans died from radiation from Fukushima in the 14 weeks following the event.[4][5] This was funny because no one in Japan died from radiation. Since cancer takes longer than 14 weeks to kill people, it would mean that 14,000 Americans would have had to receive lethal doses of radiation.[6] Is this not crazy?

Dr. Alexy Yablokov was also there. He was the author of Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, which claims that Chernobyl resulted in a million deaths. This is the source of Caldicott’s superlative figure. It seems T. Mousseau with Greenpeace allies pulled some levers within the New York Academy of Sciences and had this volume published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Janette Sherman of the 14,000 deaths was lined up as the editor. Good choice. It seems the NYAS let the volume go out-of-print as soon as publishing costs were recovered and then published a scathing review of this volume by Mikhail I. Balonov who wrote,

Yablokov’s assessment for the mortality from Chernobyl fallout of about one million before 2004 puts this book in a range of rather science fiction than science.

Finally there was also present Arnie Gundersen who not to be outdone by the superlative claims of Caldicott, Yablokov, Mangano, and Sherman, has also claimed Fukushima will result in a million deaths. So far no one has died, and we are still waiting.

Thus the whole symposium seemingly consisted of presenters of questionable material. Maybe it’s no wonder Mousseau’s Japanese colleagues dropped out. Being involved with this crowd could have the possibility of damaging their scientific reputation.

References and Footnotes

  1. From Beyond Smoke and Mirrors by Burton Richter, 2010
  2. Here is a BBC news file attesting to the existence of a seemingly healthy environment around Chernobyl.
    Here is a blog about a paper published in Biology Letters which directly contradicts the findings of Mousseau
  3. Japan earthquake and tsunami triggers Fukushima fears. Pay no attention to the headline. Read the text. Nothing significantly untoward happened at Fukushima.
  4. Here is another criticism from Scientific American. From the comments following the article you can see how many people will readily believe the impossible nonsensical claims about radiation and Fukushima.
  5. Here is a link to a pdf version of Mangano and Sherman’s article. The journal in which it was published is not really a scientific journal, but a social science journal. Their referees would not have had the experience to debunk the claims put forward by Mangano and Sherman.
  6. A lethal dose of radiation is about 4 Sv

Patrick Walden B.Sc. UBC, Ph.D. Caltech
Experimenter Emeritus
Nuclear Physicist Retired


Additional Reading

Mousseau mentioned the importance of the contributions made by his collaborator, Anders Moller.
These articles also mention Anders Moller:

About Guest Author

99 Responses to “Critical Analysis of Mousseau Fukushima Presentation”

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  1. Daniel says:

    Let’s hope this does not make it to the NYAS (New York Academy of Science).

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Daniel – Why would that be a problem?

      • Daniel says:

        I meant the Mousseau BS

        • Rod Adams says:

          @Daniel – Do you think they might print it? The editor who made the unilateral decision to print Yablokov’s fiction is no longer with the otherwise venerable and respected organization.

          • Daniel says:

            Rod,

            Have you reached closure with the NYAS And the above fiction dénouement ?

          • jmdesp says:

            As the documents published show, behind this decision we find Dr Mousseau again asserting to the NYAS editor that Yablokov’s fiction was a very valid, scientifically sound and truth revealing document.

  2. Joffan says:

    I strongly doubt that the area-of-annulus speculation can be used to challenge the study. A typical sampling methodology would use a fixed area and defined process to make the observations for each site visited.

    If the people undertaking the study were particularly scared of radiation, it is perhaps possible that their fearfulness might affect their diligence in the higher-dose areas.

  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Who comprised the audience, and how large was it?

    Were they activists?? Political players?? How was the invitation list compiled?

    Were the speakers paid for thier time, and, if so, by whom?

  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gotta love the killer mutant catfish, though! Thats the problem with you pro nuke folks, you ain’t got a mascot.

    • Eino says:

      Blinky on the Simpsons.

    • Russ Finley says:

      Sarcasm doesn’t work well in comment fields because they are devoid of facial expressions, winks, elbow nudges, raised eyebrows). …assuming that was sarcasm. If it’s sarcasm, it’s funny. If it isn’t, you come off as willfully misinformed. I don’t know which. Not wanting people to think I’m an idiot, I use a * = sarcasm alert symbol when I’m being sarcastic ; )

      • Russ Finley says:

        The above comment is about the mutant catfish mascot remark.

        • PissedOffAmerican says:

          “The above comment is about the mutant catfish mascot remark”

          Interesting that someone could think such a comment was anything other than levity. Do you seriously entertain the thought that someone could be so grossly ignorant that they would suppose that the only thing wrong with your narrative is that you lack a mascot? Trust me, there’s a whole lot more wrong with your marketing than the simple lack of a mascot, which I don’t recommend you adopt.

          Heck, as crappy as you guys are at marketing, you’d probably choose a BBQ’d chicken.

  5. Joris van Dorp says:

    What a shocking account. Good grief.

    Still, I’ll be pointing to this as a clear-cut example of the vitality and insanity of the anti-nuclear movement. Got all the big names in one place. Each one of them is a person hero of Bas, who can lately be seen quite often on The Energy Collective, spouting his usual anti-nuclear claptrap freely and with gusto:

    http://theenergycollective.com/comments/user/756931

    • Jeff Walther says:

      “Each one of them is a person hero of Bas, who can lately be seen quite often on The Energy Collective, spouting his usual anti-nuclear claptrap freely..:”

      Oh, I doubt that he’s spouting it freely…

  6. Mitch says:

    >>> Do not be fooled by the “New York Academy of Medicine” sign on the podium. <<<

    Maybe for us, but the average public and reporter eat it hook line and sinker for credibility!

    All I really want to know is did NEI or ANS or any nuclear magazine or organization know about this meeting ahead of time and second did they ever think of sending a nuke pro or a couple there to bust the FUDers or just let their bull stand without any rebuke?

    No wonder nuclear plant image is in the shape it's in!

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Mitch

      Yes, people knew about the event. I seriously considered attending, but I still had a full time job and did not have sufficient available vacation time.

      This week, there is a somewhat similar event at Dartmouth – Three Mile Island 35th Anniversary Symposium: The Past, Present, and Future of Nuclear Energy.

      http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/events/three-mile-island-35th-anniversary-symposium/

      Weather permitting, I’ll be there. Several professional antinuclear activists will be there as well. I’ll be talking to people and reporting on the event.

      BTW – If you who want to help me with travel expenses, there is a “Donate” button on the front page in the right margin.

      • mjd says:

        If you make it to Dartmouth be sure to ask Winthrop Rockwell why Kemeny decided not to publish the true root cause of the TMI accident. I’d also be curious to know if he has any recall of just how much time and effort they spent discussing the downside of publishing it. After all he is a lawyer. Thirty five years of silence is enough. I noticed Matt Wald is also on the panel, hmmm.

      • Bill Rodgers says:

        Any conference with Amory Lovins as the keynote speaker and with Peter Bradford on one of the panels is bound to be more about how to continue to use fossil fuels to back up wind and solar then the actual state of affairs regarding nuclear power. Or the discussion will go into how continued focus energy efficiency will make new nuclear reactors unnecessary.

        This conference is definitely slanted anti-nuclear after looking at the resumes of the panelists. Two of the three panelist on the future of nuclear power are lukewarm at best regarding new nuclear.

        So it appears to be just more of the same type of anti-nuclear speaking forums with little actual substance on solutions for current and future problems.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @Bill Rodgers

          That is why I am going. At least that future of nuclear panel does have an honest to goodness nuke (Kevan Weaver from TerraPower) and someone who has come out pretty strongly in favor of using nuclear to mitigate climate change (Armond Cohen.)

          I won’t be alone. There are a few of us going.

  7. John Chatelle says:

    The 8 sponsors on the first slide are interesting; I understand the politics of why these three sponsors at the bottom of the slide may support the symposium:

    Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust (also funds the NRDC)
    Qaigen GmbH (DNA-RNA damage analyzing company)
    CRDF (kept Soviet Nuclear Scientists busy and collecting revenue)

    …but what the heck is with the other “sponsors” he lists on the slide:

    Fullbright Foundation,
    National Science Foundation,
    National Institutes of Health,
    National Geographic Society,
    NATO

    Why are the bottom 5 in this list “sponsoring” such patently anti-science propaganda?

    • Rod Adams says:

      @John Chatelle

      You asked:

      Why are the bottom 5 in this list “sponsoring” such patently anti-science propaganda?

      That is a good question, but there are related questions also worth asking.

      How much support did each organization provide?
      How aware were they of the research they were funding?
      Did Mousseau and Moller take the names of those sources in vain in a manner similar to the way that Caldicott appropriated the imprint of the New York Academy of Medicine for her meeting of like-minded activists? In other words, did they get some sort of standard educational grant and then apply funds from that grant to their bird brain studies so they could claim that their work was “sponsored” by credible sources?

      There is an interesting controversy going right now about a NASA funded study where the researcher leaked a pre-publication copy of the study to a blogger who writes on the Guardian blog platform. These two blog posts provide some insights on people who try to elevate their credibility by association:

      http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2014/03/21/popular-guardian-story-collapse-industrial-civilization/#.Uy6RoK2zBrp

      http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2014/03/21/judging-merits-media-hyped-collapse-study/#.Uy2ng62zBrp

      Interestingly enough, though the topic of that “NASA sponsored” paper seems almost unrelated, there is a tie to people like Caldicott who often claim that we’re all going to die. The authors of the paper about the imminent collapse of industrial society have also been strongly influenced by the Malthusians who think of human beings as a scourge on the planet.

      They hate the idea that human society can grow and prosper, without any finite limits, by cooperatively using our big brains to allow us to do more with less material through the application of technologies like GMO and atomic fission.

      As I have noted before, Malthusians are often supported by the other people who hate the idea of technologically escaping finite limits – abundance is nowhere near as profitable for commodity suppliers who’s business model is built on controlling a “scarce” resource.

      • PissedOffAmerican says:

        “….. abundance is nowhere near as profitable for commodity suppliers who’s business model is built on controlling a “scarce” resource”

        You’re a hard guy to figure, Rod. Your allocation of trust seems to be based solely on shared agendas, rather on any sort of realization about the universal corruption that power and wealth bestows on its holders. As you point out; not all. But as I allege; most.

        Should your particular manner of producing energy become as profitable and widely used as coal or oil, are you of the opinion that the tactics and strategies used to “stay on top” will be any less nefarious or deceitful than those used by the fossil fuel industry?

        And what of the manner used to “get to the top”? Jail those that would place roadblocks in your path, like Daniel advocates? Or tweek the stats and data a bit to grease the skids to the top?

        I had an opinion about nuclear energy when I first came to this site, and obviously it was a very negative opinion. You and your community have changed that opinion to one of neutrality. I say “neutrality” because I simply don’t grok the science enough to be comfortable being pro, or con. So any conclusions I draw must be based on my knowledge of human nature, rather than my lack of knowledge concerning the science. As I’ve stated in my previous comments, presentation is important, because it provides a window into character. You’ve impressed me. Some of your “following” here has not.

        Andrea seems to “get it”, so do you.

        Those that attack, demean, advocate bigotry, display partisan zealotry, advocate fascist routes to success…..not so much, eh? So, these people…..am I to ponder thier presentation, and consider them above employing the same loathsome manner of “marketing” that is employed by the coal and oil industries? And if they get to “the top” through intimidation, bullying, or deception, am I to believe that thier character is restored upon arrival? That they will conduct themselves any different than the Koch brothers, Soros, or the heads of entities such as BP, or Halliburton?

        “They hate the idea that human society can grow and prosper, without any finite limits, by cooperatively using our big brains to allow us to do more with less material through the application of technologies like GMO and atomic fission”

        Really??? Or perhaps they just don’t give a sh*t, as long as they get thiers.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @POA

          You asked:

          Should your particular manner of producing energy become as profitable and widely used as coal or oil, are you of the opinion that the tactics and strategies used to “stay on top” will be any less nefarious or deceitful than those used by the fossil fuel industry?

          Yes, I am pretty sure that staying on top in a nuclear fission powered world will require substantially different core competencies than staying on top in our current hydrocarbon based economy.

          One of the big problems with oil and gas (and coal to a lesser extent) is that those who control the resource can do it by force of arms. Controlling a relatively small piece of land can bequeath great riches; one does not need any substantial intellect, does not need to work well with others, and may simply be born into the right royal (or elite) family.

          With fission, controlling the resource is very challenging because the fuel is so widely distributed around the world. In addition the fuel is actually a fairly minor part of the overall cost (and thus is a minor part of the overall revenue associated with the technology.)

          The key resource in nuclear energy comes from the brains of the people who make the technology work. The skills needed to influence humans to cooperate generally make for some admirable people. Sure, that is a generalization, but compared to the oligarchies that have been created by hydrocarbon dependence, I think we would be better off with fission.

          • PissedOffAmerican says:

            “The skills needed to influence humans to cooperate generally make for some admirable people

            Like Charles Manson or Adolph Hitler?

            Jonestown comes to mind as well.

          • Rod Adams says:

            I was thinking more along lines of Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Steve Jobs, Admiral Mike Mullen, General John Shalikashvili and Admiral Greenert.

      • Chris says:

        @Rod and John C.
        John highlights sponsors, e.g. “Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust (also funds the NRDC)”
        I wonder if trusts may be better targets for science and technology education than carreer activists, e.g. T. B. Cochran? Perhaps a more responsive lever to affect constructive change in groups that responsively oppose nuclear energy, GMOs, modern farming, medical, or dietary practices.

  8. Daniel says:

    One thing regarding the nukes starting in Fukudhima.

    We know local consent has been determined to Its lowest level to be at municipal level. The cities need the local cash inflow generated by the reactors. The support is locked in.

    Mayors are worried about the out of Town protesters.

    I say follow India’s leadership. If you come to protest nukes And are from a foreign country, in jail you Go.

    • Daniel says:

      I mean the nukes restarting in Japan. Not Fukushima.

    • PissedOffAmerican says:

      “I say follow India’s leadership. If you come to protest nukes And are from a foreign country, in jail you Go”

      Yikes. Why not just follow Israel’s lead, and simply shoot peaceful foreign protesters in the head??? That’ll teach those pesky protesters to think twice about disagreeing with you!

      Yeah, by golly, throw ‘em in jail. Camps are in order! Seeg heel, or uh, however that ‘ol sayin’ goes, eh?

    • NP says:

      The local people do not want nukes.

      Japan ALL knows that TEPCO and Gov are lying through their teeth.

      I love it Adolph….if you come to express your opinion….you will be thrown in jail. Nice.

      • ddpalmer says:

        The latest poll shows the majority of Japanese want at least some nukes. And in some areas the locals do want nukes.

        I agree that jail just for protesting is to much. As long as they don’t break any laws then just ignore them. Of course I believe going to Japan on a tourist visa for the purpose of protesting is probably a violation of the law.

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “We know local consent has been determined to Its lowest level to be at municipal level. The cities need the local cash inflow generated by the reactors. The support is locked in”

    BTW, all the Japanese polls I have seen cited demonstrate an overwhelming anti-nuclear bias amongst the Japanese public.

    Are you seeing different polls than I am. Or, considering your fascist solution to protest you find disagreeable, do you simply advocate ignoring the will of the people, democracy be damned?

    • Daniel says:

      Stop dreaming and look at electoral results for last 3 years. No support to shut down nukes.

      Polls are cheap. Elections are not.

      • PissedOffAmerican says:

        “Polls are cheap. Elections are not”

        “Money talks”, in other words?

        Thanks for making my point.

        • jmdesp says:

          Nope, PoA.

          Someone comes to you and ask your opinion about nuclear about which you’ve heard all sort of worrying and scaring things during the last 3 years. Should we get rid of that ? Yes, or course.

          Now you’re a politician, and you know you don’t only need to attract voices by taking popular position, you *also* need to have a balanced budget so that you won’t need to strongly rise taxes on people who already are in a depressed economy.
          Right, it will be more popular to be against nuclear. But will you get reelected if everyone is furious about the state of economy when you finish your mandate ?

          So the reasonable politicians concluded that it’s too dangerous economically to be against nuclear. So the elector are left with having to select “alternative” candidates to get one who they are sure will really get rid of nuclear.

          And the result of the recent elections show that even if most are ready to say they don’t want nuclear anymore, most do not hate nuclear enough to select such a candidate.

          • G.R.L. Cowan says:

            Have you seen the options these polls offer? I’ve seen them in only one case: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/editorial/AJ201302190028 . What do you think about the option set there?

            The last two major elections have been won by the least antinuclear candidates the people could get. I wish some of their candidates were brazenly pronuclear and vitriolically contemptuous of the antis, but I, and the Japanese, will take what we can get.

    • Eino says:

      PissedOffAmerican – When dealing with the anti nuke or pro nuke stuff and considering democracy, it is always good to remember the Abraham Lincoln quote.

      “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

      You should respect the will of the people. People are human. Sometimes they are wrong.

      • PissedOffAmerican says:

        “Wrong”??? History is full of examples of what can happen when the people who are “right” impose thier will on the people who are “wrong”.

        How’s that worked out for us so far, Eino?

    • ddpalmer says:

      Then you must have missed this one from NHK.

      “30% said all of them should be decommissioned while 46% believe they should just be reduced. 22% think the number should just be maintained while only 1% said that the government and utilities should add more plants.”

      That would mean 69% want at least some nukes.

      http://japandailypress.com/survey-says-80-of-japanese-dont-want-nuclear-plants-anymore-1045537/

      You have to ignore the articles headline as it is proven false when the actual data in the article is read. Typical of a bias media.

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    BTW, Rod. I am mindful of the fact that my comments rarely, (or actually, never), delve into, (or exhibit an understanding of), nuclear science. Through this awareness I experience a bit of insecurity over whether or not I’m simply an irritation to this blog community. If so, I hope you would let me know, because that is surely not my intent.

    Should you consider my participation here unwelcome, I hope you would let me know, and i will simply cease my participation.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @POA

      I enjoy our discussions, so please continue to hang around.

      I think I get where you are coming from, but I have been fortunate enough to have met a lot of very good, hard-working, intelligent and moral people. My life experience is reasonably broad; I’ve lived in Florida, Maryland, South Carolina, Connecticut, California, New York, and Virginia. I’ve changed jobs about every 24-36 months for the past 33 years. I’ve been in big organizations, scoured bilges, swept floors, and made presentations in top level boardrooms. I’ve been a member of community groups, served on the board of a large Little League (ending up as President, sort of by accident), been on the vestry at a church, and sailed with five different groups of young people for a month at a time.

      I’ve taught English courses, engineering courses, seamanship courses and ethics courses. I’ve also spent a lot of time by myself swimming laps, going on long bike rides, hiking the AT (with a buddy, but often many paces apart), and writing in the wee hours of the morning.

      I’ve participated in raising two accomplished children to become independent adults and now enjoy playing with three grandchildren as often as possible.

      Most of those experiences make me an optimist, though I sometimes would call myself a “disappointed American.”

    • mjd says:

      POA, not all of your concerns should be blown off all of the time. I agree with some of the examples you give of historical events that can lead to mistrust. And you have stated here recently you are shifting from anti to at least willing to listen. Here’s a rather specific example for review, by someone involved in the Kemeny Commission review of TMI, who had a significant differing opinion on one or two topics. This opinion was true at the time, thirty five years ago; hopefully things have changed.
      http://www.pddoc.com/tmi2/kemeny/supplemental_view_by_bruce_babbitt.htm
      You might enjoy reading that.

      Babbitt’s opinion is indirectly related to the earlier post about pursuing more nuke powered commercial shipping. I think it is a potential for disaster, not technically, but I don’t see how they could be effectively regulated. As Babbitt says, not everybody who can buy a nuke plant is qualified to operate one. By the time shipping entities get qualified, the total infrastructure to do that, will show it is not economically feasible. There are 1000 foot tankers running with a total crew of 15. A nuke sub might have that many on one shift, in just the nuke plant portion of the sub.

      • Rod Adams says:

        @mjd

        You wrote:

        As Babbitt says, not everybody who can buy a nuke plant is qualified to operate one. By the time shipping entities get qualified, the total infrastructure to do that, will show it is not economically feasible. There are 1000 foot tankers running with a total crew of 15. A nuke sub might have that many on one shift, in just the nuke plant portion of the sub.

        The key to economic success in this area is to focus on the early adopters, the ships that can benefit from operating at high power. Compared to buying distillate fuel for a 75 – 200 MW power plant, operators are pretty cheap.

        By the way, your numbers on the engineering shift on a submarine are outdated. Even in my day it was not that high; my whole department, including the A-gang and ICmen was 46 people.

        • mjd says:

          My numbers are still good enough to make my point. A department of 46 divided by 3 for normal watch standing shifts is 15/shift. Just for Engineering watches. Tankers are running with that number as total crew. Navy nuke operators are cheap help, hardly the case for civilian nukes or even US Merchant Marine sailors. When civilian nukes grumble about the fixed overhead they always mention the minimum manning for continuous service manpower can’t get any lower. So it’s the operators, security, and maybe some minimum maintenance and admin support. You can’t get lower with a nuke. Add the cost of the Shipping Company new infrastructure to be qualified to run a nuke. Include the constant re-training cost, etc. I think if the numbers showed it was do-able, it would be happening. Add the regulatory cost; how will it work, who will pay? That cost clearly belongs with the business using the service. Your students studying the issue need to look at that stuff. That’s where the pinch points are, not the tech stuff. Nukes demand more, you can’t run them on a shoestring, especially if they are entering destinations all over the world. It ain’t going to happen.

          • Rod Adams says:

            @mjd

            I agree that you cannot operate on a shoestring. I also know that well qualified operators earn a decent salary, especially in the merchant marine.

            However, ship propulsion would not be competing against $2.00 per MMBTU coal, subsidized wind, or $5.00/MMBTU natural gas.

            It is competing against distillate, low sulfur diesel fuel that has to be carried on board in sufficient quantities for a several thousand mile journey with a safety buffer.

            That provides the head room to make it economical if done properly. There are good reasons why it is not being done yet, but many of those reasons are being overcome by events. For example, the IMO rules on sulfur emissions just kicked in within the past year or so. Up until then, ships could burn residual oil with up to 20,000 ppm sulfur. That was pretty cheap stuff because there weren’t very many customers who could consume it.

          • PissedOffAmerican says:

            I can’t help but wonder how the insurance industry would deal with the prospect of insuring a nuclear powered commercial vessel.

          • Rod Adams says:

            @POA

            That is a legitimate question that will have to carefully addressed in any effort to make the idea into reality. It cannot be postponed or glossed over, but it also cannot be solved in the comment thread of a blog.

            I will, however, remind you that the global marine insurance industry has figured out how to address the remote, but certainly greater than zero, probability that an LNG tanker will have a serious event while operating in or near a high population area.

          • PissedOffAmerican says:

            “…..out how to address the remote, but certainly greater than zero, probability that an LNG tanker will have a serious event while operating in or near a high population area”

            An increasing possibility, if one is mindful of the front page article in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times. Seems LNG exportation is set to enjoy massive escalation due to the use of fracking.

            Are we really so stupid that these despicable snake oil salesmen in DC can run such blatant cons on us while tittering with mirth as thier handlers rape our environment. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t these policies such as fracking sold to us by them blathering some idiocy about “decreasing our dependency on foreign oil”?? If we are in the position of exporting our fossil fuel products, then, really, how “dependent” are we?

            This Keystone charade, listen to these scumballs in DC touting the “jobs” and “energy independence”, when really its all about getting the sludge to a area that eases the logistics of exportation.

            Its to the point that we should probably be thinking about having the term “idiot” tattooed on the foreheads of anyone seeking to enter a polling booth. The minute you step to either side of the aisle, you best have on your hip waders.

  11. Daniel says:

    I never thought much of Lady Barbara Judge. Maybe her name. Anyway today while discussing the new cold war between Russia and the western world, she made a very good observation that maybe can inspire the World Bank:

    Those who need nuclear power the most are those who can’t afford it.

    Love you Lady Barbara Judge. Smart move Russia in helping those who can’t finance it. e4.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/101507755

    • Daniel says:

      Of course in that article above, you’ll find remarks from the totally insignificant Cooper from the Vermont School of whatever.

      You’ve been warned.

      • Rod Adams says:

        @Daniel

        In spite of Cooper remarks, that is a thoughtful article. Thank you for sharing it. There might be a post referencing it sometime in the future.

        • Daniel says:

          Cooper is basically saying that Vietnamese, contrary to the Finns, would never be smart enough to operate on their own a Russian built and financed reactor.

          They are from the third world after all.

          Shame on you Cooper and all that you stand for.

          • jmdesp says:

            I actually quite enjoyed reading what he wrote. He’s getting not very far from the non-sense overload stage. He doesn’t want the US to export nuclear. The trouble is that if the US doesn’t do it, then someone else will, and is actually doing it now, very successfully. He then explains us this will fail.

            But wouldn’t it make more sense for the US to do it instead, more safely ? And what if it doesn’t fail ? How stupid will he look if his strategy didn’t reduce in any way the amount of nuclear deployed, but just made sure someone else than the US would build it ? Will he be left saying that those newly built nuclear plant are very dangerous and their build was not commendable ?
            But wasn’t he the one responsible for that by blocking the construction of safer US nuclear plants ?

            His position is really one step away from untenable. If those countries are determined to build nuclear, there’s no defensible reason why the best choice wouldn’t be a US plant. Except if you think an EPR would be better ;-)

          • Jeff Walther says:

            “How stupid will he look if his strategy didn’t reduce in any way the amount of nuclear deployed, but just made sure someone else than the US would build it ? Will he be left saying that those newly built nuclear plant are very dangerous and their build was not commendable ?”

            But will anyone call him on it in public? If this kind of thing happened, wouldn’t most of the anti-nuclear players already have well-deserved public reputations as liars or at the very least, chicken littles?

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Daniel – Lady Barbara was once a guest on the Atomic Show. She is an admirable administrator.

  12. Bill Hannahan says:

    Seems to me a few engineers and lawyers could create a profitable cottage industry suing people and organizations on behalf of the human race, that repeatably spout false information.

    Stay out of the gray area, just the facts. Send them irrefutable references, then, if they say it again, sue.

    If Lovins, Gunderson and UCS each lost a million dollar law suit, it would go a long way toward leveling the playing field for nuclear.

    • PissedOffAmerican says:

      Then what? We sue the global warming deniers? The Creationists???

      Perhaps we can sue those that have an unpopular belief about “when life begins”, eh?

      Or, maybe we can simply jail those nasty anti anythings, as Daniel suggests, eh?

      Thats it, we’ll go after the all the antis. Doesn’t matter what they’re opposed to, we’ll just declare a Global War On Anti-ism.

      Put me on board, brother. I’ve got a nieghbor that hates dogs.

      • Bill Hannahan says:

        POA

        Perhaps in your rush to respond you skipped the second sentence.

        “Stay out of the gray area, just the facts. Send them irrefutable references, then, if they say it again, sue.”

        The answer to your questions is YES if they comply with the above sentence.

        • NP says:

          I guess if facts were “universally known” then the world would look a lot different than it does.

          When I see the WIPP president go on video and telling common folk that inhaling plutonium is the same as a dental Xray….well, that is amazing.

          What side of that “fact” do you weight in on?

    • Engineer-Poet says:

      Sue them for what?  You have to have standing to sue, meaning you need to be able to show damages.  Without a credible claim of damages, you’re done before you file.  Also, we in the USA have this thing called the First Amendment, and many states have SLAPP laws which are designed to specifically bar lawsuits aimed at silencing people, no matter how wrong they are.

      If you can get over those bars you need piles of money, which the likes of Lovins and Gundersen can get in abundance from all the anti-nuke organizations and their FF-mining backers.  Then you need years of time.

      It’s easier to change minds with education than lawsuits.

      • Bill Hannahan says:

        @EP

        “Sue them for what? You have to have standing to sue”

        It would be a class action suit on behalf of the human race which is denied the full benefit of nuclear power due to the false statements they spew.

        “we in the USA have this thing called the First Amendment”

        It does not protect you if you shout FIRE in a crowded theater when there is no fire, which is how some anti nuc’s have made a comfortable living for a long time.

        “you need piles of money”

        What for, for legal fees. Lawyers can produce the necessary documents at very low cost. They will be paid on contingency when they win. Many pro nuclear expert witnesses would be willing to testify at minimal expense. People and companies that support nuclear power would donate to such an enterprise.

        “the likes of Lovins and Gundersen can get (money) in abundance from all the anti-nuke organizations and their FF-mining backers.”

        I would much rather see them spend it on this than spreading lies about nuclear power.

        “Then you need years of time. It’s easier to change minds with education than lawsuits.”

        The years will pass if we do this or not. The current approach has failed for sixty years.

        I am not proposing this in lew of education; they can proceed in parallel. Indeed, punishing people for lying about nuclear power would be educational.

        • PissedOffAmerican says:

          Where do you stop? Do we sue when the White House BSes us into war using non-existent threats as a rationale? Or some nutjob gets up and claims that Adam and Eve walked with the dinosaurs?

          Its ALL about lies, myths, and conning, Bill. Thats what we’ve become. Thats simply business as usual now. And try attaining high office without a steaming bucket load of horse pucky to cram down the voter’s throats.

          Damn, if we sue every snake oil salesman that rolls down the pike, (particularly in the energy sector, the halls of congress, or mainstream media), we’ll have to have a courthouse on every corner, each one serviced by a busload of shyster lawyers trying to outslime each other in making a mockery of the law.

          And, uh, what about those that claim the kind of event that occurred at Fukushima was “unforeseeable”. You gonna march thier fannies off to the courtroom too? I hope not, because, if you do, this here blog community is gonna shrink a bit. Or you just gonna sue them that BS from the other side of the issue?

          The only good BS is our BS? Is that the game plan? Theres plenty to go around, after all.

  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “FUD Busters wanted/needed to explain to Winston-Salem what a disaster is!”

    I assume that those displaced by the Fukushima event have no trouble defining the term “disaster”. You might disagree with the actual justification for that displacement, but your disagreement in no way negates the actual disaster of that displacement in the lives of those experiencing it.

    Reading over the article you link to, I found it very easy to discern how the proponents of nuclear energy are loath to recognize how thier own past performance has contributed to thier fall from grace. The article really says very little about the science, instead focusing on historical assurances made in regards to safety. Assurances that were proven to be little more than empty promises. In that regard, I find the nuclear industry no worse, and no better, than the fossil fuel industry. Whether the scale of the risks associated with “accidents” such as TMI, Chernobyl, or Fukushima are exagerated or not, you are still victims of your own unfulfilled narrative. It just seems to me that many in the industry are unwilling to take responsibility for thier own part in failing to be responsible stewards of thier technology.

    I take issue with the article’s insinuation that the Fukushima event was unforeseable or unforeseen. In that respect, the article actually flatters the industry, unjustifiably.

    I find this constant catterwalling about this being a “non-disaster” a callous act of denial, that exhibits very little understanding of the hardship of being wrested from hearth and home by events beyond your control. Make no mistake, to thousands of Japanese, this truly qualifies as a true “disaster”, whether you accept that FACT or not.

    • Daniel says:

      Unforseable or not who cares. Zéro death from radiation And all land is habitable.

      • PissedOffAmerican says:

        “Unforseable or not who cares”

        Oh come on, Daniel, you can’t possibly be that blindly naive.

        Or is it that you think credibility is irrelevent?

        • Daniel says:

          I stick to facts. So do a lot of people on this board.

          • PissedOffAmerican says:

            “I stick to facts. So do a lot of people on this board”

            Well, your assertion that “no one cares” about whether or not the quake and tsunami were foreseable can hardly be considered a “fact”.

            Actually, it amazes me that you would make such an assertion with a straight face. You really don’t see what assertions such as that do to your credibility?

    • Rod Adams says:

      @POA

      You wrote:

      I find this constant catterwalling about this being a “non-disaster” a callous act of denial, that exhibits very little understanding of the hardship of being wrested from hearth and home by events beyond your control. Make no mistake, to thousands of Japanese, this truly qualifies as a true “disaster”, whether you accept that FACT or not.

      I am beginning to agree with you that Fukushima was — and is — a disaster. Not only are there tens of thousands of people who have been forced to relocate from their homes, but there is an entire nation whose economy is suffering from the effects of paying for scraping topsoil, gathering leaves and spraying down buildings. There are children who are growing up without the benefits of healthy exercise and the mental benefits of freedom to play outside. There are also 50 operable, emission free, low fuel cost power plants that are idle while about $50 billion worth of fossil fuel per year is being burned to replace their output.

      Now that I have admitted there is a disaster that continues, what is the best way to halt the bleeding? Who needs to take action? How can people who understand the real health effects of radiation help others to understand that they can go about their lives without too much worry?

      • PissedOffAmerican says:

        “Now that I have admitted there is a disaster that continues, what is the best way to halt the bleeding? Who needs to take action? How can people who understand the real health effects of radiation help others to understand that they can go about their lives without too much worry?”

        Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I had an answer for you? But certainly, belittling the hardship this event has placed on the lives of thousands of Japanese ain’t it.

        If your science is sound, than deduction tells us the citation of that science isn’t the answer either. Why? Well, because, obviously, it ain’t working.

        I think the actual science is too cumbersome. Most of us are simply are too engrossed in putting food on the table, and marketing our own industries and skills, to put forth the time and effort required to examine and draw conclusions from and about your science.

        So, perhaps rather than convincing us that the health risks involved in exposures are exaggerated, you should be convincing us that exposures will not occur. The industry has failed miserably in this respect. While the science is above most of our heads, the track record of your industry is not. Events such as Fukushima only feed the narratives of the antis, and every time what can’t happen does happen, your industry only falls further from favor. This isn’t the antis fault, its “your” industry’s fault. “You” have not been responsible stewards of your technology in many ways, and whether its a comfortable admission or not, surely on some level you must realize the dismal self portrait that the Fukushima event has painted. This mantra of it being a non-event simply does not resonate, particularly when the shrill screams of the antis are drowning out your counter claims.

        “No one died” is a pretty shallow dismissal of what this event has wrought on Japan and your industry. Events such as this are not only a “disaster” to the affected population, they are also a “disaster” to your industry. I have no doubt that nuclear powerplants can be an important component of our energy future. I consider it inevitable. But only if the industry not only assures us “it can’t happen”, but actually shows us “it won’t happen”. I realize its a pretty high hurdle, but I honestly believe its one you have to leap. Another Fukushima might well ring the death knell for atomic energy in the foreseable future. Are there any “it can’t happens” about to happen in any of our current operating plants? You guys better look hard and long at that possibility, because I believe the reaction here would be every bit the “disaster” that the reaction in Japan has been.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @POA

          I don’t want to argue with you, but I don’t believe that the industry has ever said something can’t happen. As a point of fact, I have been more willing than almost anyone to say that something is impossible, but I don’t represent the industry and never have.

          The regulations and the safety analysis reports always have acknowledged that bad things can happen and that radiation can be released. We often say that the probability is low – and it is – but low probability events happen.

          There are more than 400 nuclear power plants around the world. Most have been operating for a couple of decades. Though the record is certainly not perfect, it has not been as bad as some like to claim. It really is worth noting that our accidents have generally not resulted in any deaths, especially among members of the general public, while accidents among our competitive energy sources have killed dozens to hundreds of people.

          • PissedOffAmerican says:

            “I don’t want to argue with you, but I don’t believe that the industry has ever said something can’t happen”

            I’m not rying to be “argumentive” in an adversarial sense, Rod.

            And I agree, the industry hasn’t to my knowledge directly asserted “it can’t happen”. But it is the public’s interpretation of the industry’s assurances that is the crux of the issue, and I believe as a general rule what the public has “heard” in thier interpretation of the assurances is “it can’t happen”.

            Did those living near Fukushima hear anyone say “We just might experience meltdowns in the event of a major quake and tsunami”? I think its safe to assume that those living near Fukushima assumed the industry’s assurances were an assurance that they would never find themselves in the predicament they now find themselves.

            I have read here on occassion comments that seem to strongly deny that our own plants can suffer the same kinds of failures and breakdowns that the Fukushima plant has experienced. Its reasonable to interpret that as an assertion that “it can’t happen”.

          • Rod Adams says:

            @POA

            No one can control what other people hear, we can only control what we say.

            That said, the public would have a better chance of hearing the messages that we want them to hear if the industry would pony up and spend some money on routine ads during both good times and bad. The head-down, leave us alone, we’re busy marketing just does not work.

            The other good reason to advertise is that it makes the commercial media just a little less antagonistic when something bad happens. They’ll cover it, but they won’t crucify a customer quite as harshly as a company that does not purchase their product.

      • NP says:

        Rod I see the “value added per year” as being about $4.2B aggregate nuke plants in Japan. At a cleanup cost of say $600B, not to mention societal cost like disease, that means that nukes would have to run for 150 years to “break even”

        800 mW ave plant size
        7500 H/yr
        6000000 MWH
        $200 per MWH
        $1,200,000,000 Gross sales per year
        10% Value above cost to produce–Value added
        $120,000,000
        35 # of plants that could operate
        $4,200,000,000 Value added per year

      • mjd says:

        @ Rod Adams March 23, 2014 at 6:03 PM
        “Now that I have admitted there is a disaster that continues, what is the best way to halt the bleeding? Who needs to take action?”

        You’ve already heard my answer. Japan’s Fed Gov needs to take action, it has become beyond the bankrupted TEPCO. Japan is subsidizing the world’s largest tritium production factory with no way out until the country is bankrupt. Plus they have added the bal of trade debt by NG imports for power. They are getting bad advice from every nuke nation on the planet with “we’ll help you restore it to green (because we want the money the impossible job will cost)”. The first thing they need to do is restart the nukes for power; if they don’t want them long-term work that out long-term. But first, re-visit the history of why they have them.

        Second, entomb the plants including from underneath, with steel boxes that will cool by natural convection. Accept their dead zone, and walk away; let their economy recover. But the nuke world does not want to look at those 3 tombstones forever, so nobody will tell them to do that.

        @ POA several places. I totally agree with you “communication” assessment. When the public hears “safe” they hear 100%, as in it won’t happen. When it does happen, nukes shift the argument to “well OK it happened, but it won’t hurt you.” Now nukes are arguing from the position of a liar. I really can’t understand why this is so hard to see by nukes. Look at how many forms of the word safe are used in nuke press releases. The public hears 100%. That never was the case, and also that fact has never been hidden by any form of regulatory authority in granting licenses. It has always been “acceptable risk”, to the regulator. The public understands acceptable risk; they deal with it daily, driving a car for example. The nuke argument really needs to change on the front end to acceptable risk (and compared to the alternatives). How many times on this blog, since Fukushima, have we all seen “it won’t hurt you” from dozens of experts? And even if true, they argue from the position of a liar because of how “safe” is perceived. I don’t plan on stopping this sermon until the message changes.

        • PissedOffAmerican says:

          “When the public hears “safe” they hear 100%, as in it won’t happen. When it does happen, nukes shift the argument to “well OK it happened, but it won’t hurt you.” Now nukes are arguing from the position of a liar”

          Bingo.

        • PissedOffAmerican says:

          Mjd, I apologize, as your comment deserves more than a simple “bingo”.

          But really I don’t know what to add. You said it perfectly. Its my hope that Rod and others read your comment carefully, as it fully explains a point I’ve been trying, (unsuccesfully, I think), to drive home since I arrived here.

          • mjd says:

            POA, Rod gets it. If you read his posts he always states there are risks in every tech, and “acceptable” is always subjective to the end listener’s opinion. He focuses on education and fact to influence the opinion. I want to change the front end message, to attack the problem from both directions at once. The main communication problem is with nuke “spokesmen” like NEI, even NRC. They will use 10 different forms of “safe” in a two paragraph discussion and I honestly believe the public, used to short sound bites, simply hears 100% (it is also indirectly implied). The message needs to change. I tend to attribute the bad messaging to “institutional arrogance” on the part of the messagers. They really think the public is too stupid (ignorant) to understand a risk based discussion, which is an insult to the public. That’s a double whammy credibility problem. BTW, I heard you, but you are preaching my sermon too.

            There was a previous comment link to a BBC program called “Are Nuclear Plants Safe?” That program is named wrong; it should be “Are Nuclear Plants too Risky?” Then you can get into the comparison discussion. I think the current name will get a lot of simple “no, because they have accidents”. Yup, occasionally they do, about 3 in ~40 years, all preventable. It’s not the accident per se, they are licensed (in the USA) on the acceptability of the consequences (to NRC). Institutionally arrogant folks don’t want to do the simple work to explain the process, which is easy to understand. Do you want door number 1 or door number 2? Tell them what’s behind the doors, the public is not stupid.

          • Rod Adams says:

            @mjd

            Do you want door number 1 or door number 2? Tell them what’s behind the doors, the public is not stupid.

            I believe you have identified the reason the messages are not effective. The electricity/power equipment industry has good reasons to avoid a direct comparison of the boogymen behind each of the available doors. No energy source is perfect. If it was perfectly safe, it wouldn’t be much use because there would be no power to harm anyone. They all have costs; no one would ever bother to start a business that tries to sell a product that was free at all times.

            NOte: Commercial media tries to convince people that it’s product is “free”, but most people do not realize that we are the product and the customers are the people who purchase advertisements to sell their product in between the entertainment that the media provides to capture our attention. Facebook and Google use a similar model.

    • jmdesp says:

      @PoA : You underestimate the number of Japanese for whom the true disaster is the 18 000 deaths from the tsunami. There is actual individual people killed. It’s families with no kids anymore, it’s orphaned kids, it’s people who had good friend and their friend is now brutally dead.
      See http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304020104579428762391505606 “Tsunami Takes Mental Toll on Japan Town”
      And this http://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/a01904/ “Talking with the Dead Through Invisible Grief”

      You should read also about the story of 24 year old US teacher Taylor Anderson who was killed by the tsunami in Ishinomaki : http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/life_and_death/AJ201402180008 “Strong U.S.-Japan bond formed in aftermath of 3/11″

    • Joris van Dorp says:

      An analogy perhaps.

      Last year, there was a frightful hubbub in my country (the Netherlands) because a fire burned down a building suspected of containing asbestos. As a result of the ensuing media frenzy, caused by fear-mongering statements on public television by what later turned out to be a salesman for an asbestos cleanup company, an entire neighbourhood (medium density with residential flats) was evacuated for several days. Finally, it was established that the amount of asbestos released by the fire was and could have been nothing other than tiny and posed no risk.

      So what happened in the aftermath of this? Was the evacuation put in place permanently ‘just in case’ or on the basis of overblown risk perception? Were all other buildings around the country similarly containing legacy asbestos locked down and declared off limits? Were new regulations put in place to ‘make asbestos containing buildings safer’?

      No, no, and no. What did happen is that people realized that accurate information from reliable, independent experts could have (and would have, as it was established) prevented the panic and evacuations. The local mayor was actually faulted in the media for not controlling the situation to prevent the panic in the first place!

      Now why didn’t a similar thing happen at Fukushima? I think it was because there are many powerful interest groups who like fear, uncertainty and doubt about nuclear power to be maximized at all times. It’s not like the asbestos issue where there is only one, small group (asbestos cleanup companies) who are interested in promoting unreasonable concern.

      The end of the Fukushima crisis will come when the most important lesson of all is learned, namely that *even when* there is a triple meltdown, the risk to the public is not extraordinary. It is in fact minimal, compared with run-of-the-mill, every-day risks and certainly compared to the risk of morbid radiophobia. Just like at Chernobyl. Living in a city like Central London causes worse health effects than being among the 6 million people contaminated by Chernobyl, let alone the few hundred thousand at Fukushima.

      The main lesson learned IMO is that using nuclear power requires accurate, reliable information for the public, both before and after nuclear accidents. This is not to be contrived as an ‘external cost of nuclear power’. Such information provision should be part of the basic curriculum of high school kids. It is simply education, no more, no less. It is not a ‘cost’.

      • Mitch says:

        Triple ditto, Joris.

        “I think what we come away with here is that there are people with personal and ideological beefs against nuclear so deep that even nuclear history and safety records and mortality scores and environmental facts aren’t going to turn them from turning over every grain of sand on the beach to find something wrong with the thing they so reasonlessly hate.

        I’d like to ignore such people totally except that their hang-ups block progress and poison the waters of truth to the public to sow and soothe their nuclear fear. Worst, their selfish dictatorship of FUD and protest denies others who really need it from getting historically proven good clean safe power. That’s totally unforgivable.””

      • Daniel says:

        April 1, 2014 is the day some of the evacuation zones are lifted and people can go home.

        Finally. I cannot help the article by Dr Conca where he was baffled that he could sit at home freely eating a bag of chips everyday while Japanese citizens where forcefully evacuated from their homes thru less exposures than that received by a daily bag of Lays.

        And I know that. And you know that. And they know that.

        And we all accept that.

  14. SteveK9 says:

    Radioactive Wolves is a great program. If you have not seen it, you really should.

    I doubt there is any more effective response to the Caldicott nonsense. It’s a rival for Pandora’s Promise.

    I’m not surprised they picked up on the dormice. These are practically living inside the reactor, and even there the mutations are not great and they are not fatal. They are honestly reported in the story. But that is really the only case of radiation effects that were found. There are very high levels in the catfish (I think they are swimming around in the cooling ponds), but they look fine, along with the hawks (and I think I remember eagles) eating them. Same with the wolves, much higher levels than normal, but they don’t seem to be suffering any ill effects.

    Maybe the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone will someday open to the public as a wildlife preserve (well, in a rational universe maybe).

  15. mjd says:

    Bill, I’ve maintained for years that same approach should be used in Licensing hearings. For literally the price of a postage stamp an intervener can make a false technical claim in a plant Licensing hearing. The prospective licensee can expend hundreds of thousands of dollars disproving the claim, as well as lost schedule time causing delays.

    When the claim gets ruled upon by a law court, such as the ASLB, as technically wrong or even frivolous, the licensee has been financially harmed. If your neighbor does something like that such that it causes financial damages, you can clearly sue and recover the damages from your neighbor. A fitting reward for behavior intended to simply run the licensee out of money by causing financial harm.

    I really don’t understand why it is not done. Not a lawyer, but most civil law is based on well established common law precedent. And the right to recover financial damages by the injured party is not even questionable. Maybe there is something unique I am not aware off, but this seems pretty basic to me.

    • Bill Hannahan says:

      mjd, I agree.

      Intervener’s comments should require a substantive combination of facts logic and analysis to be considered.

  16. David Walters says:

    Well, one of the saving graces of this months Fuku anniversary is that the anti-nukes, like the on Rod rights about at the symposium, are losing steam. Last year they had a problem keeping it in the news, this year, the anniversary received far less coverage than it did last year, and the year before that. I find that interesting.

    Among the speculative Sci-Fi were the usual experts rolled out to predict an uncontrolled fire due to TEPCO’s handling of the spent fuel rods (now over 400 of them have been safely removed). Despite prediction of having to abandon the planet’ northern hemisphere (Caldicott) and “all the fuel rods burning” (Gurndersnt, Sazuki, Kaku) none of this has come to pass.

    David

  17. Karl Johanson says:

    Re Dr. Alexy Yablokov’s claim of a million (985,000) deaths from Chernobyl, in “Chernobyl Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment. ”
    The figure is an extrapolation from their claims of the number of clean up crew who died.

    They say, “From 112,000 to 125,000 liquidators died before 2005—that is, some 15% of the 830,000 members of the Chernobyl cleanup teams.” To see if this is significant, we need to look at the expected death toll. The Russian death rate: 14.3/1000 per year. The clean up crews didn’t include elderly workers, which lowers the expected death toll number. The crews didn’t include pre-adults, which raises it back somewhat. The crews were pretty much all male, raising it more. But going with that number, the expected death toll in the 19 years (1986 to 2005) would be somewhere around 225,500. *Their numbers* (112,000 to 125,000) indicates don’t indicate an increased death toll among the clean up workers, in fact they suggest the precise opposite.

  18. mjd says:

    The Crazy “They Are Safe” argument. This discussion is based on my belief the the public really hears 100% safe when nuke spokespersons say nuke plants are safe. And why we need to change that “safe” everyplace it is used to “acceptable risk.” Sorry for the long comment.

    Background:
    The policy statement on reactor safety goals was initiated because of recommendations of the President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island. The content of the policy statement was discussed in many forums before the Commission issued Safety Goals for the Operation of Nuclear Power Plants. The Safety Goal Policy Statement expressed the Commission’s policy regarding the acceptable level of radiological risk from nuclear power plant operation as follows:

    Individual members of the public should be provided a level of protection from the consequences of nuclear power plant operation such that individuals bear no significant additional risk to life and health.

    Societal risks to life and health from nuclear power plant operation should be comparable to or less than the risks of generating electricity by viable competing technologies and should not be a significant addition to other societal risks.

    The following quantitative objectives are used in determining achievement of the above safety goals:

    MJD note: the use of “safe” in the above is the only time that word is referenced.

    • The risk to an average individual in the vicinity of a nuclear power plant of prompt fatalities that might result from reactor accidents should not exceed one-tenth of one percent (0.1 percent) of the sum of prompt fatality risks resulting from other accidents to which members of the U.S. population are generally exposed.

    Whew, that’s a mouthful, lets look at an example. NYC has 8 million people, Indian Point NPP is nearby up river on the Hudson. There are a ton of ways you can get killed in NYC, run over by cab, shot by a bad guy, gas line explodes, you name it. And our government is famous for keeping track of all, so you can get an actual number. Let’s say ave year is 10,000 people from ALL ACCIDENTAL DEATHS (I know, too low), but is that even a level playing field? Why use the total; why not just the worst offender (cabs?)? Next we can calculate IPNPP can only kill 10,000 X .001 = 10. These deaths are the early deaths from either LD50-30 or LD100 doses. Does that represent “no significant additional risk”? Heck no, that’s about saying zero risk. I don’t care what starting number you use, the .1% multiplier in no way represents any reasonable understanding of “significant additional risk!!!. I can only interpret this as NRC is spreading radio-phobia. I don’t care if I get run over by a cab or 1000 Rem from IPNPP, I’m just as dead. This methodology not only spreads radio-phobia by implying “Death by IPNPP” needs to be limited to an extremely small fraction of virtually everything else that can accidentally kill you in NYC, it is directly contrary to the concept of the stated goal of “no significant additional risk.”

    Does this say 100% safe? Heck no, in fact in simple English it says we’ll tell you how many an IPNPP accident is allowed to kill.

    The elephant in the room in this goal is the assumption the plant is kept within its Design Basis, such that risk based PRA accident probability and consequence calcs stay within assumptions. Is that what happened at Fukushima Daiichi? Why I do believe they not only had 3 severe core damage accidents, and 3 partial Containment failures, but were also subjected to 3 unique events outside of each plant Design Basis. And I do believe that tragedy still easily hit the above “safety goal”.

    I am not in anyway understating the tragedy of that event. I am making the point that if the public thinks “safe” means 100% guarantee of no accidents, we need to change the messaging about what is actually the goal in the USA and how it is done. And it is really not zero risk, never has been, and not beyond anybody to understand an acceptable risk and consequences discussion. Let’s change the message on the front end; right now.

    The correct message is both the risk and consequences are acceptable to the lawful regulatory authority. And for my nickle, me too, compared to the alternatives.

  19. Bill Hannahan says:

    @POA

    “Where do you stop (suing the liers)?

    When they stop lying about nuclear power.

    “we’ll have to have a courthouse on every corner,”

    When the first lier looses a case, the number of liers will drop 90%.
    When the second lier looses, the number will droop another 90%.

    “And, uh, what about those that claim the kind of event that occurred at Fukushima was “unforeseeable”.”

    UCS can sue them if they continue lying after being informed of the facts, successfully I hope.

  20. Mitch says:

    >>> mjd
    March 23, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Bill, I’ve maintained for years that same approach should be used in Licensing hearings. For literally the price of a postage stamp an intervener can make a false technical claim in a plant Licensing hearing. The prospective licensee can expend hundreds of thousands of dollars disproving the claim, as well as lost schedule time causing delays.

    Bill Hannahan
    March 23, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    mjd, I agree.

    Intervener’s comments should require a substantive combination of facts logic and analysis to be considered. <<<

    EXCELLENT topic for a Atomic Show!!!!!

  21. Patrick Walden says:

    Joffan wrote on March 22, 2014 @ 9:59AM
    with regards to the Mousseau piece
    “I strongly doubt that the area-of-annulus speculation can be used to challenge the study. A typical sampling methodology would use a fixed area and defined process to make the observations for each site visited.”
    This worried me quite a bit until I saw this criticism of Mousseau and Møller’s work by N.A. Beresford et al. concerning a similar research result at Fukushima.
    http://tuda.triumf.ca/Global_warming/nuclear_power/fukushima_birds_critique.pdf
    In this criticism of Mousseau’s group’s work was this statement.
    “Any conclusions concerning the relationship between abundance and radiation that do not take both area and species into consideration are not justified by the statistical analysis as presented in Table 1.”
    Thus there are questions of Mousseau and Møller’s accounting for the area effect. However we must remember that Mousseau et al. findings are not in accord with other researchers in the field such as this study by Robert J Baker et al.
    http://tuda.triumf.ca/Global_warming/nuclear_power/environment/Mammals_from_ChernobylSite.pdf
    which states,
    “The small-mammal fauna is abundant in both number of individuals and number of species even in the most radioactive sites within the 10-km zone. The diversity of mammals within and outside the 10-km and 30-km exclusion zone appears comparable…Based on our observations, the magnitude of morphological and chromosomal aberrancy is not sufficient to readily identify the site as radioactively polluted without electronic sensing devices.”
    In other words, these findings are in direct contradiction of the findings of Mousseau et al.
    Since Mousseau et al. seem to be the only ones finding a nuclear wasteland in an environment returning to its natural state, we are tempted to assume that they are doing something wrong such as not doing their studies in accordance with Joffan’s proper procedures, and it is clear that N.A. Beresford et al. suspect this. Also since Mousseau hobnobs with the likes of Helen Caldicott, Arnie Gundersen, Robert Alvarez, Joseph Mangano, Akio Matsumura, Alexy Yablokov, and Janette Sherman, all known to have told whoppers concerning the dangers of radiation, we are prone to suspect his results purely through guilt by association.
    As a last piece of evidence against the findings of Mousseau et al. we have another article co-authored by Robert J. Baker,
    http://tuda.triumf.ca/Global_warming/nuclear_power/environment/Chesser%20Baker%2006%20Chernobyl.pdf
    in which a group is criticized, under lesson 6, for doing sloppy work on Barn Swallows within the Chernobyl zone. Mousseau’s group did work on Barn Swallows.
    http://tuda.triumf.ca/Global_warming/nuclear_power/environment/Biol.%20Lett.-2007-Møller-414-7.pdf