Jaczko comes out as avowed antinuclear activist

Greg Jaczko has recently admitted publicly what many of us in the nuclear world have known for the better part of a decade; he is now an avowed antinuclear activist instead of one who tries to hide his real nature.

He came out at the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference when he made the public pronouncement that all 104 nuclear power plants operating in the United States, and presumably all of the other 250 or so large light water nuclear power plants that use the technology that we invented here, are fundamentally unsafe and should be phased out completely.

When asked why he is going public with his position now, after serving for seven years and four months on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the agency of the US federal government that is tasked with enabling safe nuclear energy to protect the public health, promote common defense and security and to protect the environment, Jaczko stated that he had only come to the understanding recently, after watching the industry come together to devise its response to the Fukushima meltdowns.

Apparently, Dr. Jaczko has recently discovered that nuclear fission reactors produce radioactive isotopes that continue to generate heat, even after the fission has been stopped by inserting control rods. Since this heat needs to be dissipated by some kind of active or passive fluid movement to prevent the core from overheating and possibly melting, Dr. Jaczko has determined that the engineering effort required to reliably remove the heat is simply too hard.

Aside: I hope you all understand that I wrote that with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. End Aside.

Here is a quote from Matt Wald’s piece in the New York Times about Greg Jaczko’s admission of antinuclear tendencies.

Asked why he did not make these points when he was chairman, Dr. Jaczko said in an interview after his remarks, “I didn’t really come to it until recently.”

“I was just thinking about the issues more, and watching as the industry and the regulators and the whole nuclear safety community continues to try to figure out how to address these very, very difficult problems,” which were made more evident by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, he said. “Continuing to put Band-Aid on Band-Aid is not going to fix the problem.”

The nuclear industry has responded firmly, but very politely, to Dr. Jaczko’s implication that we are all hopelessly misguided for bothering to devise systems and procedures that overcome the challenge of dissipating decay heat, an issue that has been well understood since about 1942. Here is a quote from a Platts article titled US nuclear power plants are safe, despite Jaczko remarks: NEI CEO.

US nuclear power plants are operating safely, and safety has been enhanced by upgrades since the Fukushima-1 accident in Japan, a nuclear industry representative said in response Tuesday to a former US Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman’s remarks Monday about design flaws in plants.

“US nuclear energy facilities are operating safely,” Nuclear Energy Institute President and CEO Marvin Fertel said. “That was the case prior to Greg Jaczko’s tenure as [US] Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman. It was the case during his tenure as NRC’s chairman, as acknowledged by the NRC’s special Fukushima response task force and evidenced by a multitude of safety and performance indicators. It is still the case today, particularly as every US nuclear energy facility adds yet another layer of safety by implementing lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident.”

I’m not as polite or constrained, especially in the case in which someone like Jaczko is abusing his former politically appointed position in service of the taxpayers of the United States to take action that will impose enormous harm to both the environment and the economy. Nuclear plants are not only safe, they are reliable, economical generators of emission free electricity. They are well maintained, paid-for assets that can continue to operate into the distant future, just like our hydroelectric dams and other parts of our valuable, but inevitably aging infrastructure.

By coming out in opposition to the continued operation of those plants Dr. Jaczko has declared war on me, my colleagues, my children and my grandchildren. He deserves scorn and should stand ready to have his motives and his technical competence challenged by those of us who know he is dangerously wrong.

Jaczko has a few friends and defenders in both the media and in the government. Here is a clip from the Thom Hartman show in which he supports Jaczko’s call for our operating nuclear plants to be replaced, but he increases Jaczko’s demand for new technology to a call for “No Nukes.”

Some of Jaczko’s political defenders are in powerful positions. There is a rumor running around, which surfaced again during Dr. Ernest Moniz’s hearing for confirmation as Secretary of Energy, that Senator Reid is pushing for Jaczko to be hired as a special advisor to the Department of Energy. That would be a travesty of almost epic proportions considering his dismal performance as Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and his proven disregard for both facts and for the law of the land. Those of us who see him for what he is need to stand up and challenge his credibility so that the additional damage he is able to do is as limited as possible.

I posted the following comment on a Grist post titled All U.S. nuclear reactors are too dangerous, says former nuke-safety chief:

Greg Jaczko is a politician with an unused degree in theoretical physics. He wrote his thesis about modeling the low energy behavior of baryons and mesons, a topic that helped him to spend his entire time at the University of Wisconsin without ever visiting its research reactor or taking any courses in thermodynamics, material science, nuclear power plant operation, or the health effects of radiation.

After being awarded his PhD in 1999, Greg immediately went to Washington, DC to a congressional office to work as a staffer, not to a research facility to perform post doc work. He chose to work for the most antinuclear congressman in the House, Rep. Ed Markey.

After three years with Markey, Jaczko marked time for a few months with a Senate staff and then began serving his current patron, Senator Harry Reid, as a “science advisor”. His main assignment was to halt all progress on the Yucca Mountain waste facility; Senator Reid had promised his campaign contributors in Las Vegas that he would not allow that facility to operate. Reid, of course, never talked to the people in Nye County, where the facility was located, to find out how they felt about the jobs that the work was bringing to their community.

By blocking about 100 judicial nominations, Reid was able to coerce the Bush Administration to appoint Mr. Jaczko to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Jaczko focused on the non-nuclear topic of fire protection for his first few years on the Commission, but even then, he demonstrated a lack of atomic understanding and a lack of interest in learning anything about the use of nuclear fission to produce reliable electrical power. That is a topic for which theoretical physicists have as much relevant education as a registered nurse.

There is no doubt in my mind that Greg has a plan. He apparently dreams of being a well-compensated antinuclear activist. His career models are Victor Gilinsky and Peter Bradford, two former NRC regulators that have made long careers as antinuclear activists.

He will probably deny that he understands that fighting nuclear energy simply increases the market for coal, oil and natural gas. He will most likely profess that he does not realize that working to prevent as many plants as possible and forcing as many operating plants as possible to stop producing electricity is the primary revenue source for many nonprofit groups.

That activity is the main reason that antinuclear organizations have little or no trouble raising funds from The Establishment. Bankers, rail interests, pipeline constructors, and fossil fuel extractors like selling as much fossil fuel as possible at a price that is driven higher by reducing competitive supplies.

I am fully aware of libel laws and actually hope that Mr. Jaczko determines that he would like to challenge any of my statements.

Rod Adams
Publisher, Atomic Insights

About Rod Adams

89 Responses to “Jaczko comes out as avowed antinuclear activist”

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  1. James Greenidge says:

    If this isn’t a call for the nuclear industry to pump its mojo and start cracking on the public education front in PSAs and nuclear blog teach-ins like yesterday, I don’t know what will. Greenpeace and the media will make hay of this in spades like an endorsement by a turncoat God. This is a VERY BAD public relations day for nuclear and for Indian Point and VY (totally unnecessary had nuclear been promoting itself all along, but as one mentioned, the chickens of neglect are coming home to roost). Watch this administration take and fund its “green energy” ideas with real gusto now. Rural dwellers, cherish your precious bucolic vistas while you can. Nuke advocates — including you Fusion and Thorium guys — ought help disseminate features of your years-long suspicion of Jak’s true colors to other nuclear blogs would help give them a heads-up as how to rebut. The NRC blog is going to be a very interesting site to hang!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    • Josh says:

      I knew Jaczko was bad news for the nuclear industry when he was appointed to the NRC, but he has sunk to an all new low with his recent remarks. Nuclear energy in the USA has had an outstanding safety record and this needs to be recognised. Its true that the industry could have done far more over the years to promote itself and fight the intense campaign of lies against it, but I can understand why some representatives would be reluctant to do this, because nuclear professionals supposedly lack credibility. That seems to be the view of all ratbag do-gooder cultural elites among the anti-nuclear crowd, and people reject nuclear technology on that basis. To me this is about as intelligent as neglecting to see a doctor regarding a health complaint just because doctors sometimes make mistakes or engage in unprofessional activities (despite the fact that doctors are also the most knowledgeable about health complaints).

  2. Brian Mays says:

    In other shocking news:

    Pope finally admits that he is a supporter of Catholicism.

    Yogi of Jellystone Park says that he doesn’t exit the forest before having a bowel movement.

  3. gmax137 says:

    Jaczko sure has an ally in NYT reporter Matt Wald. Take a look at the final paragraph of Wald’s piece (linked above in Rod’s post):

    “Dr. Jaczko resigned as chairman last summer after months of conflict with his four colleagues on the commission. He often voted in the minority on various safety questions, advocated more vigorous safety improvements, and was regarded with deep suspicion by the nuclear industry. A former aide to the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, he was appointed at Mr. Reid’s instigation and was instrumental in slowing progress on a proposed nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, about 100 miles from Las Vegas.”

    Spin much? This makes it sound like he left the NRC because he was the only one there interested in safety. Nothing about accusations of bullying and harassment of female commissioners and staff. He “slowed progress” on Yucca? He and Steve Chu killed it on orders from the president. And Yucca is “a proposed waste dump…about 100 miles from Las Vegas”? I thought it was the Congressionally mandated facility located in the middle of the Nevada Test site (previously contaminated by cold-war testing of atom bombs and hydrogen bombs, among other things).

  4. Joel Riddle says:

    Not bad, Rod. Thanks for not disappointing.

  5. George C says:

    The NRC has always been at least 50% anti-nuclear since the Carter adminstration in my view. They had us putting aircraft cable on standard doors because the hingers were not siesmically qualified! One of a thousand examples of driving the cost up to make solar and wind look more viable.

  6. donb says:

    We have millions of operating-hours of experence with nuclear power plants, and with fossil fuel power plants. If nuclear power plants are ‘fundamentally unsafe’, we know from actual experience that fossil fuel power plants are even less safe. Air pollution, fuel explosions, failing waste ponds, etc. make fossil fuel plants ‘fundamentally unsafe’, much more so than nuclear power plants. If any power plants need to be phased out, we need to start with the most dangerous ones first – fossil fuel power plants. Then we can go to the next most dangerous power plants on the list – hyroelectric power plants. Wind and solar are on a par with nuclear for safety, so while we are phasing out nuclear, we need to phase out wind and solar as well.

    The obvious correct answer is that generating any electricity whatsoever is ‘fundamentally unsafe’, so we just need to chuck the whole business. Perhaps Mr. Jaczko will be satisfied at that point.

  7. SteveK9 says:

    ‘It just occurred to me now’ … I don’t think that is going to play well with anyone who can think. Maybe because if he had said it when he was at the NRC, his own commission would have told him he was full of … .

  8. Joe Holtzman says:

    Nuclear energy reliable–hardly the typical plant on average only runs 81 percent of the time. Safe-hardly- look at Davis -Besse. Look at Fermi2, look at Three Mile Island, and now look at Edisons mess at San Onofre. Without huge federal subsides the industry would not exist.

    Get real folks–this industry socialized their deficiencies, and privatizes gains.

    • Engineer-Poet says:

      Oh, look, a straw man!

      Nuclear energy reliable–hardly the typical plant on average only runs 81 percent of the time.

      Define “typical”.  The capacity factor (ratio of generation to full-time rated output) of nuclear plants in the USA exceeds 90%, and that includes refueling outages and the ramp-down of power leading up to them.  Perhaps you are thinking of France, which uses its plants in load-following mode and has a lower capacity factor as a consequence.

      Safe-hardly- look at Davis -Besse.

      I have looked at Davis-Besse (drove right by it).  They had a corrosion problem that had never occurred before.  They could have repaired or replaced the reactor vessel head; they had a ready replacement, so they used it.  There was no accident.

      Look at Fermi2

      Operating just fine.  The latest NRC report says it’s producing 65% power, which I presume is in the ramp-down to refueling this spring.

      look at Edisons mess at San Onofre

      Expensive mistake on the part of Mitsubishi.  It caused neither harm to the public nor damage anywhere else in the plant, and you can bet that it’s the last time it’ll happen, anywhere.

      look at Three Mile Island

      Ah, yes, the biggie.  No deaths, no injuries, not even damage to the reactor vessel.  The plant could have been refueled and restarted a couple of decades ago, and should have been; the coal-fired generation which replaced its output certainly sickened and killed many people.

      Get real folks–this industry socialized their deficiencies, and privatizes gains.

      This phrase is projection on the part of the fossil-fuel industry, which doesn’t even have to pay to isolate the heavy metals in coal ash let alone keep emissions out of the atmosphere.

      • Brian Mays says:

        Davis-Besse took a direct hit from a tornado without any serious problems. When I look at Davis-Besse, I see one tough electricity generation plant.

      • Joe Holtzman says:

        You are Pimpen for the industry. Studies back up my facts.

        The industry is rife with deaths_you might want to start with Zidaho Falls-where they had to bury the victims in lead coffins

        You might also want to read the study that just came out on the 450 infant deaths and childhood deaths associated with three-mile
        Island
        You might also want to read the French studies on the leukemia that resulted in children living within a 10 mile proximity of a nuclear plant.
        You might also want to read about the tritium that Southern California Edison dumped into the ocean at their San Onofre Facility.

        No my boy your a ward of the state you’re financed by the federal government you’re subsidized by the federal government and you’re on a long term welfare agreement with the government

        • Brian Mays says:

          You might also want to read the French studies on the leukemia that resulted in children living within a 10 mile proximity of a nuclear plant.

          The most amazing thing about this study is that the French don’t even use miles!! They use kilometers. C’est vraiment très bizarre!

          You don’t have to tell me what “backs up” your “facts,” Joe. The ignorance is coming through loud and clear.

        • Bill Woods says:

          A man died in an accident at a nuclear plant last month. Nobody seems quite sure when the last death happened, but the best guess is back in 1992. That’s a *safe* industry.

          • Joel Riddle says:

            Also of note, Bill, is that that estimate of 1992 was a quote from none other than David Lochbaum, the Director of the UCS Nuclear Safety Project.

            20-21 years between even a fatality from an industrial accident is quite a long time, but the event at ANO is still terrible and any type of similar incident needs to be prevented.

    • Andrea Jennetta says:

      Yes, the nuclear industry is so crafty and evil, so adroit at gaming the system, that it was able to both socialize and privatize at the same time. And I am so rich from working in the nuclear industry that I can buy and sell you and any other average US citizen whenever I want. *cue evil laughter*

      Joe, you are full of shit. You can’t substantiate any of your wild claims with facts. You probably don’t even know that the earth is naturally radioactive. You just keep believing that Jaczko is a noble crusader, on the side of truth and justice, because it makes you feel better.

      That the man is a coward who knows absolutely nothing about nuclear energy–and is wealthier than any individual in the nuclear industry–is beside the point. Or that in each of the cases you cited the US regulatory system worked to prevent actual accidents because the plants were shut down and problems investigated before anything happened. As for TMI, who died?

      In the meantime, let us all know when unreliables can power a modern electricity grid. Let us know when they can operate and make profits without special higher rates that subsidize their deficiencies.

      Until then remember that every time you call for an end to nuclear energy, you are in reality calling for more fossil fuels–which actually do kill and destroy. Congratulations.

      PS Rod, I apologize in advance for the tone, but I can’t be civil to someone who has know idea what he’s talking about, but acts as though he does.

    • Jeff Walther says:

      Sigh. Another information vandal. I’ll do the wall scrubbing this time.

      USA average capacity factor is closer to 90% (89% in 2011). It’s a little lower in the last year, because anti-nuclear activist activities at San Orfe. But even at 81% it would have a better capacity factor than coal or natural gas and a vastly better capacity factor than any of the unreliables.

      Your attempt of contra-examples to safety fail. No deaths from any commercial electricity generation activity.

      What huge federal subsidies? Point us to a budget item somewhere. You made the assertion. The burden of proof is on you. The EIA calculates that the nuclear power industry receives the equivalent of about $1.30 subsidy per megawatt-hour of electricity produced. Coal and gas receive about $.80/MWHr. Wind and solar receive about $30. That’s right, the subsidy for unreliables is 23 times higher than the subsidy for nuclear.

      And those were 2010 numbers. The ratio of subsidy for wind and solar has actually grown since then. Furthermore, if you drill into the actual numbers, you’ll find a substantial chunk of the “subsidy” attributed to nuclear electricity production is actually DOE research which has more to do with weapons production than electricity production, and so, should not be assigned to electricity production at all.

      I once had an argument with a person like you who claimed that every nuclear reactor in the country received a $500 million subsidy every year. That would total over $50 billion per year, or two thirds more than the entire budget of the DOE. What a laugh.

      So, go ahead, dig up some actual budget numbers and show us these subsidies. Put up or publically admit that you don’t know what you are posting about and are just repeating garbage you read on a “green” rag some where.

  9. Jeff Walther says:

    If Jaczko’s current position is a rational conclusion, as he who have us believe, then the fact that he did not reach it until recently implies that the entire time he was on the NRC commission, he didn’t actually know what he was doing.

    He can’t have it both ways, even though he is trying to. Either he never knew enough about his job to evaluate the industry’s safety or he just pulled this out of his posterior recently.

    • James Greenidge says:

      What mustn’t be royally missed here is that the pubic knows SQUAT — and WON’T know SQUAT about Jako’s competence at NRC if the Greens and media can help it. All the public is going to hear is the headliner “Former Nuke King Confesses Nukes Are Killers! Greens Were Right All Along!! More FUD at 11.” It doesn’t matter how passing or insignificant Jako is to nuke insiders; it’s how he’ll be portrayed to the public — which holds the switch for nuclear — by antis in the media. The guy’s a Green media champion now. Watch him sharing the stage with Boxer and Greenpeace and Doc Kako soon — no joke, as always. It is up to the band of 104 nuke operators to band together and salvage their record and image with some consolidated Ad campaigns because this is going to stick and no cavalry is going to speak up for them. Nuclear has no outstanding pop personalities or tech allies citing its case to the public. Here on NYC metro talk radio there’s already chatter about suspending current TVA nuke projects and the administration won’t say yea or nay on this — a bad sign. Personally, I can’t see how anyone who works at a nuke, from janitor up, or the atomic unions, won’t take umbrage to Jako’s slander and take up the torch to band all nuke plant PR offices together and start hitting the web and airwaves about nuclear’s record and virtues. The mountain climb to public nuclear acceptance just got almost infinitely higher.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

      • Andrea Jennetta says:

        Mr Greenridge, I am going to the backyard storage shed to get my torches and pitchforks. Let me know when the protests begin. I am SO there!

    • Engineer-Poet says:

      If his appointment requires confirmation, let’s hope some Senator asks him a few questions like that.

  10. Paul Wick says:

    Having people of the caliber of Jaczko appointed to the NRC, much less to Chairman, is seemingly more confirmation of the reality: the US government is bought by Wall Street and Big Oil/Gas. Naturally, insufferable jerks and ignoramuses will be appointed to powerful positions in order to attack nuclear energy under these conditions. That Jaczko and Sen. Reid are whores to the Nevada casino mobsters is merely a decorative frosting on the basic cake. Perhaps one can step back and if not enjoy, then marvel at, the decay of the US imperialist colossus, terminally afflicted with arrogance and hubris. Let us cheer on Chinese nuclear innovation and its impending takeover of the world reactor market(s). Even the US Navy, currently fooling around with biofuels of all things, may find itself paddling in the wake of an all-nuclear Chinese naval fleet in a few years, at the rate things are going.

  11. Gene Stone says:

    The nuclear industry should be afraid, very afraid! Nuclear power in America is coming to the end. We can only hope it dies before a major accident happens in the US. It is an old dead technology wake up and embrace the future. “Renewable Energy” it’s time is now.

    • John Englert says:

      Nuclear power is “old” technology? Compared to what, windmills and coal burners? Even the photoelectric effect, the basis for solar panels, predates discover of nuclear fission.

    • john tucker says:

      You mean coal and gas?

    • Mike says:

      Oh please! You would rather have us choke to death on the carbon exhausted by the back up sources required to support your “renewable energy” than to live with a safe, reliable source which does not regurgitate carbon dioxide into our envrironment?

      Before you even try, don’t talk to me about how long nuclear waste lasts, please explain to me how long it will take to remove the 80 million tons of carbon dioxide released just today from energy production?

    • josh says:

      Mr Stone,

      Count me out in your eco-fascist paradise. I support and embrace a future in which clean and abundant energy are the bedrock of all civilization. This means continued research and development into nuclear energy. Cost benefit analysis and technical/environmental considerations based on facts make absolute nonsense of your claims.
      Good day to you.

    • Wayne SW says:

      “Renewable” energy is a lot older and a lot deader. Windmills date back to pre-Medieval times. Solar energy has been around since the neolithic era. The most modern energy-producing technology we have is nuclear.

  12. Joe Holtzman says:

    Safe Industry –hardly

    Power Plants

    3 January 1961
    The world’s first nuclear-related fatalities occurred following a reactor explosion at the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Three technicians, were killed, with radioactivity “largely confined” (words of John A. McCone, Director of the Atomic Energy Commission) to the reactor building. The men were killed as they moved fuel rods in a “routine” preparation for the reactor start-up. One technician was blown to the ceiling of the containment dome and impaled on a control rod. His body remained there until it was taken down six days later. The men were so heavily exposed to radiation that their hands had to be buried separately with other radioactive waste, and their bodies were interred in lead coffins. Another incident three weeks later (on 25 January) resulted in a release of radiation into the atmosphere.
    24 July 1964
    Robert Peabody, 37, died at the United Nuclear Corp. fuel facility in Charlestown, Rhode Island, when liquid uranium he was pouring went critical, starting a reaction that exposed him to a lethal dose of radiation.

    19 November 1971
    The water storage space at the Northern States Power Company’s reactor in Monticello, Minnesota filled to capacity and spilled over, dumping about 50,000 gallons of radioactive waste water into the Mississippi River. Some was taken into the St. Paul water system.

    March 1972
    Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska submitted to the Congressional Record facts surrounding a routine check in a nuclear power plant which indicated abnormal radioactivity in the building’s water system. Radioactivity was confirmed in the plant drinking fountain. Apparently there was an inappropriate cross-connection between a 3,000 gallon radioactive tank and the water system.

    27 July 1972
    Two workers at the Surry Unit 2 facility in Virginia were fatally scalded after a routine valve adjustment led to a steam release in a gap in a vent line. [See also 9 December 1986]

    28 May 1974
    The Atomic Energy Commission reported that 861 “abnormal events” had occurred in 1973 in the nation’s 42 operative nuclear power plants. Twelve involved the release of radioactivity “above permissible levels.”

    22 March 1975
    A technician checking for air leaks with a lighted candle caused $100 million in damage when insulation caught fire at the Browns Ferry reactor in Decatur, Alabama. The fire burned out electrical controls, lowering the cooling water to dangerous levels, before the plant could be shut down.

    28 March 1979
    A major accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania. At 4:00 a.m. a series of human and mechanical failures nearly triggered a nuclear disaster. By 8:00 a.m., after cooling water was lost and temperatures soared above 5,000 degrees, the top portion of the reactor’s 150-ton core melted. Contaminated coolant water escaped into a nearby building, releasing radioactive gasses, leading as many as 200,000 people to flee the region. Despite claims by the nuclear industry that “no one died at Three Mile Island,” a study by Dr. Ernest J. Sternglass, professor of radiation physics at the University of Pittsburgh, showed that the accident led to a minimum of 430 infant deaths.

    1981
    The Critical Mass Energy Project of Public Citizen, Inc. reported that there were 4,060 mishaps and 140 serious events at nuclear power plants in 1981, up from 3,804 mishaps and 104 serious events the previous year.

    11 February 1981
    An Auxiliary Unit Operator, working his first day on the new job without proper training, inadvertently opened a valve which led to the contamination of eight men by 110,000 gallons of radioactive coolant sprayed into the containment building of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Sequoyah I plant in Tennessee.

    July 1981
    A flood of low-level radioactive wastewater in the sub-basement at Nine Mile Point’s Unit 1 (in New York state) caused approximately 150 55-gallon drums of high-level waste to overturn, some of which released their highly radioactive contents. Some 50,000 gallons of low-level radioactive water were subsequently dumped into Lake Ontario to make room for the cleanup. The discharge was reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but the sub-basement contamination was not. A report leaked to the press 8 years later resulted in a study which found that high levels of radiation persisted in the still flooded facility.

    1982
    The Critical Mass Energy Project of Public Citizen, Inc. reported that 84,322 power plant workers were exposed to radiation in 1982, up from 82,183 the previous year.

    25 January 1982
    A steam generator pipe broke at the Rochester Gas & Electric Company’s Ginna plant near Rochester, New York. Fifteen thousand gallons of radioactive coolant spilled onto the plant floor, and small amounts of radioactive steam escaped into the air.

    15-16 January 1983
    Nearly 208,000 gallons of water with low-level radioactive contamination was accidentally dumped into the Tennesee River at the Browns Ferry power plant.

    25 February 1983
    A catastrophe at the Salem 1 reactor in New Jersey was averted by just 90 seconds when the plant was shut down manually, following the failure of automatic shutdown systems to act properly. The same automatic systems had failed to respond in an incident three days before, and other problems plagued this plant as well, such as a 3,000 gallon leak of radioactive water in June 1981 at the Salem 2 reactor, a 23,000 gallon leak of “mildly” radioactive water (which splashed onto 16 workers) in February 1982, and radioactive gas leaks in March 1981 and September 1982 from Salem 1.

    9 December 1986
    A feedwater pipe ruptured at the Surry Unit 2 facility in Virginia, causing 8 workers to be scalded by a release of hot water and steam. Four of the workers later died from their injuries. In addition, water from the sprinkler systems caused a malfunction of the security system, preventing personnel from entering the facility. This was the second time that an incident at the Surry 2 unit resulted in fatal injuries due to scalding [see also 27 July 1972].

    1988
    It was reported that there were 2,810 accidents in U.S. commercial nuclear power plants in 1987, down slightly from the 2,836 accidents reported in 1986, according to a report issued by the Critical Mass Energy Project of Public Citizen, Inc.

    28 May 1993
    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a warning to the operators of 34 nuclear reactors around the country that the instruments used to measure levels of water in the reactor could give false readings during routine shutdowns and fail to detect important leaks. The problem was first bought to light by an engineer at Northeast Utilities in Connecticut who had been harassed for raising safety questions. The flawed instruments at boiling-water reactors designed by General Electric utilize pipes which were prone to being blocked by gas bubbles; a failure to detect falling water levels could have resulted, potentially leading to a meltdown.

    15 February 2000
    New York’s Indian Point II power plant vented a small amount of radioactive steam when a an aging steam generator ruptured. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission initially reported that no radioactive material was released, but later changed their report to say that there was a leak, but not of a sufficient amount to threaten public safety.

    6 March 2002
    Workers discovered a foot-long cavity eaten into the reactor vessel head at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ohio. Borated water had corroded the metal to a 3/16 inch stainless steel liner which held back over 80,000 gallons of highly pressurized radioactive water. In April 2005 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission proposed fining plant owner First Energy 5.4 million dollars for their failure to uncover the problem sooner (similar problems plaguing other plants were already known within the industry), and also proposed banning System Engineer Andrew Siemaszko from working in the industry for five years due to his falsifying reactor vessel logs. As of this writing the fine and suspension were under appeal.

    November 2005
    High tritium levels, the result of leaking pipes, were discovered to have contaminated groundwater immediately adjacent to the Braidwood Generating Station in Braceville, Illinois.

    May 2011
    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission commenced meetings to discuss problems at a nuclear reactor in Braidwood, Illinois. Findings included the release of six million gallons of water containing radioactive tritium into the local aquifer, improper wiring of an alarm system intended to warn plant workers of problems, and a flaw in the plant’s backup water supply.

    June 2011
    An AP investigation revealed that three quarters of all nuclear plants in the U.S. were found to be leaking radioactive tritium. Over half the plants studied had concentrations exceeding the federal drinking water standard, and while none had reached public drinking supplies, leaks at three plants had contaminated the drinking wells of nearby homes.

    Bombs and Bombers

    • John Englert says:

      Please stop Spamming this site. Everyone here is capable of reading Wikipedia. How about instead of exercising your ability to right click and press “paste” you add up the total dose to the public and total injuries/deaths from these accidents and compare to other major energy sources. Then report back here with what your learned. You might just be surprised by the answer.

      • Brian Mays says:

        I second this. People should be allowed to post original content — no matter how idiotic it is — but cut-and-paste spam should be purged.

        Repeat offenders should be banned.

        Just my two cents.

        • Gareth Fairclough says:

          What he posted must be pretty close to the entire manifest of accidents that the nuclear ‘industry’ (if it can even be called that) has had in the last 50 years or so.

          I wonder just how long the equivalent list from the fossil fuels and the unreliables industries would be. Especially if we went back 50 years.
          Does such a list even exist?

          • Brian says:

            Furthermore, if you go through that whole list, items are either not-applicable (SL-1, a poorly designed army research reactor), too vague to be useful (Public Citizen reports), non-nuclear specific industrial accidents (scalding from a steam explosion), or no clearly identifiable public health or environment consequences (tritium leaks, Three Mile Island, etc.). If you take the actual commercial industry nuclear-specific accidents, offsite consequences are pretty much negligible.

          • James Greenidge says:

            Gareth, how long do you think a Wiki-posted point-by-point rebuttal to Joe and Gene’s rant list would stay up on Wiki or most major media letters to the editor? The bias and FUD stacked against us is just boggling! Such stuff Greenpeace and FOE feeds clueless non-thinkers to swell their ranks! Against media and fear,ongers. one wonders just how much real-life impact on the voting public all the hard work invested in nuclear blogs’ has ever made.

            James Greenidge
            Queens NY

          • Rod Adams says:

            @James & Gareth

            Though Atomic Insights is certainly not a mainstream media outlet, I would love to host the point by point rebuttal you propose. I would also love to host an effort to compile a similar list of fossil fuel related accidents, but I suppose I have to establish a filtering ground rule that there should be at least one fatality or evidence of at least $1 million in property damage.

            As the list grows, I might have to apply more stringent filters to keep it within some kind of reasonable length.

            I’m kind of busy these days, but if anyone wants to start working on such lists, please let me know.

          • Rod Adams says:

            @Gareth Fairclough

            Even if someone attempted to post a list that went back just 5 years and limited that list to the United States, it would overload the comment length limit.

          • James Greenidge says:

            Re: Rod Adams
            I’m kind of busy these days, but if anyone wants to start working on such lists, please let me know.

            Sounds good to me, once I figure out how and where to start — and just where to get it out to the masses where it counts! Media/Green darling backstabber Jako’s made everything a little more urgent now. Wish the nuke community would wake up to what’s happening!

            James Greenidge
            Queens NY

          • jmdesp says:

            @James : I’ve found out that the wikipedia rules quite favorably decide in favor of those who have reputable and precise source to quote. You have to be willing to adapt and carve yourself into the framework, but after a while you can be pleasantly surprised to find out after a while even the neutral admin start to realize it’s the anti who almost always don’t have reliable references, and don’t let them go out with that anymore.

            In this text specifically they are several rules violation, non neutral point of view, non factual report. This definitively could get corrected invoking the wikipedia rules, but takes time and effort.
            As a non-native English speaker, I’m a bit wary of modifying directly the en wikipedia when significant rewording is involved, but I may try still.

    • quokka says:

      Joe Holtzman,

      Congratulations, you have discovered that nuclear power is not perfect. Something that no rational person would dispute.

      A rational person, though, does not stop there but looks at all other alternatives to nuclear power that are fit for purpose (of delivering energy to a rising global population with steadily rising demand), and compares the collateral damage they cause directly to human well being and more generally to the biosphere as a whole so that a course of least harm may be chosen. If you cannot or will not do this to determine the merits of the various options, then any claims of concern for human well being and for the natural environment ring hollow.

      James Hansen’s recent study provides estimates of net reduction of human mortality in the millions due to the displacement of fossil fuels by nuclear power. That should give pause for thought at least.

      But if you prefer specific examples of the downsides of the (very much) less than perfect alternatives to nuclear power try some of these:

      Pipeline Accident tracker: http://projects.propublica.org/pipelines/

      San Juanico gas disaster: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Juanico_disaster

      Banqiao Dam disaster: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam

      Then you could look beyond the accidents and disasters to the unavoidable business as usual consequences of fossil fuels of climate change and ocean acidification wrecking completely unprecedented damage on a planetary scale.

    • Bill Rodgers says:

      As others are noting the list for fossil fuel plants would be many pages long with many deaths. Those accident rates would need to include pipeline accidents as well since without pipelines the fossil fuel plants would not run.

      But we only have to look at the 2010 San Bruno California natural gas pipeline explosion that kiiled 8 people and injured 58 in their homes who were completely innocent bystanders. Those 8 died very horrible deaths by burning.

      Or consider the Kleen Energy facility natural gas explosion that killed 6 and injured 50 also in 2010.

      Or consider a more recent event that did not kill anyone but has created a environmental mess by spilling approximately 200,000 gallons of crude oil in Arkansas. Crude oil by the way inlcudes benzene which is officially listed as a carcinogen. The percentage of benzene is listed in several MSDS’s as 0-.01% by weight. (which by the way is far higer concentration then the 2.5 million picocuries per liter of trititum released by Vermont Yankee)

      If the crude oil spilled in Arkansas containing benzene, a known cancer causing agent and at higher concentrations then tritium, was subject to the same requirements as the tritium, our entire economy would be shut down in the next hour.

      Or we could talk about wind tower failures and solar panel manufacturing where innocent workers have suffered injuries and deaths.

      This comment goes two points. The first point is that we could go on for pages and pages comparing accidents. Industrial accidents happen in every sector of the power generation industry, they are not unique to nuclear power. Bottom line is that there are far more industrial accidents in the non-nuclear power generation arena then in the nuclear arena.

      The second point is the issue of relative risk. When did it become okay to forget about a 200,000 gallon crude oil spill in an Arkansas neighborhood where environmental remdiation must occur, where people were evacuated from their homes and animals died; however a trituim leak measure in picocuries becomes the entire line of argument for shutting down an entire industry?

      When did it become okay to forget about 14 people tragically dying in two sepeate accidents involving natural gas but one tragic death in a recent industrial accident that happened to occur at a nucleat plant becomes an argument for shutting down nuclear power?

      That is hypocrisy in my book.

      • Joris van Dorp says:

        Not only fossil fuel kills of course. Biomass based renewables kill too. I think it was last year that several people where killed in Germany by H2S poisoning at a farm-sited bio-digester. The farmer had inadvertently added the wrong kind of organic waste feedstock into the digester (Apparently, he was just dumping any old organic waste in he could get his hands on), and H2S gas was produced, which killed the people. They were found scattered around dead on the ground by a visitor.

        So next to a list of fossil sector accidents, I would like to see a list of incidents with H2S poisoning from biodigesters. Especially, since green groups are pushing hard for installing these things on farms all across the country, with the aim of producing ‘green gas’.

        Of course, preventing H2S poisoning by such bioreactors is a matter of good bookkeeping and screening of candidate organic waste streams, and this is something that has already been recommended by the more critical green groups. We will see how that works out. If anything, it will add additional cost to an already noncompetitive technology having marginal net energy savings (due to the need to factor in the cost of diesel for the trucks bringing in the feedstock and taking away the spent organic matter, etc.).

        • Engineer-Poet says:

          (due to the need to factor in the cost of diesel for the trucks bringing in the feedstock and taking away the spent organic matter, etc.)

          In all fairness, most of that diesel can be replaced by carbureted scrubbed biogas from the very digesters producing it.  The BTU savings are nil, but biogas is far cheaper per BTU.

          • Joris van Dorp says:

            I agree. Usage of such digesters has merit under specific conditions. And it can be cost-effective, which is proven by the unsubsided usage of such (DIY) digestors in many rural areas in developing countries, for providing cheap cooking gas. But when the wrong kind of organic waste is (illegally) put through them in an industrialized nation, or when the trucks need to travel for more than 50 miles or so to reach the facility simply because its cheaper to bring the waste there than to pay for getting rid of it in the conventional way (because it is contaminated for example), or when it turns out that farmers are putting significant quantities of corn in with the waste in order to ‘improve yield’, thereby diverting that corn from animal feed where it belongs, for that matter, then that kind of corrupts the intended purpose and makes a bit of a mockery of the whole enterprise IMO.

            The question IMO is how much cost is involved with putting in place controls to prevent all of this kind of mischief and misuse. Who bears this cost? Is it internalized in the biodigester energy cost estimate? It is not there in any of the LCC evaluations of this option that I’ve seen.

        • jmdesp says:

          Joris, it would be interesting to have specific reference about this poisoning case.

          I tried to locate it, but I’m not sure I succeeded. I found one case where some cows were killed in Switzerland, and there was also a fatal case in north Ireland with a slurry tank, but it doesn’t really match what you describe.

          I did find one thing that might be it, but it’s older so could be a separate case :
          http://derstandard.at/2609296/Schwere-Unfaelle-mit-Schwefelwasserstoff
          This page, amongst other fatal H2S accident, references a case in Rottenburg, 16 november 2005, where 3 workers and a truck driver died in a biogas installation.

          On the other hand, I found at least 2 rather recent instance of refinery workers being killed by Hydrogen sulfide, in Israel and Saoudi Arabia :
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850187/
          http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4337217,00.html
          Wikipedia also records 9 fatalities in Denver in 1975, from an oil drilling operation.

      • Wayne SW says:

        In any litany of natural gas disasters, you must include the very worst of the lot, the San Juanico disaster in November, 1984, which essentially burned the town of San Juan Ixhuatepec off the face of the Earth. That one incident alone killed 500-600 people, some of whom were burned to ashes, and severely injured (burns) another 7000-8000. No one ever talks about it, or the Bhopal accident (industrial gas, 8000 dead), or Lake Nyos, a natural disaster involving CO2 release, which killed every living thing within a 15 mile radius including 1700 people. I include Lake Nyos because it has implications for the so-called “clean coal” advocates, who think we can capture the CO2 emitted by coal burning and hide it underground without any safety concerns.

        So, hypocrisy? You bet. The anti-nuke kooks deal it in spades.

        • John Englert says:

          The anti-nuclear information services would have us believe that an oh so slight increase in lifetime cancer risk is a fate much worse than instant death by explosion, fire, drowning, or chemical exposures. If you mention the gas explosions or dam bursts, they will come back and say that at least those accidents won’t leave thousands of square miles of land uninhabitable for 10,000 years.

      • Atomikrabbit says:

        “2.5 million picocuries per liter of trititum released by Vermont Yankee”

        Bill – don’t you mean “2.5 millionths of a curie”? Everyone knows that 2.5 million is a lot, but 2.5 millionths is tiny. Words matter, as do choices of units, as the antis discovered billions of seconds ago. ;-)

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Joe Holtzman

      As requested by other commenters, I am giving you a warning – though all of us appreciate engaging with people who hold different opinions, people who engage in “cut and paste” commenting are not welcome on this site.

      It is easy to copy a litany of “incidents” and issues associated with an enterprise large enough to produce 800 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity every year. Industries are operated by people; surprise, surprise, people are not perfect. Machinery is designed by people; surprise, surprise, machinery is not perfect.

      No nuke worth his salt would ever claim that our technology is perfect or that we never make mistakes. Correction Action Programs are full of reports that we take seriously and that we strive to correct, often with a substantial effort investing in actions to prevent recurrence.

      Within your entire litany, however, I see little evidence of any harm to workers or members of the general public, especially when compared against the other available alternatives for producing the same highly valued output product.

    • Wayne SW says:

      So you cut-and-pasted incidents going back 52 years, and even if we count all of those as nuclear-related (which they aren’t, only three involved a reactor accident, and that was a military reactor, not a commercial plant), you get 10 fatalities, all workers, no member of the public was harmed. But even counting those employee fatalities, the average is less than 0.5 per year. If you want to use morbidity as a metric for assessing the safety of an industry, I’d have to say 0.5 per year is quite safe. Measure it against other comparable industries, such as petroleum, natural gas, coal mining, chemical production, commercial aviation, and the like. Include fatalities among the general public as well as employees. Let’s see some morbidity figures for those, which everyone accepts as “safe”.

  13. Brian says:

    No surprise here. I was in the “give the guy a chance crowd”, but during his stint as NRC chairman and the whispers I heard about the dysfunction and hostile work environment under him, along with his Fukushima response, removed all doubts about both his motives and competency.

    As Rod and others pointed out, his revelation of an unfixable design flaw in the design of all operating reactors is laughable. It’s like trying to claim that airplanes should be phased out because of a “fundamental and unfixable design flaw”: that they could crash into the ground and kill everyone onboard.

    These are conscious design choices. Engineers, businessmen, regulators, and policy makers made decisions that these were acceptable risks so long as appropriate mitigation strategies are employed.

  14. Jason C says:

    Jaczko got off light. If he had been working in any corporate environment and been some middle manager pulling the kind of stuff he did, he’d be on admin leave after a trip to human resources so fast it would make his head spin. The guy was an obnoxious bully who had zero respect for his colleagues.

  15. Scott D. says:

    For whatever it is worth – I yanked this from Wikipedia’s Coal power in the United States

    The Mine Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor reports deaths by state and year for the period of 1996 to 2009; total deaths for that time frame were 437. In the US there were 47 deaths in 2006, 34 in 2007, and 30 deaths in 2008.

    Accident types include:
    Power haulage – 47%
    Electrical – 13%
    Machinery – 9%
    Falling material – 7%
    Ignition/explosions – 7%
    Slips/falls – 4%
    Explosives – 4%
    Other – 9%

  16. ddpalmer says:

    We all can help the industry by doing our own small part in the PR battle. Go to the articles Rod links to and add your own comments. True the rabid and unifiromed anti-nuclear sheep will see it as a vast conspiracy, but I have faith that the average person when presented with the scientific facts, that they can verify on their own, will at least remain neutral and possibly start to believe that maybe nuclear isn’t evil. If all they have to read is the negative then naturally that is what they will believe.

  17. Rob Brixey says:

    Post Fukushima, I watched Senate subcommittee interview on C Span with the NRC.
    Chairman Jazcko established his ignorance or his agenda when responding to a question by Senator Barbara Boxer. The Senator asked if US nuclear plants are capable of mitigating a loss of offsite power with Emergency Diesel Generator failure.

    Chairman Jazcko (incorrectly) responded that US plants could not mitigate such a failure.

    At this point Commissioner Apostolakis interrupted and offered that The Station Blackout Rule 10CFR 50.63 had been issued since 1988, and US plants could mitigate such a failure.

    Senator Boxer returned to Jazcko and asked him – who is right here, you or Commissioner Apostolakis. Jazcko agreed his that Apostolakis was correct.

    This indicated to me one of two things:

    1) The Chairman had an agenda against US nuclear plants. OR
    2) The Chairman was actually ignorant of the SBO rule, post-Fukushima.

    Neither bode well for the industry.

    • Gene Stone says:

      Yes Rob he did, it was called “Safety”.

      • Rob Brixey says:

        Gene,

        If “Safety” were his priority, he’d advocate another 100 US reactors.
        Compared to all other substantial energy sources, Coal, Oil, Natural Gas; nuclear has the greatest safety of all. From the resource mining to end of cycle – nuclear power has the lowest environmental impact and the lowest impact on public health.

        Every day, fossil stack emissions put heavy metals, arsenic, mercury and small particles into the air that affect the health of people all over the world.
        Compared to these sources, nuclear power is best described as the safest, lowest impact substantial energy source on the planet.

        Greg Jazcko is Harry Reid’s lapdog turned pitbull to close Yucca Mountain.
        Period.

        By his own admission, and all of a sudden – he comes to a realization that Decay Heat exists. Really Doctor? Im learned about it 35 years ago at age 18 in Navy Nuclear Power School – they must not teach about it where Dr Jazcko was schooled.

        Bravo Sierra – he’s simply taking his mask off and showing his true face of political tool.

        • Gene Stone says:

          You pro-nuclear people seem to be all the same. It can’t happen here were, superior to the Japanese and the Russians. Well wake up. Mother nature is superior to any of the human beings on the planet, and accidents happen all of the time, even in America.

          You just can’t accept the truth that nuclear power is the most expensive form of electricity ever invented, and the most dangerous. If it weren’t for taxpayer incentives nuclear power would have never gotten off the ground. As long as were telling the truth. Nuclear power was brought to us by the US military complex who’s real goal was to make nuclear weapons, and has done so quite efficiently.

          You guys never want to figure and the real cost of nuclear power, uranium mining and what it does to the land of the people (ask the Navaho nation what the real cost in lives as been for them), what it will cost to decommission America’s 104 nuclear power plants, what it will cost to keep the waste stored properly and safely for 300,000 years. What will be the cost if we have a Chernobyl are Fukushima type accident in America?

          My friend and neighbor, who works at San Onofre waste generating station will even tell you in his words “well it’s not the cheapest way to make electricity I can think of.”

          It is time to cut our losses and move forward with renewable energy before the next nuclear disaster happens. Every home and building can be a energy producer, and that is exactly what the nuclear industry fears.

          • James Greenidge says:

            Gene Stone:

            I’m just asking, nothing personal, but I really truly wish to know your exact sources of these accusations. I just want to tap into the wellspring of your knowledge to check out for myself. You don’t have to do anything but just pass me the actual specific sites and sources and personalities supplying your info and beliefs. Truly, I really wish to know exactly to a ‘T’ what they are. In Peace.

            James Greenidge
            Queens NY

          • Rob Brixey says:

            Gene – lets compare some of your assertions to factual data…

            Assertion 1
            nuclear power is the most expensive form of electricity ever invented
            Source USD / Mw-hr
            Nuclear 67
            Coal 74
            Geothermal 67
            Hydro power 86
            Wind power 60
            Solar 116
            Biomass 117
            Fuel Cell 111
            Wave Power 611

            Nuclear is far cheaper than any renewable.

            what it will cost to keep the waste stored properly and safely for 300,000 years

            We don’t need to store fuel for 300,000 years. The vast majority of radioactivity in spent fuel decays in a few decades, the longest lived resembles the transuranics we mined the fuel from to begin with – are natural ground minerals ALSO too radioactive to release, or is the real issue, that its man-made instead of natural . . . or is the issue based on plain old tripe?

            It is time to cut our losses and move forward with renewable energy

            Nobody can afford “renewable” energy.

            Bloomberg article: estimates $382 Billion by 2030.
            12,700 offshore wind turbines covering 4,903 square miles
            4,020 onshore wind turbines covering 1,000 square miles
            387 concentrated solar plants
            828 utility-scale photovoltaic generators

            All for only $55,000 per working person in the state of New York.
            => NOT AFFORDABLE by any measure

        • Joel Riddle says:

          Rob, I’d like to commend your usage of the phonetic alphabet there.

  18. Yokohama Michael says:

    I think the idea of a list of fossil-fuel related accidents is a very interesting one and I believe it could become an important resource when battling the idea that nuclear power is especially dangerous.

    I am reminded of Project Steve, which biologists have used to great effect to counter creationism. When creationists pulled together a ramshackle list of scientists who doubted evolution, biologists came back with a much longer list of scientists just called “Steve” who supported it.

  19. Paul W Primavera says:

    This is a good post. Thank you.

  20. Jeff Walther says:

    Has anyone else….

    Been in a discussion/argument with an anti- and after about four or five rounds, the anti claims to be a former nuclear worker of some kind who eventually saw the dangers, left the industry and decided to work to save others?

    I’ve had this experience several times, and I’m pretty well convinced that it’s a tactic in some anti- handbook somewhere. I’m pretty sure that the fanatic over on Bloomberg that I’ve been arguing with is about to play the same card. He just claimed, “Well, my Physics and Engineering training is from the likes of people like Luis Alvarez and Victor Weiskopf”. So I pre-empted him by writing that in a few messages he would do what I described above.

    He’s trying to point folks to the Wikipedia article on France’s nuclear program, which I have not read, but I’m guessing is currently full of unfounded anti- garbage. Sigh.

    • Atomikrabbit says:

      Yes, Wickipedia is rapidly becoming infested with anti blather, and they “reference” back to the same non-peer reviewed quacks or hack journos time and again.

      I’m beginning to think either tbey are all unemployed and have nothing better to do, or they hold Wiki edit parties and type as they pass around the hookah.

      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hookah

      • Jeff Walther says:

        Or it’s a well financed campaign of paid employees, while we try to fight the good fight in
        the time we can squeeze out between earning a living and raising our families.

  21. Sean McKinnon says:

    Gene Stone… Did you bother to actually read the comments posted here? I have not seen *anyone* say that they thought they were better than the Japanese or Russians. I read professionals say that nuc power is not perfect and is run by humans who error and machines that fail but that they take these facts seriously and do everything that can to analyze and peer check they study Thier errors and analyze them for root cause then develop and implement corrective action to prevent it.

    Many technologies developed from weapons research by your theory we should give up medicines, x-rays, mri’s, jeeps, lots of everyday things.

    Fact is fact coal plants release more radiation to the environment than operating nuc plants they also produce more waste and severe environmental damage. Hydro has decimated huge areas and caused environmental damage. Unreliable wind turbines are very quickly collecting anecdotal evidence of making some people very ill.

    I do not work in nor have any relationship to nuclear power I was never in the navy and have nothing to do with any industry that supports nuclear but I know it is the safest most economical and least damaging way to the environment to produce the electricity that not only gives us quality of life but saves lives daily.

  22. Sean mckinnon says:

    I meant to add that given the option i would choose to live at the gate of a nuc plant rather than live near a dirt burner or windmill or down river from a hydro dam anyway.

    A few years ago there was a steam explosion at a small coal plant here in my home town. 4 people died. It was reported that the skin was melted off the bodies from high temp high pressure steam. It was due to lack of maintenance so industrial accidents are not unique to nuc plants but nuc plants tend to be better maintained and evolutions more carefully planned so industrial accidents are rare. People do die from heart attack/heat stroke etc… but I don’t qualify those as industrial accidents.

  23. Paul W Primavera says:

    I got the following statistics off a pro-nuclear web site whose link I don’t have at my fingertips right now (maybe somebody posted this in a comment above?), but I have used these in some training that I give to Sales and Management people in my company who don’t have a lot of nuclear experience (long story – beyond the scope of this blog post). The fact is that nuclear isn’t 100% safe, but it is far less unsafe than most other industries. And yes, sometimes industrial accidents happen at a nuclear power plant – like the recent ANO Unit 1 dropped stator event – but those are very rare in nuclear (though always regretable and something we’ll all in the industry have training on and learn from). Why people like Jackzo who say they revere science ignore the scientific evidence in front of their faces is unfathomable. :-( PS, sorry if the copy and paste comes out in bad format – I tried.

    Energy Source Death Rate (deaths per TWh)

    Coal – world average 161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
    Coal – China 278
    Coal – USA 15
    Oil – 36 (36% of world energy)
    Natural Gas – 4 (21% of world energy)
    Biofuel/Biomass – 12
    Peat – 12
    Solar (rooftop) – 0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
    Wind – 0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
    Hydro – 0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
    Hydro – world including Banqiao) 1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
    Nuclear – 0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

  24. Ben Heard says:

    This guy was your NRC CHAIR???

    Unbelievable.

    I hope the US can regain it’s position of leadership in nuclear in coming years. It seems like ground has been lost under this guy’s leadership.

    • Engineer-Poet says:

      Jaczko’s leadership?
      It goes back far beyond that:
      Birth of NRC!

      Safety’s the excuse;
      “Safer than what” is not asked.
      Fossil gets a pass.

    • James Greenidge says:

      Re: “This guy was your NRC CHAIR???”

      Yes, it’s one totally unreal situation all around. Anti-nukers have received an endorsement of their frets and fears like they couldn’t dream. This is bound to effect Australia’s pro-nuclear campaign I imagine. The story of this backstabber’s competency and the true operational/safety/mortality record of nuclear energy even in rare worst accidents ought be splashed out the media and TV like gangbusters, but I am appall by how little kickback public education even individual nuclear plants have dished out. They are fatally underestimating the eventual de-nuking effect this can have in the U.S. This guy even has congresspeople cowed! I wish we could shame green groups as health/safety hypocrites with that fabulous NextBigFuture’s “Comparing deaths/TWh for all energy sources” feature, but if the anti-nuke complicit media won’t carry such our teeth have been pulled! I was on the verge of doing some coffee-budget grunt work for a list of anti-nuke rant rebuttals but if it can’t get out the public en masse where it can really do some good like the antis always seem to do quite well, why bother? The only ones who have the bucks and resources to do a full-fledged PR TV-Web nuclear PSA campaign is the nuclear plants/industry/unions/community themselves, but they’re showing themselves as woefully inept and unwilling to protect themselves as ever! Were their potential PR resources in hands as yours and Rod’s it’d be a brighter day!

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

  25. Steve says:

    The default assumption is that an individual is promoted or appointed to a position of power and authority based on considerations based on merit and ability. There are, however, other possible motives and rationales for decisions concerning key appointments to a powerful office.

    If political opponents of nuclear power doing the bidding of fossil-fuel corporations, entities with power and wealth beyond the imaginings of mere mortals – entities whose entire future could be upended by a resurgent nuclear power industry, want to knee-cap the competition… what could be better than to put a technically incompetent yet uber-reliable political hack in charge who is in fact a rabidly anti-nuclear demagogue? The mission: cause as much mischief as possible and destroy your competition *from the INSIDE*. The perfect crime, IMHO, with plausible deniability: who could have predicted he would be soooo terrible? Oooopsie!

    Mind you, this is just a conspiracy theory – such things could never happen in US politics unless billions or perhaps trillions of dollars were at stake…oh wait…

  26. robjoh says:

    @Gene Stone
    “It is time to cut our losses and move forward with renewable energy before the next nuclear disaster happens. Every home and building can be a energy producer, and that is exactly what the nuclear industry fears.”

    I am from Sweden so I have to ask you how? Around 45% of our electrical energy is produced from Nuclear, around 50% is hydro rest is wind and burning natural gas, biomass, waste and oil.

    We have built 3666 MW of installed wind capacity, and all that installed wind capacity produce around 6 TWh, which is less than the 1200 MW of nuclear power that is we closed down before its time in the early 2000. Sweden consumes around 20 000 MW every hour. How are we supposed to close down around 9000 MW of nuclear? We have almost no sun. The wind industry in Sweden now want to build wind turbines in our natural parks, on our unexploited mountains. Because that is where the wind are and no people that can complain.

    Denmark is only consuming around 5000 MW of energy per hour, they have 4000 MW of installed wind turbine capacity. Still they max out at around 30% of there energy from Wind. Even when the wind is blowing they can´t stop there coal power plants.

    So how should your dream work? Especially when Sweden and Denmark tries to move from cars to electrical public transport.

    Links:
    Swedish electrical production:
    Kärnkraft = nuclear
    Vind = Wind
    Vatten = hydro
    http://www.svk.se/Energimarknaden/El/Aktuell-situation/Kraftsystemet/

    Denmark
    http://energinet.dk/Flash/Forside/UK/index.html

    UK
    http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/index.php

  27. Dave says:

    Yes, nice that he now has time to think about nuclear power. Some of us that care about America’s energy future would have preferred that he had thought more about it WHEN IT WAS HIS JOB!

  28. Red Craig says:

    I read the NYT article differently from all of you. Jaczko is clear in opposing the shutdown of all the old LWRs. Instead, he wants to start building replacements with “newer technology.” I think, from the context, he means more advanced nuclear plants. If this reading is correct, then he’s exactly right. It will take decades to build that many new nuclear plants (or whatever “newer technology” he means), and by then these aging plants will be due for shutdown.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Red Craig

      You are apparently unaware of the 4-1 votes for the COLAs for Vogtle units 3 & 4 and VC Summer units 2 & 3, all of which are Advanced Passive reactors that are designed to improve their ability to cope with a station blackout and other challenging events.

      I will give you two guesses on the source of the lone ‘no’ vote in each decision.

      Jaczko wants nuclear energy to stop producing reliable power. I think he’s being paid for that work.

      • Red Craig says:

        Rod, thanks for pointing out the COLA votes. If I understand the story (not at all certain) he contended that the Fukushima events hadn’t been considered sufficiently in the license applications.

        I see that Jaczko is now a darling of the anti-nukes. That’s not a good sign, but it could just be chest-thumping by political activists. In either case, my comment only sought to make the point that the NYT article doesn’t by itself prove that Jaczko is anti-nuclear.

        Red

  29. Susanne E. Vandenbosch says:

    According to The Hill Jaczko has been appointed by Senator Reid to the Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise. The members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commision felt that he did not operate in a collegial fashion when he was Chairman of the NRC. This new commission established by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 is responsible for improving operations at the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons agency. There wil be 11 other members on this panel. If he did not get along with 4 members of the NRC is it reasonable to expect him to get along with 11 member of this new panel?

    • Brian Mays says:

      There wil be 11 other members on this panel. If he did not get along with 4 members of the NRC is it reasonable to expect him to get along with 11 member of this new panel?

      Oh … if only we could slip a bar of soap in a sock (or towel) to each of these 11 other members and then give the Advisory Panel five or ten minutes of uninterrupted time to “deliberate” amongst themselves.

      I think that this would improve operations quite a bit.

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