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  1. I’d like to add that I recall nothing posted/reported about the radioactivity in the ash which was expunged. Small amounts of Uranium, Thorium, and Radium in the coal are greatly concentrated when the fuel is burned and result in much-higher-than-background activity levels comparable to Low Level radioactive wastes from nukes, hospitals and laboratories. I guess 60 Minutes either doesn’t know about this or doesn’t care to mention it.

    1. Higher than background?

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste/

      “McBride and his co-authors estimated that individuals living near coal-fired installations are exposed to a maximum of 1.9 millirems of fly ash radiation yearly. To put these numbers in perspective, the average person encounters 360 millirems of annual “background radiation” from natural and man-made sources, including substances in Earth’s crust, cosmic rays, residue from nuclear tests and smoke detectors.”

      1. @EL

        To be fair to Les, the quote that you selected from the Scientific American popularization of the research is applicable to doses to people “living near” coal fired power stations that are operating normally and successfully storing their ash waste on the plant site.

        It is not applicable to people living in places where the coal ash entrapments have failed and the ash, with its somewhat concentrated constituent materials, has invaded their property, their fields, their fish and their public recreation areas.

        By the way, I don’t bother to point to the radioactive content of coal ash; it is far below any level that will cause harm to humans. The same statement cannot be made with the same level of certainty about all of the other components of the material, including the fact that its physical form is a potential breathing hazard even if the material itself was biologically inert.

      2. When saying “higher than background”, he wan’t referring to people’s exposures (dose), i.e., exposure pathways, etc.. He was referring to the relative radioactivity levels, and toxicity of the material itself.

        He was saying that the radiaoctivity level in coal ash is far greater than the activity level present in virtually all materials found in nature (e.g., granite, etc..). He then compared coal ash’s radioactivity level to that of low-level waste (probably Class A, the lowest category). If the radioactivity concentration isn’t equal, the overall toxicity concentration (due to chemical toxins like arsenic, mercury and cadmium, etc..) most assuredly is.

        His central point (I believe) is to ask why even Class A radioactive waste is handled and disposed of with such care (and at such high cost) whereas coal ash is not even regulated, and may be just heaped into leaching piles.

        1. He was referring to the relative radioactivity levels, and toxicity of the material itself.

          @Jim Hopf

          Coal ash doesn’t have significantly higher than background levels of radiation (slightly below 1 to 4 parts per million). “Similar concentrations are found in a variety of common rocks and soils” (here). When stored on private property in a toxic slurry the general public isn’t likely to come into regular direct contact with such sites (and I agree such materials should be classified as hazardous or special waste and treated accordingly). The same cannot be said regarding “protective clothing, tools, filters, rags, medical tubes, and many other items” that make up routine hospital and laboratory waste (and may resemble ordinary items in an everyday environment) and come into accidental direct contact with humans when improperly disposed. Hence the need for additional and more stringent regulation regarding this type of waste and it’s presence in the human environment.

          I don’t see this as a complicated or terribly inconsistent issue. Coal producers have received exemptions that producers of low level nuclear waste have not. This appears to me to have been adequately covered by 60 minutes piece (particularly regarding heavy metals and other toxic substances). Comparing it to more stringent regulations regarding low level radioactive waste from nukes, hospitals and laboratories probably wound’t have added much to the piece (and would likely have been labelled as “fearmongering” by some on the site, I have no doubt).

          1. EL, your figure of 1-4 ppm of radioactive elements is not for coal ash but for raw coal. When the coal is burned the concentration of radioactives in the residual ash is ten-fold higher, 10-30 ppm. That’s in your source, if you read a bit further down.

          2. @Will Boisvert

            Thanks for pointing that out. “The concentration of uranium in soil varies widely, but typically contains about 3 parts per million (ppm).”

            http://hps.org/documents/uranium_fact_sheet.pdf

            At the low end of the range (10 ppm), I don’t find this “greatly concentrated” or “much-higher-than-background” as suggested by Les (but these are vague and imprecise qualifiers to be sure). Much higher than background doesn’t seem to be the case regarding any public exposures to such sources, or leeching of compounds to surrounding environment.

            Since as usual, Les doesn’t wish to engage in discussion in these threads, that leaves us to guess at his original point and his intended relevance for making it. I opt for the interpretation: “radiation risks are high from coal ash impoundments, and 60 minutes made an oversight excluding them.” Rod seems to think he was only referencing high environmental risks from accidental releases (and unnecessary regulations on low level waste from nukes, hospitals and labs that under normal circumstances represent a lower radiation risk … to the environment, to the public, it is uncertain). Jim Hopf seems to think it was merely an objective claim about the concentration of radioactivity and has nothing to do with public exposures or risks (which begs the question why mention it at all, and charge that 60 minutes erred in excluding this information in the first place). You were kind enough to point out my oversight (and highlight the reported range of concentration in fly ash in an impoundment).

            We all seem to think it’s a rather insignificant amount of radioactivity and unlikely to result in any significant public doses (certainly not above a level of background radiation). We also seem to agree that there are other aspects of coal production and waste management that are more worrisome and problematical, and that were adequately covered by 60 minutes. In which case, it seems pretty obvious to me, 60 minutes seems to have made a fair and pretty objective editorial decision to not focus on radiation risks (or engage in any unnecessary fear mongering over the issue)?

            Les, on the other hand, not so successful … and appears to have opened up a can of worms (that others are trying pretty hard to close). Much higher than background is a claim that is familiar to many of us, and that many of us think about in a very particular way. If Les didn’t mean to imply that public exposures would be high, I am still unclear why it is important and relevant to make the point in the first place?

          3. And now to correct myself, the figure of 10-30 ppm in coal ash is just for uranium; it doesn’t include thorium, radium, etc. The thorium alone would raise the concentration of radioactives in fly ash by another 10-40 ppm, according to the source.

          4. No El its only a “can of worms” to you. He was showing that fear of living near a nuclear plant was unfounded as Radiation from a coal plant should be the last of your worries. .

            Also the point is that toxins in this ash varies with location of the coal source, so each site should have been more closely monitored over the decades and decades they were totally ignored.

            Since we already discussed the ridiculous condition of fish resources in your area lets do Virgina as I believe it is Rod’s general area:

            Consumption Advisories and Restrictions in Effect for Virginia Waterways ( http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/Epidemiology/dee/PublicHealthToxicology/Advisories/ )

            PCBs and mercury are both present in Coal ash and other industrial wastes. The whole US is significantly contaminated with it. So yes it actually is and has been a real issue.

          5. And if you want to get an idea of the issue in Germany, who traded Lignite for nuclear, this shows how completely out of touch, dishonest and utterly ridiculous the European Greens are:

            Mercury levels and trends (1993-2009) in bream (Abramis brama L.) and zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) from German surface waters.

            A comparison of the concentrations in bream with the environmental quality standard (EQS) of 20 ng g(-1) wet weight set for mercury in biota by the EU showed that not a single result was in compliance with this limit value, not even those from the reference site. Current mercury levels in bream from German rivers exceed the EQS by a factor 4.5-20. Thus, piscivorous top predators are still at risk of secondary poisoning by mercury exposure via the food chain. ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22071369 )

          6. No El its only a “can of worms” to you.

            @John Tucker

            I’m still a bit confused. EPA writes: “The amount of natural radiation in wastes from coal-fired power plants is so small that no precautions need to be taken” (here) Low level nuclear waste (clothing, rags, mops, filters, swabs, syringes, etc.) from nukes, hospitals, labs are handled in a variety of different ways: “typically stored on-site by licensees, either until it has decade away and can be disposed of as ordinary trash, or until amounts are large enough for shipment to” disposal site. Radiation can be very high as in the case of reactor decommissioning and disposal of parts from inside a reactor vessel or very small. “NRC authorizes some licensees to store short-half-lived material until the radioactivity is indistinguishable from ambient radiation levels, and then dispose of the material as non-radioactive waste” (NRC NUREG/BR-0216).

            I’m very unclear what is being argued here … are you and LES both arguing that these sites are underregulated for radiation exposure and risks, and that these sites “should have been more closely monitored over the decades” (as you specifically suggest) and that 60 minutes was negligent in not reporting on this issue (and highlighting that fly ash stored on site has a “much-higher-than-background” level of radioactivity, and can be highly variable from site to site as well)?

            Could you be a bit more clear … your argument isn’t really consistent with your statements that fly ash is treated fundamentally different from low level nuclear waste (when it is short lived or just above background levels), or that the risks are unfounded and “should be the last of your worries.”

          7. Is nuclear “waste” stored in hundreds of unregulated and unlined ponds. Do you drink and fish in the water from it? Dont see why this is so difficult for you.

          8. Is nuclear “waste” stored in hundreds of unregulated and unlined ponds. Do you drink and fish in the water from it?

            @John T. Tucker

            Unlined tailings ponds for uranium mills were quite common prior to Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA) of 1978. And yes, I have fished in some of the waters near these sites (Wind River in particular). I’d have to check, but probably Colorado River as well. I also lived on Navajo Reservation for a summer, and ate local livestock (but not likely from Church Rock area where there was a large uranium mill tailings spill in 1979).

            What does this have to do with 60 Minutes, by the way, and your comment that radiation levels at coal ash impoundments are historically underregulated and “should have been more closely monitored over the decades” (especially regarding coal sources with high levels of radioactivity)?

            1. @EL

              As you noted, the UMTRCA was enacted in 1978, which was 36 years ago.

              The 60 Minutes episode I wrote about was aired last week and discussed the current situation regarding coal ash storage rules in the United States. Can you see the difference in attitudes and effects?

          9. @El

            I wonder are you obtuse or just acting like it. It’s really hard to believe you don’t understand the arguments given how much time you spend on this site.

            Let me put forth my interpretation of the argument in detail.

            The media reacts to even minuscule quantiles of radioisotopes being released from nuclear power plants as being an unmitigated disaster. The media completely ignores the release of radioisotope into the environment as a result of burning coal. The media in employing a double standard which is harmful because it deceives people as to the actual relative environmental costs of different forms of energy generational thereby leading people to make poor decisions (i.e. burning more coal and closing down nuclear power plants).

            Now I expect you’ll “interpret” this however suits your needs.

          10. The media reacts to even minuscule quantiles of radioisotopes being released from nuclear power plants as being an unmitigated disaster.

            @Evan

            The potential for releases of radiation from nuclear plants are orders of magnitude greater than for coal plants (particularly when there are operational and maintenance requirements that are not properly attended to). The release of radiation from coal plants is not a very serious or worrisome risk.

            And I don’t agree with you that the media reacts to a minuscule release of radioisotopes as an unmitigated disaster.

            1. @EL

              And I don’t agree with you that the media reacts to a minuscule release of radioisotopes as an unmitigated disaster.

              Evan might have exaggerated a little, but the industry, regulatory, political and media response to the tiny leak (rate of 75 gallons per day that only lasted for a few hours) from a single steam generator U-tube at San Onofre resulted in the complete loss of a multibillion dollar facility capable of producing more than 5% of California’s electricity consumption without any emissions of fly ash, CO, NOx, SOx, mercury, or CO2.

          11. @EL

            The thing I’ve noticed since I started paying attention to this stuff is that some people take their speculation about nuclear power plants and treat it as indisputable fact. What is the potential radiation release of any given nuclear power plant given any particular situation? How do you determine that in a fair, unbiased and rational manner? It seems to me that many anti nuclear people are given to wild speculation without much in the way of real evidence which is why I don’t really trust them that much. Actual release is always determined by actual physics which is why I trust knowledge gained from past experience more than the scenarios people come up with. Really the actual record of nuclear power is pretty darn good.

            You say the media doesn’t reacts to a minuscule release of radioisotopes as an unmitigated disaster. How do you explain the way they treated San Onofre. A little tritiated water gets released and press is all over it. The next thing you know the plant is closed down. Now lets compare that to coal.

            In 2012, 59 percent of the coal consumed by electric utilities and independent power producers in the United States resulted in the generation of about 68 million tons of fly ash, bottom ash and boiler slag. An additional 42 million tons of other residuals were generated from flue gas desulfurization and fluidized bed combustion.

            Fly ash is carried up with hot flue gases and trapped by stack filters. It is the largest of the coal combustion residuals (about half) by weight.

            Stack filtration devices, such as electrostatic precipitators, baghouses and scrubbers are routinely used to reduce the emission of fly ash. They are about 99 percent effective. Only about one percent is released into the air.

            http://www.epa.gov/radiation/tenorm/coalandcoalash.html

            10-30 ppm uranium in fly ash

            10-30 ppm thorium in fly ash

            http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/1997/fs163-97/FS-163-97.html

            Now lets do a little math with these numbers.

            68,000,000 * .5 * .01 = 340,000 tons

            So, in 2012, 59 percent of the coal consumed by electric utilities resulted in 340,000 tons of fly ash being released into the air.

            ((340,000 * 10) / 1,000,000) * 2,000 = 6,800 pounds*

            ((340,000 * 30) / 1,000,000) * 2,000 = 20,400 pounds*

            *assuming tons is short tons and ppm is a mass fraction.

            In 2012, 59 percent of the coal consumed by electric utilities resulted in between 6,800 to 20,400 pounds of radioactive Uranium and between 6,800 to 20,400 pounds of radioactive Thorium being released into the air. If it wasn’t for the consumption of coal in production electricity this Thorium and Uranium would have remained under ground where it couldn’t possibly hurt anyone. Instead it was released into the air in the form of small particles. Who knows how much of it ended up in the lungs of plant works and near by residents, and remember this is actual release, not some hypothetical someone pulled out of their rear end. So how many plants are going to close because of this? How much news coverage is it going to get? I bet none to both questions, and you don’t think there is a double standard.

        2. The potential for releases of radiation from nuclear plants are orders of magnitude greater than for coal plants

          Are they, given that the radon and other volatile radioisotopes of coal are generally not captured worth a damn (leaving aside the tramp U, Th and their decay products that escape the filters)?

          When you combine this fact with the fact that the threshold for harm to humans is a chronic dose in excess of 500 mSv/year, what does the potential (not actual release) from nuclear plants, compared to their proven reduction in actual harmful emissions compared to all the realistic alternatives, possibly mean for human well-being?

          1. Yes, indeed, Evan makes an interesting calculation just above, but it’s quite strongly underestimated because it doesn’t include the radon as well as any other of the isotopes of the decay chain.

            Will it change much the result ? Well there’s a very simple rule that at secular equilibrium each of the steps of the decay chain has exactly the same becquerel activity (excluding the special case of multiple decay path), which means that the total activity is the activity of one step multiplied by the number of steps, and they are actually quite many.

        3. What is the potential radiation release of any given nuclear power plant given any particular situation? How do you determine that in a fair, unbiased and rational manner?

          @Evan

          With respect to a pre-established environmental, work place, food, water, and public health standards …

          How do you explain the way they treated San Onofre …

          San Onofre was a modest risk to workers at the plant, owners (with respect to significant long term costs), and consumers (with respect to plant reliability). Ignoring licensing requirements (and treating a single plant differently from every other plant, especially with respect to pre-established licensing guidelines and requirements) changes none of these things. The only thing it changes is the view that licenses don’t matter, and each plant gets to make up it’s own rules as it goes along.

          Now lets do a little math with these numbers.

          So what is the public impact with respect to dose exposures of these releases (and do you consider this to be a significant health risk meriting closer and more careful scrutiny and regulation). In other words, does it exceed pre-established environmental, work place, food, water, and public health standards … I’d actually like an answer to this (since you have raised the issue and done the math)!

          Nobody said fly ash wasn’t a pollution or health concern. We are only talking about whether radiation risks should be added to the list of human health concerns associated it?

          1. @EL

            In other words, does it exceed pre-established environmental, work place, food, water, and public health standards … I’d actually like an answer to this (since you have raised the issue and done the math)!

            Wow, you’re asking an awful lot of me. I know almost nothing about such standards. Nothing in my work experience or education qualifies me to answer such a question, and I don’t feel like doing a lot of research on it. If you’re so interest why don’t you figure it out yourself.

            San Onofre was a modest risk to workers at the plant, owners (with respect to significant long term costs)

            I don’t believe that. From one of Rod’s articles.

            the 82 gallon-per-day leak that happened at San Onofre in January 2012 would have given the hypothetical “most exposed person” a dose of 5.2E-7 mSv. The Health Physics Society states that doses less than 50-100 mSv cause a risk that is “too small to be observed or is nonexistent.”

            https://atomicinsights.com/foes-manipulative-legal-strategy-closing-nuclear-reactors/

            That doesn’t sound like a modest risk to me. It sounds more like a not worth mentioning risk.

            consumers (with respect to plant reliability)

            I seriously doubt that it’s closure was at all good for the customers, and this article agrees with me.

            http://www.ocregister.com/articles/energy-643553-nuclear-san.html

            Living in Silicon Valley I dread the day that the antis find some flimsy excuse to close down Diablo Canyon Power Plant and my rates become even more outrageous.

            Ignoring licensing requirements (and treating a single plant differently from every other plant, especially with respect to pre-established licensing guidelines and requirements) changes none of these things.

            The license issue was very cleverly manufactured wasn’t it. Antis are nothing if not creative.

            Nobody said fly ash wasn’t a pollution or health concern. We are only talking about whether radiation risks should be added to the list of human health concerns associated it?

            I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about at all. That seems to be what you are talking about, but everyone else seems to be talking about the horrible double standards that exist in regards to how some people treat radiation from nuclear sources versus how they treat radiation from all other sources.

          2. Wow, you’re asking an awful lot of me … If you’re so interest why don’t you figure it out yourself.

            @Evan

            The answer is no … there is no public health risk exceeding pre-established environmental, work place, food, and water standards for radioactivity emitted to air or groundwater from fly ash. “If you live within 50 miles of a ‘coal fired power plant” (here) add 0.03 mrem to your annual dose exposure. It’s not asking a lot for you to comment on such radiation exposures, and whether additional regulations are needed (in your view) to address associated health risks. Radiation has very little to do with the associated or potential health and environmental risks from coal plants (I don’t see a double standard) … even moreso with proposed federal oversight of coal ash impoundments under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (which I support).

            The license issue was very cleverly manufactured wasn’t it. Antis are nothing if not creative.

            What do “antis” have to do with anything? NRC was simply following it’s own pre-established rules and guidance. If operator wanted different rules, their time to ask for that was prior to signing their operating license. They chose not to fix the steam generators and shut down the plant because the cost of their mistake was too high. And yes, such mistakes are costly for the consumer as well.

            1. @EL

              What do “antis” have to do with anything? NRC was simply following it’s own pre-established rules and guidance. If operator wanted different rules, their time to ask for that was prior to signing their operating license.

              What are you talking about? The NRC did not rule that San Onofre violated its license. That might be the interpretation of some pressure groups, but the replacement of the steam generator following the 50.59 process has not been questioned by the responsible regulatory authority.

              The only finding by the NRC against SCE is that they had a slight breakdown in oversight of their supplier’s design verification program. That finding was classified as “white” meaning it had low to moderate safety significance.

              http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1335/ML13357A058.pdf

              As that document states, there were a grand total of EIGHT tubes that failed to meet pressure testing criteria that ensures structural integrity during an accident scenario.

              There are about 9725 tubes in each of San Onofre’s steam generators. They were designed with a 10% margin, meaning more than 970 can be plugged while still allowing the plant to operate at full power.

          3. The NRC did not rule that San Onofre violated its license. That might be the interpretation of some pressure groups, but the replacement of the steam generator following the 50.59 process has not been questioned by the responsible regulatory authority.

            @Rod Adams

            The NRC ruled it would not allow plant to operate at 70% power without a license amendment. To do so would have violated operating license.

            Operator would have been better off with a more robust screening for any upgrades on modifications to steam generator components (or a contractor with more experience building such large generators). I agree that hindsight is 20/20, but it sought a shortcut and consumers/shareholders paid the price.

            The issue was far larger than one leak … but poor management decisions, troubling findings of wear after less than a year of operation, some “of a kind never before seen”, and operational challenges getting issue addressed in a way that didn’t add to problems for the company (including taking on risks that “could be the end of the company” said Chief Executive). A lot of this had nothing to do with antis (a few aging hippies holding signs outside the gates to the plant). It is a distraction to suggest as much.

            http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jul/13/local/la-me-07-14-san-onofre-tic-toc-20130714

            1. @EL

              Who said “antis” are just “aging hippies holding signs?” Two of the most effective “antis” in this case were the Chairman of the NRC and the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Both have a long history of opposition to nuclear energy. Jaczko was a “go to” nuclear opponent in campus debates at University of Wisconsin.

          4. @El

            The answer is no …

            That’s great. You really wanted to know and you looked it up. koodos for you. Personally I don’t see the relevance.

          5. Two of the most effective “antis” in this case were the Chairman of the NRC and the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

            @Rod Adams

            SONGS apparently had a long problem with substantiated safety complaints at the plant: “The number of substantiated safety allegations at San Onofre in 2011 was more than six times the national average, a significant drop from its peak in 2010 when it was 15 times the average. But even with the decline, San Onofre was — for the third consecutive year — the national leader in safety allegations substantiated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

            http://www.voiceofoc.org/oc_coast/article_0d87a1f0-88c7-11e1-9b63-001a4bcf887a.html

            http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/04/local/la-me-federal-enclave-20120705

            You don’t think this forms a legitimate basis for bringing the plant under closer scrutiny and additional attention from the Chairman of the NRC and a US State Senator (representing her constituents in the State)?

            1. @EL

              You really are revealing your animosity towards nuclear energy these days.

              The first article you cited strongly supports the assertion that there was a lengthy campaign by “antis” to establish some kind of standing and basis that would allow them to pounce on any issue and blow it up into a catastrophic story about mismanagement.

              There are some interesting facts provided that the article’s author has completely misunderstood. He tells us that over a four-year period, San Onofre was the subject of 300 allegations of safety problems. Of those allegations, only 21% (63 of 300) were substantiated. In other words, 79% of the allegations were BS, but each one of them cost a significant effort to resolve. It does not provide any information about the severity of the small portion that were found to be at least somewhat true. Though the article claims that allegations of safety problems are mostly filed by “workers” it also acknowledged that “others” could also file allegations.

              I wonder how many of those allegations were filed by Senator Boxer’s good friend Dan Hirsch?

              The fact that there were some “workers” at a plant employing about 1900 people who felt it necessary to go to the NRC is something that troubles people like David Lochbaum, but as a student of human nature who has worked in a number of large, institutional environments, I am not at all surprised that there are a few malcontents who might actually be “anti” in their attitudes about nuclear energy.

              The article also stated that over the same four year period, there were 33 complaints of discrimination for reporting safety violations. None of them were substantiated.

              By the way, the article that you chose to support your contention that San Onofre was NOT the victim of coordinated action by the “antis” quotes two noted antinuclear activists (Lochbaum and Gundersen) and has no comments from anyone who is known for their support for nuclear energy. The author made the always suspicious journalistic claim that the company that was the subject of the hit piece “failed to return calls seeking comment.” Think about that for a moment.

          6. @EL

            A lot of this had nothing to do with antis (a few aging hippies holding signs outside the gates to the plant). It is a distraction to suggest as much.

            You seem to be implying that antis have little influence. That is hardly the case. Here from you own article (BTW you do read your own links don’t you?).

            Edison had hoped to have Unit 2 back online by this summer, but the NRC’s decision was repeatedly delayed. Then in May, a panel of NRC administrative judges ruled that Edison might have to go through a lengthy license amendment process before restart — the outcome that Boxer and the activists had been pushing for.

            http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jul/13/local/la-me-07-14-san-onofre-tic-toc-20130714
            Is Senator Barbara Boxer just an aging hippie with a sign?

            1. @Evan

              Is Senator Barbara Boxer just an aging hippie with a sign?

              No. She is an aging hippie in a power suit with a gavel. Thankfully, her gavel is being taken away.

          7. You seem to be implying that antis have little influence.

            There are “antis” for everything. I don’t see what makes antis for nuclear power any more or less effective than for anything else. Even when sitting on an oversight or budget committee in Congress. This is our system. You marshall your resources, hire experts to plead your case, build alliances and effective working relationships, curry favor with legislators, educate and change attitudes (via PR and bully pulpit), and more. That nuclear power has been historically very poor at this is not a sign that antis have been very good at it or effective in contrast. Caldicott is insane, Gunderson gets a lot of attention that isn’t merited (I think because he’s cultivated good relationships with media and there are relatively few people available to play this role), UCS in my view does a good job asking the right questions (and in no way precludes an adequate rebuttal or a convincing case in response, or approaching their effort as an opportunity), Greenpeace keeps a lot of people busy (and far removed from being more effective in other ways).

            I actually think nuclear would be far better off being “more” in the spotlight, and from every perspective (more “normalized” and less “niche” and “defensive” in it’s self-concept). It also needs to be a heck of a lot more creative and more forward thinking in my view (industrial baseload just isn’t very exciting). You shouldn’t be looking to shut down debate (and somehow expect everyone to agree in exactly the same way), you should be expanding it (and encouraging everyone to have their say). The discussion on nuclear is rather stale, in my view, Gunderson and UCS at least make it “interesting” … and challenge others to make up their own mind (if it is an issue they care about). I agree that Jaczko was unfortunate. But I don’t agree that Boxer is the same. She’s feisty. I think you can work with someone who is feisty, and cares about the issues in the way that she presumes to care about them. Climate change is clearly one of them. She’s obviously hot under the collar about SONGS (I have no doubt the operator offended her somehow and she has a vendetta against them). She sits on an oversight committee for Pete’s sake, she’s probably not someone you should go about offending. But anti-nuclear as a general principle (even NEI has it’s doubts).

            Though the article claims that allegations of safety problems are mostly filed by “workers” it also acknowledged that “others” could also file allegations.

            @Rod Adams.

            I’m pretty sure “others” and whistlebower protection doesn’t include Dan Hirsh (unless he had business with the plant). I think they mean “contractors” as it has been stated elsewhere. I know you think nuclear operators can do no wrong (at least it sometimes appears that way). When they do, however, it’s nice to know you can acknowledge it from time to time.

            You think the plant made no mistakes that were deserving of it’s more closer and active scrutiny by State and Federal regulators?

          8. @EL

            You marshall your resources, hire experts to plead your case, build alliances and effective working relationships, curry favor with legislators, educate and change attitudes (via PR and bully pulpit), and more.

            El, I have very few resources to marshal. My most valuable possession being a Toyota Corolla. So there will be no hired experts for me. I’m also never going to work with boxer. I’d be surprised if I ever even see her.

            They only voice I have is my one meager vote, and the comment section various places on the Internet. Using this comment section I would like to tell you that I’m angry at the part anti nuclear activists played in San Onofre’s closure and I’m very angry that they are trying to close down Diablo Canyon.

            http://www.foe.org/projects/climate-and-energy/nuclear-reactors

            I’m actually a little surprised at just how angry them trying to close it down makes me. I guess because it’s close to me I feel a certain amount of possessiveness towards it, or maybe It’s because I don’t want my electric rates to raise. Probably a bit of both. At any rate I’m very angry and if I knew where they were holding a meeting or protest I’d marshal my Toyota Corolla and go down there and give them a piece of my mind… or at the very least wave a strongly worded sign.

            One more link about Diablo Canyon.

            http://www.fresnobee.com/welcome_page/?shf=/2014/09/10/4115981_diablo-canyon-nuclear-plant-can.html

      3. In addition to other posters’ replies, I have to also ask – it seems to me that you are comparing apples and pears? Les made a comment in the context of a discussion about the ash stored in the ponds. The SciAm quote you included explicitly states that it is referring to FLY ASH.

        Now, I admit I’m not a chemist nor physicist, but wouldn’t the fly ash, and the ash stored in the ponds be two different things, with fly ash being the material you cannot capture, which is somehow physically different from the material you CAN capture and store in the ponds?

        Is it possible the stuff in the ponds is more radioactive than the stuff in the fly ash?

        1. … wouldn’t the fly ash, and the ash stored in the ponds be two different things, with fly ash being the material you cannot capture …

          @Jeff Schmidt

          Fly ash is captured by pollution control equipment. “Stack filtration devices, such as electrostatic precipitators, baghouses and scrubbers are routinely used to reduce the emission of fly ash. They are about 99 percent effective. Only about one percent is released into the air.”

          http://www.epa.gov/radiation/tenorm/coalandcoalash.html

          Depending on characteristics of fly ash, bottom ash, and boiler slag … 45% is slated for re-use, 55% for disposal in landfills and surface impoundments.

          Another reply to Tucker is stuck in queue.

  2. I think you’re wrong about the state’s rights issue. I think that nuclear regulations would be much more reasonable if they were formed at the state level.

    Would some states close all nuclear plants? Of course they would. But the situation as it is now means that for states to close nuclear plants in their state, they must and have tightened the regulations for all states.

    So while indian point would probably close, there would be more than enough new reactors built in the south to make up the losses in the north. Theoretically, anyway. What is happening now is that the plants in the north continue to age with no replacement in sight. That is not a good future.

    1. If only they would plan to mothball the plants for a decade or two before dismantling them. Talk about destroying wealth: dismantling a NPP is destroying wealth and paying a king’s ransom for the privilege.

  3. I do end up being irked by the constant “You were warned” mantra of these reports. As we all know, there are people who’s full time job is throwing crap against a wall to see what sticks. Every once in a while, the blind squirrel finds a nut, but that doesn’t make him someone we should take foraging advice from.

    If we listened to every warning, we’d never develop anything new and wouldn’t be able to afford it if we did. I’m not saying the coal industry is representative of an industry which is on the right side of the line here (in terms of ignoring warnings vs. heeding them)…just that it’s lazy questioning for someone who’s never had to create anything to beat up every executive over the “warnings.”

    Rather, they should ask what results led them to make the cost:benefit decision they did and try to find the point where it went wrong. I believe that most in the utility industry are trying to do a tough job well and with a low-cost. I’m sure the engineers responsible for certifying these sites were very upset when they failed. I don’t think a desire to do the right thing exists solely within nuclear.

    Sorry if the above seems apologist for an industry with a trail of destruction. I’m just taking the approach of realizing the 60 minutes Chernobyl report was crap, so there is a good chance this one is too.

    1. @corey “…the 60 minutes Chernobyl report was crap, so there is a good chance this one is too”

      I have had this opinion for quite awhile now. Every story they do involving something I happen to know something about, has been full of errors and false exaggerations. I don’t trust them on anything other than the feel-good human interest stuff. Sad really, considering where CBS news was in the early days of broadcast.

  4. “and release tens of thousands of coal”

    Rod, I think you forgot to include a unit of measure? Lbs, kilos, tons, tonnes? Thanks

  5. @JohnGalt

    Yes, the harm to people from spilling massive quantities of coal ash can be measured and photographed. It shows up in statistics about hospitalizations related to ingesting and breathing contaminated air.

    In contrast, the public harm from a 75 gallon per day leak of primary coolant, which is nearly pure water with only traces of radioactive materials, does not exist.

    Your point about the fact that the same companies that operate coal plants also operate nuclear plants is lost on me.

    I am not defending any industry or company; I am talking about the differences in technology and attention paid to hazards, both real and imaginary. Burning coal in modern plants in the US that all meet their existing regulations results in the production of 130 million tons of powdery fly ash containing measurable portions of a number of elements and compounds that are known to cause human harm.

    Even when those contaminants have concentrations in the ppm range, coal fired electricity production results in hundreds of tons/year of each being produced and either released directly into the environment or stored in unlined, open top pools. Over time, that production has resulted in the accumulation of billions of tons of material that has no permanent home. Few people discuss “the coal waste issue.”

    In contrast, the production of 20% of our electricity in old nuclear plants, the youngest of which is using 1970s vintage technology, results in the production of about 2,000 metric tons of reusable fuel materials each year. The total amount in storage is just 77,000 metric tons. Everyone who has any interest in energy discussions has heard frequent mention of the unsolved problem of “the nuclear waste issue.”

    1. I haven”t seen such a good example of magical thinking in awhile. A Herculean attempt to conclude that coal plant pollution and wastes (ash piles) are not something to really worry about, whereas nuclear accidents and wastes very much are, despite what all the science, numbers and operational record say.

      “Dirt” or not, it is abundantly clear that coal ash piles will have a far more significant impact (i.e., kill orders of magnitude more people) over the ultra-long run than nuclear waste ever will.

      For nuclear waste, it is demanded that we demonstrate that it will remain contained for as long as it remains hazardous. (Way beyond the time at which it becomes less radioactive than the original uranium ore, in fact.) Coal ash, whose toxicity is even longer-lived than nuclear waste, will slowly spread out into the environment, i.e., lace all of our land, air and water (the entire biosphere). The everlasting toxic elements (mercury, arsenic, etc..) will find their way into the food chain, and directly into people’s bodies (from inhalation and digestion, etc.). Perhaps they will eventually work their way down into the earth (from whence they originally came), but the timescale for that will even longer than the time required for nuclear waste to lose its (significant) toxicity.

      It’s a no brainer that in terms of waste, coal ash piles alone represent a far greater threat than nuclear waste. As far as the risks from the reactor (i.e., meltdowns) that is to be compared with the health risk associated with coal plant operation, and pollution. There again, the numbers are very clear. We’ve had one significant release of pollution in non-Soviet nuclear’s entire ~50 year history (Fukushima) and that event had a far smaller impact than that inflicted EVERY DAY by worldwide coal combustion (which causes well over 1000 deaths every single day, along with global warming).

      1. John,

        If you’re trying to argue that any impacts from weapons programs, old Soviet reactors, or (even!!) atmospheric weapons testing has any place in a discussion of the merits of modern nuclear power, the you’re the one guilty of obfuscation!

      2. defense and commercial nuclear are still joined at the hips. From the beginning to now, the real spending on nuclear energy is for defense, or offense.

        So you agree that the vast bulk of what Greens call “nuclear subsidies” in truth has nothing at all to do with nuclear electric power?  Thanks!

        The fuel material comes from government/defense operations.

        Not any more.  For example, all uranium enrichment in the USA is now done by privately-owned centrifuge plants.  They are not defense operations, they make material for commercial buyers.

        You cannot use bomb radiation effects estimates to support changes in dose limits while calling that separate from modern nuclear power.

        You can’t use curare as a muscle relaxant in surgery or snake venom proteins for their medicinal properties while callling that separate from poison-arrow and snakebite deaths… oh, wait, yes you can.

        Well-rehearsed canards are no match for truth, no matter how unfamiliar it is to you.

      3. Poet,

        The main thing I take away from John’s posts is just how much past weapons programs and civilian nuclear power are welded together in many people’s minds (despite the complete lack of rational basis). Apparently, it really is true that stigma from the bomb is what is behind the astonishing degree of prejudice against nuclear energy there is with a large fraction of the public.

        Here’s my example of taking his “logic” to its conclusion. The modern natural gas plants that everyone is currently so enamored of (and are such a necessary component of the renewables dream, as they are necessary for backup power) are merely scaled up jet engines. Jet engines were initially developed as a weapon of war (in WWII). The great majority of the development money came from the military. Just like nuclear power, gas plants are an application of technology initially developed for military applications.

        So, under John’s logic, natural gas generated electricity has to “own the deaths” of everyone killed by jet fighter planes, or heck, everyone killed in WWII. And by extension, since renewables really rely on gas plants for back up, renewables have to own those deaths too.

        On a more serious and reasonable note, the US nuclear power industry doesn’t have any deaths at all to “own”, as they haven’t caused any.

        1. @Jim Hopf

          There are times when I suspect that some responsible decision makers and thought leaders in the 1940s and 50s did everything in their power to use “The Bomb” and widely publicized testing programs to ensure that the peaceful uses of atomic energy were always viewed as an afterthought and inextricably linked to the government bomb programs.

          I’m reading a biography right now of one of the leading figures of the time, a man who is widely acknowledged as the model for Dr. Strangelove. Like Muller, he had a long and fruitful relationship with the establishment foundations, many of which were wealthy as a result of oil dominance of the industrial (especially in wartime) economies.

          Just imagine how different nuclear energy development would have been if Fermi had recognized the fissions his experiments were causing in 1934 when he first used slow neutrons to irradiate uranium. If he had simply followed up on Ida Noddack’s observations and questions about his experimental results, there would not have been “a war on” when mankind figured out how to unlock the vast energy reservoirs locked up inside actinide nuclei. Early developments would have been heat-producing reactors, not bombs.

    2. By your own logic to defend coal waste, JohnGalt, how many people have been killed by nuclear waste? Answer: zero.

      The fact that one source of waste has minimal “shielding” as in a dirt barrier to protect people and the other has specially designed containers is irrelevant. And contrary to your off the cuff assessment, the same companies which contain coal waste do in fact contain nuclear waste according to regulations and do so safely.

      Do you think it would be a fair judge of character to say if one person is not good at one thing then they could never be expected to do anything correctly? The same goes for a company, judging them by one facet and concluding all of the rest will live up to the same disappointment is a distortion.

      1. @ JohnGalt

        It’s funny that you took an article pointing out the hypocrisy of the media, completely misinterpreted it, and made it out to be the hypocrisy of the person who wrote the article.

        In case you really don’t understand the article I’ll explain it to you in simple terms. By almost any metrics coal is worse then nuclear, yet the hypocritical media makes nuclear out to be a monster while largely ignoring the problems with coal. In my opinion at least this is something people should be made aware of.

        “nuclear waste is a much smaller problem by volume; however, exposure to unshielded nuclear waste would kill you in short times. ”

        I would like to point out that this statement is pretty meaningless. It’s like say coal ash would kill people pretty quickly if people starting eating it, or that water could kill people pretty quickly if it was filling people’s lungs. Nuclear waste is under containment, people aren’t eating coal ash or purposely inhaling water. Lots of things could kill people quickly, but without postulating some credible mechanism by which they will do so talking about it is completely inane.

      2. Metrics:
        By percentage of power produced, coal is superior.
        By cost of construction, coal is superior.

        Before the NRC’s punitive/prohibitive approach to “regulation”, nuclear power was cheaper than coal even in cost of construction.  (Reactors are quite small.  Coal-fired boilers are huge affairs with lots of high-temperature, high-pressure pipes, lots of refractory-covered surfaces, and lots of other stuff to manage air and the exhaust.)  Before the NRC, nuclear was forecast to replace coal entirely.  Had the NRC been established in the 1990’s instead of the 1970’s, you’d be saying nuclear was superior by power produced.

        By magnitude of disaster caused by loss of offsite power, coal is superior.

        By magnitude of disaster caused when operating to spec, coal must be eliminated.

        By length of time and expense required to get permission from regulators to restart a plant after shutting down for a flood

        Replace the regulatory regime, since it is clearly the problem.

        Anybody who thinks media ignores problems with coal hasn’t been paying attention.

        I see LTEs and opinion pieces which spread paranoia about Fukushima, but I have not seen a single mention of ash floods in my local paper in the past 3.5 years.

        The point is nuclear waste is very hazardous.

        Chemical toxins are also very hazardous, and nuclear waste is far more easily handled and isolated than e.g. methyl mercury.

      3. @JohnGalt

        How do you account for the fuel supply infrastructure related to a coal plant? Does your statement about steam plant size include the piles of coal in the yard, the crushers, the conveyer belts feeding the boilers, and the conveyor belts disposing of the ash?

        Energy conversations often dismiss nuclear with a comment about “the waste,” but how does the volume of used nuclear fuel over a 60 year life compare with the piles of coal ash that remain after 60 years of production on a kilowatt-hour for kilowatt-hour basis.

        The efficiency disadvantage was a big point of contention during the first nuclear building boom. That was one of the main reasons that General Atomics developed high temperature gas cooled reactors. Funny how an oil company — Gulf — purchased General Atomics about the time that its HTGR technology was ready to step up from the 40 MWe Peach Bottom plant to the 300 MWe Ft. St. Vrain reactor and how that oil company invited another oil company to purchase 50% of the company after they had orders for 8-10 1000 MWe, 40% thermal efficiency HTGRs. The really funny part of the story was how that second oil company — Royal Dutch Shell, masquerading as Scallop Nuclear — then spent a year sending its sales people around to convince utilities to cancel those orders.

      4. A GigaWatt is a GigaWatt, through steam to electricity. Steam from reactors comes at lower pressure and temperature than steam from coal plants. Reactor plants have lower efficiency.

        Makes no difference, we’re talking about inherent (not legalistically-mandated) costs here.

        Supercritical water reactors appear likely to shrink both the reactor and the balance of plant.

        We can all re-write history the way we wished it were, but that changes nothing.

        You think physics and political fiat are equivalent?

        I have not seen a single mention of ash floods in my local paper in the past 3.5 years.

        LMGTFY

        Irrelevant.  Turns out there were 3, about an ash flood in another state (mostly down-playing it).  I hadn’t seen them.  There were far more mentions of coal ash in the context of an on-going controversy, and 5 mentions of Fukushima.

        We’re still cleaning up nuclear’s mercury too.

        The part you left out is that the mercury was used for lithium isotope separation for thermonuclear weapons, not for anything involving uranium.  In other words, you are trying to mis-lead your readers.  Very Greenpeace/Gundersen/Caldicott.  Not nice.

      5. @JohnGalt : I don’t believe there’s a single journalist in the US who references Fukushima thinking abut the tsunami. Very strange that when it’s about coal, you ask for a proven body count, but that “releasing large amounts of radioactive materials” is bad enough for the nuclear. No animal was killed by the release of this radiation, while the ash spills have destroyed all the local species the local environment.

        If people have not been killed by the ash spills, the polluted water was actually directly threatening them : http://sierraclub.typepad.com/compass/2014/02/coals-legacy-of-pollution-nationwide.html “the DENR is telling residents along the Dan River to “avoid prolonged direct contact” with water from the river as levels of the toxic metal arsenic are at some points more than four times higher than levels deemed safe for human contact.” We’re talking about contact here, let’s not talk about what happens if by error they drink it.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/10/us/one-month-after-toxic-spill-west-virginians-face-crisis-of-confidence.html?hpw&rref=us
        – “schools in Charleston sent students home abruptly last week when students and staff members detected the telltale licorice odor of the leaked chemical”
        – “our water, like the water of thousands of others in our area, still smells of MCHM”

      6. What next, ignore taxes and incentives?

        Of course not.  They need to be changed to try to encourage the possible, instead of trying to mandate the impossible.

        Everything looks better on paper or in theory.

        I’m afraid that if you think the physics and thermodynamics of supercritical steam systems change because the heat source changes from coal to nuclear, you’re living in a world of delusion.  (Actually, you live in a world of rhetoric.  You make cheap shots instead of dealing with facts.  Morally, that’s reprehensible.)

        The good examples of nuclear power we hear about here, the reactors in a can with people, were built to carry and launch those weapons.

        Strange that you don’t include the generation of 60% of the USA’s carbon-free electrical power with “good examples of nuclear power”.  I’d bet, without doing any calculations at all, that electric generation is a much greater consumer of uranium than naval vessels of all kinds (non-boomers and surface vessels included).  But that’s just part of your substitution of rhetoric for dialectic.

      7. @JohnGalt

        The good examples of nuclear power we hear about here, the reactors in a can with people, were built to carry and launch those weapons. Not everyone believes in artificial lines between parts of the nuclear defense industrial complex.

        I’m proud to have served on two ships that were built to carry weapons that we never needed — or wanted — to use. A sign near the head of the pier where I spent several intense months of refit instilled appropriate pride in our mission by labeling the pier “…Home of Warriors for Peace.” Some of my shipmates with a rather macabre sense of humor created some interesting cartoons that I now wish I had been able to retain. One included the line – “Peace through brute force,” another said “Walk softly and carry VERY big sticks.”

        Now, let’s talk about the fossil fuel defense industrial complex that has been so important in developing the combustion engines that power much of society. Steam turbines were initially developed as propulsion plants for military vessels before they moved ashore to replace steam piston engines. The Brayton cycle gas turbines that enable natural gas fired electricity generating plants to have such low capital costs were developed to propel military aircraft. Compact locomotive diesel engines were initially designed to propel submarines and then surface ships before moving ashore to rapidly replace the steam locomotive fleet after WWII.

        My main beef with the “nuclear defense industrial complex” is that Rickover apparently made a deal with the devil in order to build political support for his nuclear navy. I haven’t found the smoking gun yet, but it has always bothered me that nuclear ship propulsion plant technology has been subjected to far tighter security rules than aircraft engine technology. US taxpayers made enormous investments in developing the engines that power ships and submarines, but have not been allowed to reap the benefits that would be enabled by producing commercial versions of those incredibly flexible, durable, simple to operate and capable machines.

        Imagine how much easier and cheaper it would be for the Navy to attract entry level nuclear sailors if they saw a clear career path to use their skills in a nuclear merchant fleet. Imagine how the cost per unit could decrease by spreading unavoidable overhead over a larger number of production units. Imagine the powerful economic engine that would result from the US having a technological edge in merchant ships again.

        Of course, nuclear powered ships would take large chunks of a very profitable petroleum market away from some powerfully connected special interest groups.

        Many of my former colleagues believe the reason there is no obvious commercial market for naval reactors is that naval reactors use HEU, but LEU cores would work fine in a commercial version of the systems that are designed to make refueling easier than it is for submarines and ships. Extremely long lived cores have economic disadvantages for commercial plants; who wants to tie up their capital in a 10-15 year fuel inventory?

        The real reason is that classification rules associated with Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information (NNPI) make it virtually impossible to even consider commercializing naval reactors. Those rules could be changed almost overnight with a courageous political decision. I think they should be.

      8. @JohnGalt

        As for gas turbines, “I suspect” the number of gas turbine powered ships has increased faster than the number of nuclear powered ships. No doubt you’ll say it’s because of the great fossil conspiracy rather than good judgment.

        You suspect correctly. I dislike using the word “conspiracy” to describe rather standard business behavior, but there is little doubt that the fossil fuel-dominated establishment was quite successful in lobbying the Navy to classify the LM2500 gas turbine powered-Spruance class as “destroyers” in order to get around the law that was in effect at the time of their development that all “major combatants” shall be nuclear-powered. The petroleum companies never liked that law; at the time it was passed, the US Navy was their single largest customer.

        The same hull used in the Spruance was later adapted to become the Ticonderoga class cruiser, the capital ships of the non-battleship Navy.

      9. @JohnGalt

        Though you directed the question to Engineer-Poet, I have an answer to your question about Rickover’s 1982 testimony to Congress.

        https://atomicinsights.com/admiral-rickovers-final-testimony-to-congress/

        That post liberally quotes Ted Rockwell, who worked for Rickover for a dozen years and wrote a biography of him titled “The Rickover Effect: How One Man Made a Difference.”

        Rockwell was also a technical consultant to the recently released documentary titled Rickover until his passing in the spring of 2013. In short, he was a Rickover expert who provides a good explanation for the out of context quote from Rickover’s final testimony that is so often repeated by antinuclear activists.

      10. @JohnGalt

        Rockwell was a curious, lucid, clear-thinking man up until the very end. I corresponded with him regularly and talked with him on the phone less than a month before he passed away after a brief illness.

        There is nothing “deep end” about him. His interest in parapsychology was real and scientific. Contrary to what some assert, there are still many things that we do not understand about the world in which we live.

        BTW – your anonymous comment was nothing but an ad hominem attack seeking to discredit a highly credible and respected scientist and engineer.

      11. I’m afraid that if you think the physics and thermodynamics of supercritical steam systems change because …

        Have no fear, and go review what Rickover said about paper versus real, or academic versus practical, reactors.

        So you (a) ignore the point about thermodynamics (we know what supercritical steam systems do to the power-island size and cost), and (b) having been called on that you immediately change the subject AGAIN with a blatant appeal to emotion (and one that is largely at odds with the life trajectory of Rickover).

        Some “John Galt” you are.  Get out of our way!

      12. @JohnGalt

        Rockwell’s reactor shielding manual is a classic, but why stray from areas of expertise?

        What is your area of expertise? What makes you qualified to comment here?

        Most of us have many areas of interest. I don’t think Ted ever called himself a psychic expert, but he was secure enough to be curious and to listen to those who were conducting experiments and gathering data.

      13. Headline: Low Dose Deniers Believe in telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition.

        @JohnGalt

        Engineers aren’t particularly well known for being astute when it comes to human affairs and existential questions. If the design behind less tangible qualities of human existence and belief are not readily apparent or visible, some might be prone to fill the emptiness with their own speculations on design and what they consider to be tangible in the unknowable world. Not everything is a problem to be solved. Acceptance, human limitations, and faith mystifies some people more than others.

      14. Maybe this explains why nobody has made a convincing case for lack of harm from low radiation doses.

        Appeal to emotion AND a logical fallacy!  You cannot prove a negative.  Thankfully, we have observed actual benefits from low radiation doses, proving that the assertion of harm from those same doses is false.

        they’ve gone off to “investigate” even less measurable things like parapsychology.

        Curious characters may be investigating things other than the purported phenomena, such as the people who believe in them so fervently.  Unfortunately for you, your unshakeable belief that all radiation is dangerous is simply not interesting.

      15. Engineers aren’t particularly well known for being astute when it comes to human affairs and existential questions.

        Social justice warriors are usually much worse than engineers in that regard.  Those who are willing to sacrifice millions to achieve their Utopia fare poorly in history.

      16. So, which is it, you cannot prove it, or you did?

        I didn’t prove anything.  The researchers made a convincing case for finding hormesis in the bomb-survivor data, and there’s proof in the animal models in the 1950’s experiments and earlier.  The latter is solid disproof of LNT.

        The bulk of your comment is a huge quote out of context, attempting to distract from the actual results of the analysis of the data.  Since the formula you quote doesn’t even account for the J-curve found by the researchers themselves, it is unsupported by the data at the outset and should never have been included in the paper.  I suspect that the only reason it’s there is out of insistence that LNT is “proven”, either on the part of reviewers or the researchers themselves.

        It’s so ironic that the only reason you comment here is to get in OUR way.

  6. Coal Combustion Residuals – In response to an EPA information request on units managing wet-handled CCRs in 2009, electric utilities identified a total of 676 units managing slurried CCRs at 240 facilities. ( http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/industrial/special/fossil/ccrs-fs/ )

    Unlined. leaking, totally exposed to the environment. No plan. Little if any oversight of wastes. High degrees of variability. Large amounts of wastes produced.

    This, among other irresponsible approaches to land use and waste was one of the things that actually, initially, sold me solidly on nuclear.

    1. And these are frequently confused with “Coal Slurry Impoundments” which are different animals entirely. I was dismayed that I didnt hear a clarification of this in the 60 min report.

      It was one of these failing in 1972 that killed 125 people and released 125 million gallons of toxic water in the Buffalo Creek Flood.

      1996 Lone Mountain Processing Coal Slurry Impoundment Failure ( https://facultystaff.richmond.edu/~wgreen/ejds0203.html )

    1. Like at Fuku? yea whatever.

      These are permanent contaminates, no half lives, at significant concentrations contaminating and threatening ground water on a massive scale. No half lives. Accumulating.

      Is that so hard to get?

    2. An in-depth review of monitoring data from coal ash ponds located next to 13 coal-burning power plants in North Carolina has revealed that all of them are contaminating groundwater with toxic metals and other pollutants — in some cases at levels exceeding 380 times state groundwater standards…. ….The analysis was conducted by Appalachian Voices’ Upper Watauga Riverkeeper team based on data submitted to state regulators by Duke Energy and Progress Energy, the state’s two largest investor-owned electric utilities. The companies conducted the tests as part of a self-monitoring agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. ( http://www.southernstudies.org/2009/10/all-north-carolina-coal-ash-ponds-are-leaking-toxic-pollution-to-groundwater.html )

      When a nuke plant leaks something that dissipates even at low concentrations its a major scandal. This has been allowed to occur without remedy or plan for decades.

      1. This has been allowed to occur without remedy or plan for decades.

        @John Tucker

        You can start by offering support for this.

        http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/226312-greens-ask-obama-to-go-big-on-coal-ash

        EPA coal ash rule that removes exemption and proposes to regulate coal ash at the federal level under either Subtitle C or Subtitle D of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). EPA needs to publish rule by court ordered deadline of Dec. 19.

        Will nuclear advocates (such as yourself) take a side?

      2. To regulate coal ash from NPPs? Sure. Let me be the first to jump on that.

        If you mean regulating and monitoring radiation releases like coal ash I think that would be more of a backwards joke than a legitimate environmental direction. The nuclear industry sets the high bar where oversight and monitoring of waste (present, past and accidents) is/are concerned.

      3. @John Tucker

        Sounds like a smile and a nod to me. I see you are not serious in your claim of “muted outrage” over coal ash.

      4. I have no idea what you are talking about EL. Its 2014 and the train left the station on coal quite a while ago. If the greens were serious on the matter they would not have pushed more coal (and gas) in Europe by shuttering nuclear.

        That report from the EPA in 2010 below outlined a significant and continuous threat from these ash ponds in the US to US citizens greater than any accidental radiation releases here, a year before Fukushima (no significant threat or expose to civilians in Japan much less in the US), and the EPA report just went poof! while Fukushima a year later was top story here night and day for months.

        Now I cant even remember seeing that EPA report before tonight much less hearing any serious evaluation of it. I have no idea what happened. Four years later CBS has a empathetic sit down with duke energy with no serious evaluation, discussion or resolution in sight STILL for hundreds of these sites in the US.

        I really dont think I am the one with the seriousness or perspective issues.

      5. @John Tucker

        What report you are talking about?

        EPA is proposing rulemaking to remove exemption of coal ash from Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. You said there wasn’t any action or plan for decades. There is.

        It’s a simple question. Do you support it or not?

      6. @EL,

        To answer your question, yes, I personally would very much support rulemaking on coal waste residues. I wish those environmental groups every success on that score.

        All I would ask would be that it be done with regard to actual hazards and sound risk-assessment, not the prescriptive and radiophobic “safety” culture that has grown up around anything with the word “nuclear” in it.

    3. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment of Coal Combustion Wastes
      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
      April 2010 DRAFT ( http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/library/reports/epa-coal-combustion-waste-risk-assessment.pdf )

      Cancer risk. Other chronic disease / birth defects may also be applicable. This would be chronic exposure. The conclusions seem to point to significant lifetime risks near unlined impounds. Higher and more certain than significant radiation exposure proximity studies it appears.

  7. There is a conference with the prophetic name world of coal ash. These people meet and plot how to hide toxic coal byproducts in construction products, soil ammendments and aggregates. When the dam breaks it is just taking their dream and making it real.

    1. Wowsers. Maybe they should hand out copies of he Great Gatsby as required reading.

      “This is the valley of ashes, a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the form of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally, a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight.”

      It took the much-maligned and much-hated Robert Moses to lead the way in cleaning up the Corona Ash Dumps and make it into parkland, as well as building two World’s Fairs on the site. But otherwise, left to themselves, ash dumps (and slurry ponds) are probably among the ugliest scars mankind inflicts on this Earth.

  8. On the political side of things I posted another version of this comment over at the Hill. Above a poster mentioned I should be “joining with the Greens” who I want nothing to do with as I believe they have made environmental issues worse.

    If basic and reasonable environmental regulation can be retained its come to a point where the Republicans are actually probably better for the environment than the democrats and much better than the far left. The campaigns for Biofuels, unreliables and the perpetual war against nuclear have been a disaster.

    Many on the left seem not to even have a basic understanding of alternatives, toxins, half lives, dilution and industrial processes and wastes to make reasonable decisions.

    Fukushima was a environmental non event, its impacts on Pacific Ocean ecosystems has been non existent. Its posed no significant health risks to civilians and even among workers there the risks have been very, very low. The increased reliance on fossil fuels as a result of the fear induced policy of keeping the Japanese reactors closed has been far, far more damaging to people and the environment. Not to mention the economic recovery of Japan.

    1. @John Tucker

      “The greens” didn’t decide the matter, the courts did, they are simply advocating for a resolution to the issue. The journalist seems to have wanted to cover that aspect of the story (with simplifying labels included). Supporting rulemaking, as others have said, that is an adequate and reasonable response to legislative priorities and actual risks is a good thing (and doesn’t mean you are in league with an enemy).

      Not sure what Fukushima has to do with long overdue plans on coal residues (an issue that you highlighted as one that has been allowed to occur for decades). Now that there is one, you want to pick a partisan fight over it. No wonder why it is so hard to get anything done on these issues?

      I have no doubt there are some very good opportunities for common interests and dealmaking between some environmentalists, nuclear advocates, and the current administration on some of these issues (and others): especially climate mitigation, long overdue regulation on coal wastes, nuclear waste management options, subsidies of a broad or narrow scope, development of alternative nuclear fuel cycles and advanced reactor designs (that would be a huge boon to US nuclear prospects). But if you’re only willing to talk to your own political animal, and walk away from the table everytime you don’t get your way (and drag your foot and delay for extra effect), I’m not sure what makes you think this is a winning or effective strategy in the end. I guess you think you can simply wait it out. Better hope nobody else comes up with a better idea, or that your traditional allies will still be there when you need them (because you are going to need them). Licking your wounds and telling tall tales of the unreasonableness of your opponents is only going to get you so far.

      1. I guess I will have to see. Results from the last election seem notable if not promising. Polls and trends would seem to indicate I am not alone in my beliefs and sentiments. Also the far left and the greens and associated media are not honest and therefore not trustable or reasonable IMHO. Ive seen this time and time again. Ill bet most of us here have.

        Even though I disagree with the right on several topics they are predictable and clear in their beliefs and concerns; and those are usually based in some validity, or something I can relate to.

          1. I’m intrigued by those who are not identified as “front-runners” by the press that makes their early pronouncements based on the amount of money that each candidate can raise and spend on media ads.

            Specifically, I am interested in tracking James Webb, a former Virginia Senator, Secretary of the Navy, author, college professor, decorated Marine, and USNA graduate.

            “And I’m a strong believer, from the time that I was 18 years old, in the advantages of nuclear power.”

            http://grist.org/politics/jim-webb-sucks-on-climate-change/

          2. I agree totally rod. Unfortunately those kind of predictions usually turn out accurate. The media climate is different this year. I hope he runs, and as a independent, and stays in if he sees some success. I cant see him running as a dem and having much of a chance in that arena.

  9. I would like to see the subject of uranium tailings and how they compare with coal plant ash ponds discussed. Supposedly one short ton of uranium ore yields 1 to 5 pounds of uranium, and the resulting tailings contain up to 85% of the ore’s original radioactivity in the form of Th-230, Ra-226 and Rn-222 (which evolves off as the noble gas that it is). There are really dated 1983 figures that claim 500 lung cancer deaths per century, but I would think that this statistic pales in comparison with deaths from coal fired power plant pollution. Nevertheless, for the purposes of apologetics, this should be discussed.
    .
    As for CBS and the rest of what passes for new media in this country, if the journalists cannot distinguish between barrels and gallons, then why should any of you believe anything they report about any subject, including nuclear energy, politics, religion, etc.? They are completely ignorant of science. ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, NPR, PBS, etc. all have a marked liberal progressive Democrat bias (cheerleaders one and all for the current “Dear Leader”), whereas Fox is the lone exception with a conservative bias (and thus deemed worthy of all condemnation). Nevertheless, none are to be trusted to accurately and correctly and dispassionately report on anything. Their sole modus operandi is sensationalism to sell advertisement for money. Thus, I do not pay any heed to the lot of them. When they report on nuclear, they lie, just as when they report on Pope Francis or Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI they lie, and when they report on Ferguson, Missouri, they lie. Nothing they say reflects the truth. Nothing. Only a fool gives news journalists any credence.
    .
    🙁

    1. “Only a fool gives news journalists any credence.”

      Says one who repeats the Fox News islamophobic crap by rote.

      1. Rarely do I watch Fox News and never any of the rest. I despise Islamic militants who behead Christians and Jews, both children and adult alike. Indeed I loathe them as much as I do anti-nuclearism. Your liberal leftist news media reports none of this honestly. None. And Fox News isn’t guiltless either when it comes to all things nuclear. That’s the point.

        1. “I despise Islamic militants who behead Christians and Jews, both children and adult alike” 

          Yeah. Heathen savages. Cluster weapons are so much more effective at murdering kids and mothers. And you can really get some volume when ya do it the right way, eh? When will these barbarians wake up and join the modern world?

          By golly, we oughta hang a few of them, naked and diapered, by their wrists, and shove a tube of paste up their backwards asses. That’ll teach ’em to be more civilized!

      2. @poa

        “Says one who repeats the Fox News islamophobic crap by rote.”

        There is no need to appeal or rely exclusively on Fox News for information on Islamic motivated acts of terror. These incidents are so numerous and ubiquitous that most if not all news outlets cover at least a tiny portion of them. The fact that Fox News does a better job is just another indicator why they are the best news station on television. Greta and Bill rock!

          1. The percentages in Politifact’s bar graph add up to 118%.  It’s very hard to take such claims seriously when such elementary details are obviously and completely wrong.

          2. @ Engineer-Poet

            I just look at Politifact as another tool to help measure the trustworthiness of news and news folks. I don’t automatically believe or disbelieve what they say, just like I don’t immediately believe Snopes, or Fox, or CNN. I enjoy Bill O on Fox not because I always agree with what he says, he just covers stories I’m interested in. He and Chris Mathews do interrupt their guests too much. I find Greta the most objective.
            I would agree that bar graphs should add up. I would also say that 10 minutes looking at the conclusions Politifact drew on a number of stories left me feeling they were no more credible than those they critiqued.
            Back to Nuclear Power…

          3. Pundits. Not news and no basis for comparison there POA. Sorry reality frowns on your argument.

    2. EP….

      If you read loannes comment, above, you’ll note he alludes to “lies” while providing no specificity. At least the politifact site lays out a foundation for investigation, where we can actually examine media statements, and decide for ourselves if in fact politifact’s conclusions regarding veracity are credible. The fact that the so called “liberal” media fares not much better with politifact than Fox does speaks well for the site’s credibility.

      It intrigues me this need to categorize that seems to be so prevalent here. “Anti-nukes” are leftists. Muslims are head chopping heathens. Democrats are the wrecking ball of NE. On and on the stereotyping goes on this site, when the real world is far more complicated.

      Loannes claims that radicalized muslims are the rule rather than the exception. Tucker finds truths uncomfortable, so he turns the truths into conspiracies. You attack the messenger, while ignoring the site’s content actual content. Davidson gets his panties in a wad because I question the motives behind this scam known as the GWOT, when all he has as rebuttal is the actions of a radicalized segment of a huge body of human beings. (Who, I might add, are becoming more radicalized by the very policies he defends.)

      In the real world, that I live in, this so called right versus left horsehit just doesn’t equate. I find individuals just don’t shoehorn as easily as loannes, tucker, or primavera would have you believe. Similarities as far as dreams and aspirations, needs and wants, are undeniable. The claims of separation that those such as loannes parrot, are a nurtured strategy of division, utilized by media and government to keep the population polarized and impotent. And its working. As long as the NE community imagines this as a left versus right battle, adversity and animosity will meet adversity and animosity, as the discourse here demonstrates.

      1. I doubt anyone even bothers to read this. Sorry I did.

        “Loannes claims that radicalized muslims are the rule rather than the exception.”

        He said:

        “There is no need to appeal or rely exclusively on Fox News for information on Islamic motivated acts of terror. These incidents are so numerous and ubiquitous that most if not all news outlets cover at least a tiny portion of them. ”

        Worldwide – completely true.

        So you are mindbogglingly dishonest as well as incredibly ignorant. Also name ONE “truth” I was unwilling to accept. Pathological Liar.

        1. @John T Tucker

          I’m fairly sure that far more than a tiny portion of “acts of terror” are covered by news outlets. In fact, I would be that the majority of such acts are covered. In a world with 7 billion people, about a billion of whom are Muslim, I’ll leave it to you to work out the math to discover how small the “radicalized” population that engages in such acts really is.

          Many commercial media outlets like people to be hyped up and worried. It helps to motivate them to keep tuning in for breathless — and worthless — updates on what are actually quite rare and rather trivial events.

          1. Its more fitted to what people want to hear, even in the hyped stuff. Its kinda like natural gas rod. It blows up all the time and isnt really evaluated on a cumulative basis until its labeled as “safe” when subjective comparisons are made.

            For specific instance I dont think that terror news/attacks in Israel are covered nearly as intently as when the Israeli military makes a comparatively minor mistake or bad move.

            Like :

            Shin Bet thwarts terror cell planning Tel Aviv suicide bombing ( http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Shin-Bet-thwarts-terror-cell-planning-Tel-Aviv-suicide-bombing-384694 ) – A rather advanced plot that probably wont be mentioned in western press. The removal of Hamas from watch lists as a Terrorist Organization by Europe has gotten some coverage but not much. Not what it deserves considering.

          2. @Rod et al

            I haven’t heard in our news media any of the reports of violence committed by Muslims against Buddhists in Thailand. Would you be surprised to learn that 5455 people have been killed and 10,080 injured in southern Thailand in the last 10 years as a result of Muslim attacks? In February of this year alone, there were 62 events of which 39 were ambushes and 21 were bombings resulting in 105 deaths, all from Muslim violence (2 acts of arson). Many Buddhists leave southern Thailand to flee these random acts, among them, personal friends of my wife.
            In any nation, the actual percentage of individuals in the military is usually small. But actively supporting them are their people whose percentage numbers are much larger. So too with Islam and the violence that seems to attach to this religion. It doesn’t matter if the percentage of actual combatants is low…these folks are committing an incredible amount of violence and there are precious few Muslims speaking out against them (although I can appreciate that to do so is to place one’s life in jeopardy).
            Again, back to nuclear power, the best energy source to meet the needs of an energy hungry world.

            1. @david davison

              Though Atomic Insights is focused on atomic energy, arguably the best of all available energy sources, we sometimes need to take diversions to better understand the world we are trying to help.

              I cannot comment on whether or not commercial media sources have devoted any time or space to covering the conflict in the south of Thailand. I spend most of my reading effort in books and reading articles found for me by bots and people who understand my primary interest areas. Television news is almost never on in my house. I can only say that I had never heard of it.

              However, since you introduced the topic, I’ve done some reading. As I suspected, there is far more to the conflict than religion, even though some observers focus on that aspect. It is simpler. The people being shot by the insurgents might also have recognized that blaming the conflict on religion might be a better way to gain a sympathetic ear compared to focusing on some of the other reasons for the fighting.

              The majority of the ethnic Malays in the region are Muslim, while the government representatives and the majority of the rest of the people in Thailand are Buddhists. That much is true. However, this BBC article provides a number of other points of conflict worth considering before you simply accept the story that “they hate each other” because of their religious differences or because one religion preaches violence while the other preaches peace.

              http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-21504125

              For those who do not click on the link, here is an important quote from the article — though I encourage people to read the article and think about it for a little while.

              “Most of the people here share the same sentiment, the same historical mistrust of the Thai state”, he said.

              “They often look at these insurgents as local heroes. They may not agree with the brutality but I can assure you they share the same sentiments.

              “And a lot of these the insurgents are their kids, their nephews, their neighbours’ nephews – they are not going to turn them in.”

              He warned that although the insurgents use the language of jihad, and some of the methods of other jihadist groups, the conflict is at heart about Malay-Pattani nationalism and not Islam.

              There are few signs that this or any other Thai government recognises that.

          3. @Rod
            Nothing in the BBC article you listed is in conflict with what I’ve stated. In addition, and what is not stated in the article, is the theological doctrines of Islam regarding Dar al-Islam and Dar al-harb.
            see here for a simple explanation:

            http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/daralislam.html

            While some might object because this is from a Jewish source, I have a history course from the Teaching Company (TC gets the Dave Davison thumbs up) on How the Crusades Changed History by Dr. Philip Daileader where he explains these two worlds in the exact same manner.

            1. @daivd davison

              While the BBC article did not specifically contradict your statements, it showed me that your selected points of emphasis were not the complete story and that there was a deep under current of conflict that has nothing to do with religion. The fact that most of the people on one side profess a certain faith as part of their identity while people on the other side claim a different faith is not proof that the basis for their conflict is religious. According to my reading of the BBC article about the conflict in south Thailand, much of the resentment comes from territorial concerns and unfair treatment by representatives of the central government – along with substantial resentment about the corruption of certain government officials.

              I visited the link you recommended, but that very short explanation of one part of the theological doctrines left me wanting more. I thus did some additional exploring and found a much more expansive description of Islam and some of the tenants of the religion. It is a pretty good summary of what I know about the religion from my own studies.

              http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Bible/Islam.html

              There are many important parts of that summary that are in common with the teachings I heard in Sunday school. Sure, there are differences, but there is a lot more common ground than what you hear on TV.

          4. @Rod
            The King of Thailand has done much to placate the Muslims down in that region. The Thai government, as far as I am aware, does not discriminate against them in any fashion. There is zero problem with Muslims in the rest of Thailand because none of the rest of Thailand has ever been under Muslim rule, ie., the Dar al-Islam and they are too few in number. The people in the area around Patanni were once part of Malaysia, ie., Muslim and in accordance with Muslim theology, any land formerly under Muslim rule MUST be returned to Muslim rule. Hence, the Muslim terrorists shoot Monks, housewives, random shoppers, rubber plantation workers in addition to blowing up military targets. The Thai Buddhists don’t respond in kind, they leave it to law enforcement and the military to protect them. Yes, these Buddhists are not being murdered ONLY because they are non-Muslim, but also to instill fear in them in hopes of driving them out of the territory so that the Muslims can declare independence.
            In your reply to John Tucker, you referenced 7 B people, 1 B Muslims and the math for discovering how small the radicalized population is. If we applied that logic to WW2 considering the actual number of combatants compared to world population, one might wrongly conclude that very little violence was being committed.
            I understand fully that there may be readers/contributors here who are Muslim and the need to be cautious not to offend them. This is simply a rendering of what is reality in just one country; it is what it is.

            1. @david davison

              The King of Thailand has done much to placate the Muslims down in that region. The Thai government, as far as I am aware, does not discriminate against them in any fashion.

              Did you skip over this paragraph in the BBC story?

              She said that like many of the other insurgents, he became involved after the Tak Bai incident in October 2004, when the Thai army detained dozens of Muslim men and piled them, tied up, on top of each other in trucks before driving them for three hours.

              Seventy-eight of them died on the journey from being crushed or suffocated.

              Again, I have only started reading about this situation in the past day or so, but that indicates to me that the situation is more complicated than you imply.

              In your reply to John Tucker, you referenced 7 B people, 1 B Muslims and the math for discovering how small the radicalized population is. If we applied that logic to WW2 considering the actual number of combatants compared to world population, one might wrongly conclude that very little violence was being committed.

              Interesting analogy. Do you think you would have many takers if you used the example of WWII to proclaim that Christians are religiously motivated to eliminate Jews from their historical lands?

              I’ll give you the chance for a final word in this discussion.

          5. Interesting. Telling that whenever numbers of dead are touted as justification for bigotry, we rarely see our own contributions to the statistical record. Over 500 thousand infant deaths in Iraq, attributed to the sanctions we imposed. And the lancet report? 700 thousand non-combatant deaths due to our military adventure based on false premises. Actually, 700 thousand is a very conservative estimate. Over a million is probably closer to the truth, considering that the lancet report did not consider unrecorded deaths.

            Its truly disheartening seeing this hypocritical use of statistics in seeking to justify bigotry. Who, really, as a nation, is embarking on a number of deadly military campaigns on a number of fronts?

          6. @Rod

            No, I didn’t miss that paragraph at all, nor does it change the essential fact that the Muslims in that area are and have been attempting to secede from the country and their means of achieving this is terror. This terror is not just reserved for military or police targets. A friend of my wife, who is a land owner there, says he never goes to the market at the same time using the same route…he is in constant fear for his life. Several other friends of hers have simply left the area. Muslims can travel anywhere in the country without fear of molestation; there are areas in and around Patanni where Buddhists would never go because of fear. I recall a travel advisory put out by, if my memory serves me correctly, the hotel industry in that area, warning westerners not to come…they were not welcome.
            This article is not it, but it was something similar only several years ago:

            http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/404589/westerners-target-of-deep-south-terror-plot

            I’m unsure as to your application of WW2, the Jews, and supposed Christian expulsion of them from “their lands.”

            If by this you mean something like the Spanish expelling the Jews from Spain in 1492, yes, I would agree, that was religiously motivated, but it certainly wasn’t an act in accordance with what Christ taught, or the Bible teaches. Violence is part and parcel of Islam, after all, Mohammed was a leader of men in battle and Muslims often recount his exploits including when he personally, with his own hand, beheaded between 500-800 people.

            If however, you are strictly speaking of atrocities against Jews during WW2, you cannot by any stretch of the imagination lay that at the feet of Christians. Conservative Christians in Germany were the ones who resisted Hitler; the liberal church and secularists including the professors in the universities, rolled over for him. The Grand Mufti (Muslim) in Jerusalem, was only too happy to comply with Hitler and turned many Jews over to him to be destroyed.

            The Righteous Among the Nations status, an honor bestowed on those who assisted the Jews during WW2, contains many Christians whose main motivation was simply Christian charity.

            Finally, let me caution that I am not advocating violence or discrimination against Muslims, or that most Muslims are bad, nor do I practice discrimination against Muslims. As I do with all foreigners or people of different cultures and religions that I meet, I interview them and compare what I learn from them to what my current understanding of their culture, religion, or country is. I’ve learned to get along with everybody, but I don’t ignore reality or run from a battle in favor of political correctness. As you are well aware, dealing with the dishonesty one finds in the anti-nuke community requires a thick skin.

          7. “For specific instance I dont think that terror news/attacks in Israel are covered nearly as intently as when the Israeli military makes a comparatively minor mistake or bad move”

            To imply that the press has a pro terrorist leaning when reporting on Isr/Pal is a bald faced and blatant lie. Absurdly so.

          1. Well sorry then I missed that. Actually a majority are probably not as Muslims account for around 23 percent of the world population.

  10. I believe the purpose of discussing the toxicity and vast quantity of coal ash is to compare and contrast it with reusable nuclear fuel, not to clamor for an increase in the regulations on the coal powered utilities. I, and the rest of the US are dependent on coal for the majority of our electricity. Coal is not clean, that is why Rod points out that fact. The disparity between the irrational and unscientific regulations on nuclear power and the relatively unregulated coal powered industries is a plea to streamline licensing of new and advanced nuclear power plants, so that we have an ever cleaner environment and still enjoy an advanced civilization with abundant energy.

    1. I believe coal plants are currently spending billions on EPA emissions requirements. I would not call that relatively unregulated. The heavy metals and other elements in the ash imposes that disposal is regulated Many coal plants are shutting down due to these regulations. The requirement to limit Carbon Dioxide emissions for any new plants to a level impractical to reach is also a severe regulation. If it endures, there will be very few if any new coal plants built in the US. Still coal plant regulations pale in comparison with what nuclear plants endure.

  11. Off topic but not far off topic, NextGen Climate has some suggestions for
    Closing the Leakage Loophole in the Clean Power Plan.

    American Nuclear Society earlier posted criticisms specific to how the Clean Power Plan, as currently worded, may encourage displacement of extremely low emission current nuclear power by high-emission natural gas: see Unintended Anti-Nuclear Consequences Lurking in the EPA Clean Power Plan and The Details of the Clean Power Plan (So You Want to See the Numbers). Without mentioning nuclear specifically, NextGen points out EPA’s leakage problem is actually a fairly general feature of the current plan, and suggests some positive remedies.

    1. The EPA’s carbon plan was crafted by anti-nuclear activists; there is no way that the anti-nuclear implications of the formula were unintended.

      1. Eh, you got a link for that? Not a rhetorical question, as Rep. Mike Simpson (R. ID) has co-sponsored legislation to encourage EPA transparency in their scientific process:

        “H.R. 4012 would ensure that the scientific data used by EPA for policy decisions is available to the public. The bill responds to concerns about the fact that the Obama Administration has not made public the data behind a number of its decisions and has refused to provide the information to Congress when requested. Similarly, H.R. 4795 would improve accountability and transparency in EPA’s permitting process for industrial projects.”

        Simpson, btw, represents Idaho’s 2nd CD (home of INL) and is
        * Chairman of the House Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation.
        * A member of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the Department of Interior, the Forest Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and a number of independent agencies.

        I find his newsletter worthwhile.

  12. I see mentioned that Coal producers have received exemptions that producers of low level nuclear waste have not.
    World Nuclear writes the following:
    “Recycling materials from decommissioned nuclear facilities is constrained by the level of radioactivity in them. This is also true for materials from elsewhere, such as gas plants, but the levels specified can be very different. For example, scrap steel from gas plants may be recycled if it has less than 500,000 Bq/kg (the exemption level). This level however is one thousand times higher than the clearance level for recycled material (both steel and concrete) from the nuclear industry, where anything above 500 Bq/kg may not be cleared from regulatory control for recycling.”
    ONE THOUSAND TIMES – – –
    Can it really be true that the world is so stupid/irresponsible?

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