Debunking the Fukushima Spent Fuel Fable
There is a scary myth floating around the internet. According to the tall tale, the spent fuel pool at Fukushima Daiichi unit four poses a dire threat to all mankind.
As I explain in the above video, nothing could be farther from the truth. The sources of the lies have a well established history of lying to the public about themselves, about nuclear technology and about the possibilities of accidents. The quartet most closely associated with this myth are Robert Alvarez, Arnie Gundersen, Kevin Kamps and Paul Gunter. All of them were quoted in a story that ran on Alternet.org titled The Worst Yet to Come? Why Nuclear Experts Are Calling Fukushima a Ticking Time-Bomb
I have some friends who are working on a detailed technical response to Alvarez’s fear mongering fable. I’ve seen the draft; it is undergoing additional independent verification, but I expect that I will be able to provide a link sometime later today.
You might want to watch for it on the ANS Nuclear Cafe; I am planning to be busy this afternoon playing with my 2 year old granddaughter. In the meantime, I felt I just had to respond to do what I could to pour some calming information onto the stirred up waters in an attempt to calm fear and trembling.
If you appreciate my explanation and my exposure of the shaky technical backgrounds of the “Nuclear Experts” quoted in the Alternet.org story, please spread it around. There is nothing here to fear.
Idaho Samizdat (April 17, 2012) Argh! Debunking some nuclear nonsense
Robert Alverez, an energy analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies, is now circulating comments on the Internet that all of the contents of all the spent fuel pools at Fukushima represent a risk to the entire planet. His writings. with this exaggerated description of risk, have been picked up in Japan by Akio Matsumura, who has a wide international following.
Alverez has written extensively about spent fuel pools and is widely quoted in the news media about it. Most have accepted uncritically his claim that the entire contents of the spent fuel pool at Fukushima reactor #4 are at risk of spontaneously converting themselves into a radioactive cloud of contamination. This simply is not true.
Mr. Alverez is not a nuclear engineer. He was an Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy during the Clinton Administration. Since then he has been an “analyst” at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, where he writes regularly on energy topics.
The spent fuel pools did not catch fire contrary to what some have written online.
Thank you for reminding me of your excellent debunking effort. My original post has been updated with an Additional Reading section starting off with a link to “Argh! Debunking some nuclear nonsense”
The shun factor of the media towards even a token flash feature of anti-nuclear critiques and questioning is damnably frustrating! You’d think even the fairest of reporters would be open to considering just a passing mention of views as you and other pro-nuclear nuclear advocates are presenting; they sure snap up the craziest nuke-scare mal-fact fast enough! This is being blatantly shut out from public discourse, and the most vexing is unlike anti-nuke media darlings given a welcome mat, who’s door do we knock to demand an airing of views? Maybe pro-nukers should apply the anti’s playbook and ask the FCC to review the licenses of media outlets for refusing to give equal time and access to non-anti-nuclear views. Our fine pro-nuclear videos aren’t going to sway too many average people being caged up on YouTube! We really have to force the mainstream media to heed us! Can we CC: these demands and vids as yours and ANS and NEI etc to Congresspeople who will act rather than cower in this green-crazed climate? The one thing I really fear is that the media has an incentive to clam pro-nukers up in a closet because we have evidence of them being uneven and outright biased against nuclear energy.
“……they sure snap up the craziest nuke-scare mal-fact fast enough!”
OK, I’ll bite.
Surely you’ll agree that the majority of Americans get their news from CNN, MSNBC, Fox, APN, etc.
How ’bout you link us to some of these articles and pieces using “crazy nuke-scare mal-fact” that these news organizations are “snapping up” and airing?
Here’s one example, during the Fukushima Daiichi incident, CNN brought on Bill Nye the Science Guy as a “Nuclear Expert”. He claimed people got radiation sickness, and cesium was used to control reactors. And they brought him on twice.
Bill Nye is notoriously anti-nuclear. I saw him on a program after the Fukushima events happened and almost everything he said about BWR systems was wrong, sometimes in a most elementary, egergious way. Bringing him on as a “nuclear expert” would be like having Bill Cliton lecture about abstinence.
The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan says the three reactors suffering core meltdowns are ”under cold shutdown”. Rod, do you consider this true, and a correct assesment of the situation???
Yes or no.
Your compatriots here on this website have called this tsunami “unprecedented”. But in fact, don’t we KNOW that TEPCO erected inadequate seawalls to protect against the KNOWN heights of previous Japanese tsunamis?
Yes or no?
What is the state and status of Fukushima Danai??
Is there not, by TEPCO’s own admission, a strong possibility that the loss of cooling at Fukushima occurred BEFORE the tsunami?
Yes or no?
Why should we believe industry insiders such as yourself in the face of a disaster of this scale, when it is obvious that TEPCO has been deceptive, evasive, and irresponsible in their public statements?
Coupled with the current San Onofre debacle, (where costly system upgrades and maintainance have resulted in system failures almost virtually overnight after installation), isn’t it natural, wise, and reasonable to distrust the industry and the insiders such as yourself that have a vested interest in deceiving the public?
Fukushima Daiichi reactors all achieved cold shutdown – consistently less than 200 F in December 2011.
Tepco’s choice for seawall height protected against all known tsunamis at the time the walls were constructed.
Fukushima Daini is shutdown and probably ready to restart, though the Japanese government has announced that it has no plans to restart it.
Fukushima Daiichi had cooling to all units until diesel power knocked out by tsunami.
Believe me because I have a proven history of telling the truth in difficult situations and because I have also proven that I do my homework. Integrity matters far more to me that you imply by your questioning. You do not know me personally, but my full resume is available for view from every post on Atomic Insights, just look at the author blurb.
I am far from a stooge of any industry; I can vouch for many of the other commenters on this site as well.
It is not natural to distrust people who have proven themselves. The situation at San Onofre is nothing more than relatively common challenges with complex machinery that operates in a challenging environment. Steam generators are not easy devices to make and they are not perfect. It would have been better for all concerned if the wear could have been avoided, and there are ways that it might have been, but there is no dishonesty here.
My vested and often proven interest is in protecting the public. Do you think I served for 33 years because I want to deceive anyone?
In this Wikipedia article – presumably written by experts:
It mentions that
Does this mean that what you refer to as “cold-shutdown” is 90F hotter than normal operating temperatures?
BTW, I never heard of the term “cold-shutdown” in association with nuclear power stations. Do you have any reference to the usage of such terminology prior to the Fukushima disaster? To me, “cold-shutdown” is something you do with disk-drives and computers and it seems that the PR people transposed it to a new field.
Tepco released the temperature for reactor 3 on 10 May 2012 – it was 60C, or 140F. That means that it has risen by 8F since January.
You seem to be confusing reactor temperature with spent fuel pool temperature.
The reactor normally operates above 400 or 500 F (I don’t know what normal operating temperature is for this design.)
Cold shutdown meand that the reactor is cooled enough that there will not be significant boiling of the coolant even if the system is depressurized (i.e. less than the boiling point of water at atmospheric pressure.)
Linked below is the NRC definition of cold shutdown.
Wikipedia articles are not necessarily written by experts. Thank you for providing the link to that site there are many things in there that are no factual and need correction.
We refer to cold shut down as being less than 100 C or 212F. It means that we can fully depressurize he system and not have boiling. When we open a steam system for maintenance it needs to be less than 82 C or 180F to prevent steam formation. Think of a pot of boiling water just before it boils with the steam coming off just 1000 times as large. When we do maintenance on a system it needs to be less than 53 C or 130F to prevent immediate burns to the workers.
Short answer is it depends on what you are doing. Normal operating temperatures for the reactors is 260C or 500 F. Spent fuel pools are less than 120F to prevent anyone from falling in to ge scalded. I also limits the steam formation and limits humidity and the loading on the HVAC systems.
Cold shutdown is a common industry term to mean that the reactor is less then 100C. It is also referred to as cold iron. Which goes back to fossil plant boilers which have similar restrictions. As for a reference it is described in plant operating procedures. I do not know where to find those in an open source.
When we control the temperatures of shut down reactors we maintain temperature bands. Typically in cold situations, Navy plants, we will cycle the cooling based on the amount of heat from the decay of the fission products. If the ambient losses, heat going to environment not due to operator action, are high enough we will not have to initiate forced cooling. In this case and with little information the temperature rise that you quoted may be due to this approach. Any forced cooling will generate more water that needs to be cleaned up. It looks like TEPCO is seeing if ambient losses are enough so they can limit the amount of contaminated water. Overall this is a very good sign. They have solid control over the plant and are starting to make operational decisions that are pragmatic and focused.
This is the definition from the NRC website:
The term used to define a reactor coolant system at atmospheric pressure and at a temperature below 200 degrees Fahrenheit following a reactor cooldown.”
Its a commonly-used term in reactor operations. The fission reaction has been halted and the decay heat has dropped to the point where the conditions noted above are attained.
Add to that
Has TEPCO received in multiple bailouts for one puny little power plant that is (so far at $44 Billion) 3 times the cost of bailing out the significantly larger General Motors?
Yes or no?
How much electricity would nuclear power plants have to generate to make $44 billion in pure profit just to break even on the TEPCO Bailout? (Not just income but SUBSIDY FREE PROFIT)
Nuclear power = economically unfeasable ,,,, That’s why there isn’t a single unsubsidized by Government nuclear generating plant in the entire world and probably never will be
Nuclear power = the most inefficient form of energy conversion ever invented. 99.9% of the energy potential in uranium goes completely to waste and in reality creates waste
Just for reference
Efficiency = Usable power converted divided by TOTAL energy potential available … if you want a percentage take times 100 …
Run the math, don’t forget to include the ENTIRE energy release time of thousands of year (Which Common Sense tells you can never be an efficient form of energy)
I was pro nuclear energy until I saw how badly fukashima was handled, both in terms of the event/site and the the Japanese gov/Tepco’s less than full disclosure.
Eventually there will be some type of event, earthquake, volcano, tsunami or most worry some a Carington event or Emp that shuts down our grid. If we lose all power, most/all communications and the computers that run everything, what happens to all the nuclear reactor plants around the nation? (or for that matter the world)
What happens to all the Reactors if north America loses power for a couple weeks? What happens when backup generators at the plants run out of fuel (assuming they could be
Started) what happens when the refineries cant make more fuel? What happens when the active and spent rods can no longer be cooled? what happens to our chance to recover when all the reactors begin to meltdown down at the same time?
Then We’ll have much bigger things to worry about than some nuclear plants melting down.
Eventually there will be some type of event, earthquake, volcano, tsunami or most worry some a Carington event or Emp that shuts down our grid. If we lose all power, most/all communications and the computers that run everything, what happens to all the nuclear reactor plants around the nation? (or for that matter the world)
Commericial nuclear plants are designed to shutdown if offsite power is lost. That is almost certainly going to happen. Onsite emergency diesel generators then supply power to the station safety busses.
What happens to all the Reactors if north America loses power for a couple weeks? What happens when backup generators at the plants run out of fuel (assuming they could be
The plant in this country I am most familiar with (Susquehanna) stores enough diesel fuel for 30 days. If other plants don’t have that much of a supply and the consensus is that they should, then it is not hard to construct more on-site storage tanks. Building storage tanks for diesel fuel is something we know how to do, it requires technology that is available now. If the supply starts running low, I am guessing they will order more. There is fuel stockpiled in other locations.
what happens when the refineries cant make more fuel?
That would take an event of such magitude that you’ll have a lot more pressing problems than supplying fuel to nuclear stations. Chances are, you’ll be looking at billions of deaths from other things that resulted from your initiating event, mainly from starvation.
What happens when the active and spent rods can no longer be cooled?
That mans you have no water and no diesel fuel. In that case, you’ll probably have more significant concerns to occupy your worries.
what happens to our chance to recover when all the reactors begin to meltdown down at the same time?
Not likely, and if it did the event that caused has probably already killed you and almost everyone else on the planet.
Actually, a large scale solar flare EMP event is actually an interesting event scenario. Most if not all reactor sites are designed for shutdown ops when grid power is lost, but assume no station blackout, as the odds of onsite generators going down are low, and offsite mobile generators should be available. Tsunami water flooding is one example of major equipment being damaged during a disabling event, such that even with power restoration via mobile generators they had a hell of a time.
But a Carrington Event scale situation would imply a really bad situation. No offsite grid power to run cooling. No onsite generators available (unless they have EMP shielding), and most onsite switchgear is toast. Backup batteries, unless shielded, are also potentially toast. Portable generator trucks would likely be disabled, either in terms of mobility (most trucks manufactured since the 1980’s have electronic control systems) or the generators they carry onboard, unless they are military (EMP shielding implied). There would have to be a deliberate effort to get portable generators/pumps to the sites in time.
Which leaves you with all mechanical systems or 100% passive systems to deal with core heat, assuming your control rods dropped during an uncontrolled SCRAM. All mechanical would be things like reactor core heat steam turbines running coolant pumps mechanically, and passive systems would things like gravity water sprayers on the reactor vessel walls (for as long as the water tank has water…).
Which plants are likely not survive a long term station blackout on their own? I would assume for the plants that are in a bad situation, they could commit to raw water intake and accept contaminated water discharge to try save us from a worse fate, but that assumes there are working pumps available. Those that have a fully mechanical hands-free system could self cool reasonably well. But there are not that many plants equipped with such systems right? Even the AP1000 has a limited survival time in a station blackout situation, though it has something like 10 days of leeway.
I suppose the quick and dirty solution is making sure there are diesel water pumps that can start on shotgun blank cartridges, a very Mad Max solution, but I suppose the more necessary determination is whether a Carrington Event scale situation would actually affect a site at all. Most of the fear is blowing the transmission lines and large transformers, so as long as there are fault protectors at the grid connection, a site may actually not experience much at all?
How well prepared are existing sites for a wide area EMP event?
In such a doomsday scenario, the fate of nuclear energy facilities is the least of society’s worries. EMP does not knock out generators that are not operating at the time; they will work. It also does not affect non energized switchgear, especially switchgear that is inside a building with plenty of protection against electrical transients like direct lighting strikes.
I’ve been reading this thread looking for ‘debunking’ of the Fukushima doomsday claims, and frustratingly not finding it. Your responses to questions in the comments, like the one above, boil down to “if that happens, there are bigger problems to worry about” rather than simply answering the question.
Some of us are truely clueless about the science and would appreciate straight answers. So, here it goes. Worst case, science fiction scenario…. If all external and internal power is lost resulting in a complete loss of circulated water cooling, what then happens to a cold shutdown reactor? What happens to the spent fuel ponds?
Sure, the bigger worry may be why that power is lost in the first place. Maybe we got hit by a nice sized asteroid. But regardless, it would be nice to have a simple answer to the question to support the premise that nothing worse can happen at Fukushima and the spent fuel ponds are not a risk. Just saying there are bigger problems is frankly, a cop-out. Similar to telling someone afraid of flying that it is statistically far more dangerous to drive to the airport. May be accurate, but that’s not the point of the concern.
Nothing will happen. A cold shutdown reactor that has been shutdown for more than about 6 months can withstand a complete loss of cooling without any real damage. Even if the reactor has already been damaged and is slumped down in the pressure vessel, the same statement holds true.
There is little to no power being generated and no driving force to cause anything to leave the engineered containers in which it resides.
Your question is roughly analogous to asking me what would happen if all of the engines and instruments failed on an aircraft that is already sitting on the runway.
Bravo!! Rod – I hope that you don’t mind if I steal that one. It’s a very good analogy.
Be my guest. Attribution welcome but not required.
I agree. We must fight back against this anti-science fear mongering! The world cannot live on solar panels and wind mills! Watch my testimony on this matter at the NJ Energy master Plan Hearings. http://larouchepac.com/node/18924?lid=0-0-2&relation=33
As Fukushima clearly demonstrated, if all of those bad things happen, the LEAST of your worries is a little radioactive material escaping from nuclear reactor plants. In fact, I can pretty confidently say that there would be no radioactive material to worry about since the Great North East Japan earthquake and tsunami also demonstrated that it is possible to bring reactors to cold shutdown with very little outside help under almost all circumstances.
As long as you can provide even a little power to the plant through batteries or diesel generators and as long as the there is some avenue to get that power to the right place – you need some redundant switchgear that does not all get destroyed with a single event – the plants can survive quite well. There were about 11 reactors on sites that suffered from the tsunami, but only 3 that melted. We have a good idea – now, admittedly a little late – how those three melts could have been prevented.
It is important to remember that even though three reactors melted, only about 12 kilograms of long lived radioactive cesium actually left the site of the nuclear power plant. There are no areas of Japan that are unlivable, just areas where the levels are higher than the bureaucrats will allow. All areas outside of the nuclear power stations have dose rates that are about 10-100 lower than the levels that would cause any measurable negative health effects.
Ryan asks all kinds of ‘what if’ questions.
Here is my ‘what if’ question.
About 20000 people died due to the tusmani. What if there had been no nuclear power plants in Japan, how many people would have died? Answer, about 20000.
Those absolutely worst thing in the world nuclear power plants, despite all the hand wringing in the media, was a non-event with regards to the loss of life.
In 2002, Michael Zilenzieger reported that top officals TEPCO were forced to resign “after admitting that the company had covered up safety violations and falsified records at three of its largest nuclear power plants”.
In 2006, the government demanded that TEPCO “check past data after it reported that it had found falsification of coolant water temperatures at its Fukushima Daiichi plant in 1985 and 1988, and that the tweaked data was used in mandatory inspections at the plant, which were completed in October 2005.”
And in 2007, TEPCO reported that it “had found more past data falsifications, though this time it did not have to close any of its plants.”
The New York Times reports that in the summer of 2003, Tepco “was forced to close all 17 of its nuclear plants temporarily after admitting that it had faked safety reports for more than a decade.” Back in August of 2002, according to The Japan Times, MITI had “found evidence of falsified records from the late 1980s to early 1990s regarding cracks at Tepco’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture, and the No. 1 and No. 2 Fukushima nuclear plants in Fukushima Prefecture.”
“Everything is a secret,” said Kei Sugaoka, a former Tepco nuclear power plant engineer in Japan who has since moved to California. “There’s not enough transparency in the industry.” CBS News also reports that in 1989 Sugaoka had “received an order that horrified him: edit out footage showing cracks in plant steam pipes in video being submitted to regulators. Sugaoka alerted his superiors in the Tokyo Electric Power Co., but nothing happened — for years. He decided to go public in 2000. Three Tepco executives lost their jobs.”
Then there is the host of this site, Rod Adams….”The real fact is that Tepco is a credible nuclear power plant operating company that has been demonized by people with economic motives”. Rod goes on to link to a TEPCO “status report” that he cites as being proof of TEPCO’s credibility. In light of TEPCO’s history, is a TEPCO “status report” really where we should turn for credible information?
Then theres “Wayne SW”, one of the resident “experts” here….”You have to go by historical records and quantify events. You can’t do serious engineering with quantifications like “a big wave”. That fact is, for the reliable and credible recorded history for that area, this tsunami was unprecedented”
However…In a commentary in the journal Nature, geophysics professor Robert Geller singled out two tsunamis — the 38-meter Sanriku tsunami of 1896 that killed 22,000, and the Jogan tsunami of 869 that was comparable in size to the March 11 disaster — which pummeled the very same Tohoku region in the northeast.
“There were very many documented large tsunamis in that area but the point is … even one would have been enough to warrant precaution in designing nuclear power plants,” Geller, of the Graduate School of Science at the University of Tokyo, said in a telephone interview.
Tokyo Electric Power’s troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which has been spewing radioactive substances for more than a month, was designed to handle water of only up to 6 meters (20 feet) — way below not only the 14-meter tsunami of March 11, but these other documented giants of the past.
“It’s known to have happened before and it’s well documented and so when they built a nuclear power plant they should have provided for a tsunami of the same size,” Geller said.
So now, we take the word of an industry insider that questions the honesty of those seeking to warn the public about this ongoing disaster in Japan?
So, we should trust these folks when they assure us of the safety of our own plants, right?
“Last year, substantiated safety claims at San Onofre were six times the national average. But that’s actually a significant improvement as compared to 2010, when the plant logged legitimate complaints at 15 times the typical rate of the country’s other reactors. Despite the drop, OC Voice says the facility still led the nation in safety concerns for a third year in a row. This year is no better, with Southern California Edison’s site logging the most complaints through the first two months of 2012”
But hey, don’t worry about it. Theres only 7 million people within a fifty mile radius., what a few safety violations amongst friends, eh???
So yeah, Rod, we all know you wouldn’t BS us about that nice tame SFP at Fukushima Daichi. After all, you guys are just so honest!!! I mean hey, whats not to trust?
Then theres “Wayne SW”, one of the resident “experts” here….
Oh, stop with your snotty, wise-guy remarks. They are getting very annoying and wearisome. You are the one who made the “big wave” comment, in a typically snarky post on another thread, one wherein several of your remarks were deleted for violating site rules. So just stop with the wise-guy act. You come in here with a chip on your shoulder and nothing but hostility for those who have a different viewpoint. That kind of lousy attitude is very unwelcome, not only here but in most blogs. So just stop it.
The two cases you cited are not comparable to the March 11 event in subtle but crucial ways. The Sanriku event happened in a region with local topography different than that for the Fukushima area. The local topography of the littoral zone has great effect on the kind of tsunami that forms in that area.
The 869 event was a smaller magnitude earthquake. There is no regulatory requirement in any regulatory scheme in any country to go back 1200 years in determining design bases. If you want to fault Tepco for failure to follow non-existent requirements, well, that’s pretty absurd, and is armchair quarterbacking of the worst kind, second-guessing after the fact, leading from behind. Despicable in any event.
The fact is that the March 11 earthquake was the most intense ever in the recorded history of Japan, not just for the Fukushima region, but the whole country. The plants at Fukushima survived a seismic event that was four times stronger than their design bases, which were twice as strong as the most powerful earthquake for that region. They shut down as designed and were functional on emergency cooling until the unforseen and unpredictable common mode failure occurred.
POA – The 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900 (“New USGS number puts Japan quake at 4th largest,” CBS News. Associated Press. 14 March 2011.) On 12 March 2012, a Japanese National Police Agency report confirmed 15,854 deaths, 26,992 injured, and 3,155 people missing across twenty prefectures, as well as 129,225 buildings totally collapsed, with a further 254,204 buildings ‘half collapsed’, and another 691,766 buildings partially damaged. ( “Damage Situation and Police Countermeasures… March 12, 2012” National Police Agency of Japan.)
It would seem from these casualty and damage figures that TEPCO was hardly unique in underestimating the risk of a record setting event. HOWEVER THE NUMBER OF DEATHS AND INJURED FROM ANY FAILURE TO ANTICIPATE THIS POSSIBLY IS SEVERAL ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE LESS THAN THAT ANY OTHER ORGANIZATION THAT SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING.
Fukushima Daichi is being used by the Japanese as a scapegoat for very poor planning at every level and in every domain because it an easy target and hides the fact that the whole damned country was too complacent and was caught with its pants down.
You keep beating this dead horse when it is the very least of the issues that Japan needs to take a hard look at. Furthermore, I do not see how you can draw parallels between the regulatory regime in Japan and that of any other country. These are independent agencies that answer to their respective governments. The failures of one say nothing about the robustness of any other.
“Fukushima Daiichi reactors all achieved cold shutdown – consistently less than 200 F in December 2011”
Yeah??? Where are the cores, Rod?
“Tepco’s choice for seawall height protected against all known tsunamis at the time the walls were constructed”
“at the time the walls were constructed” thats the excuse, eh???
But TEPCO was made aware, subsequently to the construction of these walls, that they were inadequate, based on KNOWN PAST TSUNAMI HEIGHTS. They sat on the information, and did nothing to upgrade the seawalls. They gambled. They lost.
“Yeah??? Where are the cores, Rod?
The VAST majority of all of the core material is still contained inside the reactor pressure vessels. My evidence for that statement is that the only isotopes that have been measured anywhere outside of the pressure vessels were noble gases, iodine isotopes and cesium isotopes. The thing that all of those materials have in common is that they are either gases or soluble in water.
They all were able to leave the otherwise intact pressure vessels though cracks, probably formed at the places where control rod housings penetrate the pressure vessel.
The news media did report that some plutonium had been measured in the environment, but later reports showed that both the quantity and isotopic concentrations were consistent with leftovers from atomic weapons that were either dropped on Japan or tested in the open environment during the period before the Atomospheric Test ban treaty.
Rod, did you mean 10-100 times lower? or some unit?
“The one thing I really fear is that the media has an incentive to clam pro-nukers up in a closet because we have evidence of them being uneven and outright biased against nuclear energy”
Thats laughable, considering the MSM’s silence about Fukushima. I haven’t even see any mainstream sources reporting on Senator Wyden’s concerns and letters, except local papers within Wyden’s district. Claiming our mainstream media is biased against nuclear energy is disingenuous and absurd.
Rod, I appreciate your response but view the situation a little differently.
The nuclear power industry has a very good track record with the only two relatively minor events of real note being Chernobyl and Fukashima. We are a year removed from the Fukashima event and irradiated water continues to be pumped into the ocean. There is insufficient heavy water treatment and storage facilities. Areas of the facility remain inaccessible to humans and robots and the stability of the structures are still in question.
Fukashima has shown that 28 years after Chernobyl the industry has still not created an effective means to nullify or isolate the risk to the population in the event something goes wrong. The Japanese ultimate solution was not to neutralize the reactors, rather it was to evacuate 50mil people from a area that might have become unihabitable.
Yes the items I listed in my previous post are not everyday events, but it does not mean that something can never happen. One day a event will happen, be it human error, war, terrorism, natural disaster, whatever. The difference between a coal plant blowing up for instance and a plant having 1 or more reactors going through a uncontroled meltdown is that the survivors in the area of a coal plant at least have the chance to hunker down or get away vs a heavily irradiated area where 30+ years later might still be unihabitable.
What Fukashima has shown me is that the nuclear industry and the world does not have the ability to contain a worst case senerio event at 1 plant, let alone a regional event that might effect multiple plants.
What risks again ? How many died ? What is the reason for their evacuation ? Exposure to 20 msv a year or higher ?
What about places in the world over that have 20 times as much radiation such as Ramsar, Iran ? Shall we build them a plant to reduce their risk ?
All of what you write hinges on the theory that the releases of radioactive material constitute a serious risk. By in large they do not, however the difference in opinion over this is the crux of the debate.
Burning coal also releases radioactive material, so much in fact that it would violate the licence of a nuclear plant to burn coal inside the fence. Thirty years of those releases will expose anyone living in the footprint of a coal-fired plant to more radiation than anyone living in the Fukashima exclusion zone. As well there are concentrations of uranium and thorium in coal ash such that there have been serious plans made to exploit them.
Thus in the end it is largely a matter of perception, rather than science that creates the sense that something of great note is happening, and this perception has been created by very irresponsible misinformation that has been tailored with the purpose of making things appear worse than they are.
This is one of the most exasperating things for those of us that understand the science to witness: the public being lied to for the benefit of those that see nuclear energy as a threat to their profits. Just ask yourself who is really gaining from this? The big winner in Japan is natural gas, and the Japanese will pay a great premium to those interests as the cost of killing nuclear in their country. And for what? To salve totally artificial and unwarranted fears.
We are a year removed from the Fukashima event and irradiated water continues to be pumped into the ocean.
There is no “irradiated water” to speak of. There is water that has been contaminated to various degrees that for the most part is being stored and processed (filtered) on the site. There was a proposal some time back to release about 3,000 tons of contaminated seawater that had collected in the basements of the turbine and reactor buildings of one of the Fukushima Daini (not Daiichi) units, but I don’t know if that was ever done.
There is insufficient heavy water treatment and storage facilities. Areas of the facility remain inaccessible to humans and robots and the stability of the structures are still in question.
If by “heavy water” you mean deuterium then there is non to store or treat. If you mean “heavy” in the sense of large equipment or structures, there have been storage and treatment facilities constructed on site that are working this very day. There are some areas inaccessible to humans because of radiation, but the majority of the plant buildings are now accessible. There are some areas blocked by debris but that is being cleared. Remotely controlled vehicles have been sent to take measurements and pictures. One showed the SFP at unit 4 to be undamaged and intact. Recently a rbot was sent to inspect the suppression torus of one of the units where some of the early FUD being pushed said it has “exploded”, or was “breached”. The photographs showed it to be intact with very minor damage here and there.
Fukashima has shown that 28 years after Chernobyl the industry has still not created an effective means to nullify or isolate the risk to the population in the event something goes wrong. The Japanese ultimate solution was not to neutralize the reactors, rather it was to evacuate 50mil people from a area that might have become unihabitable
You don’t “neutralize” a reactor. You shut it down and place it in a stable condition. Shutdown occurred very quickly for all units at both Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini. Stability was compromised for three of the units at Fukushima Daiichi because of the common mode failure of the tsunami disabling the backup power source. Evacuation of the local population was done to avoid injestion of short-lived radionuclides like 131I. Long-term uninhabitability is not an issue once remediation for 90Sr contamination is completed in areas where its concentration is elevated, which is not everywhere.
Isn’t Tepco making plans to get the fuel rods out of building #4? I think all that Arnie is saying is to be more urgent about it and I kind of agree. Even if they remove the oldest and coolest fuel first, won’t that leave more water to cool the hotter fuel more effectively? When only some fuel is in there, would it be possible to lay fuel rods on their sides so that there would be more water above them in the event something happens before they get them out? Of course the building has to be weakened, it has taken a lot of abuse and has been “traumatized” by what happened. But are you saying Tepco should leave all those rods in there? I would think getting fuel out of the pools would also help Tepco’s recovery planning for the site.
Moving spent fuel is no mean trick. You don’t just do it on a whim or at the command of some questionable anti-nuclear “expert”. Let’s think this through for a minute.
First, you need to have a place to put it. For relatively fresh fuel, it needs to be covered in water, that means another storage pool. You’ll have to make sure you have one of those where you can put the stuff you want to move.
For decayed fuel, if it has dropped to the point of being able to be stored “dry”, then concrete casks are an option. You don’t go down to the corner hardware store and buy those. You have to make them and then get approval to site them. But, think about it for a minute. Any fuel assembly that can be stored dry isn’t generating much heat anyway, so those really aren’t a problem in terms of heat load in the pool. It’s really the fresher ones that contribute to the heat load. Those have to be in a pool anyway, so whay not save the trouble and keep them where they are?
Everyone keepes bad-mouthing Tepco about the Unit 4 SFP, how it was a “raging infero” and “Chernobil on steroids”, it had boiled dry, blah blah blah. None of that was true. It was all lying FUD, and the FUDdites were nothing but liars. There is video of that SFP and it shows everything is right where it should be, no dry pool, no burned fuel, nothing out of place. Yet in spite of this irrefutable proof the FUDdites are still pushing their fear-mongering.
You are correct that no matter what engineered barriers can be constructed, there is always a possibility of failure, however remote. This is with everything. Nonetheless, I think we often forget the nuclear portion of the tsunami is small relative to the totality of the suffering and damage. It took some very big external event to get where we are now, unlike Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, which whose causes were entirely internal to the plant.
The lessons we learned from Three Mile Island, and, to a lesser degree, Chernobyl, (the West already knew the design was inherently unstable) were quite different because the initiating causes were different. The fundamental issue that needs to be addressed is prolonged station blackout. Already, we’ve learned a lot about what can go wrong, and, more importantly, things we can do to mitigate the chances of something like this happening again.
The primary consequence of Fukushima is not a health issue, but a land usage one as you said. I disagree the areas are uninhabitable; they are, but governments choose not to allow people to inhabit them. Of course we all agree that this is a bad thing. Nonetheless, when we look at the total land usage, energy sources like coal, gas, hydro, wind, and solar have very high routine land usage costs. For the first two, it’s from mining or extraction (uranium is energy dense, so not nearly as much is needed), and for the latter, the plants themselves are very large to capture enough energy or, with hydro, displace a lot of water. With nuclear, it takes a very rare event to initiate land usage consequences, whereas with the others, it’s part of the price tag.
In the end, the real solution is getting away from water-cooled reactors. I’m not aware of any designs in the hundreds of MegaWatts where no offsite cooling is needed in accident conditions. Other reactor concepts (e.g., gas reactors) have no offsite power loss concerns because they are designed to be fine with ambient air cooling. Unfortunately, there are practical hurdles in both government and industry that prevent this from becoming a reality anytime soon.
“Already, we’ve learned a lot about what can go wrong, and, more importantly, things we can do to mitigate the chances of something like this happening again”.
In a perfect world, where the industry proves itself trustworthy??? When we see a pattern of safety violations, records falsifications, cost cutting, and disingenuous propaganda campaigns designed to market the technology, “things we can do to mitigate the chances of something like this happening again” seems like a pretty empty possibility.
“In the end, the real solution is getting away from water-cooled reactors.”
The reactors at Fukushima, Diablo, and San Onofre were intended to be used for what duration? How does using outdated and tired technology speed up the process of modernizing the nuclear grid? Why do we keep renewing these plant’s licenses to operate?
I’m not a nuclear engineering expert, but I have learned a lot in the past few years by reading high-quality, information-packed websites like this one that are ‘refereed’ by an active body of independent experts (including some ‘anti’s’) who write critical commentary and/or provide usefull additional information in the comments.
I see you keep coming back to the issue of the type of nuclear risk that is supposed to be caused by the apparent untrustworthiness of nuclear plant operators/owners and/or government regulators.
However, the real-life consequences of human-error or not following safety procedures almost always will *only* lead to damage internal to the plant (TMI is a good example, I think). So a nuclear plant owner/operator has a very high incentive to make sure that his plant is not damaged through human error. Not necessarily because they need to protect the public, but simply because such errors can be very costly – hurting their profits.
Internal errors caused by human error or not following procedures will *not* typically put the public at risk, but will only hurt the profits of the nuclear plant operator.
So – as a layman – I am perfectly satisfied that whether the nuclear operator is trustworthy or not is actually largely beside the point, however counterintuitive this may seem to be.
The financial interest of the plant owner (such as TEPCO) to operate his plant safely and correctly is so great that even their apparent occassional failure to adhere to regulations is no reason in and of itself to fear exposure of the public to radiation. The only fear this behaviour might cause is to the shareholders of the power plant, who have every reason to be concerned about the *financial* and *public perception* consequences of not adhering to regulations on the one hand, and the possibly increased risk of costly accidental damage to the plant that may result from poor adherence to regulations. But none of this has anything to do with any danger to the public. Am I right that you have not considered this perspective?
All the best,
Building a factory to churn out 10 MWe passively safe reactors is not a problem. I think a few hundred million dollars would be enough to attract the additionally needed funds for something like that.
But certainly: you would need to have a good partnership with the government, the public, and the existing nuclear parts and equipment suppliers of course. But that can be done, I am convinced. If only the (mostly) anti-nuclear misinformation broadcasting on the MSM would ease-up a bit! 😉
This is an outstanding explanation and video. Thank you for your efforts to educate people that may be swayed by the anti-nuclear activists.
As we watch Japan and Germany turn off their nuclear plants, we will also watch their citizens experience a lower standard of living, black outs, and a significant negative impact on their economies.
If you are going to the Europe Nuclear Conference in Cologne, Germany next month, I would like to meet you in person.
What about people in the rest of Europe experiencing a lower standard of living because of gas price hikes caused by increased demand for gas in German and Japan? Why should we have to suffer because of anti-nuclear hysteria in other countries?
a lower standard of living, blackouts, and a significant negative impact on their economies AND THEIR HEALTH
Caps are mine …
“With nuclear, it takes a very rare event to initiate land usage consequences, whereas with the others, it’s part of the price tag”
Earthquakes, in one of the most active seismic regions on earth, are hardly “rare”. Would it actually surprise you if Japan had a major quake tomorrow??? Would you consider it a “rare” event”?
I live near Tehachapi, Ca, where there are huge windfarms. I can assure you, the populace here would much prefer the “land usage consequences” of these operating windfarms than they would being in the proximity of a nuclear power plant, particularly one creating the kind of “land usage consequences” that Fukushima is.
Ive read all the way through, and im still awaiting Robert Alvarez, Arnie Gundersen, Kevin Kamps and Paul Gunter. to be debunked. I cant just go with an unknown saying “Believe me because I have a proven history of telling the truth in difficult situations and because I have also proven that I do my homework.”
Gunderson and Kamps etc, have also done their homework..
Did you watch the video and follow the links on each of the antinuclear activists? Did you see the link to my resume in the author blurb? Did you even think to use your favorite search engine to do some rudimentary research before you – an anonymous internet denizen – dismissed me as an “unknown”?
Proving that you are a person of knowledge and integrity requires consistency and evaluations by people who have also proven themselves. Schools, grades, diplomas, degrees, places of employment and awards earned are all a part of the record that qualifies a person for positions of increased responsibility and trust.
I am confident enough in my record to make details public. If you see anything that you want to know more about, feel free to ask.
Earthquakes are not rare. Earthquakes of that magnitude are quite rare; I believe it’s one of the top ones since we’ve been tracking that sort of thing. Should TEPCO have done more based on the evidence? Did they underestimate the risks? Absolutely. Rules will need to be rewritten. Look, I get you don’t trust the industry. That’s fine. (Although I get the feeling there’s nothing the industry could do to earn your trust, as some mistakes and a few bad apples are inevitable anywhere.) Beyond that, we also need tough and fair regulators enforcing standards. There must be checks and balances with everything.
We can argue forever about what land usage people prefer. That’s a value judgment. In the end, the cold, hard numbers may come out to be exactly the same, that’s all I’m saying. Wind farms are great, but they’re not suitable for most geographies. If you want locally or semi-locally produced power and are unlucky in this regard, you need either fossil or nuclear. Even still, either is needed to provide a cushion for when the wind is not blowing or the sun not shining.
As for why we keep using water-cooled systems, a lot comes from inertia. There’s a large, global infrastructure built around the technology. For cost reasons, barriers to entry are very high, and there is little pressure for radical innovation within the industry because of this and what exists works well most of the time. Even if I have the best idea in the world, it’s almost impossible for me to bring that to market — ask Rod, he has personal experience here. Unfortunately, governments have done little to set policies to stimulate innovation in the nuclear field and lowering these barriers. So we’re stuck with the technology we know. And in the end, it’s really either fossil or nuclear for the “always there when you need it” power market.
POA reminds me of an old person’s dog, you know the one that barks and growls and snaps at everyone that comes to the door; the one that has to be locked in the basement whenever there is some legitimate person calling, like the kid that delivers the groceries.
Now the dog is just ignorant, he doesn’t understand what is going on, only that his turf is being invaded and he must defend. It is far outside his comprehension that kid is also bringing his food and the grocery deliveries are the reason his master can stay in that place, and when that can no longer be, the dog will be put down.
No, he understands none of this and will continue to bark at strangers and even attack them if given the chance. Within the confines of his own narrow view of the world, the dog believes he is in the right – yet to those outside he is just a stupid animal.
“Now the dog is just ignorant…..blablablablah………”
Why anyone bothers to read your tripe is beyond me. I’ve gone out of my way to avoid contributing to the debate in a manner that encourages your sort of “rebuttal” on this thread. Rod oughta just tell you to put a cork in it, ’cause you ain’t doing his site any favors.
“Beyond that, we also need tough and fair regulators enforcing standards. There must be checks and balances with everything”
And, uh, when do you ‘spect that might happen???
The senior federal regulator leading the inspection of a troubled nuclear reactor near Omaha is the target of a complaint to Congress over his handling of the reactor’s problems.
A letter on Nuclear Regulatory Commission letterhead alleges that Troy Pruett pushed staff to downplay problems at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station and created a “corrosive environment.”
The letter was signed “Region IV Staff” and was sent to to U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., a senior member of the House committee that oversees the regulatory commission.
“These actions (by Pruett) have resulted in a chilled environment that dissuades inspectors from identifying safety issues that may be challenged by regional management,” the letter states.
Furthermore, the letter says the bonus system for senior regulators is a “significant deterrent” to aggressive work by subordinates.
That’s because the bonus policy penalizes senior officials whose findings against utilities get overturned on appeal.
On May 25th, this blog is going to have increased traffic. The movie Chernobyl Diaries is coming out.
Some innocent and poor tourists were told it was safe to visit the area. Big mistake.
You’re probably right. It’s a sad commentary on the state of a country that professes to be technologically advanced that the majority of its population gets its science “education” from science fiction movies.
Hate to waste electrons even writing this but “Pissed Off America” and “Ryan” are simply trolls from anti blogs. As always recommended to clean house, please don’t feed the trolls. Onwards to reasoned and rational adult discussions.
@James – if you do not want to read the troll comments, feel free to skip them. For now, as long as the anti’s can behave by avoiding profanity and personal attacks, I’ll let them keep serving as a foil to the really knowledgable people who comment here.
I miss Luke …
I agree…….we need them to sharpen our debating skills and get an idea of what their talking points will be………
The victims are going to be the elderlies, just like last summer :
May 12 (Reuters) – Japan will not impose mandatory restrictions on power consumption in parts of the country this summer, relying instead on voluntary saving measures following the shutting down of nuclear power reactors, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Saturday
The Japanese government is sleeping on the job.
” For now, as long as the anti’s can behave by avoiding profanity and personal attacks”
Rod, seeing as how credibility is a huge issue here, it would be my suggestion that the hypocricy you exhibit by allowing “DV82XL”‘s ad hominem to stand while claiming to not allow “personal attacks” doesn’t exactly do wonders for YOUR credibility.
And calling concerned commenters “trolls” in the same breath pretty much BURIES your character. You just exposed yourself in less than trustworthy light, Rod. Maybe you wanna THINK before you strike the keyboard.
The difference between you and Rob Gauthier (whose handle is DV82XL) is that he long ago established his credibility here. He’s been a valued contributor for at least 5 years, maybe more. He is not an anonymous antinuclear activist; he is a friend. I am sorry if you think that my treatment of his contributions is unfair to you.
This is, after all, my site. I try to be reasonable, but I know far too much about nuclear energy and the energy industry in general to have an open mind. After half a century associated with energy production, I have developed a strong basis for my bias in favor of using nuclear energy to replace fossil fuel combustion whereever possible.
I love sharing my knowledge freely with anyone who wants to learn, but you have demonstratd that you are stubbornly and almost proudly ignorant of many basic facts associated with atomic energy production.
Well, Rod, than call a spade a spade, and admit that personal attacks ARE allowed here, as long as you and your compatriots are launching the ad hominum.
I can assure you that anyone, unbiased, cannot help but note the hypocricy involved. You cannot expect to be considered credible with such a system of moderation.
Ignorant of the science? Undoubtedly, admittedly, of course I am. Ignorant of the corruption, lies, records falsifications, commonplace accidents and failures, and bribery through the lobbying process that your industry practices??? Hardly. You want us to take you at your word when “the word” of your industry isn’t worth a damn.
Perhaps I am just enjoying having a venue where dedicated nuclear professionals who are most certainly not liars, corrupt or dishonest, and are confident enough in their knowledge to use their real names, have the the chance to fire back at idiots who believe what they read and hear in the popular press.
Have you ever stopped to think about the continuing dependence of the ad supported media on the huge steams of money coming from the fossil fuel industry? Do you know that each of the multinational petroleum companies spend more than $100 million per year buying ad time? Did you know that most of them produce as much energy each year in the form of “clean natural gas” that competes head to head against nuclear energy and coal for market share in the lucrative electrical power market as they do in the form of crude oil? Do you really think that they played no role in portraying the completely non fatal accidents at Fukushima as a catastrophe?
Why do you think there were so many repetitions of the three hydrogen explosions, each of which were over in a few seconds in real time, but which seemed to last for months in media time? Do you have any comprehension of how betrayed nuclear professions feel knowing that the fossil fuel funded media ignored the explosion and conflagration that engulfed the LNG facility at Chiba, which pumped massive quantities of toxic black smoke billowing hundreds of feet high for 10 SOLID days following the earthquake?
Stick around, but be prepared for some attacks when you paint an industry full of some of the brightest, hardest working, highest integrity people I know as “corrupt record falsifiers”. I do not deny that there are some true stories of such human failings in a large industry reliably supplying 800 billion kilowatt hours of electricity/year worth between $40 and $80 billion.
It frosts my gourd, however, that the media chooses to talk about those outliers rather than spending any ink or air time talking about the amazing nature of a power source that produces reliable power with virtually zero emissions and very little solid waste. The US would be well advised to be building dozens of new nuclear plants, setting up future generations for ever increasing, power enabled prosperity.
Instead, partially thanks to ignoramuses like you, we are building just five and those are being resisted every step of the way, inevitably driving costs far higher than they should be.
First, I’m not going to defend or deny any unethical behavior on the part of some individuals in the nuclear industry. These people should be punished in accordance with the severity of their actions.
It’s very easy to focus on the small number of bad instances and ignore the business as usual, which is largely ethical and safety minded. That’s the problem with using the media and blogs as your source of information, who tend to focus on controversy as that sells. It’s not that the industry is dishonest, it’s that your windows into it point exclusively toward unethical actions, ignoring the big picture.
Can you find one major industry (employing at least tens of thousands of people) that meets your criteria of ethical behavior? Any one you name, I can probably find instances of bad behavior or poor administrative practices.
“Ignorant of the science? Undoubtedly, admittedly, of course I am. Ignorant of the corruption, lies, records falsifications, commonplace accidents and failures, and bribery through the lobbying process that your industry practices??? Hardly. You want us to take you at your word when “the word” of your industry isn’t worth a damn.” – Q.E.D. for me empirically over the 5 decades of my life.
I worked for them (Constellation Energy in particular) for quite a while, and saw their “business ethics” up close. It wouldn’t matter if I was gung ho for nuke power all the way; anyone shilling for the industry’s presumed “integrity” will always be suspect to me, no matter how impressive their resume or credentials. Energy industry executives (think ENRON) will LIE even if the truth suited them. They lie reflexively and instinctively. It is not atypical of other industries in the recent profusion of sociopaths from upper management right on down. Interesting to me (as a technical lay person) that there is a notable absence of discussion about small scale Thorium reactors as one alternative the bankrupt behemoths preferred by the industry. But then I gather the Thorium alternative doesn’t yield the benefits of weapons grade material in the same way as the current dominant model. Why would anyone (even someone “pro-nuclear”) still be attempting to defend the “data” offered up by an industry so demonstrably compromised and corrupted ? Just read some of the “apologies” already issued by former TEPCO executives. On parting shot: What do people here think of the Japanese decision to NATIONALIZE TEPCO as a model for future economic viability of these plants ? (Now back to my technical homework reading..)
Constellation Energy is not exactly a shining example of a nuclear company. Unless you actually worked at one of the nuclear facilities, I would advise you not to base your opinion of our technology on your experience there.
Mayo Shattuck is just about on a par with John Rowe, the guy he just replaced as CEO of Exelon, the company that recently acquired Constellation. The thing that both of those companies have in common is that they are merchant generating companies run by lawyers/accountants. They have respectable nuclear operations, but the managers of those units often have to struggle against the prevailing mentality in the rest of the company.
If you want to know how I feel about John Rowe, you can do a search on this site for at least a dozen articles focusing on his “leadership” and basis for making decisions.
In other words – I will not disagree with the notion that there are issues with “the industry” that need to be corrected. What I will never agree with is the notion that the behavior of the industry is any reflection of the potential benefit of nuclear fission technology to help solve some of our society’s most challenging problems.
One more thing – I have covered thorium reactors and small reactors in great detail in previous articles. Both have exceptional potential.
As a matter of fact, for my “day job”, I am on a small modular reactor design team. Our company also happens to have some historical thorium expertise, we were the company that actually manufactured the fuel assemblies and designed the core for the Light Water Breeder Reactor. https://atomicinsights.com/1995/10/light-water-breeder-reactor-adapting-proven-system.html
I recently had the opportunity to speak with one of the designers of that successful demonstration project.
“Hate to waste electrons even writing this but “Pissed Off America” and “Ryan” are simply trolls from anti blogs.”
Can’t speak for Ryan, but I have never participated at an “anti blog”.
“Onwards to reasoned and rational adult discussions”
Like the comment YOU just offered? Or perhaps calling me a dog is more “adult”, eh?
I never called you a dog…I compared you to one to demonstrate the fact that running off at the mouth on subjects you don’t understand places your remarks on the same level as a dog barking at everyone indiscriminately.
I just don’t take a word you write here seriously and I strongly doubt anyone with any background in the subjects at hand does ether. So yes I am deliberately provoking you, because this has not seemed to sink in: you cannot comment on this subject from a position of ignorance as you are doing.
It’s the same with inter-industry communications, and industry-regulator exchanges:” if you do not understand the context, you cannot understand what is being discussed. As I wrote elsewhere, the parallels with aviation are telling and in the past some reporter would get his hands on some internal document and start making a haystack out of a molehill simply because nether he or the public understood the context.
I will keep at you as long as you continue to post at this site until you recognize your own shortcomings, or you go away. You are not a stupid person and I know you are feeling the hits. After all you’re a person driven by logic and commonsense…
And you are going to win over the lay community calling us dogs, idiots, trolls, and ignoramuses because we aren’t schooled in nuclear science? Well, hey, that makes alot of sense, doesn’t it?
So far, all I have found here is pretension, condescension, and arrogance. Hows that working for you? Building trust, are you?
Don’t flatter yourself. You have proven to be a committed antinuclear activist. Most of us have given up hope of ever convincing people like you that we both know what we are talking about and that we are people of good intent.
Fortunately, you represent a tiny, but vocal and well funded minority. Calling you out as fools and knaves does not hurt our cause.
I cannot speak for others who comment here, but my goal is to reach the large majority of people who have some amount of uneasiness about nuclear energy. They may not even be sure why they feel that way; it is just something they have been told to fear – over and over again.
I am pretty sure I understand why they have been told that is how they should feel – it is an attitude that supports the established way of the capitalist world. As long as large populations of people have an irrational fear of nuclear energy, they will remain almost completely dependent on fossil fuels and willing to overlook all of the environmental devastation and economic inequality that is an inevitable result of that continued dependence.
Over the past several weeks I have been spending more time than is good for one’s sanity lurking on a number of antinuclear websites and blogs. This is research for what will be number four in a series of essays I have posted over at Deregulate the Atom on the history antinuclear movement, bringing it up to the present day. What I have found is that like pronuclear pages, these tend to be preaching to the choir, and with few exceptions, have little impact as tools for outreach.
The glaring difference is the quality of the debate. To start with pronuclear forums seem more tolerant of antinuclear commenters than the other way around. Yes they are given a hard time, but in general they are not barred on the basics of their position alone. Few last when they find that they are not going to be permitted the hyperbole that is the norm on the other side. However score a few points on an antinuclear website, and you are gone.
I’m not going to write the essay here but the fact is that committed antinukes are not prepared to consider any other position except their own to the point where they will not even listen, while pronukes may be just as headstrong, they are willing to defend their ideas in open debate.
@POA – You don’t really give me many other options except to go to ad hominem reasoning which is not always fallacious. In some instances, questions of personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant to the issue, as when it directly involves hypocrisy, or actions contradicting the subject’s words which has been the case here with you.
First you assert you have no understanding of the science and engineering and dismiss all technical arguments as an attempt to obscure the truth, Then you claim only to accept ‘commonsense’ arguments and when I posted one showing the parallels between nuclear and aviation you responded with a blast of profanity. At this point you leave no avenue open except to question your motivations and your capacity to understand your own position.
I will not stretch Rod’s tolerance by openly insulting you again, but expect to see your comments dissected and held up for the flimsy excuses for arguments that they are.
“…..yadayada….Do you have any comprehension of how betrayed nuclear professions feel knowing that the fossil fuel funded media ….yadayadayada….”
General Electric owns NBC which includes nine television stations in major markets, NBC Radio (which is now controlled by Westwood One which also owns Mutual Broadcasting and RKO Radio); and the CNBC Cable network; and has partial ownership in American Movie Classics, MS/NBC, A&E, The History Channel, Prism, etc. The NBC Network News controls, among other programs, the Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Meet the Press, and The Today Show. General Electric also controls the GE Americom Satellite Company and GE Capital Communications long distance telephone service.
Uhmmmm…..gee Rod…..uh…..don’t they build reactors?
Westinghouse now owns the CBS network, which includes ownership of 14 television stations in major markets; and has partial ownership or is heavily involved with the Country Music Television network, and The Nashville Network; owns 21 FM stations and 18 AM stations. Some 1,900 radio stations carry some CBS programming, and 450 stations carry CBS News. The CBS Network News is responsible for such programs as The Evening News with Dan Rather, 60 Minutes, and Face the Nation. In addition to this, Westinghouse controls Group W Satellite Communications, as well as telephone and wireless communications systems.
Golly. Who coulda guessed??? Surely not Rod, an industry insider.
GE has not built a reactor in decades, but they sure sell lots of natural gas fired turbines. They also have a huge business selling wind turbines that cannot supply reliable power and need gas fired turbines to support there piddling contribution to the grid.
GE is one of those establishment companies that depends on fossil fuel to drive sales of its locomotives, it’s CFLs and it’s financial services.
I attended a speech by Jeff Immelt several years ago; he had little positive to say about nuclear energy.
I also watched NBC coverage of the 2008 Olympics – hours worth of windmill ads; not one for ABWR or ESBWR.
GE sold their interest in NBC to Comcast prior to the Fukushima accident:
POA seems to be confused about basic facts that are very easily found as they contradict a closely held ideology and therefor must be ignored.
Additionally, GE makes much much more money off of selling wind turbines, combustion turbines and combined cycle plants than they ever did selling nuclear reactors, which is likely why they advertised their cash cows during the Olympics, even when they had ownership of NBC.
Uhmmmm…gee POA…ub…since when did Comcast ever build reactors?
The company now called CBS was once known as Westinghouse. That company sold Westinghouse Electric – the part that makes nuclear products to BNFL in the late 1990s. BNFL sold Westinghouse Electric to Toshiba.
That company has no relationship to CBS.
Since posting the comment about Westinghouse Electric history I’ve had a chance to look up the company’s Wikipedia entry, which confirms my memory.
Arnie Gundersen is still saying the fuel in the #4 spent fuel pool is going to catch fire if the water somehow drains out. His most recent video is dated May 12.
I really don’t see how that can happen. I did a quick calculation and it showed that the maximum heat generation in the most active fuel assembly will be about 70 watts of decay heat. Even with stagnant air, convection heat transfer limits the equilibrium cladding surface temperation to something in a the range of 260 deg. F. You’d have to be a little careful re-flooding the pool to avoid thermal shock, but even if you had that it likely would not damage the fuel, and in any case it would not “burn”. My assumption was offloading in November 2010, with a two-year full-power operation with no shutdowns prior to offloading. That is probably conservative.
I’m very curious about certain things involving pool 4. With no knowledge on nuclear power and little on the Fukushima plant itself, I became curious about SPF4 ‘s situation when I saw it on a conspiracy website.
Could you please comment on Helen Caldicott ‘s remark about moving her family to the southern hemisphere ‘if it blows ‘. Also, how credible is she, as I live in the eastern u.s like her, and I am curious about what I should do.
So you live near Tehachapi and watch all the windmills with favor. Well, I live in Livermore and watch the Altamont wind farm in disgust. You should know the Altamont wind farm has killed a member of the public, something the entire U.S. civilian nuclear power fleet hasn’t done over it’s lifetime. Also, AWF had to enter into a consent decree after chopping up so many protected birds that the environmentalists were going to sue over their operating permit renewal.
Frankly, the “what if” arguments grow old fast, and any rational cost/benefit analysis for nuclear puts it way ahead of other prime movers. That is, if you want a reliable, dependable, available, and dispatchable source of ultra-low carbon energy. In the energy extraction, distribution, supply and utilization business, there are far more dangerous sources of energy out there than nuclear.
Some of those places absolutely ruin the environment. There is no law in Kern County (where Tehachapi pass is) that requires removal of derelict windmills. Unlike nuclear, the wind industry is not required to decommission its plants and restore the landscape it has disturbed. So you get basically wind turbine junkyards:
The Kamaoa Wind Farm at South Point, Hawaii, went bankrupt and was left to rust. The state had to declare it a nuisance property and the last time I was through that area (this past March) they were finally getting around to demolishing the last of the abandoned windmills. Pretty sad when you consider that this is one of the windiest places on Earth (the trees grow sideways from being pushed by the wind), in a state that gets its very expensive power from importing fuel oil and burning it in boilers. If wind power should be econmically competitive anywhere, it should here here. But evidently it isn’t.
Then there are the Solar One/Solar Two thermal power station and the Carrizo Plain Photovoltaic Solar Power Plant in CA, both of which are out of business and being left to rust. Those were touted as “trendsetters” by the solar advocates but have never quite managed to live up to their billing. Again, unlike nuclear, there is no law that says when these places go belly up someone has to clean them up, so they sit, rotting away. I guess that’s not quite true. UC Davis converted some of the stuff at Solar Two into a telescope.
Bet that’s the first a lot of you have heard about this. Funny how it doesn’t make the papers. When a nuclear project gets cancelled the newapapers scream from the rooftops about “the demise of the nuclear industry”. Yet you have these renewable energy boondoggles going bankrupt in droves and what do you hear from the media? Crickets.
(Note, I tried to post this before from my kindle fire, I’m not quite sure if it went through, so sorry if this appears doubled.)
Your article was very informative about the SPF4 being a ‘fable’. I was deeply interested and watched the video, especially the section about Berkley and the heating of the fuel rods. Having no previous knowledge on nuclear energy, little on the Fukushima site itself, and not knowing about this ‘fable’ until I saw it on a random search yesterday, this cleared many things up for me.
However, I do have one question. Dr Helen Caldicott stated that ‘..if SPF4 blows, I’m moving my family to the southern hemisphere…’. This is not a direct quote, but it was along the lines of that. I am unsure if Dr. Caldicott has credibility on issues like this, but she seems like a fear monger like Gundersen and the others listed.
I live on the East Coast of the United States. I am curious if I should make plans to do the same, in the event that this happens. However, your article seems to infer that it cannot.
Could you please clear things up for me?
Calamity Caldicott has made a career out of inventing scary stories about nuclear energy. It it amazing to me that anyone still pay any attention.
You might want to do some searching to find the series of articles that George Monbiot wrote about her fictions. Monbiot became interested in digging out information about Calamity after appearing on Democracy Now! with her.
I wrote about it on Atomic Insights, but Monbiot published his versions in more widely read publications.
Here is a link:
Thanks for the information on Dr. Caldicott.
One last question, however.
I recently read about U.S Congressman Ron Wyden ‘s visit to the plant, and he apparently said it was a grave risk to the U.S.
Any idea if this is true?
I believe Wyden’s visit was one of the primary things that prompted this post, and the even-more-high-traffic May 4th post, from Rod.
To the best of my knowledge, Ron Wyden’s background has nothing to do with structural engineering of any sort, nor anything else that would help him to have all that decent of an understanding of physics or heat transfer. According to this wikipedia entry, his degrees are a B.A. and a J.D.
The common theme from many anti-nuclear folks that their ignorance is better than an expert’s expertise is almost enough to induce headaches.
Ron Wyden has a law degree and lists his occupation as “legal services executive”. He has spent most of his career either in the legal profession or elected political office. As far as I know he has no experience as an engineer, is not licensed as a Professional Engineer, has not worked in a power plant of any kind, and has no credentials in the field of structural engineering, reactor fuel management, nuclear physics, radiation measurements, or environmental science. As far as SFP4 being a “grave risk”, there has been no credible scenario presented that would indicate there is any potential for large-scale radioactivity releases. The decay heat of the freshest fuel assemblies would not approach that needed for fuel cladding damage. Lacking that, it just sounds like more FUD.
But, Senator Wyden does have a degree in science … political science.
Now if that isn’t a qualification to judge a “grave risk to the U.S.” then what is? 😉
Has anybody else ever speculated that one of the biggest problems with the US is that there are just too many dumb lawyers in government positions?
The Fairewinds site states that Gundersen’s spiel was _invited_ to speak at several occasions in Japan to sow his disinformation, and I’m pretty sure others like him are being tapped to fan the fear flames over there. Yet I can’t Google up even one pronuclear speaker here being summoned there to balm some fear with reason. No wonder Gundersen and his ilk feel so smug about the regard and reputation they’re garnering over there, and why they shrug off whatever volleys pro-nuclear advocates throw them. The nuclear industry here must be asleep at educating the voting public about nuclear energy against malinfomation and terror-seeded slander designed to demolish their very existence, or do they feel that “what happens in Japan stays in Japan”? For Peter’s sake in the ’50s it was earnestly believed we’d have over a thousand nukes here by now!
I know Wade Allison went over to Japan last summer… this talk, for example – there were others, but the pro-nukes were there to try to help, not to generate their own publicity.
The thousand US nuclear plants idea came from about 1970, I believe.
I see, so the Wikipedia article is wrong. Interesting. Perhaps you guys should get together and correct it.
I mean, Rod Adams, in the video, says that each fuel rod, 18 months after removal from the reactor emits only 17 watts. I thought I would get this video transcribed so that everyone out there can see what is being said on the video – so that Google can search it, for example.
You can find the transcript here:
Rod is not very clear so perhaps there are some little mistakes in this transcription. You are welcome to let me know and I will gladly correct the online version.
By the way, the Chinese are using the cooling fuel rods for district-heating and desalination – big consumers of power.
I guess this Wikipedia article is so full of errors that you guys have your work cut out to correct it. 🙂
Oh, one last thing, the video never mentions the word “radiation”. Is that because there is not much or that it decreases at the same rate as the hot fuel rods cool down?
The radiation is what is causing the heat. The heat decays because the radiation is decaying. A very good approximation is the radiation of the spent fuel is proportional to the heat.
In reality it is a little more complex because of the different decay chains of the fission products and actinides. One radioactive isotope will decay into another radioactive isotope and so forth and so on. Each successive step the radiation lessens (longer lived more stable products) and will tend to have less energy of the emitted radiation for the same reasons. Figures 9.11 and 9.12 of The Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Analysis and Management show this.
Radiotoxicity is even more complex because it takes into account the chemical toxicity along with how well the problematic isotopes move in the environment or impact various body components. However, for a good approximation the radiotoxicity is proportional to the heat emitted. This is also explained in Chapter 9 of the book referenced above.
Rod Adams….”The VAST majority of all of the core material is still contained inside the reactor pressure vessels. My evidence for that statement is that the only isotopes that have been measured anywhere outside of the pressure vessels were noble gases, iodine isotopes and cesium isotopes. The thing that all of those materials have in common is that they are either gases or soluble in water”
Michio Kaku: “Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives By the Year 2100″
Feb. 23, 2012
Audio Credit: KPFA’s Flashpoints, May 9, 2012 broadcast
Wikipedia: Michio Kaku is an American theoretical physicist, the Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics in the City College of New York of City University of New York, a co-founder of string field theory […] Kaku graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1968 and was first in his physics class. He attended the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley and received a Ph.D. in 1972.
At 27:20 – 28:00 in
We know there’s been partial meltdowns before, TMI, Chernobyl. The core collapses but still some of it is intact, it’s a partial meltdown”
“The latest result from Fukushima is the nuclear power plant suffered at 100% liquification”
The core completely liquified. There’s nothing left. There’s no hook.
There’s no remaining collapsed core, the core completely liquified.
You do know that things that melt resolidify when they cool down, don’t you?
@POA – please explain how a PhD in “theoretical physics” provides the education and professional background needed to understand the operations of a nuclear power plant. I would also be interested in finding out how “string theory” relates to the topic of producing power in a nuclear fission heated steam plant.
While you are at it, you might help me to understand how a PhD in theoretical physics that was awarded based on a thesis discussing the low energy behavior of baryons and mesons is adequate educational background to be the top regulator of nuclear energy in the United States.
Here are a few of my thoughts on Spent Fuel Pools.
That sounds like a calculation with a bit of fanciful embellishment/speculation. There is real-world data on how LWR fuel behaves in a melting event. This is derived from the WTR and TMI-2 experience. In both those cases, you did not get instant liquifying and pooling of a melted mass. The fuel assemblies first experienced pinhole leaks, then blistering, then delamination. Melting was more of a drippy, slaggy process, almost like a candle melting with dripping and solidifying down the sides of the cooler portions. Eventually you had some slumping of the fuel pins, but in all cases there was never any significant pooling of melted materials. You eventually had solid debris at the bottom of the vessel as damaged and re-solidified pieces fell off or were dislodged by subsequent operations, but those were generally solid pieces, not liquid.
Pffffft. There goes one of the primary excuses offered here for TEPCO’s inadequate safeguards to protect against a KNOWN threat. One wonders what other KNOWN catacalysmic predictions are being ignored as the nuclear industry routinely places profits above safety.
Nuclear agency, TEPCO knew in 2006 tsunami could trigger power loss
TOKYO, May 15, Kyodo
The government’s nuclear safety agency and Tokyo Electric Power Co. had acknowledged as of 2006 the risk of a tsunami-triggered power loss at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, agency officials said Tuesday.
According to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency’s officials, the awareness was shared at a study session that was launched in response to the 2004 Sumatra quake and tsunami in Indonesia and joined by several utilities.
A paper compiled in August 2006 suggested that participants recognized that ”there is a possibility that power equipment could lose functions if a 14-meter-high tsunami hits the Fukushima plant, with seawater flowing inside the (reactor) turbine buildings.”
POA, people here are taking a lot of valuable time to try to answer your questions and to try to give you some education into what they believe based on thief education and experience is going on. I understand you don’t agree but that is no reason to be rude and and start every post off with sarcasm or nonsense like pfffffffffftttt! ( the only thing I find more obnoxious is people who write “meh”)
Before you say that because so and so was rude to you so it’s ok for you to be rude please remember that it is ok to try to be the bigger person.
One other thing I noticed is how come everytime you post something and it is proven wrong or discredited you move on to another point without acknowledging the first?
“One other thing I noticed is how come everytime you post something and it is proven wrong or discredited you move on to another point without acknowledging the first?”
Well, not to state the obvious…but….
I cannot debate the science. As I’ve openly admitted.
What I can do is draw on my own observations about the honesty of the industry as a whole.
I have posted here instances of the industry, both here and abroad, falsifying records, cutting corners, ignoring regulations, intimidating whistleblowers, etc.. So, yes, I have a tremendous distrust of the industry and its defenders.
I note that the THEORIES and HYPOTHESESE offered here as to what is occurring at Fukushima Daichi, and at what levels, is based primarily on data and information offered by TEPCO. Well, despite Rod’s flowery and flattering presentation in regards to TEPCO’s credibility, there is ACTUAL EVIDENCE that TEPCO is less than credible, and has been engaged in a strategy of CYA, and even IGNORED the risks posed by the inevitable eventuality of a large quake and tsunami hitting Japan.
Well, why should someone trust theories and hypothesese offered by industry insiders, when those theories and hypothesese are based on the data supplied by the KNOWN LIARS and industry mouthpieces at TEPCO?
There is a small contingent of industry insiders and “experts” here at Atomic Insights that claim that Fukushima is kind of a “non event”, nowhere near as dangerous as a HUGE CONTINGENT of organizations, doctors, scientists, politicians, and actual Fukushima workers claim it is.
Frankly, I predict the truth will be somewhere in the middle, as it usually is whan you have such far-ranging and conflicting opinions and theories. But I get the distinct impression that many of the “experts” here are punting, casting optimistic opinions that are a large part pie-in-the-sky. I don’t think ANYONE really knows where this calamity is headed, because, quite obviously, we have never been here before. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Rod and his army of optimists and self proffessed “truthtellers” end up being 100% correct, and these doomsday predictions of those sounding the klaxons ended up being 100% wrong? Oh happy day! But, somehow I doubt it. I bet we find truths in BOTH sides of the opinion spectrum by the time this thing is all said and done.
We’ll see, won’t we? That is, if we are told the truth. From what I’ve seen so far, the “truth” is gonna be whatever one side or the other wants it be, depending on the agenda pursued by the “truthteller”.
“Before you say that because so and so was rude to you so it’s ok for you to be rude please remember that it is ok to try to be the bigger person”
If you guys wanna just preach to the choir, say so, and I’m outta here. But try to bear in mind, Sean, that ALL of our “time” is “valuable”. That premise doesn’t JUST apply to Rod and his clique. So, if that “time” is going to be wasted calling me and the other people that don’t understand the science “idiots” and “ignoramuses”, don’t blame me. Sure as heck takes less time to type “pfffft” than it does “ignoramus”.
And yet, if we were discussing TEPCO’s latest solar power projects, I strongly suspect that you would be one of the first to jump to TEPCO’s defense, even if they were about to pull another Solyndra. I know your type.
Please let me be one of the first to wish you a fond farewell. I can assure you that you will not be missed. Personally, I deal with an ill-informed sociopath like you on the Internet just about every other day. You’re all alike — yet another anonymous voice spouting nonsense and then moving on after the nonsense is debunked.
It would have been nice if you had been willing to learn at least something about a technology that you yourself claim that you do not understand. However, all you wanted to do was to vent and rant and rave, like a two-year-old child throwing a tantrum. You enjoy complaining about us, but it is the huge chip on your shoulder that is your biggest problem and greatest obstacle to achieving any understanding. Even your chosen moniker demonstrates this.
Finally, a word of Internet advice: please drop the all caps. It’s really annoying, and it doubles the pain of having to read anything that you write.
Just curious-what is your opinion of ‘in the middle’?
POA what you do not understand, and what makes most of what you write look like paranoid ranting is that if Fukushima Daichi was a radiation event of the magnitude that you seem to think it was the physical evidence would be so great and so easy to detect that a cover up would be impossible.
It’s the numbers from all sources simply do not show that there was anything near the sort of loss of containment event that may are hysterically claiming, and that is including the numbers from most of those groups themselves.
The fact is this is not a hard subject to learn. Most of it can be understood without resorting to mathematics more advanced than that of high school, and most of the concepts are very intuitive. What makes me wonder just what is motivating you is your unwillingness to acquire a basic understanding of the physics so that you could at the very least vett some of the information that you are reading. Truth doesn’t depend on the source as you seem to think, but on the facts, and it is clear that if you cannot understand a significant potion of those facts you are missing a big part of the story.
That is not to say that there were not mistakes made before, during, and after this event, and yes TEPCO’s credibility is less than might be hoped. Nevertheless if there is some question about it based on the suspicion of cui bono from that quarter, surely one has to apply the same suspicion to others claiming the opposite without the scientific evidence to back themselves up.
In other words attempting to get a handle on this event by assuming that anyone that paints a negative picture, no matter how outrageous must be right, and anyone suggesting the event is not that serious is wrong, hardly shows the kind of commonsense logic that you claim to be applying. Rather you look like any other conspiracy theorist of the sort that claim vaccinations are a tool to poison the population, that condensation trails of aircraft are spraying mind-altering chemicals, or any of a number of idiotic notions.
What I suspect is that at this point you are beginning to see that there are things about this event and about nuclear energy in general that are at odds with the preconceived notions that you brought here in the beginning and you are now actively avoiding delving any deeper into the science lest you see that we are more correct in our evaluations that the one’s you have depended on to date. That’s the real reason you do not answer anyone that shown you wrong, you are realizing they might be right.
So indeed continue to post, I for one don’t want to preach to the choir, and I know from many, many battles with people like you that you are seeing things in a new light regardless if you want to or not. Oh and I don’t insult easily, especially from Anglophones none of whom could lay down a good, full-bodied insult if their lives depended on it.
DV8, I am looking forward to your upcoming piece analyzing anti’s.
I too am looking forward to your thoughts on the structure of the anti nuclear’s arguments. Perhaps Rod would be willing to post it here too.
I think I resemble that remark about anglophones not knowing how to insult…
The first three essays in the series are posted here: History of the Antinuclear Movement, over at Deregulate the Atom.
Rod would definitely be open to posting DV82XL’s thoughts here.
Rod, Rob’s (DV8’s) latest response (the 280th comment) to the May 4th post here (from May 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm) might also be worthy of a spot as a standalone posting.
“I have posted here instances of the industry, both here and abroad, falsifying records, cutting corners, ignoring regulations, intimidating whistleblowers, etc.. So, yes, I have a tremendous distrust of the industry and its defenders.
Actually, what you have posted is instances of “the industry” finding and rooting out examples of unacceptable behavior by individuals. I am getting really annoyed by anonymous people who proudly proclaim their ignorance of the science trying to assert that they understand “the industry” based on press reports. The press does not portray any industry accurately, the press tells stories that they think will interest enough readers so that they can attract a profitable base of advertisers.
If you really want to “know nukes” – as in the people who populate the industry – you need to stop accusing us of being the scum of the earth and get to know some of us as people. You need to attend our training sessions, watch us do our work, and learn more about what it takes to operate reliable power plants that provide the lifeblood of modern living – electricity – without producing any greenhouse gases, NOx, SOx, or fly ash.
So, if that “time” is going to be wasted calling me and the other people that don’t understand the science “idiots” and “ignoramuses”, don’t blame me
After reading your ramblings and diatribes the issue is that you refuse to learn any of the science and engineering of not only nuclear power but the power generation industry in its entirity. In fact you appear to be one of those individuals that celebrate the fact you are not educated in the science or engineering.
That is a problem. Not just for this debate/finger pointing session you started. But it is a problem for all of us because there are many people like you who think that we do not need science and engineering in this world to survive. Which is completely wrong as centuries of humanity’s forward progress to a better way of life shows us when we take a look back at history.
Constantly reminding us that you are not educated is okay as long as you ask questions. But you refused to ask questions and have only been looking to throw those of us who support nuclear power in jail for crimes against humanity.
That speaks to another agenda which is deindustrialization. Now if that is your agenda then you will lose. Becuase you are fighting a battle where the “middle” like their power 24/7/365. They will not like to find out what happens when power becomes unreliable due to a almost religious devotion to wind and solar which seems to be the push of your diatribes.
Poster Bill Rodgers above makes an excellent point. There is nothing wrong with admitting a lack of knowledge. That alone does not disqualify you from asking questions or even being skeptical. But it should be done with a sense of deference to those who are trained in the subject matter, and perhaps a touch of humility (not obsequious groveling, but just a more humble attitude). The last thing you should be is confrontational and have a chip on your shoulder.
A good example is talking to your doctor. There is nothing wrong with asking polite questions or even seeking a second opinion. Most professionals will accept that and not take it as a personal slight. But you should not dictate to the professional what they should do or what their beliefs and attitudes should be. You should defer to the trained individual at least in terms of recognizing their superior knowledge and experience. In the end, it comes down to this: it is often not what you say, but how you say it. If you start off with a pissy attitude and belittle those who you admit have more knowledge and experience, you can expect some measure of pushback, probably using the same tactics.
“They will not like to find out what happens when power becomes unreliable”
To find out what happens, talk to people in Iraq or Zimbabwe, where they have power for only a few hours a day.
So… Ok POA let’s assume that Tepco IS theist corrupt evil company on the planet and EVERYTHING they did was wrong. If that is the case then the evidence shows that even under the worst circumstances of corruption that the worst case scenario really isn’t that bad. Compared to the effects of other “disasters” from corrupt companies (BP, Exxon)
It also tells me that if Tepco is THE worst then every other nuclear power company is better and safer so the same type of “disaster” cannot happen here.
Thank you for helping me understand your logic.
A “REPORT” BY “EXPERTS” SAIS HOSPITALS RELEASE RADIATION INTO PATIENTS!!!!
SHUT DOWN ALL HOSPITALS!!! SHUT ‘EM DOWN NOW!!!
EVERYONE WILL DIE IF HOSPITALS ARE ALLOWED TO KEEP SPEWING RADIATION INTO PEOPLE!!!!
ANOTHER REPORT SAIS HOSPITALS ARE IN BUSINESS TO MAKE MONEY!
MAKING MONEY IS EVIL!!!!
SHUT ‘EM DOWN NOW!!!
I rather have a little backhanded pity on the likes of POA because they are really victims of and a sober indication of how good a job Helen Caldicott, Robert Alvarez, Arnie Gundersen, Kevin Kamps and Paul Gunter have done on people’s heads to trust their word rather than rely on your own research, logic and common sense. Multiply POA by a few tens of thousands and one can see how their infection can spread to the greater unwashed so effectively. For nuclear acceptance, facts and history have a tall mountain to climb.
Fortunately the reality is that the likes of POA are in the minority, at least on this question. Most people are reasonably open minded and are willing to listen to a well formed argument.
I have found that while the extremely doctrinaire antinuke is vocal, they are not in the majority.
I understand your meaning, truly, but if this were the entire case (in the U.S.) nuclear energy wouldn’t be fighting tooth and nail trying to build a reactor one at a time, much less keep them open, just trying to catch up with a thirty-year drought, and far from the thousand nuke level they cited in the ’50’s and ’60s we ought be now. The antis run rampant and irresponsible because the nuclear industry itself seems either clueless or timid to even defend itself much less educate the public on nuclear energy, and on top of that a rabidly anti-nuclear media that can’t wait for a pint of mildly radioactive water to be spilled in a plant to FUD the public more. Myself, were I head honcho of the atomic worker’s union I’d be gleaning these pro-nuke blogs for brains and suggestions to throw up a barrage of nuclear education media PDAs just as plan #1 (and even go for the throat and take the media itself on the carpet for its coy bias), but the lack of such initiative is just dismaying. You know nuclear energy’s reputation is the pits when the skittish public would rather have global warming (note how that issue has nulled out since Japan!) and pollution and respiratory diseases than a nuke anywhere for a thousand miles. This is one dauntless task ahead.
A new MIT report out. Should put a smile on many face’s here…..apart from POA’s of course.
Thanks to Brian Wang at Next Big Future.
Prolonged low dose radiation study at 400 times background levels finds no DNA effect
The study, led by Bevin Engelward and Jacquelyn Yanch and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that when mice were exposed to radiation doses about 400 times greater than background levels for five weeks, no DNA damage could be detected
Funny thing about that particular dose rate. It happens to correspond with a tolerance dose of 0.1R/day with an 8-hour work day. Interesting how the numbers work out… What is even funnier is that there are no observable effects. This supports the auto biographical summary of Antone Brooks life’s work:
To quote him, “The dinosaur of LNTH remains useful for regulations but is scientifically dead for low-dose risk assessment.” (slide 57)
I disagree with the LNT usefulness there are other effective ways of regulation that are already in place in other sectors, like some OSHA regulations.
An interesting point about the regulatory basis of radiotoxicity levels (think Yucca Mountain). They are tagged to the health effects of Radon which were published in BEIR IV and then increased in BEIR VI using LNT as a basis of both studies. The EPA uses these numbers exclusively in their regulatory basis of any long term waste disposal site.
I am glad that there are more principled investigators who are willing to challenge the dogmatic idea of the LNT theory. It takes a lot of courage to risk loosing funding in any research environment. Kudos to those PI’s for taking this on!
To go with this, here is some interesting research on DNA repair:
The pairs of chromosomes act like a two-hard-drive RAID system, where damage to one chromosome can be repaired by referring to the other.
There is still much to be discovered in this field.
Great RAID analogy. It is almost exactly like a J2 RAID one drive goes bad throw it out and plug in a new one, it has the ability to identify and repair bad sectors (genetic deletions) and has a pretty immense reliability.
What is even more astonishing than nuclear power is the patience of all you guys with someone like ‘POA’. Just breezed through this and was astonished with the long, detailed response to all that annoying raving.
Anyway, this is off-topic and not sure if anyone is still reading this thread, but I noticed a recent article published on effects of low-level continuous exposure to radiation (well, not so low-level, but 400X background). This was mentioned on WNN so everybody may already be aware. The link is:
This is a study conducted at MIT, that shows no significant DNA damage in mice at 400X background levels for 5 weeks. Acute dose did show damage. This experiment is so simple it is hard to understand why a lot more has not been done (longer periods, etc). I asked this question a long time ago on BNC … and gave an example of some animal studies that might be performed. Anyway, encouraging that some science may replace LNT soon.
There is a fresh load of unused fuel in #4 pool along with the spent. Would that be different than if it was all spent fuel?
There would not be much difference. New fuel is much less radioactive, so much so it can be handled without protective clothing and produces no heat. The amount of new fuel is a small percentage of the overall number of fuel assemblies in the the pool.
Yes it is not irradiated yet but i mean wouldn’t it have a lot more potential energy if the necessary geometry that keeps it from fissioning were lost? (if the building goes down or the cladding melted) assuming it was 1/3rd of a full load that is fresh, that would be around 30 tonnes of fresh to 430 tonnes spent.
It is not geometry that keeps fresh fuel from fissioning. In order to create a self sustaining chain reaction using fuel assemblies made of low enriched uranium, you need to put together exactly the right combination of moderator (which encourages the reaction), a critical number of assemblies, and a reflector to help prevent neutron losses at the boundary of the assembly from preventing a keff of 1 or greater.
I got this link from a friend and would really like to believe that the Fukushima event isn’t going to poison my family.
I really enjoyed Pissed Off American’s questions–because, frankly, those are the same sorts of questions I had after reading much that has been written.
But the treatment of Pissed Off American–and the rude scoffing at his legitimate questions–is rather annoying.
Why do you put this blog up, Rod? Is it just a form of Facebook chatting for you and your friends? Why not make it private?
Or is it for the public? I know we are mostly ignorant about nuclear power–which is why we are at blogs like this in the first place!! Why treat us as an “ignoramus”?
I will be honest–your handling of the questions certainly does not make me comfortable that you are telling the truth.
@Stella – this blog has been freely available on the web in various forms since 1995. Comments are open to all with very light moderation.
Most of the regulars here are well qualified to answer questions and discuss technical and political matters associated with all forms of energy.
We do, however, choose not to take kindly to people who come here with a chip on their shoulder, asserting the right to call us names and accuse us of immoral behavior because we have made a technically well supported choice to support the development of nuclear energy.
POA proudly proclaimed that he is ignorant of the science and the math associated with nuclear energy, but instead of asking questions and indicating a willingness to learn, he picked a number of fights and engaging in profane accusations that I unceremoniously deleted.
I have no way of convincing you that I am a man who has integrity as a core value that is more important than jobs or money. You might want to click on that link in my author blurb that provides a pretty detailed resume, showing where I have been, what I have studied and what jobs I have been trusted to perform. You can also browse through this site to review some of the 2000 plus articles I have published and some of the predictions that I have made.
Ignorance is curable – it simply means that you have a lack of knowledge, often through no fault of your own. Being an ignoramus like POA however, is a more difficult to cure affliction – it is really difficult to instill a desire to learn into someone else. I ought to know – I spent a few years as a classroom instructor at the Naval Academy, a place where students are actually paid to learn the lessons that we taught.
Most did, a few got left behind.
And just to be clear, I was a proponent of nuclear energy before Fukushima.
I bought into the “isolated failure” re: chernobyl and continued to support nuclear power as clean and reliable.
but now, I am quite happy that I have moved to “Nuke Free” New Zealand.
Why do you blame Fukushima? It was damaged by a natural catastrophe of a magnitude that had never been seen before in Japan. There was never an earthquake of that magnitude in Japan’s recorded history. Over 20,000 people died in Japan as a result of that natural event. None of them died as a result of the damage to the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
You aren’t as safe in NZ as you think. NZ depends heavily on geothermal power. Many geothermal stations emit more radiation than nuclear plants. You probably didn’t know that. Does that change your mind about geothermal energy?
Again with the “I used to support nuclear but” attempt to ingratiate the poster and underline his/her sincerity. I simply don’t buy this line anymore and it only shows me that the poster is untruthful and cannot be trusted.
The tactic is old now, give it up.
“…..blablahblah…..and it only shows me that the poster is untruthful and cannot be trusted”
So, another poster shows up, and you start out by calling her a liar. You guys are real geniuses when it comes to public relations, arencha?
Particulate. Remember the word. It was all over the West Coast after Fukushima. The milk in California and Washington was contaminated. Strontium 90 and Cesium (both 134 and 137) were everywhere. Iodine 131 came down with every rainfall. All of my fruit trees in San Diego are sprouting deformed fruit. The vegetables are deformed and I have decided not to eat anything that grew in my garden. I am in my mid Sixties and probably do not need to worry about radioactive induced Cancer from the particulate contamination in my soil as on average that particulate (once inside of the body) causes cancer in 17.83 years. (rounded up to 18 years)
Still, for the children who have cesium and strontium and plutonium in their bodies (Lots of Plutonium on the west coast after Reactor Three exploded.) what do we tell them when they are diagnosed with Cancer in twenty years? We have already see Cancer increase six fold in the past 100 years. The Cancer death rate has doubled since the atmospheric testing of Nuclear bombs started.What do we tell those people? My sister who lived near San Onofre is dead of cancer. There is no family history of cancer, but I warned her and warned her to move away. She refused to listen because she believed theGovernment when they told her that the radiation at the fence was low at San Onofre and that there was no particulate release from a pressurized Water Reactor.. They lied to her and they killed her. We know that all reactors leak Krypton and Argon and Tritium. All the guys I worked with in the Navy in the Sixties are dead, 91 percent of them from Cancer. Why? Simple! They all died of particulate exposure. Kills them dead with tremendous efficiency. The Navy says it is just a mathematical fluke that all those Nuclear Reactor Plant operators are dead from Cancer. The first to go were the ELT’s, then the Machinest Mates who worked in the Turbine room. and then the ET;s who ran diagnostics on the Reactor Control circuitry. The ones who survived the longest were the Electricians who operated the Switchgear from inside the EOOW shack. Amazing they even outlived the EOOW’s Most of whom are dead now. One thing about nuclear power, NOBODY lives into their Seventies.. You are lucky if you make it into your Sixties.
RADIATION PARTICULATE KILLS. EVEN IF IT TAKES 20 TO 30 YEARS TO KILL YOU, THE CANCER WILL SPREAD ALL THROUGH YOUR BODY.
You sure can spew a load of bull. As a retired US Navy submarine officer, I can testify that there is absolutely zero evidence for any of your assertions about an increased rate of early deaths. Not only do I know a large number of ancient mariners who served on nuclear submarines personally, but I also spent four years (2004-2008) at OPNAV N1. For those who are unaware of how the Navy headquarters staff is structured, OPNAV N1 is the organization that is responsible for the people (human resources). We analyzed and budgeted for all costs related to personnel. I was involved in preparations of four budgets. Many topics were discussed, including rising costs of medical care. NOT ONCE was there a single mention, either in the briefing rooms or in the cubicle farms where we all worked very closely together of any issue related to illness or early deaths among submariners or other nuclear qualified sailors.
PS – if you really worry about the longevity statistics for people who have worked with radiation all of their careers, I suggest you find some back issues of Nuclear News and look in the obituary column. There are often several people in each monthly issue in their late 80s or early 90s. One of my heroes, and an occasional contributor of guest columns on Atomic Insights, is Ted Rockwell, who is well into his late 80s and still going strong.
Can you prove a causal link between the cancer that your sister had and any releases from SONGS? Can you provide evidence that these releases occurred, and information on the type of release, radionuclide content, and local dispersion and concentrations (cite credible sources, such as Dept. of Health reports or NRC records)? What was your sister’s dose commitment, both internal and submersion? What is the correlation between the type of cancer your sister had and radiation exposure (some types are more common than others)? What is the incidence of cancer among a comparable cohort of population in that area? Is it elevated above the expected incidence of cancer among the general population? If so, by how much? What other factors might have bearing on this particular case, such as lifestyle choices, diet, etc.? If you can prove a causal link, have you filed in court? If not, why? If so, what is the status/disposition of your case?
Despite appearances, I’m not trying to do a Gish Gallop here. If someone makes an inflammatory assertion about a single case of cancer coming from an alleged radiation exposure, these are legitimate questions to ask. They have direct bearing on the scientific basis of the allegation. Without that, such allegations are no more than FUD.
The “hot particle” theory has been debunked as junk science. It is based on a real, verifible, quantifiable case of hot particle ingestion. This was the case of the 25 plutonium workers at Los Alamos, who were exposed to plutonium dust in the 1940s. They were the subject of an extended health study over the following 40 years. According to the “hot particle” theory, each of these individuals had a 99.5% chance of contracting lung cancer during that time. The total number that got lung cancer: zero. None. Not a single case among that exposed cohort.
One thing about nuclear power, NOBODY lives into their Seventies.. You are lucky if you make it into your Sixties.
One of my advisors in graduate school worked with radioactive materials his entire career and lived well into his 80s. The person who hired me in the job I held longest in the industry is still alive in his late 70s, even though he worked in nuclear plants his entire career. Seth Neddemayer, who worked on the plutonium bomb in the Manhatten Project and invented the method of implosive compression, lived to be 80 years old. George Kistiakowsky, who perfected the implosion method, lived to be 82 years old. Edward Teller lived to be 95 years old. Now, by my ciphering, all of these people (and there are many others) lived into and beyond their 70s. So much for that FUD.
I’m quite sympathetic with the plight of the non-technical public. They are supposed to be able to get good science news from scientifically literate science reporters. But as an engineer, I hear a lot of science news that is so wrong, it makes me cringe (particularly with regard to nuclear power).
In engineering, we only believe the things we (or others) can measure. If someone tells me a catastrophe has happened, I’ll ask for a quantitative measure, such as the fatality count (note that the Fukushima nuclear fatatlity count is still zero). If someone tells me a pool has dried up, I’ll ask what is the evidence. If someone tells me a giant area has been contaminated with radioactivity, I’ll ask how contaminated (we can detect radiation that is a minuscule fraction of the danger level).
Also, in engineering, people’s reputation is built upon their track record for success. Working at a policy institute and writing critiques of other peoples success doesn’t count for anything (actually, it’s a negative). The engineers and scientists who designed our fleet of reactor have earned my trust by virtue of the fact that they built them successfully. Note that it also takes talent to build a good fossil fuel power plant, but the fossil fuel safety record is not nearly as good as that of the nuclear industry.
Regarding untrustworthy company executives, none of them are trustworthy. A good reporter knows this and asks to interview scientists or engineers instead (but again the mainstream media rarely does any good nuclear reporting).
In closing, the bad news is that you can’t escape from radiation or risk by moving to New Zealand, the entire planet is full of both. The good news is that small doses of radiation are harmless, and you can reduce risk by wearing your seat belt when you travel by car and by not smoking.
Your engineering analogy reply to “Stella” exemplifies the most vexing part of the nuclear power issue; fear often triumphs over reality. Nuclear advocates have an arsenal of actual on-the-ground researched and painfully acquired evidence by experience, measurement and instrumentation while anti-nukes overwhelmingly avail vaporware speculations, guesses, elaborate extrapolations and FUD-feeding Doomsday scenarios seldom rooted in established fact and physics. Yet antis are trusted and tapped more by civic groups and the media by a wide margin more than nuclear advocates. It doesn’t take a Perry Mason to see that applying this status for making fair judgements is topsy-turvy. As great and virtuously talented as nuclear blogs are, at this time their non-web effect is just nibbling around the edges of public consciousness and education. What it will really take for public nuclear acceptance is the brute-force impact of media PSAs and educational programming on the media’s own stage, and the only ones with the wallop and wallets to do this is the atomic “industry” and perhaps the atomic workers union (though I can’t see why individual plants can’t do this locally). The battle for nuclear power is far more than merely a souped-up college debate; we’re talking about an issue affecting the energy security and greater public health of the U.S., and not to sound devious here, but the situation here to counter the pernicious FUD-seeding agenda of anti-nukes is akin to our spending tens of billions to shore up and defend ourselves against terrorists whose piddling expenses only have to cover the costs of creating a crude bomb and an airline ticket to generate fear.
I am sure your right, There is nothing to worry about…So if you would not mind going to fukshima and removeing any possable concern today! I would pay for your way, I know there was no problem at all ” Because you told Me” and we should have a neculer power plant in our back yard or hell Just move into one…Hay there is one ready for you to move into right now a three mile island… and not to worry if you need more room there is always chernobyl…great places no rent and you can have the run of the place…But as for me…I think you hae no idea what danger there is and no Idea what can happen…and nothing good will come from this ? But you did say you were in the navy, abord a nuke sub? did reation effect you brain?
So let’s get this straight: You who cannot even spell ‘nuclear,’ presumes to know more about the situation at Fukushima Daiichi than someone who worked on nuclear reactors for the U.S. Navy?
Are there any antinuclear commenters that don’t have their heads shoved up their rear ends?
I think by definition anti-nuclears (especially the loud ones that are stuck in transmit and unable to receive) haven’t smelled the light of day because they have impounded their noses so far that they think they can see hot particles and other such nonsense. It must be a side effect of the entrained methane… Unfortunately they left their mouths exposed.
This site is hilarious. Those in the ‘pro’ nuclear camp remind me of the defenders of the tobacco industry, who routinely defended their chosen profession by demanding that their ‘enemies’ meet an ever-inflating burden of proof, to the point where only showing causality between tobacco and each individual lung cancer case would be sufficient (absurdly illogical). And the comments citing a lack of short-term damage from Fukushima as being some sort of evidence of long-term safety are similarly absurd. I am no expert in nuclear physics but I do know about human nature, and humans – especially those with a significant monetary motive – often can’t be trusted to care about the well-being of others. To me, the conclusive evidence that the nuclear industry is unsafe and unsustainable is the fact that no financial institutions on this planet will insure the related risks, presumably because they too know a thing or two about human nature, as well as the dangers of radioactive contamination. If this site is to be believed, the evacuations around Chernobyl and Fukushima weren’t really necessary, which is the ultimate absurdity. By the way, it’s been established that the meltdowns were underway before the tsunami took out the diesel generators, so stop blaming that. And, yes, an earthquake of that magnitude was foreseeable, just as the folly of building these things in such a seismically active region was foreseeable. Thanks for the laughs, boys, but I think I’ll take reality over your techno-weenie wishful thinking.
Amazed, the forced evacuation of 200,000 people in no joking matter. Every action has risks with it. Being forced to live in a gym with no job and no idea what is happening to all of your personal property. These things carry risks. You might think its ok but as an American I can not stand for such blatant disregard of personal liberty and freedom in the name of “safety.”
Yes many of us here believe that sheltering inside and eating imported foods initially would have been the best option. But, the evacuation did happen. The measurements of radiation are known. These people must be given the option based upon being presented the best available risk science and the doses at their homes to move or stay. Just like people are allowed without question to drive, fly, and eat certain foods all of which carry some % chance of death.
That is the world we live in we often have to make hard decisions. You can rant and rave all you want and try to point the finger and blame the accident but the reality is the accident happened and we have to deal with it. Forcing these people to sleep in gyms while allowing U.S. congressmen to come over and take photo shoots is completely unacceptable.
You can laugh all you want, but you won’t receive any hospitality with that attitude here.
Lots of debate. The fact is, nuclear waste is building up constantly and is dangerous and the Pacific Ocean is polluted with radioactivity and no solution is working. In addition, there are consequences that no private company can afford and so governments become the fall back resource. Nuclear power is far from “safe”.
We should shut down the oceans because after Katrina people had to live in gyms and eat imported food.
Doesn’t it occur to these people that there might have been evacuations, sheltering, unsafe food and water, etc. FROM THE HUGE EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI!
Jeez Louise and this guy is scared of all of the “reation” well I AM SCARED THAT PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE ALLOWED TO DRIVE ON THE SAME ROADS I AM. sorry I lost it there a little but after revisiting this thread it is just amazing to me. In what other debate would people be accepted to accept “I don’t know anything about the science or technology but I know you’re wrong and it’s bad” crazy just unbelievable.
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