1. Excellent summation, Rod! Really, you and Will Davis ought be given a YouTube Atomic Truths Show!! The way the Japan Quake is being covered my NYC media is just unbelievable. You mean the wave from the reactors caused all that damage and heartache??


    Rage had to throw this on the Forbes site, just as a heads-up:

    “The fear would be funny if it weren’t pathetic. While I sympathize the trauma Japan has undergone, I have small pity on having a royal cow over a nuclear “catastrophe” and “disaster” that didn’t happen. The world is looking a gift-horse in the mouth of a power source that since the first reactor fired up in 1942, has _worldwide_ killed less people than a single plane crash — and that mostly Cherynbol — a messed-with reactor. No one died at TMI or Fukushima nor any property damage beyond their gates, and Fukushima was a three-time chance for a “mega-death nuclear nightmare” at one shot brought on by a rare overpowering natural event yet it fizzled (can you believe there are people DISAPPOINTED by that??). Why don’t people howl as much when gas and oil facilities blow up and take whole neighborhoods with them — nearly a hundred thousand public and worker fatalities since 1942. How silent the media of those deaths! But laypeople just shrug at that — and contentedly eat the pollution coal and oil daily and on a regular basis gift us. Is this hypocrisy or what? Yet the atom-is-evil Hiroshima guilt-games and gloom and doom disinformation about nuclear energy rolls on without any real media challenge or sincere even-handed critiques. Thank you Rod Adams of Atomic Insights for providing one of the relatively few islands of fairness and reason on this issue.

    James Greenidge”

    1. People eventually get tired of scare-mongers. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, Fukushima will be seen as the disaster that wasn’t.

  2. Potato chips angle from Dr. James Conca, an expert on radiation:

    Every time I eat a bag of potato chips I think of Fukushima. This 12-ounce bag of chips has 3500 picoCuries of gamma radiation in it, and the number of bags I eat a year gives me a dose as high as what I would receive living in much of the evacuated zones around Fukushima. But unlike the Fukushima refugees, I get to stay in my home. We live in a nuanced world of degree. Eating a scoop of ice cream is fine, eating a gallon at one time is bad. Jumping off a chair is no big deal; jumping off a cliff is really stupid. The numbers matter. It’s the dose that makes the poison. There is a threshold to everything.

    The radiation in those potato chips isn’t going to kill me. Likewise, no one is going to die from Fukushima radiation. Cancer rates are not going to increase in Japan. The disaster wasn’t hidden like the Soviets did, so that people unknowingly ate iodine-131 for two months before it decayed away to nothing. No one threw workers into the fire like lemmings because they didn’t know what to do.

    Chips anyone ?

      1. Dr. Conca certainly appears to have a backbone.

        I’d like to see a debate between Dr. Conca and Bob Applebaum.

    1. Hi Daniel, could you tell me which isotope is emitting this gamma radiation in the chips, and what half life it has?

      I cant find information on it, though i find that some foods are irradiated as a form of pasteurization.

  3. You don’t realize it, but you are part of the problem.

    By only focusing on deterministic effects of radiation (“…to cause more than a minor reddening of the skin.”) you appear to be either ignorant of the probabilistic effects or appear to be conducting willful omission to promote propaganda.

    Let’s stick with the best science we have and deal with the consequences. The probabilistic effects of Fukushima radiation doses will be minor, and they can (and have been) estimated, and we will continue to refine those estimates.

    It is also important to acknowledge that the doses are minor because of the evacuations and other actions (the immense task of sequestering contaminated food, for example). I call this the evacuation paradox. Without these actions, the doses would be much higher. Real people are having to deal with the financial and emotional impacts of these evacs/actions.

    We should also acknowledge that uranium mining has its environmental impacts similar to those of fossil fuel mining or fracking.

    Natural gas (NG) – In addition to fracking problems which are clearly manifesting themselves more and more over time, NG doesn’t address global warming (global warming denialists deserve criticism, too. All anti-science propaganda should be criticized). NG produces about half the CO2 compared to other fossil fuels per energy unit (which slows GW but not much), but NG itself has about 20X the warming potential as CO2. The fugitive emissions ( a few %, which is a lot of pounds) of NG, which can’t be prevented, negate the benefits.

    So let’s draw parallels…yes, every radioactive atom poses a risk, but so does every molecule of CO2 or CH4. Yes, nuclear power may require infrequent evacuations, but global warming will require ever increasing evacuations as sea levels rise (and as droughts increase). Here will be one of the first, already on the scale of Fukushima, more will follow:


    Address the issues with scientific integrity, and nuclear power will shine (pun intended). Engage in propaganda, and you encourage propaganda.

    1. “Address the issues with scientific integrity, and nuclear power will shine (pun intended). Engage in propaganda, and you encourage propaganda.”

      You really are a simpleton, aren’t you? Even if I bought into your position on LNT, and accepted that the risk is real, but limited, this is not a position that can be sold to the general public. Other propagandists will not suddenly change their ways, thinking ‘well they are being honest, so I guess I should be too.’ They will continue to do what they are doing now, and feed the public the ‘no safe dose’ rhetoric backed up by naïve fools like you.

      Pronuclear supporters have taken the high road for decades, only to have lost ground to the lies of those less ethical. You are not part of the solution Appelbaum – you are part of the problem.

    2. We should also acknowledge that uranium mining has its environmental impacts similar to those of fossil fuel mining or fracking.

      Nonsense. It’s a matter of scale. kW.h for kW.h, nuclear requires substantially less mining than any other energy source.

  4. Hi Rod,

    I’ve been reading Atomic Insights for a while now, and enjoy it very much! Thank you – also in the name of the readers remaining unknown to you!

    I plan to start a pro-nuclear blog in my country, Hungary. (Some quick info: Hungary has four VVER-440 reactors (4×500 MWe) in one NPP at Paks. Things are really exciting: there are plans for 1-2 new units, which would really replace expensive, aging and polluting thermal power plants. However, Greens and a like political party get more and more support…)

    I would like to ask you about the possible copyright on your blog posts. I learn much from them, and in some cases (as eg. this post) I would like to use excerpts from it (translated to Hungarian). Please tell me if you have any objections!



    Reading the title I’m almost seeing you contemplating on words that begin with f 🙂

    1. @John Englert

      The link that you have posted leads to a document that is neither published, nor endorsed by the Health Physics Society. It just happens to in the documents list on their web site. That list has a large number of assorted documents and is apparently used as a file sharing site for the HPS.

      1. @ Rod

        They included some DOE/NNSA one-year dose estimates from about a month after the accident that I haven’t found on the DOE site anymore. Overall, I’m not that impressed with the US government’s efforts in communicating correct information to the public.

  5. Unless you own a cable station or newspaper all your words are only barking in the cold night air.

    1. The medal has a flip side – those who don’t say something somewhere sometimes are much like dumb sheep… “Surrender monkeys” is another popular expression.

      Enough zoology… I would say that every bit of communication helps, but trying to reach a wider audience is worth exploring in more detail. More cooperation and organization would certainly help, as well as expanding the scope of the issues covered.

  6. Hey Rod, great article.

    I was just wondering what your source was for the $55 billion in fossil imports?


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