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23 Comments

  1. “We hedge our bets by talking about probabilistic risk models, worst case scenarios, and fault tree logic.”

    Next to four real-life examples (TMI and Fukushima, all these head-games speculations look pretty hysterical and lame — like their life/property casualty scores. THAT’s the anti-nuke defanging fact people need to know! Can you believe there are anti-nukers sorely -angrily!- DISAPPOINTED Fukushima didn’t up to their own hype?? Talk sick!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. I think you are a bit too blinded by your own obsession. People like me who were never necessarily ‘anti-nuker’ are disappointed by the complete shunning of responsibility by people like you who claim to have a grasp on the technology and be professional involved with it not even admitting there is indeed a serious problem at hand. Then turning around and saying that its no problem whatsoever. or that even 100 fukushimas would not be a problem.

      I certainly wouldn’t want you as the captain of my ship, And it is a terrifying thought that those running the nuclear horror show are indeed you lot.

      And constantly referring to fukushima in the past tense is a big mistake. Since the very beginning almost a year ago now, very little progress has been made. One building is covered by a tent. the tempuratures of 2,3 and 4 (which was claimed to be empty) are going up again in the last week. Tepco have admitted they havent a clue about whats going on. And the number 4 building containing more fuel than all the 3 melted reactors combined is still leaning and on the verge of collapse.

      There are no new suspension bridges, supporting structures, no new spent fuel pools being built a little further inland to receive the extracted fuel by remote controlled cranes and vehicles. No apparent plan whatsoever. So it is really just a matter of time until something happens which will dwarf whats already happened.

      Perhaps an article about possible solutions would be a good idea. pretending its all fine is not going to last.

      Oh and if youve got kids, do keep them away from the milk, as its over the epa safety limit again for cesium 137 on the west coast.

      1. You. Joe are obviously blinded by your own ignorance. Lack of a good understanding of the technical issues, or even the fundamentals of the subject really disqualify you from holding an informed opinion in these matters.

        Strangely enough, your arrogant willful stupidity (because people here have tried to explain things to you in the past) does not equal our knowledge of the subject, no matter how much you think it does. and you are adding nothing to this debate.

        1. Lol, I am not claiming to know more on the subject than you, I suggested an article about possible solutions to the problem. One where you could all chime in with your superior knowledge and perhaps come up with some realistic techniques for containing this disaster. Obviously the Japanese government and Tepco are in need of international assistance but appear like a rabbit stuck in the headlights. Add to the fact that it is affecting the whole planet and is not just a problem for Japan.

          But if you are privy to some kind of roadmap that hasn’t been announced then please post a link.

        2. Again. There is no disaster and it is not affecting the whole planet except in the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind.

          Quite simply, you are an ignoramus of the worst kind in that you are incapable of understanding anything about the technical aspects of this subject, yet you believe your opinions should be taken seriously.

        3. ‘There is no disaster’

          Wow, are you actually following whats going on at all? the events in the last few days?

          I may have to quote you on that last statement, It is a precise but pathetic attitude of the nuclear industry.

        4. Yes I follow what is going on there quite closely, and I assure you that despite the hand-wringing assertions of scaremongering antinukes, there is nothing there that is ‘affecting the whole planet’ beyond the angst that is being generated by very poor, and highly inaccurate reportage.

          I don’t know what you expect to accomplish here. You admit that you don’t have the technical background to understand the subject, then reject anything we tell you that doesn’t align with your preconceived notions. Perhaps you would be better off contributing to threads over at nuclear-news. The site is run by a pure-wool antinuclear zealot, who wrote me privately at one point to say that she believes lying about the nuclear industry is justified in the fight to shut it down, No doubt you will find yourself welcomed there, and you can join other like-minded individuals whipping themselves into a frenzy feeding off each others paranoid imaginations.

      2. No one has been hurt by radiation released from the four reactors at Fukushima that were damaged or destroyed by the effect of a sustained loss of electrical power that lasted for many days following inundation by an enormous wave of salt water.

        In contrast, about 15,000-20,000 people were killed by the salt water.

        The infrastructure along a swath of coast line more than 70 miles long was also destroyed, releasing thousand to millions of tons of somewhat toxic industrial garbage into the local seas and distributing it widely on formerly productive land. In contrast, a few tens of kilograms of unstable isotopes of iodine and cesium from the damaged nuclear plants were widely distributed in concentrations that will never hurt anyone, no matter what regulators who are completely clueless about the health effects of low level radiation say.

        Your priorities for sources of worry leave me baffled beyond belief.

        Yes, I understand that there is still work to be done to clean up the reactors; but there is a lot of work BEING done to make that happen. Do you think the thousands of workers who are involved in that effort are playing tiddly winks or Go all day?

        1. Hi Rod,

          Comparing a natural disaster to a man made one is pointless. Yes of course it is a great tragedy. Tsunamis have happened before along the east coast of Japan. all the more reason for not building tens of reactors along that coastline.

          No I dont think the workers are playing scrabble. They are for the most part uneducated and illiterate.

          Its plain to see that the window of opportunity to do anything to re-enforce the structures and dig underneath them to lay more barriers has been missed. This because those dumb people in power don’t have the foresight to see that the long term costs will be far higher than if they had thrown everything at it from the beginning. And also thanks to the international community for not putting more (or any) pressure on Japan to get it under control.

          But Is there not still some things that can be done to minimize the very real possibility of far greater disaster than is already underway? For example get the pools emptied and move all that waste away from the scene and away from the coast before the buildings actually collapse?

          It really would be good to hear from supposedly knowledgeable folk what it would take to empty out #4 Spent fuel pool, or if it is even possible.

  2. “We hedge our bets by talking about probabilistic risk models, worst case scenarios, and fault tree logic.”

    Next to four real-life examples (TMI and Fukushima), all these head-games speculations look pretty hysterical and lame — like their life/property casualty scores. THAT’s the anti-nuke defanging fact people need to know! Can you believe there are anti-nukers sorely -angrily!- DISAPPOINTED Fukushima didn’t up to their own hype?? Talk sick!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. @Joel – Thank you for the link to Monbiot’s article. I agree with your evaluation; it was an important contribution to the discussion regarding the benefits of making good use of materials that some people call waste.

      After all, that is the essence of one of the more fundamental tenants of real environmentalism – carefully segregating and then reusing useful materials instead of throwing them away sometimes seems to be more difficult (expensive). In the long run, however, it is the only way to avoid both running out and piles of useless garbage.

      1. I’m surprised you hadn’t already seen that, and that you hadn’t retweeted George’s link to it. I thought I had seen a tweet from either early last week or late the week before about a reporter debunking the previous Guardian article that had tried to say that the British government had already rejected GE-H’s proposal.

        Considering GE-H has offered to cover some of the cost overruns, it would seem to be quite a deal.

  3. There is a cold wave all over Europe right now. -40 degrees. You may ask is it Farenheit or Celsius ? Don’t matter cos both scale merge at that point. (Common knowledge when you live in Canada)

    And of course you need gas. But not so fast. Russia must have enough for its own market and the only honorable thing to do is to pull a Putin on Europe. Read what follows:

    MOSCOW – Russia’s Gazprom has acknowledged that it briefly reduced gas supplies to Europe as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered the Kremlin-controlled monopoly to concentrate on domestic customers.

    Oh Merkel. She has really stepped into it.

    1. Thus far more than 300 people have died from the intense cold in Europe.

      France EDF’s nuclear fleet is humming and providing electricity to Germany. Greenpeace is nowhere to be found picketing on the border to prevent this unworthy source of base load energy from entering the pure country.

  4. The February 2012 issue of the IEEE Spectrum, magazine had an article on how a solar storm can cause the meltdown of hundreds of reactors on the planet. (due to the geomagnetic storm destroying all electrical equipment) I would like to see a rebuttel of this or analysis.

    Tom Lowinger

    1. Nuclear power plants are the most robust of our modern infrastructure when it comes to damage caused by geomagnetic storms. This is because of the redundancy in systems and constant training by the staff to handle emergencies. Besides, it won’t be all electrical equipment that is destroyed, mostly just certain components of our electrical grid. Nuclear power plants are also expected to hold up well if there is ever a high-altitude nuclear detonation over the continental US, causing an electromagnetic pulse.

    2. Tom is referring to this IEEE cover story:
      http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/the-smarter-grid/a-perfect-storm-of-planetary-proportions/0/hundreds-of-fukushimas

      This article is misleading for a number of reasons.

      Assuming the entire grid is irreparably damaged is a stretch. Grid managers and power plant operators are plugged into the space weather warning system and would have 2-4 days to prepare for the onslaught of a CME. They might have to de-energize portions of the grid in advance and isolate vulnerable transformers (disconnecting the neutral ground), which would include taking power plants offline. This would result in a widespread and very inconvenient, but not catastrophic, planned power outage for 2-3 days until the CME had passed and equipment checked for restart.

      In the meantime, the power plants are topping off tanks and making preparations. Although the minimum requirement for diesel fuel is 7 days, most plants have much more than that in stock. And the “7 days” assumes a design basis accident in progress – running minimal cooling pumps would require far less fuel.

      Diesel fuel is not exactly a rare commodity. In the event of a widespread grid disruption, the nuclear power plants would have precedence on receiving resupply, just as Turkey Point did following the direct hit by category 5 Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

      And heating oil, also an abundant commodity, especially in the northeast, can be just as easily burned in a diesel generator.

      Did I mention (I know the article did not) that all nuclear power plants have steam-driven auxiliary feedwater pumps that use the decay heat itself as a source of steam? Or that many plants, cognizant of the long manufacturing lead time, keep spare auxiliary and main transformers on site?

      The fire in the spent fuel pool scenario is not worth discussing – as if there aren’t a dozen ways to put a few hundred gallons of water a day of makeup into the top of a pool. Who has IEEE been taking their technical advice from, Gundersen?

      A major solar event would not be a walk in the park by any means. Thousands of vulnerable people who depend on a stable and reliable electrical grid to sustain their lives might die – but “a hundred Fukushimas”? Give me a break.

      Kappenman may know CMEs, but he doesn’t know squat about LWRs.

      1. @”…but “a hundred Fukushimas”? Give me a break.”

        You mean a hundred zero-causality “major accidents”? Who wouldn’t want that result? Mmm, I wonder what a solar storm would do to gas and oil fired plants/facilities…

        James Greenidge
        Queens NY

  5. Just a simple thank you from me Rod, for once again bringing us up-to-the minute analysis of highly relevant events and reports. Atomic Insights is a real asset.

    1. Ben – thank you for the kind words. I can only hope that my efforts help – at least a little – us to make energy choices based on rational evaluation of all alternatives.

  6. This is excellent news about nuclear safety. So excellent in fact, it should be in the mainstream news but it’s too bad as mainstream news doesn’t cheer about any good news for nuclear energy. They always seem to need a leading and bleeding angle.

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