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163 Comments

  1. Understanding your potential allies is important as well. Those concerned about environment are not your enemies. Though misinformed about NE, if what you allege about FUD is true, the do called “greens”, as well as those advocating for “renewables” have many adherents that are looking for solutions to global warming. You need only convince them of your argument.. Making adversaries out of them, as many here do, is self defeating.

    Its actually comical seeing the community here claiming that the political factions denying global warming, and receiving vast sums of campaign funds from the fossil fuel industry, are allies of NE. The battle will be won for you when you convince John Q, not by seeking or claiming allies where none exist, in the realm of political bribery and industrial corporate campaign funding.

    John Q just wants to breathe fresh air. Your job is to convince him you can supply it. Congressman Shithead, in DC, needs to be bought to be your ally. And frankly, the NE community can’t afford to out bribe the fossil fuel folks.

    Rod, you might wanna reflect on this “us versus them” horseshit that seems to be the mantra of many here. It ain’t working. Political bigotry isn’t a path to success.

    1. Being human it’s difficult not to get angry or upset sometimes. The more I’ve learned about this subject the more hearing the same misinformation repeated over and over again makes me angry, but letting that anger leak into my comments probably doesn’t help any. I suppose I should try and tone them down bit. As for politics… Sign, I real despise politics. I started out leaning towards the left, but now I’m leaning more towards the right. I lost a lot of my faith in the governments ability to choose what is in the people’s best interest. Last presidential election I voted Libertarian not because I agree with their ideals (I don’t), but because I’m not sure the government these days is doing more good than harm and I kind of want them to back of a little and give someone else a chance to make decisions.

    2. I don’t generally seek to make adversaries out of greens and RE supporters. I do think it’s important to know the true economic and social costs of all energy solutions. I’m not prepared to let RE lies and propaganda go unanswered. If you think that puts people off nuclear power; that’s your point of view.

  2. The title of the piece is, “Putting Excitement Back Into Nuclear Technology Development.” I think a nod should be given to Gordon McDowell for his videos which certainly engender a lot of enthusiasm for upcoming nuclear technology.

  3. @POA;

    I agree that there are many people who will side with nuclear energy once they learn that it can solve many of the problems they care about; I’ve had a few experiences that have convinced this is at least possible in the academic & student spheres.

    However, while wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, etc. are all in the same boat as solutions to GHG emissions, make no mistake, none of them have the market potential as nuclear and that’s going to push wind and solars’ into the margins. You’re right that there is no reason to make enemies with non-fossil fuel affiliated renewables (see: Total Energy), but neither is there a reason to mislead people into thinking that renewables can shoulder the same burdens as nuclear.

  4. **Correction: “Total” is a fossil fuel affiliated solar energy provider. Not only are they a major oil and gas supplier, but also a major solar panel vendor.

  5. A note from down in the weeds:
    I belong to the Mid Coast Citizens Climate Lobby of Maine. We are trying to get a fee on carbon to speed things up. At our last meeting over half the members said they thought nuclear energy will be the main energy source to replace fossil fuels. It has taken a big transformation for some to make the 180. With education, the facts speak for themselves.

      1. Me three. When faced with daunting opportunity, I put my own ego aside and try to channel Rod Adams and Ben Heard. I’ve had some modest success, particularly with young folk.

    1. Didn’t Maine have a perfectly good power plant that was allowed to be decommissioned? Too bad think of how much further along Maine would be if MY was still generating emission free electricity.

      1. There’s a narrative for you:

        Forced shutdowns of carbon-free nuclear plants are environmental crimes.

      2. The good news is that there are 64 dry casks there just waiting to be reused in a new reactor.

  6. “With education, the facts speak for themselves.”

    Which is why it makes no sense to alienate a huge body of people by ranting a steady stream of partisan bigotry. Piss ’em off, then educate them? Now there’s a winning strategy, eh?

    Read some of posts here, and ask yourself how you will “educate” a liberal progressive who drops in and receives a dose of loannes kind of “teaching”. And its not just loannes, its a flavor that permeates the comment section here…the left this and the left that, ad nauseum.

    So, how do you win them over? With insult and derision? The ignorance concerning NE, if indeed it is the ignorance you claim it is, crosses party lines out here on planet earth. My conservative friends and acquaintances are no more “educated” about NE than my liberal friends are. And certainly, the conservatives I know are far more sympathetic to fossil fuel usage, and doubtful of human caused global warming, than my liberal friends are. So really, its the whole spectrum of the public that needs “educating”, not just “the left” that is held in such rabid contempt by some here.

    Honestly, if I had read one of loannes , (and others) ignorant bigoted rants against “the left” when I first came here, I probably wouldn’t have come back. Certainly, my willingness to be “taught” in such a hostile environment would have been seriously eroded. It is only because of Rod’s, and others here, kind of careful attention to avoiding categorizing me into some sort of political leper, because of my distrust and questioning attitude towards NE, that I have began to shift my opinion about what our energy future should look like. I still believe renewables will evolve and play an important role. But I now also believe that NE can play a huge role as well, safely. Trust me when I tell you that I didn’t arrive at this conclusion by being subjected to the kind of “education” provided by political bigotry.

    As an aside, on Al Jazeera News, ( Uh oh, can I mention Al Jazeera News here without being accused of being a heathen muslim head chopper terrorist sympathizer and anti-american anti-nuke leftist?) I just saw an interesting tid bit….seems Dutch scientists have invented a durable road surface comprised of glass, asphalt, rubber, and solar cells. Its actually in use as a short experimental bicycle path, and is providing power to three homes. Although not mentioned, it seems ideal for street lighting, and powering traffic lights. They are developing a version that will withstand auto and truck traffic.

    So, why not? Think of the huge surface area our roads and highways comprise.

    Or perhaps we need to make enemies of these Dutch scientists. I mean, golly, they really must be leftist anti nukes, right?

    1. Which is why it makes no sense to alienate a huge body of people by ranting a steady stream of partisan bigotry.

      Most of the anti-nuclear organizations are also rabidly socialist.  I’m afraid that connection cannot be denied.

      how do you win them over? With insult and derision?

      Certainly not by conceding the frame to them at the outset.

      I just saw an interesting tid bit….seems Dutch scientists have invented a durable road surface comprised of glass, asphalt, rubber, and solar cells. Its actually in use as a short experimental bicycle path, and is providing power to three homes.

      I’m having difficulty finding any source which repeats the figures I used, but when this news came out I calculated the cost at something like $8000 per average watt.  I think such things will be self-limiting; governments will run out of money and the public will run out of patience before they go very far.

      perhaps we need to make enemies of these Dutch scientists.

      Perhaps we need to hold them to account for waste of resources, including the time for which they were paid.

      1. @E-P

        Most of the anti-nuclear organizations are also rabidly socialist. I’m afraid that connection cannot be denied.

        While it may appear that way, I had hoped you have read and accepted enough of the ideas I share here to realize that some of the most effective opponents and organizations operating to slow or halt nuclear energy development are rabidly capitalist and worship money more than people. They also celebrate the individual to the point of thinking it is okay for just a few people to accumulate and hoard most of the wealth society produces.

        1. I had hoped you have read and accepted enough of the ideas I share here to realize that some of the most effective opponents and organizations operating to slow or halt nuclear energy development are rabidly capitalist and worship money more than people.

          You could say they worship power over others, and don’t care how they get it.  Mao, Lenin and Stalin accumulated power and wealth but they were hardly capitalists.

          If the socialist front people don’t want to be used by the power-mongers, they can stop taking their money and pushing their agenda.  This would mean a radical decline in their own perks and visibility, but that should be better than being whores, right?

        2. “While it may appear that way, I had hoped you have read and accepted enough of the ideas I share here to realize that some of the most effective opponents and organizations operating to slow or halt nuclear energy development are rabidly capitalist and worship money more than people.”

          Very smooth. And not one iota of implication about what side of the political aisle these opponents and organizations support with huge sums of campaign cash.

          1. @poa

            That is because real opposition to nuclear energy is at least as “bipartisan” as is real support.

            As I have told the rabid conservatives who post here, there were no nuclear plants started during 8 years of Reagan, 4 years of Bush 1 or 8 years of Bush 2. The often mentioned 30 year hiatus of nuclear energy development in the US included administrations and congresses from both sides of the aisle. The often criticized EPA and NRC were both formed during the Nixon Administration.

        3. Many anti-nukes are not honest and should be insulted and ridiculed. For example, the poster El was politely supplied with tons of facts by you and a few others in this group which would have caused any honest person to become less anti-nuke or more pro NE. What was his reaction? He did not even thank anyone for the all that valuable information.

          On another subject, the word “capitalist” is used to mean two completely different things. A crony capitalist uses political power to enrich himself and his friends. A free-market capitalist opposes the use of government to enrich some at the expense of others. He wants the market, not government, to decide. He wants to get the government out of the market. A free market means a market that is free from government control. Many, if not all, wealthy and powerful individuals who call themselves capitalists are, in fact, not capitalists. They are crony capitalists.

          1. He did not even thank anyone for the all that valuable information.

            @Freedom_First

            Your comment is vague and imprecise (and I would would guess would be a significant diversion here and otherwise muddy a thread that is intended to spark excitement for creative innovation in nuclear). I’ll give you my thanks for keeping the insults and diversions to a minimum!

            A free market means a market that is free from government control.

            Government has often played a crucial role in technological innovation and advancement … even more so for industries with very high capital requirements (such as nuclear), and very high investment risks (with high social, institutional, and financial benefits as well). Breakthrough Institute details some of these basic preconditions for energy development and private capital risk taking: “the crucial role that the federal government has always played in technological innovation” (here) and industries that we take for granted today: fracking (horizontal drilling, 3D mapping), “funding demonstration projects (solar modules, nuclear power plants), infrastructure (railroads, the Internet), and military procurement (jet turbines, microchips), cloud computing, and more (here). Argonne, to take another example, did significant new research on basic physics and reactor prototypes, and continues to work on advanced reactor alternatives: “Almost every reactor around the world today is based on research done at Argonne (here).

            I am aware of the significant appeal of libertarian talking points, but to advance the development of new reactors and fuel cycles (and leveraging of significant risks and rewards of doing so), to say little of an adequate appraisal of past history (and the role of government in technology innovation and private capital risk taking in the past), I have my doubts. If history is a guide, government will continue to have a role to play here. A “market that is free from government control” is likely to be one that will be very risky for private nuclear entrepreneurs (and I would guess would lead to many alternatives continuing to have a competitive advantage against it). It would also present significant barriers to entry to smaller companies wishing to participate in this design space (particularly against larger and foreign competitors who already, and will continue to get, a fair bit of development and market support for doing so).

          2. @Freedom_First

            My experience with “capitalists” is that they worship money (capital) over all else. They generally think that all ownership in a corporation rests in the hands of absentee stockholders and none in the hands of the creative, hard-working employees who turn raw materials or mere ideas into finished products. They do not value the contributions of a supportive community that enables the corporation to flourish.

            I am a free marketer, but I care more about humans than about money. Perhaps part of the reason that I don’t value money very much is that I grew up in a place where some of the people who had the most money were involved in the illicit drug trade or in other forms of organized crime. Money accumulation has never seemed like a worthwhile goal.

            Please, please understand that I value success and prosperity and I have never taken a vow of poverty. I like the freedom supplied by having adequate income to travel, eat well, live in a comfortable home, and drive in comfortable, reliable cars. I like treating my children and grandchildren well. I’m proud of the fact that my two daughters graduated from college with savings accounts, not debt. Most of the credit for that goes to them, but we helped them figure out how to make the dream a reality.

            I’m not a socialist and appreciate accomplishment. I believe that society becomes richer when nearly all people have opportunities, good nutrition — especially when they are young — and access to quality, affordable education and/or vocational training that is available at all stages of life.

            The free market that I like values human creativity, integrity, and sweat equity more than it does cash.

          3. “Your comment is vague and imprecise..”

            In some ways, but my main point was about the dis-honesty of some anti-nuclear activists. For example, I was opposed to NE for many years. Like everyone I know, I believed the “no safe dose” propaganda. After learning more about background radiation and the fact that people who live in areas of high radiation are not less healthy than others, and many other facts, I now know that I had been duped. I was also very concerned about high level, long lived waste. I now know that this “waste” is, in fact, a valuable resource which can be safely managed and burned in fast reactors. I was also very concerned about the contamination of large land areas which would result from melt downs like Chernoble. Now, it looks like the people who chose to stay and live in the evacuation zones are just as healthy as those who evacuated. And, the cleanup workers who were exposed to high doses and dose rates seem to be doing fine. Since I am an honest person, I am now pro NE. It is now clear to me that nuclear is far superior to coal. And, unlike the technologically challanged, I also know that wind and solar cannot supply base load.

            “Government has often played a crucial role in technological innovation and advancement … even more so for industries with very high capital requirements (such as nuclear)…”

            No. Nuclear technology has been held back by government beginning with its appetite for Pu for WMD. You said that you liked the above video. Maybe you missed the part where TAP’s executive stated how government regulation has harmed nuclear technological advances. Government wastes trillions of taxpayer dollars on destructive wars and laws. All the technology that you credit to government, I give the credit to all the individual human beings who worked on and developed that technology. I oppose tax funded programs because taking a person’s money against their will is theft. Therefore, taxes are theft. If thieves use some of their stolen loot to do good things, they are still theives and theft is still wrong. You assume that the trillions of tax dollars spent by government has done more good than would have been done if individuals were allowed to control and spend their own money. Common sense and experience tell me that individuals spend their own money more wisely than they would spend other people’s money. For example, I do not know anyone who would spend their life’s savings in order to kill poor people who live in foreign countries or support foreign dictators who oppress their people. All these crimes are made possible by taxation.

          4. “I am a free marketer, but I care more about humans than about money.”

            Me too. I don’t like the word “capitalism” because, as I tried to explain, it has two meanings that are opposite.

            I hope that you not think that I was accusing you of being a socialist. Even though I am a libertarian purist who views almost everyone as a socialist, I love and respect socialists and all other collectivists just as long as they respect me and do not try to force me to join them. My philosophy is Live and Let Live, and the Golden Rule. I support all peaceful, voluntary associations and oppose all violent, coercive relations. In other words, I am pro love and anti rape.

            “…were involved in the illicit drug trade or in other forms of organized crime…”

            As a defender of basic human rights and a fierce opponent of the drug war and other prohibition wars, I try to educate the public that honest production, consumption, and trade are not illicit according to natural law. Adults who refuse to be told what they may eat, drink, smoke, or otherwise ingest are not criminals anymore than those who refuse to be told what they may read, write, think, or believe. Individuals who exercise their natural rights and refuse to lick the boots of authoritarian, fascist thugs are the good guys.

            PS. I am not accusing you of being a drug prohibitionist.

            1. @Freedom_First

              One more point of clarification: I have always been opposed to the incredibly wasteful and stupid drug laws in the US and the war against ourselves that has been waged for many decades.

              However, that does not make heroes of the people who choose to make it their business to violate the laws to produce and distribute the drugs. That business is essentially a “rent seeking” endeavor that provides incredible, protected profits as long as they are not caught or held responsible. Though it might be difficult to prove, I strongly suspect the bosses are quite happy to use the government’s armaments to restrict competition. That is what keeps prices so elevated and profitable for the participants.

              There were many mobsters in the 30s who hated the ending of Prohibition. Just imagine how devastated enterprises that move “weed” would be if anyone could simply “grow their own.”

              BTW – as a teenager, before accepting an appointment to the US Naval Academy, I inhaled and enjoyed the experience.

          5. In some ways, but my main point was about the dis-honesty of some anti-nuclear activists.

            @Freedom_First

            Your examples of “dishonesty” in your summary comes from 1) high background (ELRNA) radiation areas, 2) long lived waste suitably burned in fast reactors, and 3) Chernobyl not meriting evacuations.

            My quick response: 1) ELRNA areas typically result in mean doses much lower than protective standards for power plant workers and significant adverse health impacts are not expected, 2) fast reactors still produce a waste stream that requires management and storage (storage issues don’t disappear), and 3) Chernobyl happened in 1986 (28 years ago), and contamination levels are significantly reduced and represent a lower health risk today than when communities were first evacuated.

            I don’t see where any of the statements above are a “dishonest” summary or characterization of these issues? If you are looking for me to give you thanks (as you originally indicated), you might want to start with a more accurate and informative statement on these issues. I would appreciate hearing more about waste management issues resolved by TAR and other advanced reactors (associated competitive costs, getting new designs to pilot stage, historical track record on early prototypes, siting and modular construction, geopolitical and regulatory concerns, etc.). That would be a very useful and productive perspective to add to this discussion.

            We clearly disagree on taxes and government role in technology innovation (and I doubt we will find any common ground on these issues as you have summarized your own view).

          6. @El

            “1) high background ELRNA areas typically result in mean doses much lower than protective standards for power plant workers and significant adverse health impacts are not expected,”

            You are playing words such as, “adverse health impacts are not expected”. In other words, Using plain english, those doses are safe contrary to the no-safe-dose theory. I notice that you avoid looking at the good health of the clean-up workers like a vampire who can’t look at a cross. 🙂 Fact: The no-safe-dose theory has been proven false by reality. Fact: You will not admit it. Conclusion: You are not being honest.

            “2) fast reactors still produce a waste stream that requires management and storage (storage issues don’t disappear)..”

            That is a strawman argument. No one ever said that storage issues completely disappear. You completely ignore the humongus difference between storing something for a few hundred years compared to ten’s of thousands of years. Instead of acknowledging this important fact, you play word games. That sounds dis-honest or dis-ingenuous to an average guy like me.

            “3) Chernobyl happened in 1986 (28 years ago), and contamination levels are significantly reduced and represent a lower health risk today than when communities were first evacuated.

            I am shocked. Are you admitting that the anti-NE activists are wrong to say that millions of acres of land have been poisoned for thousands and thousands of years and no one can ever safely live there? By the way, the people who did not evacuate have been living there for all those twenty eight years. Likewise, wildlife, including top-of-the-chain predators such as wolves, appear to be as healthy as ever. More facts that you ignore.

            “I would appreciate hearing more about waste management issues resolved by TAR…”

            You are ignoring the main facts that fast neutrons can and do a lot to manage high level waste. You ignore the important fact that spent fuel is a resource.

            “…and other advanced reactors (associated competitive costs, getting new designs to pilot stage …”

            This sounds dis-ingenuous to me because the anti-NE activists have prevented the building of advanced and experimental reactors. None are being built because the people who want to build them cannot get government permission. Your people have erected so many barriers that it costs millions and millions of dollars to wade through all the red tape. It costs more to get permission than it costs to build the reactor!

          7. You are playing words …

            @Freedom_First

            1) You left out a key word in my quote … “significant.” You can’t really understand my statement without it (as is clearly indicated by your comment).

            2) I see you agree with me that waste management and storage issues don’t disappear with new reactor fuel cycles. Thank you for the clarification.

            3) I consider any areas or hot spots in Chernobyl exclusion zone resulting in an excess received dose of 20 mSv over a year (or 100 mSv over a lifetime) to involve statistically significant elevated health risks. IAEA agrees that such generic criteria merit evacuation in such cases (here). Likewise, 1 – 5 mSv over a year is a level of contamination that constitutes, among other things, a public nuisance (and may also merit early protective actions, remediation, and monitoring in Chernobyl and elsewhere when resulting from nuclear accidents … preventable or otherwise). This is also consistent with criteria established by IAEA.

            You appear to have some other vague or personal basis for understanding these issues (and I understand that). But it doesn’t mean your personal beliefs are likely to become informative to decision making on these issues anytime soon, or that others are being dishonest for not adhering to your own idiosyncratic, unconventional, and unsubstantiated outlook. If you think you can convince others of your views, I appreciate you for trying. But the world doesn’t work on purely selfish motives, and experts and international organizations (including IAEA) have examined these issues and do not share your view.

            And since you started this discussion and are extending it, do you still think a diatribe against anti-nuclear views (especially when mischaracterizing them) adds to the excitement about nuclear technology innovation and development (or takes away from it). Personally, I think it takes away from it, but you clearly think you have more work to do?

            1. #EL

              I consider any areas or hot spots in Chernobyl exclusion zone resulting in an excess received dose of 20 mSv over a year (or 100 mSv over a lifetime) to involve statistically significant elevated health risks.

              How do you feel about the areas and hot spots in areas with elevated levels of natural radiation?

              As you noted, the people who live in those areas generally receive far lower annual doses that some expect, mainly because they do not spend all of their time in close proximity to the hot spots.

              The same effect is true in places like Fukushima or Chernobyl evacuation areas. Survey techniques can sometimes result in maps recording only the highest levels; they do not represent general area doses. When people wearing dosimetry are monitored, researchers often find that their doses are several times less than predicted. Example – http://rpd.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/06/29/rpd.ncu201.abstract says measured doses were about 30% of predicted doses using documented survey results.

          8. The same effect is true in places like Fukushima or Chernobyl evacuation areas.

            @Rod Adams

            Indeed … survey techniques are highly variable, which is why IAEA recommends using 100 mSv as a generic criteria, and a more specific follow-up and careful documentation of exposure levels (internal and external) for justification of long-term protective actions such as relocation, remediation, food and water restrictions, travel, land use restrictions, medical examinations, consultation, treatment, etc. I don’t disagree with this. Moreover, because of this variability, an effective dose of less than 100 mSv “does not mean it is safe” … a variety of exposure pathways and organ doses need to be more fully and comprehensively considered.

            I agree with the IAEA assessment of these issues … it is “deceptive” or a “lie” to suggest as much (as Freedom_First seems to think it is)?

            Background doses and contamination from industrial accidents are comparable but different at the same time. Protective efforts may be needed in both instances, and I don’t think it should be allowable for a company to accidentally contaminate private land merely because somewhere in the world (Iran for example) there are a few households close to a hot spring where background doses exceed generic criteria for public safety. The majority of residents in such areas are not exposed to such high levels (where statistically significant health impacts are routinely observed). Historical settlement patterns play a role here too (regardless of radiation health risks). This is not the case in the most heavily contaminated areas of Chernobyl or Fukushima, were hotspots are more extensive, and local populations would be exposed to radiation from a variety of exposure pathways (not just those related to external exposures and that may be localizable). Where effects are localizable, it appears remediation, day use, visitation from tourists, or partial re-settlement have become the standard. This all seems to be consistently reviewed, assessed, and applied to me. I am guessing you see it differently.

            You seem to be getting farther and farther off track. Is this thread about a revival “in nuclear energy technology,” or is it about IAEA standards to “Protect the public in an Emergency due to Severe Conditions at a Light Water Reactor” (which are used to inform protective actions, remediation efforts, and seek to minimize danger to life and property in Chernobyl and Fukushima).

            1. @EL

              Thanks for trying to keep the moderator “on topic.”

              My excuse, however, is that not only do I own this forum, but I am also convinced that excitement about nuclear technology will be vastly enabled by exposing the fact that radiation fears are built on a foundation of fraudulent “science.”

              You say you agree with the IAEA assessments and imply that means you are not being deceptive. I assert that the IAEA methods and resulting recommendations are fundamentally based on deceptive, purposeful lies regarding the health effects of low doses of radiation.

              https://atomicinsights.com/muller-and-linear-no-threshold/
              https://atomicinsights.com/selfish-motives-for-lnt-assumption-by-geneticists-on-nas-bear-i/
              https://atomicinsights.com/shaping-public-perceptions-radiation-risk/

              Radiation protection specialists who begin their work through indoctrination in the training courses that take the initial deceptions as a given truth have searched for years to find examples that support their “no safe dose” assumptions, while tending to ignore or disbelieve the larger set of examples that falsifies their dogma they have been carefully taught.

              A major part of the deception was enabled by the inability — at the time — for anyone to measure or detect the inherent biological repair mechanisms that evolution has provided to long-lived mammals like homo sapiens — as opposed to short-lived Drosophila. That lack of measuring capability allowed the geneticists to make their assertion that there was “no safe dose” from a genetic standpoint without serious challenge. Many other types of specialists could not agree based on their own observations of overall system response in subjects like mice and beagle dogs, but they could not effectively challenge the assertion that there were undetected mutations that would someday cause an unpredictable harm.

              Modern biological methods enable scientists to detect the repair mechanisms, measure their effectiveness, and provide clear, understandable explanations for why the response of complex, well-evolved biological systems does not match a simplified “target theory” model of radiation damage and the resulting “no safe dose” model. (Perhaps that is one reason why someone directed the Department of Energy to zero out its expenditures for the Low Dose Radiation program. The growing library of experimental results were getting way too close for comfort in exposing an extremely important, world-changing truth.)

              Radiation doses below about 100 mSv do not result in permanent harm to human beings. They are well repaired within a short period of time, meaning no more than a few days. The tolerance dose limit of 2 mSv/day (more properly, 2 mGy/day) that were established in 1934 after nearly four decades worth of professional experience with using radiation, includes adequate safety factors to protect humans from permanent harm. There is no need for any “lifetime” limits or careful record keeping as long as those daily tolerance doses are observed. Repair is complete enough so that damage is undetectable and cannot be separated from the normal effects of oxidation resulting from ordinary metabolism.

              Knowing that will enable nuclear energy growth to rival that of microprocessors or LCD’s.

              So, do I think you are being dishonest? If you continue to repeat your dogma as if I had never brought this information to your attention, yes. I do not believe that most radiation protection professionals are dishonest, either. Most of them simply have never heard what Calabrese, Cuttler, Pollycove, Feinendegen, Luckey, Rockwell, and dozens of others have found and tried to share, but without the PR resources provided to Muller and his boys by the Rockefeller Foundation and their allies at the New York Times and the halls of government.

              If you are honest and open-minded, and you understand human nature as well as you claim to, you will take a break from this discussion forum and do some more homework. I’d be happy to provide additional sources and answer additional questions off-line. You know how to get in touch.

          9. Radiation doses below about 100 mSv do not result in permanent harm to human beings. They are well repaired within a short period of time, meaning no more than a few days.

            @Rod Adams

            World changing truth and global conspiracies against nuclear power. This is sounding pretty irrational Rod (especially when equating IAEA and most public health, medical, and radiation protection professionals with fraudulent science, lying, and propaganda campaigns focused on obscuring the truth and indoctrination).

            You have no evidence for a majority of your claims above. No evidence of a globally coordinated conspiracy against nuclear power (and plenty of evidence to the contrary … nuclear being supported by governments and elites). And no evidence that rigorous and independent methods in science, peer review, and funding have been subverted by ulterior motives (and plenty of evidence to the contrary … many of the fine studies you reference originating from the same shoddy and compromised scientific institutions and locations you so easily malign and dismiss). Your world is a strange one Rod where evidence that runs counter to your claims are thrown out and evidence that supports your claims are either hidden or don’t exist.

            Nobody “debates” the existence of uncertainties or repair mechanism in the low does range (below 100 mSv). If your argument rests on pointing this out, it rests on a rather obvious, taken for granted, and widely accepted statement of fact. What is of relevance is how to resolve conflicting results in a well documented uncertain low dose range, better understanding the balance of repair processes and bystander effects to damage, how to extrapolate prospective lab based or non-human studies to human studies (not an easy task), assessing the variability of risk profiles for different demographic groups and populations, and what is an appropriate measure of caution or prudence to adequately account for public safety in this uncertain dose range where public exposures are increasing and some studies suggest risk is underestimated (via linear dose assumptions) and others suggest it is overestimated. You seem to seriously confuse the ordinary science on this matter (what is known, what is prospective, what merits further study) with public interest guidelines that are scientifically informed and provide a workable and prudent public safety framework despite all of the real world, social, and institutional conditions you highlight (namely how to apply such standards in an imperfect and competitive world as you describe and where vested and powerful interests are warring with each other, engaged in marketing, and are not always telling the truth).

            The tolerance dose limit of 2 mSv (more properly, 2 mGy) that established in 1934 after nearly four decades worth of professional experience with using radiation, includes adequate safety factors to protect humans from permanent harm.

            I see now … when you believe that all modern radiation standards are a myth (anything less than 730 mSv/year), any legitimate effort to carefully and independently document such risks at low levels is seen as suspect (and an indication of ulterior motives) in your view. I really don’t see why this is the case Rod, especially when most (if not all) of the available scientific and carefully reviewed evidence suggests the contrary.

            The bar isn’t going to move much Rod. The sooner your realize this (and get to back to level ground) the better off you will be in advancing your interests (and better informing people about the real and tangible benefits, technology innovations, and “so called” world transforming potential of nuclear power).

            1. @EL

              I am not suggesting a widespread conspiracy. I am pointing to a small, relatively easily identified group of funders and geneticists.

              They provided the fraudulent foundation that enough people took as “settled science” and truth to enable it to become a well-marketed and established myth that was not significantly questioned for many years. That myth was cleverly selected as something that would be mysterious, hard to detect, and framed as something that might hurt progeny sometime in the distant future.

              Every attempt to do real science that might provide more certain answers that I can find was defunded before being completed or published. Some of those decisions were simply the result of impatience because finding answers in this field requires extremely long lead times. Some of those decisions were more purposeful and made by people who are part of the world wide antinuclear movement whose existence you deny. (That is actually kind of funny since many of the people involved brag about the successes of their movement.)

              Whether we are talking about mouse studies, beagle dog studies, radium in humans, shipyard workers, or Low Dose Radiation, there is a pattern that would be familiar to those who have read and understood “Merchants of Doubt,” “Propaganda,” or “How to lie with statistics.”

              Feel free to disagree and do whatever you can to deny the truth that irrational fear of low doses of radiation is the result of a purposeful, planned, bit of propaganda created in order to protect the wealth and power of one of the world’s most established and fundamental industries from a potent competitor with almost unlimited potential for technological improvements.

              However, spread your misinformation somewhere else.

            2. @EL

              You have no evidence for a majority of your claims above.

              I have plenty of evidence for my claims regarding the health effects of low level radiation, including the lack of harm for doses below 2 mGy/day indefinitely.

              Please review the Dec 19 comment posted on PLOS One titled Is Radiation Risk Assessed Properly? and note the list of references.

              I know that link is dated today, but I have been corresponding with the authors for quite some time on this topic so perhaps I’ve taken a little bit of advantage over someone like you who is limited to referencing obsolete sources.

              I’m not a radiation health specialist, but I am a trained radiation worker and I have many contacts and sources who are trained experts. They specialize in research on the topic, including the history of how we have arrived at a situation where there is such a large gap between accepted perceptions and reality.

          10. “I see you agree with me that waste management and storage issues don’t disappear..”

            And, they don’t disappear for wind, solar, oil, gas, or coal.

            “Likewise, 1 – 5 mSv over a year is a level of contamination that constitutes, among other things, a public nuisance (and may also merit early protective actions, remediation, and monitoring…”

            The background radiation in Denver is 12.4 mSv per year.

            “And since you started this discussion and are extending it, do you still think a diatribe against anti-nuclear views (especially when mischaracterizing them)..”

            Pot Kettle Black. 🙂 I made one post and then responded to your responses. Therefore, you extended as much as me. Diatribe is not what I would call my my well-reasoned posts. Accusing me of “mischaracterizing” anti-nuclear views without providing a specific quote is vague, certainly not a well-reasoned argument.

            “You appear to have some other vague or personal basis for understanding these issues..”

            I gave an honest account of how and why I went from being anti-NE to pro NE. Unless you are a professional shill, maybe you will provide some personal history of how you became so rabidly anti-NE and continue to be so even after being inundated on this site with tons of pro NE facts. As you probably know, a number of anti-NE activists have abandoned the sinking unreliable energy ship because the case for NE is overwhelming and they are honest. Maybe you see yourself as a responsible captain with a duty to go down with the ship. 🙂

          11. What is of relevance is”…how to resolve conflicting results in a well documented uncertain low dose range..”

            I was wondering the same thing. Is getting out of bed in the morning ten million times more risky than the risk from low dose radiation or one hundred million times more risky? We need these answers in order to ensure “public safety”.

            “…assessing the variability of risk profiles for different demographic groups and populations, and what is an appropriate measure of caution or prudence to adequately account for public safety in this uncertain dose range”

            El — You are making a fool out of yourself.

          12. @El
            “This is not the case in the most heavily contaminated areas of Chernobyl or Fukushima, were hotspots are more extensive, and local populations would be exposed to radiation from a variety of exposure pathways (not just those related to external exposures and that may be localizable). Where effects are localizable, it appears remediation, day use, visitation from tourists, or partial re-settlement have become the standard. ”

            Never let the anti nukes forget that their views are responsible for the radiophobia that led to the evacuation at Fukushima. 1600 people in Fukushima prefecture died from the earthquake and tsunami. No one died from radiation. No one is expected to die from radiation. 1600 people died as a result of the evacuation to protect them from radiation. The anti nuke, LNT advocates are responsible for the death of these people.

          13. I am pointing to a small … group of funders and geneticists.

            @Rod Adams

            That makes little sense. A small group, among them one of the most active promoters of nuclear power in it’s early days (Lewis Strauss, personal friend and banker to the Rockefellers), and regular and ordinary science is stopped in it’s tracks and a global conspiracy is born. That sounds awfully irrational and farfetched to me. Isn’t it just a bit easier to believe that there’s a little something to this science stuff, and that everyone hasn’t been blindly pushing paper and conjuring peer reviewed research for the last 68 years?

            The background radiation in Denver is 12.4 mSv per year.

            @Freedom_First

            It looks to be around 122 mrem (1.22 mSv) according to ANS (here). “Moving to Denver results in an annual radiation dose increase of 78 mrem.”

            Therefore, you extended as much as me. Diatribe is not what I would call my my well-reasoned posts.

            Let’s go over it again! You specifically mentioned me and dishonest liars in radiation protection (apparently including IAEA and most of the world’s science professionals on this score). I consistently said you are incorrect, and that this topic is a distraction and does little to advance the topic of the lead article (“excitement about revival in nuclear technology development”). With many of your claims sounding farfetched and even a bit paranoid to me, you still seem incapable of letting it go. With much of the world believing in something entirely different than what you are claiming, it is starting to sound a little bit like an obsession if you don’t mind my saying? And now there are four new posts to my one.

            …note the list of references.

            @Rod Adams

            I did. When measured against the extensive list of specialists, physicians, diverse industry professionals and stakeholders involved with WHO, IAEA, EPA, ICRP, NAS, BEIR, and more … I’m not particularly impressed. Even more so when they repeat the same debunked and unsupported claims as you have provided above. There are opponents for everything (as I have said many times before). There appear to even be opponents of fundamental science perspectives on genetics, microbiology, and radiation health risks (of all possible things). This isn’t a strange occurrence to me but a rather normal one. I understand that they (and you) think radiation protection guidelines are overly protective. They are free to state their case and make their best argument (and may even be encouraged to do so for the sake of a fuller discussion and a greater diversity of perspectives). But to claim everyone else is on the take and a conspiracy of silence, dishonesty, and lying pertains to the matter (that routine scientific discourse is crooked and fraudulent), they aren’t doing themselves any favors (and are exposing their hand with a troubling tendency towards the irrational). I don’t see where any particular note needs to be made about it, except to refute it from time to time with better information and more rigorous and independently reviewed science when it comes up.

            1. @EL

              I’ll give you one more chance. Point to a single experimental study that shows there is sustained damage to genetic material that harms a living mammal at doses somewhere close to 2 mGy/day.

              My story does not require the kind of unbelievable conspiracy that you are accusing me of creating. All it takes is for an influential person to impose his will on an influential committee by insisting that his experiments “proved” that the “target theory” and its resulting “no safe dose” were correct. If that committee took him at his word because he was “one of them” and apparently did the work, no one else has to be involved. The committee declared the truth as something that is extremely difficult to disprove experimentally. It takes a lot of courage and persistence to devote one’s life to performing the painstaking research required to disprove the generally accepted model, so there are a vast array of papers that essentially say that their results are “consistent” with the linear no-threshold dose model, even though at low doses almost everyone admits that almost any model can be made to fit the sparse and scattered data.

              The Rockefeller Foundation funded the NAS BEAR studies through 1962. Under the EPA, two senior GS’s named Nelson have been responsible for the funding line that covers the US contribution to the Life Span Studies. It is simple for people who hold the purse strings to ensure that those who agree continue working and those who challenge don’t win the grants.

              The good news is that many skilled scientists with a questioning attitude have recognized that the emperors are not wearing any clothes here. It’s time to stop fearing radiation and to stop treating it like technologies that take advantage of its incredible capabilities are some kind of ultra-hazardous activity. It was not correct and not experimentally supportable for Muller to assert that he had proof that all doses of radiation were bad from a genetics point of view.

              I’ll remind readers that you are simply an interested observer with no hard science background. Your anonymous voice is not credible in these matters.

              One more thing – the “no safe dose” model was not designed to stop nuclear energy in its tracks. (If it was, it was a dismal failure.) It was cleverly designed to help justify a continued dominance of the technology development process by the US government and the specific agency that Lewis Strauss served as Chairman. It was also designed to keep people concerned enough about the potential hazard to work hard to keep the technology in the hands of very large corporations instead of letting entrepreneurial tinkers play with the material in their garage to come up with unpredictable and uncontrollable applications that would disrupt the established enterprises.

              Strauss did not promote or even fully agree with Eisenhower’s inspirational vision of Atoms for Peace. If he had, he would not have been so interested in continuing to support nuclear weapons development and testing. He would not have worked so hard to put investor owned utilities into the position of deploying technology that was not fully tested and doing so without government subsidies with the exception of some backstopping insurance if something went really wrong.

          14. @El
            “2) fast reactors still produce a waste stream that requires management and storage (storage issues don’t disappear), “
            “2) I see you agree with me that waste management and storage issues don’t disappear with new reactor fuel cycles. Thank you for the clarification. “

            Yes, you are correct; the storage issues do not disappear, they are just irrelevant.

            Let’s compare the current LWR fuel cycle with the Sodium Fast Reactor (SFR) with pyroprocessing represented by the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) and General Electric’s PRISM designs.

            For the LWR, every year 200 tons of uranium is mined. This U is enriched to 3.5% yielding 25 tons of enriched U and 175 tons of depleted U. The 25 tons of enriched U is placed in a LWR for 1 year and the result is 1GWe and 25 tons of Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF). The 25 tons of SNF is considered waste despite the fact that 24 tons could be reused in a fast neutron reactor. This process is repeated each year. The 25 tons of SNF return to background radiation levels in about 3000 years; however the radiophobes have been able to convince a US judge to declare that this waste must be quarantined for either 100,000 or 1,000,000 years.

            For the SFR, in year 1, 200 tons of U is mined. The U is enriched to 15-20% yielding 5 tons of enriched U and 195 tons of depleted U. The five tons of enriched U is placed in the SFR for 1 year generating 1 GWe of electricity. The 5 tons of used fuel is recycled to remove 1 ton of fission products. 1 ton of depleted U is added to the remaining 4 tons of recycled fuel and returned to the reactor for another year. The 1 ton of fission products will return to background radiation levels in about 300 years.

            In summary over a period of 200 years,
            both the LWR and SFR fuel cycles will produce 200 GWe of electricity.
            the LWR will require mining 40,000 tons U vs 205 tons for the SFR
            the LWR produces 35,000 tons of depleted U, the SFR 0
            the LWR produces 5,000 tons of waste that must be stored for 3000 or 1,000,000 years
            the SFR produces 200 tons of waste that must be stored for 300 years.
            For comparison, a 1 GWe coal plant produces 230,000 tons of coal ash per year.

            So El, you are correct “storage issues dont disappear”, they are just totally irrelevant. Instead of storing 5,000 tons for 3,000 to 1,000,000 years, we have to store 200 tons for 300 years.

            To put this in perspective, since 1990 France has produced 80% of its electricity using the equivalent of 63 x 1GWe LWRs; 24 years of waste from 63 LWRs is stored under the floor of a building the size of a basketball court. By the way, you can walk on the floor.

            And if your fragile psyche is unable to contemplate storing 200 tons of fission products for 300 years, we can mix it with glass, encase it in ceramics, encase that in steel, drop it thru 5 miles of ocean, and have it penetrate 50 feet into a mud flat on the bottom of the ocean. So if after 10,000 years, a few atoms manage to escape from the glass, ceramic, and steel encasing, they will have to make their way upward through 50 feet mud, against the force of gravity, to become diluted in an ocean 5 miles deep and 7000 miles wide. In case you are unaware, the ocean is already radioactive and a couple of more radioactive atoms will not make any difference.

            And if you are really, really, really paranoid, we can drop it into a tectonic plate subduction zone where it will be slowly sucked into the inner core of the Earth, never to be heard from again.

            So yes, your comment is true, disingenuous, deceptive and misleading.

          15. “It looks to be around 122 mrem (1.22 mSv) according to ANS (here). “Moving to Denver results in an annual radiation dose increase of 78 mrem.””

            They left out radon at 10.4 mSv

            isis-online.org/risk/tab7

            Source Annual Effective Dose Equivalent (mSv/yr)(1)
            Natural
            Radon 10.4
            Cosmic 0.50
            Terrestrial 0.46
            Internal 0.39
            sub-total 11.8
            Medical
            a) x-ray diagnosis 0.39
            b) Nuclear medicine 0.14
            Consumer products 0.1
            sub-total 0.6

            TOTAL 12.4

            “With many of your claims sounding farfetched and even a bit paranoid to me…”

            More vague, stupid accusations without providing one example with a direct quote.

            “you still seem incapable of letting it go.”

            Look into a mirror, hypocrite. I am answering YOUR accusations.

            “With much of the world believing in something entirely different than what you are claiming..”

            Science is not determined by majority rule. Science has proved that the no-safe-dose theory is nonsense. You have been provided many facts that prove your theory false.

          16. Point to a single experimental study that shows there is sustained damage to genetic material that harms a living mammal at doses somewhere close to 2 mGy/day.

            @Rod Adams

            Let’s be very clear what you are claiming Rod. You are claiming no sustained damage and no health impacts for chronic radiation doses at a level of 730 mSv/year, 1.46 Sv over 2 years, 2.19 Sv over three years, etc. (well above the criteria for cumulative dose assessment suggested by most radiation protection bodies and the most up to date risk assessment methodologies).

            Since we have clear evidence of sustained damage and health impacts at much lower chronic doses than this, I’m pretty confident saying you are incorrect (and that nearly every available study of a sufficient quality and caliber suggest your claim is unsound and has no merit). If you haven’t found any studies (experimental, case control studies, cohort, cross-sectional, clinical, ecological, etc.) that have documented damage and health impacts at such dose levels, it appears you simply haven’t been looking. It is pretty reckless and ignorant to claim to be so misinformed about these issues.

            http://www.icrp.org/docs/Low-dose_TG_rept_for_web.pdf

            “There is some evidence of increased cancer risk associated with exposures on the order of 10 mGy [10 mSv] which will be discussed in the report, and other evidence placing an upper limit on the value of any universal threshold that might exist. Also, the risk of mortality and morbidity from all solid cancers combined is proportional to radiation dose down to about 100 mGy [100 mSv], below which statistical variation in baseline risk, as well as small and uncontrollable biases, tend to obscure evidence concerning radiation-related risk.”

            http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2235592100

            Study is recipient of funding from US Department of Energy Low-Dose Radiation Research Program (which you appear to favor and recommend):

            ” Little question exists that intermediate and high doses of ionizing radiation, say 100 mSv, given acutely or during a prolonged period, produce deleterious consequences in humans, including, but not exclusively, cancer.”

            “As expected from basic radiobiology, the doses above which statistically significant risks are seen are somewhat higher for protracted exposures than for acute exposures; specifically, good evidence of an increase in some cancer risks is shown for protracted doses <100 mSv, and reasonable evidence for an increase in cancer risk at protracted doses above ~50 mSv."

            We've discussed Olipitz (2012) and Tanaka (2009) on the site before. You seem to wish to entirely discount or ignore this discussion.

            "Significant changes in regression coefficients (b3, b4 and b6) obtained by multiple linear regression analysis, which are the same as a coefficients in the linear regression lines, revealed that dose-rate effects on the incidence of unstable-type aberrations were found at dose rates of 1, 20 and 400 mGy/day" (here).

            Moreover, you seem confused how to interpret and apply animal and in vitro molecular biology studies to human models of genetic risk and damage, cancer incidence (and well known latency effects), mortality, and other physical stresses and health impacts. They are complimentary and not conclusive. Your preference for animal studies (and ruling out everything else) gets us nowhere. Since we can’t experiment directly on humans (in most cases), observational studies remain important, especially where results are contradictory and unexpected (as they are for understanding the complexity of human immune system and biological responses to physical and biological stress). BEIR speaks to this, as do others (here). Closing your eyes and hoping observational studies just go away is not a very thoughtful or rigorous scientific methodology.

            You recently posted an article on NAS BEIR VIII Planning presentations. Did you even bother to examine these resources related to your post? Was something clogging your ears (or obscuring your view) when you attended the meeting. Did you attend the session from Simon Bouffler (he was also involved with US Department of Energy Low-Dose Radiation Research Program)?

            You are retired Rod … and I am not, and have holiday plans starting in the next two days. I am sure you will be able to outlast me on this one, and in subsequent discussions as well, and it seems with very little new information to add (besides the same mantra on general uncertainty and a lack of precision at low doses, which is more than widely acknowledged, a lot of available data ignored or dismissed, and some trumped up charges about how nuclear has it so bad and how everyone is lying and has a vested interest in hiding the truth). I thought focusing on new technology developments and creative innovation in the industry would be one way to get away from this. I really hoped for this. But no such luck. It really does appear to be the cart leading the horse (is there even a horse left to talk about anymore … or is it all baggage and misplaced energy that nuclear proponents have been dragging around with them since the very inception of the industry … a charge from Mount Olympus, so to speak, to toil and suffer under your sisyphean burden as you once put it elsewhere).

            I have to say, Rod. It really is counterproductive to argue basic science and summarize consensus based findings with you. Either you accept there has been an abundance of research over the decades on these questions … or you don’t. If you don’t, I don’t see where we can continue this discussion on a productive or substantive basis?

            1. @EL

              Have a nice holiday.

              I’m quite tired of being lectured to about basic science by a soft science guy who refuses to recognize that it was invalid for the geneticists to stubbornly assert certainty of damage in a dose region several orders of magnitude below any experimental results on reasonable human analogs (not annual plants or short lived insects).

              Observational studies on humans also do not show what you claim they show. There are no studies of any populations receiving chronic doses in the region we are talking about, but there are studies of people who have been exposed to elevated doses and later been tested without finding any evidence of having been exposed.

              There is no proof that repair is not complete when doses are kept below the daily tolerance dose established in 1934 and recommended as the As High As Reasonably Safe dose by Allison, Cuttler, Doss, and a growing number of other specialists.

              I’ve never claimed that “nuclear has it so bad.” I’ve claimed that there are hundreds of billions of dollars in annual profits selling coal, oil and natural gas that would never have existed if low dose radiation was treated as the low risk stressor that it is. Without the “no safe dose” model, there would never have been any basis on which to declare operating a nuclear reactor an ultra-hazardous activity.

              As before, I want to thank you for challenging me and motivating me to find such sources as the Congressional Record of the 1957 hearings held by the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy that stretched over 8 full days and involved 50 experts, with Rockefeller Foundation funded geneticists and molecular biologists (Stern, Lewis, Pauling, Muller) and oil state politicians (Anderson, Holyfield, etc) on one side and essentially everyone else on the other.

              I would not have found out how Muller spent 8 years on the NCRP pushing his “no safe dose” model before joining the NAS BEAR committee to push the same model. I would not have found a paper that detailed the efforts Warren Weaver and the RF expended to get Muller a job at a time when no one wanted him — and not just because he had a spotty political record.

              I would not have read about how the geneticists — despite doing some reasonably painstaking experimental science — were often strongly influenced politically by some of the philosophies of the morally repugnant eugenics movement. The eugenics movement, by the way, also influenced the ZPG movement which was also strangely antinuclear and tightly tied to the Rockefellers.

              It’s probably worth reminding you that I have spent a couple of decades trying to figure out how this nation and the rest of the world could have virtually turned away from the almost magical power source used on the boats I operated. It simply made no sense to me, knowing the details I knew about the technological capabilities compared to the limitations and hazards of using oil, natural gas, or coal.

              After such a long quest, I think I am getting quite close to understanding. Despite the fact that I am sure you are dead wrong, I thank you for helping point me in the right direction for enlightenment.

              As someone once told me – Rockefeller considered his foundation and its focus on finding and funding talented individual scientists to be one of the best investments he ever made. It never hurts to own influential spokesmen.

          17. Instead of storing 5,000 tons for 3,000 to 1,000,000 years, we have to store 200 tons for 300 years.

            @Stephen Duval

            How is 300 years “totally irrelevant,” and a waste stream that involves advanced separation technologies? 300 years is a lot of burden imposed on future generations (and few governments have been shown to be stable, fiscally or otherwise, over the same time period).

            The French don’t have a plan for indefinite interim storage, but deep geologic repositories (they are building one at Bure). In part … because of the “relevance” of these issues, and to “avoid saddling future generations with the radioactive waste we produce on a daily basis” (here).

            If IFR merits the same approach (and may even be a bit more difficult because waste products are more difficult to handle and manage) … how is the waste problem solved by IFR? It’s altered, I agree, but solved (I don’t think so). It sounds like the same problem, but with additional costs and headaches attached to it.

          18. There are no studies of any populations receiving chronic doses in the region we are talking about …

            Muirhead (2009) doesn’t meet that criteria?

            http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.bjc.6604825

            “68% of cohort received cumulative lifetime doses less than 10 mSv, 20.3% less than 50 mSv, 5.7% less than 100 mSv, and 6% greater than 100 mSv.”

            I appreciate the credit for deeper sleuthing and tracking down historical details and these sources (debate and engagement always leads to deeper and more fruitful understanding). And yes, Rockefeller did say his seminal contribution to the University of Chicago and the pure sciences was one of the best investments he ever made, and it’s the U of C that operates and manages Argonne (a foundational design space for reactor development in the US and the world).

            1. @EL

              Muirhead (2009) certainly includes a large number of radiation workers that received prolonged, cumulative exposures. What it does NOT show is any risk to those workers worth worrying about, especially when compared to all of the other risks one accepts as a result of merely living on planet earth.

              What I get from the abstract is that the exposed workers had substantially lower mortality ratios than the general public for both “all causes” and “all malignant neoplasms.” Of course, that reassuring fact is immediately dismissed by reference to the ever useful “healthy worker effect” that “everyone” accepts as unquestionable truth even without quantification. The abstract also describes that results were obtained using some clever statistical manipulations. The data provide “statistically significant” evidence of a trend of increasing risk with increasing dose that is “similar to those for Japanese A-bomb survivors” as long as the selection criteria is “with 90% confidence intervals that excluded both risks more than 2–3 times greater than the A-bomb values and no raised risk.”

              I’m not a statistical specialist, but I took statistics as part of my systems technology graduate degree and earned the highest grades in the class. Unlike most of the engineers in the class, however, I’ve also studied rhetoric and semantics along with marketing. I learned the importance of carefully selecting convincing statistics as part of my OJT as a requirements officer charged with justifying multibillion dollar budget requests. (I did not earn such high “grades” in that employment from certain admirals who asked me to do even better than the numbers would support.)

              There are plenty of Atomic Insights readers who can do a better job than I of explaining what it means when a study needs to choose a 90% confidence interval and can only achieve that unusually relaxed criteria by excluding “outliers” at both ends of the spectrum. In this case, the researchers threw out all evidence of “no risk” and did not even consider the possibility of less than zero risk. Though they easily and casually refer to the “healthy worker effect” to dismiss favorable mortality ratios, the researcher apparently cannot even conceive that properly evaluated data could be showing a healthy radiation dose effect.

              And yes, Rockefeller did say his seminal contribution to the University of Chicago and the pure sciences was one of the best investments he ever made, and it’s the U of C that operates and manages Argonne (a foundational design space for reactor development in the US and the world).

              There are some interesting aspected to Argonne’s history of innovative reactor design work. First of all, the Lab did not try very hard to attract the best and brightest power reactor designers in the world. In fact, the lab directors were not terribly happy that the AEC gave them the pedestrian engineering work assignment. They were far more excited about Big Science projects — what you might call “pure science” — that would enable them to be leaders in the science of high energy physics.

              Weinberg and his engineering-focused team at Oak Ridge were far more interested in reactor design innovations and experimentation. They wanted to make atomic energy serve mankind through both isotope production and low cost, clean, reliable power production equipment.

              However, Strauss and his politically-appointed colleagues at the AEC continually sought to focus all of their resources on the reluctant scientists at Argonne. I’m not dismissing the fact that Argonne did some good work, but their leadership’s focus was NOT on engineering and reactor design work.

              Thorium advocates often misplace the blame for the funding constraints for molten salt and high temperature gas reactor development; a large part of the reason was that the inventions were being developed outside of the control of Argonne and the administrators at the University of Chicago.

              From a technology development point of view, Argonne was a poor choice for the power reactor design “center of excellence” since it was too close to a major metropolitan area to allow designers to be close to their experiments. The solution of setting up Argonne West in the Idaho desert and depending on tenuous travel infrastructure was not optimal, especially compared to the situation at Oak Ridge. There, the population density was low enough to enable the design engineers to be directly involved in the construction and operation of their inventions. Wienberg attracted a superior engineering team, even though some of the citified scientists at Argonne thought of Oak Ridge as being a backwater without the sophisticated pleasures they expected.

              SL-1, the only reactor in the US that ever killed any of its operators with radiation exposure was a victim of having the plant and the headquarters for the responsible designers separated by more than 1500 miles with rather poor transportation and communications links to cover that gap.

              Bottom line – I believe that the University of Chicago/AEC/Argonne reactor development program was a pretty good example of the old mafia advice “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

          19. “How is 300 years “totally irrelevant,”…300 years is a lot of burden imposed on future generations…”

            There is no burden. There are private, man-made homes and buildings that are more than 300 years old which could easily contain all that waste. Any concrete cover can easily last 300 years without any maintenance. You seem not to have any common sense.

            You are convinced that tiny doses of one or two mSv are dangerous to human heath just because you read it somewhere while you completely ignore what you can see with your own eyes such as all the people who have been exposed to more than one hundred times that amount and are as healthy as anyone else. There are hundreds of real life examples and facts that dis-prove LNT but you cling to it like a drowning man grasping for a straw.

          20. @Rod Adams

            You’re comments aren’t relevant to observational studies not showing a health impact at the dose levels indicated. Healthy worker effect is a selection bias (that many consider confounding), not an indication that the study is not rigorous or doesn’t have adequate controls. As I said above, it seems counterproductive to argue basic science with you (since basic science is often at odds with some of your comments).

            “After the war, Fermi moved the laboratory west of Chicago, where it was renamed Argonne National Laboratory and charged with building nuclear reactors for peaceful energy generation. Almost every reactor around the world today is based on research done at Argonne …” (here). If you wish to discount that Rockefeller support or entities (indirect or otherwise), had anything to do with this, that is your call. But you’d be discounting a great deal of actual history doing so (and a fairly good story about the success and achievements of atomic age and nuclear reactor development along with it).

            1. @EL

              It is not terribly productive for you and I to argue about science when neither one of us is a scientist. However, I am a rational decision maker; your view of a “risk” and mine are completely different.

              BTW – With regard to the “healthy worker effect” your study simply referred to it and made no attempt to quantify it. It also did not attempt to use a different kind of control group and instead resorted to attempting internal comparisons that were then rendered less statistically powerful because of the small number of samples of individual rare illnesses. We’ve discussed the study that was perhaps best designed to eliminate HWE — the nuclear shipyard worker study that compared workers with similar occupations and exposure to industrial materials. The only difference between the study group and the control group was that the study group had occupational exposure while the control group did not. There was no evidence of elevated risk.

              I did not say Argonne did not design reactors. I said that they were selected by the AEC to be the primary reactor designers even though their leadership was not interested in the task and even though there were other labs with better facilities and more focused engineers. In other words, we would be even better off if Argonne had not been assigned as the lead reactor design lab.

              As I said, the mafia motto “Keep your friends close and your enemies (or rivals) closer” applies in this case. The Strauss-led AEC’s decision to assign Argonne to be the lead reactor design lab and constricting the design efforts at Oak Ridge slowed the development of civilian applications of atomic energy; it did not speed them up.

          21. However, I am a rational decision maker; your view of a “risk” and mine are completely different.

            @Rod Adams

            We aren’t talking about qualitative assessments of risk or comparative standards in radiation protection (and whether they are overly protective or not). We are talking about whether there are measurable health impacts in observational (experimental studies too) from chronic doses below 730 mSv/year, 1.46 Sv over 2 years, 2.9 Sv over three years, etc. These are objective and empirical claims (not subjective ones). They are testable, and we can consult the available scientific literature to answer them.

            You say there are none, and I say there are (and it’s a majority of them, if not nearly all of them). For something as straightforward as this, its strange to me that we have to spill so much ink over it. And this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t ask new questions of research, be skeptical of results, and always refine our methods. We should. I don’t see any evidence that this isn’t taking place, the forthcoming BEIR VIII planning sessions are a good example.

            The Strauss-led AEC’s decision to assign Argonne to be the lead reactor design lab and constricting the design efforts at Oak Ridge slowed the development of civilian applications of atomic energy; it did not speed them up.

            Ah ha … so were back to Strauss being a machiavellian evil and secretly harboring ulterior motives for an industry he did so much to help bring into existence. It was really fossil fuels that set his heart on fire and was his secret unrequited love.

            You are convinced that tiny doses of one or two mSv are dangerous to human heath …

            @Freedom_First

            Who said a single dose of 2 mSv (acute or over a prolonged period) resulted in any measurable health risks? You might want to check your glasses prescription, you’re seeing things that don’t exist.

            If your solution is to store nuclear waste (especially from a fast reactor) in a basement for 300 years “without any maintenance.” Good luck with that one, maybe even the “friends of” nuclear power (to use Rod’s Mafia quip) are more akin to enemies.

            1. @EL

              We aren’t talking about qualitative assessments of risk or comparative standards in radiation protection (and whether they are overly protective or not). We are talking about whether there are measurable health impacts in observational (experimental studies too) from chronic doses below 730 mSv/year, 1.46 Sv over 2 years, 2.9 Sv over three years, etc. These are objective and empirical claims (not subjective ones). They are testable, and we can consult the available scientific literature to answer them.

              Perhaps we are simply speaking a different language. I am claiming that there is only extremely weak statistical support for claiming that doses of radiation below 2 mSv/day harm people enough to worry so much about them that government imposes real harm by forcing people to leave their homes to avoid those doses. The faults I pointed out in your most recently referenced study included a non-standard confidence interval and throwing out all data showing no harm while completely discrediting any evidence that supported health benefits.

              I am also stating that the 1956 NAS BEAR 1 committee, the ICRP and the NCRP had no evidence at all at the time they made the very certain assertion that all radiation was bad and should be avoided if at all possible. A report using data of effects through 2001 cannot be used to contradict that statement.

              And yes, I am very concerned about the fact that excessive focus on limiting radiation doses that are already so low that they do not harm people with any higher probability than an occasional breath full of diesel exhaust has done the world a great deal of harm. We should have reduced fossil fuel use starting in 1973, not continued increasing it. We should have developed an amazingly durable and productive power system rather than getting distracted by trying to eek out a little bit of power from the inherently weak, variable and uncontrollable energy flows from the sun and wind.

              Here is a statement by Lauriston Taylor made during testimony to the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy in mid 1957:

              “…there is no tangible evidence that I know of, of anybody working under these limits, the 1947 limits, or the new limits, who have been harmed by the radiation levels they were exposed to. In other words, I know of no causative relationship between damage that might develop in an individual, and the radiation to which we were exposed at any of these levels we have been talking about; in fact, even under some of the less conservative levels prior to 1935.”

              Taylor reiterated and updated that statement in 1980 “No one has been identifiably injured by radiation while working within the first numerical standards set by the ICRP in 1934 (safe dose limit: 0.2 rad per day).”

              It was really fossil fuels that set his heart on fire and was his secret unrequited love.

              Strauss was not in love with fossil fuels. Like many wealthy and powerful people he was motivated to protect the status quo and to slow the introduction of potentially disruptive technology. His love of wealth and power was certainly not “secret unrequited love.” He made a lot of money during his career, held a number of influential government posts and died a rich man.

              You continually underestimate the foundational importance of the fossil fuel industry to our industrial economy and their unsavory record of efforts to dominate markets and eliminate or co-opt their competition.

          22. The faults I pointed out in your most recently referenced study included a non-standard confidence interval and throwing out all data showing no harm while completely discrediting any evidence that supported health benefits.

            @Rod Adams

            It’s not a “non-standard” confidence interval for doses this small. It’s simply an acknowledgement that “statistical and other variation in baseline risk tends to be the dominant source of error” and highlights uncertainty due to a relatively weak signal-to-noise ratio (summarized from ICRP). Points you have made (and are acknowledged and fully documented by the study authors). This paper is looking at very low occupational doses (on order of 10 mSv over an occupational history). As Muirhead reports, “Relative to NRRW-2, the 90% CI for the ERR per Sv based on mortality (incidence) data is about 30% (40%) narrower.” It’s likely these results will improve with subsequent follow-up, and as the cohort ages.

            These aren’t faults of the study (as you claim them to be). I’m not aware of the study throwing out data showing no harm or discrediting evidence of health benefits. If there are statistical correlations showing health benefits, I have doubts you will find them on a credible basis through a sampling bias that favors healthy controls over the general population (which is not as healthy).

            I agree that this is a study related to very low occupational doses (and doesn’t contribute much to revising or amending general radio protection criteria or standards). 68% of sample received occupational doses of less than 10 mSv. For a fuller list of studies contributing to these questions (well below your 730 mSv/year benchmark), ICRP is a good place to turn (starting on p. 34).

            1. @EL

              I’m not aware of the study throwing out data showing no harm or discrediting evidence of health benefits.

              Perhaps you and I interpret the following statement from the abstract differently.

              Estimates of the trend in risk with dose were similar to those for the Japanese A-bomb survivors, with 90% confidence intervals that excluded both risks more than 2–3 times greater than the A-bomb values and no raised risk.

              When an author states that they “exclude” certain data points, I translate that as “”throwing out data.” The fact that the sentence does not even mention the possibility that some risks might be evaluated as negative — which means that there is actually a positive benefit — is the basis for my statement that they discredit (ignore) evidence of health benefits.

              When a “correlation-is-causation-statistician” (aka an epidemiologist) has to choose a 90% confidence interval — which means there is a pretty strong probability that random variation is as much an explanation as any evaluated “cause” — and exclude data that would defeat the influence they have been hired to prove exists, the evidence is so weak as to be useless.

              Acknowledging the weakness of an argument does not make that argument any stronger, especially when it is impossible to quantify within a few orders of magnitude what the magnitude of the weakness is.

              Feel free to keep working hard to discredit my statements by implying that I am spinning “conspiracy theories” out of thin air. Go ahead and ignore the world wide, well publicized effort to slow or halt nuclear energy development. Ignore the enormous financial stakes involved in energy industry dominance and the huge political power implications in the notion that there is a cheap, clean, abundant fuel source that has superior performance and safety characteristics to the currently dominant choices in many applications including electrical power production, large ship propulsion, district heating, industrial process heat, and distributed power generation in remote areas.

              Darn it, there is plenty of means, motive, opportunity, propaganda skill base, and non-circumstantial evidence linking coal, oil and gas interests (including banks, government officials, foundation grant makers, hired researchers, prize committees etc.) to an effort aimed at maintaining the status quo by discrediting the competition.

              The image I want people to keep in mind is that of Gulliver tied down by thousands of tiny strings by the Lilliputians. Those strings really are not capable of holding him down without his cooperation and ill-advised self restraint motivated by a desire not to harm the obnoxious, self-important, fearful little pipsqueaks.

          23. “Who said a single dose of 2 mSv (acute or over a prolonged period) resulted in any measurable health risks?”

            Nice try at mis-direction but I did not use the word “measurable”. And, as usual, you avoid the main issue by focusing on minor details and word play. Your basic premise is the no-safe-dose theory. One or two mSv is a dose. Therefore, according to your premise and the above fact, one or two mSv is not safe. Is that clear enough?

            “Likewise, 1 – 5 mSv over a year is a level of contamination that constitutes, among other things, a public nuisance (and may also merit early protective actions, remediation, and monitoring in Chernobyl and elsewhere..”

            “I consider any areas or hot spots in Chernobyl exclusion zone resulting in an excess received dose of 20 mSv over a year (or 100 mSv over a lifetime) to involve statistically significant elevated health risks.”

            Of course, You ignore all the cleanup workers who recieved doses over 100 mSv in a much shorter period of time and are just as healthy as ever.

            Regarding your hysteria about storing spent fuel:

            “If your solution is to store nuclear waste (especially from a fast reactor) in a basement for 300 years “without any maintenance.” Good luck with that one..”

            I live in the northeast and would love to store a hot rock in my basement in order to heat my home. It would be a valuable resource, not a burden. There is no maintenance for a shielded rock of used fuel. You have a serious case of radiopohbia

            Will you be honest and take some personal responsibility for the 1600 evacuation deaths at Fuku who were killed by your radiophobia considering the fact that those who did not evacuate are doing fine?

            Regarding all the health hazards created by wind and solar such as the mining of rare earth metals, why don’t you ever mention them if “public safety” is your main concern?

            By the way, that 200 tons of spent fuel that was left after producing 200 GWe of electricity, assuming a specific gravity of three, is only 80 cubic yards which is nothing compared the the mountains of spent wind mills that would be needed to produce that much electric energy. And there are the mountains of coal ash needed to do the heavy lifting while your wind and solar are producing nothing which is most of the time.

      2. Most of the anti-nuclear organizations are also rabidly socialist. I’m afraid that connection cannot be denied.

        I’m not an organisation, just an individual, but I’m very pro-nuclear and a european leftie. A rabid socialist in the eyes of some people here, I guess.

        I don’t see any contradiction. Socialism and anti-nuclearism aren’t joined at the hip. Even if it looks like that sometimes.

    2. Thanks for the recognition, POA. Your pseudonym says it all. I have worked in nuclear power for 30+ years. How long have you worked in the field? I am sick and tired of seeing Democrats like Barbara Boxer, Henry Waxman, Andy Cuomo, his father Mario who shutdown Shoreham, Ed Markey, RFK Jr., Bernie Sanders (oh, I forgot – he is a socialist), and all the rest emasculate the nuclear power industry. Democrats did that, not Republicans (and yes, I hold Republican hypocrisy in contempt as well).
      .
      True conservatives want a free market, not nanny govt socialism. Level the regulatory playing field, stop funding any source of energy (e.g., wind and solar) with tax money, tell all the energy producers that they are no longer allowed to dump their refuse into the environment, and then let the free market work. Untie the hands of Leslie Dewar and Jose Reyes.
      .
      As for Leslie Dewar’s idea or Jose Reyes’ or any of the others, they all have merit. Let the free market work to decide which one comes out on top. Personally, I think it is a dirty rotten shame that the NRC can’t come up with common sense regulations for Ms. Dewar’s or Kirk Sorensen’s advanced design ideas, that the NRC is stuck in light water technology.
      .
      But as for Third Way, while its pro-nuclear stance is to be applauded, a review of its web site reveals that it supports things in health care and social issues that are against the Catechism of the Catholic Church, so obviously being Catholic I cannot nor will I support that organization. They market themselves as centrist but they are anything but centrist. Denigrate me all you want, but there is no compromising, no dialogue to be had with regard to such issues. Indeed, nuclear power cannot save the world. Only God can do that. But nuclear power, once man repents, can do a whole lot to benefit mankind (and for 30+ years I have worked for that), but no amount of nuclear power failing that repentance will help mankind one iota. Man must change from the inside. He must stop being selfish and self-centered, Edging God Out – EGO. Indeed, can a people who reject moral principle be trusted with the power of the atom?The atheist Soviet Union didn’t do so well in that regard (i.e., Chernobyl).

      1. Just to help anyone out who is reading these posts, here is a link to the third way.

        http://www.thirdway.org/

        “I have worked in nuclear power for 30+ years. How long have you worked in the field?”

        Is this a litmus test as to whether posts have merit? I think it is a rather poor one.

        Politics is the art of compromise. POA is absolutely right in that a narrow minded rigid stance will not convince people of the merits of nuke plants. It doesn’t work for much else either. Good listening is a valuable talent.

      2. “But as for Third Way, while its pro-nuclear stance is to be applauded, a review of its web site reveals that it supports things in health care and social issues that are against the Catechism of the Catholic Church, so obviously being Catholic I cannot nor will I support that organization”

        What, they don’t believe in molesting children? Hey, if all Muslims are head chopping savages, all liberals are anti-nuke sinners, than it must follow that all Catholics are child molesters, eh? I’m catching on to your logic, loannes. Proud of me?

        1. @ poa

          “…makes no sense to alienate a huge body of people by ranting…”
          or
          “Piss ‘em off, then educate them? Now there’s a winning strategy, eh?”
          or
          “…receives a dose of loannes kind of “teaching”. And its not just loannes, its a flavor that permeates the comment section here…”
          or
          “So, how do you win them over? With insult and derision?”
          or
          “Honestly, if I had read one of loannes , (and others) ignorant bigoted rants against…”
          or
          “Uh oh, can I mention Al Jazeera News here without being accused of being a heathen muslim head chopper terrorist sympathizer and anti-american anti-nuke leftist?”
          or
          “…than it must follow that all Catholics are child molesters, eh? I’m catching on to your logic, loannes.”

          poa, while I can appreciate the truth in advertising regarding your moniker, it would be great if you took your own advice regarding alienating people; at least it would lower the temperature HERE.

      3. @ Ioannes December 13, 2014 at 7:57 PM
        “Personally, I think it is a dirty rotten shame that the NRC can’t come up with common sense regulations for Ms. Dewar’s or Kirk Sorensen’s advanced design ideas, that the NRC is stuck in light water technology.”

        An interesting observation, and NRC regulations are certainly “stuck” in LWR tech. But are you sure under the current structure it is the NRC’s job to “come up” with anything? Remember the NRC structure was split, DOE has development (promotion), NRC has pure regulation. The current NRC structure has no personnel or budget for writing new regulations for advanced designs (current “new reactors” people shuffle paper & sit in meetings with prospective new design developers). Should DOE develop the new regs? Then folks start screaming government “subsidies” and the developers should pay their own way in a free market.
        Would you believe the “industry” and NRC have already decided that they won’t go the way of “new regulation” for some advanced designs? This is the biggest problem NuScale currently faces. Their design is so advanced compared to the current LWR regs that a lot of them don’t even apply, but it is already agreed the process will proceed via reg exemption requests to current regs when NuScale finally submits a design for certification.
        Why was this route chosen? Pretty obvious… new regs require public hearings. And everyone involved knows where that will go. Consider the framework TAP must work with, they don’t even have a starting point reg framework to work with.
        The whole thing is a classic dysfunctional catch 22 almost by intent.

        1. @mjd

          I was with you until the very last line. If you had left out one work, we would have been in complete agreement.

          The whole thing is a classic dysfunctional catch 22 almost by intent.

          1. I probably should elaborate on the “catch 22” statement for folks not following some of the advance design/licensing development like NuScale is facing. I’ve been following this one because I like their design proposal and would like to see it succeed. BTW, anyone can go to the NRC web site and get on the meeting distribution list, for agendas, minutes, etc.
            But to speak to the regulation problem specifically, if you’ve followed reg history as long as I have, you will see regs have become very specific to specific designs. Even to the point that engineering can be regulated, rather than engineering goals. So NuScale is struggling with an advanced design, with no regs to design to (other than LWR regs), and NRC is saying we can’t make specific regs until we see your design (NuScale has to submit a design for certification). Right there is the catch 22.
            So what is currently occurring is constant meetings with NuScale trying to explain design specifics (without really having any), and plans (proposals) for complying with or asking for exemptions from, current LWR regs. The NRC response is basically “wait & see”, when you submit for certification, then we will have something we can officially comment on.
            I have seen countless meeting schedules & agendas. A 3-day meeting, 20 NRC attendees, 8 hrs/day equals 480 NRC man-hours billed at the hourly rate (assuming the NRC doesn’t bill the 1 hr lunch & 2-15 min coffee breaks). Those easily add up to over $100K/meeting. And NuScale gets a “we’ll have to wait and see.”
            A specific problem area example NuScale faces under current LWR regs is the annual fee/reactor paid by a licensee for NRC services. If NuScale’s 12-unit design is treated as 12 reactors, then a buyer of 2 of NuScale’s total unit packages, for a total of 1200 Mw, will be paying more fees than Exelon pays for 22 current units. The whole process has to be extremely frustrating (and expensive), for all advanced designers. The NRC is just not set up to deal with it. Something has to give, or these advanced designs will never make it past the talk phase. .

    3. @poa

      Just for a moment, please review your own attitudes and debating style. Do you think it is effective to waltz in and piss off a major segment of Americans, some of whom have the skills and experience required to enable a wide and appropriately rapid deployment of the most effective power source available?

      While it is useful to hold up mirrors to allow people to watch themselves and recognize weaknesses, it is also worthwhile to do it in such a way that they modify their behavior and don’t just get mad.

      Also, please stop condemning Atomic Insights based on the fact that you disagree with some of the individual who contribute to the comment threads. I attempt to keep the discussion civil — and often fail — but I don’t try to eliminate any particular points of view, even if I strongly disagree with part of the arguments made.

      With respect to Al Jazeera, I caution you to consider the source, not because of any religious or ethnic bias, but because the country that owns that particular outlet is one of the world’s largest suppliers of liquified natural gas. It has strong economic motives for sensationalizing any negative information it can find about nuclear energy and for promoting all non-nuclear alternatives to fossil fuel.

      As I have tried to explain here, power sources that are not reliable, not energy dense, and not capable of supplying industrial processes or transportation needs are not going to make any real inroads in our dependence on fossil fuels. They are not a threat to the wealth and power of the hydrocarbon establishment; they are a distraction meant to appeal to those who remain so nervous about nuclear energy that they consider it to be a last resort to use only after all else has failed.

      1. “With respect to Al Jazeera, I caution you to consider the source, not because of any religious or ethnic bias, but because the country that owns that particular outlet is one of the world’s largest suppliers of liquified natural gas. It has strong economic motives for sensationalizing any negative information it can find about nuclear energy and for promoting all non-nuclear alternatives to fossil fuel.”

        I’m well aware of Al Jazeera’s national origin. I find much about Saudi Arabia to be loathsome. But I avail myself of myriad of media sources. RT, AJ, Fox, MSNBC, PBS, CNN, Ma’an, Haaretz, ……on and on. Chinese, Russian, British, Arab, Israeli….as well as our various military and miltary related news organizations, such as Defense News. I brought up AJ only because of the article, not because I credit them with anymore credibility than I do other sources.

        So, just because AJ ran a piece on energy producing road surfaces does not mean they did so out of any anti-nuke bias, nor is it fair to call the motives of the scientists as being shaped by a pro-fossil fuel conspiracy. This is one of the things that amazes me here, is this disdain for energy innovation when it involves so-called renewables. EP decries a fledgling innovation as if it will never advance beyond experimentation. He may be right, he may be wrong. But with that attitude, man would still be wondering why rocks roll downhill, instead of riding on wheels.

        As far as civility is concerned, I give what I get. And if you expect me to quietly succumb to the insult of being called an anti-semite by an admitted bigot who claims that the majority of this planet’s Muslims are radicalized savages, than perhaps you have a different idea of when civility is deserved or earned. And point of fact, I find this constant harangue against liberals to be ignorant, and insulting. People simply to not fit into these neat little niches that partisan ignorance demands we place them in.

        1. @poa

          I’m well aware of Al Jazeera’s national origin. I find much about Saudi Arabia to be loathsome.

          If you were so well informed about Al Jazeera’s national origin, you would talk about Qatar (http://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/sep/30/al-jazeera-independence-questioned-qatar), not Saudi Arabia in that context. Having worked for a very short time with Saudis and studied quite a bit about their history, I agree with your statement, but they are not the owners of Al Jazeera.

          With regard to AJ’s position regarding nuclear, I am not making that judgement based on running a piece about solar energy. I have made that judgement based on their coverage of Fukushima and their frequent invites to Arnie Gundersen to give his opinions masquerading as fact. I have not made a full study, but I have run into enough of those to be quite jaundiced about their coverage of this particular issue. (On the other hand, they do a pretty fair job compared to other outlets on some topics.)

          Civility is not defined by “giving as good as you get.” It is defined by good behavior despite that of others. The golden rule applies to civility.

          1. Rod….

            Thanks for the correction. Don’t know where I picked it up, but I really was under the impression that AJ was a Saudi news source.

        2. just because AJ ran a piece on energy producing road surfaces does not mean they did so out of any anti-nuke bias

          It’s diversion.  “Look, you can generate electricity from roads!” with the implied subtext “… so who needs nuclear?”  At $8000 or even $80 per average watt there is absolutely no risk to Qatar’s LNG market, whereas a restart of Japan’s nukes would almost certainly put Qatar in a world of hurt.

          one of the things that amazes me here, is this disdain for energy innovation when it involves so-called renewables.

          Because none of these innovations address the daily, weekly and seasonal variations in RE availability and the counter-cyclical variation of solar in particular for meeting needs in the bulk of the industrialized world.  Making electricity effectively free on a summer afternoon does nothing for me on a bitter cold winter night.  The Levelized Avoided Cost of Energy (LACE) of RE is non-zero but a lot smaller the LCOE used to tout it.

          EP decries a fledgling innovation as if it will never advance beyond experimentation.

          Did it ever occur to you that making a PV system rugged enough to be driven on is inherently difficult and costly, and it might be superior to e.g. use the PV as part of a roof over the roadway to shade it in summer and keep snow and rain off it?  Given that, why on earth would you try to make a driving/riding surface out of glass?

          If you look at this as a diversion, it all makes sense.

          1. So, EP, is it your contention that the scientists working on this project are simply acting out a charade, as a diversion, seeking to damage the possibility that NE might just cut in to Qatar’s profit margin? Man, now that’s a conspiracy, by golly!!! And heck, they even got Al Jazeera to participate!

            And CNN…and ABC…and Smithsonian news….and WallStreet Daily….and CBS…and….oooooh noooo Mr bill…..FOX NEWS!!!!

          2. is it your contention that the scientists working on this project are simply acting out a charade

            It is my contention that the scientists managed to get a grant approved.  The types of grant that get approved are probably slanted toward things that do little or no good, by the people in control of the process.

            The people in control of grants may be true Green believers, or cynical tools of the fossil industry.  Either way, what they’ll go for is things that look “renewable” and “democratic” (things that are “localized”) and thus ineffective.

            Al Jazeera writes an article about it because AJ’s ownership loves such diversions and wants them to spread world-wide.  The more effort wasted on ineffective measures, the more they’ll make selling LNG.

            You pick it up from AJ and bring it here as some revelation because you’re half-numerate at best.

          3. @Engineer-Poet : Probably no country on earth earned as much money from Fukushima than Quatar. They are a LNG super-power, lacking the pipeline that other gas producer can use to export a major part of their production, and the aftermath of Fukushima rised the price of the product by 50%, which is pure profit over the cost not really of extracting the gas, but of liquefying and transporting it.

          4. “Al Jazeera writes an article about it because AJ’s ownership loves such diversions and wants them to spread world-wide.  The more effort wasted on ineffective measures, the more they’ll make selling LNG”

            And Fox? What’s their motive EP?? CNN? ABC? All these media outlets are simply running the story as an effort to contribute to this global conspiracy, this epic effort of diversion? All manufactured in the sinister minds of the gas peddlin’ Qatarites? Egads.

            1. @poa

              I hope you recognize that you are spending so much effort belittling that you have neglected to take a step back to think about what some of us are trying to say about unreliables.

              They have been popular and heavily marketed since I was in elementary school even though the basic physics of solar and wind power have been known for millennia. However, countless generations of numerate scientists and engineers generally abandoned attempts to capture those natural energy flows as soon as they found something that was more controllable and compact. Burning wood was one of the first improvements on passive solar and wind engineering. Coal did even better; petroleum was another step forward.

              If you study the history of “renewables” as marketed since the late 1960s, you will find a lot of involvement on the part of companies that were actually in the business of selling oil and natural gas. I believe the only logical explanation is that unreliables are a distraction from the only alternatives to fossil fuels that has proven the capability to take substantial market share. Nuclear fission and large scale hydro (in favorable geographic locations) are the bane of the “renewable” industry.

              BTW, if you don’t believe that the word “renewable” is just a well chosen brand, review this public utterance by the head of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).

              https://atomicinsights.com/is-nuclear-renewable-michael-eckhart-president-of-american-council-on-renewable-energy-says-no/

          5. @POA

            The solar road thing is a horrible idea. It is such a bad idea that it makes you wonder why they are even talking about it let alone building it. Beyond the outrageous costs per watt there are fundamental realities about photovoltaic cells that this idea seems to ignore. Solar cells behaving a bit like batteries. With both solar cells and batteries imbalances between cells is a problem. With say AA batteries, if you have an imbalance between the cells caused by mixing batteries with different chemistries and/or mixing fresh and new batteries together, then you increase the likelihood battery leakage and reduce device run time. If you have imbalances between solar cells cause by shading of some cells while other remain in full sunlight (i.e. partial shading) it can lead to something called hot spot heating.

            http://pveducation.org/pvcdrom/modules/hot-spot-heating

            As the name implies hot spot heating results in local overheating, or “hot-spots”, which in turn leads to destructive effects, such as cell or glass cracking, melting of solder or degradation of the solar cell. This can lead to module failure, but At the very least the modules with the hot spots tended to lose output (i.e. don’t produce as much juice as the years go by) faster.

            Think about how many possible ways partial shading can happen when your solar panels are being used as a path. Things like dirt, gum and leaves all have the potential to create imbalances leading to hot spots, and possible damage (not to mention power quality issues). Having the solar panels above the path makes so much more sense. You just have to wonder why. Why would someone knowledgeable about solar panels choose to do this? My guess would be, because a solar road is much more impressive to people who aren’t knowledgeable about solar panels.

            1. @Evan

              Things like dirt, gum and leaves all have the potential to create imbalances leading to hot spots, and possible damage (not to mention power quality issues).

              What about the traffic on the path? Moving shadows seems like an inherent imbalance.

          6. And Fox? What’s their motive EP??

            Saudi ownership interest.

            CNN? ABC?

            Standard left/Green sympathies and antipathies (to nuclear).

          7. @Rod Adams

            I’m not sure how long the imbalance has to exist before damage is done. My guess would be that traffic would cause excess thermal stress on the modules causing them to degrade somewhat faster than they would otherwise. At the very least I would think it would result in some pretty terrible power quality.

          8. I’ve been doing some more reading, and I’ve found that some solar panels have bypass diodes that help protect them from hot spots. Should have done some more reading before posting. Sorry about that.

    4. == “How you will “educate” a liberal progressive” ==

      By telling the truth, even if that means exposing a lie coming from your own side. Fortunately, the pro- nuclear power side can’t afford to tell lies; so they don’t. I can limit myself to exposing lies coming from the other sides: the ‘price is right’ fossil fuel advocates, and ‘price is a myth’ RE camp.

      You can’t win over many hard-core RE advocates. Many are almost religiously opposed to nuclear power. Their real arguments are often hidden:
      * that nuclear power is ‘centralized’,
      * that it’s ‘Big Energy’,
      * that economic growth is evil because the planet can’t sustain more resource depletion.
      * that energy saving is the most important thing we should all concentrate on.
      * …

      Do you really think I should try to humor them, by agreeing that energy saving is more important than plentiful energy production? I don’t think so. Best to use them as a sounding board to win over the neutrals.

      In contrast, today, ‘price is right’ fossil fuel advocates simply argue on price. They are much easier to counter because one doesn’t need to debunk encyclopedic sized tomes of green/RE fallacies.

    5. Thinking some more about this road thing. If you want to be pulling wires beneath the road surface perhaps some other uses of those wires may be appropriate. I don’t think these are any more “pie in the sky” than the Al Jazeera Dutch idea.

      1) Many accidents occur every Winter due to icy conditions on roads. If there was truly cheap energy, the wires beneath the roadway could be used to melt the ice. This would take a great many BTUs but it would also mean safer roads, less maintenance and greater longevity of the roads.

      2) Some clever guy out there will know how to drive a car using electromagnetic induction to power an electric motor. By reducing the battery size on the car and / or the fuel tank, the car may be built lighter giving greater efficiency.

      Another half numerate idea, anyway.

      1. There are at least two schemes for power-through-the-road, including a clever capacitive scheme using the steel belts of the tires for coupling.

        I think that any PTTR system capable of transmitting more than a few kW per vehicle would be valuable.  In major cities, traffic is often slow enough that this would supply the complete needs of a vehicle with only a small battery required for buffering.  On the highway, just extending the range of an EV or un-loading the combustion engine would make them considerably more useful and/or save liquid fuel.

        1. Sure, a couple of kilowatts is a couple of horsepower. If you are sitting in stop and go traffic, I think you’d actually be getting a net charge. I see no problems with some sort of “third rail” on some roads then you’d only have cable / brush losses. Taken the savings that could be achieved in effective vehicle weight and emissions over thousands of cars should make the most dour green devil smile. Lighter cars may mean less potholes as well. If AC is used, this could be done at 400 cycles / sec like airplanes and boats to save even more weight. Some digital addressing scheme with a superimposed signal riding on top of the thing could be used for billing the energy.

          1. Yes, the hardware cost, re-paving and maintenance cost, and losses would run to a pretty penny.  I just held it up as a possibility, because with a dense enough user base it could still pay.

            Siemens has demoed highway vehicles drawing power from overhead wires using automated pantographs.

            I’m in favor of the Blade Runner dual-mode scheme instead.  Putting heavy trucks (and other large vehicles, such as motor homes) on electrified rails gets rid of the problems of pavement damage, guidance and liquid fuels all at once.

            1. @E-P

              I’m in favor of the Blade Runner dual-mode scheme instead. Putting heavy trucks (and other large vehicles, such as motor homes) on electrified rails gets rid of the problems of pavement damage, guidance and liquid fuels all at once.

              Have you ever visited Boston, MA? Their trackless trolley’s have been in operation since the mid 1930s. I was impressed by the parts of the system where the buses were dual-mode – diesel and electric – in order to reduce fuel consumption and emissions in places where there were wires, but also to enable the same machine to serve areas where there were no wires.

              The trains running through Lynchburg (and throughout the country) use containerization to enable “multi-modal” transportation, a modern form of putting the payload part of heavy trucks onto the rails.

          2. @EP : “Putting heavy trucks on electrified rails”
            In simpler words, move most transportation to trains … Said this way it’s easier to see why it’s really hard.

          3. @ Rod Adams
            Anymore you could prolly get away with just adding a relatively small battery. Good for a few blocks or a mile or so, enough to get you around detours, traffic accidents, etc. Still flexible, but save on the diesel.

          4. Rod writes:

            Have you ever visited Boston, MA? Their trackless trolley’s have been in operation since the mid 1930s.

            I visited once, a very long time ago.  Never saw the downtown.  OTOH I’ve seen a great many electrified buses, including in Chicago and Vancouver BC.  The concept is the same.  They still use tire-on-pavement, which wears much quicker than rail and offers no current return path.

            The trains running through Lynchburg (and throughout the country) use containerization to enable “multi-modal” transportation

            If you drive the road from about Clovis to Roswell, you’ll parallel a major rail line most of the way and probably see a half-dozen container trains during the trip.  There’s also trailer-on-rail, which further reduces the time and effort to get cargo off the rails and to its final destination as well as eliminating truck wear-and-tear on freeways.  But that’s not where I think the big improvements lie.

            jmdesp dis-interprets:

            In simpler words, move most transportation to trains … Said this way it’s easier to see why it’s really hard.

            No.  Keep the rails, eliminate the trains.  Independent vehicles using rail as the equivalent of a dedicated freight freeway lane eliminate all the overhead of transferring cargo on and off rail cars and the time required to assemble and re-build trains from them.  They can travel in closely-packed groups like trains, but they can exit at will at grade crossings or special termini and continue by roadway.  They could even travel autonomously on the rail network and pick up drivers for the road legs.  Today’s technology is up to follow-me and track-switching in zones where rails are flush with pavement; magnetic sensing has been sufficient to position vehicles above rails for years now.

            Moving freight off the freeways has a multitude of salutory effects, including a radical cut in pavement damage and many fewer car-semi collisions.  Replacing the diesel-powered road truck with a dual-mode truck taking most of its power from an overhead wire or flush third rail also slashes noise and criteria emissions.

            1. @E-P

              Moving freight off the freeways has a multitude of salutory effects, including a radical cut in pavement damage and many fewer car-semi collisions. Replacing the diesel-powered road truck with a dual-mode truck taking most of its power from an overhead wire or flush third rail also slashes noise and criteria emissions.

              You may be right, but I’m under the impression that truck traffic on highways pays more than their fair share of the cost of construction and maintenance. In most states, total taxes on diesel fuel are higher than those on gasoline. The national average is 10% higher on diesel than on gasoline. http://www.api.org/~/media/files/statistics/statemotorfuel-onepagers-oct-2014.pdf

              (Since I’ve been driving a diesel car since 2001, I’ve paid attention. Not only are diesel taxes higher, but diesel fuel prices and profits are higher for the petroleum companies. I can explain; that might be a good subject for a front page post.)

              The car-semi collision topic is another important aspect of the discussion, but I’d have to do some research to find out if it is any worse on freeways than on more local roads.

              Your suggestion is intriguing, but there are numerous complexities worth lots of discussion, particularly with regard to the infrastructure investments required to make it reality.

          5. I’m under the impression that truck traffic on highways pays more than their fair share of the cost of construction and maintenance.

            Pavement damage scales as something like the 4th power of vehicle weight.  Highway engineers don’t even bother to count light vehicles when calculating pavement life; they simply don’t make enough difference to matter.  They matter for congestion only.

            The national average is 10% higher on diesel than on gasoline.

            As you can see from the above, if tax was scaled by damage done the difference would be far higher than it is (at least for heavy vehicles).  In Michgan, heavy vehicles used to get a discount and may still.  Such is the power of lobbies.

            (Since I’ve been driving a diesel car since 2001, I’ve paid attention….)

            I drove one 2004-2012 and loved it, but several years ago I noted that the direct-injection gasoline engine was getting toward diesel territory in thermal efficiency and the cost differential looked to favor gasoline for the next few product cycles.  So far I’ve been right.  My Fusion Energi gets mileage about as good as my Passat TDI did at the same speed (when it burns fuel at all), and the fuel is now between a quarter and a third cheaper per gallon.

            Getting back to heavy trucks, their sight-blocking bulk and slow acceleration makes them troublesome in traffic.  Removing them to rail gets rid of that problem too.  If under-used above-grade rail spurs could also get heavy trucks in and out of cities like Chicago, the traffic situation could be much improved.

            There’s plenty of room to put new heavy rail in zones like freeway medians, and as I keep noting, rail is cheap and easy enough that it can be built and re-built with hand tools.  If we’re looking for a cheap way to improve the situation on our roads, it’s something we should have jumped on yesterday.

      2. EP

        This is a great suggestion. We would not need locomotives in the current configuration, simply rails that a truck could drive onto and use drop down rail wheels to roll over with. Propulsion could be electric or from the truck’s engine through the drop down rails. This would improve traffic and reduce road costs. Drivers on a long haul could rest while on the rails, and the speed of the trucks could even be increased, especially if using some electronic routing guiding systems.

        If these were electrified, Nuclear supplied electricity would make the whole system 24/7 reliable.

        Have you looked at the Hyperloop? I think the real advantage of that system is if they enable passenger cars to load and move. Most mass-transit fails because consumers have to leave their personal vehicles behind. The problem of getting around once you reach the major city is compounded. Having your own vehicle be mass transited means freedom, and speed.

  7. The video is well made — except for the part that tells viewers that current generation reactors are “like a car with the accelerator permanently stuck on full throttle.”
    What a slap in the face of all the engineers who have designed & built shutdown systems for various types of reactors in the west, and which have worked with 100% reliability, even in earthquakes much stronger than the plants were designed for. Ugh !

    1. That’s the kind of talk that can fracture the nuclear industry. I don’t think that advanced reactor designers are opposed to LWR technology, it seems most appreciate the necessity of LWRs to get us tow the next generation of nuclear. But when things like that get said it is disappointing. Plus, are they saying their reactor doesn’t have decay heat? They still do and now they are spreading it all around their plant in different tanks. And those dump tanks are an easy way to get out of a critical configuration into a more coolable geometry, but like Jaro says, we haven’t had reactivity control issues in the past in LWRs.

    2. You’re right; Brookings wanted to emphasize the safety benefits of advanced reactors, but I wish they hadn’t done it at the expense of LWRs. I’m unhappy with that part of the video. Mark and I gave them a few alternatives to the car analogy to describe passive safety — I’m talking with them now to convince them to change it to one of the alternatives.

      1. That said, I loved the majority of the video, especially the opening section. They did a beautiful job producing it. I think that when/if they change the car analogy, it’ll be a great way to explain the benefits of nuclear (both advanced reactors and LWRs) to a broad audience.

      2. I find it fascinating that you’re reading and commenting here.

        The back story of Transatomic Power reminds me of the time I had some tedious software testing to do, but I’d scripted all of it so I turned it loose and had nothing to do until it was done.  I spent some of that time in the library at the autmotive company I was working for.  It really is true:  with a couple of months in the laboratory, you can save yourself a few hours in the library.

        You’re also making me wish I’d accepted the offer from MIT instead of going to Michigan.

    3. @ Jaro,

      The accelerator comment is about the lack of ability to load follow. I think the authors are simply mistaken about the ability of a LWR to load follow, I understand that the plants at TMI were designed by B&W to load follow but that they were required to disable that ability. This is NOT about the safety of the plant, but about flexibility in the market.

      On the other hand, an MRS can load follow using internal physics rather than mechanical changes, which allows a rock solid grid regardless of the unreliable sources tossed into the mix.

  8. Does anyone know or have a link to the chemistry of Transatomic’s lithium salt. Is the fuel processing similar to flouride reactors? I’m wondering if the longer-lived fission products can be ‘left to brew’ in the reactor until they become shorter lived? Or perhaps separated out and bombarded separately, perhaps by fast reactors?

    1. Transatomic‘s white paper covers most of this. Mark and Leslie’s insight (some might say genius) was to replace traditional (in the sense any MSR can be called “traditional”) graphite moderator with a carefully configured ZrH structure that moderates sufficiently in core regions near the moderator structure to obtain efficient U235 and Pu239 fission (and U233 in other applications) while maintaining sufficient epithermal neutrons outside the moderator region to breed more Pu239. There are sufficient fast neutrons in both regions to fission the higher transuranics faster than they are formed, so Transatomic’s is indeed a waste-burning design.

      Daughter-product transmutation is a separate can of worms. One feature of liquid-fuel MSR reactors is continuous separation and removal of daughter products from the fuel stream, which is a Very Good Thing. But it does leave daughter product disposal as a separate issue. There has been a lot of research into “Partitioning and Transmutation” – just google it. The MSR efficiently separates the daughter products — many of them neutron poisons — from the actinide fuel metals, which enables a very high burn-up and highly concentrated waste stream. Both are highly desirable, but the waste disposal still remains.

      Most would say “just sequester it for a few centuries until it goes away.” Others would say transmute as much as possible. But you can’t transmute all of it, there will always be at least some residual radioactive Caesium. Its mostly an issue of policy and education. Compared with the magnitude of the climate and energy problems, safely storing a few tons of Caesium and Strontium for 300 or 500 years isn’t even in the noise. But you can ask Leslie just how much noise it generates anyway.

    2. There’s a discussion thread here devoted to the TAP reactor. The question you ask is disputed. In the forum Joe ChemNuke gives ambiguous answers. In her video presentation, Solve for X video, Leslie Dewan said that:
      “We also have more neutrons in the faster spectrum for breaking down the longer-lived portions of the atomic waste”

      Read the white paper too and get their patent app. pdf from these links:
      * TAP White paper
      * TAP patent application US20130083878A1

      1. I don’t want to give ambiguous answers, so let’s discuss. I think this is a good discussion to have. The point I was making was that thermal reactors are limited in what they can do with actinide management. You need fast neutrons to destroy the higher actinides. These papers by folks at Argonne and INL provide good info on why this is the case: http://meetingsandconferences.com/physor2012/Workshops/9.SFR-physics.pdf and http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1101/ML110120261.pdf.

        But thermal reactors will destroy some of the Pu-239 and Pu-241 because they are good fissile fuels. The problems arise with the other plutonium isotopes, and the higher actinides like americium and curium. Also, the fast neutrons in a thermal reactor do not contribute much because the thermal neutrons are what drive the reactor. If you look at the TAP spectrum in Fig. 8 on page 13, you see there are fast neutrons in the reactor, but this spectrum looks a lot like what you would see in an LWR thanks to the hydrogen. These spectral features are common among thermal reactors, especially hydrogen moderated reactors. But the thermal neutrons account for ~95% of the fissions in a thermal reactor because the thermal cross sections are much larger than the fast cross sections. For example, consider the fission cross sections of Pu-239 and Pu-240. The thermal fission cross sections for those nuclides is 747 barns (b) and .059 b respectively. The fast fission cross sections are 1.8 b and 1.3 b respectively. That means that thermal neutrons are 415 times more likely to cause fission than fast neutrons in Pu-239. But it also shows that fast neutrons can fission Pu-240 more effectively than thermal neutrons can. The energy distribution of neutrons causing fission in a thermal reactor is completely dominated by thermal neutrons with a tiny bump in the fast region which account for maybe 5% of all fissions. That means you do not get dual spectrum benefits in a thermal reactor. You can see the impacts of this by looking at Fig. 10 on page 15 in the white paper where Pu-239 and Pu-241 go down, but many of the other actinides go up, and the higher actinides beyond americium are not shown.

        I really support what TAP is doing, and think it is important. And I think the best way to get the advantages of fast and thermal neutrons is to have both fast and thermal reactors.

      2. Thanks Mark. I did read TAP’s white paper. Jeremy’s question was about “longer-lived fission products”, in your quote Dr. Dewan referred to “the longer-lived portions of the atomic waste”.

        To me, “longer-lived fission products” means Sr90 and Cs137, half-lives of 29 and 32 years. But there are small amounts of SM151 (hl 90 years) and Tc99 as well. Tc99 has a much longer half-life of 211,000 years, but is a pure beta-emitter and does not emit highly-penetrating gamma rays.

        According to Wikipedia Tc99 transmutation to short-lived TC100 has been demonstrated via neutron bombardment of a metal Tc target, which suggests its capture cross-section is something less than spectactular. Table 1 page 16 of the TAP white paper shows Tc being removed with the rest of the noble metals and some of the actinides:

        Of the 200 kilogram lanthanide mass removed by liquid metal extraction, we estimate that approximately 20 kilograms will be actinide contaminant with a longer half-life similar to SNF. It may be most practical to leave such a small quantity embedded in the ceramic granules, as it would be well distributed and would not materially extend the time for the overall waste form to reach background levels. If desired, however, the actinides can be further separated offsite with additional post-processing techniques.

        (Now might be a good time to review one’s Periodic Table.) If it were a concern, the Tc could probably be separated and combined with the actinides for further bombardment e.g. in an ADS as well. The question is “why would you want to?”, and is purely political. Which doesn’t mean it might not become important.

      3. Sorry, did not mean to be ambiguous, so let’s discuss. I was making two points in the other posts: 1) fast neutrons are better at actinide management because the fission to capture cross section ratios are better for fast neutrons than thermal neutrons, and 2) fast neutrons in a thermal reactor do not contribute much so the dual spectrum does not really exist. Some good references on this from folks at Argonne and INL are here: http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1101/ML110120261.pdf and http://meetingsandconferences.com/physor2012/Workshops/9.SFR-physics.pdf.

        The TAP reactor is a thermal reactor and the neutron energy spectrum in Fig. 8 on page 13 shows there are fast neutrons in the reactor. This spectrum actually is quite similar to an LWR spectrum thanks to the hydrogen. These fast neutrons, however, do not contribute much to the total fission rate. That is because thermal fission cross sections are so much higher than fast cross sections. For example, the thermal fission and fast fission cross sections for Pu-239 are 747 barns (b) and 1.8 b respectively. That means thermal fissions are more than 400 times more likely to occur than fast fissions. Thermal fission of U-235, Pu-239, and Pu-241 clearly dominate what happens in a thermal reactor. Also, if you look at the energy distribution of the neutrons causing fission, about 95% of the neutrons are thermal, with a tiny bump in the fission spectrum. You just can’t have enough fast neutrons causing fission in a thermal reactor to take advantage of their actinide management capabilities.

        I really like what TAP is doing and think it is very important. And my opinion is that if we want to take advantage of the benefits of thermal and fast neutrons, we should build both thermal reactors and fast reactors.

        1. And yet, Tap’s Table 10 (pg 15) suggests there are indeed sufficient fast neutrons to manage the minor actinides. Manage in the sense their concentration equilibrates at a manageable level. No reactor lasts forever of course, or reactor technology. The equilibrium minor actinide salt could be recycled through several (or many) generations of Tap-style reactors, but at some point we’ll need a faster spectrum to annihilate them completely. But not in my lifetime and as you observe, such fast-spectrum reactors do exist, and it would probably take maybe one of them to finish off the WAMSR job.

          There are other reasons to build FNRs, of course. And MSRs. It will probably (hopefully) come down to politics and economics. At first blush MSRs such as TAP’s should have an economic advantage over liquid-metal cooled FNRs, but with the ongoing carbon crises there (again hopefully) will be overwhelming demand for all.

          But there might not be. Politics, you know. Anti-nukes might (and in my contacts generally do) show less disfavor towards molten-salt + freeze-plug designs than liquid sodium + floating moderator e.g. BN-800. No, it doesn’t have to make sense.

          1. Fig. 10 shows trends and equilibria seen in a thermal reactor, not a fast reactor, so it is important to note that fast is not contributing. Plus other MAs are not shown, although their concentrations are low, they are growing. And then one has to contend with actinide solubility limits. So I am curious how long TAP’s salt lasts until the actinide vector is saturated enough with non fissile actinides to shut down and prevent startup (barring actinide separations). My guess is about 10 years, and then the salt has to be flushed because you can’t add more actinides because you are at the solubility limit. That’s when we will need to dump it into a fast reactor.

            And my next question is when will we start building these to really learn them and optimize them? With groups that Rod mentions like TAP, Terrestrial, UPower, TerraPower, etc, I think it’s closer to reality than ever before. And this will be so important because we need to show that these next gen reactors can achieve economic superiority over gas and coal, and that they can actually hit or beat the paper economics that they project.

    3. Thank you gentlemen.
      I guess I was trying to get a handle on how TAP would ‘reduce’ the spent fuel waste.
      To my way of thinking 1 kg of spent fuel will still become 1 kg of waste after it has been in a TAP reactor, minus what Einstein magics away of course.
      On page 16 of the TAP’s white paper is a table that says that fission products are 1 fifth gases, 2 fifths metals and 2 fifths lanthanide oxides. It is suggested that 10% of the lanthanide waste are actinides with long half lives that it may be possible to separate. So at best case long lived waste is ‘reduced’ by 98% ie. the 2% of final waste that’s actinides.

      1. The TAP reactor will convert some of the U-238 into TRU and will fission the fissile actinides into fission products. I think there will be a slight reduction in total TRU at the end of the salt life. Most of the actinide load will be U-238 though. So the discharge will not be too different by mass fractions from the input UNF, but it will reduce the long term radiotoxicity of the UNF.

  9. The below video is part of Freed’s essay, and well worth viewing as a stand-alone example of the kind of communications products that nuclear energy visionaries need to produce and distribute as widely as possible.

    Well said. I like this article (and video presentation). Appeals to many audiences. It’s a debate a lot of people need to have (and couldn’t be more timely as Lima and Paris gain more critical attention and investment).

  10. It’s a nice video, but the target audience is all wrong. The investment banks, energy companies and regulators need to be convinced. Until they’re on board absolutely nothing will change.

  11. I quarrel with this part:

    “metal-clad uranium fuel rods are lowered into water in order to heat it and create steam to run the electric turbines. But the water eventually breaks down the metal cladding and then the rods must be replaced.”

    It was my understanding that the fuel rods have to be replaced because gaseous daughter products (helium, xenon, etc.) get deposited within them, eventually leading to bulging and/or cladding failure. I think one of the major advantages of the molten salt reactors is that those gasses can escape without causing trouble.

    1. You are right. Water induced corrosion and other “wear and tear” is by far second order to fission gas pressurization and fuel-clad mechanical interactions. Furthermore the cladding has irradiation limits that can change its properties over long times. Meanwhile the life limits for molten salt reactors arise when actinide solubility limits are reached but that is generally several times longer than the lifetime of zirc cladding.

  12. From a technological and ecological perspective nuclear industry is one thing we should all get excited about. It has the potential of helping our planet and provide baseload electricity for 40-60 years with a coefficient of utilization factor of 95% and above.
    However, as long as its development is dictated by Wall Street and other investors, things will not be moving forward. Also, it does not help that the latest revised estimates are close to 1 billion USD for a complete NRC licensing (this includes the DCD submittal, answering to 4-5 thousands RAIs and obtaining the final COL).
    I truly believe that something needs to be done with this overhead, as this pretty much is a major turnoff for any new initiatives. 1 Billion USD before even breaking the ground and lining up suppliers is just ridiculous.

    1. Very interesting comment on the cost of an NRC application.

      Do you have a source for the $1 billion number?

      1. Stephen, you said “Do you have a source for the $1 billion number?”
        If you are familiar with the total design documentation package of a currently operating nuke plant, it is almost intuitive. In fact this estimate is probably too low. The NRC approves virtually nothing on faith or engineering judgement. So virtually every design detail must be completed down to the Quality Control specification, Seismic Specification, ASME Code designation, nuclear fuel performance under varying thermal-hydraulic conditions for the Accident Analysis etc. etc, For each and every component in the design, down to the level of every valve and piece of pipe, and including every switch and control in the control room. This level of engineering detail must also be done for the piece of ground you are going to plop the plant on, including several years of data for an Environmental Impact Study. And everything must be backed up by pre-approved computer codes and standards.
        This work requires hundreds of thousands of man-hours, at the hourly rate of highly qualified engineering work. All with no guarantee the design will ever be certified by the NRC, and possibly no buyers standing in line. In the large unit designs, like the AP1000, there are no longer any US manufacturers making the large components, so add the cost of insuring foreign manufacturers are working to the required codes and standards.
        There is a reason the experienced US reactor designers and manufacturers (GE, W, B&W, and CE) have all but gotten out of the reactor business. The regulatory process has become a system of “you can’t get there from here”, but not because those companies don’t know how to technically build a very low risk reactor.
        Are you aware W got the AP600 design approved and never had a buyer? How many times can a “for profit” company go through that drill and survive?
        And when you put the shovel to the ground, the real headaches start because in 35-40 years of no activity, the experienced labor force and large construction management has been lost.
        The US process has created this artificial overhead, not the ability of US knowledge to build a very low risk reactor.

        1. mjd thank you for your response.

          While I certainly agree with you that the costs generated by the inane NRC regulatory process has destroyed the US nuclear industry, intuition is not a widely accepted argument. It would be very helpful if Westinghouse produced a history of the time and cost required to obtain NRC approval of the AP600 and the AP1000. I would surmise that most of this information already exists in Westinghouse and that a relatively small effort would be able to collect it and publish it. This would provide basic information required to promote NRC regulatory reform.

          IMO the goal of an NRC reform movement would be to add an additional approval process based upon the airplane regulatory model. Under this model, an NRC design license applicant would build a demonstration reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory. The NRC would supervise a set of full power tests such as ULOF, ULOHS, and UTOP. If the reactor was “walk away safe”, then the design would be approved; if the reactor was not “walk away safe”, then it would be required to go thru the current NRC approval process. Any potential buyer, able to demonstrate basic competency in the operation of a reactor, would be able to purchase a “walk away safe” reactor without any additional oversight.

          The other prong of the assault on the NRC would be that all this unnecessary cost does nothing to increase public safety. Linear No Threshold (LNT) is the foundation of regulatory regime used to kill the nuclear industry. Once LNT is relegated to the dustbin of history, there is no justification for the current NRC regulations.

          The human body evolved DNA repair mechanisms in response primarily to oxidation reaction associated with the metabolic process and secondarily due to DNA damage caused by background radiation. An effective line of argument would show that DNA damage from radiation and the metabolic process are similar, that the repair mechanisms are the same, and that the rate of damage from metabolic processes is x times greater than damage from background radiation. The implications being that the body’s DNA repair mechanisms can handle radiation levels that are x times greater than the background radiation levels. Dr. Cuttler claims that the body’s DNA repair mechanisms can handle damage at a rate 6 million times greater than background radiation.

          This reference prepared by Dr. Jerry Cuttler DSc PEng provides some interesting claims. On page 30, “Spontaneous (natural) DNA damage occurs at very high rate > 1000 x background radiation DNA damage rate”. On page 39 “Spontaneous rate = 2 x 10**5 DNA alterations per cell per day”, “Radiation induced: 10-100 DNA alterations per cell per cGy”, “1 mGy per year radiation < 3 x 10**-2 DNA alterations per cell per day", "this is 6 million times lower than the spontaneous rate!".

          1. Stephen, I should have couched my position statement a little better. No doubt W could recapture a lot of the cert costs from the AP600 & AP1000. Especially the AP1000, which I am told is just the AP600 design scaled up, on the same footprint, by going mostly “up” & “not” out (a construction & maintenance room problem of its own). But remember almost all current design PWR & BWR are “expansion” add-ons to previously developed and approved processes. So some of that cost for W traces back to National Labs, Nautilus and Shippingport development costs. In other words the new is just added to the old.
            Some of these new reactors are so radically different they are starting that process almost from scratch, so they about have square one costs to deal with. There are exceptions, old MSRs test designs for example. So my comments are really talking about the really radical (but maybe OK) designs. When stuffed into the current regulatory structure it really is a case of “can’t get there from here” without an exorbitant cost.
            We both agree the regulatory structure is the problem. But since that same structure is actually killing the current fleet of BWRs and PWRs, how do you envision the current regulators will ever “get a clue” they are the problem. They are committing self inflicted job suicide on the current fleet. How can they ever deal with a new idea? It’s literally not going to happen without an “Act of Congress” redefining a new national energy policy and NRC role. I don’t have much hope for that in my lifetime. We still are not at crisis level, which is really required to start that reform process.

  13. A bit off topic but since the greens were mentioned I think this is emblematic of their environmental “contributions.” :

    Peru Says Greenpeace Permanently Damaged Nazca Lines ( http://www.wsj.com/articles/peru-says-greenpeace-permanently-damaged-nazca-lines-1418681478 )

    “The damage done is irreparable and the apologies offered by the environmental group aren’t enough,”…. …..Greenpeace has apologized for laying out big yellow letters on the desert floor beside the geoglyph of a giant hummingbird. The letters read: “Time for change! The future is renewable.”

    1. Perhaps Peru could ban the organization, prosecute any locals with connections to the act for conspiracy and demand the identities of the actual perps (allegedly out of the country) for extradition.  That’ll teach ’em.

  14. @Joe ChemNuke December 15, 2014 at 1:05 AM
    You said: “And my next question is when will we start building these to really learn them and optimize them?”
    Is this actually a serious question? If so, the practical answer is “never.” Who’s going to do it? DOE or a National Lab or a for-profit company? With what money and why? What’s the end purpose? You are looking at the cost and lead time of a manned mission to Mars.
    I’m not saying it should not be done, I’m saying it won’t be done. The paradigm has changed in this country. If there isn’t a short term buck to be made, it ain’t going to happen. The only entity with the resources to make it happen is the US Government (read Wall Street and big Fossil Fuel) and they obviously have no interest.

    You said: “With groups that Rod mentions like TAP, Terrestrial, UPower, TerraPower, etc, I think it’s closer to reality than ever before.”
    No way… There has to be a money source, and a chance for a licensed US product. Bill Gates could probably float the cost of TerraPower as a hobby interest. But as a business decision even he sees the writing on the wall in the US.

    I look at these the same way I look at practical fusion power in the next few hundred years: Practical fusion is a nuncupatory power source totally outside of the current cycopede, due to its tardigradous development; pushed by constant babblement and hopeful illaqueation by fopdoodles….. And you can quote me on that one.

  15. @ EL, on IAEA’s radiation protection guidelines,

    “I consider any areas or hot spots in Chernobyl exclusion zone resulting in an excess received dose of 20 mSv over a year (or 100 mSv over a lifetime) to involve statistically significant elevated health risks. IAEA agrees that such generic criteria merit evacuation in such cases (here). Likewise, 1 – 5 mSv over a year is a level of contamination that constitutes, among other things, a public nuisance (and may also merit early protective actions, remediation, and monitoring in Chernobyl and elsewhere when resulting from nuclear accidents … preventable or otherwise). This is also consistent with criteria established by IAEA.”

    “ IAEA recommends using 100 mSv as a generic criteria, and a more specific follow-up and careful documentation of exposure levels (internal and external) for justification of long-term protective actions such as relocation, remediation, food and water restrictions, travel, land use restrictions, medical examinations, consultation, treatment, etc. I don’t disagree with this. Moreover, because of this variability, an effective dose of less than 100 mSv “does not mean it is safe” … a variety of exposure pathways and organ doses need to be more fully and comprehensively considered.”

    I’m glad you endorse IAEA’s radiation protection guide, but I don’t think you’ve characterized it accurately, especially the standards for evacuation and relocation.

    IAEA doesn’t seem to say anything at all about the safety of doses of 20 mSv over a year, or 1-5 mSv. Do you have page refs?

    What IAEA does say is that if ambient radiation levels are below 100 microsieverts per hour during the first ten days after the spew ends, and 25 usv per hour after 10 days, then an area is “safe for everyone” to live in. (See pp. 50 and 59) If the radiation levels are higher “operational intervention levels” are invoked, OIL 1 and OIL 2, which do call for evacuation and relocation. But below OIL 2’s cutoff of 25 usv per hour the guide deliberately does not call for evacuation or relocation, because it deems the area safe, even for pregnant women and infants, as long as safe water and food are available.

    So the standard for evacuation and relocation seems to be 25 usv per hour at Day 10. That works out to 219 mSv per year. Radiation levels will subside quickly from Day 10 levels, so the year-long ambient radiation dose would actually be about 100 mSv per year. [p. 103] The IAEA standard means that ambient radiation doses up to 100 mSv in the first year are safe and do not require evacuation or relocation. (But that’s the outdoor air-dose rate; because people spend most of their time indoors where they are shielded, the actual maximum first-year dose would be maybe half that, or 50 mSv.)

    The IAEA guide doesn’t address long-term exposures past the first year, but we can assess those from the UNSCEAR report on Fukushima. UNSCEAR uses a “rule of three” to derive lifetime doses from first-year doses, reckoning that lifetime radiation doses in an area, absent cleanup efforts, will be about three times the first-year dose. Assuming IAEA and UNSCEAR are on the same page, then IAEA probably regards a lifetime radiation dose of up to 300 mSv as safe (by ambient air-dose readings; again, because of indoor shielding that would be an actual life-time dose of about 150 mSv.)

    What the guide means by 100 mSv not being safe, in a different section of the report, is vague and confused and conflicts with the stated protection guidelines. It seems to mean that people who have been exposed to radiation (infants especially) should be checked to see if they got large thyroid or bone marrow doses which might have special risks. What they should then do about it is not specified; the guide simply refers us back to the OIL standards, which again do not call for evacuation if ambient air-doses are below 25 usv per hour. IAEA does not recommend mandatory evacuation for first-year or lifetime ambient doses of 100 mSv, and certainly not for 20 mSv or 1-5 mSv doses.

    It makes sense that IAEA would regard these radiation levels as safe. Let’s apply LNT. (Forgive me, Rod.) The IAEA standards imply an acceptable lifetime dose of 150 mSv, which, according to the BEIR VII risk factor, would result in a fatal-cancer risk of 0.86 percent—about the same risk as an American runs of dying in a car crash. That’s a risk that most of us regard as acceptable enough to drive with.

    Note the implications for the Fukushima evacuation. Most of the Fukushima evacuation zone did not reach an ambient radiation level of 100 usv per hour in the first ten days, or 25 usv per hour at Day 10, or 100 mSv in the first year. So according to the IAEA guidelines, most of the EZ should not have been evacuated to begin with and should have been reopened to residents as soon as the spew ended. Indeed, had their been no evacuation, in most of the EZ the risks from the Fukushima fallout would have been considerably smaller than the risk of having a driver’s license. It’s hard to see how such tiny risks could justify mandatory relocation.

    1. @Will Boisvert

      I’ve been over all of this before, and several times. You simply have to read the document more closely. Yes, there are immediate intervention criteria that are fast and simple triggers, and longer term monitoring and follow-up and more deliberative standards once things have settled down (after a week, a month, and longer). Many of the higher early doses immediately following an accident are not from long-lived products (and will not result in prolonged exposures on the same basis, as you note). The document is not written on the most clear of bases, but what is clear (and never disputed) is that generic criteria are unlikely to be exceeded (if the intervention steps are followed in their recommendation). 20 mSv/year over a year for five years would exceed generic criteria … do you disagree with this? 1-5 mSv is a general remediation guidelines (I believe recommended by IAEA elsewhere). If not IAEA then IRCP. The document does make reference to other protective actions, screening, treatment, etc. for doses in this range (as I described).

      I don’t believe you have caught me in an misstatement of fact or inconsistency. If the document concludes differently, I am perfectly fine going along with it. But the document does not imply anything above 100 mSv is safe. And if you are suggesting that, I don’t see a basis for it.

      I’m going to declare Uncle at this point. I am just one person, and the season is upon us. And I have many long over due tasks prior to travel and spending a welcome time with family in mountains, skiing, exchanging gifts, eating wonderful food, and the like. I hope folks here realize we can’t debate every single pro nuclear talking point in a single thread (especially since very little of it is on topic, and a fair bit of it may even be rehashing old, familiar, and well worn ground). For a topic that presumes to be about creating “new excitement” and looking at creative developments in advanced nuclear technologies I find this all a little bit odd, but that’s neither here or there (just an observation).

      All the best and wish you a happy holidays.

      I recommend a future article on the IAEA recommendations (or that someone post an interpretive crib sheet), since it seems to result in a number of misconceptions from time to time. Among them, that IAEA recommends “220 mSv/y” as criteria for evacuation (here). As I read the document, that is incorrect.

    2. @Will Boisvert

      After sending my post … and re-reading your post, I simply cannot agree to your claims about this document (as you have summarized them). They are not consistent with anything that I am familiar with in this area. You have raised a number of points, and it would be worthwhile to track them down, but I just don’t have the time to do it now. If you can wait, I would be happy to take it up when I return in the New Year.

  16. EL, I did find time in my own holiday schedule to carefully read the IAEA guide that you referenced. I’m not sure you did because you really have egregiously mischaracterized it.

    You suggested that the IAEA guide uses radiation doses of 20 mSv per year as a criterion for evacuation, and that it regards a radiation dose of 1-5 mSv per year as a “public nuisance” that requires protective measures. Neither of these claims appears anywhere in that document. I asked you to provide page references from the IAEA guide that you referenced in support, but you didn’t. A text search reveals that the phrases “20 mSv” “5 mSv” and “1 mSv” do not appear anywhere in the document.

    You have misconstrued the meaning of “generic criteria” in the IAEA guide. The generic criteria are ambient radiation levels, radioactivity levels in foodstuffs and projected radiation doses that trigger protective actions by the authorities. The generic criterion for evacuation and relocation is clearly spelled out on pp. 50 and 59, and the criterion is an ambient air-dose radiation reading at Day 10 or later that is higher than 25 microsieverts per hour. Readings below that level are clearly described as “safe for everyone” and do not warrant mandatory evacuation or relocation.

    The level of 25 usv per hour implies a first-year dose of 100 mSv (again, that’s just the first year) after accounting for subsiding radiation levels throughout the year. This is spelled out on pp. 103 and 107, where the “generic criteria” for early protective action are given as “100 mSv per annum” and “100 mSv per year.” You suggest that the IAEA generic criteria are 100 mSv lifetime dose, so that a projected 5 years at a 20 mSv per year dose would trigger protective action, including evacuation and relocation. That’s false; nowhere does the IAEA guide prescribe that.

    And, again, it’s easy to see why the IAEA considers these radiation levels safe. As I argued upthread, the IAEA’s generic criteria levels carry a cancer fatality risk that’s about the same as the risk of a fatal car crash. Since the radiation levels in most of the Fukushima evacuation zone stayed far below the generic criteria for evacuation and relocation, we have to conclude that the radiation risks in most of the EZ, had there been no evacuations, would have been substantially lower than the risk of driving.

    EL, the IAEA guidelines that you have endorsed imply that the Fukushima evacuations and relocations were mainly unnecessary. I hope you’ll think about that while you’re skiing.

    1. I’m not sure you did because you really have egregiously mischaracterized it.

      @Will Boisvert

      The standard mandates default relocation in the early stages of an accident (10 days subsequent to reactor shutdown) when ground level contamination results in a full body dose rate of 25 μSv/h and mandates relocation in a 7 to 30 day time frame. This results in a total effective dose as low as 4.2 mSv for this standard (after one week).  

      More importantly, this mandatory default relocation standard, or automatic trigger, does not preclude other standards for relocation (specifically those related to preparedness guidelines in emergency planning zones, generic criteria in international safety standards, or subsequent evaluation and more extensive monitoring of sampled contamination levels and full body dose rates at later stages of the accident).  As specifically stated, “predetermined default operational triggers” are specifically designed for early stages of an accident (when generic criteria, such as effective dose, are not readily available or easy to quantify), and “are used to trigger particular protective actions and other response actions consistent with the generic criteria.  In an emergency, predetermined OILs are used immediately and directly (without further assessment) to determine the appropriate protective actions and other response actions” (p. 34).

      Document does not indicate a first year dose in excess of 100 mSv is a long term safe level for public after a radiological incident. In fact, specifically the opposite is clearly stated in their guidance and standards for managing radiation exposures and health effects in accident or emergency situations for light water reactors. The use of other criteria for evacuation, specifically mentioned (and in line with international criteria) are not not to be excluded either. To be a bit more clear, I should have added “generally supported” in my original statement, not specifically indicated in the IAEA report (to be a bit more accurate). The guidelines in nearly every respect are intended to be fully consistent with generic criteria and international standards. This is stated many times throughout the document. You seem to be confusing immediate default triggers (in early stages of an accident … 1, 30, and 365 days) with something else (general guidelines for evacuation that are somehow not fully consistent with generic criteria and international standards). You can continue to believe this (and it seems you very likely will), but I do not believe this is a correct reading or understanding of the document. It is my understanding that Fukushima has a 20 mSv level for evacuation and resettlement, and a 1 – 5 mSv long term environmental level for remediation because this is what it views is consistent with “international guidelines and standards” (which IAEA document is very comfortable referencing). As specifically referenced in the document, these appear to be “the latest ICRP guidance, taking into account findings of UNSCEAR …”

      1. EL, your reply is incoherent.

        “The standard mandates default relocation in the early stages of an accident (10 days subsequent to reactor shutdown) when ground level contamination results in a full body dose rate of 25 μSv/h and mandates relocation in a 7 to 30 day time frame. This results in a total effective dose as low as 4.2 mSv for this standard (after one week). “

        The standard mandates relocation if the dose rate *exceeds* 25 microsieverts per hour at Day 10 or later, per OIL 2. If the dose rate is below 25 usv per hour, the guidelines do not recommend relocation; not in 7 days, not in 30 days, not ever. See p. 35, where Table 6 recommends “Identify and relocate areas where the dose rate is greater than the OIL 2 values,” i. e. 25 usv/hr on Day 10. Yes, that would result in a dose of 4.2 mSv in the first week, or 100 mSv in the first year (factoring in subsiding radiation levels). And those doses are just fine with IAEA because, once again, on p. 59 the big colorful poster says that, below 25 usv/hr on Day 10, the radiation is “safe for everyone,” no relocation required. You’re carefully skirting this point because it makes hash of your entire argument.

        “More importantly, this mandatory default relocation standard, or automatic trigger, does not preclude other standards for relocation….The use of other criteria for evacuation, specifically mentioned (and in line with international criteria) are not not to be excluded either.”

        Of course it doesn’t “preclude” other standards. How could it? IAEA doesn’t set the standards, governments do. IAEA just publishes recommended guidelines, which recommend relocation only if Day 10 dose rates exceed 25 uSv per hour or first-year doses will exceed 100 mSv (which is what the 25 usv/hour Day 10 dose rate forecasts). There are no other “specifically mentioned” criteria for relocation in the IAEA guide. The only other criteria for immediate “evacuation”, distinct from slow relocation, is the OIL 1 criterion of 1000 usv/hr dose rate. Your insinuation here that IAEA suggests other more stringent radiation standards for relocation is actively misleading.

        “Document does not indicate a first year dose in excess of 100 mSv is a long term safe level for public after a radiological incident.”

        EL, really. No one said that IAEA regards first year doses “in excess” of 100 mSv as “safe.” 100 mSv is the cutoff; IAEA regards first-year doses *up to* 100 mSv as “safe for everyone,” per pp. 59, 103 and 107. Rhetorical ploys like this just undermine your credibility.

        “You seem to be confusing immediate default triggers (in early stages of an accident … 1, 30, and 365 days) with something else (general guidelines for evacuation that are somehow not fully consistent with generic criteria and international standards).”

        This sentence is incoherent, (perhaps you intended it to be). Again, you are vaguely insinuating that IAEA has some other standards for evacuation and relocation that are more stringent than the OIL 2 and OIL 1 standards that I have cited. Again, not true. The standard of 25 usv/hr dose rate and 100 mSv first-year dose is the one and only standard for relocation articulated by IAEA. Any doses below that are deemed “safe for everyone.” Note that those OIL 2 “default triggers” are indeed “fully consistent with generic criteria and international standards,” so the garbled distinction you seem to draw here is meaningless anyway.

        “It is my understanding that Fukushima has a 20 mSv level for evacuation and resettlement, and a 1 – 5 mSv long term environmental level for remediation because this is what it views is consistent with “international guidelines and standards” (which IAEA document is very comfortable referencing). As specifically referenced in the document, these appear to be “the latest ICRP guidance, taking into account findings of UNSCEAR …””

        The Japanese government set a standard of 20 mSv yearly dose for return of Fukushima evacuees to their homes, and a 1 mSv cleanup standard (which it is backing away from because it is absurd). Those standards are the product of Japanese politics; they are not recommended by the IAEA guide, nor are they “specifically referenced.” The sentence you quoted here, on p.88, simply mentions in passing that IAEA considered ICRP and UNSCEAR findings; it says absolutely nothing about 20 mSv or 1-5 mSv per year. You have repeated increasingly mush variations on this false claim several times now. Time to retract it.

        Maybe I’m being too hard on you, EL, but it’s crystal clear that you did not read the IAEA guide. You are now snatching out-of-context bits of bureaucratic gobbledygook from it and regurgitating them to cover up. Which is fine; you have a gift for that. But please, go a step further and try to actually understand what you regurgitate, both its scientific meaning and common-sense implications for policy.

        1. And those doses are just fine with IAEA because, once again, on p. 59 the big colorful poster says that, below 25 usv/hr on Day 10, the radiation is “safe for everyone,” no relocation required. You’re carefully skirting this point because it makes hash of your entire argument.

          @Will Boisvert

          You seem a little fixated on day 10 as it relates to the report … and leap in your conclusions to criteria that merit no protective actions, remediation, or evacuation on some indefinite long term basis (which is unspecified and undeveloped in report). And in so doing, you seem to be suggesting IAEA is recommending protective actions and standards that exceed generic criteria and international standards on a long term basis. Is this what you are actually saying?

  17. Right, EL, I am fixated on the Day 10 ambient radiation dose rate of 25 microsieverts per hour, and so is the IAEA guide; that’s their main and definitive criterion for relocation. (There’s another OIL 2 standard of 100 usv/hour for radiation readings prior to Day 10.) But there’s a good reason for that fixation if you understand the logic of the criteria, which is that a radiation level of 25 usv/hr on Day 10 implies a maximum lifetime dose of 300 mSv–which IAEA judges acceptable.

    They base the criteria on the scientific understanding of what the likely radionuclide composition of a release is, and of how radiation levels subside over time due to radioactive decay and weathering that washes away the radionuclides. The science lets them predict, based on the ambient radiation reading on Day 10, just how fast the radiation in an area will subside, and how high a dose people in that area will receive going forward—in the first week, the first year, and an entire lifetime.

    Thus, if ambient radiation on Day 10 is below 25 usv/hour, then according to the formulas for radionuclide decay and weathering, first-year doses will be below 100 mSv. In turn, if first-year doses are below 100 mSv, then lifetime doses will be below 300 mSv, per formulas that are distilled into the rule of three. So a criterion of Day 10 radiation readings below 25 usv/hour is equivalent to a criterion of maximum lifetime dose of 300 mSv, absent evacuation or clean-up. (In reality, the standard is conservative: with 25 usv/hr Day 10 readings, the actual lifetime doses will be lower than 300 mSv.) And please note, EL, that IAEA’s standards are quite in line with “generic criteria and international standards on a long-term basis.”

    IAEA thinks that a 300 mSv lifetime dose standard is safe enough that mandatory relocations are not warranted. Are they justified in that? Again, let’s use LNT to assess the risk. Per BEIR VII’s risk factor of 570 cancer fatalities per 100,000 people exposed to 100 mSv, that’s a fatal cancer risk of about 1.7 percent, or about twice the risk of dying in a car crash. (IAEA states on p. 60 that beneath the OIL 2 cutoff any increase in cancer rates will be too insignificant to discern in the stats.) In my opinion, IAEA is right; that risk is just too small to justify forcing people from their homes. If I were in that situation I would want to stay—and feel that I have a right to stay.

    In most of Fukushima’s evacuation zone, Day 10 radiation readings were way below the 25 usv/hr level, so in most of the EZ lifetime radiation risks would have been lower than driving risks had everyone just stayed put. Again, we have to conclude that the mandatory relocations were mainly unnecessary, according to both the IAEA standards and common-sense standards of acceptable risk.

    It all adds up EL. It’s okay to champion IAEA guides and LNT—but be aware that they cast serious doubt on orthodox policies of mandatory relocation after nuclear accidents.

    1. So a criterion of Day 10 radiation readings below 25 usv/hour is equivalent to a criterion of maximum lifetime dose of 300 mSv …

      @Will Boisvert

      I’m not sure why you are extrapolating doses in this way (because that is not done in the report). These standards and guidelines appear to be more fully and clearly referenced below. A number of provisions, including those that pertain to more extensive follow up after day 10, are discussed.

      http://www-pub.iaea.org/books/iaeabooks/8506/Criteria-for-Use-in-Preparedness-and-Response-for-a-Nuclear-or-Radiological-Emergency-General-Safety-Guide

      I haven’t had a chance to look through the document, but will note (“A reference level should be set, typically an effective dose of between 20 and 100 mSv, expressed in terms of residual dose, which includes dose contributions via all exposure pathways. The protection strategy should be optimized to reduce exposures below the reference level”). I have 20 min to catch a cab to the airport, and won’t have access to a home computer. I am more than happy to reply in a more detailed way when I return.

      1. @EL

        I have 20 min to catch a cab to the airport, and won’t have access to a home computer. I am more than happy to reply in a more detailed way when I return.

        For a guy who wrote the following during the evening of 12/20, you sure have been wordy for the past couple of days.

        You are retired Rod … and I am not, and have holiday plans starting in the next two days. I am sure you will be able to outlast me on this one, and in subsequent discussions as well…

        Specifically, you have posted 10 substantial comments in four separate conversations. Several of those comments introduce new reference material. Some of the sources are lengthy peer reviewed documents or even more lengthy documents prepared by either government agencies or international standards bodies.

        I didn’t bother to correct your incorrect statement about my current employment at the time, but I am more properly “once retired” and now working on developing a private, for-profit company called Atomic Insights LLC. I devote a substantial portion of my waking hours to discussions on Atomic Insights because my participation is part of the information and insight product I am offering.

        None of us know exactly why you are spending so much time in these discussions. I know you have repeatedly claimed that you invest your time here because the topics interest you. It can’t be attributed to your personal enjoyment of our company or the way that we treat you and your arguments.

        Are you sure there is no one telling you to get these discussions ended — with you trying to have the last words — before departing on vacation?

        (I was inspired to think along these lines when my daughter and her husband, who were scheduled to arrive here early Friday evening, woke me up at nearly 2:00 am Saturday morning walking in the front door. My SIL’s departure was delayed for more than five hours due to needing to finish a project at work before he could start his vacation.)

      2. EL, you’re doing it again. You’re snatching out-of-context phrases from a report that you admit you haven’t read in order to lend spurious support to a wrong interpretation. Don’t do that. Don’t quote or cite a report that you haven’t read and understood. And if you’re rushing to catch a cab, don’t toss off comments on technical issues that demand careful consideration.

        The passage you quoted simply means that IAEA sets criteria for various kinds of intervention, including relocation, distributing iodine pills, monitoring foodstuffs and giving medical exams, at various radiation levels. The criteria for relocations specifically are still 100 mSv per annum first-year dose. This report, older than the 2013 one you cited, doesn’t mention the 25 microsievert per hour radiation reading at Day 10 as an OIL 2 criterion, just the 100 usv/hr criterion.

        Nothing in this second report you have cited disagrees with the 2013 IAEA guide we have been discussing. In particular, there is no mention of long-term radiation doses past one year, nor are there any other criteria offered for relocation besides the OIL 2 standards we have reviewed upthread. The provisions that “pertain to more extensive follow-up after day 10” are for things like medical exams, food monitoring and the like, definitely not relocation as long as projected first-year doses are at or below 100 mSv (which the 2013 guide further pegs to a 25 usv/hr Day 10 radiation level).

        “I’m not sure why you are extrapolating doses in this way (because that is not done in the report).”

        The extrapolation from 25 usv/hr to 100 mSv first-year dose is in the 2013 IAEA guide, which states the OIL 2 standard alternately as 25 usv/hr at Day 10 or 100 mSv first-year dose, see pp. 50, 59, 103, 107.

        You are right that my further extrapolation, from 100 mSv first-year dose to 300 mSv lifetime dose, is not in the 2013 IAEA guide, because IAEA doesn’t explicitly discuss periods beyond the first year. As I stated upthread, the lifetime dose as a multiple of three times the first-year dose comes from the UNSCEAR report on Fukushima (among other places) which restates it several times. For example, from p. 58 of the UNSCEAR Fukushima report: “Effective doses that would be incurred over the first 10 years were estimated to be up to twice the effective doses in the first year, and the lifetime effective doses were up to three times higher, assuming there was no remediation.” This “rule of three” relating first-year to lifetime doses is a standard formulation.

        So, once again, the IAEA OIL 2 standard of 25 usv/h radiation level at Day 10 implies first-year doses up to 100 mSv and lifetime radiation doses up to 300 mSv, absent evacuation or cleanup. IAEA judges that those doses are acceptable and do not warrant relocation. That’s why IAEA declares radiation levels below 25 usv/hr at Day 10 to be “safe for everyone,” with no relocations necessary for its one-year planning horizon (or ever). Most of the Fukushima evacuation zone had radiation levels below that standard.

        EL, I know you would like to find an authoritative rationale for forcibly relocating people from areas with very low levels of radiation, particularly at Fukushima. You won’t get it from IAEA, and probably not from any plausible analysis of radiaton risks.

        1. You are right that my further extrapolation, from 100 mSv first-year dose to 300 mSv lifetime dose, is not in the 2013 IAEA guide, because IAEA doesn’t explicitly discuss periods beyond the first year.

          @Will Boisvert

          I see we are finally appear to be in agreement. The second link is not a separate document, but a reference document for the first (as indicated in the notes). It also happens to be a bit more clearly written.

          I agree that they don’t discuss exposure safety guidelines beyond the first year, and they also don’t recommend safety guidelines that are inconsistent with generic criteria or international standards. This much is quite clear and straightforward to me (I am not sure why it is not to you)? It is odd to make statements that appear to directly contradict those made in the document. Hence the limit of 100 mSv (as low as 20 mSv in some cases) in the first year. As already stated, day 10 of an accident is not a informative basis for assessing long term dose exposures, health risks, or long term protective actions (in subsequent periods or years after an accident). As the original document clearly indicates, short-lived radionuclides during this period dissipate rather quickly and “do not contribute significantly to the dose” (107). If you are extrapolating long term safety criteria on this basis, it seems unlikely to be supported by many of the clear and careful statements in the document. Especially for radionuclides that have a longer half-life (such as cesium), and do contribute significantly to the annual or lifetime dose. In addition, the guidelines do not indicate a effective dose in excess of 100 mSv/year is a safe level of no harm for the public. The IAEA document clearly indicates the contrary, “An effective dose above 100 mSv is not safe as it has exceeded the international safety standards that warrant a medical follow-up” (p. 82). An effective dose below this level, also, “may not be safe” (and merits assessment of all relevant exposure pathways and dose to thyroid, fetus, and red marrow).

          If you want to go over this reference document (and any other documents) more carefully, we can certainly do so. I think it is unlikely, however, it will support a conclusion that IAEA recommends guidelines in any notable conflict with generic criteria or international standards (and setting reference criteria in year one in range of 20 to 100 mSv). It seems clear to me that they see their recommendations as consistent with generic criteria and international standards. If you want to suggest otherwise, I am unclear your basis for doing so (unless it is to suggest the IAEA has made a number of errors and conflicting claims in their materials)?

          As I stated upthread, the lifetime dose as a multiple of three times the first-year dose comes from the UNSCEAR report on Fukushima (among other places) which restates it several times.

          You are extrapolating again to sources and criteria that are unrelated to IAEA summaries of basic criteria for safety and early protective actions after a radiological incident. What does a UN report on Fukushima have to do with IAEA basic safety standards? UNSCEAR report draws on a number of sources (not just the IAEA). It seems unrelated to the question of summarizing IAEA general safety standards (unless they are specifically mentioned in the report)?

          Indeed, for a discussion of public exposure and safety criteria after year one, and related to remediation and protective actions on a long term basis, we have to look elsewhere (as you suggest). Don’t we want to consider IAEA sources for this (regarding IAEA’s Basic Safety Standards). IAEA does have a number of committees and documents related to these issues. I believe the most current and relevant is the following: “IAEA Report on Decommissioning and Remediation after a Nuclear Accident” (2013).

          http://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/decommissioning0913.pdf

          Regarding “long term recovery from nuclear accident” and “ensuring radiation protection to public in the long term” … “The International Commission on Radiological Protection and the BSS [IAEA’s Basic Safety Standards] recommend that a reference level to guide optimization in an existing exposure situation should be selected within a range of annual doses of 1–20 mSv to members of the public, and can be adjusted as necessary during the course of remediation. The discussions revealed that reference levels or dose reduction targets were generally set within this range, not higher than 5 mSv and in most cases at 1 mSv, i.e. aligned with the annual dose limit for exposure of the public from all human-made sources in a planned exposure situation” (p. 60).

          We might have other documents to consider too, but this seems pretty clear and informative to me. Is it clear and informative to you as well? Once again, I find it highly improbable that IAEA is recommending guidelines inconsistent with international standards (and if they are, as you suggest, they appear to be doing so in error or in conflict with their own materials).

          Are you sure there is no one telling you to get these discussions ended …

          @Rod Adams

          Yes … I am sure. I said I would be happy to continue when I returned, and if people have any other additional points to raise about these reports, I am happy to explore them and look at these reports in more detail.

          1. EL, it’s hard for me to respond when you write so incoherently.

            Now you’re trotting out yet another IAEA document that you suggest somehow endorses post-accident forcible relocations, after the first year, for exposures beyond some threshold—20 mSv, 100 mSv, perhaps even 5 or 1 mSv; you don’t say clearly what you mean. And, once again, you have misinterpreted the document.

            The report you cite is on “decommissioning, waste storage and remediation.” The only policies it discusses that affect off-site civilians are remediation measures—that is, decontamination procedures like hosing down houses, gathering leaves, scraping topsoil, deep plowing and special fertilizers. The report is not about evacuation and relocation and says nothing about those measures. It cites various remediation targets that different countries have, from 1-20 mSv yearly dose, as (somewhat arbitrary) benchmarks for long-term clean-up efforts lasting years and decades. In plain language, it simply says that if the yearly dose is above the clean-up benchmark then the government should keep hosing and raking and scraping and plowing. It definitely does not say that relocation should be imposed on an area with radiation levels above 20 mSv per year, or any other limit. This report is irrelevant to the issue of IAEA’s evacuation and relocation guidelines. I can’t understand why you even brought it up.

            The report in no way contradicts or even complicates the IAEA’s very clear relocation standard. As we established upthread, IAEA guidelines recommend evacuation or relocation only if first-year doses are forecast to exceed 100 mSv. The rule is simple: first-year doses above 100 mSv warrant relocation; if first-year doses are below 100 mSv, then relocations are not warranted, ever. That projected first-year dose corresponds to an ambient dose rate of 25 micro-sieverts per hour or above on the 10th day after the release ends; that’s IAEA’s trigger for relocation. In other words, if dose rates are below 25 usv/h on Day 10, IAEA estimates that the first-year dose will not exceed 100 mSv, and therefore says that the area is “safe for everyone” to live in during the first year.

            Those are IAEA’s only criteria for relocation. It makes no recommendation at all, in any document or under any criteria, for evacuations and relocations after the first year. But note that any area with a first-year dose of 99 mSv will undoubtedly incur a lifetime dose considerably higher than 100 mSv. So since IAEA considers a 99 mSv first-year dose “safe for everyone,” it must consider the substantially higher lifetime dose also safe enough to not warrant relocations. Otherwise, IAEA’s policy would be something like this: “Since you only received 99 mSv during the first year, it was safe for all of you to remain in this area the first year, per our stated guideline. But now in the second year, even though radiation levels have dropped drastically from first-year levels, your lifetime dose will climb to 101 mSv and beyond, so this area is now too dangerous and you all have to relocate.” A policy like that would be insane and of course IAEA recommends no such thing in any document. So your quest to find an IAEA standard for relocation at some point after the first year makes no sense; time to give up on it.

            It’s hard to tell where you’re going with all this, EL, but it’s really not helping to shore up your credibility.

            1. @Will Boisvert

              Well done. That is a clear, concise interpretation of the IAEA relocation guidelines. By chance, I was copied on a December 16, 2014 communication from Pil-Soo Hahn, the Director, Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety for the IAEA. That memo included the following paragraph:

              The Follow-up Mission, in Point 2 of its advice, “encouraged Japanese institutions to increase efforts to communicate that in remediation situations, any level of individual radiation dose in the range of 1 to 20 mSv per year is acceptable and in line with the international standards and recommendations from the relevant international organizations, e.g. ICRP, IAEA, UNSCEAR, and WHO”.

              That statement is couched in diplomatic terms; it could be more confidently written as “20 mSv/year is an acceptable dose rate” that should not cause any concerns about long term health effects.

              My understanding of the literature is that the standard could be increased by a factor of 20-40 without putting anyone at an unusual level of risk, but even the very conservative, risk averse, responsible international agencies believe there is no reason to force people to leave their homes if their long term exposure rate, after a first year dose of 100 mSv is less than 20 mSv/year.

          2. @ Rod,

            Yes, IAEA has noticed that Japanese policy is getting tripped up by the ambiguity surrounding its various radiation standards. The government standard for resettlement of evacuated areas is 20 mSv yearly dose, but its announced cleanup target is 1 mSv yearly dose. Evacuees have picked up on the discrepancy and are saying, “Wait a minute–if your cleanup standard is 1 mSv then 20 mSv must be really dangerous, so we’re not going home!” The government is trying to backpedal on the 1 mSv, but evacuees aren’t buying it.

            This points out a pitfall of building policy around binaristic safe/unsafe radiation limits, which tend to confuse and frighten people rather than reassure them. Evacuees are naturally bewildered when authorities say that 21 mSv is so unsafe that they can’t live in an area but 19 mSv is so safe that they shouldn’t worry about it.

            –“there is no reason to force people to leave their homes if their long term exposure rate, after a first year dose of 100 mSv is less than 20 mSv/year.”

            I’m not sure that IAEA believes permanent, persistent dose rates of, say, 20 mSv/year are fine. IAEA doesn’t really talk about it, but I think the logic of its relocation standard is somewhat different. It’s that a 20 mSv/year dose rate doesn’t stay that high very long because radiation levels are always declining along an exponential decay curve. An area that experiences a year with a 20 mSv dose (or a 100 mSv Year 1 dose) does not need relocating because the radiation levels will drop and the lifetime dose will therefore be acceptably low.

            What often confuses people here is the conceptual clash between the way IAEA frames its relocation standards in terms of hourly and yearly dose rates on the one hand and the underlying logic of the standards, which has nothing to do with dose rates. The IAEA relocation standard references dose rates, but that’s an indirect way of achieving its real aim, which is to limit aggregate lifetime doses. (The standards are motivated by LNT, which doesn’t care at all about dose rate and pegs risk solely to aggregate dose.) They refer to dose rates because IAEA knows that it’s easy to predict aggregate lifetime dose from a one-time measurement of ambient dose-rates. Once you identify a point anywhere along the exponential decay curve of dose rates, you have defined the curve and can predict (by integration) the total aggregate dose for someone living his entire life in that subsiding radiation field. So that’s what the IAEA standard does: it measures the Day 10 point on the exponential decay curve, and from that derives the Year 1 dose. (And then, tacitly, the lifetime dose per the rule of three from UNSCEAR, which articulates the official radiological consensus that IAEA also follows.) That enables IAEA to set up an equation:

            25 usv/h at Day 10 = 100 mSv in Year 1 [= 300 mSv lifetime].

            By LNT that lifetime dose yields a lifetime fatal cancer risk of about 1.7 percent. So by stipulating 25 uSv/h Day 10 dose rates and 100 mSv Year 1 dose, IAEA is actually making a standard that “aggregate lifetime fatality risk” will stay below 1.7 percent in an area, relocations not required. That’s why it doesn’t bother with dose rates beyond Year 1 that might require relocation—if the Year 1 standard is satisfied, it reckons that lifetime radiation risks will also be acceptably low without relocation.

            This especially confuses anti-nuclear folks who believe that “radiation is eternal,” and so don’t register just how fast it subsides after accidents. That comes out, for example, when EL poses the scenario of a 20 mSv/year dose persisting for 5 years and bumping lifetime doses past the 100 mSv mark. He doesn’t quite get that a 20 mSv/year dose rate *cannot* persist for 5 years because it rapidly declines along an exponential decay curve. IAEA does get that point—radiation goes away!–and it is the basis of their standard-setting.

            1. @Will Boisvert

              There is a good reason that Lauriston Taylor, one of the very first and most influential — for about 4 decades — radiation protection experts, never wanted to establish such firm standards that they became laws or even regulations.

          3. IAEA guidelines recommend evacuation or relocation only if first-year doses are forecast to exceed 100 mSv.

            @Will Boisvert

            It does nothing of the sort. You continue to misread this document, and it is rather frustrating that you are so selective to disregard any evidence (abundant as it is) to the contrary. Your apparent global fixation on Day 10 is very strange, especially on doses that dissipate quickly and “do not contribute significantly to the dose” (p. 107). Your estimation “25 usv/h at Day 10 = 100 mSv in Year 1 [= 300 mSv lifetime]” is not well founded as a long term or basic safety standard in the document and results in dose exposures that exceeds generic criteria, reference criteria, and international standards (something that IAEA specifically recommends against). I don’t know what else more can be said about this … other than to say you are incorrect in the claim of such doses as “being safe” and requiring no mitigative actions (relocation or otherwise) beyond the parameters of day 10 default and immediate criteria.

            The goal of the document is to identify criteria in the early stages of an accident, when generic criteria “are not readily available or easy to quantify,” to assure that international standards and generic criteria are more fully being met. This much is clear. If the goal is to establish criteria that are at significant odds with generic criteria, reference criteria, or international standards … I don’t know how you make a case for this. It is not incoherent to argue such point (it is rather consistent with the goals and purposes of the document, and the standards as they are described).

            Those are IAEA’s only criteria for relocation. It makes no recommendation at all, in any document or under any criteria, for evacuations and relocations after the first year.

            Of course it does. As I summarized unthread, IAEA OILs do not “preclude other standards for relocation (specifically those related to preparedness guidelines in emergency planning zones, generic criteria in international safety standards, or subsequent evaluation and more extensive monitoring of sampled contamination levels and full body dose rates at later stages of the accident).  As specifically stated, ‘predetermined default operational triggers’ are specifically targeted for early stages of an accident (when generic criteria, such as effective dose, are not readily available or easy to quantify), and ‘are used to trigger particular protective actions and other response actions consistent with the generic criteria [emphasis added].  In an emergency, predetermined OILs are used immediately and directly (without further assessment) to determine the appropriate protective actions and other response actions’ (p. 34).”

            You don’t think IAEA is recommending further assessment beyond Day 10 of an accident as regards evacuations or other protective actions (especially over the long term) to more fully provide for public safety after a radiological incident (and a response that is more fully consistent with reference criteria, generic criteria, or international standards)? Reference guidelines are to be set (consistent with generic criteria), and “… protection strategy should be optimized to reduce exposures below the reference level” (p. 8). It would be inconsistent to suggest otherwise (and would contradict a great deal that is clearly stated in their own materials)?

            … you don’t say clearly what you mean.

            Here’s what we know (and what can be stated clearly):

            – IAEA guidelines do not exceed generic criteria or international standards for public safety and early protective actions after a radiological incident. Recommended reference standards for public exposure in first year are set in a range of 20 – 100 mSv, and “… protection strategy should be optimized to reduce exposures below the reference level.”

            – Radionuclides contributing to Day 10 effective doses (and recommendation of evacuation as an early protective action) dissipate quickly and “do not contribute significantly to the dose” (p,. 107). It seems unlikely that effective doses that exceed international standards, reference criteria, or generic criteria (when they are more fully and carefully assessed beyond Day 10), and especially from radionuclides that contribute significantly to annual and lifetime doses, would be treated any different (although IAEA suggests this is a matter of subsequent assessment and evaluation and not early, immediate, and default action that is a focus of the document and OILs). There are also other reference criteria that pertain: local licensing and preparedness guidelines, EPZs, national safety criteria, etc.

            – Beyond the scope of the initial paper, long term protective actions recommended by IAEA for decommissioning and remediation after a nuclear accident are consistent with international standards and “aligned with the annual dose limit for exposure of the public from all human-made sources in a planned exposure situation.” Recommended reference standards for public exposure after the first year (when remediation activities are underway) are generally set to a range of 1 – 20 mSv on an annual basis). Typically “not higher than 5 mSv and in most cases at 1 mSv.” If you have other sources to add on this topic, particularly related to IAEA decontamination, remediation, or subsequent basic safety standards and protective actions for off-site civilians after a radiological incident, please mention them (as I have done), and we will have a look.

            I understand you disagree with some of the statements above (particularly regarding areas where you think IAEA standards appear to disagree with generic criteria or international standards). I don’t think we will be able to resolve these differences as I think they result from a fundamental error and misreading of the document.

            1. @EL

              You read “optimize” differently than I do. It does not mean “minimize.”

              I wouldn’t spend a dime to reduce projected doses to anything less than 20 mSv per year. I might advise expending modest effort to eliminate hot spots if projected doses are greater than 700 mGy/year.

          4. EL, first some general remarks, then I will address some of your specific points.

            I think you are confused about terms like “generic criteria,” “international standards” and “predefault operational triggers.” You don’t understand what these terms mean, how they are used and who establishes them. You seem to think that any number with “mSv” appended to it constitutes a generic criteria and an international standard as well. (You also use here the term “reference standard” which is a meaningless neologism; a text search reveals that it does not appear in any of the IAEA documents you cited.) And you miss the fact that criteria and standards and protective actions are all very specific: specific criteria demand specific actions according to precise standards. Instead, you tend to view criteria as general indicators of “unsafety” that justify open-ended repertoires of actions according to standards that are suggestive rather than precise. You treat the lowest generic criteria as if they license even the most drastic protective actions. So if we clarify what the terminology means we may get more clarity on what the guidelines actually say.

            *A “generic criterion” is a dose that IAEA thinks is high enough to warrant some “protective action” to lower the dose. Different generic criteria warrant different protective actions; not all protective actions are warranted by every generic criterion.

            *A “predetermined operational default trigger” is an observable, instantaneous dose rate that predicts an eventual effective dose that corresponds to a generic criterion; they are also called “operational intervention levels” or OILs. So, 100 mSv Year 1 dose is the generic criterion, 25 micro-sieverts/hour on Day 10 is the OIL that predicts a 100 mSv Year 1 dose. (OILs are conservative, so the actual Year 1 dose at that OIL will probably be less than 100 mSv.)

            *A “standard” is a precise rule relating a generic criterion and its associated OIL to a protective action. It takes this form: If generic criteria a, b or c (or rather, their OIL predictors) are met, then protective actions x, y or z should be taken.

            Standards are just that simple. The IAEA protective action guide is full of those clear standards. There’s a standard that says that if radiation levels exceed an OIL of 1000 uSv/h, then people should be immediately evacuated and given iodine pills. Another standard says that if radiation exceeds an OIL of 1 uSv/h, then people should stop eating local game, mushrooms and milk.

            For relocation, the standard is this: if 100 mSv Year 1 dose will be exceeded (as predicted by the OIL 2 of a 25 usv/h dose rate on Day 10) then people should relocate. Very precise, no ambiguity. And those are the one and only standards IAEA proposes for relocation, at any time or under any criteria. It definitely does not prescribe relocation for any lower radiation levels, or time-frames beyond Year 1.

            If there were some other additional or supplementary IAEA standard for relocation at some time, during or after Year1, then there would be a clear rule about it, because that’s what a standard is—a clear rule. For example, there might be a rule saying, in so many words, that if the five-year dose is projected to exceed 100 mSv, then relocate the population. Or, in terms of OIL’s, it might say: if the dose rate on Day 10 of Year 2 exceeds 6 usv/h, then relocate the population. But IAEA has no such rules.

            To show that IAEA contemplates relocations under circumstances other than the OIL 2 trigger above, all you have to do is find an IAEA statement saying, “if this radiation level, then relocate.” But you haven’t found that, EL. All you’ve done is cite passages of varying vagueness that refer to various radiation levels possibly warranting various specified or unspecified actions—but never relocation. (You did find some generic criteria at 1, 5 and 20 mSv, but those standards specified cleanup as a protective action and made no mention of relocation.) That means that other IAEA relocation standards don’t exist. If they did exist I am sure you would have found them, since you are a tireless finder of statements.

            And no, IAEA is not even quietly mulling the advisability of relocation under alternate standards. It says flat out that if radiation is below the OIL 2 trigger of 25 usv/h on Day 10, an area is “safe for everyone” for all of Year 1. That’s not just a provisional stop-gap pending future assessments, it’s an affirmative declaration of safety: IAEA wants people to stay because the area is safe. And it continues to be safe in IAEA’s view after Year 1, and forever, for three reasons: 1) because otherwise IAEA would have a standard specifying conditions under which an area should be relocated after Year 1, which it does not; 2) because it would be crazy to declare an area that was “safe” in Year 1 to be in need of relocation in Year 2 or Year n when radiation levels have steeply declined; and 3) because the consensus of radiation science, per UNSCEAR, is that lifetime radiation fatality risks in the area will stay below 1.7 percent, which is patently too small a risk to warrant forced relocation.

            IAEA is saner than anti-nukes give it credit for. It balances benefits of protective actions against costs and disruption. It will prescribe cleanup to avoid a 20 mSv dose, but it’s not going to drive people from their homes over that, or even a 299 mSv dose, because the risk is too small to justify that kind of upheaval. This is all just common sense, EL, and it’s what the IAEA standards prescribe.

            Now some of your specific points:

            1. “Your apparent global fixation on Day 10 is very strange, especially on doses that dissipate quickly and “do not contribute significantly to the dose” (p. 107)….Radionuclides contributing to Day 10 effective doses (and recommendation of evacuation as an early protective action) dissipate quickly and “do not contribute significantly to the dose” (p,. 107). It seems unlikely that effective doses that exceed international standards, reference criteria, or generic criteria (when they are more fully and carefully assessed beyond Day 10), and especially from radionuclides that contribute significantly to annual and lifetime doses, would be treated any different.“

            You’re really mixed up about this EL. I don’t fully understand this statement because much of it is incoherent. But you seem to be disputing the notion that IAEA would use the Day 10 air-dose rate to predict long-term doses because of the presence of short-term radionuclides that swell the dose-rate without contributing to effective dose. But you seem to have misinterpreted the passage you quote. If you read the rest of the paragraph, you will see that it is referring to dose rates measured *before* Day 10. Prior to Day 10, OIL 2 specifies a dose rate of 100 usv/h as a trigger for relocation; the trigger drops to 25 usv/h only on Day 10. Before Day 10 the short-lived radionuclides still dominate the air-dose rates but do not contribute significantly to the effective dose; to compensate for that, OIL 2 has the much higher 100 usv/h dose rate trigger in the earliest days. The Day 10 trigger drops to 25 usv/h precisely because radiation from the short-lived radionuclides has subsided by then and the residual dose rates are therefore more indicative of the effective dose. Day 10 dose rate is a very good predictor of long-term doses (though conservative), which is why IAEA uses it as the relocation standard.

            2.“You don’t think IAEA is recommending further assessment beyond Day 10 of an accident as regards evacuations or other protective actions (especially over the long term)”

            It’s not about what I think, EL, it’s about what IAEA writes. It has written no standard for relocation other than the 100 mSv Year 1 dose as predicted by a 25uSv/h Day 10 dose rate. It certainly does recommend assessing things after Day 10 with respect to other protective actions, but not for the purpose of relocation. Remember, particular generic criteria apply to some protective actions but not to others.

            3. “Recommended reference standards for public exposure in first year are set in a range of 20 – 100 mSv”

            Right, EL. The 100 mSv in Year 1 is for relocation, as I stated above. Lower radiation levels trigger milder protective actions, but not relocation. Makes sense, right?

            4.“ IAEA OILs do not “preclude other standards for relocation “

            Meaningless, EL. How could IAEA “preclude” somebody else from writing other standards? We’re talking about the standards that IAEA itself promulgates for relocation, and those are as I have described above—and none other.

            5. ” There are also other reference criteria that pertain: local licensing and preparedness guidelines, EPZs, national safety criteria, etc.”

            Yes, EL, there are all sorts of other guidelines, but the topic here is IAEA guidelines—which you yourself cited as authoritative. Let’s stick to them.

            6. “Recommended reference standards for public exposure after the first year (when remediation activities are underway) are generally set to a range of 1 – 20 mSv on an annual basis). Typically “not higher than 5 mSv and in most cases at 1 mSv.”

            As your source document makes crystal clear, those radiation levels apply to standards for remediation—hosing houses, raking leaves, scraping dirt, etc. They are definitely not standards for relocation, which requires altogether different generic criteria to be met. It’s quite misleading of you to suggest that the passage you quoted relates in any way to relocation measures. Once again, specific generic criteria apply only to specific protective actions, not to *every* protective action. Milder protective actions like remediation have much lower radiation criteria than drastic actions like relocation, which are only warranted at much higher radiation levels. That’s what the standards say, EL, and it’s just common sense.

            7. “ I don’t think we will be able to resolve these differences as I think they result from a fundamental error and misreading of the document.”

            Indeed.

          5. @Will Boisvert

            Let’s try this again.

            It has written no standard for relocation other than the 100 mSv Year 1 dose as predicted by a 25uSv/h Day 10 dose rate.

            Incorrect. You keep repeating this as if it has merit? It does not. There are many proposed guidelines and standards for evacuation and relocation proposed in the document: 1) evacuation of UPZ prior to release, 2) OIL1, 3) OIL2 (1 week to 1 month based on preliminary monitoring), 4) relocation pertaining to OIL7 values (if replacement water or alternative food sources are unavailable), 5) long term criteria (subsequent to follow-up assessment of local conditions and in consultation with interested parties), and 6) other general guidelines and standards (which some Member States may wish to consider in writing preparedness guidelines and may be more conservative than IAEA basic safety standards … referenced in supplementary materials of report).

            “Areas requiring relocation are typically identified based on monitoring that indicates where dose rates may be greater than the OIL2 values. Relocation may also be required if people are living in areas where essential food and water is contaminated in excess of the OIL7 values and replacement food or water cannot be provided” [emphasis addded] (p. 28).

            “After the emergency is declared to be over, further actions need to be taken based on criteria developed after careful assessment of local conditions, in consultation with interested parties to ensure any further actions do more good than harm when the impact of the action on the public is considered” (p. 33). As you have already noted, long term actions are not specifically discussed in report (which has a focus on early prompt action in the first year). Long term actions and criteria are discussed elsewhere … in IAEA general safety guidelines, general safety recommendations given by ICRP, different Member State criteria, and other references mentioned in the report.

            … you miss the fact that criteria and standards and protective actions are all very specific: specific criteria demand specific actions according to precise standards. Instead, you tend to view criteria as general indicators of “unsafety” that justify open-ended repertoires of actions according to standards that are suggestive rather than precise.

            Incorrect. You still misunderstand the fundamental nature of this document. “The publication provides a basis for developing the tools and criteria at the preparedness stage that would be needed in taking protective actions and other actions in response to such an emergency.” It is not itself a response document (to be followed unilaterally by offsite decision makers over the course of an incident), but a reference document to be used in the development of response criteria before an accident has taken place. The document is to be used in conformity with other standards, and those at the national level in Member States. It is intended for improving emergency preparedness guidelines and response, not replacing them. The publication does not preclude and is not inconsistent with other efforts for meeting these targets and objectives (which are clearly spelled out in text, but also need to be adapted to diverse and specific circumstances at each location). “This guidance should be adapted to fit the State’s organizational arrangements, language, terminology, concepts of operation and capabilities.” One of the most important of these is whether a reactor site is located in an urban area or not (and the difficulties presented by evacuation and relocation of such areas). Another is the timing of a response: acting promptly in the early stages of an accident to minimize some of the most acute impacts, and over the long term once a clearer picture emerges from weeks and months of monitoring.

            You wish to see finality in these recommendations, and that is a rather limited and restricted view of the document. Member States and other stakeholders add input on preparedness guidelines in arriving at national and site specific standards, and all responses to an incident will not be optimal (and require subsequent evaluation and revision). The document specifically disscusses Fukishima and Chernobyl in this regard. The objective is not inflexible adherence to rules, but outcomes and meeting international standards and guidelines for minimizing health risks. I think this is pretty straightforward and clear. It certainly doesn’t appear that way to you, and you seem to think the only standard for relocation takes place on Day 10 (and after that no other protocols or criteria pertain). This is a very strange reading. It is not consistent with the targets and objectives of the document (or even some of it’s key provisions).

            And no, IAEA is not even quietly mulling the advisability of relocation under alternate standards. It says flat out that if radiation is below the OIL 2 trigger of 25 usv/h on Day 10, an area is “safe for everyone” for all of Year 1.

            Incorrect. It doesn’t say this flat out. It says this if no water and food contamination are present that exceed OIL7 values. If such values are exceeded and no replacement water or alternative food sources can be supplied, protective actions such as relocation are warranted.

            For someone so focused on what is enumerated and specifically indicated in the document, you’ve pegged your whole perspective on the document on what is specifically not said. You seem untroubled to extrapolate effective doses in this relatively uncertain early time frame, specifically what the IAEA suggests is not a workable standard at this stage, and enumerate a safety standard that is not specifically indicated in the document (via extrapolation) and that is significantly at odds with generic criteria and international standards clearly referenced by IAEA. This is incorrect. There no supporting basis for what you are doing here.

            You add: “OILs are conservative, so the actual Year 1 dose at that OIL will probably be less than 100 mSv.” I am very glad you acknowledge this. Via radionuclide composition (beyond scope of document to address), deposition pattern and remote hotspots, time frame (large share of dose being received in first month), sheltering, agricultural countermeasures, replacement water, and other remedial actions … it seems quite feasible that effective doses will remain below generic and reference guidelines. In fact, the whole point of the document (and its many carefully described provisions and standards) are specifically set up to achieve this end. You have misread this figure (and it’s context), and after multiple repeated posts indicating your error it is finally time to acknowledge it. I know you probably think you are still correct, but I will trust other people to read the document more carefully, and as you suggest, focus on what is specifically indicated and enumerated in the document (and not a product of imprecise and inconsistent extrapolation as you have provided).

            I think you are confused about terms like “generic criteria,” “international standards” and “predefault operational triggers.” You don’t understand what these terms mean, how they are used and who establishes them.

            Incorrect. I have used these terms correctly. I believe you need to re-read section 6 again, or GSG-2 (which describes them more fully). Generic criteria are international safety standards expressed in terms of effective doses, and lend justification to protective actions (early or on a long term basis) by avoiding deterministic and minimizing stochastic health impacts. They do not change (unless current knowledge of deterministic and stochastic health impacts at specified effective dose levels changes). OILs and any other protective guidelines are set to optimize meeting these international guidelines and public health safety standards.

            Your reply is very confused on these points. Generic criteria are not set by IAEA (contrary to your claim). Does rates on Day 10 (used to trigger prompt OIL2 protective actions) do not predict eventual effective doses (contrary to your claim). In fact, they are specifically indicated because effective doses are unavailable and cannot be estimated at this time. Dose rates, in this instance, “trigger particular protective actions and other response actions consistent with generic criteria” (as do all the OILs). And contrary to your claim, there are not different generic criteria for different OILs. Generic criteria relate to health impacts (effective doses resulting in deterministic or stochastic health impacts). IAEA criteria for OILs, by contrast, are not generic criteria, but are specific criteria, and relate to specifically indicated levels and conditions to best meet (along with “other response actions”) generic health safety criteria (or international standards) .

            The confusion appears to be all yours (I am not happy to say).

            You also use here the term “reference standard” which is a meaningless neologism

            Incorrect. As previously indicated, this term comes from a key supplemental document cited in the report (IAEA Safety Standard Series GSG-2). “A reference level should be set, typically an effective dose of between 20 and 100 mSv … The protection strategy should be optimized to reduce exposures below the reference level.” If it is a meaningless neologism, as you suggest, your issue seems to be with IAEA and not with me. This doc is a guide for the report we are discussing … it is entirely relevant to this discussion.

            ====

            There are many other things that could be talked about with respect to the points you have raised. Such as: 1) adjusting OILs on basis of radionuclide composition (“Procedures for doing this are beyond the scope of this document”), 2) adverse consequences of relocation (“psychological, economic, and sociological effects”) resulting from poor communication and less on intervention level, 3) importance of prompt actions vis a vis long term actions (and why this is given focus in document), 4) “related publications” (specifically indicated in introduction), 5) document has undergone “only minimum copy editing” (a problem considering our significant differences), 6) the caveat (“The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the IAEA”), 6) the important issue of hotspots and deposition patterns as they inform OILs (I feel this is unclear in document), 7) subsequent steps when OILs aren’t implemented promptly or effectively (and provision for this in preparedness guidelines), 8) monitoring provisions (“it will take days to weeks of monitoring to locate with accuracy all of the areas that need to be evacuated” and “A plan for dealing with the inconsistencies and limited data needs to be developed), 9) definition of safe (“The definition of safe is understood as meeting international safety standards for which no protective or other response actions need to be taken”), and likely more.

            Which brings me to final point … how do you see this conversation ending? I respect your views, background, and contributions to the site. But it seems you have a bit of a bee under your bonnet regarding our exchange, and your eagerness to find me wrong appears to be coloring and making you incapable of recognizing what is correct. At this rate, I see a lot of the same empty charges (which I have already rebutted) and they keep coming back in nearly identical form over and over again. We are going around in circles. I see where there are some matters of interpretation and judgement as you have pointed out, but on others there are not. It is relatively straightforward and clear (and you still don’t seem to be able to acknowledge these). I have tried to suggest that some of these inconsistencies may a result from a lack of clarity in the document (and less with our own individual perspective and assumptions). Given the document received “only minimum copy editing” … I think this is a fair claim to make and to be expected. In which case, your comments need to be directed to the IAEA and not to me.

            I advise you to step back from my comment. Perhaps read the IAEA document a second time (as I have done). And come back to it with fresh eyes (if you wish to continue this further). These comments should be getting much shorter (and not longer). If we stick to basic and clearly indicated understandings from the document, I don’t see where this should be a problem.

            1. @EL

              It is hard for me to believe that you wrote “These comments should be getting much shorter (and not longer)” at the end of what must surely be one of the very longest comments ever published on Atomic Insights.

              You are stubbornly attempting to baffle casual readers with a massive quantity of words that assert your misunderstanding as fact.

              The phrase “reference level” is not equal to “reference standard.” The word “optimize” is not equal to “minimize.” Evacuation is understood by the IAEA, especially in light of what we have learned from the mis-guided actions taken at Chernobyl and Fukushima, as a drastic, harmful action in the face of low dose radiation.

              Few trained “first responders” would decide to recommend an evacuation instead of providing “replacement water or alternative food sources” if there is measured contamination above OIL7 values. We understand it is simpler and cheaper to bring temporary supplies of uncontaminated food and water to people than to relocate large numbers of people to places where they must be provided food and water for lengthy periods of time.

              If it is not possible to move simple commodities, why would you attempt to relocate regional populations?

          6. EL:

            1. “There are many proposed guidelines and standards for evacuation and relocation proposed in the document. 1) evacuation of UPZ prior to release, 2) OIL1, 3) OIL2 (1 week to 1 month based on preliminary monitoring),”

            There are no standards for “evacuation and relocation.” Evacuation and relocation are distinct protective actions, and they have separate sets of generic criteria and OIL triggers. Remember, different protective actions require different generic criteria according to different standards. (I myself made the mistake of lumping them together upthread, so apologies for that.)

            Evacuation means immediately moving people out of the way of a large release that might be a severe health threat in the short term. Relocation means moving people slowly out of an area, for a long time to permanently, because lingering fallout poses a health threat in the medium-to-long term of months to years. An area that is evacuated may not qualify for relocation, and an area that eventually qualifies for relocation may not have qualified for immediate evacuation.

            IAEA does recommend preemptive evacuation before a potentially severe release starts in the Precautionary Action Zone of 3-5 km, and possibly in the Urgent Protective Action Zone of 15 to 30 km. Beyond the UPZ evacuation is governed only by the OIL1 trigger of 1000 usv/hr, not by pre-emptive measures before the release. Evacuation is provisional. For example, a threatened release may prompt a preemptive evacuation but then be headed off or all blow out to sea and then be brought under control. In that case, the evacuees presumably can move right back home without long-term relocation.

            Here’s the point. Relocation is a slow measure carried out over a month or so, and it presupposes that no evacuation took place, so it can’t be pre-emptive. Therefore the relocation standard is only governed by the generic criteria of 100 mSv prospective Year 1 dose and its OIL2 trigger of 25 usv/h Day 10 dose rate.

            This isn’t just semantic hair-splitting. Your original comment raised the possibility of IAEA recommending relocation on the basis of look-ahead prospects of 100 mSv doses incurred over years. It was that idea that I objected to, and it finds no support from IAEA documents. As for evacuation proper, IAEA departs from OIL triggers only in the case of preemptive evacuations prompted by the possibility of severe immediate radiation doses. Evacuation is a measure confined to the immediate aftermath of an accident; in the medium to long term, only the relocation standard applies.

            So, your notion that IAEA might say, “it’s year 2 now, and radiation in this area is still pretty high, and maybe it will add up to over 100 mSv over the next five years, so maybe we should forcibly relocate everyone,”—no. IAEA says and intends no such thing.

            2. “Relocation may also be required if people are living in areas where essential food and water is contaminated in excess of the OIL7 values and replacement food or water cannot be provided”[emphasis addded] (p. 28)… It says this if no water and food contamination are present that exceed OIL7 values. If such values are exceeded and no replacement water or alternative food sources can be supplied, protective actions such as relocation are warranted”

            Good point, EL. Yes, the relocation standard of 25 usv/h at Day 10 is conditioned on there being food available to eat that falls below the contamination standard of 1000 Bq/kg I-131 or 200 Bq/kg Cs-137. The logic there is that if people can only get heavily contaminated food and water, the internal dose might push their total effective dose over the 100 mSv Year 1 limit, the generic criterion for relocation. So even if the air-dose rate passes the Day 10, 25 usv/h test, the contaminated food might still force relocation.

            If you look way upthread at my original comment, you’ll see that I did cite the contaminated food provision. I have not been reiterating it for two reasons: 1) fatigue; and 2) it is a dead letter in any plausible scenario. The provision foresees a fallout zone so isolated from the outside world that it is entirely dependent on its own crops in the field, local livestock and game, and local wells and reservoirs, with no ability to transport food from uncontaminated regions. That would be a reversion to a literally medieval food supply system. Any modern country with a modern food distribution system will be able to provision people with uncontaminated food and water under any imaginable circumstances. Indeed, an area where the food supply system had broken down to such an extent would have to be relocated anyway, radiation or no radiation, because people would eventually starve there. So the point about contaminated food is moot.

            3. “Dose rates on Day 10 (used to trigger prompt OIL2 protective actions) do not predict eventual effective doses (contrary to your claim). In fact, they are specifically indicated because effective doses are unavailable and cannot be estimated at this time.”

            Not quite, EL. Year 1 effective doses can’t be precisely assessed until the end of the year. The standard needs a rough way to estimate, at the beginning of Year 1, what they will be at the end, in line with the generic criterion of 100 mSv. So IAEA picks Day 10 dose rates as a predictive benchmark, which conservatively marks out an upper bound of 100 mSv Year 1 dose.

            4. “definition of safe (“The definition of safe is understood as meeting international safety standards for which no protective or other response actions need to be taken”)”

            Right EL, that is IAEA’s definition of “safe.” So what do you make of the fact that IAEA declares any area with dose rates below 25 usv/h on Day 10 to be “safe for everyone” with no relocations warranted—and says that in the big technicolor poster on p. 59 that they tell the authorities to tack up so everyone can read it? According to the passage you quoted that poster must mean that “the dose rate meets international safety standards and that no protective or other response actions need to be taken.” What else could it possibly mean?! Do you think it means, “maybe it’s safe until we take some more measurements a few months from now and think about things again and hold a few international conferences?” It doesn’t say that.

            All the rest of your post just repeats ad nauseam the notion that there are some other unspecified standards, somewhere, that are the real relocation standards that IAEA wants us to follow instead of the ones it clearly specified on the big poster. Yet you haven’t cited a single other statement that specifies or mentions or implies any such alternative relocation standard. At some point EL, absence of evidence really does become evidence of absence.

            5. “Which brings me to final point … how do you see this conversation ending?”

            I don’t see it ending, EL. Hell is other people.

          7. EL, you are skeptical of my claim that a 25 usv/h Day 10 dose rate is a good predictor of a 100 msv first-year effective dose, and that that’s why IAEA uses it as the trigger for relocation. Some simple calculations make this more persuasive.

            If the first-year air-dose rate held constant at 25 usv/h, then the total dose over all 8760 hours in Year 1 would be 219 mSv. That would be the “outdoor air dose”, then if we multiply by the usual factor of 0.6 to account for the shielding effect of people living mostly indoors, that brings the effective dose down to 131 mSv. But the air-dose rate doesn’t stay at 25 usv/h; it declines substantially over the year. How much? Well, the IAEA remediation guide estimated 50-60 percent over the first two years, mostly from radioactive decay and weathering. If we very plausibly assume that it drops 30 percent during the course of Year 1, that would bring the total Year 1 effective dose in at right about 100 mSv, give or take.

            So it’s a pretty safe bet that IAEA chose the 25 uSv/h trigger precisely because it’s a good proxy indicator for 100 mSv Year 1 effective dose, their generic criteria. We know that because straightforward calculations using consensus assumptions *demonstrate* that it (roughly) predicts a 100 mSv first-year dose. I make these assertions about IAEA’s regulatory logic not off the top of my head but because, when you do the math, it all adds up.

            1. @Will Boisvert

              I think you may be assuming too much about some people’s interest in “doing the math.” I’ll be nice and assume the challenge is more lack of interest than lack of ability.

          8. Your original comment raised the possibility of IAEA recommending relocation on the basis of look-ahead prospects of 100 mSv doses incurred over years. It was that idea that I objected to, and it finds no support from IAEA documents.

            @Will Boisvert

            “Table 3 provides a set of generic criteria expressed in terms of the dose that has been projected or the dose that has been received. The set of generic criteria expressed in terms of the projected dose is compatible with reference levels within a range of 20–100 mSv” (here).

            The IAEA guidance allows for preparedness guidelines to be set as low as 20 mSv per annum (using recommended guidelines). You can disagree with this, but this is specifically indicated in the guidance (which informs the paper we are discussing). International remediation standards in subsequent years, on a long term basis, after an emergency is declared to be over, are set to a range of 1-20 mSv per year (typically “not higher than 5 mSv and in most cases at 1 mSv”), as specifically indicated in IAEA Basic Safety Standards and consistent with international standards and generic criteria after an emergency is declared over. This is also quite well documented in IAEA documents. So I don’t know what you mean by “no support.”

            You can continue to argue very limited points (and stick to very narrow claims in the document), but this is not how the document is intended to be used (or applied to an ongoing accident situation … which, it goes without saying, never goes according to plan). Prompt action on Day 10 at the dose rate indicated (a challenging standard, especially in a heavily populated area), consistent with other actions and agricultural countermeasures, accurate and consistent monitoring data, a favorable deposition pattern, along with all the other issues you mention (sheltering, etc.) will be very effective in meeting generic criteria in my view (and meeting targets of 20 – 100 mSv in reference levels as indicated by IAEA). Especially for those who are relocated from such situations (who will likely receive far lower effective doses).

            But what if a response isn’t prompt, monitoring data isn’t accurate or consistent, deposition pattern isn’t favorable, and food and water countermeasures aren’t working (because of infrastructure issues, organizational issues, or communication has been poor, as is often the case in the early stages of an accident). What provisions are to be made in these circumstances (since the document clearly specifies making such provisions in preparedness guidelines). In addition, what provisions are to be made for different national and site specific operational controls and capabilities (since the document clearly specifies making such provisions and adapting IAEA guidelines in these circumstances and examples as well). These are much broader issues than you are allowing, and are specifically mentioned in the document.

            Let’s be clear, you are continuing to say (minus “moot” points as selectively labelled and dismissed by you) that relocation is only about Day 10 dose rates, and a single trigger in a single OIL (and if all else fails, no other protective or mitigation action is needed to continue to meet generic criteria, relocation or otherwise). This is a very partial and highly inflexible reading I would claim (and ignores general targets, and provisions for general health criteria specifically referenced in the document, and apparently are still applicable despite a response that is less than optimal or effective). In addition, you dismiss other credible standards for relocation in the document (OIL7 countermeasures) with the entirely incredible statement that we don’t live in medieval times (which is not an assumption of the document), and that it is unimaginable to you how a modern food, irrigation, or water supply system might fail in an accident setting (as if Fukushima somehow disproves this point)? Well, your imagination needs a bit of work … not only in reading this document (but also understanding how these rules and standards are to be applied in creating preparedness guidelines, and in a real world situation with all of the contingencies, challenges, and uncertainties that pertain).

            The goals of the document couldn’t be more clear … develop a response plan and criteria for action that in their execution limit public exposures during the emergency phase of an accident to below international standards and generic health safety criteria. These are identified as 100 mSv in the first year (as an achievable and basic level of protection), and can be as low as 20 mSv on a conservative basis (using the same basic criteria and standards). If this is what you are saying, we agree. If this is not what you are saying, we disagree. You seem to hold to a strict and literal reading of the guidance under optimal conditions (all decisions related to relocation are made by Day 10), any subsequent evaluation related to food and water restrictions, or any other contingency factors subject to subsequent evaluation (operational capabilities, delays, poor communication, unfavorable conditions, etc.) as you suggest, are “moot” (because everything goes perfectly as we know, and modern food delivery systems are unbreakable). I tend to give a little bit more broader reading to the guidance (just a little bit), and that actual accident situations matter, and that a response plan can continue to meet previously stated goals and objectives (e.g., limiting public exposures to below generic health safety criteria) even when the response is not optimal and does not go according to plan. I guess you think IAEA doesn’t have a plan for such contingencies (despite indications in the document to the contrary and that contingencies need to be considered in advance of an accident as part preparedness plans).

            So what do you make of the fact that IAEA declares any area with dose rates below 25 usv/h on Day 10 to be “safe for everyone” with no relocations warranted—and says that in the big technicolor poster on p. 59 that they tell the authorities to tack up so everyone can read it.

            25 μSv/h on day 10 is not 25 μSv/h on day 365. Such criteria are described as consistent with “international safety standard” (meaning they don’t result in effective doses in excess of 100 mSv from all exposure pathways in the first year after an accident). And they are safe “providing food, milk and drinking water are safe” (so if countermeasures are involved the “environmental” conditions are not safe according to IAEA definitions of “safe”). They also add another definition to “safe” on the back of the poster (risk is not absent, but below a level to justify taking action). So safe is not independently derived but is relative to the cost of mitigation. It is not “safe” with respect to baseline conditions prior to a radiological incident.

            Are we done yet … I feel like I have responded fully and adequately to your many questions and concerns. If your aim is to be “hell” here (whatever you mean by this), you may find meaning in this (but I don’t). We can seek to create a better and more accurate understanding of this document, but anything beyond that doesn’t really interest me (although it seems like it interests you). If that’s all you have left … I’ve grown rather tired of it.

            1. @EL

              There is no justification other than irrational fear for setting public dose limits that are tighter than the already conservative standard of 100 mSv in the first year or 20 mSv/year in subsequent years. The IAEA is a political, diplomatic international body that has so far shied away from reminding all nations that radiation effects do not vary based on international borders. There is no justification for a range of limits other than allowing some nations to be more dominated by fear than others because of reluctance to offend certain power bases or sensibilities.

              Sure, those levels are higher than the incredibly tight levels that the radiation technology industry is required to assume when designing its systems and its routine operational concepts. Design levels and routine standards were not set based on science that established them as doses beyond which there was measured harm to humans, they were established politically and ratcheted ever tighter in a coordinated PR effort designed to instill mistrust of scientists who specialized in atomic energy and radiation technologies.

              As an occupational worker who started his career in 1981, my annual limit was 50 mSv per year. From 1934-1952, occupational workers were limited to 10 mGy/week. In 1952 recommended standards were ratcheted down to 3 mGy/week or 150 mGy/year (recommendations at that time were actually specified in rads which are energy deposition rates without the use of quality factors for various kinds of radiation).

              Decades worth of follow-up and studies of nuclear professionals who began working under limits established in 1934 indicate that their health is better than that of the public and that their mortality is lower. Their exposure to radiation is not hurting their health or causing them to have to accept special risks.

              There is a history involving fascinating individual personalities and focused organizational efforts that describes how and why general recommended standards established by experts like Lauriston Taylor morphed into regulated limits that were continually ratcheted down despite the lack of any evidence showing they were set too high to provide adequate safety to exposed people.

              It’s a continuing endeavor to uncover the correspondence, oral histories and other documented evidence showing how and why this effort was undertaken.

              I’m not the only investigator working on this effort. Calabrese, Cuttler, Mohan Doss and others are all digging and finding bits and pieces of the complicated story. I’ll be publishing some selected portions of the narrative during the next few months. It might even end up taking a few years and several books to unravel it all.

          9. EL:

            1. “They also add another definition to “safe” on the back of the poster (risk is not absent, but below a level to justify taking action). So safe is not independently derived but is relative to the cost of mitigation. It is not “safe” with respect to baseline conditions prior to a radiological incident.”

            Yes, let’s look at how the back (p.60) of the IAEA relocation standard actually characterizes the safety. It describes the green “safe” dose below the 25 usv/h Day 10 trigger level thus: “Below this level there will not be any severe deterministic effects or an observable increase in the incidence of cancer, even in a very large exposed group. Furthermore, the risk of cancers and other health effects is too low to justify taking any action, such as a medical screening.”

            So that’s how safe IAEA considers a Day 10 dose rate below 25 usv/h—so safe that not only is relocation not recommended, it’s not worth taking any action whatsoever, even a medical screening. That sounds pretty safe to me, EL.

            Is it absolutely risk-free? Nope, but then nothing is. Is it safe to drive to church on Sunday morning? Most people would say yes, that’s very safe. But there’s a chance I could die in a car crash on my way, so it’s not really safe if your goal is 0.000000000000000000 percent risk.

            Your comment just highlights how radiation is often subject to absurd double-standards on safety. People commonly apply the word “safe” to situations that are as safe or safer than commonly accepted everyday risks. But when it comes to nuclear power, anti-nukes insists that “safe” must mean 0.0000000000000000 percent risk. Any higher risk estimate, no matter how conjectural, means radiation is so dangerous that people must be driven from their homes to avoid it—even if the objective risk is lower than the commonly accepted risk of things like having a driver’s license.

            2. “Table 3 provides a set of generic criteria expressed in terms of the dose that has been projected or the dose that has been received. The set of generic criteria expressed in terms of the projected dose is compatible with reference levels within a range of 20–100 mSv”

            Right, EL, but not every protective action is triggered by every dose in that 20-100 mSv range (first-year dose). Mild protective actions are warranted at 20 mSv, but drastic actions like relocation are only warranted at the top of that dose range, 100 mSv.

            That’s what the document you quote says. When we turn to Table 3, we see that it recommends “temporary relocation” for a projected effective dose that exceeds 100 mSv in Year 1. It say nothing about relocation at any lower radiation level or later time-frame.

            All the quotes you produce simply confirm my analysis of IAEA guidelines.

            3. “International remediation standards in subsequent years, on a long term basis, after an emergency is declared to be over, are set to a range of 1-20 mSv per year (typically “not higher than 5 mSv and in most cases at 1 mSv”)”

            Right EL, but those are “remediation standards,” not relocation standards. Standards for remediation are very different from standards for relocation. Remediation means decontamination measures like hosing houses, raking leaves and scraping dirt. Those mild protective actions are justified by low doses, in IAEA’s view. The drastic action of relocation is not justified by such low doses—only by the much higher criterion of 100 mSv Year 1 dose.

            4. ““I guess you think IAEA doesn’t have a plan for such contingencies (despite indications in the document to the contrary and that contingencies need to be considered in advance of an accident as part preparedness plans)”

            In the “Criteria for Use and Preparedness” document you just cited, the words “contingencies”, “contingency” and “contingent” do not appear. Nor do they appear in the 2013 Protective Action Guideline.

            EL, you harp on the notion that all may not go as IAEA guidelines envisions, and that their assumptions and calculations may be wrong, and that in that case IAEA licenses the authorities to adjust the guidelines. So what? Of course IAEA says that; it would be insane to say otherwise. That proviso amounts to saying, “if unforeseen developments render the guidelines useless and counterproductive, then do something else that seems more reasonable.” This is just a boilerplate acknowledgment that IAEA is not omniscient. It is not a specific protocol for departing from IAEA’s clearly stated relocation standard—for which there are no stated alternatives or “contingencies.” (It’s also more likely a suggestion that standards can be loosened, as in, “do we really need to evacuate Tokyo over this tiny amount of radiation risk?”)

            5. “you dismiss other credible standards for relocation in the document (OIL7 countermeasures) with the entirely incredible statement that we don’t live in medieval times (which is not an assumption of the document), and that it is unimaginable to you how a modern food, irrigation, or water supply system might fail in an accident setting (as if Fukushima somehow disproves this point)?… and modern food delivery systems are unbreakable).”

            Remember, EL, I did cite the food contamination provision in my first comment. If it turns out that food contamination is a serious problem, then yes, as I originally noted, IAEA does countenance relocations below the 25 usv/h trigger.

            But that’s not realistic. For a food supply system to be so “broken” that it is unable to provision a fallout zone with uncontaminated food and water, it means that all the trucks and roads and rail lines would have to be “broken” so that they can’t transport food into the zone, as well as all the boats that could bring in food by sea and waterway and all the planes and helicopters that can airlift food. A nation that suffered such a comprehensive destruction of its transport and food system would have much more serious issues than radiation to cope with. And as Rod noted, the scenario is one in which no food and water can be brought in, yet hundreds of thousands of people can be quickly brought out, which makes no sense.

            Fukushima does indeed disprove this scenario. Fukushima’s transport system was not affected at all by the nuclear release, and was damaged by the tsunami only very near the coast. It was left largely intact, and was able to bring the entire population of 100,000 out of the evacuation zone in a matter of hours. Had they staid put, they could have easily been supplied with uncontaminated food and bottled water, both immediately and forever. Or consider the Berlin Airlift, where millions of people were fed by an improvised airlift into a single airport. The food isolation scenario is clearly fanciful.

            6. “25 μSv/h on day 10 is not 25 μSv/h on day 365.”

            Right, EL. A dose rate of 25 usv/h on Day 365 means that the dose rate on Day 10 would have been much higher than 25 usv/h, so the relocation standard would have already relocated the area per the Day 10 reading. Conversely, if the Day 10 dose rate is 25 usv/h, there’s no way the Day 365 dose rate could be that high because dose rates are constantly falling, per the laws of physics. IAEA guidelines are predicated on the principle that, once the release ends, the radiation levels will decline quickly and continously. That’s why 25 usv/h on Day 10 accurately predicts an upper bound Year 1 dose of 100 mSv.

            7. “You seem to hold to a strict and literal reading of the guidance… I tend to give a little bit more broader reading to the guidance (just a little bit).”

            Yes, I do assume that IAEA means what it actually writes. You assume that the guide has “broader,” vaguer, unstated meanings that contradict its literal meaning and thereby endorse your own ideological preconceptions. Your method strikes me as inept and biased, so I’ll stick with a literal reading.

          10. @Will Boisvert

            We’re getting there.

            So that’s how safe IAEA considers a Day 10 dose rate below 25 usv/h …

            You keep on leaving out key provisions … “providing food, milk and drinking water are safe.” You do this a bit too often for my taste (and safe still carries with it other caveats too related to emergency phases).

            But when it comes to nuclear power, anti-nukes insists that “safe” must mean 0.0000000000000000 percent risk.

            No. IAEA never suggested as much (and neither did I). Hence my comment about very low doses being a public nuisance, and not something meriting relocation. You appear to be talking about a straw man, and not anything I or the IAEA have claimed based on generic health safety standards or criteria (and I’m not sure your reason for bringing it up). If you are asking about my opinion, I don’t think doses below 20 mSv per year in the first year after an accident merit extraordinary measures (but they may still merit compensation as a result of adverse impacts to local property valuations and businesses as a consequence of accidents … typically adjudicated on basis of negligence and trespass claims, as well as pre-determined criteria in national and site specific licensing requirements).

            When we turn to Table 3, we see that it recommends “temporary relocation” for a projected effective dose that exceeds 100 mSv in Year 1.

            You still misread this, but that’s no surprise. Projected doses of 100 mSv per annum merit temporary relocation “early in the response.” There is an implication here about later time frames. Response plan sets targets and actions consistent with them, and these are to reduce public exposures to below generic criteria (below 100 mSv in first year). But this is significant progress on your part. You are more attentive to the criteria cited in the document, and how they are to be used and applied in preparedness guidelines and response plans (good job)! You need to go a bit further, however, since you added that you still think this supports your initial comments, but I won’t push it.

            Remediation means decontamination measures like hosing houses, raking leaves and scraping dirt.

            I like it. The document actually talks about quite a bit more than this, but at least you are starting to acknowledge that there is a time frame after year one, after the emergency phase of an accident is declared over. Consultations and more extensive monitoring are crucial to this phase (as mentioned in the document), and continuing to meet generic criteria and public safety guidelines (different from during the emergency phase). IAEA has some general basic safety guidelines for this period, and it’s good that you are starting to use them (and understand them) as well. Progress is progress (I won’t get in the way of it).

            Of course IAEA says that; it would be insane to say otherwise.

            This is quite a move on your part. Previously, you had suggested accident contingencies and broader circumstances (discussed in the report) were incoherent, ad nauseum vague notions, unclear, and the like. I’m happy that you now see them as more basic and fundamental to the credible development of these guidelines (“sane” as you put it), and criteria for action that are consistent with standards and objectives as set forth in the document. An important shift as I see it.

            I did cite the food contamination provision in my first comment.

            So yes, we agree here as well that your comment about day 10 criteria being the ONLY criteria (repeated over and over again … “ad nauseum”) is not consistent with the document (and is also not consistent with your own comments).

            Are you aware of what is referenced here with respect to effective dose (see GSG-2, p. 30). 10 mSv per annum during emergency phase of accident.

            But that’s not realistic. For a food supply system to be so “broken” that it is unable to provision a fallout zone [hundred of thousands to millions of people] with uncontaminated food and water, it means that all the trucks and roads and rail lines would have to be “broken” so that they can’t transport food into the zone …

            I think it might be best to just ignore this comment. The example you provide seems to indicate it is relevant … Fukushima. We could also cite Katrina in this regard (although there was no accident at a reactor site). I’m not sure why you wish to keep entirely separate infrastructure issues related to a natural disaster or other disaster, and a nuclear accident that may be caught in the middle of it (and have root causes related to it). These are exactly the kind of situations envisioned by the document. If you think you are making sense here, you aren’t, at least not to anybody who is thinking clearly about the topic.

            “Stay put” in your scenario appears to mean throw your standards and criteria for public safety and response actions out the window (public doses will exceed generic criteria), which begs the question, why have a preparedness plan, criteria for action, or health and safety standard in the first place?

            That’s why 25 usv/h on Day 10 accurately predicts an upper bound Year 1 dose of 100 mSv.

            Indeed … I see you are making progress applying and understanding these terms. We’re no longer talking about effective doses of 300 mSv, etc. (based on faulty speculation and exaggeration, exceeding generic criteria, and for phases beyond the initial emergency phase of the first year and what is specifically not talked about or referenced in the document).

            We’re talking about an upper bound of 100 mSv in the first year. Now all that remains is to review guidelines and supporting evidence for a possible lower bound and reference target (say 20 mSv in the first year), which the document claims is consistent with the same criteria for action. As already indicated, “Table 3 provides a set of generic criteria expressed in terms of the dose that has been projected or the dose that has been received. The set of generic criteria expressed in terms of the projected dose is compatible with reference levels within a range of 20–100 mSv.”

            If that should ever happen, I think we’d basically be done (and we would have a basic and shared common understanding of the document, at least in as much as is possible given our very different starting points).

          11. EL, the clearest statement of IAEA standards on relocation, both in the early phase and later, is found in Document GS-R-2, “Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency” (2002—still listed as a valid standard by IAEA and not superseded.) (Find it here: http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1133_scr.pdf) . Here’s the relevant passage from p. 52:

            “III–6. The generic optimized intervention levels for initiating and terminating temporary relocation are 30 mSv in a month and 10 mSv in a month, respectively. If the dose accumulated in a month is not expected to fall below this level within a year or two, permanent resettlement with no expectation of return to homes should be considered. Permanent resettlement should also be considered if the lifetime dose is projected to exceed 1 Sv.”

            That’s very clear. No relocation is warranted in the first month if the month’s dose is less than 30 mSv. If that criterion is met, then no relocation is warranted in subsequent months, even after Year 1, if the monthly dose is less than 10 mSv (which would be a yearly dose of up to 120 mSv.) In fact, IAEA recommends that relocation be “terminated” if radiation levels fall below 10 mSv per month within two years, that is, that evacuees be sent home. And if these monthly criteria are met, then no relocation is warranted if the projected lifetime dose is less than 1000 mSv.

            Note that the 30 mSv Month 1 dose and 10 mSv/month subsequent cap would, in the first year, deliver up to 140 mSv. But of course, if the Month 2 dose is 10 mSv, then subsequent months will be substantially lower; the subsiding of radiation therefore means these limits will result in roughly a 100 mSv Year 1 dose. Note also that a 30 mSv Month 1 dose is an average dose rate of 41 usv/hr, substantially higher than the 2013 OIL trigger level of 25 usv/h dose rate on Day 10. So the GS-R-2 standards are roughly consistent with the 2013 standard (perhaps a little looser.)

            Note also that, because of the rapid subsidence of radiation levels, that radiation levels that meet the 2013 criteria of 100 mSv in Year 1 and 25 usv/h Day 10 dose rate will probably be below all the relocation criteria set out in GS-R-2, namely that Month 1 doses will be substantially below 30 mSv, subsequent monthly doses will be substantially below 10 mSv, and lifetime doses will be far below IAEA’s cap of 1000 mSv. So if the 2013 relocation standard, which is nominally for Year 1, is not exceeded, then relocation in subsequent years or lower radiation levels is certainly precluded.

            And finally note that the radiation levels in the GS-R-2 standard are much higher than most places in the Fukushima evacuation zone experienced. So the Fukushima relocations were mainly unnecessary according to IAEA standards.

            So your original suggestion upthread that IAEA recommends relocation for yearly doses exceeding 20 mSv or lifetime doses exceeding 100 mSv is unquestionably false. And it turns out that in fact IAEA’s recommended lifetime dose limit is not 300 mSv—it’s actually much higher, 1000 mSv.

            Case closed.

            1. @Will Boisvert and EL

              I want to thank you both for a fascinating discussion. It has been enlightening and informative to watch the two of you provide your reasoned responses and go back to find more sources to back up your arguments and interpretations.

              As moderator of this debate, I declare that time has expired.

              I will entertain comments from the audience that has followed this through the end to determine the consensus winner of this skirmish.

          12. @Will Boisvert

            That document is 2002 (long prior to Fukushima) … we are talking about updated standards relevant to the original comment and post. I agree with Rod’s moderating decision, and believe our conversation has been robust and thorough, and I don’t see where any substantive new information needs to be added. If anybody wishes to review and understand what either of us has documented in our perspectives, the comments above are more than adequate (and then some). Hopefully, those actually writing preparedness guidelines based on IAEA and international guidance have a little better time of it (or at a minimum a robust conversation from a diversity of perspectives and reach common and comprehensive understandings informed by a variety of stakeholder outlooks, organizational arrangements and capacities, international standards, and more … as specifically recommended by IAEA).

          13. Case closed.

            @Will Boisvert and Rod Adams.

            Sorry about this …

            I’ve reviewed the 2002 document referenced by Boisvert, and IRCP (in consultation with IAEA) updated it’s 1990s criteria in 2005 (in draft form) and 2007 (ICRP Publication 103). This document (related to emergency response) needs to be updated accordingly (and has been done so in the guidance we are discussing). There are numerous references to show that Boisvert is incorrect in his summary of this document and it’s concepts (the update according to ICRP entails “a major philosophical change” and also “a change to existing Safety Standards”). Specific reference is made to this in the document we are discussing on p. 88.

            I plan to adhere to the moderating decision, but Boisvert has dragged a red herring into the discussion without a chance for rebuttal, document has received no discussion or review in our comments, it is obsolete, and nobody should be enticed to follow after it.

            If Boisvert has a final post to add before turning it over to general comment, I would hope he be given the opportunity to do so.

          14. EL:

            1. “That document is 2002 (long prior to Fukushima) … we are talking about updated standards relevant to the original comment and post… This document (related to emergency response) needs to be updated accordingly (and has been done so in the guidance we are discussing)…. Boisvert has dragged a red herring into the discussion…it is obsolete, and nobody should be enticed to follow after it.”

            Wrong on all counts, EL. the 2002 GS-R-2 document that I cited in my previous comment is quite up to date in the relevant standards. The IAEA website, referencing GS-R-2, says “the most recent safety standard relating to Emergency Preparedness and Response was approved for publication in March 2002 in the Safety Standards Series” (http://www-ns.iaea.org/tech-areas/old-emergency/e-standards.asp). IAEA writes many documents and standards that partially overlap with previous standards, but previous standards are not “obsolete” until officially declared obsolete or “superseded.” IAEA maintains a specific list of “superseded standards and obsolete standards” and GS-R-2 does not appear on it. (http://www-ns.iaea.org/downloads/standards/superseded-safety-standards.pdf).

            The 2011 and 2013 IAEA documents reformulate Year 1 relocation standards, but are quite consistent with the GS-R-2 standard; all the documents recommend a relocation criterion that either explicitly or implicitly amount to about 100 mSv in Year 1. The latter documents do not mention relocation criteria beyond Year 1 or during a lifetime, so the GS-R-2 standard for those periods still applies.

            EL, I can’t understand why you call GS-R-2, which is current and explicitly addresses the central issues we have been discussing, a “red herring” that “nobody should be enticed to follow.” I think we should engage with the evidence, not try to stop people from reading it.

            2. “There are numerous references to show that Boisvert is incorrect in his summary of this document and it’s concepts.”

            You didn’t cite a single reference or any other evidence that I made any error in summarizing GS-R-2.

            3. “I’ve reviewed the 2002 document referenced by Boisvert, and IRCP (in consultation with IAEA) updated it’s 1990s criteria in 2005 (in draft form) and 2007 (ICRP Publication 103)…. (the update according to ICRP entails “a major philosophical change” and also “a change to existing Safety Standards”). Specific reference is made to this in the document we are discussing on p. 88.”

            We’ve been discussing IAEA standards, which you accepted as authoritative upthread. Now when it emerges that IAEA doesn’t say what you thought, you have switched to ICRP documents.

            But in fact, neither of these ICRP documents lends any support to your claims. (Indeed, neither of your links has a page 88, nor does GS-R-2, so I’m baffled as to what reference on p. 88 you are talking about.) The excerpt from ICRP Publication 103 that you linked to says nothing about relocation criteria; why did you even cite it? The 2005 ICRP draft document you link to gives the usual relocation criterion of 100 mSv first-year dose and mentions no other relocation standard for any lower, later or lifetime dose. It does mention a 20 mSv/yearly dose as a criterion for milder measures, specifically sheltering and iodine pills—but makes no mention of drastic measures like relocation for a 20 mSv/year dose.

            That’s exactly how IAEA looks at the 2005 draft document. On the ICRP web page with your “major philosophical change” quotation, IAEA has this to say about the 2005 draft: “The draft introduces 100 mSv in a year dose constraint for the public for evacuation and relocation and 20 mSv in a year for sheltering and iodine prophylaxis.” So IAEA explicitly understands a 20 mSv criteria to apply to sheltering and iodine pills, and not to evacuation and relocation, which are only warranted at 100 mSv yearly dose. That accords with the common-sense principle that mild protective actions are warranted by mild radiation levels while disruptive actions like relocation are only warranted at very high radiation levels. Once again, EL all the documents and quotations you produce contradict your claims. Neither IAEA nor ICRP countenance a relocation criterion of 20 mSv yearly dose or 100 mSv lifetime dose.

            So we have several clear statements, in several current IAEA documents, that relocations are not warranted below a standard of 100 mSv Year 1 dose and, if that criterion is met, that relocations are also not warranted for any other realistic dose beyond Year 1, as I explained in my previous comment. Furthermore, IAEA clearly and explicitly countenances lifetime doses far above 100 mSv, indeed up to 1000 mSv, without relocation or resettlement. No statement in any IAEA document conflicts with those standards. Those are the IAEA standards. Case closed.

            1. @EL and Will

              Overtime statements made by both participants.

              Now it is time for the audience response – if anyone happens to have been paying attention as this discussion developed.

              Sometime in the not too distant future, I might decide to elevate this debate to a front page post. Any objections or questions?

          15. Sometime in the not too distant future, I might decide to elevate this debate to a front page post. Any objections or questions?

            @Rod Adams.

            Anything that brings greater clarity to these guidelines is fine with me.

          16. Rod, thanks for the invite but I’m going to have to beg off on an OP. The remarks here are serviceable for a comment thread, but not for a headline post. I have to get back to my own work, and I’m just not going to have time to polish them up. I got way too involved in this debate and I thank you heartily for calling a halt.

            But certainly the subject of what exactly the various regulatory standards say–and more importantly how justified they are–is good to hash out, and I hope that the information and ideas unearthed here can inform further posts by other people.

        2. @ Rod,

          Thanks for letting this debate go on for a while. Basically, as much as I can understand without reading the document, (little time), Will is focused on the specific IAEA document and EL is focused on what governments will do with that document and recommendations. So, in this sense they are talking past each other some. But it would be good to find out what the IAEA itself says. Especially about the 10 day measurement standing in for the whole year’s exposure. This is cogent to me and frankly I cannot understand EL’s replies to this issue.

  18. As a laid off nuclear engineer, I can tell you the nuclear industry in the United States is dead, gone, a corpse.

    B&W killed mPower so badly it will never see the light of day again (even though it is a great design with a lot of superb features), and refused to sell off the design at fair market value. The other new reactor vendors live primarily at the grace of government largess, and face a regulatory mountain range. The NRC is is ill-equipped to assess and license new reactor designs, and seems perfectly content to ameliorate their risk-averse nature by throwing up a series of roadblocks until nuclear power economically dies (even faced with the completely obvious fact that the new designs are much safer than the current fleet). The traditional vendors are laying people as fast as they can go, and Areva is looking like it could go belly-up.

    I’m glad Rod can keep his spirits up and can continue to see the bright side of things. But I don’t.

    1. @TurboL

      As a laid off nuclear engineer, I can tell you the nuclear industry in the United States is dead, gone, a corpse.

      Perhaps it is more like a phoenix, ready to rise again when provided with competent leaders and visionary thinkers who refuse to accept the status quo.

      People who recognize the importance of nuclear energy as a tool in numerous important battles MUST decide to put as much pressure on the NRC to perform its assigned function of enabling radiation-related technology to contribute to a clean environment, promote the common defense and security, and contribute to general economic prosperity as nuclear energy opponents put on the agency to prevent it from doing its job.

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