1. I find it strange that little if anything is said or publicized about the need for evacuation plans for those living or working in the vicinity of the many chemical, petrochemical and hydro facilities that dot the country. Some of these could release chemical toxins that never ever decay away, and a dam can collapse, causing drowning of tens of thousands of victims. Indeed, certain biased people (and newspapers like the Westchester County Journal News) living in Westchester County will loudly decry Indian Point as a hazard while ignoring the very real and present danger of something like the nearby Croton Dam, downstream of which many of these same people live. This lack of critical thinking skills is astounding. 🙁

    PS, since Indian Point was mentioned in Rod’s post, I worked there for 18 years. It is without question one of the safest and best run facilities that I have ever worked at, and the people with whom I worked are among the most honorable and virtuous. They always place safety first, and they care about the community in which they work, unlike the anti-nuclear activists seeking to economically impoverish the region with a shutdown of this facility.

    1. Re: Paul W Primavera “I find it strange that little if anything is said or publicized about the need for evacuation plans for those living or working in the vicinity of the many chemical, petrochemical and hydro facilities that dot the country. Some of these could release chemical toxins that never ever decay away, and a dam can collapse, causing drowning of tens of thousands of victims.”

      You SO hit it on the head. When I see all the excessive and nearly bankruptive “safety” requirements and demands piled on nuclear vs nearly none for other long far more lethal industries, I can’t imagine a better case of institutionalized hypocrisy. Why the nuclear industry doesn’t balk for regulation parity across all industries just to strut a point boogles me.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

      1. @James Greenindge

        This is one more example that supports my contention that the main strength behind the anti-nuclear movement is different from what underlies most opposition movements. The same visible groups of people rally against chemicals, fossil fuels and “evil” corporations. They are just better supported financially and politically when they rally against nuclear energy.

        My theory is that nuclear energy’s competitors actively support any activity that slows down its inevitable march toward domination of the power business.

  2. Rod, could you edit to add in what LCF stands for (latent cancer fatality)? As a regular reader, even I had to look that one up.

  3. http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/04/13/dark-lightning/

    Wonder how these exposures to thousands — at least — yearly figures in the argument of radiation health effect scales. Nuclear ads can justly say that you receive far less exposure even from “nuclear accidents” than a regular plane trip. BTW, there must be some kind non-radiation radiation health equivalency scale created to help laymen put radiation dosages in real-life perspective. Spouting millicuries don’t hack public comprehension and only serves to darkly mystify nuclear energy . If there was a translative radiation health equivalency measure to state that — say, 50 millrads is equivalent in health impact to a city bus with fumes passing by on the curb, etc, it’d do wonders to help the public get a handle on radiation’s effect. What real-world everyday health impact equivalence to radiation does the Fukushima resident face today in higher background? Like equivalent to being exposed to chlorine bleach while cleaning the bathroom once a week? Having a new smoking household member or a smoggy garbage truck passing your house weekly? You get the idea.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. James,

      Dr Bernard Cohen has made tons of real life situations risk assessment (crossing the street 100 times, driving 250 miles in a car, wearing tight underwear etc) compared to radiation exposures.

      I have forwarded you those bits of information a few times.


  4. Daniel and Paul;

    Thanks, Cohen did a great job, but what I’m looking for are direct and tangible radiation equivalent health effect exposures of home or workplace chem agents on one’s body that the layperson can readily comprehend. A housewife doesn’t have a clue how riding down a highway a hundred times is more risk than living by a nuke. She _does_ understand that getting splashed by Clorox or an accidental spray of Raid or 6-12 must impact her health span somehow though it might be a big deal to her — but what if she knew its heath effect equivalence in radiation exposure? A splash of chlorine bleach or turpentine or borox powder or barbecue starter on your hands or mouth is equivalent in heath effects to how much radiation? That’s the kind of everyday layman comprehension scale I’m seeking.

    Thanks for those tips,

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. Not exactly what you are looking for but still very useful, comparing radiation risk from a large nuclear accident to risk from air pollution, passive smoking and obesity:


      One of the conclusions:

      “It is probably surprising to many (not least the affected populations themselves) that people still living unofficially in the abandoned lands around Chernobyl may actually have a lower health risk from radiation than they would have if they were exposed to the air pollution health risk in a large city such as nearby Kiev.”

  5. As long as we continue to saddle ourselves with the LNT fallacy, the scaremongers will continue to holler their nonscience nonsense.

  6. Hi, James!

    I wish I had a good response that would provide a simple comparison between household chemical exposure and radiation exposure. Unfortunately, sometimes the truth cannot be reduced to mere sound-bites. The facts have to be studied and critical thinking skills have to be employed to arrive at sound and reasonable conclusions (we all know that as nuclear professionals). In today’s internet environment, we have a wealth of access to all kinds of information, but more and more the critical thinking (or logical reasoning) that should be applied seems to be lacking. Maybe I am being overly pessimistic. Yet nuclear science – like chemical science – is not an easy subject, but it is a comprehensible one, and risk analysis is an old science that has been done for decades and decades if not a century or more by organizations like insurance companies. Perhaps we ought to get better at explaining this to our neighbors and friends instead of relying on a news media already biased against all things nuclear. Atomic Insights helps to do that.

    I did find a few more web sites that provide perspective on risks:


    These may have been provided above or elsewhere in different posts at Atomic Insights.

  7. Folks,

    I apologize for making another comment, but something occurred to me from my work history that relates to what James wrote above about comparing household chemical and nuclear radiological hazards. When I was at Indian Point Unit 3 some years ago, we had several systems that would place the Control Room HVAC at Unit 3 in the incident mode to protect the Operators:

    Control Room High Radiogas (which might occur from a hypothetical radiological release)
    Control Room High Area Radiation (again, which might occur from a hypothetical radiological release)
    High Ammonia Gas Concentration
    High Chlorine Gas Concentration

    The last two were installed to protect against a toxic gas release from a railroad train accident. You see, there was a railroad which snaked along the western side of the Hudson River and Indian Point was on the eastern side. Trains traversing through the region routinely carried a myriad of toxic chemicals, including ammonia, chlorine, molten sulfur, etc. If a train derailed or underwent some other type of accident, then the chemicals would be spilled, and since the prevailing winds were from west to east, people at Indian Point (not to mention the Village of Buchanan and the City of Peekskill) would be exposed, perhaps with injurious if not fatal results. As a result, we installed a toxic gas monitoring system to ensure that if that event occurred – however unlikely its occurrence may be – the Operators in the Control Room would be protected, the staff on site could take protective measures, and they could still safely shutdown the reactor as the need may arise. This was a completely non-nuclear hazard originating from a non-nuclear off-site source outside the control of Entergy Nuclear (or its predecessors, Con Ed for Unit 2 and NYPA for Unit 3). It would however affect residents in the four county region of Westchester, Orange, Rockland and Putnam, yet it is ignored by the Westchester County Journal News and the politicians elected to office in NY State in favor of demonizing Indian Point.

    When I was working at the James FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Lycoming, NY, we has combustible gas detectors within our sewage treatment system, monitoring for sulfur dioxide and methane, as most all such treatment systems everywhere (e.g., municipalities, hospitals, universities, etc.) are required to have. No one in the news media cares one iota for the possible hazards from their local city’s sewage treatment system, yet the dangers from these are far more credible and likely to occur than some sort of hypothetical doomsday event at either Indian Point or FitzPatrick (or the adjacent Nine Mile Units 1 and 2).

    Basically, non-nuclear hazards from railroad trains, chemical plants, etc., are far more prevelant and credible than anything at a nuclear power plant. Yet people ignore the former and express stark terror at the latter regardless of its non-credibility. Even Fukushima Daiichi didn’t kill as many people as a railroad train accident on the western side of the Hudson River would. And please correct me if I err, but didn’t only six or so people get killed outright at Fukushima, compared with the thousands who died from Union Carbide toxin release in Bhopal India in the 1980s?

    We need to communicate better to our neighbors and friends, and we need to encourage the use of critical thinking skills. That’s the way to defeat this non-thinking fear mongering and hysteria.

  8. Excellent comments Paul.

    I would worry more about the Kensico Dam, a100+ year old stone structure which, if failed catastrophically, would rapidly inundate large sections of White Plains and Scarsdale along the Bronx River flood plain. I know of no warning or evacuation plans related to this contingency.

    A curious citizen speculated about this a few years ago: http://www.city-data.com/forum/westchester-county/1223078-what-if-earthquake-hit-kensico-dam.html

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