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  1. Watching Scientific American decay from a good cross-discipline scientific publication to its current state of irrelevancy over the last forty years has been a very sad thing for me.

    It is infuriating seeing the editors of this magazine today arrogating themselves the standing eared by those who’s shoes they aren’t fit to carry from the past.

  2. This is the same publication that printed the story, “A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables,” by Mark Jacobson after all. Recall that was the study that had to add the CO2 from nuclear weapon-induced fire storms to make nuclear power look bad.

  3. Rod – absolutely on target. dv82xl – that’s precisely my feeling. My first encounter with Amory Lovins’s ideas was in an article published in Scientific American, and that fact made him credible in my eyes. Never again!

    A good point about advertising, and I’m glad you made it. Anyone who looks at the SA site will see ads from fossil hydrocarbon companies, and will hopefully be smart enough to make the connection for themselves. Mind you, I read some of the comments on posts and then I’m not so sure…

    I completed a couple of the ‘energy polls’ on the site and as I recall they were incredibly slanted. The choices I wanted to make were never included.

  4. Rod – I forgot to answer your question! My answer is yes, absolutely. What to do about it? I’m not sure there’s anything – people just don’t have the information-checking reflex instilled in them. Our culture definitely discourages it. If I was feeling paranoid I’d say our culture and institutions actively suppress it, to the benefit of business as usual.

    I have no immediate idea for how to tackle this. It’s only in the last year or two that I’ve begun checking information consciously and conscientiously.

  5. The standard of safety for the nuclear industry has long been higher than that for other energy industries. While nuclear energy should be the safest form of energy, increasing the safety requirements would have only a small impact on safety in energy production (by making a small danger even smaller). The real impact of such requirements would be to drive even more power utilities away from nuclear and towards fossil-fuel power generation, which is much more dangerous. The supposed effort towards increased safety instead causes less safety.

    A similar situation comes to mind. Suppose the goal is to reduce gasoline consumption. This might be done by requiring cars like the Toyota Prius to get 100 MPG. But MUCH more gasoline could be saved by getting people out of their SUVs into the current version of the Prius.

    1. donb,

      Being on the other side of the Atlantic I wonder if hybrid cars in general aren’t overkill. Turbodiesels can be almost as economical while not having the technological complexity of a hybrid.

      Have a look at this 2008 article from the Sunday Times which pitted a Prius against a conventionally-powered BMW 5-series.

      1. My Dodge Colt in 1985 got 45MPG. Twin Shift 4 speed for a total of 8 speeds, drove that over 200,000 miles when it was killed by hedge apples…

      2. Pure hybrids like the Prius are a nightmare to maintain I could imagine, and the costs for all the extra equipment…. But Plugin-hybrids run on electricity all the time, and only have to have a backup generator to charge the battery whenever it is low. Backup generators are cheap as dirt, so it shouldn’t be a problem to put one in a car. The only problem is the high cost of batteries. In a Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf, 16 kWh take you as far as 1 gallon gas in a Prius.

  6. Well there you go. Scientific American has managed to overlook other things right under their two shoes and “Just the Idea” of another form of nuclear energy. How astute of a formerly great publication to miss cavitation fusion in their condemnation of nucear safety. Not even a critique of the concept? Where do they find editors these days?

    Combined fission/fusion reactors with direct conversion of high energy alfa to electricity and steam to turbine generation just might make a good read. The efficiency of such a system is better than 70%. And then there is cavitation fusion of the wet kind……If the NRC will look at the fact that it comes without radioactive fuel elements and uses just Aqueous Boric Acid in Turbine Oil. My God it is just Eye Wash and Oil and even Grandma is OK with that!

  7. … editors of one of the premier magazines covering science and technology for the general public …

    It has been many years since Scientific American has been able to claim that status.

    These days, that rag is a joke to anyone with a reasonable background in science.

  8. Not surprising. Scientific American is enamored with the idea of replacing all fossil fuels with wind, solar, and geothermal (and maybe tidal and wave) energy. Good luck with that.

  9. The sensationalistic media continue to call the Fukushima nuclear accident a “catastrophe”, whereas it has not caused a single death.

    If a plane crash with zero death happened (it does sometimes), nobody in his own mind would call it a catastrophe, a tragedy or even an “apocalypse” (that was the word used by the dumb European energy commissioner !). The fact those overcharged and unfounded words are used for nuclear shows we are dealing with propagandists with whom any rational and reasonnable debate is impossible.

    1. Interesting point;
      When a plane crashlands in the Hudson and produces zero deaths, we talk about what a hero Sully is. When a nuclear plant melts don and produces zero deaths, it’s a catastrophe.

  10. Jean…it is not catastrphic from people glowing and then dying. True. But it is in every other respect a catastrosphe. Close to a 100,000 human beings are forced from their homes, for how long is anyone’s guess. People are getting sick (not from radiation but from living in tent citie) and dying. The cost to clean this up is going to be in the double-digit billions. So, I would and have called this a ‘catastrophe’. Pro nuclear activists should not minimize the human suffering because of the reactors melting and contaminating, even in small amounts, the land around the reactors. None of this is good, its all bad. Maybe they will not over react and re deisgn their nuclear expansion instead of shutting it down. Maybe.

    1. HI David,

      Which is why I would love to see about 300 Geiger counters dispersed throughout the area with trained volunteers to move out of their tents and map the area to see which spots have radiation that is higher than the highest background radiation we know. With all the billions being spent, knowing the exact dispersion and the exact rate of actual decay would be hugely helpful in bringing people back to their homes and in cleaning up the worst areas.

    2. David, I think a key factor here would be to figure out the additional evacuations necessary above and beyond the evacuations from areas that would have been ruined anyway by the earthquake and tsunami. Some of the permanent relocations would have been necessary, regardless of the unfortunate siting of the Daiichi Plant, due to the quake and tsunami.

      1. I have wondered since the quake if the radiation would disappear before the homes could be rebuilt “normally.” That is to say, will the radiation actually delay the rebuilding of homes. Perhaps it will. I do wish they were more specific in which homes it delays.

  11. Sci-Am is another in a long list of main stream media magazines, news outlets and other purveyors of psuedo-information to the public that caters to the liberal left.

  12. While it’s very tempting to discredit SciAm based on its declining quality or advertiser influence, their article is really just a continuation of the “nuclear is dangerous” meme. The negative memes which surround nuclear have hijacked the brains of otherwise reasonably smart people. Worse yet, these people don’t realize they’ve been “infected”. They honestly believe they are putting forth reasonable thinking.

    That said, it’s really a full time job to try and correct the misapprehension of nuclear technology. It is a complex technology with many facets, yet the unfounded self-replicating ideas about it do nothing more than dismiss it and place fear.

    As much of a tragedy Fukushima is, I believe it will be more tragic if the fear of nuclear energy takes a stronger grip on the public. Did SciAm beat the drum to end deep sea oil drilling last year? No, they didn’t.

    1. I know that Nuclear Energy is complex, but not significantly more so than any other type of energy production. (most people don’t worry about the amperage on their spark plugs or the O2 percentage on their air intake…) Let’s not over complexify the situation just because we can. For most people, the basic questions are, 1. Will it work? 2. Can you do more stuff with it than we are currently? 3. Is it more dangerous than a bread box? If yes how much more? If there is a disaster can I go back home or will I have to abandon my house? and finally 4. Is it really expensive compared to other ways of doing this? 5. Does it really destroy the environment for the next 600 billion trillion years? (Not just my home but my neighbors and my grandkids too…).

      We can answer those questions with confidence and clear truthful and positive answers in the case of Nuclear power. Over the past few years I have found out that the measurements for “danger” from radiation are so low that I am much more in danger of contracting cancer from pumping my own gas than I would be walking around Fukushima right now, especially if I was carrying a Geiger counter so I could tell if I was about to fall in a hole (metaphorically speaking). Having an exclusion zone around the area is a bit like having an exclusion zone around a tornado hit. “Let’s move everyone 50 miles out of the area while we inspect the damage for the next 6 months.” As far as I can see the danger – actual physical damage to a person – from nails and glass scattered on the ground after a tornado is greater than the danger from most of the radiation sources around Fukushima. It would be great to know! Pull out the counters!

  13. I have a few points to make:

    First, I think SciAm missed another important point. . . “or too close to oceanfront that is vulnerable to a tsunami or hurricane storm surge, or downriver from a huge dam that could burst, then the NRC should reject the bid.”

    Just because the plant design at Fukushima was vulnerable to flooding, doesn’t mean that every plant design possible would become a hydrogen combustion bomb.

    This is the problem with calls for ‘stricter’ regulation is that they want to impose absolute regulations on all plants, even if it’s not appropriate. There are some plant designs, I believe, with passive cooling, which would just shrug off a tsunami washing over them, or water from breached dam.

    Yet, SciAm doesn’t make that distinction. They just demand that the NRC deny all applications at ocean fronts or downstream from a dam. That is not at all a reasonable approach to regulation. Regulatory rules have to be crafted based upon what is appropriate for any particular design.

    But, there’s something else I want to raise. I keep seeing people here and elsewhere who keep echoing a similar argument to, “Jean Demesure” – basically, that since no one died, this is no catastrophe and really, no big deal.

    If (I don’t know that there is, yet, but I’m saying “IF”, mind you) there is widespread radioactive cesium contamination to levels of significant concentration of soil within the 60km around Fukushima, that’s a BIG DEAL. The fact that in the midst of a natural disaster, tens of thousands of people had to be displaced from their homes and businesses even if the natural disaster didn’t damage their homes, is a BIG DEAL. The fact that almost 3 months after the earthquake, the zone around Fukushima is still evacuated, and even in the best case will probably remain evacuated for a few months more (while scientific study is conducted to make sure contamination hasn’t reached potentially dangerous levels, and while the still struggle to make sure the reactor is completely under control and all possible leaks are stopped), is a BIG DEAL.

    I’m getting really, really tired of pro-nuclear people trying to shrug this off as no big deal because there were no deaths. It alienates almost every other reasonable person who looks at this terrible situation of forced evacuations, and land that might not be useable by humans for some time which nobody is really able to quantify yet, and thinks this is a horrible situation, even if there are no deaths.

    It also dismisses the possibility that there could be any deaths from additional cancers. Just because no one has died yet, does not mean no one WILL DIE. I don’t know that anyone will: the experience we’ve had so far with Chernobyl indicates this may not result in many cancers at all, but at the same time, we don’t really know the outcome yet , and it will really take decades of scientific study to determine if/how many additional cancers develop in the aftermath of this incident.

    So please, while trying to defend nuclear power, don’t so blithely dismiss this situation as not a problem, just because there’s been no deaths.

    1. @Jeff – I agree with you up to a point. It is tragic and a catastrophe to have a single event destroy 10% of the nuclear electrical generating capacity of a country with as big a dependence on nuclear energy as Japan. The economic hardship that will be imposed by higher electricity prices and less availability of that important basis for our modern way of life cannot be overstated.

      It is also tragic to realize that so much radioactive material was able to escape from a supposedly contained reactor. It appears that GE’s minimalist containment volume design did not work out as well as the engineers thought it would when they designed it nearly 50 years ago.

      The evacuations are a real issue for me. For some reason, we have regulators that like to draw circles instead of recognizing that the pattern of dispersal from the site is only an unknown BEFORE it happens, not 2 months later. Radiation is incredibly easy to detect and measure accurately – why has it taken so long to do a sufficient job of surveying to allow the return of people into areas that are inside the circle but NOT affected by any radioactive materials? It is also incredible to me that the NRC of these United States was still recommending a 50 mile evacuation as late as a week ago. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

      Radiation and radioactive material are not something to fear any more than one should fear gravity or heat from a fire. They are something to understand and respect.

      We have already learned lessons from the accident. Some of the most important ones we learned a long time ago and already have incorporated into modern designs that are not trying to become economically competitive in an era where oil costs less than $3 per barrel. (That was the case in the 1960s, when the GE Mk 1 containment system was designed.)

      1. “It appears that GE’s minimalist containment volume design did not work out as well as the engineers thought it would when they designed it nearly 50 years ago.”

        Rod I cannot understand why you continue to beat the drum that the Mark I containment was responsible for the events at Fukushima. Unfortunately you don’t cite any technical basis for that conclusion which leads me to believe that you know little about Mark I design.

        Containment design must take into account many factors some are more vulnerable to some events rather than others and some are capable of responding to the more likely events than others. The Mark I design used at many BWRs in the US is extremely rugged (as shown at Fukushima). It is highly capable of mitigating some events much better than the larger dry containments used at PWRs. Certainly a larger containment may have been able to absorb the hydrogen excursion seen at Fukushima better than others, however, I doubt that a PWR would have responded as well to the flooding event especially since at many PWRs the Turbine Driven Auxiliary Feed Pump is highly vulnerable to flooding.

      2. @Jim – feel free to explain why you think that the far smaller containment did not play a significant role in the large radiation releases required due to venting to keep pressure under control.

        Sure, the design is rugged. In this case, its small size contributed to the need to keep burping out quantities of radioactive material that were large enough to cause ordered evacuations out to as far as 50 miles.

        I have argued in many other posts that the standards for evacuation should be reviewed in light of what we now know about the health effects of low level radiation. The fact remains, however, that a PWR that suffered analogous amounts of core damage (TMI) released far less Cs and I to the surrounding environment. I may not know a lot of details about the active components of BWRs, but I can look at the sketches and see that their internal volume is FAR smaller than the internal volume of a typical dry containment PWR. I understand enough about steam and expansions to believe that extra space and internal equipment makes a big difference in the frequency of the need to vent gases.

      3. Rod thanks for the offer to explain Mark I and during this explanation we should both remember that the major disaster at Fukushima was a 14M Tsunami and an extended Station Blackout which had the major and devastating consequences.

        One of the major differences between Mark I and the other types (PWRs) is the large quantity of water stored in the torus which acts to remove internal energy during the initial phases of any event. This design allows it to mitigate, very simply, many different types of accidents even Station Blackout up to a point. This cannot be said of a PWR with the possible exception of an Ice Containment.

        Additionally a Mark I typically has two high pressure injection systems (HPCI & RCIC) which do not require AC power which gives them some redundancy for maintaining RPV level. Both systems are heavily protected from severe weather impacts as they are located in the Secondary Containment. HPCI and RCIC would also have a large supply of water external to the containment by using the volume in the Condensate Storage Tanks (normal alignment for the systems). RCIC can be operated for quite awhile even withoui DC power. The only limitation would be the ability of the operators to maintain the equipment since the environmental conditions would be ever more extreme since heat cannot be removed from the Reactor Building.

        A PWR in the same predicament as a Mark I would, under many designs, not have the availability of a Turbine Driven Aux Feed Pump (some would have been flooded by the Tsuami). Once the water in the Steam Generator is exhausted to the atmosphere (could be fairly fast without makeup) the relief valves on the RPV would lift and dump the vessel, pressurizer and accumulator contents to the primary containment without any way to mitigate the condition.

        You might be able to lift the power operated relief valve to establish a flow of water from auxiliary pumps similar to that done at Fukushima but how would you dissipate the internal energy that is released to the containment? No Quench Spray, No Recirculation spray no AC power at all.

        What you would have is ever increasing pressure in the containment until such point as it was breached. The good part is that the hydrogen burn would probably not be as severe as at Fukushima, owing to the larger volume of the containment, but you would still likely breach containment – liberating hydrogen and fission products.

        My bottom line is that an extended loss of all AC power at any nuclear station, despite the containment design, is a very serious condition and is likely to produce issues similar to Fukushima. It is convenient to echo the anti-nukes who know nothing about the Mark I design except that which there current organization is promoting, however, it does a disservice to a very rugged containment design which was able to withstand pressure well over 100 psig.

        We’ll know much more after awhile when the Japanese begin to accurately describe their mitigation efforts. I still find it hard to believe that they had an installed hardened vent which if installed properly should have vented pressure and hydrogen safely.

      4. Rod thanks for the offer to explain Mark I and during this explanation we should both remember that the major disaster at Fukushima was a 14M Tsunami and an extended Station Blackout which had the major and devastating consequences.

        One of the major differences between Mark I and the other types (PWRs) is the large quantity of water stored in the torus which acts to remove internal energy during the initial phases of any event. This design allows it to mitigate, very simply, many different types of accidents even Station Blackout up to a point. This cannot be said of a PWR with the possible exception of an Ice Containment.

        Additionally a Mark I typically has two high pressure injection systems (HPCI & RCIC) which do not require AC power which gives them some redundancy for maintaining RPV level. Both systems are heavily protected from severe weather impacts as they are located in the Secondary Containment. HPCI and RCIC would also have a large supply of water external to the containment by using the volume in the Condensate Storage Tanks (normal alignment for the systems). RCIC can be operated for quite awhile even withoui DC power. The only limitation would be the ability of the operators to maintain the equipment since the environmental conditions would be ever more extreme since heat cannot be removed from the Reactor Building.

        A PWR in the same predicament as a Mark I would, under many designs, not have the availability of a Turbine Driven Aux Feed Pump (some would have been flooded by the Tsuami). Once the water in the Steam Generator is exhausted to the atmosphere (could be fairly fast without makeup) the relief valves on the RPV would lift and dump the vessel, pressurizer and accumulator contents to the primary containment without any way to mitigate the condition.

        You might be able to lift the power operated relief valve to establish a flow of water from auxiliary pumps similar to that done at Fukushima but how would you dissipate the internal energy that is released to the containment? No Quench Spray, No Recirculation spray no AC power at all.

        What you would have is ever increasing pressure in the containment until such point as it was breached. The good part is that the hydrogen burn would probably not be as severe as at Fukushima, owing to the larger volume of the containment, but you would still likely breach containment – liberating hydrogen and fission products.

        My bottom line is that an extended loss of all AC power at any nuclear station, despite the containment design, is a very serious condition and is likely to produce issues similar to Fukushima. It is convenient to echo the anti-nukes who know nothing about the Mark I design except that which there current organization is promoting, however, it does a disservice to a very rugged containment design which was able to withstand pressure well over 100 psig.

        We’ll know much more after awhile when the Japanese begin to accurately describe their mitigation efforts. I still find it hard to believe that they had an installed hardened vent which if installed properly should have vented pressure and hydrogen safely.

    2. @ Jeff,
      I would agree with your assessment of the article’s recommendations. Oftentimes ‘stricter’ regulation isn’t needed, merely more informed application of currently existing regulation. My understanding is that this kind of misappropriation has been a major roadblock for new reactor designs. Like modular (10- 400 MWe) designs being attacked because they don’t have as much shielding as a 1000MWe PWR, which is the equivalent of the coast guard walking on board a vessel and giving the owner a ticket for not having parachutes.

      I can’t speak for others, but for myself, I do not take the releases from Fukushima lightly, nor do I take the displacement of the residents within the evacuation zone lightly. I find both to be serious. However, the phrase “No big deal” is meaningless without context. The some reports attribute over 20,000 premature deaths to particulate emissions from coal plants, around 2,800 of which are from lung cancers. That’s more than 50 people every day, more than 2 people every hour, and that’s just in the U.S. where most people have access to some form of healthcare that could extend their lives. I can only imagine what mortality rates from particulate emissions are like in China and India. Even that doesn’t compare to what the world would be like if we shut down all those coal plants and didn’t have electricity to run refrigerators and purify water. Millions would die of various diseases, and millions more would starve or dehydrate. That doesn’t even consider all the other life saving and life enhancing things that reliable electricity does for us.

      The phrase “no big deal” as used to describe what has happened at Fukushima is not a dismissal of its severity, merely a result of risk assessment based on knowledge of possible alternatives. The resultant releases from a reactor that was assaulted by the fifth most powerful earthquake in recorded history, and subsequently by a massive tsunami is serious. But when compared to the thousands of lives taken by the aforementioned events, and especially to the lives that were saved by the services those plants provided for forty years, this issue is not of the highest priority.

    3. Answer these questions and you may have a better understanding:
      1. How many people are living today in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? (You are aware of what happened there?)
      2. How much different is the death rate of these cities from other comparable size cities in Japan?
      3. Do you believe that smoking (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, etc.) causes (triggers or increases the likelihood of) early death, or other illnesses, cancer, etc….. ?
      4. Do you believe that second hand smoke (and now they are talking third hand smoke) can also contribute to health problems?

      If you answered yes to those then: 5. How much wores (better???) is coal smoke? – Look into the carcinogens, chemical poisons, etc sent up the smokestack of the typical fossil power plant (don’t limit yourself to just coal),there are mega-tons per year. For coal, also look at the mega-tons of waste dumped on the ground – to leach into the ground water, wash into the surface watershed, blow into the atmosphere, etc.
      As a hint, most fossil fuels contain quantities of Radon that passes right through the combustion process and out the stack. But, Radon is not the only bad thing. It still amazes me that so many people try to correlate cancer deaths to the TMI accident through the use of the prevailing wind patterns and the number/location of cancers, AND completely ignore the multi-mega-watt coal powered power plants less than a mile from TMI (use Google maps, there are at least three not counting the ones that have shut down) and the others right in the prevailing wind pattern. They have actually proven that coal causes death and don’t see it!

      1. @Rich,

        Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not good examples in this case. The weapons detonated over those two cities were set off at altitudes high enough to prevent the fireballs from intersecting the ground. So other than some neutron activation of material near GZ and small amounts of rain-scavanged bomb debris, there wasn’t any local fallout. Compare that to some of the test sites at the Nevada National Security Site such as Area 18. You can still find little blobs of black and green glass which contain radioactive bomb debris.

        http://www.osti.gov/bridge/servlets/purl/751829-9TuGyl/webviewable/751829.pdf

      2. @John
        “So other than some neutron activation of material near GZ and small amounts of rain-scavenged bomb debris, there wasn’t any local fallout.”
        I was not trying to imply that these sites were like the Bikini Atoll, however with more than 50 years of nuclear power experience, with more than 20 in the military, I find it hard to believe that the amount of radiation left or scattered on the surrounding areas by the Fukushima event is greater than that left by either of the two bombs. I have actually used the equipment of they may have used to measure any “contamination” that may have been left by/from those bombs. Today, areas that those old instruments would indicate as “clean” would be restricted for years. Also, the idea of a “safe dose” has been greatly modified since then. I can still remember my instructor telling me (and reading in the manual) how the maximum dose rate was determined. Paraphrasing – it has been 50 years. “We determined the dose rate that caused reddening of the skin, like a mild sunburn, and divided that dose level by ten. It has been determined that this does rate will not cause damage to the body.”

        The ruggedized, military, detectors actually attenuated the detection capabilities and prevented the detection of most low level Alpha contamination. Their overall sensitivity would make them useless today. Today, the “test” source that was shipped with them (so that service member could confirm they were working) would be locked up in a lead shielded vault and require a radiation work permit to observe, let alone use. Even the scintillation counters (Pigs) that we use today are orders of magnitudes more sensitive than back then.

        I think the contamination and resulting dose in the bomb areas was much worse than we have previously determined/reported.

  14. “I’m getting really, really tired of pro-nuclear people trying to shrug this off as no big deal because there were no deaths. It alienates almost every other reasonable person who looks at this terrible situation of forced evacuations, and land that might not be useable by humans for some time which nobody is really able to quantify yet, and thinks this is a horrible situation, even if there are no deaths.”

    Reasonable people need to be reminded that this caused zero deaths, while coal burning kills thousands yearly. The issue is perspective. So what is there are a very few cancers that are going to be the result of this event? Finding them will be hard, will require all sorts of statistical gymnastics, and the confidence limit of the findings will be low. This is not the case for coal.

    Coal has destroyed, and will continue to destroy land by the hundreds of square miles, leaving it unfit for other use and human habitation. The land around Fukushima has not been seriously effected except in the minds of LNT paranoids, and could be reoccupied tomorrow with few long-term consequences.

    Nuclear energy is held to a much higher standard than any other source of energy because of irrational fears based on ignorance, and lies. It is just that simple. So continuing to drum in the fact that there are no deaths is important, reminding everyone that this is not as horrible as it is being made out to be.

    “know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32

  15. I said in my comment at the SA site that the article is good. I must admit the SA article is not good because the perspective is wrong. It’s another example of an editorial policy of following those who think it’s their duty to expose the tiny hints of corruption that might exist. Reminds me of the SS of the Soviet Union.
    They draw the wrong conclusions. What happened to objective,honest and investigative journalism by qualified personnel.

  16. We humans seem to have a serious problem with being reminded of our mistakes. We like to screw up bad but then learn and move on… or maybe just move on. Unfortunately radionuclides are loud mouths where as chemical carcinogins are silent killers. We can watch Dr. Phil episodes all day about how preganant mothers need to cut seafood out of their diets due to mercury poisoning melting their unborn child’s brain but we quickly forget about it. There is no gieger counter for mercury or black lung- just invalids and gravestones. Radiation is like that SOB in law that loves to bring up your one bad moment in front of everyone to distract the conversation from their lifelong litany of mishaps and failures.
    On another note, 80 million people were permanently displaced last century by one power source, it was never considered a catastrophe by much of anyone. Thank you hydro.

    1. Just have to say, incredible one liner “There is no Geiger Counter for mercury or black lung, only invalids and gravestones.”

      It is this kind of hard hitting wordsmithing that will help people who understand the issue to communicate effectively with people who don’t. Too often I feel that when trying to discuss the issue someone will ask me a question equivalent to “what’s the time?” and I tell them (in nuclear terms) how to make a watch.