Ted Rockwell shared knowledge to combat Fukushima fears
By A. David Rossin
Internationally recognized radiation engineer Ted Rockwell raised more than a few eyebrows when he maintained, in the aftermath of the Fukushima catastrophe in Japan, that the fear of radiation does more harm than the radiation itself. Responsible health experts know that outside the plant boundaries, radiation levels are detectable but low, and that many towns still off-limits are safe for people to return to.
Rockwell placed the blame for panic squarely on politicians – not only those in Japan but also in the U. S. who rejected the advice of scientists and instead listened to alarmists.
Theodore Rockwell, who died earlier this year, just a few months short of his 91st birthday, was one of the pioneers of nuclear power. As a young engineer, Rockwell became a technical director of the Naval Reactors team at Oak Ridge under the leadership of then Captain Hyman Rickover.
That team designed the Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine. Their principles and techniques would guide civilian nuclear power programs for the next half century.
In my first job at Argonne National Lab, I used the still-classified “Shielding Design Manual,” edited by Theodore Rockwell. Later, Ted was able to convince the hard-headed Rickover to make it available to researchers and the commercial nuclear industry. That was decades before Ted became my friend and mentor.
During a career that spanned more than 60 years, Rockwell remained a tireless advocate of nuclear power and a hobgoblin to critics, particularly those who kept trying to raise public fears about low-level radiation. By low levels, Rockwell meant those like we receive from natural background sources: space, the sun, granite and marble, vital exposures from medical and dental treatment, as well as the routine exposures that pilots and flight attendants receive while flying at high altitudes. Despite lawsuits and sensational headlines, their exposures show no effects on their health.
Rockwell challenged critics of nuclear power who claimed – wrongly – that exposure to tiny amounts of radiation would add up over time – they don’t – and increase the risk of getting cancer. Unfortunately, this cancer fallacy has been politicized to such an extent that some radiation protection standards were based on it. Regrettably, efforts to correct the standards have failed due to political infighting by activists and opportunistic politicians.
For Rockwell, the crime was the evacuation zones around the disabled Fukushima plant. More than 20,000 people were killed, none by radiation, all by the tsunami that devastated a large stretch of the coastal plain.
The four nuclear reactors survived the earthquake and actually shut down properly, but were ruined an hour later when the tsunami knocked out all emergency power at the plants and shut off the electricity to half of Japan. Not a single person received a life-altering injury from radiation, which the World Health Organization has confirmed.
The real horror: evacuees reduced to poverty, clinical depression and even suicide, caused by a fear of radiation that overly-conservative international radiation standards created and alarmists exploited.
Those responsible for setting the standards said they consider their approach to be prudent. But well-intended or not, “prudence” based on bad science can become cruelly destructive, as the hysterical response at Fukushima has shown.
Except for some clearly identified spots, the radiation levels in most towns where people could live and work would not ever cause cancer at all.
Sadly, some people in the Fukushima area are wearing cumbersome rad-con suits, filtered gas masks, gloves and booties, and putting the same on their children. Meanwhile, other people who are actually exposed to higher levels of background radiation all the time are living carefree in Brazil, Norway, Iran and India. Generations of people in those countries live normal lives, even though in some places they are exposed to background radiation levels that are a hundred times greater than those around Fukushima.
As Rockwell liked to point out, “Few, if any, people decide where to live, or how to live, on the basis of radiation levels. There is no reason to live any differently now. Let the people of Fukushima return home and get on with their lives.”
A. David Rossin, PhD, is a past president of the American Nuclear Society. A memorial service for Ted Rockwell will be held in Bethesda, MD on August 17. For more information about the time and location of the service, please use the contact form link on the Atomic Insights footer section.
I will contact NHK world news again and ask that they translate and post this article on their site.
Hope you receive any answer from NHK or Japan Times or are contacted by (rare?) Japanese pro-nuclear blogs about it!
Every time I contact NHK World News to tell them to wake up and report on what reality is, they simply thank me for my contribution.
Nothing gets thru them. No pro nuke facts allowed at NHK World News.
But they are very polite.
Every time I contact NHK World News to tell them to wake up and report on what reality is, they simply thank me for my contribution.
That is not strange since the statements regarding radiation are so far off the general accepted knowledge, such as the results found after Chernobyl regarding its low level radiation.
Japanese government now tries to move Fukushima evacuees back home after their places are decontaminated towards below 20mSv/year. Only some elderly follow those official government directions (~15% of the population).
Knowing the vulnerability of the unborn, babies and children for radiation, practical all young people refuse.
20mSv/year delivers only ~5% extra chance on premature death for young adults after 25year.
But the chance for pregnant women to get misfits is raised ~5 times as Chernobyl radiation research showed!
5 times? Please provide us with your peer reviewed research on this…
So then why don’t locations with normal background radiation levels higher than average have higher than average levels of ‘misfits’ or higher than average levels of premature death?
Sorry Bas, but real world facts defeat your FUD.
Sorry, for the delayed response regarding your “peer reviewed research” question.
I have several publications in peer reviewed journals, but the publication in “Environmental Science and Pollution Research” is outstanding thanks to the unique circumstances:
– Chernobyl dropped (mainly CS137) fall-out (rain) in some regions and not in similar nearby regions (the regions cover ~12mln people).
Level of fall-out ~0.5mSv/a;
– Registration of all stillbirth, malformations (congenial), Down syndrome, etc. at region level was available from 5 years before Chernobyl. So the research could compare over a 10 year period and compensate for confounding factors (comparing differences between regions before Chernobyl).
This study showed 30% increase in stillbirth frequency, and ~60% increase in congenital malformations, Down, etc. per mSv/a with significance levels better than 0.001 (p<0.001).
The graphs at the end of the article indicate similar in Hungary (p<0.001), Denmark (p<0.01), Norway (p~0.01), Latvia (p~0.01), Poland (p<0.05), Sweden (p<0.05).
If you want more studies regarding the detrimental effect of low level Chernobyl radiation, you can find two reviews of the many other studies in the reference list of the publication (one by Little and the other by Bard et al).
“… why don’t locations with normal background radiation levels higher than average have higher than average levels of ‘misfits’ or higher than average levels of premature death?…”
Those locations do have higher misfits and premature death and stillbirth!
Compensation for confounding factors is needed as; e.g. air in the mountains has less micro particles due to lower air pressure and less traffic/houses.
You can see the dust blanket covering lower altitude land yourself if you are high in the mountains and look into the low land while there is little wind and clouds (I often observed that in the Alps in Sept/Oct).
The problem is that you need many subjects and compensation of confounder factors and/or long term, in order to have a study (measurement) sensitive enough to detect those.
But some research had the money, others found a way around (most using the results of others).
– This easy to read gives some overview.
First indications that the IAEA statement regarding Fukushima health damage is a wild under-estimation (as usual): http://fukuleaks.org/web/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Infant-mortality-in-Japan-after-Fukushima.pdf
These other studies, by and large, show no detrimental effect. “In most studies aimed at measuring the differences in pregnancy outcomes between regions or time periods, the authors concluded that no consistent evidence of detrimental physical effects leading to congenital anomalies (or other abnormal outcomes of pregnancy) following the accident exists.”
The US National Academy of Sciences concludes:
“Relatively few epidemiologic studies have been conducted to evaluate outcomes such as spontaneous abortions, congenital malformations, neonatal mortality, stillbirths, and the sex ratio in relation to preconception radiation exposure, and there is no consistent evidence of an association of any such outcomes with exposure to environmental sources of radiation.”
– BEIR VII, p. 238.
Funny I tried your link and got an “object not found error”
In some ways, those who understood and cared like Ted were also victims of Fulushima.
You are a DeNiAr, much like a climate change denier. You are violating the code of ethics of the American Nuclear Society. Shame on you.
You are an IdIoT. You are violating common sense and real world facts. About what we have come to expect from you.
It’s a fact radiation damages DNA, it’s a fact CO2 traps infrared radiation, it’s a fact DNA changes lead to evolution of species, it’s a fact the Earth is essentially spherical.
An IDiot is someone who promotes the pseudoscience of Intelligent Design. That’s not me.
No actually CO2 doesn’t trap infrared radiation. It absorbs it then re-emits it, the effect is because it primarily absorbs it from below but emits it in a sphere essentially slowing the energies trip back to space. If yopu can’t get such a simple well understood scientific fact straight why should anybody listen to your screeds about radiation exposure?
“An idiot is someone who promotes the pseudoscience of Intelligent Design.”
It’s quite an intelligent design that provides within Earth’s crust enough uranium and thorium to fuel a technological civilization double our current population for untold millennia into the future. One doesn’t have to be a short-Earth history creationist to have some humility and recognize that there is a Force or Power out there greater than our finite human minds, and that it’s we in our greed, corruption and immorality who screw things up. Proper use of the gifts, including the nuclear ones, that we have been given in nature is our responsibility – whether that occurred over 13.73 billion years or not I don’t know for I wasn’t alive then, and I won’t indulge in hubris to the contrary.
“Projection”, Paul. Not evidence 🙂
@ David Walters,
Not projection, but deduction. 🙂
1. The fine tuning of the laws of physics is evidence that before the singularity came into existence from which the universe expanded someone was guiding the process with high precision. Someone because it could not have been matter which did not exist, or time which did not exist, or a quantum fluctuation, there were no quantum fields. Only a mind could have guided the process. Plato at least guessed this in Timaeus a few years ago… There are other guesses which try to account for the fine tuning like multiverse but these have NO observational evidence behind them nor do they reasonably account for the true nature of a singularity.
2. The start of Biological life has no known path from non-life to life within known chemistry without intelligence. Yet we have life. It is reasonable to deduct that life was started by a mind. The other chemical hypothesis have failed to show any progress. Yet we know that a mind can create designed systems. Note this blog 🙂
3. Evolution must have life in place to have something to work on.
4. The interacting systems of this planet are so well designed for the support of life that it led to the Gia hypothesis, which I do not subscribe to but which is an understandable conclusion. These systems exist in unique ways on planet Earth. No other body in the Solar system and perhaps in the Galaxy has these same characteristics.
5. It is reasonable (comes from an application of reason) to see the guiding hand of the providence of God in the discovery of Nuclear power at the time in history when humanity needs it most. This is not a projection but a humble recognition.
6. It is an application of Christian Stewardship that leads me to deduct that Nuclear power is the best form of power for humanity in the long run. (I recognize there are other equally valid motives, I only share mine). Even if the concerns over CO2 concentrations prove to be overblown so that the connection between fossil fuels and climate changes proves less dangerous than some believe, I can hardly think of handing my great great grandchildren a world in which we have consumed all the valuable fossil fuels. I keep thinking of what our world would be like if the Romans in the time of Julius Ceasar had begun to use fossil fuels and exhausted them by AD 500. What would we say about them today? Or would we even have a way to remember the history of the Romans after the plunge into deep darkness following the exhaustion of fossil fuels?
7. I am grateful that at least, if we do foolishly exhaust fossil fuels in a few short centuries, we have Nuclear power that can help us.
Do you think that natural selection was outside the process when nature chose DNA in the first place? Are you a creationist whom doesn’t buy into this “natural selection poppycock? ” Please realize at the time, when DNA was selected as the vessel of genetic information, by NATURE (not a supreme being), background radiation was some multiple higher that it is today.
Forgive me for diverging from the topic of this post, and maybe other comments are not intended this way, but to stereotypically deal with people who have faith in a Supreme Being and believe in some sort of intelligent design, lumping them in with fundamentalist short Earth history creationists, is the same as what anti-nuclear activists do in lumping all nuclear technology and its proponents with Chernobyl and Fukushima, and their bad nuclear management. I have faith in a Supreme Being because I sure as heck know that I am not supreme and when I begin behaving that way, then I need a slap aside the head (or perhaps a 2 by 4 as the case may be). So please, if you dislike ridicule for being agnostic or atheist, then kindly don’t ridicule people of faith. I am a nuclear professional and have been all of my adult life. I actually love my job (surprise, surprise!). I also have a Faith life, too, and so do bona fide scientists such as Protestant Dr. Hugh Ross and Roman Catholic Dr. Stephen Barr (both of whom know orders of magnitude more than I). You and I don’t have to agree with these fine men, but some respect is in order, especially since the man who came up with the Big Bang Theory was Roman Catholic Father George Lemaitre, and the Pope who accepted the theory of evolution was Pius XII in his encyclical, Humani Generis. BTW, regardless of his agnostic beliefs to the contrary, Dr. Stephen Hawking is a member of the Academia Pontificalis Scientiarum in the Curia Romana. And yes, I can read in the original Latin Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica where he deals with the problem of the existence of God (which isn’t the point of this post). This nuke likes to get the facts, all the facts, whenever possible. That’s what I was taught to do in and by the industry I love.
Not all Theists warrant ridicule. The choice of creationism over natural selection, when used to either formulate policy or chose a direction for future hypothesis does IMO. It may not cause as much damage as other science denial, but it is of the same family. I feel bad you decided to be a bit insulted by my disdain of creationism in it’s opposition to natural selection, but regardless of how many great Theists there are, my disdain for that anti-science aspect remains.
Natural Selection concepts and it’s newest implications show the folly of Bob’s view. Creationism is useless in doing so. DNA was naturally selected in an environment of higher background radiation than today, not because it was robust in the face of it, but because the radiological aspect of the natural world could be used to ensure the continuance of somatic processes. Bob *should* know this. Instead he gets a simplistic creationist bent, entertaining that all radiological changes to DNA must have a negative consequence.
At this point if I could offer bob any advice that would be taken, I’d recommend reading any one of the Taleb trilogies.
Not all atheist warrant ridicule. But formulating public policy based thereon is:
(1) What Stalin and Mao did, murdering 110 million people in the 20th century followed by – next to Fukushima – the worst nuclear accident (Chernobyl), and
(2) Not what the Founding Fathers of our Republic envisioned.
This is why I normally don’t dialog with atheists, liberals, etc. I try to be nice. This has been the only forum in some time of this variety in which I have participated, with great trepidation because I know how I can get (which isn’t always very nice). I now have to re-think my participation. Perhaps I should focus on my children, on what my Bishop needs me to do at my parish to help other people out, and on making my job better.
You are welcome here. Please don’t let the ill behavior of the other guests chase you away.
With the exception of a few specific areas, you and I agree. We are in almost complete agreement about the the important ways to invest our time
Bob, I read the following account of a man who recieved 64 Sv of radiation dose by being injected with plutonium as part of an experiment during the Manhatten project. I calculate the risk of him dying of fatal cancer as about 320%. However, he lived for 20 years after the injection and died at 79. He never got cancer. How is that possible?
Apparently, there were other people who also were injected with plutonium and various other radioactive substances, all of whom seem to live very long, to similar age as Stevens. Again: how is that possible? Why did they not turn into quivering masses of mutated flesh?
Joris, Yes, I remember Helen Caldicott ignoring this point directly when confronted with this fact.
However…I wouldn’t recommend anyone injecting this even experimentally. The “better” and likely more effective experiment would be not to inject the Pu but to tape it or seal it against the inside of one’s mouth or the skin on the underside of one’s arm. I don’t know if this has been done with animals in labs but I suspect from all that I’ve read about Pu that when it floats around and doesn’t bio-accumulate, there is almost no danger at all. But it it lodges to a set of cells, that this is how the damage is done. Just say’n.
You are obsessed, sir. I am fully convinced that you have Google alerts set for the names Ted Rockwell, Myron Pollycove, Ed Calabrese, and several others.
Yes, a particular radiation event has a certain probability of damaging DNA, and yes, DNA damage could be a precursor, but there are so many intermediate factors that play into things.
Well I wouldn’t be obsessed if someone else would criticize propagandists. Adams & Rossin are violating the ANS’s (& HPS’s if they’re members) Codes of Ethics.
So why don’t you criticize them for it?
Then I won’t have to.
P.S. I criticize IDiots, Flat Earthers, nuclear fearmongers, etc., too, you just aren’t aware of it.
Bob – have you ever noticed that you are the ONLY person who complains about my coverage of this topic?
I can assure you that there are plenty of people who are highly educated members of ANS or HPS or both who read Atomic Insights. If Rossin and I were guilty of your accusation, surely at least one or two others would complain.
For a guy who keeps talking about consensus, you seem to have trouble recognizing when you are all alone one an issue.
“Bob – have you ever noticed that you are the ONLY person who complains about my coverage of this topic?”
I notice I’ve never seen Bob and Bas at the same time in the same forum. Just sayin….
“P.S. I criticize IDiots, Flat Earthers, nuclear fearmongers, etc., too, you just aren’t aware of it.”
Who is not aware of it? You spend all your posts on this hobby horse.
I am wondering if you agree with the article’s assertion that evacuating the people from Fukushima for such a long time is a greater risk of death than the possibility of the same people dying from cancer from radiation exposure?
I read nothing in the article that said that radiation is not dangerous, but that the danger of being away from their homes was greater than the chance of dying from radiation. The statement is that the fear of radiation is more dangerous than the radiation. Care to comment on that aspect? Or do you want to stay on your horse?
Using the ANS code of ethics below pulled from their website, please inform us the specific codes you believe Rod or Dr. Rossin are violating. Please provide your reasoning as to why you believe those codes were violated by this article. Just throwing the statement out that you believe this article violates the ANS code without an explanation is example of drive-by trolling.
Recognizing the profound importance of nuclear science and technology in affecting the quality of life throughout the world, members of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) are committed to the highest ethical and professional conduct.
ANS members as professionals are dedicated to improving the understanding of nuclear science and technology, appropriate applications, and potential consequences of their use.
To that end, ANS members uphold and advance the integrity and honor of their professions by using their knowledge and skill for the enhancement of human welfare and the environment; being honest and impartial; serving with fidelity the public, their employers, and their clients; and striving to continuously improve the competence and prestige of their various professions.
ANS members shall subscribe to the following practices of professional conduct:
Practices of Professional Conduct:
1.We hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public and fellow workers, work to protect the environment, and strive to comply with the principles of sustainable development in the performance of our professional duties.
2.We will formally advise our employers, clients, or any appropriate authority and, if warranted, consider further disclosure, if and when we perceive that pursuit of our professional duties might have adverse consequences for the present or future public and fellow worker health and safety or the environment.
3.We act in accordance with all applicable laws and these Practices, lend support to others who strive to do likewise, and report violations to appropriate authorities.
4.We perform only those services that we are qualified by training or experience to perform, and provide full disclosure of our qualifications.
5.We present all data and claims, with their bases, truthfully, and are honest and truthful in all aspects of our professional activities. We issue public statements and make presentations on professional matters in an objective and truthful manner.
6.We continue our professional development and maintain an ethical commitment throughout our careers, encourage similar actions by our colleagues, and provide opportunities for the professional and ethical training of those persons under our supervision.
7.We act in a professional and ethical manner towards each employer or client and act as faithful agents or trustees, disclosing nothing of a proprietary nature concerning the business affairs or technical processes of any present or former client or employer without specific consent, unless necessary to abide by other provisions of this Code or applicable laws.
8.We disclose to affected parties, known or potential conflicts of interest or other circumstances, which might influence, or appear to influence, our judgment or impair the fairness or quality of our performance.
9.We treat all persons fairly.
10.We build our professional reputation on the merit of our services, do not compete unfairly with others, and avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment.
11.We reject bribery and coercion in all their forms.
12.We accept responsibility for our actions; are open to and acknowledge criticism of our work; offer honest criticism of the work of others; properly credit the contributions of others; and do not accept credit for work not our own.
You expect honesty from someone whose livelihood depends on long-debunked un-scientific interpretations of data?
But when the charge of “unethical” is thrown down, a push back with the facts is warranted.
Notice that its been three days and Bob has not been back to back up his charges…
Yes, it traps it and re-emits it and then traps more.
The overall effect being a warming of the atmosphere with increasing CO2 concentration.
My facts about science reflect the scientific consensus, not the pseudo-science of IDiots, DeNiArs, Flat Earthers, or global warming deniers.
In other news, 2 + 2 = 4, not 22.
Remember Bob… Flat Earth was the Scientific Consensus for along time. That the sun and the universe revolved around the Earth was the Scientific Consensus.
Aristotle’s Five Elements of Physics (Aether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth) was the Scientific Consensus for a good amount of time.
The Evolution that you speak of was completely against the Scientific Consensus.
My point is… Scientific Consensus is in error as often as it’s correct. It is the job of the scientifically minded to constantly challenge the Scientific Consensus, not to blindly follow the herd.
Well Bob, then why with the CO2 concentrations continued increase over the past 15 years has there been no measurable warming of the atmosphere over that time?
There has been warming of the atmosphere, although not as much as in previous decades. This is only temporary. The next El Nino cycle will undoubtedly yield fresh heat records, like it did in 1998.
That warming has not stopped is perhaps most easily recognised by eyeballing the following graph of ocean heat content:
Well Joris, Bob specifically said atmosphere and that is why I specifically asked him about the atmosphere, which hasn’t shown an increase in heat content for over 15 years.
Over 13,000 people were hospitalized in Japan in July due to heatstroke, with 85 reported deaths.
Will the antinuclear campaigners ever be held responsible for this human suffering? The government recommended thermostat setting in the summer is 28 C (83 F).
Your statement suggest that this is more than during previous summers.
It gets some small significance if:
– you show that the temperatures in Japan this July were not higher than those of the last couple of years; and
– the reported numbers (deaths, hospitalized) are higher than in previous summers.
It would become more significant if you could show that the vulnerable people indeed had airco’s during last summers and they specifically this summer decided not to use it.
– all NPP’s were already closed in summer 2011 and 2012 and that electricity shortage then was probably more urgent; and
– by now new electricity generating capacity has been added to the grid (gas/coal/oil plants and especially a boom of solar panels that produce during the day when heat is high)
I consider your accusation for now to be fake propaganda.
Your denial is digusting. Shutting down air conditioners has been demonstrated as quadrupling heatstroke death in 2011 :
The heat, associated with humidity, in summer in Japan is every year almost unbearable. I was there 2 years ago, and experienced first hand how people were constantly trying to shut down air conditioning almost constantly in a way they would never have done before. And that was early September so much better than August and July.
The Japanese are still trying to limit as much as possible electricity use, and they didn’t relax requests to restrict air conditioning as much as possible in anyway. And as of now, very little solar as already been built even if the plan are large. And it might be mostly in Hokkaido, because land is cheap there, so very far from where air conditioning is needed. At the current of electricity in Japan, it won’t push people to consume much anyway.
Re: “Meanwhile, other people who are actually exposed to higher levels of background radiation all the time are living carefree in Brazil, Norway, Iran and India. Generations of people in those countries live normal lives, even though in some places they are exposed to background radiation levels that are a hundred times greater than those around Fukushima.”
I have to credit Rod for inspiring this, though I have no idea how to implement it though some web savvy types here might. How could we put out a general request out on YouTube for anyone with a Geiger counter or dosimeter living in the locations Rod mentioned to take a video clip of their meter while walking around their environs and submit them here so they can all be spliced together with a clip from Fukushima and posted on YouTube to prove the points as Rod mentioned. Anyone know how to get the request out on YouTube?
A guy like Stone from Pandora’s Promise has all the proofs required in his movie.
Yes, but respectfully, “nobody’s” going to see such a niche production for $$ (regrettably). At least on YouTube you’d a surfing audience of tens of thousands dropping by to peek and critique and maybe more recognition. It’s worth a try.
I meant Stone could do a cut & paste trick and put it on YouTube.
It will be broadcast on CNN in November for the hoi polloi.
..Meanwhile, other people who are actually exposed to higher levels of background radiation all the time are living carefree in Brazil, Norway, Iran and India.
Japanese government following the ALARA (As Low As Reasonable Achievable) principle, set the decontamination target at 20mSv/a and want people to return thereafter.
That is at least 3 times higher than in any of the areas you mention.
– El showed here links that show that people in Ramsar do have more DNA damage than normal (university of Teheran recommends people to avoid the high radiation areas);
– government in India is preventing moving people into the high radiation areas in Kerala (there are even proposals to evacuate; not easy);
– The high radiation areas in Norway are practically uninhabited:
I dont understand what all the argument is about. The article was a honest and straightforward assessment of a perspective that seems to be verified by accepted media and scientific reports thus far. There is nothing new or radical in it.
Rockwell’s assessment then, in retrospect stands above the legions of media “experts” proven incorrect on many fronts.
They overstated known radiation misconceptions and ignored the damage of fear and anxiety their assessments could cause. To me that is unethical.
You realize that Nuclear is currently being trashed with a barrage of sensationalist articles about “massive” radioactive water leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi plants. Rod, I would think your #1 priority would be to write an article putting those leaks in perspective by comparing them to other natural sources of radiation, coal power plants and fracking wastewater ponds etc. And translating becquerels into similar levels of mSv of background radiation or medical radiation exposure to avoid the confusion amongst the general public that comes from mixing these units.
It would be nice if the enhanced levels of radiation in fish worldwide can be calculated.
Then it would be possible to calculate the extra deaths due to fish eating worldwide.
Same as was done during / after the atmospheric bomb testing of USA/UK/USSR.
That delivered conclusions that those tests delivered a million or more deaths worldwide.
Conclusions that were supported by WHO until that organization signed the 1959 agreement with the IAEA.
Another fail for Bas.
As you have been told time and again you can’t logically or scientifically make calculations like that.
Or can I calculate how many people will die from aspirin by dividing the total number of asprin taken by 300 and say that my answer is the number of people that will die from aspirin?
That was already done in the fifties regarding atmospheric bomb testing.
At that time supported by the WHO until the 1959 agreement with IAEA silenced the WHO regarding radiation.
I estimate that the atmospheric atomic bomb testers (USA, UK, USSR) paid (pay?) 90% or more of the WHO budget…
Replace aspirin for more dangerous stuff, e.g. asbestos, and you find scientific calculations regarding the number of yearly death.
In NL a recent study found still ~2000 death/a despite the fact that all asbestos is forbidden since 2000.
The WHO states >100,000 death/a. Canadian asbestos industry asked the Canadian government to intervene at WHO in order to bring that number down or let it disappear all together.
If it was USA government that may have succeeded as USA is one of the big financiers of WHO…
“Replace aspirin for more dangerous stuff”
Why? Asprin in large doses is plenty dangerous. And if X amount of asprin in accute doses will kill Y number of people, then by your science X amount of asprin given to 1000*Y people should still kill Y number of them. I mean that is the claim you are making right? X dose of accute radiation causes Y misfits/deaths no matter how many people the dose is spread over, right?
And the major powers have always paided the majority of the UN budget because of the funding formula the UN uses. Nothing sinister about it. And once the money is paid it is the whole UN that regulates its allocation. So sorry but your claim of influence is plainly BS.
Just like the BS you keep spinning about the 1959 agreement. You know the agreement that says nothing like what you claim. Have you read the agreement? It is only 5 pages long and fairly easy to understand. In fact it is similar to agreements the WHO has made with the Office International des Épizooties, the Universal Postal Union, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Labour Organisation and the Pan American Health Organization. And just like with the IAEA the agreements are for cooperation and sharing of resources and they all specifically state they do not remove or override any powers of the WHO or prohibit any actions of the WHO.
In fact the agreement with the IAEA specifically states “without prejudice to the right of the World Health Organization to concern itself with promoting, developing, assisting, and co-ordinating international health work, including research, in all its aspects.”
So just how did this agreement “silenced the WHO regarding radiation”?
No, that agreement doesn’t’ silence the WHO, the WHO made a detailed answer about that years ago that’s available here :
Also the concern about atmospheric bomb around that time testing lead in 1955, to the creation of the UNSCEAR with the main purpose of studying the effect they had, nuclear weapon states being excluded from it’s chairman position. Nowadays UNSCEAR’s work is mostly focused about the consequence of environmental, medical and nuclear power industry exposure.
So your claim that the WHO took any position about radiation effects in the late 40’s and in the 50’s is completely unsubstantiated I’m afraid, since the UNSCEAR creation was motivated by the fact it was acknowledged not enough was known to determine them properly, and the matter was important enough to deserve it’s own dedicated agency.
So their most independent act in the 42 years since 1959 is the recommendation to distribute Iodine tablets….
In the few years before the agreement they did far more:
– 1957 WHO took action regarding the effects of Radiation on Human Heredity;
– 1958 WHO took action regarding the mental health aspects of peaceful nuclear energy.
No WHO action about those or similar subjects since the agreement…
Note: I consider the heredity effects of nuclear radiation of more importance than the number of death (I’m already middle aged).
The 1959 agreement itself
An agreement between two equal partners starts with:
– it is recognized by A that ….
– it is recognized by B that …
I have seen lawyers having discussions about who should be A. As A starts with recognizing the freedom of B, he is somewhat less than B.
In the business world, the formulation of the 1959 agreement is used e.g. when B takes a major share in A (giving B the power to e.g. remove the CEO of A if ..).
Just read art.1-2:
“… it is recognized by WHO that IAEA has …primary responsibility for … (all aspects of nuclear energy)”
While the IAEA recognizes nothing.
WHO is just allowed to do its core-activities in the subordinate clause: “…without prejudice to the right of WHO to concern itself …(with health work)”
WHO is even not granted a responsibility regarding that!
So WHO is only allowed to do their work…
The boss of the WHO in 1959 must have felt terrible when he had to sign this (the atmospheric bomb testing nations paid ~90% of his budget…)
I did not claim WHO took any position in the late 40′s. Only that WHO took action in the 50’s after (many) atmospheric bomb tests.
I’ve just encountered this report and thought I’d make you aware of it.
I’m not entirely certain how bad this is, as no radiation levels are mentioned only amounts of radioactive water per day. Without actual contamination levels mentioned I can’t really judge how concerned I should be.
However TEPCO’s continued management of the plant appears crippled by the ‘face saving’ corporate culture of the country.
Forbes writer Tim Worstall has a nice perspective on the ‘seriousness’ of the radiation leaks at Fukushima:
I love it!! That is a great bit of math!
Clean-up costs have risen to $50 billion (four times the amount allocated by the government). Excludes costs for compensation.
It’s expensive cleaning up banana spills, isn’t it? Anybody volunteering to eat the stuff before it goes rotten on the shelf.
Methinks those clean-up costs are little more than (another) welcome opportunity for stimulating economic activity in Japan. It fits in nicely with the overall Abenomics strategy. I bet a lot of Japanse workers employed in the cleanup work are very happy with their job. Out in the fresh air of fukushima. Away from the air polution of the big city. Whats not to like?
Economic activity and building the wealth of a country are not necessarily the same thing. There is the standard story about how there is an increase in economic activity when a storm come along and smashes windows. There is a spike in economic activity as those windows are replaced. If economic activity is good, then the logical conclusion is that windows should be smashed on a regular basis. But although there is increased economic activity, there is no increase in the wealth of the community. The distribution of wealth is probably different. But if anything, real wealth is reduced.
Money spent around Fukushima to do what is necessary to make the area habitable again is well spent. The wealth of the area is restored. Money spent to further reduce radiation levels, producing little to no health benefit, is money squandered. Wealth is reduced.
That “story” is more commonly known as the Broken Window Fallacy, and it has been around since 1850.
A common counter-argument to the fallacy is the following: what if the window needed replacing anyway?
Certainly, I don’t think that anyone could reasonably argue that the small stimulation to the economy that resulted from the cleanup effort at unit 2 of the Three Mile Island plant outweighs the value of the reactor. That was a new reactor and it had a lot of operating life ahead of it.
In the case of Fukushima-1, however, unit 1 was small and old. It probably would not have operated much longer anyway. Thus, the expected costs to shutdown and decommission the unit can probably be used to offset the cleanup costs for the accident. The other units that were destroyed were not exactly new — all went into operation before 1980. Thus, at least part of their decommissioning costs and depreciation should be used to offset the cleanup costs.
Brian Mays wrote:
A common counter-argument to the fallacy is the following: what if the window needed replacing anyway?
In this case, these are the necessary things to make the area habitable again. I have no disagreement with that.
What is included in the Broken Window Fallacy is all the other spending to achieve radiation levels lower than what is safe, where the vast majority of the costs will be.
Well, $50 billion sounds like a lot of money, but the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant has generated over 908 TWh of electricity. Thus, the additional cost of this electricity is only 5.5 cents/kWh.
But that’s not quite accurate. We should consider that much of this electricity was generated decades ago, whereas the costs are incurred in the near future. Thus, if we account for when the electricity was generated and when the costs must be paid (assuming that the $50 billion was spent in 2011, the year of the accident), then even a modest interest rate of 4% is enough to reduce this cost to less than half, only 2.5 cents/kWh.
Actually, if we are talking about the economics of nuclear energy as a whole — and if we are being honest — then the value of all of Japan’s nuclear-generated electricity should be considered when evaluating the cost of this accident, since each reactor being run increases, very very slightly, the possibility of an accident such as this occurring.
I didn’t bother to do this calculations, but it is easy to see that in a country with 50 reactors, the cost per kWh of this accident at a plant with only 6 reactors is trivial.
To put this in perspective, I should point out that the feed-in-tariff that the Japanese government put in place last year requires utilities to pay 53 cents/kWh for 20 years for electricity generated by solar power, and wind energy is subsidized at about half that of solar, at 29 cents/kWh.
Thanks Brian, this is very helpfull.
Another perspective to keep in mind is that the cleanup costs for Daiichi are only a part of the larger “cleanup costs” for the entire earthquake-tsunami event. Look, people, bear in mind that the damage to the Daiichi power station was caused by a natural event, and that event resulted in a much wider scope of damage and destruction than is indicated by the singular focus of the media on Fukushima. The media only obsesses about it because it is a nuclear facility. Look at some of the videos on Youtube of the death and destruction caused by the tsunmai elsewhere in the country. You never hear a word about that. I for one would like to see the numbers for “cleanup” (i.e., damage and destruction) of the entire country, and then place the Daiichi number in that context.
By the way, here are the figures on the FIT’s from Paul Gipe.
For Solar PV, they look to be around 42 yen/kWh to me (including tax) … only for 10 years on small projects.
Looks like they want to get a lot of it built fast (providing a pretty good incentive). I wonder why they need so much new capacity so quickly?
Speaking of stupidity, 42 JPY/kWh = 53 cents/kWh. In case you didn’t know.
The Japanese government gets more tax revenues from gas consumption than from nuclear electricity consumption. It will charge rate-payers to fund the solar FIT, just like Germany does, and pocket the gas tax revenues. That way everything makes sense. Solar begets gas demand and gas tax revenues the same way that nuclear doesn’t.
Paying that kind of money for a generating source that will have at best a 25-30% capacity factor is beyond stupid.
You will probably want to look that up again.
¥42 JPY is $0.4278 USD.
Not last year when the FIT went into effect. Everything I have written is accurate.
No it’s not … the FIT rate for this year is not equivalent to 53 cents/kWh USD. What about currency exchange rates do you have to have explained to you?
That they change and fluctuate? No thanks. I already know that.
Last year Japan instituted a 53 cents/kWh FIT for solar-generated electricity. Naturally, they implemented it in their own currency, but that was the USD value of the tariff at time. Since the typical reader of this blog tends not to think in yen and since I was comparing this to calculations based on your $50-billion-dollar figure, it was merely prudent of me to stick to USD.
Of course, due to changes in the exchange rate, the value of this tariff in USD will fluctuate quite a bit over the next 20 years that it will be paid for electricity generation from industrial-sized installations and the next 10 years it will be paid for tiny trickles of electricity from hobby-sized installations. I’m baffled why the variation over a time period as short as a year (1/20th or 1/10th of the total) merits so much attention from you.
You never cease to amuse me, EL. 🙂 No matter what I write on or how much I write, you always seem to focus on the most trivial, most petty stuff. I guess that’s just who you are.
Unit one was one month away from closure when the tsunami hit.
Yes. Reality and the truth amuses me. Go figure.
If you think Abenomics and devaluation of Yen are trivial … I’m not sure what you think has the world in such an uproar over BOJ monetary policy? You might want to look into it, it may give you some arguments for why nuclear is well positioned for a resurgence with rising cost of foreign goods (and decreasing cost of domestic goods, like already constructed power plants and energy, and the products built with them).
I’m not sure why you always scrape the bottom of the barrel with mindless ad hominem … don’t you ever get tired of this?
EL – For one who wastes so much time and energy harping over details of the dollar-yen exchange rate, you really should be more precise in your terminology.
For me to be guilty of an ad hominem fallacy, I would have needed to attack you instead of what you wrote. Instead, I backed up what I wrote earlier with some additional clarification to defend it against the stupid, needless attacks from you. That is, in defending myself, I addressed what you wrote.
Then, I pointed out that you focus on the trivial and the petty. That is merely a statement of fact, but if it is anything else, it is an insult … not an ad hominem.
My purpose was to point out that you are an annoying, tireless, petty bore, although it is really unnecessary of me to do so, since this exchange provides plenty of evidence of that. To regular readers of this blog, your ability the beat a dead horse is legendary. Your stubborn persistence and craven knack for dodging the main issue by shifting to a trivial point (amply demonstrated here) has already been instrumental in driving away at least one intelligent contributor to the comments here.
I often wonder why Rod not only tolerates you, but actually defends you sometimes.
For the record, this is also an insult, not an ad hom.
If you don’t like being corrected with more accurate information, you can just say so. And yes, it is boring and trivial to have to correct you and be barraged with personal attacks as a consequence.
You could just say “thanks” (like a normal person) … “I appreciate the more accurate and updated information.” You might try it some time, especially since you seem so “bored” and disinterested by these petty exchanges (as is clearly highlighted by the length, number, and by your own admission volume of personal “insults” in your replies).
EL – You want a “thanks”? OK, I’m more than happy to oblige.
Thank you! Thank you for once again demonstrating what I am talking about. This is it for me; my observations/insults can’t be more clearly supported, so I’m done with this conversation.
Nevertheless, EL, don’t assume that you have to stop. Please, feel free to keep beating this horse. It’s already dead, so it can feel no pain. The only pain involved is felt by anyone foolish enough to still be reading this exchange. TTFN
@Brian and Ed
In my best father / grandfather voice – children, stop bickering. It’s boring.
Rod – My point exactly. As I have already stated, I’m done. I post this comment only to thank you for some “parental” guidance.
Brian … you can’t even take a parental hint?
You provided inaccurate numbers for current FIT costs (in USD) in Japan. You also provided an inaccurate exchange rate information. I corrected you. If you can show where this was a mistake, please do so. Otherwise, you’re saying nothing of substance in this thread. And you’d be wise to stop drawing attention to your multiple errors and mistakes.
“…wonder why they need so much new (solar & wind) capacity so quickly?…
Seems to me that they need to replace a lot of nuclear capacity asap.
And they probably checked Germany (both countries have old ties, e.g. similar law principles, and a good exchange).
Wind may be somewhat less, as Denmark now has ties with China which is developing massive wind parks in desolated western parts of the country.
Yes it is horrible how expensive the clean up is.
Now EL, what would the costs be if they used rational science based limits instead of limits based on FUD?
I seem to recall Love Canal was VERY $$$ yet is still uninhabitable (unlike Fukushima or even Chernobyl)) and no chem and manufacturing industries got run out on a rail for the actions of a violator, unlike antis’ mad mantra shrieking of any nuclear incident “if one screws up then they all must go!”. And let’s not forget these abandoned coal towns and ex-communities with mine fires still raging deep under them for generations. Sure don’t hear much about those! Wonder why…
I too have an agressive clean up job. I hired 3 full time gardeners so that my grass, landscaping and garage pavement are in mint conditions 7-24-365.
Costs me a fortune but it is the only to make sure that African Giant Ants are not going to invade my home.
Oups. I forgot. I need a Project Manager. No expense will keep me from having the most sanitized and germ free landscaping. No expense.
Thank you for the link, couldn’t find any comparative commentary at the time.
The thing that has gone the farthest in convincing me that the fears about nuclear power are overblown is the difference between the way that anti nuclear people treat radiation from nuclear power, and radiation from all other sources. Your article did a good job of showing those differences.
I think good comparison would be to compare what has gone into the ocean to what was already in the ocean.
The oceans have Uranium in them. In the pacific ocean the radiation from Uranium is 22 EBq or 22,000,000 trillion becquerels.
The oceans have Potassium 40 in them. In the pacific ocean the radiation from Potassium 40 is 7,400 EBq or 7,400,000,000 trillion becquerels.
The oceans have Carbon 14 in them. In the pacific ocean the radiation from Carbon 14 is 3 EBq or 3,000,000 trillion becquerels.
The oceans have Rubidium 87 in them. In the pacific ocean the radiation from Rubidium 87 is 700 EBq or 700,000,000 trillion becquerels.
The oceans have Tritium in them. In the pacific ocean the radiation from Tritium is 370 PBq or 370,000 trillion becquerels.
So we have…
Uranium 22,000,000 trillion becquerels
Potassium 40 7,400,000,000 trillion becquerels
Carbon 14 3,000,000 trillion becquerels
Rubidium 87 700,000,000 trillion becquerels
Tritium 370,000 trillion becquerels
Total 8,125,370,000 trillion becquerels
So we have 8,125,370,000 trillion becquerels of radiation in the pacific ocean and the antis don’t seem to care, but when the fifth most powerful earthquake ever recorded results in 20 trillion becquerels of radiation being released into the oceans over two years we’re supposed to all accept that it’s a horrible disaster. The logic in this position escapes me.
For me, the easiest local example to turn highbrow rad terms into layman comprehension and highlight anti-nuker public health/safety hypocrisy is the oft-mentioned Geiger counter in Grand Central Station gig. I think a child raised on Greenpeace and FOE venom (for example) would be scared S-less seeing a Geiger counter ticking away like that in the great main ticket hall where Apple is. Maybe so paranoid scared he/she will never be a commuter through there — OR that kid might rinse all the green brainwashing they’ve received in seeing thousands of people calmly buying tickets or eating at oyster bars or buying Macs there and no rad mutants in sight and start to QUESTION all that Greenpeace and FOE’s have been shoving him/her hook line and sinker. The readings in most GCS halls exceed the public ones for Fukushima, and lets not even go into Geiger counters having orgasms in the Empire State Building lobby and the U.N. and boulders in Central Park and Bronx Zoo and the Jersey Palisades. If this simple little Geiger exhibition were more publicized say on YouTube, you’d be pulling the all-radiation-is-dangerous FUD fangs out of Union of Concerned “Scientists” and these environmental groups. THEY sure aren’t going to volunteer doing this!
Another FUD buster I’d like to see is a set of high end Cell phones with a Geiger Muller tube built in. I’m not thinking about those apps where you cover the camera lens with black tape and run the app that detects hits on the CCD; I mean a real good and very compact Geiger Muller tube.
They would be so differentiated that they may be sold at a high premium to an “exclusive” group of engineers and trend setters.
Is Samsung listening?
Excellent Post EZ. I want to quote this on my blog. Should I call you EZ?
Thanks. If you would like to you can quote me as Evan Zwack.
So if dilution is the story, how come radiation levels in sample results from fish catches are rising since the accident (here and http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/forum/218/are-fish-pacific-ocean-and-japanese-coastal-and-inland-waters-safe-eat-16-months-after-fuk), and have gone from well below government established food limits of 100 Bq/kg for cesium, and are showing up above this limit in 9.3% of catch (in most recent sample results from last year)?
This isn’t so much about health risks (since protective actions have been successful), but trust and confidence and whether TEPCO has a handle on the situation, is successful in mitigation efforts, and is being accountable and transparent with the public. It sounds like they aren’t, and this does real substantive harm to public confidence and recovery efforts. The government stepping in to take control of the situation doesn’t help either (and ice wall concept, the largest of it’s kind ever conceived, isn’t due to be completed until 2015). Radiation levels in fish look like they will be rising, exceeding food safety limits, and cesium (binding with silt, clay, and other organic materials) will remain on ocean floor in vicinity of the plants and surrounding biota for some time to come.
Bear in mind that the Woods Hole research was focused on bottom feeders (demersal); the implication being that cesium in the sea bed around Fukushima was increasing, and was being taken up by by the bottom-feeders. I think it would be a stretch to use the Woods Hole data to make any argument about dilution in seawater, as it seems to speak to a specific location, and a specific sub-species of fish who live in that location, which will have higher cesium due to runoff, sediment being carried into the ocean by rivers, and, yes, cesium being leaked from hastily-constructed tanks. Mind you, it is still early days. No doubt further data will give us more to discuss.
Excellent comment. It would also be very interesting to know how much additional radiation was added to the Pacific from erosion, rivers and streams and so forth in that same period.
I do not understand why these leakages were not stopped long time ago.
To me it seems not very difficult to install a steel sheet piling wall at the sea coast of e.g. 40meters deep. You may even use a pile driver installed on a pontoon or so.
If you do it well you make a second one, a meter behind the first, suck the ground between the two walls away and fill the split with reinforced concrete.
Roughly estimate that the costs of that for a stretch of a mile or so should be less than $100million.
May be Japanese government is rather happy to get rid of the radio-active fluid and don’t want it to spread under the land itself…
Especially as they have already a storage problem regarding the huge volumes of contaminated ground for which they do not have a solution.
I’m curious as to how you square your assertion ” Rockwell placed the blame for panic squarely on politicians – not only those in Japan but also in the U. S. who rejected the advice of scientists and instead listened to alarmists” with the evacuation of the US Yakasuta Naval Air Station some 188 miles south of Fukushima.
That was ordered by the Admiral in charge due to rising radiation readings at the site. Transcripts of the NRC’s Emergency Ops Center reveal that the NRC felt that if the Navy’s readings were correct, then TEPCO and the Japanese Government were lying, and there had been meltdowns and far more radiation released than they had admitted. Women and children were evacuated to Guam.
Is it your contention that neither the Navy nor the NRC understood their own readings and evacuated due to politics? Keep in mind that the Navy ordered the evacuation — not the NRC or the White House, though both the exec director and deputy director of the NRC are Annapolis grads.
I think the point is that the guidelines are too conservative. Plus just saying “readings” is too ambiguous what kind of readings? Taken where? In what weather conditions?
Don’t forget Gregory Jaczo (sp?) advising a 50 mile evacuation zone. No “readings” or science backed that advisory up.
Hmmm. No link and no metrics. Ok… so I google it myself and find… absolutely nothing.
I can only assume you got this tidbit from some hard-core “renewables or die” website somewhere. Truth be told, I could use the chuckle, so please let us know of a link or two that reports that Yokosuka Naval Air station was abandoned by *anyone* because of the Fukusima radio spillage. Please. Where’s a link. A metric wold be great too, but I’ll be happy for a link alone. –Thanks.
I believe he’s referencing Adm. Kirkland H. Donald (office of naval reactor operations) … who informed White House on recommendations regarding evacuations, and was central to technical group and decision making on uncertain situation in Japan at NRC.
As i stated, its in the transcript of the NRC’s emergency op center. The transcripts are only about 200 pages. Read them yourself. I do quote from it in this series ( http://bit.ly/12dzbLe ) which appeared in the Asia-Pacific Journal and in Huffington Post.
I verified it by contacting the NRC — standard procedure for a journalist. Further, if you learn to read, I did not state that Yokosuka was “abandoned”. I said women and children were evacuated to Guam. the base stayed open and operational.
The initial sets of transcripts from the NRC are over 3000 pages and have been heavily redacted in certain parts.
There have been more documents released due to FOIA requests since then:
So there are now well over 5000 pages of documents in the public realm discussing the NRC actions and their decisions related to Fukushima from their standpoint.
I have read sections where the Navy info was redacted but have not read the entire set of 10 transcripts. So first, not sure which 200 document you are using as the basis of your comment. Then secondly, how can you can be definitive in your statements in your human interest stories especially considering you indicate the redacted sections in your articles? There just isn’t any substance to the discussion I saw to warrant concerns of cancer in the long term.
Everything I read indicates to me the NRC command center zeroed in on the “fact” that a spent fuel pool fire was imminent due to their belief the NUREG computer codes developed in the national labs were roadmaps to be followed during this type of event. Then it appears they sought information to support their thesis while not actually stepping back to do a full review of their indications. In other words the NRC command center did exactly the opposite of what they expect from the plants during a crisis.
Jaczko then had the opportunity to provide levelheaded, rational discussion about a nuclear plant undergoing destruction due to a natural event that was orders of magnitude beyond anything that had been seen in centuries in that region of the world. Instead he put the Administration in a political bind by overstepping his bounds with the 50 mile radius comment since his legal jurisdiction was only for US based nuclear reactors and his running commentary was just more FUD due to his own beliefs about nuclear power.
So for those of us who are only occasionally paying attention to the NRC/Fukushima FOIA’s, can you point to which document of the 10 documents from the initial release you are using as your basis? (Without using your own article as the starting point please – actual NRC web links would be appreciated.)
I most definitely assert that the NRC did not have any “readings” to go on. I’ve read the transcript. Both the NRC and the Navy were operating in the blind and trusting alarming reports provided from the scene by a man specifically sent by Chairman Jaczko, a politician with no technical knowledge useful in operating a nuclear power plant or responding to a casualty.
Interestingly enough, Charles Casto, the man Jaczko chose to lead the team sent to Japan, also spent time working in Harry Reid’s office.
PACOM gave the nod to evacuating families from Japan as a “make people feel safe” measure as opposed to in response to any real danger. The 50-mile evacuate from directive started out as a 50-mile don’t go into suggestion in order to keep Americans from interfering with evacuation and crisis response operations (this is from a colleague who deployed there).
There was data available to US gov officials, which were provided by mobile airborne sampling WC-135. The USAF plane was flown in support of operation Tomodachi
I have a lot of respect for the work you put into your nuclear posts. But in this case, you are attacking a question I did not ask, and declining to answer the question I did post.
I’ll repeat it:
I don’t care what Jaczko did. I’m referring to the decision to evacuate women and children from the naval base some 188 miles south of Fukushima because of the rising radiation reading recorded by the Navy’s own radiation detection systems.
Part of the redacted transcript, from Part 2 of my series ( http://bit.ly/Y5jXCJ ) has the following:
On March 14 Jaczko’s conference call was interrupted by Jack Grobe, Deputy Director for Engineering in the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, with bad news:
“JACK GROBE: Okay, guys, I apologize for bothering you, but things are degenerating quickly. This reminds me of the drill. […]
what’s really troubling is that we, we have had that wind shift — the Chairman’s here, by the way — we’ve had that wind shift and the wind is out of the northeast blowing towards the southwest. That’s inland and towards Tokyo. And there’s an aircraft carrier in the port just south of Tokyo. It’s about 180 miles from the site, about 10 miles southwest of Tokyo, and they’re measuring on the order of 10 to 20 millirem over a 12-hour period total effective dose and roughly five to 10 times that, thyroid. […]
JACK GROBE: The, the answer is the dose rates don’t seem to be consistent either with what would be released or with the timing that it would take for a plume to get 180 miles away from the site to the southwest.
MIKE WEBER: Yeah, well, that’s what I struck me when you told us what’s going on.
JACK GROBE: Yet, but the, the feedback through Trapp from the admiral is that they used multi* instruments and confirmed this in multiple ways [BLACKED OUT]
MIKE WEBER: Wow.
JACK GROBE: They do operate nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, so they must have a level of competence that’s fairly decent. […]”
This was new territory, and they could not trust data…
The Navy didn’t get permission from, or take orders from the NRC, which seems to be your premise. Whether or not the NRC had “readings” to justify Jaczko’s evacuation recommendation is irrelevant — it had nothing to do with the evacuation from Yokasuka.
The unfortunate part of Jaczko’s decision to declare an emergency and act unilaterally is that he exacerbated the rift with the other 4 commissioners and lost the opportunity to bring into the decision making process Bill Magwood, who had been a TEPCO consultant, and Ostendorf, who spent 25 years i the nuclear navy before going to teach at MIT.The transcripts are replete with laments about the difficulty getting info from TEPCO, and Magwood may well have been able to cut through the crap. Ostendorf’s operational knowledge would have been a good complement to Jaczko’s background as a theoretical physicist. That was a lost opportunity all the way around.
When the hell did Ostendorf teach at MIT?!
Yes, because we all know that, when companies are faced with a crisis with billions of dollars at stake, the first thing that they do is to pull out their Rolodex with all of the old companies that they once hired as consultants many years ago. /sarcasm
Why should TEPCO be more responsive to Bill Magwood, formerly with Advanced Energy Strategies, than they would be to Greg Jaczko, current Chairman of the US NRC?
Jaczko’s background as a theoretical physicist was utterly worthless in this situation. His background as a political weasel served him well, however.
We see what the commissioners are made of these days. They are going along with the chairman on this Fukushima nonsense and deferring emitting COLs.
The NRC chairman must be so happy with the Yucca Mountain orders. Now they can put 100% of their energy fighting another ghost for so many years. dragging their feet, ignoring the law etc.
Now the next COL is nowhere in sight. Nowhere. And all the commissioners are simply collecting their pay checks.
The Yucca Mountain safety report was near fruition when Dr J killed it. Let’s get it out! I bet you it won’t happen.
The problem, sir, is that you do not recognize that Mr. Grobe had no flipping idea what he was talking about. The game being played was “telephone”, the children’s school game in which word is passed from person to person without repeat backs and where the final message at the end of the line bears no resemblance to the message inserted at the beginning of the line.
At the time of the event, I was just six months removed from active duty (I retired as a Commander (O-5) from a billet in the branch of OPNAV that monitors and funds ship and submarine maintenance in September 2010). I had lots of friends and colleagues who were still on active duty or serving as senior civilians; please believe me when I say I had a lot of conversations with them during the immediate aftermath of the event.
The families were evacuated as a “feel safe” measure because it was easier than trying to overcome the fear-mongering fog that was being issued by the media. Though there are thousands of nuclear trained sailors and officers in the Navy, they have been taught from their earliest days that they should never talk about nuclear matters. The Nuclear Navy stamps all of its materials with classification markings, even when the only thing on the page is a discussion of the second law of thermodynamics. That history makes it very difficult for them to explain reality to non-nuclear trained sailors and to families.
The ships were relocated as a cost saving measure. Though there was no risk to health and safety from the minor levels of measured contamination, any ship exposed to the material discharged would have to undergo an expensive decontamination effort because the standard is “not detectable”. If you have ever been on a ship, you will understand when I say that cleaning a ship that has been exposed to even a small amount of radioactive material in the form of a vapor cloud to a standard of “not detectable” is a hugely expensive and time consuming task.
I remember very vividly that CNN was talking to a commander on a US submarine off the coast of Fukushima at some point. They asked him if he was in a position to help. He said yes. CNN asked him if he was afraid of the radiation risks for his crew. He said no.
How come we never stressed that?
Also the head of communication at WNA – Ian Hore-Lacy told everyone in the aftermath of the ‘incident’ that this was a civil nuclear plant and that people should not worry too much. I admire Ian Hore-Lacy for his courage.
The next day, he was replaced by his boss on TV who said all of us should be very wary.
Now CNN goes in deep and finds stuff about the NSA in 3 or 4 days. IN the mean time all of us are in the dark regarding scientific truth on nuclear energy.
Whether Grobe and the civilian brass at the NRC knew what they were talking about was never the question, Rod. If they were evacuated as a “feel safe” measure, is it your contention that the Navy was told to do so by the NRC or White House?
My question dealt with — and still does — with the actions of the Navy, their rationale, and who gave the orders. This post indicates that scared civilians ran everything. I don’t think there is evidence that that is true with regards to the Navy’s actions.
I’m really not concerned with your antipathy to and obsession with the NRC. As for the ships, they had to decontaminate the USS Ronald Reagan, which took months, unfortunately.
to answer your question, I’ve been on, but never served on a ship. my draft classification in 68 was 4f, courtesy of a year-long encounter with the kkk.
First of all, I want to clear up a misconception in your comment. I have no antipathy toward the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The agency has a cadre of some of the most technically competent and dedicated public servants in the US government. I have a great deal of admiration for most of the currently serving commissioners and have expressed that clearly in a number of posts. In fact, I count one of the currently serving commissioners as a mentor and personal friend.
I have a deep antipathy for technically incompetent politicians who used political pressure tactics to achieve a position of authority and then assumed even more authority than granted by law.
Back to the question about the Navy’s actions. I do not know if there were any orders from the White House. I am confident that there were none from the NRC; if there were any, they would have been ignored since the NRC exercises zero authority by statute over the US Navy. However, the Navy is run by civilian political appointees. Commissioned flag officers make most operational decisions, but even those people are put into their jobs by political decisions.
It would have been very difficult for the Navy to explain to dependents that they were in no danger at all given the attention in the media and the public statements of people like Gregory Jaczko. As I said in a previous comment, the Navy has a long history of treating nuclear information as a deep, dark secret. That history does not enable the service to be a source of information that reduces fear, uncertainty and doubt, even among its own non-nuclear trained people.
There’s no evidence Ostendorff (two “f”s) ever taught at MIT. May a one “f” one did.
I’m currently reading “Freedom to Choose” by Milton Friedman and he provides a good quote from Edward Teller in regards to the regulatory ratcheting of the nuclear industry:
Slightly off-topic but I thought it was a good quote to share here.
I appreciate learning about Ted Rockwell.
I understand that my family receives more radiation than most because we live at a 7,000 foot level. We have (unintentionally) chose to remove over a whole MILE of atmospheric protection from radiation. I never heard of anyone living around a nuclear plant to be subject to radiation (unless there was a continued lack of water to the solid fueled core).
It seems we are mired in a debate which lacks scientific reasoning, that is either diffuse and intermittent renewables OR fossil fueled depletion and certain devastation. Nuclear is left out because of the media scare tactics, political misrepresentation and overall scientific illiteracy.
Nuclear, hopefully a meltdown proof version, MUST become mass produced. I believe we need only about 60,000 100MW of such, to power a growing planet. The next best energy option, CSP towers with molten salt storage, would require almost twice as many, necessitating WAY more land (and powerlines). Price, even in the face of today’s advanced machine automation, overshadows CSP.
We must seek to inform that the physical and chemical effects of excess CO2 is real, and that there IS a way to overshadow fossil fuels with a much superior form of unlimited low carbon energy.
There are some major issues regarding your idea.
1.- A new NPP would be a generation 3+ NPP, such as the EPR (still it can only hold a F16 fighter plane and not a 200ton freight plane).
That delivers electricity at a cost price far above present market (wholesale) prices.
I quote from Wikipedia:
“… UK wholesale electricity price is about £48 per megawatt-hour. EDF is negotiating a guaranteed fixed price – a “strike price” – for electricity from Hinkley Point C, and is thought to be asking for £95-£100 (=~$140) per megawatt-hour, which would be fixed for 35 years (linked to inflation) …”
To that price you should add the big liability subsidies regarding:
– accidents; NPP not liable for the huge costs (~500-2000billion) if it creates disaster (on average now one in 6000years)
– storage; UK taxpayer gets a first bill of ~£100billion to store nuclear waste.
These subsidies together with loan guarantees etc have a value of roughly $10/MWh.
So you end with a cost price ~$140/MWh.
The expected unsubsidized cost prices for solar and wind including (pumped) storage in 2030 are much lower! That explains also why the utility only wants to build the NPP if it gets a guaranteed prices for all it produces (despite the liability subsidies and guarantees it already gets).
2.- What adds to the bad economics is the fact that in ~2040 wind+solar will often produce more than the grid/consumers need. So the NPP has to deliver for an almost zero price (say ~$1/MWh) as wind and solar can do that because they have almost no variable costs. We see that situation now already sometimes at the Amsterdam exchange.
In fact at that time there will only be a need for PP’s that are flexible enough to fill the gaps wind+solar+(pumped)storage leave. Flexible is fast up-/down regulation, which NPP’s cannot (most even cannot down regulate below 20%)…
3.- Base load power plants become a stumble block towards 100% renewable.
Last week I saw new houses in Italy with solar panels integrated in the roof. With the decreasing prices (and rising yields), that will become the standard situation. Those roofs produce substantially more than the house needs. If the grid pays little (low Feed-in-Tariff) you will get private storage facilities, etc.
So less and less power from power plants will be needed.
That implies that in the long range, even the economics of waste/bio-fuel/coal power plants become an issue.
4.- Your program of NPP’s imply accidents and enhanced background radiation levels.
While that may harm adults only slightly, it harms reproduction greatly (misfits, lower intelligence, etc). Even a rise of 0.5mSv/a does that already as research after Chernobyl has shown (stillbirth and other misfits rise with ~30%/mSv per year).
Gents I’m not a nuke lover and am weary of titles of radiation is good for you. A learned friend who jokingly said this to me when being facetious I presume, later told me his father was operated on for a brain tumour and had his vasculature burnt out by over zealous use of radiotherapy – thus turning him prematurely senile.
Ionising radiation is obviously a risk to the human body and DNA, especially so to those who are young or still in gestation and shouldn’t be trivialised, some of us will have better DNA and cell repair abilities than others i.e Angelina Jolie with her BRCA1 mutation and many other men and women who get breast cancer who have this mutation that stops DNA repair. I myself have a gene mutation that cause malregulation of iron called Hemochromatosis, the iron that is regularly added everywhere by so called scientists is not needed, especially if you have this genetic illness which affects something like 1 in 200 in the US causing iron overload toxicity and free radical production leading to multiple health problems including liver cancer.
The fact that many are ignorant of background radiation does not mean it should be taken lightly – if your homes were filling up with radon from granite rock (We have problems here in Cornwall in the UK) you would want to do something about it. Lung disease due to Smoking has also I believe been deemed by a US Surgeon General (not sure if current SG I’m in UK) a radioactive illness due to uptake of uranium from soils by tabaco plants, smoking and radon gas inhalation is a definate no no for good health.
I am however sceptical over issues like global warming and I personally don’t like the nuclear camp to claim they are being helpful in this issue. The amount of energy expended over a lifetime in building running and decommissioning a nuclear power station is considerable and will probably come from fossil fuel sources, trucks, construction, refining etc. I understand countries like Japan and France who do not have fossil fuel sources and hence their chase of nuclear power – however I believe without some nuclear breakthrough the current fission reactors will also be in a similar position to oil fired generators i.e peak uranium – the same reason why France invaded Mali as the US did Iraq to protect it’s fuel /Uranium source – France exhausted it’s own sources of Uranium.
The main reason I’m afraid for the development of nuclear reactors is the Military who are also happy to use it’s toxic products (depleted uranium) to damage the DNA of populations like in Iraq where there is a massive surge in cancers numbers. it is not cost effective currently to generate electricity via nuclear power unless there is a spin off, why the new nuclear power talked of on the Severn estuary in the UK is being held up, as the proposers EDF of France want a guarantee on higher electricity prices making it profitable. I personally can’t imagine the US allowing foreign nuclear plants to operate in the US and for me this is a little scary as I live downwind of this proposal (Hinkley Point) where there are 4 British reactors currently (2 being decommissioned.)
I know you are all learned and professional guys working in a precision industry and find it hard to accept disasters like Fukashima. That the nuclear industry covers up minor accidents is in no doubt, that the sea has radioactive components does not mean that I want more added to my tidal local and lastly one thing that I haven’t seen mentioned on this website (I’m new I may have missed something) is the chance of terrorism taking down a reactor or turning a fuel pool into a dirty bomb. In Brittany France the first French nuclear power station Brenalis was taken out of production due to a Breton Liberation Group – it is still being decommissioned at god knows what cost. Brittany has the lowest priced electricity generation in France (also EDF owned) at the Rance tidal barrier near St Malo, the Severn Estuary in the UK has the second highest tidal rise in the world and the UK government is talking of nuclear power there and snubbed hydro production that could supply something like 20% of UK electricity needs.
Lastly I’m not after a distasteful argument, I came here trying to check out Arne Gunderson who does seem to be a bit of a charlatan it would seem – I know I will be labelled a conspiracy nutter (put it down to my post 911 scepticism i.e 47 story freefall collapse of WTC Building 7 without a plane strike ) but Jim Stone seems to have an angle on the Fukashima disaster that implicates state terrorism and not poor operation or design. I would be interested to hear what you guys think about his claims about reactor 4 being defueled for instance yet still being blown apart :- http://www.jimstonefreelance.com/fukushima1.html
Regards to all and apologies if I have missed a relevant post Mike
I think you have missed lots of relevant posts. Btw… I think most if the posters here (including myself) do not have ANY connection to the nuclear industry we are people who have done our own independent research (outside of wikipedia and the green peace website) and determined that nuclear power is the safest form of energy generation in all regards.
As to your question of how a defuse led unit could have suffered a hydrogen burn it is very easy…
The units at Fukushima had cross tie piping to its off gas systems which allowed hydrogen (an extremely light gas with extremely small and hard to contain molecules which incidentally is one of the challenges to using hydrogen as motor vehicle fuel) to leak into the non operating reactor building and mix with oxygen.
As for everything else you said I really don’t even know where to begin except to say that it sounds very much like the typical green peace spiel (I think the only thing you missed was trying to tell us that price-Anderson is a subsidy and that nuclear power plants don’t carry insurance -10 greenie points) and is in my opinion uninformed.
I think if you were half as concerned about changing non-nuclear things that are impacting your life and region right now and for the last several generations than being worried about Doomsday speculations and rad bogeymen and nuke nightmares and all-reactors-have-inevitable-meltdown lies that others have successfully seeded you, you’d have a happier longer life. I don’t really blame you for falling into the comfort of FUD since having a biased idealistic media as an ally is a powerful persuader in one’s perception of the world. Like the media, many greens love a dragon to slay to make their mark in the world and nuclear things are perfect stooges because all you hear in news and Hollywood (*Superman against EVIL Nuclearman”?) are the bad things radiation’s done and bombs it can make. The proof is in the pudding and historical record and fact and reality, and all the nuclear contamination nightmares and off-the-wall Doomsday speculations the antis have served a clueless public about nuclear power just haven’t panned out worldwide in close to 60 years, including its worst RARE near-fluke accidents. Fukushima? Chernobyl? Tiny potatoes! The oil and gas and coal industries (don’t even talk about chemical!) can show you some FAR more occasional REAL Disasters where hundreds of thousands have died for generations and continue to healthwise, but the bald-faced public safety-public health hypocrisy of greens have gotten in bed with fossil just to help slur and shun the virtues of nuclear. I guess greens are awfully bad bean-counters in totaling up the mortality scores of every day industrial operations and accidents — or they belittle and shrug off all those deaths caused by fossil just to hype nuclear’s lost handful. Really, if nuclear power was a tenth as bad as Greenpeace and FOE kept ranting it it is, half of us should’ve been put away long ago while the survivors are nursing mutant babies. I mean there are states and provinces going bankrupt razing pristine mountains and despoiling seascapes and bucolic countrysides and prairies to erect monstrous windmills and sprawling solar farms for the illusion of Gaea-endorsed pristine energy. Sacrificing our natural heritage — supposedly the Holy Grail of the green scene — for what? Just to soothe exaggerated fears and nightmares of ultra-rare nil-zero casualty nuke accidents? The fear is crazy out there, but even worst is the ignorance. Lastly, you imply that those that favor nuclear are “nuke lovers” like we’re crazy-eyed gun nuts. The one thing the Greens’ monopoly on humanity doesn’t credit us for is that we also bleed and have families we love and love the environment and care about the future and we have done our research on ways to create a clean energy-rich world where few are starving and have clean air and water and an environment unmarred and unspoiled by the lowest footprint unobtrusive clean contained power sources. We’ve done the math, not played with people’s heads. That’s why we chose nukes. Break away from the greens and do your OWN non-green based research. You’ll surprise yourself.
Well Mike the “Military” could just as easily use natural uranium in the same way as they currently use depleted uranium. It would work just as good and have the exact same results. So that ‘main reason’ is false.
“The amount of energy expended over a lifetime in building running and decommissioning a nuclear power station is considerable and will probably come from fossil fuel sources, trucks, construction, refining etc.”
And the same is true of solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and tidal isn’t it?
It’s more true of those things, due to their far greater materials requirements per unit of output.
I estimate the opposite to be true nowadays.
If I look at the huge building costs of the two new NPP’s in the EU (France and Finland), and compare with new PV panels or the new 8 MW wind turbines, my estimation is the opposite.
An estimation that is supported by the higher cost price of the electricity those may produce when(if) they become operational.
So I like to see a good calculation.
When I read “the Military who are also happy to use it’s toxic products (depleted uranium) to damage the DNA of populations”, that was all I needed to know.
There have been entire websites devoted to mocking, ridiculing, and debunking ignorant radiophobic anti-scientific nonsense like this.
Thank you Steve: http://depletedcranium.com
Agreed … total nutter.
If the US military really wanted to “damage the DNA,” they would use natural uranium, which is significantly more radioactive than depleted uranium.
The reason that the military uses uranium for certain munitions is that it’s a dense material that has certain useful properties, such as being self-sharpening upon impact. These properties make it extremely effective at penetrating armored vehicles.
Actually, metallic uranium bursts into flame when frictionally heated in air. If a DU round penetrates the crew compartment of an armored vehicle, this both consumes the oxygen in the air and sets the interior on fire via heat flash.
I just read the link about Fukushima being a terrorist plot and… WOW!!! EVERYTHING (except Arnie G being a fraud complete with a link to this site) is technically incorrect and wrong. Who ever wrote that has no understanding of how a GE BWR works. There is just so much incorrect information that it boggles the mind!
PLEASE READ THE BWR TRAINING MANUALS, DESIGN BASES DOCUMENTS, TECH SPECS, AND ALL OF THE OTHER TECHNICAL INFORMATION OUT THERE. IT IS READILY AVAILABLE.
Btw… According to them stuxnet a virus designed to damage centrifuges and nuclear weapons disguised as security cameras caused the disaster at Fukushima… WOW!
I think we’re seeing the initial trials of the latest play in the anti-nuke handbook.
The poster starts by claiming to love nuclear power, then spends the next six paragraphs trotting out the same old debunked garbage that the liars have been spewing for years.
I saw this same tactic a couple of weeks ago on one of the regular sites, or maybe on Next Big Future (or whatever it’s called). I’m not sure if it was the same guy.
It’s slightly less obvious that claiming to be a former nuclear industry worker, and then being unable to provide any bona fides when pinned down.
I want the Yucca Mountain Key licensing safety evaluation reports out !!!!!
They were near fruition when Dr J killed them. With the latest judicial orders we should press to get those out.
And somewhere, someone has them.
They will come out. They must come out.
And now I hope that Dr J and the current Chairman will be sued for contempt of the law. And what the heck, I would put the other commisionners in the same bag. They are all rotten and have no spine.
And I think the COL backlog in dead. Correct me anyone if I am wrong.
Os there anyone waiting in line now with the recent news from Duke ?
Nikola Tesla was a genius who gave us AC electricity that we all benefit from today in the USA.
He was an advocate of a concept called ‘free energy’. So he died a while ago, but still he was a genius.
Is this concept of ‘free energy’ of his a dream that will never see the light of day ?
Tesla was no doubt a great engineer and inventor however, there is evidence that he was also a little wacky especially later in life what with the death rays and all…
Sean – Exactly.
Free energy exists, but it comes in only two flavors: Helmholz and Gibbs.
Too complicated for me. So nothing tangible or scalable will ever come out of these free energy theories ?
Daniel – I’m sorry, but my comment was a little joke to my fellow geeks who were trained in physics or anyone who has taken a good course on thermodynamics and genuinely understood it.
Some people — including, apparently, some who comment here — believe that “free energy” means that there is some magical source of energy out there that is available at no cost. Those of us who have studied physics (and understood it) know that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Glad to hear you are such a proponent of diffuse, abundant, and zero fuel cost energy resources. Maybe Tesla’s dream of free energy (here is his patent for the device) isn’t that far fetched after all? He also wrote a patent for it’s utilization.
“…concept of ‘free energy’ of his a dream that will never see the light of day?…”
Near free energy may come by:
1- nuclear fusion (first trial the ITER project in France); and/or
2- low cost high yield (>30%) solar films. Those can be glued on walls etc.
The last one makes more chance in the short (~50years) term as all ingredients are already there. So its only a matter of advanced technology processing to produce them.
Hi Gents please don’t get paranoid firstly I used the term nukes as an abbreviation probably a bad one to cover nuclear power stations, military reactors and weapons. There is no doubt though that the two are intimately linked and like it or not the those of you who have worked in civil nuclear power are also supplying the means for the military (checkout Israels paranoia towards Iran) and the production of DU weapons:-
Most depleted uranium arises as a by product of the production of enriched uranium for use in nuclear reactors and in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.
Yes it’s from wiki complain about the page if you think it is factually incorrect and state your references, they have likewise :- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_power_accidents_by_country
Also DU is a disaster for the environment, the miconised dust from the burning uranium is especially inhalable for those who have to live in contaminated areas, which it would seem has also been in the USA near factories making the weapons and of course returning soldiers exposed to recovering vehicles hit by DU weapons (friendly fire!).
The armaments industry uses many other heavy metals in warheads shells etc which are also known to interfere with health, especially children and the unborn and they don’t get much heavier than uranium which is toxic even forgetting the radiation aspect.
I am though an ordinary guy from an IT background, not nuclear, though have had old school friends in the industry as engineers and associated sectors and I‘ve heard the scare stories – I don‘t scare easily and don’t enjoy pedalling scare stories, but I take my health seriously and the environment where I live – many don‘t. I’ve health messed up by a gene mutation, that can’t be blamed on modern radiation, that causes an overload of Iron – how many doctors are even aware that iron is a poison in excess, most human bodies only carry about 4 grams of iron and it has been quoted as the number one reason for deaths in US children due to overdosing on their parents vitamin pills with added iron when they have eaten them like sweets – it stops their hearts!
Something like 1 in 10 in the US and North Europe carry this gene mutation, you normally need 2 copies for it to be expressed. Our doctors are not aware of iron overload toxicity though and many sufferers go a very long time to get diagnosis leaving them significantly damaged or dead, if you drink it is an even nastier cocktail as your liver expires – no pun intended!
I hope our doctors are more aware of lead poisoning symptoms, that is a major developmental poison for babies -Saturnism why lead paint was phased out and we are supposed to be on the healthier & ‘green ‘unleaded fuel (with more benzene!)! Radioactive Uranium eventually decays into lead causing a lot of grief along the way and is 10 time more abundant in the environment than silver and mercury put together. That we may have high background levels means we should be even more careful with this toxic element.
I am very concerned about the contamination of the environment and the chemical cocktails we live in, not just by nuclear accidents, but yes by chemical plants like the toxic accident at Bhopal that a US company walked away from, though I’m especially worried about heavy metals and radiation which you can’t see. I’m not a member of Greenpeace though applaud much of their work – I am aware however of others using certain ‘Green’ ideas for a political agenda. It’s not just about the availability of energy it is about the control of it, the US shut down Iraqi oil production, especially as Sadam was going to sale in euros -i.e threatening the dominance of the Petro-dollar, probably part of the reason they are also so anti Iran.
In an ideal world we would have a balance of energy generation, currently nuclear generated electricity is too expensive compared to oil and gas especially so, until fracking has poisoned a lot more aquafers you won’t see many new ones and private companies will not bare the costs of nuclear decommissioning, something that is easily done if need be with hydro or wind and why running costs are also cheaper and why I have no problem with wind power – some forget it was these 2 powers before steam that did most of our work i.e water and wind mills for flour production etc.- now where did they all go to.
That I live in a major population center just over 20 miles downwind from a major nuclear site on the side of the second highest tidal estuary in the world is a worry, especially after Fukushima where the Japanese who were tsunami prone and aware – the winds there took much ‘fallout’ out to sea Tokyo could have been in a bad way had the winds driven the ‘fallout’ inland. But why site these Anglo-French plants so near to the largest city in the south west of England and the 2nd most important economically. We have already handed the running of our nuclear power stations over to a Foreign entity EDF – it stands for Electricity de France (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Energy) and they are proposing their own reactor design for this site – would you guys be happy with the French running your nuclear power stations?
That the technology itself is pretty advanced is one reason to deny competing countries without fossil fuels it, the technology and engineering spin offs are huge and it is this angle that is why I asked the question about Jim Stones theories about Fukashima being a terror attack. That 3 stations went pop when 1 was even unfueled seems madness when there were so many backup systems in place, including the boron poisoning (I did see the GE BWR handbook that Jim linked to!). That I’m being told the reactor that was unfueled, but was destroyed due to hydrogen from an adjacent reactor seems more unbelievable than what Jim Stone is proposing and if true is more than borderline negligence.
However the Israelis would be more than happy to do this to the Iranians where they have already affected centrifuges and Oil refineries with Stuxnet, they bombed the French built Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak for instance. The stuxnet virus also has variants and was not just tailored to take control of centrifuges :-
Stuxnet is a threat targeting a specific industrial control system likely in Iran, such as a gas pipeline or power plant. The ultimate goal of Stuxnet is to sabotage that facility by reprogramming programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to operate as the attackers intend them to, most likely out of their specified boundaries
Israel would not be happy with Japan in recognising firstly Palestine and offering to reprocess Iranian nuclear fuel. Is it common to have cameras in reactors owned and run by a third party with a data link external to the plant and country!? It’s a shame the Japanese do not know of the saying beware Greeks bearing gifts, but this brings about the issue of control, especially when a foreign entity is running your nuclear power stations – the possibility of Trojans becomes much higher. – I for one would personally avoid Isreali Firewall software, ZoneAlarm was good before it was purchased by Israels Checkpoint, the non-Checkpoint version flagged up a permanently open connection to an AKAMI server in the Czech republic from Mcaffee that the Checkpoint owned version didn’t!
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-08-15/news/sns-rt-us-usa-nuclear-vulnerabilities-20130815_1_reactors-u-s-nuclear-regulatory-commission-plants With regards to Fukushima and Foreign operators
Lastly I am not anti military, we all need someone to defend us (although it could be argued the US has an offence industry not defense) and Bristol was bomb heavily in the second world war that we still have painful reminders of here. Also I understand as portable power plants in certain utilisations nuclear reactors are hard to beat – anyone who has served on a submarine, like Ted, I take my hat off to, the risks are evident without the worry of a nuclear reactor on board. I was in Gibraltar when a Royal Navy nuclear submarine that had broken down (primary coolant leak) was towed there, there was great worry in Gibraltar and Spain and indeed the engineers who worked on the submarine stayed at the same hotel to myself – the staff informing me that they had said if anything was dangerous they would have been the first to go – funnily there had been a bigger problem from the Spanish AcerInox steel plant across the bay that threw an old Xray machine into the smelter – the radiation plume could be seen across the whole of Europe – the Italians discovered it first embarrassingly for Spain.
Regards to all and if you have a link to the initial Fukushima discussion I would like to read it
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=WQ&reference=P-1998-2051&language=HU Euparliament question re AcerInox
“…some forget it was these 2 powers before steam that did most of our work i.e water and wind mills for flour production etc.- now where did they all go to.”
Correct. And if we follow the bad advice of the windies, we’ll be going back to an 18th century lifestyle, where wind and small-stream hydro (water wheels) did most of the work. And, I hate to break it to you, but an 18th century lifestyle ain’t no picnic. Most people worked themselves to death at an early age, most families who had children had 1 in 3 die in childhood, and most of the population was illiterate and living in abject poverty, with no hope of lifting themselves out of it.
Where did they all go to? Good question. They went away. They were non-competitive with more intense energy sources. They could not then and cannot now meet the energy demands of a modern society.
“… funnily there had been a bigger problem from the Spanish AcerInox steel plant across the bay that threw an old Xray machine into the smelter – the radiation plume could be seen across the whole of Europe – the Italians discovered it first embarrassingly for Spain”
Sounds like bullshit to me. Most x-ray machines have no radiation source. They have an x-ray tube with a metallic target that is bombarded by electrons, and only emits x-rays when the electron beam is switched on. If an x-ray machine were melted in a smelter, you’d get liquified metal and maybe a little glass and plastic, but no radioactive material.
@Wayne – It was a Cs-137 gamma source. Mike seems to not know (or care) about the distinction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acerinox_accident
You have to understand – to radiophobes, events like this are like holding an acrophobe by his ankles over the Grand Canyon.
I do not agree that the real aim of the “windies” is to return to an 18th century lifestyle. Their real mission is to make as much money as possible.
Most of the money in the wind business goes to people and corporations that are tightly tied to the established fossil fuel energy business in one way or another. Wind turbines do not threaten the viability or long term profitability of that enterprise in any way that is similar to the way that nuclear energy does.
Wind and solar energy are mere distractions designed to allow some vocal people to keep living their current lifestyles, keep burning fossil fuels, and keep claiming that they are opposed to both fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
I do not know the real aim of either the windies or the solarites. All I know is if we do what they say there will be an enormous regression in the average person’s standard of living, perhaps to the level of the 18th century or earlier. And a long with that, a lot of people are going to die. I doubt if maybe 5% of the population would survive not having food available in the local supermarket, or fresh, potable water available at the tap. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface. Things like medical care, habitability of ordinary housing, livability of major cities, all of those would go by the wayside without abundant energy, especially in the form of electricity, in reliable, economical supply. Wind and solar can’t deliver it.
You’ve missed my point. The marketing message of trying to move towards an all renewable power system is just that, a marketing message. IMHO no one in the renewables business believes it; they just spout it in order to make sales and to discourage interest in nuclear energy among the less financially interested public.
Which marketing messages are those: real ones or straw man ones? I think most of us know that a single energy resource cannot do all the heavy lifting. Nuclear on a cost effective, and suitable to build and manage, basis either. On a modern, well balanced, reliable, sustainable, domestically secure, quick to build, easy to finance, easy to scale globally, and cost effective basis it’s always going to be a mix. And many updates will be met in the future with advances in energy storage (just now starting to hit the marketplace and sidelining more expensive, polluting, and high marginal cost fossil fuels as a convenience).
Regardless … energy costs are going to be rising (no matter what approach is taken). This has to be understood as a given as we confront on what competitive basis plant retirements and new energy and capacity resources will be selected in the future.
Germany and Denmark are rich well developed countries with real democratic governments.
Do you really think that the politicians of those countries, supported by all universities and almost all scientists are throwing all their prosperity away??
Germany decided for a specific scenario after a decade of debate (~1990-200) and many scenario studies (~$200miln spend to that).
To me that does not sound crazy or silly but it sounds like a well-considered deliberate choice taking into account all benefits and disadvantages.
And despite the growing share of renewable in electricity production (>40% in Denmark, 23% in Germany), their economy runs better than the economy in the ‘nuclear’ EU states France and UK.
Germany is meeting their energy demands by burning more coal and gas. They are doing that now. In a northern European climate, solar is an absolute disaster. Wind is highly variable and cannot be relied upon to be a major source of baseload power. They are building more coal-burning capacity as we speak.
Denmark is a very small country with an electrical grid that is tiny compared with larger countries. And even that does not allow wind to be a viable energy source without the availability of Norwegian hydropower to fill in the gaps when wind can’t carry the load (often), or absorb the excess when it produces too much (rare, but it happens). It’s the variability thing again. Without the tie-in to the Norwegian system, wind energy in Denmark would be an abject failure (instead of poor, as it has been).
For millions of years mankind has struggled to free himself from and make his well-being less dependent on the vagaries of natural phenomena. Large-scale dependence on highly variable and often unpredictable energy sources like wind and solar would undo all of that progress and make us again utterly dependent on things that we cannot control or rely upon. That is not progress. Relying on ancient technology (wind) or prehistoric energy sources (solar) would result in a regression in the standard of living of almost everyone in the developed world, probably with catastrophic results.
There is no indication that Denmark is not serious about reaching the 100% renewable energy at 2050.
Note that their target is not only electricity generation but all energy consumption (incl. transport and heating) must be renewable by 2050 (more ambitious than Germany).
They have defined many intermediate goals. So you can check whether they reach those! The next targets of Denmark are those of 2020:
– >50% of all electricity to be generated by wind
– 30% of all energy to be renewable.
Germany is ahead of its intermediate targets for 2020.
Note that the ‘Energiewende’ scenario only covers the period to 2050 with 80% of all electricity generated by renewable at that time.
This link gives an overview of the present German situation.
“… energy costs are going to be rising (no matter what approach is taken)…
Regarding electricity costs in the long run I do not agree.
All indications are that the cost-price of PV panel electricity production will continue downwards with at least 8% per year for at least the next 20 years or so. Until we have full scale automated production of panels with a yield of ~30-60% (now ~15%), whereby panels then often are thin films glued on wall/roofs. That will results in solar producing for <$20/MWh.
That implies that everybody installs solar capacity. Far more than his needs. As electricity from the grid becomes 5-10 times more expensive, it is economic to install substantial over-capacity for the winter.
Wind will also go down as wind turbines grow towards 20MW each (an EU study found that those are feasible with the present technology), but far less speedy.
We will also get heat pumps for private houses, small scale storage systems, etc.
I do not believe in small scale fission reactors (mPower, etc). They seem to be as far away as few years ago. That is a bad sign, especially as projected costs tend to rise the moment realization becomes near.
Worse, there will be no need for base-load power plants. Only for flexible plants that can follow fast changing needs (as wind may change fast).
As you imply, the Greenies want us “Little People” to abandon our SUVs in favor of bicycles.
Vocal proponents of this approach include Al Gore and Prince Charles. Both of these hypocrites have at least four homes and a massive “Carbon Footprint”. The main residence for Prince Charles is called Grosvenor House with a heated area of 54,000 square feet.
Today’s nuclear power stations (LWR models) are as useful for military production as solar and windmills are for reliable base load generation 🙂
Honestly where do people learn these lunatic fringe lies?
NRC chairmen of late would disagree with you … But like Dale Klein said, the ‘no bozos allowed’ rule is not enforced since Obama and Reid are running the dog and pony show.
Who is pursuing Ted’s fight against the NYAS on their bogus science on Chernobyl ?
With all due to respect to Ted Rockwell and Rickover – we live in a different world today. Their model of leadership and approach is nothing exemplary and encouraging. You say in the article…. “For Rockwell, the crime was the evacuation zones around the disabled Fukushima plant. More than 20,000 people were killed, none by radiation, all by the tsunami that devastated a large stretch of the coastal plain.”
I expect a bit more intellectual honesty in this statement… yes tsunami killed the people but the fact is the plants were not designed to withstand multiple events all at the same time. And the reality is the engineers who design did not think that to happen and watered down concerns of multiple failure events as something that will never happen. The truth is – it happened and the engineers (me included) were wrong. Now whether a design that envelops multiple failure is economical is a different question. The statements on radiation in other countries are also not accurate. Other countries have numerous instances of overdosage, fudging dosimeter readings,etc… so I suggest please don’t overreach on your statements.
Nuclear needs a fresh thinking – so lets stop idolizing and prostrating to the bullies and yesterday’s dinosaurs think new with some humility. It is time to move on.
“I expect a bit more intellectual honesty in this statement”
Are you joking? How about you follow your own advice.
What in the statement you whine about isn’t honest?
You go on to state that the plants weren’t designed for multiple events because the designers did not believe that multiple events, like actually occurred, would happen. That may be true but it has nothing to do with the statement you quote.
“Nuclear needs a fresh thinking”
And what do you think has been happening in the 40 or 50 years since the Fukushima plants were designed and built? Why do you think current discussion are about Generation III and IV designs?
No I am not joking. Do you think the probabilistic risk estimate was reflecting that the plants will be washed away? I am not implying loss of human lives in Japan because I am not an expert in radiation and health effects. And yes I agree there is discussion on Gen III and IV – but I have not seen a bankable case yet. In 40 – 50 years all I can see that there are not as many nuclear engineering programs in colleges anymore. There are fewer qualified nuclear welders…fewer 10cfr50 / class 1E vendors… (need I keep going on and on)…and if you talking about Gen III and IV how many are getting built? Even the much talked about SMRs… how is that market going? The reason I “whine” about it is because I live in the real world which consist of creating not only working in nuclear engineering but also working with the financiers, and dealing with the media and I don’t have the luxury of spending my life in “discussion” … and dismissing real issues as either ignorance or some kind of conspiracy created by the media…
Oh sorry I didn’t realize the US was the whole world. I guess India and China are magically building nuclear plants without qualified workers.
“Do you think the probabilistic risk estimate was reflecting that the plants will be washed away?”
Except the plants weren’t washed away were they?
Now maybe you could actually address my comment rather than tap dancing.
What in the statement you whine about isn’t honest?
Why don’t you move up the coast a few miles … There were 6 other nuclear reactors in Fukushima Daini that were exposed to the same earthquake-tsunami.
They are doing fine. Why ? They were newer and more recent by only 10 years.
Plus reactor no 1 at Daichi was to be closed a month after the tsunami hit.
And no one died from radiation and the land is basically very safe everywhere. Since day 2.
If a similar light nuclear incident were to happen in the US, I do not think citizens would have left their homes no matter what officials would have demanded. I can smell the 2nd amendment taking hold.
And the truth here would have come out. CNN would have been forced to listen to the knowledgable ‘marginals’.
In a way, I sincerely hope that a similar trivial incident would occur in the US. In the South East preferably, where the undisputed nuclear world class US talent resides.
Then guys with clout and knowledge like Ted, Rod, DV82XL, Brian, EP, AtomikRabit and many many others on this board would have gained instant credibility and notoriety. Science based facts. No smoke and mirror.
If I had the means I would go and stand in Fukushima outside the 5 KM radius as is the norm emitted by the IAEA, I would. Have breakfast, play with my daughter (wishing she were 5 again). Why is the Japanese PM not doing this is beyond me. It would send such a strong message.
Too bad it did not happen in the US. Too bad. An inconsequential event.
Are claiming to be an engineer who worked on either Fukushima 1-4 or designing the BWR 2, 3, and 4 for GE?
What exactly does “and the engineers (me included) were wrong” mean?
If you are claiming to be one of the above could you provide some supporting proof of your claim?
And also… If the “engineers” never imagined multiple failure modes then why have SSE systems AND a sea wall (even if it wasn’t high enough) why have EDG’s and RCIC/Iso condenser systems that don’t need power? Why have control blades AND SLC?
Me thinks you are no nuclear engineer if this lay person could come up with three examples where multiple failures were designed for in <5 minutes.
The plants did pretty well considering the event that they experienced. Just imagine the death and destruction that would have resulted if the facility behind the sea wall that was surmounted at Fukushima Dai-ichi had been anything other than a nuclear electricity generating station.
Yes, four of the six units were damaged beyond any hope of repair, but the public was protected from the impact of the event.
The total amount of radioactive material released was about 12 kilograms; though it was dispersed in an enormous volume of water and air.
No one will ever be able to state that their illness was a result of radiation released from Fukushima Dai-ichi.
The fresh thinking we really need is a recognition that nuclear accidents can be acceptable; especially in a world full of fallible human beings and their fallible inventions. Perfection is not required when pretty darned good results in only material damage without human injuries.
In the early days (the Gen-II, if you will) of railroading, fatal and non-fatal accidents were commonplace: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rail_accidents_(before_1880)#1830s
Some people thought that the technology, “spewing” smoke and cinders across the countryside, was the spawn of the devil.
Gradually, engineers worked on the problems and the trains became safer, faster, and more economical. Most of the public gradually accepted that the benefits greatly outweighed the drawbacks as the technology improved. Fear turned to acceptance, or even fondness – i.e. “trainspotters”.
Even today, after nearly 200 years of refinements, trains occasionally derail or collide, and kill scores of people or release clouds of toxic gases. Is anyone seriously proposing banning railroads?
1- The difference is that you decide, out of free will, to take the risk when you buy a ticket because it delivers you a benefit.
With nuclear the citizen has no choice and he even experiences no benefit at all (and nowadays he hasn’t as nuclear became expensive).
The citizen get only the draw backs.
2- The scale of the damage (size of uninhabitable area); and
– the huge tax-payer costs (~$500billion);
– the impossibility for the citizen to insure against it (e.g regarding leaving the house);
– the long period of hundreds of years the area still is unusable;
– the invisibility of the danger;
That all make that people do not take action against trains or planes, but they do regarding nuclear.
Thanks. For a minute I was starting to feel left out of this wholesale Bas-tardization of science, fact, and reason. Whew!
if you notice, Blas is pushing all the buttons that Paul Sandman covered in Risk Communications. The perception of risk is high when the risk is not detectable, when people are not personally in control of that risk, when distant and un-accountable agencies regulate this.
Basically and El are convinced of two things,
1. That radiation poses a much higher risk to the population than we are willing to acknowledge.
2. That the cost of Nuclear is unreasonable considering the risk above – because it currently includes the attempt to keep radiation below background levels. So, they keep pointing at current political reality.
Notice that most of our responses are fact based. We are trying to “disprove” their facts. Sandman’s teaching on this is helpful, but I am not sure how to apply it in the context of a blog site.
I am also interested that Roger Witherspoon’s view is that we are basically extreme. Our advocacy is because we are wild eyed conspiracy nuts. (Not an exact quote but a summary of his basic approach).
All this points up that our problem is with the EPA and NRC. When our Government regulators say that a problem is real (radiation is really quite dangerous and must be reduced as much as possible) – most people will believe them and take action accordingly. The regulators are the “filter” through which most people view the world, especially those who do not have the time or inclination to dig through reams of material to understand what they are looking at.
Thank you for your content related response (would be even better if you could spell my name correctly)!
…our responses are fact based. We are trying to “disprove” their facts..
Here you indicate the core issue!
Your facts are different compared to my facts and (I estimate) those of the regulators and most radiation scientists (incl. medical).
I intent to react fact based too.
So we should find out which facts are better (scientific) funded.
Not an easy job.
Sorry for the slip of the keyboard when typing your name. I meant no insult, just typing fast.
If you are willing to look at facts, you will have to look further than the types of studies you have been looking at. I understand that you see a comparison between the health effects of substances like smoking or asbestos and the health effects of radiation, but there are major differences between radiation and these substances.
1. Radiation is naturally occurring and pervasive in all it’s forms. It has always been here and in the past was even stronger than the present. Life has always existed with radiation and in many places with concentrations much higher than are allowed under current regulations.
We are regulating radiation to the point where eventually we will need to cover a NPP with a sun shield to abide by the ever increasing (As Low as Reasonably Achievable) radiation standards.
You are trying to prove that sunlight is dangerous to life. I have been sunburned badly enough my skin turned purple and I had blisters for several days. But the skin grew back…. I learned to not swim at mid day for 2 hours over a reef almost on the equator.
But worse than this you are trying to prove that an amount of energy equal to the flash of light entering a camera could burn me, or could cause birth defects in a baby. You believe this. It is not science, because it cannot be demonstrated. It is a belief. You have a faith that this is true. Your faith is dangerous.
I don’t believe this. I don’t believe that an amount of energy that is less than the pressure on my skin as I sit typing this could harm me or harm a child growing in the womb. I don’t believe that the amazing repair structures we are discovering in DNA are rendered ineffective because the damage comes from radiation rather than heat, light, salt, potassium, viruses, and multitudes of other sources of damage.
2. Tabacco and Asbestos have not aways been here. They are manufactured substances that have special characteristics. In the case of Asbestos there is a risk – benefit analysis. How many lives are saved by it’s use in fire prevention compared to how many are killed by cancer. Is the risk worth the price?
3. You also keep trying to make a case that Nuclear is expensive. To do this you quote the subsidized price that a NPP in Britain is asking for over the next few years. You refuse to believe that Nuclear power is inexpensive and so you close your eyes to the cost of power generated by that Nuclear power in the USA – Japan and Korea. Your closing your eyes is a moral choice, not a fact based one. You close your eyes to the cost of building a NPP in China. You close your eyes to the needs for reliable 24/7 power by the teaming multitudes in our poorest countries.
In these cases you are not relying on facts but on belief and hope. Let’s say that Solar power becomes so cheap that you can install it for a dollar a watt even fifty cents a watt all in. Let’s say that your dreams of 30% to 60% efficiency are realized. You still cannot run an urban environment or factories with Solar power. There is simply not enough there to do the job. Sure, a country side home can be self-sustaining. Great goal. I would love to purchase enough land to build one myself. Currently I live in a Condo in a massive city.
Solar power will not do away with the need for 24/7 power.
1. …Radiation … always been … in the past was even stronger …
So in the past ~75% of children died, av. life expectancy ~25years.
Just as your statements, those facts are also not relevant regarding estimations of the danger of radiation.
Survival of mankind is not at stake. Only how healthy, intelligent, happy and with what life expectancy we and our (grand-)children live.
..sunburned badly …. I had blisters for several days…
My climbing friend had the same regarding his wrist when he was ~18. In line with statistics, he got skin cancer (melanoma) at that spot at age 50…
… don’t believe … energy that is less than the pressure on my skin … could harm me or harm a child growing in the womb…
Thought we agreed to go for facts. Now you come with beliefs?
So here some rock-solid facts delivered by a study that shows the harmful effects of low level CS137 radiation on the unborn.
It compares stillbirth, Down, etc. frequency:
– in districts with high fall-out (~0.5mSv/a) with nearby districts with low fall-out (<0.1mSv/a). After Chernobyl and before Chernobyl (all districts then no fall-out). If there is some difference due confounding factors it shows in the situation before Chernobyl and is corrected accordingly;
– changes over a period of 5 years before and 5 years after Chernobyl
And it covers the whole Bavarian population (~12million). So no possibility that the research subject selection creates a bias.
The result is ~30% increase in stillbirth, etc. per mSv/a extra radiation (in line with medical research; so good medical staff is extremely reluctant to use X-ray of CT-scan for pregnant women).
2. …Tobacco and Asbestos have not always been here …
The fact that something exists longer does not make it less or more harmful.
…Asbestos … risk – benefit analysis … lives … saved by it’s use in fire prevention compared to … how many are killed … risk worth the price?
That risk analysis was done in the fifties with very clear outcomes!
Still it took many years of discussion before lawmakers took action. In NL we got a ban in 2000. That delay generated ~100,000 premature death in NL.
Even now we still have ~2,000 premature death per year due to asbestos, according to a recent count / study…
3. …Nuclear is expensive … subsidized price … NPP in Britain …for over the next few years … you close your eyes to the cost of … Nuclear power in the USA …”
You should compare like for like. Or new for new.
The ~50% price subsidy is during 35years. I do not consider that a few years.
USA is building 2 new NPP’s only in states with laws that allow the utility to collect the investment money at rate payers beforehand. So no risk for the utility, only profit. The risk is shifted towards the rate payers. A huge subsidy.
In NL (and Germany), we can choose our utility (about 10; from 100% green to atomic). Citizens in those US states apparently not. Seems to me they are more communist then we (and Germany) concerning electricity.
The fact that no utility in USA invests in a new NPP, despite the huge liability subsidies, shows enough.
If the commercial business case would show profits, banks would invest…
China is a communist country, so competitiveness and safety of NPP’s is less important.
Btw. China invests now many times more in Wind and Solar than in nuclear…
…close your eyes to the needs for reliable 24/7 power by the teaming multitudes in our poorest countries….
Those countries can spend those billions better. Only poor countries with some (often still vague for us) military ambition invest in NPP’s.
India, Pakistan, Iran had to follow Israël and Pakistan. Now Saudi Arabia follows their enemy Iran. Etc.
An NPP delivers them atomic know how and status …
Let’s say … Solar power … you can install it for … fifty cents a watt … You still cannot run an urban environment or factories with Solar power. There is simply not enough there to do the job….
Last year solar delivered ~5.3% of all German electricity (and Germany is more north than USA) while the 15% yield solar panels covered only ~1.7% of its roofs.
So if 50% of the roofs are covered, they produce 150% of the electricity Germany needs. Above that they have also a Wind capacity of >30GW (growing ~2GW/a).
The max. consumption in Germany is ~60GW…
So within ~25years solar & wind will produce far more than Germany needs on sunny or windy days/nights. Part of the rest is filled with production from (pumped) storage. Some Power Plant production will only be needed in ~30% of the time.
So then your baseload plant is producing superfluous electricity during 70% of the time… I do not see how you can operate such a plant economically.
– the author in your link makes mistakes. E.g. you can buy panels with 20% yield that deliver 200W/m2 guaranteed (check Sunpower or the Fraunhofer institute). And he writes that the max. of sun radiation is only 200W/m2…
– The EU agreed a minimum price for complete solar panels of 50cent/watt until end next year with China. China agreed because of the EU threat that it would otherwise impose an import rate of ~50%. There is a lot of complaint about that, as this spring those panels did cost ~40cent/watt….
– Roof installations with the same Chines panels cost in USA twice compared to Germany (Harvard did a study about USA’s installation inefficiencies).
“…No one will ever be able to state that their illness was a result of radiation released from Fukushima Dai-ichi….”
Yes that is true.
But it is only true because low level radiation harm does not leave a signature / trace (as asbestos does).
So the extra stillbirths, Down syndromes, congenital malformations, deaths that e.g. 20mSv/a radiation causes, can only be concluded from statistical evidence. Which requires a many radiated subjects and not radiated similar subjects etc.
Making such studies expensive.
Even if the numbers of e.g. stillbirth is 100 times higher than the normal level (in the control group or Japanese society), then still you are right as no individual can show his harm was caused by radiation.
So in the end your statement tells nothing regarding the extra risks for the population.
Risks which you believe are there despite the lack of evidence. You have faith in these risks. You are willing to defend your faith.
If the stillbirth rate were 100 times higher in places with low level radiation we would be able to record that difference in places like Colorado. There are ways of proving your assertion. But when a massive study was done on the effects of Radon which showed a negative correlation with cancer, that study was dismissed as being flawed because you cannot study the environment that way.
So, when a study shows no effect, the study is wrong. When you cannot prove your assertion with facts, we should still regulate or eliminate Nuclear power.
You have faith, a dangerous faith.
David, forget Bas. Don’t feed FUD parrots. Ironically, the best ally we have to thoroughly thrash and ignore anything Bas and his ilk puke is one of nuclear energy’s greatest foes — The New York Times. Believe me, if there was ANY credible meat in any of the nuclear-damning “facts” and speculations they throw out, the NYT would’ve pounced on them like white on rice as relentless major ammo against Indian Point and other nukes in our area for an encore of the hatchet job on Shoreham. They’re not naive or inept. Their rabid anti-nuke research would’ve gleaned the same bilge Bas & Co. have been laying thick on us and they’ve determined that taking up shadowy and bogus claims and vaporware proof isn’t worth eggs on their face and reputation. The only real arrow in the NYT’s quiver against nuclear now is doing the Vegas FUD job on possibilities of unanticipated plant catastrophes like an asteroid strike or megaquakes that’d drain the Hudson. As needlessly bad as Fukushima was for the public face of nuclear, the under-appreciated silver lining was that Fukushima destroyed all the Doomsday guessing and movie and TV nightmares and megadeath forecasts of what was anticipated by even a SINGLE meltdown — and here we had THREE occurring with ZIT causalities. Nada! Not speculations or figures but writ in black and white in reality. It’s — IMPOSSIBLE!!!! Why’s Japan still there??? Where’s all the billyons and billyons of crisped glowing bodies and baby mutants??? Looks like someone’s gloom and doom speculation mill was embarrassingly off the mark, and it’s no coincidence that the “green energy alternative” movement and natural gas ads have gone into overdrive since Fukushima (horrors!) because it’s virtually endorsed the safety of nuclear power under the worst rare conditions despite all the Doomsday rants of the greens whom it virtually certified as bad speculators and liars at best. Weren’t for Jackzo the jackal doing everything possible to lay a bad spin on Fukushima like a pernicious mole in our midst, nuclear energy here would’ve indeed had a new public regard and renaissance. The second best ally antis have is the nuclear PR industry itself constantly and seriously dropping the ball not playing these golden facts and truths up to de-fang all the FUD.
…If the stillbirth rate were 100 times higher in places with low level radiation we would be able to record that difference in places like Colorado …
I agree with you. But, even then you cannot show/proof that an individual women got stillbirth because of that radiation!
So even then Rod’s statement:”No one will ever be able to state that their illness was a result of radiation released from Fukushima” is true!
So in practice his statement implies that he does not accept health damage by radiation at all, unless it is directly visible after the radiation. That implies that he accepts no damage up to ~10Sv/year levels…
Despite the many statistical evidence that lower levels do harm.
In that respect he resembles Wade Allison.
With that attitude many also deny that smoking harms, etc.
The human mind does strange things with info he does not like.
In my years as extreme mountain climber I had intelligent friends that considered extreme climbing as no more dangerous than car driving (~60% of my friends died in the mountains more or less in line with the statistical death rate). In psychology the phenomenon is considered to be a result of cognitive dissonance.
.. when a study shows no effect, the study is wrong…
No. But you do often see studies with such small numbers of subjects that they can only show effect if e.g. >20% of the subjects get ill (or bad designs).
Then they conclude wrongly that the radiation has no effect, while they should have stated that if an effect occur it concerns less than 10% of the subjects.
This is what happened with the threshold hypothesis. During the last 50 years the supposed threshold sank and sank as the measurement tools improved (studies became bigger and more accurate).
..Risks which you believe are there despite the lack of evidence ..
Re: “I expect a bit more intellectual honesty in this statement… yes tsunami killed the people but the fact is the plants were not designed to withstand multiple events all at the same time.”
Unfortunately there are ample rabidly anti-nuke news outlets that coyly feature and imply that all those tsunami damage photos were somehow caused by Fukushima, or even pass off blazing oil plants as the reactors as well. Yes,sadly, way too many people are THAT gullible.
Just like that old media-created chestnut that engineers say bumblebees shouldn’t be able to fly, I’ve never heard nuclear engineers say something could never happen. They design so the chances are near astronomically unlikely as possible. Completely reasonable logic; You couldn’t live if you depended on absolute non-risks. The point and what matters is three reactors held three times in a row (no luck or fluke!) under rare worst case conditions, and the much hyped (and even hoped for by some) meltdown Doomsday didn’t occur, even with badly designed and ill-protected older (and perhaps mismanaged) machines. There are literally thousands of widows and headless families of lost oil and gas and coal workers (don’t even talk about immediate neighborhoods who had no time nor chance to even be evacuees) who wish the machines that failed their loved ones on the job for whatever reason were so forgiving and merciful. Hospitals are decked with more fossil-induced respiratory cases than nuclear mutants, even at accident plighted sites. Those non-speculative facts for me is not an indictment but wholesale endorsement of nuclear power despite even in its worst renderings.
Thanks for the clarification, Rod. That’s a fair enough comment.
But your notion of only 12 kg is peculiar considering that the fuel in Unit 1 escaped the reactor and the taurus and TEPCO has no idea how much of the fuel remains in Units 2 and 3. (according to the Japanese Embassy in DC) You seem to dismiss the noble gasses that escaped the plants when the USS Reagan group was just 2 miles offshore, and the impact of the contaminated water that has been running in to the sea for the past 2 years.
How do you arrive at such a low figure?
Have you been monitoring the ongoing reportage and commentary at http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-commentary.html ?
Leslie Corrice has been closely following the situation since Day 1, and has the technical background to properly interpret it.
I should not have gone off of my memory. Actually the number I computed was about 4 kilograms of Cs-137, the only isotope that had been reported off site at the time of my calculation that is of any long term concern.
Here is my post with the math:
Now that Mahkijani has frightened the world with statements about Sr-90, I am working hard to find good sources with actual numbers in consistent units. The best I’ve come up with so far are news reports stating “30 times drinking water standards” but I’m still trying to find out which drinking water standard was used as the basis so I can start computing what that really means.
At the time of deposition, the activity ratio of Cs-134/137 was about 1:1, while most of the activity that was in the traveling plume was from I-131 and noble gasses. So you’re correct that most of the mass of deposited radioactive material is in Cs-137. Total mass ground + sea is around 10 kg (envision a 40 lb bag of water softener salt). The radiation fields in the evacuation zone has dropped by 40% since H+30 days. This is due to decay of Cs-134 and physical removal mechanisms such as transport by precipitation and decontamination efforts.
I’m not familiar with Corrice, and don’t know what you consider “properly” interpreting information.
I have followed the work of David Lochbaum at UCS, who has worked as an industry consultant, NRC safety expert; and the Japanese newspaper, Ashai Shimbun. And I’ve picked up the phone and called participants on different sides from time to time.
One whom you would approve of is Robert Stone, who will be speaking at this October’s convention of the Society of Environmental Journalists.
As an investigative journalist, perhaps you could find out for us the exact dates of Lochbaum’s employment with the NRC, and his precise job title and job description while in Chattanooga? I guarantee it wasn’t “NRC Safety Expert”.
And why he left after such a short stay.
As for his connection with Ashai Shimbun, I have no doubt. The most important part of these “experts” job descriptions is to get on the speed dial list of every journalist that will listen to them.
Wasn’t his time at the NRC spent as a trainer for some BWR sessions on a temp basis for about a year or less?
And then the question became why was the NRC paying a employee of the UCS to train NRC personnel if I remember correctly.
Would be interesting to find out the real story about his time there.
Lochbaum is from Tennessee and wanted to return home. My source told me UCS does not have much of a relocation package, but did have a fan at the top of the politically appointed heap at the NRC. A government funded move requires a year of service or reimbursement. Are those enough dots for you to draw a picture of the real circumstances?
Yep, That is enough to paint quite the dot-to-dot picture. A Mona Lisa type painting in fact.
Sounds like Jazcko was involved. Or am I wrong on the “top of the politically appointed heap” person?
In this forum where many us work in the nuclear industry, David Lochbaum is not our first choice for information on nuclear issues. Many of us have our own personal David Lochbaum stories. I know I have several involving spent fuel storage matters. I do look at what he is doing every now and then but it is more for learning about the next set of anti-nuclear talking points.
Neither is the anti-nuclear UCS a good source for Fukushima issues for those of us who regularly provide comments. Dr. Lyman looks to sensationalize every little detail that has gone wrong or might not work correctly within the nuclear power industry. So his work is always slanted in my opinion towards the worst case scenarios instead of a balanced approach.
Despite the issues TEPCO has had historically that contributed to this problem, the information on their website is getting better at providing good background of the technical solutions they are working on.
And while I appreciate Robert Stone’s work on Pandora’s Promise, I am not sure I would use him as a source for the technical issues at Fukushima. His work is more about telling the stories of the environmental movement as they slowly accept nuclear power as a method to mitigate global climate change. So while I am sure he has learned a lot, his knowledge of the nitty-gritty details of the ongoing situation at Fukushima are probably still at the surface level, not a deep understanding of the engineering challenges that are being resolved.
Leslie Corrice has helped many of us in our understanding of the situation on-the-ground at Fukushima since he tries to not sensationalize either bad or good news. He is pro-nuclear so he does take swipes every now and then at anti-nuclear types. His singular focus on Fukushima issues is his strength and it shows in his technical explanations of the ongoing issues.
Lochbaum was hired to update the NRC’s training manuals and instruct their operating room instructors. He was not working for UCS at the time, but was a full time NRC employee. I do not agree with the notion some of you have that he is “anti nuclear”, since he supports commercial nuclear power. So does Ed Lyman. He is a critic of what he sees as inconsistency in regulations, and his reports also applaud the agency for what he considers they are doing right. You can disagree with his assessment: but calling someone anti-nuclear just because they disagree with you doesn’t enhance your own credibility. Lochbaum has consistently supported an expanded nuclear industry.
With regards to Fukushima, Lyman said DoD’s assessment of minimal radiation harm to sailors may well be correct, however Defense should not assume that everyone got the same dose and everyone reacted the same way. That was hardly sensationalizing. In the 15 years or so I’ve dealt with him Lyman has always been low-key.
The NRC asked Lochbaum to review their proposed change in the oversight process back in the late 90s before they put it into effect. They hold him in high regard.
And I have been in the room with Lochbaum and Mike Kansler, head of Entergy Nuclear Northeast, when they discussed strengths and weaknesses at the Indian Point plant and Kansler made a point of saying he would never challenge Lochbaum on facts when it came to nuclear safety issues. Among his employers during his 20 years of consulting was Indian Point 3, which put him in charge of updating their DB documents prior to the sale of the plant from NYPA to Entergy.
As for Ashai Shinbun, the Japanese newspaper has published several series based on Japanese government cables during the Fukushima crisis. They provided an invaluable perspective on the interplay between the US and Japan during that period and prompted many questions I posed to the DoD, White House, and NRC.
Stone is not a source. He wanted an opportunity to discuss Pandora’s Promise with environmental writers and we found an appropriate forum for a give and take discussion. The conference agenda is still a work in progress, but you can see much of it a SEJ.org
There is always interest in nuclear matters. Last year’s conference featured a tour of Urenco fuel enrichment plant in New Mexico and Waste Control Services — literally next door but on the Texas side of the border — a low and mid-level nuclear storage site.
A number of the nuclear advocates who participate here favor a substantial number of new nuclear power plants as a vital tool in reducing the consequences of dumping 30 billion tons of CO2 into the Earth’s atmosphere every year.
Speaking for myself, I find it terribly difficult to accept the claim of a group of supposedly concerned scientists that they are “not antinuclear” when their official position towards nuclear as a climate change mitigating tool essentially states that nuclear energy is “too expensive.”
It would seem to me that a more constructive position would be supportive of efforts to safely address costs. Lyman, however, has been repetitively dismissive of the move towards smaller reactors. I think he has either forgotten, or never knew that his organization’s initial testimonies questioning the effectiveness of the ECCS were largely based on work like I. C. Bupp’s Light Water. That book questioned the rapid scale up of light water reactors without having conducted full scale tests of the ECCS.
Smaller cores are simpler to make safe because they have less decay heat and fewer fission products. (Large reactors are safe, too, but they require more active systems.)
In other words, I simply do not believe UCS spokesmen when they claim they are not antinuclear.
If I wanted accurate information on BWR design and operations I would go with someone like Margaret Harding. You may never have heard of her, because she spends more time interfacing with real engineers than with media flacks (not implying you are one of those).
The next time Lochbaum issues a press release, why don’t you run it by Margaret for a second opinion?
Bottom line is, “Safety Analysts” like Lochbaum look pretty good to journos and laymen, and even theoretical physicists, who have no training or experience in actual nuclear power plant design or operation. They talk the lingo and spout the arcane acronyms, their credentials look impressive (if not too closely questioned), and they never cease to relentlessly self-promote.
Their self-written Wikipedia articles are hagiographies of courageous whistle-blowing self-sacrifice, standing up to a dangerous and under-regulated technology against overwhelmimg odds.
To those of us who understand the technology, antis like Lochbaum are the embodiment of the old saying, “those who know aren’t talking, and those who talk don’t know”.
I was going to put together quite a different response to your comments but needed to do some background on Mike Kansler before commenting.
Funny thing happened though which required a major rewrite. Google is a very interesting tool in today’s world. By googling Mike Kansler and David Lochbaum a surprising result popped up as the #2 result. The following UCS article from 2001 written by none other then yourself.
Really….. Indian Point-less. That’s the title you ran with?
And you are coming here to defend UCS?
It seems more like the collaboration that you are trying to defend due to your personal associations with David Lochbaum and Ed Lyman.
So now where do you stand on this issue now? A lot of unnecessary work was performed to prove basically that the domes are sound and can survive the impact of airplane crashes. That work cost the ratepayers a considerable amount of money across the country. And for what? The domes can handle the impact. Something that was known then but David Lochbaum and the UCS saw an opportunity to punch the nuclear-is-bad-button by taking advantage of 9/11.
This very issue is the thing that absolutely drives me crazy about Lochbaum. People like you don’t ever question him about costs and true benefits to the ratepayers. However people like myself and other nameless, faceless engineers who have to reanalyze or redesign plant systems to address Lochbaum’s latest talking point are the ones who find ourselves in the middle of those financial discussions.
We end up being the ones not only responsible for full implementation of his latest “safety” talking point but are also the ones who become responsible for delivering on a budget. We find ourselves in that situation since Mr. Lochbaum is an official intervenor with the NRC which means he can dispute any design brought to the table but doesn’t have to actually do the day-to-day activities involved in nuclear power plant design work.
Instead Mr. Lochbaum skates onto the next “safety” talking point and next testimony before Congress since he doesn’t have that fiduciary responsibility to the ratepayers. He is the media darling since his talking points combined with the backdrop of a hyperbolic tower make for TV ratings. And no not every redesign proposed by Mr. Lochbaum automatically increases safety margins.
Then on top of that, because he has the ear of Congress, such as Barbara Boxer for example, his testimony sends various nuclear management teams into fits of bending over backwards to agree instead of fighting for the truth. Then, usually, the NRC won’t disagree with Boxer and company, despite her known anti-nuclear stance, due to the various political battles on the Hill.
Oh…and I am not worried about how you perceive my credibility, especially after finding this article.
My concern is to make sure I do not misspeak for those that work in the industry but can’t discuss nuclear power publically. The people I want to make sure I have credibility with are the ones who are not on mainstream media’s speed dial but instead are the ones who do not have the luxury that I have to speak in public forums.
They are the ones still shackled by corporate policies that forbid them from participating in social media forums such as Rod’s blog or have to use aliases which then adds a shadow of doubt to their discussions with reporters such as yourself. Those are the people whose credibility I want to earn as I continue to speak in favor for nuclear power (go SMR’s!) in various social forums.
As stated earlier in this post, I was going to head down a much different path. However the discovery of your article from 2001 raised my blood pressure a little.
I love it. Force the plant owners to prepare risk assessments that force them to find a way as low a probability as it may be for every studies event to result in core damage and then use it against them… See… They said it could happen! Brilliant!
” I do not agree with the notion some of you have that he is “anti nuclear”, since he supports commercial nuclear power. So does Ed Lyman. ”
If you sincerely believe that, then you are horribly deceived, and at least a little bit gullible.
The UCS has never been anything but an anti-nuclear organization, from its earliest days. Try looking up some of their advertisements from the mid to late 70s in Scientific American. The statement on their website that they favor nuclear power is a bald face and verifiable lie.
The UCS has spent four decades spewing verifiable lies about nuclear power (their statements about nuclear waste violate the laws of physics). I would never accept anything any of their people have to say at face value. The organization exists to lie with a patina of respectability created by important sounding titles and credentials, which turn out to be meaningless. Being at a high level in the UCS guarantees that the person in question is comfortable with telling lies for a living. You can never trust anything they say. Of course, truth will pass their lips occasionally. But you never know at any given moment which you’re getting.
Quoting UCS personnel as a source is identical to quoting a pathological liar on any other topic.
I lost all respect for David Lochbaum when I saw a video of him on a speaking panel about Pilgrim hosted by an anti nuke journalist (maybe it was you?) anyways an audience member asked a question about the ap1000 that was foundationally and factually flawed and David chose to remain silent rather than correct the technical misinformation that furthered his agenda.
I also make an effort to point out the bias in his “fission stories” (or “nuclear mis representation” would be a more accurate title) articles where he regularly presents information without context or qualification. He will mention that x number of plants had such and such a problem and didn’t find it without telling us how many DID find it or what the consequences could have been. It is very unscientific and frankly it disgusts me that they purport to be a scientific organization.
Also, Lochbaum was a BWR simulator trainer and he is a regular intervenor with the. NRC but BELEIVE me they don’t ASK him to do that there are many people more qualified than David Lochbaum.
If I thought you were “wild eyed conspiracy nuts” I wouldn’t waste time here. I decided to join this conversation because Rod Adams is different from the “trolls” who usually just spit vile at anyone who doesn’t write glowingly about the commercial nuclear industry. I was quite aware that most of you are avid proponents of all things nuclear, to borrow a phrase.
Everyone claims they have facts. A lot of BS has come from the commercial industry masquerading as facts: like radiation moves in a straight line and all you have to do to avoid it is take a step to the left or right. And yes, I’ve heard a lot of crap from opponents too: there are many I don’t quote because I don’t trust their assertions.
I don’t share your view of Lochbaum and Lyman, but I appreciate the link to Harding. I’ll try and contact her.
I have deeply appreciated your coming and spending time both correcting our perceptions of you and learning from the folks here. That has been very helpful. I am sorry if my summary was a bit sharp.
“Everyone claims they have facts.” Well I have read quite a bit – I never read one where someone claimed that radiation moves in a a straight line. I am not connected with the industry in any way. I became an advocate after a 2 year process of learning. When I would hear a statement I tried to find basic science texts to confirm or refute them. What I found is that the claims for sickness, cancer or birth defects (Blas) were vastly overblown. I not only read materials but I interviewed medical personnel trained in nuclear medicine.
I took the time to actually run numbers in spreadsheets to test the various claims. I am NOT a scientist, but an educated person who enjoys science and engineering.
I am interested in the economic arguments that Rod puts forward because once you understand the way that people get paid for electricity it makes sense to get rid of Nuclear power – from a capital return basis. (Companies have huge decommissioning funds they can only use if they shut down a plant). Building a low capital but high fuel cost generation plant means that the person gets a return on their capital at a good margin regardless of the cost of the fuel. The cost of the fuel is paid by the rate payer not by the company selling electric. This means that high capital but low cost generation is biased against rather than for.
Enter gas turbines. Terrible in the long run for the consumer as prices fluctuate but great for those looking for a quick return on fairly small capital. On the other hand, it is difficult to find lower cost electricity than a fully paid for Nuclear Power Plant. (Which have the capacity to keep generating for nearly 100 years – darn those terrible plants that don’t allow room for others to enter this lucrative electricity market).
Once you figure out that Radiation is not a death ray that you side step, but an expanding balloon that you can back off from and it gets weaker with every step, the danger becomes an engineering problem rather than a health one.
Also, I am NOT convinced that the world is intrinsically dangerous. That is to say, if humans are living in areas with background radiation far above the current levels we regulate – and are NOT growing extra heads or arms, (please forgive a bit of hyperbole) I really doubt that the regulations we are currently using are reasonable. That is not to say that I believe all levels are safe, if it was not dangerous it would not be useful.
Thanks for a good conversation.
The difference is if nuke people make a “false” claim it is usually either misunderstood on the receiving end (fusion will someday provide electricity too cheap to meter misunderstood as “every nuclear power person said nuclear plants would be too cheap to meter) or because the facts were not well known at the time (tmi 2 core status etc…) From my experience on the anti Sid they just plain lie L I E lie.
And I will say. It again for David Lochbaum an engineer to sit on panels and keep quiet as blatantly false technical and engineering information is presented should make him ashamed of himself. But I am sure it doesn’t.
too bad you can’t read.
That was a piece by Lochbaum. I had nothing to do with it.
If you want to criticize me, try using the stories I wrote, not those of someone else. The story I wrote from that encounter is here:
there are even a couple of pictures, if that makes it easier for you to follow.
That’s a serious piece of journalism Roger. I see you put a lot of effort into it, and tried to sort out an issue that weighs heavily on some people’s minds in the area.
Did I miss it, or was an equal amount of ink not expended when the new NRC SOARCA analysis came out?
Perhaps I need new reading glasses. Can you tell me where I can find a by-line on the UCS paper posted on your site?
I just got a chance to read the Lochbaum screed you, for some reason, chose to host on your website.
I haven’t had such a hoot since I channel-surfed into a rerun of The China Syndrome!
It’s a good thing he’s not anti-nuclear, or there would have been spittle stains on the manuscript. Such a collection of irrelevant grapes-to-watermelon comparisons I haven’t seen since Helen Caldicott tried to sputter back a half-coherent response at George Monbiot. Chernobyl – really?
I happen to have almost double the nuclear plant experience Lochbaum boasts, some of it inside PWR containments as Refueling SRO. Except unlike him, I had to earn a license (twice) from the NRC. For even longer, I have been an FAA-licensed private pilot (Single and Multi-engine Land). My father worked at Boeing and Lockheed, so I have been interested in and around airplanes for a long time.
Here is what will happen when Lochbaum’s hypothetical jumbo jet flies into the containment building at Indian Point:
The containment is obviously round, and to do much damage the plane will have to be flying very fast. Therefore it will be difficult to get a direct hit. If it hits the sides, all except the part that is perfectly perpendicular will slide off and around. The part that hits directly, unless it is the engine, will crumple like an empty beer can on John Belushi’s forehead. If the engine hits directly, it will make a deep gash in the concrete, but will be restrained by the densely woven layers of 2″ rebar that is nearly as thick as the concrete. The reactor will either trip on an automatic signal or the operators will do so manually. A huge fireball will splatter the sides of the containment, igniting anything flammable. Everyone on the plane will die, and probably a few on the ground who couldn’t get away in time. There will be a front page story in the New York Times. Firefighting assistance will pour in from every agency. The core will not melt.
David Lochbaum will write an article about how it could have been worse the next time, and you will feature it on your website.
@ Mr. Witherspoon,
Working from the statement that you had nothing to do with the UCS white paper, there are other questions that immediately come to mind.
I must still believe that you are in agreement with this UCS white paper since you did not include any disclaimers, nor did you explicitly state the article was not yours. The pdf is directly from your website. Why else have it linked on your website if you didn’t agree with it? Maybe if I had reached the pdf from a link on your website I might have seen disclaimers but none are available from the link I Googled.
If there is some other conclusion I should reach by all means let me know. It is curious though, the white paper was issued Dec 17th while your article was published Dec 23rd. Did the UCS jump the gun or did they go for a strategy of poisoning the well? Since twitter and blogs weren’t around, the standard practice to get a message out was to issue a traditional press release to the media. So what hit the newswires first your article or their white paper?
Secondly the UCS pdf states that you took David Lochbaum to the meeting. That indicates you had a choice and you chose David Lochbaum, a person whose sole goal in life is to devise ways nuclear power plants can fail, logically or illogically. In other words, not a neutral individual but one with an agenda. So did you propose the two people or did Entergy request David Lochbaum?
Finally, while your actual article does provide much more balance then the UCS white paper; an automatic he-said/he-said was created by including Lochbaum at the meeting. Your article presents technical opinions not technical analysis so does not really resolve any issues.
It leaves the reader with the impression that the nuclear industry doesn’t know what it’s doing if one side of “experts” states there are solutions but the other side of “experts” use phrases like: “Simply put, Entergy’s position was pointless”. In the context of late 2001, I suspect that this article just reinforced existing polarized positions which means the people that were already afraid of nuclear power would have received confirmation of those fears.
Technical point: The NRC stated in 2001 that the domes were not designed for airplane crash impacts. That doesn’t mean they can’t withstand them. That just means the accident scenario as was asked of the NRC at that time was not postulated as a formal licensing basis. These are arcane licensing issues that Mr. Lochbaum is well aware of and uses to further the goals of UCS, or in the event that he doesn’t understand these licensing issues is then not the true expert he portrays himself.
Which leads to the follow-up technical points/questions. Mr. Lochbaum continually refers to the 1982 study. Was that study updated between 1982 and 2001? If so then the next questions are: what sections, what analysis and what if any of that updated info is related to airplane crashes? If the study had been updated prior to 2001 then Mr. Lochbaum was not using accurate information to make his case. If, on the other hand, the study wasn’t updated then why wasn’t Mr. Lochbaum criticizing Indian Point for that oversight. Why wouldn’t he push Indian Point to have the study updated and make that his lead comment instead of indicating that Indian Point wasn’t concerned with public safety?
Instead he kept figuratively throwing the 1982 study on the table to bash Indian Point about its supposed disregard toward the citizens of New York. That is inflammatory especially within the context of the events of 2001. My point being, if Mr. Lochbaum was truly looking to seek a positive outcome then he would have been publically campaigning to have safety studies updated and stated that goal in basic terms.
Finally, as pointed out by Sean McKinnon above. It isn’t always what Mr. Lochbaum says that provides insight to his goals or motivations. Many times it is those points in time where he doesn’t speak or skips over items he should know if he is truly a nuclear expert that actually speaks volumes about his motivations.
You are mistaken Bill.
I DO NOT have anything by Lochbaum — or anyone else — posted on MY website. The piece David listed was by Lochbaum for UCS on the UCS site. NOT MINE.
So your criticism and guilt by association comments are off base.
if you want to see my work go to http://www.RogerWitherspoon.com .
The URL for the piece in question is http://www.rogerwitherspoon.com/docs/ucs01indianpointless.pdf. That indicates that it is stored in a document folder on your domain. It might not be a posted article on your site, but the Google bots found it in a folder that you or your site admin control.
If you look at my site, I store a lot of original documents , photos, videos and graphics so that people can easily find them. I have original court rulings and NRC rulings — that does not mean I’ve become an arm of the court or the NRC. My document file is just a convenience. If you looked at my site, you would have realized that.
Taking a single document out of that compendium and claiming I’m promoting it is, at best, a dumb mistake and at worst a damn lie.
When it comes to posted links, you won’t find it. There is nothing on my site promoting any views and I would think you are smart enough to recognize that. The only opinions promoted on my site are my own, and they are confined to TNP and do not involve nuclear issues.
I understand. I use folders to perform the same task, but I’m fairly certain my site admin has set those folders to ask bots to avoid indexing them.
The document we’re discussing showed up in a Goggle search and was directly accessed via that mechanism. That led to some confusion about the source and the author. The source is fairly apparent from the document header, but the authorship is not.
I hope you understand that I’m only trying to point out the source of the confusion and to respond to your rather grouchy response when someone thought that you were the author because the document is on your site.
No problem, Rod. Being accused of something I haven’t done is one of my reddest hot buttons, with origins in a violent era long ago that I need not go into here.
It never occurred to me that someone would or could take a document out of my doc file without first going to the site, clicking on documents, then on the subhead, then searching through the group for the doc they wanted. What just happened with googlebots completely bypassed all that — a relative magicians trick to a guy whose news career started in the era of hot lead and paste-pots.
The story involved, though, is a good example of how I try to operate. In 2001, Kansler asked me to come to his office to discuss how he felt he could contain any radiation in the event of a 9/11-type attack. He had his chief engineers, the design basis schematics, and a mockup of the entire Indian Point site in his office and they walked me through what they thought would happen if a loaded 767 crashed in to one of the containment buildings.
I told him it sounded reasonable but I was not qualified to evaluate it. I would be willing to publish his detailed view if he let me bring in 2 outside engineers to talk to him and his engineers. I’d basically write up the discussion that ensued.
Kansler agreed, and I brought in Lochbaum and Christian Meyer from Columbia, who worked on the formal review of the collapse of the WTC for the American Society of Civil Engineers.
My treatment of that encounter you can read for yourself. Lochbaum thought Kansler was disingenuous and wrote his own review for UCS. Meyer said he intended to write a review for the ASCE, but if he did, he never sent me a copy. if he had, I’d have included it.
Kansler told my editors he thought the story was accurate and fair. But I have since heard spokesmen for IP make blatantly false statements about the plant including: a) the walls are 6 feet thick and b) that a 767 wold bounce off like a bug on a windshield since the plant was designed to withstand the crash of a 747. that doesn’t do much for their credibility.
“blatantly false statements about the plant including: a) the walls are 6 feet thick and b) that a 767 wold bounce off like a bug on a windshield since the plant was designed to withstand the crash of a 747”
I can see why you might also get testy, er, grouchy, er out-of-sorts. Your description of the 2001 meeting seems entirely plausible. I intend to talk with one of my contacts tomorrow who was in charge of the Design Basis Reconstruction project when Lochbaum was supposed to have been there and see what he has to say.
As far as the above statements are concerned, the first one could be correct if you are talking about certain interior walls of containment, or the SFP, but not the outer walls. The second is true in that subsequent analyses have indicated so, but the original design in the late 1960s was for containing the interior forces of a LBLOCA, not specifically aircraft impacts.
It’s what you choose to display or not that raises the issue. That you seem to follow this topic closely yet weren’t aware of SOARCA is surprising.
I notice you don’t offer a historically important one – the summary judgement against the plaintiffs bringing suit for damages against the owners of TMI. Judge Sylvia Rambo found their “expert witnesses”, including Arnie Gundersen, to be exceedingly unpersuasive. They also lost on appeal: http://www.threemileisland.org/downloads//227.pdf
If nuclear energy advocates seem a little… er, testy, towards members of the Fourth Estate, it may be because they are weary of being the target of endless criticism and fear-mongering, despite the unique fact that LWRs in their 60 year history have never injured, let alone killed, a member of the public by their emmissions.
Fair enough, Rabbit. It is not unusual for professionals to be leery of journalists — and vice versa — since neither is fully cognizant of how the other side operates.
I covered TMI in my then capacity as health and science editor of the Atlantic Constitution. I am aware of official decisions to minimize the official account of how much radiation was released, as well as suspect accusations from agency critics. Selecting one case or another to bolster arguments from either side is, at this juncture, a useless exercise.I tend to be skeptical of everyone, but give everyone a chance to explain themselves in detail. In the extreme, that has included members of the kkk.
One of the features of the Society of Environmental Journalists is an ongoing dialogue between scientists and writers, in an effort to improve the flow of information and understanding. That is complicated these days by the dramatic changes in the news business, with its emphasis on young generalists who tweet first and think later. there is less emphasis on picking up the phone, conducting extensive interviews and trying to understand the intricacies of a situation.
It is complicated when it comes to nuclear issues. Many statements by industry are just not credible and getting accurate details is often difficult.There is a tendency in your industry to deny there are ever problems or dangers, leaving the average, uninformed, John Q to think simply “they lie.”
From my perspective, and that of the members of SEJ, the public, journalism, and your industry would be better served by providing detailed responses to queries or worries — such as how the ageing management program specifically works — than dismissing questions as stupid fear-mongering by anti-nuclear activists. No one benefits from that.
Early in this thread, Rod Adams was disdainful of those who raised the issue of the costs of nuclear power plants or other environmental issues. While that may be a popular position in this crowd, it does not recognize reality and hurts your position. Consider this:
1. Power plants consume more surface water in the US than agriculture, and nuclear plants drink more water than anything else. Climate change has plunged much of the southwest and west into drought and declining aquifers. Calling for the deployment of hundreds of new nuclear plants without accounting for their water use causes consternation among western environmental writers who view the position as simply not credible.
2. Taking the nuclear fuel cycle into account, nuclear power is considered low-carbon, or low-GHG, not carbon-free as many in the industry assert. Still, the emphasis on what is happening in the air ignores the impacts of once-through cooling. the 300 Billion (with a B according to the NRC EIS) baby fish vacuumed up by IP each year has had more to do with the decline in fish stocks along the eastern seaboard than over fishing. Can that be improved? Certainly. But ignoring it or dismissing it as inconsequential does not help your credibility.
3. In an era when the Tea Party in particular and Republicans in general are slashing the budget such that they are even gutting emergency disaster funding and unemployment, it is hard to see how nuclear proponents can legitimately ignore the cost of new power plants. The GOP wants health care and disaster relief money offset by further cuts in the budget.
So where will the money come from for hundreds or thousands of $12 billion nuke plants? What other American fiscal needs will be tossed into the garbage? The free market has already decided nuclear power is too costly to be worth investing — which leaves only the public till. Saying the money doesn’t matter because we need clean nuclear power is not a credible argument in a real world with real fiscal needs and choices.
There is a need for serious discussions about a lot of issues surrounding nuclear power in particular and our nation’s energy future in general. But that requires an honest give and take from all sides.
And if you think I’m exaggerating, those of you in the Chattanooga area in October can always register and attend the SEJ conference.
Early in this thread, Rod Adams was disdainful of those who raised the issue of the costs of nuclear power plants or other environmental issues.
I believe you either misunderstood or took my point out of context. The cost of new nuclear plants is certainly an issue worth worrying about. In fact, I do that professionally on a regular basis. If I expressed disdain for people who raise the issue, it was intended to be disdain for those who raise the issue AND do nothing to suggest or implement solutions. My real disdain comes for groups like UCS that have invested decades in doing everything they could to add more layers of cost and now act shocked at how much costs have increased – in the US and Europe.
We know how to reduce manufacturing and construction costs. Well proven techniques like interchangeable parts, series production, consistent designs, and well-trained, experienced workers who have refined their practice through repetition have never been allowed to take full effect in the nuclear industry.
Just to quickly address two of your comments: “Power plants consume more surface water in the US than agriculture, and nuclear plants drink more water than anything else”
If by “consume” you mean they take in water, use it to condense the turbine steam, and return it to the source 10-30 degrees warmer, then yes – all thermal plants operating on the Rankine cycle, including solar thermal and the massive fracked-methane fired plants Cuomo would replace Indian Point with, do this.
If by “consume” you mean irrecoverably utilize and make unavailable for other uses, the amount is tiny in comparison to the massive amounts of baseload electricity being produced.
When you mentioned the tiny fishies (counting larvae which have a less than 0.1% chance of survival in the wild anyway), you did not also mention the wedgewire screens Entergy has offered to install at great expense to dramatically mitigate this, and which was considered fine for more politically favored thermal plants elsewhere – but of course not for IP, on no technically defensible grounds. The inevitable court battle over this will be bourne by the NY taxpayers on one side, and the shareholders of Entergy on the other.
It is no mystery then why nuclear is so expensive in this country and investors seek out less heavily regulated energy investments. Heck, some of them pay off just to install certain forms of politically-favored generation, whether they actually ever produce any useful electrons or not. In the long term this will turn out badly.
@ Mr. Witherspoon,
I stand corrected regarding the UCS document I googled and found on your website. I offer my apologies for the comments that were made based on the assumption that you authored said document.
I will stand by my criticism of UCS, Lochbaum and Lyman though.
I’m aware of the water distinction. The NRC’s latest EIS concludes that the thermal plume from IP is not as damaging as had been thought and dispersion within 75 acres may keep the heat damage within acceptable limits. That is still to be determined in state discharge hearings.
IP has benefited from more recent studies which were able to distinguish its heat signal from those of two other plants on the opposite side of the Hudson.
As for the wedge wire it was not designed for high flow systems. Entergy went to the US Supreme Court to successfully argue in 2009 that wedge wire should not be used for nuclear power plants: http://bit.ly/ufRg9f
And Mr Witherspoon, who has ever registered *any* complaint about those two other plants ?
Why could it be that years have been spent complaining about the thermal plume from IP, and as soon as it’s learned it’s not from IP, it suddenly becomes not a concern at all ?
The thermal plume is not smaller now, we just have learned about a different explanation for it’s origin.
Thanks for the comment. I was not aware of the new SOARCA but will look into it.
As for your assessment of the impact of a crash of a jumbo jet into a plant, I would have to disagree with you.
I’d suggest you read the Corps of Engineers analysis conducted for the DoE and NRC.
and here’s the story I wrote about it:
Your information, as cited in the above article, on the thickness of PWR containment domes is incorrect – they are much thicker than 18″. There are also layers of protection, extremely thick and strong ones, that lie between the dome and the reactor vessel, which don’t show up on illustrations meant for the public. Let’s just say they don’t have a 167-ton polar crane in there just to lift the head for refueling. Didn’t Lochbaum mention this? Much can be learned at Will Davis’ excellent site: http://atomicpowerreview.blogspot.com/2012/03/reactor-pressure-vessels-metallurgy-and.html
I’m still reading the ANL report on airplane crashes from 1981. I seem to remember reading this a long time ago – I think it has been superceded, but will have to check.
the thicknesses of containment domes vary, with 18 inches apparently being the thinnest. IP is 40 inches. The range came from the Corps, not me.
I wouldn’t even venture a guess as to the ability of any dome to withstand a crash of a jumbo jet. for that, I’d suggest you read the 1982 Corps report and draw your own conclusions. Keep in mind that the rebar inside the WTC was much thicker and stronger than that inside the containment building at Indian Point.
There are a couple of things I have heard industry proponents state which seem misleading at best:
1. its hard to spot a containment building at 30,000 feet.
bulls—. no commercial plane flies at 30,000+ feet till it is over the airport and then dive bombs the runway. They start their descent a half hour out and are in a glide path between 500 and 1,500 feet as they approach the airport.
The Hudson River Flyway goes directly over Indian Point, which juts up about 270+_ feet. At 500 feet, you can’t miss it.
2. The NEI simulation was of a craft going at 350 MPH. They chose that figure because they knew from the Corps report that a plane would have to be going above 466 mph to break through the containment dome.
3. the wings are hollow and wold crumple. False on two counts.
a) the wings are filled with fuel, giving them mass. That is why you saw the distinct shape of the wings and tail in the WTC. In addition, the fuel in a 767 has the explosive potential of 144 tons of TNT
b) The body of the 767 would begin crumbling in on itself as it hit the dome. By the time the tail reached it, you would have a solid steel boulder of 100 tons or more. crashing through. Think of the paper surrounding a straw. By itself, it flutters uselessly in the breeze. Ball it up and you can throw it since it now has concentrated mass.
But that’s the assessment of the Corps and the civil engineers I interviewed. I don’t give technical assessments. I majored in aeronautical engineering, but worked at a newspaper at the same time. In my soph year I covered George Romney’s presidential run. Decided I liked it more and left school to work full time at NBC.
This is the summary assessment I was looking for that gives the current (August 2012) viewpoint on this and similar security topics. A lot of research has been done since the 1981 ANL study you cited: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RL34331.pdf
“According to former NRC Chairman Nils Diaz, NRC studies, which have not been released, “confirm that the likelihood of [aircraft crashes] both damaging the reactor core and releasing radioactivity that could affect public health and safety is low.”
Unfortunately a lot of this has been classified as Safeguards (security sensitive) information, and is unavailable to the public. On the NRC website, 10CFR20 and 10CFR100 give the regulatory guidance on permissible offsite doses. The SOARCA study, which I hope you will find time to review, indicates there is a far smaller probability of those limits being reached than previously thought.
The outer structural members of the WTC were not solid concrete. They were thin-walled steel tubes, for stiffness without excess weight.
Which can only be achieved if the fuel is pre-mixed with an oxidizer, then ignited by something that generates a shock wave. This is not something you can achieve by running a tank of fuel into a wall.
Wrong on two counts.
1. The 767 is not made of steel, it’s made of aluminum.
2. The part of the structure which is pasted against the concrete isn’t moving; later-arriving parts run into the immobile fractions which arrived before. Further, much of it would be sliding off to the sides. By the time the tail cone arrived, it might not even be able to get through the crushed remains of the fore sections. Also, the length of the aircraft spreads the impulse out over time.
It sounds like you didn’t get much from what they tried to teach you.
Assuming the plane is 40 meters long and the attacker flew with 600km/hr, it takes only 0.25 seconds for the tail to arrive at the wall after the nose.
So even if the nose starts falling off immediately (it doesn’t) the fall distance is less then one feet the moment the last piece of the tail arrives at the wall.
And realize that the engines are <6meter long which imply a fall distance of only 0.25 inch before the last piece of the engine arrives…
The fact that the 767 is aluminum is less relevant than the fact it concerns a mass of 100ton.
Less relevant but; concerning the strength, I assume that the 767 is made of very strong (expensive) aluminum, while the rebar of nuclear dome will not be the strongest steel. So the aluminum is may be stronger (for sure with NPP subcontractors such as the one Rod mentioned a few months ago)..
I now see that my bad mistake regarding your name. Sorry!
To my excuse I can only say I was in a hurry.
Never meant to make that mistake!
Just another remark. Roger referred to the rebar inside the WTC.
You refer to the outer structural members.
To me those are different items…
You say those were thin-walled steel tubes.
How thick was the thin-wall?
To me it looked at least an inch or so when I was there.
Almost all kinetic energy of the 200ton plane of 600km/hr will be converted into heat within ~0.2seconds. Do you have a calculation regarding that (temperatures)?
I’m questioning myself how much of the concrete wall will be converted into vapor/liquid?
Bias, let me quote Witherspoon’s earlier post:
That would have appeared even if the 767 was flying with empty wing tanks.
Thin relative to their other dimensions, and certainly getting thinner with increasing height as the load to be carried got smaller (which also reduced weight carried onto lower floors).
Compared to 30 inches of reinforced concrete? Neither a 767 wing nor a WTC column would have done much.
Why should I do your work for you?
Why don’t you first determine whether there’s enough kinetic energy to even melt the aluminum of the aircraft, and get back to us. I’m sorry if this requires quantitative analysis and some actual scientific thinking from you, but think of the headache as the result of some badly-needed exercise.
Thank you for your quality info!
I was already questioning myself how strong the rebar of WTC was. The long vertical steel frames every ~2 feet between the windows at the outside seemed already fairly strong but I didn’t test whether they were hollow.
Thanks for your interesting information! I read experts estimate the chance for a core meltdown at IP at ~30% after an 767 attack.
I wrestle a long time with a similar issue. Perhaps you can give your opinion/info?
In Borssele, The Netherlands (NL), we have one PWR (~500MW), 30years old, built/designed by Siemens/KWF. It has the spent fuel pool inside the dome (similar to Oyster Creek and Fukushima). This brochure gives a nice impression.
Statments of the utility & management of Borssele have shown to be worthless.
E.g. in the 2007 report they made some simplistic assumptions reagarding a plane attack. In their next report (2011) the chance for a plane attack was estimated to low to consider.
The EU stresstest considers only a light sportsplane flying at cruise speed (test was delayed many months due to discussions about that; apparently utilities won).
The regulator in NL (KFD) is virtual. It is a section of a dept that promotes nuclear.
Btw. We won’t get a second NPP as it showed that a new, more safe, NPP cannot compete. But the present one wants to continue another 40years or so.
Can you give some considerations & estimations regarding the results if an airliner or freight plane of ~200 – 300ton (767/747) attacks our NPP in Borssele?
E.g. at the fuel loading doors or another weak spot (that terrorists know better to find than I can).
It is not unimportant as the major winds here are towards Rotterdam, the industrial center of NL.
Bas, why would you ask a journalist to estimate the effects of a jet hitting the plant rather than ask an engineer?
Because most here will give very biased answers…
The fact that you say a PWR with a dry volume type containment containing a SFP is like Ouster creek or Fukushima Diachi shows that you have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT SO EVER what you are talking about. PLEASE stop pretending that yo do!!!
Not biased unless you consider years of engineering education versus a liberal arts education constitutes having a bias.
When I listen to people who have had no thermodynamics education try to explain the 2nd law of thermodynamics to me (or another law of thermodynamics, statics, dynamics, etc) based on a wikepeida entry or some mainstream magazine article they read, I have a tendancy to roll my eyes. Which is then usually followed up by some sort of verbal exclamation.
I honestly at this point can’t remember if you have tried to violate the 2nd law in one of your many comments about wind and solar and have no idea yof our education. But it appears from the type of comments that you have little engineering background and so yes I imagine that makes me quite biased from your standpoint. I can live with that.
SNPP Nuclear Safety Inspector H. J. Simpson said it best:
The four nuclear reactors survived the earthquake and actually shut down properly, but were ruined an hour later when the tsunami knocked out all emergency power at the plants and shut off the electricity to half of Japan.
A little nitpick, in our area on the west coast of Tohoku we lost electricity immediately with the quake. Similar conditions might have prevailed on the east coast.
Just a little nitpick, but did you lose you home backup generator too? The issue was that the backup generators at Fukishima Diachi were wiped out by the Tusami.
No home generator. The comment was on the Guest writer saying that electricity to half of Japan was wiped out by the tsunami – it was not, at least in our area. The writer was not referring to the back-up generators.
The four nuclear reactors survived the earthquake and actually shut down properly, but were ruined an hour later when the tsunami knocked out all emergency power at the plants and shut off the electricity to half of Japan.
A small nit-pick to a good article: we lost electricity almost immediately with the earthquake on the Sea of Japan side of Tohoku, similar conditions might have held on the Pacific side.
Whoa whoa whoa Roger…
So the nuclear industry cannot be trusted but the anti movement can? Is that your assertion?
Why do you think a nuclear plant uses more cooling water than a coal or solar thermal plant of the same size?
If nukes are not zero carbon because of construction and fuel cycle than neither are…
Why not expose them for lying about bring carbon free?
I am curious as to why you did not interview an aviation expert about the plausibility of a hijacker flying a 747 into a plant? It is a lot more complicated than into a sky scraper.
Also, just to prove that you are unbiased and objective please link one pro nuclear piece of research from your document library….
No, Sean. that’s not my assertion.
2. I don’t write about wind, solar, hydro or coal or any other form of electric generation. If I did, they would be subject to the same standard. As for being low carbon — that came from the Energy Information Agency — do you call them anti-nuclear too?
Well… Then why HAVEN’T you written about them? Your not biased are you?
let’s start with the premise that you know as little about journalism as you think I do about the inner workings of a nuke plant.
If I was in West Virginia I’d be writing about the coal industry instead of nukes. I don’t cover the planet. In journalism you have a beat and stick with it. When I was in the State House I didn’t cover everyone and everything. I covered certain departments and topics– including the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant. The biggest shrimp in NJ were cultivated in its discharge region.
So… Only in West Virginia they have coal fired power plants? New York State does not have any installed solar or wind or any manufacturing of said products?
I call BOGUS.
You write about Nuclear and not the other because SOMEONE (you, an editor, publisher, advertiser) made the decision to write about Nuclear. Please do not insult my intelligence by claiming that renewables and coal are of no concern to New Yorkers. I know about the area because I lived in Newburgh, worked in Manhattan, spent a lot of time in white plains, and commuted on the Hudson line (with its spectacular view of IP) when I chose not to drive in.
I’m sorry but saying that it is not your beat is a cop out.
I am a business owner in the area where I live and I for some reason have become a go to for my local paper about issues with transportation and my specific industry in my small area. I have spent a lot of time very carefully explaining issues, local ordinances, sent in paper work to back up my statements and all too often they still get it wrong, miss the point, or print quotes out of context. So I believe that *some* journalists go into a story having already decided what they are going to write and what the message is going to be then seek out that which fits and exclude any information that does not fit their predetermined conclusion.
You’re right I don’t know about journalism how silly of me to assume that journalists were supposed to be unbiased and report the facts (the who, what, when, where, why, and how) withoutn prejudice or “spin”.
How foolish of me!
Coming Full Circle in Energy, to Nuclear ( http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/21/business/economy/coming-full-circle-in-energy.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 )
In the NYT’s Economy section.
in addition, wedgewire will not stop hatchlings, those baby fish under 1/2 inch in diameter. As to the other argument, it was rejected by the National Marine Fisheries Service for the simple reason that 300 billion baby fish which end up as part of the food chain and are consumed by other growing fish is NOT the same as taking 300 billion fish, killing them and dumping them back into the river as rotting organic matter.
While that is a common line for IP public relations folks, it has never had any validity and never withstood a half second of serious thought.
You really should read Entergy’s brief before the US Supreme Court about the inadequacy of wedgewire..
I’m not an expert on this, but one clear thing is that in the sea no easy protein source will be left unscavenged. You make it sound as if 300 billion fish were to appear at once, whilst it’s it’s a regular small flux all along the year, It would be very surprising if no predator has noticed the source of easy, pre-cooked, food at this place.
And most of the number is fish egg and larvae, actually I don’t have time to read all the documents, but it tool me just a few minutes to notice that the appeal courts take the position in P3 of http://www.rogerwitherspoon.com/docs/entergybriefentergyvepa1-07.pdf that only fish egg and larva go through the cooling system, and juvenile fish are just drawn to the screening mechanisms.
So a proper answer needs a study by an marine biologist, which certainly have been done for the environmental reports of the plant. But the correct answer is obviously not 300 billions wasted rotten fish, which does sound like the easy line of a professional PR person aiming to paint nuclear in a bad light. The idea this could have more impact than over fishing is really outlandish, and sounds more like the easy excuse of a fisherman who has no intend to respect reasonable fishing limits and tries to blame another industry.
This actually is not my position, let’s come back to the above document. It contains interesting language by the court about the EPA on pages numbered 4/5/6/7 (23 to 27 of 69) :
“fundamentals errors”, “manifestly exceeding it’s authority”, “incorrect and unsupported presumptions”, “resting on telephone conversation with sales representative”, “contradicts evidence provided by state regulator”, “disproportionate impact on nuclear sector wholly unaddressed and irrational”, “wholly inadequate efforts to justify (financial) shortfall”, “flawed technical technical presumption roundly rejected by own’s peer reviewer”, “evading damaging Record”, “misguided effort”, “forsaking Congress’ priority”, “Rules amongst the most costly in the Act history”, “erroneous regulation”, “shadow game”.
What justifies all this angered language by the court ? Exactly what were talking about, the court is taking the adamant position that the fish population reduction is caused by overfishing and is just destroying the EPA position that a nuclear plant should somehow be asked to, at extremely high expense, try to compensate some of the negative impact this overfishing has.
So the positive point is that we now have evidence of the neutrality of the documents stored on your site. The negative one is that you’re either not reading them, or deciding to willfully misrepresent them.
Gee whiz, my grandfather used to fish the Hudson from Saugerties down to just north of Yonkers, and believe me, all the fish aren’t making home and babies in front of Indian Point intakes! Funny that no one hardly wanted to test how good the little fishies were doing at the runoffs and outlets of infamous industries lining the Hudson (and some still do.). I guess green bigotry towards nukes really does discriminate!
It’s not an easy PR line, and it didn’t originate with me. It was the reason the NY state DEC rejected the proposal. and the reason it was criticized by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
You are correct to a point — dropping that dead matter back in to the river will be food to something. Scavengers loved it. But that is not part of the intended food chain, hence the dramatic impact on fish stocks. NJ DEP also rejected wedgewire.
Roger Witherspoon, your figure of 300 billion fish killed by Indian Point every year is wrong—about 300 times too large.
You’re right that the 300 billion number comes from the NRC’s original Environmental Impact Statement on IP’s relicensing. But the original EIS contained a systematic order of magnitude error—the numbers of fish entrained and killed by IP were inflated by a factor of 1000. The error was acknowledged and corrected in amendments to the EIS issued in 2013, NUREG-1437 Supplement 38, vol. 4.
The “300 billion” apparently comes from Fig. 4-3 and Fig. H-5 of the EIS, which give the total number of identifiable fish entrained at IP in the 1980s when studies were done. The last figure given for 1987 was originally, by eyeball, about 3X10^11, or 300 billion as you say; but that figure is corrected in the 2013 amendments to 3X10^8, or 300 million.
The IP death toll roughly triples if you count fish eggs and larvae as well. A subsequent table in the EIS, Table I-39, adds up the number of fish eggs, larvae and juveniles entrained by IP. (“Entrained” means sucked into the cooling system and assumed killed; larger fish are kept out by the intake screens.) That table originally gave a total for all these categories of 867 billion. After correcting for the thousand-fold error in the original EIS, the 2013 amendment puts that figure at 867 million with an m.
Current estimates by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Riverkeeper, both foes of IP, are in the same ballpark. For example, NYSDEC’s 2010 letter denying IP’s Water Quality Certificate estimates “mortality of nearly one billion aquatic organisms per year from the operation of [IP] units 2 and 3.” (http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/permits_ej_operations_pdf/ipdenial4210.pdf)
So the consensus estimate now is that Indian Point kills about one billion fish eggs, larvae and very small juveniles every year. (most of that total is the first two categories, the technical term for which is “zoo-plankton”.)
One billion sounds like a lot, but a single breeding female will lay anywhere from several thousand to several million eggs per year. So IPs planktonic holocaust is just a small fraction of the countless billions of fish eggs and larvae in the Hudson, almost all of which die anyway before adulthood. There is some effect, though; the NRC EIS does reckon that IP makes a significant dent in some of the “indicator species” populations in its stretch of the river.
not quite, Bill, The recent revision does lower the figure of the baby fish by a factor of 1,000, but the DEC still retains the number of about 2 billion for juvenile and adult fish trapped against the screens.
take a look at this graphic, by waterway:
and this graphic, by site:
And both Riverkeeper and the DEC are still arguing with the NRC and Entergy over final overall numbers, though there seems to be a consensus that the initial , 2003 estimate of 500 million fish killed by the thermal plume was wrong. I have not, at this juncture, seen a final consensus figure and the hearings have not concluded.
OK, Roger, so we’ve established that your upthread estimate of 300 billion fish killed by Indian Point every year was stupendously wrong—too large by orders of magnitude.
Now you claim that “DEC [New York State Department of Environmental Conservation] still retains the number of about 2 billion for juvenile and adult fish trapped against the screens.” Unfortunately, the sources you cite do not support that figure either—they give a number close to the roughly 1 billion total fish deaths, at all life stages and from all causes, that I proposed as a consensus estimate for the IP fish kill.
[A technical point on terminology: When you write “fish trapped against the screens,” that’s the fish mortality category of “impingement” as opposed to “entrainment”, which is when eggs, larvae and small juveniles pass through the intake screens and are sucked into the plant cooling system through the intake pipes. Impingement of larger fish trapped on the screens kills on the order of just 1 million fish per year at IP. That’s a tiny sliver of the total fish kill, almost all of which is due to entrainment. I’m guessing you mean the 2 billion number to refer to both impingement and entrainment added together, otherwise you’re off base by another factor of one thousand.]
The first table you link to gives a figure of 2,205,019,337 fish entrained and 1,398,525 fish impinged every year on the Hudson River. But those numbers are for six power plants operating on the Hudson River, not for Indian Point specifically; so it’s wrong and quite misleading to cite them as estimates of fish deaths caused by IP.
The second table you link to does give specific numbers for IP’s yearly fish kill: a total of 1,200,000,000 entrained and 1,180,000 impinged each year. (Again, note that the number impinged—“trapped against the screens”—is roughly one million, not billions, so a tiny fraction of the total fish kill.) The total of about 1.2 billion is a lot closer to my estimate of 1 billion than your claim of 2 billion. But those numbers are imputed from cooling intake flow and are for the year 1990; things may have changed somewhat since then because of adjustments in Indian Point’s operations. (For example, IP sometimes throttles back during peak spawning periods to reduce its entrainment of eggs and larvae.) The figure that I cited of slightly less than one billion aquatic organisms killed each year by IP comes from an official NYSDEC document in 2010, so it’s probably a better estimate for the current fish kill than the 1990 numbers are.
Finally, you mention a figure of “500 million fish killed by the thermal plume.” That’s a third category of fish mortality, distinct from impingement and entrainment—it would be the number of fish swimming freely in the river who are killed because of the increase in water temperature caused by IP’s effluent. Can you link to a reference to 500 million fish killed by the thermal plume, or any other number? The NYSDEC, Riverkeeper, etc. documents I’ve looked at just refer vaguely to presumed thermal stresses on fish populations without giving a body count, and I’d be interested in seeing a firm numerical estimate of thermal mortality from IP, if such exists. In any case NYSDEC’s 2010 reference to “the mortality of nearly one billion aquatic organisms per year from the operation of [IP] Units 2 and 3” would seem to cover thermal-plume mortality as well.
So I still like the figure of about 1 billion, give or take 20 percent or so, as a consensus estimate of fish—eggs, larvae, juveniles and adults—killed from all causes by IP every year. Your revised 2 billion figure still seems too high and is contradicted by the sources you cite, and the initial figure you gave of 300 billion “with a B” is outlandishly too high and deserves a more prominent retraction. Your upthread contention that IP is a leading factor in the decline of fish populations on the Eastern Seaboard is therefore unfounded and should be retracted as well.
Sorry for belaboring this point, but getting the numbers right is crucial to an informed discussion of nuclear power.
I intend to work “planktonic holocaust” into my toast celebrating 20 more years of low-carbon generation – thanks.
You know, my gut tells me that we’d hear VERY little on this fish kill issue were Indian Point gas/oil fired from the get-go (they’re LOTS of examples of that!). You know, your ears have to pick up at all these “pro” and “ex-insider” supposedly former nuclear people who are in staunch shotgun critic mode after nuclear power. There are aircraft engineers who’ll spend sleepless months trying to prove in testing whether a wing will drop off in flight under certain conditions, and that’s all their forte is concerned with — that wing! Not with any questions about the engines or the landing gear, but just the wings of their speciality. They assume that there’re a alter ego of them taking care of that area with the same concern and passion, and when they made their reserach points they pack up and move on to the next project — not moving on to analyze the landing gear or engine etc. Even if they’re dissatified with their finding and a plane crashes they won’t automically assume it was the engines or landing gear but maybe because of the unaddressed wing weaknesses they found. Now we have supposed former pro nuclear workers who don’t just know about the supposed flaw of the “wing” of their nuke speciality, but suddenly have a deep keen of failings throughout the WHOLE plane — or nuclear plant if you will, even more than their specialists have. It’s like these people smell of anti-nuclear personal and philosophical grudges and are throwing anything against the fan to see if any of their groundless accusations stick. To me, if you’re just out to condemn an entire technology and power source because of unfounded proofless fear and personal grievences you’ve foresaken any credibility to be an impartial and fair critic.
It sounds like Taramasalata will be the most adequate ingredient for your toast :
In this article last year, I get an impression of barely-contained glee in your reportage that the Indian Point units are not needed to power NYC and the region:
I guess there is only one kind of energy production that you choose to report on, but I am curious as to your opinion on the environmental impact of the large, river-cooled plants using fracked methane that will be the planned replacements for IP. Have you ever done research into the water consumption (and I mean in the “lost” sense) of gas wells? They don’t call it “hydraulic” fracturing for nothing. Or the amounts of radon and NORM that are released, with minimal monitoring or regulation? As an environmental reporter based in NY, I would think you might have done some investigation and reportage.
when I was the environment writer for Gannett’s Journal News, I covered the whole range of environmental issues in NY in general and the Lower Hudson Valley in Particular.
But in my semi-retired state, I write about two unrelated topics: cars, and nuclear power. And I no longer chase daily deadlines, but take time looking into issues. That’s partly because I enjoy looking at items in depth, and partly because in the last 2 years I’ve spent more time with docs and hospitals and sources. 7,700 rems of radiation therapy isn’t the biggest energy booster, even if it was spread out over 4 months.
As for the story “Turning off Indian Point” — reporters are always happy to break a story, particularly if it catches a politician or institution lying. In this case, the primary liar was the NY Times, which fabricated the figure of 30% of the electricity used daily in Westchester County and NYC, among other fairy tales.
As for hydraulic fracturing — that is an interesting one to watch, though it is not quite ready to write about. From your perspective it is likely to cause a fracture in the loose coalition of environmental groups opposing nuclear power. Here’s why.
For years, it was assumed by opponents of plants like Indian Point, that if they closed it would be relatively easy to replace their juice by building a gas powered plant. The advent of fracking has accelerated that belief since it has made gas so abundant that wholesale electricity prices have plummeted and drastically cut the margins of nuclear plants. Some of them, particularly the single unit sites, are losing money. For the anti-commercial nuclear groups, that’s all good.
Established organizations with money and full-time staffs like the Sierra Club, and a growing number of grass routes organizations which had backed the efforts to close nuclear plants, are adamantly opposed to plants using fracked gas. So while there is a proposal on the table in NY to build two gas plants in the lower hudson valley region, the Sierra Club and others are likely to break away from the coalition seeking to close Indian Point and concentrate on fighting the new gas plants.
The difficulty, of course, is that one can replace a plant like Indian Point with a combination of new generation and new transmission and, to a lesser extent, conservation/ demand measures. But if you eliminate the main new source of generation — a gas plant — then you are stuck if the nuke plant closes.
Some chapters of the sierra club are pushing to allow new gas plants but ban their using fracked gas — an impossibility, of course.
At any rate, it could cause a split and where that goes is anyone’s guess. Stay tuned.
I don’t yet have an opinion on fracking. They weren’t doing that yet when I worked at Exxon Corp. It is an area I intend to learn more about, but it is not one I intend to cover.
At last year’s SEJ conference, one of the tours was to a gas site where they were engaged in hydraulic fracturing. The site — owned by the Koch Brothers — provided the tour and showed the 40 or so journalists just what they were doing and how it was accomplished. Nest year’s conference, in New Orleans, and the following one, in Oklahoma City, will focus heavily on extraction industries.
The jury is still out on how damaging fracking may be. There have been a number of stories on the water use of the fracking industry, particularly its impact out west. One of our members has written a book on its impacts in Pennsylvania, which I figure I’ll read during my next hospital vacation.
While I understand the importance of focus, especially when you are semi-retired and struggling with health issues, I am frustrated by the challenge of discussing nuclear energy with you when you try to isolate it from other sources of energy.
Our choices are a matter of trade offs. I believe you are well aware of how difficult life can be for people who do not have any access to reliable energy. If not nuclear fission, what will supply power? That is the question we need to answer.
you ask an interesting and important question. and the answer will be different in different parts of the country, and in different nations depending on their own natural resources, economy, development level, etc.
Each form of generation has its strengths and weaknesses, direct and indirect costs. People need an honest assessment of the pluses and minuses of each in order to approach a rational decision.
As one who has written about foreign affairs, and traveled as a correspondent, I am well aware of the dire need for energy in developing regions. But would you plunk a nuclear power plant in the middle of Chad — which has oil and little else — or Myanmar, or Bangla Desh, where a good wage is 18 cents a day?
The Iowa leg thought about it, and decided it costs too much. There is no simple way of writing this equation, Rod. China answers your question with a lot of coal — and about 4,000 deaths a year in unregulated mines.
They are also building nuclear power plants. But considering how corrupt their construction industry is, and the lack of oversight and regulation, and the complete absence of accountability, just how “safe” do you think their nuke plants will be? A common phrase heard among scholars about Chinese construction is “tofu concrete”, whose results were evident in the collapse of schools in the last big earthquake. It should make a wonderful foundation for a nuke plant, don’t you think?
If the only questions were reliability and emissions, then nukes would rank pretty high. But life doesn’t make such a simple equation, and where nukes end up in real world trade-offs is just not predictable.
As one who has written about foreign affairs, and traveled as a correspondent, I am well aware of the dire need for energy in developing regions. But would you plunk a nuclear power plant in the middle of Chad — which has oil and little else — or Myanmar, or Bangla Desh, where a good wage is 18 cents a day?
I would not advocate plunking a currently available large nuclear power plant in any place without an already well-established grid with at least 4,000 megawatts of installed capacity.
However, if developed countries use more nuclear energy, that will reduce their consumption of other forms of energy, and reduce prices. That will make lower priced fuels more available for less developed nations and less affluent people.
The effect might be somewhat disadvantageous for nations that have oil and little else, but my study of the multinational oil industry indicates that the presence of oil wealth in a country seems to have little positive impact on the vast majority of the people in that country. There have been a few exceptions, like Venezuela, but any leaders who made real efforts to more broadly distribute oil money have often been the recipients of demonization campaigns.
I also advocate the development and production of small, simple, safe reactors that might be appropriate for developing areas of almost any size where the grid is minimal and where there may only be a small cadre of people with the numerical and technical background to be trained as operators and maintainers. Based on my experience of running a small reactor with a crew of about 40 sailors, most of whom started their training with an American high school education, I can testify that excellent training and reasonable resources results in a growing skill base that can be expanded to growing numbers of people.
Sorry to hear about your illness, and hope that one of the benefits of nuclear technology can help with the cure. I don’t think I have picked up 1/10000 of that dose since 1980, even though I was involved in defueling/refueling over many outages.
I am also sorry to hear that officials of nuclear energy organizations lied to you, or at best, you feel that they did. That is inexcusable, and all I can say is that sometimes the communications people aren’t as technically well versed as would be ideal.
I disagree with the statement that only 5% of the region uses the 2100 baseload megawatts from IP. Once power is put on the grid it is fungible, and obeys the laws of electricity, not contracts. Whatever power is not being used by NYPA is being used elsewhere on the grid. It can be moved around by the ISO adjusting voltages and VARS and generation from the peaking plants. There is no way to tell if a specific electron from IP is powering a subway, but the accountants make believe so in their ledgers via metering. It’s like pouring a glass of water into the tub and then trying to tell when that specific water runs out the drain.
If “the region” includes NJ, Conn, and eastern Penn then some of IPs output is almost certainly involved, but all other things being equal, due to transmission line losses the generation source closest to the load is the one sending it the most power.
If I see the IP units being asked to reduce power by ISO-NY instead of running baseloaded, only then will I believe they are not able to sell their power to the region.
when you go to an ATM and take out money a cop doesn’t stop you and demand that you prove that each and every dollar you took out comes exactly from the dollars your employer put in.
Ditto with electricity. Generators put the electricity in and then sell it under contract. The contractor then takes out the allotted amount — and gets billed for it. Chasing electrons is only important in terms of reliability — not daily electricity usage.
Entergy sells some 1,400 MW through ISO New England. No one is going to accuse them of fraud and claim they are selling someone else’s electrons.
So in a real sense, the argument about electrons does not count.
What is important — particularly to the general public — is how much electricity is needed at any given moment, and where is it coming from.
NYPA has been phasing out its use of juice from IP and is not renewing the contract. They have, instead, signed a 7-year pact with another generator and that electricity will be used to keep the subways running. The region uses some 13,000 MW on a summer day. IP is only selling 550 MW here and getting paid to provide 1,400 elsewhere. When the ISO looks at the region’s load, that is what it’s counting.
In terms of reliability, the ISO states that if Unit 2 closes when its license expires next month it won’t be missed.
That’s in both their 2012 and 2013 Power Trends.
Of course we both know that NYPA is a creature of Cuomo’s government. And that Unit 2 can continue to run until the NRC makes its official decision on the license renewal, which is now delayed until they finalize the revision to the EIS for the Waste Confidence Rule, which won’t be out until next summer:
And Entergy seems to have Kathleen Sullivan on speed dial…
If either IP unit reduces load at end of September as a result of the contract expiration, I will let you know – I’m betting against. There are many more costly generators that ISO will cutback first. And we will see what NatGas prices do over the next year.
The Society of Environmental Journalists.
Interesting choice of professional societys to belong.
The Society of Environmental Journalists awarded Jeff Donn a 3rd place prize in one of its award catagories for his hit peice on nuclear power plants which even the Columbia Journalism Review took issue.
For those that aren’t aware or had forgotten, Mr. Donn published a series of articles as a lead investigative reporter for AP that supposedly exposed the flaws of nuclear power and the inability of the NRC to do its job since no plant has been denied a 20 year extension
From the crtique written by the CJR:
Too much is left to rest on inconclusive he-said-she-said exchanges that end up more confusing than illuminating for readers. Great investigative reporting requires great investigative writing. The challenge in this case was to get past the rhetorical skirmishing between old antagonists—industry, government, watchdog and citizen groups— and provide readers with the context necessary to understand what’s at stake for all of us as nuclear plants reach their shelf life. In this, the AP did not wholly succeed.
Which was one of my points regarding my critique of Mr. Witherspoon’s article from 2001. The he-said-she-said between antagonists does not help the average reader make sense of the technical issues.
However the SEJ still felt that even after a neutral arbiter negatively critiqued the series, it was sufficiently written to be awarded a prize.
Now on the flip side I see from their 2013 agenda there will be a tour lead by Mr. Withrespoon of the TVA facilities. Which is good but after seeing some of the typical anti-nuclear FUD comments here I can only hope that there are strong nuclear speakers who are also part of that tour. But then flipping back to a criticism, Mr. Lochbaum will be a speaker for the Oak Ridge tour.
So at the end my take on the SEJ has been and will remain quite mixed. I lean to the side that most attendees are more anti-nuclear then not since that is the working environment they live within.
the tours are instructive. last year I led a tour to Waste Control Systems in west Texas, a low to mid level nuclear waste dump. Invited guests included Len Wert, deputy dir of Region 2, NRC; the attorney for the Sierra Club which was suing to block the opening of the repository, and expert on waste repository construction from Texas Tech.
as we walked along the bottom of the pit the Texas Tech expert compared it to sites he had seen around the country and specific places around the world and concluded it was the best designed and built repository he had ever seen. The takeaway most of us had at the end of the tour and free-wheeling discussion was that there was not going to be any danger to the water table or environment from that site. The Sierra Club’s reservations were reasonable — but the construction took all those possibilities into account.
The visit to Urenco — the fuel enrichment site next door — convinced us that a major problem with the nuclear fuel cycle, the release of greenhouse gasses, was going to be extraordinarily minimized. The entire site operated with 30 MW of power. The USEC gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah, on the other hand, has two, dedicated, 30-year-old, 1,500-MW, coal fired power plants. In addition, it dumps 300,000 pounds of CFCs into the atmosphere annually.
Replacing Paducah with Urenco significantly minimized the GHG associated with the nuclear fuel cycle. It’s still called low carbon by DOE. But it had been considered on a par with natural gas. With this change in fuel enrichment, nuclear power is far cleaner.
Our tours have people from all sides. Keep i mind that since we are touring a TVA plant, the lions share of the talking comes from the plant operators — they are not idly sitting there. The ground rules are that critics can give a presentation on the bus en route to the site. Once there, all the talking is by the host, and only SEJ members can ask questions. You seem to have the impression that we’re being led by the nose by critics and the nuclear site hosts are cowed in the corner. It doesn’t work that way.
For our Roanoke conference I led a tour to Areva’s fuel assembly plant, their full-scale training mockup, and the Tom Coles farm, the proposed site of the biggest uranium mine in the east. Critics of the mining proposal talked on the bus about the danger to the water table. Cole walked us around his land and showed how he planned to protect it. There were no winners or losers. Just a chance for journalists to see what the real world challenges were and the proposed methods of dealing with them.
Most attendees at SEJ don’t cover nuclear power at all and are neutral. I don’t cover coal or farming, though there are tours and workshops for those who do. I suspect there are folks in the coal industry who assume all SEJ members are anti coal. The truth is those of us who don’t work in coal country don’t think about it. We attend conferences to learn more about the subjects we do cover. I have even had NEI execs on my energy tours.
“The visit to Urenco — the fuel enrichment site next door — convinced us that a major problem with the nuclear fuel cycle, the release of greenhouse gasses, was going to be extraordinarily minimized”
When the GE laser enrichment plants go online in a few years the energy requirements and GHG emmissions will be cut by an additional 90%:
In France their enrichment plants are powered by nearby dedicated nukes, so the GHG emmissions are minimized.
I consider myself an environmentalist, and would love to sign up for the tour, except:
1) I am not a journalist, and don’t even play one on the Internet, and
2) I have several prior commitments.
Maybe you would take along a semi-famous blogger or two?
about 1/3 of the attendees at our conferences are non journalists — generally from environmental groups, academia or industries — who seek the opportunity to mingle with and tell their stories directly to a broad spectrum of environmental writers. You pay your fee and you’re welcome on a tour.
If you go to Oak Ridge, keep in mind the rules — everyone participates in the general discussions on the bus, but only the journalists ask questions in the site. Neither you nor Lochbaum will talk inside the lab. But I bet you two would have a lively time on the bus.
The tours are good for those that have not had experience in industrial settings. I have given a few myself on several jobs and have had the opportunity to provide training on spent fuel issues. I have been to the Areva facility myself.
I honestly wish the sites could allow access to the visitor centers again at various plants after they were shutdown due to 9/11 security measures. The public has even less ability to see how their electricity is generated ny nuclear power. I am even in favor of plant tours just to show people the inside of the nuclear environment but the plant security burden would be immense to do that for the general public.
What I have a problem with is people trying to tell me what the inside of a nuclear power plant looks like when they have never been there while my list of expired badges and access quals is quite extensive at this point in time. That is when I start getting testy.
So if your tours help the uninitiated into seeing the world I live then great. But as many of us are pointing out that is not enough. More discussion needs to happen and the pendulum must swing back from the anti-nuclear extreme for all of us to rationale discussions. However there are even more security issues to deal with after 9/11 that many of us can’t discuss. Therefore a gap will always remain.
That gap doesn’t automatically mean that nuclear power is unsafe. It just means those individuals or groups that would use that security and knoweledge gap to their advantage for their favored power generation source or their financial gain must have their motivations pointed out for the uninitiated without the lable of parnoid, or liers, etc. being put upon the thousands of individuals that work diligently to make nuclear power safe.
Also the use of the internal “family” squabbles within the nuclear power community shoudl not be used against us either. We are an educated, opinionated bunch that have strong positions about many things nuclear and non-nuclear. That however is exactly what many groups or individuals who do not want nuclear power will also exploit to their advantage.
So I wish you the best on your tours. I hope many walk away with a better understanding of how electricity is generated by using nuclear or hydro and even how Oak Ridge works. My preference for the Oak Ridge tour would be Frank Munger though not Lochbaum.
Roger asked us to consider that
“1. Power plants consume more surface water in the US than agriculture, and nuclear plants drink more water than anything else. Climate change has plunged much of the southwest and west into drought and declining aquifers. Calling for the deployment of hundreds of new nuclear plants without accounting for their water use causes consternation among western environmental writers who view the position as simply not credible.”
When AtomicRabbit pointed out that “consume” in this context is incorrect, since the water drawn from the UHS is also returned to the UHS, Roger replied that
“I’m aware of the water distinction. The NRC’s latest EIS concludes that the thermal plume from IP is not as damaging as had been thought and dispersion within 75 acres may keep the heat damage within acceptable limits…”
So Roger, what is the point? Is your contention that the plants are removing water from the system, making it unavailable to agriculture in a period of drought (as asserted in the first post)? Or is the point that the water is heated before being discharged back into the river?
The moving goalpost stratagem makes for a weak argument. Most of the people who read this blog are well acquainted with its use and, frankly, find it tiring. I know I do, anyway.
I find it damning. People who do that are dishonest and have no respect for the truth; they will make any claim which advances their narrative, exploiting ignorance wherever they find it.
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