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16 Comments

    1. I watched that back in December and thought the exact same thing.

      Dr Ray Stantz: Everything was fine with our system until the power grid was shut off by dickless here.

      Walter Peck: They caused an explosion!

      Mayor: Is this true?

      Dr. Peter Venkman: Yes it’s true… This man has no dick.

      Bill Murray never fails.

  1. Thanks for the link to this book. I just downloaded and skimmed through it, and it looks interesting and very readable.

    1. From Daniel’s NJ link:

      “…he (Jaczko) also expressed little confidence that a nuclear plant run by Southern California Edison could be reopened safely after it was shut down following a radioactive leak and other problems.”

      Does anyone know if said leak was ever confirmed? At the time there was a HuffPo article in which “Officials Say ‘Tiny Amount’ Could Have Escaped”, which isn’t entirely the same thing, and also illustrates a potential educational problem the Southern Cal. Edison officials might have better addressed. (Assuming they didn’t.) It should be a minor thing, but it appears science writer Alicia Chang was trying to be objective:

      According to the NRC, the tubes have an important safety role because they represent one of the primary barriers between the radioactive and non-radioactive sides of the plant. If a tube breaks, there is the potential that radioactivity from the system that pumps water through the reactor could escape into the atmosphere.

      Is this actually the case? My understanding is the water in the secondary coolant loops that feed the steam generators is not radioactive. Its why they are separate loops. Yet there clearly was concern that trace amounts of an unidentified radioactive gas dissolved in the secondary water might have escaped from a broken steam tube and into an auxiliary building. And not have been detected. How could this happen?

      Xe-135 is a beta emitter, making it harder to detect directly. But Kr-85 has a secondary (0.43%) beta-gamma decay which should in principle be detectable. Neither are terrifically water soluble, and their presence in secondary coolant might be indicative of leakage from the primary system. But in that case there would be tritium as well (another beta emitter). If there were risk of actual danger, one would think there would be some kind of reliable detection system? Was a SONGS radiation leak ever confirmed?? Perhaps Rod knows???

      1. @Ed Leaver

        There have been several articles on Atomic Insights about the San Onfre saga. Taken as a group, they can answer your question and provide links to more technically detailed sources. You can find them with a search here using “San Onofre” as your search term.

        The initial discussion of the 75 gallon per day tube leak is in this one – https://atomicinsights.com/media-coverage-chevrons-richmond-ca-refinery-versus-scegs-san-onofre-nuclear-generating-station/

  2. Manatees are having a hard time in the cold. In 2013 16 percent of the population died.

    I cant help but think the Crystal River closure in 2009 doesn’t have something to do with it. The Manatees were known in the past to congregate in its warm canals during cold weather.

    The people of Citrus County are sure having a difficult time with it. Before crystal river closed it had a $2.2 billion taxable value that was nearly twice the value of the rest of the county’s commercial sector. It was 39 times larger than second biggest taxpayer, Withlacoochee River Electric. It paid a $35 million tax bill.

    Meanwhile as the Manatees are back up in the springs for the current cold weather and the state has closed three of them to tourists hoping to give the endangered animals a break.

      1. The smoking gun you will not find on “Green” sites :

        Florida Manatee Cold-related Unusual Mortality Event,
        January – April 2010 Final Report ( http://myfwc.com/media/1536184/2010_Manatee_Cold_related_UME_Final.pdf )

        PE Crystal River Power Plant —The PE Crystal River power plant has both coal-fired and nuclear-fueled units. During the winter of 2009-2010, the nuclear plant was offline. The coal- fueled units operated as demand and maintenance allowed. These units were operated so that at least one unit was discharging water greater than 20°C and manatees were provided at least a small warm-water refuge throughout winter.

        1. Sorry to veer so off topic here, but as Florida and nuclear was mentioned I wanted to reiterate how Crystal River’s closure was made on unsound reasoning without the facts of the effects of the closure being made available both for the community and the environment.

          With the cold impulse events of recent winters and the new intermittentcy of thermal coal stations (NG replacement/renewables), the closure of crystal river NPP and the depletion of the Florida aquifer (progressively less sprig flow on and offshore) [ http://stateofwater.org/ecosystems/springs/ ] and of course evidence in the above report that Manatees completely avoid areas once warm water addition stops – I think there are some reasonable assumptions available as to why this has been occurring and is accelerating. I think its also is a excellent argument to replace coal and gas generation with nuclear, even for keeping older nuclear technology operational along Florida’s gulf coast, especially in the winter months.

  3. @Rod
    Thanks for the pointer to this on-line book; I look forward to reading it.

    If you don’t mind I’d like to recommend an older, but very readable book about radiation and hormesis called “Underexposed” by Ed Hiserodt. You get a “shout out” on page 211 about a report you did on a McMurdo Sound reactor cleanup. It also ends with one of the best motivations that I can think of for keeping this issue front and center:

    “How many more lives must be forfeited to a thoroughly discredited LNT before reason prevails?”

  4. I can’t help but wonder:

    If the radiation threshold of zero is too low, what other thresholds are out there that the bureaucrats are draining resources for? Every once in a while you hear about products being pulled from the market due to the use of some chemical.

    Is all lead paint bad no matter where it’s used?

    I’ve bought a lot of products with the sticker that says they contain chemicals known to cause cancer in California. It must be easier to get cancer in California.

  5. The EPA bureaucrats wanted to force a clean up down to a level less than 1 mSv/yr (100 mrem/year) for the most exposed person; the state of Florida said that was a silly waste of money for anything lower than 5 mSv/yr (500 mrem/yr). Fortunately, logic and political clout prevailed and the higher standard was accepted.

    Just a bit of clarification:

    The EPA isn’t abandoning the issue, they are simply leaving it to the States to decide how to best deal with it. While they are suggesting the site does not qualify for costly federally funded Superfund remediation at a level of 5 mSv/year, this does not mean protective actions are not going to be taken.

    Florida intends to mitigate risk via site-specific information and education (here).

    “100 – 500 mrem/yr – Assessment will be provided to the homeowner along with possible suggestions to reduce exposures if they choose” (here).

    Costs for clean-up are estimated at $11 billion, “or nine times EPA’s Superfund annual budget” (here). Florida politicians are opposing a plan to increase taxes on all Florida industries to help deal with the very high costs of clean-up (for a region involving some 100,000 residents). While health issues are still a documented concern here, this appears to be a protracted political battle in the State, and primarily one over new taxes on Florida businesses (opposed by Florida State Representatives). This isn’t science prevailing here, it is politics. “… ATSDR’s recommended limit for continuous exposure is 100 mrem/year such as one living with these levels might experience …”

    The MRL threshold recommended by ATSDR (“based on peer-reviewed studies and an external peer-review process,” here) at the State level where no action is required is 100 mrem/year (not 500 mrem/year as suggested in the lead post).

    1. @EL

      Acceptance of risk is a political decision that can only be illuminated by science. If people are given accurate information about the incredibly low level of risk and the incredibly high cost of clean-up, they will make the prudent choice of learning to accept the risk so they can use the money for more productive purposes.

      Our major disagreement is that you apparently believe that money magically appears in the accounts of businesses or governments and that it is available to use without consequences for any politically powerful group like those who pressure cleanup of low level radiation sources.

      Money and resources are finite. If they are spent moving dirt, they cannot be spend educating children, improving the economy, generating employment, or building a better world.

      1. @Rod Adams.

        The phosphate mines aren’t difficult to miss on a satellite image of Lakeland, Florida. Development appears to stop at their boundary. Tampa appears to be expanding to North and South and not so extensively to East (a region filled with what looks to me to be numerous tailings or leeching ponds).

        Maybe your perspective on this is just a little antedated. From Wiki (just to pull up a quick reference):

        Brownfield remediation is being considered more and more often as a viable way to revitalize and spur economic development in communities. It is often dismissed by developers as being too expensive, but a number of studies actually show that remediation has a great number of public benefits as well as economic and environmental gains.

        If people have elsewhere to move and develop (perhaps you are correct). But for this region (minus remediation), it’s economic prospects look rather dim and limited to me. And I can only hazard to guess that the homeowners in the nearby villages and burbs (looking to have to disclose contamination concerns to any future buyers) are not likely too happy with the decision (and it’s impact on their local property values).

        Yes, the broken windows fallacy may be an issue here (particularly for a $11 billion remediation bill charged to the State). Federal funds are a different matter (and would likely be a significant boon to the State). I don’t see why it has to be local residents who have to have all their windows broken (while the mining companies, local industry, and Republicans politicians keep all of their windows pristine and squeaky clean).

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