Was Arnie Gundersen a Licensed Reactor Operator and Senior VP Nuclear Licensee?
Arnie Gundersen has developed a pretty fair consulting business that consists of writing commissioned reports on a wide variety of nuclear energy topics and providing “expert witness” testimony. As a expert witness, he must to provide a resume to prove his expertise.
He has published numerous reports including his analysis contradicting the efforts of dozens of engineers and regulators in the design and review of the construction strength of the Westinghouse AP1000 containment, the AP1000 beyond design basis cooling concept, and the design and post event analysis of the San Onofre steam generators.
He has testified in hearings about nuclear power plant operations, underground piping systems, the health effects of tritium leaks, radioactive material handling, the root causes of nuclear construction project delays, quality assurance systems, configuration management, nuclear plant reliability and the aging management program at nuclear power plants. He also claims a special expertise in nuclear power plant decommissioning – which might be one of the more accurate statements in his resume.
A prominent part of his resume – right up near the top in the section where people state the education and training that enabled them to begin accomplishing everything they have done – is the following line:
“RO Licensed Reactor Operator, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission License # OP-3014”
A little farther down, in the list of positions held, there is another key line:
“Former Senior Vice President Nuclear Licensee”
Those two statements, taken together with Gundersen’s verifiable BS and MS in Nuclear Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, give him a believable claim to having developed such a wide range of knowledge, skills and ability. The problem is that both claims are deceptive, even if they are carefully worded so that they are literally true.
Licensed reactor operators often have the opportunity to develop a wide range of knowledge in their important role. They often need to understand something about materials, radiation, thermodynamics, aging, pressure vessels, steam generators, electricity, corrosion, civil engineering, batteries, diesel engines, configuration management and quality assurance. They may not learn about all of those topics in their initial qualification program, but over time, they gain varying depths of knowledge depending on the evolutions and events they experience.
People who work their way up through a wide variety of assignments that include operations, maintenance, and finance and become senior vice presidents at a nuclear utility have demonstrated to a large number of qualified people over a significant time that they know their stuff, are competent to lead, can make effective decisions and deserve respect.
Gundersen’s claim to such a wide range of expertise might be credible if he really did have substantial operating experience and really had worked his way up to being a Senior Vice President of a nuclear power plant license holder. Unfortunately for the truth, neither claim holds up; Gundersen has inflated his resume in just the right points to be able to spread false information that is believed by way too many people and media outlets.
First, let’s look at the claim of having been a licensed reactor operator. Digging through Gundersen’s 14 page resume provided to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission on December 22, 2011, you have to reach the bottom of page 13 to find any mention of a job involving a license to operate a nuclear reactor.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) — 1971 to 1972 Critical Facility Reactor Operator, Instructor
Licensed AEC Reactor Operator instructing students and utility reactor operator trainees in start-up through full power operation of a reactor.
Dr. John H. Bickel just retired from Xcel Energy’s nuclear department and is happy to be able to share information that is no longer filtered through his employer. He provided the following statement to help the world understand exactly what Gundersen might have learned as a graduate student at RPI and what experience he might have gained by instructing students in “start-up through full power operation of a reactor”.
I got my MS and PhD at RPI a few years after Gundersen was there. RPI’s reactor was donated by the American Locomotive Co and was originally to be used for developing a nuclear train locomotive. It was reconfigured to use as a training reactor that could generate 200 Watts of power — or two big light bulbs worth. It had two means of shutting down: the control Rods with fuel followers could be dropped (removing fuel from the center of the core) and inserting poison. The backup means of shutting the reactor down was to dump the moderator to a holding tank. Yes! Core uncovery was the back up shutdown mechanism
With 200 watts output and a highly enriched fuel there was no decay heat as in a power reactor. We actually learned about flux distributions by manually taping Cadmium and Silver foils to fuel plates – starting up the reactor and running it for 20 minutes – scramming it – and quickly retrieving the foils (yes handling the fuel elements on a bench) and doing a counting experiment with a gamma spectrometer.
With a minimum amount of reading and passing an exam, students could become certified as a “Reactor Operator” by AEC and become lab instructors or teaching assistants. This is what Arne did. Getting an SRO for a commercial power reactor requires about two years of training in classrooms and on a simulator, performing numerous observed plant startups and shutdowns, passing a serious license exam.
Comparing the RPI training reactor certification to an SRO license in a power reactor is ridiculous!
There was no training on ESF systems, reactivity controls, chemistry, decay heat removal, feed water/condensate systems, the turbine and condenser etc.
For him to be parading himself around as an SRO is absurd and he needs to be called down for that.
(Note: Dr. Bickel exaggerated the output of RPI’s Walthousen Reactor Critical Facility a little; it actually has a peak output of less than 100 watts.)
With regard to Gundersen’s claim of having been a Senior Vice President at a nuclear licensee, it turns out that he did not work for any utility that operated a nuclear power plant, but instead worked for Nuclear Energy Services which was a relatively small division of PCC, which Gundersen proudly describes as a “Fortune 500 company”. I do not have as clear of a statement about that company as I do about the claim to being a Licensed Reactor Operator, but I do know that the firm was what some insiders call a “body shop”.
A “body shop” in the technical world is a firm that provides consultants to perform temporary tasks. It is a term that is familiar in the computer and programming industry, but they certainly did not invent the term or the concept. I have personal contact with body shops in defense contracting, high tech, and the energy industry. In some cases, the consultants are not even full time employees, their resumes are provided as part of a bid package for a particular task; if the firm wins the contract, they use the consultants for the duration of the contract.
The managers and executives at consulting companies generally focus on obtaining contracts and providing the specific deliverables specified in that contract. They are not generally involved in the actual preparation or detailed review of the documents for technical content; their normal function is to make sure that the documents meet the contract requirements for format, timeliness, and proper evidence of review. They serve as the interface with the customer, but they are not the people that do the work.
Knowing that Nuclear Energy Services was essentially a body shop explains how Gundersen can claim to have been “involved” in so many jobs and to have visited so many of the nuclear plants in the US during his rather brief (18 year) career as a nuclear energy professional. Consulting firms that survive have to perform a lot of contracting jobs for a large variety of customers, with varying degrees of quality.
Though Gundersen tells the story as if he was a heroic whistleblower, there is no doubt that his career as a Senior Vice President abruptly ended in 1990 and that he ended up in court as the subject of a defamation suit. There is also no question that he spent the next 18 years working full time as a private school teacher as he built up his expert witness and consulting practice with clients like the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Friends of the Earth that have established reputations for doing everything they can to oppose the use of nuclear energy. (That part of the record comes right from his resume.)
I hope that by sharing this information, Mr. Gundersen begins getting the respect that he deserves when he attempts to spread false information in published reports and while under oath in public testimony.
Some might wonder what brought on this particular post on this particular day, so here is the reason I wrote it.
During a recent Twitter discussion with a man whose handle is @nuclearpowrrptr the subject of degrees, professional experience and credentials came up again. I know it is horribly elitist of me, but I fundamentally believe that a person’s professional resume and educational background is important information when discussing a technical subject. None of us have enough time to check every number, assumption, and equation required for good decision making.
We need to be able to rely on the accuracy of the material introduced into the discussion. That accuracy is a product of the competence and integrity of the preparer. In key areas of interest, the prepared material is second checked and independently verified by someone with equal competence and integrity.
Understanding this concept has been an important part of my professional career since the very first day of plebe summer at the Naval Academy. We were taught about the importance of honor, courage, and commitment and the need to study hard to become competent at our chosen profession. We were also taught the absolute importance of recognizing and freely admitting when we did not know the answer to a question. In addition to a concise, correct answer, there were five basic responses to any question or order:
- Yes, sir (or mam)
- No, sir
- No excuse, sir
- I’ll find out sir
- Aye, aye, sir
Our leaders hammered the message in; there is no room for BS, especially on a ship, plane or submarine where people’s lives can be lost because of selfish deceit, attempting to cover your own a– or baffling with BS.
Dr. John Miller, PhD, the man who tweets as @NuclearPowrRptr is also someone who selectively highlights features of his resume in order to pass deceptive and untrue information about nuclear energy. His PhD is in psychology. He served from 1970-1972 as a junior officer on the USS Seawolf, the second nuclear powered submarine in the US Navy and never again held any nuclear related job. However, he claims more than 40 years of nuclear experience since he has been writing about nuclear energy topics ever since.
He claims that a station blackout event is an automatic meltdown and that all PWRs are alike, even though the only nuclear plants that he has any direct knowledge of were the S2W on Seawolf and the S5G in Idaho where he attended prototype training. When I asked why he left the navy after just 2.5 years on board a boat and why he thought that experience qualifies him as a nuclear and radiation expert, here was his response:
@atomicrod @radiationreptr 3 yrs on prototype rx (S5G) and on subs is enough. Plus,ever since then, I have followed it and written about it.
— Dr. John Miller,Ph.D (@NuclearPowrRptr) April 5, 2013
He is a fan of Dr. Helen Caldicott and highly recommended that I read her latest book. He also had high praise for Arnie Gundersen; that is why I sat down this morning to provide clear documentation for the record.
I know that some people think I am downright mean for pointing out the character flaws and resume inflation that runs rampant in the antinuclear community, but I am tired of the way that they imply that nuclear energy professionals are mouthpieces and liars that are simply in the pay of a big, evil industry. It is time that at least some of us fought back and worked to regain the moral high ground.
We are in an honorable profession where integrity and technical competence are not only highly valued, they are demanded. We check each other’s work, but not out of lack of trust. We EXPECT each other to tell the truth and to take personal responsibility for correctness, completeness and adequacy. We are working with THE only technology that actually has the capability to cure cancer, solve world hunger, eliminate water borne disease, halt energy insecurity and arrest global climate change.
We cannot allow deceptive people like Miller and Gundersen to keep defaming us without challenge.
Midwest Energy News (December 6, 2012) 70 years after first atomic reaction, anti-nuclear movement presses on
Great Great venting (and fumigating)!
With your permission I’d like to spread this helpful crucial head’s-up feature around to as many nuclear blogs as possible — twice over each if needed, even in Japan and especially on the NRC site which I assume cherishes truthfulness and accuracy as well as the Navy does. We all need to get on the same page regarding our nemesis who’ve been getting away with near literal murder. Great hard venting job! Thanks!
@James – spread far and wide. It is important information that deserves dissemination.
Too bad you don’t have more information about Arnie’s Nuclear Energy Services time.
It sounds to me he likely was a “commercial” guy, because in this kind of structure that’s normally the only way you can rise to VP.
And a commercial in a service company is just selling the bodies, he knows the technicals terms, but he has no idea about the technical realities behind them.
Note that commercials in body shops have extremely little of the integrity you prise for nuclear professionals. Maybe nuclear is better, but in computing most people would agree integrity is mostly a hindrance for the job.
I retired from computing in 1994, but I would agree that in computing, integrity is often a hinderance for the job.
Once I was removed from a project because I refused to commit myself to a deadline when the support platform I had to use was unreliable and subject to considerable and unpredictable downtime. Others did commit themselves, failed to meet deadlines, and were kept on the project.
The stars worked incredibly quickly, for which they were rewarded, but their work was so careless that those stuck with maintaining it paid a heavy price. Those who turned out high quality work were castigated for being too slow.
I would not be surprised if similar things occurred in the nuclear industry.
Beware passing around this libelous material to other sites, because then you become responsible for the additional libel committed on them. Adams says I have character flaws, but he presents no evidence to prove it.
He says that station blackout does not automatically lead to core meltdown if the power can’t be restored before melting. That’s just not true, and even the NRC says so.
So what are we to make of Adams’ competence when he argues a position that is untrue and everybody else in nuclear power except him knows it?
Some newer plant designs provide passive cooling for emergency conditions using natural circulation. I don’t know if that could be back-fitted into existing plants.
The Westinghouse PWRs I have been licensed on since 1983 all were designed for natural circulation cooldowns, and have steam-driven aux feeedwater pumps to feed the SGs for that purpose. Procedures have been in effect to do that for as long as I can remember. App R also required additional diesels on top of the originally instlled ones.
If all of those are out of service, post-911 diesel pumps required by 10CFR54(hh) can do the job.
If that doesnt work, the FLEX equipment being added to address Fukushima will deal with it.
Whoever told you SBO inevitably causes core damage is wrong, and even if it did, the offsite conseqence would be negligible. You HAVE read the SOARCA study I presume?
And have you heard that three of the reactors at Fukushima melted down? Are you saying that PWRs and BWRs are so different that PWRs are protected from meltdown after SBO?
@John Miller, Ph.D.
INPO has released a detailed study that explains why the three reactors melted. It was not an inevitable result of the station blackout, but the result of some specific decisions and actions that could have been different. Had better decisions happened, the melting might have been prevented. There were some unique challenges at Fukushima, including happening in a country where half runs on 50 Hz and half on 60 Hz. That complicated the delivery of additional generating capability.
I will not speak to BWRs much, since I have never been licensed on one (but that everyone held to such standards). Maybe Margaret Harding is available for comments on those.
There are substantial physical differences – the PWRs rely on a big, dumb contaiment building to contain a depressurized RCS and any released fission products. BWRs have mini-containments and suppression pools, etc.
I hope you have noted by now that NUREG-1935 was divided into two sections, one for the BWR reference plant, Peach Bottom, and another for the PWR reference, Surry. The NRC decided, rightly, that there is enough difference in the designs to require separate analyses.
From my limited understanding there shouldn’t be a big difference in cooling a reactor core under emergency conditions. Anyhow the AWBR design includes provisions to use steam from the reactor vessel to power pumps to circulate cooling water through the reactor vessel. The ESBWR includes provision for passive cooling. I do not know if there is any way to apply such protection to legacy plants
How can you expect to be taken seriously when you can’t even quote the man correctly.
“He claims that a station blackout event is an automatic meltdown”
“He says that station blackout does not automatically lead to core meltdown if the power can’t be restored before melting.”
You added a whole clause that wasn’t in the original. Building strawmen are you?
Dear Mr. Adams,
I have read your resume and I don’t understand it. You got out of the Navy well short of 20 years, but then you later held jobs that appear to be active-Navy jobs. Did you get out and then get back in?
You never mention your final rank in the Navy. That is an important omission.
Although you characterize yourself as an excellent officer, you never commanded a ship or even served as XO of a ship. Why is this?
@Dr. John Miller, Ph.D.
Thank you for pointing out that my resume does not clearly indicate that I was recalled to active duty as a Commander (O-5) in August of 1999 and remained on active duty through September of 2010. I remained a Commander until retirement; with six years of “broken service” in the US Naval Reserves and no tours as XO or CO (as you correctly surmised), I was no longer competitive with my year group.
I was augmented back into the “regular Navy” in 2002 or 2003, I cannot recall which year.
You are absolutely correct. My career was quite unusual; very few officers leave active duty for 6 years and then return to complete an active career through retirement eligibility. That “off ramp/on ramp” was enabled by an excessive draw down during the Clinton years that left a lot of O-5 level staff jobs in DC open, especially after the US entered into a war that has lasted longer than any other war in our history.
I was not one of the people who were encouraged to leave during the draw down; I resigned my commission in the middle of a career that was in pretty good shape. (I screened for XO on the first look; that was probably a result of a short first sea tour and a short shore duty that gave me more than a year as a Department Head before that screening board met.)
I had invented what I later called the Adams Engine during my spare time on shore duty and believed that it was a concept worth pursuing full time.
I am pretty sure that there is no self characterization as “an excellent officer” though I do list a few awards that indicate several of my bosses thought I did a reasonably fair job in challenging assignments.
I love this post, for an inverse reason. I have chosen to speak on nuclear power quite transparently without specific qualifications (my quals being in the sustainability/climate change sphere). That, in my mind, brings some particular rules of my own being:
– Don’t say what I don’t know
– Don’t pretend to be something I am not
– Add what I can to the space based on my areas of strength
– Use the best sources first and work out from there
– Acknowledge and correct errors, keep learning
Basically, exactly the same rules I have for my work in climate change.
I have never needed to have pretences about my qualifications, and I have nothing but disdain for those that do. It does matter. Formal qualifications are not everything all the time, but they are more than something in this highly technical space, and the type of deception you have outlined above is immoral and ultimately can be quite dangerous.
Acknowledging and correcting errors and continuing to learn are extremely key.
I would have not much of any issue with anti-nuclear people if they would do those things. Of course, if they did those things, they would be like you Ben and eventually stop being anti-nuclear.
Yeeeeeeees…….. they would. Because that’s pretty much what happened!!!
It takes a considerable effort to rebut the lies of the out of control anti-nuclear movement. It took a while for me to even realize it was a viable option due to the myths perpetrated throughout society.
You tell us you have no qualifications in nuclear power, so you don’t say what you don’t know.
But every one of your posts about me has said things that aren’t true, so you couldn’t possibly know them.
You criticize my nuclear comments, even though I served as the officer supervising all the nuclear watch standers for four hours at a time, and you have no qualifications.
In short, you have presented no evidence for your libelous opinions. So every statement you made about me violates your rule, “Don’t say what I don’t know.” So much for living your values!
He can say what he knows based on scientifically validated and cited fact. That was the point of what he said above.
He is back. He has improved. He is more competent than ever. Harry is about to have Dr J back into a job at DOE. Love is love.
Harry Reid staff exploring DOE slot for Jaczko :
Arnie doesn’t have a consulting business. It’s a 501c(3), which makes it a charity, like a religious charity. He tells certain people what they want to hear, and they donate money to the charity. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Of course, Rod has highlighted people on this blog who tell certain people what they want to hear even though it’s not the truth either.
Be wary of motivated reasoning and confirmation bias. People who claim scientific expertise know they have the responsibility to educate others on what the scientific consensus is. They know that they are free to provide evidence to shift the scientific consensus, if they have the evidence.
In the absence of that evidence, if they mislead others in general public media, they are guilty of unethical behavior.
Yes, Mr. Gundersen’s business is officially classified as a 501c(3) charity partly for legal and tax reasons.
If Fairewinds (Gundersen) advertised themselves a true technical consulting firm then Mr. Gundersen would need to become a licensed Professional Engineer in the state he submits his reports or have a Professional Engineer review and stamp the reports.
However I submit that Gundersen is working a loophole in the law by claiming Fairewinds is a energy education firm. That way he can still claim to be an expert in all things nuclear but since he is only “educating” the public by publishng his reports, they do not need to be stamped by a PE.
This legal distinction ensures he can’t be sued if his “opinions” turn out to be false or untrue but are shown to cause financial or personal hardship since he is not a licensed Professional Engineer. This legal distinction also prevents people like myself who are licensed Professional Engineers from filing a claim against him for consulting without an engineering license.
That’s why I specifically mentioned “religious charity”…religions can make any claims about reality that they want. So can Arnie.
P.S. For those who have time and inclination here is a link to a recent Caldicott conference. There seems to have been a bit of a mistake made because David Brenner was invited. He discussed the scientific consensus on radiation health effects which is NOT what Caldicott expected. Right after his talk she leads the Q&A, and demonstrates her and the collective cognitive dissonance. One guy to the far right actually makes faces to the audience:
How does his work as a paid “expert” witness get treated by the law and ethical rules? How about his work for the state of Vermont?
It is difficult to classify those activities as public education efforts and not attempts to practice engineering.
I am going from memory and a quick survey of the information I accumulated on this issue since it was a few years ago when I was looking into this very question. I also apologize for the length of my response up front since there is a lot of ground to cover to begin to answer the question.
With those disclaimers out of the way, I think the issue of how Fairewinds/Gundersen has been able to act on the behalf of the State of Vermont Public Oversight Panel on the various Vermont Yankee issues comes down to the legal definitions of “expert witness”, “consulting engineer” and “audits”.
There are also the legalities of how Gundersen came to be appointed to the Vermont Public Oversight Panel to be considered as well as the legal definitions within Act 189 passed by the Vermont Legislature that created the Oversight Panel. Shumlin, who was at the time Senate Pre Tem President in 2008 or earlier, appointed Gundersen to serve on the Panel. Acts 160 and 189 provides the legal charter for the Oversight Panel. Some of the initial activities of the Panel were defined as “audits” of Entergy’s reports which opens up another gray area that allows Gundersen room to maneuver in publishing his “opinions”.
Additionally, contractual language written for the services of an “expert witness”, then the legal issues are in Gundersen’s favor. However then the question comes up about the final product delivered by Fairewinds/Gundersen and what is standard in this case for expert witnesses or auditors to deliver.
Based on my current level of knowledge as a non-lawyer, an expert witness is called upon to provide testimony or reports about information presented to them about a particular situation or problem. They may offer opinions about whether the stated conclusions are satisfactory, adequate, correct based on the existing knowledge of the subject at the time, etc. However as I understand current protocol, the expert witness generally won’t cross the line to volunteer alternate solutions to the problem at hand unless directly asked. And then those alternate solutions have disclaimers attached unless there was verifiable incompetence or illegal activities.
My issue is that his opinions sometimes appear to cross over a line from providing a review of the Entergy information to providing alternate solutions to the problems or alternately; skirts that gray area by making suggestions that have the appearance of being solutions. A Public Oversight Committee or Panel is there to ensure the hard questions are being asked on the public’s behalf. They generally do not cross over that line by providing solutions to the problems presented to them.
To take two issues that happened at VY as an example. Gundersen is neither a cooling tower design engineer nor a pipe line design engineer. He does not have verifiable credentials to provide alternate solutions or redesigns of the failed equipment. Yet he has under the umbrella of an “expert witness” by stating the only solution is to close the plant down. That solution is ridiculous to the extreme.
I have a problem with his solution for several reasons. First, shutting the plant down because of a cooling tower failure is not a valid or real solution to the cooling tower issues. Secondly, he is allowed to get away with that “solution” partly because there is this mythology he is performing these acts for the public good and out of the goodness of his heart as a former whistleblower. I say mythology since he is being paid for his services so he has a financial motive (both short term and long term) for being on the Oversight Panel and for working to shut VY down thereby putting it into decommissioning.
Finally, his solution meets the expectations of the anti-nuclear politicians that appointed him in the first place so the ruling political class won’t question if shutting the plant down is the correct solution to a cooling tower or a piping problem. Shutting the plant down because of a failed cooling tower meets the anti-nuclear politician’s publically stated goals of pushing nuclear out and bringing wind and solar in.
In the end, the correct solutions to the cooling tower failure and piping issues were implemented by experienced design engineers but not without a lot of waste of the public’s time and money discussing Gundersen’s “solution”
There is another line people who perform in the public interest are routinely chastised for crossing that in my opinion Mr. Gundersen has crossed. That line is when the person uses the knowledge or information gained during their time on oversight committees for their own personal gains or interests. My issue here is that it appears Fairewinds/Gundersen reports to the Vermont legislature are then recycled for either a PR/Sales talking points or more fodder for the reports he is commissioned to do by various anti-nuclear groups. An appointment to a public commission has a certain trust factor that the person is there for the public interest not as a precursor to generating more “energy education” business.
As a counter-example, David Lochbaum was appointed to the same Oversight Panel. Has anyone seen Mr. Lochbaum publish a constant stream of reports through UCS based on his time on the Panel? I haven’t. That is one of the reasons I have more respect for David Lochbaum then for Arnie Gundersen.
I will be the first to admit these issues not well defined and there is a large gray area around all three legal definitions. Also, I am not opposed to those gray areas either as they are useful to all parties. And, I will also be the first to admit these questions concern legal matters outside my current knowledge level.
That being said, after reviewing some of the Vermont public information from their website again while preparing this post, I am just left with a nagging itch that Gundersen has crossed lines that others would not have been able to cross. His position is aligned with the anti-nuclear political leadership of Vermont where Vermont Yankee is concerned and I believe because of those political alignments, legal latitude was given to him to publish his opinions.
Would the same latitude have been given to someone supporting the continued operations of Vermont Yankee? I don’t believe so. There is a lot of gray area for someone like Gundersen to operate within. He would have become familiar with that gray area through his experience as a Senior VP of NES. Many of us on the other hand chose to go the other path.
Bill…a great note.
When the Public Oversight Panel was active, I tried to find out how much the various people on it were being paid or at least, what their “contract cost limitation” might be. That is, I was curious about their total reimbursement. The costs of the panel were passed on to Entergy.
I could not find out completely about the payments, though at one point I had contacted the Department of Public Service, the Joint Fiscal Office, and the State Auditor. You would think that because the payments went through the state of Vermont (even though funded by Entergy), costs would be public knowledge. Ah well.
At any rate, I found out the Gundersen was (usually) being paid $300 an hour, but sometimes $185 an hour. There were two separate contracts that I could find. I was told that Lochbaum refused payment for his work on the panel. Lochbaum said he was already being paid by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Also, Lochbaum left the panel after a short time for another assignment.
Apparently Arnie was trying to act as an expert witness in tbe post-TMI liabilty trial that wrapped up in 1998: http://www.threemileisland.org/resource_center/AG%20TMI%20Expert%20Report.pdf
Judge Rambo found his and the otber plaintiff arguements quite unpersuasive, despite bending over backwards to give them every benefit of the doubt. End result – summary judgement dismissal in favor of the defendent, GPU.
Scarewinds was a consulting business for five years before Maggie G. hit upon the 501c(3) scam.
From their website: “Maggie Gundersen founded Fairewinds Energy Education, a 501c3 non-profit organization, in 2008. Its mission has remained to educate the public about nuclear power production, engineering, reliability, and safety issues. Maggie also founded Fairewinds Associates, Inc, a paralegal and expert witness services firm in 2003”
And the only people/organizations who cannot be sued for libel, defamation, or slander are members of Congress as part of their official duties.
I got a FAA private pilot license in a Cessna 170 in 1975 with 40 hours as PIC.
I don’t understand why CNN doesn’t call me when there is a plane crash, and no one wants to go for a ride with me in a 787?
I promised to send you my email address so you could resend evidence that nuclear power is safe, clean and cheap. But you don’t follow me, so I cannot send it to you.
If you want to send me a direct tweet with your email, I will respond with mine.
Why not have a discussion here, in the open, so everyone can contribute and benefit? Get Gundersen over here to back you up.
I have proposed just such a discussion. But the majority of comments back to me do not contain any evidence. They’re just nastygrams.
Re: Gunderson, he’s incredibly busy and his wife has not fully recovered from a terrible accident a year ago. So they’ve got their hands full.
Again, I can’t direct tweet you b/c you (perhaps wisely!) don’t follow me. If you direct tweet me with your email address, I’ll send you my email so you can resend the evidence I haven’t yet responded to.
I follow you now Dr. – it may turn out to be one of those “be careful what you wish for” things. #dontgetintoagunfightcarryingapeashooter
I have been trying to figure this one out. Miller’s email address is at the top of his website, and there’s a contact form on his website, also. Why does he feel a need to promise to “respond” with his email address? I just don’t get it.
If Miller is planning to send a link to Helen Caldicott’s assertions, which she will NOT back up if challenged, I can’t see why anyone would be interested in that. After a debate where she wouldn’t quote her sources, HC told George Monbiot to “call people” and “read her book” but she could not come up with peer-reviewed papers.
Hmmm.. I see just now that Atomikrabbit wants to have the discussion out in the open, not with an exchange of emails. That is a good idea.
Meredith – Caldicott’s papers were peer-reviewed – Alec Baldwin, Christie Brinkley, and Bonnie Raitt just ADORED them!
I believe Dr. Caldicott needs to provide evidence for any claim she makes. You, I or anyone needs to do that. Journalists cannot be held responsible for proving what an interviewee claims. So I think her understanding of the “rules” of evidence in journalistic interviews needs to change.
On the other hand, she has written a wide-ranging,fact-filled book, “Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer.” She has also written several other evidence-filled books. So it’s not true she hasn’t presented any evidence, she just didn’t present it issue by issue to Monbiot.
@John Miller, Ph.D.
Monbiot is a voracious reader. He read Caldicott’s book and challenged her to provide references for statements in the book that had no supporting evidence. She kept telling him to read her book, which he had already done.
Here is the link to the debate between Caldictt and Monbiot on Democracy Now!
I’m not a psychologist, though I have taken a few undergraduate courses in the topic. From my amateur analysis and “fitness for duty” training point of view, Dr. Caldicott exhibits some interesting personality quirks during the conversation.
Sure sounds like a professional ethics issue. I thought I might quote a specific paragraph of the ASME ethics code the he is flagrantly violating, but when I tried to find just the right paraghaph from the ethics code to quote, I realized that he may be violating a whole bunch of them.
See for yourselves.
So what recourse does one have in a situation like this?
Personally, I find my coworkers to be extremely ethical, and my peers at other companies ethical too. As ethical engineers, we would not normally bad mouth someone like mr. G for his lapses, but that actually is to his advantage, since he is not similarly constrained it seems (asymmetrical warfare).
Professional licensing organizations (engineering, etc.) have ethics standards. I don’t think Mr. Gundersen holds a PE license.
He is in the same category with the snake oil purveyor, and he would love to be made to look like some kind of martyr. We need to do a better job of communicating with the low information citizen who is scared out of his mind by any mention of radiation.
Anyhow thanks to Rod for shining some light under this rock.
Nah … someone has to shine a light on those cockroaches.
The character flaws Rod attributes to me are non-existent, and his claims otherwise are slander. He shows a character flaw to make claims against me which are untrue.
So what have we learned here? Only that a rabidly pro-nuclear person is willing to slander people who disagree with him. So far from having proved that anti-nukes have character flaws, he’s only proved that he, a pro-nuke, is more than willing to tell untruths.
Last, I am not an anti-nuke reporter. I’m just an honest reporter. If you have evidence nukes are great, tweet me at @nuclearreporter. If I make a statement that you can provide evidence is not true, send it on.
No, no, no, please don’t go. Your own words that you write here demonstrate your ignorance of even basic material and your complete inability and unwillingness to understand fundamental concepts far better than any description that I could provide.
Furthermore, Mr. “Harvard grad” … sorry … Doctor “Harvard grad,” your charming personality that so clearly shines through reveals to everyone exactly what type of person you are. There is no way that I or Rod or anyone else here could capture your essence better that what you exhibit here.
So please don’t go. We want to hear more. Please “educate” us about nuclear power in a way that only a guy from Harvard with a degree in psycho sociology can do.
Your comments are nothing but libel. I was a nuclear engineering officer on two different Navy reactors. I served on USS SEAWOLF (SSN575), which at the time was the oldest, most accident prone sub still able to meet its operational commitments. I learned a tremendous amount that Adams probably doesn’t know because he worked on newer subs.
A Ph.D. in social psychology is very helpful in trying to understand why commercial nuclear power plants often have such poor safety cultures compared to what we had in the Navy.
I know what I’m talking about about nuclear power. I presume you don’t have any of the experience I have. So what qualifies you to disagree with me?
The bottom line is that you don’t have any evidence against me or my positions, but you’re more than willing to libel me anyway. That says much more about your defects than it does about mine.
Dear John – Then sue me. You have my name. If you insist on being so thin-skinned — which is ironic for someone who is so critical of others — then put your money where your mouth is and do it. Don’t just whine about it.
As Rod has pointed out, your “experience” consists of being a glorified technician (or probably more accurately, a technician supervisor, and apparently not a very good one) for three years, and then shoveling horse manure, what you call “reporting,” for several decades after that.
You have no scientific degree and you have no experience in engineering design or analysis. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that you simply do not know what you are talking about, and you have conveniently demonstrated this, beyond a shadow of a doubt, in your comments here.
None of this is libel, because it is all true.
So what qualifies me? Not much.
Well, I have a PhD too. Unlike you, it is in the real (i.e., physical) sciences. Unlike you, I’m not such an insecure blowhard that I feel that I need to attach my degree to my name on anything other than business cards and resumes. — certainly not on anything as trivial as a comment on a blog. Furthermore, I definitely would not be so egotistical as to attach it twice, Dr. John Miller, Ph.D.!
I have a decade of experience (over three times yours) in “engineering,” except that my time has been spent doing real engineering work on a wide variety of commercial and government nuclear-related projects in North America and Europe.
Wow, three whole years on the USS Seawolf. That is of course assuming that the above information is correct:
“He served from 1970-1972 as a junior officer on the USS Seawolf, the second nuclear powered submarine in the US Navy…”
An interesting item to note is that the USS Seawolf (SSN 575) entered Mare Island Naval Shipyard drydock in January of 1971 for an overhaul that lasted until June of 1973.
My experience in the USN as a Machinist Mate First Class (Submarine Qualified) for nearly 9 years, including 4 SSBN patrols and a tour on a fast attack boat tells me that the reactor of the USS Seawolf was likely shutdown in January of 1971 and not restarted until sometime just before June of 1973, especially as the re-fit appears to be primarily for intelligence gathering sonar equipment .
I was not there of course, but likely shutdown and other shipyard activities limited the extent of the nuclear power experience for those personnel assigned to the Seawolf. Of course, I may be wrong as my time didn’t start until 1973, maybe they did things differently in the “early days”.
I was a nuclear engineering officer on a Navy submarine, part of the safest organization in the world that operates nuclear power plants. You weren’t, so you probably know a fraction of what I know. If so, you have no standing to lecture me about fundamental concepts. And you use the old trick of making your attack against me without supplying any evidence to support it.
For your information, my friends think I have a sparkling personality. However, my cats think my only endearing features are that I feed them, pet them, and change their litter boxes. As you see, cats are harder to impress than humans.
Having a Ph.D. in social psychology is exactly the right degree to talk about problems of safety culture in some plants. The most important safety issues about nuclear have to do with human failings in designing and operating them.
You would get a better reception here if you concentrated on matters related to reactors and the technology. Life is too short for all of this bickering.
Dr. John, PhD – You’re right, I have no experience standing watch. So if I have questions about that, you’ll be the first person I call.
As for the rest of your experience, well, you were simply trained to run a machine. That’s all. In that respect, you were nothing more than a trained monkey. A well-trained monkey can be impressive — don’t get me wrong, and the Navy’s training program is quite impressive — but at the end of the day, it’s still nothing more than a trained monkey.
You have no educational background in science and engineering. Certainly, your “Hahvard” degree doesn’t indicate any competence in science. As far as I know, you haven’t taken even the most basic undergraduate-level courses in the physical sciences that are the very minimum that would be required to have an intelligent conversation with you on the technical aspects of what you claim to be an expert in.
If I don’t lecture you about fundamental concepts, it’s because I don’t think that you are equipped to understand them. Your credentials are entirely unimpressive. Thus, I have to rely on what you actually say to evaluate your competence, and that is unimpressive too.
For example, when it comes to the consequences of the Chernobyl accident, you cite a figure of 16,000, for which you don’t provide a source (by the way, I know where that number comes from, and it’s not from the IAEA), and you mention a higher figure, for which you also don’t provide a source. Then you take the average of these two arbitrary numbers as your best estimate of what is ultimately going to be the consequences. What the hell?!
That’s how you do science?! That’s so totally stupid and wrong that it goes almost beyond words to explain. It’s no wonder that you ended up in the pseudo-scientific hellhole of psychology, where apparently all it takes is an unrestrained ego and a “Dr.” on both sides of your name to be considered an “expert” in the field. You have no idea how the scientific method works.
@Dr. John Miller
I take offense at the negative slant of “rabidly”.
I am a proud, adamantly pro-nuclear person who firmly believes that producing useful energy is one of the most important tasks a person can perform. The very best source of power available today is nuclear fission. It has some incredible attributes – a single pellet the size of the tip of my pinkie contains as much energy as a ton of coal when used in our rather inefficient, primitive once through fuel cycle.
When recycled so that all potential energy is released, not only would that pellet contain as much energy as 20 tons of coal, but the “depleted” material that results from producing that pellet (about 8 times as much material as is actually in the pellet) would also be an accessible source of energy, releasing as much as 160 tons of coal for a total of about 180 tons of coal from a tiny amount of input material.
I maintain that you are a selective reporter who chose the dark side after an unsuccessful, perhaps frightening experience serving as a junior officer on a boat with a uniquely challenging history. I also served on old boats; both of my subs were in excess of 20 years old when I first arrived on them. However, they were clean, safe, reliable workhorses that gave me a good introduction to a field of study that continues to fascinate me.
Dear Mr. Adams,
You are so onesidedly pro-nuclear so constantly, the word “rabidly” accurately describes your style.
Your claim that I chose the “dark side” shows you mind is mired in science fiction, not reality. I entered nuclear power with an open mind; since then the overwhelming majority of incidents and problems I have observed and read about show that nuclear is unsafe, not “clean” and not at all “cheap.” I remain open to any evidence anyone wants to send, because I am not an anti-nuclear reporter, I’m a reporter who writes the facts and the facts only.
Your readers should know that you have sent me a succession of messages where you deny that a station blackout (no diesels, no offsite power), does not directly lead to core meltdown if power is not restored. This position shows you to be on the opposite side of the reality that the NRC has stated and that every other nuclear engineer accepts. I have given you simple, clear explanations each time, but you won’t accept them.
Most recently you have claimed that a reactor plant with natural circulation cannot melt down. This view is ridiculous. “Natural circulation” means that, below a certain power level, the reactor doesn’t need pumps to push the water around the primary system. Natural convection moves it through. So far as I know, there are no reactors that use natural circulation in the secondary, non-radioactive water circuit.
But natural circulation is irrelevant to whether the plant can avoid meltdown. The only relevant issue is the need for an ultimate heat sink to avoid meltdown. When the electricity all goes off, you can’t pump in cooling water from the ocean, river or Great Lake to cool the reactor. You can’t pump water around the secondary system to cool it off using the outside water source.
So what happens is that a natural circulation system no longer connected to cooling water will heat up more and more. Finally, it will boil, the reactor fuel will heat up to its melting point, and the core will start to melt. Given that the decay heat developing after a reactor is shutdown can be as much as a few percent of the plant’s full power, the core melts down.
Every nuclear engineer I have ever met knows these things. They aren’t esoteric points, they are basic. What does it say about you, Mr. Adams, that you don’t know these elementary facts?
You went on in your message to tell me that PWRs cannot melt down because they have emergency core cooling systems. This view is also ridiculous. ECCS is a reservoir of room-temperature water kept in a large tank above the reactor. If the plant develops a big leak that depressurizes it, then the ECCS water will automatically feed into the reactor, because the gravity pressure it exerts from being above the reactor will exceed the pressure in the leaking plant. ECCS helps a plant, but it is not at all sufficient to prevent core meltdown.
But all this is irrelevant. Again, the only relevant issue is whether an ultimate heat sink exists to take all the decay heat that builds up after the reactor is shut down.
The ECCS reservoir is not an ultimate heat sink. There’s just too little water there to permanently cool down a plant that is continuing to create more decay heat every second.
Moreover, the ECCS system will not be available in a station black out, because the plant isn’t leaking, so it doesn’t depressurize. With normal pressure (~2000 psig) inside the reactor, the water in the ECCS cannot flow into the reactor.
Again, every competent nuclear engineer knows these things. Engineering students know this too. But you don’t, Mr. Adams. What does that say about your competence in nuclear engineering?
Last, you refuse to apologize to me for libeling me. You won’t take responsibility for criticizing me unfairly. That you won’t says much more about your integrity than it does about mine.
Wow… I am so so so sorry I missed this one and am soooo late to the party. DR. PHD IM GONNA SUE EVERYONE FOR LIBEL IS A TOOL!
So natural circulation has nothing to do with avoiding fuel melt in an SBO huh? I guess you have never heard of MU/HPI cooling or “feed and bleed” that is where the difference of a large volume dry containment or ice plant PWR and a pressure suppression BWR come into play where one uses the volume and the other uses a suppression pool as UHS.
Why do I have the feeling the good “Dr.” Knows not the difference between an “ice condenser” and an “iso condenser”
Fukushima happened like it did because of failure to vent they waited too long for political reasons. If they had vented pressure and heat from the suppression pool it would have fulfilled its role as UHS.
Now Dr. Phd. If your still here please provide an explanation of a how a plant with an “ice condenser” and “iSO condenser” works and what the differences are just to,prove your expertness. Thank you.
“The ECCS reservoir is not an ultimate heat sink. There’s just too little water there to permanently cool down a plant that is continuing to create more decay heat every second”
Yet every second, Dr., the decay heat is a little bit less. Furthermore, there is more than one way to add water to the ECCS as needed.
P.S., the term ‘ultimate heat-sink’ is reserved for service water, not core cooling systems.
Do you actually know the discharge pressure of the high -ead injection pumps good doctor?
Your post is so full of flaws and misunderstandings it’s difficult to choose which sentence to go after from here! I’ll stop while you look up the answers on wikipedia.
The thing I am wondering about is, what impels you to go after an industry that has operated for over 40 years in the commercial electricity production business, generated trillions of MW-hrs of energy and not harmed a single member of the public? You insist on using the Dr.-Dr. title, so evidently you consider yourself pretty smart, with a sizable intellect (to go along with what appears to be a sizable ego), why don’t you use some of that to go after industries and activities that cause demonstrably more harm and pose much higher quantifiable risk? You should go after the coal business, that has thousands of deaths marked up against it. Natural gas has caused hundreds of fatalities among the public, some in a most horrible manner, surely that is a reasonable target to go after. Errors by the medical profession cause thousands of fatalities among the public every year, probably the second-highest cause of accidental deaths every year. You want to go after something, go after those.
My social psychology Ph.D. taught me to recognize that once any of us becomes a true believer about anything, i.e. that nuclear power is perfectly good, we discount and ignore any contrary information we might receive. People can also be true believers in solar or wind or coal.
You have done this. You say nuclear has not harmed anyone. But even the IAEA now admits that 16,000 people will die from cancer from Chernobyl. Once you take out the highest estimate, calculated by an anti-nuclear radiation epidemiologist, the remaining middle-of-the-road calculations all predict 30,000 to 60,000 future cancer deaths. But here you, obviously a smart person, really believes no one has been hurt. That’s not true.
I believe there will be cancer deaths from Fukushima, but we must wait to find out. I do not believe the UNSCEAR and IAEA claims of no harm, because both of them are nuclear true believer organizations, so they dismiss or discount evidence to the contrary.
I use my doctorate investigating safety culture issues and other examples of human nature which I think auger against nuclear safety. So I mention having it, because it’s so relevant.
I’m no fan of coal. We must get rid of it. It does kill people. But the vast majority of evidence I have read over the past 40 years makes me believe that nuclea
r is neither safe, cheap or clean. But I am swayed only by evidence, so if you have any that disagrees with my conclusion, send it on whenever you find any. I promise to read it with an open mind.
As a journalist who covers science, medicine, technology and the environment, I have written about deaths caused by the medical community. It is a tragedy.
“nuclear is neither safe, cheap or clean. But I am swayed only by evidence, so if you have any that disagrees with my conclusion, send it on whenever you find any. I promise to read it with an open mind.”
I sent you quite a bit of evidence above. You have yet to counter it.
Again, a prolonged SBO does not automatically lead to core damage without a concurrent loss of a number of other critical components. The strategy to deal with it is a rapid plant cooldown. SOARCA assumes core damage and containment breach for analytical purposes, and still finds the offsite consequences negligible.
Ah, I see. You’re going after an entire industry because of one unfortunate event (Chornobil), which involved a system totally different in terms of its physics and engineering than the LWR technology we use in Western countries. Can you tell me you understand that the kind of transient that occured in the RBMK system cannot occur in LWRs, because of the lack of positive reactivity feedback? Do you know that the RBMK design is only unstable over a limited operating regime, which, unfortunately, the Chornobil reactor found itself in when they began their ill-advised test, something that would NEVER be done in a reactor licensed in this (and other) countries? Do you understand that the RBMK plants lacked a fundamental and essential safety feature (containment), that is required in all LWR designs? If you do, than you should use your self-proclaimed journalistic expertise to write articles about this and explain these things to your readers, rather than going after an entire industry whose safety record in this country and others is by almost any measure exemplary. Doing otherwise, as in this case, shows that you are engaging in a logical fallacy (inappropriate generalization). You might as well go after the entire aerospace industry because the Challenger blew up. But, then again, if you did that, you might not sell as many articles. Bad-mouthing and going after an industry like nuclear always sells better than any kind of positive reporting. I understand that. The acceptable meme in journalism is to trash nuclear. I know its hard to go against the grain and stray from the flock of sheep.
For someone who claims to be so smart (using the Dr.-Dr. thing, which, if you know anything about professional courtesy, is generally frowned upon), you really should use your time more wisely, and go after the real villains out there, those people and groups and industries that cause much more demonstrable harm to society at large, and leave the people who do no harm alone.
Adams’ site somehow won’t let me respond to your last message, so I must re-respond to this one.
You seem very upset that I have a doctorate and that I therefore call myself Dr. It is NOT professional courtesy not to call yourself by the name you earned getting a doctorate.
You show your bias to say that I write about nuclear because it sells. I write about it because I know about it and it’s important. I have a 40-year career mostly spent writing about all areas of science. I have written 1000+ stories in that time. So I do have some expertise. Please don’t claim any moral high ground. You don’t have any.
It is basically irrelevant that the Chernobyl plant was different from American reactors. The world’s embrace of nuclear power, created by Americans first, will kill these people.
You show your bias by not mentioning TMI or Fukushima. There is now evidence that the TMI doses were underestimated by a factor of 100 or more. So there will be cancer deaths from TMI.
Fukushima actually put out much more radioactive cesium than Chernobyl did. Since that’s one of the two radionuclides that account for most of the dose received after the first few weeks, in that one regard, Fukushima was worse than Chernobyl.
It is unclear whether low-enriched light water reactors can have a criticality excursion. It is possible that the Fukushima #4 spent fuel pool had a moderated prompt critical excursion. If you look at the video, the explosion over the pool rose much higher than the plumes over the other three plants. “Moderated” means that you have to wait 1/1000 of a second for the neutrons to slow down before the core can go prompt critical.
I separate Chornobil from commercial nuclear power because the RBMK design is characteristic of dual-purpose reactors mainly used in weapons programs. Those casualities are more correctly classified as a result of a weapons program accident. The world’s embrace of nuclear power in the form of LWR and similar technology in no way should be conflated with accidents in nuclear weapons programs. Doing so is an inappropriate generalization and a false equivalency.
There is no credible evidence of fatalities resulting from TMI. There is no credible evidence of uncontrolled criticality at any of the Fukushima reactors or SFPs. The height of the release plume from unit 4 is in no way dispositive evidence of criticality, especially lacking the other characteristic signatures of a criticality event. Saying it is so is nothing more than borderline FUD, and I have no respect for practitioners of FUD.
You say it is unclear that LEU-fueled LWRs can have a criticality excursion. Did you really mean to say that? If so, you show a lack of understanding of both reactor physics and the history of the technology. SL-1 was a prompt critical event. So were the deliberate BORAX and SPERT tests in Idaho. The point is, first, we have taken steps to both understand the physics of that event and provide reasonable assurance that those don’t happen in commercial-size plants, and, second, even if they do, systems are in place to mitigate the consequences of such an occurrence.
I don’t care about whether or not you have a doctorate. I pointed out that you don’t understand professional courtesy because you use it redundantly. Anyone with any understanding of how it works knows that you don’t use the title of “Dr.” and then put your degree initials after your name. It’s one or the other. Doing both makes you look silly and unprofessional.
It is obvious that one thing that would do you some good is a huge dose of humility. I did an undergraduate and graduate program in physics, and switched to engineering for a Ph.D. program. One thing that I learned from four years of college and five years of graduate training is a measure of humility. That is, while you might know a lot about a little, there is a heckuva lot of stuff you don’t know. In your case, instead of teaching you some measure of modesty, you seem to have simply inflated an already outrageously large ego.
Likewise, going on and on in post after post about how smart you are tends to eventually leave the impression that you may be overcompensating for a deep-seated sense of inadequacy, perhaps an inkling that maybe, just maybe, you might not know as much as you want others to think you know. It is an unscientific observation, I know, but the old saying about those who talk about getting it the most are probably getting it the least is often true. So take a little dose of humility before telling everyone else how great you are. It might leave a better impression.
Your point about professional courtesy is simply wrong. You think I’m bragging. That is unrelated to professional courtesy. Anything addressed to me says Dr. John Miller, Ph.D. I am a journalist trying to communicate with regular people readers and with editors in competition with other science reporters who generally don’t have doctorates. Advertising my degree persuades regular people to read what I write and editors to hire me.
The book is still out on TMI deaths. Gunderson says he has evidence the doses were much higher; I’m looking into that presently. But all the world’s countries radiation dose limits are based on the LNT hypothesis of no threshold dose to cause harm. So certainly TMI will cause cancer deaths; it’s just that you can’t distinguish them from the other cancer deaths. 25% of us will die from a cancer-related disease. So you’ll never see a “lump” in a graph that you can distinguish as Chernobyl cancers vs. all other cancers.
I explained, but you apparently didn’t grok, that the only thing that might have happened was a moderated prompt criticality in the Fuk #4 spent fuel pool. If that happened, it would have been because a hydrogen explosion compacted the fuel in the pool enough that after a delay of 1/1000 seconds, the critical mass formed by compaction could increase power without delayed neutrons.
I have no idea what FUD is.
You say systems are in place to mitigate the consequences of a prompt critical accident. Such an accident is a small nuclear bomb. Please tell me what systems can stop that.
You true believer pro-nukes would like people to believe that I have no humility and I am terrible to say Ph.D. and Dr. What you really don’t like is the evidence I point out to you that none of you can counter.
Yet all of the credible evidence by careful studies performed by epidemiologists at Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh have failed to find these deaths. Any reasonable person would conclude that there’s nothing to find.
Ah … so Gunderson, who has a masters in nuclear engineering, and you, with your PhD in psychology, are suddenly experts in epidemiology?! Amazing! Your talents know no bounds!
I’ve never seen a leprechaun or the Easter Bunny either, but by your reasoning, they both must exist as well.
For someone who talks so much about the “evidence” that you “point out,” you seem to spend an absurdly large amount of your efforts dodging all of the available, credible evidence.
Concerning the April 14, 2013 at 12:31 AM post:
I have not seen mention of photographic film that was purchased from shops in the area following the TMI accident. I remember hearing in 1979 that there was no evidence of a radiation release that the film would have indicated. I think this has been reported in a 1981 book by Ralph E Shuping, “Use of Photographic Film to Estimate Exposure Near the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Station.”
The state of the Unit 4 spent fuel pool has been reported at nuclearstreet.com which has a weekly Fukushima update. About a year ago worries about this pool generated a lot of excitement, but there has not been any apparent damage to the fuel assemblies.
I haven’t said I’m smarter than anybody. What I have insisted on is that people give evidence for their opinions. That’s the way science progresses. All the names pro-nuclear people call me are meaningless. Only evidence counts.
I haven’t said I’m smarter than anybody. What I have insisted on is that people give evidence for their opinions. That’s the way science progresses. All the names pro-nuclear people call me are meaningless. Only evidence counts.
Making the statement: “I don’t know what FUD is” marks you as someone very out of touch and the fact that you did not bother to look it up, as indifferent to what others are saying. This does more damage to the credibility of your arguments than you know,.
Furthermore, you seem to be struggling under the conceit that we need to convince you that we are right please keep in mind that you are trying to convince US of the validity of your arguments – we don’t care what you think. Therefore the onus is on you to provide proof for what you assert if you want to make an argument.
@Dr. John Miller, Ph.D.
You have not yet made any comments about the Science paper that I sent to you regarding the work of more than a dozen highly qualified nuclear specialists in determining the consequences of an accident at a light water reactor – even in the case where the accident melts the reactor and the containment is breached. Along with the recently released State of the Art Reactor Consequence Analysis (SOARCA) by the NRC, that paper concisely provides all the evidence one needs to recognize that you have been wrong about the risk of nuclear energy for at least 40 years.
I appreciate all of the comments that you have provided here – they make excellent supporting documentation for my conclusion that no one should assume that you know anything about nuclear electricity generation other than what you have been fed by antinuclear activists like Caldicott and Gundersen.
In over 30 years in this business, including academia, industry, and government laboratories, I have worked with hundreds of other people who have Ph.D.s, and not one of them, ever, used their credentials in the way you do. None of them ever said Dr. So-And-So, Ph.D. It was always one or the other. The way you do it is equivalent to saying Mister-Mister, which is fine for a pop band, but for someone claiming to be a professional it makes you look petty and silly. So you’d be wiser to quit misusing it like that. You might think it makes you look more impressive to ignorant people, but to people who know it just looks dumb. But you said doing it makes you look smarter to people who don’t know and helps you sell your articles, so I understand why you do it. It’s still wrong, but at least you admitted it was to embellish your image and make you a little more money. Got it.
Your discussion of the SPF 4 “accident sequence” is nothing more than speculative FUD. If you knew anything about the physics of a prompt criticality event, you would know that it has nothing to do with “compaction”, or “delays”, or “moderated prompt criticality”. Prompt critical simply means that you have an assembly of fissile material with an excess reactivity that exceeds a certain value. The solutions to the reactor kinetics equations then take a particular form which describes the prompt critical state. As with SL-1 and SPERT, there are detecatble events that occur that indicate this condition, none of which have been detected or even inferred with SPF 4, or any other of the Fukushima systems. Likewise, your comparison of a prompt criticality accident to a “small nuclear bomb” is simply sensational, outrageous hype. Talking about a nuclear detonation in systems using slightly enriched uranium is utter nonsense. If this is the kind of stuff you write in the “stories” you sell, then you are showing yourself to be more of a sci-fi FUD author than a technical journalist.
So you’re relaying on Gundersen (at least in part) for your TMI claims. That explains a lot. If “the book is still out” on anything it is the LNT hypothesis. People still use it as a guidleine for developing radiation protection programs but only those who don’t understand the science misuse it as a bully club to beat nuclear power with the “no safe level” bromide. Misused in that manner, it’s just FUD, pure and simple.
You said in an earlier post that you made your bones trashing the Midland plant, which eventually ended up as a gas-fired facility. Will you write a story about how much atmospheric degradation has occurred as a result of trashing the nuclear plant in favor of a gas burner? There is a lot of credible scientific data out there about the effects of methane as a greenhouse gas. How about a story on how many millions of tons more of CO2 was dumped unregulated and uncontrolled into the biosphere as a result of the gas conversion? There is good data on that as well. Since evidently you deal in speculation, how about a story on how many additional deaths among the public that have occurred as a result of the pollution released from the gas-fired facility, deaths that could have been avoided if the nuclear plant had not been trashed? There is data out there on that as well. Just look around for it. It is a fact that fossil fuel burning causes these effects.
I don’t think we’ll see many articles like those, and you as well as everyone else here reading this knows why. Because you wouldn’t be able to sell them. And the reason why you wouldn’t be able to sell them is because they don’t fit the acceptable meme in the popular media, which is that nuclear is bad and unreliables (“renewables”) are good. And it’s difficult to stray off the plantation. It’s risky for a sheep to leave the herd. One would risk personal and “professional” ostracization and ridicule for daring to challenge the party line. Taking a different path from the herd would take courage, perserverance, and a willingness to do the heavy lifting over the long haul, and those are things often lacking in the “journalism” profession today.
This will probably be my last post on this. I don’t want to waste time swatting down FUDders. You can have the last word if that is important to you (given your obviously huge ego, it probably is).
Actually, I was thinking of the Thompson Twins (“Doctor Doctor”), but yeah it’s pretty silly.
Perhaps sticking one’s degree at both the front and end of one’s name is a somewhat common practice in the field of psychology, I don’t know. But you’d think that psychologists would know something about “compensation.” 😉
I haven’t responded yet because I’m busy. I’ll get to it.
Your newest slander about me, that I know nothing about nuke electricity generation except what anti-nuclear people have told me, is ridiculous. Your comments are consistently unreasonable and unrealistic. Your constant errors prove what I’ve been saying–Nuclear True Believers cannot accept contrary evidence. You’ll make up any falsehood to avoid dealing with the evidence.
Oh, please, stop with the slander threats already. Cripes, man up a little, will you? This is the internet, and if you come on to a blog site like this one and post the things you have, you have to expect some pushback. Be grown up enough to take it as well as you dish it out. If you can’t, you are showing yourself to be nothing more than a bully who goes running home to mommy (lawsuit threats) as soon as you get a bloody nose.
Your so-called reporting appears to have two sources, Arnie Gundersen and Helen Caldicott. That makes is pretty non-credible as well as overtly biased.
I read the threads here regularly and generally don’t post much, but this has gotten ridiculous. From the Doctor-Doctor-Lawyer-Superbrain-Supersmart crap to the constant threats of lawsuits against any who might offend you. This is just one small blog in an entire universe of internet information. Nothing much of what anyone says here will make much difference, so please, get over yourself already.
“Actually, I was thinking of the Thompson Twins (“Doctor Doctor”), but yeah it’s pretty silly.”
And then there is the immortal Robert Palmer from 1979 (“Doctor doctor give me the news…”). I’m showing my age, I know.
Thanks for the background on Arnie Gundersen. I tried a little googling around a couple of years back but I didn’t come up with much. Kudos to your investigative skill & persistence.
One thing I have noticed is that the people who really know alot will generally downplay their expertise, highlighting their own limitations, while the frauds will generally tell you how great they are and how wide & deep their background is. This is not always the case, but I seem to see it often.
For sure. I find true experts are typically pretty humble.
If you have any evidence that I am a fraud, send it on. Otherwise, stop making this statement in a reply to a blog that unfairly criticizes me.
You have already amply supplied us with such, thx.
Still waiting for “evidence” that a SBO inevitably leads to core meltdown, or even that Fukushima Unit 4 SFP was “compacted”.
Atomikrabbit, BS, MBA, RO, SRO, OBE (I made the last one up, to increase my marketability)
I don’t have evidence, b/c Tepco is not telling anywhere near the whole truth.
It is informed speculation. If you can simultaneously view the four plumes that at different times rose from the 4 rxs, the one over Unit 4’s SFP is much more energetic. Also, you can see by different colors that that plume started in the SFP. You can see it in the webcast online of the Fukushima conference held by the Helen Caldicott Foundation in NYC on March 11 and 12, 2013.
Interesting. You’ve provided evidence that you occasionally listen to constructive criticism by dropping the Dr. in front of John while retaining the Ph.D. that you have earned the right to display.
I’m surprised to see you speculating, since “Evidence” is practically your middle name (just kidding, Dudley).
“A video recording of the Unit 4 SFP was taken on May 8, 2011, and released on May 9 by TEPCO . This video recording did not show evidence of extensive damage. In fact, the fuel racks appeared to be intact with little debris visible in the SFP.” http://fukushima.ans.org/inc/Fukushima_Appendix_G.pdf
It’s only 10 pages, so I think you have time to read it.
The other point of the twitter stream over the past few days that raises my blood pressure regarding Gundersen’s credentials is the assertion from the anti-nuke crowd that his credentials are somehow unique. That those crendentials make Gundersen uniquely qualified over all other equally highly trained and competent people who are directly involved in the nuclear power generation industry. This is a common occurence within the anti-nuclear arena.
Gundersen’s NRC license for is not unique as there are currently 40 qualifed undergrads at Reed College in Portland who have acheived the same distinction as have many others that earned the same sort of license through Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Washington State University (TRIGA research reactor 1-1.3 MW) and the University of Texas (also a TRIGA reactor 1-1.5 MW) just to name a few colleges that still run research reactors.
I am not downplaying the accomplishment of earning the license especially as an undergrad, however the license he holds is not unique in of itself. The only thing that is unique about Gundersen’s current career path is his choice to join the anti-nuclear side after being trained in nuclear engineering and working in the nuclear field. As I have said publically on my own twitter stream, I am not questiong his intelligence, I am questioning his motivation and his long term goals.
I personally believe that he is working to shut down the nuclear power generation industry for decommissioning work since one prominent point of his resume is his work on the DOE decommissioning handbook. I realize it was written in 1982 but Gundersen has a theme of his publications that point towards a goal of being involved with reactor decommissioning work . There are hundereds of millions of dollars sitting in every decommissioning fund so he would only need one (Vermont Yankee anyone?) to clean up and retire a very wealthy individual if he were involved as a consultant to the decommissioning process.
Everyone who disagrees with you is immoral. He’s in it for the money. That’s the only reason there could be. It’s simply impossible that he has seen evidence that convinces him nuclear is a bad option.
But just tell me, aren’t pro-nuke engineers who work full-time in the nuclear industry much more in it for the money? Full-time jobs paid for by high electricity rates pay really well.
It’s unrealistic to say that pro-nukes are altruistic guys trying to help the world if you don’t realize that anti-nuclear people are also altruistic folks who truly believe nuclear is a bad option.
@Dr. John Miller, Ph.D.
For a man with a doctorate in psychology, you appear to have a limited understanding of human behavior and motivation. I will freely admit that I am reasonably well paid and live a comfortable life enabled by a good job with a nuclear power plant design firm. Part of my comfort level is subsidized by the pension I earned by 23 years of active duty (33 years total in the Naval service when you include 4 years at USNA and 6 years in the Naval Reserve.)
However, I am a reasonably intelligent person with a variety of experiences and a pretty fair education in fields like computer systems, enterprise software, communications and networks. I am pretty sure I could find other employment, perhaps at even higher salary, especially if I tried to leverage my inside-the-Beltway experience with a defense contractor.
Like many of my colleagues, I choose to work in nuclear energy because it is professionally satisfying work that gives me the opportunity to put skills to use to create a product that will serve important human needs. On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I am quite close to “self-actualization” because all of my basic needs are met and I have a chance to do something meaningful for myself, my community and my descendants. I think it is good that nuclear energy providers can afford to pay people well; that means that the product we provide is considered to have value by the people who purchase it.
(I hope you understand that more than half of the electricity sold in the US is no longer sold by monopoly utilities that can demand rate increases and that many of the utilities that remain have lower than average rates, especially if they are nuclear power plant owners.)
I’m not altruistic; I would not work a full time job for free. I do, however, share my nuclear knowledge for free. It has been a very long time since I even attempted to run ads on Atomic Insights. This site does not have a donate button. I occasionally ask readers to contribute to other good causes like the Nuclear Literacy Project or Movember. I am not on the Internet as a pro-nuclear advocate (adamantly pro-nuclear, but feel free to keep calling me rabid, if you like) for the money. This is my hobby. It is, in a small way, my means of repaying the taxpayers of the wonderful education and professional experience they gave me by allowing me to serve in the US Navy, specifically in the nuclear submarine program.
Call me a “True Believer” if you wish. I truly believe that atomic fission was the most important discovery of the 20th century. I also believe that developing better ways to use that discovery is the most important activity for all of mankind for the 21st century. We have to do it before the combustion fuels that power our current civilization run so short that only the rich can use them and before their waste products alter the climate that sustains us all.
Facts never deter you, do they? I have a Ph.D. in social psychology, and you only have an engineering degree. But you claim to know that I have “a limited understanding of human behavior and motivation.” Ha, ha, ha, ha. Your view is unreasonable and untrue.
Your being a true believer cuts you off from examining contrary information. You ignore it, you discount it, you deny it, etc.
In contrast, I wasn’t pro- or anti-nuclear when I got into the Nuclear Navy. My experience convinced me the plants don’t operate the way the nuclear community thinks. I am not an anti-nuclear true believer. I read all evidence people send me. If I’m incorrect, then there must be more than enough evidence out there to convince me.
@Dr. John Miller, Ph.D.
I do not have an engineering degree. I never claimed that I did. I have a Bachelor of Science in English from the US Naval Academy, a Master of Science in Systems Technology (Command, Control and Communications) from the US Naval Postgraduate School, and a diploma from the Naval War College in national security, maritime operations, strategy and policy.
Your undergraduate degree was in Social Psychology. Your Nuclear Navy experience consists of a six month school house, six months in training at an operational prototype, nine-ten months on an operating ship (with at least 2-3 months in a trainee status) and 20 months in a shipyard environment during which your ship was getting modified for special operations.
You served as a Supply Officer and never as an engineering division officer. However, you have, on at least one occasion, allowed a publication to create an author blurb for you claiming that you were a “nuclear engineer.”
Your excuse to me was that there was not enough space available to more correctly claim to have been an engineering watch officer. Since you were never assigned to the Engineering Department of a nuclear submarine, it is even disingenuous to claim to have been a “nuclear engineering officer” as stated on your twitter profile. At least your CV is more technically accurate in describing your experience as standing watch.
I think most disinterested observers would agree that you have inflated your resume and overemphasized your nuclear experience. At least your claims are not quite as egregious as those of Jimmy Carter (who has claimed to be a nuclear engineer in the navy but resigned his commission more than a year before the first nuclear submarine went to sea), Robert Alvarez (who never graduated from any university yet claims to be a senior scholar), or Amory Lovins (who claims to be the Chief Scientist of his non-profit without ever having earned a degree from any university).
As I have said before and will say again – the antinuclear community is rife with people who play fast and lose with qualifications, experience, and educational information on their public resumes in order to falsely claim expertise.
Dishonesty includes failing to tell the whole truth. It is quite damaging when it comes in association with topics as important as our current and future energy strategy.
Agaqin, I have to reply to an earlier message of yours because your site won’t allow me to reply to your most recent message. Is that more of your pro-nuclear bias operating?
I thought all you ring knockers had to take electrical engineering and a number of other sciences courses. Not true? Are you saying you had no undergraduate training in engineering?
In the LA Times op-ed I wrote, I should have used “nuclear engineering officer” even if space was limited. So next time I write for them, I’ll correct that.
Your view that I was not an engineering officer is bunk. Anybody who went through nuclear power school and prototype is a nuclear engineering officer. Anybody who stood watches as an EOOW/EDO is a nuclear engineering officer.
You would like to think that the anti-nuclear community is filled with immoral people, but that’s not true. They simply disagree with you. On the other hand, you have said so many things about me that are not true, you should apologize. But of course, you won’t. That reflects on you, not me.
@Dr. John Miller, Ph.D.
Note: Commenting on this site only goes to two levels. That is by design so that comment indents do not spoil the reading experience for mobile users.
Of course I took engineering, science and advanced math classes while a student at the Naval Academy. I did, after all, earn a Bachelor of Science, not a Bachelor of Arts. I choose to be precise in my self description; the people who matter will understand the details.
One of your many traits that irritate is your lack of humility. Perhaps it is because of the company that you keep, but those of us who have a bit more experience remember how much we have learned on the job AFTER our first couple of years of training. For example, I thought I knew quite a bit about electricity until I served as the electrical officer and participated in job planning, troubleshooting, and planned maintenance. I thought I knew a lot about the S5W PWR – then I got assigned as the Engineer Officer and found out how much I still needed to learn to be effective and to credibly give checkouts, oral boards and comprehensive exams.
You are not a terribly careful reader. I have told you a couple of times that I served on old submarines, so I have some first-hand familiarity with their challenges. SSBN 634 was 20 years old on the day I started my JO tour; SSBN 632 was 25 years old and had completed more patrols than any other sub in the Navy at the time I reported as Engineer. I was Eng for patrols 75, 77, 79, 81, 83, and 85.
Then I continued my nuclear training by designing the Adams Engine. I still do not refer to myself as a nuclear engineer. The closest I come is to call myself an engineer/analyst because that is what my current employer calls me.
I have a great deal of respect for the Navy Nuclear Power training system, but I also know that it has produced at least 15,000 trained officers with a wide variety of skills. Some were light, others quite heavy. I served with some terrific people, but also had a few shipmates who were dangerously incompetent.
I know enough about the shipyard experience to know that an awfully large portion of the JOs who get stuck there end up hating the Navy. The job sucks. However, very few have allowed their dislike of shipyard sub duty to turn them against nuclear energy. I still wonder what it was about your experience that made you think that fission, with its incredible energy density and emission free power generating capability, was not worth improving.
Your lack of any engineering training other than watch standing may explain why you see intractable problems instead of simply problems that need to be addressed and mitigated through better design, improved training and better procedures & processes.
I did not turn against nuclear power as a result of my Navy experience. Shipyard life was tough and exacting. I learned a tremendous amount there.
Of course more experience teaches you more. But you continue to fail to grasp that my old ship was in a lot worse shape than your old ships. I had two very clear experiences that told me nuke plants do not have accidents the way we had been told. When I explained them to other JOs on my ship, they just shrugged.
Your claim that I lacked any engineering training besides watchstanding is untrue. I qualified as EOOW, I went to nuke power school and prototype. Plus, on the ship, everybody knows the engineering department’s problem. We all lived through them.
You can get irritated if you want. I served at a very accident-prone time on an old ship, and it gave me experience I don’t think you ever got, at least from how you describe it.
By the way, why don’t you post your own resume? Turn about is fair play.
@Dr. John D. Miller, Ph.D.
My résumé is posted. There is a link in the author blurb at the bottom of every Atomic Insights post.
Since you apparently missed it, here is the link again Rod Adams resume.
Sir, again this is late to the game but multiple times you said above that you went into the navy neither pro or anti nuclear and it was your experience of serving on the “most accident prone” sub that influenced your stance.
Now you say you did not turn against nuclear power because of your navy experience?
I don’t have a PHD but I can tell a LIAR when I see one! (Before you threaten to sue me you have made two mutually inclusive statements one has to be false so therefore one IS not the truth)
I realize this comment stream is aging but I have been wrapped in my normal work so I am just getting back to reading the comments with interest. I see that over the past few days you have been in the crosshairs of some very experienced nuclear professionals who are not shy about their criticism. Nor should they be considering that for over 30 years the anti-nuclear crowd has been spreading FUD far and wide including a recent egregious transgression in my book.
Your hero, Mr. Gundersen, claimed hot particles were being transported to the West Coast after Fukushima which started a mini-panic that forced many reputable scientists to work towards debunking to reduce the public fear. Thankfully there were a number of sufficiently educated news people in Seattle that they didn’t bite on his fear-mongering. When asked for hard data to back up his claims of hot particles that could cause harm, Gundersen discussed car filters that had been sent to him by mail from Tokyo.
And if that wasn’t enough Mr. Gundersen, began to hawk the idea that he was coming up with a way to cleanse one’s body of those hot particles that unnamed scientists were finding in Seattle. Why were hot particles only found in Seattle? Why not Portland or LA? Could it be that the researcher did not cast a wide enough net and ended up with data that could be massaged to fit the theory of fuel fleas which was a favorite FUD topic after Fukushima? Who knows at this stage.
We are all in “it” for the money. Money is what is needed to survive in today’s world. So this criticism about those of us who work in the nuclear industry as strictly being in it for the high pay is getting a little old. It also shows a level of immaturity that I would expect from a sophomore college student who is volunteering for Greenpeace during their summer break not a person who has decades of real world life experience.
Those of us who work for utility companies, engineering firms, etc and have survived the training/shakeout process perform the work due to the challenges the job itself provides as well as the paycheck to support our families. We provide a service that not many wish to perform since they chose a non-technical education or the lack of desire to be up at 2am during a major storm event away from their families.
Yes it is true that some started down a career path with, or associated with, utility companies due to money and benefits but where is the crime in that? Why is making a good living supporting families and communities a bad thing just because that money comes from working at a nuclear power plant whose purpose is to provide electricity 24/7/365? Oh wait .. never mind I answered my own question, you have sided with those that believe nuclear power is an immoral act against nature.
Gundersen, Caldicott, Lovins, Lochbaum, et al. make money being public voices of the anti-nuclear crusade. And as we have shown to you, some are doing quite well for themselves through the legal construct of the 501 charity organizations. So your constant assertion both implied and direct, that the leaders of the anti-nuclear crusade are strictly doing this out of altruistic means is fundamentally false. True altruism is about volunteering, not being a paid spokesperson. If there were no money, no donors with various agendas supporting their “charities”, paying for their books, speeches etc. then they would be crusading against something else or have continued down other career paths.
I don’t believe I have stated anywhere that anyone who disagrees with me is immoral. I have professional and personal disagreements with many people and I do not believe them to be immoral or of undesirable character. So your generalization adds little to no value to the discussion partly due to the fact that the term “immoral” is a general, vague word that can be defined differently be different groups.
However, it appears you believe those of us who work with and support nuclear power are immoral. That construct is one that has been built up in the anti- nuclear crusades but it is not correct and shows some immaturity as well. We are not baby killers, DNA destroyers, or whatever other 5-second sound bites the anti-nuclear crusaders can come up with. We are professionals who have chosen this field of nuclear power for our employment for a variety of reasons, but none of them are immoral.
So again, I question Gundersen’s motivation and his ethics due to his decision to use a 501c charity structure to promote his version of “energy education”.
And based on my discussion above concerning hot particles and body cleanses, I also question Gundersen’s professional ethics. And I use the term “professional ethics” not the term “immoral” as there are many organizations that have developed codes of professional ethics which their members strive to follow and maintain. Gundersen has set himself separate from those organizations thereby setting himself separate from their code of ethics. In so doing he has opened himself up to be challenged when he advocates such things as hot particles reaching the US which are of sufficient levels to require body cleanses.
Finally, to follow up DV82XL’s comment elsewhere in the thread. We are not here to act as unpaid research assistants. You have shown yourself to be a hostile individual in the legal context by threatening several commenters with lawsuits. You have also shown a tendency to demand references but then appear to automatically disbelieve them because they are from sources you deem as prejudiced in favor of nuclear power. Yet you started your twitter feed with a link to a Caldicott sponsored webcast which is strange for one who claims to be a journalist. Now if you had claimed to be a practitioner of anti-nuclear advocacy journalism then at least your motives would be crystal clear. Bottom line is that you have more to prove to us then we do to you.
Bill, would there be any record of Gundersen claiming he can cleanse those hot particles, and especially trying to sell something to clean them ?
You could be surprised, but you can get away with a lot a things when you sell fears that make use of people’s love of conspiracy theories, but there’s a *lot* fewer people who will buy into quake therapies. Or actually, a much larger percentage who will quickly identify that as disgraceful.
Just happened to catch the email notification of your question. Here is the link and the comment Gundersen stated:
There is also potentially some medical issues Maggie and I have been working with a couple of doctors to look at ways to mitigate to help your body cleanse particles if you know you have been exposed to them. But that is a little bit premature to go into much more detail on that.
I ran across this link a year or so ago when doing some background research.
So not really a smoking gun, he can still deflect responsibilities on his selected “doctors”, especially if he plausibility can deny having cashed in on it.
But something it would interesting to watch closely. Thank you for the report.
Agree that Gundersen is not actually offerring to sell specific products. His comments have the appearance of him floating the idea out there as a test marketing type effort.
In my opinion though, a person of his experience and knowledge should never have even stepped up to that line.
Don’t forget Chris Busby, the anti-nuclear charlatan and Green tech advisor who peddled post-Fukushima anti-radiation pills: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/21/christopher-busby-radiation-pills-fukushima
That’s exactly what I was thinking of.
For years, Busby had a lot of success touting insane radiation fears, making crazy claims about it’s dangers, without anybody successfully rebutting that in the eyes of general public, but then received a very violent backlash from peddling those pills.
The first actually is about as bad as the second, but you’ve got to admit the second is a lot more effective in making the scales fall from people’s eyes.
Thank you. Again. Great information. Hopefully this writing will make its way into the hands of people who get the opportunity to ask Mr. Gunderson questions. The questions asked by the media thus far are reasonably described as fawning, and, in light of the climate and energy challenges we face as a nation, pathetic.
Rod, I read Arnie’s resume and found out that he is a tennis coach where he teaches. Were you ever a swimming coach?
Now I have noticed that swimmers can often be stuck up and think they are better than other athletes, acting all arrogant strutting around in their Speedos. Are you sure that is not what you are going after him about?
Interesting question and interesting characterization of swimmers. As I remember high school – which is quite a while ago now – swimmers were the Rodney Dangerfield of sports. Most of my friends participated for a wide variety of reasons, but one of the lowest on the list was achievement of accolades. The only fans at most meets were other swimmers and parents. The only time swimming gets any public attention in the US is every 4 years during Olympics and even then it’s only big time when there is a superstar like Michael Phelps or Mark Spitz (my personal hero at age 12).
To answer your first question – yes, I was a volunteer swimming coach for a short time while my daughters were growing up. I spent more time coaching softball, which depended solely on volunteers, than helping at the pool where the team hired professionals. I have also been a part time sailing coach and sailing instructor at the US Naval Academy.
One of the reasons I am eternally grateful to the people of the United States for allowing me to serve in the Navy is that I had the opportunity to compete as a “big boat” sailor while at the Academy and then got paid to teach sailing full time for four summers during my career as a commissioned officer. (I also volunteered in my free time during the academic year while stationed at the Academy, that is how I earned the privilege of coaching/teaching full time during the summer.)
To answer your other question, no, I do not care what sport he coaches. Coaching and teaching are both excellent activities that give back to others.
I “go after” Gundersen because he does not have much integrity, he aims to encourage people to be afraid of one of the most high performing and high potential technologies invented in the 20th century, and because he makes his living by attacking the work of tens of thousands of people with both high integrity and an enormous collective work ethic. He is very bright and is a skilled presenter – which is one of the areas that he focused on developing as a school teacher – but he does not use his brains or his skills to make the world a better place.
Keep up the good work Rod Adams.
When I first heard Arnie Gunderson, I said to myself,
this guy is full of shit. I have the authority to say this
because I am a former employee of Argonne National
Laboratory. ANL only hires the cream of the crop of
Kenneth Hamalainen, AAS
With all due respect, just having been employed at ANL does not make your background superior to Gunderson’s. He has a B.S. and M.S. in nuclear engineering at RPI. He was a loyal nuke who brought up an ethical issue and was blackballed for it. He never thought he was risking his nuclear career when he pursued the truth.
M. Miller, Gunderson was sued for defamation, and settled out of court.
But when what you say is true, it cannot be defamatory, so there’s no reason to settle.
If he had won the trial proving the fact he claimed about NES and nuclear security were correct, that would have been a huge victory putting out in clear light the unethical aspects of nuclear business.
So how could there be any possible reason why a brave and disinterested whistleblower wouldn’t to chose that path, instead of settling ?
I don’t know anything about the suit or why he settled. If you have evidence, please send it to me.
@Dr. John Miller
Arnie Gundersen gets all of the due respect that he deserves here.
Has anyone actually been to John Miller’s site? I have, and now I want to go and have a shower. It would appear, quite transparently, to be saying “I can build any argument out of anything: just ask me”.
To say I find his perspectives on nuclear unconvincing is a bit like saying I find the universe to be a biggish sort of place.
Dear Mr. Heard,
Once again you show yourself to be a slanderous name-caller who provides absolutely no evidence for his outrageous claims. I’m a Navy nuclear submarine officer, so I know 1,000 times as much about this technology than you do. I’m a Harvard grad, so I am far from stupid. My Ph.D. in social psychology is exactly the background someone needs to write about safety culture problems in nuke plants.
In contrast, you appear to have no background in nuclear engineering. Your constant snarkIness and constant lack of evidence are BORING.
Last, I change my mind in response to evidence. If you have evidence I’ve made a mistake, please tweet me at @nuclearreporter.
I don’t know if anyone here ever reads the message board at Nukeworker.com but there is an SRO/Shift Supervisor (licensed at both Fermi BWR and Sequoyah PWR) by the name “broadzilla” who LOVES to explain to new AO’s and RO’s exactly what their navy experience has prepared them to do in commercial nuclear power (hint: it rhymes with hanitor)
This is not a knock on The navy but to consider ones self an expert in commercial reactors after only working on naval reactors is not accurate.
Rod: Very nice post! Thanks.
Nice job Rod. Keep up the good work. these guys need to be shut down.
This really makes me laugh- especially the part about “THE only tech.” Sort of defeats the self-integrity check in the previous sentences. I’ll be sure that it gets spread around for you!
We are in an honorable profession where integrity and technical competence are not only highly valued, they are demanded. We check each other’s work, but not out of lack of trust. We EXPECT each other to tell the truth and to take personal responsibility for correctness, completeness and adequacy. We are working with THE only technology that actually has the capability to cure cancer, solve world hunger, eliminate water borne disease, halt energy insecurity and arrest global climate change.
Your post, in its comments about me, is nothing more than slander. Your claim that I have “character flaws” is slander. You need to apologize for these comments, or I will consult a lawyer about whether or not to sue you.
My three years of working on nukes in the Navy included the S5G prototype, the newest in the fleet then, plus 2 1/2 years as an officer on the USS SEAWOLF (SSN 575). Seawolf was then the oldest sub still capable of meeting its operational commitments. We had breakdowns and accidents every few weeks. As I result, I got an education about how nukes don’t operate like they are supposed to that Rod probably never got.
I got out of the Navy in June 1972. In March 1973 I began my 40-year career as a science journalist. I wrote my first nuclear story a month or two later, about flaws in the Midland MI nuclear power plant, then under construction. I have written about nuke plants periodically since then. I have kept up with the nuclear controversy since then. So I do have 40 years experience since the Navy in writing and learning about nuke plants.
I did not selectively highlight parts of my resume. Again, you have slandered me. The immorality is all yours, Rod.
Last, a station blackout does indeed lead straight to a meltdown if power cannot be restored. You show yourself to be laboring under a delusion to think otherwise. Why do you think the Fukushima plants melted down? Offsite power was cut off, and the diesel generators that came on quickly stopped because they were under water. The NRC says station blackout leads to meltdown, but Rod Adams can’t accept that. This issue is elementary, something anyone can understand. Except Rod.
@Dr. John Miller
As an insider who spent a few years in the US submarine force, I am not as impressed by your description of your Seawolf tour as some of your fellow travelers.
Though you have accused me of slander and of claiming things about you that are “untrue”, I am simply interpreting the words of your own posted CV for people who do not speak the lingo of Navy job titles. Not only did I learn that language by osmosis, but I was also formally trained in our version of HR and spent 4 years as a requirements officer working on the staff of the Chief of Naval Personnel at the Navy Annex in Arlington, VA (2004-2008). I was assigned the task of analyzing and defending the budget for all submarine training, including nuclear power training.
Here are the quotes from your resume about your naval experience:
In order to translate those lines, it is also helpful for people to know your undergraduate degree:
I’ve known a lot of nuclear power school graduates. My contact list is full of them. I’ve never heard anyone else from the inside describe the six months of power school as “masters-level classes”. Drinking from a fire hose, yes, masters level, no.
As a fellow humanities major – my undergraduate degree was in English – I quickly recognized that Nuclear Power School (NPS) was an extremely effective knowledge transmission system for exactly the material that the Navy wanted its students to learn – nothing more, nothing less. I was blessed with a fair memory, so I did ok at NPS by simply regurgitating the information that my instructors wrote on the blackboard. When my fellow students got involved in lengthy, engineering level discussions and spent late nights trying to derive the formulas that the instructors provided, I simply remembered the formulas. I went home at 5:30 every night, got a good night’s sleep before exams, regurgitated the work I had seen on the board and ended up in the top 10% of my class. I never had to do any original work or any outside reading; everything came from textbooks. The schoolhouse training hardly qualifies as “masters-level” until you combine it with a few years worth of practical experience and additional formal schooling with oral boards and exams.
Then you went to a prototype and spent a maximum of six months learning to stand watch and eventually qualifying as Engineering Officer of the Watch.
While on your junior officer (JO) tour, you were placed into the usual JO rotation that moves people from one division to another to gain broad experience. You qualified as Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW), which is an introductory supervisory position with a qual card that took me 8 weeks to complete. The EOOW is tasked with executing the orders provided by the Engineer, the Commanding Officer and the Officer of the Deck. Young EOOWs are normally given assignments with progressive difficulty; they never perform unsupervised start-ups, shutdowns, drills or recoveries.
Your list of enlisted rates supervised tells me that you were, at various times during your 2.5 year tour, assigned as the the Sonar Officer (sonarmen), the Communications Officer (radiomen), Reactor Controls Assistant (electronics technicians), and as the Supply Officer (cooks and storekeepers).
(Note: that last one is a little strange to me; by the time I reached the sub force in 1983, all of the supply officers were Restricted Line officers with special supply training. They wore a unique leaf as one of their collar devices that somewhat resembled a pork chop shape, so they were known by all as “chops”.)
Unless you had several of those jobs at the same time, the largest number of people you supervised (with the assistance of a senior petty officer) at any one time was less than 10 people. On Seawolf, which was a pretty small boat with a crew of perhaps 80 people, your claim of 25 people would be the total for all of your divisions.
Out of your 2.5 years on a boat, I would guess that you spent about one year with a nuclear division. RCA was your only nuclear related job; that indicates to me that the Engineer Officer was not all that impressed with your ability, otherwise he would have fought to keep you back aft for at least one more assignment. When I was Engineer, the RCA was the place I put my least effective JO; that division usually includes petty officers who are self starters.
One year is the minimum amount of time for any JO to spend in engineering so that they can meet the requirement to take the Engineer Exam.
The other minium requirements are two years on board and qualification in submarines. It looks like you met the minimum requirements; did you take the Engineer Exam before you resigned?
Aside: In answer to a question you asked off line, GCE is a term I learned at NPS. It is an acronym for Gross Conceptual Error. It may not have been in use when you attended power school, but it was in common use throughout the submarine force that I served in.
It becomes tiresome to respond to each and every one of you highly biased posts.
Some of the courses were undergraduate-level. But some were beyond anything any of the students had ever seen in undergraduate school, so I called them masters’ degree level. The Navy described the school as three months of a review of an undergraduate engineering curriculum, followed by three more months of material that was new to everyone. Since we were all college grads, the last three months was material above the undergrad level.
I am not a fellow humanities major. Social psychology is in the social sciences.
In the nuclear power school I attended, we had no textbooks whatsoever.
You must be misreading my resume, because I never served as the Reactor Controls Division officer. So all your libel about how I must not have been very good at the job is false. That you would attack me without evidence, but only with your malicious assumptions, says a lot about your character. Your comments are really out of control, unprofessional, irresponsible and non-adult.
In my Navy they just started bringing in regular supply officers to do the job as I was getting out of the Navy. I got stuck with that job because the officer who won it by poor performance in prototype training told the Navy he bought a house in New London and didn’t realize Seawolf would be moving to the Pacific. He knew quite well the ship was moving.
It is patently false for you to say that the Engineering Officer of the Watch was “an introductory supervisory position.” He is the person in charge of everyone on watch in the reactor and engineering spaces. EOOWs customarily start up reactors, shut them down and recover from casualties.
Readers should note the special falsehood of your claim that beginning EOOWs never perform recoveries. Beginning EOOWs stand four-hour watches two or three times a day, supervising everything about the reactor. Since no one knows when an engineering incident or accident is going to occur, the EOOW who recovers from it is the one who is on watch when it happens. But you would have readers believe that someone says, “Stop the accident–We have to bring back a more experienced EOOW to recover from it. Since the EOOW works 250-300 feet aft of where officers live, you can’t get anybody more experienced back there for 2-3 minutes. Again, you didn’t tell the truth.
Moreover, intentional scrams were performed as a way to teach officers who were not yet qualified as EOOWs. So as students, they were in charge under the supervision of an EOOW as part of their training. When they qualified as EOOWs, then they became the supervisor. Your characterization of what EOOWs do is simply false. You apparently said it so you could make it appear I did little in nuclear engineering. If that is the case, then once again I wonder about your integrity.
@Dr. John Miller, Ph.D.
You must be misreading my resume, because I never served as the Reactor Controls Division officer.
I apologize; it is quite possible that the engineering department on your ship in 1970-1972 was organized differently from the ships on which I served in 1983-1985 (JO) and 1987-1990 (Engineer Officer).
Your resume indicates that you supervised “sonarmen, radiomen, electronics technicians, cooks and storekeepers”. Of those enlisted rates, the only one that is a part of the engineering department is “electronics technicians”. For the two subs on which I served, and all of the subs for which I provided analytical support in resourcing their schoolhouse training, electronics technicians (ET) came in two flavors, nuclear and non-nuclear. Nuke ETs were all assigned to the Reactor Controls Division; their division officer was the Reactor Controls Assistant. Non-nuke ETs were generally assigned to the navigation department.
Please educate me; which division did you run that included ETs?
I also have a question about your continued references to Seawolf as being able to perform its assigned mission, implying that you had a lot of operational time while assigned to the ship between February 1970 and June 1972. Here is a quote from the US Navy’s history page about USS Seawolf (SSN575)
According to that statement, you became a drydock JO about 9 months after arriving on the ship. I suspect that you might have gone to sea on another platform to obtain the OOD qualification that you also mention on your resume, but since you do not mention qualifying as EOOW on another ship, can you tell me how much actual time in the “box” (aka Maneuvering) you actually accumulated before shutting down for the conversion to a special project platform?
Once again, you assume things that aren’t true. Your penchant for doing this lowers your credibility.
I supervised ETs on the Operations Department. They manned the counter-intelligence gear on the ship. I was never a supervisor in the Engineering Department, because the captain wouldn’t allow it. To move me to engineering, some other officer would have to become supply officer. The billet I was assigned to after the other officer sneaked out of his assignment to become Seawolf’s supply officer was to take his place.
I did not imply anything by saying Seawolf met her operational commitments. Once again, you choose to presume some implication I never made. Again, you lower your credibility doing that.
I qualified as officer of the deck on USS Snook (SSN 592). After that I sailed with them a few times because they only had one qualified OOD. That stopped in April 1972 when they were sent to WestPac after Nixon mined Haiphong Harbor.
It is true that my seagoing experience was only nine months, because we went into the shipyard. I also had six months experience starting up and shutting down the S5G prototype every four hours every day.
But every officer senior to me on Seawolf told me that being an EOOW in a shipyard requires much more skill than being an EOOW at sea. You are constantly doing procedures that aren’t in the reactor plant manual. They’re written by civie nuke engineers, and they are not vetted by Naval Reactors. That means they may be dangerous or otherwise wrong. It takes all the engineering watchstanders to think outside the box about why the written procedure may be incorrect.
When we were in drydock, another ship’s crew allowed shipyard workers to remove a main feed pump. They were supposed to remove the same pump from another sub!
In contrast, for boats that aren’t really old, not much happens at sea in four hours. You stay alert, you are poised to respond to any emergency, but there rarely are any. It is much less mentally exacting duty.
It is true that my seagoing experience was only nine months, because we went into the shipyard. I also had six months experience starting up and shutting down the S5G prototype every four hours every day.
But every officer senior to me on Seawolf told me that being an EOOW in a shipyard requires much more skill than being an EOOW at sea.
Did you actually stand Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW) while in the shipyard? That surprises me a little, though I enjoy the opportunity to learn something new. Every time I was in port or in a maintenance facility, the engineering watch officer was called the EDO – Engineering Duty Officer – except during the first day in port and the last day before getting underway when the plant was shut down or started up, respectively.
It is true that my seagoing experience was only nine months, because we went into the shipyard. I also had six months experience starting up and shutting down the S5G prototype every four hours every day.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t that prototype experience mostly UI (under instruction)? It generally takes 5-6 months to fully qualify as EOOW during prototype training. Some of the most precocious students that are fortunate enough to be assigned to a prototype during a period of high operational availability can do it in 3.5 – 4 months, but that is pretty rare. There is a lot of material to learn after the six months of schoolhouse training.
Your site won’t let me reply to your most recent comment, so I must respond here.
The main issue is that you had to qualify as EOOW to stand watches in the shipyard. I don’t remember if we called ourselves EDOs, but there was no separate EDO qualification.
Of course most of my time at S5G I was a student. That’s the way with almost everyone. But you saw the plant being put through its paces starting up and shutting down every four hours. You learn from that.
“Drinking from a fire hose, yes, masters level, no.” ‘Twas a firehose, sir. Indeed. With boot camp, A-school, NPS, NPTU Idaho (S5G for me too) and ELT school, the most transformative few months of my life. D2G was fine, but how anyone can cast eyes on the engineering marvel that was S5G and still be anti-nuclear is beyond me.
Rod, the Walthausen Reactor at RPI originally used HEU. Some time after I graduated from RPI, the reactor was reconfigured to use LEU (as I think all academic facilities were required to). So the power level cited by John Bickel might have been the originally licensed power level.
Arne Gundersens “analysis” are just opinions that tell his customers what they want to hear.There are no computer analysis or even hand calculations behind his claims. For example, at San Onofre eight Steam Generator tubes were found to fail in-situ pressure testing following the shutdown for for the tube leak. Gundersen claims that these tubes would fail during a Main Steam Line Break based on the belief that the differential pressure across these tubes would increase due to the rapid depressurization. Its nice fodder for a scare story except that the Reactor side ALSO depressurizes so that the differential pressure actually DECREASES. He didn’t even have to do any calculations to conclude this. All he would have had to do was to examine PUBLICLY AVAILABLE results for Main Steam Line Breaks in PWRs. He goes on to say that the ruptured tubes would leak so much coolant that there is a likelihood of core uncovery, apparently forgetting the hydrostatics we were all taught in Resnick and Halliday, the freshman physics textboook authored by Dr. Robert Resnick who was actively teaching at the time Gunderen and I were at RPI.
This man is a charlatan. I wish there was some way to retract his RPI diploma or perhaps censure him.
In a main steam line break, the primary system does not depressurize. Depressurizing it would allow water to boil to steam, which cannot remove heat nearly so efficiently. If steam formed, the nuclear fuel would overheat. In primary system temperature rose to 900 degrees C because of this overheating, the zirconium cladding on the fuel would scavenge oxygen out of the water passing by, leaving hydrogen bubbles that could explode if they were ever brought in contact with oxygen.
So in a main steam leak, the very first thing that would happen is that the secondary system would depressurize, and the differential pressure across the steam generator tubes would increase, not decrease.
In a PWR there are three main varieties of secondary steam line breaks, depending on location – inside containment, between containment and MSIVs, and downstream of MSIVs.
A downstream break is the easiest, because once sensing the steam break logic the MSIVs go closed in a few seconds and the accident is terminated.
The upstream break is terminated by stopping feed to the faulted generator, and after a few minutes (depending on the size of the break), the SG blows down and the accident is over. The rapid uncontrolled cooldown shrinks the RCS and it partially depressurizes. But since the cooldown magnitude is greater than the depressurization, RCS subcooling actually increases, and core boiling is the last thing you are worried about. When the faulted generator completely depressurizes the d/p across the tubes may or not be greater than during normal ops (about 1500 psid).
The streamline break inside containment is similar to the upstream break response, but adverse containment conditions may also be generated.
Even multiple tube ruptures amount to only a small break LOCA, and are dealt with by ECCS injection and controlled cooldown and depressurization. With no sustained core uncovery there is no H2 production, but if there were, it is dealt with by post-TMI head vents and H2 recombiners. And even without those, the H2 deflagration at TMI generated only a 28 psi spike, well within containment design capability.
“Dr.” Miller, the primary side of a PWR certainly DOES depressurize during a Main Steam Line Break. The reason for this is the excessive heat removal from the faulted Steam Generator. In fact the accident is classified in the Final Safety Analysis Report as an Excessive Secondary Side Heat Removal. The primary side coolant depressurizes to the extent that voids form in the higher elevations. The initial differential pressure starts out at about 1300 psid. In the course of the accident it can get as low as 700 psid. While it is true that the differential pressure will recover, (from decay heat and reverse heat transfer from the intact generator) by that time the stress from the break flow is passed. And by the way, the tubes tested at San Onofre failed at differential pressures far higher than what can happen during a MSLB.
The technical ignorance demonstrated by your comment confirms Rod’s point that your resume does NOT qualify you to make technical comments on nuclear power.
Please tell me references I can read on this topic.
I honestly don’t know what publicly available references I could cite – it comes from spending years in PWR simulators. Lyman spent a little time at the NRC simulators in Chattanooga, maybe he could help you. All I can say is, if you want to have any credibility at all on this topic, be very careful what you “learn” from Arnie.
I am aware that Lyman’s colleague, David Lochbaum, spent some time as an instructor at the NRC training facility in Chattanooga, but are you sure that Lyman has been there?
You are correct Rod, it was Lochbaum – my bad.
My statement was not based on anything Gunderson said. I just didn’t think long enough or clearly enough about the consequences of a main steam break. My bad.
The primary and secondary system pressure responses for a PWR Main Steam Line Break are presented in an analysis doen by Brookhaven National Lab in the following document:
In particular, Figures 2 and 5 show BOTH primary and secondary pressures decreasing. the assertions of “Dr.” John Miller and Arne Gundersen notwithstanding.
Either Gundersen is not aware of this (and he his recklessly making technical statements without supporting analysis) or he is aware of this and is deliberately lying.
I use to room with a Grad Student who had been selected for a number of years to work for LANL in security clearance projects in nuclear R&D. He never understood why people took it as gospel truth over specific technical aspects of Dr.Helen Caldicott’s explanations. As a Biology undergrad a Northeastern U. in mid 1970’s I didn’t really pay much attention to her or her work. She was treated as a science personality ‘rockstar’ back then and few people in the nuclear industry ever challenged her work.
It’s only when you read and examine the abstract literature that inconsistencies came up in the online experience that really challenged her literature and I do say, Rod Adams was a part of showing the ugly side of agenda driven technical information fueled by advocacy dollars.
I tend to think the political picture will change for the nuclear industry as more people realize that N.America needs a balanced energy strategy in which the nuclear industry will have a larger role to play in servicing value price/KWh for the consumer.
Despite the zealots who serve as its critics I see growth in the nuclear industry worldwide.
Bruce, worldwide, you are probably right. There is a growing demand for energy in the form of reliable electricity and nuclear is one way (a good one) to get that. In this country, there are significant institutional barriers (regulatory and national policy chaos) that must be overcome before significant expansion can occur, because those things have incredibly large impact on capital costs. Likewise, I think the industry has to step up and take some risks if they really believe in the technology. On the generating side, there has to be some kind of national effort to avoid situations like Kewaunee and Crystal River. We can’t be throwing away perfectly good and valuable generating infrastructure for reasons like these. Second, on the vendor side, there has to be some willingness to share the risks associated with deploying these newer designs, things like SMRs and Generation III systems. Easy to say, I know, but I don’t see things going as far and as fast in this country as they will worldwide.
Yes, Wayne I agree. Nukes are the future in fact even Dr. Hansen of NASA fame is now onboard noting that nuclear energy is the way to go in N. America as safe energy.
Ron Adams is a bit of a ‘nuclear cowboy’, that’s the kind of personality needed to get things done being in the U.S.Navy myself as a medical Corpsman I understand the tradition sailors in the nuclear field were given top notch instruction & training in nuclear reactor operation. The U.S.Nuclear Navy has a certain ‘esprit de corps’ calling a veteran member nuclear operator down is NOT a good policy. Mr.Adams is in a unique position in promoting SMR mPower is a good product.
For me the problem is the N. American political narrative heavily weighted toward the hydrocarbon industry. I don’t see a viable future in favoring a particular sector in a ‘true balanced’ energy policy. Vendor/Ops like Duke, Dominion, Souther Cal. Edison or Hanford Facility (reprocessing spent fuel) also have to reduce adminstrative & operational wasteful tactics. The discordant ‘noise level’ in Gov’t and the energy industry needs to stop. And transportation manufactures also need to ‘open up’ to create more markets in electrical vehicles.
I still have confidence Americans and Canadians can inspire a new direction with new nuclear technology.
It is not possible for anyone to be able to say that nuclear power is safe and good unless they at least understand the technology. Hansen’s saying nukes are great carries no weight b/c he doesn’t know much about it.
What we do not need in nuclear power is nuclear cowboys. We were trained to be serious, sober and focused.
If calling a veteran Navy nuclear engineering officer down is not good, then I suppose you oppose Adams’ continued slander against me.
Nuclear tech is now 70 years old and we just had three American nuke plants melt down and a fourth explode. Yet you think nuke still has a new direction ahead of it.
Last, Pu must be sequestered for 240,000 years to drop to 0.1% of its radioactivity today. That’s ~10,000 human generations. How dare we continue making waste that our descendents will hate us for? They will get no electricity, just a huge bill.
Coal is entrenched in America, just like oil. They are terrible. But their being terrible doesn’t make nukes safe, clean or cheap.
Nuclear Cowboys/Cowgirls are OK in my book. Like I said, they get things done.
Dr. Miller enjoy discrediting nuclear science & people who work in field. I just don’t think you can put the ‘nuke genie’ back in the bottle.
Again…Dr. Miller nukes are the last best hope in limited energy till a new source of energy is known. Until then I hope you aren’t foolish enough to advocate the typical anti-human anti-progress bent that humans need to return to a more primitive form of sourcing energy.
Relax Dr. Miller it’s only nuclear material ‘stuff of stars’ in stellar nucleosynthesis.
In 10K human generations Pu could be an Rx to help the sick.
Damn, excuse me!!
That’s medically a reality now the use of Pu238 as fuel for cardiac pacemakers in patients with heart disease.
To James Burkes,
You disrespect and minimize the libel laws in this country. Just because the libel is on the Internet, that doesn’t exempt it from the law.
The libel laws make it illegal to lie about someone. Your claim that all I know about nuclear power is what Helen Caldicott and Arnie Gunderson tell me is just another distortion of the truth. I had kept up with nuclear power and continued learning more and more about it for 40 years before I met either of them.
If you notice, I don’t slander people. I tell them they have no evidence, or I respond with evidence of my own.
I would urge you to self-censor yourself when you make sweeping comments about other people that cannot be substantiated with evi9dence.
Dr. John – Until you file suit, you just look like a childish, petty fool.
We’re all waiting…
So now you’re a lawyer, too? I made no such claim. Here are my words:
“Your so-called reporting appears to have two sources, Arnie Gundersen and Helen Caldicott.”
I said IT APPEARS you have two sources, Arnie Gundersen and Helen Caldicott. You have stated you are looking at Gundersen’s data, and a lot of what you say APPEARS to be what Caldicott says. So, first, my statement is opinion (appears to be), and, second, it is most likely true, you do use them as sources. If it is true, then libel is not involved.
The second aspect that generally must be proved is that harm was done. I doubt if any reasonable attorney would agree that a low-readership blog on the internet is likely to cause harm to anyone’s livelihood or reputation.
So, you claimed that I said something that I didn’t. Does that make you a liar? Does that mean I can sue you for libel? Even if I could, I won’t. I’m man enough to take a little flak on an internet blog. I won’t go running home to Mommy just because some bully threatens me. In other words, I’m grown up.
Hey, who says Atomic Insights is “a low-readership blog”? Maybe I’ll be the next one to use threat of legal action. 🙂
Just kidding, of course. My skin has been thickened by a few years of give and take on the web and during my professional career.
Sorry. It’s a good blog, but isn’t exactly the Drudge Report.
Maybe, someday, I can hope, can’t I? I hope my blog will become as “low-readership” as your blog, Rod!
Maybe someday my blog will have as much measurable impact as your has had. IMHO, Entergy and the people of Vermont owe you a great deal. Without your often lonely efforts (and Howard’s) I’d guess there is a better than even chance that VY would have shut down at the 40 year point.
As a journalist you are a public figure the burden of libel and slander on public figures is much tougher then non public figures you SHOULD know that. That is why radio dj’s, reporters, critics, etc… Don’t get sued every time they say something unkind about a celebrity or sports star.
To Rod Adams,
Please cite the URL for the INPO report!
I’ve added the URL to the comment. By the way, this was an unusual step for INPO to take; it’s reports are normally only available to members.
There are good, safety-based reasons for that policy.
To Brian Mays,
Send me your email address and I’ll send you my 2006 Scientific American article about the predictions of cancer deaths from Chernobyl.
@John Miller, Ph.D.
By the way, I’ve been searching pretty extensively over the past several days. I’ve only found two articles by John D. Miller or John Dudley Miller about nuclear topics. There is the Scientific American two pager that you sent to me and a 1996 commentary from the LA Times. I must be doing something wrong. Can you help me find more of your nuclear-focused articles?
Dr. John – No thanks. Scientific American doesn’t impress me. It began to suck sometime in the early to mid nineties and has become progressively worse since. Thus, I’m not surprised that they would publish something that you wrote.
My question is the following: if you’re going to rely on the numbers of E. Cardis, then why do you continue to claim that these numbers come from the IAEA? Cardis works (or rather used to work) for the World Health Organization.
Are you too stupid to realize the difference between the IAEA and the WHO?
The IAEA glommed onto Elizabeth Cardis’ 1996 paper in 2005 and claimed it was the work of hundreds of scientists that year. No. It was 9 years old by then, and only Cardis and 6 co-authors wrote it.
This is the way the IAEA rolls. They misrepresent the truth. Some people would call that lying through their teeth.
You are lying. If you disagree, you can provide a reference to prove me wrong.
@Dr. John Miller
So let me get this straight. When I point out that you have produced a deceptive resume by selectively emphasizing your level of training to the point where you turn six months of power school, qualification at prototype, and 9 months of operational time on a submarine as a supply officer who stood EOOW watches and never led an engineering department division into calling yourself a “nuclear engineer” so that you can sell articles as a journalist, I am guilty of libel or defamation.
However, you can blithely accuse an entire international organization manned by respected scientists and engineers of “lying through their teeth”.
By the way, I think my interpretation of why you have billed yourself as a “nuclear engineer” or as a “nuclear engineering officer” when your experience is so light in comparison to the 15,000 or so other people who have been through nuclear power school and served as junior officers on US nuclear submarines is supported by the following statement from one of your comments here.
When you write general interest articles about nuclear energy, you have advertised your credentials to people who do not understand them in order to impress them. You specifically claim you are not bragging, but admit that you provide targeted information in order to convince editors to hire you. You also provide that information to readers so they both read what you write and believe that it is coming from someone who knows what they are talking about.
I have a good friend who worked for many years as an editor; she has explained to me how important it is for writers to be able to list credentials. She has also helped me to understand how little editors really understand about those credentials and how much they are at the mercy of the writers to be completely truthful.
When you post here, you are being met by people who have enough experience to read between the lines of your education and training AND who have far more experience and understanding of topics like thermodynamics, nuclear power plant design and emergency operational procedures.
That seems to frustrate you to the point of lashing out and threatening. As Brian would say, if you really believe I have libeled you, feel free to sue me.
Now and in the future, I advertise myself as a former nuclear engineering officer on a Navy submarine.
My resume says just that. It is not at all deceptive. But you so want to tar everyone who criticizes nuclear power as immoral, you keep saying that.
IAEA does lie, and I have sent you my Sci Am article proving that. If you were fair-minded, you would agree that the 2005 Chernobyl Forum statement is intentionally misleading.
I do not claim to have more experience than I actually have. What I got was experience you never got, when my sub had two accidents that proved to me nukes don’t operate the way you guys claim. When I write about that, I’ll post it.
I am eager for you guys to send me information that you think proves nukes are safe. I’m open-minded.
You and your pro-nuke colleagues are not at all open to reading evidence critical of nuclear power. You are True Believers in the Nuclear Dream. You dismiss, misinterpret, discount, and otherwise distance yourself from understanding that contrary evidence.
I’m a professional journalist. You’re not. Your claim that editors are at the mercy of reporters to state their credentials truthfully is untrue. Any editor knows how to ask questions of reporters. Mostly the focus is on facts: “How do you know that?” Journalists’ qualifications do not prove they have evidence for what they say. If a reporter cannot persuade an editor he knows what he’s talking about, then the editor doesn’t commission a story. It’s as easy as that.
Thank you Rod. Howard and I worked hard, and sometimes I think we moved the needle a bit. We can’t take credit for VY’s continued operation, however. “We may have moved the needle a bit” is about as far as I would go, and that’s when I am talking about the situation on a good day.
Your encouragement has been very important to me, starting on the first day I wrote a comment on your blog. You are a true center for pro-nuclear bloggers. And I hope that the pro-nuclear bloggers can help bring a clean-air future for our children and grandchildren.
Thank you so much for your kind comments. We are very fortunate to have you where you are doing such and amazing volume of work each day.
Meredith and I are very fortunate to be in place where so much comes to us. In military terms. we are in a target rich environment. We are are also fortunate to have support from the Ethan Allen Institute and the Coalition for Energy Solutions, and the ANS. We also have the support of our spouses.
We all, around the world, need to keep on supporting each other.
AI Readers might be interested in the Japan Times article on Gundersen, “The government could still save lives”, written by David McNeill last September.
He puts the release of cesium at about half that of Chernobyl, and says little attention has been paid to radioactive gases, Xenon and Krypton, which poured out of the No. 1 plant in quantities “two to three times” greater than the 1986 Ukraine meltdown. He is sticking to his original alarming estimate of cancer fatalities.
“The problem is there are 130 million people (sic) in Japan,” he said on a recent visit to Tokyo. “A third of them will die from cancer in the next 30 years. One million more is less than 2 percent — are you going to find it?”
and credential boosting:
“Gundersen bases much of his assessment of Fukushima on what he learned from America’s worst nuclear accident, the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania. As an expert witness during the probe that followed”
So, fear and hysteria over gaseous radioisotopes with a minimal biological half-life, and an expert witness during the “probe that followed”. Seems to be saying “the offical Federal investigation” in not so many words. The question on that is did he or the reporter jazz-up his qualifications, or is awful note-taking to blame?
Gundersen testified as an expert witness hired by antinuclear activists and people who were suing for damages. His testimony was not effective, his side lost in court because they failed to prove a linkage between their claimed health effect and the materials released during the accident.
Here is a New York Times article summarizing the judge’s decision.
Here is a Gundersen produced presentation about TMI provided by NIRS, a long-time antinuclear activist organization.
This is tremendous rod, don’t at all feel guilty for pointing out the illegitimacy of so called experts. Please keep this up!
Rod Adams misstates my Twitter name. It is @NuclearReporter.
Rod focuses on my nuclear engineering background, not on facts. Truth is not decided by perceived reputation; it is decided only by facts.
My experience is unique, in that while serving on the USS SEAWOLF, I twice witnessed the ship have small accidents that happened in a way the Navy told us could never happen. Rod doesn’t have that experience, so his background is inferior to mine in that respect.
To see lots of facts critical of nuclear power, read my New York Times review of the pro-nuclear movie “Pandora’s Promise”: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/16/a-nuclear-submariner-challenges-a-pro-nuclear-film/?_r=0.
To see other critical facts, read my Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ review of Mark Lynas’ pro-nuclear book: Nuclear 2.0: Why a Green Future Needs Nuclear Power”–http://thebulletin.org/false-fix-climate-change.
I’m attorney for a company in the nuclear business. I don’t know much about nuclear physics, but I used to handle a number of defamation cases.
Just FYI, there is a difference between Libel, Slander, and plain ‘ol hurt feelings. If you don’t know the meaning of the words you use, remaining quiet is always an option.
I’ve been looking for information about Gunderson’s alleged “Whistle-blowing” incident.
In 1990, he says he found radioactive material in an accounting safe at Nuclear Energy Services and reported the incident. He says this is why he was fired/harassed/blacklisted etc.
I can find no news stories on this incident. One would assume there would be if it was serious and required a hazmat response. I can find nothing from the NRC other than a request for FOI info on the investigation. This was denied. It looks like they did so because it was confidential after nothing came of it, but I am not sure.
Saying “Radioactive Material” was found in an accounting safe says absolutely nothing about whether this is a noteworthy occurrence.
There are very low level radioactive sources that are used for checking and calibrating detectors. These are perfectly legal to own, ship and use without special licensing. If it was one of these then it is a non-incident. It might be perfectly logical to put one in an accounting safe since that’s a good place to stop someone from walking off with. Also, not dangerous or illegal at all.
If it’s a source that is large enough to require licensing and storage regulations, but still small, that could be a violation of regulations, but still not a danger.
If it was something like a cancer treatment source (Which I doubt it was) then improper storage is a very dangerous situation.
So what was the source? The size? The isotope?
I find the omission suspicious
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