Home / A Look at Nuclear Accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island

A Look at Nuclear Accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island

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We are all tuned to the ongoing suffering in Japan, the result of a terrible earthquake, one of the worst in history, at 8.8 or 8.9 on the Magnitude scale.The earthquake lasted several minutes, was and is still being followed by aftershocks which by themselves would be considered devastating quakes, and to estimate the number of lives lost is seen as irresponsible. In one town alone, 15,000 homes were destroyed. Photos depict water rushing into cities, deep as buildings are tall, and moving at 300 to 500 miles per hour. Houses and cars by the thousands  are swept helplessly in the terrible current. We wonder how many of those vehicles may be occupied, the occupants now likely dead, caught up even as they drove.

If destruction from the earthquake and the tsunami are a consideration, we must also consider that we are confronted with a potential nuclear accident at Japan’s nuclear power generating plants. The quake and tsunami eliminated all power to the electrical production plants, even generators and in some cases batteries were rendered useless.  In nuclear reactors, cooling is fundamental. When cooling fails, explosions and melt-downs can occur. This has happened in the past, most notably in Chernobyl, Russia. Explosions letting nuclear materials escape into the atmosphere produce toxic results; cancers over time, in those exposed.

On Friday, during and following the initial earthquake, the Japanese government issued an emergency warning and ordered 2000 people evacuated from near the Nuclear Stations. Rises in pressure, chiefly caused by failure of coolants caused the problem. The outcome is uncertain; the threat to human life is inescapable. Cooling and pressure concerns continue to rise, even as the United States and others work to bring in structures and materials for cooling. The emergency measures may take several days to incorporate. There have been explosions, and radioactive material has entered the atmosphere. The area of contamination is now estimated at about 35 miles.  

In attempting to shed light on the situation regarding the Japanese reactors, I reviewed some facts about the mentioned past nuclear accidents. We may benefit from a look back at those incidents at Chernobyl, in the Ukraine, and Three-mile Island, in the United States, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In both of these nuclear facility breakdowns, the absence of proper cooling water played a significant role.

Chernobyl  is a city on the Pripiat River and the home of the Vladimir Lenin Nuclear Power Plant. The Chernobyl catastrophe is considered among the greatest industrial accidents of all time.

The nuclear reactor at Chernobyl is a Soviet designed graphite moderated pressure tube-type reactor utilizing 2% enriched uranium dioxide fuel. Boiling water feeds steam to turbines without any heat moderation. The boiling water feeds the twin turbines and acts also as a coolant. This type of reactor is significant because it is a “refueling machine” allowing fuel bundles to be changed without shutting down the reactor. In that then-modern reactor, an increase in voids (steam bubbles) produces an increase in core reactivity. As steam production increases, new neutrons produce denser water, and increased fission. On April 25, 1986, the reactor crew was preparing a test to see what would result in the event of failure of the main electric power supply; how long turbines would continue to spin on their own volition.

The operator was slow to shut down the reactor following the malfunction of automated shutdown mechanisms. In spite of simultaneous malfunctions, nothing prevented rods from automatic insertion into the reactor, causing a power surge. Hot fuel and insufficient cooling led to rapid steam production and increased pressure. Overpressure caused a 1,000 ton cover plate to detach, rupturing fuel channels, jamming control rods, and led to the destruction of the reactor. At that point, rods were only half covered in coolant water. A steam explosion sent fission products into the atmosphere. Within a few seconds, a second explosion occurred, possibly the result of hydrogen production.

The Town of Pripyat was evacuated. Hundreds of thousands of Russians, Ukrainians, and Byelorussians had to abandon entire cities within thirty kilometers, the area of extreme contamination. By mid-May of 1986, 116,000 people were relocated. Most had received low levels of radiation exposure, although in some cases the exposure was more extreme. Radiation produces cancer in those exposed. In high-dose exposure the effect is certain to occur. The exposed will definitely suffer Acute Radiation Syndrome.

The population near the Three Mile Island power station near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was not so unfortunate. In 1979 a cooling malfunction caused part of a core in reactor #2 to melt. At one point, a valve failed to close properly causing the temperature of the coolant to rise. The reactor was destroyed but high-pressure injection pumps pushed replacement water into the system. There are no reported injuries or health affects reported.

BlogCritics readers may know by the time this goes to print more details of the crisis at the Japanese Nuclear Plants.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • Doug,

    I counter the mortality figures in your document with this reexamination of longevity of hunter-gatherers and the faults found with its reportage:

  • Doug and Glenn,

    I will come back to the !Kung San tribe again after I read the 3 books I have ordered.

    The murder rate you note, Doug, gives an impression that violence is prevalent among this tribe. It is not. It is actually anathema. They are egalitarian and also peaceful. They have been written about in discourses about peaceful peoples. Here is what was said by Melvin Konner, an anthropologist who lived among them for two years:

    In the Kalahari, writes Konner, “only intractable violence is more repugnant to San [also known a !Kung or Kung San] than selfishness, and the former is so strange it is classified more as mental disorder than sin.”

    So, you see, I am having a hard time reconciling the homicide rate figure. I will continue to think about this problem. At this point I will say that it is insignificant to the actual way of life the people experience daily.

    Second, I would like to point out that urban societies do not include figures for death by war, torture, and terrorism in ‘homicide’ rates. I argue that they should be. This puts the idea of gov’t into proper perspective.

    How many bombs have been dropped by the peoples of the Kalahari?

  • Doug Hunter


    We’re not going to start this argument again. I could list the murder rate in my county and all the surrounding rural Texas counties showing them to be lower than New York City and you’ll accuse me of cherrypicking, then we’ll argue the finer points.

    ***Use your county in Mississippi for a comparison, it’ll work out better for you.

    Speaking of misleading statistics and not considering demographics did you happen across the research comparing Texas to Wisconsin on education? As it is, wild red Texas is rated very low academically while union mecca Wisconsin rates among the highest.. which would come as no surprise to you no doubt. Someone made the effort to view the actual demographic breakdown though and found quite a contrary statistical anomaly you might find interesting. White students in Texas actually do better than white students in Wisconsin on the exams. Hispanic students in Texas outperform Hispanic students in Wisconsin, and black students in Texas outperform black students in Wisconsin on the measures. In fact, in 17 of the 18 demographic measures, Texas outperformed Wisconsin. How then does Texas wind up at the bottome and Wisconsin at the top for the total? Simple demographics. Minorities generally do worse on standardized tests overall and Wisconsin has very few, while Texas is fast becoming a majority minority state. Just one of those interesting anomalies that shows you how flimsy statistics can be counterintuitive.

    Here’s an excerpt of the stats from NAEP and a link to the original bloggers article.

    “2009 4th Grade Math

    White students: Texas 254, Wisconsin 250 (national average 248)
    Black students: Texas 231, Wisconsin 217 (national 222)
    Hispanic students: Texas 233, Wisconsin 228 (national 227)

    2009 8th Grade Math

    White students: Texas 301, Wisconsin 294 (national 294)
    Black students: Texas 272, Wisconsin 254 (national 260)
    Hispanic students: Texas 277, Wisconsin 268 (national 260)

    2009 4th Grade Reading

    White students: Texas 232, Wisconsin 227 (national 229)
    Black students: Texas 213, Wisconsin 192 (national 204)
    Hispanic students: Texas 210, Wisconsin 202 (national 204)

    2009 8th Grade Reading

    White students: Texas 273, Wisconsin 271 (national 271)
    Black students: Texas 249, Wisconsin 238 (national 245)
    Hispanic students: Texas 251, Wisconsin 250 (national 248)

    2009 4th Grade Science

    White students: Texas 168, Wisconsin 164 (national 162)
    Black students: Texas 139, Wisconsin 121 (national 127)
    Hispanic students: Wisconsin 138, Texas 136 (national 130)

    2009 8th Grade Science

    White students: Texas 167, Wisconsin 165 (national 161)
    Black students: Texas 133, Wisconsin 120 (national 125)
    Hispanic students: Texas 141, Wisconsin 134 (national 131)”

  • What effect was that then, Roger?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    What I’m referring to are Doug’s presentations of murder rates among largely uneducated tribespeople who are not an active part of any organized nation…and the greatly-lowered life expectancy is the result of the murder rate that is MUCH higher and the infant mortality rate that is MUCH higher than we in the West experience.

    So, yeah, I’d like to see your evidence showing otherwise. I’d like to be wrong – in fact, I’ve stated many times here on BC that I am grateful when someone shows me that I’m wrong. Why? Because they’ve helped me to lose some of my ignorance.

    So if you can show me I’m wrong, I’ll be sincerely grateful…but I really don’t think you’ll be able to do so.

  • Doug – You’re right about the life expectancy of tribes…

    And Glenn should know because 30 seconds after he read your post he had already completed a survey of the literature on the topic. Fact-based dude that he is, he would not just say you are right without having done so. 😉

    Hopefully he will help explain why the evidence I will present says you are both wrong.

  • I’m aware of the hypothetical use by Baronius, Christopher. I’m also aware of the fact that neither Dreadful nor you gave literal assurances as to the safety aspect. Both were instances of my stretching the case for the purpose of effect. Yet Dreadful did argue at length about the possibility of eliminating possible future disasters, did he not? And if he did, then how am I to interpret the main thrust of his remarks?

    As to your correcting regarding you “having blind faith in …,” I’ll take your word for it since you’re making a disclaimer.

  • In the interests of accuracy, Doc D and I have not given any assurances as to the safety of nuclear power nor do we have “faith” in the scientific approach.

    The scientific approach is only useful as long as it delivers results; in other words it is a tool. To have faith in it would be like having faith in a spanner or a computer…

    As to the administration of the comments policy, of course it can be questioned, just like anything else can.

    Finally, Roger, Baronius didn’t credit you with “blinding goodness”, it was a hypothetical…

  • @269

    And you’re giving me too much credit, Baronius, crediting me with “blinding goodness.” I was merely voicing a doubt, a doubt that assurances by such as Dreadful or Rose as to the safety of nuclear power should be taken in earnest. And since, IMO, their administration of the comments policy can at times be subject to question, why on earth should I charge them with the solemn responsibility of administering the future of our nuclear-power policy? I would have to be a madman to consent to anything like that.

  • I said we’re in the experimental stages here, Baronius. As to whether it can ever be “practical,” isn’t that more or less subject to what the future costs of existing sources of energy will be? It’s relative in that sense, isn’t it? Besides, since when hope and faith are exactly the same thing?

    As to second point, I grant your point given your meaning. So yes, I did not embark on the project of “refuting scientism,” I grant you that. In short, I did take it for granted that it was sufficient to make allusion to such a possibility was sufficient to serve as the proverbial “word to the wise.” To do what you request would require writing a book, something I’m not presently inclined to do. But perhaps you can throw in an idea or two into the mix, as to why faith in scientism is misplaced (when it is supposed to replace all other kinds of faiths), and I’ll make it a point to add my two cents’ worth.

  • Baronius

    Ad hominem doesn’t mean the same thing as personal attack. I could say that your arguments are motivated by your blinding goodness, but if I use that to undermine your argument rather than addressing your facts or reasoning, it’s ad hominem.

    As to your second comment, it seems to contradict your first one. You say that it’s wrong to hope in a future technology, then immediately follow it with a statement of hope that green energy can be made practical.

  • To supplement my #267, we’re talking about experimental stages, aren’t we? when we’re talking about harnessing wind and solar energy. There is no question, too, is there? that those are two possible sources of energy, sources besides, which, if harnessed, don’t pose the kind of potential dangers as those they may be associated with nuclear power. So this isn’t a question as regards the principle of the thing, only a question as to whether the act of harnessing those alternative sources can be made practical.

    And we do have water dams, don’t we?

  • It wasn’t meant as ad hominem argumentation, Baronius, only as a way of trying to account for what I view as incongruence. Besides, as I stated in the last comment, I’m not ascribing “bad faith” here, only providing what I see as a plausible explanation. So no, I’m not saying anyone here is acting out of bad motives, only that we could well be dealing here with person(s) who are unaware of their real motives. Besides, the language of motive(s) doesn’t fit here. It’s more proper speaking of belief-system(s). So how is that ad hominem?

    As to your closing statement, again you’re misreading me. They’re equally blind, as far as I am concerned. In a nutshell, that was my whole point.

  • Baronius

    Ah, yes, Roger. The source of my misunderstanding was the exact passage that I quoted, which is why I quoted it. And it was a misunderstanding on my part, not a mistake or oversight on your part. I didn’t realize that you meant “most” in the narrowest sense, the sense of “two”. I erroneously thought that “most people” meant a majority, rather than the smallest possible number of people that can be described in the plural.

    I also note that your description of your own argument, as addressing the speakers’ motives rather than their facts or reasoning, is a good working definition of ad hominem argumentation.

    Lastly, I should point out that you failed to address my question about scientism. How is faith in as-yet-undeveloped wind and solar technology less blind than faith in developed nuclear technology?

  • “Most people either are in favor of nuclear power and suspicious about global warming theory, or opposed to nuclear power and passionately concerned about global warming. Those groups correspond to the right and the left in this country.”
    #260, Baronius

    I believe that’s what I said, Baronius. The Right would tend to think along the lines you’ve indicated, not only because they minimize the effects of human-caused pollution (and potential dangers resulting therefrom) but also because not adopting such a stance would run counter to its ideology as regards the freedom of the industry. And the Left, for precisely opposite reasons (not to mention its in-built suspicion as regards unregulated industry), acts as you say it does.

    But therein lies the rub. Both Dreadful and Rose, both more sympathetic to the liberal/leftist point of view, are proponents of both nuclear power plants and global-warming/climate-change theories. I should think that the subsequent exchange I’d had with Mr. Hunter (comments 254 & 255) confirms that. (It goes without saying that Rose and Dreadful view the nuclear power idea as a solution to such inefficient and harmful energy sources as the internal combustion engine, oil, and coal mining; but that’s a rather banal point considering the larger framework in which I posed the issue.

    So what then is the gist. Simply that the Right, in adopting the stance that it does, is guided on these issue more so by its political ideology (right or wrong) rather than by the status of current scientific theories; and the Left, by its concerns with human causes of pollution (again, be it nuclear energy or the combustion engine). But what do we find Dreadful and Rose do? They don’t adopt the typical leftist, environmentalist stance. Why? Because of their blind fath in “scientism.”

    No bad being attributed here, only lack of awareness of their own inner motives.

    But now, having reread your comments, I see the source of your misunderstanding. The opening statement of your #260 – the one which you’re citing – wasn’t meant to describe a typical environmentalist stance, only a stance of Dreadful and that of Rose.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    You’re right about the life expectancy of tribes…and we see it in America to some extent, since the murder rate in rural states is generally significantly higher than in urban states…except for in the inner cities.

    Of course you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone from, say, rural Texas to agree that New York City would be a safer place to live regardless of the evidence you show him.

  • Doug,

    I have a reply that may counter your evidence. I just can’t get enough time to read your links yet. I will though.

  • cindy

    Change my above to: ‘exclusive’ or ‘definitive’ category.

  • cindy


    I think it is a language problem. I don’t believe he meant to creare a category with his commnent. I will rephrase it the way I think he meant it:

    Among the staunchest advocates are those who defend it based on its offering a solution to global warming.

  • Baronius

    “The most vociferous supporters of nuclear power plants are, at the very same time, the most ardent proponents of environmental policies which aim at reducing global warming and human contribution to climate change.”

    No, that’s not even close to being true. It’s so untrue that I had to go back and reread your comment to see if you left a “not” out of the sentence. Most people either are in favor of nuclear power and suspicious about global warming theory, or opposed to nuclear power and passionately concerned about global warming. Those groups correspond to the right and the left in this country. Outside the US, you’ll find some people like those you described (at least I think so).

    But if you’re throwing around the “blind faith” card, consider that those who oppose nuclear power and carbon-based power are really the ones who are trusting that some technology that hasn’t been invented yet is going to make wind, solar, et cetera practical for widespread use. It takes less faith to believe in proven nuclear plants than in theoretical solar or wind farms.

  • El B, first you would have to get rid of the prejudice in your head that I am actually commenting with either arrogance or dismissiveness, which is entirely imaginary.

    If either of the two of us is being arrogant, it would surely be you; I am trying to engage people in debate whilst you come along and contribute nothing except your little oneliners.

  • El Bicho

    I’d try your habit of commenting with arrogance and dismissiveness, Chris, but they appear pointless and unhelpful as well

  • Likewise, Douglas.

  • Doug Hunter


    Very likely true. Have a great weekend.

  • Of course you’re right. What I presented is but a skeleton of the argument. You must agree, however, that most environmentalists are consistent in opposing both positions.

  • Doug Hunter


    You seem to forget people are capable of assigning relative weights to risks and benefits so there need not be a contradiction. A person could believe CO2 to be such a catastrophic hazard to the planet that it warrants the relatively (by their measure) lower risk of nuclear power.

  • Anyway, we have to talk. If not this evening, say after 10pm, at least tomorrow.

  • Cindy, just sent you the email. My internet is cut off, so my access for the time being will be limited.

  • Consider the following.

    (1) The most vociferous supporters of nuclear power plants are, at the very same time, the most ardent proponents of environmental policies which aim at reducing global warming and human contribution to climate change.

    (2) In both instances, the shared element is the subject of human interference with, or acting upon, the environment. The only difference is – in the nuclear power instance, it’s a proactive stance that is being defended; in the global warming case, it’s a defensive stance aiming at preventing humans from polluting the environment.

    (3) Both cases pose potential dangers due to pollution. Both cases, moreover, offer potential benefits which, to some, offset the potential dangers.

    (4) If the dangers due to pollution was to be taken as a prima facie reason in both instances, it would stand to reason that the global warming proponents would be against nuclear power plants. (Not to do so is to be committed to a contradiction.)
    But they don’t.

    (5) How then is this contradiction escaped? Only by having blind faith in human science. Indeed, both “global warming” and “nuclear power plants” have human science behind them; and it is this common element which “overrides” the contradiction and allows holding two apparently incompatible positions without blinking an eye.

    It’s about time for Mr. Clavos to step in and offer his opinion.

  • Doug Hunter


    I’m not going to do any more research for you after this, you have your view and facts will not change it a bit. The information for the iKung can be found as a comparison in the following paper entitled:

    Reconsidering Violence in Simple Human Societies: Homicide among the Gebusi of
    New Guinea

    “At the same
    time, however, a systematic survey by Lee (1979a:398)
    revealed a !Kung homicide rate equivalent to 29.3 per
    ~oo,ooo per annum. If one restricts calculation to the
    period 1920-55, when violence was greater due to lack
    of colonial interference, the homicide rate i, um.~ sto
    41.9.~Even the lower figure of 29.3 is almost three times
    the current U.S. homicide rate, which is itself one of the
    highest among Western societies.”

    Anyway, enjoy your weekend there is something quite romantic about the that life, that’s what we evolved to do. As an avid outdoorsman, and hiker/backpacker I’ve camped atop many a mountain and fantasized about what it would be like as a native, a hunter gatherer… life in a simpler time. Everything’s a trade off, it’s hard to take the ‘good’ without the ‘bad’.

  • I refer above to the murder rate among tribal peoples’ claim you made.

  • Cindy

    246, 247

    Please 1) supply the evidence pro and con for your claims then. For example…please site the murder rate amongst the peoples I have mentioned, for example. 2) Do you even know what name the people I mentioned are called? 3) Give me the source. Where did you get your information?

  • @213

    Wrong! We have nothing to discuss. I said nothing of other participants. [edited]

    Anyhow, your #213 is devoid of any substance. You’re just a grown-up kid, Christopher, sticking out your tongue at the other kids in the playground because they don’t want to play.

  • Doug Hunter

    Just so you know I’m not ‘making up my own narrative’ and am interested in facts below is the Life Expectancy research grabbed from a Utah University’s anthropology department as publish in the American Journal of Human Biology. Relevant material is on page 2. The actual life expectancy at birth is only 30 for the Kung and is in the 30’s for the rest of the hunter gatherer tribes (less than what I indicated) Alot of that is skewed by child mortality as odds of death under 15 are very high according to research. If a female makes it to age 45 then her total life expectancy would be 65

    Life Expectancy PDF

    You may be right on starvation, although I wouldn’t consider theirs a life of plenty it seems violence and disease are the main causes of death. There’s some interesting research on conflict resolution among the Kung and escalation of violence. They’re generally non violent, but when they are violent they mean it and someone is liable to end up dead.

  • Doug Hunter


    Ooooh, so I’m the one with the fictional narrative of tribes… OK. You’re moving in on Roger “the projector’s” territory now. You’re the one holding them up as a model, making comparisons, it’s you that have alot more invested in their narrative than I yet you’re claim implies the opposite. Curious.

  • cindy

    I recommend perusing information on domination, hierarchy, marginalization, hegemony. Within many fields the import of such topics is coming of age. You can see it in philosophy, anthropology, sociology, psychology, feminist and gender theory. And in the political position taken within anarchism.

  • cindy

    If you aren’t aware of what I am saying, there are several fields that deal with the very things I discuss. Why not check them out some time…

  • cindy

    241 Zapatistas. Even then children have equal power.

  • cindy

    Verge of starvation, ripe old age of 40…

    That’s never what I saw even when I took anthropology (which has a western pov bias)…

    You are aware that you are reading directly from your own narrative…you are revealing the basis for your beliefs… The thing is, it’s a fictional narrative. And a perfect example of marginalization.

    The world is only the way you see it because you invented a story to explain it that way. Do you see how you could have chosen other stories?

    The trick to being correct as possible in such a tale is to recognize that we all do this and then to demarginalize the stories of those you are assessing.

  • Cindy, I’m not aware of any groups of people with equal power, so you are arguing from a theoretical base that lacks any engagement with actual real life.

    I also don’t agree with your assertion that is not natural or necessary to have leaders. All social groupings of mammals do, so where is the evidence to support your notion?

    In human terms, those without power can be marginalised for a while, but just as we are seeing in the Middle East at the moment, not indefinitely.

    As to your final point, as a species we are still changing evolutionarily, so again your point lacks any foundation.

  • cindy

    #233 most people in the kalahari have a skyhigh murder rate?

    Here’s a job for you: why not run along and find out what fallacy applies to your argument.

  • cindy

    233 They (relationships without domination) work exactly the same way your relationship with your wife works. Discussion, mutual consent, etc. Same way the relationship with any group of people with equal power works.

    It is not either natural nor necessary to have leaders and it creates instant pathology to do so. Those without power are marginalized. This is an effect that can be traced throughout all relations of unequal power. That is the real problem with domination. It comes with that pricetag. It is why we see the awfulness we see.

    We cannot evolutionarily advance without changing our position on domination.

  • cindy

    Oh and if you don’t want to be called a robot, I recommend not starting off by calling others headless chickens.

  • Doug Hunter


    I think speak softly and carry a big stick is taken to heart. Most primitive tribes, including those in the Kalahari have a sky high murder rate, the threat of being killed is good for keeping the people in line. With Hunter-Gatherers each group is basically an extended family… small enough that there’s little need for a leader the numbers are small enough to just discuss issues. Certainly, some individuals are naturally more assertive and weight is given to age/wisdom depending on the tribe. I think the tribe the movie was about agrees on a representative during the 3 month rainy season while they interact with other family/tribes. During the remaining 9 months as their in solitary survival mode they have no need of such arrangement.

    Hey, if you want to live on the verge of starvation to the ripe old age of 40, locked into strict gender and societal roles, experience infanticide and sky high murder/capital punishment rates then the primitive ‘utopia’ is for you. I’ll take a life of plenty to age 80, less restrictive society and rolls, abortion rather than infanticide and a much lower murder rate and very limited capital punishment (certainly not for ‘sorcery’) any day of the week. Others can continue to live their tribal fantasy (from the comfort of their air conditioned home, no doubt)

  • cindy


    I won’t bother continuing since you aren’t playing fair. I find your stance insulting. It’s also surprisingly ignorant imp to label what I saidbullshit.

    So as far as your taking offence at anything I’ve implied about you, perhaps you might take a look at your own behavior. I would have said ‘we are all robots to some degree’. I don’t think you have insight in this instance and your judgment is affected.

    I would never have expected you to respond to me as you have. It’s new in my experience of you. It’s more along the lines of an Al Barger response. I am not just a little angry about it.

    I didn’t claim victory. I merely said that if your argument is to disparage my evidence without basis and without addressing it, then I will assume you can’t defend your position.

    Lastly take the 33 people and throw them in a river! I conceded that point ages ago. Probably the only point you can dispute is why you keep on that error.

  • troll

    arguments from the unchanging nature of human nature are faithist

  • Cindy, setting aside the fact that living without domination wasn’t your original point, do they though? Even in such a limited society, I’m sure there are leaders, presumably the tribal elders…

    Beyond the theoretical, how exactly are are relationships without domination going to work in practice?

    Perhaps rather than railing against domination, which seems a natural part of, well, nature, we should accept that there are always going to be leaders and be more concerned about what type of leaders we choose?

  • cindy

    225 okay El-b I will reassess.

  • cindy


    It was just people who live without domination. Don’t have to move to the wilds to achieve it. As anyone might imagine…those relationships are ours whenever we want them.

  • troll

    one of these things is not like the others…one of these things just doesn’t belong (etc) –

    nuclear meltdown

    the comparison is a obscene and accusing people engaged in argument about the nuclear issue of not paying enough attention to or caring about the severity of the quake is doubly so

  • troll

    rumor has it that best-case at this point is another sizable exclusionary zone bequeathed in perpetuity

    who gave TEPCO the right to take that land – forever ?

  • troll
  • troll

    Dreadful – fact is we don’t know the status of injured workers from the plant and your claim of no deaths is made without evidence

    from night before last:

    Japan Earthquake Update (17 March 2011, 01:15 UTC)
    Injuries or Contamination at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

    Based on a press release from the Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary dated 16 March 2011, the IAEA can confirm the following information about human injuries or contamination at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

    Please note that this list provides a snapshot of the latest information made available to the IAEA by Japanese authorities. Given the fluid situation at the plant, this information is subject to change.


    2 TEPCO employees have minor injuries;
    2 subcontractor employees are injured, one person suffered broken legs and one person whose condition is unknown was transported to the hospital;
    2 people are missing;
    2 people were “suddenly taken ill”;
    2 TEPCO employees were transported to hospital during the time of donning respiratory protection in the control centre;
    4 people (2 TEPCO employees, 2 subcontractor employees) sustained minor injuries due to the explosion at Unit 1 on 11 March and were transported to the hospital; and
    11 people (4 TEPCO employees, 3 subcontractor employees and 4 Japanese civil defense workers) were injured due to the explosion at Unit 3 on 14 March.
    Radiological Contamination

    17 people (9 TEPCO employees, 8 subcontractor employees) suffered from deposition of radioactive material to their faces, but were not taken to the hospital because of low levels of exposure;
    One worker suffered from significant exposure during “vent work,” and was transported to an offsite center;
    2 policemen who were exposed to radiation were decontaminated; and
    Firemen who were exposed to radiation are under investigation.
    The IAEA continues to seek information from Japanese authorities about all aspects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

  • El B, your habit of coming along in the middle of a discourse and tossing out glib oneliners in response to isolated points as as pointless as it is unhelpful.

    Cindy, I wasted 10 minutes of my life watching that video. I have no idea what point you are trying to make but do let me know when you will be moving to live in the Kalahari desert…

  • El Bicho

    If you don’t understand how it applies, CR, then it won’t be helpful.

    “The peanut gallery has nothing of substance to add.”

    Is that what all this has been? You should double check

  • If you weasle out of responding, I will take it as an admission that you are wrong.

    Yep, Cindy, that’s what I figured. It’s exactly what the Gish Galloper says as they claim victory.

    The reliable numbers for nuclear-related deaths, as opposed to the innuendo, are out there for anyone who cares to look in the right place. Before you leap to any conclusions, I actually got mine (two radiation-induced fatalities apart from those at Chernobyl) from the rundown of accidents available on the website of those rabid pro-nuclear fanatics, Greenpeace. They actually list them day by day, for those interested in morbid anniversaries.

    Your Windscale body count, in the meantime, has been leaping like a cat on a hot uranium fuel rod from 33, to 13, to 30, to 43 (if I’m kind and add those last two together). The true number is actually zero.

    Here’s a link to an explanation of where the 33 deaths figure came from. It’s in the last paragraph of the article. I note that the NRPB’s finding that “at least 33 people are likely to die prematurely from cancers as a result of the accident” is a lot different than saying “33 people died at Windscale”. Pay particular attention, also, to the note in italics, which points out that even the methodology used to obtain the estimate was faulty.

    I’m not “weaseling out” of anything, Cindy – I just don’t have the time or inclination to take my geologist’s hammer to every boulder in your avalanche.

    I do, however, take exception to your and Roger’s insinuation that I’m some kind of evil unthinking robot because I refuse to concede that nuclear energy is inherently bad.

    If I’d piped up in May 1945 and said, well, you know, some Germans are actually OK, you’d have been howling for me to be stood up against the wall, I suppose.

    Meanwhile, we’re looking at 7,000 dead and counting from the earthquake and tsunami, hundreds of thousands more missing or homeless, and you’re more worried about a fucking industrial accident which has killed nobody.

  • The peanut gallery has nothing of substance to add. I say we pelt them with rotten tomatoes.


    This dramatization is pretty close to undamaged, I think. Just for the record, I am only using the relationships to make my point, not the lack of technology.

  • Baronius

    “appearances can often be deceptive”

    This thread isn’t.

  • That is very true, El B, but how exactly is it helpful?

  • El Bicho

    “appearances can often be deceptive”

    so can self-assessment

  • Doug, nice of you to join us but it simply is not the case that “I can delete or ban whoever I like” and I never, ever “modify the results to give myself the win”.

    I only ever delete or edit comments that go against the very simple comments guidelines and I bend over backwards not to ban people.

    Indeed, sometimes I find myself defending people “backstage” that I am engaging with front of house, as the powers are not all as benign as me. I have been told only this week that I am extremely patient and that compared to another closely related site I am possibly too tolerant in terms of managing the comments space.

  • Baronius, appearances can often be deceptive and in this case you are the one that has been deceived…

  • Doug Hunter

    I officially declare battle of egos on this thread called a draw at 11.49 am. The rematch featuring Roger ‘the projector’ Nowsieledksisidieieieli and his sidekick Cindy ‘we’re all flawed except I’m right and you’re wrong’ the fantasy utopian, a pair with combined in 32,872 ego matches under their belt will face Christopher ‘in the end I can just delete and ban whoever I like or at least modify the results to give myself the win’ Rose will resume shortly. Stay tuned!

  • Cindy, I guess amazing, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I find the overuse of the word amazing quite tedious.

    We are all human and imperfect, so to say that is to say nothing. To think it worth saying is more revealing than anything else you have said today.

    Finally, as I have repeatedly said, I believe very little and prefer to see what there is to be seen rather than simply churn out banalities as Roger routinely does and you have come to do…

  • Baronius

    As for the rest of this thread, it appears to be Christopher and Roger stabbing each other in the face because the other one makes ad hominem attacks.

  • Baronius

    Irv, you’re not hated. You just write unreadable comments. That’s nothing unusual; a lot of people do. It’s just that you seem to put such an effort into them that leaves people frustrated. Here’s my hunch: you started out with a abstruse writing style because you thought it would be a hook, but it didn’t go over well, and now you’re not sure how to reengineer your persona. Just do it. You don’t even have to change your handle. Everyone gets one free pass on the internet.

  • Cindy, true, we are all damaged, but that wasn’t the point I made. Is your misunderstanding wilful or simply collateral damage? 🙂

    I doubt that there are any systems that don’t cause some kind of damage but fortunately not all damage is permanent.

    Roger, if you truly consider this conversation closed, may I take it that comment number 211 will be your last?

  • cindy

    Roger has an amazing brain. A real rarity. He is also human and imperfect and that is okay. Ihave adeep admiration for Roger and his work.

    For you Christopher, this comes to mind: It is very tricky to see yourself though when you hold so many self-opinions about yourself that block the view.

  • Let it therefore be “unfortunate” for me and fortunate for you. I consider this discussion closed.

  • cindy

    I am as damaged as the next guy. And so are you. That is the human condition under a damaging system.

  • Unfortunately, Roger, you have already provided ample evidence that your ability to size anything up is impaired. Apparently you need a metaphorical tape measure…

    You are right when you say “It’s no use arguing with me about it”, but not in the way you meant it.

  • Christopher, sorry to say but that’s how I size you up. Take or leave it. It’s no use arguing with me about it. Good luck.

  • Roger, what I am is a person with an open and questioning mind. You should try it some time…

    Cindy, you really need to stop following in Roger’s footsteps by simply making stuff up. I absolutely do not consider myself superior to anybody, never mind you two.

    In my experience, the only people who even think about who might be superior to anybody else are those with an inferiority complex. Roger clearly has one but I thought you were less damaged than that.

    You seem to have confused being sceptical about things with scoffing at things, when they are actually completely different.

    Consider this: you think that “I talk to him about the political realities on the ground, he tells me how science theoretically works as if it were machine-operated.”

    This is just total miscomprehension on your part; you aren’t talking about political realities at all and I am not talking about how science theoretically works.

    Like many people at a certain point in their lives, your egos are greater than your abilities and you just can’t let go of your own opinions. A little humility would do you both good.

  • @204

    Exactly. Haven’t seen it in quite that light, but you’re on target.

    It is a vicious circle. What irony!

  • Of course, not, Cindy. They both lack real values, which is why “scientism” and blind belief in human progress is the only thing they’ve got.

    It’s like talking to a drowning man, asking him to hand over the proverbial straw.

  • cindy

    He won’t see that he is a faithist because ‘not being a faithist’ is the personal narrative he uses to defend his belief in his superiority. He believes his pet narrative is the real true and objective one.

    When I joined in with the skeptics, this problem emerged. We alllearned to give the same speeches about science.

  • cindy

    He doesn’t get it Roger. He’s like a Libertarian reading from his ideological scriptures. I talk tohim about the political realities on the ground, he tells me how science theoretically works as if it were machine-operated. He cannot see what he doesn’t already believe.

    And he has less personal insight about himself than most. He actually believes and expects us to believe his opinions come from an a relatively ‘objective’ logical person. If he could only see how those claims alone make him look.

    Consider the self-opinion that requires such defense.

  • “Roger, actually, the only position you can argue from is one of ignorance because you are so sure of yourself you can’t actually hear anything else from anyone else.” #200, Rose

    You’re neither a scientist, Christopher, nor a philosopher, God forbid. So what is it exactly that you bring to the table that is worthy of consideration – recycled, second-hand knowledge? No, thank you.

    The potential dangers from a nuclear type of disaster are more subject to ignorance than you or Dreadful will ever know, especially since both of you are laypersons and hardly experts on these matters. Yet you and Dreadful keep on pontificating on the subject, ex cathedra if I may add, as though
    your voices carried any weight. Get real! Who is kidding whom? And who is speaking from the position of ignorance here, you or I?

    I understand the syndrome, and I’ve already explained it. If your reading comprehension is impaired, I’ll refer you to the original remark, Christopher. Of course, it’s not reading comprehension that you’re suffering from, Christopher, but sheer obstinacy, so let me reiterate for the umpteenth time the gist:

    Yes, you’re a faithist, Christopher (and Dreadful’s included), a faithist whose religion is “scientism.” A man, they say, can’t live by bread alone – faith is the another necessary ingredient. So yes, Christopher, you’re doing your best trying not to be a “one-dimensional” man, and I applaud you for it. At least you’re a human, not a beast. But let’s call a spade a spade. A faithist is what you are.

  • I’ve given you my reasons, Christopher, why I don’t care to communicate with you. As to Alan’s handling, I should say that Jill’s communique (which I received and re-forwarded to you, the esteemed site editors, as well as to Cindy and “troll,” speaks for itself.

    I really don’t care for any extended discussions with you at this point until this matter is resolved to my satisfaction.

  • Roger, actually, the only position you can argue from is one of ignorance because you are so sure of yourself you can’t actually hear anything else from anyone else.

    I’m not any kind of faithist, Roger; indeed, I wake up most mornings wondering what might be true that day. I am pretty sceptical about most things.

    As To Alan, you don’t know how I have handled him, so once again you are talking with authority from a position of ignorance…

  • I haven’t been ignoring your evidence, Cindy, I’ve been responding to your own debating points, which are logically challenged to say the least.

    You have probably encountered the cliché about if we don’t learn from the past, we are condemned to repeat it already.

    The scientific approach relies in part on learning from the past and then trying to improve on it.

    These new sodium cooled reactors have not yet obtained regulatory approval but do appear to offer a safer, more controlled and manageable process than other designs, which has to be better than a more dangerous process, doesn’t it?

    I did read the PDF (despite hating PDFs) troll linked to but didn’t find it particularly convincing, from my lay perspective. Perhaps it has some validity, perhaps not. Either way, I hope the concerns raised will be addressed.

    Of course there are profits and politics involved, we can take that for granted. So what?

    I don’t take anything on faith, Cindy, but if I did, it would be that you can be relied on to make snide little comments when you feel yourself losing a debate. I wonder where you got that habit from? You didn’t do that when you first started commenting here…

  • On top of it, I don’t like the way you handled Kurtz. I only communicate with friends.

  • My reasons were stated earlier to Dreadful – you’re arguing from the position of assumed knowledge, whereas the only claim you can rightfully stake is ignorance.

    So yes, for the reasons stated, discussion with you is futile because you’re just another faithist, albeit of a different kind. Capiche?

  • cindy

    Okay, Roger.

  • cindy

    178 –

    You obviously have been ignoring the evidence I provided.

    You and Dr.D keep repeating these mantras such as your claim that the lessons of the past are being heeded. There are politics and profits involved. Perhaps they have learned as much about how to keep their added covered.

    I bet you didn’t bother with troll’s link which discusses Toyota’s lies about your favored mini reactor.

    Again, why should we except unsupported claims from the Church of Nuclear Energy Apologists?

  • Roger, of course you don’t want to stay on subject.

    Indeed, you don’t appear to want to stay on any subject because your arguments make no sense and changing the subject is one of the ways you try to conceal that.

    Cindy, once again you have confused me. Perhaps you have been spending too much time talking to Roger…

  • Irv, my email is posted on the top right of the navigation bar. We need to talk.

  • cindy

    Read the 1st two sentences as one…my phone does what it wants.

  • cindy

    Panels on rooftops don’t. Generate better than 20% of home use?

    Nuclear plants could not be closed as the switch is made? Your argument seems to presume an entire nuclear shut down. I would expect with real backing and serious effort…solar would be developed quickly.

  • BTW, Cindy and “troll,” you have email in your box. I need a response.

  • Case you missed it, Christopher, I don’t want to stay on your point. I don’t accept the very premises you and Dreadful are coming from. So I shall repeat it again and get into your head once and for all: there is no arguing with true believers and that’s what both of you are.

    I hope this settles it for you once and fall all.

  • I also understand that it is not the case that solar is uneconomic solely due to energy transportation.

    There is already a large solar power plant near Sevilla in Spain and I don’t see any reason why we can’t cover large areas of the Sahara and other deserts with solar power plants too.

    In addition to the power generated, it would presumably help with climate change and desertification issues too…

  • Cindy, so you agree that your remark about deaths at Sellafield was wrong. As that is the actual fact, then surely it is you that is simply trying to win an argument rather than have a realistic picture?

    Re your #184 and taking your points in order, I haven’t made any speculations, so your words are confusing and irrelevant.

    You haven’t given me any evidence of anything, I’ve simply rebutted your poor logic, whilst sympathising with your concerns.

    As to the Doc’s point, which was that reprocessing would reduce the transportation risk (that is risk, not actual danger), your response was to quote some information about it being uneconomical and increases the risk of proliferation.

    The economics and proliferation risk have nothing to do with the reduction in transportation danger that reprocessing would produce, so you are trying to rebut apples with oranges.

    As to your #185, it was YOU that made the assertion about a tightrope walker’s safety and the height that they are at, which I simply pointed out isn’t the case, so your response appears to carry no sense…

    Finally, as I believe I’ve already stated, I have no problem with solar power. However, it does need to be heavily subsidised and still isn’t cheap, and even then the return on investment is around 10-20 years, which most people can’t afford to do.

    Panels on rooftops do not generate enough energy to run a home.

  • Cindy

    The problems with why we cannot go solar are the same ones claimed by the nuclear supporters in 1978. Bet those problems would be remedied by now. Start now and I bet we could begin to improve solar.

    Solar is only inadequate when you think you have to build a site that transports energy. But I understand that panels on most every rooftop would be a solution. Of course, this is not a solution supported by capitalism (power industry) and therefore it is not supported by gov’t.

    I’ve looked at systems designed to run individual homes that look perfectly adequate and very affordable.

  • Cindy, a tightrope walker is NOT safer at a height of 60 feet, 120 feet or 120 miles.

    That’s sort of the point.

  • 182

    Do any f you Brits ever give evidence for your speculations? Or are we just supposed to take your word for it.

    I just gave you a lot of evidence, you are ignoring it and simply restating your bias.

    Re my rebuttal of Dr.D. I am not sure what it is you don’t get. It’s evident. He claimed that if we could do x then things would be better. If we cannot do x, it is an empty claim.

  • 178 –

    I concede that (though it is likely that even more deaths resulted than the 30 presumed, based on the inability to account for them adequately) suspected deaths are not known deaths.

    Though a technically accurate objection, this reminds me of the tobacco industry’s defense of cancer. If the point is to win the argument rather than have a realistic picture, then you win that point.

  • Cindy, a tightrope walker is NOT safer at a height of 60 feet, 120 feet or 120 miles.

    What good are theoretical questions that aren’t based in fact?

    We don’t kill people every time radioactive waste is transported.

    Solar energy, which I am also in favour of, is also not profitable and requires subsidy, is also unreliable as an energy source and doesn’t provide enough energy.

    Your #180 appears to be an attempt to rebut Doc D’s argument about reprocessing reducing transportation risk by stating that it is uneconomical and logistically challenged. I fail to follow your logic…

  • That would be from this site, which also keeps track of significant nuclear accidents by decade since the 1940s.

  • Dr.D,

    Re your unsubstantiated claim that legalizing reprocessing would reduce transportation risk:

    Reprocessing, which recycles used fuel in an attempt to lower the amount of total waste, has not had much success in the United States because it is highly uneconomical and it greatly increases the risk of proliferation. Commercial-scale reprocessing facilities handle so much radioactive spent fuel that it is difficult to accurately keep track of in a timely matter. Stolen material could go unnoticed for years. Some claim that reprocessing technologies are “far more proliferation-prone than direct disposal.” The Department of Energy estimates that it would cost $40 billion to reprocess all of the spent fuel in the United States – a heavy burden for tax payers or energy users.

  • Christopher Rose,

    Yes, nuclear is a tad safer since they’ve stopped actually dumping the radioactive waste directly into water-bodies. A tightrope walker is safer at 60 feet off the ground than at 120 feet. So, technically you are right, but what does that mean? What good is the safety of a plant if you kill people every time your transport the high level radioactive waste? (Among all the other things that have not been improved or prepared for that I mentioned.)

    Since nuclear power is not profitable and requires subsidy, I would think that a full scale solar effort would be adequate to replace the 20% of energy that comes from nuclear, in the US, say. Stop subsidizing nuclear and start installing solar panels directly on buildings.

    That’s just a guess, though. I’ll be sure to check it out.

  • Cindy, it is a big climb down from HAS caused deaths, as you first stated, to MAY HAVE.

    As to Sellafield, the events of over half a century ago have little to do with the events of today, as lessons have been learned from past mistakes…

  • link to the reprint from the atomic science bulletin above

  • WINDSCALE, U.K. – The 1957 Windscale reactor disaster – Britain’s worst nuclear accident – may have caused up to 260 cases of thyroid cancer, 13 of them fatal, according to the National Radiological Protection Board. (“Daily News” 21st February 1983)

    In the real world where gov’t an business opinions rule, actual dangers are marginalized by those with the power to do so. Facts are contaminated with the beliefs of whoever is in charge and marginalized or distorted by political agendas. The Windscale accident information apparently suffered from this with information simply repressed or denied or ignored and the bearers of bad tidings intimidated.

    From the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

    Only in subsequent years did it become clear how incomplete and misleading the official information was at the time of the fire. The radioactive iodine had not been carried out to sea; on the contrary, the wind had borne some 20,000 curies of it the breadth of England and across much of Northern Europe. Furthermore, as was revealed only in the 1980s, the reactor had been irradiating material to produce bomb triggers; the release had also included a significant quantity of the dangerous alpha-emitter poloniurn 210. British nuclear critics published an analysis indicating that the population exposure resulting from the Windscale fire, far from presenting no hazard to the public, would have caused upwards of 30 extra deaths from cancer. The government’s National Radiological Protection Board confirmed these findings in November 1983. [keep in mind that the NRPB was interested in downplaying risks and negativities]

    The official inquiry into the Windscale fire made its report in 1958, but the full text was never published. The inquiry concluded that it would be too expensive to modify the No. 2 reactor; both reactors were permanently shut down and plugged with concrete.

    And now we have another pile of nuclear rubble, which likely no one has the money to clean up, like the 2.9 billion needed for the Hanford mess.

    Today the massive concrete stacks at the site, now called Sellafield, are showing obvious signs of age. British Nuclear Fuels, which has operated the site since 1971, concedes that something will have to be done about the two defunct reactors. However, dismantling them – especially the heavily contaminated No. 1 pile – and disposing of the radioactive rubble, with minimal radiation exposure of workers and the public, will pose a daunting technical challenge. No one yet knows how much it will cost, but one way or another the funds will come from Britain’s taxpayers.

  • troll

    …think of all the weapons grade plutonium we could put to use in those mini-reactors pdf!

    two birds and all that

    the public sector should not insure or indemnify businesses in the fission industry

  • You’ve got a full-steam-ahead Gish gallop going on there, Cindy. Can’t hope to tackle everything.

    If you weasle out of responding, I will take it as an admission that you are wrong. Insinuating my evidence is bullshit and claiming you can’t respond is a mere tactic. It won’t fly. Especially after you’ve been dodging around as you have making claims without supporting them by any evidence whilst calling other people out as hysterical.

    I have attempted, in good faith, to support what I say. The support for what I say is overwhelming.

  • 170 – The 33 death figure comes from this page: Nuclear and radiation accidents by death toll. I will look around to see if I can find confirming info.

  • Doc D, love that RationalWiki site you linked to.

  • Roger, this from you is hilarious “That’s the power of self-denial,of staying in the wrong because being in the right is not part of their itinerary.”

    You have a seemingly natural talent for self denial and being wrong. Indeed, I can’t actually remember you being right about anything ever in all your time on Blogcritics.

    All you do is misunderstand people and indulge in your inherent ability to make simple things complicated and complicated things completely incomprehensible.

    The only thing that is intractable here is your dimwittedness. Frankly I prefer Irv…!

    troll, AK has not been banned.

    Cindy, there are obviously risks involved in the use of nuclear power but those risks are less than they used to be, despite recent events.

    Given the climate issues we are facing and until nuclear fusion becomes possible, it is difficult to see how it can be completely replaced by other, less risky technologies.

    One example of how newer, safer, more modern implementations of nuclear power generation can be utilised is the innovative Toshiba 4S (Super Safe, Small and Simple) reactors.

    “These reactors are like nuclear building blocks, built on a factory production line and transported by truck to be installed 30 meters under the ground.

    Each 4S puts out 10 megawatts of electricity or enough for 2000 Japanese homes. 4S reactors are fueled at the factory, put in place to run for 20 years then returned to the factory for refueling.

    They are sodium-cooled and pretty darned impossible to melt down. If the cooling system is compromised they automatically shut down and just sit there in a block of sodium.”

    This new type of reactor is not yet in service and still has to overcome various regulatory and administrative issues but does show that safer iterations of this technology can be implemented.

  • You’ve got a full-steam-ahead Gish gallop going on there, Cindy. Can’t hope to tackle everything.

    For now, as a Brit, one thing leaps out at me:

    Where does your figure of 33 deaths from the 1957 Windscale fire come from?

  • Oh, did I mention that the 816 people who will die (eventually) because the nuclear waste truck passed them were all adults? The gov’t just left children out as they were too difficult to account for. (You know, they don’t drive…so who knows how many of them will be exposed and die.)

    Wonder what that truck-driving job pays!

  • Nighty night, Roger.

  • “Because of public perception, nuclear waste management is subject to far higher safety standards than are actually necessary.” — Dr.D

    But the gov’t says, there are cancer fatalities known to be associated with transporting high level waste–that is without accident or attack. Thus, when you transport waste correctly people will die.

    The fellow in this video will explain the figures regarding the Hanford site.

    Hanford nuclear waste dump…er…reservation (chuckle) needs 2.9 billion for clean-up by 2013.

    Supporting reference from DOE/EIS-0396 (pdf): See page S-52 of the for TABLE S.4-10—Summary of In-Transit, Truck Transportation Impacts

    LCF = 816

    LCF Latent Cancer Fatality

    My theory is the pro-nuclear folks are making presumptions based on their belief that nuclear is not dangerous, having merely perused the superficial aspects. They would be advised to thoroughly investigate what is happening at Hanford and hear the people living that nightmare on the subject. They are well-prepared if marginalized.

  • Checking out, Cindy and Mark. It ain’t worth it.


  • troll

    ….Am I not the most despised of the despised?

    not to worry Irv – I’ll always despise you and the malevolent wind that drove you onto our rocky shore


    now return to your meds

    ps: and speaking of foul winds…hey you guys – Alan’s been banned?

    Really? come-on…really?

  • At California Nuclear Plant, Earthquake Response Plan Not Required

    Oh yeah, everything is just ducky Dr.D. They’ve got it all taken care of. Love the over-the-top preparedness.

  • From ‘Top 10 things you don’t want to hear from your local nuclear power plant management.’:

    ‘We didn’t notice the emergency water cooling pump didn’t work.’

    For 18 months, operators at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant near San Luis Obispo didn’t realize that a system to pump water into one of their reactors during an emergency wasn’t working.

    It had been accidentally disabled by the plant’s own engineers, according to a report issued Thursday on the safety of nuclear reactors in the United States.

    The report, from the Union of Concerned Scientists watchdog group, lists 14 recent “near misses” – instances in which serious problems at a plant required federal regulators to respond. (link)

  • I wish for once, Cohen, that you’d be a force for the good.

    Surprise me, will you?

  • 160 –

    They are merely unquestioningly confident in their own intelligence. They think they are beyond being fooled.

  • From within troll’s link comes some interesting info for those who like facts. Just a couple tidbits from skimming the chapter Terrorist Attacks on Spent Fuel Storage (25-37)

    2.2.1 pg 31 “U.S. commercial nuclear power plants are not required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to defend against air attacks.”

    2.2.2 pg 31 “Commission-developed design basis threat (DBT), which includes a ground assault.”

    pg 33 “The committee does not have enough information to judge whether the measures at power plants are in fact sufficient to defend against either a DBT or a beyond-DBT attack on spent fuel storage. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission declined to provide detailed briefings to the committee on surveillance, security procedures, and security training at commercial nuclear power plants. Consequently, the committee was unable to evaluate their effectiveness, A recent General Accounting Office report (GAO, 2003) was critical of some of these procedures, but the committee has no basis for judging whether these criticisms were justified.”

    2.2.3 pg 34 “Some plants have misplaced fuel rod pieces.”

    2.3 pg. 35 “…attacks by knowledgeable terrorists with access to advanced weapons might cause considerable physical damage to a spent fuel storage facility, especially in a suicide attack….It may not be possible to deter such an attack…”

  • Pardon me, Cindy, but you’re dealing with intractable humans – Dreadful, Christopher Rose, Archie Bunker, you name it.

    Sure, they’ll claim their identity until their last breath. That’s the power of self-denial,of staying in the wrong because being in the right is not part of their itinerary.

    And so, the saga continues.

  • Your # 157

    You’re right, I don’t make no sense…and you know why?

    Cause only you do.

    And you know why I know this for a certainty?

    Cause you lecture all of us at great length, every which way but loose, and that too; how wise, smart and sensible you are. That’s why.

  • One more comment before we were so rudely interrupted by so much hysterical blather and mindless noise. You see there is an even greater, mindless, pseudo intellectual at blogocritter-land who is protected by you at least, somewhat cultivated pseudo intellectuals.

    Nevertheless, having said all that gratuitous ad hominem-y thingy things, allow me to say to you dee-dee; that if I were you, I’d say; “hey Cohen; shut the fuck up” and or “go fuck yoursefl.” Of which one or the other or both should be ample and suffice rather well.

    But knowing you, of course, you could just simply delete out my comments entirely and be done with it. And of course, if you find such behavior and actions to be thoroughly distasteful and unenlightened and intolerant; and you don’t want to soil your hands by deleting me out entirely; you could just simply allow your good ole boy, pal and crony boss, rosie the pooh, do it for you.

    So what say you, what’ll it be?

  • Cohen, sorry to say you make no sense. Care to rephrase it in a word or two?

  • Here are the larger two accidents (but not all) resulting in deaths from nuclear use:

    Aside from Chernobyl, here are two more

    200+ fatalities – Mayak nuclear waste storage tank explosion, (Chelyabinsk, Soviet Union, 29 September 1957), figure is a conservative estimate, 270,000 people were exposed to dangerous radiation levels. Over thirty small communities had been removed from Soviet maps between 1958 and 1991.

    33 fatalities– Windscale, United Kingdom, October 8, 1957. Fire ignites plutonium piles and contaminates surrounding dairy farms. (wikipedia)

  • Wait a minute, wait a minute…what the fuck’s going on here?…I thought I was totally, completely and absolutely persona non grata. Someone to be thoroughly and utterly shunned and avoided at all costs. Shee-it, again, what the fuck’s going on here!

    Am I not the most despised of the despised? Do I not respond in kind as Archillochus (I spare you the Greek, but translate with poetic fervor and of course, with autistic license) “I know this one great thing for a certainty, he who does me wrong and speaks ill of me; upon him I heap many, many, vile and evil reproaches!” Is that not ad hominem-y enough for youse slime, scum dogs?

    “Ideas, ideas.” Haven’t I been emphasizing and stressing them for the past five months I have been here at Blogo-critter-land-oh-world? And all of a sudden doctah, phony, pseudo intellectual dreary-fullness, you are now suddenly recognizing such; and especially when it suits your rather expedient needs in your own defense and convenient attack against good ole, blogo boy,Raj, the still not so artful dodger.

    And ironically my comment is from another thread entirely removed from this one. Well, hosannah, hosannah, there really ain’t nothing strange and oddball and incongruous under the sun after all. Now is there?

    But I’ll let you dudes and one dude-etter fight your hysterical fight over this battle of hysteria of yours. So may hysterical hysteria be hysterically presented, analyzed and criticized till the hysterical end of hysterical time.

  • Link for the first quote.

  • Some scientists who are trying to make it seem like nuclear power isn’t as safe as people with all the opinions based on facts make it out to be:

    It must be borne in mind that a large-scale expansion of nuclear power in the United States or worldwide under existing conditions would be accompanied by an increased risk of catastrophic events—a risk not associated with any of the non-nuclear means for reducing global warming.

    These catastrophic events include a massive release of radiation due to a power plant meltdown or terrorist attack, or the death of tens of thousands due to the detonation of a nuclear weapon made with materials obtained from a civilian—most likely non-U.S.—nuclear power system.

    Expansion of nuclear power would also produce large amounts of radioactive waste that would pose a serious hazard as long as there remain no facilities for safe long-term disposal.

    …and in other news…

    Radioactive nuclear reactors are resting around the globe on the seafloor in derelict subs–some the results of accidents, some intentionally dumped. Whether they pose a threat to marine and human life now, or if they ever will, remains an open question–and one that may not be answered for another thousand years. (link)

  • That should be enough reason for a person with even a teeny brain to be outraged about its use.

  • Apparently nuclear power is still not viable without gov’t subsidies (something I didn’t know) and only provides 20% of US power.

    So, the only apparent reason for its use is weapons, as troll pointed out somewhere.

  • Cindy, where are you?

    I want to shut up the English contingent. Enough is enough, all good intentions and the philosophy of liberal democracies to the contrary.

    It stinks to high heavens.

  • As far as I’m concerned, there is no arguing with these motherfuckers.

    In “troll’s” language of choice, let ’em all go under the bridge.

  • And yet nowhere else that I can find…

  • troll

    …then I’ll change my ‘my understanding is’ to ‘it is reported by the Telegraph that’

  • troll, the Telegraph is a notoriously unreliable right wing propaganda rag and very little it says can be trusted…

  • Ruvy, yes, please don’t warn us further. Your self-serving blether is actually embarrassingly ignorant and only serves to prove why extremists like you should be kept as far away from any real power as possible.

  • Roger, all you are doing is proving my argument. You can’t stay on point and you aren’t making any sense…

  • I’m not criticizing his statement, just pointing out that your representation of it was wrong.

  • Called it how I see it, good doc. There was no direct reference to you, only an allusion.

    And what’s exactly wrong with Irv’s statement? You haven’t said.

  • troll


    I haven’t seen this reported widely either

  • troll: I hadn’t heard that anyone had died at Fukushima. Then again, I am getting most of my information from the BBC, which obviously is a shill for the nuclear industry.

    It’s clearly a far less reliable source of information than headlines like these, which were the first two to pop up when I Googled “nuclear deaths” earlier:

    “Japan nuclear plant doused in water as death toll rises”
    “Nuclear crisis grows as death toll mounts”

    Apparently the radioactive tsunami which killed all those thousands of people was caused by a radioactive Fukushima plant worker nipping outside to take a radioactive leak in the ocean.

  • As Irvin Cohen had aptly remarked in his rare moment of lucidity and unusual sobriety, Handy, great man deal with ideas. Those who are notch below discuss events. Only the rubble and the uncultivated concern themselves with “facts.”

    Cass closed.

    Cass (whoever he might be) wasn’t paying attention. Irv charged that the uncultivated concerned themselves with people.

    No ad hominem in my remarks, Dreadful.

    Then what do you call comments like this:

    “even Englishmen, contrary to their legendary common sense and sense of fair play, are not beyond ‘dirty pool’ when their cherished beliefs are challenged”

    And this:

    “Even fools have their moments”

    Or this:

    “None can conceive a middle ground the true believers that they are”?

  • No ad hominem in my remarks, Dreadful. I took you head on. It’s you who were flirting with it.

  • Roger, for someone who supposedly finds ad hominems abhorrent, you’re certainly throwing them about with gusto.

  • @ #120: But Cindy, you’re not being overwhelmed with radioactivity. All you’re doing is posting a number of links which make it seem so.

    I could just as easily list the known cases of malaria in the United States and make it seem as if there’s a pandemic.

  • Let’s forget the two lives – no big deal in the larger scheme of things, and certainly no kind of collateral damage by the good doc’s estimation – and resume the rational discussion about the safety of nuclear plants in general, as per Handy.

    Everybody happy?

  • I suppose, Handy, I ought to have included you in the list of the usual suspects, the thoroughly “modern men,” that is. I hesitated simply because I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt. Apparently, it was a right decision on my part because without my prompting, you came out unabashed, declaring your true colors.

    Not that I’m surprised one bit. You too suffer from the affliction known as human hubris.

  • cindy

    Gimme a sec DrD, it’d not two.

  • cindy

    Make that, ‘sort’ of eventuality are they? It’s too expensive.

  • troll

    129 – at fukushima 1 that is

  • cindy

    But, but, but…nobody’s gonna plan for that sirt

  • cindy

    Wonder what happens if a windmill or a solar panel becomes a target of terrorism.

    Now, how safe is it, I wonder, to transport high level radioactive waste when terrorism is a possibility?

  • troll

    my understanding is that 5 workers have died – 2 are missing – 21 are injured so far

  • … men …

  • As Irvin Cohen had aptly remarked in his rare moment of lucidity and unusual sobriety, Handy, great man deal with ideas. Those who are notch below discuss events. Only the rubble and the uncultivated concern themselves with “facts.”

    Cass closed.

  • There is a page that lists nuclear disaster deaths. More exist than Chernobyl.

    Yes… a grand total of two. That’s if you look at commercial power plants only (which is the topic of this discussion), and only at those deaths which actually occurred through exposure to nuclear materials and not because of a burst steam pipe, as happened at Mihama in Japan in 2004, killing five workers, or carbon dioxide poisoning, which killed two at Bohunice in what is now the Czech Republic in 1977.

    For comparison, just in the US since 2003 23 people have died in accidents at fossil fuel power stations and another 13 at hydroelectric ones.

  • Doc D makes consistently logical, calm arguments. He is answered with unnecessary hostility. Why not just have a discussion? I knew Roger was allergic to facts when it comes to news, current events, politics…he makes up his own truth inside his head and dares you to challenge it. But “scientism”? Puh-leez.

  • troll

    Even Noam Chomsky doesn’t get it. Hard for smart or educated folks.

    Cindy – intriguing observation

  • He thinks I do because it’s convenient for him to think I do. Just a cheap shot on the part of the good doctor, allowing him the position of science reigning supreme run unopposed.

    Which goes to show that even Englishmen, contrary to their legendary common sense and sense of fair play, are not beyond “dirty pool” when the9 cherished beliefs are challenged.

  • troll

    storage assessmtnt – link courtesy of murmur55 on twitter

  • John Lake

    A few thousand years from now we shall have evolved to the point that radiation produces no harm. Unfortunately we probably won’t make the break.

  • cindy

    The world water supply is increasingly radioactive because of nuclear.

    And if you read my post you will see that hugeamounts of radioactivity have been spewed from reactors during normal use.

    I am made of water = I live in a naturally radioactive world
    Hold my head under water = Overwhelm me with radioactivity

    That analogy works for me.

  • Also, as far as storage goes, the US still has no long term solution.

    Storage would be less of an issue if reprocessing were permitted.

  • cindy

    108 –

    I don’t get it. I missed something.

  • cindy

    114 luggage and people…

  • cindy

    None. My comment was only to your general one about Roger as I know he does not dispose of science based on philosophy and I think you think he does.

    On another note. There is a page that lists nuclear disaster deaths. More exist than Chernobyl. Also, as far as storage goes, the US still has no long term solution.

  • @112

    Unwittingly no doubt, and against their best intention. Even fools have their moments.

    Still, I wouldn’t underestimate the nature of the beast that lurks within.

  • John Lake

    re-check. no capitilization.
    The Airports are reporting traces of radiation coming from luggage from Japan. Nothing powerful enough to cause concern

  • It’s the spirit of the times, Cindy. Dreadful, Christopher, Cannonshop, the lately resurrected zingzing – here’s your list of the usual suspects.

    I’m all for secularization of society and getting rid of the old prejudices, but these folks have taken the idea of human enlightenment to extreme and in the process, made themselves into gods.

    Mark (aka “troll”) had it right in one of his comments. it’s nothing but human hubris. You can’t argue facts with these critters. You’ve got to undermine their very foundation, which is made of sand.

  • John Lake

    Roger: (suddenly you are capitalizing your ‘R’?)… Ruvi is often a source of light. And when I penned the more recent artice, about divine retribution, the good Doctor may have influenced me a tad.

  • He doesn’t get the problems with positivism.

    What I don’t get is of what possible use antipositivism is in assessing whether radiation is harmful to humans.

  • cindy

    Even Noam Chomsky doesn’t get it. Hard for smart or educated folks.

  • Dreadful equally so when it comes to the denial.

    What am I denying?

  • Leave those goalposts where they are, Cindy. I was responding to your citations which are concerned with regular emissions of radiation from power stations, not nuclear accidents, so the analogy is your default state as a water-based lifeform, not you drowning.

  • cindy


    He really means it, Roger. He doesn’t get the problems with positivism. I didn’t either. It goes against indoctrination. Something one must struggle to see. He’s not inclined to even try. Look how difficult a time I had even being willing.

  • cindy


    I am like 97% water (or some such), try holding my head under though. Your point is fallacious when applying it here.

  • Very astute, John Lake. Of course you must be aware that in your cleverness, you’re posing this rhetorical question to wrong persons. Ruvy’s a fanatic when it comes to the spiritual, Dreadful equally so when it comes to the denial.

    None can conceive a middle ground the true believers that they are. The nature of the beast.

  • T hat’s baloney, Dreadful, and another, however thinly veiled attempt at ad homimen. You have no reason whatever to make that charge, never mind make it stick. And the only reason you’re doing it is because your own shallow foundations are being challenged.

  • John Lake

    Dreadful and Ruvi –
    If you are still interested in speculating about the incidence of divine intervention in the crises in Japan, I made some comment. I see you are spanning the site.

  • he’s arguing from the position of assumed knowledge instead of adopting a more reasonable stance of acknowledging ignorance.

    On the contrary, Roger, you are misrepresenting my starting point based on your own assumptions.

    I personally feel – and I base this not on assumptions but on your past behavior – that you do not like scientific reality being at odds with some of your pet philosophical positions, so you try to relegate science to the status of just another philosophical system, no better or worse than any of the others, including the ones that are complete and utter bollocks.

    Very helpful…

  • Ruvy

    You see, you guys are talking about nuclear plants and their possible dangers – all of which is very nice. But you are not mentioning the cause of the nuclear disaster in Japan – the 9.0 earthquake and the 60 subsequent quakes since 11 March 2011. Two more happened a little while ago near Japan.

    Doctor Dreadful

    And in other news, water sometimes falls out of the sky.

    Dismissive arrogance at its best.

    I can’t accurately describe the kind of individual who would blindly dismiss real danger when it is staring him in the face without some censor (like Doctor Dreadful) editing it out. I won’t even bother warning you further. When you die from the disasters that hit you, you will be like deer stuck in headlights as the train of History runs him down.

    Nuclear plants and the disasters they cause are the smallest of the issues we all face.

  • And don’t be coming off with this old tired rebuttal of yours regarding philosophy being impractical. It’s lame to say the least, verging on ad hominem, and you know it. We’re witnessing the practicality of your and Dreadful’s mindset as we speak.

    To be continued, no doubt.

  • Christopher, you’re failing to comprehend. Mine wasn’t an argument, only punched holes in the kind of stance you and Dreadful are guilty of.

    It’s no wonder you’d come in Dreadful’s defense. It was expected.

  • zingzing

    any type of energy can be dangerous and/or destructive. oil spills, dams for electricity displace people and destroy food chains, coal pollutes. nuclear energy surely has its problems, and having nuclear plants so close to fault lines is rather troubling, but if you want to get rid of a type of energy just because it is potentially dangerous, you’d have to get rid of oil, electric and coal energy as well. that’d be nice, of course, but it’s also a bit far-fetched at the moment.

    and out of all four, nuclear energy has been
    relatively clean, relatively safe and relatively non-destructive so far. maybe you view that “so far” as quickly coming due.

  • Roger, there isn’t enough time to rebut all your arguments because, like almost all philosophers and theorists, you are unbelievably prolix and unfocussed.

    However, I must point out your biggest presumptive error, which is when you write of “all who place all their faith in scientism”.

    Nobody who believes in the scientific process of enquiry places all their “faith” in such processes. The processes themselves, as well as whatever is being researched, all is temporary and only useful when it delivers results.

    Philosophers lack this practicality, as you so regularly demonstrate…

  • troll

    hubris…my fav

    related to cavalier

  • … designed …

  • The problem with Dreadful, Cindy, he’s arguing from the position of assumed knowledge instead of adopting a more reasonable stance of acknowledging ignorance. And human resiliency is his hobby horse, an ace in the hole design to defeat all counterarguments.

    But then again, that’s quite typical of all who place all their faith in scientism, unencumbered besides by all undue influences due to corporatism, the profit motive, the inherent goodness of human nature (under the circumstances), not to mention complicit governments.

    Dreadful is living in a self-conceived utopia, a cocoon of his own making. Taking about being idealistic?

    Wrong! This kind of faith verges on being naive. But you can’t really argue with true believers for in so doing, you’re undermining their conceptual and existential foundations.

  • Cindy,

    Again, “radioactive” does not necessarily mean “dangerous”. You, I and every single organism that has ever lived have been constantly bombarded with radiation since the instant we were conceived – at far higher doses, I might add, than are routinely released from nuclear plants whether deliberately or by accident.

  • cindy

    Bungling, cover-ups define Japanese nuclear power

    TOKYO – Behind Japan’s escalating nuclear crisis sits a scandal-ridden energy industry in a comfy relationship with government regulators often willing to overlook safety lapses.

    Leaks of radioactive steam and workers contaminated with radiation are just part of the disturbing catalog of accidents that have occurred over the years and been belatedly reported to the public, if at all.

    In one case, workers hand-mixed uranium in stainless steel buckets, instead of processing by machine, so the fuel could be reused, exposing hundreds of workers to radiation. Two later died.

    “Everything is a secret,” said Kei Sugaoka, a former nuclear power plant engineer in Japan who now lives in California. “There’s not enough transparency in the industry.”

    They must be talking about some other country right? Can’t happen in the modern marvel of preparedness and technological expertise that is Japan.

  • cindy

    One more, for now. Dr.D, you say that because of public concern that transportation and storage have been made adequate. (Actually I am finding that is not so even in the US. But that’s for later. For now, say I hold my disagreement where this claim pertains to the US.) Did you mean to apply this claim to the storage and transportation worldwide?

  • cindy

    Oh, another area of risk for environmental contamination I forgot is mining.

  • cindy

    New NIRS Briefing Paper: Nuclear Energy is Dirty Energy (and does not fit into a “clean energy standard”) [pdf]. If the radiation released routinely from nuclear reactors were the color and texture of oil, no one would ever again confuse nuclear power with “clean.” January 25, 2011.

  • cindy


    …It doesn’t take an accident for a nuclear power plant to release radioactivity into our air, water and soil. All it takes is the plant’s everyday routine operation, and federal regulations permit these radioactive releases. (link)

  • cindy

    TRITIUM from Nuclear Power Plants: Its Biological Hazards

    Tritium is radioactive hydrogen. It is generated in nature by the interaction between cosmic rays and the atmosphere. The average natural concentration of tritium in environmental waters has been estimated to range from 3.2 to 24 picocuries per liter of water. Although naturally occurring on Earth, significant amounts of tritium are also generated by human activity, including the operation of nuclear power plants, the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and atomic bomb testing. In fact, releases of tritium from nuclear power plants to the atmosphere have reached as high as tens of thousands of curies in one year, and releases to bodies of water have measured as high as tens of millions of picocuries per liter.

    “The current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard for permissible levels of tritium in drinking water is 20,000 picocuries per liter. Please note: permissible does not mean safe.” (link)

  • cindy

    …last time I checked the fatality count at Fukushima was zero

    I see…ONLY Chernobyl…(so far)

    and that was down to a combination of bad management, irresponsibility and excessive and unnecessary secrecy.

    If your point is that nuclear energy exists in some ficticious world where these things have been eradicated, we’ll rethink. In the mean time though, I think we can add these factors to the dangers of nuclear energy as a workable plan. And thanks! I failed to liust these with transportation, storage, et al.

  • No I’m not; the rate of incidence was. Anyway, rhe point of the comment was to supply meaning to Cindy’s phrase of “collateral damage.”

    Sorry I wasn’t clear enough.

  • trol l
  • Roger, you’re surely not suggesting that breast cancer was unknown 50 years ago? I do hope not. Swift mentions it in Gulliver’s Travels, and Fanny Burney wrote a graphic account of her own mastectomy surgery – performed without benefit of anesthesia…

  • Human bodies have a phenomenal resiliency. We can adjust to just about anything, radiations, carcinogens, pollutants. Never mind the increased accidents of breast cancer or other diseases unknown to humankind 50 years ago. It takes a long time to kill a human.

  • What collateral damage?

    Cindy, last time I checked the fatality count at Fukushima was zero. In fact, the only civilian nuclear accident ever to result in any deaths was Chernobyl, and that was down to a combination of bad management, irresponsibility and excessive and unnecessary secrecy.

    That doesn’t appear to be the case at Fukushima, and for the time being – I’ll grant you that, since as I said we need to see how this thing pans out – radiation levels at and near the plant are nothing like Chernobyl.

    Just being exposed to higher-than-normal levels of radiation doesn’t mean that you are going to die, or get cancer, or grow an extra pair of eyes. The levels of exposure which will cause sickness or death are well known, and they diminish rapidly with time. Fortunately, the nastiest particles have a very short half-life.

  • I failed to give my definition of cavalier. Look at what is happening in Japan and still defend nuclear power. That, in my book, IS cavalier. It means that you, like the military, can handle what is sickeningly called by the military, collateral damage i.e. dead people–based on a choice (among better ones) of energy.

    You also have far too much faith in the infallibility of human designs and precautions–it allows no room for ooops. 1,200 years is a spit in the bucket.

    Solar, wind, geothermal, from what I know are pretty safe, unless a windmill falls down on top of you.

    All of the risks you mention are ones we could come back from. If a bridge or a building or even a dam fails it doesn’t have the potential for destruction or for adding radiation to the total world water pico-curie level that nuclear does–a level that cannot ever be reduced. A friend of mine, when you played a trick on her, used to say, “It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, but I WILL get you back.” I don’t think you are allowing for additive effect.

    So, I call your risk analogy oranges and turnips.

    Oh, and I am not buying your assertion that everything is okay with transportation and storage, but I don’t have time right now to see what the state of the art is. Still, it occurs to me, that the state of the art could hardly account for accidents of travel. I will also find out later how much plutonium cannot be accounted for now vs the last time I looked.

  • DrD has failed to deal with waste transportation and storage, and theft and loss.

    Because of public perception, nuclear waste management is subject to far higher safety standards than are actually necessary.

    Cavalier comments about how much things cost and why no one would build or invest to that level of safety are probaby much easier to swallow from safe locations.

    Cindy, no point in the known universe is a “safe” location.

    I live a few miles from the San Andreas Fault. There are several nuclear power stations along the California coast which are affected by quakes in that zone.

    Cannonshop lives in Washington, an area at even higher risk from “the Big One” and which also has a couple of active reactors.

    So I don’t think either of us is being cavalier about that issue.

  • troll

    capitalists refuse to invest in nuclear without a get out of jail free card from the gov…for just this kind of event

    the financial risk is too great even for the most daring – that should say something to proponents

  • cindy

    DrD has failed to deal with waste transportation and storage, and theft and loss.

    Cavalier comments about how much things cost and why no one would build or invest to that level of safety are probaby much easier to swallow from safe locations.

    If no one wanted to assure safety they should have gone with something safe in the first place.

  • cindy

    My larger point: it was capitalists who determined not to invest in solar as the larger solution. They went with nuclear. They did it for their own enrichment, despite that it would prove unsafe.

  • cindy

    It occurs to me you may just be taking my point literally. In that case, I don’t really mean me personally. I know I can buy solar panels and/or build a solar solution.

    I implied we, as a society, had the nuclear solution thrustupon us. The spirit in which I spoke belied my other statements–that I had protested against nuclear and it’s dangers, et al.

    If I were in Japan now, I might decide pacifism is no longer for me, having been forced to endure such horror at the insistence, by business and gov’t, that this could never happen.

  • cindy


    Don’t try to hold back any of your unfounfed prejudice and hostility toward those you imagine are doing things you dislike.

    You don’t seem to want to get my point, so I won’t bother.

    (P.S. Been to classes at Mother Earth News. There goes that theory.)

  • John Lake

    Kurtz the Second. Love it!

  • And don’t call me “Kurtz,” Dreadful. As of 7 AM, Central Time, that name is unmentionable.

  • Well, Dreadful, you certainly share greater confidence in human wisdom than I do. It’s one thing being idealistic, another thing being …

    But if you think the record justifies it, go right ahead.

  • Cannonshop

    Cindy, Somewhere around here, I have a link to a CAPITALIST who’ll be very happy to sell you complete step-by-step instructions (including materials get-lists) for building your own wind-turbine, Solar Array, along with the wiring diagrams to fit it to your house-for less than paying someone to professionally install would cost you.

    When I find the link again, I’ll even post it.

    For those of us who grew up on Mother Earth News, and built our own crystal, or penny, radio-sets, or helped our parents make a solar water-heater, or actually lived and worked with people who were building in passive-solar heating and cooling in their houses, it’s not some massive mysterious cure-all.

    Thing is, people who BUILD IT generally don’t have the time to go out and chant and hold signs to make themselves feel better about being hivebound urbanite parasites.

    When I go hiking in the hills, I usually have to take a trash-bag to clean up behind the ‘environmentalists’-the last time, it took two.

    (hint: Evian water bottles are not biodegradeable. Nor are Nature Valley wrappers, or those cheesy plastic cups your Starbucks Frappuchino comes packed in.)

    In my personal opinion, tree-huggers should be legally required to carry drip-pans to put under their cars when they go out into the mountains to ‘commune with nature’, and membership in any enviro-protest movement should require spending 90 hours a year picking up garbage in wilderness areas.

    Greenies are the fucking worst.

  • Cannonshop

    #53 For the same reason they chose a geologically unstable feature in the nevada desert-one on top of a porous layer of rock that happens to overlay the aquifer-to dump Hazmat (That’d be Yucca Mountain) instead of burying it in geologically stable granitic formations in the upper midwest.


  • I have no idea, Dreadful, why you think your statistical analysis and talk of probabilities should offer us comfort and assurance?

    I have no such expectation, Kurtz. The uninformed can run around like the proverbial decapitated Sunday lunches if they want.

    I hope, however, that once everyone has calmed down, wiser heads than those the chickens once had will prevail.

  • Germany Shuts Down Nuclear Reactors Following Japan Disaster

    The nuclear crisis in Japan has sparked a debate over the future of nuclear energy across the globe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that the country’s seven nuclear reactors built before 1980 will be shut down for a three-month review of German plant safety. On Monday, Merkel suspended plans to extend the life of Germany’s 17 nuclear reactors. –from Democracy Now

  • #63 should have started with this quote of Cannonshop at #52:

    the existing plants were built before we knew as much as we do now not only about what CAN happen (and preventative measures)

  • You’re kidding!!! That is not at all what they told us in 1978. They insisted then they knew everything!!!! And we (the dissenters) had plenty of arguments why it was a bad idea then.

    (capitalists don’t really need to know anything, they just need to be convincing–especially to people naive enough to believe them)

  • 51 – Cannonshop

    there are PLENTY of Capitalists who would be more-than-happy to sell you a solar panel (or plans for one, if you’re handy). LOTS and LOTS of them. Don’t blame the Capitalists because you’re too lazy to do the work yourself.

    When I was a teenager and spent time protesting Diablo Canyon in CA. The big excuse made by the capitalists of the late 70s was were that WE as a nation, coudn’t go with solar cuz it was too expensive to start the market and it would take too long to become affordable. That was the argument why we HAD TO GO WITH nuclear.

    The real reason was that once solar got going, there would be no money handed over to power plants. People who ALL have panels don’t need power plants.

    I was there. You won’t convince me with your mythological presumptions. How naive your arguments are. You should know better. Capitalists want a controllable, sellable market; they will screw over the earth, the ecology, and even human life for profit.

    “Do the work myself’…incredible how you support a system that you clearly don’t actually comprehend the workings of.

  • I have no idea, Dreadful, why you think your statistical analysis and talk of probabilities should offer us comfort and assurance? The same goes for your analogies of dangers from radiations with other kinds of dangers. If your point simply is that human planning cannot possibly allow for all future eventualities and acts of God, no one would disagree. To use that however as an argument on behalf of safety is not very convincing.

  • There are hundreds of dams in earthquake zones around the world, Baronius. They are designed and built to withstand quakes, but the failure of one can also endanger people many miles from the structure.

    Yet in such a situation, few people would freak out and suggest dams should no longer be built.

    And in any case, do you have any source for your suggestion that someone living 2000 miles away from a nuclear accident would be in any danger? From Chernobyl, for instance?

  • Baronius

    Dread, if San Francisco gets hit, the calamity isn’t going to be any worse for the rest of the world than it would be if an unoccupied section of the coast got hit. It would definitely be a tragedy, in the same way that New Orleans experienced a tragedy, but it wouldn’t endanger everyone 2000 miles to the east. Building a nuclear reactor on a fault line, on the other hand, is just setting up a whole lot of the population for a sucker punch.

    There are three massive lines of tectonic activity: from the US west coast down the spinal cord of South America; Japan-Philippines-Indonesia; Greece to Iran. Kansas and Siberia, not so much. It just seems painfully stupid to set up a nuclear facility within line of sight of an active volcano.

  • And in other news, water sometimes falls out of the sky.

  • In essence, you are talking about the “grease spilling off the turkey” when the turkey platter falls and breaks, and the china it was on shatters. You are also ignoring what happens to the “turkey” – planet Earth….

  • You see, you guys are talking about nuclear plants and their possible dangers – all of which is very nice. But you are not mentioning the cause of the nuclear disaster in Japan – the 9.0 earthquake and the 60 subsequent quakes since 11 March 2011. Two more happened a little while ago near Japan.

    This is just a small taste of what is in store….

  • I just don’t understand why we allow the construction of nuclear plants near faultlines.

    How about the skyscrapers and bridges of San Francisco, all of them containing hundreds of potential human pancakes for a significant part of every single day?

    Those buildings are designed against quakes – but if they get hit by one strong enough, they’re coming down – with the possibility for a far greater casualty rate even than Chernobyl.

    The Fukushima plant was designed to withstand an 8.0 temblor, which means it could cope with just about anything plate tectonics could throw at it. Unfortunately, what got thrown at it last week was a 9.0, which is orders of magnitude bigger. It’s thought to be the most powerful quake anywhere on the Pacific Rim in 1200 years.

    You frankly cannot design anything to withstand a once-in-a-millennium event. It makes no sense, economic, practical or otherwise.

  • If the problems I keep seeing warnings of actualize themselves, a lot of you will not be around to comment on them; Blogcritics certainly won’t. I notice a higher level of escapism in the comments. House MD reviews and similar topics get most of the comments.

    It strikes me that saddening realities – or saddening possibiities – are being avoided like the plague.
    Just sayin’…

  • Baronius

    I just don’t understand why we allow the construction of nuclear plants near faultlines. I don’t want to get all world-governmenty, but there are all kinds of international laws about nuclear power, and (unlike weapon development) countries don’t build nuclear energy plants in secret. Countries make energy deals all the time; you’d think they could work out regional arrangements.

  • Cannonshop

    #38 The scary part of Lieberman’s call, is that the existing plants were built before we knew as much as we do now not only about what CAN happen (and preventative measures), but also before we had the materials technology infrastructure we have today.

    IOW: the existing plants are many times more dangerous than anything on the drawing boards since the eighties-if anything, new designs should be getting expedited in order to retire the rotting, ancient and outdated plants still in service.

  • Cannonshop

    #16 Cindy, there are PLENTY of Capitalists who would be more-than-happy to sell you a solar panel (or plans for one, if you’re handy). LOTS and LOTS of them. Don’t blame the Capitalists because you’re too lazy to do the work yourself.

  • What’s the matter Boeke? Don’t you trust Mitch to make decisions for you about nuclear power?

  • Four exclamation points, no less.

    [Please don’t ever let me volunteer for an election count]

  • Boeke


    “But the Senate’s top Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, says it would be a mistake to make domestic energy decisions based on fears surrounding a tragedy in another nation.”

  • Ruvy will no doubt be back in a minute to insert a caveat explaining that writing “KABOOM!!!” in capital letters with three exclamation points gives him no pleasure whatsoever.

  • cindy

    I keep wondering how it must feel to be one of those Japanese whose views on nuclear dangers were politically marginalized.

  • troll

    …disconcerting isn’t it

  • cindy

    The fate of the entire world rests in the handsof a few people whose motto is overtly “humans are by nature greedy”, clearly a justification for the position they ARE able to empathize with–“what’s in it for me?”. Thus the question under capitalism is not: “is nuclear safe”, but rather: are the people paying for my election feeding me a good enough pitch to sell the IDEA of safety to the public?

  • troll

    Ruvy – the radioactive iodine involved has a half-life of 8 hrs

    worry about the cesium-137…half-life – 30 yrs

  • KABOOM!!!!

  • It’s gonna get worse, troll. You’ll have to hide UNDER your bridge with the iodized salt tablets….

  • troll

    kyodo news reporting that tepco is unable to re-flood the cooling pools for spent fuel at reactor 4

  • (mentally insert: “it”)

  • Some U.S. legislators are suggesting heightened scrutiny of America’s nuclear energy program in the wake of Japan’s crisis. Independent Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman says new nuclear facility construction should be placed on hold pending a full assessment of potential risks. But the Senate’s top Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, says it would be a mistake to make domestic energy decisions based on fears surrounding a tragedy in another nation. (link)

    Oh, but can’t happen here. (rolls eyes)

  • troll

    (fukushima that is)

  • troll

    it appears that we are about to get a practical lesson in probability

    how will Dreadful’s health studies hold up to this event do you think?

  • Why thanks Big C, for your kind words. 🙂

  • John Lake

    It is the extremists in the Republican Party, and the leaders of the “Tea Party” group (who convince followers that they have the interests of the American people at heart, when in fact their only interest is to sell out constituencies, utilize well intended religious groups, and to produce wealth for large soul-less corporations), that should be kicked in the celebrated butt and its about Goddam time!!

  • See March 14 Democracy Now! hourly program for a discussion of nuclear plants hazards.

    Also don’t miss the coverage of the Madison, Wisconsin rally in opposition to the signing of the anti collective bargaining bill into law – the largest mass protest in Wisconsin’s history. I sure hope this shit not only continues but picks up steam. And if the Republican governors continue in their recalcitrant mode, we may soon have the makings of the Second American Revolution. It’s about goddamn time!

  • John Lake

    Speaking the obvious, the key is in the containment layers. In the case of all the Japanese reactors, the containment capacity survived the hydrogen explosions. The fact is, according to experts, even if the containment structures were ruptured they would still effectively prevent the escape of radioactivity. Modern nuclear plants, including those in question, in Japan, have several layers of containment and safeguards. Especially in the Japanese reactors, every precaution was taken by the government and by the builders, in consideration of the worst possible potential situations. Japans location in an area susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis required the strictest standards.
    Nuclear material in the reactors is surrounded by four layers of encasement to separate the radioactive material from the outside world. The first level, a tube from an alloy of zirconium is sealed; the rods are in second containment pressure vessels. The third layer houses also the pumps and fundamentals of the cooling system. That third layer is hermetically sealed inside steel. The third layer alone could completely contain a core meltdown. Around and beneath the third layer of steel, a concrete basin is designed to catch and hold any molten fuel until it can cool to safe temperatures. Finally containment is built into the design of the reactor building.
    According to available sources, damage was sustained by the building. At this point people are told the danger is not extreme, particularly outside a radius of several miles from the building.

  • Cannon, according to Wikipedia they’re Type 3 and 4 boiling water reactors of a 1960s-1970s design, built to withstand a 7.2 magnitude quake and a peak ground acceleration of 0.28g. The station got considerably more than that: nevertheless, the problems as I understand it arose from the failure of the backup coolant pump generators, rather than from structural damage caused by the earthquake itself.

    We shall see, I guess.

  • Cannonshop

    Chernobyl had a lot of things wrong with the design and construction, including being a virtual copy of the Hanford N reactor that they built for the Manhattan Project in Washington State, soviet construction quality, rushed design and build, and slack maintenance standards endemic to the Soviet system.

    Poor Design+’shifty’ construction+unrealistic expectations underlying the actual test that caused the event led to a perfect storm meltdown scenario there.

    The question I have, is what generation the Japanese reactors are. The more recent and advanced they are in terms of passive-safety measures (Measures that do not require active, powered systems to prevent a meltdown) and the better the build quality is, the less likely it is to result in a chernobyl-style event.

  • Doc, you’ll have to take that up with Professor Brian Cox, who made that claim in the latest episode of his excellent series Wonders of the Universe just yesterday…

  • In fact, on average there is a supernova in our galaxy every hundred years or so but we haven’t had one since 1604, so we are well overdue.

    More like twice as often, actually. We know this from measuring gamma ray emissions in our own galaxy, as well as from direct observations of supernovae in other galaxies.

    There have probably been several in the Milky Way since 1604, but we haven’t seen them due to the immense amount of dust and other crap that obscures our view.

  • Oh, I should add that Betelgeuse – or any other of the likely candidates in our galaxy – could have already gone supernova but we haven’t seen it yet. In Betelgeuse’s case it will have happened 600 years before we see it.

  • In fact, on average there is a supernova in our galaxy every hundred years or so but we haven’t had one since 1604, so we are well overdue.

    Currently there is no way of knowing to which star or when this will happen but Betelgeuse is certainly a likely candidate and is pretty much under constant observation.

    My understanding is that it might happen today or it might take another million years.

    PS: Cindy, nice to see you taking an interest in facts rather than theories!

  • Cindy @ #23: Groooaaaannnn… 🙂

    @ #24: That story’s been making the rounds for a few weeks now. No, Betelgeuse will not be as bright as the Sun, and Dr Carter never said so: the reporter seems to have made that bit up himself. The chances of it blowing up next year are thousands to one against: all that we can say for certain is that it will blow, some time in the next 100,000 years or so…

    A piece on the subject by an actual astronomer.

  • Oh, btw Dr.D, here’s a story I came across this morning whilst pouring over the news…you may have already seen this.

  • Did you hear about the blonde that stayed up all night to see where the sun went?

    It finally dawned on him.

  • Cindy, I’d like a solar panel on my roof as well, especially as I live in a prime location for one. But my homeowners’ association ain’t having any of it either.

    And bear in mind that solar energy production is also not without its health and pollution hazards.

  • Any political parties in support of breaking wind?

    They’d get my vote.

  • John Lake

    was going to be “got lazy”..

  • John Lake

    Oh you picked up on that… I got saw it, but tried to sneak it through.

  • I might point out that the Democrats are in full support of solar and wind…

    Any political parties in support of breaking wind?

  • John Lake

    I might point out that the Democrats are in full support of solar and wind energy.

  • I prefer to live with a solar panel on my roof. But the capitalists won’t have that.

  • Cindy,

    I did see that page when I looked at the site but didn’t equate it with your citation, as the About.com page didn’t mention baby teeth.

    My main concern with this study is that without demonstrating how strontium-90 is causing the higher mortality and morbidity rates in Dauphin County, Mangano is just committing the correlation fallacy. What makes it worse is that he already seemed to have made up his mind that the higher mortality and morbidity rates in Dauphin County were due to strontium-90, before the investigation even began. It may have been completed by now, although again I don’t see any updates on the website. Mangano now seems to have shifted the attention of the study to the effects of fallout from atmospheric bomb tests – perhaps he didn’t get the results he expected from Three Mile Island?

    The RPHP doesn’t seem to me to have much sense of perspective. Nuclear has a bad rap because of the severe short- and long-term devastation caused by the detonation of an atomic bomb. But if you look at the health risks of living near a nuclear generating station alongside those of living near a fossil fuel power plant – coal, oil, gas etc – they pale in comparison.

    Oh, and another thing

  • John @ #11, 12: These changes happen after every earthquake. Newton’s Third Law.

    In response, I posit Jones’s First Law.

  • Boeke

    Have Japanese officials administered prophylactic doses of Potassium Iodide to residents near the reactors? This is considered SOP after Chernobyl.

    Potassium Iodide

    Following the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in April, 1986, a saturated solution of potassium iodide (SSKI) was administered to 10.5 million children and 7 million adults in Poland[22] as a prophylactic measure against accumulation of radioactive iodine-131 in the thyroid gland. People in the areas immediately surrounding Chernobyl itself, however, were not given the supplement.[23]

    Potassium iodide’s (KI) value as a radiation protective (thyroid blocking) agent was demonstrated at the time of the Chernobyl nuclear accident when Soviet authorities distributed it in a 30 km zone around the plant. The purpose was to protect residents from radioactive iodine, a highly carcinogenic material found in nuclear reactors which had been released by the damaged reactor. Only a limited amount of KI was available, but those who received it were protected. Later, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reported, “thousands of measurements of I-131 (radioactive iodine) activity…suggest that the observed levels were lower than would have been expected had this prophylactic measure not been taken. The use of KI…was credited with permissible iodine content in 97% of the evacuees tested.”[24]

    Poland, 300 miles from Chernobyl, also distributed KI to protect its population. Approximately 18 million doses were distributed, with follow-up studies showing no known thyroid cancer among KI recipients.[25] With the passage of time, people living in irradiated areas where KI was not available have developed thyroid cancer at epidemic levels, which is why the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported “The data clearly demonstrate the risks of thyroid radiation…KI can be used [to] provide safe and effective protection against thyroid cancer caused by irradiation.[26]

    Chernobyl also demonstrated that the need to protect the thyroid from radiation was greater than expected. Within ten years of the accident, it became clear that thyroid damage caused by released radioactive iodine was virtually the only adverse health effect that could be measured. As reported by the NRC, studies after the accident showed that “As of 1996, except for thyroid cancer, there has been no confirmed increase in the rates of other cancers, including leukemia, among the…public, that have been attributed to releases from the accident.”[27]

  • John Lake

    reports vary. Here is a link to a reliable source, early report of changes: Huf post

  • John Lake

    The size of the Earth has changed microscopically. The revolution, or rate of spin has changed by 1.6 microseconds/24 hours. The axis of the Earth has altered by 10 cm. This is new information, not yet analyzed, but a rocket scientist might harbor a concern for serious consequences, changes in weather, more earthquake activity.

  • Japan’s nuclear crisis has intensified as authorities raced to combat the threat of multiple reactor meltdowns and evacuated more than 170,000 people after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

    Amid fears of possible radioactive contamination, nuclear plant operators are trying to keep temperatures down in a series of reactors – including one where officials feared a partial meltdown could be under way – to prevent the disaster from growing worse. (link)

  • troll

    we at Acme Salt Mines believe that our brand says it all

  • 3 – troll,

    hmmm, an opportunity for a new market. wonder how we can capitalize on it? are you good at writing jingles? something like lower your radiation level with…wonder what rhymes with radiation?

  • Dr.D,

    Found the press release summarizing the study on the RPHP site via google.

  • John Lake
  • Cindy, your link is to About.com, which in turn links to the RPHP, but I can’t find that report anywhere on their website, or indeed anywhere else.

  • A new analysis of health statistics in the region conducted by the Radiation and Public Health Project has, however, found that death rates for infants, children, and the elderly soared in the first two years after the Three Mile Island accident in Dauphin and surrounding counties. (link)

  • troll

    …get your iodized salt here

  • Apparently there was a melt-down in Japan – and there may be more of them. But the government is trying awful had to cover them up. The cabinet secretary says one thing – the head of the nuclear agency says another.

  • fred

    Modern reactor designs are safe and cannot melt down, they just refuse to build them