Top Leaderboard, Site wide
October 2, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Help us grow by sharing
and liking Truthdig:
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Newsletter

sign up to get updates






The Underground Girls of Kabul


Truthdig Bazaar
Palimpsest: A Memoir

Palimpsest: A Memoir

By Gore Vidal
$20.00

more items

 
Report

Don’t Drink the Nuclear Kool-Aid

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Jul 16, 2008

By Amy Goodman

  While the presidential candidates trade barbs and accuse each other of flip-flopping, they agree with President Bush on their enthusiastic support for nuclear power.

  Sen. John McCain has called for 100 new nuclear power plants. Sen. Barack Obama, in a July 2007 Democratic candidate debate, answered a pro-nuclear power audience member, “I actually think that we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix.” Among Obama’s top contributors are executives of Exelon Corp., a leading nuclear power operator in the nation. Just this week, Exelon released a new plan, called “Exelon 2020: A Low-Carbon Roadmap.” The nuclear power industry sees global warming as a golden opportunity to sell its insanely expensive and dangerous power plants.

  But nuclear power is not a solution to climate change—rather, it causes problems. Amory Lovins is the co-founder and chief scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado. He makes simple, powerful points against nuclear: “The nuclear revival that we often hear about is not actually happening. It is a very carefully fabricated illusion ... there are no buyers. Wall Street is not putting a penny of private capital into the industry, despite 100-plus percent subsidies.” He adds: “Basically, we can have as many nuclear plants as Congress can force the taxpayers to pay for. But you won’t get any in a market economy.”

  Even if nuclear power were economically viable, Lovins continues, “the first issue to come up for me would be the spread of nuclear weapons, which it greatly facilitates. If you look at places like Iran and North Korea ... how do you think they’re doing it? Iran claims to be making electricity vital to its development. ... The technology, materials, equipment, skills are applicable to both. ... The president is absolutely right in identifying the spread of nuclear weapons as the gravest threat to our security, so it’s really puzzling to me that he’s trying to accelerate that spread every way he can think of. ... It’s just an awful idea unless you’re really interested in making bombs. He’s really triggered a new Mideast arms race by trying to push nuclear power within the region.”

  Along with proliferation, there are terrorist threats to existing nuclear reactors, like Entergy’s controversial Indian Point nuclear plant just 24 miles north of New York City. Lovins calls these “about as fat a terrorist target as you can imagine. It is not necessary to fly a plane into a nuclear plant or storm a plant and take over a control room in order to cause that material to be largely released. You can often do it from outside the site boundary with things the terrorists would have readily available.”

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
  Then there is the waste: “It stays dangerous for a very long time. So you have to put it someplace that stays away from people and life and water for a very long time ... millions of years, most likely. ... So far, all the places we’ve looked turned out to be geologically unsuitable, including Yucca Mountain.” Testifying at a congressional hearing this week, Energy Department official Edward Sproat said the price of a nuclear dump in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain has climbed to $90 billion. Slated to go online a decade ago, its opening is now projected for the year 2020. And even that’s optimistic. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, wants to block nuclear waste from passing through Utah entirely, and most Nevadans oppose the Yucca waste plan.

  The presidential candidates are wrong on nuclear power. Wind, solar and microgeneration (generating electricity and heat at the same time, in smaller plants), on the other hand, are taking off globally, gaining billions of dollars in private investments. Lovins summarizes: “One of the big reasons we have an oil problem and a climate problem today is we spent our money on the wrong stuff. If we had spent it on efficiency and renewables, those problems would’ve gone away, and we would’ve made trillions of dollars’ profit on the deal because it’s so much cheaper to save energy than to supply it.”

  The answer is blowing in the wind.

  Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 700 stations in North America.

  © 2008 Amy Goodman

  Distributed by King Features Syndicate


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By cann4ing, August 8, 2008 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

Thank you, David.  Your roster reads like a who’s who of corporate America.  And I don’t see how simply asking that you reveal the obvious financial interest that your backers have in the development of nuclear power amounts to a “smear.”  Perhaps you can enlighten me on that one.

Report this

By David Bradish, August 8, 2008 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Here’s our roster (pdf). Why does it matter? Are you going to try to smear me and NEI?

Report this

By cann4ing, August 8, 2008 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

David, would you be so kind as to list the funding for the NEI think tank; and the links between this entities “contributors” and the nuclear power industry.

Report this

By David Walters, August 8, 2008 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another clearly lined refutation of Caldicott’s hyperbole, inaccuracy and deplorable misuse of the scientific method from Luke in Australia.

I recently discovered this webpage, which makes for very interesting reading.

I always wondered what B.L. Cohen would have to say about Caldicott’s claims.

The more objective, informed people are exposed to Caldicott’s work - the more they’re all saying exactly the same things.

Mark the dates - Caldicott and her friends have been making the same arguments, the exact same hyperbole, for the last ten years.

We’ve made the same arguments against it, and we’ve seen the same lack of sensible response. All the while - the inevitable meltdowns, the epidemics of cancer and death, the four horsemen of the nuclear powered apocalypse have been on our door step for the last 10 years…

…Where are they?

Were Strontium-90, Americium, Caesium-137 and so forth really released in the Three Mile Island accident? Well, the Kemeny commission report says nothing of the sort, but if Caldicott and her colleagues are so damned sure, then go to Pennsylvania with a shovel, take the soil, and perform gamma-ray spectroscopy, and publish the empirical data in their books. If I was in the United States, I’d be doing just that, and posting the data for the world to study and reproduce.

That’s how we find out; with this thing we call the Scientific Method. With this tool, we vanquish the impossible, as Caldicott’s friend Carl Sagan once said.

On that note: I have the deepest respect and admiration for the late Carl Sagan. Every thinking person fears nuclear war, and every technological nation plans for it. Everyone knows it’s madness, and everyone has an excuse.

Carl had, as many of us have, great respect for Caldicott’s tireless work on nuclear weapons policy, nonproliferation and disarmament. But would he tolerate this perversion of science? This complete disregard for the tools and philosophies of science, in favour of an agenda of political rhetoric? What would he have to say to Dr. Caldicott, today?

—David

Report this

By David Bradish, August 8, 2008 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

cann4ing,

Just like Lovins’ most recent “study,” we took a good look in 2006 at Caldicott’s latest book “Nuclear Power is Not the Answer.” Here’s a link to a list of posts that analyzes 8 of the 10 chapters in her book, plus some. Here’s another link that looks at the final chapter of her book. And here’s a link to our post that discusses the bogus radiation claims she makes in Chapter 3. Take a look at the links and let us know what you think.

Report this

By Finrod, August 8, 2008 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

Fact-free environment?

OK. Lets start by pumping a little truth into the knowledge vaccuum. You can go first. Could you start by informing us in which discipline Dr. Caldicott holds a doctorate, and how long it has been since she practiced that discipline?

Report this

By cann4ing, August 8, 2008 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

Yeah, Finrod, I am sure you “don’t” care.  You prefer to operate in a fact-free environment.

Report this

By Finrod, August 8, 2008 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

I really don’t care. You have received fair warning.

Report this

By cann4ing, August 8, 2008 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

Oh, please Finrod!  Now you’re going to tell me I should reject the credentials of Dr. Helen Caldicott in favor of what—yours?  David Bradish’s?  David Walters?

I’ve just provided you with three detailed posts recounting just a snippet of Dr. Caldicott’s extensive work on this topic and the best you can do is smear her?

Report this

By Finrod, August 8, 2008 at 2:39 am Link to this comment

Hmm. Cann4ing, you may wish to reconsider using Caldicott as a source of information in this debate. She is not highly regarded in the scientific community, not even among the anti-nuclear sections of it.

Report this

By cann4ing, August 7, 2008 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

Dr. Caldicott next discusses the extensive use of DU munitions and armor both in training in the Saudi desert in the lead up to Desert Storm and during the operation itself.  “For those [munitions] that hit their target, it is important to note that uranium 238 is pyrophoric: when it hits a tank at high speed it burst into flames.  Up to 70 percent of the shell is vaporized and converted to tiny particles of oxidized uranium 238…Sixty percent of the particles are…less than 5 microns in diameter.  Because these particles are light they can be transported many miles on wind currents, and they are small enough to be inhaled into the terminal bronchi….

“At the end of the operation, between 300 and 800 tons of uranium 238 with a half-life of 4.5 billion years lay across the battle fields of Iraq, Kuwait & Saudi Arabia, never to be retrieved….”

“External gamma radiation emitted from uranium shells can be as high as 200 milirads per hour, more than the yearly dose received from natural background radiation.”

“The water supplies in the affected areas are at risk.  The dissolved uranium will concentrate in the food chain, thousands of times at each step, particularly in milk—including human breast milk….”

“The geographical areas in the Gulf that are now contaminated with uranium will remain radioactive for the rest of time….”

So stop with the pro-nuke propaganda already, David.

Report this

By cann4ing, August 7, 2008 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

Again from Caldicott’s “New Nuclear Danger” pp. 149-151.

“Uranium processing exposes hundreds of thousands of people to inhaled and ingested radiation, throughout the nuclear fuel cycle—which includes mining, milling, enriching, fuel fabrication, nuclear fission, and storage of radioactive waste.  Uranium miners are at significant risk of developing lung and other forms of cancers….

“Workers at and neighbors of uranium milling and processing plants are also at risk for cancers….

“There are radioactive facilities…all over the United States as well as in other countries—all integral components of the nuclear fuel cycle, producing uranium ammunition, uranium fuel rods for nuclear power plants, and plutonium for nuclear weapons….

“....On January 29, 2000, the U.S. department of energy finally acknowledged—after many years of denial—that employees of uranium processing facilities experience significantly higher rates of leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, and cancers of the prostate, kidney, liver, salivary glands, and lungs….The National Academy of Sciences recently reported that of 144 highly contaminated nuclear sites around the US, 109 would remain radioactive in perpetuity, because it was virtually impossible to clean them up.”

Next post on Mr. Walters’ remarkable claims about DU.

Report this

By cann4ing, August 7, 2008 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

In mentioning that we all live under low dosages of radiation, David Walters raises a straw man, easily demolished.

From Dr. Helen Caldicott, “The New Nuclear Danger,” albeit with respect to weapons.

“When uraninium 235 is fissioned in a nuclear reactor, over 200 new radioactive elements, and the uranium, when mixed with its fission products, becomes 1 million times more radioactive than in its natural state.  One of the more valuable biproducts of the fission process is plutonium which is created when a uranium 238 atom captures a neutron….

Spent fuel rods accumulate Uraninum 238, but these are “contaminated with plutonium and other dangerous elements….Shipments of this polluted reclaimed uranium were sent to Paducah for more than twenty years….Recently, the department of energy admitted that the Paducah plant is surrounded by high concentrations of plutonium contamination.  Pollution has been detected over a mile from the plant; the Ohio River, two miles from the plant, contains elevated levels of plutonium; and the element has contaminated streams, ponds, and groundwater.”

“The depleted uranium 238 used for weapons has half the radioactivity of the original natural uranium…because uranium 235 itself is very energetic….The U.S. military is fond of saying that depleted uranium is less radiactive than naturally occuring uranium.  However, uranium 238 is 100% uranium, unlike uranium ore in the ground, which is considerably diluted with soil”

In the next post, I will list Dr. Caldicott’s assessment of the medical risks of uranium processing.

Report this

By David Walters, August 7, 2008 at 11:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lance, you may not be following the discussion. We always live under “low dosages of radiation”. Yes or no Lance? Because we do, the National Academy of Science paper on this is *flawed* and the national assn. of health physics professionals have taken them up on this…the people who work in radiation therapy and use the isotopes from nuclear reactors in their medicine.

DU…DU is made…99% of it…from the *front end* of nuclear fuel processing. You don’t need a nuclear power plant or even a nuclear power “industry” to process DU into weapons. Since DU is by and large about the same level of radioactivity as granite, there seems to be more evidence that it’s the chemical-toxcity of DU that is the problem MORE than any associated radio-toxcity. I’m all for it being banned, just like I am the huge amounts of mercury used in explosives. More importantly to the DU debate, however, is that it’s a *policy* position. If you don’t like DU, then we should campaign to ban it. DU ammunition in the form of 20 mm cannon shells isn’t an inconvertible aspect of nuclear energy. It’s totally *irrelevant* to nuclear energy.

Back to radiation. There is no evidence that nuclear power plants discharge more radiation than any other large structure. There are really are no low levels of radiation from nuclear plants that can be calculated as anything different from background radiation. Fundamentally, it’s a lie…and a very Big Lie, that nuclear power plants cause anything other than any standard large structure. There is so little radiation from the average US nuclear plant that it’s almost impossible to tell what’s going on inside it. There are no studies…to show that nuclear power plants cause any cancer or other disease and the records of nuclear power plant workers prove this: they are healthier than the average worker in the US.

Compared to any other industrial activity..clearly nuclear energy is a cleaner and healthier form of power production than any fossil (and the book is still out on solar and it’s toxic brew used to create solar cells).

David

Report this

By lance, August 7, 2008 at 12:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All I hear from the pro nuclear industry people is the Big Lie, over and over.  They keep saying nuclear radiation is safe at a low dosage, and the National Academy of Sciences says it’s not.  I know who I will believe first, for sure, credible arbiters of scientific fact over commercial people with a hidden agenda.  The natural radiation life evolved with is not without harm.  Only as it abated did evolution to higher forms procede. Mutations are not inherently good and most fail completely.  Natural radiation causes aging.  When you are ninety, if so fortunate, you will not feel so damn cocky about your lifetime dose.  nature did not in addition to background provide an industrial overburden of radiation, and has no way to coevolve.  By the way, I mistated the Becquerel level of endocrine misfunction, it is .3 Bequerel and that is about twice natural background global sea level average.  Have you known folks who lived in radon emitting homes?  and how was their health?  Did their homes glow?
    How can anyone be so misinformed about nuclear waste and be a spokesperson for nuclear industry making assertions that nuclear power has no wastes involved in weaponry.  DU is a waste product of the nuclear cycle, not only from enrichment, but as a contaminated mixture containing transuranics and man made isotopes that come from fuel reprocessing.  If nuclear power plants are so frikkin benign then what’s the big fuss over the Iranians’ industry?  Oh, because then the story flips around and nuyclear power is incredibly dangerous.
  “The lies of Hiroshima live on, props in the war crimes of the 20th century.  The 1945 attack was murder on an epic scale.  In its victims’ names, we must not allow a nuclear repeat in the Middle East. ... In the immediate aftermath of the bomb, the allied occupation authorities banned all mention of radiation poisoning and insisted that people had been killed or injured only by the bomb’s blast.  It was the first big lie.  ‘No radioactivity in Hiroshima ruin’ said the front page of the New York Times, a classic of disinformation and journalistic abdication, which the Australian reporter Wilfred Burchett put right with his scoop of the century.  ‘I write this as a warning to the world,’ reported Burchett in the Daily Express, having reached Hiroshima after a perilous journey, the first correspondent to dare. He described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries but who were dying from what he called ‘an atomic plague.’  For telling this truth, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared - and vindicated.”

Report this

By David Bradish, August 5, 2008 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

I stand corrected, thanks for letting me know.

Report this

By cann4ing, August 5, 2008 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

David, the deleted comments are the result of a new TD format.  It use to be that TD would store pages of comments on each topic.  Now, as they reach the bottom of the page, they simply fall off.

Report this

By David Bradish, August 5, 2008 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

I see that my first comment on this post was deleted. Lucky for cann4ing, I made the same comment to Goodman’s post over at Alternet:

We debated and analyzed Mr. Lovins’ latest nuclear bashing paper over at the Nuclear Energy Institute’s blog. We found that he basically cherry picks his data; his “microgeneration” (which he claims is beating nuclear) is made up primarily of coal and gas plants; and several of the cost data points he uses is based on sources that are weak or non-existent.

Mr. Lovins is well aware of these posts over at our blog and has yet to comment. He tried to defend his work against us over at Gristmill but he quit halfway through and never answered anybody’s comments.

cann4ing, here’s the post we wrote on Lovins’ bogus cost claims. Take a read and see if we “conveniently ignored” their core point.

Great job to whomever deleted my comment. Deleting comments is just weak and speaks enormously to the poor integrity of this site.

Report this

By cann4ing, August 4, 2008 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment

I also note how each of the nuclear addicts posting here conveniently ignored the point made by Public Citizen that nuclear power is actually the “most” expensive—which is the core point made by Amy Goodman and Avory Lovins in this original piece.

Report this

By cann4ing, August 4, 2008 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

Well, Finrod, since you are safely tucked away in Australia and are not one to be exposed to the dangers of American nuclear power, perhaps you should not say anything at all.  We have all seen the “reliability” of nuclear power in places like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.  Enjoy the China syndrome.

Report this

By Finrod, August 4, 2008 at 1:28 am Link to this comment

“Finrod’s reference to “reliable nuclear power” presents us with the oxymoron of the 21st Century—but typical of the unsubstantiated claims presented by the false prophets whose real interest in the subject can be found in their own pocket books.”

Cann4ing, given your recent education from Rod Adams on the subject of the reliability of nuclear power, I imagine you’ll be able to appreciate my meaning when I say to you that your priceless comment which prompted that correction can be reasonably taken as an indicator of the veracity of your other contentions on all things nuclear.

So you think that I’m in it for the money, do you? I suppose you probably think that I’m a stockholder in some large nuclear firm, or an executive for one of them, or a senior plant operator, or perhaps some well-paid consultant for NEI, or something of that sort.

Let me correct your misapprehensions. I am a 43 year old Australian man. I am employed by a private firm which contracts to a large Australian Government department. I administer a records management software package for a living, presenting training sessions to departmental officers on how to use it, and assisting people from the helpdesk. For these efforts, I am currently remunerated with the princely sum of $37K/pa (Australian). I am not employed by the nuclear industry. Australia doesn’t even have a nuclear power industry. There are uranium mines here, but I’ve never worked on them, and have no financial stake in them. I support the pro-nuclear cause because to the best of my knowledge, it is the single-most beneficial power generation technology of which I’m aware, and to the best of my knowledge, the only such technology which has even a ghost of a chance to provide the levels of power our global civilisation is going to need to alleviate poverty and give everyone on Earth the opportunity for a decent life without ruining the biosphere we depend on.

In short, your grubby little accusations that we’re all just trying to line our pockets is way off base, and furthermore, utterly churlish.

Report this

By Rod Adams, August 3, 2008 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing (Still wondering who the heck you are and who you work for, but that is beside the point.) wrote:

So tell me David Bradish, how much public support did Tesla motors receive in order to build its all-electric, plug-in roadster?

That is an interesting question, but certainly difficult to address. If I am not mistaken, every zero emission vehicle receives access to tax credits that directly reduce the cost of the vehicle to consumers at the expense of the public rather than at the expense of the supplier.

About.com - Alternative fuel incentives and tax credits.

I have no idea how to compute the value of this incentive for Tesla - I guess it depends on their sales volume.

I do know that Martin Eberhard, Tesla’s CEO, is very straightforward about his lobbying efforts for additional incentives. According to his own blog he would like for American taxpayers to spot the company’s customers $25,000 per vehicle. Considering the market segment that can purchase 2 seat sports cars costing more than $100,000 per copy, that sounds a bit reverse Robin Hoodish (take from the poor to give to the rich) to me.

cann4ing also wrote:

“Finrod’s reference to “reliable nuclear power” presents us with the oxymoron of the 21st Century—but typical of the unsubstantiated claims presented by the false prophets whose real interest in the subject can be found in their own pocket books.”

I think he is trying to give the idea that nuclear power plants are not reliable, but it is really hard to deny statistical facts - unless of course you simply cover your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears and chant mantras like “no nukes, no nukes.”

Over the past 5 years, the average capacity factor of US nuclear power plants has hovered near 90%. That means that out of 8760 hours each year that the plants can be operating at full capacity, on average they achieved that state for 7884 hours. Most of the time when they were not at full power, they were in a planned shutdown to replace 1/3 of the fuel bundles and to conduct regularly scheduled maintenance and inspections.

Here is a comparison chart provided by Global Energy Decisions, an energy industry consulting and statistics gathering firm:

Capacity factors in 2007 (preliminary data):

Nuclear - 91.8%
Coal (steam turbine) - 71.8%
Natural gas (combined cycle) - 43.3%
Gas (Steam turbine) - 16.0%
oil (steam turbine) - 19.6%
Hydro - 27.8%
Wind - 30.4%
Solar - 19.8%

According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, the rate of unplanned trips at nuclear plants has been less than 0.5 per 7000 critical hours for all years since 1997.

Pray tell me - what do you consider to be unreliable about those numbers?

One more reminder - I get paid by the taxpayers of the United States for a job unrelated to my atomic efforts. I would certainly not mind being paid while I share my nuclear knowledge; I think it is quite valuable. However, there are not enough dollars available to pay me to tell lies about the technology. You will have to take my word on that one; there is really no way to prove it to anyone. I only have one soul and it is not for sale.

I consider it a personal insult that you continue to claim that as a nuclear advocate, I must be a false profit only out to fill my own pockets.

Report this

By cann4ing, August 3, 2008 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

So tell me David Bradish, how much public support did Tesla motors receive in order to build its all-electric, plug-in roadster?

Finrod’s reference to “reliable nuclear power” presents us with the oxymoron of the 21st Century—but typical of the unsubstantiated claims presented by the false prophets whose real interest in the subject can be found in their own pocket books.

Report this

By Finrod, August 2, 2008 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

It makes sense to give nuclear and coal plants transmission priority simply because of their reliability. World experience (particularly European experience) has demonstrated that wind and solar are unreliable and difficult to fit into the grid. Utilities around the world are justifiably wary of being required to waste precious resources on the ideologically motivated renewables boondoggle.

Anything I have to say on the subject of radiation safety would be redundant after David Bradish has had his say, and I’m confident that cann4ing, LostHills, and their fellow-travellers would ignore the truth anyway.

A large portion of the rest of the world is going to move ahead with nuclear power no matter what a fringe of American anti-nuclear loudmouths have to say on the subject. Perhaps if the US push for a new nuclear build gets derailed, relief could be had for some of the US population by enacting the German solution and moving to the border with Canada. The Canadians would likely jump at the oportunity to build nuclear plants just on their side of the border and supply power to the northern states of the US, just as the French and Swiss currently do for Germany.

Report this

By cann4ing, July 31, 2008 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

And the latest from Public Citizen:

“The Texas Public Utility Commission (PUCT) should not give nuclear plants or “clean” coal plants priority on the “new renewable energy superhighways” as part of its decision on the state’s competitive renewable energy zones (CREZ), according to a coalition of consumer and environmental groups in a petition filed today with the commission.

“The PUCT decided on July 17 to authorize 18,456 megawatts of transmission lines to transport wind energy from rural West Texas to highly populated Texas cities. The ability to transmit wind energy from West Texas has become challenging in recent years. It takes less than a year to build a wind plant but five to seven years to build transmission capacity. This has resulted in transmission overload because there is already more wind power being generated than there is transmission so the transmission lines available are already overloaded.

“To address the challenge, the PUCT was charged by the Texas Legislature with writing a plan to develop more transmission lines to serve renewable energy plants.

“Giving nuclear and so-called clean coal plants priority to use these lines could discourage renewable companies from investing in Texas and unnecessarily delay the entire plan…. It also could discourage investment because the inclusion of an unknown number of nuclear power and “clean” coal plants makes it difficult for the renewable industry to accurately assess transmission capacity in various CREZ zones and on various lines.

“The idea that nuclear and coal plants could be built in a reasonable amount of time is questionable, too. When Texas last built new nuclear plants, they were eight to 10 years late. And even if they are built quickly, they may not work properly; the “clean” coal plants would use untried technologies that may not be ready on time or may not work, increasing the risk that the CO2 sequestration promised on these “clean” coal plants may not operate

“All of these scenarios would discourage the development of renewable energy and would thwart the legislature’s goal of expanding the use of renewable energy,” Smith said.

And while current nuclear power may look cheap, proposed nuclear plants are actually the most expensive way to generate electricity. Cost estimates for the next generation of nuclear plants have increased 2 to 2.4 times in the past two years.”

Report this

By David Walters, July 31, 2008 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lost, you are getting…lost.

You write:
“There is no safe level of radiation.”

This is factually inaccurate. The average person is exposed to 350 milirem a year from natural background radiation. In Finland, Denver, other places it is sometimes 4 times that. NO DIFFERENCE in cancer rates. Humanity *evolved* under higher forms of radiation. The “no safe level” shows medical ignorance and a disregard for the facts.

“Elevated cancer rates downwind of nuclear power plants are a proven fact.”

How about “not”. Of the hundreds of studies in the US alone none show elevated cancer rates *attributed* to nuclear energy. In fact, most studies show the same or *lower* cancer rates. More verifiable, however, are the fact that nuclear power plant workers have lower levels of cancer and longer life spans than average industrial workers. There is a very recent study done in Germany that seems to show high leukemia rates among children. It is a very serious study but has yet to be reviewed. However, even the authors contend there is no way to show that the higher rates are *caused* by anything FROM the nuclear power plants.

“Nuclear power is far from “carbon free,” and when you factor in the carbon produced from uranium mining, it is a carbon intense form of energy. Nuclear waste is not and never will be “recycled” into anything other than weapons.”

In reverse order: no “waste” from a civilian nuclear power plant has ever been made into a weapon. ALL recycling, which is done in many countries, the spent fuel is made into new fuel. Nuclear weapons are made from dedicated reactors as part of various nations WMD programs, including the US. Nuclear power is VERY carbon free…not totally, probably more than wind or solar because construction of nuclear per KW is 5 times less than either, for the most part. The energy density of uranium is so great that 20 to 1000 times more energy is spent on ready-to-pollute coal than the amount of energy it takes to mine the equivalent amount of uranium per KW.

Space limits prevent me from replying the rest of your statement.

Report this
LostHills's avatar

By LostHills, July 31, 2008 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment

There is no safe level of radiation. Elevated cancer rates downwind of nuclear power plants are a proven fact. Cancer epidemics in uranium mining communities are a proven fact. Nuclear power is far from “carbon free,” and when you factor in the carbon produced from uranium mining, it is a carbon intense form of energy. Nuclear waste is not and never will be “recycled” into anything other than weapons. It is a form of waste that remains deadly FAR longer than our means to contain it. The same money that would be spent on a reactor could be spent on solar and wind power, which require NO FUEL—no monetary expense of mining the fuel, no environmental costs of mining that fuel, and no radiation released at every stage of the operation with it’s associated medical costs.
Nuclear power is a death trip from beginning to end, and a roadblock in our path to energy independence.
(Now here is where payed lobbyists come in to repeat their tired lines of propaganda and misinformation, backed up by their own self-created websites. Enjoy the show…...)

Report this

By cann4ing, July 31, 2008 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

Lance, from the piece you posted:

“Residents in southern France were told not to drink water or eat fish from rivers on Wednesday following an uranium leak at a nuclear plant that Germany’s junior environment minister said was “not a trivial matter.”

But the problem is that here at TD you are communicating directly to the false prophets nuclear power who have a direct, financial interest in further development of nuclear power and repeatedly link to pieces generated by nuclear lobby think tanks.  When you link to an independent source, such as Public Citizen or the Sierra Club, it is promptly dismissed as an unreliable source.

Report this

By Rod Adams, July 28, 2008 at 11:38 pm Link to this comment

Lance:

You can find all kinds of misinformation on the web. However, you can also find an enormous volume of reputable material produced by scientists with real credentials and knowledge of their topic who are seeking truth, not fear.

If you are truly interested in finding out more about the health effects of low level radiation I highly recommend extended visits to sites like Radiation, Science, and Health. It looks a bit ugly from an HTML point of view, but look past the page design at the library of materials published there and read the details of the studies and their citations.

Marie Curie famously died an early, radiation related death in her early 60s. What people do not understand is just how much radiation she exposed herself to in the name of science. The unheated shack where she painstakingly isolated both radium and polonium from ton quantities of uranium actually glowed with the residues of the material with which she worked. She was fascinated with radium and even kept vials of it by her bedside.

During WWI, Madam Curie spent years with a lightly shielded field x-ray machines that saved countless lives and limbs, but added a great deal to her lifetime dose.

You will get no argument from any reputable nuclear engineer or scientist by stating that radiation can be dangerous at certain doses, but outside of certain job protecting government regulators you will find very few who do not agree with the statement “the dose makes the poison”.

Most of us who work - or have worked - with radiation professionally recognize that radiation doses that are in the range of normal background radiation are safe. The range of “normal background”  is quite large since there are some well studied populations who receive as much as 4000 mrem per year from natural background mineral concentrations.

Sometimes one has to dig for the truth. It is important to understand how to judge the veracity of what you read because there are many people with strong reasons for convincing you to believe a lie.

Report this

By lance, July 28, 2008 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We’ve established that all ionizing radiation is harmful and that there is no harmless lower dose.  Already in a few decades of fission experiments, accidental and intentional releases, production and storage of radioactive materials, atmospheric bomb testing, core meltdowns and semi meltdowns, munitions fires, crashing spacecraft, and other industrial events, people’s cognition must have been affected that they cannot understand what this basic scientific fact implies.  People must be living in an alternative reality if they believe half of the nonsense they have posted here. 
  Anyone can google up a ton of stuff about nuclear industry accidents, incidents, leaks, cost overruns, water problems, rotting pipes, etc and they can find a long sad trail of tears of health problems from the native lands mined of uranium through the ruined battlefields littered with industry waste.  Alot of the evidence of harm from radiation has been legally and organizationally barred from presentation.  If the Three Mile Island judge throws out all incriminating evidence, yes, where’s the evidence of harm?  That is the game, so give Marie Curie a hand (hers got melted by radiation).  The question for mammals is whether they can long thrive above two or three times background radiation without endocrine degradation and/or cancer.  Most environments today are below that level, but not all.  Japan has had a cancer registry a very long time, and the truth is their incidences rose markedly coincident with WWII and nuclearization of their power industry.  These are very low exposures.  The industry insists they are safe. 
    To say that nuclear power is safe because some people close to the burned reactor at Chernobyl are still alive is also very strange illogic indeed.  The radiation about an eighth of a mile from the reactor is around 200 Bequerel; recent studies have shown endocrine changes in mammals exposed to as low as three Bequerel.  Asaf Duracovic showed that 85% of dogs breathing oxidized DU developed lung cancer.  It should not be thought of as safe for 15% of the dogs, although with blinders on it is possible to assert.
  I would like to also draw people’s attention to Chernobyl for a minute, because there is still so much denial of what happened to the Belarussians and the surrounding environment. There are credible studies of harm in the surrounding fauna, check it out.  Chernobyl was not even as badly ruined as Mayak/Chelyabinsk.  Like at Chernobyl reactor site this is extremely high radiation for people just standing on the shores of the ruined lake, and people live within twenty five miles, but health is not so good there.  It’s invisible.
  Comparing ionizing radiation to water is silly because it was water as a building block and the abatement of radiation in Earth’s future biosphere that gave rise to life and finally multicellular and higher forms.  Life- mostly water- is headed in the opposite direction from ionizing radiation, and only a naive person would try to link them.
  The French are full of hubris and their nuclear industry is already crumbling.     
http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/French_authorities_keep_water_ban_after_nuclear_leak_999.html

Report this

By Brandon W., July 27, 2008 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow, the name calling and accusations in this thread are ridiculous.

Apparently there’s a debate going on here between Bush administration shills trying to get money for their nuclear industry buddies, and fossil fuel shills trying to maintain their energy hegemony, and I didn’t even notice!

Anyway, I’m a Democrat who disagrees with the party line on nuclear power. And I’m glad Obama has taken a moderate stance towards nuclear power. I live in a pretty liberal town (Ann Arbor, MI) and attend a pretty liberal college, and I can say with certainty that at least here, the winds are changing on the politics of nuclear power.

Under the shadow of the cold war, with Three Mile Island and Chernobyl in recent memory, there was a very visceral source of emotion against ATOMS and anything nuclear-related.

Now that the topic has cooled down a bit, a lot of people, my generation included, are able to take a much more realistic look at the facts baggage-free, and we come up wondering just where the beef is with nuclear power.

I think some people could really benefit from dropping the emotionally charged arguments and just taking a fresh look at the facts. Hundreds of reactors operating successfully for three decades without a major accident and without a single death strikes me as a resounding success. Over that time, no group has ever stolen nuclear material, no “dirty bomb” has ever ACTUALLY existed, outside of scare tactic arguments. No dangerous waste spills killing millions (or tens, for that matter). Certainly no mushroom clouds.

Yes, the nuclear waste is still sitting on-site, and that’s not ideal, but who has been harmed because of it? There are a lot of “could” and “might” arguments out there designed to scare me into thinking this is a terrible and unacceptable status quo, but just HOW MANY people have died because of the waste sitting there in dry casks? Zero?

I can only debate reality, and the anti-nuclear arguments are shrouded in the fear of some horrible unknown future.

I guarantee you that the number of people who support nuclear power in polls is going to continue ticking upward, upward, upward over the next few decades. It’s already happening, and it isn’t because of successful PR by nuclear companies and Dick Cheney. It’s because the extraordinarily exaggerated fear arguments from the 70s are slowly losing their edge.

People see that there hasn’t been a major accident since the industry’s infancy, and over time they start to wonder what ever happened to those mushroom clouds-in-waiting they heard so much about. No amount of hand wringing, accusations of the opposition being in bed with Big Energy, and conjuring up images of terrorists and dirty bombs is going to change that.

Report this

By Val Braten, July 27, 2008 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What the anti-atomic lobby is doing is coughing up horror style information whithout any context. They say radiation is deadly, and that is so, but so is water if you drown in it. Are they going to protest rain now? I don’t think so…
It also seems certain place names have begun to come up frequently in their rhetoric: Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl come to mind…
So why are they forgetting (hiding seems a little harsh) these random facts:
—Hiroshima and Nagasaki are as of 2008 thriving cities with population in the millions. Despite warnings that radiation may linger for some 600 years cancer rates in the area are the same as the Japanese average.
—only 57(yes you read it correctly: fifty seven) people have died in the Chernobyl accident (and about 4000 were wounded). Reactor engineers that were less than 100 feet from ‘ground zero’ are still alive and well 22 years on…
Further, why are these eco-freaks not protesting any of the following dangerous industries (copy-paste the place names into google or wikipedia if you’re not familiar with them):
—fertilisers - BHOPAL INDIA 1984 - some idiot decides to vent a fosgene tank (all 46 tons of it): result -  3000 to 20000 dead depends on who you ask.
—spirits - BOSTON MOLASSES FLOOD 1919 - some guy overfilled a molasses tank holding an itsy-bitsy bit over 2 mil. gal. Results: 21 dead 100+ injured and one commercial district with a decade lasting stench. P.S.:Did I mention molasses is used to make ethanol now?
—sea freight - TEXAS CITY DISASTER 1947 one merchant ship is loaded with 8000 tons of explosives and a sailor casually lights up a cigarette. A 4 kiloton equivalent boom follows, 581 lives are lost ~10000 are injured.
Seriously, why are these examples not as publicised as Chernobyl & Co?

Report this

By Finrod, July 26, 2008 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

“You ever going to answer MY questions?”

I think that’s pretty unlikely. The pattern of cann4ing’s responses is pretty clear by now: Never address the answers given by his/her opponents in the debate, just ignore them and pass onto the next nonsensical objection as though nothing had been said. When you don’t have any evidence or compelling points to make, it’s really the only strategy that can be pursued. It’s the intellectual equivalent of dressing up in a scary costume with a big mask and a huge frowning mouth with lotsa fangs painted on it, and jumping out at people shouting “Boo! Chernobyl!!”, or “Woo! Radiation!!”. Cann4ing is aiming to evoke an emotional response in people by dragging out the old, moth-eaten catchphrases of the anti-nuke handbooks of the seventies and eighties. Facts and reason are the enemy of such people, and they’ll do everything they can to keep the public ignorant of them. Ignorance is what they’re counting on, and a background of public ignorance is the only environment in which they might hope for victory.

Report this

By David Bradish, July 26, 2008 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

Build it on your own dime, and stop coming to government for a hand-out of public monies.  If you can’t build it yourself on your own money, and turn a profit, then get out of the business.

Name me one technology that doesn’t have some sort of government support.

If you really want to get into it, the government support NRG is talking about are loan guarantees. Loan guarantees will only cost the taxpayer if a nuclear plant defaults. The likelihood of default will be pretty low. You can read more about it here.

You ever going to answer MY questions?

Report this

By cann4ing, July 26, 2008 at 7:03 am Link to this comment

Another quote from the Public Citizen article you nuclear nuts so despise.

“NRG CEO David Crane said back in 2007 that he would be unable to do a nuclear project without government aid.”

You folks think nuke’s such a hot item.  Build it on your own dime, and stop coming to government for a hand-out of public monies.  If you can’t build it yourself on your own money, and turn a profit, then get out of the business.

Report this

By David Bradish, July 26, 2008 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

Cann4ing, you said:

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has not actually tested the shipping casks to be used. Instead, they have used computer-simulated tests and NRC has declared these results to be safe. Further, NRC has no immediate plans to actually test the shipping containers durability against fire, sabotage, water immersion, puncture and impact.”

Why don’t you check out this post? You can read why transporting used fuel in dry casks are safe. Then you can watch a video of dry casks slamming into walls and being engulfed in fire. In the three tests, the dry casks stood up to everything.

Let me ask you some questions. What’s the largest emission-free source of electricity in the U.S.?

How much electricity do solar and wind actually provide in the U.S.?

If wind and solar were to provide 20 percent of the U.S.’ electricity, how much land would that take?

And what’s the cost of solar? You still haven’t answered this question I asked you earlier in the week.

Report this

By Rod Adams, July 25, 2008 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing seems to like batteries - you know, those devices that are full of lead, lithium, cadmium, zinc, and other toxic materials that last FOREVER.

Can you tell me how much wave energy is captured each year and what kind of devices it takes to capture that energy?

So, you like wind energy and believe that it has no safety issues? Care to guess how many people have been killed by crane accidents in the past week?

The accidents were not related to wind turbine construction or maintenance, but they do indicate that the act of operating large, complex machinery at the top of tall, moving cranes is not without risk. That is an especially true statement in areas where there is a lot of wind!

Energy production is a risky business. 50 years worth of carefully documented history shows that operating nuclear plants is a safe and reliable way to generate the electricity that most of us take for granted. I know very little about you, but I am willing to bet a fair sum of money that you consume a bit of electricity now and then.

“Noticed you avoided any comment on the Sierra Club study on the dangers of nuclear waste, esp. transportation of same.  Why is that?”

That is not really my issue to discuss. I happen to think that transporting used nuclear fuel to Yucca is a waste of money. It is not hurting anyone or posing any risk resting where it is until such time as we are ready to recycle it.

Speaking of not responding to challenging posts - are you ever going to get around to acknowledging that some of your favorite sources have financial interests in competitive energy sources and have a good reason for opposing (Lovins) or damning with faint praise (Gore) nuclear power?

Report this

By Finrod, July 25, 2008 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment

“No Rod, I don’t ignore night time, but energy collected during the day can actually be stored!  And when it comes to solar-aided vehicles, we have this new invention—you may have heard of it—the battery!”

At what cost? Provide figures.

No one is ignoring your ‘concerns’ about the once-through nuclear cycle’s end-products. I’m quite looking forward to tearing you apart on that one, actually. Just be patient!

Report this

By cann4ing, July 25, 2008 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment

No Rod, I don’t ignore night time, but energy collected during the day can actually be stored!  And when it comes to solar-aided vehicles, we have this new invention—you may have heard of it—the battery!

I think the gist of your posts can be summed up by two words, “my company.”

The “Rod” comment was intended to add some levity.  Obviously, having read your post, it appears I missed the mark.

Noticed you avoided any comment on the Sierra Club study on the dangers of nuclear waste, esp. transportation of same.  Why is that?

Finally, you keep suggesting that I am advocating solar, and only solar.  Not true.  I’ve pointed to the work being done in wind, geothermal and wave technology, none of which produce the hazards associated with nuclear waste.

Report this

By Rod Adams, July 25, 2008 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing wrote:

“Nuclear power plants are huge centrally located ventures—but then that, and the huge subsidies is why you folks want it, isn’t.  Central hubs permit controlling the flow of power and with that the flow of money from the citizenry into your greedy little hands.”

You have obviously not visited my company’s web site. We are designing “nuclear power for the rest of us” in the form of village sized power plants.

If you do not believe that nuclear fission can work in a small space, I suggest that you read about the last voyage of NR-1, a ship built with 1960s vintage technology that has been operating for nearly 40 years. It is a 400 ton nuclear powered research submarine with a 12 person crew.

You can also visit Table of Army Nuclear Plants for a list of small reactors built for distributed generation during the early to mid 1960s.

Fission is very concentrated and can be used in small, distributed plants as well as large ones.

In your continued advocacy of solar subsidies, you keep neglecting something called nighttime. You also do not realize that the intensity of solar energy on any particular surface includes a factor that is the sine of the incident angle.

You also seem indisposed to any kind of central station power plant. How do you feel about giant wind farms and solar thermal power stations?

You also wrote:

“By the way, Finrod and Rod Adams—wondrous how you nuclear guys get a rod in there one way or another”

The relationship between my name - Rod Adams (“Adams” sounds a bit like “atoms”, doesn’t it) and nuclear power is pure coincidence. I was born Rodney Adams, but, like many people, I adopted a single syllable first name - I am kind of lazy.

Unlike some people who engage in internet conversations, I do not hide my identity.

Report this

By Finrod, July 25, 2008 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

How about you try to respond to the points I made last post before you launch into your next round of tedious, regurgitated propaganda?

Quoting from the Sierra Club? Really, is that the best you can do? It’s Saturday morning here in Canberra, and I have many things to do today, but don’t worry! I’ll get back to exposing your fraudulent reasoning at a convenient time in the not too distant later.

Report this

By cann4ing, July 25, 2008 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

By the way, Finrod and Rod Adams—wondrous how you nuclear guys get a rod in there one way or another—you keep conveniently ignoring the fact that solar can be disbursed throughout the entire nation, collecting at individual house locations, the roofs of cars, buildings, hillsides, you name it.  Nuclear power plants are huge centrally located ventures—but then that, and the huge subsidies is why you folks want it, isn’t.  Central hubs permit controlling the flow of power and with that the flow of money from the citizenry into your greedy little hands.

Report this

By cann4ing, July 25, 2008 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

Challenge to the nuclear lovers, part II

“DOE claims that radioactive waste stored around the country cannot be adequately protected against terrorists and must be moved. At the same time, DOE’s Director for Radioactive Waste Management has said that radioactive waste will remain at these sites for at least the next 40 years. In fact, nuclear waste has to cool for a certain period of time before it can be moved. As nuclear power plants continue to operate, there will always be stored waste at nuclear sites around the country, whether Yucca Mountain is built or not.

“The Department of Transportation has refused to require that spent nuclear fuel be restricted to dedicated trains. Amazingly, current regulations allow deadly spent nuclear fuel to be shipped in mixed-freight rail cars next to cars carrying flammable and explosive materials. In the event of an incident with flammable or explosive materials, the nuclear transport would be immediately affected.
“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has not actually tested the shipping casks to be used. Instead, they have used computer-simulated tests and NRC has declared these results to be safe. Further, NRC has no immediate plans to actually test the shipping containers durability against fire, sabotage, water immersion, puncture and impact.”

And your come back on how safe this stuff is, Finrod?

Report this

By cann4ing, July 25, 2008 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

Cute little argument, Finrod, now try taking on these little facts that I will present in a two part post because of their length, all from

http//www.sierraclub.org/nuclearwaste/yucca-factsheet.asp


“The proposed Yucca Mountain Repository for High-Level Nuclear Waste 90 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada is the only site being considered by the federal government for the storage of irradiated fuel from the nation’s 131 commercial nuclear reactors, Navy ship reactors, and private research sites.
“The Department of Energy (DOE) is predicting that 108,500 shipments will be required over 38 years. However, the exact routes to be used and the method of shipment have not been identified because they don’t want the public to know.
“According to Rail Watch, the number of railroad accidents involving hazardous materials averaged about 33 accidents annually through the 1990s. Approximately 10,000 people a year are evacuated from their homes or affected by contamination from hazardous materials spilled in train wrecks.
“According to…(Lamb & Resnikoff, 2001), a severe rail incident such as the Baltimore rail tunnel fire in July, 2001 would cause thousands of cancer deaths, and cost $10-$14 billion in clean-up costs. According to a 1985 DOE study, a similar accident in a rural area would contaminate 42 square miles (an area roughly the size of Washington, DC), and would take over 15 months and $600 million to clean up.”

Report this

By Finrod, July 25, 2008 at 1:28 am Link to this comment

Before we go on, I’d just like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to cann4ing and LostHills for stepping forward as ideal debating opponents on this forum. We pro-nuclear people could explain our case untill we’re blue in the face, but to be really convincing, it’s good to have a solid example of the sheer idiocy of the anti-nuclear case to contrast ourselves with. Thank you, both of you, for accepting what must be a fairly heartbreaking role in this drama.

Now:

“Gore is talking about the cost of the silicon that goes into the cells, and your assumption on size ignores changes in the efficiency of capturing sunlight energy.  I’ve seen a marked difference between the width of PV used in the 80s and what is being produced now.”

The efficiency which is possible to PV cells today is pretty much near the theoretical upper limit of what can be done, and it simply isn’t enough. Even if they could be made 90% efficient, it still wouldn’t be enough. There simply isn’t enough power in sunlight to do anything useful with on the scale of utilities or domestic power consumption, and I note you have completely ignored my question about the EROEI of PV cells. This is a critical issue, and is the chief reason why biofuels have been such a goddamn disaster (apart from the food-producing capacity which has been redirected to the corn-to-ethanol scheme, of course).

Can you not understand that if an energy generating technology is incapable of generating enough power over the lifetime of its infrastructure to replace that infrastructure and still have lots left over to power other applications even after all the losses are taken into account, that it’s fundamentally a non-starter? Do you not see this?

That includes all the power required to mine the materials needed for the construction of the solar cells AND the factories in which they are produced, process those materials into the necessary forms, fabricating all the equipment, shipping it to wherever it has to go (and running the transportation infrastructure for this as well), generating enough income to pay the workers enough for their survival at a productive level (including supporting the agricultural systems needed to grow their food), assembling the equipment when it reaches its destination, providing power to manufacture the huge battery storage systems required to store enough power for when the sun isn’t shining, or the weather turns nasty, providing the power for the eventual recycling or disposal of the equipment when it reaches the end of its useful life, and when all that is taken care of, pumping out enough reliable power on top of that to take care of the people and industries which rely on it to operate.

Good fekkin luck with all that. You’ll need it in truckloads.

Actually, has anyone ever seen a solar powered truck, such as, for instance, a cement truck? Or a solar powered jackhammer? Or power saw?

For all their faults, at least fossil fuels can be said to contain enough energy to easily cover all those requirements. So does nuclear fuel. And possibly hydro, maybe geothermal too. And nothing else.

Report this

By Rod Adams, July 24, 2008 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing wrote:

“But then how can I accept the word of a Nobel prize winner and former VP against that of a TD poster/nuclear power advocate?  Silly me!”

As much as I admire what the former vice president is doing with regard to drawing attention to an important issue, the credentials you cited are not germane to his evaluation of the technical or economic potential for PV cells. He is a lawyer, a politician and an investor, not an engineer or a scientist.

Losthills wrote: “The “oil and coal interests” are one and the same as the nuclear power interests. Same people, same corporations, same Bush and Cheney comrades mapping out our country’s energy future behind closed doors.”

Apparently you are unaware of the fact that there have been coal and oil interests with tremendous economic and political power for well over one hundred years. They did not arrive in 2000, or even in the 1970s when Cheney began his political career. They were here before B and C and will be here long after they depart the scene.

There also happen to be coal and oil interests in countries that do not have B and C as their leaders. Those leaders are not even on the right. Have you heard of names like Chavez, Putin, and Rudd?

You are partially correct in noting that many of the major corporations involved in the established business of building and operating large central station nuclear plants also have interests in extracting, transporting, marketing and burning fossil fuels. I regret that historical accident, but they were the companies first invited into the cone of silence after the US government finally figured out that it could not maintain a monopoly on nuclear knowledge.

The computer and technology field offers a useful analogy. Huge, mainframe computer companies like Sperry, Univac, IBM, NCR, and Digital Equipment also had some interest in microprocessor based personal computers. With one notable exception, none of them could figure out how to use the new devices without threatening their existing business, so they utterly failed at the implementation.

There are small, aggressive companies (NuScale, Hyperion, Adams Atomic Engines, Inc. - sorry for the shameful plug, but it is important to note in this particular context) being started by people who understand the fundamental difference between burning hydrocarbons and fissioning uranium, thorium and plutonium.

One is a business of massive transportation and distribution, political power and sometimes chicanery and some ability to do difficult engineering in difficult operating areas. The other has the potential to combine relatively tiny quantities of material, human ingenuity and thoughtful communications to allow people to have access to incredible quantities of controllable, clean power.

Uranium, thorium and plutonium have more than 2 million times as much energy potential per unit mass as oil does. When they release their stored heat, they produce such a tiny volume of by-product materials that all of them can be captured and isolated from the environment.

Those physical properties change the power game completely.

Rod Adams
Adams Atomic Engines, Inc.

Report this

By cann4ing, July 24, 2008 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, you’re probably right LostHills.  Many of the posters touting the nuclear option seem reminiscent to 19th century snake oil salesmen.

Report this
LostHills's avatar

By LostHills, July 24, 2008 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

The “oil and coal interests” are one and the same as the nuclear power interests. Same people, same corporations, same Bush and Cheney comrades mapping out our country’s energy future behind closed doors. Nuclear power is not an alternative to fossil fuels, it’s part of the same trip, and profits the same criminals. All sustainable systems get their energy input from the sun. Coal, oil and nuclear are not sustainable, but they make huge short term profits for the same connivers at the expense of our environment, and leave future generations holding the bag. A bag full of poison. The Cheney cronies home in on any discussion of energy and flood it with lies and propaganda because they care more about money than life. Don’t listen to them. They are beneath contempt…..

Report this

By cann4ing, July 24, 2008 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

Gore is talking about the cost of the silicon that goes into the cells, and your assumption on size ignores changes in the efficiency of capturing sunlight energy.  I’ve seen a marked difference between the width of PV used in the 80s and what is being produced now.  But then how can I accept the word of a Nobel prize winner and former VP against that of a TD poster/nuclear power advocate?  Silly me!

Report this

By Finrod, July 24, 2008 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

PV cells cannot follow the strategy used by computer chip manufacturers for reducing costs, because it is a strategy of shrinking the semiconductor. With solar power you absolutely must intercept the sunlight over a certain area to obtain a certain amount of power. one suspects Gore is well aware of this, and just pandering to the ignorant.

Report this

By cann4ing, July 24, 2008 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

“As the demand for renewable energy grows the cost will continue to fall….The price of the specialized computer chips used to make solar cells was recently as high as $300 per kilogram, but the newest contracts have fallen as low as $50 per kilogram. 

“You remember the same thing happened with computer chips also made out of silicon.  The price paid for the same performance came down 50% every 18 months, year-after-year and that’s been happening for 40 years.”

Al Gore, July 17, 2008.

Report this

By Finrod, July 24, 2008 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

“No point arguing with Finrod, LostHills, the man swallowed the nuclear Kool-aid a long time ago.”

Meaningless ad hominem attack.

“I wonder if he can point to all these massive federal funds supposedly poured into wind, solar, wave and geothermal technology the past eight years.  No?  I thought not.”

I did not say they were federal funds. Perhaps you are of a cast of mind in which only government money counts? Of course, I guess that would be applicable to most ‘renewable’ power sources, as they are much too expensive to stand on their own.

Below are some links to stats for solar in Germany, Japan and the US. Make of them what you will. Note that the only reason solar power has grown so much in Germany (and still barely contributes anything to the grid) is that utilities have been forced to accept low-quality power generated by solar power and required to pay an artificially high price for it. If they only paid what it was actually worth, no one would bother installing solar panels. They could never pay for themselves.

http://www.solarbuzz.com/FastFactsGermany.htm

http://www.solarbuzz.com/FastFactsJapan.htm

http://www.solarbuzz.com/FastFactsUSA.htm

As for advances in technology bringing down the cost of solar, that is a song which has been sung for decades now. I note in one article that the cost of solar power has supposedly dropped by a whole 20% over the past two decades. Given the nature of how photovoltaic cells work, we cannot reasonably expect much more in efficiency gains, or reduction of material inputs (Such as the energy required to manufacture them in the first place… can anyone demonstrate that those things will even generate equivalent power over their lifetimes?).

Given the high demand for rare elements required for utility-scale solar PV plants and the impossibility of employing the same strategy for cost reduction which has driven down the price of other applications for semiconductors (because solar cells absolutely must be of a certain size), the huge material requirements of wind farms and solar-thermal plants (steel, concrete), the miserly low-grade flows of the energy sources being tapped, and the unalterable, crippling factor of intermittency, there does not appear to be any reasonable prospect for reducing the cost of ‘renewable’ power much below what it currently is. In fact, given the increasing demand worldwide for the resources needed for their construction, the cost of ‘renewable’ infrastructure is set to massively increase. Megawatt for megawatt, these ‘renewable’ power stations are far more expensive than coal or nuclear, and cannot compete with either. That is why the oil and coal interests work to promote them. They know full well they can never be a threat.

Report this

By David Bradish, July 24, 2008 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

$4.8 billion in subsidies for alternative energy is a drop in the bucket.

That drop in the bucket was still more than what the other energies received in 2007. You claimed renewables aren’t getting anything. I showed that you were wrong.

The oil cartel received over $17 billion in subsidies when the last Energy Bill was passed.

Source? Link? Public Citizen doesn’t count.

If you review my earlier post you will see cost estimates now running as high as $18 billion for just “one” nuclear power plant in South Texas.

Try two nuclear plants. And “outside estimates” of $18B reported by Public Citizen do not mean jack. How about you provide a real source for at least one of your claims?

Report this

By cann4ing, July 24, 2008 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

Oh, please, David!  $4.8 billion in subsidies for alternative energy is a drop in the bucket.  We spend more than double that amount each week in Iraq to make the world safe for Exxon-Mobil, Chevron & BP. The oil cartel received over $17 billion in subsidies when the last Energy Bill was passed.  If you review my earlier post you will see cost estimates now running as high as $18 billion for just “one” nuclear power plant in South Texas.  Get real!

Report this

By David Bradish, July 24, 2008 at 10:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cann4ing, you said

I wonder if he [Finrod] can point to all these massive federal funds supposedly poured into wind, solar, wave and geothermal technology the past eight years.  No?  I thought not.

Check out the second page in this pdf published by the EIA. Renewables received $4.9B in subsidies in 2007 - the most of any energy.

And hey, David Waters, show me one single scientific journal that says that solar energy, wind or wave power leads to “toxic” exposure.

On page three of this pdf, check out how much toxic waste is produced from solar compared to the radioactive waste from a nuclear plant. They are pretty much the same amount on a per GW basis.

Also, why don’t you check out this article from the Washington Post. It basically says that solar energy firms in China are dumping the “byproduct of polysilicon production—silicon tetrachloride—[which] is a highly toxic substance that poses environmental hazards.” ... “An independent, nationally accredited laboratory analyzed a sample of dirt from the dump site near the Luoyang Zhonggui plant at the request of The Washington Post. The tests show high concentrations of chlorine and hydrochloric acid, which can result from the breakdown of silicon tetrachloride and do not exist naturally in soil. “Crops cannot grow on this, and it is not suitable for people to live nearby,”

There are mountains of scientific journals documenting the toxicity of radioactivity and nuclear waste.

Please provide them. I bet none of them say that used nuclear fuel is harming anyone.

Report this

By cann4ing, July 24, 2008 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

Commenting on Al Gore’s landmark energy address, Sen. Barbara Boxer said:

“The Vice President correctly identified solar, wind and geothermal power as a major solution to global warming….

“The Senate global warming bill, which was stopped by a filibuster, included a major initiative on solar, wind and geothermal, as well as many other approaches to addressing the challenge of global warming.”

http://www.wecansolveit.org/content/pages/303/

Newsflash for Finrod, when a bill is “stopped by a filibuster,” it means that the funds that were proposed for solar, wind and geothermal do not materialize.  They go “unfunded.”

Report this

By cann4ing, July 24, 2008 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

No point arguing with Finrod, LostHills, the man swallowed the nuclear Kool-aid a long time ago.  I wonder if he can point to all these massive federal funds supposedly poured into wind, solar, wave and geothermal technology the past eight years.  No?  I thought not.

Report this

By Finrod, July 24, 2008 at 2:36 am Link to this comment

“By my way of figuring and assuming that Lovins is doing the math correctly, he started working for major oil companies in 1973.”

Thanks Rod. I stand corrected!

Report this

By Rod Adams, July 24, 2008 at 2:03 am Link to this comment

Finrod wrote:

“Here’s a clue for you: Amory ‘liar-for-hire’ Lovins works for the fossil fuel industry, and he’s been desperately trying to wipe out the only serious competitor to coal and oil since 1976.”

Just in case you have your fingers itching to respond with a demand for a source, here are words from Amory Lovins himself as provided during the Amy Goodman interview that started this whole discussion.

“You know, I’ve worked for major oil companies for about thirty-five years, and they understand how expensive it is to drill for oil.”

Actually, according to Lovins, Finrod has underestimated the length of his service to the fossil fuel interests. By my way of figuring and assuming that Lovins is doing the math correctly, he started working for major oil companies in 1973. At the same time, he was a Friends of the Earth activist in the UK. That also means that he was already working for the oil companies when his well publicized article titled “Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken” appeared in Foreign Affairs (published by the Council on Foreign Relations) in October 1976.

Just in case you were sleeping or not reading much during the mid 1970’s, the election that took place in November 1976 was very close. Energy strategies were a very important issue during the campaign. The guy who won had a strategy of alternative energy with avoidance of new nuclear power technology, even though he was marketed as a “nuclear engineer”.

I am no conspiracy theorist, but I have operated a competitive business and been reading major business publications for decades. All businesses seek ways to raise the barriers to entry for competitors. Like many business decision makers, I have also read Sun Tzu and many other strategic thinkers who recognize the value of deception and subterfuge in winning important battles.

Report this

By Finrod, July 24, 2008 at 12:50 am Link to this comment

And just where do you get off claiming that ‘renewable’ energy is unfunded? There are continual research efforts to refine solar power, because as long as you don’t go around pretending that it’s a serious contender for baseload power, solar power has some serious practical uses for providing power to low-demand equipment in remote off-grid locations, for telecomunications equipment, satellites, spacecraft, environmental monitoring, and so on. Plenty of research money is devoted to that important field.

As for wind power, so much money has been plowed into constructing turbines and associated infrastructure, especially in Europe, even in the face of dubious results that you’d have to be insane to assert that it’s underfunded.

Report this

By Finrod, July 24, 2008 at 12:44 am Link to this comment

Really, LostHills? you’d better tell the French. They seem to have this persistent delusion that all those nuclear power stations they built are actually providing electricity. I don’t know how they do it, what with pretending that their ovens are cooking meals and then eating their dinner raw, and whathaveyou. A mighty powerful delusion, that. Of course, I guess the Germans must be equally deluded, given all the fake electricity they import from France to cover their generation shortfalls.

Here’s a clue for you: Amory ‘liar-for-hire’ Lovins works for the fossil fuel industry, and he’s been desperately trying to wipe out the only serious competitor to coal and oil since 1976.

Of course, if you can point to any credible studies which back your position, I’ll give them a fair hearing.

I bet you can’t.

Report this
LostHills's avatar

By LostHills, July 24, 2008 at 12:03 am Link to this comment

Nuclear energy is a sham. It has no capacity to replace fossil fuels, or diminish the use of fossil fuels or address the problem of global warming. It’s just an open bucket for more of our hard earned dollars to get sucked into Bush/Cheney’s bank accounts while renewable energy goes unfunded…..

Report this

By Finrod, July 23, 2008 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

Meanwhile back in the real world, Germany is building solar and wind infrastructure as quickly as it can and owing to its idiotic ‘nuclear phaseout’ plan (which I do not believe for one second will ever be acted on) is facing a looming dreadful shortfall of power. The green politicians of that unfortunate land have decreed that the only way forward is to build twenty or so new coal plants.

That’s where ‘renewables’ take you.

Report this

By cann4ing, July 23, 2008 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

Not true, Finrod, there are technological changes that are reducing the size, weight and cost of photovaic cells.  I have even seen a video with respect to a Silicon Valley scientist utilizing nano particles.  Moreover, unlike centralized nuclear, coal and even hydroelectric, solar has the advantage that it can be disbursed with placement on homes, buildings, carports, vehicles etc. 

By the way, I don’t know how it is where you live, but here in So. CA. the sun is rising at 6 a.m. in summer and doesn’t set until after 8 p.m.  That’s fourteen hours, not eight.  Moreover, no one is talking about exclusively solar.  Al Gore, for example, proposes the combinations of wind, solar and geothermal.  That doesn’t require turning to risky and inordinately expensive nuclear power.

We can also develop more energy efficient buildings, manufacturer plug-in electric passenger vehicles, aided by solar panels, which can be placed on top of a car port or garage, as well as on the vehicle itself.

What you nuke addicts lack is a creative imagination.  Nuclear power is, well, so yesterday!

Report this

By Finrod, July 23, 2008 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment

For a picture of a wind-powered economy, take a look at Denmark, which has the most expensive electricity in northern europe, and has to burn more coal per head of population than any other northern European country, and still has to import electricity from abroad, generated by NUCLEAR reactors.

Report this

By Finrod, July 23, 2008 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

Cann4ing, if a country like Australia is struggling to find a way to make solar pay for itself, how in the world could the US ever do it, let alone India? Sunshine might be free (for the eight hours of each sunny summer day that it’s actually useable at all), but the equipment to exploit it is not. It costs like the devil. And there are no ‘great strides’ being made in solar power. All that’s happening is a rehash of the same solar power tech thats been around since the fifties. There haven’t been any substantial improvements in solar power for decades, nor are there likely to be, and even if there were there’s no way to get more power from solar than is actually present in sunlight to begin with, which when you average it out over a twenty-four hour period is about 200 watts/square meter. And there’s no practical, economic way to store it.

The only thing that advocacy for these useless ‘renewable’ sources is going to achieve is the continuation of the fossil fuel economy.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, July 23, 2008 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment

By cann4ing, July 23 at 3:21 pm #


And hey, David Waters, show me one single scientific journal that says that solar energy, wind or wave power leads to “toxic” exposure.  There are mountains of scientific journals documenting the toxicity of radioactivity and nuclear waste.  And, given the track history of the nuclear power industry, I would say that they bear a heavy burden of proving that nuclear power is both safe and economical.  Wild, unsupported claims don’t cut it—especially when you see these up-to-date cost overruns occurring.

As a HUGE fan of all these alternative energy sources I feel compelled to point that they are NOT not polluting.  To make a wind generator you need: Copper and it must be mined. Insulation—Teflon has TERRIBLE pollution problems. Steel—mining and refining are heavily polluting. Plastics: Petro-chemicals (I.E…..OIL!)  Hydro Electric has a HUGE environmental impact, creating lakes where there were none. Wind can disrupt bird flight patterns, affecting migration. Solar—requires vast tracts of space.

And I’m a FAN of these!


Rod Adams, July 23 at 5:50 pm #

cann4ing:

At the risk of being repetitive - the competition for nuclear power is not solar, wind and wave power. ALL of those are intermittent and all of them together provide less that ONE percent of the world’s commercial energy sources.

Many of us who are adamantly PRO nuclear want to use it to reduce the need to burn coal, oil and gas. All of those do produce millions of tons of deadly material every single day. Our comparison is against fuel sources that are actually in widespread and continuous use, not idealistic systems that do not function without continuous subsidies and mandates.

This is what frustrates me - I happen to agree with most of what environmentalists say about fossil fuels and their environmental hazards. I also agree with nearly all of what leftists say about the power of rich fossil fuel interests (not just the oil and gas companies, but their bankers, transporters, retailers, tax collectors, purchased politicians, etc.) and the need to find non carbon alternatives.

The people taking the time to respond in this forum really want to engage in thoughtful, problem solving discussion. We want to answer your questions with facts. We want to share what we know. We are not shills, not trying to sell a particular product - I do not know a single person on the pro-nuke side of this discussion who actually has any plants to sell. (I wish I did, but the barriers to entry raised by the established energy industry are simply too large to overcome in the near future.)
*****************************************

Oh, do I agree with this!  Nuclear, in production, is far, FAR cleaner than fossil fuels.

Report this

By cann4ing, July 23, 2008 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

Hello Rod, anybody home?  Out here in CA, the sun shines every day, even in the dead of winter.  The sun produces enough energy in one minute to meet all humanity’s energy needs for over one year.  There are marked strides being made in solar, wind, geothermal, and wave power and we would be making strides far faster if billions are not wasted on the nuclear boondoggle.  So sell your radioactive crap to someone who has no brain.  I’m not buying.

Report this

By Finrod, July 23, 2008 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment

That’s the first time I’ve been described as an aparatchik of the Bush administration!

Absolutely laughable.

Report this

By Finrod, July 23, 2008 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

LostHills, are you able to point to any facts or figures that support any of your absurd claims?

I mean genuine facts and verifiable figures, by the way, not made up stuff.

Report this

By GRLCowan, July 23, 2008 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment

Yes, ‘LostHills’, it does bother the fossil fuel interests, doesn’t it.

Report this
LostHills's avatar

By LostHills, July 23, 2008 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

This B.S. goes on day after day and night after night. The Nuclear Energy Institute and the Bush Administration have aparatchiks cruising the net for any discussion of nuclear energy to flood it with disinformation. This thread is a prime example. The truth is that nuclear power is not green. It’s not sustainable. It’s not carbon free, and it’s a long, long way from being any of those things. The truth is that it is grotesqely expensive, and cannot exist without monumental government subsidies. It produces radioactive waste that is measured in the thousands of tons that remains deadly long after the life span of any containment schemes. It needs a steady supply of fuel, in the form of enriched uranium that is an environmental scourge. We’re already running low on uranium, and mining it is destroying our last Western wildlands. Nuclear energy kills. It poisons our citizens at every link in the chain, from mining to transport, to enrichment to electricity production. Every reactor has been connected to downwind cancer increases. Only fools would buy into an energy future that calls for increasing this dangerous 1950s technology when renewables are already stepping up to the plate and taking over. Don’t listen to the hype and propaganda. The nuclear industry is dying, and it is far past time….

Report this

By Rod Adams, July 23, 2008 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing:

At the risk of being repetitive - the competition for nuclear power is not solar, wind and wave power. ALL of those are intermittent and all of them together provide less that ONE percent of the world’s commercial energy sources.

Many of us who are adamantly PRO nuclear want to use it to reduce the need to burn coal, oil and gas. All of those do produce millions of tons of deadly material every single day. Our comparison is against fuel sources that are actually in widespread and continuous use, not idealistic systems that do not function without continuous subsidies and mandates.

This is what frustrates me - I happen to agree with most of what environmentalists say about fossil fuels and their environmental hazards. I also agree with nearly all of what leftists say about the power of rich fossil fuel interests (not just the oil and gas companies, but their bankers, transporters, retailers, tax collectors, purchased politicians, etc.) and the need to find non carbon alternatives.

The people taking the time to respond in this forum really want to engage in thoughtful, problem solving discussion. We want to answer your questions with facts. We want to share what we know. We are not shills, not trying to sell a particular product - I do not know a single person on the pro-nuke side of this discussion who actually has any plants to sell. (I wish I did, but the barriers to entry raised by the established energy industry are simply too large to overcome in the near future.)

Report this

By cann4ing, July 23, 2008 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

“As energy companies line up across the country to receive federal subsidies in a supposedly streamlined licensing process for new nuclear plants, NRG Energy is moving backwards on a new project that already is over budget and delayed, proving that nuclear energy is wrought with problems.

“Today, 10 months after NRG submitted the first new nuclear reactor application in 29 years, the company shared its concerns and discussed revisiions with the [NRC] for the proposed expansion of the South Texas Project….The original license application was so incomplete at one point that the NRC halted its review….

“‘...NRG has had concerns over whether Toshiba had enough experience to design and build the reactor….”

Public citizen contends this follows the “same pattern of unreliability that plagued the nuclear industry in the 1970s and 1980s with construction delays, cost overruns and canceled plants…” 

“NRG claimed last year that it could build two new reactors for $6.5 billion.  Its estimate has now jumped up another $1.5 billion.”

“CPS Energy of San Antonio, a partner in the expansion project, won’t give a cost estimate to the public, but outside estimates go as high as $18 billion.”

http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=2703

And hey, David Waters, show me one single scientific journal that says that solar energy, wind or wave power leads to “toxic” exposure.  There are mountains of scientific journals documenting the toxicity of radioactivity and nuclear waste.  And, given the track history of the nuclear power industry, I would say that they bear a heavy burden of proving that nuclear power is both safe and economical.  Wild, unsupported claims don’t cut it—especially when you see these up-to-date cost overruns occurring.

Report this

By david walters, July 23, 2008 at 5:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cann4, you complain about nuclear waste being poisonous but dismiss hundreds of millions of tons of hazerdous waste that effects all of us now. Who has been “poisoned” by nuclear waste? The 77,000 tons of high level nuclear waste that the US has generated in 50 years wouldn’t even fill up a COSTCO and you are scarred of it? It is, and has been, totally managable.

The only way to really get rid of it permently…outside of safely burying it or storing it in dry-cask above ground containment (like the entire rest of the world does) is to burn it up in a LFTR.

Secondly, that 77000 tons doesn’t go away simply because nuclear energy disappears…it’s still here. Do you have a plan to get rid of it? Does any one who is anti-nuclear have a plant? I don’t think so…they bury their heads in the sand and say “it’s not our problem, it’s yours”.

Pro-nuclear activists do have a plan. The problem for you is that ANY plan means we’ve solved the solution and as such it has to be opposed by anti-nuclear activists because it becomes a tool to continue using nuclear energy. You are in quite a condundrum.

DAvid W.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, July 23, 2008 at 4:07 am Link to this comment

cann4ing, July 22 at 2:41 pm #

300 to 600 years you say.  Wow, what a relief.  Nuclear waste may poison us now, but if we can hold out for just another 300 years, things will be great.  By the way, the handle, finrod, sounds like something you’d insert in a nuclear reactor.
***************************************
You sound just like a right-winger saying “If we let gays marry soon we’ll be having man-on-dog”.  You know, shrill, exaggerated, fact-less. 

The ONLY argument you can make that I’d buy is that under George W. Bush and the Re-Thugs, we cannot trust the regulation and inspection processes.

But if all goes well, on Jan 20, 2009, we’ll be at the end of an error.

Report this

By Finrod, July 22, 2008 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

Are you actually capable of holding a rational discussion?

There will be uses aplenty for those materials, both while they are still radioactive, and afterwards, as many of them are valuable materials in their own right. Containing them is not difficult. They are simply not the threat you wish people to believe them to be.

Report this

By cann4ing, July 22, 2008 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

300 to 600 years you say.  Wow, what a relief.  Nuclear waste may poison us now, but if we can hold out for just another 300 years, things will be great.  By the way, the handle, finrod, sounds like something you’d insert in a nuclear reactor.

Report this

By Finrod, July 22, 2008 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

“ITW, you are overlooking the issue of waste disposal which has “never” been resolved.”

Transuranic wastes can be burned down to daughter products in fast-spectrum nuclear reactors. Most daughter products are gone in about 300-600 years, and can perform many valuable services in the meantime, such as food and water sterilisation, and possibly even providing a means of breaking down some of the nastiest of the poisons which the coal age has put into the atmosphere. The tiny portion of daughter products which last significantly longer than that can be processed into synrock and buried in geologically stable areas.

Of course, most so-called nuclear waste from our current reactors is simply unburned fuel which can be reprocessed and re-used.

Report this

By cann4ing, July 22, 2008 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

ITW, you are overlooking the issue of waste disposal which has “never” been resolved.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, July 22, 2008 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

You know, I used to think like most “greens”—“NO NUKES, NO NUKES!” but like all sensible people, when my data was wrong I had to alter my views.  There’s not one, hard fact here that shows that nuclear power IN THE UNITED STATES is dangerous or will be dangerous under current design and construction techniques.

Chernobyl and TMI resonate with us, but neither is relevant.  Chernobyl NEVER could have happened in the US and TMI was the result of procedures that have been replaced.  Current US design reqs demand that any and every safety system can fail without a loss of containment.  Under current designs, nuclear power fits into the panoply of other non-petroleum energies.

As for Con Ed’s Indian Point—that has been a cluster-f*** of corruption since its earliest days—I grew up driving past it and remember when reactors came on-line—and went off-line again.  But it’s now around 40 years old, and even Reactor 3 as ANCIENT.

Whether or not Iran can be trusted with nuclear reactors is not the same as having them at home… that should be clear.

Report this

By Ernst Gruengast, July 22, 2008 at 1:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another point not yet brought up is energy independence and raw material price. If you think rising oil prices are an economic or political threat, take a look at the development of the uranium commodity market since 1999. The more countries get into this market, the more pressure on supply and the steeper this curve will get. And where are the world’s uranium deposits? You get the picture - it’s the same geopolitical monster as we have already with oil dependency.

The only way to damp this down would be major nuclear disarmament (4 tonnes of weapons grade plutonium can be dilluted to 1500 tonnes of MOX fuel) - which doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon with the current frothing warriors in the driving seat.

Report this

By Finrod, July 22, 2008 at 1:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These discussions certainly can be trying, but I think the message is getting across. Of course, we shall likely never reach the likes of cann4ing, but really, we don’t have to. We just have to be more obviously rational than our opponents. It’s not their minds we’re aiming to change, but the minds of the readership who might not be inspired to comment, but can in most cases discern whether or not this wet spell is suspiciously warm.

One sure way to tell if a line of argument is facing bankruptcy is when it degenerates into something like:

“Let us all follow the all knowing Barton. Barton is well informed. Barton has told us. How dare some poor misinformed peasant on the internet, question his veracity. I am ashamed!”

All that the anti-nuclear lobby has to do to convince the rest of us that they are right is to produce verifiable statistics and case studies which prove their point. They have over sixty years of nuclear history to sample, so why is it always necessary for them to resort to cherry-picked data, out of context statistics, half-truths and outright lies?

Report this

By Rod Adams, July 22, 2008 at 12:41 am Link to this comment

I realize that there are many sincere people who believe that the drawbacks to nuclear power overcome its advantages, but I simply cannot accept that in the face of the enormous challenges that human civilization faces.

The reason I cannot accept it is direct personal experience that I cannot deny. Please forgive a tiny bit of crudeness, but when I used to hang out with clear-eyed sailors who could spot hypocrisy a mile away, I learned a saying that has stuck with me. It seems appropriate in these trying discussions - “Don’t piss on my head and tell me it’s raining.”

As a young man, I completed 11 deployments, each 75 days long, sealed up inside a 9,000 ton ship that could go wherever we wanted at a pretty good clip. We made our own fresh water, produced replacement oxygen from some of that water, ran equipment that removed CO2, CO, and smoke particles from our atmosphere, and lived in comfortable, air conditioned surroundings. We cooked, watched movies, worked long hours, and spent a lot of time learning our profession. The key ingredient that made this all possible was a tiny volume of highly engineered, corrosion resistant solid material that physically was small enough to fit under my office desk.

That material was put on board in 1981 and lasted until the ship was decommissioned in 1994. The active part of that material weighed a bit more than I do, and it provided all the power that a 9,000 ton ship needed for 14 years of steady operation - so steady that it required two separate crews to keep up with its capability.

I know exactly where the leftovers from that core are resting today, waiting for a time when people wake up to the fact that there are still valuable raw materials remaining. You can read about that storage facility in Gwyneth Cravens’s recently published book Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy

Could the materials used have been reconfigured to produce a weapon? The action would have been exceedingly difficult, especially at any time after the material began producing controllable heat in 1981. After that, it pretty much protected itself, but it was also inside a vault that, for all intents and purposes, was impenetrable.

Are the left overs dangerous? Only if not properly handled. Simple rules: keep some distance, use shielding (a couple of feet of water works great), and if you have to get close, keep the time to a minimum. There is no possibility of “leaks”, the material is still solid, corrosion resistant metal, not some kind of green ooze.

Knowing what I know about the hazards of fossil fuels and the incredibly dangerous and unstable economic situation that now faces us in a world that wants more power than fossil fuels can provide - because most of the world wants to live less difficult lives - I cannot passively watch as ill-informed people seek to take the nuclear tool out of the hands of people who know what to do with it. I owe it to my two daughters, my future grandchildren and hundreds of millions of generous taxpayers who have paid for my education and kept me employed for more than 30 years.

Feel free to disagree, but know that I will continue to base my atomic power advocacy on observed and observable facts, not raw emotion. I will work as hard as possible to counter the misinformation spread by people like Amory Lovins, a man who has a demonstrable ability to avoid the truth. Remember what he told everyone during his interview:

“You know, I’ve worked for major oil companies for about thirty-five years, and they understand how expensive it is to drill for oil.”

Report this

By John Judge, July 21, 2008 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment

I have no disagreement with the thesis that nuclear power is no solution at all to energy or global warming, but a massive threat to the enviroment and one of the most costly and dangerous ways to produce electricity, and it creates an insoluble problem of adding toxic radioactive waste to the atmosphere from the point of mining to the use of depleted uranium weapons.

However I am writing to say that the now pervasively accepted phrase “drink the Kool-Aid” as a metaphor for suicidal behavior is offensive on several levels to the people killed at Jonestown and their families. It is also innacurate both as analogy (it would not have been voluntary) and as history. The fact is, nobody at Jonestown drank the Kool-Aid or committed suicide, despite the myth created by the U.S. press.

Dr. Leslie Mootoo, the leading Guyanese pathologist who was the first medical examiner at the site, examined hundreds (408 in first count) of dead bodies which showed no signs of cyanide pathology (splaying of limbs, arched spine, rictus grin), but instead evidence of forced injections (bent and broken needles) into a point below the left shoulder blade of an unknown toxin, as well as evidence of bullet wounds and strangulation. Over five days the body count inexplicably rose to 916 (despite U.S. Army official’s claims that the Guyanese can’t count or that bodies were in piles), yet not a single photograph taken over the whole period shows a single body not in calm repose, face-down, and in many cases clearly dragged onto the site.

Mootoo eventually wrote an open letter to the American College of Medical Examiners damning the claim by the U.S. Armed Forces Pathology Institute that they could not determine cause of death because they “forgot” to bring their medical equipment for a simple fluid autopsy. Based on Mootoo’s findings and the real evidence in the case, the Grand Jury at Matthew’s ridge ruled there was not a single suicide at Jonestown. In other words, nobody drank the Kool-Aid and there was no voluntary mass suicide. The people were murdered, over a period of five days.

The case for nuclear power stands on just the same sort of “evidence” as the claims of the U.S. military and press about Jonestown, and accepting them leads to a sort of mental and political mass suicide of denial and false hope.

“The truth is the only engine of survival,” sang poet Leonard Cohen in his song “The Future”. It is our only hope.

Report this
thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, July 21, 2008 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

Let us all follow the all knowing Barton. Barton is well informed. Barton has told us. How dare some poor misinformed peasant on the internet, question his veracity. I am ashamed!

Report this

By Ernst Gruengast, July 21, 2008 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

cann4ing,

To be precise, the problems of the 100% renewable network are twofold:

1. Capacity has to be about 200% what it is for a well dimensioned fossil-based one for the same overall consumption and peak capacity allowances. This can be smoothed out if you have a large component of adjustable production (geothermic, HEP, biomass) but the smaller scale of these operations makes managing production to meet peak demand more complicated. In order for that to happen it takes a lot of political will.

2. Renewable production is small scale. Big wind farms are generally around 50-100 MW. But because of the nature of the operations, they favour small companies, local intiatives and benefit local economies. Biomass in particular, if properly regulated so as not to impact upon food prices will be a fixed part of the future of the agricultural economy in 10-15 years, no question. Wind and solar as well. The technology too is developing at a ridiculous pace (solar cell capacity doubles every 8-10 years). The problem here will be for electricity companies, who will have to negotiate contracts with hundreds of different suppliers rather than a few corporations.

In countries with nationalised energy industries (where producers and network is the same company) both these nuts are difficult to crack, because the industry is kitted out for a completely different game and uses all its influence to limit change. So in the US, where networks and producers are private, there is actually a good basis to develop renewable structures. But it does need a culture of regulation and control to create the level playing field, something which is less evident in the US than elsewhere.

The hindrance is only at political level, where politicians of all colours are bought and owned by corporate interests who will not benefit from the above scenario. The silver lining is that the problem is only political, not scientific and certainly not economic. If the farmers of the US realised how much they would benefit from a renewable economy and lobbied in DC accordingly, things could look very different very quickly.

Economically, nuclear power has never stuck a chance against anything else and never will. And when you factor in decommissioning and waste storage costs (which calcs from nuclear industry rarely do), then the whole thing falls completely to bits.

Report this

By GRLCowan, July 21, 2008 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Better informed, maybe not. More honest, definitely.

Learn from the example of Greenpeace polar ice researchers Lonnie Dupre and Eric Larsen.

Report this

By Charles Barton, July 21, 2008 at 11:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

thebeerdoctor, I do not claim to be an expert, but I am far better informed than anyone who claims the date, April 26, 1986 is an argument.  That defies the rules of logic.  If you think that April 26, 1986 is related to current nuclear safety issues, then you are far too ill informed to have anything important to say.

Report this
thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, July 21, 2008 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

Since Charles Barton is so much better informed than Amy Goodman, or anyone on this site. I yield to the more thorough scientific voice. Since it appears Barton is an expert, I will only say in all stupidity: April 26, 1986.

Report this

By Joffan, July 21, 2008 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Really, Lovins is being pretty reprehensible to simple waggle “terrorists” in our faces and claim that some unknown threat they pose means we need to avoid nuclear. An attack “from outside the site boundary with things the terrorists would have readily available” is about as vague as you can get without just saying “Boo!”.

Efficiency, via bulding and appliance codes, is worth doing, and is being done. It may address perhaps 10% of current requirements, after which it becomes too expensive to compete against the alternatives - Lovins’ much-vaunted negawatts are only cheap to start with. Efficiency may slow demand growth but is unlikely to do much else as an independent strategy. In any case, once we have that reduction, if any, we need to separately consider what to do about remaining supply.

The sum total of intermittant sources like wind and solar might eventually reach 30% of supply, with some grid balance tricks and centralized control. This leaves 70% of supply to be handled by baseload and responsive (peaking)  power. Hydro and waste combustion might account for 20% of supply as the peaking contribution, leaving 50% to nuclear and geothermal. Otherwise we will be using Lovins hidden fossil fuels, which he calls “micropower” but actually means gas and coal used in small less-efficient generators.

Report this

By cann4ing, July 21, 2008 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

I wish to congratulate Ernst Gruengast for his thoughtful erudition.  The only point I would add is to note, as Al Gore did, that the infrastructure of the U.S. electrical grid is badly outdated.  His point is that since it is badly in need of a major update, the sensible update would be conversion to solar, wind & geothermal, though one should not overlook recent developments in tapping into the power generated by ocean waves.

Report this

By Charles Barton, July 21, 2008 at 8:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The beerdoctor makes a number of astonishingly ignorant statements. First, the reactor technology that is most useful to producing nuclear weapons was developed during World War II, the Graphite Reactor.  That technology is well known and understood, and it is far cheaper to build that reactors with that technology, and to purchase new nuclear power plants.  The Plutonium produced by Graphite Reactors is considered to be bomb grade.  Plutonium produced in Civilian Reactors is far more expensive to extract from used nuclear fuel, it contains very hot, highly radioactive isotopes of Plutonium, that make bomb making with it technically very difficult.  critics of nuclear power must explain why a would be nuclear bomb maker would prefer to use the far more difficult and expensive approach of using civilian power reactors to produce nuclear fuel than building Graphite Pile Reactors for the same purpose. No critic of nuclear power has ever explained that.

beerdoctor:
“Nuclear energy advocates use select scientific data to back up their safety claims. This is dubious at best, when you consider the fraudulent mythology that told the public you could “duck and cover” in the case of a nuclear blast.”

Would you care to elaborate on that statement?  You You accuse the advocates of nuclear power of dishonesty about nuclear safety.  Would you care to prove that?  It is my experience that it is the critics of nuclear power who are highly selective on data.  What does “duck and cover” have to do with reactor safety?  Are you trying to suggest that a reactor can blow up like an attomic bomb, or are you simply engaged in hysterical fear mongering?

You point to the The Indian Nuclear program which does not fully cooperate with international nuclear control programs?  In fact India has conducted a program of local power reactors design, and has done so for over 30 years.  The Indian nuclear centers you mention are centers for Indian reactor design.  Even if we stopped building reactors in the United States, India would continue to design and build reactors.  So pointing to India proves nothing.

Report this

By Ernst Gruengast, July 21, 2008 at 6:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Many of the comments both pro and contra here are written from a closed perspective which ignores what’s already happening elsewhere. The potential for renewable energy in the US as elsewhere is enormous. It is not a problem of market economics that the US renewable quota is so small, it’s a problem of political will and the undue influence of corporate lobbies:

- energy suppliers who don’t want to invest in their network and want to deal with big corporate producers, not a diverse microgenerating community, which is how many renewable sources make sense economically

- the oil and coal industry which wants to maximise return on its current global investments by slowing the changover as much as possible

- the nuclear industry, which, as in every country is in bed with the military and continue, as they always have, to just lie about the cost and environmental impact of atomic energy production

In other countries (Germany and Spain are two examples) things look completely different. On one windy day in Spain the other month 40% of electricity was supplied by wind power alone (Spain averages around 25%). In both Spain and Germany this has been achieved despite slow economic conditions and with almost no state subsidies.

In the US with distributed population, large areas of undeveloped land (windy plains, sunny deserts), enormous agricultural regions (lots of biomass) etc. etc., the potential for renewables is off the scale compared to dense, built-up Europe. There is no excuse except the political one why the US isn’t the world’s largest renewable energy producer - none!!

In the meantime, the US is falling ever further behind in wind and solar technology (for anybody whose interested compare a GE turbine (US) with an Enercon (DE) - no contest!).

The problem of the renewable electricity economy is not production - it is distribution and that is what nobody is talking about. Most renewable sources (w. exception of geothermal, HEP, Biomass CHP) don’t have constant or controllable production, it’s not necessarily being made when people need it etc. Therefore you need more complex control systems and highly increased network capacity the more you rely on renewables (esp. solar and wind). Like most of its infrastructure, the US electricity networks are hoplessly outdated and underinvested in (no space here for reasons why). That’s why energy corps., nuclear ind. and their mouthpieces (politicians) sing from same songsheet.

Report this

By Jim Yell, July 21, 2008 at 6:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The last 8 years have proven, if anyone has been listening that investment and manufacturing doesn’t wish to deal with reality, anymore than George and Cheney.

No energy is clean or safe which produces prodigous amounts of waste that is toxic for thousands and even 10’s of thousands of years. Hiding it out of sight doesn’t make it safe. Hoping something that will remain toxic for even geologic ages will remain safely out of the environment is arrogance. We can’t even control the toxic chemicals that have been mindlessly, although profitably splashed all over the environment.

If one figures the actual costs in terms of events like Chernobyl, which is still not safe and which will surely continue to work its way into the environment, the contamination from unsuccessfully stored nuclear material and venting from power plants that have already occurred. To know the true cost of nuclear we need to know the true increase in cancer caused by a world un-naturally made radioactive from greed and carelessness.

No nuclear is not clean and it is not economical. It doesn’t make sense either.

Report this

By Finrod, July 21, 2008 at 6:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well it’s for sure that the technology of the atom as weapon and the atom as provider was intimately entwined at the dawn of its development. And nuclear bombs are bad. Very very bad. That much is obvious. Isn’t it?


In the aftermath of the destruction wrought by WW1, many people from all levels of society across Europe and the rest of the world sought political solutions to the problem of war, such as the League of Nations, and invested great effort in devising them. In spite of their earnest efforts to avoid another disaster, the world was plunged into another, much worse, Great Power war two decades later. In spite of the best efforts of the forces of reason, the basic historical pattern of a horrible convulsive civilisation-wide war every twenty or so years had reasserted itself when the exceptional conditions which facilitated the long peace of the 19th Century (the long global hegomony of Britain) vanished. Restoration of the normal distribution of power among the people of the globe meant restoration of business as usual, no matter what the angels of our better nature thought of it.

Then something peculiar happened. For some reason, direct armed clashes between the Great Powers have ceased. By now we should be up to about World War Five, or be desperately arming ourselves in preparation for it. The international situation at the end of World War Two certainly didn’t encourage much optimism about the chances of avoiding future Great Power clashes, at least not if you used past history as any guide. Something happened to derail business as usual.

That something was, of course, nuclear weapons. The Balance of Terror, Mutually Assured Destruction, was bagged out in its time, but in retrospect, it seems to have served humanity rather well. Of course, it’s still in effect. The fall of the USSR hasn’t really changed the fundamental strategic situation that much. Russia could still destroy the US and China. The US could still destroy Russia and China. China could cause enough damage to the US or Russia to dissuade either of those Powers from attacking it. There are still client states and proxy wars, but there are no true Great Power wars. Such a conflict is still far too dangerous for any of the main players to countenance.

Since the thermonuclear bomb cannot be uninvented, I’m inclined to think that it must be acknowledged as a permanent feature of human politics from hereon in. Nukes or something even more powerful will be primary strategic considerations in human affairs for the rest of history. Even if some kind of defensive technology such as advanced ABM lasers, or interceptors, or something becomes possible, no one could ever be sure that an advanced delivery system couldn’t get past the defence. The risk would be just too high to ever assume invulnerability to attack.

In short, the only way that nuclear aggression can ever possibly make sense in terms of a Great Power war is if the aggressor has good reason to think that its victim cannot retaliate. I don’t know what it would take to convince a would-be nuclear conqueror that it was safe to launch a first strike, but it is certainly more likely to happen if the intended victim publicly declares itself to be disarmed, than if it has a habit of occasionally conducting an underground weapon test to prove to everyone that its nuke capability is current and effective.

Report this
thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, July 21, 2008 at 1:58 am Link to this comment

The problem with nuclear power is its long association with nuclear weapons. This is a natural concern for Pacifica radio host Amy Goodman. The whole charade with Iran over nuclear development points this out. The truth is, any nuclear power technology can be transformed into a weapons program. The people who advocate for nuclear power want more power. For the most part, the idea of using less power is an anathema to them. Perhaps the only solution is for every country in the world to have their own nuclear program, whether it for energy or defense. Face it: nuclear annihilation is the ultimate terrorist threat, which the United States has actually demonstrated twice, and has been used for intimidation, many times since.
Nuclear energy advocates use select scientific data to back up their safety claims. This is dubious at best, when you consider the fraudulent mythology that told the public you could “duck and cover” in the case of a nuclear blast.
It is the pro-nuclear energy advocates who terribly naive if they think that you can easily separate power from weapons. The recent U.S.-India nuclear pact is a glaring example. As Oliver Meir stated: “The largest nuclear centers—the Babha Atomic Research Centre and the Indira Ghandi Centre for Atomic Research—are to remain completely inaccessible to international inspectors.”
There are in this world, dual use reactors, which are for both civil and military purposes. Government promotion of this technology flies in the face of non-nuclear proliferation. But perhaps that is what they really want.

Report this

By Steve Johnson, July 20, 2008 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The good always winds up being the enemy of the perfect in debates about nuclear power.

3000+ coal miners die every single year in China. Thousands die because of the pollution it causes. Over the entire course of the history of humans using nuclear power, there has been only one major disaster, Chernobyl, caused by a shitty reactor design that EVEN THEN was considered unsafe by the countries of the West.

Yet here we sit pitting the good (nuclear power) against some pie in the sky hope for what we WANT to exist, but doesn’t yet. Every day we sit here debating, another coal plant comes online. That’s the reality of the situation in the world right now. How many more people have to die before we realize that even an incremental step towards something better is possible NOW, and will help immediately?

I hate this debate for a number of reasons, but the thing I hate most is how it’s become an emotional kneejerk issue for so many people who vote the same way I do. People like my parents have been so emotionally invested in fighting nuclear power for decades that no facts or figures can persuade them of anything. It’s approaching the level of a religious dogma. You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.

Here is the reality of how much carbon gets pumped into the atmosphere by various technologies (including everything - mining materials, transport, decommissioning, etc) in their CURRENT STATE:
http://www.freedomforfission.org.uk/img/co2.jpg

The answer is staring us in the face, and an apt metaphor comes to mind. Fiddling while Rome burns to the ground.

Fortunately the debate is becoming meaningless as more and more countries start to move in the direction of nuclear power, 27 new applications in the US alone. A carbon tax or cap and trade system should push the economics of nuclear power over the top, and one is very likely to be put in place regardless of who wins the presidential election.

And let me just say that down the road, I think a lot of anti-nuclear activists will be glad that the world moved in a direction they didn’t want it to. Many won’t admit it, but they will have been proven wrong, and the world will be a better place for it.

This is proven again and again in communities that are initially somewhat NIMBY, and a nuclear plant proposal barely gets the votes to be built. Down the road a few years, you start getting data like this: “Eighty-two percent of Americans living in close proximity to nuclear power plants favor nuclear energy, and 71 percent are willing to see a new reactor built near them, according to a new public opinion survey of more than 1,100 adults across the United States.”
http://www.nei.org/newsandevents/newsreleases/nuclearpowerplantneighborsacceptpotentialfornewreactornearby/

Report this

By snooker, July 20, 2008 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The nuclear industry proponents simply repeat the same lies over and over hoping people will believe them.
  Those who assert radiation is not harmful in low doses-or even more bizarrely and fraudulently that radiation can somehow be good for biology—simply ignore science, and they are definitely not the arbiters of scientific fact.  The National Academy of Sciences in 2005 reaffirmed that all ionizing radiation is harmful and that there is no safe lower dose.
    Since the work of Petkow and others it has been well understood that ionizing radiation has a non linear dose response curve.  That means low level radiation has a disproportionately greater health hazard that higher doses. 
  Another lie is that nuclear waste generated by Wonderbreadland will be a manageable contaminant in the hoped public subsidy of nuclear power.  The people know this is a complete lie, because just look at depleted uranium weapons.  They contaminate many neighborhoods in the US and around the world thanks to the nuclear industry’s completely reckless support of the weaponization of radioactive materials. 
  One of the biggest lies about nuclear industry is that it has never harmed or killed anyone.  Somehow the industry is so leveraged on lies it cannot admit even the slightest harm from ionizing radiation which is harmful at all dose levels. 
  In order to foist this blatant lie on the public a great deal of denial has to exist.  All studies, documents, and facts that refute the illogical and impossible claims of no harm are systematically ignored.  Ignorance is bliss, and Pentagon documents show their subterfuge with DU contamination.  It is conveniently ignored that Iraq was a progressive Middle Eastern country with a cancer registry that knows very well its cancer incidence has climbed drastically from exposure to low level alpha radiation spread by US troops.  We all know very well GI disability has risen markedly coincident with the era of radioactive munitions use.  Dozens of tests have demonstrated the same sort of health problems in animals that could be predicted with the dispersal of radioactivity in the environment, even at low levels of exposure sometimes below NRC hazard levels.
  Every minute of the day we age due to exposure to natural radiation which globally averages about .15-.2 Becquerel.  Some of the damage to our DNA is repaired but some goes unrepaired resulting in flawed cells or mutations.
  One of the most vulnerable systems in our bodies is the endocrine or hormonal system.  Tests are showing radiation to be one of the most potent disrupters of it in mammals.
  How has global health fared in the era of radiation?  It is hard to trust tests built on flawed methodology.  If one studies the wrong area or omits an affected cohort, the results are inadequate for full investigation.  The WHO has proven to be politically tethered by the nuclear industry and has kept the lid on research by Keith Baverstock. 
  Anyone who has seen the film, “Chernobyl Heart” knows how graphic the health impact of radiation can be.  The pictures from Iraq and Afghanistan are similar reminders of what follows in the wake of radioactive dispersal in the environment.
  Nuclear power plants do consume fossil fuels in their operation, from mining to processing to construction and waste disposal.  The continued lie by nuclear industry that nuclear power is not a consumer of fossil fuels is another major Big Lie they attempt to sell along with the snake oil of no harm and manageable waste.

Report this

By cann4ing, July 20, 2008 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Here’s another reason why claims about the supposed safety of nuclear power cannot be trusted.  Prior to Three Mile Island, the most significant meltdown of a nuclear reactor occurred in 1958 at a Rocketdyne facility now known as the Santa Susana Field Lab, (now owned by Boeing) which is located on a hilltop pass between the San Fernando and Simi Valleys.  A veil of secrecy surrounded the event even though a radioactive cloud dissipated as it floated over the heavily populated San Fernando Valley.

Over a span of many years, nearby neighborhoods in Simi Valley have experienced an inordinate number of cases of childhood leukemia, as well as other immunological disorders associated with other chemicals at the site.

Until now, the site has been under the control of the DOE, but, as revealed by a July 20, 2008 article in the Ventura County Star, the EPA agreed to take over responsibility for the cleanup after “recent events [demonstrated] a lack of transparency in the DOE’s interactions with EPA and the public.”  Where the EPA claimed it was using the EPA’s strictest standards for screening radiation levels, independent tests revealed “screening levels that far exceeded EPA’s standards.”

Sen. Feinstein observed, “The threat posed to surrounding communities from the chemical and radiological contamination of this site is simply unacceptable.

Report this

Page 2 of 3 pages  <  1 2 3 >

 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook