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View Diary: Why I'm not freaking out about the Fukushima nuclear plants (126 comments)

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  •  Obviously, it's not the end of the world... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miriam, bibble, Gemina13, Fury, pgm 01, Birdman

    ...and obviously, we should not engage in alarmism about what is happening at Fukushima or how that might translate to nukes here.

    But you damage your argument when you says stuff like this comment:

    In fact, we wouldn't have evolution if it wasn't for radioactivity.

    The father of the hydrogen bomb, Edward Teller, used to say that, too. He also used to say that you get more radiation sleeping with two women than living next door to a nuclear plant. I'm sure that's comforting to the people now trying at the possible risk of their lives to keep Fukushima nukes from spreading their poison.

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 08:14:48 PM PDT

    •  But those people... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kalmoth

      Certainly aren't reading my diary.

      I have every respect for the people putting their lives in danger to solve the huge problems at the plant.  They understand radioactivity, probably much better than I do.

      This diary was written as a reaction to all of the anti-science chatter I was reading all over the web.  I was simply trying to provide some perspective to those people who might be reading a lot of alarmist rhetoric.  There's lots of it out there.

      About the evolution thing, it was probably a throwaway comment.  But it's certainly true that genetic mutations from radioactivity plays a large part in the process of evolution.  It's part of the story of radioactivity, and it's one of the points that I found most interesting when I was learning abou the subject.

      Sorry if you found it unpalateable.

      •  Alarmist rhetoric (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades

        It can be a difficult balance, but when attempting to debunk rhetoric believed to be alarmist one needs to make a conscious effort to avoid the reactionary naivete you have embraced here. Much of what you have claimed is simply the best case scenario, and is unsupported by the facts as we know them right now. Furthermore, you unnecessarily conflate your boosterism for modern-day nuclear design with this emergency. Fukushima 1 is not a modern nuclear plant, its a 40 years old nuclear plant, and we can't understand what is happening there if we are imagining it to be something it is not.

        Sadly, what bothers me the most is the least important point, your claim that:

        we wouldn't have evolution if it wasn't for radioactivity
        and even your softened statement that:
        genetic mutations from radioactivity plays a large part in the process of evolution

        The first statement was utterly wrong, and the second statement is still not true: mutations from inaccurate replication occur at a far higher rate than radiation-based mutation in the germ line. The way you use this "fact" - as an emotional appeal to positive feeling for radioactivity and, by association, nuclear power more generally - is the real issue, but I just can't get around its simple wrongness.

        •  You're right. (0+ / 0-)

          I've removed the comment about evolution in the diary.  It's misleading and doesn't belong there.

        •  As far as the next-gen reactor comments... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kalmoth

          I was simply trying to say that the problems with the Fukushima reactor shouldn't unnecessarily burden the conversation about the future use of nuclear power.

          •  I think the key word is "unnecessarily"... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kalmoth

            ...One of the things I'm sure you won't find at the MIT site is a history of all the things that the nuclear industry has said COULDN'T HAPPEN or were one-in-a-million chances. They said that before TMI-2, and afterward, they argued against some of the new safety regs the Nuclear Reg. Commission imposed because of what happened at TMI-2. While there certainly has been some considerable alarmism across the web as a consequence of the Japanese nukes, a few days I ago it wasn't hard to find people saying that what has now happened at some of those reactors couldn't happen.

            All the time, I hear about how "inherently safe" next-gen nukes will make all these problems with old nukes go away. But not a single one of these "inherently safe" devices has been built. (The French version, in Finland is waaaaaaaaay over budget and waaaaaaaay behind schedule.)

            One thing that can be definitely said about these next-gen machines: theoretical nukes never have accidents.

            Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 10:12:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But much safer reactors do exist (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OtherDoug

              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              These are third-gen reactors that I was talking about.  But any reactor built since 1990 is significantly better designed than the Fukushima reactors.

              Look, I'm not trying to say nuclear power will ever be completely safe.  But neither is a natural gas fired power plant, or a car, or an airplane, or coal mining, or any other number of dangerous things we do every day.  The key is to anticipate failures and plan for them.

              I'm trying to be optimistic.  I'm trying to be hopeful.  Is that misplaced?  We'll certainly see within the next few days.

            •  there is no such thing as "inherently safe..." (0+ / 0-)

              but Generation IV reactors are indeed a long way from a certain graphite pile on a wooden frame (I kid you not) underneath the stands of an abandoned stadium.

      •  What is to keep the fuel from melting down (0+ / 0-)

        here?

        Just wondering.

        It seems to me the worst case would be melt down, critical mass and then nuclear explosion.  Someone up above talked about meltdown.

    •  MB, would you take a look (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, OtherDoug

      Hope is a good thing--maybe the best of things--and no good thing ever dies.

      by Gemina13 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:58:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Teller also thought that making (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, OtherDoug

      harbors using nuclear devices was a viable idea and had something to do with feeding radioactive isotopes to Alaskan Natives.

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