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View Diary: The Irrational Fear of Nukes - A German Perspective (262 comments)

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  •  Random thoughts... (5+ / 0-)

    I once ascribed a lot of fear of nuclear energy to naming. Nuclear is one transposition away from unclear. Breeders breed suspicion, doubt, contempt, and excess population. Fission sounds like something sizzling away and just seconds from exploding.

    180 kph? When I briefly worked on structural studies at a never-commissioned reactor near Kahl, one of my temporary German colleagues complained that his new 280-Z would not quite make it to 240 kph.

    Have the Germans cut back on smoking much since 1982, do you think? My main responsibility on that job at Kahl was to tend the vibration analyzer which was based on a DEC minicomputer that had a lot of cooling fans in a console about the size of a big steamer trunk. The main effect of that was to draw all the air in the building through the computer console at a rapid pace, and all the cigarette smoke along with it. I smelled like I had been working in a bar all night after a day's work, lol.

    Still, I have fond memories of those 6 weeks all these years later. Germany is a beautiful, interesting country and I'm glad I had the opportunity to spend a pleasant few weeks in spring there.

    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

    by billmosby on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:23:52 PM PDT

    •  Hamburg at night...down by the docks....loved it! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      •  Exactly. GenRad built it using a VAX (0+ / 0-)

        of some kind. The business end of the system was a 50 HP hydraulic actuator system that could produce spectra containing anything from sub 1 Hz up to about 1 kHz. You could clamp the actuator to a beam in a building and force it with the lower frequency parts of rock music if you wanted to. We used it to investigate mode shapes and frequencies of the concrete containment building of the HDR reactor near Kahl. There was also an instrumented sledge hammer or two for applying impulse loads. The reactor had never been fueled and was being used by a lot of teams from around the world for various kinds of accident and structural research. They had modified the place to become a large scale structural and fluids lab for nuclear power related research.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:07:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks bill (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby, mamamedusa, Earth Ling, IM

      Believe it or not, they actually have curbed their smoking a bit. I was shocked to see no-smoking laws being passed in state after state a few years back without major revolts. As a whole, there's definitely still a lot more smokers in Germany than in the U.S., but my feeling is that they're starting to get at least a little bit of "blowback." You know those nasty looks people get here in the U.S. when they light up, even outside.

      •  That's wonderful! (2+ / 0-)
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        citisven, IM

        I've never been particularly anti-smoking myself, but it's better that way, I think.

        About 20 years after cars began to have pollution controls put on them in the U.S. I began to notice the rare vehicle from an earlier period from its distinctive smell. It's hard to remember now just how much freeways smelled like raw gasoline back in the late 50s and early 60s. Now if you ever smell that while driving it means that either your fuel system has sprung a leak or you should be on the lookout for a vintage early 60s muscle car somewhere nearby.

        The smell of cigarette smoke has become similarly rare, although living as I do in Salt Lake City it was probably not as common here as elsewhere. But even walking around the University of Utah campus you will hardly ever encounter a smoker now, and that wasn't quite so true when I moved here 5 years ago.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:02:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  there are quite a few things (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          billmosby, mamamedusa, IM

          where the US was ahead of Europe. Smoking was one, and catalytic converters another. I know in Germany those weren't mandated until I think the late 80s or early 90s, and I do remember those nasty exhaust pip bong hits I was taking as a kid.

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