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As radiation poured from 3 Mile Island 31 years ago this weekend, utility executives rested easy.

They knew that no matter how many people their errant nuke killed, and no matter how much property it destroyed, they would not be held liable.

Today this same class of executives demands untold taxpayer billions to build still more TMIs.  No matter how many meltdown

As radiation poured from 3 Mile Island 31 years ago this weekend, utility executives rested easy.

They knew that no matter how many people their errant nuke killed, and no matter how much property it destroyed, they would not be held liable.

Today this same class of executives demands untold taxpayer billions to build still more TMIs.  No matter how many meltdowns they cause, and how much havoc they visit down on the public, they still believe they’re above the law.

Fueled with more than $600 million public relations slush money, they demand a risk-free “renaissance” financed by you and yours.

As if!

In 1980 I reported from central Pennsylvania on the dead and dying one year after.  Dozens of interviews documented a horrifying range of radiation-related diseases including cancer, leukemia, birth defects, still births, malformations, sterility, heart attacks, strokes, emphysema, skin lesions, hair loss, a metallic taste and much more.  As reported by the Baltimore News-American among others, such ailments also ripped through the animal population.  (http://www.ratical.com/radiation/KillingOurOwn/ ).

To this day no one knows how much radiation was released at the 1979 TMI accident, where it went or whom it harmed.  The official line that “no one was killed” is arguably the biggest lie ever told in US industrial history.

It parallels Soviet lies about the 1986 catastrophe at Chernobyl, whose health effects continue to skyrocket.  A devastating summary report issued by the New York Academy of Sciences (Yablokov, Nesterenko & Nesterenko:  Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People & the Environment) says at least 980,000 people are likely to die from the fallout.

That would be a small fraction of the casualties had 9/11 terrorists dived into the two reactors at New York’s Indian Point instead of hitting the World Trade Center.

In a time of deep financial stress, it also counts that the TMI accident turned a $900 million asset into a $2 billion liability in a matter of minutes.  Chernobyl has cost Belarus and Ukraine at least $500 billion and counting.  And the price tag on a major meltdown anywhere in the US is virtually beyond calculation.

Thus those who think a flood of new nukes will flow unimpeded into the American pocketbook haven’t been paying attention:

  1.    Four northeastern nukes---in Vermont, New Jersey and the two at Indian Point--- are under intense public pressure to shut within the next two years.  Numerous other elderly reactors are likely to go down long before any new nukes could come on line.
  1.    French President Sarkozy is demanding that world financial institutions buy  a bevy of new French-built reactors.  But huge delays and cost-overruns at French projects in Finland and France itself have made the investment community wary to say the least, thus prompting his foot-stomping.  (http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews.aspx?xmlpath=RSSFeed/HeadlineNews/Nuclear/8473273.x ml)
  1.    Documents leaked from inside France’s national utility EDF (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/mar/07/edf-nuclear-reactor-chernobyl-risk ) indicate cost-cutting has made the new French reactor design  exceedingly prone to explosion, further unsettling potential investors.
  1.    The future of new US reactor construction hinges on massive loan guarantees and handouts.  The public number is $54 billion, but the Nuclear Information & Resource Service says the real bill could top a trillion (http://nukefree.org/node/1844 ).
  1.    In the polarized, cost-conscious wake of the health care bill, and the apparent demise of cap and trade as a centerpiece of climate legislation  ( http://www.nytimes.com/... ),  the idea of such huge sums flowing to a deeply polarizing energy source has become increasingly problematic.  Without a clear trade-off for fossil/nuclear giveaways, and with stiffening resistance from the rightist National Taxpayers Union, Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, the nuke bonanza is anything but certain.
  1.    An attempt by Entergy to shift six reactors into an asset-free corporate shell has been nixed by New York authorities, leaving liability for Vermont Yankee, Indian Point and other northeastern nukes in limbo (http://nukefree.org/node/1855 )
  1.     As elderly nukes stumble toward oblivion, various funds allegedly set aside for decommissioning may be significantly under-funded, deeply exacerbating the financial battles that now the industry.
  1.     As a lame duck, George W. Bush signed agreements apparently obligating the feds to assume responsibility for enough radioactive waste to fill two of the cancelled Yuccas.  (http://salem-news.com/articles/march242010/nuke-costs.php ) The complete lack of even one such facility means the potential taxpayer bill is beyond meaningful calculation.
  1.    Above all the exemption from liability for a major accident fed the industry by federal law in the case of terror or error remains the largest potential cost to us all.  Renewed in 2005, some believe the statute is clearly unconstitutional.

To this day the families of those harmed by radiation at Three Mile Island have been denied the right to make their case in federal court.

But now the shoe is on the other foot.

Desperate for cash, the nuclear industry wants us all to pay hundreds of billions for the joy of living downwind from still more 3 Mile Islands for which they intend to assume NO liability.

They want our money AND our lives.

From central Pennsylvania after 31 years, the message is clear:  Just Say NO!

Harvey Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA! is at www.harveywasserman.com, as is THE LAST ENERGY WAR.  He is senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service.  

=

Originally posted to harveywasserman on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 12:03 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  This borders on conspiracy theory (12+ / 0-)

      to say that there were all these unreported cases of illness and death from TMI. I'm tempted to HR this.

      ---
      Toyota: Proof US Union Labor Still Does it Better

      by VelvetElvis on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 01:01:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Like the U.S. media reports everything (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        Don't you read your Chomsky?  (And he's about as anti-conspiratorial as they get.)

        The Democratic Party has thrilled the biology community by creating a whole new class of invertebrates, utterly worthless in office. David Michael Green

        by neaguy on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 07:07:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Conspiracy theory?! (0+ / 0-)

        Immediate illnesses looking suspiciously like acute radiation poisoning, deaths of pets and farm animals, a 280% rise in miscarriages and stillbirths in the first year, and thousands of cancers have been exhaustively documented and reported since 1979. Epidemiological studies have suggested much more radiation was released than admitted, which the government and industry insisted be assigned to "stress." Millions of dollars in settlements for harm done have been quietly paid out by the utility's insurers, etc.

        Just because YOU never noticed, it does not mean harm was not done.

      •  i was there...i saw the death .... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        ...and disease at tmi and have the tapes and notes from the interviews.....look up the baltimore news-american from the time as well....see the film VOICES FROM THREE MILE ISLAND....

    •  Al Gore against nuclear power (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, Joieau

      Good call, Mr. Vice President:
      http://www.nirs.org/...

      The Democratic Party has thrilled the biology community by creating a whole new class of invertebrates, utterly worthless in office. David Michael Green

      by neaguy on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 07:06:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Jim Hansen supports 4th gen nuclear power (4+ / 0-)

        James E. Hansen heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. He has held this position since 1981. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.

        From his latest newsletter:

           ....If that were the end of the story, I would not have any enthusiasm for nuclear power. However, it is clear that 4th generation nuclear power can be ready in the medium-term, within about 20 years. Some people argue that it could be much sooner â€" however, the time required for its implementation is of little importance.

           The reason that 4th generation nuclear power is a game-changer is that it can solve two of the biggest problems that have beset nuclear power. 4th generation uses almost all of the energy in the uranium (or thorium), thus decreasing fuel requirements by two orders of magnitude. It practically removes concern about fuel supply or energy used in mining " we already have fuel enough for centuries. Best of all, 4th generation reactors can burn nuclear waste, thus turning the biggest headache into an asset. The much smaller volume of waste from 4th generation reactors has lifetime of a few centuries, rather than tens of thousands of years. The fact that 4th generation reactors will be able to use the waste from 3rd generation plants changes the nuclear story fundamentally " making the combination of 3rd and 4th generation plants a much more attractive energy option than 3rd generation by itself would have been.

        Strategies to Address Global Warming

        Republican marriage is between one man and one woman....plus another woman on the side.

        by Alan Arizona on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 08:22:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Gore's position must have changed from 2000 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345

        Al Gore also acknowledges that nuclear must play an important role.

        That is why every renewable expert at the 2009 Aspen Institute Environment Forum agreed that nuclear must be part of the solution.

        Today, we are nowhere close to that installation rate with renewables alone. For example, in 2008, the average power delivered by solar worldwide was only 2 GWe (which is to be distinguished from the peak solar capacity of 13.4GWe).

        Why We Should Build an Integral Fast Reactor Now

        Republican marriage is between one man and one woman....plus another woman on the side.

        by Alan Arizona on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 08:40:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There's been one "meltdown" in the (6+ / 0-)

    entire history of nuke power. Nobody died. I can live with those numbers. Build 'em!!

    •  Chernobyl? (5+ / 0-)

      They tortured people to get false confessions to justify invading Iraq.

      by yet another liberal on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 12:40:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There have been (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yet another liberal

      a number of "meltdowns," usually caused by fuel or control rod failure, since the 1950s. Usually at goveernment-run facilities, TMI being the only one in the US anyone was allowed to know about. And THEY didn't admit to "meltdown" until three years later.

      The industry is not only heavily subsidized by taxpayers, it enjoys a level of secrecy borrowed from its parent industry (nuclear weapons) that no one should ever have tolerated in any public utility. Stop spewing industry lies.

    •  4th generation IFR reactors cannot meltdown (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yet another liberal, erush1345

      like early reactors.

      In 1986, the IFR showed that it can protect itself from overheating and meltdown. It does so through the natural physical properties of the materials used rather than by relying on operator intervention or an engineered safety system.

      Congressional Record: Nov. 6, 1997 (Senate) Page S11890-S11891

      Republican marriage is between one man and one woman....plus another woman on the side.

      by Alan Arizona on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 08:57:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the ifr is totally theoretical & unproven.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        windmills & solar panels are proven and they work

        •  Except it was built and run for 30 yrs (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mcrab, erush1345

          It's your right to be a nuclear hater, just say that, but to rewrite history...  really?!?

          Experimental Breeder Reactor-II (EBR-II) is a reactor at the Materials and Fuels Complex of the Idaho National Laboratory, formerly the West Campus of Argonne National Laboratory in Idaho.

          It is a sodium cooled reactor with a thermal power rating of 62.5 megawatts (MW), an intermediate closed loop of secondary sodium, and a steam plant that produces 19 MW of electrical power through a conventional turbine generator. The original emphasis in the design and operation of EBR-II was to demonstrate a complete breeder-reactor power plant with on-site reprocessing of metallic fuel. The demonstration was successfully carried out from 1964 to 1969. The emphasis was then shifted to testing fuels and materials for future, larger, liquid metal reactors in the radiation environment of the EBR-II reactor core. It operated as the Integral Fast Reactor prototype. Costing more than USD 32 million, it achieved first criticality in 1965 and ran for 30 years. It was designed to produce about 62.5 megawatts of heat and 20 megawatts of electricity, which was achieved in September 1969 and continued for most of its lifetime. Over its lifetime it has generated over two billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, providing a majority of the electricity and also heat to the facilities of the Argonne National Laboratory-West.

          Experimental Breeder Reactor-II (EBR-II)

          Jim Hansen again:

          It was a mistake to terminate the R&D on 4th generation nuclear power at Argonne Laboratory in 1994 [the facility above], but we still have the best expertise in the world. They deserve much more support, and we should be working in full cooperation with China, India, and other countries.

          Republican marriage is between one man and one woman....plus another woman on the side.

          by Alan Arizona on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 10:26:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  There was not one fatality from TMI (8+ / 0-)

    versus the thousands from coal fired plants.

    Nuclear power is a necessary evil that we have to accept if we're going to fight climate change.

    By encouraging the proliferation of carbon producing coal fired fossil plants, anti-nuke hippies have done more to harm the environment than help it.

    It's time for your kind to STFU and let other people deal with the damage you've done.

    ---
    Toyota: Proof US Union Labor Still Does it Better

    by VelvetElvis on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 12:47:48 AM PDT

    •  What a bunch of shit (6+ / 0-)

      Why can't you build wind generators and solar power plants?

      Anti-nuke hippies?  Fucking bullshit "argument".

      They tortured people to get false confessions to justify invading Iraq.

      by yet another liberal on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 12:49:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  we can (11+ / 0-)

        in fifty years

        The technology hasn't been tried on any kind of scale like it would take to power a nation, not to mention the lack of batteries required for solar.

        I used to be hardcore anti-nuke in my teens but have done a 180 since I learned a thing or two about science and reality.

        ---
        Toyota: Proof US Union Labor Still Does it Better

        by VelvetElvis on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 12:51:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The amount of power that one nuclear plant (8+ / 0-)

        generates far, far outstrips the amount of power you'd get from thousands upon thousands of acres of wind farms or solar cells.  Nuclear power generation is the most efficient method for the kind of power modern society needs.

        Modern designs for nuclear plants are extremely safe--the safeguards built in to prevent meltdown are numerous, proven and effective.  

        I finally put in a signature!

        by Boris Godunov on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 01:17:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Do you care about the Grand Canyon? (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          electricgrendel, JesseCW, rja, DawnN, neaguy, Joieau

          Are you at all concerned about the likely massive contamination caused by uranium mining near our national treasure?

          The nuke power industry needs to clean up it's radioactive messes before they use public money to fund their filthy enterprise.

          Too cheap to meter?  Are you still claiming that as well?


          ````
          peace

          "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people." — Howard Zinn

          by peace voter on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 01:24:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  4th gen reactors burn nuclear waste (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Boris Godunov, billmosby, erush1345

            and do no require any new uranium mining.  We have all the fuel we need already above ground.  

               If we limited ourselves to using just our DU "waste" currently in storage, then using the IFR we can power the US for over 1,500 years without doing any new mining of uranium....

               In the US, there is 10 times as much energy in the depleted uranium (DU) that is just sitting there as there is coal in the ground. This DU waste is our largest natural energy resource...but only if we have fast reactors. Otherwise, it is just waste. With fast reactors, virtually all our nuclear waste (from nuclear power plants, leftover from enrichment, and from decommissioned nuclear weapons)[6] becomes an energy asset worth about $30 trillion dollars...that’s not a typo...$30 trillion, not billion. An 11 year old child was able to determine this from publicly available information in 2004....

               A 1 GWe IFR plant generates 1 ton of fission products each year that needs to be sequestered for 300 years until it is safe. A conventional nuclear plant of the same capacity creates about 100 tons of "waste" each year, containing isotopes that need to be sequestered for 1 million years according to the current US depository requirements. If you powered your entire life from IFRs, the amount of waste you’d generate would be smaller than 1 soda can and it would need to be stored for only 300 years.

            Why We Should Build an Integral Fast Reactor Now

            Republican marriage is between one man and one woman....plus another woman on the side.

            by Alan Arizona on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 08:04:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Gen-IVs (0+ / 0-)

              are breeders. Designed to transmute thorium 232 into fissile uranium 233, and/or uranium 238 into fissile plutonium 239. The fission products produced will be just as dangerous as all other nasty isotopes created by the fission of uranium 235, possibly a little shorter-lived. i.e., a mere 2,000 years versus 10,000 years.

              Plus, we don't do reprocessing in this country for a reason. The reason is that corporations who were licensed to do that couldn't be trusted not to sell bomb grade material to the highest bidder. Humans are still as greedy as they ever were.

              •  Keep reading. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Alan Arizona, Joffan, Mcrab, erush1345

                Your knowledge is getting there.

                It's 300 years of storage, not 2000. 2000 is more like the number of years the fuel we already have sitting around would power the whole country with these technologies. Fuel in the form of depleted uranium and spent light water reactor fuel. Making what is waste into a valuable resource is the only way to get something done about it. Otherwise it will sit where it is, become forgotten in a few generations, and rot in place.

                The integral reprocessing facilities proposed would keep the excess fissile inventories to such a low level that almost all of it, and almost all of what is now so difficult to deal with in the waste, would be in the reactor at all times. Remove very much of the newly bred fissile material for diversion, and the reactor would stop operating.

                Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

                by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 08:36:34 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The fission products (0+ / 0-)

                  of uranium 233 and plutonium 239 are much longer-lived than 300 years. I love how you guys are always so selective about things like this, ignoring everything else. Since you've got public ignorance and government secrecy on your 'side', you can twist things however you like to sell your product to unsuspecting rubes.

                  But lies are still lies, even when they're just twisted half-truths.

                  •  The preponderance of the fission products are: (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Joffan, Mcrab, erush1345

                    Cs-137 and Sr-90. Both have half lives of about 30 years. Given their quantities, the radiation hazard from those two isotopes becomes smaller than that of the original ore in about 300 years. Thereafter, it drops by half each 30 years after that. Almost all of the rest of the fission products have half-lives much shorter than Cs-137 and Sr-90

                    There are a few longer lived fission products produced in trace amounts, such as I-129 (15 million years). Again because of their quantities they are less hazardous than the original ore. The isotopes in the ore have half lives of 14 billion years (Th-232), 4.5 billion years (U-238) and 0.7 billion years (U-235).

                    If you could take all of those three isotopes that are in or near our environment and run them through an IFR or other integral breeder reactor/reprocessing system, the net effect would be an environmental radioactivity reduction program. That would be a very big job. But we do the best we can, lol.

                    Everything else produced in the fission process, especially the transuranics which are bad actors in light water and similar reactor spent fuel, is kept in an IFR-type reactor as fuel and becomes the fission products I mentioned above.

                    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

                    by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 09:38:17 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yet more misdirection. (0+ / 0-)

                      "Main" fission products for uranium 233 are comparable to the products of uranium 235 and plutonium 239 fission. These include all the 'usual' nasty isotopes that make today's spent fuel such an issue, in the 'usual' amounts (there is a good deal of variability in relative weights and neutron numbers of fission produced isotopes). There is simply no way to NOT get fission products from fission reactions, and all attempts to pretend otherwise are the 'usual' dangerous lies from from the 'usual' suspects. From noble gases to heavy metals, with half-lives measured in minutes all the way to millions of years. Gen-IV reactors - if they were ever built, sometime in the last quarter of this century or the first quarter of the next - will produce as much waste as the old reactors do. We still have no place to put it, and it's deadly for much longer than this nation has existed.

                      Also, while uranium 233 (from thorium) has a half-life of 160,000 years, seven times longer than plutonium 239, its spontaneous fission rate is twenty times higher. It is much less "easy" [a misnomer if there ever was one] to recover from spent fuel due to its high energy gamma-emitting decay chain. It is also much more difficult and dangerous to work with in fuel fabrication for the same reason. The transmutation is inefficient, involves two short-term decays and relies upon unproven attempts to isolate protactinium 233 from further neutron capture (to non-fissile isotope).

                      This is just another pipe dream from an already failed technology nobody really wants or needs, that could in nobody's scenario do anything whatsoever to mitigate global warming. Not to mention the fact that we CANNOT AFFORD IT.

                      •  You're totally ignoring the "Integral" part. (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Joffan, Mcrab, erush1345

                        That refers to a small fuel cycle facility built integral with the reactor facility which allows remote fuel reprocessing and refabrication, making a system which takes in depleted uranium or spent LWR fuel at one end and discharges fission products at the other with the characteristics described in my previous comment.

                        And there is no question about "if" such a Gen IV reactor will be built. One was built, called EBR-II, complete with such a fuel cycle facility, and was demonstrated to work in all its particulars, including the fuel cycle system. Here's a picture of it. EBR-II fuel was reprocessed and refabricated remotely in the attached fuel cycle facility from 1965 through 1969. Later fuel cycle improvements were made (late 90s) and demonstrated at least through 2004.

                        I'm familiar with EBR-II and its history because I worked about 20 feet below the rooftop from where the picture in the link was taken for about 18 years.

                        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

                        by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 10:45:39 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The weapons industry (0+ / 0-)

                          is a portion of DoE - government - and not your basic REC or public utility. Nor is it known for stringent safety or for is heartfelt concern for anybody living nearby or downwind. The government lets itself reprocess fuel because it wants the bomb materials. It does NOT allow corporate concerns to reprocess commercial fuel because the ones that did do it were caught selling plutonium to the highest bidders. This is a very serious proliferation problem, and for-profit corporations have absolutely no business being involved with the technology at all, at any level.

                          •  Ok, fine. Got a link about the Pu sales? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Joffan, Mcrab

                            I couldn't think of what commercial reprocessors might have sold Pu to anybody in this country. Or even of any commercial reprocessors that have operated a plant at all. So I went looking for a reference on it. This one seems fairly comprehensive. It doesn't seem to show any commercial reprocessing activity in the U.S. Perhaps the one you refer to is in Europe or somewhere else?

                            Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

                            by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 11:09:53 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Did you forget about (0+ / 0-)

                            Kerr-McGee? Karen Silkwood? Come on, Bill. Anyone who claims to be such an 'expert' would know the history of the product he's attempting to sell. Jimmy Carter shut down reprocessing in this country in the mid-1970s, Kerr-McGee was the biggest player (and three of its facilities are STILL awaiting cleanup, two others had accidents that killed and injured people). More than 20 pounds of plutonium turned up MIA in each of three inspections, commercial reprocessing was shut down specifically because proliferation concerns.

                            btw, Carter also worked recovery while in the Navy after at least one of the scram failure meltdowns at Chalk River in the '50s. So it's not like he didn't know what happened at TMI-2 in 1979.

                          •  Oh, yeah. Thanks for the memory jog. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Joffan, Joieau

                            My job at Argonne was in nuclear material accountability and control. I know about statistical uncertainties in processing because that's part of doing nuclear material accountability measurements. Could it have been stolen? Sure. More likely it was measurement uncertainty, and as such has already been accounted for. If somebody had been planning to make a bomb out of the stuff, they're taking their sweet time about it.

                            But again thanks for the memory jog. I should have remembered it, I've always been a fan of Cher and Meryl Streep.

                            Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

                            by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 11:36:28 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I never thought (0+ / 0-)

                            it was "stolen," and way too much went missing to be a mere isotope here or there. Sold to the highest bidder, which at the time was a little country in the Middle East...

                          •  That was a fuel fabrication plant, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Joffan

                            which, handling MOX, would be part of the older concept of aqueous reprocessing to be carried out at large, centrally located reprocessing plants.

                            The IFR design was originated to respond to objections to that concept, and a big part of its rationale was to keep all the fissile material, transuranics, and some fission products in the fuel so it had to be handled in shielded hot cells to make it harder to steal.

                            Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

                            by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 11:43:34 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Kerr-McGee operated (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            peace voter

                            several facilities. Reprocessing and fuel fabrication. They didn't operate any of them very well.

                          •  True enough. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Joffan, Joieau

                            I'll stipulate that I favor an IFR operated by someone other than Kerr-McGee.

                            Looks like some possibility exists that the second and subsequent ones might be operated by governments like the first one was. China, India, and Russia have all shown interest and have developed similar technologies or have plans to, according to recent items I have found on the web. I have links to some of them in other comments on this diary.

                            Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

                            by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 12:11:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Bill, you know some stuff (0+ / 0-)

                            obviously. And you have your favorite among the several competing Gen-IV designs. But not a single one is approved or anywhere close to licensing in this country. You are of course welcome to try, but until you've got an approved design (that's scalable for commercial production) that NRC will license and that doesn't cost billions more than the clunky old technology still in use and on order for mere replacement, it's going to remain a hard sell. In case you didn't notice, this country is in the midst of severe recession and it's going to last at least a decade out in the real world where people who would LIKE to work have no jobs and can't pay their electric bills.

                            Then you'll have to deal with people like me, who will argue against new nukes even for replacement on the ~17% level. The moment you start adding multi-trillions we don't have to the ridiculous pipe dream of replacing coal capacity, you'll get nowhere. The money we do have to invest is better spent on cheaper, cleaner and more readily available renewable capacity. We'll get precisely zip from your Gen-IVs within the next half century or more, and even then we'd still be producing deadly for thousands of years waste just so we can toast bagels for breakfast. That's too stupid to be allowed, even in a nation full of certifiably idiotic Teabaggers.

                          •  I said elsewhere I don't really give a shit (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Joffan, Mcrab, Joieau

                            whether these things are deployed in this country or not. I just come here to share certain facts that I acquired in my past.

                            IFRs or other such systems may be closer to deployment elsewhere, and may not. But the accomplishments of my old colleagues and employer were unique and interesting and that's why I like to let people in on them.

                            Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

                            by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 02:17:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  You'd better link to some credible sources before (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Joffan, Mcrab, erush1345

                    you start calling me a liar.

                    The much smaller volume of waste from 4th generation reactors has lifetime of a few centuries, rather than tens of thousands of years.

                    Jim Hensen - Strategies to Address Global Warming - 20090713

                    James E. Hansen heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. He has held this position since 1981. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.

                    Republican marriage is between one man and one woman....plus another woman on the side.

                    by Alan Arizona on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 10:01:36 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  yeah...so the reactor stops operating.... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joieau

                  what do those who steal these fissile materials care....the ifr opens so many cans of radioactive worms it hard to know where to start....except to reiterate that i won't work.....

                  •  Or it could be that the IFR concept (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Joffan, Mcrab, erush1345

                    solves so many problems that you don't know where you arguments will come from in the future.

                    Not care if the reactor stops operating? That would be very strong evidence, not to say a screaming siren, to the IAEA or any other regulatory agency that theft was occurring.

                    No matter, keep on ranting. I actually don't care if any new nuclear powerplants are built here or not. Others elsewhere are going ahead with related technology and it will benefit us in a number of ways anyway.

                    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

                    by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 09:53:34 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  about the 4th gen....it's always great... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joieau

              to talk about a technology that doesn't exist & isn't tested

        •  They're insanely expensive, and simply do (5+ / 0-)

          not make the slightest financial sense.

          No private money is available for them unless uncle sam picks up all the downside - and that's because there's a hell of a lot of downside.

          No one with any sense is suggesting solar cells as a major means of centralized solar power production, btw.

          My first choice is a strong consumer agency My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.~E. Warren

          by JesseCW on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 01:25:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Then why not (0+ / 0-)

          follow the strongest recommendations from Kemeny and Rogovin to site future nukes far from population centers?

          Besides, there's some problems with the 'new' containment design for the few plants on order. Seems they're top heavy and won't stand up to a strong wind, much less an earthquake. Inside, it's the same old same old same PWR technology.

          And the US does not do much heavy manufacturing these days. Decentralization of power sources would serve better, be cheaper, and much less of a risk all around. Plus, renewable sources don't need billions in loan guarantees for each installation.

          •  good point...new nukes would be essentially .... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            imported.  many or most of the components can't be bought/made in the US

            •  Did you not read the post that's 2 above (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joffan, Mcrab, erush1345

              GE, an American company...  

              GE has developed a modular sodium fast reactor system called PRISM, they can be mass-produced in a factory, transported by rail, placed next to existing coal-fired power plants, the number of reactors required to run the plant are "ganged" together, and we don't have to spend billions and decades building new nuclear power plants.

              Republican marriage is between one man and one woman....plus another woman on the side.

              by Alan Arizona on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 10:32:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  nonsense....nuke plants may not even.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau

          pay back the energy that goes into building them.

          •  Harvey...why do you LIE about this kind of thing? (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joffan, Mcrab, billmosby, erush1345

            If you do any energy return on energy invested study nuclear comes out way head of most alternatives. If what you LIE about is wasn't, we would produce ANY of the nearly 20% of the US energy generation from nuclear. Half of that comes from SPENT NUCLEAR WAR HEADS recycled into a swords into plowshares  program. Harvey, as his tradition, says anything to slam nuclear because he takes a religious tact on energy, not a science or economic one.

            Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

            by davidwalters on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 11:04:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  WTF?! (0+ / 0-)

              Which of the operating nuclear power plants in this country are licensed to run on plutonium fuel, and exactly when was this approved by the NRC? Honest, important question, because nothing in the public domain suggests that ANY commercial nuke in this country is licensed to operate with a plutonium core. Are you giving away secrets or just blowing out your ass?

              •  You don't need a license to run on "plutonium (0+ / 0-)

                fuel". Why would you.

                It's not pure Pu, it's down blended nuclear WMD Pu...the % of Pu of the fissionable fuel is about 25% I believe, the rest U235 for a total of about 3.5% of total fuel content (fissionable vs fertile). Most reactor fuel transmutes a large % of their U238 into Pu in any event because there is a certain amount of breeding that takes place...it's partly the basis for the uranium fuel efficiency increases in the industry...so that reactors fuel rods at the end of their 6 year life cycle are running on Pu anyway.

                The number right now is that 50% of all the fuel used in nuclear energy plants in the US is from Russian nuclear war heads. What would you suggest be done with these war heads?

                David

                Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

                by davidwalters on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 02:48:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  We should build solar too (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aseth, MKSinSA, erush1345

        However, just sheer power generation ability vs. price, nuclear power is much more efficient.

      •  We can build them. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alan Arizona, erush1345

        And we should.  Now tell me where we're going to get the baseline power we need.

        Solar and wind are great for supplemental power, but they can't replace fossil fuels.

      •  With the FL wind plant, they need a LNG plant too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mcrab

        Wind and solar are not dependable, nor are they dense enough to power our civilization.

        Many wind plants have ancillary coal/NG plants next to them, and no, there is no difference between coal and NG.  

        Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

        by numberzguy on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:01:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Why can't we build wind plants? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        yet another liberal, pistolSO

        A private developer has been trying to a large one (420MW peak) off the coast of Massachusetts for 9 years now. Senators from the mid Atlantic to Alaska have been blocking it and other proposed offshore wind plants every step of the way. Including Ted Kennedy until his passing.  We have Coal/Oil lobby's and the NIMBY types fighting wind power.

        •  they could put (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CentralMass

          wind turbines on my mountain ridgeline and I'd think they were more aesthetically scenic than the dozens of ugly cell and radio towers polluting the ridgelines. Unfortunately, nuclear utilities Duke and Progress lobbied the state legislature to forbid that. We are trying to change that situation.

          4 1.5 megawatt wind turbines would produce the same amount of new energy as Progress expects to get from its recent purchase of the (30+ years in mothballs in the middle of a river) TMI-2 generator. But they got a helluva deal on it through the secondhand flea market in nuclear components. Their 20+ year old generator is being re-sold (again at bargain basement price) to some other nuke that can't afford new parts.

          One does not need to be psychic to predict where this sort of thing will lead.

    •  no direct fatalities (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Corwin Weber, Joffan, MKSinSA, erush1345

      I think they admitted that there may be 2 or 3 eventual radition-related fatalities as a result, but there isn't any real way to directly link it.  That's just a statistical expected result.

    •  TMI came very close to China Syndrome (3+ / 0-)

      For those who don't know.

      It started because a maintenance team affixed reminder tags to a control console which covered up reactor warning lights. The lights warn that the core rods have been exposed. Exposed cores superheat and if not controlled cause the nuclear chain reaction and explosion (China Syndrome).

      If not for heroic deeds of operators it would have blown. The operators took turns running into the reactor building to manually turn shutoff valves. Only protected by simple raincoats, they received lethal doses of radiation each time they entered the building.

      Call it the 'Corporate New Deal' or a 'Plastic Democrazy'© if that makes you feel good. I call it Fascism.

      by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 05:50:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The point is that it did NOT China syndrome (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joffan, Mcrab, erush1345

        The system worked.  The crisis was averted.

        TMI was a success.

        Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

        by numberzguy on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:02:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was saved by shit luck. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DawnN, neaguy, Joieau

          It damn near blew. The plant managers were fighting it for 24 hours -- kinda like firemen fighting a 5 alarm blaze not knowing if they would win. They were just flailing at. "Try releasing this pressure value. That didn't work. Damn well, try this then." It went on all night long. It was shit luck that finally brought it under control.

          Call it the 'Corporate New Deal' or a 'Plastic Democrazy'© if that makes you feel good. I call it Fascism.

          by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:40:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But there's more shit you can't control: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CitizenOfEarth, Joieau

            The corporate welfare aspect of this whole nu-kle-ur power issue.

            That is about to explode out of control.

            No surprise from the war is peace, free market Obama Administration.

            The Democratic Party has thrilled the biology community by creating a whole new class of invertebrates, utterly worthless in office. David Michael Green

            by neaguy on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:51:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  tell the people downwind from TMI.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau

          that the system worked.  they were drenched in radiation and many died, with no fair hearing from the feds.....

      •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joffan, Mcrab

        Any links to sources that have some actual value, not CT articles about "lethal" doses by operators?

        The design of TMI worked pretty good for what happened in this case.  Any nuclear plant to be built today would have even more strict safety standards for both the operators, and much more importantly, the public.

        BTW, explain what you seem to think "china syndrome" is.  Sounds like you don't understand the idea.

        "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

        by erush1345 on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:04:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "China Syndrome" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joffan, Mcrab, erush1345

        is a bunch of bullshit.  You have no idea what you are talking about.

        "If you are going to dance with the Devil, you might as well lead."

        by rickrocket on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:15:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  China Syndrome is just a name for the explosion (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peace voter, neaguy, Joieau

          Of course it won't burn hole to China. Once the explosion reaches ground water, it reverse direction and blows up into the atmosphere.

          Call it the 'Corporate New Deal' or a 'Plastic Democrazy'© if that makes you feel good. I call it Fascism.

          by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:43:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I talked to people who were involved (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yet another liberal, Joieau

          I had the opportunity to talk to some who responded to TMI and some who participated in assessing the environmental impacts. Also, I have seen government footage of the disaster. Based on those and my own experiences, I am convinced that the government and industry have understated the danger and environmmental impact of TMI. It is telling that most Americans are unaware, nowadays, that TMI suffered a partial meltdown.

          The mere fact that federal and state officials launched multiple investigations into the TMI accident (of which the Kemeny Commission was one) indicates that officials were very worried by what happened at TMI. The investigations recommended changes in the hope of avoiding a repetition of TMI.  But, complacency leads to tragedy, as history has shown again and again.  Worse than complacency is institutionalized denial, characterized by retaliation against whistleblowers...a continuing problem with this industry.

          Public education about nuclear energy and radiological threats has been abysmal because the industry does not wish to endanger its profits and because the government has delegated its educational responsibility to industry.

      •  now that I actually read your entire post (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joffan, Mcrab, erush1345

        you are so clueless about what happened at TMI, I think that you saw the "China Syndrome" movie and think that it is the story of TMI.  What you wrote is so false and ridiculous, it is laughable.  Go to this link and read what really happened.

        TMI - The real  story

        Don't post about something unless you actually have some idea what you are talking about.

        "If you are going to dance with the Devil, you might as well lead."

        by rickrocket on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:24:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No. I read a book (0+ / 0-)

          on it back in 1982 (Can't recall the name). It was based on interviews of workers who were inside the control rooms at the time.  

          Call it the 'Corporate New Deal' or a 'Plastic Democrazy'© if that makes you feel good. I call it Fascism.

          by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 07:00:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  More industry lies. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CitizenOfEarth

          Go here for a dose of reality about the accident at Three Mile Island, and don't forget to click on some of the internal links...

          •  this information (0+ / 0-)

            is what we train our licensed operators with because it is the actual timeline from the operator's logs.  One of our instructors was on crew during TMI.  I take offense to being called a liar.

            "If you are going to dance with the Devil, you might as well lead."

            by rickrocket on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 04:46:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Also (0+ / 0-)

            The Thompsons are a joke.  Their testimony has been disproved many times.  I have had discussions with Joy Thompson, and I question whether or not she was even a health physics tech based on her lack of knowledge about radiation protection.

            "If you are going to dance with the Devil, you might as well lead."

            by rickrocket on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 04:49:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, the accident (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CitizenOfEarth

        at TMI-2 was started when attempts to clear a resin transfer line (clogged with fuel that shouldn't have been loose) in the demineralizer managed to get water into the pneumatic control lines for the entire secondary - heat transfer - system. The valves were never "tagged out," both the main and emergency feedwater systems relied on the same pneumatic control system that failed. When it failed it prevented operators from opening the emergency feedwater control valves from the control room.

    •  Do your homework (0+ / 0-)

      and stop telling industry lies.

    •  Wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau

      More accurately, there are no admitted, specifically identified fatalities.  That is not at all the same thing as "no fatalities."

      We know that radiation exposure at certain levels will cause some number of cancer deaths. Increasingly, we are finding that even low exposures will produce some cancer deaths.  But, we cannot yet say specifically WHICH people will die as a result of a specific exposure, due to other factors, from underlying health conditions and other exposures to environmental toxins.

      The latency of radiation-caused cancers (the interval between exposure and a cancer diagnosis) gives industry "plausible deniability" because it is hard to prove that no other exposures happened in the interim that might have cause the cancer. This is true not only of the nuclear power industry, but also of other industries, from manufacturers of plastics to pesticides.  However, government tends to look away from those causes and instead focuses cancer research on personal lifestyles, i.e., whether two or four cups of coffee a day increases cancer incidence.

    •  elvis, you've left the room....& you're totally.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau

      wrong...

      the death toll from nuke power continues to mount, along with that from coal....time to move on to a post fossil/nuke world....

  •  My question has always been: (6+ / 0-)

    "What do we do with a waste product that is deadly for a period of time that is longer than the period of time in which our species has lived in cities?"

    I've never really gotten a sufficient answer to that question.  You can't bury it.  Who knows where the water tables will be in 10,000 years?  You can't burn it.  You can't eat it.  You can't drop it into the ocean.  I've not really heard any ideas on shooting it into the sun.

    So what are we going to do with all of the radioactive waste generated at the beginning and end of a fuel rod's existence?

    "I'm living in an age that calls darkness light." -The Arcade Fire

    by electricgrendel on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 01:12:32 AM PDT

    •  Why can't you bury it? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Corwin Weber, Joffan, erush1345

      Yucca Mountain is a an ingenious method for disposing of nuclear waste.  It's not like it's shoveled into a pit.  They are stored in nearly indestructible containers in a facility miles underground in an area that is uninhabited and doesn't have any ground water.

      I finally put in a signature!

      by Boris Godunov on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 01:15:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why not? (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        electricgrendel, JesseCW, DawnN, neaguy, Joieau

        electricgrendel explained it well:

        "Who knows where the water tables will be in 10,000 years?"

        — electricgrendel




        ````
        peace

        "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people." — Howard Zinn

        by peace voter on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 01:19:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  somehow (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Corwin Weber, Joffan, erush1345

          I think geologists who have been studying Yucca Mountain for decades know a lot more about the water table than we (and probably 99.99999% of activists) do

          •  yeah I think I slept (0+ / 0-)

            through that water table part of my education.

            You're watching Fox News. OH MY GOD--LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU

            by rexymeteorite on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 02:56:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  True enough, but..... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joffan, DawnN, Joieau

            I had occasion during my career to keep tabs on the development process for the casks that would be used for storage there, and they had a hard time finding anything that wouldn't be proof against moisture-induced corrosion penetration for more than a few hundred or at most a few thousand years.

            It seems that the heat from the fuel is enough to heat up the interior of the repository and get what little water there is in the rock going in an evaporation/condensation cycle that ends up exposing the canisters to drips. At one point they had a titanium rain shield concept designed to shield the canisters, but found that the water would eat through that in short order as well. It's not just the water itself, but also constituents of the rock that become dissolved in it that turns out to be corrosive over the time periods involved.

            Even though the waste might not seem to be putting out all that much heat as it ages, when a large quantity of it is put into a formation of that thickness, you get really good insulation and large temperature rises over time.

            Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

            by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:52:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  On the other hand, bill (0+ / 0-)

              even if the containers are gone in a thousand years, the spent fuel is still sitting in clay reservoirs and deep underground in a low-water zone. And the evidence of Oklo shows that any minerals disolved out of the spent fuel will not travel very far, redepositing in nearby rocks in short order. Meanwhile the radioactivity is back down to not much different to uranium ore.

              Not that I'm a fan of putting transuranics in repostories anyway - but it wouldn't be a disaster, just a waste.

              This is not a sig-line.

              by Joffan on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 12:27:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah. Maybe that's why (0+ / 0-)

            the project's been scrapped, ya think?

          •  I'm a geologist (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            and I reviewed the Yucca Mountain reports.  Glad to hear that it will be abandoned, because the government did a really crappy job of evaluating the site.

    •  shooting it into the sun? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CitizenOfEarth, neaguy, Joieau

      maybe not

      how many lift offs would it take before we have a radioactive challenger with leathal gamma ray emitting waste raining down from above?


      ````
      peace

      "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people." — Howard Zinn

      by peace voter on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 01:17:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You reprocess it.... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      otto, aseth, billmosby, erush1345, FreeLancer

      ...into fuel.  Why do you think we've spent so much time and resources in storing radioactive 'waste?'

      If it's radioactive enough to be dangerous, it's also radioactive enough to be useful.

      •  Yes. A couple of links: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alan Arizona, erush1345

        First, the system that was developed over a period of about 40 years starting from 1964 (each word is a different link):

        Integral Fast Reactor

        Next, another good system, using thorium, which also has some solid hardware-based research behind it

        Now, a little about what a couple of other countries have been up to. China also has an Integral Fast Reactor type of system under development.

        I worked at the site where the Integral Fast Reactor research was being done, so naturally I have more familiarity with that system. I think it would be great if the technology was used in the U.S. But seeing it and related developments going forward elsewhere is almost as good.

        Anything that can produce that much CO2 free energy helps everybody. And these reactors are very low CO2 because they use their fuel so efficiently that no mining need be done for a very long time, and no enrichment need ever be done again once they are breeding their own fuel.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:34:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  4th generation reactors burn nuclear waste (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erush1345

      no new waste is created, and the radioactivity of the current waste is REDUCED from millions of years to 500 years.

        In the US, there is 10 times as much energy in the depleted uranium (DU) that is just sitting there as there is coal in the ground. This DU waste is our largest natural energy resource...but only if we have fast reactors. Otherwise, it is just waste. With fast reactors, virtually all our nuclear waste (from nuclear power plants, leftover from enrichment, and from decommissioned nuclear weapons)[6] becomes an energy asset worth about $30 trillion dollars...that’s not a typo...$30 trillion, not billion. An 11 year old child was able to determine this from publicly available information in 2004....

        A 1 GWe IFR plant generates 1 ton of fission products each year that needs to be sequestered for 300 years until it is safe. A conventional nuclear plant of the same capacity creates about 100 tons of "waste" each year, containing isotopes that need to be sequestered for 1 million years according to the current US depository requirements. If you powered your entire life from IFRs, the amount of waste you’d generate would be smaller than 1 soda can and it would need to be stored for only 300 years.

       

      Why We Should Build an Integral Fast Reactor Now

      Republican marriage is between one man and one woman....plus another woman on the side.

      by Alan Arizona on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 08:17:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  NO new waste?! (0+ / 0-)

        That's completely absurd and simply not true. Fission products are nuclear waste, and ALL fission produces products. While you might use leftover plutonium and uranium 235 from old waste to get the reaction going, breeding new fissionable isotopes created - which then fission - produce fission products. Which are new nuclear waste.

        •  OK, it reduces existing waste (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erush1345

          Which would you rather have?  A large amount of existing waste that is radioactive for tens of thousands of years, or a small amount of waste that radioactive for 300 years?  I'd prefer the smaller amount of much less radioactive waste.  

          Jim Hansen of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies writes:

          ...It practically removes concern about fuel supply or energy used in mining we already have fuel enough for centuries.

          Best of all, 4th generation reactors can burn nuclear waste, thus turning the biggest headache into an asset. The much smaller volume of waste from 4th generation reactors has lifetime of a few centuries, rather than tens of thousands of years. The fact that 4th generation reactors will be able to use the waste from 3rd generation plants changes the nuclear story fundamentally making the combination of 3rd and 4th generation plants a much more attractive energy option than 3rd generation by itself would have been.

          Republican marriage is between one man and one woman....plus another woman on the side.

          by Alan Arizona on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 09:27:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your Gen-IVs (0+ / 0-)

            will generate comparable waste. And of course you aren't talking about merely replacing the ~17% of our baseload NOW generated by our ~100 nukes, but quadrupling that number, thus quadrupling the amount of waste. All the 'usual' nasty fission products, still with no place to put it and no plan to keep it safe for centuries and millennia. This is a pig in a poke, the self-serving secrecy this technology has always enjoyed won't get you where you want to go. The lies aren't selling well anymore.

  •  To talk about TMI (8+ / 0-)

    only to go into a speal about Chernobyl basically tells me that you have no idea what you're talking about.  Neither regarding what happened during those accidents, why those accidents happened, or the consequences of those accidents.

    The primary worry about nuclear power is how to deal with the waste generated.  As far as overall risk of public health, nuke power is probably several orders of magnitude safer than fossil fuel plants.

  •  Why do you repeat the first 3 paragraphs? (0+ / 0-)

    It's annoying.

    So where's all the outrage against anti-atheist bigotry?

    by skeptiq on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 02:56:12 AM PDT

  •  VT Yankee power plant - leaking tritium (6+ / 0-)

    Opps. I spilled something.

    State lawmakers voiced frustration over recent leaks of radioactive tritium at the 38-year-old plant as well as the collapse of a cooling tower in 2007 and inaccurate testimony by the plant’s owner, Entergy Corp., a Louisiana-based nuclear operator. Plant officials had testified that there were no underground pipes at Vermont Yankee that could leak tritium, although there were.

    Oh hell, it's only a carcinogen.

    Like all radioactive substances, tritium is a carcinogen, a mutagen, and a teratogen. Laboratory work with mice and rats has clearly shown that tritium is particularly potent as a mutagen and teratogen.

    Call it the 'Corporate New Deal' or a 'Plastic Democrazy'© if that makes you feel good. I call it Fascism.

    by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 05:28:14 AM PDT

    •  Tritium- one more thing fast reactors don't make (0+ / 0-)

      In light water reactors, it mostly comes from neutron absorption on boron in the control rods and in the coolant. Boron is ineffective in controlling fast reactors, so one control method is to just have rods of fuel that are moved in and out. From the bottom, so if they fall, they stop the reaction.

      Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

      by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 11:22:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the people living near Three Mile Island... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joffan, Mcrab, erush1345

    have much more serious health threats -- like I-81 and the PA Turnpike. All those little smokestacks on wheels going by every day -- spouting out NOx and VOX and little tiny particulate matter that is embedding in our lungs -- if you want to help them, find enough energy to power those autos by electricity.

    And it's no, nay, never...no nay never no more!

    by gooners on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 05:45:41 AM PDT

  •  TMI was a huge success (7+ / 0-)

    Radiation did not "pour" from TMI.  What a huge huge hysterical lie.

    This kind of mindless shit is what we get from the Repukeliscum.  I had forgotten that there are hysterical mindless hippie-dippie types on the left too.

    "The sky is falling".

    Thank god Obama is a sensible guy.  Nuclear is a good technology, and will be part of our energy future.

    Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

    by numberzguy on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 05:58:34 AM PDT

    •  Be glad they don't bitch about neutrinos. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joffan, Mcrab, erush1345

      Radioactive noble gases were indeed released from TMI, and they bitch about them all the time. In reality, they had as much effect on the environment as the uncountable neutrinos that pour out of operating nuclear reactors all the time, representing about 5% of the fission power output.

      Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

      by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 07:53:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  in fact, nobody knows how much .... (0+ / 0-)

        radiation escaped from tmi or where it went....see the commission's own congressional testimony...

        •  Well, if nobody knows, why did you write this (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joffan, Mcrab, erush1345

          diary?

          You are saying that the problem was terrible, but now you are saying nobody knows?

          Isn't it irresponsible to write a diary about a terrible problem when you now say that the problem is not terrible?

          That sounds irresponsible to me.

          Bill the Butcher was right. I am a nativist, and that is a progressive position.

          by numberzguy on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 10:26:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I read the report.. (0+ / 0-)

          a few years after it came out. The TMI commission report. I remember the noble gas releases as being large, but nothing much about other isotopes. I should go back and re-read the stuff again.

          Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

          by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 11:12:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bettis Laboratory (0+ / 0-)

            (you're familiar with them, right?) analyzed an RCS sample taken two days after the accident, an evolution which itself caused very significant releases the PRESS were able to measure as it happened, well outside the perimeter. That sample analysis, reproduced in the Kemeny Technical Assessment Task Force appendix, found that ~50% of the core inventory of fission products had been released into the coolant system. The makeup and letdown systems were in operation, and the vent gas headers on the waste storage tanks on the letdown system (unshielded aux building) were 'discovered' to be in the full-open position in June of 1979 - three months after the accident - and "subsequently closed."

            All that is in the Kemeny TATF reports, along with other information about other release pathways outside the containment building. Including the emergency steam dump valves that vent directly to the atmosphere.

            The aux building air filtration system was completely saturated within minutes of the start of the accident, there was no particulate filtration system. Try reading the reports and appendices again (including operator testimony) with more attention to detail and some applied critical thinking. You might learn something you don't want to know.

            •  I'll look at it again, perhaps. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joieau

              I've never been all that happy with water cooled reactors and what happened at TMI is but one reason why. I'm kind of hoping no more of them will be produced; IFRs are much simpler and have fewer things to go wrong. And that's about 30 years of actual reactor experience talking.

              I read the report with interest the first time since as one who worked at a competing kind of reactor site I tended to be critical of other reactor types and was always on the lookout for ways in which the two types were similar and ways in which they differed. Not remembering anything about probable large undetected radioactivity releases other than noble gases is an indication to me that I didn't find anything worrying there. Opinions can differ. I also think that if there actually were any such releases we would all have found out about them unequivocally by now.

              I am familiar with Bettis, had a number of co-workers who came from or went to there over the years.

              Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

              by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 12:24:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The nobles (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                billmosby

                were so thick in the first week full respirators were required even in the control room just for beta. God only knew what they were masking, iodine for sure. By the time the nobles were dissipated and iodine gamma could be detected, those not taking kelp tablets or potassium iodide already knew they were f*cked. All alpha counters were removed from the island by order of GPU, backed up by the on-site NRC.

                But there's a way of getting a semi-adequate alpha count with a beta-gamma meter that doesn't have an alpha mode. Alpha emitters were being identified in swipe GeLi's. They were going out the stack. With more than 20 tons of core missing in action and the rest failed all to hell and zero particulate filtration, with more than a million gallons of super-N1 sludge flooding the aux building basement, there's no way alpha emitters couldn't be present. Unless you want to redefine the laws of physics. Which they actually tried at one point...

                No "opinion" here. These are facts.

    •  Of course (0+ / 0-)

      radiation and radioactive contamination spewed (and 'poured') from Three Mile Island. The utility itself admitted to millions of curies released. Stop telling "huge huge hysterical" lies.

  •  Good call, Harvey, as usual (3+ / 0-)

    The ignorance on this thread from the pro nukers is about as high as the Obama worship, both having their powerfully negative affects for the country.

    The Democratic Party has thrilled the biology community by creating a whole new class of invertebrates, utterly worthless in office. David Michael Green

    by neaguy on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:46:54 AM PDT

    •  "Obama worship"? Negative effect? n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alan Arizona, Joffan

      Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

      by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:58:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  both, actually (0+ / 0-)

        Effects, for example hurting school districts both directly by forcing us to comply with more NCLB crap (even worse than Bush could have dreamed up---more testing, merit pay and charter schools, none of which work to improve teaching or learning) and indirectly by underfunding education.

        Affects, because so many quit thinking and act in lock step to whatever this guy proposes.  The 'if Obama's for it' crowd hurts the cause of progressivism by their thoughtless worship of whatever the guy says.

        On some issues Obama is pretty smart, on others he doesn't know what the hell he is talking about.

        On many fronts we are getting worse (too many to list here, you could write 20 diaries easy) and those who would be active in opposition were Bush in charge are just sitting on their hands or silent.

        The Democratic Party has thrilled the biology community by creating a whole new class of invertebrates, utterly worthless in office. David Michael Green

        by neaguy on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 07:23:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  WPPS Promised Free Electricity from Nukes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau

    In the 1960's, the Washington Public Power System promised that electricity could be so economically produced from nuclear power that it would be essentially free.  

    We're still waiting for that fairy tale to come true.

    The only nuclear power reactor we need is located 93,000,000 miles away.

    •  Probably just misquoting Lewis Strauss. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joffan, Mcrab, erush1345

      The original "too cheap to meter" guy. He was talking about nuclear fusion at the time he said that (Sep 16, 1954), according to his son. But the fusion project was still classified at that time, so the comment became attached to nuclear fission by those hearing, and hearing about, the quote. The organization he headed, the AEC, had in June of that year in Congressional testimony expressed the hope that fission power would someday become financially competitive with fossil energy. So Strauss at least knew the real story on costs, and the AEC was up front about it. Here's a prior set of comments of mine on this with links.

      I lived in Idaho Falls for a long time, and water was too cheap to meter there. We still paid for it, it was just a flat rate. Some have pointed out that that might be a better way to charge for energy from sources from which the fuel is a very small portion of the overall cost. Like wind and solar, for example. And nuclear, for that matter. Too cheap to meter means flat rate, it does not mean free.

      Various people have used the myth in various ways over the years, though, so if you think anybody can still be duped by it, knock yourself out.

      Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

      by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 08:29:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  this is utter nonsense.....Strauss was... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bleedingheartliberal218, Joieau

        very clear in his nuke sales pitch.  see daniel ford's book....

      •  Dixy Lee Ray, Atomic Energy Commissioner & (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        1st female governor of Washington state, was a zealous advocate of nuclear power all of her life and pushed the notion that nuclear power generated electricity would be so plentiful that it would be free.  It was p.r. bullshit which many swallowed hook, line, and sinker because it was a new, emerging technology.

        It's similar to claims of these new generation nuclear power plants being the next best thing since vitamin-enriched white bread.  
        $18 billion was initially appropriated which skyrocketted to $54.5 billion in a week which is now projected to cost the taxpayers $8.3 trillion resulting in default.  (Lawsuits will add tremendous cost due to construction delays.)

        Remember the Zimmer nuke plant near Cincinnati, Ohio that had to be converted to a coal-fired plant because of incompetent construction?

        Do you realize how many nuke plants in this country are sitting directly on top of earthquake faults that weren't constructed with earthquake proofing?

        You lived near Idaho Falls, Idaho were the military has a breeder reactor.  They had some fatalities there, at least 1 civilian, so the claim that there have been NO deaths attributed to nuclear energy is an outright lie (SEE "Everything You Know Is Wrong!").

        My interview at Three Mile Island after the 3-28-79 accident convinced me that we should NEVER allow corporate trash to own and operate any nuclear power plant.  I was considered by TMI officials to be a wonderful prospect with fantastic credentials before the personnel bigot saw my long hair which my research advisor didn't mention to him when he was recommending me for employment.  (I have a high school classmate who works in the nuclear power industry who spent 8 years trying unsuccessfully to get a 2 yr. degree from a community college, and he worked his way up to a $300,000.00 job with a major utility before getting fired for failing remedial math twice.  He has been fired or laid off from all of his previous jobs in the field for incompetence after being sent back to school repeatedly at their expense, but personnel idiots can't resist hiring him.  He now works in personnel because it requires no skill.  He has made our entire high school class anti-nuke.).  EOE -- l/i/e.  

        •  The only part of this screed I know about.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joffan, erush1345

          .. is the part about Idaho Falls, which you got about as wrong as possible and still leave recognizable.

          There were two breeder reactors near Idaho Falls. EBR-I was operated from 1949 thru 1954, and EBR-II was operated from 1964 through 1994. Neither was owned by the military, but by the Department of Energy; they wee both operated by Argonne National Laboratory. I worked at EBR-II for 18 years.

          There were three people killed in the SL-1 accident. SL-1 was another facility entirely; it was a light water moderated reactor which "blew up", which is to say suffered a sudden high power transient, when someone for some reason manually pulled a control rod out of it during maintenance. That reactor was the prototype for a reactor which was being looked at to power remote military facilities. A bad idea for a number of reasons. It did have the Argonne name on it for the design and build phases according to the link. Argonne researched most postulated reactor types in the late 40s and in the 50s, and built a number of them as well. But I think the operations were handed off to the army.

          Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

          by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 11:01:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Importantly, taxpayers are footing the bill (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bleedingheartliberal218, Joieau

    but industry is in the driver's seat, having captured Congress and the NRC. That is never a good situation, particularly where dangerous technology is concerned.  I have great respect for the engineers, particularly those who came how the government fails to conduct good oversight. But, management, ultimately, makes the decisions, and isn't kind to whistleblowers.

    Recently, newspapers reported that a man associated with terrorists groups worked at TMI and other plants.  Investigation is still underway, but already industry is trying to trivialize the security threat, saying he probably didn't have access to critical areas of the plant.  Well, simply getting past the gate provided the opportunity to commit sabotage. When I warned about that, insiders laughed. When I reported safety problems related to another plant, a supervisor later told me that I had been banned from evaluating safety there because my observations of safety issues were viewed by the plant operator as "biased."  My observations were confirmed by independent evaluators. But, the ban remained.  To the industry, truth is "bias."

  •  we need nuclear power (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mcrab, billmosby, erush1345

    We need MORE nukes. We're never going to become enegery independent without it.

    •  What many people, most notably Harvey, but on the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joffan, billmosby, erush1345

      pro-nuke side as well (which is my side, happily) is that the future will contain many sources of non-carbon energy. IF China is an example, which is serious about mitigating it's huge 80% of power from coal ratio is any indication based on investment and projections...*hundreds of new nuclear plants* ARE going to be built, maybe thousands if Gen IV is included, AND solar and wind and hydro etc.

      I believe nuclear can eventually handle all our nuclear needs in the form of the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (which myself and others have written about here) and/or the IFR. All our needs, not just electricity.

      But politics rules, not science, as such we are seeing a huge mix of energy sources come on line.

      What's most noticeable in the immediate period is how Green "types" are touting CO2 particulate producing natural gas. Rod Adams over at Atomic Insights has documented how the natural gas industry is trying to recast itself as "Green". Take a look.

      David

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 11:11:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Great Plains = Saudi Arabia of Wind Energy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billmosby, Joieau

    and all of that money earmarked for 2 nuke plants in Georgia could be better utilized:
    1). erecting wind turbines from North Dakota to Texas and on the coasts (manufacturing and maintenance jobs would skyrocket);
    2). installing photovoltaic solar panels on rooftops everywhere in the country (electrician jobs would skyrocket);
    3). installing wave and tidal energy electric generators in rivers, bays, and oceans (engineering jobs would skyrocket).

    Not 1 iota of radioactive waste produced.
    (We'll use your toilet tank to store the "small" amounts of it your 2 new nukes will generate).

    No greenhouse gases produced.  You can't beat solar, wave, and wind.

    •  You forgot one thing in your list.. (0+ / 0-)

      funds for lawyers battling NIMBYs opposed to the large expansion of power line capacity that would be required to get the power to the people, so to speak.

      Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

      by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 02:21:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Sparsely-Populated Great Plains Hopefully (0+ / 0-)

        won't oppose the new electric grid required to get the electricity distributed to urban areas, but that may be wishful thinking.  
        I think that the good people of middle America will gladly do what's best for everyone in the country, but a consensus may not exist and redress in court won't be as expensive and drawn-out like a challenge to a nuke would be.

        The lawyers are definitely licking their lips at NIMBY litigation over those 2 nukes planned for Georgia, and rightfully so.  
        That's what may kill those proposed plants, and I hate to see all of that money end up in lawyers' pockets possibly working its way to offshore tax havens and no electricity-generating facilities built.

        I'd like to see all of that money used productively building and maintaining the pollution-free energy production facilities and providing education and  good-paying jobs for the young people who will benefit from the pollution-free generated electricity and the large number of long-term jobs generated.  
        Hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars can help a lot of young people become middle class wage earners and taxpayers re-establishing a solid, large tax base while transforming society into a clean and green one or it could make a few obscenely wealthy with a small number getting well paid while failing to improve the tax base much.  To me, it's a no-brainer.  

        Nuclear power plants are cost-intensive due to their complexity, they have limited lifespans, and they require redundancy of automated, idiot-proof safety systems while providing relatively few jobs, plus the waste problem is still a major problem.  
        Solar, wind, and wave power require relatively small financial investment compared to nukes, there will be less opposition from the public, and they are more labor-intensive to install and maintain providing many more jobs and a much more stable tax base from those jobs with the unmatched benefits of being totally pollution-free.  It's a no-brainer to me.  

        TMI made those NIMBY lawsuits a wise option.  So did Chernobyl.  (Consider the abandonment of the NYC-Philadelphia-NJ area and the value of the loss, not to mention possible human costs!)  Who would want to permanently abandon their home and property with no compensation or redress if a nuclear power plant containment structure was breached during an accident?  This isn't a problem with solar, wind, or wave power.  
        When GREED and the Almighty Profit Motive dominate corporate thinking, bad things happen.   Again, it's a no-brainer to me.

        •  I had a few things to say.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joffan

          about your antinuclear points upthread and provided links that address the rest.

          I'm actually in favor of the best mix of wind, solar, and whatever makes the best baseload or storage, whichever it turns out to be. Nukes evolved a lot beyond the current light water plants that the narrative has grown up around, and one of those evolutions, the IFR, as embodied in EBR-II, occurred before any of the fleet of LWRs went on line.

          The future can bring what it wishes. I'm just here to make sure that facts developed and demonstrated in the past don't get lost before they can help people in making their decisions.

          Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

          by billmosby on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:01:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  thank you, bleedingheart liberal... (0+ / 0-)

    you definitely have your head....& heart...screwed on correctly.

    nukes are a failure now and forever.  cost, safety, terrorism, waste, water, waste heat, radiation emissions...you name it....it's OVER.  

    time to go to Solartopia.....

    and thank you all for an interesting & challenging dialogue.  i look forward to the next one!!!!   no nukes/4 solartopia....harveyw

    •  And yet here we are...with 20% of our (0+ / 0-)

      electricity from fission, Harvey. Hardly a failure. Very cheap power flowing from small foot prints (with usually wonderful bio-diverse biospheres around them). Safer than ANY  coal plant built around TMI, in eastern PA for sure. Bleedingheartliberal is simply projecting, like you do, your fears into a fake solution that will cost far more to implement and be much less reliable than nuclear.

      Bill is correct, however, in there will be a "mix" as I've tried to emphasize over and over again...with deadly natural gas becoming more and more the 'green solution'...which at the end of the day is what ties all the so called "green energy solutions" together.

      Bleedingheart...you really think a wind turbine will last longer than a 60 year nuclear plant? Really?

      David

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 02:55:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  show us a 60-year nuke.... (0+ / 0-)

    ....the whole industry is theoretical.

    show us a windmill that generates radioactive waste with no place to go....

    •  Just about all US reactors have had their (0+ / 0-)

      40 year renewal approved. Going on 60. Plenty of turbine  generator sets that are 60 years old.

      Harvey doesn't like the "60 year" thing because he knows that prices for power for reactors that go longer and longer get cheaper and cheaper.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 08:55:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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