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Chernobyl

I like to think that I was a little more aware of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster than other folks. I am a science nerd with a real Jones for the technology behind nuclear reactors and, at the time, I was dating a Soviet Studies major at U of M who had some real contacts that would share tidbits of “gossip”.

So 25 years ago today, we did not know there was anything going on, but it was only three days later that she told me that things on the border with the U.S.S.R. were getting weird and that she thought there might be some kind of accident in Ukraine.

We now know what happened. During an experiment designed to prevent a catastrophic loss of coolant flow during a loss of power from the power grid the reactor was pushed to an unstable configuration, where it was only the water in the reactor holding back the nuclear reaction. All the control rods had been withdrawn to deal with the production of xenon that had reduced the power levels in the reactor to very low levels.

The event they were actually testing for occurred while a planned shut down was in process. They lost power and had to go to the diesel backups. As feared these did not come on line fast enough to keep the water coolant flowing. Steam built up which reduced the ability of the water to moderate the reaction. At this point the operators attempted an emergency shut down. It would take about 20 seconds for the rods to be fully inserted in the core. Tragically the design of these rods forced the coolant out of the rod channels before they were inserted. This means the only thing holding back a run away reaction was withdrawn form the core.

As a result fuel rods fractured and fouled the control rod channels. Then there were the first of as series of steam explosions as the reactor started producing more and more intense nuclear reactions. It eventually blew the reactor vessel apart and started the fire in the roof of the building. Worse the graphite used as a moderator now had no cooling water around it and burst into flame throwing plumes of radioactive smoke into the sky and further reducing the ability to control the nuclear reaction of the fuel.

The world found out about Chernobyl two days later when workers at a Swedish nuclear plant began to have radiation alarms go off. The plume of radioactive smoke had reached from Ukraine to Sweden.

Chernobyl is a bad as it gets. It was the fire the spread the radioactive materials so far. Graphite burns hot and it took days to put the fire out. In that time radioactive cesium was lofted to the high level winds and spread in a classic fall out cloud. It brought low levels of radiation to all Europe west of the plant. There were even detectable levels of the radiation all the way to the United States.

Around the plant it was, obviously much worse. Large levels of radioactive iodine were released and exposed populations as far away as Kiev. The levels of thyroid cancer in that part of the world are 400 times the normal level. But radioactive iodine has a very short half live and is gone in a few weeks.

Of more concern is the cesium that was released. Most of it fell within 50 miles or so of the plant. Since that is a quarantine area, that has not been much of a problem. But it has not gone away by any means. It is in the soil or absorbed into the trees in the forest there.

Now Ukrainian forests are rather like the ones in the Western United States, they tend to grow then burn. There has been no major fire in the 25 years since Chernobyl. There also has been almost no forestry work there. This means that the forests around the plant are in the kind of shape where massive fires, the kind that last for months, can occur.

If one of these massive fires happens the trees which have absorbed the cesium will burn, and throw radioactive smoke, very similar to the smoke from the original accident, high into the air. Massive fires like that can create their own weather patterns, and that would mean that once again a plume of radioactivity will head west towards Moscow and the rest of Europe.

It would be dangerous to fight such a fire, again because of the level of radiation in the soil (which would dry and also loft) and the amount of cesium in the smoke. Inhaling that smoke would very bad for your health, to say the least.

This is the legacy of a major nuclear disaster. Buildings and areas can be quarantined but there is really very little that we can do to prevent the spread of long lived radioactive elements once they are in the environment.

The US Forest Service is helping the Ukrainian government with thinning plans, and the removal of downed trees. This will help to prevent a fire for a while, but as we have learned with our own Western States there is nothing in the world that can prevent a fire forever. In fact the act of fire prevention just makes the eventual fire worse, as we have disrupted the cycle where there are smaller trees interspersed with the larger ones to limit the heat and size of the fire.  

One day, some time in the next couple of decades we will hear once again that the Chernobyl accident is spreading radiation as the forest burns. In one way we are lucky with the Fukishima accident. It is not in a heavily wooded area and, so far, there has not been the intense and wide spread release of fission byproducts like there was at Chernobyl. It is unlikely that we will have the same problems with clean up there, but there will be others that we have not thought of yet.

All of this leads to a single conclusion. We as a species really should not use nuclear fission for power generation. When it works it is great, it produces power and no greenhouse gases. The problem is that when it fails it is a flat nightmare. If the cost of world wide nuclear power generation is a disaster like Fukishima or Chernobyl every 25 years and the resultant decades or centuries of continued contamination for areas ranging from 50 miles to 500 is it really a viable option?

There are applications where it is appropriate. Space exploration, military applications and the like; however for civilian applications I have come to the conclusion that there is just too high a price to pay. Humans are fallible, running a reactor for decades; under private enterprise market rules is just a very, very bad combination.

So, as sad as the science nerd in me is, it is time that we put aside this type of power. It just sucks up resources that could be applied to the obvious solution to our electricity needs, wind and solar power.

In the end I think back 25 years to those brave folks who, completely unaware of the level of risk rushed to put out a burning nuclear power plant. I think about the operators and the technicians who did what they could to prevent their accident from being worse than it was and paid for it with their lives.  I think about the people of Kiev, living with the knowledge that they were exposed to more radiation than anyone since the survivors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and wondering what the next visit to the doctor might tell them.

I wonder what the next generation of Europeans will think when invisible particles of cesium once again fall from the skies, and expose them to a threat that was not their choice or fault. Will there still be a feeling that this type of power is worth the cost?

The floor is yours.  

Originally posted to Something the Dog Said on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 06:31 AM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips? Flames? (189+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itzik shpitzik, jnhobbs, rserven, Roadbed Guy, Librarianmom, Glen The Plumber, Lawrence, Kentucky Kid, Uberbah, Pandoras Box, dragonlady, jfromga, nzanne, implicate order, Hedwig, corvaire, koNko, bythesea, Ezekial 23 20, Joieau, citisven, Ignacio Magaloni, AdamR510, ursoklevar, Agathena, mahakali overdrive, Crashing Vor, citizen k, Louisiana 1976, Statusquomustgo, blue aardvark, mwk, Earth Ling, kevinpdx, Pescadero Bill, Lost Left Coaster, HudsonValleyMark, ProfessorWho, Pariah Dog, Wolf10, bluesweatergirl, Jim P, middleagedhousewife, pateTX, theChild, ricklewsive, Bernie68, princesspat, Cenobyte, MarkC, jessical, karmsy, Renee, Powered Grace, old wobbly, SoCalSal, Tinfoil Hat, envwq, avadoria, the dogs sockpuppet, Marie, Subterranean, Cassiodorus, foucaultspendulum, SadieSue, rhubarb, Terranova0, lotlizard, Mr Horrible, PBen, DontTaseMeBro, Radical def, greycat, kck, dog in va, millwood, Donna in Rome, milton333, vcmvo2, Snud, LSmith, brasilaaron, klompendanser, Pluto, Paul Ferguson, No one gets out alive, lostboyjim, radical simplicity, roystah, ColoTim, Leo in NJ, politik, ozsea1, RJDixon74135, bnasley, Edge PA, profh, Frederick Clarkson, liberte, BradyB, tacet, Trendar, GreyHawk, billmosby, Flaming Liberal for Jesus, missLotus, janmtairy, confitesprit, Colorado is the Shiznit, mofembot, LeftOfYou, DWG, Wee Mama, miriam, luvmykona, Josiah Bartlett, Crazy like a fox, Simplify, thePhoenix13, Senor Unoball, chimene, Vatexia, CA Nana, Sara R, ybruti, splashy, cinnamon68, MissInformation, hubcap, elfling, An Affirming Flame, cdreid, Timaeus, Karl Rover, roses, gloriana, rebel ga, Revy, 1180, SoberGuy, CherryTheTart, gundyj, yuriwho, edtastic, Matt Esler, damfino, rexxnyc, dewley notid, Zinman, ornerydad, beforedawn, pdrap, fidel, NJpeach, bamilekeman, brillig, SteelerGrrl, Loonesta, TiaRachel, BarackStarObama, BusyinCA, wonmug, Nebraskablue, ggwoman55, OrdinaryIowan, BYw, lissablack, kathny, amry, Old Gardener, akmk, Wreck Smurfy, Dave925, Christy1947, nailbender, Orinoco, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, OtherDoug, doingbusinessas, wu ming, neroden, TechBob, Isara, wader, jan4insight, dbradhud, JVolvo, melo, expatjourno

    Less "magical" thinking about high tech power generation and a little more respect for how bad it gets when the djinn gets out of the bottle?

    Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

    by Something the Dog Said on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 06:31:25 AM PDT

  •  Yes it probably would be . . . . (12+ / 0-)
    It would be dangerous to fight such a fire, again because of the level of radiation in the soil (which would dry and also loft) and the amount of cesium in the smoke. Inhaling that smoke would very bad for your health, to say the least.

    Inhaling smoke with or without the cesium would be bad for you.

    Do you have any numbers about how much worse it would be with the cesium compared to without?

    And, of the 4,000 people who died from Chernobyl, how does that compare with the 750,000 who die each year from coal in China (and according to Wikipedia, the 500,000 in the USA)?  

    Just saying, if 4,000 deaths make something much to dangerous to use, why doesn't 750,000?    And I do see anti-coal diaries at this site for sure, but not 5000 of them to every anti-nuclear tirade, which should be the approximate ratio in which they should occur based on a rationale degree of risk assessment.

    •  I am not a fan of coal either. I actually (35+ / 0-)

      really groove on nuclear power. I am just coming to the point where I find the cost benefit analysis too costly.

      The way forward is clear, solar and wind have to be the future of power generation. With concentrated solar you get around the issue of the sun not shining all the time and you can have baseline generation.

      It takes a shorter time to build a concentrated solar power plant than a nuclear one and the biggest danger is that the molten salt that stores the heat might escape. If it does it flows a few dozen yards and hardens.

      For the cost of the subsidizes for nuclear power we could build the grid out to where we can generate a ton of solar power and get out of a business that while cool from a technical stand point has proved to be a real problem in terms of waste and accidents.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 06:56:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Like always, the devil is in the details (10+ / 0-)

        Solar & Wind have huge environment and NIMBYism opposition in the USA - there are several major projects being held up right now in the courts.

        So, to get 90,000 solar/wind projects built to replace coal might be just as daunting as getting the requirsite 1,000 new nuclear power plants built (which everyone holds up as "impossible" due to NIMBYism and the sheer scale of what must be done).

        And wind and solar are not entirely benign either - witness the 15 year closing (apparently it's now up and running again, yay!) of the USA's only rare earth mine DUE TO A RADIATION SPILL (whatever that is).    Over the past 2 or 3 weeks right here at Daily Kos there have been diaries posted in opposition to new mines being opened in the USA.  Of course, in China they just mine the stuff and don't give a flying fuck who's harmed . . ..  but is it really "right" (both economically and ethically) to outsource both the benefits and detriments of "clean energy" offshore?

        •  You may refer to (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BYw, wu ming, neroden

          This old thing.

          Actually Chinese do give a fuck about the environmental effects of illegaly mined and refined REE and are doing something about it but it's probably accurate to say the end users have that attitude.

          And miracously since that diary was published several Japanese companies have started recycling programs, the US is reactivating the CA mine and China hasn't brougt the MIC to it's knees.

          Atually, uranium mining and refining produces a lot more radioative waste in places like Niger for the profit of large corporations (in both cases) such as Areva, Sumitomo et al, so these are environmental problems that need to be solved.

          BTW, much of the ore from illegal Chinese REE mines is sumugged to Vietnam where refining operations pollute their rivers so getting this under control will ultimately held them.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 04:25:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Solar doesn't require rare earths. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau

          Wind doesn't really either, it's just convenient.

          The biggest problems from an environment point of view with both are steel, copper, and concrete.  There is now carbon-negative cement, which should deal with the concrete problem (if widely adopted).  Steel and copper remain very problematic, but extensive recycling should help a lot.

          Nuclear is worse on all counts: steel, copper, concrete, heavy metals, rare materials.  All of them.

          Coal is of course awful and needs to be eliminated.

          Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

          by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:12:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not even the molten salt set-ups (0+ / 0-)

            that are all the rage these days?

            Solar doesn't require rare earths

            That's news to me, but I suppose I can go look into this independently . . ..

            And conventional (photovoltaic) solar panels * do * require a substantial amount of the usual metals and materials - you know, installation on everyone's rooftop is a massive construction project . .. .

      •  Oh, I forgot to say, do you have (4+ / 0-)

        links about the cesium-contaminated forest that deals with it in a quantitative manner . .. . .

        Just did a Google search on "radioactive cesium in forest by chernobyl" and all I get is pages of returns about "Germany's radioactive boars"  (weird, weird stuff . . . .)

        •  Here ya are! (16+ / 0-)

          Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

          by Something the Dog Said on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 07:16:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks! That'll get me started (4+ / 0-)

            although, and I'm just throwing this out there, Ukraine-based sources of outrage about Chernobyl have been demonstratively (and understandably) demonstated to be quite overblown in the aftermath of the breakup of the USSR.  You know, they want compensation, etc etc (again, rightfully so, but most information needs to be taken with a big grain of (iodine?) salt . . . )

            •  Here's another that should be helpful (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy, milton333, BYw

              http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/...

              Please let me know if that link doesn't work for you.  I'm at an academic institution, and that's an academic article.  Sometimes such works are only freely available through such institutions, or for a fee if you aren't.  

              "On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps...of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again."

              by middleagedhousewife on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:29:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks, I've eventually dug up a couple (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                foucaultspendulum, JayBat

                of articles from Pubmed . . ..

                J Environ Radioact. 2006;86(2):143-63. Epub 2005 Oct 5.

                Resuspension and redistribution of radionuclides during grassland and forest fires in the Chernobyl exclusion zone: part I. Fire experiments.

                Yoschenko VI, Kashparov VA, Protsak VP, Lundin SM, Levchuk SE, Kadygrib AM, Zvarich SI, Khomutinin YV, Maloshtan IM, Lanshin VP, Kovtun MV, Tschiersch J.
                SourceUkrainian Institute of Agricultural Radiology, UIAR, Mashinobudivnykiv str.7, Chabany, Kyiv region 08162, Ukraine.

                Abstract

                Controlled burning of experimental plots of forest or grassland in the Chernobyl exclusion zone has been carried out in order to estimate the parameters of radionuclide resuspension, transport and deposition during forest and grassland fires and to evaluate the working conditions of firemen. An increase of several orders of magnitude of the airborne radionuclide concentration was observed in the territory near the fire area. The resuspension factor for (137)Cs and (90)Sr was determined to range from 10(-6) to 10(-5) m(-1), and for the plutonium radionuclides from 10(-7) to 10(-6) m(-1) (related to the nuclides in the combustible biomass). These values are 2 orders of magnitude lower if they are calculated relatively to the total contamination density (including the nuclides in the soil). The radionuclide fallout along the plume axis is negligible in comparison to the existing contamination. However, the additional inhalation dose for firemen exposed in the affected area can reach the level of the additional external irradiation in the period of their mission. The plutonium nuclides constitute the dominating contribution to the inhalation dose


                link

                What this seems to be saying is that about 1% of the radioactivity in a contaminated forest or grassland would be released during a fire, and is redistributed somewhat (but with an overall negligible effect).

                However, it also seems to say that firemen could be at risk.    My suggestion, therefore, would be either get firewomen or robots to fight the fire.

              •  Bottom line from your paper (2+ / 1-)
                Recommended by:
                JayBat, OtherDoug
                Hidden by:
                cdreid

                AVOID EATING THE REINDEER!!

                •  Now that's a strange hide rate from (0+ / 0-)

                  someone who claims to be terrified of radiation - cdreid, are you suggesting that the highly contaminated meat BE eaten?

                  Or are you just really drunk today, your posts don't make ANY sense at all . . ..

        •  Not hard to extrapolate from radioactive boars (4+ / 0-)

          to radioactive forests. . .we just want to limit the number of radioactive members of nature in general, as there is a cost genetically speaking--though a cost that is not comprised only of what we might fear the most at present (cancers).

          For example, evidence is gathering that some forms of autism are related to genetic damage independent of the parent's genetics: it is not only isotopes we have to concern ourselves with in this regard, of course.

          The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

          by Ignacio Magaloni on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:26:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've never heard of any type of radioisotope (4+ / 0-)

            accumulating in the brain (like iodine does in the thyroid and plutonium in bones) so that autism link sounds really, really far-fetched (it makes the anti-vaxxers seem rather sane in fact).

            The German boar story actually proves quite interesting, as the radioisotopes seem to accumulate in fungi that they eat.

            Which leads to the logical extension of the idea - namely that fungi could be used for bioremediation - turns out somebody's already on that:

            The Nuclear Forest Recovery Zone Myco-remediation of the Japanese Landscape After Radioactive Fallout

            Many people have written me and asked more or less the same question: “What would you do to help heal the Japanese landscape around the failing nuclear reactors?”
            The enormity and unprecedented nature of this combined natural and human-made disaster will require a massive and completely novel approach to management and remediation. And with this comes a never before seen opportunity for collaboration, research and wisdom.
            The nuclear fallout will make continued human habitation in close proximity to the reactors untenable. The earthquake and tsunami created enormous debris fields near the nuclear reactors. Since much of this debris is wood, and many fungi useful in mycoremediation are wood decomposers and build the foundation of forest ecosystems, I have the following suggestions:

            1) Evacuate the region around the reactors.

            2) Establish a high-level, diversified remediation team including foresters, mycologists, nuclear and radiation experts, government officials, and citizens.

            3) Establish a fenced off Nuclear Forest Recovery Zone.

            4) Chip the wood debris from the destroyed buildings and trees and spread throughout areas suffering from high levels of radioactive contamination.

            5) Mulch the landscape with the chipped wood debris to a minimum depth of 12-24 inches.

            6) Plant native deciduous and conifer trees, along with hyper-accumulating mycorrhizal mushrooms, particularly Gomphidius glutinosus, Craterellus tubaeformis, and Laccaria amethystina (all native to pines). G. glutinosus has been reported to absorb – via the mycelium – and concentrate radioactive Cesium 137 more than 10,000-fold over ambient background levels. Many other mycorrhizal mushroom species also hyper-accumulate.

            7) Wait until mushrooms form and then harvest them under Radioactive HAZMAT protocols.

            8) Continuously remove the mushrooms, which have now concentrated the radioactivity, particularly Cesium 137, to an incinerator. Burning the mushroom will
            result in radioactive ash. This ash can be further refined and the resulting concentrates vitrified (placed into glass) or stored using other state-of-the-art storage technologies.

            Of courses, the trees themselves can potentially be used for bioremediation, as shown by Brazil Nut trees:

            Brazil nuts are the seeds of Bertholletia excelsa, a large tree that is grown in various parts of world, not just Brazil.  The nuts, in groups of 12 to 25 much like the sections of an orange, form the globular (4-6” diameter) fruit of the tree.  It is not true, as is sometimes thought, that the high concentration of radium in Brazil nuts is due to elevated levels of the uranium and/or thorium series in the soil in which the tree grows. The accumulation of the radium (and barium) is due to the very extensive root system of the tree. For what its worth, measurements by Penna-Franca et al indicated that higher radium concentrations are found in the leaves and cork of the tree than in the nut.

            link

            •  Different brain (2+ / 0-)
              I've never heard of any type of radioisotope accumulating in the brain

              The "genetic damage independent of the parents' genetics" that would be causing autism would presumably result from radiation exposure in the germ cell--y'know, the pelvic brain.

              Mutations in the genes that code for proteins involved in brain function and/or structure--mutations that were not present in the parent's genome--would be present in the sperm or egg produced by the germ cell, and would then cause autism in the child.

              •  Well, I will eagerly await for this to (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JayBat, Sparhawk

                appear in the scientific literature - a search of PubMed I just did looking for links between prenatal radiation exposure and autism turned up exactly two hits - one for ultrasound and the other for EMF (with none for ionizing radiation . . .. ).

              •  OK, I've found myself a brand new review paper (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Something the Dog Said, tacet, Recall

                Autism spectrum disorders-A genetics review.

                to learn myself more about the genetics of autism (quite frankly, it appears that genes involved in autism are currently just being identified - which seems to be a key step that must be solidified before speculation can begin as to how they became "damaged" in the first place . . . .).

              •  Iodine-131 is dangerous (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                elfling, Roadbed Guy

                for pregnant women in part because she produces important thyroid hormones that her developing fetus uses for brain development. 131 in the blood system also gets to the fetus and into the developing thyroid the child will depend upon for metabolic hormones when it's born. Technecium-99m also likes to accumulate in brain tissue, which is why that isotope is medically useful for radioisotope imaging of the brain.

                Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                by Joieau on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 01:51:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  But doesn't Technecium-99 have (0+ / 0-)

                  a half-life of about 6 hours?  

                  In any event, thanks for the heads-up about it accumulating in the brain, I'll definitely go learn more about that on my own.

                  Slightly tangentially, how often are pregnant women given medical radioisotopes?   It just doesnt' seem to be a very sensible thing to do . . ..

                  •  It accumulates as the (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Roadbed Guy

                    iodide component of a number of vital metabolic hormones that the growing fetus needs in order for the brain to develop properly. The early gestation period gets these hormones from the mother. When a child is born, late gestation and early life concentration of I-131 (usually from milk, including breast milk) affects their own thyroid's ability to make necessary metabolic hormones for continued proper body/brain development.

                    Thyroid cancer is successfully treated these days if caught (though our non-health care system makes that iffy), not that many die of it. Babies born without brains or with malformed or seriously challenged brains don't get a second chance. The effects in early pregnancy also help explain dramatic rises in miscarriage, stillbirth and infant mortality.

                    The insidious thing about the most dangerous isotopes (including the cesiums, strontium-90 and iodine-131) is that the body uptakes 90-100% of them and puts them into its biochemistry. Self-destructing biochemical - or biostructural - necessities aren't a good thing for one's general health. Cesium is used as potassium, strontium as calcium. Iodides in thyroid hormones help establish all sorts of normal cellular and organic functions.

                    Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                    by Joieau on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 06:15:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Radiation of certain types cause mutations (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              splashy, cdreid, damfino

              through DNA damage that are passed on to progeny.
              We don't well understand the implications of this accelerated set of mutations: and I do not think autism is caused by mutations through isotopes hanging out in the brain--in fact, I am not sure what chemicals are responsible for the mutation patters leading to some types of autism, as it is breaking research.
              However, mutations in sperm and ova can introduce DNA damage to future generations--that is really the concern I was raising with the autism example (as an example of a surprising connection between a disease and new genetic expressions in offspring not found in the parents), and what I suggest is a potentially serious problem with large radiation disasters--especially if we passively accept the status quo, which guarantees a series of disasters over time.

              The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

              by Ignacio Magaloni on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:53:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  How?? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JayBat, Sparhawk
                However, mutations in sperm and ova can introduce DNA damage to future generations

                DNA damage almost always * precedes * mutation, so your sequence is backwards.

                The only way your statement could be true is if a mutation in the sperm or ova somehow endowed a cellular protein with a new, DNA-damaging ability.   While I suppose that might be possible (for example, if a DNA-repair protein goes badly awry), once again it falls into the category of biological events that are EXTREMELY unlikely (the context here is that almost all DNA damage comes from ROS emanating from normal metabolism).

                Further is such rogue protein were created that could then go on to damage DNA in the future, it would have to be extremely intelligent to only damage DNA involved in genes coding coding for autism-linked traits (as compared to randomly damaging DNA and provoking a miscarriage).

                •  Jesus christ (0+ / 0-)

                  youre ignorant. Then again what is there to expect from you people you make shit up as you go along.

                  Chernobyl, Nagasaki, Hirishima, Fukushima all introduced permanent genetic changes into multiple populations including human. Youre like monkeys with a bomb. YOu dont know how it works. You dont really understand the chemistry or engineering. You have no comprehension of its affects. But man 1000 of you at a time sure can spam the bullshit about how pretty it is and how you love pushing the little glowy buttons on it.

                  A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                  by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:27:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Source? (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Roadbed Guy, JayBat, Uncle Cosmo, Sparhawk

                    I'm really interested to know what sort of documentation you've got for this claim:

                    Chernobyl, Nagasaki, Hirishima, Fukushima all introduced permanent genetic changes into multiple populations including human.
                    I've read a fair bit about all of these events and I'm not aware of any research that supports those allegations.  

                    Adding Fukushima to the list is particularly troubling as there has been no research published yet on Fukushima because the disaster is still unfolding.  I'd be careful about throwing around accusations of ignorance.

                  •  Wow, you're including Fukushima???? (5+ / 0-)
                    Chernobyl, Nagasaki, Hirishima, Fukushima all introduced permanent genetic changes into multiple populations including human.

                    there is NO POSSIBLE WAY that can be remotely known at the currrent time.

                    So I"m just sitting here chuckling a bit about how YOU'RE the one just making shit up.

                    BTW, there is solid evidence that NO genetic effects were transferred to the children of Nagasaki & Hiroshima.

                    Here are a sampling of studies reported in PubMed:

                    Genetic analysis of children of atomic bomb survivors.

                    Studies are under way for the detection of potential genetic effects of atomic bomb radiation at the DNA level in the children of survivors.  . . .. . No significant differences in the mutation rates between the exposed and the unexposed gametes were detected in these repetitive sequences
                    link

                    Transgenerational effects of radiation and chemicals in mice and humans.

                    Parental exposure of mice to radiation and chemicals causes a variety of adverse effects (e.g., tumors, congenital malformations and embryonic deaths)  . . .. . but
                    These findings have not been supported in the children of atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who were exposed to higher doses of atomic radiation.

                    link

                    No evidence of radiation effect on mutation rates at hypervariable minisatellite loci in the germ cells of atomic bomb survivors.

                    Human minisatellites consist of tandem arrays of short repeat sequences, and some are highly polymorphic in numbers of repeats among individuals. Since these loci mutate much more frequently than coding sequences, they make attractive markers for screening populations for genetic effects of mutagenic agents. Here we report the results of our analysis of mutations at eight hypervariable minisatellite loci in the offspring (61 from exposed families in 60 of which only one parent was exposed, and 58 from unexposed parents) of atomic bomb survivors with mean doses of >1 Sv. We found 44 mutations in paternal alleles and eight mutations in maternal alleles with no indication that the high doses of acutely applied radiation had caused significant genetic effects.

                    link

                    Leukemia in offspring of atomic bomb survivors.

                    In a survey having a 90 percent chance of detecting a quadrupling of risk, no significant increase in leukemia has been observed in the offspring of persons exposed to atomic bomb radiation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

                    In the children with leukemia who were born to previously irradiated parents, there was no  unusual finding in regard to the interval from parental exposure to onset, age at onset, or type of leukemia.

                    link

                    There are dozens of studies presenting corrobating evidence.  Which is 100% better than what you offer  . . ..

                    •  JEsus christ (0+ / 0-)

                      you dont even understand basic biology or genetics do you.

                      A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                      by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 03:07:51 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You can say that as many times as you (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        JayBat, OtherDoug, Uncle Cosmo, Wee Mama

                        wish, but until you point out something that I'm factual incorrect about, it's not all that convincing!

                        •  Going to continue spamtrolling these (1+ / 1-)
                          Recommended by:
                          neroden
                          Hidden by:
                          Uncle Cosmo

                          threads with the other nukenuts arent you.

                          Start with Mendel (look him up). Then continue reading.

                          Some just bare basics for you:

                          Fukushima will introduce genetic change in at least a percentage of the population of japan and elsewhere (some nifty fallout swirling around the planet). Those changes, their amount and effect are completely unpredictable. There is some infintescimal chance that some of them could actually be beneficial. Note the infintescimal because that is how evolutionary change happens. All of those exposed to the matter until the halflife of every dangerous element released or created by the accidents has the potential to induce genetic change. the more concentrated the more likely. Most of the organisms affected by those exposures and changes that happen who reproduce will not die before reproducing. Those changes therefore will be carried within the human gene pool. Through the generations some of those changes will endure, some not. It is not unlikely some of those changes could exist within various organisms a thousand millenia from now. THAT is how evolution works. Yes.. if there are radically, acutely harmful changes those organisms offspring will likely die out quickly. But only those.

                          What that really means is this: Fukushima could in the end be the root cause of a new form of cancer. Or diabetes. Or mental disfunction. Or whatever else in generations to come . It could result in new viral/bacterial diseases being created. It could shunt evolution of any number of species in any direction.

                          Exposing biological organisms to concentrated radiation sources is like playing russian roulette with their offsprings genetic structures. THAT is the danger of nuclear power. And all of that fallout/waste created and release will continue to pose that danger til the day it turns inert.

                          A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                          by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 04:30:05 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Wimp (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Roadbed Guy, Sparhawk, Recall

                            Damn your arguments are weak!

                            If you're going to simply make up stuff, you might as well claim that the radiation is going to result in Godzilla.

                            At least that would be pretty cool.

                            Heh ... some people could argue that Fukushima has already resulted in "mental dysfunction." Your comments here provide more than ample evidence of that. ;-)

                            An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                            -- H. L. Mencken

                            by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 06:08:16 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Its science (0+ / 0-)

                            It isnt actually my problem you dont get it.

                            A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                            by cdreid on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 08:37:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If anyone's spamming here, it's you (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            OtherDoug, bryfry, Wee Mama, Recall

                            Up until now I've limited myself to uprating your interlocutors for supporting their positions with calm, measured arguments while you splutter. But enough content-free name-calling is enough. Have one of Uncle Cosmo's Wingnut-Butter-&-Noxzema Bagels.

                            snarcolepsy, n: a condition in which the sufferer responds to any comment with a smartass comeback.

                            by Uncle Cosmo on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:44:12 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  This comment is. . .out of control. . . (0+ / 0-)

                  no need for extremely intelligent proteins, trust me.
                  And I thought it was pretty obvious that DNA damage caused the mutations. . .but never mind. Let's agree to disagree about the consequences to future life of some forms of radiation damage to DNA sequences.

                  The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

                  by Ignacio Magaloni on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:53:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, DNA damage (if not repaired, which most is) (0+ / 0-)

                    is well known to cause mutations.

                    The reverse, however (i.e, that mutations cause DNA damage) is a much less established scientific concept . . .  I was just trying to come up with scenarios where that actually might be the situation.

              •  OK, to beat this horse to death (figuratively (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Recall, OtherDoug, Wee Mama

                speaking, hopefully no one will be too offended by that figure of speech!), there actually are 9 Pubmed articles that come up when germline mutations and autism are searched (none of them really say anything conclusive about autism, however, it seems like autism is mostly thrown in as an attention-getting buzzword).

                Moreover, ionizing radiation of the type discussed in this thread is unlikely to be mechanistically involved -  that premise is based on Hiroshima & Nagasaki survivors whose progeny were harmed if exposed in utero but not beyond that:

                Germ-line mutation induced by ionizing radiation is suspected as a cause for the increased risk of developing cancers in successive generations. However, no increased risk has been observed among children born to atomic bomb survivors exposed at Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

                one of many links about that topic

                •  Put me on the side of those who suspect, (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Roadbed Guy, Old Gardener

                  and would rather not risk human and other vulnerable natural populations to our current ignorance.

                  Keep your ears open for the autism research in the near future; and, to be clear,  I have not linked the autism research to radiation per se, but do suggest that consequences to future generations along those lines are not far off, the way we are going.

                  The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

                  by Ignacio Magaloni on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 03:00:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Sure, it's good to be cautious (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ignacio Magaloni, neroden, Wee Mama

                    in fact, that's why I didn't marry an engineer  (well, actually I did, but like you mentioned - that was because of my "current ignorance" several decades ago . . .. ).

                    •  I actually looked at the linked article's (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Roadbed Guy, OtherDoug

                      date to make sure it was not published APRIL 1st!
                      : P

                      The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

                      by Ignacio Magaloni on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 07:34:54 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Autism genes are linked to useful genes (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      OtherDoug, Roadbed Guy, Recall

                      from what we can tell.  That NYT article you cited is perfectly plausible, though I kind of wish Baron-Cohen actually talked with people with autism-spectrum disorders more often rather than talking about them.

                      Frankly, having Asperger's is a serious advantage in most scientific and academic fields, and particularly in math and CS.  As long as one manages to miss out on the language deficits.

                      The fact is we need more systematizers.  We evidently have too many wooly-headed people reacting based on biases and unwilling to respond to evidence at all.

                      People with Asperger's do NOT have communication difficulties.  The NYT article writer didn't even look up the definition, did they?

                      Frankly, we don't necessarily have "a difficulty in developing social relationships" either.  We just have difficulty developing social relationships with people who expect us to read their emotions wordlessly, which we can't do.  But hell, people without autism-spectrum disorders can't do that consistently and accurately either, and NOBODY can do it over the Internet.

                      "impaired ability of people with autism to communicate, recognise emotions, and socialize"

                      Only one of these is inherent to all autism-spectrum disorders, and it's #2, impaired ability to recognize emotions.  #1 is specific to people with language disabilities, i.e. classic Kanter's autism, and #3 is frankly the fault of the neurotypicals, to be rude about it.  ;-)

                      It is funny how people want to come up with crazy explanations for autism, though, isn't it?

                      Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                      by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:45:29 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  by the time fukushima has run its course (0+ / 0-)

              they're going to need freaking ohmu.

      •  Conservation and efficiency as well (8+ / 0-)

        Japan has put in motion a plan to scale back their energy consumption 25% this summer. Nuclear comprises 3% world power, 19% US power (approx.) Japan is saying this reduction will not impact their productivity/economy. Link's to story is in the JNI ROV #53.

        In addition to sustainables/renewables, we need to always remember the very real power of improved energy efficiency and conservation. I don't have link's offhand but have read that up to 50% of US usage (the top nuclear using country) is essentially categorized as wasteful and not even necessary!

        •  Every watt you don't use... (0+ / 0-)

          ...is like generating a watt. With no environmental side effects. Or fuel. Or other costs.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:04:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Pricing is the problem (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wee Mama, OtherDoug

          Efficiency gains just lead to people using energy for something else, unless it's so expensive that they prefer to spend their money on something else (say, food).

          We need to make the dirty forms of energy pay for their "externalities", the costs they impose but don't pay for.  In other words, fossil fuels need to cost more, and so do nukes.

          It looks like we don't have the political will to do this at the rate we should, so instead people are taking the energy now and punishing their grandchildren.

          At this point I'm hoping for technological breakthroughs which will make solar cheaper than coal and destroy the dirty power industry without us needing to pass an appropriate carbon tax.  But I'm only hoping for that because I know some people working on one.  :-)

          Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

          by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:55:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Coal worse than nuclear (11+ / 0-)

        The problem with comparing the pollutant nature of nuclear power to coal power is a bit like comparing the danger of passenger jet accidents to the danger of automobile accidents.  Automobiles are far more dangerous overall, but because car accidents trickle in at a steady rate killing a few poeple at a time, they don't make for spectacuular news like the rare passenger plane crash does, so people feel as if airplanes are more dangerous.

        The same thing happens with pollutant power plants.  Nuclear plants pollute a lot all at once in rare but spectacular incidents.  Coal plants pollute a little bit at a time, constantly.  Anyone who says Coal is less damaging to the environment than Nuclear isn't paying attention.  Nuclear plants damage the environment when they malfunction.  Coal plants damage the environment when functioning correctly.

        I'm all for finding an alternative to nuclear power that is less damaging to the environment.  Coal is not it.

        (I should be clear here that by "nuclear power" I'm talking about current fission technologies.  I do not have any clue if fusion might come along some day and be different.)

        •  Nuclear power plants pollute permanently (5+ / 0-)

          While the danger of coal pollution subsides within a short time after a plant is shut down. Nuclear pollution remains dangerous for tens to thousands of human generations after an accident, depending on which radionuclides are relased.

          Comparing nuclear accidents to transit accidents ignores the geologic time-scale persistence of nuclear danger. A car, plane, train, or other transit accident is over within moments of when it started, and the effects are highly localized. In contrast, with a nuclear accident, the accident's effects don't end just because humans get the point-source under control. The accident's effects are dispersed (sometimes highly) and persist "forever" from a human lifetime perspective.

          •  Wrong. Absolutely wrong. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roadbed Guy, OtherDoug, JayBat
            While the danger of coal pollution subsides within a short time after a plant is shut down.
            •  Yeah, what's the half life of carbon dioxide (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OtherDoug, JayBat

              compared to cesium 137?

              •  Residence Time of Atmospheric CO2 (5+ / 0-)
                Individual carbon dioxide molecules have a short life time of around 5 years in the atmosphere. However, when they leave the atmosphere, they're simply swapping places with carbon dioxide in the ocean. The final amount of extra CO2 that remains in the atmosphere stays there on a time scale of centuries.

                http://www.skepticalscience.com/...

                Of course, CO2 isn't usually radioactive.

                Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

                by gmoke on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 03:45:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, that's kinda a trick question (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  OtherDoug, gmoke, neroden

                  because on one hand it's half life is infinity - since it is not radioactive it's alway's there (potentially)

                  OTOH, CO2 could fairly rapidly (it's most likely fate) be  disolved in the ocean and converted to H2CO3 (thus acidifying the ocean).  Not sure if that's any better . . . .

                  •  Not Necessarily (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Roadbed Guy, OtherDoug, Wee Mama

                    Climate scientists I have heard have talked about CO2 released today staying in the atmosphere for a thousand years.  The carbon cycle we have relied upon with ocean and forest recycling of CO2 does not operate the same way at higher concentrations.  In particular, ocean acidification and the removal of mangrove swamps have an inordinately deleterious effect of atmospheric carbon removal.

                    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

                    by gmoke on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 07:06:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I've heard it averages 100 years (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gmoke, neroden, Joieau

                      We absolutely must stop burning the stuff, but we need to stop splitting atoms, too.

                      Especially since all the carbon impact of a nuclear plant occurs in the process of getting it started, after which it takes 30 years to reach carbon neutral.

                      Front-loading 30 years of electricity-related CO2 into the atmosphere isn't the best use of our carbon-elimination dollars if our goal is to reduce emissions NOW, which is kind of when we need to do so.

                      Dramatic efficiency and conservation efforts first, followed by a massive increase in renewables is likely to be the least damaging option. (I know I'm preaching to the choir gmoke - this part is for the benefit of others.)

                      •  Reference for Nuke Carbon Loading? (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Wee Mama

                        Do you have a source for that 30 years to reach carbon neutral figure?  That would be good to nail down.  PV, according to a Brookhaven 2008 study, is from 6 months to 2 years although I think that's just for the cells.

                        You ain't preaching to the choir.  You're singing harmony.

                        Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

                        by gmoke on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:41:10 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I've looked into life cycle CO2 impact... (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          radical simplicity, gmoke

                          ...for various forms of power generation and nuclear performs comparably to renewables.  Hydro, wind & solar thermal tend to have the smallest footprint.  Nuclear and solar PV are next and similar in scale.  Then you've got fossil which is orders of magnitude higher.

                          Any argument about front-loading CO2 impact for nuclear would apply to renewables and be in the same time frame.

                          Sources available upon request.

                          •  True, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gmoke

                            But the CO2 payback period is far, far shorter for wind, and solar.

                            Modern Solar = 3 yrs

                            Wind = months

                            Nuclear:

                            From U Winsconsin-Madison [PDF FILE]: Another important conclusion is that nuclear facilities are not zero-emission energy sources and that when a proper accounting method is used, values ranging from 9 to 15 tonnes of CO2/GWeh are calculated. [ed note: ranges are due to different types of plants - fusion plants require many tons more building materials]
                          •  Oops ... didn't mean to click post, yet (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            OtherDoug

                            This study shows energy payback for nuclear, but uses nominally deceptive info:

                            The energy payback time of nuclear energy is around 61⁄2 years for light water reactors, and 7 years for heavy water reactors, ranging within 5.6-14.1 years, and 6.4-12.4 years, respectively.

                            By "nominally deceptive" I mean that they use the worldwide average ore quality in their calculations. US ores are substantially lower-quality than those in other parts of the world, and our reactors are heavy water reactors. So we have lower energy density in the fuel than the report uses for its calculations. Ore quality has a dramatic impact on the efficiency of the plant, so the number of years specified provided is a significant understatement of the energy payback period for nuclear power in the US.

                            Still looking for that Caldicott report...

                          •  So far all of this is in line with my CO2 post. (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm leery of comparing multiple sources this way as I can't really count on them being calculated in similar ways.  I'm williing to accept order of magnitude level conclusions in this sort of comparison and end up getting what I expect from that.  Solar PV & nuclear paybacks are in single digit years.  Wind may be as low as months.  Nothing surprising there.

                            Just for reference, US nuclear plants are light water.  I don't know that we have any heavy water commercial plants operating here.  The Canadians have a lot of heavy water reactors, CANDUs, though.

                          •  Your links aren't for the same type of info. (0+ / 0-)

                            Your links for solar & wind talk about the payback period, but the link for nuclear looks at payback ratio and does not discuss time.

                          •  U Wisc-Madison Paper (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            OtherDoug

                            In the paper, it gives fission an energy payback ratio of 16 meaning that a nuclear power plant will produce 16 times more energy than it took to build over the lifetime of the plant.  If a nuclear power plant is commissioned for 40 to 60 years, that seems to be about a 2 to 4 year energy payback, according to those figures and my (always liable to mistakes) reasoning.

                            Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

                            by gmoke on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 02:50:09 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Request (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            OtherDoug

                            I thought I made that request for sources above.  I am definitely making that request for sources now.

                            Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

                            by gmoke on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 02:51:53 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Links to assessments. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Roadbed Guy

                            I'm sorry if I missed your request for sources earlier.  I've been offline most of the day and haven't kept on top of the comments to this diary.

                            I'll lead off with the Wikipedia entry on LCA GHG emissions that references Benjamin Sovacool's meta analysis.  Sovacool is clearly pro-renewable and anti-nuclear, but his analysis puts nuclear in the same order of magnitude as many renewables and 1 to 2 orders of magnitude below fossil.  In his analysis nuclear is a larger emitter than all other renewable, but still far better than fossil sources.  The Wiki entry lists other studies, some that see nuclear emitting less than some renewables and one that puts it on the same level as natural gas.  I have not dug too deeply into the other studies, but I've looked at Sovacool's analysis and it seems very broad and rigorous to my inexpert eye.

                            Here are links to the studies I've found comparing LCA results for CO2 from various power generation methods.  The first few are from IAEA and other nuclear organizations.  I would have preferred to not rely on them, but to be honest there's a dearth of non-industry associated studies that include nuclear in comparisons.

                            Weisser - A guide to life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electric supply technologies
                            Weisser ranks nuclear CO2 emissions lower than renewables other than hydro.

                            Spadar, et al - Greenhouse gas emissions of electricity generation chains; assessing the difference
                            Spadaro ranks nuclear CO2 emissions below all renewables, but includes a hypothetical hydro project that pushes hydro far higher in rankings than other studies.  Excluding that hypothetical puts hydro and nuclear in very close proximity with nuclear slightly lower.

                            FORATOM - Nuclear energy and greenhouse gas emissions avoidance in the EU
                            FORATOM ranks nuclear CO2 emissions below all renewables, but provides ranges that could easily reshuffle the rankings.

                            The last link is to a paper that I think is very helpful in looking at all of the resources above.
                            Ghisellini, et al - Environmental, economic and financial uncertainties of nuclear electricity
                            Ghisellini discusses the many variables related to nuclear power production that enter into the life cycle assessments and the uncertainty this adds to values for CO2 emissions that result.  The range that this paper comes up with puts nuclear CO2 emissions anywhere from below all renewables to slightly below natural gas, depending on what values are used for conducting the analysis.  This is an informative piece, showing just what sort of factors influence the life cycle assessments that are conducted.

                        •  Helen Caldicott wrote about it a few years ago (0+ / 0-)

                          Basically, the amount of cement required to build a plant is phenomenal, as is the amount of material that has to be moved from its origin to the plant location. Then there's the mining, processing, and transit for the fuel. It works out to be a very, very carbon-intensive process to build a plant.

                          If I recall correctly, decommissioning's carbon-cost wasn't included.

                          I'll see if I can find it - I think it was part of some panel discussion she was in.

                      •  We can do three things at once: (3+ / 0-)

                        Massive improvements in efficiency,
                        massive increases in and improvements in renewables,
                        massive restoration of plants to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere

                        We're not really doing any of them right now, which shows that the problem is political and economic (though the economic problem is ALSO political).  The problem is not an engineering problem.

                        Though engineering could solve parts of the problem by making renewables and efficiency cheaper than coal.  I hope it does both.  Only politics can solve the deforestation problem.

                        Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                        by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:51:13 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Even if your numbers were 100% correct ... (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        OtherDoug, Roadbed Guy
                        Especially since all the carbon impact of a nuclear plant occurs in the process of getting it started, after which it takes 30 years to reach carbon neutral

                        ... there would still be a very strong case for keeping existing reactors running.

                    •  A thousand years? (0+ / 0-)
                      Climate scientists I have heard have talked about CO2 released today staying in the atmosphere for a thousand years.  

                      No, if you look at carbon flux (available widely with numbers just about like this ) there is about 216.1 (gigatonnes?) going into the atmosphere each year and 213.8 coming out.  Since the amount going in greater than than amount coming out, the equilibrium is disturbed and it might be possible that it will take thousands of years to return the equilibrium to its pre-industrial state.

                      However, for any particular CO2 molecule going into the atmosphere - it is not likely to stay there all that long based on the entire pool of CO2 in the atmosphere being about 750 (of the  units used in the previous paragraph).

                      That means that about 215/750ths' of the CO2 in the atmosphere turns over each year and statistically speaking, any CO2 molecule that released today would stay in the atmosphere the recipricol of that (~ 3.5 years).

                  •  There are ways to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere. (0+ / 0-)

                    The MgS-based "carbon negative" cement does it, as do a few other industrial processes; obviously plants do it in huge amounts.

                    We're going to have to pull the CO2 out of the atmosphere and fix carbon on a massive scale in order to halt the feedback effect of global warming.  We'll probably have to power such operations with solar power (that's how plants power it).

                    Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                    by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:48:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  The point is (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              neroden, Joieau

              When a coal plant has a catastrophic failure, it's over as soon as the fire is put out. This is not the case, by a long shot, with nuclear plants.

              Should coal plants be in use? Absolutely not.

              But that has no effect on whether or not nuclear plants present an absurd level of persistent danger if there's a problem.

              •  the catastrophic aspect of coal is when the plants (0+ / 0-)

                are working, through the emission of carbon dioxide.

                but yeah, both coal and nuclear are bad choices for energy, and carry unacceptable costs.

              •  Again, you are wrong. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                OtherDoug, Roadbed Guy
                Three blistering fires are blazing through Wyoming's scenic Powder River Basin, but firefighters aren't paying any attention. Other than a faint hint of acrid odors and a single ribbon of smoke rising from a tiny crack beyond the nearby Tongue River, a long look across the region's serene grassland shows no sign of trouble.

                That's what makes the three infernos, and the toxins they spew, so sinister. Their flames are concealed deep underground, in coal seams and oxygen-rich fissures, which makes containment near impossible. Shielded from fire hoses and aerial assaults, the flames are chewing through coal seams 20 feet thick, spanning 22 acres. They're also belching greenhouse gases and contaminants, contributing to an out-of-sight, out-of-mind environmental hazard that extends far beyond Wyoming's borders. "Every coal basin in the world has fires sending up organic compounds that are not good for you," says Mark Engle, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey who studies the Powder River Basin, "but unless you live close to them you probably never see them."

                A surprising number of us live close to them. According to a review by the Department of Interior's Office of Surface Mining Enforcement and Reclamation, more than 100 fires are burning beneath nine states, most of them in Colorado, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Utah and West Virginia. But geologists say many fires go unreported, driving the actual number of them closer to 200 across 21 states. Most have burned for years, if not decades. Pennsylvania's three dozen underground fires include America's most notorious subterranean blaze, a 48-year-old fire in Centralia, whose noxious emissions sickened residents and eventually prompted the federal government in the late 1980s and early '90s to evict homeowners and pay them a collective $40 million for what is now a virtual ghost town.

                Internationally, thousands of underground coal fires are burning on every continent except Antarctica. Anupma Prakash, a University of Alaska at Fairbanks geologist who maps the fires, calls them "a worldwide catastrophe with no geographic territory, and if we don't take care of them they're going to take a toll on us." The problem is most acute in industrializing, coal-rich nations such as China, where underground fires are consuming at least 10 million tons of coal annually — and some estimates multiply that amount twentyfold. In India, 68 fires are burning beneath a 58-square-mile region of the Jhairia coalfield near Dhanbad, showering residents in airborne toxins. "Go there and within 24 hours you're spitting out mucous with coal particles," Prakash says. "It's bad, worse than any city, anywhere."

                Quantifying the amount of pollution that underground fires create is as difficult as spotting them. The smoke escaping through vents contains carbon dioxide, methane, mercury and at least 40 toxic compounds — "a whole soup of nasty stuff," according to Glenn Stracher, a geologist at East Georgia College in Swainsboro, Ga., who studies the emissions. But that soup's ingredients vary from hour to hour, even vent to vent, and some of the gases also escape through adjacent soil. "It's not like the oil well in the Gulf, where you measure how much is coming out per unit of time," Stracher says. "Making calculations is a tricky business." He and other researchers readily admit that global coal fire emission estimates — 40 tons of mercury spewing into the atmosphere annually, and 3% of the world's annual CO2 emissions — are imprecise. But the negative implications for human health and global warming, they say, are clear.

                http://www.time.com/...

        •  I don't care which is worse, don't want either (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, Old Gardener, wu ming, neroden, melo

          That's the bottom line with me. Fossil fuels and nuclear power should be abandoned as the obsolete ways to generate power that they are. They are both dirty, dangerous, and ruin land and lives for generations.

        •  Safe, legal and rare (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden
          Nuclear plants pollute a lot all at once in rare but spectacular incidents.

          Yeah, a Level 7 once every 25 years doing this kind of damage isn't exactly as rare as I'd like.

      •  This guy is a shill (0+ / 2-)
        Recommended by:
        Hidden by:
        OtherDoug, Uncle Cosmo

        we have about 5 of them. They repeat talking points, make shit up, very few of them understand nuclear technology, NONE of them understand biology and not a one of them will engage in an honest debate. They insist on putting words and ideas in your mouth and, per sop, arguing facts they made up.

        Theyre liars and thus not worth your time.

        A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

        by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:22:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  HR for false accusation. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayBat

          If you've got evidence he's on someone's payroll post it and I'll withdraw the HR.

          •  Glad you got off on that enjoy (0+ / 0-)

            Considering your diaries and posts im sure you looked htrough these posts feverishly looking for an excuse to get your rocks off on a "nonbeliever". enjoy..

            A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

            by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 03:07:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  You're way out of line. (5+ / 0-)

          And I'm sure I'm going to regret saying anything, I always do in threads like this, sigh.

          cdreid, I'm seeing unsubstantiated claims in this subthread coming from you, not from Roadbed Guy.  You say: "Chernobyl, Nagasaki, Hirishima[sic], Fukushima all introduced permanent genetic changes into multiple populations including human."  I've seen no scientific papers on this subject at all.  There is good research on birth defect rates for the children of Chernobyl "liquidators", and that appears measurably high, and that makes some sense; they were exposed to extremely high levels of radiation, but (intentionally) not quite enough to kill them.  I've seen zero research showing these birth defects are heritable, though.  Cite?

          As for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the research I've seen (mostly the ABCC reports) showed no evidence of heritable genetic damage. Increased cancer rates in the survivors, yes.  In utero (at the time of the bombings) non-heritable increase in brain defects, yes. But nothing like "permanent genetic changes". You're the one making extraordinary claims, you need to back them up, or else calm down just a little bit.

          -Jay-
          

    •  Your answer - every time - is COAL, COAL, COAL (11+ / 0-)

      There ARE ALTERNATIVES that are NOT named COAL... or deadly nukes.

        Check it out sometime - other countries certainly ARE!

      But then, they want real results - not just shilling for the coal industry?

      •  Roadbed Guy = Mr. COAL and only coal... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JRSEA, radical simplicity, cdreid, neroden

        Get out of the dark ages - into the light of alt. energy - it works so well that power co's don't like it - because it cuts their monthly rent from the users.

      •  The thing is, over the past 30 years (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gzodik, JayBat, Recall, OtherDoug

        e.g., since the 70's energy crisis should have alerted us that things really, really needed to be changed - the amount of electricity generated from coal has increased faster than anything else (in absolute terms).

        Note that this time period closely corresponds to the anti-nuke frenzy in the USA - which is really neither here nor there except to illustrate that it really does seem to be an "either/or" thing when it comes to coal v. nuclear power.  History has shown that "clean" energy has NOT STEPPED up to fill the void left by unbuilt nuclear power plants over the past 30 years - coal has.

        And the trend towards coal continues unabated - The Obama Administration has been hugely pro-coal, ensuring that it's use will continue unabated into the foreseeable future.

        •  Here's a (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gzodik, JayBat, Recall, OtherDoug

          graph illustrating what I'm saying

          Since 1980, "fossil fuels" (basically lumping NG in with coal, which is really not better considering the fracking and all that) more than double (from ~6,000 TWH to > 12,000) while renewables increased from ~2,000 TWH to ~4,000).

          So while the renewables also approximately doubled, they lagged more than 3-fold (~2,000 TWH compared to ~6,000 TWH) in the total amount of electricity that was generated.

          Seriously, you can't say that renewables can take the place of coal/fossil fuels - because they're not.

          •  Purely corporo-political (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cdreid, OtherDoug, neroden, melo

            decisions, having nothing to do with whether or not renewables COULD have done the job. One of Ronald Reagan's first acts as president was to remove the solar collectors on the white house roof. Then he ordered all the oil and gas wells drilled and put into production under Carter's energy policy capped so we could engineer a future full of wars waged entirely for the purpose of stealing somebody else's oil.

            There's a lot of cash flow in King Coal and nukes, to interests that have no reason to care what the 'small people' think or want. It has taken very recent regulations requiring 20% of major utilities' production to come from renewables by 2020 for regular ratepayers to even get a choice of where their 'trons come from. Y'all talk a lot about NIMBY for all generating technologies, and it certainly exists. It's just that protest by citizens and/or ratepayers has never stopped a coal or nuclear plant from being built to spew slow death on those same citizens and/or ratepayers. It won't stop renewables development either, or all those coming sun and wind spills. Oh, the humanity! ;-/

            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

            by Joieau on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:13:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  That's because it's yet another of the energy (16+ / 0-)

          sources that are exploitable really only on a large scale.  Individuals can't just go in their back yard and get oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear.  It takes a lot of startup money, and then creates lots of profits for the huge corporations who can do it, who then fight fiercely against any legislation that would encourage power sources that individuals can tap into with small scale collectors.

          History has shown that "clean" energy has NOT STEPPED up to fill the void left by unbuilt nuclear power plants over the past 30 years - coal has.

          It's not history, and it's not 'stepping up' - it's deliberate sabotage of political policy by those who profit against the forms that would cost them profit.

          •  I'm not arguing motive, just pointing out in (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Recall, JayBat, Sparhawk

            the "real world" clean energy has steadily been losing out to fossil fuels.

            Sure, that's largely due to powerfully connected entrenched interests - but that doesn't really change anything.  Heck, if we didn't have to worry about powerfully connected entrenched interests any number of wonderful things could be accomplished (single payer health care, progressive taxation, the metric system, eradication of malaria and polio, etc)

            •  Just Pointing out (7+ / 0-)

              What you seem to be saying is that due to "powerfully connected entrenched interests" the future must be fossil fuels.  That is exactly the perspective these entrenched interests want you to have.  Our country's history is full of examples where the way forward appeared cast in stone due to commitment to the status quo: slavery, women's right to vote, worker's rights, etc.  

              Your perspective that since other progressive goals are not yet achieved means that clean energy is not possible sounds to me like a failure of imagination and a serious case of cynical and defeatist thinking.  Read Jared Diamond's Collapse - we have a choice for the future.  Of course it's not easy, but if you give up the idea that we can make a difference, you have already lost.

              •  The message of Collapse to me (0+ / 0-)

                was that, no we don't have a choice - i.e., human nature trumps rationality.

                That was the case hundreds/thousands of years ago, and I can't see that it's not exactly the same now.

                •  Collapse (6+ / 0-)

                  Try rereading it. Its even in the title:  "How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed".  He gave examples of societies that chose to succeed.  

                  I also heard Dr. Diamond speak on the issue and his reponse to the question of whether we are going to make it wat that he was optomistic.  I think I am accurately representing his answer (but no guarantee):  

                  It was not a slam-dunk, but he was hopeful that with the information available to all via the internet (i.e we could see how the world was affected by humans) we would wise up and not destroy ourselves. Our biggest challenge was overcoming the notion that we could do whatever we damn well wanted to do.

                  •  I've gotta say I'm not a huge Jared Diamond (0+ / 0-)

                    fan - although he does have some provocative stuff out there.

                    Overall, he's too much like the Bible - you can read into whatever one wants.

                    For example his previous book (God, Guns & Steele?) posits that the success of Europe was more or less a geographical accident (not due to the inherent superiority of the people who lived there or their technology).

                    Then in Collapse he appears to dramatically shift gears on that topic, like you say, actually giving examples of "societies that "choose" to succeed" (whatever that means).   A different view, of course, is that over time some societies will muddle through and "succeed" whereas other don't muddle through and end up failing in a more or less a mindless, stochastic way.

                    In any event, I think we could probably still go either way - largely depending on whether or not new technologies come on line fast enough to save us from past idiotic behavior  - rather than any prescient, thoughtful attempt that our society makes to mend our ways.

                    •  Guns, Germs and Steel (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      neroden

                      I think Guns, Germs and Steel was trying to understand why the European societies had "succeeded" or "had all the cargo" at the expense of other established societies.  

                      Collapse seems to be a logical extension of the question. It examines a number of societies and five main factors that he believes affects their chances for "success" when faced with "stresses".  I agree its hard to define what is success these days.  At this point, the whole notion of a society succeeding is getting a bit muddled especially if its at the expense of the world's capacity to support life as we know it.

                      Which brings us back to the original notion of coal or not.  As you note, we could go either way, but you seem to think we are dependent on some technological saviour.  You have missed the point entirely: that our choices for the present do affect the future and how societies' respond to problems impacts their viability. So we  need to stop supplicating before the fossil fuel industry and keep working toward viable alternatives.

                      •  Thanks for the correct title. Also (0+ / 0-)
                        You have missed the point entirely:

                        yeah, I get that alot

                        So we  need to stop supplicating before the fossil fuel industry and keep working toward viable alternatives.

                        On one hand, yeah, duh, that's self evident.

                        OTOH, how can that be done?  If we were a sensible country we'd have spent the $3 trillion we spent on useless wars over the past decade putting solar panels on all building in the country.  That'd allow us to replace 1/2 of coal (or all of NG or nuclear).  But we didn't

                        Or, if we were a sensible country (part 2) we'd not have environmentalists and NIMBY-types blocking virturally all large scale wind & solar projects on the drawing board.  But we're not.

                        And so on.  So when I speak of a technological breakthrough I'm referring to something like fusion that can utilize the existing infrastructure, and stuff like that.

                        •  How would solar with >10x efficiency (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Joieau

                          over current solar, at less than 2x the price, using the same fabrication facilities as current silicon chips, and no exceptionally rare materials do?  Plus a battery with >5x energy storage (per gram) efficiency over current batteries, and better instantaneous power, and again, produced on existing fabrication facilities with no exceptionally rare materials?

                          Both able to connect without significant losses to the current electrical infrastructure, either AC or DC?

                          This is not a hypothetical question, this is material under development.

                          Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                          by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:20:10 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Isn't solar's efficiency now ~ 20% (0+ / 0-)

                            so how do you do 10x of that?

                            And if you're proposing massive battery storage - even if rare earths are not required, some type of nasty chemical will be . . .. .

                            Perhaps flywheels would be a better energy storage device.

                          •  Current flywheel storage... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Roadbed Guy

                            ...only provides about 45 minutes of storage time.  It's got great potential, but it's not where we need it to be to work for renewable power storage.  It's mainly used for power modulation now.

                          •  Well, that's (probably) better than the batteries (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            OtherDoug

                            in a Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt!

                            Although putting a flywheel in an automobile might be ill advised - since the gyroscope effect might make going around corners difficult and if it were to get loose, it might wreak a considerable amount of havoc.

                            But still, it's an appealing idea (to me!) because of it's simplicity.  Maybe they just need to be bigger (or denser) and faster.  Perhaps they could be made out of depleted uranium.  And buried safely in the backyard.

              •  He's a troll (0+ / 0-)

                you know this now right?

                A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:29:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Duh! In 1980, this country (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          liberte, ozsea1, elfling

          decided to join the sunny one in lala-land.  Three Mile Island and Whoops brought an end to new nuclear power plants in the US.  Conservation and alternative energy development and construction were taken off the table (or roof of the WH).  Out here on the left coast, we've managed to hold per capita electricity consumption to 1980 levels (a good start but hardly good enough) but most of this damn country has continued to suck up more and more.  And less and less of that consumption is because we make things with that energy.

          •  You know, it's not just "this country" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayBat, Recall

            For example, in 1986 China decided go in exactly the opposite direction and has been putting huge resources into "clean energy" (there a good New Yorker article on that:  Green Giant: Beijing’s crash program for clean energy).

            And yet since then, they've increased their use of coal WAY more than anybody else . . . . . (because of flip side of what you say about us, because they still make things that require a large input of energy).

            •  China was kind of stupid about population control (0+ / 0-)

              Sure, they had a one-child policy, but they only introduced mandatory sex ed a couple of years ago (!!!), and condoms are still behind-the-counter.

              Ahem.  So a growing population didn't help them in their energy efficiency goals.

              Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

              by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:21:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  In California, we're not using coal (0+ / 0-)

          and we're not going to do any more nuclear.

          Both are uniquely unsuited for us: coal because we have none, nuclear because we have lots of plate tectonics and limited water supply.

          If people on the other coast want to do coal or even nuclear on their own dime, they can choose that as far as I'm concerned. But it's not the only path and it's not the path for my region.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:26:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You know what happens (0+ / 0-)

            if they have a major meltdown in Arizona? Or Illinois? Or Ohio.. or .. or .. or.. ill let you think about that.

            A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

            by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:30:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hey, winds go from west to east (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cdreid, neroden, Joieau

              Not a fan in any case, but I think the fact that the insurance industry doesn't want to touch them and that the investment community doesn't think they're a good bet tells me (a) the government should stay out and (b) without government guarantees, there will be no more nuclear plants in the US.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:38:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Bravo (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                neroden

                without government guarantees, there will be no more nuclear plants in the US.

                Without the fed and states subsidising the hell out of nuclear, uranium mining etc etc etc nuclear would have been toast from day one. But the feds needed Plutonium and plutonium requires breeder reactors based on uranium sooo...

                Ironically if not for the cold war and our phallic lust for nuclear weapons we might have developed relatively safe non-uranium/plutonium based technology.

                A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 03:09:59 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  No (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Recall, Roadbed Guy, JayBat, OtherDoug, wonmug

            You just import electricity from coal and nuclear plants across the border.

            In that way, you can say (with almost a straight face) that you're not using coal and not using "any more" nuclear. Convenient, eh?

            An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
            -- H. L. Mencken

            by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:32:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  California uses less power per capita (0+ / 0-)

              than most of the rest of the US.

              California is making serious state-led efforts to use cleaner energy and to support it both with regulation and with cash.

              I don't think any nuclear power actually comes in over the border. Two plants built in California have been decomissioned; two plants remain. Nuclear needs water and there is none to the east of us.

              While some power comes to us from out of state, we are not building plants out of state to meet increased demand. Power plants are being built in California, mostly natural gas, solar, and wind.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:45:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Google (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                OtherDoug, neroden

                Palo Verde

                An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                -- H. L. Mencken

                by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 03:54:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Your support (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JayBat

                for burning natural gas is appreciated. Not by me, mind you, but I'm sure that the oil/gas companies are happy to hear that you are so satisfied by the status quo of building new natural gas plants -- with some obligatory wind and solar astroturfing, of course.

                ;-)

                An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                -- H. L. Mencken

                by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 04:01:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  When we stop actually using the coal ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy, OtherDoug

        ... I'll stop supporting nukes. If you can't deliever that, then I don't see why we shouldn't look into other options.

        •  Yes, as the clean green energy come (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OtherDoug, neroden

          on line, it should in turn replace coal, natural gas, and then nuclear.    In that order.   Perhaps even with hydroelectric coming before nuclear, I'm not really sure about that one.

          •  Nah, most hydroelectric is good. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roadbed Guy

            Stuff like the High Aswan Dam needs to go -- that was a serious mistake because it completely disrupted the agricultural ecosystem upon which Egypt depends -- but stuff like the Niagara Falls power plants are really a very good idea and pretty much harmless.

            Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

            by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:09:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The problem is making anything REPLACE coal. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OtherDoug, Recall

            The problem is economic.  As long as coal remains "cheap" -- i.e., it isn't charged for the negative externalities it's causing -- new renewable capacity simply gets added to the coal.

            This is the same problem with energy efficiency.  It's great, but the economic response is "so we have extra energy now, let's use it to do more stuff".  Which would be reasonable if the coal-burning wasn't so bad for our environment.

            There are only two ways out of the problem:
            (1) actually charge for the pollution caused by coal.  This was the point of the Kyoto Agreement.  We needed Gore as President.
            (2) Get lucky and have technology developed which is renewable energy which is so cheap that it's cheaper than the MARGINAL cost of keeping a coal plant operating.  This may actually happen -- I know people involved in such work -- but the course of research is never fully predictable.

            Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

            by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:13:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Amazonian Biochar (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, OtherDoug, neroden

        Just finnished Albert Bates / The Biochar Solution. Real food for thought.

    •  Coal isn't any good either (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden

      We need to separate from all fossil fuels and nuclear, ASAP.

    •  4,000 deaths? or 1 million? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rexxnyc

      "sometimes decades pass and nothing happens; and then sometimes weeks pass and decades happen."...

      by stolen water on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:01:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yablokov? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy, bryfry

        That number (which is actually 980,000) assumes that the increases in deaths from a wide number of diseases, including ones that have no link to radiation, are due to Chernobyl.  It does not take into account the increase in screening for disease that has happened over the course of time in Eastern Europe since the mid-80s*.  Yablokov's work has not been peer-reviewed and is not accepted even by the New York Academy of Science which made the book available in English.

        *See: MW Charles, 2010. Review of Chernobyl: consequences of the catastrophe for people and the environment. Radiation Protection Dosimetry (2010) 141(1): 101-104. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncq185. http://rpd.oxfordjournals.org/...

        •  "Peer" Review of Yablokov? (0+ / 0-)

          Is the "peer review" criticism of Yablokov really valid?  Shouldn't someone make an effort to review the data and methodology in detail?

          I am not public health professional and so I am not sure always what are the standards of research; but I did quickly read through Yablokov.

          Yablokov's book cites many (more than 20) studies.  They seem to be mostly Byelorussian, Ukrainian and Russian studies, pieced together from available local records when many are incomplete.

          So while its reasonable to look at one isolated paper and say - where is the data, where did you compute your F statistics...etc, and " that's not how we do it at University of Florida (or wherever)" - but this is fifty 50 studies...birthweights in Minsk, "normal" children in Kiev...

          So criticizing one paper is reasonable but I wonder if 50 different studies of different changes don't sort of peer -review each other?

          And then I wonder if we shouldn't reverse the standard of proof somehow - assume Chenobyl causes every premature death in affected areas until peer reviewed studies show it doesn't.  Or something like that.

          Maybe I missed something but just chanting "peer review" is suspiciously ...utility company lawyerish.

          •  Sure, why not? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wonmug, ebohlman
            And then I wonder if we shouldn't reverse the standard of proof somehow - assume Chenobyl causes every premature death in affected areas until peer reviewed studies show it doesn't. Or something like that.

            Why stop there? Let's go "old school" and assume that witches caused every premature death in the affected areas until peer-reviewed studies have shown that they didn't.

            It makes about as much scientific sense as your proposal. Lord knows that the weight of the historical anecdotal evidence favors witches over Chernobyl by a large margin.

            An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
            -- H. L. Mencken

            by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 05:53:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Cmon (0+ / 0-)

              the basic question was - do the similiarities among the 50-odd different independent studies cited by Yablokov add up to some reason to be skeptical of the IAEA study?

              Again I freely admit I don't know the "standard" of proving hypotheses in public health; (and I don't know what was it before the surgeon general slapped the warning on cigarettes)

              So I'm just wondering if any 'acceptable' scientist has seriously thought about a "mega-study" to examine whether the Yablobkov numbers might be reasonable...

              And I know don't know quite how to formulate the question ..but that's why I'm writing here...

              So someone could ask...what are the chances that 50 out of 50 studies (a) would all show 'significantly' more  early deaths if there was nothing there and (b) what are the chances that when mean projections are summed up they would show a 90% chance of 1 million early deaths if there was nothing there.

              •  We don't know that it's 50 out of 50. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ebohlman

                It could very well be 50 out of 5000.  That's why the work needs to be peer reviewed.  There are accusations that Yablokov is cherry picking studies that back up his hypothesis.  There are accusations that he's systematically neglecting changes in diagnosis of disease that have occurred since the mid-80s.  The only way to really sort through those issues is to submit the hypothesis to peer review.

              •  Look (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                OtherDoug, Recall

                First, you should actually read some of the stuff that you are asking questions about. That would be a start.

                If you had read it, you might notice that Yablobkov et al. rail against "scientific protocols" used by "Western science." That should be a huge tip-off that these guys are just shill'n snake oil.

                50-odd studies that don't follow the scientific method are not worth the paper that they're printed on. This is why the scientific community has a system whereby professionals check each other's work -- to weed out the truly worthless studies. Yablobkov's material hasn't passed that simple smell test to tell whether there's something there or whether it's really manure.

                Or if you think it has, please provide the evidence, because even the NYAS won't vouch for that work.

                An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                -- H. L. Mencken

                by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 07:21:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Better analogy (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OtherDoug, Recall

              I was originally going to suggest "let's assume vaccines cause autism" but after reading your subsequent post about Yablokov railing against "Western science" I decided that "let's assume homosexuality is a curable mental illness" is a better analogy.

              Seriously, in science or any other form of rational argumentation, the burden of proof is on the claimant. It couldn't be otherwise. If you take the position that a claimant's assertion is true until proven false, you very quickly find yourself having to believe multiple mutually-contradictory assertions.

              If you Google "headache brain tumor", you will come away convinced that your headache is actually cancer—Seth Mnookin

              by ebohlman on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:07:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Burden of Proof in science and in environment law (0+ / 0-)

                Perhaps I am conflating use of burden of proof in law and the burden of proof in science.

                Certainly, in scientific research the burden is on the researcher to show reproducible results...drop an apple over and over to demonstrate gravity, etc.

                And generally in "Western Law" (US or English law, anyway) we put the burden of proving a wrong or a harm  on the plaintiff (in civil cases) or the people (the prosecutor in criminal cases).

                But when there are large potential social costs or externalities from an activity, we do (randomly and politically it seems) manage to shift the burden of "proving" minimal harm onto the actor, sometimes even before they can act.

                For example a utility might need to show that discharged water from a new plant will not destroy native marine life.

                Nuclear power has severe potential externalities; better analysis of the Yablokov data seems merited in order to help define the magnitude of harm from release of radioisotopes.

                And I'm not certain that existing regulations (or lobbyist-politician relationships) compel such an analysis.

          •  "suspiciously...utility company lawyerish." (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryfry, ebohlman

            That is a lame attempt at an ad hominem argument and a piss poor attempt to shut down discussion by impugning the integrity of anyone holding opinions that differ from your own.  It is a childish and repugnant tactic, but one that is very common in this particular debate.

            Even if I were a utility company lawyer the point that I am making would still be valid.  Yablokov's work is flawed and should not be considered valid until it is backed up by a proper, peer reviewed meta analysis.  Peer review is what separates real science from snake oil, faith healing and UFOs.  Case in point:

            And then I wonder if we shouldn't reverse the standard of proof somehow - assume Chenobyl (sic) causes every premature death in affected areas until peer reviewed studies show it doesn't.  Or something like that.
            Uh huh.  That kind of illogic works great for witch hunts, but not for real decision making.
    •  You going to continue (0+ / 0-)

      with this disengenuous bullshit? Think it helps your credibility (which is already pretty much in the toilet)?

      You continually insist on your nukefan echochamber talking point insisting we are proposing coal as an alternative to nuclear, continue to spout your SourceFree "facts", and continue to present false dichotomies.

      Does it make you people feel good to lie and be dishonest? Do you get off on it? Or is it that you just cannot handle the facts and the doublethink is so much more comfortable?

      A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

      by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:20:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What did I lie about? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OtherDoug, bryfry, JayBat

        I carefully documented how coal is for all intents and purposes the only viable alternative for nuclear - if not, why has coal (and other fossil fuels, which are just as bad) grown three times faster than "clean" energy in the post-nuclear era?

        No one has presented any evidence to the contrary.  Please do instead of calling me a liar - because otherwise, you are the one who is lying . . ..

        •  Every other word out of your mouth (0+ / 0-)

          just like the other shills. You get your talking points at "pronuke" discussion boards where the average user has the understanding of nuclear energy a chimp has of inheritance in Object Oriented languages. You repeatedly insist on the "Coal or Nuclear!!" talking point no matter how many times we point out your idiocy. Youve abandoned the cost talking point finally as that one has been shown laughable. You post bullshit sidestep medical studies you dont understand when we TRY to point out the real danger of nuclear isnt "some guy getting cancer" or even "1000 people dying". Stop the bullshit. If you need to understand the dangers of nuclear we'll explain them to you. They are long term dangers and they are Extreme ones. As of today there are changes to the human genome that may spread to the majority of the human race within 100 years or 1000 etc. And to other species. And for the next few million years ago our fuckups will continue to change the genetics of every race who come upon their fallout.

          A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

          by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:35:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again, please post some credible scientific (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OtherDoug, Recall, JayBat, Uncle Cosmo

            information, not a bunch of nonsense about the impact of minute levels of radiation on human cancer hundreds or thousands of year from now.

            About the coal v. nuclear option, I'm old enough to have seen today's scenario play out in the 70's.

            The anti-nuclear types also claimed to be against coal back then and said "don't worry, it's not a coal v. nuclear scenario - nuclear can go away and so will coal - heck, look, Jimmy's putting solar panels on the White House right now!"

            And that argument won the day.  And what happened?  The use of coal doubled, increasing by 6,000 TWH while renewables (mostly biomass & hydroelectric) only increased by 1/3 that much.  That's not a lie. That's what happened.

            And now you are peddling the same worn out arguments - so excuse me if I don't get fooled again.

            •  I can show you on paper (0+ / 0-)

              how to eliminate coal and nuclear within 5 years. You arent interested. As per your other posts you make up new Bullshit and sidestep. With cromagnons like you nuclear nuts screaming your teabagger crap its hard for us "dirty hippies" to get a word in edgewise.. even those pesky "scientists", "nuclear technicians", "biofuel producers", "solar and wind engineers" and all those other pesky 'edumercated" people.

              A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

              by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 03:06:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Don't show us on paper. Do it for real. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Roadbed Guy, bryfry, OtherDoug

                Then we'll talk.

              •  Lots of things can be done on paper (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bryfry, JayBat, OtherDoug

                kids in the third world don't have to die ever again from hunger or malaria, on paper.

                We could end our idiotic foreign wars, on paper.

                Somebody who campaigns on progressive ideas could actually implement then when elected, on paper.

                And so on - but there's really not much point living in a complete fantasy world, is there?

                •  Well hell (0+ / 0-)

                  youre right... i mean.. we cant go relying on that silly "SCIENCE" and "ENGINEERING" and "Economic analysis" stuff!! We gotta go with our gut feelinz!! Cuz them thar  faincey scientists n engerneers n stuff r justa buncha dang commielibrul fags tryna distroy thu marican way!"

                  Good lord.

                  A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                  by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 04:32:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                    •  He and the other trolls (0+ / 0-)

                      have been shown the facts, theyve had their talking points shot down 100 times. Theyve been shown how even individual homes can be converted cheaply. Theyve been painstakingly slowly explained the actual dangers of nuclear power and the genetic dangers it creates. They dont care they simply sidestep and post another talking point. Theyve taken their tactics directly from the gop playbook. It gets old.

                      A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                      by cdreid on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 08:36:00 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Substitute "you" for "they"; I'm one of "them". (0+ / 0-)

                        My ????? was because of the gobbledygook you posted.  I have a hard time responding rationally to you because of that sort of crap.  You seem completely willing to believe that only uninformed conservatives could possibly support nuclear power.  Yet your debating this issue with a bunch of liberals and progressives on Daily Kos.  Your interlocutors are not Republicans.  They're certainly not trolls.  Some of them are even engineers and scientists.

                        •  Afraid not (0+ / 0-)

                          and youre the person tossing tr's when you someone counters your bs i see.

                          The only scientists and engineers ive seen post on dk about this (btw as the objections are MEDICAL perhaps we should be concerned with the opinions of people with medical/biological knowledge) are Against nuclear power.

                          BTW... interlocutor doesnt mean what you think it means.

                          A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                          by cdreid on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 04:22:10 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Act like a thug, get a donut. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Recall

                            I only toss donuts when there's a false accusation of shilling made.  That's a thug tactic intended to quash one point of view and I think it's repugnant.  If you make the accusation be prepared to show some evidence that the commenter you're accusing is on someone's payroll.

                            I find it really interesting that you're the one accusing others of trolling this diary.  You are the person making false accusations, insisting that people are lying, spreading bullshit, etc.  Take the first line of your comment.  I didn't HR you about a comment I had made, so accusing me of "tossing tr's when you someone counters your bs" is not true.  I HR'd you because you accused someone of shilling.

                            My point regarding the engineers and scientists is that you can't assume people come to a point of view because of ignorance which was clearly what you were doing with your obnoxious comments.

                            Finally, one definition of interlocutor is "one who takes part in dialogue or conversation".  That's the most common definition that I'm aware of and the one I was using.

              •  On paper (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Roadbed Guy, ebohlman

                ... lol ... good one.

                Want me to tell you what I would do with that paper?

                Here's a hint: you might hear a flush afterward.

                That's what your "paper" is worth.

                An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                -- H. L. Mencken

                by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 04:14:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thats ok (0+ / 0-)

                  All that fancy schmancy science n engineerin n whatnot.. its Unamerican!

                  Seriously sometimes i doubt people who decry the fall of american education.. then i see posts like these..

                  A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                  by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 04:34:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Sigh (4+ / 0-)

                    I've read so many articles and papers over the years about how we can meet all our needs with wind and solar, that I've concluded that "composting" all of this ridiculous nonsense is the only practical green solution.

                    Nevertheless, you are welcome to attempt to surprise me, wonderboy. Put your money where your mouth is.

                    An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                    -- H. L. Mencken

                    by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 05:02:09 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Keep making shit up (0+ / 0-)

                      and posting bullshit because that will win people over. But keep reading freerepublic and the pronuke blogs they are truely educating you.

                      A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                      by cdreid on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 08:33:52 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Open your mind, you idiot! (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        bryfry

                        Can you not even conceive that someone might be of similar political opinion to you, but hold a different point of view on this issue?  Every time you post something like this you point out again how incapable of understanding you are.

      •  If the shoe fits ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid, OtherDoug, bryfry
        Nuclear power plants pollute permanently (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        daliscar, Flaming Liberal for Jesus, miriam, ozsea1, Joieau
        While the danger of coal pollution subsides within a short time after a plant is shut down.

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  Before Chernobyl there was Kyshtym (18+ / 0-)

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

    This was a chemical explosion in a reprocessing facility that spewed a radioactive plume to the northeast some 200 miles. Since it was in the eastern Urals and in a lightly populated area, and the prevailing winds were away from the major European centers of population, the Soviet government found it easy to clamp a lid of secrecy down on the incident which stayed down for nearly twenty years and wasn't fully lifted until 1990.

    The incident is officially rated a Class 6 and considered the third most serious nuclear accident to date (behind Chernobyl and Fukushima).

    A lot of people still don't know much, if anything, about Kyshtym.

    If it's
    Not your body
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    AND it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:24:11 AM PDT

  •  Reposted for more eyes to The Nuclear Free DK (6+ / 0-)

    Group; rushing to work in 5 mins but also personally tipped and rec'd.

  •  "applications where it is appropriate." (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wordwraith, Joieau, cdreid, neroden

    Not sure exactly what you mean when you say that "military applications" would be appropriate, but I guess I'm assuming that you mean generation of power for aircraft carriers, subs, and the like.  "Military applications" such as using thermonuclear weapons against population centers is not, in my view, in any way shape or form "appropriate."  

    A minor quibble, assuredly. Just jumped out at me as I read an otherwise pretty thought-provoking diary, and one with which I agree.  

    Human institutions are run by humans, and invariably fail at some point, due to accumulations of human errors (including willful ones like greed), and where the price is this high, there has to be a much greater emphasis on the price of those failures, and much, much greater effort put into oversight, prevention, and amelioration of those failures.  

    Nuclear power is only the most blatantly, visibly damaging of numerous human institutions that are failing, and to which comparatively little resources are put into oversight, prevention and amelioration.  Carbon-based energy is visibly changing our environment, and will continue to do so for tens of thousands of years to come, and there are virtually no real efforts going into OPA (certainly not on a scale comparable with production).  Sooner or later, we as a species are going to have to deal with the "extrinsic costs" that we continually allow to be ignored by those focused on the short-term bottom line.  Economic models and theories from 200 years and more ago may have been workable when the world's population a few hundred million; but with populations expected to reach 10 Billion in fairly short order, those old models are out of date.  

    We are the first to look up and know, with absolute certainty, that the sword we ourselves have forged, is real.

    by Jbearlaw on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:29:35 AM PDT

  •  Don't have to wait for a fire (4+ / 0-)

    the building and concrete pile over the old reactor is disintegrating and will, unless something is done, eventually collapse and spray dust.

  •  It Appears the Authorities Are ... (4+ / 0-)

    attempting to downplay the lasting contamination at Chernobyl.  I believe you can now take bus tours, etc.  (Of course, you can't go too close to the reactor itself.)  But Cesium-134 with a two-year half-life is not necessarily the worst of it.  Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years, and for Americium-241 it is 432 years.  Some amount of Cesium is certainly there.  Americium has been detected in nuclear explosions.  Is it present at Chernobyl?  And if so, in what amounts?

    Not to be an alarmist, but I think Chernobyl is dead forever.

    "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

    by midnight lurker on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:40:32 AM PDT

    •  To the best of my knowldge Americium is not presen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      midnight lurker

      there.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:44:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I Understand It ... (4+ / 0-)

        a certain amount of Plutonium-241 accumulates in uranium reactors over time.  This isotope next becomes Americium-241.  I could be wrong.
         

        "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

        by midnight lurker on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:39:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're right. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wee Mama, cdreid, neroden

          I don't know if it would be detectable using gamma ray measurements, though. It does have a pretty strong gamma ray but the other stuff in the background (especially Cs-137) will probably overpower it. I tried to do a gamma ray measurement on a waste box situated within about 50 feet of a trailer full of sodium contaminated with Cs-137 and even though the dose rate at the location of the box was not much above background the gamma from Cs-137 gave me such a high background that it would have masked quite a few grams of U-235. Or quite a few milligrams of Am-241, probably, but I haven't done the math to say for sure.

          The sodium came from Fermi-1, of "We Almost Lost Detroit" fame. Argonne-West had a bit of sodium handling expertise so it had been sent there. Eventually it was turned into  sodium hydroxide and the radionuclides removed from it as part of the process.

          Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

          by billmosby on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 12:02:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  i lived in kyiv, 60 miles downstream from (19+ / 0-)

    chornobyl...we took seaweed tablets every day we lived there - don't know if it helped, but i got sick there and stayed sick for 3 months (in addition to several other illnesses between my wife and myself)...imo, not the healthiest place to live

    btw, the chornobyl museum, which was in our neighborhood of podil, is an incredibly haunting place - it really brought the devastation home for me, in addition to listening to first person accounts from ukrainian friends who lived through it and some who lost loved ones

    "From Medicare to Manslaughter: Paul Ryan's Road to A Ruined America"

    by memofromturner on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:45:26 AM PDT

  •  There is one group that actually (10+ / 0-)

    has a track record which suggests they can be trusted to build and operate nuclear reactors - the US Military. They have dozens of reactors operating in hostile environments (ships).

    If we are going to use these extensively they should be owned by the government and built to military specifications and operated by the military. That is quite expensive - almost 1/10,000th as expensive as a Chernobyl event.

    Preferably on some of those largish military bases out west where the only thing visible for miles is sagebrush.

    I realize this is teh soculism but it's also the military, so maybe we can sneak it past the Republicans.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:53:20 AM PDT

    •  I would be okay with that. It is the profit (8+ / 0-)

      motive that I have a problem with and the fact that profit will keep you from staying on the white side of gray when it comes to safety.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:55:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ??????????? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Bob, Joieau

      What about all the nuclear reactors at the bottom of the ocean?  The fact that the military is putting these extremely dangerous devices on ships does not exactly imply trust.

      has a track record which suggests they can be trusted to build and operate nuclear reactors - the US Military. They have dozens of reactors operating in hostile environments (ships).

      •  I think one US nuclear powered submarine (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Edge PA, neroden

        has sunk. And didn't melt down or otherwise release lots of radiation.

        USS Thresher

        The Navy has periodically monitored the environmental conditions of the site since the sinking and has reported the results in an annual public report on environmental monitoring for U.S. Naval nuclear-powered ships. These reports provide specifics on the environmental sampling of sediment, water, and marine life which were taken to ascertain whether Thresher's nuclear reactor has had a significant effect on the deep ocean environment. The reports also explain the methodology for conducting deep sea monitoring from both surface vessels and submersibles. The monitoring data confirms that there has been no significant effect on the environment. Nuclear fuel in the submarine remains intact.

        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

        by blue aardvark on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:43:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Scorpion went down, too. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark

          If we don't stop them here, then where? If not now, then when?

          by nightsweat on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:53:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Forgot Scorpion, sorry (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden
            The U.S. Navy has periodically monitored the environmental conditions of the site since the sinking and has reported the results in an annual public report on environmental monitoring for U.S. nuclear-powered ships and boats. The reports provide specifics on the environmental sampling of sediment, water, and marine life that is done to ascertain whether the submarine has significantly affected the deep-ocean environment. The reports also explain the methodology for conducting this deep sea monitoring from both surface vessels and submersibles. The monitoring data confirm that there has been no significant effect on the environment. The nuclear fuel aboard the submarine remains intact and no uranium in excess of levels expected from the fallout from past atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons has been detected by the Navy's inspections. In addition, Scorpion carried two nuclear-tipped Mark 45 anti-submarine torpedoes (ASTOR) when she was lost. The warheads of these torpedoes are part of the environmental concern. The most likely scenario is that the plutonium and uranium cores of these weapons corroded to a heavy, insoluble material soon after the sinking, and they remain at or close to their original location inside the torpedo room of the boat. If the corroded materials were released outside the submarine, their large specific gravity and insolubility would cause them to settle down into the sediment

            In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

            by blue aardvark on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:04:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  looks like the military is right on top of that (0+ / 0-)

          one, and if suddenly there was a surge of radiation coming from the site?  

          Putting nuclear reactors on boats is irresponsible.  

          •  No, it isn't (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Something the Dog Said, neroden

            See above.

            Briefly put, uranium "rusts". It stops being pure uranium.

            Since it's immensely heavy and dense, if released from the reactor it just sinks right into the mud.

            In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

            by blue aardvark on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:06:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The question I have always had (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Simplify, neroden

              (and I am a pro-nuke guy)

              how will a ship based nuclear reactor react (couldn't think of a better word) to a ship being blown up?

              Something that could actually happen to a war ship.

              Okay. I'm thoroughly confused, but it's cool.

              by Edge PA on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:35:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Especially a submarine (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Edge PA, neroden

                if a torpedo hits it from the rear - which is where the reactor is ...

                Of course, against that must be set the effects of burning a bazillion tons of diesel oil instead.

                In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

                by blue aardvark on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:50:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Didn't say I had a better solution NT (0+ / 0-)

                  Okay. I'm thoroughly confused, but it's cool.

                  by Edge PA on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 12:41:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Or, don't build the sub in the first place (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dnpvd0111, An Affirming Flame

                  Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

                  by Simplify on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 12:51:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No sub fleet at all? (0+ / 0-)

                    Good luck with that idea.

                    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

                    by blue aardvark on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 12:54:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Battery-electric submarines :-) (0+ / 0-)

                      If you're willing to have SMALL submarines -- for recon, not for "submarine warfare" or for long missions -- you can build battery-electric submarines.

                      "Submarine warfare" was rendered obsolete as a doctrine by convoys, and long missions have little military function either with the development of satellites and AWACS.  Tactical subs can be made perfectly well as battery-electric subs.

                      Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

                      by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:17:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Saving on diesel (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ybruti, neroden, melo

                  isn't why they went for nukes. They went nuclear so 'The Enemy' wouldn't be able to follow them or know where they are. Silent running.

                  Besides, Rudolph Diesel built his engine to run on peanut oil. No petroleum required.

                  Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                  by Joieau on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:33:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Heh (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Uncle Cosmo, neroden

                    No. The advantage of a nuclear propulsion unit is that you fuel it only once, when the sub is built. Modern USN subs have power plants (complete with fuel) that last the entire life of the boat.

                    The other advantage is not needing to feed oxygen continually to the combustion engine. That allows the boat to say underwater (and hidden) for a very long time, whereas diesel boats need to surface every time their batteries run out.

                    The old diesel boats using batteries underwater are actually quieter than the nuclear-powered subs, however, so silence is not the main issue.

                    An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                    -- H. L. Mencken

                    by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 05:13:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That's odd. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      neroden, indycam

                      During the very height of the good ol' Cold War, my hubby's boomer went into drydock for refueling. My nephew's carrier - the Kennedy - was in for refueling when 9-11 happened, got pulled out and sent to New York, then off to the Middle East. It didn't get halfway across the Atlantic before having to be towed in for the fuel it never got...

                      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                      by Joieau on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 06:39:24 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Let's face it (0+ / 0-)

                        you're old.

                        I was talking about modern USN subs.

                        I guess you missed the "modern" part or the "sub" part.

                        Might I suggest some reading glasses? I've heard that they have helped many a senior citizen to read better.

                        An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                        -- H. L. Mencken

                        by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 07:25:43 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Oh bullshit, bryfry. (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          OtherDoug, neroden, indycam

                          You reveal your essential ignorance every time your lying typing fingers get ahead of your slow brain. The Ohio class (Trident) subs have a 10-15 year refueling cycle (15 if they don't need any other major work, refueling is usually done in conjunction with refit and/or retrofit). Out of a 45-year projected lifespan, so at 1 commission fueling and at least 2 refuelings per, it's enough to keep the fuel fab plant up the road in Erwin quite busy. The first wave of these won't be retiring until 2029. If you're talking about boats that haven't been built yet, blow it out your ear.

                          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                          by Joieau on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:08:19 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Ouch! (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Joieau, indycam

                            That's gonna leave a bruise.

                          •  I hope so. (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            OtherDoug, neroden, indycam

                            Honestly, these 'modern' pro-nukes are filled so full of lies they don't even hesitate to spew utterly ridiculous ones in forums where more than one or two people will know for damned sure they're lying. I'll bet he didn't have any idea he was lying, he was actually TAUGHT this crap in pro-nuclear PR school... it was on the test!

                            Nukes these days... [/grumble, grumble. Sorry, Uncle Hymie.]

                            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                            by Joieau on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:40:31 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Nah (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            OtherDoug

                            I heal quickly.

                            It's nice to have facts on one's side instead of idiotic nonsense and Cold War nostalgia.

                            An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                            -- H. L. Mencken

                            by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:50:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The facts are not (0+ / 0-)

                            on your "side" per the US Naval submarine fleet, every single one of them nuclear powered, per your original assertion that the Navy's nuclear submarines never need refueling. It is quite simply not true.

                            Points of FACT: There are a total of 114 nuclear submarines in the US Navy's submarine fleets. 112 on active duty, 2 on reserve.

                            There are 59 SSBN/SSGNs, and 41 of these are the 'Boomers' you so pointedly dismiss as terminally antique. the other 18 are Trident I and IIs you also waive away as irrelevant. The entire strategic fleet.

                            That leaves 53 fast-attacks. Of these there are 43 of the 'antique' Los Angeles class and 3 Seawolf. Bringing up the rear we have a grand total of 7 Virginia class minis that GE promises won't ever need refueling, the eldest of which was commissioned in 2004. You insist that 105 active duty nuclear submarines don't count because they're "old." Only the 7 "modern" ones count, though they haven't proved themselves yet.

                            You cannot just let ignorant crap like this fly in a forum where there are very likely to be one or more dolphin-toting veterans of Rickover's Navy in attendance. Especially not by disdainfully calling us "old" if your job is to sell people on the wondrous benefits of nuclear power in the middle of the worst mass-meltdown in the entire history of nuclear insanity.

                            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                            by Joieau on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 03:57:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Bullshit, you say? (0+ / 0-)

                            The Ohio class? Really?

                            That old Cold War stuff?

                            Apparently, this sub expert has never heard of the Virginia class submarines. The Ohio class was modern back when "Wham!" was still belting out hits and many people reading this were just children, if they were even born at the time.

                            Perhaps you can get your hubby to explain it to you.

                            An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                            -- H. L. Mencken

                            by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:42:42 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            neroden, indycam

                            they've got 7 mini fast-attack disposables (30 years) at a bargain basement price of only $1.8 billion apiece (before overruns), and that is now the entire submarine fleet of the United States Navy?

                            This is what you get when you give unlimited dream-funding to the military while sentencing millions of disposable civilians to ugly death [panels]. I am not impressed, bryfry. Nor does this boondoggle in any way justify your previous insistence that currently operational 'modern' submarines (no specification) never need refueling.

                            And since the 'design specifications' of nukes from the smallest to the largest never in the entire history of nuclear power have ever once performed as promised, I'll wait to see how many of these nifty little disposables end up with lengthy dry dock time before I'll buy the 'never need' promise from you. The oldest of them is all of 7 years of age. Given Erwin's history of gross spewing of radioactive shit, it would be nice if even the Navy could wean itself off nukes.

                            Meanwhile, the nuclear propulsion units of all other Naval vessels - including the entire strategic defense fleet of submarines - need refueling on a semi-regular basis.

                            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                            by Joieau on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:06:33 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Testy testy (0+ / 0-)

                            Do I need to remind you that all I said is that the power plant of modern designs is intended to last the lifetime of the sub?

                            It was nice, however, that your admited that you were wrong, even if you did it in a roundabout way.

                            Nevertheless, this is all a side issue. Are you really complaining that some subs "need refueling on a semi-regular basis"?

                            Keep in mind that the "semi-regular basis" is a decade to a decade and a half -- even in the old models -- which still provides considerable strategic advantage for the fleet. It doesn't take an idiot to realize this (although, I have to give you credit for trying to discredit me here). Just consider the alternative, which requires refueling every time the boat returns to port, if not more.

                            An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                            -- H. L. Mencken

                            by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:25:21 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sigh. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            indycam

                            Your assertion in this comment was:

                            The advantage of a nuclear propulsion unit is that you fuel it only once, when the sub is built. Modern USN subs have power plants (complete with fuel) that last the entire life of the boat.

                            Of the U.S. Navy's entire 'modern' nuclear fleet, you single out a grand total of 7 mini fast-attacks to claim that Rickover's Navy was created so that submarines never have to be refueled. A lie on its face and not difficult to debunk. Then you went on to claim:

                            The other advantage is not needing to feed oxygen continually to the combustion engine. That allows the boat to say underwater (and hidden) for a very long time, whereas diesel boats need to surface every time their batteries run out.

                            Yet again indicating your original claim was to all nuclear powered submarines built and deployed since the switch from diesel combustion engines, you claim an oxygen issue that obviously hasn't been a problem with any nuclear powered submarine strategic or fast-attack since the beginning of Rickover's Navy.

                            Thus your 7 expensive disposables hardly make up for the essential ignorance displayed in this linked comment. In addition to silent running and extended sub-surface range, the advantages of nuclear in this application must also embrace the ability to operate without having to carry around tons of fuel that takes up limited space and adds to the weight of the vehicle (thus compromising its speed and maneuverability even underwater).

                            It is not at all difficult for anyone to see the advantages of nuclear engines over petroleum engines in naval applications. At the same time, it is not difficult to see the serious drawbacks of said applications in warfare, in standard operation when things go wrong (as they tend to do with nukes as with any other engine) or simply when a boat can't pull out of a scram dive in time to escape crush depth and takes its load of nuclear filth with it to the bottom of the sea.

                            By the way, your disposable 7's reactors are GE designs. Another reason to doubt their promised operational span as well as their outrageous cost. It's not like GE is known for spectacularly safe and reliable reactor designs or anything, given that three of their "Clean, Safe, Too Cheap To Meter" reactors are busy melting on the northeast coast of Japan at this very moment.

                            Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                            by Joieau on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 08:20:42 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Game , set , match ! (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Joieau

                            "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

                            by indycam on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 09:30:03 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's official (0+ / 0-)

                            You're now a joke. Please enjoy.

                            An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                            -- H. L. Mencken

                            by bryfry on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 08:53:35 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Grandma eat your lunch (0+ / 0-)

                            and did your girlfriend .

                            You and your boyfriend should get a room .

                            "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

                            by indycam on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 09:47:03 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Do you have something to tell us? (0+ / 0-)

                            That really takes me back. I haven't heard a comeback like that since jr. high school.  Back then it was used by homophobic teenagers, so it makes me wonder ... which are you?

                            Are you a teenager?

                            Or are you just homophobic?

                            An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                            -- H. L. Mencken

                            by bryfry on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 04:48:32 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Listen grandma ... (0+ / 0-)

                            I never said that all nuclear subs had life-time cores.

                            This is 2011. I'm talking about current, modern naval technology. If we were talking about computers, you would be trying to lecture me on the features and limitations of the Commodore 64 or Windows 3.1. Welcome to the twenty-first century. Please join us here.

                            The last Ohio class sub was commissioned in 1997. Since you're such a fountain of knowledge, perhaps you can tell us when the navy will commission another one. It's obsolete technology.

                            By the way, GE is not the only company that designs such reactors (and it doesn't even run Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory anymore). Rolls-Royce also designs entire-service-life cores for subs.

                            The new reactor designs for aircraft carriers will be able to go 50 years without refueling.

                            As for "serious drawbacks," I'd much rather have a reactor core encased in metal resting at the bottom of the sea than a huge oil slick on the surface that can harm any sailors in the water. So save your obsessive paranoia and anti-nuclear slogans for your fan club please. Thanks.

                            An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                            -- H. L. Mencken

                            by bryfry on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 07:32:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

    •  I Would Be OK With This Or Even With Some Model (4+ / 0-)

      That incorporates at the very least military oversight and specs in conjunction with HEAVILY regulated private involvement/investment.

      Unfortunately, the ideal solution to our energy woes is renewables that are still a long way off and in the meantime I do believe nuclear power is the bridge that can get us there while weening off fossil fuels.

      But it does need to very well regulated to degree that insulates it from future politicking.  The technology does exist to do it safely as long corners are not cut in the name of profit.

      This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher

      by Beetwasher on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:29:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The other issue (6+ / 0-)

        is conservation. Dammit, it is absurd to lose 50% of our electricity in the trip from power plant to outlet.

        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

        by blue aardvark on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:39:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Diversified site-based (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark, ybruti, amry, melo

          generation would obviously cut into the inefficiency loss equation significantly. Homes, stores, office buildings, churches, etc. can install solar panels. Suburban communities, villages, towns and small cities can develop their smaller waterways and also some solar and wind for cooperative use, same as the old RECs that still exist out west. Any multi-acre factories we still have left that actually make things can provide on-site generation too, drastically reduce their energy costs over time.

          But that wouldn't serve the Big Boyz and their financial clients very well, would it?

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:39:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Um, we don't lose much in transmission. (0+ / 0-)

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

          About 6.6% lost in transmission.  Electric power transmission is highly efficient.

          We lose about 50% of energy in conversion from fuel to electricity, is that what you're thinking of?

          This is why thermal energy sources for motors are a dead end, from a research point of view; it just doesn't get much better than that, and that's terrible.

          Energy from burning, if it's used at all, should be used ONLY for heating, it's the only thing it's really good for.

          Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

          by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:22:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Military was invovled in SL1 accident in Idaho (2+ / 0-)

      The SL-1 accident was the first fatal nuclear accident in the United States.  The men killed in the incident were two Army Specialists, John Byrnes, age 25 and Richard McKinley, age 22, and Richard Legg, a 25 year old Navy Electricians Mate.

    •  Not so fast (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dnpvd0111

      I wouldn’t be so quick to bless the US military’s handling of nuclear power. Just off the top of my head, I can tell you that the nuclear reactors in the submarines USS Scorpion and USS Thresher are sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Similarly, our military has lost a number of nuclear bombs and warheads in the world’s oceans over the past 60 years due to accidents.

      You could also look at military sites with radioactive contamination like Hanford, Washington or Rocky Flats, Colorado for some examples of poor stewardship. Rocky Flats is now home to the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge…what does that tell you? Hint: It ain’t just habitat.

      I’ll grant that with the latter examples, those aren’t “the military’s” fault per se because they’re attributable more to the Dept. of Energy rather than the Dept. of Defense. Otherwise, I suppose you could attribute the military’s nuclear missteps to Atomic Age growing pains. Nonetheless, skepticism is warranted.

      Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

      by Joe Bob on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:58:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whoever winds up running the reactors (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joe Bob, ebohlman, neroden

        has to be watched carefully.

        Scorpion and Thresher noted in comment thread.

        Rocky Flats not far from Denver. And there's a difference between a bomb plant and a nuclear reactor.

        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

        by blue aardvark on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:31:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Isn't (0+ / 0-)

      the military responsible for the Rocky Mountain Flats contamination?

    •  Those are microscopic reactors (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      damfino, neroden

      Anything that happens to them is Classified. We've lost at LEAST one of them in the ocean.

      To make the difference in scale and type more visual its the difference between running a portable  generator at home and running a full scale regional power plant.

      Know what happens if you put nuclear power plant operation in the militaries hands? You get even more secrecy than we have now. And if you think we dont have nightmarish security around our nuclear plants try driving up to one or photographing one.

      A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

      by cdreid on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:41:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was listening to NPR this morning (8+ / 0-)
    Chernobyl remains an open sore for Ukraine and its people, Smith says. The government is trying to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to construct a huge building that will cover the crumbling concrete sarcophagus that now keeps the highly radioactive plant isolated.

     Challenges Loom Large, 25 Years After Chernobyl

    imagine, the area won't be habitable by humans
    for another 900 years....

    It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams -6.5 -6.75

    by Statusquomustgo on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:03:46 AM PDT

    •  You say this like it's a bad thing (0+ / 0-)
      imagine, the area won't be habitable by humans
      for another 900 years....
      •  hmmmm... you think it's a good thing? (0+ / 0-)

        It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams -6.5 -6.75

        by Statusquomustgo on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 09:02:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Definitely, keeping people away (0+ / 0-)

          allows the animals to thrive.

          Hopefully they enact a big-ass fishing exclusion area around Fukushima for the same reason . ..  

          •  hmmmm... the animals are thriving in (0+ / 0-)

            a radioactive area, which isn't a good thing... and putting a
            fishing exclusion area around Fukushima will help, but the
            toxic stuff is already out in the ocean... I don't think seafood
            sounds so good anymore...

            It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams -6.5 -6.75

            by Statusquomustgo on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 09:27:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know, if there's no fishing, it's not "seafood" (0+ / 0-)

              anymore, it's "sealife" (or something like that).

              And why isn't it a good thing that animals are thriving in a radioactive area?    I can see it as an ironic thing that animals are doing better amid one of mankind's worse environment disaster zones ever than they were under "business as usual conditions" - but nevertheless, unless you're an animal hater of some sort, you've gotta be happy they're doing well, right?

              •  sigh... I don't hate animals, the radiation is (0+ / 0-)

                deforming the animals, children and people of the area.
                Chernobyl still has enough radiation to destroy Europe if
                they don't replace the aging sarcophagus.  Nobody is
                doing well in that area.  But hey, if it makes you happy to
                believe it's a good thing... enjoy.

                It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams -6.5 -6.75

                by Statusquomustgo on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 01:34:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There is essentially no evidence for this: (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  OtherDoug
                  the radiation is deforming the animals, children and people of the area

                  From Wikipedia, which has links to the relevant research:

                  The site of the Red Forest remains one of the most contaminated areas in the world.[3] However, it has proved to be an astonishingly fertile habitat for many endangered species. The evacuation of the area surrounding the nuclear reactor has created a lush and unique wildlife refuge.

                  The nature of the area seems to have not only survived, but flourished due to significant reduction of human impact. The zone has become a "Radiological Reserve", a classic example of an involuntary park. There were thought to be cases of mutant deformity in animals of the Red Forest, but none have been proven, except partial albinism in swallows.

                  If you feel that information is incorrect, you'll probably want to fix it to avoid this type of misunderstanding in the future.

  •  Re (7+ / 0-)
    We now know what happened. During an experiment designed to prevent a catastrophic loss of coolant flow during a loss of power from the power grid the reactor was pushed to an unstable configuration, where it was only the water in the reactor holding back the nuclear reaction. All the control rods had been withdrawn to deal with the production of xenon that had reduced the power levels in the reactor to very low levels.

    The interesting/ironic part of this is that the Soviets were doing this test to develop a method to prevent the exact failure that happened to Fukushima (meltdown due to coolant loss due to power failure).

    The Xenon thing is sort of dumb: the Xenon kept poisoning the reaction so they kept pulling the fuel rods out further and further: but Xenon is just a gas that can blow away! When your low power state is being held together by the presence of a gas alone and not any control rods, that's Bad News.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:22:39 AM PDT

  •  There is some question (4+ / 0-)

    still as to whether the graphite burned at Chernobyl. In proximity to the fuel cladding [zirconium] fire it did superheat, starting fires on the asphalt roofs when blown out of the reactor, yet the nuclear grade graphite itself remained stable. Graphite is more akin to diamond than coal.

    Regardless, there are plumes of radioactive contamination from Fukushima now blanketing the entire northern hemisphere and part of the southern. Thus we see that there is no need for a graphite fire to launch contamination into the atmosphere to circle the globe. Sort of makes the mantra "It Can't Happen Here" so often spewed over the last 25 years because PWR/BWR power reactors don't moderate with graphite irrelevant.

    Yeah. The nuclear geni is nasty when it gets out, and it does tend to get out.

    Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

    by Joieau on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:26:44 AM PDT

  •  I really doubt that the smoke from (0+ / 0-)

    the trees in a fire will be anything like the smoke that came from Chernobyl 25 years ago.

    If one of these massive fires happens the trees which have absorbed the cesium will burn, and throw radioactive smoke, very similar to the smoke from the original accident, high into the air. Massive fires like that can create their own weather patterns, and that would mean that once again a plume of radioactivity will head west towards Moscow and the rest of Europe.

    It may be an issue but comparing it to the original plume is a bit much.

  •  very anti-nuke too; (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, melo

    it seems the "perfectly safe in a perfect world" thing isn't work out so great. and why do they keep building next, or right in the water, for chrissakes? (i know, they need water, but why right on the edge of the sea... shit, why three mile island right in the middle of a damn river!)

    seems to defeat the whole "perfectly safe as long as we don't let it get close to the groundwater" thing.

    i am also a bit of a "geek" of the overall science and engineering of reactors. only thing i'm curious about that would maybe convert me back from skeptic is this thorium stuff. but even if it has much going for it (non-weapons grade, drastically shorter waste-life), it's still radioactive, in the present (which is the most important part, since we don't bother to care anyway about generating so much ten-thousand year waste currently). let loose one superhot, can't-control-it reaction, and blooey anyways.

    we have nothing that can handle an out of control molten nuclear mass, save to just bury it in a bunch of lead and concrete, and then deal with the (long-term) environmental damages.

    "radiation is radiation," so it's just not safe. and anyone who says "solar won't be enough" (usually reaching automatically for coal, or at "best" nuclear), just ain't thinking hard enough, or creatively enough. (or is just making a shitload of money the old-fashioned ways, and just doesn't fucking want to give up the easy money.)

    and the old "people demand energy" crackshit, well it reminds of that damn landlord always bitching to me to change to halogen bulbs, back when they were so damned expensive; i've always been super-conservative about my light/energy usage as is. turned out that mf left his energy-efficient halogen lights turned on, 24-7 at his office, when he could have turned them off for the two-thirds of the time he wasn't there.

    people have to learn NOT TO WASTE, instead of using "efficient lightbulbs" or whatever as a crutch for them to keep being energy-wasting whores.

    THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO TAKE IT ALL FROM US, AND GIVE IT TO THEIR BENEFACTORS - THE SELFISH. DO NOT -LET- THEM - FOOL YOU. for them to FOOL you, takes YOU LETTING THEM. CONCENTRATE. FOCUS. REMEMBER THE PAST. IT IS RELEVANT TO THE FUTURE.

    by theChild on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:40:07 AM PDT

    •  There is in fact at least one reason that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OtherDoug
      they keep building next, or right in the water, for chrissakes? (i know, they need water, but why right on the edge of the sea... shit, why three mile island right in the middle of a damn river!)
      Power plants in general (not just nukes) need water for cooling, & lots of it. The farther you site the plant from a source of water, the farther it has to travel through pipes which tend to become fouled with organic material on the way in & out. Keeping the pipes open can require significant amounts of biocidal materials (chlorine, bromine chloride, etc.) which are not good for the aquatic environment when the waters are returned to their source.

      snarcolepsy, n: a condition in which the sufferer responds to any comment with a smartass comeback.

      by Uncle Cosmo on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:09:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting diary, thanks. (6+ / 0-)

    I was around, and even grown, at the time of Chernobyl. I remember the debate around nuclear power in those days. It wasn't very nuanced: if you were progressive, you hated nukes.

    Nowadays, there is an intriguing new complexity to this discussion. The new argument among some progressives, the one that gets my attention, is that we have the technology to run nuclear power plants safely. Absolutely. But, due to the profit motives, procedural corners at nuke plants are all too often cut, and this leads to danger to the public and the environment.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:40:20 AM PDT

    •  Are you kidding me? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Something the Dog Said, neroden, melo

      The NRC can't even get licensees and contractors to obey THE LAW [10CFR.21] to report defects and operating violations. Pity, since the NRC apparently thinks it's a great idea to give their regulatory job to the licensees and contractors so they don't have to do it themselves. Republicans love that sort of futuristic thinking...

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:45:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fukushima (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foucaultspendulum, ybruti, neroden

    This is what Fukushima will look like 25 years on.

    "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

    by midnight lurker on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 09:47:06 AM PDT

  •  Love on the rocks.. (0+ / 0-)

    “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

    by Terranova0 on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:15:39 AM PDT

  •  Thanks Dog, the Palo Verde nuclear plant has just (6+ / 0-)

    received a 20 year license renewal, no safety strings or regulation attached.  

    •  This is because the US is run by insane criminals. (0+ / 0-)

      I've been trying to figure out what country has the fewest insane criminals in power.  It's tough.  Probably Norway.  Damn it's hard to immigrate there.... I can see why.

      Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

      by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:29:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If it's not regulated ... (0+ / 0-)

      then why does it need a license?

      An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
      -- H. L. Mencken

      by bryfry on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 04:13:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is probably a stupid question but I've often (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vets74, Wee Mama, Simplify

    wondered why nuclear power plants aren't built underground.

    Obviously things could still go wrong, but to me it's sort of like when they used to test nuclear bombs above-ground, in Nevada. Someone finally came to the "Duh!" conclusion that maybe that's not a great idea and they began blowing them up underground.

    Yes, I know the costs would go up. And yes, I know there'd be the potential for ground-water contamination. But I do think things might be just a wee-bit more manageable when Murphy's Law strikes.

    If I'm not mistaken (and I very well could be) there are new reactor designs that don't use uranium or plutonium, but instead rely on thorium, which cannot be made into a bomb. According to Wired magazine (in the provided link):

    Named for the Norse god of thunder, thorium is a lustrous silvery-white metal. It’s only slightly radioactive; you could carry a lump of it in your pocket without harm.

    Sounds a lot safer to me... But I'm not a rocket surgeon by any means.

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 10:45:57 AM PDT

    •  Mine collapses are a major factor. (SPEEDI) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Snud, JayBat

      Also, there is no advantage compared to building a modern high-strength containment structure.

      We have 104 nuclear power plants. The world has 443. China is building approximately 40 with no let-up in sight. In fact, replacing coal-fired plants with nuclear plants is one of the few proposals on the table that can reduce global warming.

      It is also cheap to do. Nuclear is much cheaper than coal for most sites.

      The 1970's design reactor at Fukushima took a massive hit. 50-foot tsunami and multiple heavy earthquakes. But the leaks in the containment structures from these assaults were truly minimal.

      Most of the radiation outflow at Fukushima Dai-Ichi came from the tsunami wash-through and then having to dump 7.5-ton water drops on the fuel cell storage units.

      After all the crazy talk about how the Fukushima tsunami was going to poison everybody with radiation, here is the maximum exposure anywhere in Japan. Ibaraki Prefecture maximum SPEEDI readings:

      -- 225 nanoGrays/hour - 2:20 AM on the 27th
      -- 227 nGy/h - 11:00 PM local time on the 25th
      -- 240 nGy/h - 10:20 PM local time on the 24th
      -- 263 nGy/h - 10:50 AM local time on the 23d
      -- 281 nGy/h - 08:00 AM local time on the 22nd
      -- 296 nGy/hr - 09:30 PM local time on the 21st
      -- 318 nGy/h - 03:10 AM local time on the 20th
      -- 320 nGy/h -- 09:30 PM local time on the 19th
      -- 343 nGy/h -- 06:50 AM local time on the 18th
      -- 346 nGy/h -- 04:50 AM local time on the 17th
      -- 350 nGy/h-- 09:30 PM local time on the 16th
      -- 356 nGy/h -- 04:50 AM local time on the 15th
      -- 360 nGy/h -- 09:00 PM local time on the 14th
      -- 362 nGy/h -- 10:40 PM local time on the 13th
      -- 366 nGy/h - 11:10 PM local time on the 12th
      -- 379 nGy/h - 09:40 PM local time on the 11th
      -- 389 nGy/h - 07:30 AM local time on the 10th
      -- 404 nGy/h - 10:00 AM local time on the 9th
      -- 423 nGy/h - 09:00 AM local time on the 8th
      -- 437 nGy/h - 10:30 AM local time on the 7th
      -- 441 nGy/h - 10:30 PM local time on the 6th
      -- 464 nGy/h - 10:00 PM local time on the 5th
      -- 463 nGy/h - 9:00 PM local time on the 4th
      -- 480 nGy/h - 9:00 PM local time on the 3rd
      -- 499 nGy/h - 9:40 PM local time on the 2nd
      -- 536 nGy/h - 5:10 AM local time on the 1st of April
      -- 556 nGy/h - 9:40 AM local time on the 31st
      -- 575 nGy/h - 11:00 PM local time on the 30th
      -- 597 nGy/h - 4:40 AM local time on the 29th
      -- 646 nGy/h - 6:50 PM local time on the 28th
      -- 684 nGy/h - 10:20 PM on the 27th of March

      5,700 nanoGrays/hour exposed 24/7/365 = 5 REM/year. That is the IAEA safety limit. Tokyo is back to normal. Same rad background as Kyoto, which was not affected by FNPP.

      Even in Fukushima Prefecture the most of the populated areas have tested out safe. A few hot spots remain. Rain run-off creates cesium problems so this is a continuing process:

      www.mext.go.jp/english/incident/1304082.htm

      BTW: running a car on nuclear plant electricity is a delight.

      $3.46 versus $20.00 -- that's the retail price of energy for driving a Tesla versus a typical/average gasoline car.

      Import cost is even better. $50 imports enough UO2 processed uranium to run a car for a year. Port-of-entry cost for oil for a year is $1,200 at Spot masrket rigged price -- that gets doubled to $2,400 at the pump.

      Uranium is as plentiful as tin. The world's 443 plants only use 50,000 tons a year -- not making a dent in the proven reserves. We have enough uranium to last 1-billion years -- its like the deuterium in the ocean if we could find a way to use the deuterium as fuel.

      Financial criminals + Angry White Males + Personality Disorder dreamers + KKKwannabes + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base (-4.38,-3.74)

      by vets74 on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:21:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you have a source (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melo

        for this?

        Nuclear is much cheaper than coal for most sites.

        The most recent analysis from the Department of Energy concludes otherwise (coal: $94.8 per MWH, nuclear $113.9 per MWH). Obviously, there are a lot of assumptions that go into such a calculation, but it would take some pretty big changes in those assumptions to get nuclear from 20% more expensive to "much cheaper".

        •  Your DoE AOE report places a $0.00 value (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Recall, JayBat

          on adding CO2 to the atmosphere -- just for starts.

          I'm not aware of any reputable international body that adopts that assumption. Same for putting more mercury into the world's ocean, which is a constant for coal fired generation of electricity.

          Nuclear power plants are 12:1 to 15:1 less polluting than coal. Also 8:1 less polluting than the average of in-place natural gas plants.

          Wind power ??? That's the winner. Too bad it's not applicable everywhere -- though Obama is putting money behind it.

          BTW: Coal with CSS to contain atmospheric pollution is more expensive than nukes.

          Same study. Same tables. 136.3 > 113.9 in dollars per megawatt hour.

          www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/electricity_generation.html

          Financial criminals + Angry White Males + Personality Disorder dreamers + KKKwannabes + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base (-4.38,-3.74)

          by vets74 on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 01:03:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  One of the few proposals which can reduce (0+ / 0-)

        global warming is widespread adoption of solar power.

        Construction of nukes?  Not so much.  The concrete alone is a problem.

        As for cost, new solar is already cheaper than new nuclear.  New solar is getting cheaper.  New nuclear is getting more expensive.

        I'll be running my Tesla entirely off renewable power, by the way.  Given where I'm living, it will be mostly hydro, with some wind, and a bunch of landfill methane (yes, it's generally thought better to burn it than release it straight up to the air).  That's until I can get the siting sorted out for my solar panels (I'm in a painfully bad location, and solar panels do get better every year, so I save money by waiting).

        Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

        by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:34:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Somebody mentioned concrete (0+ / 0-)

          that actually sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere as it cures.

          Maybe that could be used.

        •  Life cycle CO2 impact of solar PV & nuclear... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          ...are very similar.  Producing those PV cells requires a lot of power.  Solar thermal, wind and hydro are all lower than solar PV and nuclear.

          I can provide links if you want.

          •  Yes, like aluminum smelting . .. . (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OtherDoug

            which are two industries Quebec attracts through it's environmentally suspect* hydroelectric power:

            Quebec town lands solar-panel plant

            Norwegian solar company Renewable Energy Corp. plans to spend at least $1.2 billion US and employ 300 people to build a silicon materials plant for solar panels in Bécancour, Que.

            Premier Jean Charest is to participate in a news conference Monday to formally announce that Hydro-Québec, the province's energy utility, will provide the Norwegian company with a 20-year agreement to purchase electricity at a "competitive industrial rate."

            The cheap energy supply was key to the location of the plant, because the production of polysilicon is energy intensive.

            link

            *this point was disputed somewhere in this diary by somebody - but really, it's kinda a mess!

            •  Why is Boeing in the Pacific Northwest? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy

              Grand Coulee dam!  At least that's what I gathered from Cadillac Desert.

              •  OK, you're going to have type really slowly (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                OtherDoug

                and spell that one out for me because I'm not really following . .. . . (are you suggesting they used cheap energy to smelt their own aluminum??  I suppose that could be).

                But my understanding of why Boeing was in the Pacific Northwest is that there is (or at least used to be) lots of big trees there, and in the early days of aviation planes tended to be made out of wood.  

                •  It's been a while since I read the book, but... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Roadbed Guy

                  ...if I remember correctly, during WWII the aircraft industry switched to aluminum as the primary material for airplanes.  Smelting aluminum requires a lot of electricity, as you have pointed out.  This is where the Grand Coulee Dam and the Bonneville Dam come into play.  

                  Those dams are operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and their primary role is to provide water for irrigation.  The Bureau produces and sells power as a means of subsidizing its water deliveries to agriculture and tends to price its electricity very competitively.  

                  The cheap electricity allowed the development of a local aluminum industry in the Pacific Northwest that was able to provide lots of material to Boeing and other Pacific Northwest manufacturers during WWII.  The aluminum industry was the first large commercial customer base for electricity from Grand Coulee after it opened in 1942.  There were plenty of areas smelting aluminum and building aircraft during WWII, but after the war the Pacific Northwest was one of the few areas with cheap and abundant electricity that could sustain aircraft production.

                  That's my understanding, and I might have some of the details wrong  If so I'd welcome anyone's comments to correct me.

                  •  It sounds like Boeing was fortuitously located (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    OtherDoug

                    in that case (as opposed to being deliberately sited in the Seattle area just for this purpose).

                    Wikipedia (somewhat at least) supports what I said earlier:

                    Before 1930s

                    In March 1910 William E. Boeing bought Heath's shipyard in Seattle, Washington, on the Duwamish River, which will later become his first airplane factory.[5] Boeing was incorporated in Seattle by William Boeing, on July 15, 1916, as "Pacific Aero Products Co.". Boeing, who studied at Yale University, worked initially in the timber industry, where he became wealthy and acquired knowledge about wooden structures. This knowledge would prove invaluable in his subsequent design and assembly of airplanes. The company stayed in Seattle to take advantage of the local supply of Spruce wood.[6]


                    •  First spruce, then aluminum. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Roadbed Guy

                      The abundant local resources benefited them, allowing them to prosper in Seattle.  I don't think it was ever a matter of conscious choices aside from the initial founding.  Things came together well for Boeing, but if the dams had not been built to provide cheap electricity some other manufacturer in another region may have overtaken Boeing.

        •  Actually, I see above that was you . .. (0+ / 0-)

          who mentioned the CO2-absorbing concrete.

          So I finally looked it up, and found this amongst other things:

          “Concrete is the most widely used material on earth apart from water, with nearly three tons used annually for each man, woman, and child.”

          quite frankly, I cannot figure out what I'm doing with all that concrete!  I figure my concrete lunch bags are about 3 pounds each and sums to about 1/2 a ton a year.  Other than that, I'm just about down to zero . . .. .

          •  Well, it includes all the infrastructure... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roadbed Guy

            ...that theoretically supports you: sidewalks, highways, bridges, seawalls, factory floor slabs, piers, retaining walls, drainage channels, et cetera.  Considering that one ton of concrete is roughly one cubic yard it's not hard to see how it all adds up.

            Emissions from concrete add up to around 9% of global GHG emissions.  About 5% if you're only looking at CO2 from fuel combustion alone.  It's a lot of CO2 that personal choices do not have a lot of impact on.  It requires regulation to alter that pattern.  One of the frustrating things you encounter when you start looking into the issue.  Personal choices do little to impact the emissions from the built environment which account for between 25-40% of total emissions.

    •  Heard a talk by Edward Teller (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Snud, JayBat, neroden, melo

      in which he wanted nuclear powerplants underground, on full automatic with no humans present, driving helium turbines on the surface.  Then, if it all goes to hell, just pour concrete down the shafts.

      Pretty poor idea, actually — look at the chances for groundwater impact over 10,000 years for even a "safe" place like Yucca Mountain, with good containment.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 12:55:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's not usually very dry there so a huge forest (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, neroden

    fire is unlikely. And Cs-137 has a half-life of 30 years so some of it is gone. However, during huge forest fires in Russia last summer there were concerns that there will be radionuclide release.

    http://www.blik.ua/...
    http://www.mirnov.ru/...

    (in Russian, you can use Google Translate)

  •  Tipped and reced (5+ / 0-)

    Don't agree with your conclusion, although you clearly state your arguement.

    I think the cost of green house gases is too high and wind / solar not yet ready to take over.  (I know people disagree with this statement.)

    In my ideal world, nuclear power is a transition to wind and solar.  

    Athough, much to my shock, I have found out I am not in charge of the world.

    (I demand a recount.)

    Thank you for the thoughtful diary and the reminder.

    Okay. I'm thoroughly confused, but it's cool.

    by Edge PA on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:26:05 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for sharing that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Flaming Liberal for Jesus, melo

    I have come to completely agree, even before the latest accident, that nuclear power is too dangerous to be deployed.  What's more, solar and especially wind are completely viable and totally safe.

    No nation can be great if it allows its elites to loot with impunity and prosecutes its whistleblowers. Geithner is destroying the things that made America great. -- Bill Black, white-collar criminologist & a former senior financial regulator

    by jboxman on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:38:18 AM PDT

    •  the only time the paid-for talking-head (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, melo

      lobbyist types ever show concern for the environment is when we talk about wind power... "those poor migrating birds!"

      feel like saying, "look... you can't fool us into suddenly now convincing us you're an "environmentalist"."

      believe me, we'll do our damndest to take care of the birds; we're the liberals, for chrissakes.

      we'll do what we can to keep wp sites off of migration routes, for all your rich audobon "classic conservative" bird lovers... you know, the really old ones i could actually converse with.

      now, i know nyc has a nice yearly plan for reducing their lights during migration season... how about seeing places like nyc, vegas, la, every major metro area, to take a "security/safety lights only" plan year-round, and turning off advertising/extra sign lights from say, at least midnight to six am?

      let's stop wasting unneeded energy just to "advertise" at people, when they're least awake and about.

      THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO TAKE IT ALL FROM US, AND GIVE IT TO THEIR BENEFACTORS - THE SELFISH. DO NOT -LET- THEM - FOOL YOU. for them to FOOL you, takes YOU LETTING THEM. CONCENTRATE. FOCUS. REMEMBER THE PAST. IT IS RELEVANT TO THE FUTURE.

      by theChild on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 05:07:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebohlman
    If the cost of world wide nuclear power generation is a disaster like Fukishima or Chernobyl every 25 years and the resultant decades or centuries of continued contamination for areas ranging from 50 miles to 500 is it really a viable option?

    Yes, it is. The dangers, even the exaggerated ones, pale in comparison to climate change.

  •  I (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, ornerydad, melo

    watched a  documentary about Chernobyl that floored me after the Fukishima accident.
    Best Chernobyl Documentary 2006 The Battle of Chernobyl (HQ) 1hr 32min 1 clip

    They said that 500,000 people in all worked to bring the Chernobyl accident to a close.

    Which of course isn't really closed.

    I then bought the book, Voices from Chernobyl.

    Just horrific.

    NO TO NUCLEAR POWER!!!!!!!

  •  I am still a little wishy-washy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Recall, Something the Dog Said

    A Scientific American article from a few years back had me pretty convinced that some of the new designs for reactors should be seriously considered for part of the energy solution. I am still a little ambivalent.

    Anyway, in case you hadn't seen this article, I thought I would post it's link here.

    http://outsideonline.com/...

    I was led to it through this aggregating site, which I find has many many very good articles to read from across the spectrum.

    http://www.aldaily.com/

  •  No flames, just major agreement (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stolen water, damfino, melo

    We, as a species, just can't do this. We never could. It was arrogance to think we could, and we need to be mature enough to realize that we can't.

  •  funny how a lid was kept (0+ / 0-)

    on the casualty figures related to chernobyl until after fukushima.

    "sometimes decades pass and nothing happens; and then sometimes weeks pass and decades happen."...

    by stolen water on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 01:57:54 PM PDT

    •  In 2006 IAEA study claimed 4,000 deaths; BUT (0+ / 0-)

      Greenpeace and Yablokov's estimate range up to 1,000,000.

    •  They're still keeping a lid (0+ / 0-)

      on TMI's casualty figures, but Fukushima did manage to make them come off the hydrogen explosions, degree of melting and the "void at the center of the core." I guess that's a step in the right direction. Once you start letting go of real technical details about the accident, the spurious claim of "zero casualties" becomes much, much harder to sustain. Even if you can buy federal judges named Rambo to dismiss class action lawsuits by thousands of cancer victims while Met-Ed was busy paying out millions in claims to injured workers and civilians to keep them quiet.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 04:24:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  But ... (0+ / 0-)

    Wind farms can kill birds.

    •  Mostly they kill bats (0+ / 0-)

      which add something like $54 billion to the US economy each year.

      For free (which is probably why some would be just as happy to see them all gone . . .  ).

      •  They can be properly located. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OtherDoug

        I'm all for careful siting of wind turbines.

        It's also worth noting that wind turbine design has been specifically altered, repeatedly, to be less dangerous to small animals.  The extremely large, slow-moving nature of the turbines is specifically for that purpose.

        Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

        by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:27:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They still kill hundreds of thousands of bats (0+ / 0-)

          which is fine I suppose, somebody or something has to pay the price for "clean" energy.

          Despite the irony of how loudly people at this site would be screaming (and probably rightfully so)  if convential (or nuclear!!) energy were to do this - heck, there have been any number of diaries about those 63 ducks that were killed by the tar sands project (but strangly, except for when I mention it occasionally, basically no concern for the 300,000 birds killed off Newfoundland* and Denmark* each year from oil . . . .. ).

          *and that's probably not unique for those sites - Canada & Denmark just happen to be countries that care enough to actually bother measuring this (although the apparently don't care enough to do anything about it)

      •  I looked it up and gave somewhat (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OtherDoug

        erroneous information:

        the researchers estimate the value of bats to the agricultural industry is roughly $22.9 billion a year, with the extremes ranging as low as $3.7 and $53 billion a year.

        link

        So if one number is used, it probably should be $22.9 billion/year.

        I'm sure Monsanto and their ilk are licking their lips in anticipation of a bat free world - $22.9 billion more a year in pesticide sales is surely lucrative:

        "These estimates include the reduced costs of pesticide applications that are not needed to suppress the insects consumed by bats. However, they do not include the downstream impacts of pesticides on humans, domestic and wild animals and our environment," said McCracken. "Without bats, crop yields are affected. Pesticide applications go up.

        and unlike other posters allege, the danger from wind turbines does not seem to be a solved problem:

        It is unknown how many bats have died due to wind turbines, but the scientists estimate by 2020, wind turbines will have killed 33,000 to 111,000 annually in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands alone. Why migratory tree-dwelling species are drawn to the turbines remains a mystery.

  •  Harvard Workshop on Chernobyl Today (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rexxnyc, amry, wonmug, neroden

    I went and will post notes later.  The room had seats for 17 people.  At the two lectures I attended not all the seats were filled.

    We don't care about Chernobyl and we don't care about the Gulf Gusher and we don't care about New Orleans and we don't care about Fukushima.  Don't ask about Aceh or Haiti.  

    We do care about $4 gasoline and higher prices on electricity.  That's about it.

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 03:53:07 PM PDT

    •  and the current "tomb" they built (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmoke, neroden

      is pretty well cracking away by now, isn't it?

      it's the big cosmic joke, the big "self-reflective movie moment" where humanity faces its own past, and we're just waiting to see if the character has the proverbial balls to deal with it... or else, some semi-tragic/pseudo-artsy 3rd act, where some crazy other supporting character saves the day. but those are never as satisfying...

      or, the other other kinds of movies, really artsy and fatalist, where "the world blows up and everybody dies" that leave the rest of your week sucking.

      THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO TAKE IT ALL FROM US, AND GIVE IT TO THEIR BENEFACTORS - THE SELFISH. DO NOT -LET- THEM - FOOL YOU. for them to FOOL you, takes YOU LETTING THEM. CONCENTRATE. FOCUS. REMEMBER THE PAST. IT IS RELEVANT TO THE FUTURE.

      by theChild on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 04:57:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yup... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmoke, neroden

      the truth hurts.

    •  can't let go of this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OtherDoug, neroden

      Yeah - this is my worst fear: not enough of us care enough and are willing to do what's in front of us. It's way too easy (and reputedly rational) to reluctantly admit that "there's nothing I can do".

      The fact that we have created a totally unsustainable version of human life goes unnoticed while we argue about how best to sustain it. Bummer.

      I secretly resent the use of the word "need" applied to electricity. "Want" for sure. "Have constructed this entire energy-sucking dream world & can't bear to imagine how miserable life would be without it" - isn't that closer to accurate than "need"? We didn't need it before we had it. I rest my case.

      Conservation & renewables will continue to be virtually discounted unless/until we look really hard at that idea of "need". As in: the size & lavishness of our homes/dwellings; the number of juice-sucking vampires we actually "need" to have plugged in in order to be happy; the sheer lunacy of leaving our energy-sucking homes everyday to go to our energy-sucking workplaces, in our energy-sucking vehicles, all of which need to be up and running at all times, warmed in the winter, cooled in the summer, & lighted most all the time. Etc. Why? Because we need to do it this way, that's why.

      I wonder if Japan will be able to model for us how to disengage a little from the assumed energy needs of a modern society (vending machines, for god's sake). One thing is sure: whoever is left on this planet one hundred years from today will be working with a whole different set of needs. I just hope there's enough of this planet's hospitality left to support them - breathable air, drinkable water, edible food.

  •  Science geek who has given up on Big Fission. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, melo, Joieau

    Because "Everybody Lies About Nuclear Power."

    Big Nuke has too many will-fail-points where it is simply less controversial, as well as more profitable, to just lie.

    Seventy years on and we can't even agree where to bury the waste. That's called a 'Tell.'

  •  no flames from this (0+ / 0-)

    science geek neither... I am glad that you didn't make the the ignoramus argument that because of the risk we should all together abandon all nuclear research.

    •  I do think medical-use radioisotopes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau

      and the ones used for smoke detectors, and the tiny "power from beta decay" units used for certain spacecraft are successful applications of nuclear research.

      I don't think we need more than 5 nuclear reactors for those applications.  Worldwide.

      Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

      by neroden on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 11:25:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm pro-nuke, but I won't flame you. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uncle Cosmo, Recall

    You point out a very serious concern that deserves a lot of attention.  I disagree with you about the need for commercial nuclear power, but do so respectfully.

  •  German voters have already made their judgment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden

    … and if national elections were being held right now, they would likely elect a coalition led by the Green Party.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 07:23:15 PM PDT

    •  Er ... (0+ / 0-)

      Weren't these also the folks who at one time elected Hitler?

      I don't want to go all Godwin on you, but ... just say'n.

      How much credibility do you want to hold in that?

      An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
      -- H. L. Mencken

      by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 07:28:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  By my back of the envelope calculations (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OtherDoug, amry, bryfry, neroden

        the folk who at one time elected Hitler would now range from about 93 to 171 years old.

        I suspect that at least some of them are dead already.

        •  heh ... good calculations (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          and all the really bad guys fled to South America, anyhow.

          When I say "folk" I mean "country," not specific individuals. But who cares.

          My real point is that this is not a country that is known for making the best decisions. After all, this is also the country that decided to invade Russia twice!

          It took the French only one time to learn their lesson.

          Speaking of the French, I expect that they will be selling plenty of electricity across their eastern border in the next couple of decades.

          An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
          -- H. L. Mencken

          by bryfry on Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 08:25:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  They seem to have learned from experience though. (0+ / 0-)

        Meanwhile, back Stateside, political re-enactment of our Civil War just seems to drag on and on forever.

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 04:17:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That next generation line got me.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden
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