Monday, March 28, 2011

Stop worrying and love nuclear power. Fuel rod meltdowns are happening now but they're only temporary. More quotes.

“..the government believes that the meltdown [of fuel rods at No 2 reactor] is only temporary.”[1]
“…the radioactive releases of iodine-131 in Japan had reached about 2.4 million curies by March 22, 2011. That is about 160,000 times the best estimate of the amount released during the TMI accident in Pennsylvania (15 curies) and about 140,000 times the maximum estimate of 17 curies. It is about 10 percent of the estimated amount released during the Chernobyl accident…”[2]
“…radiation-induced cancers do not simply arise immediately following exposure. It's not as though it will be like the Black Plague, where one would see one's neighbors being hauled out of their houses, dead. This damage to human life, these murders, will only be visible -- if they are allowed to be visible -- in statistical data collected long years after the exposure event…”[3]
“Why Fukushima Made Me Stop Worrying and Love Nuclear Power … Atomic energy has just been subjected to one of the harshest possible tests, and the impact on people and the planet has been small. The crisis at Fukushima has converted me to nuclear power.”[4]
“All of the information media are at fault here I think. They are saying stupid things like, why, we are exposed to radiation all the time in our daily life, we get radiation from outer space. But that’s one millisievert per year. A year has 365 days, a day has 24 hours; multiply 365 by 24, you get 8760. Multiply the 400 millisieverts by that, you get 3,500,000 the normal dose. You call that safe?[5]
“Should the public discover the true health cost[s] of nuclear pollution, a cry would rise from all parts of the world and people would refuse to cooperate passively with their own death.” [6]
“Let's not beat about the bush. They have visibly lost the essential of control (of the situation). That is our analysis, in any case, it's not what they are saying.'”[7]
“The mechanisms of the accident would be very different than Chernobyl, 4 where there was also a fire, and the mix of radionuclides would be very different. While the quantity of short-lived radionuclides, notably iodine-131, would be much smaller, the consequences for the long term could be more dire due to long-lived radionuclides such as cesium- 137, strontium-90, iodine-129, and plutonium-239. These radionuclides are generally present in much larger quantities in spent fuel pools than in the reactor itself. In light of that, it is remarkable how little has been said by the Japanese authorities about this problem.[8]
“…there are disputes over whether or not Chernobyl's nuclear fuel still poses a threat of causing another explosion. There is also a teetering reactor core cover and the deteriorating sarcophagus itself that may collapse and send plumes of radioactive dust in all directions. …with tens of millions of lives at stake, nation actors that have the ability to assist in mitigating this disaster now, but choose instead to squander their manpower and resources elsewhere (like in Libya), must remember that their actions today will be remembered and judged for centuries to come.”[9]
“….During the Chernobyl disaster, reactor workers barley prevented a second nuclear explosion that has been covered up to the public for many years. This secondary explosion would have been powerful enough and toxic enough to wipe out the population of half of Europe according to Russian officials.”[10]

[1]URGENT: Radioactive water at No. 2 reactor due to partial meltdown: Edano
TOKYO, March 28, Kyodo

[2]Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
Takoma Park, MD 20912
For Immediate Release Friday, March 25, 2011
'Radioactive Iodine Releases From Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Reactors May Exceed Those of Three Mile Island by Over 100,000 Times'

[3]James Cronin, as quoted in:
CounterPunch Diary
Libya, Oh What a Stupid War; Fukushima, Cover-Up Amid Catastrophe

[4] George Monbiot, the Guardian newspaper. 21st March 2001
As quoted in:
CounterPunch Diary
Libya, Oh What a Stupid War; Fukushima, Cover-Up Amid Catastrophe

[5]Hirose Takashi
As quoted in:
CounterPunch Diary
Libya, Oh What a Stupid War; Fukushima, Cover-Up Amid Catastrophe

[6]Dr. Rosalie Bertell. “No Immediate Danger,” xiii.
[7]French Industry Minister Eric Besson
As quoted in:
'They've lost control': French claim Japan is hiding full scale of nuclear disaster as TWO more reactors heat up. Wednesday, March 16, 2011

[8]Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Maryland
As quoted in:
CounterPunch Diary
Libya, Oh What a Stupid War; Fukushima, Cover-Up Amid Catastrophe

[9]When Does a Nuclear Disaster End? Never.
Tony Cartalucci, Contributing Writer
Activist Post. Sunday, March 27, 2011

[10]Fukushima Radiation Found In Massachusetts Rainwater As “Bio-Robots” Fight To Prevent Disaster
(AP / Yomiuri Shimbun, Takuya Yoshino)
The Intel Hub
Shepard Ambellas
March 27, 2011


Barkley Rosser said...


The Japanese have old tech nuclear reactors and failed to respond to serious warnings regarding the threat to them of tsunamis. Likewise, in the US pretty much all nuclear reactors also have old, unsafe, technologies, and it has been reported that there has been no serious response to a National Academy of Sciences study in 2007 warning of various safety lapses and issues that should be dealt with.

That said, nobody died at Three Mile Island, and while three workers have been hospitalized in Japan due to radiation burns, nobody has died there yet due to the reactor problems (which remain very serious, nevertheless). In all the hullabaloo over the reactor problems, people seem to have conveniently forgotten the over 10,000 and still climbing verified dead directly from the earthquake and tsunami.

Let us also be real about the alternatives. The most serious immediate alternative is coal. Latest estimate is that 30,000 die per year in the US alone from coal burning pollution. But they die individually, scattered across the country, often without even realizing that coal did them in. There are no headlines, except for the occasional coal mining accident. But how many thousands have died because nuclear power plant construction in the US basically shut down after Three Mile Island in which nobody died?

Natural gas, the most likely immediate alternative in the US, is better than coal, but still emits carbon dioxide, unlike nuclear, and there are serious potential water pollution problems with the hot new technique of hydrofracking to get it.

For all their virtues (and even they have problems, previously discussed here), neither solar nor wind nor both is going to seriously replace nuclear as a source of electricity anywhere, despite the fantasies of some in Germany.

We can and must improve the safety record of nuclear power, but we must also not be swept into killing thousands of people unnecessarily due to hysteria over headlines that distort the fundamental realities here.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

Re: "nobody died at Three Mile Island."

"...Studying wind patterns from the .. the accident, the Aamodts ultimately
identified three areas..downwind from the accident, where over a long period after the accident cancer death rates were about seven times what would have been
expected according to established state statistics....
(This article goes on at some length on this topic. See the source reference below).

Re: "Let us also be real about the alternatives."

" compensate for the loss of nuclear-generated electricity, the United States could simply cut its energy waste. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, “Just electric efficiency can save four times’ nuclear power’s output, at one-sixth its perating cost.” Speaking of energy in general, G. Tyler Miller, Jr. estimates that American energy waste amounts to 84% of consumption - 41% by degradation of energy quality and 43% "by using fuel-wasting motor vehicles, furnaces and other devices, and by living and working in leaky, poorly insulated and poorly designed buildings.” He goes on to write “People in the United States unnecessarily waste as much energy as two-thirds of the world's population consumes” [Miller 1996]. ...The following
six measures could substitute immediately for the lost electricity....
[i] Domestic electric lighting - a massive savings.
[2] Window areas.
[3] Insulation and weatherstripping.
[4] Modular Space Heating and Cooling.
Regulating the use of electronics.
[5] Ventilation especially in summer.
[6] Other (assorted) such as building design, buiding siting, landscaping, efficient public transportation etc

Re: "we must also not be swept into killing thousands of people unnecessarily due to hysteria over headlines that distort the fundamental realities here."

Where's the hysteria, Barkley?

The evidence is overwhelmingly pointing to a long-term failure of governance over the employment of dangerous technologies. Would you dispute this fact?

by Albert J. Fritsch, Arthur H. Purcell, and Mary Byrd Davis.

Barkley Rosser said...

Those six will not do it, not even close, although they are worth doing in any case.

Even if the numbers on cancer deaths are true, they are not remotely anywhere near the thousands dead due to coal burning happening that would not have if we had had nuclear plants rather than all those coal plants.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

Barkley, the Tokyo Electric Power Company is now advising residents to engage in 5 steps to reduce energy consumption. They say this will eliminate the need for 4 nuclear power stations.

-- Turn the air conditioner down.
-- Turn off unnecessary lights.
-- Turn down the thermostat of the refrigerator.
-- Reduce the brightness of the TV, and the length of time it is turned on.
-- Unplug electric appliances not in use.

See: Switch household habits for major power savings
The Yomiuri Shimbun

However, it is the industrial sector that uses most of TEPCo's power. Machinery companies, such as car and electronic appliance makers. I believe that such concentrated economic activity could lend itself to some other form of (safer and cleaner) energy production.

In terms of the comparison of deaths from Three MIle Island with that of the global coal industry. Well, this current Japanese disaster is likely to be exceeding Chernobyl. Perhaps even - as has been reported - on a daily basis. It is unprecented in scale.

[40 kilometres away it has been reported that ]"the level of contamination in the soil could be twice the amount that was compulsory evacuation for Chernobyl."

Aileen Mioko Smith, March 24 (thanks to Michael Collins "They said it wasn't like Chernobyl and they were wrong"
As quoted in:
The Doomsday Scenario - Is Fukushima About to Blow?
By MIKE WHITNEY. March 28, 2011

"The daily amount of caesium-137 released from Fukushima Daiichi is around 60 per cent of the amount released from Chernobyl.”

Source: The Central Institute of Meteorology and Geodynamics of Vienna as reported in "New Scientist", March 24 --- Michael Collins "They said it wasn't like Chernobyl and they were wrong". As quoted in:

The Doomsday Scenario - Is Fukushima About to Blow?
By MIKE WHITNEY. March 28, 2011