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Boardman writes: "The news of Fukushima in mainstream media has been reassuringly minimizing of late, when there was any news at all. The reality of Fukushima continues to be an ongoing low-grade, partly-controlled disaster poised to get a whole lot worse if something else goes wrong."

Evacuees dressed in protective suits during a Fukushima memorial service in 2012. (photo: Kim Kyung-hoon/Reuters)
Evacuees dressed in protective suits during a Fukushima memorial service in 2012. (photo: Kim Kyung-hoon/Reuters)


Fukushima Ho Hum

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

24 October 13

 

Pay no attention to those Strontium-90 leaks at 70 times safe level

he news of Fukushima in mainstream media has been reassuringly minimizing of late, when there was any news at all. The reality of Fukushima continues to be an ongoing low-grade, partly-controlled disaster poised to get a whole lot worse if something else goes wrong.

And then there's the Strontium-90 you don't hear much about. Apparently recent Fukushima leakage has included Strontium-90 – at more than 70 times the level considered officially safe. More troubling, no one seems to know, or no one is telling, just where that Strontium-90 comes from. (Strontium-90 first gained widespread notoriety in the 1950s, as one of the prime elements of fallout from nuclear testing, an element that concentrated in the food chain, especially milk, got stored in your bones, and increased your chances of getting bone cancer or leukemia.)

On October 16, the Fukushima Daiichi's three melted-down reactors escaped a new crisis from Typhoon Wipha, as the Pacific hurricane managed to kill 17 people on off-shore islands but passed far enough from the mainland that Fukushima got only a heavy soaking. But that was enough to create conditions on the ground that worsened later, with an unusually heavy rainstorm over the weekend, as The New York Times reported on October 22, starting this way:

"The operator of Japan's wrecked nuclear plant said Monday that rainwater from a weekend storm became contaminated as it collected behind barriers meant to stop radiation leaks. The toxic water overflowed those barriers at several locations, with some of it possibly spilling into the Pacific Ocean…."

One wonders that a Times editor would allow a story to pass when it avers only a "possibility" of radioactive water flowing from the plant to the ocean. That flow has been a chronic, uninterrupted reality at Fukushima since the disaster began in March 2011. The generally accepted estimate (as in the Washington Post of October 21) is that 400 tons of contaminated water flows into the Pacific daily – about 96,000 gallons a day. That's actual, not just "possible." And as news goes, it's also a lot less reassuring.

Not reassured yet? How about some clever, distracting wordplay?

But to the Times, this leakage was just "the latest in a litany of lapses and aggravations for the problem-plagued cleanup" of Fukushima. That's awfully clever and dismissive language to describe a situation that no one knows how to fix, that still has pockets of lethal radiation, that may cost $100 billion over the next 40 years, and that has left more than 90,000 residents unable to return home. Those people may be beyond reassurance, but it's the Times readership that needs to be calmed.

And why should we care what the Times says? Because, like it or not, it's still the paper of record in some meaningful ways. The way the Times plays a story still matters. It wasn't that long ago that the Times enabled reporter Judith Miller to help lie the country into our dishonest and disastrous war on Iraq.

The Times agenda regarding nuclear power has long been rather too frequently little more than cheerleading, interrupted by fits of coerced reporting when events like Three Mile Island or Chernobyl left the paper little choice. Of course the coverage has not been monochromatic, but the paper's default position seems to be to promote nuclear power by minimizing its risks.

So it's little surprise, even if it's a coincidence, that the same day the Times reported dismissively on Fukushima on page A11, it also featured an op-ed page piece titled "Taming Radiation Fears." The piece argues somewhat disingenuously that the radiological damage from events like Fukushima is not nearly as bad as the psychological damage they cause. As an example, it cites a Japanese Education Ministry report that, because schools near Fukushima have curtailed outdoors exercise, students in the Fukushima area have become the most obese in Japan.

Assuming that's true as stated, the piece gives the game away with its throwaway tag to that example, that the exercise was curtailed "in most cases in areas where the risk from radiation was infinitesimal." What does that mean, "most cases?" And "infinitesimal" is not the same as non-existent. But those words help to minimize the danger, as well as ignoring the apparent reality that there is no safe level of radiation.

And the reality too many media evade is that radiation levels at Fukushima continue to rise. This is regularly reported by the Japanese government and dispassionately tracked by Lori Mochizuki on his bi-lingual blog, Fukushima Diary.

"Are you a nuclear-phobe in need of a good brainwash?"

The more slippery media approach fits neatly into the nuclear industry's decades-long promotional campaign for a psychiatric condition they called "nuclear phobia," the essence of which is the proposal that anyone afraid of nuclear power in general and radiation in particular is somehow nuts. The author of the Times op-ed piece, David Ropeik, wrote a book along these lines called "How Risky Is It Really? Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts."

It's surely true that some people sometimes over-react to the dangers of radiation, which are indeed very slight for those radioactive substances with half-lives even shorter than Ropeik's book. It is also true that Ropeik's argument in the Times is dishonest in the ways it makes no allowances for intensity of exposure, exposure over long periods of time, or the enduring danger of long-lived radioactive elements such as Strontium-90 (with a half-life of 28.8 years) or Plutonium-239 (with a half-life of 24,000 years).

Low levels of radioactivity are virtually no threat to most people most of the time and worrying about it is something of a waste of time, since there's no escaping background radiation throughout your life anyway. But such worry is not a total waste of time, since radiation can kill you as surely as electricity or water. So neither fear nor denial is all that helpful in managing a real risk. And we might have an easier job of that now if the nuclear phobia shills hadn't been lying to us for more than half a century, when they started talking about measuring radiation in "sunshine units."

Betrayal is a solid rational basis for distrust.



William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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+52 # Ridenour 2013-10-24 10:24
As a US Navy trained nuclear power plant operator I strongly believe that the technology is unsafe because its safety depends on everything going right all of the time. That just never happens in any situation.
 
 
+6 # James38 2013-10-24 11:25
This is true about pressurized water reactors. They operate at high pressure, making the plumbing very difficult, and if the temperature rises too high, the water reacts with the metal sheathing of the fuel rods and generates hydrogen - which is the cause of reactor explosions, not the radioactive fuel itself.

The LFTR (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor) uses no water, and operates at nearly atmospheric pressure. There is no danger of explosion or of dispersal of radioactive material into the atmosphere.

Almost all of the dangers associated with reactors are due to the pressure and the use of water as a coolant, and the use of solid fuels which can overheat.

See below for more details.
 
 
-2 # AndreM5 2013-10-24 14:25
"Almost all of the dangers associated with reactors are due to the pressure and the use of water as a coolant, and the use of solid fuels which can overheat."

Bull. The mining, transport and storage of "spent fuel" dwarf the risks of boiling water in a pipe.
 
 
-5 # James38 2013-10-24 15:27
Um, Andre, can you name a serious accident that has resulted from either "mining, transport or storage"?

Although for sheer stupidity on top of the stupidity of building the reactors where they were, the Fukushima storage tanks take the cake. But I don't think that proves your point.

So "Bull" to you. Fukushima exploded precisely because the overheating core water reacted with the fuel rod cladding, generating hydrogen which blew up.

So try to find a worse accident, or anything comparable, in your scenario.
 
 
-8 # James38 2013-10-24 15:35
And remember, LFTR has none of these problems.

LFTR eats "nuclear waste", makes power, and leaves little behind.

LFTR uses no water for cooling, and runs at atmospheric pressure - no explosions possible.

Even if the reactor core splits open or a pipe breaks, the liquid fuel just runs out on the floor and hardens into a greenish glassy solid. Scoop it up and put it back in the reactor when it is fixed.

And LFTR fuel is much cheaper to make, and much cheaper to recycle. Basically it recycles itself, and the reaction products that cause solid fuel elements to quit working while they still contain 95% of the available energy are removed while the reactor is running. No need to shut down for refueling.

What's not to like?
 
 
+15 # Billy Bob 2013-10-24 17:47
What's not to like, is that, once again, the nuclear power industry has pulled the wool over many people's eyes and made them blind to their long long long history of telling lie after lie after lie after lie.

Do you get all your information from nuclear power approved sources? Have you seriously looked into this? I have. And, it's a panacea. It's like "clean coal". It's just an industry, greedy for even more money, rebranding itself (YET AGAIN) and convincing dupes that, this time, it's not all bullshit, like it always was in the past.

Look at both sides of this issue before you leap on the radioactive bandwagon.
 
 
-8 # James38 2013-10-24 18:30
Billy, you are lost in the woods.

Read the books I have recommended.

Watch the program by Sorenson.

Do yourself a favor.

You are just repeating propaganda.

The facts support all of my statements about LFTR. You just have to be willing to actually look at the information that is available.
 
 
+6 # NOMINAE 2013-10-24 23:13
Quoting James38:
Billy ..You are just repeating propaganda..You just have to be willing to actually look at the information that is available.


Yeah, Billy Bob, stop repeating "THE" propaganda, and just start parroting *James'* propaganda.

From the EPA Website:

"Thorium-232 has a half-life of 14 billion (14x109) years, and decays by alpha emission, with accompanying gamma radiation. Thorium-232 is the top of a long decay series that contains key radionuclides such as radium-228, its direct decay product, and radon-220. Two other isotopes of thorium, which can be significant in the environment, are thorium-230 and thorium-228. Both belong to other decay series. They also decay by alpha emission, with accompanying gamma radiation, and have half-lives of 75,400 years and 1.9 years, respectively."

Yessir, Thorium, with a radioactive half life of 14 Billion years on a Planet that is only 4.5 Billion years old.

Thorium radioactive decay product, Radon220, known to cause leukemia. What's not to like ?

Thorium Gamma radiation known to warp DNA. What's not to like ?

Inhalation of Thorium dust in mines, and communities surrounding Thorium Mines known to cause lung cancer. Already proven. What's not to like ?

Thorium also accumulates in human bone tissue, known to cause what the EPA Site calls "bone cancer". What's not to like ?

So, Jamie, here's an example of "look[ing] at the information available". Plenty not to like.
 
 
-2 # James38 2013-10-25 04:06
Nominae, This is a Classic example of mixing up data and misinterpreting it. The information about mining is from old descriptions of uranium mining. Modern Uranium mining is done differently, and is not dangerous itself any more. The problems that occurred with Uranium mining were often because regulations were ignored in the mines. The miners took excessive risks to get in more hours, and the practice was tolerated by supervisors. All clearly described in the excellent book “Power to Save the World” by Gwyneth Cravens. She tracks the entire history of the Uranium industry and reactor development under the guidance of a Nuclear Waste Management Specialist from Sandia Laboratories.

Thorium is produced mostly as a by-product of rare-earth element mining. There is very little to no danger from Thorium mining. Most thorium that has been mined in the US has been discarded or left lying around in the desert in stacks of ingots, since there is little use for it until a LFTR program is started.

The long half-life of Thorium means it is very low in radioactivity. Thorium is a fertile element, not a fissile one. It cannot sustain a chain reaction, but it can be converted into a fissile element in a reactor, and then will work as an energy -producing fuel. It is much less radioactive than Uranium.

Continued
 
 
-1 # James38 2013-10-25 04:08
concluding


Elements with long half-lives are less dangerous than elements with short half-lives. Short half-life means that many of the atoms break down, emitting radiation of one type or another, in a short period of time.

Quoting all the statistics about Thorium sounds ominous to the ignorant. It reminds me of a sign a ham radio buff had in his den when I was very young. It said, in bold letters, DANGER - 3,000,000 OHMS. I looked at it with big eyes, and asked him what an Ohm was? He laughed and explained it was a unit of resistance. It took me a few years to get the joke. (Ohms are not dangerous - at all.)

I am not offering propaganda. I have given sources and references for all of the facts I have stated.

You can check them all with a moderate amount of reading. Instead, what is happening here is the exact result of fear and ignorance being repeated by people who believe what they are told by other confused people instead of doing some checking themselves.

Take a deep breath, folks. Think. Read some real information. Think about the source of your ideas. Repeating other people's opinions without checking the facts for yourselves is just plain irresponsible, and allows myth to be called fact.
 
 
0 # NOMINAE 2013-10-25 18:00
Quoting James38:
Nominae, This is a Classic example of mixing up data and misinterpreting it. The information about mining is from old descriptions of uranium mining....


I really should listen to you only insofar as you describe Classic examples of "misinterpretin g", because upon the subject of misinterpretati on, misdirection, and assorted illogical chicanery, you really *DO* know whereof you speak.

But that's about all.

Here you offer us a *HUGE* and Classic example of MISDIRECTION.

The data I quoted is from the EPA Website describing THORIUM and THORIUM mining. Not one word was said relative to URANIUM until *you* introduced it as if you hoped to misdirect a kindergarten of full of four-yr-olds.

Therefore, on the basis of that illogical sleight-of-hand - alone, I hereby call B.S. on the rest.

You presume to know more than the National Academy of Scientists, but you don't know exactly why. Here you know more than the EPA website, by misquoting their data.

The Tobacco Industry swearing that nicotine is not an addictive substance, The Oil Industry swearing that burning fossil fuels has nothing to do with Global Climate Change, The Fracking Industry swearing that fracking has nothing to do with water pollution and low-level earthquakes ....

And the Thorium Industry claiming that Thorium and Thorium mining are cleaner than angels and rainbows are all singing from the same page.

Do not be shocked when the people recognize the tune.
 
 
+7 # JJS 2013-10-25 03:05
Quoting James38:
Um, Andre, can you name a serious accident that has resulted from either "mining, transport or storage"? ....


Do a little research into how the Navajo Nation is dealing with uranium mining on their reservations.
 
 
-2 # James38 2013-10-25 08:46
JJS, there have been many abuses and mistakes in the history of Uranium mining.

That kind of problem has happened in many types of mining operation, coal, for example. Mining often happens in remote areas, and environmental damage and personnel abuse have been rampant due to greed for excessive profit.

These are issues that need to be dealt with in many industries.

The issue we are mostly talking about here is the unnecessary and damaging prejudice against the use of Nuclear Power to solve a major part of our environmental crisis with Climate Change.

There is a strong tendency for people to make two mistakes about Nuclear Power. One is to forget that in spite of the disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima, Nuclear Power has a far, far better safety record than Coal or other fossil fuels.

Coal use itself is responsible for thousands of deaths each year, more in any one year than Nuclear Power has ever caused in its entire history.

The second point is that the newest reactor designs are all safer than the old designs. More important is that the LFTR, (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor) is in a different category altogether from water cooled Solid Fuel Reactors. The LFTR cannot melt down (the fuel is already a liquid), is much less complicated and less expensive, and absolutely cannot spew radiation into the atmosphere or environment.

LFTR also can use present "Nuclear Waste" as fuel. Read the discussion below for more information.
 
 
+2 # JJS 2013-10-25 16:38
Dear James38,
I was responding to a question YOU brought to the discussion, “...name a serious accident…from either "mining, transport or storage…” and, yes, there are many, many more of all shapes, sizes and with many reasons and excuses.
How many of those mining, transport, storage, as well as, greed and profiteering problems will follow with the development and implementation of LFTR? You say none!?!

“Thorium is produced mostly as a by-product of rare-earth element mining. There is very little to no danger from Thorium mining.”-James38
James, have you not been reading about the extreme and severe environmental destruction resulting from rare-earth element mining-REEM? Fitting acronym, wouldn’t you say?
 
 
+1 # James38 2013-10-26 13:06
See my reply to your next post just below.

Thorium reactors will initially be fueled by thorium that has already been mined, plus U233 and enriched uranium and Plutonium that already is stockpiled, and is a problem globally.

LFTR can use existing stockpiles of "nuclear Waste" as fuel. Some types of waste will be used in specific versions of the LFTR designed to consume them.

LFTR can be designed as fast, slow, or thermal neutron types. U238, the most common isotope of Uranium, exists in storage in large amounts (depleted uranium is one name for it). That will work as a fuel for one LFTR type.

In other words, the LFTR not only will be the cheapest and cleanest and safest power source that can also rapidly replace Coal as a power source, LFTR also cleans up our existing stockpiles of Nuclear material that are considered problems now - by making energy out of them.

We have enough fuel sitting around already to supply large amounts of electricity for many years with little or no additional mining necessary.

See Dr Timothy Maloone's excellent presentation:

http://timothymaloney.net/pdffiles/ThoriumNuclearSlideshow.pdf

Many of your questions will be answered there.
 
 
+1 # JJS 2013-10-25 16:39
continued
Safety records are a matter of definition; number of accidents, severity of accident, blah, blah, blah …. A mine collapsing is bad for the poor miners stuck underground; a radiation leak is bad for EVERYONE on the planet.

Just because we don’t have a defined causal link between the radiation poisoning and any adverse health effect does not mean it doesn’t exist. I have many friends from the Philippines and they all have very high rates of thyroid problems and thyroid cancer. What’s up with THAT?

But you are focused on LFTR, so let's go there.
“LFTR also can use present "Nuclear Waste" as fuel.” I do understand that there is a need for an initial fissile reaction to get the LFTR started but how does that use up all the nuclear waste that is present in the world today?

Also, Thorium is not endlessly abundant. 5 million tons is the world supply estimate.

I must say that I feel the burning of carbon based fuels is slow suicide but conventional nuclear power is quick suicide. It is worth exploring and understanding LFTR but you can and must understand the skepticism of the well informed RSN audience. They ain’t dummies.
Why are the current developers of this technology circumventing the NRC and going for Military applications? (independent/of f the grid power source for bases) Is it just to avoid regulation? I hate that!
 
 
+1 # James38 2013-10-26 11:57
I discussed briefly the bad record of rare earth mining. The Mountain Pass mine in California had a very bad record of spills and untreated waste. This is obviously an issue that must be faced. However, it is entirely possible to do it right, and the EPA is doing more to keep the companies in line.

The problems of bad mining practices are actually much worse in the vastly larger Coal mining industry, which is still practicing the horrible "Mountain Top Removal" mining in the US. Open pit coal mines are monstrous and the shipping of coal in open rail cars creates a severe dust pollution problem all along the tracks. In addition, more people are killed in coal mining accidents in most years than have ever been killed in Nuclear Power accidents during their entire history.

Even more, all that damage comes BEFORE we consider the cost to the environment due to Climate Change precipitated by CO2, largely from coal and other fossil fuels.

Continued
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-26 11:57
Concluding

The damage from Rare Earth Mining and Thorium mining, at its worst, does not come near the damage from fossil fuel production - and now we have the horrors of Canadian Tar Sands and Fracking to contend with.

Since Thorium is used in reactors just as it occurs in nature, no refining necessary, and it is burned completely, it is actually an incredibly efficient fuel.

Nuclear fission produces 3,000,000 (Three Million) times as much energy per reaction as the burning of one carbon molecule. Nuclear Fuel is extremely energy dense. One ton of Thorium produces as much energy as three million tons of coal.

One ton of Thorium (about the size of a medium beach ball) is enough fuel to provide power to an American city of two million persons for one year. American cities use a lot of energy. That city-year of energy is now using 400 coal trains, each about a mile long.

Seen in this perspective, the mining of Thorium, which will not need to be increased until we actually get smart enough to build a significant number of LFTR power plants, is a much smaller problem. Real, and definitely needs to be dealt with, but compared to the devastation wrought by Fossil Fuels on all levels, a small problem indeed.
 
 
0 # hoodwinkednomore 2013-10-27 12:39
It's the scope, James, and that little matter of billions of years of half-lives
 
 
+2 # AndreM5 2013-10-25 07:23
Let's see now. You talk about relative risk and its impact on society, then switch to absolute risk from an explosion? Sorry, not a valid comparison.

Then as it suits your argument of the moment, you switch back and forth between relative risk of light water reactors and the mythical LFTR reactors, which are not commercially available anywhere.

So by your twisted logic, how many people died as a result of the steam/hydrogen explosions in Japan? There are generations of people affected by the long-term impacts of uranium mining and its tailings. The risk of storing tons of fuel rods may prove higher than any result of any explosions at Fukushima. The earthquake and tsunami are the reason Fukushima is a mess, not the boiling of water.
 
 
-1 # James38 2013-10-25 09:01
Andre, I am glad you are concerned.

The LFTR is not "mythical". The prototype MSR (Molten Salt Reactor), essentially the same as a LFTR, was built and ran for about 25,000 hours at Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

The project was cancelled in a major error of policy, and solid fuel reactors have continued to be the standard of the industry, since they were originally favored for use in weapon production. The LFTR is not useful for that purpose, it is only good for power generation.

Since the LFTR uses only a small amount of Uranium or Plutonium to start the reaction, very little additional uranium mining will be needed. The LFTR then generates enough fuel to start additional reactors, as well as giving us a way to safely dispose of existing stockpiles of Plutonium - by converting it to energy. Also, modern mining methods have eliminated the risk formerly associated with Uranium mining.

The Fuel Rod storage at Fukushima is only second in stupidity to the construction of the reactors in that ridiculous location.

The issue is that LFTR is far superior to LWR, PWR, CANDU, the IFR and all other solid fuel reactors.

We need to replace coal, Oil, and Natural Gas as power sources. The LFTR is our best choice to do that safely and soon.

We need to encourage the government to support the construction of LFTR power plants as rapidly as possible.
 
 
-1 # JohnBoanerges 2013-10-26 16:04
Dear AndreM5, Bless you for this insight. However, even considering Hanover and C and F and TMI, what James38 brings to the table is the day to day issues of RUNNING these monstrosities. You MUST agree at least partly with his position. I differ slightly in that ALL operation of hi-pres/temp BW reactors causes degradation of the physical plant. Water is about the most corrosive fluid in this world. Liquid sodium is MUCH safer. Sh-t, it dissolves GOLD. There is more dissolved gold in the ocean than exists in any other form, by a factor of over a quadrillion, on our planet. Since ALL of "our" gold (and other heavy metals) came to us from comets/planetar y interlopers from exploded stars, is it any wonder that it exists there? AN-y-way, you point to risks. OK, you make a point of inquiry, but James38 is focused upon events. Our friends are our friends, OK?
 
 
+20 # cokacoa2 2013-10-24 10:26
Why haven't the best nuclear engineers in the world been gathered from Franch and elsewhere to solve this problem?
 
 
0 # JJS 2013-10-25 16:14
Because we are already TOAST.
 
 
-25 # James38 2013-10-24 10:32
There is a lot of confusion about the actual knowledge that exists about radiation.

For the purpose of clarifying the discussion, here are some facts.

Without specific measurements of the levels of radiation, no conclusion about danger can be made. While the amounts of contaminated water sound ominous, the ocean is so vast that once the contaminated water has dispersed, the level of radiation drops to nearly undetectable levels. This is not to say that more efforts should not be made to contain the leaks.

There are two vital facts about Nuclear power.

First, no matter how awful (and exaggerated) the disasters of Chernobyl and Fukushima have been, the conclusions rejecting nuclear power based on fear and excessively emotional reporting are false. Nuclear power, even in its primitive early stage, has a far FAR better safety record than Coal and other Fossil Fuels. Coal kills hundreds of times more people every year than Nuclear accidents have ever killed.

Continued
 
 
+16 # WBoardman 2013-10-24 12:28
Measurements matter, no question about that.
The type of radiation, the half-life, its location, etc etc
are all necessary to assess the potential risk of
any specific exposure.

Governments and the nuclear industry have spent decades
NOT measuring and assuring the public that
everything that happens is "safe" -- so just because
we don't know what's true, we're absolutely certain
of what's not trustworthy.

Until the disseminators of radiation "facts" can be held
to account, any criticism of people's lack of understanding
is unjustified and disingenuous.

As for the ocean and "dispersal,"
that's one of those dishonest partial truths
that degrades the credibility of those who argue it --
since it omits another partial truth,
the concentration of radiation in the food chain
so vividly illustrated below by DeadlyClear.

The lethality of coal is an argument against coal,
just as coal's half-life is a benefit of sorts.

The lethality of radiation is an argument against nukes,
just as its half-lives are a further detriment.
 
 
-7 # ormondotvos 2013-10-24 15:24
Ater reading the comments to the end, my vote goes to the LFTR, and the recent reports on vast data that there is a level of radiation that doesn't hurt, but actually energizes the cellular repair mechanisms.

Although the internet allows everyone to express their opinion, it does not require anyone to prove their expertise. On the balance, I'd say James38 knows what he's talking about, and Boardman has simply written another of thousands of quick and dirty scare stories, guaranteed an audience by the climate of fear generated over many decades since Hiroshima.

It's time to stop the foolishness and read up on the current literature, and ignore the scare stories.

There is no easy solution for the pollution/warmi ng energy problem, but LFTR seems the best solution so far.

My credentials are fifty years of science, starting with a physics engineering degree, and an intense interest in the problem of peaceful energy, and a hatred of coal, diesel and mining pollution.
 
 
-6 # James38 2013-10-24 15:52
Well knock me over with a small feather on a six foot thread. Another voice of reason.

Ormondotvos, if you haven't read "Thorium - Energy Cheaper Than Coal", give it a try. With your background, you will probably be as amazed as I was at the sheer amount of information in the book. It is a tiny bit of a hodgepodge, and it needs a better index, but I am so glad Hargraves managed to get it together. I can imagine him looking at it and saying "Enough, already. Publish it!"

If any of the negative voters will get it together to read his book, they will be well rewarded. And probably will change their tunes.
 
 
+5 # Billy Bob 2013-10-24 17:49
Reason, would be spending a small fraction of the money the nuclear industry NEEDS in American tax money, to help build more wind turbines and solar farms. THAT would be reason. Just because you have more time to comment, doesn't mean you have more facts. You don't.
 
 
-3 # James38 2013-10-25 04:12
Have you read any of the books I suggested, Billy?

Have you watched the Thorium lecture by Kirk Sorenson, a Doctor of Nuclear engineering?

Have you looked at the presentation of Thorium and LFTR information by Dr Timothy Malone?

If not, what is the source of your misinformation, and why do you think it is true?
 
 
0 # AndreM5 2014-05-15 09:30
YIKES! You consider blather about radiation HORMESIS to be a "voice of reason?" So you don't know anything about "low-dose radiation effects" or the incredible studies done in the past 3 years on CT?
 
 
+1 # JJS 2013-10-25 16:48
Dear WBoardman,
Thank you for your articles and follow up comments. I am becoming a "fan".

FYI, health departments across the US are measuring radiation in food. The data is not being distributed. We, as citizens and tax payers, should demand these data be available for public consumption. I believe the US Gov't is skirting reporting requirements by out-sourcing this function.
 
 
0 # hoodwinkednomore 2013-10-27 12:46
This is like saying eating arsenic is healthy for you. What planet are you living on, James. Yes, presumably the same one each of these other readers are SO maybe it's time to start taking care of it (indeed, our home) on the planet's terms--not on the murderous, plundering, polluting terms set by Mega Big Energy Corporations whose NUMBER 1 priority is to make profit by totally f*****g with all life on this planer (which happens to be the only home we're ever going to have despite some futuristic fantasies in some peoples' long lost minds...)
 
 
-23 # James38 2013-10-24 10:33
Continuing

The real lesson of Fukushima is that an old style reactor built in a truly stupid place is dangerous. The evacuation of Fukushima city itself was completely unnecessary. The radiation level there never came close to exceeding safe amounts. All of the panic was caused by fear generated by misunderstandin g, frightening exaggerated publicity, and poorly developed radiation level concepts. The LNT (Linear No Threshold) concept that says there is no safe level of radiation, and that all radiation causes cumulative damage is totally wrong. For one thing that idea flies in the face of obvious fact. There are many areas in the world where background radiation is much higher than average, and no damage or illness of any kind is found in people who have lived there for generations.

Continued
 
 
+10 # WBoardman 2013-10-24 12:31
To ascribe "all of the panic" to fear
is to ignore the reality
that there remain hot spots at Fukushima
where, if you spend a few hours there,
you will die.

Some radiation will kill you, some won't,
it's all a matter of discrimination.
 
 
-7 # James38 2013-10-24 13:28
Yes, Mr Boardman, in this case "All of the panic was caused by fear generated by misunderstandin g, frightening exaggerated publicity, and poorly developed radiation level concepts", just as I said.

Several people were killed in the panic of the unnecessary evacuation. All of their deaths could have been avoided had the authorities simply been well enough educated in dealing with the situation as it actually was. They, instead, were so confused and poorly prepared that they became sources of much of the panic.

I do sympathize with them, and feel very sorry for them, because the sequence of events starting with the earthquake, then the tsunami, then the growing disaster at the power plants must have been nearly overwhelmingly awful and frightening.

However, had they been well schooled in the necessary information, they would have known what actually needed to be done - and evacuating the town was not necessary.

Of course had the entire society, including the engineers who designed the Fukushima reactors, been paying attention to the wisdom of their ancestors, they would never have built the reactor where it was.

(Search "Japan Tsunami Warning Stones" or See: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/world/asia/21stones.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 )
 
 
+9 # WBoardman 2013-10-24 14:49
Experiencing an earthquake, tsunami, and multi-meltdown,
in fairly rapid succession
people are to be blamed for their fear and panic?

Seriously?
 
 
-6 # James38 2013-10-24 15:07
Please, Mr Boardman, read my whole comment before coming up with a snarky reply:

"However, had they been well schooled in the necessary information, they would have known what actually needed to be done - and evacuating the town was not necessary."

I was clearly sympathetic with the awful sequence of events they all had endured. However, a well trained specialist does not forget his/her training under stress. That is part of the reason for the training - so you know what to do when the situation demands action.
 
 
+1 # James38 2013-10-25 12:10
I have noted in response to an observation by Andre that realizing that the evacuation of the town was "not necessary" was dependent on having reasonably certain knowledge that further large atmospheric radiation dispersing explosions would not happen.

If there was credible certainty that further major radiation dispersal could happen then the evacuation would have been reasonable, and obviously that concern was present. Could it have been set aside had the officials in charge been better informed?

That is an interesting question that is worthy of some study.
 
 
-2 # brycenuc 2013-10-24 13:50
No one is required to spend a few hours there, or even a few minutes there. In fact it is impossible to do that. So what make an issue of it?

Some aspirin will kill you, also. Should we outlaw all aspirin?

The regions surrounding Chernobyl that are still evacuated have less background radioactivity than Grand Central Station or our Capitol Building. Where is there any discrimination here ?
 
 
0 # NOMINAE 2013-10-24 23:44
Quoting WBoardman:
To ascribe "all of the panic" to fear is to ignore the reality....


Very true, and there is more than just a little ignoring of reality being indulged in here by Thorium proponents.

Let it be noted that terms such as "Nuclear Phobe", "All the panic", etc. are simply brain-bludgeoni ng terms of denigration designed by bullies who are not able to argue any logical, cogent, or coherent case for such a plainly proven deadly, environmentally devastating "solution" to the challenge of boiling flippin' water in order to run a steam turbine.

People will not be verbally battered into accepting this boondoggle when literally safe, intelligent, and intuitive methods like Wind and Solar are now online at more than competitive rates.

Many proponents of nukes, including Thorium nukes, are beating a technologically dead horse for all of the gov't subsidy money that can yet be wrung from the scam.

Others tend to be naive, technologically -innocent bystanders repeating, like Climate Change deniers, the last barge of bilge supplied to them by the extraction industries in question, who are seeking to financially benefit from this disingenuous approach.

That's what's behind the "drip-drip-drip " mantra of "read our books" propounded by the Thorium fans on this string.

They don't have the propaganda budget of Exxon. So TV commercials featuring sunshine, puppies and rainbows are obviously out.
 
 
+3 # AndreM5 2013-10-24 14:02
Sorry, but your explanation of the LNT is wrong but even more so your summary of risk of low-level exposure is now clearly out of date. To my own surprise, LNT is upheld in studies of CT dose involving MILLIONS of patients.
 
 
-6 # James38 2013-10-24 15:13
So Andre, you are saying that the fundamental lack of logic of LNT has been overcome by -- what?

I have noted your references, and appreciate them. We appear to be talking about two different types of exposure.
 
 
+1 # AndreM5 2013-10-25 07:49
You seem like a guy who enjoys facts but you may not be very good at guessing. There are too many citations on this topic for the character limits here. Read above. I did not say LNT was "overcome" by anything, rather that a linear response is upheld in modern low-dose risk studies.

Cancer risk in 680000 people exposed to computed tomography scans in childhood or adolescence: data linkage study of 11 million Australians. JD Matthews, et al.
BMJ 2013;346:f2360d oi:10.1136/bmj. f2360(Published 22 May 2013)


Radiation exposure from CT scans in childhood and subsequent risk of leukaemia and brain tumours: a retrospective cohort study. Pearce, et al. Lancet 2012; 380:499–505. June 7, 2012, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60815-0

Cancer risks attributable to low doses of ionizing radiation: Assessing what we really know. Brenner, et al. www.pnas.org cgidoi10.1073 pnas.223559210 0
 
 
-1 # James38 2013-10-25 09:14
Thanks for the references.

What I said is that LNT is fundamentally illogical, and that nothing has overcome that fact. All studies of areas of Earth where background radiation levels are significantly higher than average have found no increased incidence of any disease or genetic damage. LNT ignores that fact.

Concentrated radiation on one specific part of the body in a CAT scan, especially if repeated, is much different from generalized exposure to background radiation. Comparing the two is not reasonable, and the lack of damage due to generalized background radiation shows that.
 
 
-14 # James38 2013-10-24 10:34
continuing


Another important example comes from the accidental construction of an apartment complex in Taiwan using steel contaminated with Cobalt 60. For twenty years, 8000 people were exposed to 400mSv (milli- Severts) of radiation. That is substantially above average background levels. According to standard prediction, that 8000 people would normally exhibit 186 cases of Cancer. The LNT theory predicts 242 cases. The actual number of cases observed in the 8000 people was 5. Five. The clear conclusion is that this is a demonstration of the well studied fact that moderately high doses of radiation are not only well tolerated, they stimulate the body's cellular repair capacity to work overtime, correcting more defects than would normally be corrected.

Thus, some of the statements about exaggerated claims of danger that Mr Boardman criticizes are actually rooted in cutting edge science. More important is the fact that fear based on lack of information is causing delay and resistance to the essential development of Nuclear Power as the best and quickest (and safe) way to quit polluting the atmosphere with CO2 from fossil fuels.

Continued
 
 
+7 # WBoardman 2013-10-24 12:34
Nuclear phobia is a longstanding
nuclear industry trope.

Coming from people who have done little
to promote reasonable understanding,
it's really little better than lying.
 
 
-3 # James38 2013-10-24 13:03
The books I recommended have solid and extremely well documented evidence that will surprise you and be a source for new understandings.

Accurate information about Nuclear Power is not as available as it should be, and is often overwhelmed by the constant repetition of inaccurate ideas that have become part of the echo chamber effect. Repeated often enough, complete lies become accepted as truth.

Germany has succumbed to misinformation and emotion promoted by the Green Party. I suspect that Merkel knows well that shutting the German Nuclear industry is a foolish thing to do, but she wants to stay in power, so she is compromising her knowledge. Sad if this is the case. We need to avoid being misled by sincerely concerned people who are simply ignorant of the facts.
 
 
0 # JJS 2013-10-25 17:01
Your post reminds me of the Pot Calling the Kettle Black.
We should all endeavor to be cognizant of propaganda regardless of the source.
 
 
0 # hoodwinkednomore 2013-10-27 12:50
It is lying
 
 
-8 # James38 2013-10-24 10:35
continuing

The Second vital fact has two parts:

One, present designs of Nuclear Reactors are much safer than the older designs that have been producing power for many years. However, most new designs are versions of solid fuel reactors, and all of these reactors produce "spent" fuel that still contains 95% or more of the potential energy, but which must be reprocessed at great expense or stored (The Nuclear Waste Problem) for 20,000 years or more.

Two, there is a proven reactor design based on liquid fuel that is both far safer and avoids the problems of solid fuel. This is the LFTR/MSR (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor/Molten Salt Reactor). These reactors are completely fail-safe. If anything goes wrong, they go into cold shutdown with no need for auxiliary power or any form of operator intervention. They are "Walk Away Safe", meaning that everybody could simply walk away from one of these operating reactors, and the plant would simply go on functioning until something needed attention, at which point the plant would simply shut itself down. Even if there were a break in the plumbing or core of the reactor for ANY reason, the molten salt fuel would simply leak out onto the floor and harden in place into a greenish glasslike solid. A fuel spill from a LFTR is measured in square meters, not square kilometers - square yards, not square miles.

Continued
 
 
-8 # James38 2013-10-24 10:35
continuing


The fuel could be scooped up and re-used once the problem was fixed. A LFTR cannot spew radioactive material into the atmosphere or the environment. Simply impossible - and the fuel cannot be used for proliferation of weapons.

The basic form of the LFTR has been tested and run for about 25,000 hours. The prototype still exists at Oak Ridge. We need to insist that the government fully fund the research and development of these reactors. They can be in use, producing power, in ten years or less if the project is fully supported. These reactor types can be built in smaller sizes and would be ideal for ocean vessels and remote areas. They are so safe they do not require massive containment structures, and they do not use water for cooling, so no need for massive cooling towers either. It is absurd that this program has been shut down for so long. It was only abandoned because originally reactors that could generate weapons grade material were wanted, and the LFTR is not a good design for doing that. Nobody would ever use a LFTR for weapons production.

Continued
 
 
-6 # James38 2013-10-24 10:36
Concluding

We need to insist on an immediate re-start of the LFTR/MSR research and development program by the US Government, and an equally immediate push to get the Nuclear Industry to drop its narrow focus on new types of solid fuel reactors. While they are safer than the older solid fuel reactors, all solid fuel reactors are much more expensive, and all of them generate "nuclear waste" that must be reprocessed or stored. The LFTR can use presently stored waste as fuel and leaves behind less than 1/100th of material for storage - and this material is far less radioactive and becomes harmless in 200 - 300 years, instead of the 20,000 years of storage needed with solid fuel reactor waste.

Read "Super Fuel - Thorium, the Green Energy Source for
the Future" by Richard Martin

"Thorium - Energy Cheaper Than Coal" by Robert Hargraves (The source for the Taiwan experience above. Page 327 in the chapter on Safety.)

See:

http://www.timothymaloney.net/thorium-energy---pdf-downloads...

Also see this presentation by Kirk Sorenson of Flibe Energy:
A long lecture that will reward you greatly:

Thorium: An energy solution - THORIUM REMIX 2011 - YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9M__yYbsZ4
 
 
-4 # James38 2013-10-24 11:55
Would people who have not studied Nuclear Energy and Reactor Design PLEASE read the books and/or see the presentations I have recommended.

If you simply vote negatively without having done the studying, you are reacting on the basis of unchecked information that you have heard from sources of unknown validity. There is a very large amount of misinformation being published about Nuclear issues.
 
 
+5 # WBoardman 2013-10-24 12:37
One need not understand nuclear reactor design
(though it might be useful)
to understand that the nuclear fuel cycle
has degrees of lethality in all its phases --
mining, operation, waste storage.
 
 
-2 # James38 2013-10-24 13:13
Mr Boardman, you have revealed some specific misunderstandin gs here.

Thorium is much less radioactive than Uranium, and is about three times as abundant. It is produced often as a by-product of rare earth mining, and large stockpiles of it are just sitting around in the desert. There is essentially no danger at all from mining Thorium.

Thorium reactors must have an initial charge of fissile material (U233, U235, or Plutonium) to start the reaction. Once started, the LFTR can generate enough fissile material to start the next reactor. Thorium is so abundant that fuel costs are negligible, and the supply is essentially inexaustable.

The LFTR leaves behind less than 1/100th the volume of waste as a solid fuel reactor, and its waste is less radioactive and becomes harmless in 200-300 years, instead of the 20,000 years of storage needed for solid fuel waste.

Also, the LFTR can use Solid Fuel waste as fuel, solving the storage problem. Once LFTR are in widespread use, there will be no more waste storage problem.

For a journalist who wishes to write authoritatively about Nuclear Power, some knowledge of reactor design is essential.

The books I have recommended will be extremely useful to you. Please read them.
 
 
+2 # WBoardman 2013-10-24 14:47
Well, I wasn't talking about thorium reactors,
but the ambiguity was mine.
 
 
0 # EternalTruth 2013-10-24 21:38
James, I appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge of the subject. While I lack the expertise needed to evaluate the validity of your claims, my interest has been piqued and I intend to look into the sources you have recommended. Since almost none of the haters have responded constructively to your discussion, I must conclude that the negative votes and comments are knee-jerk, fear-based, anti-nuclear reactions, not reasoned evaluations. Thanks for the info. I hope you're right, and that we get going with the LFTR in a hurry if you are.
 
 
+1 # James38 2013-10-25 11:52
Thanks for a reasonable and thoughtful response, EternalTruth.

If we could tap into all the Knee-Jerk energy around here we wouldn't need Nuclear Power or Fossil Fuel.
 
 
0 # NOMINAE 2013-10-25 18:20
Quoting James38:
Thanks for a reasonable and thoughtful response, EternalTruth.

If we could tap into all the Knee-Jerk energy around here we wouldn't need Nuclear Power or Fossil Fuel.


Yeah ..... or we could use the propaganda energy from the Thorium industry as a " sustainable alternative fuel".

Because there is obviously more of that on the Earth than there is of Thorium itself.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-27 05:00
Nominae, please read the books I have mentioned.

It is beginning to look like you are afraid to look at information that might actually be sufficiently clear as to require you to change some of your existing opinions.

That is not a mature or scientifically useful attitude.
 
 
0 # EternalTruth 2013-11-08 21:44
After further consideration, it appears as if your information is more propaganda than fact, but thank you none-the-less for bringing the issues to my attention, so that I know who to mock or ignore in the future.
 
 
+10 # HenryS1 2013-10-24 11:03
"Recuse" is an action by judges in court, luckily journalists can write without verifying advanced degrees in the topics they cover.

James38, please submit your credentials, and while you area at it, any links to industry.

Privately, I find your condescension arrogant, and I hope I need have no need to offer transcripts of my graduate education at MIT to earn the right to say this here.

I find the main thrust of the article's reporting to be of events and media coverage, all well within a jounalist's professional scope.
 
 
-1 # James38 2013-10-24 11:41
Henry, I amended my statement since I agreed with your assessment. I hope the edited version is more balanced.

I have been studying energy issues and technology for about ten years, and have no connection to industry at all.

My main concern is that the US and the world are allowing heedless development of more fossil fuel sources, and are ignoring both the danger to the planet from Climate Change, and the existence of technology that would solve the energy problem safely.

One of the major sources of confusion is lack of good information about the realities of Nuclear Technology. It is my intention to help journalists realize that many of the common conclusions so often repeated are simply wrong.

The whole situation in Germany, where the Green Party operating on a totally incorrect negative attitude toward nuclear power has generated so much baseless fear on the part of the public that the country is planning to shut down its well developed and reasonably safe nuclear industry is a terrible mistake.

Their effort to replace nuclear power with Solar has failed. They are planning to build several new coal plants, and that is an environmental disaster.

These are problems we must solve. The LFTR is the best solution we have, safe and effective and less expensive than coal - even if we do not consider the ecological damage of coal.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-24 11:43
(By the way, I did chose the word "recuse" in a humorous vein, since Mr Boardman has a legal background.)
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2013-10-24 17:51
Well said.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-25 04:16
Thanks for a reasonable and thoughtful response, EternalTruth.

If we could tap into all the Knee-Jerk energy around here we wouldn't need Nuclear Power or Fossil Fuel.
 
 
+3 # cordleycoit 2013-10-24 11:14
The Times never did get over Judith Miller.
 
 
+1 # JohnBoanerges 2013-10-24 11:19
I don't "know" anything either except that nothing other than thorium reactors ought ever have been used. Nuclear weapons be damned (damned damned damned ...). I wonder, though, if encasement in rigid foam might have helped. Certainly using concrete would add to the weight upon a sensitive fault.
 
 
+1 # James38 2013-10-24 12:54
John, the Fukushima reactors should never have been built where they were. There are ancient stones ringing the coast of Japan on the hillsides saying "Do not build your homes below this point".

Some of the stones are more than 600 years old.

Search "Japan Tsunami Warning Stones" or See: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/world/asia/21stones.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
 
 
+1 # JohnBoanerges 2013-10-24 15:04
Dear James38,
I certainly agree that no industrial activity ought be sited there and the stones reinforce that wisdom. They do not even "know" about fault lines but I bet there are significant lay lines that point to that (and lay lines require no seismic activity to reveal themselves).
 
 
+6 # Anarchist 23 2013-10-24 11:27
I hear the measurement of Cesium at Fuk-U-Shima is at over 400,000 becquerels per liter. And in only a week, TEPCO is going to start trying to dismantle that perilous storage tank. Three words ' On the Beach'
 
 
-6 # JohnBoanerges 2013-10-24 11:38
And James38, while I share common ground with you about thorium and agree heartily about the deaths involved in the mining of coal, oil and NG (as well as the operation and construction of those power plants and associated industries), I hardly wish to join in the 'climate change fools chorus' about CO2. After all, counting those other early deaths means that you can't ignore the poverty imposed upon economies because of elitist 'carbon taxes'. The scientists currently suing Gore are truly 'my friends'.
 
 
+2 # James38 2013-10-24 12:48
The LFTR is so safe and will be so inexpensive that the power needs of poor countries can be met. They can receive all the benefits of cheap electricity, which will help them immensely to raise their standard of living.

With LFTR there is no need for them to suffer from a "carbon tax".

Also, if you doubt the danger of CO2, you need to look at the recent reports of the accelerating melting of the Greenland Ice Cap, and the also accelerating melting of the Antarctic Ice. Warming oceans are undermining the underwater ice that holds the WAIS (West Antarctic Ice Sheet) in place. If that ice collapses into the ocean, there will be up to 14 feet of ocean rise above the six to ten feet generally predicted for the end of this century.

Climate models and predictions have notoriously underestimated the acceleration of Climate Change. We are in a lot of trouble. If we don't take steps to quit the burning of fossil fuels, future generations will call us the "Worst Generation" - the ones who destroyed the climate in our greed for profit and easy energy.
 
 
+2 # WBoardman 2013-10-24 13:14
While I have heard about the wonders of thorium
fora number of years now,
I have never heard a credible explanation of why,
if they really are as good as people say
(and I have no reason to doubt at this point),
then why haven't market forces
spread them around the world already?

There must be some reason, no?
 
 
+2 # James38 2013-10-24 13:41
Mr Boardman, the answers are clearly explained in the books I have recommended, especially in "Super Fuel".

Simply put, as I stated above, "The basic form of the LFTR has been tested and run for about 25,000 hours. The prototype still exists at Oak Ridge. We need to insist that the government fully fund the research and development of these reactors. They can be in use, producing power, in ten years or less if the project is fully supported. These reactor types can be built in smaller sizes and would be ideal for ocean vessels and remote areas. They are so safe they do not require massive containment structures, and they do not use water for cooling, so no need for massive cooling towers either. It is absurd that this program has been shut down for so long. It was only abandoned because originally reactors that could generate weapons grade material were wanted, and the LFTR is not a good design for doing that. Nobody would ever use a LFTR for weapons production."

You may not have "heard a credible explanation of why" yet, but now the information is before you.

One difficulty with the "market forces" surrounding Nuclear Reactor Design is that the major companies have a big investment in solid fuel water cooled reactors that began when the emphasis was on weapons development. We need to change that habitual focus by emphasizing the many advantages of the LFTR, safety and lower cost being two of them.
 
 
0 # WBoardman 2013-10-24 14:43
Inability to produce weapons material
is not a reason for avoiding thorium
to produce electricity.

Reading between the lines, you seem to be saying
that thorium reactors couldn't cut it economically
because governments didn't want them
and government subsidies to fission reactors
distorted the marketplace and made thorium
non-competitive .

The investment argument doesn't explain why
others don't make new investments
or why the already-investe d continue
to throw bad money after good.
 
 
-2 # James38 2013-10-24 16:36
Huh? "Inability to produce weapons material is not a reason for avoiding
thorium to produce electricity." Well, yes, but what is your point?

Then you say, "Reading between the lines, you seem to be saying that thorium reactors couldn't cut it economically because governments didn't want them...."

LFTR has yet to compete on the market because it was shelved and all government support went to the solid fuel reactors. Then the bottom dropped out of the Nuclear power industry because of byzantine regulations and foot dragging. Cost overruns and schedule delays became deadly. The absurd bugaboo of the "waste storage problem" was thrown up as another reason not to build nukes, but opposition by the coal and oil magnates may have been behind some of that. The "waste problem" is only half-real. Fortunately the "waste" can be used as fuel by LFTR, but storage has been accomplished in situ and at WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant). Look it up. (Extensively discussed in "Power to Save the World" by Gwyneth Cravens)


Read "Super Fuel" for the history. Besides, a Thorium reactor IS a "fission reactor"

Read the books. LFTRs will eventually replace solid fuel reactors. They are simply superior for power generation.
 
 
+1 # WBoardman 2013-10-25 11:26
That's pretty much the history I had in mind,
thorium couldn't compete without government subsidy.

So far, that's still a unanimous business decision.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-25 17:28
Mr Boardman, I edited my comment to make more sense.

"...and government subsidies to fission reactors distorted the marketplace and made thorium non-competitive ."

More like it simply removed Thorium research and development altogether. The companies with solid fuel experience had a lock on the market because they were the only sources of new fuel rods. That gave them a pretty effective monopoly, and in the reduced (virtually eliminated) market for new construction in the US, they had no incentive to do any new research or development.

The decision to drop the LFTR development program in the 1970's was a bad mistake.

You are correct to think that government subsidy or investment in a LFTR program would be of great importance.
 
 
0 # NOMINAE 2013-10-25 23:30
Quoting WBoardman:
That's pretty much the history I had in mind,
thorium couldn't compete without government subsidy.

So far, that's still a unanimous business decision.


Absolutely so, and it is likely the necessity to attain and maintain such subsidies that inspirers many Thorium proponents to this day.
 
 
-1 # NOMINAE 2013-10-24 21:22
Quoting James38:
Mr Boardman, the answers are clearly explained in the books I have recommended, especially in "Super Fuel".


Reading the books you recommend is like determining the relative danger of smoking cigarettes by reading materials from the Tobacco "Scientists" insisting that nicotine is *not*
a physically addictive substance.

Or like the "data" produced for residents of Las Vegas insisting that the fallout from the above-ground Nevada Test
Site in the 1950s was somehow even "good for" people.

So long as Thorium proponents are thrashing about trying to gain or maintain their government subsidies, all of your "data" is likewise suspect.

The *MAIN* point, however, the reason that people need NOT be Nuclear Physicists (as you yourself obviously are not.... you are merely attempting to proselytize with your little "mini-bibles" here), is the *OBVIOUS* fact that Thorium
reactors, or any *OTHER* kind of Nuclear Reactors, are simply *NOT NEEDED*.

Not with wind and solar quickly filling those same needs,
and recently becoming more than cost effective.

Thorium enthusiasts are still recommending shooting at gnats with mountain howitzers, simply because that's what keeps their coffers and money bags filled.

It is certainly no *logical* means of solving a problem.

If it were such a dandy idea, you would not need to be shilling, pandering, and peddling the idea here, people all over the globe would be *stealing* it from you.
 
 
-3 # James38 2013-10-25 04:22
Nominae, you are stuffed full of anti-nuke propaganda like a big Pinata.

Read the books before you judge them.

That is the honest and logical thing to do.

They will stand up to your examination.
 
 
0 # NOMINAE 2013-10-25 18:41
Quoting James38:
Nominae, you are stuffed full of anti-nuke propaganda like a big Pinata.

Read the books before you judge them.

That is the honest and logical thing to do.

They will stand up to your examination.


Wow! A "big Pinata" ! Was the appellation: "doo-doo head" above the descriptive power of your pay grade ?

I worked with and flew nuclear weapons for years in the military.

Do not presume to tell me how much I *don't* know about nuclear energy.

Especially so, when all of what *you* know seems to come from two books already debunked by organizations such as the National Academy of Scientists, and even from the known "friends of Industry", the EPA website.

Some people speak from experience others repeat propaganda (those such as yourself, I might add, who will not touch a valid "counterpoint" with a ten foot rod.)

The propaganda technique of repeat, repeat, repeat the Big Lie, mixed with actual facts, is *much* older than you are.

So is name-calling like a second-grader in a sand box.

You risk boring your audience entirely.

You employ such basic and simple sophistry on this thread that a more skilled functionary would blanch in shame.
 
 
+1 # James38 2013-10-27 05:08
First, thank you for your service, Nominae.

That said, flying nuclear weapons around does not qualify you to be an expert on reactor design.

Your excursions into name calling have been repeated and egregious.

Calling you a Pinata was an attempt at humor. A little silly, I admit, but far lighter than your constant refusal to read some very important and totally documented books.

So instead of spending any more time telling me how many kinds of an idiot I am, why don't you just read a book and then tell us what you think.

Otherwise, it is your repetitious and information-fre e comments that are boring.
 
 
+7 # marigayl 2013-10-24 11:39
James 38 employs the same tired old arguments cherished by the nuclear priesthood--tha t anyone less initiated to the mysteries of their nuclear god is not qualified to pronounce this god deadly. To them the non-initiates are too ignorant to be accorded the right to an opinion. Still, there have been plenty of defectors from the priesthood,thos e with comparable "expert" inside knowledge but with no longer any financial dog in this race, who have warned against the dangers of nuclear accident, have tracked the cancer spikes in the neighborhood of nuclear reactors, have measured the health effects of even low level radiation,and spoken out in no uncertain terms against the nuclear industry. Should we suppose that those who decided Chernobyl should become a ghost town in the wake of its little nuclear accident were mere amateurs?
 
 
-1 # James38 2013-10-24 12:40
marigayl, you are the one repeating tired old arguments. Please get the books I have mentioned. They all deal with the issues you mention. You will be pleasantly surprised at the clarity and exemplary documentation they offer.

I am glad you are concerned. Now go get some more information so you can focus your concern more accurately.

For example, cancer spikes in the neighborhood of nuclear reactors are a myth. Reactors emit significantly less radiation than coal fired plants do. Reactors are held to an essentially zero emission standard. Coal plants are held to no radiation standard at all.

One of the best discussions of Chernobyl is found in "Power to Save the World" by Gwyneth Cravens.

One interesting and unexpected benefit of the Chernobyl disaster is that the great majority of the exclusion zone has become an amazingly well developed natural wildlife refuge. Species that were threatened are rebounding. Efforts to keep it undeveloped are underway.
 
 
+4 # kenny-ji 2013-10-24 11:40
James38 is clearly biased for nuclear power, albeit perhaps a "safer" type of system. However, he clearly is not up on the competitiveness of solar and wind power in terms of monetary and environmental costs. To go for nuclear, of any sort, is insane when in 10 years, the whole world could be powered by solar and wind alone, and with minimal effect on environment.
 
 
-3 # JohnBoanerges 2013-10-24 12:06
kwalton, you seem clearly biased in favor of wind/wave/tide/ solar/etc. You are likely, therefore, to overlook the transfer effects of early death created by the industries building your favored infrastructure (heavily subsidized). AN-y-how, just measure against thorium which is safer AND cheaper in economic and human terms. Just sayin. BTW, I have some expertise in the alt energy field, having worked class 290 (AND 318) at the USPTO for a number of years.
 
 
0 # JohnBoanerges 2013-10-24 13:05
When I crafted the above reply, it was to "kwalton". Now the same passage is attributed to "kenny-ji". What gives?
 
 
+1 # James38 2013-10-24 14:02
Me too with my reply to kwalton below. Strange. Edited?
 
 
+1 # kenny-ji 2013-10-24 21:09
Quoting JohnBoanerges:
When I crafted the above reply, it was to "kwalton". Now the same passage is attributed to "kenny-ji". What gives?

The reason for this "mysterious change" is that first (before kwalton) I accidentally had used my real email address as a username. When I contacted the host about that, they changed the name to kwalton and also gave me the opportunity to change it again if I wished, which I did.
 
 
+2 # kenny-ji 2013-10-24 21:06
Quoting JohnBoanerges:
kwalton, you seem clearly biased in favor of wind/wave/tide/solar/etc. You are likely, therefore, to overlook the transfer effects of early death created by the industries building your favored infrastructure (heavily subsidized). AN-y-how, just measure against thorium which is safer AND cheaper in economic and human terms. Just sayin. BTW, I have some expertise in the alt energy field, having worked class 290 (AND 318) at the USPTO for a number of years.

A lot must depend on who is doing the analysis. I have seen numbers showing solar, especially, now that photovoltaic cells are cheaper and more efficient than they were, and wind are far cheaper than any other energy source currently in the mainstream pipeline. I believe you have it backwards about the subsidization. Solar and wind have had little to none compared with nuclear and petroleum based systems. And waste disposal is never considered in the cost of nuclear.
 
 
-1 # James38 2013-10-24 12:25
kwalton, I am not biased. I would be delighted if Solar and Wind could compete with Nuclear Power (especially the LFTR).

You, however, have missed some of the essential analysis of the costs of Solar and Wind power.

The sheer amount of steel, aluminum, cement, and other materials (including the expensive rare-earth magnets in wind turbines) add up to an enormous expense.
Then you add in service life and the distance from population centers of most of the sites for generation of Solar and Wind power - that means the construction of major new extensions of the grid, which is another huge expense.

And then you run into the fact that wind and solar are both intermittent. Grid power must be stable and constant. They both have many uses, but the grid can only absorb a limited amount of variable power.

After that limit you need storage (not yet available economically) or other backup that will supply the power that is not coming from the Solar or wind installation. The cheapest backup is the latest CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine) generator. But those work best when run continuously, and can not be easily shut down and started back up. So the cost of the backup becomes prohibitive by itself.

Geothermal is the current best alternative green energy source, since it is continuous. In any case the LFTR is needed to consume "Nuclear Waste" and convert it to power, solving the storage problem.
 
 
-3 # JohnBoanerges 2013-10-24 12:48
The strongest argument, it seems to me, is the complexity of the systems needed to run and maintain alt energy systems and their vulnerability to cyber attack. There was an article just yesterday about how non-security engineers discovered catastrophic faults in the software running power grids. And, I like geothermal pretty well from my USPTO exposure. I remember that pumped power as being pretty cheap storage. From some nuc weapon background, I recall that lithium can hold an awful lot of hydrogen at low temp and pressure, too. As I hinted at, the infrastructure expenses greatly exceed constant output power plants and the fact that the environmental degradation in the magnet producing areas is facilely ignored by the greenies.
 
 
-2 # James38 2013-10-24 14:14
Another problem with the Grid is its growing size which will only get larger if more wind and solar sites are connected - and the larger it is the more vulnerable it is to a solar flare. A Big Flare would wipe out our communication satellites, and unless the grid were far better protected with very large circuit breakers than it is, we would have a major grid wipe-out also. The big transformers could be burned out, and those babies are so large and expensive and durable (under ordinary use) that there are few spares sitting around. So we would have to wait while they were manufactured. That takes a long time under ideal conditions. Try it with no functioning grid. We could be a nation without much power anywhere for months. Imagine the food distribution problems. Most refrigeration out, rail systems without power - not too good.

Yes, some of the rare-earth mines have been very messy in the past. But one good thing is all the thorium that has been mined and left sitting around because there was no use for it. Free fuel for a long time has already been mined. Add in the "Nuclear Waste" that LFTR can use as fuel, and we would be in good shape for a while. Fuel costs would be down to processing only.
 
 
+2 # kenny-ji 2013-10-24 21:22
James38 "Another problem with the Grid is its growing size which will only get larger if more wind and solar sites are connected..."

The point I made above about distributed energy systems seems not to have occurred to you. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, of course, but have you really thought about the advantages of distributed solar and wind power systems? Our system supplies 13 homes very well, and at a cost comparable to grid rates.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-25 09:32
kenny-ji:

I was not ignoring "distributed Power", I was just talking about something else. The large grid has problems - including expense and vulnerability to Solar Flares.

Distributed power is great in areas of lower population density. It is not so effective or even possible in big cities, especially in high latitudes.

However, much can be done, also using waste heat from other processes, and geothermal is seriously underdeveloped.

LFTR power can be another form of distributed power, since the reactors are so safe they can be located near all population centers, and they can be built to any size needed. Large installations would consist of several smaller reactors so that one could be off-line for servicing and the rest would maintain output.

With enough LFTR and other sources in use, the grid would become mostly obsolete. That would save us a lot of money, while the LFTR fleet was burning our piles of Nuclear "Waste" for energy.

There is no contradiction between developing the various forms of non-polluting energy sources. LFTR is just one of them, and happens to be seriously superior to other forms of Nuclear Fission Power.
 
 
-1 # kenny-ji 2013-10-24 21:19
Quoting JohnBoanerges:
The strongest argument, it seems to me, is the complexity of the systems needed to run and maintain alt energy systems and their vulnerability to cyber attack. There was an article just yesterday about how non-security engineers discovered catastrophic faults in the software running power grids. And, I like geothermal pretty well from my USPTO exposure. I remember that pumped power as being pretty cheap storage. From some nuc weapon background, I recall that lithium can hold an awful lot of hydrogen at low temp and pressure, too. As I hinted at, the infrastructure expenses greatly exceed constant output power plants and the fact that the environmental degradation in the magnet producing areas is facilely ignored by the greenies.

Are you trying to tell me that running off solar and wind is more complicated than nuclear, or even coal? Where did that idea come from? It's certainly not what we have experienced.
 
 
+1 # kenny-ji 2013-10-24 21:17
James38, I wonder where you got your numbers. I have seen figures that show the opposite of what you indicate as cost.
No doubt there are negative environmental effects of building any of these energy sources, but I would be surprised indeed if you could show honest numbers where nuclear cost less than solar, and even wind turbines.

Storage is certainly a problem for the current sun and wind powered systems, but evidence indicates strides are being made toward solving the storage problem.

As for the grid, I personally am not dependent on the electrical grid and am happy with that. Distributed energy supply is safer and cheaper in the long run than a fully grid-based supply. Probably best is a combination. Certainly a combination is what we will get for a long time.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-25 04:47
kenny-ji, I will be delighted if the storage problem is solved. I have no axe to grind about energy sources.

The fact is that we desperately need to quit burning Coal, oil, and Natural Gas as soon as possible.

LFTR is the quickest safe way to replace coal as a major source of electricity. That is why I recommend it.

LFTR also allows us to convert present stockpiles of Nuclear "Waste" into energy.

That is called "making lemonade out of the lemon."

Using LFTR technology is a solution to some of our worst problems. Grid ready solar and wind power will also be excellent when they can be used in this way.

The people here who constantly make foolish criticisms are victims of anti-nuke propaganda. They just need to take a step back and think about where they have gotten their ideas. Not one of them has actually read the available literature on Nuclear Energy. If you read the books, you will understand. Kind of simple, really.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-25 04:35
Also, kenny-ji, solar has received such large subsidies in Germany that electricity bills have risen dramatically. Germany is experiencing major problems with industries closing and leaving because of rises in energy costs.

Solar and wind have both received major subsidies in the US as well, with utility companies forced to pay premium prices for electricity from them. In Hawaii a major subsidy for Solar power is about to be cancelled because the grid can not absorb any more variable power, but the power company has been forced to buy excess production from solar installations.

In other comments here I have discussed other problems with the variability of solar and wind.

While "waste disposal" is actually not a very expensive part of the Solid Fuel process, "disposing" of Nuclear "Waste" is throwing away good fuel. The LFTR can use present stockpiles of Nuclear "Waste" as fuel, eliminating the storage problem completely.

You will probably be surprised at the amount of the original energy still present in so-called Nuclear Waste. It contains 95% or more of the original energy. It is because of inherent problems with solid fuel reactors that the fuel rods become unusable after only 2-5% of the energy is consumed.

Continued
 
 
+1 # James38 2013-10-25 04:38
Continuing

Solid fuel rods and other forms of solid fuel have two problems. They can overheat uncontrollably if there is a problem with the reactor cooling pumps - leading to a melt-down. And the reaction products accumulate in the fuel, slowing the reaction.

The LFTR (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor) can not melt down (the fuel is already a liquid), and the reaction products are removed continuously from a loop in the fuel flow system. There is no need to shut down the reactor for refueling. New fuel can be added as needed while the reactor is running.
 
 
+7 # DeadlyClear 2013-10-24 11:47
During nuclear testing in the Pacific below Tahiti years ago, residents reported cases of scombroid poisoning from their reef fish. It is a debilitating illness that causes loss of vision, inability to walk and talk worse than a tequila drunken binge... prickly feeling in the mouth, tongue and throughout the body like someone poured antifreeze down your throat. Eventually you are in a delirious state. Just one spot on a fish, if you happen to get it will cause this reaction. The locals in Tahiti surmised it was fallout from the testing and for a while it was quite pervasive.

Last week I contracted scombroid from a Mahimahi fish dinner at a local restaurant in Hawaii. Before the poison consumed my body we researched the symptoms I was experiencing. It was the middle of the night when it worsened and we had to call the doctor - other than Zirtex-type medications there is very little you can do but ride out the poison.

Concerned that others might get the same thing we tried to alert the CDC - of course their system was affected by the shutdown. We managed to reach the state DOH and called the restaurant. It's still unknown if there is any kind of collective data to monitor if this poisoning is on the rise.

Was it a freak accident or mishandling of the fish - or is the radiation beginning to affect the fish? In any case I'm off of reef fish for a while.
 
 
+1 # neis 2013-10-24 11:55
James38: "The LNT (Linear No Threshold) concept that says there is no safe level of radiation, and that all radiation causes cumulative damage is totally wrong."
You might explain how your conclusion is more correct than the National Academy of Sciences' BEIR VII report of 2006, which concludes the opposite?
The very first line you write is also incorrect, in that all of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors were GE BOILING water reactors, 4 with the highly vulnerable Mark-1 and -II containments. They are NOT pressurized water reactors. Both PWRs and BWRs are LIGHT water reactors, though.
I don't expect a person to know everything; but I DO expect him/her to know what they claim they're talking about.
 
 
-3 # James38 2013-10-24 12:10
neis, you need to read the books I recommended. You will learn, among other things, that both BWRs and PWRs operate at high pressures. The PwRs operate at the highest pressure of the two types.

The NAS report, assuming it says what you say it does, is simply wrong. The LNT theory, formed in ignorance of the simple fact of background radiation being obviously harmless, has been totally discredited. In spite of being illogical from the beginning, it has been published as fact in numerous places and has been enshrined in many regulations that have caused much confusion and needless expense. For example, much of the mandated cleanup effort at Hanford is a waste of money. They are going after traces of radiation that are harmless.

You could also read the excellent book "Power to Save the World" by Gwyneth Cravens. She travels and studies with a Nuclear Waste disposal expert from Sandia Labs, and discusses the history and development of Nuclear technology with great clarity.
 
 
-1 # Lorraine B. 2013-10-24 13:43
Dear James, Perhaps you should write a book. It seems you know more than the average bear about this topic.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-24 14:26
Thanks, Lorraine. Actually I am writing a book on this and Climate Change and what we can do about it all.

I find these discussions extremely valuable to test my knowledge. If I can answer all the objections and arguments that crop up, I will be just that much more likely to write a complete and useful book.

I do get annoyed when people vote negatively when they obviously have not bothered to read the available literature - or even watch the recorded lecture.

It is pretty easy to confuse your opinions with facts - until you really start thinking seriously and questioning all of your assumptions - trying to actually figure out where your ideas about what is real actually came from.
 
 
0 # NOMINAE 2013-10-24 21:57
Quoting James38:


I do get annoyed when people vote negatively when they obviously have not bothered to read the available literature - or even watch the recorded lecture.


No..... I hear ya ! It must be worse than handing out religious screeds produced by minority organized religious Sects.

What a heartbreak to go to all the work and expense of producing slick industry propaganda, (and even a nice a/v presentation for those who won't / don't read) only to have
people pass up the *entire* carefully-craft ed kool aid stand altogether !

What's a proselytizing acolyte to do ? If people could just be forced to read the Official Sales Manuals, said people would *still* not be Nuclear Physicists, but the books might be all the better tool with which to bamboozle the people, because, unlike venues such as the RSN comment thread, the book would brook no countervailing opinion, or include any pesky points to ponder with which the "new faithful" should *never* be allowed to bother their pretty little heads.

So, indeed, it would appear that woe *is* you. My deepest condolences.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2013-10-24 17:55
I would agree if you were being sarcastic. Not otherwise.
 
 
+4 # AndreM5 2013-10-24 14:22
"The NAS report, assuming it says what you say it does, is simply wrong."

Hmm. You espouse such expertise on the topic but you are not familiar with BEIR VII????

That does it for me, James38. I have better things to do with my time.
 
 
-6 # James38 2013-10-24 16:47
Andre, it appears that you have better things to do with your time than actually reading a book or two.

(I was tired when I wrote my response about BEIR. Sorry for being silly.)

But lets not quibble about the books. They are excellent and worth reading.
 
 
+1 # AndreM5 2013-10-25 08:22
Then how do you know BEIR VII is nonsense? One of your books said so? At least I quote peer-reviewed sources of scientific fact, not "books" and lectures without attribution. The scientific method is flawed but it is not faith-based, subject to testing, and therefore subject to revision as new facts are confirmed.

"...reading a book or two?" Yikes. Sounds like something I heard in middle school. At least you seem to be enjoying yourself. You have no idea who I am or what I know, but you are very confident in yourself.

You might enjoy investigating another fascinating recent topic in psychology literature. It repeatedly demonstrates how incompetent individuals are usually incapable of recognizing their own incompetence and thus always overestimate their performance versus their peers. More knowledgeable individuals recognize their knowledge is limited and are more modest about self-assessment .
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-25 11:42
Andre:

Thanks for the upbraiding. I deserved it.

But read the damn books. You aren't perfect either.
 
 
+1 # NOMINAE 2013-10-25 18:48
Quoting AndreM5:
Then how do you know BEIR VII is nonsense? One of your books said so? At least I quote peer-reviewed sources of scientific fact, not "books" and lectures without attribution. The scientific method is flawed but it is not faith-based, subject to testing, and therefore subject to revision as new facts are confirmed.

"...reading a book or two?" Yikes. Sounds like something I heard in middle school. At least you seem to be enjoying yourself. You have no idea who I am or what I know, but you are very confident in yourself.

You might enjoy investigating another fascinating recent topic in psychology literature. It repeatedly demonstrates how incompetent individuals are usually incapable of recognizing their own incompetence and thus always overestimate their performance versus their peers. More knowledgeable individuals recognize their knowledge is limited and are more modest about self-assessment.


Verily, AndreM5, thou hast summarily *NAILED* it. ;-))
Would that I could applaud that comment with ten to the tenth power "Thumbs up".

Blind Self-Confidence is the stock in trade of the used car salesman, not the Scientist.
 
 
+2 # NOMINAE 2013-10-25 00:39
Quoting James38:
neis, you need to read the books I recommended...........


I disagree. I am of the opinion that you still need to respond to the query from neis: "You might explain how your conclusion is more correct than the National Academy of Sciences' BEIR VII report of 2006, which concludes the opposite?"

Just *saying* that you know *far* more than the NAS professionals just doesn't quite wash in terms of credentials.

By your ever-present exhortation to others to quote sources, etc., I am hereby exhorting *you* to answer the query from neis.

Upon what grounds *do* you claim to know more than all of the trained, experienced, and professional Scientists at the National Academy of Science ? This is sounding more and more like used car salesmanship by the minute.

Please enlighten us.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-25 04:50
Nominae:

Read all the comments I have posted. That entire discussion is already here.

See my reply to "Mr Boardman" just a few comments below for one example.
 
 
+1 # NOMINAE 2013-10-25 20:23
Quoting James38:
Nominae:

Read all the comments I have posted. That entire discussion is already here.

See my reply to "Mr Boardman" just a few comments below for one example.


I have indeed read your comments above, which have in *NO WAY* answered the question put by either neis or myself :

"Upon what grounds *do* you claim to know more than all of the trained, experienced, and professional Scientists at the National Academy of Science ? This is sounding more and more like used car salesmanship by the minute."

Can you see that there is a *HUGE* difference between *answering* a question and in *dodging* a question ?
Industry shills, like politicians do *NOT* answer direct questions.

Your simple act of dodging the question reveals more than might any substantive answer you could advance.

Thanks for the "reveal".
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-27 05:35
Nominae - the simple logic is as follows:

In areas of the planet where the normal background radiation is well above average, no additional cases of cancer or other illness are found, even in people who have lived there for generations.

Another interesting observation is that during the time that life originated on this planet, the background radiation level was significantly higher than it is at present. There are interesting theories dealing with the idea that this level of radiation was actually essential for the development of life itself.

And third, there is the fully documented case of the apartment complex built in Taiwan using steel accidentally contaminated with Cobalt 60. 8000 people over a period of twenty years were exposed to an average 400 mSv level of radiation.

Standard theory would expect 186 cases of cancer in that group of 8000 persons.

Linear No Threshold theory predicts 242 cases of cancer.

The observed number of cases was 5. Five.

Hormesis, the theory that there is a level of radiation that is not just harmless, but is actually beneficial has been tested in many ways. This unplanned experiment on 8000 humans is unprecedented, and represents a unique opportunity to see hormesis supported in a large human sample.
 
 
+2 # angelfish 2013-10-24 12:46
Life is so much easier when you bury your head in the sand, isn't it? Sadly, it will ALL come back to harm and haunt us, sooner most probably, than later. Maybe when Man-Eating Mutants walk out of the Oceans and begin eating us, SOMEONE in Washington will suggest they have a Hearing to determine if and when they MIGHT act on some sort of, you know, PREVENTATIVE measures to ensure the safety of the World! Unfortunately with THIS bunch they'll most likely blame the President and try and use it as Campaign fodder! Pitiful!
 
 
+3 # WBoardman 2013-10-24 13:00
This history of LNT is just wrong.

The dangers from even low levels or radiation have been understand to be real, albeit difficult to quantify,
for more than a century.

The "threshold" theory was embraced by the
nuclear industry with the same apparent motivation
that led them to measure radiation in
"sunshine units"

The idea that any radiation exposure is potentially
damaging has been resisted for decades by
the nuclear industry and is only consensus science
of relatively recent vintage.

No serious person thinks background radiation is "safe."
It's unavoidable, but it rarely kills you outright --
or even ever. Just because you can't live long enough to die from a poison doesn't mean the thing that would kill you if it could is not a poison.

By Hanover, one assumes the reference is to Hanford --
unless there's strangeness we don't know about
at Dartmouth. ;-))

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_no-threshold_model

BEIR VII says, in part:
"The scientific research base shows that there is no threshold of exposure below which low levels of ionizing radiation can be demonstrated to be harmless or beneficial."
 
 
+3 # AndreM5 2013-10-24 14:06
Yes it is wrong, and the conclusions about low dose exposures is very much out of date with recent studies of CT involving millions of patients.
 
 
-3 # James38 2013-10-24 16:49
References, Andre, References?
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-25 05:07
Gotta say there are some real geniuses around here. Negative votes for asking for references?

Care to explain why? I have given references for all of my information.
 
 
+2 # AndreM5 2013-10-25 08:01
Try looking above.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-25 09:42
You get a plus vote from me on that comment. I have seen and thanked you for the references.

You are obviously well informed and some of your criticisms of some offhand comments I made are reasonable. However, lets not get crosswise and wind up arguing apples and oranges.

Please do take the time to read the books I have recommended. They are well worth your attention, and once you have digested them, you and I will be much more likely to have a good discussion of the real issues.
 
 
-2 # James38 2013-10-24 14:38
Mr Boardman:

I corrected the Hanford mistake. Thank you.

BEIR VII is wrong. See "Thorium, Energy Cheaper Than Coal" by Dr Robert Hargraves, Page 327. The Taiwan event. Read the chapter on Safety. Then, what the heck, read the whole book.

You are quoting stuff you don't have the knowledge to evaluate.

One interesting observation is that during the time that life originated on this planet, the background radiation level was significantly higher than it is at present. There are interesting theories dealing with the idea that this level of radiation was actually essential for the development of life itself.
 
 
+1 # NOMINAE 2013-10-25 00:12
Quoting James38:
Mr Boardman:

I corrected the Hanford mistake. Thank you.

BEIR VII is wrong. See "Thorium, Energy Cheaper Than Coal" by Dr Robert Hargraves, Page 327. The Taiwan event. Read the chapter on Safety. Then, what the heck, read the whole book.

You are quoting stuff you don't have the knowledge to evaluate.


And in braying your own implied superior intelligence, who are you trying to convince ..... us ? ..... or yourself ? More likely the latter, because most of us are a "no sale".

You do, I hope, recognize the fact that quoting your Industry Sales Manual is not the same as quoting facts from unbiased sources ?

I have watched you repeatedly dodge, and pointedly ignore facts from unbiased sources each and every time use of the word "energy" brings the Thorium shills out of the woodwork with the self-same industry approved drone-on.

So with all of your condescending arrogance, you are simply proving, like many narcissistic bullies, that you really have no unassailable facts, but are forced to hide behind the skirts of oft-repeated references to your Industry "bible".

"You can fool some of the people all of time....." good luck with the rest.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-25 04:56
Nominae, you call me arrogant?

What a joke. You are quite the humorist.

Also, pretty much a troll, since you just repeat criticisms without bothering to get into the facts.

"Industry Sales Manual"? Silly and childish, Nominae. Show us one.

I guess it is better in "Nominae World" to blabber on and on instead of simply reading the books I suggested.

I mean, how arrogant could I get, actually suggesting a source of information.

Heavens, how could I do such a thing?
 
 
-1 # NOMINAE 2013-10-25 20:44
Quoting James38:

"Industry Sales Manual"? Silly and childish, Nominae. Show us one.

I guess it is better in "Nominae World" to blabber on and on instead of simply reading the books I suggested.

I mean, how arrogant could I get, actually suggesting a source of information.


Again a weak attempt at misdirection, and may I observe that you are no stronger in terms of satire than you are in logic.

The "Industry Sales Manuals" are those very books that you insist people read because you cannot present a cogent case for an insane prospect any other way. Therefore, I show you TWO.

Read the book, read the book, read the book, how much else have you borrowed from scientology ?

Again, "reading the book" is analogous to seeking unbiased data on smoking from the Tobacco Institute. Not that strong.

And, as convinced as you seem to be that, ENRON-like, you are the "smartest boys in the room", how can you expect we mere mortals to comprehend the pseudo-science gobbledy-gook presented in the book ?

I can comfortably call it so, because pseudo-science gobbledy-gook, mixed with actual fact, and the aggressive eluding of data from both the National Academy of Science, and the EPA Website is what you have been consistently presenting on this thread, so either your books are more of the same, or you yourself do not understand your books.

Either way, not exactly a "ringing endorsement" for what you are so doggedly peddling.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-27 05:18
Nominae, you accuse me of "misdirection" when your entire argument is based on variations of ways to avoid reading some well documented and extremely important books.

Allow me to recommend another one for you.

"Merchants of Doubt" by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway.

You constantly refer to the tobacco industry. Oreskes and Conway show how the same folks who invented the Tobacco Evasions went on to support Climate Change Denial with the same tactics.

Quite a fascinating book, extensively documented - as are the other books I have recommended.

I have taken you seriously, and expect no less from you.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-27 14:47
Nominae, it appears to me that you and possibly Mr Boardman are simply going to refuse to read the books I have brought to your attention.

This means only one thing - you are not interested in an actual study of the subject, nor are you interested in an honest and objective search for the truth.

That leads to the conclusion that you are in the exact same category with the pseudo-scientis ts who created the techniques that were used to defend the Tobacco Industry against an unassailable body of tested and proven facts.

Unless you both quit this dance of refusal to actually look at the information available, there will be no further reason to attempt to communicate with you.

One of the main tactics of this type of propagandist is to constantly produce arguments that mean nothing and discuss no real issues, but just waste the time of a person who wants to have a sincere discussion.

Is this what you wish to be known as doing? Anyone reading this whole exchange can clearly see the trends. One constant fact is that you have refused, for no clear or reasonable reason, to read and discuss the actual facts about the topic.

Instead you both just keep repeating the same evasions, and constantly try to distract the conversation into unproductive dead ends.

There is a way to re-establish your credibility. Quit stonewalling valuable information. Read it, and then discuss it openly and honestly.

Nothing else will do.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-27 05:40
Mr Boardman, I quote my reply to Nominae, who has been asking the same questions about difficulties with the LNT theory.

The simple logic is as follows:

In areas of the planet where the normal background radiation is well above average, no additional cases of cancer or other illness are found, even in people who have lived there for generations.

Another interesting observation is that during the time that life originated on this planet, the background radiation level was significantly higher than it is at present. There are interesting theories dealing with the idea that this level of radiation was actually essential for the development of life itself.

And third, there is the fully documented case of the apartment complex built in Taiwan unknowingly using steel contaminated with Cobalt 60. 8000 people over a period of twenty years were exposed to an average 400 mSv level of radiation.

Standard theory would expect 186 cases of cancer in that group of 8000 persons.

Linear No Threshold theory predicts 242 cases of cancer.

The observed number of cases was 5. Five.

Hormesis, the theory that there is a level of radiation that is not just harmless, but is actually beneficial has been tested in many ways. This unplanned experiment on 8000 humans is unprecedented, and represents a unique opportunity to see hormesis supported in a large human sample.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-27 05:43
cancelling repeated comment
 
 
+1 # Quickmatch 2013-10-24 13:02
no one seems to know, or no one is telling, just where that Strontium-90 comes from.

The Web tells me that strontium 90 is produced by nuclear fission. All nuclear reactors, as well as nuclear bombs using uranium produce it. It's a well known fact. How could Mr Bordman have missed that?
 
 
+4 # WBoardman 2013-10-24 13:06
Apologies for any ambiguity --

what I was reporting was that the Strontium-90
now appearing at Fukushima has no specific
identifiable source, or so they say.

Of course it's a fission product, but whether this
particular Strontium-90 comes from fission
in melted down reactor 1, or
in melted-down reactor 2, or
in melted-down reactor 3, or
somewhere else,
appears to be a mystery

If true, that's a bit unsettling, no?
 
 
-2 # James38 2013-10-24 14:46
If they actually have detailed records of what the composition of the fuel was in each of the reactors, they could tell where the Strontium came from.

It is unlikely that it resulted from the juxtaposition of broken fuel rod contents getting up next to some element in the environment that converted to Strontium.

That would be a real surprise, but if they have good records and still can't pinpoint the source, maybe that will turn out to be the answer. I doubt it.

It didn't just pop up mysteriously out of nowhere. Here is some technical data for those interested. Strontium atomic no. 38:
"Natural strontium is nonradioactive and nontoxic, but 90Sr is a radioactivity hazard. 90Sr undergoes β− decay with a half-life of 28.79 years and a decay energy of 0.546 MeV distributed to an electron, an anti-neutrino, and the yttrium isotope 90Y, which in turn undergoes β− decay with half-life of 64 hours and decay energy 2.28 MeV distributed to an electron, an anti-neutrino, and 90Zr (zirconium), which is stable.[3] Note that 90Sr/Y is almost a pure beta particle source; the gamma photon emission from the decay of 90Y is so infrequent that it can normally be ignored." (source Wikipedia)
 
 
-1 # James38 2013-10-24 16:56
By the way, Beta decay contains a fascinating mystery for anyone who knows enough Nuclear Science to think about it.

Beta decay occurs when one of the neutrons in a nucleus emits an electron and becomes a proton. The question is "how does that one neutron know it should do that, and then the others know they shouldn't do it too?"

The answer lies very deep in the forces and laws governing the structure of the nucleus. I have never seen an analysis of this. Anybody have a clue? Let me know. Fascinating.
 
 
-1 # James38 2013-10-24 18:20
LOL, two negative votes on THIS?

Why? Care to explain?

Nope, no explanation, just another negative vote. Wow.
 
 
+2 # phrixus 2013-10-25 09:10
I suspect it's the confirmation bias at work.
 
 
+2 # phrixus 2013-10-24 15:58
For anyone interested in the real-life impacts of the Chernobyl disaster (including video/photo) I recommend the following "boots-on-the-g round" website:
http://www.elenafilatova.com/
 
 
-2 # James38 2013-10-24 17:12
Hmm:

http://open.salon.com/blog/mary_mycio/2011/01/21/the_chernobyl_biker_chick_that_wasnt

I asked Snopes to see if they could sort this out. I will let you know what they say.
 
 
+1 # phrixus 2013-10-25 09:08
Thanks for the link. It poses some interesting credibility issues at the very least. Looking forward to the Snopes response. Whichever way it falls I did like the photography.
 
 
+1 # AndreM5 2013-10-25 08:10
Not necessary? Retrospective knowledge is of no value to disaster management. In this case there were multiple hydrogen explosions and absolutely NO direct information about the condition of the reactor cores. Instead of putting thousands of residents "at risk" (there is that concept again) there was an evacuation but they sacrificed the lives of several plant workers to rig cooling water from the sea. Purely a temporary gesture but one that totally doomed the power plant.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-25 10:11
Point well taken, Andre, about the "retrospective knowledge". However the articles I have seen do not mention lives sacrificed. For example, "A few of the plant's workers were severely injured or killed by the disaster conditions resulting from the earthquake. There were no immediate deaths due to direct radiation exposures, but at least six workers have exceeded lifetime legal limits for radiation and more than 300 have received significant radiation doses." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster_casualties

If you are expert in reactor failure parameters, would you say it was extremely unlikely that any more extensive radiation losses into the atmosphere would have occurred after the initial explosions? It seems that way to me, that the radioactive material was confined in the local area of the damaged cores, and would not violently disperse. There would be no way that a critical mass of fissile elements could be achieved. Hot and messy for sure, but not explosive except for possible small steam and hydrogen explosions.

Continued
 
 
-1 # James38 2013-10-25 10:12
Concluding

It seems that the continued abandonment of the town is unreasonable.

I hope the real lessons are learned from this disaster. One, building a power plant, especially nuclear, near the ocean in an area vulnerable to Tsunamis is inadmissible. Second, we need to convert the Nuclear Industry to the Liquid Fuel reactor design. No more solid fuel reactors. The best and most clever designs I have seen are all still more complicated and expensive to build, are less safe (although much safer than the older designs), and all have major expenses built in because of the difficulty in reprocessing solid fuel elements.
 
 
0 # WBoardman 2013-10-25 11:21
The evacuation area is more than "a town."
some pox here:

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2013/09/03/world/asia/20130904-FUKUSHIMA.html?_r=0#1

Earlier comparisons of deaths from different causes
were less than accurate according to these:

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/09/10/20420833-fukushima-evacuation-has-killed-more-than-earthquake-and-tsunami-survey-says

http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20130909p2a00m0na009000c.html

and now, after an earthquake, the area awaits a tsunami:

http://www.inquisitr.com/1006910/earthquake-in-japan-prompts-fukushima-tsunami-warning-breaking/
 
 
-1 # James38 2013-10-26 18:53
I have looked up more information on the results of core meltdown events. After the initial explosions at Fukushima, there was good reason to think that any subsequent explosions or vapor emissions would be small. There is no evidence suggesting that further criticality events could happen. Small steam eruptions would be possible. They would be unlikely to carry large amounts of radiation.

This is not an area of knowledge that is sufficiently studied or discussed or taught to first responders in an area such as Fukushima where reactors have been built in foolish and hazardous locations.

Had the available information been studied in depth beforehand, the evacuation would probably not have been ordered.

Hindsight is always 20/20, so no criticism can be leveled at the people who ordered the evacuation. There is a real question as to why the people have not been allowed to move back in. As far as I know to this point, there is not sufficient radioactivity to prevent return.

This goes back to the discussion of the LNT theory All evidence now shows that there is a threshold below which radiation is not harmful, and actually is beneficial because it stimulates body repair mechanisms.

Also we all need to watch out for the "confirmation Bias". That is the cause for much of the resistance to accepting new ideas. When I have suggested sources of information and gotten negative votes, that is pretty clearly the Bias at work
 
 
+3 # WBoardman 2013-10-25 09:54
At one level, the longstanding reality is simple:
the nuclear industry lies about radiation because
they know it's dangerous.

There probably never would have been
a commercial nuclear industry
if the U.S. Congress hadn't passed a law
shielding them from liability.

Here's a story from Reuters today
about industry and government lies
to workers cleaning up Fukushima:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/25/us-fukushima-workers-specialreport-idUSBRE99O04320131025

The behavior is classic.
The video is worth watching.
 
 
+1 # NOMINAE 2013-10-25 23:50
Quoting WBoardman:
At one level, the longstanding reality is simple:
the nuclear industry lies about radiation because
they know it's dangerous.

There probably never would have been
a commercial nuclear industry
if the U.S. Congress hadn't passed a law
shielding them from liability.

Here's a story from Reuters today
about industry and government lies
to workers cleaning up Fukushima:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/25/us-fukushima-workers-specialreport-idUSBRE99O04320131025

The behavior is classic.
The video is worth watching.


Well and accurately put. Your point is well bolstered and reinforced *by* the frantic drumbeat being perpetrated by the Thorium fans on this very string to read *their* fantasy facts regarding the safety of Thorium.

If they *had* actual facts, their books would not be the *only* repository of truth on earth from whence people could access same.

And, when people access information *known* to be reliable, the accurate sources give the horselaugh to these Thorium faux "facts", just as it always has in relation to the Nuclear Industry "spin" on *any* radioactive material.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-27 07:01
Nominae, you say: "Well and accurately put. Your point is well bolstered and reinforced *by* the frantic drumbeat being perpetrated by the Thorium fans on this very string to read *their* fantasy facts regarding the safety of Thorium."

You only think that the safety of Thorium (and the LFTR/MSR as an electric generating power source) is a "fantasy"
because you have not taken the time to study the issue at all. You are clinging to your negative opinions in a fantasy of your own. Are you thinking that you can simply dismiss the books I have recommended because they might contradict your pre-set opinions? Do you have some other reason for avoiding simply reading them?

You and Mr Boardman have created an echo chamber in which you repeat the same fact-free distortions and opinions over and over, and you seem to be satisfied that by doing that, the issue is resolved.

What you are doing is contributing to the survival of your own ignorance, and you are contributing to the ongoing ignorance of the public. This is irresponsible.

The facts are available to you. See my next post answering your Wikipedia "facts". Some Wikipedia articles are excellent and useful. However the one you selected to continue your attack on Thorium has failed you.

Since Wikipedia is not peer-reviewed, you always have to be careful to check the conclusions when there are misinterpretati ons possible.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-29 07:03
Good article Mr Boardman. The TEPCO executives who are in charge of this fiasco, speaking from their opulent offices, and the same kind (perhaps the exact same ones) who put immediate profit in front of safety and logic when they insisted that Fukushima Daiichi be built in that utterly foolish and unsafe location.

The penny pinching went so far that a hill on the site was leveled instead of being used as a safer site for the reactor. Had it been built on the hill, it might have survived the Tsunami.

The hill was leveled because it saved on construction costs.

These executives need to be prosecuted for their crimes. They need to be held accountable for the unacceptable shortcuts they took in the original construction.
 
 
+1 # NOMINAE 2013-10-26 00:25
Thorium fun facts, source Wikipedia:

"Natural uranium is made weapons-grade through isotopic enrichment. Initially only about 0.7% of it is fissile U-235, with the rest being almost entirely uranium-238 (U-238). They are separated by their differing masses. Highly enriched uranium is considered weapons-grade when it has been enriched to about 90% U-235.

U-233 is produced from *thorium-232* [emphasis added] by neutron capture. The U-233 produced thus does not require enrichment and can be relatively easily chemically separated from residual Th-232. It is therefore regulated as a special nuclear material only by the total amount present. U-233 may be intentionally down-blended with U-238 to remove proliferation concerns.[6] "

Remember that U-233 produced from Thorium-232 ? There's more under the title Nuclear Fission:

"Plutonium is a radioactive actinide metal whose isotope, plutonium-239, is one of the three primary fissile isotopes[17](ur anium-233 and uranium-235 are the other two);[18] plutonium-241 is also highly fissile. To be considered fissile, an isotope's atomic nucleus must be able to break apart or fission when struck by a slow moving neutron and to release enough additional neutrons to sustain the nuclear chain reaction by splitting further nuclei."

So here we find that there are *three* primary fissile isotopes. Here we also find that *one* of them is produced by Thorium-232.

*What's not to like ?*
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-27 06:43
“What is not to like” is that you have cherry-picked some facts out of context from an article that was written by someone who did not fully understand the processes.

You say, "U-233 is produced from *thorium-232* [emphasis added] by neutron capture. The U-233 produced thus does not require enrichment and can be relatively easily chemically separated from residual Th-232."

This is an erroneous statement. The U233 always comes inevitably contaminated with about 1% U232, which is violently radioactive and cannot be separated from the U233 without extremely difficult processes. It is NOT "relatively easily chemically separated". The U232/U233 mixture can be separated from the thorium, but that just concentrates the radioactivity of the U232/u233 mixture and it becomes more difficult to handle, not less.

It is the separation of the U232 from the U233 that is necessary if you want bomb grade material, BUT is exceptionally difficult, extremely expensive, and dangerous to accomplish.

Continued
 
 
0 # James38 2013-10-27 06:44
Continuing:

"The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in the USA did successfully manufacture an experimental (U233) nuclear bomb, and in the process, they amply demonstrated that U233 is far more difficult to construct into nuclear bombs than Pu239 or minor actinides. The reason lies chiefly in the uranium-232 (U232) contamination that occurs naturally in all U233. Like most unstable radioactive isotopes, U232 decays into a string of various atoms over time. U232 and some of its daughter decay products emit very strong gamma radiation. Unlike Pu239, U232 emits more gamma over time, and becomes more dangerous. This makes any handling of U232, and by extension any waste material from the thorium fuel cycle, very difficult to handle. To put it into perspective for the reader, a critical mass of plutonium waste product can be handled with a standard glove box, whereas a critical mass of U233 (approximately 5 kilograms) would contain enough U232 content (approximately 1%), that after 10 years anyone handling it without thick lead shielding would receive a lethal dose within hours or days of such close proximity. The high energy and high rate of gamma rays emitted would also be detrimental to both the explosives and electronics of any weapon and make it highly detectable. In short an extremely poor choice for a nuclear weapons material."

http://thorium1.com/thorium101/fuel-characteristics.html

Continued
 
 
-1 # James38 2013-10-27 06:47
Concluding:

One of the main reasons that LFTR/MSR (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors/Molten Salt Reactors) were dropped from the reactor development program is that none of the LFTR/MSR designs can realistically be used for weapon production. LFTR designs for power production are impossible to use for weapons production because to do so would be ridiculously expensive, complicated and dangerous, involving such major modifications to the equipment as to be absurd.

The Thorium energy/fuel cycle is so difficult to use for weapons production that no country wanting nuclear weapons would ever use a LFTR for that purpose. Removing the liquid fuel from the reactor with the intent of separating weapons grade material presents excessively difficult problems.

However, none of the difficulties with weaponizing the LFTR process have anything to do with the use of the LFTR for power production. During power production, the liquid fuel stays in the reactor, and all the reactions and all the elements produced, including the U232, are consumed in the energy producing process.

For these reasons, and because the LFTR is much less expensive to build and operate, can eliminate existing Nuclear waste and plutonium, and because the LFTR is completely fail-safe - cannot melt down or explode, ever, the LFTR is the quickest and safest way to deal with converting our power system away from fossil fuels. This is the main issue. We must stop burning fossil fuels.
 

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