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Boardman writes: "The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States is a full blown oxymoron when it comes to protecting U.S. residents from the danger of increased exposure to ionizing radiation."

Three Mile Island. (photo: Joel Spangler/Business Insider)
Three Mile Island. (photo: Joel Spangler/Business Insider)

More Radiation Exposure Won't Hurt You, Says U.S. EPA

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

03 August 14


“Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations” means what?

he Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States is a full blown oxymoron when it comes to protecting U.S. residents from the danger of increased exposure to ionizing radiation. That’s the kind of radiation that comes from natural sources like Uranium and the sun, as well as unnatural sources like uranium mines, nuclear weapons, and nuclear power plants (even when they haven’t melted down like Fukushima). The EPA is presently considering allowing everyone in the U.S. to be exposed to higher levels of ionizing radiation.

In 1977, the EPA established levels of radiation exposure “considered safe” for people by federal rule (in bureaucratese, “the regulation at 40 CFR part 190”). In the language of the rule, the 1977 safety standards were: “The standards [that] specify the levels below which normal operations of the uranium fuel cycle are determined to be environmentally acceptable.” In common parlance, this became the level “considered safe,” even though that’s very different from “environmentally acceptable.” Acceptable by whom? The environment has no vote.

The phrase “considered safe” is key to the issue, since there is no “actually safe” level of radiation exposure. The planet was once naturally radioactive and lifeless. Life emerged only after Earth’s radiation levels decayed to the point where life became possible, in spite of a continuing level of natural “background radiation.” The reality is that there is no “safe” level of radiation exposure.

In January 2014, the EPA issued a very long proposal (in bureaucratese, an “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking”) to consider raising the “safe” radiation levels established in 1977. According to the EPA, the proposal “does not propose revisions to the current regulation, but is being issued only to collect information to support EPA’s review.” The public comment period on the EPA proposal ­– titled “Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations” – has been extended to August 4, 2014.

Comments from the public may be submitted online at, by email via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , as well as by hand, fax, or U.S. mail, all listed on-site.

Is the EPA actually immersed in a protection racket?

The studied ambiguity of the proposal’s title – “Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations” – goes to the heart of the issue: who or what is really being protected, nuclear power operations?

Quite aware that it is perceived by some as placing the desires of the nuclear power industry above the safety needs of the population, the EPA begins its proposal for changing radiation limits with this defensive and apparently contradictory passage:

This Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is being published to inform stakeholders, including federal and state entities, the nuclear industry, the public and any interested groups, that the Agency is reviewing the existing standards to determine how the regulation at 40 CFR part 190 should be updated and soliciting input on changes (if any) that should be made.
This action is not meant to be construed as an advocacy position either for or against nuclear power. [emphasis added]

EPA wants to ensure that environmental protection standards are adequate for the foreseeable future for nuclear fuel cycle facilities.


As far as the EPA is concerned, the uranium fuel cycle does not include uranium mining, despite the serious environmental danger that process entails. Once the environmental and human degradation from uranium mining has been done, the EPA begins regulating environmental protection from nuclear fuel cycle facilities, beginning with milling and ending with storage or reprocessing facilities for nuclear waste.

According to the agency itself, “EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment. EPA sets limits on the amount of radiation that can be released into the environment.”

Radiation exposure is chronic, cumulative, and unhealthy

Given the pre-existing radiation load on the environment from natural sources, it’s not clear that there is any amount of radiation that can be released into the environment with safety. The EPA pretty much evades that question, since the straightforward answer for human health is: no amount. Besides, the semi-captured protection agency is just as much engaged in protecting economic health for certain industries as it is in protecting human health. This leads it to making formulations that manage to acknowledge human reality without actually supporting it:

The Agency establishes certain generally applicable environmental standards to protect human health and the environment from radioactive materials.

These radioactive materials emit ionizing radiation, which can damage living tissue and cause cancer.

The EPA’s 1977 rules were promulgated in an era of optimism about the expansion of nuclear power in the U.S. Even the EPA was predicting 300 operating reactors within 20 years. In 1973, President Nixon had predicted 1,000 reactors by 2000.

In 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident happened, during which the reactor core partially melted down. The number of operating nuclear power plants has never risen much above 100 since then. The nuclear industry wants a relaxation of limits on radiation releases to stimulate new plant construction.

Lower radiation levels provide more environmental protection

Environmental organizations like the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) are urging the EPA to lower radiation release standards, to “protect more, not less.” According to NIRS, regulation of nuclear power has a sorry history:

Nuclear power operations that release radioactivity have been given an enormous “free pass” to expose communities (and the biosphere) to levels of radiation that are too high. When converted to RISK of cancer, the current regulation allows harm 2000 times higher than the EPA’s stated goal of allowing only 1 cancer in a million from licensed activities. Even using EPA’s more lax allowable risk level of 1 in 10,000 current EPA radiation regulations allow 20 times higher than that.

Nuclear proponents have long argued that there are “safe” levels of radiation, or even that some radiation exposure is good for you. What “safe” actually means in this context is that there are low levels of radiation that will take a long time to cause harm (cancer, genetic damage) and that in the meantime the odds are close to 100% that you will die from some other cause.

In 2005, the National Academy of Sciences addressed “safe” levels of radiation and concluded that there are none in any scientifically meaningful sense.

Humans are exposed to a basic, damaging level of ionizing radiation from multiple sources from gestation till death. This natural background radiation is at a relatively low level, but the risk from radiation is cumulative. Every additional exposure above background radiation adds to the risk. Some of these risks, like radiation treatment to ward off cancer, are widely accepted as reasonable trade-offs. The reasonableness of greater exposure from the nuclear fuel cycle and the uncontrolled growth of nuclear waste is not such an obviously beneficial trade-off.

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. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+19 # Vegan_Girl 2014-08-03 11:40
Please look for the link in the article and leave a comment for the EPA not just for us.
+38 # Jadhu 2014-08-03 11:47
"More radiation won't hurt you..." Of course not. Instead of trying to PROTECT us (and the environment as the name EPA implies), the EPA like all regulatory agencies tries to adjust us to industry needs.

Instead of reporting facts, the EPA is actually in the business of Risk Management for government and industry. welcome to the US of A (United State of Amnesia)! Does anyone remember what the nation initially stood for?
+41 # Jadhu 2014-08-03 12:16
Just like they are raising the limits due to the disaster in Japan. Not being able to stop things, the just raise "safe limits." That way, everything looks good on paper. Meanwhile, it isn't cancer at the rate of 1 per (take your pick) but rather 10 per... And no one is the wiser.
+65 # riverhouse 2014-08-03 12:17
More radiation won't hurt us, no inspection of meat and poultry won't hurt us, contaminates in the water won't hurt us, oil and mercury in the seafood won't hurt us, dirty air and unsafe bridges won't hurt us, unregulated trucks on the road won't hurt us, over a million kids growing up in Gaza getting more angry with us every day won't hurt us, and every nutter with a grudge in a bad humor carrying a gun won't hurt us. What? Me worry? :)
+21 # Barbara K 2014-08-03 12:29
Maybe they are so ignorant that they think that killing us with all this stuff won't hurt us. Jerks!

+11 # wantrealdemocracy 2014-08-03 12:46
What? You expect the government of the U.S.A. to care about our health over the profits of the corporations who bribe them so well? Get real. It is past time to complain about 'every nutter with a grudge in bad humor carrying a gun'. Might be time to join the 'nutters' and get a gun to protect yourself in this police state.+
+7 # 2014-08-03 12:48
Following is the comment made to EPA.

"DO NOT RAISE THE LEVELS OF RADIATION EXPOSURE - EVER ! It is generally accepted that this EPA branch of the present U.S. Administration lies under the influence of the LEFT. DON'T raise restrictions on farmers in the Midwest and DON'T expose us to anymore radiation. Regulations are NOT laws"
+22 # Henry 2014-08-03 14:18
What the …?

What does this mean: "It is generally accepted that this EPA branch of the present U.S. Administration lies under the influence of the LEFT."

Ha ha ha! If only that were true. Do you really "THINK" (?) that it is true?
+17 # tedrey 2014-08-03 12:50
One very important issue is that the EPA seem to make no allowances for radioactive substances deposited in the body and continuously radiating there from then on. That is very different from a one-time x-ray or even a one-time leak from a power-plant into the atmosphere, bad as that is.
+17 # Regina 2014-08-03 13:33
We can no longer afford the parade of ignoramuses that inhabit both government and business organizations, and control policy development. Ignorance of basic science is not bliss -- ALL policy wonks need to comprehend the basics of physics, chemistry, and biology. Particulate radiation is harmful and has no lower limit as a threshold; an arbitrary increase in "allowable" levels is political finagling, scientific idiocy, and a grave public disservice.
+21 # Kev C 2014-08-03 15:09
You make the assumption that they are ignorant. They are not ignorant. They know precisely what they are doing. They have every intention of harming you and the slower they do it the better. More profit for big pharma when you develop cancer. More profit for big nuclear when they get to save all those dollars by not having to secure their waste fallout system and they do not have to explain why there was 'x' amount of radioactive contamination in the soil downwind from their nuclear power facility. Neither will they have to pay out millions in compensation for harm done to the general population.
Oh and neither will there need to be a lot of inspectors running around checking stuff is safe to the older standards anymore. It will be all accepted as part of the revised levels of radiation because to lower the bar means less up front costs to the industry and they know this quite deliberately so!
Its like they want us in the EU to do the same with the removal of the Precautionary Principle because its a bar to innovation. It is getting in the way of the TTIP negotiations. The US can't make us accept its lower than low standards of health and safety and environmental polluting because of the existence of the Precautionary Principle. Of course it is a bar to innovation. Innovative ways of dodging liability will always come unstuck when you apply the Precautionary Principle.
Funny thing is you don't have a precautionary Principle in the US. Wonder why that is?
+9 # Henry 2014-08-03 14:19
All of these comments are true, but unfortunately they don't actually DO anything. Opinions are not action.
+8 # dyannne 2014-08-03 14:28
Pitchfork time?
+1 # freelyb 2014-08-04 09:44
I wrote in to the EPA. How much it will matter is likely to be negligible.
-17 # DrAlexC 2014-08-03 15:14
Indeed radiation, except for sunburn, is overrated:

But, puhleeez, puhleeez, stop using cooling towers when talking about nuclear power. They are not nuclear power trademarks. They are used by any power plant needing to cool its turbine outflow.
+23 # Nominae 2014-08-03 16:05
Quoting DrAlexC:
Indeed radiation, except for sunburn, is overrated:

Yeeeowzah , "Dr."!

Giving us a reference to the Thorium Energy Alliance for "data" on the relative harms of radiation exposure is a howling knee-slapper piece of dark humor.

Going to the Nuclear Industry (thorium reactor shills) for clear data on the harmful effects of radiation is like going to the Exxon-Mobile site for clear data on Climate Change.

No Sale.
+23 # Nominae 2014-08-03 15:49
Ionizing radiation literally attacks and disintegrates DNA.

The effects are exponentially more damaging to children and young adults than to physically matured adults, but *nobody* escapes the pernicious effects of ionizing radiation.

Even those who survive exposures do not do so without permanent damage that must simply be "lived with".

As Mr. Boardman maintains above, there is *NO* "safe" level of ionizing radiation.

Simple fact of biology and other sciences.
+1 # tmaloney 2014-08-03 23:13

"Simple fact of biology"? Are you perhaps getting your info from Stewart and Mancuso? There's no biology in that study, only coroners' musings.
Getting it from Herman Muller's fruit flies? There weren't electron microscopes or mass spectrometers back in those days, and besides Muller's doses were massive - minimum 2700 milliSieverts.

If you want some actual biology, try the National Center for Biological Information at

or the MIT research publicity office at

or my own writeup at
+1 # Questions, questions 2014-08-05 13:35
I prefer the National Academies of Science - Biologic Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VII report:

Bottom line (after 6 previous analyses): there's no safe level of radiation. End of story!
+1 # James38 2014-08-11 14:24
Questions, come back. Read the latest comments. It ain't the end of the story.

Read the books I have suggested. Important.
+1 # James38 2014-08-11 14:25
Nominae, look up radiation hormesis, and see my comments below.

The Taiwan apartment issue - See it.
+9 # cherylpetro 2014-08-03 15:51
Please, everyone, consider taking potassium plus Iodine, to protect your thyroid from sucking in the radioactive isotopes. The potassium iodide will fill up the thyroid so it won't be tempted to gobble up the radioactive iodine when it comes along in the air. It is especially important for children. Research it, speak with your doctor about it, but please be informed, and keep yourself healthy! I had a cancer from excessive radiation exposure, and believe me, that is a battle you would rather avoid at all costs! Be well!
+10 # beeyl 2014-08-03 16:35
My suggestion to the EPA (which I've sent to them via the email address in the article) is that they work with the AMA on this: the EPA can raise the "considered safe" levels of radiation, which will of course raise the number of cancers actually caused by such radiation (from 1/500 to say 1/100), but then the AMA could just adjust all the stages of diagnosing cancer appropriately - so that Stage IV becomes Stage III, III becomes II, II becomes I, and… this is the best part… Stage I cancer becomes cancer-in-remission!
This should bring the number of cancers diagnosed as caused by radiation down to the target level of 1/10,000 or below, and should save us $billions per year in cancer treatment costs. And I know it will be music to hundreds of thousands of people's ears to hear their cancer has gone into remission, or for those already in remission, to be told they've been completely cured.
And with the building of 100s more nuclear power plants, the cost of electricity will likely drop 0.0001¢ per kWh. Ka-ching!
+5 # Regina 2014-08-03 17:23
Thanks for the clever snark, beeyl. I wish it weren't so true a depiction of how the industrial shills operate.
+3 # ritawalpoleague 2014-08-04 03:03
Oh beeyl, if only those at EPA had any true ability to enforce regulations. It's been approx. ten years since I was educated on how grieving the head litigator of the EPA was, with total inability to enforce anything. Has this 'total lack of ability to enforce' changed since the CHANGE and HOPE conner of us/U.S. got mass elected in '08? 'Fraid not. Like soooo much else, i.e. Homeland Security, anything but patriotic Patriot Act created, ruination of rights, Rule of Law, this Oh Bomb Ah admin. is a mere continuation of the Bushwhacked years.

-11 # 2014-08-03 18:14
More information is needed before either approving or disapproving given levels of ionizing radiation or even levels of other toxins.

The problem is that both radiation and toxins are ubiquitous and local levels of naturally occurring radiation or toxins could be higher than mandated standards. This puts manufacturers in the impossible position of cleaning up natural toxins and natural radiation -- an impossibility for sure.

In fact I do know of one instance where a site had to be abandoned because the "clean" air that was being circulated into the facility was dirtier than EPA standards allowed. Such nonsense should be averted.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
-12 # DrAlexC 2014-08-03 18:55
Boardman might be believable (might) if he'd posted a jpg of a signed, notarized statement that he will never accept any radiation therapy, or any radio-isotopic diagnostic, or posses a smoke detector, or sleep next to anyone.
He's radioactive! Yet, Boardman says, and the editors here allow him to: "there is no “actually safe” level of radiation exposure".

Hmmm. He and we are radioactive to the tune of ~4400 bets and gamma emissions throughout our bodies, per second, for life. And that's just from our kidneys regulating Potassium, that all our cells need, to about 170 grams. A small fraction of that is K40, with 1.2 billion-year 1/2 life and emitting beta & gamma rays from the most dangerous positions in any organism -- inside cells -- for our lives.

Mr. Boardman, why aren't you (and we) dead of cancer at birth?
So, now that we see RSN & Mr. Boardman don't care about misleading people who don't deserve to be misled, let's get on with fun facts...

Take thiss gem: "Life emerged only after Earth’s radiation levels decayed to the point where life became possible"

As we know today, life emerged before about 4 billion years ago. Let's do some 1/2-life games -- that means K40 was 2^4/1.2 times more abundant -- more than 8 times what we see today, when we eat bananas, nuts, fruit, vegetables today to get the K we can't live without. Uranium235 has a 700 million year half-life, so there was about 2^6 = 64x more of it, in rocks, water, bones. Oh Bill!
+13 # january37 2014-08-03 19:39
Why aren't you (and we) dead of cancer at birth?
Many of us are, or long before birth. A large portion of zygotes die right away, many fetuses die in process and stillbirths are increasing. Alice Stewart proved (in the case of leukemia) that x-rays administered to fetuses causes leukemia in 2- to 4-year-olds. She discovered this in 1945, which was a long time ago. Perhaps DrAleC you were born yesterday.
Other x-rayed babies die when they encounter infections and incipient leukemias prevent them combatting the infections. She advanced the theory that SIDS is caused by Myeloma. Rather than test her theory, the medical establishment sees fit to let parents experience the shame and guilt caused by these deaths.

One commenter above mentioned that the Environment doesn't have a vote. Well, the environment of Chernobyl is voting right now. Natural recycling and decay is terribly slowed as humus-building organisms are half as diverse and the remaining species are half as numerous. If the Red Forest burns, the radioactive isotopes in the wood, will belong to all of us. Then, DrAlexC, we will see how many of us are dead at birth, or before.
-10 # DrAlexC 2014-08-03 19:11
This site is wimpy on comment lengths as well as facts, let's add a bit more on Boardman's misinformation...

How is it that people who fly or live in Denver & get much more radiation exposure than do we down here, survive? How did life survive when it was in intimate contact with radioactive rocks a few billion years ago? How did any Fukushima residents survive? Why didn't millions die of cancer via Chernobyl?

So many questions Boardman has no answer to, because he's trying to sell a story that Ma Nature is dumb.

We all breathe radioactive material every day -- look up how carbon dating works. We allbreathe something worse all day -- Oxygen. We even eat stuff that causes our cells to produce oxidants, for which we should also be eating green, leafy vegetables for their anti-oxuidants. But wait, as they say on TV, Oxygen & emtabolism products have been around for over 2 billion years. How come there's any life? Look up cellular-repair mechanisms.

RSN &Boardman seem to want you to be ignorant that organisms have for billions of years been able to cope with internal molecular damage, whether metabolic, oxidative or from radiation.

Look up how much radiation rats & roaches can handle & consider where they live. Look up D. Radiodurans & see that it lives in radioactive rock deposits just fine, handling thousands of times the radiation a human can. Ma Nature ain't dumb, but Boardman & RSN editors seem to wish you to be.
+7 # tedrey 2014-08-04 09:46
One reminder, DrAlecC. Humans, roaches, all today's living organisms are the descendants of those who survived by adapting to the radiation levels of the niche they lived in. (The human niche is the Earth as a whole.) Higher radiation increases the percentage of mutations and deaths, but if a proportion survive, they are genetically more capable of surviving at that level of radiation. Man has created quite an increase in penetrating radiation in a very short time period.

You must know all this, if you work in the field, so I assume the real difference between us is that you are willing to accept the level of extra deaths and deformities that will accrue from raising the radiation in the earth as a whole . . . and I am not.
+1 # freelyb 2014-08-04 10:03
Lots of info there, but something's missing. What's your personal interest behind your particular POV on this issue?
-13 # DrAlexC 2014-08-03 19:16
And PS, those "green, leafy vegetables" we need for antioxidants contain Potassium40.
This article exemplifies Mark Twain's lament: "A lie gets half way around the world before the truth can get its boots on."

With sloppy sites like RSN, today pap makes it all the way around the world!

But, the boots are now on, gang.
-1 # WBoardman 2014-08-07 18:45
DrAlexC is so busy being clever,
and tossing out personal irrelevancies,
that he fails to read carefully.

DrAlexC asks, inter alia:
"why aren't you (and we) dead of cancer at birth?"

That's a deliberately dumb question deployed
to establish a straw man argument.

Just because there's no safe level of radiation exposure
does not mean that you will be killed by ANY exposure
(a reality he makes great, albeit unclear use of).

If he weren't busy being disingenuous, DrAlexC would take
his own points about the dynamic interplay of radiation
and life on earth more seriously.

He seems to want to deny that all/any radiation is risky.

And he then seems to want to deny that increasing
radiation exposure increases risk.

Happy Hiroshima Day ;-)))
+6 # Kootenay Coyote 2014-08-03 21:33
We may fairly assume that natural Background radiation, which varies by a factor of 2 (doubles in areas with significant granite rock & soil), is tolerable by life forms: that’s the measure in which they evolved. Anything over that is dangerous, & that’s been the science since the late 1940’s, proven repeatedly. Any further weakening of existing standards, themselves weak, is simply suicidal. & that’s not only for US territory: I live in the West Kootenay of BC, Canada, where we were exposed to experimental radioactive gas releases from Hanford about the turn of the 1950’s. A pox on your rotten nukes.
+9 # Questions, questions 2014-08-03 21:44
The answer, DrAlex, is EVOLUTION (which BTW, waaay too many people around this backward country don't seem to "get"). It took BILLIONS of years for life to evolve to the point of sustaining complicated, fragile creatures like humans - despite natural, though declining, radiation exposures. That doesn't mean that it's a good idea to "up the ante" by adding more un-natural radiation sources. We all have plenty enough stresses on our repair systems as it is! Somehow I doubt you're a "Dr." of any biological sciences, or you would know this, and not buy into that dirty lie that a thorium/plutoni um nuclear fuel cycle is some panacea. (Others reading this can go to or beyondnuclear.o rg to read more about this thorium fraud.)

If I have my math right, the risk level that EPA is proposing to settle for is a 1 in 500 cancer risk from the nuclear fuel cycle (and is coincidentally - or perhaps not - the same level of risk they deemed reasonable for the current limit of arsenic in our drinking water). This is clearly unacceptable for an industry that is all about profit, and which can and must eventually be replaced with a sustainable, renewable energy system.

Yes, life will go on in some form if we continue to increase the radionuclides in our biosphere, but it'll certainly have more cockroaches and less humans inhabiting it.
+2 # Nominae 2014-08-03 22:23
Quoting Questions, questions:
.... Somehow I doubt you're a "Dr." of any biological sciences, or you would know this, and not buy into that dirty lie that a thorium/plutonium nuclear fuel cycle is some panacea. (Others reading this can go to or to read more about this thorium fraud.)

Good Eye ! If this "DR" is not a shill for the Thorium Racket which is dying to cash in on the *very* government subsidies so far enjoyed by the "regular" nuke industry parasites, the good "DR" is doing an *amazing* job of parroting each and every "talking point" espoused by the wanna-be Thorium Racket.

Signed: "God Of The Universe" (see how easy titles are to invent?) Nominae
+3 # Questions, questions 2014-08-03 22:10
Oh, and the good DrAlex must not be aware that independent researchers determined 5 years ago that almost ONE MILLION people HAD already died of cancer and other related diseases from Chernobyl. But he and others didn't hear this because the MSM won't report news that isn't blessed by the toadies at the UN's World Health Organization, which is subservient to the pro-nuclear power IAEA. You can read the report here:
+3 # tmaloney 2014-08-03 23:20
Those independent researchers, (Yablokov et al) have been thoroughly discredited.

It was easy to do since the authors acknowledged up front that they had no access, zero, to any medical records in either Ukraine or Belorussia.
+1 # Questions, questions 2014-08-04 14:08
Based on that (and of course, official roadblocks to medical data from Russia), it seems they would underestimate the death toll. Fortunately, they had access to THOUSANDS of medical reports that the clowns at the UN and elsewhere didn't read, because they weren't published in English. The "experts" in nuclear hygiene (what an oxymoron.. ) don't recognize many non-cancerous but still lethal diseases that mushroomed after Chernobyl (coincidentally often due to the regional tradition of eating wild mushrooms).
-3 # The Buffalo Guy 2014-08-03 22:40
Already we have people comparing recommended exposure levels with no regulation at all, Accidental releases like Chernobyl. How is anyone supposed to give credence to this issue? Thankfully, there is some info here that allows some form of opinion to be formed. But come on....get real.
You know, there are some believe that we humans are a cancer on Gaia, Mother Earth and we're slowly sucking the life from her. It is interesting. Check it.
-7 # stansg 2014-08-03 22:56
Hints of collusion (EPA and Nuke industry)from Boardman and most of our commentators here reflect, instead, a deficit in their basic understanding of radiation. There is no conspiracy, but rather a widespread ignorance, willful or otherwise, of facts based on hard scientific research over many decades. Seriously addressing the web link provided by DrAlexC above could prove illuminating for many here.
+4 # Nominae 2014-08-03 23:14
Quoting stansg:
.... Seriously addressing the web link provided by DrAlexC above could prove illuminating for many here.

Yeah .... "Seriously" addressing that link takes you to the very ridiculous website of the Thorium Energy Alliance, a group hellbent upon cashing in on the very Govt Subsidies so long enjoyed by the "regular" nuke industry.

For those interested in having "Serious" data regarding the issue under discussion, please see:
+3 # tmaloney 2014-08-03 23:27
You know, RSN, everything we've been hearing for the past half-century from Hollywood and the corporate media about ionizing radiation MIGHT be true.

We can't say with confidence that it's not true, because we've never done any actual research on the cell-biological effects on mammals of low and medium doses, for varying exposure durations.

Why don't we get of our duffs and find out? (We're just now starting to scratch the surface.) Check out my which I recommend above in reply to Nominae.
+2 # sjtravis 2014-08-03 23:31
Leslie Dewan: Power From Nuclear Waste
Transatomic Power

Dr. Leslie Dewan designed a reactor that burns nuclear waste and is clean and safe.
Current reactors burn 4% of the uranium and discard the rest because it doesn’t fission well below that point and the pellet casings become fragile. Her reactor burns ‘waste’, reducing tons to pounds radioactive for a few hundred years, pulls 75 times more energy out of the uranium. The waste would supply all of the world’s electrical energy for 72 years, diminishing from nearly weapons grade to nearly nothing. It locates alongside existing reactors, at half the cost. The liquid fuel, uranium dissolved in salt, when overheated drains by gravity into a containment block of solid salt, ‘walk away safe’. A prototype reactor in the 1950’s and 60’s was cancelled because it was bulky, with a low power density. Leslie reconfigured the fuel moderator to one much more compact and cheaper and switched the fuel salt to run on spent uranium fuel. She has a PhD in Nuclear Engineering. She founded Transatomic Power and is CEO and Chief Science Officer. She has funding from the US Department of Energy. Her advisory board includes the chief technology officer of Westinghouse and the head of MIT’s nuclear engineering department. She is 30 years old and her presentation is a profound delight.
-2 # pjrsullivan 2014-08-04 09:18
Is there not some perception that nuclear energy is a criminal technology designed to consume the human race, ending only in our genocide?

Free energy was here over a century ago. Blocked by Judah, who installed our demise with nuclear bombs, both blast and dirty bomb shots.

As to free energy, here is a link that gives the the theoretical aspects of how to bring it alive:

Is it not becoming obvious that we are on the losing side of an all out nuclear war on us? Days away now from sealing in our mega death. Our fields already lost to weap Judah poison chemicals. Does it not look as if we have been left stranded on a burned out planet to die?

We are awaiting the general labor strike that will bring about the transfer of the "ORGANIZING PRINCIPLE", the authority to issue our money, into the hands of labor. Might a strike not be our only hope to survive this well planned atomic genocide?

Wish to help us to peace and a shut down of the Hitachi-GE dirty bomb attack on us? Please check out the link above^
0 # freelyb 2014-08-04 09:41
Don't the morons at the EPA have families of their own? Jeebus....
-1 # James38 2014-08-04 23:37
It is amazing to me that the "editors" of RSN allow Boardman to publish a piece of factually erroneous nonsense like this. There is not one bit of science in Boardman's article - only propaganda and his personal uninformed opinions. Of course the favorable responses by equally hysterical and uninformed habitues of this site may explain the absence of fact checking by the editors. It appears to be one of the echo chambers for the scientifically illiterate.

The two commentators who offer real information get panned (tmaloney and DrAlexC - who is indeed a real Doctor of Science) while the ignoramus set pad their green points, scratching each other's backs instead of doing a bit of real research.
Well, let me join the inevitably damned group. Here are some sources of real information - easily available:

"Power to Save the World" by Gwyneth Cravens - lots of relevant information about the history of the nuclear industry.

"Super Fuel - Thorium, The Green Energy Source for the Future" by Richard Martin - an excellent study of the development of nuclear power and how it was derailed by the military - specifically by Admiral Rickover.

"Thorium: Energy Cheaper Than Coal" by Dr Robert Hargraves - which contains a short description of an apartment complex accidentally built with rebar contaminated with Cobalt 60, which raised the background level significantly. However, studies show the residents had far less cancer than would normally be expected.
0 # Questions, questions 2014-08-05 11:56
Look, you thorium/fast
breeder reactor fanatics are really getting pathetic. Calling your detractors "hysterical," "uniformed," "illiterate" and "the ignoramus set" is a poor way to try to make your point - that you are so brilliant that the judgement of history must have gotten thorium wrong. (Most nuke engineers, physicists, politicians and the nuke industry moved on from this dead end about 40 years ago.)

Your "real information," which is really a massive propaganda/lobb ying effort, well-funded by the likes of gazillionaires like Bill Gates is carefully cleansed to withhold real technical, economic and heath-related problems, even beyond those already evident in thoughtful analysis of existing nuclear technology.

I know solar, wind and other renewable technologies just aren't as sexy/powerful as nuclear, but you really ought to get a better clue how life-sustaining natural systems operate. You'd do a world of good to set aside your fantasies and put your energy and creativity toward more practical and appropriate technology development, or is that too scientific for you?
-1 # James38 2014-08-05 12:09
Questions, you have everything exactly backwards, and you totally qualify as ""hysterical," "uniformed," "illiterate" and "the ignoramus set".

You have obviously not read any of the books I mentioned, yet in your ill-informed cocoon you still think you have a reason to have an opinion about the topics about which you know nothing.

This is ridiculous, and you can remedy the situation by actually reading the books.

It might help you to take the step if I tell you a little about my history. I, like you, was opposed to Nuclear Power about ten years ago. Then I thought I knew enough about nuclear science, which I had studied a little, to have an opinion. I was wrong.

Fortunately my wife, who had worked on the construction of nuclear power plants (as a welding inspector, among other things) brought the book by Gwyneth Cravens for me to read. I realized I actually knew nothing relevant about the topic - so I began seriously studying the issue.

It is fascinating, and when you discover that the MSR/LFTR (Molten Salt Reactor/Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor) was shelved in one of the worst mistakes of energy policy ever made, you will find that you idea that the industry "moved on from this dead end about 40 years ago" is a total misunderstandin g.

The industry moved on, but by making a huge mistake, not by understanding and discarding a poor technology. The MSRE (Molten Salt Reactor Experiment) at Oak Ridge was a total success.

Read about it.
-2 # Questions, questions 2014-08-05 13:24
FYI - Gwyneth Cravens is better known as a fiction writer and editor (which is entirely appropriate...) . Her other books include "Heart’s Desire" and "Gates of Paradise" (again, oddly appropriate...) but now she claims to be peddling "The Truth" about nukes. And Hargrave's title sounds suspiciously like "too cheap to meter..." I for one prefer non-fiction when it comes to the critical issues of our times.

I don't suppose you've read anything by Amory Lovins (Rocky Mtn. Institute,, Dr. Helen Caldicott (Physicians for Social Responsibility) or Arjun Makhijani ("Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free, either, or you'd have a more balanced, scientifically- based viewpoint.

Again, none of these thorium/MSR/IFR technologies have successfully gotten off the drawing boards or out of defunct, taxpayer-subsid ized research labs, while existing nuclear power is in decline and renewable technology and power production is growing exponentially around the world. No wonder the "nukies" are getting so defensive and derogatory!
+2 # brux 2014-08-05 20:41
> No wonder the "nukies" are getting so defensive and derogatory!

That is hardly the case. One of the reasons that nuclear power is so difficult to discuss is the force of the hatred from the most ignorant. I don't really blame them because they have been motivated by the lies and greed of plant operators ... but this is a technology that has to work otherwise we are not going to have the huge amount of energy we need to restore the planet, desalinate and pump water around the world. Grow plants hydroponically and meet our needs outside of nature. If we cannot do that our massive population will eventually kill nature.
+1 # James38 2014-08-05 21:03
So, Questions, the fact that Cravens has written fiction means she can't write a factual book? This is typical of your logic. Or illogic. Your statement is nonsense, and if you had bothered to read her book, "Power to Save the World", you would find out exactly how she came to write such an unusual book for her.

She had the good fortune to have a friend who was a nuclear scientist at Sandia Laboratories near Albuquerque, and through him was exhaustively introduced to the history of the nuclear industry. She traveled with him to many sites that otherwise would have been inaccessible.

For an admitted novice at the world of nuclear science, her persistence and determination allowed her to produce a very useful and factual book.

You are, pardon my directness, at present, a damn fool because you continue to repeat conclusions as if you had actually done the research leading to them yourself - and you obviously have not yet bothered to read the three books I have recommended.

All the derogatory statements you make about MSR/LFTR technology are based on old errors and political infighting (largely generated by Admiral Rickover and his acolytes). They made a hard and fast commitment to PWR technology, and worked tirelessly to discredit and de-fund MSR research. It was foolish in the extreme, and led to disasters such as the $8 Billion squandered on the Clinch River LMFBR fiasco.

Half of that spent on the MSR would have produced the reactor we still need.
+1 # James38 2014-08-05 21:49
Yes, Questions, I have read works by Lovins and Caldicott (who is a pediatrician, not a nuclear scientist). She is also a first class nutjob who has no comprehension at all of the technology she slams. If you listen to her with any actual background in science, she is obviously a fool.

Lovins is an old-school green, and hasn't kept up with the actual technology either.

Both of them are seriously out of touch, and base their conclusions on a pile of old and irrelevant ideas.

You also are out of touch and need desperately to read the three books I have recommended.

Instead you make a cutesy comment about the title of Hargraves' book. How clever. You have actually learned how to judge a book by its cover, huh?

I recommend you actually read it. You will be amazed at the sheer amount of information it contains.
+1 # James38 2014-08-05 22:01
Questions, you say "And Hargrave's title sounds suspiciously like "too cheap to meter..." I for one prefer non-fiction when it comes to the critical issues of our times."

You prefer non-fiction, but you refuse to read the books? Wow, did you ever stop to think about the logic of that?

As a matter of actual fact, the statement "cheaper than coal" is fully developed with all pertinent numbers, dollar amounts and other necessary statistics and information.

In other words, eat your words.

Good grief, how long are you going to babble meaninglessly before you actually read the books?

And you have the gall to assume that I have not read the work of people who have different opinions than mine? Wow. Your own words make it abundantly obvious that you are the one who doesn't read.

Come on, Questions. Make the effort to become relevant by getting some real information about the subjects. Or do you prefer your present role as a "Propaganda Relay Station"?
+1 # tmaloney 2014-08-05 22:33
"I don't suppose you've read anything by .... Arjun Makhijani ("Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free, either,..... "

I went to the trouble to formally rebut the Makhijani & Boyd 2009 publication about Thorium-fueled reactors. It's at
+2 # brux 2014-08-05 20:38
If we go to technologies other than the breeder reactor we will "burn" all of our uranium and eventually run out. I think the breeder reactor is the way to go ... except we canont trust anyone in the industry to take proper safeguards. What a bind we are in - nuclear is really the only technology out there that can hope to meet our energy needs.
-1 # WBoardman 2014-08-07 19:00
James38 makes sweeping criticisms:
"a piece of factually erroneous nonsense like this.
There is not one bit of science in Boardman's article..."
etc, along with his ad hominem aspersions.

This seems to suggest I got something wrong.

Then, mirabile dictu, heoffers NOT ONE correction.

Instead we get a commercial for Thorium, which may
or may not live up to the promises of its most zealous
promoters, but so far has not.

So far the thorium argument looks like an entertaining
sequel to the original Atomic Energy fantasy, only now
they say: look, we lied about power to cheap to meter
and all the rest of it, but THIS TIME it's all true.

Maybe. Maybe not.

So far the market's not impressed....
0 # tmaloney 2014-08-08 22:10
Quoting WBoardman:

So far the market's not impressed....

Mr. Boardman,

Please don't refer to the "market".

It reminds me of Thomas Watson of IBM in the late 1940s, assessing the "market" for computing machines at "perhaps 10 such machines in the entire world".

Of course the "market" doesn't have a clue. How could it?

It will take a societal-author ity commitment to develop LFTR technology. The same thing it took to develop the Internet and to bankroll the Apollo project.
+1 # James38 2014-08-09 21:15
Dear WBoardman: Apologies for not getting back to you with specifics. I was distracted by life its ownself.

The following quotes will demonstrate some of my criticisms of your article:

"The phrase “considered safe” is key to the issue, since there is no “actually safe” level of radiation exposure."

Like they say, Sez who?? "There is no actually safe level of radiation exposure"??? You are saying that, and we are to accept its unquestionable veracity on faith.

No sale. You are wrong. That is a way of expressing the discredited "Linear No Threshold" theory, which starts at zero radiation/zero threat, and states that the danger increases linearly as radiation increases.

In one of the most interesting parts of his information packed book, Robert Hargraves describes an unintended experiment that placed 8000 people in an apartment complex that had been inadvertently built using rebar that was contaminated with Cobalt 60, thus having a significantly higher level of background radiation (400mSv). In studies covering 20 years, these people became a large cohort in a fascinating experiment.

The number of cancer cases that would normally have been expected in such a group over the 20 year period is 186.

The LNT theory (henceforth known as "The Boardman Assertion") would expect 242 cancer cases.

The actual number of cancer cases that were observed was 5 (five).

Oops. Rather shreds "The Boardman Assertion"- TBA - (formerly the LNT conjecture).
0 # James38 2014-08-09 21:41
Based on this one data set, I would unhesitatingly move into an apartment with that higher level of background radiation. That is a sufficiently large cohort and a totally blind experiment that simply cannot be ignored or swept under the rug.

There have been, for many years, studies of radiation Hormesis. This is the idea that some raised levels of ionizing radiation are actually beneficial, apparently triggering physiological systems and responses that make the organism more resistant to damage from radiation.

The raised level of radiation in that Taiwanese apartment complex just happened to hit the "sweet spot". It jibes with other studies perfectly.

This also ties into the fascinating way DrAlexC describes the radiation levels of Earth.

For more examples of "The Boardman Assertion" look at his bare-knuckles reply to DrAlexC (WBoardman 2014-08-07 16:45):

"Just because there's no safe level of radiation exposure
does not mean that you will be killed by ANY exposure
(a reality he makes great, albeit unclear use of).

If he weren't busy being disingenuous, DrAlexC would take
his own points about the dynamic interplay of radiation
and life on earth more seriously.

He seems to want to deny that all/any radiation is risky.

And he then seems to want to deny that increasing
radiation exposure increases risk."

Naaah, Boardman, it isn't "seems". DrAlexC is FLAT OUT saying so. He IS denying that the LNT/TBA theory is true.
0 # James38 2014-08-10 00:41
So "The Boardman Assertion" (TBA -formerly known as the LNT conjecture) Is seen again in the following: “The planet was once naturally radioactive and lifeless. Life emerged only after Earth’s radiation levels decayed to the point where life became possible, in spite of a continuing level of natural “background radiation.” The reality is that there is no “safe” level of radiation exposure."

“The reality is….” Well of course that is what reality is. Boardman says so.

Then TBA crops up twice in his DrAlexC smackdown - "Just because there's no safe level of radiation exposure…”, and “And he then seems to want to deny that increasing radiation exposure increases risk."

Yep, he sure does. And so do I. The concept of Hormesis deals with the possible beneficial effects of low doses of various toxins. It is controversial, but good evidence exists for some situations. The beneficial effects of Radiation Hormesis are more obvious.

Now I am having some fun getting into the scrappy mode, but we must remember to be at least a little civil so we can get some real work done.
+1 # James38 2014-08-10 00:54
Mr Boardman, please read the books by Hargraves, Cravens, and Martin. I was once opposed to nuclear power, thinking I knew enough to have an opinion. I was wrong.

Carefully reading these three books is essential if you want to discuss nuclear power intelligently. We must all stop relying on assumptions or the idea that someone is an expert just because they say they are, whether or not they have a degree.

We must all stop relying on assumptions or the idea that someone is an expert just because they say they are, whether or not they have a degree.

The information about the Taiwan Apartment Complex appears on page 327 of Dr Hargraves’ book. On Page 326 you will find a chart showing the radiation hormesis range.
+1 # James38 2014-08-10 00:57
The following is a quote from the Wikipedia article on Hormesis:
“The biochemical mechanisms by which hormesis works are not well understood. It is conjectured that low doses of toxins or other stressors might activate the repair mechanisms of the body. The repair process fixes not only the damage caused by the toxin, but also other low-level damage that might have accumulated before without triggering the repair mechanism.”
Much further research must obviously be done. But first, let’s get the LFTR/MSR program up and running. We don’t have to worry about increased radiation, because this entirely different type of reactor is totally fail-safe. They shut themselves down with no operator intervention at the first sign of trouble. These reactors are about half as expensive as the old PWR/BWR types, and are faster to build and easier to operate. Time to get going.
-2 # Questions, questions 2014-08-12 14:54
[quote name="James38"] Dear WBoardman: You are wrong. That is a way of expressing the discredited "Linear No Threshold" theory, which starts at zero radiation/zero threat, and states that the danger increases linearly as radiation increases.

"discredited?" WTF? You must have missed (or simply ignored) my previous post from 8/5 - That the National Academy of Sciences BEIR VII report determined exactly that THERE'S NO THRESHOLD for radiation exposure. Here's the reference/link again:
National Academies of Science - Biologic Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VII report:

So do you know a higher authority on this subject? I know the nuke industry has been trying to stave off the LNT for decades, which is probably one reason it took NAS 7 reports to establish it as settled science. One study from Taiwan is hardly going to overturn that judgement.

So now it's just "conjecture?" - yet another example of the arrogance and unscientific thinking evident in your voluminous but unsubstantiated posts.

And don't get me started on hormesis - when the NAS or some other significant scientific body substantiates it as a bonafide and relevant concept, I'd give it some thought. In the meantime, your suspect science is simply serving to condemn many more people to excess cancers, premature death and genetic damage lasting many generations. Have enough, thanx.
0 # James38 2014-08-13 11:03

Ah, the famous BEIR VII report - that claims such vast technological and scientific power - and manages to fly totally in the face of simple logic: Namely the well studied lack of effect from widely differing levels of background radiation, which all life co-exists with.

WTF indeed. Can you think for yourself at all? Or is everything you deem real determined by some "authority"?

Don't get you started on hormesis? Well I tried, but you seem as resistant to thought there as everywhere else. "when the NAS or some other significant scientific body substantiates it as a bonafide and relevant concept, I'd give it some thought".

Hey, Questions, don't strain yourself. Just start by reading the three books I recommended. They will walk you through the background radiation realities in an interesting and painless way.

You accuse me of all sorts of terrible exaggerations etc, but you won't even read some interesting books? Books that are chock full of references? Books that are as factual as anything you have ever seen?

Actually they are a lot more factual than BEIR VII, which is based on a solid foundation of sand.

C'mon, Questions. Read the damn books. Until you do, you are just blowing lukewarm air.
+2 # brux 2014-08-05 20:45
The nuclear industry is really a prisoner of the fact that it grew up very quickly in mystery and with the association of the atomic bomb. After closing in on 100 years now scientist are better able to determine the safe exposures to radiation.

It is really not so bad as we thought, and some of the myths about radiation are untrue ... like that it is absolutely cummulative. There is a background level that does not seem to harm anyone, and a little more now and then is not bad.

Most of this is based on probabilities and this is another subject people do not understand well. I don't like radiation but I am not as paranoid of it as I was now that I understand it better ... and I think in 20 years or so we are going to need nuclear power ... or we will be in rapid climate change decline.

We have major problems in this world that we could have solved easily if we had done something in the past, but now require some tough compromises.
+1 # James38 2014-08-05 21:13
Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Brux.

When you say "and I think in 20 years or so we are going to need nuclear power ... or we will be in rapid climate change decline", you are making a serious understatement.

If we don't succeed in replacing coal and other fossil fuel power with nuclear power within the next twenty years or so, we will be in the midst of a disaster that will keep coming at us like a giant avalanche.

It also appears that when you do the numbers honestly, wind and solar power are absolute dead ends for grid level power.

The energy storage or backup problem itself is enough to scuttle these energy sources, because the grid requires stable power input, not variable sources.

Then you encounter the problems of resonance on the grid from so many different power sources. Just one problem that has not been fixed is resonance between two wind turbines in the same field. That has gotten so bad that blades have come off and been tossed for miles.

And then you come to the materials costs both in dollars and in carbon footprint. The vast amounts of cement, steel, and aluminum needed for both solar and wind are severely daunting - as is the immense amount of space required for installations large enough to supply a serious percentage of the grid. Thus far wind and solar have only reached roughly the 2% level, and the land used is huge, just for that.
+2 # James38 2014-08-05 21:27
(Continued) Then you come to maintenance and durability problems, and those are huge. Keeping solar panels clean is a BIG problem, and huge amounts of herbicides are sprayed under the panels, creating horrible dead zones, in an effort to keep weeds from shading the panels - and then you have the dust problem.

Beyond all that, you encounter the grid extension problems. Since wind and solar need to be located in often remote areas, they must have grid branches built to connect to the existing grid. Those are extremely expensive, especially when they are only in use part of the time, when the wind or solar installation is actually generating enough power to feed some into the grid - if the grid can use it at that time.

But the grid must have steady input, so we are back to the backup power, which often comes from Gas Turbines (CCGT). But even if those are the most economical to build, the cost, added to the cost of the wind/solar, makes an untenable mix. It often turns out that you may as well just run the Gas Turbine plant continuously, since bringing it on-line can not be done quickly and easily when the wind dies or clouds shut off the solar output.

MSR/LFTR power can be placed near the point of use, since these reactors are totally fail-safe. When enough of them are in place, many parts of the existing grid will be superfluous, and that will result in huge savings over the expansions needed otherwise.

Come on, folks, read the books.
-2 # Questions, questions 2014-08-07 17:38
Well, James, you seem to have it all so figured out (and all based on just 3 books!)- why aren't you heading up the DOE? You clearly have no idea what is going on in Europe, where countries like Spain, Germany and Denmark are regularly getting a third or more of their electric power from wind and solar (and working around the intermittancy/s torage problems with a smarter grid and other approaches. A sustainable US energy system has been stunted by the obscene and unwarranted subsidies that we continue to lavish on coal, oil, and nuclear power.

And others have long beaten you to the relative carbon footprint analysis - the best independent, meta analysis (Sovacool, Energy Policy, 2008) found that nuclear power emits 6 TIMES more lifecyle carbon dioxide than wind power and TWICE as much as solar PV. Even the nuclear industry-sponso red analyses at best show them breaking even.

Look, when you guys really figure out the waste problem, the proliferation problem, the grid dependency problem, and how to build and run your plants without billions in public subsidies, loan guarantees and other hand-outs, others might pay more attention. So how's it going with Wall St.? Why aren't they flocking to invest in our thorium salvation? After 60-plus years of R&D and tens if not a hundred billions in subsidies, you really ought to have more to show for it than a few books and a slick website.

Out of space now, but I'm sure we'll be hearing more insults/fantasy from you folks!
+1 # James38 2014-08-08 10:23
Glad you came back Questions.

First it is absurd for you to assume I have only read three books. Those are the books I recommend as excellent beginning points for anyone who wants to study the subject seriously.

You have thus far cherry picked the field, selecting only those ideas that support your pre-set conclusions.

Because you have thus far placed a limit on your understanding of nuclear power, you assume that "waste and proliferation" are unsolved and ignored questions. Wrong. MSR/LFTR are not adaptable to weapons production at all, and their fuel flexibility means that they can consume present stockpiles of Nuclear Waste as fuel, reducing the volume to 1/100th and the radioactivity to 200-300 years storage of the small remaining amount.

Also the Argonne Laboratory LMFBR design is specifically intended to consume transuranic elements which are the problems in the present waste storage problem - long half life.

I certainly agree with your point about subsidies to fossil fuel.

Your Nuclear power carbon analysis is utter hogwash, and I will take the trouble to deconstruct what you think is a proper analysis as soon as I have time.

As to where money goes for investment, the brains of finance are not so smart. For example the god-awful amount of money that was squandered on the corn ethanol project. Nobody did a proper analysis of that one either, and it is an ongoing disaster, pushing food prices up for one thing.
+2 # James38 2014-08-08 10:35
Questions, I have no problem with any non-carbon energy source that is practical. If there were not other problems (which I outlined above), I would support wind/solar.

However your assertions about smart grids and "other approaches" to storage in Germany, Denmark, and Spain seem to ignore three questions.

First, what is the actual functional percentage of grid power being replaced with wind/solar - WITHOUT the need for carbon fueled backups??? (Such as lignite burning coal plants in Germany.)

Second, What are the projections in terms of material costs, durability problems, land use, and carbon footprint for achieving higher percentages of grid power from wind/solar?

And Third, has Germany actually solved the grid instability problem? One event about a year ago that may be ongoing was Poland installing equipment to block excess solar generated power from entering and destabilizing the Polish part of the Euro-grid. Germany had been using the overall capacity of the grid to try to dump excess solar output into the grid. It wasn't working well at all.
0 # James38 2014-08-08 10:48
And Questions, by the way, it would be a very good thing indeed to put me in charge of the DOE.

I am willing to take it on, with the agreement that I will carefully assess the entire range of potentials of any approach to the energy problem before making any decision.

This would be refreshing, since the present confusion about the potential of the LFTR/MSR is entirely due to rash and unjustified bureaucratic decisions to squelch research and development of the MSR before any rational assessment was made.

You have thus far remained boxed in by those bad decisions, since you have not yet looked at the literature. Read the books I recommended. They are extensively documented and contain references to everything you need to make an informed opinion.

So read the books before you make any more snarky comments based on ignorance.
0 # James38 2014-08-08 20:46
Ah so, Questions:

Your Mr Sovacool is famous for making flawed analyses. He ignores too many important factors.

Please see

for one analysis of Sovacool's errors.

This is a fine example of how one can be misled by selecting an "expert" who turns out to be prone to errors or even a propagandist. This is a famous problem on the internet. It takles some serious work to weed out the nonsense.
+2 # James38 2014-08-08 21:01
Of course, Questions, if you really want to dig into the complete panoply of confusions about Nuclear Power, check out this site:

These folks come up with some interesting criticisms of Nuclear Power, but they restrict themselves to Uranium powered solid fuel reactors, which means they do not understand the advantages of Molten Salt Reactors any better than you do.

As an informed advocate of MSR/LFTR technology, I am very aware of the differences. One conclusion I have made is that water cooled high pressure reactors (BWR/PWR) are dinosaurs.

This article presents Sovacool in the most positive light possible, but his deficient analysis shows clearly.

The last paragraph shows the closest approach to mentioning Thorium technology, but only by inference:

"But the nuclear industry points to technological advances of its own that are likely to make nuclear power less expensive and less carbon intensive. Genoa says that new methods of mining uranium and building reactors designed to run on less uranium-rich fuel could make nuclear power even more attractive. "If we're using the same reactors in two centuries, then we've missed the boat. There are going to be other technologies," Genoa says."

The ideas are still focused on Uranium, which is indeed scarce compared to Thorium, which is about as abunbdant as lead.

Do some real work, Questions. You are still cherry-picking.
+2 # James38 2014-08-08 21:04
And, Questions, neither Sovacool nor the authors of that last article I referenced bring up or deal with the "waste" problems associated with Uranium fueled solid fuel reactors.

Please recall that you brought that up, and I answered that one of the advantages of LFTR/MSR and LMFBR technology is that present stockpiles of waste are used as fuel.
-1 # WBoardman 2014-08-07 19:19
Brux makes a thoughtful comment, as James 38 notes.

Brux says of ionizing radiation:
"It is really not so bad as we thought, and some of the myths about radiation are untrue ... like that it is absolutely cummulative. There is a background level that does not seem to harm anyone, and a little more now and then is not bad.
Most of this is based on probabilities and this is another subject people do not understand well. I don't like radiation but I am not as paranoid of it as I was now that I understand it better.... "

This is pretty much consistent with what I wrote.
And it illustrates how uncertain radiation knowledge is.

To say that background radiation doesn't seem
to harm anyone is exactly right, with emphasis on "SEEM."

Background radiation had to decline before life on
earth was possible. Since 1945, we've made background
levels rise slightly.

That's the wrong direction.

And then there's the shrill crisis tone several here
bring to the problem they frame as:
how will we meet our energy needs?

It might be more useful to control those "needs"
than simply plunge headlong down the same path
that got us to this point.
-1 # James38 2014-08-11 01:01
Mr Boardman:

Please read over all the responses and comments I have made in the past few days.

You will find abundant specifics.

You will also find me repeatedly exhorting you to READ THE BOOKS. They are full of well documented information, and are essential to this discussion.

Until you read them carefully, you will be totally hamstrung in this topic. You simply lack essential and easily available information. I was in that position several years ago. Get the information.
-1 # James38 2014-08-13 11:10
Hey, this is funny. A negative vote for asking Boardman to actually read some books?

Who did that? Questions? He has apparently refused to read the books thus far, so it might be him.

Come on, folks, read the books and then let us know what you think.

If, AFTER reading the books, you think you have bonafide objections, we can discuss them based on actual points of reference.


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