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Hollande may not like it, but French nuclear is full steam ahead

The recent meeting of European Energy Ministers has exposed a Germany-France rift on the role of nuclear power. Post-Fukushima, Germany is investing heavily in solar power; so is Italy. But a French spokesperson…

Despite a purported commitment to renewables, France’s new President will likely be outmaneuvered by the country’s nuclear industry. AAP

The recent meeting of European Energy Ministers has exposed a Germany-France rift on the role of nuclear power. Post-Fukushima, Germany is investing heavily in solar power; so is Italy. But a French spokesperson said efforts after 2020 must stay neutral on technologies – meaning they want nuclear power to be central to the mix. France has the support (for varied reasons) of the UK, Poland and the Czech Republic.

President-elect François Hollande’s election manifesto calls for a reduction of nuclear’s contribution to domestic energy consumption to 50% by 2025. He says he supports “heavy” investment in renewable energies and their affiliated industries. And the Ministers' meeting confirmed renewables would account for at least 55% of EU final energy consumption by 2050.

These milestones will prove a tall order in France. Realistically, they are in the utopian category.

The status of French nuclear

The status of nuclear power in France is well outlined on the World Nuclear Association’s website. Over 75% of domestic electricity consumption comes from nuclear power. This dominance is the product of a strategic move in the 1970s; the oil shock had compounded France’s long term (and continuing) dependence on oil imports. But nuclear energy is also the child of France’s force de frappe – in the context of the Cold War, how could one be a great nation without nuclear weaponry?

France currently has 58 reactors at 19 sites. More, France is the world’s largest net electricity exporter, with exports particularly to Italy and the UK.

French citizens may be uncomfortable with nuclear power, but that’s unlikely to affect its expansion. AAP

France employs an integrated package – reactor manufacture, fuel and waste processing and technical consultancy - domestically, but it also exports it. Last February, France and the UK signed a joint agreement on civil nuclear energy. France’s Areva will supply the reactor cores for a dramatic expansion in British nuclear capacity over the next decade. Perhaps the British deal will offset France’s long term contractual arrangements with the Japanese nuclear sector; those arrangements are possibly now worthless.

The nuclear establishment: immune from political influence

Presiding over the French nuclear network is a nuclear establishment. Areva (90% state-owned), a vertically integrated conglomerate, is a “national champion” par excellence (in spite of its recent blunderings and reported massive losses).

Electricité de France (85% state-owned) is synonymous with nuclear-generated electricity. As with Westinghouse and General Electric in the US, EdF pushed a consumerist culture that dramatically expanded electricity usage to cement the profitability of nuclear infrastructure. EdF’s motif became “Toute electrique! Toute nucléaire!”.

As the Americans have their military-industrial-intelligence establishment, immune from democratic and political influence, so too with the French nuclear establishment. It is a state within the state. This establishment is paying not the slightest attention to whatever formal commitments the French government makes to Europe concerning renewable energy targets. For the establishment, “renewable” (save for existing hydro and a token commitment to wind power) means the reprocessing and use of nuclear waste.

Ironically, EdF is now involved in solar power generation in Israel. But apparently the sun does not shine in metropolitan France.

The “nucléocrates” are committed to third-generation EPR reactors (European pressurised water reactors), with the first begun at Flamanville in 2007. Smaller EPRs are planned for export to developing countries. Simultaneously in 2006, France committed to Generation IV fast breeder reactors.

French nuclear company EdF says nuclear incidents are a matter for internal experts, not the courts. AAP

As the World Nuclear Association website highlights, Generation IV reactors are seen as a key vehicle to “increase France’s competitiveness”. The government handed over, in 2009, €1 billion to CEA, the French Atomic Energy Commission, to further the cause. This complements other substantial subsidies to the sector. Traditional industries (steel, autos and so on) are facing further retrenchments. Civilian nuclear energy is apparently the new industrial force de frappe.

Storage, safety and sickness - can anything threaten nuclear’s success?

The nucléocrates have also planned a massive deep underground storage facility in the clay soils of the commune of Bure, to store high level and long life waste. That the locals are opposed to the dump is inconsequential. Hollande himself has long played the NIMBY card, decrying the prospect of a large scale dump in his own power base, the picturesque Department of Corrèze.

Nicholas Sarkozy has been uncritically supportive of the status quo. During the recent Presidential campaign, Sarkozy lampooned François Hollande’s post-Fukushima proposition of immediately closing down France’s most dilapidated reactor at Fessenheim. Where is the beach in Alsace?, quipped Sarkozy. But the “joke” was on him. Fessenheim is located on a seismic zone and adjacent to the Grand Canal d’Alsace, whose flooding would be catastrophic.

Fesssenheim, with other older reactors, will close when new reactors come on stream. But the lethargy is representative of how the establishment downplays safety concerns. The line is that France is world’s best practice on risk control – Fukushima is irrelevant to them. So also, presumably, is a recent study by the French research institute INSERM that found increased rates of leukemia in children living within a three mile radius of French nuclear power plants.

In January and March 2010, there were separate incidents of radioactive material release at Golfech. The safety agency L'Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN) gave EdF the customary slap on the wrist. But, given 2006 legal facilitation, green groups took EdF to court. Outrageous, said EdF counsel – this is an internal matter, to be resolved amongst experts.

If Australia wants to go nuclear, it will need to deal with waste; we struggle with even small amounts from Lucas Heights. Peter Hindmarsh

At Penly in April, there was another “above normal” leak of radioactive water. The ASN classed the incident at the top level 1 on a scale of 7. Totally minor, retorted EdF.

And in February, a crucial pressure sensor at Paluel (100 kilometres from Great Britain) became faulty. The EdF delayed notifying the ASN for three days, and hooked up another sensor “temporarily” to monitor temperatures (it was still there two months later) instead of closing down the reactor as the rules demand (a reactor closed down costs the operator €1 million a day). EdF will die in the ditch over nuclear-generated electricity.

Hollande may love renewables, but democracy can’t win this one

Hollande merely has a popular mandate; of what import is this against the real powers in France? The path to implementing his own and the European agenda is formidable. Michel Rocard, Parti Socialiste grandee and Prime Minister from 1988-91, fulminated in March that abandoning nuclear energy would destroy economic growth and generate civil war. In November 2011, Henri Proglio, CEO/Chairman of EdF and exemplary corporate heavyweight, went hysterical over the PS-Green accord.

The Greens want a dramatic reversal of nuclear power dependence. They also want Flamanville closed. But in the accord Hollande prevailed on both counts. So where is the mettle to achieve even his mild agenda?

Meanwhile, construction of the Generation III “flagship” at Flamanville (as with the first such reactor in Finland) is seriously behind schedule and seriously over budget. Two workers have died and a crucial cement pour has been botched. Project management has been chaotic. The genuine risky business lies ahead.

The French story has nothing to offer pro-nuclear advocates on Australian terrain (unless they are uranium miners exporting to France’s customers). Its massive nuclear infrastructure supposedly has the technology stitched up, yet it’s still leaking at the seams.

At its best, French nuclear infrastructure is an integrated package: it includes fuel processing, waste processing and storage. One can’t have nuclear electricity generation in Australia without accommodating the massive business associated with this entire cycle. But to date, we haven’t managed to accommodate even the trivial byproducts generated from Lucas Heights.

Meanwhile, we get to watch dispassionately the inevitable schism that is unfolding in Europe regarding the commitment or lack thereof to genuinely renewable energy sources.

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  1. Glen Daly

    Retired

    Yet another bit of anti nuclear propaganda from,of all places,a department of political economy.
    All that Germany will achieve by shutting down existing nuclear plants is to increase their consumption of coal and their dependence on Russia for gas.Ditto for Japan except that Australia will be supplying a high proportion of the coal and gas.

    It is well past time that we had a reality check with regards to nuclear versus renewables. The latter depend on intermittent and unreliable energy sources.To…

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    1. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Glen Daly

      The waste problem is by no means minuscule as I think of it. But you are correct in that from a short time perspective fossil fuels are our biggest problem, let's say over a fifty to hundred years period. But nuclear power has been here for more than a half century now, without us finding any practical solution to the waste problem. And to force some to accept a waste facility where they live, or fool them into believing any such facility to be secure is not the way. There are no waste facility's I know of that doesn't have leaks, one way or another, and as the years tick there will be more. As it finds it way into the ground water it will contaminate farther than what one might expect, and the half life is much worse than the CO2 'tail' which at most can be counted to exist a mere thousand years.

      And yes, that was irony :)

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    2. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Glen Daly

      Glen Daly: "It is well past time that we had a reality check with regards to nuclear versus renewables. The latter depend on intermittent and unreliable energy sources.To even come within of a bulls roar of supplying base load electricity a huge infrastructure of storage and transmission must be built. Even then they will require back up from fossil fuel generators,mainly gas. The whole exercise is extremely expensive,environmentally destructive and STILL produces high carbon emissions during both construction and operation.

      Nuclear,by contrast,can be built on existing coal fired generator sites and plug into the existing grid..."
      A solution has been developed that could provide reliable base-load power for Australia. Implementation would take less time than it takes to commission a single nuclear reactor. http://media.beyondzeroemissions.org/ZCA2020_Stationary_Energy_Report_v1.pdf

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    3. John Bennetts

      Engineer

      In reply to David Boxall

      David, If you consider BZE to be practical, then I am afraid that there's little hope of rational discourse with you.

      The proposal has many fatal flaws and is very much unworthy of being associated with either a university or its academics.

      26 months ago the following was published. The BZE fanatics have not responded yet - they apparently cannot hear criticism, which is itself convincing evidence that the BZE rhetoric is not in any way academic and is entirely emotional.

      Here's a link: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/08/12/zca2020-critique/

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    4. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      "As it finds it way into the ground water it will contaminate farther than what one might expect, and the half life is much worse than the CO2 'tail' which at most can be counted to exist a mere thousand years."

      This is just not true of course. The mean lifetime of the CO2 concentration we add to the atmosphere is estimated to be 30,000 years: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/03/how-long-will-global-warming-last/

      i.e. longer than the half-life time of Plutonium 239 (which is a nuclear fuel).

      By the way, if anyone is worried about nuclear waste getting into ground water then then are a lot of salt pans in Australia (especially Western Australia) where the ground water only escapes by evaporation.

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      By the way, Chris, re Uraniumr-fission waste stability, about 2 billion years ago, when Uranium235 was more abundant (half life ~700k years), natural reactors operated in the mountains of Gabon. Google Oklo Gabon reactors, if you like.

      The study of how far wastes travelled in those 2 billion years is eye opening -- very little.

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    6. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Bennetts

      Ignoring the cheap shots.
      John Bennetts: "26 months ago the following was published. The BZE fanatics have not responded yet ..."
      That might be because it doesn't address the plan.
      From the link: "For $8 a week extra on your electricity bill, you will give up all domestic plane travel, all your bus trips and you must all take half your journeys by electrified trains."
      It's a stationary energy plan. Other aspects (including transport) are still in development.

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    7. John Bennetts

      Engineer

      In reply to David Boxall

      Keep reading, David.

      BZE is yet to respond to valid and carefully documented critisms about the whole range of their "plan", ie dreamings.

      It seems that they can dish it out but cannot take it.

      Hands up those who agree that domestic air travel must be closed down completely by 2020.

      Or that superfast trains will be operating across Australia to provide alternatives to the domestic air routes by 2020.

      Where are those who agree that crop wastes should be the feedstock for Australia's steam fired electricity by 2020 (Transported how? Harvested how? Grown where?).

      Or that fossil fuelled (petrol, diesel and gas) power private vehicles will be phased out by the same date.

      My point, David, is that when you say that BZE's plan is still in development, that is true of every aspect of this attention-seeking yet hollow so-called Plan, a word which is generous as a descriptor when describing a scam, a furphy and a distracting sideshow which has fooled many of good will.

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    8. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Bennetts

      Your article has been left to stand or fall on its merits. From what I've seen, nobody with a functioning brain will give it a second glance.

      ZCA has wisely chosen not to be sucked in by you. I'll follow their lead.

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    9. Paul Cm

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to David Boxall

      David, there are a few critiques of Beyond Zero Emissions' ZCA2020 now. They all say the same thing really:

      - undercosted (significantly)
      - unrealistic timeframes
      - based on false assumptions
      - serious restrictions on freedom (I added this one in;)

      Like others have pointed out, BZE refuse to engage in any debate. Debate and scrutiny are designed to get to the truth, it is a constructive exercise. Do you really think anyone with $500 billion dollars to invest, will commit if others have pointed out it could cost up to $4 trillion? Maybe that is why it has died off, and no one has actually invested in it.

      P.S. I believe a version 2.0 will be released soon, I hope it is more realistic and I'm eagerly awaiting it!

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    10. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      You are correct Yoron insofar as the nuclear fuel cycle since a tailings dam contains some 80% of the radioactivity from the processes involved in uranium extraction and the dam structure must hold up for 1000 years.

      The Ranger U mine is to be monitored for 10000 years. “Best practice” at the Ranger has seen the dam leaking an estimated 100,000 litres of contaminated solution every day into the Kakadu surrounds for years. It was discovered in February 1994, that the Olympic Dam tailings dam…

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    11. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Not sure the purpose of diffuse statements like: "5 million cubic metres of radioactive solution". What are the specific measures of "radioactive" in the statements above? They seem to be applied for some shock value, rather than to expose real dangers.

      And the comments about Uranium & Thorium decay are similarly without specific dosage measures. So again, what's the purpose of saying "700 days for thorium in the liver, and 4 percent of the uptake goes to liver."

      The reality is that the…

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    12. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      1) The Supervising Scientist advised a Senates Estimate Committee during 2010 that solution seeping from underneath the Ranger dam had about 5,400 times the level of uranium than the natural background level.

      2) Contact the IAEA (for radiation levels) who advised of the 5 million m3 of contaminated solution leaking from the Olympic Dam project.

      Australia’s uranium industry has an ignominious history of non-compliance. The industry is above the law and has incurred just one prosecution where…

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    13. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Well, it depends, I simplified a little it there. Nobody knows for sure how long the 'tail' can exist for CO2, as I know? Let me give you a example..

      ---Quote—Lisa Moore, Ph.D., scientist in the Climate and Air program at Environmental Defense.--

      Here's a table showing a selection of greenhouse gases, their global warming potential (GWP), and their lifetimes:

      Greenhouse Gas . . . . . . . . .Lifetime years . . (100-Year GWP)
      Carbon Dioxide (CO2) . . …. . . . hundreds .. .. . .1
      Methane…

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    14. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      As for the rest of your statements.

      What Earth can handle, and what we can handel are two different things. Let us say we have something toxic as, ? CO2 ?

      Ever heard about the London smog? Or that town in America where a lot of people suddenly, 'mysteriously', died, some time in the fifties I think? We've come a long way handling CO2 since that. When we speak of radioactive substance the correct way is to relate it the natural Radioactive radiation background of Earth as I think of it. And…

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    15. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, as an environmentalist myself, and against the pollution of landscapes by PCBs, unnatural radiation, etc., I'm simply pointing out that statements like: "...5,400 times the level of uranium than the natural background level" sound scary, but are practically unintelligible.

      Making this type of imprecise statement that understandably scares ordinary folks is not how we make progress in regulation of polluters. Sounds like Australia indeed has need to get miners in line. And, like us…

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    16. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Well, a good piece of arguments there Alex.
      Often I think of in terms of lifespans.

      Let's say we live in general to be around seventy years old, just for the sake of argument here.

      Under those years we need to get some kids, to keep humanity existing.

      Then assume that we get a toxic introduced that restricts our lifespan, as in a statistical manner. Where does the limit exist for us reproducing? If I assume that it might be somewhere around 30-40 years of age I think I'm on the right track…

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    17. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, there is a wide range of background radiations and the current evacuation zone around Fukushima is almost entirely at a lower level than
      at least some of them.

      But I take issue more with your assertion that you and others actually care about cancer and health enough to act on it. Consider what happened when
      Japan moved towards a western diet in the 50s and 60s

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17059355

      This unleashed a vast wave of bowel cancer which is heading towards western…

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    18. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, If you look at any of the UNSCEAR reports, you will see many of the sources are Russian. The distinction isn't between what Russian and western scientists but between real epidemiologists and other scientists. Most medical experts have little or no epidemiological training and are just as easily fooled by what they think they can see as anybody else. Of the 100,000 people evacuated around Fukushima, about 200 will get cancer every year. You can bet that as a result of the fear mongering, most of those people will feel very strongly that their cancer was caused by radiation. Similarly, every mother in the group who gives birth to a child with any problem at all will put it down to radiation. Its the same around Chernobyl. Doctors without solid epidemiological training will reinforce these fears.

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    19. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Well, be that as it may. It's tricky deciding what is the reason, also it can be quite hard to check up on the figures presented, but, that goes both ways, don't you agree?

      As for the the review of the book it says "Numerous reports reviewed for this book document elevated disease rates in the Chernobyl area. These include increased fetal and infant deaths, birth defects, and diseases of the respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, nervous, endocrine, reproductive, hematological, urological, cardiovascular…

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    20. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, what's missing in the above quote is that CO2 dissolves in seawater and that's where ~40% of all out industrial-age CO2 is. The resulting acidification of seawater is only about 0.1 pH from stopping the proper functioning of the base of the oceanic food chain. It's come more than half way to this danger point in just several decades. So the issue is't simply GHGs in the air causing warming, etc., it's the more imminent loss of sea life.

      20% of human population depends on food from…

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    21. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Geoff makes a valid point,Yoron & others blindly condemning nukes -- where have you been while >12,000 Americans die each year from coal emissions? How many Aussies too? Coal emissions' radioactivity & chemical content is subsidized by NORM Exemptions here, and allowed to be 100x more than any nuke plant's. And yet, nukes don't emit Mercury, Radon, Uranium Arsenic, etc.

      And where has been the "concern" for >18,000 Sendai/Fukushima victims who died because of lax land-use policy in a known tsunami zone, thousands of whom will never be found? Or where's the "concern" for the 340,000 Japanese still displaced by the quake & tsunami? Or, where's the concern for the >300 elderly who died of simply the trauma of evacuation.

      It's so easy to pick on nuclear power, because most people don't understand it. But, there's self-defeating hypocrisy in giving more dangerous choices a free pass.

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    22. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Yeah Alex, you're quite right.. That's a really big worry to me too. we're not a particularly sane species are we :) It seems our brains have run away from our instincts somehow? We know so much but we fail to act on what we know, our wallets more holy than anything else. It's a really sad situation when we think we can do whatever we like, without consequences.

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    23. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Well Geoff. As I said, if we want to be purely 'practical', we might state that everything that doesn't kill us off as a species, are admissible, and in that case we don't need to worry. I doubt that any nuclear accidents, except an all-out world war of course, could do that.

      But it is also so, as with all living, one needs to question ones priorities at times, and moral values. For example, 'collateral damage' is never about your friends and loved ones, always about 'them others' isn't it? And that has to be taken into consideration when defining tough policies for ones own countrymen. I prefer not to make such judgements.

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    24. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Actually, it's indeed our instincts that get us into eternal trouble -- the amygdala, the cerebellum and the chemical controls our lower brain functions exert over our higher functions -- like hearing "nuclear" and thinking "bad", while being consciously ignorant that without nuclear processes we'd neither be alive nor have a habitable planet..

      Scientific American for April has a nice description of how we resort to losing our intellects & alleged 'superior' thinking, when triggered by our own biases..

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    25. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Perhaps I'm not being clear. 20 million people were displaced in the Pakistan floods of 2010 with huge ongoing disease and suffering implications. 130,000 people died when cyclone Nargis hit the coastline of Burma which had been denuded of its protective mangroves to make prawn (shrimp) farms. These are the kind of weather events that we are fighting to avoid. Their impacts are catastrophic and we don't need to tie both hands behind our backs and rule out our most potent form or fossil replacing…

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    26. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Hmm, well, yeah :)

      Instincts and brains, but short-sightedly so. We're not used to becoming care takers. We're pretty good at exploring though, although most of what we explored already was populated :)

      Ah well.

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    27. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Nobody rules out anything Geoff, at least not me. I'm just being realistic and taking a long term perspective acknowledging the technology we have today.It may well be so that we in the future find a way of handling nuclear waste, preferably recycling it as a power source. But we're not there, we're here, and at this time we haven't solved it.

      So my suggestion would be to use whatever we can find from green technology first, and preferably adapt it to local environments, not centralize it. And…

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    28. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      And it's instructive to examine Fig 11 of the 2010 UNSCEAR doc, and the text above it, which says:

      "Statistically significant elevations of risk are observed at doses of 100 to 200 mGy ((milliGray) and above. Epidemiological studies alone are unlikely to be able to identify significant elevations in risk much below these levels."

      For typical biological impact, 1 Gray = 1 Sievert. These levels (below 200mSV), as observed in many other studies of radiologists, nuclear workers and WWI A-bomb…

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    29. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      I give up, here's what I was trying to say yo Yoron...

      Yoron, it's instructive to examine Fig 11 of the 2010 UNSCEAR doc, and the text above it, which says:

      "Statistically significant elevations of risk are observed at doses of 100 to 200 mGy ((milliGray) and above. Epidemiological studies alone are unlikely to be able to identify significant elevations in risk much below these levels."

      For typical biological impact, 1 Gray = 1 Sievert. These levels (below 200mSV), as observed in many…

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    30. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I found the site to behave strangely too Alex, earlier this day, if that was what you mean by writing 'I give up'? Anyway, the natural background radiation we used to have we're perfectly adapted to as I see it. What background radiation we will have in the future is another thing where I don't know what the implications might be long term.

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    31. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Let's see if this comment gets in...

      Yoron, how does anyone "know" 980,000+ people died "from Chernobyl"? Think about it.

      And these folks hide that very basic fact that no reactors outside the Soviet bloc were ever of anything like the unstable design at Chernobyl, with no containment as well. So why are these folks, who seem more interested in book $ and scaring people than truth, to be believed?

      I like the statement that most of their data is in Slavic, so not available to us Anglophiles…

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    32. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      It was most definitely a tragedy Alex. And a mismanaged power plant too, with the workers not fully understanding the closure procedures, as I remember it, in the case of an emergency. But I don't expect the authors of the book to mislead the public, although I agree that statistics alone, without being able to pinpoint what causes them can become misleading. That book is as uncomfortable in Russia as it is in our western society.,

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    33. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, you're right that "radioactive substances are in a class for themselves." -- they disappear! PCBs, Mercury, Lead, Chlordane, PCE, TCE, BisPhenylA, DDT are often with us forever.

      The dangerous elements from Fukushima went/go away as follows: 131Iodine -- gone to background in a few months; 137Cesium & 90Strontium, gone to background in 100+ years. The heavies: Americium, Plutonium, Uranium, stay in/near the plant, unless moved. and, their half lives are so long, and their incorporation…

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    34. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      I think "uncomfortable" is a charitable adjective, given how many years they've waited and where they've chosen to publish. The NY Academy of Sciences is on 1 floor in a Greenwich Village bldg., and an old-time publishing club. Who knows what editorial scrutiny was given, especially if most data is in "Slavic"!

      I'd say it's disreputable, maybe unethical. But, it will sell, because as P. T. Barnum said: "There's one born every minute." -- maybe 2 now?
      ;]
      Right, believe these two, don't believe the World Health Organization, IAEA, or any of the other reputable orgs.

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    35. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Sorry Alex. You and me differ in this. I'm not as optimistic when it comes to radioactive substances. I think the book is available on the Internet btw, in pdf format though, if you search for its title.

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    36. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Search for..:
      Free Ebook; "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,"
      It's heavy on the statistics though, so feel properly warned. it's a 'brick' of information.

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    37. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, why don;t you read it if you can and report back? I have to finish a presentation to give in Chicago next week, on Radiation & Health! Fitting, eh?

      The management here is trying to figure out why the comment I tried to make didn't go in. It may help explain further whyy Nature has long been capable of dealing with radiation in life's cells for billions of years, as long as it's below a threshold of repair This also explains why those authors are likely inflating stats. Otherwise all Bolivians would be dead from cosmic rays and all folks living on volcanic islands or granite mountains would be cancerous, especially if they ate bananas & nuts.

      It's always good to remember that Ma Nature ain't dumb. We may be, but she ain't.
      ;]

      .

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    38. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Having taught Stat in college, I always opened the 1st class by saying something like: "Ready to learn how to lie with numbers?"
      ;]
      Or, as Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) said: "There are lies, damned lies and there are statistics."

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    39. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Heh :)

      Quite fitting, missed your reply as my browser didn't update. I've read parts of it but it has such a lot of statistics in it, all presented in a rather dry tone of voice, well, sort of :)

      It takes some time to digest but it seems as if the authors have done what they can with the material available. It's not similar to what was, and is, presented as the situation here in Sweden, and I guess the same goes for most western countries. Then again, we' are some way away from the worst of it.

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    40. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Yeah, he's one of my favourite authors :)

      But I don't think they are trying to misguide people. They take up the problems with defining the statistics this way.

      "It is clear that there is significantly increased
      general morbidity in territories heavily con-
      taminated by the Chernobyl fallout and higher
      rates of disability among liquidators and others
      who were exposed to higher doses of radiation
      than the general population or corresponding
      nonradiated groups. Certainly, there is no di…

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    41. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      sorry. this one is better, well, hopefully so.

      "It is clear that there is significantly increased general morbidity in territories heavily contaminated by the Chernobyl fallout and higher rates of disability among liquidators and others who were exposed to higher doses of radiation than the general population or corresponding nonradiated groups. Certainly, there is no direct proof of the influence of the Chernobyl catastrophe on these figures, but the question is: What else can account for the…

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    42. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, the problem with the Yablokov book is precisely that it is NOT heavy on statistics ... by which I mean epidemiology. It contains a zillion numbers but that's not the same thing. Statements about this or that disease rate increasing in some area by X% in the Y years after Chernobyl abound but prove nothing. Cancer rates in my suburb used to be very high ... because it was predominantly a suburb of elderly people. Now the rates have dropped because they have died and a wave of young people have…

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    43. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Not only that, you also need chaos math to define the 'jumps' a disease can do, as to find the limits of vaccination needed for minimising it :) according to some studies I've read. But please, read the book instead, then take those questions up with the authors. I fully expect them to know the mathematics of it, and also be able to answer your questions.

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    44. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I find it intriguing that someone trained in the sciences is propagating misinformation on the peer-reviewed bird survey at Chernobyl when I, having gone to full-time employment at age 13 and untrained in the sciences, was sufficiently vigilant in observing the following:

      “Dr. Timothy Mousseau, a USC biology science professor who, along with his collaborator, Anders Moller of the University of Paris-Sud in France, led the team of researchers from the United States, Italy, Norway, France and Ukraine…

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    45. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      When it comes to IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) its own charter says.

      "[t]he Agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world. It shall ensure, so far as it is able, that assistance provided by it or at its request or under its supervision or control is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose"

      Now, read that closely again.

      WHO (World Health Organization) is a totally different…

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    46. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      I wrote a little about Fukushima but haven't followed it closely lately. As always when nothing new happens you tend to forget, The problem with that and radiative materials lies, to me :) that is, in that they are so extremely long lived.

      And then there is the added problem with ingestion of various contaminated substances airborne, as dust for example, or ingested through ones food. They concentrate at specific locations in ones body it seems, and stay there to keep radiating. That seems a quite serious problem to me and I'm not sure how long one can expect to ingest

      But even though I've failed miserably in follow it up others didn't :)

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/PrintArticle.php?articleId=24702

      As with everything that's controversial it's biased. But I must admit that I find it hard to keep ones objectivity, when considering the time span of those materials toxicity to living organisms.

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    47. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, that piece by Titus illustrates the power of people dedicated to keeping others ignorant & encouraging bias. To save rewriting the comments I sent that editors, here you go...
      ----
      Your fellow's article in Dissident Voice -- "Media, Academia Join Forces to Downplay Dangers of Nuclear Power" by Titus North, March 10th, 2012 says toward its end:

      "...it may well turn out that the Fukushima disaster is the worst nuclear accident of all-time, surpassing Chernobyl."

      Yet, your article…

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    48. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, this is the comment that tripped up the site's software yesterday...

      Yoron, it's instructive to examine Fig 11 of the 2010 UNSCEAR doc, and the text above it, which says:

      "Statistically significant elevations of risk are observed at doses of 100 to 200 mGy ((milliGray) and above. Epidemiological studies alone are unlikely to be able to identify significant elevations in risk much below these levels."

      For typical biological impact, 1 Gray = 1 Sievert. These levels (below 200mSV…

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    49. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      "according to some sources" Yporon? You're sounding like Fox News!

      So, whio knows the truth , if hundreds of WHO doctors are liars and no one has reported radiation deaths & disease in Sendai residents?

      And how come, with no prompt, preventive Iodine distriibutions at Chernobyl, only a few people died of thyroid cacer and 99.5% survived?

      How come the banana you ate the other day hasn't killed you with its Potassium-40? Or maybe you ate some nuts that contain more 40K? Or, if you live…

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    50. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      By the way, here's what you get when you try to contact Dissident Voice editors...
      ----
      Hi. This is the qmail-send program at dissidentvoice.org.
      I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
      This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.

      <dissidentvoice@earthlink.net>:
      209.86.93.227 does not like recipient.
      Remote host said: 550 dissidentvoice@earthlink.net...User account is overquota
      Giving up on 209.86.93.227.
      ----

      Sounds like we should believe them? Or maybe they're flakes?
      ;]

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    51. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Heh, now that would be something. Me and Fox news :)
      As for according to some sources, here's the link I used.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/apr/11/nuclear-apologists-radiation

      I'm sure you can confirm it by goggling a little.. And no, I'm not much for 'conspiracies' but I do know something about 'politics' :) You can't avoid that being alive. And ? That's what I find questionable. A bias of sorts. Although probably made for the best of reasons then it creates a conflict of interests…

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    52. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, I only critiqued their statements base don what they wrote. If they spent 12 years and did no serious dissections and analyses of the species they calm are affected by radiation, then why should their hypotheses be believed?

      If you are an honest scientist, then you'll agree that what's displayed in the e article above proves nothing.

      Now, for your verbiage, like: "cult-follower George Monbiot is a radiation expert when he is simply a hired hack for a tabloid newspaper." -- you display…

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    53. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron,

      "Occam’s Razor, Mills’s canons, and Bradford Hill criteria, we cannot discern any reason for this level of illness other than the radioactive contamination due to the Chernobyl catastrophe."

      Displays exactly the problem -- assumptions. Read that again and list the assumptions lacking evidence. Plus, William of Occam claimed we should choose the simplest explanations, but he never explained how we know what Nature thinks "simplest" means. Hmmm.

      Have you ever read about "junk DNA"? It might prove enlightening about how ignorant we allow ourselves to be, especially when we hear things opposite to our biases.

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    54. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Of the short scan I did, I agree exactly with Geoff. What the authors appear to have done is to copy folks like Monckton, who use piles of uninterpreted numbers & graphs to convince naive audiences that global warming, etc. are fiction and are being pushed by evil scientists getting paid to lie to us all.

      It's great for conspiracy theorists, but it ain't science. And, when I called Monckton on it in personal conversation, he said things that clearly showed he's no scientist, is guided by no…

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    55. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Well some Swedish (or Norwegian?) towns have vied for a watse facility, remember? They benefit financially and the stuff is stored in copper casks in deep copper-ore tunnels.

      But this is only temporary, because nuclear "wastes" as we now know it isn't waste. It still has 95% of the original fuel value within its content. The French take the stuff apart, store the Plutonium & reuse about 1% of the valuable 235Uranium. But, the whole mix of Uranium & Plutonium isotopes inside the 'spent fuel…

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    56. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I believe I know something about junk DNA yes,although it was sometime ago I read about it.It's not as much 'junk' as 'dormant' as I understands it, and yeah we know very little about it. We may have mapped the human genome but that doesn't state that we understand it. We are more of natures newest 'copy cats' as I think of it, this far at least?

      And I agree, we can't say that the universe are constructed from 'simplest principles', although it do make some sense to presume it :) To assume otherwise will probably invalidate all theories we have, as they all build up from their simplest logical explanations, as I see it.

      But we also need to acknowledge the causality chains we observe, even when finding them hard to prove. Statistics is one of the strangest tools we have in that it works :) for QM as well as for classical physics. The question might be why it works?

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    57. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I don't know there? I know that we were discussing different types of containers for string nuclear waste, but also that we found that they wouldn't hold for long term storage. It was some sort of hybrid material, if I remember correctly. I know that all materials tested practically develops tiny fissures due to the heat/radiation that 'age' the container, and that it is very tricky to store.

      The Americans tested some sort of material containing metal ceramics and/or glass as I remember (?) but…

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    58. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Okay, checked up on it. You're correct in that Forsmark want to use copper containers, although I remember several professors (materials experts from KTH) judging that as only a short term solution, but then there was something more about it? I used to have a good documentation but this discussion I think was like two years ago here in Sweden, then they want' to put it 500 meters down under Forsmark in solid rock chambers filled with bentonit-mud. But I doubt we will allow it as we then will treat just the way I find worst.

      As in hiding it to then try to forget it exist :)
      Not the right thing to do.even though some politicians and power gurus would like us to forget that it exists.

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    59. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Wish I could edit, put it into one piece, and correct my spelling here.
      Ah well.

      To see why I find this solid rock a bad solution.
      Plutonium 239 half life is 24 000 years, and at least ten half-lifes seems needed before one can consider it safe. That is 240 000 years.

      The copper caskets will corrode in a thousand years as KTH:s best guess.
      And then you have the heat/radiation itself. One could assume, as this all is best guesses, that nobody knows, and that would be perfectly on the spot…

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    60. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, stop and think about our brain discussion above & how automated bias counters intellectual capacity.

      If something has a long half life, it means it's not very radioactive. Plutonium can be held or eaten. Plutonium dust, or any other dust, can be held but can't be breathed. That's why folks cutting stone or cleaning up radioactive spills wear masks.

      Vaporized, short half-life radioactive materials are the dangerous ones, and some may well appear in the 20,000 years of decay of natural…

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    61. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron,m the point is "simple" doesn't mean what's "comfortable to us".

      The reason I mention 'junk' DNA is that our initial ideas about 'simple' genetics were wrong -- most DNA, which we didn't understand, so said was "junk", has exceedingly important regulatory and control functions in living cells, as do various enzymes and related molecules that remain in close contact with DNA strands, especially during protein synthesis. What Nature thinks is "dimple" is not what our naive thinking considers "simple".

      Occam never realized he had no usable definition of "simplest".

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    62. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Sure, we don't want to lose our nuclear wastes,including the thousands of canisters of depleted Uranium fluoride lying around our states -- it's all valuable for future advanced reactors. Did you watch LeBlanc's U. of Tenn. explanation of our many choices in the molten-salt realm, where any typical 'waste' is useful?
      http://tinyurl.com/8xmso5v
      Operation of such reactors for power actually reduces the total radioactivity in the world over time. Even the natural reactors in Oklo Gabon demonstrated that.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_nuclear_fission_reactor
      http://www.ans.org/pi/np/oklo/

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    63. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      The link I provided on the birds of Chernobyl was an abstract of the peer-reviewed literature and published under “News.” To my knowledge, abstracts do not provide data therefore I will allege that you have conveniently avoided performing a search for the data or even bothered hitting the Google Scholar link. As a result you have critiqued precisely nothing. Wrong does not cease to be wrong because of your obfuscations, feigned indignation or a desperate play of the "nasty" and "ignorance" cards…

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    64. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      It is easy to blame Russia's mismanagement when facts are obscured on the twenty nuclear accidents which have caused significant radioactive fallout. Fourteen of the nuclear accidents were not related to Russia:

      Fukushima: Japan – scale 7
      Chalk River – Canada -5
      Windscale UK – (2 RA fallouts scale 4 and 5)
      Simi Valley USA 5-6
      TMI USA 5
      Idaho Falls USA (2 RA fallouts - scale 4 and 4)
      Monroe USA 4
      Lucens Switzerland 4-5
      Saint-Laurent France 4
      Buenos Aires Argentina 4
      Tokaimura Japan…

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    65. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Let me see if I get this right Alex?

      Are you stating that I shouldn't be concerned about the plutonium waste from nuclear power plants? If we ignore the fact that you can make a atomic bomb from about twenty pound of it, if I remember right? Ignoring that it's perfectly okay and harmless :)

      And after stating such a thing you inform me you don't have the time to 'guide me through it'? Now that's a understatement if I ever heard one. And I'm sure all of Sweden would be pleased to know that we have no problems with our waste :) We can hold it, play with it. Maybe make furniture too?

      Making such a claim you better present the proofs.

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    66. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      And another thing, calling the guys and gals at KTH dumb is not that clever Alex. We have a pretty good education as well as reputation in most sciences here. Why not do some goggling yourself?

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    67. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      You shouldn't mistake me using my, admittedly vague, memories for me not knowing Alex. I was rather interested in that debate two years ago.

      Here's is an explanation too why we don't trust copper.

      "Water corrodes copper"
      http://ebookbrowse.com/water-corrodes-copper-catalysis-letters-oct-2009-hultquist-szakalos-et-al-pdf-d331892803

      Forsmark wants to hide it away, because accepting such a solution the 'waste problem' will disappear. Out of sight out of mind as they say. We are a very short sighted species and as that very good book states, it will now become a S.E.P

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somebody_Else%27s_Problem

      It's a famous slight of hands that works most of the times, letting the powers that be rest in peace again, but personally I don't think it's that good an idea doing it with nuclear waste

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    68. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Maybe we are looking at different aspects of it here?

      What makes plutonium 239 dangerous is its life length. It emits heavy alpha particles that although, doesn't penetrate skin, if ingested or/and especially breathed in, will accumulate specifically in bone, liver, bone marrow, where it stays as I understands it. Emitting heavy particles destroying and mutating the cells greatly increasing the risk of lung cancer, liver cancer and bone sarcoma. Deposited in bone marrow it will destroy the he…

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    69. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Forgot to link the citation I made.

      "Health Effects of Plutonium"
      http://www.ieer.org/ensec/no-3/puhealth.html

      There seems to be a lot of Russian bashing going on as soon something goes wrong for them, blaming it on constructions, but our western constructions isn't without flaws either.

      http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/17/us/us-nuclear-reactor-concerns/index.html

      And "Sample Core Damage Frequency Insights for Boiling Water Reactor."
      http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/secys/1996/secy1996-051/1996-051scy.html#_1_1

      And maybe this one too, as a reality check? Although it's very sad reading.
      http://www.wentz.net/radiate/cheyla/index.htm

      Reality, because its no study, its there and now.

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    70. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, I said I would read the published article/book when I'm done with my current week's work. My comments were on what you provided as their statements, which included no data, just "may" or "might" or "appears" or "could" verbiage. Those count as proof of nothing.

      Nor do those words indicate any supporting analysis of data was done. That's my criticism. You know this as well.

      Yoron looked at it more than I, as did Geoff, I believe, and from what they've said there seems to be a piling…

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    71. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, can you stop commenting to yourself, so I can catch up? I have other things to do, you know.
      ;]
      Let's start at thre bottom above -- yes, the Russians made messes all over their territory. Fortunately, the dangerous elements for life decay in decades to hundreds of years. The longer-lived ones aren;t a threat, because cells don't use them for purposes of structure or metabolism.

      The IEER report says "The main carcinogenic property of plutonium-239 arises from the energetic alpha radiation…

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    72. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Against this reasoning one can find

      "Examples of Beneficial Mutations and Natural Selection."
      http://www.gate.net/~rwms/EvoMutations

      So what about radiation?
      Well, didn't find that much, but it seems as if low doses of radiation can be handled by cells.
      "low-doses induce adaptive protection against DNA damage and its accumulation in tissue, mainly from endogenous, i.e. ‘‘spontaneous’’ sources, and that these can counterbalance radiation effects. The net risk of cancer becomes lower than…

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    73. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, if we want to have useful discussions that lead to valid, valuable results, then we avoid fudging 'data'. That's what adults & scientists and other professionals do.

      What "fallout" occurred at 3-Mile Island (be careful, my parents lived downwind). There was no fallout and no radiation deaths or injuries.

      What does 1957 Windscale have to do with commercial Light Water reactors? -- "The two piles had been hurriedly built as part of the British atomic bomb project..." -- these were…

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    74. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yes, Yoron, Ma Nature isn't dumb today and wasn't dumb 3 billion years ago when there was much more radiation all around.

      And, radiation is just a small part of the threats to cells & their structures -- remember what alcohol pr peroxide are for and do?

      Read up...

      Comparative Radiation Sources: http://blog.xkcd.com/2011/03/19/radiation-chart/

      Nuclear Shipyard Worker Study (1980–1988), Sponsler & Cameron, Int'l. Journal of Low Radiation, 2005; www.ecolo.org/documents/documents_in_english/low-dose-NSWS-shipyard.pdf

      Radiation and Reason, Allison, York Publishing, York, UK, 2009.

      Toward Improved Ionizing Radiation Safety, Raabe, Health Physics, Vol. 101, July 2011; http://tinyurl.com/7hoqx8g

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    75. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Thanks Alex, I'm doing it, but what I'm more interested in for the moment is Alpha radiation. Do you have anything on that too?

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    76. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Because that's what will become the new 'laboratory earth' it seems, testing ideas against each other.

      Aerosolized plutonium from Fukushima detected in Europe.
      http://enenews.com/journal-aerosolized-plutonium-from-fukushima-detected-in-europe-spent-fuel-indicated

      And in the States you must have got it before us? It will be a good opportunity to test the effects over a prolonged time period, comparing it to local measures of the Alpha radiation. I know this sounds a little morbid but we really need to know what the effects will be as I see it. And it's already here, so we better do something good about it. and one thing our Nordic countries have in common is a knowledge of the power of good statistics.

      Gamma radiation is a quick effect, but this alpha radiation is accumulated in the body through plutonium. Thanks for the one about the shipyard btw, it seems a interesting study.

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    77. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I linked one for you :)
      On Copper.

      Hmm? As for plutonium as bomb material, what about MOX?
      http://nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/factsheets/mox

      "Because of the preference for relatively pure plutonium-239 for weapons purposes, when a reactor is used specifically for creating weapons plutonium, the fuel rods are removed and the plutonium is separated from them after relatively brief irradiation (at low "burnup"). The resulting "weapons-grade" plutonium is typically about 93 percent plutonium-239…

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    78. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, Google radioactive decay, or alpha particles, etc. You misinterpret radiation and emitters of radiation. Gamma, Alpha, Beta & neutrons all can cause biological damage, depending on their strengths & locations (in the body or out). That's how cancer treatments, for example work -- aiming radiation toward the problem and exploiting Nature's natural repair mechanisms that allow surrounding cells to survive, when the radiation level they see is less than about 200mSv. 300mSv is what we give…

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    79. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, we must remember, we can 'detect' a few atoms of particular materials in air. You & I and all here breathe every second, more materials from combustion of coal, oil & gas, including from their exploration efforts than Fukushima could ever deliver to us. If the wind there blows from a German or other coal plant, you'll get more Uranium, Radium, Radon... to breath than you'd ever imagine.

      Do you realize how heavy a Plutonium atom is? Here's what was seen in Seattle a week after Fukushima's 1st blow...
      www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/26571/

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    80. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      ;]
      Yeah, I didn't know it was on Kirk's site. Kirk did a rebuke as well. Arjun, who wrote the IEER piece has no real clue. He just had a radio debate ion NPR with Martin, who wrote the book you see on the site with my piece, and, as usual, Arjun demonstrated he doesn't understand liquid-fuel cycles, etc.

      The history of some of these groups is interesting, because Bulletin of the Atomic scientists was started by real physicists, including Weinberg, who co-invented both the LWRs we use and the MSRs we will be using. He even signed the letter asking Truman not to drop the A-bomb, but that's another story. Later, BAS and the PSR & IEER morphed into not just anti-weapons folks, which is fine, but to anti anything nuclear, which is dumb.

      People like UCS, at least, are wise enough to realize the difference between bombs & reactors and support nuclear power by trying to make it as safe as possible, which as the Swiss & others have long reported, is better than anything else.

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    81. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      "The only isotopic mix of plutonium which cannot realistically be used for nuclear weapons is nearly pure plutonium-238, which generates so much heat that the weapon would not be stable."

      Heat is not the main issue. (And by the way only Plutonium-239 and 241 are fissile.) The main issue is pre-detonation caused by neutrons from natural decay of the Plutonium isotopes. The larger the neutron level from natural decay of the Plutonium mixture, the more technically difficult it is to make a bomb that won't pre-detonate.

      "All of these grades of plutonium can be used to make nuclear weapons."

      Not realistically, as long as you're talking about bombs.

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    82. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      “Shirley, I said I would read the published article/book when I'm done with my current week's work.”

      Not a problem Alex since it was only after retirement that I realised how a week’s work of blogging can be so debilitating.

      Suggesting that I am a liar is rather stupid (and risky) and once again reveals your inability for detail when I made clear that the information I provided was published in a peer-reviewed journal by Professor Jos Lelieveld, Daniel Kunkel and Mark G. Lawrence of the Max…

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    83. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      So Shirley, remind us all again where I said you were a "liar". Is your saying that of me a lie?

      You use the word a lot. Does that help you win arguments without having facts?

      You seem to be angry at lots of people, whom you then rail against as itf it were relevant to our discussion of what actually happened re this book on Chernobyl's birds. Do you think attacking military polluters helps in an argument that's only in your mind and not with me?

      And, the authors may or may not have lied -- never said it, don't know until I read what they wrote in the book. Not good enough for you? Too bad,Shirley.

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    84. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Right Chris, 238Pu is what NASA needs for thermoelectric generators. 240Pu is a significant neutron source, since it self fissions enough to ruin any bomb.

      There's an interesting article in AAAS Science just now on the complexity of Pu chemistry and the difficulty of determining isotopic content of samples from NMR data, due to Pu's unusually complex electron shells.

      Obviously, we want to reliably be able to assess a Pu sample's isotopic content, to decide if it's a weapons threat or not.

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    85. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Argumentum ad baculum. Tsk tsk.

      Return from the future Mr Cannara and your non-existent reactor in your non-existent laboratory. Just answer the questions and address the issues I’ve raised which you’ve dodged for a week. Your dead cats are on the nose and they've failed the sniff test.

      Yes ok, we’ve got your message that you can shovel your beneficial, benign, healthful low level radioactive waste into a Grade 1 landfill or dump it in the weekly trash - yay!

      Meanwhile in good…

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    86. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Homo-stupidus wasn't around three billion years ago. Had they been, they would have been vaporised. Where is the relevance?

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    87. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley and Alex.

      I'm feeling very tired here. You are both two highly articulate and intelligent human beings, and I've felt pleased reading you both, having fun, in a slightly weird way as the subject is so terribly important.

      But now I think this discussion is at end. I told you I was getting interested of Alpha particles. Add to that our way of using MOX in Fukushima. Reactor four seems on the verge of collapsing now.

      And if it does, all our discussions will become academic as the alpha…

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    88. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, have you checked up on the alpha particles? And the their life span.. 240 000 years ..They will be recycled and we will either inhale them or lock ourselves away from Earth. Either way is bad, as in being a crazy and sick way of living for any animal.

      We seem to make our own cages here.

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    89. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Give me a clear study describing the whole process, but as you see it Alex. What I've seen is not this, but I'm open for change if you can show how it would work, And it has to work this time around..

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    90. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      I go with Yoron here Shirley, your disrespect for dead cats is just too much. No one deserves such erudite epithets!
      ;]

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    91. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Plutonium that is.. I'm afraid that's what's been taking up most of my time those last days..
      And that's Fukushima and reactor 4..
      "Ambassador Murata strongly stated that if the crippled building of reactor unit 4—with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground—collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4. In both cases the radioactive…

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    92. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      And one more thing.. They do not discuss whether this is MOX or not, but I assume that at least some third will be. Don't know how many reactors used MOX there. Reactor 3 did.. If all did then all those fuelrods contain weapongrade, or near to weapongrade, plutonium, which if spread through the air will become a catastrophe for us all.

      As I understands it.
      Or, do you see it differently, and if so, what experimental data have you Alex. I would very much prefer to be wrong on this one.

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    93. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, Alpha particles are just Helium nuclei looking for 2 electrons, which they find within micro-meters & nano-seconds, to become Helium. Is that a surprise? They're nothing dangerous, unless repeatedly produced inside cells by decaying heavier nuclei than Nickel. Are you eating some alpha emitters?
      ;]
      ..Indeed, the Fukushima plant was foolishly designed. No news there. A friend was GE safety engineer when the site was constructed and the Tepco management ignored all sorts of cafety recommendations, not just on the seawall, generator locations, or fuel storage. If we want to prevent such problems, we all need to hold govt., industry and regulators responsible. The Japanese never succeeded in doing that. They couldn't even have their massive LNG depot properly designed.

      Just wait until the plate undersea SE of Tokyo goes, as it's expected to, any time. Collusive govt. & industry in Japan have many more faces than just nuclear plants.

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    94. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      "you're doing above is fibbing" -- where does that say anything like "Shirley is a liar"? Your words were criticized, not you. Words are fair game. You certainly exploit that with your unhinged invective.

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    95. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, "reactor grade" Pu isn't "weapons grade" Pu. We discussed that earlier. It's also very hard to make a weapon, even if you had pure 239Pu.

      And Pu is the heaviest element we can easily create. PuO2 (in MOX) doesn't float. It sinks quickly in anything including melted lead. If it didn't, the Chernobyl reactor would have covered us in Pu.

      We need some reality here.

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    96. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      As I understand it they have been measuring Alpha radiation for some thirteen months? On the west coast (USA) if I remember right. And also measured Alpha radiation in Lithuania recently. If they all transmute into Helium directly, then we shouldn't be able to inhale them at all, should we?

      http://www.happysmile.se/dokument/science_plutonium_litauen.pdf

      I don't know Alex?
      That statement confuse me a lot.

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    97. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      You can exchange inhale for 'measure' to get the gist of it. Those guys didn't measure the concentration of helium, did they?

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    98. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I'm not the one fibbing Alex. The dust from plutonium will radiate. I had to read you again to see the slight you used, and I don't like. I find this situation too serious for me to joke about it actually, especially as I have kids of my own. Either you're serious or you're misinforming, which one is it?

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    99. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, we can't go on like this. You should read a basic nuclear physics book.

      Aphas don't "transmute" into Helium, they are Helium. They're just doubly-ionized Helium (ions), like in neon signs of certain colors. They're busy picking up electrons from the are to become neutral Helium, rising off into space, which is why we have no Helium in our air naturally.

      Also, the article you link to above says they observed: "12 mBq/m3 and 1.4 mBq/m3 to 3700 mBq/m3 and 1040 mBq/m3, respectively…

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    100. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      And Chernobyl and Fukishima are two different situations. One used enriched uranium, the other use MOX which is something totally different and much more dangerous as it is described from main stream science.

      "The reactor in Chernobyl used slightly enriched Uranium-235 rods. While the Japanese plant uses a mixture of different fuels (MOX) from weapons grade plutonium and re-processed nuclear waste, partly put into civilian use to prevent proliferation of radioactive materials to terrorists…

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    101. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, nothing accused you of "fibbing". The measurements you quoted are explained above as miniscule. Just because some Pu atoms make it around the world on a dust particle doesn't mean it's a danger. The dust from Asian & Africa that you regularly breathe has great amounts of naturally radioactive material in it. I don't get why this is a problem to understand.

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    102. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      I don't get why they'd measure Helium. They couldn't have known where it would be from.

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    103. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, Pu is made in every reactor that uses Uranium -- enriched or unenriched. MOX just means combining PuO2 & UO2 into ceramic fuel pellets. Metal OXides. The fuel doesn't burn -- it already is burned -- that's what an oxide is.

      To get Pu out of fuel rods, you need acids, etc.

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    104. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Well, what they measured was done in March - April, 2011.

      An what will they measure now, if that reactor 4 blows Alex?
      A few particles per billion seconds, or would it be different?
      And those particles do accumulate when inhaled, and the putonium dusts half time is 24 000 years times ten, is it not?

      will it being in a human decay any faster Alex or will it just become a part of the natural flow of earth groundwater streams evaporation air rain earth for that time period? Now and then inhaled by you or me, or any animal around the earth? And if so will it then concentrate at various parts inside a body to mutate and destroy the cells?

      Sorry about transmute btw. I used it in the meaning 'Alter the nature of elements' which it does as I thought?

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    105. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Sure, I know that Alex. but MOX is not what Chernobyl used and fuel rods containing MOX contains plutonium from its very beginning, as I understands it? And if that is the case and I assume that all reactors there used MOX, which wouldn't surprise me, then all fuel rods, used as new, will contain it there.

      And that worries me a lot.

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    106. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I have this Alex. Don't really know what to make of it though.

      "http://www.iaea.org/inis/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/33/043/33043484.pdf

      "There exists no widely accepted definition for the concept of a 'hot particle'. It is often used in the meaning that the particle is highly active; sometimes it is used for particles having high specific activity. Khitrov et at. (1994) have suggested the following definition: a hot particle is a particle with any radionuclide or composition with…

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    107. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      And Chernobyl ..

      "Problem of Hot Particles," from Yablokov & Nesterenko's, "Chernobyl, Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment"

      1.4.2. Problem of “Hot Particles” (pg. 21) A fundamental complexity in estimating the levels of Chernobyl radioactive contamination is the problem of so-called “hot particles” or “Chernobyl dust.” When the reactor exploded,it expelled not only gases and aerosols (the products of splitting of U (Cs-137, Sr-90, Pu, etc.),but also particles…

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    108. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Now we just need to add 240 000 years more of this. As that is the 'overall time' for plutonium's Alpha particles decay into environmentally ignorable radioactive particles, all as I gathered.

      And they won't go away as far as I found out? When you die they will be released to add to Earth's natural 'breathing cycle' and getting inhaled again. We might be able to protect ourselves to some degree, but animals won't, neither do I expect the marine life to be able to protect itself, except by benevolent…

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    109. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      I got to admit, it's sort of fascinating to me. Particles I mean, not only radioactive ones. It's about how a particle can be 'indistinguishable' to another, how they can keep their 'energy' and how they release it. And how they are able to exist for so long radiating.

      Tunnelling for example.
      http://www.ohio.edu/people/piccard/radnotes/alphabeta.html

      What I'm wondering for the moment is about the decay, transforming (better than transmute:) it from one state to another and also translating…

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    110. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, all reactors with 238U in their fuel make Pu. A neutron changes 238U to 239U and that decays to 239Pu.

      So, whether you put PU in initially (MOX), or not (LEU, the huge amount of 238U in the fuel gradually turns to 239Pu, 240Pu & 241Pu. That messy mix is "reactor Plutonium".

      The French removed Pu from their old LEU fuel over the years and saved the Pu, and reused the 95% of the rest, which is 235U (fuel) and 238U -- nature's most common isotope). As of a few years ago, France had about…

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    111. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, please Google "plutonium decay chain". Lasting 240,000 years doesn't mean anything until you know what happens during those tears. Pu doesn't continuously emiit particles -- no radioactive element does.

      Pu decays in about 15 steps to stable Lead. That means 15 particles (Aplha, Beta...) are emitted in total over 240,000 years. On average, that's 240,000/15 = 16,000 years between particles. So you'd need 16,000 Pu atoms to average 1 particle per year, or 500 trillion Pu atoms to get 1 particle per second, or 1 Becquerel. Your body's Potassium produces 4400 Becquerel.

      You'd need to have about 4 milligrams of Pu ingested to equal just the natural Potassium decay in your body.

      For Beta (electron) decay, use this nice tool...
      www.colorado.edu/physics/2000/applets/iso.html

      Click on the O20 box for instance, and see how it decays because it has too many neutrons.

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    112. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Dust is bad, especially if smaller or larger than our natural garbage collector cells in the lungs can get out. Chemical dusts are as bad or worse thnan radioactive dust. Smoking forces dangerous, carcinogenic organic molecules into the lungs that aren't easily removed. No radioactivity needed to cause cancer.

      People strangely don't seem to care as much about the real killers all around in what they breathe, as they fear imagined radiation.

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    113. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Them’s weasel words my friend. The dictionary definition of fibber is: “one who tells lies - fabricator, fabulist, falsifier, liar, prevaricator.” To fib: “tell an untruth; pretend with intent to deceive.”

      So how is that “critical analysis” on the birds of Chernobyl coming along? Hmmm? Or were you only “fibbing?” Are you planning on contacting Professor Lelieveld at the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry to advise him his paper is rubbish – a “fib?”

      Have you informed Yoron that plutonium occurs in nature in exceedingly minute amounts and is considered a man-made element by experts? Or that lunatics are in charge of the asylum where it’s appallingly obvious that the technology of the unhinged has exceeded our humanity? Plundering Momma Nature’s radioactive waste repositories makes as much sense as giving a two year old a box of matches?

      Or that man is but a monkey shaved? (Apologies to our primate cousins – what’s left of them).

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    114. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      "And that worries me a lot."

      You're talking about the difference between the basic properties of Uranium and Plutonium. Uranium is quite safe to handle with gloved hands (as long as you don't make a critical mass of U-235). Reactor grade Plutonium is too radioactive to handle safely by hand. This is the difference that worries you a lot but once a reactor has been running for a while, it makes very little difference to the reactor radioactivity whether the original fuel was Uranium or Plutonium.

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    115. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, I ain't "your friend" and your manners are as poor as your words and scientific knowledge, or attention to what others write.

      I said I'd look at the reference book on Chernobyl birds next week. You do realize what "next week" means, don't you? Yoron does.

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    116. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      You know Alex. I never though I would need to dive into this so deep. But your molten sand reactor interests me, and yeah I am checking up on the 233U in the neptunium series. But it takes time, and I also have other things on my mind, as Fukushima. And I d take that seriously, as seems a lot of other experts on that subject. Would you call your view on that matter a majority view Alex?

      And what about responsibility for what one present as safe. Where does it end? Someone sold the design to Tepco…

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    117. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Yep, that's what worries me, and for a simple reason :)
      It means all fuel rods, in a worst case scenario, contain plutonium.

      Now, would that be bad?

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    118. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      This is what I found, relating to enriched uranium Alex.
      "Uranium found in nature consists largely of two isotopes, U-235 and U-238. The production of energy in nuclear reactors is from the 'fission' or splitting of the U-235 atoms, a process which releases energy in the form of heat. U-235 is the main fissile isotope of uranium.

      Natural uranium contains 0.7% of the U-235 isotope. The remaining 99.3% is mostly the U-238 isotope which does not contribute directly to the fission process (though…

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    119. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      There really should be a 'edit function' implemented for this type of site, at least for some restricted time. I keep forgetting those small words as 'at' or 'non', 'to' relative 'too' etc. As well as my jeyboard sux terribly, especially with my 'k' and 'o' tangents missing :) Sort of?

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    120. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      OK, first you said:

      "fuel rods containing MOX contains plutonium from its very beginning, as I understands it?

      And that worries me a lot."

      Then after I said:

      "once a reactor has been running for a while, it makes very little difference to the reactor radioactivity whether the original fuel was Uranium or Plutonium."

      You said:

      "Yep, that's what worries me .. all fuel rods"

      So after reading what I said, you changed your mind from being worried about the MOX fuel rods to being worried about all fuel rods.

      OK, you could say you're worried about nuclear power stations a lot because they contain radio-active material.

      No-one's denying that radio-active material is dangerous. But the whole point is that nuclear power stations should be designed for the safe handling of radio-active material.

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    121. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      You seem to be arguing without reading me Chris?

      I said that what is worrying to me, that is, is how many of those fuel rods may contain plutonium. MOX contain it. Used fuel rods will also contain it. to that we can add that although Tepco went out with that only reactor three used MOX, Tepco, according to 'whistle blowers' inside the plant, was lying about it to the Japanese Government already before the accident.

      So I can't help but wonder how many of those fuel rods that contain plutonium? As I see that as a big problem. Why not check on the Internet if there are more than me that finds MOX to be a problem, for Fukishima, and for us?

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    122. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Not about MOX specifically, but about the security and how the nuclear facility was working, And if they did, and saw a profit in using MOX?

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    123. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      I'm reading you. Have you ever thought about what it is about Plutonium that worries you? As distinct from any other substance involved in a nuclear reactor. What is it that causes you to talk about Plutonium in particular?

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    124. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Mr Cannara, I believe your statement is misleading since lead (206Pb) is the final step in the decay chain of 238U, the uranium series.

      207Pb is the end of the Actinium series from 235U.

      208Pb is the end of the Thorium series from 232Th.

      The most common sources of metals contamination in your country's groundwater include leachate from mine tailings piles, abandoned mines, spills, leaks and land disposal of wastes at industrial facilities and at 70 percent of the U.S. Department of Energy sites where nuclear weapons and reactor activities were conducted.

      The Paducah uranium enrichment facility, remains in operation to this day, despite its ignominious reputation, its massively contaminated sites including metals and radionuclides and its significant emissions of ozone destroying CFCs.

      Please refrain from obscuring lead’s relevance to the radioactive decay chains.

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    125. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      I have to admit that I'm losing sight of what you reply to there Shirley? If we are going to discuss this any further I think it best to cite some concise meaning from the post one answer. I don't think the 'conversation' was prepared for such an onslaught as we seem to have given this thread :) And I still miss that opportunity to correct spelling etc that a edit function would present, even if time limited.

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    126. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley you continue to pollute this site with misinformation. The purpose of noting that lead (or Bismuth) is the stable end product of Actinide-element decays is just that -- radioactive decay leads to non-radioactivity.

      And, since Thorium and 238Uranium have half lives in the billions of years, their radiation on the way down to stability is very modest, and withing Natural cellular -repair capabilities.

      No one is accepting concentrated pollution of radioactive elements or chemical…

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    127. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, like Chris, I don't get your fascination with Plutonium in fuel. And, I don;'t get your distinction of MOX re Fukushima & Chernobyl.

      All light-water reactors use low-enriched Uranium -- 235U is bumped up to ~4-5% from 0.7%. MOX is that plus Plutonium, (U & Pu oxides). Regular fue,l with no Pu in it, ends up with about an equal amounts of 235U and Pu oxides in it when taken out as 'spent'. That's one source of MOX -- reprocessing that solid fuel.

      But the Pu being made in any reactor…

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    128. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, all the fuel contains Pu, whether it was put in or not, unless the fuel was pure Thorium and had no natural 238Uranium. But all common solid fuels have 238U as the majority element. So all make some Pu.

      You car orr motorcycle has gasoline in it. Is that dangerous? Remember the Ford Pinto? Things that have dangers need to be designed well. That includes operator training & licensing.

      Those are all features that were lacking in Chernobyl & Fukushima. Even 3-Mile Island can be attributed…

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    129. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Why I'm making the distinction here is due to Fukushima Alex, wondering how many of those fuel rods that contain plutonium.
      "According to the Nuclear Information Resource Center (NIRS), this plutonium-uranium fuel mixture is far more dangerous than typical enriched uranium -- a single milligram (mg) of MOX is as deadly as 2,000,000 mg of normal enriched uranium."
      It may be that I'm overreacting there anyway, I'm not sure myself. We have to wait and see what happens with reactor 4. As for thorium…

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    130. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, Japan is special in some ways. I've worked for a Japanese company and there are good & bad things. One is that the hierarchy can stifle adaptability to events, and it can lead to collusion among companies, government and any related agencies, like regulators,. That's exactly what happened in Japan with TEPCO, NISA and the government.

      In addition, the Japanese needed power to prevent dependence on imported fuels, so nuclear power was a natural in their high-tech environment. They came…

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    131. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Interesting Alex. Didn't know the government would allow the Yakuza to be involved in such a sensitive industry? That doesn't sound healthy for a state, although they too have their own codes of honor as I understands it. On the other hand, they would want the same as any Mega company I would suspect, to increase the profits.

      And considering the way the Italians allow the Mob to take care of their waste problems? Don't know what I find worse here? And that makes me wondering even more about those fuel rods I'm afraid.
      I know that Japan is strangely futuristic in many ways, and puts a lot of energy into things we westerners might deem as frivolous and unnecessary. And you're right in that Japan 'breath' their myths, they have a long time civilization containing a lot of tales. But somehow I think that has to do with how they have learnt to interact with each other in a very crowded environment. they may need more of an 'escape' that I need here in not so crowded Sweden.

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    132. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      “The key thing here is that this is not another Chernobyl,” said Ken Brockman, a former director of nuclear installation safety at the IAEA in Vienna. “Containment engineering has been vindicated. What has not been vindicated is the site engineering that put us on a path to accident.”

      That I don't agree on, Fukushima is worse than Chernobyl although that was written 2011. so you might define it as a successful disinformation from Tepco and the Japanese government, possibly? Added to all our beliefs…

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    133. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      @ Alex Cannara to Yoron: “"radioactive substances are in a class for themselves." -- they disappear! (your shriek). PCBs, Mercury, Lead, Chlordane, PCE, TCE, BisPhenylA, DDT are often with us forever.

      And so you endeavour to scare readers over heavy metals but deceptively fail to mention that uranium (whose long chain decays to lead) is also a heavy metal, toxic, radiogenic and irrufutably, a death metal.

      Then: “Shirley you continue to pollute this site with misinformation. The purpose…

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    134. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      " I still would prefer a technology that made it impossible to construct a bomb"

      That's pretty easy as far as Plutonium goes. All you need to do is have enough Plutonium-240 mixed in so that it's virtually technically impossible to make a bomb that won't just fizzle. As the spontaneous neutron level increases with more Plutonium-240, the bomb would need a higher and higher speed of implosion that would also need to be more and more accurately symmetrical to avoid predetonation that blows the bomb…

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    135. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      You got a good point there Chris, although I still need to read up on it. It's just that this will be up to each facility, depending on nation and interest of it. You might argue that we could make some convention about though, with inspections by some international agency, much as we already have. My feeling on the subject is that we already have too many bombs to be called sane.

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    136. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, I disagree with your assumption and should you peruse this thread you will find that I have indeed addressed the topics raised by Mr Cannara. Alas this gentleman has consistently and persistently dodged the questions and evaded the issues I have raised – issues that remain the status quo and are scientifically recognised but which throw a negative light on his flawed argument.

      However, it is not your role to moderate this thread. If you have lost sight of what I write, then by all…

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    137. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      On Sendai land use, there was a NY Times piece called "Ancestral warnings ignored", and a New Yorker piece on 17 Oct 2011, by Osnos, that at its end explains about the ancient stone tablets all over Sendai's coasts saying "Don't build here".

      And, the Japanese had no robots to explore the damaged reactors, so we sent them some. Here's some of what they were working on instead...
      http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/humanoids/japanese-mh2-shoulder-robot-wants-to-be-your-friend-literally/?utm_source=roboticsnews&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=052912

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    138. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Don't mess with Shirley, Yoron! She'll tell you who's boss: "it is not your role to moderate this thread."

      She may even call you names (though she doesn't like her words being called for the fibs they are): "Nor are citizens of this nation interested in Mr Cannara’s jabberwocky on non-existent technologies or his skewed views on the nuclear energy dud."

      So be careful or she'll use the sting of her uninformed intellect on you too. Fear the "jabberwok"!
      ;]
      So, Shirley, you demonstrate…

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    139. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, do people around you actually put up with your ignorantly abusive words? Or maybe they walk away and that's why you're so diffusely angry?

      I gave you a link to the abundances of the elements. If all Uranium decayed, in billions of years, to Lead, it would be but a small fraction of the lead already present in the earth.

      You breathe more lead and all the other baddies from Chinese coal plants, maybe Aussie coal plants too. No one's arguing for your Ranger Mine, personal devil.

      You're clearly not scientifically trained, so your statements exude ignorance, which you try to mislead others with. That's a shame. An environmentalist doesn't do that.

      Just some more "weasel words" for you.
      ;]

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    140. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, yes, we have pretty good, independent regulation of nukes via the NRC. For example, our Calif. CPUC allowed PG&E to use uninspected gas trunk lines for decades, which then burned to death 8 of our nearby residents in San Bruno a couple of years ago. That's our CPUC.

      The San Onofre nuke just discovered a few small steam leaks -- it was shut down at once and the NRC staff has been inspecting to determine what will be allowed to do. That's real regulation.

      Japan has never had an independent…

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    141. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      "All you need to do is have enough Plutonium-240 mixed in so that it's virtually technically impossible to make a bomb that won't just fizzle."

      That said, a test has been done with reactor-grade Plutonium: http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/websites/osti.gov/www.osti.gov/html/osti/opennet/document/press/pc29.html

      But I still think the easiest way to go is to set up your own nuclear reactor to make weapons-grade Plutonium yourself.

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    142. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Well no Mr Cannara, I’m not trained in the radiation sciences and nor are you. However I can back up my claims with the peer-reviewed literature and you can’t. You boast of being “a distinguished electrical engineer, software & network consultant and educator from Ca.,” however, business must be a dud since you've graced us with your company day and night for a more than a week, spinning furiously to “educate” us.

      Actually I hail from gold and yellowcake country (4th generation or should…

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    143. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      "But I still think the easiest way to go is to set up your own nuclear reactor to make weapons-grade Plutonium yourself."

      Of course, the nuclear reactor is just a source of neutrons for transmuting the U-238 into Pu-239. There are other ways of generating neutrons that are simpler than a nuclear reactor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_generator but they might not generate neutrons fast enough.

      Making weapons grade Plutonium requires two things: U-238 as in natural Uranium and a source of suitable energy neutrons. At least one neutron for each Plutonium atom produced.

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    144. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Sure, but when I say that it's more dangerous I refer to what is happening now. And you can't ignore that.

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    145. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, you misunderstand me. I'm reading you both, consider me a neutral party in this. I differ what I really know from what I don't, and though I know some few of the aspects of nuclear technology I do not believe I'm qualified to decide here. When I say that I'm interested in the new/old technology Alex talks about I'm serious, but I do not have a decided view on it yet. I, as always, need more information.

      As for the rest of it I do not find your posts tedious in any way, you and Alex both…

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    146. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      "I believe your statement is misleading since lead (206Pb) is the final step in the decay chain of 238U, the uranium series."

      I don't think Alex meant to imply that radioactive substances decay to nothing. He, quite clearly to me, implied that the radioactivity decayed to nothing. The resulting substance, lead, would then present the same hazard as ordinary non-radioactive lead.

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    147. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      What I meant was that your reply, if you look at this thread organization, is almost impossible to track to the question you replied too. And that is a bother as the thread grows. For new readers it must become almost impossible to follow the discussion..

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    148. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, I agree in that the body can take care of weak radiation. But that is presuming several points, as for example, that this radiation is not over prolonged time periods. To repair is one thing, to constantly needing to repair is another. "While the effects of high and acute doses of ionising radiation are easily observed and understood in humans (e.g. Japanese Atomic Bomb survivors), the effects of low-level radiation is very difficult to observe and is highly controversial. This is because baseline…

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    149. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      "I'm taking Fukushima very seriously and that it worries me at lot. Also that I find our current nuclear facility's to be something of time bombs."

      I take "current" to mean the common 1950s-60s technology nuclear power stations such as Fukushima. Yes they are worrying because of their high-risk design. Also the fact that very little has been done since they were built to reduce their design risk. But any operator of a nuclear power station similar to Fukushima would be a fool not to implement ways of reducing the risks that contributed to the Fukushima disaster. Two obvious examples are greater redundancy in the emergency power supply and the avoidance of hydrogen build-up.

      Of course, no-one is ever going to build a power station anything like Fukushima ever again. The real concern is whether the old power stations can be made safe.

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    150. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Well, to me the question is what we should replace them with. There are several possibilities, from deciding to wait and research without replacing, taking the power losses that will bring with it, to decide to go for some better, less (or no) waste technology. What I personally don't find acceptable is to let them stand as they are.

      If the power companies can't afford the change the state needs to step in. In fact my view is that many of those problems Fukushima faced could have been avoided if it was the Japanese state that had been directly responsible. As it is they will end up responsible anyway. If we are going for nuclear power we better make sure that we, this time around, choose them from other preferences than their ability to produce bomb material. As I see it that is :)

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    151. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris, my interpretation is that he’s exploited the dangers of lead to dumb down the hazards of uranium:

      @ Alex Cannara to Yoron: “"radioactive substances are in a class for themselves." -- they disappear! PCBs, Mercury, Lead, Chlordane, PCE, TCE, BisPhenylA, DDT are often with us forever.”

      Yeah right so U-238 “disappear(s)” – in 4.8 billion years? Is that not “forever?” Of course U-238’s daughters (or “grand-daughters?”) of lead-214 and lead-210 do “disappear” after some 22 years but U238’s…

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    152. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      "If the power companies can't afford the change the state needs to step in."

      That's one way but whatever way it is, the nuclear power stations have to be open to scrutiny. There can be no such thing as "commercial-in-confidence" applying to nuclear power stations or any part of the nuclear system.

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    153. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      No problems Yoron and my apologies. I sincerely trust your research reveals that radiation fallout is “disappearing” at Fukushima. It’s a pretty deplorable state of affairs regarding the "clean-up" at Rocketdyne in the US and according to the comments’ section, more than a few American citizens are outraged too:

      http://www.enviroreporter.com/2012/03/rocketdyne-still-hot/

      http://www.rocketdynecleanupcoalition.org/new-epa-data-show-substantial-radioactivity-at-site-of-ssfl-partial-meltdown/

      http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_20108641/rocketdyne-radiation-is-still-abundant

      Oh yes and the legacy of Chernobyl still rearing its ugly head in Norway :

      http://blog.safecast.org/2012/05/en-norway-still-radioactive/

      Off to the bush soon so commitments beckon. Toodle pip.

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    154. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      I agree fully Chris. And what ever agency we use for this, it better be non affiliated to any type of interests. If that now is possible in reality I don't really know but that agency will also need to be totally transparent for us normal citizens.

      The last should be possible at least.

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    155. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      It's cool Shirley. I'm reading your links. They may not discuss technical aspects but they do take up historic aspects of the accidents we have had so far, those that are 'known' to us. I'm guessing that Russia still have some hidden surprises for us, as well as we have those Countries, like Israel, that keeps their nuclear use, and bombs, 'secret' :)

      I'm getting real tired of the bomb.

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    156. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Just returned from a conference where I specifically asked a nuclear engineer from Japan about their plans after Fukushima. This week they may decide to restart two of the other nuclear stations that were shut down pending inspections. All stations possibly subject to flooding are being, or have been, surrounded with new reinforced shield walls.

      One of the Japanese power companies is moving forward to implement molten-salt reactors, much as are China, France,, India, Australia, the Czech Republic…

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    157. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      "coveting" your Thorium reserves, Shirley? Really? So you walk over yellowcake and worry about lead, not Radium, Radon, Polonium...?

      Guess we all can understand why radio--chemistry os a challenge to you.

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    158. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      You need to work for Aussies to stop burning coal, as we do, Shirley. That's where the most airborne radiological and chemical threats come from. Remember the NORM exemptions?

      Interesting you can assay someone else's knowledge and boast about it to try to prop up weak arguments. That kind of chicanery indicts you, not the other.

      On your Norway "still radioactive after 26 years" piece above, Why wouldn't it be, if some Chernobyl Cs & Sr got rained down on it? They're only approaching half…

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    159. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Yoron, I have indeed raised technological issues (more than a week ago) pertaining to the status quo. However, Mr Cannara doesn’t want us to know about the disasters of once through cooling (OTC) plants, particularly in his own state of California.

      Combined, the 19 California plants (including fossel fuel powered plants) using OTC technology suck in more than 15 billion gallons of sea water every day and kill an estimated 2.7 million fish and 19.4 billion larvae and other marine life—including…

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    160. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      @ Alex Cannara: "The San Onofre nuke just discovered a few small steam leaks -- it was shut down at once and the NRC staff has been inspecting to determine what will be allowed to do. That's real regulation."

      "A few small steam leaks"? The company last month said more than 1,300 tubes are so damaged that they will be taken out of service.
      .
      http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/news-ticker/2012/may/16/fire-danger-missing-documents-at-san-onofre/

      http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2012/05/san_onofre_1300_tubes_damage.php

      Have you no shame?

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    161. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Very slick Mr Cannara though to be truthful, your verballing bears the whiff of a dead rat.

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    162. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, you're displaced anger is unlimited -- San Onofre is closed down for steam leaks, not radioactive dispersals or meltdowns, Maybe you're unhappy that hasn''t occurred?

      Mitsubishi delivered a new steam generator system that indeed has many, many tubes. It's got leaks. It needs fixing or replacement.

      So when your bike chain breaks, do you advise we all stop using bikes?

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    163. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, again you wave your flag of ignorance about others without shame -- as a Sierra Club member, I'm against once-through plant cooling of any kind.

      Actually, it's ignorant statements like yours: "Nuclear cowboys are aided and abetted by Mr Cannara..." that make you complicit with combustion-power folks.

      How about speaking from knowledge rather than manipulative bias, Shirley?

      Oops, that's too much to expect, isn't it?

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    164. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      “NORM” exemptions? And what about TENORM exemptions for the nuclear industry Mr Cannara? Ah, here you gush more biased nonsense where you infer that it is perfectly acceptable for the uranium/nuclear behemoth to contaminate people’s clean air but it is unacceptable for the coal industry to do likewise. Iodine-129 is an excellent tracer for establishing just how far the nuclear industry spreads its hazards of radioactive rubbish and the results ain’t pretty.

      And one need not be a rocket scientist…

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    165. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, let's start with your revealing admission: "I’m not trained in the radiation sciences".

      And then move to your obvious anger, which apparently blinds your thinking to bully others, as with: "...here you gush more biased nonsense where you infer that it is perfectly acceptable for the uranium/nuclear behemoth to contaminate people’s clean air but it is unacceptable for the coal industry to do likewise."

      So you fib to others about what I think without bothering to ask what I (or anyone…

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    166. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Do silly, juvenile phrasings like that actually work for you, Shirley?

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    167. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Well done on getting your foot in the door of the Sierra Club Mr Cannara. And here we have yet another blooper from a pitiful one-man band networker who speaks with forked tongue. Sierra’s policy on nuclear goes like this:

      1) “The Sierra Club remains unequivocally opposed to nuclear energy……… Nuclear power can cause catastrophic damage to land, human health, and our food supply. We should pursue our cleanest, quickest, safest, and cheapest energy options first: Nuclear power comes out last…

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    168. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Well Mr Cannara, the one and only commenter on your thorium propaganda to the US Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future had this to say about your “silly juvenile phrasings”:

      “This guy goes around to renewable energy sites over and over again to bash everything from solar to biomass. He is that guy that everyone knows growing up that really needs a hobby but instead is an annoying know it all. If thorium works or not, you are still and ass.” DePonst

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwGcefHYyIM

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    169. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, you should think before taking the bait!

      There are surprisingly many in the Sierra Club who are pro nuclear, just as is one of the founders of Greenpeace. Since the Club was supportive of nuclear power for the right reasons years ago, it may well come around again, as its unrealistic policies get corrected. We like to work from within, via facts rather than being ignorantly abusive from the outside -- understand?

      So, as you imagine you tilt at your "the nuclear behemoth", perhaps…

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    170. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Wow, Shirley, I'd no idea I was so famous and that you'd spend your valuable time researching where I've been for me!

      Your "nuclear behemoth" folks indeed are quite afraid of any improved nuclear power, as are the combustion folks. So you can pat yourself on the back for inadvertently providing aid & comfort to the present combustion & nuke industries.

      It's interesting that the video of me has but one commenter, whom you've taken up with to share ignorance. After all, there were a dozen of…

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    171. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Really? A nuke pusher who does not approve of exemptions for any industrial pollution, radioactive or otherwise? That's a doozy of an oxymoron.

      Of course any dummkopf who is blind to global anthropogenic radioactive pollution has the brains of a potato.

      When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?

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    172. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Mr Cannara, where are the “desperately incorrect statements” to which you refer? Come come now. “Put up or shut up” as the saying goes. Your repetitive allegations are rather pitiful when you must ‘substantiate’ your swill by ad hominem, implying that it is your opponents who are of low character. Tsk tsk.

      So off you go now and show us the evidence (assuming you have any).

      And never angry Mr Cannara. In fact it’s most amusing when one can engage with clones of second-rate pettifoggers…

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    173. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, don't know how you separate one of your minds from the other, but all here can read where you said odd things like I was for "once-through cooling" of plants, without bothering to check that I wasn't.

      You demonstrated you don't know what relative abundances and decay ratios of elements are, even when you go stand on your "yellow cake". Others even had to correct you on such breathtakingly uninformed statements.

      And you evidence no knowledge of radio-biology, but make loud pronouncements…

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    174. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Religiously maintaining ignorance of others must be hard row to hoe, eh Shirley?

      Your "potato-brain" 'friend'
      ;]

      .

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    175. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Again you peddle propaganda to deceive readers Mr Cannara. Quoting the tabloids to enhance your ever diminishing credibility has as much substance as a bag of bones.

      Patrick Moore Did Not Found Greenpeace:

      Patrick Moore frequently portrays himself as a founder or co-founder of Greenpeace, and many news outlets have repeated this characterization. Although Mr. Moore played a significant role in Greenpeace Canada for several years, he did not found Greenpeace. Phil Cotes, Irving Stowe, and Jim…

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    176. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      1) Your first allegation in your first paragraph is a blatant lie:

      @ Shirley Birney: "However, Mr Cannara doesn’t want us to know about the disasters of once through cooling (OTC) plants, particularly in his own state of California."

      2) "You demonstrated you don't know what relative abundances and decay ratios of elements are, even when you go stand on your "yellow cake". Others even had to correct you on such breathtakingly uninformed statements."

      Another blatant lie. No-one challenged…

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    177. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, you've an amazing amount of time to spend trying to nit pick. If Moore wasn't a Greenpeace "founder", as you admit news folks have told us, but he was involved with significant parts of Greenpeace, what does that prove?

      Your statements are so scattershot you yourself must realize their desperation. We're not talking about 3-Mile Island, where my parents were downwind and no one was hurt.

      You emit more radiation every day from excretion of your own 40Potassium than anyone living right next door to TMI ever received from its Krypton ot Tritium leaks.

      And, we're not talking about "once-through cooling" of any plants -- you brought that up for some odd reason, and we all saw you being wrong about what I thought.

      So, keep on, if you wish to waste more time here being angry. It just defeats any hope you have of being respected for fair discussion & knowledge.

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  2. Byron Smith
    Byron Smith is a Friend of The Conversation.

    PhD candidate in Christian Ethics at University of Edinburgh

    "The ASN classed the incident at the top level 1 on a scale of 7. Totally minor, retorted EdF."

    The INES scale runs from 1 ("anomaly") up to 7 ("major accident"). Fukushima and Chernobyl were 7, which is the highest level. An incident classed as a "1" is at the bottom of the scale of seriousness. Nonetheless, a level one incident has still reached the first rung on the ladder. A totally minor incident would be a zero.

    http://www-ns.iaea.org/tech-areas/emergency/ines.asp

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  3. John Newlands

    tree changer

    Recent German emissions and GDP data are precarious. Coal burning went up but less domestic gas was used due to a mild winter. They escaped a technical recession with GDP growth of 0.1%. When both of these indicators are in the wrong direction at the same time I suspect there will be calls to re-instate nuclear in Germany. Already there are misgivings about the staggering cost of feed-in tariffs to new renewables; one figure I've seen is $110bn cumulative to last year.

    On recent indications I think the German experiment is likely to backfire. Some German nationals told me if it goes bad it will be blamed on the Greek bailout. That may give them a facing saving way to restart the nukes.

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  4. Daryl Deal

    retired

    Actually, many of the Nuclear Reactors, in France have one very fatal design flaw. Being located inland, far from the coast, they require copious amounts of river cooling water. The ones on the coast, drawing sea water, can be knocked off line by large numbers of jelly fish choking the cooling inlet grates.

    Thus, during the last drought in France, a number of reactors, were taking off line, as there was insufficient river flow to provide adequate cooling. The irony being, the French purchased…

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    1. Paul Fourie

      logged in via email @yahoo.com

      In reply to Daryl Deal

      This is pure speculation. The long term effect of global warming on the French climate is unknown. France could just as well become a lot wetter. Speculation to fit a political agenda?

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    2. John Bennetts

      Engineer

      In reply to Paul Fourie

      Besides which, air cooled condensers (ACC's) are a mature technology. They require a larger land area than water cooled condensers and have significant poerating cost due to the need for large numbers of fans.

      However, water supplies for WCC's are not without their drawbacks either, due to river and ocean construction costs, land areas for channels and piped systems, often also tunnels and even viaducts.

      Darryl's speculative nonsense is irrelevant.

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    3. Daryl Deal

      retired

      In reply to Paul Fourie

      Is it really?

      Europe's dry spring could lead to power blackouts, governments warn
      River levels may cause nuclear reactors to go offline, while dry weather in northern and eastern Europe will raise food prices

      Extract "France, the EU's biggest wheat producer, has made £90m available to drought-hit farmers and applied for advance financial help from the EU. More than half the country's regional departments have imposed restrictions on extracting water which has led to roads being blockaded by…

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    4. Daryl Deal

      retired

      In reply to Daryl Deal

      PS if the company, called AREVA, is having major problems and resultant multi billion Euro cost increases in the construction of the new generation three pressurized water reactors in both France and Finland. such expenses would indicate that nuclear power technology, as it stands today. is neither mature nor a panacea to electric power generation, either.

      link ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Pressurized_Reactor

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    5. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Daryl Deal

      I don't know why the Europeans in general are having trouble building nukes. They certainly had no trouble building a stack in the past. My guess is that some of the problems stem from what has been called "The second system effect"

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mythical_Man-Month#The_second-system_effect

      It happened to a software project I worked on in the early 1990s.

      The book "Plentyful Energy" discusses related issues that can derail complex system development. It's tough to put together…

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    6. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Daryl Deal

      As Geoff says, it's a mystery why Europeans have trouble getting an improved version of 1946 technology to completion, while China can.

      What goes on with PWRs, however, makes the case for the next generation of designs, like the MSR. While China desperately needs clean power, at least because of its massive health costs, its planners also know they can do much better than the PWR.

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    7. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, Yoron. I must sign off from this discussion. Other tasks beckon.

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  5. Craig Read

    logged in via Twitter

    The solution to global warning isn't going to be any one technology. It's certainly not going to be hydrogen (extremely impractical to store), CCS (hugely inefficient), or nuclear as we know it (safety, waste disposal issues, cost to implement and skills shortage to implement).

    But we have massive amounts of sunshine, and thorium.

    So, why aren't we investing in research of things like liquid metal batteries (http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=1749) to make the most of solar, and/or molten salt reactors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_reactor) for a "safer" nuclear option?

    Is it just a lack of political and commercial will, or are there other issues?

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  6. Geoff Russell

    Computer Programmer, Author

    About Leukemia. The INSERM report is interesting. They found an effect between 2002 and 2007 of 1.9 (1.0-3.3) based on 14 cases. The effect vanished when they looked at estimated radiation doses based on gaseous discharge. i.e., it was something to do with proximity to the plant but not with any known radiation source. The effect also vanished if the time period was 1990-2001 or 1990-2007. The prevailing opinion is that lifestyle choices like diet don't impact leukemia rates, because nobody has a…

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  7. Jane Rawson

    Editor, Energy & Environment at The Conversation

    Hello all - I know nuclear can often become a heated topic, so just a brief reminder to have a look at our community standards (https://theconversation.edu.au/community_standards) and try to keep it civil. Thanks.

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  8. Fred Pribac

    logged in via email @internode.on.net

    Evan Jones: " ... a reactor closed down costs the operator €1 million a day"

    Could somebody expand on this please? Is this purely operating cost, lost revenue or are there penalty rates for failing to provide power to the grid?

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  9. Alex Cannara

    logged in via Facebook

    CraigR is exactly right. And the multiple sources that we know can do the job for thousands of years are:

    a) solar PV & hot water on existing human structures (no 'farms' or wasteful 'thermal' or wind/wave);

    b) efficient storage (e.g., dispatchably linked also to EVs as Betterplace.com does);

    c) overall efficiency improvement (we now waste >50% of all power); and

    d) safe nuclear, such as the molten-salt (MSR) and Thorium MSR (LFTR) operated at US ORNL in the 1960s, and only unfunded…

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  10. Luke Weston

    Physicist / electronic engineer

    Today, the immense value and importance of nuclear fission power, and the insanity of turning away from it, is more clear than it has ever been.

    Nuclear power is extremely effective at replacing fossil fuels for scalable high capacity factor stationary energy generation, and essentially nothing else comes close.

    Look at Japan today, look at Germany, and it is more clear and more obvious than ever before.

    Turning away from the existing productive, safe, economical use of fission power means…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Luke Weston

      Good points, Like, and even in Japan, researchers continue to work on advanced nuclear, such as the Fuji Project using Thorium molten salt. The Japanese problems are all government-inflicted. If enough people there awaken to this, things can change for the better. Similarly in Germany.

      For reference, here are some discussions of the true costs to Germany & Japan in wrongly dismissing nuclear power...

      www.pointcarbon.com/aboutus/pressroom/pressreleases/1.1552105 (extra emissions)
      www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/17/us-siemens-energy-idUSTRE80G10920120117

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  11. Alex Cannara

    logged in via Facebook

    Yoron, I've lost track of where your comments are, like this one::

    "Alex, I agree in that the body can take care of weak radiation. But that is presuming several points, as for example, that this radiation is not over prolonged time periods. To repair is one thing, to constantly needing to repair is another."

    And I have to leave for a few days. I suggest you get a copy of something like "Radiation and Reason" by Allison.
    www.radiationandreason.com/uploads/FCCJ_ALLISON_100311_FINAL.pdf

    It explains how all living cells do about 1 repair/second per cell. That's x 10 trillion for our body cells. Lots of repairs going on all the time because you & I eat & breathe nasty stuff! Remember, Ma Nature ain't dumb, even if we are.

    I'll be back in a few days.

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    1. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Sure Alex :) You and me both. I'm sure this design is smart, just as long as we don't really start to discuss, because then those 'threads' inside 'threads just becomes confusing. If the strands would be in different colors it might be easier to track a comment to its origin. As it is I like people to cite some of the text they comment on. That way I can search for it and see what they answered too.

      Ah well, life is tricky.

      And yeah, I will read it, don't worry.
      The more information that I can assemble the better. Doesn't necessarily imply I understand it of course :) But, one never knows.

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  12. Alex Cannara

    logged in via Facebook

    Lost track of the thread about birds & Chernobyl, but have been in email contact with Tim Mousseau re the several papers of his that were mentioned here and that I read last week. He's answered some questions regarding his observations, so I'll summarize them later here. He is, by the way, not anti-nuclear.

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