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Nuclear Power Risks or How To Stop Worrying And Love The Atom
by Ian R Thorpe.

The Greens, fear and panic merchants, cap and trade profiteers, carbon warmageddonists and usual suspects have been in a funk about the Fukushima nuclear power station accident, demanding we shut down nuclear generation as well as coal mines and oil wells. But the lesson of Fukushima is we should stop worrying and learn to love the atom.

Nuclear Accident And The Elimination Of Risk
by Ian R Thorpe.
2011-02-20
CREATIVE COMMONS: Attribute, non commercial, no derivs.
KEYWORDS: nuclear, power, electricity, generating, reactor, accident, love, green, energy, environment, fossil, fuel, power, electric, electricity, renewable, wind, solar, fukushima, japan, water, eathquake, tsunami

There are a group of people in every English speaking society who call themselves 'greens' 'progressives', 'liberals' and humanists who are determined it seems to shut down western civilization. What should we call them? They are neither liberal (definitely NOT liberal, in fact they are the most illiberal social or political group since the Holy Inquisition was dissolved,) nor progressive. Green they may be but only in the sense of being naive, unworldly and gullible. They are certainly not progressive as they obsess only about civil rights and equality but believe equality must be imposed by government rather than being achieved by individuals collaborating, and as for their being humanists, since when did humanism have dogmas, orthodoxies and items of faith we associate with religious extremism.

A good appellation for these people would be Pusillanimous Poltroons (yes I know it's a syllogism and I just thought I'd point that out before some 'progressive liberal' tries to tell me it's an oxymoron, not that there is anything wrong with oxymorons.) A pusillanimous person is timid, cowardly, vacillating or faint hearted. A poltroon is a coward, an untrustworthy or disloyal person. So we have a cowardly coward. What better way to describe people who run around like headless chickens spreading fear and panic at the least provocation.

For several years now these people have been in a funk about increasing levels of carbon dioxide in air killing us all. Then they were quaking and crying Lord Government, save us when a panic about a very minor illness grew legs. Now they are all afraid that everybody will die of radiation poisoning because of an accident at a nuclear power station in Japan.

Let me tell you something about the accident at the Fukushima plant. It does not prove that nuclear power is too dangerous to be used, it shows how safe nuclear power is. Today, almost two weeks after the accident in which a multi reactor power station was damaged by a major earthquake, one of the biggest since records began, some workers (all volunteers) working to make the damaged reactors safe have been exposed to significant doses of radiation and a warning has been issued to people in Tokyo that tap water should not be given to babies.

It should be pointed out here that the nuclear complex was built almost on top of a very unstable geological fault. Can you imagine the consequences if an oil refinery or a chemical factory had been similarly damaged?

Almost forty years ago a senior nuclear safety official in the United States published a memorandum to colleagues. It warned that a key bulwark against a catastrophic accident in the kind of reactors now in meltdown at Fukushima was so flawed it should be banned.

He got a reaction within a week. The idea of a ban was “attractive”, wrote a more senior official, but implementing it “could well be the end of nuclear power”.

This exchange is just one of a series of warnings over the years about the safety of the General Electric “Mark I” Boiling Water Reactors, which comprise five of the six installed at the Fukushima complex..

As workers battle to contain the monster (Godzilla?) unleashed at the complex by last week's earthquake and tsunami, it is still too early to ascertain what precisely has caused the partial meltdowns at three of the reactors, and the exposure of highly radioactive spent fuel in a storage pool at a fourth. But the story of the warnings sheds some light on attitudes in the young nuclear industry which may, only now be coming to light.

The author of that memo September 20, 1972 was Dr Stephen Hanauer, then working at the US Atomic Energy Commission. He was concerned that weaknesses in the design of the container vessel around the reactor core – the main shield against the escape of radioactivity – could cause it to fail in an accident, leading to dangerous releases.

He pointed out that the vessel was smaller than was "conventional" and lent itself to the build-up of hydrogen – which seems to have played a part in the events at Fukushima – becoming "a more serious problem". He recommended that the commission "adopt a policy of discouraging further use" of that kind of containment and "that such designs not be accepted for construction permits filed after a date to be decided (say two years after the policy is adopted)".

On September 25, Dr Joseph Hendrie, the deputy director for technical review at the commission's directorate of licensing, weighed in with his reaction. The idea of such a ban, he wrote in a memo of his own, "is an attractive one in some ways", adding that alternative containments had "the notable advantage of brute simplicity".

Despite the doubts the Mark I is still going strong. Twenty three are still in operation in the US alone (though there are none in Britain) and one, which has been operating in Vermont since 1973, was granted another 20 years of life the day before the earthquake struck off Japan.

Since then reactors have been designed to be much safer, with the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) – planned to be built here in Britain over the next few years – especially so. But official documents show that the EPR will produce several times more of the radioactive iodine and caesium that would be rapidly released in an accident than do present-day reactors.

The trouble is that human beings have a way of overriding safety systems. The 1957 Windscale fire occurred when a physicist threw a switch too soon when carrying out a routine operation. The Three Mile Island accident was caused by a whole series of human errors. At Chernobyl, operators under pressure to complete a test deliberately disabled every one of its safety systems until, in the words of the chief investigator into the catastrophe, the reactor "was free to do as it wished".

Try as we might, as long as we need electricity there will be accidents. Yet, despite the reactions of some the pusillanimous poltroons and some attention seeking politicians to the Japanese situation, abandoning nuclear power is not an option, especially in a world some say must urgently combat climate change while others, the more worldly, recognise that as oil stocks are diminishing demand is growing. From a safety point of view while nuclear generators can never be 100% safe we are better off with new reactors rather than old ones.

Long ago we sold our souls for electricity. Now we must learn to live with the consequences of that Faustian bargain. If we can accept that then it is possible to look at the Fukushima incident and see that far from revealing the risks of nuclear energy it proves how very safe nuclear power plants are.

The first thing to understand is that radiation has been demonised by the green movement and the congenitally fearful. It is not as dangerous as you have been led to think. Many people will be eager to challenge me on this so I will warn, do not go running off to Wikipedia to bring back the first thing you can find that contradicts me. I am always amused by the naivete of webheads and wikiheads who believe all the information in the world is available on the web. Some information has value and only an idiot would destroy the value of an asset by putting it on the web and thus in the public domain. Anything you find on the web is either so well known it is no longer of value or it is wrong.

First, what is radiation?

Since the formation of matter either by a cosmic event or through a divine act (we're not having THAT argument here) atoms, from which all the diverse forms of matter are made, have been shooting off sub - particles and emitting or radiating energy waves. Until the 19th century nobody understood this, then a number of projects to investigate the nature of matter revealed not only that the atom was the most basic building block of matter but a number of amazing things related to the behaviour of atoms. One of the things researchers learned was that nothing could be done to change the atomic emissions. Applying heat, pressure, electricity, or any other force made no difference whatsoever. Emission appeared to be an unchangeable property of the substances. There are three type of radiation, electro - magnetic, mecanical and particle. When talking about nuclear accident it is particle radiation, the intensified rays emitted by unstable atoms, that concern us.

First however consider the beneficial side of radiation. It is radiation that made possible X rays, MRI scanners used in medicine and also radio therapy is used to treat certain cancers.

We'll skip over loads of really really interesting stuff about atoms and nuclear forces here (it is interesting actually but is not necessary for this article)

In a nuclear reactor atoms are smashed to release energy in the form of heat. This results in some atoms losing electrons and so, because the number of protons locked in the nucleus is not equal to the number of electrons orbiting the nucleus the atom is unstable. The same thing happens in an explosion caused by a nuclear weapon but the radiation radiation is released into the environment rather than being contained. In a nuclear attack or an accident apart from the initial radiation of the blast, there is residual radiation that results when stable matter, especially blast debris, captures excess neutrons from the explosion and becomes radioactive.Radiation occurs naturally at levels which are harmless but exposure to excess radiation is harmful to most living organisms, and prolonged exposure to very high levels of radiation is usually fatal. Sunlight is a kind of radiation however and people can die from too much sun.

The reason nuclear radiation harms us is that the radioactivity emitting unstable atoms try to repair themselves by by grabbing an electron from an atom they encounter that is prepared to yield one of its electrons. Such nanosluts are most likely to be heavy metals such as uranium but these are present in the environment though not in great quantities in soil, the food we eat, and from industrial processes.

The free radicals you are advised by doctors and dieticians to purge from your body by eating anti oxidants are atoms or molecules containing an atom that has at least one unpaired electron. The anti oxidant attaches itself to the unstable atom and neutralises it.

So radiation is not an Enochian demon then but something quite natural and like many things in nature safe, even beneficial in controlled doses but dangerous if you get too close or are exposed to too much.

Now, here's why you must learn to stop worrying and love nuclear power.

As observed above Fukushima is a crappy old plant with built to a design that has always had safety issues. It was hit by a massive earthquake, one of the biggest ever recorded, and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply to the plant failed, knocking out the cooling system. We now know that the backup power supply did not take over because the diesel generators were flooded. Eventually reactors began to explode and threaten melt down. The disaster exposed a saga of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.

The unholy alliance of the politicised green lobby, the perpetually fearful and those who stand to gain $$$billions from technologies like carbon capture, wind and solar power and cap-and-trade have wildly exaggerated the dangers of radioactive pollution. For a clearer picture the graphic HERE published by xkcd.com shows that the average total dose from the Three Mile Island disaster for someone living within 10 miles of the plant was one 625th of the maximum yearly amount permitted by international treaty for US, British and European nuclear power workers. In Britain we have had no similar accidents although various leaks of low and mid level radio - active material have occurred. The maximum permitted yearly exposure is half of the lowest one-year dose clearly linked to an increased cancer risk, which, in its turn, is one 80th of an invariably fatal exposure. We must stop being swayed by the fear and panic mongers who are only trying to drive an agenda forward an let ourselves be guided by common sense.

If other forms of energy production caused no damage and were risk free the acknowledged risks of nuclear power would make a strong case against its use. But energy is like medicine: if there are no side-effects, the chances are that it doesn't work .

Greens and climate science cult followers will be wailing and gnashing teeth now, they have invested a lot of emotional energy on campaigning for a major expansion of wind and solar generating. Their opponents have won the argument however. Onshore windfarms have huge environmental impact, also the new grid connections (pylons and power lines) are not desirable for health as well as aesthetic reasons (radiation again, children living close to overhead cables are known to be significantly more prone to some cancers). As the proportion of unreliable, inconsistent renewable electricity on the grid rises, more pumped storage will be needed to keep the lights on. That means reservoirs on mountains: they aren't popular, either with environmentalists, country lovers or landowners.

The impacts and costs of renewables rise with the proportion of power they supply, as the need for storage and backup increases. It may well be the case that up to a certain grid penetration renewables have smaller carbon impacts than nuclear, while beyond that point, nuclear has smaller impacts than renewables. Nobody seems in a hurry to carry out a study of at what point the balance tips. They'll probably try fobbing us off with "the science is settled" again.

Although I have ben branded by the more immature and hysteria prone as a 'climate denier' and a 'child killer' I have always called for renewable power (not wind and solar but wave, tide, marine current and run of river schemes, 100% reliable, to be used both to replace the electricity produced by fossil fuel because the earth is not making oil and coal anywhere near as quickly as we are using it but to expand the total supply, because as the economies of the population giants China and India develop demand will increase exponentially. That is a tall order for the renewables technology we have. Are we also going to demand that wind and solar replaces current nuclear capacity? The more work we expect renewables to do, the greater the impact on the landscape and the environment will be.

But expanding the grid to connect people and industry to distant sources of natural energy, the Sahara and the Arabian deserts, the Central Asian Steppes, the Great Plains of North America is also rejected by most of the greens. What they want, they tell me, is something quite different: we should power down and produce our energy locally. Some have even called for the abandonment of the grid. Such a vision of rustic self sufficient sounds idyllic, until you realise how medieval a society we would have to become.

At high latitudes like ours in Britain, most small-scale power production is a non starter. Generating solar power in the UK involves a spectacular waste of effort and resources. It's hopelessly inefficient and works best when we need least energy. Wind power in populated areas is largely worthless. This is partly because we have built our settlements in sheltered places; partly because turbulence caused by the buildings interferes with the airflow and chews up the mechanism. Micro-hydropower might work for an isolated farmhouse in the hills, but it's not much use in a large conurbation.

Also given that we could not return to what Gandhi's critics called the 'cow dung economy' how would we run our factories,textile mills, food processing plants, brick kilns, blast furnaces and railways; how would we provide the power for pharmaceutical manufacturing processes or keep hospitals and schools running? Rooftop solar panels? Wind turbines on top of our houses. One careless teenager could probable account for the entire ambient output of a whole street. The instant you consider the dependency of a modern economy on electric power is the moment at which you understand what utter rot the Warmageddonists, the fear and panic merchants and the carbon trading trade marketeers are talking and the scales fall from your eyes about "climate science". it's not very scientific.

Some greens go even further however: why waste renewable resources by turning them into electricity? Why not waterwheels and windmills to provide energy directly? To answer this question, look at Britain or the American colonies before the industrial revolution.

The damming and weiring of British rivers for watermills was small-scale, renewable, picturesque and devastating. By blocking the rivers and silting up the spawning beds, they helped bring to an end the gigantic runs of migratory fish that were once among our great natural resources and which fed much of Britain – wiping out sturgeon, lampreys and shad, as well as most sea trout and salmon which swim inland to spawn in rivers.

Carbon free transport may not have caused any CO2 emissions but was closely associated with starvation. The land that was set aside for feeding draft animals was not available for feeding humans. It was the 17th-century equivalent of today's biofuels crisis - there is nothing new under the sun. The same applied to heating fuel. As EA Wrigley points out in his book Energy and the English Industrial Revolution, the 11m tonnes of coal mined in England in 1800 produced as much energy as 11m acres of woodland (one third of the land surface) would have generated. Even with a much lower population than today's, quality of life in the land-based economy, books, the kind of furniture we take for granted, fashionable clothes and travel were the preserve of the wealthy elite. Deep green living – decentralised, based on the products of the land – would be far more damaging to modern society than nuclear meltdown.

Nuclear energy has just been subjected to one of the harshest of possible tests, and the impact on people and the planet as a whole has been tiny. The crisis at Fukushima is a perfect demonstration of why you should stop worrying and love the atom..

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An Italian company develops hacking tools for government security agencies itself became the target of a hacker attack, resulting in its internal documents being leaked online and its deals with numerous governments being exposed.

Four Converging Crises Could Destroy Europe
Four great crises around Europe’s fringes threaten to engulf the European Union, potentially setting the ambitious post-war unification project back by decades. The EU’s unity, solidarity and international standing are at risk from Greece’s debt, Russia’s role in Ukraine, Britain’s attempt to change its relationship with the bloc, and Mediterranean migration.

Oregon bakery that refused same-sex couple owes $135,000 in damages
This page started by looking as a case of personal liberty versus gay fascism in Belfast, Northern Ireland but looks set to spread in all directions. While the Belfast Gay Cake case was, to the best of our knowledge, the first of its kind in Britain, there have already been a number of high profile cases in which the authorities have deemed that gay bitchiness trumps the civil rights of straight people,

Troika Is Manoeuvering To Rig The Greek Referendum
According to Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, the troika, the IMF, European Central Bank and EU Commission is planning to rig the outcome of the Greek referendum on whether to accept further austerity measures in return for bail out cash

Ending the Ownership of Money
It must be common knowledge by now that some of the world’s most economically powerful nations are insolvent due to the burden of sovereign debt. These economies are held together through by the faith of citizens and businesses in the currency. If that faith evaporates, the leading economies will crash as voters realise the only thing underwriting the economy is debt.

Climate Change: Physicist Asks Is a Deadly Ice Age on the Horizon?
The last ice age ended approximately 12,000 years ago, and since then we’ve been enjoying a pleasantly warm “interglacial period.” But given that an interglacial may last only 12,000 years, we’re confronted with a scary prospect: Another ice age may be nigh.

Government Paid Trolls Are Using 'Psychology-Based Influence Techniques' in Social Media
Have you ever come across someone on the Internet that you suspected was a paid government troll? Well, there is a very good chance that you were not imagining things. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now have solid proof that paid government trolls are using “psychology-based influence techniques” on social media websites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Zuckerberg reveals Facebook Working On Apps 'Smarter Than Humans'
In an online Question and Answer session this week Facebook supremo and founding megalomaniacal sociopath Mark Zuckerberg announced that his company is engaged in building AI systems "that are better than humans at our primary senses."

Boko Haram attack on Nigerian village leaves nearly 100 people dead


According to eye witnesses nearly 100 people have been killed in an attack on mosques and houses in a village in north-eastern Nigerian by suspected Boko Haram militants, news feeds reported today (2 July 2015).

Sleepwalking Into Another Middle East War To Make Obama Look Good
Watching the news feeeds, we see The United States has blocked attempts by its alleged Middle East allies to fly heavy weapons directly to the Kurds fighting the Islamic State jihad in Iraq.

War, Famine, Plague and all that
It is no secret that “news” media in the developed world is owned by a few corporate empires whose ultimate owners' are financial operators whose reach extends into manufacturing, extraction industries, big agriculture and food,

The Day the Earth Died - And Why The Green Lobby Did Not Raise A Whimper In Protest
By selling their votes in return for pledges of government spending in their states the current crop of US Senators have effectively transformed their nation from a representative democracy to a dictatorship in which the President can make law on a whim.

Artificial Intelligence: Will It Kill Human Society?
The media, the so called 'experts' and politicians hail every technological advance as if it will btransport us from reality to a utopian paradise. but does Artificial Intelligence and related internet and computer technology pose theats to human society that far outweigh any possible advantages? Whateve, Google plan to put machines in our place on top of the food chain.

City of Berkeley to require cellphone sellers to warn of possible radiation risks
One of the fist themes of this blog was that mobile phones (and wi-fi etc.) do pose a risk to health. Here's the latest admission that the sceptics voices were right, from The Guardian

Have US tactics only helped to make ISIS more powerful?/b>
We have questioned the US led efforts to defeat ISIS in the middle east many times, pointing out that every time the western alliance steps up opposition to the establishment of a news Islamic Caliphate, Islamic State seem to get stronger. 'Conspiracy Theorists', our critics yell. So let's look at opinion from around the world that concurs with ours.

Refugee host school in Germany bans revealing clothes
We have asked before and no doubt will again, when the citizens of a nation are constantly asked to give up their freedoms and change their behaviour in order to avoid offending new arrivals from medievalist cultures, whose effing country is it anyway.

More Violence In Malmo As Community Centre Burned
27 'youths' arrested after shootout in RosengĂĄrd
More trouble in Sweden as the ruling elite's determination to had the country over to lawless gangsters and tribalists from barbaric third world cess pits sees violence and inter - tribal conflict continue to increase in the once peaceful suburbs of Swedish cities.

Refugeee Host School In Germany Bans Short Skirts As They Wind Up Muslim Boys
We have asked before and no doubt will again, when the citizens of a nation are constantly asked to give up their freedoms and change their behaviour in order to avoid offending new arrivals from medievalist cultures, whose effing country is it anyway.

How Ironic That Humourless Warmageddonists Will Not See The Irony
I've lost count of how many times this blog has highlighted the extraordinary consistency with which politicians and scientists working in concert manage to achieve the exact opposite of what they are aiming for. One might be tempted to think that the first step in proposing a scientific solution to any problem is to first understand what harm the unintended consequences of your solution might cause.

Saying The Unsayable
Watching BBC Question Time last Thursday, I was struck once again by the way it was left to one of the stock hate figures of the left, Melanie Phillips, to actually pronounce the great, clunking truth that the online activities of left wing hate mobs have rendered unsayable.

Mediterranean Boat People Crisis Threatens European Identity
As European leaders gathere for a summit meeting on the Mediterranean Immigrant crisis, Italy's Matteo Renzi has warned that Europe must find a solution to the ever increasing flow of migrants from third world locations or risk losing its identity.

Saying The Unsayable: Today, Melanie Phillips
Watching BBC Question Time last Thursday, I was struck once again by the way it was left to one of the stock hate figures of the left, Melanie Phillips, to actually pronounce the great, clunking truth that left wing hate mobs have made unsayable.

Russia Outmanoeuvres the west again
While mainstream media (and even some of the more rabidly fascistic left wing bloggers) have been trying to demonize Russia as a way of drumming up public sympathy for Barack Obama's efforts to start a shooting war with Moscow, we Boggart Bloggers and ...

America and UK Lead the World in Climate Scepticism Several times now it has looked as if the climate chance scare was over as the enthusiasm of climate scitentists for changing real world data to fit in with the predictions of their mathematical models has been exposed. But as the scare was never about the environment, but was a scam to redistribute wealth from rich to poor countries, the politicians are throwing their propaganda budgets behind it again.

Sham Marriages To Beat Immigration Laws Are Out Of Control
With main immigration news on being dominated by the Mediterranean boat people crisis and the masses at Calais hoping to stow away in a freight container, we forget that another way of getting somebody into the country is the sham marriage. Numbers involved may be small, but it is another indication of our governments' failure to address the immigration problem.

Mediterranean Immigrant Composite
The flow of undocumented migrants from Africa trying to cross the Mediterranean from the coast of Libya to Italian, Greek and Maltese territory seems unstoppable. Two factors in the problem however have been western (particlarly American meddling in the internal affairs of African states, and wester aid leading to a population explosion national infrastructures are unable to cope with. And of course European leaders haven't a clue how to deal with the problem.

De-Dollarization Du Jour: Russia's Largest Bank Issues Yuan-Denominated Guarantees
Leading the charge to multipolarity and de-dollarization are Russia, resugent despite economic sanctions and the rising superpower in waiting, China. The downgrading of the dollar is clearly demonstrated in the launch of the BRICS bank and the establishment of the AIIB.

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