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Nuclear energy - safe?

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  • #46
    Nuclear energy - safe and beneficial (at times)

    Originally posted by salmoned View Post
    That reactor-in-the-sky has been bathing our planet with nuclear energy since before life on Earth began, can you get any safer or more beneficial than that?
    Beneficial, yes. We couldn't life without it. Literally. We can also harvest its heat and photovoltaic power.

    However, the sun is currently causing skin cancer, retinal degradation, and our doctors advise shielding our skin and eyes with hats, clothes, eye shades and sunscreens. We don't have to worry about meltdowns (currently and seemingly), but I just heard of another supernova in a distant galaxy. Too distant for us to see by eye.

    Perhaps no benefit comes cost-free. Guns protect us and threaten us. Politicians help us up and let us down. Cars transport us and kill and injure us in a number of ways (crashes, pollution, pedestrian accidents). Even sweet freedom allows terrorists to kill, maim and destroy.

    Every benefit has a cost. No easy way.
    Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!
    ~ ~
    Spreading the virus of ALOHA.
    Oh Chu. If only you could have seen what I've seen, with your eyes.


    • #47
      Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

      An interesting alternative to this scenario are Thorium based reactors.

      This element needs to be bombarded with a neutron beam to be fissile but as soon
      as the beam turns off it stops doing its thing.

      Thorium Oxide is a component of Coleman camp lantern mantles.

      The term "being in the limelight" stems from the early use of Calcium Oxide
      lamps to illuminate the stage .

      The design of radio tubes was influenced by these elemental design factors.


      • #48
        Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

        West Coast Babies Suffer Thyroid Problems After Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown
        by SOURCE on APRIL 8, 2013 · 0 COMMENTS

        Children born in Pacific coastal states in 2011 may be at greatest risk.

        By Anne Hurley / msn Healthy Living / April 4, 2013

        It’s already well known how devastating the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown was for Japan — dramatic spikes in radiation-related illnesses, an increase in likely cancer deaths over the next several years, and pollution which may never truly be cleaned up.

        A new study suggests what many worldwide have feared — that the devastation from the traveling radiation has in fact sickened infants in other countries, including babies born shortly after the incident in Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California.

        The study, conducted by scientists with the Radiation and Public Health Project, found that babies born shortly after the incident were 28 percent more likely to suffer from congenital hypothyroidism than were children born in those states during the same period one year earlier. In the rest of the U.S., which received less radioactive fallout, the risks actually decreased slightly compared with the year before.

        The explosions produced the radioisotope iodine-131, which floated east over the Pacific Ocean and landed through precipitation on West Coast states as well as other Pacific countries. The levels of that isotope were measured in levels hundreds of times greater than supposedly safe levels. Radioactive iodine accumulates in human thyroid glands, and, in babies and fetuses, the radiation can stunt the growth and development of both the body and the brain. That condition is congenital hypothyroidism (which, luckily, is treatable when and if detected early).

        Fukushima fallout appeared to affect all areas of the U.S., and was especially large in some, mostly in the western part of the nation, the study said. Even worse, other conditions affecting babies born in that time frame may have been caused or worsened by Fukushima, the researchers said.

        “[State and federal] health departments will soon have [data] available for other 2010 and 2011 indicators of fetal/infant health, including fetal deaths, premature births, low weight births, neonatal deaths, infant deaths, and birth defects.”

        Scary? You bet. But information is power. If you have a baby born in March or April 2011 and you live on the Pacific Coast of the U.S. (or other Pacific countries), ask your pediatrician to test your child for congenital hypothyroidism — and anything else he or she believes could have been caused by radiation.


        • #49
          Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

          Kalalau, thank you for that important heads up!

          Side note: A reply to an online article about it reminds us that it does not mean 28% of children will develop the problem. Someone kindly do the math .... according to Medscape:
          The incidence of congenital hypothyroidism, as detected through newborn screening, is approximately 1 per 4000 births.
          So what number is a 28% increase (how many per 4000 births)?

          I'm not suggesting that the radiation has not been an environmental disaster, but I think the article/study has a hint of being purposely panic-inducing, since it does not put the stats into perspective of overall actual numbers.
          Now run along and play, but don’t get into trouble.


          • #50
            Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

            If my math is right it looks like the chance of having a baby with the condition rises from .025 % to .032 %. Not a very large chance but everything is statistics. If there is one problem there may be another one connected or one that will show up a few years down the line. Thousands of people who did not die immediately at Hiroshima, Nagasaki & Chernobyl died years later. Not all the radioactive isotopes are horribly dangerous, some are only mildly dangerous, some have half lives of a few days or months, some have half lives in decades or centuries. Its nice to keep that kind of stuff out of the food you eat or the air you breathe. I understand that the private insurance industry does not issue policies for nuke plants because though the risk of something going wrong is small the negative financial impact is so astronomical if something does go wrong that it is not a financially reasonable insurance risk. So the tax payers are responsible. What a nightmare liability issues could be, imagine bankrupted parents suing for restitution. But then tobacco companies and asbestos companies got off the liability hook for decades but finally got held responsible, maybe nuke plants will some day, too.


            • #51
              Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

              I agree Kalalau, I believe the problems will become even more recognizable as time passes. (My point was that the news media sometimes tosses in a "panic" angle, which serves no helpful purpose to the worried parents.)
              Now run along and play, but don’t get into trouble.


              • #52
                Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

                Originally posted by timkona View Post
                When speaking of Nuclear Energy.......

                there is simply no humanitarian, defensible position for the tragic, LONG TERM consequence of an accident, regardless if the source/cause of the accident is tsunami, human error, design flaw, locational ignorance, Act of God, Mother Nature, Father Time, Zeus, Mohammed, or yo Momma!!!!!!

                The alternatives are....

                TOO NUMEROUS

                The Grid will die a slow death in MY lifetime.
                From my Summer of Love perspective, I'd bet the farm on it.
                Too bad you'll be dead before it happens [and lose the farm, bet or no bet].
                May I always be found beneath your contempt.


                • #53
                  Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

                  From the StarBulletin (this free "breaking news" link is only temporary):

                  In a jolt to the nation's nuclear power industry, Southern California's San Onofre plant was shut down for good today after its owners surrendered in a costly and drawn-out fight over whether it was too damaged to operate safely. The twin reactors — situated along the Pacific Coast in the densely populated corridor of millions of people between San Diego and Los Angeles — are the largest to shut down permanently in the U.S. in the past 50 years, federal officials said.
                  Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, welcomed the news. "This nuclear plant had a defective redesign and could no longer operate as intended. Modifications to the San Onofre nuclear plant were unsafe and posed a danger to the 8 million people living within 50 miles of the plant," she said.

                  The problems center on four new, much-heavier steam generators that were installed during a $670 million overhaul in 2009 and 2010. Just a few years later, tests found some generator tubes so badly eroded that they could fail and possibly release radiation, a startling finding for nearly new equipment.
                  Nuclear energy - safe? Not if the tubes are eroded.
                  Now run along and play, but don’t get into trouble.


                  • #54
                    Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

                    So Cal Edison has decided not to restart San Onofre nuclear generators. Its at the extreme south end of Orange County, between LA and San Diego, right on I 5. A few years after the plant went on line a small fault line was discovered about a half mile up the beach. The announcement of its approval for construction was a tiny little story on one of the back pages of the Tribune the day President Kennedy was killed, 1963. I guess the real problem will be keeping the used fuel rods cool for the next few decades. It will cost money, tax money, and nobody is anxious to spend that.


                    • #55
                      Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

                      This source seems maybe a bit extreme but there may be some truth in their report on the latest news from Fukushima:



                      • #56
                        Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

                        Thanks, it is an interesting article, and it has points for consideration. [But, some of the comments head off into .... dumbness .... such as this comment about radiation exposure: "lets hope some of us build up immunity in the process". Of course, for dumb postings one needs to go no further than the comments left on SA online articles!]
                        Now run along and play, but don’t get into trouble.


                        • #57
                          Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

                          Groan. I just happened on the most depressing article so far on Fukushima but I am not going to put it up, for now, because it is so depressing. And alarming. You might want to consider not eating fish for a while.


                          • #58
                            Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

                            Depressing & alarming:



                            • #59
                              Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

                              There's a radioactive water leak inside the containment building at a 40 year old nuke plant in So. Carolina. Less than a tenth of a gallon a minute since Friday night. 1440 minutes a day, 5 days, =7200 minutes = 720 gallons. Its confined inside the containment building. 720 gallons doesn't seem like a lot. The reactor has been shut down for safety. Everything will probably be just fine.


                              • #60
                                Re: Nuclear energy - safe?

                                An article in the paper yesterday detailed problems at the Hanford site in Washington State. Waste storage tanks are leaking, its feared the waste might migrate to the Columbia River. Technology for solidifying waste into a form of glass, for permanent storage, seems to have problems as in plutonium clumping producing a potential critical mass.

                                I am over 60 now and realistically a lot of the problems that places like Hanford and Fukushima will be producing I won't be around to see. I feel sorry for future generations but to tell the truth kind of relieved for myself. We tried. Nobody listened. Nobody listened about Vietnam or Bush, either.