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8. The Fairytale of Clean and Safe Nuclear Power

Nuclear power presents a security threat of unprecedented proportions: It’s capable of a catastrophic accident that can kill hundreds of thousands of people, with a byproduct that is toxic for millennia. To call nuclear power “clean” is an affront to science, common sense and the English language itself, yet industry backers, inside and outside of government, are attempting to establish a new “Clean Energy Standard” to promote nuclear power. These proposals suffer from three fundamental misconceptions: 1) that pollutants other than carbon dioxide are irrelevant when defining “clean energy,” 2) that because radiation is invisible and odorless it is not a toxic pollutant and 3) that nuclear power is carbon-free. None of these is true.

In their most recent report, released in 2005, the US National Academy of Sciences determined that no safe level of radiation exposure exists—every exposure to radiation increases the risk of cancer, birth defects and other disease. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) accepts the linear no-threshold (LNT) hypothesis, which states that any increase in dose of radiation, no matter how small, results in an incremental increase in risk, as a conservative model for estimating radiation risk.

Sources:

“Nuclear Energy Is Dirty Energy (and Does Not Fit Into a ‘Clean Energy Standard’,” Michael Mariotte, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, January 2011. http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/nuclearenergyisdirtyenergy.pdf

“Nuclear Reactor Crisis in Japan FAQs,” Union of Concerned Scientists, April 7, 2011 + updates.  http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_risk/safety/nuclear-reactor-crisis-faq.html

“Radiation Exposure and Cancer,” U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, October 20, 2010. http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/radiation/health-effects/rad-exposure-cancer.html

Student Researcher: Aaron Peacock, San Francisco State University

Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University

  • Anonymous October 13, 2011

    Personally. I prefer the switch from the idiotic idea of using U-235 for our reactors when we have enough cleaner but more expensive (lest we throw money into developing more efficient methods instead of the majority Obama wanted to throw to Oil Exploration in his latest jobs act) Thorium which can power America for 1,000 years. 

  • Anonymous October 13, 2011

    Personally. I prefer the switch from the idiotic idea of using U-235 for our reactors when we have enough cleaner but more expensive (lest we throw money into developing more efficient methods instead of the majority Obama wanted to throw to Oil Exploration in his latest jobs act) Thorium which can power America for 1,000 years. 

  • Jamie Clemons October 19, 2011

     The old thorium myth.  Thorium fuel requires extensive repossessing and requires irradiation to maintain the reaction so they mix uranium with it and it all becomes a huge toxic mess and is very difficult to clean up. 

  • Jamie Clemons October 19, 2011

     The old thorium myth.  Thorium fuel requires extensive repossessing and requires irradiation to maintain the reaction so they mix uranium with it and it all becomes a huge toxic mess and is very difficult to clean up. 

  • Veragott October 24, 2011

    And we will stick to these “fairy tales” until death do us part – and by then it is too late.

  • Veragott October 24, 2011

    And we will stick to these “fairy tales” until death do us part – and by then it is too late.

  • Veragott October 24, 2011

    And we will stick to these “fairy tales” until death do us part – and by then it is too late.

  • Veragott October 24, 2011

    And we will stick to these “fairy tales” until death do us part – and by then it is too late.

  • guest November 1, 2011

    We are all exposed to radiation everyday, and nuclear power plants do not emit any extra radiation. They are built to withstand Boeing 747 crashes externally and have plenty of internal regulators to control anything from ever being exposed. Please, do some research on nuclear power before you try to post biased information based on your own illogical opinions to try and persuade others. Yes, accidents happen, but don’t plan on any nuclear explosion type radiation every being emitted, we learned our lesson after Chernobyl. 

  • guest November 1, 2011

    We are all exposed to radiation everyday, and nuclear power plants do not emit any extra radiation. They are built to withstand Boeing 747 crashes externally and have plenty of internal regulators to control anything from ever being exposed. Please, do some research on nuclear power before you try to post biased information based on your own illogical opinions to try and persuade others. Yes, accidents happen, but don’t plan on any nuclear explosion type radiation every being emitted, we learned our lesson after Chernobyl. 

  • Iwasabstract November 1, 2011

    Most engineers and operators of nuclear power plants are never exposed to dangerous amounts of radiation. The only place you’d get a ping from your trusty Geiger meter would be inside the plant’s core itself, somewhere very few people ever go within a power plant’s walls.
    I agree with previous posts. My take on it is this: If electrical energy is the technological base of our global society, we need nuclear fuels to continue our way of life. Fossil fuels are finite, and renewable technologies aren’t quite able to provide a viable substitute, but they will within 20 years; after more advances in the electrical storage and transfer capabilities of these systems become economical. Economics is the balance of trade and consumption, and if we choose to perpetuate a system that is known to be unrenewable (such as coal and gas), we are choosing to undermine our own economic development. With just a few nuclear power plants we could supplement the world’s transition into a fully renewable energy economy. That will, eventually, be the end game for humanity: clean, abundant, cheap as dirt (possibly free) electrical energy.
    To try and link an article focusing on the effects and damages of radiation exposure to nuclear power production is an irrational fallacy. Project censored has again attempted to skew the reader into believing something that is completely baseless and unrelated to the IDEA their article’s headline promotes. Correlation is not causation, and for “project censored” to disregard that basic ethical principle, they in turn disregard their readers’ intelligence.
    To sum up my rant: nuclear power has been refined and developed (with safety and economy at the forefront of research) to such a high degree that “common sense” would tell us that if we choose not to go for nuclear power, we will be damning ourselves to rely on fossil fuels until they run out. When they do, what will all the anti nuclear campaigns say? We should’ve been working on renewables. I hope I’m not the only one who thinks it’s unethical for project censored to link an article about radiation exposure to the idea that building nuclear power facilities will be dangerous. Don’t forget, they told Galileo the earth was the center of the universe, Orville wright that his feet would never leave the ground, and Alan Turing that his machine wouldn’t amount to anything. Shame on you, project censored, you are just as bad at reporting news as the Murdough empire.

    “within the pale of truth, the press is a noble institution. Equally a friend of science and civil liberty.” – Jefforson

    • Allan Orr May 20, 2012

      The tech is there in theory, lab experiments in Germany a friend assisted on with solar produced a 98% efficiency according to him about 6 years ago. When it’s viable for commercial production and cost effective, that’s the kicker.
      We really need more effort put into the renewables which requires funding which they just don’t get overall.

      But lets be honest, there are ways to reduce carbon emissions and increase efficiency of coal fuelled power plants as an example but that rarely happens because it requires added costs.

      Nuclear has its disadvantages, but the waste while toxic and hard to dispose of safely can be properly dealt with provided those responsible work properly, is still less damaging in the long term than most other fossil fuels are already.

  • Iwasabstract November 1, 2011

    Most engineers and operators of nuclear power plants are never exposed to dangerous amounts of radiation. The only place you’d get a ping from your trusty Geiger meter would be inside the plant’s core itself, somewhere very few people ever go within a power plant’s walls.
    I agree with previous posts. My take on it is this: If electrical energy is the technological base of our global society, we need nuclear fuels to continue our way of life. Fossil fuels are finite, and renewable technologies aren’t quite able to provide a viable substitute, but they will within 20 years; after more advances in the electrical storage and transfer capabilities of these systems become economical. Economics is the balance of trade and consumption, and if we choose to perpetuate a system that is known to be unrenewable (such as coal and gas), we are choosing to undermine our own economic development. With just a few nuclear power plants we could supplement the world’s transition into a fully renewable energy economy. That will, eventually, be the end game for humanity: clean, abundant, cheap as dirt (possibly free) electrical energy.
    To try and link an article focusing on the effects and damages of radiation exposure to nuclear power production is an irrational fallacy. Project censored has again attempted to skew the reader into believing something that is completely baseless and unrelated to the IDEA their article’s headline promotes. Correlation is not causation, and for “project censored” to disregard that basic ethical principle, they in turn disregard their readers’ intelligence.
    To sum up my rant: nuclear power has been refined and developed (with safety and economy at the forefront of research) to such a high degree that “common sense” would tell us that if we choose not to go for nuclear power, we will be damning ourselves to rely on fossil fuels until they run out. When they do, what will all the anti nuclear campaigns say? We should’ve been working on renewables. I hope I’m not the only one who thinks it’s unethical for project censored to link an article about radiation exposure to the idea that building nuclear power facilities will be dangerous. Don’t forget, they told Galileo the earth was the center of the universe, Orville wright that his feet would never leave the ground, and Alan Turing that his machine wouldn’t amount to anything. Shame on you, project censored, you are just as bad at reporting news as the Murdough empire.

    “within the pale of truth, the press is a noble institution. Equally a friend of science and civil liberty.” – Jefforson

    • Allan Orr May 20, 2012

      The tech is there in theory, lab experiments in Germany a friend assisted on with solar produced a 98% efficiency according to him about 6 years ago. When it’s viable for commercial production and cost effective, that’s the kicker.
      We really need more effort put into the renewables which requires funding which they just don’t get overall.

      But lets be honest, there are ways to reduce carbon emissions and increase efficiency of coal fuelled power plants as an example but that rarely happens because it requires added costs.

      Nuclear has its disadvantages, but the waste while toxic and hard to dispose of safely can be properly dealt with provided those responsible work properly, is still less damaging in the long term than most other fossil fuels are already.

  • Reactor Technician November 26, 2011

    Let’s also not forget that coal plants release many times more radiation to the environment than any operating reactor. Nuclear isn’t perfect; but it’s the best we have.

    I’d ask Project Censored for more balanced reporting, thank you.

  • Reactor Technician November 26, 2011

    Let’s also not forget that coal plants release many times more radiation to the environment than any operating reactor. Nuclear isn’t perfect; but it’s the best we have.

    I’d ask Project Censored for more balanced reporting, thank you.

  • Owen December 6, 2011

    There is nothing clean or safe about nuclear power. Just ask those in Russia and Japan now sick and dying and whose babies are crippled, insane or in mass graves. The idea we made things safer is a lie. All we have done is reshuffle the deck chairs on our own nuclear Titanic. Now the industry wants “deregulation” so they can build even less safe facilities. Live in fear as the same actors who brought you the Exxon Valdez spill, the Gulf oil disaster and hydraulic fracking want to build a new generation of even more dangerous nuke plants. Grab your nuts, folks… with leadlined gloves.

    • Trippin McZoink September 15, 2012

      I agree.

      So here’s the devil’s bargain: which will it be, death by radiation or death by drought, famine, rising ocean levels, and storms?

      The unfortunate reality is we can’t make enough energy from wind and solar fast enough to meet our needs, and there’s no way corporate America is going to restrain itself from using as much energy as they think they need to make money. So it’ll be “clean coal” and oil and tar sands and fracking for the rest of our lives, and the climate will suffer for it.

      I don’t like it one bit, but that’s the reality we face.

      • Ex-Oligarch October 9, 2012

        “Death by radiation in the next few decades, or death by drought, famine, rising ocean levels or storms in 5,000 to 10,000 years”

        Fixed it for you.

  • Owen December 6, 2011

    There is nothing clean or safe about nuclear power. Just ask those in Russia and Japan now sick and dying and whose babies are crippled, insane or in mass graves. The idea we made things safer is a lie. All we have done is reshuffle the deck chairs on our own nuclear Titanic. Now the industry wants “deregulation” so they can build even less safe facilities. Live in fear as the same actors who brought you the Exxon Valdez spill, the Gulf oil disaster and hydraulic fracking want to build a new generation of even more dangerous nuke plants. Grab your nuts, folks… with leadlined gloves.

    • Trippin McZoink September 15, 2012

      I agree.

      So here’s the devil’s bargain: which will it be, death by radiation or death by drought, famine, rising ocean levels, and storms?

      The unfortunate reality is we can’t make enough energy from wind and solar fast enough to meet our needs, and there’s no way corporate America is going to restrain itself from using as much energy as they think they need to make money. So it’ll be “clean coal” and oil and tar sands and fracking for the rest of our lives, and the climate will suffer for it.

      I don’t like it one bit, but that’s the reality we face.

      • Ex-Oligarch October 9, 2012

        “Death by radiation in the next few decades, or death by drought, famine, rising ocean levels or storms in 5,000 to 10,000 years”

        Fixed it for you.

  • Guest December 7, 2011

    considering the energy required to build a nuclear reactor, the fuel and energy required to mine and process the uranium, truth is, it takes more energy to get a nuclear reactor up and running and maintained than the energy it produces in its lifetime..

    oh yes, and lets not mention the waste that stays with us forever. nice.

    • Guest April 15, 2012

      There is fact in this statement 

    • Trippin McZoink September 15, 2012

      While I’m skeptical about this claim, even were it true you’re missing the point: we put energy into making batteries for electronics as well, because they provide power in a manner which we find useful. So even if these plants operate at a total overall energy deficit, that investment is to make that energy available and useful.

      There are plenty of reasons to follow Japan’s lead — they learned the hard way. But I don’t find this angle compelling, sorry. But a good thing to think about! Bump for that!

  • Guest December 7, 2011

    considering the energy required to build a nuclear reactor, the fuel and energy required to mine and process the uranium, truth is, it takes more energy to get a nuclear reactor up and running and maintained than the energy it produces in its lifetime..

    oh yes, and lets not mention the waste that stays with us forever. nice.

    • Guest April 15, 2012

      There is fact in this statement 

    • Trippin McZoink September 15, 2012

      While I’m skeptical about this claim, even were it true you’re missing the point: we put energy into making batteries for electronics as well, because they provide power in a manner which we find useful. So even if these plants operate at a total overall energy deficit, that investment is to make that energy available and useful.

      There are plenty of reasons to follow Japan’s lead — they learned the hard way. But I don’t find this angle compelling, sorry. But a good thing to think about! Bump for that!

  • Prof. Plum January 25, 2012

    Dear Mr. Peacock,
    Please note that bananas, x-rays, and flying all increase radiation exposure as well.
    Sincerely,
    Prof. Plum

  • Prof. Plum January 25, 2012

    Dear Mr. Peacock,
    Please note that bananas, x-rays, and flying all increase radiation exposure as well.
    Sincerely,
    Prof. Plum

  • Googong February 6, 2012

    And in the meantime Tesla has been continually ignored because he threatens capitalism making as much money as possible out of the ignorant. People using some of Tesla’s inventions could make their own energy to run everthing for nothing aside from the small cost of making the equipment to do this.

  • Googong February 6, 2012

    And in the meantime Tesla has been continually ignored because he threatens capitalism making as much money as possible out of the ignorant. People using some of Tesla’s inventions could make their own energy to run everthing for nothing aside from the small cost of making the equipment to do this.

  • Corey Barcus February 27, 2012

    @facebook-696966861:disqus 

    Global energy use is on the order of 13 terawatts right now with a projected use of tens of terawatts to bring the globe out of poverty. Using thorium in a new generation of liquid-fuel nuclear fission reactors is our best hope at eliminating carbon emissions while revitalizing the global economy. Renewables (predominately wind/solar) cannot possibly hope to come anywhere near this level of use while remaining affordable due to the inherent limitations of ‘farming’ energy. Supposing otherwise is mere delusion.

    Using thorium in these reactors requires very little processing before being used, though it must be converted from fertile (Th232) to fissile (U233) within the reactor. And yes, the reactor must be initiated with a some fissile (U/Pu), though that looks to be less than 1 tonne with one design (2-fluid).

    This machine is expected to be exceptionally clean, not in small part due to thorium’s superior waste profile (compared to U/Pu), so decommissioning costs are expected to be very reasonable. 

    We are calling this technology ‘Green Nuclear’ for a reason. And do not mistake the molten salt reactor advocates as industry, we are a grass-roots movement attempting to right a 40-year-old wrong in energy generation. The hope is to bring the public around on this technology as soon as possible so that we can rapidly replace coal plants, and then get on with the business of synthesizing fuels to replace petroleum.

    The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR/MSR) remains our best hope for long-term economic security and peace.

    • Bob March 28, 2012

      My hair is a bird. Your argument is invalid.

    • Trippin McZoink September 15, 2012

      As Einstein might quip, you’d be better off packing up your gear, hanging out a sign, and “goink fission.”

  • coreybarcus February 27, 2012

    @facebook-696966861:disqus 

    Global energy use is on the order of 13 terawatts right now with a projected use of tens of terawatts to bring the globe out of poverty. Using thorium in a new generation of liquid-fuel nuclear fission reactors is our best hope at eliminating carbon emissions while revitalizing the global economy. Renewables (predominately wind/solar) cannot possibly hope to come anywhere near this level of use while remaining affordable due to the inherent limitations of ‘farming’ energy. Supposing otherwise is mere delusion.

    Using thorium in these reactors requires very little processing before being used, though it must be converted from fertile (Th232) to fissile (U233) within the reactor. And yes, the reactor must be initiated with a some fissile (U/Pu), though that looks to be less than 1 tonne with one design (2-fluid).

    This machine is expected to be exceptionally clean, not in small part due to thorium’s superior waste profile (compared to U/Pu), so decommissioning costs are expected to be very reasonable. 

    We are calling this technology ‘Green Nuclear’ for a reason. And do not mistake the molten salt reactor advocates as industry, we are a grass-roots movement attempting to right a 40-year-old wrong in energy generation. The hope is to bring the public around on this technology as soon as possible so that we can rapidly replace coal plants, and then get on with the business of synthesizing fuels to replace petroleum.

    The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR/MSR) remains our best hope for long-term economic security and peace.

    • Bob March 28, 2012

      My hair is a bird. Your argument is invalid.

    • Trippin McZoink September 15, 2012

      As Einstein might quip, you’d be better off packing up your gear, hanging out a sign, and “goink fission.”

  • Anon March 14, 2012

    > It’s capable of a catastrophic accident that can kill hundreds of thousands of people

    Chernobyl was the product of inferiour reactor design, a huge number of idiots and under-trained people disabling ALL fail-safes, and the lack of a containment vessel.. American reactors are INCAPABLE of failing like Chernobyl. American plant operators are actually trained, not just reading a manual. The containment vessel around American plants would have contained the blast (according to models).

    Lets look at Three Mile Island. NO ONE GOT HURT! No one got more than a CHEST X-RAY worth of radiation.

    Nuclear reactors are safe. More people die in coal mines than have EVER been killed by nuclear power.

    • Mekenwi April 16, 2012

      what about Fukushima? There’s even talk of abandoning Tokyo cuz that shit is damn near impossible to clean up. How would you like to lose L.A. or Chicago or N.Y.?

      Americans want CHEAP, cheap and more cheap. The nuclear industry is NOT cheap. They don’t even cover all of their potential losses, the uS Government subsidizes that.

      • Sfds May 9, 2012

         It’s true, and once you factor in the true cost of safely storing nuclear waste for hundreds of years, it actually is not a technology that economically stacks up.

      • Trippin McZoink September 15, 2012

        Well, yeah, except for one thing that’s common to all these energy sources, and to product packaging and the like.

        The full-stream costs are never, ever assessed up front, so things appear in the short term to be much cheaper than they are long term, and Americans can’t even muster enough intellectual horsepower to conclude that the solution isn’t the Rapture, let alone understand the deferred costs of their choices today.

        Thinking cuts into their NASCAR watching time, and far too many are so intellectually lazy they have ceded any time remaining to trusting their authority figures to think for them.

  • Anon March 14, 2012

    > It’s capable of a catastrophic accident that can kill hundreds of thousands of people

    Chernobyl was the product of inferiour reactor design, a huge number of idiots and under-trained people disabling ALL fail-safes, and the lack of a containment vessel.. American reactors are INCAPABLE of failing like Chernobyl. American plant operators are actually trained, not just reading a manual. The containment vessel around American plants would have contained the blast (according to models).

    Lets look at Three Mile Island. NO ONE GOT HURT! No one got more than a CHEST X-RAY worth of radiation.

    Nuclear reactors are safe. More people die in coal mines than have EVER been killed by nuclear power.

    • Mekenwi April 16, 2012

      what about Fukushima? There’s even talk of abandoning Tokyo cuz that shit is damn near impossible to clean up. How would you like to lose L.A. or Chicago or N.Y.?

      Americans want CHEAP, cheap and more cheap. The nuclear industry is NOT cheap. They don’t even cover all of their potential losses, the uS Government subsidizes that.

      • Sfds May 9, 2012

         It’s true, and once you factor in the true cost of safely storing nuclear waste for hundreds of years, it actually is not a technology that economically stacks up.

      • Trippin McZoink September 15, 2012

        Well, yeah, except for one thing that’s common to all these energy sources, and to product packaging and the like.

        The full-stream costs are never, ever assessed up front, so things appear in the short term to be much cheaper than they are long term, and Americans can’t even muster enough intellectual horsepower to conclude that the solution isn’t the Rapture, let alone understand the deferred costs of their choices today.

        Thinking cuts into their NASCAR watching time, and far too many are so intellectually lazy they have ceded any time remaining to trusting their authority figures to think for them.

    • Real Nuke June 10, 2013

      This is correct. Its call Alpha-T. Russians use a positive moderater temperature coefficient. This illegal in the US, and the reason the US is safer. Look it up!!! (more energy to make that it creates is ABSOULTE BS)

  • Unclewink March 30, 2012

    I am shocked to learn that the “Nuclear Power is Bad” story is being censored.   Personally, I find it difficult to avoid hearing about it.

    What I don’t see are conclusions based on science for the major points of the article.   

    The exception to that is the LNT hypothesis.  There is some documentation that this is true, but no discussion of the real risks is discussed.  This ignores the fact that we all balance benefit and risk every day in our lives.  For instance, we all pump our own gas, and are exposed to gasoline fumes.  It would be folly to assume that breathing gasoline fumes is not bad for humans, yet we all line up to do it.  The article also fails to point out that there is far more exposure to radiation sourced from the smoke stacks of coal fired power plants than from nuclear power plants.  Is there a suggestion then that we stop burning coal as well?

    If you insist on a panacea, nuclear power is not the answer.

    Other sources of energy that are not a panacea include:

    Coal
    Oil
    Photo-Voltaic Solar (lots of chemical waste from producing those panels)
    Hydro

    Did I miss any??

  • Unclewink March 30, 2012

    I am shocked to learn that the “Nuclear Power is Bad” story is being censored.   Personally, I find it difficult to avoid hearing about it.

    What I don’t see are conclusions based on science for the major points of the article.   

    The exception to that is the LNT hypothesis.  There is some documentation that this is true, but no discussion of the real risks is discussed.  This ignores the fact that we all balance benefit and risk every day in our lives.  For instance, we all pump our own gas, and are exposed to gasoline fumes.  It would be folly to assume that breathing gasoline fumes is not bad for humans, yet we all line up to do it.  The article also fails to point out that there is far more exposure to radiation sourced from the smoke stacks of coal fired power plants than from nuclear power plants.  Is there a suggestion then that we stop burning coal as well?

    If you insist on a panacea, nuclear power is not the answer.

    Other sources of energy that are not a panacea include:

    Coal
    Oil
    Photo-Voltaic Solar (lots of chemical waste from producing those panels)
    Hydro

    Did I miss any??

  • Puffer April 6, 2012

    Actually the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that the effect of low levels of radiation hasn’t been determined, but they are assuming there are some, just to be safe.

    “Although radiation may cause cancer at high doses and high dose rates, public health data do not absolutely establish the occurrence of cancer following exposure to low doses and dose rates — below about 10,000 mrem (100 mSv). Studies of occupational workers who are chronically exposed to low levels of radiation above normal background have shown no adverse biological effects. Even so, the radiation protection community conservatively assumes that any amount of radiation may pose some risk for causing cancer and hereditary effect, and that the risk is higher for higher radiation exposures.”

    • Allan Orr May 20, 2012

      The reality is we’re exposed to some forms of radiation even in the middle of nowhere, no products of civilization around, indeed we even need some such as UV radiation in low doses to produce vitamins our bodies need.

  • Puffer April 6, 2012

    Actually the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that the effect of low levels of radiation hasn’t been determined, but they are assuming there are some, just to be safe.

    “Although radiation may cause cancer at high doses and high dose rates, public health data do not absolutely establish the occurrence of cancer following exposure to low doses and dose rates — below about 10,000 mrem (100 mSv). Studies of occupational workers who are chronically exposed to low levels of radiation above normal background have shown no adverse biological effects. Even so, the radiation protection community conservatively assumes that any amount of radiation may pose some risk for causing cancer and hereditary effect, and that the risk is higher for higher radiation exposures.”

    • Allan Orr May 20, 2012

      The reality is we’re exposed to some forms of radiation even in the middle of nowhere, no products of civilization around, indeed we even need some such as UV radiation in low doses to produce vitamins our bodies need.

  • Jerry June 17, 2012

    2055 National Academy of Sciences states that no safe level of radiation exists.   Now let try to put this in a real world perspective, like the world we live in.  Let start with the uranium clock, the clock that we use to measure the age of the earth.  Uranium, a naturally radioactive element, is the 50th most abundant l  element that composes what we call earth.  And as I alluded to above, it is radioactive.   That is what gives us radon as found in homes and almost every building in this world.   It escapes the earth as a byproduct of the decay chain of radioactive uranium to eventually become radon gas and then a electrostatic charged radioactive particle called Radon 226.    It is part of the natural environment that we all grew up in, evolved as a species.   The body has mechanisms on the cellular level that have dealt with this for millennia.
    to say that any level is harmful is to literally suggest that any habitation of this earth since time began is harmful.  so where do we go?  Outer space where the levels are lethal.   Deep underground (closer to the source of uranium) or underwater pods in the ocean itself.  That may work but from a practical perspective it is ludicrous.  The truth is we are not that frail of a species that we can not exist safely with any form of radioactive exposure.  In fact it happens.  Do your research on NHRA’ (Naturally High Radiation Areas) found in many parts of the globe.  Here people receive annually tens, sometime hundreds of times the average radiation levels found elsewhere on the planet.   The people in these areas to do not suffer undo health effects, cancer spikes of any of the like.   Studies have actually shown an adaptation on the cellular, chromosomal level in response to radiation.   In effect, the body adapts to it.   Yes, there will be cases in terms of large doses that the body will react, ie cancers, but those cases are few and far between such as major accidents.   In fact those that succumb, at a rate of 29 fold,are usually the type of individual that has other health issues at play.  The naturally weak people who are chronically sick.  Not to sound callous and write them off, but they if not affected by the above will be impacted by other  factors that make their lives all the more unfortunate.  For the greater majority it is not of consequence.    To take things further look into the 1947 Nobel Scandal.   Against all the data to the contrary, it was forwarded that premise, that all radiation is harmful.   It was there that the mindset was established and has become assumed fact without supporting evidence to back it up.    We get hundred of millirem per year anywhere we live on this planet, sometimes substantially more, and have been long before we ever knew what radiation was.  Man made sources are much less of an impact than any of the naturally occurring sources out there.  We get many other bombardments to our body every year.   I’ll use smoke as an analogy.   Large amount of smoke are without any argument lethal.  We can extrapolate that down to the fact that smoke is thereby lethal in any amount as we now have stated for radiation.  Never mind that smoke in one form of the other has been with us since early man walked through the smokey valleys of the ancient Los Angeles Coastal plane, or were exposed to that from a wildfire nearby, the campfire smoke, or just the act of lighting a candle indoors.   By the same rational all acts, even driving behind another vehicle of the internal combustion type, are all dangerous at any level.  But in truth our body has mechanisms for dealing with this, and without exception, ie the dangerous high level exposure like a burning building, sustained abnormally high level exposures like smoking, second hand smoke,  we will not suffer the consequences of all but the most extreme exposures.   The same biological rule applies to radiation.  We have always lived with it, and we will forever.   It is a part of our natural environment.   Because some activity nearby generates some is not a cause to get caught up in angst and dread our existence. 

    • Trippin McZoink September 15, 2012

      Unless of course we bury the waste in your back yard. Then all bets are off, right?

  • Jerry June 17, 2012

    2055 National Academy of Sciences states that no safe level of radiation exists.   Now let try to put this in a real world perspective, like the world we live in.  Let start with the uranium clock, the clock that we use to measure the age of the earth.  Uranium, a naturally radioactive element, is the 50th most abundant l  element that composes what we call earth.  And as I alluded to above, it is radioactive.   That is what gives us radon as found in homes and almost every building in this world.   It escapes the earth as a byproduct of the decay chain of radioactive uranium to eventually become radon gas and then a electrostatic charged radioactive particle called Radon 226.    It is part of the natural environment that we all grew up in, evolved as a species.   The body has mechanisms on the cellular level that have dealt with this for millennia.
    to say that any level is harmful is to literally suggest that any habitation of this earth since time began is harmful.  so where do we go?  Outer space where the levels are lethal.   Deep underground (closer to the source of uranium) or underwater pods in the ocean itself.  That may work but from a practical perspective it is ludicrous.  The truth is we are not that frail of a species that we can not exist safely with any form of radioactive exposure.  In fact it happens.  Do your research on NHRA’ (Naturally High Radiation Areas) found in many parts of the globe.  Here people receive annually tens, sometime hundreds of times the average radiation levels found elsewhere on the planet.   The people in these areas to do not suffer undo health effects, cancer spikes of any of the like.   Studies have actually shown an adaptation on the cellular, chromosomal level in response to radiation.   In effect, the body adapts to it.   Yes, there will be cases in terms of large doses that the body will react, ie cancers, but those cases are few and far between such as major accidents.   In fact those that succumb, at a rate of 29 fold,are usually the type of individual that has other health issues at play.  The naturally weak people who are chronically sick.  Not to sound callous and write them off, but they if not affected by the above will be impacted by other  factors that make their lives all the more unfortunate.  For the greater majority it is not of consequence.    To take things further look into the 1947 Nobel Scandal.   Against all the data to the contrary, it was forwarded that premise, that all radiation is harmful.   It was there that the mindset was established and has become assumed fact without supporting evidence to back it up.    We get hundred of millirem per year anywhere we live on this planet, sometimes substantially more, and have been long before we ever knew what radiation was.  Man made sources are much less of an impact than any of the naturally occurring sources out there.  We get many other bombardments to our body every year.   I’ll use smoke as an analogy.   Large amount of smoke are without any argument lethal.  We can extrapolate that down to the fact that smoke is thereby lethal in any amount as we now have stated for radiation.  Never mind that smoke in one form of the other has been with us since early man walked through the smokey valleys of the ancient Los Angeles Coastal plane, or were exposed to that from a wildfire nearby, the campfire smoke, or just the act of lighting a candle indoors.   By the same rational all acts, even driving behind another vehicle of the internal combustion type, are all dangerous at any level.  But in truth our body has mechanisms for dealing with this, and without exception, ie the dangerous high level exposure like a burning building, sustained abnormally high level exposures like smoking, second hand smoke,  we will not suffer the consequences of all but the most extreme exposures.   The same biological rule applies to radiation.  We have always lived with it, and we will forever.   It is a part of our natural environment.   Because some activity nearby generates some is not a cause to get caught up in angst and dread our existence. 

    • Trippin McZoink September 15, 2012

      Unless of course we bury the waste in your back yard. Then all bets are off, right?

  • Thomas W. Green September 10, 2012

    I actually have a design to use radioactive waste for fuel via Radioactive Decay. No Fission/Fusion reactions at all so very safe. It uses both Beta and Alpha particles for it’s energy resource. The (waste) Fuel is encased in blocks, so If my design had been in operation in Japan, the whole thing could have washed out to sea with little to no contamination. If you used the waste plutonium that was to be stored in Yucca mountain, it would power it for 2000+ years. Can’t get any cleaner than that for nuclear power. But alas i am not a big corporation so my design will never see the light of day.

  • Thomas W. Green September 10, 2012

    I actually have a design to use radioactive waste for fuel via Radioactive Decay. No Fission/Fusion reactions at all so very safe. It uses both Beta and Alpha particles for it’s energy resource. The (waste) Fuel is encased in blocks, so If my design had been in operation in Japan, the whole thing could have washed out to sea with little to no contamination. If you used the waste plutonium that was to be stored in Yucca mountain, it would power it for 2000+ years. Can’t get any cleaner than that for nuclear power. But alas i am not a big corporation so my design will never see the light of day.

  • Neil Craig October 13, 2013

    1 – nobody claims this
    2 – nobody claims this reason. The reason for saying low level radiation is not dangerous is that there is no evidence that it is and a lot that it is beneficial. If you disagree produce the evidence.
    3 – If you mean absolutely carbon free even to the extent that people working there don’t breathe, than nobody has claimed it. If you mean the most carbon free of any significant generation method, including windmills, then it is obviously true.

    I see nobody is shown as having commented here. Lets see if that is censorship.

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