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Old 06-18-2011, 04:37 PM   #201
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Bill Gates is well versed in all things Microsoft and yet we don't hear him criticise their business practices.
In any case, it's a little old fashioned to shop around for trusted experts and then take their opinions as gospel. These days, we want our experts to back up their opinions with facts and plausible, relevant reasoning, and to defend their conclusions against critics.
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Old 06-18-2011, 05:03 PM   #202
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Well, it's easier to breathe in a dust particle than a counter top, I reckon, and easier for the dust particle to be transported by the wind from Japan than it is for a counter top to be. Do I need a scientific background to figure that out?
You are correct that particulate contamination is the issue. However, the problem with using microns in this context is that it is only a linear dimension. It tells you nothing about the radioactivity, and hence the danger. A micron-sized particle of copper is harmless. A micron-sized particle of plutonium is dangerous. Radioactive releases are typically measured in curies or becquerels. Airborne contamination is usually measured in picocuries/cubic meter (the measurement is done indirectly by sucking air through a filter for a fixed period of time and then measuring the level of radiation emitted by the filter). Surface contamination is usually in picocuries per 100 cm sq. Using calculations that I can no longer remember, one can derive an absorbed dose to the lung tissue or skin or whatever by knowing the airborne or surface contamination levels.

This is an area where precision of measurement and precision of description is valued. The use of words like "microns of cesium" is bound to arouse suspicions in those familiar with the technology.
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Old 06-18-2011, 05:24 PM   #203
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However, the problem with using microns in this context is that it is only a linear dimension.
Yes, yes, it's obviously silly to be talking about microns of radioactive cesium. I hope we can recall that when Tigger gave this reference, he cautioned that the journalists' report had probably gone through at least one language translation. Can't we make reasonable allowances? It's not Gundersen's fault.

In post #169 of this thread, I did give two web references for efforts to measure and report the transport of radioactive material to the US from Japan.

If someone is trying to trivialize this discussion, it's not me.
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Old 06-18-2011, 05:37 PM   #204
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It very well could be translation difficulties. I don't know.

As far as I know, to date there has been no estimate of the total activity released to the environment. That would be a fact of interest to me.
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Old 06-18-2011, 05:48 PM   #205
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As far as I know, to date there has been no estimate of the total activity released to the environment. That would be a fact of interest to me.
I have no idea how reliable this is. It's from an interview with Robert Alvarez, former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies. It was published on an activist website. He says 50 million curies were released at Chernobyl (if the ruskies were honest about it) and in Fukushima 40 into the athmosphere (if the Japanese were honest about it) plus 20 into the ocean (which the Japanese conveniently forgot to mention), and it's not over yet:

ROBERT ALVAREZ: Yes. As you know, the Japanese government, in its report to the IAEA, said it had underestimated the amount of radioactivity released to the atmosphere during the first week and that it amounts to roughly 40 million curies of radioactivity. What they failed to mention is that they discharged an equally large amount into the ocean, about 20 million curies, and that the—what they’re counting here is the radioactive iodine and radioactive cesium. [...]

AMY GOODMAN: And you say Japan is equal to or worse than Chernobyl, the Fukushima Daiichi plant?

ROBERT ALVAREZ: That’s correct, because if—the Soviet Union and Russia basically have claimed that about 50 million curies of radioactivity were released to the environment [...]
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Old 06-18-2011, 06:31 PM   #206
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Originally Posted by ERD50
I wonder if Tigger is 'getting it' as this thread goes on? We have people on this forum who are well versed in this area, and they aren't sending up doomsday scenarios. Sure there are concerns, but if we were on the edge of the collapse of civilization as we know it (OK, a little hyperbole from me), I would expect Nords, M Paquette and Gumby to be the first ones to be getting their families into fall-out shelters. But we don't hear that kind of talk from them. That speaks volumes to me.
Bill Gates is well versed in all things Microsoft and yet we don't hear him criticise their business practices. That speaks volumes to me.
Well, my very sensitive bias detector hasn't got even the slightest whiff that the nukes on this forum have any vested interest in attempting to white-wash the situation. IMO, they appear to be providing factual explanations to us lay-people, and I really appreciate it. Is there something you can point out that they've said that is questionable? After all, they are all retired from the business...

I don't defend my old MegaCorp, I'm more than critical of them (where deserved). I can't see why the group explaining the situation here would be any different.

Actually, the more I type, the more worked up I'm getting. They have taken the time to give lengthly, detailed replies to your "Chicken Little" links to any "expert de-jour" that can say something bad about the situation - and this is the "thanks" they get? You accuse them of twisting things to defend the 'industry'? Geez.

Maybe you should take the time and effort to get these reports scrubbed and validated before playing another round of this game on this forum, eh?

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Old 06-18-2011, 07:19 PM   #207
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Actually, the more I type, the more worked up I'm getting. They have taken the time to give lengthly, detailed replies to your "Chicken Little" links to any "expert de-jour" that can say something bad about the situation - and this is the "thanks" they get? You accuse them of twisting things to defend the 'industry'? Geez.
Well many of their reactions look like downplaying and ridiculising concerns about nuclear incidents, like this one:

"I'm too busy enjoying my deadly carcinogenic espresso to bother with that. I'll worry about much higher probability accidents, like getting smooshed by an asteroid, or being poisoned by all the radioactive fallout downwind of a coal-fired power plant." (I just picked this one randomly, there are others about bananas, etc.)

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Maybe you should take the time and effort to get these reports scrubbed and validated before playing another round of this game on this forum, eh?
I'm not playing games. I am sincerely concerned about the health risks of this technology and I want to spend my future in an environment that's not more toxic than the current one. This forum seems to be rather pro nuclear (or maybe those who don't trust nuclear don't bother to react anymore) and the poo-pooing of risks gets me worked up. This is indeed costing everyone time, though I'm not sure it's entirely wasted time. But in my case it costs me dear, as a matter of fact my girlfriend broke up with me a week ago because I didn't have enough time for her, so maybe I should lay off arguing on the internet and just hope the politician on tv is right when he says nuclear is our best option.
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:24 PM   #208
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Actually, the more I type, the more worked up I'm getting. They have taken the time to give lengthly, detailed replies to your "Chicken Little" links to any "expert de-jour" that can say something bad about the situation - and this is the "thanks" they get? You accuse them of twisting things to defend the 'industry'? Geez.
Well, hey, now you're making me mad. I saw a long, detailed reply to a posted reference to a Gundersen interview from M. Paquette, and another reply from Nords, going on and on about how there was no serious evidence that there had been, or would be, a nuclear explosion at the damaged Fukushima reactors. Well, that's right, but there was a problem of relevance. Gundersen had never said there was, or could be, a nuclear explosion there. I pointed this out, and M. Paquette replied by giving a long list of places people could use to donate to victims of the Japan earthquake. That's charming, but it's not a relevant argument.

It would be great to have our own expert nuclear engineers here, to inform our non-scientific opinions, if they were in a mood to give honest and informative assessments, but currently, they seem to be more inclined to be dismissive, regardless of the facts.
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:06 PM   #209
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I, for one, find it frustrating to spend a few hours researching and composing a post, only to have someone some back with a 'Yeah, but this poorly researched article I found on a political commentary site says...'.

I can come back, spend a few more hours doing research to refute the next article, but realize that:
1) I'm retired. Ain't nobody paying me some ridiculising salary to do that sort of research any more.
2) When the 'yeah, but what if' starts to get into discussing the finer points of items with such a low statistical significance that there won't be a measurable impact, that is, when the odds for my dying from an asteroid strike or from cancer causing agents in my espresso are higher by many orders of magnitude, the conversation is meaningless. Might as well discuss the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. "Waltz, or line dancing?"
3) Others aren't here for a rational discussion. They're here for an argument. You want room 12A, just along the corridor.

I've put a fair number of hours into trying to provide reasonable information here. I haven't seen any hard numbers, statistics, or really much beyond posts referencing sensationalist or blatantly fear mongering articles. "We came close to losing northern Japan." Gah.


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Gundersen had never said there was, or could be, a nuclear explosion there. I pointed this out, and M. Paquette replied by giving a long list of places people could use to donate to victims of the Japan earthquake. That's charming, but it's not a relevant argument.
I also said, in reference to 'losing northern Japan' and the reaction others had, that:
That's the usual cognitive jump folks make when hearing about a reactor problem, and someplace becoming uninhabitable.
I'm sorry that you found a list of charities and organizations in need of donations to assist in the very real, deadly, and destructive earthquake and tsunami in that region to be 'charming'.

It appears that folks would rather spend time fearing and worrying about abstract scary stuff that takes a bit of effort to understand, than making the effort to improve their understanding and perhaps replace fear of the unknown with actual knowledge.

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It would be great to have our own expert nuclear engineers here, to inform our non-scientific opinions, if they were in a mood to give honest and informative assessments, but currently, they seem to be more inclined to be dismissive, regardless of the facts.
My experience has been that people tend to devalue factual information provided at no charge, but will give great weight to information that they obtain at some expense. I suggest that you engage a team of nuclear engineers out of pocket to address your concerns. When paying them several hundreds of dollars an hour to address your questions, I can safely say that they won't be dismissive, but will be quite thorough and methodical. You may also give greater weight to their responses, of course.


Now, where's that darn pig? Soooooieeeee!
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:09 PM   #210
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Well many of their reactions look like downplaying and ridiculising concerns about nuclear incidents, like this one:

"I'm too busy enjoying my deadly carcinogenic espresso to bother with that. I'll worry about much higher probability accidents, like getting smooshed by an asteroid, or being poisoned by all the radioactive fallout downwind of a coal-fired power plant." (I just picked this one randomly, there are others about bananas, etc.)
That one didn't strike me as ridiculing at all, it is factual. Those are higher risks. If you can't understand that, go back to the comments about innumeracy.



Quote:
I'm not playing games. I am sincerely concerned about the health risks of this technology and I want to spend my future in an environment that's not more toxic than the current one.
Then take the time to understand the relative risks. MP has posted them several times, and the data backs it up - nuclear is the safest energy we have, even when you include Chernobyl (as I've stated, I don't think it should be included - it was a weapons plant that generated electricity as a side-line - no real nuclear power plant is designed like that). So you are ' sincerely concerned about the health risks of this technology ', but you continue to ignore the relative risks from every other technology. That makes no sense. Everything is relative. W/o perspective, it's just babble.

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Old 06-18-2011, 08:11 PM   #211
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Bill Gates is well versed in all things Microsoft and yet we don't hear him criticise their business practices. That speaks volumes to me.
The $39K/year that the Navy pays me is:
1. Slightly less than the motivation being offered to Gates, and
2. Not enough to inspire me to shill for civilian nuclear power.

But if Bill Gates or Naval Reactors want to renegotiate the deal then I'm ready to entertain all serious offers... or be seriously entertained by all offers... or something like that.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:25 PM   #212
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I'm out'a here. Maybe, just maybe, this thread applies.
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Old 06-19-2011, 09:27 AM   #213
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But in my case it costs me dear, as a matter of fact my girlfriend broke up with me a week ago because I didn't have enough time for her...
Finally, a first hand report of serious damage that we can all relate too. Get another GF quick, so that if this nuclkleation destroys creation you will at least go out satisfied.

I have no clue how dangerous or not this situation is for us, here in the US. I am basically pro-nuclear because I own nuclear utilities and want them to prosper, and because I think global warming is a real and present threat.

I also think that governments and official bodies and corporations lie, and that usually "interested parties", including media and "experts" always have an agenda, or else in today's world they would not bother to comment.

I do think that attempting to discredit the ideas of people with some industry knowledge who post here is bad form; after all they are volunteers. One can accept their comments or not, but if it had been me posting expert opinion and then getting gratuitously shot at, I wouldn't like it much.

Ha
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:13 AM   #214
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... as a matter of fact my girlfriend broke up with me a week ago because I didn't have enough time for her, so maybe I should lay off arguing on the internet...
I've heard your story before...
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:23 AM   #215
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I've heard your story before...
Yep, that's it. Well, that and trying to construct an investment plan.
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Old 06-19-2011, 02:07 PM   #216
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I have no idea how reliable this is. It's from an interview with Robert Alvarez, former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies. It was published on an activist website. He says 50 million curies were released at Chernobyl (if the ruskies were honest about it) and in Fukushima 40 into the athmosphere (if the Japanese were honest about it) plus 20 into the ocean (which the Japanese conveniently forgot to mention), and it's not over yet:

ROBERT ALVAREZ: Yes. As you know, the Japanese government, in its report to the IAEA, said it had underestimated the amount of radioactivity released to the atmosphere during the first week and that it amounts to roughly 40 million curies of radioactivity. What they failed to mention is that they discharged an equally large amount into the ocean, about 20 million curies, and that the—what they’re counting here is the radioactive iodine and radioactive cesium. [...]

AMY GOODMAN: And you say Japan is equal to or worse than Chernobyl, the Fukushima Daiichi plant?

ROBERT ALVAREZ: That’s correct, because if—the Soviet Union and Russia basically have claimed that about 50 million curies of radioactivity were released to the environment [...]
I did some poking around online and it seems that Mr. Alvarez is sui generis with the 60 million curie figure. I have found no other source. I would like to see the data and calculations on which he relies before saying whether he is accurate or not.

I will state that he is correct about the spent fuel pools issue in the USA. We really need to move to a centralized dry cask repository, like Yucca Mountain. Unfortunately, the antinuclear crowd sees the possibility of shutting down the industry by constipating it. Hence the all out war on Yucca Mountain. I don't think the rest of us should have to live with elevated risk of full spent fuel pools just to further their political agenda.
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Old 06-19-2011, 09:46 PM   #217
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I have found this thread to be educational. If for no other reason than it validates my decision to switch from physics to computer science. Obviously the C s I struggled to get in my last two quarters of engineering physics, were a big factor also. Physics is hard and nuclear engineering even more so.

Googling in contrast is easy and fun, and has the add value of making one seem educated without a lot of work. Don't get me wrong I think I really have gained a greater understanding of things due to Google and the internet. I have on occasions dug pretty deeply into areas where I had no background. A couple of examples the advisability of doing stretching before working out (probably a bad idea) and the safety of drinking a lot of diet sodas (in truth I don't know). Now my debating partners were an ex-girlfriend in the first case and my sister in the second case neither doctors. Still while I was flooding them with links about why I was right and the silly articles they sent me were wrong, I was struck by one very simple fact, while I could comprehend most of the articles I was reading and regurgitating, there were huge gaps in my basic understanding of how the human body works. I have never taken a biology, or anatomy in my life and as such have a huge gap in my knowledge when arguing medical issues. Sure I can point lots of peer reviewed articles in medical journal supporting my positions, but how the artificial sweeteners actually work in the human body, I don't have a clue. But I can sound smart on the internet.


I think Tigger and GregLee are arguing in good faith but you guys are seriously out manned and outmatched. I don't know what the minimum educational background one needs to convincingly argue with several nuclear engineers, and former nuclear operator instructor, but I am pretty sure that good Googling skills doesn't qualify. I appreciate that experts can be wrong, and all to often have a hidden agenda. The beauty of the net is it harder for experts to BS people. The flip side is that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Especially on this forum, I think it is wise to assume that long time forum members don't have hidden agendas.
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:48 AM   #218
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Especially on this forum, I think it is wise to assume that long time forum members don't have hidden agendas.
Our agendas were unhidden a long, long time ago...
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:19 AM   #219
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"The risks that kill people and the risks that upset people are completely different" - Peter M. Sandman.
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:11 PM   #220
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"The risks that kill people and the risks that upset people are completely different" - Peter M. Sandman.

My that is a wonderful talk. I'm pretty sure that nobody at Tokyo Electric had the course before the accident.
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