Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Were the Nuclear Protesters Right?
Old 03-29-2011, 11:52 AM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,199
Were the Nuclear Protesters Right?

I was never a nuclear protester, and never held strong views on nuclear power one way or the other. I've probably been more pro-nuclear than anti.

But back in the 70s, the arguments usually went like this:

Nuclear Protester: Nuclear power is really dangerous
Nuclear Advocate: Lots of things are dangerous
Protestor: But it would be scary to die from radiation
Advocate: It's scary to die in an airplane crash
Protestor: But you can choose to not go on an airplane
Advocate: But an airplane can fall on you when you're at home.

-----------------

The Japanese situation brings things into focus. 10,000 - 30,000 people were killed by the quake and tsunami, and only a handful have been killed by the nuclear problems, yet there's something extra ominous about radiation, potential for future cancer, and the slowly evolving hard-to-control threat.

This is just the kind of thing that protesters said would happen. Do you think they are being vindicated?
__________________

__________________
Al
TromboneAl is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-29-2011, 12:12 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
GregLee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Waimanalo, HI
Posts: 1,881
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
..., yet there's something extra ominous about radiation, potential for future cancer, and the slowly evolving hard-to-control threat.

This is just the kind of thing that protesters said would happen. Do you think they are being vindicated?
"The kind of thing" that has happened being the "ominous", the "potential", and the "threat"? Once I understand the question, I think I will be answering "No".
__________________

__________________
Greg (retired in 2010 at age 68, state pension)
GregLee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 12:14 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: France
Posts: 1,195
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
This is just the kind of thing that protesters said would happen.
Well, no. What the protestors said would happen is that millions would die in a meltdown. So far, deaths from Fukushima are running at the same level as Three Mile Island, ie, zero.

Even Tchernobyl, where the reactor design displayed the kind of recklessness (no concrete containment !) that only a totalitarian state can produce, is estimated by the WHO to kill 4,000 people - total - over 50 years. That's less than 1% of the number of people in that country (Ukraine) who will be killed in road accidents during that time.

Ionising radiation is far less dangerous than we've been told. (That doesn't mean that it isn't very dangerous. It is. It's just not "super mega ultra OMG world-to-end if you get within a hundred miles of it" dangerous.) Very few people at Hiroshima and Nagasaki died from radiation effects - at 1.5 miles from GZ they got a dose equivalent to a single CT scan. They then died because of a huge blast wave, followed by their houses falling on them and/or catching fire.

Among the biggest confirmed health problems caused by the Fukushima situation so far is sickness caused by unnecessary self-medication with potassium iodide. Sigh.

Meanwhile, hydroelectric power leads the energy death stakes by a long way, but 30 or so more years of CO2 emissions at the current rates and perhaps climate change will overtake that figure.
__________________
Age 56, retired July 1, 2012; DW is 60 and working for 2 more years. Current portfolio is 2000K split 50 stocks/20 bonds/30 cash. Renting house, no debts.
BigNick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 12:37 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
NW-Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 19,435
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigNick View Post
Meanwhile, hydroelectric power leads the energy death stakes by a long way...
Holy cow! 171,000 Chinese killed with estimated number as high as 230,000! 11 million became homeless!

How did I miss this outrageous catastrophe in the news back then?
__________________
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leon Trotsky
NW-Bound is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 12:41 PM   #5
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 3,851
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Do you think they are being vindicated?
No. Thanks for asking ...
__________________
rescueme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 01:00 PM   #6
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,929
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
The Japanese situation brings things into focus. 10,000 - 30,000 people were killed by the quake and tsunami, and only a handful have been killed by the nuclear problems, yet there's something extra ominous about radiation, potential for future cancer, and the slowly evolving hard-to-control threat.

This is just the kind of thing that protesters said would happen. Do you think they are being vindicated?
No.

At the Fukushima Daiichi facility, they've got a real mess, but there are no deaths from radiation. There's the poor crane operator who was in his cab when the earthquake hit, and two people were missing after the tsunami. There are a number of people injured as a result of the earthquake, tsunami, and explosions at the facility.

Thyroid scans of 66 children living just outside the perimeter of the evacuation zone showed no significant deviation from background radiation levels, indicating that they didn't have significant uptake of iodine-131 from the leakage.

They've got one heck of a cleanup job ahead of them, but it won't be as bad as the BP oil spill. It's more on the order of the environmental cleanup after Mountain Top Removal (MTR) coal mining is done, dealing with leachings, land and waterway cleanup, and related mitigation.

That won't stop the 'carbon industry' from using this to knock nuclear power (0.04 deaths per Terawatt-hour produced) and promote 'safe, clean coal energy' (15 deaths per Terawatt-hour produced in the US).
__________________
M Paquette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 01:18 PM   #7
Moderator
bssc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 9,936
Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
Holy cow! 171,000 Chinese killed with estimated number as high as 230,000! 11 million became homeless!

How did I miss this outrageous catastrophe in the news back then?
Because it wasn't declassified until 2005?
__________________
Angels danced on the day that you were born.
bssc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 01:20 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
kcowan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Pacific latitude 20/49
Posts: 5,735
Send a message via Skype™ to kcowan
Gee Al

I think you are proving that watching CNN can be injurious to your health!

The tsunami deaths are now over 10000 and counting. You want to cause a further decline in my uranium stocks? OK but that just means that I will buy more. It is the only way to escape carbon heating. All other forms of electricity generation cause more human suffering. Even wind causes widespread deaths of birds and human emotional trouble with noise nearby.
__________________
For the fun of it...Keith
kcowan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 03:37 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
easysurfer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 7,896
Mabye this is a bad analogy, but what happened is like the ones who "called" the market crashes. Yes, the market will crash. But in between crashes, there were many days of non-crashes. Because the market does crash does it mean one should stay away from the market forever? That the same question about the nuclear situation in Japan. Is what happened worthy of avoiding nuclear energy altogether or at least until they are tsunami proof (if that's even possible).

To be the devil's advocate some more. That the tsunami hit a nucelar reactor in the US, would the protesters be more right because it happened here rather that in Japan?
__________________
Have you ever seen a headstone with these words
"If only I had spent more time at work" ... from "Busy Man" sung by Billy Ray Cyrus
easysurfer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 04:24 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
NW-Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 19,435
Quote:
...You want to cause a further decline in my uranium stocks? OK but that just means that I will buy more...
I would be careful about buying nuclear related stocks on dips. I do not own any right now, but was aware of the talk of a revival in recent years. Did the recent event in Japan have an effect? Not according to a recent article in Time, which said that there was nothing going on anyway.

President Obama has defended atomic energy as a carbon-free source of power, resisting calls to halt the renaissance and freeze construction of the US's first new reactors in over three decades.

But there is no renaissance.

Even before the earthquare... US nuclear revival was stumbling, pummeled by skyrocketing costs... Wall Street hates nukes as much as K Street loves them, which is why there's no new reactor construction to freeze.
- Time Magazine, March 28, 2011.
This Time article went on to discuss why the high cost of nuclear plants made it difficult to get financial support by investors. We should be building more plants now, but have not, and it is all due to financial considerations.
__________________
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leon Trotsky
NW-Bound is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 04:28 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,386
A safe blanket answer is no, the protesters were not right. They rarely are. Mostly they are out to get some air, meet girls, demonstrate their alignment with the popular mob sentiment of the day and generally work out personal problems on a supra-personal scale. If they weren't such mental flyweights they would realize that all those electric cars run (imagine!) on electricity, and other than very expensive and/or limited green sources that likely can be no more than add-ons for many years, we must either have more nuclear, or we must burn more fossil fuel. And burning stuff will kill a lot more people and do a whole lot more damage to population wide health and the environment than is likely from nuclear power. If they really wanted to accomplish something useful they would campaign for a national commitment to nuclear power coupled with a commitment to better and safer designs. But that wouldn't be any fun at all.

Many of the same people who hate nuclear, hate war (oil), natural gas (frac-ing and contamination of ground water), coal (dirty dirty!) and dams (kills all those sweet fishies and messes up rapids that we might like to run.) Well, then, what do we do?

Nuclear power suffers from the availability heuristic. When something goes wrong, it will usually be rather spectacular, a news event that will not be quickly forgotten.

But ongoing base rates can be easily ignored. Itís like comparing a wide body plane crash to the daily carnage on the roads.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 05:59 PM   #12
Moderator
Ronstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: A little ways southwest of Chicago
Posts: 9,356
I also don't believe the nuclear protesters were right. Its simply popular to protest anything nuclear. And why? - some people still can't tell the difference between nuclear power and nuclear war. It its anything nuclear to them, it must be bad.

As a young know-it-all, I prepared a paper in college 30 some years ago on the negatives of nuclear power. I remember being gung-ho at the start, and later found that my research didn't give me all the negatives that I set out to find.
__________________
Ronstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 06:03 PM   #13
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,619
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
This is just the kind of thing that protesters said would happen. Do you think they are being vindicated?
No-- they're focusing on isolated incidents and saying "See, we told you this would happen!!!"

Well, sure, as long as we wait long enough for it to happen. And with the media's hypervigilance, coupled with their lack of education or fact-checking, we apparently don't have to wait very long at all... unless it needs to be the actual truth.

I agree that there are scary long-term effects which are hard to quantify before they end in death... but the same can be said about cigarettes, alcohol, and texting while driving. Haven't seen much protesting on those fronts, either.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 06:05 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
dex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 5,105
Why greens should support nuclear: Mark Lynas interview | chinadialogue

Why greens should support nuclear

Olivia Boyd


March 29, 2011

Mark Lynas is an author, environmental activist and fierce proponent of nuclear power. Here, he tells Olivia Boyd why, even after Fukushima, his faith in the merits of atomic energy is firm.
__________________
Sometimes death is not as tragic as not knowing how to live. This man knew how to live--and how to make others glad they were living. - Jack Benny at Nat King Cole's funeral
dex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 06:07 PM   #15
Administrator
Gumby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,155
If they were able to rationally and intelligently discuss specific issues of plant design, construction and operation, and to explore ways that any risks can be moderated or avoided, I would welcome the discussion. Unfortunately, for my entire adult life, the anti's appear to be driven more by fear and ignorance than anything else. They don't know anything and they don't want to know anything. They just want to rant.
__________________
Living an analog life in the Digital Age.
Gumby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 06:14 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
GregLee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Waimanalo, HI
Posts: 1,881
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronstar View Post
I also don't believe the nuclear protesters were right.
That was not the question, which was "Do you think they are being vindicated?" They might not have been vindicated by recent events, but that doesn't mean they were wrong.
__________________
Greg (retired in 2010 at age 68, state pension)
GregLee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 06:19 PM   #17
Moderator
Ronstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: A little ways southwest of Chicago
Posts: 9,356
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregLee View Post
That was not the question, which was "Do you think they are being vindicated?" They might not have been vindicated by recent events, but that doesn't mean they were wrong.
Sorry, maybe I was paying more attention to the title of the thread.
__________________
Ronstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 06:28 PM   #18
Full time employment: Posting here.
RetiredGypsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 895
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
This is just the kind of thing that protesters said would happen. Do you think they are being vindicated?
I think they're being irradiated.
__________________
I'm free and I like it!
RetiredGypsy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 07:10 PM   #19
Recycles dryer sheets
Tigger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 388
I share the worry of the protesters. Maybe I'm just a scaredy cat. You judge:

* Government Responds to Nuclear Accident by Trying to Raise Acceptable Radiation Levels and Pretending that Radiation is Good For Us (ZeroHedge). Does this reassure you?

* The dangers of radioactivity are being downplayed these days, by referring to background radiation, CT scans, etc. But the wind can carry radioactive particles very far and when we ingest them, they can cause damage constantly.
Hirose Takashi in an interview, broadcasted by Asahi NewStar on 17 March:
"They compare it to a CT scan, which is over in an instant; that has nothing to do with it. The reason radioactivity can be measured is that radioactive material is escaping. What is dangerous is when that material enters your body and irradiates it from inside. These industry-mouthpiece scholars come on TV and what to they say? They say as you move away the radiation is reduced in inverse ratio to the square of the distance. I want to say the reverse. Internal irradiation happens when radioactive material is ingested into the body. What happens? Say there is a nuclear particle one meter away from you. You breathe it in, it sticks inside your body; the distance between you and it is now at the micron level. One meter is 1000 millimeters, one micron is one thousandth of a millimeter. That’s a thousand times a thousand: a thousand squared. That’s the real meaning of “inverse ratio of the square of the distance.” Radiation exposure is increased by a factor of a trillion. Inhaling even the tiniest particle, that’s the danger.
Yoh: So making comparisons with X-rays and CT scans has no meaning. Because you can breathe in radioactive material.
Hirose: That’s right. When it enters your body, there’s no telling where it will go. The biggest danger is women, especially pregnant women, and little children. Now they’re talking about iodine and cesium, but that’s only part of it, they’re not using the proper detection instruments. What they call monitoring means only measuring the amount of radiation in the air. Their instruments don’t eat.
"
More about this subjec, unsure what to think of this: "The internal external radiation protection Switcheroo"

* In Chernobyl approximately 800,000 "liquidators" (people) are said to have been used to limit the consequences of the 1986 disaster. According to Georgy Lepnin, a Belarusian physician who worked on reactor #4, "approximately 100,000 liquidators are now dead", of a total number of one million workers. Wikipedia, no reference)
According to Vyacheslav Grishin of the Chernobyl Union, the main organization of liquidators, "25,000 of the Russian liquidators are dead and 70,000 disabled, about the same in Ukraine, and 10,000 dead in Belarus and 25,000 disabled", which makes a total of 60,000 dead (10% of the 600 000, liquidators) and 165,000 disabled.

* Vassili Nesterenko - Nuclear Physicist, interviewed about Chernobyl (video, from around 1:31:00): "I pray God the sarcofagus never collapses. That woul be the worst thing that could happen.
Because inside there are 100 kg of plutonium. One microgram is a lethal dose for a human being. That means, there is enough plutonium to poison a 100 million people. The half life of plutonium - in other words the time it takes for of half the plutonium to disappear - is 245,000 years. This is something that we could thus consider eternal. There are areas where there will never be life again.
"
(it's a translation, possibly erroneous; I ignore which type of plutonium he's talking about, but there may be an extraneous zero, but even 24K years is pretty scary)
The sarcofagus is in bad shape, but they're said to be working on a new one that should be ready in 2013.

* So... how much plutonium is there in Fukushima? Associated Press: "There are 3,400 tons of fuel in seven spent fuel pools within the six-reactor plant, including one joint pool storing very old fuel from units 3 and 4. There are 877 tons in five of the reactor cores."
How much plutonium is in this? Probably a lot more than there ever was in Chernobyl.
If radiation around the reactors keeps going up, what are they going to do to "contain" the situation?

* "Betrayed" Japanese communities might never go home (Reuters)

Etc.

Sounds like pretty dangerous stuff to me. I agree with the protesters and fear they may be in the process of getting vindicated... no telling how bad this can get. How do you compare the price of "cheap" nuclear energy (cheap as in subsidized) for 50 years with the cost of increased cancer risk and contamination of land and water for a much larger number of years?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be outside protesting...
__________________
Tigger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2011, 08:12 PM   #20
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,929
Public perceptions of nuclear power are, for better or worse, shaped by the information we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Much of that information is exaggerated in various ways, filed with 'coulds' and 'mights' and 'possiblys' and 'almosts' and 'what ifs', almost perfectly tailored to inspire fear, or to at least get us to stay tuned for that special report.

I don't see the news media reacting in quite the same way to the risks from other sources in our lives. Out where I live, it looks like it will take some 25 years to complete the replacement of a bridge span we know failed in a modest earthquake. The original failure was patched up, design plans for a replacement made, then stalled for a decade while folks argued over what options looked prettier, or would have the least impact on the mayor's girfriend's home. Not a thought was given to the thousands of lives at risk should an earthquake strike and collapse a structure with thousands of vehicles on it.

People are fundamentally innumerate, unable to evaluate risk. Nuclear energy happens to be ideal for creating fear in people. It's man-made, high tech, hard to understand, invisible, and not under the individual's control. If things go sufficiently wrong, and a person is so unfortunate as to be exposed to a fairly high concentration of radioactive material, then that person may get cancer, the Big C, far more feared than bigger killers such as heart disease.

The death rate from car accidents, or handgun abuse is far higher than from nuclear power. The death rate from airline accidents, or residential reroofing is much higher. The death rate from marine toxins in seafood is higher, as is the death rate from potato salad.

On the power production side, the death rate from coal fired power plants is much higher, at around 15 deaths per Terawatt-hour produced in the US, compared to about 0.04 deaths per Terawatt-hour for nuclear power plants.

Ah, but the deadly radiation. Only nuclear power has that, right?

This turns out not to be the case. The waste from coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. Coal contains uranium and thorium. When the coal is burned to ash, the carbon is gone, but the fly ash contains concentrated uranium and thorium. Radioactive radon gas escapes up the chimney in the combustion process. For persons living near coal plants, eating local produce, radiation doses are 50 to 200 percent higher than for folks living around nuclear plants. This dosage is there every year, as part of the normal operation of the coal plant.

Newer US coal plants capture much of the fly ash, but there is still an amazing amount of stuff that escapes.

http://www.epa.gov/ttn/caaa/t3/reports/eurtc1.pdf
Table 9-3. Average Annual Radionuclide Emissions per Operating Boiler Unit and per Billion Kilowatt-Hour Electricity

Generated Radionuclide............................mCi/billion KWh
Rn-220......................................1.1 x 10^2 = 110
Rn-222......................................2.0 x 10^2 = 220
U-238........................................1.5 x 10^0 = 1.5
U-234........................................1.5 x 10^0 = 1.5
Ra-226......................................1.2 x 10^0 = 1.2
Po-218......................................3.8 x 10^0 = 3.8
Pb-214......................................3.8 x 10^0 = 3.8
Po-214.....................................3.8 x 10^0 = 3.8
Pb-210.....................................3.8 x 10^0 = 3.8
Po-210.....................................3.8 x 10^0 = 3.8
Po-216.....................................2.4 x 10^0 = 2.4
Pb-212.....................................2.4 x 10^0 = 2.4
K-40........................................5.3 x 10^0 = 5.3

__________________

__________________
M Paquette is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Nuclear power stocks or funds Sam FIRE and Money 7 09-05-2009 04:56 PM
Nuclear Blowhard ScooterGuy Other topics 6 12-09-2008 07:39 PM
Nuclear Energy..........why not?? FinanceDude Other topics 60 11-19-2007 11:18 AM
Nuclear power plant I am a dope newguy88 FIRE and Money 33 08-16-2006 04:07 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:49 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.