Sunday, February 23, 2020

CoViD-19 SPECIAL EDITION

February 23, 2020

CoViD-19 Special Edition:

Dear Readers,

Food shortages are eminent or starting in China. Streets in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are empty, and anyone found outside without a mask, or anyone with a fever is liable to be beaten and taken away. The Virus is rampant in the prisons in China, Whole apartment buildings are being welded shut. Wuhan has reportedly just announced several weeks of additional quarantine with no stores to be open and no going out at all.

Globally, lockdowns and quarantines are occurring in dozens of cities: Two large cities in South Korea, 14 provinces in Iran, nearly a dozen cities in Italy -- that was the news as of this morning, tomorrow things will surely be even worse. Dozens of international borders have already been closed.

South Korea has declared a "RED ALERT". Italy has announced "extraordinary measures." The daily rate of new "confirmed" cases of The Virus does not appear to be peaking, despite enormous and even Draconian measures in China and severe efforts, though perhaps not yet Draconian as far as we know, elsewhere.

Air travel is down 90% or more globally -- but that's not nearly enough to stop the spread of The Virus. Thousands of flights every day are carrying and spreading the disease.

Nobody can build enough hospitals fast enough in infected zones, and health care workers are getting infected at alarming rates.

If you are unaware of ANY of this, please start doing some research! (Some suggested links appear below.)

If you ARE aware of most of it, you are probably already preparing for the global pandemic that is probably unavoidable now. You are already stocking several months worth of non-perishable food and water, and you've already purchased dozens of N-95 masks and boxes of gloves. You have tissues and toilet paper. You have several months of whatever medications and vitamins you will need.

If you haven't been doing these things, you can no longer be among the first, but the stores still have most items -- in America, at least. For the moment.

In any case, you also need to be sure to start practicing not just "good hygiene" but "superb hygiene." You must NEVER touch your face or handle food with unwashed hands. And you must learn to wash your hands better than ever before! Do not touch elevator buttons with your own finger tips (to protect others -- use a knuckle, for example -- and a different knuckle next time if you haven't been able to wash in-between). Wash your hands after handling gas pump handles, public door handles or anything else. Don't shake hands with ANYBODY. Elbow bumping shows them you are trying to be safe, and if they elbow bump back automatically, you know that they know the dangers that are all around us now.

And remember that better hygiene is a good goal generally. If you get the flu or worse yet, pneumonia this year, and get The Virus at the same time or soon after while your body is still weakened, that's an additional risk factor you might have been able to avoid. The seasonal diseases already kill tens of thousands of Americans each year.

But what is The Virus? Why is this happening? Is it really "engineered" as some have claimed? We don't know, and in some sense it doesn't matter. The most likely scenario I have seen seems to be that The Virus came out of a lab in Wuhan -- not the seafood market and not the P4 biolab 20 miles away from the city but the virus research center a quarter of a mile from the seafood market (where, admittedly, various wild animals other than seafood probably were indeed available). The most likely scenario is that The Virus was *NOT* released intentionally, it escaped -- possibly because proper procedures were not followed. But none of that really matters now. Whoever made the mistake is probably long gone, for one thing. And for another, they were probably trying to create a vaccine that could fight against ANY coronavirus (such as SARS or MERS), NOT a bioweapon. The research would be surprisingly similar, I'm sure...

Below are some links that contain useful information, especially the first one, which is very recent and includes many additional links.

I have always appreciated each of my newsletter readers and thank you kindly for your years of attention. There are ONLY a couple of hundred people who receive this newsletter directly, so please FORWARD THIS EMAIL to anyone you think might find it useful. Best of luck to all in the coming hard times ahead.

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, California

This blog is also available online here:

https://acehoffman.blogspot.com/2020/02/covid-19-special-edition.html

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Additional links about CoViD-19:
=============================================

Past time to tell the public it will probably go pandemic (Feb. 23, 2020):
https://virologydownunder.com/past-time-to-tell-the-public-it-will-probably-go-pandemic-and-we-should-all-prepare-now/

Breakthrough in Coronavirus Research Results in New Map to Support Vaccine Design (Feb. 19, 2020):
https://news.utexas.edu/2020/02/19/breakthrough-in-coronavirus-research-results-in-new-map-to-support-vaccine-design/

CNET article about the above research (Feb. 19, 2020):
https://www.cnet.com/news/coronavirus-breakthrough-first-3d-protein-map-paves-way-for-vaccine-design/

===============================================

February 23, 2020

Dear Readers,

I have >500 books on nuclear power (only one of which I wrote!), going back through the entire history of the splitting of the atom. I need to donate these books, plus some videos and related material -- find a permanent home for them at a major university, as quickly as possible. Most are in excellent condition and none are the least bit moldy.

Because of The Virus (more on that below) mere weeks, and certainly months, might be too late forever.

Please contact me directly if you can help get this collection to a good home (contact information at the bottom of this email).

Thank you in advance,

Ace Hoffman
Nuclear Historian
Carlsbad, CA

-----------------------------------------
Ace Hoffman, computer programmer,
author: "The Code Killers:
An Expose of the Nuclear Industry"
Free download: acehoffman.org
Blog: acehoffman.blogspot.com
YouTube: youtube.com/user/AceHoffman
Subscribe to my free newsletter today!
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Please conserve resources: Do not print this email unless absolutely necessary.

Note: This communication may have been intercepted in secret, without permission, and in violation of our right to privacy by the National Security Agency or some other agency or private contractor.
-----------------------------------------

Friday, July 5, 2019

The dangerous use of Machine Learning, Neural Networks & Artificial Intelligence in Nuclear Power Plants and Power Grids

July 5th, 2019

Dear Readers,

Here are some things you might keep in mind while reading the following newsletter:

1) Any debate about Artificial Intelligence (AI) vs. human judgement underscores the vital importance of including the public in all key decisions of existential significance. Neither computers nor robots, benevolent kings nor cruel dictators, government toadies nor gods and goddesses should make our decisions for us.

2) The continued existence of nuclear power and weapons raises moral and ethical issues that require the public's full consent. The public must know and understand what the benefits (if any) might be, what alternatives exist, and most importantly, what the risks and responsibilities are for themselves and for future generations.

3) Already, self-driving cars are generally far safer per mile than the average driver. But AI software is notoriously tricky to perfect. The software in the two Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes was probably basically "flying blind" when the crashes occurred. Input to the system came from an inflection (angle of attack) indicator on the outside of the plane, which was either broken off (perhaps by a bird strike) or non-functional for some other reason. The software was not designed to handle that situation. In both crashes the human pilots were trying to override the faulty software, but what they actually needed to do was shut off the automated sub-system. Unfortunately the pilots had not been trained in the need to do that (all they had to do was flip a switch in the cockpit) and apparently Boeing had not even tested that situation with their own test pilots on their own simulators!

4) Nuclear's threat to the public is the direct result of excluding the public from virtually all key decisions regarding the industry. The nuclear industry and the government have a tradition of lying to the public (and often to themselves) about nuclear issues, on everything from the severity and frequency of past accidents, to the likelihood that a safe solution to the problem of nuclear waste will ever be found, to the toxicity of radioactive exposures, and to whatever suits their fancy at the moment. The nuclear regulators are particularly at fault because they literally ignore reality. For example, they assume that all construction work is actually done "to code", that all buildings are as earthquake-resistant as designed (or even more so), that all earthquakes will NOT exceed the construction design basis, that all reactor pressure vessels have no weak spots even after 60 or 80 years of operation at 2200 pounds per square inch of pressure and 600 degrees Fahrenheit, through dozens of hot-cold cycles, in a lethally irradiated environment.

5) Theoretically (that is, probably in some people's minds) AI could be used to help justify Small Modular Reactors (SMR's) because of the repetitive design/learning/testing of AI and SMRs -- yet nothing is more terrifying for the health of the planet than tens of thousands (let alone, millions) of "small" nuclear reactors scattered everywhere across the earth, all subject to the industry's most-infamous potential event: The Beyond Design Basis Accident. The event they know is possible (however unlikely, and that's always just a guess), but they also know they can't possibly protect against.

6) Some of the suicidal attacks/mass murders mentioned in the newsletter below might actually be traced back to a class of anti-depressants that go by the names Fluoxetine (prozac), paroxetine (paxil) and sertraline (zoloft). I've seen firsthand people who experienced suicidal/homicidal behavior linked to these drugs. So have many people.

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

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The dangerous use of Machine Learning, Neural Networks & Artificial Intelligence in Nuclear Power Plants and Power Grids:
============================================

Did you know that if a nuclear reactor control room operator were to intentionally and suddenly flood the reactor core with cold water, the thermal shock would be very likely to cause the reactor pressure vessel to crack, making it impossible to prevent a meltdown? Interesting, huh? There are, in fact, a wide variety of ways reactor operators can intentionally cause a catastrophic meltdown. Talk about "playing with fire" that's exactly what they do all day, and it's boring. Most of the time.

So they could liven it up a little, like they did at Chernobyl -- not the exact same unauthorized "experiment" of course -- who would do THAT? -- besides, most reactor types are very different -- but other things.

Sure, they *could* do that -- but would they?

History does not bode well.

After all, everyone assumed -- that is, the Federal Aviation Administration, their counterparts around the world, the airlines and the passengers -- everyone assumed that a commercial airline pilot would never lock the other pilot out of the cockpit, taking advantage of the impenetrable solid doors all commercial jets have added since 9-11, then intentionally fly into a mountain because he's despondent over a relationship.

Nor, in another instance, would we have thought a commercial airline pilot would intentionally depressurize the cabin, then keep the aircraft at high altitude so that the oxygen eventually runs out and everyone is asphyxiated, and the plane runs out of fuel and crashes into the sea without a trace. Because he's despondent over a relationship. (Details on that one remain sketchy, but that's probably more or less what happened.)

And who would have thought a depressed army veteran would steal a 57-ton tank from a national guard armory and drive it around for more than 20 minutes, crushing cars and campers and knocking over fire hydrants (miraculously not actually killing anyone in the process), but forget to lock the hatch, and finally a police officer was able to climb on top and open the hatch and end it?

Nor would a military pilot fly a multi-million dollar jet into the mountains of Colorado, carrying live ammunition for the first time, including four 500-pound Mk-82 bombs (which are still missing...).

No, we wouldn't have thought any of that would happen, but it all did. And America loses 50,000 men, women and children every year to gun violence, and 35,000 more to automobile accidents -- mostly preventable if people would pay more attention, or better yet, if they would leave most of the task of driving to the new -- and constantly-improving -- autopilot systems. And some day soon the autopilot systems will talk to each other, adding yet another level of safety humans can't match.

Wondering what the operators might do wrong -- on purpose or -- far more likely -- by accident -- in the control room of a nuclear reactor is the main reason reactor utility companies have endeavored, over the past few decades, to increase automation in reactor control rooms. Because reactor operators, like drivers, make mistakes.

In the airline industry, there's talk of getting rid of pilots altogether. Or at least making them merely overseers, with no real actions required at all during the flight. And then, after that, getting rid of them completely.

Fighter pilots are on their way out too, because remote-controlled drones don't have to carry the pilot and his equipment, and don't have to limit their g-forces to what a human can tolerate. Drones can turn tighter, fly faster, and stay aloft longer than human piloted aircraft, all other things being equal. They can carry bigger guns, more fuel, and more weapons.

Autopilots for automobiles can, will, and ARE cutting down on car accidents and the annual death toll (not to mention cutting down on the hundreds of thousands of horrific (but not life-threatening) injuries). Autopilots in cars are proving to be, mile for mile, destination for destination, already as much as an order of magnitude safer than human drivers. Safer for the occupants. Safer for bicyclists. Safer for pedestrians.

In fact, in the coming years, there will come a time when having a fatal accident while driving completely sober but without autopilot engaged will be considered a serious criminal offense (barring some extraordinary extenuating circumstances): involuntary manslaughter.

But there's a huge difference between building an autopilot for a car, or even an airplane, and building one for a nuclear power plant. It's all about statistical sampling, machine learning, neural networks and AI, but it comes down to this:

When a large auto company builds an autopilot, it gets installed in millions of cars, which are then driven billions of miles all over the world by millions of people in all sorts of conditions. All this happens before any full autopilot capabilities are ever turned on in a single car. Before the software algorithms even fully exist, because the algorithms are changed as the data comes in.

At first any new "autopilot" system mainly just watches what humans do, and what external events cause what responses in those humans.

At first, drivers with new autopilot systems might only get some form of "driver assist", using less powerful software. Meanwhile the autopilot in each car learns from each event, but more importantly, it sends new event data to a master program, which analyzes it, learns from it, and distributes the new information to all the cars.

Aircraft autopilot systems (where the term originated, of course) are similarly tested over millions of miles, by thousands of pilots in thousands of airplanes. Modern aircraft autopilots are the descendents of several decades of experience, over hundreds of billions of miles. In order to gather more data, modern airlines contract with a third-party company to gather data across airlines regarding pilot behavior (known as "the spy in the cockpit"). This information is a treasure-trove for AI-based autopilot systems.

Accidents are also used to improve autopilots. Consider the Boeing Max 8 disasters. Two aircraft experiencing the exact same catastrophic failure of an automated system which was designed merely to make the plane simulate an earlier model of the same aircraft, so that pilots would not have to be retrained. Of all the dumb reasons to lose a airplane with all its passengers and crew! Not once, but twice! The "automated system" didn't have nearly enough real-world testing to verify that it would work in all possible situations, including bird strikes or something else inhibiting the correct signals being sent to the controller from the sensors. And it wasn't even true "AI" insofar as, if it were, the lessons from the first crash would have been analyzed by the AI software itself and all planes would have the update, which would have prevented the second crash.

Artificial-Intelligence based automated systems that are developed using machine learning/neural networks require mountains of real-world data for the system to "train" itself to respond properly.

The result can be dramatic, though. Neural-network-based cancer detection software can significantly outperform highly trained professional human counterparts and are getting better at it all the time. In fact, it is only a matter of time -- and hopefully not much at that -- before AI review is a legal requirement for every x-ray, CT, PET and many other tests to which AI analysis can be applied. The AI review will happen virtually instantly, at the moment the image is scanned. And it will mean better health care for all.

Which brings us back to nuclear power plants, and crazed or erroneous human operators. And to automating nuclear reactor control rooms.

Let's start with automating nuclear reactor control rooms.

There are less than 100 operating reactors in the United States, a number than is certain to continue to drop significantly over the next few years. There are two main styles (about two-thirds are Pressurized Water Reactors; the rest are Boiling Water Reactors). There are numerous different models within these two types, and each reactor is significantly different even from one that might be considered its "twin" in some sense. As a result, the type of learning from mass experience that is rapidly improving automotive autopilots is impossible.

Most of the time, reactors aren't supposed to require much attention. That's the whole idea, really: No one has to actually "control" the reactor under normal circumstances because reactors have a variety of self-limiting features. For example, water is a neutron moderator in both PWR and BWR reactor types (both types are called "light water reactors"). Water serves two functions in light water reactors: It is used to carry away heat, and at the same time it is also used to slow neutrons down so that other uranium atoms can capture them. As water heats up it expands, which reduces its density, so there are fewer water molecules between the nuclear fuel pellets inside the reactor. Fewer neutrons are slowed down enough to be captured by other uranium atoms, and so the reaction decreases and the water temperature also decreases.

Of course, it doesn't always work that way (if, for example, leaks or pump failures are also involved), but that's the general idea of one of the "self-limiting" controls of a typical nuclear reactor.

That and many other self-limiting features of most reactors are all well and good when the reactor is running properly, which is most of the time, but sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes problems are handled by the control software, which might, for instance, automatically thrust the control rods quickly into the reactor core to stop the reaction. Sometimes a human decides to do this. If a "SCRAM" (as it's called) happens more than a couple of times a year, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission comes down on the reactor operator with... well, with increased scrutiny for a while. The number of SCRAMs a reactor experiences in its entire history is one of the considerations when the NRC grants a license renewal (although, admittedly, they've never turned one down yet, for any reason).

Sometimes reactor control room operators wait a little too long to SCRAM the reactor when they should have known better. Which is to say, when an AI system should have known better, too. It took San Onofre's reactor operators about 20 minutes to decide to shut the plant down after it sprung a leak from which it never reopened.

Why did operators wait 20 minutes to shut down the reactor? Because regulations didn't require shutting down until certain thresholds were reached. The leak wasn't growing fast enough, and wasn't large enough to FORCE a shutdown until, after about 20 minutes, it was. So they waited, even though the trend was clear and the nearly-new replacement steam generators shouldn't be leaking at all.

The actual size of the leak was only on the order of the eye of a needle. Sometimes tiny particles of crud that are flinging around in the reactor coolant plug up such a leak. This leak wasn't getting smaller, it was getting worse.

But time is money to them, and every minute the reactor operates, the utility makes money. Every minute it doesn't, the utility loses money. So the operators waited as long as they could.

The wait could have been catastrophic. Yes, catastrophic, as in: The worst nuclear accident in the world, and certainly the worst in America. Because, unbeknownst to the reactor operators, the thin metal tubes inside the steam generators were vibrating furiously, in a cascading fashion which was liable to run away at any moment, which would create so large a hole from the primary coolant loop to the secondary coolant loop, that a meltdown would be virtually inevitable.

A meltdown was narrowly avoided but, if the reactor operators hadn't been so reckless, southern California wouldn't have come so close to disaster. Several of the tubes inside the steam generator had vibrated so much that their dime-thin walls were nearly completely (>90%) worn away. Experts have calculated that if at most merely two -- and possibly only one -- of over 9,000 of these tubes had completely broken apart, a "Loss of Coolant Accident" would have occurred. Besides the tube that leaked, numerous nearby tubes were also severely damaged.

The area where this writer lives, about 15 miles away, and anyone closer, would have had to be permanently evacuated, and probably far beyond as well.

Were those reactor operators as reckless as the ones in Chernobyl? I suppose not, but it might not have been the only related incident that occurred which could have caused a meltdown. There was also a lack of properly testing of the replacement steam generator system after installation. The utility avoided a whole round of "hot testing" which would have required bringing in outside heating elements to simulate reactor behavior. The vibration problems that eventually doomed the reactor might have shown up then.

But perhaps not, because it's possible the reactor operators were actually doing something they weren't supposed to do. The records of their precise behavior from after the new replacement steam generators were put in to the day they sprang a leak, less than a year later, are incomplete: The utility claims the data are proprietary. But since they don't own an operating reactor anymore, and they nearly caused a meltdown among millions of people, I don't have the slightest idea what could possibly be "proprietary". I suspect instead the information is damning and indicates actual criminal behavior:

Running unauthorized tests. Where have I heard that before?

Oh, nothing that might appear obviously crazy, but pushing the system a little bit here and there, to see how it would respond, and apparently, it seemed to respond very well. They were getting more heat, and therefore more steam, and therefore more electricity, and therefore more money out of the new steam generators than they expected. And possibly more than they were authorized to get. This is impossible to prove without the full record from the control room (and numerous experts to look at the data) but... some of the data seems to indicate this might have been happening.

And other reports indicate that the vibration was actually detected and ignored: It's been rumored that the vibration of the new steam generators could be heard outside the containment dome, and many workers had heard it. Again, nothing was done. They just kept running the reactor until it leaked, and they would have restarted the other reactor, which also had new replacement steam generators, if they hadn't found unusual tube wear there too. The utility wanted to restart at least one of the reactors anyway, at about 3/4ths power for six months, and see how many new leaks might form! All this, without ever admitting that when they called the new steam generators "like for like" with the old ones, they were no more "like for like" than Boeing's new Max 8 jetliner was just like the previous model!

So yeah, a typical nuclear reactor operator might not do anything as crazy as what the Chernobyl reactor operators tried to do, or as crazy as flying a plane full of passengers or a military jet into a mountain, or stealing a tank...but crazy enough to cause a meltdown? Yeah, they might do that.

All this in order to make tens of thousands of tons of toxic nuclear waste that nobody knows how to take care off -- yet another example of the nuclear industry "flying blind".

Wind, solar and battery storage now offer reliable replacements at prices no other energy form can compete with. Nuclear power is as ancient as the Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials, and just as useful.

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, California

Ace Hoffman
Author,
The Code Killers (free download from acehoffman.org)

The six biggest lies of the nuclear industry have been these:
1) Atoms for Peace
2) Too Cheap to Meter
3) A Little Radiation is Good For You
4) Carbon-Free Energy Source
5) A Solution to the Waste Problem is Just Around the Corner
6) Nuclear is a Reliable Baseline Energy Source
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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

EVENT: TUE. APRIL 9, 2019 (Capistrano Beach, CA): America's Nuclear Legacy: Hiroshima to Present with Roger Johnson

Subject: EVENT: TUE. APRIL 9, 2019 (Capistrano Beach, CA): America's Nuclear Legacy: Hiroshima to Present with Roger Johnson

April 8th 2019

Dear Readers,

If you live near Capistrano Beach, California, I highly recommend attending this event tomorrow (Tuesday, April 9, 2019).  (Otherwise, you may still find this email interesting...)

Roger Johnson will be discussing America's Nuclear Legacy: Hiroshima to Present.  If his little quiz (below) is anything to go on, I'm sure it will be very informative.  Among other topics, Roger will (at least briefly) be talking about how radiation damages human cells. Related to that discussion, the Progressives of South Orange County flyer (shown below) uses (with prior permission) my Electromagnetic Wave Spectrum in the announcement of Johnson's presentation.

This electromagnetic spectrum graphic was produced with the assistance of a physicist who had retired from Lawrence Livermore National Labs, and who strongly opposed both nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Unlike most such images, this one includes the Energy Equivalent, as well as the usual Wavelength Equivalent and Frequency in Hertz (cycles per second).

Adding the additional energy equivalence scale makes it a very useful graphic for nuclear activists (among others): For example, when the nuclear industry says that a tritium decay is a "low energy beta release" you can look at the chart and see that even a so-called "low energy beta release" is about three orders of magnitude more powerful than a typical chemical bond -- or roughly a thousand times more powerful.  Tritium can end up anywhere hydrogen ends up inside your body -- which is essentially anywhere (tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen).

Tritium is extremely toxic, so when the nuclear industry "accidentally" releases "a very small amount" of tritium (and for some reason has to admit it), when they (as they invariably will) say tritium's radioactive decay product is a "low energy beta release" (they might use the phrase "soft beta rays" instead), recognize right away that that statement is designed to mislead you.

And if you want more proof that that is what such language is designed to do, here's more (although this concept is a bit complicated so please bear with me):

Beta decays are (essentially) electrons that are ejected from the nucleus of an atom at incredibly high speed.  Its speed varies, but is about 99.7% the speed of light.  (Because of its high speed, people continue to debate whether to call it a "particle" or a "ray".)  A beta particle (we'll call it that) has a charge of -1 electron volt, and when it slows down, it is simply a normal electron like any other electron.  All beta particles become electrons once they slow down.  And what slows them down? You. Your molecules.  You absorb all of the energy the beta particle  is ejected with: The tugs and repulsions of your body's cell's molecule's atom's nuclei (tugs) and their surrounding electrons (repulses) are altered by, and alter, the beta particle as it passes by.  It is an electromagnetic repulsion/attraction.  When the beta particle is traveling very fast, it almost always passes other molecules without having ANY significant effect on them, because it isn't in the vicinity of any particular atom for very long -- at first.  It's only when the beta particle is at the slowest, last part of its journey to acting like/becoming any other electron that it does most of its damage, and *THAT* speed/energy level is far, far lower and slower than the speed/energy level the tritium (or any) beta particle had when it was released.

The net result is that the number of atoms/molecules/electrons that are disrupted by any single beta decay is about the same, regardless of whether it's a "low energy" beta release from tritium or a "high energy" beta release from some other radioactive material.  The area of damage from a "low energy" beta particle will tend to be closer to the origin of the beta particle than that from a "high energy" beta particle, but the total amount of damage (from the beta particle) will be roughly the same.

So calling a tritium atom's beta release a "low energy" beta release is misleading at best, but it actually gets even worse:

The nuclear industry likes to use whatever standard seems to them to be the most useful to minimize the apparent damage from any particular event.  And whatever standard they choose to use...is always...confusing, at best.

Some of the standards for radiation exposure are based on the total amount of energy released (through radioactive decay) into a pound of flesh.  There are many other factors that need to be included (age, sex, initial health, etc. etc.), but any estimate of radiation damage that is based in whole or even just in part on the total amount of energy released into a given quantity of living tissue will invariably *underestimate* the damage from tritium, and this will happen *specifically* due to its low energy beta release!  (A somewhat better approach distinguishes between types of flesh for a slightly more accurate estimate.)

So how safe is tritium?  Nuclear power plants release about a thousand Curies of tritium per year (Canadian style "CANDU" power plants are allowed to release a lot more, because they produce a lot more.  It is impossible not to release at least "SOME" tritium from an operating nuclear power plant).  One year's permissible, and normal release amounts to about a thirtieth of a teaspoon, if concentrated to purity.  One year's permissible, normal release of tritium is enough to bring about 13 billion gallons of water to the EPA limit for tritium in water (a limit which is probably significantly more lax than it should be).  That's about as much water -- that one nuclear plant can legally pollute up to the EPA limit - that about half a million people drink in their entire lives!  Nuclear power plants can legally pollute a lot of water!  So what does the industry mean when it says it's released a "very small amount" of tritium?  Baring a major release, in total they are only allowed to release about one or two teaspoons over the entire life of the reactor.  Because even a "very small amount" can be very, very dangerous!

Nothing in the nuclear industry is as it seems: The reality is always worse, and sometimes the reality is much worse.  Roger Johnson will undoubtedly have many additional examples during his presentation tomorrow.

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

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EVENT: TUE. APRIL 9, 2019 (Capistrano Beach, CA): America's Nuclear Legacy: Hiroshima to Present with Roger Johnson
==================================================================

Subject: Last call invitation including photo gallery and pop quiz about the Atomic Age. Tuesday at Agostinos, please RSVP
From: South Orange County Progressives
[]
[]

America's Nuclear Legacy: Hiroshima to Present

How did the atomic age start and where are we headed?

Don't forget to take the quiz below

Can you identify the photos used on our invitations?  They will be discussed on Tuesday night. We will also grade your responses to the 10 questions below:  10 points for each correct answer.  Can you achieve a passing grade of 60% or more?

Roger Johnson

Roger visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki when he lived in Japan as a kid shortly after World War II.  He has read widely about what happened and how the atomic age has changed the world and the outlook for our future.  He has attended many National Science Foundation conferences on arms control and nuclear war and has written widely on war in general and nuclear war in particular. Cheery topics will include why the atom bomb was dropped, nuclear testing, radioactive contamination and cancer, the Hiroshima Survivor Study, the Human Radiation Experiments, nuclear accidents, nuclear proliferation, and the nuclear industry. 

Tuesday, April 9,   Dinner and Socializing, 5:30-7,  Meeting starts at 7

Banquet Room of Agostinos by the Sea Ristorante Italiano

34700 Coast Highway, Capo Beach 92624

RSVP necessary:   socprogressives@gmail.com



Due to the short notice of this meeting, please respond ASAP.   Name tags will be waiting for all who send in an RSVP. Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, you will be able to enjoy an ocean view sunset from the patio if you wish.  If you are not on the mailing list or have never attended before, please sign in at the door. If you intend to come only for coffee, drinks or desert, please so indicate on your RSVP (you may have to sit on chairs in the back rather than at dining tables). There is no charge or membership/registration fee.  For the dinner/social hour, everyone can order dinner/drinks from the restaurant menu or list of nightly specials.   Excellent food is served at Agostinos's Ristorante Italiano!

Please visit our website http://socprogressives.com/  to view listings of events in the area, commentary on the news, and the photo gallery.  Our Facebook page is:

https://www.facebook.com/events/384149375503858/



Teaser questions to be answered at this meeting:  How many can you get right?  Pencils Up�

            1.   Which country was the first to employ airplanes to bomb civilian populations?  (a) Germany; (b) Spain; (c) Italy; (d) Russia; (e) USA; (f) Mozambique



            2.   Who was the only senior scientist to quit the Manhattan Project when he learned that the atom bomb would be dropped on cities to kill indiscriminately?



            3.   The desire to end World War II was one of the 3 main reasons for dropping the atom bomb.   (a) true;  (b) false



            4.   The Nagasaki bomb missed its target by (a) a half-mle; (b) one mile; (c) 2 miles; (d) 4 miles;  (e) it was right on target



            5.   About how many Japanese continue to die each year, not from old age but from medical issues related to when they received radiation on the outskirts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945? (a) none; (b) 50; (c) 100; (d) 500; (d) 2000



            6.   One of the purposes of the Hiroshima Survivor Study was to assist people suffering from radiation sickness.  (a) true;  (b) false



            7.    As of 2018, the Radiation Compensation Exposure Act has so far paid out how much to American citizens who were harmed by nuclear testing programs? (a) $50 million; (b)$100 million; (c) $500 million; (d) $ 1 billion; (e) $2 billion; (f) nothing



            8.   In the Human Radiation Experiments, American scientists did which of the following: (a) put radioactive substances into the breakfast cereal of teenagers; (b) exposed pregnant women to radioactivity to see what effects it would have on the fetus; (c) injected newborn children with radioactive iodine; (d) injected the testicles of prisoners with cancer-causing radioactive substances; (e)  none of the above; (f) all of the above



            9.   The GAO calculates that the Dept. of Energy (i.e., U.S. tax payers) will eventually have to pay how much in fines to nuclear power plant operators who are stuck with stranded nuclear waste that has nowhere to go.  (a) $ 10 million; (b) $100 million; (c) $1 billion; (d) $5 billion; (e) $25 billion



            10.  The fires and explosions that closed the nation's only nuclear waste repository in Carlsbad, NM were caused by: (a) methane gas; (b) a hydrogen explosion; (c) faulty electric circuits; (d) fission of nuclear waste; (e) high explosives; (f) kitty litter
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The Progressives of South Orange County (PSOC) was founded in 2011 thanks to an energetic group of people interested in furthering progressive causes. The group is not affiliated with any political party.

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