Tuesday, July 31, 2007

follow-ups to "Dirty Secrets" and "Rattling the Reactor"

July 31st, 2007

Hi

This is just going out to new subscribers who
joined because of wider distribution of the 16
Dirty Secrets essay. It's some follow-up
comments. Also included is a follow-up to my
Rattling the Reactor article about the Kashiwazaki earthquake.

Sincerely,

Ace

==================================================
Subject: Follow-up to popular 16-question nuke Q&A: Suggestions for activists
==================================================

July 2nd, 2007

Dear Readers,

[Re:] http://www.counterpunch.com/hoffman06272007.html

In response to various comments, I've modified
the answer to question 2 a little -- mainly by
dropping the discussion about nuclear submarines
sometimes running on batteries. Although nuclear
submarines could in theory run on their emergency
backup batteries for up to about 12 hours, and
can maneuver on them, and although it would,
indeed, be quieter than when the reactors are
running, I'm assured it's seldom, if ever,
actually done that way. Of course, the Navy
defines "emergency" pretty loosely, as in: "This
is an emergency so dump those pollutants into the
sea!" And if by an "emergency" they mean needing
to cool the reactors on backup power, well, I'd
guess that's a bad time to be using those
batteries for any maneuvering, except to a better
possible grave site. The author apologizes for the confusion secrecy brings.

Another "small" change: I had used the word
"size" when I should have said "mass" when
comparing an electron to protons and
neutrons. (There will be a lot more on THAT
subject in a soon-to-be-completed newsletter.)

The "new and improved" version of the Q&A
appeared in OpEd News on June 29th. Here's the URL:

http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_russell__070629_nuclear_power_kills_3b.htm

The still-wider audience drew additional --
mostly favorable -- responses. One person posted
four comments at the OpEd News site. Those
comments are presented, and answered,
below. Another person made a more rambling
attack, trying to claim I'm
"anti-technology." My answer to that also
appears below. The ridiculous statement I'm
answering can be found at the OpEd News web site given above.

If you missed the original Q&A, I will be
expanding it and (hopefully) printing it, in
order to make it available to more people, and so
it can be used as a quick-reference when
attending a nuke-related public meeting.

In the meantime, I'd like to suggestion going to
your Congressperson's web site and
"cut-and-paste" the original newsletter, or
perhaps the URLs of the CounterPunch or OpEd News
versions, or some portion of the newsletter, into
their comment form. Even if only a few people do
this, who knows? It MIGHT make a difference.

Cheney's secret energy policy continues to be
exposed, bit by bit, for the pro-nuke garbage it
is. Congress is on vacation this week, of
course. Let's give them something to think about when they get back.

Sincerely,

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

=====================================================
Answers to OpEdNews posts about my Q&A
=====================================================

July 1st, 2007

In response to the first two posted comments,
which contained four claims from a pro-nuker:

The four claims are:

1) "Solar cells require ten times more energy to
create than they will ever produce."

2) "Wind will require a massive windmill in every
yard to replace the power used by the related household."

3) "Reactor pools of spent rods are not cooled."

4) "I would gladly accept a spent fuel rod, to be
placed in my yard, for a small yearly stipend.
And so would anyone else who knows and cares."

Responses:

--------------------------------------------------------------------
1) "Solar cells require ten times more energy to
create than they will ever produce."
--------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a classic nuke-generated lie based -- at
best -- on 40-year-old data from the first
laboratory samples of solar panels -- if there's
any reality to the oft-repeated (by pro-nukers)
comment at all. A modern solar panel is a wonder
of recyclable engineering, and includes high-tech
components such as microscopic prisms, electronic
diodes and software-actuated switches. Some
modern solar panels have expected 100+ year life
spans, with a 3- to 5-year payback. People who
put solar panels on their homes in the 1980s are
still using them, and the panels paid for
themselves years ago. That's a more accurate
description of what solar cell technology has
already achieved, even without a fair regulatory
playing field to encourage consumer investment.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
2) "Wind will require a massive windmill in every
yard to replace the power used by the related household."
--------------------------------------------------------------------

An even worse lie. A typical wind turbine can
generate 3 to 5 megawatts whenever the wind is
blowing sufficiently. In the U.S.A., you'll find,
on average, enough wind to generate electricity
at least 7% of the time. In many places there's
enough wind 30% or more of the time. America is
considered "the Saudi Arabia of wind" because we
have so much potential wind power. But it's not
really a good comparison, since Saudi Arabia's oil WILL run out.

5 megawatts is enough juice for 5,000 homes
according to my local nuclear power plant,
although it probably could serve 50,000
energy-efficient homes utilizing passive measures
such as solar panel roofs, L.E.D. lighting,
proper insulation, geothermal heat exchangers, and energy-efficient appliances.

Even if the wind blows only 7% of the time, 7% of
5,000 homes is 350, so ONE wind turbine actually
would create ALL the juice needed for about 350
homes. And 10-megawatt wind turbines are coming.
In fact, MUCH BIGGER DESIGNS are possible! Wind
turbines are beautiful -- don't let anybody fool
you! They replace nukes, but they can also
replace coal and oil-burning solutions. And wind
technology is still in its infancy! Wind energy,
like solar energy and many other renewable energy
solutions, only needs a major manufacturing push,
which will come from a properly regulated market.

Long-distance transmission lines are one way to
solve the problem of wind power not being
available locally all the time. Since the wind IS
always blowing SOMEWHERE, you just capture THAT
energy, and distribute it to where it is needed.
Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983) proposed the
Global Energy Grid for just such a purpose.

Local storage of wind-generated power (by, for
example, pumping water into a reservoir) also
solves the problem of having the energy available when you need it.

Nuclear reactors are old, dirty, dangerous,
foolish, and faulty. And their frequent and
unexpected outages are very difficult for power
grids to handle. And, it's not uncommon to have
100-megawatt power fluctuations as nuclear power
plants come on line, along with sudden losses of
1,000-megawatt power sources, often just when you
need them most (as happened in California in
2003, when three of four nuclear power plants dropped out of the power grid).

--------------------------------------------------------------------
3) "Reactor pools of spent rods are not cooled."
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Reactor pool water must be circulated constantly,
to cool the fuel rods. Depending on the age of
the fuel, it can be shut off for a while, but
whatever you do, don't accidentally drain the
pool, don't drop a flaming airplane into it,
don't wash a tsunami over it and fill it with
cars and trucks from the nearby highway, or push
a bunch of fresh-from-the-reactor "hot" fuel rods
together to achieve a criticality event, etc. etc. etc..

It's only after about 3 to 5 years (at the
earliest) that the spent fuel rods can be removed
from the deep pools, and even then it's dangerous
and probably shouldn't be done for at least 50 or
100 years, if ever. All nuclear power plants
should be stopped forever, immediately! A spent
reactor fuel fire is virtually impossible to
quench (I'm not even sure why I bothered to say
"virtually" since any actual fire WILL burn
itself out, since no one will be able to get
close to it to pour INERT GASSES on it to quench the flames).

When the Department of Energy or the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission talk about possible
accident scenarios involving the transportation
of nuclear waste, they NEVER refer to ANY
accident which could release more than a tiny,
tiny fraction (say, 0.00001%) of the total in
that particular SINGLE CONTAINER shipment! Larger
accidents are considered statistically unlikely
and their consequences are completely ignored.
So, thousands of realistic accident scenarios are
ignored, and you can bet a 9-11 style attack was
NEVER considered in their calculations prior to
9-11, and STILL isn't. The actual tests they run
are contrived and unrealistic. And there's no
place to SHIP the fuel to anyway, so it stays
near the reactors. Spent reactor fuel fires are
the most likely thing to bankrupt America unless
we stop putting fresh fuel in the reactors and
spend a lot more money protecting the fuel
storage systems from terrorists, evil geniuses,
stupid humans, and normal humans who make mistakes.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
4) "I would gladly accept a spent fuel rod, to be
placed in my yard, for a small yearly stipend.
And so would anyone else who knows and cares."
--------------------------------------------------------------------

You want a nuclear waste dump in every yard, but
one windmill for every 350 homes is out of the
question? And you want someone to pay you for
storing the waste you, yourself, generate? That's
absurd! And anyway, please define "small" as in
"small yearly stipend" so we can calculate it out
for hundreds of thousands of years, which we
would need to do to cover the time the fuel rods
are actually dangerous. Your children, and their
children for 10,000 generations or so, will be
required to keep your spent fuel rods (in
addition to their own spent fuel rods) for THEIR
ENTIRE LIVES -- but there is no plan to give THEM
a stipend (and they might not agree with your
stipulated rate). The money is NOT charged to the
people who created the fuel rods (YOU). So WHO is
going to come up with the money?

And then there's the constant LEAKAGE from the
fuel rod. First of all, you'll need one of those
"dry casks" which, even for ONE fuel rod (or ONE
pellet of fuel (several hundred pellets per fuel
rod), for that matter) would need to be several
inches of steel, lead, etc., and then a few feet
(like, 10 or 12 or so) of CONCRETE. And that's
just to get it to a point that only nuke workers
are allowed near, because of the intense
radioactive "shine" being released from the spent fuel pellet.

And in 40 or 60 years -- maybe 100, but I
sincerely doubt it -- that whole containment will
have to be removed (and treated as extremely
hazardous rad waste) and a NEW ONE put around the
fuel, and so on every 50 or 100 years for
hundreds of thousands of years. And all day and
night, every day and night, someone will be using
electricity, and if they choose your system, that
electricity will cause ANOTHER FUEL ROD to be
created, and another and another and another. WHO
will pay the stipend for someone to take care of THOSE fuel rods?

Conclusion:

These four points only make the folly of using
nuclear power more obvious -- so thanks for writing.

It's time to stop this evil. Nuclear power has met its match: Sanity.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
"Not Very Scientific:"
--------------------------------------------------------------------

The last OpEd News comment posted above this one
(titled "not very scientific") -- claiming I'm
"anti-technology" -- is at least as flawed as the
two posts discussed here, and the answers are
already in the document, which the antagonist
ignored or twisted. To respond briefly: There is
NO immunity buildup from radiation, space
missions (including missions with nuclear
materials) HAVE an extraordinarily high failure
rate, and MANY of the "early nuclear physicists"
never made it to old age because they died of
cancer. Madam Curie (1867 - 1934), who died of
leukemia in her 60s, is the most famous example.
There were thousands of scientists, so of course
some have reached the ripe old age of 90, as the
writer mentions. I work with some very old
"opposition scientists" myself, so I'm well aware
that radiation doesn't kill everyone. That,
perhaps, is why it's so exquisite at killing us silently, but in droves.

Knee-jerk pro-nukers always claim I'm
anti-technology. Such a claim is impossible to
sustain, as any look at my "Best Buy" receipts
would prove -- let alone the fact that one of the
software programs I co-authored is for sale there
as part of an educational suite of products, and
another one of my products won Adobe's "Site of
the Day" award on November 7, 2006.

Additionally, here are a few relevant URLs, all
created by this author, a computer programmer.
Does this really look like the work of someone
who is "anti-technology" to you? Or is it the
work of someone who has lost friends and family,
and who has become FED UP with being lied to, and
wants to help other people learn the truth as quickly as possible?

The public has to get a good grasp on ALL these
issues, because the pro-nukers will kill you if
you let them. And you're letting them.

Suggested URLS (all created by Russell "Ace" Hoffman):

POISON FIRE USA: An animated history of major
nuclear activities in the continental United
States, including over 1500 data points, accurately placed in time and space:
www.animatedsoftware.com/poifu/poifu.swf

How does a nuclear power plant work (animations
of the two typical U.S. reactor designs):
http://www.animatedsoftware.com/environm/nukequiz/nukequiz_one/nuke_parts/reactor_parts.swf

Depleted Uranium: The Malignant Bullet:
http://www.animatedsoftware.com/environment/du/dumb.html

Animated Periodic Table of the Elements (Adobe
"Site of the Day" November 7th, 2006) (Any login
ID will work with the password: ZINC):
http://www.animatedsoftware.com/apt.html

by AceHoffman (5 articles, 1 comments) on Sunday, July 1, 2007 at 1:31:55 PM


==========================================
Subject: How to make a nuclear bomb:
==========================================

July 3rd, 2007

Dear Readers,

I'm happy to report the Q&A has been translated
into Spanish and is available at the Rebelion.org web site at:

http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=53066

I am grateful to Germán Leyens for doing the
translation. Also, a few additional comments
were posted at the OpEd News web site this
morning. My responses appear below, with the comments.

Sincerely,

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

Op Ed News web page:
http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_russell__070629_nuclear_power_kills_3b.htm
or:
tinyurl.com/3afehf

======================================================
New Comments at OpEd News web site:
======================================================

nuclear proliferation

A reactor is not required to proliferate nuclear
weapons. The easiest way to create an atomic
bomb is with enriched uranium which does not
require a reactor. That is the way the Hiroshima
bomb was made and it is the reason why the
Iranian enrichment program is a threat. Reactors
are required to make plutonium which is the very
difficult way to make an atomic weapon because
you have to separate it from the highly radioactive fission products.

by prc (0 articles, 1 comments) on Tuesday, July 3, 2007 at 11:39:17 AM

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

Dude, you're way off...

That's right, PRC... you don't need a reactor to make uranium bombs.

Actually most of the things listed in this
article are false. I'm not sure where you are
getting information... but you're way off. I
would talk to an authority on the subject before
posting anything else in the future; I know I got
directed to this piece because someone was making
fun of all the errors that were made.

by evilpixie (0 articles, 1 comments) on Tuesday, July 3, 2007 at 2:29:09 PM


======================================================
My Response:
======================================================

The comment by "prc" is a technicality, since
most "modern" nuclear weapons use plutonium and
tritium, products of nuclear reactors. The
comment by "Evil Pixie" doesn't have any substance to respond to (yawn).

It's true that you can make a 1940s-style A-bomb
by enriching mined uranium over and over
thousands of times, at a cost of
tens-of-billions-of-dollars, utilizing a large
quantity and variety of chemicals and poisoning
the earth terribly, especially the land downwind
of the facility, and the water downstream. And
it's true the reprocessing spent reactor fuel is even dirtier.

But either way, you will invariably SAY you are
doing it for your nuclear power plants, in order to make electricity.

Terrorists can steal Highly Enriched Uranium
("HEU") from so-called "research" reactors.

No country builds nuclear power plants without
fooling itself, either by pretending the
unsolvable problem of nuclear waste will be
solved, or by pretending that the world is so
vast, that if some other country agrees to take
the radioactive waste away, it magically disappears from humanity.

Even in Iran, where gasoline, we're told, is
still only 38 cents a gallon in 2007, they
somehow seem to think they need nuclear power
plants and a uranium enrichment facility. Curious indeed.

NPPs don't generate ANY electricity compared to
the cost of the loss for other uses of all the
materials they irradiate, the cost of caring for
all the spent fuel waste they generate, the
potential catastrophic costs associated with all
the worst-case scenarios, and compared to the
cost in democracy and health care of all the
employees and members of the public the Nuclear
Mafia first befuddle, then irradiate, and then kill.

In addition, using uranium to boil water to turn
steam turbines isn't a very efficient way to
generate electricity, so most of the energy held
within the uranium is still wasted in ANY nuclear
power plant that splits the atom to boil
water. A more efficient method IS still the
dream of "top-notch" nuclear scientists and
engineers. But what's holding them back is the
same problem the scientists who are studying how
to deal with nuclear waste keep running
into: Radiation destroys -- at the atomic level -- whatever you have near it.

What NPPs do well is disrupt the power supply
with up to 1,150 megawatts of sudden dropouts and
near-death experiences. That's why geeks like me
have spent billions of dollars, collectively, on
UPSs (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) for their
computers -- because America's power grid in
unreliable, because the energy isn't produced by a million small sources.

Instead our electricity comes from 104 unreliable
nukes, at an average of about 800 megawatts each,
and about 600 coal plants, at an average of about
500 megawatts each. Both drop out unexpectedly,
and together constitute about 60% of our
electricity generation, the rest being mainly (in
descending order) gas, hydro, and oil, plus a
very tiny amount (<1%) from ALL renewables other than hydro.

We got ourselves into this mess. The question
is: Can we dig ourselves out? My governor is
doing his part: He's converted his Hummers to run on alternative fuels!

America can and should lead the world in
designing and manufacturing the green
revolution. But we can't make the conversion if we love nuclear to death.

Summary:

You COULD do a lot of things. You could build
nuclear-powered airplanes that could stay aloft
for months at a time. Nuclear wrist-watches that
never need winding! But it always comes back
to: What happens when the nuclear poison, often
in the form of a poison vapor, gets out?


============================================================
July 20th, 2007 follow-up to Rattling the Reactor
(also published in CounterPunch):
============================================================

[Re:] http://www.counterpunch.com/hoffman07192007.html

Hi,

My responses to the pro-nuker's comments are in [[[ triple brackets ]]].

Sincerely,

Ace

At 02:23 PM 7/20/2007 -0400, <nuspl@cox.net> wrote:
>Please help with rebuttal of this nuclear
>technologist's opinions on Japan nuclear accident.
>/Tony
>
>Michael Liesenfelt (UF) replied to your post about an hour ago:
>
>"Approximately four hundred drums of so-called
>"low-level" radioactive waste toppled over (of
>more than 22,000 such drums located at the site)"
>
>What a shame, somebody will actually have to go
>and pick up all of those bagged gloves and
>anti-contamination suits. I think they've got that under control.

[[[ They'll probably wash a lot of it into a
drain and out into the Sea of Japan, and a lot
will also evaporate (that's why the containers
had "tightly" sealed lids in the first
place). The preferred "solution" to pollution is
dilution, in their eyes. They use it whenever possible. -- Ace ]]]

>"All four automatically SCRAMed when the jarring
>started. A "SCRAM" of a reactor is a violent,
>sudden, dangerous stoppage which causes enormous
>wear and tear (and sometimes causes leaks)."
>
>The control rods slide in and shutdown the
>reactor. Not quite violent, or dangerous. For
>heaven's sake, it's a shutdown safety s

[[[ Every SCRAM is violent, as I stated. If a
reactor has more than one or two in a year,
that's officially cause for concern. More than a
dozen or so over two decades is also cause for
concern. Slamming on the brakes, shutting
everything down, changing the thermal and flow
characteristics of about a hundred thousand
gallons of fast-circulating, boiling-hot,
pressurized, continuously-reheated water, cooling
the metal pipes, etc., is NOT easy on the
system. And to SCRAM the reactors just when
they're needed most, right after an earthquake!

Here are some additional problems with SCRAMs, and control rods in particular:

From:
http://cnic.jp/english/newsletter/nit118/nit118articles/nit118scandal.html

Revelations continue
On April 6th Hitachi submitted a document
revealing an additional incident involving TEPCO.
In October 1988, one of the 185 control rod drive
mechanisms in the Fukushima II-4 reactor was out
of order. TEPCO requested Hitachi to inscribe the
serial number of the out of order control rod
drive mechanism onto a new one and load it
without subjecting it to the required government
inspection. Two of the four people involved in
this incident are still working at TEPCO. The
power company and manufacturer were fully aware
that their action was illegal when they conspired
to deceive the government, but the government's
nuclear safety inspectorate was incapable of uncovering the deception.
--------------------
From:
http://cnic.jp/english/news/newsflash/2007/malprac2ap07.html

When three control rods fell out of position at
Hokuriku Electric's Shika-1 reactor in 1999,
criticality continued uncontrolled for 15
minutes. In 1978, five rods fell out of position
at reactor number 3 of Tokyo Electric Power
Company's Fukushima I power plant. On that
occasion criticality continued for seven and a
half hours. And in 1998 34 rods slipped 15 cm out
of position at Fukushima I unit 4, although the
reactor did not reach criticality.

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

... And should I mention the illogical design of
the control rods is considered a "prime suspect"
as one of the (many) "root causes" of the
Chernobyl disaster? They were designed with a tip
which actually increased the reactivity before
decreasing it! It was no cause for concern most
of the time, but it proved to be a crucial
difference April 26th, 1986. But of course, I
can't expect a pro-nuker to remember anything
that far back or in a foreign country. -- Ace ]]]

>"However, reportedly "90,000 Becquerels of radioactivity"
>or 2.432e-6 Ci
>
>I think I've held stronger laboratory test
>sources sources in my hand before. Cmon'

[[[ As I pointed out, simply providing the
Becquerels is an incomplete expression of the
danger. But sure, 90,000 is only about 13 times
your own personal "normal" dose of "background"
radiation. But that "normal" dose kills some
percentage of us, too. The 90,000 Bq. should
cause pause on principle, but no one thought it
was really that, anyway. No one but a pro-nuker,
that is. However, at the NIRS web site when I
checked yesterday, the current figure was given
as 402 million Becquerels. Quite a leap up, but
certainly not in an unexpected direction,
considering the 63 (up from 50 in my article)
different significant problems identified so far
(not including delayed and dishonest
reporting). Would your pro-nuker hold THAT much
radiation in his hand, absorb it into his lung,
store it in his gonads, feed it to his wife or
infant daughter, for it to lodge in THEIR
reproductive organs, to harm yet another
generation? And what right did we have to burden
humanity with 90,000 Bq, anyway? If they were
long-lived isotopes, this "punishment" will last
a correspondingly long time, poisoning people
(and other living things) for eons. But
402,000,000 Bq. -- and climbing -- ought to give anyone pause. -- Ace ]]]


>"The Japanese should be especially able to realize the insidious
>nature of radioactive poisons, since the effects of DNA damage from
>Hiroshima and Nagasaki still continue to this day, and could be
>carefully measured."
>
>Yet another piece of sensationalist propaganda
>published by our favorite religiously anti-nuclear activist, 'AcE' Hoffman.

[[[ The effects ARE continuing to this day -- and
will continue for generations to come. These
insults are undeserved. My opposition to nuclear
power is based on logic, reason, science and
humanity. I'm not the one doing any worshiping
or propagandizing -- they are. They worship the
Demon Hot Atom, and Demonize all who stand in
their way. We don't call pro-nukers a "Nuclear
Mafia" for nothing. -- Ace ]]]


>---- Thinkcivic@aol.com wrote:
> > BG: The following is further comment by by an environmental and energy
> > writer who covered Three Mile Island and the construction of the last two
> > commercial nuclear power plants in the US.
> > ---------------------------------
> > I am tied up on a project unrelated to
> energy, but wish i had time to really
> > review information on this. the bits and
> pieces i am seeing raise some real
> > questions not only about plant procedures but
> also about the quality of the
> > japanese nuclear regulatory system.
> > -----------------------------------------------------------------
> > BG: Well, we know the US regulatory system is horribly flawed....
> >
> > BG
> > thinkcivic@aol.com
> >

[[[ There is little question the Japanese nuclear
industry is even MORE corrupt and dishonest than
our own -- perhaps even rivaling the Russian or
French nuclear industries. Many local residents
have wanted the Kashiwazaki facility shut down for years. -- Ace. ]]]

=======================================================
Contact information for "Ace:"
=======================================================

rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com

Monday, July 23, 2007

Genpatsu - Shinsai

July 23rd, 2007

Dear Readers,

I spent most of the past few days working on
background material for a follow-up article on
the Kashiwazaki accident. I came home from the
library today, ready to flesh out my skeletal 400-word essay.

But instead, I find that Harvey Wasserman has
ALREADY written a fine article, covering every
topic I had planned to cover, and then some.

So here it is (below). It should appear in every
newspaper in the country that calls itself honest
-- that wants to present the real issues that
matter in the world today. Even without their
help, I believe Harvey's article is already the
#1 editorial on the planet right now, judging by
the buzz I've seen about it. And it should
be. He's done a fine job expressing every detail
of the situation. People need to know this stuff.

I only wish to add that Wikipedia is currently
reporting (subject to change by pro-nuke truth
saboteurs) that virtually all radiation release
data for the initial phase of the accident was LOST.

How incredibly convenient!

Please pass Harvey Wasserman's excellent article
around to everyone on your lists!

Sincerely,

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

===================================================
Harvey Wasserman: PR Nuke Flacks Do The Kashiwazaki Quake Death Spin
===================================================

Published on Monday, July 23, 2007 by CommonDreams.org

PR Nuke Flacks Do The Kashiwazaki Quake Death Spin

by Harvey Wasserman

As you read this, swarms of extremely well-paid
PR flacks are spinning the Kashiwazaki nuke quake
into an argument for building more reactors. They
will deploy utter absurdities and personal
attacks, followed by the sound of media-complicit silence.

But the news coming from Japan­and not being
covered here­makes it clear the realities of this
latest reactor disaster are beyond catastrophic.
Seven reactors were put at direct risk, with four
forced into emergency shut-downs while suffering
numerous fires and emitting unknown quantities of
radiation. Most importantly, the quake exceeded
the design capabilities of all Japan's 55
reactors, and worse seismic shocks are expected.

To counter these inconvenient realities, expect
to soon see more of Patrick Moore, the alleged ex-Greenpeace founder.

Moore has called the disaster at Three Mile
Island a "success story." Moore claims to be a
scientist. He's obviously not an accountant.

His face stays straight while calling the
transformation of a $900 million asset into a $2
billion liability a "success story." It testifies
to a mentality that never saw a polluter's check that couldn't be cashed.

On January 28, 1986, I debated a spokeswoman from
Cleveland Electric Illuminating who termed the
earthquake fault near the Perry Nuclear Plant a "geologic anomaly."

As we spoke, the Challenger space shuttle blew up
because NASA "scientists" said warnings from
their own staff about O-rings in cold weather
were not "compelling." The shuttle was shot off
to coincide with a planned presidential
performance by Ronald Reagan. Seven astronauts
died while the whole world watched in horror.

Three days later, a non-anomalous earthquake
cracked pipes and pumps at Perry, knocking out
roads and bridges. Apparently, neither the
O-rings nor the fault line had read the industry's spin.

Today the nuke flacks say Kashiwazaki was a
"success story" because four reactors SCRAMmed
into emergency shutdown and three more were
damaged, but no apocalypse resulted (yet).

Since this is only the world's largest nuke
complex, with only seven reactors on site, and
only several hundred barrels of nuke waste tipped
over, and far fewer had their lids fly off, and
the gas emissions the utility lied about were
only tritium, which is less deadly than
plutonium, the fact that all of Japan was not
engulfed in a catastrophic radiation release
(yet) will be used to sell more reactors.

Expect phrases like these:

"The reactors withstood the worst nature could throw at them."

"The SCRAMs went off perfectly."

"The shut-downs will be temporary."

"American reactors are far stronger than Japanese ones."

"This was a once-in-a-century fluke, and no one was hurt."

"Even so, we must have nuke power to fight global warming."

"The media has distorted the utility's good-faith
attempts to inform the public."

"Those rad-waste barrels were tipped over by eco-terrorists."

"Tritium is good for you."

"Nuke power is a 'zero emissions' technology,
therefore the reported leaks could not have occurred."

"Those anti-nuke so-called scientists have been discredited."

But most importantly, expect a tightly enforced media blackout.

It starts when all who question the industry are automatically "discredited."

Dr. John Gofman, universally acknowledged as one
of the world's leading nuclear and medical
researchers, was once in charge of health
research for the old Atomic Energy Commission.
When asked to determine how many people would be
killed by radioactive emissions from "normal"
reactor operations, he found it would be about 32,000 Americans per year.

The AEC demanded he revise his findings. Gofman
refused. So he was forced out of the AEC and
"discredited" despite credentials that continue
to dwarf those who replaced him.

The list of physicists, engineers, medical
researchers and others similarly purged for
fact-based reporting is too tragic to reconstruct here.

But it even includes a park ranger at the Pt.
Reyes National Seashore who noticed in the spring
of 1986 that the number of live bird births had
plummeted compared with the previous ten springs.
The only logical link was to radioactive fallout
from Chernobyl, brought down by a California
rainstorm ten days after the explosion.

The ranger soon found himself out of a job.

On the other hand, the industry still falsely
asserts that no one died at Three Mile Island. It
even produced a "doctor" who traveled through
Europe asserting that the enormous radiation
releases spewed by the explosion at Chernobyl would ultimately save lives.

Predictably, the Kashiwazaki catastrophe has
disappeared from the American media. But in
Japan, the news has transcended the truly horrifying.

According to Leo Lewis in The Times, talk is
rampant of a "Genpatsu-shinsai," defined by
Japan's leading seismologist, Katsuhiko Shibashi,
as "the combination of an earthquake and nuclear
meltdown capable of destroying millions of lives
and bringing a nation to its knees." Shibashi
warns that the recent 6.8 magnitude shock
exceeded the design capabilities of the
Kashiwazaki nuke by a factor of three. A Kobe
University research team is reported as saying
that if the quake had been 10km further to the
southwest, a "terrible, terrible disaster" would have resulted.

Prof. Mitsuhei Murata of Tokai Gakuen University
is quoted as warning that a quake at the Hamaoka
nuke could bring "24 million victims and the end
for Japan." Japan's earthquake experts assume the
probability of an 8.0 quake within the next 30 years to be 87 percent.

As in the US, Tokyo Electric has long denied that
its seven Kashiwazaki reactors were sited atop a
fault line, only to have it turn out to be true.
As at Three Mile Island, vital data has already
disappeared from the Kashiwazaki disaster, and
the exact quantities of radiation released are
unknown. Radiation at both sites escaped well
after the reactors were shut down.

As in the United States, Japanese earthquake
experts have warned since the 1960s about the
dangers of reactor construction, only to be ignored and "discredited."

Undoubtedly the Japanese PR nuke spinsters will
continue to attack and ignore them.

Here, 2400 central Pennsylvania families will
still be denied a federal trial on the death,
disease and mayhem spewed upon them by Three Mile
Island nearly thirty years ago. And the seven
dead Challenger astronauts are not available for
comment on the "perfectly safe" O-rings that
killed them just prior to the "non-credible"
earthquake that struck the Perry nuke.

Any possible problems with a new generation of
reactors are equally non-credible. Just ask a flack.

Harvey Wasserman's SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED
EARTH, A.D. 2030, is at www.solartopia.org. He is
senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and the Nuclear
Information & Resource Service, and writes
regularly for www.freepress.org, where this article first appeared.
These icons link to social bookmarking sites
where readers can share and discover new web pages.

Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org

URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/07/23/2701/

========================================
Contact information for "Ace:"
========================================

rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com


Friday, July 20, 2007

Re: further comment on Japanese nuke

July 20th, 2007

Hi,

My responses to the pro-nuker's comments are in [[[ triple brackets ]]].

Sincerely,

Ace

At 02:23 PM 7/20/2007 -0400, <nuspl@cox.net> wrote:
>Please help with rebuttal of this nuclear technologist's opinions on
>Japan nuclear accident.
>/Tony
>
>Michael Liesenfelt (UF) replied to your post about an hour ago:
>
>"Approximately four hundred drums of so-called "low-level"
>radioactive waste toppled over (of more than 22,000 such drums
>located at the site)"
>
>What a shame, somebody will actually have to go and pick up all of
>those bagged gloves and anti-contamination suits. I think they've
>got that under control.

[[[ They'll probably wash a lot of it into a drain and out into the
Sea of Japan, and a lot will also evaporate (that's why the
containers had "tightly" sealed lids in the first place). The
preferred "solution" to pollution is dilution, in their eyes. They
use it whenever possible. -- Ace ]]]

>"All four automatically SCRAMed when the jarring started. A "SCRAM"
>of a reactor is a violent, sudden, dangerous stoppage which causes
>enormous wear and tear (and sometimes causes leaks)."
>
>The control rods slide in and shutdown the reactor. Not quite
>violent, or dangerous. For heaven's sake, it's a shutdown safety s

[[[ Every SCRAM is violent, as I stated. If a reactor has more than
one or two in a year, that's officially cause for concern. More than
a dozen or so over two decades is also cause for concern. Slamming
on the brakes, shutting everything down, changing the thermal and
flow characteristics of about a hundred thousand gallons of
fast-circulating, boiling-hot, pressurized, continuously-reheated
water, cooling the metal pipes, etc., is NOT easy on the
system. And to SCRAM the reactors just when they're needed most,
right after an earthquake!

Here are some additional problems with SCRAMs, and control rods in particular:

From:
http://cnic.jp/english/newsletter/nit118/nit118articles/nit118scandal.html

Revelations continue
On April 6th Hitachi submitted a document revealing an additional
incident involving TEPCO. In October 1988, one of the 185 control rod
drive mechanisms in the Fukushima II-4 reactor was out of order.
TEPCO requested Hitachi to inscribe the serial number of the out of
order control rod drive mechanism onto a new one and load it without
subjecting it to the required government inspection. Two of the four
people involved in this incident are still working at TEPCO. The
power company and manufacturer were fully aware that their action was
illegal when they conspired to deceive the government, but the
government's nuclear safety inspectorate was incapable of uncovering
the deception.
--------------------
From:
http://cnic.jp/english/news/newsflash/2007/malprac2ap07.html

When three control rods fell out of position at Hokuriku Electric's
Shika-1 reactor in 1999, criticality continued uncontrolled for 15
minutes. In 1978, five rods fell out of position at reactor number 3
of Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima I power plant. On that
occasion criticality continued for seven and a half hours. And in
1998 34 rods slipped 15 cm out of position at Fukushima I unit 4,
although the reactor did not reach criticality.

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

... And should I mention the illogical design of the control rods is
considered a "prime suspect" as one of the (many) "root causes" of
the Chernobyl disaster? They were designed with a tip which actually
increased the reactivity before decreasing it! It was no cause for
concern most of the time, but it proved to be a crucial difference
April 26th, 1986. But of course, I can't expect a pro-nuker to
remember anything that far back or in a foreign country. -- Ace ]]]

>"However, reportedly "90,000 Becquerels of radioactivity"
>or 2.432e-6 Ci
>
>I think I've held stronger laboratory test sources sources in my
>hand before. Cmon'

[[[ As I pointed out, simply providing the Becquerels is an
incomplete expression of the danger. But sure, 90,000 is only about
13 times your own personal "normal" dose of "background"
radiation. But that "normal" dose kills some percentage of us,
too. The 90,000 Bq. should cause pause on principle, but no one
thought it was really that, anyway. No one but a pro-nuker, that
is. However, at the NIRS web site when I checked yesterday, the
current figure was given as 402 million Becquerels. Quite a leap up,
but certainly not in an unexpected direction, considering the 63 (up
from 50 in my article) different significant problems identified so
far (not including delayed and dishonest reporting). Would your
pro-nuker hold THAT much radiation in his hand, absorb it into his
lung, store it in his gonads, feed it to his wife or infant daughter,
for it to lodge in THEIR reproductive organs, to harm yet another
generation? And what right did we have to burden humanity with
90,000 Bq, anyway? If they were long-lived isotopes, this
"punishment" will last a correspondingly long time, poisoning people
(and other living things) for eons. But 402,000,000 Bq. -- and
climbing -- ought to give anyone pause. -- Ace ]]]


>"The Japanese should be especially able to realize the insidious
>nature of radioactive poisons, since the effects of DNA damage from
>Hiroshima and Nagasaki still continue to this day, and could be
>carefully measured."
>
>Yet another piece of sensationalist propaganda published by our
>favorite religiously anti-nuclear activist, 'AcE' Hoffman.

[[[ The effects ARE continuing to this day -- and will continue for
generations to come. These insults are undeserved. My opposition
to nuclear power is based on logic, reason, science and
humanity. I'm not the one doing any worshiping or propagandizing --
they are. They worship the Demon Hot Atom, and Demonize all who
stand in their way. We don't call pro-nukers a "Nuclear Mafia" for
nothing. -- Ace ]]]


>---- Thinkcivic@aol.com wrote:
> > BG: The following is further comment by by an environmental and energy
> > writer who covered Three Mile Island and the construction of the last two
> > commercial nuclear power plants in the US.
> > ---------------------------------
> > I am tied up on a project unrelated to energy, but wish i had
> time to really
> > review information on this. the bits and pieces i am seeing raise
> some real
> > questions not only about plant procedures but also about the
> quality of the
> > japanese nuclear regulatory system.
> > -----------------------------------------------------------------
> > BG: Well, we know the US regulatory system is horribly flawed....
> >
> > BG
> > thinkcivic@aol.com
> >

[[[ There is little question the Japanese nuclear industry is even
MORE corrupt and dishonest than our own -- perhaps even rivaling the
Russian or French nuclear industries. Many local residents have
wanted the Kashiwazaki facility shut down for years. -- Ace. ]]]


rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com

Thursday, July 19, 2007

World's largest nuke facility spews, sputters, stops, stabs citizens in back after earthquake (enhanced and rewritten essay)

July 18th, 2007

Dear Readers,

Last Sunday (July 15th, 2007) a 6.8 magnitude earthquake killed 9 people and damaged the Kashiwazaki nuclear power generating station, the world's largest nuke facility. No one knows when the facility will reopen.

More than a dozen separate leaks of radioactive materials have been reported, some going offsite via air and water. Approximately four hundred drums of so-called "low-level" radioactive waste toppled over (of more than 22,000 such drums located at the site). At least 40 of the toppled drums lost their covers when they fell over.

Plant officials are now claiming the earthquake was larger than any they had planned for at the facility.

Previous earthquakes produced wildly differing Richter Scale values, when measured at different spots at one Japanese nuke facility. So who knows what the reactors might have really experienced, or what they can really withstand?

Four reactors were operating at the facility at the time of the quake. All four automatically SCRAMed when the jarring started. A "SCRAM" of a reactor is a violent, sudden, dangerous stoppage which causes enormous wear and tear (and sometimes causes leaks).

The other three reactors at the facility were already shut down "voluntarily, for inspection" when the quake hit. Lucky, that.

The facility produced about 7% of Japan's electricity, so undoubtedly the Japanese power companies will cause energy shortages and blackouts while the reactors remain closed, so that the Japanese people are fooled into thinking they MUST have MORE NUKES! Indeed, many more nukes are planned in Japan, as well as in America and elsewhere. And not one is truly "earthquake-proof," and most have never been given a reality check.

Kashiwazaki's 8,212 megawatts of total generating capacity is enough for about 16 million homes in Japan (or for about half that many homes in America).

So, just when hospitals, pumping stations, and individuals desperately needed power to recover from the earthquake, NONE was being delivered by the facility.

Reports now say over 50 separate problems occurred at the facility because of the earthquake, including burst pipes and cobalt-60 and chromium-51 being released in gaseous form, but not including delayed reporting (which aggravated and endangered citizens).

Several hundred gallons of radioactive liquid spilled into the Sea of Japan. The highest reported volume leaked was about 600 gallons. But early, widespread reports assured the public there were NO radioactive leaks. Early reports of no leakage were wrong and, as usual, have been replaced with reports of "minimal leakage" with "no danger to the public."

In America, the Curie quantity (or, just as useful, the Becquerels) released is almost NEVER given to the public after an accident. However, reportedly "90,000 Becquerels of radioactivity" were released, so evidently the Japanese have a leg up on us for honest nuclear accident reporting in THAT department. (A Becquerel is one radioactive decay per second.)

But the Becquerels alone is still not enough -- people also need to know the actual isotopes that were released (for example: strontium-90, iodine-131, cesium-137, etc.), since only then does one begin to have the ability to express, in concrete terms (i.e., numerically), the true danger from any specific accident. The number of gallons of diluted liquid, at some unspecified level of radioactivity, of some unspecified isotope of some unspecified element, tells you almost nothing.

A fire at the facility kept local firefighters busy for several hours, as it spewed thick, terrifying black smoke into the air. But the real danger from a nuclear reactor accident -- radioactive poison -- is INVISIBLE.

In some news reports, the fire was blamed for causing the leak (before it became "leaks"). If this is true in some way, it would be cause for concern in itself, since the fire was apparently in the switchyard, at the tail end of the operation, generally not considered part of the nuclear side of the plant.

The feared tsunami never came. Nuclear power plants worldwide are NOT protected against reasonably foreseeable tsunami wave heights.

The Japanese should be especially able to realize the insidious nature of radioactive poisons, since the effects of DNA damage from Hiroshima and Nagasaki still continue to this day, and could be carefully measured.

But of course, the power companies don't want you to think about this, and government also won't fund proper research, probably in part due to pressure from American corporate and government interests. All those "special interests" don't want Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be properly studied, because of the effect such studies would have on the debate about the dangers of "Low Level Radiation." Many pro-nukers STILL CONTEND that "LLR" might be healthy -- like a vitamin or nutrient! (Similarly, the DNA damage in plants, animals, or humans in the area around Chernobyl is seldom carefully investigated.)

Japan dodged a bullet THIS TIME, but disaster awaits those who do not learn from history.

Japan can SURELY get along fine without nuclear power -- don't believe any other story!

Modern technology CAN solve virtually ALL of humanity's environmental problems, but it requires reason and balance. Not all technology is good.

There is no minimum threshold -- all ionizing radiation exposure carries with it some risk of cancer, leukemia, heart problems, genetic damage and other "health effects."

The local mayor in Japan has forbidden any immediate restart of any of the Kashiwazaki reactors (in America, he would probably not be allowed to do that).

May they NEVER open!

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

The author is a computer programmer and has been observing the follies of the nuclear industry for more than three decades. This essay is an enhancement as new facts came to light of a 200-word essay about the accident, originally written July 16th, 2007.