Friday, August 5, 2022

A response to pro-nuker James Conca by Ace Hoffman

A response to pro-nuker James Conca's highly biased opinion piece posted at the Southern California Edison web site July 26, 2022 (shown below)

by Ace Hoffman
July 29, 2022

Nuclear proponents are eager to denigrate the SCIENCE and the SCIENTISTS of the opposition.

They are equally eager to believe their own dogma, such that they'll misread their own studies and make claims those studies don't support! Dr. James Conca, in his letter to the Voice of OC from July 26, 2022 (posted at the SoCalEdison web site, I don't know if VOC published it), makes this mistake with his very first footnote, which he uses to claim no harm, while the footnoted document itself states very clearly that the interaction between ionizing radiation and living tissue "can cause damage."

Dr. Conca claims that low levels of nuclear radiation are harmless, using "oxidation" as some sort of analogous proof, by claiming that radioactive emissions do "exactly" the same damage. But there are a number of crucial additional considerations, most importantly, where inside the body the effects might take place. There are also physical differences between an oxidizer and a radioactive emitter (a point Conca seems to have missed completely). Both oxidative stress and radioactive stress are underlying factors in heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disease. Oxidative stress can and should be reduced by changing one's diet, stopping smoking, and many other ways. Radioactive elements, once they are in the environment, are essentially impossible to avoid.

Mysteriously, Conca ignores thousands of studies that have proven him wrong, starting with Alice Stewart's research in the 1950s, showing that even ONE x-ray of a pregnant woman increased the risk of leukemia later in the life of the fetus. Just one. Not a cumulative effect of a hundred or more x-rays over a lifetime.

Modern dental x-ray equipment creates about 1/5th of the radiation per x-ray that older x-ray machines created. Thus, they are much safer.

To "prove" radiation is safe, Conca describes a few unnamed random scientists he has known who have *not* died of provable radiation exposures they received during their lab work. That's not how statistics works (what he's doing is called "confirmation bias"). In most cases it is nearly impossible to prove that radiation caused a particular cancer. Nuclear proponents get enormous political mileage from this fact.

Conca completely dismisses the thousands of studies done in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine that show unequivocally that hundreds of thousands of people have already died because of the Chernobyl accident -- even Russia has admitted that dozens of "first responders" have died.

Conca should read Manual for Survival, by MIT historian of environmental and nuclear history Kate Brown. She writes that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimated that fallout from Nevada weapons testing "caused an extra 11,000 to 200,000 thyroid cancers among Americans." This was due to the release of approximately 20 billion Curies of radioactive Iodine, about three times *more* radioactive Iodine than was released by the Chernobyl disaster, and which was hardly the only hazardous radioactive substance released from either the Nevada tests, the Chernobyl disaster, or any other accidental or intentional release.

(I could recommend hundreds of other professionally researched books if space permitted.)

Conca dismisses Chernobyl because -- he claims -- it was a "weapons reactor" with electricity production only as a side business. Although it was undoubtedly a dual-purpose reactor, Conca doesn't mention that it was based on stolen U.S. designs for reactors, nor does he mention that early U.S. reactors at Hanford were of the same design. In particular, the doomed Chernobyl reactor was "a close replica" of the N-reactor at Hanford. The Department of Energy closed the N-reactor permanenetly a few months after the Chernobyl disaster began (see page 291 of Plutopia by Kate Brown).

Conca also completely ignores the harm and the risk of nuclear catastrophes that might occur in the future, due to sabotage, war, airplane impacts, maintenance failures, operator error, or even asteroid impacts. Too rare? Maybe you can make that claim for asteroids, but all of the others are closer to "inevitable" than to "impossible."

Claiming no one died because of Three Mile Island or because of Fukushima defies logic and all the statistical evidence which highly qualified scientists have uncovered.

Conca claims that Gregory Jaczko was "put on the NRC by the late Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada to kill the Yucca Mountain Project." Jaczko was appointed head of the NRC after being carefully scrutinized by the nuclear industry and by Washington. Yucca Mountain killed itself with technical problems that remain unsolvable to this day: Approximately 300 of them!

And Dr. Jaczko was *removed* from the NRC's board of commissioners after Fukushima because his recommendations terrified the nuclear industry in America, so they pressured the NRC to have Jaczko removed. Jaczko was being reasonable in light of what we were learning as Fukushima unveiled numerous fatal flaws in reactor backup plans, government and industry response plans, and control systems, training, and equipment. For example, ALL GE BWR Mark 1 reactor designs should be closed permanently and immediately. We already knew that because of two whistleblowers, but Fukushima drove the lesson home. Yet more than a dozen BWR Mark 1 reactors are still operating in the U.S.A..

Dr. James Conca is a highly biased supporter of nuclear power. That he should be so dismissive of the numerous scientific studies that have proven him wrong about nearly everything he claims should give everyone pause.

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

The author has studied nuclear power and nuclear weapons for approximately half a century as an independent researcher.

Below is Dr. Conca's "guest editorial" posted at the Southern California Edison web site:
With Nuclear Waste, Science Matters

Guest editorial by Dr. James Conca

The following is a guest editorial written by Dr. James Conca in response to an Op-Ed that appeared in the Voice of OC by an anti-nuclear activist.

Dr. James Conca

I read with interest an Op-Ed this month in the Voice of OC on nuclear energy and San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). Having recently retired from 35 years in nuclear, mainly as a research professor at New Mexico State University and Washington State University, and as a scientist at National Laboratories like Los Alamos, Pacific Northwest National Lab, and Lawrence Livermore, I was struck by the technical errors in her discussion. I was also impressed by how well she understands and executes obfuscation. In the following discussion, my references and links will not be to anti-nuclear activists or YouTube videos, but from the scientific literature and official reports from CDC, IEA, EIA, IAEA, UN, EU, DOE and NRC.

Repeated claims that nuclear energy and its waste is dangerous are not true, these claims from another anti-nuclear activist notwithstanding. No one has ever been harmed by nuclear energy or nuclear waste in this country (1,2,3,4). No one was harmed by Three Mile Island. No one was killed from radiation from Fukushima (5), though Fukushima was listed as the cause of death for a worker who, sadly, died from a lifetime of heavy smoking. Few remember that Chernobyl was a weapons reactor that could also produce lots of power, and that was the reason for its failure (the reactor had no containment structure like Western reactors).

Nuclear workers throughout history have had a lower cancer rate than the general population (6,7,8,9). People living near nuclear plants show no effects from living near them (10,11). This really says it all about safety.

Further, nuclear is the safest form of energy. Its death print is the same as wind and solar (12) which are very low globally (0.04 deaths per terawatt-hour of electricity production for wind, 0.03 for nuclear, 0.02 for solar). In the U.S., nuclear and hydro are the lowest (13).

I have handled and disposed of nuclear waste for 35 years. Disposing of nuclear waste of any kind is simple and safe. We are just not allowed to do it, in large part because of the fear generated by anti-nuclear activists, case in point the piece in the Voice of OC. Contrary to its assertions, there are no technical hurdles to disposal of spent nuclear fuel, only political ones.

In fact, we have an operating deep geologic nuclear waste repository in New Mexico, called WIPP, that has shown it is safe and cost-effective to dispose of nuclear waste. It takes both high and low-radioactivity waste. WIPP was designed and built to dispose of all nuclear waste from any source. Later, it was only permitted to dispose of nuclear weapons waste, called TRU, and that was because of politics. WIPP is ten years ahead of schedule and a billion dollars under budget, a testament to how well this facility is working and how thoughtfully the host rock was selected.

In its 23-year history, there was only one event, in 2014, not caused by WIPP itself, that released the Am-241 equivalent of 100 smoke detectors. SONGS' waste should eventually go to WIPP or a WIPP-like repository, we’ve already designed it. But no politician wants to touch this issue. These activists' efforts should be to champion WIPP or a WIPP-like repository so that SONGS waste could be removed from California, as it was always intended. Instead, they are slowing that process down.

Examining the “Facts”

Most facts presented by the writer are not facts, but rather anti-nuclear dogma. The claim that “Inhaling just a tiny speck of dust containing plutonium can kill you” is absurd. I have worked with many scientists who have inhaled many particles of Pu, and U, and many other radionuclides. They never showed any effects, and many have died of old age from health issues irrelevant to radiation. The others are still alive. I was Director of the CEMRC facilities near WIPP for six years. We had the instrumentation to track inhaled radioactive particles and detect them in the body, and we often detected them, including Pu, Am, U, Cs and Sr.

Harold McCluskey, nicknamed the “Atomic Man” up here at the Hanford Site in Washington state, is the person who has inhaled the most radioactivity in history. In 1976, he was blasted by an enormous amount of Am-241, which is much more dangerous than Pu, breathing in so much he had to be handled by medical personnel in rad suits. But he lived to a ripe old age and died of a heart attack, something radiation does not cause. It just takes a huge amount of radiation to kill anyone.

But even minor facts presented in that Op-Ed were off. The claim that the water table is 18 inches below the waste pad at SONGS is incorrect. It’s twice that. Maybe that’s minor, but it is an easily-obtainable number from the SONGS website if one had bothered to look.

Similarly for their claims of thin-walled canisters at SONGS. These are the thickest-walled canisters in the industry. They were definitely designed for long-term storage and are not easily susceptible to stress corrosion. The writer continues to confuse these with France’s recycling canisters, which are thicker but built for a completely different purpose, that of storing waste prior to reprocessing.

The most egregious claim is that there was “the blockbuster joint statement issued in January by nuclear authorities from the United States, France, Germany and Great Britain detailing strong opposition to any expansion of nuclear power as a strategy to combat climate change.” First, the people cited were not nuclear authorities from these countries. They are avowed anti-nuclear activists. I know Greg Jaczko, he was put on the NRC by the late Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada expressly to kill the Yucca Mountain Project. The same with the others: they do not represent the nuclear authorities nor the governments in those countries, as cleverly implied by the author.

And all leading climate scientists from Jim Hansen and Kerry Emanuel on down, forcefully speak for nuclear, saying we cannot achieve our climate goals without it. Plus, the European Union just categorized nuclear as clean in order to meet its climate goals.

Finally, the health effects from radiation are not cumulative. Again, the writer can be forgiven for not doing her homework, but she confuses global regulations developed during the Cold War, primarily to stop America’s above ground nuclear tests, with actual science. We adopted LNT, ALARA and Cumulative Effects to be conservative, not to reflect the scientific knowledge, even at that time. Those hypotheses assumed we did not have an immune system. But our immune system effectively repairs all radiation damage up to about 20 rem (0.2 Sv) acute. Radiation does not cause inheritable genetic effects, it is not a mutagen.

For clarity, radiation acts as an oxidant in biological systems. Either as a gamma ray, a beta particle or an alpha particle, radiation acts exactly as oxygen in the body, by knocking an electron off a molecule, usually water as that is what we are mostly made of. But oxygen is a thousand times more effective at oxidizing than radiation, so our immune system can handle it easily since our cells (as with all eukaryotic cells) evolved about 2.3 billion years ago when oxygen first entered the atmosphere and background radiation levels were ten times what they are today. This is why we have become focused on anti-oxidants in our foods.

And this is why it takes an acute dose of over 20 rem (0.2 Sv) to have any health effects—our immune system is very efficient—until it is overwhelmed.

But the idea of cumulative effective dose is especially weird and has been used in areas outside of radiation, such as in medicinal drugs. Cumulative effective dose states that the risk of death from one person taking 100 aspirins a day is the same as 100 persons taking one aspirin a day. Anyone knows this is absurd, but it is ingrained in our radiation regulatory institutions, along with the false assumption that we don’t have a functioning immune system.

Again, this is not intuitive stuff, and takes years of study in these areas of science. Absent that, one gets what one would expect: unsupported claims not based in science.

Dr. James Conca is Trustee of the Herbert M. Parker Foundation, Richland, Wash. He is a retired scientist and research professor with a master’s and PhD. from the California Institute of Technology (CalTech).

The opinions expressed are those of the author.

(The above opinion by James Conca was posted at the Southern California Edison web site July 26, 2022)

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Nuclear waste isn't an isolated problem with nuclear power...

July 31, 2022

Prior to SanO's shutdown, few SoCal residents, including most activists, worried much about the waste, only about shut-down.

We know the waste is a problem, but even for us, here in Southern California, Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant being open is STILL a far more likely cause of our own problems, let alone California's and America's. DCNPP should be closed *immediately*, not in two or three years, and should certainly not have its license extended under any circumstance. I would estimate that right now, DCNPP is at least a hundred to a thousand times more likely to be the cause of our having to move, or suffering health effects, than San Onofre's waste is. An operating reactor is incredibly more dangerous than ten year old spent fuel.

Read up on how far Chernobyl radiation spread in Kate Brown's Manual for Survival. We can use the problem with San Onofre's waste to push for closure of DCNPP. Once DCNPP is permanently closed, the entire state will finally (hopefully) be interested in solving the waste problem. Until ALL the reactors in America (and globally) are closed, "solving" the nuclear waste problem only helps to keep the reactors operating!

Nuclear waste scattered throughout the country is a major problem for many reasons, including terrorism, accidental airplane strikes, earthquakes, tsunamis etc. etc..

Transporting nuclear waste multiple times is also a major problem for many reasons, including accidents, terrorism, human error, etc.. It should be moved at most only once, if possible.

Neutralization of the Pu and U isotopes is possible on-site. It's even a patented process! Read up on it in case you missed my report (see link, below). The industry doesn't like the idea because they want to reprocess the waste. That's ALSO why the industry is pushing so hard for one central location.

Moving nuclear waste through highly populated areas is a major problem which the U.S. government is well aware of. That is the reason they wanted to build a direct route from San Onofre to Yucca Mountain.

As a 20% owner of Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant in Arizona, Southern California Edison (SCE) could either move the waste there (except for the problems mentioned above, plus the fact that AZ doesn't want our waste, only their own). SCE could at least pull out of PVNPP entirely if AZ won't take the waste.

There are many bridges, close to or even more than 100 feet high, between San Clemente and the Chocolate Mountains location that Roger J. is recommending. Moving 123 canisters over those bridges is extremely risky since the containers are NOT designed to withstand a drop of that height. It's unlikely, IMO, that they can even survive the claimed drop heights of a few dozen feet. I drove over the Mianus River Bridge in Connecticut twice daily, when it "suddenly" collapsed, killing three people. Bridge collapses DO happen. And maintenance is shoddy at best. I HEARD the Mianus River Bridge screech in the days before the pin fully sheered off. Residents had been calling the (ir-)responsible state agencies about the noise for weeks prior to the collapse.

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

What is spent fuel neutralization and why is it the best solution?

Also don't forget where we've been on these issues:

Roger responded as follows:

On 07/31/2022 11:01 PM PDT RJ wrote:


Where are the data on how many bridges there are? I may be wrong but I think you could get there without crossing any bridges.

I read that the max weight a helicopter can lift is about 25 tons which is about half of the weight of a canister. Does anyone know if it is possible to airlift a canister on a helicopter? Wouldn't it be nice if a helicopter could scoop it up at San Onofre and take it directly to a storage site? I suspect that some consider consider helicopter transport more dangerous than truck transport. Could the canisters be reloaded into twice as many canisters at half the weight?

Cargo planes can easily carry that but where would they take off and land?

If aircraft are too dangerous, we need to figure out truck tor train ransport routes. There are rail lines right to Chocolate Mt.

Of course, all of this is worthless if the military refuses to do it.


Hi Roger,

YOU could get there without going over the bridges on I-8 but they would have to use treacherous mountain roads; roads that aren't designed for such heavy vehicles so no.

You want to AIR LIFT the canisters? No to that, too. And no to the extra steps needed for repackaging. And half the fuel load would still require the enormously heavy container. So you'd need way more than twice as many loads.

No rail lines go direct to Choc. Mtn, you'd have to go through very heavily populated areas.

Heavily populated areas are enormous security risks as well as impossible to evacuate after an accident.


Thursday, July 7, 2022

Different types of nuclear radiation (and why they are all dangerous).

Different types of nuclear radiation and why they are all dangerous.

By Ace Hoffman

July 7, 2022

NOTE: It is presumed you are looking at my Electromagnetic Wave Spectrum graphic as you read this explanation, so here it is:

When radioactive isotopes decay, they release high-energy rays and/or particles. In this essay we examine the four types which are most significant for humans and other living things, because we inevitably are impacted (literally!) by these rays and particles. (There are several other types of emissions during radioactive decay, but these four are the most influential on human health.)

What is the difference between alpha particles, beta particles, x-rays and gamma rays? Why is each one dangerous? And why are alpha "particles" and beta "particles" also considered to have "wave-like" behavior?

This document gives a brief description of what atoms are comprised of (the three main subatomic particles: electrons, protons and neutrons). A glance at a Periodic Table of the Elements will enhance that portion of the discussion for those who need a review.

The Electromagnetic Wave Spectrum graphic is arranged in three rows For some reason, most illustrations of the Electromagnetic Wave Spectrum only show the top two rows. The top row is labeled "Frequency in Hertz."

The middle row is called the "Wavelength Equivalent."
The bottom row -- in many ways the most important, and yet the one most illustrations of the Electromagnetic Wave Spectrum ignore -- shows the "Energy Equivalent."

For the top and bottom two rows ("Frequency in Hertz" and "Energy Equivalent") the chart is arranged in exponentially increasing values from left to right. The middle row ("Wavelength Equivalent") has exponentially increasing values going from right to left.

Each row has a range of 22 orders of magnitude. 22 orders of magnitude is an enormous difference! Here it is written out:

10000000000000000000000. Or if written with commas: 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

Orders of magnitude can be difficult to grasp. But as an example, consider musical tones. The lowest bass notes are about 20 Hertz, or cycles per second. The highest notes are under about 10,000 Hertz. That is a range of about three orders of magnitude, and most music is actually only within just two orders of magnitude. The limit of human hearing is under 20,000 Hertz. 22 orders of magnitude is not just 19 times broader, it is 10^19 times broader (10000000000000000000 times broader, if written out. 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 times broader, when commas are included!).

Energy, in the form of Beta particles, Alpha particles, X-rays and/or Gamma rays is released ("ejected" or "emitted" if you prefer) when a radioactive (or "unstable") atom decays. (Please see other documents for how to determine when a particular atom will decay if it is radioactive. Suffice to say here, it is at some future, unpredictable, semi-random, moment.)

One beta particle, if released by a radioactive atom (such as Tritium), can damage thousands of chemical bonds because it is thousands of times more powerful than ANY chemical bond -- and not just in living things, but ANY chemical bond. Any metal alloy made, no matter how strong, is bonded together with chemical bonds less than approximately one thousandth (<1/1000) as strong as one beta particle's energy when it is ejected during radioactive decay.

It does not even take a full electron volt to destroy a chemical bond: Many atoms have outer electrons which are only held relatively loosely to the atom's nucleus.

If an electron is knocked out of an atom's orbit, the atom will appear to other atoms as a different element unless it is able to find a replacement electron -- which it might take from another atom that is holding its outermost electrons less tightly. Thus, a "chain reaction" of sorts can let one beta decay damage perhaps 10,000 or more molecular bonds, even though it is "only" a few thousand times more powerful than a typical chemical bond.

Beta particles have another feature which can also be very damaging: They are charged particles, with a negative charge of one electron volt. (Beta particles "become" electrons when they slow down from nearly the speed of light to "terrestrial" speeds.) Other electrons are repelled by a beta particle.

Alpha particles are thousands of times more powerful than beta particles. That is why they are so damaging if released inside a living organism. They are also very large and highly charged: Plus two electron volts, because they are composed of two protons, each with a positive charge of 1 eV, and two neutrally-charged neutrons.

Electrons are attracted to alpha particles, and it will grab two from somewhere when it slows down, and that's only after doing a lot of damage along its track. (After grabbing two electrons, it becomes a stable helium atom.) Even if alpha particles just pass near something, they can do a lot of damage. Alpha particles are roughly a thousand times more powerful than a beta particle, and about a million times more powerful than ANY chemical bond.

Gamma rays are similarly powerful but since they are neutrally charged and massless, an individual gamma ray can pass completely through the body without doing any damage and often does, since atoms are mostly empty space. But if a gamma ray does hit something (a electron or a nucleus of an atom) gamma rays can be very damaging.

It has been known since the 1950s that X-rays can cause cancer. Gamma rays are thousands of times more powerful than X-rays. Both are massless, without any electrical charge, unlike beta particles, with a -1 eV charge, and alpha particles, with a +2 eV charge.

Now let's look a little more closely at the Electromagnetic Wave Spectrum.

First, let's look at the top area, to the right of the heading. A significant portion of the chart is marked as the "Ionizing" portion.

"Ionizing" means forces in that region are strong enough to knock an electron out of its shell and/or away from the atom it belongs to.

Atoms are comprised of a very small nucleus with protons and neutrons (except for one variety of hydrogen, with only one proton and no neutrons in the core). Every atom also has an outer portion outside the nucleus, which is mostly empty space, plus one or more very small subatomic particle(s), known as electrons, with an isolated atom having one electron for each proton in the nucleus (we say "isolated" because when atoms get together, they often share one or more electrons).

The shared electrons are what form bonds with other atoms to form molecules such as Oxygen (O2), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), and DNA.

DNA is the most complex molecule known to humans (our own is not even the most complicated, or at least, not the longest). Virtually every human cell has DNA except mature red blood cells. Amazingly, the body has mechanisms to repair some types of damage to DNA molecules. But repair is not always done perfectly. If an electron is knocked out of a DNA molecule, the damage might be repairable, but it might not be. If several electrons are knocked out, the damage is much less likely to be repairable. The DNA molecule might even be broken into independent strands, which are useless (or even detrimental). Every human body has trillions of cells that each have their own copy of that person's DNA. We are all susceptible to "ionizing" radiation damage.

We've been discussing what gets impacted (or "ionized") when a moving object (beta particle or alpha particle) or packet of energy (gamma ray or x-ray) impacts something. Now let's go back to the Electromagnetic Wave Spectrum itself again.

The top row lists various types of waves: Radio Waves on the left, through Microwaves, Infrared, Visible Light (expanded because it is a very tiny portion of the entire spectrum), Ultra Violet, and then, on the far right, X-rays, Gamma Rays (with a symbol for "Gamma") and Cosmic Rays.

These last four groups are powerful enough to be Ionizing, although Ultra Violet is about 100 times less powerful than X-rays, which are in turn another 100 times less powerful than Gamma Rays. Cosmic Rays are the most powerful, and may be responsible for some cancers, but unfortunately, they are unavoidable.

Lets now look at each of the three rows individually.

The top row, "Frequency in Hertz (cycles per second)" indicates how many peaks and valleys would pass by a given point in space in the span of one second.

The middle row, "Wavelength Equivalent" indicates the distance between successive peaks (or valleys). At the left, the wavelengths are as long as a blue whale. Different images that are about the size of various wavelengths are shown, getting smaller and smaller from left to right.

The bottom row is the most important. How much energy does an energy packet (x-ray, gamma) or particle (beta, alpha) have? And how does it do its damage? It breaks chemical bonds, and the particles also do physical damage as they plow through DNA and any other molecules in their way.

Along the bottom row of the Electromagnetic Wave Spectrum graphic are shown various objects: On the left is a beaker labeled "Thermal Noise" at around 12 millielectron volts (basically, "thermal noise" is background movement of everything on earth, as viewed at the atomic level. Two liquids in the beaker would tend to mix because of "thermal noise" (and perhaps for other reasons as well).

Hydrogen Bonds and Covalent Chemical Bonds at around 1 electron volt. All molecules are held together by such bonds.

Far to the right of those bonds is the energy of a beta decay, which is several thousand times more powerful than a chemical bond.

An alpha decay at another thousand times more powerful than a beta decay.

X-rays and gamma rays are also very powerful. Gamma rays can even be more powerful than an alpha particle.

At the far right is the energy released when a plutonium atom is split. This energy release is usually dissipated among several smaller particles, and results in two "fission fragments" -- smaller atoms with each having about half the protons of the plutonium atom. (Both fragments are almost always also radioactive.)

About half -- or more -- of the radiation the average person in America absorbs in a lifetime is not natural, but is the result of medical procedures, global accidents such as Fukushima and Chernobyl (and thousands of smaller accidents), and from atomic weapons testing. Even one radioactive decay, even at the lowest energy level, can be very damaging to human and other living things. This is why experts long ago declared that "any dose (of radioactivity) is an overdose." Maybe it won't result in anything serious. But then again: Maybe it will.


Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons: A Beginner's Guide -- in pictures and diagrams: