Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Monbiot's fallacy"; "Source term is about the same as Chernobyl"

Items included in this newsletter:

(1) Commentary by Ace Hoffman, Author (2) Stick nuclear waste where the sun don't shine! (3) "Source term is about the same as Chernobyl" (4) "Tool of the Nuclear Establishment -- The New York Times" (5) On YouTube -- "Chernobyl: A Million Casualties" (6) "Time To Reassess The International Atomic Safety Regime" (7) What, ME a pessimist? I'm just a very hard realist! (8) Contact information for the author of this newsletter appears below:

This newsletter maybe freely distributed. The author's book on nuclear issues, The Code Killers, is available online from his web site: .

-------------------------------------------------- (1) Commentary by Ace Hoffman, Author: --------------------------------------------------

March 26th, 2011

Dear Readers,

Food exports to many countries from Japan have been halted. The water in Tokyo is apparently safe at the moment for everyone to drink, including the mayor, who bravely did so on TV.

Water around the Fukushima Daiichi reactors, however, is said to be 1,250 times more radioactive than normal. Yesterday it was a thousand times normal. Meanwhile, the Japanese government is complaining to the operator of the plant, TEPCO, that proper radiation measurements aren't being taken.

In the U.S.A., eight of the EPA's 18 radiation detectors on the West Coast are out of order. That's apparently normal, and there is no outcry.

In Japan, 20,000 people are dead or missing because of the earthquake/tsunami, and hundreds of thousands are displaced, both because of the natural disaster, and because of the nuclear catastrophe-in-process.

Much worse -- a meltdown (or perhaps more than one, plus a spent fuel pool fire, or more than one) -- is still very possible, and perhaps even likely. What has happened already at Fukushima Daiichi is a lot worse than any "design basis accident". No Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) written anywhere in the world (they all follow the American example, more or less) allowed for a proper discussion of something like this, because it was considered so unlikely, that for mathematical calculation purposes, it was assumed that it simply couldn't happen.

Now that it HAS happened, all the calculations everywhere are obviously inaccurate.

There have been no breakthroughs at Fukushima Daiichi. That's bad news, because the reactor fuel is probably still decomposing, cracking, fissuring, fracturing, reconfiguring... and still burning or melting... If we're lucky, the fuel is just very, very hot, but NOT melting their reactor pressure vessels, especially at Unit #3, which may or may not have cracked. We have not been very lucky so far.

Around the world, the accident is producing increased radiation levels on par with Chernobyl now (see item #3, below). Yesterday they were saying, "50% as bad as Chernobyl" and the day before, "30%".

A chart comparing many different levels and types of radioactivity has been making the rounds on the Internet. Richard Bramhall has responded both to George Monbiot's pro-nuclear, post-Fukushima stance and to the misleading information presented in the chart (which Monbiot used in his article). Bramhall, of the Low Level Radiation Campaign in England, offers a blood-boiling comparison of what we might call "Monbiot's fallacy" to a famous murder of a British King. Hard reading, but it gets the point across.


Ace Hoffman Carlsbad, CA


-------------------------------------------------- (2) Stick nuclear waste where the sun don't shine: --------------------------------------------------

At 11:27 AM 3/26/2011 +0000, Richard Bramhall wrote:

From: "Richard Bramhall" <> Subject: George Monbiot and King Edward the Second (10)

An open letter to George Monbiot. Monbiot has a regular column in the UK Guardian newspaper. On 22nd March he dismayed many people by announcing that the Fukushima disaster has converted him to loving nuclear power; he now supports the technology. A basic plank of his case is the concept of radiation dose. In our letter we point out why this is a bad and unscientific mistake. The ghost of Edward the Second, King of England, makes a surprising appearance.

We link to two streamable videos on the health effects of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island which suggest that fallout can be expected to have a serious and early impact on health in Japan.

On Wednesday 23rd March we reported that contamination levels up to 70 kilometres from Fukushima were twice as high as in the Chernobyl Permanent Control Zone. We recommended the evacuation of Honshu.

We noted that all official agencies are conspicuously silent about the alpha-emitters Plutonium and Uranium.

Follow llrc on Twitter for quicker updates than these emails.


-------------------------------------------------- (3) "Source term is about the same as Chernobyl": --------------------------------------------------

From Bob Alvarez (via Facebook):

"From my friend and colleague, Bernd Franke, at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Heidelberg, Germany: 'The Austrian ZAMG puts the source term (Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), founded in 1851, is Austria's national weather service agency) says the source term is about the same as Chernobyl.'"

"FYI 'source term' is a quantitative estimate of the nature and extent of the total amount of radioactivity released into the environment."


-------------------------------------------------- (4) "Tool of the Nuclear Establishment -- The New York Times": --------------------------------------------------

At 08:56 AM 3/26/2011 -0400, Karl Grossman <> wrote:

"With The New York Times seeking to lead the media in minimizing, indeed denying, the impacts of the nuclear disaster in Japan, I have put this up on my blog, 'Tool of the Nuclear Establishment -- The New York Times.'"

It's at:

Karl Grossman is a professor of journalism at the State University of New York.


-------------------------------------------------- (5) On YouTube -- "Chernobyl: A Million Casualties": -------------------------------------------------- From: Karl Grossman <> Subject: On YouTube -- "Chernobyl: A Million Casualties"

"Chernobyl: A Million Casualties" is now on YouTube at

EnviroVideo has expedited release of the program that is based on the book recently published by the NY Academy of Sciences concluding 985,000 people died as a result of the catastrophe. Karl interviews Dr. Janette Sherman, its contributing editor. Taped a week before the nuclear disaster in Japan, it was to be aired with the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl next month. That's been expedited because the consequences of the catastrophe provide a baseline for the Japan disaster.


-------------------------------------------------- (6) "Time To Reassess The International Atomic Safety Regime": --------------------------------------------------

At 12:38 PM 3/26/2011 -0700, Conrad Miller wrote:

Here's my video for today, 3.5 minutes: 'U. N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon Says It Is "Time To Reassess The International Atomic Safety REGIME"' - also talk about new findings regarding childhood leukemias around nuclear plants, and nations refusing to take food and milk or even docking in or by Japan, including Australia and the USA and South Korea and Germany.


-------------------------------------------------- (7) What, ME a pessimist? I'm just a very hard realist!: --------------------------------------------------

At 09:19 AM 3/26/2011 -0400, "Jack Shannon" <> wrote:

Re: Slowly but inexorably worse and worse...

Boy what a pessimist. It can get worse, a lot worse, so bad in fact that the Japanese might lose 1/2 of their island. I know what can make it worse. I gave a lecture north of Syracuse. At the meeting I was told by the residents that some of the BWR reactors have vertical cracks in the downcomers. These were being fixed, at that time, by welding strips of metal across the vertical cracks. The Citizens have been told that the fix would do the job. I'm not sure what the "job" was that would be done. I think the phrase "job" kind of mean't, hang on to collective assess folks, you ain't seen nothing yet. Just a thought. Jack Shannon


Jack Shannon designed naval nuclear reactors at KAPL.

What are "downcomers"? Check out my animation of BWRs like Fukushima (also includes animations of PWRs, which, together, are the two types of commercial nuclear reactors used in America):

--------------------------------------------------- (8) Contact information for the author of this newsletter appears below:

Ace Hoffman
Author, The Code Killers: An Expose of the Nuclear Industry Free download: Blog: YouTube: Carlsbad, CA Email: ace [at]