Monday, April 11, 2011

How many nuclear engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

April 11th, 2011

Dear Readers,

It's been one awful month. Full of tragedy, lies, and obfuscations. Most of this newsletter consists of links to items on the web, for example Helen Caldicott responds to journalist-cum-zealot George Monbiot in the Guardian, in her most succinct and powerful manner.


Ace Hoffman Nuclear Archivist Carlsbad, CA


(1) How many nuclear engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? by Ace Hoffman (2) Helen Caldicott responds (again) to George Monbiot (3) Arnie Gundersen: "Core melt in fresh air" (4) Conrad Miller: "An error in the criteria of judgement..." (5) Knolls Atomic Power Labs: Disaster brewing in our own back yard (6) Protest Diablo: Living and Dying Under the Shadow of a Nuclear Power Plant (7) Canadian Uranium Mining: A Calamity Threatens Your Happiness (8) Consequences of Chernobyl: Video interview with U.S. editor Janette Sherman (9) Karl Grossman: Fukushima Nuclear Disaster at One Month: The Explosion of Nukespeak (10) Contact information for the author of this newsletter

------------------------------------------------ (1) How many nuclear engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?: ------------------------------------------------

April 11th, 2011

Dear Readers,

Fukushima is a real SNAFU. Situation Normal: All Fouled Up. (The polite definition of the term.)

Radioactive poisons will continue to spew from Fukushima for months, years... poisons will remain in our environment... "forever."

I'm burned out. We're all burned out. We're all burned from the inside out and the outside in by this tragedy. Fukushima WAS and IS "the big one."

It will kill for the rest of our lives. Kill fish. Kill birds. Kill people.

Not just in Japan, but all over. The deaths will not be televised. They will not be You-Tubed. They are too vile to watch, too painful, too personal, too humbling, too sickening. But you MUST know they will happen. They are happening. They will always keep happening because radiation causes cancer. It has no lower threshold, and billions upon billions of cancer-causing doses were distributed to the world. Gazzillions of billions. Uncountable trillions. Needles pegged. Detectors and dosimeters lost in the hydrogen explosions. And probably, nothing's been calibrated in a month, they're too busy....

For $1,000 a day, maybe more, maybe less, people are willing to go into Fukushima and get a dose. Thank goodness. When they run out of Japanese nuclear workers, they will surely import them, probably from India, where wages are low and nuclear power is (or at least, was, up until Fukushima) highly regarded by the government and largely unopposed by the people of India, who are up to their necks in other problems, like a polluted Ganges, monsoon flooding or lack thereof, poverty, internal terrorism, depleted natural resources, and just about every other problem you can imagine. They do, however, still have a thriving film industry.

How many workers will Fukushima Daiichi require by the time it's all entombed -- probably not the best solution, and certainly not doable yet -- or whatever they do with it?

Chernobyl required about three quarters of a million Russian workers, most of them young military conscripts and firemen. Things are different in Japan. Allowable doses were much higher for the Chernobyl workers and generally, doses only estimated, not actually measured.

On the other hand, in Japan Tyvek suits are the norm, with breathing apparatus that might even be working somewhat! Oh, how I wish I had invested in "Tyvek" in February (that, and radiation detector companies)! These workers can stay longer. But the radiation levels at the plant are very dangerous and some of them might exceed what the workers at Chernobyl had to endure. AND yes, dosimeters don't always tell the whole story even if everyone has one, and nor do any but the most sophisticated of radiation detection equipment.

In other words, almost everything, once again, is being estimated. And Tyvek leaks, either by being torn, punctured, or improperly used. And of course, only some radiation is blocked by the Tyvek, not all (chiefly among what is blocked are alpha particles, among what is not, gamma rays).


Ace Hoffman Carlsbad, CA

------------------------------------------------------------ (2) Helen Caldicott responds (again) to George Monbiot: ------------------------------------------------------------

We've all been waiting for this, of course, and we're glad the Guardian has published it:

How nuclear apologists mislead the world over radiation

George Monbiot and others at best misinform and at worst distort evidence of the dangers of atomic energy

By Dr. Helen Caldicott, M.D.

------------------------------------------------------------ (3) Arnie Gundersen: "Core melt in fresh air": ------------------------------------------------------------

Be sure to watch all of Arnie Gundersen's videos. They'll scare the crap out of you because he obviously knows what he's talking about. Here's his latest:

------------------------------------------------------------ (4) "An error in the criteria of judgement...": ------------------------------------------------------------

Dr. Miller has been making regular Fukushima updates. He's new at this, and didn't correct his audio volumes to standard levels (I'm one to talk...) on this one, so remember to TURN THE VOLUME BACK DOWN after you play this video:

Here's a statement from Dr. Miller, which is included in the comment section of the video:

"Hate to tell you that I do not know what specifically can repel radioactive particles/radiation. The healthier you are, and live, the better chance you'll have. One example: you have cilia in your lungs, little hairs that wave the foreign particles up and out of your lungs. If you smoke, you kill the cells with these cilia along the bronchial tree, so a particle of plutonium would have a better chance to get deeper down into your lungs. Otherwise obvious answer: close nukes "

Dr. Conrad Miller is also the author of a wonderful book about nuclear follies and other errors in technological judgement called: The Most Important Issues Americans THINK They Know Enough About... Edition III. Visit Dr. Miller's web site to read Chapter One online, and for more information:

-- Conrad Miller, M.D.

----------------------------------------------------------- (5) Knolls Atomic Power Labs: Disaster brewing in our own back yard: ------------------------------------------------------------

Let's face it: Containment domes aren't all they're cracked up to be. Especially when they're cracked up, as one or more apparently are in Fukushima.

Chernobyl, they said, was different because it didn't have one. But Fukushima's containment domes have not stopped the radiation, because -- as we've always warned -- containment domes, containment vessels, containment buildings, reactor pressure vessels, and zirconium fuel cladding ALL leak, or the pipes to them leak, which amounts to the same thing. Especially after hydrogen explosions, earthquakes, tsunamis, or all three. At Fukushima things are either leaking very badly or are now missing completely. In probably all three reactors that had fuel in them at the time, much of the zirconium shielding that protected the public from the fission products that had been created as the plant operated is gone. The fission products have been released, and hot blobs of molten fuel remains. Perhaps this is true in one or more of the spent fuel pools, too.

Plutonium-laden fuel has been found a mile from the site, apparently blown there in the hydrogen explosions.

1700 square miles is uninhabitable by humans, who can read, in Russia because of Chernobyl. Wildlife, who can't read, or visit a doctor when they're sick, appears to flourish in the "forbidden zone" because for one thing, species can adjust to a surprising number of assaults by, for example, having larger litters or having them younger in life, and for another, where the humans have left, wildlife does, indeed, flourish (in a sense) in comparison to whatever it had been. This is nearly universal: Other than pigeons and cockroaches, humans and wildlife don't co-exist very well. Sooooo. What happens? Deformed young get left for dead by their mothers and eaten by vultures and vermin, dying older animals get eaten and make way for the younger animals from the larger litters, and life goes on. It's hell on the individuals, but the species actually do appear to "thrive" to those who want to see it that way.

Oh, how the pro-nukers love this! They see more deer in the forests and think, "AH HA! What fools the anti-nukers are!" A slightly closer look reveals the truth, but pro-nukers never take those closer looks. The Guardian's George Monbiot started to read the Chernobyl book but couldn't finish it, but even if he has since done so, it's a reasonable bet that he's more than a thousand newsletters behind if he wants to catch up with my own newsletter subscribers... let alone all the Nuclear Monitors and Beyond Nuclear bulletins he would have to absorb. He could spend the rest of his life watching informative You-Tube videos about the damage Chernobyl alone has done, let alone, what is already coming out of Fukushima and what REALLY happened at Three Mile Island, (yes, Monbiot, people died...).


In upstate New York there are two nuclear reactors that have NO containment building at all! I don't mean they're under tents or out in the open, but they're not protected against anything substantial such as terrorism, tornados, accidental airplane strikes, or anything else. They are protected only from public scrutiny, being on Naval property, away from prying eyes. Built by?

General Electric.

Not only that, but they lack proper Emergency Core Cooling Systems as well as Containment Vessels. The control rooms are located too close to the reactors, as well. Like on a ship; but these are located in a well-populated residential area of New York. They could destroy much of New York State if anything went wrong.

For more information visit Jack Shannon's KAPL web site:

------------------------------------------------------------ (6) Protest Diablo: Living and Dying Under the Shadow of a Nuclear Power Plant: ------------------------------------------------------------

I read this book a while back, while it was in proof format. It was impressive then. A powerful and personal journey. In short, no wonder we can't get San Onofre or Diablo Canyon shut down! No wonder concerned citizens all over the world can't accomplish these seemingly-obvious environmental tasks: Money, greed, power, callousness, subversive tactics that undermine the activists...

Here is what happened in central California. It's part warning and part history lesson, and totally a call-to-action:

Protest Diablo: Living and Dying Under the Shadow of a Nuclear Power Plant

by Judith Evered

Forward by Helen Caldicott. Inspired by Charles Perrow, Jay M. Gould and Helen Caldicott.

ISBN-13: 9781453636190; ISBN-10: 1453636196

Published 12/5/2010 by Create/Space (available from )

------------------------------------------------------------ (7) Canadian Uranium Mining: A Calamity Threatens Your Happiness: ------------------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile, protests continue ever-stronger in Canada, Australia, South Africa and elsewhere against uranium mining, where the trouble all starts (by poisoning the mine workers, the watershed, the land, and the air). Uranium mine tailings are the largest source of radon gas poisoning in many cities and a contributor in thousands of others.

This book is authored by a very gifted writer. In fact, the quality of the writing here reminds me of Mother Country: Britain, the Welfare State, and Nuclear Pollution (Marilynne Robinson, 1989; which should be "required reading" in schools, much like "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson sometimes is). This is quite a document, as well.

A CALAMITY THREATENS YOUR HAPPINESS, being a Viewpoint from the Eagle Watch near Sharbot Lake, Nishnaabe/Ongwehonwe Territory by J. "Kittoh" Stanley, Spring, 2010

For copies, distributed at cost or by donation, please send enquires to:

------------------------------------------------------------ (8) Consequences of Chernobyl: Video interview with U.S. editor Janette Sherman: ------------------------------------------------------------

An excellent interview (one of a series):

------------------------------------------------------------ (9) Karl Grossman: Fukushima Nuclear Disaster at One Month: The Explosion of Nukespeak: ------------------------------------------------------------

Karl in peak form as usual:

------------------------------------------------------------ (10) Contact information for the author of this newsletter:


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


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