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Emissions from burning fossil fuels are toxic. The effect from a single power plant is small, but if you build a lot of fossil plants, it adds up. Air pollution kills people.

Climatologist James E. Hansen, who just this week retired as head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science, has just co-authored a paper that has been accepted by the journal Environmental Science & Technology, in which he calculates that nuclear power has prevented 1.84 million deaths worldwide that would have occurred if nuclear power plants had been built as fossil-fueled power plants instead. That's actually a conservative figure, because it doesn't count a number of things, like the effects of CO2 on climate change.

Although this number isn't terribly surprising to those who study energy issues, it does point up a hugely under-reported aspect of energy policy: nuclear power is the safest way ever devised to generate electricity. Safer than wind. Safer than solar. And far, far safer than fossil fuels.

Using historical production data, we calculate that global nuclear power has prevented about 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatonnes (Gt) CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would have resulted from fossil fuel burning. Based on global projection data that take into account the effects of Fukushima, we find that by midcentury, nuclear power could prevent an additional 420,000 to 7.04 million deaths and 80 to 240 GtCO2-eq emissions due to fossil fuels, depending on which fuel it replaces.
Hansen and co-author Pushker A. Kharecha estimated the prevented deaths by assuming that nuclear power plants that operate at less than 65% capacity factor would have been replaced by gas fired plants, and nuclear plants operated at more than 65% capacity factor would have been replaced by coal fired plants. (Capacity factor is essentially the amount of up-time for a plant). Since coal plants tend to have a high capacity factor, this assumed substitution makes sense. Under this assumption, 95% of nuclear plants would be replaced by coal.


Here's how various electric generation sources stack up on the health and safety issue. Data is from Markandya and Wilkinson 2007.

Deaths per TWhr for electric generation
Source Accidents (public) Accidents (occupational) Air pollution Total
Lignite .02 .10 32.6 32.72
Coal .02 .10 24.5 24.62
Gas .02 .001 2.8 2.821
Oil .03 18.04 18.07
Biomass 4.63 4.63
Nuclear .003 .019 .052 .074
Data for renewables are harder to get, primarily because statistical experience is so limited. But one source, Next Big Future, gives:
Deaths per TWhr
Solar (rooftop) 0.44
Wind 0.16
Hydro (Europe) 0.10
Hydro (World) 1.4
The hydro power world total is high because of the 1975 dam failure at Banqiao, China, which killed 171,000 people.

NBF's numbers for wind (0.16 deaths per TWhr) are from a wind industry source, and therefore should be considered optimistic. Obviously, building and maintaining a wind turbine involves a lot of climbing to very high (and windy) places. It also typically involves a lot of driving to get to those places.

But what about Chernobyl?

From Hansen's paper:

According to the latest assessment by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), 43 deaths are conclusively attributable to radiation from Chernobyl as of 2006 (28 were plant staff/first responders and 15 were from the 6,000 diagnosed cases of thyroid cancer). UNSCEAR also states that reports of an increase in leukemia among recovery workers who received higher doses are inconclusive, although cataract development was clinically significant in that group; otherwise, for these workers as well as the general population, “there has been no persuasive evidence of any other health effect” attributable to radiation exposure.
Relevant statistics in the above quote are from UNSCEAR.

Deaths from Chernobyl are included in both of the above estimates of the risk of nuclear power. A total of 64 people died at Chernobyl, both from immediate effects and the near-term aftermath, including those who died of non-radiation causes during the accident.

Many estimates of expected future cancer deaths from Chernobyl are hugely inflated, relying on collective dose computations that are scientifically unfounded. The risk of early death from small doses of radiation is still controversial, although data from Chernobyl may settle the case. The controversy is over a hypothesis called the "Linear No-Threshold" (LNT) model. At high doses, cancer death rates from radiation follow a linear relation with the amount of exposure: the more exposure, the greater the risk. It is not at all clear that the LNT model continues to correctly predict risk when doses are low; in fact, there has never been a study anywhere that demonstrates any human health risk from a radiation dose of 100 mSv or less.

After the accident, the Soviet government sent in 600,000 people to clean up the site, called liquidators. The reason for the large number was that they wanted to limit the exposure that any one person received. Most of the liquidators received radiation doses in the 100 to 200 mSv range, although some got as much as 250 mSv. (For comparison, typical background doses in the US are 2-3 mSv per year, though backgrounds are over 100 mSv per year in some parts of the world; symptoms of radiation sickness begin at about 1500 mSv; and a dose of 8000 mSv is always fatal.) If the LNT model is correct, we should be seeing thousands of excess cancer deaths among the Chernobyl liquidators by now. But the actual number of excess cancer deaths among the liquidators is statistically indistinguishable from zero.

Hansen notes:

The absence of evidence of large mortality from past nuclear accidents is consistent with recent findings that the “linear no-threshold” model used to derive the nuclear mortality factor in Table 1 (see ref 22) might not be valid for the relatively low radiation doses that the public was exposed to from nuclear power plant accidents.

But what about Fukushima?

From Hansen again:

Furthermore, no deaths have been conclusively attributed (in a scientifically valid manner) to radiation from the other two major accidents, i.e. Three Mile Island in March 1979, for which a 20-year comprehensive scientific health assessment was done; and the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident.
The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami killed 16,000 people and caused the partial meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Three other reactors at Fukushima Daiichi shut down normally, and four reactors at nearby Fukushima Daiini shut down normally.

The number of people killed by the subsequent radiation release was zero. The WHO has estimated that the most contaminated areas around Fukushima received doses of 10 to 50 mSv of radiation. That means that even if the area around Fukushima had not been evacuated, it is quite likely that not one person would have died from radiation.

Originally posted to The Numerate Historian on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 10:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear dkos and Thorium - Better Nuclear Energy.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Some comparision I'd like to see done (6+ / 0-)

    is storage of the waste and the impact of mining for the materials. With things like the coal ash spills we've seen recently the scary boogeyman of "nuclear waste" probably doesn't seem so scary. Of course that's one place green energy should win hands down. Or maybe not. The disposal of used batteries won't have zero impact on the environment. And while the mining of coal is a well known cost the mining for materials like neodymium and lithium isn't talked about.

    You can't assassinate the character of any of modern conservative. You'd have to find where it was buried, dig it up, resurrect it, then kill it. And killing a zombie isn't really assassination, is it?

    by ontheleftcoast on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 10:29:51 AM PDT

      •  Can We Build High Moment Wind Turbines (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        From what I can tell, the wind turbines need supermagnets to make the generators because of the need for low-moment generators - generators with a very high magnetic flux but a very low weight.  That stems from the intermittent nature of the rotation which wind power often provides.  The power generation industry had clearly built quite effective generators without the use of supermagnets for many decades, mostly because the turbines or diesels driving them operated at a pretty constant RPM.  So, the question arises - can we build cost-effective wind turbines without using the rare earth materials to avoid the types of ecological nightmares seen in China's interior?

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 08:44:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  almost seems we are going to have to (0+ / 0-)

          from reading here on dkos on this issue..a good dam question.

          This machine kills Fascists.

          by KenBee on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 12:23:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  the mining *could* be done (0+ / 0-)

          in a somewhat responsible manner.

          For example, the Mountain Pass mine in California was closed a couple of decades ago, for (among other things) leaking radioactive waste over a large neighboring area.

          After getting permits from 18 different regulatory agencies, it reopened (more safely, I'm assuming!) 2 or 3 years ago.

          I doubt that the massively polluting mines in Indonesia, China, etc are subject to anything like that degree of regulatory oversight.  Which is a big reason (perhaps bigger than the cheap labor) that corporations like doing business over there.

          What with its icecap melting and all that, Greenland has a lot of rare earth elements (provided that a few minor issues - the accompanying radioactive elements, no workers, etc can be overcome)

        •  it's an engineering problem (0+ / 0-)

          I suspect you could easily solve the problem, things like Variable transmissions,  reliable blade pitch adjustment, improved magnetic design,,,,

  •  This reminds me of flying v. driving (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Utahrd, Odysseus, adrianrf

    On average, there are far more fatalities from driving than flying each year.

    On the other hand, an accident involving an airplane is far more likely to result in death than an accident involving a car.

    Similarly, even though nuclear power may cause fewer deaths, the fact remains that a nuclear accident has a much greater chance to be a catastrophe than a wind/solar accident.

    I'm not saying that we need to end use of nuclear power, but I do think that, overall, renewable forms of energy will, in the long run, prove safer.

    We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

    by Samer on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 10:30:52 AM PDT

  •  WHO ? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Mike, greendem, edrie

    “The primary concern identified in this report is related to specific cancer risks linked to particular locations and demographic factors,” says Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director for Public Health and Environment. “A breakdown of data, based on age, gender and proximity to the nuclear plant, does show a higher cancer risk for those located in the most contaminated parts. Outside these parts - even in locations inside Fukushima Prefecture - no observable increases in cancer incidence are expected.”

    In terms of specific cancers, for people in the most contaminated location, the estimated increased risks over what would normally be expected are:

        all solid cancers - around 4% in females exposed as infants;
        breast cancer - around 6% in females exposed as infants;
        leukaemia - around 7% in males exposed as infants;
        thyroid cancer - up to 70% in females exposed as infants (the normally expected risk of thyroid cancer in females over lifetime is 0.75% and the additional lifetime risk assessed for females exposed as infants in the most affected location is 0.50%).

    If a life is cut short by a day it is called a death .

    Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

    by indycam on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 10:34:34 AM PDT

    •  Exposed as infants? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, alain2112

      That would be how many?

      Also note that the WHO makes these estimates using the LNT hypothesis, which did not hold true at Chernobyl (where doses received by liquidators were much higher than at Fukushima).

      We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

      by Keith Pickering on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 10:42:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "That would be how many?" (0+ / 0-)

        It would be all of the ones that were ,
        not one more or less .
        Unless you can find "zero" to be the number ,
        the number is more than zero .

        Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

        by indycam on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 10:46:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So let's compute that (0+ / 0-)

          Population of Namie, only town in WHO's most affected zone:
          Fertility rate in Japan: 8 per 1000.
          Number of infants under age 2 in Namie at the time of the accident was therefore: 352.
          Additional risk of thyroid cancer in those 352 infants: 0.5%
          Number of infants expected to develop thyroid cancer from Fukushima: 1.76
          Survival rate from thyroid cancer: 99.9%.
          Additional deaths from thyroid cancer due to Fukushima:

          So let's add that 0.00176 additional deaths to the total, and woooo, nuclear sure looks a lot more dangerous now.

          We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

          by Keith Pickering on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 10:58:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Survival rate from thyroid cancer: 99.9%." (0+ / 0-)

            Does thyroid cancer take any days off a persons life ?

            and woooo, nuclear sure looks a lot more dangerous now.
            I was not and am not making any comment about "dangerous" .
            You are barking up the wrong tree .
            That means that even if the area around Fukushima had not been evacuated, it is quite likely that not one person would have died from radiation.
            This comment is interesting . The stress alone would have done some people harm , rational or not .

            Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

            by indycam on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:35:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, it can (0+ / 0-)

              Especially if they're in the US and don't have health insurance

              The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them. - Albert Einstein.

              by Cvstos on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:26:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  On that we agree (0+ / 0-)

              It's the fear of nuclear power that kills, not the reality of it.

              So why are the anti-nukes so engaged in fear-mongering? Don't they realize they're killing people?

              We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

              by Keith Pickering on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:55:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You want me to explain to you (0+ / 0-)

                something I have not said ?

                Don't they realize they're killing people?
                Tisc Tisc
                On that we agree
                It's the fear of nuclear power that kills, not the reality of it.
                What you see as black and white , I see as shades of gray .  I'll not say no deaths .

                Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

                by indycam on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 01:31:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  THANK you! that is the point i was trying to make (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      S F Hippie, Sandino

      as well.

      and the airplane analogy is absurd.

      a plane crashes - several hundred people die - the wreckage is cleared - life rebuilds with little impact other than sorrow.

      a nuclear plant has a major issue - for example, chernobyl is still totally uninhabitable 25 years on and will be for perhaps hundreds of years to come.

      EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

      by edrie on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 01:26:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy

        people do live and work there, Chernobyl that is.  

        Since we're discussing land issues as opposed to deaths, global warming is expected to have an affect on where people can and can't live in the next hundred years.

        •  Yes, after the local government spent (0+ / 0-)

          20 years unsuccessfully displaying the horror of it all to the international community in hopes of $$s being thrown their way, they shifted gears and decided that the place was safe for both tourism and habitation.

          go figure.

          •  oh HELL no, they didn't! the people who (0+ / 0-)

            returned to chernobyl are mostly older women and their families who didn't want to leave their ancestral homes - and they returned DESPITE being told by the government that they couldn't.

            Three months after being relocated, she returned with her husband, her mother-in-law and a handful of other members of their collective farm. When government officials objected, she responded, 'Shoot us and dig the grave; otherwise we’re staying.’

            Hanna was among some 1,200 returnees, called 'self-settlers’, most over the age of 48, who made their way back in the first few years after the accident, in defiance of the authorities’ legitimate concerns. For despite the self-settlers’ deep love of their ancestral homes, it’s a fact that the soil, air and water here in what is now known as the Exclusion Zone, or Zone of Alienation, are among the most heavily contaminated on earth.

            Today 230 or so self-settlers remain, scattered about in eerily silent villages that are ghostly but also somehow charming. About 80 per cent of the surviving self-settlers are women in their seventies and eighties, creating a unique world of babushkas, to use a Russian word that means 'grandmother’ but also refers to 'old countrywomen’.

            please, before you make such a wildly inaccurate statement, check out the facts first.  and... read the entire article.  it is a wealth of knowledge about the spirit of these women - one of whom has thyroid cancer.  fortunately, the government gives them a stipend and medicines and health coverage.

            sheesh! THIS is a thriving town?  

            EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

            by edrie on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 12:15:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  you are kidding, right? you DO know why (0+ / 0-)

          "people" are "living in chernobyl?

          it isn't because they have resettled. it is because the cleanup is still going on - workers are allowed in only two weeks at a time due to the high radiation - and they are there to repair the sarcophagus that contains the spill is cracking - it will take 80 million to repair it

          this article on the site "english for beginners" sums up what is going on in simple terms.

          and THIS article from the telegraph tells exactly WHO has returned and why - it is a good, but sad read on the babushkas of chernobyl.

          your somewhat flippant comment

          people do live and work there, Chernobyl that is.  
          doesn't begin to depict the tragedy of an area that received 400 times the radiation of hiroshima - and the tragic impact on the lives of the people who lived there.  trying to equate this to global warming doesn't work - and your attempt at minimizing the impact of such a horrific disaster is counterproductive to ALSO working to alleviate global warming.

          these are not competing disasters (MY disaster is worse than YOUR disaster... neener, neener, neener!) - they are SIMULTANEOUS disasters and all need addressing.

          as long as there remains the "one solution only will work" attitude, we will only have arguments, not solutions.

          EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

          by edrie on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 12:05:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  estimates for cancer from chernobyl (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are unreliable, but identical estimates for deaths from fossil fuel  pollution form the basis for this largely irrelevant but of statical gamesmanship.

  •  Nuclear Power is scary, but much safer than the (7+ / 0-)

    safer fossil fuel alternatives.

    We will need base load, and relying on nuclear is much better than coal or natural gas.

    •  Yes, based on the outdated US (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davidwalters, Odysseus, boji, alain2112

      grid - the maximum solar and wind allowed is about 15%

      Based on the much more sophisticated German efforts in this regard, they propose that a stable grid should be able to accomodate 30 to 35% intermittent input from renewables.

      But still, that leaves a huge hole that must be filled by the likes of nuclear, coal, or natural gas generated electricity.

  •  channeling NNadir? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, offgrid, KenBee

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:08:40 AM PDT

    •  Maybe the old NNadir. (9+ / 0-)

      The new NNadir has recognized that humanity is too stupid to survive, and thus that pointing out the things that were obvious even before Hansen stated them is a waste of time.

      I note that other people, including the Nobel Laureate Burton Richter, smacking down the dumbfuck "renewables will save us" anti-nuke Mark Z. Jacobsen who keeps telling us that even though the 100's of billions of dollars, euros, pesos yen and yuan thrown down the renewable rabbit hole have failed to make this toxic renewable junk a significant form of energy, we just have to keep the faith and everything will be OK.

      Energy Environ. Sci., 2012,5, 8758-8759

      Once again faith has failed, just as it did during the outbreak of the bubonic plague.

      The old NNadir might have written a diary like this one, but not the new, since I've come to understand that the left - with which I've identified - never wants to be out done by the right when it comes to scientific ignorance.

      The new NNadir has been watching the rapid increase in carbon dioxide concentrations since fear, ignorance, selective attention, caused two major nations to shut their largest source of climate change gas free energy, with the result that unprecedented rates of increase are now observed.

      I actually have nothing to say about any of this - certainly nothing like schadenfreud since the people I love will suffer all as much as the stupid people who assured this outcome - other than "Congratulations anti-nukes!!!   Heckuva job!!!!  You must be very, very, very, very, very, very, very proud."

      Jim Hansen's an old man.   I know he cares about his family and their future but it's over.    He can no more save his grandchildren than he could wish away a hurricane.    The time that nuclear energy might have saved something passed at least a decade ago, maybe even longer.

      Thanks though, for the memories.

      •  Sadly, I see little hope. (4+ / 0-)

        We lack even the philosophical tools to confront the challenges coming.

        But perhaps a miracle will occur.

        Good to see you.

        don't always believe what you think

        by claude on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 07:14:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  good to see you here.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        your clever and thoughtful writing always needs to be considered even when it makes my brain hurt.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 12:32:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  To save a few electrons here and there (0+ / 0-)

        maybe you can shorten "new NNadir" to NNNadir?

      •  Germany now is producing almost a quarter (0+ / 0-)

        of electricity requirements from Renewables

        they could easily get to 50%, within 2 years, and they
        could easily get to 85%.

        The real issue is grid management with millions of micro producers with variable output.

        it seems like an exercise in statistical mechanics

        •  Poland would like to thank you for believing... (0+ / 0-)

          this line of incredibly oblivious horseshit.

          Poland boosts electricity exports to Germany.

          Poland, by the way, has the distinction of having the worst polluting coal plant in Europe, at the aptly named city of Belchatow.   Of the 5 worst polluting generating plants in the world, Belchatow is number 4.

          To produce electricity, the German assholes, under the pretense that the Rhine river is going to be struck by a tsunami, dumps more dangerous fossil fuel waste than ever for electricity generation into it's favorite dump, the atmosphere.

          They shut their largest single source of climate change gas free energy, which in 2000 produced 161.121 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity before fear and ignorance was allowed to run wild by people who continuously produce the same useless platitudes over and over and over and over and over and over, usually accompanied by mindless soothsaying.

          In 2011, the German assholes produced 45.1 billion kilowatt hours from their unsustainable wind whirlygigs, despite wasting hundreds of billions of euros to do so, producing the second highest residential electricity prices in Europe, after Denmark.   As average continuous power, this works out to about 5144 MWe, the equivalent of 5 small gas plants

          All of Germany's wind facilities need to be backed up by spinning reserve from gas plants, because of their lack of reliability, which means that they produce less climate change gas free energy than the replacement of 5 gas plants would involve.  

          But Germany has zero interest in shutting gas plants, as evidenced by the fact that their former Chancellor is an employee of Gazprom now, pulling down 600,000 Euros per year.

          In 2011 their toxic solar program produced 19 billion kwh of electricity.  

          Combined, it follows, that this pile of expensive toxic and unsustainable garbage - there are not enough lanthanide mines in China to keep up this ridiculous slow pace - have never produced as much electricity as nuclear energy provided to Germany, nuclear energy which, unlike the Polish coal plants now so happy to ship electricity to Germany, never killed anyone.

          Do let me know when 19 + 45 = 161, will you?

          The data in this post comes from the EIA website, which is never accessed by people who die sich nur mehr belügen wollen - who only want to lie to themselves.

          The EIA spreadsheets can easily be downloaded by anyone not to lazy to look.

          But you can't kid me.   I know very, very, very, very, very, very, very well why the atmosphere is collapsing at a record pace:   Fear and ignorance.

          One of the reasons that anti-nuke "renewables will save us" clowns talk in "percent talk" is to obfuscate.  

          Their neighboring country successfully phased out almost all of the dangerous fossil fuels it used to produce electricity almost two decades ago, completing the task in about 15 years time.

          Germany has no intention to phase out dangerous fossil fuels, and intends to dump its energy wastes - not even counting the radioactive lanthanide mine tailings it left in China to produce its wind garbage - directly into the planetary atmosphere.

          After Germany shut its nuclear plants, along with China, the signature was directly visible in the planetary atmosphere, with 2012 being the second worst year ever recorded at Mauna Loa, and 2013 on track to easily exceed 1998, when the dumb anti-nuke Joe Romm was running the US climate office.

          Heckuva job anti-nukes.   You must be very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very proud.

            •  I just know what I read in scientific papers. (0+ / 0-)

              I know...I know...

              Trade trumps science every time.   It's the reason why a country can actually make its energy policies more disastrous - as Germany did - and still get wild eyed cheering.

              The hatred and disregard for science in modern culture is a big part of the reason that there is no hope whatsoever where environmental issues are concerned.

              Have a nice evening.

              •  The trades have the current news (0+ / 0-)

                it takes a year or two to get anything published in a journal, and most of the journal papers are some minor facet, the broad sweep is in the trades.

                You were referring to what went on in 2011, which is so old news, the interesting story is what went on in 2012.


                Renewables have passed hard coal and nuclear in germany, and is about 18 months away from passing soft coals.

                I don't know why that bothers you so much.

                •  Not really. (0+ / 0-)

                  I've been at this for years.

                  For more than 2 decades I've been hearing that what I report is "old news."

                  The problem is that when the bullshit filters into the analytical literature, what happens is that the bullshit is found to be exactly that, bullshit.

                  The "trades" are simply very sloppy pieces of unreviewed crap put out by journalists.

                  "Passing nuclear" is pretty easy in that coal, oil and gas hellhole in Germany since they shut their nuclear plants in a paroxysm of fear and ignorance.

                  I pointed out that they reduced their overall climate change gas free energy capacity.

                  If I become richer than Warren Buffet, because Warren Buffet loses all his money, I cannot claim that I am suddenly wealthy.

                  Finally, wind and solar will never have external costs as low as nuclear, as is evidenced in just about every "life cycle analysis" paper one reads.

                  If one reads about their externalities, they are not particularly clean, a point that is overlooked precisely because after 50 years of cheering and sucking up ridiculous amounts of money on a planet where two billion people have never seen or operated a toilet bowl, they remain trivial forms of energy.   Between them they do not provide even 2 exajoules of the 520 exajoules of energy that humanity now consumes.

                  I note that the Germans have used what I called the "California solution" for pretending to have abandoned coal, which is to import coal fired power from Eastern Europe.

                  And of course, there's the issue of dangerous natural gas, which - and this applies in Germany's case - is an approach to climate change that is announcing that one is no longer an alcoholic because one has now switched from scotch to wine and beer.   Wine and beer destroy one's liver, and gas destroys one's atmosphere - and in the case of fracked gas - water as well.

                  For one example:  Assessment of Effluent Contaminants from Three Facilities Discharging Marcellus Shale Wastewater to Surface Waters in Pennsylvania

                  It bothers me because I read science journals.  I favor the phase out of all dangerous fossil fuels, and so called "renewable" energy which is no such thing is not a way of phasing out these disasters, but is rather a way to entrench them.

                  The solar and wind industries would collapse in a New York minute without access to gas, and as such are not sustainable and never will be sustainable.  

                  Germany, in particular, disgusts me, particularly as I closely watch the planetary atmosphere die, and it is dying, at a rapidly accelerating pace.

                  I am sick to death from the rote and mindless praise of the huge environmental disaster that the horrid exercise in fear and ignorance that that country's energy policies represent.

                  To me it's rather the equivalent, although probably at a much greater human impact, of the announcement that increased devotion to prayer was the ultimate solution to bubonic plague.

                  I wrote 399 diaries in this space on energy and the environment in this awful space explaining why and how I came to feel this way, and I note that the evidence can be traced in them how I changed my mind on solar and wind, and came to the conclusion that they were in themselves, disasters.

                  This month, by the way, a paper was published suggesting that the entire solar energy industry was been a net consumer rather than a producer of electricity up until as late as 2010.

                  Energy Balance of the Global Photovoltaic (PV) Industry - Is the PV Industry a Net Electricity Producer?

                  This is not a question that the "trades" are equipped to address, since the "trades" are not particularly scientifically literate, relying in general, on reporters who have no scientific training whatsoever.

                  Have a nice day today.

                  •  if PV were so bad (0+ / 0-)

                    they would cost a lot more.

                    that the prices are dropping so fast for both PV and Wind, indicates things are changing.

                    as for these studies that Life-cycle this or that, i'm
                    much more interested in the price points.

  •  i don't think we have the numbers in yet for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    fukushima  radiation in the food chain that will impact long term isn't known and won't be for decades.  cancer, birth defects, miscarriages won't appear or be quantified for years.

    EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

    by edrie on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:23:18 AM PDT

    •  There numbers are in for Chernobyl (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raoul78, alain2112, KenBee

      And they show that the risk from low dose radiation is inflated by the LNT hypothesis. See the main text.

      We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

      by Keith Pickering on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:26:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  what is different with fukushima is the (4+ / 0-)

        contamination of the seawater and the release of unknown amounts of radiation into the food chain.  stanford scientists are now tracking bluefin tuna using fukushima isotopes found in that species.  

        we have NO knowledge of how this will affect the ocean population - from reproductive issues in fish and fowl to the ultimate transference to the human population for the long-term.

        from scientific american claims the level is low enough not to be a "danger", yet, what are they going to say - "uh oh! we're FRIED, folks!"   claims the level is low enough not to be a "danger", yet, what are they going to say - "uh oh! we're FRIED, folks!"  from the introduction and widespread use of radiation in the 50s to the now warning to limit exposure due to lifetime accumulation of the smallest amounts, how WILL the impact of radiation found in fish affect us long term?

        Bluefin tuna were struggling before Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant flooded their spawning grounds with radiation. The fish’s popularity on the sushi platter has plunged population numbers. Now traces of radiation from the nuclear disaster are showing up in the muscles of bluefins off the California coast.
        chernobyl fallout was land and airborne.  fukushima is also ocean carried - we do NOT have a good predictor for that disaster.

        considering ocean water was being used as coolant for the melting core and then it flowed back into the sea, there is no accurate model for what transpired.  it will be future generations that will track that disaster and its resultant effect on the environment - human and otherwise.

        unfortunately for all of us, that genie is so far out of the bottle that it will be well past our lifetimes before the result of the disaster is fully understood.

        EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

        by edrie on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:39:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  we have about a dozen sailors (0+ / 0-)

          from the Reagan suing over radiation exposure.

        •  i would believe SciAm more (0+ / 0-)

          if they hadn't published this article

          "Nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi station in Japan are critically endangered but have not reached full meltdown status. "

          when in reality 3 reactors had melted down, and were in the process of breaching containment that day.

          Tepco and the Japanese Government were utterly parsimonious with the truth, and in general weren't on the same planet as the truth.

          Many analysis which use the Tepco source term releases will be critically undervalued, you either need to figure out the real source term which Tepco, JPG, and US Government didn't want to release or you have to look at health effects and back it out, or sample the environment.

          Given the JPG has banned Greenpeace, i think they have a lot to hide.

          •  look at the date on the article. to go to press, (0+ / 0-)

            the article is done ahead of time - sometimes the physical print/publication time for an article will trump content - the earthquake was 3/11/11 and the comments are 3/15/11 - so, at the time of writing, the full ramification of the disaster had yet to occur.

            also, with scientific american, they don't print "rumor" - they print the facts as are at hand at the time of publication.  i prefer it that way - then, update information - but don't speculate - especially in a scientific journal type of publication.

            i agree with you that there is now a whole lot of hiding going on - but to blame scientific american for attempting to present as clear a picture as possible DURING the event is unfair.

            EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

            by edrie on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 11:56:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  except what had already happened (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:


              Units 1 2 and 3 had already exploded.

              There are critical analysts and there are stenographers.

              As soon as i saw the first unit explode, I knew they were just doomed, and that evacuation out of the plume was the only choice.  

              I stopped believing any of the industry types when they had someone on TV saying "These plants are designed to do this"
              as if it's a good thing.

              They may have been designed to explode but it was never a good thing.

      •  there is data on (0+ / 0-)

        the other side

        yes it's controversial but, if you think it's so safe, would you be willing to feed your kids food from fukushima and chernobyl?

    •  we have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raoul78, Roadbed Guy

      several decades of data, though. Also, we have numbers for the radiation released at Fukushima. It's not like there's nothing to go on.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:29:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  read the scientific american article i linked (4+ / 0-)

        in the post above.

        several decades is insufficient to know the long term effects from reproductive issues/population decline of a species.  

        from that scientific american article,

        a bit more on the actual isotopes found by the scientists at SUNY (stony brook university of new york)

        Madigan and his colleagues found the cesium, but they next needed to see if the levels could tell them anything about the fish’s movements. To test the radioactive tracer idea, Madigan took samples of tissue from 50 fish caught in the waters near San Diego during the summer of last year. He shipped the samples to Stony Brook University, S.U.N.Y., where a colleague analyzed them for cesium levels.

        The two cesium isotopes decay at different rates. Cesium 137 has a half-life of 30.1 years, cesium 134, 2.1 years. The entire Pacific Ocean basin still holds slightly elevated levels of cesium 137 from the nuclear weapons testing that peaked in the 1960s, but the Fukushima power plant is the only source of cesium 134. Elevated levels of cesium 134 therefore would indicate if the California-caught tuna are recent migrants from Japan. By comparing the ratio of the two isotopes, Madigan and his colleagues were able tell approximately how recently the migrants had arrived. With its shorter half-life, cesium 134 levels fall faster than those of cesium 137. A higher ratio of 134 to 137 therefore indicates a more recent immigrant.

        and, for the uninitiated, "half-life" for radioactive decaymeans that for cesium 134, the potency of the isotopes will decay by HALF in 30.1 years, then in another 30.1 years, another "half" of the potency will diminish - so we're stuck with this for more than "a few decades".

        the damage to dna damage due to radioactivity is also increased with mercury exposure (ring any bells? fish? mercury levels?)

        worried yet?  if not, you should be.

        add to this the fact that many california nuclear plants are built on major earthquake fault lines and are of the same older technology and design as fukushima

        one last point here... we STILL do not have the means to safely store and secure and deactivate the waste products from nuclear plants across the country.  burying those spent fuels under a mountain near a major fault line?  done! (yucca mountain)

        and, even the current practice of burying the spent fuel in 40' deep pools of water near the plants is now being questioned and challenged and ordered changed by the courts.

        we don't have a "tiger by the tail" - we are trying to hold onto a fire-breathing dragon!  

        nuclear is NOT the answer until we can find a way to safely defuse the waste issue!

        EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

        by edrie on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:58:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Solar and wind (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    have never killed anyone.

    Stop investing in fossil fuels and nukes.

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:30:29 AM PDT

  •  We aren't allowed to talk about this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, Gary Norton

    Spending money on oil kills people in a way that we aren't allowed to talk about.

    "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

    by Utahrd on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:41:02 AM PDT

    •  Yes, and the numbers are in (0+ / 0-)

      daily of the deaths in pursuit of fossil fuels.

    •  Huh? I think we're totally allowed to talk (0+ / 0-)

      about it - for example Wikipedia is not shy about pointing out that there are 500,000 fossil fuel deaths in the USA each year (which is well above the non-controversial consensus of 30,000).

      It's just that somehow this doesn't have the resonance of 1 or 2 possible deaths caused by nuclear power or something similar to that.

      •  err....the 30,000 deaths a year are atributed by (3+ / 0-)

        EPA to coal deaths alone (exclusive of mining accidents). Pollution deaths are maybe 10 times that number but I don't have time to actually check it out right now.

        Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

        by davidwalters on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:25:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No problem, it's no big deal to consult the (0+ / 0-)

          href="">relevant Wiki page

          The World Health Organization states that 2.4 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution, with 1.5 million of these deaths attributable to indoor air pollution.[15] "Epidemiological studies suggest that more than 500,000 Americans die each year from cardiopulmonary disease linked to breathing fine particle air pollution.

  •  Even if nuclear's numbers were off (10+ / 0-)

    by a factor of 10 it would have still saved over 1 million more deaths that would have resulted from burning coal. People tend to forget that nuclear has displaced coal, not wind, solar or gas. Only in the past few years in the U.S. has gas displaced coal and nuclear.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:52:48 AM PDT

    •  Yes, nuclear power reminds me of the truism (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raoul78, alain2112, ebohlman

      about forms of government, wherein democracy is painted as the worst possible format except for all the other options . ..

      •  That was a good one. (9+ / 0-)

        Putting it more broadly, fossil fuel generation and usage (travel/transporation) is quite large, world wide, perhaps millions dead (also excluding wars for fossil).

        Known deaths for nuclear is a lot lower, significantly lower to make it statistically irrrelevant and thus making it ideal for displacing on a MW per MW basis, fossil fuel for generation.

        I've never known James Hansen to BS anyone. He's a good scientist and knows cherry picked data when he sees it. He sees nuclear as ONE of the most effective means to fight climate change if deployed massively. He understands the need to displace baseload power and this is a theme of his talks on nuclear on YouTube.

        Hansen is just one of a slew of climate change activists coming over to nuclear. One of the reasons for this is because he's seen no data that can show renewables (excluding geothermal and hydro) to displace baseload fossil fuel.

        Take this paper seriously.

        Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

        by davidwalters on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:30:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's only partially true (0+ / 0-)
          I've never known James Hansen to BS anyone
          insofar as he is on record as saying the the Alberta Tarsands constitutes a "Game Over" scenario.

          When in fact, burning ALL OF THE RECOVERABLE TARSANDS will only increase global warming by about 0.06 degrees celsius - or about 1% of the total amount projected from human fossil fuel related emissions.

          IMHO that is total bullshit.  Definitely, if you can go from 100% to 99%, that is a good thing.

          But still,  in the overall scheme of things, it is utterly irrelevant.

        •  why nuclear is bad (0+ / 0-)

          1) the level of capital investment per megawatt is off the scale to do safely.  We can do it badly, now and even then, the
          industry requires massive public sector investment to keep going. (Price-Anderson and Loans)

          2) There is no end game for waste management. 70 years in,  Hanford is a wreck, industrial sites are contaminated, power plants are hip deep in spent fuel and low level waste.

          3) The cost of a critical failure is socially unacceptable.  
          If we built 1000 times as many nuclear plants, we would be seeing, plant meltdowns and explosions about every week.
          We would go from an explosion/meltdown every 20 years to one weekly.

          4) The concentration of uranium ores is falling off, the easy to get stuff has been gotten, that means blending Mixed oxide Plutonium/Uranium which appears to have messy
          failure modes.

  •  What book? Was it "The Conservative Brain"? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raoul78, KenBee

    The author looked at the cognitive psychology research into conservatives's weird tendency not just to ignore evidence but to actively change their minds in the wrong direction.

    To be scrupulously fair, the author had a chapter or two at the back about things liberals usually get wrong.

    One of them was nuclear power.

    The big difference the author found between liberals and conservatives is that liberals were willing and able to listen to evidence and update their beliefs.

    Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

    by Dogs are fuzzy on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:56:04 PM PDT

  •  coal kills people when it's working perfectly (13+ / 0-)

    Nuclear generally only kills people when it fails catastrophically.  I'd rather have nukes than coal, and I'd rather have solar and wind than nukes.

    Chernobyl is like Godwin's Law for nuclear engineers: everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, so while it's a valid absolute worst case couldn't fuck it up more if you tried scenario, it's not considered representative of what could actually happen in your average reactor, so arguing that every nuclear reactor out there is a Chernobyl  waiting to happen is seen as fundamentally ignorant.

    No containment structure, high positive void coefficient, flammable graphite moderator, graphite-tipped control rods, ignorance of the reactor's many design flaws (classified as state secrets), conducting an experiment at the time (versus business as usual), using the junior night shift (who were not trained to conduct the experiment) instead of the senior day shift, deliberate ignoring and even outright disabling of every safety feature the reactor had, and so on.

    We could solve the spent fuel problem with reprocessing and fast-spectrum "burner" reactors.  You can't change the total amount of radioactivity in high-level waste, but you can change how long it lasts.

    •  So just shut them down at the end of their design (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Uncle Moji, adrianrf, Meteor Blades

      lifetimes.  Nuketopians concern for the planet would seem much more convincing if they didn't regularly provide cover for 'sharpening the pencils' and other practices that jettison safety and openness for the sake of operator profits and industry PR.  Somehow otherwise rational people who bemoan regulatory capture at financial or even environmental agencies are blind to the possibility that NRC, until recently tasked with both promotion and safety of civilian production of plutonium, is also willing to cut corners on safety.  They produce handwaving cigarette-science papers to prove radioactive materials don't escape plants, and if they do they're not bad for you, and if they were, they're still better than coal. Making up a number of lives saved by using nuclear power is a pure propaganda exercise, even if it did not totally neglect the long-term mortality due by the tons of plutonium and other waste we have put into the environment.

      At this point economics have left nuclear plants in the rearview mirror, though the costs and deaths will accumulate for another 100 centuries, long after the operators have taken their meager profits and died.

      •  They don't have design "lifetimes". (5+ / 0-)

        They have licensing terms. That's it. Any plant that uses steam or hydro gets shutdown when they are proven unsafe because of wear and tear...and this includes before the license runs out if it's dangerous.

        Most reactors being built now are designed from scratch to last at least 60 years, including the 4 under way in the US.

        The issue is that coal should be everyone's priority to shutdown then gas. I would gladly pay even more outrageous subsidies to wind and solar if they could close a coal plant or two in the US.

        The point about nuclear is that they don't even have to be 'perfect', they only have to be better than the alternative, which is climate change fueled by fossil fuel.

        Countries are building ALL sorts of non/low carbon generations including nuclear. Get used to it.

        Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

        by davidwalters on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 02:23:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  davidf, you know that guessing as to when it's too (0+ / 0-)

          unsafe or costly to repair is a total crap shoot, especially when you get business people involved instead of scientists and engineers. Scientists and engineers in the njuclear business mostly, not always the paragons of truth but less skilled at lying hopefully than the business people..

            Diablo Canyon was built over unknown earthquake faults, they have no fricking clue what will happen, they say it's designed to withstand a 7.x...and that was before it's withstandingness was exposed to seawater corrosion for 25, no let's extend the life to 50, no 75 years more.

          Fact is these things are built by people and people are going to fuck them up sooner or later if mother nature doesn't do it first.

          The life extensions to many of these ancient designs is really scary the failures and problems are not doing anything to reassure a trusting population, and in the long term screwing safe nuclear power's future.  I guess I am o0bliquely referring to the plant that was just shut down from an accident.

          I keep hearing about research this and buried modular that, but still with these older plants.......

          I guess my point is that these licenses are granted and reviewed by mostly business people with some fully vetted scientists and engineers....except for the non-vetted  grannies and teachers and babies at the gates with their quaint little picket signs. And yay them!

          This machine kills Fascists.

          by KenBee on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 12:47:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, the licenses are revnewed by qualified (0+ / 0-)

            engineers. The plants do not break or cause problem because of their age, the only one that came close to this was Davis-Besse and that plant was only 20 years old. 104 nukes in the US haven't caused a single death (save for work related accidents like the recent one in Arkansas).

            If you can prove the "sooner or later" or show an example, that would be swell, because right now the record is sterling and should remain that way if past practice is any indication.

            DCNPP...the fault is there. Unfortunate, maybe. Likely it is of no significance. DCNPP, like in many parts of the country, experiences 600 or so small temblers every year. There is no indication this fault has moved in 100,000 years. I'm not worried.

            Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

            by davidwalters on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:45:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  had david besse not been caught by accident (0+ / 0-)

              that failure would have been spectacular,  and
              it really underlies the flaw in your argument.

              a relatively young reactor had a critical failure develop due to a minor plumbing leak in a secondary system.

              That problem developed early in life, and damn near blew the reactor to crap

    •  how many graphite reactors are out there? (0+ / 0-)

      count them up,  it will bother you.

  •  The bottom line for this article is that when (8+ / 0-)

    the grandfather of climate change activism says we ought to go nuclear, you ought to at least read the paper. This debate is now wide ranging all over the internet.

    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

    by davidwalters on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 02:25:06 PM PDT

  •  Regarding the suggestion that Chernobyl deaths (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adrianrf, Sandino

    due to radiation exposure is a closed case at 43, a claimed figure that skews the "safety" data on nuclear power:

    The Expert Group concluded that there may be up to 4 000 additional cancer deaths among the three highest exposed groups over their lifetime (240 000 liquidators; 116 000 evacuees and the 270 000 residents of the SCZs). Since more than 120 000 people in these three groups may eventually die of cancer, the additional cancer deaths from radiation exposure correspond to 3-4% above the normal incidence of cancers from all causes.

    Projections concerning cancer deaths among the five million residents of areas with radioactive caesium deposition of 37 kBq/m2 in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine are much less certain because they are exposed to doses slightly above natural background radiation levels. Predictions, generally based on the LNT model, suggest that up to 5 000 additional cancer deaths may occur in this population from radiation exposure, or about 0.6% of the cancer deaths expected in this population due to other causes. Again, these numbers only provide an indication of the likely impact of the accident because of the important uncertainties listed above.

    I don't mind diaries that point out the dangers in fossil fuels, they are the most widely used fuels and have a dangerous and deadly track record.  My problem with your diary (and I could not read the totality of Hansen's article through the link you provided because it is access limited) is that it suggests a safety certainty about the impact of the still relatively new and low use nuclear power generation.  The pollyanna-ishness of the safety claims about commercial nuclear power seems foolish and premature.  

    I would not be opposed to nuclear power plants if they were built and run by the US Navy using standards currently in place for nuclear sub or ship plants, unfortunately, greed in the commercial field, and the willingness of "regulatory" agencies to certify plants beyond the original "final" safe operation life expectancies of 40 years suggests greed will trump a fairly respectable US track record on nuclear power plants, and it's only a matter of time.  

    Re: Fukushima, it is interesting to me that the fact that whole swaths of formerly productive land, ancient towns and farms, land that has been part of families for hundreds and hundreds of years and is now considered contaminated and unfit to habitation is not factored into the impacts of nuclear accidents.

    And for what it's worth, my brother is part of the US nuclear navy as an engineer, and he won't step foot in a commercial plant.  He spends 6 days a week in navy nuclear plants without reservation.  

    Despite your diary and Hansen's article, the safety case is not conclusive or closed.  We have more to learn.

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 02:37:08 PM PDT

    •  My link didn't work, here it is to the WHO article (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

      by Uncle Moji on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 02:40:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The key phrase there is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alain2112, Roadbed Guy

      "based on the LNT model." Which is highly suspect.

      Access to Hansen's paper is restricted only insofar as it requires free registration. Register free, the paper is yours.

      We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

      by Keith Pickering on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 04:53:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another thing ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alain2112, KenBee

      ... is that even if the WHO's LNT model of Chernobyl deaths is accurate (and as Hansen and his references make clear, that's highly dubious) -- then the end result is that nuclear power is about as safe as wind, instead of being twice as safe as wind.

      We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

      by Keith Pickering on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 04:55:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  here but in reference to your comment above (0+ / 0-)

        comparing deaths

        There was a death at the plant, I'll be wrong but I'll go with Arkansas for now... I see no mention of it anywhere here oddly..well, not oddly as dkos was the only place that was carrying the story at the time I think. (but did you see? Kim K's lip flapped..again!)

        A man was killed when they were using a crane to shift a 500 ton armature and the crane or floor collapsed and killed him, and injured 8 others.

        It also took out the outside power and inside controls and scrammed the other unit that was operating at 100% at the time.
          It was reported that the core I think was being cooled by convection, which meant no water circulation, just steam venting. Sounds really bad...

        I was looking to see more here, but...

        anyway. shorter to the point: installation and maintenance deaths are certainly of interest, but attaching them to the industry seems very fraught with complications appropriate to the technology..

        Is wind too unsafe for maintenance? Is Solar? Is Nuclear?

        If I had a question it would be that: how are these statistics  alike and different to even compare, and wouldn't deaths to those not in the industry be more comparable if that isn't done now?

        Anyway, I think I probably overthunked it...but interesting diary, well done, and thanks.


        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 01:02:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This was an accident obviously like any other (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          in a large plant. Or, like the kind experienced by workers climbing wind turbines who..fall...or something falls on them. At my power plant in California, we had a craine operator killed when a steel beam came down on top of him. Very ugly. This has zero to do with the safety of nuclear energy. It has to do with work rules. Period.

          It doesn't sound 'dangerous' in that the plant actually did function the way it was supposed to with aux. diesel pumps coming on line, as they always do.

          If you look at the stats...maybe someone has a link, more people have died from industrial work related accidents than wind or solar installers. I would say, this is not an arguement against wind or solar, it just means that unionization of the work force needs to be accomplished to oversee the work rules.

          Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

          by davidwalters on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:49:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Science is a wonderful place where ideas (0+ / 0-)

        are proposed and fiercely debated and then tested.  That Hansen and his reference believe the LNT model is dubious does not make it wrong, it makes it a theory subject to debate, that's reasonable.  What I find curious is that you seem to believe that the matter is settled fact, and it's not.  No scientist could make that claim, and you shouldn't either.  

        Again, what I find difficult in your diary, in your retelling of a scientific claim, is that you appear to puff up controversy and scientific disagreement as settled fact.  I have as much issue with the chicken little anti nuclear  diaries that claim that there is no reason or purpose for nuclear power generation, that it's all just bad and horrible and we should stop talking about it.   I don't believe nuclear power should be off the table, which is why I continue to strongly support a nuclear navy.  

        Hansen has a point of view, so do you.  I agree that we must explore every reasonable option to save this planet from climate disaster.  We know fossil fuels will kill us and our planet.  I admire those, like you, who realize this is our generation's time bomb, and we have to act.  I just wish these discussions were less entrenched and more open.  We really have to solve this together.  

        "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

        by Uncle Moji on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 02:19:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As Walter Mondale said (0+ / 0-)

          "Where's the beef?"

          In fact, there is a growing amount of evidence that LNT simply doesn't work at low doses; Hansen cited a couple of these in his paper. And epidemiological evidence that LNT does work at low doses is simply non-existent.

          I'm all in favor of scientific debate, but the debate should be based on evidence. LNT was a fine conservative assumption back in the day when we didn't have low dose data. Now that we do,  LNT doesn't hold up at doses below 100 mSv.

          We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

          by Keith Pickering on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:43:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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