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Sandpit

October 19th, 2010

Another thread for lengthy debates, off-topic exchanges, long posts on regular hobby-horses etc.

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  1. October 22nd, 2010 at 19:44 | #1

    Well let’s see here now. According to Chris Warren:

    Chris Warren :Background levels of natural radiation cause background levels of cancer.

    Nonetheless:

    Chris Warren :

    5,000 mRem/y [= 50 mSv/y] is recognised as not causing health risk.
    See: [web.princeton.edu/sites/ehs/radsafeguide/rsg_app_d.htm]

    Which one of those comments more accurately represents your views on the risk of exposure to low levels of ionising radiation, Chris?

  2. Chris Warren
    October 22nd, 2010 at 20:06 | #2

    Don’t ask me, ask whoever sets these standards.

    Background natural radiation will always cause background levels of cancer, no matter what these are.

    I do not have a view about the 5,000 mRem, so I assume you did not bother to check the source.

    It was not my assessment.

  3. October 22nd, 2010 at 20:30 | #3

    Chris Warren :Background natural radiation will always cause background levels of cancer, no matter what these are.

    That statement suggests you think that all cancers result from exposure to radiation. It is known that there are many different carcinogens in our environment, and the evidence is that radiation is a rather weak carcinogen. It appears that it must be delivered in high doses to be carcingenic at all.

  4. Chris O’Neill
    October 22nd, 2010 at 20:46 | #4

    @Chris Warren

    Fool…..
    ARPANSA included U238.
    I’ll say it again ….
    ARPANSA included U238.

    Who was the fool who said:

    U238 decay series
    Its a bit hard to seal nuclear waste in canisters if the decay series includes a gas.

    That fool was talking about nuclear waste that has a decay series that includes a gas immediately after mentioning U238 decay series. Maybe the fool meant two different decay series. Who knows? Only the fool apparently.

    My issue is nuclear waste, irrespective of its composition, producing gas, irrespective of the type of gas, as it decays.
    U238 was just an example of a decay series, going to a gas at some point, and U238 was used only because “ARPANSA included U238.”

    As I pointed out earlier, if U238 actually gets into nuclear “waste” (which it doesn’t because it’s too valuable for that) then it’s not going to produce any more Radon than it would have where it came from. As such its Radon generation is generally of no more concern than it was when it was in the ground.

    And if you think Radon generation from U238 is “an example” of gas produced by fission waste products then you’re wrong because those fission products do not produce Radon or any gas as problematical as Radon.

    Other gases are released by other decay series – eg Kr.

    Kr-85 is a fission product rather than a member of a decay series so it comes into existence immediately that the fission occurs, not years later in a decay product. It is nothing like the problem of Radon. If it really was much of a problem then they could store it and let it decay with its 11 year half-life. But they don’t do that because, unlike Radon, its decay product is stable.

    You are simply irrelevant.

    You simply don’t know what you’re talking about.

  5. Chris Warren
    October 22nd, 2010 at 20:48 | #5

    @Finrod

    I think you’ve lost the plot somewhere or other.

    If you really think:

    It appears that it must be delivered in high doses to be carcingenic at all.

    Then produce evidence. Otherwise – who cares what people think “appears” to be anything?

    I am fed up with no-evidence, pro-nuke opinion, concepts, and contexts that cannot deal with the realities of their own dreams.

  6. Chris Warren
    October 22nd, 2010 at 21:04 | #6

    @Chris O’Neill

    You are chewing your own tail.

    I have no interest in U238 as such. This has been explained to you already.

    You would be better off providing interesting information on how gases are contained in canisters.

    This may be possible, who knows, I don’t, but it needs clarification by at least one of these pro-nukers.

    I do not care what the specific gas is. This has been explained.

    So take a panadol, and think of something useful to contribute.

  7. October 22nd, 2010 at 21:16 | #8
  8. Chris Warren
    October 22nd, 2010 at 22:35 | #9

    Having been through the climate change-global cooling debacle, and nicotine science, I am not going to get too excited about academic paper wars.

    I can only suggest you send the papers to the CSIRO, and the Cancer Council, or apply for an ARC grant to deal with the full literature properly.

    One site needs a password, and the other is a .gov domain so this could be worth reading. However on a quick glance:

    The graph of Myron Pollycove’s at Figure 2, lacks impact because the data could have been affected by the fact that the atomic bomb was dropped around 55 years ago, so those over 55 who survived to more recent times, may well have a lower mortality “rate”, compared to a normal population.

    In other words some part of this cohort may have been selected by the past 55 years. Those with a greater propensity to die – have already died and drop out of the sample.

    Figure 5 is also weak, given the confidence intervals for ionizing radiation caused deaths, and also given possible different characteristics of workers selected for nuclear work compared to general duties workers.

    Anyway – the issue is for CSIRO or Cancer Council to see whether there is anything substantial.

  9. Chris O’Neill
    October 23rd, 2010 at 00:35 | #10

    @Chris Warren

    You would be better off providing interesting information on how gases are contained in canisters.

    You just don’t get it do you? It is simply not necessary to contain gases generated by fission products in canisters. Take your own advice, take a panadol, and think about how inappropriate and irrelevant your choice of example is.

  10. Ernestine Gross
    October 23rd, 2010 at 07:50 | #11

    Finrod :More stuff.
    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/24368147/Introduction-to-Low-Level-Radiation-Effects-for-15PBNC

    You should be careful in disseminating papers of this kind on blog-sites for a variety of reasons. For example:
    1. The research method is not described.
    2. The assertion is made that there is a popular belief that radiation is damaging to health at any level. I don’t know anybody who holds this belief. For example, everybody I know knows that there is natural radiation which varies by location. Moreover, taking something not associated with the “nuclear industry”, sun light, everybody I know knows that some exposure to sunlight is very important to health but too much of it is ‘bad’, including cancer causing. There is no evidence in the paper that there is anybody, in particular in Europe, who holds the asserted belief, but it is stated that this belief is used by people, particularly in Europe to in some way give the nuclear industry a hard time.
    3. The paper is said to be a conference paper. It is one thing to present a paper in this form at a conference where members of the audience can ask questions – for example on the research method and on exact results. It is another to disseminate this paper on blog-sites to a general audience.

  11. Chris Warren
    October 23rd, 2010 at 07:53 | #12

    Chris O’Neill :
    @Chris Warren

    You would be better off providing interesting information on how gases are contained in canisters.

    Now the truth comes out ….

    It is simply not necessary to contain gases generated by fission products in canisters.

    So what are these gases? Are they contained in solution? or allowed to escape?

    On what basis do you make this general statement.

    I suppose you think that all the tritium leaking from reactors is also in the category, “not necessary to contain”.

    So what is the basis of “not necessary to contain”?

    Is there literature on this?

  12. October 23rd, 2010 at 08:04 | #13

    Ernestine Gross :2. The assertion is made that there is a popular belief that radiation is damaging to health at any level. I don’t know anybody who holds this belief.

    Chris Warren apparently holds this belief, and it is the foundation of the linear-no-threshold model.

  13. Ernestine Gross
    October 23rd, 2010 at 08:10 | #14

    Finrod :Here’s another one.
    http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/1998/Suppl-1/363-368pollycove/full.html

    This February 1998 paper seems to be part of a systematic research program involving a linear and a non-linear model used in specialist areas of public health. This looks to me like normal research activity aimed at refining specialists’ understanding of something of scientific interest.

    I would be very surprised if the authorities and research institutes in Australia, in Europe, in the USA and elsewhere wouldn’t be aware of and participate in this research program.

  14. Ernestine Gross
    October 23rd, 2010 at 08:17 | #15

    Finrod :

    Ernestine Gross :2. The assertion is made that there is a popular belief that radiation is damaging to health at any level. I don’t know anybody who holds this belief.

    Chris Warren apparently holds this belief, and it is the foundation of the linear-no-threshold model.

    With due respect to you and subject to the qualification that I have never met Chris Warren, I am very confident in saying that Chris Warren is no fool.

    Blog conversations have their limits. To illustrate the potential for silly word games on blog-sites, I note here that the term you used, namely “at any level” includes the level “zero”.

  15. October 23rd, 2010 at 08:36 | #16

    Ernestine Gross :With due respect to you and subject to the qualification that I have never met Chris Warren, I am very confident in saying that Chris Warren is no fool.

    Noted. Doubtless we are assessed at least partly on our own stated assessments of others.

  16. jquiggin
    October 23rd, 2010 at 20:17 | #17

    tests

  17. Ronald Brak
    October 24th, 2010 at 09:55 | #18

    Peter Lang, I had a look at Cost and Quantity of Greenhouse Emissions Avoided by Wind Farms and on page 8 you wrote, “Back-up for wind (assumed 50% of OCGT).” But, as I have mentioned, even if wind were continuously backed up by gas spinning reserve the emissions would only be a fraction of this amount. Even if gas spinning reserve equal to 100% of nameplate wind capacity was constantly used emissions would be less than your figure.

  18. Chris O’Neill
    October 24th, 2010 at 10:20 | #19

    @Chris Warren

    You would be better off providing interesting information on how gases are contained in canisters.

    Now the truth comes out ….

    Promises, promises.

    It is simply not necessary to contain gases generated by fission products in canisters.

    So what are these gases?

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the only gas emitted in any significant quantity by BY fission products is He4. Tritium IS a fission product so can be dealt with before long-lived fission products are disposed of.

  19. Ernestine Gross
    October 24th, 2010 at 13:43 | #20

    Chris O’Neill,

    What are the distinguishing characteristica of low level, medium level, and high level nuclear waste in terms of radioactive emissions harmful to humans and other life forms, and decay time?

  20. Ernestine Gross
    October 25th, 2010 at 08:17 | #21

    Peter Lang and associates,

    Any suggestions for the Premier of NSW on what to do with 6000 tonnes of presumably ‘low level’ nuclear waste from Hunters HIll?

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/keneally-rules-out-kemps-creek-as-dump-for-hunters-hill-nwaste-20101024-16z8t.html

  21. Chris O’Neill
    October 25th, 2010 at 12:48 | #22

    @Ernestine Gross

    What are the distinguishing characteristica of low level, medium level, and high level nuclear waste in terms of radioactive emissions harmful to humans and other life forms, and decay time?

    I’m sure you could find definitions somewhere. Why are you asking me?

  22. Ernestine Gross
    October 25th, 2010 at 15:23 | #23

    @Chris O’Neill

    I can’t find an answer to my question readily and certainly not in Tim Macknay’s book. There are of course technical manuals for specialists. I am not one of them and this is why I rely on advice from people among my circle of friends who have appropriate qualifications.

    Why you? I seem to recall that you mentioned somewhere among these 12 pages that waste is the problem. I assumed you had digested technical material such that you could answer my question.

  23. Chris O’Neill
    October 25th, 2010 at 16:32 | #24

    @Ernestine Gross

    I seem to recall that you mentioned somewhere among these 12 pages that waste is the problem. I assumed you had digested technical material such that you could answer my question.

    I’m not that interested in names, I’m more interested in what the most serious problems are which is waste with a very long half-life time which is difficult to prevent escaping into the environment indefinitely. I guess you might call this high level waste but the “level” of the waste is not the most important issue.

  24. Tim Macknay
    October 25th, 2010 at 16:35 | #25

    @Ernestine Gross

    I can’t find an answer to my question readily and certainly not in Tim Macknay’s book.

    What book are you referring to, Ernestine? I have never published a book, personally. I do recall recommending a book on climate change by A. Barrie Pittock on this blog several years ago, though.

  25. Ernestine Gross
    October 25th, 2010 at 18:26 | #26

    @Tim Macknay

    I am awfully sorry, Tim, I meant to write David MacKay’s book (Sustainable Energie without the Hot Air). Thank you very much for picking this error.

  26. Tim Macknay
    October 25th, 2010 at 18:31 | #27

    Thanks for the clarification, Ernestine – given the similarity in surnames, I can see how it happened.

  27. quokka
    October 25th, 2010 at 21:14 | #28

    Nuclear waste: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_level_waste

    Anybody concerned with long term storage of nuclear waste should welcome, indeed advocate, the development of fast reactors with pyroprocessing technologies which produce a couple of orders of magnitude less waste composed of mostly of fission products with short half lives rendering them safe in a few hundred years.

    Much cheaper than space elevators and with the rather useful attribute of producing vast amounts of energy for the foreseeable future. Fast reactors destroy the longer lived actinides – forever.

  28. Ernestine Gross
    October 26th, 2010 at 10:13 | #29

    quokka recommends that the solution to this:

    “Liquid high level waste is typically held temporarily in underground tanks pending vitrification. Most of the high level waste created by the Manhattan project and the weapons programs of the cold war exists in this form because funding for further processing was typically not part of the original weapons programs. Both spent nuclear fuel and vitrified waste are considered [1] as suitable forms for long term disposal, after a period of temporary storage in the case of spent nuclear fuel.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_level_waste

    is to create more of the same, subject to some transformation: “Anybody concerned with long term storage of nuclear waste should welcome, indeed advocate, the development of fast reactors with pyroprocessing technologies which produce a couple of orders of magnitude less waste composed of mostly of fission products with short half lives rendering them safe in a few hundred years.”

    Its called the management of solving a problem by means of greating more problems in the hope that the original problem (funding for waste disposal was not budgeted for) will be forgotten. Sometimes this form of management is marketed under the phrase ‘moving forward’.

  29. October 26th, 2010 at 13:52 | #30

    @Ernestine Gross

    But funding for the original waste disposal was budgeted for.

  30. Ernestine Gross
    October 26th, 2010 at 17:34 | #31

    @Finrod

    If you were correct then there is no problem and quokka’s point is invalid.

  31. October 26th, 2010 at 17:54 | #32

    @Ernestine Gross

    You’re conflating waste disposal from the weapons program with waste disposal from the civilian nuclear power program. I don’t know what the US is currently planning to do with it’s military radwaste (the WIPP facility, I think), but civilian nuclear power operators in the US have been required to place a small surcharge on the price of the electricity they sell and provide it to a government fund for the disposal of their nuclear waste. This fund has accumulated quite some cash over the decades, although I seem to recall it being reported that the US government has in fact been spending it on whatever it had a mind to at the time. In short, the utilities have already paid for the cost of disposal, but the US government has failed to live up to its obligations in this respect.

    Nonetheless, the disposal has indeed already been budgeted for. And in fact paid for. Just not delivered.

  32. quokka
    October 26th, 2010 at 17:57 | #33

    @Ernestine Gross

    Its called the management of solving a problem by means of greating more problems in the hope that the original problem (funding for waste disposal was not budgeted for) will be forgotten. Sometimes this form of management is marketed under the phrase ‘moving forward’.

    Wrong. Fast reactors can be fueled from a start charge obtained by reprocessing spent nuclear fuel and fertile material such as existing stocks of depleted uranium. They would generate about one tonne of high level waste per year. This waste would be almost all fission products with short half lives vastly reducing the need for very long term storage or disposal requirements. It could be done without further uranium mining – there is enough stuff in storage.

    The preferred method of reprocessing – pyroprocessing- cannot separate out weapons grade plutonium from other actinides.

    France, Sth Korea, India, Japan and possibly Russia and China will eventually follow this path over the coming decades.

    The energy for an individual for a lifetime could be generated from a piece of uranium or thorium the size of a golf ball and the waste dealt with in a container the size of a coke can. There is no other form of electricity generation that can hold a candle to that in terms of low environmental impact.

  33. Ernestine Gross
    October 26th, 2010 at 20:59 | #34

    Finrod and quokka, I shall wait to hear when you two are being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace and for Physics. Until such time I say good-bye and wish you well.

  34. quokka
    October 26th, 2010 at 22:04 | #35

    Lest anybody doubt the physical basis of my assertion above of a “lifetime of energy in the palm of your hand” they should read a straight forward summary here: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/04/22/ifr-fad-4/ and note that it is endorsed by, amongst others, Dr. Yoon Chang, former General Manager of the Integral Fast Reactor Program at the US Argonne National Laboratory.

  35. Chris O’Neill
    October 27th, 2010 at 07:18 | #36

    @Ernestine Gross

    Finrod and quokka, I shall wait to hear when you two are being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace and for Physics. Until such time I say good-bye and wish you well.

    Obviously, he has no more argument.

  36. October 27th, 2010 at 09:04 | #37

    @Ernestine Gross

    Perhaps Quokka and I can jointly share the Nobel Prize for Using Our Particular Stock Of Knowledge To Search The Internet For Relevent Information On An Important Subject And Interpreting The Results Of Our Research Sensibly.

  37. October 28th, 2010 at 16:45 | #38

    I don’t know what the US is currently planning to do with it’s military radwaste (the WIPP facility, I think)

    Incidentally… WIPP is already operating, and it has been operating for some years now. It is receiving substantial amounts of radioactive waste and disposing of it.

    It’s not something that might be maybe happening at some point in the future… it’s already in business today, isolating substantial amounts of radioactive waste permanently in a deep geological repository.

    Also, I believe that the US government does (or did) intend to put some radioactive waste from weapons materials production into Yucca Mountain, but most of it goes into WIPP. The US Government was to pay for a portion of Yucca Mountain themselves, corresponding to the portion of space they would use for weapons waste, but the majority of it would be paid for by the nuclear power utilities via the money collected in the nuclear waste fund, corresponding to the portion of the space that would be used for civilian nuclear power waste.

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