Monday Message Board

It’s time again for the Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. Lengthy side discussions to the sandpit, please.

91 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. I like that Barry Brook is now speculating that the plutonium that has been detected is probably a remnant of nuclear bomb tests. I’m not a nuclear scientist, but I thought things like plutonium were fuel for a nuclear explosion rather than an important by-product? Is evidence of a successful nuclear test left in the form of plutonium concentrations? Other than two impromptu and unauthorized tests conducted toward the end of WWII, I wasn’t aware that Japan had been a significant testing ground for nuclear weapons? If it had been depleted uranium found, then the explanation would be that some tanks had been doing target practice.

    That said, I am sure everything at the nuclear plant in Japan is still totally under control, and that there is absolutely no cause for concern, following yet another hysterical media beat up.

  2. @Freelander
    We txpayers are paying Barry’s salary? Why? You can see why some people cant stand academics and think they are a waste of time and money. Barry gives the whole academic profession a bad reputation because he is obviously politically and ideologically biased and that infects his research but he is getting away with it.

  3. @Alice

    Are they busy trying to out crazy each other at the University of Adelaide, is it something in the water, or does dementia come early over there?

  4. Freelander, we don’t “do” fluoride over here, at least as an issue, like in certain other parts.
    And there are one or two nice social libs in the arts/ humanites faculty.

  5. So you don’t subscribe to the theory that the push to ‘fluoridation’ was really driven by the needs of the nuclear industry to get rid of an otherwise troublesome by-product?

    “Cro Magnon Lumen”

  6. If they had waited until they came up with the great idea of depleted uranium tipped shells, they could have put the put the fluoride in as well, and had shells that pierce tank armour and protect your teeth from cavities at the same time?

    What a breakthrough that would have been!

  7. Freelander :
    I like that Barry Brook is now speculating that the plutonium that has been detected is probably a remnant of nuclear bomb tests.

    Brook’s claim (as reported by Freelander) would appear to be contradicted by statements such as this:

    WASHINGTON, March 29 (Reuters) – The discovery of plutonium in the soil near Japan’s damaged nuclear reactors should not be a major surprise, unless the levels are higher than normal, a U.S. Energy Department official said on Tuesday.

    “All operating reactors … build up plutonium during the course of operation, so finding plutonium that is derived in the operating reactors or the spent fuel pools would not be regarded as a major surprise,” Peter Lyons, of the Energy Department’s nuclear energy office, at a hearing for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee.

    Does Brooks propose the plutonium levels have not increased due to the accident?

    Given that both bombs were dropped in the South West of Japan, and the reactor accident is in the North East it require quite a coincidence for the Plutonium levels to be raised near the reactor and not elsewhere widely across the country.

    Freelander, does Brooks make a serious effort at pushing this proposal?

    So why have they taken so long to detect it? They have had safety surveys before now right?

  8. @Freelander

    But other facts contradict this hypothesis. Brooks started out much more balanced in his assessment to nuclear, now he’s saying stuff that seemingly will hurt his credibility.

    Brooks doesn’t fall easily into a simple narrative for me. He’s smart, convincing, and now wrecking his cred.

  9. Why do otherwise intelligent people get suckered into absurd beliefs? I think a fair bit of it has to do with early intellectual training. If early intellectual training includes indoctrination in any of the received religious belief systems then the person is psychologically set up to accept, as truth, assertions without empirical evidence, especially from cultural authority figures.

    Concomittantly, logical thinking and rigorous assessment of empirical evidence are de-emphasised. In layman’s terms, people trained to accept received relgions are trained with an inbuilt bias to believe bulldust. They also tend to lack an effective bulldust detector which is built around logic, scientific literacy, quantitative analysis skills, respect for empirical evidence and a broad philosophical understanding with backing in comparative religous and cultural studies.

    The problem is the acute hold that religion and superstition (are they any different?) still have on much of the human race.

  10. Given the onsided censorship raging through BraveNewClimate I thought I’d cross-post here – from BNC’s open threads:

    Nuclear Corrosion of Standards
    Nuclear Toxicity

    Typically, commercial competition opposes regulation and has an inherent tendency to ‘cut costs’.

    As more and more nuclear concentrate, fuel, and waste are introduced into the environment, policy makers will be forced to derogate their own standards. We see this in recent commercial pressures to export uranium to a non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty nation (India). Unfortunately, allowing India to breakout of NPT structures has led to North Korea seeking the same treatment.

    In the United States, the Department of Energy awards contracts to manufacture plutonium-based (P-MOX) fuel for nuclear reactors, even though;

    …the increase in risk to the public … exceeds recently established Nuclear regulatory Commissoin (NRC) guidelines

    See: Edwin S. Lyman (2000), “Public Health Risks of Substituting Mixed-Oxide For Uranium Fuel in Pressurized-Water Reactors”, Science & Global Security, 2000, Volume 9, pp.1–47

    The key issue, for Lyman, is that spent P-MOX fuel contains large inventories of long-lived alpha-emitters with relatively high radiotoxicity.

    Lyman’s paper also provides a good illustration how bureaucrats corrode their own standards. Risk increase from nukes can be permitted in America given that:

    …when proposed changes result in an increase in … risk, the increases should be small …

    [see: Lyman p21]

    If the increase in (internal) risk in Large Release Frequency (LERF) is less than 10^-7 per reactor/year, an application is waved-on through.

    For higher increments of increased risk, only those that result in a gross risk of 10^-5 R/Y, are blocked.

    If continued, this is a recipe for disaster particularly if the number of reactor years increases as fossils are phased out.

    The world has between 400 – 500 reactors and is on a path to achieve 1000 in due course.

    If American-accepted risk of LERF is 10^5 R/Y this is 10^2 per year assuming 1,000 reactors. This is internal risk only.

    Of course this will multiply enormously if fossil fuels are not phased-out in favour of renewables.

    Of course earthquakes, military attacks (eg Israel), and sabotage are not included – these are external risks.

  11. @jakerman

    Intellect has never been a barrier to being a complete idiot; in fact, if anything a decent intellect can give one the capacity to believe absurdities that lesser mortal would reject out of hand.

    Brook is an idiot, albeit a clever one, but still an idiot. An idiot but definitely not a savant.

  12. Of course if we assume that the world needs around 10,000 GW [@2060] a huge radiation risk emerges for humanity.

    From Table 6.4 at: it is clear that world electric capacity has soared from 2,000GW (million Kw) in 1982 to 4,000GW in 2006 – a doubling period of 24 years.

    Our pro-nuclear proponents expect that by 2060 there will be 10,000 GW nuclear capacity.


    However the 2000 Probabilistic Risk Analysis for a large release of high radio toxicity is bench-marked at an event risk of 10^-5 per reactor year [].

    As the number of reactor years increases the likelihood of such a large release increases.

    In fact it appears that a large release can be expected every 10 years after 2060.


    Obviously building near 200 reactors a year to achieve 10,000 GW [2010] will result in any probability for one (1GW) reactor/year blowing out.

    Probability is tricky. The probability of anyone else having your birthdate is 1/365.
    But the probability of any person having the same birthdate as someone else (given 20 people) is around 10 times greater.

    So a probabilistic risk analysis for a single specific plant is not relevant for “any-of-many” scenario.

    LERF of 10^-5 per Reactor Year [a 24 hrs measurement] is inadequate over 10,000 reactors over 100 years.

    This signals a possible large radiation release around every 10 years. Future population growth will worsen this picture.

    This will ratchet the global background radiation in a continuous trend that will continue to increase forever.

    Naturally, Third World countries will have lower standards, and it is not clear what the LERF for Japan should be placed at now.

    Anyway it seems clear that the nuclear case is FUBAR in the interests of humanity from this risk alone.

    Any continuous trend for increasing background radiation eventually destroys all life on the planet.


    Posted on Barry Brooks site but it was censored by 50%

  13. Latest New Perspective on Fukushima

    I think you will find the Washington Post report by y David Nakamura and Michael Alison Chandler, [Saturday, April 2, 5:07 AM] has an interesting ‘new perspective’

    TEPCO officials revealed Thursday:

    … that most of their dosimeters had been destroyed by the tsunami. Sometimes only group leaders were given a badge. Tepco officials on Friday said they had obtained more badges and that all workers would wear one.

    So these nuclear engineers could not get a proper distribution of dosimeters to all workers until when? If emergency workers do not have dosimeters then how can anyone monitor their radiation exposure?

    But this is not all ….

    The same report indicates there are several areas continuing to radiate at over 1 sievert. Obviously TEPCO knows which areas, but somehow the information is not in the Washington Post.

    Is there any official reports on these areas with ongoing over 1 sievert radiation?

    If it is 1 sievert now; is this a recent increase or the results of a decrease?

    See: Washington Post

  14. @Freelander
    Brook is dangerously obsessed fanatic. The censorship that is going on at his site is pathetic now. Under the guise of “moderation” he is insisting on tranches of brand new posting rules.

    Insert Barry’s respone to Chris Warrens full post at 39 above immediately after where CHris says “is inadequate over 10,000 reactors over 100 years. Thats as far as Chris got. The rest of the above post was deleted with the comment by Brooks

    “DELETED unsubstantiated extrapolations – Chris, if you want to make your remaining points, please justify them appropriately]”

    Good on you Chris and a few others that bat away in BNC including a Japanese person who lives 75K from the plant and is watching every day for information on radiation levels who suggested that BNC site was understating the danger levels and playing lightly with the truth.
    Anyway – I didnt have to wait for his response to my question that was censored re “when they thought the concrete trucks were coming” (and it did occur to me that perhaps Barry didnt want to consider the obvious that the concrete trucks will ultimately be pumping concrete instead of water – selective intelligence reigns supreme at BNC).

    The concrete trucks are coming.

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