175 thoughts on “New nuclear sandpit

  1. @Hermit

    Q. How many kwh will each house need apart from water heating?

    A. My back of the envelope calculations allowed for a solar hot water system at each dwelling plus further energy capacity equal to 4 times the solar water heating capacity. This is explicitly approx. 25% more power than the houses are using currently. I’ll leave it to others to do the kwh calculations.

    Q. Are they charging an electric car for example?
    A. I allowed only for current electricity use plus 25% for inefficiencies and growth.

    Q. What form of overnight electric energy storage is proposed? Will there be a buffer for a week of cloud and rain?

    A. I made no explicit allowance for this in my simple example and this is a significant problem. Not all overnight storage of energy is”electric energy” storage by which you seem to mean chemical potential energy storage in batteries. Hot water is an energy store as latent heat energy or kinetic energy. Overnight heating could come from extra hot water storage.

    Energy stores to generate electricity overnight and during cloudy weeks are a more difficult issue. Many solutions are possible theoretically but may founder on issues of high cost or low efficiency. Very possibly, the solution will be a hybrid grid with solutions like hydro stations at our dams and extra barrages below the dams. Excess power on sunny days is used to pump water back into the dams. At night it can be released back down to the barrages to produce hydro power. West of the city or on the Downs we could have supplementary solar convection towers (up to 1000 m high) which can generate 24/7 due air tempeature differentials (which are actually higher at night). This last example shows that solar can generate power 24/7.

    Q. Cost Issues
    A. As a rule of thumb I would say, if we can afford (financially) to generate power by fossil fuels and all its attentendant infrastructure then we can afford to generate power by solar/wind and all its attendant infrastructure. If we can afford transport by myriad tiny modules (cars) which is highly inefficient then we can afford transport by mass transit supported by renewable infrastucture.

    Using fossils is like using your capital up without generating any interest income. Using renewables is like finding an inverstment that gives enough interest to allow you to live on that interest stream without eating up your capital. The question is do we have enough fossil capital left to do the up front energy bankroll of the changeover to reweables? Do we have enough climate stability left to do it too? I don’t know the answer to those questions.

    We have to make the effort to changeover to renewables and find out during the effort whether it is feasible or not. We do not have the luxury of debating further. We must start and hope we have enough time and energy to do it. There are NO other options left.

  2. @Ikonoclast
    Rather than do elaborate calculations based on assumptions it might be easier to defer to commercial websites such as this about the cost of living off grid with PV. This assumes that economies of scale are little different between singles houses and entire suburbs. The cost before rebates of a high end system of 12 kwh per day (ie water heating is separate, cars run on petrol) with 4 days of battery backup is ~$70k. Thus the cost for a suburb of 160,000 people would be $11.2 bn. The levelised cost per kwh depends on the panel life span and the batteries.

    However as a lower bound we could take say $70k per home at 10% or $7k per year. That’s for 365 X 12 kwh which works out at $1.60 per kwh. That’s not battler territory, more like a millionaire living on a yacht.

  3. By the way, there should be a footnote to the Japan earthquakes. Not only did the earth quake demolish a very large nuclear installation by induced tsunami, we also saw an entire oil tank farm be destroyed as fired spread starting from one smaller collapsed tank which caught fire. The thought here being just how good is our engineering in all manner of volatile energy production facilities.

    This is very much the thought that is reverberating through the halls of government around the world. And regardless of whether the likes of Tony Abbott care to believe it our future climate is going to be far more hostile to our engineering achievements, and world leaders are starting to get the point. I think the discovery of strontium 90 spread far a field in Japan is the silver nail in the nuclear industry coffin.

  4. @BilB


    And the amounts of Sr-90 are tiny and no threat to health. According to the above report, the highest concentration found anywhere was 250 becquerels per kg of soil. A banana has an activity of about 15 becquerels. The chance of eating 20 bananas far outweighs the chance of eating 1 kg of soil or even the equivalent food produced from 1 kg of soil.

    The main and only significant contaminants are Cesium 134 and 137.

  5. The Fukishima accident is beyond meltdown. Melt-through has now been all but confirmed for up to three reactors. A melt-through is even worse and more akin to the “China Syndrome” of movie legend. Although, I suppose the Japanese would call it Downunder Syndrome.


    I wonder how the misguided nuclear advocates at BNC (Building New Chernobyls) will attempt to spin this into something good?

  6. Also, Japan doubles radiation release estimates and finds plutonium contamination in a (no doubt deserted) town near the facility.


    The news keeps getting worse and worse as is always the case with (1) nuclear accidents and (2) cover-up attempts.

    Nuclear power (for civilian purposes) is dead and buried in a lead-lined coffin. Long live renewables, the ONLY plan possible!

  7. Ikonoclast my reply to your solar suburb proposal must have fallen down the moderation mineshaft because of a commercial link. Google websites about the cost of living off grid with PV which we can take as a first estimate of your proposal. It assumes that economies of scale are little different between single houses and entire suburbs. The cost before rebates of a high end system of 12 kwh per day (ie water heating is separate, the car runs on petrol) with 4 days of battery backup is ~$70k. Thus the cost for a suburb of 160,000 people or 32,000 houses would be $2.2 bn. However a family of 5 might need to be non-TV watching vegans to get by on 12 kwh per day. The levelised cost per kwh depends on the panel life span and the batteries.

    As a lower bound we could take say $70k per home at 10% or $7k per year. That’s for 365 X 12 kwh which works out at $1.60 per kwh. That’s not battler territory, more like a millionaire living on a yacht.

    Better for the nuclear fuel to go down into bedrock not up in the air. Two Fukushima workers got nearly 600 millisieverts of radiation and should be OK. 25,000 people died from things other than radiation.

  8. @Ikonoclast

    Surely, and despite some issues, it is not nuclear power that is dead and buried, but uranium fueled nuclear power.

    In 100 years or so, fusion may emerge. Thorium may also prove its virtues.

    Uranium needs to be crossed-out of every national agenda. However more consideration needs to be applied to non-U nuclear technology wrt 7 key themes:

    -diversion into weapons
    -democratic accountability
    -preferable renewable substitutes.

    There is also the controversy that, given the current stock of uranium waste, should this be used to generate power if the amount of waste is thereby reduced?

    It appears that renewables are only practical assuming zero population growth – but people pushing various renewables are not following this line.

  9. @Hermit
    Your numbers are far too pessimistic. My folks live off the grid in a rural area outside Townsville. Just 6 months ago they installed a 15 Kwh/day system (2.5kw peak * 6) with electric boosted solar hot water for $32 000 unsubsidized. They aren’t sure of their exact battery capacity, but despite having gone through the wettest summer in 30 years, with more cloudy days than they have ever seen, they never came close to running out of juice. Interestingly, even under the darkest cloud their system always registers panel output above 900 watts. They say their system is far too big for their current needs. Of course, it is just the two of them. I admit they don’t have an airconditioner or an electric car.

    Still, hopefully some real-world context is useful here.

  10. That is a good example, Sam. Thanks for the cloudy day reality check.

    And where this is all headed is even more exciting. The GenIIPV system that I am involved with is rated as a nominal 75Kwhr/day system with 14 kwhr/day capacity even on cloudy days. The supply cost will be around $35k, which when supplied on a new house will be included in the mortgage finance. This system will supply sufficient energy to fully charge 2 electric vehicles such as the VW Bulli


    twice a week and supply all of the electrical needs for a family of 4. Surplus electricity will be sold via local grids rather than the broader electrical grid. We see super capacitors, with a potential price of $300 per Kwhr, as being the most likely long term storage medium, yet to be proven.


  11. @Chris Warren
    “It appears that renewables are only practical assuming zero population growth – but people pushing various renewables are not following this line.”

    I for one am following this line of zero population growth, but until someone capable is willing to figure out how the economics of ZPG might work, no major political group will touch it with a 40 foot barge pole. And then there is the religious factor: those that believe in Man’s dominion over nature and divine inheritance etc don’t tend to see ZPG as remotely worth entertaining, it being an anathema to their beliefs. Having said that, being religious doesn’t automatically put people in this camp; it is just that a number of religious politicians are very much of this view, on all sides of politics.

    Renewables, in my opinion, will run into just the same sort of trouble that non-renewables will, if population growth isn’t curbed. There is no law that technological advances happen fast enough to undo the damage of other technological advances being taken up by an ever growing population, etc. It is just that so far, we have been able to rely on digging sh*t up and burning it, without regard for the environment blow-back (which once upon a time, was small or localised because human population was also small-ish). Even as EPA clean air standards improve things on the one hand, exponentially increasing population and uptake of polluting technologies undoes the advances made.

    So, no, on this point I don’t agree that those pushing renewables aren’t somehow aware of the problems of population growth. There are many who think as I do on this matter, and some of them bless this blog, BTW.

  12. @Donald Oats

    Absolutely! We need to stabilise and even possibly reduce population. If we don’t do it, nature will and it will be far uglier than human self-control. It’s strange really that you need a licence to drive a car but not a licence to have children. In a badly overpopulated world it may get to that. In my opinion, there is no inherent right to have children on a badly over-populated planet.

    Implementing it would be a problem. Personally, I would advocate a two child policy as in two children per birth mother. This would lead to slow decline as it would not quite match replacement rate. People dont play ball then, it’s sterilisation after any third child (for biological father too if he can be found) and significant financial penalties.

    I’ll wait for the hornet’s nest of disapproval now, lol. But frankly, we are going to need the guts for tough measures soon or as I said nature will hit us much, much harder and it will be much much uglier.

  13. As BilB said, global population growth is in decline and the prospects for population stabilising and ultimately reducing are very good.

    It appears that renewables are only practical assuming zero population growth – but people pushing various renewables are not following this line.

    The claim that renewables are “only practical assuming zero population growth” makes no sense.

    The reason few people discussion population growth is because, for some reason or another, it is currently outside the ‘Overton Window’ and anyone who brings it up is howled down as an extremist.

  14. I am brave enough to not fear being howled down when I am using a pseudonym. Population growth has to be faced as an issue and stopped as an actuality. I agree with Deep Green advocates albeit I follow it without any spiritual tinge.

    “Proponents of deep ecology believe that the world does not exist as a resource to be freely exploited by humans. The ethics of deep ecology hold that a whole system is superior to any of its parts. They offer an eight-tier platform to elucidate their claims:

    1. The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves… These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.

    2. Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.

    3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy VITAL (emphasis added) human needs.

    4. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of non-human life requires such a decrease.

    5. Present human interference with the non-human world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.

    6. Policies must therefore be changed. These policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.

    7. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent value) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between big and great.

    8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to try to implement the necessary changes.” – Wikipedia.

    That is what I subscribe to in theory, Deep Green thinking. To my shame, my current practice falls well short of this ideal.

  15. It is indeed good that population growth rate is decreasing, but it is still distinctly positive. Should stabilisation happen at 8.5 to 9 billion, then that is clearly better than at 10 or higher, and I for one will be thankful if stabilisation happens at a lower figure than straight extrapolation (of the growth rate) might predict.

    Renewables should be part of the equation (of reducing global environmental impacts, especially AGW) irrespective of population growth rate, that I think is clear.

  16. Total fertility rate is one of the success stories of the last century. World TFR is currently 2.55 and dropping sharply, and the global replacement rate is 2.33. By 2020 it should be down to that figure.

    Of course, there is still the problem of demographic momentum, but it is great to see that the demographic transition occurs almost everywhere and is not specific to western cultures. There is a lot of very easy work to be done by aid agencies in meeting the ever-increasing need for contraceptives by poor women around the world. With the US so beholden to religious interests on this issue, there is huge scope for others fill the gap.

    Donate to Mary Stopes International (google it, my link will set off the moderator). Every condom they distribute represents about 25kg of food, a Kl of fresh water, and a ton of CO_2 worth of avoided demand.

  17. Now that the obvious truth of a melt “through” comes apparent, that Barry Brook, and his crew at BNC, must confront their own odious conduct in the episode.

    His antics represent a very clear example of misuse of science – all jumbled-up into a biased cheer squad for nuclear technology.

    We saw exactly the same with nicotine, and now the University of Adelaide has been compromised. They have lent their imprimatur to Brooks BNC blog.

    ABC Lateline now claims that the IAEA always knew that the exclusion zone should have been 80km and that Austrian monitors knew that radiation was much higher. So where on BNC do you find these facts?

    It is clear the nuclear industry is just a stream of liars and compromised academics without the wit to balance the interests of humanity against their own madness.

    There is no way a nuclear reactor can melt through without local technicians knowing.

  18. Have to agree with you Chris. It’s par for the course for corporate capitalists. They are total selfish liars and oppressors. That’s who they are, that’s what they do.

  19. @Ikonoclast

    The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves… These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.

    It’s a lovely thought — the sort of thing one intones because it seems as if it ought be so — axiomatic. Yet I cannot begin to imagine how it can be so, outside the grant of existence of an entity very much like a deity. Eternality of consciousness ensures that all things can be valued, whether we humans vakue them or not. Of course, if it’s the deity that attaches value to things we finite humans don’t and can’t perceive, then the value is better expressed not as intrinsic, as inhering in things, but as an expression of the consciousness of the deity. Then, what is apt must be judged by this standard, and the struggle becomes one in which humans decide what it means to serve the deity at any monent in time. That just can’t go anywhere useful, and paradoxically, because we get no direct access to the deity, we’re back with how humans interpret reality — in this case the mind of “god”.

    A universe full of things existed before there was human consciousness, and will, one assumes, linger long after we have vanished as a species up until the time the universe arrives at heat death. Yet I can’t imagine thst this can have value, except as it bears upon human consciousness, or some consciousness at least equivalent to ours.

  20. I’ve said plenty enough on nuclear issues on this site not to feel the need to add anything much here. I will add though that the remarks above going to the integrity of Professor Brook are unwarranted and intemperate. Brook became a conduit during the Fukushima events for information on the development of the crisis. He did so in circumstances where reliable and salient data were hard to find, and in a context where the impulse of the popular media was to err on the side of panic, with all of the “fire in a crowded theatre” risks that this would entail. With the benefit of hindsight, it seems that this event, disastrous as it was, was utterly dwarfed by the magnitude of the impact of the tsunami itself. Had it been possible to have totally isolated the plant to the ground on which it stood, there’d have been a lot less fear, and the uncertainty costs would have been far lower, the disruption less and so forth, but the toll in injury would not have been greatly reduced. Tsunamis are devastating on a scale that 40-year-old power plants even run by corrupt effectively one-party states are not.

    It was always clear that Fukushima was badly located or configured — even when being specified in the 1960s. We now know that by 1998, TEPCO had all but acknowledged this but probably fancied that since the plant was near the end of its effective life, that they could handball the problem forward. That was much the cheaper course, and less disruptive to the flow of power. They gambled and went within a whisker of getting away with it. They were almost right and thus, bearing in mind the downside risk, disastrously wrong. Now politics will decide this matter, and the costs of clearing up the problem will escalate. There’s now the probability that new fossil HC plants will replace this capacity adding to a new and much more serious problem. This is a failure of human systems, much as was/is AGW.

  21. @Fran Barlow
    Brook long ago became a vocal conduit for unreliable and rosily optimistic information on nuclear technology Fran and it was very much the case that his view was also slanted rosily during the recent Fukushima crisis with quite a few critics who raised concerns in BNC silenced by the modus operandi of moderator deletion for spurious reasons. People like Brook and the so called “experts” they promote (like Tom Blees currently) are part of the problem.
    Yes BNC is like big tobacco. A blogsite specifically for the dissemination of a pro industry view.

  22. @Fran Barlow

    If I can use a clumsy new phrase (which will never catch on), I would say Fran that your ontological position on this issue consists of “anthropocentric consciousness-ism”.

    You say, “I can’t imagine that this (the materially existent) can have value, except as it bears upon human consciousness, or some consciousness at least equivalent to ours.”

    Here you make explicit your view that only human consciousness or its equivalent can endow (presumably by conscious intellectual apprehension) value on anything. I would only agree if you were saying only human consciousness can endow human values on anything.

    Firstly, you deny the value inhering in (and consequent capability of endowing value to an object) the consciousness of other animals which for mammals but not only mammals is a clear reality unless you want to deny the broad similarities of the mammalian brain outside perhaps of the cerebral cortex. Feeling (physical and emotional feeling) is at least important as thinking in endowing value. Indeed it is more central to the endowmant of value as humans can be made aware if they have certian types of dissociative episodes and then return to more normal mental functioning.

    But I wont derail this thread further at his point.

  23. I’ll just add, that perhaps a better phrase for Fran’s ontological position is anthropocentric solipsism.

  24. Freelander :Someone has decided to apply Bayes to the question “What is the risk of another Fukushima, Chernobyl, or Three Mile Island?”
    The paper is at:http://www.sigmadewe.com/fileadmin/user_upload/pdf-Dateien/Bayes_and_GAUs_engl.pdf

    I copy the link because the flood of words, issued by a subsequent commenter, may result in the link remaining unread. But the content of this short paper on the application of Bayesian decision making to the estimation of another nuclear power plant meltdown in the next few years is, in my professional opinion, much more important than the endless communications from promoters of nuclear power.

    I strongly recommend Barry Brook and the readers of his pro-nuke blogsite to study it.

  25. @Ikonoclast

    Here you make explicit your view that only human consciousness or its equivalent can endow (presumably by conscious intellectual apprehension) value on anything. I would only agree if you were saying only human consciousness can endow human values on anything.

    Here we see the bootstrapping problem. Is it possible for a human to have something other than human consciousness? Isn’t value an exclusively human concept? Do other sentients grasp their place in time and space? Which ones? Does a biome care about its condition? It’s hard to credit.

    Unless a meeting of the minds with other sentients and their “culture” is possible, how could we begin to say your ostensible difference (created by resort to the adjective “human”) is no more than an empty distinction?

  26. The integrity of the Brook blog is entirely at question. It is full of propaganda such as:

    …we are chasing shadows with ‘The Environmentalist Religion’ running rampant. It wouldn’t be such a big issue if these people weren’t so influential as to completely swamp the old left with new hopes of socialist planning and then feed this to politicians. This Clique determines who/what people read in the public press and thus they also frame the debate in the country.

    [“Sean De Boo”, on 8 June 2011 at 12:14 AM]

    But if others reply in similar terms they get deleted, blocked, moderated, banned and censored.

    So now we get Fran talking about “integrity”. This is a low-grade argument of very last resort.

    If Fran had a serious interest in integrity, all she has to do is show where she raised this issue on the BNC blog.

    Why here? why now? She is ‘riding shotgun’ for the nukaholics.

    Contrary to Fran’s assertion Brook was not:

    a conduit during the Fukushima events for information on the development of the crisis.

    He was a conduit for TEPCO and associated sources. He never provided the information on the huge radiation plume emanating from Fukushima (provided by the French) and he never provided the information on high readings collected by the Austrians.

    Brook never tested the information he was republishing with suitable ‘integrity’. Constantly he republished TEPCO data of radiation readings well removed from the site and upwind as indicative of events.

    Brook represents exactly what happens when industry lobbying gets sliced into university scholarship. Through harbouring this sort of one-dimensional glossy, self-affirming output the University of Adelaide has lost credibility.

    The BNC blog represents everything that is wrong with both modern corporatised scholarship and nuclear fanaticism.

    Chernobyl is still costing the nation several percentages of GDP, Fukushima compensation, cleanup and decontamination of exclusion zone etc will probably cost Japan a percent or so of GDP. The real costs of nuclear only becomes apparent after a class action by victims, but this will probably be blocked by the linkage between business and government.

    Just go back and read BNC and all the inflammatory cries of “hype” and “scaremongering” etc. etc.

    Fran simply does not know what integrity even means.

  27. Fran, for what reason do you care about what other humans desire? I give you the same reason to care about what non-human animals desire.

  28. @Sam

    I care about what they desire precisely because and to the extent that I expect them to care about mine. It’s a Golden Rule thing. With animals it’s a little trickier precisely because a meeting of the minds or even a common language is impossible. I have to make inferences, and perhaps speciously, anthropomorphise.

    Yet if there were no humans in the universe, or our analogs, why and how would physical events in the universe matter?

  29. Just heard that they have found out that the Japanese reactor had a meltdown. However, ‘meltdown’ is so twentieth century, so they are calling this a ‘melt-through’. The uranium melted all the way through to the earth. Or down, if you want to be old fashioned about it.

    What’s a little radiation between friends?

  30. What about mentally retarded humans then? Ones with language abilities less than dogs or non-human primates? Do they have no value?

    I’m saying that for all things that matter on a moral level, many non-human animals are “human analogs.” Their emotional lives, while much less complex than a human’s are as obviously real to them as the inner life of a person.

  31. @Chris Warren

    At the time, there were parts of the BNC blog that were dedicated to news about the data and these were ringfenced carefully to prevent threadjacking. Moreover, given the sheer volume of stuff being offered a number of moderators assisted Brook and inevitably, such things can lead to a breakdown in moderation consistency. There was no grand plot to silence anyone — just the normal usages that follow when people who have jobs to go to do extra stuff in their discretionary time.

    You plainly are very emotionally invested in both the matter of nuclear power and IIRC, your experience of your dealing at BNC, and this seems to be colouring your commentary above. I reject your allegations of unethical conduct by Professor Brook and those assisting him and of course your claims that I lack a grasp of integrity issues.

    Nuclear power is neither a good technology nor an evil one. It’s just another technology. It ought to be considered in just the same way any other technology that promises utility to humans — by examining its value in a given setting. Plainly, Fukushima, as it was configured and maintained, was a poor idea. It wasn’t as poor as Chernobyl, but the gamble was a poor trade, given the data available in the early 1960s. Had their not been an unhealthy regime attached to it, action would have happened on this long ago — perhaps resituating the diesel generator, reinforcing sea walls etc if not actually decommissioning and moving the plant some place better. As it turns out, the orginal design actually lowered its elevation increasing the risk but making feedwater cheaper.

    What you don’t explain is what, in the mid-sixties, Japan might have done rather than Fukushima, and expressly own the consequences of that solution. That’s what someone striving for integrity ought to do.

  32. @Sam

    We treat the disabled with as much care and regard as we would ourselves expect were we to fall into such a condition. That’s obvious isn’t it?

    The fact that the emtional lives on NHAs are real to them is pertinent because “real to them” is a value processed by beings capable of empathy. We imagine ourselves being affirmed or fearful or safe or well-fed, or in pain and react accordingly. We resolve uncertainty by mapping our own sentiments to them.

  33. Quoka @4

    You said

    “According to the above report, the highest concentration found ANYWHERE was 250 becquerels per kg of soil. A banana has an activity of about 15 becquerels”

    The report said

    “The highest strontium contamination OUTSIDE THE EXCLUSION ZONE was found 29 kilometers west northwest of the plant in the town of Namie”

    Do you see the difference?

  34. @Fran Barlow
    The most extreme version of moral solipsism is that I (the philosopher) am the only true moral being in a universe full of zombies and only my desires matter. You don’t go that far, you say that anyone you can interact with intellectually is probably another fellow moral being, and so their desires all matter too.

    You then say “I can’t interact with non-human animals intellectually, and I am suspicious that my own emotional feeling that there is something there is merely wishful projection. Therefore I will treat animals as if they are not moral beings.” However, there are humans with a lower intellectual ability than some animals. I say that if you see the latter as moral beings, and they score lower on any moral/intellectual test than the former, then your test fails transitivity, and is based on mere speciesism.

  35. Fran

    All threads were threadjacked by the pro-nuke crowd.

    There was no breakdown – it was imposed censorship.

    You are obviously very emotionally invested in the nuclear industry and as you are probably still grieving over your loss, have yet to see the writing on the wall. Simply rejecting claims is typical of the BNC crew and this does not help you at all.

    You we not asked to reject or not reject. You were asked – if your interest in integrity is honest – where on BNC did you raise this issue? People raising integrity in such opportunist manners, expose their own difficulties.

    Trying to hide the issue behind some alternative project of explaining “…what, in the mid-sixties, Japan might have done rather than Fukushima, and expressly own the consequences of that solution” is a low grade propagandist ploy.

    If you want to pretend that BNC was a conduit for information that was fair, balanced, reasonable, accurate, or even useful, then you need to explain why it was only Japanese industry statements plus cheer-squad commentary, and not the other information that was available:



    …the Austrians, who used the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) monitoring data, the test ban treaty stations in the Northern Hemisphere, they determined within the first week to 10 days, that the contamination levels around Fukushima, within 20 kilometres, were probably going to be higher than that of Chernobyl. Furthermore, they could calculate, using their computer modelling, out to what the contamination levels were going to be out to 200 kilometres. Now, this is the Austrians.

    [PETER KARAMOSKOS – ABC Lateline, 10 June 2011]

    So-called scientists have produced evidence for racial inequality, nicotine safety, intelligent design, and now nuclear wonderment. All of these are onesided servile corruptions of scholarship, all lack integrity and base their survival on one-dimensional discourse, fuelled by industry lobbying or government dogma and protected by censorship, cover-up and apologists.

    If you cannot see any issue with integrity over the BNC conduct, then you have no understanding of this issue.

    If you can see some issue with itegrity over BNC conduct, then please show where you raised it with BNC?

    If not, why raise precisely this issue here and now?

  36. @Sam

    Sam, I think you’ve nailed it. Fran’s position is solipsistic. Admittedly, the argument shades off into a very difficult and abtruse arena which we can nonetheless assess well if we are adroit enough. Fran alludes to it in pondering the meaning or value of the objective non-conscious existence of inanimate matter/energy if there is no consciousness to feel, apprehend or think about it; the meaning of the existence of object without subject.

    However, I think one can mount a good argument that real objective existence matters (no pun intended) before, beside and after conscious apprehension of it. After the big bang, we can with an atheistic assumption postulate that matter/energy existed but no consciousness or feeling to apprehend it. This objective existence of matter/energy led eventually to humans and human consciousness not by design nor by determinism but because ( as is clearly proven after the event) it was an empirical possibility contained in the “potential cloud” (no better phrase) of quantum and other uncertainties inherent in the existent matter/energy.

    This objective existence had a “potential value” (important phrase) to generate humans just as my parents had a potential value to generate me before I existed. In each case a potential value which leads to real value must ontologically be an existent and in this case pre-existent value in its own right.

  37. Here is BNC Brook posing:

    Some people have recently expressed surprise, disappointment, anguish, horror, accusations of ‘bias’ or ‘censorship’, whatever, at the fact that their comments on other threads on BNC are under moderation, and others are deleted. I make no apologies for that. This is my blog, and whilst I welcome a wide range of views, and you are quite within your rights to disagree with me, I DO NOT accept comments that break the commenting rules. Not only is this discourteous to me and the rest of the community here, it also undermines your own credibility. I have particular short patience these days for comments which are ad hominems, that is, are direct criticism of, or speculation on the motives of, the person making the comment rather than on the content of their statements.

    Here is his practice. Letting his nuke-mates post:

    @bchtd1parrot & the rest of the antinuclear squad posting here (and on other sites):

    The question now is do the eco-radicals of today tone down the nonsense and become part of the conversation, or do they wish to see themselves marginalized, left with only the obsessed demanding the impossible.

    [DV82XL, on 21 March 2011 at 10:12 PM]

    Another example of criticising, motives not the content …..

    The environmentalist interviewed basically invoked Windscale, TMI, & Chernobyl (if not by name) as “proof” nuclear energy is unsafe despite what nuclear engineers say, and said “you can measure what’s on the outside, but you can’t measure the radiation that’s inside the children” – classic fearmongering, I thought , invoking the “think of the children” meme, even my wife commented on it;

    [Bern, on 21 March 2011 at 10:22 PM]

    “Classic fearmongering” – is about the only response these folks have to the problem of radiation entering growing children.

    Here is Barry Brook criticising the ABC 4corners:

    I was also disappointed that no indication was given of the lack of risk to the public.

    [Barry Brook, on 21 March 2011 at 10:30 PM]

    Pure one-dimensional, misinformed dogma. TEPCO propaganda.

    Here is one poor soul complaining about deleted posts:

    In my view it was entirely relevant and in accordance with the guidelines. Evidently the moderator(s) disagreed.

    Not expecting this, I did not keep a copy.

    It was deleted, I was put on moderation and subsequent posts were not published.

    [Arthur, on 21 March 2011 at 10:59 PM]

    And when any professional counter view was expressed, a huge attack is posted on BNC. For example when a member of US Nuclear Regulatory Commission tried to get himself heard:

    We have all seen or read NRC commissioner Jaczko comments about reactor 4?s SFP running dry and Japan’s subsequent rather forceful denial of his allegations.

    Now to be very clear, I am not addressing the issue of who was right or wrong. We will not know that for quite awhile. My issue transcends that. Who was right or wrong is irrelevant to my comment.

    There has been much discussion about the quality of information, confusing information, and withholding of information (mainly directed at TEPCO and the Japanese government.

    In light of the above, am I the only one appalled at the FUD that developed out of Jaczko’s sensational pronouncement and his absolute refusal to provide any details whatsoever as to how the NRC came to that conclusion? Of all the FUD that has come out of this, I think this one is way up there.

    [NR99, on 22 March 2011 at 12:57 AM]

    Tagging as FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) is typical and all that the nukaholics can do.

    Then you can always tag views as “politically motivated” (provided you are a nukaholic)

    I know that we have previously discussed the differences between engineered safety and politically motivated “safety measures” and their cost implications.

    [Douglas Wise, on 22 March 2011 at 2:31 AM]

    Here is another example of the pro-nuke posts that were not deleted, when anti-nuke responses were:

    Which of course is the real reason for this diatribe. Too bad for you that this event was not the disaster you and others anticipated, your disappointment is palpable, albeit utterly amoral. This is not the end of nuclear power, and the more you try to spin it, the lower your credibility is going to sink. I am going to take a good deal of pleasure dismembering the argument that I know are coming from the antinuclear zealots in the coming months, because they will bury themselves with their own hyperbole.

    [DV82XL, on 22 March 2011 at 3:43 AM]

    Other posters were bullied by having their posts corrupted with inappropriate replacements such as:

    .[deleted deliberate distortion of facts]

    For example:

    For me it is horrific, I can’t come up with a better word.[deleted deliberate distortion of facts]I really think those who are pro nuclear, especially those who work in the industry, are making a serious mistake to downplay the horror and gravity of the situation. You all must find a better way to move forward that begins with acknowledging the fear this has caused citizens who are actually the nuclear power industry’s customers. My greatest fear is the misinformation on all sides. If I sense the industry trying to mislead or “con” the public, my natural reaction will be to shift from agnostic to against nuclear power. That is what is at stake.

    [Shelby, on 22 March 2011 at 4:08 AM]

    And then this Brook fellow allowed open slather for any poster who wanted to attack Helen Caldicott in the most crude, rude and venal terms. It was Caldicott who precisely predicted the event of a nuclear catastrophe arising from a tsunami.

    There are plenty of other examples. The BNC blog is a total corruption of academic and scholarly debate and inquiry.

  38. @Freelander

    I do not pretend to be a statistician but I would suggest that this is an abuse of statistics for one very simple reason: the probability of a future accident is modified by the occurrence of an accident. The probability of a tsunami or flood doing over an NPP at some future time has been greatly reduced by the Fukushima accident.

    If this kind of assessment were to be believed then one could derive the probability of an air crash today from accident rates in the 1930s.

    As I understand it, the techniques of probability risk assessment used for NPPs are pretty much the same as those used in the aircraft industry.

    The nature of engineering is that lessons are learned and improvements made. This is pretty much universally true, so a realistic assessment of risk is rather more complex than this simplistic approach suggests.

  39. @Chris Warren
    I agree. BNC is a disgrace. How any intelligent person cannot see now, after 3 cores have melted through, that siting inadequately engineered nuclear reactors on a seaboard with the worst tsunami potential in the world is a rankly stupid idea, is beyond me.

    I get the feeling that they have locked themselves into a belief position that no amount of empirical evidence will ever be allowed to shatter. It is a blind, fundamental faith position that does no credit to them or their institution. It is passing strange to see such rank stupidity in supposedly intelligent, educated people.

  40. @Chris Warren
    I could not agree more with you Chris. All sorts of venality was pemitted against posters who disagreed with the generally pretty blatant pro nuclear sentiments Barry expresses and allows and for those supporters, the commenting rules did not apply (the ad homs, the lack of links, the use of termonilogy like “eco-radicals”, FUD, “fearmongering” when it now comes to light the exclusion zone should have been much larger from the start of the crisis with the Fukushima disaster. TEPCO chose NOT to release the full facts and its still going on with the really bad news now leaking out after the media has moved on (how conveniently timed by Tepco). They have a marketing department too and were using it for all they are worth.

    What Barry released was a selective view of the most optimistic scenarios regarding Fukushima from the first days of the crisis and them encouraged the “oh they can fix it this pipe or pressure valve or manage leakages etc etc” views. Each problem was examined microscopically based on the lies Tepco were telling and the information (not adequate) this company was dishing up.

    Interesting but god help you if you suggested Tepco were lying in BNC. The crowd immediately bays for the head of an “eco warrior”. Never mind they were right and later found to have their views confirmed. This pro crowd of Barry’s rarely even questioned the veracity of the information being released.

    Did Tepco play the media? Of course they did. Tepco also played BNC and did Barry become a verbal conduit for a company busy lying? Of course he did.

    The masquerade of academic interest at BNC is a complete sham.

  41. The reality is that where possible a company will site the damn reactors as close to the population its energy serves and as close to water as possible as well. Nuclear cannot be trusted until the heavy hand of regulation slaps the industry around the head on safety to the populations of its customers and to future generations, and if that makes their plant ambitions unaffordable and unviable now, then let the people that work in regulation speak and not the people that make up this market.
    This market doesnt have a brain.

  42. @quokka

    Probability depends on sample size and population.

    As the number of nukes expands – if the probability goes down, the number of events can still go up.

    So even though the probability of a plane crash has decreased from the 1930’s – because the number of planes has increased – the number of air crashes has increased since the 1930’s.

    The consequences of a nuclear catastrophe are such that learning lessons at this stage is not appropriate.

  43. BilB :
    Quoka @4
    You said
    “According to the above report, the highest concentration found ANYWHERE was 250 becquerels per kg of soil. A banana has an activity of about 15 becquerels”
    The report said
    “The highest strontium contamination OUTSIDE THE EXCLUSION ZONE was found 29 kilometers west northwest of the plant in the town of Namie”
    Do you see the difference?

    You were the one taking about coffins in the context of quite low contamination of soil with Sr. If you have any other data we’ll look at that. I would welcome a facts based approach. Until you produce any evidence that Sr is a health risk, everything else is speculation not founded on evidence which you do, not because you seek the truth, but for your own political purposes.

    It’s the same as all the rubbish floating around about Pu contamination outside the grounds of the plant. The reports I have read have been of measurements of the same order of magnitude as those from residual Pu from the era of lunatic nuclear weapons testing. Again, it anybody has evidence to the contrary, then please present it.

    I have read that the Japanese government has begun a large scale survey with soil testing at thousands of locations. Perhaps when the results are in we can form a better picture of the magnitude and geographical scale of the contamination. I’m quite sure that this is what the evacuees need. Narratives constructed by internet pundits for their own purposes, not so much.

  44. @Chris Warren

    This is trivially obvious but says nothing about the actual magnitude of risk. The PRAs of Gen III+ nuclear power plants are at least two orders of magnitude less for core damage and large radiation release than the old BWRs at Fukushima. But that does not tell the full story either, because there are other issues such as the quality of regulation etc that influence assessment. My provisional opinion is that Fukushima is a principally a failure of regulation, but I have yet to see an authoritative account. But factoring that into an assessment of future risk is non-trivial because newer designs would very likely have survived intact due to passive safety systems dealing with decay heat, despite poor regulation.

    The consequences of a nuclear catastrophe are such that learning lessons at this stage is not appropriate.

    Eh? Every nuclear regulator and NPP operator in the world would take a rather different view.

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