Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stop the Nuclear Spin Cycle

The American media misses the tip of the nuclear power plant issue.
We don't get much of the following information:

Reuters reports:

"We continue to see radiation coming from the site ... and the question is where exactly is that coming from?" James Lyons, a senior official of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told a news conference in Vienna on Tuesday. . .

Senior IAEA official Graham Andrew said that the overall situation remained "very serious" and that the U.N. atomic watchdog was concerned it had not received some information from Japan about the Fukushima nuclear plant.

"We have not received validated information for some time related to the containment integrity of unit 1. So we are concerned that we do not know its exact status," he said.

The IAEA also lacks data on the temperatures of the spent fuel pools of reactors 1, 3 and 4, he said . . ."

Meanwhile, Bloomberg.com has for some reason decided that radioactive cesium inside the body is safe, quoting an "expert":

Cesium, with a half life of 30 years, isn’t a cause of concern in the water, said Lam Ching-wan, a chemical pathologist at the University of Hong Kong’s medical school (what precisely is a chemical pathologist?).

“Cesium doesn’t cause many problems with cancer because it’s mainly concentrated in the muscles and not other organs,” he said. “Muscles aren’t dividing cells. Even if there’s a mutation, it cannot stimulate cells and grow and produce cancer.”

Yet here is the Argonne Nat'l Lab on cesium radioactivity, from 2005:

"While in the body, cesium (-137) poses a health hazard . . . the main health concern is the increased likelihood for inducing cancer."

This physician will go with Argonne.

While the US media is downplaying matters, as may well be the Japanese media, such is not the case everywhere. The UK's Telegraph reports:

"Radiation 1,600 times higher than normal levels was detected 12 miles from the power station, the limit of the evacuation area.

While radiation at that level is not considered high for a single burst, it could harm health if sustained."

Back to DoctoRx. Talk about British understatement! Yes it "could" harm health! Let's add a few more exlamation points. !!!

The Telegraph also reports:

"The pool at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant heated up to around boiling point, and with water bubbling away there was a risk that more radioactive steam could spew out."

Apparently the utility, TEPCO, that operates the Fukushima plants, is classifying this incident as a 'Level 5', the same as Three Mile Island of 1978. A quick search for TMI will show that is ridiculous. Massively more radiation has been released in this incident than in TMI, just based on the quotes contained in this little blog.

Meanwhile, pro-nuclear sources are already on the offensive. I read yesterday about a proposed scheme to put small-scale nuclear reactors in cities.

These people don't get it. What they don't get is that almost everyone knows that the electricity production from U-235 is safe. However, at least in the US, there is no plan on where to put the toxic fuel once it has reached its useful life.

Here's an analogy. You don't go into an investment without an exit plan. A surgeon doesn't begin a non-emergency operation without a plan on closing the wound and recuperation of the patient. You don't bring a puppy into the house unless you have a plan on where the poop is going to go (you housebreak the pet, of course).

Where oh where is all the nuclear waste, currently and massively stored throughout the US in "temporary" receptacles, going to go?

Without an agreed-upon plan for waste disposal, I don't care how safe the operation of the plant is.

Copyright (C) Long Lake LLC 2011

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