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Thread: Radiation levels, Japan

  1. #1 Radiation levels, Japan 
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    1) Those interested in recently (?) measured radiation levels (at different distances from the Fukushima reactors in Japan) should see:


    http://www.meti.go.jp/earthquake/nuclear/pdf/monitor02_01.pdf
    (dose levels measured 1 meter above the ground)


    http://www.meti.go.jp/earthquake/nuclear/pdf/monitor02_02.pdf
    (dose levels measured 1 centimeter above the ground)


    Note that the color code is explained near the lower left corner of each dispay. Radiation levels are expressed in micro-Sieverts per hour. [The 10 micro-sieverts, for example, is the same as 0.01 mSv, etc. And 10 micro-Sievert/hour is the same as 0.24 mSv/day, or 7.2 mSv/month.]


    2) The effect of penetrating radiation on a person depends on the dose received. The common unit of dose is Sievert (Sv). Smaller doses are expressed in milliseverts (mSv) or microseveret.


    A dose of 10 Sv will most likely results in death, within a day or two.
    5 Sv would kill about 50% of exposed people.
    2 Sv can also be fatal, especially without prompt treatment.


    0.25 Sv = 250 mSv is the limit for emergency workers in life-saving operations.
    0.10 Sv = 100 mSv dose is clearly linked to later cancer risks.
    0.05 Sv = 50 mSv is the yearly limit for radiation workers.


    0.004 Sv= 4 mSv typical yearly dose due to natural radiation (cosmic rays, etc).
    0.003 Sv= 3 mSV typical dose from mammogram

    Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
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  3. #2  
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    I prefer to watch Russian Television rather than main stream media when comes to Fukushima facts.


    "Imagination is more important than knowledge" - Albert-Enstein
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    Levels of radiation around Fukushima so far are still too low to cause any human fatalities. This results in no change in the measure of fatalities per terawatt year of electricity produced. Nuclear energy is still the safest method of generating energy out of the Big Four (nuclear, coal, gas and hydroelectric) which together make up 97% of all electricity generated globally.
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    If i recall coal kills the most people per unit of energy produced...

    edit; perhaps kill is the wrong word, has the highest mortality and morbidity would be more correct.
    Host of the Sciencism podcast and the Sciencism: Critical Eye podcast.
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    Most of the deaths and injuries resulting from the past sixty years of nuclear power generation are not officially attributed to nuclear power plant accidents directly killing people.

    Officially, for example, Three Mile Island killed no one. But the various nearby localized spikes in things like early neo-natal deaths, heart attacks, and so forth, were not investigated, and the statistical surveys not coordinated with actual measurements of exposure.

    Officially, none of the deaths in the Iraq sanctions or invasion, the Afghanistan/Pakistan military actions, or the Iranian ongoing hostilities, are attributed to nuclear power. This despite the fact that nuclear threats directly derived from the spread of nuclear power technology and infrastructure into those areas were and are the central justifications of those wars and the continuing support of military actions in that area.

    Officially, the death toll from Chernobyl does not include the effects of the economic hit and evacuation, the spikes in various diseases and problems not mechanically connected to radiation exposure, and a variety of other possibly linked medical problems noted by some recently published surveys of local doctors.

    Meanwhile the death toll from - say - coal, includes respiratory disease and unsafe mining and so forth, which are all largely preventable at a price: coal could probably be made as officially safe as nuke, if it were as expensive. Its actual safety - presuming that people have quit launching wars to capture coal fields - would then be considerably higher than nuke, as the risk of disaster is so much less.

    The general type of problem with these official estimates of nuclear power related deaths is visible here:
    Levels of radiation around Fukushima so far are still too low to cause any human fatalities. This results in no change in the measure of fatalities per terawatt year of electricity produced.
    See, no one is killed by the average dose of radiation in their general area. That number is informative (if accurate), but not reliable for estimating deaths. What kills people is specific exposure and bad luck, and there is no safe level of specific exposure known - the lower the better, in the sense that one would need more bad luck to get killed, is all.

    We know from initial reports that specific exposures varied considerably within the "average" zone. We don't know how much by person, but the scattered land measurements showed order of magnitude variation over the landscape involved.

    We also know that the extra hardships incurred by evacuation and the diversion of resources amid the tsunami response had their price, and continue. That price almost certainly includes some mortality.

    We also know that the plants came very close to meltdown, and were saved by good luck - that is not something from which safety can be inferred.
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    Iceaura

    Wrong.

    There is a clear cut threshold for harm from radiation. It is roughly 100 millisieverts for extreme cases, with the most vulnerable individuals. This was clearly established by the follow up studies from Hiroshima. The long term cancer rates for those exposed to less than 100 millisieverts was no greater than that for the whole of Japan. The 'no threshold' model is widely promulgated by Greenpeace and other idiot organisations. It is not, repeat not, based on science.

    The human body (and other life forms) is adapted to a level of background radioactivity, which averages at about 0.3 millisieverts per year. However, in some places, it can be 200 times that. As a result, we have evolved a level of tolerance, and DNA repair mechanisms take over. Only if radioactivity rises to something significantly higher than that which we can encounter in nature, will it become harmful.

    At Fukushima, radiation is potentially harmful very close to the reactors, and definitely very harmful inside the buildings. However, in the wider environment, the extra radiation is too low to be of concern.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    There is a clear cut threshold for harm from radiation. It is roughly 100 millisieverts for extreme cases, with the most vulnerable individuals. This was clearly established by the follow up studies from Hiroshima. The long term cancer rates for those exposed to less than 100 millisieverts was no greater than that for the whole of Japan.
    That is not possible. Individual exposures were not measured among the survivors of Hiroshima, or the general population of Japan.

    And confining the measured harms to cancer misleads even more. It's possible that radiation's effect on the immune system can create problems with everything from psoriasis to heart disease.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The human body (and other life forms) is adapted to a level of background radioactivity, which averages at about 0.3 millisieverts per year. However, in some places, it can be 200 times that. As a result, we have evolved a level of tolerance, and DNA repair mechanisms take over. Only if radioactivity rises to something significantly higher than that which we can encounter in nature, will it become harmful.
    Very few people, now or historically, have encountered radiation at the higher "background" levels - there is no reason to think we have evolved greater tolerance than a median background level via selection pressure over evolutionary time.

    So even very small amounts over that, such as tiny radiation releases from nuclear waste into an already average background environment, are suspect. And since the Fukushima releases were (and continue to be) unevenly dispersed, over background levels already boosted by fallout and other radiation sources of several different kinds, we would need some idea of the range of individual total exposure and kind of exposure to estimate odds of harm.

    Further: the supposed "threshold" levels for harm are linear extrapolations from higher exposure levels. If the actual response curve is logarithmic or something like that, then even small extra exposure above the actual de facto threshold would have dramatic effects on risk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    There is a clear cut threshold for harm from radiation. It is roughly 100 millisieverts for extreme cases, with the most vulnerable individuals. This was clearly established by the follow up studies from Hiroshima. The long term cancer rates for those exposed to less than 100 millisieverts was no greater than that for the whole of Japan.
    That is not possible. Individual exposures were not measured among the survivors of Hiroshima, or the general population of Japan.
    It is very definitely possible. Few places and few populations have been as well studied any time in history as the survivors of Hiroshima. Individual exposures were obtained from the geographic position of the survivors at the time of the blast. The size of the explosion was well known, as was the amount of radiation released. The rest is a very simple calculation. All this was done with great care and great expertise by some of the world's top experts. Hiroshima as a research subject has received enormous resources, and an enormous amount of study has taken place. The 100 millisievert limit has been established beyond any reasonable doubt, except by idiots such as those in the more extremist anti-nuclear organisations.

    The results were not confined to cancer. I quoted cancer simply because it is the most feared outcome of radiation. The 100 millisievert limit is that which is the lowest to cause any measurable health detrement. Even there, it is only the very few most vulnerable people who can be harmed by only 100 millisieverts. Most people require up to ten times that dose to show measurable harm.

    Very few people exposed to higher background radiation?
    Wrong again. Millions of people world wide are exposed 24/7 to levels of radiation many times that of the average. For example - granite contains uranium at levels ranging from 1 to 20 parts per million. This means that if you live in a granite district, you will be exposed to substantially higher background levels of radiation. For example : the people who live in Colorado may be exposed to 50 millisieverts per year or more. Yet they live longer on average than the people of Kansas who live under a background radiation level less than the global average.


    Calculated threshold levels?
    Yes, I am very well aware - painfully aware - that idiot anti-nuclear organisations use a logarithmic measure in calculating the effects of low levels of radiation. The key word there is "idiot". Experts such as the International Atomic Energy Agency use a different model, based on solid empirical data. The difference shows. IAEA calculated a total death toll from Chernobyl, even into the distant future, of only 4,000 people. Greenpeace promoted the number 2 million!
    News Center : In Focus : Chernobyl
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  10. #9  
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    I think brian dunning covered this topic well in Skeptoid
    Host of the Sciencism podcast and the Sciencism: Critical Eye podcast.
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  11. #10  
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    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    - - Few places and few populations have been as well studied any time in history as the survivors of Hiroshima. Individual exposures were obtained from the geographic position of the survivors at the time of the blast.
    And so the data base was a theoretical calculation of averages, and not a good one for power plant accidents with their quite different isotope releases and exposure impositions.

    So we throw that out, if reasonable discussion of power plant risk is the goal.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The size of the explosion was well known, as was the amount of radiation released. The rest is a very simple calculation.
    And that type of calculation is the best they've got. Linear extrapolation from higher level exposure effects of different kinds of exposure, and simply omitting anything (such as heart disease) they haven't studied at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Calculated threshold levels?
    Yes, I am very well aware - painfully aware - that idiot anti-nuclear organisations use a logarithmic measure in calculating the effects of low levels of radiation. The key word there is "idiot". Experts such as the International Atomic Energy Agency use a different model, based on solid empirical data. The difference shows. IAEA calculated a total death toll from Chernobyl, even into the distant future, of only 4,000 people. Greenpeace promoted the number 2 million!
    And since the actual death toll (not the incidence toll, which would include thousands of thyroid cancers successfully treated, usually by thyroid removal which has its own consequences) just from attributed cancers - the only causes of death allowed to be attributed to radiation exposure in official reports - has been estimated by the more thorough WHO, itself a politically compromised organization that appears to have downplayed much evidence, to be 9000 already and still climbing, we know where to file IAEA reports on this subject.

    Then we have the dislocation effects, the effects of the dietary restrictions and so forth, the effects of the economic damage, quite a long list of things known to be hard on people: we are closer, in percentage terms, to Greenpeace's 200 thousand (the estimate they promoted in my newspaper) than to the IAEA 4000 long since left in the dust.

    And if we want to consider the entire field of soundly based estimation for Chernobyl, rather than only the Western corporate friendly "official" reports, the empirical data complied by Yablonksy et al seems at least as reasonably compiled as the IAEA joke; and now we're in the millions.

    The IAEA estimate is the lowball estimate, supported with dubiously compiled data. Everyone else came in more than double the IAEA, and going up from there.

    The difference does indeed show.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    - the only causes of death allowed to be attributed to radiation exposure in official reports - has been estimated by the more thorough WHO, itself a politically compromised organization that appears to have downplayed much evidence, to be 9000 already and still climbing, we know where to file IAEA reports on this subject.
    .
    Iceaura

    You have revealed your own bias many times in this forum. You believe that any human influence must be malign. That is a pseudo-religious belief based on dogma and superstition. You need to look harder at real, scientific facts.

    IAEA is the expert in the field of radiation caused disease. You talk of the WHO but give no reference, which makes your post worthless. Note that I referred to the actual IAEA report!

    And even if 9000 is the correct number - so what? The Banqiao dam burst killed about 200,000 humans. And that is but one of about a dozen such disasters. Nuclear power, including the Chernobyl disaster, has killed very few people. Hydroelectricity has killed a million or more. Coal burning, through respiratory disease has killed multiple millions.

    At the end of the day, regardless of whose numbers you quote, nuclear power is safer than any other major method of generating electricity.

    You quote 200,000 for Greenpeace in your newspaper. I believe you! In my area, they talked of 2 million. Greenpeace is a bunch of unscientific alarmists, who pick numbers out of their hat, to suit whatever agenda they have at the time. Total unscientific dishonesty!
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    And even if 9000 is the correct number - so what? The Banqiao dam burst killed about 200,000 humans. And that is but one of about a dozen such disasters. Nuclear power, including the Chernobyl disaster, has killed very few people. Hydroelectricity has killed a million or more. Coal burning, through respiratory disease has killed multiple millions.
    To paraphrase Monbiot (who I think was paraphrasing someone else), nuclear power kills thousands when it goes wrong. Fossil fuel power kills millions when it is working as intended. The best kind of fossil fuel power plant is one which has suffered a catastrophic breakdown.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    You have revealed your own bias many times in this forum. You believe that any human influence must be malign. That is a pseudo-religious belief based on dogma and superstition. You need to look harder at real, scientific facts.
    Says the guy who quoted a ridiculously lowball, politically corrupted, obviously and unarguably incomplete estimate of Chernobyl's casualties he got from am international political body,

    one set up in the first place to defend the nuclear power industry from the sociological effects of the Cold War weapons race.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    And even if 9000 is the correct number - so what? The Banqiao dam burst killed about 200,000 humans. And that is but one of about a dozen such disasters. Nuclear power, including the Chernobyl disaster, has killed very few people. Hydroelectricity has killed a million or more. Coal burning, through respiratory disease has killed multiple millions.
    What if a million or more from Chernobyl is the correct number? There's some evidence for the possibility - those "scientific facts" you find so incontrovertible, compiled by Yablonsky et al.

    Add in at least some of the deaths from the Iraq invasion, Pakistan/India troubles, Israeli intransigence, etc. The increased risk of nuclear war created by the spread of nuclear power has already cost many lives, will cost many more - even without the war, still in the offing.

    Spend the money on coal safety that is spent on nuke safety, and it won't kill so many people - but I don't want to defend coal.

    Spend the attention on dam safety that is spent on nukes, and they won't kill so many either. But my purpose is not to correct the comparisons, get apples lined up against apples.

    My point is that nukes - nukes built to the best safety standards money can buy - can take out regions, potentially entire river drainages, along with the people in them. Suddenly, without warning, and permanently. Nukes are only presentable as safe (even deceptively) because suitably alarmed people have forced the people building and running them to take extraordinary measures and bear huge expenses. And they haven't paid half yet, on the ones already built - the waste, the decommissioning, the security, the cleanup, all in the future.
    Quote Originally Posted by biologista
    nuclear power kills thousands when it goes wrong. Fossil fuel power kills millions when it is working as intended.
    They each have their characteristic downsides. Intend differently, and the fossil power gets lots better. There's nothing you can do about nukes - you're already at the limit of human attention. And the risk grows rapidly with number - nonlinear failure probability function.

    But the real comparison is with things like thermal solar and conservation design, not coal.
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    Again, the conflation of "nukes" and nuclear power. Might as well equate fossil fuels and petrol bombs. Dishonest, emotive, anti-logical tactic. As with the last time you pulled this crap Ice, I'm out.
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    I agree with T.B.

    As long as Iceaura fails to quote figures, and gets bombs and reactors confused, and confuses war for oil with nuclear reactors, his arguments are pretty much meaningless.
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    Again, the conflation of "nukes" and nuclear power.
    Its creation of an apparently unpreventable spread of nuclear weaponry, and the large scale casualty causing mere threat of further spread nuclear weaponry (hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq alone), is and has been one of the most serious downsides and largest expenses of nuclear power production. There is no "conflation" or "confusion" involved: the term is "cause and effect". Unless proponents of nukes can figure out some very, very reliable way to break that connection, any further spread of nuke technology should be rejected on that ground alone.

    The power isn't worth it.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    As long as Iceaura fails to quote figures,
    Being schooled on the Chernobyl casualty figures, after suckering for the IAEA handout without even reading their own fine print on their compilation criteria, stings I know - but pretending it didn't happen, like pretending thermal solar doesn't exist and government subsidies for nukes don't count and people who can't safely manage coal mines or hydro dams will suddenly acquire competence when entrusted with nuclear reactor oversight, won't restore credibility to the pro-nuke argument.

    Quoting figures is only as good for support as the figures quoted allow. When they are basically lies, deliberate deceptions, they allow very little.
    and gets bombs and reactors confused
    The only people actually confusing bombs and reactors on this thread are the ones invoking invalid conclusions from averaged out fifty year old post-Hiroshima radiation dose data to imply a lack of harm from Fukushima's much different radiation release. I'm not one of them.
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    Iceaura

    The data is clear. Chernobyl killed a whole bunch of people, but whether you go for the IAEA or the WHO figures, the number is still miniscule compared to the numbers killed by burning coal or by hydroelectricity.

    And your insistance that nuclear power has something to do with causing the war in Iraq is just pathetic. Talk about lousy logic!
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Again, the conflation of "nukes" and nuclear power.
    Its creation of an apparently unpreventable spread of nuclear weaponry, and the large scale casualty causing mere threat of further spread nuclear weaponry (hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq alone), is and has been one of the most serious downsides and largest expenses of nuclear power production. There is no "conflation" or "confusion" involved: the term is "cause and effect". Unless proponents of nukes can figure out some very, very reliable way to break that connection, any further spread of nuke technology should be rejected on that ground alone.
    Irrelevant.

    Nobody is denying a connection between the concepts. If you want to argue for the connection, do as you just did. Do it better. Explain it, demonstrate the extent and nature of the connection. If it's unpreventable, show us how. Don't just call one thing with a well-understood name by a colloquial name associated with a related concept. Calling them by the same name is imprecise and unscientific at best. At worst it is dishonest and alarmist. You'll get no respect from me or anyone else who is used to basic scientific thinking with this sort of argument.

    HIV causes AIDS, pretty much 100% of the time, that doesn't mean we fail to distinguish between these two related and inextricably linked things. If we want to be understood when discussing complex topics, we use precise language.
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    Quote Originally Posted by biologista
    Nobody is denying a connection between the concepts. If you want to argue for the connection, do as you just did. Do it better. Explain it, demonstrate the extent and nature of the connection. If it's unpreventable, show us how.
    I already pointed to the connection, physically established and demonstrated in India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Korea, and several other countries. There is no mystery in how capability and experience in creating and then safely manipulating nuclear reactions abets the ability to create and then unsafely manipulate them.

    I don't know whether it's unpreventable, but it obviously hasn't been prevented despite very expensive and dedicated efforts, and I don't see any obvious way to do it. If nuke proponents claim to be able to sever nuclear power technology and capability from the weapons and terrorism threats that it has easily created and directly abetted for fifty years and more to date, how?

    Don't just call one thing with a well-understood name by a colloquial name associated with a related concept.
    The term "nukes", used with reference to nuclear reactors of all kinds intentionally explosive or not, including power plants and their associated threats etc, is colloquial standard in my circles. The "concepts" involved are not just related, but conjoined.

    As far as alarmism, the colloquially standard term would be "sanity". People are talking about building hundreds of those things in the Mississippi drainage basin, with bland discussions of earthquake estimates and so forth. That's insane.
    Last edited by iceaura; October 3rd, 2011 at 04:03 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by biologista
    Nobody is denying a connection between the concepts. If you want to argue for the connection, do as you just did. Do it better. Explain it, demonstrate the extent and nature of the connection. If it's unpreventable, show us how.
    I already pointed to the connection, physically established and demonstrated in India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Korea, and several other countries. There is no mystery in how capability and experience in creating and then safely manipulating nuclear reactions abets the ability to create and then unsafely manipulate them.

    I don't know whether it's unpreventable, but it obviously hasn't been prevented despite very expensive and dedicated efforts, and I don't see any obvious way to do it. If nuke proponents claim to be able to sever nuclear power technology and capability from the weapons and terrorism threats that it has easily created and directly abetted for fifty years and more to date, how?
    Not my point.
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    Crossed in the mail - edited post above
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    It is actually easier by far to make a nuclear bomb than a nuclear reactor. All you need is fissionable material of sufficient purity.
    On the other hand, to make sufficiently pure material is substantially difficult.

    There was a rather shocking statement in a Scientific American article I read, about a suicide bomb. They gave the purity needed and the mass required. With that purity and mass, all that is required is for the suicide man to slap the masses together with his hands. Not a big bang, to be sure, since the initial explosion will force the masses apart again, but enough to take out city blocks.

    To make a nuclear reactor is easier in that much less pure fuel can be used, but much more difficult in detail. Fissionable material for reactors do not lead to bombs, since the low purity fuel cannot be used, and further purification is very, very difficult.

    On the other hand, most nations today could build a bomb if they so desired. Even my small country could do it, though we have no motivation to do so. We do have the expertise in the form of nuclear scientists, and there are enough published hints on how to purify fissionable material. Given the motivation, even little ol' NZ could do it.

    The point of all this is that nuclear reactor does not lead to nuclear bomb. What leads to a nuclear bomb is the desire to have a nuclear bomb. With the desire, plus the resources of a sovereign nation, and access to what is currently available on world markets, the bomb will only be a matter of time. To make a bomb requires highly developed purification techniques and equipment. It can be done, with sufficient effort and sufficient money thrown at the problem. If Iran, for example, wants the bomb, it will get it, and the west cannot stop it. The question is whether they want it.

    For these reasons, Iceaura's argument that reactors lead to bombs is somewhat ludicrous. It is simply not true. Having nuclear power gives a country electricity, not nuclear weapons. But if even unsophisticated North Korea can make a bomb, then any nation sufficiently motivated will get it. And nuclear power has nothing to do with it.
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    I tend to agree skeptic. All we really accomplish is making sure the developing world can't leapfrog the dirty fossil fuel stage and go directly into nuclear electrical power.
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    Lynx

    I have always thought that the west is missing an opportunity here. With the demand for electricity, the sophisticated west could design good, safe, nuclear power stations, and build them wherever they are needed, for lots of $$$. then, for more $$$ provide the educated staff, replenish nuclear fuel when required, and remove the waste. A win/win all around.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    With the demand for electricity, the sophisticated west could design good, safe, nuclear power stations, and build them wherever they are needed, for lots of $$$. then, for more $$$ provide the educated staff, replenish nuclear fuel when required, and remove the waste. A win/win all around.
    In a science fiction world.

    The West can't actually do any of that, yet if ever. Even the attempts would cost a fortune and spread tyranny, as they have for fifty years - for example in Iran right now.

    For half the money and a millionth of the risk, why not do that with thermal solar?
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The point of all this is that nuclear reactor does not lead to nuclear bomb. What leads to a nuclear bomb is the desire to have a nuclear bomb.
    Nuclear power dispersion has, in real life, led to nuclear bombs. It has also led to the threat of nuclear weapons, bomb and terrorist and otherwise, and consequential enormous expenses including actual war with hundreds of thousands of casualties.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    But if even unsophisticated North Korea can make a bomb, then any nation sufficiently motivated will get it. And nuclear power has nothing to do with it.
    ? Joke? The North Korean bomb is a shining example of the consequences of the dispersion of nuclear power and related technology.

    http://www.iiss.org/publications/str...ons-programme/

    One common speculation is that the reason NK got a bomb at all was to put leverage on the US to supply it with - among other benefits - nuclear power technology, in the wake of Soviet inadequacy and unreliability during the Cold War and subsequent.
    Last edited by iceaura; October 4th, 2011 at 09:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    It is actually easier by far to make a nuclear bomb than a nuclear reactor. All you need is fissionable material of sufficient purity.
    On the other hand, to make sufficiently pure material is substantially difficult.

    There was a rather shocking statement in a Scientific American article I read, about a suicide bomb. They gave the purity needed and the mass required. With that purity and mass, all that is required is for the suicide man to slap the masses together with his hands. Not a big bang, to be sure, since the initial explosion will force the masses apart again, but enough to take out city blocks.

    To make a nuclear reactor is easier in that much less pure fuel can be used, but much more difficult in detail. Fissionable material for reactors do not lead to bombs, since the low purity fuel cannot be used, and further purification is very, very difficult.

    On the other hand, most nations today could build a bomb if they so desired. Even my small country could do it, though we have no motivation to do so. We do have the expertise in the form of nuclear scientists, and there are enough published hints on how to purify fissionable material. Given the motivation, even little ol' NZ could do it.

    The point of all this is that nuclear reactor does not lead to nuclear bomb. What leads to a nuclear bomb is the desire to have a nuclear bomb. With the desire, plus the resources of a sovereign nation, and access to what is currently available on world markets, the bomb will only be a matter of time. To make a bomb requires highly developed purification techniques and equipment. It can be done, with sufficient effort and sufficient money thrown at the problem. If Iran, for example, wants the bomb, it will get it, and the west cannot stop it. The question is whether they want it.

    For these reasons, Iceaura's argument that reactors lead to bombs is somewhat ludicrous. It is simply not true. Having nuclear power gives a country electricity, not nuclear weapons. But if even unsophisticated North Korea can make a bomb, then any nation sufficiently motivated will get it. And nuclear power has nothing to do with it.
    "Little Boy" bomb used at Hiroshima was 100% result of highly enriched uranium, only enough of same to build ONE of its type. No test of this was possible, but then, no test was required- all were certain it would work as designed.

    Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" proposal was similar to Skeptic's conjecture and foundered for political, not economic nor technical reasons.

    "Little old NZ" produced the great Ernest Rutherford, no small contribution to world science, dotcomrades!

    LFTR technology is safe and proliferation resistant.

    http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/2009/12/01/how-a-liquid-fluoride-thorium-reactor-lftr-works/


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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    For half the money and a millionth of the risk, why not do that with thermal solar?
    As I have told you before, Iceaura, thermal solar is just too damned expensive at present. 31 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 12 for nuclear, and less for burning coal, natural gas or using hydroelectricity. And that is not even taking into account the difficulties that derive from being able to generate only when the sun is up.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source

    Nuclear weapons preceded nuclear power in all the major nuclear weapons holding nations. Hiroshima happened well before the first nuclear power in the USA, and in the USSR the first successful detonation of weapons came before the first nuclear power plants. Weapons do not come from nuclear power. Weapons, as I said before, come from the desire to have nuclear weapons. Usually, a nation that produces nuclear weapons also sets up nuclear power plants, but that is more a byproduct of weapons research than the converse.
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    Not to mention superior capacity factor of nuclear. North Korea should have received peaceful nuclear technology assistance under the terms of the NPT, it is hardly surprising that this nation withdrew after seeing the three NON-signatory states achieve their nuclear capability, martial and otherwise, while other signatories languished in technological backwardness.

    Iran? Iceaura, please elaborate how nuclear capability "spread tyranny" in Iran. Did nuclear technology depose popularly elected leader and impose brutally repressive Shah monarchy? No, CIA did. Did nuclear technology cause Islamic Revolution there as reaction? Again, no.

    Recently noticed Finland was gearing up for third nuclear reactor- funny, nobody worries that Finland will get THE BOMB. Nor "tyranny", hmmm, is there perhaps some RACISM involved in your argument, ice?

    Skeptic's claim that nuclear weapons are distinct from and generally precede nuclear power applications is supported by the example of Israel, has had weapons for decades, still no civilian nuclear power program. Is it then a "tyranny", Iceaura?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    As I have told you before, Iceaura, thermal solar is just too damned expensive at present. 31 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 12 for nuclear, and less for burning coal, natural gas or using hydroelectricity.
    You've seen those numbers debunked often enough to make your repetition of them something of a symptom. Just comparing thermal with PV solar, in your table, tells you there's a lot wrong with that table.

    There is no nuclear power on earth delivered for $.12 kwh total cost, even without the military and other security costs figured in. And there is thermal solar on line now at less than half $.31, with contractors claiming to be approaching half of that yet.

    Thermal solar is probably at least equivalent right now to any actual nuclear option available. And the avoidance of risk is worth a lot, no?

    Skeptic's claim that nuclear weapons are distinct from and generally precede nuclear power applications
    Misses the point, and overlooks historical fact: nuclear power dispersal programs - "Atoms For Peace" and other ventures by various nuke powers - have led to weapons development and threat of weapons development in India, Pakistan, North Korea, Libya, Iran, Iraq, and others. The Iraq war was launched in response to a claimed nuclear weapons threat developed from the Shah's old nuke power program - very expensive in money and lives, that, as is N Korea's and Pakistan's and India's, could have been Libya's, and may easily be Iran's in the near future.
    Last edited by iceaura; October 6th, 2011 at 04:39 AM.
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    Such argumentation is a digression from topic, dotcomrades. To return:

    For the purposes of argument, therefore, if everyone living in the exclusion zone (and other severely-contaminated areas) could be persuaded to give up driving (and to eschew smoking, which presents a massive lifetime risk of 100 in 1000 of causing lung cancer) then everyone could in theory be allowed to return with no additional loss of life to the impacts of radiation. The risks could simply be traded off each other. One could also make a strong case that people living in the Fukushima exclusion zone would still be better off statistically than those in heavily-polluted city centres, near coal-fired power stations and in industrial zones, which likely present higher carcinogenic risks.

    Indeed, these risks were quantified and compared in a fascinating 2007 paper published in BMC Public Health journal (open access, h/t ColinG, [x]). In it the author looks at the comparative risks of obesity, smoking and exposure to radiation – in terms of ‘years of life lost’, a male smoker can expect to lose 10 years of life, an obese white male 1-4 years of life, as compared to an average 2.6 years of life lost for Japanese atomic bomb survivors who had experienced the highest doses (2.25 Gy – for gamma radiation such as released by an atomic bomb, sieverts and grays are roughly equivalent, so the dose can be thought of as 2,250 millisieverts; about ten times higher than current doses anywhere in the Fukushima exclusion zone).

    An equally useful comparison made by the author considers whether air pollution in city centres, passive smoking or radiation contamination from the Chernobyl accident are more dangerous. He finds that living in a polluted city (e.g. London, as compared to lightly-polluted Inverness) yields 2.8% mortality (28 per 1000), passive smoking 1.7% mortality, whilst radiation exposure of 100 mSv in the Chernobyl zone yields a mortality risk of 0.4% (4 per 1000). This latter risk is clearly on the same scale as the US scientific committee which calculates a 3-7 per 1000 risk of mortality for 100 mSv, and obviously compares rather favourably with the 28 per 1000 mortality risk for living in a polluted area. This raises the intriguing possibility that – if these calculations are correct – lives would be saved by moving people out of central Tokyo and into the more contaminated areas of the Fukushima exclusion zone.

    This is in fact exactly the conclusion reached by the paper’s author:

    "The increased mortality rate of the populations most affected by the Chernobyl accident may be comparable to (and possibly lower than) risks from elevated exposure to air pollution or environmental tobacco smoke. It is probably surprising to many (not least the affected populations themselves) that people still living unofficially in the abandoned lands around Chernobyl may actually have a lower health risk from radiation than they would have if they were exposed to the air pollution health risk in a large city such as nearby Kiev."
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    As I have told you before, Iceaura, thermal solar is just too damned expensive at present. 31 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 12 for nuclear, and less for burning coal, natural gas or using hydroelectricity.
    You've seen those numbers debunked often enough to make your repetition of them something of a symptom. Just comparing thermal with PV solar, in your table, tells you there's a lot wrong with that table.

    There is no nuclear power on earth delivered for $.12 kwh total cost, even without the military and other security costs figured in. And there is thermal solar on line now at less than half $.31, with contractors claiming to be approaching half of that yet.

    Thermal solar is probably at least equivalent right now to any actual nuclear option available. And the avoidance of risk is worth a lot, no?

    Skeptic's claim that nuclear weapons are distinct from and generally precede nuclear power applications
    Misses the point, and overlooks historical fact: nuclear power dispersal programs - "Atoms For Peace" and other ventures by various nuke powers - have led to weapons development and threat of weapons development in India, Pakistan, North Korea, Libya, Iran, Iraq, and others. The Iraq war was launched in response to a claimed nuclear weapons threat developed from the Shah's old nuke power program - very expensive in money and lives, that, as is N Korea's and Pakistan's and India's, could have been Libya's, and may easily be Iran's in the near future.
    Misses what point? Point that solar thermal is superior to solar photovoltaic is established, as is point that nuclear fission is superior to both. Point that you are hysterically opposed to nuclear technology in the hands of IRAN but not, for example, Finland is painfully obvious. Point that as signatory to NPT, Iran has every right statutory to develop nuclear technology with international assistance seems to have escaped you. Point that discussion has wandered far afield from topic of thread was addressed in above previous post.

    PS: Further point, Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in sunny Arizona is producing wholesale $0.06.33 per kilowatt hour in 2007, so is entirely feasible that $0.12/kwh is current average. It is called Wikipedia, you might want to consult it sometime.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palo_Ve...rating_Station
    Last edited by The Finger Prince; October 6th, 2011 at 10:58 AM. Reason: reference added
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    Quote Originally Posted by finger
    Indeed, these risks were quantified and compared in a fascinating 2007 paper published in BMC Public Health journal (open access, h/t ColinG, [x]). In it the author looks at the comparative risks of obesity, smoking and exposure to radiation – in terms of ‘years of life lost’, a male smoker can expect to lose 10 years of life, an obese white male 1-4 years of life, as compared to an average 2.6 years of life lost for Japanese atomic bomb survivors who had experienced the highest doses (2.25 Gy – for gamma radiation such as released by an atomic bomb, sieverts and grays are roughly equivalent, so the dose can be thought of as 2,250 millisieverts; about ten times higher than current doses anywhere in the Fukushima exclusion zone).
    Radiation from bombs is not directly comparable to radiation from power plant accidents - the isotopes, energy profiles, exposure regimes, etc, are different. Radiation dosage was not measured for individuals from Hiroshima, neither was it for Chernobyl exposures (which were distributed widely as well as unevenly across the continent, a serious complication in analysis). The current doses in the Fukushima exclusion zone are just now being measured for some individuals (some schoolchildren) and we do not yet know what the indicated range or variation will be.

    Nor do we have a good handle on the effects of long term low "average" level exposure of the unevenly distributed type accidents produce, on whole populations.

    The willingness to compare and confuse bombs with power plant accidents is noted - a common feature of power plant apologetics.
    Quote Originally Posted by finger
    PS: Further point, Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in sunny Arizona is producing wholesale $0.06.33 per kilowatt hour in 2007,
    Pricing that does not cover actual costs is not relevant to cost comparisons.
    Quote Originally Posted by finger
    Point that you are hysterically opposed to nuclear technology in the hands of IRAN but not, for example, Finland is painfully obvious.
    That's too stupid to be honest - you've overreached, and outed yourself for a liar and intentional propagandist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Nor do we have a good handle on the effects of long term low "average" level exposure of the unevenly distributed type accidents produce, on whole populations.
    Totally wrong.

    Long term effectsof low level radiation has been very thoroughly studied. We have numerous cases to choose from, since background radiation (mostly from Uranium decay where the uranium is part of the background - totally natural) varies so enormously from place to place.
    Background radiation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I quote :

    "The highest levels of natural background radiation recorded in the world is from areas around Ramsar, particularly at Talesh-Mahalleh which is a very high background radiation area (VHBRA) having an effective dose equivalent several times in excess of ICRP-recommended radiation dose limits for radiation workers and up to 200 times greater than normal background levels. Most of the radiation in the area is due to dissolved radium-226 in water of hot springs along with smaller amounts of uranium and thorium due to travertine deposits. There are more than nine hot springs in the area with different concentrations of radioisotopes, and these are used as spas by locals and tourists.[15] This high level of radiation does not seem to have caused ill effects on the residents of the area and even possibly has made them slightly more radioresistant, which is puzzling and has been called "radiation paradox". It has also been reported that residents have healthier and longer lives.[14] On the basis of this and other evidence including the fact that life had originated in a much more irradiated environment, some scientists have questioned the validity of linear no-threshold model, on which all radiation regulations currently depend"

    Iceaura,
    As long as you continue to cling to the outmoded no-threshold model of radiation harm, you will continue to be in error.
    If people can live in a background 200 times greater than the global average of 2.4 millisieverts per year, and actually be healthier than those living under the average, it makes most of your arguments invalid.
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    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by finger
    Indeed, these risks were quantified and compared in a fascinating 2007 paper published in BMC Public Health journal (open access, h/t ColinG, [x]). In it the author looks at the comparative risks of obesity, smoking and exposure to radiation – in terms of ‘years of life lost’, a male smoker can expect to lose 10 years of life, an obese white male 1-4 years of life, as compared to an average 2.6 years of life lost for Japanese atomic bomb survivors who had experienced the highest doses (2.25 Gy – for gamma radiation such as released by an atomic bomb, sieverts and grays are roughly equivalent, so the dose can be thought of as 2,250 millisieverts; about ten times higher than current doses anywhere in the Fukushima exclusion zone).
    Radiation from bombs is not directly comparable to radiation from power plant accidents - the isotopes, energy profiles, exposure regimes, etc, are different. Radiation dosage was not measured for individuals from Hiroshima, neither was it for Chernobyl exposures (which were distributed widely as well as unevenly across the continent, a serious complication in analysis). The current doses in the Fukushima exclusion zone are just now being measured for some individuals (some schoolchildren) and we do not yet know what the indicated range or variation will be.

    Nor do we have a good handle on the effects of long term low "average" level exposure of the unevenly distributed type accidents produce, on whole populations.

    The willingness to compare and confuse bombs with power plant accidents is noted - a common feature of power plant apologetics.
    Quote Originally Posted by finger
    PS: Further point, Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in sunny Arizona is producing wholesale $0.06.33 per kilowatt hour in 2007,
    Pricing that does not cover actual costs is not relevant to cost comparisons.
    Quote Originally Posted by finger
    Point that you are hysterically opposed to nuclear technology in the hands of IRAN but not, for example, Finland is painfully obvious.
    That's too stupid to be honest - you've overreached, and outed yourself for a liar and intentional propagandist.
    Oh? What lie would this be? As for "propagandist", what is wrong with that, apart from pot calling kettle black, look up the term and find a better one if you want to be insulting. Where has iceaura expressed concern that Finland has nuclear technology? Yet he often cites Iran and Iraq, but NOT another nation located in the area of the Eastern Mediterranean, also whose name is starting with letter "I", which is known to possess nuclear arsenal. Because why?

    RACIST.

    Pricing is based upon expenses, not fairy tales. Brush up on your economics, Mr. Racist Guy. If you want to make up some rate should be charged, do us a favor and make lower while you are at it...
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Nor do we have a good handle on the effects of long term low "average" level exposure of the unevenly distributed type accidents produce, on whole populations.


    Totally wrong.

    Long term effectsof low level radiation has been very thoroughly studied.
    Not of the type reactor accidents produce - ingestible, breathable, high variance in time and space, over extended times.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If people can live in a background 200 times greater than the global average of 2.4 millisieverts per year, and actually be healthier than those living under the average, it makes most of your arguments invalid.
    It's irrelevant to any argument I've made here.

    Apparently it's very complex or something; allow me to repeat: landscape averages measured in millisieverts of "radiation" are irrelevant. Beside the point. And not "well studied" for their effects anyway, actually: look at the way they only talk about cancer, and even then only some cancers.

    Quote Originally Posted by prince
    Where has iceaura expressed concern that Finland has nuclear technology?
    They haven't used their power technology to develop weapons or threats of weapons, and we haven't spent hundreds of billions of dollars dealing with such threats from them. So they aren't an example of spending hundreds of billions dealing with nuclear threats derived from power technology dispersal. So when making the point that dealing with the military and terroristic threats derived from dispersed power technology has been very expensive and probably will continue to be very expensive, I don't use Finland to illustrate it. Is that some kind of subtle, easily missed point - maybe a little over your head?

    Quote Originally Posted by prince
    Yet he often cites Iran and Iraq, but NOT another nation located in the area of the Eastern Mediterranean, also whose name is starting with letter "I", which is known to possess nuclear arsenal. Because why?
    Because Israel did not derive its weapons from power technology - Israel was handed, or stole, weapons technology directly. Also, we have not spent hundreds of billions responding to nuclear threats from Israel. So Israel, like Finland, does not illustrate the high cost of threats derived from power technology dispersal, as Iran and Iraq do. So I don't use Israel to illustrate that point - because it doesn't, see?

    But your comments have forced a revaluation of my earlier thinking, namely this:
    "Point that you are hysterically opposed to nuclear technology in the hands of IRAN but not, for example, Finland is painfully obvious."


    That's too stupid to be honest -
    I apologize. I was wrong. Nothing you have posted here is too stupid to be honest.
    Last edited by iceaura; November 8th, 2011 at 12:46 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Apparently it's very complex or something; allow me to repeat: landscape averages measured in millisieverts of "radiation" are irrelevant. Beside the point. And not "well studied" for their effects anyway, actually: look at the way they only talk about cancer, and even then only some cancers.
    The reason they talk of cancers is simple. The radiation doses are way, way too low to cause any problems of any other nature. Cancer is more subtle, and has to be tested using epidemiology.

    There is simply no evidence that low doses cause harm to human health.

    On Israel and Finland. This backs up what I said before. You do not need nuclear power to make nuclear weapons, and nuclear power does not lead to nuclear weapons. Both the USA and the USSR had weapons well before they had nuclear power. Israel the same. If a nation wants nuclear weapons, they will get nuclear weapons. They do not go nuclear power to nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons come from a nuclear weapons program. Not a nuclear power program.

    The key to nuclear weapons is sufficiently pure fissionable material. That is the really, really difficult bit. It is much easier to get impure fissionable material that is still pure enough for nuclear power. Much harder to make it pure enough for nuclear weapons. To do that needs a real determination and lots of $$$$.

    This is, of course, the reason Al Qaeda has not detonated a nuclear weapon next to the White House. They cannot obtain pure enough fissionables. The vast bulk of fissionable material that might be stolen and sold on the black market is simply too impure for weapons, though probably good enough for a reactor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The reason they talk of cancers is simple. The radiation doses are way, way too low to cause any problems of any other nature.
    And they know that without even having to study the matter, because they are experts. Understood.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    There is simply no evidence that low doses cause harm to human health.
    Which brings up the problems of defining "low", and measuring dose.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    You do not need nuclear power to make nuclear weapons,
    Irrelevant.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    and nuclear power does not lead to nuclear weapons.
    To weapons, the threat of weapons, and the threat of terrorism: It has. Already. Several times. I listed India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea - those being the really expensive ones. These costs must be included in any estimation of the comparative cost of nuke power.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The vast bulk of fissionable material that might be stolen and sold on the black market is simply too impure for weapons,
    Which reduces the threat, but does not eliminate it.

    Besides: Terrorists don't need explosive fission. They just need contamination level stuff.
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    Iceaura

    As I have said before, our knowledge of radiation effects comes after decades of intensive empirical study. Anyone who is exposed is likely to be followed up for an entire lifetime. Radiologists, dentists, x-ray technicians, 3 mile island staff, nuclear ship workers, nuclear plant workers. The sheer volume of empirical data is scarey.

    Terrorists?
    They already have contamination material. Ricin for example, as released in Japanese railway carriages. They don't need radioactive material. Nasty chemical poisons are more effective. However, Al Qaeda at least do seem to be fixated on the dramatic. Meaning big bangs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    As I have said before, our knowledge of radiation effects comes after decades of intensive empirical study. Anyone who is exposed is likely to be followed up for an entire lifetime.
    Since in no reactor accident or similar event have enough of the exposed people been measured for their actual exposure regime even at the event, let alone for years afterwards, your assertion cannot possibly be valid.

    The intensive empirical study involves a whole panoply of extrapolations from short term high dose lab studies, averaged out bomb blast populations, extensions of guesses from related but quite different circumstances such as radiologist's exposure and dental X-rays (which are not as safe as people seem to think), studies of averages and large scale cumulative effects of plausibly somewhat related background radiation regimes, and similar well-intentioned but hardly adequate indirect methods of inference. All of this stuff is actually intensively non-empirical - complex and multiply inferential statistical inferences based on theories and assumptions of varying likelihood.

    The linear extrapolations that yield the "safe threshold level" WAG are maybe the most obviously bogus, along with the practice of measuring a couple of cancer rates as standins for all health effects, but the whole field has operated more as a fog for hiding the expenses and risks of nuclear technology than an informative scientific enterprise.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    They already have contamination material. Ricin for example, as released in Japanese railway carriages. They don't need radioactive material. Nasty chemical poisons are more effective.
    They don't need anything in particular - there's always more than one method. But spread dirty stuff around, make it easier to construct a dirty bomb, and you increase the risk of a dirty bomb - which would in fact be pretty effective at certain terroristic or "revolutionary" goals.

    So it must be guarded against. The stuff has to be secured. And there is a risk premium for failure to do so perfectly, which is inevitable.

    It's another cost, which must be included in the cost estimates when comparing the economics of solar power.
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    Exposure to toxins in large doses at once is generally regarded as more likely to provoke an adverse reaction than long term exposure to small doses. In fact, the phenomenon of "mithridatism" has been known to occur: Mithridatism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Said phenomenon of course does not apply to radiation exposure, but if it DOES apply to craven hysterical raving, we are all indebted to you, Mr. Racist Guy.

    What, you want to put djinn back in bottle? Unburn the fire? Extinguish forever this knowledge? Good luck with that.

    Prince is honest but not stupid, you should follow his example.
    Last edited by The Finger Prince; November 8th, 2011 at 06:42 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Since in no reactor accident or similar event have enough of the exposed people been measured for their actual exposure regime even at the event, let alone for years afterwards, your assertion cannot possibly be valid.
    Wrong.
    Hiroshima. Three Mile Island. Chernobyl. All decades ago, and all involving serious medical follow up long term of people exposed. This gives us the information showing that anything less than 100 millisieverts does not cause harm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Hiroshima. Three Mile Island. Chernobyl. All decades ago, and all involving serious medical follow up long term of people exposed. This gives us the information showing that anything less than 100 millisieverts does not cause harm.
    None of those studies involved actual measurement of individual exposure, either at the event or over the subsequent years.

    The conclusions reached are based on assumptions similar to your assertions here about the Fukushima exposures - you post landscape averages of statistically calculated total emission of radiation sources, calculations of "milliseiverts" all lumped together without regard to type or source or exposure regime, and theoretically assumed to be evenly dispersed across entire geographic regions.

    That's inadequate enough, and obviously so, to be classified as deception - if competence is assumed.
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    Iceaura

    It is not me that calculates those figures. I am merely the spectator. Those figures have come from much more expert people than myself. Are you accusing them of deception?

    Or is it merely that you prefer to trust assertions coming from political anti-nuclear groups to statements from genuine scientists?
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    Anyone COMPETENT has been inducted into evil conspiracy to injure public with advanced technology, evidently. Of course GREEN movement could not POSSIBLY be sinister in any way, correct?
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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