FWIW, I am using Chrome on a MacBook. When I run out of room, I place the cursor outside the comment box and scroll down.
By LP Hastings
By Michael Goldstein
By R. Scott Moxley
By Gustavo Arellano
By Gustavo Arellano
By Matt Coker
By Nick Schou
By Bethania Palma Markus
"Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, [those] hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them . . .for this is a righteous war, and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless."
"Take care, sir," cried Sancho. "Those over there are not giants, but windmills."
* * *
I'm headed home to San Clemente to meet with a modern-day Man of La Mancha (or, in this case, of nearby Carlsbad)—Ace Hoffman , a guy in the know about nuclear power, a defender of human life and the environment, a true grand tilter at mighty nuke atom-splitters. Ace's life mission: generally, to end mankind's use of nuclear power, which he equates to the 14th-century Black Plague in its destructive impact on human bodies and society.
"Males in the northern hemisphere are said to piss out about a million atoms of plutonium every DAY of their lives," Hoffman wrote for a Counterpunch article in 2007. "Just from one 1963 NASA space-probe accident."
More specifically, though, Ace wants to permanently close Southern California's San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)—or "Nuclear WASTE Generating Station," as he terms it.
"What," asks this contempo Don Quixote, "will we do with thousands of tons of lethal spent fuel sitting on that site for at least 300 more years, threatening our lives and livelihoods?"
Opposing Ace is SONGS' owner and operator, Southern California Edison (SCE), a Fortune 500 power goliath ($12.3 billion annual revenues, 20,000 employees) and state-protected energy behemoth. SCE is headquartered in Rosemead, east of downtown Los Angeles, a comfortable 62 miles from SONGS and a good 10 miles outside SCE's self-designated 50-mile "Ingestion Pathway Zone" (IPZ) specified for SONGS emergencies—in other words, Ground Zero. In 1996, SCE made itself the largest subsidiary of a holding company it calls Edison International. Slogan: "Life. Powered by Edison."
Reality: SCE failed early in the fission fest, way back in the mid-1950s. The company built the ill-fated Santa Susana Sodium Reactor Experimental (SRE) nuclear power plant near Moorpark in Ventura County. Owner Atomics International even fabricated plutonium fuel there. In 1959, the plant's reactors partially melted down, a California first. Fifty-four years later, the Old Susana site remains contaminated.
Edison moved on to build SONGS. In 1968, Unit 1, a Westinghouse pressurized water reactor (PWR) began operations. SCE built Units 2 and 3 in the 1970s (and in a portent of troubles to come, Bechtel Corporation, the nation's largest construction-and-engineering company, installed a 420-ton nuclear-reactor vessel backward). Unit 2 went online on Aug. 8, 1983, with Unit 3 following on April 1, 1984. They've been offline since Jan. 31, 2012, when a "leaking incident" damaged equipment and led to a release of radioactive steam into the environment.
Radiation entered the air, soil, beach, plants and water surrounding SONGS, just 8 goddamn miles from my fucking front door.
My family numbers among the 7.4 million people who live within that 50-mile SONGS IPZ. Welcome to the SoCal glow club, Long Beach, LA, Riverside and San Diego! Eat, drink and be wary.
But don't worry, advises SCE, which claims our biggest power facility has operated peacefully and "cleanly" ever since first fission, providing ratepayers with nearly 20 percent of SoCal's electricity while sparing everyone the deleterious effects of burning coal: tons of smog-producing pollutants and greenhouse-gas carbon emissions. SCE's unstated SONGS business-value proposition: nuclear pollution isn't nearly as bad as coal pollution and global warming.
Ace Hoffman perceives a more sinister scenario about his adversaries, who include SCE, which owns 78.2 percent of SONGS; Sempra Energy's San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), which owns 20 percent; and the city of Riverside, which owns 1.8 percent. "San Onofre is owned and operated by belligerent liars," Ace e-ranted to me. "They lie to each other, they lie to the media, they lie to the public, they lie to the NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission], and they lie to themselves, thinking 'a little radiation is safe' or even 'a little radiation is good for you.'"
Senator Barbara Boxer also doubts SCE management's veracity. The chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has called for a new investigation of SCE and a shutdown of SONGS based on information in a document from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which built the plan's faulty replacement steam generators, installed in 2010. According to Boxer, the document indicates that Edison and Mitsubishi were aware in advance of potential safety problems with the generators.
But SONGS survives in its South County haunt due entirely to SCE's political prowess and the Big Nuke propaganda machine. The heavily subsidized $33 billion nuclear-power industry is small but powerful because it's really just a money-losing beard for the military-industrial-congressional complex and its $56 billion-per-year U.S. nuclear-weapons programs. The commercial nuclear-power market was invented in the 1950s by the U.S. government to provide plutonium for nuclear warheads. Making electricity for consumers was just an (insane) excuse.
U.S. taxpayers mostly support the nuclear-power industry. In fact, Michele Boyd, legislative director of the nonprofit consumer-rights group Public Citizen's energy program, has called nuclear power a massive swindle of the American public put together by the federal government in collusion with ostensibly "for-profit" nuclear-plant operators. The heart of this fraud is the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act, which artificially limits the amount of primary insurance that nuclear operators must carry—an uncalculated, indirect subsidy in terms of insurance premiums they don't have to pay.
FWIW, I am using Chrome on a MacBook. When I run out of room, I place the cursor outside the comment box and scroll down.
For those that think putting up some windmills will be a simple solution for green energy look at the following picture:
This picture clearly shows that windmills cannot be placed in close proximity to each other as they shield the wind from each other. More windmills diminishes the return from each added windmill.
The other factor to consider is that the renewables are on or off on nature's timetable. There is no efficient way to store electricity even if we had 5 times the required renewable generating capacity. Without are large source of stable power going into the grid, the grid becomes unstable. That power has to come from either coal, natural gas or nuclear. Even if you think renewables are the answer and nuclear is the devil incarnate, it would be extremely expensive if not physically impossible to build the coal or natural gas plants to replace nuclear in the remaining lifetime of California's nuclear plants. Germany has recognized this but has decided to rely on coal.
Somebody posted below that we made it through last summer without any problems. I'll bet he also didn't need the airbag in his car today either.
Our host seems to know DonQuixote's points are inconvenient, but uses Quixote's anonymity as a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Now, if Quixote is on a government payroll, anonymity is smart, possibly necessary, because when the use by nuclear power stations of dollar's worth of uranium is blocked in favour of natural gas, the gas costs $16 or more, and of this, more than $2 is royalties.
But it often happens that a face one's friends, family, and neighbours are quite familiar with is unknown to one's employer and workplace associates. If you use that as an avatar, your family can know what you're doing and provide moral support.
Who cares if Security Officers have a GED? Most have extensive military training and combat experience in their resume prior to getting an interview at SONGS. Give me these folks over degreed geeks any day. Degreed folks are better suited to write for The Weekly.
Security officers at SONGS are mostly combat vets. And they know their shit. I couldn'care less if they had a GED!
Ummm ... I guess it takes real genius to hook up a 450 ton vessel backwards ... any more information on this?
@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul The reactor vessel is symmetrical so the practical or safety significance of this is nill.
Doing the research that Ned and Ace refuse to do.
Great article Ned. Just a couple of comments:
According to Wikipedia, SCE just built the electrical generation portion of the Santa Susana reactor, not the nuclear part.
Commercial reactors are not a good way to produce weapons grade Plutonium. Which is why they haven't been used for this purpose. Relatively recently, civilian reactors (the US government's TVA plants) have been used to make tritium for existing warheads which were decaying (12 year half life). It's questionable whether we would have agreed to nuclear arms talks if we could not be sure of the efficacy of our weapons while the Russians had no doubts about theirs.
I checked out Ace's "Comic Book Guide to Nuclear Bad Things" and on page 6 he admits that the nuclear fuel cycle contributes 0.1% of the average person's radiation dose. So if nuclear power plants are "wreaking havoc on our bodies" shouldn't we all be dropping like flies from the OTHER sources of radiation?
Also on page 18 in Ace's book, a graph shows that Total Nuclear Waste Ingestion Toxicity falls below natural Uranium ore in 1000 years. Thats a far cry from the 10,000 to 100,000 years of isolation cited in your article. Check with Ace on this.
On one hand, nuclear power is a money loser yet San Onofre makes "easy money for SCE." Which is it?
It's asserted that a nuclear plant must operate for 18 years before producing a surplus of energy. The accepted metric for comparing energy sources is the Energy Returned On Energy Invested. Here, nuclear is slightly better than solar cells (10 vs. 7). And this is with using only "5% of the fuel." Sorry to say, fossil fuels are higher than either. Offshore wind and wave are higher than nuclear. Perhaps you can talk the California Coastal Commission and the surfer dudes at the Trestles to build an offshore wind/wave energy complex when you close San Onofre.
The commercial light water reactors don't heat water to any higher temperatures than a fossil fuel power plant. Superheating has a specific meaning in thermodynamics aside from your use as a boogyman.
It's interesting that Ace rails about subsidies to nuclear power yet lists acceptable alternatives on page 29 of his comic book such as solar, wind, biomass, space-based mirrors and, believe it or not, "clean coal!" Each of these will require massive subsidies and still not be able to produce the power that nuclear currently does. Biomass has an even lower EROEI than solar cells.
Anyways, that's all for now.
DQ...I asked Ace to respond to your post. Here you go: Well, I could spend the time...1% is what it was before Fukushima. How many cancers do 7 billion people get when their body burden is increased by .1%? 1,000 years is a pro-nuclear figure, but assuming it's basically true, it ignores bioaccumulation of the "ignoble seven" fission products, and the dangers THAT poses. (Bioaccumulation can increase the risk by several orders of magnitude). It ignores plutonium, of course. It ignores the first 1,000 years entirely. Everyone has cost figures, but nuclear has proven to be very expensive. However, if the public pays most of that tab, the owner can still make money. So, it can be expensive (for society) and profitable (for the operators) at the same time. His fine line on SCE's role at Santa Susana shows he's just splittin' hairs, while the nuclear industry splits atoms. He's a smooth talker and wants to look like he's done his research. The "comic book" is full of facts he has not disputed, presumably because he has no argument for them. I wonder what he meant by, "Great article, Ned." I wonder what he liked about it?
Did I touch a nerve, Ned? It doesn't matter WHO or WHAT I am. You have made several specific assertions that I say are either false, irrelevant or grossly misleading. You should be able to refute what I say and provide justification beyond a malcontent's comic book. By the way, why would ACE move into a location (in 1991, years after operation started at San Onofre) if he believes the radiation from said power station is lethal?
Ned, please answer the question: If an average person's radiation dose from the nuclear fuel cycle (this means mining, enrichment, operation and disposal as well as the "bioaccumulation" of their byproducts) is 0.1%, why are there not widespread nuclear related deaths, cancers and other illnesses from the OTHER 99.9% of radiation sources? If nuclear power plant radiation is such a hazard, shouldn't the workers at San Onofre or any other reactor be dying left and right?
If the 1000 years is a "pro-nuclear figure" why doesn't ACE cite a neutral or realistic figure?
Can you cite how much bioaccumulation of the magnificent 7 fission products takes place and what our resulting dose is? And this time give a reference as you have no technical credibility. If radiation is as lethal as you postulate, wouldn't bioaccumulation be precluded by the pre-mature death of the organisms responsible for the bioaccumulation?
How much was spent on Solyndra? And how many megawatts of power were produced by their product?
That's all for now, Ned.
Except there weren't. This was a research reactor that operates at low power for short periods of time. The kind that are used to make nuclear medicines or study materials. Bombing it fit the Bush Sr. script for destroying Iraq's "WMDs."
Bombing a reactor operating at a higher power level would not have been good PR. That's why Israel took out the Osirak reactor before it bagan operation.
As I said, Russia or China could conceivably attack our nuclear power stations. If the situation comes to that does it even matter? You can also argue that we shouldn't live in cities since large concentrations of people are inviting targets of warfare or terrorism. Perhaps we should prevent people from living within 10 miles of the coast since they are then vulnerable to tsunamis. After all far more died from the tsunami than even the highest estimates of Fukushima.
You wouldn't even have to attack nuclear power stations to wreak havoc. If the electrical grid goes down for more than a few days over a widespread area water treatment, food refrigeration, transport, life upport systems, communication return to 1900 levels. We are so dependent on a reliable, on demand electrical supply that nuclear meltdowns pale in significance.
@nedmadden @DonQuixote NOBODY disputes the fact that the waste is hazardous and needs to be isolated. The debate centers around the magnitude of the hazard and the technical feasibility of doing so. Did you know that in Africa there was a natural concentration of Uranium that was high enough to sustain a fission chain reaction for several thousand years? This was millions of years before humans appeared. By studying the crystal structure of the surrounding rocks, scientists deduced that the waste was immobilized without any engineered containment.
I don't want claims from the pro-industry side. I just want FACTS from someone more believable than Ace.
All your opportunities for presenting the other side were of the nature of "Tell us, when did you stop beating your wife?"
@nedmadden @DonQuixote RPHP studies have been discredited by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health and others. Caldicott is a pediatrician with no background in epidemiology, radiation biology or statistics. We should accept the word of these groups because they are "outsiders"?
If living near a nuclear power station is responsible for all the deaths, cancers and deformities you and Ace believe them to be, then shouldn't life insurance rates be higher for those in such danger? I would think it would be nearly impossible to get health or life insurance. Is there any evidence that this is the case? Note I am NOT talking about Price-Anderson which only takes effect in the event of an accident. I am talking about routine operation of a nuclear power station.
And boy have you made a wrong assumption if you think I am a conservative. What I was getting at was that NONE of the mainstream media, the so-called "liberal media" challenged Bush on Iraq. They accepted everything Bush, Cheney, Powell and Rumsfeld said without question. Like I said - stenographers.
DQ writes: "WHY does it matter WHO or WHAT I am? Unless , of course, you plan on using personal attacks or intimidation rather than facts and logic." Oh, I never threaten or intimidate. Don't have to...you guys have brought all this on yourselves. The greedheads at SCE knew better than to jam those replacement generators into those units, but they thought they could get away with it...and failed. Ace admits that he didn't close the plant. SCE did that itself. The nuke industry ALWAYS blows itself up. You don't have anything to fear from me. It's the truth about your killer nuke that you're running from.
DQ-- You write: "Not once did you challenge anything Ace said. In fact, you still go back to him to get your story straight. What is the difference between what you have done and the way the mainstream media handled what Bush did in Iraq? In both cases, scary stories are told to get a specific response." Challenge Ace about what? Argue that nuclear power is safe when all science shows that it is supremely deadly? Mainstream media and Bush? Now there's a clue as to where you're coming from. I thought that "mainstream media" like Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Brit Hume, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Peggy Noonan, Laura Ingraham, Goerge Will, Max Boot, Jonah Goldberg, American Spectator, Weekly Standard, Matt Drudge, etc. positively gushed over W during his illegal invasion of Iraq. They never bothered him about the fact that he lied regarding Saddam's non-existant weapons of mass destruction as a justification to invade Iraq.
DQ--There's too much evidence to contracdict your lies. Joseph Mangano is directs the Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP), an independent group of scientists and health professionals dedicated to research and education of health hazards from nuclear reactors and weapons. In his book "Mad Science,' Mangano strips away the near-smothering layers of distortions and outright lies that permeate the massive propaganda campaigns on behalf of nuclear energy. In her 2006 book "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer," Helen Caldicott goes into the particulars of which nuclides (fallout particles) cause what kinds of cancers and genetic deformities. If anything, I went way too easy on you guys.
DQ--You claim: "You wrote a sensationalistic article that cited one side uncritically to reach a pre-ordained conclusion." How many claims from the pro-nuclear power industry that nuclear power is "clean" and "safe" do I need to print to satisfy you? I'm guessing there couldn't be enough. But why would I repeat industry lies? They spend untold millions of dollars every year propagandizing on behalf of their murderous technology. I gave SCE space to defend what it does. Sen. Boxer thinks they're liars, and I agree. If nuke plants were safe, why would the federal government be trying to bury the dangerous and deadly waste from nuclear fission deep underground in remote parts of America? You guys keep playing your big game of PRETEND, but the game is over.
DQ--For example, you deny that the U.S. ever bombed a nuclear reactor. Read "Another First for the U.S.: The Bombed Nuclear Reactor in Iraq" at http://tinyurl.com/aphukwl. It states: "One fact of the Persian Gulf War seems to have been recorded in invisible ink: the United States is the first nation in history to have intentionally bombed an operating nuclear reactor. The reactor the U.S. destroyed at the Tuwaitha Nuclear research Center in Iraq, just ten kilometers southeast of Baghdad, was a small Russian-made research reactor typical of the kind found at Western univesities." I know this doesn't make any difference to you...who cares about those people, right?
DQ--Ace considers you a waste of time and isn't going to bother responding to you anymore. I, on the other hand, consider you a perfect spokesman for the pro-nuke propaganda machine. I have spent more than 15 years studying the history of nuclear power in general and San Onofre in particular, and all I can say is that I have encountered a ton of industry mouthpieces like you. Too cowardly to reveal yourself, you hide behind anonymity to troll this site and make misleading statments.
DQ, how do you pull off such long posts? It cuts me off after a couple of paragraphs.
@nedmadden @DonQuixote How many accidents will it take for that 0.1% body burden to climb to a full1%? It depends on the accident and the design of the facility. For Fukushima, the estimates are 1000 fatalities from THREE core melts. About the number from a coal plant or a couple of natural gas explosions which are Japan's only realistic alternatives.
I am not "avoiding" fluid elastic instability or any of the other phenomena you mention. Nobody disputes that these are the reasons San Onofre is shut down. However unlike you (and ACE), I know the limitations of my knowledge. From what I read in the papers, the NRC has concluded that Edison's response has been prudent. However, the matter is still under investigation.
I did not say that "every organism that bioaccumulates radioactive materials dies before you have a chance to eat it." What I did say is that there is a limit to how much bioaccumulation can take place and that the 0.1% body burden accounts for this.
If what you and Ace say about radiation exposure is correct, epidemiology studies should easily prove this. To date, they have not.
You claimed that the US bombed foreign reactors. I re-read YOUR article and find what YOU actually quoted Ace as saying that "power generation sites" were bombed. You are so sloppy that you can't even correctly cite your own writing! I suppose that Russia or China could target ICBMs against our nuclear power plants. But if things get to that level, thats the LEAST of our worries. Kind of like realizing that 20000 were killed from the tsunami in Japan.
You wrote a sensationalistic article that cited one side uncritically to reach a pre-ordained conclusion. Not once did you challenge anything Ace said. In fact, you still go back to him to get your story straight. What is the difference between what you have done and the way the mainstream media handled what Bush did in Iraq? In both cases, scary stories are told to get a specific response.
WHY does it matter WHO or WHAT I am? Unless , of course, you plan on using personal attacks or intimidation rather than facts and logic
Ace Hoffman: Why don't I move? Aside from "where would we go, this is a global problem" and "this is OUR problem, to be solved, not run away from" and so on, I'm not the one saying a properly operating nuclear power plant is more dangerous than, say, smoking cigarettes for people in the nearby population. Or even than second-hand cigarette smoke, especially for children. Or even than a coal plant -- although as I understand it, a "clean coal" plant can be 20 times less polluting than a dirty one. No, we fight SanO because we love California.
This guy hasn't got the moral fortitude -- or maybe just the guts -- to come out and debate, to stand by his words. He won't want to do that, because he libels and he knows it, and he probably also knows he can't possibly win his claim that my book is inaccurate. Giving him a forum for his wild assertions is as much a mistake as publishing some "inventor's" "scientific" treatise on his new perpetual motion machine would be.
This site doesn't seem to permit long responses (though you seem to have figured out how to do it), so I'll have to break up Ace's response into sections. Here's the first:
This is what happens when you give the floor to anonymous trolls and then favor them with a response. How many nuclear accidents will it take for that .1% body burden to climb to a full 1%? What's it at now, after Fukushima? Notice he's not talking about fluid elastic instability, void fractions, flow induced vibration, tube-to-tube wear, or like-for-like changes. He's avoiding what's really keeping SanO closed -- after all, it sure isn't me that's doing that. His claims are preposterous, that every organism which bioaccumulates radioactive poisons must therefore die before you have a chance to eat it. Absurd. Why publish such drivel, submitted anonymously so the writer doesn't have to stand by his words? You have to stand by yours, and can. And, they are not "The Magnificent Seven" though he must have thought long and hard to come up with that one. They are the ignoble seven.
C'mon, Don. Who are you? Do you work for SCE? I bet you do. Please tell us your real name...if you love the nuke, you should be proud to stand up and be counted. Would you please share your obviously vast knowledge about nuke plants re the Santa Susana reactor? Your referenced Wiki article on Susana states: "A local utility company, Southern California Edison, installed and operated a 6.5 MW electric-power generating system." Please, Mr. Quixote, enlighten this publication's readers on how that power generating system was separate and distinct from "the nuclear part," as you describe it. Also, who did build "the nuclear part?" These details will help fill out my Susana research and be much appreciated by, I'm sure, all Southern Californians interested in this subject. I've learned that you can't know too much about a nuke plant.
@nedmadden @DonQuixote The Santa Susana reactor was built by Rocketdyne an aerospace company. I explicitly says this in the Wikipedia article. Their interest was, I suppose, in finding applications for either space based power systems or nuclear propulsion.
FRom your writing, not only can you "not know too much," you can not know anything and think you know everything.
Oh, DQ, I know what I don't know, and right now I don't know who you are. You're so generous with sharing your knowledge. Now's the time to share your real name. Who are you? Don't be afraid to tell us.
Thank you Ned Madden for your superb article featuring Ace Hoffman. His consummate work has been a source of understanding the madness at SanO for a few years now. The DAB safety team, blog site and his website provides many with the truth about Nuclear Energy. Much respect to you and Ace!
Neither does San Onofre, of course. If the Romans had had such a power station, and archeologists had dug up its spent fuel rods, these might now be displayed, unshielded or perhaps shielded only by glass cases, in museums.
They wouldn't be a very interesting exhibit, so the possibility of a museum-goer standing next to them, like a statue, for a whole year or more, and accumulating 4500000 microsieverts of radiation dose, would not concern the museum management.
And why would the management not worry about nuisance lawsuits? Well, if the Romans had had nuclear power, we'd still be using it, and the fossil fuel lobby would be long forgotten.
I'm not saying Hoffman is a member of that lobby, but with the big money he's helping, he's not nearly the maverick he may think he is.
So, even though it's not easy to follow your train of thought in this post, I'm guessing that you're saying Ace Hoffman is fronting Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Natural Gas? Am I correct? And if I am, where is your evidence?
Concerns about nuclear energy? Perfectly valid. Intimidation, favoritism and other weird crap going on at Onofre? Not a surprise, and it wouldn't be the first reactor that was built so poorly it would probably be more useful as a pile of rubble. Major corruption and other problems at the NRC? No surprise there either, clean up that place pronto. But unfortunately this guy comes off to me like a crank. He claims nuclear weapons were being used in the Iraq/Afghanistan war? Really??? Folks don't think that would be AS BIG A STORY as 9/11 if it were true???
"Depleted Uranium Radioactive Contamination In Iraq: An Overview"
@nedmadden What connection is there between DU and San Onofre or any other nuclear plant? There is none mentioned in the article you cited. The Pentagon probably has tons of the stuff left over from its bomb making days.
DQ...did you actually READ any of this? I asked Hoffman about security at Nofre and he responded by saying that, in general, all nuke plants are legitimate targets of war and that the U.S. has indeed bombed them in foreign nations. He then mentioned the use of depleted uranium in Iraq as an example of nuke warfare. Next, I responded to Steve Lanzi's comments above with a link to an article titled "Depleted Uranium Radioactive Contamination In Iraq: An Overview." Here's an excerpt: "During 2003, military operations conducted in Iraq by the invading forces used additional rounds of DU in heavily populated areas such as Baghdad, Samawa and other provinces." Notice how the words "depleted uranium" appear in the text. That is the clue that "depleted uranium" was mentioned. BTW, the Pentagon is still heavily engaged in its "bomb making days."
How can an energy source that is inefficient (5% from a fuel rod before it maxes out), expensive and lethal beyond measure for thousands of years be considered "reliable?"
@nedmadden How can the idle windmills I see every time I drive past Palm Springs be considered "reliable?"
Gee, DQ, I don't remember ever mentioning the windmills out near Palm Springs, idle or otherwise. You must be referring to some other story NOT written by me, in which case, your post has no relevance to this discussion. But since you bring up the subject, it's safe to say that those windmills will one day be dismantled and safely recycled. Whereas the nuke plant leftovers will remain deadly forever. Big difference, or don't you think so?
@Nelson Mills Not if Californians stand up to the oil and gas lobby -- even *if* that lobby is discreet, and says "renewables and conservation". (Isn't it interesting how many more syllables euphemisms have than the things they euphemize.)
@darin.r.mcclure Unfortunately, the 50,000+ windmills it would take to replace the power output of SONGS would probably cover most of San Clemente.
@kristoffer3 You would also have to include the space needed for the backup power plants that would be needed when the windmills are idle - which seems to be most of the time. Obviously, windmills can't be used when there is little wind. They also can't be used when the winds are too strong. Just drive past Palm Springs to get an idea of their reliability.
@kristoffer3 Guess what, SanO' has already "been replaced" and we are getting along just fine, soon when the CPUC stops dragging its feet we will be able to install even more solar and then Edison will have a very hard time justifying any restart since SanO is no far more expensive than Solar (of all flavors)!
@nedmadden @gcowan Deadly indeed, in theory. Not at all in the league of the two made killers, wind turbines and natural gas combustion turbines, that form the system that governments now-a-days seem to like, but the potential is definitely there.
Perhaps you no longer believe I have no understanding of these matters.
Response from Ace Hoffman: He's saying that the dose goes down over time, and does so substantially for the first 50 years, then pretty substantially again for the next 2,000 years, etc.. All true and all quite irrelevant because this stuff is millions of times, not merely thousands of times, more deadly than most poisons humans try to handle. I'll assume the LLNL report is fairly accurate and comports fairly well with statistics I've presented myself, such as on page 18 of The Code Killers, which discusses time frames of the spent fuel problem. The devil's in those little details again. For example, perhaps the LLNL report discusses fuel that has been properly stored for 2,000 years, but ignores fuel that has been dispersed into the environment during that time. Besides, if after 50 years, it can kill someone in five hours from five meters away, as he says, I'd say that's still pretty deadly stuff...
@nedmadden @gcowan I can't prove the stuff is dangerous at all. However, I believe the science in "Dose Rate Estimates from Irradiated Light-Water-Reactor Fuel Assemblies in Air", a report from LLNL, free on the web.
It says a big square PWR fuel rod such as there are many of at San Onofre, 50 years after going out of service, could indeed kill people if they stood five metres from it for five hours.
If such rods stay at San Onofre indefinitely, they will be in containers similar to the ones seen at http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152583249985451&set=o.295123703922200&type=1 . That's the nuclear waste cache nearest to me.
"Spent Fuel Explorer", a Java program that also is free on the web, lets one see how much reduction there is over time in various measures of spent fuel rod radioactivity. It shows an 1800-fold reduction in penetrating radiation between 50 years and 2000 years, hence my what-if about Roman nuclear relics in museums.
Ok, this post I understand. And it's also clear that you have NO understanding of the half-lives of uranium isotopes, which can go for thousands of years. Since there's no Yucca Mountain as a future home for thousands of tons of spent fuel from San Onofre, the stuff will remain at the plant site indefinitely. So, YES, San Onofre DOES leave deadly waste that kills. Let's see your proof to the contrary.
@darin.r.mcclure Check his latest animation out: http://acehoffman.blogspot.com/2013/02/new-animation-shows-what-could-happen.html
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