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Poll: The future of nuclear power in the U.S.

Do you think nuclear power in the United States should be increased, reduced, or kept at its current level?

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Would you feel comfortable living within 5 miles of a nuclear power plant?

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  • E148

    Nuclear is NOT safe. Can you say 3-mile Island and Chernoble? Also, it appears from looking at the stacks it is spewing steam, water vapor, the prolific greenhouse gas. Of course what do you do with all of the waste?

    Coal is not clean.

    The only clean and safe technology we have now is hydro-electric power plants,

  • Melissa R

    After 3-Mile Island and Chernobyl there is NO WAY I want to be anywhere near this, and don’t want it anywhere near any other Americans, either.  It’s preposterous to consider, no matter how anyone tries to sell me on it.

  • Charles Michael Couch

    I suspect that every person in the Nuclear Industry has already voted yes for this. People with good sense vote no. What we need is for the Energy/Oil/Gas industry to stop killing Free Energy/Water Car Technology Inventors. The Open Source Free Energy and Water Car Technology will take care of the problems and finally win the day, crushing the Monopolist Energy Industry, which is just one of many tentacles of the Banksters.

  • Vandermude

    I worked in nuclear power and I trust it. It is a heck of a lot safer than coal. Because it is more mysterious we are more careful. I also feel that it is an important step for humanity. As we learn more in science, we need to learn how to control more powerful forces. This is a sign of our growing maturity as human beings. In a century, we will have learned how to control powers that we cannot imagine today. We need to learn how to control nuclear power safely today. This will be a stepping stone on our way to taking on more and more responsibility as we understand more and more about science and nature. We need to learn how to control nuclear power now, so we can learn more important powers in the future.

  • Marshall Bartlett

    Water vapor only remains in the atmosphere for ~10 days.  Human emissions of this gas do not have any impact on the planets greenhouse.

    What to do with the “waste”?  Use it!  It is not really waste, it is unused nuclear fuel.  More than 90% of the energy available in nuclear fuel rods remains unused in the conventional, light water nuclear cycle that is a 50 year old technology that we continue to think of as the “state of the art” in nuclear fuel cycles.  We pioneered a better way in this country, culminating in the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) design that produces far less waste in both volume and radiant potential.  Politics and the environmental movements illogical view human technological innovation are the real villains in the nuclear debate. 

  • Elizabeth

    Nuclear materials are too vulnerable to terrorists.  The world could be destroyed by clever madmen.

  • Rosie

    Nuclear is absolutely safe.  I have worked in the nuclear industry for 33 years and the plants in the US are built totally diifeent than the ones in Ukraine and Japan.  We’re talking apples and oranges. Our plants are so different from the Japan plant that their accident could not happen here.  Most americans are totally ignorant about the nuclear industry so are afraid of something they know little or nothing about.

  • Brymer10

    The biggest lesson learned in Japan is not to build a nuclear plant on the sea shore

  • EH

    If a nuclear power plant had an accident and I lived nearby and my house became uninhabitable for the rest of my life, who would reimburse my financial loss?  The power company?  I don’t think so.  My insurance company?  Definitely not.  They don’t cover that.  The government?  Not likely.  I believe the power companies have lobbied the federal government to eliminate their liability by allowing them to pay into a grossly under-funded recovery fund.  Unfortuately, the amount of loss in an event that took place near a populated area would be so large, that each individual would receive almost nothing of the true value of their property/house/land.  Nothing like this has happened yet, so most people are unaware of the limitations of liability that have been created by federal law and most people are not thinking about the financial consequences.  It will be the unfortunate individuals who happen to live in the fallout area who will bear the brunt and lose almost everything they have worked for.

  • Whmurray

    It is true that nuclear power is not safe.  Flying in airplanes is not safe.   They are only safer than the alternative sources of power and transportation.   

  • BonzoDog1

    It’s simply too expensive. Nuclear’s been massively subsidized by taxpayers for 60 years, and still today no private money will touch the industry — that’s been true since even before Three Mile Island turned a $1 billion asset into a $2 billion liability overnight.
    Conservation and renewable sources provide more bang for the buck and many more jobs.

  • Lorti

    Absolutely NO MORE Nuclear Power Plants in the U.S. until the problem of spent fuel is resolved.  Storage on site means that we have 104 dangerous storage sites.  How many other nuclear facilities are there in our country.  Include the military sites?  Where do they store their spent fuel? 

  • Harveyphillips34

    Even if  nuclear plants may be safe, what can be done with the waste products? Where can the rods be stored safely? Deep holes may not be an answer. Consider earthquakes; consider water pollution.

  • BonzoDog1

    The Fukushima plants were GE reactors based on the Mark II design, there’s 23 of them now operating in the U.S. and their owners want to keep running them past their 40-year design life.
    I remember the Russians saying after TMI that their reactors were entirely different. They were right. Chernobyl blew up in an entirely different way.
    Americans’ ignorance of nuclear power is due to lies and disinformation that has been the hallmark of nuclear proponents ever since they promised power “too cheap to meter” in the 1950s.

  • Mike

     I totally agree. The risks of radiation release are totally exaggerated by people without any understanding of the technology. An friend of mine set off radiation detectors at work when entering his job at a nuclear plant. Turns out the naturally occurring Radon in his home exposed him to far greater radiation exposure than what was allowed at the plant. He was actually contaminating the plant with radiation from home.

  • Tacker1

    The need for energy is not going away and is, in fact, rising at a seemingly exponential rate. Government guarantee of loans for nuclear plants is simply that, a guarantee to the lender of a portion of the loan, should the plant fail. As the government, in the form of the NRC, provides the direct oversight of nuclear power plants in the US, that type of guarantee is pretty safe. More importantly, the government doesn’t actually incur any expenditure of “taxpayer” dollars unless the plant fails. This cannot be compared to the real dollars wasted on such items as private company bailouts and failed attempts at inefficient technologies, like solar panels, that were proven inadequate back in the 70s. The effort by a supposed expert to attempt to mislead the public into believing that the government will be spending taxpayer money to fund nuclear power in the US is simply criminal. I was very disappointed that such an invalid statement was given credence on public television by not providing even the least challenge. Shame on PBS for feeding such narrow minded sensationalism.

  • DuaneDesign

    Nuclear power is still a viable and important piece of the producer pie.   There is not an unequivocal completely safe source ever, we live on an active planet.  There is risk in everything we do and make.  If we never take risk we might as well be in caves and said no to fire.  We learn from mistakes and risk.  Do we fly?  Do we try space travel?  Do we take a ship and find new continents when many thought the world was flat?  

  • Pjgwastren1

    Just another comment and non-factual based opinion on someone who doesn’t appear to want to understand or educate themselfs on what they wish to comment on..  Nuclear Power plants have more safety systems, structures, and features that are only matched by our space program… The technology is continuing to be developed and improved upon with no government sponsorship and funding support.

    I just watch the jPBS segement on different views of this nuclear technology..   Again we hear someone say there is “no solution to High Leve Nuclear Waste”.. Again you hear this same response and invalid rheteric with very little challanging by the hosts… Both need to be challanged more agressiveliy and research more before you conduct an interview on this topic.. There exist  and will continue to be a proven pathway (research for over 35 years) for the ultimate long term disposal (10,000′s of years) yet nobody wants to acknologe it nor make the political dicision to allow it to go forward (e.g., Yucca Mountain)…  The site has been evaluted for four decads based on our best science and determined to be acceptable for long term disposal.. The site will always have a retrivable nuclear waste capability in case some future need exsit to retrieve and recyle this material..  Please public conduct your own research on this an any topic before your ready to express opinions or act like you are an expert in this or any area..

    Oh by the way, your previous comment on hydro-electric shows limited knowledge in that is that it generates ozone, power lines magnetic fields, electrical grids hazards and also kills alot of aquatic marine and fish wild life…  all techologies have some impact on our environment, but to say ” the only clean and safe technology” is based on complete and accurate facts…  Please don’t put you head in the sand an always agree with what you hear about green technologies…

    Best Regards Always..

  • TW

    I fear global heating much more than nuclear electriciy. (Do people know that uranium from some of the former Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons  that have been disassembled has been put into American reactors to generate electriciy?)   There are new nuclear reactor designs such as “advanced passive,” where gravity feeds water into reactors in case of accident.

    And note to respondent “E148″:  water vapor is not a greenhouse gas.   Carbon dioxide is, and nuclear electricity produces none of that.

    Unless we can develop batteries that can store gigantic amounts of electricity, wind and solar alone will not be enough to fit the electricity needs of a civilized world.

    We need less nuclear electricity phobia and more discussion base on facts.

  • Whmurray

    We kill 1500 a year in the mere extraction of fossil fuels, before we burn any of them.  We need a little perspective here.  Chanting “Three-Mile Island, Chernoble, and Fukishima” is not helpful.  Modern nuclear power is a couple of orders of magnitude safer than these plants, but even if that were not true, nuclear power is safer than the alternatives.  That we are used to all the deaths that result from burning fossil fuels (riding in automobiles, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and over eating) and are a generation away from those that might result from “sudden climate change,”  does not make them any less risky. 

    There is no such thing as risk free energy and not much to chose among them.

  • Lew Fitch, Ph.D

    I watched the entire program. The Pro-nuclear speaker had numbers and facts, Where he had an opinion it was clearly labelled as such. The Anti man’s speech was loaded with words like”disaster”, “deadly”and other perjorative terminology. He said “prohibitively expensive”, the advocate said “$4000 per kilowatt as opposed to $1000 for natural gas. Fear, unbacked by reason is a poor basis for a decision. I am as green as anyone, but I* refuse to be screamed at. 

  • Tom

    Really?? Steam & water vapor are the greenhouse gas? As in like, rain and fog? The ONLY discharge from the cooling tower that you see every day is water vapor (clouds!) at roughly 10-15 degrees above the ambient temperature in the area! I agree that there is associated waste, but compare the waste fom nuclear to coal…meager in comparison, and more costly to process however, if it were possible to run the entire US grid on hydro, we would have already done it! The demand has far overshadowed any possible amount of hydro supply because the hydro generators are simply not capable of anything close to the demanded production.

  • Lew4vrv

    Do you remember the Johnstown Flood?  No energy source is ultimately “safe”

  • BonzoDog1

    Construction of a nuclear power plant requires massive amounts of high-strength steel and concrete — both of which generate massive CO2 emissions and requires massive amounts of energy that takes the reactors years running accident-free to make up for.  Yes, climate change is of concern, especially for nuclear plants which must be built near the sea or rivers (for cooling) which makes them vulnerable to flooding.

  • Fania36

    nuclear power should become absolete and replaced by new ,safer technology,this program proves it is possible…the will leads to the way…..

  • Stevber

    Nuclear Power is the most expensive and dirty way to produce power. All the strip mining/earth moving machinery that digs and processes the fuel for nuclear plants run on fossil fuels (OIL). Land that has been strip mined is useless and contaminated afterwards. As long as there are nuclear reacters, no one is safe. In the late 70′s Radio Shack sold smoke detectors with radiation detectors biult in to detect Radon Gas, they were discontinued because they sounded each time a nuclear plant blew off excess radioactive steam at night.  

  • Tom

    Unlike commercial, military does not have any spent fuel. If refueled (only after 20 to 30 years), the entire core is removed and taken to Hannford & buried.

  • Stevber

    Hydro is good as long as the water temp stays the same. An unbelievable Historic place to see how hydro power in the past powered a city is the falls in Cohoes NYS on the Mohalk River.  

  • Roger

    The failure of the nuclear reactors in Japan was due to the placement of the diesel backup generators where they were vulnerable to being inundated by the tsunami, not to any intrinsic problem with the reactors themselves.
    To be opposed to nuclear power in the current economic and climatic crisis, is essentially to say, “I don’t care if there is more CO2 released into the atmosphere from coal, or oil, or gas power plants, I don’t care if bird migration patterns are disrupted by large wind farms, I don’t care about global warming, I don’t care about the environment!” Until viable options, that can be scaled up, are “shovel ready,” we have no reasonable option to nuclear power generation.One option that I have been hearing about for at least the last forty years is orbiting solar generating stations in space, which would beam down power in the form of unpulsed microwave energy. If you are not familiar with the concept, Ben Bova’s 2005 novel “Powersat” will give you a good introduction to this option.
    To be opposed to nuclear power in the current economic and climatic crisis, is essentially to say, “I don’t care if there is more CO2 released into the atmosphere from coal, or oil, or gas power plants, I don’t care if bird migration patterns are disrupted by large wind farms, I don’t care about global warming, I don’t care about the environment!”

    Until viable options, that can be scaled up, are “shovel ready,” we have no reasonable option to nuclear power generation.

    One option that I have been hearing about for at least the last forty years is orbiting solar generating stations in space, which would beam down power in the form of unpulsed microwave energy. If you are not familiar with the concept, Ben Bova’s 2005 novel “Powersat” will give you a good introduction to this option.

  • Tom

    The part you’re not including in your information is that after Three Mile Island, we learned an enormous lesson and upgraded those plants in the US tremendously for safety. As a concerned member of the human race, we then shared those lessons and offered assistance to Japan to similarly improve the safety of their assets…they declined!

  • BonzoDog1

    Whenever someone brings up the airplane analogy, I tell them to go down to the airport and take the next zeppelin out of town.
    Back then we were able to abandon inherently dangerous technologies and come up with something better, which we did.
    Same goes for today and energy.
    There are better options than nuclear today, they cost less, employ more people and don’t risk poisoning our descendants for generations.

  • cody weber

     Chernobyl and Fukushima were both disasters but i actually think that 3mile is a example of containment systems working properly when a disaster should have occurred.  Several events happened in a row but despite a partial meltdown everything was contained and there were no adverse effects to the environment.  Safety at 3mile was therefore maintained.

    IMO i would like to see us switch to thorium as … we have an absolute ton of it and its apparently safer.  Also i think an important fix to the spent fuel problem is nuclear reprocessing as it would allow us to get 60x more energy from the same amount of fuel meaning we should be creating 1/60th of the waste.  Can thank the Carter administration for that one.

    Hydroelectric is clean and safe but from an environmental standpoint it probably has the greatest effect on the environment.  Dams effect fish migration, create reservoirs that flood large areas of land and create a large amount of potential energy storage that could wipe large areas from the map should a dam fail.  All forms of energy have their downsides; Some worse than others. 

    Wind is unrealistic and inconsistent as a large scale fix.  Fossils are generally dirty and non renewable.  Nuclear has the… disaster problem.  Solar is costly and takes up too much real estate to function.  Geothermal is neat but new and inefficient.  And hydroelectric has a huge environmental impact.

    Moving forward with the amount of people living in the areas where hydro electric power could be possible it would be unrealistic to depend on it as a primary source of energy.  Solar farms are worthless but individual solar production could be a large part of the solution for the country.  The bulk of our power should come from nuclear and in the long term geothermal as efficiency is improved.

  • kll

    This is part of the problem with the discussion from the anti  -  nuclear opinion.  Things like “I believe”  Not a good way to get to the facts that are needed for a intelligent decision.

  • Sunny and Breeze

    Do we want to leave toxic nuclear waste for future generations?

  • TG

    Watching the Nuclear Power debate tonight  reminded me of the same conculsions reached fifty years ago.  On the national map of reactor locations I noticed there were none located in Idaho.  For the record, there have been reactors in Idaho for fifty years. One small incident, caused by a love triangle gone wrong.  We have a need to more power and my concern is what to do with the nuclear waste. Thanks!

  • Lawrence_leach

    The same people who claim there is no solution for waste are the ones who continually block the solution. There are many solutions. The Obama administration blocked funding for one good one: Yucca mountain. This isn’t rockete science. It is politics.

  • Lawrence_leach

    Not true. Although the radioactive waste (e.g. the reactor vessels from the retired ships)  is buried at Hanford the highly enriched uranium from the cores, where the “high level” waste resides”  is shipped to Idaho. It used to be reprocessed to recover the uranium. I don’t think that is happening now but likely will when the new Ariva plant is built.

  • Lawrence_leach

    Actually the nuclear power plant has insurance that will pay you. Yes, that insurance is backed up by the Federal Government. I can’t recall the law right now but you can look it up.

  • Lawrence_leach

    Guess you never lived below a dam that burst. I did. It was on the Teton River in Idaho. Read up on it.

  • cody weber

    I would be interested to see sources on your “facts”

    1.  Nuclear power most expensive and dirty
    2.  land nuclear fuel comes from is useless after extraction
    3.  Radiation detectors going off when plant blew off steam

  • cody weber

    na on the ocean is fine the lesson that should have been learned has to deal with earthquake prone areas.

  • Allan G

    Your poll is disappointing.  The two questions, by design, are statistically irrelevant.  The first question should be “Do you think nuclear power in the United States should be increased, reduced, or kept at its current level in deference to conventional coal or other ‘non-green’ energy generation processes?”  The second question should be “Would you feel more comfortable living within 5 iles of a nuclear power plant or a coal fired power plant?”  The issue is not nuclear power in isolation; the issue is nuclear power vs coal (or the like).  Parenthetically, I daresay, most people would not feel comfortable living within 5 miles of ANY powerplant; and don’t or won’t.

  • disinformation is sabotage

    The public
    debate over nuclear energy is flooded with disinformation coming from the
    anti-nuke side. As an engineer, I find the greatest challenge facing the future
    of nuclear power is, unfortunately, educating the masses, many of which refuse
    to be educated.

    Coal and
    other fossil fuels release much much more radiation into the environment than
    fission reactors. They also release unsustainable quantities of carbon dioxide,
    sulphur and nitrogen compounds, and cause substantially more illnesses from
    respiratory disease to cancer and a host of other ailments.

    To argue
    against nuclear power is the pinnacle of ignorance. But there is no way to
    communicate with the other side because they have erected a psychological
    barrier that is impervious to scientific arguments.

    If you are a foe of nuclear, I strongly urge you to read more. Here is a site that provides several introductory articles.

    Click on the Public Information Service tab and check out some of the informational papers. You will be surprised you ever doubted the scientists.

    Take it from an engineer. The consequences of ignorance would include environmental degradation, reduced public health, and economic decline. These are the highest prices we could pay. So, arm yourself with knowledge instead.

  • Cheaddylla

    You are simply wrong. 
    Here’s a YouTube segment that explains what you seem to want to ignore:

  • Candace

    Not “backed up by” the federal government but paid almost in full by the federal government through the Price Anderson act.  Yes, taxpayers, once again, the nuclear corporations will reap the profits but taxpayers will pay for any disasters.  What a surprise huh

  • William C. Edwards, Ph.D.

          It would seem that the facts are not the same on the different sides of the question. This is typical of debates of this kind. My facts, of course, are correct, yours are not all correct, or at least some are misleading. The terminology was changed from atomic power to nuclear power because of the dropping of the bombs and the mushroom cloud syndrome. A life-cycle cost analysis of the use of nuclear power was never realistically worked out before the goveronment started pushing nuclear power.
          We can put up many wind generators and solar panels farms much cheaper and faster than we can construct nuclear power plants and, just as the technology may improve for the nuclear power industry, it will also improve for the solar and wind power industries.
          Our only hope for a sustainable energy future is to stop the construction of all non-green energy facilities and develop and implement a national energy policy running the whole spectrum of energy useage!

  • Marv Elliot

    Get a grip Doc. No one is screaming. You obviously don’t live near Indian Point. When Con Ed opened the original reactor  there, they promised that electricity would be so cheap that it would almost be free and that was when an electric bill for an average home was less than $20/ mo. Would you agree to have a waste storage facility near where you live? N.I.M.B.Y !

  • disinformation is sabotage

    “It is
    estimated that during 1982, US coal burning released 155 times as much
    uncontrolled radioactivity into the atmosphere as the Three Mile Island
    incident.” from the Wikipedia article entitled Fossil-fuel power station

    Get informed.
    Nuclear power can save humanity from an environmental catastrophe.

  • Stargazer787

    The Professor from MIT was right — we can’t stop global warming and the resultant dramatic climate change without using nuclear power.  We need all of our non-fossil fuel burning energy sources including hydro-power and nuclear power.  We don’t have the luxury of being able to walk away from any of these technologies.  It is that simple.  It’s easy to surrender to anti-nuclear hysteria but that is the wrong way for us to go as a nation — or as a planet.  Global warming is bearing down on us like a runaway locomotive and we can’t just wish it away with sweet dreams of wind generators and solar farms and butterflys.  Solar cell electricity conversion and the cost per watt isn’t nearly efficient enough or cheap enough to replace fossil fuel or nuclear power yet.  One day solar power will be able to provide the vast majority of our electrical needs, but we are not there yet.  Wind power is too intermittent and too localized to meet America’s or the world’s growing energy needs.  Nuclear power can be safe and it is in-fact running safely today in hundreds of reactors all over the world.  The US Navy has operated hundreds of nuclear powered submarines and surface ships with an amazing safety level — even when two of those submarines were destroyed and lost at sea.  Nuclear power requires steadily improving technology, rigorous oversight, and highly trained and responsible day to day operators.   New safer and more efficient reactor designs need to move to the front and reactor design needs to be standardized to ensure rigorous engineering and safety standards are met every time for every facility.  We need to replace older reactors that are not up to new safety standards with new technology reactors and then increase the overall number of reactors nationally.  We also need to reexamine the location of some of the more vulnerable reactors to ensure we don’t repeat the mistake the Japanese made.  We also need to make a decision on how we will handle nuclear waste and stick with it.  With those changes, we can move forward with a high degree of confidence. to increase our reliance on nuclear power over the coming century.

  • Lemachine2u

    The nuke power plant in Arizona was left of the NTK map of US sites… For the record, it is located just 45 miles West of downtown Phoenix. It is the largest nuclear generation facility in the United States, averaging over 3.3 gigawatts (GW) of electrical power production per year to serve approximately 4 million people. It was operational in 1988. It supplies electricity at an operating cost (including fuel and maintenance) of 1.33 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour. This is cheaper than coal (2.26 cents/kW·h) or natural gas
    (4.54 cents/kW·h) in the region at the same time (2002 study), but more
    expensive than hydro (0.63 cents/kW·h).  It is pretty hard to find a place to put a hydro power in the desert. Of course the attitude about dams on the Colorado River are negative… and the nuke nay sayers and their friends who say “don’t dam the river” leave us with few options.  I always love it when the media interviews “activists” who have plenty of dogma and little knowledge on current advances in technology. Here we go again: more misinformation. Why do you focus on the risks of technology that is 40 to 50 years old. Meanwhile, 4 million people happily live 45 miles or less from the largest nuke facility in the US and never give a second thought about where all that cheap, clean power is coming from… Had this energy been provided from a coal power plant, the air pollution in Phoenix would make Beijing China look like a pristine village on the coast of New Zealand.  Too little time was devoted to talking about the advances in nuclear power, particularly Thorium Reactors. I would encourage you and your viewers to do some research and learn some facts… rather than produce another “fear mongering” program that should instead be called “we don’t need to know”.    

  • Lemachine2u

    Solar is extremely subsidized. I put 50 panels on my roof in Tucson last year. Your tax dollars provided a 30% subsidy for that solar system… yeah, a $15,000 subsidy. Have you checked the actual cost of electricity generation from the renewable sources versus nuclear?  I’ll help… they can’t touch it. The reality is that we are going to need to do a combination of things… and not put all our eggs in one basket. Large-scale solar almost works in the sunny southwest US but it is still very expensive. It is not going to provide cheap power in other areas of the US. Another dirty secret about renewable energy… a lot of that hardware (for wind and solar) is manufactured in China!  Let’s talk about Ethanol. Subsidized. Heard about Solyndra? Subsidized and nothing to show for it, except bankruptcy and $535 million in tax payer money vanished. Your argument is not holding water my friend. Do some research with an inquisitive mind looking for solutions… and take a look at Thorium rather than Uranium based nuke reactors.

  • Lemachine2u

    As I mentioned in other posts here… take a look at Thorium Reactor technology. Why?

    Some benefits of thorium fuel when compared with uranium were summarized as follows:

    Weapons-grade fissionable material (Uranium 233) is harder to retrieve safely and clandestinely from a thorium reactor;
    Thorium produces 10 to 10,000 times less long-lived radioactive waste;
    Thorium comes out of the ground as a 100% pure, usable isotope,
    which does not require enrichment, whereas natural uranium contains only
    0.7% fissionable U-235;
    Thorium cannot sustain a nuclear chain reaction without priming, so fission stops by default.
    There is enough thorium in the United States alone to power the country at its current energy level for over 1,000 years.Do some research… don’t accept information spoon fed to you from the TV media without doing your own investigation. Talk is cheap. Fear generates profits and ignorance.

  • Cyborg111

    I like what Lemachine2u has to say but no matter what source of energy we use there is always going to be a potential down side.  We tend to fear what we don’t understand so most people see a disaster and fear it rather trying to understand what really happened.  Unless we learn from our mistakes and go on the fear will drive us into poverty and hunger.  Wind and solar are just not there yet and I really don’t think they will ever be.  Do your homework and you’ll find that most of the time a wind or solar farm is built it is for carbon credits, not because its a piratical way to produce electricity.  I want to put up solar panels and a wind mill soon but I also know that it will take 10 to 15 years to break even if I break even at all but it is good for backup power and it will make a good hobby.  Solar is just way to inefficient and wind requires maintenance plus it may affect bird population which I don’t like but even the big ones do that.  Again, do your homework.

    I’ve been fascinated with energy since I was 12 and I’ve been studying nuclear power ever since.  Most if not all the time something goes wrong at a plant it is something stupid that makes it bad.  The plant in Japan survived both the earth quake and tsunami but they didn’t think to protect the supporting equipment the same way they protected the plant itself.  Three mile island was measuring the meters wrong since what they thought they were reading was water pressure turned out to be steam.  Are we going to live in fear or are we going to learn and go on?  I’ve said for years the nuclear is really the only way to go for electricity, why the one opponent said more efficient cars I don’t know.  The last I checked 99.9985% percent of them still run on gas.

    I like going to Storm Mountain in WV once and a while to look at their windmills they have there, very impressive.  I wish it was practical, I wish we had more, but I don’t like the bird kills and I know they make practically no impact on the power grid as a whole.  I just think they are cool.  So you can’t say I don’t like alternative energy, in fact I would like to work for a place that puts them in but besides the hobbyist or idealist not many people are going to buy them and I have to make a living.  Please learn the facts before forming any opinion about anything, including energy, global warming, or any topic that comes along.  It’s time to deviate from the norm.

    No Problems, Only Solutions…..

  • Anonymous

    NO Nukes, less kooks….What about solar? Take one tenth the amount of money and effort that is used to slow down solar use and the planet will be free and green. But what about those poor poor Solar, Coal and oil stock holders?

  • Anonymous

    Actually, solar costs more per unit of capacity than nuclear does.

    However, the real problem with solar is that it does not provide baseload power — the sun doesn’t shine 24/7 but a nuclear plant does run 24/7.

  • Anonymous

    But, how do you plan to provide baseload power with wind and solar?  Wind and solar are intermittent while nuclear runs 24/7.

  • Anonymous

    If you mean the actual waste (fission products), yes we have to leave that for future generations since it takes about a thousand years to decay.  After it is separated in reprocessing it needs to be properly stored.

    If you are referring to the spent fuel rods from light water reactors as waste, I remind you that over 90% of the radioactive material in them is the exact same and unchanged Uranium 238 that was there before they went into the reactors.

  • Whmurray

    Is would like to suggest that we avoid the use of words like “absolutely.” The only things that are absolutely totally safe have either zero utility or infinite cost.

    With every energy source we must make risk/cost decisions. At one level, we look at a the risk cost of a technology in isolation. At another, we compare it to the alternatives.

    The issue here is not whether nuclear power is “safe,” but how much are we willing to pay for it. The safer we make it, the more it will cost and the less competitive it will be.

  • Gil Desrosiers

    I’m sure Nuclear is subsidized by the Gov’t. and it’s waste and potential for disaster is not worth it.  The large Nuclear Plant I read about in Arizona is a sin.  The state with the most potential for a Solar statement has the largest Nuclear Plant? what a sin.  Let’s see if every home in the South West had solar panels on there home we wouldn’t need to pay some electric company stockholders. Charging batteries for the night and our electric cars. Electric cars don’t have to look like these sad ones there showing us they could be SUV’s but again were lied to so we don’t think for outselves. What this would do is create free energy which for sum reason is not allowed on the planet earth.  How/why does Nuclear locate there plants on the most beautiful waterway locations? what a sin I’ll tell you it’s money and greed and irresponsible..

  • Sbindc

    I appreciate your well informed comment, especially about not being able to wish away global warming and the effect of CO2 emissions with dreams of wind and solar. People don’t realize and I don’t think the broadcast emphasized enough our growing energy needs; we are hoping that technology will remove our individual responsibility. If we want to live as we do in the 21st century, we have to confront the reality of our power needs.

  • Sbindc

    Right on.

  • Gene Stone

    That may be the quoted costs of nuclear power, but that certainly is not the real cost of nuclear power.  Time to start weighing all the factors such as the cost of mining uranium, the cost of repairing the damaged by uranium mining, the damage to the health of the the people of Arizona especially the Navajo (Dine) people of Arizona, the costs of storing for 100,000 years all the highly toxic nuclear waste produced at an average 250 pounds per reactor per day, then there is the potential cost of a nuclear accident in a highly populated area such as Southern California where the estimated cleanup would be 200 billion dollars minimum. Fukushima cost estimates are 230 billion at this point and they still have three reactors melting down as we speak which means for you pro-nuclear people seven months later we still have an ongoing nuclear disaster spreading radiation all over Canada and the United States and the ocean in between.  Oh yes there is no way to actually clean up and decontaminate, it’s only a matter of time 24,000 years longer. So now that we see just a part of the true cost of nuclear energy, economically nuclear energy makes no sense at all. Morally it is not just wrong it is evil to leave so much nuclear waste for our grandchildren and their children to deal with. America having only one quarter of the world’s nuclear power plants already has over 5,000,000 pounds of highly toxic material to take care of 10 times longer than man’s recorded history (about 10,000 yrs) so far on the planet.

    The bright side is American electric grid is only 33% efficient, meaning we lose 67% of our electricity through to loss and transmission lines. So we can easily replace America’s 14% to 17% of electricity produced by nuclear power by improving our electric grid as much of Europe has, having efficient ratings as high as 85%, so it is possible and is being done elsewhere.

  • Anonymous

    A 1,000 Megawatt plant requires a lot of material to build because it is large.  It also generates a large amount of energy.  You are suffering from typical Green innumeracy.  Do you have figures for how much energy it takes to build a new 1,000 Megawatt nuclear plant?  Do you know that what you said about payback is true for Silicon based solar PV panels.

    Do you know about small modular nuclear power plants which would be built in a factory and then installed in an underground concrete vault?

  • Anonymous

    That is a Red Herring.

    The French have a solution to the spent fuel problem.  The US could do the same except for political opposition.

  • Anonymous

    We know that burning coal is not safe.

  • Anonymous

    First we need to have reprocessing like France does.

    Second, we need to have a place to store the drums of vitrified high-level waste that will be safe for the thousand years that it takes to decay.  The best solution, on land at least, is to bury the drums in an underground salt mine.

  • Anonymous

    Coal is not as expensive but it is much dirtier.

  • PatsyT
  • PatsyT

    Don’t be so sure about the French 

  • Joseph

    I already live fairly close to a nuclear power plant (  Sometimes you just don’t have a choice…

  • Abbottg25

    You just like to here your self talk, Try using your head.  The government dumped radiation on many of us from Hanford, We pay our own medical bills and the government has never protected us.  My entire class suffers with the fall out of Hanford…  Has nothing to do with what part you belong to…

  • Paul

    U R Republican, aren’t U?

  • PatsyT

    I live near one too … You may want to know that the nuclear  industry and the NRC put the lowest value on your life of any of the federal agencies, 3 million compared to 5 to 9 million.
    You should also know that the NRC receives most of it’s funding from the Industry it is supposed to regulate.

  • Sw Heidi

    Actually, the sun doesn’t cost anything. It’s free! That’s why no one wants to go that route, because in the long run, the power companies will owe us. The only thing they need to come up with is a battery. And of course they can’t, why? Because the sun is free, it won’t make them any money, so why should they invest their time, money and brain power to make something so simple it would solve all the worlds energy problems. Maybe we need to stop valuing money over life. How about that!

  • Sw Heidi

    The problem with the plant in Arizona is it’s in the desert! There is no water! The water comes in from the Colorado. What if something happened to it? It could happen, then what cools the reactors? It’s ridiculous to have a nuclear power plant in the middle of a state that is sunny 10 months of the year! We have the greatest potential for solar power, right above us, yet we are not utilizing it and the only reason is because of money. They won’t make any!

  • Obarskif

     It depends on the type of
    nuclear power you are talking about. Thorium reactors are safe, produce
    much less dangerous by-products with a very short half life, and use a
    fuel that is FAR more plentiful than Uranium. The problem we have now is
    that, because of the Cold War, government money went to developing
    uranium based reactors, the by-products of which make weapons grade
    U-238 and Plutonium. Unfortunately, the other by-products of Uranium
    reactors are highly radioactive waste with a half life in the 100,000
    year range. The half life of Thorium reactor waste is decades. A crash
    program to set up Thorium based reactors would be MUCH safer, and pay
    dividends on a bunch of levels. These would emit less radiation than
    current coal fired plants do.

  • Obarskif

    It depends on the type of
    nuclear power you are talking about. Thorium reactors are safe, produce
    much less dangerous by-products with a very short half life, and use a
    fuel that is FAR more plentiful than Uranium. The problem we have now is
    that, because of the Cold War, government money went to developing
    uranium based reactors, the by-products of which make weapons grade
    U-238 and Plutonium. Unfortunately, the other by-products of Uranium
    reactors are highly radioactive waste with a half life in the 100,000
    year range. The half life of Thorium reactor waste is decades. A crash
    program to set up Thorium based reactors would be MUCH safer, and pay
    dividends on a bunch of levels. These would emit less radiation than
    current coal fired plants do.

  • Obarskif
  • Obarskif

    It depends on the type of
    nuclear power you are talking about. Thorium reactors are safe, produce
    much less dangerous by-products with a very short half life, and use a
    fuel that is FAR more plentiful than Uranium. The problem we have now is
    that, because of the Cold War, government money went to developing
    uranium based reactors, the by-products of which make weapons grade
    U-238 and Plutonium. Unfortunately, the other by-products of Uranium
    reactors are highly radioactive waste with a half life in the 100,000
    year range. The half life of Thorium reactor waste is decades. A crash
    program to set up Thorium based reactors would be MUCH safer, and pay
    dividends on a bunch of levels. These would emit less radiation than
    current coal fired plants do.

  • Obarskif

    It depends on the type of
    nuclear power you are talking about. Thorium reactors are safe, produce
    much less dangerous by-products with a very short half life, and use a
    fuel that is FAR more plentiful than Uranium. The problem we have now is
    that, because of the Cold War, government money went to developing
    uranium based reactors, the by-products of which make weapons grade
    U-238 and Plutonium. Unfortunately, the other by-products of Uranium
    reactors are highly radioactive waste with a half life in the 100,000
    year range. The half life of Thorium reactor waste is decades. A crash
    program to set up Thorium based reactors would be MUCH safer, and pay
    dividends on a bunch of levels. These would emit less radiation than
    current coal fired plants do.

  • P A Lee

    The spent fuel “problem” is political, not technological or environmental.

  • PatsyT

    Yes, with Price Anderson, the average homeowner would get about 12,000.00 dollars … hmmm you could buy a used car with that, maybe. 

  • J Mershad

    We are the Suadi Arabia of Natural Gas & we (the US) should be employing this!!!!  Brazil uses a fuel derived from sugar in thier automobiles, even Fords!  With all of the unemployment in this country, switching to a cleaner form of energy consumption with no by products would help immediately.  Please send a message to your Congressman.

  • Asteroid Miner

    There is no such thing as weapons grade U238.

  • Asteroid Miner

    Check the price of the battery.

  • Asteroid Miner

    Nuclear power plants don’t need a river.   They can be air cooled.

  • Asteroid Miner

    Your comment is pure urban legend.

  • Asteroid Miner

    Would you agree to have a waste storage facility near where you live?Sure!   It is valuable!   I could sell it to Israel for a fortune.

  • Asteroid Miner

    “Massive” is not a number.   When you do the math, you find out that nuclear requires LESS concrete and steel per kilowatt hour than wind or solar.   Learn to count.

  • Asteroid Miner

    We recycled spent fuel in the old days.   Then some spent fuel found its way to Israel.
    Downloaded from:
    Government agencies investigated missing uranium, NUMEC
    By Mary Ann Thomas and Ramesh Santanam
    Sunday, August 25, 2002 
    Editor’s note: This the first of three parts on the history of the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. Part II will appear Monday and Part III will appear Tuesday. 

    The colorful history of the former Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. is rich with intrigue and mystery and unwinds like the plot of a Tom Clancy novel. 

    There are stories of missing uranium, allegations of illegal shipments to Israel, FBI sleuthing, meetings with possible Israeli spies, talk of special “encoded” telephones the FBI could not tap, concern by the CIA, congressional inquiries and interest from the White House. 

    The reason for all the cloak-and-dagger actions was an innocuous acronym – MUF. 

    MUF stands for “Materials Unaccounted For,” and, in the case of NUMEC, referred to large quantities of weapons-grade uranium that went missing from the Apollo plant in the 1960s.   [Wrong.   It couldn't be weapons grade uranium.   The US uses only plutonium to make bombs.   A uranium bomb is primitive, lacking in sophistication, overweight and inefficient.   Uranium bombs are for countries that are new to the club.]

    The unaccounted for uranium piqued the curiosity of the FBI, the CIA, Congress, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and its successor, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter presidential administrations. 

    “Each White House took this and treated it like a hot potato,” said Henry Myers, a former aide to the late U.S. Rep. Morris Udall, D-Ariz., who led a congressional probe into the affair in the late 1970s. 

    “I suppose there were too many ‘maybes’ because it happened and maybe because it was too hard to prove,” Myers said. 

    NUMEC paid almost $930,000 in fines to the AEC for the lost uranium. 

    ………article continues……..

  • Asteroid Miner

    False:  ”If a nuclear power plant had an accident and I lived nearby and my house became uninhabitable for the rest of my life”
    The containment building would protect you.   If I lived in Fukushima, I would refuse to evacuate because there is no radiation level above NATURAL BACKGROUND RADIATION in Fukushima.

    Look up “NATURAL BACKGROUND RADIATION” in Wikipedia.

    While you are at Wikipedia, look up “radioactive carbon dating” and “Becquerel”.   You get 100 to 400 times as much radiation from a coal fired power plant as from nuclear.   But that is still LESS than  NATURAL BACKGROUND RADIATION.   Coal has a bonus:   Coal contains not only uranium and all of its decay products, coal also contains arsenic.   See:

  • Asteroid Miner


  • Asteroid Miner

    Read the book:  “Prescription for the Planet” by Tom Blees, 2008.   NO more mining is required for centuries.

  • Asteroid Miner

    “Nuclear materials are too vulnerable to terrorists.”  Let me get this straight.   You want the terrorist to dive into a pool of molten metal and swim down to the reactor vessel.   Right?   Why do you suppose you are not taken seriously?

  • Asteroid Miner


  • Asteroid Miner

    Nuclear does not have a disaster problem.

  • Anonymous

    The President of the United States asked all Americans to find new sources of energy. Haven’t you wealthy corporate people learned by now? Have you ever been in a “white room”, quartered because of exposure to too much radiation? Blood in your stools, pain, burning feelings, do I need to say more? I feel it is a bad idea to build another power source of that type. People petition against this is too expensive for us, in more ways than one.

  • Asteroid Miner

    1944?  1945?

  • Anonymous

    I have been put into a SAFE area in my life after having a dirty film badge. Have you been in separated from your employment and family because of the radiation levels that you were exposed too? Nuclear power has it’s place though the wast is the problem. Can you solve that?

  • PatsyT

    A dear friend of mine from Toyko has a message for you all…. 
    “Tell the pro nuclear power folks, that they should accept a free ticket to Japan being offered by the Japan Travel Bureau, it’s in one of my updates last week or the week before. Tell them to come to visit Fukushima, bring the whole family if nuclear power is so darned safe. Be sure to bring their bathing suits, to swim in our radioactive seas, fish in our radioactive oceans, and romp on our radioactive beaches. Of the schools still left standing, most remain closed because of soil contamination. In the ones that have opened their doors again, children are not allowed to play outside. 270 kilometers away in Tokyo, we have discovered radioactive fallout and readings in the most unlikely places. We are now afraid to go out when it rains here. Tell them to bring their own geiger counters and have a fun holiday to remember right here in Japan. We thought it could never happen here, it did, and people are paying the consequences. California is a known active earthquake zone, if a 9.0 magnitude earthquake can happen in Japan, it could happen there as well. They told us we were safe too, look what we got for believing them.” 

  • PatsyT

    The author, Kalima, of the comment above also writes the Morning Blog on the PlanetPOV 
    Thank you Kalima!

  • Ors622

    Here is America not Japan, We are always SAFE in America , Japanese should stay in Japan and take of their own problem.

  • Ors622

    Amen to that

  • bijan

    We are in America ,America is not as another country in the World, America is very Unique and I appreciate such a country with much abundance for everyone to share, if u are not riding this Bus then of course u are falling way behinde. Remember America is always SAFE and secure,


  • bijan

    Here is America not Japan, We are always SAFE in America , Japanese should stay in Japan and take care of their own problem.

  • Paul Swetnam

    The truth is that solar and wind are not reliable sources of energy, and are not economically viable.  Nuclear power plants can be built to be safe, and are economically viable when one considers the total cost.  I believe detractors of nuclear power do so out of a lack of knowledge or understanding, along with a good dose of liberal groupthink. 

  • UncleBucky

    Conservatives today are talking about making cuts. What about cutting electrical usage across the board in public, private and residential sectors? This doesn’t mean walking around in the dark, but rather replacing high-wattage devices in favor of energy saving ones. We don’t NEED all those advertising lights at night. We don’t NEED those same lights to be lit during the day. Any of these adverstising lights could be designed to use zero or little electricity with solar or wind power and low wattage lights.

    Security? When the time comes, security will have to do more with how we treat each other rather than how we watch each other.

  • PatsyT

    Solar and Wind and other Renewables are not only reliable but they are quickly attracting private investment from all over the world.  Those investors must enjoy the low risk investment in energy production that does not require an evacuation zone and plan for dealing with toxic radioactive waste for tens of thousands of years. 
    “For a long time, the holy grail of solar photovoltaics (PV) has been “grid parity,” the point at which it would be as cheap to generate one’s own solar electricity as it is to buy electricity from the grid. And that is indeed an important market milestone, being achieved now in many places around the world. But recently it has become clear that PV is set to go beyond grid parity and become the cheapestway to generate electricity.Whenever I say this I encounter incredulity, even vehement opposition, from friends and foes of renewable energy alike. Apparently, knowledge of the rapid developments of the last few years has not been widely disseminated. But it’s happening, right under our noses! It is essential to understand this so that we can leverage it to rapidly switch to a global energy system fully based on renewable energy” – Wind farm and solar park financing surged to a record $41.8 billion in the third quarter, even though clean energy share prices and the European economy slumped, a report by research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance said on Thursday.”Asset financing of utility-scale renewable energy projects was 27 percent lower in the third quarter last year at $33 billion.
    The increase in financing was mainly driven by offshore wind investment. Three large offshore wind farms in the North Sea totaled more than 1 gigawatt in capacity and $6.3 billion in investment.”

  • cataclysmic

    well Paul, I guess you do not have children or any need to keep the species’  integrity in tack.  Proof is that Nuclear Power plants can not be built, run or shut down safely.. 

    umm Paul, what shall we do with the waste…oh I know, lets make rods out of it and shoot it at the suckers in the middle east who wont give us their oil… oh we have done that.. now our tax dollars pay restitution for the babies… go look at some of the babies.. … then really research what is going on with the sheer amount of unnatural isotopes in our environment today.  

    End this madness…it is only boiling water…

    Universe times headline would read…Stupid Earthlings Destroyed themselves with need to boil water…to stupid of a species to remain in our Universe.

  • Paul Swetnam

    The recent upturn in investment in green energy is the result of a distorted market caused by wishful thinking and government intervention.  Both will wane with time, as the long term economics become apparent.  PV based energy production is many times more expensive than other forms of production, as any unbiased look at the facts will support.  Wind turbines are perhaps a good source of intermittent power, but to arrive at anything close to a reliable source would require very large investments in the grid along with physical diversity of the turbines.  I would support such an investment if an unbiased and comprehensive study/design is completed.  At present, neither of these approach the reliability and low cost of nuclear power, including the cost of spent fuel disposal.  This whole discussion seems more based on beliefs than unbiased pragmatism.  By the way, I will be first in line to support green energy when it is the best choice.  

  • Mikkai

    Share and spread the truth dear readers. Information is our weapon.
    BELARUS: Most Chernobyl irradiated country in the World.
    Rosa Goncharova’s geneticist. In the Belarusian capital Minsk, she directs the laboratory of the Institute of Genetics and Cytology of the Belorussian Academy of Sciences. For decades, the research professor and her team investigated the effects of long-lasting radioactive low-level radiation.
    What harm take people living in contaminated areas?
    “Must live”, because there are 2600 villages that should relocate.
    Rosa Gonchrova summarizes the results of their studies (in german):

    “One of the main lessons learned from Chernobyl is the fact that even low doses of ionizing radiation in animals and humans have biological and genetic consequences. This is now proven. They produce damage in the body cells and in the sex cells. Even at a low dose of less than 100 micro Sievert and even years at a tolerated dose of one millisievert were identified in our laboratory genetic changes.”
    “About one Milllisievert per year: This is the
    annual dose limit for people who do not work professionally with
    ionizing radiations. For occupationally exposed persons in Europe are higher limits. The research team has identified mutations, ie changes in the genes of the nucleus.” 
    “Man, like every other living being possesses, protection systems, the repair such mutations almost. If there is now under the influence of radioactivity additional mutations, the organism will be charged additionally, he must also fight against it.”
    “For these children we have found changes in individual genes. And the worst part is that these children show an increased sensitivity to other unfavorable factors. That is, these children fall ill more frequently than
    others. Among the unfavorable factors include poor diet, environmental
    factors, chemical pollution. This is true not only for children but
    for adults too. They all have an increased sensitivity to other unfavorable factors.” 
    “In plain English: who spends his life in contaminated areas spend, must, whose immune system is weakened.”
    Radioactivity, as it opens the doors for other health problems.
    The most dangerous radiation is which is ingested with food. Thus, for example, cesium-137 from the inside to act on the cells, because it displaces the vital potassium in muscle tissue. Or strontium-90, a radionuclide that accumulates in the bone and bone marrow: there can damage blood cells and can cause cancer such as blood.”
    - On the question of whether changes in the genetic inheritance of future generations, says geneticist Rose Goncharova: “We demonstrated in our laboratory for the first time that genetic changes over generations may be swept on. We have found after Chernobyl more than 22 animal generations of genetic instability.
    There are animals that live in the contaminated areas who have to live
    under the influence of low doses. We have been scientifically
    “This has been proven in one of the most common mammals in the bank vole. The
    cells of these mice were well comparable with those of humans, says
    the researcher. Therefore one can transmit many findings to him.”
    “Even after 22 generations of mice you can still see changes, mutations. They are inherited. The radioactivity is harmful. So
    it happens that many offspring do not survive or even many embryos.
    Those who survive are somehow cope with the situation. But whose genome
    is unstable, and they also pass into the next generation. And often
    they are ill. Their whole system is more unstable than in other animals.” 
    “The mortality rate in these animals is very, very high. Mice produce very many offspring, and therefore they can afford a high death rate. Man,
    however, will usually produce only one child. In any case, not five,
    six, seven at once. He also does not bring several generations in a
    year or during his life to the world. So we can also transmit the
    results that actually would be transferable to humans, not in all
    respects to him.”
    “Which low doses of radiation effects in humans may have, but points to a study that was published in December 2010 in Germany. It states: Within
    a radius of 35 km around a nuclear plant are fewer girls were born in
    areas without nuclear power. We investigated the surroundings of 27
    facilities in Germany and four in Switzerland. Fewer female births have
    been noted previously: In regions that were hit by the Chernobyl radioactive precipitation. It is believed that female embryos are more sensitive to radiation and therefore die rather than male.”
    END of Excerpt—-
    Added Information:
    By low-level radiation from accidents and tritium emissions from cooling towers less girls are born: – quote:
    “The gender gap in 1987 – 2007 (Chernobyl gender gap) corresponds to
    approximately 440 000 theoretical missing female births when only the
    female sex was affected. If also male births were affected at a ratio of
    male: female = 3:10, is the gender gap by about 790 000 (180 000 +610
    000) male + female births” PAGE 32
    Increased sex ratio in Bavaria (Germany):
    after Chernobyl and in the vicinity of Nuclear Power Plants -
    epidemiological findings:
    What meaning might lie behind it? Fewer women means fewer people. Nuclear power is probably an instrument to curb population growth
 – quote: “Background radiation is also the primary reason why women aged over ~40 are
    advised not to have children. This is because their stocks of ova
    have been exposed since birth to 40 or so years’ background radiation
    and have thereby been damaged to such an extent that an unacceptable
    proportion, when fertilised, results in congenital malformations,
    spontaneous abortions or stillbirths. Many scientists also consider that
    background radiation is the prime factor in the ageing process, and is
    ultimately the reason why we are not immortal.” PAGE 5
    Another effect is observed in Belarus: oligospermia. In Japan there will be infertility risk – an attack on human race:
    Population control through nuclear pollution – by John W. Gofman – former ICRP scientist:
    Mice developed a new type of cancer, AFTER 25 GENERATIONS (quote: “unusual cancer after 25 generations” at
    And 10 Generations – By Tritium / H³!
    Source: and Tritium
    is released from every nuclear power plant in the world. During the
    revision of a reactor up to 5 million Becquerel per liter of air! Tritium
    is a radioactive gas, highly toxic if inhaled. It falls to earth with
    precipitation in the form of tritiated water. The tritium atoms can
    replace hydrogen atoms (about half the atoms of the human body are
    composed of hydrogen) and in the form of tritiated water, the isotope of
    hydrogen can enter the food chain and set in the body, leading to damage and mutations in DNA.
    Nuclear facilities emit considerable amounts of tritium which makes
    the water radioactive. By cooling towers and other ways. This is the
    reason for rising children cancer rates near nuclear reactors:
    Mice are mammals, show mutation earlier than we – who are alos mammals.
    Teratological effects and mutations through radiation – ignored by IAEA, OECD, ICRP, UNSCEAR, SCIENCE – proven by Étienne Wolff in the 1930ies: and:,9171,862623,00.html and:
    Insects and their fast mutagenic “reaction” on low radiation are some kind of early warning system for us humans: Irradiated Insects in Japan: normal insects soon only in the laboratory: Great book about mutagentic impact on insects worldwide:
    Reduced abundance of insects and spiders linked to radiation at Chernobyl: please have a look at this beautiful book – in english: and in german:
    Because reactors depend on heavy water as a moderator,
    they release larger amounts of tritium to the environment than light
    water reactors (…) Tritium is a carcinogen, mutagen, teratogen and
    developmental toxin. It becomes incorporated into DNA and disrupts the
    genetic code of men’s and women’s reproductive cells:
    – current Guideline and Drinking Water Quality Standard for tritium is
    7,000 Bq/L, which is based on the permissible ICRP dose limit of 1
    mSv/year (lowered to 0.1 mSv in water). This “standard” corresponds to a
    risk of 350 excess fatal cancers per million people from just one
    year’s consumption of drinking water, not a lifetime (70 years) 300
    million people living in the US: 105,000 DEATHS PER YEAR x 30 years =
    3,150,000 murdered people by the peaceful atom! Multiplied x global =
    weapons of mass destruction
    “But tritium can be deadly (…) However tritium behaves chemically and
    biochemically like ordinary hydrogen. When ingested, it can
    incorporate itself into all forms of body cells, including those of the
    reproductive system…” Source:

  • AdamSmith

    Nuke power has always required MASSIVE government help. Why won’t private companies insure or invest in nuclear power? I’ll be waiting for you answer.

  • AdamSmith

    Nuclear proponents:  Why won’t the private insurance companies insure nuclear power? Why won’t private investors invest in them? I will be waiting for you answer, Thanks.

  • PatsyT

    Wishful thinking?  Factor in the cost of the long term toxic radioactive waste storage and security and maintenance of that radioactive toxic waste and tell me how that is low cost? 

  • Susand900

    Were you born in a bubble?  Your comments would make that a distinct possibility

  • PatsyT
  • Susand900

    Then how do you explain the 3year old on the street who is killed by cross-fire from rival gangs?  How do you explain all the murders that take place in the US?  How do you explain the people who are being poisoned by Corporations dumping their toxic waste?  Is that what you call Safe in America?

  • Brownranchhouse

    Apparently it is possible to design and build safer plants. Let’s build a few and see how it goes. Also, let’s build nuclear plants in less populated areas where the economic and human cost of a breakdown would be much less sever.

  • brutus

    The sun is the largest source  of radiation in the solar system. It is giant thermo-nuclear fireball, popping off on an 11 year cycle. The ONLY reason solar power, wind power and hydro-power are even possible is because we are ALL exposed to the radiation of the H-bomb in the sky. What  anti-nuclear  fanatics don’t understand, though, is that the only reason solar power is usable and safe is because the continual fissioning of nuclear elements inside the earth keep the nickel iron core  semi liquid and ,(with aid from the moon),revolving to produce a powerful electromagnetic field, which protects the planet from the  deadly hard, “ionizing” radiation with which the sun would otherwise sterilize most of the planet.
        Nuclear power is one of the safest known power generating systems ever invented, from a statistical point of view. It would be safer if it weren’t often run by morons, but that’s another story. However, without nuclear power, there will be no industrialized human future. We will end up like our ancient ancestors, hiding at the fringes of the ocean, barely surviving. “Green power” advocates and fanatics are willing to deal with oil, coal and gas companies to allow ever more drilling and increased carbon emissions, as long as they receive aid in crushing the responsible and efficient nuclear industry.
        If you have kids or grandkids, you should be interested in the truth about nuclear power,  because without it, the planet is going to undergo seriously damaging effects which eventually  will kill millions outright and cause millions more to live shortened, ever more brutish and difficult lives, always paying more for less energy and light.

  • brutus

    This is an easy one. The insurance companies are out to make money and if they feel government does not give enough moral or financial support to nuclear energy, as in China, Israel, Russia, France, Pakistan, India and many other places like Iran, they will take their business elsewhere.
      The main issue is that if America doesn’t build nuclear power using US standards, which are much better then most of the world’s, then all nuclear energy will be constructed by non democracies like Russia and China and Pakistan which will receive the benefit of cheap, safe and plentiful energy while Americans are forever subject to weather, clouds and the price of foreign oil.

  • brutus

    Taking too much aspirin will kill you just as dead as too much tritium. All the nonsense out of Germany is from anti-nuclear forces which have been at work for decades. They are celebrsting now as they have convinced a Socialist government to end nuclear energy IN germany. This means the Germans will BUY nuclear energy but they won’t allow any to be generated in Germany.
    Oh! Yes. it was Adolf Hitler who forbade research into atomic power and weaponry before WWII, because the science was “Jewish”. So now when I see or hear German anti-nuclear slop, I know it’s propaganda from a highly organized and dedicated minority, willing to terrify the population to obtain their ends.

  • P A Lee

    They consider nuclear a risky investment because of the uncertainty generated by antinuclear activists — including people and organizations who are financially and emotionally heavily invested in so-called “alternative” energy. They see a volatile potential for projects to be cancelled or forced into cost overruns by political, litigative, regulatory changes at the whim of misled public opinion.

  • P A Lee

    Claiming that nuclear power is too dangerous, too expensive, too unreliable, or not environmentally friendly by looking at plants currently in service is like making the same pronouncements about automobiles by looking at cars from the 1950s and ’60s.

  • Asteroid Miner


    If you live in Chernobyl the total radiation dose you get each year is 390 millirem.   That’s natural plus residual from the accident and fire.   In Denver, Colorado, the natural dose is over 1000 millirem/year.   Denver gets more than 2.56 times as much  radiation as Chernobyl!   But Denver has a low cancer rate.

    Calculate your annual radiation dose:

    The Average American gets 361 millirems/year.   Smokers add 280 millirems/year from lead210.   Radon accounts for 200 mrem/year.

    Although radiation may cause cancers at high doses and high dose rates, currently there are no data to unequivocally establish the occurrence of cancer following exposure to low doses and dose rates — below about 10,000 mrem (100 mSv). Those people living in areas having high levels of background radiation — above 1,000 mrem (10 mSv) per year– such as Denver, Colorado have shown no adverse biological effects.

    Calculations based on data from NCRP reports show that the average level of natural background radiation (NBR) in Rocky Mountain states is 3.2 times that in Gulf Coast states. However, data from the American Cancer Society show that age-adjusted overall cancer death in Gulf Coast states is actually 1.26 times higher than in Rocky Mountain states. The difference from proportionality is a factor of 4.0. This is a clear negative correlation of NBR with overall cancer death. It is also shown that, comparing 3 Rocky Mountain states and 3 Gulf Coast states, there is a strong negative correlation of estimated lung cancer mortality with natural radon levels (factors of 5.7 to 7.5).

    All natural rocks contain most natural elements.   Coal is a rock.   The average concentration of uranium in coal is 1 or 2 parts per million.  Illinois coal contains up to 103 parts per million uranium.   Coal also contains the radioactive decay products of uranium.   A 1000 million watt coal fired power plant burns 4 million tons of coal each year.   If you multiply 4 million tons by 1 part per million, you get 4 tons of uranium.   Most of that is U238.   About .7% is U235.   4 tons = 8000 pounds.   8000 pounds times .7% = 56 pounds of U235.   An average 1 billion watt coal fired power plant puts out 56 to 112 pounds of U235 every year.   There are only 2 places the uranium can go: Up the stack or into the cinders.

    Since a reactor full fuel load is around 11 tons of 2% U235 and 98% U238, and one load lasts about 10 years,  what one coal fired power plant puts into the air and cinders could fully fuel a nuclear power plant.

    Compare 4 Million tons per year with 1.1 tons per year.   1.1 divided by 4 Million = 2.75 E -7 = .000000275 =.0000275%.   Remember that only 2% of that is U235.   The nuclear power plant needs ~44 pounds of U235 per year.   The coal fired power plant burns coal by the trainload.   The nuclear power plant consumes U235 in such small quantities yearly that you could carry that much weight in a briefcase.

    3.   See the rest of Alex Gabbard’s article.   U238 can be bred into Plutonium and Thorium can be bred into Uranium.   We can fuel our nuclear power plants for CENTURIES just by extracting uranium and thorium from coal cinders and smoke.


  • Asteroid Miner

    There are 2 options for spent nuclear fuel.   It is clearly NOT “waste.”   

    1.  Recycle.   France recycles fuel now.   We recycled fuel in the old days.   We could have our fuel recycled in France.

    The newspaper makes the usual errors, such as calling spent reactor fuel “weapons grade” which it certainly was not.   

    We don’t recycle nuclear fuel because it is valuable and people steal it.   The place it went that it wasn’t supposed to go to was Israel.   This happened in a small town near Pittsburgh, PA circa 1970.   A company called Numec was in the business of reprocessing nuclear fuel.   I almost took a job there, designing a nuclear battery for a heart pacemaker.   [A nuclear battery would have the advantage of lasting many times as long as any other battery, eliminating many surgeries to replace batteries.]     Other uses for radioactive elements from spent fuel:  cancer treatment, such as radioactive “grains” to put in your cancerous prostate.

    Numec did NOT have a reactor.   Numec “lost” a quantity of spent fuel.   It wound up in Israel.   The Israelis have fueled  their nuclear reactors by stealing nuclear “waste.”   It could work for any other country, such as Iran or the United States.   

    It is only when you don’t have access to nuclear “waste” that you have to do the difficult process of enriching uranium.   Numec is no longer in business.   They paid a $930,000 fine.   Private corporations must not be allowed to reprocess [recycle] spent fuel because the temptation/profit in diverting spent fuel to other places is too great.   My solution would be to reprocess the fuel at a Government Owned Government Operated [GOGO] facility.   At a GOGO plant, bureaucracy and the multiplicity of ethnicity and religion would disable the transportation of uranium to Israel or to any unauthorized place.   Nothing heavier than a secret would get out.

     The problem is political:   The Republicans think GOGO plants are socialist/communist, which is nonsense.   A COCO [Contractor Owned Contractor Operated] plant can be the low bidder by being a front for Israel or some other country.   

    2.   Use Fourth Generation reactors.   Generation 4 reactors have several advantages, such as being impossible to melt down and being capable of consuming all of the fuel without recycling.   The Modular High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (MHTGCR) using helium as both coolant and working fluid can theoretically exceed 50% thermal efficiency.   That compares to 38% for other nuclear or 25% for coal.

  • Asteroid Miner


    contains Japan’s “funniest” “home” video.   The Japanese are trying to reduce their exposure to radiation to LESS THAN THE NATURAL BACKGROUND!!!!!!!   You did know that there is natural background radiation didn’t you?   How else would we date Egyptian mummies with the radioactive carbon they ate thousands of years ago?   Of course it is not possible to be exposed to less radiation than the natural background where you live.

    Since they did not check everywhere with geiger counters before the tsunami, they don’t know how much radiation was always there.   Mothers are panicking because, naturally, the geiger counters find radiation everywhere.   Here are some natural background readings:   

    Guarapari, Brazil:  3700 millirem/year

    Tamil Nadu, India:  5300 millirem/year

    Ramsar, Iran:  8900 to 13200 millirem/year

    Denver, Colorado   1000 millirem/year

    A not entirely natural reading:

    Chernobyl:  490 millirem/year

    Some background reading:

    62% of Japan’s electricity comes from coal fired power plants.   Coal contains so much uranium and thorium that we could get all of the uranium we need from coal cinders and ash.   Coal fired power plants put all of it either up the stack or into the solids that are hauled away.

    Calculate your annual radiation dose:

  • Asteroid Miner

    If we don’t act immediately and take draconian action, we humans could be extinct by 2060.   This is not a joke.

    Please read:

    “Drought Under Global Warming: a Review”

    See the maps of drought in the 2060s on page 15.

    “Preliminary Analysis of a Global Drought Time Series”  by Barton Paul Levenson, not yet published.   Under BAU [Business As Usual], agriculture and civilization will collapse some time between 2050 and 2055 due to drought caused by GW [Global Warming].   


    “Ecological Footprints and Bio-Capacity: Essential Elements in Sustainability Assessment”  by William E. Rees, PhD, University of British Columbia and “Living Planet Report 2008″ also by Rees.  

    We went past the Earth’s permanent carrying capacity for humans some time in the 1980s.   We are 20%+ over our limit already.   And the US no longer has excess biocapacity.   We are feeding on imports.   4 Billion people will die because we are 2 Billion over the carrying capacity.   An overshoot must be followed by an undershoot.

    Reference: “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond.   When agriculture collapses, civilization collapses.   Fagan and Diamond told the stories of something like 2 dozen previous very small civilizations.   Most of the collapses were caused by fraction of a degree climate changes.   In some cases, all of that group died.   On the average, 1 out of 10,000 survived.    We humans could go EXTINCT in 2051.   The 1 out of 10,000 survived because he wandered in the direction of food.   If the collapse is global, there is no right direction.

    1.  We must take extreme action now.   Cut CO2 production 40% by the end of 2015.   [How to do this:  Replace all coal fired power plants with factory built nuclear and renewables.]   Continuing to make CO2 is the greatest imaginable GENOCIDE.   We have to act NOW.   Acting in 2049 will not work.   Nature just doesn’t work that way.   All fossil fuel fired power plants must be shut down and replaced with nuclear and renewables.   Target date: 2015.

    2.  Expect at least 4 Billion people to die because of the population overshoot.   Attempt to maintain some form of civilization while this happens.

    How are we feeding 7 billion now?   On “mined” water.   Aquifers are running dry.   When the aquifers are dry, the food is gone.

  • Asteroid Miner


  • YouTube to MP3

    I guess the best thing would be to keep the current projects intact. No need to increase anything or decrease it.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently people in this country suffer from ADD on a massive scale.  The nuclear industry has proven over and over again that it cannot be trusted.  These plants are dangerous and we still don’t have long term storage of waste materials.

  • Anonymous

    There are reasons why people are against nuclear energy.  It makes no sense from the consumer’s point of view, is a big money boondoggle for the operators/builders.  The industry is corrupt and it corrupts our politicians.  Oh, and the danger of it.  These plants are dangerous, some operating beyond their designed limits, accidents waiting to happen.

  • Anonymous

    From Haaretz: 
    “Netanyahu: Israel ‘rethinking’ nuclear power plant in Negev

    PM says after Japan crisis, Israel probably won’t pursue civil nuclear energy in coming years.”

    As for the rest of those countries, there all not very democratic, are they. Maybe we should convert to a more autocratic form of government. Then NUCLEAR POWER would have a much brighter future, even though humankind may not.

  • Anonymous

    Capitalists invest and insure a lot of nasty things like mining and oil exploration. It must be REALLY nasty if they don’t want to touch it. These are some VERY opportunistic people.

  • Anonymous

    Public opinion seems to matter less and less these days for corporate America. Do you see them stopping the movement of manufacturing to China? Are they still mining coal? Still fracking for gas? I really can’t buy that excuse. If there’s money in something, they’re all over it.

  • Anonymous

    How can we have less solar power use than overcast Germany, for crying out loud. There is something SERIOUSLY wrong with this picture

  • Anonymous

    There’s a really big one one 93 million miles away. Let’s start using it.

  • Anonymous

    Too late. Obama recently approved $8 billion in Federal loan guarantees for a Georgia plant. Add to that the government cost of fuel extraction, processing, storage, etc. It would NOT have happened without government help, of course.

    When the UK began privatizing utilities its nuclear reactors “were so
    unprofitable they could not be sold”. Eventually in 1996, the government
    gave them away. But the company that took them over, British Energy,
    had to be bailed out in 2004 to the extent of 3.4 billion pounds.

  • Anonymous

    Well, an Edsel doesn’t have a half life, but it may have caused Ford’s hair to fall out.

  • Anonymous

    I knew it, alternative energy is just an antisemitic NAZI plot instigated by Daniel Ellsberg!

  • Anonymous

    When you factor in ALL the costs, nuclear energy is not cheap.

  • Asteroid Miner



    by Alex Gabbard 

    by Alex Gabbard 
    Metals and Ceramics Division 
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory 
    Oak Ridge, TN 


    Well-established trends in world energy consumption indicate long-term commitments to combustion of fossil fuel1. Industrialized nations are currently the major users of coal, but early in the 21st century a shift in usage is predicted such that today’s developing countries will be the primary users. For example, China has large reserves of coal and currently accounts for about 24% of world combustion with plans to increase its consumption to eight times more than 1990 combustion by the year 20202. Global coal resources are projected to provide about 1500 years supply at the current use rate3. Current US energy policy favors fossil fuel for large base-load electric power production, and almost 90% of the coal consumed in the US today is burned at electric power utilities4. Global coal production will continue to exceed the US rate by more than a factor of five5.

    While effects of fossil fuel combustion continue to be studied and debated, US environmental protection and reclamation law, resource conservation and recovery law, along with energy conservation law, pose conflicts in policy direction that selectively ignore various consequences. Although chemical effects of compounds of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur released during coal combustion dominate environmental studies and debates, releases of other constituents such as arsenic, mercury, lead and similar toxins, along with radioactive materials and nuclear fuels, constitute additional topics of interest. Many indicators; suggest that trends in fossil fuel consumption are at odds with the purpose of these laws and their philosophies of supporting ecologically sustainable technologies for the future.


    Elemental analysis of coal from around the world reveals that it can be composed of as many as 73 elements6. When coal is mined and burned, these long buried elements are released directly into the biosphere. As combustion increases, the quantities of these elements increase in direct proportion. While concerns about fossil fuel combustion has centered primarily on carbon, sulfur and nitrogen compounds, the quantities of radiological and toxicological components are not trivial and are among topics discussed herein.

    For example, 1991 global coal production was 5,100 million tons, up 50% from 1973, and continues to rise. US production that year was 996 million tons7. Analysis of coal reveals significant quantities of radioactive species, including uranium and thorium, that are long-lived parents in natural radioactive decay chains. Coal also contains potassium-40, and each radionuclide in coal accumulates in the atmosphere as a result of combustion. According to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) data8, coal contains an average of about 2.08 parts per million (ppm) of uranium, 4.58 ppm thorium and 0.054 ppm potassium-40. Although small concentrations, these components are significant when the vast quantity of coal mined and burned is considered, and more so when collected over a long period of time9.

    Radioactive material flowing from a coal fired utility is a function of the quantity of material originally in the coal. Analysis of US coal samples shows that many deposits contain far higher concentrations than IAEA average values. For example, J. F. Facer showed in a 1979 US Dept. of Energy (DOE) report that some US coal contains in excess of 103 parts per million of uranium10. Consequently, deposits of coal with this concentration release more than 200 tons of uranium per 1000 N We/year compared to approximately 8 tons/year using IAEA average value data. However, the USEPA concluded in its 1984 report, “Background Information Document (Integrated Risk Assessment); Final Rule for Radionuclides”, that coal wastes constitute no significant integrated riskl1. Extensive studies, such as the report by Beck et al12 in 1980, “Perturbations on the Natural Radiation Environment Due to the Utilization of Coal as an Energy Source,” provided analytical data supporting the EPA position.

    In addition to radiological material, elemental analysis of coal for other constituents illustrates that it is a rich source of valuable metals. Table 1 is a summary of 40 elements giving estimated values for annual US utility combustion. While the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) addresses issues of conserving natural resources, the vast quantities of mineral wealth in coal are rarely addressed. Coal “wastes” are not considered “resources”.


    The influence of current environmental, energy and resource conservation laws have little effect on preventing the accumulation of the vast array of coal-borne material in the biosphere. Quantities of by-products released from coal combustion are sufficient to present environmental, resource, energy and economic issues. For example, using 1991 production figures cited above and assuming that all the coal mined that year was burned somewhere, IAEA average concentration data indicates that at least 10,600 tons of uranium, 23,400 tons of thorium, and 275 tons of K-40 were released into the global biosphere that year alone. Summing over a century spanning 1937 to 2037, a length of time that places us currently at more than 60% through, indicates that in the US, as much as 232,400 tons of uranium, 572,000 tons of thorium and 6,030 tons of K-40 will be introduced into the biosphere during that time, mostly during the latter half. Global accumulation of these long-lived radioactive species is predicted to exceed 1 million tons of uranium, 2.8 million tons of thorium and more than 30,000 tons of K-40 by the year 2037.

    Natural uranium contains fissionable isotope U-235 at about 0.7%. U-235 is the nuclear fuel in commercial reactors. Release of U-235 into the biosphere over the specified century totals more than 9,400 tons of this single isotope. As 2% enriched commercial reactor fuel, this quantity of U-235 equals more than 471,000 tons of nuclear fuel, the equivalent of 15,700 reactor loads of 30 tons each. Consequently, the fissile component of the uranium in coal constitutes an enormous quantity of resource energy that is never recognized as a hazard nor utilized as a fuel. Comparing energy values, this amount of U-235 when fissioned equals more than 4.6 billion tons of coal, worth about $78 billion. This wasted energy is the result of selectively ignoring the potential resources of coal. Further, this quantity of fissile material poses nuclear proliferation issues because the material is within the boundaries of any country with coal sources and combustion facilities.

    Like the more common isotope U-238, thorium-232 is non-fissile but is breedable to produce fissionable nuclear fuel as isotope U-233. This process can occur in nuclear reactors and involves addition of a neutron to the nucleus of a non-fissile isotope that then becomes fissile. Because the ratio of combustion-to-fissile energy is approximately 1:5million per unit of matter, the fission energy contained in the quantities of these isotopes of uranium and thorium exceed the energy value of the coal itself and indicate that vast quantities of energy are routinely wasted with coal combustion.

    The radioisotopes in coal constitute a continuing source of radioactive released into the biosphere. Estimates of average contributions total about 4.3 micro-Curies per ton13. Thus, combustion of 5,100 million tons of coal in 1991 released about 22,000 Curies of radioactivity that year alone. Since one Curie equals 3.7 x 1010 nuclear disintegrations each second, this quantity of radioactivity is quite large. Integrated over the century in question, coal combustion is predicted to release at least 480,000 Ci of radioactivity in the US and more than 2.7 million Curies world-wide by the year 2037.

    Table 2 summaries a US Dept.. of Commerce study conducted in 1975 that compared stack emissions from three types of coal fired utilities14. Exhausted fly ash ranged from 2.9 million lbs/year from the electrostatic precipitator station studied to 97 million lbs/year from a cyclone type plant burning lignite coal. Most US power plants are modern with facilities to minimize release of fly ash However, over time, increasing quantities of lignite are predicted to be burned due to reduction in reserves of higher grade coal. Lignite is a high moisture soft coal with constituent concentrations far exceeding higher grades at less than half the energy content.

    Modern electrostatic precipitator plants are capable of operating at greater than 99.5% collection efficiency but can still release 35 lb/year of uranium as just one component in almost 3 million tons of ash vented through stacks. In addition to this radiological species, all the radon in coal is released during combustion. An estimate for average Rn-222 release is about 2 Curies/year for each 1000 MWe coal fired facility15. Though much larger in total quantity, Radon-220 from the Thorium chain has a half-life of 55 seconds and may not make it out of the stack. Materials of all types not exhausted up the stack are collected in ash ponds and waste areas at the facility.

    Coal fired electric power utilities are generally in close proximity to large population centers. Thus, exposures to the surrounding populace can be far higher than from equivalent nuclear power plants, by a factor of 100 as shown in one study16. The quantity of coal required to produce 1000 MWe, about 4 million tons each year, contains about 0.22 tons of the radioisotope K-40. Integrating over the century between 1937 and 2037 indicates that millions of Curies of long-lived radioactive isotopes in the uranium and thorium series, along with potassium-40, will be added to the biosphere by the later date. Quantities of radiological species released beyond the year 2037 are bounded only by the quantity of coal burned.

    Most of the exposure to human beings from natural radioactivity is caused by the mobility of radon. Radon found in the atmosphere is produced largely from the uranium-238 series (Fig. 3) as radioisotope Rn-222. The effects of radon are said to range from insignificant (Beck, et al. Ref. 12) to significant. Bernard Cohen at the University of Pittsburgh compares coal power with nuclear power saying, “If one considers the very long-term effects of radiotoxicity, coal burning is a major killer and nuclear power is a major lifesaver.”16

    Because radon isotopes result from radioactive decay of uranium and thorium, the quantity of radon in the atmosphere increases with increased combustion. One consequence of radon in the biosphere is the increase of radioactive daughters such as those detected in consumer products.  For example, radon decay radioisotopes of bismuth, lead and polonium have been detected in tobacco smoke. The dose rate to smokers produced by this radioactivity has been estimated for 1 .5 pack/day cigarette smokers to range from 1,300 milli-rem/year to 16,000 milli-rem/year17. The first figure is almost 4 times greater than the total whole body dose rate from natural background radiation. The latter figure is over 44 times greater.

    For comparison, the maximum exposure from ionizing radiation for nuclear industry workers permitted by DOE guidelines is 5000 mill-rem/year. Current nuclear industry guidelines using the philosophy of “As Low As Reasonably Achievable” (ALARA) have targeted no more than 500 milli-rem/year dose rate per worker. Thus, the 1.5 pack/day smokers among the approximately 50 million smokers in the US willingly expose sensitive portions of their bodies to at least 2.6 times ALARA goals and perhaps 32 times the exposure permitted nuclear industry workers.

    Table 3 illustrates the naturally occurring radioactive decay chains of uranium and thorium. The quantities of each isotope at any time are functions of original quantities and time since release. Note that radiotoxicity is, generally, associated with half-life. The shorter the half-life, the higher the radiotoxicity. For example, radium-224 originating in the thorium chain is more radiotoxic than radium-226 originating in the thorium-238 chain, and both isotopes are more radiotoxic than plutonium-239. Even though more radiotoxic than plutonium, note that EPA’s assessments of the radiological aspects of coal combustion have concluded that health risks are minimal.

    More Considerations

    Not only does coal contain vast quantities of untapped energy, It also contains similarly vast quantities of useful metals. IAEA data lists aluminum concentration in coal at 26,400 ppm. Thus, worldwide flow of aluminum with the coal produced in 1991 was more than 136.6 million tons that year alone. Magnesium? At 3,419 ppm, in excess of 17.4 million tons of this metal were also in the coal flow streams that year, along with 6.3 million tons of titanium (1,242 ppm), 232,000 tons of vanadium (45.5 ppm) and other useful elements that were simply exhausted as coal waste, whether useful or harmful.

    The latter group includes arsenic, cadmium, mercury, selenium, zinc and other elements in a variety of molecular forms. Based on lAEA data, global additions of these elements via coal combustion during 1991 were 25,500 tons of arsenic, 2,040 tons of cadmium, more than 5,000 tons of mercury, 23,200 tons of selenium, 34,700 tons of zinc and so on for each element in coal.

    Adding release quantities for 100 years of steadily increasing coal combustion indicates that a broad range of exhaust constituents go well beyond atmospheric warming, acid rain and ozone depletion, such as the addition of 3.2 million tons of arsenic predicted to be added to the biosphere during that time.

  • That’ll be all, folks.

    Here is the future of nuclear power in the US:  There will inevitably be a major nuclear accident.  A very large area will become severely contaminated.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans will have nosebleeds, diarrhea, hair falling out, and have to be evacuated.  And that will be the end of civilian nuclear power in the US.  People will want to murder nuclear industry executives and engineers.  It will become unsafe for them.  All companies involved will be sued out of existence.  Politicians still supporting nuclear power will have their careers ended.  This industry relies on the government to exist, and control of the news media to hide its damages to people and the environment.  They won’t be able to hide the accident, and the government will be taken over in the next election by newcomers with a pure hatred for the industry, on a mission to make sure the lies, coverrups, and disaster are never again repeated.  This industry has no integrity, has players/owners motivated by nothing but greed and incapable of caring for neighbors.  It will screw up again, as it always has, and the next time will be the final time.

  • American2018

    There’s a BFD between background levels and internal contamination.  Your background levels are suspicious sounding, anyway.  Why don’t you go play in the dust at the Nevada test site?

  • Phantomjr

    Even Lloyds of London (who will insure anything for the right amount of money) won’t touch nuclear plants.

  • American2018

    Coal’s far better than nuclear.  They shouldn’t be destroying mountain tops, but I’d take that over a lying, leaking nuclear plant in the neighborhood, slowly killing my wife and kids.  It’s all BS, anyway, because plenty of people have found other ways of making electricity.  The owners of both of these industries, if they are not in fact the owners of both, have done a darn thorough job at preventing completely exotic and alternative energy production means suppressed.  The very technology which can neutralize a spent fuel rod, is the same one which an replace the nuclear and coal-burning power plants. 

  • KyleMalin

    The answer to nuclear energy, (or one of the answers,) is discovering a way to dispose of the waste.  Obviously we cannot simply dump it, and storing it somewhere is only a temporary solution, and asking for trouble.  If there is any hope for nuclear energy to be accepted as primary energy source, discovering a better method of waste disposal should be high on the “to do” list. 

  • Lee

    Would you feel comfortable living within 5 miles of a nuclear power plant?

    This question  should follow with  :
     Would you feel comfortable living within 5 miles of a beach in pathway of a hurricane ?

  • lee

    The president of America is with THEM  !!!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for that!

  • Rsmi77

    90% of it can be recycled. 

  • Matthew Gonzalez

    Sure, I’d happily go to Japan if I had the time, I’d go right on over to Fukushima. I’d visit the red forest as well, since after Chernobyl it has become one of the largest and most successful wildlife refuges in Europe. I’d certainly stay away from any coal power plants though, all that Thorium and Uranium being put into the atmosphere, 100 times the limit for Nuclear plants, all that nasty waste ash, carcinogens and mercury, horrible stuff. But that pales in comparison to natural radon emissions (thankfully I’m not in a basement typing this, how truly terrifying breathing an invisible, unscented deadly radioactive gas).

    IF I may be sarcastic for a minute, it would probably be better living in some American communities than this modern, horribly radioactive and toxic Japan. Places like Weldon Springs Missouri would certainly be safer, since it’s not like there were 26 acres of radioactive raffinate pits only a mile from the city’s water well, servicing 60,000 people…for decades.

    What boggles my mind; that is contamination that the US government knew about, and hesitated to deal with. Even if you don’t believe the Japanese government has been truthful about its disclosure of the isotopes released from Fukushima’s hydrogen explosion, it’s still safer and less radioactive compared to areas irradiated during America’s atomic industrial expansion, where people happily and safely live.