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Science

Radiation Not As Hazardous As Once Believed 570

Posted by kdawson
from the since-my-fallout-with-you dept.
HeavensBlade23 sends in an article from the German site Spiegel Online about mounting evidence that nuclear radiation may not be as deadly as has been widely believed. The article cites studies by German, US, and Japanese researchers concluding, for example, that fewer than 800 deaths are attributable to the after-effects of radiation in over 86,500 survivors of the Hiroshima bombing. Other surprisingly low death rates are reported in studies of Chernobyl and of a secret Siberian town called Mayak, devoted to producing plutonium, that was abandoned after a nuclear accident in 1957.
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Radiation Not As Hazardous As Once Believed

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  • by $criptah (467422) on Monday November 26, 2007 @10:30PM (#21487823) Homepage

    This reminds me of that news program where the journalist debunked 10 common myths like "underpaid teachers" and "Chernobyl was not so bad." I don't remember the name of the guy, but he runs a regular show on one of the major TV stations. I only wish I could send this report to many Chernobyl veterans and their kids who would say otherwise.

    My uncle was in Chernobyl right after the crap hit the fan in 1986. He went in a young man with good health and came back on a partial disability due to radiation. No, radiation did not kill him but it rendered his eyesight useless. When my cousin was born it was found that he lacked a good immune system due to effects of radiation as well. With all this crap my family considers itself to be lucky. We did not have to watch our loved ones dying from the inside. The Soviets did a great cover-up preventing most Western media from accessing the people and the territory until things were hanky panky. What many people did not see was the kids born after the disaster and increasing cancer rates. You know things are pretty crappy when you have routine cancer checks in middle schools. How many American schools consider this to be yearly procedure? I remember a woman telling a story about her husband. She had to spent all of her savings on vodka and moonshine in order to calm her husbands pain and let him die without screaming. Oh yeah, save those jokes about drunk Russians: The guy did not drink until his muscles started to fall of the bone. Finally you may take a look at the effects of radiation on Kazakhstan. After years of being used as a Soviet nuclear testing ground, the country has plenty of polluted land. Perhaps the authors of this report want to buy some prime real estate in the land of Borat?

    I don't doubt that we will find out more about radiation as we go on; however, it is silly to think that nukes (be it peaceful or military) are a joke. It is a serious business with serious side effects.

  • by Johnno74 (252399) on Monday November 26, 2007 @10:33PM (#21487843)
    No offense, but do you know that for a fact? Plenty of things can cause sterility, including common diseases like mumps.
  • by john57 (988099) <evk57@yah o o . c om> on Monday November 26, 2007 @10:42PM (#21487925)
    I happened to be in the military at the time Chernobyl accident happened. They sent us there without explaining anything. The result - I saw a lot of 20 years old people who had all kinds of medical problems (of cause, nothing to do with exposure to radiation).

    Me? I am still alive, thanks. I cannot have children. I am also bold since I was around 25. Where do I sigh for manifestation that radiation is not hazardous?

  • Of similar interest, living in New Jersey, there have been much debate about the high childhood cancer rate amongst children born in and around Toms River, NJ. There was even a settlement from the case, and some dye company who was dumping chemicals paid a settlement (without admitting liability). However, the study done by the State of New Jersey concluded that there is no single factor that caused the higher than usual cancer rates, so like radiation, we don't really know all the reasons that people get affected by various things.

    I believe our bodies, based on our genetics, and even environmental factors, are more or less able to deal with different types of "pollutions". Some people may be able to handle higher levels of radiation than others, some may be able to deal with higher level of chemicals than others, etc. Just as some of us can stand colder weather, hotter water, or those who have higher pain thresholds.
  • Re:Ehhhh... (Score:5, Informative)

    by SEWilco (27983) on Monday November 26, 2007 @10:51PM (#21487983) Journal
    Well, the adult human manages to go a lifetime while losing 50 carbon atoms per second from DNA due to radioactive decay of carbon-14 atoms, and the decay of 4,000 atoms of potassium-40 per second.
  • by teebob21 (947095) on Monday November 26, 2007 @11:03PM (#21488093) Journal

    The article was refreshingly in-depth and it covered both sides of the issue - surprising, considering most ./ articles are not much more than short blog rants. I do wish it had pointed readers to an online location of the studies cited, but the reports are verifiable. I was aware of cooperative studies done after WWII by the US and Japan, among others.

    My gut reaction is to accept the information presented as reliably true. I have two reasons for this. First, this was published to a German site. I trust a German site slightly more than your average dot-com because of the competing forces at play in the current US 9/11 mindset. The Bush "gubmint" wants you to cower in terror every damn day fearing random acts of violence by brown people (Appropriate thanks to George Carlin). The more peaceful side of the US continues to try to reassure the public that much of the terror threat is FUD (which it is - seriously, we've been at the Orange terror level for months, meaning "High Risk of Attack". No attacks, no highly publicized failed plots to garner support for the omnipresent Orange. I doubt the FBI/CIA/DHS is doing THAT well). I admit the US has its enemies, and that fact should not be discounted. It's true that someone may someday use a nuke (or more likely a dirty bomb) in an American metropolis. But if this was posted to an American website, I would have a harder time accepting it at face-value, rather than subtle "fear not" messages by pro-nuclear lobbyists. That said, as an American citizen in a metro area, I'm happy to see that moderate radiation may be tolerated by the body better than expected, and i am also in support of more nuclear power plants in the US. Nuclear power done right releases less radioactivity into the air per year than a coal plant...and probably less than the pack of cigarettes I'll finish tonight.

    Second, the effects of short-term radiation exposure are typically exaggerated, in my non-professional opinion. A chest X-ray for example, is roughly equal to 10 days' worth of background radiation dosage; fewer if you live 5000 feet or more above sea level. Not bad considering your heart and lungs are the target of a quick 120,000 electron-volt blast (Linkage) [netdoctor.co.uk]. Cancer treatments can exceed 10 MeV. Granted, I'm talking about reasonable short-term exposure, something less than 3 or 4 Greys for a one-time worst-case scenario. I'm not going to argue that pulling a Spock and walking into a reactor for a while will leave you anywhere near healthy.

    I think long-term radiation exposure is where we need to concern ourselves. For example, Marie Curie handled radioactive material with little to no protection for nearly 40 years, before dying of anemia in 1934. This can be partly attributed to the fact that much of the radiation she was exposed to was alpha radiation. However, long-term exposure to radium (which is over a million times more radioactive than uranium) and its byproducts, including radon gas and ionizing beta particles most likely led to her death. Gamma radiation is much more harmful, with the ability to knock base pairs out of DNA. Even the most loved radiation of all, UV, that elixir of youthful bronzed skin, has been shown to cause harm. But no one gets carcinoma from a single sunburn, or a single tan. The most deleterious effects add up over time, but are not caused by forgetting to slide the lead suit over the family jewels during an X-ray at the dentist.

    Saying that only 800 or so out of 86,000 survivors died of radiation-related illness is not enough for me. How many showed non-fatal illness extending beyond 1 year of exposure to the bomb? What was the change in infant and child mortality 5/10/20 years after? How did the population histogram change over time - were elderly affected more than children or vice versa? How much radiation WAS deposited to the environment after the detonation of Fat Man/Little Boy -- accident at Chernobyl -- accident at Three

  • Re:Mod parent up (Score:3, Informative)

    by eightball (88525) on Monday November 26, 2007 @11:29PM (#21488281) Journal
    Could be fake news from a site owned by the same person as the OPs home page, with some suggestion the owner is the OP.

    I would have gone with "Funny" myself, though.
  • by emeitner (513842) on Monday November 26, 2007 @11:29PM (#21488283) Homepage Journal
  • by kcbanner (929309) * on Monday November 26, 2007 @11:41PM (#21488355) Homepage Journal
    It was my chance at first post, I had to do it.
  • by dlenmn (145080) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @12:15AM (#21488619) Homepage
    IANA Radiation Researcher, but this may be what you were looking for (and did not expect to find).

    334 more deaths due to solid cancer than expected for a population that size (table 2)
    87 more deaths due to Leukemia than expected (table 5)

    Studies of the Mortality of Atomic Bomb Survivors. Report 12, Part I. Cancer: 1950-1990
    Donald A. Pierce; Yukiko Shimizu; Dale L. Preston; Michael Vaeth; Kiyohiko Mabuchi
    Radiation Research, Vol. 146, No. 1. (Jul., 1996), pp. 1-27.
    Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0033-7587(199607)146%3A1%3C1%3ASOTMOA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-G [jstor.org]

    The results are sort of summarized at http://www.rerf.or.jp/general/qa_e/qa2.html [rerf.or.jp] (although the numbers don't quite match)
  • by sljck (446976) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @12:41AM (#21488815)
    Great quote from that article:

    "Look, I've been using my nuclear-powered toothbrush for close to two years now, and I feel great!" said PlutoniUS spokesman Robby Shingfield at a hastily-arranged press conference. "It doesn't matter who paid for the study. What matters is that the facts are the facts, and anyone that says otherwise, well, I stick my tongues out at them."
  • by djupedal (584558) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @12:59AM (#21488929)
    "Their roads actually ARE better designed and safer."

    Right - as if they were actually put to the test. With routine 40km traffic jams, they don't have much opportunity to take advantage of said improvements. But hey, with all those jumbo-trons lining the expressways, at least they have something to do while they sit and idle the commute away. The govt. makes it an expensive and difficult a process as possible in order to discourage car ownership. Motorcycle? You can't imagine the process to get a license and then purchase a new 'busa.

    Buying a car is quite the experience. With no room for giant car lots and showrooms, the routine method is for a sales team to come to your home or office, where they painstakingly go over every option. Once you've made your choices, and honko'd all the e-forms, the wait begins. You wait while your car is built. And before you can have your purchase approved, you must show proof of having obtained an appropriate parking space. Many times, new car owners have to wait for a parking slot to become available long before they can even think about what color interior would go best with the wife's wardrobe.

    Once you have the parking spot and car buying process behind you, a new list of routine obligations must be met. Like full car inspections at intervals designated by the manufacturer and (ahem) backed by the govt. You don't take the car in and ask for this or that to be looked at or fixed...nooo. They come and get the car, and then contact you with the list of things that must be done, along with how much it will all cost. No choice - pay up. Think of the whales. At one time, there was an anti-pollution law that said a new engine had to be installed every two years. Ever wonder why all those low mileage Toyota truck engines are for sale here in North America? Ever wonder how so many foreigners found it easy to get a car in Japan? Maintenance costs can be so high, some owners simply give the car away and go out and buy a new one.

    There is/was a big black market for selling used cars from Japan into Russia. A 'used' car being one that is between two and three years old. You'll never see a beater running around the streets of Tokyo.

    I recall the time the Russian circus came to Tokyo. The circus, animals and all, was hauled into Tokyo bay on a run down Russian freighter. When the show was over and it came time to load everything back onto the ship, Japanese dock workers were surprised to see the ship leaving without the animals. Dozens of used cars had been loaded onto the ship's deck during the night, some hanging 1/2 way over the side. The animals were abandoned, sitting in their cages on the dock, staring at the dock workers wondering if they tasted good or not. It took a while to straighten that one out.
  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:07AM (#21488973)

    It was Reagan that killed breeder reactors in the US (and effectively elsewhere). He claimed it was for proliferation concerns, but that makes no sense; more likely, he did it for economic reasons: nuclear fuel is big business for the US.


    I was referring to this bit ( quoted from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_fast_reactor [wikipedia.org] )

    With the election of President Bill Clinton in 1992, and the appointment of Hazel O'Leary as the Secretary of Energy, there was pressure from the top to cancel the IFR. Sen. John Kerry (D, MA) and O'Leary led the opposition to the reactor, arguing that it would be a threat to non-proliferation efforts, and that it was a continuation of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project that had been canceled by Congress. Despite support for the reactor by then-Rep. Richard Durbin (D, IL) and U.S. Senators Carol Mosley Braun (D, IL) and Paul Simon (D, IL), funding for the reactor was slashed, and it was ultimately canceled in 1994.


    Also, I never claimed Chernobyl wasn't bad (nor did the article ), I'm claiming organisations like greenpeace are deliberately lying about it dismissing all science saying they are wrong, with the explicit intent to try to convince the public that Nuclear power is too dangerous to be used responsibly. Solar panels contain small amounts of polluting chemicals, but if I were to push pictures of solar cells next to children with birth defects, arguing that the people who promote their use are corrupt evil capitalists who don't care about hurting babies, then I'd rightly be criticised for lying in order to intentionally mislead the public. I'm saying anti-nuclear campaigners should be held to the same standards.

  • by xPsi (851544) * on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:21AM (#21489037)

    There was some village (Israel/Palestine/Middle-East 'ish') where the natural background radiation was something like two-hundred (200) times "normal" levels. The people there were perfectly normal, fine and healthy. In fact, researchers found the villagers were more healthy than normal/average for some diseases/conditions.
    That's right. For example, from the ionizing radiation article on wikipedia [wikipedia.org] (units in mSv -- 1 mrem = 0.01 mSv):
    260 Ramsar, Iran, annual natural background peak dose
    175 Guarapari, Brazil annual natural radiation sources
    50 USA NRC annual occupational limit
    3 USA average dose (per year) from all natural sources


    I don't want to sound like a troll, but radiation safety in the US is almost certainly far too conservative to the point that it has made the public (including many slashdotters, apparently) subject to the multi-decade bad PR. Radiation has a certain eerie mystery to it that just instinctively freaks people out. Obviously, like many things in life, it can be dangerous. But I think most here would agree that understanding exactly how objectively dangerous something is (especially something so naturally ubiquitous like radiation) should be a high public heath priority. We shouldn't let our emotions get too carried away here. The problem is the article (which actually has a few good ideas) picked a really, really terrible set of awful human tragedies to make their point. It would be like airplane safety people trying to make the case that hitting buildings with airplanes isn't "that deadly" and using the ratio of 9/11 survivors to deaths as an example. When making a valid point like this, especially when something like WWII A-bombs and Chernobyl are justifyably so tender in the public mind, you need to frame the problem very carefully and treat human tragedy with some respectful regard.

  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:49AM (#21489193)
    Yes, but if you do recycle it propperly and use fast reactor to incinerate the actinides, then you end up with 100 times less waste per amount of energy produced, and it decays to safe levels within a few hudnred years instead of hundreds of thousands of years. Using it simply for this reason would still give us hundreds of years of energy just burning existing waste.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:42AM (#21489473)
    It isn't the the safe levels have fallen it is that medicine has made the determination that no level of radioactive exposure can be considered safe. Exposure limits are then made so that it is extremely unlikely that someone will have their health compromised by radioactivity.

    A very important point to note is that the determination that no level of radioactive exposure is safe does not mean the same thing as low levels of radiation are extremely dangerous (which many might believe). What the doctors are literally saying is that they don't consider a 10^-20 or even a 10^-40 Curie source to be perfectly safe. One errant gamma ray from the decay of some radioactive substance might be enough to cause a fatal cancer. As there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, PCBs, or arsenic, reasonable limits are proposed where very few people are injured by these substances. The same applies to radiation levels. If the danger due to low level radioactivity is determined to be a thousand times less dangerous than we thought it was then the exposure limits might be raised if convenient, but radioactive material will still not be considered safe, even in the smallest amounts.
  • by rabiddeity (941737) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:52AM (#21489523) Homepage

    Wow. This is gonna be modded offtopic, but it needs to be said. Some of your post is accurate, but some of it is misguided. Mainly, Tokyo is not Japan.

    The right:

    The stuff about license requirements is spot on. The racket surrounding license centers is annoying at best but mostly outrageous. Basically everyone pays a couple thousand bucks to a driving school to take courses for several months, after which you have as many chances to take the "test" at the driving school as you want, several times per day, and any day you want. Of course, the real test held at the government license center is harder, held only on weekday mornings if you're lucky, and the "rules" of the test bear no relation to actual driving. Don't get me started on the oogata bike test. That thing is even more of a swindle.

    You are correct that the roads are not safer. In fact, almost none of the roads have reflective markers for rainy conditions. No "cat's eyes", no Botts' dots [wikipedia.org]. Drivers do not switch their headlights on in fog or rain or snow; I had three or four drivers actually flash their brights at me on Sado island for driving in a rainstorm with my headlights on last weekend! People here often stop in the middle of the road to answer a phone call, often on a blind curve. Ah, but at least they're not driving while talking on a phone... I guess their abysmally low speed limits are an attempt to make up for these deficiencies.

    The road system is set up to be a big cash cow for the government. You are correct in that aspect.

    The wrong:

    The shaken inspections aren't mandated by the manufacturers, they're mandated by the government: after 3 years for a new car and every 2 years after that. Unlike US car inspections, they check more than just emissions: brakes, suspension, tires, transmission, all the lights, seat belts, and steering are among the things tested. The inspection itself winds up costing about 10000 yen plus any repairs, but you also pay taxes for two years at the same time, which is why it's so expensive. If you know a reputable repairman, the repairs will not cost that much. My guy gives me a loaner car while he's working on mine, no charge. Alternatively, you can do the fixes yourself and take the car in for inspection on your own time if you can get the time off work, which saves a bit of cash if you're handy. I do think this helps keep unroadworthy cars off the streets, and in that way helps safety... but it does cost an arm and a leg. You do have a choice: if it's too expensive to fix the car up to snuff, you scrap it. Part of owning a car means making sure it's not an accident waiting to happen.

    Proof of parking space is only required in big cities: Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, basically any metro area. If you live outside those areas you don't need proof of parking. And there are plenty of car dealerships outside Tokyo where you can walk in, pick out and buy a car from the lot, and have it delivered to you or pick it up within a few days (after they fabricate the plates, no temporary tags here). If you haven't seen them, it's because you haven't been outside big cities.

    Maximum expressway speed is 100kph outside cities on multiple lane highways. Where I live, congestion is rare because the expressways are only used for long trips. In clear dry weather most vehicles cruise between 100 and 120. If you live in Tokyo, don't get a car to drive to work every day, because you're right, the highways can't support that many people. But the only speed enforcement is fixed cameras and the rare patrol car (and there are unmarked cars as well, so be careful). Thankfully, almost everyone is courteous enough to pull over when they're not passing. I've seen a couple folks taking stretches in excess of 150kph on twisty road, and the rest of traffic just moves over to let them go. Assuming they have the space. But unfortunately the roads are not banked for the speeds their surfaces and widths support. And they are extremely overpriced.

  • Radiation hormesis (Score:4, Informative)

    by Wilson_6500 (896824) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @03:19AM (#21489659)
    What you're talking about is called "radiation hormesis."

    We have more or less only one good epidemiological set of data for various-dose radiation--atomic bomb survivors. Those data are extrapolated to low doses, and that's a large part of the data set from which the current "radiation damage" model (the LNT or "linear-no-threshold" model) is derived (actual survival of cells is predicted by a different model--the LNT model is for radiation effects on a person). Since the LNT model is the most widely-accepted standard in the field as far as I've seen (medical physics student), the hormesis promoters have the burden of proving the protective effect.

    The parent is right in that we don't have a good understanding of what goes on at low doses of radiation, and we don't have a model backed by strong empirical observation either. Radiation protection, however, is founded on the principle of keeping doses as small as is reasonably possible, and it's irresponsible to try to wave around that small doses MIGHT not be as harmful as people currently think. I would say that radiation science still basically wants to say that there is no lower threshold for radiation damage, and thus that there is probably not a hormesic (hormestic? I don't know the adjectival form of hormesis) effect. It doesn't really need to be stated that we don't know a lot about low-dose radiation--you start from the assumption that you don't know a lot about it until you can prove that you do. Right now, all we can prove is that it's pretty likely that if damage is linear, then low-doses are bad too.
  • by HuguesT (84078) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @04:36AM (#21489975)
    Responding to your points :

    Actually those alpha emitters are very poisonous. Artificial radionucleides like Neptunium, Plutonium etc can easily get into the food chain and stay there as heavy metals. The fact that they are radioactive is not a nice bonus. It's very important we know how to store them safely for extremely long periods with no access to underground water.

    Natural Uranium is by nature very diluted. Plutonium essentially does not occur naturally. We are talking here about very concentrated sources produced by the nuclear industry. If you have a workable solution let's hear it.

    Worst-case biological events are not necessarily bombs. The two examples you quote were very small bombs by today's standard BTW. However a blown up plant like Chernobyl releases far more nasty stuff than bombs : tons rather than kilos. I don't think the area around Chernobyl will be habitable in 50 years time.

  • by jsoderba (105512) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @05:43AM (#21490217)

    Spent fuel is stored encased in glass and concrete. The risk of leaks is very small, and because the low volumes of waste can be concentrated in a few locations, only small areas would be contaminated even if there was a leak.

    The Chernobyl plant was a very poor design and nobody is pursuing similar designs any more. The RBMK design encased the fuel in flammable graphite as moderator. When the reactor overheated and the hot graphite was exposed to the air a raging fire immediatly began, tearing the reactor core apart and sending particles of spent fuel into the air in great clouds of smoke. Water moderated designs obviously don't have this problem. (The experimental pebble-bed reactors are graphite moderated, but they are much less likely to overheat.)

    The bombs used in Japan were also very dirty. Modern designs consume a much larger part of their fuel. The chief danger is that setting off a nuke on the ground will mix the nuclear material with dirt, causing concentrated fallout within a few miles of ground zero, instead of dispersing it relatively harmlessly in the atmosphere like an explosion in mid-air.

  • by nospam007 (722110) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @06:03AM (#21490317)
    You see this is the problem with the anti-nuclear moment. They have become so obsessed with ending everything that contains a nucleus that they see it as acceptable to dismiss any science to the contrary as "biased".
    ___
    Well, if you'd protest nuclear bomb testing in your backyard and the French put a bomb on _your_ boat and killed your friend and pardon the killer agents later, you'd be pissed too.

  • by fburton (1055708) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:11AM (#21490623)
    There's a lot on this and nuclear risks in general in Bernard Cohen's book "The Nuclear Energy Option" which is available online at: http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/index.html [pitt.edu] If you only read one chapter, make it Chapter 11 "Hazards of High Level Radioactive Waste - The Great Myth". You should at least find it interesting!
  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @08:25AM (#21491099)
    However, this meant that there would forever be an almost complete absence of experimental data of radiation exposure in humans.

    You'd be right, if it wasn't for many, many involuntary guinea pigs:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_radiation_experiments [wikipedia.org]

    Also, what happens to humans after exposure to really high levels of radiation is pretty well known from several criticality accidents.

  • by cluckshot (658931) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @08:27AM (#21491111)

    Renewable fuels suffer from several severe problems the green's don't want to see. The first is that farming is mining. Yes a farmer mines his soil. The process is exceptionally environmentally damaging. A typical farm loses about 5,000 or more pounds of material to erosion every year per acre. (Hectare conversion is approximately 5600 kg/hectare) The farmed items remove another 100 or so pounds per acre every year. The best soil recovery rates are below the 100 pounds per acre line.

    All energy sourcing has problems including wind power. Wind power alters weather and precipitation. NOTHING is "clean" or nice like supposed by some.

    Nuclear power emits trivial amounts of nuclear pollution generally and appears to have little other problems yet it causes massive thermal pollution. There is no free lunch here. Nuclear is probably the best we have in the currently available options list. Yes even solar has problems.

    There are other options coming in the future but even the Zero Point energy is not without problems. Unlimited energy is an unlimited problem unless used wisely and within the confines of the system you work.

    The best example of the damage of renewable fuels in current times is the Ethanol production of the USA. This has already caused a 3:1 rise in the cost of food for the poor of the world. This is causing massive damage to the environment as well. The USA can live independent of the world and with renewable fuels. The rest of the world may not be able to live with that solution.

    For the advocates of coal, there is a serious problem. The Geology of Coal has made it a virtual Nuclear Waste Dump. A typical large coal fired power plant will send up the stacks in the soot radiation equal the that of a nuclear reactor's entire content every few years. There is no "Clean Coal."

    The best suggestion is where possible to reduce demand by doing our work more efficiently. The demand situation of our grids says that we must end incandescent lights. The demand situation also demands the end of CRT computer and TV devices. The situation also demands the end of many other on going losses. The end of biodegradable items is one such change that must happen. Biodegradable was developed to cause more demand for oil products. It works. The demand situation demands attention to Automated Driving to reduce human behavior induced waste. This goes on and on. There are many good suggestions.

    Finally attention must be paid to the causes of human population growth. Specifically the fact that tyranny and poverty cause population growth. Nations with freedom and prosperity do not over populate.

  • by Phanatic1a (413374) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @09:59AM (#21492061)

    But that's only one problem. One annoying thing with nuclear reactors is that it also creates lots of radioactive material (i.e. parts of the reactor become radioactive when receiving neutrons). That increases the amount of nuclear waste quite a bit. (note that I'm not anti-nuclear, but I'd like to see a real solution for waste)


    Jesus fucking Christ.

    Neutron-activated radioactivity is *short-lived*, and the things like the reactor vessel that are rendered radioactive as a result of neutron activation are considered *low-level waste*. It's a non-fucking-issue.

    You want to see a real solution for nuclear waste? Why don't you want to see a real solution for waste from other generation schemes? Do you think dumping millions of pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere every year is a "real solution" to the waste from coal-fired plants? Do you think leaving all the arsenic, lead, mercury, and heavy metals that are scrubbed out of the exhaust from those plants lying around in big piles is a "real solution"? Do you think that the long-term storage and disposal of that waste is *any less* of an issue than disposing of the volumetrically miniscule amounts of nuclear waste from nuclear power plants? Neutron-induced radioactivity in a reactor vessel ceases to be an issue after several years, but arsenic is forever. Why do you only worry about the former when it comes to things like our air and water?

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @10:11AM (#21492229) Homepage Journal
    Not Kerry. Carter. Same party. Same environmental policy. Different dumbass.

    I agree, sorta. I'm a Republican and I can't stand Carter. He was certainly wrong about many things, and his killing of breeder reactors and fuel rod re-use was among them, however, he was also pretty darned right about promoting nuclear power.

    When TMI happened, Carter went there, to illustrate that it was perfectly safe. At that moment, Republicans actually jumped the pro-nuclear boat and hopped onto the anti-nuclear bandwagon, and used the moment to show that Carter was being irresponsible, doesn't have a clue, even though Jimmy, as one of Rickover's boys, probably knew more about nuclear power than just about anyone. As a result of this moment of bipartisan acord between the loonie left and right, nuclear power was killed in America, and Reagan actually never advanced it.
  • Re:Seriously (Score:3, Informative)

    by ravenshrike (808508) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @12:52PM (#21494415)
    Actual scientists have known this for years. Unless you get massive initial doses or a relatively large continuous dose, radiation has surprisingly little effect on you. Now, if you're a guy you might want to wait a couple months before having children if you had a radiation source close to your jelly beans, but otherwise the problems are few. However, until this point there haven't been any statistical studies proving it.

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