Friday, March 07, 2014
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Alfred Meyer of Physicians for Social Responsibility, travelling around and talking nuclear smack:
His speaking tour … has taken him to Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and South Haven. The final stop will be tonight in Ann Arbor. During his presentation, Mr. Meyer shared information about how nuclear power plants, such as Fermi 2 in Newport, affect the lives of those living there and the environment in their immediate vicinity.
He argued that there were “no safe levels” of exposure to radiation for humans, plants or animals and that the effects of those energy waves are rarely tested.
“Illnesses don’t come with labels,” he said. “ There isn’t a sign that tells (doctors) a person has thyroid cancer because of Fermi — they just have thyroid cancer. But it isn’t just cancer. (Radiation) affects your circulatory system and other parts of the body.”
At least the Monroe News throws this in:
According to the DTE Energy Web site about Fermi, “people living near Fermi 2 receive less than one millirem of exposure a year due to that plant’s operation.”
They might have mentioned that a person picks up about 310 millirem per year just by walking around, but it’s a fair effort.
You can’t really rebut vaporous arguments about the “unknown” causes of thyroid cancer, but a responsible physician would know you can look for elevated instances of it around nuclear facilities – except he would also know you won’t find them.
Here’s an example of a study looking for thyroid cancer among workers cleaning up after the Chernobyl accident:
In the study of 4,742 Estonian cleanup workers referred to above, Inskip et al. did not find an excess of thyroid cancer 9 years after the accident, and subsequent extended follow-up of this cohort did not show any increase in the risk of thyroid cancer up to 16 years after the accident.
Using such a group is important because “studies of such workers potentially have greater statistical power to measure effects.” And that’s because, while other factors still apply, this is a group that spent a measureable period working in a radiation-heavy area.
So it’s not impossible to sort out nuclear facility impacts (and this was after an accident, not daily operation) versus environmental issues. Complex yes, impossible no
NEI sends speakers around to provide a truer accounting of nuclear energy – hopefully, the folks at DTE Energy have someone to give talks to bamboozled Michigan residents.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
You knew it would only be a matter of time before Joe Mangano resurfaced. This time, he's brought his brand of junk science to California's Central Coast in order to make some scurrilous claims about the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. This time, a story appeared in the Santa Barbara News-Press (paywall), which is where NEI's Steve Kerekes steps into the picture:
While antinuclear groups hail Mr. Mangano’s study, others argue that the science behind Mr. Mangano’s report is far from settled.We've been on Mangano's trail on NEI Nuclear Notes since 2005. And from that first post, I'd like to share the following statement from the New Jersey Commission on Radiation Protection, one that was issued after it had evaluated one of Mr. Mangano's reports:
“(Mr. Mangano) is a traveling roadshow of fearmongering,” said Steve Kerekes, director of media relations with the Nuclear Energy Institute.
“Once to twice a year he pops up in some corner of the country,” Mr. Kerekes said. “It’s always a similar scenario: he throws a bunch of data at the wall and sees what sticks, but there’s no direct cause and effect between the data and the nuclear facility he is smearing.”
Mr. Kerekes said his organization has regularly debunked Mr. Mangano’s claims, and he noted that while Mr. Mangano has conducted similar studies across the country, state and federal regulators rarely substantiate his claims in their followup studies.
Mr. Kerekes called attention to the first sentence of the report’s conclusions section. “While many factors can affect disease and death rates, the official public health data presented in this report suggest a probable link between the routine, federally permitted emissions of radioactivity from the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and elevated health risks among those infants, children and adults living closest to the reactors,” the report says.
“That’s another way of saying ‘I don’t have proof of any of this,’” Mr. Kerekes said.
The Commission is of the opinion that "Radioactive Strontium-90 in Baby Teeth of New Jersey Children and the Link with Cancer: A Special Report," is a flawed report, with substantial errors in methodology and invalid statistics. As a result, any information gathered through this project would not stand up to the scrutiny of the scientific community.If there's a bright side to Mr. Mangano's continued activities, it's that he'll always provide another reason to keep our blog in business.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
The public health and safety of people who live within 50 miles of St. Lucie and beyond are protected by the demanding safety framework established by the nuclear power industry and confirmed by its regulators. No member of the public in the United States has ever been exposed to a radioactive hazard detrimental to their health from an operating nuclear power plant.That's not all he had to say. Read the rest, right now.
I am convinced that the NRC and the plant operator have rigorously reviewed the safety of the St. Lucie Plant prior to and after the power upgrade and concluded that the public health and safety is protected.
Monday, March 03, 2014
|Sen. John McCain|
Q. You used to be very engaged on the issue of climate change?I’m still interested in it. And I think there are a lot of things that we can do like this transition that we’re making to natural gas thanks to our resources and I still believe in nuclear power as one of the big parts of the answers, and that’s almost impossible to get. And I think we need to address greenhouse gas emissions. But I try to get involved in issues were I see a legislative result… But there’s going to be no movement in the Congress of the United States certainly this year and probably next year. So I just leave the issue alone because I don’t see a way through it, and there are certain fundamentals, for example nuke power, that people on the left will never agree with me on. So why should I waste my time when I know the people on the left are going to reject nuclear power? I don’t believe that you can really succeed in reducing greenhouse gases unless you have a lot of nuclear power plants. They’re against them. Well, okay, I move on to other issues.That's all there is to it. I vaguely remembered what might have motivated McCain's view, though this is an exceptionally blunt expression of it. David Corn discusses this (very much from the left) in Mother Jones. This is about McCain working with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and environmental groups on a new version of the McCain-Lieberman climate change bill, the first version of which had narrowly been voted down in 2008:
McCain had long been an advocate of nuclear power. "He feels strongly that nuclear power will be one of the keys to reducing emissions," says Heather Wicke, who was his environmental legislative aide at the time. But environmentalists who had worked with McCain and Lieberman on the first bill were stunned. In one meeting, lobbyists for environmental groups attempted to persuade McCain not to attach nuclear subsidies to the legislation, arguing that doing so would weaken support for the bill.The second attempt failed, too, and a third attempt went nowhere. Corn blames this on the nuclear provisions. Maybe, but a similar bill without those provisions also failed. Maybe the moment for this legislation crested with that first attempt and then passed. It could return - maybe through McCain's office, maybe not - but the bottom line is, McCain is right: "I don’t believe that you can really succeed in reducing greenhouse gases unless you have a lot of nuclear power plants." Well, you can define "a lot" however you like, but right is right.
Friday, February 28, 2014
its first nuclear plant:”
Kenya will soon have the first nuclear plant in efforts aimed at drastically reducing the cost of electricity and attracting international investors to the country.
The reasons seem exact:
[Deputy President Wiliiam Ruto] said, “We want to grow the economy at double digits, deal with unemployment, underemployment by creating more job opportunities in the country.”
Ruto points out that “69 per cent of Kenyans … are not connected,” presumably to the electric grid. On the face of it, this all may seem a little unlikely, but let’s wait and see. Unlikelier things have happened and this could be very good for Kenya.
For further research, look at the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board. Mandate: “To fast track the development of Nuclear Electricity generation in Kenya.” Anyone can put up a web site, of course, but still, it points at serious intent.
From The Financial Times:
Germany’s exports would have been €15bn higher last year if its industry had not paid a premium for electricity compared with international competitors, according to an analysis published on Thursday.
It gets worse:
Almost 60 per cent of the total loss (or €30bn) came in energy-intensive industries: paper, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, non-metallic mineral products and basic metals.
Smaller companies were disproportionately affected, the analysis found. Unlike heavy energy users such as BASF and ThyssenKrupp, small companies are not eligible for exemptions from the energy bill surcharges that cover the costs of the move to clean energy.
The President of BASF has some very tart things to say, but I’ll let you read that on the site. Interestingly, the story does not mention nuclear energy at all. Which is correct – nuclear energy has nothing at all to do with this, its absence has everything to do with it.
Hard to work up any schadenfreude. This is just awful.
|St. Luice Nuclear Plant|
Steam generators are safeFor more on the St. Lucie plant, consult the FPL website.
The steam generators at the St. Lucie nuclear plant are safe. Since their replacement in 2007, our team of experienced engineers, with validation from independent experts and oversight from federal regulators, has inspected 100 percent of the tubes every 18 months during planned refueling outages. These inspections have shown that there are no tube integrity issues that would cause failure.
Steam generator tube wear is not a new issue in the nuclear industry. In fact, there is significant data and operating experience detailing how to safely monitor and manage this issue. Like belts in a car engine, a certain amount of wear is expected over time. But, with regular monitoring and inspection, the belt will be removed well before it causes any mechanical issue. The same is true for steam generator tubes.
While engineering analyses have shown that steam generator tubes can function with over 60 percent wear, no U.S. nuclear plant would ever come close to that level. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires that tubes with 40 percent wear be removed from service. Florida Power & Light's threshold, however, is even lower and more conservative than federal requirements.
The Times article also pays considerable attention to the number of wear "indications" on the St. Lucie generator tubes. In reality, there is a significant difference between an indication of wear, which could be anything from a scratch to a rub mark, and the potential for failure. Again using the car analogy, it's like having a dent in your car door — you can see it, but it does not make the vehicle unsafe.
With respect to how these components would perform given the plant's power uprate, the safety performance of the steam generators was both verified and validated by independent experts and then again by the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission — all of whom have detailed specific experience with the systems at St. Lucie. Given this fact, it is highly disturbing that the reporter chose to all but bury the perspective of our federal regulator, the NRC, while giving significant attention to the comments of two antinuclear activists.
Finally, some have implied that St. Lucie is similar to the now-closed San Onofre plant in California. Nothing could be further from the truth. The steam generators at San Onofre were a different design, made by a different manufacturer and operated at a higher power level. In fact, the type of wear evident at San Onofre is not present at St. Lucie.
Site Vice President
St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant
Thursday, February 27, 2014
One reporter we follow very closely is PBS science reporter Miles O'Brien. He's reported a number of stories on the nuclear industry in the wake of Fukushima, including a November 2011 Frontline documentary called "Nuclear Aftershocks." As my colleague John Keeley noted in 2011, "O’Brien is a solid journo with a reputation for resisting the melodramatic and sensational in favor of substantive and balanced pieces."
Needless to say we were shocked and concerned when O'Brien reported on his own website that a freak accident had resulted in doctors having to amputate his left forearm just above the elbow. Apparently, O'Brien is back in the U.S. and doing his level best to adjust to a new reality. The good news: despite the accident, O'Brien seems to be facing his disability with resolve, determination and even a little bit of humor.
So I woke up to a new reality in the hospital. It’s been a challenging week dealing with the phantom pain, the vicissitudes of daily life with one hand and the worries about what lies ahead.Best wishes to O'Brien in all of the challenges ahead.
But I am alive and I’m grateful for that. Please don’t worry about me. I’m sure I can cope just fine. If I need your help, I promise I will ask.
Life is all about playing the hand that is dealt you. Actually, I would love somebody to deal me another hand right about now – in more ways than one.