Friday, August 08, 2008

Protest at North Anna, 6 arrested

Yesterday afternoon, antinuclear activists converged on the North Anna Nuclear Information Center to stage a "sit in" protest of Dominion's plans to build a new reactor at the site.

One of the protestors gives an account of his experience on his blog.

Perhaps they didn't realize that while they were protesting a reactor that hasn't been built, there were two reactors already operating on that site, which have provided safe, clean, and low-cost electricity to Virginia for last 30 years?

These "climate heroes" seem woefully misguided since Virginia needs every bit of non-CO2-emitting energy it can get to meet the demands of a growing population.

Since nuclear technology has proven by far to be the MVP in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, if they really want to be climate heroes, they should try following the example of Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore and *support* new nuclear construction in the U.S.


Kelly L Taylor said...

Wowzers. Thanks for the info. Are there readers of the 'net who will feel sorry for people who want to get themselves arrested, set out to do so, and succeed? What is accomplished?

Mike Stuart said...

Paxus has already deleted the dissenting comment that I left on his blog. It was nothing disrespectful, but it was obviously something that he didn't want his devout followers to see.

Seems kind of cultish to me...

Hawina Star Falcon said...

Providing safe and clean energy from a nuclear power plant ? What about radiation, from plutonium
and radio active waste ?

There is no such thing as a safe dose of radiation. Radioactive waste is, fundamentally, the lethal byproduct of the nuclear age.

Plutonium has a hazardous-life of 240,000 years. It moves in the environment much more rapidly than previously believed by the federal government. At the Nevada test-site plutonium has been found moving in a plume more than a mile away from an underground test that was set off only about 30 years ago. Previous estimates were that it would take more than 10,000 years for this deadly substance to travel this far.

Like other radioactive materials, in addition to initiating cancers, plutonium is highly mutagenic and can disrupt reproductive cells. The high alpha radiation of plutonium makes it especially lethal when inhaled or ingested. Tiny particles of plutonium caught in the lungs have a high probability of causing cancer.

Plutonium also tends to attack the liver and attach to non-calcified areas of the bone, which affects blood formation. It threatens the entire web of life, upon which we depend for food, oxygen, water purification and materials for most of our products.

Even the so-called “low-level” radioactive waste can give a lethal dose in just 20 minutes if exposed unshielded, that “low-level” waste includes all the same radioactive elements as high-level radioactive waste such as plutonium, cesium, strontium and hundreds of others.

Also, the claim of nuclear energy being a non-CO2 emitting energy is untrue. When the entire fuel chain is examined, nuclear power is found to be a producer of greenhouse gases.

Calling opponents of nuclear energy misguided denies the simple fact that there are good reasons to be concerned about nuclear power. Available renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are faster, cheaper, safer and cleaner strategies for reducing greenhouse emissions than nuclear power.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone who describes themselves as a "hero" has any clue as to what that word really means...

Brian Wohlgemuth said...

Please don't push the "CO2 free" will only hurt your credibility in the long run.

Yes, some "more aware" Climate Change "warriors" are for nuclear power, but the second that "Climate Change" ebbs as a hot topic, they will immediately change sides and use these articles as fodder for the general public.

And to HSF...if there is "no safe does of radiation", I suggest you step away from the computer, turn off your cell phone, and head to the nearest cave (with appropriate breathing masks). You are probably getting more harmful exposure from your smoke detector or cell phone than you will ever get from a nuke plant.

Kelly L Taylor said...

HSF, plutonium is neither routinely ingested at nuclear power stations nor routinely discovered in unexpected, unsupervised locations. It is part of the used reactor fuel, as a ceramic encased in metal tubes. Its biggest benefit to mankind is to be recycled into fresh fuel (once again ceramic, once again encased) since it represents the 95% of the potential energy still in the used fuel after an assembly has provided heat energy in the reactor for 18 months x 3 cycles or about 4.5 years.

The best way to get rid of plutonium? Make more electricity with it. Yes, I realize that is not done in the US at present, nor is it cost-effective, with uranium supplies having been so abundant and inexpensive, until lately.

Anything in your household can be dangerous if misused. But we don't abandon battery technology just because houses that used to have lead paint in them made children sick. And we don't abandon an abundant baseload energy supply with nuclear's proven safety record for fear of 'what might happen,' knowing that most of the citizens in this country cannot afford a steady diet of solar power, wind power, and 'green credits.'

ondrejch said...

Hawina - yes nuclear power emits some CO2 and other emissions from the whole cycle: less or ]about the same as wind or solar. What is your point?

Plutonium and other actinides can and should be recycled as a a new nuclear fuel. Are you pushing for that?

Nuclear power emits about 100x less radioactivity than coal burning. Are you 100x more against coal than nuclear?


ondrejch said...

Mike: Why don't you post your comment here? I'd be interested in what the antinuclear censors fear.


Anonymous said...

"Even the so-called “low-level” radioactive waste can give a lethal dose in just 20 minutes if exposed unshielded"

You're not doing your antinuclear cause any good by posting flat-out inaccurate claims like this. It causes people to doubt other claims you make, some of which may be correct. A quick fact check's always a good idea when your credibility is at stake.

Joe Thank You said...

I often find that when anti-nukes use the concentrated lethality and longevity of Pu and other fission products to demonstrate their danger to the public, they often ignore many key factors that help determine the actual hazard imposed by such a dangerous substance. The main factors that should be kept in mind are lethality concentration, quantity, longevity, and likeliness of exposure.

Lethality Concentration
Compared to many other chemicals produced from other industries, nuclear waste is very lethal per unit mass produced. A very small amount of an alpha emitter can produce a lethal dose if ingested; however, there are also very toxic chemicals that are very concentrated poisons.

Very little nuclear waste is produced compared to how much energy is provided. By mass, 35,000,000 kg of coal is needed to produce the same amount of energy as 1 kg of nuclear fuel. Even solar panels have a chemical waste trail which is large when taking into consideration how much energy they produce over their lifetime.

While some nuclear waste can be dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years, chemicals such as arsenic are poisonous forever. A 1 gram poisonous rock doesn't sound that bad. A 1 gram poisonous rock that will last a million years sounds worse.

Likeliness of Exposure
The key difference between the nuclear industry and most other waste producing industries is that nuclear waste is kept completely contained. There are no discharges to the environment unless they are deemed to have negligible effects above natural background radiation. If we had this type of standard across all industries, we would have very few environmental concerns.

Considering only the lethality of wastes is foolhardy. I'd compare it to drinking 35,000,000 bottles of beer as opposed to a single shot of grain alcohol.

Brian Mays said...

Well well ... some people just crave attention, don't they? Some are so desperate that they'll do anything to get it.

Constantly craving attention can be a sign of loneliness, and apparently, Paxus is so lonely that he has taken to talking to himself in the comments section of his own blog. It's sad, really.

But at least he is joined in organizing the 15-person "sit-in" by Mary Olson. Considering her impressive credentials as "NIRS's Y2K specialist" and resident expert on non-disasters, who wouldn't take her seriously when she cries wolf ... er, I mean ... warns about the "dangers" of nuclear power?

I sincerely hope that these two get the attention that they so desperately seek. In fact, I hope that they get so much attention that the public gets a good view of who they actually are.

Matthew66 said...

I'm surprised no one else noticed but HSF's assertion that Plutonium has a half-life of 240,000 years is also wrong and could stand some fact checking. According to the NRC, Wikipedia and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (and probably hundreds of other sources):

"Plutonium Isotope Half-Lives:
There are 15 isotopes (other forms) of plutonium. Some isotopes of plutonium are fissionable: the atomic nucleus is unstable and will split apart, resulting in the release of large amounts of energy. Pu-239 and Pu-241 are the most abundant fissionable isotopes of plutonium.

Half-life is the time in which one half of the atoms of a radioactive substance disintegrate into another nuclear form, hence, the time to halve its radioactive strength. Pu-239 has a half-life of 24,000 years, and Pu-241's half-life is 14.4 years. The plutonium isotope with the shortest half-life is Pu-233: 20 minutes. Plutonium-244, which occurs naturally, has the longest half-life: 80,000,000 years."

I can't find an isotope of Pu that is 240,000 years, some longer, some shorter but not 240,000. I suspect that HSF is referring to Pu 239 and added a zero.

Having a half-life of 240,000 would make Pu less radioactive than an isotope having a half-life of 24,000 years.

Brian Mays said...

Matthew66 wrote:

Having a half-life of 240,000 would make Pu less radioactive than an isotope having a half-life of 24,000 years.

That's true, Matthew, but a half-life of 240,000 years is ten times more scary to those who know nothing about radiation, radioisotopes, and the physics behind how they work.

Perhaps these "mistakes" are intentional? Or at least subconscious?

Joffan said...

I'm fairly sure that the "hazardous-life" of 240,000 years is HSF's way of taking ten half-lifes of Pu-239. A not-unusual way of saying that the hazard isn't gone after one half-life.

[Although, that does kind-of concede that there is indeed a level of radiation below which you really don't need to worry.]

I'd be surprised if one-off plutonium ingestion was particularly harmful. I wouldn't suggest it for a new Olympic sport, but there's no special reason for it to linger in the gut. Inhalation is the danger.

HSF sounds like (s)he's been reading Caldicott.

angie bamji said...

I find it sad and disappointing that the much of debate here has deteoriated to personal attacks and nastiness, as opposed to an educational and informative discussion.

Congratulations to the commentors who strived for the lowest common denominator, you reached it.

Kevin said...

As a near 30 year Health Physics Technician, I need to step in and say something. I have for many years watched individuals speak their mind on their thoughts and become activists towards their beliefs since the Vietnam War era. Now we find ourselves with a watershed event, a proposed new reactor, a new “green” power generating facility. So green that even the founder of Greenpeace agrees.
Those same activists who conceder themselves as educated as those who have spent their adult lifetimes studying the known effects of radiation to the humans, are merely denigrating themselves.
When my father scolded me once for using a cuss word, he said “Son, I know you are smart enough to come up with a word which is not a four letter word.”
Please believe those who have been trained and have advanced degrees in Health Physics, for they are on the public safety side of nuclear operations.

I shall not be considered a four letter word (you don’t even know me.)

Lisa Stiles said...

Angie Bamji,

I'd say the great weight of the discussion has focused on technical issues. Plus it is no crime in an open discussion to question the credentials of someone claiming expertise in a topic.

And I find it ironic that you would call the rather mild sarcasm (something,in your profile, you claim to use and which is prolific on blogs) "personal attacks and nastiness" when Paxus and the groups y'all associate with have said much worse about me and my colleagues in public forums.

Last, at least the moderators allow an open discussion with opposing views, unlike Paxus' control of his blog.


Kelly L Taylor said...

Some of the comments were explanations and justifications for Hawina's claims, even from people who do not necessarily agree with her conclusions.

Although one of the comments deleted from Paxus's blog was mine, I do concede that his blog can be run by his rules. That is sort of the point of having one's own blog. I'm disappointed he does not tolerate open discussion and mutual education there, but the choice *is* his.

Lisa Stiles said...


I completely agree that Paxus should run his blog however he wants. I just found it ironic that his associates would criticize the moderators of this blog for not fostering a more "educational and informative discussion." At least there IS a discussion of different viewpoints here(and I believe it has been educational and informative, but I suppose that is a matter of opinion).


Anonymous said...

Mary Olsen RAN one hundred yards with Jim Riccio and others in order to be sure that she asked me to leave in front of my then 15 year old son at their 'Convergence' last year.

Please read all about it: