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Beyond Lies

avenging_angels_leaks_cvr Slashdot ran a story today called “Report Blames NRC For VT Yankee Leak,” and found that the link took us over to Beyond Nuclear. Well, that was that. While some anti-nuclear groups are worth engaging with, Beyond Nuclear is, how shall we say, not. Dishonest and amateurish in its approach, the group has never required much comment from us: our readers – any interested readers – could see through its stuff as though it were made of cheap plastic.

But we did make a note to revisit Slashdot and see if at least some of its readership might be accepting this hooey. Nope.

First, the quote, "Numerous incidents of unplanned releases of radioactivity have been reported to the NRC within the past few months." "These incidents of leaks, overflows and spills have resulted in contamination of areas outside of plant buildings. " is not actually in the article but rather it is in the link from the NRC in 1979 about responding to the leaks. The article then goes on the say "the NRC is capitulating to an industry decision to take almost three more years before announcing an action plan" but the link supporting this is broken, so I can't evaluate it.

That’s from electricprof. See what we mean about amateurish?

NRC page on tritium []. Even the levels at so called "contaminated wells", assuming you drink from it every day for a year, are negligible compared to other sources of background radiation and even potassium in your body.

From anonymous. This is true, although nuclear plants should never release tritium or add to the “background radiation or potassium.” This did not happen at Vermont Yankee and it did find the leak.

I seem to notice that there is a lot of FUD and misinformation out there (not just from mdsolar and Beyond Nuclear) regarding nuclear power. This is helped in part because of ignorance by the general public. It's important to understand that there is a wide range of radioactive sources. Most of them are naturally occurring, or occur is such small amounts that they present no health hazard.

From SovBob. He goes on to list radiation exposure by x-rays and the like. We agree with the FUD and misinformation part, but we also think the general public is not all that ignorant. In reality, these are just bad arguments not gaining traction – as the commenters themselves prove.

How many times do I have to tell you! It's clean, not dirty! It's the cleanest of them all! Cleaner than coal! Cleaner than gas! Cleaner than oil! Cleaner than those … latte-drinking atheistic hippie socialist wind generators!

Um, well, it is Slashdot (we cleaned this one up a bit). We could have missed it in the sub comments, but we didn’t run into a single anti-nuclear viewpoint or any defense of Beyond Nuclear at all.

From Beyond Nuclear. You really cannot win an argument this way.


gunter said…

Coming from Nuclear Notes this is a compliment though the comments are a bit juvenille and substanceless. The links work from the website and PRN News Wire story and also from the New York Times Green Blog.

Hey,where's the old debate spirit?

Readers looking for substantive comments can check out the 6-hour NRC webcast for April 20, 2010 on groundwater contamination from nuclear power plants. Maybe not. NRC will be taking it down in a few weeks.

Go to and look for the April 20, 2010 Groundwater Contamination.

Looking for the bottom line here?

Control and monitoring of radioactive leaks to groundwater is a license condition. No nuclear power plant operator is legally authorized or allowed uncontrolled and unmonitored releases. Operators can be shutdown to fix leaks and fined for everyday out of compliance.

BTW, this is just the baseline report for the ongoing campaign.

see ya later,

Peter Joseph said…
Well said. Shows that sort of article doesn't get very far with a readership prepared to do some critical thinking.
Brian Mays said…
Sounds like Gunter is a little miffed at Mark's dismissal of Beyond Nuclear as amateurish and not worth engaging.

Good show, Mark.
Anonymous said…
A quick check of the NRC video link shows videos going back more than two years.

"taking it down in a few weeks," Gunter? Interesting that you'd attempt to speak for the NRC -- care to try and substantiate your claim?

And make up your mind -- if plants can monitor and control leaks as a license condition, then they're acting within their license (i.e., under legal authorization) if that occurs.
gunter said…
In answer to Anon---

The April 20 NRC stakeholder meeting was not transcribed and when NRC was queried on how long the webcast is up, it was staff that said it will be up for a month.

Me miffed? Not easily dismissed, either. I have long come to expect it from this crew. Engaged, most definitely. If it was so "amatuerish" you wouldnt have even given it this intended brush off nor put up the artwork.

I am consistently disappointed that there is no substantive discussion here. It always goes to the lowest common denominator of trashy talk.

Anyways, the issue of groundwater contamination is not going away anytime soon. NEI has seen to that with its "Buried Pipes Integrity Program" three-year schedule which does not include any implementation and completion dates.

Which is very weird. If you were to actually read the report, you find that Exelon has quietly committed to upgrade all buried pipe carrying radioactive water at the single unit Oyster Creek (NJ)to above-grade vaults using corrosion-resistant piping so that piping can actually be inspected, maintained and contained in the event of a leak. And they intend to complete the retrofit by the end of 2010. NEI is still looking to see how operators can keep it buried.

More states like Illinois and Vermont will be taking up this issue as unauthorized (illegal), uncontrolled and unmonitored radioactive leaks to groundwater from buried pipe will continue.

Quite simply, we are looking for agreement on this blog that the Oyster Creek commitment be applied across the industry. That said, I dont expect agreement here that NRC mandate it through Confirmatory Orders to for licensees to comply with the license conditions [10 CFR 50 Appendix A GDC 60 &64].

Have a nice day,

David Bradish said…
I am consistently disappointed that there is no substantive discussion here.

Perhaps Beyond Nuclear can host some sort of discussion board at their website. If you guys don’t censure the comments then I’m sure you’ll get quite a substantive discussion going.

NEI is still looking to see how operators can keep it buried.

If you're implying that we're being deceitful then perhaps you should clarify. Every nuclear unit is unique. What one unit can do with regards to piping, other units may not be able to. Regardless, just because it’s buried doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to monitor the piping. I’m sure you’ve heard of radiation detectors to monitor radioactive sources …

we are looking for agreement on this blog that the Oyster Creek commitment be applied across the industry.

I don’t think us bloggers here have the power to enforce that commitment even if we all agreed. Is that what you meant?

While you use words like unauthorized, uncontrolled and unmonitored, what you neglect to mention is the negligible risk of the releases from the nuclear plants. Last week, an oil rig went down, several weeks ago nearly 30 coal miners were killed, and a few months ago a gas plant under construction exploded killing several workers. Aren’t you guys even upset about that?
Meredith Angwin said…

In general, people against nuclear power don't just imply that pro-nukes are being deceitful, they outright say "you're lying." In a recent meeting, I realized that any answer that isn't the answer the anti-s want is "a lie."

Many anti-nukes have a kind of narcissistic view of the world. People either agree with the anti-nukes, and give the answer the anti-nukes want. Or people are lying. End of story.'s a link.

And here's the quote from me, on the endless question of why-you-people-can't-tell-us-how-much-tritium-is-in-the-river

Later in the evening, Meredith Angwin, a Vermont resident and chemist, defended the NRC and Entergy, saying the agency isn’t necessarily trying to withhold information about the level of tritium that has reached the river.

“If you don’t like the answer, it isn’t necessarily because they’re lying to you,” she said. “It might not be physically possible” to detect such low levels.

Brian Mays said…
"Every nuclear unit is unique."

But they all have one thing in common, David. Gunter here thinks that they're all evil.

Good luck getting Beyond Nuclear to host any kind of open discussion board. He knows that they'd be ripped to shreds by informed people who would show up with facts instead of "factoids."

Gunter is a first-class hypocrite. It's hilarious to hear him talk about "the lowest common denominator of trashy talk." As anyone who has ever been to an anti-nuclear protest knows, folks like Gunter have the market cornered on "trashy talk." His history of trolling this site is fine example of what I mean.

The difference between this site and Beyond Nuclear is that we let people air their opinions ... even hypocrites like Gunter.
Anonymous said…
Why is the posting of statements that don't agree with the industry line considered "trolling"? How is that not a legitimate part of two-way dialog on the issues that I thought this blog was meant to foster?

So, only post here if you agree with the industry? that'll get boring fast.
gunter said…

Its really about keeping to the licensed condition at nuclear power plants.

As far as buried pipe systems these PWR and BWR units are not that unique from one another. The common denominator is that the bulk of the systems remain inaccessible, uninspected and without maintence and then when they leak they are not isolated from groundwater systems.

The main difference is how far the reactor site is from its cooling source and discharge outlet as to how much buried pipe there is.

The bloggers here can speak up about your industry's standards.

So let's take all that whining about "evil", "hypocrite," and your website doesnt host a chat room or whatever and set all that aside for now and just talk about "compliance" vs. "noncompliance" with the license condition and technical specifications for systems carrying radioactive effluent.
Brian Mays said…
"Why is the posting of statements that don't agree with the industry line considered 'trolling'?"

It's not. I wasn't talking about just any statements that "don't agree with the industry line." I was talking specifically about Gunter's comments. His record speaks for itself. Feel free to go through the archives and read some of the comments that he has made over the last half decade. It is my opinion that he is an "internet troll." You are welcome to your own opinion.

Regardless of whether he is or not, his comments are not censored. This blog has a rather liberal comment policy.

Speaking of liberal policies, you should note that Beyond Nuclear's "blog" is simply a series of diaries on a liberal, pro-Democratic-Party website, DailyKos. (Did we say "amateurish"? ... oh yeah ... we did.)

Personally, I have nothing against DailyKos, and this blog has highlighted several articles in the past that have appeared on this website. (Again, take a look at the archives.) Overall, I'd say that NEINuclearNotes has had a rather positive opinion of the discussion of nuclear issues on DailyKos.

Nevertheless, this demonstrates the difference between this blog and Paul Gunter's / Beyond Nuclear's attempts at public outreach. This blog aims for the widest of audiences, whereas Beyond Nuclear clearly targets only a certain demographic: the hard-core, left-wing subculture that has already partaken of the anti-nuclear kool-aid.

Perhaps this explains why public support for nuclear keeps rising and rising as the years go by.

As for good and evil, try asking Gunter whether there is any nuclear plant that he would support. Any at all?

At least the anti-nuclear-leaning Union of Concerned "Scientists" has found one reactor design to be somewhat acceptable, the EPR. For Beyond Nuclear, however, the only good nuclear plant is a closed nuclear plant.

Now, I could be wrong about this. Perhaps Gunter will enlighten me about his support for nuclear plants.
gunter said…
Did you ever see the Jules Fieffer cartoon "They Lie" following the TMI accident? Google Image it, its a classic. So you can blame him...

As for being accused of "trolling" its probably closer to "fish in a barrel" frankly.

Have to say I never met a nuke I liked, so true, but then again there was Seabrook Unit 2. It never got a chance to make any nuclear waste.

Still, nothing here about nukes leaking to groundwater being illegal and in violation of their license condition.
Anonymous said…
Again with the logic fail, Gunter...

If you're going to say license conditions require control and monitoring of leaks, then leaks are possible WITHIN the legal boundaries of the license.

But I'll defend you against the "troll" charge. You're a regular contributor to comments on this blog -- you just think overheated rhetoric is a reasonable substitute for facts and science.
Brian Mays said…
" ... a regular contributor to comments on this blog [who thinks] overheated rhetoric is a reasonable substitute for facts and science."

Funny ... but I thought that this was the very definition of a troll. For example, consider this description:

"a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."

Just because Gunter has been hanging around here for years doesn't exempt him from satisfying the definition:

"In some cases, a troll becomes a recurring figure who is well known by long-term members of a bulletin board."

Anyhow, as I stated earlier, this is simply my opinion. You can draw your own conclusions based on what Gunter has written on this blog. Sometimes his comments are on topic and are actually thought provoking. More often than not, however, he's just pushing people's buttons and looking for an emotional response -- what Internet slang refers to as "trolling."
gunter said…
its really funny being accused of being a "troll" with this entry being a personal attack in the first place... like that's supposed to bug me...

The GDC is what it is.

So the design has to comport with the requirement. Licensee's "shall" control and monitor liquid radioactive effluent.

Bring those buried pipes above-grade vaults and use corrosion resistant material and presto-- you have a inspectable, monitorable, maintainable and containable design. Until then, well each operator should be fined for every day in non-compliance.

This is not rhetoric. This is about making currently inaccessible system inspectable and maintainable.

Lets keep in touch as this unfolds further.
gunter said…
Any of you want to submit comments asking NRC to keep those leaky pipes buried?

NRC is taking addtional comment:

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