Quotes of the day

posted at 10:58 pm on March 15, 2011 by Allahpundit

“President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended the use of nuclear energy despite the calamity in Japan where a nuclear power plant leaked radiation in the wake of a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

“The president told Pittsburgh television station KDKA that all energy sources have their downsides but that the U.S. — which gets 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear power — needs to look at the full array of them.

“The president said facilities in the U.S. are closely monitored and built to withstand earthquakes, even though nothing’s failsafe. Proponents of nuclear power fear their efforts to win over the public to the safety of their industry have been dealt a tremendous blow by the disaster in Japan.”

“Let us be clear. Compared to the real disaster at hand, the hypothetical threat from the nuclear stations is zero. The reactors in question were all shut down four days ago. The control rods have been inserted, and the cores have been salted with boron. It is physically impossible for them to sustain a fission reaction of any kind at this point, let alone cause another Chernobyl. Only the fission-byproduct decay heat remains, and it is fading fast as the short half-life material (which accounts for most of the radioactivity) performs its decay reactions and ceases to exist. At this point, the total heating power in the reactors is only about 0.3 percent of what it was when the reactors were operating. That means that a system previously capable of generating 1,300 megawatts of heat would now yield 4 megawatts thermal — about the same as that emitted by a dozen 100-horsepower automobile engines. The Japanese engineers can certainly deal with that with water cooling. And even if they were to stop, there just isn’t enough heating power in the system anymore to generate a dangerous plume of radioactive materials, which is doubly impossible at this point since all the more active short half-life stuff is already gone.

“No, the threat does not come from the power plant, but from panic spread by press misinformation. After Three Mile Island, the press spread hysteria as well, but at least there conditions in the rest of society were normal, and so the only victim of the press campaign was the nuclear industry.”

“The stories in this small, central Pennsylvania town, population just under 10,000, are not hard to come by – almost everybody remembers where they were on March 28, 1979, when the nuclear reactor appeared on the verge of catastrophe. But if the memories are sharp, their fears are not.

“Interviews with many of the town’s residents reveal that most of them rarely give the plant – whose silos and plumes of steam are visible on the horizon – a second thought, even in the wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan. Terri Herr, 43, a waitress at a local diner, was in fifth grade in March 1979. Her words summed up the feelings of many: ‘I was scared then, but it doesn’t scare me anymore.'”

“One can argue that the location chosen for these plants in earthquake-prone areas was faulty. One cannot argue that the world would be cleaner and safer without nuclear power. Between 1995 and 2005, U.S. nuclear generation avoided the emission of 41 million tons of sulfur dioxide, 16.9 million tons of nitrogen oxide and 7.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

“According to the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, nuclear power plants were responsible for 36% of the total voluntary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions reported by U.S. companies in 2005. If we had built all the nuclear power plants planned in 1979 when the non-event at Three Mile Island occurred, it’s likely we’d be both energy independent and Kyoto-compliant today

“Even if you count the increased risk of cancer in the aftermath of a reactor mishap — and Fukushima is not even close to Chernobyl — consider that the OECD’s 2008 Environmental Outlook calculates that fine-particle outdoor air pollution caused nearly 1 million premature deaths in the year 2000, and 30% of them were energy-related. That was just one year.”

“Angela Merkel’s U-turn on nuclear energy became even more gear-crunching on Tuesday when she announced the temporary closure of seven of Germany’s nuclear power stations.

“The chancellor said that reactors built before 1980 would be taken offline while an urgent review of their safety was carried out…

“This latest announcement came just a day after Germany’s coalition government announced a three-month delay in its decision to extend the lifespan of Germany’s 17 elderly nuclear power stations.”

“Speaking on radio station 550 KFYI, McCain said that although he’s not ready to ‘abandon’ nuclear power, he’s open to reviewing how and where it’s used in the United States, once the nuclear reactor crisis in Japan is resolved.

“‘I’m not prepared by the way to say that we should abandon nuclear power because I think it’s a major contributor [to] our energy needs but I am prepared, once this is over, to make an evaluation as to whether our nuclear power plans can continue,’ McCain said.”


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Since most of the media I’ve seen is not reporting properly, I sent this to O’Reilly.

Thought I’d let you know a few facts.

I’m a retired NRC licensed senior reactor operator and the media is as usual not reporting correctly it appears. We have been told there is no breach of primary containment (the vessel) but they have had reportedly hydrogen explosions and a limited release of radioactive isotopes. In these boiling water reactors (BWR) steam directly from the reactor powers the turbine to produce electricity. Steam piping from the reactor penetrates the drywell area (secondary containment) with the dome over the reactor. The steel, rectangular building over the turbine, generator, reactor and support equipment is not a containment as is usually thought of and seen with pressurized water reactors but is sufficient to contain the slightly radioactive steam to drive the turbine; however it is not designed as a secondary containment for a nuclear accident.

So in a BWR any hydrogen produced in the core can escape into to the building that houses it if the steam piping is damaged and cannot be isolated by the shut off valves, as well as any radioactive Iodine 131 and radioactive isotopes produced by the previous fission process in the collapsed core. So if that, the hydrogen, is the source of the explosions, the vessel is effectively open to the building via the steam piping penetrations and easily to the surrounding area.

amr on March 16, 2011 at 7:32 AM

/Leftist luddite trash mode on

Never let a crisis go to waste

/Leftist luddite trash mode off

MNHawk on March 16, 2011 at 7:41 AM

amr on March 16, 2011 at 7:32 AM


cmsinaz on March 16, 2011 at 7:41 AM

Evidently, Japan is not exactly on President Obama’s priority list.

kingsjester on March 16, 2011 at 8:14 AM

Found it!

Start reading here


Speaking as a Catholic mom of four who would never take on a job as time-consuming as running for President because it would pull me away from my kids, I think Sarah Palin is more Neanderthal than Santorum because it takes a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal to refuse Republican-style legal protections for the unborn.

gocatholic on February 10, 2011 at 1:07 AM

MeatHeadinCA on March 16, 2011 at 3:56 AM

Nice work.

Angela’s call yesterday was definitely a test run, but if they think it has legs, they’re delusional.

Saltysam on March 16, 2011 at 8:30 AM

every nuclear scientist in the US that I’ve heard so far (even the guy at Berkeley) has said that while serious, the hype is tremendously overblown.

The worst possible scenario has occurred (the worst earthquake in 300 years coupled with the tsunami) an the systems in place essentially performed as designed. This is no Chernobyl nor can it be.

While in the engineering school at NC State, we were exposed to the other disciplines including nuclear engineering. We briefly studied 3-mile Island and if you compare the reality to the press releases, they are not even close.

The words “nuclear” and “radiation” are buzz words to scare the uninformed. We’re not quite out of the woods yet, but some of the “worst-case scenarios” are simply not possible. Hype is a good word.

mankai on March 16, 2011 at 8:40 AM

Wind turbines kill thousands of birds a year and ice shears pose a greater threat to humans than does nuclear power… which has to date (in the west) been responsible for nearly, oh, nearly one, call it zero deaths.

mankai on March 16, 2011 at 8:42 AM

Michio Kaku needs to shut his mouth so that he doesn’t not sound really really dumb. Anyone else remember his announcing that the floor of the Gulf of Mexico had split open?

That guy never met a disaster that he could not and would not overhype to the Nth degree.

Kermit on March 16, 2011 at 8:53 AM

The media overblows a situation? Gee, ya think. It’s as if they want the thing to blow up so they can cover the next big disaster. Wait for the interviews of people in CA that have taken iodine.

Kissmygrits on March 16, 2011 at 9:23 AM

I found her latest Palin hit piece…

She came off as a real flake and borderline bigot when I last encountered her.

MeatHeadinCA on March 16, 2011 at 3:44 AM

She’s a FB friend of mine and a real old-school Catholic.
I think she’s leaning toward Huck @ the moment.
She doesn’t understand why I have a problem with him.
I like her-really-but she’s wrong about Huck.
She also used a bit to much vitriol in her attacks on Palin.
Us non-Palinistas need to play nice.

annoyinglittletwerp on March 16, 2011 at 10:01 AM

I live 35 miles southeast of a major nuclear facility (are there any minor ones?). I sleep just fine at night and I feel no need to stock up on potassium iodide pills. Stop trying to create fear, MSM. You suck.

SKYFOX on March 16, 2011 at 11:28 AM

I watched some of O-Reilly last night. He may be good on staying on Judges, etc. But is not a “smart” man. He always has to have people explain the most basic things to him on his show. Kinda drives me nuts at times.

jeffn21 on March 16, 2011 at 12:24 PM

I watched some of O-Reilly last night. He may be good on staying on Judges, etc. But is not a “smart” man. He always has to have people explain the most basic things to him on his show. Kinda drives me nuts at times.

jeffn21 on March 16, 2011 at 12:24 PM

There’s no one here that doesn’t need something explained to them at times, but in BOR’s case it does no good. In one ear and out the other.

I’m waiting for him to go on his usual rants about high gasoline prices obviously meaning that ‘gouging’ is going on, and the ‘greedy oil companies’ are making ‘obscene profits’.

slickwillie2001 on March 16, 2011 at 12:53 PM

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