[LINK] Radiation

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Thu Mar 17 02:47:48 AEDT 2011

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robin Whittle [mailto:rw at firstpr.com.au] 
> Sent: Wednesday, 16 March 2011 9:03 PM
> To: link at anu.edu.au
> Cc: Jan Whitaker; Andy Farkas; Tom Koltai
> Subject: Re: [LINK] Radiation
> Thanks Janet for the link to http://mitnse.com.  This has a 
> non-logarithmic chart of the decay heat for the three reactors.
> I will add a link from http://www.firstpr.com.au/jncrisis/ - 
> Tom (Koltai), you criticised me for stating my opinion 
> without qualification - that the situation is out of control. 
>  Yet you advanced no argument as to why it is under control, 
> or what your criteria of "under control" is.
> What would it take for you to admit that things were out of control?
> Do you have no understanding of, or belief in, the real risk 
> of meltdown and massive radiation release?  Do you need to 
> see multiple HD video reports of people falling sick and 
> dying from radiation poisoning before you admit that this is 
> a serious and perhaps disastrous crisis?
> Andy Farkas likewise.  What is your criteria for deciding 
> that we should consider the situation to be one of "doom and gloom"?
> Specifically, both of you, what further developments would 
> have to occur before you admitted that the concerns that I 
> and many other have expressed in recent days were in fact 
> realistic, and that your criticism of the expression of these 
> concerns was unreasonable?

I have been reading your writings for nearly a quarter century and have
been admiring of your eloquence and mastery over the English language.

Generally I have enjoyed what I read. 
You have been actively involved in important civic issues that have been
of tremendous economic value to Australia (local loop et al); even
though we lost at the time, the pigeon has now come home to roost with
the NBN and may in fact reward your diligent work in the past.

I am personally sorry that I had to criticise a fellow justice

However... (you know there had to be a however) - the facts of the
matter are that without Nuclear power, the world is unfortunately doomed
to a rather dim economic future.

The Coal lobby would love nothing more than widely published beat-ups
about Nuclear plants failing wholesale. After all it allows them to
continue spewing "nearly harmless" (cough - Bullshi&) carbon into our

What would convince me that the situation in Japan was out of control ?

Well firstly, the Japanese would have to close the Domes over the power
plants. This is what they would do IF they felt that containment wasn't
Then I would expect the Japanese Prime Minister would announce a state
of Emergency in relation to the power plants.

Failing the above two events, in that sequence, I guess an enormous bang
might convince me.
Apart from that, no, sorry, any discussion of what MIGHT occur is
unnecessary (IMHO) gossip.

Our contretemps today has convinced me to write about the real economic
issues behind Nuclear power, energy consumption, manufacturing and
survival (which I will do over the next week). For an eye opener, could
I recommend linkers visit:

Energy Decline and National GDP in 2050: The Growth of Destitution
http://canada.theoildrum.com/node/3230 [Conclusion]
http://canada.theoildrum.com/node/3222 [Part 1]

I quote hereunder briefly from Part II:

As reported in David Strahan's excellent book, "The Last Oil Shock" (pp.
116-123), two physicists, Reiner Kummel and Robert Ayres, independently
observed the global economic slowdown following the oil shocks of the
70s and 80s and wondered if the role of energy in the economy was being
under-valued. Their analysis convinced them that the price of oil (which
was used by Solow in his analysis) underestimated the productive
contribution of oil by a factor of ten. In other words, to truly reflect
the contribution of oil to the economy, it should be priced about ten
times higher. They developed their own economic model that started from
Solow's work but incorporated their findings about oil's productive
contribution, and found that their predictions matched observed economic
growth perfectly.

The models by Kummel and Ayres predict that for every 1% increase in
energy inputs you get about a 0.7% increase in GDP on average. The
immediate implication is that a reduction of 1% in energy will cause a
corresponding 0.7% drop in GDP. So if the world's oil supply were to
decline by 30% the global GDP would lose 23% of its value.

Once the national energy budgets were established by the method
described in the previous section, I calculated their impact on GDP
using the above ratio:a 1% energy change gives a 0.7% change in GDP.

As with the energy budget calculations, there are significant caveats.
The ratio observed by Kummel and Ayres is by no means axiomatic. Many
factors peculiar to a given country will act on its GDP, driving its
performance away from the projections of a simplistic one-number model.
On the other hand, the same observation that was made above also applies
here: given the inherent uncertainties, this approach should suffice to
give the reader a feel for the shape and size of the coming changes.

The average man in the street, including Journalists, has/have no idea
of the economic ramifications of an ageing population with a declining
fossil fuel base.
In Australia we are fortunate with an estimated 133 years (surveyed)
underground stockpile of coal... At current extraction levels.
Additionally we have so much shale oil, that we should be right for

But then Australia doesn't have any heavy industry.
We export our raw materials and buy the finished products, so we need
only the barest of power... Just enough to drive 12 million iPads... 

My objection to the discussion on Link was not intended as an attack on
Robin Whittle. It was about the fact that in my opinion, the best way we
in Australia could assist (apart from packing up some of the Ansto lads
and lassies and shipping them over - if asked) was by offering our moral
support, shutting up and waiting.

One of the most disturbing noises in the suburbs are burglar alarms in
houses and cars that appear to be triggered by rain.
There is no burglar, no fire, just a moist dust particle landing in the
wrong place on the pcb.

A bunch of amateur know it all journalists discussing nuclear physics
reminded me of those annoying neighbourhood burglar alarms.

Statistically, Nuclear Power is much safer than Coal.
Economically, in 2005, China planned to build 12 new Nuclear power
plants. Now, they have 27 on the drawing boards.

The oil drum article if read thoroughly should scare every one of us
that are parents. Not because of Nuclear Power Stations, but because of
economic consequences of the lack of them.

Am I proponent of Nuclear Power. In response, I ask what are the

No Stephen, hot rocks, wind and Solar just wont cut it in time,
regardless of how much money we throw at them.
I offer the Energy outline of France by way of self explanation:

Quote/ [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_France#Energy]
See also: Nuclear power in France

France is the world-leading country in nuclear energy, home of global
energy giants Areva, EDF and GDF Suez: nuclear power now accounts for
about 78% of the country's electricity production, up from only 8% in
1973, 24% in 1980, and 75% in 1990. Nuclear waste is stored on site at
reprocessing facilities. Due to its heavy investment in nuclear power.
France is the smallest emitter of carbon dioxide among the seven most
industrialized countries in the world [16].

In 2006 of electricity in France amounted to 548.8 TWh, of which:[17]

    * 428.7 TWh (78.1%) were produced by nuclear power generation
    * 60.9 TWh (11.1%) were produced by hydroelectric power generation
    * 52.4 TWh (9.5%) were produced by fossil fuel power generation
          o 21.6 TWh (3.9%) by coal power
          o 20.9 TWh (1.1%) by natural gas power
          o 9.9 TWh (1.8%) by other fossil fuel generation (fuel oil and
gases by-products of industry such as blast furnace gases)
    * 6.9 TWh (1.3%) were produced by other types of power generation
(essentially waste-to-energy and wind turbines))
          o The electricity produced by wind turbines increased from
0.596 TWh in 2004, to 0.963 TWh in 2005, and 2.15 TWh in 2006, but this
still accounts only for 0.4% of the total production of electricity (as
of 2006).

The world within this current decline will peak it's economic growth and
start the decline.

Those with cheap energy will ride the waves better than those without.

Those with Coal only will start to suffer extremely high health costs as
the Emphysema hits the ageing population.

And I, stubbornly stand by my earlier comments, Journalists are not
helping the people of Japan - nor are they helping the rest of the world
[economically]; and boy will we need help. Because of politics, Germany
has just announced the shutdown of 7 Nuclear plants.

Do you have any idea what that will do to the prices of Porsche,
Mercedes and BMW next year ??? ;-)

I asked you "Why" as in why did you need to discuss [beat-up] these
events. I may have missed your answer. I will assume that your answer
might be that it is in the public interest.

I respectfully disagree and reserve the right to continue to do so,
regardless of further correspondence.

A devoted firstpr reader,

Tom Koltai

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