[LINK] Still FUD - Was - Fears meltdown has begun as radiation spreads

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Thu Mar 31 16:44:34 AEDT 2011

On 2011/Mar/31, at 3:47 PM, Adrian Chadd wrote:

> What's the byproducts of processing rare earth metals for solar cells? :)

Perhaps you mean processing rare earths that are used for most electronics these days?  I'm not sure about solar cells, I think some kinds are made from silicon.  Various solar tech like heating cells have no really high tech parts at all.

And your point?  Making grass huts probably doesn't pollute the world much?  We should all live in grass huts?

> On Thu, Mar 31, 2011, Kim Holburn wrote:
>> I don't think you'd find anyone to dispute the fact that burning coal is not good.  Although coal is not homogenous though and a lot of those things you mentioned are different with different types of coal and with different burning and scrubbing technology.  
>> You didn't mention that Australia is the world's largest exporter of coal.  
>> All of this is a good argument against using coal, no argument there.  What it's not is an argument for using nuclear fission for power.  All the mining arguments go double for mining uranium.  All the end-products arguments go many times over for fission.  
>> If fission is our only other choice we are probably rightly doomed.  In fact we have lots of choices.
>> BTW do you think fission is safe enough for Iran to use it?
>> On 2011/Mar/31, at 12:23 PM, Tom Koltai wrote:
>>> Especially if we compare it to the facts about Coal Mining....
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: link-bounces at mailman.anu.edu.au 
>>>> [mailto:link-bounces at mailman.anu.edu.au] On Behalf Of Kim Holburn
>>>> Sent: Thursday, 31 March 2011 8:16 AM
>>>> To: Link list
>>>> Subject: [LINK] Fears meltdown has begun as radiation spreads
>>>> I do believe we're way beyond FUD at this point.
>>>> http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/03/31/3178263.htm
>>>>> Fears meltdown has begun as radiation spreads
>>>>> Anger and fear: Experts believe a reactor core at Fukushima has 
>>>>> already melted down (AFP : Yoshikazu Tsuno)
>>> Everyone points to the dangers of Radiation and the possible harm to the
>>> environment.
>>> At this time, our only economically [short term - next 20 years]] viable
>>> option for power generation with renewable energy constituting less than
>>> 7% of all power generated, [1 - refs below] is either Nuclear or Coal.
>>> [US Numbers based on 94 Quad Btu consumption -vs.- renewable generating
>>> of 7.7 Quadrillion btu.]
>>> With Journalists scaring the pants of everyone about the dangers from
>>> Nuclear fallout, meltdown, radioactive food chain, etc ad nauseum, {that
>>> which I call unnecessary economic damage and FUD!!!) there is therefore
>>> little option but to discuss Coal.
>>> Quote/ [From: http://www.wwf.org.au/news/n223/ ]
>>> Australia is one of the most coal-dependent countries on Earth, after
>>> Poland and South Africa. 78 per cent of Australia's electricity is
>>> generated in coal-fired power stations. Most countries have a much more
>>> diverse mix of sources for their electricity. 
>>> /Quote
>>> (If we were to emulate the tactics of Journalists in reference to recent
>>> events in Japan - Re: Coal, then;)
>>> We could discuss the release of Mercury into the atmosphere and the
>>> poisoning of the food chain from Coal Power plants. [2]
>>> Or deaths from pneumoconiosis (a Coal miners disease...) US only numbers
>>> from 1993-2002 = 12000+ [3] 
>>> Coal Mining Accidents is a fascinating study. (13,000+) [4] Accidents by
>>> Country
>>> Or we could discuss Cancer mortality in small areas around nuclear
>>> facilities in England and Wales compared to Coal Fired Power plants [6].
>>> But how about we discuss just the radioactive effects of burning coal
>>> and the leaching into the groundwater of the radiation from the fly ash
>>> remnants of the power generation Coal burning process.
>>> Quote/ From:
>>> http://www.mindfully.org/Energy/Coal-Combustion-Waste-CCW1jul93.htm ]
>>> Former ORNL researchers J. P. McBride, R. E. Moore, J. P. Witherspoon,
>>> and R. E. Blanco made this point in their article "Radiological Impact
>>> of Airborne Effluents of Coal and Nuclear Plants" [5] in the December 8,
>>> 1978, issue of Science magazine. They concluded that Americans living
>>> near coal-fired power plants are exposed to higher radiation doses than
>>> those living near nuclear power plants that meet government regulations.
>>> This ironic situation remains true today and is addressed in this
>>> article.
>>> The fact that coal-fired power plants throughout the world are the major
>>> sources of radioactive materials released to the environment has several
>>> implications. It suggests that coal combustion is more hazardous to
>>> health than nuclear power and that it adds to the background radiation
>>> burden even more than does nuclear power. It also suggests that if
>>> radiation emissions from coal plants were regulated, their capital and
>>> operating costs would increase, making coal-fired power less
>>> economically competitive.
>>> Finally, radioactive elements released in coal ash and exhaust produced
>>> by coal combustion contain fissionable fuels and much larger quantities
>>> of fertile materials that can be bred into fuels by absorption of
>>> neutrons, including those generated in the air by bombardment of oxygen,
>>> nitrogen, and other nuclei with cosmic rays; such fissionable and
>>> fertile materials can be recovered from coal ash using known
>>> technologies. These nuclear materials have growing value to private
>>> concerns and governments that may want to market them for fuelling
>>> nuclear power plants. However, they are also available to those
>>> interested in accumulating material for nuclear weapons. A solution to
>>> this potential problem may be to encourage electric utilities to process
>>> coal ash and use new trapping technologies on coal combustion exhaust to
>>> isolate and collect valuable metals, such as iron and aluminium, and
>>> available nuclear fuels.
>>> Makeup of Coal and Ash
>>> Coal is one of the most impure of fuels. Its impurities range from trace
>>> quantities of many metals, including uranium and thorium, to much larger
>>> quantities of aluminium and iron to still larger quantities of
>>> impurities such as sulphur. Products of coal combustion include the
>>> oxides of carbon, nitrogen, and sulphur; carcinogenic and mutagenic
>>> substances; and recoverable minerals of commercial value, including
>>> nuclear fuels naturally occurring in coal.
>>> Coal ash is composed primarily of oxides of silicon, aluminium, iron,
>>> calcium, magnesium, titanium, sodium, potassium, arsenic, mercury, and
>>> sulphur plus small quantities of uranium and thorium. Fly ash is
>>> primarily composed of non-combustible silicon compounds (glass) melted
>>> during combustion. Tiny glass spheres form the bulk of the fly ash.
>>> Since the 1960s particulate precipitators have been used by U.S.
>>> coal-fired power plants to retain significant amounts of fly ash rather
>>> than letting it escape to the atmosphere. When functioning properly,
>>> these precipitators are approximately 99.5% efficient. Utilities also
>>> collect furnace ash, cinders, and slag, which are kept in cinder piles
>>> or deposited in ash ponds on coal-plant sites along with the captured
>>> fly ash.
>>> Trace quantities of uranium in coal range from less than 1 part per
>>> million (ppm) in some samples to around 10 ppm in others. Generally, the
>>> amount of thorium contained in coal is about 2.5 times greater than the
>>> amount of uranium. For a large number of coal samples, according to
>>> Environmental Protection Agency figures released in 1984, average values
>>> of uranium and thorium content have been determined to be 1.3 ppm and
>>> 3.2 ppm, respectively. Using these values along with reported
>>> consumption and projected consumption of coal by utilities provides a
>>> means of calculating the amounts of potentially recoverable breedable
>>> and fissionable elements (see sidebar). The concentration of fissionable
>>> uranium-235 (the current fuel for nuclear power plants) has been
>>> established to be 0.71% of uranium content.
>>> Uranium and Thorium in Coal and Coal Ash
>>> As population increases worldwide, coal combustion continues to be the
>>> dominant fuel source for electricity. Fossil fuels' share has decreased
>>> from 76.5% in 1970 to 66.3% in 1990, while nuclear energy's share in the
>>> worldwide electricity pie has climbed from 1.6% in 1970 to 17.4% in
>>> 1990. Although U.S. population growth is slower than worldwide growth,
>>> per capita consumption of energy in this country is among the world's
>>> highest. To meet the growing demand for electricity, the U.S. utility
>>> industry has continually expanded generating capacity. Thirty years ago,
>>> nuclear power appeared to be a viable replacement for fossil power, but
>>> today it represents less than 15% of U.S. generating capacity. However,
>>> as a result of low public support during recent decades and a reduction
>>> in the rate of expected power demand, no increase in nuclear power
>>> generation is expected in the foreseeable future. As current nuclear
>>> power plants age, many plants may be retired during the first quarter of
>>> the 21st century, although some may have their operation extended
>>> through license renewal. As a result, many nuclear plants are likely to
>>> be replaced with coal-fired plants unless it is considered feasible to
>>> replace them with fuel sources such as natural gas and solar energy.
>>> Quote/
>>> And they were not even talking about lignite brown coal radiation
>>> levels...
>>> In summary:
>>> Quote/ [From:
>>> http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html]
>>> ... the fact that large quantities of uranium and thorium are released
>>> from coal-fired plants without restriction raises a paradoxical
>>> question. Considering that the U.S. nuclear power industry has been
>>> required to invest in expensive measures to greatly reduce releases of
>>> radioactivity from nuclear fuel and fission products to the environment,
>>> should coal-fired power plants be allowed to do so without constraints?
>>> This question has significant economic repercussions. Today nuclear
>>> power plants are not as economical to construct as coal-fired plants,
>>> largely because of the high cost of complying with regulations to
>>> restrict emissions of radioactivity. If coal-fired power plants were
>>> regulated in a similar manner, the added cost of handling nuclear waste
>>> from coal combustion would be significant and would, perhaps, make it
>>> difficult for coal-burning plants to compete economically with nuclear
>>> power.
>>> Because of increasing public concern about nuclear power and
>>> radioactivity in the environment, reduction of releases of nuclear
>>> materials from all sources has become a national priority known as "as
>>> low as reasonably achievable" (ALARA). If increased regulation of
>>> nuclear power plants is demanded, can we expect a significant
>>> redirection of national policy so that radioactive emissions from coal
>>> combustion are also regulated? 
>>> /Quote
>>> Probably not. The question we should be asking is if Coal is as or as
>>> shown above to be more dangerous than Nuclear energy, "Why Not?"
>>> The Coal lobby is alive and well in Australia with only ANSTO in
>>> opposition and of course the boys and girls at the heights value their
>>> tenure far too highly to  join in the public debate, so all that is left
>>> is journalists that are paid for by publications that accept advertising
>>> money from the pro-coal lobby.
>>> Makes for an interesting comparison.
>>> Commercial interests versus the economic good of the nation, and yet you
>>> claim it's not FUD ???
>>> A lot more people died from the Tsunami than will die from radiation
>>> anything but the journos are concentrating on "NEWS". Let's feed their
>>> fears.. Give them doom and gloom and disaster.... Yay - Ratings fodder.
>>> When was the last time people turned on the News program to watch the
>>> Monarch butterfly migration from Monterey to Houston?
>>> Alternatives to getting irradiated from Coal or Nuclear...
>>> We could just send our budget surplus to the boys and girls at the
>>> Institute for Plasma Physics and help them speed up their Fusion Reactor
>>> Research.... By 10-20 years. (Problem solved  Then again anyone that
>>> thinks its okay to live next to a building with a magnet controlled
>>> Fusion mini sun happening is obviously smoking something pretty
>>> relaxing.)
>>> Nuclear Fusion Power Plant- Clean Infinite Energy
>>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn04nIby-gY
>>> In reality, for the next thirty-fifty years we need some nuclear power
>>> plants, or your kids will die the same way we are going.... Lung related
>>> terminal diseases. (How's that for FUD).
>>> [1] http://www.eia.doe.gov/fuelrenewable.html
>>> [2] http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis109/mercury.html
>>> [3]
>>> http://www2a.cdc.gov/drds/worldreportdata/FigureTableDetails.asp?FigureT
>>> ableID=24
>>> [4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mining_accident#Accidents_by_country
>>> [5] DOI: 10.1126/science.202.4372.1045 Radiological Impact of Airborne
>>> Effluents of Coal and Nuclear Plants [McBride]
>>> [6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1976997/?page=7
>>> /body
>> -- 
>> Kim Holburn
>> IT Network & Security Consultant
>> T: +61 2 61402408  M: +61 404072753
>> mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
>> skype://kholburn - PGP Public Key on request 
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Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
T: +61 2 61402408  M: +61 404072753
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
skype://kholburn - PGP Public Key on request 

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