Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad Gita,
on witnessing the first atomic bomb test, 1945
In a recent interview with The Real News Network, Robert Alvarez, a nuclear policy specialist since 1975, reports that spent nuclear fuel in the United States comprises the largest concentration of radioactivity on the planet: 71,000 metric tons.
Worse, since the Yucca Mountain waste repository has been scrapped due to its proximity to active faults (see last image), the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has allowed reactor operators to store four times more waste in the spent fuel pools than they’re designed to handle.
[color=chartreuse]Each Fukushima spent fuel pool holds about 100 metric tons, he says, while
each US pool holds from 500-700 metric tons.
A single pool fire would release catastrophic amounts of radioactivity, rendering 17-22,000 square miles of area uninhabitable.
That’s about the size of New Hampshire and Vermont – from one pool fire.
But the long-lived ones, the very dangerous ones, Cesium, Strontium, Uranium, Plutonium, Americium, Curium, Neptunium, I mean really dangerous ones, the long-lived ones – that’s what the fuel pools hold.”
As a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, Alvarez was part of a multidisciplinary international team that looked at possible terror attacks on nuclear facilities, focusing on the spent fuel storage pools.
In 2003, they released a report, Reducing the Hazards from Stored Spent Power-Reactor Fuel in the United States, which calls for transferring the spent fuel from the pools into dry-cask storage. (Summary here).
The report recommends that 75% of the spent rods be removed from each of the pools and stored in ultra-thick concrete bunkers capable of withstanding aerial impact.
The project would take about ten years and would “reduce the average inventory of 137Cs (radioactive cesium) in U.S. spent-fuel pools by about a factor of four.”
The NRC attempted to suppress the IPC report, Alvarez says.
“The response by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and nuclear industry was hostile.” But the National Academy of Sciences agreed that a fire in an overloaded fuel pool would be catastrophic. The NRC attempted to block the Academy’s report, as well.
The NRC serves industry, not the public, and by controlling the purse strings, Congress has forced the NRC to “greatly curtail its regulatory programs,” says Alvarez.
BOB ALVAREZ: Well, we have the largest inventory of spent fuel in the world. It's about--it's been recently reported to be at this time about 71,000 metric tons. And it really represents the largest concentration of radioactivity on the planet...
Well, I mean, it's not a pretty picture in this country right now, because of the Congress dominated by politicians who want to take a meat ax to programs that protect our public safety, feed our children, reduce the hardship of the poor, and all these things.
I mean, for example, the House passed funding legislation recently that cut off all funding for the federal program to issue tsunami warnings.
It's a very difficult environment right now. So--but I think that the public should do everything they can, if they have these nuclear power plants anywhere near their backyards, is to call their members of Congress to task about fixing this problem.
Partly because of these concerns about radioactivity and the cost of containing it, the American public and electric utilities have preferred coal combustion as a power source. Today 52% of the capacity for generating electricity in the United States is fueled by coal, compared with 14.8% for nuclear energy. Although there are economic justifications for this preference, it is surprising for two reasons. First, coal combustion produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are suspected to cause climatic warming, and it is a source of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, which are harmful to human health and may be largely responsible for acid rain. Second, although not as well known, releases from coal combustion contain naturally occurring radioactive materials--mainly, uranium and thorium.
The conventional approach for radiation protection is based on the ICRP's linear, no threshold (LNT) model of radiation carcinogenesis, which implies that ionizing radiation is always harmful, no matter how small the dose. But a different approach can be derived from the observed health effects of the serendipitous contamination of 1700 apartments in Taiwan with cobalt-60 (T1/2 = 5.3 y). This experience indicates that chronic exposure of the whole body to low-dose-rate radiation, even accumulated to a high annual dose, may be beneficial to human health.
Originally posted by g146541
Did something happen that none of us know of?
Oh the Japanese thingie, are all of the Japanese dead yet?
Hmmm after they die, i'll .....no i still won't worry.
I have the worlds 2nd largest kelp farm in between me and Japan.
Published on Nov 5, 2014
The truth is being hidden from the American people.
It is an ugly truth and the mainstream media and US government isn't even attempting to inform the public, but people are dying, found all around California obituaries, from brain tumors and brain aneurysms, which one of the main causes listed is radiation.