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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.
A river floodplain is probably the worst place to store radioactive waste, said Robert Criss, a geology professor at Washington University.
But in fact, thats where such waste has ended up after Mallinckrodt Chemical Works started producing uranium for atomic bombs in 1942 right next to the Missouri River floodplain.
The waste landed only eight miles upstream from Missouri American Water Company's intake for drinking water in Florissant that supplies all of North County. Thats also upstream from the Chain of Rocks water intake, a main supplier for St. Louis city's water.
Dumped illegally in 1973, the waste is now buried in the West Lake landfill, west of Interstate 270 on St. Charles Rock Road. As the radioactive waste gets older, it becomes more dangerous, said representatives of Missouri Coalition for the Environment.
Beneath the surface of a St. Louis-area landfill lurk two things that should never meet: a slow-burning fire and a cache of Cold War-era nuclear waste, separated by no more than 1,200 feet.
AP: Catastrophic event could release radioactive fallout over major U.S. metropolitan area
— Gov’t issues emergency plan as fire burns near nuclear site
— Report: “World is on brink of nuclear disaster”
— Senator: “What we have… could end up as Chernobyl”
Beneath the surface of a St. Louis-area landfill lurk two things that should never meet: a slow-burning fire and a cache of Cold War-era nuclear waste, separated by just 300 meters…
Authorities have quietly adopted an emergency plan in case the smoldering embers ever reach the waste, a potentially ‘catastrophic event‘ that could release radioactive fallout in a plume of smoke over a densely populated area of suburban St. Louis…
[T]he plan for a worst-case scenario was developed only a year ago and never publicized until this week…
If the underground fire reaches the waste, “there is a potential for radioactive fallout to be released in the smoke plume and spread throughout the region,” according to the disaster plan.
The plan calls for evacuations… in St. Louis County… and perhaps the federal government, would be called upon to help…
Missouri Attorney General, Sep 3, 2015: BREAKING NEWS – Attorney General Chris Koster released today new reports from expert witnesses [that] paint a troubling picture of the environment surrounding the landfill site…
Drs. Joel Burken and Shoaib Usman… at Missouri Univ. of Science and Technology, detected radiological… contamination in trees on the property of neighboring landowners… these findings “indicate the off-site migration of RIM [radiologically impacted material], either in groundwater or aerial transport of particulate matter”…
Drs. Tony Sperling [and] Ali Abedini [concluded] the fire has moved beyond both lines of gas interceptor wells… in the direction of the OU-1 radiological area…
Todd Thalhamer, a civil engineer… with extensive experience investigating landfill fires, concluded that what he described as a “catastrophic event” at the landfill “was foreseeable and preventable.”…
Dr. Timothy Stark, PhD and professional engineer… observed significant slope degradation and areas where the waste mass had settled, suggesting the underground waste had been consumed by a smoldering / combustion event… “These reports underscore what has been clear from the beginning."
—Republic Services does not have this site under control,” Koster said… “it appears that it has poisoned its neighbors’ groundwater and vegetation.”…
If the “sub-surface smoldering event” reaches the radiological area, there is a potential for radioactive fallout to be released in the smoke plume and spread throughout the region…
This event will most likely occur with little or no warning. Officials… are aware of the possible occurrence of an emergency or major disaster requiring an emergency shelter in place or evacuation…
It may be necessary to request assistance through… federal sources.
Missouri Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Sep 17, 2015 (at 27:00 in): “There are references that are in the reports that the Attorney General did with independent scientists where they say that what we have under the ground could end up as Chernobyl. What I am concerned about are the 40,000 tons of uranium that have been spread all over the place…
We’re talking about the most potent uranium in the world… We’re looking at the cancer clusters… We’re looking at the number of children who have double sets of teeth, children who have missing eyeballs, the number of children who have brain tumors.
"This is not consistent with a normal community whatsoever.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial, Oct 10, 2015: Mr. Koster released reports last month saying an underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill was moving toward radioactive waste in the adjacent West Lake Landfill…
[S]ome of the radioactive contamination was found outside of West Lake… [A]n order from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources [was made] to prevent the chemical reaction from spreading to the north (West Lake) and possibly igniting…
Something must be done and it should not take a cataclysmic event to make that happen.
St. Louis Public Radio, Sep 17, 2015: Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster released reports that radiation from the West Lake Landfill… has spread to neighboring properties. The reports also suggested that an underground fire… is moving toward radioactive waste and could reach it as soon three to six months.
Daily Star, Oct 8, 2015: Nuclear disaster fears as fire nears Cold War bomb dump; The world is on the brink of a nuclear disaster as fire rages towards a cache of Cold War nukes
— A secret emergency plan has been drawn up as an underground blaze creeps towards a waste dump containing radioactive waste from the Manhattan Project.
The leaked document warns a “catastrophic event” will be triggered if the nuclear material is ignited… radioactive smoke could erupt over the densely-populated area of St Louis.
Independent scientists are calling Fukushima the BIGGEST health crisis mankind has ever faced.
originally posted by: mbkennel
a reply to: thorfourwinds
Independent scientists are calling Fukushima the BIGGEST health crisis mankind has ever faced.
"independent scientist" == hysterical blogger non-scientist?
The biggest health crisis mankind has ever faced? Worse than, uh, the Black Death? Smallpox for millenia?
A plague in 165-180AD killed one third of the Roman Empire.
the consequence of closing nuclear is burning more coal --- which has actual documented specific health effects?