Category Archives: News List

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Requesting Comments about radiation standards at Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Thanks to Bob Hargraves for the links
“Friends,

Three petitions for rulemaking to end ALARA and reliance on LNT have been submitted to the NRC by qualified radiation professionals Carol Marcus, Mark Miller, and Mohan Doss with additional signatories from Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information. Marcus has successfully petitioned NRC for a less sweeping rule change using this petition process in the past.

NRC has now docketed these petitions under “Linear No-Threshold Model and Standards for Protection Against Radiation” at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NRC-2015-0057

You may submit comments by email to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov specifying Docket ID NRC-2015-0057.

I recommend you read their well-written, well-referenced petitions here:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NRC-2015-0057-0001 Marcus
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NR C-2015-0057-0002 Miller
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NRC-2015-0057-0003 Doss

Below is Marcus’s announcement of the petition published in Clinical Nuclear Medicine.

The annotated letter below includes NRC’s summary of the docket, written to Miller.

Please take advantage of this opportunity to end radiophobia.

Bob Hargraves”
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/06/23/2015-15441/linear-no-threshold-model-and-standards-for-protection-against-radiation

Letter to California Energy Commission by Alex Cannara – a good read.

Next month on June 3rd and 4th I will be joining Alex Cannara and over 100 others in what has become a yearly conference. The Thorium Energy Alliance (TEA) has evolved over the years from supporting the LFTR with their star speaker Kirk Sorensen, in the early days, to a now much wider set of mandates that includes MSR advocacy as well as the numerous related technologies that will eventually transform our lives. Now in it’s seventh conference the proceedings have evolved and been a truly focused team of advocates, patriots and environmentalists.

But there is a lot of anti-nuclear mischief going on behind the scenes from a loosely affiliated group of calculating lobbyists and a much less scientific collection of self-appointed yet misguided wanna-be saviors of Mother Earth. There is little doubt that the reasons for the antinuclear activity comes from those who have a genuine fear of nuclear power. Several others are purely motivated by wanting to kill the competition. The problem is that the competition to oil, natural gas, wind, solar, biofuel and others is nuclear energy. So killing the competition and ironically living in fear of the safest energy source is also killing our best chance at finding solutions to a range of issues that California (and many other places) desperately needs.

Thankfully there is the TESV a sub group of TEA in California (plus a few more engineers, scientists and laymen like myself) who are still working to keep the dream of a better world alive. These enthusiasts are small in number but are beginning to be noticed. Last Dec 2014 I was lucky to visit Alex and his family during my visit to the AGU conference. I learned that Alex Cannara is a caring father, a loving husband and an animal lover. True to what you might expect from a nature lover Alex really loves his family pets.

His passion is evident in the tone of his letters. I once tried to get him to tone down the harsh style and he pointed out that he wants them to know he’s angry.

James Conca who has been writing for Forbes.com says scientists deserve more respect. When scientists support and share information in their own area of expertise they certainly deserve respect. Even the science celebrities deserve respect to a degree but the idea that they may have been preaching about things that they don’t fully understand is giving science a bad name. The biggest offenders who have a hidden agenda are the political extremists who will not give up their faith-based and power-preserving beliefs to give credit to reality based facts. The last time we witnessed such shameful disregard for science was during fascist dictatorships.

The growing defection of environmentalists joining the @pronuclear side is evident in the writings by journalists George Monbiot and Mark Lynas who have been converted by witnessing the Japan Fukushima crisis and realizing that if reactors can survive the worst known earth quakes then they are truly a lot safer than what the superstitious masses are claiming. Film maker Robert Stone who created anti the nuclear documentary Bikini Beach has made a strong statement that he does not equate nuclear weapons with nuclear power. His Pandora’s Promise promotes the idea of modern nuclear plants being our salvation. The cast is made up of former anti nuclear environmentalists who have made the switch for various reasons.

I like to think of them as ecomodernists which is the newest buzz word that was recently described in a paper titled the Ecomodernist Manifesto introduced on the Breakthrough Institute website. Alex who shies away from labels is one of them and his recent May 4th letter is just one of the many the group has been sending to politicians and governing bodies like the California Energy Commission.

Read the Letter

Letter to Press about Rare Earth Cooperative

​Dear XXX XXXXX

I am asking you to read this report

www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11979831.htm about how the US and Canada have been missing out on an important industry.

Hundreds of billions​ ​maybe trillions of dollars are a missed opportunity because of the irrational fear over mildly radioactive Thorium. Continue reading

Our responsibility to know “reality” has never been more important.

Witnessing extreme changes to our environment within our own lifetime is a new phenomenon. Not just the changes from season to season but some years where seasons seem to shift. It used to be that such changes occurred over, thousands, if not, millions of years. We know a lot about our past. We know enough to conclude that the rapid changes occurring over the last 50 years is caused by humans? We are a busy species. This is old news. Scientists like Alvin Weinberg were predicting this forty years ago. Societal changes were being predicted further back by authors like Aldous Huxley and and poets like T.S. Eliot. Futurists like Buckminster Fuller and Marshal McLuhan saw big changes long before most of us saw it coming. So why are we so slow act or seek out solutions never mind prepare and plan for the drastic changes predicted?

We all compromise

We have, too easily, learned to accept lower than ideal standards at every level in our lives. Everything we buy these days has built-in obsolescence. It’s allowed in the name of capitalism. Aluminum cars will not rust yet we rarely see any aluminum cars on the market. Gadgets, cameras, and numerous devices like remotes all depend on keeping the battery companies making huge profits. Printers and computers are designed with one-of-a-kind adapters making replacing lost or damaged adapters costly. We throw out items like cell phones and other gadgets because of the release of newer and sexier versions of what is already good enough. We are compromised because of operating system compatibility and so-called out of date hardware that is not modular. You can’t replace one component you need to replace the whole device.

Knowing that we are willing to compromise so often because we have no influence over the outcome is what these companies want you to feel.

Your role as activist. A new way of thinking

First a congratulations to you if you try to make your voice heard in our time of apathy and anonymity. Time is running out. Is it? I mean can you feel it? See it? We don’t know if climate disasters are man made but we are pretty sure. Right? Then how much of that uncertainty feeds our inaction? It is helpful to remember that we do live in a volatile world. The wrong decisions based on irrational fear can cause severe hardship and struggle. Look at how Japan reacted to Fukushima. Their nuclear reactors are finally expected to start going back online this summer after irrational panic over not-so-hard-to-live-with levels of radiation. Germany is achieving the opposite of it’s goals by increasing the CO2 emissions due to building more coal plants to replace the shut down nuclear plants. Intermittent wind and solar is not enough to keep the economy going and, unlike in the US, natural gas is more expensive in the EU.

We need to start forging a new way of thinking. Not every decision needs to be based on profit. We don’t have the luxury to pick and choose our focus without investigating all sides to the issues. It is possible that the populist sentiment in a specific region can influence change for the worse. Look at Germany causing more emissions and Japan’s suffering economy and it’s violation of environmental standards due to an irrational fear of nuclear plants.

So in what ways can our thinking change? Is their a new marketing angle in the Tesla. Selling a car that lasts and outperforms traditional gas-driven cars. Bucky Fuller said

“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

Fuller had it right. Those inspectors come in the form of the NRC and the EPA. Over managing the potential threats is ruining our society. This is part of the problem with big government. On the homefront, for many families, newlyweds who both need to work while leaving their child at a daycare and then let their adolescent older children disappear to their rooms with their game consoles without any life lessons is becoming a serious issue leading to mental illness, depression, addiction and poorly prepared young adults for employment. Fuller also spoke about how ordinary things like home appliances could be so much better if the same kind of efforts were made as they spend on weapons or space exploration.

What if all your hard work actually influenced change to improve the quality of life?

The most misunderstood topic with the most impact on society is energy and it’s relationship to global warming. Choosing a low emissions energy source makes sense only if it contributes “significantly” to replacing carbon emitting sources such as coal and natural gas. What good is supporting renewable if the energy created by wind and solar cannot possibly hope to replace the power from the shut down nuclear plants?

Are we a cliche?

We’ve all heard the expression “bleeding heart liberal.” Choosing an allegiance with being liberal means typically choosing to defend some cliche values. The notion that we are all going to die from radiation or believing you’ll get cooties if you kiss the wrong person are based on fears that we grow up with and never lose unless we decide to get our feet wet (excuse the cliche) and explore the facts ourselves. We don’t have real elders or chiefs to show us what’s true or not. The critical thinking that is needed is to understand that science is a gift and a method of inquiry that guides us to better decisions.

The media and extreme right have had some success with their campaign against science. The growth of Creationists and their fundamentalist thinking is producing a number of non-scientific and non-creative problem solvers or a shortage of entrepreneurs.

What was T.S. Eliot “Wasteland” about?

He was warning us that we were giving in to a deterioration of our values. Without appreciating the finer things it all starts to become meaningless. The world will become a wasteland if we just stop caring what becomes of it. Who has more survival awareness a Creationist or a scientist or engineer. Being both a Creationist and an engineer seems incompatible.

So after we realize that we’ve lost our moral compass and been led astray by media hype and fake evangelists and that our belief in ourselves to make change diminished by the constant chipping away at our integrity by the compromise we constantly face daily what do we do? The world has been knocked off balance. Our jobs are getting more difficult to keep. We simply need to wake up to our responsibility to be aware that to know reality has never been more important. Start by learning about energy.

Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers #196 – Feb-14-2014

Welcome to the our first hosting of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. The subjects this week are quite a mixed bag that include fusion, wind, solar, SMRs, space exploration, the true value of electricity and more.


Forbes
Post from Jim Conca
    What has been happening in the world of fusion recently began to heat up. A breakthrough occurred for which the significance seems to be only understood by scientists and engineers. The Lawrence Livermore National Lab succeeded in producing more energy than it uses for a millionth of a second. Jim Conca take us through it.

4Factor Consulting
Two Posts from Margaret Harding
    A review of the first ½ day of the Platts conference. In this post Margaret reviews speeches by Dr. Lyons of DOE, Dr. Allison MacFarlane, chair of the NRC, and Chris Mowry of mPower. We got some old news, some self-congratulation, and some hyperbole, all in a morning.

    A modern retelling of an ancient fable, Margaret tells the story of the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg using the Vermont Yankee reactor. This first appeared in FCW #550, 1.3.14.

Vermont Digger (vtdigger.org)
Post from Meredith Angwin
    Meredith Angwin of Yes Vermont Yankee wrote an op-ed encouraging people to support the signed agreement between Vermont Yankee and the state. Governor Shumlin has said that “one-time payments from Entergy” ($40 million dollars from the agreement) will help balance the state budget this year. However, the Public Service Board (PSB) still has to rule on the agreement. The post includes a link for supporting the agreement before the PSB, and a lively comment thread.

Nuke Powertalk
Post from Gail Marcus
    Gail Marcus reports in NukePowerTalk on the latest fusion breakthrough reported by the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore. She was particularly struck by a quote from one expert that “In 30 years, we’ll have electricity on the grid produced by fusion energy — absolutely.” While this quote may be out of line with the more cautious statements from the rest of the fusion research community, she notes that it will be the sound bite that will be remembered. As evidence, she notes that she remembers hearing the EXACT same prediction when she was in grad school–more than 30 years ago.

ANS Nuclear Cafe
Two Posts from Paul Bowsersox
    DOE Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Peter Lyons last week voiced Administration concerns about a scenario involving premature nuclear plant closures in the US – while Exelon Corporation noted that some nuclear generating stations operated by the company remain at risk of early closure for profitability reasons. Rod Adams at ANS Nuclear Cafe asks, what can nuclear energy advocates do about pressures that threaten to shutter well-maintained and licensed reactors?

    Concrete has been poured at the construction site of what is arguably the world’s first small modular reactor (SMR) project – the CAREM 25 prototype in Argentina. Will Davis at ANS Nuclear Cafe with the story and details.

Next Big Future
Three Posts from Brian Yang
    Transatomic Power is developing a molten salt reactor. They are using a zirconium hydride moderator instead of graphite. They also use a different salt. They presented at Google Solve for X 2014. They would use 75 times more of the uranium than a conventional reactor. They could use current high level nuclear waste for energy at about the $500/kg cost that has been set aside by the US laws on nuclear waste management.

    Yomuri Shimbun reports that the Japanese government aims to restart
    about 10 of the nation’s idle nuclear reactors by this summer, when
    electricity demand is expected to increase.

    A NASA NIAC (Nasa innovative advanced concepts) project has determined a conceptual solution to asteroid impacts.


Hiroshima Syndrome
2 posts by Leslie Corrice
    What is Tritium? How hazardous is it? Can it cause cancer? What about Fukushima’s waste water? Existing limits on Tritium exposure are entirely arbitrary, predicated on assumption, and devoid of conclusive supporting evidence.

    Japan’s Press fails to make nuclear energy a major election issue… again!
    Nuclear-neutral Yoichi Masuzoe won decisively in the Tokyo governor’s election. Try as they might, the Japanese Press failed to make nuclear energy the deciding issue in the election. Instead of admitting they were wrong, the Press has come up with numerous, albeit empty, excuses for the Masuzoe victory.


Atomic Insights
1 post by Rod Adams
    Rod Adams points out the numerous incentives piled on to assist the completion of the solar plant, costs that get added to the consume


Canadian Energy Issues
1 post by Steve Aplin
    Steve Aplin explains through some comparisons how the fee structure and incentives for energy producers are backwards. The rewards that go to wind and solar are indirectly adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Natural gas is required to offset the missing power that is the nature of the renewable energy plant. Yet Nuclear produces reliable, plentiful and carbon free.

Interesting blog from David Brin called “A Plague of Outrage”

http://davidbrin.blogspot.ca/2014/02/a-plague-of-outrage.html

This post discusses “how political disagreements unfold in American media, the authors (refers to book “The Outrage Industry: Political Opinion Media and the New Incivility” by Jeffrey M. Barry and Sarah Sobieraj) suggest that our current Era of Outrage is rather unprecedented and driven by deliberate incitement in media that are out of all proportion or control.”

I say we need to start repairing the damage from the uncivility. We can start by giving good document information.

EPA announcement. Proposed Emission Standards meeting.

“(A revised action on a proposal for a new source performance standard for emissions of carbon dioxide) proposes a separate standard of performance for fossil fuel-fired electric utility steam generating units and integrated gasification combined cycle units that burn coal, petroleum coke and other fossil fuels that is based on partial implementation of carbon
capture and storage as the best system of emission reduction.
This action also proposes standards for natural gas-fired stationary combustion turbines based on modern, efficient natural gas combined cycle technology as the best system of
emission reduction. This action also includes related proposals concerning permitting fees under Clean Air Act Title V, the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, and the definition of the
pollutant covered under the prevention of significant deterioration program. “

A public hearing will be held on January 28, 2014, at the William Jefferson Clinton Building East, Room 1153 (Map Room), 1201 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20004.
The hearing will convene at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time) and end at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).
Please contact Pamela Garrett at (919) (541-7966) or at
garrett.pamela@epa.gov to register to speak at the hearing.
The last day to pre-register in advance to speak at the hearing
will be 2 business days in advance of the public hearing.
Additionally, requests to speak will be taken the day of the
hearing at the hearing registration desk, although preferences
on speaking times may not be able to be fulfilled.”

Toronto needs reliable power. Apply pressure at all gov. levels to upgrade.

Not sure what is worse. Sitting alone at a table for two in a very noisy bar waiting for my phone to charge or going home to a dark apartment with a flashlight and candles.

I am sitting at one of the noisiest bars in Toronto. I am here on a Sunday night because the power is out for the 4th time in 3 years. Yet this bar, across the street from where I live has all its power all day. Why do the stores along Bloor on both sides all have power? The power infrastructure in Ontario is seriously out of date.

The temperature is hovering around freezing but will get colder tomorrow. Many of the locals have so much ice on their cars that they gave up on de-icing.

I spoke to Steve Foster, my new friend from Barrie, who has power yet 300 thousand others need to wait a few days while Christmas is around the corner.

Steve said his city has no visible power lines (meaning they have been wisely buried underground). Why we continue to suffer 19th century style inconveniences has to do with mismanaged government at all levels.

Extreme weather is no longer a freak event. We should expect these events to happen. I see no reason why we should suffer or worse, have our lives threatened. The cold, if not prepared for properly, can be lethal. We need to change our power grid. Forget about a “smart” grid. Just a working reliable grid would help enormously. We now know that if power lines are vulnerable to falling tree branches during ice storms that we would be better off burying the lines. Who can monitor when an where trees are growing?

We also need to update our power facilities so that they don’t flood in extreme weather like what happened July 2013. What is really ironic is that I’m sitting right across from a wall of 100 year old enlarged black and white photos of my neigbourhood. If it was 1913 I might have electricity right now.
1913_photo_king_yonge

Our times have changed considerably. Yet we still have power lines above ground through most of Toronto. We need to change our grid infrastructure. Forget about “smart” grids. Let’s start with reliable grids. We now know that power lines are vulnerable to ice storms.

hydro-quebec
A series of Hydro-Quebec high voltage towers near St-Bruno, Que., south of Montreal that collapsed after a severe ice storm hit the southwest Quebec January 1998. The storm left over one million households in the Quebec Provence without of electricity. Jacques Boissinot/CP PHOTO

Toronto’s first electric company started up 130 years ago. It ran on boilers. 20 or so years later Niagara Falls generated power to the city. 60 years after that nuclear power was added. But 50 years of nuclear and we still have power lines above ground.

How much business is lost on account of power failures? Each year the US loses over $100 Billion due to power failures. Imagine Ontario’s losses. Besides robbing us of our rights to normal comforts we also lose business. Our power infrastructure is also expensive because we are forced by law to include wind and solar energy into our grid. We need to subsidize the unreliable, natural gas dependent so-called “renewables” because of a perceived need for an all of the above energy mix. Our energy bills are higher because of an idealist yet proven to fail method of powering the grid. Germany now has the highest electricity rates in Europe because they have decided to go green and discontinue nuclear energy. Germany has been forced to increase the building of coal plants to make up for the lost nuclear energy. Italy no doubt will face the same consequences. Just like California who shut down San Onofre Nuclear Plant over irrational fears over a possible accident. An interesting fact is that worst ice-storm in Ontario’s history did not affect the hydro plants at all.

With three levels of government having elections in the near future it is now a good time to put pressure on them to upgrade our power system. i.e. put power lines underground and make the power stations flood proof and allow new build of nuclear to replace the plants that will be decommissioned because of age.