In Muller’s previous presentations on his YouTube show Veritasium, he has consistently confused the
naturally occurring radioactive potassium K, with the nuclear fission produced radioactive isotopes…..Muller seems to have no understanding of the way in which bananas are used in the body
What Muller and Thomas are doing is following the script from the tobacco and asbestos industries.
This documentary “Uranium – twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is just Series One. I would love to know who helped to fund Gene Pool Productions for PBS and SBS to produce this. I’m betting that Series Two will follow before long, with a glossy and positive story about Generation IV nuclear reactors.
The half lie of the Dragon’s Tail. Online opinion, By Noel Wauchope Thursday, 27 August 2015 The documentary “Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is the latest glossy and highly sophisticated soft sell for the nuclear industry. It’s also, if you look at it closely, rather confusing.
I will start from the end, because that’s where the main message of this film comes out clearly “Just imagine a world where reactors can produce immense amounts of clean, safe, energy. There is no such thing as a future without uranium.” These final words are said against a background of soaring celestial choirs.
This seems to be the formula now, in nuclear promotion. The 2013 propaganda film “Pandora’s Promise” carried the same positive message – an ever rocketing energy demand to be met by ever increasing, indeed limitless, electrical energy provided by new nuclear reactors.
But, like ‘Pandora’s Promise’, this new documentary devotes the first two thirds of its series to discussing the negative aspects of the nuclear industry. Episode One covers its history, ill effects of radiation, the atomic bomb and its use. Episode Two continues this, with a sympathetic attitude to Australian Aboriginal concerns.
Unlike “Pandora’s Promise” this film does not denigrate anti-nuclear activists, and there is no attempt to ridicule Dr Helen Caldicott, as “Pandora’s Promise” did.
Indeed, the first two episodes are beautifully clear and accurate, as well as entertaining. Really, I couldn’t criticise them.
With the final episode – that’s when the message kicks in, and also when it gets confusing…….
Muller consistently mixes up “natural” radiation with ionising radiation from nuclear fission. He talks about background radiation as “natural”. There’s no mention of the increased ionising radiation in the biosphere as a result of the atomic bomb testing in the 1950s and 60s.
In Muller’s previous presentations on his YouTube show Veritasium, he has consistently confused the naturally occurring radioactive potassium K, with the nuclear fission produced radioactive isotopes, such as caesium 137 and strontium 90. As part of this confusion he constantly uses bananas as a comparison https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRL7o2kPqw0.
Cesium-137 is 12 million times more radioactive than potassium-40. Another highly-radioactive fission product, strontium-90, releases almost 20 million times more radiation per unit mass than does potassium-40. Muller seems to have no understanding of the way in which bananas are used in the body. The human species has had thousands of years of experience with bananas and other foods containing potassium 40 (K40). We have a natural trace level of K40 in our bodies. When we eat bananas, our bodies excrete the extra cesium, so by the natural process of homeostasis, our K40 level remains the same. This is not the case with the very recently created radioactive isotopes from nuclear fission; they remain….., there is absolutely no mention of the effects of internal emitters of radiation – that is, the radioactive isotopes breathed in or ingested, that can sit in a body’s organs for years, decades, emitting high dose gamma radiation..
Moving on to the Fukushima nuclear accident, we are told that the psychological effects are the serious ones. What a great piece of spin this is! Of course the psychological effects are extremely serious. Wouldn’t you be worried, if you were a pregnant woman, or if you feared that your child might later get leukaemia, because you decided to return to a radioactive environment? It is the reality of increased risk of fatal illness that accentuates the other disastrous consequences of that accident.
Prof Thomas assures us “The most important studies will be those on the mental effects”. In the context of this documentary, that just makes me envisage more documentaries like this one – with more spin about how we mustn’t worry about ionising radiation…….
The documentary appeared in Australia at a very convenient time for the South Australian Royal Commission. Dr Muller often covers his back with remarks about nuclear weapons “the most savage thing that man has ever built” and like his “feeling that renewables are going so fast – perhaps we can use alternatives”. But ultimately, his is a message of confidence in nuclear power. He says “Every year uranium saves more lives than it has ever destroyed” Really? Where are the facts to back up these kinds of statements? And all is spoken with guru like solemnity, and the backing of soaring holy choral music……..
What Muller and Thomas are doing is following the script from the tobacco and asbestos industries. They know full well that the toll of cancers, heart conditions, birth defects, from persistent exposure to ionising radiation will not become apparent for decades. They would have us believe that it will be impossible to establish ionising radiation as the cause of this toll of suffering and death…….
We are living in a strange time, where science is valued if it brings a benefit to corporations. Dr Derek Muller and Professor Geraldine Thomas are comfortably ensconced in that world. But there must be some scientists out there who are like Sir Richard Doll, and whose work is motivated by the public good.
And we desperately need those scientists.
This documentary “Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is just Series One. I would love to know who helped to fund Gene Pool Productions for PBS and SBS to produce this. I’m betting that Series Two will follow before long, with a glossy and positive story about Generation IV nuclear reactors. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=17624
China’s censors crack down on online chatter about the Tianjin explosions, Shanghaiist.com, 16 Aug 15 Aside from some wind-related misinformation leaking through, China’s censors have managed to maintain that tight control of the Chinese internet we have come to expect following disasters like the Tianjin explosions, liberally expunging thousands upon thousands of “dangerous” tweets.
Many Weibo posters have claimed that their posts on the disaster have “disappeared”. With just two days gone by since the blast and so little reliable information available, it is hard to discern if China’s PR team are simply deleting inaccurate and potentially harmful rumors—like that pollutants from the explosions will be blown to Beijing—or are harmonizing potentially inconvenient truths.
The top 10 most censored terms on Free Weibo, which captures all messages censored or deleted on the social media platform, are almost entirely made up of some combination of “Tianjin” and “explosion.”……..
China Digital Times has published Chinese media directives about how best to report/bury the disaster: “Remove news and images from the explosions from headlines.” Reporters are also forbidden to write posts about the explosions on their personal Weibo and WeChat accounts.
However, some conversations are still allowed to go on…….http://shanghaiist.com/2015/08/14/chinas-censors-crack-down-online-chatter-tianjin-explosion.php
The spectre of the new nuclear renaissance
Al’Khalili then went on to give every impression that high level nuclear waste can be safely stored using the process of ‘vitrification’, that is, turning it in glass, and so binding the waste safely into a permanent, impermeable matrix.
What he failed to mention is that the glass is by no means permanent and durable storage medium for “thousands of generations” as the glass is liable to break down – and that the problem of long term disposal of these wastes remains unsolved. For example, asR C Ewing and colleagues wrote in 1995 in the journal Progress in Nuclear Energy,
“the post-disposal radiation damage to waste form glasses and crystalline ceramics is significant. The cumulative α-decay doses which are projected for nuclear waste glasses … are well within the range for which important changes in the physical and chemical properties may occur, e.g. the transition from the crystalline-to-aperiodic state in ceramics.”
of_omission.html Dr David Lowry 12th August 2015
For one of these programmes the BBC commissioned Baghdad-born Professor Jameel ‘Jim’ Al-Khalili, theoretical physicist and Chair in the Public Engagement in Science from the University of Surrey, to research and present one programme called ‘Britain’s Nuclear Secrets: Inside Sellafield‘.
As a regular BBC broadcaster, hosting the long-running The Life Scientific on Radio 4, and maker of several science television programmes on television, including on quantum physics and the history of electricity, he was eminently qualified to make this programme.
However the programme was highly misleading thanks to major omissions, concealing the severity of accidents, and how the UK’s entire ‘civilian’ nuclear programme was subverted into producing military plutonium that fed into the Sellafield bomb factory. Continue reading
NPO launches digital archives on Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan Times, BY KEIJI HIRANO, 11 Aug 15 KYODO A Tokyo-based nonprofit organization has launched a digital archive of public documents on the 2011 nuclear catastrophe at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, so people can examine whether administrative bodies have pursued appropriate policies since the disaster started.
There are currently over 3,000 documents organized by Access-Info Clearinghouse Japan on file, totaling some 60,000 pages obtained from central government offices and local-level authorities through freedom-of-information requests or from the home pages of each administrative body.
“Some of the official documents may be stored as historical papers in the future, but others may be eventually lost after they’ve been screened,” said Yukiko Miki, who heads the NPO.
“It is necessary to create conditions to allow people to access these documents even 20 or 30 years later to ensure effective follow-up on radioactivity impact, which must have a late onset, and examine policies over the disaster as it will take a long time to put it under control,” she added.
The documents on the archives include summaries of teleconferences involving the government, Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the Fukushima No. 1 complex, which came from the Cabinet Office, as well as those on decontamination and radioactive waste owned by the Environment Ministry.
Papers filed with the Radiation Medical Science Center of Fukushima Medical University, including those on health monitoring, and summaries of joint press conferences of the government and Tepco are also available.
Users of the archives are able to find their target documents through keyword retrievals.
“Information disclosure allows us to examine policy decision processes, and the public examination will push administrative bodies to make better decisions,” Miki said. “This type of scrutiny will lead to better administrative work, particularly on behalf of those affected by the disaster.”
As only portions of some documents were disclosed, the NPO has posted them on the archives as they are…….
Touching on the lawsuit and the launch of the archives on the nuclear disaster, Miki said: “I believe we have to take concrete action to achieve our right to know rather than merely insisting on it.”
She said her organization will continue seeking the disclosure of official documents, such as records of the nuclear disaster dosimetry and policy records on evacuations of those living near the Fukushima complex, to improve and expand the archives in the span of 10 to 15 years.
The URL of the archives, which is available without charge and only in Japanese, iswww.archives311.org. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/31/national/npo-launches-digital-archives-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/#.VcpzcXGqpHx
A Critical Look at ‘Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail’, truthdig, Aug 9, 2015 By Stanley Heller A week or so before the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, I watched a curious documentary on PBS. It was called “Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail.” You can see it here. The presenter was a physicist named Derek Muller. What’s odd is that Muller concludes that nuclear power is not the way to go, but the way the film was edited, the message is the opposite: that nuclear power is relatively safe and that its technical problems are at the point of being solved. Continue reading
Three books show how close nuclear catastrophe is, Green Left, , July 4, 2015 By Phil Shannon “……Altogether more comforting has been the US comics industry. Ferenc Szasz’s history of atomic-themed comics,Atomic Comics starts with Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon in the 1930s. Then, the assumed technological wonders of peaceful nuclear energy outweighed any anxiety over atomic war.
Dagwood Bumstead, Mandrake the Magician, Popeye and atomic-enhanced cartoon animals, including Donald Duck, have lent an “educational” hand to the task of reassuring readers that any dangers of nuclear fission were manageable.
A flock of caped heroes — Captain Marvel, Captain America, Superman and Wonder Woman — ensured that atomic bombs would not fall into the wrong hands, such as terrorists, evil scientists, unreconstructed Nazis, foreign powers or Reds.
It was assumed that the US hands that held The Bomb were the right hands and that nuclear warfare against the Soviet Union could be limited and winnable.
An “atomic banality”, says Szasz, now reigns in the comics and animation world in which “cynicism, resignation and bland acceptance” of nuclear fission, and the light satire of The Simpsons, coats over the continuing nuclear problems.
The corporate fingerprint is evident in all this cartoon contentedness. Although Szasz’s book should have developed this crucial issue more, the business giants of the comics industry — Marvel and DC Comics — which control three-quarters of the $700 million a year US comics market, share the supreme value of money-making with those who profit from nuclear energy and weapons.
Capitalism and the nuclear age are no laughing matter. https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/59405
Hiding behind the glaring omissions of the mainstream press regarding Fukushima is the pressing reality that contamination from the event is severe, continual, on the rise, and already affecting North America.
Independent Media Runs With the Story There is, however, plenty of news coming out about Fukushima and plenty of conversation taking place about the impact on the environment and on human health. It’s just not to be found in the mainstream media, who is unquestionably strongly influenced by the nuclear energy industry and the government, and apparently involved in one of the greatest media cover ups of all time.
Cover Up – Mainstream Reporting on Fukushima a Joke Terence Newton, Staff Writer Waking Times , 5 July 15 It has been over four years since the 9.0 magnitude Tōhoku earthquake and ensuing catastrophic tsunami leveled the Pacific coast of Japan, setting off a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daichi power plant. Radiation has been pouring into the ocean, into the earth below, and into the air for over 1500 days now and there is still zero sense of urgency on the part of the government and world leaders to seriously address this blooming catastrophe. All efforts to stop the meltdown and clean up the radiation have been left in the hands of TEPCO, Japan’s energy company that has been proven time and again to be inept and unprepared to confront a disaster of this sort.
The mainstream media, for its part, appears to be complicit in a cover-up of the effects thatFukushima radiation is already having on our environment and on human and animal health, and instead insists on omitting most news on the matter, or seriously dumbing down reports of the fallout.
For example, Continue reading
Pentagon Legalizes Killing Journalists As ‘Law Of War’ http://www.mintpressnews.com/pentagon-legalizes-killing-journalists-as-law-of-war/206990/?utm_content=buffer5e853&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Jackson Marciana for Counter Current News | June 25, 2015 The Pentagon just changed the rules of war to include legitimizing the killing of any journalists they deem “belligerent.”
The new “laws of war” were released as part of a book of instructions on legitimate warfare practices approved by the United States military.This “rule book” of sorts details what the US government deems the acceptable ways of killing those they claim are the “enemy”… including journalists whose reporting they do not approve.
The manual explains that the Pentagon considers such journalists “unprivileged belligerents,” even though they are not “enemy combatants.”
This distinction is important for the Pentagon, since the battles against Muqtada as-Sadr’s “Jaysh al-Mahdi” militia was a fight the US picked over a newsletter America did not approve of. When the military tried to stop the presses, Sadr’s army took up arms against the US forces.
We don’t hear a lot about that in the media or government these days, because those battles didn’t exactly end in the US’s favor. Now, the American 1,176-page “Department of Defense Law of War Manual” says that it is perfectly legitimate to shoot, explode, bomb, stab, or cut journalists they deem “belligerent.”
Professor of Journalism at Georgetown Chris Chambers told RT News that he doesn’t know what this means, since “the Geneva Convention, other tenets of international law, and even United States law – federal courts have spoken on this – doesn’t have this thing on ‘unprivileged belligerents’.”
RT notes that Pentagon “did not specify the exact circumstances under which a journalist might be declared an unprivileged belligerent,” but Chambers explains that “their legal department is going over it, as is the National Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.” This article was originally published by Counter Current News.
WASHINGTON — The latest trove of secret trade documents released by Wikileaks is offering opponents of the massive deals currently being crafted by the Obama administration more fodder to show that such agreements can impact United States laws and regulations.
The latest leak purports to include 17 documents from negotiations on the Trade In Services Agreement, a blandly named trade deal that would cover the United States, the European Union and more than 20 other countries. More than 80 percent of the United States economy is in service sectors.
According to the Wikileaks release, TISA, as the deal is known, would take a major step towards deregulating financial industries, and could affect everything from local maritime and air traffic rules to domestic regulations on almost anything if an internationally traded service is involved.
David Martin’s Thirteen Rules for Truth Suppression, H. Michael Sweeney’s 25 Rules of Disinformation (and now Brandon Smith’s Disinformation: How It Works) are classic lessons on how to spot disruption and disinformation tactics.
We’ve seen a number of tactics come and go over the years. Here are the ones we see a lot of currently.
Pretend that alternative media – such as blogs written by the top experts in their fields, without any middleman – are untrustworthy or are motivated solely by money (for example, use the derogatory term “blogspam” for any blog posting, pretending that there is no original or insightful reporting, but that the person is simply doing it for ad revenue).
6. Coordinate with a couple of others to “shout down” reasonable comments. This is especially effective when the posters launch an avalanche of comments in quick succession … the original, reasonable comment gets lost or attacked so much that it is largely lost.
Use an army of sock puppets. You can either hire low-wage workers in India or other developing countries to “astroturf” or – if you work for the government – you can use hire military personnel and subcontractors to monitor social media and “correct” information which you don’t like (and see this), or use software which allows you to quickly create and alternate between numerous false identities, each with their own internet address.
4. Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could so taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive……….
Postscript: Over a number of years, we’ve found that the most effective way to fight disruption and disinformation is to link to a post such as this one which rounds up disruption techniques, and then to cite the disinfo technique you think is being used.
Specifically, we’ve found the following format to be highly effective in educating people in a non-confrontational manner about what the disrupting person is doing:
Good Number 1!
(include the link so people can see what you’re referring to.)
The reason this is effective is that other readers will learn about the specific disruption tactic being used … in context, like seeing wildlife while holding a wildlife guide, so that one learns what it looks like “in the field”. At the same time, you come across as humorous and light-hearted instead of heavy-handed or overly-intense.
On Wednesday, the Weather Channel launched a dramatic campaign it says is intended to help shift the climate change conversation from science to solutions.
The series of short videos, called Climate 25, is surprisingly political for a venue like the Weather Channel, and most are aimed at making the case for urgent action from a conservative, Republican angle. Among the featured speakers are U.S. Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby (Ret.); Henry Paulson, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs who served as secretary of the treasury under President George W. Bush from 2006 to 2009; and Paul Polman, the CEO of Unilever. At one point, Christine Todd Whitman, the EPA administrator under George W. Bush, addresses Republicans directly, saying, “It’s our issue.”
Toxic editorial at best http://blogs.windsorstar.com/open-newsroom/letters/toxic-editorial-at-best BEVERLY FERNANDEZ, Spokesperson, Stop The Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, Southampton, Ont. Jun 04, 2015 Re: We must dispose of nuclear waste here, Star editorial, May 30. I take exception to this editorial.The Star is entitled to its opinion, but be sure to get the facts correct. You state “the stuff … is garden-variety stuff found in every neighbourhood”.
The Kincardine nuclear waste dump will bury low and intermediate level nuclear waste. Intermediate waste includes resins and components from within the nuclear reactors themselves. These remain radioactive for 100,000 years.
I don’t know what kind of neighbourhood Star staff live in, but the vast majority of neighbourhoods do not hold lethal nuclear waste that remains radioactive for 100,000 years. Stating “the stuff just isn’t that scary or unusual” is completely misleading.
You state, “a virtually impossible leak of a barely hazardous substance.” We are not talking dental X-rays. We are talking about the most lethal material humans have ever created.
There are only three deep dumps that held radioactive nuclear waste on our entire planet. All three failed.The most recent is Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. It was to hold radioactive weapons waste safely for 10,000 years.WIPP is similar in depth and design to the Kincardine dump. In 2014, WIPP leaked a mere 15 years into its operational phase. It contaminated 22 workers. Radioactivity travelled to the next town.
On planet Earth, history proves a 100 per cent failure rate for nuclear waste dumps. So much for your “virtually impossible leak” theory.Ontario contains over a million square kilometres and no other sites were considered. Is the drinking water of 40 million people of so little concern?
Japanese mass media “Jiji” rose in revolt against Tepco / 2 trillion Bq leaked to the sea in 10 months http://fukushima-diary.com/2014/09/japanese-mass-media-jiji-rose-revolt-tepco-2-trillion-bq-leaked-sea-10-months/ Iori Mochizuki On 9/8/2014, Japanese mass media, “Jiji” reported about 2 trillion Bq of Sr-90 and Cs-137 leaked to the Pacific only in 10 months.
5 Billion Bq of Strontium-90 flows to the sea every single day [URL]
15 Billion Bq of Tritium flows to the Pacific every single day / Tepco under-reported 1/15 at press conference [URL 2]
The article of Jiji says exactly the same thing as these Fukushima Diary’s posts, but they calculated it further by themselves and published the total volume of leaked Strontium-90 and Cesium-137 from August 2013 to May 2014.
Jiji ended the article to state that the leaked contaminated water contains other nuclides so the actual sea contamination can be worse than reported in this post.
The writer’s name is not credited on the article.
In respond to this coverage, Tepco published an announcement on the same day to comment that they managed to reduce the leaking contamination level by ground improvement. They state Sr-90 level became 1/3, Cs-137 level became 1/10. However it only means 10.5 Trillion Bq used to flow to the Pacific in the previous 10 months, which doesn’t refute Jiji’s coverage.
It seems like Tepco avoided starting the conflict with Jiji, and tried to emphasize on their effort instead.
The Threat to Press Freedom in Japan, NYT By SHIGEAKI KOGAMAY 20, 2015 TOKYO — During a press conference in March, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga expressed concern over comments I had made during a program on TV Asahi, a major private broadcasting network: I had announced that I would no longer be appearing on the show after being subjected to “fierce bashing” from the prime minister’s office. According to the daily Asahi Shimbun, Mr. Suga said, “We will closely watch how the TV station handles the issue in line with the Broadcast Law” — a veiled threat to revoke the station’s license.
On April 17, a special panel of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (L.D.P.) held a special meeting at party headquarters and summoned executives of both TV Asahi and NHK, a public broadcaster, to discuss two TV programs the party thought had been critical of the administration of Prime MinisterShinzo Abe.
After I appeared on Tokyo MX TV, a local station, on April 25, an executive member of the L.D.P. reportedly told some journalists, “I heard that there was a TV station which allowed Mr. Koga to appear on a program. What a courageous TV station, I should say!”
And so it is that the Japanese government tampers with the media’s independence. This is happening partly because of longstanding structural characteristics that govern the relationship between the media and the state in Japan. But the Abe government has been especially aggressive in using those to its advantage, and major segments of the industry are quickly internalizing its preferences.
Instead of pushing back against Mr. Suga’s intimidation, for example, TV Asahi reprimanded the employees who had produced the TV program during which I criticized the government. And instead of invoking the anti-interference provisions of the broadcasting laws to resist questioning by the L.D.P., those TV executives complied with the party’s summons.
In Japan, relations between the state and journalists are formally maintained through a network of reporters’ clubs, or kisha kurabu. There is a reporters’ club for each ministry, each local government, each political party, each industry association. Membership in the clubs is generally limited to reporters at major media companies. Typically, only members are allowed to attend the press conferences, and only members have access to the organizations’ officials. In return for endowing reporters with this privileged status, the officials take it for granted that their organizations will get favorable coverage. And very often they do.
Another problem is that the media in Japan is not regulated by an independent agency. For example, it is the government itself — specifically the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications — that grants licenses to TV stations, and these are up for renewal regularly. Consequently, TV stations are under constant supervision and fear losing their right to operate if they challenge the government. Given Japan’s parliamentary system, this means that the ruling political parties themselves have a large influence over broadcasting.
What’s more, there is virtually no separation of management and the newsroom at major media companies…..http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/21/opinion/the-threat-to-press-freedom-in-japan.html?referrer=&_r=1
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