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Generation IV nuclear reactors – no use against climate change – theme for July 18

The claim that new nuclear power will solve climate change is spurious. This ignores life-cycle CO2 emissions  Nuclear energy is not zero carbon.  Emissions from nuclear will increase significantly over the next few decades as high grade ore is depleted, and increasing amounts of fossil fuels are required to access, mine and mill low-grade ore.

The “Generation IV” demonstration plants projected for 2030-2040 will be too late, and there is no guarantee the pilots will be successful.

James Hansen states that 115 new reactor start-ups would be required each year to 2050 to replace fossil fuel electricity generation ‒ a total of about 4,000 reactors. Let’s assume that Generation IV reactors do the heavy lifting, and let’s generously assume that mass production of Generation IV reactors begins in 2030. That would necessitate about 200 reactor start-ups per year from 2030 to 2050 ‒ or four every week. Good luck with that.

Moreover, the assumption that mass production of Generation IV reactors might begin in or around 2030 is unrealistic.

… a US Government Accountability Office report on the status of small modular reactors (SMRs) and other ‘advanced’ reactor concepts in the US concluded: “Both light water SMRs and advanced reactors face additional challenges related to the time, cost, and uncertainty associated with developing, certifying or licensing, and deploying new reactor technology, with advanced reactor designs generally facing greater challenges than light water SMR designs. It is a multi-decade process …”

Renewables are much faster to roll out.

It gets even more ridiculous when the nuclear lobbyists tout Small Modular Nuclear Reactors. (SMRs) . If the large reactors are required in many thousands  – to be effective – how many millions of small ones would be needed?

And – don’t lets us forget. All nuclear reactors are themselves very vulnerable to the effects of climate change.  (from Jim Green, REneweconomy)

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July 14, 2018 - Posted by | Christina's themes

1 Comment »

  1. People forget about the Green run From Hanford. Where the government purposely let loose one of the largest plumes of radionuclide poison in history, into South east Washington, using everyone there as test rats. A whole graveyard of miscarried and hoplessly deformed babies, from the aftermath of the radionuclide genocide, can be found in Walla Walla, washington. Sincethen year more of the worst radionuclide waste known :cesium 137, plutonium, uranium poisons, and many more radionuclide wastes have accumutalted at hanford from the us for vitrification. There is also the old highly radioactive waste from the cold war and nuclear waste from the reactors by there and there.
    From Wikipedea The “Green Run” was a secret U.S. Government release of radioactive fission products on December 2–3, 1949, at the Hanford Site plutonium production facility, located in Eastern Washington. Radioisotopes released at that time were supposed to be detected by U.S. Air Force reconnaissance. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the U.S. Government have revealed some of the details of the experiment.[1] Sources cite 5,500 to 12,000 curies (200 to 440 TBq) of iodine-131 released,[1][2][3] and an even greater amount of xenon-133. The radiation was distributed over populated areas, and caused the cessation of intentional radioactive releases at Hanford until 1962 when more experiments commenced.[3]

    There are some indications contained in the documents released by the FOIA requests that many other tests were conducted in the 1940s prior to the Green Run, although the Green Run was a particularly large test. Evidence suggests that filters to remove the iodine were disabled during the Green Run.[3][4]

    The project gets its name from the processing of uranium at Hanford, WA in an open loop/water cooled nuclear reactor for the sole purpose of irradiating the Uranium-238 producing the fissile Plutonium-239. Due to other unwanted highly radioactive decay products being formed, normal batch processing would take place 83 to 101 days after reactor extraction to allow the radioactive isotopes to decay before extracting the fissile Plutonium-239 in a safe manner for the 30,000 nuclear weapons amassed and now MOX fuel during the cold war by the United States. For the Green Run test, a batch was fresh from the reactor with only a scheduled 16-day decay period and then was vented into the atmosphere prematurely. The unfiltered exhaust from the production facility was therefore much more radioactive than during a normal batch.

    Oral history

    Leland Fox says that his father was in the military and was bivouacked on the banks of the Wenatchee River during the Green Run:

    …and people with radiation suits walked around and moved the little colored flags as the radiation was detected. The cooking was done outdoors and they slept near the beach. The Officers did not stay long except to give orders and drive away. Almost everyone that my father knew was there has died of cancer. My father had chronic lymphocytic leukemia and died from the complications of lung cancer. The Feds said that the leukemia can not be caused by iodine-131 but his doctor, Dr. Bonnie Takasugi of Burien WA, said that it most probably was.[citation needed]

    Health Physicist Carl C. Gamertsfelder, Ph.D. described his recollections as to the reasons for the Green Run by attributing it to the intentions of the Air Force to be able to track Soviet releases.

    Herb Parker called me to request that I, and the groups that I supervised, cooperate with the Air Force in the conduct of an experiment which became known as the Green Run… And we didn’t recommend, we wouldn’t have recommended, that they operate it. We told them that. They wanted to run anyway, and they did run.”[5]

    Comment by Nick | July 15, 2018 | Reply


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