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Just say "No" to nuclear power!
by Kathleen McCroskey (1946- )
Dr. James Hansen, in his book: Storms of My Grandchildren, ©2009, Bloomsbury, USA, promotes nuclear power in pages 194 to 204, including 3rd and 4th generation reactors, fast-breeder reactors, modular reactors and liquid-salt cooled reactors, saying that to totally phase out coal and be sure we have enough energy, we need nuclear power.
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Wrong! We use at least 30x world average per-capita energy consumption - we need to get by using LESS!
We need nuclear power? Wrong! Nuclear power is the ultimate intergenerational injustice.
So some bloke comes home (via commute) from his hard day of “work” (performing as a cog in the wheels of commerce) and plops down in front of the tele and consumes even more energy for relaxation. For this we are pushing the greatest-ever injustice onto future generations: the prospect of the maintaining nuclear waste used for powering that leisure time for hundreds of thousands of years?
That is totally irrational.
Nuclear power was one step of progress too far - does taking many more steps along that line undo the damage? Nuclear power requires an ongoing technically-advanced population and peace and stability to operate, decommission and store waste byproducts for timelines so vast they are incomprehensible. All this, in the face of coming world-wide civil war of all-against-all? Abandoned or sabotaged nuclear plants will just explode. Same for unattended nuclear waste repositories. If you cannot guarantee a secure social structure for the next 500 generations, then nuclear power is not for you. I should write this large so you process it in visual memory instead of just text memory, like this:
Nuclear power requires an ongoing technically-advanced population and peace and stability to operate, decommission and store waste byproducts for timelines so vast they are incomprehensible. If you cannot guarantee a secure social structure for at least the next 500 generations, then nuclear power is not for you. - (quoting myself from 2023)
Did you know that nuclear power does not produce electricity? If it did something with electrons, you could generate a current from it. No, all it does is mess with the neutrons. All it does is generate heat (or explosions if you fail to continuously control it). “Nuclear power is a hell of a way to boil water.” Commonly attributed to Einstein, this quote is actually from Karl Grossman’s, 1980 book Cover Up1. Interesting that a quote from Karl Grossman would achieve the level of Einstein, when much too often his work is deprecated because he doesn’t suck up to the nuclear establishment. He’s a journalist and digs up facts on how the nuclear industry and government lie to you.
This excerpt from the book, PDF version:
In Cover Up1 I cite the remarks of Admiral Hyman Rickover, the “father” of the U.S. nuclear navy, the man in charge of the construction of the first U.S. nuclear plant. Shippingport, in Pennsylvania, opened in 1957. In his farewell address before a committee of Congress in 1982 he said: “I’ll be philosophical. Until about two billion years ago, it was impossible to have any life on earth; that is, there was so much radiation on earth you couldn’t have any life—fish or anything. Gradually, about two billion years ago, the amount of radiation on this planet and probably in the entire system reduced and made it possible for some form of life to begin…Now when we go back to using nuclear power, we are creating something which nature tried to destroy to make life possible…Every time you produce radiation, you produce something that has life, in some cases for billions of years, and I think there the human race is going to wreck itself, and it’s far more important that we get control of this horrible force and try to eliminate it. I do not believe that nuclear power is worth it if it creates radiation.” Rickover declared that “we outlaw nuclear reactors.”
Are you thinking this can’t be so, that there was so much radiation that life could not begin? Look at the mass of nuclear decay products on the planet. Uranium-238 (238U) (all forms of uranium are radioactive) eventually decays into lead-206 (206Pb), a stable form of lead, while thorium-232 (232Th) decays to lead-208 (208Pb), a stable form of lead. And there’s lots of lead out there, remaining after eons of nuclear decay.
Every element has radioactive isotopes, while elements with atomic number 83 and higher only have radioactive isotopes. Perhaps you don’t find so much (natural) radioactive minerals around now because so much decay has already taken place.
As Karl Grossman says, nuclear power is the ultimate intergenerational injustice, in that we are putting a 300,000-year curse on the planet, much longer than the damage being done by burning fossil fuels.
The culmination of the American Dream was the development of the atomic bomb. Every possible resource in USA and Canada was devoted to this exercise in madness. Meanwhile, while the veneer of normal life was supposed to be maintained, this dark work was being accomplished hidden from the public by outright lies, which continue to this day, as revealed in this newspaper article following the Trinity bomb test::
Blast occurs at Alamogordo Army Air Base
ALAMOGORDO, N.M., July 16. N --- William O. Eareckson, commanding officer of the Alamogordo army air base made the following statement today: "Several inquiries have been received concerning a heavy explosion which occurred on the Alamogordo Air Base this morning.
"A remotely located ammunition magazine containing a considerable amount of high explosive and pyrotechnics exploded.
"There was no loss of life or injury to anyone, and property damage outside of the explosives magazine itself was negligible.
"Weather conditions affecting the content of gas shells exploded by the balst [sic] may make it desirable for the army to evacuate temporarily a few civilians from their homes."
The secondary topic of today’s post is tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Hydrogen has seven isotopes. The first is normal hydrogen which has one proton and one electron, the simplest element of all. It is written in the AZE format as 11H. In a print edition, the ones would be above each other, but in simple text they have to be superscript/subscript Element letter. The upper one means atomic mass number (number of protons plus neutrons); the lower one means atomic number (number of protons). The atomic number is the number in your periodic table. The difference between these two numbers gives the number of neutrons. One minus one = zero, so normal hydrogen has no neutrons.
Now before your eyes haze over, here is a point to consider- I write these posts to make certain points, but also as brain exercises to help you stretch your brain a bit into areas that you don’t usually think in. Normally, you would think that a nuclear physicist would know this stuff already, and other people just wouldn’t want to know. But lean in here, it won’t take too much of your time, and you can exercise that grey matter a bit (and make good use of over 903 minutes writing/editing this).
As mentioned, all elements have some radioactive isotopes which emit ionizing radiation. What does “ionizing” mean? It means creating ions, and ions are the positively or negatively charged parts of molecules. For instance, water which is H2O, or more properly HOH (hydrogen hydroxide) ionizes into the H+ and OH- ions. In a simple molecule such as water, ionizing is not a big deal, but that happening in your DNA is not good.
Normal hydrogen, 1H, with no neutrons and 2H, called Deuterium (one proton and one neutron) are the two stable isotopes of hydrogen. Then next is 3H, called Tritium, which has two neutrons. The upper 3, as mentioned is the atomic mass number, one AMU (atomic mass unit) for each of protons (1) and neutrons (2) = total of 3. Yes, that’s confusing, Deuterium has a 2 but just one neutron and Tritium has a 3 but just two neutrons; that happens since that is the total number of AMUs.
In a typical government “Nothing to see here” release titled “Tritium in drinking water” by Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), of course they pooh-pooh the dangers:
Tritium levels measured in the drinking water of communities near nuclear facilities do not pose a health risk.
Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen. It emits very low-energy beta radiation, which is blocked by common materials such as sheets of plastic, glass or metal, and cannot penetrate the top layer of human skin.
Now I’ll tell you why this is bunk.
First, some backgrounders. The term “radioactive isotopes” is somewhat misleading. The only radiation from atoms of elements that is along the electromagnetic radio spectrum is gamma rays and high-energy photons. The other forms of emissions from atom’s decay are alpha particles, beta particles and neutrons themselves. These are ionizing emissions but not on the electromagnetic frequency spectrum. All these particles are real, physical particles with mass. The difference between “mass” and “weight” is that weight is relative to Earth’s gravity only, while the mass of an object is the same anywhere. Pounds and ounces are units of weight; grams and kilograms are units of mass. It is improper to say “this weighs 3 kilograms”; rather, you say “this object has a mass of 3 kilograms.” Yet, in periodic tables, it remains customary to refer to “atomic weight”” rather than the more proper “relative atomic mass,” which is usually a non-integer because it is an average mass of the occurring isotopes. (That is an excellent periodic table link!)
There are no unnamed atoms - all atoms are one element or another. They consist mainly of protons, neutrons and electrons. The really interesting part is that the number of protons determines the properties of that element. Say you have an atom of carbon, with six protons and six neutrons (this makes 12C). If you add a neutron, you get carbon-13 which is written 13C, but it retains the properties of carbon. Carbon is a well-known element, usually a black, hard or flaky solid, or crystalline as in a diamond. However, if you add just one proton, it is no longer carbon; it is now nitrogen which is a gas. (If you only added one proton, you would have 13N which is a very short-lived isotope of nitrogen.) But it is now a gas not a solid.
Now back to particle emissions, the alpha and beta. An alpha particle emission from an atom means that a group containing two protons and two neutrons leaves the atom. Since two protons are now missing, the original “parent” atom becomes the “daughter” element two spaces to the left in the periodic table, you move left two spaces to see what the new element now is. This is called “transmutation.”
An example of alpha decay would be 238U (uranium-238) releases an alpha particle (two protons and two neutrons, in other words, essentially a 42He nucleus, and becomes 234Th (thorium-234). Since alpha particles are very damaging biologically, they are not use for in vivo medical studies. Although an alpha particle (α) can be stopped by a sheet of paper, you don’t want those internally!
Beta particles come in two forms, beta-plus (β+) and beta-minus (β-). In the beta-minus decay, a neutron is converted to a proton, so, even though it is called “minus”, the new daughter element is one space to the right on the periodic table. In beta-plus decay, a proton is converted to a neutron, thus the new daughter element is one space to the left. So the “plus” or “minus” is referring to the gain (plus) or loss (minus) of a neutron.
Now we can get back to the above statement by the CNSC, that tritium decays by releasing a weak beta particle. OK, it’s weak, coming from the smallest of nuclei, and has the second-lowest level in electron volts of any beta-minus decay, but it is still an ionizing emission. The relative level of eV was the least of my concerns when reviewing the decay of tritium; their reference to a “weak beta particle” was a red herring, a major distraction from the main event of this decay. But the real kicker is, what does tritium turn into when it emits that beta particle? It doesn’t just let out a beta particle and then what, be normal hydrogen again? No, it releases a beta-minus particle and now becomes Helium! So if that 3H had already become part of one of your tissue proteins or hemoglobin or DNA, and that bit now turned into helium, and inert gas, the previous molecule it was part of is irreversibly broken. But the CNSC statement says it’s can’t penetrate the skin, so what’s the problem? The problem is that you can take tritium into your body from water and from fish and other foods. It has a much longer half-life internally that it has outside organisms.
So what exactly happens in a beta-minus release? A neutron is converted into a proton (adding the proton moves hydrogen one space to the right, to become helium), which leaves as a remainder an electron and an electron antineutrino. Yes, that is antimatter. Now let’s exercise your brain a bit more and go just a bit deeper into this release. A neutron is mainly made of an up, a down, and a down quark (udd), while a proton is up, down, up (udu). So that last “d” in the neutron, a negatively charged (-1/3e) down quark, is changed to a positively charged (+2/3e) up quark by emission of a short-lived W- boson which turns into the electron and the electron antineutrino.
This Feynman diagram shows the beta-negative decay of a neutron into a proton. The down quark in the neutron decays into an up quark to make a proton, emitting an electron and an electron anti-neutrino. Author: Joel Holdsworth, 2007 (Source Wikipedia)
When an antineutrino contacts a neutrino, they both experience annihilation. In a high-energy situation, annihilation of an electron antineutrino and an electron could produce a W- boson.
Do you want a hydrogen that might have already become part of your body, turning into a helium, emitting an ionizing electron and an antineutrino? As well, there is a net release of energy and it does follow the famous e=mC2 formula, but since the mass is low, the energy yield is the second-lowest known beta-minus decay energy at 18.59 keV.
Another example of beta-minus decay happens in “bomb carbon,” which was 14C created in large quantities by atmospheric testing of evil nuclear bombs. My two younger dead sisters may have suffered from bomb carbon from atmospheric testing - if some of your DNA chains contain a 14C which decays into 14N, then that DNA (or RNA) chain may be broken. They were young children during the time of the testing. 14C converts to 14N by beta-minus decay with a remaining antineutrino and an electron emitted. If some of your DNA chains contain a 14C which decays into 14N, then that DNA (or RNA) chain may be broken.
In an article “Ionizing Radiation and Non-ionizing Radiation (section 5.4),” by Elizabeth Gordon, she writes:
“The safest amount of radiation to the human body is zero. It is not possible to be not exposed to ionizing radiation so the next best goal is to be exposed to as little as possible. The two best ways to minimize exposure is to limit time of exposure and to increase distance from the source.”
However, recent studies have shown that simple cells like bacteria receive cues for maintaining cell function from the background level of radiation and suffer without it. But humans have drastically altered the natural cycles of radioactive substances.
That’s the end of the brain-stretching section, you may take a 10-minute break and come back to read about two instances of governments fumbling with nuclear waste disposal.
A recent article in The Globe and Mail about a Near Surface Disposal Facility near the Ottawa River raises the question of the safety of water containing tritium. They want to tear out a forested area of 37 hectares of old-growth red and white pine, beech and oak trees and home to rare and protected species such as Eastern wolves. This is near the Chalk River Laboratories, which was a primary source for the material for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. They propose to store a million cubic meters of waste there, and release the tritium-contaminated water into Perch Lake which then flows into the Ottawa River. This tritium level can be as high as 360,000 Bq/L. The Indigenous Peoples of the area have not had the opportunity for full informed consent and this area has significant meaning to them, yet it will likely be desecrated “in the national interest.”
Another lovely release of tritiated water is now ongoing in Japan as a result of the Fukushima disaster in 2010. Did you know that the melted cores and other debris are still lying in the bottom of the buildings, too hot to handle yet? So it takes cooling water to keep the situation stabilized until such time as an actual demolition can take place. Meanwhile they have begun releasing stored cooling water with most of the other nuclides filtered out, but still containing lots of tritium, into the ocean. Other countries nearby are complaining. This is another example of the true difficulties of dealing with nuclear wastes.
In a UNSCEAR report, section 56:
In the vicinity of nuclear installations, especially near heavy water reactors, tritium activity in environmental compartments can be above background values. For example, while tritium (HTO) activity concentrations in air at background locations in Ontario, Canada, range from 0.01 to 0.08 Bq/m3, tritium in the vicinity of CANDU nuclear power plants (NPPs) range from 0.05 to 31 Bq/m3. Fish caught in the vicinity of NPP effluent discharges have HTO activity concentrations up to 50 Bq/L while in fish from background locations, it was less than 9 Bq/L
Just say “No” to nuclear power!
1- Cover Up - What you are not supposed to know about NUCLEAR POWER by Karl Grossman, The Permanent Press, Sag Harbor, NY, ©1980, 1982, 2011 This is a FREE download of a condensed version of the original book. https://karlgrossman.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/KarlGrossmanCoverUpCropped.pdf
https://thebulletin.org/2023/06/exploring-tritiums-danger-a-book-review/ ‘Exploring Tritium’s Danger’ by Arjun Makhijani, a book review By Robert Alvarez | June 26, 2023
14C converts to 14N by beta- decay with a remaining antineutrino and an electron emitted.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-47821-1 “Evidence for tritium persistence as organically bound forms in river sediments since the past nuclear weapon tests.” Frédérique Eyrolle, Yoann Copard, Hugo Lepage, Loic Ducros, Amandine Morereau, Cécile Grosbois, Catherine Cossonnet, Rodolfo Gurriaran, Shawn Booth & Marc Desmet, Scientific Reports volume 9, Article number: 11487 (2019)
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