Pyramid Comment

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Madness Of Nuclear Power

Update: 10th October 2007

Chernobyl (10 Years On)
Chernobyl:


Enrico Fermi
Fast Breeder Reactor

During the period Thursday, 10th October and Friday, 11th October 1957,


50 years ago

one of two seven-year-old reactors at Windscale (Sellafield) was shut down (apparently it was being used for some kind of experiment) as a fire had started in at least two fuel channels in the centre of the reactor. This was fierce enough to vaporise fission products all the way up the 400-foot chimney and through the filters at its top. Hoses had to be used to play water down the fuel channels in a desperate attempt to control the temperature.

This was neither a routine plant breakdown nor a minor mishap, but a major accident.

Was the experiment being conducted responsible for this 'accident', and what was that experiment?

Clearly, the Windscale filters were inadequate for the job of preventing the escape of fission products. It was pure good fortune that the wind was blowing out to sea or contamination of the countryside would have been more serious to life. As it was, the contamination of the sea was bad enough and only diluted the problem. It didn't remove it. The issue was not made clear and everything was allowed to rest with the problem having been cleared up. The fact remains:

The sea was contaminated

And will remain so for hundreds if not thousands of years. Plutonium (239) has a half-life of 24,000 years.

Drenching the reactor with ordinary mains water added to the difficulties of bringing it back to working order. Not only did the burnt-out channels of radioactive debris (waste) need to be removed, but also the pile dried out [and presumably flushed] to remove all waterborne chemicals, and elements such as calcium, that would interfere with the fission process. Unless these products were [completely] removed, the entire reactor would need to have been stripped down and rebuilt.


Cost and time issues today (2007)
could potentially involve shortcuts
being made. How dangerous is that?

One undeniable fact:

Plutonium is produced in these reactors

In the 1957 Windscale 'accident', the amount of plutonium manufactured was between 1/4 and 1/3 of the country's production and as such affected the defence programme.

What is plutonium used for?

  • At 11.02am, 9th August 1945 the 'Fat Man' bomb was dropped by the American Air Force (USAAF) on Nagasaki killing 70,000 citizens and wounding 100,000. It was only 3 days earlier that the uranium bomb (code-named 'Little Boy') decimated Hiroshima. As a second plutonium bomb was not quite ready, 2 days later 6000 tons of conventional bombs were dropped on Kumagaya. WWII ended the following day.
  • The timing of just 3 days between the use of a uranium bomb ('Little Boy', 8.16am, 6th August 1945), with the destructive power of 12,500 tonnes of TNT, destroying 50,000 buildings and killing a total of some 75,000 people, following with a plutonium bomb, does seem to suggest that experiments were being conducted to see the effects of such novel weapons on live human beings. Some of the 75,000 died outright, but many others died later that month of their burns.
  • This probably remains the most wicked act to have been perpetrated on any living species. Ever. And just to witness the effects. Pure opportunism and ranks up there with Nazi experiments on human beings. Conflict acting as the mask that covered the face of evil. The 'winners' of the war. The Americans. Still the nastiest race on Earth.
More carnage had actually been scheduled by the Americans, but didn't happen, as the Japanese surrendered. The Devil had already visited. Even more powerful bombs are today available that


'mimic'

the activity of the Sun, so no further example is necessary to demonstrate the distorted ego of some of the elements that exist within mankind. Textbooks that outline the basic theory of nuclear reactions do not describe the detail of manufacture. The Devil resides in the detail. Text and reference books do not explode. Any idiot can recognise the potential in such weapons, but a twisted desire to make one and actually build it is not the same as just planning to build one.

Imagining any desirable item does not make the physical item.

Such meddling is madness

Compared to the Earth, the Sun is over 109 times the diameter with a mass nearly 333,000 as great and a volume 1.3 million times as large. To visualise the comparison of only the diameters, consider one average human step of about 1 metre (the Earth) and walk the distance of more than two Olympic-sized swimming pools (100 metres) placed back to back (the Sun).

The major difference between the uranium and plutonium atomic bombs and the hydrogen bomb is that the former are using the fission of these elements to produce smaller ones and heat and the latter is a fusion bomb that unites hydrogen isotopes to form helium and heat. Uranium (238) is a naturally occurring element on Earth that when bombarded with neutrons forms (the radioactive) plutonium (239).

It can ONLY be made in nuclear facilities.

Plutonium half-life = 24,000 years

This very much simplifies hugely complex elemental chemistry. The technical issues are not normally discussed publicly, but over the period of more than 60 years, a very large (unquantifiable) number of research and development experiments have been conducted. And 60 years is a long time to remain 'accident'-free. It is likely that 'accidents' just haven't been of sufficient severity to have been reported.

Every 'accident' adds to the unknown, or at least not communicated, (accumulative) total of radioactive material that today pollutes the atmosphere and oceans. Global pollution that is on the increase NOW and that will be around for thousands of years. The products of such experiments were undoubtedly radioactive and not usable as a desired end product. Any actual end products were then, at best, only predicted.

What happened to all these products along the way?

Many 'artificial' and radioactive elements have been made (very few occuring 'naturally'), but mostly in nuclear facilities (polonium-210, discovered by Marie Curie in 1898, is now made only in such places):

  • Polonium (1898) - atomic number 84
  • Astatine (1940) - atomic number 85
  • Radon (1900) - atomic number 86
  • Francium (1939) - atomic number 87
  • Radium (1898) - atomic number 88
  • Actinium (1899) - atomic number 89
  • Thorium (1815) - atomic number 90
  • Protactinium (1917) - atomic number 91
  • Uranium (1896) - atomic number 92
  • Neptunium (1940) - atomic number 93
  • Plutonium (1940) - atomic number 94
  • Americium (1944) - atomic number 95
  • Curium (1944) - atomic number 96
  • Berkelium (1949) - atomic number 97
  • Californium (1950) - atomic number 98
  • Einsteinium (1952) - atomic number 99
  • Fermium (1952) - atomic number 100
  • Mendelevium (1955) - atomic number 101
  • Nobelium (1956) - atomic number 102
  • Lawrencium (1956) - atomic number 103
  • Rutherfordium (1964) - atomic number 104
  • Dubnium (1967) - atomic number 105
  • Seaborgium (1974) - atomic number 106
  • Bohrium (1981) - atomic number 107
  • Hassium (1984) - atomic number 108
  • Meitnerium (1982) - atomic number 109
  • Darmstadtium (1994) - atomic number 110
Elements as yet unnamed:

  • Element-atomic number
  • Unununium-111 (1994)
  • Ununbiium-112 (1996)
  • Ununtriium-113 (predicted)
  • Ununquadium-114 (1998)
  • Ununpentium-115 (predicted)
  • Ununhexium-116 (2000)
  • Ununseptium-117 (predicted)
  • Ununoctium-118 (unconfirmed)
  • Ununennium-119 (predicted)
Fermium-257 (atomic number-100) has a half-life of 101 days decreasing with increasing atomic number: to 50 microseconds for ununhexium-116.

The element plutonium cannot be rendered harmless. Even buried in concrete, it remains extremely dangerous for a very long time, numbered in thousands of years. The global total of this element alone is just increasing and none of it is destroyed. More is being made all the time.

Just like 'making' lots of money and never spending any of it. One is the accumulation of 'wealth' and the other an accumulation of the means to the extermination of all life.


It is fascinating (in a somewhat cynical way - DA) to speculate how many now long obsolete chemical elements may have been 'natural' in a primordial existence - billions of years ago at the (speculated - DA) beginning of Earth's history. Time will have removed all trace of such elements. 50,000 years is nothing more than a moment in such terms. The plutonium half-life of 24,000 years is just a flash in time.

Imagine a new drug just... happening. Years and years of experimental work are necessary and thousands of experiments will produce a host of impurities. Reactions won't work. Wrong (impure) products will be synthesised to eventually generate the desired active entity. Such material can be totally destroyed either chemically or by burning (heat decomposition).

Reality is much different to any imagined situation. And that ignores all the 'spin' and lies used in the attempt to 'sell' an inherently flawed product to the public.

If anyone needs an illustration of what would happen today in the event of nuclear war, then...

These uranium-235 and plutonium-239 fission bombs originally happened 60 years ago. Uranium fission releases radioactive iodine-131 (half-life = 8 days) and, as iodine is essential to life and readily absorbed by the body, it is highly dangerous.

  • The fall-out from those detonations is still with us today and will be for thousands of years.
  • Such weapons are truly dreadful and to use the chemical process in a 'controlled' way is delusion. The very nature of these reactions is literally an out-of-control chain reaction. The first reaction produces several neutrons, each neutron then starting another reaction and so propagating the chain and (almost) instantly producing the enormous outpouring of energy.
  • The technology is 'safe' ONLY if the many factors involved are maintained within clearly defined limits. One critical issue is water. Basically, the heat supplied by the neutron chain reaction is controlled only by cooling the fuel rod source. Each fuel rod is essentially a small nuclear explosion slowed down to produce heat and not an explosion. An explosion is simply a VERY rapid expansion of gases. The heat transfer to the water is where the energy comes from. Steam. No water, or even insufficient water, will enable the reaction to overheat and so induce the runaway reaction. This is self sustaining. A moderator is a medium that slows the reaction and one such is heavy water (deuterium oxide).
  • The nuclear bomb cannot be 'uninvented', but it's use can be (realistically, though only theoretically) phased out. The smallpox virus has been 'eradicated' from the planet. Well, not entirely apparently. A tiny amount of the most deadly entity to human life to have ever been known, has been kept, even though it could and must be destroyed. Human logic in some 'people' is so devoid of sense, that some has actually been kept. Just in case. Of what? That it is needed? By whom? The solution to mankind's energy problems does not exist with nuclear energy and is an accident literally waiting to happen. The more examples of nuclear power stations, the sooner an accident will happen. It's not IF, but WHEN. And when it does happen then it'll just be too late to correct.

  • The contamination released 60 years ago is still in the air we breathe today and will be for many more thousands of years. Any further addition, however small the 'accident' will just add to what is already there. Like the build-up of mercury in the body. It accumulates and isn't purged from the body. It's why it is so dangerous. It has not gone away, it's just been forgotten.

  • Nuclear contamination is too diluted to be a recognised problem, but raises the question: "why is there so much disease and other health issues occurring today?"
  • The introduction of flawed technology is the same mad logic that would allow the release of pit-bull terriers into a crowd to 'control' a problem that is bothering that crowd. How many times have stupid people tried to mix young children and dangerous dogs just to experience the obvious. The child suffers both physical and mental trauma if they survive any attack. Stupid people simply remain stupid.
None of this is deluded or cynical thinking, but fact based on known science. Any desire to build nuclear power stations is a desire to make plutonium and other radioactive products that can only be created in nuclear facilities. The 'nuclear powers' know this and is why there is so much condemnation of Iran's desire to build these nuclear facilities and simply justifying such a desire on pure pragmatism.

The hypocrisy is absolutely staggering in that it's OK for the west to 'meddle' with nuclear power (the UK government intends to begin a construction programme), but any other country (in the Middle East especially) must not. Obviously, nuclear weapons are being manufactured. Even uranium depleted shells that are very, very hard and can penetrate most materials with ease is a simple example. Natural uranium-238 is enriched with uranium-239, the process being carried out in a nuclear reactor (uranium-238 is converted into uranium-239), and the two isotopes then separated (as the volatile hexafluorides) so enriching with uranium-239. Whether terrorists could make terrible weapons as a result would be academic if nobody can meddle with this deadly technology.

Hydrogen bombs

Such weapons of mass destruction can never be 'uninvented'.
They can be outlawed, but an effective policing strategy would be required. Something outlawed does not render it non-existent. Murder happens all the time. It's ludricrous that 'legal mass murder' is acceptable as long as biological weapons are not used. Similar sources of energy are contemplated today and that's in a relative 'peace-time' period. We are in the midst of all out global war (it's just not been officially declared).


Atom bombs, conventional bombs, bullets, knives...

anything excluding biological warfare.

The madness and hypocrisy of the 'nuclear' stance is totally indefensible, but it shouldn't be overlooked that Iran has probably more natural oil reserves than Iraq. Wars are being fought (heavily involving the USA) to wrench oil from Iraq. Arguments can be made that support the thesis that an American military presence anywhere outside America is purely to ensure that the oil pipeline to the USA is not threatened.

To my mind, no other examples are needed to support or deny who could be responsible for the September attack visited on New York in 2001 or the reasons why. It all stems from the US and the desperate need to maintain the external oil supply as there isn't enough internal capacity to satisfy it's growing demands.

Consider: Twin Towers and Controlled Demolition









(and consequential Patriot Act), Afghanistan, Iraq... stepping stones. Saudi Arabia?

Devil's Advocate

It would also offer one answer as to why Mugabe in Zimbabwe has been left alone (by the US and UK) to conduct his regime in the (alleged) nasty way he does.

Zimbabwe has no oil = no action
Iraq has oil = action

The UK is a MAJOR manufacturing base for weapons of war. The desire to build nuclear facilities is based on the fact that plutonium is made in these places. The justifiction is that CO2 'pollution' and an oil shortage conspire to make them necessary. A cynical justifiction that is based on lies and political 'spin'.

Humans produce CO2 by respiration in order to live and so we are, by definition, polluters and contribute to global warming. That's perverse. Completely, but uses the language of 'spin'.

The political noises (of the 'West') being made in opposition to Iran desiring nuclear power are so obviously aimed at weakening Iran so when the assault on the oil reserves begins it will be all relatively easy. The threats by 'western nuclear powers' against a non-nuclear Middle-Eastern power should make progress towards Iran's oil relatively easy.

Were Iran to have a nuclear capability, then the invasion of Iran would be rendered unthinkable without the likelihood of all-out nuclear war. It certainly couldn't be easy or even difficult, but probably impossible for America to invade Iran. The American Administration does consider itself so invulnerable by geographical location that anything is possible. The invasion of Iraq by conventional methods, as with Vietnam or Korea, almost defines a non-nuclear response is likely.

A nuclear onslaught on day-1 would end all further conflict, but also end all life. But:


The inconceivable is not impossible

In the language of 'spin':

The possible can be conceived and the unlikely becomes realistic

The future American oil supply IS the MAJOR issue and the Mad Max scenario is quite realistic. Mayhem caused by a shortage of petrol.

Paradoxically, the US route to global domination has the bizarre benefit of potentially uniting the rest of the world and splitting off North America into complete isolation. Then there is a real possibility of Armageddon.

Just because of the American demand for oil and delusion of being 'top dog'. We are at the brink to the end of 'peace-time' forever. Probably, that time in World History has already long gone.

What we 'meddle' with on Earth is beyond belief

GM

Should the US be isolated from the rest of the world, the GM production of foodstuffs would really become important. This could theoretically be used together in a conspiracy to destroy all crops outside the US at the same time enabling self sufficiency. Starving the world, once it has been made dependent on the US generated crops (Monsanto).

There could be a massive irony in the outcome...

The reactor at Windscale was one of the oldest in the world [suggesting one of the first to be built], designed and constructed when much less was known about fission. The detonation of an uncontrolled explosion in a nuclear bomb is one thing, but a 'controllable' nuclear reactor is quite another. It remains a fact that this was the design, construction and subsquent commission of a highly dangerous technology that was NOT properly understood.


This may have been at Windscale in 1957, but does demonstrate a MAJOR problem with nuclear power. There will ALWAYS be a problem with nuclear power.

The Sun is a long way off, some 93,000,000 miles (150,000,000km), yet still near enough to cause problems and if this nuclear reactor became very unstable, then that's it.


The End

The nature of the Sun is instability and emulating this chemistry without understanding it is actually being considered. Madness. The ego of the ignorant politicians who delude themselves that they understand it is ludicrous. In general, politicians understand only control, power (influence) and money. They do not understand common sense. Scientists can be too easily influenced, especially by politicians who hold the purse strings.

It's paradoxical in that the scientists who should know more are 'controlled' by the politicians who actually know less.

Not all scientists, but a majority implies consensus. Funding is an issue here and is where that beast called politics raises it's dangerous and ugly head like the Hydra.

Comments suggesting that design shortcomings will be fixed so that future reactors do not allow mistakes to be repeated do not inspire confidence. After all, the reactor was to be 'rebuilt' after the Windscale 1957 'accident' and it would seem without any major design modifications being possible. Time and cost considerations, let alone any practical reasons, would see to that.

Contamination was played down, but it did happen and it never went away. Diluted by the sea though still highly radioactive for thousands of years. Salt sea water does not neutralise radioactivity.


Nothing does that
Nothing can do that

The date of 1957 is literally within the blink of an eye to 2007 in terms of the lifetime of radioactive waste. The creation of radioactive material within a nuclear reactor (for example, plutonium) makes a substance that cannot be destroyed. Once made it becomes a Pandora's Box and talk that it can be safely buried in concrete is completely untrue.


A massive and even more GROTESQUELY CYNICAL lie

The storage of CO2 needs more explanation of the principles involved to capture and store billions of tonnes of this gas. The balance needs to be addressed that doesn't suffocate vegetation and trees. Photosynthesis requires this gas. It is oxygen that is the poison and is consumed by the humans that breathe it.

Don't hold your breath, though. It won't happen.

Caging a dangerous animal does not render that animal any less dangerous. The dangerous animal still exists and if let out will still be dangerous. A terrorist has only to destroy such a storage facility to release all the radioactivity. The potential of the 'suicide patriot' makes such a scenario quite feasible.

The lunacy of the will to self-destroy a nation should not be tested. It would only take a fanatical few to destroy an entire nation (and almost immediately the neighbouring nations) of those who are not so suicidal in their tendencies. The rest die later.

An animal can be destroyed, but radioactive waste never can

This makes global warming, climate change and CO2 management totally insignificant by comparison. It even suggests a hope that nuclear energy production will lessen the impact allegedly placed at the door of CO2.

That defines the justifiction for 'going nuclear'

It 'simply' replaces the problem with something much, much BIGGER and so it's a paradox that 1 tonne oil provides the same energy potential of something much SMALLER, 1g plutonium.


1g plutonium is 1,000,000 SMALLER

Any other potential solutions are given, at best, simple lip service since they have little potential to make shedloads of money for a relatively few people. Yet another ironical situation is that by making 'ordinary' people into stakeholders, they conspire to their own destruction by 'virtue' of their own blind greed.

$£bns

Money made from such construction will be useless as the end product itself will enable the destruction of all life

Greed is blind

The idol called money is the real Devil

Filthy Lucre

The irony is that these incredibly short-sighted (actually quite blind) 'business men' are also vulnerable humans and taking civilisation, and themselves, down a dead-end one-way street. Make no mistake, the conditioning being attempted NOW is that CO2 is the Devil and nuclear power is an Angel to make everthing safe again.

Never before has such a cynical lie been perpetrated in the pursuance of money.

The 'spin' is that France has had a nuclear programme for many years and therefore nuclear energy is safe. This is twisted and very dangerous, potentially lethal, logic. The more nuclear reactors there are in existence [hundreds or thousands around the globe at the financial cost (ie profit) of $£trillions] the greater the chances of a deadly accident on a global scale. The amount of radioactive waste produced will amount to an inconceivable annual tonnage that will remain lethally radioactive for thousands of years.

Pragmatism and common sense to nuclear energy shouts:



No, No, No (Survival)

Blind greed shouts:

Yes, Yes, Yes (Death)

There are no easy answers, but nuclear energy isn't one of them. In fact, it doesn't feature at all. It is the most dangerous route thinkable that will result in the annihilation of human and ALL other life. Imagine a runaway reaction BETWEEN two nuclear facilities and the chain reaction started by that. The more that such facilities are built, the greater the density by number are those facilities. They will exist nearer to each other and so threaten each other.

What is a 'safe' distance between them? Somewhat of a rhetorical question since the radioactive fallout will kill everything anyway. Academic.

Tidal Power

Wind Power

Once the building programme is underway and $£bns or more investments have been made, NOTHING will stop the final commissioning of this 'accident-in-waiting'. Except a global nightmare 'accident' of unimaginable proportions.

Too late