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Report Blames NRC For VT Yankee Leak

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the tritium-adds-a-piquant-je-ne-sais-quoi dept.

Earth 136

mdsolar writes "A new report from a nuclear watchdog group finds that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 'is ignoring its oversight and enforcement responsibilities at the nation's increasingly leaky, uninspected and unmaintained nuclear power plants.' Because of this lack of oversight, 'at least 102 reactor units are now documented to have had recurring radioactive leaks into groundwater from 1963 through February 2009.' So, the leak at Vermont Yankee that Slashdot has been following is not just a fluke, but is systemic."

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I haven't ben following it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956394)

I've been too busy streaming frosty piss down your eager throat.

Re:I haven't ben following it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956506)

I couldn't tell the difference between that and Budweiser.

Re:I haven't ben following it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956828)

There is no difference.

Re:I haven't ben following it (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956952)

I couldn't tell the difference between that and Budweiser.

Frosty piss tastes better.

Rob Malda has a tiny peen0r (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956396)

Rob Malda has a tiny peen0r. It's so small that the best electron microscope can't resolve it. That's why his wife is constantly going around bars picking up packs of dudes to fuck.

So says a site... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956410)

"Working for a world free of nuclear power..." right in their masthead.

Re:So says a site... (5, Informative)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956512)

mdsolar is a well-known troll. Basically about 90% of all the submissions from this tool is basically FUD against nuclear power.

Re:So says a site... (-1, Redundant)

LoveMuscle (42428) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956742)

Mod parent UP.. I don't have points..

Re:So says a site... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956864)

Mod parent UP.. I don't have points..

And you'll never get them if you keep posting that.
Starting Score: 1 point
Moderation -1
100% Redundant

Re:So says a site... (0)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956846)

RTFA before blaming it on troll behaviour. How can you argue with a statement from the U.S. Regulatory Commission?
"Numerous incidents of unplanned releases of radioactivity have been reported to the NRC within the past few months."
"These incidents of leaks, overflows and spills have resulted in contamination of areas outside of plant buildings. "

Re:So says a site... (4, Informative)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956896)

For one thing, the story here is billed as kind of a 'breaking news' 'new findings' kind of thing.

But the summary makes it clear it's a rehash, a dredging up of every bad thing the anti-nuke site it is hosted on could dig up, going back to 1963.

Re:So says a site... (0)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957662)

it's a rehash, a dredging up of every bad thing the anti-nuke site it is hosted on could dig up, going back to 1963.

Might be so, but what about the numerous leaks documented in the report? [beyondnuclear.org] . What are the facts of the matter?

Re:So says a site... (1)

Ares (5306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956968)

Numerous incidents of unplanned releases of radioactivity

as opposed to, say, planned releases of radioactivity?

Re:So says a site... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31957028)

You mean like Hiroshima and Nagasaki? At least we broke those slant eyed motherfuckers. Now they are as passive as sheep. Too bad we don't have the backbone for such undertakings these days. Might put the sand niggers in their proper place if we wiped a few "holy" cities off the map.

Re:So says a site... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31957206)

I am actually impressed that you jammed so much ignorance into so few words.

Re:So says a site... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31957638)

Everything he said is 100% accurate. It's not politically correct, but there is no ignorance.

Re:So says a site... (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31958394)

Ignorance is thinking that just because you think something is rude or insensitive, it must be ignorant.

Re:So says a site... (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957170)

Mr Burns: What do you think you're doing? Put those precious electrons back into the core where they belong!
Lenny: But that's where they leaked out of, Mr Burns.
Mr Burns: Put them back before someone trys to hock them on eBay. They aren't iPhone prototypes, you know!
Mr Smithers: I'm on it, Mr Burns.

My attemp to actually read the article (5, Insightful)

electricprof (1410233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957264)

First, the quote, "Numerous incidents of unplanned releases of radioactivity have been reported to the NRC within the past few months." "These incidents of leaks, overflows and spills have resulted in contamination of areas outside of plant buildings. " is not actually in the article but rather it is in the link from the NRC in 1979 about responding to the leaks. The article then goes on the say "the NRC is capitulating to an industry decision to take almost three more years before announcing an action plan" but the link supporting this is broken, so I can't evaluate it. The next two paragraphs have no links or citations, just general accusations. The next paragraph seems to be supplying substantive information about tritium leaks, but both of the supporting links are broken, so again, I can't evaluate them. I downloaded the full report but just wasn't interested in reading 50 pages of stuff after trying to evaluate these few paragraphs.

Re:My attemp to actually read the article (0, Redundant)

electricprof (1410233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957296)

Oops ... yes I just noticed that I failed to spell "attempt" correctly.

Re:My attemp to actually read the article (1)

arogier (1250960) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957408)

I liked the article from a while back that proposed Thorium as the fuel of the future much better.

Re:So says a site... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31957946)

I would say SHE is a well known troll: http://whois.net/whois/beyondnuclear.org

This appears to be her: www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Gunter/1184085620?_fb_noscript=1 HURL.

Re:So says a site... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31958196)

mdsolar is a well-known troll. Basically about 90% of all the submissions from this tool is basically FUD against nuclear power.

HarrySquatter (1698416) is a well-known fool. Basically about 90% of all the comments from this tool is basically attempts to smear people who point out legitimate concerns about the reckless behavior of the nuclear industry.

On another topic, HarrySquatter (1698416) will have difficulty being taken seriously by anyone who matters until he can form a properly worded English sentence. He should go to the front of his grade 3 class now and ask the teacher for help.

Re:So says a site... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31958718)

Fuck off mdsolar. Nobody here is receptive to your bullshit.

Re:So says a site... (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957394)

Probably also working for a world free of nuclear families.

Coal (5, Interesting)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956414)

So far nobody has died because of the nuclear industry's negligence. What we need is a probe of our coal industry, and expansion of the comparably clean nuclear engery, with research into minimizing and recycling nuclear waste for fuel.

Re:Coal (4, Insightful)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956438)

The funny thing about this whining about nuclear plants is that coal ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste [scientificamerican.com] .

Re:Coal (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956570)

That's really interesting, I had no idea of that.

But after reading that article, the title seems misleading. What was studied was contamination of the soil around the power plants.

That is not the same as comparing radiation levels of fly ash and nuclear waste.

Re:Coal (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956626)

Yeah, they did have a correction at the bottom of page 2. It's still important to note though:

As a general clarification, ounce for ounce, coal ash released from a power plant delivers more radiation than nuclear waste shielded via water or dry cask storage.

Divide by zero error (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957172)

Think about it - background radiation is always supposed to be higher than a properly shielded radiation source.
You've been conned by a divide by zero error.

Re:Divide by zero error (4, Funny)

Divide By Zero (70303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957922)

Wait up, hold on a minute, I didn't even POST to this thread before now, there's no WAY I've screwed up already!

Re:Divide by zero error (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31958222)

Looks like I owe an infinity of apologies.

Re:Coal (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957598)

You guys need to RFA. We're talking about tritium which is a necessary by-product of most US plants and is not adequately contained. Nothing at all to do with dry cask storage or high-level nuclear waste.

Re:Coal (0)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956752)

No, it's not. It's like saying there's more cyanide in ocean water than in a glass of cyanide, because there's more cyanide collectively in the ocean as a whole.

Re:Coal (2, Insightful)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956824)

It's like saying there's more cyanide in ocean water than in a glass of cyanide, because there's more cyanide collectively in the ocean as a whole.

Huh?

As a general clarification, ounce for ounce, coal ash released from a power plant delivers more radiation than nuclear waste shielded via water or dry cask storage.

That sounds nothing like your analogy at all.

Re:Coal (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956906)

As a general clarification, ounce for ounce, coal ash released from a power plant delivers more radiation than nuclear waste shielded via water or dry cask storage.

I saw that and found it meaningless, and certainly no "clarification" for the purposes of this thread; I would hope that shielded nuclear waste would release less radiation into the environment than unshielded coal ash. The point remains that while coal plants may produce more radiation per unit of energy created than nuclear plants, "ounce for ounce" coal ash is less radioactive than nuclear waste.

Nuke gets criticised - misdirect to coal (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957336)

Don't let him drag you down with the bullshit - people have been raving about nuclear material coming out of the stacks for 40 years but nobody has been able to find anything yet despite it only being a matter of setting up an absorbion spectrometer to look at the flue gas.
The whole misdirection to coal thing is a trick and a waste of time anyway. We don't want dangerous power plants of any kind when we can have well regulated ones.
Nuclear has to keep it's promises and argue on it's own merits. This sort of argument of "Billy hit Sally and got away with it so why are you picking on me?" should have been left in the playground instead of being taken up by ill-informed adults.
It's not just established energy sources such as coal that an experimental technology such as nuclear has to compete against, it's also all of the other alternative energies.

Re:Nuke gets criticised - misdirect to coal (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 4 years ago | (#31958370)

nukes experimental?! when did that happen, we've only been using them for how many decades now? It's not really experimental now.

Re:Coal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31957416)

As a general clarification, ounce for ounce, coal ash released from a power plant delivers more radiation than nuclear waste shielded via water or dry cask storage.

I saw that and found it meaningless, and certainly no "clarification" for the purposes of this thread; I would hope that shielded nuclear waste would release less radiation into the environment than unshielded coal ash

Yes, in fact, that's the whole point and it is not at all meaningless. Both Coal and Nuclear produce radioactive byproducts as waste. The Nuclear industry collects those byproducts in a very dense, easily contained form. The Coal industry spews those byproducts widely and diffusely through the environment. Therefore, if radiation release to the environment is really a problem, the Nuclear industry is much less bad because it is able to contain its waste.

This is much the same as the argument for producing electricity at large, centralized plants, rather than individual household generators. Both produce waste, but by producing that waste at a concentrated site, it is economically realistic to make much more extreme waste containment and cleanup measures.

Re:Coal (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31958698)

Not really since people living downwind of coal fired power plants receive more radiation than people living downwind of nuclear powered plants.

Any yes I am leaving out those that lived near Chernobyl. That plant was a disaster from stop to bottom. It is a design that would never have been built in the West and never run the way that it was in the USSR.
Bring up Chernobyl went talking about western nuclear power plants is as out of place and clueless as bring up the Titanic as a reason to not take a Caribbean cruise or the Hindenburg as a reason to not fly on a 767.

Re:Coal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956804)

While that article is very informative, the title is extremely misleading. The scientists studied coal ash and compared the radioactivity of this byproduct to the area surrounding a nuclear power plant. While they determined that a person within a mile of a coal plant received more radiation than a person within a mile of a nuclear power plant, this does not compare the actual waste of a nuclear power plant, just the radioactivity while it is operating. Spent fuel rods, or the waste from a nuclear power plant, are still extremely radioactive and much more dangerous than the waste left over from burning coal. It's just that this waste is usually handled properly and disposed of at another location. So if we compared the dumping site of spent rods to the dumping site of waste from a coal plant, I think a nuclear power plant would look significantly more dirty and radioactive. We just do a better job of dispersing this waste away from people.

So the real issue is when leaks occur. As TFA states, there were numerous leaks from nuclear power plants. I doubt the scientists (from your link) took into account the radioactivity of an area surrounding the plant when leaks occurred. Therefore, taking into account leaks and waste, nuclear power plants produce much more dangerous waste and biproducts.

Re:Coal (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956852)

Yes, I already mentioned that they made a correction on page 2 about their original claim.

Re:Coal (1)

blackC0pter (1013737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957486)

However, your correction is still not an apples to apples comparison. As other posters have commented, comparing shielded nuclear waste to unshielded coal ash is not the same thing. Yes, one power plant may seem to have better shielding and containment efforts in place now, but the potential for disaster is still much higher with nuclear waste. If the shielding breaks you have a serious amount of radiation that is released into the atmosphere. Coal ash is already unshielded and really can't become much more radioactive. Also, my point was that the study didn't take into account leaks from power plants as the original article was talking about. If you compared a leaking nuclear power plant to coal ash I'm sure you would see a world of a difference in the level of radiation. This comparison is necessary because the article mentions "increasingly leaky, uninspected and unmaintained nuclear power plants". We can no longer compare nuclear power plants under their ideal operating conditions where no waste leaks.

Re:Coal (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957558)

I agree that the article is misleading, but I disagree that waste dumps for coal fly ash [wikipedia.org] are safer than nuclear waste dumps.

Re:Coal (3, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957120)

Read right to the end of the comments on that article and track it back to it's source and you will see that it's poorly researched bullshit based on an Oak Ridge Labs newsletter article written by a guy more famous for his books on "southern humour". It's a beat-up based on the situation that most people have never heard of background radiation.
It was a very low moment for Scientific American.
In case people haven't noticed coal kills real people in real ways already without this imaginary bullshit. This stuff really comes from a failed 1970s PR effort that went along the lines of "coal pollutes, why can't we do the same?" and should have died off before most readers here were even born.
I was looking at which elements were in fly ash with backscatter in an electron microscope in the 1990s for a while and never saw enough of anything heavy that made it out of the noise - and now we get this bullshit about it all being radioactive. Think about it - if there's all this stuff why hasn't anyone been able to detect it coming out of the stack sine the 1970s, after all the spectrometer you'd need to find it was invented over a century ago?
There's an easy answer - you've been conned by slick PR.

Re:Coal (0)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957548)

John McPhee's book, Rising From The Plains [amazon.com] , documents his time spent with John Love in Montana. Love was one of the pre-eminent geologists of the 20th century and the primary author of two state geologic maps of Montana. During the Uranium Boom of the 50's, Love was offered a job paying a million dollars/year because he was so good at finding uranium. He repeatedly found deposits where other geologists had said there wouldn't be any.

During their travels around Montana, Love described how uranium easily dissolves in rain water, is carried by same until the water encounters coal where the carbon filters the uranium out of solution. Love then pointed to a nearby coal burning power plant and said the uranium goes up the smokestack and was dispersed to the east.

Neither McPhee nor Love had any reason to spread bullshit about uranium contaminating coal.

So perhaps the samples you inspected didn't come from coal fields that are near uranium deposits like the coal in Montana is.

As for the Scientific American, it's been spewing crap at least since Omni went tits up.

Re:Coal (3, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31958152)

uranium goes up the smokestack

Then some time over the last 40 years somebody should have been able to find some of it going up the stack. No luck so far despite a lot of monitoring.
I mostly mentioned my experience because usually some idiot insists that 100% of all ash is nuclear waste, and at least this dispels the extreme view. When I was looking at the ash I'd never even heard of this bullshit because it emerged and was buried as a laughing stock in the 1970s (apparently) and then was regurgitated again around 2000 or so.
It's irrelevant anyway. Get enough of it in your lungs and it will kill you without any of this pretend nuclear waste bullshit.

Re:Coal (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957882)

Naturally regulation is essential. But the point is that at current levels of regulation, nuclear is much safer than coal.

Re:Coal (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31958016)

That's not really a good excuse for spreading lies though it it? Nuclear has to stand on it's own merits and it is competing against a lot more than just coal.

Re:Coal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31957850)

I used to work at a coal fired power plant. I went to one of our nuclear facilities and they told me to leave all of my safety equipment (hard hat, steel toe shoes, etc) becaue the ash on them would set off the radiation detector at the gate which would make for a very bad day for me. Also, tritium has a half life of 12 years so it would seem that any leak over 25 years old would not be applicable.

Re:Coal (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956518)

I think you mean the American nuclear industry. Otherwise, there might be a few residents of Chernobyl who would like to have a word with you.

Re:Coal (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956576)

Or the French, German, Japanese, UK, Canadian nuclear industries (among many more that could be listed). But because there happened to be one accident at a single nuclear power plant that clearly means all nuclear plants are unsafe!

Re:Coal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956892)

You use the term "accident" lightly here?

Chernobyl was pretty much intentional. The Soviet military invaded the plant for a "scientific test" and held the technicians at gunpoint while they bypassed every security feature that site had. Repeatedly. Until it blew up.

Re:Coal (4, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956990)

The Soviet military invaded the plant for a "scientific test" and held the technicians at gunpoint while they bypassed every security feature that site had.

Umm, bullshit. The test was scheduled by the plant crew. It was originally supposed to be held during the day when more experienced operators were on duty but was moved to the night shift because the USSR's persistent electrical shortages would not allow the idling of a reactor during peak demand. The Soviet military had nothing to do with it until the disaster happened nor was anybody held at gunpoint and forced to conduct the test.

On a side note, I've often wondered why the thought of having the more experienced operators come in and work the night shift didn't cross anyone's mind. I guess communism doesn't encourage standing out from the pack and suggesting such "novel" ideas....

Fluffy bunny view of nuclear power is wrong (2, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957436)

There are a few dead nuclear workers in France for one that disrupt your little fantasy.
Nuclear works - but there's no point of all this bullshit pretending it's clean, a solved problem and we don't have to be careful about safety when it's a dangerous, dirty process just like a lot of other things we use. The fluffy, clean, runs off magic beans without farting bullshit is counterproductive and has certainly held up research into waste management and better reactor designs in the USA. It's about 20 years behind South Africa, India and China in safe reactor design and 30 years behind Australia in waste management.

Re:Coal (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31958020)

Mr. Hightower? [illinoistimes.com] Is that you?

The fates did not blow up these 29 people. They are dead because self-serving profiteers in the coal industry have routinely used their enormous political clout to fend off commonsense safety regulations by the big, bad government, thus making these "accidents" inevitable. In the case of Upper Big Branch, the profiteer is one of America's biggest coal corporations, Massey Energy Co., along with its right-wing, multimillionaire CEO, Don Blankenship.

King Coal, as the industry is known both in Appalachia and on Capitol Hill, deploys more than 100 Washington lobbyists and doles out millions of dollars in campaign donations. All of this political firepower is used to sidetrack the simplest safety measures and muzzle the federal mine safety watchdog. How tight is the muzzle? Deliberate violations of safety rules that lead to deaths are treated as misdemeanors!

Upper Big Branch has been cited by the feds for more than 3,000 worker safety violations since 1995, and its record of dangerous disregard has gotten worse in recent years. Last year it had nearly 500 violations, roughly double the number in 2008, including ones that create life-threatening conditions for miners. Yet its "punishment" was $168,393 in fines, with no effective requirement to improve conditions. This is chump change to Massey, which had $56 million in profits last year.

Re:Coal (1)

Maxmin (921568) | more than 4 years ago | (#31958472)

So far nobody has died because of the nuclear industry's negligence.

Chernobyl killed 31, with another 4,000 cancer deaths expected. Maybe you meant the American nuclear industry?

The jist of the issue is true, however: the NRC has turned into a rubber-stamp machine, in favor of the industry. That's probably the only way that many of the aging power plants will get recertified (remember, few reactors have been built in the last 20 years.)

Some plants have serious issues, for example the fire safety problem at Indian Point.

The NRC waived their own requirement that the conduit connecting the control room with the reactors be able to withstand fire for one hour. Instead, they granted an exemption to Indian Point's operator, allowing a conduit rated at only 24 minutes.

What's the problem, you say? Burning through that conduit means meltdown.

I agree that there should be more research dollars spent on nuclear, but the NRC and the industry must play it straight. No risking lives.

Figures (3, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956454)

Numberous aviation accidents between the years 1905 and 2009 may indicate the FAA is not doing it's job, either.

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956560)

When the government ruled by corporations, isn't it easier to blame the government and not the corporations?

Re:Figures (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957116)

I think the point the GP was making that you brilliantly whiffed on is that even with all the regulation no matter how careful everyone is shit still happens.

Re:Figures (3, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956594)

And since this submission is from mdsolar, I think we must take issue with the number of people who have died as a result of exposure to the sun between the years 1905 and 2009.

Or the number of people dying while digging coal and oil out of the ground.

Re:Figures (5, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956632)

More people died this month alone from coal power than have died from all the commercial nuclear power accidents in the US.

Re:Figures (2, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31958304)

As well as oil power. [washingtonpost.com]

Taco the cum-guzzler (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956668)

This dump sucks!

Re:Figures (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957450)

They track airplane/novociane accidents?

yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956530)

Oh look, another sensationalist anti-nuclear article submitted by mdsolar.

Nice Try (2, Informative)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956574)

Nice try mdsolar. Maybe the mods are too stupid to realize you submit every story with a noted bias against nuclear plants but I'm not. All the other stories about the leak are submitted by this guy.

Re:Nice Try (2, Informative)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956748)

What's funny is that he's submitted like 10 or 11 stories in just the last 3 months on this plant.

Let us now stereotype (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956578)

I used to think nuclear reactors were strictly regulated. Then I wondered why all the plants in my yard grew larger than normal. Considering I can see the coolant steam from my street, I guess now I can just assume the stereotype. After all, it's a navy training reactor, so why can't I assume?

Re:Let us now stereotype (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957244)

So nuclear waste is getting to your garden and making plants grow bigger your ignorance makes my head hurt, if anything the extra heat will cause your plants to grow faster but more then likely it's just in your disillusion head. Being exposed to nuclear waste does not make plants grow bigger, give people super powers, or give fish 3 eyes.

Re:Let us now stereotype (2, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957546)

I can't see the nuclear reactors from where I live, but you'd think that the 30 or 50 of them would lead to numerous transformed monstrous animals, but all we've got are jackalopes. They do make a nice sandwich spread, but so far no buildings have been destroyed with laser beams coming out their eyes.

Impressive! (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956582)

at least 102 reactor units

You guys have that many? Good on ya!

Re:Impressive! (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956680)

101,119 Megawatts from 104 reactors, 1 building and 30 planned or proposed.

Re:Impressive! (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956736)

The U.S. has more watts of nuclear than any other country.

We also have more watts in general, so the above sort of gets lost in comparisons.

Re:Impressive! (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957070)

We also have more watts in general, so the above sort of gets lost in comparisons.

But the big problem is that we have more 'wuts' in general. And they just get lost.

mdsolar and kdawson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956682)

mdsolar and kdawson? Quickly separate them! Before they become unstoppable and destroy us with bias, crap and FUD!

Re:mdsolar and kdawson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956776)

now all we need is sopssa's opinion on why all of this is a conspiracy between open source advocates and google to bring down the far superior windows OS and we'll have a trifecta.

Re:mdsolar and kdawson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31958368)

Thank god, I thought I was the only one who's noticed that sopssa is a fucking moron.

A better source... (2, Informative)

ProdigyPuNk (614140) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956690)

Firstly, I can't believe the only source for the article is a report from "Beyond Nuclear". Here's a much better look at the risks when Tritium is run through buried pipes: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/buried-pipes-fs.html [nrc.gov]

The NRC’s regulations focus on systems necessary to safely operate the plant or safely shut it down in case of an emergency. These safety systems’ buried piping is subject to inspection and testing requirements laid out in agency regulations and standards from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. These standards call for regular flow testing and other surveillance for buried safety-related pipes, and NRC reviews have confirmed nuclear plants perform these tests several times every year.

Tritium exposure is relatively benign (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956696)

NRC page on tritium http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/tritium-radiation-fs.html [nrc.gov] . Even the levels at so called "contaminated wells", assuming you drink from it every day for a year, are negligible compared to other sources of background radiation and even potassium in your body.

Re:Tritium exposure is relatively benign (2, Interesting)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956714)

And the level of contamination in the surrounding soil and water is far less than what you get around even the cleanest of coal plants.

Re:Tritium exposure is relatively benign (2, Informative)

arogier (1250960) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957494)

And tritium is used in sealed glass capsules as a source of illumination in consumer products like Luminox watches.

PDFs missing (1)

archer, the (887288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31956704)

There are two links in the original article that supposedly point to PDFs of the list of events. Both links are returning Page Not Found.

Bah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956798)

Vermont Yankee is responsible for their own screwups.

Environmental effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31956866)

On balance nuclear power is one of the safest forms of electricity production we have. Do the math on coal's emissions of radioactivity and it is many times that of nuclear, even with a few leaks. Do the math on the environmental destruction which would be caused by massive roll outs of solar and wind and all the power lines running over the countryside and nuclear's footprint looks like the greenest of all technologies. Nuclear power is the only mature technology that can save us by producing a sizable portion of our energy needs at reasonable costs and without massive destruction of our environment that wind and solar would.

Just look at the environmental effects of hydro power, once praised as power without pollution now environmentalists want to take down damns whenever they can so that the fish can swim and the natural cycles can resume. Nuclear can sit on a few dozen acres of land and provide all the electricity needs of a major city.

If Vermonters don't want nuclear, I think it is their right. And maybe Vermont is small, quaint and rich enough to be able to get away with importing its energy.

Re:Environmental effects (2, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957676)

They're dams, not damns, and bypass structures to allow fish to pass dams have been around since the 17th century. They're called fish ladders, and there are dozens of them in the United States, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. There's one under construction in Montana right now.

As for large scale solar and wind installations, they're connected to the grid the exact same way a nuclear power plant is: a high voltage transmission line or two. It's not like the nuclear power plant is going to be built inside the city it services. It will be built in a remote location, the same as any other power plant.

Environmentalists SAY they want the whole world to live in straw houses and wear hair shirts and never go further from their birthplace than they can walk. Of course the ones we can actually hear say this are the ones who live hundreds of miles from their birthplace in a typical middle class suburb and are using a computer, one of mankind's pinnacles of techno-industrial achievement, to talk to us. Their protests ring rather hollow.

Re:Environmental effects (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31958882)

It will be built in a remote location, the same as any other power plant.

CWLP [google.com] (coal and natural gas) is within the city limits (look to the right, you can see the smokestacks).

Okay, but what does it mean? (3, Insightful)

Mr Otobor (1097177) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957002)

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to take away from this... for instance:

at least 102 reactor units are now documented to have had recurring radioactive leaks into groundwater from 1963 through February 2009.

(which is a broken link from the linked article/page)

So the NRC is a 50 year epic fail? That leaks are increasing? Increasing... post-Regan/post-90's/post-40-year-old-reactors? No implied pattern? Caused by what... maintenance failures? Expected wear? Unexpected wear? Lack of oversight?

Sorry, I just tend to take a somewhat guarded view to statements that amount to, "It's all f*cked up!" and not much more.

Re:Okay, but what does it mean? (2, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957246)

It's mdsolar, he sells solar panels online and regularly posts these anti-nuclear FUD tinged posts.

You do the math.

Better Subject Line Needed (3, Funny)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957482)

I thought this story was going to be about the National Republican Committee, Virgina Tech and baseball.

This is not Chernobyl (5, Informative)

SovBob (471280) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957502)

I seem to notice that there is a lot of FUD and misinformation out there (not just from mdsolar and Beyond Nuclear) regarding nuclear power. This is helped in part because of ignorance by the general public. It's important to understand that there is a wide range of radioactive sources. Most of them are naturally occurring, or occur is such small amounts that they present no health hazard.

Radiation exposure is usually measured in Rem (or mRem). Let's take a look at some common activities [nyc.gov] and see how they compare.

One chest X ray (8 mRem)

One mammogram (70 mRem)

One X ray of the abdomen (300 mRem)

One renal nuclear medicine procedure (310 mRem)

One CT head scan (3000 mRem)

CAT scan of whole body (5000 mRem)

As you can see, there is a wide variance of radiation sources. Most people in the US receive approximately 300 mRem / year from natural background radiation sources (primarily from radon and sun exposure.) So, how much radiation exposure do you need to cause bodily damage [epa.gov] ?

There is no agreed-upon level which is considered "safe", however there is relatively clear agreement on thresholds where radiation has noticeable effects on the human body. (NOTE: These are listed in Rem, not mRem)

Changes in blood chemistry (5-10 Rem)

Nausea (50 Rem)

Fatigue (55 Rem)

Vomiting (70 Rem)

Hair loss (75 Rem)

Diarrhea (90 Rem)

Hemorrhage (100 Rem)

Possible death (400 Rem)

Death within 1-2 weeks (1000 Rem)

Damage to central nervous system (2000 Rem)

Death within days (2000 Rem)

But what about cancer? The risk for cancer can be increased by radiation exposure, which resulted in increased mutation rates of cell growth. The EPA [epa.gov] estimates that in a group of 10,000 people 2,000 of them will die from cancer. If each person received 1 Rem (not mRem) of non-natural ionizing radiation exposure accumulated over their lifetime, 2,006 people would die from cancer.

So, now that we have an idea of just how bad different levels of radiation exposure are, what about these tritium leaks that have got certain people so upset? The highest reading that these monitoring wells have read was 2.45 microcuries / liter. This translates into roughly 425 mRem / year (assuming it was not diluted). 425 mRem is substantially higher than the current NRC limits, but still much too low to present a health hazard.

When people hear words like "nuclear reactor piping leak" they naturally assume that high-level radioactive particulates are getting out to the environment. The fact is that the incident at Vermont Yankee represents a very small health hazard to the public.

Re:This is not Chernobyl (1)

rogerz (78608) | more than 4 years ago | (#31958672)

Congratulations on this post. If it doesn't go up to a 5 very soon, there is no hope for Slashdot. The magnitude of radiation exposure and its comparison with other radiation sources, is the absolute essence of the issue. That neither of the linked articles contained one such quantity should completely disqualify them from being posted on a site which is supposedly concerned with nerd news.

Blame the government, it's so easy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31957520)

Government regulation: BAD!
Lack of government regulation: BAD!

What the fuck, slashdot? Make up your minds already.

Re:Blame the government, it's so easy! (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957864)

Unlike other "news" sources, Slashdot allows voices that contradict the usual preferences to show up as stories. Other organizations *cough*Fox*cough* are managed much more tightly, so none of their coverage ever contradicts the party line without substantially negative connotations to go along with it. Slashdot is as much or more discussion-driven as it is headline-driven, and I'm convinced the editors have a habit of letting through inflammatory articles on purpose, in order to drive up comment participation. Stories that are substantially correct and non-controversial get 1/10th as many comments as stories with errors.

In any case, Slashdot generally likes government regulation, as can be seen by opinions on articles ranging from the FCC to the FTC to the FDA to the NRC. "Government regulation: BAD!" comes from outside Slashdot. (And from one organization in particular: the RNC.)

Tritium leaks (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957556)

On top of all this, most plants are not designed to contain tritium, and those that can contain it must somehow transfer it to another containment vessel.

No! No! NO! (2, Funny)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957578)

Jesus H. Christ! How many times do I have to tell you! It's clean, not dirty! It's the cleanest of them all! Cleaner than coal! Cleaner than gas! Cleaner than oil! Cleaner than those stupid degenerate bisexual latte-drinking atheistic hippie socialist wind generators! Get it through your god-damned head already!

Irrational fear and misinformation (3, Interesting)

beefubermensch (575927) | more than 4 years ago | (#31957694)

Canadian nuclear plants emit 40 times more tritium every day when functioning normally than the Vermont Yankee leak emitted in a year:
http://atomicinsights.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-much-tritium-leaked-from-vermont.html [blogspot.com]

A 1 GW(e) natural gas turbine will emit about 9 curies/year,* which is 20 times the rate of radiation from the VT Yankee leak at its highest.

Oh, and natural gas "fracking" produces toxic and radioactive wastewater. This article from last summer discusses EPA tests that found nasties from the fracturing fluid in domestic well water:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=chemicals-found-in-drinking-water-from-natural-gas-drilling [scientificamerican.com]
New York State is doing fracking in something called Marcellus shale. This article from last fall says that surface wastewater from these sites was found to contain Ra-226 in concentrations "thousands of times" the limit for drinking water:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=marcellus-shale-natural-gas-drilling-radioactive-wastewater [scientificamerican.com]
This page
http://www.epa.gov/radiation/tenorm/oilandgas.html [epa.gov]
says, "more than 18 billion barrels of waste fluids from oil and gas production are generated annually in the United States".

-Carl

* Radioactivity of fossil gas. This abstract
http://rpd.oxfordjournals.org/content/97/3/259.abstract [oxfordjournals.org]
gives 200 Bq/m^3. It doesn't say where they measured, but given context of the paper I'll assume it was at the consumer end of the line, at STP. I don't know if gas used at electrical plants is any fresher, but I'll assume it's no more stale. Pure methane has an energy content of 55.5 kJ/g and a density of 667 g/m^3, or about 5 Wh(e)/L from a 50%-efficient combined-cycle plant. So about 40Bq/Wh, or 1 nanoCurie per Wh, or 9 Curies/GW-yr.

The real issue (1)

chipperdog (169552) | more than 4 years ago | (#31958390)

Since the NRC hasn't allowed any new plants to be built for 40 years (all the plants in operation now are based on 1960's designs), we've been stuck extending the life of our first generation commercial plants - well beyond the original design life of them, instead of building safer, more efficient plants as we learn and develop new technologies (like the ESBWR)

mod vup (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31958998)

antibacteriAl soap. In jocks or chaps conversation and leAd developers
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