Sunday, March 29, 2009

Three Mile Island - People Died

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, this is the 30 year anniversary of North America's worst nuclear accident: Three Mile Island. True to form for nuke incidents, we've been kept in the dark concerning the actual scope of the disaster.

Robert, over at Blast Furnace Blog, had a piece on TMI and I left a bigass comment. I'm recycling that comment here.

We're only just learning about the cover-ups at TMI.

People died.

In 1983, Metropolitan Edison was busted for falsifying documents related to the accident and reactor safety. They pled guilty to six, and no contest to one, of the 11-count indictment.

(The) thousands of people who received the same dose as an x-ray included pregnant women and children under the age of five. Pregnant women, fetuses and young children are more easily damaged by small doses of radiation. Acceptable doses are based on "reference man" -- a 20-30 YO Caucasian male.

Until we have a permanent, safe, passively secure site for storing spent fuel, we sure as hell shouldn't be adding to the stockpile.

While (Robert's) assertion that CANDUs are safer than other types is arguable, AECL has abandoned the old heavy water CANDU and is promoting the ACR 1000, a EPR (Generation 3) type reactor. All 3 of the reactor designs shortlisted for Ontario are EPR types.

In the past couple weeks, the Oxford Research Group, UK think tank, released a study for the Institute for Public Policy Research. They warn that these third generation (EPR) reactors, like the three models on OPG's shortlist for Ontario and Bruce Power's shortlist for Nanticoke, pose proliferation risks that could lead to “nuclear anarchy.” The report notes that the new type of reactor produces high grade plutonium as a by-product. Plutonium is used to make the most efficient nuclear weapons.

It's been nearly 60 years since the "Atoms for Peace" campaign started promoting nuclear electricity generation. Back then, the scientists were heady from successes like the Manhattan Project. They saw the problem of spent fuels but were understandably confident the problem would be solved quickly. After all , the world's best minds were working on a solution. After 60 years, the best they came up with was Yucca Mountain and that has just been kiboshed by Obama after 20 years work and $11 Billion thrown down the drain.

Reprocessing doesn't work either. A reprocessing plant in West Valley, NY, just across Lake Erie must be decommissioned at taxpayer expense. The operator went broke. NY State taxpayers are looking at a $27 billion estimate to decontaminate the site. Remember though, nuke projects typically come in at least 50% over budget.

Why on earth would any sensible person even consider a technology that leaves behind waste that must be guarded by paramilitary swat teams for 250,000 years?

Here's picture from Bruce Power bragging about their security team. The stuff they're guarding will need to be guarded for more than 100,000 years. Who's going to be responsible for securing the waste we're creating today? What right do we have to burden future generations and civilizations with the toxic legacy of our wasteful lifestyles?


Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour: A Curmudgeon's View

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I'm doin' some recyclin' an' I reckon it's OK on accounta it's all about Earth Hour. My boogin' buddy Balbulican has a post on how the anti-Earthers can carry their stoopidity to the next level. I'm recyclin' my comment from StageLeft and usin' it fer my boog story. I ain't sure how many KwH I'm savin'.

I’m a bigass treehugger an’ ol’ Mother Earth is who I fight for every day but I’m a little cynical about Earth Hour. Oh, I’ll participate. It’ll be easy. Ma and I always walk the dogs fer about an hour a night. Usually, we leave the back porch light on but on Saturday, I’ll pull the main breaker down in the basement before we go out and reset all the clocks when we come back.

Here in small town Ontariariario, we get useta power outages — even when yer livin’ in the shadow of the Nanticoke Generating Station. I hafta reset the clocks about 6x a year anyways. One more time ain’t gonna hurt much, sez I.

Reason I’m a bit cynical on Earth Hour is I get the impression some folks think if they turn off their lights fer an hour a year, they’re actually making some difference vis-a-vis savin’ the planet. I reckon symbolism is a little beyond some folks.

I also am a little concerned with the message that conservation involves freezing in the dark. There are far more effective and less inconvenient ways to use less energy than to turn off everything for an hour a year and then carry on with the usual wasteful practices the rest of the time.

Earth Hour can be fun and informative and I’m maybe a curmudgeon but I’ll do my bit on Saturday night. And, man-o-man, do I ever figger that them Small Dead Anti-Earthers is about as anti-conservative as they can get. Wanton waste does not equal conservatism in anybody’s dictionary.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

How Pleasant for the Peasants: A Ringnecked Pheasant

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, Ma an' I was out in the country on a errand this mornin' an' Ma spotted this here ringneck. She put on the brakes an' backed up an' rolled down the window an' I snapped this here pitcher.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

See also: Hockey and Beer

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I was leavin' a comment at somebuddy's boog recently and I seen an ad in the combox for a new news aggregator: Alltop. When I went to see what they got, I had me a good laff.

"All the top Canadian News. See also Hockey and Beer."