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Fission Tragedy Could be Averted
The communications industry pumps 25% of their revenue back into research. The result? Slim iPhones and androids and many amazing communications wonders. Meanwhile, we starve energy research for
funds with just 0.3% of the energy budget going to R&D, and wring our hands over oil spills and meltdowns.
by Rezwan Razani, Executive Director, Focus Fusion Society
Adapted for Pure Energy Systems News
I am filled with sorrow at the tragedy unfolding in Japan. In an effort to get something constructive to come of this, I offer the following:
The tsunami triggered an emergency at the Fukushima nuclear fission plant, reminding everyone of the dangers of fission. Now that people are worrying about these dangers, it's prime time to point out the lack of energy options on our planet, the still unfulfilled promise of fusion, and most importantly, the lack of systematic action towards the goal of better energy options. (see -
In the US, the energy industry as a whole spends less than 0.3% of revenues on Research and Development, compared with an average of 3% for all other industries (an order of magnitude!), and 25% for communication technologies. (Data from
"Post Partisan Power
Report" of AEI & Brookings Institute).
Imagine a world in which energy research was a priority and we kept coming up with better, safer and cheaper energy options, as they do in the communications sector. The energy sector seems content to stick to old technologies and have us deal with horrible oil spills and terrifying meltdowns. Energy advancement has a long way to go.
Again, the amounts required are not that great: The cost of the BP gulf oil spill last summer has reached $40Bn
(source). In contrast, to date, the US has spent $22Bn on fusion research over the past 50 years, (yes, fifty YEARS)
(More info). Whats wrong with this picture?
As noted, the communications industry pumps 25% of their revenue back into research. The result? Slim iPhones and androids and many amazing communications wonders. Meanwhile, we starve energy research for funds, and wring our hands over oil spills and meltdowns.
Could we one day live in a world of amazing energy wonders? Could we have a broad selection of attractive, well developed energy options? Could there be ever more elegant, small, easily deployed energy production units that could quickly restore power in disaster prone areas? We have not yet begun to put our best foot forward. Aside from the mainline fusion approaches, there are many fascinating ideas that might blossom with reliable funding (LPPX, for one-and many others as well).
The main message here is fund fusion, fund energy alternatives. Rise above these collective action problems and live up to our potential as energy creators.
# # #
This story is also posted at BeforeItsNews.
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On March 15, 2011 8:07 PM MST, Paul
Sterling; A bit of important discussion
A few months ago there was a fire on and oil rig and then it sank. I watched hoping that somehow the situation would resolve itself and hoping that the oil men had done a reasonable job assuring that even with the failure that the oil well was properly fail safe protected. Then I saw the oil was coming up and the volumes of the oil. In the discussions of it I suffered a lot of slings and arrows from many quarters. Many people told me I knew nothing of what was going on and that what I had said was impossible. Sadly we now know I was right. I wish I was not.
They said the oil wasnt spreading out in the anticlines. It was. Slashdot had a party telling everyone I was wrong on the volume of oil coming out. Now there is absolutely no doubt of the truth. The volumes were beyond imagination. It wasnt 1,000 BPD or even 5,000 BPD. Now we know my estimates were probably low. I could go on but my purpose isnt to brag, rather I want to help.
I say this because I have been watching since 3/11/2011 the horrors of the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. I have also been watching carefully the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power station and I have not commented because I was carefully observing the facts before I felt safe to comment. I have no desire to make a comment on this situation that is merely redundant of the reports in the press or which contributes to irrational actions.
As with the oil well the point here is pretty simple. The standard forms of energy generation are simply getting too dangerous and too expensive for us to continue our course of action. This is not the way to go. This is not to say that oil wells should not be drilled or that nuclear plants should not be built, for we will not progress to a better solution without oil and nuclear power for now. Nonetheless, we must turn away and start developing new and better means for our prosperity. It really is a matter of life and death. It is important to know that the newer nuclear plants are generally much safer than the older ones found at Fukushima Daiichi. There is a great deal of hope for safer and better nuclear power. I state the point first for it must clearly be understood. But for now we all must deal with this plant and its problems. Most of all it should be like the oil well blowout, a wakeup call to bring Alternative Energy into full development.
Fukushima Daiichi plant is burning down and exploding. Of this there is no doubt. Exactly what is going on isnt really a surprise. Anyone generally familiar with nuclear power plants knows main coolant failures are fatal to this type of nuclear power plants. The designers of this plant made several fatal assumptions which have the plant in flames. These were that the plant would never be cut off from a power supply and load on a grid network, and that the power plant would never be without back up power supplies. Clearly these have all failed. Additional bad thinking allowed a design of a containment that would fail catastrophically rather than fail by a pop off of pressure for it is far better to vent modest amounts of radiation into the environment than to blow up your plant with the attendant results of spilling its contents to the wind. It is also probable that the operators under economic pressure tried to save the plant for power production and in the end brought the plant to its current state of total loss of control. Storage of nuclear waste in the containment building also has proved to be an undue risk. In the end this waste storage may be the most dangerous failure of all.
In any case, the fires and explosions are leading to further failures that are producing more and more serious consequences. Each misstep going on now leads to another. The risks now involve the possible release of thousands of tons of radioactive waste into the atmosphere with the attendant risks to all. Nuclear waste is now reported to be burning at Daiichi #4 and all of the 6 reactors at the site are in deep trouble. Explosions at Daiichi #1 and #3 make all but certain the probable fire and release of massive amounts of nuclear waste into the air. This may be a bit redundant of news stories. However; the facts are that every day this situation gets worse and there are no prospects of the situation improving for quite some time.
The release of the radioactive material promises severe damage to Japan in addition to the economic damage in the order of $120 Billion at the plant itself. There is a great prospect of a severe local contamination within the area of the plant depending on the winds. Luckily for Japan the wind will mostly carry the radioactive material to the east over the ocean. Unlucky for the USA the cloud will make way to the USA over the next 10 to 14 days after its release. This plant may release for a month or more. In the spring, with the fast jet streams, the same winds that brought Japanese firebombs as far as the Midwest of the USA during World War II will pipeline the radioactive material to the USA where the spring rains will drop it right onto our winter wheat crops and other things like that.
Please do not panic. The situation is not exactly determined. Under the situation you should undertake to make precautions such as stocking back Potassium Iodide. Do not take it unless you have a reason to do so. Potassium Iodide is not a safe medicine. The dose required to prevent radioactive Iodine from binding to the thyroid gland causes thyroid storm. This condition is potentially quite serious and could be lethal. The binding only lasts about a month. People then need to be treated if the exposure continues. The exposure in this case may be prolonged due to the long term release problem. Fortunately the releases to date have been only slightly energetic so their disbursal is unlikely to reach the USA in quantity. If this changes then the situation could rapidly deteriorate. Be very careful to learn of your situation. Treatment with Potassium Iodide should be done as soon as possible just before or just after exposure. Public authorities should tell us what is going on though they have proved exceedingly unreliable in the past on such matters. Do not bet your life on them. I really hope that they act more responsibly in this event. We all need them to do so.
Potassium Iodide treatments are irrelevant for people on heavy doses of Thyroid Hormone such as
Levothyroxine. Older persons may have some use of it but it will be of modest value. The young persons such as babies and persons up to about 35 years old are definitely the most in need of treatment if they are exposed. The young persons who need the most protection are also the most seriously at risk from the treatment. You can take precaution by eating foods with iodine in them at this time such as using Iodized salt or eating seafood which is known to contain iodine.
The effects on the USA should we suffer a substantial dosing requiring people to take Potassium Iodide would be most serious economically. We would be held from exporting nearly all of our food products. This situation threatens to take a world suffering massive food shortage into absolute disaster. It has high prospects of damaging Pacific Ocean fisheries.
Everyone must know that most of the radioactive material is going to arrive as dust. This means wash it off! Yes soap and water is your first and most important defense against radiation dangers. The last time I checked soap and water are unlikely to have dangerous side effects.
I feel that I should only give the most relevant data out for this situation. It will get over. It will be scary and it may be quite serious for a while. It requires your intelligence and wisdom. Above all keep your head and do your best to think clearly. Not all radiation is dangerous nor are you going to get cancer and die for a small dose. It takes substantial amounts of exposure to cause problems. To this end I would like to give some general information.
Typically persons at Sea Level get doses of 100 millirems or so every year. Residents of Denver Colorado typically get doses about 1,000 millirems per year. There isnt any known hazard for doses upwards to about 6,000 millirems per year and oddly it may even be beneficial. After that point the doses become damaging. The exact reasons for this are not known. This data comes from many health studies including nuclear plant workers, residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and even uranium miners etc. This may be hard to imagine but you really need to know what radiation you are dealing with.
People of the Highland Rim region of Tennessee for example may have penetrations of Radon Gas and its attendant radiation in the order of 2000 times that of a Nuclear Plant worker and suffer no real problems. At Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant the workers in the plant get 25 times more radiation from the red clay in the region when they are outside than the legal limits inside the plant. Smokers get their NRC lifetime limit of radiation from their tobacco at a 2 pack a day dosing in just 6 months. This doesnt make the situation less important to watch. It makes facts and rational responses more important. Coal fired power plants dump many tons of radioactive materials into the air every year. This is all said to bring prospective so that people will be a bit careful in responding to this situation.
The most important prospective in to maintain is that in a world where war is threatening due to our dependence on Middle East Oil deposits and we are threatened by massive accidents in oil and nuclear energy, how can any rational person hold back on demanding that we make rational moves towards developing Alternative Energy. We have to go there. You can continue to listen to the arrogant bombastic leaders who lead you down the road to destruction or you can drive towards your own freedom. It is your choice. You know where each road leads before you take the turn.
I really do not want to scare people. This situation is really getting far out of hand. It is design flaws multiplied by stupidity. This situation is getting more serious than the Oil Well story.
I expect people will think I am silly on washing off nuclear contamination but it is standard Navy practice and was done with the flight crews and others who were contaminated.
I expect people will think that Potassium Iodide is probably a full protection from radiation. It is at best a modest protection against I-131 and not other agents. I-131 will be a likely agent but hardly the only one.
Another simple thing people should do is get new furnace filters and keep newer ones in place all the time.
The situation at Daiichi is probably by far the most serious nuclear accident from the period of the dawn of nuclear energy. I am well aware of those accidents associated with Atomic Weapons work. My uncle was in charge of cleanup of Hanford Washington Nuclear contamination. My 2nd from oldest brother's wife is a Fulbright Scolar from Kiev, Ukraine.
What may be the most awful consequence here is the terror of people for it may freeze us from doing what we must do to survive and prosper. We need most of all to come out of this SMART. Remember do not get mad! Get effective!
p.s. Here is a link to add to my comments to you. It is for the segment about good prospects for some safer nuclear power.
Related Coverage by PESN
Exotic FE: Nuclear
Tragedy Could be Averted - The communications industry
pumps 25% of their revenue back into research. The result? Slim
iPhones and androids and many amazing communications wonders.
Meanwhile, we starve energy research for funds with just 0.3% of the
energy budget going to R&D, and wring our hands over oil spills
and meltdowns. (PESN;
March 15, 2011)
Fusion poses competition to Tokamak - Purports to be a far more
feasible and profoundly less expensive approach to hot fusion, in
contrast to what the international project (ITER) in France is
pursuing. Lawrenceville Plasma Physics is currently researching and
developing the Plasma Focus Device for hydrogen-boron nuclear fusion.