Saturday, January 29, 2011

37th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs Plus Areva!

The Blog Carnival

The 37th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs is up now at Idaho Samizdat. As usual, Dan Yurman has done a masterful job of putting it together. It's a real feast this time, partially because there were so many terrific blogs during National Nuclear Science Week.

Rod Adams of Atomic Insights explains how a paid-off older nuclear plant can make electricity that might indeed, be too cheap to meter. He notes that this can anger the proponents of competing technologies! I describe Gwyneth Cravens visit to Vermont in two blog posts, including one with a video of her Sheraton Economic Series talk in Burlington. CoolHandNuke outlines Canada's interest in small modular reactors, while Ulrich Decher of ANS Nuclear Cafe analyzes the economic and carbon footprint of a wind turbine. (Hint: think about the back-up power.) Next Big Future talks about nuclear growth world-wide, and notes that Flexblue underwater nuclear reactors is targeting a prototype date of 2013 and a commercial date as soon as 2016. Nuclear Green shreds a British report that recommends energy rationing instead of nuclear power.

The host blog, Idaho Samizdat, pays homage to the Challenger deaths, and to all the other deaths of those who have sacrificed their lives to move knowledge, technology and science forward. To move human life forward. The Samizdat post reminds me of the motto of my alma mater, University of Chicago. Crescat scientia; vita excolatur "Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched."

A Personal Story Of Nuclear Medicine

My favorite post from the Carnival is Nuclear Fissionary's Jack Gamble's personal story of being treated with radioactive iodine for Graves' disease. He works in a nuclear plant, and had to take extensive leave from work because he would set off the alarms after being treated. Then he came back to work, and, as he describes it:

21 days after the treatment, I decided enough time had passed since I-131 has an 8 day half life. It was time to go back to work. Of course, when I got to the gate, I was greeted by the klaxon of area radiation monitors protesting my entry into the plant. When a radiation protection technician, otherwise known as Rad Pro, came out to assess my condition, it turned out that my neck was giving off 3 millirem per hour of radiation. To put that in perspective, if you were to stand next to me for 20 minutes, you would have received as much radiation as the people who lived near Three Mile Island in 1979 during the partial meltdown (an entirely harmless amount of radiation).

He comments:

Now consider the fact that nearly 30 days after receiving a relatively routine amount of medical radiation, I was too radioactive to get INTO a nuclear power plant and yet five minutes after taking the pill I was allowed to walk right out the front door of the hospital. There were no men in yellow bubble suits that tackled me to the ground and dragged me to a decontamination shower. There was no EPA at my house declaring it a disaster area even though I left a trail of contamination everywhere I went.

Now consider that antinuclear activists are up in arms over a mere few thousand picocuries of tritium at Vermont Yankee even though none of it will ever make its way to their tap water. ....Now ask yourself why those fanatics are not standing in front of every hospital in the country with their ridiculous picket signs.

Areva: Energy, the Story That is Still Being Written

The Areva website currently hosts the most amazing 60 second video, showing energy use from slavery in Egypt through coal and finally, on to nuclear and wind and solar. The music and graphics are astounding and inspiring. Worth more than 60 seconds of your time! (I have watched it about four times already.)

Come to the Carnival. Have fun! Learn stuff! See the power of Energy!

The Carousel image is my own photograph of the main square at Avignon. The University of Chicago seal, through Wikipedia, is fair use for identifying University of Chicago. The thyroid gland graphic is from Wikipedia.

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