Tuesday, April 12, 2011

47th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs

The Forty-seventh Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs is up at Cool Hand Nuke. Jeff Madison did a great job of pulling those blogs together.

As the situation in Japan becomes more stable, Cool Hand Nuke reports on how it will affect new builds in the U S. It won't affect them much. Brian Wang of Next Big Future looks at the statistics of radiation survivors, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and puts the current situation at the Japanese reactors in perspective. It is most probable that very few (or no) premature deaths will result from the situation in Japan. Corroborating this, Steve Aplin of Canadian Energy Issues points out: "When the prospect of a single nuclear fatality is judged more newsworthy that the plight of half a million people in an unprecedented natural disaster, something is seriously wrong in the editorial rooms." (Emphasis added by blogger).

Gail Marcus of Nuke Power Talk describes TVA's Brown's Ferry plant, and how it is different from Fukushima. Personally, I think of these reactors as similar houses in a subdivision: when they are built, they all look alike. After thirty years of modifications by the owners, there are significant differences between them. Kudos to Gail Marcus and to Matt Wald of the New York Times for pointing out the modifications. Also, kudos to TVA for opening their plant to the media. If you remember, I embedded the video of the Brown's Ferry tour on this blog.

For a full perspective on Japan, we must also look at the financial and society costs of the reactor damage. Dan Yurman looks closely at lessons learned from TMI in his post on "Decommissioning Fukushima" on the ANS blog. At Idaho Samizdat, Yurman breaks a story about a confidential government report about Fukushima. Yurman also links to the report. Read his post and read all about it!

The nuclear opponents are quite busy at this time, and Charles Barton of Nuclear Green describes the strategies that George Monbiot used to discredit Helen Caldicott. Caldicott doesn't have evidence to back up her claims, and Barton describes Monbiot's effective method of just keep asking for the evidence. "Just the facts, ma'am. You can skip the hyperbole for now." Pro-nuclear activists have to just keep asking.

Meanwhile, in Vermont, I concentrate on---Vermont. My post on the Carnival is about Vermont utilities and Vermont Yankee. Isn't it interesting that GazMetro (aka Green Mountain Power) is a major utility buying power from Vermont Yankee, but has a serious conflict of interest in selling power from Vermont Yankee? It would definitely rather sell Canadian gas to power plants.

And here's a link to a post that went up today, and is not on the Carnival. In View From Vermont at ANS Nuclear Cafe, Howard Shaffer says that The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same. Howard and I have been in several public forums (debates, club meetings) where we have presented material about Fukushima. After our presentations, nobody asks questions about Japan. The opponents attempt to convince the audience that "This is going to happen in Vermont, probably tomorrow!" Most people aren't interested. As one woman said to me after a debate: "You wasted your time talking about Japan. It's a long way away. We want to know about Vermont."

We get questions about tritium leaks, costs, whether Entergy lied under oath, what will happen with the spent fuel that is stored on site. In other words, the same questions. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

All politics is local, and so are all nuclear plants.

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