Radiation

Luddites blame Wi-Fi for kid’s death

Stories like this make my blood boil.

This family have tragically lost their son to cancer and somehow it is the school’s fault for having wi-fi installed…never mind that they had it in their house as well…and nevermind that their fears are based on no evidence at all.

Two New Zealand parents think a school’s Wi-Fi may have killed their son.

Ethan Wyman, 10, died of brain cancer earlier this year after an 11-month battle.

His parents now want Wi-Fi removed from his school because they believe students there are being exposed to radiation that could lead them to suffer Ethan’s fate.

Though numerous studies have found that Wi-Fi signals do not present any public health risk, Ethan’s Te Horo School has sent a survey to all parents asking if the wireless internet should be removed.  Read more »

I can feel the radiation just by watching

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Getting Obama with a death-ray?

Two blokes have been arrested in the US for plotting to kill Barack Obama with a death-ray. Seriously..a death-ray?

Captain_proton_death_ray

TWO men have been arrested over a plot to kill US President Barack Obama with a giant homemade death ray.

The FBI arrested 49-year-old Glendon Scott Crawford, from Galway, New York, and his friend Eric J. Feight, 54, of Hudson, New York, foiling the pair’s plan to kill Obama, who Crawford blamed for the recent Boston marathon bombings.

Crawford had built a homemade X-ray machine that used deadly amounts of radiation to kill targets and could be detonated remotely, ABC news reports.

The FBI said the device would have been both “functional” and “lethal”. They said Crawford had called his design “Hiroshima on a light switch”.  Read more »

How many people will die from Fukushima?

Well, if the latest research is anything to go by, not many, if any.

Andrew Bolt writes:

WHERE are those shameless nuclear hysterics who whipped up the Fukushima panic, now punctured by a United Nations report?

The UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation last week found none of the Japanese public is likely to get sick from the 2011 incident, when a tsunami smashed into the Fukushima reactor.

“It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers,” UNSCEAR it said.

“No radiation-related deaths or acute effects have been observed among nearly 25,000 workers . . . It is unlikely that excess cases of thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure would be detectable.”  Read more »

All about Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors in 5 minutes

via the tipline

An interesting technology that seems to have merit for the production of low cost, green energy. That of Liquid Fluoride Thorium reactors:

This technology was first investigated at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment in the 1960s. It has recently been the subject of a renewed interest worldwide. Japan, China, the UK, as well as private US, Czech and Australian companies have expressed intent to develop and commercialize the technology.

From the Youtube video below:

The main downsides/negatives to this technology, politics, corrosion and being scared of nuclear radiation. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors were created 50 years ago by an American chap named Alvin Weinberg, but the American Government realised you can’t weaponise the by-products and so they weren’t interested.

Another point, yes it WAS corrosive, but these tests of this reactor were 50 years ago, our technology has definately improved since then so a leap to create this reactor shouldn’t be too hard.

And nuclear fear is extremely common in the average person, rather irrational though it may be. More people have died from fossil fuels and even hydroelectric power than nuclear power.
I added this video for a project regarding Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, watch and enjoy.  Read more »

The truth about Fukushima

There was much scaremongering in the wake of the tsunami and the shut-down of the Fukushima reactors. Most of it media driven and most of it drivel.

Have read of what Richard Muller has to say about it all at the Wall Street Journal:

Denver has particularly high natural radioactivity. It comes primarily from radioactive radon gas, emitted from tiny concentrations of uranium found in local granite. If you live there, you get, on average, an extra dose of .3 rem of radiation per year (on top of the .62 rem that the average American absorbs annually from various sources). A rem is the unit of measure used to gauge radiation damage to human tissue.

The International Commission on Radiological Protection recommends evacuation of a locality whenever the excess radiation dose exceeds .1 rem per year. But that’s one-third of what I call the “Denver dose.” Applied strictly, the ICRP standard would seem to require the immediate evacuation of Denver.

It is worth noting that, despite its high radiation levels, Denver generally has a lower cancer rate than the rest of the United States. Some scientists interpret this as evidence that low levels of radiation induce cancer resistance; I think it is more likely that lifestyle differences account for the disparity.

Now consider the most famous victim of the March 2011 tsunami in Japan: the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Two workers at the reactor were killed by the tsunami, which is believed to have been 50 feet high at the site.

But over the following weeks and months, the fear grew that the ultimate victims of this damaged nuke would number in the thousands or tens of thousands. The “hot spots” in Japan that frightened many people showed radiation at the level of .1 rem, a number quite small compared with the average excess dose that people happily live with in Denver.

Right so Denver, Colorado is more radioactive than the area surrounding a major nuclear accident.

If you are exposed to a dose of 100 rem or more, you will get sick right away from radiation illness. You know what that’s like from people who have had radiation therapy: nausea, loss of hair, a general feeling of weakness. In the Fukushima accident, nobody got a dose this big; workers were restricted in their hours of exposure to try to make sure that none received a dose greater than 25 rem (although some exceeded this level). At a larger dose—250 to 350 rem—the symptoms become life-threatening. Essential enzymes are damaged, and your chance of dying (if untreated) is 50%.

The hotspots were just .1 rem…and no one even got close to a life threatening dosage. To put this in perspective let’s look at some numbers. Estimates of likely death caused by the reactor failures vary from Richard Muller’s 100 deaths all the way up to 1,500 deaths estimated by Richard Garwin, a renowned nuclear expert. The tsunami killed 15,000 people.

The media has a great deal to anser for in panikcing people.

 

Hot as Hell

ᔥ Andrew Sullivan

You’ve heard the saying but how hot is hell? Well…apparently it is cooler than heaven…hmmm…this is going to tax the literalists:

Isaiah 30:26 reads, Moreover the light of the Moon shall be as the light of the Sun and the light of the Sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days. Thus Heaven receives from the Moon as much radiation as the Earth does from the Sun and in addition seven times seven (forty-nine) times as much as the Earth does from the Sun, or fifty times in all. …  The exact temperature of Hell cannot be computed but it must be less than 444.6°C, the temperature at which brimstone or sulfur changes from a liquid to a gas. Revelations 21:8: But the fearful and unbelieving … shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. A lake of molten brimstone means that its temperature must be below the boiling point, which is 444.6°C. (Above that point it would be a vapor, not a lake.)

We have then, temperature of Heaven, 525°C. Temperature of Hell, less than 445°C. Therefore, Heaven is hotter than Hell.

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Greens and nuclear power

ᔥ The Telegraph

Tom Chivers attempts and fails to understand greens opposition to nuclear power:

I don’t like the idea of being “fundamentally opposed” to one of the most obvious available options for keeping our lights on. If it is shown to be safe and economic, then we should use it. It’s not a moral issue; it’s just one more tool, which we can use well or badly, safely or unsafely. Also: how can an energy technology be “elitist”? I literally don’t know what that means. Is it elitist because it’s hi-tech and third-world countries can’t easily make their own? Well, so are iPads, then, and Toyota Priuses. Or does the word “elitist” just mean “bad” in Green-land, in the same way that “natural” means “good”? [Edit: I can't believe I didn't pick up on "undemocratic" as well. Since when are power stations democratic institutions?]

As for it not being renewable: well, neither is sunlight or the wind, if you’re taking a sufficiently long view. Eventually the Sun will consume the last of its hydrogen and expand into a red giant, probably blasting the Earth to its constituent atoms as it does so. But that’s quite a long way off, so we don’t worry about that. In the shorter but still decently long term, even if no more uranium deposits are found (although they will be) and no more efficient ways of using it developed (although they will be), “total identified resources are sufficient for over 100 years of supply”, according to the IAEA. That ain’t nothing.

“Carbon neutral” is a bit of a red herring as well in this case. It’s true, nuclear power is not carbon neutral. But it’s much less carbon positive, if that makes sense, than fossil fuels. The perfect is the enemy of the good, as the saying goes: just because something isn’t the best possible, doesn’t mean you should ignore it if it’s an improvement over what is available. Furthermore, there is potential to improve the carbon emissions of nuclear; if it is made economically attractive to do so, companies will do it themselves. Targeted carbon taxes, or an auction of carbon credits, would work; certainly the latter did for industrial sulphur dioxide emissions.

Of course once rpesented with all that the Green types fall back on the “safety” issue. But that too is a fatuous argument:

It’s about safety. Nuclear power is unsafe. Look at Chernobyl, look at Three Mile Island, look at Fukushima. It’s dangerous, as the Greens say, and its cost, dangers and waste will be “passed on to future generations”.

But as Prof Paddy Regan says in our paper today, that’s false. Chernobyl killed about 50 people (28 people in the immediate weeks after; an estimated 19, according to the WHO, died of radiation-induced cancers in the following 20 years). Three Mile Island killed, and indeed harmed, precisely nobody. And Fukushima was the most ridiculous of all: as a vast earthquake and tsunami killed 15,000 people, the world’s attention was focused on a meltdown in a 40-year-old reactor which, again, killed no one at all.

How many have died from other energy sources?

Meanwhile, in the last 40 years, tens of thousands of people have been killed by failures at hydroelectric dams; hundreds more have died in coal mines, and of course thousands every year in the US alone from respiratory problems caused by fossil fuels. But the fear of “radiation”, evident in the nonsense scares about “electrosmog”, trump the very real dangers of other energy sources.

Right so how about we get ourselves some nuclear plants and have cheap abundant energy, please.

Some facts about radiation

xkcd, an online cartoon has a great infographic comparing radiation exposure from various sources, including the  “accidents” and the current Japanese situation.

There’s a lot of discussion of radiation from the Fukushima plants, along with comparisons to Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Radiation levels are often described as “<X> times the normal level” or “<Y>% over the legal limit,” which can be pretty confusing.

Ellen, a friend of mine who’s a student at Reed and Senior Reactor Operator at the Reed Research Reactor, has been spending the last few days answering questions about radiation dosage virtually nonstop (I’ve actually seen her interrupt them with “brb, reactor”). She suggested a chart might help put different amounts of radiation into perspective, and so with her help, I put one together. She also made one of her own; it has fewer colors, but contains more information about what radiation exposure consists of and how it affects the body.

Here’s the article: http://blog.xkcd.com/2011/03/19/radiation-chart/ which links to the chart: http://xkcd.com/radiation/

Radiation facts infographic - xkcd