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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  August 2010

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE August 2010

Subject:

Re: Chernobyl Effects Could Last Centuries

From:

Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 25 Aug 2010 17:15:26 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (168 lines)

Thanks to Bob Ogden for understanding my primary motivation. Just
because I am not as concerned about the dangers of this energy source
as some here does not make me a booster or advocate of it. That's a
distinction that people who see everything in black and white have a
hard time with.

MB

On Wednesday, August 25, 2010, Robert David Ogden <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Damn, Robt, why did you spoil your excellent response by calling Balter a nukesymp? He has been clear that his intention is to help the anti-nuke movement present its case tighter. He may be re-considering the anti-nuke position, I don't know, but please stop, brother in Christ, from dropping these little turds like nukesymp, chows, and wimmen in your generally well-informed, thoughtful writing.
> You are right that there are well-informed "experts" with up-to-date accessments of the perils of nukes, but as is normal the media bypasses them and goes for the flashy folks. What else is new? should the smart guys get flashier? I dunno
> Bob Ogden
>
> --- On Tue, 8/24/10, Robert Mann <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> From: Robert Mann
>  <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Chernobyl Effects Could Last Centuries
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 4:13 PM
>
>
> M. Balter wrote:
>
>
> I'm not sure what Robert means by mutations resulting
> in congenital effects in 10-20 generations, since at most there have only been
> 1-2 human generations since the Chernobyl accident in
> 1986.
>
>
>          This
> was in response to the following exchange:
>
>
> MB:
>
> there is no reason at all yet to
> conclude that there is any connection between radiation and the
> effects seen.  The IPS article also refers repeatedly to
> increases in various effects, but does not explain why
> increases  in such things as birth defects or infant
> mortality should be appearing now, so long after the accident, when
> radiation exposures are decreasing if anything.  Only effects
> with long latency periods like cancer would be expected to
> increase.
>
>
>
>
> RM:
> Mutations are the longest-lasting aftereffects of ionizing radiation.
> They are expected to emerge in congenital defects during 10 - 20
> generations.
>
>
>
>
> You see that I'd said "during 10 - 20 generations"
> -  nothing novel or unconventional about that period during which
> recessive alleles are expected to get expressed.
>  But now we have an attempt to insinuate that I'd suggested
> these mutations would be expressed 'in' 10 - 20 generations, as if I'd
> been saying they would not be showing up yet.
>
>
> I merely ask list members to examine carefully that little
> exchange.  The conclusion is pretty obvious to me.
>
>
>
>
> After 4 decades of antinuclear activism, I know full well that my
> 'side' of this wrangle ('debate' is too decorous a term for it) is
> largely populated by sloppy overenthusiastic ravers  -
> the only antinukes ever acknowledged by Michael.  But can he
> possibly be unaware that the core of the antinuclear forces are
> nothing of that sort?  Henry Kendall, Frank von Hippel, and many
> other utterly respectable scientists have, for decades now, set forth
> with zero sloppiness the several arguments which are never addressed
> by nukesymps like MB.  I suspect he knows full well what they
> are, but for any who don't, let me list just from memory (in approx
> decr order of importance  -  but of course there's much
> subjectivity in any such ordering):-
>
>
> the 'safeguards problem' as it's called by experts  -
> diversion of fissile material from nuclear power systems to make
> nuclear weapons
>
>
> reactor accident hazards
>
>
> reactor (& spent-fuel pool) sabotage hazards
>
>
> spent-fuel mishaps in transport & at reprocessing
>
>
> other hazards at other parts of the fuel "cycle"
>
>
> the sheer unrenewability of U (& Th)
>
>
> huge capital costs
>
>
> decommissioning costs comparable to the capital costs
>
>
> very wide range of reliability, some stations being out of action
> for a year or more, or dropping off the grid far more often than
> fuel-fired or geothermal steam-electric stations, tending to crash the
> grid
>
>
> high-level waste disposal {yes, I disagree with Greepneace etc on
> the ranking for this one}
>
>
> diversion of sc & eng'g talent into a blind alley instead of
> working on renewables
>
>
> infrastructure costs foisted onto govts i.e  all
> citizens
>
>
>
>
> Forgive me if this list is incomplete; it's just a reminder of
> what MB wishes to call "old".
>
>
> As for MB's insistence on making out that the antinuclear case
> consists largely of  "old arguments that are no longer
> working", this 'empirical' observation is at best
> only a small part of a fair assessment.  If "no longer working"
> is no more than a way of saying that several govts continue to do what
> the nuclear trade wants, that is unfortunately accurate.  If on
> the other hand it's intended as a way of saying that the "old"
> arguments have somehow lost validity, why should we agree?  Just
> because little notice has yet been taken by most govts of the
> impeccable Kendall (etc) arguments, how does that affect their
> validity ?
>
>
> This is no mer
>

-- 
******************************************
Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]
Web:    michaelbalter.com
NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/balter.html
******************************************

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why
the poor have no food, they call me a Communist." -- Hélder Pessoa
Câmara

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