Re: Kyoto

From: M.B.Roberts (
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 18:24:51 EDT

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    I have just sold my car - a Morris Minor 1957 vintage and only did so because I am too lazy to do the necessary restoration myself. It went well - did 42 mpg cruised at 6o etc and I only had it for 30 years!!

    I have no references for Trawsfynydd.

    My point was to highlight types of beliefs floating around. Access to reliable info is difficult as reports of science in papers including good ones is poor.

    Energy use is not my competence but a concern. Alternatives are needed and we seem to be dominated either by green fundamentalists who want to use candles or the other extreme.

    One cannot deal with such issues in a brief compass

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Vandergraaf, Chuck
      To: 'M.B.Roberts'
      Cc: acg ; ; Vandergraaf, Chuck
      Sent: Monday, April 23, 2001 6:04 PM
      Subject: RE: Kyoto


      If you go to you will note that construction for these power stations was started in 1959 and that they went on-line in 1965. In other words, these plants are 35 - 41 years old. They are also relatively small, 250 MW, Magnox plants that use graphite as moderator. Graphite is not the moderator of choice anymore because 1) it can burn and 2) it is susceptible to the Wigner effect which basically allows radiation damage the the graphite lattice to be stored as energy and which led to the fire at Windscale in 1957 (see ). Michael, I doubt if you drive a car of this vintage.

      As to radioactive sheep near Trawsfynydd, I have never heard of this. It is possible that some of the cloud from Chornobyl drifted across Wales and that some of the radioisotopes precipitated as rain. Maybe you could present some references?

      But what's your point, Michael? I mentioned in my earlier e-mail that RBMK-type reactors are not being built anymore; neither are Magnox reactors. So, why do you continue to bring this up? We are now in 2001, not 1959, not 1965, and the reactors we are designing now (and have been for some years) are all cooled and moderated by water. I cannot think of any nuclear power plant built since the, say, 1970s that have had accidents that have led to loss of life anybody, let along in the population surrounding the nuclear power plants. In 2001, we need to compare energy conversion plants of the same vintage. Just as you would not want me to compare a CANDU-NG (CANada Deuterium Uranium - New Generation) with a classic Dutch windmill of 1700 vintage to make my point, I don't think it is fair to bring up the Magnox or RBMK reactors ad infinitum.

      The problem is quite simple, Michael: if we are going to keep using energy at the rate we have become accustomed, how are we going to generate this energy? Coal? Oil? Natural Gas? Nuclear? Windmills? Solar Panels? Hydro? Tidal? Wave Action? What are the costs of building and operating these plants? What is their impact on the environment? If we are going to cut back, who is going to cut back and by how much?



        -----Original Message-----
        From: M.B.Roberts []
        Sent: Monday April 23, 2001 10:12 AM
        To: Vandergraaf, Chuck; 'Jonathan Clarke'
        Cc: acg;; Vandergraaf, Chuck
        Subject: Re: Kyoto

        Then answer this one!!! Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station was closed down several years because of technical problems. The sheep nearby are /were too radioactive for human consumption but that was caused by the Chernobyl leak.

        Is it a case of foot in mouth

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Vandergraaf, Chuck
          To: 'Jonathan Clarke'
          Cc: acg ; ; Vandergraaf, Chuck
          Sent: Monday, April 23, 2001 3:53 PM
          Subject: RE: Kyoto


          Thanks for these URLs. I didn't have time last weekend to dig around for this information and I'm glad you had the URLs at your finger tips. Of course, the information is supplied by the Uranium Institute and this will probably be considered "propaganda" by anti-nuclear activists.

          Incidentally, the same "folk explanations" were used following the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania. Any animal miscarriage, any animal deformity, and any failed crop was attributed to that accident, even though it was shown that it was inconceivable that there could be any link.

          A more recent "folk explanation" is the effect of DU on Gulf War and Bosnia veterans. Yet, the media are all too happy to propagate this sort of nonsense and misinformation. I suppose that, if you tell a lie often enough, it is considered to be a fact.

          Chuck Vandergraaf

           -----Original Message-----
          From: Jonathan Clarke []
          Sent: Saturday April 21, 2001 8:34 AM
          Cc: acg;
          Subject: Re: Kyoto

            It would appear, based in information I have, that Chernobyl is used a folk explanation for all and any problem in in for USSR. Internationally verified studies (by the WHO in the mid 90's) showed that the actual death toll from Chernobyl was in the 40's (, about 30 from acute radiation sickness and 10 from thyroid cancer. More deaths from leukemia are expected, but it is too early for these to appear.
            The most recent study is "Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation", United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, UNSCEAR 2000 Report to the General Assembly, with Scientific Annexes, Volume 2: Effects, Annex J (106 pp) ISBN : 92-1-422396 (

            "413 Apart from the substantial increase in thyroid cancer after childhood exposure observed in Belarus, in the Russian Federation and in Ukraine, there is no evidence of a major public health impact related to ionizing radiation 14 years after the Chemobyl accident. No increases in overall cancer incidence or mortality that could be associated with radiation exposure have been observed. For some cancers no increase would have been anticipated as yet, given the latency period of around 10 years for solid tumours. The risk of leukaemia, one of the most sensitive indicators of radiation exposure, has not been found to be elevated even in the accident recovery operation workers or in children. There is no scientific proof of an increase in other non-malignant disorders related to ionizing radiation."

            "415. There is a tendency to attribute increases in cancer rates (other than thyroid) over time to the Chemobyl [sic] accident, but it should be noted that increases were also observed before the accident in the affected areas. More- over, a general increase in mortality has been reported in recent years in most areas of the former USSR, and this must also be taken into account in interpreting the results of the Chemobyl-related studies."

            "416. Increases of a number of non-specific detrimental health effects other than cancer in accident recovery workers have been reported, e.g. increased suicide rates and deaths due to violent causes. It is difficult to interpret these findings without reference to a known baseline or background incidence. The exposed populations undergo much more intensive and active health follow-up than the general population. As aresult, using the general population as a comparison group, as has been done so far in most studies, is inadequate."

            The human tragedy of sick, abandoned, and deformed children in the region is real, but the causal link with Chernobyl is not established.


            "M.B.Roberts" wrote:

              I dont think those in Belarus and around Chernobyl would agree with all their cancers and deformities.My daughter visited Belarus las t october and was horrified that deformed babies were so common due to Chernobyl and were then given to orphanages.However these issues are so complex that I dont think one can come out with quick answers Michael
                ----- Original Message -----
                From:george murphy
                To: Vandergraaf, Chuck
                Cc: 'M.B.Roberts' ; acg ;
                Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2001 12:41 PM
                Subject: Re: Kyoto
                "Vandergraaf, Chuck" wrote:

                  No, Michael, IMHO, you are not too green. Kermit the frog said "It's hard being green." I would say that it difficult to be too green!
                          But it is easy to be ignorantly green. Note, e.g., the opposition of many self-described greens to any form of nuclear power which (as Jon points out) could make a big dent in greenhouse emissions.

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