In rural Tennessee lies a small uranium processing plant. In
operation since the 1960s, its primary activity today is converting
nuclear warhead material into a form no longer usable for weapons,
but suitable for nuclear power plants.
Last year, the facility experienced a leak in a transfer line,
spilling some nine gallons of uranium solution onto a floor. The
company took appropriate cleanup measures, and immediately notified
the Nuclear Regulatory Committee, which investigated.
Their conclusions? Had the leak not drained onto a floor, but into
some sort of bowl-shaped container, the fluid might have been able to
amplify its own weak level of radiation. Had a worker not wearing
protective gear been nearby at that particular moment, they might
have received a dangerous, or even fatal dose. None of these events
happened, of course, but even if they had, the risk to the public at
large would still have been zero. Zero. None. Zip.
The NRC issued a reprimand to the plant operator, Nuclear Fuel
Services Inc, and ordered the hiring of an outside team of experts
for to review all safety practices. Ordinarily the action would have
gone into the public record immediately. But because NFSI supplies
fuel to the U.S. Navy, the DOE had previously required all
documents sealed for further review.
You might think this is the end of an amazingly boring non-story.
Not so. A year later, that review finally happened, and the
commission decided there was no national security threat from
disclosing the event. And so our alarmist media learned of it.
Reaction was swift. "Uncontrolled Nuclear Reaction Possible!"
screamed news stories. "Public Kept in Dark!" "Veil of
Secrecy Must Be Lifted!" Papers in London and Paris even picked
up the story, repeating the alarmist calls verbatim. While some of
the more responsible journalists eventually admitted there was no
risk to the public, they usually did so in the final paragraph of a
lengthy story, ensuring most of their readers would not be burdened
by that inconvenient truth.
Environmental groups were even more shrill. The Sierra Club's
anti-nuclear task force went into immediate overtime, demanding to
know why the company wasn't fined, or even shut down. A SWAT team of
Sierra Club activists descended upon the site, where they promptly
organized public meetings for "concerned citizens," and
called for the NRC to hold public hearings to explain their actions.
Combining innuendo and hand-waving, they attempted to convince area
residents their property and very lives were at stake.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is why clean, cheap, safe nuclear
power is dead on the vine in this country. It's why we still burn
millions of tons of coal each year, despite the horrendous cost in
environmental damage and the thousands of lives lost to coal mining.
It's why widespread use of electric cars will still result in
enormous amounts of toxic emissions, and why the "hydrogen
economy" can never be practical.
To those of you who care about the environment, I say this. If you
want to do some good -- go and protest the Sierra Club. Demand more
responsible, biased reporting by your news media. And let your
government representatives know you're too educated to fall for such
manipulative fear tactics.
quote: and we'd basically end up dumping the waste in the form of rocket/waste-debris into the ocean
quote: But, though environmentalists often protest the actions, no ill effects have been noted.
quote: 2. Is anyone bothering to note any?
quote: Wow. Classic "Prove the Negative" counter-argument. Nice try,
quote: out in the middle of the desert is NOT safe at all!
quote: Russia, Canada, Lithuania, South Korea and Taiwan are also building or planning to build new nuclear capacity.
quote: Speaking for Canada, I know that just down the 401 in Pickering they're still trying to get about 2 or 3 more reactors back online at the Darlington Nuclear Power Station (they were shut down a few years ago, but I don't remember why).
quote: Go cover something new, like the fact that Bush is still somehow president?
quote: But some people love a corporate-cracy administered via a puppet regime
quote: but your semi-unintelligible tinfoil-hat rantings are just making the other side look good.
quote: Maybe from the inside you are somehow blind eyed with your middle-class comfort and pretty good earnings?
quote: We do whats best for our own nation
quote: That region is the most whacked out group of people on the face of the planet.
quote: I seriously doubt some of your statements however.
quote: whenever we do something for another nation it is always under appreciated and overlooked.
quote: You have issues.
quote: I pitty the ignorants of the public
quote: It's just that Masher makes me think that he wants the entire world to be nuclear powered for ever,
quote: It can't be that hard for scientists to produce a test that will pretty much prove which source of electricity is the safest and cost efficient. Even if they did this the issue is so muddled with politics and fear-mongering that it removes the ability to get anything done.
quote: I'd rather that we waited for Fusion to use Radioactive power
quote: how can radioactive material at 10,000,000 degrees hot, held in position with magnets fail?
quote: You might note the complete dissimilarity to what you have brought to this discussion.
quote: why the "hydrogen economy" can never be practical
quote: It contributes more "greenhouse gases" to the atmosphere than fossil fuel plants
quote: The green image of hydro power as a benign alternative to fossil fuels is false, says Éric Duchemin, a consultant for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)... Hydroelectric dams produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, and in some cases produce more of these greenhouse gases than power plants running on fossil fuels .
quote: You didn't mention the impact that hydro electric has on the envronment.
quote: I agree that the story was blown out of proportion, but an investigation should occur with these kind of accidents.
quote: Actually, had the leak not been properly cleaned and if it had found its way into the water supply, you could see serious consequences
quote: While I agree with some of your points, this article is as overzealous and irrational as those of the news media.
quote: while the author of the blog uses well-researched sources.
quote: wile you are just sniping from the back
quote: How about instead of asking Michael to do one, you write one and I'll publish it on DailyTech for you? :)
quote: A three-year veil of secrecy in the name of national security was used to keep the public in the dark about the handling of highly enriched uranium at a nuclear fuel processing plant — including a leak that could have caused a deadly, uncontrolled nuclear reaction.
quote: Sounds like...
quote: Uncontrolled Nuclear Reaction Possible
quote: Public Kept in Dark
quote: Veil of Secrecy Must Be Lifted
quote: Someone (not Masher) has abused some privledges on the DailyTech......