www.RogerWendell.com
Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM
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Three Mile Island (1979)     -     Chernobyl (1986)     -     Fukushima (2011)

Atom Nuclear Power
A bad way to boil water and wage war!
(Coal, Gas, and Oil aren't such "hot" ideas either...)

 

 

The Toxic Garden by Janet Culbertson
With permission: The Toxic Garden by Janet Culbertson
Nuclear power plants operate the same way as their fossil fuel counter-parts in that heat is used to boil water. This boiled water, in turn, creates steam that turns the turbine generators. In the case of a nuclear power plant, fission, or the splitting of uranium atoms, is what's used to generate heat in the reactor's core. The danger of radiation, explosion, and "melt-down" are extremely high. At present (and for thousands of years to come!) there are places on our planet that cannot be inhabited due to either a nuclear accident or simply from the storage of accumulated waste. Japan's 03-11-2011 earthquake damaged nuclear power plants is our most recent reminder of how dangerous this form of energy can be...
 
 
 
Fission

 

Radioactivity Okay, I can see why nuclear power is becoming more attractive now that we're at Peak Oil. With one single atom of fissionable uranium able to produce 10 million times as much energy as burning a single carbon atom (Uranium can produce two million times as much energy per unit mass of oil) it's no wonder big business, government and some "conservationists" are rubbing their hands over the nuclear genie-in-a-bottle "solution."

However, the nuclear "solution" is not only an extremely dangerous health hazard, but very short-lived experiment at best. Why? Because our fossil fuel economy was/is the essential ingredient for constructing, manufacturing, mining, and processing all aspects of the nuclear power wet dream. Think about it - cheap fossil fuels not only support our highly technological civilization and the machinery that runs it, but is absolutely necessary to mine the Uranium, construct the reactors, and maintain the power distribution networks and infrastructure. Sure, nuclear power might keep the lights of modern society burning a decade or two longer (after expensive, difficult to reach fossil fuels become available only to the military or economic elite) but after that these dangerous, radioactive husks will have been nothing more than the symbolic dying gasps of an overpopulated, wasteful civilization too self-consumed to concern itself with the future, sustainability, or the natural world...

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado - May '07

 

Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for fossil fuel folley and peak oil...

 

Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants

Rojan Nuclear Cooling Tower Imploded at Rainier, Oregon - May 21, 2006 The Trojan nuclear power plant, located 40 miles north of Portland, Oregon, was closed in 1993 due to safety and financial concerns. On May 21st, 2006, 2,800 pounds of explosives were used to implode it's 499 foot cooling tower. The remainder of the plant won't be cleaned up until 2024 as there are spent radioactive fuel rods and other debris that need to be removed...

 

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Quotes

"Fabricating fuel rods is one of the most electricity-intensive industries on earth, consuming millions of tons of coal
  in the process, emitting untold quantities of greenhouse gases. The radioactive emissions from the plants themselves
  also unbalance the atmosphere, and the heat they dump into the air and water directly heats the planet."

- Harvey Wasserman
The sham of nuke power & Patrick Moore
The Free Press, February 28, 2007

 

"We were told that the beginning of nuclear energy meant that people would have
energy that was too cheap to meter - that was actually the promise!
[Now] it's become too expensive to use, it's become [too] dangerous."

- Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich
(April 9, 2004 while on a KGNU radio interview with me)

 

"I'm opposed to Nukes - I don't want it to take 200,000 years to take out the garbage..."

- Comedian Barry Crimmins
(April 21, 2005 while being interviewed on KGNU radio)

 

"Even our nuclear power plants ultimately depend on cheap oil and gas for all the procedures of construction, maintenance, and extracting and processing nuclear fuels." (p. 2) "Even nuclear weapons may become inoperable, considering how much their careful maintenance depends on other technological systems linked to our fossil fuel economy." (p. 98)

- James Howard Kunstler
The Long Emergency (Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and
Other Converging Catstrophes of the Twenty-First Century)

 

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Radiation Basics


 
 
"Radioactivity is the release of tiny particles or waves of energy from unstable elements such as uranium. Simply stated, atoms in these elements break apart, decaying into other elements over time, usually ending up as lead. The breakup of these atoms causes three basic types of radiation to be emitted: alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays. Alpha particles are dangerous only if inhaled or ingested, as they normally cannot penetrate the skin. Beta particles can penetrate the skin but are often blocked by clothing or light shielding. Gamma rays are far more penetrating and usually require lead shielding to absorb them."

"With all three types, radiation intensity varies with the inverse square of the distance (just as with transmitted RF power). So if you move twice as far away, the level drops to 25% of what it was before."

- Charles Kitchin, N1TEV
QST, April 2008, p. 72

 

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Nuclear Proliferation:
KGNU's Joel Edelstein interviewed Robert G. Gard, Jr. Lt. General, U.S. Army (ret.)
on Wednesday morning, January 16, 2008 - transcribed by me!

 

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A Defunct Nuclear Plant:
Satsop Nuclear Power Plant
Satsop, Washington (near Olympia)

Radioactivity Okay, it's probably obvious I'm not too keen on nuclear energy - in my opinion it's expensive, dangerous, inefficient, and downright scary. That being said, I'm still fascinated by gadgetry so anytime I see those huge nuclear cooling towers, anywhere, it's not only eye-catching but gets me thinking about wiring up some Ham radio stuff or fixing the garage door opener...

Anyway, I had the good fortune of getting Kendall to take me to the expired Satsop nuclear plant in Washington State - it's located on a ridge about half way between Seattle and Portland, Oregon, so its huge cooling towers can be seen from all over the place. The good part is, now that the thing has been abandoned, you can drive right up to the base of not only the cooling towers, but the reactor buildings as well!

Right now the property is being used as an industrial park. It's pretty safe since there never was any nuclear fuel on the site - back around 1980 they defaulted on 2.25 Billion Dollars in Municipal bonds - the largest default of its kind, thus closing up shop. So, as a result, happy tourists like me are able to drive around the industrial park and take photos of stuff that was certainly off limits a couple decades ago. And, with any luck, all the other nuclear plants can be abandoned and turned into tourist stops or museum curiosities!

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado

Click on any of this page's "Thumbnail" images for a larger view
(All photos were taken by me while Kendall patiently waited in his truck...):

(Place your cursor over each thumbnail for a written description of the picture)
Looking way up the Cooling Tower
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Cooling Tower
2
Trees at Base of Cooling Tower
3
Sign
4
Reactor
5
Supports at Bottom of Cooling Tower
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Tree and Cooling Tower
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Cooling Tower
8
Kendall Waits for me in his Pickup
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Base of Cooling Tower
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Looking up at Cooling Tower
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Cooling Tower from the side
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Cooling Tower
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Reactor with huge hole left in the side from incomplete construction
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Cooling Tower
15

 

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A Not So Defunct Nuclear Plant:
Torness Nuclear Power Station
Scotland, United Kingdom

Radioactivity Tami and I "stumbled" upon the Torness nuclear power station just a few miles south of Dunbar, Scotland. Torness is easily visible along a great stretch of main road A-1. And, you can even park next to the facility to hike the path that takes you to the seashore. I was amazed that the plant not only sits so close to the highway but that the security fence was within a stone's throw of the reactors! Anyway, although the British government had done its best, in this case, in trying to get the plant to "meld" into the environment there's very clear there's potential for danger all around the facility...

One of my biggest complaints about Torness, besides the nuclear danger, is its uses of seawater to cool its so-called "advanced gas-cooled" reactors (AGR). At full output, Torness is capable of pumping 555,000 gallons of water, per minute, back into the ocean - at temperature increase of over ten degrees centigrade (18 degrees Fahrenheit)!!! This is a HUGE amount of over-heated water being dumped back into the ocean so I can only imagine the damage it's doing to the environment.

Finally, of course, there's the usual radiation hazard associated with any nuclear power plant and Torness is no different. Back in 1999 a Royal Air Force fighter jet crashed less than one kilometre from the power plant. The crew survived and were later commended by the UK Ministry of Defence their "...exceptional levels of airmanship and awareness..."

Torness Nuclear Power Station on the Southwest Coast of Scotland - 10-12-2006 Torness Nuclear Power Station on the Southwest Coast of Scotland - 10-12-2006 Torness Nuclear Power Station on the Southwest Coast of Scotland - 10-12-2006 Torness Nuclear Power Station on the Southwest Coast of Scotland - 10-12-2006 Torness Nuclear Power Station on the Southwest Coast of Scotland - 10-12-2006
Torness Nuclear Power Station on the Southwest Coast of Scotland - 10-12-2006 Torness Nuclear Power Station on the Southwest Coast of Scotland - 10-12-2006 Torness Nuclear Power Station on the Southwest Coast of Scotland - 10-12-2006 Torness Nuclear Power Station on the Southwest Coast of Scotland - 10-12-2006 Torness Nuclear Power Station on the Southwest Coast of Scotland - 10-12-2006

 

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Hiroshima - City of Peace:

Radioactivity In May, 2004 (Japan Year 16) we travelled through a large part of Japan and thoroughly enjoyed it! The Japanese people are respectful, orderly, industrious and have a long history of dignified and proud traditions - we are grateful we were able to experience their country!

Hiroshima, although one of the highlights of our trip, was extremely sad and sobering. While there, we learned that America had bombed the city, with the World's first atomic bomb, without warning - this in stark contrast to the warnings the U.S. government released, for the benefit of civilians, throughout all the fire bombings of Tokyo and other areas.

When we first arrived at the "A-Bomb Dome" (Picture 1: The only surviving structure immediately below the blast or "Ground Zero") two elderly women asked if they could pray over us for peace. They were practitioners of Japan's original religion, Shintoism, so we eagerly agreed.

Ever since the nuclear test treaties of the 1960s the Mayor of Hiroshima has submitted a protest letter to whoever the offending government was that authorized such a test. There were well over 100 of these letters on display in Hiroshma, the most recent of which was sent to President Bush for a test that took place in the Nevada desert while were still on our visit in Japan...

(Place your cursor over each thumbnail for a written description of the picture)

Hiroshima Peace Watch Tower - How many days since the first bomb was dropped and how many days since the last test??
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A-Bomb Dome was one of few surviving buildings directly beneath the air blast at over 1,500 feet
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A-Bomb Dome close-up
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Hiroshima A-Bomb Dome Memorial
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Hiroshima Bell of Peace
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Model of Bomb Explosion Over Hioshima
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Hiroshima Mayor's Nuclear Protest Letter to George Bush dated May 2004
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Over 100 nuclear protest letters from Hiroshima Mayors
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Memorial rock at Hiroshima A-Bomb Dome
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America Bombed Hiroshima Without Warning despite having given them warnings for the Tokyo raids, etc.
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Hiroshima Museum Protests America's Most Recent Nuclear Test (May 2004)
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Melted Materials From the Hiroshima Blast
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Melted Roof Tiles From the Hiroshima Blast
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Hiroshima Peace Cigarettes
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Albert Einstein pleaded With the U.S. Government to create the Atomic Bomb
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Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for the Hiroshima Peace Declaration

Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for pictures of our trip throughout Japan...

 

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Mayors for Peace:

Radioactivity The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice center was
distributing this interesting postcard in early 2005:

Boulder Gives Nukes the Boot (front side) Boulder Gives Nukes the Boot (front side)
Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for the Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign page...

A BIG "Thank You!" to Dominican Sisters Jackie Hudson, Carol Gilbert, and Ardeth Platte for their work, here in Colorado, at promoting peace and stopping nuclear weapons! (Formerly at Colorado Communities for Justice and Peace)

 

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Cerenkov Radiation:

Cherenkov Radiation Demonstration by RAW at KamLAND - Summer, 2004 Highly radioactive objects, when observed under water, become bathed in an intense blue light. In the water used in nuclear reactors, including the storage of spent fuel pieces, this light is easily seen and photographed. This "Cerenkov Radiation," as it is called, is caused by particles entering the water at speeds greater than what light is capable of traveling through that same medium. As these particles slow down, to that of light through water, they produce a cone of light that's analogous to the bow wave of a boat. Such a bow wave, in the case of a boat, is caused when the boat is moving through the water at a speed greater than the wave speed on the water's surface. This bow wave effect of Cerenkov Radiation is also similar, in ways, to the sonic boom of high speed (greater than the speed of sound) aircraft.

 

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Fusion

Fusion is the energy source of the future and always will be!
Fusion involves the joining of either of two hydrogen isotopes, deuterium or tritium. Deuterium exists in great quantities in ordinary water and, theoretically, should be an almost infinitely renewable energy resource. Fusion has been an energy dream for most of my adult life (I was born in 1955) and will continue captivating business and science minds for years to come.

Problem is, fusion is the energy that powers the sun where temperatures range from about 10,000 degrees Celsius on the surface to maybe 15 to 18 million degrees on the inside where the fusion takes place. That's one very hot "bottle" that's going to be difficult to reproduce here on Earth. Nevertheless, with huge population pressures and dwindling oil supplies the quest for fusion generated electricity will probably never end...

 

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Movie quote:

WarGames (1983)
With Mathew Brodrick, Ally Sheely, Dabney Coleman, and John Wood


		[David hacks into the military computer]

Computer: Shall we play a game?
David: Love to. How about Global Thermonuclear War?
Computer: Wouldn't you prefer a good game of chess?
David: Later. Let's play Global Thermonuclear War.
Computer: Fine. Which side do you want?
David: I'll be the Russians.
Computer: Please list primary targets.
David: Las Vegas
       Seattle

		[next day]

Computer: Yesterday's game was interrupted although
          primary goal has not yet been achieved.
David: What is the primary goal?
Computer: You should know professor, you programmed me.
David: What is the primary goal?
Computer: To win the game.

		[on Falken's island]

Dr. Falken: But back at the war room, they believe
            you can win a nuclear war, that there are
            acceptable losses.

		[the computer learns]

Computer: A strange game. The only winning move is not
          to play.

 

Pentagon: Inventory ordered of all U.S. nukes
CNN March 27, 2008

Nuclear Missle Launch "Defense Secretary Robert Gates has formally ordered the Air Force, Navy and Defense Logistics Agency to conduct an inventory of all U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon-related materials to make sure all items are accounted for, according to a Pentagon memo released Thursday."

"Defense Secretary Robert Gates orders an inventory of all U.S. nuclear weapons and related materials.

"The order comes in the wake of the discovery last week that four nuclear warhead fuses were accidentally shipped to Taiwan in 2006.

"Gates' memo, issued Wednesday, calls for all items to be accounted for by serial number.

"Pentagon officials said at a news conference Tuesday that Gates would call for the review in addition to a full investigation into how the shipment to Taiwan from a Defense Logistics Agency warehouse happened 18 months ago.

"The inventory review, which will involve thousands of items, is due to Gates in 60 days. Pentagon officials said the request was ordered, in part, because this latest incident comes after the August 2007 accidental flight of six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on a B-52 bomber across the country."

 

HMS Vanguard British, French nuclear subs collide in Atlantic
by David Stringer, Associated Press, February 16, 2009
"Nuclear submarines from Britain and France collided deep in the Atlantic Ocean this month, authorities said Monday in the first acknowledgment of a highly unusual accident that one expert called the gravest in nearly a decade."

"Officials said the low-speed crash did not damage the vessels' nuclear reactors or missiles or cause radiation to leak. But anti-nuclear groups said it was still a frightening reminder of the risks posed by submarines prowling the oceans powered by radioactive material and bristling with nuclear weapons."

"France's defense ministry said Monday that the sub Le Triomphant and the HMS Vanguard, the oldest vessel in Britain's nuclear-armed submarine fleet, were on routine patrol when they collided in the Atlantic this month. It did not say exactly when, where or how the accident occurred."

"France said that Le Triomphant suffered damage to a sonar dome - where navigation and detection equipment is stored - and limped home to its base on L'Ile Longue on France's western tip. HMS Vanguard returned to a submarine base in Scotland with visible dents and scrapes, the BBC reported."

"HMS Vanguard came into service in 1993, has a crew of around 140 and typically carries 16 Lockheed Trident D5 missiles. Under government policy, British nuclear submarines carry a maximum of 48 warheads. At least one of Britain's four submarines is on patrol and ready to fire at any given time."

"France's Le Triomphant carries 111 crew and 15 nuclear missiles, according to defense analysis group Jane's."

"'This is the most severe incident involving a nuclear submarine since the sinking of the Kursk in 2000 and the first time since the Cold War that two nuclear-armed subs are known to have collided,' said Kate Hudson, head of Britain's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament."

"Russia's Kursk nuclear submarine crashed to the bottom of the Barents Sea during a training voyage in August 2000, killing all 118 crew members."

 

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Links:

  1. Cancer
  2. Countdown to Zero
  3. Doomsday Clock - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
  4. Earth Day and Earth Hour
  5. Energy
  6. Engineers Without Borders (Ingénieurs sans frontières)
  7. Fossil Fuels
  8. Fuel Economy
  9. Home Energy Awareness by Chuck Wright
  10. HYDESim map - overpressure radii generated by a ground-level nuclear detonation
  11. Military madness
  12. Motorcycle Elena's (Supposedly) Motorcyle Ride through Chernobyl
  1. Nevada Nuclear Test Site (zoom-in for a closer look at individual craters...)
  2. NPT Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
  3. No Nukes
  4. Radon Outreach Colorado Department of Health
  5. Science
  6. Peace
  7. Solar
  8. Solartopia
  9. Space 4 Peace Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
  10. Sustainability
  11. War and Terrorism
  12. Wind

 

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