Japan quake ignites Diablo nuclear concerns

March 18, 2011

By KAREN VELIE

In the aftermath of Japan’s nuclear calamity, concerns about Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant’s ability to withstand an earthquake and media reports that safety plans do not include earthquake procedures have the public demanding answers.

Even before last weeks earthquake and tsunami in Japan, PG&E’s application to extend its operating permit was controversial. The California Public Utilities Commission(PUC) directed the utility to do further seismic testing as part of its license renewal.

PG&E officials said the advanced seismic studies would be completed in 2013. Even so, they had asked for an April review hearing.

Early on Friday, the PUC announced they had postponed the April hearing so that it would have time to review safety lessons learned from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Diablo’s seismic history

When the plant was first permitted in 1967, it was not required to have an earthquake emergency response plan. However, since then two faults have been discovered near the plant prompting earthquake procedures to be put in place.

Before the plant was put into operation, after the discovery of the Hosgri Fault in 1971 by Shell Oil, a long and contentious battle between the state and PG&E ensued raising the cost of construction, first estimated at $320 million, by over $5 billion. PG&E was also directed to hire geologists and seismologists to work in the plant’s geosciences department. As a result of finding the Hosgri Fault, Diablo’s design was changed and the plant was retrofitted to withstand a magnitude 7.5 earthquake.

In 1985, the $5.7 billion plant began producing energy.

In 2008, a second fault dubbed the Shoreline Fault was discovered less than a mile from the plant by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) geologist Jeanne Hardebeck using data from USGS and PG&E monitors.

Even though the Nuclear Regulatory Commission concluded that Diablo Canyon’s design would withstand a potential earthquake on the Shoreline Fault, “The fault’s major characteristics are largely unknown, e.g., its length, proximity to the plant and relationship to the Hosgri Fault (whether an earthquake beginning on the Hosgri Fault could continue on the Shoreline Fault, or vice versa, causing a larger earthquake than if either fault broke on its own), and whether this fault or fault displays could extend beneath the plant,” a California Energy Commission research report says.

Both the USGS and PG&E geologist studied Diablo’s neighboring faults and arrived at different estimates of the highest credible magnitude earthquake that could occur on both the Hosgri Fault and the Shoreline Fault.

For the Shoreline Fault, the USGS study placed it at a maximum magnitude 6.5 and for the Hosgrie fault, a maximum magnitude 7.3. The USGS study was a collaborative study that has been peer reviewed.

Even though, according to the USGS study, the plant can withstand the highest magnitude earthquake likely to occur on the two neighboring faults, Hardebeck points at Japan’s failure to properly predict the highest magnitude earthquake that could hit the Fukushima nuclear plant, now in partial meltdown.

“Sometimes the estimates are wrong,” Hardebeck said. ‘They thought an 8.0 and they ended up getting a 9.0.”

PG&E studies of neighboring fault line were peer reviewed by geologists from five entities including Stanford University, the University of California Berkeley and the University of Southern California. Their studies placed the highest credible earthquake at a magnitude 6.5, and that is if the Shoreline Fault and the Hosgrie Fault have concurrent earthquakes.

Both PG&E officials and Hardebeck noted the differences in the type and size of faults neighboring Diablo and those off the coast of Japan.

“We do not have that type of earthquake,” Hardebeck said. “The types of faults on the Central Coast do not generate the tsunami seen in Japan. They are less disruptive.”

Several additional differences exist between the Fukushima plant and the Diablo plant. Diablo is a pressurized water reactor (PWR) and Fukushima is a boiling water reactor (BWR). PWRs have more places to cool and the steam is not radioactive, as it is at a BWR plant.

Diablo’s containment walls are 3 ½ feet deep while Fukushima are only 2 feet. Also, elevated above the Diablo plant is 5.5 million gallons of fresh water, held in two fresh water ponds that sit behind the plant at an elevation of 300 feet.

Disaster drill uncovers mistake

Every quarter, Diablo has an emergency drill to simulate several different disasters including earthquakes, terrorist attacks and forest fires. Plant employees have duties such as walking the plant to check equipment and taking radiation readings.

Once every one to two years, the plant undergoes a more fully evaluated drill by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency along with other state, local and federal agencies.

During a testing in Oct. 2009, personnel discovered a system to pump water into the reactor during an emergency had been accidentally disable for 18 months. Plant engineers had shortened the distance between a pair of valves to lessen the time it took to open them.

What they didn’t know, was two other valves where interlocked with the first pair.

While opponents of nuclear energy contend these types of incidents are frequent and unforgivable, PG&E points out that in the case of an emergency, plant operators could have opened the valves manually.

In addition to drills, the plant does radiation testing on an ongoing basis utilizing more than five different types of monitoring equipment.

For example, more than 10 environmental off-site radiation monitors located throughout San Luis Obispo County constantly monitor gamma radiation levels. Every minute, the monitors send information back to the plant.

As of Friday morning, no detectable radiation from Japan was noted on any of the monitors in San Luis Obispo County. All sensors at PG&E have been recording normal, natural background readings.

Proponents of nuclear energy note that the cost of electricity production at nuclear plants is less than half the cost of energy produced by natural gas, while opponents point at the cost of retrofitting the plant.

Dave Weisman,  with the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, said the $4.4 billion it cost to retrofit the plant after the discovery of the Hosgri Fault fell on the backs of the rate payers.

Diablo, which along with the San Onofre nuclear plant generates more than 12 percent of California’s electricity, is requesting to renew its operating licenses that expire in 2024 and 2025.

“Now they want another 10 to 20 years,” Weisman said. “Last time it cost $4.5 billion to retrofit the plant. What will it cost now?”


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66 Comments

  1. WiseGuy says:

    Weeks after the earthquake, the Japan reactors continue to spew radiation with no end in sight, and the evacuation zone continues to be increased. And a small group of brainwashed Diablo workers, along with paid flaks, continue to tell us there is nothing we need to be concerned about. And the decades old Diablo plant continues deteriorating while it sits vulnerable to earthquakes beyond what it was designed to handle, while the safety plan for the plant is inadequate. And the public has absolutely no assurances that PG&E employees won’t try fleeing the plant in the event of a catastrophe, leaving no employees to try to prevent a horrendous melt-down.

    Can PG&E name one single employee that will stay behind when radiation levels reach life-threatening levels as they have in Japan or as they did in Chernobyl? The fact that landslides could leave routes to and from the plant impassable may be our best hope that employees will remain at the plant and t ry to prevent further calamity that has the potential to make vast portions of the Central Coast uninhabitable for decades.

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. WiseGuy says:

    Is it part of the plan that the road out of the plant is likely to be impassable after an earthquake, thus low-level PG&E workers will be forced to stay there to deal with the disaster?

    And as I understand it, not a single Diablo worker has been willing to sign up for disaster duty in the event of a catastrophe. But if they are trapped, they may have few choices besides running for it over the hiills (though, like with Hurricane Katrina, security might shoot at those who try to escape the scene.)

    Diablo’s cool, but we could live without it, no problem.

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  3. willie says:

    a Friend of mine was the person who programed their fail safe system 30 years ago.
    They found his name on some of ther documents and called him for his opinion.
    The earthquake was not the problem, the unexpected Tsunami wave knocked out the desiel is the resultant.
    NO SYSTEM IS FOOL PROOF
    The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry definition
    No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it. The saying is adapted from a line in “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men.

    (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  4. Jim Zim says:

    What people don’t seem to understand (and PG&E has done a lousy job of telling the world about) is that Diablo Canyon has two major enhancements that would totally prevent a Fukushima-style disaster from happening here.

    First off, the plant sits on a bluff that is 85′ above the waterline. So, there’s absolutely no way that a tidal wave could wipe out the diesel generators. It just will not happen when the plant is so high up on the bluff.

    Second off, and this is the part that people really don’t seem to know about, Diablo Canyon has something that almost all the other nuclear power plants don’t have… two gigantic storage ponds of freshwater sitting up ABOVE the plant on the hillside to the east. Because they sit above the plant, all it would take is opening a valve and gravity would do the rest… all the emergency cooling water you would ever need. Absolutely no electricity required. So, if the nearly impossible were to happen and Diablo should lose all electrical power including every one of the SIX emergency diesel generators… they could still cool down both spent fuel pools and both reactors with the water stored up on the hill.

    A Fukushima situation is simply impossible at Diablo Canyon. San Onofre… that’s a different matter. But don’t worry about Diablo Canyon.

    (-6) 12 Total Votes - 3 up - 9 down
    • Boggs says:

      del Diablo is in the details…

      To say these 2 enhancements would totally prevent a meltdown is
      not realistic.
      The epicenter of the Fort Tejon 8.0 + magnitude “Big One” in 1857 is roughly 47 miles from Diablo Canyon (near Shandon) so the rolling
      ground motion at Diablo could be pretty severe. Remember, there
      was damage all the way down in Arroyo Grande from
      the little 6.6 magnitude San Simeon quake which is 50 miles to the
      North from AG.

      Then there are the repeated aftershocks. In Japan the number of
      aftershocks over magnitude 6.0 magnitude was 27 on only the
      second day and is well above that now. Not to mention those over
      7.0 mag.
      Repeated shaking of weakened structures can spell added disaster.

      What if something happened to those “gigantic” water pools and they
      sloshed out or cracked and drained out.
      Then what is the next plan?
      Better have one!

      The fault that caused the San Simeon quake in 2003 was a thrust
      fault and it had aftershocks that were offshore.
      That section of the coast was a subduction zone in ancient times.
      Underwater thrusts can cause a tsunami.
      And a tsunami can be larger than 85 feet depending
      on sea water depth and other local focusing factors.
      There are examples of this in history.

      Sorry Jim Zim, I am not convinced yet.

      Do we really need to risk so much just to make steam to drive
      turbines?

      Geothermal is a better solution to supplement energy needs.
      The earth takes care of the heat (magma) for boiling water with its
      own radioactive decay.
      We are talking giga watts of untapped power here folks…
      and Diablo sits in a hot springs area and the power grid is right there at the Diablo hub.

      (11) 13 Total Votes - 12 up - 1 down
    • justme says:

      C’mon Jim Zim, really? What about cracked pools during a quake? The new fault Shell drilled into? Generators taken out during a quake? Fires, fleeing workers, disgruntled workers, terror, extended service time not engineered into the orig. lifespan, future wars, asteroids, on it goes.

      Saying DiaBLOW! won’t simulate Fukushima so no worries holds the same believability as no life in the universe but us.

      Yank those reactors and spread solar & wind tech. all over the hills. Everything is there already. Plug & play. That’s the answer, the only answer. Then put some cabanas and chaise loungers around those pools, the workers can swim after a long day of cleaning solar panels.

      (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
      • R.Hodin says:

        I’m not worried about employees fleeing after a quake. That’s what all those armed guards are there for, preventing desertions. They’re certainly not there for anything like a terrorist attack.

        (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
        • justme says:

          You are a born funny guy, need more of ya, Hodin. Thanks, man.

          (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  5. TaxMeAgain says:

    The plant is safe. Improvements that I could envision would be external power access from land and sea for temporary power and a review of tsunami readiness in light of what we have learned. The plant is ready for tsunamis already, but lessons will certainly be gained from Japan’s demise.

    Relative to the media coverage of this event, it’s bordering on libelous. It seems inconceivably improbable that EVERY article on CNN, Yahoo!, AP, Fox, Reuters, etc. is full of lies, exaggerations, and inappropriate adjectives. I can only conclude that it is intentional…to sell papers and to get clicks. Greed.

    See http://www.nei.org for Japan updates that are frequent, reliable, accurate, and consistent. Work with PG&E and the Diablo employees. They ARE part of our community and support our lifestyle. They have dedicated their lives to running a safe, clean, low-cost and reliable source of power.

    (-4) 12 Total Votes - 4 up - 8 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      A PR man from PG&E,,,Shoals, Rafferty is this one of you guys? Are you going to put the spent fuel in your back yard? The readings that say that we have had trace amounts of radiation here in Ca. from Japan are false? They are sending American ships away due to high levels of radiation just because why? Tokyo’s water, veggies and milk have radiation in them,,,,just a lie I suppose? Those people trying to contain the radiation don’t need to worry eh, they’ll live long happy lives? Leaked radiation doesn’t last 25,000+ years right?

      Give me a break.

      (7) 13 Total Votes - 10 up - 3 down
      • amusselm says:

        Well, I think the plant operators will live long and healthy lives. Their exposure, over the whole crisis was less than 250 mSv, according to this article. Mind you, that’s still a rather hefty dose. That’s right on the border of causing slight radiation sickness if you are exposed over a short timespan. 350 mSv per lifetime was the criteria for relocation for the residents of Pripyat. But, it’s not going to kill you and is only slightly increase your lifetime cancer risk.

        At it’s very peak, radiation levels on the site hit 400 mSv per hour. That’s equivalent to a chest CT-Scan every two minutes. Thankfully, this only level only appeared outside, between reactors 3 and 4 for a few minutes. The control operators were exposed to a fraction of this level. Mind you, I’m not saying that there was no real risk to the operators. I have the benefit of 72 hours of hindsight. They didn’t. They had no way of absolutely knowing that radiation levels would peak there or how long they would stay that high. Although the risk turned to out to be lower than initially suspected, the operators still took a real risk.

        Oh, and those levels I mentioned? On the site, directly between reactor buildings 3 and 4. Radiation levels off-site? Measured in microsilvets. That’s 6 orders of magnitude less. In terms exposure to the public, I doubt that the incident is going to have any radiological health effects whatsoever.

        Finally, pointing out that some radioactive isotopes have absurdly long half-lives doesn’t necessarily mean that those same isotopes are particularly dangerous. This post explains it better than I can. Most of the longest lived isotopes produce very little radiation.

        (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
    • cheseburger says:

      Dear mr. Taxmeagain, WHAT ABOUT THE TUNNELS? I was there 95-98 and saw what I saw, and I wasn’t cutting wood, these tunnels today cannot withstand the amount of seismic energy they were once claimed to withstand, this is absolute fact! Rust never sleeps, the rebar should have been plastic coated, (I am positive modern plants use this procedure), in my view the tunnels will collapse and during a five point earthquake and cut off the cooling supply, is there a back up turbine????,,. I never asked. Then during the violent chaos everyone will abandon the plant and have the helicopters come and throw buckets of water on it.
      Imagine twenty foot wide patch jobs on the insides of the tunnels where the rebar was merely replaced and tied to the existing shreds of metal which we cleaned and painted with zinc and other rust inhibitors, then we put up plywood and poured back the concrete, think about this, it’s kind of tough to get the roof to take, and it’s all a little late, bandages on bullet holes, I tell you. They even had a fire under the plant when I was in the tunnels, (scared the crap out of me), just another thing no one ever heard about back then. Thanks Cal Coast for providing a means to bring this to light. And sorry PG&E, but you should not of done this to me, and I can prove every word, of what I say is true.

      (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
      • amusselm says:

        Yes, but that’s not a safety critical system. As a ratepayer that concerns me. Is PG&E risking an untimely shutdown of a multi-billion dollar reactor to defer a million dollars in maintenance on the seawater intake? This could cost me money. As a resident of SLO, it doesn’t. If that failed then they could simply SCRAM the reactor(s) and deal with decay heat using one of the many other systems designed to cool the core. Heck, they could even use the reactor again, once they cleaned up the ternary cooling loop. (I assume we are talking about the seawater inlet?)

        (-2) 6 Total Votes - 2 up - 4 down
      • TaxMeAgain says:

        As already posted, the circulation water tunnels are NOT a safety related system. Diablo only needs them to make the 2,400,000,000 watts that they put onto the grid 24×7. The rebar and other systems near salt water are protected with a cathodic protection system. Replacing the tunnels is do-able…concrete are rebar are cheap.

        (-3) 5 Total Votes - 1 up - 4 down
        • cheseburger says:

          Sorry to pop your bubble but since the gulf war , concrete is now $120.00 a yard and the price of steel, because it is used to make tanks, weapons, etc has tripled!
          You write,”concrete are rebar are cheap.” wrong not true, and not to be a jerk, but I think dictionaries are still affordable. Hope the leaders at the devils den can read code.

          (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
          • TaxMeAgain says:

            Actually, cheseburger, that IS cheap. Diablo produces well over $1M per DAY of power. So what if every 20 years we need to replace some tunnels.

            This aint a bake sale folks.

            (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
    • WiseGuy says:

      We can all live without the power from Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. To imply otherwise is misleading and dangerous.

      And, contrary to your propaganda, I can guarantee you that not ALL employees at Diablo have “dedicated their lives to running a safe, clean, low-cost and reliable source of power.” Get real!

      (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
      • TaxMeAgain says:

        WiseGuy (heh, heh), we really can’t live without all that power. California imports all the power that we can…we are nearly melting the wires. Don’t post lies; the media will try to hire you.

        (-3) 7 Total Votes - 2 up - 5 down
    • justme says:

      Tax… If they wanna “dedicate” their lives to DiaBLOW, head on. Don’t ask the whole county to dedicate theirs.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  6. mrcyberdoc says:

    Well we could shut down all the nuclear plants in California because all of them are in some proximity to some earthquake fault. But then you wouldn’t have an electricity to post your message on this board. Everything in life has some risk. Ask yourself, why would PG&E NOT make Diablo as safe as possible? What is the alternative? A melt down, a non functional plant, no money coming in. Doesn’t make sense if you think they don’t take safety seriously. Every outage costs them millions of dollars in downtime and inspections. They don’t wait for something to fail before replacing it, they replace pumps, etc after so many hours of service to avoid unscheduled shutdowns. So all of you who are so critical of nuclear power; the next time you turn on a light, go figure how some of that electricity is generated. Sure beats rolling blackouts! BTW, I live about 5 miles from Diablo and haven’t lost on night sleep worrying about a Diablo disaster.

    (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      We had electricity before nuke energy and we can have it after nuke energy. When Three Mile Island was closed it didn’t stop people from having electricity.

      Every outage cost them Millions,,,,oh poor PG&E, they’re not making money they are providing electricity out of the goodness of their heart. We are such mean bullies picking on this poor huge corp.

      PG&E is responsible for doing everything possible to make it a safe plant…. Ummm no, that would be the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. They only do what they have to do, you give them way too much credit,,,, how long have you worked for them?

      You two sound like the propaganda flick that PG&E would show at the start of the tours that they used to have out at Diablo. I took that tour 3 times, it was interesting. They showed us a video with kids playing in sprinklers, moms pushing strollers and cooking dinner for their families. Then after all the Leave it To Beaver moments they told us that all that was possible because of nuke energy,,,awww, makes me feel warm an fuzzy just thinking about what nuke energy does for us.

      Tell it to the people of Japan.

      (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
  7. choprzrul says:

    Quoted, link @ bottom.

    With the terrible earthquake and resulting tsunami that have devastated Japan, the only good news is that anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now probably much less likely to get cancer.

    This only seems counterintuitive because of media hysteria for the past 20 years trying to convince Americans that radiation at any dose is bad. There is, however, burgeoning evidence that excess radiation operates as a sort of cancer vaccine.

    As The New York Times science section reported in 2001, an increasing number of scientists believe that at some level — much higher than the minimums set by the U.S. government — radiation is good for you. “They theorize,” the Times said, that “these doses protect against cancer by activating cells’ natural defense mechanisms.”

    Among the studies mentioned by the Times was one in Canada finding that tuberculosis patients subjected to multiple chest X-rays had much lower rates of breast cancer than the general population.

    And there are lots more!

    A $10 million Department of Energy study from 1991 examined 10 years of epidemiological research by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health on 700,000 shipyard workers, some of whom had been exposed to 10 times more radiation than the others from their work on the ships’ nuclear reactors. The workers exposed to excess radiation had a 24 percent lower death rate and a 25 percent lower cancer mortality than the non-irradiated workers.

    Isn’t that just incredible? I mean, that the Department of Energy spent $10 million doing something useful? Amazing, right?

    In 1983, a series of apartment buildings in Taiwan were accidentally constructed with massive amounts of cobalt 60, a radioactive substance. After 16 years, the buildings’ 10,000 occupants developed only five cases of cancer. The cancer rate for the same age group in the general Taiwanese population over that time period predicted 170 cancers.

    The people in those buildings had been exposed to radiation nearly five times the maximum “safe” level according to the U.S. government. But they ended up with a cancer rate 96 percent lower than the general population.

    Bernard L. Cohen, a physics professor at the University of Pittsburgh, compared radon exposure and lung cancer rates in 1,729 counties covering 90 percent of the U.S. population. His study in the 1990s found far fewer cases of lung cancer in those counties with the highest amounts of radon — a correlation that could not be explained by smoking rates.

    Tom Bethell, author of the The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science has been writing for years about the beneficial effects of some radiation, or “hormesis.” A few years ago, he reported on a group of scientists who concluded their conference on hormesis at the University of Massachusetts by repairing to a spa in Boulder, Mont., specifically in order to expose themselves to excess radiation.

    At the Free Enterprise Radon Health Mine in Boulder, people pay $5 to descend 85 feet into an old mining pit to be irradiated with more than 400 times the EPA-recommended level of radon. In the summer, 50 people a day visit the mine hoping for relief from chronic pain and autoimmune disorders.

    Amazingly, even the Soviet-engineered disaster at Chernobyl in 1986 can be directly blamed for the deaths of no more than the 31 people inside the plant who died in the explosion. Although news reports generally claimed a few thousand people died as a result of Chernobyl — far fewer than the tens of thousands initially predicted — that hasn’t been confirmed by studies.

    Indeed, after endless investigations, including by the United Nations, Manhattan Project veteran Theodore Rockwell summarized the reports to Bethell in 2002, saying, “They have not yet reported any deaths outside of the 30 who died in the plant.”

    Even the thyroid cancers in people who lived near the reactor were attributed to low iodine in the Russian diet — and consequently had no effect on the cancer rate.

    Meanwhile, the animals around the Chernobyl reactor, who were not evacuated, are “thriving,” according to scientists quoted in the April 28, 2002 Sunday Times (UK).

    http://www.anncoulter.com/cgi-local/printer_friendly.cgi?article=414

    (-8) 12 Total Votes - 2 up - 10 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      Chop, radiation actually being good for us is an interesting concept but it simply isn’t true. It is common knowledge that too much radiation is terrible for us and all living things. They don’t put those lead pads on you when you have an x ray for nothing.

      This is a snippet from an article that I read a few days ago:

      NEW YORK, New York, April 26, 2010 (ENS) – Nearly one million people around the world died from exposure to radiation released by the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl reactor, finds a new book from the New York Academy of Sciences published today on the 24th anniversary of the meltdown at the Soviet facility.

      The book, “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,” was compiled by authors Alexey Yablokov of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy in Moscow, and Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko of the Institute of Radiation Safety, in Minsk, Belarus.

      The authors examined more than 5,000 published articles and studies, most written in Slavic languages and never before available in English.

      The authors said, “For the past 23 years, it has been clear that there is a danger greater than nuclear weapons concealed within nuclear power. Emissions from this one reactor exceeded a hundred-fold the radioactive contamination of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

      “No citizen of any country can be assured that he or she can be protected from radioactive contamination. One nuclear reactor can pollute half the globe,” they said. “Chernobyl fallout covers the entire Northern Hemisphere.”

      The Chernobyl nuclear reactor was destroyed by an explosion and fire April 26, 1986. (Photo issued by Soviet authorities)
      Their findings are in contrast to estimates by the World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency that initially said only 31 people had died among the “liquidators,” those approximately 830,000 people who were in charge of extinguishing the fire at the Chernobyl reactor and deactivation and cleanup of the site.

      The book finds that by 2005, between 112,000 and 125,000 liquidators had died.

      “On this 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, we now realize that the consequences were far worse than many researchers had believed,” says Janette Sherman, MD, the physician and toxicologist who edited the book.——————

      That’s just part of the article. You can take your chances with radiation but I’ll pass.

      (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
      • amusselm says:

        “The book finds that by 2005, between 112,000 and 125,000 liquidators had died. ” How does that compare with the general population? The former Soviet Union isn’t exactly known for the best public health in the world.

        Realistically, there are experts on both sides of this. We do know that immediate casualties were 31 people, mostly firefighters and first responders, plant’s operators and a documentary filmmaker. That’s all we know for sure. It’s possible that there was an elevated cancer rate amongst some of the Liquidators or the residents of Pripyat, but it’s very difficult to show that the cancers were caused by exposure to Chernobyl’s radiation.

        (-4) 4 Total Votes - 0 up - 4 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      BTW, life is too short to read anything by Ann Coulter.

      (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
    • brook says:

      Ann Coulter? The Talking Adam’s Apple? Only a fool would read Ann, much less believe a word she says, including “the” and “and.”

      (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
      • choprzrul says:

        You make me laugh. Had you taken the time to read my post, you would have seen that she was citing the liberal bastion, NYT; among others. Blind hate is concealing the trees from you. Here are some snippets:

        ‘As The New York Times science section reported in 2001,’

        ‘A $10 million Department of Energy study from 1991 examined 10 years of epidemiological research by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health on 700,000 shipyard workers, ‘

        ‘In 1983, a series of apartment buildings in Taiwan were accidentally constructed with massive amounts of cobalt 60, a radioactive substance. After 16 years, the buildings’ 10,000 occupants developed only five cases of cancer. The cancer rate for the same age group in the general Taiwanese population over that time period predicted 170 cancers.’

        ‘Bernard L. Cohen, a physics professor at the University of Pittsburgh, compared radon exposure and lung cancer rates in 1,729 counties covering 90 percent of the U.S. population.’

        **NOTE**
        These are not some previously unknown authors from Russian institutes. These are from US institutions of higher education and the NEW YORK TIMES itself. Your blind ignorance reveals blind hatred for something the GOVERNMENT tells you is dangerous. The same government that is controlled by big oil. You blindly dismiss a 10 year study of 700,000 dockworkers as inconsequential and then rebut with Russian institute crap??? You even put more weight on Russian Institutes than a UNITED NATIONS study on the effects of Chernobyl:

        “Indeed, after endless investigations, including by the United Nations, Manhattan Project veteran Theodore Rockwell summarized the reports to Bethell in 2002, saying, “They have not yet reported any deaths outside of the 30 who died in the plant.”

        Wake up people. Quit being led blindly by false government numbers for safe levels of radiation. Its only been 23 years since Chernobyl, and they are already offering tours of the area: http://www.tourkiev.com/chernobyltour/ I just watch a special about Chernobyl on TV. It isn’t the barren nuclear wasteland that everyone makes it out to be. The flora and fauna are thriving and people are living in the villages even if it is against the law. Take a look at Nagasaki today: http://travel.3yen.com/wp-content/images/800px-nagasaki_c1414.jpg Certainly doesn’t look like a barren nuclear wasteland to me.

        I am so tired of the fear mongering. Get out of lockstep and quit being a mouthpiece for the government. Read real university, peer reviewed studies. And most of all, simply get over it. Find ways to work with it and work to make it better and safer. The extremist ‘ban them all’ position is not going to get you anywhere.

        Sheesh.

        (-4) 4 Total Votes - 0 up - 4 down
        • Typoqueen says:

          ” Read real university, peer reviewed studies. And most of all, simply get over it”

          Cool, so you do believe in global climate change.

          (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
          • choprzrul says:

            “Believe”??? No, it is not part of my faith.

            Do I subscribe to it? Absolutely. Our climate is in constant change and has been forever.

            Q1: Does Co2 lead or lag temperature increases?

            Q2: Are temperatures now higher or lower when compared to the Holocene Maximum?

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        • Typoqueen says:

          BTW I also recently watched a show on Chernobyle,,,that green stuff was full of radiation and the reporters couldn’t stay for more that a few minutes. Dare you eat some of that green stuff.

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          • amusselm says:

            Perhaps you are referring to this: “The Elephant’s Foot

            It’s a formation of sand, graphite and reactor fuel that flowed down from the destroyed reactor at Chernobyl It’s extremely radioactive, no one dares approach it. The scientists that discovered the formation called it “beautiful”. Except, it’s not very green. In fact, I would say that there probably isn’t very much green stuff under the remains of Reactor 4.

            Or, perhaps you mean some sort of Tritium Illumination. Eating that would generally be a bad idea. You see, the alpha particles it releases do not penetrate the skin or clothing. As a result, unless you inject it you are unlikely to be exposed to too much radiation from a tritium light source. There /might/ be some of that at Chernobyl, used incidentally for things like exit signs and whatnot.

            Are you sure it was a green radiation? Uranium fuel rods that are left to cool in in water tanks emit something called Cherenkov Radiation which is typically blue. You probably can see that at Chernobyl, at least for a while (the last of the fuel rods that were used there are probably leaving wet cooling soon). You most definitely could see it Diablo Canyon, where there are fuel rods in cooling ponds.

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            • Typoqueen says:

              Okay, I said I was done but I just read your post (amusselm). It wasn’t radiation by itself. The green stuff was in the abandoned fun park that was never used. It looked like moss, it was some type of plant that was contaminated. When the put the instrument on it that measures the radiation the thing went crazy. But that wasn’t the only thing that highly contaminated, of course everything in that area was off the charts.

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        • Typoqueen says:

          You site something from Johns Hopkins,,,well I can see how they would say that radiation is fine and dandy. The were recently fined 370K for mishandling radiation.

          http://www.auntminnie.com/index.asp?sec=ser&sub=def&pag=dis&ItemID=90025

          Chop, I found that while verifying what you said. I also found articles from Johns Hopkins as well as several universities that have peer reviewed studies that demonstrate that what the rest of us know to be true. Over exposure to radiation may not kill you right away but chances are you will get cancer and die at a much younger age than most of us. I did post an article on it but I won’t post anymore, there’s plenty of data out there to show that it’s very bad for you.

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          • choprzrul says:

            Obviously radiation at high levels can be bad for you. No doubt there. The question is at what level of exposure does it stop being beneficial and start becoming detrimental to humans? My point is that at levels above the governments recommended levels, there have been studies done that suggest those levels are beneficial to humans.

            We keep hearing ‘x times above recommended levels’ in the news. As a hypothetical exercise: if the govt sets a max recommended level at .001 and and measurements are taken that indicate .04, the news will reports that ‘levels are 40 times govt recommended’ which is accurate. However, if the true harm to humans starts when that level is actually 1.000, then that dose at .04 could actually be at a level that is beneficial to humans. End result: a govt parameter has been used to make something beneficial seem highly poisonous as presented by news agencies.

            I am in no way saying very high levels of prolonged radiation exposure is not hazardous. I am saying that studies have been done on populations exposed to radiation levels much higher than govt recommended levels and have shown health benefits subsequent to that exposure.

            I am really hoping that you can grasp the concept is being put forth.

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            • Moderator says:

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            • Typoqueen says:

              I believe that that you were getting pretty crude in that thread.

              I’m done with this topic for now. I’m sounding redundent.

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  8. listentathis says:

    Everyone is missing the problem!
    Watch the videos of Japan!
    The earthquake did not hurt the plant. It was the Tsunami.
    They keep tellin you that Diablo can withstand a 7.5 earthquake.They keep repeating this so you will forget that it IS NOT going to withstand a Tsunami.
    I used to work there and we had to sit thru weeks of classes and they told us that there is no protection against Tsunami. The only thing the told us about Tsunami is how to evacuate.
    Don’t let then do your thinking for you. Get ready people!

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    • Typoqueen says:

      I understand what you’re saying and I don’t disagree, you sound as if you know what you’re talking about. A tsunami is not the only thing that can cause the generators to fail at nuke plants though. Although the earthquake didn’t damage the generators in Japan I would imagine that an earthquake could somehow damage the generators at nuke plants as well as a plane or an explosion of some type. There are numerous things that could go wrong, including an earthquake. In Japan the plant worked how it was designed to work. They didn’t count on a tsunami like that though which only proves that in long run humans aren’t capable containing radiation from these plants and we can’t properly dispose the waste. We know that there has been design flaws in the Japanese plant and we know that there have been flaws at the Diablo plant.

      Who is going to store the spent rods in 100 or 200 years when there is no PG&E? Who is going to raise thier hand and say I’ll take it? We are, the govt. will be responsible for it.

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