The Long Shadow of Chernobyl

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  • The Long Shadow of Chernobyl
  • Edukator
    Member

    Well the Strathclyde lecturer needs sacking. How much energy does the lecturer think gadgets use compared with a typical UK heating bill. Insulating my house and adding a solar hot water heater has cut energy use by around 5000kWh a year (more but I’ve knocked off the energy from the wood I burn). My gadget use including lighting, fridge, TV, Amp, various Internet/sat boxes, phone, hob, kettle, oven, microwave, power tools, battery chargers, PC, washing machine comes to around 2000kWh/year.

    LED lights have knocked a bit more off my bill in the last couple of years.

    Edit: UK electricty consumption is decresing if you refer back to the graph I posted a few pages back, and that despite ever more homes being built. I hope/suggest the saving is coming from more efficient appliances.

    Kit
    Member

    Right… clearly you are hyper-conscious of your energy consumption, and you are, or have done, all that you can to reduce it. This is a determined choice which you have made, which you will follow through for the rest of your life. How many other people in society are willing, educated, supported, aware, capable of making and implementing the same decisions as you? Very very few, I would imagine. So perhaps on a wider societal scale his point stands? Anyway, maybe I have misinterpreted/misunderstood/didn’t remember correctly from a throwaway line in a lecture from a year ago. If you feel so strongly that he should be sacked, then I’m sure he’d love to hear from you.

    As for your graph, it shows a decline of two years. But here are two other declines in energy use in the mid-70’s and the late-70’s-early-80’s, before electricity use increased again. How do you know that we are on a long-term downward trend? Despite more houses being built, we’ve also been in a recession, which affects peoples energy consumption. Or do you have a graph for that too?

    Edukator
    Member

    Perhpas not fair to demand the sacking of the man on the basis of what I now know you may have “misinterpreted/misunderstood/didn’t remember correctly”, Kit.

    In terms of total energy consumption, taking per capita figures then Germany has being reducing consumtion for some time and the UK for a few year:

    Even if people aren’t making choices for themselves choices are being made for them:

    Even the most energy greedy bulbs you can buy (halogen) are more economical than the old ones. Most people use the free “energy saving” ones they were given and a few people use LEDs.

    Free insulation is making houses more efficient.

    Try buying an appliance that isn’t “A” rated. OK so the manufacturers cheat and rate the machines on settings people don’t use but they are still more efficient than before.

    LED TVs use less energy and they’re what people want because the picture is better.

    IMO the potential for demand increase due to people wanting more stuff is more than offset by efficiency increases. What do you want that you don’t have? In the seventies you might have answered: American fridge, dishwasher, big TV… . What do you want now that you don’t have? In my case nothing, and each time I replace an appliance it consumes less than the previous one.

    Macavity
    Member
    Brycey
    Member

    Evening all, this still going on?

    Just back from a hard day helping big white whirly things produce 360MW for most of the day.

    Edukator
    Member

    From Macavity’s paper:

    This might eventually represent up to four thousand fatal cancers in addition to the approximately 100 000 fatal cancers to be expected due to all other causes in this population

    😉

    Evening all, this still going on?

    Just back from a hard day helping big white whirly things produce 360MW for most of the day.

    You’ve harnessed the power of TJ wading into an argument, arms windmilling, shouting ‘you haven’t answered the question yet’?

    Certainly discounts the need for nukes!

    Brycey
    Member

    I might suggest a turbine next to the STW servers; there’s certainly a lot of blustering.

    zokes
    Member

    So, a possible 4000, on top of the 57 killed at the time. The data we already knew. Hardly TJ’s 10’s of thousands.

    As an aside directed at TJ’s googlebot, Macavity: I, and everyone else on what TJ calls the ‘pro nuclear’ argument have been careful to post from non-biased sources where possible. I actually got my figures for wind turbine load factors from a pro-wind website. It would be very very easy to post hundreds of links from anti-wind organisations similar to your NIRS and luddites links. In this shining beacon of hope that is my current residence 🙄 people seem to have developed a deep belief of something called Wind Turbine Syndrome.

    Zokes – why are you so one eyed on this? simply ignoring anything that does not fit your preconceptions? You will note I was careful to put int he stuff about thresholds

    The 4000 is only in the most irradiated areas a very limited geographical scope – if the same calculation is extended to all irradiated areas the number is 27,000.

    If you take a more liberal interpretation the number is 60 000 plus, one study gives a million.

    Given the varying numbers from a whole series of reputable sources tens of thousands is not unreasonable.

    4000 DEATHS IS ONLY IN A LIMITED GEOGRAPHICAL AREA.

    So – going to answer the questions put to you – are are you going to continue to ignore them or answer with meaningless platitudes again.

    You ask for rigour – then present your arguemtnet with rigour.

    I, and everyone else on what TJ calls the ‘pro nuclear’ argument have been careful to post from non-biased sources where possible. I

    good – lets see teh data on disposal of waste then

    references please

    transapp
    Member

    Where’s that data from TJ?

    references please

    I gave a few of them this morning.

    There is actually a series of good wiki entries on this if you want them Lots of references – just as with all wiki stuff have a good look at the sources.

    the 4000 figure comes from UNSCEAR – and is now revised to 5000 and only considers a limited area where the radiation was highest. http://www.unscear.org/

    Torch report is also worth looking at but its bias is well worth considering

    http://www.chernobylreport.org/?p=summary

    Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment published by the American academy of sciences gives the number of around a million excess deaths. this does seem likely to be an over estimate.

    Plenty of other studies can be found

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    Edukator – Member

    IMO the potential for demand increase due to people wanting more stuff is more than offset by efficiency increases.

    Locally, sure. But electricity production isn’t a local issue.

    This is the part that makes me not want to take part in this sort of debate because it always seems to come down to two sides arguing over how badly we’re boned. World electricity consumption was up 5% in 2010 (wiki, sorry) and I don’t see that any amount of first world efficiency gains will offset lifestyle improvements elsewhere over the next century- or in fact be more than a drop in that bucket.

    As for how to deal with it… People through this thread have asserted that nuclear is a major producer and that renewables can’t be- but according to my detailed wiki research nuclear produces just 5.8% of world electrical demand (and renewables 10.6% surprisingly, including biomass etc). Which I thought was strange since a common theme seems to be that it’s one of the major producers.

    But since 80% of power production is fossil and 6% is nuclear that requires a 1300% increase in the number of nuclear stations worldwide- from 436 worldwide to a little under 6000- in order to replace fossil entirely, even ignoring growth. Course, that’s assuming that new plants produce as much power as the average existing plant, probably not fair- let’s be generous and say they produce twice as much, that way we only need another 3000.

    (to put it another way- to match the current growth in consumption we’d need to almost double the amount of power produced by nuclear, each year)

    Anyone consider that likely? With nuclear generation apparently in decline and the need to replace existing stations?

    transapp
    Member

    TJ – I missed that. Thank you, I’ll be mostly reading for the rest of the evening.

    don’t forget your large pinch of salt and consider who backs the reports.

    Wiki pages have a lot of referneces but also need a high bullshit filter

    Estimates of the number of deaths potentially resulting from the accident vary enormously: Thirty one deaths are directly attributed to the accident, all among the reactor staff and emergency workers.[12] An UNSCEAR report places the total confirmed deaths from radiation at 64 as of 2008. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the death toll could reach 4,000 civilian deaths, a figure which does not include military clean-up worker casualties.[13] The Union of Concerned Scientists estimate that for the broader population there will be 50,000 excess cancer cases resulting in 25,000 excess cancer deaths.[14] The 2006 TORCH report predicted 30,000 to 60,000 cancer deaths as a result of Chernobyl fallout.[15] A Greenpeace report puts this figure at 200,000 or more. A Russian publication, Chernobyl, concludes that 985,000 premature cancer deaths occurred worldwide between 1986 and 2004 as a result of radioactive contamination from Chernobyl.[16]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster#Assessing_the_disaster.27s_effects_on_human_health

    zokes
    Member

    Course, that’s assuming that new plants produce as much power as the average existing plant, probably not fair- let’s be generous and say they produce twice as much, that way we only need another 3000.

    Anyone consider that likely? With nuclear generation apparently in decline and the need to replace existing stations?

    So, if we assume that those 3000 plants are 2 GW plants, that’s 3 million 2 MW wind turbines, all producing all the time. Using the very optimistic load factor of 30% I quoted the other day (and that assumes a windy country such as the UK), that’s over 9 million wind turbines. Anti-wind lobbyists seem to prefer a load factor of 10-15% as the correct figure, and as we’re using anti-nuclear figures for every other argument on this thread, perhaps we should use that for balance?

    Neither 3000 nuclear power plants nor 9 million (or 18 million if you’re anti-wind) wind turbines sounds particularly likely to me.

    Brycey
    Member

    Zokes, I take the point you’re making, but putting my pedant hat on for a minute, the offshore turbine standard is currently 3.6MW; with the really big farms planned for Round 3 all made up of 6-10MW turbines. In fact Dogger Bank in Round 3 is touted as 13GW total. The most recent and next generation offshore farms have significant outputs.

    Still a lot of turbines mind…

    Junkyard
    Member

    Zokes – why are you so one eyed on this? simply ignoring anything that does not fit your preconceptions?

    You really dont have any self awareness do you

    So – going to answer the questions put to you – are are you going to continue to ignore them or answer with meaningless platitudes again.

    i refer you to the answer you gave some time ago after being asked 5 times about wind generators where your answer was to just refuse to answer 😯
    and i refer you to the point made earlier
    You really dont have any self awareness do you

    trully incredible work
    I guess I have been lucky [ others may disagree] to mainly agree with you, this has been a real eye opener

    Junkyard

    I do not lack self awareness.

    I am perfectly aware of what is going on here.

    I asked the pro nuke guys on here a series of questions. they have been unable to answer beyond meaningless platitudes.

    What relevance this has to your question about the mechanics of wind generators I do not know. I have not claimed any specific knowledge of this and what its relevance to the disposal of high level waste is I cannot see. I have not claimed wind generators are the answer.

    Why you feel personal attacks are needed I do not understand. i simply asked questions about nukes and pressed for meaningful answers.

    Why this means I have to answer a question about the mechanics of wind turbines I do not know.

    Edit – I am not one eyed nor do I ignore stuff that does not fit my preconceptions – hence what I said about the threshold theory for radiation damage

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    zokes – Member

    Neither 3000 nuclear power plants nor 9 million (or 18 million if you’re anti-wind) wind turbines sounds particularly likely to me.

    Aye, exactly my point!

    Though- wind forms only 1/6th of renewables output so wrong to focus only on that (though it’s currently growing ahead of the other forms IIRC). And why use outdated 2mw turbines when much better already exist?

    We added 32GW (plate) wind output worldwide in 2010 and the trend is for that to rise. And though you’re right to be skeptical about load factor claims, even back in 2005 the US Department of Energy found that then-new turbines were delivering around 1/3d load factor- that’s neither a pro- or anti- wind source I would say, and it seems likely that it will have improved further especially since that’s for on-land.

    But I think the conclusion we’re lead towards is that neither nuclear or wind is a fix- it’ll take unrealistic development to make a dent in fossil dependance.

    Junkyard
    Member

    its it not a personal attack it is an observation- granted one you wont accept/like but I am not the first nor will I be the last. You cannot berate others for not answering questions [ they have repeatedly] and then just refuse to answer questions put to you…well you can but it has no credibility.
    I am sur eyou would accept it has no relevance as a good answer from “pro nuke fanatics”

    I would suggest saying you lack self awareness is on a par of “personal ” as you claiming zokes is one eyed on this

    Yes TJ you are open to persuasion on all the issues you enter into debate on and people often comment about how you are swayed by the arguments of others.. I refer you to my earlier point you dont like. I dont think many will agree with that view of you TJ even if you do

    Its like me claiming i type well and can spell.

    I have no desire to make this personal god knows you get enough of that on here and I dont wish to add to it

    Junkyard – I simply cannot understand why the fact I press people for meaningful answers on one subject means I have to answer something obscure on another subject – one I have not claimed specific knowledge on

    there has been no meaningful answers to the questions I have asked. You say there has can you copy and paste them or tell me what they are – and meaningless platitudes do not count or on the question you asked about wind turbines an answer of ” ways will be found around it” is good enough

    On a previous discussion on this Zokes and I discussed the thresholds and while previously I thought it had been settled that there was no threshold its clear to me now that there is no firm consensus on this thus when answering about the deaths I mentioned this.

    zokes
    Member

    But I think the conclusion we’re lead towards is that neither nuclear or wind is a fix- it’ll take unrealistic development to make a dent in fossil dependance.

    And this is the problem.

    However, we’re not actually just turning off all existing nuclear and fossil plants in one go. It will be gradual, and that does make it at least in part achievable through a mix of tidal, solar, wave, biomass, wind, hydro, modern nuclear, and small, highly efficient CHP gas plants.

    We could play devil’s advocate and single out each of those technologies on their own as an example of how it won’t work (e.g. 18 million wind turbines, nuclear will kill us all, or civilisation as we know it will end if we have to switch to energy-saving light bulbs), but I think it would be more constructive if we took a holistic approach without writing off any one technology or method.

    Sadly, there is at least one person on this thread trying their best to have a destructive argument, rather than a constructive debate. That spoils things somewhat…

    I asked the pro nuke guys on here a series of questions

    There aren’t (to my knowledge) any “pro-nuke” guys on this thread. My own position, and that of others it seems, is that we’re “anti ‘anti-nuke hysteria'”, which is totally different.

    I am not trying to have a destructive debate. I am not as you have variously called me hysterical or scared.

    I simply see this in a different way to you – that the dangers of nuclear are two high for the benefits it can bring.

    I pressed you on the flaws in your pro nuke argument – and you refuse to answer the pertinent questions apart from with generalised platitudes.

    Nuclear is an expensive dangerous irrelevance in this debate. It can never be a significant part of the solution. Instead pursuing it will take money and effort away from solutions that can play a much more important role.

    I have continually pressed yo because its an important point – and your refusal to answer in any meaningful way shows the paucity of your argument as does your use of pejorative terms to describe anyone who has the temerity to question you and press for answers.

    zokes
    Member

    I do not lack self awareness.

    I am perfectly aware of what is going on here.

    I’d go so far as to say that this sounds like Maggie in her final days as PM!

    Still no answers then – just relying on insults. Nice.

    I used to have some respect for you on this and indeed have shown it by listening and learning about the thresholds for example

    No more. The paucity of your argument has been exposed and all you can do is hurl insults.

    zokes
    Member

    I used to have some respect for you on this and indeed have shown it by listening and learning about the thresholds for example

    If this is the case, and the various estimates (some from sources with little more than hysterical guesses as basis) are all predicated on the veracity (or lack thereof) of the LNT model, why did you open your contribution to the thread with:

    TandemJeremy – Member

    plenty of proof of many ten of thousands of deaths from Chernobyl at a bare minimum

    If you were aware of the issues around the LNT model (as you say, from previous debates with me), why did you then type such a subjective and non-contextual statement to open your contribution to this thread?

    In fact, then, why did you try to defend the LNT model as fact, rather than as one particular hypothesis (which it is)?

    Despite various evidence to the contrary on all questions asked, you still claim that noone has answered your questions. This is why my questioning your ironic intent regarding your assertion of self-awareness seems fair enough to me. Given that I wasn’t the first person to raise this question with you, I’d say I’m not the only one.

    As Junkyard has highlighted, he and I rarely seem to agree on threads, and it has in the past unfortunately degenerated into the ad hominem style of argument you have started here. The fact that JY and myself (who I’m sure on more than one occasion have probably disagreed with each other to the point of trolling) are in agreement on this subject implies that both of us are putting forward a reasoned argument, which stands up even when each of us might pre-judge the other’s analysis from past encounters.

    Edukator
    Member

    You are right to point out I’m reasonaing locally, on a European level in fact, Northwind. The world population increases by the population of the town I live in every day or so. Car production is still going up in an almost straight line:

    Sooner rather than later a world energy crisis is going to bite and those nations and regions best prepared for a transition to a sustainable future will remain stable with a high quality of life for longer. Europe has the resources to make the transition, if we don’t want our children to live in anarchy and poverty now is the time to invest in energy saving and sustainable energy production.

    zokes
    Member

    if we don’t want our children to live in anarchy and poverty now is the time to invest in energy saving and sustainable energy production.

    That would require political foresight and leadership, which might be a problem.

    Hmmm, you have got some history on this one to be fair though, haven’t you TJ?

    TandemJeremy – Member
    zulu – wrong there is no safe minimum dose for radiation. All radiation is mutagenic – its nothing like a chemical poison. radiation doses are also cumulative.

    So yes – any radiation released into biosphere will mean more deaths.

    POSTED 4 MONTHS AGO # REPORT-POST

    TandemJeremy – Member
    Yup – no safe minimum dosage – thats the scientific concensus

    Low level radiation dosage is cumulative and mutagenic with no safe minimum dosage..

    POSTED 4 MONTHS AGO # REPORT-POST

    zokes
    Member

    I know it’s from 4 months ago, but what Z11 has quoted from TJ is priceless:

    All radiation is mutagenic – its nothing like a chemical poison. radiation doses are also cumulative.

    So yes – any radiation released into biosphere will mean more deaths.

    Well, that’s certainly complete and utter BS. You’re being exposed to radiation on a daily basis. Everyone is. As I highlighted before, certain non-radiation workers are exposed to much more than radiation workers (air-crew, for example), yet none of my friends who are pilots seem to have dropped down dead yet.

    I don’t work in the nuclear industry as you would imagine it, but I do use radioactive substances for my job. As such, it is mandated by law that I have to go on regular courses and understand the risks posed by working with radiation, and the limits to which myself and, more importantly, staff under my supervision may be exposed to. I’ve now attended these courses in two different countries (UK and Aus).

    If radiation was cumulative (which it’s not, unless you ingest it in a form which your body does not get rid of, like mercury), and if there was no safe threshold to which I can be exposed to without risk of harm, then I wouldn’t be allowed to work with radioisotopes. That doesn’t just apply to me as an environmental scientist, but it applies to medicine, health workers, and a whole range of professions – none of whom would be associated with the nuclear industry as the general public might perceive it i.e. power or weapons.

    Your presumption of harm from radiation exposure, no matter how low, is classic paranoia of something you don’t understand. Classic hazard risk and perception psychology. That’s not a criticism of you – most people are scared of things they don’t understand (fear of poisonous spiders in Australia by European backpackers is quite a good example). Unfortunately it does leave a rather disingenuous argument though, which is what you fail to see.

    Gribs
    Member

    This may seem rather harsh but let’s asume TJ’s figure of 100000 deaths due to Chernobyl is true. As that’s over 26 years so less than 4000 deaths a year, and spread worldwide is that really that much of a problem?

    Good point Gribs, only a handful of deaths over the last 26 years have posed a real problem for me. And I dare say several millions have died.

    “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic” – Joseph Stalin

    Edukator
    Member

    Airline staff and cancer

    And from another paper:

    Melanoma

    The estimated incidence of melanoma was found to be significantly increased among airline pilots—the estimated SIR for melanoma was 3.47. Because the incidence of melanoma has increased in the general population since 1970, estimated SIRs for airline pilots were calculated separately for the time periods 1970–79, 1980–89, and 1990–98 using SEER data for comparable time periods. For 1970–79, the estimated SIR is 1.77; for 1980–89, 2.15; for 1990–98, 2.60. These estimated rates suggest that the incidence of melanoma is increasing faster among pilots than among the general population.

    X-ray workers

    So you and your friends have been lucky so far, Zokes. We don’t know what the cancer rate would be if we weren’t exposed to background radiation. On the basis of what I’ve read over the years I think it would be lower, that’s just my opinion as a non-specialist though. The background level isn’t safe but perhaps useful as without mutations life on earth wouldn’t have evolved to what it is now.

    But are airline pilots getting more melanoma because of the work environment whilst flying or (as my mate keeps reminding me) they spend so much time sunbathing by the hotel pool so they have their prescribed rest between flights?

    Edukator
    Member

    Or that they are from rich, privileged backgrounds and got sun burned as kids on the beaches of Spain, the decking of Greek flotila yachts, the pistes of Courchevel etc.

    There are so many environmental factors it’s hard to pin one. Add the complication of background radiation effectively eliminating a control group and there’s lots of scope for debate.

    zokes
    Member

    There are so many environmental factors it’s hard to pin one. Add the complication of background radiation effectively eliminating a control group and there’s lots of scope for debate.

    This is the problem, with the exception of acute radiation sickness, or possibly leukaemia, most other radiation-based cancers only come to the fore 20-30 years later (hence why the older workers at Fukushima volunteered). Perhaps if we see a big leap over the next 5 years in the former USSR and northern Europe where Chernobyl’s fallout landed, TJ might have a point, but 20 years since the explosion was 6 years ago, and there’s no proof yet.

    Plus, we seem to have missed the thing about cancers – most, if caught early enough (especially skin cancers because you can usually see them) are curable with no ill effects.

    The fact still remains, even people working on the clean-up of Chernobyl stand far more chance of dying from some other cause (most probably being run over, alcohol abuse, or smoking), than by radiation.

    So you and your friends have been lucky so far, Zokes

    Not really – the waste from my work gets disposed of as chemical waste and incinerated – the scintillation fluid is far more carcinogenic than the 14C within it. Despite that, statistically I stand far more chance of being killed on my ride to work one day over the next 40 years of my career, than I do from dying due to exposure to radiation or chemical carcinogens or toxins whilst at work.

    Most lab fatalities are actually due to electrocution. I suppose if we banned electricity because it’s dangerous, it would somewhat diminish the need for nuclear power!

    konabunny
    Member

    It might be all the duty free fags.

    In fact, then, why did you try to defend the LNT model as fact, rather than as one particular hypothesis (which it is)?

    the very post you link to I say

    One aspect to be considered is that is there a threshold below which radiation does not cause deaths? Some say there is, some say there isn’t. Makes a big difference to the numbers of predicted deaths.

    I think that rather shows that I understand LNT is a hypothesis. One that is generally accepted worldwide but sufficient doubt that I believe its worth mentioning. If yo wnt to atttack me then actually read what I wrote

    Despite various evidence to the contrary on all questions asked, you still claim that no one has answered your questions.

    Right – can you show me the answers then – not meaningless platitudes but actual answers?

    What are you going to do with the waste? And no “turn it into glass bury it and forget about it” is not a meaningful answer

    Waht you say about risk perception in general is right – but in this case I understand exactly what the risks are. I simply do not believe the benefits are worth it – your problem is you dismiss the risks and overstate the benefits.

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