Reaping the Whirlwind of State Aggression: Nuclear Consequences

Column by Glen Allport.

Exclusive to STR

Part 5 of "Could the Non-Aggression Principle Stop the Sixth Great Extinction?"

In Part 3 of this series, Timeline of a World-Killing Paradigm Shift, I made the case that Statism, via widespread use of coercion and constant violation of the Non-Aggression Principle, has set in motion the destruction of the Earth's biosphere, bringing us to the brink of an extinction event – extinction for civilization, at least, and perhaps for the human race itself and for most other vertebrate species as well. Most of that column, however, was devoted to showing the progression of tyranny and other harm that began with adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

Here, I expand on the consequences this dramatic increase in tyranny has caused and provide some minor updates.

The damage is not only due to nuclear issues, of course. Of the many problems the aggressive State has saddled us with, two of the largest and proximate causes of what might be called Part Two of the Great Extinction in progress (massive human population growth in the past few centuries was the foundation of Part One) are widespread and growing radiological contamination, and genetically modified organisms and other forms of nano-tech.

Both are global, long-term problems without known solutions and both are rapidly growing worse – indeed, both are inherently characterized by growing harm in the absence of serious efforts at containment and remediation. Many of the millions of nuclear waste containers leak, for instance – meaning the problem would get worse even if we stopped building and running all nuclear reactors tomorrow – and GMO's proliferate in unexpected and unwanted ways – for example, "Mexico has already detected many native cornfields contaminated by GM corn during the period when open planting was prohibited."

Both of these intractable problems strike at the heart of life by attacking DNA directly. This affects not only today's victims but all life on this Earth going forward – even if the problem were solved tomorrow. Damaged DNA is our legacy to all future generations of plants, animals, and humans.

Even our best efforts to solve these two problems (should we ever exert such efforts) might prove inadequate. Recent articles and events make clear that these two problems have not been neutralized, contained, or mitigated in any way since my Timeline column last May, but instead continue advancing in State-enabled ways. In this column I will limit the discussion to nuclear issues, but only for the sake of brevity; the GMO nightmare has certainly not abated.

For starters, Asian nations are sensibly planning to shut down all their nuclear power plants. Oh, wait. Did I say "shut down" their existing plants? I meant to say "Asian nations are planning to build about a hundred NEW nuclear power plants over the next 20 years," including several in seismically-challenged Japan,* Taiwan, and Indonesia. I don't know about elsewhere, but in Japan, the overwhelming majority of citizens want fewer nuclear plants, not more of them. The State, as usual, has more important things to consider than the desires or even the health and well-being of its people – money and power, for instance.

* Quakes near Fukushima in the last few days, per QuakeWatch (an IOS app) – the full list is several screenfuls. From my experience with the app in recent months, this is entirely typical. My impression is that only Southern California (home of the crippled San Onofre nuclear plant, along with tens of millions of people) seems as constantly active as this area in northern Japan, but Japan has been showing much higher Richter levels than California during this period.

Meanwhile, the nuclear disaster at Fukushima continues poisoning the air, the ocean ("Other countries are also increasingly distressed by the amount of irradiated marine life turning up near their coastlines along the Pacific Rim," according to the linked article), the water tables, the forests, the cities, and every other spot of ground and patch of water not only in most of Japan but around much of the Earth, as Fukushima's radiation travels on the trade winds, in the ocean currents, and otherwise insinuates itself into our lungs, our food supply, and more. The response of Japan's government and corporate media has been to downplay (lie) and largely ignore the problem while stacking public hearings with pro-nuclear shills and otherwise favoring the industry over people's lives. Japanese journalists and others recently held a symposium to call attention to the problem.

One exception is an article in the Japan Times on the plight of mushroom farmers throughout northeastern Japan. An excerpt:

"Meanwhile, the future of the wild plants, animals, and insects in the coppiced oak woodlands where he used to cut logs for the shiitake crop are also threatened.

"The same is true throughout northeastern Japan. Because mushrooms are more prone than other crops to absorb the radioactive cesium spread by the disaster, growers continue to suffer even in areas where other farmers have returned to business-as-usual [and isn't THAT comforting]. And because mushroom production is closely entwined with a certain type of forested habitat, troubles in the industry presage ecological as well as human impacts.

"Hoshino’s farm is about 180 km from the destroyed reactors. However, radiation levels are lower there than they are in some parts of Tokyo; even in Hoshino’s own forests, they are now at near-background levels. But as he began testing dried shiitakes in the fall of 2011, he discovered some that exceeded the legal limit for contamination, which at the time was 500 becquerels per kg (Bq/kg). [emphasis added . . . and Japan is not the only place to have dramatically raised the "legal safe limit" for radioactive contamination of food; see EU Secretly Ups Cesium Safety Level in Food 20-Fold, for example] . . .

"In forests and villages near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in present-day Ukraine, where explosions and fires almost 27 years ago caused a widespread release of radioactive fallout, 'hot' mushrooms remain a symbol of persistent environmental contamination.

"Satoshi Yoshida, a researcher at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences, says scientists still don’t know exactly why or how mushrooms accumulate so much cesium. But one reason, he says, is that large amounts of the contaminant remain available to them in forest environments for many years." [again, emphasis added]

This would suggest that adding another hundred nuclear power plants throughout Asia might not be a terrific idea. Certainly, in a world where the Non-Aggression Principle held sway and governments were not involved in subsidizing nuclear power, in legislating away industry risk, and otherwise pushing to have nuclear power plants built – in a world where corporations would need to actually buy insurance for their plants at uncorrupted market rates, including for the megatons of radioactive waste those plants produce, and would need to pay the full, actual costs for building, maintaining, and decommissioning their plants – in such a world we would either see much safer nuclear plants or, more likely, no nuclear power plants at all. The vast monies invested in nuclear power could have gone into solar (including concentrated solar power, which does not require high-tech solar panels), wind, and other sources of clean and sustainable electric power.

Thanks to the State and its constant violations of the Non-Aggression Principle – not to mention the insane desire of our Leaders for huge nuclear arsenals, which require these power plants because they generate weapons-grade material – we're stuck with a world already widely poisoned by nuclear contaminants. Over 400 nuclear plants are now running and more than a hundred new ones are on the way in Asia and elsewhere. Even without huge, cinematic levels of destruction at such plants, the waste they produce is not merely a potential danger: Many millions of gallons of this waste have already leaked into the rivers and water tables and elsewhere from thousands of places (for instance, at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state on the Columbia River).

How anyone thinks the long-term effects of this insanity will allow for civilized life to continue without eventually succumbing to the increasing load of poison is beyond me. We've had two major disasters at commercial nuclear power plants just since 1986, and these power plants and their waste products (not to mention all the other, often collateral, sources of radiological contamination) will be deadly for thousands of centuries – indeed, some of it will still be deadly when the Sun swallows the Earth billions of years from now. Evolution and geology show the power of long time frames – given enough time, astonishing things can happen – and today's tech industry shows how rapidly change can occur once a tipping point is reached.

Two major disasters in less than 30 years suggests six or so every century even without considering all the new plants being built or planned, and without taking into account the relentless, ongoing aging and rusting of existing plants, barrels, and other equipment; without considering the wide use of depleted uranium weapons by major powers in their constant wars and police actions and at target ranges; without considering the serious pollution from simply mining and refining all the necessary uranium and other radioactive material for the various nuclear industries.

How long will it be, I wonder, before enough of the power plants, waste dumps, and other sources of nuclear death are corroded or otherwise degraded to the point that the problem can no longer be swept under the rug? When all these facilities are at least a half-century old (some already are), or two centuries old or some other critical age, will the yearly increase in breached containments and rusted barrels and accidental discharges rapidly raise the global levels of contamination to beyond what our DNA – and the DNA of most other life on Earth – can survive? For that matter, will one or more events do that in the next few decades, even? In the next week? No one knows – but time is on the side of decay, of accident, of entropy – and thus of eventual extinction at the hand of today's nuclear industry.

It might not happen in my lifetime, or yours. But shouldn't it still be something of concern?

To make the situation even more bizarre and horrifying, many of the planned and existing plants are, as mentioned, in areas of high seismic activity or other risk – although as Chernobyl shows, it doesn't take an earthquake to cause a megadeath disaster at a nuclear plant:

"The health effects of the Chernobyl accident are massive and demonstrable. They have been studied by many research groups in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine, in the USA, Greece, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan. The scientific peer reviewed literature is enormous. Hundreds of papers report the effects, increases in cancer and a range of other diseases. My colleague Alexey Yablokov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, published a review of these studies in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (2009). Earlier in 2006 he and I collected together reviews of the Russian literature by a group of eminent radiation scientists and published these in the book Chernobyl, 20 Years After. The result: more than a million people have died between 1986 and 2004 as a direct result of Chernobyl. [emphasis added]
". . . Joseph Conrad wrote: 'after all the shouting is over, the grim silence of facts remain.' I believe that these phoney experts like Wade Allison and George Monbiot are criminally irresponsible, since their advice will lead to millions of deaths."
~ Dr. Chris Busby, Deconstructing Nuclear Experts in Counterpunch, March 2011

Nor are big, individual disasters needed for the nuclear industry to be a serious threat to humanity. In Seventy Years of Nuclear Fission, Thousands of Centuries of Nuclear Waste, Gregg Levine details this so-far unsolvable problem shadowing the nuclear industry,* concluding that "The lesson of the first 70 years of fission is that we cannot endure more of the same" and that the government "should reorient its priorities."
* Inevitably, some will comment that the waste problem HAS been solved, if only we would implement a particular proposed solution. But that's only an opinion – not an established, proven fact – and even implementing a plan would not prove long-term results until that long term has passed.

Suggesting the State "should reorient its priorities" here is like suggesting that wolves should go vegan: it isn't likely to change anything. The State utilized its coercive powers to create the nuclear problem in the first place – it cannot be said often enough that without the coercive State, we would not have this problem at all. The State is psychopathic by its very nature and accordingly behaves in corrupt and dysfunctional ways aimed at short term gain for itself and for its connected elite, at the expense of the wealth and well-being of the masses. To see this from another perspective, I recommend War is a Racket by highly-decorated Marine Major General Smedley Butler. Murdering millions in war to create profit is a common tactic among those who influence and/or run the State. The idea that the State cares about people and is necessary to the running of civilization is merely a triumph of public-relations – a lie, in other words. The simple truth is that the State is a way for a small group to use force against the rest of us. Dressing that up in fantasy justifications (the divine right of kings, dictatorship of the proletariat, majority rule, and so on), does not change the truth.

It should surprise no one that major governments around the world, with rare exceptions, are making plans to continue and in many cases to dramatically expand the nuclear industry within and beyond their borders, and thus to increase the production of nuclear waste, hitting up their citizen/tax slaves for many billions of additional dollars to help accomplish this – a further reminder that this death-dealing industry would not be viable in a genuinely free world.

Love and freedom will be hard to maintain in a world being poisoned at ever-increasing rates by long-lived radioactive (and often chemically poisonous) fallout and leakage from the nuclear power and bomb industries – industries that were forced down our throats by the coercive State.

Save civilization. Save mankind. Save the biosphere: Abolish the coercive State and replace it with civil society. I think it is probably too late to succeed, but I could be wrong. I'd certainly like to find out – and our children and grandchildren deserve a chance to find out, as well.

Previously in this series:

Could the Non-Aggression Principle Stop the Sixth Great Extinction? [Part 1]
How the Idea of Civil Society was Destroyed [Part 2]
Timeline of a World-Killing Paradigm Shift [Part 3]
Protecting Your Family from Fukushima Radiation and Other Health Threats [Part4]

Related:

The Abolitionist Argument in 35 Seconds
Had Enough Government "Regulation" Yet?

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Glen Allport's picture
Columns on STR: 104

Glen Allport co-authored The User's Guide to OS/2 from Compute! Books and is the author of The Paradise Paradigm: On Creating a World of Compassion, Freedom, and Prosperity. He maintains paradise-paradigm.net. This is one in a series of columns on the human condition.

Comments

Jim Davies's picture

"Without the coercive State, we would not have this problem at all" - right on, Glen!
 
Would you agree that without the coercive state, a nuclear power industry would still have developed? More slowly at first, I think, for the state swept aside the liability problem in its early days; and  later perhaps more rapidly as reactor design became increasingly secure.
 
A free-market nuclear industry would have to handle the liability and waste disposal questions, and one obvious result is that it would never build reactors on a well-known earthquake fault line a few feet from a tsunami wracked shore. Another would be that no weapons program would have developed, since it is really bad business policy to nuke your customers.
 
But, alas, history cannot be rewritten. Now, we have nuclear weapons poised to enter the control of fanatics who have demonstrated a willingness to commit murder suicide. Once one reaches that point, the more one can kill while dying becomes, presumably, an advantage. Governments have so far retained enough rationality not to wage nuclear war (or for that matter chem-bio war) because they the leaders would inevitably die in one; but that doesnt worry suicidal fanatics.
 
Might you agree that that's the greatest danger of all?
 
The Non-Aggression Principle is a perfectly adequate solution even to that, but it cannot be taught overnight. Time is running very short.
 

Glen Allport's picture

Would there be a nuclear industry of some type without the State? I don't have any way of knowing, but I suspect the dangers and costs would have moved market forces toward other forms of energy production. Solar, wind, and other forms of power generation, combined with various methods of storage for periods of no generation (night, calm weather, etc) would, I believe, be far less expensive than nuclear and quite up to the task of generating the power we need IF the billions (trillions?) of dollars we've dumped into nuclear power had gone where the market directed it instead of where government aggression sent it. (Much, and probably most, of the cost of nuclear power is hidden -- it's in subsidies, mandates, military budgets, off-books black spending, lost opportunity costs, and a hundred other things). As to whether nuclear war is a greater danger than nuclear waste and breakdown of power plants -- who knows? Either could do us in.

Persona non grata's picture

Excellent essay Glen.

Exposure to any source of radiation (including background) is hazardous to most forms of life found on Earth.

Jim Davies's picture

PNG, I wonder if you've come across that provocative book by Ed Hiserodt, Underexposed? - and if so, what your thoughts on it are.
 
His theme is that while intense radiation is obviously devastating, low levels of it are actually beneficial. He backs his case with abundant data. One particularly striking study was of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors; those who had been irradiated by the blasts but from several miles away. They ended up "outliving their unexposed peers" - page 114.
 
Of course, neither Ed nor I recommend dropping A- or H-bombs anywhere, for any experimental repeat.

mhstahl's picture

Jim,

You seem like a fan of Nuclear power, is that right? If so, I am inclined to ask why, exactly? Do you have some "free-market" basis for this, or is it just a penchant for technology?

Let's not forget, by the way, that nuclear power stations are quite capable of releasing high level radiation in lethal doses as well, as the Cyrnobyl plant did...and governments are quite capable of lying about it, as the U.S. did about its atmospheric testing in the 50's and 60's, which is really the greatest concern, after all.

All of this is somewhat beside the point, however. Even if radiation from a nuclear power plant leak would cause one to live to 150, cure impotence, eradicate dandruff, and end flatulance no one has any business permitting a risk of exposure to anyone against thier will. To do so is an initiation of force. I'm quite curious as to how you think that it could concievably not be such, if you do think that.

At present, nuclear power is totally vested with government force, the destruction of property values in the vicinity are not compensated, and the electricity itself is sold through fascist power companies that offer no competition despite the absurdly high cost of nuclear. That being the case, I would hope you would support ending it immediately as it currently operates as a matter of principle.

Best,

Mike

Jim Davies's picture

As a free marketeer, Mike, I applaud every attempt to provide the market with products and services that are cheaper (or better, or both) than existing counterparts. Nuclear power generation is an obvious case in point, though untrustworthy government statistics and laws make it hard to count all its true costs.
 
In particular, liability and imposed externality costs are relevant and only an unfettered free market can handle those truthfully. Government distorts and may very well be lying about what they are. But government regulates every other way of generating electricity including coal and oil burning, and what's true of the one, may be true of the others. I've not depth-studied these alternatives, but understand that the externalities from nukes are far less damaging than those from coal burners for example, though the latter have improved recently. And that takes no account of Hiserodt's contention that low radiation levels can bring benefit - ie, they impose a negative externality cost. If they were to double human longevity, as you hypothesize, I suppose a free market would bring (from grateful oldsters) substantial revenues to the generators of power... possibly leading to free electricity. But let's not count on that.
 
One conceivable fix for this morass of monopolies, legally-imposed externality costs and questionable statistics is to abolish the generation of electricity until government vanishes and a real free market takes its place; but the mayhem and deaths resulting from that reversal of civilization would, I dare say, not be worth the candle. Why, even our ability to discuss this on STR would disappear!
 
So let's take rational action to speed the arrival of a free society, and meanwhile get by with what we have. Let solar, wind, geothermal and wave technologies prosper apace, but ultimately they have to compete with an entry on your power bill.
 

mhstahl's picture

Jim,

I'm having trouble reconciling your comments with a belief in non-aggression, would you mind clarifying this a bit?

Thanks,

Mike

Jim Davies's picture

Spell out the problem, Mike, and I'll gladly try. At present, I can't see one.

mhstahl's picture

You can't? At present, utilities-particularly electrical generation-are thoroughly coercive. There can hardly be any debate on that. Yet despite that, you seem eager to applaud the system-or at least excuse it until someone waves a magic wand and disperses government to the four winds. Perhaps I am reading you wrong, but that appears to be your position.

Indeed, the current methods of generating power-including coal, nuclear, etc-DO-seemingly- bring a nice low cost of reliable power. Unfortunently, they also subject individuals to pollution at the whim of bureaucrats. Not only that, but the damage to surrounding property values, particularly in the case of nuclear, is both arbitrary and uncompensated. Nuclear is especially troublesome in this respect since it requires access to cooling water, meaning that plants are-unlike coal generation plants are-and must be-placed on prime waterfront real-estate, where otherwise high-value coastal property is reduced to wasteland for miles. I pointed this out in my first comment, and you simply dodged the point by trying to tell me that radiation is beneficial. I'm pretty skeptical about that, but in any event it hardly matters from a non-aggression standpoint.

To provide a bit of anecdotal evidence, I grew up near the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power station on Lake Erie's shore about 20 miles SE of Toledo. If you drive RT. 2 along the coast from Port Clinton to Toledo, my point is driven home forcefully. Unlike most Great Lakes shoreline, the area around the plant for 6 to 8 miles in each direction is desolate, but it wasn't always, one can see abandoned homes and the rotting carcasses of tourist businesses dotted along the shore from the time before the plant. Today, what business there is consists of run-down, low value, marinas and a couple of dive bars that cater to fishermen at a fraction of the cost of dockage to the East or West of the plant. Many of these have been family owned for generations, yet no one was compensated when first Toledo Edison and now First Energy decided to broker a deal with local politicians to put the eyesore there in the first place. Everyone for miles around has the delight of warning sirens being tested every week, AND have the pleasure of some of the highest electric rates in the State-because nuclear really doesn't work all that well in generating power, after all. I submit that this is no anomaly-really, who wants to spend time near a nuclear power plant?

Individuals in the area have suffered, but government has boomed, there is even, get this, a township police department in a township with some few hundred residents.

Now, you can wrap all of that aggression up in a nifty cost-benefit analysis if you like, and claim that somehow the ends justify the means(which is pretty much what I got from your comment), or you can recognize that the way things are done is simply wrong and that the system should change.

I think, frankly, that this speaks to a larger issue among "libertarians" when it comes to environmental concerns. The orthodox position is to, as you have, poo-poo the compliants of individuals who suffer damage from pollution or other harm from industrialization, rather than taking a principled stand. The slightest violation of civil liberties directly by government is (rightly) denounced, but somehow once government funnels those violations of individual liberty through a corporation, they become essential and are often defended rabidly. I used to do the same thing, it was both wrong and counter-productive.

You constantly talk of gloriously ending government through education (or, re-education...), might I suggest that you would have an easier sell by addressing the problems that exist today in terms of individual freedom and non-aggression, rather than citing an obscure theory about how radiation (at very low levels might add...) is somehow a boon? There is a reason that environmentalism is as popular as it is-it is because pollution harms individuals...shouldn't "individualists" be the first to point this out? seems so to me.

Anyway, there is the problem. Again, perhaps I've read you wrong, if so, please clarify.

Best,

Mike

Jim Davies's picture

Mike, thanks for clarifying. You and I are at cross purposes. Apparently you think I'm defending the status quo, with nuclear power as it has developed under government. I am not!
 
Not sure how you could gain that impression. If you scroll up to the very first comment in this thread, you'll see I asked Glen "Would you agree that without the coercive state, a nuclear power industry would still have developed?" and he later replied that he wasn't sure but thought it not probable. I think it probably would, but at a very different rate - because government interference would not have skewed the development - first by speeding it up and now by slowing it down.
 
Either way, I'm profoundly disinterested in supporting, justifying or reforming the status quo. My only interest is in terminating the state, so that market forces alone can determine progress in this as in every other industry. In that environment, the non-agression principle will of course reign supreme.
 
Such a free market alone is capable of telling what externalities are damaging and what compensation shall be paid by whom to whom and when; and free-market courts will judge on the basis of measured damage, not prejudice.  So whether the "sell" is easy or hard, that is what I shall continue to propose. Anything less is merely a rearrangement of the deck chairs. Environmentalism is "popular" because for at least four decades every child has been saturated in it from pre-school onwards, helped along by cute little froggies on Sesame Street. What we see is the result of massive propaganda, designed of course to enhance the power and scope of government and regardless of facts that fail to fit the program. When government schools are abolished and TV competes for business without its censors, that won't happen.
 
So please do get aboard and help terminate the state, and if you think there is a better or faster way than systematic re-education, by all means describe it.

Jim Davies's picture

A postscript, Mike, about that Erie lakeshore - because I think I once drove along that very road, and if so I agree it is desolate indeed. I didn't know there were nuclear power stations nearby, or that they caused the desolation. I recall there was a state park, and that altogether it was the least attractive landscape of any lake shore I've visited.

You mention test sirens. Who said those have to sound off, and why? - if the stations were properly built, there would have been no need for them. Were they improperly built, or is government just strutting its stuff?

How else did the nukes cause the desolation? - do they pump radioactive water into the lake, affecting fish? If so, lift up the rock and I bet you'll find a law crawling out, that prohibits fishermen from sueing.

In a free market, externalities will be chargeable and no laws will exist to prevent that. Someone suffers damage from your action, he will invite you to pay for it; you decline, he will take you to court. Non-aggression will be treated seriously. Knowing that in advance, you'll want to cover your bases if planning a nuclear plant.

However, that's not to say trivial complaints will be treated seriously. Courts will compete on a basis of rational fairness. Even today there's a principle in law: de minimis non curat lex, "the law cares not for small things." If someone sues for the pollution of his air when his neighbor belches, I predict that he will not win. So if the facts show (for example) that nuclear plants emit a low level of radiation that is actually beneficial, the plaintiff may end up a defendant. I don't pre-judge that, merely name it as a possibility given the principle of radiation hormesis.
 
As for that lake shore, hasten the day when the state park becomes private property, operated for profit and therefore made attractive to customers: picnickers, sunbathers, boaters, swimmers, fishermen, diners and all. And the generator plants will not disturb the quiet enjoyment of the facilities by needless siren blasting, lest they be sued for noise pollution.
 

Persona non grata's picture

No, I have't read Ed's book Underexposed.

Preface: I have not worked within the nuclear power industry for 15 years.

However in my past life I worked in the naval nuclear propulsion and civilian nuclear power generation fields of engineering/repair and way back when ships were wood, men were steel and sheep were scared the good folks at the National Academy of Sciences-national Research Council Advisory Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiations compiled data collected from Japanese A-bomb surviors, folks in the Marshall Islands, occupational workers and others and estimated the risk from human exposure to radiation.  What the reports numerical estimate of risk of exposure from radiation found, in brief, inconjunction with the United Nations Scientfic Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation is the following (the original 1972 report was reconfirmed by these very same bodies in 1977):

 

"In a large population group (such as 100,000 people)
receiving an annual total of 10,000 man-rem per year
after year, the increased risk from this radiation
appears to be in the region of about one fatal cancer
case each year and about one leukemia case every five
years in excess of the normal numbers of cases."

All that means is the risk of cancer from exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation was very small and we can all live happily ever after except for one or two of us. 

Stop the presses!
 
Hold them thar horses!
 
We was wrong!

Fast-foward thirty some-odd-years and the folks over at The National Academy of Sciences compiled a report Biological Effect of Ionizing Radiaiton (NAS BEIR VII) using some of the same data as the earlier reports but also new/expanded data and with a much better understanding of human physiology and found that incidents of cancer for those exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation was greater than had been expected.  The risk is still small and most of us still live happily ever after but a few more of us per 100,000 perhaps 400 would die from fatal cancers/leukemia.

There are a great many other health effects on human physiology than cancer such as increased incidences of cardiovascular disease and/or cataracts or  from the folks over at the EPA we have this:

Other than cancer, the most prominent long-term health effects are teratogenic and genetic mutations.

Teratogenic mutations result from the exposure of fetuses (unborn children) to radiation. They can include smaller head or brain size, poorly formed eyes, abnormally slow growth, and mental retardation. Studies indicate that fetuses are most sensitive between about eight to fifteen  weeks after conception. They remain somewhat less sensitive between six and twenty-five weeks old.

The relationship between dose and mental retardation is not known exactly. However, scientists estimate that if 1,000 fetuses that were between eight and fifteen weeks old were exposed to one rem, four fetuses would become mentally retarded. If the fetuses were between sixteen and twenty-five weeks old, it is estimated that one of them would be mentally retarded.

Genetic effects are those that can be passed from parent to child. Health physicists estimate that about fifty severe hereditary effects will occur in a group of one million live-born children whose parents were both exposed to one rem. About one hundred twenty severe hereditary effects would occur in all descendants.

In comparison, all other causes of genetic effects result in as many as 100,000 severe hereditary effects in one million live-born children. These genetic effects include those that occur spontaneously ("just happen") as well as those that have non-radioactive causes.
 

Nuclear power/fallout amount to roughly 5% of all sources of man-made ionizing radiation and less than 1% of all sources including background.  Nuclear science and x-rays account for another 80% of all man-made sources with consumer products (cigarettes, electronic gear, etc) making up the rest.

This is not to say nuclear power generation and the asscociated fuel cycles are something mankind should continue, we shouldn't (although we are).
 
The use of nuclear fusion to boil water to create steam in order to spin turbines and create electricity is insane as the risk, destruction of Earth's ecosystem as we know it, vs the reward, generation of electricity does not add up in the long term as no matter how safely we humans operate our reactors accidents both human and natural will occur. 

Some of the radioactive isotopes created are deadly even in minute doses and have half-lives lasting from minutes to tens of thousands to millions to billions of years.  We have no way of safely storing the waste from fuel cycles long-term.  Even short term storage poses great problems look at Hanford Washington where the site where US government has stored highly radioactive effluent in leaky underground single lined tanks for 65 years where the effluent is slowly leeching into the suurounding soil/ground water still to this day while the goverment has thrown billions of dollars into the clean-up effort black hole.  Even worse is the fact that roughly 70% of nuclear generating stations (73 in all) in the US are forced to store thousands of spent fuel rods in pools of water outside of containment and should water levels drop or the pumps keeping the water circulating through the pool cooling system fail localized criticality will occur and as Brookhaven National Lab estimated in 1997:

 "massive calamity at one spent-fuel pool could ultimately lead to 138,000 deaths and contaminate 2,000 sq. mi. (5,200 sq km) of land".

This doesn't even take into account the billions upon billions of US dollars in guarantees, insurance underwriting, tax breaks, research/development, turning a regulatory blind eye to industry malfeance etc that is/was showered upon the nuclear industry by the US government.

In short, in my opinion, no fusion for ape men.

 
Source(s): 
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11340&page=R1
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spent_fuel_pool
http://www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/health_effects.html
 
 

 
 

Glock27's picture

Don't use it--thats your solution? How about coal, oil, gas, wood amd steam?

Jim Davies's picture

PNG, your experience in the nuclear industry is more recent than mine, but I'm surprised that already, "The use of nuclear fusion to boil water to create steam in order to spin turbines and create electricity" is in use, whether sane or not. I thought fusion for peaceful use was way out of reach still - though there's some very interesting if so-far unproven work going on in the field of cold fusion. Nuclear fission, of course, is a different matter.
 
I do recommend a read of the Hiserodt book. It's well supported with data, and forms a useful part of the phenomemon of radiation hormesis, to which Wiki offers a useful introduction here.  Hormesis concerns the fact that many things are beneficial or even vital to life in small quantities but fatal in large ones; water being the best known example.
 
However I wonder if we can agree on this: that due to government regulation of the power industry it is simply not feasible to acquire a true understanding of the costs of various generation methods, including (as it should) externalities and liabilities. Government controllers lie and distort and suppress. Only a free market can reveal what is really going on - it's analagous to the classic problem of pricing, which von Mises nailed when studying socialism (when prices are controlled, nobody can ever know what should be produced.) Therefore, as I commented yesterday to Mike, the highest priority is work rationally to abolish government, so that we can get to see what's really going on, in this industry as in every other that government distorts.
 
 

Glock27's picture

As I have stated...you have to look at the underbelly of the beast to see who's pulling its strings because you can damned well bet there is not one legislature smart enough to pull any of this off.
I have not read all five, but have them in reserve so I may at ease, leisurely review them. I not you mention "Colleague" so I am assuming that you are a scientist of some form.
The piece is well endowed good documentation as for your "time is running short" (Ha!)that time has come and gone. Just the reading of this one article has already demonstrated that. So. What't the solution when everyone is asleep.. Just glad Idon't have too much longer to go. Bibliclly,much to Jims distaste, says the worl will end in fire and brimstone. What a perfect analogy,
Glock27

Glock27's picture

Are you aware of any group that is looking for a solution for this matter. I happen to be one of those idiots who believes there is a solution for every problem that presnets itself. Sometimes the simplest solution is the one that works?

Samarami's picture

Glock:

    "...Are you aware of any group that is looking for a solution for this matter..."

The problem, as I see it, with looking for "groups" to "solve" anything is the fact that a group has no brain. Individuals have brains. Individuals who seek groups to find solutions more often than not end up following and supporting psychopaths who are inevitably those who rise to the "top" of virtually all activist groups.

I belong to no group. But I have a solution:

Abstain From Beans.

Well...it's a start. In fact it's the only logical start.

Sam

Glock27's picture

Well...it;s always been said that the simplest solution is usually the best. "Occums razor' I think?

Glen Allport's picture

 No, I'm not aware of any group large enough (or with enough clout or anything else) to have much effect working on the problem. And as I suggested in the column, I'm not optimistic. Like you, Glock27, I often just feel grateful that I won't be here much longer to watch the miserable (and it WILL be that) unfolding of what we've already set in motion. Yep, that's pretty pessimistic, alright. Spreading the understanding of love and freedom is the answer, but not every problem can be solved in the time available. I suspect we've move beyond the point of no return here. Certainly hope I'm wrong, though.

Glock27's picture

I find it ironic that the only thing they can focus their little sphincters on is to grunt out some anti-second amendment bill rather that to take on of some of the more serious stuff occuriing. it is kind of funny that they neither will be around to play out their anti-gun bills and copy cat Pohl Pot onion fields regimes. Guns are the least of their worries.

KenK's picture

Love and freedom are hard to maintain, period.

Glock27's picture

Sun and wind is pretty much a flop as well as batteries. Nuclear carries far too many assorted dangers to honestly concieve of constructing more. I guess it is natural resources like wood, steam, coaland oil. Take your pick. Everything carries a danger to it ask a lot of women, even ones whom have been safe at home in bed and asleep. The solution is to select the least dangerous. The danger of sun and wind is that it isn't. Freeze your ass in the winter and roast in the summer plus the expense who could afford it--besides all of them would be made over seas.

Glock27's picture

Sam.
No one man is smart ehough to pull this off. Yes. It would present a problem in agreement, we see the in Whorshingd District of Criminals not interested in30 or 40 men. 5 or 6 would do.

Samarami's picture

Believe me, Glock: I'd like to see everybody "Abstain From Beans". Think how much easier the goal to "lead" others to freedom if nobody would participate in the voting scam (presuming "leading others to freedom" is part of what you mean "..to pull this off..."). It is participation by docile sheep in "elections" that gives the bastards the legitimacy they claim to "rule".

But alas, I am but one human being. I can abstain from voting -- as I have since 1964. I can encourage you to abstain, along with all my neighbors and friends and family. To some extent I may have gained some ground.

What you do or abstain from doing is really none of my business, however. And I can't envision a "group" that would augment my desire for what you do or don't do.

If freedom's to be, it's up to me.

Sam

Glock27's picture

Samarami,
I am having to make the assumption again that you are talking about putting a back pack on and hiking into the remotest part of the wilderness and setting up camp, building a shanty to help keep you warm in the winter. But since this was about arriving a a solution to the nuclear poison in the air, ground, water and earth I cannot envision how one person can do this. Certainally there have been many scientest who have made great discoveries by themselfs. ' So your statement seems a little misaligned, off track. It's not politics I am refering to here, but the minds of men coming to a solution for nuclear waste. It may actually already be too late to my deepest regret. I have grandchildren whom may never achieve their potential because of the maggots slithering around in Warriorshing District of Criminals.
The whole cooked manin the crooked cage thing is they see everything crooked. They, the maggots, determine what they will dine on next and you well know there is nothing we can do to change it. The delimma is that too many people are asleep or they are choosing to take the red pill and not the blue, or they drop the bean in the bowl. It is the way things are and have been. I am very near abstaining. I will not make a difference.
May the force bless and keep you.
Stay Strong, Stay healthy and watch your six
Glock27

Samarami's picture

I was shootin' into the brush on this one, Glock, and overlooked entirely Glen's theme on nuclear waste. Sorry.

My mantra is "individualism" -- trying to avoid expending time, effort and emotional energy on things that are totally out of my control. I take lots of iodine and encourage others to do so (supposedly that's an antidote or preventative for the bad effects of high levels of radiation). But I have no way of effecting any changes at this time (even if I knew what a viable solution might be for the huge stockpiles of presumably dangerous waste now amongst us).

I agree with Jim Davies: a free market would give rise to agreeable solutions and applications for nuclear power and the byproducts generated therefrom.

Government can do nothing -- nothing -- but make things worse. As Always.

Off truckin' for the week.

Sam

Glock27's picture

Good haulin and stay safe.

would you know is Suverans 2 is ok I haven't hear a word in about two week or better I think?

WorBlux's picture

I know this is late, took a while to get an account. But here are my thoughts.

PLWR (pressurized light water reactors) are totally insane,

1 The use of water as a fuel coolant
A. makes you coolant in danger of boiling away in less than a second if a pipe ruptures.
B. limits new and replacement reactors as necessary pressure vessel can only be manufactured at one place in the entire world.
C. is still not high enough to make water and efficient way to boil other less pressurized water,
D. In the case of 1A, require a huge volume secondary containment to catch all of the steam
E. In the case of 1A, require active backup systems to replace lost coolant or risk 2.
F. Radiation bombardment generates tritium, a very troubling radioisotope because when we breathe it, it is integrated into our body.

2. The fuel itself is in a solid combustible state, meaning
A. You must always cool it
B. It can quickly send up huge amounts of it's base materials into the atmosphere
C. Require specific size, concentration and arrangement of the fuel pellets
D. It not a commodity due to 2C, requiring long-term fuel contract with manufacturing megacorps.
E. It cannot be repoccessed in the reactor.
F. Requires periodic shutdown due to 2E,
G. Is very inefficienct (< 5%) due to 2E.

3. Uses Uranium as a fuel stock
A. Which has a relative rarity in the earth's crust comparable to platinum or gold.
B. Generates many trans-uranics in it's decay chain
C. One of the elements produced by 3B is plutonium, one of the deadliest elements known to man, due it being radioactively hot and long-lived, and due to it's use for nuclear proliferation.
D. 3B, but especially 3C makes reprocessing costly and difficult, exacerbating 2G.

That being said, the current designs are not the only way to do nuclear energy. They were chosen to provide a feed-stock of weapons grade fissile material, and as a subsidy to the uranium mining corporations. For instance the LFTR (liquid flouride thorium reactor) avoids all of the above problems (which is not to say it is without it's own problems), but the big difference is that the nuclear waster products is about 3% of the mass of the input fuel and only needs to be sequestered for 300 years, which can easily be offset by an upfront mix gold, bonds and stocks (to minimize risks that cleanup will become a public extermination) Almost no fissile materials are kept anywhere on site, except withing the core which is too "hot" (radiologicly and physicly) to divert surreptitiously.

Anyways, the legacy of death can be reversed. Cheap and accessible power vastly improves the living standard of people. With increased power usage comes increased life expectancy, increased education, decreased housework and manual labor, a better diet, faster transportation.... and so on.