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Did We Almost Lose New York?


Did We Almost Lose New York?

Harvey Wasserman

For the third time in a decade a major fire/explosion has ripped apart a transformer at the Indian Point reactor complex.

News reports have taken great care to emphasize that the accident happened in the “non nuclear” segment of the plant.

Ironically, the disaster spewed oil into the Hudson River, infecting it with a toxic sheen that carried downstream for miles. Entergy, the nuke’s owner, denies there were PCBs in this transformer.


Will Wasserman ever start playing it straight? I note that he even manages to imply that the news reports giving the plain truth about where the transformer was are somehow hiding something, and that the “toxic sheen” was due to it being from a nuke plant.

The late Sen. Joe McCarthy would embrace Wasserman as a kindred spirit.


Tick, tick, tick, tick…


Wasserman does play it straight. We know who he is and who he works for (no one.)

Unlike certain critics of him who have failed physics and have no idea what they are talking about.

eh, Mairead?


Wasserman is clearly pointing out that news stories emphasizing a “non-nuclear” accident are intended to make people feel safe when it is “non-nuclear” accidents that have spilled over into “holy shit-nuclear” accidents and that people should not feel safe with nuclear power plants operating because accidents do happen and accidents do spill over and nuclear accidents that result from “non-nuclear” accidents can be completely unmanageable and horrifically destructive to human life and health.


If we count up all the deaths that can be realistically --that is, with some basis agreed by scientists who’ve studied the situation-- attributed to nuclear power production, even adding in the deaths from mining and from bombs, the total for the entire history of nuclear power is lower than the number of deaths of nameable people each YEAR due to fossil fuel extraction and use.

Yet Wasserman focuses on nukes. In my book that makes him a crooked, unhealthy exploiter who enjoys the little rush he gets when people read his stuff naïvely and get scared.



  1. FIND out IP’s maximum usable power transmission distance.

  2. PROVIDE other ways generating power within that range.



Yep, but is is the nuclear disaster potential of environmental destruction and death quickly and for many years to come that wins hands down against your statistics of fossil fuel casualties. That fear has been played out already in several areas of the world. Most fossil fuel incidents are localized to a specific area (maybe fracking an exception now, and no I did not forget about acid rain), but ionizing radiation can travel far and wide, reeking havoc, displacement, deformities, mutations. It is the evil genie let out of the bottle.
When these nuclear plants reach their lifetime of use, they should be decommissioned. Many should be shut earlier if in unstable fault areas. Let’s put our focus on cutting use and developing alternative energy systems.


Earthbound wrote:
“Yep, but is is the nuclear disaster potential of environmental destruction and death quickly and for many years to come that wins hands down against your statistics of fossil fuel casualties. That fear has been played out already in several areas of the world.”
Would you please list the specifics of “environmental destruction and death quickly and for many years to come…played out in several areas of the world”?
So far only Chernobyl experienced quick deaths, among the firefighters immediately following its explosion after its going “prompt critical”, a type of malfunction that can’t occur with US or Japanese plants… Nothing like that happened at either Three-mile Island or Fukushima.



Wasserman is not crooked. But since you are paid to slander him constantly, this makes you a crook. You’re the only one who constantly libels people around here calling them mentally unstable and crooks.

In my opinion, you must be paid to constantly smear people in this fashion.

If I am in error about this, I’ll now give you the opportunity to correct me.


If you’re honest, you badly need to update your understanding of ionising radiation. It doesn’t work the way your statements above suggest that you think it does.

Radiation is not like cars on a rush-hour highway, where if you try to run across you’ll likely be hit and killed. It’s a lot more like being hit and killed by a falling apple. If you hang around apple orchards, you may be hit by many falling apples — but they won’t kill you unless you’re extremely unlucky. That’s the real physical reality.


Agreed, with two caveats

  • I’d want the members of the committee to be trained (it could be self-trained) in some science, so that they understand and routinely use the scientific method to sort things out rather than believing pseudo-information because they don’t know how to evaluate it for goodness.

  • their remit should include all power technologies, not just nukes.

Such a committee should definitely have the power to shut down non-compliant power plants. I’ll not only march in that parade, I’ll help carry a banner!


Actually the radiation is emitted from contaminted materials let loose from an accident site or nuclear explosion. This can travel far and wide. What do I not understand here? A lot of apples hit a lot of heads around Chernobyl.
I have been in med field for 40 yrs and was a chief medical officer at a nuc plant for 6 yrs. I went through radiation training courses. What exactly do I not understand?


Thank you Fake French-Long overdue!


How on earth can you even begin to add up the deaths from Nuclear power- You do know that the by-product of these plants make all of the Nuclear fission materials for nuclear bombs- How can you or anyone know how many deaths were caused from the thousand or so above ground Nuclear tests done by the Soviets and the US back in the decades before the ban-
There is also Chernobyl and that recent little incident in Japan that isn’t quite over yet- And what about the Navaho and all of the other Uranium mining that has gone on?
Look up Dr. Helen Caldicott and see what she has to say about nukes and the amount of deaths attributed to it since 1945-And this is not even to mention the horrors that hang over our heads with full on Nuclear proliferation…Go to the middle East and check out the Radiation levels from our use of depleted uranium warheads-These plants provide fuel for all of this!


You don’t seem to understand the effects of radiation on biological organisms. You’re uncritically repeating the handwaved assertions by fearmongers, something I wouldn’t expect a trained person to do.

In contrast…

Calabrese at Amherst has found correspondence from Muller that directly impeaches the “no safe dose” claims he made in his Nobel speech a month later.

There has been no discernable reproductive effects in humans or other mammals from Chernobyl, the worst nuclear accident. Observed effects on birds have been minor. The exclusion zone has become in informal wildlife sanctuary, teeming with life at densities rare anywhere else on Earth these days. Humans continue to live successfully in that zone, as they also do in the Fukushima zone.

We know that the engineer Tsutomu Yamaguchi survived BOTH Hiroshima and Nagasaki, finally dying at 93. His spouse, who survived Nagasaki, lived into her late 80s before dying of cancer (my Mum’s Dad died of cancer in his late 80s - he was a smoker, but had never been specially irradiated). Their second son died at 59 from cancer (my Dad died at 59, weakened by TB and cancer. Never specially irradiated except by many non-digital (high dose) xrays in connection with the TB.)

The reality is that we’re all exposed to ionising radiation every day of our lives, yet it has a discernable effect on few of us until we’re nearing the end of our lifespans, our telemeres are truncated, and our cells have suffered decades of oxidation. Radiation from nuclear exposure plays so small a part in what happens to us that, in general, the effects are lost in the statistical noise. Only children getting thyroid cancer stand out, because children rarely get thyroid cancer.


The correct method is to look for extra ones. If we can’t find extra ones, then the right thing to do is conclude that there aren’t any, not that they’re being hidden from us by the Illuminati or whoever.

Most people, finding no evidence after diligently searching, conclude that there is no evidence to be found.

But others -not many, but some- conclude that the lack of evidence is proof that it’s being covered up!

They so badly want -need- to believe in the existence of some phenomenon that their brain stops working. Which is fine if they believe that a spaceship landed at Roswell in 1947 and the bodies are in a deep freeze under guard, or that people have been kidnapped into space ships and anally probed.

But it’s not so hot if they demand nukes be shut down because of all the deaths that they cause when they have no real evidence for those deaths.


Try slogging your way through these articles. It is just one site of many I came across that have studied the effects of the Chernobyl accident. The studies are full of data, and will continue longitudinally over 50 years or more to see the true effects. The articles indicate how difficult it is to collect data. I do not think I am a fear monger. I am not concerned about background ionizing radiation as such. I am concerned about the effects on the human organism and environment after unusually high doses, both immediate and long term, along with effects of other forms of radiation, such as rad I2. Some of the issue with Chernobyl is that 100 of thousands of people were displaced from the surrounding area of the accident. This makes followup even more difficult.
It is disingenuous to point out that Yamaguchi, one person, exposed to radiation lived to an old age and therefore disproves the dangers. Just maybe he would have lived to 103, not 93, if not exposed.


Deleted by Me-


You didn’t pick up on the propagandising and handwaving? The executive summary is a prime example of both.

The second sentence illuminates their non-scientific motive: [quote]On 26th April 1986, the term‘peaceful atom’ disappeared in the dark cloud above the burning nuclear reactor number four of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant…[/quote] Can you imagine them writing about a coal-mine disaster "the term ‘clean coal’ disappeared in the billowing cloud from the cave-in at…’. I can’t. They wouldn’t. They reserve propagandistic indictments like that for nuclear power.

The second paragraph is a prize: [quote]Twenty years later, several million people (by various estimates, from 5 to 8 million) still reside in areas that will remain highly contaminated by Chernobyl’s radioactive pollution for many years to come. Since the half-life of the major (though far from the only) radioactive element released, caesium-137 (137Cs), is a little over 30 years, the radiological (and hence health) consequences of this nuclear accident will continue to be experienced for centuries to come.[/quote]

The first sentence implies that the people living in those “highly contaminated” areas are stewing in a radioactive hell, unable to escape. But if we look more closely, we find that “highly contaminated” appears to be a synonym for “contaminated”, the threshold for which in the case of Cs-137, the major contaminant, is 37KBq per sq. m.

The second sentence in paragraph 2, while technically true, is in practice fearmongering: when the increase in cancers that they could find in the first 18-19 years is significant only at p=.05, and some effects not even reaching that level, the “centuries to come” is nonsense.

M. Hatch, et al., The Chernobyl Disaster: Cancer following the Accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Epidemiol Rev (July 2005) 27 (1): 56-66 found that [quote]Following either internal or external radiation, the thyroid of young children is more vulnerable to radiation carcinogenesis than that of adults, radiation-related risks may be somewhat higher for females than males, and excess risks are still observed 18 years after the accident [though modifying factors are still not understood]. …

With respect to adults, it appears that although risks of thyroid cancer and leukemia are not elevated among residents of contaminated areas, increases in leukemia are being observed in those exposed to external radiation during cleanup operations.[/quote]