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On False Alarms and Nuclear Realism


On False Alarms and Nuclear Realism

John Buell

Sometimes life throws a bouquet our way, a little message that could make our lives better if only we scooped it up. The recent mistaken test of Hawaii’s nuclear warning system—complete with the false admonition that “this is not a drill”-- should be an occasion to examine the prevailing “realism” about nuclear weapons. Any time advocates of disarmament argue on behalf of a nuclear free world they are deemed naïve.


It is only nuclear weapons that are dangerous nuclear power plants are very dangerous.

Every day since the accident began, 300 to 400 tons of water has poured into the Pacific where numerous isotopes – including cesium 137, 134, strontium 90, tritium, plutonium, americium and up to 100 more – enter the ocean and bio-concentrate by orders of magnitude at each step of the food chain — algae, crustaceans, little fish, big fish then us.



"No mathematical model can tell us the likelihood of World War III, but we can say that a genuine realism would suggest negotiations to take weapons off hair-trigger alert. "

I’m still not over that Hawaii “mistake” two month ago. Thank God nobody launched back.


In the news this week are two twins one who spent time in space. One who did not. The one who was in space was exposed to the Sun’s nuclear furnace burning 8 million miles away. What is the big difference between brothers today? Their DNA. Of course, twins have the same exact DNA unless you are exposed to nuclear radiation. Nuclear radiation causes genetic mutations.

Living in a bubble with the likes of over 2,000 nuclear air blast tests, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima and the day to day leaks of nuclear power plants one wonders about the viability of one’s DNA. President Kennedy started PE in schools after finding out that almost all school children had Strontium-90 in their teeth from the tests in the southwest.

It is now known that cancer is a raging fight between one’s immune system and genetic mutations. It becomes known as cancer when your immune system can no longer deal and the mutations grow to unmistakable size. No it does not take cancer 20 to 30 years to develop. It takes 20 to 30 years for your immune system to fail enough that the cancer takes over.

John Buell good article however, I knew a nuclear physicist who worked on the bomb. They kept everyone separate. They did not know what other departments were doing but were told they were working for the good of all mankind. Near the conclusion of the project everyone found out what they had been building. Many of them were shocked and angry. Some as my friend stood up to say no and fight. She was black balled and never to work or teach physics again living in poverty from then on. Some gave the plans to the Russians and were called traitors and put to death. Now that our government is showing its true colors with a near military leadership of our government filled with known killers and torturers as well as racists, sexists, bullies and thugs thank God Russia got the bomb too.


It was hundreds of tons of water, but milligrams of radioisotopes. And that was before they completed the seaside impermeable wall.

There was localized contamination of fish (almost entirely cesium and strontium), but negligible contamination of fish in the larger Pacific. And even the localized contamination has already almost disappeared. Out of more than seven thousand Fukushima fish tested last year, only eight fish (two species) were found with excess radiation.

The total contamination from Fukushima is a fraction of the residual contamination from bomb testing, and bomb contaminants are dwarfed by natural radioisotopes. By far the largest source of man-made radiation exposure to humans is from medicine.

There definitely have been some reactors operated in an unsafe manner. That doesn’t mean nuclear power itself is inherently unsafe. And one of the ironies of our time is that nuclear opponents today are citing the hazards of 50 year old designs as the basis for their argument against developing much safer and cleaner forms of nuclear that could help to retire the old kinds sooner.


Nuclear is not safe- you need to do more research . I can give you links.

this was started by a nuclear engineer and now whistleblower who built most of the U.S. nuclear power plants


I agree most oceans now are dying from a host of reasons not just fukushima.


Here is a movie that exposes nuclear

Knocking on Devil’s Door: Our Deadly Nuclear Legacy - Directed by Gary Null -FULL MOVIE


No you are wrong and a troll. 300-400 tons of very highly radioactive water flowing over a molten core. Where is the molten cores? Are they not washing away into the Pacific.

You are a troll. You come to every article on anything nuclear at CD. And you excuse the death. You cover up those struggling to survive the effects of the nuclear crazies, that’s you. Nuclear power and nuclear weapons have never amounted to anything positive for human and the planet we try to survive. But here you come with your radiation is good for you like K-40 in Bananas you like bananas don’t you? Well then t you are going to love the cancer you are going to get from radiation and love the radiation they give to cure it.Ha Ha Ha.

Minimization BS.

Again minimalization

Dumping 300-400 tons highly radioactive isotopes With almost no effect. The fairy princess took it all away.

In fact why don’t you just claim that none of this exists is it could not harm anyone.

Meanwhile people have very real health issues leading to death and quick death is the good part. Maybe one want to tell us about US sailors that were on the Reagan and got exposed to your non existent radiation and had children with birth defects. Oh that’s okay with you. We all know if you do not put on sun screen to protect your self from skin cancer when being in the radiation from a nuclear furnace 8 million miles away. But the one created by the worlds biggest assholes here on earth are safe. Just background.

No one with intelligence, scruples, any honor would spend their time telling men, woman and children that which is toxic and carcinogenic is minimal but you do. You come here on purpose to spread false hoods and lies and you do it for money. It is greed that drives your poison. That doubles the sick.

You just keep it right up. Your rewards are surely coming.


Let’s agree to disagree that is okay and let’s be civil about it


Helen caldicott has been around a long time get real


Trog is an industry shill who gets paid to minimize dangers and risks everyone faces living in a bubble with the nuclear idiots who just can not contain anything at all it seems. Trog goes to bat for bottom of the barrel people who would sell their children into sexual slavery if they could get that raise and praise from the “BOSS”.


Thank you dive I have studied nuclear for well over 30 years. He should move to fukushima. My links are all good. thank you


None the less one does not go around telling people the fish in the Pacific are safe to eat. Rather it is risky to do so.

Trog will do that watch him.


That movie I posted everyone should see


I am relatively new here but alot of people are just braindead. I live 30 miles from Indian Point nuclear which is near NYC and very dangerous. My governor of New York cut a deal to close Indian Point Nuclear but bailed out upstate nuclear power plant upstate for 7.6 billion. Nuclear waste last for thousands of years.


No offense but bad choice to live so close. That plant is in the news a lot for leaks.
Nuclear anything lasts forever.

Sad story. Arne Gunderson went to Japan a few years after FUKU to hear a speech by one of the world’s foremost nuclear physicists. He asked the guy after his talk what Fukushima’s impact was on the Pacific. The reply was that it did not matter. That the nuclear weapon tests in the open air put enough long lasting radioactive isotopes into our living space that all genetic material will be changed and the world post Fukushima will be different.




thank you


Research is how I joined the scientific consensus on nuclear energy.

“I can give you links”

So can Flat-Earthers, Creationists, anti-vaxers, HIV deniers, moon landing deniers and holocaust deniers. They can all provide links to other people in their respective groups who agree with them. But if a Creationist were to refer you to another Creationist, would you find that convincing? How have you been vetting your links to confirm they have a solid scientific basis?

“this was started by a nuclear engineer and now whistleblower who built most of the U.S. nuclear power plants”

Not a good start. There are some respectable anti-nukes who have a sound understanding of both the physics and engineering involved. Arnie Gundersen is not one of them. And whoever told you he built most of the U.S. nuclear power plants fed you completely false information. He was connected to a project to build some spent fuel storage racks for a reactor, but it looks like that was in an administrative capacity. I rate Gundersen a fraud on the basis of having proposed, in all seriousness, his theory that the Fukushima unit 3 explosion was due to a prompt-critical nuclear detonation originating in the spent fuel pool. That laughable “theory” was bad enough, revealing his profound ignorance of physics and engineering, but he even persisted in pushing the theory long after the evidence clearly showed it simply could not have happened.

“I agree most oceans now are dying from a host of reasons not just fukushima.”

I would say not at all from Fukushima. But if you know of links to any reputable marine biologist who has tied Fukushima to any significant Pacific die-off event, even if in only one species, I would definitely be keen to have a look at that.

“Here is a movie that exposes nuclear
Knocking on Devil’s Door: Our Deadly Nuclear Legacy - Directed by Gary Null”

I see a theme developing here. Gary Null the anti-vaxer and HIV denier? Do you buy into his other crank theories that are also rejected by the scientific mainstream? Any bubble reality group can put together a “documentary” of views expressed by people in their cult. But I have to say I’m sorry to see Greg Palast (at 9:14) got suckered by Gundersen’s unit 3 exploding pool theory. That throws shade on his other work, much of which I thought was pretty good.

“Helen caldicott has been around a long time get real”

And other cults have their own cranks who have been around a long time too. That isn’t enough to make her credible.

Here’s an anti-nuke’s dismantling of a Caldicott speech:

(See also the comments below from Azby Brown from Safecast, a citizen group doing radiation monitoring in Japan)

“I have studied nuclear for well over 30 years.”

I can believe you have listened to people who said things that you accepted on their say-so. But that’s not the same as studying.

“I live 30 miles from Indian Point nuclear which is near NYC and very dangerous.”

Assessing danger is subjective, and there are many differences of opinion on how safe is safe enough. But Alvin Weinberg essentially invented the kind of reactor Indian Point was based on, and I think he would have agreed it was too risky to locate that reactor so close to a large population. In fact, he strongly opposed using his reactor design for civilian power in general (and his opposition ultimately cost him his position as head of Oak Ridge NL). But that doesn’t mean that nuclear energy is inherently too dangerous and that certainly wasn’t Weinberg’s position. (He advocated for a very different kind of reactor–one that he didn’t invent.)

There are a jillion ways to do nuclear. Many of them are so bad that everybody opposes them. Some, like certain kinds of fusion power, look so good that almost nobody would oppose them if they could get them working for cheap enough. My feeling is that the real question is where to draw the line of “good enough” in the grey area in between. And I think that line would have to shift depending on the application. A reactor that was safe enough for operation out in the Saudi desert could very well be not be nearly safe enough to plop down next to London.

But I also think assessing danger has to be based on some realism and scientific consensus. Blowing radiation hazards out of all sensible proportion is likely to do more harm than good.

“Nuclear waste last for thousands of years.”

If we consume it in fast reactors, it goes away more quickly. But even if we don’t, saying it will exist for thousands of years doesn’t automatically mean it will be dangerous for thousands of years. The Onkalo repository, for example, looks like one feasible way to keep it sequestered where it won’t harm anyone for as long as needed.


Trog, always enjoy your posts even if I may not be a nuclear fission convert just yet (but I did buy your recent abortion argument on capturing the center by softening only slightly a pro-choice plank).

I looked for Marine biologists take on current ocean health impacts of Fukushima and read https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161018141309.htm which seems to still be hedging bets but concluded that things are definitely better than some worried about initially. Do you have any other articles to recommend?