I guess I should have given the reference I cited, but I don't have it handy right now so I can't (sorry !).
But I can tell you its from an article (one of a great many) by Prof. Bernard L. Cohen, in an issue of the Health Physics Journal, some years ago (~15y ?).
I haven't checked, but its possible he has it posted on his web site at www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/
There may also be mention of it in his book, "The Nuclear Energy Option" also posted (without figures) on the same web site. I have a photocopy of the HPJ article buried somewhere at home -- I'll see if I can dig it up later....
You're right of course that "Nevada residents will [NOT] feel better in [their] home after 20 years of repository operation, with trucks loaded with SNF going up and down...."
But this unfortunate state of affairs is not due to any intolerable danger, but due to scare mongering by antinukes & politicians.
Just last week there was this story in the RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL (Nevada -- posted at
http://www.rgj.com/news/stories/html/2002/04/18/12431.php ) :
Fatal crash on likely nuclear waste route
A fatal traffic collision involving a shipment of flammable material on U.S. 95 near McDermitt renewed concerns Thursday about the possible transport of nuclear waste along the same route.
James Pike, 62, of Kooskia, Idaho, was killed after he was ejected from the passenger seat of a Cadillac that hit a tractor-trailer truck about 3 p.m. Wednesday near the Oregon border, authorities said.
The truck overturned during the collision, spilling flammable material on the road. Officials could not immediately identify the material.
Nevada officials said the crash is exactly what worries them most about shipping nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain if the dump there is approved.
Fire during a high-impact accident involving a nuclear waste spill could turn the radioactive material into an aerosol, spreading it over a large area and into ground water and the food chain, said Joe Strolin, planning division administrator for the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects.
....to which someone commented cleverly :
What I find interesting is the following:
> It was not immediately clear whether the driver of
> the truck, 35-year-old Steven P. Shear of Meridian, Idaho, was injured.
So, the driver of the truck whose protection is limited to a seatbelt, some glass, and a few
millimeters of steel/aluminum was not obliterated into tiny aerosolized particles from the collision ?
Given the amount of protection that the truck driver had versus the amount of protection that a transport cask affords its contents, I'd say that if it were not "readily apparent" if the driver were injured in some way then it's illogical to think that SNF would have suffered any damage in that same collision.<end quote>
As for NPP accidents - I think *that* really increases the scope of this discussion about "the problem of nuclear waste" a bit too far (particularly in the case of the radiological non-event that TMI was, as far as the public is concerned).
But for the sake of argument, the effects (contamination) tend to be fairly localized in both time and geography - and insignificant on the global, long-term scale, where the total integrated person-rem dose due to natural background radiation is absolutely overwhelming, by orders of magnitude !! (which is where I must caution again that this involves the same type of calculation - namely LNT - used for estimating long-term risks due to SNF storage/disposal..... as for acute radiation exposures following Chernobyl, the consequences - while tragic on a personal level - were quite limited when compared to any number of other human industrial accidents and personal risk-taking such as driving automobiles and flying in airliners...).
As for "the impact of uranium ore closed mines on indigenous populations in US," this too is a favourite topic with the antis, but is in fact an issue related primarily (if not exclusively) to uranium mining in the early part of the last century, before there were regulations governing requirements for uranium mine operation and decommissioning. It is also worth recalling that in the case of the old western US uranium mines, many were either surface or very shallow excavation types -- the bright yellow and red uranium oxides were used for many generations of native Indians as pigment for ceremonial painting of their faces (presumably they don't do that anymore, since all the "easy" ore has been hauled away to uranium processing plants and made into nuclear fuel and - during the cold war - missile warheads....).
I certainly agree with keeping an "open mind" -- but as someone once said (and I certainly don't mean this to apply to you personally), not with a "gaping hole" ! The worst part is that some of the professional antinukes know better, but continue to deceive the public because that's their job - its what they're paid to do. Why should we, as "industry professionals," let them get away with it ?
Of course there is no need to be an "industry professional" in order to familiarize oneself with facts on nuclear science, technology and the industry -- I for one read Cohen's & many others' scientific papers & books long before I joined AECL (....and these days you need only go to Jeremy's "Canadian Nuclear FAQ," at http://www.ncf.ca/~cz725/ or J.A.L. Robertson's "Nuclear Need not be Unclear," at http://www.magma.ca/~jalrober/Decide.htm :-).
From: Pomirleanu, Radu [mailto:PomirlR@westinghouse.com]
Sent: Thursday April 25, 2002 11:29 AM
Subject: [cdn-nucl-l] Thanks for comments, Jaroslav, Jeremy, and George
In reply to my post, you wrote:
"This aspect of nuclear power has actually been calculated to constitute a
significant net benefit, in terms of long-term health impact, if one applies
the same kind of methodology used in the assessment of long-term risks of
SNF storage or permanent disposal."
"There is obviously a need for continued self-education !"
I read your April 02 post, but I could not find the source you mentioned.
Please direct me to the study in case.
As for the "significant net benefit", you'd probably be right if you were
able to always show the properties of a field at a point, when starting with
the value of a surface integral. This means that while the overall
radioactivity on Earth decreases through normal nuclear plants operation,
this does not imply that a Nevada resident will feel better in his home
after 20 years of repository operation, with trucks loaded with SNF going up
and down. Please also check as a remainder the impact of uranium ore closed
mines on indigenous populations in US - that's no funny joke and relates
directly to the impact on future generations, when things didn't exacly went
acordingly to the initial plans.
I also wonder if the study you reffered to also considers the effect of
major nuclear plants accidents that already happened (see TMI and
Chernobyl), and the risks of other accidents, leading to contamination (was
contamination taken into account in that study?) and "global"
As for the self-education among "industry professionals" (apart from the
unnecessary irony), I think that the only (difficult) task is keeping an
open mind and an intellectual attitude, and trying to see things through
other people eyes (not only "industry professionals", but also Nevada
residents). Are we first industry professionals or humans?
Otherwise, we'd really be short-sighted, wouldn't we?
Thanks for your comments. Don't misunderstand me: I am not at all against
nuclear power, or entirely against the Yucca Mountain project as long as
it's safe for Nevada and safer and better than keping the SNF at various
plants. I understand that we have to get our energy from somewhere (nuclears
being the most effective alternative for now) and that everything must come
at a price.
I am just against the attitude that nuclear plants operation has no negtive
impact locally and globally, and we should do nothing to mitigate these
effects. This is a fake shield that actually comes from the tight
regulations this industry abides by.
Also, when I mentioned sustainable, I didn't mean only economics, but the
entire human-environment dimension (personally I think it's about time to
shift from the19th century industrial attitude, and consider the two
Thanks for your input.
All the best,