[Date Prev][Date Next]
RE: [cdn-nucl-l] Statistical Review of World Energy 2003
The report below appears in yesterday's Nucleonics Week.
Those of you who have not seen the 'white paper' materials can request it
from Ted Rockwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or myself.
Also, tell us if you want to actively support this effort, to be included in
a list of active supporters, and/or whether you want to be included in email
and discussions on developing this initiative.
We encourage you to comment on and distribute the 'white paper' to
government and industry leaders, to your colleagues and other professionals,
and to others who are or should be interested in energy, in nuclear
technologies, and in science and technology policy.
Please take action in your area of expertise and influence to foster science
and engineering 'realism' to design and assess nuclear technologies and
radiological consequences. We must make engineering and analyses
equivalent and comparable to the design and assessment of other hazardous
Technologies; and apply realistic analyses to the release of radioactivity
and its dispersion, and to consequences from radiation exposures. Such
consequences are limited. We must demonstrate that, when evaluated
realistically, nuclear and radiation technologies constitute nominal and
manageable societal risks, which are far lower than comparable technologies.
Also, please provide your own technical contributions to this effort. We
need to document the engineering and experiment results that reflect realism
to be applied to science and engineering analyses, and to develop industry
rules, standards and practices. Please identify existing reports, models and
results that should be revised to reflect more realistic and credible bases,
especially those that would limit the continued production of results that
falsely report, or imply, that nuclear technologies can constitute
significant public safety risks.
Regards, Jim Muckerheide
> NUCLEONICS WEEK JUNE 17, 2004
> Industry gears up to battle perceptions on radiation risks As the
> National Research Council readies a classified report that is due to
> Congress by the end of the month on its findings on spent fuel storage
> safety, industry officials are formulating a public relations plan to
> deal with what they say is the barrage of false claims by advocacy
> groups about radiation and accident risks, such as a 2003 paper on
> spent fuel pool hazards that prompted the congressional interest.
> Leading the push for the industry to practice packaging "realism" in
> nuclear hazard assessments is Theodore "Ted"
> Rockwell, a founding officer of MPR Associates Inc. and vice president
> of Radiation, Science & Health Inc. He told an audience June 15 at the
> American Nuclear Society's (ANS) annual conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.
> that a white paper composed by numerous nuclear experts and
> professionals will soon be posted on ANS's Web site with the hopes of
> having broader industry input and spreading the message.
> Eventually, Rockwell said, he hopes the ANS will use it to develop a
> policy paper.
> Rockwell and others believe the industry must address antinuclear
> activists' apocalyptic depictions of a nuclear accident. "People are
> not convinced you can run forever without an accident," he said,
> stressing that rather than brush aside talk of an accident, the
> industry should counter end-of-the-world images with discussion of
> real-world consequences.
> Engineers should provide information showing that an accident may not
> be catastrophic, he said.
> Four other speakers on the ANS conference panel shared Rockwell's view
> that overly conservative studies in the past have been misinterpreted
> by the public or that explanations of risk have been inadequate.
> NRC involvement
> NRC Chairman Nils Diaz has been trying to tackle the issue for the
> past couple years. In 2002 he told the ANS at a winter meeting that
> engineering analysis was on the side of the industry. "Whether you
> compare normal operations, accidents or even a catastrophic release of
> radiation like Chernobyl's, the health and safety consequences
> compare, if realistically portrayed, quite favorably with other
> societal risks," he
> Farouk Eltawila, NRC's director of the division of systems analysis
> and regulatory effectiveness, said Diaz believes public policy "should
> not be based on the most conservative assumption" and has pushed the
> staff to adopt "realistic conservatism."
> Previous studies on spent fuel pools used worse case scenarios for
> bounding configurations but no credit was given for mitigating events
> likely if there was an accident, such as intervention by reactor
> operators to restore cooling or prevent either damage to or the
> uncovering of fuel. "Even if the fuel is damaged, consequences will be
> less severe than calculated in past studies," he said.
> He said new NRC analyses use more "sophisticated models and
> techniques," and the results show that health effects and land
> contamination are not as severe as past studies have indicated and
> that fuel is more easily cooled than previously predicted. He also
> said there has been enough work done to demonstrate that the spent
> fuel is safe in either dry or wet storage. Industry officials hope the
> National Research Council report will put this issue to rest.
> Ruth Weiner, senior staff scientist at Sandia National Laboratory and
> a member of the NRC's Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste (ACNW), said
> the antinuclear slogan "Mobile Chernobyl" has caught on in the public
> with regard to nuclear transports because enough hasn't been done to
> counter the conservative assumptions in older studies.
> A newer NRC report (Nureg/CR-6672) gives more realistic releases, she
> said, but is still "excessively conservative."
> Weiner, who said the opinions she presented were her own and not meant
> to represent those of anyone on the ACNW, urged the industry to
> provide comparisons of transportation risks with background radiation,
> medical X-rays, and radiopharmaceutical diagnostics. She called those
> "valid" comparisons and urged industry leaders not to "sugar coat" the
> information. "Tell it as we see it; say it the way it is," Weiner
> Rockwell agreed, saying people were dying because they are afraid to
> get mammograms or are suffering from food poisoning because of fear of
> food irradiation.
> Bernard Cohen, professor emeritus of physics and environmental and
> occupational health at the University of Pittsburgh, gave tips for
> discussing the risks of spent fuel burial at Yucca Mountain, Nev. For
> example, he said there should be no distinctions made between the
> waste packages and the natural features. "Consider high-level waste as
> ordinary rock," he said. "Is anyone worried the ordinary rock is going
> to dissolve away?"
> Regarding claims that the spent fuel would be damaged by water, Cohen
> said the water "doesn't target high-level waste any more than it does
> ordinary rock." He said it takes groundwater about 1,000 years to
> reach the surface and that it travels horizontally-very slowly-not
> like the picture painted of a river by repository opponents.
> The industry must draw connections with the real world, Rockwell said.
> He also urged the industry not to shy away from science showing that
> low-dose radiation is not harmful.
> The public has to get away from the view that "one gamma ray will kill
> you," he said.
> Supporting realism
> Several industry leaders who were not able to attend the meeting
> submitted statements in support of the effort to inject realism into
> risk assessments. "For too long we have played the `What If' game with
> physically impossible assumptions and then treated the resulting
> calculations as if they were real," wrote Milton Levenson, a nuclear
> management consultant and ACNW member.
> "It is no wonder that we calculate that accident debris will travel
> for miles when we leave gravity out of the equation- under those
> conditions any of us could throw a football across the country," he
> Corbin McNeill Jr., former Exelon chairman and co-CEO, said in a
> statement that he also believed accident impacts have been
> overestimated partly because of the industry's own "ultraconservative"
> analyses. "No one suffered any radiological effects from Three Mile
> Island (TMI) and the impacts of large releases at Chernobyl were
> documented by experts to be much lower than anticipated," he said.
> Zack Pate, chairman-emeritus of the World Association of Nuclear
> Operators, echoed similar views. "The TMI plant had a leak-tight steel
> containment structure over the plant to hold any radioactivity that
> might be released in a casualty, and it held firm during the
> incident," he said. "Very little escaped into the air...It was
> concluded that, even with a seriously compromised containment, the
> radiation dose to the public from meltdown of an American-type
> [reactor] would be small."-Jenny Weil, Pittsburgh