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Friday, April 8, 2011

Meanwhile, closer to home

While all eyes are turned to the nuclear crisis to our west, the nucle-heads at Hanford had their own little problem at a reactor yesterday. But don't worry -- when the hydrogen went up, it was just a little "puff." They know what they're doing. Nothing can go wrong.

Comments (7)

Obviously "A Canticle of Liebowitz" is not required reading at Richland High School.

Not excusing ANY carelessness at ANY industrial facility, all large modern electrical generators -- coal, natural gas, co-generation from biomass -- are cooled buy high pressure hydrogen gas.


Go Bombers!

I'm wondering if a similar release from a fabrication facility at Intel would get this much attention, or is this just because it's OMG SCARY NUCLEAR!! residual-in-a-pipe non-radioactive hydrogen?

Nuclear power plants are much more deadly than anything Intel could ever screw up. Much more deadly, and more poorly designed, and older, and more poorly run.

Hanford is the most ecologically crapped up place in the country. People up there live with it because they make a living off it. Those us down river, and the poor folks they've killed downwind, are not so lucky.

My personal bias against commercial, for profit, run by fallible monkey-boys nuclear power ventures is that the consequences are very long term. You could go to Bhopal and walk around the facility that killed more people than Chernobyl. But Chernobyl will be an injury-causing problem long after the memories of Union Carbide have vanished.
The in-ground contamination we have left at the Hanford Reach will mark our presence long after the visages on Mt. Rushmore have turned to sand.


With 400+ operating nuclear plants around the world it would be interesting to know how deadly they are in comparison to operating coal mines. In terms of both deaths in mining the coal and deaths caused by inhaling the smoke that's generated when it is burned for electricity. Actually, I looked it up and coal mining and coal pollution causes a large number of deaths in the US and globally each year.

I just don't understand why we get selectively outraged about certain industries based on the prevalence of current news stories. The current bad guys are the nuclear power industry. "They should be thrown in jail" is a regular refrain. But every day there are people dying from other means of generating electricity that we don't mention because it's not a current headline. It just seems like a rational discussion of these issues would require some discussion of the human costs of pulling the plug on the nuclear power industry.

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