The Barry Brook Position in the light of Ergen – Enforced Amnesia or Ignorance ?

The Aim of this post is to present the mass media statements of knowledge and opinion given by Prof. Barry Brook.

Prof. Brook has presented the pro-nuclear environmentalist case for a number of years. I was and remain particularly interested in his public level presentations regarding the nuclear accident at Fukushima Diiachi in March 2011.

A primary objective of this post is to determine whether or not the information transmitted to the public by Prof. Brooks contains sufficient technical knowledge. Particularly in both the contexts of current best practice and historical levels of knowledge. Specifically regarding the criteria for the safe design of multi- mega-watt nuclear reactors. Given that nuclear reactors have long working lives, historic and current technical knowledge are both relevant, as are regulatory updates and technical modifications. Indeed, the US NRC mandated changes in procedures and equipment at relevant US nuclear reactor sites throughout the USA in the wake of Fukushima.

I certainly do not question anyone’s right and ability to express their knowledge and opinions to the public. I rely on an open and democratic society in precisely the same manner as everyone else. Prof. Brook has of course the same right. In my personal opinion, academic meritocracy exists within a field of tension within democratic society. Thus, I believe I have equal rights to express my knowledge and opinions both with, and indeed, in tension to any qualified academic. And certainly studying Prof. Brook’s public statements via the mass media will be an exciting one for me, perhaps a boring one for him, should he notice. However, my aim is to assess, not attack, the public statements of Prof. Brook. Certainly if Prof. Brook has reason to complain, I will certainly listen and respond to what he might object to. I shall try to ensure that he has no reason to complain.


Prof. Barry Brook:

3 years training, both formal (in classroom) and on the job in military radiological safety. Three years experience as a military radiological safety Non-Commissioned Officer within the setting of Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineer Corps RADIAC workshop and laboratory located at the time at 4 Base Workshop, RAEME, Bandiana, Victoria. I was trained by Australian military officers who had been trained by qualified US military personnel for a five year period. The RADIAC unit I served in was in routine communication with Australian personnel at the original Lucas Heights nuclear reactor. I was trained to monitor all radiation types from normal background to occupational levels, and assisted in the processes by which Australian military and Civil Defence radiac detectors were confirmed accurate (calibration) at all sensitivity settings, which in the case of PDR-27A detectors included nuclear battlefield relevant readings. Although this training was undertaken many years ago, and although the training was merely technical and not academic (though much theory was taught to me), my knowledge both then and now remains relevant to my interest in, and consideration of, the pronouncements made by nuclear industry, nuclear authorities and their followers.

I note that Prof. Brooks and I have, in my opinion, a classical and predictable source of potential (and in the past, actual) conflict. In my opinion Prof. Brooks accepts the safety reassurances of nuclear authorities. I do not automatically accept the safety assurances of nuclear authorities.

It is my opinion that Prof. Brook shares a view of the climate change situation which determines that something akin to an emergency exists. As a layman I am aware that climate change due to human activity – largely the release of greenhouse gases via the burning of fossil fuels- has been increasingly confirmed with growing authority since the 1800s. I am also aware that industries involved in the fossil fuel economy have a continuing interest in ensuring uncertainty exists within the public mind regarding the cause of rapid climate change. Such a stance is of course unacceptable. But these things are facts as I see them. It is my view that Prof. Brook, assured as he is by the statements of government and private nuclear experts, vigorously proposes that the risks of a greatly and rapidly expanded nuclear reactor for power sector are far less than the unmitigated risks of sudden climate change. I do not resent Prof. Brook holding or expressing his actual views on such things. ( I can only surmise what Prof. Brooks thinks on the basis of his public statements, and I only need to be approximately correct for my present purposes.)

Having watched and studied nuclear authorities for many decades as a layman, I can say that I am a skeptic when it comes to the PR issued by nuclear authorities. Both over the history of the “nuclear age” and since the accident a Fukushima Diiachi. It is my view that nuclear authorities have twice justified their actions on the premise that they and their skills and technology were and are needed to “save the planet”. This current attempt to expand nuclear industry makes the same promises of salvation as the earlier and first promise did. It is not conflating bombs (the alleged salvation of the Free World during the Cold War) and reactors (the alleged saviours of the planet re sudden climate change) to say that both then and now nuclear experts and authorities have made very many false claims regarding the safety of the human dose response to exposures of radiation in absorbed dose quanta which suited the experts at the time. I further believe, on the basis of medical ethics, that nuclear authorities often deliberately conflate medical treatment doses and medical diagnosis doses of radiation exposure with additional doses, whatever they are from case to case, imposed as a result of nuclear industry, both military and civilian. This is one reason why I claim the right to think for myself in these and other matters of relevance. (For example, in March 2011, the Japanese electrical generator company, TEPCO, claimed that the fallout exposure from radionuclides released by the failed Fukushima Diiachi nuclear power plant were harmless, because the dose imposed upon civilians in the Prefecture was less than the dose imposed by a chest ray per person. This statement is a perfect example of a corporation acting completely outside of its brief and authority and in direct contraction of medical ethics. Medicine is only medicine when 1. the patient gives informed consent to the treatment 2. where there is an expected health benefit which outweighs the risks of the treatment or diagnostic procedure. Power plant executives are not qualified to administer medicine to a gnat, let alone a human being. Much has been made of the alleged “paradox” of the Evacuation zones in Japan, but it is not a paradox at all, as much some nuclear advocates actually mock the evacuations which took place in Japan.)

I can identify the point of deviance between Prof. Brook and myself. I no more expect to change his mind than he has any basis for believing that he, on the basis of his nuclear expertise, could reasonably expect change mine. I have one vote. So does Prof. Brook. I am not a subordinate to him. He is not my doctor. He has no basis for expecting that I should share his nuclear views. I might share his views on other things, but certainly not on this nuclear one.

In nuclear matters I have more formal training than Prof Brook has. Even though I was, when employed in the field I was trained to engage in, a mere technical functionary with also a clerical function within Australia’s nuclear safety regime at the time. If I have a technical question regarding the fate of Kangaroos under unmitigated climate change, I might ask Prof Brook that question in search for an answer. However, if I have a technical question relating to nuclear safety, I have a number of people I am free to contact for an answer. For these people have relevant qualifications. Barry’s views on radiation safety are his views. They are based upon advise he has received. But with sincere respect, Barry is not qualified to give nuclear safety advice. He has no formal qualifications in health physics. Even my smattering of formal qualification in that area exceeds Barry’s. (Which by no means should constrain his expression of his beliefs. We all have beliefs, opinions and knowledge. We all tend present our schemas as a unity even though beliefs and opinions are subordinate to knowledge if one is to hope of presenting an accurate map of reality. We all have a human nature.)

I refer to the following public media statements made by Prof. Barry Brook:—fukushima2c-nuclear-power-and-the-rational-approach-to/3733762 The following is a partial transcript of the words spoken by Prof. Barry Brook in the video. I have not transcribed the questions put to Prof. Brook by the interviewer, please watch the entire video. The section I chose to transcribe (this is my own transcription, please check the video) highlights the profound lacking inherent in the nuclear industry narrative regarding key events and key standards which are as inherent in modern reactor designs as they are in the old Fukushima type reactors. The most important of these lacking revolve around a failure to admit to the very well documented “ECCS Controversy” which remains today, the regulations regarding NPPs and the grid, the risks posed by a failed grid to NPPS, the regulations which stipulate the performance parameters of the ECCS of all nuclear reactors, which remain basically the same now as they were then. Prof Brook makes a statement that the emergency cooling water was damaged by the tsunami. In a section below devoted to the power grid, the power grid and meltdown, the Ergen report into ECCS, and the US NRC short history of emergency core cooling and ECCS design, I shall show that the statement made by Barry Brook comparing the old Fukushima Diiachi reactors ends with an incorrect conclusion. In my opinion, based upon the qualified texts quoted.

Partial transcript:

Regarding events involving Japan and Fukushima:

Prof. Brook: “I think they (events) show the vulnerability of any human infrastructure to the forces of nature. Especially when they are unleashed with such fury as they were with that massive earthquake, the largest one to hit Japan in recorded times, and a 10 metre tsunami. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect any infrastructure along a coastline like that to survive an event like that. But what it does highlight is that decisions were made back in the ‘60s, when that nuclear power plant was planned and built, they did not anticipate the scale of the natural disaster that occurred here.”

On the relevance of the design of the Fukushima Diiachi type NPP to today’s modern reactors and to future stations :

Prof Brook: “These are amongst the oldest nuclear power plants in Japan. And they put them on the coastline for the sensible reason that they can use seawater to cool them. And it’s part of the design that they were protected not only against earthquake by seismic isolating the plant itself, but by tsunamis. They predicted up to a 6.5 metres tsunami and protected against that. But of course, as events turned out, the tsunami was even bigger than that. The tsunami washed over the plant. It seems like it damaged the diesel generators that were supplying backup power . There was a chain of diesel generators in fact, each one a redundant generator for the one before it. All of those were destroyed by the tsunami. The fuel tanks that would supply the diesel for many days for them seemed to be washed away. And the emergency cooling water as well was also damaged such that they ended up having to use sea water to cool it. The design of the 40 year old plant actually survived the earthquake. They were designed to survive an earthquake 7 times that what they were hit by and yet they survived and it was the tsunami that got them.”

It’s not beyond the wit of engineers to plan plants survive better?

Prof Brooke: “I think it’s clear that the risk that the tsunami faced and the fact that all of the redundant generators were wiped out in one blow suggests that there was not enough prudent forethought for that risk. And in any sort of major accident in any industry there’s a period of introspection afterwards. Looking at what went wrong. Just like in anything in our lives. And trying to take the salient lessons and use that in future is a …I see the announcements of governments around the world to re-look at the safety of their current nuclear power plants. That’s an eminently sensible thing to do because you can look at all of the contingencies that they have allowed for and say well, what if the situation in Japan had happened to us, are we prepared? That’s learning from the lessons of history.” Source: ABC TV One Plus One: Barry Brook on nuclear power’s future after Fukushima, posted Published on 18 Mar 2011

These two references will suffice. Many other references to Prof. Brook’s public media contributions exist online and are easy to find. Please read the contents and listen to the video at the above links before continuing to read this post.

The account Prof. Brook gives of the nuclear accident at Fukushima and the consequences of it is very conventional when compared with other accounts from nuclear industry experts. Barry mentions relative risk compared to other forms of power generation, the chemical pollution unleashed upon Japan as a result of the March 2011 disaster, the age of the Fukushima power plants, the apparent resilience of the aged plant and equipment in the face of earthquake, the unexpected height of the tsunami which swamped the plant and particularly the emergency power generators which were destroyed by the wave. Barry is of the view that the people at risk from the high risks of high radiation doses were the plant workers: that the risk to the general population in the immediate vicinity of the plant (say 30 kms) was not and is not, a matter of significant concern.
A study of relevant US nuclear authority (AEC and NRC) documents reveals that current and past regulations maintain a close relationship to each other. The safety challenges posed by nuclear power plants demanded from the beginning complex and comprehensive regulations based upon the findings of science. The early studies into a primary safety concern – preventing core overheating – remain relevant today. Today’s knowledge and regulations does nothing to diminish the regulations the Fukushima Diiachi nuclear plants were built to comply with. Centrally, the operating life time of the late sixties era Emergency Core Cooling systems built into the Fukushima Diiachi had to ensure that when lack of grid power and loss of normal cooling loops occurred the reactor cores would not overheat.

This remains true today of every Western nuclear reactor. The ECCS is built into every reactor and the promise of industry has been no matter force of nature or human stupidity causes loss of primary cooling, the ECCS will ensure that the core does not overheat.

Thus, the question millions of people have in the wake of Fukushima Diiachi, is this: given that the multiple integral ECCS systems built within each of the three afflicted Fukushima Diiachi reactors, failed to prevent overheating, hydrogen production, explosions and core over heat, can we be sure that any ECCS system fitted to any nuclear reactor will work as promised. What is the solution to the patently obvious failure of multiple ECCS systems ? Is the solution? Some say the solution is simple in Australia. Simply do not commence to build nuclear reactors here.



Within the democratic nations, there exists the dictum that an individual should never “follow leaders blindly” (see Chomsky, Sagan, Churchill and the words from the Opposition benches as recorded in Australian Federal Parliament since 1901). In my private life I choose to follow this dictum with some gusto. Here’s a personal story from my childhood about risk and dose:

From the time I was a baby, I slept with a luminous bedside clock. The face of t he clock was painted with Bambi and other forest creatures on it. The second counter was a butterfly which fluttered each second. The clock glowed very brightly at night and by the time I was 12 years old it still glowed seemingly with full strength. When I was 12 I needed a clockwork mechanism so that I could build a clockwork toy car. So one day, home from school, I proceeded to dismantle my Bambi clock. I was too old for Bambi by then anyhow. My father got home when it was dark and saw what I was doing. He was not impressed. He told me to gather all the bits of the clock and put them in a bag and to place it in the rubbish bin. “You should never take apart luminous clocks, it is dangerous.” He informed me. He told me to shower and go to bed. I am 65 years old next month, I have not yet suffered a diagnosis of cancer. My father was correct in his observations to me, all those years ago, in regard to my careless dismantling of that old clock. He was a bricklayer, not a radiologist.

I know now that the old Bambi clock was not a cheap one. It’s dial was not painted with cheap Radium 222 paint, but with more expensive Radium 226.

Here is a discussion of the decay process of Radium 226: The decay of Radium 226 is complex in that while radium is considered to be an alpha emitter generally, Ra226 also emits gamma rays due to internal conversion processes within the nucleus. What is generally true is not specifically true when individual matters of concern are considered in depth.

In any event, in the case of Radium 226, and general with the other isotopes of Radium, the decay chain involves the production of radioactive radon gas, in the case of Ra226, Radon 222 gas is produced. The production of a radioactive gas is important as the gas is free to move from the radium source, past old clock gaskets and other sealing which is not gas proof and into the biosphere. Radon 222 has a half life of 3.8 days. Radon 222 decays into Polonium 218, which is a solid. Polonium 218 has a half life of 3.04 seconds. Therefore, one can see that Po218 is highly radioactive. It decays by emitting alpha radiation at an energy of 6.114 MeV. (Millions of electron Volts.) It is lethal material even in minute quantities. (The Russian Litvinenko was murdered by Polonium 210, which has a half life of 138 days. The energy of the alpha radiation emitted by Polonium 210 is less than that of Po218. The radioactivity (rate of disintegrations) of Polonium 210 is 166 TBq/g or 4,500 Curies per gram. (ie 1 gram of polonium 210 has the same radioactivity (emission rate, disintegrations per second) as 4,500 grams of radium). Argonne National Laboratory’s description of Polonium is here: Polonium 218, having a short half life of about 3 minutes, is not described. However, given its short half life, its radioactivity rate I expect to be higher than that of Polonium 210.

The Argonne National Laboratory gives the activity of Polonium 218 here: To quote: Polonium 218 activity in Curies is : 290 million curies per gram. THAT is stonkingly active. Po 218 is formed at precisely the same rate at which Radium 226 decays. Radium 226 has an activity of (logically, for the Curie is basis of the Radium standard, as used, for example, by the Manhattan Project, during the design and construction of the first nuclear reactor pile prototype. The M.E.D. needed reactors to make the plutonium fission bomb, used to prevent the USSR from invading Japan in 1945 (by indirect threat)).

So, when I took my luminous bambi clock to bits when I was 12, I was unwittingly unsealing the radium paint which made the clock dial glow brightly. The Ra 226 produced a small amount of gamma, the Ra226 emitted one alpha particle per second per gram, the resultant radon emitted 160,000 alpha particles per second per gram, the result polonium 218 emitted 290 million alpha particles per second per gram. and so on down the line. The Uranium and Radium decay chains are quite long and complex. The fact of radon production means that the gas diffuses and otherwise transports to areas sometimes far removed from the original site, be it a clock or a uranium deposit. Oil and coal deposits are often naturally contaminated by the solid decay products of radon. Radon vents from the earth. We all have very minute amounts of naturally occurring radio isotopes in our bodies. However during the 20th century industrial uses of radium grew rapidly from the time of Marie Curie until the advent age of fission. The industrial use of radium paint caused one of the first instances of radiogenic disease in workers. The poorly stored residues of radium extraction from uranium mine tailings and the poor disposal of waste radium paint and objects contaminated by radium paint has, in the past, created hazards in England, the USA and Europe.

Applying this to my story of my luminous bambi clock, it can be seen my father knew the story of the hazards of unshielded radium paint. This was the basis of his concern. He told me to gather up the clock parts, seal them in a paper bag, and place the bag in the garbage. He told me to have a shower. The year this occurred was 1965. The story of the radium dial painters and what they suffered as a result of their ingestion of radium 222 and radium 226 is horrific and well known. We know the radium paint industry and their main market – the militaries of Britain, USA and Europe – considered that the risks to the workers were more than offset by the benefit of having bright instrument dials in military vehicles such as aircraft, ships and vehicles. Throughout the 1920s the general population were encouraged to use radium toothpaste, skin creams, radium enriched water, and so on. In Europe, radium dial painters were known for their luminous hair. (Paul Frame, former curator, ORAU museum, Oak Ridge, USA).

When the women employed as radium dial painters became ill and commenced legal action against their employers in the USA, both government and industry claimed that the women were not suffering from radium poisoning, but from Syphilis. Many people believed the employers. Because the deformation of facial bones which untreated syphillis causes was similar to the facial deformities the cancerous lesions due to radium caused in the jaws, faces, legs and the rest of the skeletons of the afflicted works.

Due to the scientific integrity and ability of Dr. Harrison Stanford Martland, things were to change in the favour of some of the workers in 1924. “Dr. Martland made important contributions in the fields of pathology and forensic medicine. The work that attracted the most attention was his research begun in 1924, on the effects of radioactive material on the human body. Dr. Martland determined that minute traces of radioactivity contained in luminous paint had caused the deaths of watch dial painters employed at the US Radium Corporation in Orange, NJ. The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) credits Dr. Martland’s work with having made it possible for atomic development to proceed with comparative safety. At the request of the AEC, Dr. Martland prepared a permanent exhibit on radioactive dangers and precautions which is on display in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. “( Harrison Stanford Martland, MD (1883-1954) A Register of His Papers, 1905-1954 Revised April 1999, Rutgers University Libraries, Health Sciences: A History of Medicine. )

However, the afflicted still had a fight on their hands:
(The following text consists of extracts taken from “Undark and the Radium Girls”. I urge the reader to go to and read the whole piece. The work is copyright and permission for my use of the following snippets has been applied for. )
Written by Alan Bellows, 2006 at
“In 1925, three years after Grace’s health problems began, a doctor suggested that her jaw problems may have had something to do with her former job at US Radium. As she began to explore the possibility, a specialist from Columbia University named Frederick Flynn asked to examine her. Flynn declared her to be in fine health. It would be some time before anyone discovered that Flynn was not a doctor, nor was he licensed to practice medicine, rather he was a toxicologist on the US Radium payroll. A “colleague” who had been present during the examination— and who had confirmed the healthy diagnosis— turned out to be one of the vice-presidents of US Radium. Many of the Undark painters had been developing serious bone-related problems, particularly in the jaw, and the company had begun a concerted effort to conceal the cause of the disease. The mysterious deaths were often blamed on syphilis to undermine the womens’ reputations, and many doctors and dentists inexplicably cooperated with the powerful company’s disinformation campaign….

“In the early 1920s, US Radium hired the Harvard physiology professor Cecil Drinker to study the working conditions in the factory. Drinker’s report was grave, indicating a heavily contaminated work force, and unusual blood conditions in virtually everyone who worked there. The report which the company provided to the New Jersey Department of Labor credited Cecil Drinker as the author, however the ominous descriptions of unhealthy conditions were replaced with glowing praise, stating that “every girl is in perfect condition.” Even worse, US Radium’s president disregarded all of the advice in Drinker’s original report, making none of the recommended changes to protect the workers.

“The fraudulent report was discovered by a colleague of Drinker’s named Alice Hamilton in 1925. Her letter prompted Drinker to make the information public by publishing his original report in a scientific journal. US Radium executives were furious, and threatened legal action, but Drinker published his findings nonetheless. Among other things, his report stated:

“Dust samples collected in the workroom from various locations and from chairs not used by the workers were all luminous in the dark room. Their hair, faces, hands, arms, necks, the dresses, the underclothes, even the corsets of the dial painters were luminous. One of the girls showed luminous spots on her legs and thighs. The back of another was luminous almost to the waist….”

“US Radium was a defense contractor with deep pockets and influential contacts, so it took Grace Fryer two years to find a lawyer willing to take on her former employer. A young attorney from Newark named Raymond Berry filed the suit in 1927, and four other radium-injured dial painters soon joined in. They sought $250,000 each in damages….

“The last of the famous Radium Girls died in the 1930s, and many other former factory workers died of radium poisoning without finding justice. Later medical research would determine that radium behaves much like calcium inside the body, causing it to concentrate in the teeth and bones. By shaping their brushes with their lips as instructed by their knowledgeable supervisors, the dial painters had ingested anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand microcuries of radium per year. One tenth of a microcurie is now considered to be the maximum safe exposure. Marie Curie herself died of radiation-related ailments in 1934. Because radium has a half-life of 1,600 years, her lab notebooks are said to be too highly contaminated to be safely handled even today….

“It is uncertain how many people were sickened or killed by Undark and similar radioactive pigments over the years, but US Radium alone employed an estimated 4,000 radium dial painters. Though they were not the only radium-painting business in the US, they were arguably the most evil. However one positive development did appear in the wake of the women’s legal struggle and subsequent media attention; In 1949 the US Congress passed a bill making all occupational diseases compensable, and extended the time during which workers could discover illnesses and make a claim. Thanks to the Radium Girls and their success in bringing attention to the deplorable conditions in US factories, industrial safety standards in the US were significantly tightened over the following years, an improvement which definitely spared countless others from similar fates.” Source: Undark and the Radium Girls
Written by Alan Bellows at

The Relevance of the Radium Paint Story in the Current Nuclear Debate in the Light of Prof. Barry Brook

1. Those leaders who fail to learn the lessons of history may inflict the same injustice upon us again.

2. The story of the radium dial painters is the basis upon which workers rights to access to compensation in the USA rests. If you hope win in court, you need to understand the history of the prototypical case of nuclear industry vs workers and the community. The lessons remain valid.

3. The story of harms and denials of harm dating from the 1920s onwards inflicted by the radium industry: a. Created a precedent demanding duty of care and honesty by industry. b. Caused a process of redress in the USA. c. Caused the concept of clean up to be enforced. This cleanup continues to this day via the program of decontaminating historic nuclear waste sites. These sites are known in the USA as the “Superfund” sites.

4. From its origins in the Manhattan Project, nuclear industrial hygiene, known as Health Physics and Radiological Safety, has emerged as means by which harms may be predicted, minimised or avoided, risk and benefit calculated, workers and community reasonably protected and under which nuclear industry may be permitted by license if all obligations are reasonably met. The legislation which determines radiological safety in Australia and in most parts of the world is based upon an exposure regime known as ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable.)

5. The examples I have used regarding Radium 226 and Polonium 218 gives the ordinary reader specific items to consider when imagining the factors to be taken into account when considering exposures to radiation. The factors are many and the mathematics involved is complex. For the general public the idea that an exposure has to have benefit which at least is greater than the risk it imposes upon the individual and the community is complex. For such considerations are medico-legal, ethical, political and personal. Scientists are free to have their own opinions about what risk level is appropriate given any given promised benefit. However, even scientists make political, sociological, personal, ethical and medico-legal decisions based not only upon their own sphere of qualification and expertise but as ordinary human beings.

It is the stated opinion of Prof Barry Brooks that the world situation demands, without question, a very rapid expansion of the world nuclear power plant fleet in order to defeat the rapidly approaching climate crisis which presents the world with a foreseeable existential threat. In the view of Prof Barry Brooks there is a stark choice: No other form form of energy production but nuclear fission reactors can save our planet from the existential threat of rapid climate change. To save the entire planet, Australia MUST HAVE a nuclear power plant in operation by 2030. Without this, the planet, according to Prof Brook, is doomed. Maybe. Maybe not.

6. It is clearly obvious that a. all living things have very small amounts of the natural uranium decay products woven into the fabric of their bodies. This includes humans. It is also clearly obvious – confirmed by the medical record – that people have suffer and do suffer from diseases caused by radioactive material inhaled, ingested and otherwise taken into their bodies. While the Radium Standard developed by Robley Evans for the Manhattan Project (under some duress) enabled the M.E.D. to enact some sort of industrial hygiene in regard to radiation workers involved in the wartime reactor and bomb projects (including the Naval reactor program commenced in 1939 under Ross Gunn of the Naval Research Laboratory at Philadelphia Naval Dockyarda – see :“We had the hose turned on us!” -Ross Gunn and The Naval Research Laboratory’s Early Research into Nuclear Propulsion, 1939 – 1946″ International Journal of Naval History Volume 2 Number 1 April 2003. (The allegation that the Manhattan Project as a source in the nuclear debate is a mere conflation of bombs and reactors and therefore a fudge is patently false, for the very first award of funds for the purchase of uranium under the secret Presidential program at the time was to the Navy for silent nuclear propulsion reactors. The award of those funds was made in 1939, the theory provided by Fermi, the safety regime by Robley Evans and it was overseen by the National Standards Laboratory. It did not, in the event, come to fruition until the launch of the USS Nautilus in the 1950s. Largely because the Naval thermal diffusion plant was taken over by Groves in 1942.)

7.Since the end of the second world war, the much vaunted safety record of the Manhattan Project, and the extrapolation of “safe doses” had been under pressure. Presidential Executive Order 13179 of December 7, 2000, “Providing Compensation to America’s Nuclear Weapons Workers” states in part : ” Since World War II, hundreds of thousands of men and women have served their Nation in building its nuclear defense. In the course of their work, they overcame previously unimagined scientific and technical challenges. Thousands of these courageous Americans, however, paid a high price for their service, developing disabling or fatal illnesses as a result of exposure to beryllium, ionizing radiation, and other hazards unique to nuclear weapons production and testing. Too often, these workers were neither adequately protected from, nor informed of, the occupational hazards to which they were exposed.
Existing workers’ compensation programs have failed to provide for the needs of these workers and their families. Federal workers’ compensation programs have generally not included these workers. Further, because of long latency periods, the uniqueness of the hazards to which they were exposed, and inadequate exposure data, many of these individuals have been unable to obtain State workers’ compensation benefits. This problem has been exacerbated by the past policy of the Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessors of encouraging and assisting DOE contractors in oppos-ing the claims of workers who sought those benefits. This policy has recently been reversed.
While the Nation can never fully repay these workers or their families, they deserve recognition and compensation for their sacrifices. Since the Administration’s historic announcement in July of 1999 that it intended to compensate DOE nuclear weapons workers who suffered occupational illnesses as a result of exposure to the unique hazards in building the Nation’s nuclear defense, it has been the policy of this Administration to support fair and timely compensation for these workers and their survivors. The Federal Government should provide necessary information and otherwise help employees of the DOE or its contractors determine if their illnesses are associated with conditions of their nuclear weapons-related work; it should provide workers and their survivors with all pertinent and available information necessary for evaluating and processing claims; and it should ensure that this program minimizes the administrative burden on workers and their survivors, and respects their dignity and privacy.”

This Executive Order was issued after the investigation known as the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, commissioned by the US President, found solid evidence that for decades workers exposed to ionising radiation in the course of their government directed duty – from the Manhattan Project onward, including the Naval nuclear propulsion program from 1939 on – had been lied to in terms of both dose and effect. Many had died after long and fruitless battles to obtain justice. Much to the chagrin of nuclear authorities and sections of nuclear industry, the revealed facts from documents declassified by ACHRE on the order of Clinton showed just why it was that the early radium standard extrapolations of dose and effect did not result in the assured safety of US nuclear workers. Throughout the period allowable exposures were lowered but justice had been denied to those who had become afflicted by the poor assumptions of the nuclear safety experts.

The year 2000 was, for these nuclear workers from the period 1939 onward, much like the year 1924 for the Radium Dial painters was. It was the year science admitted that the victims were due justice.

As with the Radium dial painters though, the nuclear workers of America have become disillusioned with the process, the time, and the frequent dismissals of their cases.

For many, the risks they unknowingly took (for they were lied to, and this is on the record and the last lie has not yet been told. And the workers include those who were naval reactor workers – a nuclear submarine is a nuclear weapon.) were not offset by a greater security – in fact, the larger the US nuclear defence system grew, the more worker victims there were. The civilian victims remain denied justice. Except in the case of the residents who once lived down wind of the Rocky Flat plutonium facility in Colorado. The US government compensated them for the loss of their residential land, and the afflicted areas were decontaminated. They are now a nature park. But a number of afflicted civilians still grieve the deaths of children whom, they state, would still be alive had it not been for the nuclear exhaust spewed onto their houses by the Rocky Flats facility. Such a facility can only exist if there are sufficient nuclear reactors present in the USA to produce the spent fuel from which weapons plutonium is extracted.

8. I know I would have had to have inhaled or swallowed a large amount of Radium 226 in order to be at significant risk of disease. A large Curie amount. How much is a lot? The Rowland chart gives a clue. Though I do not hold to the threshold dose theory myself. Today the permissible limit of Ra226 is much less than the Rowland threshold dose:

My father had little to worry about. It turned out I did not ingest anywhere near 100 microcuries of Ra226. But even so, clearly my father thought the benefit of my building a clockwork power toy car was far outweighed by the risk I took in removing the glass from the luminous clock, unsealing the radium paint in the process. Many exposures are accidental and opportunistic. I will end the Dose – Risk debate there for now. Except to say the Japanese people, living as they do in what passes for a democracy, have the right both as a community and as individuals, to determine the cost and benefit of the Fukushima Diiachi nuclear reactors. Did they ever help save the planet? I don’t think so. Do you? Was the benefit of the nuclear generated electricity for consumption of the people of Tokyo by the Fukushima Diiachi reactors more or less than the long term risk now imposed upon the people who live close in to the lands contaminated by the Fukushma event? Have those reactors actually, since the 1970s, turned a profit for TEPCO? What is the economic cost of those failed reactors to Japan?

For decades the nuclear industry has failed to communicate even the basic rudiments of radiological safety and health physics concepts to the general public. It has failed in this obligation for many reasons. Too often industry sales staff have fudged the issues and told bear faced lies. In terms of radiological safety, a banana farmer has a far safer occupation than the itinerant workers employed in their thousands by the Japanese government to gather contaminated soil and vegetation from all over Fukushima Prefecture. Certainly, the concept of the banana equivalent dose is easily demolished. Of all the radiological weapons considered and tested by the US military since 1941, including Strontium 89 (Lawrence, 1941), bananas delivered by ICBM was not one. Physical quanta, rate of activity, energy of emissions, type of emissions, radio-bio-chemistry, environmental movement, spread and re-concentration, age of target, gender of target, health status of target, dietary content and dietary status of target, shielding considerations of source and target, decay chain isotopic characteristics all go into the mix when one considers the health risks which accompany both containment failure in regard to nuclear industry and in regard to the nuclear battlefield. I content that had North Korea spread radio cesium over Fukushima, in exactly the same amounts and initial deposition as that performed by TEPCO, that a. war would have been declared by Japan in response. b. the people of Japan would have received a far different official response from government, including a completely explanation of risks and harms. In the current case, Japanese authorities seek to minimise the liabilities of government. Even so the actual documented costs of the accident are very large. The risks of the accident are greatest for those closest in. That means the nuclear plant workers are at greatest risk. The population of Fukushima Prefecture have suffered loss and suffer from the imposition of risk of a lower order. Risks over a lifetime have consequences for a population. It is impossible to identify those individuals whose lifetime risk will eventually manifest as disease. The risk might be 1 in 100,000 or the risk may be far greater or lesser than that. I don’t know. But the imposition of risk is one of the costs of the accident. In an age of personalised medicine, there is no such thing as an average dose response. In any case, the nuclear industry is highly skilled in law courts aimed at thwarting the just cases of people who have the opinion that they suffer because of excess risk imposed by that industry. One only has to recall the case of Karen Silkwood to see that. I recall reading in the Albury newspaper while was a soldier near there that child care centre down wind of the Kerr-McGee fuel rod production plant, where Karen had worked, was contaminated by plutonium from the plant. That place proclaimed itself world’s best practice for nuclear industry. As they all do. Still, such considerations are outside of the brief of a highly skilled ecologist apparently.

Baseload Power, the Grid, Nuclear Reactors and Renewables

According to nuclear industry, the concept of Baseload Power via an electrical grid is a basic requirement of modern societies. According to this view robust national grids fed by multiple high capacity continuous generators is mandatory.

Australia and South Australia certainly is in an energy technology transition. We are in a cusp and are vulnerable as a state and as a nation as a result.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released a report which studies the causes of the 28 September 2016 state wide black out which the state of South Australia suffered on that day. The full report is available here:

“The report states: “As the generation mix continues to change across the NEM, it is no longer appropriate to rely solely on synchronous generators to provide essential non-energy system services (such as voltage control, frequency control, inertia, and system strength). Instead, additional means of procuring these services must be considered, from non-synchronous generators (where it is technically feasible), or from network or non-network services (such as demand response and synchronous condensers).” (AEMO, page 5). NEM means National Energy Market.

Please note the text I have highlighted in bold. Synchronous generators such as coal fired baseload, nuclear baseload and hydro baseload are, clearly, in the findings of the AEMO report, NO LONGER APPROPRIATE to rely upon for the essential grid services defined by AEMO.

Thus AEMO is able to state that: “AEMO has also begun work with the Australian Renewable Energy Authority (ARENA) and others on proof-of-concept trials of promising new technologies, starting with use of the new Hornsdale Stage 2
wind farm to provide grid stabilisation services. These projects can deliver engineering solutions to make the grid more resilient and protect customer supply as the transformation of Australia’s energy system continues.
(AEMO, page 5).

If nuclear power were actually the only means by which Australia could stabilise voltage, frequency, load capacity, phase alignment and so on, and still mean Australian carbon emissions targets, surely AEMO, as an independent expert body would have reported as much.

Which is not to say Nuclear power plants could not technically replace the Australian coal fired generator fleet. Obviously NPPs could have a role. The fact is that they don’t have a role in Australia’s national energy and happily never have had such a role.

South Australia has always had a shaky state grid. The stability of the state grid in terms of voltage spikes, phase accuracy and alignment and so on caused HiFi enthusiasts to complain about about the technically ‘dirty” Adelaide electrical supply from the time I was a teenager. A Linn hifi system (a very sensitive and expensive system) sounded “like crap” in Adelaide whereas the very same hifi system moved and set up in Sydney sounded the way it should. Many experts put it down to SA’s small coal fired generators being actually unable to maintain a stable grid in all parameters. It has been a long term problem here.

With the advent of the national energy market, the South Australian grid’s inter connector with the East States’ coal fired power stations became critical. The inter-connector became even more critical with the closure of the coal fired power station at Port Augusta in South Australia’s mid north area. The closure of that station was long overdue. Original designed to burn eastern seaboard high grade black coal, various supply threats induced the SA government in the 1950s to instruct that only local low grade brown coal be burnt. This has had specifically very negative health effects on people living near and down wind of that now closed power plant. The late former Mayor of Port Augusta spent years trying unsuccessfully to induce the government to improve the emissions filters on the old power plant to little result. The late Mayor blamed the area’s high rate of lung cancer squarely on the emissions from the old coal fired plant. Here is an article about the issue from 8 years ago: I have reported this previously. I agree with the late former mayor, and disagree with then Minister Hill. The cause of the lung cancer rate in the town was the power plant. Other surveys found the smoking rate of the residents was no different to the rest of the state. These are the facts as I see them. It is rational to think that burning coal which was closer to bitumen than proper high grade black coal would and did cause a public health disaster in the environs of the old Port Augusta power plant. The recent clouds of ash from the unmitigated fly ash dump at the old power plant, which blew all over the city of Port Augusta shows how trust worthy private industry and governments actually are when it comes to matters of public health risks in the context of the social good of electrical power. Individuals come off third best. Corporations have their PR and their actual reality. So does government. PR = bullshit. imo.

Turning back to the AEMO report in the 2016 state wide blackout, we need to look at what factors actually caused the blackout:

Here’s a fair slab taken straight from the AEMO report:

“On Wednesday 28 September 2016, tornadoes with wind speeds in the range of 190–260 km/h occurred in areas of South Australia.1 Two tornadoes almost simultaneously damaged a single circuit 275 kilovolt (kV) transmission line and a double circuit 275 kV transmission line, some 170 km apart.

The damage to these three transmission lines caused them to trip, and a sequence of faults in quick succession resulted in six voltage dips on the SA grid over a two-minute period at around 4.16 pm.

As the number of faults on the transmission network grew, nine wind farms in the mid-north of SA exhibited a sustained reduction in power as a protection feature activated. For eight of these wind farms, the protection settings of their wind turbines allowed them to withstand a pre-set number of voltage dips within a two-minute period. Activation of this protection feature resulted in a significant sustained power reduction for these wind farms. A sustained generation reduction of 456 megawatts (MW) occurred over a period of less than seven seconds. The reduction in wind farm output caused a significant increase in imported power flowing through the Heywood Inter-connector. Approximately 700 milliseconds (ms) after the reduction of output from the last of the wind farms, the flow on the Victoria–SA Heywood Inter-connector reached such a level that it
activated a special protection scheme that tripped the interconnector offline.

The SA power system then became separated (“islanded”) from the rest of the NEM. Without any substantial load shedding following the system separation, the remaining generation was much less than the connected load and unable to maintain the islanded system frequency. As a result, all supply
to the SA region was lost at 4.18 pm (the Black System).3F 4 AEMO’s analysis shows that following system separation, frequency collapse and the consequent Black System was inevitable.” (AEMO, page 6) emphasis added.

South Australia is a long way from the power generators in the Eastern states. There are hundreds of miles of high voltage transmission lines going from the interstate inter- connector to the main SA grid.

What did AEMO recommend as a solution to the problem?

“What conclusions have come from AEMO’s investigations?
From its analysis of the Black System event, many of AEMO’s conclusions provide valuable guidancefor improving the management of extreme conditions in SA:

 Access to correct technical information about grid-connected equipment is critical for system security.

 Wind turbines successfully rode through grid disturbances. It was the action of a control setting responding to multiple disturbances that led to the Black System. Changes made to turbine control settings shortly after the event has removed the risk of recurrence given the same number of disturbances.

 Had the generation deficit not occurred, AEMO’s modelling indicates SA would have remained connected to Victoria and the Black System would have been avoided. AEMO cannot rule out the possibility that later events could have caused a black system, but is not aware of any system damage that would have done this.
 The following factors must be addressed to increase the prospects of forming a stable SA island and avoiding a Black System:
 Sufficient inertia to slow down the rate of change of frequency and enable automatic load shedding to stabilise the island system in the first few seconds. This will require increases in SA inertia under some conditions, as well as improvements to load shedding systems combined
with reduced interconnector flows under certain conditions.
 Sufficient frequency control services to stabilise frequency of the SA island system over the longer term. This will require increases in local frequency control services under some conditions.
 Sufficient system strength to control over voltages, ensure correct operation of grid protection systems, and ensure correct operation of inverter-connected facilities such as wind farms. This will require increases in local system strength under some conditions.
As noted in the recommendations chapter, AEMO is working with stakeholders to identify the best ways to address each of these requirements.
A number of factors investigated by AEMO were found to have little or no material effect on the event:
 Trips of wind turbines due to high wind speed.
 Operation of the five gas generators on-line at the time.
 Performance of the Murraylink interconnector.
 Settings of the relays that tripped the interconnector.
 Settings of powerline protection relays.
 Static Var Compensators (SVCs).” (AEMO page 7)

It can be seen that the market operator is of the view that procedures, settings, resources and techniques were and are available which would have prevented the state wide blackout, regards of the wind damage to high voltage lines and in hindsight crudely set turbine cut out settings.

The ferocity of the winds hit the grid infrastructure and the turbine settings as if they were completely impossible to predict and plan for. Of course, such wind speeds were are predictable.

Just as the 10 metre tsunami which destroyed the Fukushima diiachi primary cooling heat exchangers and back up generators were predictable on the basis of the written Japanese record. The March 2011 quake was not the largest of all time. Only a dumb a plan would put NPPs in a place like Japan. Only complete lunacy would put 55 there. Only a maniac would consider that Fast Breeder Monju would ever deliver limitless plutonium fuel for the reactors. And only a delusional twit would consider that the Japanese interim high level waste facility would be successful, economic and safe. As yet, the Japanese still cannot guarantee that no further explosions will occur when they attempt to vitrify Japanese reactor high level waste. For years it has been normal to send low level liquid nuclear waste via pipeline into the Sea of Japan. That has been going on for decades. In that context, the Fukushima liquid nuclear problem is not new. Its merely a couple of decades worth of rads destined ultimately to the sea as per normal. Though it must be said the Japanese activity levels piped into its sea is a mere fraction of the British disaster which is (was) Sellerfield aka Windscale.

Be that as it may, nuclear advocates will say that had SA a nuclear power plant at Port Augusta, as former Prime Minister John Howard wanted, then the state wide black out would not have occurred in September 2016. Probably correct. However, I have to balance that saying : yes, the high voltage cables where destroyed in two places in the SA wilderness by very high winds. Yes, the high wind speeds and the loss of sections of grid caused overly cautious trip settings in the wind turbines to trip, causing the inter state electrical inter-connector to trip out.

However, I ponder what would have happened at the theoretical Port Augusta nuclear plant when the winds blew down the high voltage power lines which connected the non existent, but hoped for by some, NPP and upon which it and all real nuclear power plants rely. For actually, all multi mega watt base load nuclear power plants rely most heavily upon a sufficiently robust and impregnable grid FOR THEIR SAFE OPERATION. And the source for that is the IAEA, to whom I will shortly turn for definitions and explanations.

But first:

2016 Caption: what if an SA nuclear power plant had relied on these broken high voltage power lines? Did the March 2011 Japanese earthquake bring down the grid upon which Fukushima Diiachi relied?

Caption: Handout photo from Tokyo Electric Power Co. shows workers attempting to repair power lines at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, March 2011. The power grid connection to Units 1, 2, 3 and 4 was destroyed during the earthquake. It took a number of days to reconnect the grid to Fukushima Diiachi. The capacity of the Emergency Core Cooling systems integral to each of the afflicted reactors is measured in hours. There were many factors involved in the accident. However, the history of meltdown studies, US Nuclear Regulations at the time of design, and the Americo-centric imaginations of ECCS designers all played a part in the disaster. However, sadly today’s current and “popular” (not) Westinghouse AP1000 reactor has a gravity fed ECCS with a time capacity which is NO DIFFERENT to that fitted to the Fukushima Diiachi reactors.

“Vibrations from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered an immediate shut down of 15 of Japan’s nuclear power stations. Seismic sensors picked up the earthquake and control rods were automatically inserted into the reactors, halting the fission reaction that is used to produce electricity. This sudden loss of power across Japan’s national power grid caused widespread power failures, cutting vital electricity supplies to Fukushima Daiichi. There were three reactors, one, two and three, operating at the time when the earthquake hit while reactors four, five and six had already been shutdown as part of routine maintenance work.” “Japan earthquake: how the nuclear crisis unfolded”. Richard Gray, Science Correspondent, The Telegraph, 20 March 2011. end quote.

The IAEA requirements for electricity grids which supply Nuclear Power Plants.

The following text is a straight quote from : ” “ELECTRIC GRID RELIABILITY AND INTERFACE WITH NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS” IAEA NUCLEAR ENERGY SERIES No. NG-T-3.8, IAEA, COPYRIGHT NOTICE All IAEA scientific and technical publications are protected by the terms of the Universal Copyright Convention as adopted in 1952 (Berne) and as revised in 1972 (Paris). Reproduced here for study purposes and fair use. I have tried writing to the IAEA but they seem not to reply to normal people. Perhaps they go into shock or something.

Quote: ““The safe and economic operation of a nuclear power plant (NPP) requires the plant to be connected to an electrical grid system that has adequate capacity for exporting the power from the NPP, and for providing a reliable electrical supply to the NPP for safe startup, operation and normal or emergency shutdown of the plant.

Connection of any large new power plant to the electrical grid system in a country may require significant modification and strengthening of the grid system, but for NPPs there may be added requirements to the structure of the grid system and the way it is controlled and maintained to ensure adequate reliability.

“The organization responsible for the NPP and the organization responsible for the grid system will need to establish and agree the necessary characteristics of the grid and of the NPP, well before the NPP is built, so that they are compatible with each other. They will also need to agree the necessary modifications to the grid system, and how they are to be financed.

For a Member State that does not yet use nuclear power, the introduction and development of nuclear power is a major undertaking. It requires the country to build physical infrastructure and develop human resources so it can
construct and operate a nuclear power plant (NPP) in a safe, secure and technically sound manner.
” end quote. Source: “ELECTRIC GRID RELIABILITY AND INTERFACE WITH NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS” IAEA NUCLEAR ENERGY SERIES No. NG-T-3.8, IAEA, COPYRIGHT NOTICE All IAEA scientific and technical publications are protected by the terms of the Universal Copyright Convention as adopted in 1952 (Berne) and as revised in 1972 (Paris). Reproduced for study purpose and fair use. emphasis added. Hmm. very interesting. NPPs require a specifically designed and modified baseload capable grid network before they can be expected to safely start up, operation and shut down. Further the grid is needed, according to the world nuclear authority, for SAFE EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN.

Well, no wonder nuclear industry reckons baseload capable grids are mandatory. For nuclear power plants REQUIRE THEM. The nuclear sales people are a bit arse about in their mantra I think. Anyway don’t let my opinions distract you from the contents and implications of the quoted authoritative text.

So, how big a risk is the grid going down on a NPP ? Surely the Americans studied that one in depth. Let’s see what Barry Brook could have dug up about it.

I refer to the following text:
REGULATORY GUIDE 1.155 Tables 1, (Task SI 5014) 5, and 6.
STATION BLACKOUT ” Operating lifetime for emergency power back up.

Source: ibid.

Quote: “The term “station blackout” refers to the complete loss of alternating current electric power to the essential and nonessential switchgear buses in a nuclear power plant. Station blackout therefore involves the loss of
offsite power concurrent with turbine trip and failure of the onsite emergency ac power system, but not the loss of available ac power to buses fed by station batteries through inverters or the loss of power from “alternate ac sources.” Station blackout and alternate ac source are defined in § 50.2. Because many safety systems required for reactor core decay heat removal and containment heat removal are dependent on ac power, the consequences of a station blackout could be severe. In the event of a station blackout, the capability to cool
the reactor core would be dependent on the availability of systems that do not require ac power from the essential and nonessential switchgear buses and on the ability to restore ac power in a timely manner.

“The concern about station blackout arose because of the accumulated experience regarding the reliability of ac power supplies. Many operating plants have experienced a total loss of offsite electric power, and more occurrences
are expected in the future. In almost every one of these loss-of-offsite-power events, the onsite emergency ac power supplies have been available immediately to supply the power needed by vital safety equipment. However, in some
instances, one of the redundant emergency ac power supplies -has been unavailable. In a few cases there has been a complete loss of ac power, but during these events ac power was restored in a short time without any serious consequences.

“In addition, there have been numerous instances when emergency diesel generators have failed to start and run in response to tests conducted at operating plants.
The results of the Reactor Safety Study (Ref. 1) showed that, for one of the two plants evaluated, a station blackout event could be an important contributor to the total risk from nuclear power plant accidents. Although this total risk
was found to be small, the relative importance of station blackout events was established. This finding and the accumulated diesel generator failure experience increased the concern about station blackout.

“….References 2 through 7 provide detailed analyses of these topics. Based on risk studies performed to date, the results indicate that estimated coremelt frequencies from station blackout vary considerably for different plants
and could be a significant risk contributor for some plants.
In order to reduce this risk, action should be taken to resolve the safety concern stemming from station blackout. The issue is of concern for both PWRs and BWRs. ” end quote. Source: “U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION August 1988 REGULATORY GUIDE OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REGULATORY RESEARCH Reissued to correct REGULATORY GUIDE 1.155 Tables 1, (Task SI 5014) 5, and 6.
STATION BLACKOUT ” Operating lifetime for emergency power back up.

“Famous last words”, said the Bishop to the nuclear engineer. The workers at Fukushima Diiachi ran out of time, and it was not the workers fault. Would you buy a used NPP or even a new one when there is a possibility that grid destruction could cause another Fukushima Diiachi for any combination of reasons. Including rats chewing through power cables as they did at Fuk, repeatedly?

Here at last we have, via the US NRC, the documented link that shows, despite whatever the causes might be, were or are, there is a direct and acknowledged link between station blackout and meltdown. And meltdown is the major event which nuclear industry promised and promises would never happen, except for once in a thousand years.

ERGEN AND THE REAL CHINA SYNDROME. – the ‘forgotten’ history which underpins every Western nuclear reactor.

I refer to the official short history of the US Nuclear Commission regarding the “Emergency Core Cooling System” controversy which has underpinned every multi mega watt nuclear power station the West has constructed.

I disagree most strongly with Prof. Barry Brook in his stated position that the age of the Fukushima Diiachi nuclear power plants render any lessons learned since March 2001 irrelevant to current design reactors currently for sale, such as the Westinghouse AP1000. The lessons have been well known by nuclear authorities since the 1960s. And those lessons are vital to know. Why it is that any narrative about Fukushima Diiachi issued by nuclear authorities and repeated by nuclear supporters omit these crucial lessons and facts is totally beyond the naive and innocent lay person.

A link to the complete Ergen Report is here: It’s a very rare book, extremely hard to get, so download it and send it to your member of parliament/Congress/the Queen/Don.

Ralph Lapp’s summary of the Ergen Report, essay, New York Times, 12 DECEMBER 1971 “THOUGHTS ON NUCLEAR PLUMBING”

The following text is taken from : US Nuclear Regulatory Committee’s “A Short History of Nuclear Regulation, 1946-1999” available at

“The Problem of Core Meltdown
The regulatory staff sought to gain as much experimental data as possible to enrich its knowledge and inform its collective engineering judgment. This was especially vital in light of the many unanswered questions about reactor behavior. The AEC had sponsored hundreds of small-scale experiments since the early 1950s that had yielded key information about a variety of reactor safety problems. But they provided little guidance on the issue of greatest concern to the AEC and the ACRS by the late 1960s–a core meltdown caused by a loss-of-coolant accident.

“Reactor experts had long recognized that a core melt was a plausible, if unlikely, occurrence. A massive loss of coolant could happen, for example, if a large pipe that fed cooling water to the core broke. If the plant’s emergency cooling system also failed, the build-up of “decay heat” (which resulted from continuing radioactive decay after the reactor shut down) could cause the core to melt. In older and smaller reactors, the experts were confident that even under the worst conditions–an accident in which the loss of coolant melted the core and it, in turn, melted through the pressure vessel that held the core–the containment structure would prevent a massive release of radioactivity to the environment. As proposed plants increased significantly in size, however, they began to worry that a core melt could lead to a breach of containment. This became their primary focus partly because of the greater decay heat the larger plants would produce and partly because nuclear vendors did not add to the size of containment buildings in corresponding proportions to the size of reactors.
The greatest source of concern about a loss-of-coolant accident in large reactors was that the molten fuel would melt through not only the pressure vessel but also through the thick layer of concrete at the foundation of the containment building. The intensely radioactive fuel would then continue on its downward path into the ground. This scenario became known as the “China syndrome,” because the melted core would presumably be heading through the earth toward China. Other possible dangers of a core meltdown were that the molten fuel would breach containment by reacting with water to cause a steam explosion or by releasing elements that could combine to cause a chemical explosion. The precise effects of a large core melt were uncertain, but it was clear that the results of spewing radioactivity into the atmosphere could be disastrous. The ACRS and the regulatory staff regarded the chances of such an accident as low; they believed that it would occur only if the emergency core cooling system (ECCS), made up of redundant equipment that would rapidly feed water into the core, failed to function properly. But they acknowledged the possibility that the ECCS might not work as designed. Without containment as a fail-safe final line of defense against any conceivable accident, they sought other means to provide safeguards against the China syndrome.

“The Emergency Core Cooling Controversy
At the prodding of the ACRS, which first sounded the alarm about the China syndrome, the AEC established a special task force to look into the problem of core melting in 1966. The committee, chaired by William K. Ergen, a reactor safety expert and former ACRS member from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, submitted its findings to the AEC in October 1967. The report offered assurances about the improbability of a core meltdown and the reliability of emergency core cooling designs, but it also acknowledged that a loss-of-coolant accident could cause a breach of containment if ECCS failed to perform. Therefore, containment could no longer be regarded as an inviolable barrier to the escape of radioactivity. This represented a milestone in the evolution of reactor regulation. In effect, it imposed a modified approach to reactor safety. Previously, the AEC had viewed the containment building as the final independent line of defense against the release of radiation; even if a serious accident took place the damage it caused would be restricted to the plant. Once it became apparent that under some circumstances the containment building might not hold, however, the key to protecting the public from a large release of radiation was to prevent accidents severe enough to threaten containment. And this depended heavily on a properly designed and functioning ECCS.

“The problem facing the AEC regulatory staff was that experimental work and experience with emergency cooling was very limited. Finding a way to test and to provide empirical support for the reliability of emergency cooling became the central concern of the AEC’s safety research program. Plans had been underway since the early 1960s to build an experimental reactor, known as the Loss-of- Fluid-Tests (LOFT) facility, at the AEC’s reactor testing station in Idaho. Its purpose was to provide data about the effects of a loss of coolant accident. For a variety of reasons, including weak management of the test program, a change of design, and reduced funding, progress on the LOFT reactor and the preliminary tests that were essential for its success were chronically delayed. Despite the complaints of the ACRS and the regulatory staff, the AEC diverted money from LOFT and other safety research projects on existing light-water reactor design to work in the development of fast- breeder reactors. A proven fast breeder was an urgent objective for the AEC and the Joint Committee; Seaborg described it as “a priority national goal” that could assure “an essentially unlimited energy supply, free from problems of fuel resources and atmospheric contamination.”
To the consternation of the AEC, experiments run at the Idaho test site in late 1970 and early 1971 suggested that the ECCS in light-water reactors might not work as designed. As a part of the preliminary experiments that were used to design the LOFT reactor, researchers ran a series of “semiscale” tests on a core that was only nine inches long (compared with l44 inches on a power reactor). The experiments were run by heating a simulated core electrically, allowing the cooling water to escape, and then injecting the emergency coolant. To the surprise of the investigators, the high steam pressure that was created in the vessel by the loss of coolant blocked the flow of water from the ECCS. Without even reaching the core, about 90 percent of the emergency coolant flowed out of the same break that had caused the loss of coolant in the first place.
In many ways the semiscale experiments were not accurate simulations of designs or conditions in power reactors. Not only the size, scale, and design but also the channels that directed the flow of coolant in the test model were markedly different than those in an actual reactor. Nevertheless, the results of the tests were disquieting. They introduced a new element of uncertainty into assessing the performance of ECCS. The outcome of the tests had not been anticipated and called into question the analytical methods used to predict what would happen in a loss-of-coolant accident. The results were hardly conclusive but their implications for the effectiveness of ECCS were troubling.
The semiscale tests caught the AEC unprepared and uncertain of how to respond. Harold Price, the director of regulation, directed a special task force he had recently formed to focus on the ECCS question and to draft a “white paper” within a month. Seaborg, for the first time, called the Office of Management and Budget to plead for more funds for safety research on light-water reactors. While waiting for the task force to finish its work, the AEC tried to keep information about the semiscale tests from getting out to the public, even to the extent of withholding information about them from the Joint Committee. The results of the tests came at a very awkward time for the AEC. It was under renewed pressure from utilities facing power shortages and from the Joint Committee to streamline the licensing process and eliminate excessive delays. At the same time, Seaborg was appealing–successfully–to President Nixon for support of the breeder reactor, and controversy over the semiscale tests and reactor safety could undermine White House backing for the program. By the spring of 1971, nuclear critics were expressing opposition to the licensing of several proposed reactors, and news of the semiscale experiments seemed likely to spur their efforts.

“For those reasons, the AEC sought to resolve the ECCS issue as promptly and quietly as possible. It wanted to settle the uncertainties about safety without arousing a public debate that could place hurdles in the way of the bandwagon market. Even before the task force that Price established completed its study of the ECCS problem, the Commission decided to publish “interim acceptance criteria” for emergency cooling systems that licensees would have to meet. It imposed a series of requirements that it believed would ensure that the ECCS in a plant would prevent a core melt after a loss-of-coolant accident. The AEC did not prescribe methods of meeting the interim criteria, but in effect, it mandated that manufacturers and utilities set an upper limit on the amount of heat generated by reactors. In some cases, this would force utilities to reduce the peak operating temperatures (and hence, the power) of their plants. Price told a press conference on June 19, 1971 that although the AEC thought it impossible “to guarantee absolute safety,” he was “confident that these criteria will assure that the emergency core cooling systems will perform adequately to protect the temperature of the core from getting out of hand.”
The interim ECCS criteria failed to achieve the AEC’s objectives. News about the semiscale experiments triggered complaints about the AEC’s handling of the issue even from friendly observers. It also prompted calls from nuclear critics for a licensing moratorium and a shutdown of the eleven plants then operating.

“Criticism expressed by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), an organization established in 1969 to protest misuse of technology that had recently turned its attention to nuclear power, received wide publicity. The UCS took a considerably less sanguine view of ECCS reliability than that of the AEC. It sharply questioned the adequacy of the interim criteria, charging, among other things, that they were “operationally vague and meaningless.” Scientists at the AEC’s national laboratories, without endorsing the alarmist language that the UCS used, shared some of the same reservations. As a result of the uncertainties about ECCS and the interim criteria, the AEC decided to hold public hearings that it hoped would help resolve the technical issues. It wanted to prevent the ECCS question from becoming a major impediment to the licensing of individual plants. The AEC insisted that its critics had exaggerated the severity of the ECCS problem. The regulatory staff viewed the results of the failed semiscale tests as serious but believed that the technical issues the experiments raised would be resolved within a short time. It did not regard the tests as indications that existing designs were fundamentally flawed and it emphasized the conservative engineering judgment it applied in evaluating plant applications. But the ECCS controversy damaged the AEC’s credibility and played into the hands of its critics. Instead of frankly acknowledging the potential significance of the ECCS problem and taking time to fully evaluate the technical uncertainties, the AEC acted hastily to prevent the issue from undermining public confidence in reactor safety or causing licensing delays. This gave credence to the allegations of its critics that it was so determined to promote nuclear power and develop the breeder reactor that it was inattentive to safety concerns.” End quote Source: US NRC as above.

The outcome of the Ergen Report and the famous Controversy surrounding the adequacy of Emergency Core Cooling Systems as an US nuclear regulation called “Acceptance criteria for emergency core cooling systems for light-water nuclear power reactors”, which is available to read here: Such was the controversy that the US nuclear industry was unable to construct any new NPPs until public hearings had taken place. The construction of new NPPs recommenced upon the issuance of safety and adequacy by nuclear authorities. At the time and since, both experts and the general public, in large numbers remain skeptical of official assurances. The general knowledge of the controversy, for it was very great one, is well remembered by many Americans. Not many Australians today are aware of the limitations in practice of both old and new ECCS systems.

Salient extracts from the Acceptance Criteria for “Emergency Core Cooling Systems…” follow:

“50.46 Acceptance criteria for emergency core cooling systems for light-water nuclear power reactors….

“(b)(1) Peak cladding temperature. The calculated maximum fuel element cladding temperature shall not exceed 2200° F.
(2) Maximum cladding oxidation. The calculated total oxidation of the cladding shall nowhere exceed 0.17 times the total cladding thickness before oxidation. As used in this subparagraph total oxidation means the total thickness of cladding metal that would be locally converted to oxide if all the oxygen absorbed by and reacted with the cladding locally were converted to stoichiometric zirconium dioxide. If cladding rupture is calculated to occur, the inside surfaces of the cladding shall be included in the oxidation, beginning at the calculated time of rupture…..

“(3) Maximum hydrogen generation. The calculated total amount of hydrogen generated from the chemical reaction of the cladding with water or steam shall not exceed 0.01 times the hypothetical amount that would be generated if all of the metal in the cladding cylinders surrounding the fuel, excluding the cladding surrounding the plenum volume, were to react.
(4) Coolable geometry. Calculated changes in core geometry shall be such that the core remains amenable to cooling.
(5) Long-term cooling. After any calculated successful initial operation of the ECCS, the calculated core temperature shall be maintained at an acceptably low value and decay heat shall be removed for the extended period of time required by the long-lived radioactivity remaining in the core.”
end quote.

As the Fukushima nuclear disaster unfolded, reactor after reactor exploded. “Nuclear experts” providing narrative to Australian media outlets described these explosions as being “perfectly normal”, “consisting of merely Hydrogen gas/”

No such expert fully explained that the mass produced reactor explosions were vivid demonstrations of the fact that ECCS as designed and regulated by the USA, being imposed upon the design of the US originated Fukushima reactors, were patently inadequate. That the rules merely stated a criteria which was known to be impossible to achieve in the real world in the event of the ECCS actually be called upon to work.

Criteria sub paragraph (5) is most troubling. It calls for the ECCS to contiue to work for months: “Long-term cooling. After any calculated successful initial operation of the ECCS, the calculated core temperature shall be maintained at an acceptably low value and decay heat shall be removed for the extended period of time required by the long-lived radioactivity remaining in the core.

Yet we learn from the American Nuclear Society that the US designed (incorporating a claimed conforming with the US Design Criteria above) to operate not for the length of time the longest lived radioctivity remaining in the core demanded, (months) but EIGHT HOURS.

Did the tsunami damage the “emergency cooling water” as Prof Brook claims?

From my reading of qualified texts, I conclude the answer to be NO. I refer to :

Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute
1045 Daedeok-daero, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, Korea, 305-353
Corresponding author. E-mail :
Received August 22, 2013
Accepted for Publication November 05, 2013″, at

I refer also to:

“FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI: ANS Committee Report, A Report by The American Nuclear Society Special Committee on Fukushima March 2012. Dale Klein Co-Chairman Michael Corradini Co-Chairman ANS Special Committee on Fukushima ANS Special Committee on Fukushima at

I further refer to the text: ““Measures Taken at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station (December 2011 Edition)”, TEPCO,

Prof. Brook has, since the accident at Fukushima occurred, made numerous and glaring technical errors in his bombastic and simplistic/ignorant statements about the progression and outcomes of the Fukushima Diiachi accident. This is just another one. His passing reference to the Emergency Core Cooling system in his ABC One Plus One interview consists of this:

” And the emergency cooling water as well was also damaged such that they ended up having to use sea water to cool it.” Brook, B., ABC TV One Plus One: Barry Brook on nuclear power’s future after Fukushima, 18 March 2011,

At no stage does any of the above Fukushima Diiachi accident chronologies report that “..the emergency cooling water as well was also damaged such that they ended up having to use sea water to cool it.” (Brook, 18 March 2011) However, Brook appears to be confusing tanks of fresh water located around the plant site as a fire fighting resource. These tanks of fresh water are NOT part of the emergency core cooling system. BUT the decision was taken, based upon prior Japanese experience with difficulties cooling reactors during a 2007 earthquake. At that time the Japanese authorities devised a means by which reactor pressure vessel coolant could be maintained by use of fire engines and hose lines which tapped into the reactors emergency core cooling system. The source for this is TEPCO, as discussed fully below.

The Fukushima Diiachi nuclear disaster appears to be the SECOND TIME that Japanese reactors demonstrated the lackings inherent in the design of the Emergency core cooling systems.

It was long planned to use seawater as coolant as coolant mixed with Boron in the case of cooling failure.

Far from demonstrating the resilience of the plant as Brook implies, reality shows, and the technical show, that the reactors suffered fatal core melts and that pressure vessel and containment failure did in fact occur at Fukushima Diiachi. The ECCS remained intact in all reactors and was not damaged by the tsunami.

What events do these QUALIFIED SOURCES say caused the use of sea water to prevent further core melt down? Let’s see:

” In parallel with ongoing freshwater injections, the fire brigade started to prepare for seawater injection as instructed by the Site Superintendent. This was due to the limited freshwater reserved for the fire protection tanks. “ Source: ““Measures Taken at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station (December 2011 Edition)”, TEPCO, com/release/betu11_e/images/111222e18.pdf Page 48.

“At 15:27, the first tsunami struck, followed at 15:35 by the second tsunami…..Subsequently, the Main Control Room informed the
Emergency Countermeasures Headquarters that seawater had reached the <em>entrance of the service building. ” “The operators in the Main Control Room realized that tsunamis were
flooding the site. “Saturday, March 12, 2011 0:06 There was a possibility of the drywell (hereafter the “D/W”) pressure
exceeding 600kPa abs, which could require venting of the Primary
Containment Vessel (hereafter “Vent/Venting”). Thus, the Site
Superintendent ordered to prepare for Venting….0:30 It was confirmed that the government’s measure to evacuate local residents had been completed (evacuation of local residents staying in Futaba-machi” “0:49 Possibility of the D/W pressure exceeding 600kPa abs exists, so a specified event
(abnormal rise in containment vessel pressure) in accordance with stipulations of
Article 15, Clause 1 of the Nuclear Emergency Act was determined to have
occurred, government and other authorities were notified at 0:55. ..” 1:30 (Approx.) Proposal to vent Units 1 and 2 made to the Prime Minister, Minister of Economy,Trade and Industry, and Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and consent obtained. 1:48 It was confirmed that the diesel fire pump had been stopped. 2:03 Emergency Countermeasures Headquarters started studying a method whereby a fire engine would be connected to the water supply pipe inlet of the Fire Protection System line. ” “2:47 Emergency Countermeasures Headquarters reported to the competent
government and other authorities at 2:30 that the D/W pressure had risen to
840kPa abs.
3:06 Press release on Vent operation
4:00 (Approx.) Freshwater injection into the reactors started from the fire engine through the Fire Protection System. Injection of 1,300 liters completed. ” “4:01 The result of assessing radiation exposure in the event of operating Venting was reported to the competent government departments and agencies.
4:55 It was confirmed that radiation dose in the Power Station site had risen (Near the main gate: 0.069μSv/h (4:00) → 0.59μSv/h (4:23)). The rise was reported to the competent government departments and agencies.
5:14 The radiation dose in the Power Station site was rising, while the D/W pressure was on the decline. Emergency Countermeasures Headquarters decided that an “outside leak of radioactive materials” had occurred and accordingly reported the event to the competent government departments and agencies.”
“5:44 The Prime Minister issued an evacuation order to local residents staying in the
areas within a 10-km radius of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
5:46 A fire engine resumed freshwater injection into the reactors through the Fire
Protection System.
5:52 The fire engine completed 1,000 liter freshwater injection into the reactor through
the Fire Protection System line.
6:30 The fire engine completed 1,000 liter freshwater injection into the reactor through the Fire Protection System line.
6:33 It was confirmed that a study was underway to evacuate residents of
Okuma-machi into Miyakoji areas.” “6:50 The Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry ordered Venting operation
(manual Vent) in accordance with law.
7:11 The Prime Minister arrived at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
7:55 The fire engine completed 1,000 liter freshwater injection into the reactor through
the Fire Protection System line.
8:03 The Site Superintendent instructed operators to manipulate Vent at 9:00.
8:04 The Prime Minister left Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
8:15 The fire engine completed 1,000 liter freshwater injection into the reactor through the Fire Protection System line.” “8:27 It was confirmed that part of the residents of Okuma-machi had not completed
8:30 The fire engine completed 1,000 liter freshwater injection into the reactor through
the Fire Protection System line.
8:37 Emergency Countermeasures Headquarters informed Fukushima Prefecture
Office of its preparation to start venting around 9:00. The headquarters made an
adjustment that it will vent after confirming the situation of evacuation.
9:02 It was confirmed that residents of Okuma-machi (part of Kuma district) had completed evacuation. 9:04 Operators headed for the work site to Vent. ” “9:15 The fire engine completed 1,000 liter freshwater injection into the reactor through
the Fire Protection System line.
9:15 (Approx.) The vent valve (MO valve) of the Primary Containment Vessel (hereafter the
“PCV”) opened manually.
9:30 (Approx.) Operators tried manipulating the small valve of the vent valve (AO valve) of the Suppression Chamber (hereafter the “S/C”). However, they had to give up the efforts because of high radiation dose.
9:40 The fire engine completed 15,000 liter freshwater injection into the reactor through the Fire Protection System line.
9:53 Emergency Countermeasures Headquarters again reported to the competent government departments and agencies the result of its dosage assessment in the event that Vent was operated. “10:40 Since the surrounding of the main gate and monitoring post No. 8 indicated a
higher radiation dose, it was judged that the rise would be highly attributable to the Vent operation that had led to emission of radioactive materials. 11:15 Radiation dose is falling, thus indicating that venting was not likely sufficiently effective.
11:39 Emergency Countermeasures Headquarters reported to the competent
government departments and agencies that one of the employees who had entered the reactor building for Vent operation had an exposed dosage beyond 100mSv (106.30 mSv).
14:30 When the restoration team installed a temporary air compressor around 14:00 to operate the large valve of vent valve (AO valve) of the S/C, the team identified a decline in the D/W, decided that the decline was attributed to “emission of radioactive materials,” and reported the event to the government and other authorities at 15:18.” “14:53 The fire engine completed approx. 80,000 liter freshwater injection into the
reactor (in total of accumulation).
14:54 The Site Superintendent ordered operators to inject seawater in the reactor.
15:18 The restoration team was advancing the restoration of the standby liquid control system. The team planned to perform injection into the reactor by starting up the pump of the standby liquid control system as soon as it is ready. Emergency Countermeasures Headquarters also informed the competent government departments and agencies of its plan that the seawater would be injected in the reactor through the Fire Protection System when the preparation is completed.
15:30 (Approx.) The restoration team formed a route where electricity from an HVPS car is supplied to the Unit 1 MCC through the Unit 2 P/C. The team started supplying electricity up to a point just before the standby liquid control system.
15:36 An explosion occurred at the reactor building.
16:27 Surrounding of monitoring post No. 4 measured a radiation dose beyond 500μSv/h (1,015μSv/h). …” “18:25 The Prime Minister issued an evacuation order to local residents staying in
areas within a 20-km radius of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
18:30 (Approx.) The results of checking the state of the fire engine, buildings, etc. confirmed that
these areas were in a mess. Damage was also identified to the power supply
facility for the standby liquid control system and to the seawater injection
hose that had been reserved. They were confirmed as unworkable.
19:04 The fire engine started seawater injection into the reactor through the Fire
Protection System line.
20:45 Seawater was injected in the reactor after being mixed with boric acid. ”
Source: ““Measures Taken at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station (December 2011 Edition)”, TEPCO,

It is important the following fact about the Fukushima Diiachi reactors ECCS systems. The modification procedure was a Lesson Learned from the 2007 Chuetsu-oki Earthquake, as follows:

“Activities after “17:12 on March 11 when the Site Superintendent ordered that an alternative means of water injection be studied as part of accident management (hereafter “AM”) measures and a method for injecting water into the reactor using fire engines (installed on a lesson from the “Chuetsu-oki Earthquake”)”
・ At 17:12 on March 11, the Emergency Countermeasures Headquarters started studying an alternative means of water injection (the Fire Protection System (hereafter the “FP”), replacement water condensate system, and containment cooling system) set up as part of the AM measures, and on the use of fire engines.
・ Operators at the Main Control Room removed the AM operation procedure
description, applied the shift supervisor seat to check alternative means of water injection into the reactor and confirmed alternative lines of water injection. At 18:35 on March 11, the operation room used the DDFP to form an alternative line of water injection into the reactor through the Core Spray System (hereafter the“CS”) from the FP line. Since no power supply was available, the Main Control Room had no control over the line. A total of five members, consisting of four operators and one member of the power generation team, wore full-face masks and
headed for the Reactor Building. With the help of flashlights, the members reached the Reactor Building where they manually opened five motor valves, including the CS, and at around 20:30, completed the formation of an alternative line of water injection into the reactor. ” Source: “Measures Taken at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station (December 2011 Edition)”, TEPCO,

So we can see that the objections raised by scientists and technicians in response to the risk of core melt in large reactors first voiced in the late 1960s (Ergen, AEC), early 1970s (Lapp, AEC), and Nader and Abbott (1975) and the US Supreme Court (1975) – that being, the inability to insert water via ECCS into a reactor pressure vessel suffering over pressure due to over heating was confirmed in Japan. In 2007 they evolved a plan whereby, according to the quote from TEPCO above, external water (water in addition to the ECCS reserves) could be injected into the reactors directly from external fire pumps after over pressure had been released from the pressure vessels. And this TEPCO report is the only one I have found with reference to this technique. It is apparently uniquely Japanese. I cannot find a discussion of the impact of the 2007 quake on Japanese reactors anywhere on the internet so far. However it seems that the inability of ECCS as predicted specifically by Nader and Abbott in 1975 and foreshadowed by Ergen and Lapp earlier has been experienced and worried about in Japan since 2007.

The fact is, from 1975 until 2011 the promise of the nuclear industry was that the ECCS systems integral to GE MK1 and Mk2 and Mk3 reactors was sufficient to prevent core melt and pressure over pressure, sufficient to prevent any venting of radioactive material to the environment. As anyone with any knowledge of the technical reports which under pin the design and relevant regulations relating to these reactors knows, the industry made this false promise and maintained it for decades in the teeth of constant disagreement from independent technical experts. The aware world, including millions of Americans who were awake in from the time of Ergen Report on, had been waiting for a test of the honesty of the nuclear industry. When the day came that tested the claims for the ECCS, the ECCS systems of three reactors all failed to prevent core melt and fission product venting on the same day at the same place. Despite dire warnings not to place more than one reactor on each reactor site. These are not lessons learned actually, they are lies revealed.


The American Nuclear Society describes the multi system Emergency Core Cooling Systems integral to each afflicted reactor at Fukushima Diiachi as follows:

“In the event that the normal heat-removal pathway to the
main turbine/condenser is lost, BWRs have, as the first
backup, systems to provide core safety by either adding
water to the RPV or by an alternate heat removal path, or by
both. BWR/3s have isolation condenser systems that both
remove the decay heat by condensing the generated steam in
the RPV through heat exchange with a water pool outside
the drywell and return condensate to the reactor over a wide
range of reactor pressures. No additional water is added,
however, so if there are leaks in the primary pressure circuit,
additional water is required from other sources. BWR/4s
and BWR/5s use an RCIC system, which is a turbine-driven
pump using reactor steam that can add water to the RPV
over a wide range of reactor pressures. The RCIC system
draws water from either a large pool inside the containment,
the suppression pool, or from a tank located outside the
containment, the condensate storage tank (CST). The RCIC
system has the advantage that it can provide significantly
more water than needed to make up for decay heat–generated
steam, but it does not remove the heat. When the
reactor becomes isolated from the main turbine/condenser,
that heat is transported to the suppression pool via safety
and relief valves (SRVs) that open and close to maintain the
primary system pressure within safety limits. There is sufficient
heat capacity in the suppression pool for many hours
of decay heat storage before the heat must be removed from
the containment using pumps and heat exchangers requiring
electrical power. If this does not occur, the pressure and
temperature in the containment will rise as time progresses.

“If these first backup systems are not sufficient, then ECCSs
are provided to both add water to the RPV and to remove
decay heat either from the RPV or from the containment.
With one exception, all these systems require alternating-current
(AC) power that is supplied either by the NPP normal
AC distribution system or by emergency diesel generators
(EDGs) if the normal supply is lost. The exception is that
as part of the ECCSs in BWR/3s and BWR/4s, there is
a high-pressure coolant injection (HPCI) system that is a
turbine-driven pump that uses reactor steam and that has
about seven times the capacity of the RCIC system and can
add water over a wide range of reactor pressures.

As we discuss below, because for many hours the Fukushima
Daiichi nuclear power station (NPS)2 was without electricalpower and long-term cooling to remove the decay heat to the
environment, the aforementioned systems were not available
to keep the reactor core from overheating and the fuel from
being damaged.”
ANS Committee Report AMERICAN NUCLEAR SOCIETY A Report by The American Nuclear Society Special Committee on Fukushima 12 March 2012.

Here, the worst fears regarding the inadequacy of the Emergency Core Cooling System capability held since the publication of the Ergen Report (AEC) of 1969, Lapp’s (AEC) public essay “Thoughts on Nuclear Plumbing” (NYT) of 1971 and “The Menace of Atomic Energy” by Nader and Abbott, Outback Press, Victoria, Australia. Copyright 1977. ISBN 0 86888 0515. (some pages from the book are available here for study purposes:

Given that the time from 1969 until 2011 amounts to FORTY TWO YEARS, and given the nuclear industry’s denial of the veracity of these sources extends for that WHOLE PERIOD OF TIME , I am left aghast and horrified by the Brook claim that:

“Prof Brooke: “I think it’s clear that the risk that the tsunami faced and the fact that all of the redundant generators were wiped out in one blow suggests that there was not enough prudent forethought for that risk. And in any sort of major accident in any industry there’s a period of introspection afterwards. Looking at what went wrong. Just like in anything in our lives. And trying to take the salient lessons and use that in future is a …I see the announcements of governments around the world to re-look at the safety of their current nuclear power plants. That’s an eminently sensible thing to do because you can look at all of the contingencies that they have allowed for and say well, what if the situation in Japan had happened to us, are we prepared? That’s learning from the lessons of history.” Source: ABC TV One Plus One: Barry Brook on nuclear power’s future after Fukushima, posted Published on 18 Mar 2011

Oh frigging bullshit Barry!!! How many years will take for the nuclear industry to actually READ AND COMPREHEND Ergen, Lapp and Nader and Abbott you dim wit?!!!!

THE FREAKING LESSONS WERE LEARNED BY EVERYONE EXCEPT THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY FROM 1969 TO 1977!!! Learning from the lessons of history indeed. Learning at the time WITHIN the industry should have occurred when the knowledge first became available – from 1969 to 1977!!! Why wait until 2018? Since 2011 all the industry has done is fudge and mislead on the issues raised by the PREDICTED performance of the GE ECCS.

Half the world’s population knew the issues even as the supposed learned voice overs of the TV news footage from Fuk in 2011 mumbled “This is perfectly normal….” as the zirconium overheated, produced hydrogen, bending fuel rods, venting liquified cesium etc, causing explosions, rupturing the pressure vessel top flanges, causing release of nuclides into air, melting control rod seals at the base of the reactors, allowing molten fuel to drip down onto concrete and below….. ALL OF THIS WAS FORESEEN FORTY FREAKING YEARS BROOK!! IF THERE IS A LESSON FROM HISTORY HERE, SPORT, it is that the INDUSTRY IS ARROGANT, NEGLIGENT AND IGNORED THAT WHICH WAS KNOWN TO BE TRUE FROM 1969 ON.!!!!!!


Photo: The black board in the Fukushima Diiachi control room : “16.36 hours, ECCS failure” Dan Edge, BBC, Quicksilver productions, PBS, “Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown”, video, transcript: to quote: Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown WRITTEN, PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY Dan Edge
“March 11, 2011
Day 1

NARRATOR:This is the frantically scribbled log the engineers kept on a whiteboard in the control room as the nuclear plant slid towards disaster. “15:42, nuclear emergency declared. 15:50, loss of water level readings. 16:36, emergency core cooling system malfunction. No water can be injected.” end quote.” Source: Dan Edge, BBC, Quicksliver Products PBS, “Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown”


Who knew this would happen prior to and at the approval and licencing of the design in the USA? Consulting Nader and Abbott we can build a list of those who knew. There are two groups – independent scientists and technologists who were dissenters and the nuclear authorities themselves, as follows:

Henry Kandall and Daniel Ford. (Union of Concerned Scientists)
Dr Morris Rosen (Atomic Energy Commission)
George Brockett (AEC)
J. Curtis Haire (AEC)
Milton Shaw (AEC)
Dr Alvin M. Weinberg (Oak Ridge)
The Federal Republic of Germany Reactor Safety Committee, 1972.
The Federation of American Scientists, 1973.
The RAND Corporation, 1972 (CIA)
Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards 1972 (AEC)
The California Assembly’s Advisory Committee on Science and Technology 1973
Swedish government scientific opinion of US reactor design safety – ECCS
Pugwash Conference 1973
2,300 US scientists – petition to Congress. 1975.

How did they know? The knowledge was gained during tests of the ECCS commissioned by the ECCS as documented by Nader and Abbott:

Nader and Abbot, The Menace of Atomic Power, 1977, page 101.


CBS News’ Ben Tracy goes to Punggye-ri

CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy was the only American broadcast news correspondent invited by North Korea to witness the destruction of a nuclear testing facility last week.
Tracy described the trip as secretive and full of strict rules, but reported officials said they wanted journalists at the site to be “transparent.”
Tracy was not allowed to pull up the shades on his train window and had his radiation-testing equipment confiscated.

A tad useless I think.

An ever present Nth Korean nuclear hazard


North Korean Nuclear Reactor Safety: The Threat No One is Talking About
DECEMBER 14, 2017

The ability of North Korea to safely operate its nuclear reactors, according to many experts, is increasingly being called into question given the North’s isolation and lack of safety culture. Pyongyang’s ability to respond to a nuclear accident in a timely fashion will make the difference between a small-scale event and a catastrophic disaster. And while the actual contamination would be localized, the lack of transparency from North Korea in dealing with the situation is likely to cause political panic in the region in excess of the actual radiological exposure and environmental impact. The opening of nuclear safety talks with the North to help prevent such an accident from occurring would provide a rare opportunity for regional dialogue and could pry open the door for realistic and productive discussions of North Korea’s nuclear program.

A Disaster Waiting to Happen?

A video of Kim Jong Un smoking next to an untested liquid-fueled missile tells you everything you need to know about North Korea’s nuclear safety culture. The remarkable 14-second clip shows the Supreme Leader taking a puff while a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile is erected on the launch pad mere feet away—prompting a torrent of snarky Twitter commentary expressing regret that Kim’s lit cigarette had not “solved the problem for us.” Kim’s recklessness is certainly notable, and it hints at an underemphasized and potentially devastating possibility: the threat of a nuclear accident in North Korea.

At the March 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, then-South Korean President Park Geun-hye claimed that Yongbyon, North Korea’s primary nuclear research center, “is home to such a dense concentration of nuclear facilities that a fire in a single building could lead to a disaster potentially worse than Chernobyl.” While her damage assessment is likely an exaggeration—researchers from 38 North assess Chernobyl’s power output to have been 3,000 percent greater than Yongbyon—the potential for a nuclear accident is not.

Niko Milonopoulos and Edward D. Blandford noted previously that a sudden fault in North Korea’s outdated power grid could prevent the Yongbyon reactors from being adequately cooled and could potentially trigger a meltdown. Such an event could also be prompted by a natural disaster or abnormal weather patterns. Complementary analysis by Nick Hansen indicates that North Korea’s 5 MWe plutonium production reactor had to be briefly shut down following a flood in July 2013 which destroyed parts of the cooling systems. He noted with concern that “if a major flood cuts off the cooling water supply to the reactors before they can be shut down, a major safety problem could occur.” This is exactly what prompted the series of nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima.

In 2010, a team of Stanford scientists led by Dr. Siegfried Hecker visited North Korea’s 25-30 MWe Experimental Light Water Reactor, which was still under construction at the time and will likely be operational soon. Their subsequent analysis expressed a lack of confidence in North Korea’s ability to operate the site safely upon completion, citing insufficient concrete quality, the lack of an independent nuclear regulator, and the inexperience and isolation of the design team as particular concerns….” end quote. read the rest at the link above.

There is no reason to be optimistic about the radiological state of North Korea. It is likely to be a dangerous mess around and in the nuclear test sites, and other nuclear sites, military or civilian.

The population of the country are slaves at all levels. Over the decades millions must have suffered and died prematurely from all manner of things, including nuclear hazards by now, I think, well embedded into the biosphere of the place. The ones worst off are those closest in and that has always been the case.

There is no data in the public domain which pertains to the radiological state of North Korea, and correcting that global ignorance must surely be a high priority. Given that the man with worst barber in the world says he wants peace. Open disclosure by the North Koreans to the rest of the world is the minimum we should accept.


Which would be worse? The US nuclear test sites, or the North Korean ones? How much has the USA spent trying to cleanup its underground tests sites? How much does the routine hydrological monitoring cost the USA ? Who is going to clean up North Korea’s sites? Who is going to pay? Who compensates their nuclear veterans? No one. What are the chances of justice for North Korean nuclear vets? Either none or Buckley’s. This isn’t a furphy Mr Brownowski.


North Korean soldiers and their families are being treated in a military hospital for radiation exposure after the September hydrogen bomb test at the Punggye-ri nuclear facility.

More than a thousand troops of the North Korean army were deployed to the site to dig tunnels and patrol the surrounding area, Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday, citing anonymous sources with knowledge of North Korean affairs.

The news comes after reports in the Japanese press indicated that around 200 people died in an accident at the facility due to a tunnel collapse in October.

After reporting a series of small earthquakes and a landslide in the area near where the facility is located, south of the Mantapsan mountain, several experts have warned that the site has become too unstable to host further nuclear experiments. Another bomb test would risk a massive collapse and radioactive leaks, Chinese geologists warned.

end quote.

Pity the poor civilian North Koreans. So malnourished their bones must be some percent Sr89 and Sr90 by now.

No hydrological charts for the site as far as I can see. And ground and surface flows through the test sites are the most important long term vectors for radiologic risk.

North Korea’s 2017 Test and its Nontectonic Aftershock J. Liu et. al March 2018

North Korea’s 2017 Test and its Nontectonic Aftershock
J. Liu L. Li J. Zahradník E. Sokos C. Liu X. Tian
First published: 14 March 2018

Geophysical Research Letters.

Seismology illuminates physical processes occurring during underground explosions, not all yet fully understood. The thus‐far strongest North Korean test of 3 September 2017 was followed by a moderate seismic event (mL 4.1) after 8.5 min. Here we provide evidence that this aftershock was a nontectonic event which radiated seismic waves as a buried horizontal closing crack. This vigorous crack closure, occurring shortly after the blast, is studied in the North Korea test site for the first time. The event can be qualitatively explained as rapid destruction of an explosion‐generated cracked rock chimney due to cavity collapse, although other compaction processes cannot be ruled out.

Plain Language Summary
North Korea detonated its strongest underground nuclear test in September 2017. It attracted the public interest worldwide not only due to its significant magnitude (6.3 mb) but also because it was followed 8.5 min later by a weaker event. Was the delayed shock a secondary explosion, an earthquake provoked by the shot, or something else? We answer these questions, thanks to unique data from near‐regional broadband stations. We basically solve a simple problem—fitting observed seismograms by synthetics. The good fit means that we understand why and how the seismic waves are radiated. According to our model, the explosion created a cavity and a damaged “chimney” of rocks above it. The aftershock was neither a secondary explosion nor a triggered tectonic earthquake. It occurred due to a process comparable to a “mirror image” of the explosion, that is, a rock collapse, or compaction, for the first time documented in North Korea’s test site. Interestingly, shear fault motions, typical for natural earthquakes, were extremely small both in the explosion and in the aftershock. Small natural earthquakes also occur at the test site, and geotechnical works might trigger them. Thus, all studies related to rock stability of the site, and prevention of radioactive leakage, are important.

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