My Daughter is Not (That) Radioactive (Anymore)

A couple of posts ago, I used a Geiger counter to demonstrate the radioactivity of Tech99, with a half life of 6 hours.  The Geiger counter was beeping like crazy a few hours after the procedure, but two days later, only 0.3 percent of the Tech99 remained.

Half life is an important physical property of radioactive materials. The shorter the half life, the more intensely radioactive the element. The longer the half life, the less radioactive the element. For example, Tech99 has a half life of 6 hours and is very radioactive, but thorium has a half life of 14.5 billion years, so it is not very radioactive and there is still a lot of it around since it was created at the beginning of the universe. Tech99 does not exist naturally.

My daughter is still a little radioactive, just like me and you and everybody else. We have Carbon14 and Portassium40 in us, from the things we eat. Our cells can’t tell the difference between “natural” radiation and “man-made” radiation. The effects are the same, but depend on dose and dose rate.



My Daughter is Radioactive!

From Theo Gray's periodic table of the elements

From Theo Gray’s periodic table of the elements

It’s true. My daughter is radioactive! She had a diagnostic procedure done today using technetium99m. It is called a HIDA scan. The tech99m has a half life of 6 hours, so 93.75% of it is gone within a day. The radiation is gamma with 140KeV energy.

Check out the video (but please ignore the Michigan sweatshirt, jk):

Tens of millions of procedures like this are done every year.

This article claims the HIDA scan for gall bladder problems is very effective. I might also say that it is very safe.

My point is that nuclear technology like this is a great benefit to mankind. Molten salt reactors produce can produce vast amounts of energy and isotopes like tech99 for the benefit of mankind!

Also, note that the patient, was given no instructions to avoid other people or to pee in special containers that have to be stored at Yucca Mountain for 10,000 years. (Yes, I know the half life is 6 hours, but the longer the half life, the less radioactive the element is.)

Contrast this with the berserk response when a minuscule amount of radioactive tritium is found around a nuclear power plant.



Energy Lies from H & M

I was at the H&M store in City Creek in Salt Lake (with my wife, of course, why else would I go there?) and saw this incredible statement:

HandM LiesThey claim that 100% of their stores in the US are powered with renewable electricity. What is that supposed to mean? There are a few electrons in the MWh they use that come from wind and solar? I think the statement is meaningless PR drool (aka lies).

I have written about Utah’s mix of electric power before. Seventy-eight percent of the electricity in Utah comes from coal.

Every store in City Creek could claim their store is powered with renewable electricity, since the entire complex is grid connected. What then is the point? We are trendy and believe in trendy things like renewable energy?

Hey H&M, why don’t you leave the energy thing to grownups and stick to what you know best – fashion?


Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Seventy one years ago this month, the United States dropped two atomic bombs, one on Hiroshima and one on Nagasaki. (The only atomic weapons ever used.) The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was of highly enriched uranium, while the bomb dropped on Nagasaki was plutonium. I could write a book about what I have learned in the last few years about the back story to both of these bombs, but I don’t want guilt ridden, addled, octogenarian veterans writing back to me.

Atomic_bombing_of_JapanThe uranium bomb was never tested before Hiroshima because its creators were so certain it would work. The plutonium type bomb, on the other hand was tested at Alamogordo at the Trinity site in New Mexico before being used at Nagasaki.

The Energy from Thorium FB page called this the worst PR rollout possible for nuclear energy in the history of the cosmos. I agree.

Whatever the political and military expediency, real, imagined, or invented post hoc was, it did not nor could it ever consider that humanity would still be paying the price today for the decision to drop those bombs.

Yes, the horror of those bombings is the genesis of the fear that is so easily manipulated today, that prevents the world from enjoying the energy that is locked inside the nuclei of certain heavy elements.

Maybe that will never change until we say sorry for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Would that be so hard? Does that require everyone else to say they are sorry first?



Vermont Yankee RIP

I didn’t pay much attention when the storm clouds were building around Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant (NPP), gathering to force closure of another productive noo-clay-err asset because, frankly it was far away and out of my sight. I’m not sure if my voice would have carried any weight with anyone, anyway.

Be that as it may, we now have two years of data that clearly shows that the output of VY was replaced with, wait for it—————————————————- natural gas fired electrical generation.

Governor Pete Shumlin claimed that the state didn’t need the power produced by VY. Meanwhile, VY was trying to sell the entire output of the 600 WM plant to the utilities for 4 cents per kilowatt hour. Can you imagine that? (BTW the output of VY was enough to power the entire state! Imagine powering the state with a single windmill or solar installation, haha!)

I currently pay over 10 cents per kilowatt hour retail in Brigham City. At 4 cents per kwh, the utilities could cover their distribution costs and still make a decent profit and I could save a bunch, if I only had to pay 8 or 9 cents per kwh. Win, win, win for everybody. Just day dreaming again.

Could I please have VY?

I consider this a crime against electrical rate payers in Vermont. As Murray Rothbard says, follow the money. Who had motive and opportunity? Look no further than the gas suppliers in Vermont. They should be the prime suspects, along with Shumlin.

If the Attorney General of Vermont had any integrity and assuming that he wasn’t in on the fix, why isn’t he investigating this crime – a $10 billion property crime?


PS Two good sources of information about the whole VY deal are:

Atomic Insights and Yes Vermont Yankee


A Modest Proposal

I read today that Japan has imported a cool $200 billion worth of fossil fuels to replace the electricity that would have been generated by nuclear power plants had they not all been shut down after the earthquake and tidal wave that ended the reactors at Fukushima. Two hundred billion dollars! Now somebody (or lots of somebodys) made some profit on that. The $200 billion is above and beyond what Japan normally imports to meet their energy demands. That is truly astounding.

Talk about rubbing salt in an open wound. The loss of life and massive destruction was not the end of the disaster. The government of Japan consciously choose to enact policies that added an additional price tag of $200 billion to the catastrophe.

This got me to thinking about the phobias of all things nuclear. Do you think that the folks importing $200 billion of fossil fuels might have a slight interest in continuing to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about nuclear safety?

Therein lies my proposal. I think that a potential way to overcome the fear of nuclear is for a molten salt reactor company to chose a city of about 20,000 people and offer a reactor to them for some cut rate, something approaching free. Or maybe the entire electrical output of the reactor, for say 4.5 cent/kWh for a period of 10 years.

The city would help with the siting of the nuclear power plant (NPP) in exchange for cheap electricity. Then, over the course of years, other cities could see how reliable, affordable, green, clean, nuclear power could benefit them, too.

Not all cities are blessed with Pacific breezes and perpetually mild weather where a few solar panels will power some led lights and recharge an iPhone.

There are plenty of cities with harsh weather that are also economically depressed that might accept some good fortune. Perhaps the demonstration of a molten salt reactor using thorium might convince some that nuclear is the way to go.


NuScale Power

When good things happen, we need to take notice. The Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) has signed an agreement with the DOE to site small modular reactor(s) on the Idaho National Lab. The reactor(s) will be built by NuScale Power,and they will feed power into the grid that powers Brigham City, where I live. Yeah!

Clean, Reliable, Green, Abundant Nuclear Power is the path forward!

(Now, I just wish that it didn’t take so long, with so much red tape to actually get the reactors on line!)



Hillary’s Hallucinations

Yesterday, I dissected Bernie Sander’s national energy plan. Today I will demolish Hillary’s national energy plan.  It won’t be hard because it is nearly identical to Bernie’s. Maybe she had a weekend at Bernie’s?

Hillary will:

  • Create good-paying jobs by making the United States the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.
  • Set national goals to have 500 million solar panels installed; generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America; cut energy waste in homes, schools, and hospitals by a third; and reduce American oil consumption by a third.
  • Lead the world in the fight against climate change by bringing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below what they were in 2005 within the next decade—and keep going.

I told you it was A LOT like Bernie’s plan. When have the Feds ever created jobs without first destroying a lot more? The money has to come from somewhere, either through overt taxation or the creation of money through the Fed Reserve, both of which destroy jobs.

Who cares about what goals Hillary sets? Setting them is one thing and achieving them is another. Also, solar panels do not deliver power at night and there does not exist continental level energy storage to power America in the dark.

Waste not, want not. I already have financial incentives to not waste my own money by wasting energy. I don’t need Hillary’s help.

Why does America want to be the leader in destroying our economy to be the leader in the fight against climate change?

One third of all anthropogenic CO2 released in the atmosphere since 1750 was added in the last 19 years, when there has been no warming at all as measured by the most accurate instruments we have; satellites.

No warming for 18 years

2015 was the warmest year on record—and 15 of the 16 hottest years on record have come just since 2001. Already, American families are seeing the impacts of climate change with their own eyes, from the record drought in California to the frequently flooded streets of Miami and Annapolis. While climate deniers continue to ignore settled science because it does not suit their political agenda, and climate defeatists doubt America’s ability to meet this challenge, Hillary knows that America is fully up to the task.

2105 was not the warmest year on record. See the graph above and read here.

Hillary uses the code words “climate deniers” and “settled science”. Well, guess what, the science is not settled, but at least she hasn’t threatened to arrest me like Bernie did.  (BTW, I do not work for fossil fuel companies in any way and do not have any financial ties to fossil fuels. I do use fossil fuels, however.)

“Climate denier” is slander. If Hillary used words correctly, it would be, “human caused climate change denier”. Don’t expect precision from the woman who lusts to be president.

Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships and trucks.

I can reduce consumption by 100% by tomorrow. Shoot anyone who drives. How would this go over with Americans? But reducing oil consumption by 30% while not destroying freedom is a harder thing to do. How about nuclear powered ships? That would be a much cleaner and greener fuel than bunker oil, but there is no mention of clean, emission free, abundant nuclear power anywhere in Hillary’s plan.

So, if you want unreliable wind and solar, Hillary’s your man, I mean woman.


Bernie Sander’s Energy Plans Dissected

Bernie Sander’s plans for the energy future of the US deserve to be dissected.  I will use my standard format. Bernie’s plans will be in block quotes and my rebuttal will be in standard text.

As president, Bernie will:

Ban fossil fuels lobbyists from working in the White House. Massive lobbying and unlimited super PAC donations by the fossil fuel industry gives these profitable companies disproportionate influence on our elected leaders. This practice is business as usual in Washington and it is not acceptable. Heavy-handed lobbying causes climate change skepticism. It has no place in the executive office.

Why stop at fossil fuels lobbyists? Why not ban all lobbyists? What would Washington be without graft and corruption?

End the huge subsidies that benefit fossil fuel companies. When fossil-fuel companies are racking up record profits, it is absurd to provide massive taxpayer subsidies to pad their already enormous earnings. After all, it is immoral that some in Congress advocate harsh cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while those same people vote to preserve billions in tax breaks for the most profitable corporations in America.

I don’t know what subsidies Bernie is talking about, but what about the subsidies to wind and solar?  Why is it good to cut the subsidies of the fossil fuel companies, but immoral to cut the subsidies know as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security?  Bernie’s plan is to tax the rich, which is a chimera. Such a call appeals to the masses, but it never happens because the rich and powerful have lobbyists. See number 1.

Create a national environmental and climate justice plan that recognizes the heightened public health risks faced by low-income and minority communities. Low-income and minority neighborhoods will continue to be the hardest hit if we don’t act to stop climate change now. Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina decimated the Gulf Coast, flooding 80 percent of the city of New Orleans. Some areas of the city were submerged in as much as 10 feet of water, and 28 percent of residents had no way to leave the city. Almost 100,000 African American residents who left New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina never returned. The reality of the impacts of the storm on the African American community in New Orleans exposed the broader trend that low-income and minority communities face the brunt of climate change impacts first and worst.

The assertion that Hurricane Katrina was caused by anthropogenic global warming is false. See here. But good pander to that demographic, Bernie!

Bring climate deniers to justice so we can aggressively tackle climate change. It is an embarrassment that Republican politicians, with few exceptions, refuse to even recognize the reality of climate change, let alone are prepared to do anything about it. The reality is that the fossil fuel industry is to blame for much of the climate change skepticism in America. Bernie recently called for the Department of Justice to investigate Exxon Mobil, which may have not only known about the dangers of climate change, but has spent millions of dollars to spread doubt about the causes and impacts of burning fossil fuels

I think Bernie meant “Bring climate change deniers to justice…” Well, Bernie your friends on the left have not been able to convince me that human activity is changing the climate. Are you going to arrest me for my beliefs, Bernie? Seriously?

Fight to overturn Citizens United. In a 5-4 decision in 2010 in the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates for corporations and the super wealthy to spend unlimited and undisclosed money to buy our elected officials. The Supreme Court essentially declared that corporations, including fossil fuel corporations, have the same rights as natural-born human beings. This decision has enabled billionaires and special interests to increasingly control the political campaign finance system, and amounts to legalized bribery.

Billionaires and special interests have controlled the US government for decades. Bernie, if you are elected, I double dog dare you not to appoint all the hacks from the Council on Foreign Relations as your advisers! They are the very rich and powerful that you say you oppose.

Embrace a science-based standard for carbon pollution emissions reductions. We have a very limited window of time to transition away from fossil fuels toward clean energy for all Americans to prevent a global temperature increase that will cause cataclysmic impacts. Bernie knows that to maintain a safe and healthy planet for our kids and grandchildren we must listen to the scientists who say we must decrease carbon pollution emissions by at least 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.

If Bernie thinks that the fossil fuel interests have undue influence now, just wait until there are cap and trade regulations on carbon that he proposes. The corruption will be vastly increased to the benefit of the rich and powerful.

I have 5 children and I hope to have grandchildren. I care as much about their future in this world as Bernie does. However, there is no science based standard for carbon pollution emissions reductions, because it it not science. Science shows 18 years of satellite data with no warming of the earth, but with 1/3 of the carbon released during the entire Industrial revolution.

No warming for 18 years

Put a price on carbon. Bernie agrees with leading economists on both ends of the political spectrum: a tax on carbon is one of the most straightforward and cost-effective strategies for quickly fighting climate change.

No doubt those economists are all Keynesian and statists. Putting a price on carbon is putting a price on life. Consider this, “A large segment of the public does not even know that most of the molecules in their bodies that make life possible contain carbon atoms that originated as atmospheric carbon dioxide.” Dr. Art Robinson

Work toward a 100 percent clean energy system and create millions of jobs. Scientists tell us we have a short time to make an aggressive cut in our carbon pollution emissions. Transitioning toward a completely clean energy system for electricity, heating, and transportation is not only possible and affordable it will create millions of good jobs, clean up our air and water and decrease our dependence on foreign oil.

I have written before on this site about the fantasy of 100 percent clean energy system. it doesn’t exist, just like the tooth fairy doesn’t exist.

Build electric vehicle charging stations. In a country where nearly 30 percent of carbon pollution emissions come from the transportation sector, it is imperative that we end our dependence on gasoline. Vehicles that run on electricity are more efficient than internal combustion engines and can be powered with renewable energy resources like wind and solar. We need to support the development of vehicle charging stations that will allow us to drive cleanly and sustainably.

This is just more fantasy and tooth fairy. Where will the money come from for the charging stations? Just add it to the $18 trillion acknowledged debt we already have? And what will power the charging stations? Solar power in Vermont? In the winter?

Convene a climate summit with the world’s best engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, activists and indigenous communities in his first 100 days. The United Nations Paris climate talks in December are an important milestone toward solving climate change, but even optimistic outcomes of these talks will not put the world on the path needed to avoid the most catastrophic results of climate change. We must think beyond Paris. In the first 100 days of Bernie’s Presidency, he will convene a summit of the world’s best climate experts to chart a course toward the healthy future we all want for our families and communities.

The Paris accords were a failure. Thank goodness! No country in the world is willing to reduce its economy to ruin by signing up to ridiculous carbon targets. Besides, there has been no measured warming for the last 18 years, during which 1/3 of the carbon released since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution was liberated.

Bernie has much more on his website, but it is just more of the same – salvation from evil by the messianic state to be headed by Bernie.

I don’t place my hope in the federal government for anything. They can’t tie their shoes in the dark. If you believe the Feds can accomplish something of value, why aren’t they doing so now?


PS. I will dissect the Republican energy plans in a future post.