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How many people were killed from the radiation fallout of the Fukushima Nuclear incident?


Here is Robert Bryce:

In 2013, the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation released a report on Fukushima, which found that “no radiation-related deaths have been observed among nearly 25,000 workers involved at the accident site. Given the small number of highly exposed workers, it is unlikely that excess cases of thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure would be detectable in the years to come.” (Thyroid cancer is among the most common maladies caused by excessive exposure to radiation.) The UN committee was made up of eighty scientists from eighteen countries.


In 2018, Gerry Thomas, a professor at Imperial College London, said that radiation fears at Fukushima are overblown. In an interview on 60 Minutes Australia, Thomas said she had been to Fukushima many times and would have no hesitation about going back to what she called “a beautiful part of the country.” Thomas, who runs the Chernobyl Tissue Bank and is an expert on the effects of radiation, also said that no more than 160 people will die from radiation poi soning due to the Chernobyl accident. That’s far fewer than the thousands of deaths that were radiation due to Fukushima? Thomas said there have been “abso- predicted. What about deaths from ly none. No one has died from radiation poisoning.

In Cohocton. The Starbucks Rule, so to speak, is the idea (as reported in Business Week over a decade ago) that wind developers put projects in areas that are at least 30 miles away from the nearest Starbucks.


If the wind mills were sited any closer, there would be too much NIMBYism about the noise and eyesores.

Here is the closest wind farm to where I live (there are single scattered ones up on the lake, but no farms to speak of yet, despite the lake front of Ontario (and in the water itself) seeming to be perfect places to site them):

French Toast

You can’t just toss around the term “renewables,” it has no meaning. It really doesn’t. In addition to it having no meaning, the term is often conflated with “good” which again doesn’t follow from the definition. In any case, in today’s episode, this is your reminder that if you want to have intermittent and poorly dispatchable “renewables” as a major portion of your energy sector, then you “need” to have reliable backup and battery sources to be on the ready. That tends to undo much/all/more of the “sustainability” that was created in the first place. And remember that this totally leaves out the fact (remember those cute things!) that it takes resources to build and maintain and dispose of renewables  too, often toxic and harmful ones.

In any case, Michael Schellenberger shares:

France is a perfect example. After investing $33 billion during the last decade to add more solar and wind to the grid, France now uses less nuclear and more natural gas than before, leading to higher electricity prices and more carbon-intensive electricity.

Here are his sources:

(1) https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwibi7m8l5nuAhWwmuAKHQbnBGcQFjAAegQIBBAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cre.fr%2Fcontent%2Fdownload%2F10970%2F105640&usg=AOvVaw0wSNKQRakz8DyQiIiBpO0J

(2) “The French grid operator RTE France publishes hourly historical data for electricity production from 2012 onward, including an hourly carbon inten sity rate useful for calculating annual carbon intensity averages. Since carbon intensity hit a minimum of 41 grams of CO, in 2014, much higher power pro duction from natural gas, wind, and solar electricity has accompanied declin ing nuclear power production.”

Solar powered trash cans do not pass the smell test. It is claimed that by installing solar panels on a bulky trash can that landfill space is saved and that maybe carbon emissions are reduced. Of course, the places that purchase and use these trash cans seem to not actually measure whether these trash cans deliver on those promises, their existence alone, like a bumper sticker, seems to be as much evidence as anyone needs of their “sustainability.” Beyond that, one would think that the premise of the question be addressed before “investing” in these trash cans too. Are we having a crisis of landfill space in this country? Are landfills major sources of water and air pollution? The objective answers to these questions seem to be no, and it does not take a very exhaustive look at the literature to figure it out.

So here we are celebrating their existence qua existence.

I propose a wrap that advertises how to do the research on whether these trash cans are actually “sustainable” whatever that definition means.

How do we know solar powered trash cans are actually sustainable? Have we evaluated the number of truck trips saved? With actual data and proper statistical controls? Whether the carbon and landfill attenuation that may be attributed to them have been worth the $4000+ that each unit costs? How about the life cycle impacts of their construction especially the solar panels and their subsequent disposal? Could the $4000+ that each unit costs (plus maintenance) have been used to better foster sustainability? Or be used to fund financial aid for students in need, particularly those traditionally underrepresented?

On that last note, I have read Kendi’s work. He says every policy can be described as either racist or anti-racist, there is no other option from the drop-down menu. If the policy reduces inequities it is antiracist. If it does not, it is racist. By his reckoning, wouldn’t the purchase of extremely expensive trash cans at an elite university have to be declared racist? If not, then why not? Would we have done the research showing how the purchase of these trash cans advances the cause of racial equality and how spending thousands and thousands of dollars on green symbolism doesn’t come at the expense of those funds being used to advance truly anti-racist programs?

Maybe they forgot how to count? More from Pipes:

For such an ideal, was it not worth sacrificing the sorry specimens that populated the corrupt world Seen from this perspective, existing humanity was debris, the refuse of a doomed world, and killing it off was a matter of no consequence
The unprecedented destruction of lives was accompanied by a resolute drive against free speech designed to create the illusion of complete unanimity: along with bodies exterminated or incarcerated, minds, too, were dispossessed Lenin himself showed no respect for the expression of views that differed from his own; his very first decree upon coming to power ordered the closing of the entire non-Bolshevik press He was not strong enough as yet to enforce this measure, but in the summer of 1918 he did shut down not only all independent newspapers but also the entire nonparty periodical press. In 1922 he set up a central censorship bureau, called Glavlit. Nothing could appear in print or on the stage without its imprimatur.
Nevertheless, in the 1920s a certain amount of intellectual freedom was still tolerated. Early Soviet censorship, like tsarist censorship, was negative in nature in that it laid down what could not be published bur did not attempt to tell authors what to write. In the 1930s this policy changed: censor ship became positive as authors were instructed what they should and, indeed, had to write. All negative information about the country was suppressed-unless it suited the authorities to reveal some aspect of it Travel abroad was limited to official personnel, for ordinary citizens any contacts with foreigners risked charges of espionage No foreign publications, except pro-Communist ones, were distributed
A fantastic uniformity descended on Soviet culture. “Socialist realism” became the official aesthetic doctrine in 1932 it required writers and artists to treat the present as though it did not exist and the future as if it had already arrived. ” In consequence, what was printed, staged, filmed, or broadcast in no way corresponded to reality: it was a surreality. People adjusted to it by splitting, as it were, their minds and personalities, creating a schizophrenic condition, on one level of which they knew the truth but repressed it, sharing it only with their closest family and friends, while on another they pretended to believe every word of official propaganda. This created a strain that made life in the Soviet Union exceedingly difficult to bear.
It also left a psychic legacy that outlasted Communism. Lying became a means of survival, and from lying to cheating was bur a small step Social ethics, which make possible a civil society, were shattered, and a regime that wanted everyone to sacrifice his private advantage to the common good ended up with a situation where everyone looked out only for himself because he could count on no one else
One aspect of the Great Terror was the “cult” of Stalin, as it subsequently came to be called. In fact, it was Stalin’s deification: he was omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, infallible, and he remained such until his death in 1953. When he criticized a new opera, the composer groveled. When he pronounced on linguistics, philologists fell silent. At party congresses, deputies vied with each other, extolling the greatness of the leader,” while he sat modestly on the side, taking in his praises. Osip Mandelstam, widely considered one of the century’s great Russian poets, paid with his life for a poem about the dictator that contained the following lines:
His fingers are far as grubs And the words, final as lead weights, fall from his lips,
His cockroach whiskers leer
And his boot tops gleam.
Around him a rabble of thin-necked leaders
Fawning half men for him to play with
They whinny, purr or whine,
As he prates and points a finger,
One by one forging his laws, to be flung Like horseshoes at the head, the eve or the groin
And every killing is a treat.
One possible explanation of the deification of leaders common to most Communist regimes is that inasmuch as omnipotence and omniscience are universal qualities of divinities, it is natural to attribute to individuals endowed with them divine qualities
His veneration caused Stalin progressively to lose touch with reality. Surrounded by sycophants, he had no knowledge of the true condition of his realm. Afraid of assassination, he never traveled in the country, and formed an image of its life from specially prepared films, in which, according to his lieu tenant and eventual successor Nikita Khrushchev, collective farm workers sat at tables “bending from the weight of turkeys and geese”
The one institution familiar with Soviet reality was the security police, successively called the Cheka (1917-22), the GPU and OGPU (1922–34), the NKVD (1934-54), and the KGB (1954-91). It was the principal organ of terror, enjoying wide latitude in disposing of all enemies of the regime, real, potential, or suspected. It also operated the vast empire of forced-labor camps. Having abolished all outlets of public opinion, the government relied on the security police to in form it of the public mood, which it did through a vast net work of agents and informants. In many respects, in Stalin’s waning years the security organs usurped the powers that Lenin had bestowed on the Communist Party.

M0re from Pipes:

The massacres of 1937-38 virtually wiped out the ranks of “old Bolsheviks,” whose place was taken by newcomers. In 1939, 80.5 percent of the executive personnel of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party had joined since Lenin’s death 15 From their ranks came the top officials of the party and government, the so-called nomenklatura, which not only monopolized all positions of authority but enjoyed unique privileges, forming a new exploiting class. Membership in it guaranteed permanent status and became de facto hereditary. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the nomenklatura numbered some 750,000 members—with their families, around 3 mil lion persons, or 1.5 percent of the population, approximately the proportion of service nobles under tsarism in the eighteenth century. And the favors it enjoved resembled those of the magnates of that age. In the words of a member of that elite:

the nomenklatura is on another planet. It’s Mars. It’s not simply a matter of good cars or apartments. It’s the continuous satisfac tion of your own whims, the way an army of boot-lickers allows you to work painlessly for hours. All the little apparatchiks are ready to do everything for you. Your every wish is fulfilled. You can go to the theater on a whim, you can fly to Japan from your hunting lodge It’s a life in which everything flows easily. You are like a king just point your finger and it is done !
The rank and file of the party, the “boot-lickers,” whose numbers had swollen immensely under Stalin, served this elite corps as attendants.

From Richard Pipes’ incredible book Communism: A History


The Great Terror struck at the party membership as well as ordinary citizens. At its height, in 1937 and 1938, at le one and a half million people, the vast majority of them in nocent of any wrongdoing even by Communist criteria, were hauled before troikas, tribunals made up of the first secretary of the regional party, the procurator, and the local security police chief. After summary proceedings often lasting no more than a few minutes and from which there was no appeal, the defendant would be sentenced to death, hard labor, or exile. Abstention from politics offered no security, nor did wholehearted commitment to the regime. At the pinnacle of the Great Terror, the Politburo issued “quotas” to the police authorities, instructing them as to what percentage of the population in their district was to be shot and what percentage sent to camps.


For example, on June 2, 1937, it set a quota of 35,000 persons to be “repressed” in Moscow city and Moscow province, of which number 5,000 were to be shot.” One month later, the Politburo provided each region with quotas of persons to be “rounded up” nationwide; 70,000 of them were to be executed without trial. A high proportion of the victims of the Great Terror were persons with a higher education considered difficult to control and prone to engage in “sabotage.”


How much the purge affected the party elite can be seen from the fact that of the 139 members and candidate members of the Central Committee elected at the Seventeenth Party Congress in 1934, 70 percent were executed. ”



From the wonderful Freeman Dyson,

There is no such thing as a unique scientific vision, any more than there is a unique poetic vision. Science is a mosaic of partial and conflicting visions. But there is one common element in these visions. The common element is rebellion against the restrictions imposed by the locally prevailing culture, Western or Eastern as the case may be. The vision of science is not specifically Western. It is no more Western than it is Arab or Indian or Japanese or Chinese. Arabs and Indians and Japanese and Chinese had a big share in the development of modern science. And two thousand years earlier, the beginnings of ancient science were as much Babylonian and Egyptian as Greek. One of the central facts about science is that it pays no attention to East and West and North and South and black and yellow and white. It belongs to everybody who is willing to make the effort to learn it. And what is true of science is also true of poetry. Poetry was not invented by Westerners. India has poetry older than Homer. Poetry runs as deep in Arab and Japanese culture as it does in Russian and English. Just because I quote poems in English, it does not follow that the vision of poetry has to be Western. Poetry and science are gifts given to all of humanity.

For the great Arab mathematician and astronomer Omar Khayyam, science was a rebellion against the intellectual constraints of Islam, a rebellion which he expressed more directly in his incomparable verses:

And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
Whereunder crawling cooped we live and die,
Lift not your hands to It for help,
for it
As impotently rolls as you or I.

For the first generations of Japanese scientists in the nineteenth century, science was a rebellion against their traditional culture of feudalism. For the great Indian physicists of this century, Raman, Bose, and Saha, science was a double rebellion, first against English domination and second against the fatalistic ethic of Hinduism. And in the West, too, great scientists from Galileo to Einstein have been rebels.

Let the victors, when they come,

When the forts of folly fall,

Find thy body by the wall!

  • Matthew Arnold

My father-in-law’s home was, for many many years, heated by coal. (In my own apartment in NYC, we had oil heat, which I contend is no better). The job of the coal delivery driver was not at all fun. He had to muscle and finagle an enormous truck close enough to the house so that he could get the coal from the truck down the truck chute into the coal bin into the chute that sends the coal into the basement of the home. It was the job of the delivery man to make sure all of the coal ended up in the basement. This sounds easier than it really was. After nestling the truck close to the home, he raised the bed of the truck high enough to have gravity help him, and a boom extended to the house. The slope from the truck to the house was not very high, so unless the coal was very wet (depending on the form you bought with rice being the most common, but there were sometimes pea or nut or stove coal sizes) it was really hard to get it to slide down to the basement. So the delivery man often had to shovel the majority of the FIVE TO SEVEN TON load of coal into the basement.

That’s when the real fun began. The coal had to be fed constantly into the home furnace. So remember, every single home had an active burning COAL furnace in the home. If you’ve ever been to a foundry at a colonial village, you can begin to imagine what that would be like inside your home. With anthracite, it actually burned cleaner than you think. Some furnaces had little augurs that helped feed the coal automatically into the furnace, others required more care and attention. My father-in-law’s home required a little attention, not just to the amount of coal being fed in, but to the way it was burning. They spent their days and nights anxious about the color of the flame. If it burned blue, that was clean and largely “safe” … what they feared was an orange flame, which indicated that noxious gases were being emitted as the coal was burned.

Once the coal was burned was the problem of the coal ash. If you have ever seen coal ash, it has the consistency of well sifted kitchen flour – very soft and light. Little did the kids realize how toxic (coal ash is full of impurities and is itself very radioactive) the ash was, nor did the adults. It wasn’t just radioactive, it was full of toxins that when rinsed into waterways would be extraordinarily harmful to wildlife and human health. Well, what did the kids and households do with the coal ash? Much was taken away in the trash. But it was also repurposed for other things. The most common use for the coal ash was that it was dumped onto the (very hilly) dirt road outside. As the streets were not paved they constantly washed away down the hill and into the local streams and valleys. And Scranton’s famously great weather and heavy coal truck traffic took a toll. So the residents of Greenbush simply dumped the coal ash right into the roadways to continue “repaving” them, and filling potholes. Obviously this contributed to the already thick particulate pollution problem they all dealt with, and continued the assault on the fresh water sources all over the city.

But the kids were even more creative. As Scranton and Dickson City sits amidst a great landscape of hills, mountains and knolls, it was a great place to go sledding. The kids often sledded in places that ended down at roadsides. So, just like any clever kids, they tried to both make the sledding more fun (i.e. making jumps) and safer (stopping themselves from skidding into moving traffic). What do you think the kids used? They often made the jumps out of snow, but since the coal ash was everywhere and was famously pillow soft, they used enormous piles of coal ash to stop themselves from whooshing right into the oncoming traffic.

Happily Grandpa Racibor is 83 and still with us and has been one of the healthiest people I have ever met. He is also one of the toughest people I have ever met.


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