Comments: A Geographical Note About the Infant Death Rate at TMI

I don't know if this is salient or not, but it may be worth mentioning. In the summer around Harrisburg it gets to be in the 90's on hot days, but the days aren't so bad. It's at night that it seems the humidity settles down in the Susquehanna River valley, and it becomes unbearable without air conditioning. If you get a glass of water, the condensation from the air immediately forms a sizable puddle around the base of the glass. Water vapor is not very heavy though, so I wonder how the polarity of water effects this. But at any rate it wouldn't surprise me if fallout just sits down in there... By the way do you think that the data on leukemia rates near nuclear plants are credible? -They seem too astonishing to be true. See

Posted by rien at March 24, 2011 06:01 PM

OK, my dad's from Donora, so he's getting a link.

Posted by godoggo at March 24, 2011 06:26 PM

It looks like there *should* be pretty detailed historic data from the Capital City Airport's weather station.

Based on the inventory, dataset 3280 looks like it has hour-by hour reports of the runway conditions during the period (probably the METAR information). But the download link isn't active. The other stations in the area don't appear to even have data indexed by the system.

Anyhow, you might want to contact them and see if they can provide the information, it clearly exists.

Posted by kgb999 at March 25, 2011 04:16 AM

That's another very fine post. I still look forward to reading about ozone, though I guess we know where that is going.

About that ending--"We would never allow this technology to exist if we really understood all of the complications which necessarily follow, but are never considered." That's provocative, because I think much the same thing can be said about many things, which is a commonly held view sometimes expressed in the statement "don't ask what's in the sausage."

There are two problems I see with the suggestion that there should be no nukes, the first relating to control/power over the technology, the second the energy issue.

The first point used to be paramount, especially until the Cold War ended, and it's still very important to our nationalistic military types who don't like international institutions to have control over such things (unless they control the international institutions). That's a problem--the MICFiC wants its nukes, and it needs a nuclear industry for them. Since the MICFiC is running the show and gets what it wants, democracy be damned, "we" will be forced to "allow" whatever they want. It ain't really up to us--we just get to pretend.

But anyway, while we're pretending the second point is now clearly paramont--what energy sources do we have that aren't going to kill lots of people. That's what Lovelock and Monbiot would ask--if we don't have nuclear energy, we'll have to make up for it with hydrocarbons, and that will finish off the whole planet. How is that better?

What's the answer to that ecological point? Hundreds of thousands or even a few million gruesome deaths--if that's the realistic worse case scenario from nuclear energy--aren't as bad as the realistic worse case scenario for unrestrained man-made climate change if hydrocarbon emissions don't drop. THAT worse case scenario is a real mind bender, the likes of which haven't been since the Pleistocene or the Jurassic or whatever.

Are wind and solar going to meet all our needs? Are we going to find some dilithium crystals pretty soon? We're looking over the side of a cliff here, and the rocks below are jagged.

Posted by N E at March 25, 2011 09:05 AM

from The Oil Drum

href="">Fukushima Dai-ichi status and slow burning issues

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at March 25, 2011 12:53 PM

kgb999 - Thanks for that insight, it's a good one. Smart of you to observe that the Hbg airport is right there.

NE - One of Wasserman and Solomon's points, earlier in their book, is that we wouldn't have a commercial nuclear industry if not for the military desire for nuclear weapons. I agree.

As to the second point, actually we could around get rid of all of our nukes just by adopting new coal technology - burn the same amount of coal, but with new plants. I will write a post to this effect later. The Holowka story, too. I'm not trying to keep anybody on hooks, it's just that I have an arc planned and want to end with that piece.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at March 25, 2011 01:35 PM

Thanks for these posts Aaron, they're good, and I don't like to skip ahead to read the ending of books anyway, so I can wait.

Posted by N E at March 25, 2011 02:17 PM

There wouldn't be an internet if if weren't for the desire to mass launch nuclear weapons.

Posted by Mike Meyer at March 25, 2011 03:14 PM

There wouldn't be an internet if if weren't for the desire to mass launch nuclear weapons.

Posted by Mike Meyer at March 25, 2011 03:14 PM

There wouldn't be an internet if if weren't for the desire to mass launch nuclear weapons.

Posted by Mike Meyer at March 25, 2011 03:14 PM

Mike Meyer - definitely your most inciteful post ever.....

Posted by Aaron Datesman at March 25, 2011 03:27 PM

Maybe I meant, "insightful". Huh.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at March 25, 2011 04:10 PM

It does tend to remind me of the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Technology -- from a tapir's jawbone to nuclear power -- is a two-edged sword, and all tools have multiple uses. The question is, will we grow up in time to put them to best use? I tend to doubt it, but I suppose one has to continue to hope.

Posted by NomadUK at March 25, 2011 07:37 PM

Cynicism of the Day

"No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you never should trust experts."

- Lord Salisbury, letter to Lord Lytton, 1877

"We do not really feel grateful toward those who make our dreams come true; they ruin our dreams."

- Eric Hoffer

"I suppose it can be truthfully said that hope is the only universal liar who never loses his reputation for veracity."

- Robert G. Ingersoll

Posted by N E at March 25, 2011 09:38 PM

Great piece to come across on the anniversary of 3 Mile Island.

Posted by Melissa at March 28, 2011 02:06 PM

One other thought. There were a LOT of intentional releases from the Hanford (Washington) complex during it's operation. Some of them were literally human experiments. Over the years the victims have gotten pretty good documentation of the radiation releases and the fallout patterns have been mapped pretty well also.

I don't have time to go back through all the research, but my recollection is those studies definitively show that fallout tends to concentrate based on land features (etc.) and not just diffuse evenly. There might be some applicable information regarding how this stuff is observed to dissipate within those reports.

Posted by kgb999 at March 29, 2011 01:39 PM