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Thu Dec 19, 2013, 04:34 PM

Reason for and a critical question about 2012's 6.9% decline in nuclear production

From the 2013 BP Review of World Energy
In 2012...
World nuclear power generation declined by 6.9%, the largest decline on record for a second consecutive year. Japanese nuclear output fell by 89%. Nuclear’s share of global primary energy was the lowest since 1984.


http://preview.tinyurl.com/bp2013nuclear

- The decline in production at the rate observed is a direct consequence of the meltdowns at Fukushima. Whether it is reasonable or not, whether it is good judgement or not, the use of nuclear technology for energy isn't well accepted by the public and that isn't likely to change.

- Given the aging nuclear fleet and the observed incidence of previous accidents capable of inciting public backlash what happens when the next one comes along?

For more on the observed failure rates, see:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/112759049 especially
http://www.democraticunderground.com/112759049#post23


- Nuclear plants are commonly found near large population centers.


So here is the question for nuclear supporters:

- If, after spending 25 years investing heavily in nuclear generation with funds that would have otherwise gone to building a system of distributed renewable generation, the next Fukushima or Chernobyl level event hits one of those population centers hard...

...what would you expect are the consequences to our effort to move away from carbon?

- Assume for a moment a worse case scenario where a Tokyo, Chicago or Shanghai is required to be abandoned for decades but there is limited direct health impact.

......what would you expect are the consequences to our effort to move away from carbon?

47 replies, 3063 views

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Arrow 47 replies Author Time Post
Reply Reason for and a critical question about 2012's 6.9% decline in nuclear production (Original post)
kristopher Dec 2013 OP
madokie Dec 2013 #1
kristopher Dec 2013 #3
PamW Dec 2013 #4
kristopher Dec 2013 #6
PamW Dec 2013 #8
kristopher Dec 2013 #10
PamW Dec 2013 #14
Starboard Tack Dec 2013 #42
madokie Dec 2013 #7
PamW Dec 2013 #2
madokie Dec 2013 #5
PamW Dec 2013 #9
madokie Dec 2013 #13
PamW Dec 2013 #18
madokie Dec 2013 #21
PamW Dec 2013 #26
PamW Dec 2013 #11
madokie Dec 2013 #15
PamW Dec 2013 #19
madokie Dec 2013 #23
kristopher Dec 2013 #12
madokie Dec 2013 #16
PamW Dec 2013 #22
phantom power Dec 2013 #17
NickB79 Dec 2013 #20
kristopher Dec 2013 #25
PamW Dec 2013 #27
kristopher Dec 2013 #28
PamW Dec 2013 #31
kristopher Dec 2013 #32
PamW Dec 2013 #35
kristopher Dec 2013 #37
PamW Dec 2013 #38
NickB79 Dec 2013 #33
kristopher Dec 2013 #24
phantom power Dec 2013 #30
kristopher Dec 2013 #34
PamW Dec 2013 #36
kristopher Dec 2013 #40
PamW Dec 2013 #43
kristopher Dec 2013 #44
kristopher Dec 2013 #47
NNadir Dec 2013 #29
cprise Dec 2013 #39
NNadir Dec 2013 #41
GliderGuider Dec 2013 #45
cprise Dec 2013 #46

Response to kristopher (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 05:01 PM

1. One more nuclear energy mishap and you can write nuclear energy off as history

a sad chapter in our history at that. Sad in the fact we were sold a pig in a poke

All this time and money spent on trying to paint a happy face on nuclear energy could have been better spent on developing alternates.
As it is we'll be back to square one. IMHO

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Response to madokie (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 05:31 PM

3. Here is an interactive map showing population around nuclear plants

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/42555888/

Put your cursor on a plant and it will give you the population numbers within 5, 20 and 50 miles.

Most of them seem to have between 1-5 million within 50 miles.


http://www.nbcnews.com/id/42555888/

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Response to kristopher (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 05:42 PM

4. Population INCREASES near nuclear power plants.

Evidently it's not obvious to you that the NRC regulations can only control how many people are near the plant when it is built.

The NRC regulations assured that nuclear power plants were built in areas of relatively low population density.

However, the NRC can't control people moving next to the plants; it can only enforce its site criteria when the plant is about to be built.

However, that article's content seems to auger AGAINST what you have been claiming.

If people are so afraid of nuclear power plant; then why have they been moving into areas near them?

The opening paragraph of kristopher's NBC report linked above is

Who's afraid of nuclear power? Not the American people, judging by where they choose to live.

It CONTRADICTS kristopher's thread opening statements.

Something to think about.

PamW

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Response to PamW (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 06:21 PM

6. So we have your vote

...you think it would be business as usual if fallout resulted in a major metropolitan area being abandoned.

Germany has accelerated their shut down of nuclear power.

France is moving away from nuclear.

China scaled back their nuclear program.

Japan shut down all of their reactors.

S. Korea is scaling back their nuclear program and public opinion is strong to abandon nuclear altogether.

Taiwan is scaling back nuclear power.

Public opposition to nuclear in India is making progress on their planned expansion very difficult.

Governments and industry like nuclear, people in general at best are tolerant of it.

The only thing the map contradicts is the impression you tried to create that these plants are not in the middle of millions of people.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 06:31 PM

8. kristopher's DESPERATION!

kristopher is up to his old tricks which is to MISREPRESENT.

Reading comprehension problems again??

Let me reiterate what I said.

The NRC can only control the population density around a plant when it is built. That's what they did.

As the NBC report you cited states in its lead sentence; the people moved in later. ( You really should try to read the article before you cite it ).

If you build a nuclear power plant out in the booneys with hardly anyone around.

Then the people, not being afraid of the plant; move in next door...

Then WHO'S FAULT is that?

You want to imply that there is something sinister in having so many people around the nuclear power plant.

Well, the people didn't buy the lying fear-mongering tactics of the anti-nuclear propagandists and moved in next to the nuclear power plant anyway.

They made their own decisions; it is after all a free country. At least for now.

The self-righteous anti-nukes haven't taken over yet; although I bet they like to.

We just have to tolerate their WHINES in the mean time.

PamW

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Response to PamW (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 06:39 PM

10. OK

Keep trying to dig yourself out of that hole.


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Response to kristopher (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 07:03 PM

14. Pretty PUNY mushroom cloud.

Pretty PUNY mushroom cloud there kristopher.

I'm used to a much more impressive type.

Wish I could show you; but we don't do that type of thing anymore.

PamW

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Response to PamW (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 21, 2013, 12:16 PM

42. Why do people move there? For jobs!

Same reason people move to dirty cities everywhere, to get paid while they choke to death.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 06:28 PM

7. I just looked randomly at three

One at Limerick. within 20 miles there is 1,168,871, within 5 miles 91,939
Seabrook within 20 miles 464,872, within 5 miles 40,096
Millstone, within 20 miles 2,996,756, within 5 miles 48,608
At any rate a lot of people live close to nuclear power plants along the eastern seaboard and the great lakes area. Yikes

Hell I'm glad I live way the hell out here in Oklahoma where the closest nuke plant is 140 miles away, the way a crow flies, over in Russellville Arkansas.

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 05:04 PM

2. 100% WRONG!! AGAIN!!

kristopher states
the use of nuclear technology for energy isn't well accepted by the public and that isn't likely to change.

WRONG!!! This is another of kristopher's self-serving MISREPRESENTATIONS

If we go by what the Gallup Organization of Gallup Poll fame:

Americans Still Favor Nuclear Power a Year After Fukushima
Majority also still sees nuclear power as safe

http://www.gallup.com/poll/153452/Americans-Favor-Nuclear-Power-Year-Fukushima.aspx

So COUNTER to kristopher's MISREPRESENTATION, the Americans still favor nuclear power and continue to see it as safe.

I would expect that to continue; after all, if Fukushima didn't shake their confidence, then there wouldn't be much that could.

Another kristopher MISREPRENTATION:

Nuclear plants are commonly found near large population centers.

It depends on what one calls "near"; but NRC nuclear power siting requirements AVOID large population centers.

As to the question; if the USA had spent 25 years investing heavily in distributed instead of nuclear power; in opposition to what the bulk of the scientists say; then today we would have the experimental evidence to PROVE what scientists, the National Academy of Science, and others have been saying for years:

Renewable power WILL NOT CUT IT!!!

Renewable power WILL FAIL if it is depended on to keep the grid up

We would have the uncontested evidence that:

Renewable power FAILS in one of the most spectacular technological FAILURES and the public would be wishing the money had gone to nuclear.

Climate scientist Dr. James Hansen says it BEST:

http://energyskeptic.com/2013/james-hansen-says-belief-in-renewable-energy-same-as-believing-in-the-easter-bunny-or-tooth-fairy/

James Hansen: Believing in renewable energy is like believing in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/jim-hansen-presses-the-climate-case-for-nuclear-energy/?_r=0

Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.

The remainder of kristopher's question is about as nonsensical as asking the following:

Assume for a moment a worse case scenario where another Chicxulub-scale asteroid impacts the earth wiping out practically all life:

...what would you expect are the consequences of our effort to move away from carbon.

How long do you think you can go on IGNORING and DISPUTING the SCIENTISTS.

Do you really think you can physically do something that good scientists tell you that Mother Nature FORBIDS?

I know you like to only listen to your "greenie wet dream" pseudo-scientists; but GROW UP, it's time to deal with the REAL world.

The good thing about science is that it is true; whether or not you believe in it.
--Neil deGrasse Tyson

PamW

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Response to PamW (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 06:09 PM

5. If you don't calm down you're going to have a heart attack

LOL
A valium or a xanax might do you some good

Why can't you be like a normal person and have a discussion without all the caps and bolding and acting like you're the only one here who knows anything. Why do I ask you say? Well because it sure doesn't seem that you are from reading your screeds. LOL
You want anyone to take you serious you're going to have to change your attitude. simple as that.


IMHO

Oh yeah, you're about to wear ol James Hanson out ain't ya

Maybe this'll lighten your day up a tad.

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Response to madokie (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 06:38 PM

9. I'm NOT upset!!

madokie says
Why can't you be like a normal person and have a discussion without all the caps and bolding


You MISINTERPRET me; probably because you are not of the "typewriter" generation as I am.

In the days of typewriters, we used overstrikes to make bold type for emphasis. I imagine saying my words; and if I would have accented a word in my speech; then I would make it bold.

The computer generation for some inane reason interprets bold-face as shouting or getting upset.

To me - that is just a purely braindead interpretation.

We had a good method of indicating emphasis which is lacking in print but not in voice.

Now people interpret that perfectly good method of indicating emphasis as getting upset.

There's no good reason for doing that. We should use bold-face to indicate something.

Instead, the current interpretation is that bold mean someone is upset; and we don't want people upset.

So we just "threw away" a perfectly good tool.

I'm typing the way I learned years ago. Bold means emphasis; not being upset.

PamW

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Response to PamW (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 06:57 PM

13. You coulda' fooled me

theres a good reason why the computer generation interprets bold-face as shouting or getting upset.

You can't tell me you're not getting all worked up, thats bullshit and you know it

go drink a glass of wine or take a damn nerve pill or maybe do both. Just do it, you'll feel better.

You're wearing us out with all this inane bull crap

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Response to madokie (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 07:09 PM

18. NOT at ALL!!!

madokie,

You are NOT here. You do NOT know whether I am upset or not.

I'm NOT upset. As I told you, as I type, I mentally think about how I would say it, and if I would emphasize a word by saying it in a higher pitch, or a little more forcefully; then I will emphasize it here.

I have absolutely nothing to get upset about.

One only gets upset about things they care about; and if you think I care for the lot here in the slightest....

Why would you be worn out? If you didn't care; you wouldn't be worn out either.

It isn't inane bull crap in any case; I speak scientific truth.

As the Neil Tyson quote that I use as my signature line goes; it doesn't matter whether you believe in science or not. Mother Nature and science will win over all the little "greenie wet dreams" from all the false prophets on this forum.

The good thing about science is that it is true, whether or not you believe in it.
--Neil deGrasse Tyson

PamW

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Response to PamW (Reply #18)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 07:15 PM

21. You think you could get by with talking to me like this in person

gawd you're funny

If you have nothing to get upset about quit getting upset, for criss sakes

On a lighter note, Why are you here?
Its not to have a discussion about anything you've interrupted in so what is it?


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Response to madokie (Reply #21)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 12:09 PM

26. Why is it any way inappropriate?

madokie,

First of all; I'm here to help educate the people who are so devoid of good knowledge of science. They've accepted all the propagandist crap.

Most important; I'm not upset. I'm just using the capability the system has to express emphasis. That's not getting upset.

You are the one that is getting upset; and over what - simple a change of font!!

That' what I call really getting upset over something trivial.

PamW

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Response to madokie (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 06:43 PM

11. BALONEY!!!

madokie says
You want anyone to take you serious you're going to have to change your attitude. simple as that.

I'm a scientist speaking scientific truth.

If you don't take me seriously; it's not my problem, it's YOURS!!!!

You ignore scientists at your OWN peril.

I don't profit from posting here. I'm attempting to do you a favor.

Evidently you haven't figured out that ignoring me is YOUR LOSS; not mine.

Have you been out BUTCHERING the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and the Carnot Cycle that you "supposedly" learned in junior high, recently??

GADS there's a life's work for a good teacher here.

PamW

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Response to PamW (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 07:03 PM

15. I don't give a damn if you're Jesus Christ or Gawd himself

You're amongst mostly adults here PamW. I don't think you realize that

I'm not ignoring you pam I'm laughing my ass off AT you for being so shallow as to think your behavior here is ok

Kinda' sad in a way
maybe this'll make it all better

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Response to madokie (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 07:14 PM

19. Why would there be anything wrong with it???

Why would there be anything inappropriate?

I'm merely insisting that we interpret facts as they are, that we interpret reports as they are.

The "greenie wet dream" crowd wants to say that there is something sinister in having people live near the plants.

Did the plants get built next to large population density areas? NO!

Did people not know that there were nuclear power plants in the area? Hardly - how do you miss those towers on some.

NO - the nuclear power plants were originally built in low population areas.

The people didn't buy the "fear-mongering crap" from the anti-nukes and moved in next to the plants.

I guess it's just denial by the anti-nukes that the public saw their "fear-mongering crap" for what it was; and ignored them.

That's what they can't stand.

PamW

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Response to PamW (Reply #19)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 07:21 PM

23. You just don't get it do you?

have fun.
I'm going to have to check out for a while and fix some supper, besides that my sides are hurting LOL

didn't work so I'll try a



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Response to madokie (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 06:56 PM

12. PamGreg isn't upset

He's attempting to make the thread unreadable; trying to prevent participation by turning it into a cesspool.

The question is why are the hosts tolerating it?

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Response to kristopher (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 07:05 PM

16. I wonder the same think

Why is it allowed to continue.

Maybe its for the comic relief, I don't know

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Response to kristopher (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 07:17 PM

22. kristopher's retreat...


The question is why are the hosts tolerating it?

That's kristopher's retreat position when he can't hold up his side of the discussion; when too many of his so-called "facts" turn out to be untrue.

His only hope is in the moderators.

I'm not upset. In fact, if anything; I'm BORED!!!

PamW

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 07:06 PM

17. I don't feel sure I understand the question

Are you asking a hypothetical: "Suppose we spent the next 25 years investing in a large nuclear power build-out, and then experienced a total containment failure right in a major metro area (say, Tokyo) -- would I still think the nuclear build-out was a good idea?"

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Response to phantom power (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 07:14 PM

20. I was wondering the same thing

Is kris talking about 25 years in the future, or the past 25 years? Because:

- If, after spending 25 years investing heavily in nuclear generation with funds that would have otherwise gone to building a system of distributed renewable generation


I assumed that was a reference to the past 25 years, ie from the late 1980's to the present. If so, that seems like an unsupported statement, as there are plenty of countries in that timeframe that didn't invest heavily in EITHER nuclear or renewables, but rather built the shit out of coal and natural gas instead. It's not a given that a country would have invested in a distributed renewable system.

But, if kris is talking about from today to 2040 (25 years in the future), my slight criticism is unwarranted.

Hopefully he'll chime in and clarify things a bit.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 10:17 PM

25. You have your 'clarification'

Proponents of nuclear have an amazing capacity for selective confusion.

There are a few people who tirelessly criticize the reaction resulting in higher carbon consumption brought about by the failure at Fukushima. Those individuals blame the public's response on an irrationality. That is neither here nor there, the fact is the reaction is real and has to be taken into account.

That blame game hides the fact that one of the consequences of using a technology with extreme consequences related to failure is the backlash when such a failure occurs.

- The proximity of nuclear plants to population centers is a fact.

- The example of an imperiled Tokyo being spared because the wind happened to blow E instead of SSW is a fact.

- The observed failure rate for an aging global nuclear fleet is a fact.

- The public reaction to Fukushima curtailing nuclear and increasing fossil consumption is a fact.

- I agree the need for speed is urgent.

Given that set of facts, what happens to our to our investment and our plan to move away from carbon if a metropolitan area is lost because of a meltdown?

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Response to kristopher (Reply #25)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 12:15 PM

27. One could say...

kristopher state
Those individuals blame the public's response on an irrationality. That is neither here nor there, the fact is the reaction is real and has to be taken into account.

If you want to "make excuses" for the public regardless of rationality; then we could use the public's response to justify racism, sexism, or prejudice in general. We could just say, "The public is reacting this way, so it's OK".

Thank goodness we didn't have moral relativists of that order in the last few decades.

We had people who informed and changed minds; all for the better.

Not people who threw up their hands and said "It's OK".

I really find it ironic that kristopher refers to anything as a "fact".

He's thrown out basically the entire repository of scientific facts, and denied them; all the way from the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics on up.

Then he wants to make pronouncements of "fact" ( Hint: they are "facts" to him. )

PamW


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Response to PamW (Reply #27)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 12:48 PM

28. You're making a personal attack to avoid an uncomfortable question

Japan was probably the most gungho for nuclear nation in the world before Fukushima. They hadn't reached the level of reliance of the French, but the popularity of the technology was higher than in France.

Now look at the damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't position they find themselves in.

That is an area of exposure that should be considered when discussing nuclear.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #28)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 02:12 PM

31. They may have been the most gungho...

Japan was probably the most gungho for nuclear nation in the world before Fukushima.

The Japanese may have been gungho; but they didn't exhibit the competence that the USA and France have.

It is clear that the Japanese licensed a design from a US vendor; but then modified it with modifications that never would have been approved in the USA.

The Japanese put the fuel tanks for the backup diesel generators above ground at dockside for ease of refilling. However, the NRC mandates that those tanks at US plants be protected; most commonly by burying them.

So it is an apples to oranges comparison to compare a Japanese modified version of a design, to the US, NRC-approved design; particularly when it was the modification that led to the loss of backup power that caused the meltdown.

Q.E.D.

PamW

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Response to PamW (Reply #31)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 03:45 PM

32. Anyone familiar with near misses like Davis Besse knows that we've just been lucky.

Before the multiple meltdowns at Fukushima the Japanese nuclear program was a shining star in the heavens of the nuclear industry - a gleaming example of the unlimited possibility for nuclear in a nation that excels in technological proficiency.

Trying to paint them as incompetent only highlights the fact that if they weren't able to meet the challenge, then it is damned unlikely anyone can.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #32)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 04:13 PM

35. 100% WRONG!! AGAIN!!

kristopher states
Trying to paint them as incompetent only highlights the fact that if they weren't able to meet the challenge, then it is damned unlikely anyone can.

As usual, 100% TOTALLY WRONG and not borne out by the facts.

Like many non-scientists and those not in the nuclear field, kristopher has BEEN FOOLED by what is essentially good Japanese PR!!

Kristopher in his remark above is ASSUMING that the Japanese expertise represented some high pinnacle of expertise in nuclear technology and that every other nation is worse at it. Hence, if they Japanese can't do it right then nobody can.

That high level of Japanese proficiency may have been true for some fields like automotive engineering; but scientists and engineers knowledgeable in the nuclear field have KNOWN for YEARS that the Japanese nuclear industry took short cuts.

I first found out about it back in the late '70s when I was still a graduate student. I attended the winter meeting of the American Nuclear Society in Washington, D.C. It was at one of the "hospitality suites" provided by GE that I talked with a young GE engineer. It turned out, he was on assignment in Japan because GE was the vendor for one of the TEPCO nuclear power plants that was being built.

As I was looking forward to my own career, I asked this young engineer what the most difficult part of his job was, and the reply was, "Getting the customer to listen to me." He told me that he had advised TEPCO to bury the diesel generator fuel tank for the nuclear unit GE was currently building. TEPCO refused to follow his advice; leaving the fuel tank vulnerable to being washed away during a tsunami.

I said it sounded like a reasonable request considering the tsunami risk in Japan; and inquired why TEPCO refuse to follow the GE engineer's advice.

The GE engineer's reply was, "Because then they might have to bury the tanks for the other 5 reactors at the site."

It turned out, the plant that was being built was Fukushima Diachi Unit 6.

That was the first time I heard that TEPCO did short-cuts and cut corners and did things that nobody would EVER think of doing at a US nuclear plant.

I heard about multiple other similar incidents of cutting corners over the years; and so have my colleagues.

So scientists and engineers in the nuclear field have known that TEPCO was doing shoddy work for decades now. It came as no surprise that they had an accident like Fukushima to many of us.

People like kristopher have the impression that TEPCO had a high level of respect in terms of competence. That must be as a hold over from the high level of Japanese craftsmanship in the auto industry, so non-nuclear people like kristopher ASSUMED they were doing the same high quality work in the nuclear area.

Scientists and engineers in the nuclear field have know better for YEARS. The fine reputation that Japan had in the auto industry did not translate to a fine reputation in the nuclear industry for those who really knew.

NO - nuclear professionals have seen the corner cutting by TEPCO for decades; and it is NO surprise that they had an accident.

They weren't quite as bad as the Soviets; but they were near the bottom of the barrel in terms of nuclear expertise.

So don't tell me that if the Japanese couldn't do it - nobody could.

It's more like EVERBODY could do it if the Japanese could; except maybe the Soviets.

The Japanese nuclear industry was NOTHING that Japan should have been proud of. The Japanese nuclear industry got a false good reputation by resting on the laurels of what the Japanese automotive industry accomplished.

PamW


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Response to PamW (Reply #35)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 04:33 PM

37. Right.That football sized hole in Davis Besse's reactor head is something the Japanese did.

Davis-Besse: The Reactor with a Hole in its Head
The reactor core at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant sits within a metal pot designed to withstand pressures up to 2,500 pounds per square inch. The pot -- called the reactor vessel -- has carbon steel walls nearly six inches thick to provide the necessary strength. Because the water cooling the reactor contains boric acid that is highly corrosive to carbon steel, the entire inner surface of the reactor vessel is covered with 3/16-inch thick stainless steel. But water routinely leaked onto the reactor vessel's outer surface. Because the outer surface lacked a protective stainless steel coating, boric acid ate its way through the carbon steel wall until it reached the backside of the inner liner. High pressure inside the reactor vessel pushed the stainless steel outward into the cavity formed by the boric acid. The stainless steel bent but did not break. Cooling water remained inside the reactor vessel not because of thick carbon steel but due to a thin layer of stainless steel. The plant's owner ignored numerous warning signs spanning many years to create the reactor with a hole in its head...

http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/nuclear_power/acfnx8tzc.pdf





Crack in last layer of stainless cladding







Like I said, we aren't better than the Japanese, we've only been more lucky.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #37)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 04:46 PM

38. How does that relate.....??????

kristopher,

How does the Davis-Besse incident in ANY way relate to what I posted????

I posted that the Japanese reputation for quality in the nuclear field was pretty much a SHAM.

If anything, the Japanese nuclear industry got their laurels from the good reputation of the Japanese automotive industry.

Now - by what "logic" does one arrive at the conclusion that I said the Japanese were responsible for Davis-Besse.

Sigh!!!

Additionally, you really are too "hung up" on the pretty much non-event at Davis-Besse.

Because you don't understand the workings of a nuclear power plant; you don't really understand how relatively benign the Davis-Besse incident was.

Before you go "nuclear", I'm not saying that it was OK. It was a big maintenance failure for Toledo Edison, and they should be ashamed.

However, as big as you think that fissure in the Davis-Besse vessel head is; it is relatively small compared to the size of the head.

The Davis-Besse PWR, like all PWRs in the USA have to be able to withstand a "double-ended guillotine break" of the main coolant piping. That is; imagine a big imaginary guillotine were to crash down and split the main coolant pipe, and then both ends were displaced laterally, so that coolant could escape from both cut ends. That's the "double-ended guillotine break" scenario.

Although there is no known mechanism that could cause such a breakage, and such a breakage would be THOUSANDS of times worse than the Davis-Besse fissure; the PWR is required BY LAW and NRC regulations to be able to survive the "double-ended guillotine break" without endangering the public.

I know it looks "impressively bad"; but if you knew the physics and fluid dynamics; you wouldn't be so impressed.

Lots of things look A LOT worse than they really are.

PamW


PamW

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Response to kristopher (Reply #25)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 03:53 PM

33. You didn't, in fact, offer any clarification

I understood all of your other statements well enough. My sole remaining question to you was if the 25-year timeframe you spoke of was from the past 25 years (1988-2013), or if it were to mean the next 25 years (2013-2037).

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Response to phantom power (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 07:31 PM

24. What would happen to our investment and our plan to move away from carbon?

Last edited Thu Dec 19, 2013, 10:21 PM - Edit history (1)

There are a few people who tirelessly criticize the reaction resulting in higher carbon consumption brought about by the failure at Fukushima. Those individuals blame the public's response on an irrationality. That is neither here nor there, the fact is the reaction is real and has to be taken into account.

That blame game hides the fact that one of the consequences of using a technology with extreme consequences related to failure is the backlash when such a failure occurs.

- The proximity of nuclear plants to population centers is a fact.

- The example of an imperiled Tokyo being spared because the wind happened to blow E instead of SSW is a fact.

- The observed failure rate for an aging global nuclear fleet is a fact.

- The public reaction to Fukushima curtailing nuclear and increasing fossil consumption is a fact.

- I agree the need for speed is urgent.

Given that set of facts, what happens to our to our investment and our plan to move away from carbon if a metropolitan area is lost because of a meltdown?

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Response to kristopher (Reply #24)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 01:56 PM

30. OK, I think I see...

I guess I'll make comments in the original order:

- The proximity of nuclear plants to population centers is a fact.


I agree with that, for plausible values of "proximate"


- The example of an imperiled Tokyo being spared because the wind happened to blow E instead of SSW is a fact.


I reject the premise. There is no evidence that Tokyo would have been imperiled if they were downwind. The closest thing to a measured human health impact has been an increase in thyroid tumor diagnoses, which is meaningless because nobody has ever systematically sampled an entire population before.


- The observed failure rate for an aging global nuclear fleet is a fact.


I also reject this, on the grounds that (a) quoting a failure rate from a sample size of 2 is statistically unsound, and (b) reactor designs vary widely across the space of existing reactors, and so extrapolating future industry failure rates is an exercise in comparing apples to oranges.

(I do agree that we have observed two major containment failures, and I also agree that existing reactors are aging)


- The public reaction to Fukushima curtailing nuclear and increasing fossil consumption is a fact.


I also agree: that was the reaction, and that it has increased our GHG output.


- I agree the need for speed is urgent.


No argument there. That might be the one thing everybody agrees on, with the possible exception of people who consider the question irrelevant due to having missed the window for preventing catastrophe.

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Response to phantom power (Reply #30)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 04:12 PM

34. Seriously? You are disputing the fact that prevailing winds saved Tokyo?

That is one of the most absurd statements I've seen here. Tally the amount of fallout that blew out to sea and then aim it at Tokyo and let me know what the response would have been. Thyroid cancer has absolutely nothing to do with the abandonment of an area because it is hit with heavy fallout.

"A sample size of 2" is what you need to reconsider. You can dispute it all you want but the fact remains that the observed failure rate for nuclear reactors is far higher than you are suggesting. You are engaging in a form of data trimming that is explicitly designed to suggest a higher level of performance than the history of nuclear power has delivered. The fact that reactor designs vary widely is true, but so is the fact that the 26 relevant failures are spread across the range of designs with one common element - human imperfection.

This discussion shreds the premise you are trying to deploy: http://www.democraticunderground.com/112759049#post23

This snip benefits from the context provided at the link, but it catches the meat of the matter:
Even universities erroneously use subjective probabilities (iii), not frequencies (ii), to assess nuclear-core-melt likelihood, particularly when pro-nuclear-government agencies fund their studies. For instance, although the classic, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)-authored, government-funded, reactor-safety study had frequency data for various nuclear accidents that already had occurred after decades of US-operating experience, it did not use them; instead the MIT authors used subjective, pro-nuclear assumptions and conjectures about these accident probabilities (Rasmussen, 1975). When independent, university mathematicians compared US nuclear-accident-frequency data, reported from operating experience, with MIT guesses (iii), they discovered that all ‘guesses’ were far too low, by several orders of magnitude. None of the nuclear-accident-frequency data, based on reactor-operating experience, was within the theoretical, 90% confidence interval of the MIT ‘guesses.’Yet there is only a subjective probability of 10% that any of these true (frequency-based) probability values (for different types of reactor accidents) should fall outside this 90% interval. The conclusion? University mathematicians said that MIT assessors were guilty of a massive ‘overconfidence’ bias toward nuclear safety, a typical flaw in most industry-government-funded, nuclear-risk analyses (Cooke, 1982).


The love professed by nuclear supporters for adherence to the data seems to suffer from a certain failure of objectivity.

Seriously, the OP was perfectly clear, but you needed it restated just to pretend you weren't hiding. Now you come back with this litany of irrelevant objections that are clearly masking a fear of addressing the perfectly legitimate question posed.

If you can't engage in a sincere discussion about such an obvious and profound aspect of the use of nuclear power, then why would you think anyone should listen to you about anything related to the topic?




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Response to kristopher (Reply #34)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 04:20 PM

36. Mathematical ILLITERACY at play

kristopher states
"A sample size of 2" is what you need to reconsider. You can dispute it all you want but the fact remains that the observed failure rate for nuclear reactors is far higher than you are suggesting.


The significance of the low value of the number 2 is TOTALLY LOST on kristopher who evidently doesn't know probability theory and confidence intervals.

The problem with a sample size of 2; is that any statistics based on that sample are pretty much WORTHLESS.

Hence, contrary to kristopher's claim; you can't determine that the observed failure rate is too high.

kristopher; it's like asking only 2 random people in October of 2012 about how they are going to vote for President.

The percentage difference in popular vote between Obama and Romney was much too small to make any type of reasonable prediction.

Heck; you have almost a 25% chance of both random people saying they were voting for Romney. So how would one accurately predict the Obama victory based on that sampling.

kristopher doesn't know WORTHLESS data when he sees it.

PamW


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Response to PamW (Reply #36)

Sat Dec 21, 2013, 09:55 AM

40. More like either illiteracy or deliberate misdirection on your part

"A sample size of 2" is what you need to reconsider. You can dispute it all you want but the fact remains that the observed failure rate for nuclear reactors is far higher than you are suggesting. You are engaging in a form of data trimming that is explicitly designed to suggest a higher level of performance than the history of nuclear power has delivered. The fact that reactor designs vary widely is true, but so is the fact that the 26 relevant failures are spread across the range of designs with one common element - human imperfection.

This discussion shreds the premise you are trying to deploy: http://www.democraticunderground.com/112759049#post23


Just one more in your long long long long list of making false claims about what others have written.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #40)

Sat Dec 21, 2013, 12:35 PM

43. You don't understand sample sizes???

kristopher,

Do you not understand the role sample sizes play when attempting to derive conclusions based on statistics?

Do you not realize that when you have a large sample that one can validly draw statistical conclusions based on sampling a large number of case?

However, do you not realize that when you sample only 2 case; that one can't draw meaningful conclusions?

Gee - I thought the case with the Obama / Romney poll in my previous post was easy enough for you to understand.

Suppose you are taking a poll prior to the November 2012 election, and you only sample 2 people.

As we know, the public was almost evenly divided between Obama and Romney; with Obama a few points ahead, which is why he is still President.

So if you pick a person at random; it's just about half and half that you get an Obama or Romney supporter.

So it's about half that you will randomly choose a Romney supporter for your first sample, and another half that the second will also support Romney.

So the combined probability is almost 25% that you will randomly choose 2 Romney supporters to poll.

So both your samples will say they are voting for Romney. What can you conclude from that?

The answer is NOT a DAMN THING. The sample size is TOO SMALL to discern the few percentage points separating Obama and Romney.

You don't know when the data you have is WORTHLESS?

As for that PALTRY reference discussion; that didn't "shred" anything.

It's just a bunch of UNSUBSTANTIATED crap from Shrader-Frechette in which she claims scientists are making up data.

Does she substantiate that? NO WAY - in fact she references HERSELF a lot. What type of "scholar" uses themselves the substantiate themselves.

That makes for a bit circular argument.

Of course, she's not really a scholar. How can one be an expert in "ethics" if someone LIES all the time?

Don't cite Shrader-Frechette as "proof" of anything to me; I know FRAUDS when I see them.

PamW

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Response to PamW (Reply #43)

Sat Dec 21, 2013, 12:54 PM

44. That isn't relevant at all to your attempt at data trimming ...

...in order to arrive at a sample size of 2.

Go ahead, try playing shoot the messenger again with Shrader-Frechette. We KNOW that her qualifications are impeccable. To allege that she's a fraud is a mark of deep, deep desperation on your part.


This discussion shreds the premise you are trying to deploy: http://www.democraticunderground.com/112759049#post23

The Frequency Fallacy

A second illegitimate defense of BSC is through the frequency fallacy, confusing core-melt-relative-frequency data with subjective probabilities. Yet ‘probability’ can mean: (i) ‘classical probability;’ (ii) ‘relative frequency;’ or (iii) ‘subjective probability,’ not all of which are applicable to nuclear-core-melt assessment.

Classical probability (i) is illustrated by card games in which the deck contains a fixed number of cards, for example 52. The probability of an event (e) thus equals the number of possible favorable outcomes (f) divided by the total number of possible outcomes (n): P(e) = f/n. Provided the deck of cards is fair, each card has an equal chance of being picked, and the probability (i) of picking an ace = 4/52. Thus, (i) assumes that all possible outcomes are equally likely and that we know n—neither of which is the case regarding nuclear-accident outcomes.

Relative-frequency probability (ii) is often used for cases where the number of outcomes (n) is so great that all typically cannot be observed, as in the probability (ii) that current 5-year-olds will contract cancer. We cannot observe all 5-year-olds throughout their lifetimes, but can reliably predict cancer probability for random, typical 5-year-olds, if we observe a large-enough, long-enough sample. Thus, if we observed 1000 5-year-olds over their lifetimes, if samples were representative and large enough, and if we observed 350 cancer deaths, we could say this cancer probability was roughly P(e) = 35.0% (350/1000). We cannot predict with certainty, however, unless we know the frequency of all relevant events—whether lifetime cancers or total nuclear-core melts. Given that preceding core-melt lists include all occurrences (consistent with the three caveats), those lists suggest an almost-certain, core-melt probability (ii) = core melts/total reactors = 26/442 = roughly a 6% probability (ii)—roughly a 1 in 16 chance of core melt—which is hardly a low probability.

Subjective probability (iii) relies only on what people think particular probabilities are. The odds people get when they bet at racetracks are subjective probabilities because if the probabilities were objective, smart players would always win. Obviously (iii) does not provide reliable nuclear-core-melt probabilities because it is based not on facts, but on what people think about facts. Nuclear proponents think the facts are one way, and opponents think they are another. Both cannot always be correct. Since (iii) is subjective and could be inconsistent, and because (i) would require knowing n and knowing a falsehood (that all reactor outcomes were equally likely), (ii) appears most relevant to nuclear-core-melt assessment.

As preceding sections revealed, however, typical atomic-energy advocates use (iii) not (ii) to assess core-melt probabilities, such as when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said core-melt accidents, for all 104 US reactors, would only occur once every 1000 years. Instead, the NRC should have made predictions based on government inspections, independent analyses, and accident-frequency data, not ‘on data submitted by plant owners’ (Broder et al., 2011, p. D1). The NRC predecessor agency, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) also has a long history of making BSC based on (iii). AEC said the probability of a US nuclear core meltdown is 1 in 17,000 per reactor year (AEC, 1957; Mulvihill et al., 1965).

Even universities erroneously use subjective probabilities (iii), not frequencies (ii), to assess nuclear-core-melt likelihood, particularly when pro-nuclear-government agencies fund their studies. For instance, although the classic, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)-authored, government-funded, reactor-safety study had frequency data for various nuclear accidents that already had occurred after decades of US-operating experience, it did not use them; instead the MIT authors used subjective, pro-nuclear assumptions and conjectures about these accident probabilities (Rasmussen, 1975). When independent, university mathematicians compared US nuclear-accident-frequency data, reported from operating experience, with MIT guesses (iii), they discovered that all ‘guesses’ were far too low, by several orders of magnitude. None of the nuclear-accident-frequency data, based on reactor-operating experience, was within the theoretical, 90% confidence interval of the MIT ‘guesses.’Yet there is only a subjective probability of 10% that any of these true (frequency-based) probability values (for different types of reactor accidents) should fall outside this 90% interval. The conclusion? University mathematicians said that MIT assessors were guilty of a massive ‘overconfidence’ bias toward nuclear safety, a typical flaw in most industry-government-funded, nuclear-risk analyses (Cooke, 1982).

This fallacious substitution of subjective probabilities (iii)—for nuclear-core-melt frequencies (ii)—has at least two interesting parallels, namely, nuclear-industry preferences for subjective opinions, over empirical data, in reporting both nuclear costs and carbon-equivalent emissions. Since most nuclear-industry-performed studies employ purely subjective economic estimates, instead of empirical-cost data, they counterfactually assume that nuclear-load factors are 90–95%, that average reactor lifetimes are 50–60 years, and that nuclear-construction-loan-interest rates are 0%. Yet in reality, industry-collected empirical data show average nuclear-load factors are 71%, not 90–95%; average reactor lifetimes are 22, not 50–60 years; and nuclear-interest rates are at least 15%, not 0%. When one corrects only five subjective (counterfactual) nuclear-cost assumptions with actual empirical data, nuclear costs rise 700% above industry-reported costs, revealing that fission is far more expensive than wind or solar-photovoltaic....


From the journal
Ethics, Policy & Environment

Fukushima, Flawed Epistemology, and Black-Swan Events
Dr Kristin Shrader-Frechette


Full article available for download at Prof. Shrader-Frechette's university website:
http://www3.nd.edu/~kshrader/pubs/black-swan-2011.pdf

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Response to kristopher (Reply #44)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 08:10 AM

47. 'Shoot the messenger' is THE go to strategy the nuclear industry uses against any and all critics.

We can document case after case after case where any criticism of nuclear power results in a swarm of internet warriors intent on creating an echo chamber designed to destroy professional reputations.

I can't help but be reminded of the way the 'armchair patriots' swarmed to attack anyone who opposed their mad pushes for war.

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Fri Dec 20, 2013, 12:51 PM

29. The consequences are clear enough. 2013 is going to be the worst year for accumulation of...

of dangerous fossil fuel waste in the planetary atmosphere ever recorded, with the possible exception of 2012.

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/weekly.html

Deaths from air pollution will continue to rise, and millions of lives that might have been saved, were it not for the triumph of fear and ignorance, will be lost.

As happens so often in human history, fear and ignorance are doing their worst. The great gift given to us by some of the greatest minds of the 20th century, nuclear energy, will be squandered for insane satisfactions of very, very, very, very small minds.

Is there any surprise at this outcome?

There shouldn't be. Most of human history is dominated by foolishness, lack of vision, and dogma.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #29)

Sat Dec 21, 2013, 07:14 AM

39. So one needs to be a misanthrope to hold nuclear energy dear

Think of all the investment in terms of time and resources in expanding the nuclear fleet many times over during the coming decades. In the middle of that expansion with, say, 10x the nuclear generation we have now, a major accident occurs causing the evacuation of a large population center.

What happens next??

The nuclear establishment would have to have some way of controlling people's impressions and reactions, otherwise people might try to force nuclear generators offline. They would need to already have a full-blown police state in place to have any chance of preventing the grid from buckling.

If you think that sounds odd, consider these developments from the top nuclear-loving countries:

* Japan enacts a state secrets bill to protect the revival of nuclear energy-- harsh punishment for leakers/whistleblowers.

* France is revealed to spy on its citizens to an extent that surpasses the NSA+DEA.

* Russia and China became nuclear's two actual cases of contemporary expansion, but seem like they would be unlikely examples of a nuclear civil society. (Perhaps some of you could elaborate on the nature of public inquiry and accountability in these countries.)

* We have the USA's own nascent police state: Widespread militarization of the police, mass surveillance, and a hardly professional lust for maximum punishment in the criminal justice system (mass incarceration). Part of that expansion was built on official banter about "dirty bombs". Even before 9-11, people in positions of power have been firmly reminded of their roles as protectors of extremely dangerous concentrations of physical power; its a major source of self-importance in the establishment mind that engenders no positive characteristics in governance.

Here is a slice of true nuclear paranoia-- probably San Onofre's last 'gift' to civil society.

I think these trends are shaping up into a lesson on the intersection of human nature and nuclear technology. Perhaps people sense when a thing brings out the worst in them, and set their minds to distancing themselves from it.

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Response to cprise (Reply #39)

Sat Dec 21, 2013, 10:37 AM

41. Um...um...um...

Last edited Sat Dec 21, 2013, 11:08 AM - Edit history (1)

...never mind.

Jeezus.

In recent years, I have struggled with the very sad thought that humanity deserves what it is going to get.

Every time I read something like this, I reflect on the great foolishness of my life, which was to expect that this time in history, it might have been different.

Maybe all the mercury that was dumped into humanity's favorite waste dump, the planetary atmosphere, by coal burning power plants over the last century, this, while we waited for the grand renewable nirvana, - like Estragon waiting for Godot -has caused such wide spread neurological damage and rendered us a race of paranoid mad hatters.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #41)

Sat Dec 21, 2013, 02:16 PM

45. Why on earth would a smart guy like you have expected "this time" to be different?

 

You know about evolutionary biology, right? "A leopard cannot change its spots" and all that? What we see in our behavior is the human version of the leopard's spots. We can no more change our consumptive, growth-oriented group behavior through mere thought than a leopard can change its spots to stripes through an act of will.

Like most others here - no matter which energy dogma they support - you labor under the mistaken idea that our conscious thoughts can control our group behavior. They cannot. Group behavior is almost entirely driven by our evolved emotional responses. The only thing our consciousness does is to help us choose which acts of consumption and growth will yield the best results in terms of personal status, group cohesion, immediate physical security, and growth. Even most of those choices are made without any conscious intervention at all.

Do you blame lions for being lions? If not, why blame humans for being human, unless you too carry the delusion that our consciousness is somehow in control of events? If you do in fact believe that, you need to do some reading into the recent consciousness research that has been prompted by the development of evolutionary psychology over the last 25 years.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #41)

Sat Dec 21, 2013, 11:24 PM

46. Go on NNadir, listen to GG... Join the dark side. n/t

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