fukushima

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The Mother Of All Financial Bubbles

Will be unimaginably destructive when it bursts
Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 11:45 PM

The main lesson from Oroville -- or Fukushima, or Katrina --  is that governments do a poor job of relating accurate information to their citizens when big threats are involved. Part of that is likely due to a desire to avoid stoking fear. Part probably due to politics and bureaucracy. And part probably due to plain old incompetence.

Regardless of the cause, it means that the public -- even the vigilant ones -- suffer information deficits when it matters most. Simply put, the authorities do not share all the facts necessary for making informed decisions.

Which brings us to one of the truly great risks we're facing today. One with much more destructive potential than a single failed dam but, like Oroville, one the authorities are desperate to keep us in the dark about. » Read more

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The Electrical Grid May Well Be The Next War's Battlefield

Crippling the US without firing a shot
Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 11:38 PM

We talk a lot about Peak Cheap Oil as the Achilles' heel of the exponential monetary model, but the real threat to the quality of our daily lives would be a sustained loss of electrical power. Anything over a week without power for any modern nation would be a serious problem.  » Read more

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Fukushima's Legacy: Understanding the Difference Between Nuclear Radiation & Contamination

It's very important
Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 10:55 AM

Are fish from the Pacific safe to eat?  What about the elevated background radiation readings detected in Japan, and recently, in California? Are these harmful levels?

Should we be worried? And if so, what should be done about these potential health threats? What steps should we take to protect ourselves?

As many of you know, I'm a scientist by training. In this report, I'll lay out the facts and data that explain the actual risks. I'll start by pointing out that Fukushima-related fears have been overblown as well as heavily downplayed by parties on each side of the discussion » Read more

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The Contamination Threat

What you need to know
Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 10:54 AM

Executive Summary

  • The "usual suspects" of dangerous radioactive contamination
  • Recently reported incidents of contamination
  • How bioaccumulation and biomagnification exacerbate the impact of contamination
  • Prudent advice post-Fukushima

If you have not yet read Part I: Fukushima's Legacy: Understanding the Difference Between Radiation & Contamination, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Sources of Radioactive Contamination

As mentioned in Part I, polonium provides an excellent and dramatic example of something that is perfectly safe on the outside of the body and perfectly deadly on the inside. That's the difference between radiation and contamination.

"Radiation, just like with any toxic chemical, is related to dose," said Cham Dallas, a professor and toxicologist at the University of Georgia's Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense. "If you get a big dose, then you'll die sooner."

And with polonium-210, a dangerous dose can be a matter of micrograms: smaller than a single speck of pepper, he said.

If you ingest polonium-210, about 50% to 90% of the substance will exit the body through feces, according to a fact sheet from Argonne National Laboratory. What is left will enter the bloodstream. About 45% of polonium ingested gets into the spleen, kidneys and liver, and 10% is deposited in the bone marrow.

Radiation poisoning from polonium-210 looks like the end stage of cancer, Dallas said.

Liver and kidney damage ensue, along with extreme nausea and severe headaches. Victims often experience vomiting, diarrhea and hair loss. The alpha particles emitted from the decaying substance get absorbed in the body, which is what causes harm. Death may come in a matter of days, sometimes weeks.

(Source)

Yes, polonium-210 is highly radioactive a half gram of it in a vial will heat itself up to 500 degrees Celsius all on its own just because of radioactive decay but it is not at all lethal until and unless it is ingested.  Once it gets inside, then a fleck the size of a grain of pepper is lethal.

The much-feared plutonium-238 is also an alpha emitter.  On the outside of your body it is not much of a problem.  Inside it is extraordinarily harmful.

Iodine-131 (I-131) is another "fairly harmless on the outside, but deadly on the inside" sort of substance.  Even a vastly sub-lethal dose of I-131 in terms of your whole body load will be damaging if not deadly, because iodine is viewed by your body as a delicious and rare treat, with your thyroid gobbling it up, radioactive or not, and storing it for future use.

As the thyroid does this, the I-131 gets concentrated into a very small body mass where the radioactive load experienced by the thyroid is far higher than any surrounding tissues.  At a high enough dose, the thyroid will be destroyed which is a survivable experience, as anybody who's had their thyroid removed can attest.

The real difficulty actually comes with...  » Read more

Featured Discussion

First Nuclear Rods Removed from Fukushima

First Nuclear Rods Removed from Fukushima

A positive step. Let's hope no one drops anything...

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Why We All Lose If the Fed Wins

Fighting the wrong battles
Monday, August 19, 2013, 7:20 PM

If we hold the view that humans are behaving unsustainably in terms of any of the 'three Es'  the economy, energy, or the environment  then any rapid resumption of a paradigm of exponential growth in our consumption of natural resources or in our growth of debt over income simply takes us more quickly to the bitter end of this story. » Read more

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Off the Cuff: The Future of the Fed

So much hangs on it
Thursday, August 8, 2013, 1:35 PM

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Adam discuss all things Fed-related

  • Will the taper happen? If so, what will be its impact on markets?
  • Who will the next Fed Chair(wo)man be?
  • What are the Fed's real options from here?
  • What to do while Fed liquidity drives asset prices ever higher than fundamentals justify?

No time for a deeper summary today, as I'm off to sign a contract with a new IT partner who will be taking over back-end management of the PeakProsperity.com website. This new partnership will allow us to deploy new features on the site more quickly. We're excited!

Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 6/28 - Don't Go To Art School, Radiation Skyrockets At Fukushima

Friday, June 28, 2013, 10:19 AM
  • Don't Go To Art School
  • US farmers look to Congress for immigration reform
  • The Great Comex Paper Gold Dump: Online Real-Time Physical Gold Price Datasource
  • Geologist explains why Uttarakhand tragedy was man-made
  • Fed Officials Try to Ease Concern of Stimulus End
  • Finance Committee Asks Senators to Start Tax Reform Process
  • Energy Return on Investment is too Low to Maintain Current Economic System
  • Radiation Levels Skyrocket at Fukushima