Sunday, March 05, 2006

Drinking Games & Shore Tours

[Crossposted from Unconsidered Trifles] *SIGH* When I read stories like this, I really get depressed over the state of our secondary educational system, particulary wrt the sciences, as well as the fact that our newspapers and news rooms seem to be full of sensationailsts & actors rather than truth-seekers:
Years of radioactive waste water spills from Illinois nuclear power plants have fueled suspicions the industry covers up safety problems and sparked debate about the risks from exposure to low-level radiation.

The recent, belated disclosures of leaks of the fission byproduct tritium from Exelon Corp.'s Braidwood, Dresden, and Byron twin-reactor nuclear plants -- one as long ago as 1996 -- triggered worries among neighbors about whether it was safe to drink their water, or even stay.

"How'd you like to live next to that plant and every time you turn on the tap to take a drink you have to think about whether it's safe?" asked Joe Cosgrove, the head of parks in Godley, Illinois, a town adjacent to Braidwood.

Cosgrove and some scientists and anti-nuclear activists who monitor health issues related to nuclear power say the delay in reporting the spills is indicative of industry and regulatory obfuscation bordering on cover-up.

Exelon and the NRC say a 1998 spill of 3 million gallons of tritium -- a form of hydrogen that becomes radioactive water when it contacts air -- did contaminate ground water that breached the Braidwood plant boundary. But the radioactivity had not risen above federal limits where people live or have their drinking water wells.

At Dresden, the 276,000-gallon (1 million-liter) tritium leak is still on-site, and the spill at Byron was found inside concrete vaults along an effluent pipe.

Time to dig around and see if there is film or photo documentation of Rickover drinking that glass of primary coolant in front of Congress! The caption would read (ala Hamlet 1.2.376), "We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart."

Ok, I've got the solution....it's got its problems, but here it is:

*We require that all ex-Navy nukes (officer and enlisted) go teach a semester of high school science as part of their shore tours!*

What do you say shipmates?!

Over time, this would go far to eradicate our society's ignorance toward nuclear power/radiation AND would have the side-benefit of serving as a great means of recruiting the best and brightest. Best of all, I wouldn't have to do it since I've satisfied all of my commitments to Uncle Sam (not to mention having also survived the trench-warfare of teaching high school!), so I can leave it up to other people to handle--it's flawless! LOL.

3 Comments:

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Bubblehead said...

Good post, WillyShake! If I remember right, it was CPW that Rickover drank, rather than straight primary coolant...

 
At 8:53 AM, Blogger WillyShake said...

Thanks, shipmate! ...and, yes, I think you're right about cpw.

Btw, I do recall now that I DID sort of "do my bit" to combat some ignorance on this while I was teaching high school English lit & grammar. The topic of radiation came up during a discussion of tanning salons and I gave the standard nuke speals about relative dosages while working in a navy nuke environment vs. skiing in the mountains or lying on the beach. Tritium in particular never came up, but I did "lecture them" a bit about time, distance, and shielding and so forth so that they could be good critical readers toward sensationlist news accounts of radiation leaks etc.

How's that? LOL

 
At 9:53 AM, Blogger B Dubya said...

I spent 13 years as a nuke on 2 boats, and have in the intervening years since 1982 been employed at a commercial nucular (sic) plant (BWR) in upstate NY.
As we have seen with the "Intelligent Design" flap, one does not answer a fantasy ideology that carries religious overtones with mere science and fact. That is especially true of commercial nuclear power. I think the anti-nuke religion will die out, sputtering, right about the time that gasoline gets to $5.00 a gallon (later this year).

 

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