Saturday, 31 October 2015

Helen Caldicott exaggerates Fukushima Daiichi radiation by 7.5 billion times

In September 2014 Helen Caldicott used a hoax radiation dose map.

Dr. Helen Caldicott vs Fukushima Radiation
  • The hoax map was created and debunked in March 2011
  • This hoax was supposed to be a 'prediction'
  • Caldicott claimed 3½ years later that the hoax was true, and the predicted fallout happened.
  • Had it happened it would've been enough to kill about ½ the people on the US West coast. [The radiation dose in yellow is = 750 REM = 7500 mSv]

It goes without saying, that the amount of radiation released in the hoax was physically impossible. Back in the real world, suppose each person in the landed yellow area got 1 square metre worth of radiation :- it would've been equivalent to, at most, 11 seconds extra worth of natural radiation.[ref 1-3]

The ratio between Helen Caldicott's exaggeration and any possible Fukushima Daiichi radiation dose is at least 7.5 billion to 1.[ref 1-9]


  1. As of 2014, a peer reviewed estimate of the total radiation released at Fukushima Daiichi was 340 to 800 PBq, with 80% falling into the Pacific ocean.[ref 10]
  2. The yellow area on the map, covering land, is at least 3 million km², or 3 × 1012 m². Dividing that area into 20% of 800 × 1015 Bq
    = 0.2 × 800 × 1015 / (3 × 1012) Bq/m²
    = 53,000 Bq/m²
  3. Our bodies experience 5000 radioactive decays per second. (5000 Bq)
  4. 1 PBq (petabecquerel) = 1015 Bq
  5. 1 Bq = 1 radioactive decay per second
  6. Natural background radiation dose ~ 3 mSv per year, ~ 0.0000000095 REM per second
  7. Extra Fukushima Daiichi radiation dose (maximum) ~ 0.0000001 REM
  8. Extra Fukushima Daiichi radiation dose claimed by Caldicott ~ 750 REM
  9. Disparity between maximum possible and Caldicott's claim ~ 7.5 billion.
  10. "Comparison of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents: A review of the environmental impacts Science of The Total Environment Volumes 470–471, 1 February 2014, Pages 800–817".

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Does nuclear power cause climate change?

Krypton-85 is a fission product produced in nuclear reactors. A small amount leaks, mostly from spent fuel, into the atmosphere, where it decays, with a half-life of 10.7 years, to rubidium-85, via beta decay. This decay produces two ionized particles: Rb-85(+) and an electron(-). Various environmentalists/climate campaigners [refs 2-6] claim this atmospheric ionization causes climate change. In 2005, the amount of Kr-85 in that atmosphere was 1.3 Bq/m³ [ref 1]

When I compare the rate of production of ions (from Kr-85) decay to the rate of neutralization (from lightning), I find neutralization overwhelms the effect of Kr-85 decay by 2 million to 1.

So is Krypton-85 a real climate risk or not. If it's a risk why isn't solar radiation also a massive risk. Why does mainstream climate science tar denier on solar radiation proponents, at the same time ignore those posing nuclear power as a major cause?


  • On average, about 4 Mega amps of lightning is discharged from atmosphere to earth each second.[refs 7,8]
  • Number of Kr-85 decays per second (in 2005)[refs 9-10]:
    = Number of decays per m³s-1 × total weight of air (kg) / weight 1m³ air
    = 1.3 × 5.15 . 1018 / 1.225 = 5.47 . 1018
  • Number of Kr-85 decay ionizations per second (in 2005) = 2 × 5.47 . 1018 = 1.094 . 1019
  • Global lightning discharges, per second:
    = number of amps discharged per second × number of elementary charges in one coulomb
    = 4 × 106 × 6.241 × 1018 = 2.4964 × 1025 [measured in elementary charges!]
  • Ratio of lightning discharge to Kr-85 ionizations = 2.284 × 106 = 2.3 million to 1 (in 2005)

So I'm baffled how a trace amount of krypton-85, decaying with a half-life of 10.7 years, can make such a great change to atmospheric ionization effects, given that the discharges due to lightning were 2,284,000 times greater in 2005.

Is Krypton-85 actually increasing? Not according to measurements taken below here: Variability of atmospheric krypton-85 activity concentrations observed close to the ITCZ in the southern hemisphere.

Measurements between August 2007 and May 2010 covered three wet seasons. The mean activity concentration of krypton-85 measured during this period was 1.31±0.02Bqm-3. A linear model fitted to the average monthly data, using month and monsoon as predictors, shows that krypton-85 activity concentration measured during the sampling period has declined by 0.01Bqm-3 per year.

Why do I never see climate scientists refuting anti-nuclear power claims such as: "nuclear power causes climate change"? I think many climate scientists seem happy to go along with any old garbage the anti-nuclear power movement come out with. No, I don't really thing that. I think they're totally focussed on the issues of GHG and denier narratives (such as the sun is the main cause of climate change). So much so they just don't care to refute this krypton-85 story.



  1. because Kr-85 is a trace, its quantity is measured by its decay, which, in 2005, was about 1.3 per second per cubic metre.


  1. "Majia's Blog" : Majia Holmer Nadesan (academic): Strangely Missing: Radionuclides' Effects on Climate
  2. "The Seneca Effect" : (Dutch academic blogger): Krypton-85: How nuclear power plants cause climate change
  3. "Climate Risks from Nuclear Power. Radioactive Krypton 85: Atmospheric-Electrical and Air-Chemical Effects of Ionizing Radiation in the Atmosphere"
  4. "After Cancún: Climate Governance or Climate Conflicts", edited by Elmar Altvater, Achim Brunnengräber, pp178-179 "In addition, nuclear power plants are emitting other gases, which also contribute to climate change. Of all the radioactive materials, the ionization of the air with radioactive noble gas, krypton-85, a product of nuclear fission, is the most intense ..."
  5. "The Global Casino, Fifth Edition: An Introduction to Environmental Issues", By Nick Middleton"


  1. According to: V Rakov, M Uman "Lightning: Physics and Effects", CUP 2003 : An average bolt of lightning carries a negative electric current of 40 kiloamperes (kA) (although some bolts can be up to 120 kA), and transfers a charge of five coulombs and energy of 500 MJ, or enough energy to power a 100-watt lightbulb for just under two months.
  2. National Geographic say: "about 100 [lightning bolts] strike Earth's surface every single second"


  1. Density of the atmosphere = 1.225 kg/m³
  2. The atmosphere has a mass of about 5.15 × 1018 kg
  3. Ampere is equivalent to one coulomb (roughly 6.241 × 1018 times the elementary charge) per second.

Climate science

  1. W.L. Boeck "Environmental consequences of atmospheric krypton-85". Final report, January 1, 1977-September 30, 1979
  2. Climate risks by radioactive krypton-85 from nuclear fission Atmospheric-electrical and air-chemical effects of ionizing radiation in the atmosphere

Monday, 12 October 2015

What Paul Langley gets wrong

Paul Langley is an Australian anti-nuclear activist. A radiophobe.

Paul Langley: But the lingering danger from residual fuel and fission fallout particles -those which emit Alpha and Beta radiation – exist long after the explosion. Alpha is are not detected very accurately by film badges or dosimeters. For this, specialised Alpha detectors are needed. Although the scientists conducting the atomic tests in Australia at the time knew of these dangers, they chose to concentrate upon the dangers of exposure to Gamma radiation. That is, they were more interested in the immediate effects of the Gamma radiation burst at the time of atomic detonations.

My comment: An atomic blast instantaneously produces a large quantity of gamma, neutron and fission products (radiation). The gamma, neutron are gone after the initial damage they do. Fission products decay producing alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Most fission products have very short half-lives so are quickly gone. After 3 months, radiation from fission product decay is 0.1% of its initial value. Even after 12 hours it's well down. Living tissue is damaged by a large amount of radiation all at once (gamma from the bomb blast). That explains the scientists concerns (above). We're not harmed much at all, by small amounts over a long time. This is what Paul Langley misses. Back in the 1970s we believed that any amount of radiation is harmful. Today we know differently. Our bodies have several repair mechanisms to correct major and minor harm from radiation or anything else which damages DNA.

PS: A Nobel prize was just awarded to the scientists who studied these DNA repair mechanisms.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Jeremy Rifkin - how passé

In this video Jeremy Rifkin says there are 5 reasons why nuclear power is over:

  1. Nuclear power does not scale (it can't be built quickly enough)
  2. We can't recycle spent fuel nor store it. e.g. "Yucca mountain is cracked" and can't be used as a waste repository
  3. There's not enough uranium
  4. We can not use plutonium, and keeping it leads to uncertainty and terrorism.
  5. There's not enough water to cool reactors.
    Just before he stops talking, he remembers he wanted to make 6 points:
  6. Nuclear power is centralized it does fit the new technologies which are "distributed, collaborative and laterally scaled".

Let's refute Rifkin's points, one by one:

  1. After fossil fuels, nuclear power is the most scalable electricity generation source
  2. Waste disposal
    • Recycling. A number of new reactor designs are being designed to run on spent fuel. e.g. the IMSR by Canadians: Terrestrial Energy:
    • Waste disposal. This isn't an issue. The amount of waste produced by a nuclear power plant is quite small. We can reduce it over 30-fold by closing the uranium fuel cycle. We already have the technology to do that.
  3. The world's oceans contain 4 billion tonnes of uranium. This can be extracted for about $600/kg which is a low enough price to make it economic. New uranium resources are being discovered as I write. E.g. the huge new reserves recently announced in Iran.
    We don't have to rely only on uranium. Thorium is 3.5 times more abundant than uranium, and it too can also be used in nuclear fission reactors.
  4. Plutonium.
  5. Not every nuclear reactor needs water for cooling, but there's plenty of water anyway. Reactors built next to the sea will probably continue to use water cooling.
  6. "distributed, collaborative and laterally scaled"
    -- Hey man, have a toke on my reefer, and invent some kewl new energy paradigms of your own!

Rifkin should stop making stuff up and deal with reality instead.


  1. A Green Road: Jeremy Rifkin - Five Reasons Why Nuclear Power is a Dead-End Business Model
  2. Historic Paths to Decarbonization
  3. IMSR: Terrestrial Energy's Integral Molten Salt Reactor - by Dr. David LeBlanc @ TEAC7
  4. Iran finds huge new supply of uranium
  5. China to help Bill Gates develop "pioneering" nuclear reactor
  6. the GE-Hitachi PRISM
  7. British Moltex fast molten salt reactor design
  8. European EVOL fast molten salt reactor design
  9. Copenhagen Atomics Thorium Molten Salt Reactor
  10. Weapons grade plutonium can only be made in special military grade reactors
  11. Israel tests ‘dirty bombs,’ finds they pose no substantial danger
  12. Dry cooling for nuclear power plants