Open mike 03/05/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 3rd, 2023 - 97 comments
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97 comments on “Open mike 03/05/2023 ”

  1. Ad 1

    Would've been more fun if Meka had simply changed parties right now, and kept Ministerial portfolios,, to show a Labour-Green-Maori Coslition as generally unremarkable.

    Would make for an easier campaign.

    • tsmithfield 1.1

      What do you think about the prospects of tactical voting to keep the MP out of government? That, is people voting National who otherwise wouldn't have.

      The average kiwi would likely be having visions of co-governance on steroids if Labour are in government and have to rely on the MP. Given co-governance seems to have been as popular as a turd on a birthday cake, then I can't imagine this combination would cause voters hearts to go all a flutter.

      • Res Publica 1.1.1

        The average kiwi would likely be having visions of co-governance on steroids if Labour are in government and have to rely on the MP.

        So we should drop co-governance because a bunch of bigots got whipped up into a frenzy by right-wing media, fed a whole bunch of bullshit, and now are foaming at the mouth about having to listen to someone else's perspective?

        The problem with co-governance isn't co-governance. It's been the left's inability to sell a compelling narrative for why it exists, and our unwillingness to reckon with racism, inequality, and history in the service of pleasing Chris Trotter's Waitakere Man

        • Shanreagh

          The problem with co-governance isn't co-governance. It's been the left's inability to sell a compelling narrative for why it exists, and our unwillingness to reckon with racism, inequality, and history in the service of pleasing Chris Trotter's Waitakere Man

          Yes I agree with this. I say it again my view that in its explanations Govt over estimated the ability of the electorate to understand. If this happens the interpretation/analysis is left to others who may also not understand or who may understand, but have no interest in putting forward an unbiased view.

      • alwyn 1.1.2

        Mr Hipkins has told us that there is no co-Governance planned for the water supply. If we look at the Te Mana o te Wai Statements in the legislation he would appear to be correct. It is going to be exclusive control by the various iwi groups with no governance by anyone else.

        A full explanation of the effects is given by Dr Muriel Newman here.

        • Incognito

          It is going to be exclusive control by the various iwi groups with no governance by anyone else.

          laugh You're a true comedian.

        • Shanreagh

          Mr Hipkins has told us that there is no co-Governance planned for the water supply.

          I am not sure that he did say this? I know he said that Three Waters would be held over and now it has emerged as


          'Asked why co-governance was kept, McAnulty said there were multiple reasons.

          "Māori have a special interest in water and that's been established by the courts – I wasn't prepared to put anything up that would be counter to that.

          "At the end of the day, I was confident that if we actually explain what it is we're proposing – accepting that our explanation previously wasn't effective and that people found out that it wasn't actually governance, that it was very similar to what's happening in the Local Government sector on a day-to-day basis – then, really, New Zealanders would be comfortable with it."


          I did go through the clauses in the draft legislation on 22/4. I got a bit of justified 'stick' about my setting out at the time but I think I have read the draft legislation well enough to know that your statement

          It is going to be exclusive control by the various iwi groups with no governance by anyone else.

          is not correct.

          • alwyn

            What Hipkins said was

            'Hipkins said “co-governance” was a misapplied term for the complex governance structure proposed for the water assets.

            "It's not co-governance and it wasn't co-governance. These entities will be governed by a skills-based board,” he said.'


            As far as my comment on control being by various iwi groups I would suggest that, since only iwi groups can issue Te Mana o te Wai Statements and that they must be actioned the statement that they will be the only group in control is accurate. After all they will have the over-riding ability to prevent other actions being carried out if they want to.

            • Incognito

              Why don't you cite and link to the relevant section(s) of the Act, so that we can all check if you are correct or not? I'm convinced you're telling porkies but let's see what you come up with, this time.

              • alwyn

                I am not a practitioner of the art of following the deatails of legislation but I think these are the relevant parts. The bill is here


                Section 140,141 and 142



                Where there is an amendment to section 144. That is the real kicker and it basically says they have to do what they are told to do.

                • Incognito

                  Thank you for pointing to those sections. However, it is clear that you have grossly misinterpreted the Act and its specific amendment. Your comments are inaccurate, inconsistent with the legal text, oversimplifying and misleading. Yet, thrice (!) you make rather absolute statements and claims that fail the test of truthfulness. If you were simply parroting Muriel Newman then one wonders why you accept her ‘information’ without apparent checks and put your trust in her for being truthful. Newman is highly biased and arguably a bad faith actor and it is hard to understand why anybody would assist her agenda of biased disinformation unless it aligns with their own agenda.

                  • alwyn

                    " it is clear that you have grossly misinterpreted a different view of what the Bill says". FIFY.

                    We will clearly have to agree that we disagree on what it means. I think one thing and you think another.

                    • Incognito

                      Not quite.

                      You are entitled to your opinion, which, of course, has to have some foundation in reality. When you comment here, you are expected to argue for your opinion(s) and support your argument(s) with facts and data that can be verified. You pointed vaguely in the direction of some Sections of the Law but did not construct an argument. I can counter any argument that you may have and show that you are wrong and how wrong your comments were, thrice. And I am not the only one who told you that you were wrong.

                      You are not entitled to spread disinformation on this site, regardless of your intention. As a Moderator, I feel it is my responsibility to put a stop to that. I prefer frank and robust debate but in lieu of this, I can wear my other hat and deal with it more decisively.

                      Your choice – we live in a (relatively) free world.

                • lprent

                  Sections 140-143 just define a particular group that may provide a statement of their position on the provision of water services, that the water services must respond to that statement advising what steps (if any) they were taking towards fulfilling those positions and that response must be published.

                  There is nothing in that that is a problem. Nor in the changes to section 144.

                  It is almost exactly the same in essence with the requirements for territorial authority representatives being appointed to the regional representative group except that that group gets some actual power.

                  Basically you and that notorious racial bigot (in my opinion) Muriel Newman and her centre for racist propaganda mis-named as a Centre for Political Research are just terrified about a regional body having to respond to advice from locals who have an long-standing interest (well documented in 1840) in clean unpolluted waters. Especially that they are required to respond to it. It makes it hard to stack such bodies with minions who are interested in surrendering public assets to private monopolists – the type that characteristically follow the Act. Being forced and required to clearly explain their actions in requirements that can be pushed into the courts must be terrifying to them.

                  I can understand that after looking at other water plans, for instance, the Waikato Valley Authority – whose latest plan is that they may be able to stop increasing the annual pollution of the Waikato river about 70+ years.

                  After looking at the kind of scientific and local advice that was pushed into that advisory body and simply ignored, it is hardly surprising that the legislation is pretty clear about some of the long-standing local residents being listened to and answered.

                  It just makes it hard for honest thieving asset-grabbers carpet-baggers and their bigoted allies that Act likes to support…

                  Unfortunately I can’t raise any sympathy for those kinds of fuckwits.

                  • RedLogix

                    Quoting Sec 144:

                    A response to a Te Mana o te Wai statement for water services must include—


                    a plan that sets out how the water services entity intends (consistent with, and without limiting, section 4(1)(b)) to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai, to the extent that it applies to the entity’s duties, functions, and powers; and


                    a statement on how the plan gives effect to the obligations specified in section 4.


                    So then looking at Sec 4:

                    After section 5(b), insert:


                    in section 13(d), that a function of a water services entity is to partner and engage with mana whenua in its service area:


                    After section 5(g), insert:


                    in sections 232(5), 247(1)(a), 257(1)(b), 262(1)(d), 271(1)(c), 286(1)(b), 347(1)(a), 355(b), 473(3), and 474(2) and (6), that there must be engagement with mana whenua:


                    in section 465(1)(b)(ii), that the chief executive of a water services entity must, as soon as practicable after finalising a specified document, prepare and publish a report on how each specified document gives effect to—


                    the principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi; and


                    Te Mana o te Wai (to the extent that Te Mana o te Wai applies to the relevant duties, functions, and powers):


                    in section 474(1)(c) and clause 78 of Schedule 1 that contracts, arrangements or understandings which local authorities have entered with mana whenua relating to water services transfer to water services entities:


                    in clause 77 of Schedule 1 that during the establishment period for water services entities, all persons exercising duties, functions, or powers must uphold the integrity, intent, and effect of Treaty settlement obligations:


                    in clause 8 of Schedule 5 that a subsidiary of a water services entity must give effect to Treaty settlement obligations that apply to the parent entity and are relevant to the purpose and objectives of the subsidiary.


                    Seems to go a little beyond a requirement to simply 'respond'. Multiple uses of the word 'must' would appear to create a binding legislative and contractual obligations to carry out the intent and requirements of these Te Mana o te Wai statements.

                    At least that seems to be the intent – maybe it reads differently to you.

      • AB 1.1.3

        Luxon was certainly indulging in that sort of dog whistle this morning on RNZ's Morning Report. He insisted that Labour/Greens/MP were a single bloc, so nudge nudge wink wink, if you vote Labour you'll get radical Mowrees. Might be a good move by Luxon – never underestimate the racist instincts of a sizeable cohort of kiwi, know it all, self-identifying 'practical' blokes. Corin Dann, who is either exhausted or letting his natural conservatism take over, didn't counter by asking Luxon if Natonal-ACT were a single bloc, or pointing at people like Brash who have moved from National to ACT, or making the dog whistle explicit by asking if National was now fully on board with the neoliberal extremism of the Market Leninists in ACT. But hey, these are clueless NZ journalists, lacking both memory and thought.

        • Incognito

          It seems a persistent meme that TPM will form (!) a Government together with Labour & Greens but never with NACT – not a genuine Kingmaker proposition. For example,

          I think a (more?) likely possibility is the TPM will sit on the cross-benches for maximum leverage. Looking at the political neutering of the Green Party in this Government I would certainly consider this, especially when TPM is relatively inexperienced and lacks Government experience. How long this would survive in Parliament and how effective it would be is anybody’s guess – I can’t see it last a full term.

    • Anne 1.2

      “…kept Ministerial portfolios,, to show a Labour-Green-Maori Coslition as generally unremarkable.”

      Well, it could have been if she had had the courtesy to inform the PM in advance but I expect its off the table now. Maybe just as well, because her judgement seems to have been a bit wanting in the past.

      • Ad 1.2.1


        Ranked 20th and demoted in Government as far south as possible she's not a substantial asset to lose or to gain.

      • observer 1.2.2

        Hipkins was quite restrained in his comments.

        He could have said "Every MMP government, Labour-led or National-led, has had a "no surprises" agreement with other parties. If TPM were at some future point to enter an agreement with Labour, the same principle would apply. Today's events are certainly surprising, and the complete lack of communication does not augur well."

        (of course there isn't a "no surprises" clause now, so there's no breach, but the level of trust has just plummeted).

        • Anne

          "… the level of trust has just plummeted."

          Totally agree. But then… John Tamihere. He has a reputation for being a bit of a turncoat. I expect he is the one who manipulated this latest development.

      • Belladonna 1.2.3

        I agree that she appears to have been pretty poor in the courtesy department.

        At a minimum, an official notification before the leaks started (and well before the date of the public announcement), should have just been routine.

        I don't know if this is a sign of bad blood between her and Hipkins, or just her general attitude towards interpersonal relations.

  2. Res Publica 2

    I give you the Green Party: An organisation so wracked by factionalism and so far up it's own arse that it can't even rid itself of a bully and political liability without somehow making the situation worse.

    • Visubversa 2.1

      The Australian Green Party is tearing itself apart over gender ideology having made "trans rights" a new sacred class and threatening to suspend or expel any member who so much as asks a question about it.

      “The old code already prohibited vilification, harassment and misgendering,” the party member said. “Now you won’t even be able to ask questions about or propose changes to our policy without threat of expulsion. One way or another, this will split us.”

    • Ed 2.2

      The Green Party will be destroyed at the election.

      • observer 2.2.1

        A prediction made before every MMP election, and always wrong. It is a permanent feature of NZ politics: every 3 years the Greens will disappear, every 3 years the Greens do not, but the confident pundits and politicians do. Vernon Tava, anyone?

      • AB 2.2.2

        Sorry Ed, but wish fulfillment dreams are not political discourse, or even political comment.

        And this is related to a common propaganda technique among the right-wing commentariat – you insist that what you want to happen will happen, in the hope that saying so makes it more likely to happen. Probably 80%+ of the trash posing as opinion pieces that appear in (say) the NZ Herald, are an example of this.

        • Visubversa

          If the Greens could survive their co-leader committing political hara-kiri just before the General Election, they can survive most things.

          • Res Publica

            What happened with Metiria almost broke the party.

            I door-knocked extensively for the Green Party campaign. And the day after her benefit announcement, I had people I'd been talking to regularly over several election cycles, and who even voted for a Green Party councillor, literally slamming their doors in my face.

            We lost half of our volunteers almost overnight.

            We lost even more people when the post-election report was presented at the next AGM, and refused to even mildly criticise her.

      • SPC 2.2.3

        A claim made by left wing men who want a party on the left of Labour in their own image.

    • Bearded Git 2.3

      "senior Green members" to quit but no names.yeah right.

      This is another excuse for a media beat up to attack the Greens including repeating the pathetic "crybaby" story.

      Meanwhile the Greens polled 12% in latest Roy Morgan.

      • Incognito 2.3.1

        Meanwhile the Greens polled 12% in latest Roy Morgan.

        Babies have huge pulling power, e.g., in advertising and election campaigns.

        Talking about a media beat-up, I’ve seen several times now headlines including the word “scandal”. I tell you, Crygate is bigger than Watergate, and world-famous in NZ.

      • Nic the NZer 2.3.2

        I'm certainly surprised but the Green's appear to have just bulldozed over Alburt Park fallout and carried on. Potentially that hit Labour in this poll, but will fade leading up to the election.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    It is delicious to watch greybeard pundits and tory commenters get bent out of shape on the rise of Te Pāti Māori. TPM are calling for GST off kai, Feed the Kids, and many other progressive policies that in a better world a majority Labour Govt. could have ticked off on a quiet afternoon in early 2021.

    We (as in AO/NZ’s population) are in the midst of significant generational change. 70% of Māori are under 40 years of age and numbers of them are getting more politically active from my observation in the Far North. First FNDC Māori Mayor, Moko Tepania has been elected. Boomers will be in a minority as a voting group in 2026. And remember, elder poverty is a thing too, with 40% of super annuitants having their gold card payments as their only income source.

    “It’s Time” as Norm Kirk’s campaign said in 1972. Time to retire Rogernomics & Ruthanasia.

  4. SPC 4

    The culture wars in the USA are now inter-state.

  5. Sabine 5

    So assume that the green could split like they did many years ago in Germany – fundis vs realos,.

    Assume that the Maori Caucus of the Labour Party changes to the TPM.

    Assume that this will cause a big loss to the Labour Party.

    So say assume Labour 29 – 32, Greens – what ever is left of them when they done canibalising themselves 5 – 7, and TPM say 5 – 7%. Not enough to win.

    As for the current Poll out, i don't think Greens sit at 12.5 %. (i know more young people that are looking at TOP rather then the Greens, specially those that are not caught up in the gender woo woo)

    National however will sit somewhere between 32 – 35%. ACT sits at 10 – 15 % and then is NZ First which could go to 5- 6 % and Democracy Now who could win a seat in Northland, making Northland the new Epsom. National wins.
    I am not entertaining anyone in the Labour Party to approach NZFirst for help, nor can i see NZFirst entertaining the idea of again going with Labour.

    Maybe Labour thought it was good having the TPM staffed with EX Labour people such as Rawhiti and Tamihere and now the boat jumper. So safely we could assume that the TPM is the EX Labour Maori Caucus Party, but will that get them enough votes to make it big, and how many votes will it take from Labour. The question really is how many voters can Labour lose to other parties before they become irrelevant?

    Interesting times.

    • Ed 5.1

      As for the current Poll out, i don't think Greens sit at 12.5 %. (i know more young people that are looking at TOP rather then the Greens, specially those that are not caught up in the gender woo woo)

      The key here is what older Green voters are going to do, as older voters tend to be more reliable when voting. The events at Albert Park will have put off a significant number of informed older women voters ( those that do not rely on the hysteria whipped by the mainstream media) and know what happened to as 70 year old woman at the event. The comments by Marama Davidson will have have attracted older men to vote for the new Green Party.

      We shall see – but I'm certain the Greens are well below 12% (Roy Morgan always paints them high), and that their support is dropping amongst older voters and will fall further as it continues to show its new priorities.

      • Res Publica 5.1.1

        I think it's a test of the psephological argument that political parties have a "core" support base that they can rely on irrespective of the wider political situation.

        Historically, for the Greens, this seems to be around 5-6% of the electorate.

        Certainly, the Greens have polled far worse 6 months out from an election and managed to just squeak through. But it will be interesting to see if the party is able to hold itself together for long enough to get over the line.

        • Ad

          The Greens are sufficiently reliable right now. They are like a messy and incoherent younger sister who nevertheless still manages to graduate.

          It's Labour that needs to do the heavy lifting into the high 30%.

          A 'bread and butter' budget isn't going to cut it Chippie.

          • Sabine

            They are down in the current poll, and frankly could go down further, this defection by the MP who is looking after the cyclone hit areas in the East Coast is not good for Labour, and is of no use to anyone living currently at the East Coast, shoveling dirt with no aid and no support.

        • Sabine

          i expect them to clear 7% but not much more then that.

    • Tiger Mountain 5.2

      Labour had its chance in 2020 with that once in a generation MMP majority and they did not have the courage–or more importantly, the ideological ability and class position–to go for broke and lay waste to Rogernomics and Ruthanasia’s toxic legacy. Neo Blairism ruled and here we are.

      But nonetheless the 2023 General Election needs to see a Labour/Green/Māori Govt. (TOP? not yet convinced).

      Lesser evil voting is the unfortunate way with bourgeois Parliamentary democracies, because all main parties are in reality cross class and try and maintain they represent “all New Zealanders”. This is bollocks with only the degree of their subservience to capital varying. But you have to work with and struggle against basically with one eye on the future.

      We are indeed in the midst of major demographic change. Many new gens don’t give a toss about, or support, Māori capacity building and iwi moving closer to achieving some post colonial justice at last.

      • Res Publica 5.2.1

        I would desperately love for TOP to be electorally viable, but I just don't see it happening.

        The historical track record for new political parties that aren't based around, or manage to poach a sitting MP is pretty dismal. I think the Greens are the only ones (ironic given my other comments) to manage it, and they had the advantage of at least having been part of the Alliance.

    • Peter 5.3

      If you mean DemocracyNZ in Northland, there's as much chance of that as Walter Nash being the Prime Minister after October.

      • Sabine 5.3.1

        I kind of agree, but they also have a chance i believe. NZ First Shane Jones meh, whom ever the National Party runs, meh, the person with a uterus from Labour meh too Labour meh, so really yes, they could. Stranger things have happened. I would not discount them.

    • alwyn 5.4

      If the entire Maori Caucus in the Labour Party were to switch to TPM the main effect would be that there would be a lot less Maori MPs.

      There are, I believe, 15 Maori MPs in the Labour Caucus. If we suppose the TPM won all the Maori seats that would give them 7 seats. I suspect the absolute limit on their party vote would be about 5% which would allow for 6 seats They would, with an overhang seat get 7 seats.

      Of the existing 2 TPM MPs, and the 15 who might come over from Labour there would therefore be 10 who would be out in the cold. I'm sure that all the Labour MPs can count and they aren't going to commit electoral suicide.

  6. Adrian 6

    Really >? Labour in the middle of a world wide pandemic that no-one knew how bad it would or could get should have made dramatic and "go for broke " changes to everything.. Thank God you are nowhere near the levers of power.

  7. Peter 7

    The Land of the Free will always amaze. Now a Michigan school district has banned kids taking even clear backpacks to school over concern about guns

    “Across the country, we have seen an increase in threatening behavior and contraband, including weapons, being brought into schools at all levels,” the district said in a frequently-asked-questions brief for parents.

    “Backpacks make it easier for students to hide weapons, which can be disassembled and harder to identify or hidden in pockets, inside books or under other items,” it said.

    The school board decided on a fairly straightforward backpack ban that prohibits those made of transparent plastic. The ban applies through the end of the school year."

    If the risks are so high in kids taking things to school surely the most definite, safe, bullet proof option is to not have kids go to school in the first place. I mean everyone went to school and look how they ended up.

    • AB 7.1

      The land of the free is the land of private tyrranies. The power of a legitimate democratic state is villified and weakened to the point that it is unable to stop private tyrranies from flourishing. Right wing 'libertarians' are authoritarians at heart.

  8. Stephen D 8

    I'm tribal Labour. On my local LEC etc.

    However, as a teacher and member of the PPTA I will willingly strike with my colleagues.


    Two of my coworkers are beginning teachers. Bright, engaging, great with the students, and volunteer for the co-curricular stuff. Howver both of then have had to get second jobs to make end meet.

    If we want to attract people into the profession, we need to pay them accordingly/rant

    • SPC 8.1

      I'd start with an end to any requirement for anyone working as a teacher to make any TD payment. They are paying it back by working as a teacher (as are nurses – with doctors I'd make the first 10 years TD free and then determine that by other measures – such as continuing if a GP in an area of shortage, or a rural area GP locum etc).

  9. Ad 9

    If anyone wants to see why Turkey is the most important hinge point in the fate of global democracy this year, this is as good an explanation as you need without going to Foreign Affairs:

    • Shanreagh 9.1

      Excellent article Ad.

      Turkey (formerly part of the larger Ottoman Empire) has fulfilled this (power broking/bulwark) role many times over the last 200 years with 'the sick man of Europe' being a key reason why our troops were around the Dardanelles and Gallipoli in WW1. Its importance, perhaps a function of geography as well as now a democracy and ‘relatively stable is overlooked at one’s peril.

  10. alwyn 10

    I suspect that over the years vastly more people have died from eating bad cheese that have been killed by plutonium. That would basically have been only the people killed by the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. That is generally estimated as being about 65,000.

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

      • weka 10.1.1

        That’s a study in hubris.

      • RedLogix 10.1.2

        What is usually overlooked in that story is that other people just a few meters away in the same room survived. It was an extremely high dose rate, possibly the highest any humans have been exposed to and lived to tell the tale – yet several of them lived many decades afterward.

        It belies the idea that exposure to ionising radiation is always an instant death sentence.

        • Incognito

          What is usually overlooked in that story is that other people just a few meters away in the same room survived.

          They did, but for how long? Did you read the Wiki article or are you pushing a binary dead-or-alive here?

          Three of the observers eventually died of conditions that are known to be promoted by radiation: […] Some of the deaths may have been a consequence of the incident.

          • RedLogix

            are you pushing a binary dead-or-alive here?

            Maybe a sort of Schroedinger's Cat dead or alive. cheeky

            Yes I did quickly scan the wiki article, although I was always familiar with the incident. The point I am making is that most people irrationally overestimate the threat of radiation and how even in extreme cases like this one it is still difficult to draw a straight line between cause and effect.

            Some of the deaths may have been a consequence of the incident. Louis Hempelman, M.D., a consultant to the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, believed that it is not possible to establish a causal relation between the incident and the specifics of the death from such a small sample.

            • Incognito

              Other people in the room were hospitalised for quite some time and suffered from issues that may have been caused by radiation exposure.

              Chronic biological damage at the sub-cellular level can be very hard to detect and almost impossible to prove, even when symptoms manifest, usually (much) later as syndromes, which is true for ionising radiation and exposure to chemical toxins/poisons such as nerve gasses. I think these sorts of things add to the public fear and not entirely without reason, IMO.

              • RedLogix

                No-one has suggested that acute ionising exposure at that extremely high does rate is anything other than dangerous. But the fact remains that of the 8 people in that room, only 1 actually died as an immediate consequence.

                That the other 7 survived for quite considerable periods afterward is the actually interesting part of the story.

                What now know is that our cellular DNA is under constant assault from all manner of biochemical and environment mechanisms – of which natural background radiation is just one contributor. We also know that all the cells of our bodies are replaced at least every few months, so if we did not have some means to keep that DNA reasonably repaired and accurate we would likely not live more than a year or two.

                And crucially – as long as we do not overwhelm this repair mechanism the damage from ionising radiation will not accumulate – and any harm will likely remain below any threshold of detection. It is only when we are exposed to high rates of radiation over a period of minutes or hours that it really becomes dangerous. Below a certain threshold you are almost certainly going to be just fine.

                And in this case the 7 people who survived the immediate event, did so because while the peak intensity of the event was extreme, it lasted only seconds.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  And crucially – as long as we do not overwhelm this repair mechanism the damage from ionising radiation will not accumulate – and any harm will likely remain below any threshold of detection.

                  Limiting Cancer Risk from Radiation in the Environment
                  EPA [US Environmental Protection Agency] bases its regulatory limits and nonregulatory guidelines for public exposure to low level ionizing radiation on the linear no-threshold (LNT) model. The LNT model assumes that the risk of cancer due to a low-dose exposure is proportional to dose, with no threshold. In other words, cutting the dose in half cuts the risk in half.

                  "This repair mechanism" is an example of evolution's adequate design – unless you're special there may be no need to worry, as far as we know.

                  Chromatin and the Cellular Response to Particle Radiation-Induced Oxidative and Clustered DNA Damage [13 July 2022]
                  Understanding how these lesions are repaired may allow for the identification of individuals in a population who may be at greater risk of cancer development arising from the mutational burden generated by environmental exposure to even low doses of radiation.

                  Consequences of changing Canadian activity patterns since the COVID-19 pandemic include increased residential radon gas exposure for younger people [7 April 2023]

                  Personal biases can mess with objective risk assessments and the value of preventative and/or protective strategies – for example lockdowns, testing/tracing, quarantine, physical distancing, ventilation and hand hygiene/masks (“virtue signaling“?), and vaccination during a pandemic.

                  Leveraging Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions for Devising COVID-19 Control Strategies [28 February 2023; PDF]

                  A multi-layered strategy for COVID-19 infection prophylaxis in schools: A review of the evidence for masks, distancing, and ventilation [24 October 2022]

                  • RedLogix

                    Not interested in this wall of quotes tactic. Make your case in your own words, backed by concise, pertinent references to back your point.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      "This [DNA] repair mechanism" is an example of evolution's adequate design – unless you're special there may be no need to worry, as far as we know.

                      Personal biases can mess with objective risk assessments and the value of preventative and/or protective strategies – for example lockdowns, testing/tracing, quarantine, physical distancing, ventilation and hand hygiene/masks (“virtue signaling“?), and vaccination during a pandemic.

                      P.S. Fwiw, the recent review on the cellular response to DNA damage seemed quite expert, at least to me. If you’re not interested in the “tactic” of including relevant links, then please just scroll on by – I do.

                  • RedLogix

                    If you’re not interested in the “tactic” of including relevant links, then please just scroll on by – I know I do.

                    Are you saying that you want to be ignored? If so then why are you wasting pixels here?

                    Otherwise I confess to being too stupid to decode the impressively oblique point you are trying to make here. Try speaking to me as if I were a small child – or a cocker spaniel.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Are you saying that you want to be ignored?

                      Thanks RL for not ignoring my comments in this thread. The links @11:20 am are helpful to me – reason enough to waste pixels, imho.

                      Otherwise I confess to being too stupid to decode the impressively oblique point you are trying to make here.

                      That genuinely surprises me. You mentioned "threshold" twice in your comment @9:09 am:

                      …threshold of detection [of harm]

                      Below a certain threshold [of ionising radiation exposure] you are almost certainly going to be just fine.

                      I observed that the EPA bases its regulatory limits and nonregulatory guidelines for public exposure to low level ionising radiation on the linear no-threshold (LNT) model (link #1), and that DNA repair mechanisms (link #2) are imperfect products of evolution which, while adequate at the population level, may be inadequate for a few individuals (given the diversity of molecular and cellular systems), potentially contributing to an early demise.

                      An analogy would be that for most people the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 are very safe and moderately effective, but a small proportion of recipients exhibit serious adverse reactions, perhaps due in part to the diversity of individual immune systems.

                      Link #3 was to a paper speculating that population-based pandemic responses might increase exposure to natural (radon-sourced) low level ionising radiation, and the possible health significance of same.

                      Links #4 and #5 highlighted the diversity of opinions on the benefits of mask wearing during a pandemic – some consider mask wearing to be a type of "virtue signaling", whereas at my age, and with all this talk of long COVID, it just seems commonsense.

                      Long COVID Now Looks like a Neurological Disease, Helping Doctors to Focus Treatments [1 March 2023]
                      The causes of long COVID, which disables millions, may come together in the brain and nervous system

                      Try speaking to me as if I were a small child – or a cocker spaniel.

                      "Look at moi" – good boy Blue wink

                  • RedLogix

                    Thank you for clarifying your point. I am going to focus on your case arguing for the LNT model.

                    In brief the obvious flaw of this model is that it ignores the fact that we live in a sea of background radiation – and that if this model was correct – we would all accumulate ionising damage over the course of a few decades and all die of radiation induced sickness. And this would apply to all living things, even very long lived ones.

                    It also ignores the fact that life on this planet evolved when the background radiation level was likely 5 – 10 times higher than it is now.

                    It also fails to account that natural background levels even in modern times varies over a very wide range – and there is no evidence that people living in high dose zones die sooner than anyone else. Indeed there is some compelling evidence for the opposite.

                    It also fails to account for the real outcomes for accidental radiation releases that have occurred – most of which have resulted in far less harm than LNT would predict. In particular it can be shown that once the dose rate falls below a fairly high threshold rate that most of the general public are very unlikely to be exposed to, even in the worst case accidents, pretty much nothing bad happens.

                    In the great majority of real world radiation releases, the dose is received over an extended period. LNT for which dose rate is irrelevant claims this make no difference and the only thing that counts is the cumulative dose. Real world experience says that's nonsense. What counts is keeping the harm rate below the repair rate.

                    The problem with LNT as a model is that it predicts far more harm from radiation than is reasonable. It was for instance the general basis on which some people predicted 100's thousands of deaths from Chernobyl, when in the real world on the ground researchers struggled to find more than a few hundred.

                    And that bad model in turn imposes on the nuclear power industry something called ALARP (As Low as Reasonably Practical) which is interpreted to mean by the US NRC to mean that if something can be done to reduce radiation levels, then it must be done. Regardless of cost.

                    Which in turn imposes insane, unreasonable costs on nuclear power generators that has absolutely stifled their development and rollout over the past three decades. Which is why we still burn coal.

                    PS (I am not claiming that radiation has zero risk, just that is negligible at low rates of exposure. We all accept negligible risk every time we get out of bed, but that does not stop us from getting on with life.)

                  • RedLogix

                    I think I can safely say we would agree with the general conclusions of your second reference.


                    So, why are we having this pro-LNT/anti-LNT debate? It is because the precautionary approach and ALARA have resulted in regulators, in many instances, regulating µSv doses which are at least 10 000 times lower than where evidence of harm has been convincingly proven. This is done using LNT in its strictest sense and because it is achievable. However, often the resources spent to achieve such regulation is not commensurate with the acceptable risk. The anti-LNT argument would suggest that the vast amount of money spent on protecting from such low doses would be better spent protecting from known real harms, whether that be in the radiation industries or in other areas of society.

                    In the interests of being constructive, if I am going to criticise the LNT model I had better offer an improved alternative. The author I am following (and corresponding with) on this prefers a model called SNT (Sigmoid No Threshold). Unfortunately it requires some tech background to get the most out of it, but the essence is this:

                    SNT is consistent with the fact that 1000 mGy in a hour or two creates an entirely different amount of harm than a 1000 mGy spread evenly over 50 years. According to SNT, 1000 mGy acute results in an increased cancer mortality of 0.064, a bit more than LNT. But the increased cancer mortality associated with 0.385 mGy in a week is 0.0000000267. … 2000 weeks of this results in an increased cancer mortality of 0.00007, which would be undetectable.

                    SNT can model both the harm associated with a large dose received over a short period and the lack of detectable harm when the same dose is received over an extended period.


                    Now I am certain the large majority of people scanning this thread are not in the least interested in this apparently arcane debate – yet as I outlined above it lies at the heart of why we are having a climate change crisis at all. There are two reasons why we are still burning fossil fuel instead of having already transitioned to nuclear power.

                    One is this scientific LNT lie that has conditioned the public to be irrationally afraid of radiation and the resulting regulatory over-reach has made building coal power stations far cheaper than nuclear.

                    The other has been a defensive nonsense from the nuclear power industry that has pretended they could build reactors that would never suffer an accidental radiation release – at any scale. This too is a lie – nothing human is ever perfect and all engineered artifacts will fail. And the public are not stupid, they knew the industry was bullshitting when they made this claim.

                    The correct path forward is to be honest – yes reactors will suffer from a non-zero failure rate. We will engineer to make this rate as low as is economically feasible, but it will not be zero. But the good news is that for all realistic scenarios the resulting harm to the general public will be negligible.

                    Much the same proposition will apply to the high level waste – yes this is a by product that like many other industrial waste stream must be handled and stored in a serious and reliable manner, but the risk of harm from this is far lower than the anti-activists have told you.

                    The argument is simple enough – if you truly believe climate change is an existential threat, or even just a potentially very disruptive one, the risk of harm from nuclear power generation to solve this crisis, while not zero, is so low as to be insignificant by comparison.

                    It is like a starving man refusing to cross a road to obtain food, because he is scared of being struck by a meteor.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      External background ionizing radiation and childhood cancer: Update of a nationwide cohort analysis [November 2021]
                      About a third of childhood leukemia cases in Switzerland may be due to external background radiation.

                      Cancers in children are quite rare.

                      Radiophobia: Useful concept, or ostracising term? [July 2022]
                      However, in order for a more constructive nuclear discourse, a paradigm shift will be required, acknowledging the complex historical and sociopsychological factors that have shaped radiation into becoming a uniquely feared process.

                      Consider the possibility that a more constructive nuclear discourse will require nuclear power advocacy from respected disinterested persons – a few strategically-placed 'new Lovelocks' might help.


                      Notwithstanding the opinions of the founder of ThorCon, as far as nuclear power is concerned, nimby. Australia, with its greater per capita energy use, relatively stable geology, vast empty spaces and massive uranium ore deposits, is a logical place to deploy MSRs.

                      Has the Coalition gone cold on nuclear power?
                      [1 June 2022]

                      RL, I hope your vision of a hyper-energised eco-friendly civilisation freed from the shackles of photosynthesis can be realised (somehow.) Imho, CC is a self-made existential threat to this iteration of civilisation on spaceship Earth – future iterations may learn from our mistakes, if people remember and agree/care what they were.

                      It is like a starving man refusing to cross a road to obtain food, because he is scared of being struck by a meteor.

                      Or a morbidly obese man refusing to limit his food intake, because he's exceptional and the prospect of losing 'weight' is terrifying.
                      As for bariatric surgery – fuhgeddaboudit!

                      It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

                  • RedLogix

                    Or a morbidly obese man refusing to limit his food intake, because he's exceptional and the prospect of losing 'weight' is terrifying.

                    As I have pointed out many times, the future course of CC has little to do with the choices of the already rich and developed world. Yeah we can reduce our excess consumption, we can continue to become incrementally more efficient. Nice to have, but it is a small fraction of the problem. It is the poor in nations like China, India, SE Asia and Africa who will determine the outcome.

                    It all comes down to one thing – do they build coal burning power plants, or nuclear ones? And they will make that choice on cost.

                    It is that simple.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      As I have pointed out many times, the future course of CC has little to do with the choices of the already rich and developed world. Yeah we can reduce our excess consumption, we can continue to become incrementally more efficient. Nice to have, but it is a small fraction of the problem.

                      Yes yes, the entire "rich and developed world" is merely a small fraction of the current problem – I've read this many times. But since reducing consumption is "nice to have", and 'the rich world' is well placed to reduce consumption, why not do it? What are the obstacles to making this seemingly hard choice now?

                      Harnessing the connectivity of climate change, food systems and diets: Taking action to improve human and planetary health [14 April 2023]

                      Why communicating on climate is so hard [24 April 2023]
                      Communicating the climate crisis effectively is one of the most complex — and consequential — challenges of our time. While humans already have many solutions needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages, we lack the ability to inform, inspire and persuade a critical mass to act decisively and immediately.

                      Bill McKibben Explains Global Warming By The Numbers [17 April 2023]
                      The IPCC says the “carbon budget” for the Earth is now at about 380 billion tons of carbon dioxide. To avoid exceeding our carbon budget — the point where carbon emissions tip the world over into an irreversible full blown climate disaster — 90% of all the fossil fuels currently buried underground will need to stay there, unburned.

                      The fossil fuel industry has plans on the table to add 5 times more coal, oil, and gas than the Earth can tolerate without going into total meltdown mode. “If you want to understand … why the fossil fuel industry fights so hard,” McKibben writes in Rolling Stone, we have to recognize that leaving all that fossil fuel in the ground “means stranding about $100 trillion worth of assets in the soil.

                      Opinion | We must band together despite our differences to stop climate change [24 March 2023]
                      At first, it seems puzzling that we pursue our own demise through our carbon emissions with such zeal. But there is really no “we” here. The human race is deeply divided: rich vs. poor, and the greed of current generations vs. the survival of voiceless future generations.

                      Might greed, and the desire of some in "the rich world" to continue BAU just a little longer, be delaying the hard choices? Is it that simple?

                      Meanwhile, since I can't build a nuclear power plant, I'll continue to consume less (a win, if not a win-win) and choose actions/products with smaller footprints – that’s something I can do.





                  • RedLogix

                    Well as one of your references speaks to – 'why is it so hard to communicate about climate change' – I suggest the answer is not very complex.

                    It is because the message being conveyed is that the solution to CC is energy poverty – or some variation of this. People are not stupid, as much as we might want to dress this poverty up in moral virtue, it holds for most people the prospect of a diminished life. And when we try to guilt the them into compliance, they become passively resistant, saying one thing and then doing another.

                    As for the already poor, the billions who live the reality of an energy poor life – they have little but contempt.

                    Yet a template for the answer is literally under our noses – if you offer people who can afford them EV's, they happily leap at the chance. Their CC mitigation potential might be marginal, but they will cheerfully pay a little extra for them because getting rid of that ICE engine does feel good, and their quality of life improves even.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      The Stockholm Syndrome [26 May 2022]
                      However, a rare trend reversal was marked during COVID-19 in 2020, when Earth Overshoot Day moved back three weeks and was once again observed in August, instead of July; which is where it was in pre-pandemic 2019. A study by the GFN estimated that the pandemic had driven a 14.5-percent decrease in humanity’s carbon footprint compared to 2019. Unfortunately, this contraction has little to do with a change in mindsets regarding consumption and production, and everything to do with the economic lockdown brought on by the pandemic.

                      “The deficit is getting bigger and bigger, and yet there has been no real jolt to the political system. Any delays in the yearly date have been incidental, not intentional. We observed an improvement during oil shocks, the pandemic, and financial crises.”
                      – Véronique Andrieux, director of WWF, France.

                      Where do the resources needed to offer/sell meaningful numbers of people the means to decrease their environmental footprints (without compromising quality of life) come from? Hopeless.

                      The way we pay for the present by liquidating the future truly fits the definition of a Ponzi scheme. Any other forms of Ponzi schemes are outlawed, only the ecological one we seem to ignore or even encourage.
                      Mathis Wackernagel

                      Anne Salmond: Is the ETS an environmental ponzi scheme? [1 May 2023]
                      We have to be sure that the Emissions Trading Scheme is not an environmental Ponzi scheme, based on unfounded claims about its overall impact on the climate. That would be prohibitively costly for the New Zealand economy, for the country’s international reputation, and for our children and grandchildren.

                      During world wars and more recent global and local crises, many people made do with less. Civilisation is now clearly at odds with planetary boundaries – can civilisation 'win' the day?

                      The Sustainability Crisis [4 May 2023; abstract only]
                      Forces of environmental destruction are driving the Earth System beyond the safe planetary boundaries to such an extent that they are destroying our life support system, the biosphere. Our climate, soils, forests, freshwater, biodiversity and essential minerals are all threatened. Meanwhile, social injustice and inequality are splitting our societies. Rich countries and rich individuals have the greatest responsibility for unleashing these forces. If current trends continue, civilisation is unlikely to outlast the twenty-first century. Although time is of the essence, scenario studies suggest that it may still be possible to transition to a Sustainable Civilisation, without collapsing our current civilisation, but we must act now.


                      Talk about the answers being literally under our noses.

                      The solutions are there
                      But what are the indicators that allow you to move – forward or backward – the date of the overshoot day? Experts identify five: cities, energy, food, planet and population. Within each of these macro-sectors there are an infinite number of sustainable solutions and alternatives. Any examples? Halving the world’s food waste would give us 13 more days on the calendar. While the so-called “15-minute city” – where all essential services can be reached on foot or by bicycle – would save us another 11 days. Or again: reforesting 350 million hectares of land would move the date by 8 days. Small individual gestures are then added to the decisions that are up to governments and companies. For example in energy production, one of the main drivers of climate change. According to expert estimates, abandoning fossil fuels and reducing CO2 emissions by 50% would allow us to postpone the overshoot day more than three months (93 days).


                  • RedLogix

                    Another wall of quotes, and while I can guess why you thought them worth linking to – I cannot see anything substantive in your own words.

                    But if I was to take a punt you are proposing the usual mix measures that involve a mix of energy poverty and intermittent solar/wind/battery renewables to keep some lights on. Is this it?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      I cannot see anything substantive in your own words.

                      Understood – "and I’d not suggest we will sustain our currently profligate lifestyles." wink

                      But if I was to take a punt you are proposing the usual mix measures that involve a mix of energy poverty and intermittent solar/wind/battery renewables to keep some lights on. Is this it?

                      Yes, for Aotearoa NZ and Aussie, except for the "energy poverty" bit. Nuclear power will likely continue to be a significant part of the global energy mix for decades (have I expressed a personal opinion to the contrary?) – just not in my back yard, OK?

                      Some (but not all) more populous countries, particularly in Asia, plan to increase nuclear power generation, and more power to them. Apologies for the following 'wall' of links; they're for my benefit (and possibly other readers) – they'll be of no use to you.

                      A nuclear blazing row [5 May 2023]
                      The nuclear debate in Europe is heating up. The issue is emotional. And it polarises.

                      SMR Market to Meet 2% Of Total Electricity Demand by 2043 [25 April 2023]

                      Nuclear power in the global energy mix [19 April 2023]
                      Despite uneven global usage, nuclear energy powers about 10% of the world's total electricity grid.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      So, continuing from 9:14 pm, provided this iteration of civilisation isn't destabilised (further) by CC, pandemics, wars, economic crises and other self-made challenges, nuclear power may have a 10% share of global electricity generation by 2050 – fingers crossed!

                      Zero-carbon nuclear power plays a supporting role
                      Nuclear power is an important source of firm zero-carbon energy, given the severity of the climate crisis and the necessity to quickly move off fossil fuels.

                      In the IEA’s Net Zero by 2050 scenario, nuclear power capacity increases significantly in the next three decades as electricity demand triples, but nuclear’s share of global electricity generation remains similar to today (10%).

                      Governments should especially endeavour to keep existing nuclear power online where it is safe to do so, and research new ways to benefit from nuclear power in the future, both in advanced fission and modular construction, as well as exploring prospects for power from nuclear fusion.

                      However, we expect the vast majority of the growth in clean power in this critical decade to come from wind and solar, which is cheaper and faster to deploy, and lacks the requirement for long-term waste storage or high decommissioning costs.



                  • RedLogix

                    I scanned those references and as usual the main argument raised is 'nuclear is too expensive' and 'takes too long'. Both of which can be largely sheeted home to "Big Lie" LNT myth.

                    Though it’s convenient, mathematically simple and well established in regulatory assumptions, the LNT is a scientifically unsupportable model. It cannot be proven with empirical evidence and it can only be said to be “consistent” with epidemiological data that is so scattered at low doses that almost any line can be drawn through data points with an equal mathematical fit.

                    The LNT was initially bred and propagated by geneticists. Those geneticists left some letters in historical archives that indicate they were more interested stimulating grants than in protecting people from harm.

                    Their grant target was the Rockefeller Foundation, which was run by people with interests that were threatened by the spectre of competition from nuclear technology, both energy production and other applications. Not surprisingly, the people with interests did not explain their concerns by openly stating that they would benefit financially if they could find ways to slow the development of useful applications of nuclear technology.

                    The RF itself, even though ostensibly separate from the founding oil oligarch family, still derived a substantial portion of its income from its endowment, which was overshelmingly – $405 M of $591 M (70%) – composed of stocks traceable to the Standard Oil Trust (p.297-299).

                    The geneticists fabricated the LNT on the shaky ground of reported results from high dose, high dose rate experiments conducted on Drosophila (fruit flies), with the primary purpose of stimulating mutations. Those experiments had mostly been completed more than 30 years before the LNT was officially developed and applied to recommended radiation standards.


                    This article and the comment thread below it pretty much sums up the machinations that led to LNT. It was a scam from the outset – that has only been challenged in the past decade or so. And even then like most zombie ideas it's going to take a generation of funerals before it too is finally interred.

                    And neither is this the whole story. The evidence is now out that next gen molten salt reactors can be built at scale and quantity for considerably less than the cost of their equivalently rated coal power plants.

                    By the way, I was disappointed with the quote. I have built 8 very large tankers in Korea, including the four largest double hull tankers ever launched. I know what the Koreans' costs are. I know how good their production system is. We had done our own internal estimate. Despite the ground rules they had agreed to, the Koreans padded the quote by a considerable margin.

                    But if you accept the Korean cost numbers, the naive Levelized Cost of Electricity is less than 3 cents/kWh.


                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      and I’d not suggest we will sustain our currently profligate lifestyles.

                      Unlike many people here I'm not prone to dissing a link just because I don't like it – so you're safe from me on that front.

                      I scanned those references and as usual the main argument raised is 'nuclear is too expensive' and 'takes too long'.

                      While it seemed to me that the last 5 (of 8) articles linked to in my comments @9:14 pm and 9:15 pm all suggest nuclear power will continue to play an important role in electricity generation, your scan-based (knee-jerk?) reaction casts even those 5 references in a negative light – hardly a logical or objective response, imho.

                      (1) Small modular reactors (SMRs) promise cheaper nuclear energy, supplying zero-carbon grid baseload and enabling new use cases for nuclear reactors. By shrinking the size of nuclear reactors compared to conventional large nuclear reactors, much of the construction is transferred to factory assembly lines, cutting capital costs and making nuclear power cost-competitive with renewables in many applications. SMRs offer a new tool in the fight for decarbonization and energy security, leveraging proven technologies.

                      (2) Nuclear energy is unique in that it plays an important role in some countries, while in other countries it is less prevalent. Nuclear energy is essential in such as areas as electricity generation, medicine, industry, space exploration, and national security.

                      (3) In 2022 nuclear power generated 9.2% of the global electricity supply. Nuclear is a near zero-carbon fuel, so it does not contribute to climate change.

                      Thirty countries around the world use nuclear power for electricity generation. Notable producers include France, which mostly decarbonised its electricity system in the 1980s using nuclear power. The United States, China, France, Russia and South Korea all produced more than 100 TWh of nuclear power in 2022.

                      (4) Ember says the 'phasedown' of gas and coal power required for the energy transition is 'now within reach', but that more nuclear and hydropower are needed.

                      (5) It's a long-distance race, though lower profile, certainly, than the one being waged on the gas and oil front since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But it is underway and being relentlessly pursued by Beijing and Moscow. In terms of civil nuclear power, these two countries have long been plotting their path, leaving other major nations far behind. As of January 1 [2023], of the 59 reactors under construction worldwide, 22 are in China, and 43 use Russian or Chinese technology, according to the February 1 [2023] World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR), an assessment of global nuclear power conducted by atomic energy experts.

                      It will be a great day when the electricity generated by MSRs and/or SMRs reaches 2% of total global generation, but the realist in me says I won't be around to celebrate. Is China currently the only country with an operational experimental/pilot/prototype/research/test/trial MSR?

                      China shows us the path to the nuclear future

                      There's even talk of combining the best features of SMRs and thorium MSRs to manufacture small modular thorium MSRs (SM-TMSRs) – the future is pregnant with unfathomable possibilities.

                  • RedLogix

                    your scan-based (knee-jerk?) reaction casts even those 5 references in a negative light – hardly a logical or objective response, imho.

                    Well yes – fair enough. But as I've hinted at a few times now, this might be the risk you run with the wall of quotes tactic – even someone like myself who is inclined to read them might not have the time or inclination to carefully read them all. Especially when you don't make it clear what point you are trying to make, and why your reference is relevant to it.

                    From your last reference:

                    When China starts up its pilot reactor, it will be the first thorium molten salt reactor to operate since 1969. At that time, US researchers shut down their reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. This laboratory was originally planned to run the Molten-salt Reactor Experiment with a mixture of thorium-232 and uranium-233, but this test program was unfortunately cancelled. According to, the researchers who collaborated on the project say that the Chinese design copies the Oak Ridge design, but improves on it by drawing on decades of innovation in manufacturing, materials and instrumentation.

                    I've followed this story intimately. It's almost entirely the consequence of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission having acted for the past three or more decades to ensure nuclear power will be stifled by adding many multiples of cost and delay to any project they can get their sticky fingers on.

                    And as a side effect the big conventional nuclear vendors adapted to this regime when they realised there was lots of easy taxpayer money to be had from these boondoggles. Innovation be damned – invoicing for insane layers of mandatory costs was risk free by comparison.

                    For example at some stage the NRC introduced a requirement for what is called a "double guillotine" failure mode – which hypothetically presumes that a 1 metre long segment of high grade, thick walled piping instantaneously vanishes from the cooling water circuit – introducing an extreme stress on the ability to cool the reactor. In the real world such a failure is physically impossible, yet nuclear engineers have to pretend to play along, and then add massive extra back up cooling capacity and complexity to cope with this impossible scenario. All of which has to be designed, tested and certified, and makes nuclear island of the plant 4 or 5 times more expensive than is warranted.

                    It's like regulating that the car you drive has to be able to protect you from not just a plausible road accident collision – but a direct meteor strike as well. Do you imagine anyone could afford such a vehicle?

                    The good news here is that in just the past 3 or 4 years the tide is turning on some of this nonsense as groups of people and even some regulators world-wide – who take CC seriously – are waking up to the root causes of this roadblock.

                    Certainly the Chinese and Russian regulators feel no requirement to go along with a scam originally perpetrated decades ago by an American fossil-fuel funded foundation, looking for ways to quietly kill off it's competition.

                • Incognito

                  But the fact remains that of the 8 people in that room, only 1 actually died as an immediate consequence. [my italics]

                  Slotin lasted 9 days and they were not happy days by the looks of it. Acute death from radiation exposure is rare. You’re turning it into a binary again; It's not about dying or not dying, but about the quality and length of life after exposure.

                  That the other 7 survived for quite considerable periods afterward is the actually interesting part of the story.

                  But did they all live healthy long lives? It seems not.

                  He survived, although he lived with chronic neurological and vision problems. [wiki link]

                  Two others died at 42 and 55 but it is impossible to conclude that their prior radiation exposure was a factor in their untimely deaths and equally impossible to rule out that possibility.

                  We also know that all the cells of our bodies are replaced at least every few months […]

                  Nope, some cells in some tissues/organs turn over faster than that and some others considerably slower. For example, gut epithelial cells have relatively high turnover rates, which is one reason why they give rise to colon carcinomas [i.e. of epithelial origin]. Bone, muscle, and brain cells, for example have much lower turnover rates. This means that some cells are more susceptible to radiation damage than others, depending on how often they divide and replicate their DNA.

                  […] so if we did not have some means to keep that DNA reasonably repaired and accurate we would likely not live more than a year or two.

                  I have no idea where you plucked that number from. DNA repair is not perfect and the activity of two main DNA damage response pathways vary with the cell cycle. Homologous Repair (aka Homologous Recombination Repair or HRR, for short) activity is very low in the G1 phase of the cell cycle while Non-Homologous End Joining or NHEJ is active throughout the cell cycle but mostly during G1. HRR is considered error-free repair and NHEJ is labelled error-prone repair. During the resting phase (G0-phase) of cells, it is again mostly NHEJ taking care of DNA repair. Many cells exist in G0/G1 phase. It is a lot more complex than this and our knowledge and understanding of the dynamic and multi-factorial processes and overlapping mechanisms and damage response & repair pathways involved changes and grows all the time.

                  And crucially – as long as we do not overwhelm this repair mechanism the damage from ionising radiation will not accumulate – and any harm will likely remain below any threshold of detection.

                  Accumulation and detection are two different things. DNA damage does indeed accumulate over time – it is called aging. Damage that persists attenuates cell function(s) and leads to so-called programmed cell death aka apoptosis or pushes cells into retirement aka senescence. The efficiency of DNA damage repair pathways does go down over time too. The number of DNA mutations do accumulate over time. One prevailing theory is that this can initiate cancer stem cells to form cancers. Cancer is an age-related disease, as you know, with its basis firmly in cumulative DNA damage. Other examples of DNA damage manifesting at much later date are skin cancer/melanoma after repeated UV exposure earlier in life (e.g. childhood) and cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, oesophagus, and stomach for example, after years of smoking. Even non-cumulative effects that are not immediately apparent or even measurable, even when you tried looking for it, can have serious consequences later in life because the long lag.

                  It is only when we are exposed to high rates of radiation over a period of minutes or hours that it really becomes dangerous. Below a certain threshold you are almost certainly going to be just fine.

                  Again, your assertions are overly simplistic. Nobody really knows. And being ‘just fine’ is totally meaningless in this context. On an individual basis one cannot make sound predictions; the epidemiology of cancer is based on probabilistic models over large numbers of people/patients.

                  • RedLogix

                    Indeed I was being simplistic – but this is a political forum not a science journal and I usually try to balance readability for the vast majority of our non-technical readers, while conveying the idea with adequate precision.

                    Essentially I am exploring the now proven lie that was the LNT model – a model based on some very bad science from the very early days of nuclear research.


                    I do not propose to re-type the myriad technical details of this debate here, there is plenty of material available for anyone with a search engine and the curiosity to explore for themselves.

                    As I said above, the reason why this apparently obscure issue is important, is that this fundamental misunderstanding has resulted in nuclear power being grossly over-regulated and economically strangled for three decades now.

                    But to address your points:

                    Two others died at 42 and 55 but it is impossible to conclude that their prior radiation exposure was a factor in their untimely deaths and equally impossible to rule out that possibility

                    And one of them went on to live into his 80's. Nowhere did I suggest this was anything other than an extreme event, few other humans have ever been exposed to such high short term intensity and lived to tell the tale at all. And that is my point, not that there were no probable consequences – but that they lived at all! And as I quoted above – in the long run investigators still could not confirm that what they died of was the result of this extreme exposure.

                    And to put this into context, in any realistic reactor accident, even Chernobyl, the vast majority of the general public were exposed to dose rates many orders of magnitude smaller. So low that later researchers have firmly concluded that if there was any impact, it was below any detectable level.

                    Note carefully – no-one is claiming the hazard is zero, but that below a certain dose rate, where the rate of harm is lower than the rate of repair – the net impact is lost in the noise of all the other things that cause illness and cancers. And this is the conclusion UNSCEAR reached a decade ago.


                    Which means that all the LNT based over-regulation is a monstrous mis-allocation of resources and a massive lost opportunity to have solved the CC issue decades ago.

                  • RedLogix

                    I came back and re-read your comment above and I want to express appreciation for the sincere thought and time you put into it. If I have not responded to every point it is was in the interests of brevity rather than merely ignoring them.

                    • Incognito

                      Thank you. Your comment @ 9:23 pm deserves addressing, but maybe tomorrow. There are a few ‘niggly bits’ that I’d like to clear up, if possible.

                  • roblogic

                    nuclear power is more practical and less lethal than the alternatives.


Recent Comments

Recent Posts

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