* Posts by byrresheim

70 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Jun 2010


Brit 2.5-tonne nuke calculator is World's Oldest Working Computer

Black Helicopters

sorry but that should read:

... after using computers to fight fascism and give half of Europe to the Bolsheviks, we British then ...

Only global poverty can save the planet, insists WWF - and the ESA!


Re: Don't shoot the messenger, shoot the journalist.

Oh, Mr. Page, the journalist whose work on Fukushima I admire so much. That triumph of nuclear technology, remember?

High Court: TVCatchup reproduces copyrighted films ... in buffers


Sorry, but

that is simply not a correct summary of the doctrine behind continental law.

Please try again.

Anonymous shuts down hidden child abuse hub


Yeah sure, he's afraid for himself.

And there never have been incidents of abuse and hysteria.

You do remember the strange case of the scholl janitor who put eye candy on a colleagues computer, don't you?

It seems that the mere mention oft the word "pedophilia" these days leads to instant logic breakdown in a lot of brains. Which is not a bug, it's a feature, and quite useful at that, ask Jaqui Smith.

Are you certain of what files are on your HDD right now? Really certain?

Can you prove you never subscribed to that horrible service? Can you?

Blow for McKinnon as extradition treaty ruled 'not biased'

Thumb Down

You ain't seen nothing yet

This is a high profile case with a (relatively) sympathetic subject. I had a talk with a criminal defence lawyer about the european arrest warrant the other day - while his client was a bit of a shady character it was nonetheless quite astonishing how seamlessly the man was extradited to romania on the grounds of a more than dubious conviction.

Quite a lot of people - mostly obviously not worthy of too much compassion - will find themselves extradited to the other end of europe faster and on lesser grounds than it would take to arrest them in this country.

It's probably useless to argue that due process even for criminals is a protection afforded to the non-criminal class, is it? As we Europeans are always following the American's lead, expect 1% of the population behind bars in 30 years. (The american's had our incarceration rate in the 70ies, now they are beyond Red China in absolute numbers (!).

OccupySF BOFH runs protest network on pedal power

Black Helicopters

Hope your indicators are too sensitive

Sir, what we are witnessing luckily is a diversion. The middle class luckily is too well mannered to do revolutions. Trouble starts when the lower end of the upper class gets cheeky or starts feeling the pain.

As examples to the point look at HRH Prince Philippe Orléans, the man culpable of starting the trouble in France, and the traitors who killed Rasputin, dukes to a man, and a bit lower on the scale, Uljanow.

Let's hope this won't happen to us, as even upper class greed usually is a lot less lethal than what those criminals let loose.


Peddle != Pedal for heaven's sake.

Just saying.

& by the way: If you run a 50 KW car engine to get 500 mW to power a phone, power efficiency generation and conversion is (within reason) not your problem. If you use a 100 W human being, to deliver roughly 80 W in total, power efficiency is very much your problem. Therefore have a good look at what the thingy you plug into your cigarette lighter socket really does.

This Dianamania is a slur on Jobs


Now we can have belief systems clashing ...

never, ever use water for drinking or printing, Sir!

Actually, I am thinking about aquiring an A3 Cylinder, as one does run into limits when printing solids on the windmill. Right now I'm making do with an FAG for work that couldn't be done on a platen press.

Gott grüß die Kunst!


Monotype rulez

& I would use a cylinder. Gives crisper impression and better ink distribution ...

Dennis Ritchie: The C man who booted Unix


Sorry to pick nits but:


Rupert Murdoch was never Keyser Soze

Black Helicopters


Last time I looked in here, there was no problem in Fukushima. Now I learn that Mr Murdoch only is influential because british politicians somehow are under the collective delusion that he is influential. And his influence is vastly overrated. Why don't you write a self help book - sort of: "Murdoch's no danger to political careers, it' all in your attitude"?

New Mac scareware variant installs without password


Rejoice? About Win diseases?

Resigned to it is the word. Just one of many examples: a few years ago, my then GF bought a computer (Win, at the instigation of her sister, who thought she needed one). Obviously pains were taken to avoid any input from me.

It took said sister two days to get the thing infected w/ everything on the book. It then turned out that the install disk had somehow not been included in the package & ... & ... & ...

As all three of us were freelancers at the time, it could easily be computed that the combined waste of time would have paid for an extra powerbook for the sister as well.

So now, after 20 years of carefree mac usage the time has come to be a bit more careful than used to be necessary and I'm supposed to shed tears?

Utter nonsense.

Ofnuke: UK is not Japan

Thumb Down

To the downvoters

a) three reactor cores utterly destroyed - known since the beginning, admitted only now

b) breaches of containment admitted for one reactor

c) spent fuel pools run dry, fuel rods have been burning

d) patches of high (as in "you definitely don't want _that_ in your back yard" high) radiation found near Tokyo

e) risks from ingestion of radioactive dust are (mistakenly) ignored and only the level of ambient radioactivity is taken into consideration

and the list goes on ...

So downvote all you want, it won't change the facts on the ground one bit and certainly won't save the economics of atomic power.


Where is Lewis Page when we need him most?

Now that we know that there were core meltdowns in three reactors, I would just love to read how that goes to prove that everything is hunky dory. As other posters pointed out already: that leaves zero facts Mr. Page got right - and once again shows an interesting propensity for highly economical dealing with reality in the nuclear industry - a topic on which I would love to see Mr. Page's comment.

Anyway, the principal belief of the nuclear cargo cult seems to be: as long as there is no mushroom cloud, there has been no problem. The pesky little fact that scrapping several reactors now is certain to be by several orders of magnitude more expensive and dangerous than planned can by no means be seen as a disaster.

And never forget children: Chernobyl killed 50 people.

Oh, and children: it could not happen here.

MYSTERY of huge Canadian chicken-shed EXPLOSION


Oh well ...

Right you are, thank you, I nearly would have missed this gem


(Ignorance is not the same as stupidity; ignorance is curable)

which I recommend to read and follow ...


Now that you are mentioning it ...

Mr. Page has been uncharacteristically silent on Fukushima these last days ...

can we pretty please have another article on how we have nothing to fear but fear itself?

Or on how (and why) the panicmongers at IAEO have upgraded Fukushima to a level 7 incident?

So many questions, so few chicken sheds to explode instead.

Google hits 'prove we killed no Afghans' – Assange™


Criticism != libel

There is actually a difference between criticising you and demeaning you. And that is why we have libel laws and judges to apply them.

And if you don't like your own countries libel laws: go ahead & change them. It's a democracy, is it not?

Talking about libel tourism to the UK when the alleged victim, the alleged wrongdoer, and the alleged deed all are located in the UK seems a bit uncalled for.

Wind power: Even worse than you thought


Did you actually read Mr. Page's Posts?

Fukushima is not over yet, but Mr. Pages reporting hopefully seems over. There was one point, however, where he was undeniably right: the mainstream's reporting about Fukushima was deplorable. Which is no excuse for him.

Apart from that, it seems plausible that the wind-farmers business modell is distorted. However, they are not alone in this. Take a look at the business model of Calder Hall - that might make you hug a wind farmer.

Thumb Up

And a good thing too.

Elderly people still remember how difficult it was to ween the czechs from tried and proven reactor designs such as RBMK. Still older people remember having heard in their youth about embrittlement (which seemed to be a predominantly french phenomenon).

However, as nothing has seriously gone wrong yet, nothing ever will*.

*(Truthfulness of that sentence may vary depending on your definition of nothing, serious, wrong, yet and ever)

Fukushima's toxic legacy: Ignorance and fear


China Syndrome

Thank you for your measured answer. There are two points I would like to bring up in turn:

a) to my knowledge, the number one plant (as well as N°2?) is not hardened against the (admittedly not very probable case) of a full core meltdown, while the newer ones (N°s 2(?) to six are. Is my understanding correct?

b) when I mentioned the "China Syndrome" that was in reference to Mr. Page overdoing his antihysterics by a long shot. Please look up his first article where he dissects this colloquialism in all undue seriousness to show that anybody who is concerned by those riscs is technically naive.

I would like to stress that from late monday onwards it became apparent that the greatest danger lay not in the cores melting down but rather in the storage basins cooking dry and the stored fuel rods catching fire in the process.


Oh yes,a reactor can fail. Albeit neither in theory nor in practice.

Had you followed Mr. Page closely, you would have understood by now that a reactor that blows up in a nuclear fission explosion is a failed reactor.

Below that threshold there is no problem, you see.

The China Syndrome is never going to happen, because a (purely hypothetical) molten core will never reach China as it will be stopped and cooled by the ground water table. Radioctive dust that is ingested is no problem. Chernobyl was never a real problem, so there was no need to do an epidemological follow up of the "liquidators".

Everything is explained now, we can continue to pray to our cargo dropping overlords.



You mean the engineers who

resigned in protest from GE over the design of this type of reactor?

Or those who included in their blueprints a neat little arrow: apply sea water via helicopter here?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Fukushima: Situation improving all the time


The Word "Critical"

don't worry to much: language an be treacherous. "Critical" is derived from the greek word for decision and has - in all other sectors of technology - come to mean: something decisive, possibly, even probably, bad, is going to happen. Only in atomic technology does it mean: business as usual, plant's ready to work.

Thus, when you were (quite correctly in my humble opinion) talking of a critical stage in the development of this incident, the cargo cultists could target you as hopelessly naive - without - as is their wont - giving a second thought to their vocabulary or underlying technology. (No, I am not trying to flame the only apparent nuclear engineer who participated in this thread)

"Critical" in atomic technology used to be the same critical as everywhere else - something decisive is going to happen - because it originally meant the stage where the nuclear chain reaction starts - leading to the desired big atomic explosion.

And that is the original sin of today's civilian atomic technology, still encapsuled in seemingly harmless words, but also in designs for nuclear power plants that are far to similar to designs meant to produce material for bombs.

You don't need to be a philosopher to wonder what it is with a technology that applies the word "critical" to mean "normal working condition".

Anyway, seems there is hope that the bullet was dodged again this time - irrefutable proof that bullets are harmless, isn't it?

Fukushima one week on: Situation 'stable', says IAEA


Understandably so: you see,

problem here is that hunger or cold hurt much faster than relatively low levels of radiation (as in: not immediately lethal but high enough to damage your health).

When Mr. Page contended that the Chernobyl desaster only killed 56 people (even the pathologically untruthful soviet communists admitted 59) he also made clear that he knows no fear. At least not of any dose of radiation that does not immediately kill.

Thus, fear of the thing may indeed -- on the short run -- be more hurtful than the thing itself.

The only significant knowledge to be gained here is that neither the soviets nor their heirs ever bothered to do an epidemological follow up of the so called liquidators. If the absence of that follow up study does not give you pause to think, then I don't wish to imagine what it will take.

All together now: "This is not Chernobyl!"


Wrong question tonight

you seriously risk spoiling the party for the nuclear cargo cult. That won't do.

If you find any article about the decomissioning of Windscale I younger than 3 years, please let me know, will you? Somehow nobody seems to be publishing about the subject anymore.

Thumb Down

And I am fairly sure

that you underestimate the additional problems decomissioning is now faced with by a long shot. My guess would be several powers of ten. (In financial terms)

Fukushima on Thursday: Prospects starting to look good


Right you are - this is not Chernobyl

a) the problems built into this type of BWR differ significantly from the problems built into BMRK-1000. They are therefore going to fail along quite different mechanisms

b) the emergency has not played out yet and will not be played out for a very long time. Look up Windscale I (I know, it's called differently by now, but that should give you pause to think as well, should it not?), the core of which they did not dare work on for half a century (links below).

All we know is that there are huge potential risks. Neither the mechanisms leading to a realisation of those risks nor the risks themselves are identical to Chernoby.

To give you one example - look it up instead of calling names, costs you the same intellectual energy - the bulk of radionuclids spewed forth by Chernobyl are relatively shortlived compared to those that might be propagated if one or more of those spent-fuel-pools fails catastrophically.

Then the dust particles produced in the Chernobyl fire were relatively lighter compared to the particles to be expected when the casing of spent fuel rods ignites, and they were propagated by a fire that by all probability was burning a lot hotter than what can be expected from oxydising fuel rods. That in turn meant that the Chernobyl particles were dispersed over a larger area, thereby mitigating somewhat their noxic effect. If the spent fuel ignites in Fukushima, it is to be expected that the radioactive dust affects a relatively smaller area but in a measurably higher concentration.

While Chernobyl was situated in an area of relatively low population density and of relatively low economic importance the same cannot be said of Fukushima.

Important: pointing out a risk does not mean that one wishes for that risk's realisation. Equally jumping the bullet once or even several times does not equate to bullets being inherently harmless. It is this sort of superstitious thinking that makes discussing the problems of nuclear energy so tedious.





Are you serious or a troll?

Spot on reporting? Mr. Page's reporting of the powerplants state has been - on the internet no less - constantly lagging behind my very conservative newspaper in print. That in itself is an achievement, but not one to be proud of.

Trouble with you pronukers is that you have no failure-criterion for your pseudoscientific superstitions. Economically nonviable? Dangerous to run? Waste disposal unclear? Nevermind.

In case reality bites - as it does now - instead of simply being silently ashamed or - heaven forfend - questioning some of your superstitious assumptions you start calling names ("psychopathic nucleophobes ").

If all else fails, its the Arab's fault.

Given that the idea of you and your ilk of a serious nuclear incident is perilously near armageddon I can assure you nobody wishes for that just to make you change your mind. It would defeat the purpose, would it not?.


well ...

look, don't tell us for the umpteenth time that a BWR can't do a BMRK. Rather tell us whether the spent-fuel-pool _on_top_ of reactor 4 is holding water or not.

And by the way: the BMRK was seen as a proven concept by many. Until ...


afraid half full won't cut it this time,

those pools need to be full and well cooled or else ...

Thumb Up

Funny how a post gets downvoted

for stating facts concurrent with present scientific knowlege but not with pronuker's superstition.


Surely you are jesting?

"... but it might mean areas having to be abandoned for lengthy periods as occurred after Chernobyl."

That has been a quarter of a century ago, and most of the area is still unfit for human consumption. And that was a largely unpopulated area, not a coastal strip with an enormous population density and an equally great importance for the overall productivity of an industrialised nation.

While I sincerely hope that you are right in your optimistic assessment of the situation, I can only stand in awe before your misundersimate of the consequences in case things continue to go wrong.

Fukushima update: No chance cooling fuel can breach vessels


Oh noes!

I sincerely hope this garbage stays forever, as a memento to pseudo-elitist hubris.

For 40 (!) years now I had to listen to some "My, you are a leftist/greenie, aren't you?" crap, whenever I dared mention the problems associated with nuclear waste. It is a shame that we need this horror unfolding before our very eyes to question the technical superstition of the self-defined educated classes.

Believing (sic!) in the viability of nuclear energy to this class of people is a sign of their station in society just as their Land Rovers/Volvos/Toyota Priusses are. (Let's not start with "energy-saving" mercury-vapour lights) That a man of Mr. Pages intellectual prowess and formal education could commit such a trivial but horrible error as to write a triumphant article on the very first day of a crisis which any alumnus of wikipedia-U could have known to last at least a week in a best case scenario is a sign of this quasireligious superstition of the so called educated classes.

You will never find those people in church on sundays, but question their belief in certain technologies and I assure you: a right wing priest whom you forcibly try to convert to atheism will be less emotional. Proof: the utterly silly downvotes on posts reporting actual devolopments at the powerplant.

No, don't pull these valuable documents, they will help future generations to understand our times and our superstitions.


do not let facts get into the way of a good argument

The earthquake was of 9.0 magnitude at the epicenter, not at the nuclear site.

The nuclear reactors also did not survive, they are extremely expensive wrecks by now.

The so called triumph seems to come from the idea that anything short of a chernobyl-like catastrophe is a success.

A very intelligent man once said: never start a project until you have set a standard for failure.

Could it be that the pro-nukes-crowd's idea of a failure is "something visibly worse than Chernobyl"?

Let's just hope and pray that the economical desaster that has become Japan's nuclear energy rests at that and does not become an ecological desaster as well.

Fukushima situation as of Wednesday


No Chernobyl indeed - II -.

As there is no update forthcoming , a short summary of what is known to me as of march 17th, 13h53 GMT + 1

Reactor 1 - core meltdown probable but not certain

Reactor 2 - partial core meltdown certain

Reactor 3 - core meltdown assumed, no final proof

Reactor 4 - spent-fuel-pool loosing water, high probability that the _non_ spent fuel in this pool was exposed to air. Fire put out, no assessment for further risk of fire

Reactor 5 - slight rise in temperature, no serious problems reported

Reactor 6 - ditto.

The lawful dose of radiation has been multiplied by 2.5 by the japanese government, otherwise work in the compound woud be illegal by now.


There is no need for it to go critical to cause havoc

all that is needed is for the storage pool not to be properly cooled any more and fall dry, either partially or, even worse, completely.

If that happens - and the possiblilty cannot be excluded at this point in time - the zirconium casing of the spent fuel rods will start burning, resulting in rather heavy pollution.



Please compare the factual content of his first article with the facts known and proven two days later. Mr. Page made statements that _could_not_ be made in good faith at that point in time by someone with even superficial knowledge of the technical problems.

Small wonder he now faces criticism questioning either his good faith (very first post of this thread, complete with loss of stiff upper lip by el Reg) or (most other critics) his competence.

Perhaps you take the effort of just thoroughly reading and comparing Mr. Page's articles? Half an hour w/Wikipedia would do you no harm either, you might even take the time to look up David Lindorff's scathing article - and not to miss out on googling for the engineers who constructed the thing and resigned from GE - they give very interesting reasons for resigning.

As far as I am concerned, I am looking forward to Mr. Page's article about those engineers and their story - up to now, I always had the impression that he was pretty good at debunking engineering boondoggles, so hopefully he finds back to his usual form?


Your Idea is Perfect, but

in practice that possibly results in a completely new variant of RBMK-1000 - a reactor type that definitely was not "over-designed".


No Chernobyl indeed.

It seems this is not going to be a second Chernobyl. It could however become even worse. You see, they had a very original idea in designing these reactors that makes a catastrophe possible even without breaches of the reactor containment proper.

They put the spent-fuel-pools on top of the reactor. The spent fuel then is supposed to spend the rest of its life covered by cooling water. In case the spent fuel ever falls dry - because the water is not sufficiently cooled and evaporates or the pools leak, because the have been damaged by the earthquake or in one of the hydrogen explosions - and there is some danger of this happening in Japan right now - the casings of the fuel rod starts to burn.

Thus, if things go wrong, the effect of Chernobyl might be attained by means of another mechanism.

Quick lookup:


the schematics are right at the top. You also will not have to look very far for explanations of the chemistry behind the hydrogen explosions.

Let's just hope that this risc assessment does not become reality.

Thumb Up

Wrong Question

Correct question: Mr. Page, could you please tell us where the spent fuel ponds are situated and - once you found out and told us, could you please also tell us why that placement is highly worrying indeed?

Dead Vulture

What is the failure criterion?

Apparently, there is none for Mr. Page.

These articles remind me very much of a joke about a worker falling from a skyskraper: "I don't know what they've been on about - I've dropped 200 yards by now and still nothing has gone wrong ..."

Even if there is no further loss of life at those plants, please consider Sellafield, where a pile of lethal rubbish sits and sits and sits and none dare call it Windscale ...

Please tell us Mr. Page: will that heap of radioactive sludge one misstep away from criticality have to be multiplied by 4, 8, 16 or 32 in the japanese case?

Fukushima reactor core battle continues


One in three is not ...

so yes, one still left standing (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/16/fukushima_wednesday/) ...

I come to the register because - up to now - I had faith that writers als well as commentators had a firm grasp of the technology discussed. (I admit that I did not expect sneak reviews of an article, but well, one lives to learn)

Having a firm grasp means that one knows ones half-times when talking about radionuclids and that one knows a micro- from a milli-something. So far, you might think yourself entitled to feel superiour to the BBC.

Having a firm grasp however also means not jumping to conclusions on the third day of a highly critical procedure that is bound to run for about a week before it can be called safely concluded even in normal times. You might therefore reconsider your attitude toward the BBC (for historical reasons a very trusted source of news in my country + it seems they were right)

Even if this desaster might - hopefully - end without much loss of life, the economical viability of nuclear energy will be in grave doubt.


Neither can I,

but that's why I presumed that such a thing never could happen in the west ...


Let's not talk about Chernobyl,

or - let's talk about a cheap and greedy design that exposed the underlying cheapness and greediness and utter lack of even superficial technical knowledge of the hypocrites who had commissioned this design.

That, plus a failed and criminal war against the Afghan people brought down a thoroughly despicable regime.

Could never happen in the free west.

Let's simply pray and hope that the containments hold.

BTW - the 9 was measured at the epicentre, on site the quake's strength was below specification.


Can I cancel my subscription?

So - thank God - we are not talking about a second Chernobyl, just about a few billion Euro down the drain.

I'm so happy that economics never, ever seem to be a consideration in nuclear power play ...

shame on you for Mr. Page's premature triumphalism and for the cheap shot at the end of this article.

Fukushima reactor shell ruptured?


Do the math.

nuff said

Fukushima is a triumph for nuke power: Build more reactors now!

Thumb Down

Simply a financial concern?

Great. While - at least at this hour - indeed it seems as if a Chernobyl-like environmental impact has been avoided - let's hope this will still be true in a few days hindsight - you are talking about an enormous financial damage.

Decomissioning those ruins will be several times more expensive than planned.

Also, as another poster pointed out, a conventional powerplant could by now be restarted and be productive again in a few days.

Big Brother

wrong expression.

Up to the summer of '86, the soviet design was not considered less safe, it was considered more economical than western designs, which were always hampered by luddites, envirocrazies and other do gooders ...

After 86, it was obvious that nothing of the sort could ever happen in the west. Windscale never existed anyway ... oh, that would not be Sellafield nowadays?

Anyway, I will keep pdfs of Mr. Page's interesting article, some little voice in my head tells me that it might disappear in the memory hole in a not to far future. We would not want that to happen, now would we?

Japanese nuke meltdown may be underway


Exactly so

and, what's even more to the point, half a year before Chernobyl blew up a scientific paper was published in Germany, showing how much more economical the russian design was and how progress was being impeded by those antinuclear Luddites ...

amazing is the word for nuclear technology and its apologists.