From: Russell Hoffman, Concerned Citizen
Date: November 9th, 2003
Re: A Great Tradeoff for New Jersey: Windmills can replace Nuclear Power Plants!

Dear JerseyShoreNuclearWatch group:

The article shown below, which was originally sent to this group as: "Re: [JerseyShoreNuclearWatch] Observer  Nov 7 Berkeley calls for  April 2004 Shutdown [of Oyster Creek NPP]" contains the following quote:

"If the people of New Jersey would be willing to put up a thousand windmills or numerous solar panels to replace that kind of energy, then fine"

-- Exelon spokesperson, as quoted in the Ocean County Observer, November 7th, 2003, denouncing the suggestion that New Jersey convert from dangerous nuclear power to clean safe renewable energy.

I say this:

One thousand windmills would be just fine!!!

Do it! Do it! Do it!

However, the actual requirement to replace all the power currently supplied by the Oyster Creek Nuclear Poison Plant is more like TWO HUNDRED, not ONE THOUSAND, modern windmills.  So the spokesperson is OFF BY EIGHTY PERCENT right off the bat! A state-of-the-art windmill can now generate as much as 3 Megawatts of electricity, and Oyster Creek CLAIMS it produces only 600 Megawatts, so as few as 200 large windmills could replace it.  And the calculations get even better when the true net energy output of a nuclear power plant is taken into account:  There are numerous steps in the "nuclear fuel cycle", so the real value of energy produced is actually far lower than the nuclear power industry suggests and in fact, is unquestionably NEGATIVE.

I've never lived in New Jersey, but I've driven through it hundreds of times, and I've spent many lovely vacations there as a child, swimming off its shores, eating its blueberries, its strawberries, its corn and other vegetables.  I've also flown above it; one transcontinental flight, years ago, actually came down to about 3000 feet altitude over Philadelphia, and then flew up I-95 all the way to the Hudson River, and then flew up the river, and circled around and landed in New York.  It was extraordinary.  I can tell you this:  New Jersey, like just about everywhere else on the East Coast (and most of the West Coast, too), is currently strung back and forth and up and down with transmission lines, highways and railways, it is dotted throughout with beleaguered cities and towns, and, sadly, farmland is being devoured wherever it remains.  New Jersey has more than its share of "SuperFund" sites, as well.

What would 1,000 windmills, let alone 200, do to the landscape, when in return, it will help protect the state from nuclear devastation from Oyster Creek?

A look at the numbers for New Jersey reveals how little impact 1,000 windmills would have on the environment.  Compare those thousand "eyesores" with EVERY building in the state being rendered permanently UNINHABITABLE and every CITIZEN being killed or seriously injured.  Of those who survive, many would die painfully later on, and children would grow up in a world of GRIEF AND DEBT caused by GREEDY NUCLEAR OWNERS.

There are approximately 8.5 million citizens of New Jersey.  So 1,000 windmills is only one for every 8,500 persons.  At about 16 megawatts each -- about five times today's typical output, but a number which is undoubtedly achievable if proper technological pushes are made (not to mention vertical and horizontal stacking!) -- 1000 windmills could actually supply the peak summer power needs for all of New Jersey!

There are about 3.5 million housing units in New Jersey.  1,000 windmills is therefore just one for every 3,500 homes.  The Nuclear Industry usually claims (and has for more than a quarter century) that a megawatt is enough energy for about 1,000 homes, so New Jersey's homes need an estimated 3,500 megawatts of energy.  Obviously, Oyster Creek's 600 megawatts is a small part of the total needs of New Jersey, although it could devastate the whole state if it had an accident.  Nearby states would also be devastated, and a wide variety of accident scenarios could cause such vast devastation.

New Jersey has nearly half a million "nonemployer establishments" (generally, very small businesses). If a nuclear accident occurred, these businesses would all be destroyed, and there would be no insurance money for anyone who survives (perhaps by being out of the state at the time). Price-Anderson's meager funds would have been cleaned out by the emergency response costs, the evacuation costs, and other costs, long before such businesses could collect a dime.

New Jersey's land area is 7,417 square miles, so 1,000 windmills is about one for every seven and a half square miles.  This does not account for the battery of windmills which could be placed off the coast, alleviating the need for land-based units and interfering with nothing -- about as close to environmentally benign as humanly possible.  They could even be placed beyond the visual horizon, if "whacko environmentalists" insisted!   They might only be visible from the tallest buildings in Atlantic City, yet they could provide that city's entire electricity needs more cheaply than any other power source.

There are about 1,100 persons per square mile in New Jersey.  On average, of these 1,100 persons, about two hundred ALREADY have a disability of some sort (1.3 million of the total population, according to U.S. Government figures).  Over 70 of the 1,100 residents per square mile are children under 5 years old.

Is it fair to burden these people, or the rest of the planet, with the fatal ruins of a failed technology, just because the effort to switch cannot be made?

The official estimate (as mentioned in the article excerpted above and shown below) of a possible 500 miles of devastation is a very loose one.  The variance in the actual fallout patterns from various accidents will not match any projections exactly.  In fact, it will be very hard to determine how bad the accident actually was.  The radiation carried by the super-heated air goes extremely high up, perhaps as much as 60,000 feet.  Generally, the higher it goes, the more dispersed the fallout pattern will be.  But the total number of deaths around the planet, which is the thing we should all care about the most, won't necessarily change at all!  You just spread out the deaths so they are harder to "prove" in the legal sense.  But although it may be difficult to assign absolute culpability for any specific deaths, those deaths are no less real, and no less frequent.  If you release radioactive material into the biosphere, billions of people on the planet will inhale, ingest, or otherwise absorb those particles during their life.  Hundreds of billions of people will do so in the coming centuries.  The more you spread radiation around, the larger the number of people who will ingest some of it, although their doses will be lower.  This is known as the dilution solution to pollution.  The nuclear industry calls it ALARA -- As Low As Reasonably Achievable, which means, approximately, "any release that's needed to keep the industry going financially is a legal release".

But unfortunately, there is no "threshold" below which radioactivity is safe for your DNA -- for you or your unborn descendants.

EVERYONE INHALES, INGESTS, or otherwise ABSORBS the fallout from EVERY ACCIDENT.  Every nuclear spill or release, planned or otherwise, is an assault on humanity.

Just as we each breathe a few molecules of Caesar's last breath with each breath of our own (a number of people have calculated the value), so TOO do we each, today, inhale a little bit of Hiroshima and a little bit of Nagasaki and Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island and every other nuclear accident, into our lungs with each breath we take.

So too do our babies, who take so many more breaths per minute than anyone old enough to be reading these words.  Some of these carcinogenic particles will KILL some of these people.

This evil must stop ALL OVER THE WORLD, not just in New Jersey!  Even shutting down all nuclear power plants directly upwind from New Jersey wouldn't be good enough. All other nuclear power plants in the world must also be closed.  Otherwise, New Jersey can still be inundated by nuclear fallout -- and will be, unless the world changes away from nuclear power everywhere.  It's been said before but needs repeating, "A nuclear accident anywhere is a nuclear accident everywhere."

A single nuclear power plant shuttered for good is a good thing, but it's important that the site license for generating nuclear waste be permanently revoked.  Otherwise, you can expect a future government entity to allow some corporate devil to rebuild, using something they'll call "safe nuclear power," which will be a euphemism for new, untried, unproven systems such as the infamous "Pebble Bed" reactor, whose design relies most of all on an understanding of metallurgy to make the protective cladding for the "pebbles".  Davis-Besse, South Texas Project, Seabrook, Oconee, and a dozen other MAJOR REACTOR PROBLEMS in the past couple of years have shown that metallurgy is a subject the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Industry (aka the Nuclear Mafia) know next to nothing about!

These groups also know very little about the health effects of low level radiation (LLR).  For example, as far as I know, there isn't a single physician on the staff of the NRC, and hasn't been for years and years, let alone a pediatrician, OB-GYN, epidemiologist, or free thinker.  Most of the official "studies" of LLR are based on biased sample collections from a few large-scale releases such as Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Chernobyl.  Because of how far and wide the poison spreads, it is very easy to bias the data so that you can claim it had no effect on the population -- or even that the radiation had a healthy effect!

The rest of the pro-nukers' assessments of the dangers of LLR are based simply on denouncing a variety of studies. Unfortunately, it's relatively easy to find studies that can be discredited because the exact danger from low-level radiation IS difficult to study, and both the government and the nuclear industry discourage and even defund any studies which might show the true dangers of nuclear power.  Also, the data is seldom freely given to researchers.  As a result, even the most diligent scientist's studies often can only show weak links between radiation and health effects, due to inability to accurately ascertain dosages, populations, and effects.

In the hands of so few, we entrust the lives of so many.  These few intentionally blind themselves.  Then they fly into a rage at anyone who opposes them.  They denounce the "anti-nuclear" voices as "unscientific", "confused", "peaceniks", even "commies".  Any credentialed "anti-nuclear" voices are denounced whenever they stray the least little bit from their credentialed profession (for example, although proponents of nuclear power gleefully speak on any and all aspects of the issue as if they were world-class authorities in every subject, if an "anti-nuclear" theoretical nuclear physicist tries to talk about applied nuclear physics, he is denounced for talking outside his profession).

This is insane -- it's utterly insane.  Add to it all, the continuing military "needs" both for plutonium and other "byproducts" of the "nuclear fuel cycle", and for a "retirement plan" for its Nuclear Navy (who all take jobs in the nuclear power plants right now, just as our flyboys often become airline jockeys after they've flown a couple of hundred missions) and we've got an awful mess on our hands.

One more thing:  Terrorism looms.  Some of the terrorists are in the corporate boardrooms, but by no means all of them.  Yesterday the fear was cargo planes being crashed into our nuclear power plants (or maybe our bridges or dams, we're told).  Before that, a moment's fleeting thought was given to truck bombs, and some stronger gates were installed.  A cursory nod seems to be given to all these dangers, but no real protection is offered!  What about Rocket-Propelled Grenades fired into the Dry Storage Casks which all Nuclear Power Plants eventually plan to use, and nearly a third of the U.S. power plants are already using?  What about hang-gliding, suicidal terrorists?  What about a common-sense approach which admits that an operating plant is several orders-of-magnitude more dangerous than one which is not operating, and that spent fuel under 40 feet of water (or shouldn't it be more like 100 or 200 feet or more?) is MUCH safer than in a Dry Cask, but that the main thing is to STOP MAKING MORE, and let the cooling-off process begin (which will take millions of years)?

So best of luck, New Jersey!  Perhaps you will decide to behave logically instead of letting these nightmares strike you before it is too late.

And if you can extricate yourselves from this pickle, maybe the rest of us can, too!


Russell Hoffman
Concerned Citizen
Carlsbad, CA

Included below are a list of related links, and below that, the original article from which the quote at the top was taken.  Lastly, there is an excellent commentary about Oyster Creek by John Bendel which was published in the Asbury Park Press.

Related Links:

List of all nuclear power plants in the U.S.:

What is the "Nuclear Fuel Cycle"? (see entry "fuel cycle")
Maps of potential devastation (see entry "downwinders"):

Nuclear weapons and pollution linked to 65 million deaths By Paul Waugh
Deputy Political Editor, January 31st, 2003:

"Quickfacts" for New Jersey:

This document pegs New Jersey energy capacity at nearly 17,000 Mwatts (net summer value):

This Energy Information Administration document says New Jersey produces 59.7 million megawatt hours of electricity annually, with a net summer capacity of 16.1 thousand megawatts, with 3.5 million customers consuming 72.3 Thousand MWh (Megawatt hours) of "retail" electricity, making 6.8 Billion dollars for the producers at an average rate of 9.42 cents per kWh (about 25% above the national average; the "residential rate" is also well above average). (Most recent year figures. Note that fuel costs for nuclear are fantasy-figures since the true cost of disposal cannot be established with any certainty at all.):

Additional related data here shows a total generating capacity in New Jersey of nearly 17,000 Megawatts (1999 figure), of which nuclear's portion is 3.862 megawatts):

Some facts about wind power (Note: The figure given of 2.5 Megawatts for the largest currently available machine is an underestimation):

In California, in Altamont Pass alone, 5,041 windmills produced 1.5 times the capacity of Oyster Creek NPP, even as long ago as 1995 (more modern windmills and wind turbines could produce that amount with far less units):

This company makes blades for wind turbines up to ~3 megawatts:

The National Wind Technology Center (part of NREL) thinks that large-capacity wind turbines are about 750Kwatts.  Even at that capacity, it would take only about 800 windmills to completely replace Oyster Creek's 600 Megawatts::

Even 16 years ago (1987), 2-megawatt windmills were being built.  Mass-production and new computer-designed blades can easily allow vastly greater output:

So-called "environmentalists" in Nantucket use photo enlargement to misstate the facts:

Ocean Country Observer Article, November 11th, 2003:

At 05:09 PM 11/7/2003 , wrote:

November 7, 2003

Berkeley resolution: Nuke plant should be closed

Published in the Ocean County Observer 11/07/03

Staff Writer

BERKELEY -- A resolution was passed unanimously by the Township Council calling for the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township to be decommissioned by April 2004, allowing a transitional period to ensure that all employees are retrained and rehired.

The resolution calls for the plant to be replaced with clean energy solutions, including renewable energy such as solar and wind power for which state funds are available.

But David Simon, a representative of Exelon, the parent company that operates the plant, said accusations made against Oyster Creek are far-fetched and disturbing.

"It's deliberately put out there without looking at the facts," he said. "I have three kids and I would go live near any one of our plants. They are well protected and well fortified."

However, Councilman John Naparano said he felt it was the council's responsibility to speak out, given the public's interest and cause for concern.

"According to the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission), the emissions could spread over 500 miles, covering our people here," he said, "and as a councilman, our council has an obligation to the people we serve and not the special interest groups . . . I'd rather be safe than sorry. I have to think of the people we represent and I would hate to think of what would happen and we did nothing about it."

The council was approached by members of the Jersey Shore Nuclear Watch, who have been advocates for shutting the plant down. The council had previously taken a stance against the power plant in 1994 and adopted a resolution on May 13, 2003 requesting an independent evacuation study and a plan for Oyster Creek.

He said the public interest groups, such as Jersey Shore Nuclear Watch, have been able to provide convincing research regarding the danger the plant poses to the general health and well being of the public.

The resolution states that a minute supply of energy is produced by the power plant, claiming that less than one percent is produced for a country-wide power grid.

But Simon, the Exelon representative, disagreed, questioning how New Jersey would replace 660 megawatts of power that is currently generated by the plan.

"If the people of New Jersey would be willing to put up a thousand windmills or numerous solar panels to replace that kind of energy, then fine," he said.

The township's resolution also cites the community's lack of confidence in the current evacuation plan.

But Simon noted that the evacuation plan was designed to handle all emergency scenarios, adding the fuel storage tank is designed to withstand severe weather conditions, including a major hurricane or tornado. If there is a crash, such as an airliner hitting the plant, the chance of a nuclear accident is "almost nil, but we can't say 100 percent." Simon said.

"These are hardened facilities," he said, "designed with reinforced structure with steel and concrete."

Simon said in if there was ever a release from the plant, the wind direction will only send the emissions in one direction.

"You would have a very directed wave," he said, adding it would be carried by the wind "in a very small area."

Edith Gbur, chairperson of the Jersey Shore Nuclear Watch, defended the group's position against Oyster Creek, saying there are numerous studies to support their concerns, particularly regarding what could happen during a terrorist attack.

Gbur said she is elated with Berkeley's resolution.

"Berkeley is a pioneer and they are really concerned about the people living there," she said. "I'm hoping the other townships will follow them."

Simon, however, said the company is responsive to the public, and willing to work with the municipalities to alleviate any concerns.

"We understand there is concern," he said. "We have a citizens task force, we work with them, we want to be receptive and open to do something to improve how we operate."

from the Ocean County Observer

Published on November 7, 2003

Asbury Park Press Article, November 8th, 2003:

From: "John Bendel" <>
Date: Sat, 8 Nov 2003 17:58:31 -0500
Subject: Re: [JerseyShoreNuclearWatch] New York Times Article

This op-ed appeared in the Asbury Park Press on Wednesday, Nov. 5. For some reason it was not posted online. --John Bendel
Oyster Creek Plant's future should concern everyone
By John Bendel
     I'm 61. If the Oyster Creek nuclear plant is re-licensed, I stand a good chance of being out of the picture when something finally goes wrong there. And make no mistake: it's a matter of when, not if. But letís come back to that.

     Right now, I can't believe that the young people of Ocean County, people with growing families, their own homes and long lives ahead of them, haven't risen up in anger over the very idea that this 40-year-old atomic plant, scheduled to go out of service in 2009, might actually be licensed for use into the future.

         Older folks should be upset too, especially if they donít drive any more. The emergency evacuation plan actually calls for them to be removed by bus. What makes anyone think that bus drivers ≠ or anyone else -- will hang around a nuclear accident?

         In Ocean County we're talking about many more homes, schools, churches, businesses and people than were ignored when this plant was originally built. The plant that once seemed isolated is now in the midst of a very populated and rapidly growing area, arguably the fastest-growing part of the state.

     Ocean County is just the epicenter. The impact of a serious incident at Oyster Creek would immediately reach into Monmouth, Burlington and Atlantic Counties. Even if successful evacuation were possible ≠ which it is not -- who would ever dare to boat, fish or swim in Barnegat Bay? The Jersey Shore would die, taking with it all the businesses that exist here because people like the beach. We're talking about the economic engine that some people believe powers the entire state.

     Yet some otherwise smart people believe, very sincerely, that simply wonít happen. They say nuclear power is safe, that there is no good reason to give up the economic benefits of the Oyster Creek plant. They have expressed their views in the pages of this newspaper and elsewhere. But their assurances don't change at least three immutable realities.

     First, splitting atoms to generate commercial energy ranks among the dumbest things mankind has ever done. Nuclear fission generates electricity that is used up in seconds and creates material that will be toxic for eons. It is as if humankind's Neanderthal predecessors had mortgaged our own generation for some berries and a few mammoth hides. Itís similar in concept to what every accountant knows: if you pay current expenses with capital funds you'll eventually drown in debt.
     Second is Murphy's Law -- if anything can go wrong, it will. The phrase wouldn't be funny if we didn't recognize its underlying truth, particularly where technology is concerned. We inherently trust the fruits of our own genius. That's why the Titanic was fully booked. Today, for example, we Americans place our well-being in computers that require constant backup, frequent software patches, 24-hour support lines and an army of technicians -- a good portion of whom at any given time are totally stumped. Yet computers are crucial to the vast, complicated array of aging safeguards around Oyster Creek.

     Finally there is willful malevolence. Today every nuclear plant in the U.S. might as well have a bullseye painted on it. Yet we're supposed to be comforted by a fence and some private security guards around Oyster Creek. Even if you believe that the plant operators have prepared for every imaginable contingency ≠ which isnít remotely the case -- no one can prepare for the unimaginable, as we should have learned on September 11th, 2001.

     The owners of Oyster Creek, the oldest operating nuclear plant in America, may want to keep this plant running beyond its scheduled retirement. Just in case, they're spreading money around the county, money for just the right local causes, money to put on a smiley face for the communities. Those dollars don't amount to much in the larger picture, but they reveal that the heart of the Oyster Creek issue is, of course, money. We're talking about jobs, tax dollars and profit.

    These are all valid concerns, but lets keep them in perspective with the horrendous threat that the Oyster Creek plant truly is. And letís remember this: Over the last 100 years it was sensible, honest business people doing what seemed right at the time who left New Jersey with the most Superfund cleanup sites of any state in the nation.

         We canít afford a wrong decision on Oyster Creek. Shut down the reactor and decommission the plant. When we finally stop creating toxic waste in 2009, weíll only have to worry about the terrible stuff still stored there. At least it would be a step in the right direction.
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