A few months ago, I decided to ditch my landline and move as many calls as I could to my iPhone via SIP. Here's how I did it:
- An unlocked iPhone with a prepaid T-Mobile SIM
- A copy of the freeware VoIP app. Siphon
- A used Macmini server I picked-up for $200
- VMware Fusion running on the Macmini server
- The Incredible PBX from Nerd Vittles
- A free ISP connection courtesy of my very cute and extremely generous next door neighbor Christina
The Incredible PBX (I-PBX) runs within VMware and is pre-configured to support free VoIP calls anywhere in the US over Google Voice. The Google Voice service gives me a local phone number (DID), and will route calls to my home-based I-PBX over GTalk. Siphon on the iPhone gives me both in and outbound SIP calling while I'm on WiFi at home. At home, I also have a Cisco VoIP phone I got a few years ago which also handles inbound and outbound calls. When I'm away from home, I can make outbound calls whenever there's a WiFi network available by routing the calls over a VPN connection back to the Macmini server.
Note that there were a couple of caveats with my setup. The biggest problem is that inbound calls via Google Voice and GTalk don't seem to work reliably; the phones ring, but the voice connection never seems to work. I tend to think the problem is in my configuration though, and if I spent a bit more time troubleshooting the issue, I'm sure I could solve the problem. However, I can still use Google Voice to forward inbound calls back to the iPhone phone via the cellular network. I can then get the call, figure out who it is and how long it will take and, if it's going be be more than a couple of minutes, I can call back via VoIP.
The problem is they lied under oath. And once people are lying about the state of things you don't know what else they are or will lie about. These might not matter, but they might very well lie about the next leak when it is a serious problem. As with many issues, the initial incident isn't nearly as much of a problem as the coverup.
How do you know they lied? How can you be sure it wasn't an honest error by a company official who simply didn't understand the technical details of the reactor's plumbing? I don't know about you but, in my experience, these types of corporate misstatements and goof-ups are pretty common in any industry, nuclear or otherwise. I'm not convinced that isn't the case here. TFA doesn't provide enough evidence one way or the other on this point. It certainly doesn't substantiate a deliberate coverup. There's just no hard evidence of that.
The recent revelation of a tritium leak at Vermont Yankee in 2005 seems, at least to me, to indicate that someone at Entergy is trying to be up-front and honest with the public and the NRC. I applaud that. Good for them. God knows, after Three-Mile Island in 1979, I can't imagine anyone in the US nuclear industry wanting to admit to any accident, benign or otherwise.
As others have already pointed out, a tritium leak isn't particularly dangerous. I don't feel compelled to get my own knickers in a knot over the problem. But I do think it's telling how quickly a minor leak at a nuclear facility spirals into, "They're lying -- it's a coverup!" This type of knee-jerk anti-nuclear reaction is exactly why the US hasn't built a new reactor in over a quarter of a century. It's also why I'm dubious about new nuclear projects today. Until US citizens show a willingness to get facts in their hands and abandon the "if it's nuclear it must be bad' mentality we are never going to have the kind of debate we deserve to have over the pros and cons of nuclear energy.
I don't want to be all "So what?" but so what? One plant leaks an unspecified amount of a weak beta emitter...It tested at the leak at a whopping 2 million picocuries, which is a bullshit measurement that's clearly chosen because it's more shocking than 2 microcuries. 2 microcuries is about what you'd get for a basic thyroid test at the docs office. Trituim doesn't stay resident in the body, it's half life is 12 years long, and it's a beta emitter: if you drink it you'll get a few rads, but you can take a shower in it without any problem.
The whole thing is clearly being pushed as an example of the horrible dangers of the super scary nuclear power industry, but what I see is the dangers that are inherent in running antiquated plants for years beyond their design life because a bunch of poorly informed hysterics have blocked all attempts to modernize them for the last 40 years.
And what the hell is the point in talking about the plants in Georgia? That's a different type of plant, being built by a different company! Georgia has the largest coal fired power plant in the us: where's that outrage? Where is the outrage over the radiation it emits?