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For nuclear power industry, Fukushima was just bump in road

18 Comments
By Simon Sturdee

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© 2011 AFP

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"With just a few exceptions, most notably Germany, governments have moved to reassure themselves that their nuclear power is safe and that its two main advantages remain: it is not fossil-fuel based, and it is cheap."

The above statement seems to use 'safe' to mean "we will keep our nuke plants, so our INVESTMENTS are secured". Nothing about the safety of people. They are playing word games.

Btw, there is no "security" in a nuke plant. One terrorist attack, one Fukushim or other disaster and millions are at risk. Just safe for investors. We, the worlds population, simply don't count. Thanks for clarifying that democracy is a farce, after all most people oppose nukes of all sorts. Weapons and energy both kill innocents, but the go ts don't care.

0 ( +4 / -3 )

It costs several billions of dollars to build one of those reactors and several hundred billions of dollars to clean up the mess after one of those things blows up. I wouldnt call this a save investment.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The IAEA does seem to come down on the side of Big Nuke, it was very disappointing in their handling of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

International Big Nuke is very powerful and very wealthy and will do everything to ensure a strong future, including supporting nuclear power in Japan.

A study group from MIT predicted that between 2005 to 2050, there will be 4 major nuclear disasters. We have had one of them.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I am pro nuclear. It will get better and safer now that we nukes ourself. There is no other choice for the next 50 years.

Eat a kasha kinish and chill. Read book. Go to umi and surf. Water still warm!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

"Many worries"? What pap. While the democratic Western world panders to poltical correctness and tries to replace nuclear power with cute windmills and some such, the developing and third world are going ahead full blast with nuclear. There are hundreds of nuke plants planned in China, India, etc., not to mention Iran.

And anybody who thinks that the likes of Ahmedinejad give a hoot about safety issues or that Iranian engieers concoct something safer than the Japanese needs to wake up seriously.

The article is pathetic naval-gazing.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sorry-I am not convinced.............

2 ( +2 / -0 )

JapanGal,

I am pro nuclear. It will get better and safer now that we nukes ourself. There is no other choice for the next 50 years.

I don't accept that you truly believe that?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

its nuclear power or nuclear war (over carbon based energy supplies). take your pick hippies.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The predictable contents of the article aside, the title is downright creepy. What is a "bump in the road" to the nuclear industry and its drones means ruin for thousands of the Fukushima nuclear disaster victims. Their homes are uninhabitable, their communities are obliterated, their livelihoods are destroyed and many will suffer radiation-related illness in the not so far future, unless despair drives them to suicide first.

A bump in the road indeed, indeed. This is how much the nuclear energy machine cares about the people their greed and stupidity destroys.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Kabukilover - what about the tens of thousands that die every every year in the pursuit of carbon based energy? the air pollution it causes destroyering ecosystems?

nuclear power when it goes bad, really goes bad. otherwise its clean and safe. carbon based energy is bad all the time. just at a lower level.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

what about the tens of thousands that die every every year in the pursuit of carbon based energy? the air pollution it causes destroyering ecosystems?

Nuclear energy is different. Radiations make uninhabitable the territories for millions of years.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think one of the big reasons for the above-mentioned countries not changing their nuclear power policies is that when they looked at the Fukushima situation they recognized many of the problems were exacerbated by very poor safety procedures and poor oversight by government. In other words, they saw Fukushima as a management problem, not a problem with nuclear power itself.

However, with the current feeling in Japan, over the next decade or two I would expect to see Japanese companies putting a lot of effort into researching and developing viable, alternative energy sources with the intention of bringing them to market. I don't know if future developments will ever replace nuclear power completely, but a lot more could be done to complement it, and therefore reduce the number of plants needed. Siemens recently pulled the plug on their nuclear power plant business, so maybe they will focus their efforts in these areas too.

Unfortunately, modern societies just keep on demanding ever increasing amounts of energy, and the bleak irony of nuclear power at the moment is that it gives you a lot more bang for your buck than other forms of energy creation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No one surely has a right to claim that any houses were destroyed by any of the hydrogen explosions and fires in the cores of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors, and one fuel pond. The massive destruction was caused by the huge 15 to 16 metre tsunami. I watched shots on TV of its inexorable destructive advance through village and town streets.

Of course there has been a release of fission product radioactivity from the Daiichi nuclear reactors, which has caused contamination over an area within, I believe, a 20 km radius of the nuclear plants.

It is usually the more high-temperature volatile radioactive and soluble fission products which tend to become distributed, the former through the air. I am not aware that there's been any loss into the environment of actual transuranic elements, including uranium itself or MOX fuel uranium and plutonium, because none of them are volatile. Therefore what radioactivity has been released into the environment may possibly last for about 100 years, decaying continuously throughout that period, of course. It certainly won't stay around for millions of years. Well, the only radioactivity likely to be present which stays around for that length of time will already have been there for millions of years, such as natural uranium and possibly natural thorium.

It is so easy to forget that the human environment right across the world has been permanently radioactive at an extremely low level throughout the 2 billions of years or so through which evolution has been so successful (plus all those naturally occurring ionizing radiations).

The safety of nuclear reactors is being further enhanced as a result of the lessons learned from Fukushima, but not only from tsunamis, which mainly arise through earthquake events around the Pacific seaboard. Thus there's the potential for aircraft crashes, deliberate or otherwise, into containment buildings. The idea of terrorist attacks is a macabre scenario, of course, but if terrorists wish to make the earth uninhabitable for everyone, including themselves, then the state of their minds should be highly suspect.

Nothing I have written negates in any way the rights of anyone from wishing to comment against nuclear power, but please do so with a knowledge of the facts, not in ignorance of them. We don't necessarily have to emulate Greenpeace!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I think hatsoff is right. The above-mentioned countries see the Fukushima disaster as a management problem and not a nuclear power problem. The same countries no doubt presume that their managements are better and it cannot happen to them.

It ought to occur to any country using nuclear power that the problem of management and the problem of nuclear power are connected.

If we assume that it is only a management problem then we must at the same time assume that Japanese management as a general rule is moronic, sloppy, short-sighted and corrupt. Well, for the sake of argument, what if it is? Somehow, outside of Minamato and similar disasters, this dreadful state of management has not produced hideous and engulfing disasters like Fukushima.

Hey, Toyota plants don't suddenly explode and Shinkansens do not crash into each other. Nikon and Canon digital cameras do not suddenly meltdown in photographers' hands. And no matter how cheap, Seiko watches run forever.

I don't think we can ever run out of bad things to say about TEPCO and their hangers on (like those paid-off Todai professors). But consider this. It is likely that TEPCO and friends are the barf bags that they are because nuclear power is simply too unpredictable and unstable to manage properly. There are too many unforeseen dangerous possibilities, too many things that require too much time and too much money, and too many quirks and mysteries. A big mistake at a Toyota plant is local. A big mistake at a nuclear power plant (which elsewhere might be a small mistake) is national and global.

A country like Japan, with its frequent natural disasters, should not have nuclear power. But when you think of all that can go wrong and the global consequences, nobody should have nuclear power.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@mike23thurgood

The earthquake damaged 3 of the reactor buildings severely based on seismic data 45 minutes before the wave arrived, so don't blame it all on the tsunami. Building higher tsunami walls by the sea will not solve the issue of earthquakes setting off nuclear disasters.

Mike, the contamination zone far exceeds the 20 km circle around Fukushima Daiichi...plumes of radiation have left their mark all across Japan...there are hot spots in Tokyo that exceed levels that were evaucated during Chernobyl.

The 983 pounds of plutonium fuel in Reactor 1 brought over by Areva in 2010 on a ship does indeed appear to have aerosolized into the atmosphere. It has been detected in America and in Japan locations. The fire at the Chisso Petrochemical factory March 11 that allegedly burned up 1600 pounds of depleted uranium adjacent to Tokyo Bay is another issue rarely mentioned. News reports in Japan covered that story after the Cosmo Oil fire, but you rarely hear of any followup about studies of the fire and what was actually burned.

Today the Japanese central government announced testing reveals Fukushima rice crops contain unsafe levels of cesium and the 2011 rice crops from Fukushima Prefecture will not be allowed to ship. Yet, what can be done? Mix it with lower levels of contaminated rice and eat up the problem? Burn the contaminated rice and let the vapors spread across Japan? The food crops in many areas of Japan have been seriously compromised and mislabelling of crop origins is going to have to be dealt with to prevent internal exposure. The water contamination is also enormous off the eastern seaboard and Japanese will be dealing with that danger for decades.

The biggest problem is that the "bump" in the road has not been resolved. There is no containment of the damaged reactor cores at Units 1, 2, and 3 at Fukushima as the nuclear cores have burned into the ground and pose unknown dangers for future emissions. The current radioactive emissions per day is at an extremely high level and invisible to people. Sad to say, despite some progress Fukushima Daiichi is still an ongoing and active nuclear accident sending vapors into the sky on a daily basis.

It's time to ask for help since Tepco is unable to resolve the issues of the runaway nuclear cores. I hope Japan will ask for and receive help from the countries of the world who are so optimistic about the future of atomic energy. It is to their benefit to help Japan because if bad news continues then they will also receive citizen pressure to join the phaseout of nuclear power announced by Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bump in the road? Some of these reckless profiteers need a bump on the head!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For the people of Japan at present and in the future it will be akin to a boulder falling on their heads!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess there are mountains shorter in stature then this bump in the road

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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