Areas near nuclear plant may be unlivable forever, gov't says


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i had said long ago, abandon this prefecture (not some areas) and manage with remaining 46 !

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The elements do not care about the cordoned off a 20-kilometer boundary. The wind might recontaminate what has been decontaminated.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Finally some sense here. I hate to break it, but I got the impression that people living there before would like to return no matter what they are being told. While I understand this behavior, I am pleased to see the government taking some responsibilty

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Sad but true...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

almost a year later, it has been admitted. for the longest time i could not believe people wanted to move back there. now, it is uttered aloud.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Well, duh. It's the denial that really gets me. And, it's not just some areas around the plant! It's areas well within the ecological reach of the contamination. Fukushima needs to be off-limits to everyone until they understand the effects of the ecological contamination. For the umpteenth time: Get the people out of there. It's time to start relocating to other prefectures at the expense of TEPCO. Give these people the respect and aid they need to restart.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

People have forgotten Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania and Chernobyl in the Ukraine.

There's areas that are still unlivable, but so what? Fukushima is just another case.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nice that the government is FINALLY recognizing what most of us ("Japan-bashers") have been saying since last March, and it's a shame until now they've been giving the people false hope. Even now to say "some areas of the town don't have such high readings" is just plain stupid, as though anyone should go back and live in a town where their neighbour's house is WAY above safety levels.

Sorry for the people of the area and of Japan for having to suffer the stupidity and greed of this government and its vested interests. Those people more than anyone else in the nation now know how 'great' nuclear power can be.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Well, now this has ben announced we now have a potential dumping ground for all that debris they want to ship all over the country and burn too.

Or is that too much common sense for a Saturday morning? It must have strained the poor suits in Nagatacho so badly to have come up with even this whiff of of a smart move, so maybe we should be gentle with them for a while.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

at least they admit it. that's a good first step..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tepco (other than nuke plants) needs to be sold off as a going concern. There are plenty of companies in Japan and the US who would pay top dollar to own the Tepco monopoly of power supply to the largest city in the world. It is worth tens of billions of dollars. Sell it, sack senior management and use those billions to pay decent compensation.

This was a plan put forward last year, but as reported here in this website, power companies make HUGE political donations. That was their insurance plan incase this event happened.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Nuclear power is a good thing, isn't it? Have been surfing at that section of the Fukushima coast quite a few times and it is a nice bit of coast, except for the endless lines of tetrapods, of course. There is a great onsen resort and camping area with a huge kids' playground at Iwaki. Now, it is just gonna be a wasteland. It's a shame, but without being too nasty, it serves them right for not building the plants with sufficient safety standards for such an earthquake prone country. Very foolish indeed!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Clement Gervaise I concur. It is a very good step indeed. This portion of Japan has to be amputated. Japan just got a little bit smaller. How sad it is to see the older generation destroying the country, taking the future away from it's youth.

What a troubled state of mind these politicians are in. They can't see the error of their ways cause they're are always trying to look good for the cameras.

When TEPCO officially resigns that name to the history books that will be a great day.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It's very sad to be robbed of a place called home. As a gaijin I'm very lucky to know and be able to return sometimes to the place of my birth and see the changes and improvements that have been made . We must find a safer energy source .

Japans Generation X1 has been born .

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sadly, most of us have already known this forever.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

zichi: To say that the government has already stated this before, and has been for some time, is perhaps misleading. What they HAVE been saying for some time is that, "some evacuated areas people may not be able to return to for a long time", to which many a-poster wrote, "Why don't they just tell them they'll NEVER be able to go back and let the people move on with their lives?"

Anyway, now they have -- although it seems they're still trying to water it down by saying, "some parts of the city have lower radiation than others", etc.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What's the big deal about moving somewhere else anyway? One bit of Japan looks pretty much like any other bit so Fukushima residents could relocate as villages, intermingle with other villages elsewhere and keep their memories of home in their food (which tastes pretty much the same wherever you go in Japan) and their own villages' shine carrying and Morris dancing traditions (which look pretty much the same wherever you are in Japan anyway). So what's really lost? A bit of daft nostalgia.

Put it this way: is going home worth dying for? Because that's what the stakes are here.For many it may already be too late! The whole of Fukushima should have been evacuated, and other areas with a 100km zone, and anyone with any sense knows it.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

The government has finally declared the obvious truth that has been under our noses. As other have said, there is a danger that the contamination is going to spread.

Now a big chunk of Japan is a permanent wasteland. We cannot afford another disaster like this. It is past time to scrap nuclear power.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )


1 ( +2 / -1 )

Took them 1 year to figure this out?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

well wait until the atomic war that is coming, even if Japan is not directly hit the radiation will be much much higher all over Japan. Anyhow the government of Japan is too conservative, background is at least 6 mill servants a year. It is everywhere from radioactive decay and granitic and marble put out lots of it. Uranium is a natural element and there our so many others. Even our star puts out lots of radiation. I would say most of us get at least 20 a year, being aircrew over the pole adds 9 a year.

So is the government going to buy them land and homes and replace their livestock? I doubt it, the money is being sent to Europe, Iraq and China. Anywhere but to the people the government has a duty to protect and serve.

-13 ( +1 / -15 )

Unlivable forever. That statement alone is convincing enough to abolish all nuclear plants in Japan and everywhere else for that matter.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

They are just stating the obvious. Of there should be an exclusion zone without human settlements for a very long time (in the political timeframe forever). And what is wrong with that? Japan can very much use a few more green lungs. And the area would not be without any use at all.... it can serve as desposit for radioactive debris, and it would be a great nature preserve too.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )


" Now a big chunk of Japan is a permanent wasteland. "

Wrong on several levels. Firstly, an exclusion of maybe 10 km radius around the plant would not be a "big chunk of Japan". Looking at the big picture, it would be tiny. Secondly, it would not be a permanent wasteland. It would be phantastic nature preserve (just look at the area around Chernobyl), and it would be an obvious location to store radioactive waste that otherwise would be needed to store elsewhere.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

just like to point out that coal power kills more people every then nuclear power ever has.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

For energy look to Tesla .he broadcast energy, but the problem was once you had a receiver and they were cheap to build, your electricity was free. Some country has to do this to stop the carbon build up. Akio

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Peanut666, "people" have not forgotten Chernobyl. No European has. All of us still remember clearly what Japan will have to go through next.

WilliB is correct: no-go zone around Chernobyl is a lush nature reserve. Animals have adapted to radioactivity and there are no people to screw everything up again. Once you remove the self-centered human egotists from the center of the universe and the meaning of existence, one can see that even Dai-ichi won't be the end of the world.

I'm still not supporting farmers who knowingly flood markets with contaminated goods, though. That is highly unethical behaviour, much more important than the growing pains these farmers are afraid of.

3 ( +4 / -0 )

Readers, please keep the discussion focused on Fukushima, not Chernobyl.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Please stop the comparison to coal, because there are clean alternatives. As for nuclear, the disasters spread radiation to crops around the world, among other far worse things (too many to list).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

the other "clean" sources aren't currently economical. if japan replaced all the carbon based energy sources with wind/solar you would have to pay at least double for electricity. that would raise prices on everything else.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Nothing is forever.

And, there are many more hot spots around then they want you to believe. I take my Geiger COunter with me everywhere. The country is hot

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

tidal, solar, thermal, wind, .. lots of alternatives.. still, regardless of what the government does for fukushima`s, so called uninhabitable lands.. we need to decentralize industrial areas, and expand industry, throughout the nation. Be it, Oyster growing, greater food cultivation methods, recycling of rare-resource materials, .. by expanding in energy, food, manufacturing, industries, and decentralization of them, we foster growth in education, population, .. we, as the next generation of bureaucrats.. should not look at fukushima as a problem, but an opportunity, to rally the populous, into change. for a ecologically, sustainable, high tech society... if we fail to do, burying ourselves in fear, egotistical beliefs.. fukushima will continually remembered as a negative issue, as a consequence, we will learn nothing from it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


" tidal, solar, thermal, wind, .. lots of alternatives "

None of them economically viable now, or anywhere in the foreseeable future. Wishful thinking is no replacement for reality.

Face it, no nuclear power simply means more fossil fuel burning in the real world, if you want to maintain modern lifestyle (or even survive at current population levels.)

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@WilliB. Not true on all levels. The answers with clean energy have been known for a long time. The thing missing is the will to put them into action instead of propping up nuclear power, coal, and oil conglomerations.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

lest you forget, the spewing of radio active materials into sea, land and air continues. so, the 20km radius for unlivable chunk of land is very provisional. who knows, when the dust settles, may be in 2013, the unlivable area might stretch into Tokyo?!!!!!Japan seems to have relied on some energy whose risk analysis was not thoroughly undertaken. and please, with a popn. density of 340 persons/sq km (USA=27 persons/sq km), any chunk of land declared unlivable is significant!

and for now we are only looking at floods, earthquakes, etc as only threats to nuclear energy. how about in case of a terrorist attack a la sept 11 in USA? what happens when for instance some mad terrorist group blows all the 54 nuclear reactors? shall we still have a country called japan on the map? and u still hear people advocating for nuclear energy for life!!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@WilliB wishful thinking? the current levels of technology in alternative sources, were brought about by, economic incentives. The tar sands of Canada, that industry did not just pop out of the blue, over night. It has existed since the 1970s. It is not wishful thinking to say, that the government who have capacity to invest in these alternative sources, have been bankrolled by the conglomerates of fossil fuel. It is very easy to say on paper, that it is not viable, I recall Thomas Edison, telling the American public, AC power is too dangerous, DC power is safer, forgetting to mention, that for every one & a half miles, there will be a power station. Energy is a hungry beast, it drove the sperm whale population to near extinction, because of the oil, used in street lamps, for the sake of propping up the then modern lifestyle. Fukushima should be seen as negative consequence, to the past, but should not be viewed as a black hole of public opinion & government policy.. it should be viewed, even if it is wishful thinking, as a positive step, to change.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ranger Miffy:

" put them into action instead of propping up nuclear power, coal, and oil conglomerations. "

Reality check: Nobody is "propping up nuclear power, coal, and oil conglomerations". They pay their own way, including paying taxes which are used to prop up windmill, solar panel, wave and similar operations, all of which rely on public subsidies,

Rick Kisa:

" lest you forget, the spewing of radio active materials into sea, land and air continues. so, the 20km radius for unlivable chunk of land is very provisional. who knows, when the dust settles "

Reality check: No reputable source says that currently radioactive material is being spewed. Only conspiracy and activist sites do.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

@willB No reputable source says that currently radioactive material is being spewed. Only conspiracy and activist sites do.

where "reputable" means what? all so-called reputable sources have fed population on lies since the start of the crisis and have been busted time and again!!! even the optimists said while declaring the cold shut-down that they are just trying to control and that there is still a long way to go to completely stop the radiation. and wasn' t the so called cold shut-down of the plant disputed by local authorities soon after declaration by Noda? i think it would be enriching this thread if we discuss from what is already known: i.e. radio active material still continues to leak into d sea, air and soil

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Nicky, stop making sense!! Put the garbage there and leave the rest of us alone with all this burning crap.

Now, will they stop trying to get people to move back to some of these areas? If people want to move back, by all means, go for it. Just don't expect the tax payers to foot the health care bills for their cancer.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@WilliB Nobody is "propping up nuclear power, coal, and oil conglomerations".. An example of the US government subsidy on fossil fuel, is the investment of $10 billion a year since 2002. The Nuclear industry, is getting 80 billion in loans, from the Obama administration. Since when has nuclear power ever been economical ? If General electric in the US, in 2011, got a tax benefit of 2.3 billion, instead of paying taxes, .. with a 2011, 14.5 billion profit, it is not surprising the US administration is printing money, as it owes companies money instead. Energy industries, globally are protected by governments. I ask you to mention a nation, that does not in anyway, support their energy industries..

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm wondering if most of Japanese are aware of this situation happening as the people outside Fukushima is getting unfocused on this issue. It's much more serious situation rather than we expected when the incident in the nuclear power plan happened last year. Nevertheless, the government didn't make any new release for TV programs. They should take actions to inform nations of real situations.

4 ( +4 / -0 )


currently no radioactive material being spilled? According to the IAEA FD1 Status Report of 22 December, 60 million Bq per hour of caesium alone is spewing out of reactors 1, 2 and 3. And that's not counting other transuranics. It's an open-air fission experiment. Why would you knowingly spread misinformation unless you are the conspiratorial activist?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Hang all TEPCO and government officials covering and suppressing vita informations. That fukushima area is dead. ADMIT IT amoebae.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

...unlivable forever....

But after that, it'll be okay, right?

3 ( +4 / -1 )


" It's an open-air fission experiment. "

If you think there is fission going on right now, I suggest read up on some basic science. Words have meanings, don´t toss them around like confetti.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

****We need to leave this country. Academics are talking now about a huge quake about to hit Tokyo. Can you imagine the sheer horror? More of what's happened, and worse.

As Andrea Bocelli says: time to say goodbye.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Actually, it may not be accurate that "The government has cordoned off a 20-kilometer area around the plant." I was stopped at one gate when I was driving near Iidate-mura and took a wrong turn. The security person said it was 27km from the plant. If this is true, they have cordoned off a larger area than they have publicly announced.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


I know what fission is. Do you think they were injecting boric acid two weeks ago for fun? Oh, and that I-131 that is showing up in Kanagawa's sewage sludge this month must have from chemo patients.

Reality check: You're dissembling. You've been called out for posting untruths and you're suggesting I study "basic science", because somehow that will do what, exactly?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Finally! A (albeit lukewarm) admission! But only to areas that exceed 50 millisieverts per year? That's a bit too lax. Should be applied to areas with much lower readings. I'd hope at the very least... say... 10 millisieverts? Considering the average American receives around 6 mSv per year, and the average dose for nuclear plant workers is 20mSv per year, I don't think 10mSv is an unreasonable limit to be asked.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The big game changer here is that water flowed out of the nuclear power plant and into the ocean and that flow of water is now contaminating the worlds fish supply and tens of thousands of people in America and all over the world that eat this fish will now be involed with the devistation that we call Fukushima...LOL

-1 ( +1 / -2 )


Fission is not the same as natural decay. There is of course no fission going on now. The situation is bad enough without hysterical claims like that.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

You don't say! I knew that in mid March of last year.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


I-131 is produced from reactor irradiation of Te-130 for medical use, or as a fission product of U-235. It is not formed by natural decay. As you say, "basic science".

Also, I am not making "hysterical claims"; my source is TEPCO and Kanagawa-ken's own data.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Are sushi & sashimi safe to eat in Japan? I love the stuff so I hope radiation checks are still being made.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

OkazakiFeb. 25, 2012 - 08:44PM JST


I know what fission is. Do you think they were injecting boric acid two weeks ago for fun? Oh, and that I-131 that is showing up in Kanagawa's sewage sludge this month must have from chemo patients.

I-131 has a half-life of 8 days - can you tell us how much was showing up at Kanagawa?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The government on Friday said some areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant that was wrecked last year by a massive tsunami will likely remain permanently unlivable.

Assuming Cesium contamination is the major contributor to the radiation levels, then it will take 249 years, not forever for the radiation level to drop below 1 millisievert.

My contribution to the quest for accuracy in reporting.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

zichiFeb. 25, 2012 - 03:17PM JST

The myth that nuclear energy is clean, cheap, and safe is busted!

And it only took a once in 1200 years tsunami to do it.

Seriously, looking at the major power sources - which can check all those boxes?

Oil: Clean - No; Cheap - No; Safe - No (Greenhouse gasses and radiation from radium and radon)

Gas: Clean - No; Cheap - Yes; Safe - No (Greenhouse gasses and radiation from radium and radon)

Coal: Clean - No; Cheap - No; Safe - No (Greenhouse gasses, Arsenic, Mercury, and radiation from Uranium and other radioisotopes)

That's the three major sources of energy, and in weighing them against nuclear you have to take into account that the safety of nuclear, with small areas rendered unusable in an accident, versus a whole planet potentially rendered uninhabitable due to normal operations of the power plants.

-2 ( +4 / -5 )

It would be phantastic nature preserve (just look at the area around Chernobyl), and it would be an obvious location to store radioactive waste that otherwise would be needed to store elsewhere.

Oh great. The people's loss in this nuclear disaster will be nature's gain. Radioactive fish from the contaminants that spread into the ocean, which TEPCO wishes to contain with underwater concrete. Migratory birds eating contaminated food. That's be great. Contaminated seeds from nature's own grasses being carried about by the winds. No doubt the course of nature will be cheerfully enhanced by all the radioactive waste stored in Fukushima's dead areas.

Here is the awful truth. Rightly or wrongly Fukushima's produce is screwed by this disaster. However clean it may in fact be, people will not be buying food from Fukushima for a long time, if not indefinitely.

You know, that's to Chernobyl, there are not contaminated wild boar running about Germany. You can expect this in Fukushima. Not just in the restricted areas, as nature ignores artificial boundries.

Finally, can Japan afford a repeat of Fukushima? It cannot. No nuclear facility can be made 100 percent safe against massive earthquakes and tsunamis.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well J Govt can do the best that they can but Daiichi is still emitting some nasty stuff. Yasumi Iwakami one of the journalist allowed into the plant recently is sicker than sick. When they viewed reactor 3, their geiger counters shot up to 1500 microSv/h.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Thats regrettable!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yeah, the buses the journalists were in while viewing the reactors offered no protection.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why, why, why, hasn't Japan invested heavily in geothermal power? Why? They can build robots that will make you a bloody ramen and give you a sexy massage, but have failed to utilize the most abundant resource in japan. It is just bloody stupid!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I just don't know but I think a strong gust of wind could have radiation coming out of the reactors and landing even 25 km away. You could be walking down the street in Kawauchi village, stop to read a sign not knowing radiation lands on you just from the breeze in the air. The journalists that visited Daiichi were suited just like the workers and the workers who could be walking along on site or on another reactor working when and a gust of wind could have them in a hotspot from the radiation coming out of the reactors.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


Well that is good to hear, I hope TEPCO pays for the Medical of the workers even if they are Day Laborers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"...wrecked last year by a massive tsunami..." Why do these news reports always use the indefinite article? I always have to scratch my head and think back thru all the massive tsunamis we've had over recent years until I work out which one they're talking about. Oh, that one!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Maybe they can rename it "post-apocalyptic hellscape" and sell the rights to Hollywood.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


On 2/20, 41 Bq/kg I-131 vs. 615 Bq/kg of caesium according to their webpage.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Where is JapanGal, you are right I just read an article saying Tokyo station is as contaminated as mandatory evacuating zone in Fukushima. I thought of JapanGal and her comment when I read this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

6.5 microSv/h at Japan’s busiest train station — Equal to 57 millisieverts per year, 10 times Chernobyl evacuation levels

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well, speaking as a scientist -it is not that easy to remobilise large amounts of cesium once it has sunk into the ground. The contamination will go on and spread - but only rather slowly. I don't think that the contaminated soil 2 kms away would suddenly spark a huge contamination at a formerly only slighly contaminated spot. The main reason for worrying are the already heavily contaminated spots, the ongoing release at the plant and the constant need to check for new hotspots, which can be removed rather easily in most cases.

Cesium moves through binding to water. In the case of the Fukushima plant, it binds to the water of the vapour which is released. Once it has sunk into soil or organic material, it will stay there for quite a long time. That doesn't mean that decontamination is entirely hopeless. I guess that - if no further really bad things happen at the plant - the regions around the plant - except for maybe five kilometers or so - will be mostly habitable again in 50 to 100 years.

This is some simple guesswork. Assume some 400 mSv per yer. 50 years brings it down to an 35%, which is still 140 mSv per year. A decontamination effort can be expected to reduce the local dose by some 20% or so (just an estimate, which is probably quite realistic). Repeat this over six decades six times and You are down another factor of 1 million. Therefore, fifty or sixty years is a realistic time span. Less is something for dreamers.

Still, I don't think they should try to send people back so soon. Leave the place as it is, try some decontamination efforts every ten years or so, let everything settle again - and two or three generations later it will be mostly okay.

By the way, I have quite a hard time believing 6.5 muSv/h at Tokyo station if its not for a small hotspot, which should be in principle rather easy to decontaminate. Since the calculation on the page also contained a mistake of micro and milli Sievert, I am not convinced that it is correct as it is stated. However, I'll be more than accepting of the truth, if someone proves me wrong and can actually verify these measurements.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan should build more nuclear power plants and perfect their design.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Thanks Okazaki,

I had a detailed post ready to go and JT ate it.

Off the top of my head the current level of I-131 (41 bq/kg) would equal 75,000,000,000,000 bq/kg in Mid-March, for Cs-137 the current level would only be 629 bq/kg in March.

The NSC estimated that 150,000,000,000,000,000 bq of I-131 was released from Fukushima Dai-ichi - we don't know how much waste has been through the water treatment plant (or how Cs-137 or I-131 accumulates there). Let's be silly and assume that there is only one ton of waste at the plant, and it has been there since the radiation release. We multiply the I-131 initial amount in bq/kg by 1000kg and get:

75 followed by 15 zeroes, or 75 PetaBequerels. The total release of I-131 from Fukushima Dai-ichi was 150 followed by 15 zeroes, 150 PetaBequerels.

75/150 = 0.5 - so half the total release of I-131 from the accident landed in the water treatment plant.

Now this is a very rough calculation - but it seems the I-131 amount in the water plant is unrealistic if we're assuming it's only from Fukushima Dai-ichi.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


the radiation contamination will end in 249 years, but I'm not sure that fact will please a single living nuclear refugee.

Well, that was for the contamination to drop under 1 millisievert per year, not an end to contamination.

I agree on the fact that this will not please the evacuees, I just don't like the use of 'forever' when the factual time-span is available.

While I would agree the use of all fossil fuels involves some level of pollution but the big difference when an oil, gas or coal fired power plant goes belly up, it don't release billions of becquerels of radiation contaminating 8% of the total land mass, 30,000 sq km. Nor does it contaminate the food chain.

First, the fossil fuel plants don't cause problems when they go belly-up - they cause problems when they are operating normally. As to what they do, they only change the composition of the atmosphere, raising global temperatures, affecting food growth, sea level, and weather patterns. There's also an outside chance that they'll render the Earth uninhabitable, that's 100% of the planet.

A typical coal plant also releases about 631,900,000,000 Bequerels of radioisotopes per year - so we're already in the billions of bequerels with a single coal plant. Oil and Gas wells also release radioisotopes into the sea. Radiation in the food chain...

Coal power also releases arsenic and mercury into the environment, not nice stuff - with a half-life of forever.

As for Oil, the oil fires started due to the tsunami will likely have an adverse effect on those exposed to the toxic byproducts of the blazes.

The 249 years is provided there isn't another major nuclear disaster at the power plant, like another powerful earthquake or tsunami, both predicted recently by some experts, or something like the No4 spend fuel pool collapsing and spewing its contents onto the ground. TEPCO have stated it won't even try to extract the melted fuel for at least 20 years.

True. Let's hope none of those futures come to pass.

On your comparison of nuclear, oil, gas, coal you missed off the fact that nuclear energy produces millions of tons of nuclear waste which remains hot for more than 10,000 years and must be stored at an enormous cost to future generations. Are we really sure, those future generations want to inherit nuclear waste? If the cost of the nuclear waste storage was included in the power charges it would be much more expensive.

First, there are safe ways to store nuclear waste - the political push needs to be there for it to happen. Second, with fourth-generation NPPs waste could become a non-issue, as they can actually use the waste as fuel.

As for future generations - it's a hard choice, nuclear waste, or a planet devastated by climate change. I would pick the former.

I feel that your concerns about climate change should be more directed at America which still generates 50% of total power from coal, and also China which is burning more and more coal every year, in plants which are very basic without the use of filters, collectors and scrubbers. Both of these countries along with another big polluter, India, are all refusing a climate change agreement. America didn't even sign the Kyoto Protocol, which ends this year.

Agreed, but Japan has its part to play too. It will be interesting to see if Japan moves in the CO2 pollution rankings next year.

Like I stated on another comment, TEPCO can buy power from any of the other power companies in East Japan, and to some extend from Western Japan too. The government have stated there will be no power shortages during the coming summer.

Yes, but there is not a lot of power to go around in East Japan. As for the government statement - we'll see.

You state the tsunami was a once in a 1200 year event. I just think of the woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusa, "The Hollow of the Deep-Sea Wave off Kanagawa" probably his most famous image, which he made in 1831. 53% of tsunamis worldwide occur in the Pacific, and 82% of them caused by earthquakes.

Yes, the tsunami - not tsunamis. The last tsunami to hit the Sendai plains was back in 869AD.

Recognized Tsunamis sediments in Japan go back nearly for 5.000 years, historic records span for nearly 1.300 years, however the most detailed and precise accounts cover mostly the recent period.

Yes, and it's a shame there is not a government agency tasked with dealing with tsunami prediction as a matter of urgency. If there had been then Fukushima might have been avoided.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

zichiFeb. 28, 2012 - 03:39PM JST


I'm no more a supporter of coal fired power stations than I am of nuclear ones. The consumption of coal is more or less at the same level as it was prior to the 3/11 nuclear disaster.

I'd need some facts to back that up.

Coal imports for Jan. were only up about 7% on the year previous, while imports of LNG are up about 28%, oil imports are also down. The loss of power from nuclear plants is being generated by LNG.

On page of this document

we see that the cost of coal is up 26.5% and LNG 74.3%.

The figures you quote for radiation and pollution from coal fired plants don't take into consideration the type of coal used, the preprocessing, the use of filters, collectors and scrubbers. The radiation from a coal fired plant is more of a local problem unlike the radiation from the nuclear disaster, which according to the Ministry of Science has contaminated about 30,000 sq km.

Well the scientific papers seem to say otherwise:

Determination of uranium concentrations and its activity ratios in coal and fly ash from Philippine coal-fired thermal power plants using ICP-MS and TIMS, Sahoo et al

"The highest concentration of uranium was found in fly ash* and lowest was for feed coal."

*In some countries this is collected by use of electrostatic means, and stored at power plants or landfills.

However, we have*

Escaping radioactivity from coal-fired power plants (CPPs) due to coal burning and the associated hazards: a review, Constantin Papastefanou

"Therefore, the combustion of coal results in the released into the environment of some natural radioactivity (1.48 TBq y−1), the major part of which (99 %) escapes as very fine particles, while the rest in fly ash."

So fly ash is only 1% of the problem.

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We're talking about different things, you're talking about tonnages, and I'm talking about cost.

However, the way facts are presented in these financial reports are quite confusing. For example, we have this:

"Japan’s 10 regional power utilities increased their imports of liquefied natural gas by 39 percent in January, when most of the country’s nuclear reactors remained idled over safety concerns.

Oil imports almost tripled to 1.34 million kiloliters (8.4 million barrels), while fuel-oil purchases increased nearly threefold to 1.51 million kiloliters, according to the data."

So that's LNG up 39%, Oils 300%, and Coal (in the article) 11%


I guess we might have to wait for the Financial Year figures to get a solid handle on what has gone up and what has gone down.

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You're right that the amount of energy imported is more important, but costs have to be borne too - they are not unimportant.

Also, if LNG is the main replacement for nuclear, how do you account for the 300% increase in oil imports, versus 39% LNG?

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