The situation at the Fukushima Daiichi powerplant has worsened significantly as it becomes clear that one and possibly two reactors there have suffered a breach in primary containment, making the incident definitely the second worst nuclear accident yet seen. Nonetheless its human consequences seem certain to remain …
"if it was possible for the spent rods to restart a powerful reaction of the sort seen in a reactor core - which would make it very hard to cool them effectively in the storage pool - Edano stated that this is not a realistic risk."
Hey Mr Edano, didn't someone back when the plants were designed also claim that a tsunami over 6.5m wasn't a realistic risk?
If I were you, and bearing in mind that I'm a physicist and you're probably a politician, I'd choose my words a lot more carefully.
No sensible person these days believes anything coming from the nuclear lobby anyway, unless it can be independently confirmed. Serves them right.
As a physicist turned engineer, with a decade or two of experience around safety critical stuff, I do actually trust the underlying technology, and the basic engineering. On the other hand, history and personal experience means that I have no trust in the industry's management, especially the private sector profit-centred management. But without the motivation to keep costs down, nuclear is uneconomic. Square that circle if you can, dear reader.
Anyway, does anybody think Lewis really thinks he's doing the industry any favours with his coverage here?
I find Lewis' slightly hysterical reporting of every statement made by the Japanese chief cabinet secretary, Edano, a little disturbing. Perhaps Mr Edano's every word is true, but it strikes me that, apart from the company running the plant, no one has a greater need to present events with a positive gloss than the Japanese government - if only (I'm being charitable) to prevent escalating panic in the population.
Recycling the words of ministers as some absolute last word in truth is unedifying at best, and in journalistic terms distinctly unprofessional, as is packaging 'opinion' as 'analysis'. I can't think of a single prior article where Lewis Page has taken the words of a British Government minister or corporate boss as indisputable fact, so why the sudden attack of rather studious credulity?
Just cheap, Lewis.
Not a linguist, then
If 'it was [sic] possible for the spent rods to restart a powerful reaction of the sort seen in a reactor core', they wouldn't be 'spent', would they? They'd still be in the reactor core, reacting.
A little bit of reality
As an ex nuclear worker a little bit of a reality check is needed.........
This is an incident the like of which have never been faced, A disaster at 1 reactor would be bad enough and would stretch the available man power but to have 4 in various forms of trouble is totally unprecedented..The tonnages of the materials involved dwarf any other incident.
none of the first 4 reactors are in any way at this time safe, numbers 1 to 3 although they have been releasing activity the bulk of it is still behind heavy shielding reactor 4 is a different animal and i hope they have done their figures right and havent cut any corners as at present it would appear we have 140 tons of irradiated fuel not long out of the reactor sitting in a pond outside of the main containment open to the air.
The problem here is that this could possibly go critical and start acting like a reactor but with no control no cooling , bothering about whether its mox or any other type of fuel becomes irrelevant the cocktail of radio nucleotides from a reactor make even small amounts of this stuff in the air highly dangerous as has been seen with chernobyl the effects are deadly and long lasting. The radiation level in spikes at the site gate has been if its to be believed 1000mSv or 1 Sv this suggests to me that at least 1 if not all of the other 3 reactors are in various stages of meltdown causing gamma and neutron radiation burst to occur dose rates at this level to workers would be lethal at 5 Sv this is a substantial distance away from where the problems need to be tackled.
My heart goes out to the workers in these conditions who are fighting now not only for their own lives but for the safety of their families many of whom will have already lost loved ones in the tsunami and to ry and prevent a full scale Chernobyl style realease
A full bown debate about the pro's and cons of nuclear energy whilst needed does nothing to help these poor souls and should be kept for when there is some semblance of order restored at this plant and that could be quite some time.
How do you propose to get low enrichment fuel to go critical in the absence of a moderator?
A bit of actual balance
Finally, thank you Mr Karno.
Yes, the Fukushima situation is *not* the End Of The World. Nor is it all Sunshine And Puppies. The unfolding events have not yet caused, and may never cause, any widespread and critical harm. However the potential still exists for some very nasty outcomes indeed.
While it is true that the media vultures at large are not helping anyone by feeding alarmist speculation to the world I fail to see how El Reg's vulturine feeding (all be it from a different perspective) on the same carcass can be excused in the name of balance. Particularly as I fail to detect a great deal of balance in Lewis Page's articles.
The risk of an extreme nuclear power station accident may be very low, but the costs of such an accident are also extremely high. Do you want to pay your bill in regular instalments, or No Deposit, No Interest, No Payments for ??? years? Hard to clearly evaluate the cost/benefit of such a deal.
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.
Who's the Troll? Page or the Reg?
(apologies if this appears twice - connection stalled first time)
Quote: "So far from Fukushima proving that nuclear power is dangerous compared to other technologies, it seems to be proving quite the reverse. ®"
Add this to Mr. Page's previous article: "Fukushima is a triumph for nuke power: Build more reactors now!" and you can see that the Reg, apparently enamoured with Mr. Page's "reporting", is self-trolling in an effort to boost readership through controversy - the lowest trick of the trade and an insult to any intelligent readership. And before we get started again on the validity of expressing opinions and calling commenters twits - yes, I mean YOU, Ms. Sarah Bee of the Reg - Mr. Page's inexcusable PR spin ("Build More Reactors Now!", etc, etc) for the nuclear industry is actually placed under the rubrik "analysis" by the Reg - not "opinion". If that's what the Reg considers analysis, lord only knows how low your actual opinions will go.
Clever bylines and cheeky writing are one thing. Being a die-hard shill for the nuclear lobby is quite another. Mr. Page's copy-and-paste opinions (or "analysis", as the Reg sees fit to call them) are embarrassingly premature, technically incompetent, and obviously don't belong in a journal that purports to be duly informing IT professionals. I'll look elsewhere, thanks.
I can't recall an evacuation and potential or real dangers from radiation from any other type of power plant
Louis is an embarassment to El Reg
Consistent in his support for the insupportable. To this man there can never be any bad news about nuclear power. As far as he is concerned if a storage pond is dry and it is too hazardous to allow helicopter pilots to fly over to try and cool the rods it is a mere bagatelle.
The fact that the containment at one reactor is breached is nothing to worry about. A distant helicopter crew flying from the USS Ronald Reagan receive a dose of 400 milliSv in one hour which is 4 times their monthly allowed dose is incidental to the onward march of the glorious reactor. Monthly allowed doses? P'shaw set too low by the whiny nannies of the US regulator.
Get rid of him Reg, send him to World Nut Daily.
It's a pity Lewis can't suffer a little writer's block.
Lewis, you've shown that, on this issue (not to mention a few others), you're a bit of a bell end. I suggest you step away from the keyboard, and spend a little more time sharpening Orlowski's pencil.
It seems the author is in the first stage of mourning.
Nuclear Energy is dying and the author is in the first stage of mourning: Denial.
"No, no cause for alarm people, it is not dead, you'll see, everything will turn out right . The sun will shine the birds will sing, and tomorrow we will all have a good laugh about it all, won't we."
You can read it all up on the internet: "The first reaction to learning of terminal illness or death of a cherished loved one is to deny the reality of the situation. It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions. It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock. We block out the words and hide from the facts. This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain."
So don't be alarmed, you see it is perfectly natural what you are feeling.
Next you will become angry when things get worse, you will tell us that the situation could have been safed, that it was only the circumstances, the inability of the people there.
Then you will start bargaining: Fukushima is only an isolated incident, has nothing todo with the situation anywhere else, there are no Tsunamis in Wyoming.
Then after a short period of depression you will start to accept the facts. You can read it all up. When you are on wikipedia next time to prepare your next article.
"Nuclear Energy is dying"
I can give you this prediction - in a couple of weeks' time there will hardly be any mention of Fukushima in the media, the politicians who yesterday were announcing immediate revision to their country's nuclear plans will backpedal and explain that "they have to make hard decisions and accept the risk for the strategic good of their peoples", within the industry, the accidents at Fukushima will give an impetus to push for retirement of older plants and higher investment into newer designs.
No matter how much the arm-chair tree-huggers want to drag everyone back into stone age (somehow expecting that *they* will magically retain their warm houses and cups of herbal tea in the process) the achievements of humanity will continue to be expressed in aviation, nuclear power and space travel (and maybe some IT :-) ) for the foreseeable future.
If you want safer and more abundant energy - stop lobbying for the futile and wasteful windmills and push for investments into fusion research.
See - more lazy moronic denegration of those who care about where we all live.
> No matter how much the arm-chair tree-huggers want to drag everyone back into stone age
What a contribution to the debate.
"those who care about where we all live"
What a poetic name for a bunch of clueless idealists and bitter misanthropists.
no real attribution
An article like this needs some context. Who is the author, really? What does "posted in Physics" mean? We can't find out, because the link to "Physics" is bad.
In fairness, Lewi$ has updated the Reg frontpage Picture
- now go plug a reactor with your (well paid for) a$$.
Why is Lewis writing about nuclear power?
As far as I can tell, Lewis' Royal Navy career didn't involve service on a nuclear powered vessel, so it's not like he has a relevant background.
“It ain’t what you don’t know that counts. It’s what you know that ain’t so.” (Will Rogers)
Well done Lewis! It's so refreshing to get non-FUD info from the Media!
It would be nice if all the naysayers educated themselves by reading this:
But then, living in UK generates an awful lot of negativity, dunnit?
Where is Lewis Page now?
Japan is seriously Foo Koo'd! With the situation growing worse, US warships getting the hell out of the reactor zone, Americans warning not to listen to Japan and increase the evacuation zone to 80Ks. More reactors joining in the the mass party... where is Lewis Page to save the world when you need him? We need to clone him and stuff him into each reactor to plug the leaks. If we can't get enough of him to stuff, we need to take all the pro nuclear posters on here and stuff there asses into the reactor along with him so they can have a jolly good time together talking about how great nuclear is. Whats that? none of the pro nuclear people volunteering to do their part to save the world? I thought so!
Good Article Lewis
I know many of you have as a sole source of information, the lamestream media, which sensationalizes anything and everything to do with oil field, mining or nuclear. And gets 99.99% of it wrong 99.99% of the time.
A GOOD source of facts on this, is from the various nuclear energy outfits that are plentiful on the net, and I am not talking about blogs by ex professors or other envirowhacks.
Here is a good one to start with. The NEI http://is.gd/iUtRYQ .. it's not biased it just reports the facts as it gets them, FROM THE SOURCE!! not from a bunch of politicians that definitely are biased.
From the mouths of vested interests
Great link! I mean we're sure to get the REAL LOWDOWN on the SAFETY of nuclear power from the people who make it all happen! After all, they know just how SAFE and CLEAN it really is and how many FLUFFY KITTENS and PUPPIES are SAVED every year by not having to breath noxious fumes from other nasty fuels.
Oh, hang on...
Aren't these the very people with a half century track record of obfuscation, falsification and outright porkies when it comes to the safety record and frequently iffy practices of their industry? Who think transparency is a dirty word and treat "national security" as a shield for blunting even the simplest of questions?
Paris; more credibility, less credulity
Facts, spin and perception.
It'll take a long while before we know all the facts. But, while I still like nuclear overall, this is far from business as usual and we will see the PR impact of this for decades. It is by no means a success for the nuclear industry. I applaud Lewis for presenting a different view, but a bit less triumphalism would do wonders for his credibility.
Designs requiring active cooling should be viewed with great skepticism. Designs requiring active power and management to sustain a reaction and which shut off safely in the absence of power or coolants should be preferred.
This is a bit like Tet in Nam in 1968. Sure, it was military disaster for the VC. But it was bigger political disaster for the US government. No matter how well we can pat ourselves on the back on the engineering savvy that will, probably, avoid a large disaster, people are not going to take this as a success. Reactors will be seen as unsafe and any explanation otherwise will be very hard to put across, even if the reactors do gradually cool w.o. loss of life. Any purely technical analysis of this accident is missing the point - emotion and fear have always surrounded nuclear power and this is NOT going to help.
Japan is very active seismically. Get with it. Vancouver, where I live, has occasional (500yrs?) magnitude 9 earthquakes. Our newer highrises are supposed to come through 7.5s without a sweat. Will they? Dunno, but we are being asked to plan at the higher end of quake risk. For a nuclear plant? Let's just say that I would expect a newer plant to withstand at least a regional 100-year quake, right on its site, not just plan for something of that magnitude elsewhere. It doesn't have to survive as a plant, but it should not present a danger.
The damage to nuclear power is tremendous, IMHO. I've been watching my Cameco (uranium) stocks plummet. I don't mind much, an opportunity to buy low at some point, but the betting money is that nukes will suffer very much at this point. Too bad, regardless of my stocks, because I think nuclear has a large part to play to minimize emissions, but this will be a huge setback. Dissident Greens who are pro-nuclear could be sidelined and the general public could veto new nuclear plants.
While I applaud the resources, guts and ingenuity of the engineers, Tepco and the Japanese nuclear industry haven't exactly been on the forefront of safety practices in the past. Time will tell what went wrong and if it could have been avoided. My guess: we'll end up applauding the engineers more than the probable findings of cut corners by the managers.
The media is indeed not doing a great job putting the risks in perspective. Are you surprised? This is manna from heaven for ratings and is much more interesting than the general human suffering in the quake zone which has been handily eclipsed.
Way to go.
lewis, trolling a nuclear disaster is surely a new low
not that that is what i'm doing now or anything.. is it?
The nuclear debate MUST be now.
"A full bown debate about the pro's and cons of nuclear energy whilst needed does nothing to help these poor souls"
Of course it doesn't.... But we don't even have a debate when the people dying are miners or oil workers. The world's press don't descend en masse to every incident of an energy worker who loses their life... except of course if they lose it in a nuclear facility.
Nobody is claiming that nuclear power is 100% safe, not even the author of these provocative articles. The issue is whether the benefits of nuclear power outweigh the risks.
We're busy changing the atmosphere of the planet in such a way as to guarantee huge suffering in the future. Leaving aside the *FACT* that fewer people die each year in the nuclear industry than die supplying oil and coal, the long term effects of us not adopting carbon-free energy sources are profound to human life (and all other life for that matter). Anybody who claims to care about the future can't turn a blind eye to the continued disgorging of the fossil carbon which, when it was last in the atmosphere, ensured that the earth was significantly hotter than it is today.
At this time, renewable energy sources can only contribute a small fraction of the power our civilisations need to survive, and for all but sparsely populated countries near the equator, renewable energy isn't even close to being able to run our civilisations.
People like James Lovelock aren't known for their closeness to the Nuclear Lobby, but they can see where our planet is heading, and they have the imagination to see the suffering on an unimaginable scale that is *inevitable* if we continue to release fossil carbon.
I would have a lot more respect for people who want to close down nuclear if they had a similar zero-tolerance to the loss of life in the service of their power needs from all sources of energy.
Now 10,000 people being downed or smashed to pieces by floating wreckage in 2 short minutes across a huge swathe of Japan - with hundreds of thousands more homeless and millions suffering from intermittent power threatening their economy and way of life for the next couple of years at least... that's a *real* tragedy, but seems to be nothing but a pale side show right now, and I find that very, very disturbing.
Let's compare the consequences of a catastrophic failure at a coal/oil/solar/wind/tidal power plant....to the consequences of a similarly catastrophic event at a nuclear plant.
Let's also be very clear.....a serious earthquake and tsunami in Japan is definitely *not* a black swan event....this was entirely predictable.
Perhaps if Mr. Page is so comfortable with the safety of nuclear energy, he would like to be one of the staff in the control, or one of the helicopter crew flying over the 'safe' reactors.
ok, things are getting a bit entrenched,
of course lots of us who are not on the pro-nuke side would, metaphorically speaking, like to see Page hang for his crimes. That is, to be more precise, for his abysmal triumph-article and the continuation of that line. Why? Because it doesn't help to copy or write all kinds of facts that suit you, with lots of technical talk, when you are continuing to relativize.
Relativize by saying nothing will happen, belittling past incidents (let's not go there again) and things like "seem certain to remain insignificant against the horrifying backdrop of the earthquake tragedy elsewhere in Japan". I mean come on. Stuff has happened, will happen, and against the backdrop of a sufficiently terrible event anything seem's certain to remain insignificant. What's the point with all that? There is scaremongering and ritalin-slinging.
And the fact side? Well the original triumph-article was, as the author conceded I think, in parts taken over from another source, specifically this (i.), which took it over from this (ii.). The piece was authored by a Dr Josef Oehmen, a research scientist at MIT. It turned out, he is in fact a research scientist, but not in physics and certainly no expert in nuclear physics safe for the fact that his father worked in a German plant for years. Great. Laughs were had on all sides, but aside from theories that there may be a spin-campaign somewhere in the mix (iii.), a critical attitude is in order in any case. If it was genuine, this was a piece written by someone with no real expertise on the subject, with the goal of placating his relatives' fears, who starts off "I have been reading every news release on the incident since the earthquake", continues to say lots of calming things, but among the no doubt well written compilation of facts and understandable language are misrepresentations (iv.) and wrong predictions. He rounds off by recommending not to trust the rest of the media safe for a few recommendations, all of which are websites with clear pro-nuclear background (ans.org, world-nuclear-news.org and bravenewclimate.org). I am very willing to believe that Dr. Oehmen meant no harm, he may just be pro-nuke himself and have tried to write an illuminating explanation of events in Fukushima. But the way his article has since been spread and promoted didn't do this background justice, it was embraced as expert science rather than a good writeup by an educated layman. Who overestimates his own knowledge and makes false predictions where real experts worldwide are extremely cautious. And that is not so impressive a base for an article that pretends to be all hard indisputable facts. For technical criticism of the Oehmen paper that I believe may have some substance have a look at this (iv., apparently written by a physicist), and, less obviously educated but still seemingly knowledgeable, this (v., apparently written by a "nuclear safety engineer").
No, those who are not too concerned about scaremongers, greens and other favourite hate-objects that they fail to see the shamelessness with which rather controversial opinions are being packaged amidst facts here, are disgusted, just as you are (rightfully in my opinion) disgusted at factual inaccuracies or sensationalism elsewhere.
But, personally, I don't think it makes sense to try to make a scandal out of everything Page writes from now on. There are a lot of people who enjoy his writing, and eventually, you either get that a certain writing style does not imply being right, or you don't. I will avoid reading these articles and commenting on them from now on, and simply accept this as another policy area where the reg trumpets some kind of technocratic conservatism that is not mine. There is IT matters after all, and nowhere else I know are they covered with such style.
iii. http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/03/the-strange-case-of-josef-oehmen/) and
(look for the 1st comment of Mark Schmidt)
@Horizon3: "the facts, from the source"
You mean like the convicted-for-fraud outfit, TEPco?
Also, your username, Horizon3.
Horizon is a popular word.
Then there's Horizon Nuclear: "Horizon Nuclear Power is a UK energy company developing a new generation of nuclear power stations. A joint venture between E.ON UK and RWE npower, we plan to deliver around 6,000 MW of new nuclear power station capacity in the UK by 2025. " 
See, that's the problem with the nuclear industry isn't it. Not the technology, the compulsive tendency to be economical with the truth. Six words in and you're misleading already. "Horizon .. a UK energy company". Well if you consider a joint venture between two German companies to be a UK company, fair enough. I don't think that's entirely truthful, what do other readers think?
I assume you have no interest to declare here? Is that a safer assumption than "defences against a 6.5m tsunami will be sufficient"? It's certainly less risky.
Reactor number 4
Lie by omission is the best way to do it. That is what Lewis has done, and I see it has only been picked up in the comments at the end.
Oddly, this has reduced some of my worst fears about nuclear power. Supposedly the worst that can happen is a breach of the core, with an ensuing melt down. That appears to be what has happened here, possibly more than once, and not too far from a city holding 20 million people. Yet that those melt downs aren't going to cause major disaster. That's a pretty amazing, probably even worthy of the faint praise Lewis is throwing at them.
What Lewis doesn't mention is reactor number 4. The reactor number 4 was being re-fuelled. The live cores had been removed, and are sitting in the spent rod storage pool. The reactor core melt down Mr Lewis focuses so intently on isn't even a possibility for reaction number 4. But, that isn't a good thing. Those live cores are no longer within those layers of containment.
Even under normal conditions, when there are only spent fuel rods in the pool, the water in storage pool must be constantly circulating in order to prevent overheating - basically the water boiling. If the water boils away the spent rods will overheat and catch fire. There seems to be little doubt now the water is boiling. There is now speculation it may have boiled dry, but I gather no one actually knows because the radiation levels are so high nobody can look. I gather we know some are exposed because that is the only way the hydrogen could be generated. That is the hydrogen that caused the explosion has blown holes in what little containment there was, exposing the entire shebang to the atmosphere.
As others have pointed it is very unlikely spent fuel rods will go critical. But there are live fuel rod's in number 4's pool. So the worst case scenario being painted is the live fuel rods in reactor 4's storage pool will melt, go critical, and resulting nuclear fire will burn/vaporise a fair portion of the atomic zoo of radioactive poisons that lie in the spent fuel rods, allowing them to rain them down onto Tokyo. Is it even possible to evacuate a city of 20 million people?
And is this scenario likely? I only know reactor number 4 is what everyone with a clue is following closely. As Lewis says, the rest is almost a good news story. I'd like to think the doomsday scenario is far fetched. But if it was, I'd expect Lewis to dismiss it, just as he dismissed many of the outcomes that have come to pass in his previous article. Instead he choose to point noisily to all "minor" disasters at the plant, while studiously ignoring the main threat. I wonder if that is because it is to scary too contemplate, or he is just one of those without a clue?
According to the BBC this morning, they're hoping to re-connect mains power today that is needed for the cooling system and the backup generators.
So either the BBC's reporting is even more moronic than normal, or the backup generators aren't backup generators at all.
"So far from Fukushima proving that nuclear power is dangerous compared to other technologies, it seems to be proving quite the reverse."
You must be thinking of those terrible wind turbine fires or the solar cell explosions threatening oh 10s of sea birds and some fish that would have resulted from being hit by a tsumani as a reuslt of being built in a earthquake zone.
Can I point out that the risk (if you understand the concept of risk) represented by what we are seeing is orders of magnitude different from "other technologies". What will happen if there is a significant aftershock right now? What happens if the hydrogen/oxygen explosions that are now considered to be inside the primary containment get worse, as the current trend seems to be.
Its WAY too early to be sitting smugly on the "nuclear power has proved its safety" side of the fence. We would still only have to be a bit unlucky to see what has been a contained disaster turn into a complete nightmare.
Saying nuclear power is proved safe by this is like drioving like a maniac and saying that its obviously ok to do so as the safety features of the car meant you didn't die when you crash.
"Saying nuclear power is proved safe by this is like drioving like a maniac and saying that its obviously ok to do so as the safety features of the car meant you didn't die when you crash."
With all due respect - read your own post.
What you are saying is that the cars are too fast and dangerous no matter how driven and even with the modern safety features. Therefore, they should be banned and people should only be using bicycles, because only they can be considered "safe".
This is rubbish.
It's wrong to say that it's orders of magnitude different from other technologies (assumign you mean all the others). The worst single disaster caused by equipment involved in power generation was the breaching a dam at Bangiao in China in 1975. It is thought that up to 85,000 people were killed by this and the 61 other dams that were damaged in the event.
There are now dams in China where, if breached, the death toll will be in the 100s of thousands, possibly millions. Dams are not only vulnerable to structural failure and to climactic events, but also seismic events.
Whilst fossil fueled generation does not carry the same danger of a single event catastrophe as hydro, there have been cases of explosions which have killed hundreds, as have coal mine disasters. The larget fossil fuel explosions have generally been in transport, typically on trains. In the Ufa train disaster in Russia, 575 people were killed. The potential remains for much large ones. It's also important not to neglect the health risks - coal is a big killer to this day. Miners are the largest number of victims, and whilst single event disasters may catch the headlines, a coal miner is at far greater risk of dying prematurely from lung disease than anybody in the vicinity of a nuclear power station.
Of course wind turbines and solar are inherently less dangerous. However, that's as a result of their basic shortcomings. That is that they provide for very low concentrations of power generation - that makes it safer, but it also makes it much more expensive, more difficult to use and requires a much higher level of investment and maintenance. In the case of windmills, the UK wil be driven to use far more off-shore capacity. Indeed the availability of shallow water sites is limited, and it's very likely floating wind turbines will be required. As the sea is a very hostile environment, the maintenance load will be very high and this is far from a risk-free activity. Among the most dangerous jobs in the UK are those at sea and on conctruction and maintenance.
Of course nuclear will have to up its safety game, and it's also vulnerable to terrorist action (imagine a small terrorist unit disabling the cooling system). This will increase costs - the one thing we know for sure is that the era of cheap energy is over.
Buikding Nuclear power stations the way we are - on earthquake zones, on shingle beaches, built so that they have positive power gradients at high temperatures allowing them to melt down is driving like a maniac. Building nuclear power stations that are actually safe would cost to much or meanthey would have to be built where we would not like them to be. It would mean knowing how we are going to dispose of the waste.
And people who cannot safely own a car are banned, as are cars that are not safe enough.
Your metaphor of the cars is actually better. Thank you.
Haven't you got it yet?
The news media exists for one purpose alone: to sell audiences to advertisers. Reporting the truth doesn't even get a look-in. The truth doesn't matter anymore. All that matters is people's perception.
Reality is malleable. Subjective is the new objective. This is all a TV show, and we will be rescued by the hero at the very last minute ..... but first, of course, we need something to be rescued *from*. And here are some products you might like to buy.
Re: Haven't you got it yet?
Wow, man, the scales have fallen from my eyes. I'm quitting right now.
Stop listening to the crap on the BBC
This whole article is one big lie, there are so many incorrect things in it that I could not be bothered to debunk it. Suffice to say:
700 people (soldiers) have been dispatched to the plant to cool it down, those 700 are medically doomed, working in groups of 70 directing seawater to cool the site down. Where does the contaminated seawater go?
You should gather independent radioactivity stats, or even check Bavarian stats (thousands of miles away), they detect the exact same increase in levels as those reported by Japanese authorities for Tokyo - so, or there is another nuclear disaster going on somewhere we do not know about OR Japan is full of bs, you are free to chose!
Japan is just one big lie when it comes admitting facts about nuclear disasters and it is criminal to believe what they have to say.
Learn German and read/listen to German news, you will get a completely different picture.
Ever since the BBC news started mentioning "War on Terror" I knew they had lost grip. BBC used to be trustworthy ... used to.
check Bavarian stats
I don't know about Bavaria but here in the middle of London @13:15 GMT on 17.03.11 the readings are not more than they always were (less than 1 microSv/h).
I wonder what the downvote on my post above means - that you disagree with the measurement? Or maybe that you are disappointed that it is too low? Or that you disagree that the levels in London are usually low? Or what?
May be that the measurements are not precise enough?
I can give some clarification - the precise number is below the scale of the meter. The counter is calibrated to give 5 clicks per second at 1 microSv/h. It actually clicks once or twice every 2 - 3 seconds (fewer after Sunset). So the levels are definitely less than 1 microSv/h.
Get rid of this joker Lewis and his nonsense reporting
"So far from Fukushima proving that nuclear power is dangerous compared to other technologies, it seems to be proving quite the reverse. "
I think most of us are getting tired of this bullshit nonsense from Lewis. Maybe Lewis should get the next flight to Fukushima and pitch a tent right next to the 4 reactors located there. Seeing as it's all so safe, he can give us live updates as this disaster contines to unfold right from the centre of the 'safe as houses' disaster. Again, he comes to the above conclusion when it's still not clear how things are going to eventually unfold. With the current ploy of dumping water from the air, it's obvious that desperation has started to set in.
Here's some up-to-date 'positive' news about safe nuclear power generation when it all goes wrong:
Fukushima No. 1 plant
-- Reactor No. 1 - Suspended after quake, cooling failure, partial melting of core, vapor vented, building damaged Saturday by hydrogen explosion, seawater being pumped in.
-- Reactor No. 2 - Suspended after quake, cooling failure, seawater being pumped in, fuel rods fully exposed temporarily, vapor vented, building housing reactor damaged Monday by blast at reactor No. 3, damage to containment vessel on Tuesday, potential meltdown feared.
-- Reactor No. 3 - Suspended after quake, cooling failure, partial melting of core feared, vapor vented, seawater being pumped in, building housing reactor damaged Monday by hydrogen explosion, high-level radiation measured nearby on Tuesday, plume of smoke observed Wednesday, damage to containment vessel likely.
-- Reactor No. 4 - Under maintenance when quake struck, fire Tuesday possibly caused by hydrogen explosion at pool holding spent fuel rods, abnormal temperature rise in spent-fuel storage pool but water level not observed, fire observed Wednesday at building housing reactor, no water poured in to cool pool, spraying of boric acid being considered.
Before we all get carried away one way or another...
Re-visit the definitions of "Risk", "Benefit", "Danger", "Security" and "Economic dependence" and then re-visit the assertion that a governments primary responsibility to protect its Citizens.
If, having done so rationally, you believe that Nuclear Power should be the dominant/majority energy generating process in the UK you should support the government. If, as I do, you believe Nuclear could be a part of the mix but there are additional and better solutions to be deployed then lobby strongly for the government to get of its collective arse and do something about it.
Fukushima is not Chernobyl and is unlikely to become so. Let clerics spend time counting the angels on a pinhead, please.
I found the article interesting and informative, much more so than anything I've found elsewhere on this topic. I'm convinced nuclear power is relatively safe during the lifetime of the plant (especially when compared to coal, which will probably make us extinct.)
What I have against Nuclear is the long term. It seems inevitable to me that within the thousands of years that spent fuel will remain highly dangerous, it will be exposed to the water cycle, to the atmosphere and will become finely distributed within the bioshpere. We certainly cannot rely on there being well educated and funded technicians tending our waste continuously for such a long time. None of our storage (or other!) technologies have been (or can be) tested on the timescales involved. Sea level changes, ice ages.. you get the picture. Creating nuclear waste is a very irresponsible way to get rich in the present.
Our own back yard
Okay - you have no sewers, no outside, but as many rooms as you like....
How big a house do you need?
Or, to put it another way,
Where do we put the nuclear waste?
Which earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, volcano - proof room do we put the nuclear waste into?
Wake up everyone...
And what will cost to dispose of all that waste?
" read/listen to German news"
"Learn German and read/listen to German news, you will get a completely different picture."
Indeed, but be sure to pick the right channel.
My spies tell me that earlier in the week, RTL (Berlusconi?) were reporting that Tokyo was being evacuated.
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.
...It's a triumph for nuclear power still, right?
what really annoys me...
...is that some people blame it on "...something that could not be predicted..." ...for heaven's sake guys (and the occasional geek lady)
Japan already had a 8.4 Richter quake back in 1933!!
Still the plant was designed to stand a lot less than that, (and that is ignoring the fact that the earthquake was 75 miles away).
That is a serious irresponsability, plants should be designed to stand a lot more than what is suggested by historic series.
Tsunamis and floods should not be able to put any of their vital systems out of work. Specially if you are to have it by the sea in a seismic area.
Congrats for the engineers, (and builders), that made it so it did not fall to pieces, but on higher levels of responsability it is time for torches... and it is not the time to congratulate on how a plant was above its specs...it is time specs are upgraded to match actual needs...safety is mandatory, and quakes&tsunamis stronger than those known of are to be expected and included in the specs.
BTW, if you get a disaster related to some other forms of getting energy you just clean up the mess, (some chemicals can be nasty but they can't kill you meters away), afterwards and rebuild....I dare anyone comparing accidents can say the same about nuclear waste. (Exclusion zone anyone?)
The reasons nearly no one is considered a death victim are that most will not die immediately and people tend to be evacuated before rad leves can kill you on the spot. You will die or have a miserable life afterwards. Check this http://rarediseases.about.com/od/rarediseasest/a/chernobyl.htm
Let's get some nice stats on Japan in 10 years, shall we?