PDA

View Full Version : Int'l Issues Nuclear Power politics set back, what, 30-50 years?


Taco John
03-14-2011, 08:02 AM
Just a thought as I observe the news. Nuclear power is screwed for at least the next 20 years, and I think perhaps a lot longer. Not in my back yard syndrome is going to keep nuclear power off the table for a long, long time.

Taco John
03-14-2011, 08:03 AM
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,750810,00.html

Amnorix
03-14-2011, 08:07 AM
Let's face it, nuclear power might be dead, Dead, DEAD. This is Japan, not some crappy substandard Russian built nuclear power plant, that is in very serious danger of a full meltdown. It's 40 years old, and certainly an 8.9 magnitude quake is rather off the charts, but this is exactly the kind of thing that can kill something politically.

I'm a proponent of nuclear power, but I think we need to be thinking about other methods of power plant production in the wake of this. Politically, nuclear is dead for a good while, and perhaps forever.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 08:08 AM
Yeah it is. But I can't for the life of me understand building as many as Japan had since it's quake prone. I mean they've had 65 tusnamis even. One of those plants was being planned for shut down as it had a problem reactor but their govt kept telling people they were safe. Of course the owner of that plant was tight with their govt too.

Amnorix
03-14-2011, 08:10 AM
This is helpful in framing the discussion. We're already more coal than anything else, and that trend probably needs to continue until we can find economically efficient ways of using renewable sources

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/83/2008_US_electricity_generation_by_source_v2.png/220px-2008_US_electricity_generation_by_source_v2.png

Amnorix
03-14-2011, 08:11 AM
Yeah it is. But I can't for the life of me understand building as many as Japan had since it's quake prone. I mean they've had 65 tusnamis even. One of those plants was being planned for shut down as it had a problem reactor but their govt kept telling people they were safe. Of course the owner of that plant was tight with their govt too.

Japan is relatively resource poor so nuclear was one of the few options that avoided massive imports of raw materials.

And the plants are earth-quake resistant, but 8.9 is no ordinary earthquake.

Taco John
03-14-2011, 08:16 AM
I was starting to come around on nuclear. I've been leery of it in the past, but just recently starting to re-think my opinion of it. Seeing this has shocked me back to being leery of it. I wouldn't want a reactor in my back yard. It's one thing to have a disaster like an earthquake. But throw in a nuclear threat on top of that... Who needs that?

mlyonsd
03-14-2011, 08:16 AM
We're proposing a new one in southern Iowa, the legislation to allow it recently passed the Iowa Congress.

We'll see if this changes all of that.

Taco John
03-14-2011, 08:18 AM
We're proposing a new one in southern Iowa, the legislation to allow it recently passed the Iowa Congress.

We'll see if this changes all of that.


Keep us abreast from the front line.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 08:18 AM
Japan is relatively resource poor so nuclear was one of the few options that avoided massive imports of raw materials.

irrelevant economically

And the plants are earth-quake resistant, but 8.9 is no ordinary earthquake.

So they're not earth-quake resistant then. Thanks for admitting that. :thumb:o:-)


I just told you how one reactor was a problem and their govt lied about it being safe. They have a crony owner. Sound familiar?

"The disaster at Fukushima isn’t the first quake-related accident for Tokyo Electric. "

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-14/hydrogen-explosion-occurs-at-nuclear-power-plant-135-miles-north-of-tokyo.html

petegz28
03-14-2011, 08:24 AM
As usual, the media is fucking this all up. There is not threat of a meltdown or a China Syndrome. The containment units actually worked in Japan. Plus the new Gen III nuclear plants we want have already compensated for the design flaw of the electrical pumps which pump the water to keep the rods cool. People need to really educate themselves on the matter instead of listening to the dumbfucks on TV that are doing any and every thing to exploit this tragedy for ratings or political gain.

HonestChieffan
03-14-2011, 08:27 AM
Good lord.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 08:28 AM
As usual, the media is ****ing this all up. There is not threat of a meltdown or a China Syndrome. The containment units actually worked in Japan. Plus the new Gen III nuclear plants we want have already compensated for the design flaw of the electrical pumps which pump the water to keep the rods cool. People need to really educate themselves on the matter instead of listening to the dumb****s on TV that are doing any and every thing to exploit this tragedy for ratings or political gain.

I've listened to nothing on tv. I have listened to a power engineer though and read a tad of alternative media that is generally pro-nuclear but just knows govt's lie, and some Japanese You Tube vids.

I also don't understand why they don't build stronger houses on steel stilts near the coast after seeing those houses just swept away while some remained standing.

Ebolapox
03-14-2011, 08:30 AM
As usual, the media is fucking this all up. There is not threat of a meltdown or a China Syndrome. The containment units actually worked in Japan. Plus the new Gen III nuclear plants we want have already compensated for the design flaw of the electrical pumps which pump the water to keep the rods cool. People need to really educate themselves on the matter instead of listening to the dumbfucks on TV that are doing any and every thing to exploit this tragedy for ratings or political gain.

This.

ClevelandBronco
03-14-2011, 09:12 AM
As usual, the media is ****ing this all up. There is not threat of a meltdown or a China Syndrome. The containment units actually worked in Japan. Plus the new Gen III nuclear plants we want have already compensated for the design flaw of the electrical pumps which pump the water to keep the rods cool. People need to really educate themselves on the matter instead of listening to the dumb****s on TV that are doing any and every thing to exploit this tragedy for ratings or political gain.

This.

And that.

If this kills nuclear, it's only because people are unable or unwilling to understand the situation in Japan.

Donger
03-14-2011, 09:12 AM
The earthquake didn't lead directly to the issue at the plant in Japan. They apparently SCRAMed the reactors per plan and everything was nominal. The tsunami was the bitch here.

Dave Lane
03-14-2011, 09:14 AM
Just a thought as I observe the news. Nuclear power is screwed for at least the next 20 years, and I think perhaps a lot longer. Not in my back yard syndrome is going to keep nuclear power off the table for a long, long time.

Why?

Brock
03-14-2011, 09:16 AM
Why?

Seems pretty obvious.

Donger
03-14-2011, 09:21 AM
Here's a nice map showing where all our reactors are:

http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/reactor/

http://www.nrc.gov/images/info-finder/reactor/reactors-map.gif

HonestChieffan
03-14-2011, 09:22 AM
In other news Gravity was confirmed today. The Government is expected to ban all ladders and outlaw climbing. More at 10.

Dave Lane
03-14-2011, 09:27 AM
Seems pretty obvious.

The success of the Japanese reactors? It strengthens my confidence in them. They have been sterling given what's been thrown at them.

HonestChieffan
03-14-2011, 09:33 AM
The success of the Japanese reactors? It strengthens my confidence in them. They have been sterling given what's been thrown at them.

Two days in a row we agree.

The earths axis has shifted.

Taco John
03-14-2011, 09:38 AM
Why?

You live in a cave, dude?

Taco John
03-14-2011, 09:40 AM
The success of the Japanese reactors? It strengthens my confidence in them. They have been sterling given what's been thrown at them.

I think people have a hard time differing between politics and what they think about something. Your confidence in them is irrelevant to the question here.

Dave Lane
03-14-2011, 09:44 AM
How so. They have preformed perfectly. Actually better than that given the circumstances. To me it's proof they can survive a worst case scenario.

BCD
03-14-2011, 09:47 AM
The earths axis has shifted.That actually happened Friday.

WV
03-14-2011, 09:48 AM
The success of the Japanese reactors? It strengthens my confidence in them. They have been sterling given what's been thrown at them.

Perception verses reality....the Media doesn't deal with reality, creating a bad perception of Nuclear power once again makes for better news.

Amnorix
03-14-2011, 09:50 AM
irrelevant economically

errr...what? Countries aren't keen to be reliant on foreign powers for their electrical power. I don't think that's economically irrelevant, but it DEFINITELY isn't politically irrelevant.



So they're not earth-quake resistant then. Thanks for admitting that. :thumb:o:-)

Please look up the definition of the word "resistant" versus teh words "proof" or "immune".


I just told you how one reactor was a problem and their govt lied about it being safe. They have a crony owner. Sound familiar?

I am aware of the situation at the plant, indeed I have been very focused on the problem since Friday.

But none of this has nothing to do with whether the plant was built to withstand earthquakes to a degree greater than one might find for a nuclear power plant built in another country.

I have answered your original question. Your disliking the answer is what's really irrelevant.

mlyonsd
03-14-2011, 09:59 AM
How so. They have preformed perfectly. Actually better than that given the circumstances. To me it's proof they can survive a worst case scenario.

They've evacuated/displaced 120,000 people as of now just because of the reactors. Even our Navy is moving back.

We'll have to see how those perceptions captured in the media play out here.

Dave Lane
03-14-2011, 10:04 AM
It's called being cautious. To date everything has happened exactly the way it was planned. Now if five 9.5 magnitude earthquakes hit there maybe an issue. The plants are weakened and more vulnerable than they were, hence the caution.

Taco John
03-14-2011, 10:06 AM
How so. They have preformed perfectly. Actually better than that given the circumstances. To me it's proof they can survive a worst case scenario.

Nothing to see here. Dave Lane is encouraged. Let all the politicians know that Dave has got their back.

chiefsnorth
03-14-2011, 10:13 AM
It's really too bad.

Rather than taking lessons from this and further improving what are already very safe designs, the environmentalist crowd will use this "opportunity" to try to drive us toward impractical pet boondoggles.

I mean, let's look at the measuring stick here, these reactors had a fine service record in a place where earthquakes are quite common until the worst one in recorded history coupled with a tsunami of almost biblical proportions. It would be like saying we shouldnt build any more airplanes because sometimes they crash.

Intelligence would say, ok, let's design and upgrade to cover even this 1/500 year scenario. Politics will say, well, now we have to trash the only efficient source of energy we have.

Donger
03-14-2011, 10:15 AM
Has anyone actually died yet as a result of the issues at the plant?

chiefsnorth
03-14-2011, 10:17 AM
Has anyone actually died yet as a result of the issues at the plant?

Nobody died because of three mile island either, and it's still a rallying cry for the kooky

Amnorix
03-14-2011, 10:18 AM
It's called being cautious. To date everything has happened exactly the way it was planned. Now if five 9.5 magnitude earthquakes hit there maybe an issue. The plants are weakened and more vulnerable than they were, hence the caution.


errr...what?

There are people that have been injured (how seriously, we don't know) from the explosions at the plants, and they are still scrambling (no pun intended) to keep the situation contained. Navy pilots had low levels of radiation when they returned to their aircraft carrier (which traces were removed after a shower), but as a result the carrier has repositioned itself off Japan's coast.

You can certainly argue that these failsafes don't compare to what would be in place at a newly built plant because the plant in question is 40 years old, etc., but to argue that your confidence is heightened because of how fantastically well THIS plant is doing in the wake of the earthquake/tsunami is flat silly. It's not doing well at all.

Donger
03-14-2011, 10:19 AM
Nobody died because of three mile island either, and it's still a rallying cry for the kooky

Yes, I know.

Amnorix
03-14-2011, 10:23 AM
It's really too bad.

Rather than taking lessons from this and further improving what are already very safe designs, the environmentalist crowd will use this "opportunity" to try to drive us toward impractical pet boondoggles.

I mean, let's look at the measuring stick here, these reactors had a fine service record in a place where earthquakes are quite common until the worst one in recorded history coupled with a tsunami of almost biblical proportions. It would be like saying we shouldnt build any more airplanes because sometimes they crash.

Intelligence would say, ok, let's design and upgrade to cover even this 1/500 year scenario. Politics will say, well, now we have to trash the only efficient source of energy we have.

I agree with quite alot of this.

But there is a real fundamental difference between nuclear power and all other types of power, or planes crashing. The ability of a nuclear meltdown to dramatically affect a tremendous number of people across a significant number of years is unrivalled by any other type of accident/incident, really.

But I do agree that that shouldn't mean nuclear power is off the board as a potential one for our use.

ClevelandBronco
03-14-2011, 10:30 AM
I agree with quite alot of this.

But there is a real fundamental difference between nuclear power and all other types of power, or planes crashing. The ability of a nuclear meltdown to dramatically affect a tremendous number of people across a significant number of years is unrivalled by any other type of accident/incident, really.

But I do agree that that shouldn't mean nuclear power is off the board as a potential one for our use.

So long as it remains potential.

chiefsnorth
03-14-2011, 10:33 AM
I agree with quite alot of this.

But there is a real fundamental difference between nuclear power and all other types of power, or planes crashing. The ability of a nuclear meltdown to dramatically affect a tremendous number of people across a significant number of years is unrivalled by any other type of accident/incident, really.

But I do agree that that shouldn't mean nuclear power is off the board as a potential one for our use.

I agree - but what if we viewed the risk by megawatt of electricity generated, and by overall pollution likely to be produced over the plant's life? Does a coal plant look so safe when we look at 30 years of emissions, as well as yield from the inputs?

Planes crash, and it would be horrific if it happened to you, but in perspective it's actually far safer than car travel even after you consider than when an accident does happen the consequences are dire. There aren't many fender-benders with aircraft, but accidents are still so rare we don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 10:37 AM
They've evacuated/displaced 120,000 people as of now just because of the reactors. Even our Navy is moving back.

We'll have to see how those perceptions captured in the media play out here.

Lo level radiation has been found on three copters and 17 of our air crew.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 10:40 AM
Nobody died because of three mile island either, and it's still a rallying cry for the kooky

I do think the media exaggerated that one too. I just don't understand having so many reactors built in a quake prone/tusnami area. ( or not building houses on steel stilts as well). Seems like one of Japan's reactors was a problem since it was slated for shutdown even before the tsunami hit, but it was a govt that was telling everyone it was safe. Govts routinely lie.

orange
03-14-2011, 10:51 AM
Has anyone actually died yet as a result of the issues at the plant?

If nobody dies, but the 120,000 people evacuated never get to return, does that count?

Donger
03-14-2011, 10:51 AM
If nobody dies, but the 120,000 people evacuated never get to return, does that count?

No.

ClevelandBronco
03-14-2011, 10:54 AM
Govts routinely lie.

Noted sans comment.

Rain Man
03-14-2011, 10:59 AM
I'm a fan of nuclear power and think it's got to be an option or even the prime option. I hate to see this happen, but as mentioned in another thread hopefully these problems can be assessed and addressed in future designs. Nuclear power is so cheap in the long run that you can afford all kinds of up-front costs to be sure it's safe.

That said, it's always better to not live near big industrial stuff. I still think an ideal solution is to put the reactors into orbit and transmit the energy down to earth. (No, I have no idea how to do that. I'm the concept guy.) If there's a problem, just nudge it out into deep space and let the people on Tyche deal with it.

patteeu
03-14-2011, 11:21 AM
I'll take a nuclear plant in my backyard. I'm with Dave Lane, among others.

durtyrute
03-14-2011, 11:26 AM
As usual, the media is ****ing this all up. There is not threat of a meltdown or a China Syndrome. The containment units actually worked in Japan. Plus the new Gen III nuclear plants we want have already compensated for the design flaw of the electrical pumps which pump the water to keep the rods cool. People need to really educate themselves on the matter instead of listening to the dumb****s on TV that are doing any and every thing to exploit this tragedy for ratings or political gain.

This x10

BCD
03-14-2011, 11:26 AM
They can erect an NP plant in every county, in every state for all I care.

Anything to reduce our need for foreign oil.

Donger
03-14-2011, 11:27 AM
I'll take a nuclear plant in my backyard. I'm with Dave Lane, among others.

"And you can have one! Today!"

http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com/

Amnorix
03-14-2011, 11:39 AM
I do think the media exaggerated that one too. I just don't understand having so many reactors built in a quake prone/tusnami area. ( or not building houses on steel stilts as well). Seems like one of Japan's reactors was a problem since it was slated for shutdown even before the tsunami hit, but it was a govt that was telling everyone it was safe. Govts routinely lie.

So you think the Japanese government should mandate steel stilts for housing and prohibit the construction of nuclear reactors?


This might be the first time I've ever seen you support any governmental regulation of any type... :p

Taco John
03-14-2011, 11:41 AM
Radioactive contamination found on 17 U.S. Navy crewmembers in Japan

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2011/03/14/2011-03-14_17_us_navy_crewmembers_exposed_to_low_level_radiation_in_japan.html

ClevelandBronco
03-14-2011, 11:44 AM
Radioactive contamination found on 17 U.S. Navy crewmembers in Japan

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2011/03/14/2011-03-14_17_us_navy_crewmembers_exposed_to_low_level_radiation_in_japan.html

"They were treated with soap and water and their clothes were discarded."

At least we have the technology to deal with such a crisis.

Baby Lee
03-14-2011, 11:54 AM
So they're not earth-quake resistant then. Thanks for admitting that. :thumb:o:-)
They weathered the earthquake, which was larger than it was rated for. The shutdown procedure with the control rods meant that the plant itself was no longer an electrical resource. They successfully switched to backup generators to govern the cooldown.

Then the Tsunami took out the generators.

That's when controlling the cooldown got difficult. But at that point the uranium had long stopped fission and containment held.

The explosion was likely an Oxygen/Hydrogen combustion from where the H20 in the form of superheated distilled water separated into 2 Hs and an O. THe structure that exploded was a shelter structure, not a containment structure.

Rain Man
03-14-2011, 11:54 AM
They can erect an NP plant in every county, in every state for all I care.

Anything to reduce our need for foreign oil.


Exactly. If you want to take risk into account, you have to take into account that the American economy is funding a whole lot of dysfunction in the Middle East. Even if you think a nuclear reactor adds risk, it likely removes a lot of risk when those people are throwing rocks at each other again instead of trying to build nuclear weapons.

(Ooh, I didn't even intend to come full circle on the nuclear thing. How cool.)

Baby Lee
03-14-2011, 12:04 PM
I'm a fan of nuclear power and think it's got to be an option or even the prime option. I hate to see this happen, but as mentioned in another thread hopefully these problems can be assessed and addressed in future designs. Nuclear power is so cheap in the long run that you can afford all kinds of up-front costs to be sure it's safe.

That said, it's always better to not live near big industrial stuff. I still think an ideal solution is to put the reactors into orbit and transmit the energy down to earth. (No, I have no idea how to do that. I'm the concept guy.) If there's a problem, just nudge it out into deep space and let the people on Tyche deal with it.

What pisses me off is those who oppose Nuclear, then make both a safety and economics argument.

The vastly overwhelming cost component in nuclear is safety compliance. Licensing documents run into the 10s of thousand of pages, documenting so meticulously as to recite how many gauze pads Dr. Cho's office 3 towns over has on hand and how many heads of cattle are in a 100 sqmi area, acre by acre.

Even then, Nuclear has the best $$/KWh and best safety record of existing tech.

orange
03-14-2011, 12:28 PM
The explosion was likely an Oxygen/Hydrogen combustion from where the H20 in the form of superheated distilled water separated into 2 Hs and an O. THe structure that exploded was a shelter structure, not a containment structure.

???

Let's assume that's right. So they were filling the outer structure with water to cool the inner structure; now the outer structure is gone and they're left filling the inner structure directly. What's to prevent the same explosion from happening in the inner structure?

I'm hoping you've got something wrong there.

Donger
03-14-2011, 12:34 PM
???

Let's assume that's right. So they were filling the outer structure with water to cool the inner structure; now the outer structure is gone and they're left filling the inner structure directly. What's to prevent the same explosion from happening in the inner structure?

I'm hoping you've got something wrong there.

No, they were filling the core with water and had to vent. That released hydrogen into the structure and that structure subsequently exploded.

kcpasco
03-14-2011, 12:39 PM
I've heard some of the workers have radiation sickness.

Has this been confirmed?

kcpasco
03-14-2011, 12:43 PM
Hopefully there is no release of alpha contamination.
That shit is nasty to have in your body.

patteeu
03-14-2011, 12:45 PM
At least we can fall back on no-safety-risk energy sources like coal and oil, as long as we ignore things like black lung, mine cave-ins, and war in the middle-east.

A little bit of perspective is warranted here. Despite the unusualness of this disaster, the problems with Japan's troubled reactors are minor.

orange
03-14-2011, 12:49 PM
No, they were filling the core with water and had to vent. That released hydrogen into the structure and that structure subsequently exploded.

I've looked elsewhere and got to that point (https://morgsatlarge.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/why-i-am-not-worried-about-japans-nuclear-reactors/ a Baby Lee link from another thread). The problem I see is in what was left unsaid - the outer building exploded because they kept it sealed; they kept it sealed because they didn't want that radioactive steam to be released. But now it's being released, right?

Oh, but nothing's wrong. And the No. 2 reactor - the one we had "controlled" - going into meltdown today: nothing wrong there, either.

patteeu
03-14-2011, 12:51 PM
I've looked elsewhere and got to that point (https://morgsatlarge.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/why-i-am-not-worried-about-japans-nuclear-reactors/ a Baby Lee link from another thread). The problem I see is in what was left unsaid - the outer building exploded because they kept it sealed; they kept it sealed because they didn't want that radioactive steam to be released. But now it's being released, right?

Oh, but nothing's wrong. And the No. 2 reactor - the one we had "controlled" - going into meltdown today: nothing wrong there, either.

I suspect that having the radioactive steam escape is more of a PR disaster than a health disaster.

Donger
03-14-2011, 12:51 PM
I've looked elsewhere and got to that point (https://morgsatlarge.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/why-i-am-not-worried-about-japans-nuclear-reactors/ a BabyLee link from another thread). The problem I see is in what was left unsaid - the outer building exploded because they kept it sealed; they kept it sealed because they didn't want that radioactive steam to be released. But now it's being released, right?

Oh, but nothing's wrong. And the No. 2 reactor - the one we had "controlled" - going into meltdown today: nothing wrong there, either.

It WAS released into the structure surrounding the containment dome, yes, intentionally.

Each hour that passes is a good think. All of these reactors were SCRAMed, so they are only dealing with decay heat.

orange
03-14-2011, 12:52 PM
One thing helping "Nuclear Power politics set back, what, 30-50 years?" is all the officials claiming everything is under control when it's quite obviously not. Maybe they should level with folks.

Donger
03-14-2011, 12:53 PM
One thing helping "Nuclear Power politics set back, what, 30-50 years?" is all the officials claiming everything is under control when it's quite obviously not. Maybe they should level with folks.

What exactly do you think they hiding or not telling folks?

Baby Lee
03-14-2011, 12:54 PM
???

Let's assume that's right. So they were filling the outer structure with water to cool the inner structure; now the outer structure is gone and they're left filling the inner structure directly. What's to prevent the same explosion from happening in the inner structure?

I'm hoping you've got something wrong there.


http://nuclearstreet.com/images/img/abwr.jpg

All the heavy concrete below the two guys standing on the deck is the containment system. That space they're standing is is where the combustion occurred. Some call that area 'secondary containment,' but its more properly called a shelter structure as, compared the the stuff below, it's fairly flimsy.

Primary containment is the rods themselves, they melt at 2200C.
Secondary containment is the pressure vessel, the vertical red tube at left. Capable of containing up to the high 100s C.

The third [what some call primary] containment is the massive steel reinforced concrete surrounding the pressure vessel.

The cooling is obtained by pumping the superheated steam over to the facility on the right, where it would normally run a turbine, but now just performs heat exchange.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 12:58 PM
One thing helping "Nuclear Power politics set back, what, 30-50 years?" is all the officials claiming everything is under control when it's quite obviously not. Maybe they should level with folks.

I just want to make clear that I was only talking about a specific "problem" reactor that the Jap govt was lying about being safe because they were in bed with the owners. This one was slated for shutdown before the tsunami.

My only problem is building these things on obvious hi-risk areas. Or too many in such areas.

Rain Man
03-14-2011, 01:05 PM
I just want to make clear that I was only talking about a specific "problem" reactor that the Jap govt was lying about being safe because they were in bed with the owners. This one was slated for shutdown before the tsunami.

My only problem is building these things on obvious hi-risk areas. Or too many in such areas.

The problem for Japan is that they have no low-risk areas. And no coal. And no oil. Admiral Perry should've just let them be.

orange
03-14-2011, 01:05 PM
What exactly do you think they hiding or not telling folks?

Let's take this one, for example:

• “The nuclear energy industry believes that existing seismic design criteria are adequate. Every U.S. nuclear power plant has an in-depth seismic analysis and is designed and constructed to withstand the maximum projected earthquake that could occur in its area without any breach of safety systems. Each reactor is built to withstand the maximum site-specific earthquake by utilizing reinforced concrete and other specialized materials.″

http://openchannel.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/03/13/6263778-nuclear-industry-vows-that-lessons-from-japan-will-make-reactors-even-safer


So are we to presume the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors were NOT "designed and constructed to withstand the maximum projected earthquake that could occur in its area without any breach of safety systems?" Or were the criteria inadequate after all?

Donger
03-14-2011, 01:09 PM
Let's take this one, for example:

• “The nuclear energy industry believes that existing seismic design criteria are adequate. Every U.S. nuclear power plant has an in-depth seismic analysis and is designed and constructed to withstand the maximum projected earthquake that could occur in its area without any breach of safety systems. Each reactor is built to withstand the maximum site-specific earthquake by utilizing reinforced concrete and other specialized materials.″

http://openchannel.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/03/13/6263778-nuclear-industry-vows-that-lessons-from-japan-will-make-reactors-even-safer


So are we to presume the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors were NOT "designed and constructed to withstand the maximum projected earthquake that could occur in its area without any breach of safety systems?" Or were the standards inadequate after all?

Again, without the tsunami, this wouldn't be happening.

The reactors survived the quake just fine and were SCRAMed (which means that the control rods were very quickly fully inserted into the core to stop fission). However, because of decay heat, the core continues to generate heat and that heat must be removed, in this case by water. Unfortunately, the tsunami took out the diesel generators that provided power for the water pumps. So, they had to rely on batteries.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 01:10 PM
They weathered the earthquake, which was larger than it was rated for.
Not the one in Fukushima that was slated to be shut down before the tsunami. It was a problem reactor before. It's old.
http://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.com/2011/03/japan-nuclear-power-plant-scandal-and.html

I am talking about one reactor that has been a problem that their govt lied about being safe BEFORE the tsunami.

A third reactor is about to blow, nuclear rods appear to be melting and there's been 12-15 aftershocks. The Japanese are being told not to breathe the outside air. I feel so bad for those people but it's not everywhere, mostly certain parts.

Life is certainly different with restrictions on power and limited trains, but if you watch international news you’d think that ALL of Japan is underwater and suffering. Miyagi and Iwate are the center of it all, while we are basically experiencing minor inconveniences. This is important to remember.- From a reader of Lew Rockwell who is in Japan. (http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/)

Hmmm?:hmmm: The exploding reactors were manufactured by the US state’s favorite firm, GE. I wonder if these were forced on them by us. Or if that's the real reason our military is still there to protect those kind of interests? :p

The fallout may just result in our ending our 66 years there. That can't be a bad thing in this economic climate.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 01:12 PM
The problem for Japan is that they have no low-risk areas. And no coal. And no oil. Admiral Perry should've just let them be.

They don't have to be resource rich when they can trade in the market for such things. I don't see this as relevant.

Donger
03-14-2011, 01:14 PM
Not the one in Fukushima that was slated to be shut down before the tsunami. It was a problem reactor before. It's old.
http://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.com/2011/03/japan-nuclear-power-plant-scandal-and.html

I am talking about one reactor that has been a problem that their govt lied about being safe BEFORE the tsunami.

A third reactor is about to blow, nuclear rods appear to be melting and there's been 12-15 aftershocks. The Japanese are being told not to breathe the outside air. I feel so bad for those people but it's not everywhere, mostly certain parts.



Hmmm?:hmmm: The exploding reactors were manufactured by the US state’s favorite firm, GE. I wonder if these were forced on them by us. Or if that's the real reason our military is still there to protect those kind of interests? :p

The fallout may just result in our ending our 66 years there. That can't be a bad thing in this economic climate.

I don't see anything in that link that mentions any of the reactors at the plant having "problems."

Donger
03-14-2011, 01:15 PM
They don't have to be resource rich when they can trade in the market for such things. I don't see this as relevant.

:spock:

They went to WAR with us because they lacked indigenous natural resources required for modern life.

mlyonsd
03-14-2011, 01:16 PM
They don't have to be resource rich when they can trade in the market for such things. I don't see this as relevant.What are they going to do, run a coal chute to China?

epitome1170
03-14-2011, 01:17 PM
Let's take this one, for example:

• “The nuclear energy industry believes that existing seismic design criteria are adequate. Every U.S. nuclear power plant has an in-depth seismic analysis and is designed and constructed to withstand the maximum projected earthquake that could occur in its area without any breach of safety systems. Each reactor is built to withstand the maximum site-specific earthquake by utilizing reinforced concrete and other specialized materials.″

http://openchannel.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/03/13/6263778-nuclear-industry-vows-that-lessons-from-japan-will-make-reactors-even-safer


So are we to presume the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors were NOT "designed and constructed to withstand the maximum projected earthquake that could occur in its area without any breach of safety systems?" Or were the criteria inadequate after all?

FYI, on this I am a structural engineer (licensed and practicing), but I do not work on any power plants; however, the basic design codes still prevail in the US for power plants or commercial buildings. There are just importance factors associated with each.

All of that said, Japan has been one of the leaders in seismic design and advancements in the structural engineering community. They have to be since they have so many seismic events relative to the rest of the world. Don't believe me? YouTube "buildings sway" in relation to the Japan earthquake. There are numerous videos I have seen in which the buildings are swaying exactly as designed. (That is not to say that the US code is inferior or that our buildings won't behave the same, btw.)

With all of that said, I am positive that the power plants would have been designed for some tremendous seismic forces and that something as simple as getting a geotechnical investigation of the underlying soils would not have been forgotten or ignored on a billion dollar project like the construction of a power plant. To say otherwise is ignorance and borderline stupidity. People really need to think before they start questioning structural engineers, but that is whole different story.

Back to the point... although the power plants were designed for a seismic force, there is not a practical way that they can design (and be safe ad economical which is always the bottom line) for any seismic event possible. There are limitations on loads and sometimes mother nature throws something at buildings that they cannot handle. At that point, all the building is meant to do is stand so people can evacuate... in this case, I applaud the engineers involved as the buildings have done their job.

epitome1170
03-14-2011, 01:18 PM
FYI, from a structural engineering forum I am a part of:

"I am a structural engineer at a plant, just started here about a year ago. While I have never designed a containment building, I am aware of some of the design inputs.Basically, every imaginable force that could be a issue is considered. And they are designed with a lot of margin. I am not sure what you are asking though. Are you asking if they are designed for a tsunami? I am not sure, I know the plan I work at is not, but I work in the midwest so that is not one of the design criterias. But they are designed for a certain internal pressure, wind, earthquake, collision/impact, dead & live loads, snow. The one I work at is designed in excess of the 1000 yr flood. Just so all of you know, the media is very clueless about what they are talking about. They are making this issue over there sound much worse than it is in respect to the nuc plant. The plant will never operate again, but they are designed such that in an accident condition to safely shut down with the health and safety of the public as the #1 priority. This is the case in the US atleast. The level of radio active release was very small (comparitive to getting a couple of x-rays). But, media hype gets peoples to tune in, so they are making it sound worse to get more viewers. And to the reporters defense, they are uneducated about the nuclear power, so they do not know better. "

That is from another member so I cannot confirm nor deny his thoughts on it, but it is more information from someone apparently in the know.

patteeu
03-14-2011, 01:19 PM
They don't have to be resource rich when they can trade in the market for such things. I don't see this as relevant.

:shake: The real world doesn't exist in a theoretical laboratory.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 03:14 PM
I don't see anything in that link that mentions any of the reactors at the plant having "problems."

It's there. Go further down. I mean just look at the title at the top.

Will this do? From your ancestral homeland:


All THREE damaged nuclear reactors now in 'meltdown' at tsunami-hit power station (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1365781/Japan-earthquake-tsunami-All-3-Fukushima-nuclear-plant-reactors-meltdown.html)

• Fuel rods appear to be melting inside three over-heating reactors
• Experts class development as 'partial meltdown'
• Japan calls for U.S. help cooling the reactor
• 180,000 people have been evacuated amid meltdown fears

There have already been explosions inside two over-heating reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, and the fuel rods inside a third were partially exposed as engineers desperately fight to keep them cool after the tsunami knocked out systems.

Japanese chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano said it was 'highly likely' that the fuel rods inside all three stricken reactors are melting.

Some experts class that a partial meltdown of the reactor, but others would only use that term for when molten nuclear fuel melts through a reactor's inner chamber - but not through the outer containment shell....


BTW tsunamis are not infrequent to Japan either. They've had 65 out of about 195 recorded.

Donger
03-14-2011, 03:18 PM
It's there. Go further down. I mean just look at the title at the top.

Will this do? From your ancestral homeland:





BTW tsunamis are not infrequent to Japan either. They've had 65 out of about 195 recorded.

You seemed to be implying that some "problems" with these reactors happened before the earthquake and tsunami.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 03:20 PM
FYI, on this I am a structural engineer (licensed and practicing), but I do not work on any power plants; however, the basic design codes still prevail in the US for power plants or commercial buildings. There are just importance factors associated with each.

All of that said, Japan has been one of the leaders in seismic design and advancements in the structural engineering community. They have to be since they have so many seismic events relative to the rest of the world. Don't believe me? YouTube "buildings sway" in relation to the Japan earthquake. There are numerous videos I have seen in which the buildings are swaying exactly as designed. (That is not to say that the US code is inferior or that our buildings won't behave the same, btw.)

With all of that said, I am positive that the power plants would have been designed for some tremendous seismic forces and that something as simple as getting a geotechnical investigation of the underlying soils would not have been forgotten or ignored on a billion dollar project like the construction of a power plant. To say otherwise is ignorance and borderline stupidity. People really need to think before they start questioning structural engineers, but that is whole different story.

Back to the point... although the power plants were designed for a seismic force, there is not a practical way that they can design (and be safe ad economical which is always the bottom line) for any seismic event possible. There are limitations on loads and sometimes mother nature throws something at buildings that they cannot handle. At that point, all the building is meant to do is stand so people can evacuate... in this case, I applaud the engineers involved as the buildings have done their job.

Thank you. That was informative. The plant I mentioned in this thread to be shut down was old per the reports. Is 40 years really that old for one of these things?

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 03:21 PM
You seemed to be implying that some "problems" with these reactors happened before the earthquake and tsunami.

I am not implying, I said this overtly.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 03:24 PM
:spock:

They went to WAR with us because they lacked indigenous natural resources required for modern life.

Bastiat said where goods won't pass armies will. Remember FDR put an oil embargo on them first. That was classic Bastiat—refusing to trade leads to war.
Now remember, I said Japan could trade for what they lack. Trade promotes peace. Blockades, embargos and sanctions lead to war.

As for Japans former imperial quest in China and the Pacific they thought they were liberating the Chinese while they were copying former western imperialists like the British. That was part of their being westernized.

Donger
03-14-2011, 03:31 PM
I am not implying, I said this overtly.

Well, there is nothing that I can see in either of your links that supports that assertion.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 03:32 PM
Well, there is nothing that I can see in either of your links that supports that assertion.

The 2nd link has nothing to do with that. The first link did and it's there. You probably have selective perception.

Donger
03-14-2011, 03:33 PM
Bastiat said where goods won't pass armies will. Remember FDR put an oil embargo on them first. That was classic Bastiat—refusing to trade leads to war.
Now remember, I said Japan could trade for what they lack. Trade promotes peace. Blockades, embargos and sanctions lead to war.

As for Japans former imperial quest in China and the Pacific they thought they were liberating the Chinese while they were copying former western imperialists like the British. That was part of their being westernized.

I'm well aware that FDR imposed an embargo. But to state that not having the natural resources that are required for a modern society is "economically irrelevant is, well, dumb.

Donger
03-14-2011, 03:34 PM
The 2nd link has nothing to do with that. The first link did and it's there. You probably have selective perception.

No, it isn't there in the first link either. Perhaps you'd care to point out where?

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 03:35 PM
No, it isn't there in the first link either. Perhaps you'd care to point out where?

I did a bit earlier.

Donger
03-14-2011, 03:48 PM
I did a bit earlier.

No, you didn't.

patteeu
03-14-2011, 03:49 PM
Bastiat said where goods won't pass armies will. Remember FDR put an oil embargo on them first. That was classic Bastiat—refusing to trade leads to war.
Now remember, I said Japan could trade for what they lack. Trade promotes peace. Blockades, embargos and sanctions lead to war.

As for Japans former imperial quest in China and the Pacific they thought they were liberating the Chinese while they were copying former western imperialists like the British. That was part of their being westernized.

From this, it's clear that Bastiat recognized that goods don't always pass. Why don't you?

If you're going to depend on foreign trade, you'd better have the military ready to force the issue when your trade partner decides to hold out on you. The limited military capability endorsed by the Ron Paul conservatives along with a dependence on foreign trade don't really work well together.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 03:49 PM
No, you didn't.

Did

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 03:51 PM
I'm well aware that FDR imposed an embargo. But to state that not having the natural resources that are required for a modern society is "economically irrelevant is, well, dumb.

Well, you don't understand the free-market point-of-view with it's division of labor and trading for what you can't provide yourself. This is where dumb is at.
For a Brit I don't understand it since your empire was one of trade...'er mercantilist trade that is.

Donger
03-14-2011, 03:52 PM
Did

Are you referring to the Bloomberg link you posted in #10? If so, you might want to note that the reactor that had an issue after the quake in 2007 isn't at the same plant as the one that is having issues now.

Taco John
03-14-2011, 03:57 PM
The limited military capability endorsed by the Ron Paul conservatives ...


Funny that waiting for a formal declaration of war from congress passes as "limited military capability" endorsed not by the constitution, but by "Ron Paul Conservatives," as though the constitution is just advice, not, you know, the law of the land.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 03:59 PM
Are you referring to the Bloomberg link you posted in #10? If so, you might want to note that the reactor that had an issue after the quake in 2007 isn't at the same plant as the one that is having issues now.

No

Donger
03-14-2011, 03:59 PM
Funny that waiting for a formal declaration of war from congress passes as "limited military capability" endorsed not by the constitution, but by "Ron Paul Conservatives," as though the constitution is just advice, not, you know, the law of the land.

Didn't Ron Paul vote for going after the Taliban/AQ in Afghanistan?

Donger
03-14-2011, 04:01 PM
No

Okay, well I see nothing that shows that there was ever a "problem" at the plant which is having issues now.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 04:01 PM
Didn't Ron Paul vote for going after the Taliban/AQ in Afghanistan?

This has already been discussed. He did at first, as a quick miltary action short of war to break up the camps, but no longer when it turned into what it did—like nation building and then BL gone. We were not at war, nor should we be with Afghanistan but Al Qaeda. So break up the camps try to get BL and then leave leaving a warning if it happens again....that we will be back.

Donger
03-14-2011, 04:02 PM
This has already been discussed. He did at first but no longer when it turned into what it did—like nation building and BL gone.

So, he voted to commit our forces without a declaration of war from Congress?

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 04:10 PM
So, he voted to commit our forces without a declaration of war from Congress?

This has also been discussed. You might try the search. This thread is about Nuclear Power.

Donger
03-14-2011, 04:15 PM
This has also been discussed. You might try the search. This thread is about Nuclear Power.

No, I'll just sit here laughing about him voting to circumvent the US Constitution.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 04:32 PM
No, I'll just sit here laughing about him voting to circumvent the US Constitution.

You go on ahead and do that if it pleases you.

patteeu
03-14-2011, 04:32 PM
Funny that waiting for a formal declaration of war from congress passes as "limited military capability" endorsed not by the constitution, but by "Ron Paul Conservatives," as though the constitution is just advice, not, you know, the law of the land.

No, it goes quite a bit further than that, from withdrawing from forward deployed positions to reducing the size and capability to that required primarily for a defense of home country mission.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 04:39 PM
Japan Imposes "Article 15"
Japan has banned all its government agencies, including its nuclear regulatory and protection agencies, from issuing any statements about the nuclear crisis situation in Japan, according to Yochi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times.

Statements will only be issued from the senior level of the Japanese government.

"Article 15" is an article unfamiliar to most Japanese, including most Japanese journalists. It is apparently an emergency regulatory clause that allows the senior levels of the Japanese government to stop other Japanese government agencies from communicating with the public and news media.

Doesn't sound like good news they're barring but we'll see.

orange
03-14-2011, 06:18 PM
Japan Imposes "Article 15"
Japan has banned all its government agencies, including its nuclear regulatory and protection agencies, from issuing any statements about the nuclear crisis situation in Japan, according to Yochi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times.

Statements will only be issued from the senior level of the Japanese government.

"Article 15" is an article unfamiliar to most Japanese, including most Japanese journalists. It is apparently an emergency regulatory clause that allows the senior levels of the Japanese government to stop other Japanese government agencies from communicating with the public and news media.


http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2011/03/japan-imposes-article-15.html

Now, is this going to help the PR or hurt it?

orange
03-14-2011, 06:27 PM
What exactly do you think they hiding or not telling folks?

About that...

Earlier, I posted this:
I've looked elsewhere and got to that point (https://morgsatlarge.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/why-i-am-not-worried-about-japans-nuclear-reactors/ a Baby Lee link from another thread)

Apparently that morgsatlarge article has been pretty well circulated. I was just reading an overview of the whole situation ("Everything Pretty Much Worked" you'll be happy to know http://www.kalzumeus.com/2011/03/13/some-perspective-on-the-japan-earthquake/). And he ended with a paragraph "Let's Talk Nukes" - which turns out that he just parroted the morgsatlarge article, with his own conclusion: "Although few people would admit this out loud, I think it would be fair to include these in the count of systems which functioned exactly as designed." Okay.

But then I happened to read some of the comments, including this one:

Another Dave
March 13, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

Hi Patrick, I really value your blog and read many of your posts linked on HN, but I am not very happy that you fell for the piece of misinformation that is published at the morgsatlarge blog.

Mr. Oehmen’s soothing analysis is based on some wrong assumptions: Contrary to the claims of Mr. Oehmen, the reactors in Fukushima have no core catcher, so if the cores melt, they will probably reach ground water. In reactor 3 of Fukushima I, the pressure can not be released because the valve is broken, and an explosion of hydrogen in the reactor 3 building is not unlikely, and might further damage systems that are needed to avert a melt down. The fuel used (‘MOX’) includes plutonium which might restart the chain reaction, and furthermore is highly toxic.

Additionally, Oehmen links to pro-nuclear-energy lobby organizations as a better source for information than the media.

And let’s not forget that there’s a risk of 70% (as reported by the Guardian) that there are severe aftershocks, which could change the situation drastically on short notice.

I agree that the level of preparedness of japan is exemplary, and considering the reactors, the whole world can be thankful that the emergency planning is so meticulous. But I don’t think that this is the time to be soothed. If this goes over without becoming a second Hiroshima, then it’s pure luck.

Of course, I thought of this thread immediately and how I might have inadvertantly promulgated bullshit.

I apologize to anyone I might have misinformed.

orange
03-14-2011, 06:32 PM
Now, Oehmen is not an official - at least not speaking officially. He's just a nuke fan.

The thing is, the fans need to stop spinning.

mlyonsd
03-14-2011, 06:53 PM
In second thought nuclear is probably too dangerous for our current flock of university engineers to undertake.

My solution would be to put up another million wind turbines. Tied to that would be 300,000,000 stationary bikes so when the wind doesn't blow each of us can get on one so the food in our freezers doesn't spoil.

A positive side effect of course is it might help with our obesity problem. Maybe I should send Michelle an email and get her to talk to her husband since they keep telling us they're listening to new ideas.

orange
03-14-2011, 07:54 PM
Just a thought as I observe the news. Nuclear power is screwed for at least the next 20 years, and I think perhaps a lot longer. Not in my back yard syndrome is going to keep nuclear power off the table for a long, long time.

Japan earthquake: governments order urgent nuclear safety reviews

Governments around the world ordered urgent safety reviews of their nuclear power facilities last night as the crisis in Japan continued to escalate.

By Martin Evans 10:00PM GMT 14 Mar 2011

The EU will host an emergency meeting of energy ministers and nuclear safety officials today to discuss the situation at the 150 nuclear power stations within its territories. A spokesman said the aim of the hastily organised meeting was to get first-hand information about what contingency plans were in place should an emergency occur.

The Swiss government announced it was suspending plans to replace its ageing nuclear power stations until security and safety measures could be assessed.

Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, ordered safety checks on all nuclear power plants to ensure they could withstand an earthquake or tsunami.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a three-month moratorium on government plans to postpone by more than a decade the decommissioning of Germany’s 17 nuclear reactors.

This could lead to the immediate switch-off of the country’s two oldest plants, Mrs Merkel added.

“If a country like Japan with its high safety norms and safety standards can apparently not prevent the nuclear consequences of an earthquake and a tsunami, then the whole world … can’t just go back to business as usual,” she said.

In Britain, Chris Huhne, the Environment Secretary, insisted that the Government would examine closely any lessons to be learnt from the Japanese experience. The Government is planning a new generation of nuclear power stations which are due to begin generating power by 2020. Last night, critics said the plans should be put on hold until a major safety assessment had been conducted.

Andy Atkins, the executive director of Friends of the Earth, said: “We can’t keep heading down the nuclear route until the lessons from this crisis have been learnt.”

While most countries, including Britain, are not at substantial risk from earthquakes, experts have pointed out that it was the power failure following the Japanese tsunami that led to the crisis at the Fukushima plant. Dr Paul Dorfman, a nuclear policy research fellow with the Rowntree Charitable Trust, said building nuclear facilities on the coast meant they could never be completely safe from flooding and other natural phenomena.

He explained: “The current proposals will see a proliferation of very large nuclear facilities built at a number of coastal locations vulnerable to rising sea levels, flooding and storm surge. This is clearly of major concern.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8382181/Japan-earthquake-governments-order-urgent-nuclear-safety-reviews.html

orange
03-14-2011, 08:08 PM
Here's a REAL good article. Also from The Telegraph - yes, the CONSERVATIVE Telegraph*; some of you can read it without fear of your eyes burning.

Japan earthquake: Nuclear power under fire
Until the explosion at Fukushima, nuclear power was enjoying a renaissance as a 'clean' source of energy. Now its future looks a lot less secure, says Geoffrey Lean.

By Geoffrey Lean 6:39AM GMT 14 Mar 2011

Almost 40 years ago, in the heyday of the expansion of nuclear power, one of its pioneers warned the world that it had made "a Faustian bargain" with the atom. People like himself, he said in 1972, were providing a "magical energy source" that was "almost non-polluting when properly handled". But it came at a price: "a vigilance ... to which we are quite unaccustomed".

Dr Alvin Weinberg, then director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was a driving force behind the world's most widely built reactors, including the two that have been teetering on the edge of disaster in Japan. Today at Fukushima – as at Chernobyl, 25 years ago last month, and at Three Mile Island seven years earlier – the world is being forced to weigh up that bargain. Is the supply of a well-developed, low-carbon source of energy worth the price of the cataclysm that can follow a human lapse in vigilance or an act of God? Does the role it could play in helping avert the almost certain slow catastrophe of climate change justify the risk of a calamitous accident?

Already the battlelines are being drawn. On Saturday, some 50,000 anti-nuclear protesters formed a 27-mile human chain from Germany's Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant to the city of Stuttgart to protest against its government's plans to extend the life of the country's reactors. Green politicians in pro-nuclear France urged an end to its dependence on the atom, and Ed Markey, a leading Democratic US Congressman, called for a moratorium on building new reactors in seismically active areas.

But Chancellor Angela Merkel, after holding a meeting of the German cabinet on the issue, reaffirmed her confidence in the safety of nuclear power (obsolete - see above). The leader of Silvio Berlusconi's party said that Italy would stick with plans to build new reactors. And a spokesman for US Senator Lisa Murkowski said it would be "poor form for anyone to criticise the nuclear industry, or pronounce the end of nuclear power, because of a natural disaster that has been a national tragedy for the Japanese people".

At first, what Dr Weinberg promised would be "energy that is cheaper than energy from fossil fuel" was widely welcomed, even by some early environmentalists who saw it as a way of countering climate change. But this enthusiasm was already giving way to concern when Three Mile Island suffered a partial meltdown in 1979. The accident pulled nuclear expansion up short – work did not start on a single new reactor in the United States until recently – and Chernobyl only deepened the crisis. The atom seemed to be in near-terminal decline.

But France and Japan continued to build reactors undaunted, and gradually – as the danger of climate change became widely accepted – most of the rest of the world came round to their point of view. After stagnating, even slightly declining, for more than 25 years, nuclear power's share of global electricity production is set to rise again. Sixty reactors are now being built around the globe and, the World Nuclear Association adds, there are "another 150 or more planned to come on line during the next 10 years, and over 200 further back in the pipeline".

China has recently completed 10 new reactors, and has some 30 more under construction. India plans to build at least 20 during this decade and Russia is aiming to double its nuclear capacity within the same timescale. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has received applications for 25 new ones, while Japan is planning another 15 and our own government wants another 10. And, the association says, 25 countries, including Vietnam, Bangladesh and Nigeria, are aiming to go nuclear for the first time.

Many fear all this is being put at risk at Fukushima. Indeed, the much-touted "nuclear renaissance" was beginning to falter even before the shock of Friday's earthquake. In its 2009 World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency, which promotes nuclear power, warned: "A nuclear renaissance is possible, but cannot occur overnight. Nuclear projects face significant hurdles, including extended construction periods and related risks, long licensing processes, and manpower shortages, plus long-standing issues related to waste disposal, proliferation and local opposition. Huge capital requirements, combined with risks of cost over-runs and regulatory uncertainties, make investors and lenders very cautious, even when demand growth is robust."

And so it has proved. New reactors being built in France and Finland – precursors for ones planned for Britain – are running behind time and over budget. It now seems certain that no new reactor will be operating here by 2017, as was planned. And, the night before the earthquake, the energy minister Charles Hendry warned that Britain's own renaissance was threatened by a skills shortage.

Natural gas, one of the causes of the initial decline in nuclear, is becoming cheaper with the development of new technologies to wring it from shale rock. And the failure of the Obama administration to get climate legislation through Congress has dealt the US industry a particularly severe blow: the defeated "cap and trade" proposals were expected to spur the construction of another 100 reactors. (does this rise above the vaunted "irony threshold?")

In fact, only a handful of the 25 planned US reactors seem to be going ahead. A year ago, Exelon – the country's biggest nuclear operator – withdrew its application to build two reactors in Texas. Its chief executive, John Rowe, says "except with massive subsidies, there's really nothing one can do to make a whole lot of nuclear plants economic right now". Last year, the company bought a major renewable energy firm, and is moving into wind power.

The events at Fukushima are likely to make things worse. "This is obviously a significant setback," says Peter Bradford, a former member of the NRC. "The image of a nuclear power plant blowing up before your eyes on the television screen is a first. These cannot be good things for an industry that is looking for votes in the Congress and in the state legislatures."

The accident is also likely to have a devastating effect in Japan, where suspicion of the nuclear industry was already running high following past accident cover-ups. Indeed, several managers of the company that runs the Fukushima plant were forced to resign in 2002 for falsifying safety records. And in the wake of the earthquake, it has emerged that the government ignored warnings from one of the country's top seismologists that the reactors had "fatal flaws" in their design and "fundamental vulnerabilities" to such shocks.

If disaster is averted at Fukushima, the nuclear industry will argue that the event strengthens its case, by showing how its reactors can withstand the severest stress. But that may cut little ice with a worldwide public, which is likely to conclude, like Dr Faustus, that it should never have made the pact in the first place.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/nuclearpower/8379926/Japan-earthquake-Nuclear-power-under-fire.html

* note - even ALLAHPUNDIT is fear-mongering this morning-in-Japan , after the third explosion.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 08:23 PM
http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2011/03/japan-imposes-article-15.html

Now, is this going to help the PR or hurt it?

That's where I got it. I forgot to put the link up.

orange
03-14-2011, 08:25 PM
That's where I got it. I forgot to put the link up.

Here's the original - it wasn't easy to find because your epj.com guy misspelled the name. :doh!: Another butthead.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23676

Donger
03-14-2011, 08:51 PM
And in the wake of the earthquake, it has emerged that the government ignored warnings from one of the country's top seismologists that the reactors had "fatal flaws" in their design and "fundamental vulnerabilities" to such shocks.

Since the reactors weathered the quake just fine, it seems that the above wasn't exactly accurate. I also assume that these seismologists aren't civil or nuclear engineers, either?

Donger
03-14-2011, 08:53 PM
If this goes over without becoming a second Hiroshima, then it’s pure luck.[/INDENT][/INDENT]

LMAO

Give me a break.

orange
03-14-2011, 09:03 PM
Since the reactors weathered the quake just fine, it seems that the above wasn't exactly accurate. I also assume that these seismologists aren't civil or nuclear engineers, either?

The seismologist is an expert in earthquakes. He warned that the earthquakes the reactors were designed to withstand weren't what they were going to actually face.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/12/japan-ministers-ignored-warnings-nuclear

And I find it rather ridiculous to claim that they "weathered the quake just fine." "The quake" must include all the side effects that they weren't ready for - including the loss of outside power for the cooling systems, which could happen to any reactor, for any number of reasons, I believe. And which will certainly be the main new problem going forward for the nuclear industry.

orange
03-14-2011, 09:05 PM
LMAO

Give me a break.

Hysterical overstatement is the norm for the intertubes.

orange
03-14-2011, 09:18 PM
BREAKING: LATEST: (AP) Japan spokesman says 4th reactor at damaged nuclear plant on fire, more radiation released.

BucEyedPea
03-14-2011, 09:36 PM
LMAO

Give me a break.

Can you not accept that this plant is an older model while newer ones have been made safer than that and this tusnami just did something to it that it could not withstand?

orange
03-14-2011, 09:40 PM
Japan's nuclear crisis: regulators warned of reactor risks
In 1972, the first warning was issued about the vulnerability of the sort of General Electric reactors used in Fukushima in Japan (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/mar/14/nuclearpower-energy)

Donger
03-14-2011, 09:48 PM
The seismologist is an expert in earthquakes. He warned that the earthquakes the reactors were designed to withstand weren't what they were going to actually face.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/12/japan-ministers-ignored-warnings-nuclear

And I find it rather ridiculous to claim that they "weathered the quake just fine." "The quake" must include all the side effects that they weren't ready for - including the loss of outside power for the cooling systems, which could happen to any reactor, for any number of reasons, I believe. And which will certainly be the main new problem going forward for the nuclear industry.

So, the seismologist ISN'T a civil or nuclear engineer, right?

And, no, an earthquake is the ground shaking. A tsunami is a water event caused by the earthquake. I take it the chap above isn't an oceanographer or mechanical engineer, either?

Donger
03-14-2011, 09:49 PM
Can you not accept that this plant is an older model while newer ones have been made safer than that and this tusnami just did something to it that it could not withstand?

Sure. I was laughing at the Hiroshima comment.

orange
03-14-2011, 09:54 PM
So, the seismologist ISN'T a civil or nuclear engineer, right?

And, no, an earthquake is the ground shaking. A tsunami is a water event caused by the earthquake. I take it the chap above isn't an oceanographer or mechanical engineer, either?

Read #119. THOSE guys were engineers - nuclear engineers - THIRTY YEARS AGO - predicting this week's explosions. :doh!:

And this:

The early warning about the reactor design was reinforced in 1986 when Harold Denton, then the top safety official at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), warned of a high risk of failure of the mark one containment system.

"Mark one containment, especially being smaller with lower design pressure, in spite of the suppression pool... you'll find something like a 90% probability of that containment failing," he told an industry trade group at the time.

"Any reactor in this situation would be in a world of hurt. These designs are even more problematic because should you get core melt according to the nuclear regulatory commission the containment is 90% likely to fail," said Jim Riccio, a nuclear expert at Greenpeace. "In essence, the public's last line of defence in case of a meltdown really doesn't exist at all."

Good enough for you yet?

orange
03-14-2011, 09:59 PM
p.s. It's bad. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/world/asia/15nuclear.html?src=tptw)

Japan Faces Potential Nuclear Disaster as Radiation Levels Rise

By HIROKO TABUCHI, KEITH BRADSHER and MATTHEW L. WALD
Published: March 14, 2011

TOKYO — Japan’s nuclear crisis verged toward catastrophe on Tuesday, after an explosion at one crippled reactor damaged its crucial steel containment structure and a fire at another reactor spewed large amounts of radioactive material into the air, according to official statements and industry executives informed about the developments.

After an emergency cabinet meeting, the Japanese government told people living within 30 kilometers, about 18 miles, of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station to stay indoors, keep their windows closed and stop using air-conditioning.

Officials said emergency efforts to pump seawater into three stricken reactors at the plant were continuing, but that most of the 800 workers at the Daiichi facility had been told to leave to avoid exposure to unhealthy levels of radiation at the plant. They said 50 workers would remain at the plant to pump seawater into three reactors and fight the fire at the fourth reactor.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan briefly addressed the nation on television at 11 a.m., pleading for calm as engineers struggled to bring the damaged reactors under control.

Mr. Kan said that radiation had spread from the crippled reactors and there was “a very high risk” of further leakages.

“I would like to ask the nation, although this incident is of great concern, I ask you to react very calmly,” Mr. Kan said.

Amnorix
03-15-2011, 06:08 AM
Bastiat said where goods won't pass armies will. Remember FDR put an oil embargo on them first. That was classic Bastiat—refusing to trade leads to war.
Now remember, I said Japan could trade for what they lack. Trade promotes peace. Blockades, embargos and sanctions lead to war.

As for Japans former imperial quest in China and the Pacific they thought they were liberating the Chinese while they were copying former western imperialists like the British. That was part of their being westernized.


I could go on and on and on about this post, but I'll limit myself to one comment -- a question really.

Do you honestly think that invasion and conquest over resources is/was only a "western" concept?

Amnorix
03-15-2011, 06:10 AM
From this, it's clear that Bastiat recognized that goods don't always pass. Why don't you?

If you're going to depend on foreign trade, you'd better have the military ready to force the issue when your trade partner decides to hold out on you. The limited military capability endorsed by the Ron Paul conservatives along with a dependence on foreign trade don't really work well together.

BEP's entire economic theories depend on human and governmental behavioral models that have never reflected reality.

Leave yourself at the mercy of foreign powers for critical materials and trust in the universal love of free trade to allow you to get whatever you need whenever you need it. Great plan! What could POSSIBLY go wrong?!?

Amnorix
03-15-2011, 06:13 AM
A positive side effect of course is it might help with our obesity problem. Maybe I should send Michelle an email and get her to talk to her husband since they keep telling us they're listening to new ideas.


I heard this morning that Obama remains committed to nuclear power. I'd think there would be more support for him remaining steadfast when, for example, Germany has already decided to "temporarily" shut down its seven oldest nuclear plants.

Amnorix
03-15-2011, 06:18 AM
If this goes over without becoming a second Hiroshima, then it’s pure luck.

LMAO

Give me a break.


Right. Whoever posted that either has no understanding of Hiroshima, no understanding of what is going on at Fukushima, or both.

Amnorix
03-15-2011, 06:26 AM
One thing I want to relay, as there certainly is a tremendous amount of well-placed concern around the Japanese reactor situation, is that I understand from a report on NPR this morning that it is deemed NOT possible at this time for a Chernobyl type event to occur -- that is an event that releases a truly massive amount of radioactive particles into hte atmosphere.

Chernobyl was an explosion at a plant that was running full tilt at the time.

The fission process at Fukushima stopped five days ago now. The problem is that even after shutting down the process, the rods (or whatever, I'm no expert) are still incredibly hot and need to be cooled.

The latest incident appears to have come in the Reactor 4 area of the plant, which wasn't even operating. Spent fuel rods are stored there, however, and it appears that the process of keeping them cool also failed.

What we have are cascading failures in the cooling process and at least a partial meltdown in plants 1 and 3, and possibly 2 as well. What we won't have, so the experts appear to agree, is the kind of widespread devastation that we saw at Chernobyl.

Not, of course, that any of this is good. It just put, for me, a cap the upper end of the "how bad can it get" range.

BucEyedPea
03-15-2011, 06:35 AM
BEP's entire economic theories depend on human and governmental behavioral models that have never reflected reality.

That you say this shows you don't know what you're talking about because the Austrian school is all about how things really happen—not some theory concocted in an Ivory Tower by some socialist who tries to avoid reality and replace it with some egalitarian utopia. Both you and pat are statists and can only see things through such a model. I expect this of you—I don't expect it from a self-proclaimed libertarian.

Conclusion: So in other words you can't refute this. You can only discuss the poster. I got it. You lost.

Leave yourself at the mercy of foreign powers for critical materials and trust in the universal love of free trade to allow you to get whatever you need whenever you need it. Great plan! What could POSSIBLY go wrong?!?

Only someone steeped in authoritarian central planning and Hamiltonianism would say something like this.

BucEyedPea
03-15-2011, 06:39 AM
Japan's nuclear crisis: regulators warned of reactor risks
In 1972, the first warning was issued about the vulnerability of the sort of General Electric reactors used in Fukushima in Japan (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/mar/14/nuclearpower-energy)

Just in case you're planning on going the "blame the corporations" or "market" route, bear in mind that nuclear power is heavily subsidized by the state in Japan. So their govt had a bearing on using these GE reactors. GE is nothing more than a mercantilist corporation in bed with govts of the world instead of really being a free-market player.

Amnorix
03-15-2011, 06:41 AM
That you say this shows you don't know what you're talking about because the Austrian school is all about how things really happen—not some theory concocted in an Ivory Tower by some socialist who tries to avoid reality and replace it with some egalitarian utopia. Both you an pat are statists and can only see things through such a model. I expect this of you—I don't expect it from a self-proclaimed libertarian.

Conclusion: So in other words you can't refute this. You can only discuss the poster. I got it. You lost.

I know this is what you say, because you've said it before.

But there are two things that destroy that statement. First, the entire Austrian system is theoretical because nobody, nowhere, EVER has operated on even a MOSTLY Austrian model (and that's why it's a MODEL) much less completely on the Austrian theory (and that's why it's a theory -- it's unproven, to say the least).

Second, you make frequent posts, such as the one Donger and I called you out on, that undermine this supposed real world approach. When you state that competition between nations for scarce resources is "irrelevant', then you betray a fundamental lack of understanding of human nature, much less economics.

Only someone steeped in authoritarian central planning and Hamiltonianism would say something like this.

I don't believe in central planning. That's a different economic theory altogether, and one that has been proven in the real world as unworkable, in large part because it, too, ignores human nature.

Amnorix
03-15-2011, 06:42 AM
Just in case you're planning on going the "blame the corporations" or "market" route, bear in mind that nuclear power is heavily subsidized by the state in Japan. So their govt had a bearing on using these GE reactors. GE is nothing more than a mercantilist corporation in bed with govts of the world instead of really being a free-market player.

Wow. A whole new level of nonsensical. Congrats.

BucEyedPea
03-15-2011, 06:43 AM
uh huh

mlyonsd
03-15-2011, 06:54 AM
I heard this morning that Obama remains committed to nuclear power. I'd think there would be more support for him remaining steadfast when, for example, Germany has already decided to "temporarily" shut down its seven oldest nuclear plants.
My post was of course pointed at the hand wringers.

I saw the WH press secretary's remarks yesterday as well. Kudos to them for not caving like they did in the BP oil spill case.

I'm glad they get it. I'm not really sure how much more support you expect me to give him.

alnorth
03-15-2011, 07:23 AM
This would have killed nuclear power for a while about 20 or 30 years ago when all we had was television and newspapers and everyone was ignorant.

The internet changes everything. We know that Japan screwed up and this was not an inherent failing of nuclear power in general. They had a very old model of a nuclear reactor right on the coast of the ocean near a fault line.

The president and the republicans in congress don't want to stop the push for nuclear power. Good for them. I would have no problem with a next-generation nuclear power plant near my city.

mlyonsd
03-15-2011, 07:31 AM
Keep us abreast from the front line.

The hand wringers are in full wringing mode.

From The Associated Press, March 15, 2011 - 08:22 AM
<SCRIPT type=text/javascript> adUtility.insertAd("custom_ad", {site : adUtility.getSite(), zone : adUtility.getZone(), size : {width:[150], height:[50]},keyValuePairs : adUtility.getKeyValuePairs(),allowInterstitials : true});</SCRIPT><!-- http://www.canadianbusiness.com/images/rbc.jpg (http://web.rbc.com/rbcdirectinvesting/fall2010/practiceb.html?CID=1328&tab=practice-accounts_tab&V_TID=33297&ProspectID=7A4764B6CC9745D9A76032708BB50191)--><!--<dcr.dcrname>templatedata\content\html\data\2006\01\20060117_101304_4992</dcr.dcrname>-->
Senator says future of Iowa nuclear bill uncertain after damage to power plants in Japan<SCRIPT type=text/javascript> adUtility.insertAd("custom_ad", {site : adUtility.getSite(), zone : adUtility.getZone(), size : {width:[150], height:[50]},keyValuePairs : adUtility.getKeyValuePairs(),allowInterstitials : true});</SCRIPT><!-- http://www.canadianbusiness.com/images/rbc.jpg (http://web.rbc.com/rbcdirectinvesting/fall2010/practiceb.html?CID=1328&tab=practice-accounts_tab&V_TID=33297&ProspectID=7A4764B6CC9745D9A76032708BB50191)--><!--<dcr.dcrname>templatedata\content\html\data\2006\01\20060117_101304_4992</dcr.dcrname>-->

<STYLE> #sponsor table, #sponsor td { width:auto !important; } </STYLE><!-- begin STORY -->DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Expanding nuclear power in Iowa came under intensified scrutiny amid the threat of a nuclear meltdown in Japan on Monday, with some lawmakers softening their support and others predicting tough questioning when a utility boss testifies about his plans this week.

Legislators are considering bills that would make it easier for energy companies to build new nuclear plants in Iowa. Supporters say nuclear power is the only option amid increasing regulation of coal and natural gas plants.

Sen. Matt McCoy voted for the bill when it was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee 13-2 this month, but now he's undecided. A subcommittee is set to debate the legislation again Thursday and hear from the president of MidAmerican Energy, which is considering building a nuclear power plant in Iowa. The state currently has one nuclear plant.
"I think they have an extreme burden now to resell this," said McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines. "I think the question is what assurances can you give us that this is safe."

The committee's chairwoman, Sen. Swati Dandekar, expects lawmakers will have a lot of questions for MidAmerican CEO William Fehrman.

MidAmerican spokeswoman Ann Thelen said the company hopes to learn lessons from the events in Japan as it continues its study on building a nuclear facility in Iowa.

"We believe nuclear is a viable energy source and is the only proven carbon-free source of base load power," Thelen said. "Advances in nuclear technology have dramatically changed the prospects for adding nuclear generation to the state's energy portfolio."

MidAmerican is interested in a small, modular reactor design that Thelen said is safer than the plant design used in Japan.

Still, McCoy doubts the legislation will move forward this year as the world watches Japan try to stabilize its nuclear reactors after last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami. McCoy, a Senate assistant minority leader, said he's been deluged with e-mails from his constituents on the nuclear issue in the past several days.

"I don't see a bill this year," the lawmaker said. "I may be wrong on that. But it's been dealt a significant blow by what happened in Japan."

Water levels dropped precipitously Monday inside a Japanese nuclear reactor, twice leaving the uranium fuel rods completely exposed — raising the threat of a meltdown and increasing the risk of the spread of radiation. The levels dropped just hours after a hydrogen explosion tore through the building housing a different reactor.

Rep. Chuck Soderberg, a Le Mars Republican, said he's watching to see what happens in Japan and he's not sure how those events will impact efforts in Iowa. Soderberg is chairman of the House Commerce Committee, which unanimously approved a slightly different bill.

"I guess it's unclear what direction the bill will go," Soderberg said.
Soderberg noted a decision to build a nuclear power plant in Iowa would ultimately be up to utilities and federal regulators. But he said nuclear power is now one of the only options for base load electricity generation as coal and natural gas plants come under more regulation.
"As we look to grow the economy we have to have more capacity," Soderberg said.

Other leaders, including Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, said the events in Japan shouldn't deter expansion of the industry in Iowa and elsewhere in the U.S. Reynolds said technology has changed, attitudes are different and the country should continue to expand nuclear power options.

"I think we need to look at all forms of alternative energy," Reynolds said. "We continue to move forward with it."

Iowa's only nuclear power plant, the Duane Arnold Energy Center near Cedar Rapids, was granted a license in 1974 that was set to expire in 2014, but it received a 20-year extension in December. The plant produces about 592 million watts of electricity a year, enough to power 600,000 homes, according to its website.

Last year, then-Gov. Chet Culver signed a bill allowing MidAmerican Energy to study building a nuclear power plant in Iowa. The law allows the utility to charge its Iowa customers $15 million for the three-year study examining the feasibility of building a plant.

Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, said the reactor design is unproven and the legislative proposals would force consumers to pay in advance for a potential nuclear plant.
Jane Magers, who leads a coalition of eight groups opposed to nuclear power, said the events in Japan should change people's attitudes about what she calls a terrible and risky energy source. Magers said 18 states have rejected nuclear power and many plants are no longer being relicensed.

"It's so tragic that we have to have this kind of an accident to change people's minds," Magers said. "I told them way before what happened in Japan that I can't understand why you're so enamored with nuclear power. It's happening around the world that there's a rejection of nuclear power. And yet you are determined that nuclear power will lead our future and I don't know why."

Amnorix
03-15-2011, 07:42 AM
Just in case you're planning on going the "blame the corporations" or "market" route, bear in mind that nuclear power is heavily subsidized by the state in Japan. So their govt had a bearing on using these GE reactors. GE is nothing more than a mercantilist corporation in bed with govts of the world instead of really being a free-market player.

Actually, let's play this out more, even though I don't think anyone was heading down the path you were suggesting.

Nuclear power generation is perhaps the most heavily regulated field of business in ANY country, with extremely close governmental supervision of the entire process.

That being the case, when exactly could a nuclear power plant builder/operator really be a free-market player?

BucEyedPea
03-15-2011, 07:44 AM
This would have killed nuclear power for a while about 20 or 30 years ago when all we had was television and newspapers and everyone was ignorant.

The internet changes everything. We know that Japan screwed up and this was not an inherent failing of nuclear power in general. They had a very old model of a nuclear reactor right on the coast of the ocean near a fault line.

The president and the republicans in congress don't want to stop the push for nuclear power. Good for them. I would have no problem with a next-generation nuclear power plant near my city.

Exactly. The newer models are better and safer I hear too.

I might add, tsunamis are not infrequent to Japan. Perhaps they could have built that one higher up to accomodate that fact or part of it.


The latest I heard was this: "As of 5:15 am Central European Time, IAEA can confirm that one of the units is in safe cold shutdown, another is on its way there, and the last two are undergoing some final repairs to residual heat removal systems."

http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/14/japanese-nuclear-pla-1.html

Donger
03-15-2011, 07:50 AM
Read #119. THOSE guys were engineers - nuclear engineers - THIRTY YEARS AGO - predicting this week's explosions. :doh!:

And this:

The early warning about the reactor design was reinforced in 1986 when Harold Denton, then the top safety official at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), warned of a high risk of failure of the mark one containment system.

"Mark one containment, especially being smaller with lower design pressure, in spite of the suppression pool... you'll find something like a 90% probability of that containment failing," he told an industry trade group at the time.

"Any reactor in this situation would be in a world of hurt. These designs are even more problematic because should you get core melt according to the nuclear regulatory commission the containment is 90% likely to fail," said Jim Riccio, a nuclear expert at Greenpeace. "In essence, the public's last line of defence in case of a meltdown really doesn't exist at all."

Good enough for you yet?

Considering that the containment design has (so far) done its job after taking a 9.0 earthquake AND a tsunami, no, that isn't good enough for me yet.

HonestChieffan
03-15-2011, 07:56 AM
The real issue for me on the future of Nuclear Power is that we will have State representatives and US Senators and their peers righting regs and proposing laws that regulate/ban/whatever things they know absolutely nothing about. They will do so under the banner of protection but doing it for one simple reason...votes.

There will be a flurry of anti nuclear bills, speeches, posturing by the anti crowd designed to maximize vote getting and support from the mooonbat left who want nothing more than a complete and total wipeout so they can advance a position.

And once again we will ignore Natural Gas and its development as the alternative we really should develop so we can build another windmill and sing songs and count moonbeams.

orange
03-15-2011, 07:57 AM
The latest I heard was this: "As of 5:15 am Central European Time, IAEA can confirm that one of the units is in safe cold shutdown, another is on its way there, and the last two are undergoing some final repairs to residual heat removal systems."

http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/14/japanese-nuclear-pla-1.html

"Japan Earthquake Update (15 March 2011, 02:35 UTC)
Japanese authorities yesterday reported to the IAEA at 20:05 UTC that the reactors Units 1, 2 and 3 of the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant are in cold shutdown status. This means that the pressure of the water coolant is at around atmospheric level and the temperature is below 100 degrees Celsius. Under these conditions, the reactors are considered to be safely under control."

Different plant, not the one everyone is concerned about.

BucEyedPea
03-15-2011, 08:45 AM
"Japan Earthquake Update (15 March 2011, 02:35 UTC)
Japanese authorities yesterday reported to the IAEA at 20:05 UTC that the reactors Units 1, 2 and 3 of the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant are in cold shutdown status. This means that the pressure of the water coolant is at around atmospheric level and the temperature is below 100 degrees Celsius. Under these conditions, the reactors are considered to be safely under control."

Different plant, not the one everyone is concerned about.

I just thought there was one Fukushima in Tokyo. So I guess it's the Daiichi version of Fukushima?

http://www.japannuclear.com/nuclearpower/program/location.html

JHC they have 55 of them on such a small bit of land with 2 under construction and 8 more planned.

Taco John
03-15-2011, 12:38 PM
It's comforting to learn that it wasn't the nuclear power itself that went wrong, but merely the people who were supposed to be harnessing it. Knowing that it's just a series of independant and unrelated human errors is a real shot of confidence.

alnorth
03-15-2011, 02:25 PM
It's comforting to learn that it wasn't the nuclear power itself that went wrong, but merely the people who were supposed to be harnessing it. Knowing that it's just a series of independant and unrelated human errors is a real shot of confidence.

glad to help. Keeping a reactor going, in the middle of the ring of fire, right next to the ocean, that is using old 1970's technology, was a pretty big error in judgment.

And even then, after the worst natural disaster imaginable, its beginning to look like they are going to get away with it. Being concerned about a modern reactor in Iowa is idiotic, unless your concern is financial. (ie, nuclear power is too expensive, our air quality around here is fine, so build a cheaper coal plant instead)

Taco John
03-15-2011, 03:22 PM
glad to help. Keeping a reactor going, in the middle of the ring of fire, right next to the ocean, that is using old 1970's technology, was a pretty big error in judgment.

And even then, after the worst natural disaster imaginable, its beginning to look like they are going to get away with it. Being concerned about a modern reactor in Iowa is idiotic, unless your concern is financial. (ie, nuclear power is too expensive, our air quality around here is fine, so build a cheaper coal plant instead)


Frankly, I don't care what Iowa does. I live up in Washington. I'll favor more hydroelectricity over any nuclear that's put in front of me.

alnorth
03-16-2011, 12:21 AM
Frankly, I don't care what Iowa does. I live up in Washington. I'll favor more hydroelectricity over any nuclear that's put in front of me.

fine, as long as its not coal. Because, in case you aren't aware, coal power is more dangerous to your health than nuclear.

If its all financial considerations for you then I understand, coal all the way! As long as you don't pretend or delude yourself into thinking you are choosing the safest choice when you go with coal over nuclear.

oldandslow
03-16-2011, 10:02 AM
fine, as long as its not coal. Because, in case you aren't aware, coal power is more dangerous to your health than nuclear.

If its all financial considerations for you then I understand, coal all the way! As long as you don't pretend or delude yourself into thinking you are choosing the safest choice when you go with coal over nuclear.

I think this is a false dichotomy tho...

Building nuke plants has not stopped us from burning coal, nor is it apt to in the future.

Amnorix
03-16-2011, 10:11 AM
I think this is a false dichotomy tho...

Building nuke plants has not stopped us from burning coal, nor is it apt to in the future.

Right that they're not mutually exclusive.

The issue is that nuclear gets a really bad "rap" from environmentalists who don't seem to understand that ALL choices have risks and downsides, and that nuclear's are, on balance, not substantially worse than the others DEPENDING ON SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES.

orange
03-16-2011, 10:58 AM
You know things are getting bad now:

In a demonstration of the qualms about nuclear power that the crisis has triggered around the globe, China announced that it was suspending approvals for planned plants and would launch a comprehensive safety check of facilities.

China has about two dozen reactors under construction and plans to increase nuclear electricity generation about seven-fold over the next 10 years.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42103972/ns/world_news-asiapacific/?gt1=43001

epitome1170
03-16-2011, 11:04 AM
You know things are getting bad now:

In a demonstration of the qualms about nuclear power that the crisis has triggered around the globe, China announced that it was suspending approvals for planned plants and would launch a comprehensive safety check of facilities.

China has about two dozen reactors under construction and plans to increase nuclear electricity generation about seven-fold over the next 10 years.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42103972/ns/world_news-asiapacific/?gt1=43001

Sounds like good precautionary measures to me. IMO, this is nothing more than just being reactive to public concerns and not the government's concerns. Afterall, they are "suspending" approvals... not declining them.

orange
03-16-2011, 11:10 AM
IMO, this is nothing more than just being reactive to public concerns

Try to say that and then say "China" in the same breath. It just doesn't ring true, does it?

epitome1170
03-16-2011, 11:16 AM
Try to say that and then say "China" in the same breath. It just doesn't ring true, does it?

I realize that, but I also see "suspended" approvals and not declined. Key word and typically word choices like that are thought through before saying them.

Additionally, I am not going to overreact like many on this board and in the media and say that nuke power is going to end and that no one will ever build a plant again. That is ridiculous. It will continue to grow because it is an effective energy solution. It will keep growing until a new energy source/prinicipal is discovered/invented that is even more effective. The only difference will be that now they will put even more safety protocols in place and the engineers involved will have to design everything with even more standards and loadings than they do now.

alnorth
03-16-2011, 06:02 PM
I think this is a false dichotomy tho...

Building nuke plants has not stopped us from burning coal, nor is it apt to in the future.

true, though the point would probably be that building nuclear requires you to build fewer coal plants. The number of nuclear power plants that would need to be built to retire every coal plant in the US would be immense, and would come at a huge cost.

I'm completely fine with the "we'll accept the health risks and the environmental impact, I can't afford nuclear power, so lets just do the cheapest option" argument.

alnorth
03-16-2011, 06:06 PM
The only difference will be that now they will put even more safety protocols in place and the engineers involved will have to design everything with even more standards and loadings than they do now.

At some point a serious mature cost-benefit analysis should come into play. Some might argue that every nuclear plant in the world should withstand a 9.5 once in ten millenia earthquake, asteroid impacts that miraculously hit the reactor, and laser beams fired by martian invaders. At some point you have to draw a line and say "ok, if such and such happens, we'll have a problem, and it is too expensive to resist this highly theoretical problem. We'll just evacuate"

orange
03-17-2011, 06:05 PM
NEW YORK | Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:23pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Even the most ardent defenders of nuclear power are starting to admit the situation in Japan looks bad.

The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi complex is now generally held to be significantly bigger than the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in 1979. Some fear it could yet become as grave as the explosion that tore apart the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine in 1986 and spewed a radioactive cloud over Europe.

While the believers in the promise of nuclear energy haven't yet become non-believers they are more questioning than they were and in an increasing number of cases are willing to acknowledge that the disaster reflects poorly on the industry.

On March 14, the Wall Street Journal carried an opinion piece from author William Tucker condemning those who were expressing concern about nuclear safety when there was the full devastation from the earthquake and tsunami to focus on.

"With all the death, devastation and disease now threatening tens of thousands in Japan, it is trivializing and almost obscene to spend so much time worrying about damage to a nuclear reactor," said Tucker, whose 2008 book "Terrestrial Energy" is an argument for nuclear power.

On Thursday, Tucker told Reuters the situation had changed since his article.

"I think that story probably has to be revised, we seem to be in deeper water now than we were originally," he said. "I think we are facing another Chernobyl now or something on that order."

Tucker remains an advocate for the promise of nuclear power, but he acknowledges there is an engineering challenge that has to be addressed.

"There's going to be a lot of rethinking," he said. "The point I've been making to people is that nuclear is an evolving technology."

Tucker is not alone. It has become hard for proponents of nuclear energy to ignore the blown-out roofs, damaged container vessels, compromised spent fuel pools and clouds of radioactive steam -- and the resulting terror that has swept Japan.

That is starting to reshape the message about the advantages of nuclear power, for America and the world.

"Nothing is worse than fear and nothing sells like fear. If you're an anti-nuclear advocate this is perfect to use to drum up fear -- 'let's shut them down, this could happen here,'" said Michael Sitrick, chairman of the public relations firm Sitrick & Co. and a top name in crisis communications.

They're going to use Japan to say 'tell me there's no difference,' and it's up to the industry to say 'oh yes there is,'" Sitrick said.

DEFENSES WOBBLE

Those who spoke out early to play down what was going on at the Tokyo Electric Power Co complex may now be reconsidering their words, or at least the strength of them.

One prominent change of view that has made the rounds of the Internet in the last few days came from risk management expert Josef Oehmen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Oehmen sent an email to family and friends following the earthquake, which made its way to a blog and became a viral sensation online. In the mail, he attempted to explain how the reactor and its safety procedures worked, and why the sum total of information suggested his family in Japan would be safe.

What ensued was a firestorm, as people accused Oehmen of getting his facts wrong, being a nuclear shill and trying to mislead the public.

Subsequently Oehmen issued an explanatory note on the blog, and the original posting was moved to a website run by MIT's Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, where it has since been updated and edited.

"Whether my unwavering trust in my fellow engineers of 50 years ago who designed and build the plant, or my complete trust and admiration of my fellow engineers who are currently operating the reactors makes me a level-headed guy or right-out stupid is also hotly debated. Most people hope for the former, but some opt for the latter," Oehmen said the explanatory note. (my emphasis)

Sitrick's colleague Lew Phelps, a veteran of public relations in the energy industry, said it is now incumbent on the American nuclear power lobby to take a proactive stance and make the point that what happened in Japan cannot, for a variety of reasons, happen here.

"It would be very easy for the U.S. nuclear industry, to whatever extent it's being raised as an issue, to differentiate U.S. power plants from Chernobyl," Phelps said.

CAUSING COMPLICATIONS

The nuclear lobby has at least begun that effort, though at the same time it admits that it faces some challenges.

The Nuclear Energy Institute is the policy arm of the nuclear technology industry. The home page of its website offers no fewer than three different links to the same mostly optimistic information page on the disaster in Japan.

In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, NEI executives said they were hard at work meeting with legislators and policymakers to answer their questions and push for the development of new reactors domestically.

Yet even as they struck an upbeat note on future reactor construction, they also admitted there will be roadblocks.

"I think this certainly will complicate already very complicated efforts to put together energy legislation in the Senate," said Alex Flint, senior vice president of governmental affairs for the NEI.

The NEI is in many ways doing what any trade group would do, defending its industry in a time of crisis.

But even those who follow the NEI's work, and believe in it, say there is little positive to be said right now, given all that is happening in Japan.

"I've been a supporter of nuclear power for years, and all I can say is, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear," said Noel Corngold, an emeritus physics professor at CalTech with more than 50 years' experience in academia.

(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz, editing by Martin Howell)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/17/us-japan-quake-nuclear-defenders-idUSTRE72G8WU20110317?pageNumber=2

alnorth
03-17-2011, 06:48 PM
great. Some politicians and a risk management guy are nervous about nuclear. Wonder what nuclear physicists and engineers, the people who are most qualified to assess the risk, think?

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2011/0317/Fear-of-Japan-s-nuclear-crisis-far-exceeds-actual-risks-say-scientists

Fear of Japan's nuclear crisis far exceeds actual risks, say scientists

Fukushima is not Chernobyl, scientists repeat, and even Chernobyl was not as deadly as popularly believed.

...

“There is an increased level of anxiety disproportionate to the actual risk,” says Jerrold Bushberg, who directs programs in health physics at the University of California at Davis. “It’s the dose that makes the poison. It’s not a binary thing.”

Fear and hype surround radiation, which has become something of a bogeyman in part because of popular culture. A radioactive spider bit Peter Parker and turned him into Spiderman. Bruce Banner absorbed radiation in a bomb explosion and became The Incredible Hulk. Radiation from nuclear detonations morphed a small lizard into Godzilla.

“It gives you subliminal messages about the capacity of radiation to do harm,” Professor Bushberg says in a telephone interview.

To be sure, the 1986 nuclear meltdown north of Ukraine’s capital was tragic. Dozens of first-responders died within months from what doctors said was a combination of high radiation, trauma, and burns. It also led to cancer in hundreds of children, says Bushberg, who did environmental studies around Chernobyl in the late 1980s.

But the extent of devastation from Chernobyl is hotly debated.

“After more than 20 years of extensive study, there is no consistent evidence of increased birth defects, leukemia, or most other radiation-related diseases,” journalist Peter Hessler wrote in a 2010 article for The New Yorker. He said the only public epidemic consists of high rates of cancer in children, who tend to be more sensitive to radiation.

Even those incidences of cancer could have been prevented, scientists say, if the Soviet government had warned locals against feeding contaminated milk to their children.

“There’s a lack of objectivity sometimes in the responses of people,” he adds. “[The Fukushima crisis] needs to be viewed comparatively with other incidents much more deadly.”

Consider other industrial disasters, such as the 1984 leak of methyl isocyanate at a Union Carbide plan in Bhopal, India that killed some 20,000 people. It is one of many industrial disasters known by doctors to have directly killed thousands of people.

“Chernobyl was bad,” says Bushberg. “[But] in the general category of industrial disasters… no, it wasn’t so bad. Certainly one could quickly find industrial accidents that have resulted in much more serious affects than Chernobyl.”

And even then, Chernobyl was a very different incident from what is now unfolding at Fukushima Daiichi. Chernobyl’s reactor lacked a containment facility, unlike the Fukushima plant, whose GE-made containment vessels have withstood both an earthquake, tsunami, and thus far, a partial meltdown.

“It is blown out of proportion in the US,” says Najmedin Meshkati, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, who has studied both Chernobyl and Japan’s nuclear industry.

“We shouldn’t make a comparison between this one and Chernobyl. Primarily because over there there was no containment vessel, and the reactor exploded. We have partial meltdowns and so far they have been contained,” adds Dr. Meshkati.

Keep in mind that Chernobyl's core exploded and an open-air radioactive graphite fire burned for almost 2 weeks to spread radiation everywhere. That is now almost impossible today.

Also keep in mind that 1) Coal is much deadlier than nuclear, 2) If you say no to nuclear, then you are saying yes to more coal than would otherwise be mined, burned, and spewed into the air.

I support coal because I'm fine with a few more deaths and a little more environmental damage, so I want the cheaper option. In terms of safety, nuclear is expensive, but safer.

Taco John
03-20-2011, 12:01 AM
I'm convinced Nuclear power is dead, dead, dead for at least 30 years, if not longer. Especially after reading this story:
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/chernobyl-solution-may-be-last-resort-for-japan-reactors

There isn't a politician in the world that wants to face the voters in their constituency with a plan to put nuclear in their back yard.

Taco John
03-20-2011, 12:32 AM
great. Some politicians and a risk management guy are nervous about nuclear. Wonder what nuclear physicists and engineers, the people who are most qualified to assess the risk, think?

What does that matter? Those people only have one vote just like everyone else. And if they are running on a platform of nuclear energy, I say good luck to them.

The politics are going to be tricky for nuclear, even if you are comfortable withi it.

BucEyedPea
03-20-2011, 08:09 AM
I heard last nite that some radioactivity has already got into the food chain in Japan.

alnorth
03-20-2011, 10:34 AM
What does that matter? Those people only have one vote just like everyone else. And if they are running on a platform of nuclear energy, I say good luck to them.

The politics are going to be tricky for nuclear, even if you are comfortable withi it.

Given today's news that it looks like Japan's got things under control, and the plants will just be scrapped instead of buried, I think you are overplaying this. Give it a few months with no big disaster, and people will be less concerned. Give it a year or two, and it will be almost forgotten.

Sometimes the impact of talk radio to sway huge swaths of people is infuriating when you don't agree, but in this case they are going to whip the masses into continuing strong support from the right. Sounds like their audience has already gotten on board with the party line.

From the left, there's a very hard inescapable reality: if you don't build nuclear, then that means building coal, or at least maybe natural gas and oil instead. Many on the left hate those options even if they pollute less. It is rather telling that you hear politicians from the left talking about a brief pause for re-evaluation of our existing plants, but you don't hear word one from anyone with power of a stop.

It doesn't matter if the voters like it or not, especially if they don't single-issue-vote on it (they wont), if you've got no choice (in one's environmentalist greenhouse gas-concerned mind) then you've got no choice.

alnorth
03-20-2011, 10:44 AM
All that said, I don't think we'll have a nuclear boom like people were thinking a few years ago either, but its not because of safety. Well, not primarily safety anyway, nuclear power is about to get a little more expensive with some new safety features that will undoubtably be required.

The big threat to nuclear is an economic threat of natural gas. A huge amount of our natural gas reserves previously thought to be uneconomical to extract now looks available with new methods, the price to aquire natural gas has fallen, and its a lot easier for a natural gas plant to turn a healthy profit, in a shorter amount of time with less capital required than nuclear. If I'm an investor in utilities, thats where I'm putting my money in our country.

dirk digler
03-20-2011, 10:46 AM
There isn't a politician in the world that wants to face the voters in their constituency with a plan to put nuclear in their back yard.

This is exactly what will happen and I generally support nuclear energy. But I wouldn't want a nuke plant in my backyard either.

alnorth
03-20-2011, 11:15 AM
Good article in the New York Times "green column" of all places, summarizing the power needs and various options pretty well. Essentially saying "hey folks, whether you like nuclear or not, we may not have a choice". (though I don't agree with that because I'm not quite as concerned about air pollution or global warming) There's a fairly strong and pragmatic pro-nuclear, or at least anti-fossil fuel, movement on the left.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/business/energy-environment/21green.html?src=busln

cardken
03-20-2011, 02:47 PM
It's really too bad.

Rather than taking lessons from this and further improving what are already very safe designs, the environmentalist crowd will use this "opportunity" to try to drive us toward impractical pet boondoggles.

I mean, let's look at the measuring stick here, these reactors had a fine service record in a place where earthquakes are quite common until the worst one in recorded history coupled with a tsunami of almost biblical proportions. It would be like saying we shouldnt build any more airplanes because sometimes they crash.

Intelligence would say, ok, let's design and upgrade to cover even this 1/500 year scenario. Politics will say, well, now we have to trash the only efficient source of energy we have.

Studies cited that wind farms in the Great Plains and Midwest states, and solar power fields in the sunny Southwest, such as the Nevada desert, could provide all the electricity needed for every building and vehicle in the U.S. He notes that the American Midwest is the “Saudi Arabia of wind.” There is enough harvestable wind in just North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas to meet all of the country’s electricity needs. And a study in Scientific American showed that photovoltaic and solar thermal installations on 19% of the most barren land in the Southwest could supply nearly all our electricity needs—even if every citizen owned a plug-in hybrid.
Of course no one Corporation could can stake claim and charge for it so scratch that " only efficient source of energy we have."

alnorth
03-20-2011, 02:58 PM
Studies cited that wind farms in the Great Plains and Midwest states, and solar power fields in the sunny Southwest, such as the Nevada desert, could provide all the electricity needed for every building and vehicle in the U.S. He notes that the American Midwest is the “Saudi Arabia of wind.” There is enough harvestable wind in just North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas to meet all of the country’s electricity needs. And a study in Scientific American showed that photovoltaic and solar thermal installations on 19% of the most barren land in the Southwest could supply nearly all our electricity needs—even if every citizen owned a plug-in hybrid.
Of course no one Corporation could can stake claim and charge for it so scratch that " only efficient source of energy we have."

This is a drug-fueled pipe dream.

First, electricity will become horrifically expensive and rate-payers will revolt.

Second, the amount of land required to do anything is massive. If you wanted to replace the power produced by the nuclear plant near new york city with wind power, you would have to pave an area almost the size of rhode island, and that land would be basically unlivable due to the noise.

Third, you've got a transmission problem. Solar power could be great.... for desert-dwellers in Arizona. We cant economically transmit the enormous amounts of power needed across the country without a ludicrous investment in infrastructure, which would then have its own permanant maintenance costs adding to the price of electricity.

Fourth, solar and wind power are utterly useless for baseload power. Its only really good to supplement baseload power. We do not have a good economical way of storing excess power during sunny and windy times for use during dark and calm times. For baseload power, you've got four options: coal, oil, gas, and nuclear. If you want an emissions-free option for baseload power, you've got only one option.

Finally, there is no way in hell the American people will be willing to pay for all of this, to gain the priviledge of eventually paying more per month for electricity. (but hey, it's clean!) If you are concerned about greenhouse gasses (I'm not, but maybe you are), nuclear is absolutely required, given the political realities (we americans are cheap; we want low electrical bills and don't like high taxes).

banyon
03-20-2011, 04:17 PM
Second, the amount of land required to do anything is massive. If you wanted to replace the power produced by the nuclear plant near new york city with wind power, you would have to pave an area almost the size of rhode island, and that land would be basically unlivable due to the noise.

.

At least on this point, I think this is a trade-off I'm willing to make.

mlyonsd
03-20-2011, 04:27 PM
This is a drug-fueled pipe dream.

First, electricity will become horrifically expensive and rate-payers will revolt.

Second, the amount of land required to do anything is massive. If you wanted to replace the power produced by the nuclear plant near new york city with wind power, you would have to pave an area almost the size of rhode island, and that land would be basically unlivable due to the noise.

Third, you've got a transmission problem. Solar power could be great.... for desert-dwellers in Arizona. We cant economically transmit the enormous amounts of power needed across the country without a ludicrous investment in infrastructure, which would then have its own permanant maintenance costs adding to the price of electricity.

Fourth, solar and wind power are utterly useless for baseload power. Its only really good to supplement baseload power. We do not have a good economical way of storing excess power during sunny and windy times for use during dark and calm times. For baseload power, you've got four options: coal, oil, gas, and nuclear. If you want an emissions-free option for baseload power, you've got only one option.

Finally, there is no way in hell the American people will be willing to pay for all of this, to gain the priviledge of eventually paying more per month for electricity. (but hey, it's clean!) If you are concerned about greenhouse gasses (I'm not, but maybe you are), nuclear is absolutely required, given the political realities (we americans are cheap; we want low electrical bills and don't like high taxes).

Excellent post.

alnorth
03-20-2011, 05:24 PM
At least on this point, I think this is a trade-off I'm willing to make.

That is to replace one single nuclear plant that is supplying only a part of the power for New York City. And, it can't be in West Kansas as your map suggests, it really will have to be someplace like Rhode Island to do anything for NYC, see expensive power transmission problems mentioned earlier.

So, ignoring the baseload power problem, you'll need to designate the equivalent of a few more states scattered across the country as unlivable due to wind farms. And in the end, the electric bill will be much higher, prompting most ratepayers to scream for a return to coal. (yes, nuclear is also more expensive, but at least it's not insanely more expensive compared to coal, as it would be to supply the US with wind and solar power)

orange
03-27-2011, 03:50 PM
German Chancellor Angela Merkel Suffers Historic Defeat
By JUERGEN BAETZ 03/27/11 02:24 PM

BERLIN -- German chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives have suffered a historic defeat in a state ballot after almost six decades in power there, partial results showed Sunday, in an election that amounted to a referendum on the party's stance on nuclear power.

The opposition anti-nuclear Greens doubled their voter share in Baden-Wuerttemberg state and seemed poised to win their first-ever state governorship, according to calculations based on partial results published by public broadcaster ARD.

"We have secured what amounts to an historic electoral victory," the Greens' leader Winfried Kretschmann told party members in Stuttgart.

The Greens secured 24 percent of the vote, with the center-left Social Democrats down 2 percentage points at 23.2 percent, giving them enough form a coalition government in the state, the results showed.

Representatives of all parties said the elections were overshadowed by Japan's nuclear crisis, turning them into a popular vote on the country's future use of nuclear power – which a majority of Germans oppose as they view it as inherently dangerous.

Conservative governor Stefan Mappus, who has long been an advocate of nuclear energy, conceded defeat and said his party's lead in the polls dwindled away in the wake of the disaster at Japan's Fukushima nuclear facility.

"Voters were touched by the terrible events in Japan, those images still haunt people today," he said.

Mappus' Christian Democrats secured 39.5 percent of the vote and its coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democrats, saw its voter share halved to 5.1 percent – just above the threshold to enter the state legislature, the partial results showed.

The Free Democrats' national chairman, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, also said his party was punished for its favorable stance on nuclear energy.

"It was a vote on the future of nuclear power," he said.

The disaster in Japan triggered Merkel's government last week to order a temporary shutdown of seven of the country's older reactors, two of them in Baden-Wuerttemberg state, pending thorough safety investigations.

But the chancellor's abrupt about-face decision has raised doubts about her credibility in a country that remembers well Ukraine's 1986 Chernobyl disaster that spewed radiation across Europe.

A center-left government a decade ago penned a plan to abandon the technology for good by 2021, but Merkel's government last year amended it to extend the plants' lifetime by an average of 12 years.

The government has now put that plan on hold, and the opposition wants to abolish the use of nuclear power by 2020 for good. Germany currently gets about a quarter of its energy from nuclear power, but plans to eventually replace it with renewable energies.

Merkel's party has held power in the region around Stuttgart – home to some 11 million people – since 1953 and the ballot was seen as the most important of Germany's seven state elections this year.

The prosperous southwestern state around Stuttgart with some 11 million inhabitants is home to carmakers Daimler AG, Porsche SE or software house SAP AG and it was the only state where the same center-right coalition that governs Germany had to face state voters.

The results in Baden-Wuerttemberg also further weaken Merkel's coalition's stance in Germany's upper house of parliament, which represents the 17 states, increasingly forcing her to seek compromises to get major legislation passed.

Also voting Sunday was Rhineland-Palatinate state, where separate partial results published by ARD saw the Social Democrats remaining in power but forced to form a coalition government with the Greens.

Governor Kurt Beck's Social Democrats fell 9.2 percentage points to 36.4 percent, while the Greens appeared to have more than doubled their vote, with 15.1 percent, according to the exit poll. The Christian Democrats are seen gaining 2.2 points to 35 percent.

Official results in both states are expected later Sunday.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/27/germany-merkel-nuclear-vote_n_841163.html

BucEyedPea
03-27-2011, 04:23 PM
Germany rocked-well Merkel, a former communist, was a NeoCon and she wanted to unite the EU with a North American Union.
Good Riddance!

mlyonsd
03-27-2011, 04:37 PM
I wonder what exactly the Germans think will power their economy.

Over-Head
03-27-2011, 04:40 PM
Just a thought as I observe the news. Nuclear power is screwed for at least the next 20 years, and I think perhaps a lot longer. Not in my back yard syndrome is going to keep nuclear power off the table for a long, long time.
A proposed plant in Quebec got a NO fucken way vote last week

patteeu
04-02-2011, 08:51 AM
Here's an interesting column that assesses the fallout (:lame:) from the Japanese reactor problems differently:

Pass the Plutonium (http://spectator.org/archives/2011/04/01/pass-the-plutonium)
By William Tucker on 4.1.11 @ 6:09AM

People think that Fukushima will mean the end of nuclear power, but I'm convinced it's the opposite. We're going to lose our nuclear virginity over this accident and start seeing the world as adults. In fact it's already happening.
Exhibit A is George Monbiot, the left-wing British columnist and global warming fanatic with the Guardian who explained to readers three days after the earthquake, "Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power."

You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.

Monbiot's point is quite simple. For years we've lived with the impression that a nuclear meltdown is the equivalent of a nuclear bomb going off, killing thousands and leaving whole landscapes uninhabitable. Now we've had one and look what's happened. The fourth worst earthquake in history has failed to crack open the concrete containment and the difficulty arose only because the utility didn't have enough backup electricity on hand. Fukushima remains a horribly dangerous situation and the workers who are bringing the reactor under control ought to be given a parade down Broadway when it's finally over. But what has the toll been so far? One worker died in a steam explosion and others have been exposed to levels of radiation that may increase their chances of getting cancer somewhere down the line. But this is basically an industrial accident. As Monbiot points out, coal mining in China kills more people in a week than ever died as a result of Chernobyl.

The real problem at Fukushima has been that headline writers can't seem to keep the phrases "catastrophe" and "holocaust" out of their vocabulary. At one point, one cable news website headline read, "Steam Explosion at Reactor, 10,000 Dead." The 10,000 deaths, of course, were from the earthquake but you have to read the story to discover that. This week in the print edition of the New York Times, theScience section ran a headline, "When All Isn't Enough to Stop a Catastrophe," claiming that "Nuclear plants have plans for every contingency, but no one can predict everything that might go wrong." But the only catastrophe the authors could come up with was the failure of an emergency shutdown system in New Jersey in 1983 where there was no fuel melt and no one was hurt. The story ended with a risk analysis specialist saying, "On a continuum, there is no question in my mind that the dangers from fossil fuel burning should worry us more."

One by one, the nuclear myths have fallen. In the immediate aftermath, reporters and commentators right up to Bill O'Reilly were anticipating a dreaded "meltdown" would be the equivalent of a nuclear bomb. In fact, a meltdown simply means the fuel has melted to the bottom of the steel pressure vessel, which is inside the concrete containment structure. In days of yore environmentalists dreamed up "The China Syndrome," which had the fuel melting through the pressure vessel, then through the concrete containment and continuing on its way to China until it hit groundwater, at which point it would cause a steam explosion that would kill everybody in Los Angeles -- or at least that's what Jane Fonda was told. Three Mile Island proved this wouldn't happen. Fukushima has confirmed it.

Another hot button has been plutonium, an artificial element formed in a reactor. (Plutonium is forged in supernovas, along with all the other heavy elements, but it disappeared on earth long ago.) In the effort to portray nuclear power as the devil's handiwork, Ralph Nader once labeled plutonium "the most toxic substance ever known to mankind." In fact it is about as toxic as caffeine. Bernard Cohen, the tireless crusader for nuclear common sense, offered many times to eat as much plutonium as Nader would eat caffeine on "The Tonight Show" but Nader never took him up.

Failing to convince anyone of plutonium's toxicity, Nader next announced that "one pound of plutonium would be enough to kill everyone on earth." The scenario here was plutonium, if ground into fine dust and breathed in by everyone on earth, would eventually give everyone lung cancer. As the late Petr Beckmann responded, "So would tomorrow's production of hatpins kill everyone on earth if carefully placed in each individual heart."

All this came back again last week when traces of plutonium turned up in seawater. Was the nuclear holocaust eminent? Not at all. The plutonium in seawater is no more dangerous than barium or americium or any of the other radioactive elements that accumulate in nuclear fuel rods. We don't want to be exposed to too much of them, but iodine-131 is the truly bad actor because it migrates to the thyroid gland and causes thyroid cancer. The usual route of exposure is ingestion from milk and vegetables, however, and it can be carefully monitored. Naturally we want to limit exposure to these radioactive elements as much as possible, but radiation is not a death ray and exposure does not equal instant death.

So the encouraging news out of Fukushima is that that all these bad things have happened and we're still miles away from anything that could be called a "nuclear holocaust." Monbiot debated the venerable Helen Caldicott on Democracy Now! on Wednesday and it took Caldicott only 30 seconds to conjure up another doomsday scenario. The fuel rods in one reactor, she said, had already melted through the steel pressure vessel (not true) and were lying on the concrete floor. The plutonium in the rods would soon react with the concrete and cause a hydrogen explosion, which would blow the containment structure to smithereens and scatter a radioactive plume all over Japan, making it uninhabitable forever, and then drift over to the United States and kill a lot of people here as well. Caldicott has been conjuring such apocalyptic visions for thirty years but now it seemed oddly quaint. Even the Democracy Now! anchor looked skeptical. Monbiot gently chided her for making "unjustifiable and excessive claims for the impact of that radiation" and accused her of encouraging "what could be far more devastating to the lives of the people in Japan -- a wild overreaction in terms of the response in which we ask the Japanese people to engage." That's not the kind of reaction Caldicott usually expects.

But there's more. At the hearings of the Senate Energy and Water subcommittee on Wednesday, Democratic Majority Whip Dick Durbin, one of the most liberal members of the Senate, asked Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko and Deputy Energy Secretary Peter Lyons why we aren't reprocessing our nuclear fuel. "I remember reading about Sisyphus in college and how he kept pushing the rock up that hill only to have it roll back down again and I realize now the name of that hill was Yucca Mountain," Durbin began.

"What about nuclear reprocessing?" he continued. "There was a time when we took a national position not to reprocess because it might create the opportunity for someone to use plutonium to develop a nuclear weapon. Yet today two of our closest allies, Britain and France, have decided that reprocessing is not only okay, it's a great commercial investment. They are receiving waste from other countries and not only reprocessing it but dramatically reducing the amount of radioactive material."

Now you have to realize how important this is. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter caved in to environmental hysteria and banned nuclear reprocessing on the grounds that we were saving the world from the proliferation of nuclear weapons. John McPhee had written a book, The Curve of Binding Energy, postulating that someone might steal plutonium from a reprocessing factory and use it to make a bomb. His authority was Ted Taylor, one of the U.S. Army's most prolific bomb designers, who had started regretting his work and was also convinced that because he could make a bomb in his basement anyone else could as well. Taylor warned McPhee that there would be "dozens," even "hundreds of [nuclear] explosions a year" once we began to reprocess. Carter swallowed all this and banned reprocessing his first few months in office.

The result was the everlasting pseudo-problem of "nuclear waste." Reprocessing reduces the volume of spent fuel by 95 percent. The amount is already remarkably small (as Gwyneth Cravens, author of Power to Save the World, says, "All the nuclear waste we've ever produced in this country would fit into one Best Buy"), but with reprocessing it is even smaller. The French store all their high-level waste from 30 years of producing 75 percent of their electricity beneath the floor of one room at Le Hague.

Now no Democrat has ever wanted to admit that Carter might have made a mistake, since he meant so well. If they do question the ban on reprocessing, they usually blame President Ford, who temporarily suspended it the year before. Yet now here is Democratic Majority Whip Durbin ending his remarks by saying, "Is that thinking from the Carter Administration really appropriate today?"

Don't be too quick to write off the nuclear renaissance. The world is changing. Nuclear is going to have its day.

PornChief
04-02-2011, 09:47 PM
surely nuclear power has killed more people than oil, coal or hydro or wind power, right?

Taco John
04-03-2011, 03:41 AM
Here's an interesting column that assesses the fallout (:lame:) from the Japanese reactor problems differently:



Interesting take, but Japan is facing a 100 year battle (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/04/01/3179487.htm), largely due to human error. A crack has been found in the reactor pit (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110402/wl_nm/us_japan_quake) and they are now reporting that it is leaking highly radioactive water into the ocean (http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/04/02/japan.nuclear.reactors/). The idea that this is going to spark a nuclear renaissance... That seems pretty lofty to me. I can't imagine a single nuclear plant ground breaking happening on American soil in the next 10 years - probably closer to 20. Frankly, I'll be surprised if it's even that soon.

Taco John
04-03-2011, 04:05 AM
For baseload power, you've got four options: coal, oil, gas, and nuclear. If you want an emissions-free option for baseload power, you've got only one option.


Hydro-electric provides emissions-free baseload power. There's also geothermal (http://smu.edu/smunews/geothermal/documents/wv-release-29sept2010.asp), biogas (http://magazine.appro.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=874&Itemid=44), biomass (http://www.ceres.net/aboutus/AboutUs-Biopower.html), solar thermal with storage (http://beyondzeroemissions.org/media/newswire/storing-sunlight-salts-100523) and ocean thermal energy conversion (http://www.offinf.com/CBPWIREC.pdf). None of these options are a silver bullet, but each can be employed strategically where it makes sense for the region.