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The world's largest nuclear power plant demonstrates inherent safety

Those opposed to nuclear power have long raised doubts over its safety.  Often raised is the question, "what would happen if major earthquake struck one?"  Would a radioactivity release endanger millions?  

This morning, we got a chance to find out. A 6.8 earthquake struck northern Japan, almost directly underneath the massive Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Plant, responsible for a third of the Japanese residential electricity supply. The quake leveled hundreds of homes, left fissures 3 feet wide in the ground, and swayed buildings in Tokyo, 300 km away.

What happened at the plant itself? An electrical transformer caught fire and was quickly extinguished. And a tiny amount of mildly radioactive water was released -- one billionth of the safe amount allowed under under Japanese law, or 1/1,000,000 of what is generated from a single dental x-ray. Not even the workers actually inside the reactor were exposed to a dangerous dose, much less the general public. All reactors were shut down for inspection purposes, and initial reports indicate no damage or safety issues. 

And that's it.  Nothing to see here folks, move along.

The western world's nuclear safety record remains unbroken. Over five decades and thousands of reactor-years later, not one person has ever been harmed by commercial power generation. Nuclear power generates no greenhouse gases, and operating costs continue to drop, reaching a level of 1.66 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2006 -- one twentieth the cost of solar power. Despite all this, the U.S. and most of Europe continue to shy away from nuclear power, and pursue pie-in-the-sky energy approaches that, even if they eventually become feasible, will remain forever more expensive to operate.

The West may be ignoring nuclear power, but others are not. Last year, China announced plans to build 30 new reactors, in a bid to reduce air pollution and provide cheap power for its burgeoning economy.


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That worked pretty well.
By AlabamaMan on 7/16/2007 1:47:40 PM , Rating: 5
Which brings up another thing: Not a single person who is truly serious about fighting climate change (as oppoused to to simply trying to score points with the "back to the caves" crowd) can deny that nuclear energy is the most readily availible tool for fossil fuel replacement.

But, as one of Greenpeace spokes people once put it:
"We don't like coal and gas because they polute, we don't like nuclear because of waste, we don't like wind because it kills birds and spoils the view and we don't like sollar because it takes up the land"




RE: That worked pretty well.
By aganaki on 7/16/2007 1:58:44 PM , Rating: 2
Several prominent environmentalists have said they are opposed to any cheap, clean source of energy. It's no big secret.


RE: That worked pretty well.
By sxr7171 on 7/17/2007 3:17:31 AM , Rating: 1
It seems that some of them read your post and rated you down.


RE: That worked pretty well.
By Xerio on 7/16/2007 2:09:26 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
But, as one of Greenpeace spokes people once put it:
"We don't like coal and gas because they polute, we don't like nuclear because of waste, we don't like wind because it kills birds and spoils the view and we don't like sollar because it takes up the land"


What does that leave? Hydro-electric? Oh, wait. Hydro-electric causes environmental damage, greenhouse gas emissions, and population relocation (according to Wikipedia). And what if the dam breaks?

So, I guess we can't use any energy at all. Let's go back 200 years and forget about all the technological advances that we have made. Is that what all these environmentalists want us to do? Are they willing to do this? I am all about looking at energy-production advances that will reduce polution, but how many of us, including these activists, are willing to give up our modern conveniences?


RE: That worked pretty well.
By TomZ on 7/16/2007 3:49:52 PM , Rating: 3
Many of the more extreme environmentalists wish there were far fewer humans on the planet. They realize that is the only real way to turn back the clock. Anyone who truly believes in this view should lead by example and remove themselves from burdening the planet, one way or the other. If a person believes in these views, then it is hypocritical to even live, let alone have a family. I just can't get behind that.


RE: That worked pretty well.
By brandonmichael on 7/16/2007 8:14:16 PM , Rating: 5
Rather than remove themselves, the extreme environmentalists would probably exterminate the smug SUV driving, dual GPU running energy wastoids from the planet... Just as extreme anti-abortionists would rather gun down abortion doctors.

Extreme anything is stupid... Bringing it up is pointless, unless you are trying to denigrate the whole conservation movement by associating it with its most extreme incarnations.


RE: That worked pretty well.
By porkpie on 7/16/2007 9:44:30 PM , Rating: 5
Problem is those "most extreme incarnations" are the ones running Greepeace, The Sierra Club, Earth First, and all the other environmental organizations. They're not just nutjobs...they're the leaders of the movement.


RE: That worked pretty well.
By TomZ on 7/16/2007 10:33:48 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Problem is those "most extreme incarnations" are the ones running Greepeace, The Sierra Club, Earth First, and all the other environmental organizations. They're not just nutjobs...they're the leaders of the movement.

QFT.

Add PETA to that list, although they're not technically "environmentalists." Freaks.


RE: That worked pretty well.
By Furen on 7/17/2007 12:32:35 AM , Rating: 2
They ask for the whole pie to get but a slice. If they weren't so vocal about every single thing, lots more environmental damage would happen. A small leak of chemicals into a river is probably insignificant but if there wasn't a big fuss made about it then everyone under the sun would be "leaking" small amounts, enough so that it really would be significant. Try to be a little more tolerant of people instead of calling them all nut jobs just because you think they are overly sensitive to these things. I, personally, think that everyone who is outraged any time an increase in taxes, governmental regulations, less military spending or diplomacy with our "enemies" are even mentioned is pretty closed minded but calling them right-winger nutjobs would be inappropriate, especially considering how they keep the tax-happy democrats in check.


RE: That worked pretty well.
By TomZ on 7/17/2007 9:50:27 AM , Rating: 3
Next time you apply for a job, try asking for 10X the expected salary, and see how rational that strategy is!

Really, the problem with that strategy is that it drains all the credibility of these organizations amongst "thinking" people. The global warming debacle is an excellent example of this.


RE: That worked pretty well.
By Furen on 7/17/2007 4:43:36 PM , Rating: 4
You mean it drains their credibility with you. You do not sympathize with their cause to begin with and they're not trying to change your mind and, of course, they are not trying to please you either.

I usually sympathize with their causes more on the grounds quality-of-life than on the "we have to keep species from going extinct no matter what the sacrifice" mindset. I like being able to go to national parks, being able to swim in rivers and lakes, having less-polluted air in cities, etc. Sometimes I find their views excessive but at other times I think they're right on. Remember that our society is based on an adversary system of sorts, just as there are extreme environmental groups there are also extreme economic interests (for lack of a better description) that would probably strip mine the whole world to make a quick buck. In the end both groups get listened to and we don't go to either extreme. Remember that in the political world you are either very vocal or ignored.

Next time you apply for a job, try asking for 10X the expected salary, and see how rational that strategy is!

Now, that is the most unreasonable comparison you could have probably done. This is not a zero-sum game, both sides can achieve something without anyone losing out. It isn't about doing one thing or the other, we can achieve both environmental and economic goals by reaching a reasonable compromise.

When I apply for a job I usually do ask for more than the minimum about I want to get, something along the lines of 5-10% more, and negotiate. This, of course, I do in person, and I have found it to be a reasonably successful strategy.


RE: That worked pretty well.
By TomZ on 7/17/2007 4:57:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You mean it drains their credibility with you. You do not sympathize with their cause to begin with and they're not trying to change your mind and, of course, they are not trying to please you either.

That's not true, and I'm not sure how you could know me well enough to say that. I am actually very supportive of many of the goals of these organizations, just not their extreme viewpoints, over-the-top rhetoric, scare tactics, etc.

You're probably right, though. Not being of the "sheep" variety, their heavy-handed techniques are probably not going to win me over. But I have my own notions of right and wrong anyway, and I don't really need an organization like Greenpeace or PETA to tell me how to live my life.


RE: That worked pretty well.
By Furen on 7/17/2007 8:44:49 PM , Rating: 2
Well, that came out harsher than I expected, I didn't mean to say that you didn't care about the environment at all or anything of the sort, I meant to say that you are just not their target demographic. Here's the thing about scare tactics, they actually work! Most people aren't driven to action except when told they face extremely grievous consequences.


RE: That worked pretty well.
By smitty3268 on 7/17/2007 5:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Really, the problem with that strategy is that it drains all the credibility of these organizations amongst "thinking" people. The global warming debacle is an excellent example of this.


It might have drained the credibility for you, but I think bringing up the "global warming debacle" is exactly wrong. In the history of mankind, there have never been more people concerned (at least superficially) about global warming and conservation, so I would say the environmental groups have been tremendously successful. It's not a debacle, it's been their greatest success ever.


RE: That worked pretty well.
By TomZ on 7/17/2007 10:04:24 PM , Rating: 3
The situation with global warming is exactly the type of situation I'm talking about - gross exaggeration, FUD, etc. It does appear to be becoming successful. It's only not a "debacle" if you are not concerned about the truth.

In other words, let's focus our efforts, money, and very limited attention span on a real problem. In other words, something that is killing millions of people today, something that can probably be solved if we focus on it. Rather than something that, if you program computer models to show, could cause a possible problem hundreds of years down the road. Instead of something that we can't change anyway, regardless of what our real impact is.

Better yet, let's program those computer models to show us going into an ice age again, like we thought in the 1970's. It would be fun to flip-flop and confuse people even more. Then we can distract them even more from what is important.


RE: That worked pretty well.
By idboracle on 7/18/2007 5:20:17 AM , Rating: 2
If only we didnt have to rely on human beings for safety ....
Any system is only as good as the weakest link

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6903...


Japan is not a western nation
By Flunk on 7/16/2007 2:01:00 PM , Rating: 1
"The western world's nuclear safety record remains unbroken." Japan is an eastern country, even had their been a horrible disaster there today this statement would be true.




RE: Japan is not a western nation
By Kefner on 7/16/2007 2:26:18 PM , Rating: 2
Where did he call Japan a western nation? He mentions the Western worlds nuclear record, but never that Japan is a part of it.


RE: Japan is not a western nation
By Verran on 7/16/2007 3:05:18 PM , Rating: 5
Nobody's saying that was said. There's no need to fall into an argument over the semantics of the comment.

I too found the statement odd. Even if 300 people die tomorrow from the events of the story, the statement about the western nuclear record is still true. It just doesn't seem to really fit the story.

I'm not anti-nuclear by any means, but the "western" statement read to me like they were trying a bit hard to find positive large-scale comments about nuclear power, and stretched to a statement that didn't really tie into the story.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/16/2007 5:41:51 PM , Rating: 4
> "I too found the statement odd"

Poorly-phrased, I agree. The point I was trying to make was that nations which operate Western-style reactors have an unbroken safety record. The world nuclear power industry falls into two basic camps: the "Western" style vs. the "Soviet-bloc" graphite-moderated design, one which is inherently much less safe.

From a standpoint of reactor design, Japan belongs to the former camp, not the latter.


RE: Japan is not a western nation
By glynor on 7/16/2007 4:23:47 PM , Rating: 5
As someone who grew up with a daily view from my bedroom window of the cooling towers at Three Mile Island, and as someone who strongly supports using Nuclear Power, I have to take issue with this statement:

quote:
Over five decades and thousands of reactor-years later, not one person has ever been harmed by commercial power generation.


I beg to differ. If you look at the cancer and leukemia cluster statistics in Middletown, PA, you'd have to conclude that certainly at least a few people were seriously "harmed" physically. Not to mention the plummeting property values there and other "collateral" issues.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/long...

The way forward is not through spin and lies. Honest analysis of the truth, and of the real dangers of continuing to burn coal with reckless abandon (both through climate change and health issues associated with burning and mining the fuel) still leads to the same conclusion without making indefensible statements like this. Nuclear Power is not without risk and is certainly not completely "clean". However, if we are able to work to make it economically viable (and cheating using taxpayer subsidies doesn't count), it is certainly a lot cleaner than many of the other sources of energy we rely on today and is worth our attention and investment.


RE: Japan is not a western nation
By masher2 (blog) on 7/16/2007 5:33:00 PM , Rating: 4
> "If you look at the cancer and leukemia cluster statistics in Middletown, PA, you'd have to conclude that certainly at least a few people were seriously "harmed..."

Did you read your entire link? Let me quote from it:
quote:
In a letter accompanying the article, the Columbia University researchers who initially analyzed the cancer data disagreed sharply with Wing's conclusions and labeled the new study "tendentious and unbalanced."
Dozens of researchers with credentials far more impressie than Wing's have looked at the data and concluded there was zero health impact. None whatsoever. Wing- an associate professor at UNC well know for his justice crusading-- collected no new data, but simply reinterpreted the results of others...others who sharply disagree with him. And its not the first time he's done this. Wing-- whose undergraduate degree was in Psychology--has written papers on everything about the "environmental injustice" of hog farming to the dangers of industrial chemicals. All of them have a common theme...a theme shared by his alarm-sounding TMI paper.

The basic flaw in Wing's reasoning is easy to state. Correlation does not imply causation. Pick any disease or health condition known to man. Any one. Now look at its rate of occurrence across the country. It's going to show a natural variance, with some areas seeing higher rates, some lower. The rarer the disease, the smaller the sample set...and thus the larger the variance. Simple statistics.

Now take any factory or plant in the country. Around it you'll see some conditions occurring at a higher rate than average, some lower. Does that mean the plant is causing certain diseases and actually suppressing others? Making people healthier? No, of course not. It simply means the laws of statistics operate everywhere.


RE: Japan is not a western nation
By TomZ on 7/17/2007 9:38:30 AM , Rating: 1
This misses the point, really. Maybe it is hard to prove that certain people got cancer due to the plant, but it is pretty clear that plenty of people have died due to accidents in nuclear power plants. As cited by Griswold:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_civilian_nucl...

As Griswold pointed out, saying that none have died in "commercial nuclear power plants" is deceptive since it arbitrarily limits the scope to only the safest subset of such power plants. Looking at the big picture of nuclear power generation, it is clear that accidents have and continue to happen (and often get covered up), and significant numbers of people have been killed and injured.

Statistically, nuclear power may be relatively safe, but to say it has a perfect track record is untrue. Accidents can and do happen, and the companies and governments running these plants have to continue to be very vigilant regarding safety.


RE: Japan is not a western nation
By masher2 (blog) on 7/17/2007 10:09:43 AM , Rating: 2
> "but it is pretty clear that plenty of people have died due to accidents in nuclear power plants. (link snip)"

There have been no deaths in western civilian nuclear power plants. I'm not sure if you read that link, but it doesn't detail any. There have been two fatal accidents in Western research reactors (one listed in that link, one not), but these were not commercial power plants generating electricity. The track record is indeed perfect.

Soviet-bloc nations have a different record, obviously. But separating them out is not a false distinction. Besides the vastly differing levels of maintenance, training, and safety factors, there is the overriding point that they utilize RBMK reactors. These graphite-moderated reactors are inherently subject to runaway effects. The reactors used everywhere else in the world are light- and heavy-water moderated, and immune to the problems of the RBMK design.


RE: Japan is not a western nation
By TomZ on 7/17/2007 10:18:47 AM , Rating: 2
The distinction you make is useful to characterize the superiority of the Western-style reactors, but it is not appropriate, IMO, to discuss in the general context of nuclear power safety. This is because it leaves the false impression that power plants are perfectly safe, when the reality is that they are potentially quite dangerous.


RE: Japan is not a western nation
By masher2 (blog) on 7/17/2007 10:40:40 AM , Rating: 3
> "it is not appropriate, IMO, to discuss in the general context of nuclear power safety"

Its appropriate to non-Soviet nuclear power safety, as RBMK-style reactors do not exist in this context. The two designs are wholly different, and calling "nuclear power" dangerous due to these reactors is like calling a green bean poisonous simple because Castor beans are.

Energy production is always 'potentially' dangerous. But nuclear power is, by far, the safest form of power generation ever invented. If you look at the safety record of the coal, oil, natural gas, or even hydro or solar-- people have been killed, and the overall safety factor is lower.


By Hoser McMoose on 7/17/2007 4:52:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Energy production is always 'potentially' dangerous.

Just to add some numbers to that, there have been 31 people known to have been killed from wind power. Mostly these have been people installing or doing maintenance on the turbines, however they also include a skydiver that landed on a turbine and a crop-duster pilot that was killed when his aircraft hit a guy-wire for a wind farm meteorological station.

Depending on what estimate for number of deaths from the Chernobyl accident (which range from the 41 known deaths to as much as 200,000 if you take Greenpeace's figures), the numbers may be quite close in terms of deaths/TWh. ie if wind power was as widespread as nuclear we could expect about as many people to be killed by wind power as by nuke power INCLUDING Russian-style reactors with the Chernobyl accident.

Hydro power and coal power both come out MUCH worse then nukes or wind power in this regard. Hydro power has by far the highest number of deaths/TWh from accidents (the bulk of which have happened in China) while pollution coal power is known to be killing many tens of thousands every year just through regular use. A recent report gave a very rough estimate of over 400,000 deaths/year in China for coal power plant pollution, while North American numbers are usually in the 5,000-30,000 deaths/year.


RE: Japan is not a western nation
By 3kliksphilip on 7/17/2007 10:01:04 PM , Rating: 2
I'd feel much safer living next to a wind farm than a nuclear power plant. At least with a wind turbine, the worst that could happen is that it comes loose and smashes up a couple of houses. With nuclear power plants, although there hasn't been a major disaster yet (Lets forget about Chernobyl, it's obviously not important at all) there is a POTENTIAL for a terrible disaster. Unlike fire (worst thing which could happen from, say, a coal power plant), radioactivity is much scarier IMO because it can't be seen, smelt etc. Sorry if this sounds really obvious, but I'm tired and for some reason everybody here seems to be forgetting how scary radioactivity is.

I can cope with a power plant setting on fire, exploding or even a freak wind blade cutting me in half, but radioactivity is something I find disturbing, especially with all of the long term risks.

When people say that Nuclear Power plants are clean, does this include the waste? What happens to that? Do we really expect nothing to go wrong for the next 10,000 years whilst the half life takes effect?

Has anybody else heard of the possible risk of Japan sinking? *sleeps*


RE: Japan is not a western nation
By porkpie on 7/17/2007 11:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sorry if this sounds really obvious, but I'm tired and for some reason everybody here seems to be forgetting how scary radioactivity is
Scary to those people who don't know anything about it. To those who realize we live in a constant bath of radiation daily, its not.

Do you know that bananas commonly set off the radiation monitors at US ports, designed to detect terrorists smuggling in nuclear material? Do you know that living in a Rocky Mountain state means you have a few thousand pounds of nuclear waste in your own backyard-- waste left over from when Mother Nature created the planet. Do you know how much radiation you're exposed to every time you take a plane flight? Or visit a city more than a few thousand feet above sea level?

Live next to a coal plant and the plant could potentially explode, incinerating you instantly. Live next to a hydro plant and the dam could burst, drowning you and all your neighbors without warning. Live next to a windfarm and a massive turbine can break loose in high winds, destroying your entire house.

Whats the worst that can happen for a modern nuclear reactor? A billion-to-one chance of a meltdown, which would force you to evacuate. If you were slow about it, you'd be at a slightly elevated risk for certain types of cancer. I'll take that over instant-death anytime, especially when the odds against it happening are so incredibly low.


RE: Japan is not a western nation
By 3kliksphilip on 7/18/2007 5:40:44 AM , Rating: 2
I'd rather take instant death over slow and painful death any day of the week.

Please don't patronise me, as I believe that I do know a thing or two about radioactivity. I guess I'm going to be rated down because I've got a different opinion to everybody elses, but surely with so many civilian accidents with radiation (All of which contain but a fraction of the amount of radioactive material found in a power plant), it is possible for something to go disastrously wrong with a nuclear powerplant? Sure, it's unlikely, but with so many over the world, it can only be a matter of time.

I like in Cornwall in the UK. We have a lot of granite rock around and need special fans extracting the radon gas from underneath our houses. It might just be me, but through out my entire life I haven't cared if something happens naturally- it can't be avoided. However, when people are playing around with nuclear power plants and causing radiation which shouldn't be around, I believe that it's a problem we could avoid. What about all of the waste from these plants? Do you honestly expect it to be stored safely for thousands of years?

I'd like to see something the size of Chernobyl occur in a wind farm.


RE: Japan is not a western nation
By porkpie on 7/18/2007 8:50:11 AM , Rating: 2
--> "it is possible for something to go disastrously wrong with a nuclear powerplant? ...it can only be a matter of time"

Thats true for everything in life. If you wait long enough, eventually something will go wrong....or barring that, till a meteor ends all life on the planet. The question is HOW LONG?

Risk studies done on 1970s-era nuclear power industry put the probability of major accidents at one every 10,000 years. There are newer designs safer by a factor of 100X, but lets ignore those. If we built 10 times as many of those old-style plants, we could expect an accident every thousand years. But how many people would die from coal, hydro, wind, or solar power in that time? A thousand times as many. Nothing is 100% safe in life. But nuclear power is SAFER than all the alternatives.

--> "We...need special fans extracting the radon gas from underneath our houses....I haven't cared if something happens naturally"

So you don't care if you die from natural radiation, only the manmade variety? You're right, most people won't agree with you. It seems you don't even care if you're sliced into bits by a windmill, being incinerated by a gas explosion, or even getting cancer from the toxic materials generated by solar cell manufacture. You just don't like nuclear power, period, and you're willing to stand up against it, no matter how many people that means die as a result.

--> "What about all of the waste from these plants? Do you honestly expect it to be stored safely "

Waste is a nonissue, used to drum up fear to stop nuclear power. A normal reactor generates only couple cubic meters of high level waste per year, waste that we could easily reprocess right back into into fuel. There's more low-level waste. But that just isn' that dangerous. You could just disperse it in the ocean. Even 10,000 years worth of that waste wouldn't even be enough to detect in the sea, given all all the natural radioactive elements already in there. If you don't want to do that, just glassify it and store it somewhere dry.

By the way, did you know coal plants release more radioactivity than nuclear ones? They burn vast amounts of coal, which releases about half a kilo of uranium vapor into the air each and every day.


By 3kliksphilip on 7/19/2007 2:44:02 PM , Rating: 2
"it is possible for something to go disastrously wrong with a nuclear powerplant? ...it can only be a matter of time"

But nuclear powerplants can go more disasterously wrong than any other power plant that I can think of. I'd like to see a windfarm cause as much commotion as Chernobyl did ;)

As for 1 major disaster every 10,000 years... how long have we had nuclear powerplants? 30 years? How many accidents have there been? Chernobyl and 3 mile island? At least if your theory of 1 in 10,000 years holds up, it'll be at least another 20,000 years before the next accident.

'So you don't care if you die from natural radiation, only the manmade variety' - Not so much manmade, but AVOIDABLE radiation. If I die because I climb up a granite cliff, I'd probably think along the lines of 'hmmm, that was very unlucky!' but if I die because, say, a nuclear powerplant explodes, I'd think 'That could have been avoided'. You get the gist of it.

Can you honestly say that nuclear is safer than solar and wind turbines? Is it actually possible for a disaster which kills more than a couple of people with these sources of power? Sure, somebody might slip from the top of a wind farm or get crushed by a solar panel, but at least it's a nice, quick death. And it's their fault for being in such close proximity in the first place.

'There's more low-level waste'

HLW accounts for over 95% of the total radioactivity produced in the process of nuclear electricity generation. - Wikipedia.


RE: Japan is not a western nation
By porkpie on 7/17/2007 10:19:04 AM , Rating: 2
The EPA estimates up to 10,000 ppl per year die from respiratory and other problems caused by coal-fired power plants. And we're afraid to build any more nuclear plants!


RE: Japan is not a western nation
By shamgar03 on 7/16/2007 5:04:51 PM , Rating: 1
Eh, Japan is an eastern country....sort of. Since the US has put who-know-how-much money into Japan, it has become pretty western. This very well may be a "western" nuclear plant regardless. Since the united states invested money in Japan its likely that the original designs were probably based on western designs, not like Russian or something.


Too Soon To Say
By TomZ on 7/16/2007 2:32:22 PM , Rating: 5
This morning's news was that there was no release of radioactive material.

Later it was revised to say about 1/2 of a gallon of radioactive water.

Then it was again revised to say about 315 gallons of radioactive water.

Also it was stated that "a billionth of the guideline under Japanese law" - I find that personally hard to believe. My tap water at my house probably has a similar level of radioactivity, i.e., practically none.

I would suggest we approach these early news reports with caution, and let all the information come out, before we can make a final assessment. Although it seems pretty clear that nothing "really bad" happened, the degree of the radioactive spill is IMO pretty unknown based on these changing news reports.




RE: Too Soon To Say
By SirLucius on 7/16/2007 3:21:47 PM , Rating: 3
I too heard conflicting reports on the news this morning. One report said that the reactors shut down automatically once the quake hit, others said they would be shut down once insepctors arrived on the scene. One report said that the fire had been quickly extinguished, another said it was spreading. One reporter said he had no idea if any radioactive material had been released. I haven't followed the story in a while, but this morninging's reports just left me confused as to what really happened.


RE: Too Soon To Say
By Hoser McMoose on 7/16/2007 6:11:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
My tap water at my house probably has a similar level of radioactivity, i.e., practically none.

I don't know the specifics of the leak, however it's quite possible, and in fact even quite probable, that the water that was leaked was basically no different from the tap water at your house (or least it would be if you lived in that area of Japan).


RE: Too Soon To Say
By W T F on 7/16/2007 6:22:20 PM , Rating: 2
Now the reports have been revised to say:

"Tokyo Electric Power Co. said a nuclear reactor at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant in Niigata was ruptured. Two cracks opened in reactor No. 6, leaking radioactive water into the ocean, the company said on its Web site."

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&si...

Don't you just hate it when that happens?


RE: Too Soon To Say
By Ringold on 7/16/2007 6:27:35 PM , Rating: 2
That's still insanely vague, and "rupture" seems to invoke an image similar to that of a warp core breach rather than simply dealing with some borked Klingon dilithium crystals, but anyway, still says the water was harmless.


RE: Too Soon To Say
By GaryJohnson on 7/16/2007 10:50:13 PM , Rating: 2
They changed that paragraph to read 'leaked' rather than ruptured':

quote:
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said radioactive water leaked from its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant in Niigata. About 1.5 liters (0.4 gallons) of water leaked from a container of used fuels, entering into a pipe that flushed it with other water into the ocean, the company said on its Web site.


It seems like what it's saying is that the 1/2 gallon (which may have been significantly radioactive) mixed with 350 gallons of waste water and the combined 350 gallons, which was flushed into the ocean, is safe.


RE: Too Soon To Say
By W T F on 7/17/2007 9:38:48 AM , Rating: 2
This keeps getting more interesting:

CNN article: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/07/17/japan....

"But while TEPCO had initially said that the lethal earthquake had not caused any leaks, it revealed later on Monday night that 1,200 liters of radioactive water had sloshed into the sea from its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata."

What's 317 gallons of radioactive water between friends?

"The company added that the quake was stronger than its reactors had been designed to withstand."

Oh, really? Aren't they lucky that none of the reported 3ft fissures open up beneath the reactors.

"Then on Tuesday, a TEPCO official told a news conference that about 100 of the 22,000 drums containing nuclear waste at a warehouse had fallen over and "several" lost their lids."

Shucks.

"Also on Tuesday, the company admitted that a small amount of radioactive materials -- cobalt-60, iodine and chromium-51 -- had been emitted into the atmosphere."

Nothing to see here... move along.


RE: Too Soon To Say
By TomZ on 7/17/2007 9:46:22 AM , Rating: 2
Japan also seems to have a bit of a history of cover-ups of Nuclear power plant accidents. Therefore, you have to wonder if all the information is coming out or not.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/15/business/nu...


RE: Too Soon To Say
By porkpie on 7/17/2007 10:14:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"What's 317 gallons of radioactive water between friends?"
What's a few million trillion gallons of radioactive water between friends? All the water in the ocean is mildly radioactive, and not much less so than this tiny amount that spilled. At the level released, they could have spilled a billion times as much, without any risk to the public.

Really, learn a bit about the subject before posting on it.


RE: Too Soon To Say
By TomZ on 7/17/2007 10:25:06 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
At the level released, they could have spilled a billion times as much, without any risk to the public.

Let me correct that, "At the level reportedly released..." It should be pretty clear by now that they appear to be "managing" their press releases very carefully to avoid a sense of panic or a loss of confidence in the plant and/or its ability to withstand earthquakes like this.

Therefore, I don't think you can claim there was "no risk to the public." All the facts are probably not known.


RE: Too Soon To Say
By porkpie on 7/17/2007 10:44:41 AM , Rating: 2
"Clear" in the basis of no facts to support it, except for general paranoia? Look at the news reports of ANY accident or natural disaster. Early and later reports never correspond perfectly.

So a couple hours after this happens, the press calls somen exec in Tokyo and asks him exactly what happened and he doesn't know? And this is evidence of a vast managed conspiracy? Come on now...


RE: Too Soon To Say
By TomZ on 7/17/07, Rating: 0
RE: Too Soon To Say
By porkpie on 7/17/2007 11:11:43 AM , Rating: 2
Don't be silly. A major earthquake strikes, it takes more than a couple hours to fully check out a facility the size of five football fields, and you call that "organizational incompetence"? What sort of crazy standard is this? Especially when les than a day after their first statement, they VOLUNTARILY released a followup. Well guess what? In a few weeks when the formal inspection is complete, they're going to release another one. And it'll likely be just a little bit different too. That's not even close to a "coverup". Are you even sure what the word means?

You can try to breed fear all you want, but the fact is eating one banana would give you a larger radioactive dose than what happened at this plant.


RE: Too Soon To Say
By TomZ on 7/17/07, Rating: 0
RE: Too Soon To Say
By porkpie on 7/17/2007 12:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
when did I say I expected a cover-up in this case?
You said its "clear" the information was being "managed". That means things are being held back. Withholding damaging information is a coverup. You even used the word itself, in relation to a past incident in Japan, implying those sneaky Japanese were likely to do it all again, eh?

YOU wrote this stuff. Not me.

quote:
Having the ability to quickly assess the situation at a nuclear power plant after an earthquake is part of basic safety protocols
And they quickly did that, and (correctly) assessed there was no risk to the public. Nothing even close. Anything dangerous or critical was intact. That doesn't mean they can track every nut and bolt within 30 minutes time. They don't NEED to. Its not important from a safety perspective.

The "big picture" is the highly radioactive material itself, not a little waste water thats less radioactive than a shipment of bananas. Nor do they need to know within 30 minutes whether a storage drum fell over or not.

In fact, I'd be more concerned if they DID know all this so soon. It'd mean security was lax in the plant, if people could so freely run around checking every little nook and cranny. Some areas take hours just to get into, by the time you clear all the security checkpoint. You want to remove all that?


RE: Too Soon To Say
By TomZ on 7/17/07, Rating: 0
RE: Too Soon To Say
By porkpie on 7/17/2007 1:30:28 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
"it is clear that information was held back
Make up your mind. First you claim a coverup, then you claim there isn't one. Now you claim there is one again.

There was no coverup. There was just a few thousand idiot reporters all piling on, screaming, "Come on! Tell us what you know NOW!". Of COURSE they're not going to know every detail immediately. The fact that information is coming so fast- in sometimes contradictory amounts-- proves they're not managing it.

quote:
You think they just noticed on Tuesday that the drums fell over?
Most certainly. You think they have people standing around in rooms full of radioactive waste, day and night? You think they can even GET INSIDE those rooms in a couple hours? A guy has to clear a couple security checkpoints, put on special protective gear, then open a few locked doors to even look at those drums.

Now, put the shoe on the other foot. You think the big bosses in Tokyo knew immediately those drums fell over but refused to tell us...then, less than 24 hours later, changed their mind? What's their motivation? Just to feed the paranoid delusions of nuts like you?

A drum fell over during an earthquake. Big whup. Neither that or the little water spill broke the safety limits. They didn't even come CLOSE to risking public health. Thats the real point here. Everything else is just fear mongering.

quote:
Why do you think he would make statements like that?
Um, because he's a politician, and he's saying what the public wants to hear. He could give a rats ass about whats right or wrong. He's trying to build his reputation as someone whose not going to let those sneaky little industry guys pull the wool over his eyes! No way! He's going to demand information right away!

So a grateful public says whew! Thank god for Shinzo Abe! Things would really be in the shitter if it wasn't for him!

I'm surprised to find you buying into it though.


RE: Too Soon To Say
By TomZ on 7/17/2007 2:17:15 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not buying into anything, all I'm saying is there is some concern about the information coming out, and that is what the PM is expressing.

I'm also not saying there is a cover-up - they put out some bad information initially that adds to the concern about whether everything is really coming out.

Stop thinking only in black-and-white. It's not that crisp as you are trying to make it.


RE: Too Soon To Say
By Hare on 7/18/2007 11:25:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"Then on Tuesday, a TEPCO official told a news conference that about 100 of the 22,000 drums containing nuclear waste at a warehouse had fallen over and "several" lost their lids."

New information.

Close to 500 had fallen over and about 100 had lost their lids...


RE: Too Soon To Say
By greenchasch on 7/18/2007 11:48:54 AM , Rating: 2
But none actually leaked any radiation. I dont really see this as news.


RE: Too Soon To Say
By Hare on 7/18/2007 1:59:23 PM , Rating: 2
If you look at the original post (TomZ) you'll see my point. First they told that everything was fine, then they told that there are some worries. Then they told that this and that was broken. Now they are telling that infact this that and n+1 other things are broken. What happens when the whole mess is sorted out?

It's too early to draw conclusions about the plants condition or the damages in general.


Going to take a long time.
By SavagePotato on 7/17/2007 10:58:18 AM , Rating: 2
It is just going to take a long long time for people to by majority concede that the potential risk of a nuclear plant is outweighed by the benefits. Thanks to the ever nagging ecological catastrophe that is Chernobyl. It's going to be sitting there reminding everyone for the next 900 years plus before the region is even inhabitable again.

Personally I am for nuclear, In Canada our reactor designs are probably some of the best and most efficient if not the best and safest going. It's just that no matter what that potential and example of what a total catastrophic failure CAN do are far more extreme than what any other disaster scenario involves. People are always going to be leery of that.

Statistical fact is great but in the end it doesn't dictate the will of the consuming masses. They are still ruled by emotion, and personal opinion by and large. So no matter how much more statistically harmful coal fueled electricity is over time, it goes a short way in convincing the average taxpayer to believe in nuclear.




RE: Going to take a long time.
By TomZ on 7/17/2007 11:28:37 AM , Rating: 1
This is precisely the reason that the U.S. is organized as a republic, instead of a pure democracy. There are some cases when the majority doesn't know what is best for them. Ideally, this would not be the case, but history has proven this time and time again.


RE: Going to take a long time.
By SavagePotato on 7/17/2007 11:34:07 AM , Rating: 2
The US is only a part of the world. I know they see themselves as the center of it, however there there is more to it than that, and many democratic countries out there. Billions of opinions as well that still play a big part in dictating some things.

Then again the country is embroiled in a war that most of it and the rest of the world think is an absolute joke, so it Isn't always a good thing when crazy Christian loons with a third grade reading level get to decide what is best for everyone.


RE: Going to take a long time.
By TomZ on 7/17/2007 12:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure your point. I only brought up the US because that is where I live and where most of the DT readers live, so it is the normal context of my views. I certainly didn't say or imply anything about the US being the center of the world, etc. Where did you get that from?

Our (the US) system of government certainly makes its share of mistakes, but I don't see how a pure democracy would produce better results, if that is what you are getting at.


RE: Going to take a long time.
By Hoser McMoose on 7/17/2007 5:41:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's going to be sitting there reminding everyone for the next 900 years plus before the region is even inhabitable again.

Actually wildlife is thriving in the 30km exclusion zone around the Chernobyl reactors. Even the few people living in that area aren't really suffering any ill health now.

Radiation is an interesting thing, it's either very dangerous for a short period of time or it last a long time but it's not very dangerous. A hugely critical accident like Chernobyl has a bit of both. The really dangerous stuff is LONG since gone, it mostly had half lives measured in days or weeks. Within a year that stuff was at levels so low it couldn't even be detected anymore. At the other end of things is the really long-lived stuff gives off so little radiation that it's almost completely undetectable among the natural occurring background radiation.

The only element that's really of concern at Chernobyl today is Cesium 137. That stuff has a half-life of just over 30 years and is reasonably radioactive. Fortunately the levels don't seem to be causing too much harm and certainly within 300 years (10 half lives) it'll be totally negligible (less then 0.1% of the original amount).

quote:
It's just that no matter what that potential and example of what a total catastrophic failure CAN do are far more extreme than what any other disaster scenario involves.

Failures at hydro-electric dams can and HAVE killed many more people then even the worst-case nuclear reactor failure (ie Chernobyl). Estimates for number of deaths from Chernobyl have mostly ranged from 2000 to 50,000, while the Banqiao hydro dam failure killed 150,00 to 200,000.

Chemical industry accidents can be extremely dangerous too. The Union Carbide leak of methyl isocyanate in India killed somewhere around 15,000 to 22,000 people. I remember hearing one nuclear physicist once mentioned that if the chemical industry were as tightly regulated as the nuclear power industry then it would be totally unable to function. Having worked in a chemical plant with thousands of tons of toxic chemicals sitting in tanks and trucks, I fully believe that.

As you mentioned though, people are ruled by emotion rather then reason when it comes to nuclear power. The fact that MANY more people are killed every single year from coal power then those that have ever been killed by nuclear accidents (including Chernobyl) means absolutely nothing as compared to a Hollywood movie showing some mutant zombie from the radioactive waste.

Sadly I think this speaks volumes of our societies total and absolute failure at understanding science at even a junior high school level.


RE: Going to take a long time.
By SavagePotato on 7/17/2007 6:21:29 PM , Rating: 2
The exclusion zone is still very much a dangerous place to be. Nor is it inhabitable. Yes there are a few old timers that stayed there and refused to move which were in less dangerous areas. The radiation there is very inconsistent. You can take bus tours of the place which are perfectly safe. However standing three feet in another direction from where you are in places can expose you to dangerous doses of radiation. Essentially a radioactive minefield which is why it is still cordoned off. The surviving reactors themselves were still in service till 2000 I believe. However the entire area was excavated and filled with clean non-radioactive soil to make it safe. Trust me I've spent far more time than anyone should watching documentaries and reading about the exclusion zone.

Like it or not people are going to react more strongly to the radiation boogeyman than they will to sheer statistics and death tolls. The reason is that if a dam bursts and wipes out 200k people it isn't seen as a threat to the person sitting 3000 miles away watching it on the news. When a place like Chernobyl blows up and spews a radioactive cloud over half of Asia, that tends to scare the hell out of people. Even people a continent away sitting in their home wondering if they will be affected, or yes attacked by the savage mutant hordes they saw in a movie.


RE: Going to take a long time.
By porkpie on 7/17/2007 11:27:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The exclusion zone is still very much a dangerous place to be. Nor is it inhabitable
Complete and utter nonsense.

Most people don't realize that only one of Chernobyl's reactors had a meltdown. The others were kept in operation after the accident. The last one wasn't shut down until just a few years ago. Who do you think operated them on a daily basis? Robots? No-- people. Workers who came and went every single day.

There are also regular tours through the zone, even today. Operated by guides, who come and go continually. A few people still live in the zone, and have done so since the accident. And don't even get me started on the wildlife. It has THRIVED. So much so, in fact, that a few biologists have even suggested putting radioactive waste in other natural preserves, just to keep away nasty humans.

If you eat food grown in the soil of the exclusion zone, you're at slightly higher risks for thyroid cancer. Some people still do, of course. But the zone itself is actually LESS radioactive than a few other areas on earth, ones naturally radioactive due to uranium or thorium deposits.

The zone is more than habitable today. If the average Ukranian didn't tend to grow vegetables in their own backyard, the government would likely remove the restrictions entirely.


RE: Going to take a long time.
By SavagePotato on 7/18/2007 9:19:27 AM , Rating: 2
Why don't you see people lining up to live there and all the checkpoints coming down? And if you actualy read my post you would see that I mentioned the other reactors were going till 2000. I also mentioned that the entire area around them was excavated to remove the highly radioactive soil. Theres still plenty of highly radioactive soil buildings and vehicles littering the area. Maybe your definition of inhabitable is different than all the other people that evacuated and never returned I don't know.


RE: Going to take a long time.
By porkpie on 7/18/2007 11:47:12 AM , Rating: 2
The fact remains that some people DO live there, and many others work there, coming and going on a daily basis. How is it that a region you call "uninhabitable" is inhabited? Explain that one.

Why aren't millions of people "lining up" to move back into the region? Why would ANYONE already living in a city in Ukraine choose to move to the middle of a deserted rural area, without infrastructure or economic growth? Did you miss the last 200 years of human history? People move FROM these areas into the cities. Now that the government paid these people to move into cities, it'd take a police force to get most of them to leave.


RE: Going to take a long time.
By SavagePotato on 7/18/2007 2:41:36 PM , Rating: 2
The people that do live there do so at the risk to their own health, because they refused to leave. There are always those that will. The people that worked at the plant did so in a controled and cleaned up environment. Living in a town specificaly created to house them where they were brought in by train everyday.

The land is contaminated and no longer useable as farmland, which it primarily was. As well as being a health risk to anyone living there on a long term basis, if not a more immediate risk. The areas around the plant were compleltely excavated and filled with clean soil, if not for that it would have been impossible and extremely hazardous for those workers to be there. The thriving wildlife and vegitation are contaminated as well. You would be a fool to eat any of the vegitables or meat from any of the animals dwelling there.


RE: Going to take a long time.
By SavagePotato on 7/18/2007 9:40:36 AM , Rating: 2
Furthermore the workers that came and went every day, were brought in by train from a completely new town built in a cleaned up area. Most of the zone is farmland which is contaminated and will be contaminated for a long time. Just because Cesium-137 has a half life of 30 years doesn't mean everything is fine in 30 years, nor has it even been 30 years. Not to mention Strontium-90 contamination which is linked to lukemia.

Because areas were cleaned up and used does not mean people could stroll back in and frolick in the feilds. Places exist where nature has thrived and people think that means clearly theres no danger whatsoever. The places where nature thrive are less affected and less contaminated. Humans are not animals either for that matter.


RE: Going to take a long time.
By SavagePotato on 7/17/2007 6:31:01 PM , Rating: 2
A word regarding magnitude of effect. I think a great deal of detractors would consider an event like Chernobyl a far greater disaster than a dam bursting and wiping out a couple hundred thousand.

Reason being the reminder remains. Not only that the after effects such as birth defects in surrounding areas such as Belarus which got some of the worst of it. Large areas of land rendered uninhabitable. Not to mention the crumbling sarcophagus sitting there scaring the daylights out of people as it deteriorates and threatens to collapse, where yes the rest of the nuclear material that was not ejected from the reactor still sits.

In terms of magnitude of effect. Things such as this make it higher on peoples scale than death toll numbers.


I'm in favor of nuclear power...
By Griswold on 7/16/2007 3:51:06 PM , Rating: 4
... but when I see blob propaganda like this, I have to drop my 2 cents.

6.8 is not the worst this region can come up with. What happens if the next quake is of a 7.5 quality? One that lasts longer than just 20s, maybe?

The epicenter was not "almost directly underneath the massive Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Plant", it was over 100km offshore.

He also didnt mention that only 3 of the 7 reactors were running when the quake struck. Two times the number of sources for error translates into a higher probability of error, dont you agree? Good thing 4 of them were shut down. You cant completely rule out any accidents.. thats why I'm against such "super plants" with half a dozen reactors on a small area.

Good thing masher told us that only a "tiny amount" of "mildly" radioactive fluid was leaked - hey, as long as its only "mildly" radioactive, all is good. Especially since it apparently went thru the sewer system into the ocean. Phew, lucky japanese!

The western world's nuclear safety record remains unbroken. Over five decades and thousands of reactor-years later, not one person has ever been harmed by commercial power generation.

If you want to read for yourself instead of jibber-jabber, check out the link below. It obviously includes other parts of the world - radiation doesnt stop at borders nor is it limited to certain hemispheres. Nor does it in the least matter if its a commercial reactor or a reprocessing plant or a scientific prototype - I'm sure the people who were affected dont care about such finickiness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_civilian_nucl...

Especially the near catastrophic events in japan are of interest... but that doesnt fit into the picture of a blog like this, right?

My problem with nuclear power is not the technology itself, its the people running the business behind it. Look at germany. They currently have a nuclear scandal where a simple transformer fire lead to an emergency shutdown which lead to the discovery of massive operating errors during the shutdown which the operating company tried to cover up and hide from the nuclear safety agency - history is full of such incidents, also and especially in the western world.

So, the question is, do I trust the technology? Yes I do. Do I trust all the people/companies operating it? Not further than I can throw their CEO.




By aganaki on 7/16/2007 5:11:38 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Good thing masher told us that only a "tiny amount" of "mildly" radioactive fluid was leaked - hey, as long as its only "mildly" radioactive, all is good
Correct. Pretty much everything is midly radioactive. Some things are more than mildly. Bananas. Smoke detectors. Granite countertops. Houses in many parts of a Rocky Mountain or New England state. A cross-country flight. You name it.

So this tiny trace of radioactivity went down a pipe and got flushed into the ocean, which itself has trillions of tons of radioactive elements already in it. Big deal. Even had someone collected it all and drunk it, they wouldn't have even gotten sick.


By Hoser McMoose on 7/16/2007 6:18:13 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
hey, as long as its only "mildly" radioactive, all is good. Especially since it apparently went thru the sewer system into the ocean

The water coming out of your tap at home is mildly radioactive as well. Also, the ocean is about the best place it could possibly go. Radioaction is only dangerous in high doses, if you dilute it by, ohh I dunno, spreading it across a giant body of water like an ocean, the dosage is going to almost instantly drop to totally negligible levels.


By Ringold on 7/16/2007 6:22:59 PM , Rating: 3
To start, I'd just say that if a massive quake struck directly beneath or near a massive nuclear plant that, assuming the containment building wasn't breached (I'm not sure why it would be as strong as they're built, even if the reactors within them were shaken to pieces), the local area would be so devastated a mild radiation leak would be the least of their (immediate) problems.

quote:
Not further than I can throw their CEO.


I dont care to make it a huge argument, but that's the wrong attitude to have -- at least, the blame is being directed at the wrong place. While government shouldn't manipulate markets it's perfectly reasonable for them to be powerful advocates of public safety and to therefore have rigorous inspection in places deemed important to said safety. If regulatory capture took place of one kind or another it's not the CEO's fault, whose purpose in life is profit maximization, but the governments who should have eternal vigilance for corruption. Perhaps there was none and inspection standards were too weak,I'm not familiar with the case, but in any event, that sounds very much like it was a government failure and less a corporate one. Not to entirely shift the blame, but if a food inspector see's suspicious sudden activity (supposedly to hide violations) and doesn't investigate and prosecute any safety issues then the inspector is to blame every bit as much as the resteraunt itself.


This Proves?
By Ratwar on 7/16/2007 2:30:22 PM , Rating: 3
One earthquake (well actually this is the second one near Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Plant) at one nuclear power plant does not prove that all nuclear power plants are safe from such thing any more than one day of above average temperatures proves global warming.

With any power plant, there is a risk of problems. A nuclear power plant has the potential to cause massive destruction if there is a problem. Nuclear Power generation is very safe under the right conditions, but if those conditions deteriorate, the problems can be massive. As time goes on, there will be more nuclear accidents. The more nuclear plants you have, the greater the risk of accidents.

Personally, I think that nuclear power is safe enough to be used more, but it isn't totally safe (kinda like driving cars).




RE: This Proves?
By omnicronx on 7/16/2007 3:01:50 PM , Rating: 2
IT does not necessarily prove anything, but it is nothing but good news as although the Japanese plant was probably made with quakes in mind, it shows with the right safety precautions even the most disastrous accidents can be prevented.

People do not realize how safe and secure nuclear plants are. Here in canada the security is just crazy, our nuclear plants are more secure than our military bases. My friend was a security officer at a big plant in toronto (pickering) and people had to go through some 12(or so) sets of doors just to get inside, and everything going in and out gets checked for radiation more than once.


RE: This Proves?
By Ringold on 7/16/2007 6:38:04 PM , Rating: 2
How many more decades of evidence do you really need? :)

I think as long as standards remain high there will be virtually no accidents. I specifically use "accident" instead of, say, "incident", because clearly if you strike a containment building with powerful enough missiles then you're going to break something. That wouldn't really be an "accident", though, as perhaps much greater damage could be done with much less effort by taking out any of the numerous large dams built around the world.

As the blog indicates as well, and if you'd read up just a bit on the subject, the designs are inherently safe. Inherently. In other words, one almost has to try to screw up. This is the same thing with most aircraft; a modern Cessna will not stall or spin unless you make it do so. Many modern reactors will not have a "massive" Chernobyl-style release of radiation unless somebody really, really wanted it to happen.


RE: This Proves?
By Ratwar on 7/17/2007 1:18:17 PM , Rating: 2
I'd settle for a signed statement from God. :)

I agree, as long as the safety standards remain high, the chances of a problem a very small (almost non-existent). Still, there is no fool proof way to make sure standards won't drop. I am not saying that nuclear power shouldn't be used, only that there will be accidents or incidents in the future.


commas
By kenji4life on 7/16/2007 6:12:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
or 1/10,00,000 of what is generated from a single dental x-ray.


Maybe you're using a non-us-standard numeric comma system,
but this number looks funny.

Did you mean 1,000,000?




RE: commas
By TomZ on 7/16/2007 6:18:04 PM , Rating: 1
What they meant to say was "zero." But people might not believe you if you said your nuclear power plant only leaked plain water after an earthquake. The 1/(some big number) makes it sound more believable.


RE: commas
By masher2 (blog) on 7/16/2007 6:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
The information I got from Tokyo Electric was that 1 picoSievert was the approximate size of the release. I converted that into mrems for comparison purposes against a dental x-ray.


RE: commas
By emboss on 7/17/2007 7:49:14 AM , Rating: 2
How are they measuring the release size in Sieverts? A far more useful (and standard) number would be the leak size in Bq.


Workers INSIDE the reactor?
By 91TTZ on 7/16/2007 4:08:45 PM , Rating: 2
Why does the article say that there are workers inside the reactor? The reactor is a highly radioactive vessel that nobody works inside. That's where the fuel rods are.




RE: Workers INSIDE the reactor?
By Ringold on 7/16/2007 6:43:05 PM , Rating: 2
It said that for the same reason many articles about aviation accidents say the plane "exploded" in mid-air, or "burst in to flames" or a local thought the engine sounded strange or did some unusual maneuver of some type or another, and expect that even the most tiny aircraft have pilot voice recorders installed. They're journalists, omni-present and all-knowning creatures.


POST
By Lightning III on 7/17/2007 8:03:23 AM , Rating: 2
Finally an Asher post worth reading

Although with the amount of enviromentalist seeing the nuclear light he might have to shift yet a gain




Alberta
By Runner3001 on 7/17/2007 9:15:25 PM , Rating: 2
We're actually considering a very large number of nuclear plants to fuel the oilsands industries in Fort McMurray and other places in the province. Personally I'm for the idea, I know how much natural gas we burn to currently power them...




Excellent point.
By athfbum on 8/15/2007 2:08:07 PM , Rating: 2
Why is it most of the western nations are scared to death of nuclear power? Is it they are afraid of another Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. Today, the probability of such an event is very, very low. Nuclear power is probably the safest and cleanest form of energy available. If you question the claim of it being safe, just look. When operated properly, no environmental damage can occur, no radiation leaks, or anything to that extent. Look at France, most of their power comes from nuclear power plants, and they maintain a 100% safety record.

It's already been pointed out that most alternative fuels are futile. They are met by intense opposition. Hydro damages fish habitat, wind is an eyesore to the landscape, solar is too costly (and it is). The only type of power worth considering is nuclear. Wouldn't it be nice if the tens of thousands of coal fired power plants in the US were replaced by nuclear power plants? For one nuclear energy requires less mass for the same power, which in turn means less power plants, which means less "eyesores" on the landscape. A significant reduction of coal power plants would for one, mean way cleaner air for all of us (most of the pollution comes from coal fired power plants).




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