Print 34 comment(s) - last by FaceMaster.. on Apr 1 at 8:19 AM

French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced today that he is calling for a reform of global nuclear standards by the end of this year

Since the 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck Japan causing troubles with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, there has been a certain amount of nuclear hysteria. For instance, some journalists have sensationalized Japan's nuclear situation, and despite the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's conclusion that nuclear plants in the U.S. were safe, two U.S. senators still pushed for an expensive study to determine if these plants are safe. 

Now, it looks like France is showing some concern regarding the use of nuclear power after visiting Japan recently. French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced today that he is calling for a reform of global nuclear standards by the end of this year.  

"Dear Japanese friends, know that in this appalling catastrophe, the world is watching and admiring you," said Sarkozy. 

In addition, Sarkozy said France would like to host a meeting this May consisting of the bloc's nuclear officials "to fix new norms in the wake of the crisis" in Japan. France is taking it upon itself to lead the assistance of Japan, since, according to Reuters, France is the most dependent on nuclear power.  

"We must address this anomaly that there are no international safety norms for nuclear matters," said Sarkozy.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a U.N. body, sets standards and recommendations, but they are not "legally binding" and member states are responsible for safety.

Japan is certainly having some issues with cooling the reactors' fuel rods, making sure crops grown near the plant are not contaminated, keeping an eye on the amount of radiation in the water, and the increased pressure to expand the 12-mile evacuation zone. But government officials have noted that the situation has become much more manageable as of late, and that levels of radiation outside of the plant's range are low-risk. 

In fact, a reading of downtown Tokyo's radiation levels today showed 0.18 microsieverts per hour, which is low in regards to global standards.  

"All the experts agree that living in Tokyo now does not represent a health risk," said Sarkozy.

But Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan agreed with Sarkozy regarding the call for global nuclear review.  

"In order to avid recurrence of such an accident, it is our duty to accurately share with the world our experience," said Kan.  

According to the report, a total of 28,000 people are either dead or missing due to the earthquakes and tsunamis, and the damage may exceed $300 billion. 

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: No secrets
By randomly on 3/31/2011 7:06:32 PM , Rating: 5
The possible 5-megaton explosion conjecture is a ludicrous fantasy made up by somebody with no understanding of physics, nuclear power, or nuclear bombs.

It's about as likely as you being able to jump into orbit. You would have to rewrite the physics of the universe.

I used to be anti-nuclear before I started looking in depth into the engineering and economics of alternative energy sources like Wind, photovoltaics , thermal solar, geothermal, and biofuels. It became clear that to me that there is lot of overhyping and unwarranted optimism about these technologies. They all have serious economic and environmental drawbacks that advocates just gloss over or ignore. None of the real world implementations have lived up to the hype and expectations. If you look at the real world performance and costs of real systems the picture gets quite depressing.
Nuclear has its own set of unique problems but it has some incredible advantages as well. Even though fission products need to be sequestered for hundreds of years the amount produced is just tiny compared to something like coal. To satisfy a person's entire energy needs for their entire life only takes a chunk of uranium or thorium about the size of a tennis ball. The amount of waste products produced is also about the same in size. To do this with coal takes a cube 40 feet on a side (like a small 4 story office building). The power plants also take up very little land. Solar farms produce an average of 5 watts per square meter, a nuclear power plant including the total surrounding buffer lands etc. produces something like 10,000 watts per square meter. Biofuels produce around 0.5 watts per square meter of land.

Then there is the matter of water. Because nuclear has the capability of running at much higher temperatures than any alternative energy source not only can power production efficiency reach 50%, the temperatures are high enough to drive chemical reactions directly for synthesizing hydrogen and liquid fuels, and most importantly from an environmental point cooling can be done without using water. Almost all other non-carbon based energy sources need vast quantities of cooling water to obtain reasonable efficiency.

Reactor design has come a long way in the half century since the Three Mile Island, Fukushima reactors were designed. People are smart and they learn from their mistakes. Just like airplanes if you look at the history of nuclear accidents there are fewer and fewer as years go by. Mistakes are not repeated.

I'm guardedly pro-nuclear now. There are ways to make intrinsically safe reactors that can't blow up. There are ways to transmute and/or safely dispose of nuclear waste, even for millions of years if desired. There is an essentially unlimited supply of fuel available. If done properly all this can be done with by far the smallest environmental impact of any energy source known.

We need diligent responsible research, development, a world wide set of safety standards and accurate risk assessments.

We don't need paranoid fear mongering by ignorant fanatics who think atomic clocks are going to explode and poison the planet.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Laptop or Tablet - Which Do You Prefer?
September 20, 2016, 6:32 AM
Update: Samsung Exchange Program Now in Progress
September 20, 2016, 5:30 AM
Smartphone Screen Protectors – What To Look For
September 21, 2016, 9:33 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki