Print 84 comment(s) - last by athfbum.. on Aug 15 at 2:08 PM

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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RE: Too Soon To Say
By TomZ on 7/17/2007 11:26:06 AM , Rating: 0
Again, when did I say I expected a cover-up in this case, or that there is anything to fear? You need to work on your reading comprehension.

Having the ability to quickly assess the situation at a nuclear power plant after an earthquake is part of basic safety protocols. After all, if it took weeks like you suggest, then how can they be sure the situation is even completely under control today? It would be completely unacceptable for it to be out of control today, and therefore, I conclude that the situation must also be well-understood today. They may not know every minute detail today, but they understand the big picture. The question is, and my main point is, have they released all the information yet, or is there more to come?
the fact is eating one banana would give you a larger radioactive dose than what happened at this plant

Again, you're assuming full diclosure of all the facts. I'm saying I'm not sure about that - time will tell. I'm not saying I think there was a more significant release, just that we don't really know.

RE: Too Soon To Say
By porkpie on 7/17/2007 12:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
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.

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
"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.

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.

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.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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