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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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RE: Too Soon To Say
By TomZ on 7/17/2007 12:31:19 PM , Rating: 0
You said its "clear" the information was being "managed". That means things are being held back.

Wrong, it is clear that information was held back. The plant initially said there were no leaks, then they changed their mind about that.

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.

Later, they released more information:

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.

You think they just noticed on Tuesday that the drums fell over? I doubt it. They also measured releases from those drums into the atmosphere - do you think those measurements were done in real-time or after the fact?

Also, if you think I'm being paranoid, let me give you some quotes from the Japanese prime minister that he made regarding the situation with this plant:

"I believe that nuclear power plants can only be operated with the trust of the people," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters in Tokyo, about 250 km (155 miles) southeast of Niigata prefecture, where the quake struck Monday morning.

"For this, if something happens, they need to report on it thoroughly and quickly. We need to get them to strictly reflect on this incident," Abe added.

Why do you think he would make statements like that? What is the background? Is it one of trust and openness, or not?

All quotes:

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.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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