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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: 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.


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