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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 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.


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