Earthquake Strikes Nuclear Power Plant -- Plant Strikes Back
July 16, 2007 12:45 PM
comment(s) - last by
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
, 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
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: Going to take a long time.
7/18/2007 2:41:36 PM
The people that do live there do so at the risk to their own health, because they refused to leave. There are always those that will. The people that worked at the plant did so in a controled and cleaned up environment. Living in a town specificaly created to house them where they were brought in by train everyday.
The land is contaminated and no longer useable as farmland, which it primarily was. As well as being a health risk to anyone living there on a long term basis, if not a more immediate risk. The areas around the plant were compleltely excavated and filled with clean soil, if not for that it would have been impossible and extremely hazardous for those workers to be there. The thriving wildlife and vegitation are contaminated as well. You would be a fool to eat any of the vegitables or meat from any of the animals dwelling there.
"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation
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February 28, 2007, 6:39 AM
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