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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Japan's New Normal

Posted by on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Before a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi facility, Japan's 54 nuclear power plants provided more than 30 percent of the nation's electricity. A little more than a year later that number will be soon be reduced to zero:

Japan will within weeks have no nuclear power for the first time in more than 40 years, after the trade minister said two reactors idled after the Fukushima disaster would not be back online before the last one currently operating is shut down.

Trade Minister Yukio Edano signalled it would take at least several weeks before the government, keen to avoid a power crunch, can give a final go-ahead to restarts, meaning Japan is set on May 6 to mark its first nuclear power-free day since 1970.

It's not good news, of course, to see Japan's nuclear power capacity replaced by carbon-emitting coal and gas. But if you had asked the Japanese before the disaster whether such a massive and sudden shift in power generation was even feasible, I'm pretty sure those in charge would have said no.

Makes me wonder how impossible it would really be for the US to shift, say, 30 percent of its own generating capacity to renewables in a decade or so? You know, if we really wanted to.


Comments (42) RSS

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Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 1

Germany is already doing this.


Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on April 19, 2012 at 8:06 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 2
The renewables actually have to start generating enough energy first. As of now, we are not close to that...the technology is still basically in its infancy. We can argue about the feasibility of funding, developing, and installing the technology, but as of now, that is the simple fact.

They do not work well enough right now. But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

Personally I say that nuclear power is the perfect bridge between fossil fuels and renewables, but good luck getting most "environmentalists" to agree to that.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on April 19, 2012 at 8:15 AM · Report this
I don't have that much of a problem with nuclear power conceptually, but the reality today is that it is just far too expensive and barring major economic changes will never be a viable option for large scale expansion in the US.

The DOE commissioned a study in 2008 on what it would take to accomplish 20% of US power generation through wind power by 2030. It's a very interesting report but my overall conclusion from having read it is that it would basically be impossible for political reasons. The biggest obstacle would be the need to create a massive interstate system of extremely high voltage transmission lines to link wind power generation in distant remote areas to major population centers, and political realities make this essentially impossible for a variety of reasons.…
Posted by fsb on April 19, 2012 at 8:25 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 4
@3: Nuclear power's operational expenses are high compared to coal and natural gas, however the whole point is we are trying to wean ourselves off of those fuels. Also, when you take into account that acquiring fuel for the nuclear plants is much cheaper, it becomes even more attractive. Essentially, fuel costs for gas and coal plants hover around 80%, but with nuclear plants, it is around 28%, even after enrichment is taken into account.

This does not even take into account the great savings due to safety, health, and environmental concerns, where nuclear power is far superior in every way.

Add it all up, and at the end of the day, nuclear power is cheaper per kilowatt hour in real dollars than electrical power generated through coal and gas.…

(I know this site is run by a international nuclear power group, but if you check where they got their data, it is all above the board)
Posted by Theodore Gorath on April 19, 2012 at 8:47 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 5
@ Gorath, nuclear waste alone means that it's not a pro-environment kind of energy. But the fact that accidents happen, and that they're capable of inflicting great environmental damage, means that you can just stop selling it as green.
Posted by Matt from Denver on April 19, 2012 at 8:53 AM · Report this
Vince 6
We sit upon one of the solar system's great power generators. Earth's geothermal energy! The only reason I can see that it isn't more widely utilized is that it doesn't generate enough money.
Posted by Vince on April 19, 2012 at 9:05 AM · Report this
It seems kind of crazy to be talking about how economical nuclear power is in a thread attached to an article about a massive (and no doubt extraordinarily expensive) nuclear power plant disaster.

Choose your battlefields more carefully, forsooth.
Posted by Alden on April 19, 2012 at 9:05 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 8
The move to alternative energy sources will be done the same way Americans do everything: Wait until the last possible minute, when we have no other choice but to change, then rush through a half-assed solution that is 10 times more expensive and 10 times less efficient than if the solution were started decades earlier.

Americans are foolish children who are determined to do things the hard way and repeat past mistakes again and again and again and again and again....
Posted by Urgutha Forka on April 19, 2012 at 9:20 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 9
@5: I was not aware that we should immediately cease and desist developing or using any kind of technology if there is any potential of it harming anybody, in any hypothetical way.

The greatest nuclear disaster was Chernobyl. This happened because the Soviet Union followed no safety protocols, and the unmaintained reactor was essentially held together by duct tape. This disaster did basically kill a tiny fragment of the localized ecosystem, but is contained to that small area. Irradiated ground does not "infect" other nearby areas. The effects of Japan's disaster has yet to be seen, but such a disaster in any kind of industrial facility would have large ramifications on the surrounding environment.

Nuclear waste is able to be stored and transported safely and economically. We have been doing it for decades with no negative repercussions, and the storage techinque we use now is not even ideal.

So nuclear power is more environmentally friendly than coal and gas. I can not find any proven far reaching environmental issue with nuclear power in our history. I can think of a pretty big one when it comes to burning fossil fuels though.

Your options right now are fossil fuels or nuclear, because renewables are not enough of a factor yet. Nuclear is cleaner, safer, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly in every way. No far reaching environmental damage, and never one death or serious injury due to nuclear power in American history.

No power source is truly green that we can use to currently power our country, the question is what is the better of two evils while we get the good, renewable energy flowing.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on April 19, 2012 at 9:37 AM · Report this
Sam Levine 10
The solar panels we're making today are massively more efficient than they were even a decade ago. Their cost per watt is comparable with nuclear power. The main challenges we have today are with power storage and distribution.

If we wanted to replace something like 10%-30% of the power we use, just with solar, we could do so with commercial off the shelf technology today. Adding in wind and geothermal and you have a lot of power to work with, just not all when and where we'd want to use it. Getting to the point where >50% of the energy we use is from renewable sources still requires a Manhattan Project scale R&D effort.

So yes. If you don't want to kill millions or billions of people in the future due to climate change your options in the near term involve making everyone poor, or some mix of power that includes nuclear. Which would be safe if the damn NIMBYs would let people build plants with modern technology that *can't* melt down.
Posted by Sam Levine on April 19, 2012 at 9:44 AM · Report this
@4 there are an endless number of ways to try to estimate per kWh costs for these things, I have seen data on nuclear power vs other types from credible sources that range anywhere from "cheaper than coal and gas" to "more expensive than any other source by far". I'm not an industrial economist but I tend to believe the latter option more simply based on my experience with the incredibly high costs and hassle of working in/around nuclear facilities for utility construction.

On a purely theoretical basis nuclear plants generate a massive amount of power very efficiently, but it isn't just operational costs that make it expensive. The construction costs for a nuclear plant are incredibly high, often underestimated, take years to complete, could take decades to recoup the costs (if ever), and expend a huge amount of fossil fuels in the process.
Posted by fsb on April 19, 2012 at 9:45 AM · Report this
What you should really be worried about is how the rest of the world will produce enough power for their developing societies as the years go on. If they should all go the burning organics route, not only will this radically drive up the price of fossil fuels, but simultaneously produce planet-killing levels of pollution. The only viable option for them will be nuclear power, but that will demand strict regulation and good-will on the part of more developed nations.
Posted by Central Scrutinizer on April 19, 2012 at 9:49 AM · Report this
Citation needed.
At my university, some years after my graduation I learned from a beloved professor that they had installed solar panels to the tune of ninety thousand dollars atop the engineering wing, which, according to their documentation, would only recoup the cost in 10 years, and only remain functional for a few years thereafter. If you're talking about such solar panels, you're talking nonsense.

I'm sure someone more technically savvy than myself can make sense of this:…

I think you're full of shit by the way.
Posted by Central Scrutinizer on April 19, 2012 at 9:56 AM · Report this
My real opinion on all this is that it is already too late and we are all basically fucked.
Posted by fsb on April 19, 2012 at 9:59 AM · Report this
If we had committed the $1 trillion (plus 2 trillions for future costs) spent occupying Iraq and Afghanistan toward developing renewables, we'd be a long way toward accomplishing that goal.

@8, The American public has relatively little to do with these choices.
Posted by anon1256 on April 19, 2012 at 10:03 AM · Report this
@13 Well, one of the charts on that page has nuclear as having the highest levelized cost over coal and gas in 6 of 7 studies from 2004-2009. It also goes on to mention the construction issues I brought up: "Nuclear power plants built recently, or in the process of being built, have incurred many cost overruns. Those being built now are expected to incur further cost overruns due to design changes after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster." Sorry you think I'm full of shit for no reason though!
Posted by fsb on April 19, 2012 at 10:08 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 17
@ 9, if you have to twist my words to come up with meanings that clearly weren't there in the first place, as you do in your first paragraph, that's an illustration of how big a tool you are.

You can claim that there are "safe" ways to store nuclear waste, but with a half-life measured in the thousands of years, we have all that time for some flaw, either unforeseen or simply covered up, to cause a failure and - you guessed it - an environmental disaster. You may have faith that the nuclear companies are doing their very best, with the safety of people and the environment as their topmost guide, but history suggests that monetary factors determine priorities and they rarely result in the safest designs possible.

Similarly, saying that things have been safe for "decades" don't mean jack shit - again, this stuff has to be fail safe for millenia. That's like saying that the Pinto you just drove off the lot yesterday is safe for all time because no one rear ended you yet. (Or that Seattle's skyscrapers are earthquake proof - something that will only be demonstrated true or false when the Big One hits.) Further, what kinds of designs were they using decades ago? Earthquake-proof ones? West coast building codes probably weren't that good at the time - how would we know if nuclear waste storage design was?

Speaking of which, earthquakes can happen anywhere in the world. They aren't restricted to places where continental plates meet. Sure, Fukushima was foolishly located, but given that natural disasters happen everywhere sooner or later, is there such a thing as a safe place?
Posted by Matt from Denver on April 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM · Report this
Captain Wiggette 18
@9 "[Chernobyl] happened because the Soviet Union followed no safety protocols, and the unmaintained reactor was essentially held together by duct tape. "

This is an absolute lie sold to you by the nuclear industry.

The other Chernobyl reactors continued operation for decades after the meltdown at unit 4. The assertion that this design was held together by "duct tape" is absolutely absurd hyperbole. It was largely due to operator error and the manual shutoff of the emergency core cooling system during a safety test.

There are *still* 11 RBMK-1000 reactors identical to Unit 4 still in operation TODAY.

I don't see any pro-nuclear people screaming about those 11 "inherently" bad reactors that presumably could blow up any minute. I didn't see any of you ignorant fuckwads protesting the continued operation of the remaining Chernobyl reactors for the 15 years after unit 4's meltdown that they continued operating.

This continuously parroted lie that Chernobyl was uniquely dangerous, inherently unstable, poorly maintained, etc is complete and utter bullshit.

Fuck off, ignorant fools.
Posted by Captain Wiggette on April 19, 2012 at 10:42 AM · Report this
@18 That actually is pretty terrifying that there are still 11 still in operation, but you're understating their design flaws and differences from more modern reactor designs.

"The RBMK is an early Generation II reactor and the oldest commercial reactor design still in wide operation; it features a number of design and safety flaws (such as graphite-tipped control rods, a dangerous positive void coefficient and instability at low power levels) that have since been rectified in newer designs."

and from a related article:

"RBMK reactors, such as the reactors at Chernobyl, have a dangerously high positive void coefficient. This was necessary for the reactor to run on unenriched uranium and to require no heavy water."

"The construction of reactors with a positive void coefficient is illegal in the United States."

are those nuclear industry lies too?
Posted by fsb on April 19, 2012 at 10:52 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 20

Nuclear is no longer needed.

As I said, Germany is already producing enough solar energy so that their daily peak rates are now sometimes lower than nightime off peak!

They are combining solar/wind with hydrogen for storage. The hydrogen can be used at any time, day or night, wind or no, to provide electricity via fuel cells.

Italy is getting there as well, and England has pilot plants that combine Solar-Hydrogen which already exceed the EU cost goals for renewable generation.

Repeat. Nuclear is no longer needed.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on April 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 21
Nuclear fission is a dead end.

Besides, you really don't want to know how we get the fissile materials out of the rock in the first place.
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 19, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
SPG 22
I'm really surprised that nuclear industry shills can still make those kind of claims about safety and economics.
Fukushima was safe because of the higher than required seawalls. It was safe because it was earthquake proofed.
If not for the Japanese government ordering TEPCO to go back in and try to get the reactor under control they would have had to evacuate Tokyo ala Pripyat Ukraine after Chernobyl. Imagine of the largest cities in the world being evacuated and abandoned. Fukushima has already proved that nuclear is economically unsustainable due to the cleanup costs, but imagine having to relocate 35 million people and abandon your capitol city.
Posted by SPG on April 19, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Captain Wiggette 23
@19 Negative void coefficients can be quite dangerous too.

The fundamental design flaw was that it is a large, high-power fission reactor. It shares this fundamental design flaw with all other fission power reactors on earth.

The American Fukushima BWRs were not "uniquely dangerous" until they all melted down and exploded and the containments failed. Clearly that must have been the "unique" design flaw of the metric system or something...

Posted by Captain Wiggette on April 19, 2012 at 11:44 AM · Report this
@23 Yes the Fukushima disaster involved a total meltdown and containment failure and the reactors burned their (non-existent) graphite control rods into the atmosphere and it was exactly like Chernobyl except worse. Idiot.
Posted by fsb on April 19, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
internet_jen 25
I wonder if engineers in Japan will make new home environment for people. Zero phantom load, super robust data monitoring, so you'll get an email if the outlet your fridge is plugged into is using a whole bunch extra electricity - maybe the door is ajar.

Could there be a good way to be able to turn the electricity off to entire rooms of a house? In hospitals they have red outlets and regular outlets. The red one will stay powered by generators in the event of a black out. Could we do the same thing to our houses and black out the house when we leave for work, leaving the fridge and freezer on because they're pugged into red outlets that will always draw power from the grid.

I hope a change in human consumption of electricity at home will arise from this disaster in Japan. That plus what they got going on in Germany with structures being solar energy harvesters could do a lot for the consumer/home electricity need.

Manufacturing I assume is a whole different monster.

Posted by internet_jen on April 19, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
@25 in some countries it's already common for electrical outlets to have a switch on them that allows you to completely power off any plugged in devices.
Posted by fsb on April 19, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Captain Wiggette 27
@24: Nice try, but Fukushima involved THREE total meltdowns and containment failures. Everything else was very much the same *except* the absence of a graphite fire, AND the fact that the radioactive inventory of Chernobyl posed an order of magnitude *less* risk than Fukushima.

The radioactive release to the oceans at Fukushima was the worst in the history of mankind.

The airborne release from Fukushima was the same order of magnitude as Chernobyl.

And Chernobyl did not threaten a city of 35million people with permanent displacement.

Posted by Captain Wiggette on April 19, 2012 at 12:58 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 28
Anyone saying that nuclear power is unsafe and environtmentally unfriendly would have to know absolutely nothing about how we get coal and natural gas. You also must have no idea what nuclear waste is, and the actual dangers associated with it. They are surprisingly minor, despite what The Simpsons has told you.

Just in America, where we have OSHA and unions, just under about 100 coal miners die every year. Tens of thousands are seriously injured. Deaths from nuclear power in America since day one is zero.

Coal and natural gas destroys land, water tables, and creates global warming, which could very well end our species as we know it. Environmental impact from nuclear power in America is nonexistant, and barely existant worldwide when you take into account how long we have been using nuclear power.

@17, your argument is still "there could possibly be a vague disaster someday, so we should not bother with nuclear power." This is fucking stupid when we already have an energy industry that has human and environmental disaster essentially built into it. You may as well say that we should not build any homes, because there could be an earthquake someday which would knock down the home onto somebody.

So what is your solution? Continue using filthy carbon until it runs out, or just not having power in America? Because realistically speaking, you have those two options for the near future.

Posted by Theodore Gorath on April 19, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Anyone who honestly believes that the companies constructing and managing these plants don't cut corners on safety simply need to wake the fuck up. When an industry assures you nothing can possibly happen and laughs off any concerns over safety that should be the first sign that they most likely have serious flaws in their overall philosophy. Look at the Army Corp of Engineers or the oil and natural gas industry, both of whom take the exact same stance on their work as the nuclear power industry. It's always completely impossible for them to fuck up until everything goes to shit in some major way. Afterwards it magically becomes an isolated incident that doesn't require operating changes in anyway.

Not to mention the time and cost of building nuclear plants, the amount of environmental destruction uranium mining creates and long term storage on a time scale never before approached in any human endavour.
Posted by Chilling in C.C. on April 19, 2012 at 1:17 PM · Report this
@27 You're right that what happened at Fukushima is considered a total meltdown/containment failure, I wasn't aware that's how it was classified, sorry! You're still being a total jackass in trying to equate Fukushima with Chernobyl though. I also never made any kind of argument that locating any nuclear reactors near major cities was a good idea.

The phrasing of "containment failure" is somewhat misleading as the disaster would have been much worse had the containment system not been in place. You know what reactor didn't have a containment system? Chernobyl!

"the amount of iodine-131 escaping from all the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi was less than 10 percent of the amount released at Chernobyl, and the release of caesium-137, the next most important fission product, was less than 15 percent of the Chernobyl total"

Posted by fsb on April 19, 2012 at 1:20 PM · Report this
slade 31
I was wondering were it was said that Japan was going to replace its power needs with Coal and Gas? Japan gave us the first Hybrid and the first mass production electric car thats actually a car not a golf cart and its a technology driven power house with out the lack of brain power in its government that America suffers from? To ask when America will act like Japan tends to make me want to place The Republican Circus in front of you and ask you the question.
Posted by slade on April 19, 2012 at 1:29 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 32
@ 28, you're doing it again - putting words I never said into my mouth. I haven't written a word about fossil fuels, let alone defended them. Also, it's nice the way you paper over the dangers of radioactive waste, and compare homes built to last for decades with containment solutions that have to last for MILLENIA. (Using all caps this time so that maybe it sinks in this time.)

It's simple - nuclear is one energy source that has to be handled with no accidents and no mistakes. Ever. As soon as one happens, it's an environmental disaster. Full stop. And accidents WILL happen because we're human, and natural disasters will happen because they just do.

Finally, it's not up to me to come up with solutions, and my failure to do so doesn't make nuclear "green" or "safe" or "the only alternative." However, we can certainly keep developing solar and wind technology. Those don't require perfection.
Posted by Matt from Denver on April 19, 2012 at 2:00 PM · Report this
"The spent fuel pools at Fukushima are currently the top short-term threat to humanity.

"But fuel pools in the United States store an average of ten times more radioactive fuel than stored at Fukushima, have virtually no safety features, and are vulnerable to accidents and terrorist attacks.

"If the water drains out for any reason, it will cause a fire in the fuel rods, as the zirconium metal jacket on the outside of the fuel rods could very well catch fire within hours or days after being exposed to air. Seethis, this, this and this. (Even a large solar flare could knock out the water-circulation systems for the pools.)

"The pools are also filling up fast, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission."...

" Over the past 30 years, there have been at least 66 incidents at U.S. reactors in which there was a significant loss of spent fuel water. Ten have occurred since the September 11 terrorist attacks,…

The situation at Fukushima and globally is so dire that the only conceptual way to approach it is as a human problem, rather than a national problem. Human activity begs for destruction while our words are empty vessels expressing only wishful thinking and impotent good intent.

Kelp off California was contaminated with short-lived radioisotopes a month after Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant accident, a sign that the spilled radiation reached the state’s coastline, according to a new scientific study.

Posted by Spindles on April 19, 2012 at 2:32 PM · Report this
"This then leaves 1,231 irradiated spent fuel rods in pool No. 4, which contain roughly 37 million curies (~1.4E+18 Becquerel) of long-lived radioactivity. The No. 4 pool is about 100 feet above ground, is structurally damaged and is exposed to the open elements. If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident.

The infrastructure to safely remove this material was destroyed as it was at the other three reactors. Spent reactor fuel cannot be simply lifted into the air by a crane as if it were routine cargo. In order to prevent severe radiation exposures, fires and possible explosions, it must be transferred at all times in water and heavily shielded structures into dry casks.. As this has never been done before, the removal of the spent fuel from the pools at the damaged Fukushima-Dai-Ichi reactors will require a major and time-consuming re-construction effort and will be charting in unknown waters."

-- Read this story not as an American, or Indian, or Russian, or Scot or Venezuelan or Nigerian. Read this story as a human being, a resident of this planet. Long-time members will recall that Collapsenet has stayed hard on this theme from Day One. Because it is obvious that controlling Fukushima safely is a project for the whole world, all of us, on behalf of every living thing on the planet. And it will take the concerted effort of all human beings, regardless of nationality or color or region to deal with if any life is to continue.
Posted by Spindles on April 19, 2012 at 2:33 PM · Report this
Captain Wiggette 35
"You know what reactor didn't have a containment system? Chernobyl!"

Uh, wrong again. It did have a containment system. It had a reactor pressure vessel with a 2,000 ton lid, among other features including self-contained fuel units. That lid was blown off the RPV, not that it mattered because the core melted through the bottom anyway, exactly as occurred three times at Fukushima.

There is no containment on the spent fuel pools at Fukushima, nor on any of the SFPs in the US which are loaded more than they are in Japan where they use dry-cask storage.

""the amount of iodine-131 escaping from all the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi was less than 10 percent of the amount released at Chernobyl, and the release of caesium-137, the next most important fission product, was less than 15 percent of the Chernobyl total""

HAH! Nice try. You're going to quote an article written by a Nuclear Industry hack:…

Depending on the specific isotope, airborne release ONLY may be 1/5 to 1/2 the Chernobyl release. The Oceanic release was far far greater than Chernobyl, for obvious reasons.

You want to pretend that Fukushima wasn't a big deal. The contaminated area is comparable, and would be much larger if not for the geography of it being surrounded by ocean. The evacuated population was basically the same. And the ONLY reason Tokyo even EXISTS right now is because for two days in mid March of 2011 it simply happened not to rain while the bulk of the radioactive plume was passing over all of central japan, including Tokyo.

The last PCV scope of Unit 2 found essentially no water, indicating severe containment rupture and no or unknown cooling of corium that may be on the floor. It will likely be years yet before they even learn where the cores are, much like in Chernobyl where they also discovered a new material formed by the melt. At Fukushima, the core locations are entirely unknown, and their state is also unknown.

BTW the absolute worst-case scenario at Chernobyl (which did not occur) is nowhere even *close* to the threat posed by the inventory of Fukushima, the bulk of which (including the hot load of #4) is outside containment.

Like most people enamored with the perverse evil of nuclear power, you have no fucking idea what you're talking about. You're sitting here a YEAR later not even knowing that there is no such thing as "containment" let alone that it even failed.

BTW: let me know when the Chernobyl meltdown is brought under control...
Posted by Captain Wiggette on April 19, 2012 at 2:44 PM · Report this
I have no way of evaluating whether that reporter is a "nuclear industry hack" or whether your claims about Tokyo not existing if it rained during the two days are accurate. You are intentionally distorting what I said about the containment systems. I am obviously aware that radiation was released and therefore failed to be "contained". Chernobyl's pressure vessel with a heavy lid is not the same thing as what is referred to as the "containment system" in more modern reactor designs. I am also aware that the nuclear material present at both Fukushima and Chernobyl both still pose a threat.

I am not "enamored with the perverse evil of nuclear power". I said in my first post that I thought it was too expensive. The expense of dealing with contingencies such as Fukushima is a major part of that. All I was objecting to was your initial freakout that the flawed and dangerous design of Chernobyl was mere nuclear industry propaganda. If you really know a lot about this subject maybe you should try explaining things in a rational way and educating people who might find the subject interesting rather than immediately pressing the "you are all ignorant fools who are slaves to the nuclear industry's lies" button!
Posted by fsb on April 19, 2012 at 3:23 PM · Report this
tjsander 37
@25 Likely not. Japan still employs meter-readers and most people pay the bill at convenience stores. Japan can't even seem to move to properly insulated housing. Kerosene stoves are the most popular mode of heating rooms in winter. The "Eco" movement is mostly focused on getting people to bring their own bags to stores and chopsticks to restaurants, but that doesn't stop everything at the supermarket from being double-plastic wrapped with a styrofoam support.

@31 Japan is in economic decline. Calling the Japanese government more "brain powered" than the US severely underestimates te Japanese ability to spend a ton of time, money, and energy to do nothing.

No, Japan should not be anyone's model. Except in public transportation. Halfway from Kyoto to Osaka in the time my thumbs typed this.
Posted by tjsander on April 20, 2012 at 1:43 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 38
@32: "It's simple - nuclear is one energy source that has to be handled with no accidents and no mistakes. Ever. As soon as one happens, it's an environmental disaster. Full stop."

Thanks for proving beyond a doubt that you are talking complete shit. You clearly have no idea what nucler waste actually is, the handling procedures for it, the safety regulations around it, what a "meltdown" actually is, or the dangers of it happening. Please stop taking what you see on The Simpsons or The China Syndrome and applying it to the real world.

Since you claim there is an environmental disaster any time any accident is made with nuclear power anywhere, please describe the widescale environmental disaster that occurred after Three Mile Island, the worst nuclear "disaster" in American history.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on April 20, 2012 at 7:13 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 39
@ 38, keep telling yourself that I'M the one full of shit. You're the guy who can't simply address what I say without making up stuff that I DIDN'T say to address.
Posted by Matt from Denver on April 20, 2012 at 7:39 AM · Report this
Captain Wiggette 40
I have no way of evaluating whether that reporter is a "nuclear industry hack" or whether your claims about Tokyo not existing if it rained during the two days are accurate.

You didn't even read the byline of your own source:

Don Higson is a fellow of the Australasian Radiation Protection Society and the Institution of Engineers Australia, where he serves as secretary of the Nuclear Engineering Panel. He is also vice president of the Australian Nuclear Association based in Engadine, New South Wales, and a member of the International Nuclear Energy Academy.

He's an advocate for nuclear energy and engineering.

You don't have the capacity to google for 5 seconds the guy's name to evaluate his interests as a commentator?

You don't have the ability to read and educate yourself on the scientific papers published that assess and model the air and water plumes and total releases from Fukushima?

Well here you go:…

To wit:

"Cs (Cesium) deposition and precipitation amount on 15 March. The cyclone produced a few millimeters of rain in areas on Honshu Island engulfed by the FD-NPP plume, which led to 137Cs washout. Precipitation was strongest (6mm) near FD-NPP, which produced particularly large deposition amounts of up to nearly 1000kBqm-2 in the vicinity of FD-NPP.


Our simulation suggests that this was the main deposition event over Japan for the entire duration of the disaster. It was due to an unfortunate combination of three factors: (1) the highest emissions of the entire duration of the accident occurred during 14–15 March, (2) the winds transported these emissions over Japan, and (3) precipitation occurred over eastern Japan. Luckily, it did not rain (also confirmed by radar data) exactly at the time when – according to our simulation – the highest concentrations were advected over Tokyo and other major Japanese cities. In such a disastrous scenario, much higher 137Cs deposition in the major population centers would have been possible."

Rainfall to the NW of the reactors into the mountains towards Fukushima city and Iitate is what led to such high deposition there, while the lack of rain during that period farther south thankfully avoided that amount of heavy fallout.
Posted by Captain Wiggette on April 20, 2012 at 7:37 PM · Report this
Captain Wiggette 41
@38: fuck off, goober.
Posted by Captain Wiggette on April 20, 2012 at 7:39 PM · Report this
I'm just repeating what I read...somewhere,

Supposedly Nuclear in Japan is partly Yakuza controlled, and those sad sacks that were doing the suicidal containment efforts immediately after the disaster were "heavy debtors". True or not, Japan doesn't seem like they had as much governmental oversight of nuclear power as in the US. They just had that "Ultimate Safety" propaganda thing going.

Posted by Married in MA on April 22, 2012 at 6:14 AM · Report this

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