Fukushima Update

There is continuing news coming from Japan regarding the situation at the nuclear power plant damaged by the massive earthquake and tsunami.  Plutonium has now been found outside the reactor in the soil.  Reports of radiation 10 million times normal were erroneous and caused by translation problems.  It is merely 100,000 times normal.  17 workers at the plant have been identified as having been exposed to radiation and it does appear that one reactor core has been breached.  The radiation in sea water near the plant is disturbingly serious.  

Radiation in rain falling here in Pennsylvania has been detected but is infinitesimal, no danger exists.  It does show how these accidents can spread around the globe through weather patterns however so power plants anywhere have the potential to effect everyone.

This accident is causing people to rethink nuclear power.  President Obama embraced nuclear as an option to wean us off fossil fuels and now he’s a harsh political position going into 2012.  Should he continue this position it could hurt him with his base, what’s left of it at least.  Interest in renewable energy sources is gathering momentum and that’s good.  The potential for converting geothermal, solar, wind, waves and other possibilities is endless but it may never match what we currently consume in gas, coal and oil.  However when we increase renewables and increase conservation we can drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and possibly save the planet in the process.  This isn’t a matter of how we do it, we HAVE to do it.

2 thoughts on “Fukushima Update”

  1. even if we could get past the problem of the “million year regulation” and the effort to design warnings that will have to be effective long after any currently existing language or culture vanishes into the mists of time…we still have this insane cost problem with nuclear.

    you’re gonna be looking at 30¢/kwh–or more–which is about 2½ times what y’all are paying now in pa.

    it costs as much to decommission a plant as it does to build one, which the industry would rather not talk about today, even though every single nuclear reactor in the usa, all 104 of ’em, are either at or approaching the end of their design lives.

    and then there’s liability.

    try to imagine the costs of “remediating” what has happened in japan, and then try to imagine who would be on the hook for those costs here, where the industry is shielded from realistic liability insurance requirements; instead, the taxpayer bears the risks, and if they run a shoddy operation the company keeps the profits.

    here’s the thing: for a nuclear plant to operate successfully, every single element of the process has to be executed perfectly, from years before the plant goes into operation until about a million years after…and that’s true for every single plant, and every single waste repository…and who thinks we humans can guarantee perfection on that scale?

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