japan-nuclear-restartsvia Truth Out / August 11, 2015 / Japan has restarted its first nuclear reactor to generate power since 2013.

And that’s really bad news.

Remember what happened in 2011? Why Japan closed all of its reactors abruptly and why we’re still tracing the spread of radioactive material across our Pacific Coast and into the atmosphere?

First there was an earthquake that did significant damage to that island country – and then a tsunami quickly followed.

And what happened next was the largest nuclear meltdown in the history of the world and the evacuation of 160,000 locals who lived in the area of the Fukushima power plant.

We know now that TEPCO – the owner of the Fukushima plant – had been warned years earlier about the dangers of an earthquake and a tsunami hitting the plant.

No one did anything about it then – but even if they had – do we have any reason to believe it would have been enough?

Because that’s the gamble that the Japanese nuclear industry is making with all of our futures right now.

The simple fact about nuclear power generation is that the risks and the costs dramatically outweigh any benefit.

We’ve seen some of the risks – in Chernobyl we saw how human error can cause a meltdown.

In the Three Mile Island incident we saw how the private corporations aren’t afraid to cut corners to pad their bottom line – even if that risks a partial nuclear meltdown.

And in Fukushima we saw what happens when corporate negligence meets a natural disaster.

Considering nuclear power’s track record and the staggering risks involved, it’s amazing that anyone will insure the projects. The simple fact is that without government backing, like the Price-Anderson Act here in the US, nuclear power would be impossible, because no private insurance company will cover it.

And to add insult to injury, nuclear power is actually NOT an “alternative energy” source – it’s an incredibly fossil-fuel-intensive process.

We can start with how much cement is required to contain and protect the reactors and other sensitive parts of the plants.

Cement and concrete are hugely greenhouse gas intensive to produce – and the only way we know how to protect our power plants is to use more concrete.

Beyond that, the size of the projects require tons of truckloads of materials being hauled in and away, adding to the toll of carbon costs.

Even if we just look at the material inputs used in nuclear power (it is carbon-intensive to mine uranium, and it is carbon intensive to enrich the uranium), we still don’t know what to do with the nuclear waste.

The reality is that there are economically viable and truly clean energy alternatives: geothermal, solar, wind and tidal wave power are all options for Japan, for example.

And they’re options that have none of the risks and none of the costs associated with enriched radioactive material.

And bringing those renewable options online isn’t nearly as costly in terms of carbon as it is to bring a nuclear power plant online.

The reality is – the only reason anyone wants to bring these power plants back online is that when for-profit companies like TEPCO run nuclear power with massive government subsidies and insurance, it can be hugely profitable.

Nuclear is not a bridge fuel – it is not a clean alternative – and it can’t be our future.

In the 1940s scientists marveled at the idea of using fission to safely create large amounts of energy indefinitely, and they were wrong.

The only reason we’re clinging to that fantasy today is that the for-profit nuclear owners – think Montgomery Burns from the Simpsons – don’t care about the costs of nuclear power to society.

They’ll happily sell the future of life on Earth – just to make a buck today.

Which is why both Japan and the United States should “just say no” to nuclear power.

SOURCE: Truth Out

Did you like this? Share it:
By Broc West| 16 Comments | Editorials, Featured, News

16 comments

  1. This article is retarded and probably the most biased item I have read on here, It goes on to say that nuclear power is only being used because it is profitable… bullcrap, its is viable. Japan ran up massive debts whilst importing coal to fill the power deficit left by the shutdown of their reactors.

    Nuclear is a viable power source, with the amount a reactor generates amounting to fields of turbines, if anything nuclear is safer now than it ever was. The accident at Fukashima was caused by a series of events that are so rare than I dont think it will happen again.

    Either way cold fusion is the way forward.

    • Tad,
      You are obviously a well-read, conscientious person.
      I mean come on! Retarded? Only unflawed people like you can use THAT term!
      I’m so glad you mention the monetary expense of coal. It’s so obvious. That alone makes nuclear power the only logical alternative. Why waste time on renewables, right? I mean, Japan doesn’t have wind, water or sunshine! Besides, you’re taliking limited lifespan anyway.
      But your spot-on comments leave me wondering, do you say “new clee er” or “new que ler” because I’m thinking the latter.

      • This reply is epic and super funny.. well played C Fuller!

  2. Not many people outside Japan actually remember what happened in 2011. A huge earthquake and Tsunami struck the coast of Japan killing at least 18,000 people, devastating large areas of land and spreading large amounts of chemical pollution from destroyed factories over the coastal area. Some nuclear power stations were also damaged.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222972/

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kimin-Forgotten-Leslie-E-Corrice-ebook/dp/B00GMPBSTO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1439363927&sr=1-1&keywords=Kimin%3A+Japan%E2%80%99s+Forgotten+People

    What the anti-nuclear activists would like us to think is that the end of the world has started in Fukushima.
    The accident at Fukushima is not to be underestimated, but as far as can be determined at present the containment, although damaged, held and kept most of the radioactive material in place unlike in Chernobyl. An understandably cautious recovery process is underway. Unit 4 spent fuel pool has been emptied without drama, work has started on Unit 3. As time passes the more radioactive components decay making the job easier. Despite what the scaremongers say criticality is no longer possible and decay heat has now reduced to a level where loss of cooling would not be a major problem.
    The cleanup is expected to take 10s of years, but that is the sensible way to deal with nuclear decommissioning, to allow all the short half-life (generally the most radioactive) materials to decay before you start.

    The risks to the people surrounding the plant are greatly increased by the nuclear scaremongering. Most of the deaths attributed to the Fukushima accident are due to the evacuation, none so far are due to radiation in any form. The dose criteria used for the evacuation are based on nothing. People live normally in parts of the world with considerably higher background radiation levels than the evacuation criteria used, yet the residents have been scared and stressed by all the publicity given to the doom-mongers which has caused most of the health problems and suicides.

    This article also goes on to comment on the amount of material and hence CO2 needed to build a nuclear power plant. Based on the limited information that the wind power producers release, it appears that for an equivalent electrical output wind power requires even more raw materials. Taking a typical 6MW wind turbine with a generous capacity factor of 25% 667 turbines will be required to replace a 1GWe nuclear plant.

    An American document I have gives the base for a 3.6 MW turbine as 20m x 20m x 3.6m deep. This requires the excavation (and removal) of 1440mm3 of spoil which is around 2200 tonnes. This hole is then refilled with 3400 tonnes of concrete.

    So for I GWe of land based wind power we would have to remove around 1.5 million tonnes of soil and replace it with 2.3 million tonnes of concrete before we can even consider the towers and turbines.

    The figures for Hinckley Point C in England which will generate 3.6 GWe are the excavation of 4 million cubic meters of soil (6 million tonnes) and the pouring of 3 million tonnes of concrete. So for I GWe this requires the excavation of 1.1 Million tonnes of soil and the pouring of 830,000 tonnes of concrete.

    Is wind power really such a good idea or is nuclear really so bad?

    Best regards

    Roger

    • Yes, Roger, it is. And here’s why. Whenever the questions over nuclear power are raised, people such as yourselves always use the same tired arguments. ‘It’s so much safer now’, ‘those were freak conditions to cause a triple meltdown’, etc, et al. None of you, ever, address the elephant in the room. What on earth to do with tonnes and tonnes of highly radioactive waste? The simple answer is that you don’t know. It can’t be dealt with, not with current technology. In Japan. It can’t even be safely buried. Too much risk from earthquakes. We’re talking about the need to future proof containment for extreme lengths of time. Cold fusion might well be the answer, but that is decades away from being viable, if ever. The reason the planet is covered in poorly designed aging reactors in the first place, is the result of a desperate need to binge on fissile material for weapons of mass destruction. It was the arms race that lead to such terrible reactor templates in the first place.
      Now, you may well decry the initial construction costs for, say, a wind farm with very large turbines, but if doing so, please also account for running costs, security, reprocessing of waste, decommissioning and disaster recovery when doing your cost benefit analysis for nuclear. Last time I checked, there are no windfalls spewing thousands of tons of highly radioactive waste into the dying Pacific!

      • What do you do with it? First you compact it, through vitrification or SynRoc process then, you have four viable options.

        1. Put the waste in a large torpedo-shaped canister made of steel and concrete and have it buried in the sub seafloor mud.

        2. Put the waste canisters in a large borehole.

        3. Put the waste canisters in an old mine.

        4. Put the waste in solid rock and have it melt itself down to the earth’s core.

        Now, I’m not sure how nuclear energy is “killing” the pacific, climate change is though, wind turbines have little impact on climate change.

        EROIE ratios for wind turbines according to the new peer-reviewed Carbajales-Dale are 16 and energy storage makes it even less viable. Solar is worse, sitting at 4 without energy storage.

        Renewables will get better, but fast reactors and LFTRs at the time that renewables have matured will have enormous EROIE ratios. Current centrifuge nuclear is 75 and SILEX nuclear is expected to be double.

        If you want to save the pacific and the planet you would want some nuclear in your energy mix.

    • Fuck you, motherfucker. Let’s use your wasted skin to mop up some radiation and then shoot your glowing bones into space. People like you are the problem, not people who are trying to save our severely wounded planet.

      • Yes, typical reaction of those with no facts who live their lives based on hysteria: curse at reality.

    • “The accident at Fukushima is not to be underestimated, but as far as can be determined at present the containment, although damaged, held and kept most of the radioactive material in place unlike in Chernobyl.” Your use of the word “containment” shows ignorance. There is no known way to contain the residue of a meltdown. There is no known way to keep the radioactive material from spreading. It started spreading in 2011 and it is spreading now and it will continue to spread FOREVER. Your ignorance is appalling. If you have a vessel that will contain a radioactive meltdown then please take it to Fukashima and shovel it in. The only way to avoid a tragedy was to prevent a meltdown. That opportunity is long past.

  3. That’s some nice cherry picking Roger! Why don’t you tell everyone about the massive thyroid cancer increase over there and while you are at it why did our nuclear reg. people here in the U.S. suddenly decide we don’t need our monitors anymore on the west coast following this horrific incident? By the way you must be the guy who owns the magic winged monkeys that can transmutate all those spent fuel rods into inert substance overnight instead of waiting out thousands of years for half life reduction. Bring it on big boy because you are bringing a butter knife to a sword fight and I wield “Excalibur”. With great abandon! Jeff.

    • Yes, as your post railing against actual facts and figures with completely unverifiable statements shows; you certainly wield Excalibull.

  4. The only reason we have nuclear energy in our societies is because the military industrial complex needed a camoflage to produce plutonium for atomic weapons. That in conjunction with heavy backing from governments (us ignorant taxpayers ultimately) enables this utter lunacy, which humanity will regret for eternity, this dispicable and immoral industry to be considered “profitable”. That is insanity in its purest form, yet so many people still buy it and believe it is necessary. Abre los ojos…

  5. If we introduce lethal poisons into our only biosphere that not only lack clear ways to detoxify them, but also carry the caveat (relative to our lifespans) of timeless toxicity:

    Isotope Half-life:
    Caesium-137 30 years
    Plutonium-239 24,000 years
    Caesium-135 2.3 million years
    Iodine-129 15.7 million years

    how do I calculate cost/risk values? If the U.S. alone produced (1) “…roughly 64,000 metric tons (one metric ton equals 1.1 U.S. tons) of radioactive used fuel rods in total…” while “nuclear reactors in the U.S. produce more than 2,000 metric tons of radioactive waste a year, according to the DoE—and most of it ends up sitting on-site because there is nowhere else to put it (as of 1/2009) then as our planet produces surprises and unplanned events; tsunami’s, droughts, earthquakes, eruptions, rivers changing course, sea levels rising or falling, should I be concerned when lethal waste that outlives us all may enter my environment if water levels/pressure changes or fissures open where fracking has taken place, or if earthquakes violently shake nuclear storage facilities, or only after realizing I can be surprised? Hydrogenated oils were healthy foods decades ago, CFC’s were inert and harmless, and nuclear power was “too cheap to meter.” I don’t know it all, but think to err on cautions side as eperience is an excellent teacher, although expensive at times n’est ce pas.

    (1) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/nuclear-waste-lethal-trash-or-renewable-energy-source/

  6. There is one thing that really bothers me about nuclear power plants; how do you get rid of the waste it produces world wide?
    Yep, maybe nuclear-power may be superior but no one has taken care of the obvious, waste. Cart before the horse, it seems to me.

  7. Truth Hurts,

    Spent nuclear fuel is certainly not the elephant in the room. Civil nuclear power produces quite small amounts of spent nuclear fuel (10s of tonnes per year) which is generally stored on site. The highly active isotopes decay quite rapidly so the amount of activity ends up being relatively constant.

    I accept that the early military bomb activities produced more difficult to handle waste, but still in quite small quantities.

    Spent nuclear fuel is also a resource, but current politics and economics (uranium is too cheap), mean that there is very little reprocessing carried out and no one wishes to build new plants. Due to the small quantities involved one reprocessing plant and one waste repository per continent would be sufficient, but the political will is not there.

    The problem with wind power and even more so solar power is that the actual return on energy invested is very low. A modern nuclear plant has a life span of 60 years to return the energy used in its construction. The energy required to process the fuel is very low in proportion to the energy obtained from the fuel. Almost all of the energy burden (CO2) of a nuclear plant is in the construction phase.

    Wind and solar typically have 20-25 year life spans. A solar PV system produced in China and installed in northern Europe probably does not pay back the energy used in its production.

    http://www.resilience.org/stories/2015-05-11/how-sustainable-is-pv-solar-power

    If similar amounts of materials are used to produce the same power output from nuclear and wind power nuclear will return 2.5 – 3 times as much energy. If the construction of the storage systems required to convert wind power into dispatchable electricity are taken into account wind is even worse. The numbers for the complete system are difficult to find, but wind power probably returns 2-3 times the energy invested in its construction (If anyone out there has better figures than mine please share them).

    I do like the way that anything radioactive always ‘spews’. Anti-nuclear propaganda also tends to spew. The Pacific is certainly not dying due to Fukishima. There is already sufficient natural uranium in the world’s oceans to make it a potentially viable source. The material leaking from Fukishima in unlikely to make much difference to the 4 Billion tons of uranium already there along with similar large quantities of other natural radionuclides.

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-08/acs-aid072612.php

    Jeff,
    Where have I cherry picked?

    I have not mentioned a thyroid cancer increase simply because it is not true. What evidence do you have? To justify your statement you need to firstly explain how the cancers have appeared inside the incubation period and secondly show comparative data to a similar level of testing carried out in a control area.

    http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-child-thyroid-issue.html

    Why are the US authorities not testing on the west coast, because they realise that there is nothing worth testing for. With very sophisticated techniques it is possible to detect very small quantities of Cs 134 that are most likely to have come from Fukishima, but it is generally masked by the larger amounts of Cs 137 already present. What do you expect them to find there? Here is a link to the current information from Woods Hole:

    http://ourradioactiveocean.org/results.html

    Best regards

    Roger

  8. ” The only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself ”
    – Winston Churchill

    So Roger you said:
    “Civil nuclear power produces quite small amounts of spent nuclear fuel (10s of tonnes per year) which is generally stored on site.”

    I found three different sources that each give a different number:

    http://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/On-Site-Storage-of-Nuclear-Waste
    pro nuclear Site, gives the number of 20 metric tonnes per plant per year.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Nuclear-Wastes/Radioactive-Waste-Management/
    Also a pro nuclear Site, gives the number of 27 metric tonnes per plant per year.

    http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Factsheets/English/manradwa.html
    International Atomic Energy Agency, gives the number of 30 metric tonnes per plant per year.

    So when even pro atomic energy organisations provide a number of nuclear waste that is up to three times higher than the number you provide, what other conclusion is there than that you are a fraud?
    I’d like to know what your motivation and your goal is. You are clearly giving out wrong information, but why and what do you hope to achieve with this ? Where is your benefit?

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*