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Japan Power Hardware

Report Condemns Japan's Response To Nuclear Accident 267

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-about-condemning-the-earthquake dept.
mdsolar sends this quote from an article at the NY Times: "From inspectors who abandoned the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as it succumbed to disaster to a delay in disclosing radiation leaks, Japan's response to the nuclear accident caused by the March tsunami fell tragically short, a government-appointed investigative panel said on Monday. ... In particular, an erroneous assumption that an emergency cooling system was working led to an hours-long delay in finding alternative ways to draw cooling water to the plant, the report said. All the while, the system was not working, and the uranium fuel rods at the cores were starting to melt."
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Report Condemns Japan's Response To Nuclear Accident

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  • by sirdude (578412) on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:21PM (#38497206)
    ... there would have been less "soteigai" and more "seppuku".
  • Once that plant started to melt down any work on site was going to be long and dangerous. The only way to protect the local people was to move them away. So its pretty clear that the local area was not evacuated fast enough, but I don't see that using a different approach in the first few hours would have helped. That plant was gone and about to melt down. It was destroyed by a big earthquake and at least two big waves.

    • Why don't nuclear power plants use steam engines to run the cooling pumps? They would run till it cooled, don't need any fuel or electricity, work underwater and can be thermally activated when the reactor gets too hot without any intervention.
      • Yeah a thermosyphon, like the solar hot water system I used to own. IIRC one of the units in Japan could be cooled that way but they didn't use it for some reason.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can you imagine if 1% of cars would randomly blow up? How about 1% of airplanes have their engines fall off in flight? There wouldn't be cars or airplanes.

    But, 1% of all nuclear power plants in the world have now experienced melt downs. Per wikipedia, 441 operating plants in the world.

    echo 5/441 | bc -l .01133786848072562358

    So, OVER 1% catastrophic failure. .I'm sure all the pro pro pro nuke industry apologists on /. will mod this to oblivion. Facts can be inconvenient.

    • by ustolemyname (1301665) on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:41PM (#38497344)

      How many cars have you driven 24/6 for 60 years? Hell, few airplanes are in the air after 30 years.

      On top of that, 0.4% of all cars get in accidents every year. Every year more people die in the US from traffic accidents then in every nuclear power incident ever.

      Sources:
      http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s1103.pdf [census.gov]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_vehicles_in_the_United_States#Total_number_of_vehicles [wikipedia.org]

      • by Idou (572394) on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:52PM (#38497404) Journal
        To be fair, nuclear plant reactors tend to not cover as much distance in their lifetimes . . . that might contribute to their low traffic accident numbers.
    • by beelsebob (529313)

      I count 10 reactors that have melted down:

      BORAX-i
      EBR-i
      The sodium reactor expiremnt
      Stationary Low Power reactor No 1
      SNAP8ER
      Fermi 1
      SNAP8DR
      3 mile island
      chernobyl
      fukushima

      • by khallow (566160)
        He's talking about civil power plants. That drops it to the last three plants on the list and Windscale.
        • Windscale was not civilian. It was designed to breed plutonium for Britain's nuclear weapons program. It didn't even have power generating facilities.

    • by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:43PM (#38497352) Journal

      Even with pessistimistic estimates for Chernobyl and Fukushima death rates nuclear power still kills less people per unit of energy than any other form of electrical generation.

      If you want to complain about the safety of nuclear power tell us what you want to replace it with. Be honest and include the expected change in fatalities resulting from switching over to your alternative.

      • by khallow (566160)
        And land use. How much land is going to be devoted to the infrastructure in question.
        • by Idou (572394)
          Hi, khallow. After defending Japan's response so much [slashdot.org], I thought you would be no where to be found once this report came out. Yet here you are . . .

          So, do you think this report is some kind of conspiracy or something? Why don't you just come out and say it instead of beating around the bush? You really think Green Peace paid off the government-appointed investigative panel with their cocaine money, or something, right?
          • by Magada (741361)

            He's a nuke shill, no mistake about that. I doubt he's including the land permanently contaminated by Mayak, Fukushima and Chernobyl in his "land use" statistics.

            • by Idou (572394)
              If I recall correctly, he was saying solar power was far worse than nuclear contamination and fallout because it "takes up more land." Some nuke shills would do more justice to their side by keeping quiet . . .
              • by khallow (566160)

                If I recall correctly, he was saying solar power was far worse than nuclear contamination and fallout because it "takes up more land."

                Maybe I did say that. But googling around, here's [slashdot.org] where I talk about land use by nuclear in response to a common by you, Idou (which I quote below):

                However, what I find hard to understand is why you then feel like you know what the best energy policy is for Japan and what the true impact of the Fukushima accident to Japan will be.

                It's not magical. Japan uses electricity infrastructure and obeys the laws of physics. They have to have base load power, whether provided by nuclear, coal, even geothermal, or some other source that can be smoothed out enough (such as sporadic power sources such as solar or wind combined with batteries or a complementary peaking source such as natural gas).

                If they decided to discontinue nuclear power, then they need to replace it with something. Nuclear has several advantages that make it a very powerful alternative. Even with the occasional meltdown creating unusable blocks of land for a period of time, it still uses less land area than solar or wind per unit of power generated. That is, it has a very small footprint. Nor does it create dependence on foreign imports and generate air pollution comparable to fossil fuel plants. Finally, Japan could import it's power. Maybe string some lines over from Kamchatka or the Koreas? I don't think Japan wants to be so dependent on a foreign supplier.

                In the long run, there could be all sorts of better technologies. Maybe fusion will work eventually and be competitive? Maybe offshore solar/wind and some sort of battery storage system? Orbital space-based solar power? Things like that. The thing is that there currently isn't a credible replacement for nuclear power aside from other technologies with their own serious drawbacks.

                Japan needs something. Despite all the drawbacks, nuclear does work.

                I didn't notice your reply to that particular message. I already mentioned that I was and still am invested in Duke Energy. I am not employed to shill by anyone and have no interest in nuclear power outside of my investment and my concern about the future of my society.

                It's also worth noting that while Japan does import its nuclear fuel, it doesn't have to im

                • by Idou (572394)

                  still am invested in Duke Energy

                  Shilling for your minute equity investment, are you? How noble . . .

                  I am not employed to shill by anyone

                  Of course, because you would be fired for the quality of arguments you have been making.

                  My concern about the future of my society

                  Right, and Japan is not your society. Your biased spin is pissing off those of us who actually do have a vested interest in Japan and making the pro-nukes seem like a bunch of control freaks.

                  it doesn't have to import it all the time . . . less vulnerable to trade disruptions

                  Um, trade disruption due to all the pirates around Japan? Oh, and the nuclear waste you can just leave forever at the site, as we all saw during the Fukushima crisis

            • by khallow (566160)

              I doubt he's including the land permanently contaminated by Mayak, Fukushima and Chernobyl in his "land use" statistics.

              You'd be mistaken. The land use thing has been discussed before.

              • by Magada (741361)

                Where?

                • by Idou (572394)
                  Just to warn you, khallow will take you down a long, long thread. Then, towards the end, he will surprise you by a bunch of unsophisticated statements like nuclear has no foreign imports requirements for Japan (even though it has both Uranium import and waste export requirements). Or that there are no credible alternatives to nuclear, even when nuclear only accounts for like just 13% world electrical power production after 50 years. It really is a disappointment to find out after so much time that you have
            • by khallow (566160)

              He's a nuke shill, no mistake about that.

              Why would I be? A real, paid-for shill would pick their battles better and SEO any comments that have weak rebuttals. Khallow might sound unique but there's a lot of extraneous hits (apparently it's an uncommon, but common enough Asian surname). Slashdot is also crap for SEO due to the funky pages that Google actually finds. I've used Google before to attempt to find my older posts, but it's hard work.

              When I just search "khallow" and "slashdot" I get more prominent hits from my posts on Kuro5hin.org (whi

              • by Idou (572394)

                He's a nuke shill, no mistake about that.

                Why would I be?

                Because you have some piss-ant little investment in Duke Energy, which apparently is more important than the safety and livelihood of entire nations. Nations of which you are completely ignorant of in regards to their language, culture, and energy profile, yet you think you know what is best in regards to their energy policies. You have a significant personal bias that is not aligned with those most at risk from this specific incident, and yet you argue as if you have altruistic motives. Seems pretty shill-

          • by khallow (566160)
            It isn't just defending the government which I like. Still sounds like a bunch of tough talk from people who've never run anything larger or riskier than a university lab.
      • by Magada (741361)

        Are you counting deaths from cancer? How?

      • Even with pessistimistic estimates for Chernobyl and Fukushima death rates nuclear power still kills less people per unit of energy than any other form of electrical generation.

        Yes, and air has always been the safest way to travel, but yet the FAA is one of the strictest safety organisations in history. Meanwhile, cars kill hundreds of thousands every year, and manufacturers still fight over having to implement safety features.

        We hold different technologies to different standards, for different reasons. For nuclear power, this reason involves the ability of nuclear accidents to render cities, towns and surrounding regions effectively uninhabitable for up to and over 50 years. A 1% failure rate under these circumstances is not very comforting, particularly in such a space poor country as Japan.

        Would you build a nuclear plant in the suburbs or port regions of New York or Tokyo? If not, why not, and where else are you going to build them? In which regions of your country are you willing to risk that 1% failure rate over 100 years, that could render the areas within 30km of the plant uninhabitable for 50 years?

        If you want to complain about the safety of nuclear power tell us what you want to replace it with. Be honest and include the expected change in fatalities resulting from switching over to your alternative.

        You find me the small town willing to take the risks I've mentioned above first. I'm willing to bet you;ll have more difficulty with that than I will finding alternative energy sources.

        We could of course, build nuclear plants in the middle of nowhere, but apparently that's unacceptable for some reason.

      • by eulernet (1132389)

        What a short-sighted view !
        How can you get modded insightful ?

        Frankly, the problem is not the number of immediate deaths, it's the fact that the land is poisoned for a few millenia, and a lot of people will die in 100 years from this massive fuck-up (from eating contaminated food, and living in the neighbourhood).

        It's easy to defend a rational point of view, when you are very FAR from the accident.
        Let's suppose that a nuclear plant melts near your home.
        Will you react as: no problem, I'm confident towards ou

        • Let's suppose that a nuclear plant melts near your home.

          I spent eight years operating and maintaining the reactor that I slept less than 100 feet away from.

          If you want to make things personal what's your experience in this area?

          • I spent eight years operating and maintaining the reactor that I slept less than 100 feet away from.

            Say hi to Marge, Bart and Lisa for me.

        • The cities bombed by American nuclear bombs are inhabited. Bikini atoll was nuked over and over, yet the life came back. When dealing with radio-isotopes the higher the level of radiation the shorter the half-life. Yes there will be radiation there for a long time, but not high enough to kill.
      • by rust627 (1072296)

        Funny, I haven't heard of that many deaths from solar power .........

        I know as an advocate for nuclear power you will immediately come up with the "baseline power" argument. I am always amused by this argument.
        "Solar cannot supply enough power for the baseline power demand so we must build more nuclear power plants to give us the reserve power for when demand spikes." is the argument.
        And yes, it is perfectly True

        But, when does demand spike ?
        When do demand induced brown outs and blackouts occur ?

        Hot, sunny

        • Funny, I haven't heard of that many deaths from solar power .........

          Then you haven't been listening.

          There's no such thing as a riskless human activity. Every single possible thing a person can do has a death rate associated with it.

          Most solar deaths occur during the construction and installation phase of the life cycle.

          The number of deaths is low in absolute terms but since the amount of energy produced over the lifetype of a solar installation is so small compared to denser sources of power it makes each

        • Funny, I haven't heard of that many deaths from solar power .........

          That is because the deaths solar power causes are pretty mundane. Stuff like falling off roofs and similar.

          It's like car crashes vs train and plane crashes. Car crashes happen all the time but they are too mundane to be interesting so they aren't usualy mentioned beyond the local news and sometimes not even there. Train and plane crashes kill far fewer people but when one does happen it's big news.

          But, when does demand spike ?

          When the temperature outside gets furthest from the temperature people want inside. In some places that is hot

      • If you want to complain about the safety of nuclear power tell us what you want to replace it with. Be honest and include the expected change in fatalities resulting from switching over to your alternative.

        Replace it with the hot air from congress. Safest source known to man.

    • by stms (1132653)

      A nuclear meltdown isn't necessarily explosive. To be honest it would surprise me if most cars had a lower than 1% failure rate especially among cars still running designed and manufactured before 1980 as most nuclear plants are. What I find most inconvenient about facts is how the media distorts them.

    • by Christian Smith (3497) on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:58PM (#38497440) Homepage

      And every coal mine has had tragic cave ins and deaths. Fossil fuel is causing potential global melt down.

      Question is, how many of those melt downs resulted in deaths? How many compared to coal, oil and gas exploration and mining?

      And we're not talking about a random blow up here. We're talking a >9 richter scale earth quake and biggest in memory tsunami, which killed infinitely more people than the melt down, and orders of magnitude more people than even Chernobyl.

      • The 'problem' with nuclear isn't the actual deaths but the potential deaths. Sure not every one is explosive, but when they are it ain't pretty. That's why they build the things so massively redundant. It simply can not fail. Period.

        Now put something like that on a coastline prone to quakes and tsunamis. It's a bad risk to take yet was labeled 'safe' quite recently.

        If humans were involved in the design, construction or operation, there will be things that fail.

        Even if they built a sea wall h
    • by roman_mir (125474) on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:12PM (#38497536) Homepage Journal

      IF any of the accidents and incidents with nuclear powerplants (and nuclear weapons) have caused as many deaths and injuries as CARS have (or alcohol or tobacco or other types of powerplants, like coal or hydro), then you'd have half a point.

      Come back when nuclear powerplants start killing as many people as anything I have mentioned here.

    • by suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:29PM (#38497662)

      Random? What are you talking about? Are you using the word because a nuclear plant accident can seem random to people not paying attention?

      A car that's improperly maintained can cause an accident that seems to happen "randomly." A driver that falls asleep behind the wheel can cause an accident that seems to happen "randomly". An unexpected weather event can cause an accident that seems to happen "randomly". Are you counting those as "cars randomly blowing up"? Because when they happen at a nuclear plant, you would use the same word.

      Or are you talking about areas affected? Do you really want to try to compare how much (surface area * time) is wasted by car crashes, or how many people lose time or property because of them, compared to nuclear accidents? Or how much manpower is put into cleaning them up? How many fatalities?

      To be perfectly honest, we put up with cars because cars are individually empowering. Nuclear power is not individually empowering, not when compared to other kinds of power generation, and it won't be until we have some sort of cold-fusion device that lets you live off the grid. Power generation is about trust. And nuclear power (right or wrong) is asking us to trust them to deal with scarily powerful forces.

      You can mistrust them. That's fine. But, please don't scaremonger. Voice concerns, by all means, but don't scaremonger. Some of us do trust it, and in a vast majority of cases, that trust is not misplaced. Being a dick to people who are actually trustworthy and going out of their way to be of use to us is kind of a dick move.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      These data sets are not related. A better comparison might be how many nuclear power plants melted down vs., say, how many oil spills there were or how many coal mines caught fire.

      I mean, that's like saying 10 out of 100,000 people are killed by guns and 20 out of 100,000 people are killed by raccoons, and therefore raccoons are more dangerous than guns.

    • Can you imagine if 1% of cars would randomly blow up?

      apparently you never lived through the 70's.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Can you imagine if 1% of cars would randomly blow up?

      It's like you aren't aware of the millions killed by automobiles, let alone maimed.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Can you imagine if 1% of cars would randomly blow up? How about 1% of airplanes have their engines fall off in flight?

      What an arsebackwards comparison. 1% of planes would fall out of the sky if they were 50 years old. What about cars with no seatbelts, traction control, or any other of those lovely advances in technology that have happened over the last 40 years to make us safer?

      As usual people people pick the facts that are most convenient to their argument and then completely ignore all other external influences.

      Here's another fact. While 1% of nuclear reactors may have experienced catastrophic failure, they have killed

  • Not news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by siddesu (698447) on Monday December 26, 2011 @07:45PM (#38497808)

    Anyone in Japan who has followed the developments would have told you so much. I was hopeful until the Sunday after the quake, when it became plainly obvious that the government and TEPCO are lying about the extent of the damage. It was obvious that a meltdown has occurred at the time of the first explosion, but nobody with even a textbook understanding of how a reactor works would have had any doubts after unit 3 sent large concrete blocks 150 meters up in the air.

    Yet, the Japanese government and TEPCO "admitted the possibility" of meltdowns in the beginning of May, and admitted meltdowns have actually occurred in late July. All this was done while the nuclear industry was faking support for nuclear energy all over Japan, and officials in Japan alongside with power company officials were twisting arms, legs and other limbs to avoid responsibility.

    I won't even discuss the irresponsible dispatch of highly radioactive water on barges and into the ocean and the venting of radioactive steam in the air, which continued for weeks, etc. Now, when the cooling of the reactors has allegedly finished, TEPCO has few hundred tons of highly radioactive sludge in containers on site, waiting for the next quake and tsunami to wash them over the landscape. These will, supposedly, be "dealt with" in the distant future.

    What is really surprising is not only the abysmal response of TEPCO. Nuclear industry in Japan has forever been plagued by accidents. What is un-fucking-believable s the continuing complacency of the government about it. There have been no investigations, no arrests, nothing.

    A government panel, composed mostly of "old boys" (former execs from the nuclear industry, who now serve as "regulators" on taxpayer dime and whose job is to excuse the fuckups of their former colleagues) estimated that Fukushima will increase cost of nuclear power by 20%. Independent experts estimated that actual increase will be more like 3-4 times the current cost. Guess what -- TEPCO already wants the price of electricity to rise by about 20% from next year -- that is just to cope with the immediate cost of the Fukushima cleanup and compensations. The independent experts may yet turn out to be right about a fourfold cost increase.

    Considering the size of the accident and the level of criminal complacency and negligence that lead to it, the report doesn't even come to "damning". It is more like a strongly-worded letter. What is needed in this case is some good ole criminal prosecution, some long terms in the PMITA prison for the TEPCO board members and plant managers, and restructuring the company so that investors who cheered the bad safety practices are heavily punished. A cleanup of the regulatory bodies won't be a bad thing as well.

    But it is Japan, so none of these are very likely to happen. Instead, we'll have another accident in a few years.

    • by lanner (107308)

      But it is Japan, so none of these are very likely to happen. Instead, we'll have another accident in a few years.

      And thus it is very much deserved, should the people of that country fail to exert more power than the minority politicians and interested industry shareholders.

  • by LifesABeach (234436) on Monday December 26, 2011 @09:24PM (#38498724)
    those who have no honor, no respect for community, no regard for actions taken; we now have name for them, "Fukushima Daiichi."
  • ...would just shuttup about it. Everything's fine now. Remember BP? They were worse. Please move along.

Stellar rays prove fibbing never pays. Embezzlement is another matter.

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