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Japan Power News

Japan Raises Nuclear Plant Crisis Severity To 7 673

darkonc writes "Early Tuesday in Japan, the government decided to raise the severity level of the accident to the maximum 7 on an international scale, up from the current 5 and matching that of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. The government declared the level 7 emergency because it is now estimated that the crippled plant was emitting over 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactivity for a number of hours at the height of the nuclear incident. Previously, on Monday, the government had expanded the evacuation zone around the plant to include at least 6 cities up to 60 km away from the plant. These cities, outside of the current 20-30 km evacuation area, are now expected to exceed the 20 millisieverts/year limit on residual radiation established by International Commission on Radiological Protection and the International Atomic Energy Agency in the case of an emergency."
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Japan Raises Nuclear Plant Crisis Severity To 7

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  • by DamienRBlack ( 1165691 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @08:24AM (#35791684)
    This crisis, bad as it is, is still just a drop in the bucket compared to what we may be doing to our atmosphere with coal. I'd take a world powered by nuclear any day. At least the problems with nuclear are local-ish.
  • by shic ( 309152 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @08:45AM (#35791862)

    I am broadly in favour of nuclear energy - in principle. In practice, I have faith in neither corporate compliance nor government monitoring. Neither entity is equipped, or motivated, to appropriately manage long term risk... and that means you can good as guarantee failures. Hysteria about nuclear contamination, IMHO, has made matters worse - encouraging officials to focus exclusively upon reassuring the public that there is "no risk" at the expense of a focus on restricting and mitigating the consequences of the (ultimately inevitable) eventual accident.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @09:00AM (#35792040) Homepage

    ... you don't understand risk analysis

    Are the anti-nuclear crowd going to drive their cars to the protest? After letting the TSA spend billions of dollars to trample their rights on the flight over there? And receiving a decent dose of radiation on that flight.

    Tell me again about "risk analysis" and how good the average person is at it...

    it's not hysteria going on here. really


  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @09:37AM (#35792530)

    We expect the world population will be in decline by mid century, due to the liberation of women, access to birth control, etc. If given the option, women prefer having fewer children and investing more effort in each child. It follows that our overall world consumption could eventually be covered by reasonable usage of wind, wave, solar, and geothermal.

    There are large wind turbines that power 500 homes already, for example. Yes, it'll require several ass wind turbines standing above every suburb to power both that suburb and the city, but hey the burb's always did suck anyways. Also, there is much faster technological progress on wind, wave, and solar than civilian nuclear because they exist at scales that human handle better.

    Btw, aircraft, spacecraft, and ships are our only vehicles that fundamentally require high energy density. All our current car designs require high energy density too, but a ground level power [] standard for highways could solve that problem for electric cars.

    Are you familiar with what most infrastructure projects look like after a couple decades in operation? Nuclear power simply doesn't give enough room for the inevitable screw ups. You simply cannot trust either governments or private enterprise to handle the task long term. You could mandate that the family of every power plant owner and worker lived inside the plant, but you'd still find people dangerously cutting corners.

    There will for example be another Chernobyl coming down the line in Bulgaria's nuclear industry now that they're completely run by organized crime. ( see ) Italy's mafiaa has also decided it wants some part of the nuclear power pie. Do you remember when the garbage was piling up in Naples?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @10:56AM (#35793710)
    american 'experts', think thanks, tvs and gov.t officials, no doubt.

    european commission doesnt think so. french independent radiation commission doesnt think so. []

    " The risks associated with iodine-131 contamination in Europe are no longer âoenegligible,â according to CRIIRAD [Commission de Recherche et d'Information Indépendantes sur la Radioactivité], an independent French research body on radioactivity. ⦠The document, published on 7 April, advises against consuming rainwater and says vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid consuming vegetables with large leaves, fresh milk and creamy cheese. The risks related to prolonged contamination among vulnerable groups of the population can no longer be considered âoenegligibleâ and it is now necessary to avoid âoerisky behaviour,â CRIIRAD claimed. ⦠[This] is applicable to other European countries, as the level of air contamination is currently the same in Belgium, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, for instance. Data for the west coast of the United States, which received the Fukushima radioactive fallout 6-10 days before France, reveals that levels of radioactive iodine-131 concentration are 8-10 times higher there, the institute says.". []

    and you americans are the only ones downplaying this like idiots. because you are told to do so, because it is more convenient to do so.

  • by Sir_Kurt ( 92864 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:13AM (#35793972)

    Hey, I went to MIT, I like technology and have no fundamental problem with nuclear power as a concept, but practically, as implemented, it is a disaster, and I don't see anything happening that will make it better any time soon.

    The fundamental reason that utilities got into the nuke businesses was because they were/are fantastically expensive to build, and this cost went into the rate base by which profits as a regulated utility are figured. They also got a break on insurance for a risk they clearly do understand.

    So problem one, the rational for building them was based on making money, lots of money, with the risk carried by the taxpayers.

    Problem number two, we have never figured out what to do with the waste. Folks in the future are really really going to hate us as they pay for that one. And as a consequence, we have waste sitting all over the place that is not particularly well protected AND requires continuous cooling and attention.

    Problem number three. Nuke power plants have a fundamental flaw or at least a design weakness. They REQUIRE an outside source of electricity and a connection to the grid in order to function. If you cut the connection to the grid, they will immediately shutdown. They have to, they can't function without a load and they need power to run the plant when they do shutdown. If you also disable the backup generators, you get what has happened in Japan. There are so many ways that this could happen besides an earthquake and tsunami.

    Problem number four, Reactors tend to be grouped together along with spent fuel storage ponds, so it is easy to have a cascade failure when one goes seriously belly up. In other words, things are so hot you can't maintain the functioning plants either.

    When all of the above are reasonably worked out, then lets look at building more nuclear power plants. These things should have been worked out 50 years ago.

    As much as it has been belittled by some on here, the consequences of a meltdown and release of core material is a damn big deal. At the very least I expect it will put the power company out of business.

    I'll leave it to you to decide if you would move your family into the exclusion zone around Chernobyl, or Fukushima.


To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley