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Japan Power Hardware

Report Condemns Japan's Response To Nuclear Accident 267

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 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Monday December 26, 2011 @08:09PM (#38497972)

    There are many 60 year old light aircraft still being flown on a daily basis.

    Those flying 60 year old planes are a lot like my old granddads axe though. On their 5th engine, 6th prop, 2nd windscreen, 3rd instrument cluster etc.

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