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Power Japan The Courts

Japanese Court Rules Against Restarting Ohi Reactors 75

AmiMoJo writes: "A Japanese court has ordered the operator of the Ohi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, not to restart two of its reactors, citing inadequate safety measures. The plant's No. 3 and 4 reactors were halted for regular inspections last September. Local residents filed a lawsuit asking that the reactors be kept offline. They said an estimate of possible tremors is too small, and that the reactors lack backup cooling systems. The operator, Kansai Electric Power Company, has insisted that no safety problems exist."
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Japanese Court Rules Against Restarting Ohi Reactors

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  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:44PM (#47068389) Homepage Journal

    In this corner, we have the experts who have stake to lie to you.

    In this corner, we have a bunch of local idiots being baited by some agenda-driven journalist who is likely to twist facts and probably doesn't understand nuclear safety anyway, so probably thinks non-issues are terrifying while making serious issues out of other things he knows are non-issues.

    Who will prevail?!

  • No problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:50PM (#47068473)
    Japan has started to exploit the many Trillions of cubic feet [] of natural gas trapped in methane hydrates. Clearly that's a better alternative than restarting a power plant that's been operating safely for decades.
  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @02:10PM (#47068733) Homepage Journal

    You are whining because you don't trust a nuclear company with commercial interest.

    In the past, US companies have exposed us to dangerous chemicals. US plastic manufacturers used BPA for plastic. We are banning BPA in the US; polycarbonate now uses BPS, which carries the same toxicity concerns but leeches in much greater concentrations. That means our BPA-Free polycarbonate is more toxic than BPA polycarbonate; BPA polycarbonate is roughly harmless.

    Yes, it's trivially easy for small activists to create false fears in the minds of idiots who are at odds with professionals who know what they're doing. The professionals may be lying; but you're still an idiot if you don't actually understand what problems you're imagining up. For the professionals, it's clear: they're either lying to you or they're not. For you, it's hit-or-miss: you're screaming about something that's either a concern or it isn't, but it sounds scary in either case.

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <> on Thursday May 22, 2014 @03:15PM (#47069369) Homepage Journal

    That's the thing, they do understand the risks very well. There are known fault lines near the plant. Independent studies have suggested that the can produce earthquakes larger than the plant was designed to handle. We know that the quake itself damaged the emergency cooling system at Fukushima. Just like Fukushima, Ohi doesn't have a backup emergency cooling system.

    So, the key question is can the Ohi operators be believed when they say that the improvements they have made can withstand these earthquakes and that the cooling system won't fail.

  • Re:Godzilla! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by imikem ( 767509 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @03:19PM (#47069391) Homepage

    I'd prefer not to include Chernobyl since it was literally a catastrophe waiting to happen. A reactor with no containment building, really? Nothing like that ever got built outside the Soviet bloc. Even if included, deaths per gigawatt hour from nuclear barely amount to a rounding error [] when compared to fossil fuel.

    I'd say as things are, coal is just as long term a solution in Japan as the nuclear plants. There just aren't that many workable alternatives. Natgas plants perhaps, but recent investigation suggests that methane leaks in production and distribution are probably enough to render greenhouse gas emissions similar in magnitude to coal. Nuclear power has risks of course. Unfortunately the world has magnified those risks a great deal by collective failure to deploy newer and safer reactor technologies. Case in point: Fukushima Daiichi. Generation I plants with known serious failure modes. There's no earthly reason Gen I plants should still be in operation. For comparison, how many businesses are depending on 1960 era computer systems, and how many people drive 1960 cars as primary transportation?

    Apportioning the blame for this, in my opinion divides roughly in thirds between corporate sloth/greed, government fecklessness and societal ignorance/paranoia.

  • Re:Godzilla! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chmod a+x mojo ( 965286 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @04:03PM (#47069739)

    What the operators were forced to deal with after the Tsunami is not nearly as relevent and the fact that the Tsunami left the plant with no emergency power and water intrusion quickly disabled and remaining systems that were battery backed. This was the case because the plant, nor its safety systems, were designed to withstand the Tsunami.

    Actually it is quite relevant. The plant could have been saved, and large scale radio-isotope release could have been avoided in the condition the plant was in after the tsunami. The low pressure emergency cooling was not affected by the tsunami, it was not used due to public fear of radiation, and the requirement that some radio-gasses would needs be released when the vessels are depressurized.
    Does that mean the operators made the "wrong" choices? We can't know with 100% certainty, but all indications are ( and scientifically backed up in several published papers ) that it would have been the better idea to depressurize the vessels and use the several days worth of passive decay heat capacity of the spent fuel pools and suppression rings that is the backup built in for just this type of emergency. Gravity fed coolant was on hand, the LOC accident then would not have occurred and the fuel would not have melted. The net result would have been significantly reduced amounts of radio-isotopes released ( and all of them gone within ~1 week at most ) and no need for long term evacuation and cleanup.

    If my tires are rated for maximum 50 mph, and I'm going 90 mph and lose control, and I tried to swerve and wind up hitting a tree, the problem was not that I swerved the wrong way, the problem was that I put the vehicle in situation it was not designed to safety handle.

    It's actually more like you blew your tire while going 55 because your speedometer was slightly off, and saw two fields: one empty but appears to be behind a steep ditch and the other with a few trees in it but has a very shallow ditch. You steered towards the field with the shallower ditch due to fearing rolling the vehicle when encountering the steep ditch.
    You ended up hitting one of the trees in the field, but later found out that the ditch in the empty field was just as shallow as the one bordering the field with the trees.

    At the time you made the "right" decision. Looking back at it with better data, you made the wrong decision; the empty field would have been much better.

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