It’s No Chernobyl

March 14th, 2011

Here’s what seems like a voice of reason:

I wish the anti-nuke crowd would back off the rhetoric. I know this is a golden opportunity for them to scare people off of nuclear. Frankly, the whole nuclear debate is well worth going over, and personally I wish we were going full-on towards solar, wind, and sea power. But right now, people are in a state of near-panic, and activists going around talking about disaster so they can stir up support for their positions are being stupid and irresponsible. They are scaring a lot of people unnecessarily, and making life difficult for people here.

Anyway, I am headed in for work, so I will be offline for as long as it takes. Will be checking in all day long, of course.

  1. Troy
    March 14th, 2011 at 10:56 | #1

    Modern nuclear plants include mechanisms to burn off the hydrogen without explosions taking the roof off the place.

    Plant 1 recently recieved a 10 year extension, according to wikipedia, which is probably why TEPCO originally tried to jury-rig the cooling.

    Plant 3 suffered major coolant loss and the rods heated up. If they melted, they could be a pool of plutonium-uranium at the bottom of the container vessel.

    This container vessel is of an older design that does not have an engineering allowance to “capture” a meltdown. If a reaction gets started again in this pooled state, we’ve got the “China Syndrome” going where the containment will be breached and who knows what amounts of radioactive cesium and iodine will be released (it would take an explosion to send the plutonium very far, apparently).

    Unfortunately, the wind direction is going to start blowing towards Tokyo soon.

    Things aren’t particularly “bad” yet, compared to just about anywhere on the Japan seacost from Chiba-ken to Aomori-ken but they’re still far from good.

  2. Tim Kane
    March 14th, 2011 at 11:57 | #2

    Personally, I think that there is no “green” future without some nuclear fuel – so if there are people who are against it, I hope they are getting all their energy from green sources, and bicycling everywhere they go.

    Maybe we’ll be able to harness solar and wind better but I don’t see how we can have a green future without some form of nuclear power – so I think the real intelligent talk has to be on how nuclear power can be down in a smarter safer manner. By god, we can’t keep running away from everything just because someone who is scared is yelling at us and telling us to be scared as well. Fear is the opposite of intelligence. But given the way things are going, this means that nuclear energy will be off the table in the U.S.

    This is a big shame, just as we are getting electricity to wean us off petroleum dependencies. Some day I’m sure we’ll have solar farms in orbit and perhaps even the moon will be a giant solar cell/nuclear energy producing apparatus. (My sci-fi idea is that the moon becomes a giant solar cell farm, when it faces the sun, then when it faces away and the surface cools, it becomes a nuclear power source using the darks side to cool the power system).

    The public is easily manipulated by fear, and fossil fuel industry has big pockets to flame those fears, so I can see where this is going. All I can say is it is a damn shame.

  3. March 14th, 2011 at 13:31 | #3

    It appears that these oldest plants are having problems dealing with the aftermath of the most severe quake in Japan’s history. What has happened so far is no big deal, apparently. If they cannot cool the reactors & there is a meltdown and it is not contained, that would be bad. The two affected plants were old and they can run sea water into them to cool them down because they don’t really care if they can’t use them again.

    So far, I have not heard about any of the newer plants having any problems, in spite of the fact that they were exposed to the most severe quake ever. Hopefully policymakers will remember that any new reactors that are licensed and built will have 2011+ technology (not 1970’s) and we’ll have learned the lessons from this quake to make new ones even better.

    But, first and foremost, let’s hope and pray that the current situation can be brought under control, for the sakes of all the people in Japan who could be exposed.

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