Posts Tagged nuclear power

Japan advisor says nuclear threat receding

Some good news, kind of, I guess, although I’m always suspicious when politicians make statements regarding technical or scientific situations. I’d rather hear it directly from NISA, or even TEPCO.

The government could not say the situation had been completely stabilised at the plant, but after studying the possibility of severe deterioration Tokyo was comfortable with the current evacuation policy, Goshi Hosono told the paper in an interview Saturday. “There is no way Tokyo or Kyoto will come into harms way,” said Hosono, Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s special advisor on management of the nuclear crisis.

“Our goal is very clear: preventing further spreading of radiation into the atmosphere and into the ocean,” Hosono told the [Wall Street Journal].

“In order to achieve that, we must restore stable cooling functions. This is extremely difficult technically.”

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company says it does not expect a “cold shutdown” of all reactors for another six to nine months.

Hosono said officials had started to examine the causes and handling of the nuclear accident.

“When we investigate the accident, it will naturally become clear where the problems were, including issues with Japan’s nuclear regulatory policy,” he told the paper.

Hosono, a member of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, said it was not the right time to decide whether the country should look to non-nuclear energy sources or continue to keep using atomic power.

“I just don’t think we can make a cool-headed judgment in the current atmosphere,” the paper quoted him as saying.

“For now, we should maintain both options and let the people decide in time.”

via Japan advisor says nuclear threat receding. (Also here)

Related videos (also on NewsOnJapan):

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“Let the people decide in time.” Ha! That’s a good one. Since when do the elites that run countries let the people decide? Sounds good, tho, eh? Democratic, like.

Still, I’m looking forward to seeing this debate in Japan. A debate in Japan. This should be something to see.

Join the debate at Marketing Japan.

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Japanese still support nuclear power | 世論 What Japan Thinks

Just a quick update tonight, a pointer to a post by ampontan regarding a couple of surveys recently conducted into nuclear power. The first survey from the Yomiuri Shimbun on April 4th was conducted between the 1st and 3rd of April 2011, and found that 46% supported continuing with the current level of nuclear power generation, 29% were for reducing, and 12% for the complete elimination of nuclear power.

via Japanese still support nuclear power | 世論 What Japan Thinks.

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Some intelligent comments on the Fukushima nuclear crisis

The following are excerpts from comments culled from the BNC blog. I recommend it as a source of informed opinion and discussion (moderated) on the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis and on the ongoing debate over nuclear power. The comments are all from the guest post by Dr. Josef Oehmen, which I blogged briefly yesterday.  I’m not interested in the guest post, but some of the comments have direct bearing on the present situation, which is what I’m interested in.

  1. We are talking real deaths here. 9 moment magnitude quakes are NOT safe and 14 meter tsunamis are NOT safe.Perspective is important. Opportunity cost is important. Closing nukes means more fossil fuels which kill certainly. While I agree that lessons can and MUST be learned from Fukushima, nuclear safety does NOT stand on its own, isolated from everything else. You must always think in terms of alternatives. Make no mistake. Nuclear can always be made safer by investing more. Unfortunately there are limited funds, funds can also be spent on building tall tsunami dikes around population dense areas and this can save many lives whereas the nuclear radiation killed no one and is not likely to kill many. It shows that design of the plants has been done with adequate risk analysis.

    In a world of limited resources, we must make decisions. Delaying nuclear construction means killing peoply by fossil fuels. We must do what we can on safety but you can’t protect against all disasters.

    The fact that people disagree with this line of argument shows that people are not aware of risk assessment and the fact that we live in a world of limited resources but unlimited desires.

    I don’t see how this is counter-productive. I feel people do not know rational risk assessment and do not know enough perspective. The media does not care about perspective. If you look at the media coverage you’d almost think all the misery is caused by the Fukushima plants while in reality, the real deaths and misery are caused by a devastating tsunami and earthquake.

    Finally I would like to note that newer plants were not in trouble. The newest already have passive cooling for emergencies. So yes for new build this must be stressed. Nobody is building 1960s technology mark I containment BWRs with full electric power requirement for decay heat cooling. (Cyril R)

  2. his event is beyond TMI, and is currently classified correctly. That I would bet on.In my opinion, the only reason it would get beyond Chernobyl in classification is the ultimate land based release area.

    Technical data released currently only supports localized land based area issues of public concern. I fully recognize this event is not over and reserve final judgement on it’s classification or effects. The area of coverage could grow, depending on the efforts ongoing at the site to contain the current multiple release problems.

    Currently though, referencing the release data released, it does not yet approach Chernobyl for land mass area affected long term.

    This event may indicate an industry wide analysis weakness for multiple large reactor site release and exposure calculations though. A weakness we all should consider.

    This assumption may be traced back to an original industry based assumption, 1 reactor, 1 accident, design basis accident.

    At the Fukishima site, we have multiple reactors affected with multiple beyond design basis accidents. This results in mutiple reactor releases and a complete new out come for those calculations.

    Validity of the reported data and that assumption is a problem that is confounding even those that would attempt to predict the current damage or outcome. (em1ss)

  3. are you seriously arguing that the opportunity for cascade failures does not increase with increasingly complex and interconnected systems? A fair number of system scientists would disagree with you on that, as would an observer without bias either way on this particular issue.I happened to talk with someone working on uranium-enrichment plant design while stranded in an airport Sunday. Of interest was his description of the modeling done for disaster prevention. It was of interest that the industry now models for cascade failures in a far more substantive way than was done even half a decade ago. This points out that at least some of the industry not only recognize the issue, but are also willing to do more than mouth simple lip service to the concept. (Raspu10)
  4. The next couple of days brought the whole spent fuel problem into focus. I had never read about the SFPs being a problem in a nuclear accident. What I initially read did not sound good. Information was lacking or uncertain on the actual state of the pools. I could see that enough radiation could be released locally to almost preclude the operators from controlling the reactors or the SFPs. What would happen then I had no idea. …
    Now that was more pessimistic than it actually turned out to be, but given the uncertainties and lack of information I thought it was a fair assessment of the possible risk. As I have learned more over the last few weeks, I would reduce my assessment of the potential risk…
    [He advised a friend’s daughter living within 60km of Fukushima to leave] Just the emotional strain of dealing with the earthquake, the aftershocks “wants to get off this ride. It shakes too much”, the tsunami disaster, the rolling blackouts, the empty store shelves, reactors “blowing up” and worried parents would be enough to convince a lot of people to leave for a while, regardless of the physical risks. I hope she goes back when things settle down and a proper assessment of the situation has been made. (William Fairholm)
  5. Coal v. nuclear“Relative to watts produced, coal kills 4,000 times more people than nuclear power,” Grist contends. “Our pervasive sense that nuclear is more dangerous, when the opposite is so clearly true, comes at least in part from a cognitive bias called the ‘availability heuristic’ – memorable events that are easier to think of, like nuclear disasters, tend to seem more common.”

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Spare us shoganai as we face an ominous spring | The Japan Times Online

“Shoganai” (also “shikataganai”) means “it can’t be helped”, and is used in the face of unavoidable imponderables or acts of God, but also used to refer to acts of man. This phrase is almost guaranteed to bring a snarl of annoyance and contempt from many Westerners, as it smacks of that terrible crime, fatalism. The article below is written (surprise, surprise) by a Westerner.

So as Japan rebounds and rebuilds, one multi-billion-dollar question that must be answered is this: In a society that is totally dependent on electricity and has become wedded to the notion that convenience is the backbone of modernity both now and in the future, how will Japan satisfy its energy needs in the decades to come? U ntil now, about 60 percent of Japans electricity has been generated using fossil fuels, while about 30 percent has come from nuclear power, and about 8 percent from hydro power. Other renewable sources provide only 2 percent.Eager to stabilize and reduce carbon emissions, and because fossil fuels, in particular oil and gas, will inevitably become less abundant and more expensive worldwide as time goes on, Japan has been aiming to raise nuclear power generation to 40 percent of its overall power-supply mix.

via Spare us shoganai as we face an ominous spring | The Japan Times Online.

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The Technium: Passing a Worst-Case Scenario Test

The present nuclear crisis at Fukushima is of course igniting debate about nuclear power. Predictably, there are the usual hysterical voices, mostly anti-nuclear. To make up one’s mind on this issue, one needs some facts, not hyperventilating emotion. You could do worse than start here:

Richard Rhodes one of the foremost experts on nuclear weapons, wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the effects of atom bomb and nuclear weapons, now in its fourth volume. He notes a curious effect of this re-evaluation of nuclear power:All Energy Disasters Lead to Coal, Which Is an Energy DisasterSimply looking at the loss of human life day to day, coal and oil are a disaster.As per this Swedish report on the health effects of power generation. When tallied as deaths per tera watts per hour deaths/TWh coal and oil dominate while nuclear is minimal:

Death watt

via The Technium: Passing a Worst-Case Scenario Test.

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