Fukushima in a Nutshell

In 1979 it was fiction...

In 1979 it was fiction…

“They think ‘China Syndrome’ has happened at one or several of these reactors. Nuclear engineers don’t know what to do. No way they can contain it… there is nothing to do. The truth is, scientifically, they will never clean it up. It’s impossible.”

– Dr. Helen Caldicott

See the video interview with Dr. Helen Caldicott on: Running ‘Cause I can’t Fly

Opinion:

With the events at Fukushima, I cannot for the life of me understand why some countries are even contemplating nuclear power.

It may already be too late.

Chernobyl was merely a warning, Fukushima maybe the final act in the play of Humanity.

In our ignorance and arrogance we have blindly trodden  the path of nuclear power for decades, thinking that we knew what we were doing.

It appears that we don’t!

And now we have to pay the price.

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18 responses to this post.

  1. I am in favour of nuclear power because I think it is the lesser of two evils. Fossil fuels are worse. I am also hopeful that next generation nuclear will arrive within the next decade. This form of nuclear power is safer and will use up the nuclear waste already in existence. http://www.terrapower.com/

    I do have concerns about Fukushima though and think it is probably wise not to build nuclear power plants on a plate boundary.

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    • >Rachel, if Fukushima goes wrong, there won’t be any life, so it will not be an issue. I am very afraid of Fukushima; even the storm approaching the area tomorrow has winds that could topple the cooling towers. Exit humanity.

      AV

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  2. Posted by Alex Jones on October 10, 2013 at 6:20 am

    If humanity wants to enjoy their advanced technological lifestyle they have to make up their minds what power source they wish to use: nuclear, fossil fuels, growing energy crops, hydro … all these have their downsides, but solar and wind power won’t generate enough energy for our needs. Easy to complain, but people need to offer realistic solutions instead.

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    • >Alex, I am surprised that I have two commenters that seem blithely unaware of the gravity of Fukushima. If it goes wrong, the northern half of Japan simply disappears from the map, inc Tokyo. Less than a week later the western half of the USA becomes uninhabitable, followed the next week by the eastern half. Within a month, Europe follows.

      That is the worst case scenario. The northern hemisphere becomes radioactive, there is also the possibility that cancer deaths will wipe out half the population (conservative estimate) of Japan, USA and Europe in the next ten years.

      Why do you think that governments are lying about Fukushima and US in particular are just ignoring it? They want it to just go away, the seriousness of the situation is just too horrible to think about; and as you know, governments don’t like to think or are incapable of doing so.

      AV

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      • No, I’m not unaware of the troubles faced by Fukushima. But I don’t think what happened there should mean we now reject nuclear power.

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      • Posted by Alex Jones on October 10, 2013 at 10:17 am

        Fukushima was caused by human error, greed, laziness and stupidity. Nuclear energy is a tool, the user is the idiot who uses the tool incorrectly.

        Nuclear energy is one tool of many, but should not be dismissed because of Fukushima. In the UK we have a serious problem that as our coal burning power stations go offline in the face of increasing energy demand there will not be enough energy capacity to meet demand, which causes powercuts. Decision makers need to address this problem of undercapacity, and they have a range of options, all the options come with pros and cons.

        It is easy to be idealistic and pick and choose, but in the real world hard decisions have to be made in a pragmatic and realistic fashion.

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      • >Rachel, perhaps I was a little harsh. However, I do. On the same token, I think it is too late to matter any more.

        >Alex, yes, Fukushima was caused by all those factors. Nuclear power is certainly a tool, unfortunately it came without an instruction book and we are still flying blind.

        I realise, through my reading, that UK does indeed have an energy problem, and that solutions are not forthcoming as quickly as they need to be; but I feel that the nuclear option is too dangerous, the UK is not exempt from human error, greed, laziness and stupidity.

        Appreciate both of your comments.

        AV

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  3. I have to disagree here with the comments left. After 3 Mile Island I seriously questioned nuclear power. Later living in Arizona we lived only 40 miles from one of the oldest and most vulnerable nuclear plants in the US. Watching the video one thing that stands out is the fact that our plants were only designed for 30-40 years of use, and we are way beyond that time of safe operations. What do we do with the spent fuel? There is no safe place for it. Instead of assuming we need this extra power to live the way we do, it’s time to learn to live differently. In my home, there are 4 light fixtures hardwired, 3 lamps I plug in when needed and my freezer. I need to charge my notebook and have to charge my wheelchair batteries every few days. But that’s all I plug in, unless it’s very hot outside when I plug in a small fan for cooling. We don’t have to have all the things our homes are filled with. If it is a choice of dying from cancers and eating radioactive waste or cutting down the amount of electricity used I will go with using less electricity.

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    • >lsf, you have lived the American dream We have nuclear power plants 80kms from here at Angra dos Reis and we never hear much about them, that doesn’t mean things haven’t happened, it’s just that we don’t know. I feel uncomfortable with them. Brazil is fortunate in that we don’t have earthquakes and tidal waves, so that is a help. Like you, my house uses little energy, seven lights in and out, one TV, one fridge, hot head shower, one fan and my PC. I haven’t even plugged in my new gas stove, because it uses standby power.

      AV

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      • Our house has even fewer electricity-consuming appliances than yours: we have no tv or fan. Our heating is gas and since we’re in a mid-terrace house with double brick, double glazing and insulation, we don’t need to use much heating. BUT, I still want to be able to turn my computer on and surf the web. While I think we can improve efficiency to a certain extent, we still need to replace fossil fuels with *something*. Unless you want to argue in favour of blackouts….

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      • Forgot to mention the washing machine. We do have one of those. No dryer though.

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      • Yes, I have lived the American dream. I’ve traveled extensively and lived in several states. While it’s a beautiful country, I have also seen the waste and the problems. I grew up in and currently live in PA where 3 Mile Island is, then in Arizona near their nuclear plant. Living 40 miles from that plant we knew there was an underground bunker at the local bank, but knew if there was a disaster we would never make it to the bank. We also had the air force right in the city near us. The fighters would fly over head every 20-30 minutes to check the nuclear plant. We always knew when something was happening because instead of 3 fighter planes flying over we would have 7 or more. They would kick on their burners right over our home, we got used to the sounds of the normal 3 planes, even though it rattled windows and such but when 7 or more came through it was bad. The thing was we always knew something happened but no one would ever tell us what it was. I think if there had been an attack or disaster they wouldn’t have warned us and no one would have made it to safety.

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      • >Rachel, looks like we’re both pretty low energy users. I don’t have a washing machine, done by hand in cold water and dried on the line.

        AV

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      • >lsf, that kind of constant surveillance could be stressful.

        AV

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  4. Oh dear, in hindsight i would wish that as humans we had discovered how to harness our own power, before we went round splitting atoms and meddling in things that we really have no idea how to fix…. its like giving a toddler a gun then asking it to perform surgery on the people its just accidentally shot

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