March 13, 2011
A friend of mine from college days is simply salivating all over Farcebook about the possibility, which seems to excite him no end, that Japan might suffer a nuclear disaster, as the Fukushima Daiichi (Fuku-I) power plant suffers twin meltdowns.
I think his idea is that this event will surely cripple the nuclear industry... and maybe it will force the entire world to dismantle all the nukes! Perhaps we can replace them with bird-friendly windmills.
Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT, 95% Dem), who should know better, opines that the Fuku-I crisis should lead us to "put the brakes on" building new nuclear power plants:
Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., says the administration should assess the scenarios that led to the serious Japanese reactor problems before issuing permits for new U.S. nuclear power plants, Politico reports.
"We’ve got to quietly -- quickly put the brakes on until we’ve absorbed... what’s happening in Japan," Lieberman said Sunday on CBS’ "Face the Nation."
(He also says, "I don’t want to stop the building of nuclear power plants;" handsome is as handsome does.)
So let's assess the reasons for the meltdowns and see how they could affect us. I think it fair to say that if the fifth greatest earthquake in recorded history happens to occur eighty miles offshore of a nuclear power plant, triggering a thirty-foot wall of water that directly strikes the plant at 500 miles per hour, then there is a pretty good chance the reactor may be damaged.
Likewise if a previously undetected volcano erupts nearby, showering the plant with lava; or if a meteorite strikes it dead-on; or if aliens from Arcturus ("fourth brightest star in the sky!") shoot it with a death ray. And there's really not much you can do about any of these, other than dismantle all the nukes and shiver in the freezing dark.
(Imagine how many people would have died if the Fuku-I site had been a high-rise apartment complex instead of a nuclear power plant!)
All right, Joe, we've assessed the scenarios. And now, since nothing could have withstood such a tsunami -- and since tsunamis are completely unpredictable more than a few hours in advance -- let's just get back to the business of building a massive number of new nuclear power plants... preferably Generation IV plants, like integral fast reactors and pebble bed reactors (or at least Generation III+), none of which, I suspect, would have melted down the way the ancient and aging, 1960s technology, boiling-water reactors at Fuku-I have done.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 13, 2011, at the time of 1:29 PM
The following hissed in response by: MikeR
Well, if it turns out that the containment at these plants did a good job and very little radioactivity escapes (which appears to be the case so far) - I for one would treat it as the most powerful evidence possible that nuclear power is safe, having withstood the most devastating attack imaginable.
The following hissed in response by: mdgiles
"Well, if it turns out that the containment at these plants did a good job and very little radioactivity escapes (which appears to be the case so far) - I for one would treat it as the most powerful evidence possible that nuclear power is safe, having withstood the most devastating attack imaginable."
Yeah right, and what color is the sky in your universe. Tens of thousands may have died. Whole trains full of passengers have disappeared. There are videos of villages just washing away. And what is our media concentrating on? Why the nuclear plants - where the worst has passed (the control rods are in, the nuclear reaction has shut down). Already there are calls to stop building new, advanced reactors because a forty year old design - which isn't even used anymore - wasn't "perfect".
The following hissed in response by: ExDemo
All the so-called journalists are pretty dumb and seeking horror headlines. This nuclear problem is limited in time. The 53 plants worked fine shutting down successfully as was wanted.
Two or three of the 53 have had problems cooling down, carefully. But that takes about 72 hours only, About 96 hours have already expired, all the reactors should be about "cool" now. So like your home oven after you turn it off from cooking something, and it cools off so you can touch it without harm, after a period of time.
The following hissed in response by: Geoman
Thank god someone is thinking clearly.
In the end, 20,000 people will have died in the quake, and maybe a dozen from the reactor. But nuclear power is a huge problem.
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