One year ago today, one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history occurred less than 100 miles off of the north east coast of Japan. About 30-40 minutes later, a series of 7 tsunamis (tidal waves) decimated a large section of the coast, washing over numerous engineered barriers. The waves destroyed homes, factories, bridges, roads, railroads, natural gas pipelines, and government buildings.
On that same coast, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station lost all AC power when the grid supplying it was destroyed and all but one of the 12 diesel generators on the site were flooded. The electrical switchgear where emergency power sources could connect to the station was also flooded. Eventually three of the reactors at the site experienced core melting and released gaseous and water soluble radioactive materials. Most of the materials decay to innocuous isotopes within a few months, but two isotopes of cesium, Cs-134 (2.1 years) and Cs-137 (30 years) decay more slowly and will be in the environment for a long time to come. A total of 11 kilograms of cesium were released.
On the anniversary, I gathered a group of people who participated in an effort to share accurate information to counter the purposeful scare mongering provided by professional antinuclear organizations and lapped up by a news media that makes most of its money by selling advertising – often to fossil fuel competitors to nuclear energy.
Joining in on the conversation were:
Gwyneth Cravens, author of Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy
Meredith Angwin, publisher of Yes Vermont Yankee
Suzy Hobbs, Director of PopAtomic Studios
Steve Aplin, publisher of Canadian Energy Issues
The show was hosted by Rod Adams, Publisher, Atomic Insights