1. Thank you, Rod! Now shared on Facebook, at my Catholic blog and with my colleagues at work. Keep up the good work!

  2. “The best way to overcome the fear mongering efforts of people firmly opposed to the beneficial use of nuclear energy is to puncture their overinflated scare stories.”

    The video, to me, does not quell any fears as far as the general public is concerned. My background is in industrial instrumentation and control systems, but when I see the apparent complexity of the systems involved, I can understand the publics perception of an extremely complex, and therefore inherently fragile system, where much could go wrong. And what concerns me mostly is the knowledge that the whole system in Japan, and most likely many other countries, is riddled with corruption from top to bottom. Search ‘Fukushima Yakuza’ and you’ll get the picture. When such tremendous potential profits are involved, I can’t bring myself to trust for-profit corporations to do the most efficient and most cost effective job, and I’d be much happier to have a paramilitary, publicly controlled organisation designing, building and operating all nuclear facilities, and for those facilities to be mainly SMR units, such as the Toshiba S4. Underground units would be much less imposing too, as the big monster plants present again, an image of complexity, and thus apprehension. Where I lived in England, I could see the Heysham plants quite clearly, and they did look quite unsettling. Up close, they are even more so.
    Out of sight might not be out of mind, but at least they might not scare people so much.

      1. @Rod
        “Have you ever seen the inside of an oil refinery?”

        Never actually been in an oil refinery, but the site I used to work at was big enough to have its own (coal fired) power station, and looked a bit like a refinery, except it was full of nasties based mostly on chlorine. Odd though that the refineries don’t have impact protection, as I think a large aircraft, fully fuelled, could make quite a mess, and a strike on one or two of the big Texas refineries could send gasoline prices through the roof.
        I think my main concern is the centralisation of essential services, so I’d prefer distributed, smaller plants. The distribution grid of course is also a concern, but I just read this, a step in the right direction I think:

        EBay, Ellison Embrace Microgrids in Threat to Utilities


        1. @GaryN

          You wrote:

          I think my main concern is the centralisation of essential services, so I’d prefer distributed, smaller plants. The distribution grid of course is also a concern, but I just read this, a step in the right direction I think:

          What do you think of smaller, factory produced nuclear reactors? There is no technical requirement forcing nuclear energy to be a centralized form of power production. Heck, I used to be in charge of a small, isolated grid powered by a reliable nuclear fission power plant. It was so small, it was portable and self propelled. I traveled many thousands of miles in the steel tube where that grid was installed.

          One more thing in response to your link – don’t you think it is a little disingenuous to consider a natural gas fired power plant to be “off grid” power? Sure, it might be independent of the electrical grid, but it is exceedingly rare to find a natural gas power plant that operates without being attached to a fuel grid — aka a pipeline network.

          1. @Rod
            “What do you think of smaller, factory produced nuclear reactors?”

            Didn’t make myself clear there I guess, as I meant to say smaller nuclear plants. I’d have one in my basement if they’d let me, but community based would be just fine too. I think a mix of energy sources, depending on location is also a good idea. In Canada it is calculated that we could be fully self sufficient, sustainably, with firewood burning plants. In BC we are almost fully hydroelectric, with some gas (we have lots) fired plants now online, mainly diesel conversions, but the big utilities still control most of it.
            And yes, the Naval reactors are a model that could be copied, so why don’t we? The fear factor again, most people still believe they could cause nuclear explosions, and the big oil guys would like to keep it that way. I have absolutely no problem with nuclear energy, my beef is with the Corporate ownership, and the complicity of the Government, the Nuclear Regulators, and the Oil Corporations. BP has tremendous influence over government, as the US military machine is still dependant on huge amounts of oil.
            One thing that should be kept in mind though is the advent of an energy source that may leapfrog all previous models, cold fusion or maybe something even more exotic and yet to be discovered. Maybe the sub-critical thorium reaction?

            “A U.S. company says it is getting closer to putting prototype electric cars on the road that will be powered by the heavy-metal thorium.”


    1. You are parroting two really disingenuous arguments …

      1) One of the most complex machines on earth is a modern airliner. You’re OK blasting through -60 degree air, so rarefied that you would suffocate in minutes, at near the speed of sound in an aluminum tube no thicker than a piece of paper?

      2) Why aren’t the airlines also riddled with corruption? Somehow you bring yourself to trust for-profit corporations to do the most efficient and most cost effective job when you want to go to Hawaii?

      You have been convinced by anti-nuclear ideologues that people who operate nuclear power plants are corrupt. Are you always this gullible or just when it comes to nuclear energy?

      I just finished reading a book called The Blood Lands. 1940 era German propaganda also convinced its citizens that a subset of its population were corrupt. Stalin was a master of doing that. Critical thought is all important and not that hard to do in this age of the internet. Consider giving it a go instead of parroting others old arguments.

      1. No corruption in the airline industry? If efficiency and common sense would have prevailed it would not take me 12 hours to fly from Sydney Australia to Hawaii.

        Something named the Concord was snubbed by the US establishment. It should be the standard today. But no. I have to fly snail mail.

        Corruption? Collusion ?

        1. It is maddening that we didn’t build our SST as well, but their downfall wasn’t corruption. It was a Capone named EPA.

          1. Yeah, blame the EPA for economics.  Neither Concorde nor the Tu-144 were remotely profitable, and only Concorde spent much time in service (the Tu-144 was retired after a mere 102 revenue flights).

  3. Here is a simple video of an oil refinery.


    The process is very complex and involve toxic, flammable, explosive chemicals under high temperatures and pressures, which if released to the environment never ever decay away, causing cancer and concomitant environmental damage that makes the accident at Fukushima Daiichi pale in comparison.

    I think this whole addiction to fossil fuel is utterly evil, entirely despicable and completely diabolical. But I am a religious person and would think that – man is steward of this Earth, not its owner.

    1. Paul:

      Oil and gas refineries and facilities? Try Elizabeth New Jersey! Tons of them mixed up with chemical plants within eyeshot of New York City! But no evacuation plans or county sirens for them, no sireee! No potential Bhopal or Texas City here! Just a few anon casualties now and then that don’t even make the news (except if one drops a bucket of mildly irradiated water at Toms River or Oyster Creek) and bad odors you can even sometimes whiff from Central Park — no big deal! You see and smell the belching emissions passing by on I95 everyday and the greens shrug and hone pitchforks for the sparkling clean air and quiet of that monster Indian Point up the river! Can you spell green hyper-hypocrisy? The nuclear community has just GOT to hit on and get on the media to get the facts and perspective out!

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

      1. Good point, James. I had worked at IPEC for 18 years, serving in its E-Plan as any employee did. The Westchester County Journal News and the rest the liberal nit wit news outlets down there always put up a stink fit about having to have an evacuation plan for IPEC, but never did it occur to them the disaster that a failure of the nearby Kensico or Croton Dams would have on White Plains, or the need of an evacuation plan for all the other hazardous facilities in the area. We even had ammonia and chlorine sensors in the Control Room because trains ran on nearby railroad tracks down the Hudson carrying ammonia, chlorine, molten sulfur, etc. None of that made a difference to the liberal progressives. Now Andy Cuomo, son of Mario “I shut Shoreham down” Cuomo, NY’s leading Democrat, every single day works against IPEC. Now it isn’t for their anti-nuclear idiocy alone that such people are despicable (their immoral public policies are odious in extreme), but that’s a good start. It’s about time the truth be told.

  4. Admirable resourcefulness, but is all this zero-tolerance water treatment really only for placating fear than far more lenient international health standards? All this intense and expense seeing that even a trickle of groundwater doesn’t reach the ocean! Are they cautious or just fanatical?

    1. Fanatical.  If they were cautious they would mix their water with clean groundwater down to the international limit, put in it tankers and dump it a few miles offshore.

  5. Actually, the local Fishing Co-operative has forbidden TEPCO from dump any water, whether clean or contaminated or somewhere in-between. Sadly, this must be respected in Japanese society – so it’s keep storing water in tanks and build more and more of them, forever.

    1. @Eamon

      I would bet that the fishermen can be convinced. A little cash might help, but so would international acceptance of the fact that there is nothing wrong with Fukushima fish.

      It also seems unlikely that the local fishing co-operative would have a problem with Tepco loading the water onto a tanker and taking it a few miles out to sea before releasing it.

      1. @Rod

        I wish that were the case. The problem seems to be that in Japan it’s “face” how others in society see you, that is the primary concern of the fishermen. With that thinking, any discharges into the ocean are seen, by the public, as having contaminated the fish. Fukushima fishermen then, if they ply their traditional trade, will be seen as sellers of contaminated products. Instant reputation hit.

        PM Abe was on the news last night saying something similar: no water releases beyond the confines of the plant allowed.

        Common sense isn’t allowed into the discussion, no-one is asking how will these ever-increasing volumes of water be stored. There is condemnation of leaks from temporary storage tanks – but the fact that these kinds of tanks will be needed to deal with the volume of water is ignored. Anti-nuclear cognitive dissonance at its best.

        1. I approve the analysis of Eamon. The rules of the game are so set that you can not win the game of convincing the fishermen that the dose are so low as not to be significant. They are actually not concerned about that, they are concerned about the image they give to their customers. It’s not however really anti-nuclear cognitive dissonance, I’d say there’s instead a lot of other quite typical Japanese cognitive dissonances and obsessions about cleanliness involved.
          The only hope is to break out of this at another level.

          1. I was referring to the cognitive dissonance elsewhere in society: media, intelligentsia, government. It’s pretty widespread: lots of people claiming TEPCO was warned about the tsunami. Well, TEPCO were responsible for zero deaths in the tsunami – but why weren’t the municipalities where 20,000 people lost their lives warned?

    2. Got an idea! Have TEPCO load up a leased supertanker with all that internationally acceptable treated water, dump it between Japan and Hawaii and head back for any more! πŸ™‚

        1. A quick look at section 2.3 (a) and (b) suggests that the standard ought to be easy to meet any number of different ways.  I like the idea of dumping brine, because the exposure level from material not expected to surface again for many decades would be far lower than otherwise and thus easier to meet the standard.

Comments are closed.

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar
  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

Similar Posts