Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Nuclear Power Industry- Our Friend

Here is a horrible story from the BBC that would be shocking if it weren't all too predictable:

"Radiation levels around Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant are 18 times higher than previously thought, Japanese authorities have warned...Last week the plant's operator reported radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank into the ground.
It now says readings taken near the leaking tank on Saturday showed radiation was high enough to prove lethal within four hours of exposure."

This nuclear disaster took place two years ago, and of course we are just learning the truth about it today.  How could a massive leak of radiation gone unreported all that time?

"The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) had originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was around 100 millisieverts an hour. 

However, the company said the equipment used to make that recording could only read measurements of up to 100 millisieverts.  The new recording, using a more sensitive device, showed a level of 1,800 millisieverts an hour."

Have you ever heard of a more disingenuous response to a terrifying situation?  The reported leaking of radiation was small, because that's all their equipment could measure.  Suddenly someone tried a different device and, lo and behold, the radiation turned out to be 18 times greater than they claimed.

"Experts have said the scale of water leakage may be worse than officials have admitted."

And who could have predicted that?  Except for the fact that this behavior is perfectly in accord with the response of the nuclear industry to every accident they cause- to lie and lie and lie about it, only admitting what has become clear public knowledge. This puts millions if not tens of millions of people at risk, but that means nothing to them if it might risk their profits.

We have had enough evidence in the last sixty years to establish some clear facts:  There is no such thing as safe nuclear energy, and the failure of nuclear power plants holds the risk of destruction on a scale never before seen.  Furthermore, those responsible for operating these plants, both in private industry and government, have proven themselves incapable of being honest with the public about the dangers, or of doing one thing more than they absolutely have to in order to correct the problem.

It is time that nuclear energy be phased out.  Yes, this is going to be a major problem for countries like France and Japan which rely heavily on nuclear power.  But they have had half a century to face up to the risks and they have utterly failed to do so.  Now, they must pay the price.


Jerry Critter said...

One clear indication that nuclear power is unsafe is that the insurance industry, the experts in risk assessment, will not insure nuclear reactors. The government has to provide the insurance.

Magpie said...

The Japanese public are overwhelming anti-nuclear, or at least want less reliance on it. It is hard to overstate how deeply the nuclear threat is imbedded in the Japanese consciousness, and has been in various forms since 1945.

But they can’t vote it out. It’s not like Democrats versus Republicans. The political parties of Japan are amorphous, splitting and merging or operating as a monolithic bloc, and the political class is not the ordinary people. Furthermore the country runs on personal networks that bind big business and government policy together like threads in the same fabric. “amakudari” meaning descending from heaven. An ex government individual gets a no work high paid job at a major firm and thereby brings all his connections and clout with him.

It’s another version of the same problem so many ostensibly free and democratic countries have… political forces operate at a disconnect from the will of ordinary people and is dominated by narrow moneyed up interests.

I take issue with the statement that “they must pay the price”. The people haven’t done anything wrong.

They don’t have a tradition of open debate. They have a tradition of social cohesion and forbearance and authority.
You don’t get auto-respect for swimming against the tide in Japan. No-one will say how gutsy you are. You’ll just be looked at like you were socially retarded.
In this setting the machinery of vested interest politics is simply too pervasive and powerful – as if it wasn’t already anyway - just as you cannot stop fundamentalist loons and corrupt hyper-rich individuals from turning America into a cesspit of economic inequality and exploitation, just as I cannot stop billionaire mining magnates and media families from distorting political discourse here… the average Japanese person does not have voice that counts on nuclear policy.

And not for lack of trying. They have BIG protests about it.
Not like the fake Tea Party rent-a-dozen pseudo movements peopled by redneck retirees and twits. I mean REAL protests. It doesn’t come to anything. The political class is too insulated.

Green Eagle said...

Magpie, the Japanese people may not deserve to pay that price, but I am afraid they are going to have to pay it all the same- unless the rest of the world is going to get together to bail them out of their investment in nuclear energy. We here in the United States are paying a horrible cost due to actions carried out by a very similar ruling class which never benefited us and was never intended to. But at some point the sixty year long investment in nuclear energy is just going to have to be written off. We've had a taste of that here in Southern California with the permanent closing of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, and the insistence of the energy company that owns the plant that its customers pick up the cost, rather than have its investors pay any price for their bad investment decisions.

Infidel753 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Infidel753 said...

This is where Germany has been smarter. They've invested massively in solar power and are now the world leader in the field. Their goal is to have 100% of electricity generation come from renewable energy sources by 2050. If they can do it, so can any other technologically-advanced nation.

Phasing out nuclear power will be expensive, but not nearly as bad a price to pay as there will be if a Chernobyl-like fallout plume from the next big accident engulfs Tokyo or Paris.