Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nuclear accident management in Japan - I just don't understand it.

There's the things I simply do not understand about Fukushima nuclear disaster.

1: Lack of high range radiation meters - the ">1000 milliSievert/hour" figures that keep cropping up.
2: Complaints by the Japanese government on the inaccurate measurements performed by TEPCO. Why the government did not have it's own experts on site doing the measurements? Surely they should have some sort of nuclear war or terrorism response team that is trained for measurements of very high levels of contamination. If they don't - US does. The contamination levels are millions times higher than what TEPCO routinely deals with.
3: Why the situation is being controlled entirely by TEPCO?
4: How the spent fuel pool in reactor 4 ran dry and caught fire (the major source of radioactive release into atmosphere) ?
5: Where are the US and French (Areva) experts and what are they doing?

Lithuania - the country where I live - operated 2 nuclear reactors.

The reason I felt reasonably safe about that is - I knew that if something happened, it would have been handled by the entire European Union, using the immense resources of a region that is a largest producer of nuclear power worldwide.
There is no question that my local electrical utility would not be able to handle reactor accident. But I believe that in Europe vastly larger resources would be available. If I thought that in a case of a nuclear reactor accident in some small country in EU they would not have robots and high range radiation measurement devices on site the next day - if I had any doubts that EU's handling of such accident, combined with a natural disaster, would be vastly better than Japan's - I would be an anti nuclear advocate.

If I thought that in the event of one in a thousand years disaster, the reactors could fail here like they did in Japan - and the spent fuel pools would simply run dry if reactor basements get flooded - I would be an anti-nuclear advocate. Because it is in the disaster when nuclear power may be the most beneficial - the nuclear plant can run for a year without refuelling, providing the power to rebuild the infrastructure after the disaster. The renewable energy sources are unfortunately very fragile and vulnerable in the event of disaster. The fossil fuel sources require constant supply of the fuel. Nuclear reactors should be the energy source to rely on in the face of unprecedented disaster - not the amplifiers of severity.

This is an example of nuclear power plant that did provide shelter to the people who lost their homes, instead of contributing to their suffering. Had the Fukushima plant been built to proper standards, the nuclear power would have been the saviour in the face of disaster - but sadly, that was not the case and the nuclear power did show it's less than beneficial side.


  1. About three month -- time for lots of interesting observations on how the nuke mafia works. Bet you are anti-nuke now.

  2. Well, yea. It is just really really messed up and the response of the other countries to the questions was less than ideal and it seems clear that the deficiencies observed in Japan, more or less, are present elsewhere.
    Just like it was not just the iceberg that sank the Titanic, it was not just the tsunami that blew up the nuclear power plant.

  3. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. 60 year old competitive design by father of today's reactors. Very promising. Much more efficient, abundant Thorium - cheap, much safer - no high pressure water, automated passive cooling capability, no A bomb material, can burn waste from old designs. Obstacle to pursue, it is regulation. If we are to continue pursuing cleaner energies, solar and wind do not work, the physics say so. Those sources simply can not supply the massive demand we require. Oil and Coal will run out but it is the best we have for mass consumption. Newer generation reactors would help but the Government and Ecofreaks are in the way of that.