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Fukushima: Myth of Safety, Reality of Geoscience

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the getting-the-low-down dept.

News 206

An anonymous reader writes "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' has published a special Fukushima issue with interesting/deep/new pieces written by leading experts on the nuclear disaster in Japan. Fukushima: The myth of safety, the reality of geoscience, which shows that in the decades after the nuclear plant was built, the authorities discovered historical records that showed Fukushima was vulnerable to a giant tsunami, but they did nothing to protect the plant. But there's a globalized twist to the issue: The Bulletin has also translated these lengthy expert analyses of the disaster into Japanese. As Bulletin editor Mindy Kay Bricker explains: 'Those in genuine need of erudite analysis are, of course, those directly affected by the Fukushima disaster, the Japanese population. Stellar coverage by Western news outlets might win awards, but what is the point if those who most deserve the information never benefit from reading it?'"

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206 comments

Close them all (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37473342)

This confirms it.
No nuclear power plants can handle a tsunami.
All of them must be shut down.

Re:Close them all (3, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473566)

The problems in Fukushima had jackshit to do with tsunamis, and a lot to do with incompetence, greed and political pressure, during plan construction, during operation and, finally, during the disastrous handling of the incident after the earthquake. Those problems are universal problems that tend to plague the nuclear sector everywhere, because many view it as prestigious, there are "national security" concerns, the orders are large and a lot of money is swapped under the table in deals that cut various corners, etc.

Since fission nuclear power, if done for safely and accounted for properly, is insanely expensive to begin with, and the costs multiply many times over in the case of a nuclear fuckup, coming up with better alternatives is not a bad idea.

Re:Close them all (-1, Troll)

leucadiadude (68989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473672)

Let me summarize your post: FUD

Huh? (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473720)

I take it you don't know what FUD means. There is no uncertainty or doubt in this case because it's already happened. All the claims of "we never though it would happen" mean is that some people have very limited imaginations, especially when their pockets can be lined with the results of willful ignorance.

Re:Huh? (1)

leucadiadude (68989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473738)

Nope...still FUD.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37474364)

That makes you afraid and uncertain? Dear god man! You're quite the puss.

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474034)

As though that makes them something we can't use? Everything comes with risk. Building cities on coasts where people live has risks. Having people live near a fault line than can have a magnitude 9 earthquake isn't a great plan either, shall we evacuate all of the Japanese islands? All electrical generation causes problems, hydroelectric completely changes ecosystems, Wind Turbines kill piles of birds and, if you have enough of them, shoddy construction will lead to breakage and other damage, coal spews all sorts of toxic crap in the air, which kills people, mining for coal kills people. Solar uses a wonderful soup of toxic chemicals which will have to be disposed of, and need to be extracted. Natural gas is again, less than pleasant from extraction.

So unless you want to go back to a per-electrical area with infant mortality measured in the range of 70 or 80 percent, and huge portions of planet being unsafe to inhabit without fire etc. you're going to have to take risks. Fukushima is, at best, a 30 year old reactor, based on a 40 year old design. If people refuse to have new reactors built you're going to be stuck with old, more dangerous technology.

The earthquake and tsunami killed 16 000 people (with 4000 still missing). To put that in american terms thats more than 5x a sept 11th, and on a per capita basis more than 10x. Thus far the reactor has seriously burned 2, and the explosions etc have wounded 37.

Yes, there's a big area that is an exclusion zone, but there's a big area that's uninhabitable due to flooding too. On the scale of things that go wrong in the world Fukushima Daiichi is relatively boring, it's a useful learning experience for experts, and nuclear policy makers so they can, you know... do better. But that's about it.

Re:Close them all (0)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473776)

Let me summarize your post: you got nothing.

Re:Close them all (0)

leucadiadude (68989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473828)

Except 31 years operating nuclear power plants.

Whups, I gave myself away as one of those evil souless drones coopted by eeeeevil corporations to make fat $ at the expense of safety. Yep, thats us, evil greedy fuckers who don't give a shit about safety, we gots matching jackets with dollar signs embroidered all over them....

Re:Close them all (1, Informative)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473852)

Yeah, sure. And I am the elf-lord Feanor.

Re:Close them all (1)

leucadiadude (68989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474138)

Nope, your just another opinionated person that spews shit about stuff they have never studied in depth. Like most, you are not dumb, quite the contrary. But because you are presumably smart in your area of expertise, you think you are an expert in another highly technical field.

Re:Close them all (2)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474250)

I don't know what your purported expertise is, and you will excuse me if I take it as I take any anonymous claim to expertise on Internet boards, that is, very lightly.

What I am talking about is not the technology of nuclear power, but rather the management of the said technology. Do you have anything from my original comment that you disagree with, or are you going to keep asking us to believe you because you claim expertise and throw "FUD" around? I can back my claims of incompetence, greed and political motivation in the nuclear sector winning over safety and for that I don't need to know every detail of the plant construction.

Re:Close them all (1)

leucadiadude (68989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474406)

"The problems in Fukushima had jackshit to do with tsunamis, and a lot to do with incompetence, greed and political pressure, during plan construction, during operation and, finally, during the disastrous handling of the incident after the earthquake. Those problems are universal problems that tend to plague the nuclear sector everywhere, because many view it as prestigious, there are "national security" concerns, the orders are large and a lot of money is swapped under the table in deals that cut various corners, etc.

Since fission nuclear power, if done for safely and accounted for properly, is insanely expensive to begin with, and the costs multiply many times over in the case of a nuclear fuckup, coming up with better alternatives is not a bad idea."

You throw out many accusations for which you WOULD need detailed knowledge of the industry. On the face of it your post is FUD because there is no way "under the table deals" would not have been leaked, you have provided no data that indicates in any way you have the knowledge or skills to objectively judge competence or incompetence of operations, construction, or handling of the post event emergency response. You could not possibly know about fictitious "deals to cut corners", if you did you would have notified authorities.

In short, you are offering up your personal opinions as facts without any basis, and worse, not stating plainly up front that this is your opinion.

Thats why I said FUD.

Re:Close them all (3, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474564)

Well, if I have time later I'll dump on you all the corner-cutting deals and operator mishaps at Fukushima to ponder at. I wonder how can you claim expertise and be so oblivious to the details of the disaster there. If I were working in the "nuclear industry", I would have familiarized myself with the accident simply on the grounds of professional interest. Cheers, fellow elf-lord.

Re:Close them all (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474560)

Well then - I appoint thee High Lord leucadiadude - the final authority on all things nuclear on slashdot!

Forgive the snark - but this isn't a courtroom, so his opinion isn't worth as mush as your's might be, but how about telling us why we are perfectly safe, rather than cute comments about other people who "spew shit".

So tell us, What exactly is the FUD?

Before you declare me one of the great unwashed, allw me to say the we are on the cusp of a choice. Greatly expand the use of nuclear power, or return to the middle ages, and live in a world that will not support anywhere near the number of people it does now.

That's correct, I'm saying civilization is going to collapse if we don't go Nuc.

But make no mistake - I want it done safely. The heads of engineering building these plants need veto power over CEO's and "The Stockholders", we have to overbuild the plants by a huge amount, we have to have a design lifetime at least triple what we do now.

And the reason is that bad decisions will be made on the basis of profit, Plant safety will be compromised for the same reason, and the plants will almost certainly be operated well past their planned lifetimes. Happens with bridges, buildings, and other structures. It will happen with nuc plants.

We hear so much from nuc supporters on how "Chernobyl was an unsafe design" Fukushima really wasn't much of a disaster. TMI was probably the best example of how to handle a disaster (technically).

But here is what you are working against. There are plenty other old reactors out there, and when the next disaster happens, we'll hear all over again how the press is trumping things up, how everyone is so stupid, how there has never been a nuclear (fill in your favorite stat).

But we've seen Chernobyl, we've seen Fukushima. This is the future you have planned for us. It's going to be a hard sell.

Re:Close them all (1)

Target Drone (546651) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473870)

Since fission nuclear power, if done for safely and accounted for properly, is insanely expensive to begin with

The funny thing is that when nuclear power was first being developed in the 1950s there was talk of unmetered billing. The electricity from nuclear would be so cheap that you would just be charged a flat rate each month.

Slightly off topic. We've all heard how as soon as fusion is developed it will solve all our energy problems but is it going to be any better? I've heard the design of a fusion reactor will be very similar to a fission reactor. There will be a nuclear core that generates heat and drives steam turbines. A cement containment building to contain any leaks or explosions. The core will be radioactive so you need specially trained workers and procedures. From a cost/operating standpoint it sounds a lot like a fission plant.

I should mention there are a few big pluses to fusion though.

  • The containment vessel becomes much more radioactive then fission waste. However it will only take about 200 years to decay to safe levels making finding a safe disposal site easier
  • An radiation that escapes from the plant should decay to background levels by the time it reaches the fence around the perimeter of the plant
  • Uranium fuel currently accounts for about 30% of the cost of running a fission plant. So there is that savings. Although until a fusion plant is actually built we won't know if there are any additional costs that fission didn't have

Re:Close them all (2)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473902)

In short, there is nothing wrong with nuclear technology. It, of itself, is safe.

All the problems arise from the use of human beings in the design, implementation, and maintenance processes. We know that human beings are flawed in half a hundred different ways and to such an extent that there is no possibility of applying any kind of credible quality assurance to these modules. We can extrapolate from history and recognize that so long as human modules are involved in the nuclear power industry, there will be catastrophic failures.

What we need is a nuclear power industry that uses no human modules. Anything short of that is clearly defective by design.

Agree with parent post: it is long past time to recognize that in real world terms the human caused risks in the nuclear power industry are just too damn expensive to handle. Anyone who disagrees with that summation should be closely examined to see if they are human. If they do seem to be human, then for safety's sake they need to be recognized as flawed and their assertions dismissed as not credible.

Re:Close them all (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474074)

There hasn't been a major accident in the US in decades. And worldwide the two major incidents in my lifetime were the result of negligence and incompetence. The risks are known and the US Navy has had nuclear reactors in much of its fleet for decades without problems.

The problem is one that can be solved, throwing out the industry and eliminating humans isn't going to solve the problem, and it just means that we'll have to go back to coal and oil power until we do find another replacement. Chernobyl wouldn't have happened at all if the people running it had stuck to established protocols rather than experimenting with removing control rods.

Fukushima shouldn't have happened. In fact, had they kept and maintained a secondary back up generator this largely would have been avoided. Considering that the plant was hit by a significant earth quake and tsunami and was ultimately undone by the lack of a spare back up generator, I'd say that this is a good sign over all. It just means that plant operators need to be more closely regulated for things like that. And most plants are not in a position to be exposed to those sorts of conditions.

Re:Close them all (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37475440)

Sure, backup generator. Located where the FUCKING TSUNAMI WOULD NOT HAVE KNOCKED IT OUT. You hindsight moron.
 
What you fuctards keep discounting is "oh, gee, it was human greed and incompetence that actually caused the problem." Greed and incompetence are ALWAYS a factor in business. Apply them to industries where major events cause incredible devastation, and you get closer to the true costs of those industries.
 
You twats who say nuclear is safe, "if only human factors are removed" are incredibly naive, and should be removed forcibly from the conversation.

Re:Close them all (4, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474158)

there is nothing wrong with nuclear technology. It, of itself, is safe.

In short, this is a very simplistic way to put it. All I am saying is that even before the issues of technology come into play, there is the issue of having a good enough social framework to ensure nuclear safety. This is the necessary condition to get right before it even makes sense to consider the technological issues of nuclear safety, and this condition is rarely satisfied even in developed countries, as the Fukushima debacle has shown beyond doubt.

The technological issues at hand aren't trivial either -- there is no such thing as "nuclear technology" per se, there are all kinds of reactors, built by all kinds of groups, connected to all kinds of control equipment and operated by various organizations with complex vendor relations, etc. Saying "it is safe" without context is rather meaningless.

Re:Close them all (1)

leucadiadude (68989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474226)

Now this post I can agree with. Well put.

And yes I am in the commercial nuclear industry. Have a strong culture of nuclear safety is of paramount importance. Everything follows from it.

Re:Close them all (2)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474532)

Well, my experience is probably influenced by me being too close to the two worst disasters - I happened to be within few hundred km of both Chernobyl and Fukushima when they happened, and have to bear the cost of the consequences of two nuclear disasters myself - but my observations of the way nuclear industry and regulators operates worldwide don't exactly inspire my confidence in the safe handling of technology.

Japan has always had a bad culture when it comes to nuclear safety, but the depth of Fukushima fuckup really surprised me. Russia isn't far behind from what I know and see. The many old nuclear plants in Eastern Europe engage in a lot of worrying practices (substandard fuel, hushing up of minor accidents, etc.) and are nearing their end of life, so more construction probably with Russian tech will ensue, with all associated risks. China with its "stellar" industrial safety record isn't exactly inspiring confidence, and neither is India, and both have plans to build a lot of reactors. Even Germany admitted their reactors aren't up to their own regulations after the post-Fukushima inspections.

So, the "safety culture" of the nuclear industry is, IMHO, severely overhyped worldwide. If nuclear accident outcomes could easily be contained, I could have cared less, but alas it doesn't seem to be the case.

Re:Close them all (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474954)

do you regularly get screened for cancer? not to worry you, but in the worst case scenario you could be a valuable data point, and in the best case scenario, we're all gonna be fine.

Re:Close them all (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475104)

Why yes, I do, thank you for your snark.

Re:Close them all (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475394)

I happened to be within few hundred km of both Chernobyl and Fukushima when they happened, and have to bear the cost of the consequences of two nuclear disasters myself.

If you were "few hundred km" from there, then you definitely don't.

Re:Close them all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37475478)

And you are qualified to say so because?

Re:Close them all (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475538)

Because I lived less than 100km from Chernobyl power plant, built a simple radiation meter a week after the disaster, used it to evaluate level of radiation, and years later worked in an organization that did health safety/contamination monitoring in that area.

Unless someone is actually at the disaster site, the only way to be affected is to eat or drink something that grew in a heavily contaminated area, over extended period of time. Food safety inspections prevented that from happening (among many other, usually unnecessary things that politicians insisted on).

Re:Close them all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37475624)

built a simple radiation meter a week after the disaster, used it to evaluate level of radiation

Welcome to slashdot, McGyver. How did you calibrate the thing with just chewing gum?

Re:Close them all (2)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475740)

Well, not all problems and costs are caused by radiation, but both my cousins, who remained in the area, developed thyroid problems that were officially attributed to the contamination. One of them has two chidren with birth defects, born a year and a half after the disaster. I'll spare you my story, but to deny the serious medical trouble in the area is rather cynical.

Re:Close them all (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474506)

In short, there is nothing wrong with aviation technology. It, of itself, is safe.

All the problems arise from the use of human beings in the design, implementation, and maintenance processes. We know that human beings are flawed in half a hundred different ways and to such an extent that there is no possibility of applying any kind of credible quality assurance to these modules. We can extrapolate from history and recognize that so long as human modules are involved in the aviation industry, there will be catastrophic failures.

Re:Close them all (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473632)

Well this confirms it.

Big waves are bad for nuke plants;

All must be shut down.

FT(haiku)FY

SNPP needs to be shut down or at least sector 7g (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473804)

SNPP needs to be shut down or at least sector 7g.

Re:Close them all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37475730)

This confirms it.

No nuclear power plants can handle a tsunami.

All of them must be shut down.

nice trolling :-) God sucks too.

Possibly going to be ignored (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37473352)

Sadly it's quite possible that this will be completely ignored in Japan because it was not written by a Japanese organization and will simply be seen as outsiders criticizing Japan.

Experts? (3, Insightful)

Oh Gawwd Peak Oil (1000227) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473360)

leading experts on the nuclear disaster in Japan

Experts? They don't know anything. Everyone knows the definitive word is with the armchair commentators here on Slashdot!

Responsible nuclear power is fine. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473396)

If you're going to run a nuclear reactor, you are definitely going to make all of the money back from building it, and a mountain of profits over the lifetime of the plant. Ignoring things like historical Tsunamis, and not making the plants prepared to deal with that situation is gross negligence, and the company should be punished. Making their plants resistant to the effects of a Tsunami would have been bad for the bottom line for a year or two, but I'm sure now the investment seems trivial.

I'm not against nuclear power. I'm just against weakly regulated nuclear power. Private companies have proven over and over again, that they do not take public safety as a serious issue, until it's too late. Nuclear power is one industry that should have regulators breathing down their necks at every step of the way.

Re:Responsible nuclear power is fine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37473494)

If you're going to run a nuclear reactor, you are definitely going to make all of the money back from building it, and a mountain of profits over the lifetime of the plant.

Citation needed. I've heard that they take 30 years to break even (it's not like they're mass-produced), which is why operators don't want to shut them down even if the safety systems have obvious problems. Wikipedia says "typically LECs [levelised energy costs] are calculated over 20 to 40 year lifetimes". [wikipedia.org]

Re:Responsible nuclear power is fine. (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473514)

the company should be punished

FTFY: The individuals who profited, aka shareholders.

However, this will not happen in these days of public risk and private profit.

CC.

Re:Responsible nuclear power is fine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37473810)

FTFY: The individuals who profited, aka shareholders. However, this will not happen in these days of public risk and private profit.

After then Exxon-Valdez mess, I regularly heard people on conservative talk radio saying it wasn't fair to punish (with less profits) the innocent shareholders. Limited liability doesn't mean your investment isn't at risk!

Re:Responsible nuclear power is fine. (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474970)

Private companies have proven over and over again, that they do not take public safety as a serious issue, until it's too late.

at the risk of sounding like a neo-con libertarian tea partier, governments haven't exactly been too good at this. as i recall, the Pripyat facility was run by the government.

Re:Responsible nuclear power is fine. (2)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475004)

If you're going to run a nuclear reactor, you are definitely going to make all of the money back from building it, and a mountain of profits over the lifetime of the plant.

Hmm... then what's the reason for the massive goverment subsidies poured into every single commercial nuclear plant ever built? How come these large injections of capital are never returned? You'd think plant builders would be grateful for all the billions government already poured into hammering out all the R&D... but they also always seem to take the subsidies anyway. Just seems... odd... Most businessess that make mountains of profits give some kind of return on investment other than astronomical cleanup costs when something goes very wrong.

The major lessons (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473484)

This isn't a reason to be worried about nuclear power. This shows that bad things can happen when political decisions override science engineering or when bad engineers don't do a good job.. At the end of the day, what you want can't override nature. Nature doesn't care about politics. This is true with many different technologies

At this point, more people die from coal related problems every year than nuclear power. One interesting metric to compare power types is to look at deaths per a terawatt hour. http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html [nextbigfuture.com] . By this metric, nuclear power is one of the safest forms of power out there. The primary reasons that nuclear power stands out to people is because a) it associated with nuclear weapons which makes it scary b) it is a more advanced technology which makes it seem more risky and unnatural c) when something does go wrong is goes wrong in a spectacular fashion. This last is probably the most important- humans react to how much they hear about disasters not how likely they are to impact them. This is why people are afraid of airplane crashes and shark attacks more than car crashes and heart attacks.

Unfortunately, few people are likely to pay attention to this. We are already seeing the fallout as Germany and other European countries turn away from nuclear power. France right now is being surprisingly calm in continuing to use it. Unfortunately, there's some indications that this issue is also making people more worried about fusion power. There's been a long-running problem with scientifically ignorant environmentalists who don't understand the difference between fission and fusion. A lot of them have tried to protest fusion research in the past and Greenpeace has an anti-fusion stance. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/22/fusion_greenpeace_no/ [theregister.co.uk] . The whole situation sucks.

Re:The major lessons (3, Insightful)

metageek (466836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473652)

This story that coal kills more people than nuclear is rather misleading. The issue is much more complicated than simply counting deaths --- though, of course, coal is no nice energy source at all.

The problem with nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima is that they leave large portions of land unusable for millenia. (besides having the risk of killing lots of people too.) The effects are not just to the poor people who work on those plants (just as the poor miners) but that they leave a severe risk of exposure for many generations to come. The cost of maintaining those patches of land unusable are very large. Much larger costs than even those needed to keep an undamaged power plant secure beyond its productive life; this is already so high that no private company wants to do it without support from large government subsidies (besides they are all helped by not being help legally liable for any accident).

So, even though coal has indeed killed many people, that is not to say that nuclear is not a very large problem to society. In my opinion larger than coal. To support this, find out how much it costs to insure a nuclear power plant, versus how much it costs to insure a coal mine.

Before anyone says that we need some form of energy so we must to take up these risks, let me say:
  * direct solar source
  * increase in efficiency of use
  * and please keep the population down.

Re:The major lessons (1)

leucadiadude (68989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473700)

"but that they leave a severe risk of exposure for many generations to come."

You didn't study logarithimic mathmatics in school did you?

Re:The major lessons (3, Informative)

metageek (466836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474348)

Plutonium spent fuel has a huge half-life, apply your logarithms to it and check for how long it has to be kept. Strontium, which is extremely toxic as it is absorbed into bones (same chemistry as calcium) has a very long half life too. Even Cesium is 30 years, so it will be around for much longer than that.

Re:The major lessons (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474618)

Strontium-90, the primary dangerous isotope of strontium has a half-life of 29 years. That means that in 200 years you have about one 70th as much left. Moreover, these isotopes spread around over time. So in practice most areas with these isotopes become less dangerous faster than their half-lives suggest. This is less true for plutonium because it isn't that easily metabolically active, but lots of living things will pick strontium and use it where they would use calcium. So it might suck to be them but it will make the area a lot safer in the long-run.

Re:The major lessons (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474020)

>This story that coal kills more people than nuclear is rather misleading.

If you mean that coal doesn't kill more people then nuclear, then it's not misleading, you're just wrong.

If you mean that the story overestimates the extent by which it does, then it may be misleading.

if you mean that the story underestimates the extent by which it does, then it may also be misleading.

Nuclear is unsafe only if you don't make it safe. The means to make it safe are simple acts of design and maintenance. Coal is not safe. It is not possible to make it safe and still have it be a major portion of the energy supply. Simply using it is unsafe for everyone in the world who chooses to breathe air.

Re:The major lessons (3, Interesting)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474718)

Nuclear is unsafe only if you don't make it safe

Bingo! We don't make it safe. And when we have problems, we either blame it on the press, or tell people that they are stupid, and make up excuses fro the accident.

A big hint to the pro-nuc's (which I am one) is that the accident at Fukishima is not a nuclear fault. This isn't an excuse - it's a fact. It is the fault of a stupid decision about tsunami heights - there have been several tsunami that would easily top their walls. Then their emergency generator plan was criminally inadequate. Locating the plant along a river above historical wave ingress and height, plus a 100 percent safety margin, and this disaster would never have happened. But it did happen.

The problem, safety wise, is that nuc energy is has a very high energy density. As energy density goes up, the consequences of release problems goes up. So even without radiation issues, a breach with that much energy involved is going to be very messy.

But the consequences end up being the same, whether it's "unsafe nuc", or stupid designs. We can design to contain that energy density. Will we?

Re:The major lessons (0)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475044)

i vote we turn all our fossil fuels into safe, clean, pink energon cubes.

like the transformers did. fill it with crude, squash it, repeat a few times, bingo. you have enough power to reclaim Cybertron and rule the universe!

Re:The major lessons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37474046)

This story that coal kills more people than nuclear is rather misleading.

How is it misleading? Or are you saying that coal miners are suppose to die and shut up about it? That millions that can't breathe should not worry about that either?

I'd prefer living in cleaner air Chernobyl exclusion zone than any places with smog problem, but then that's me.

The problem with nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima is that they leave large portions of land unusable for millenia.

That's just plain wrong..

Comparing nuclear to coal is stupid too. Coal has spewed out more carcinogens and heavy metals into the air and soils and waters than nuclear could ever hope to. When fish and mammals in the oceans are dying due to mercury poisoning and then people running scared because of a bit of radiation that is undetectable beyond few miles, then I know they have their priorities fucked up.

Current panic is NASA projection that there is 1 in 3200 chance of fatality from satellite re-entry. It just tells you how people do not understand basic numbers, at all.

* direct solar source
    * increase in efficiency of use
    * and please keep the population down.

And let me say,

1. night? clouds? seasons?
2. efficiency is always increasing - PV effectively are killing efficiency but I guess some don't know what oxymoron means.
3. yeah, population control measures will fly... seriously... what are you thinking??

Re:The major lessons (2)

metageek (466836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474568)

I did clearly say that coal is dreadful, and that I do not support the deaths that it causes. It is terrible. However nuclear fission is much worse on a global view, from a risk perspective.

Ask any insurance company if they would even consider insuring a nuclear power plant... that is a huge statement made by market forces. (and they insure some pretty insane stuff, for huge premiums, of course -- but not nuclear)

Re:The major lessons (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475064)

3. yeah, population control measures will fly... seriously... what are you thinking??

they did say "please"...

Re:The major lessons (2)

ultranova (717540) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474162)

The problem with nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima is that they leave large portions of land unusable for millenia.

Chernobyl is already usable right now (and in fact people live there and it's heavily forested), it's simply pointless to take the risk in a country that does not lack space.

Also, a radioactive material that's still present a thousand years after in significant quantities would need to have a half-life of at least a century, which in turn means it produces so little radiation per second as to be pretty much harmless. Do you people think radioactivity is some kind of death magic from Negative Energy Plane or something?

* direct solar source

Meaning what, exactly speaking?

* increase in efficiency of use

That only works so far before the laws of physics come calling.

* and please keep the population down.

It is declining in all Western countries, but energy usage isn't. And why should it, when we can tap into near-limitless energy source anytime we want to? It's only the "nuclear is scary" lobby that's keeping us from doing so.

Re:The major lessons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37475096)

Chernobyl is already usable right now

Yes, if you are prepared to take the risk of early death, disease and having no children or no healthy children, Chernobyl is pretty safe even now.

Re:The major lessons (5, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474650)

The problem with nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima is that they leave large portions of land unusable for millenia. (besides having the risk of killing lots of people too.) The effects are not just to the poor people who work on those plants (just as the poor miners) but that they leave a severe risk of exposure for many generations to come. The cost of maintaining those patches of land unusable are very large. Much larger costs than even those needed to keep an undamaged power plant secure beyond its productive life;

Wind turbines suffering blade failures and ice throws have killed many people, more per MWh generated than nuclear has. Consequently, France has established 500 m exclusion zones [caithnesswindfarms.co.uk] around wind turbines, where people are prohibited from entering. Germany has a 600 m exclusion zone. For a given amount of average MW generated, the area of this mandated exclusion zone for wind farms far exceeds the evacuation zone caused by the Fukushima accident. You can reduce the size of the exclusion zone by putting turbines closer together, but it's still far worse than nuclear.

The Fukushima plant had a nominal production capacity of 4696 MW. Multiplied by nuclear's average 90% capacity factor and that's 4226 MW average for the year. It currently has a 20 km evacuation zone, and let's ignore that roughly half of that zone extends over the sea. A 20 km radius encompasses an area of 1257 km^2. So the evacuation zone (which is by no means permanent, nor likely to be permanent) works out to 0.297 km^2 per MW average.

The largest wind farm in Europe is Whitelee Wind farm [wikipedia.org] in Scotland. It has a nominal generating capacity of 322 MW. Onshore wind typically has a 20%-25% capacity factor, but Scotland's winds are strong and consistent, yielding an average capacity factor around 40%. So that's 128.8 MW average for the year. The farm covers 55 km^2 [cskills.org] in a 13x8 km rectangle. Add a half km exclusion zone around the periphery and you get a total area of 76 km^2. So its exclusion zone works out to 0.590 km^2 per MW on average.

So just the regular operation of the largest wind farm in Europe renders about twice as much land uninhabitable as the second-worst nuclear accident in history, MW for MW. Hydroelectric dams create a lake behind them, rendering that land uninhabitable. Itaipu dam [wikipedia.org] has a 1350 km^2 reservoir. It generates 91.6 TWh annually, which works out to 10449 MW on average, for an uninhabitable area of 0.129 km^2 per MW average. Solar (pretty much the most expensive power source) actually fares well by this metric. At 125 W/m^2 and a 15% capacity factor, it weighs in at a featherweight 0.053 km^2 per MW on average.

But wait, we looked at pretty much the worst case for nuclear, while looking at average or better-than-average cases for other technologies. What happens if you look at nuclear on average? After all, the vast majority of nuclear plants have operated safely for decades. The world's nuclear capaicty is 351 GW. The evacuation zones around Fukushima (20 km) and Chernobyl (30 km) work out to 4084 km^2. The average land area rendered uninhabitable by nuclear works out to 0.012 km^2 per MW on average. In other words, nuclear is the technology which renders the least amount of land uninhabitable per MW generated. If you replaced all nuclear power with solar, you'd render 4.6x as much land area as Fukushima + Chernobyl uninhabitable. Hydro would be 11x as much. And wind about 51x as much land area uninhabitable (about 100x for a more typical wind far than Whitelee).

Re:The major lessons (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475870)

The problem with nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima is that they leave large portions of land unusable for millenia. (besides having the risk of killing lots of people too.)

Wow, you have absolutely no idea whats going on in the area around Chernobyl do you?

You need to learn the difference between FUD and reality, and add to that the time thats lapsed since Chernobyl and the fact that it was until recently (last year?) an active power plant. Or the fact that while the area was evacuated, all indications and tests of the area now show it to be normal and you'd be unlikely to know anything happened if you weren't told. See just because you're afraid of something doesn't mean its actually unsafe.

Re:The major lessons (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473676)

This shows that bad things can happen when political decisions override science engineering
Thats one way to look at it. Other way is "This shows that bad things can happen _because_ political decisions override science engineering".

Re:The major lessons (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473736)

Coal-related death is not socially disruptive.

Humans have all sorts of accepted casualties, usually those which the system is evolved to process. I

Death is not a problem. We ALL die. DISRUPTIVE death is a problem.

Re:The major lessons (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37473740)

I remember my professor for modern physics (nuclear, quantum...) saying fusion wouldn't be practical. He basically said all of the easy fusion reactions produced so many fast neutrons that the containment vessel would quickly fail as the neutrons transmuted the materials used to construct it. The only safe fusion pile would be one that produces electrons which can be captured. It has been a couple of decades, but I seem to remember Lithium being one of the fusion components.

Re:The major lessons (1)

ozborn (161426) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473868)

This isn't a reason to be worried about nuclear power. This shows that bad things can happen when political decisions override science engineering or when bad engineers don't do a good job.
How well an energy source performs in a variety of political environments from well funded enlightened governance up to civil war and social breakdown needs to be considered when evaluating an energy source. Blaming politics doesn't cut it, some energy sources are much more sensitive to bad political environments - nuclear power is one of them.

By this metric, nuclear power is one of the safest forms of power out there.
I saw a more recent study (I think it was in Scientific American, maybe somebody else can find the link?) which also considered all the inputs including mining and transportation when calculating the numbers. By this metric nuclear performed considerably worse than wind and solar per energy generated. It was however better than all types of fossil fuel (oil, natural gas and coal). I'm guessing the numbers went down for nuclear relative to wind and solar because of the hazards of uranium mining and transportation problems (accidents happen).

There's been a long-running problem with scientifically ignorant environmentalists who don't understand the difference between fission and fusion
I support research into fusion and I think it will likely prove much better than fission. However I still place its importance between wind, solar and efficiency improvements.

It's a dead issue in the USA anyway (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475358)

This shows that bad things can happen when political decisions override science

Sadly that's the entire history of the civilian nuclear industry.
Almost every time something has been put forward which will improve safety (eg. thorium reactor project) or deal with nuclear waste (eg. synrock) it has been vehemently opposed for political reasons. Saying that safety can be improved is seen as a criticism that the status quo is not good enough, and there is a lot of money riding on maintaining the existing gravy train. Due to this and the massive capital costs involved with doing anything new with nuclear at all the civilian nuclear industry in the USA is effectively dead but on expensive life support. Even the AP1000 came in via Toshiba and the Japanese taxpayer - all signs of local innovation are just a blood transfusion from a now dead donor. To see any advances in civilian nuclear power you are going to have to look overseas or hope for some military inspired developments (eg. modified submarine reactors).

Re:The major lessons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37475840)

the problem with nuclear power is that it still requires human beings to design, operate, manage, and maintain the plants that produce it.

(...discounting the sun, of course. And even that isnt entirely safe.)

Poor Japanese... (1, Troll)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473508)

... too stupid to read English journals, or analyze their own disasters rigorously and tell their population.

Seriously, is this "Mindy Kay Bricker" person coming off like a racist to anybody else?

Re:Poor Japanese... (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473848)

Only on the internet could a company making an honest effort to make their content open and accessible to other nations be labeled as racist.

Can much of the Japanese population read English?
Probably.

Do people often prefer to digest information in their native language?
Yes.

Can Japanese scientists rigorously analyze their own disasters?
Probably.

Does it often help to have independent sets of eyeballs analyzing a problem in a scientific field when those eyeballs belong to people who are experts in that field?
Yes.

Should we berate "Mindy Kay Bricker," for speaking on behalf of her journal's honest attempt to open the science and informed opinions of experts in this industry to other experts in this industry?
No.

Are you really making a stretch of cynicism to turn this into something negative?
Most definitely.

Calm down. The world doesn't always have to suck.

Re:Poor Japanese... (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474344)

No. Only to you because you are a bitter ass.

Tokyo is being evacuated also (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37473522)

Tokyo is being evacuated also. Well, just small parts of it for now but who knows how bad it could get because it's still leaking massive amounts of radiation (much like how the BP oil well is still leaking oil into the Gulf; why no news coverage?).

As always, both Tepco and the Japanese government have massively downplayed the actual severity of this thing. It's worse than Chernobyl. Much, much worse [alexanderhiggins.com] .

It's funny to keep seeing all these "engineers" and Internet morons say this thing is safe and other bullshit since this started. Anyone could tell that the official reports were downplaying the severity because all of the real hard numbers we got went against what they were saying. I am pro nuclear power but Japan needs to take off the mask already and start working on real solutions because this is really bad. Maybe ask for help.

Re:Tokyo is being evacuated also (2)

leucadiadude (68989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473554)

"Internet morons"

Irony.

Re:Tokyo is being evacuated also (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473944)

Now, now. Be kind. AC probably just fell asleep watching Godzilla.

Re:Tokyo is being evacuated also (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473706)

Sources beyond the fringes?

According to Huffington Post & Bob Cavnar [huffingtonpost.com] it isn't likely. Think about that. A very left leaning publication and the expert that most left leaning sources went to during the crisis are saying this isn't really a likely scenario. And he provides some plausible explanations for the oil.

And still criticizes BP for not providing video of the site to diffuse the internet rumors, so he's hardly in BP pocket on this.

Re:Tokyo is being evacuated also (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474208)

As always, both Tepco and the Japanese government have massively downplayed the actual severity of this thing. It's worse than Chernobyl. Much, much worse.

Following your link, I find that the danger is being "ingored".

Personally, I tend to discount "alternative media" that can't spell. Makes me wonder what else they can't do correctly.

What's the benefit ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37473698)

from stellar analysis, when media fear-moungering and political lip service and ass-covering causes societies to up and ditch a viable energy solution? Germany? France? The US?

When was the most recent Nuclear Reactor built inside the US? We're certainly not using 1970's design plans anymore and the media, and populace, are wanting heads on a pike for a technology that isn't even being implemented. This country, and so many others, are screwed due to reactionary fear-mongering.

Stellar coverage and analysis? On tech. sites like this one, sure. But to reach 50% of the voting population, or at least the rational portion of it? That just isn't going to happen. Providing solutions and improving livelihoods doesn't sell news anymore. Fear, doubt and uncertainty does.

Still No Deaths From Radiation (5, Informative)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473824)

And still zero deaths attributable from the disaster due to radiation.

Did you know that in March--the same month as Fukishima--that a worker at an aging US power plant, scheduled to be closed and currently down for maintenance, was killed in an explosion? But it wasn't a nuclear plant (it was coal) so no one cared. The company's been fined, but no government is committing to shutting down 100% of its coal plants.

And yeah, it's still too early to detect any increase in cancer rates, but by the six-month mark, Chernobyl had killed about 300 people via acute radiation sickness, so I don't see how anyone can claim this either IS worse than Chernobyl or WILL BE worse. 300 versus zero.

Re:Still No Deaths From Radiation (3, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473940)

I suppose you would think that's a great point, if you also think that nothing's wrong with smoking 4 packs of cigarettes a day while eating a diet entirely composed of Big Macs is perfectly healthy because it wouldn't kill anyone within six months....

Re:Still No Deaths From Radiation (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475140)

read it again and you'll find this:

"And yeah, it's still too early to detect any increase in cancer rates" ...maybe read it again AFTER wiping the special sauce off your glasses (man, how does it even get there?).

Re:Still No Deaths From Radiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37475380)

Makes sense to me. (Not even joking, I drink more cola than water and my food is about 50% cheeseburgers.)

Re:Still No Deaths From Radiation (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37474260)

Well that remains to be seen. The Japanese population is currently eating last year's rice crop. The current year's harvest post Fukishima will not be on the market till next year. For what it is worth, the food regulation process in Japan mandates that any food that contains radioactive traces must be labeled as such. If the radioactivity has migrated via the underground water tables it may have contaminated many of this year's crops. IF Japan loses a significant portion of this year's rice crop which they will depend on next year to feed their population it could be really great for rice commodity speculators and very ugly for the indigenous population trying to responsibly feed their families in Japan.

I have a close friend who has lived there for several years. He is currently only a few hundred kilometers south of Fukishima. He states that the local prefectures are now hiring their own experts to evaluate the radiation levels in the air, water and soil because no one trusts the national government to be open and honest about what they know concerning radioactive exposure(s).

A little off your topic, but the cascading effects of this disaster remain to be seen.

Re:Still No Deaths From Radiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37475872)

Living close to there too

"He states that the local prefectures are now hiring their own experts to evaluate the radiation levels in the air, water and soil because no one trusts the national government to be open and honest about what they know concerning radioactive exposure(s)."

Since your friend lived there for several years, by now, he should know that blaming the (already very weak) central government is the recurrent Japanese way to reject any responsibility. (From the disaster, they even achieved to blame the 2-year old government for 40-year old mismanagement problems)

The ones who recently mislead the population by refusing to undertake the mandatory food measurements was not the central govt, but the local one.

Re:Still No Deaths From Radiation (3, Insightful)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474290)

Of course, a >1000 square km area in Fukushima has been officially declared uninhabitable, and is expected to remain so for a couple of decades. How large an area was made uninhabitable by that coal plant explosion? It seems to me the two are just a little bit different in their impact...

Re:Still No Deaths From Radiation (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474334)

1000 sq, Km?

Citation needed.

Re:Still No Deaths From Radiation (1)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474524)

Here you go. [dailymail.co.uk] More precisely, they've banned anyone from going within 20 km of the plant. Using area=pi*r*r gives an area of 1256 square km.

Re:Still No Deaths From Radiation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37474744)

Half of that area is in the ocean, which is pretty uninhabitable for humans anyway ;-)

Re:Still No Deaths From Radiation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37474742)

And still zero deaths attributable from the disaster due to radiation.

Yeah, if you believe Tepco and the Japanese government.

Have they been forthcoming and accurate to this point? No?

Trust me, it's much worse than the picture they are painting for you.

Re:Still No Deaths From Radiation (2)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475168)

cool. i'll trust you then. you asked, after all.

i trust everyone who asked me, ever since watching Terminator 2. it was sad he had to be lowered into molten steel in the end.

Re:Still No Deaths From Radiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37474800)

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said Thursday that it has not been able to locate 143 individuals working to restore the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant since May. The utility said it has no idea if the 143 have been exposed to radiation and to what level.

143 people "missing" - is "missing" a euphemism for dead? Or is the management of Nuclear power so slip-shod that over 100 workers can not only 'go missing' but no dosing data exists?

Who is Shima? (1)

A Commentor (459578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473992)

And why are people really mad at him/her.... ;-)

Nuclear power apologists keep missing the point... (4, Insightful)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474124)

It isn't so much whether the plants themselves can be designed to be safe, sited in safe areas, built safely or operated safely; it's whether we can trust the people who are involved not to take kickbacks or falsify records because they're too lazy to x-ray all the pipe welds or be bullied by politicians or miss what turn out to be obvious problems. And the it's not so much the body count after an accident as the resultant loss in credibility of the systems themselves. Not many of us want to live next to a nuclar plant for very good reasons: the consequences of a problem are devastating and the people running them keep lying to us.

Other power generation facilities lie about things too but they don't require that everyone living within 40 miles of them abandon everything and run... and not come back for a century or two.

Re:Nuclear power apologists keep missing the point (1)

metageek (466836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474582)

very well argued, much better than I did.

Re:Nuclear power apologists keep missing the point (2)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474774)

It isn't so much whether the plants themselves can be designed to be safe, sited in safe areas, built safely or operated safely; it's whether we can trust the people who are involved not to take kickbacks or falsify records because they're too lazy to x-ray all the pipe welds or be bullied by politicians or miss what turn out to be obvious problems.

That's an advantage for nuclear, not a disadvantage. What you say about safety is true for all power plants. Coal plants, wind turbines, and hydroelectric dams can be built and operated dangerously. They're distributed so the number of people killed/injured from a single incident is smaller. But if you assume the same level of corruption in all industries, the number of people killed by those technologies will be about the same or higher per unit of energy generated.

So how is this an advantage for nuclear? Because nuclear's power generation is so concentrated, it's much easier to enforce stricter building codes, maintenance schedules, and inspections for the same amount of energy generated. Instead of amassing a small army to monitor 10,000 wind turbines being built, inspected, and maintained over 1000 km^2 of land, you can have a dozen inspectors do the same at a single nuclear plant. The statistics bear this out [nextbigfuture.com] . Historically, nuclear is the safest power generation technology we've invented. Safer than coal, safer than solar, safer than hydro, safer than wind.

Re:Nuclear power apologists keep missing the point (1)

Target Drone (546651) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475768)

Nuclear is scarier in the same way that people are more afraid of airplane crashes then car crashes. It's the big spectacular events that scare us the most, even if they are extremely rare. Nuclear also has a real public relations problem. You can't tour a plant. You might even get detained by police for taking a picture of one. The whole issue of what to do with the waste hasn't been worked out (sure it's mostly politics but the fact is it hasn't been taken care of). The average person doesn't have a Geiger counter so it's impossible to know if they are leaking radiation or not. It also doesn't help that in most countries environmental regulation is handled by one department and nuclear power is handled by a separate often very secretive branch. If nuke plants held once a month community tours with free BBQ hamburgers and let people buy a subsidized Geiger counter on their way out through the gift shop things might be different.

Re:Nuclear power apologists keep missing the point (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475132)

it's whether we can trust the people

You had me at "whether we can trust ... people"

I wish everyone was of the quality of the gung ho bravery of the stereotypical NASA astronaut, with the intellect of the Rhode scholar... and raised in the mid-west and having a sort of a innocent bafflement of evil or corruption or falsehood. And from what anyone can tell, the Japanese have a far superior sense of morality than any other modern people (low crime rates, no looting... all the cash and valuables found that has been turned in), but even within their population we obviously have corruption (as we have seen its unfortunate effects).

So the issue is that anything that involves enough capital and/or is sufficiently complex that involves lots of people (such as nuclear power) will be subject to the effects of corruption, period. Nuclear power may be safe... but because (corruptable, imperfect) people are involved... whatever safety gains there are become nullified, even reversed.

Fukishima Article and Comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37474150)

Very well written article indeed. Unfortunately many erroneous conclusions drawn by commenters, For instance one person states nuclear power is so insanely expensive--not true right now the world nuclear power cost is 2.3 cents per Kwt Hour, lower than coal, lower than natural gas. Now it is true that capital expense is in fact much higher than other types of plants. So the first lesson is to be sure you are clear on exactly what aspect you are talking about--which unfortunately is missing quite a bit here on the old slash dot pages. Mostly emotional hype. Certainly not as well thought out as the article itself. Nor researched either.

This just underscores what I have been saying (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474326)

for years.

Use modern reactors, and the government should build and operate them. remove profit gained from skimping on safety and EOL procedures.

Re:This just underscores what I have been saying (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37474672)

Um.... At least in the USA, the government doesn't build or run anything. It's all contracted out to the lowest bidder. So, no, that won't help.

Re:This just underscores what I have been saying (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475050)

Indeed, I am a supporter of nuclear power but i do think that boiling water reactors should be closed and replaced with safer modern ones.

Re:This just underscores what I have been saying (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37475512)

> the government should build and operate them
Oh god, no. Private companies may be ruthless, but they don't inherently have the power to re-write the legal framework to suit themselves (even if it sometimes looks this way, at least in the US).

A PhD Told Me (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37474484)

..that nuclear reactors are complex systems, and therefore subject to chaotic behavior.. further, the culture of security does not breed increased response to threats, quite the opposite. Long periods of stable energy and profits lead predictably to cozy relationships with regulators and "asleep at the wheel" operators.. industry-wide! This was someone with no political axe in hand, simply advanced training in physics..

Re:A PhD Told Me (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475158)

..that nuclear reactors are complex systems, and therefore subject to chaotic behavior.. further, the culture of security does not breed increased response to threats, quite the opposite. Long periods of stable energy and profits lead predictably to cozy relationships with regulators and "asleep at the wheel" operators.. industry-wide! This was someone with no political axe in hand, simply advanced training in physics..

Well said.

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