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Japan's Last Nuclear Reactor Shuts Down

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the punctuated-equilibrium dept.

Japan 452

AmiMoJo writes "Japan's last active reactor is shutting down today, leaving the country without nuclear energy for the first time since 1970. All 50 commercial reactors in the country are now offline. 19 have completed stress tests but there is little prospect of them being restarted due to heavy opposition from local governments. Meanwhile activists in Tokyo celebrated the shutdown and asked the government to admit that nuclear power was no longer needed in Japan and to concentrate on safety. If this summer turns out to be as hot as 2010 some areas could be asked to make 15% power savings to avoid shortages, while other areas will be unaffected due to savings already made."

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Oh Great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903005)

So now Godzilla can just wade around in Tokyo Bay and pull down power wires? Wait until the union of supermonsters gets a load of this.

Re:Oh Great (0)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903157)

Inaccurate story.

Fukushima 4 may be "offline" but can't be "shutdown"...

Re:Oh Great (5, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903219)

According to this [wikipedia.org] Fukushima 4's fuel was removed soon after the disaster and therefore has been shut down for some time.

Re:Oh Great (2, Insightful)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903293)

You can't convince the anti-np crowd or conspiracy theorists with facts. They just keep on repeating the same misinformation hoping it will eventually override all the evidence.

Re:Oh Great (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903317)

You can't convince the anti-np crowd or conspiracy theorists with facts. They just keep on repeating the same misinformation hoping it will eventually override all the evidence.

don't worry, the day you prove p=np they will all bow before you. /mutates & /ducks

It's not just misinformation (3, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903857)

the trouble with Nuclear is the disasters are so bad, and sooner or later the reactors get privatized and some wealthy jackass cuts funding to safety. Since he doesn't live anywhere near the disaster (or could just move if he did) he's fine. Running a nuclear reactor is very, very expensive. So there's a LOT of money to be made by cutting corners and skipping maintenance. The kind of people who run our world (thanks to the way inheritance works) are not very bright either. Unless safety can be made so cheap that the margins aren't good enough to attract your average capitalist you'll never have 100% safe nuclear power.

Re:Oh Great (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903329)

The Unit 4 reactor had already had it's fuel removed *before* the earthquake, not after. The problem is that all that spent fuel is now in the Unit 4 fuel pool.

Re:Oh Great (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903441)

My bad; I was at least closer to the truth.

Re:Oh Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903353)

So in reference to this statement:

So now Godzilla can just wade around in Tokyo Bay

You said: "Inaccurate story."
Gee, ya think?

Whoever rated this up +3 needs to seriously lay off the LSD.

Good job japan! (2, Insightful)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903021)

That's securing your nation's future in the post-oil world! /s

Re:Good job japan! (-1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903087)

The activists have a point. The reactor designs are relatively unsafe compared to modern designs, though it took a hell of a lot of punishment to show it.

Here's hoping Japan makes the switch to thorium.

Re:Good job japan! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903267)

The activists have a point. The reactor designs are relatively unsafe compared to modern designs, though it took a hell of a lot of punishment to show it.

Here's hoping Japan makes the switch to thorium.

Except the Activist are against the building of newer safer designs.

Re:Good job japan! (5, Insightful)

Delarth799 (1839672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903719)

These activists seem to be against ALL forms of power
No matter if its coal, gas, wind, hydro, solar, nuclear, tidal, or anything else these people are always there protesting its construction.

Re:Good job japan! (5, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903893)

You speak the truth. Coal fired power plants have spewed more radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere than all the nuclear disasters ever did.

The only rational thing to do is ignore the radical environmentalists and get on with building the next generation of nuclear plants.

Renewable energy remains a sick joke, coal and oil aren't going to last forever, nor should we wait until it reaches a crisis point.

Re:Good job japan! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903527)

by what measure are these nuclear power stations dangerous compared to any other power generation? or anything else we do in daily life.

should a train be able to survive a tsunami without its passengers getting killed or injured? or a house?

Fukushima has not resulted in a single extra death compared to earthquake/tsunami, to me that says that nuclear power is pretty safe. sure its nice that new designs are even more robust. but if you want to make the world a better place shut down coal and gas first. then solve poverty and disease.

Re:Good job japan! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903807)

by what measure are these nuclear power stations dangerous compared to any other power generation? or anything else we do in daily life.

They're activists. Facts and common sense don't enter into it, they want us all to return tho the stone age.

Re:Good job japan! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903511)

Adding to this:

At current LNG prices Japan pays additional $200 billion a year for its elecricity generation from gas compared to what nuclear generation would cost. The anti-nucreal crowd can calculate the cost of Fukushima disaster as they want, but in no way they can deny the fact that cheaper elecricity would cover the cost of the disaster in few years. The bigger economic cost was not the nuclear disaster itself, but that the reactors shutdowns afterwards.

Burning fossil fuels instead. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903031)

Energy has to come from somewhere -- lets burn more fossil fuels! huge victory for the environment! yay!

Save Face, not Environment (5, Insightful)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903119)

You have it wrong --- this is "we can save face if we blame the problems we had with our nuclear reactor on nuclear energy being inherently unsafe, not the fact that we totally f**ked up the safety management and planning in multiple ways".

BTW, at least one of these errors is being made practically everywhere in the world: stopping research into new, possibly safer reactor designs because of the public's knee-jerk fear of technology. (Maybe not so much in China, though.)

Re:Save Face, not Environment (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903389)

> BTW, at least one of these errors is being made practically everywhere in the world: stopping research into new, possibly safer reactor designs because of the public's knee-jerk fear of technology.

Why does it have to be nuclear? Why are you so intent on using nuclear, even if better options exist, and on qualifying those who don't follow your advice as anti-something or conspiracy paranoids? Isn't it possible for you to be wrong? Could it not be that after 4 major nuclear accidents everybody's perception that nukes cannot be trusted is right?

Who's the ostrich now?

BTW, it's the same thing about climate change: first it does not exist, then it's just natural, then it exists but maybe it's even helpful... and 20 years later it's a national threat...

Do you want to sit on a pile of sand, with just cockroaches for company saying "ok, I suppose I might be wrong now and then"? Just what for? To show nature/God/mankind you don't care?

Well, that was pretty clear from day one, son.

Re:Save Face, not Environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903447)

Why are you so intent on using nuclear, even if better options exist

Oh, please, do name one.

Re:Save Face, not Environment (2)

loneDreamer (1502073) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903635)

Why not? As long as its not coal or oil, anything is an improvement. Japan seems to be going on the opposite direction, which is a sad thing to see.

Also, stopping to do research and improvements seems like a bad idea to me, even if there are alternatives. Are you THAT confident in any other technology that you can rule out all potential improvement on nuclear energy as irrelevant? This is science, you never know where the breakthrough are going to come from, and exploring options is the way to move forward. Abandoning a young and promising technology (especially one some mind-blowing in terms of human knowledge and achievements) seems to me ill-advised.

Re:Save Face, not Environment (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903735)

"Why does it have to be nuclear? Why are you so intent on using nuclear, even if better options exist"

But, just in case, you fail to name anyone.

On the other hand, technologic research is, you know, that thingie about advancement of civilization and then, is terribly doubtful because everything we currently know about the physical world around us, that there's any source of energy with more potential than nuclear (both fission and fussion) with the exception, maybe, of matter/antimatter reaction which is practically science fiction right now.

So it seems nuclear is the obvious low hanging fruit for research and advancement, don't you think so?

Re:Save Face, not Environment (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903913)

Why does it have to be nuclear?

Because there does not exist enough energy on this planet to satisfy out wants and needs.

1. We are using, in one way or another, 50% of all *SOLAR* energy that falls on this planet. There is not much left for the natural world. Everything from forests, to pasture land to farm land, is solar energy used to feed ourselves and for other purposes (paper, furniture, chemicals, etc. etc.). There MUST BE a margin left for natural processes or we'll fuck ourselves over.

2. We are burning 27,400 MILLION BARRELS (~4,500 MILLIONS OF TONS) per year of oil, 6,500 MILLION TONS of coal, God knows how much gas, just to bridge the gap in energy for our industry and lifestyle. When everyone lives like the 1st world nations, we'll need about 6x more energy.

So where the hell do you want the energy to come from? 50% solar is used. Even more is going to get used. Environment is already stretched to the limit and that is before counting in CO2 emissions.

Do you want 2,000,000 wind turbines and additional billions of tons of lead mined for batteries?

Invent a magic "zero point energy module" like you see on the Sci-Fi shows and there will be no need for any nuclear power plants. Until then, unless you want to destroy this planet under a blanket of smog and ground level ozone, nuclear is the only energy source we have.

PS. I cannot take most anti-nuke "environmentalists" seriously. They even oppose fusion research - only a clueless quack extremest can do that and still say they are an environmentalist.

Re:Save Face, not Environment (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903493)

"It's just a flesh wound!"

At what point does a knee-jerk fear of technology become a justified rejection? The high tech country Japan can't handle real world implementations of nuclear power, and the high tech country Germany avoids a disaster through sheer luck while trying out "inherently safe" reactor technology: AVR Jülich, the small scale test for the THTR-300 (which also had problems) is the basis for the HTR-10 design that was sold to China.)

The people who think that nuclear power can be affordable and safe at the same time are drinking the Kool-aid.

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903039)

we are japanese if you please, we are japanese if you dont please

Great step. Now about the plutonium. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903051)

This is a great step. Now, if only they'd do something about all the spent fuel rods in Fukushima, stored in a building that has a seismic structural rating of 0 (I.e. very fragile).

That alone is probably the greatest threat to the existence of humanity today. God help us all if there's another earthquake.

Re:Great step. Now about the plutonium. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903311)

the greatest threat to the existence of humanity today

That is why nobody listens to anti-nuke people. How is someone outside Japan affected? The rods won't go critical if the building comes down, so there'll be no fallout. So "humanity" isn't under any threat at all. It can't hurt most of the world. So humanity won't care.

Re:Great step. Now about the plutonium. (3, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903379)

That is why nobody listens to anti-nuke people. How is someone outside Japan affected? The rods won't go critical if the building comes down, so there'll be no fallout. So "humanity" isn't under any threat at all. It can't hurt most of the world. So humanity won't care.

Considering that debris and radioactive waste from Fukushima landed in my back yard, it does become somewhat of an issue. And no, I don't live in Japan... but I do live downwind from Japan. At least the Pacific Ocean offered a little bit of protection so the bulk of the cloud from that disaster didn't hit my house. There are some large scale issues with nuclear engineering, and sometimes you do need to consider the effects outside of the immediate area where the reactors are built.

This said, I do think the GP post was way over the top and exaggerating things a bit. The storage of the rods isn't all that difficult to deal with, but it does take some creative solutions.

Re:Great step. Now about the plutonium. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903733)

No radioactive releases have been attributed to spent fuel damage. The initial assessment that the spent fuel pools were dry (by NRC Charmain Jaczko) was incorrect, and all damage to fuel assemblies stored in the spent fuel pools was due to debris from the secondary containment explosions. Even then, the spent fuel was safe and the extraordinary measures (such as the helicopter drop of water) were in vain. It should also be noted that for the fuel stored in dry cask storage, the only impact from the tsunami was a slight movement of the casks on their pads.

Finally I should note that spent fuel pools are designed to the same seismic rating as the critical safety features of the reactors. While the earthquake exceeded the design rating, there has been no indication of failure of the spent fuel pools. Nonetheless, dry cask storage of the remaining fuel assemblies has to be a priority since a future earthquake could exceed the potentially weakened structures.

I wouldn't classify this as a particular great risk, but it is something that needs to be taken care of. The highest priority has to be maintaining and augmenting the water treatment system and maintaining the reactors in cold shutdown. Following that it would be best to plug the leaks in the containments and to build an auxiliary containment or confinement building over the reactors. When that is done and the site is sufficiently decontaminated for routine work, unloading of the spent fuel pools can commence (I should also note that you can't immediately transfer spent fuel to dry cask storage--it needs to have the short lived fission products decay to reduce its heat output within the cask's capacity).

Re:Great step. Now about the plutonium. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903831)

That alone is probably the greatest threat to the existence of humanity today. God help us all if there's another earthquake.

You mean they might fall over and roll across the floor? On, noes!

I have been completed stress tests! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903057)

Perhaps a little less nuclear power in the US will result in better slashdot editors?

Greenies have won while the majority in Japan lost (3, Insightful)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903061)

While nuclear can be done safely, there seems to be no effort to do so - as it would deny environmentalists a chance to remake the power grid in their own way.

Environmentalism - as practiced today - has been about control versus the original intent of cleanliness and efficiency.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903081)

Slashdot posting--as practiced today--is about pussies astroturfing and lying and misleading. LIKE YOU!

Oh, was that me painting with too broad a brush? TAKE A LESSON, YOU JIZZ SPONGE!!!

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (3, Insightful)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903123)

Do you have a shred of evidence suggesting environmentalists want control over power vs clean energy? It almost sounds like an oil executive projecting his own motivations onto green activists: "Harumph, CLEARLY they are just after more control and power, and don't actually give a rat's behind about the well being of the planet or the implications for human health! ... (cough) ... Stevens, fetch me a glass of brandy, I'm done giving press conferences for the day."

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903149)

How about the simple fact that "environmentalists" are celebrating the shut down of nuclear reactors while ignoring the coal and oil based power plants?

When solar and wind power becomes widespread then we can celebrating shutting down nuclear power plants. Until then, all you're doing is trading one evil for an even greater evil.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (4, Insightful)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903307)

I don't see environmentalists ignoring anything at all. In fact efforts to fight Oil have been really stepped up, especially in light of what happened in the Gulf with BP. Plus, more and more environmentalists are arguing for modern, safe nuclear power, not against ALL nuclear power. Just the sort of plants that put profits before safety.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (5, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903483)

It sort of looks like these environmentalists are celebrating the fact that ALL nuclear power plants have been shut down in Japan. While I will admit there might be some bad plants that needed to be shut down and that some changes needed to happen, was it necessary to shut all of them down at the same time?

Keep in mind that the celebration is over the last of the nuclear power plants being shut down. They are celebrating the death of even the concept of nuclear energy.

If there was a real concern about the environment, they would be far more worried about increasing dependence on coal and oil for electrical power. Heck, just by restarting some of these older coal power plants they are going to be introducing more radioactive debris into the environment than had they simply left the nuclear power plants running. These environmentalists are in that way celebrating a nuclear future AND the destruction of the environment on a massive scale, where many more people will die because these plants are being shut down.

If you were genuinely concerned about safety, you would be insisting that these nuclear power plants be restarted ASAP. If you look strictly at deaths directly caused from mining coal to replace these nuclear power plants, I think that would more than offset any potential deaths caused from even casual handling of spent nuclear rods, much less the risk of having another Fukushima-type disaster happening in the next few years.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903715)

That people are celebrating is not evidence that they want control. What is evidence of is that a large number of environmentalists are deeply ignorant about the pros and cons of different types of power and that they have absorbed a large number of anti-technology memes. That's not an indication of a desire for "control". Hanlon's razor seems a bit relevant here.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (5, Insightful)

rgbrenner (317308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903223)

Of course he doesn't have any evidence. The pro-nuclear crowd wants to pick and chose the best parts about nuclear... they want to pretend that each plant lasts for 40-60 years--so that the cost of nuclear is competitive with coal,etc.. and then when those 50 year old reactors are found to be unsafe, they say it's because they are out of date.

Well... if they were rebuilt every decade with the latest safety improvements, they would not be cost competitive. So chose: unsafe reactors... or uncompetitive energy prices.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903387)

I like how you accuse him of not having evidence... and then throw out a bunch of generalizations and theories.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903429)

. The pro-nuclear crowd wants to pick and chose the best parts about nuclear... they want to pretend that each plant lasts for 40-60 years--so that the cost of nuclear is competitive with coal,

So are you trying to reduce the impact on the environment, or on your wallet?

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903529)

I hear Fukishima is wonderful this time of the year

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (2)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903563)

Do you see coal plants or even solar power farms being rebuilt every ten years?

It takes time to phase in changes in engineering and design, where certainly nuclear energy plants built in the early 1960's perhaps ought to be phased out and shut down. Then again that was over 50 years ago. I would agree that 50 year old nuclear power plants should be decommissioned and perhaps even rebuilt. Sadly too many of plants that age are still being used because the new plants aren't being built to replace them.

There are also a number of factors that drive up costs for nuclear power plants. I think they can be made cost effective, and even safe enough that you don't ever need to worry about a disaster like Fukushima happening in the future. The largest driver of nuclear power plant cost in America has been largely due to the one-off nature of the plants. Most of them were experiments in engineering design where each plant was essentially a prototype incorporating the newest technology known at the time. Other countries (notably France) have gone beyond that and standardized designs which made it much cheaper to build those facilities... and because France built their reactors more recently they have higher standards as well.

Nuclear power isn't perfect, but it can certainly be something that should be in the mix and not ruled out.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903665)

Do you see coal plants or even solar power farms being rebuilt every ten years?

Solar power farms don't have the same problems when they fail, and the panels we had in the 1970s could repay the energy cost of their production in seven years. Why in hell have you brought them into this conversation? To make Nuclear look shitty?

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (3, Insightful)

WrecklessSandwich (1000139) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903699)

The safety improvements in modern designs are enough that they don't need to be rebuilt every decade. This isn't like computers where you need the latest and greatest all the time. There is no Moore's Law of Reactor safety. This is an issue of the technology having matured since the reactors in question were built.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903845)

I'll play along... quick question: how much time is there between safety issues being discovered? Since that's how much time the reactors will be safe and usable before they should be fixed.

So you say they are safe now? The Westinghouse AP1000 was approved by the NRC in 2005. The NRC approved two plants in 2011 (in GA). and it's being built at the Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant in China. "Unequaled safety".. a Gen III+ reactor.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AP1000 [wikipedia.org]

They break ground in Georgia and China... and then they find it has a safety flaw:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/21/business/energy-environment/21nuke.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com]

This is it.. the latest, greatest nuclear tech we have.. and we're still making mistakes with it.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903709)

Or, you could just build inherently safer designs in the first place.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903745)

Are you saying that the reactors we have now were designed with KNOWN safety issues?

Of course that's ridiculous... everyone THOUGHT they were safe when they were designed and built. It's not until decades later we find out if they were wrong.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903363)

There's evidence of this in the US by the government propping up companies like Solyndra - while blocking oil, coal, and nuclear from having any chance to be usable.

If you want green energy, fine. Just be prepared for when it fails to deliver as promised.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (4, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903373)

2002-2008 the United States handed out subsidies to fossil fuel industries to a tune of 72 billion dollars. I sure wish the government would block me like that...

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (3, Interesting)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903473)

So 12 billion a year across a wide industry, of which how many companies went bankrupt? Didn't Solyndra get 2 billion? Wasn't there a few other billion-dollar handouts to solar firms that have gone belly-up?

Government money should not be involved in the creation or propping up of business and industry. Research, yes, and if such research leads to advancements that are economically feasible and viable.. money will find and support those advancements.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903395)

Do you have a shred of evidence suggesting environmentalists want control over power vs clean energy?

Well you can start with the story you're commenting on.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903179)

It's not environmentalists behind this push. And they aren't making bank on it.

Others are, because they exploit the nobler intentions with profit on their mind.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903185)

Ah that's alright, considering Japan seems to be going full bore towards coal power plants. They're buying up every coal mine in western Canada that they can get their hands on so they can export it. I'm sure this is a much better option.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903299)

Environmentalists seem to be more concerned with gross pollution, as opposed to pollution per capita or per kwh, and seem to neglect the fact that you need more of something that produces less power to get the same output.

I want to thank you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903359)

Environmentalism - as practiced today - has been about control versus the original intent of cleanliness and efficiency.

Oh. My. God.

I think this has finally done it for me.

First I stopped logging into my account and only posted occasionally as an AC.

Then I stopped reading so much of Slashdot posts.

Then the "articles" turned more and more into adverisements and PR statements and garbage.

Now, I think I'm gonna stop reading Slashdot altogether.

Thank you. I waste too much fucking time here anyway and you've just proven to me, once again, that sites like this (Fark, Digg, Reddit, etc ...) are just complete garbage now. People very rarely post anything insightful - it's mostly "derp" as the Farkers say - parrotted shit that's broadcast on other electronic media. No real honest unique opinions. Just rehashes of the same old shit that's been said time and time and time and time again.

Re:Greenies have won while the majority in Japan l (2)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903545)

I look at it another way. We can get rid of a whole inefficient industry at the loss of 15% of peak capacity. Sure the wasteful liberals just want everything to be given to them, but sometimes we must live within our means. This is what we should be doing everywhere. Figuring out how to be efficient.

Thorium Nuclear (4, Informative)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903073)

We need to start making some of these Thorium reactors [youtube.com] .

Re:Thorium Nuclear (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903111)

Thorium reactors have some major hurdles that are not widely talked about. Molten sodium and other light metals are highly erosive and destroy the containment pipes they flow through. There are so far no materials that can withstand the corrosion. Sorenson talks about Thorium like you could build it today, which just isn't true. Thorium is very promising, but it is far off, much like nuclear fusion reactors. While Russia has built a test fusion reactor it only runs for 1000s at a time. Not long enough yet.

Re:Thorium Nuclear (1)

Vanders (110092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903491)

Molten sodium and other light metals are highly erosive and destroy the containment pipes they flow through. There are so far no materials that can withstand the corrosion.

Huh? Liquid Sodium cooled reactors are nothing new [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Thorium Nuclear (4, Insightful)

careysub (976506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903685)

Molten sodium and other light metals are highly erosive and destroy the containment pipes they flow through. There are so far no materials that can withstand the corrosion.

Huh? Liquid Sodium cooled reactors are nothing new [wikipedia.org] .

And none of them have been run successfully as a commercial unit. If someone could build one successful sodium cooled power reactor, and have it run for a decade with decent availability then sodium-cooling might be viable. Based on current evidence, the technology for a successful plant does not exist.

Re:Thorium Nuclear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903887)

Russia's great BN600 has shown that way to increase availability is to ignore sodium fire. Is just contaminated sodium. Cannot hurt anyone.

Re:Thorium Nuclear (5, Informative)

cbarcus (600114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903675)

This comment is very far off.

Unlike molten salt reactors, a class of fast breeders utilize liquid sodium, which reacts violently with water- and has been a bit of a problem (very costly) when heat-exchangers, reheaters, and similar equipment fails.

Molten salt reactors, like the one prototyped at Oak Ridge National Laboratories back in the 60s, ran for years. The corrosion issue stems from the inadvertent production of tritium (from an undesired isotope of lithium in some formulations of the salt) which can combine with the fluorine (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor/LFTR) to produce a strong acid. These and other problems appear to have very viable solutions (from listening to the relevant scientists and engineers), and should not be used to disparage the technology.

To compare this fission technology that has already been demonstrated in principle with a prototype, to fusion which has not even achieved break-even demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of the issues involved. The primary advantages of the molten salt reactor to energy production are the following:
- based on fission which is a well-understood phenomena; U-233 liquid-fueled reactor already demonstrated in principle decades ago (found to be very reliable)
- a liquid fuel system that operates at low pressure and high temperature which allows for very high levels of safety and efficiency
- the above which contribute to the high likelihood of low-cost reactors
- low cost reactors will dramatically lower the cost of carbon-free energy
- high temperatures allow for more efficient cogeneration; example: ammonia synthesis which could be used as an energy carrier on the scale of petroleum, which would address both concerns about fuel supply and carbon emissions
- high temperatures also allow for the use of dry cooling (as opposed to "wet" cooling which uses a lot of water), necessary for an efficient thermodynamic cycle
- thorium fuel is about as abundant as lead (3-4 times more abundant as uranium), and so very low cost
- fissile startup requirements are minimal (less than a tonne of 20% enriched U-235 is possible)
- system is very proliferation resistant (lots of technical details in the specifics)

The disadvantages:
- we must face our fear of nuclear energy
- more R&D (substantially less than $10 billion) will be required before this technology is a commercial reality
- bureaucratic and industry resistance to a new technology (they've already committed themselves to something else which is not suited for solving our systemic problems)
- the general public remains woefully ignorant of the risks it is facing by foregoing nuclear energy

The potential is that we have a nuclear system that is so safe and efficient that it may have the convenience, but at lower cost, than modern and ubiquitous natural gas plants. We are looking at perhaps the greatest technology humanity has ever developed, at best critical to our transition to a sustainable existence, and at worst, an essential technological step to reduce the risk we currently face. The United States may lack the technical leadership to step into a new era of low-cost carbon-free energy, but its rivals are seriously looking at this approach (China is apparently putting around $100 million annually into this), and if it proves viable on a commercial scale (all signs so far showing absolutely "yes"), the US will be left behind. It is difficult to overstate the importance of this issue to national security. Our economic well-being is dependent upon the cost and convenience of energy, and "farming" low-density energy sources dramatically increases our risk in this area. Lower the cost of energy and you will facilitate wealth creation, otherwise we face recession and decline.

Re:Thorium Nuclear (1)

Mt._Honkey (514673) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903297)

Thorium reactors are well and good and may be the future of nuclear energy, but they are just as susceptible to a Fukushima-style meltdown as any other modern reactor. The Fukushima reactors were successfully shut down the moment the earthquake was registered, the problem was the decay heat. About 7% of a reactor's output is from the beta-decay of the fission fragments, so even after you stop fission you have to wait for these to decay away, which means weeks of continued heat removal. Thorium does not solve this problem. That said, any modern reactor design is much better at removing decay heat in an emergency than the antiquated design used at Fukushima.

Re:Thorium Nuclear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903309)

I see your Youtube and raise you a Wikipedia:
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kernkraftwerk_THTR-300 [wikipedia.org]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/THTR-300 [wikipedia.org]

There is no inherently safe technology with high energy density. When a mishap can make large swaths of land uninhabitable, it's time to see if there are alternatives, and there are.

Math? (4, Interesting)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903103)

Before the accident 27% of Japan's energy came from nuclear power. Even if everyone could 15% (which is impossible because many big users are already conserving due to costs) that still leaved 12% unaccounted for. Sure green power can make up for some of that in the long term but in the short term it means increased import and burning of fossil fuels [washingtonpost.com] . A 54% increase in fossil fuel base electricity production in one year is significant.

Re:Math? (2)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903161)

Increased import, and the 15% is over and above current savings

Re:Math? (1)

nachiketas (1000328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903233)

Japan suffered its first trade deficit last year because it had to import billions of dollars worth of oil and gas to make up for the deficit. Wind and solar account for only 1% of its energy needs.

Re:Math? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903639)

if everyone could 15%

Accidentally ?

Contradict much? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903173)

Meanwhile activists in Tokyo celebrated the shutdown and asked the government to admit that nuclear power was no longer needed in Japan

If this summer turns out to be as hot as 2010 some areas could be asked to make 15% power savings to avoid shortages

Would seem to me that it is very clear that nuclear power is still needed in Japan if areas have to make cuts in power draw to avoid shortages.

Re:Contradict much? (0)

craznar (710808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903211)

Talking contradictions, I would have thought that making cuts in power draw to avoid shortages - has not avoided a shortage, rather just accepted it ?

Re:Contradict much? (0)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903289)

Would seem to me that it is very clear that nuclear power is still needed in Japan if areas have to make cuts in power draw to avoid shortages.

Logically yes. But Greenies also like to believe everyone besides them is wasteful, and therefore we should all be cutting back anyway, regardless of inconvenience or comfort. These are people who in their most strict factions would like to abolish cars, ignoring that everyone is not in a physical condition to pedal themselves around everywhere on a bicycle.

Re:Contradict much? (0)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903649)

They are also people who drive 12mpg land-boats to haul their mountain bikes to the trail and kayaks to the river on weekends (and themselves to work on the weekdays. It would be inefficient to own two cars, don't cha know.)

I'm not sure I've ever even met an "environmentalist" who didn't do their preaching from the tailgate of a "outdoorsy" vehicle.

Re:Contradict much? (2)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903313)

It's the activists that claim we don't need nuclear power, but the majority of them don't realize that as the reactors are being refused activation licenses there has been a massive increase in the reliance coal and natural gas - which has increased power generation costs, has large carbon footprint, and is neither sustainable nore feasable for long-term power needs. We absolutely need nuclear power, and even now there's no reason not to restart the Chubu Denryoku and Touhoku Denryoku reactors.

Of course the more rigerous tests and highered standards have exposed potentialy dangerous reactors and broght into quetsion the location and "benefit" packages of certain reactors - so hopefully this will usher in a newer, safer age of nuclear energy. But the reactors that have already passed all the safety tests need to be restarted as soon as possible lest there be a significant and needless economic impact.

Re:Contradict much? (1)

cryptolemur (1247988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903889)

Since nuclear reactors automatically shut down during an earthquake in Japan, they have always had to have serious backup power for nuclear energy. With what so huge power generation units, even in Europe there has to be backup for maintenance breaks and whatnots -- the grid can't just loose 1200MW at one go for a month or so. IN other words, they have always reliad heavily on carbon power, too.
Anyway, the latest research gives nuclear higher carbon footprint than nuclear, so for all we know, it's good for everybody. Latest, meaning all the easy fuel having been pretty much used up, and having to dig deeper and more cubic miles of the ore to get more fuel to expanding market... all done by oil-based machinery.
See, while coal plants become better at CO2/MW decade by decade, nuclear reactors actually become worse.

I was told about this in 2006 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903193)

Someone at a hospital in 2006 told me about this and it actually happened.........

well no more calling japan saying heroiusma for me.

Alternatives (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903201)

The main alternative to nuclear is coal. Most people who oppose nuclear power don't realize the amount of radioactive material that is raining down on them near a coal plant. It's enough to trigger radiation alarms if they aren't recalibrated from 'nuclear' to 'coal'.

And despite what the greenies say, wind and solar aren't always reliable, especially near the ocean -- clouds come and go, as do storms, and wind fluxuates, whereas power demand is constant. Not only that, but the efficiency of solar panels isn't high enough yet to be a replacement in an urban area -- panels have to be installed outside the city and cover large tracts of land. That may work in America, but it will not work for an island city-state.

Japan is taking a step backwards here because of political pressure and disinformation about the safety of nuclear power: Fukishima wasn't a failure of engineering, it was a failure of management, and it's something every government has to contend with when they hand over to capitalists and industrialists anything that can go boom; They are asked to balance profit with safety, but invariably when the two conflict, profit wins.

Re:Alternatives (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903419)

Actually it is not uncommon for air monitoring alarms to go off in a nuclear plant from the effluents from and adjacent coal plant when the wind is wrong. Japan probably had a spinning reserve of about 15% just like the US but now even with all of nuclear units down there is no reserve even with a massive conservation effort and there is a significant shortfall that will have to be picked up by coal. Wind and solar have a place but they cannot be the baseload. Energy storage is extremely difficult and costly rendering them appropriate for peaking but not much else. Nuclear plants have an incredible safety record when it comes to direct industrial safety and I would bet that there are far more injuries playing on windmills than in the entire nuclear fuel cycle in a given year. Are solar panels made out of toxic materials? I would expect so. Without subsidies use of solar panels to produce electricity works out to about a dollar a kilowatt. Nuclear about a nickel at the bus bar (poor performer). The news emphasised the scary nuclear plant which had 3 fatalities (2 drownings and 1 heart attack) at the expense of a human tragedy that cost 18000 people their lives. A large area was exposed to numerous chemical carcinogens that are a part of modern life that probably exceeded the risk from radiation. In a couple of years a lot of the area quarantined may be reclaimed. The nuclides that are causing the concerns are Cesium and Strontium both of which have about a 30 year half life but both of which are relatively soluable, weathering will result in quite a bit of removal over time. The bigger concern for the area would be the social stigma for those that moved back into the area because of ignorance.

Re:Alternatives (1)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903503)

Coal gassification plants offer a much cleaner way to burn coal (or any biomass really). Not that I'm a proponent of growing dependence on coal, but there have to be sustainable alternatives (nuclear is not sustainable) like geothermal (might be very promising in Japan), wave and wind (I know it fluctuates, so you overbuild. There is consistent wind pattern and excess power generation could be stored in hydrogen)

Admit nuclear energy isn't necessary? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903215)

Until it is. Desperately. Hydrocarbons aren't long for this world from an "energy return/aggregate price" point of view. Do they expect to pull power from the behinds of pink unicorns and baby godzillas?

Which would, admittedly, be pretty cool.

What do you expect (-1, Troll)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903217)

From a country that thought ramming airplanes into ships might win a war. ldiots! This summer when it is impossible to run your AC to keep cool because of rolling brown outs, and next winter when it is too cold to run your furnace, remember back to this day. Bunch of nearsighted clowns running that country, caving into the political correctness nutjobs.

Wonder if they will still be celebrating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903247)

..... when the air-conditioners wont work in the middle of summer due to power cuts?

There are reasons (5, Insightful)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903251)

I know we are all supposed to point out how foolish they are being but they do have reasons for such a strong reaction. Up until Chernobyl they were the only country to deal with major contamination in heavily populated areas. Even Chernobyl was in a rural area not two major cities. It badly scarred them not only physically but mentally. The recent disaster effectively killed a chunk of the country and Japan already has a shortage of land especially farmland. It may have been smarter to phase it out but the fear of a second such disaster was too great. Japan is fairly new to nuclear power and they are in a unique situation. The country is very active geologically and earthquakes are commonplace and it has a lot of potential for similar disasters. None of us can know the real position they were in. The accident happened because they got sloppy and after reviewing other plants they may have seen shortcomings in the other plants that could have lead to disasters and the upgrades would take too long. I'm just saying there may be more to it than we know and Japan has a lot of pride and it's hard for them to admit they got sloppy. It's easy to say all the disasters are human error but it's impossible to take human error out of the equation. Growing up I heard there would statistically be one disaster every thousand years. If statistics were accurate we would be safe for the next three thousand years. Human error will always be a factor. As costs rise also there's a tendency to cut corners increasing risk. That's what caused the gulf oil spill. All the reactors in this country are rapidly approaching the end of their projected lives and many have already passed it. The nuclear materials have a corrosive affect on the pipes so the risk keeps going up on existing plants. The point I'm trying to make is it isn't as cut and dry as most think. There are a lot of pros and cons. Fusion makes a lot more sense but in truth I've never heard anything to convince me it'll ever be practical. For all it's potential every test so far takes nearly as much energy as it produces. We need safe, stable, long term solutions and there is no magic bullet one size fits all solution. In the near term we need all of the sources including coal and oil but a critical part of the puzzle will be that ugly word, conservation. Trust me, the Japanese will be hearing that word a lot over the next few years. Used wisely conservation is a powerful part of the puzzle. Obama got laughed at for suggesting properly inflated tires would save as much oil as the arctic reserve would contribute. As funny as some found it the fact is he was right. If everyone embraced conservation they wouldn't have to change their lifestyles significantly and we could put off new power plants for a decade or more. That would buy us time to make the needed changes including building more nuclear plants if that's the solution. I'll predict this, Japan will become the world leader in conservation. It's the only way they'll survive.

Re:There are reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903707)

Paragraphs, learn to use them.

Re:There are reasons (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903723)

(I suggest you use paragraph breaks -- it really makes your post easier to read.)

I think there's another key factor that you've overlooked: The damage done by the tsunami was huge, while the damage done by the reactor's failure was pretty small. But the reactor is something they can do something about, while there's simply no way to stop a future tsunami. An excessively-strong reaction to the tiny bit of the event which can be addressed is a natural, if irrational, response to the larger but completely unmanageable risk of future tsunami damage.

Re:There are reasons (2)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903793)

The problem with conservation is that you can't conserve or recycle your way out of a shortage. It can be something to be done as a temporary measure, but it shouldn't be viewed as a long term solution. I'm all for wise use of our resources, so don't take this as being against higher efficiency devices, but you also must take a more pragmatic way of thinking about this stuff. BTW, Obama was justifiably ridiculed over his comment of inflating tires while doing things like shutting down oil pipeline construction and killing oil leases and permits on a widespread basis.

As for the irrational fear that the Japanese people have over nuclear energy, I don't understand the concern. I still insist that the nuclear bombs ended up saving more Japanese lives in the long run and ended a bloody war that could have dragged on for many more years and left Japan as a complete ruin. That the bombs were shocking is true, although in the end I think Japan still prospered in a way that wouldn't have happened had the Japanese Imperial Army succeeded with all of their plans.

My hope is that this misguided attitude towards nuclear energy simply ends in Japan. If it does, they can try their experiments in environmental disaster as they see fit, and perhaps they will show the rest of the world how it should be done. Perhaps they will fail as well, so I'm glad that I'm not either a leader or citizen of that country. I just don't want to have it be said that pattern must be repeated elsewhere in the world too, certainly without seeing what the long term impacts of that experiment in Japan actually do. I believe it will be a disaster for Japan, but one that only time will tell.

As for nuclear fusion, I think we are much closer to getting it to work out than you may realize. I would put it in the range of something working in the next decade or so. It used to be said that fusion was something about 30-50 years in the future, but that was also 50 years ago when that was said. It still is a future technology, but advances of things like Focus Fusion, Polywell, and other kinds of technology that has seriously been studied may prove to be fruitful in the next few years. I have no hope for the Tokamak concept, which is sadly getting most of the financial support at the moment. If you want to follow an interesting blog put together by somebody who is making some real interesting progress in this area, I'd suggest you read this one: http://prometheusfusionperfection.com/ [prometheus...ection.com]

Re:There are reasons (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903867)

After reading your post I lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam libero arcu, fringilla in convallis eu, hendrerit vel odio. Nulla convallis lectus vitae purus bibendum ut faucibus tellus dignissim. Nulla facilisi. Cras vitae aliquet felis. Morbi placerat magna ac nulla cursus posuere. Ut ultrices, sapien non vestibulum tristique, mi ligula sodales neque, quis bibendum eros libero nec nisi. Sed elementum auctor ultrices. Mauris porta lacinia tempor. Donec sodales mattis velit eget aliquam. Donec erat purus, tempor sed eleifend sit amet, cursus a mi. Nullam sit amet urna eu lacus aliquam scelerisque. Morbi laoreet elit non leo eleifend bibendum. Pellentesque viverra tellus ut mi vulputate vitae imperdiet lorem tincidunt. Proin a auctor lacus. Aliquam pharetra, odio eu pulvinar interdum, neque nibh molestie nunc, vel dapibus risus elit non dolor. Cras sit amet euismod nisi. Sed sed nisl felis. Mauris venenatis porttitor accumsan. Donec non diam diam, at convallis diam. Suspendisse potenti. Etiam ultrices pulvinar rutrum. Fusce tincidunt purus in augue porttitor blandit. Phasellus pulvinar nisl a ligula faucibus consectetur. Suspendisse ullamcorper lacinia nisl quis pretium. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Aliquam lobortis sapien at orci scelerisque varius. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Proin cursus ligula et sem congue sit amet hendrerit ligula cursus. Donec sapien sem, suscipit vitae accumsan sollicitudin, pretium sit amet nunc. Pellentesque feugiat ante neque, eget facilisis magna. Pellentesque auctor orci in sapien condimentum molestie. Nulla elementum sapien at nibh egestas condimentum. Nulla nec est odio, vel tempus nunc. Donec vitae tellus erat. Maecenas at enim a erat tristique molestie semper eu nulla. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Pellentesque tempor, urna vitae laoreet facilisis, velit magna mollis metus, rutrum aliquet enim nunc vel felis. Suspendisse vitae sagittis enim. Sed sit amet diam in arcu suscipit consequat. Nulla diam ante, consequat non sodales ac, accumsan eget sapien. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Integer diam sapien, tempor nec vulputate a, pulvinar nec neque. Donec vel neque et odio varius fringilla non at erat. Praesent sed nisl quis purus vestibulum porta at dapibus est. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Cras lobortis sodales diam, non hendrerit nisi pulvinar a. Vestibulum quis mi et libero consequat malesuada. Donec iaculis commodo accumsan. Aliquam urna est, tempus vitae accumsan sit amet, dapibus eget enim. Integer quis quam enim. Donec tellus enim, suscipit aliquet fermentum in, rhoncus vel eros. Cras sapien erat, posuere in pulvinar molestie, luctus eu eros. Donec feugiat facilisis dictum. Nullam lacus nisl, iaculis quis varius vel, vulputate in nibh. Vivamus lectus massa, viverra et rutrum a, molestie in nibh. Suspendisse potenti. Integer quis orci turpis. Maecenas convallis velit ac mi laoreet tristique. Vestibulum viverra bibendum felis eu venenatis. Vestibulum sodales libero non felis imperdiet sed varius odio facilisis. And so, in conclusion, the use of the paragraphs is a good idea.

This is pushing up the price of oil. (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903279)

Japan has essentially no internal oil or natural gas resources. Everything has to be imported. As a result of the nuclear shutdown, imports are up. Way up. So are prices.

From the Financial Times: [ft.com]

As utilities last year met the shortfall of nuclear power, Japanese consumption of LNG rose by 56 per cent, crude oil for direct burning by 27 per cent and fuel oil usage by 20 per cent. The trend, which is helping to keep spot LNG prices in Asia and global oil prices higher, is set to accelerate in the next few months as utilities burn more hydrocarbons to compensate for the lack of nuclear power.

Energy analysts say utilities have maximised LNG-fired electricity output, leaving crude oil and fuel oil to meet additional needs. Oil traders believe that Japan's nuclear cutback could add between 450,000 and 800,000 barrels a day to world demand for crude and fuel oil. The figures are significant. The bottom end of the range equals the production of Ecuador and the upper end matches the output of Qatar.

Re:This is pushing up the price of oil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903423)

Oil actually dropped a bit in the last couple days.

Japan is looking to exploit methane hydrates on deep ocean floors around Japan. No danger there, right? Something tells me Japan is in for a world of hurt. You can't spin instant energy sources out on the back of a truck and get back up and running within less than a decade.

I'ld be more interested to see what plans they have to increase electricity generation.

Re:This is pushing up the price of oil. (2)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903629)

About the only significant natural resource Japan ever had was coal.... which is one of the reasons why it industrialized in the first place. Much of that coal has already been extracted though, so Japan generally does need to look elsewhere for their energy needs.

It is a good point to make though that oil prices are going to skyrocket due to this action in Japan. That will have some interesting impacts on other parts of the world.

Re:This is pushing up the price of oil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903657)

I suspect Uranium imports will be down!

Thanks Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903445)

Thank you for being backwards and making the entire world suffer because of increased use of fossil fuels.
No, it won't be recovered by green any time soon, nor will it pay off for many more years even if you do get it all built up.

You'd think these fruitloops who want to save the environment would THINK things through.
But then I realize that most of them are as crazy as religious zealots.
FOSSIL FUELS ARE MORE DANGEROUS TO THE ENVIRONMENT IN EVERY SINGLE WAY POSSIBLE.
NUCLEAR IS SAFE IF YOU DON'T BUILD THE DAMN THINGS WHILE CUTTING CORNERS.

You Can't Repeal Murphy's Law (1)

InterGuru (50986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903521)

You Can't Repeal Murphy's Law

Fukashima
BP oil spill\
Costa Concordia Cruise Ship
Exxon Valdeze
Titanic

We were all allsured that they were foolproof. Wrong -- we found the fools.

Re:You Can't Repeal Murphy's Law (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903581)

So the take away is what? Go back to living in caves in the dark and eating our food raw because fire isn't safe?

Give me a fscking break.

Re:You Can't Repeal Murphy's Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903721)

No, the take away is this: Don't let hubris blind you.

Biggest social disaster in millenia. (3, Insightful)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903539)

The failure to build more nuclear reactors is the biggest social disaster since the sacking of the library of Alexandria. Just as that act set world civilization back by 1000 years, the failure of humankind to use carbon-neutral and safe modern designs of fission reactors will be seen by centuries of people in the future as a major failing. It disgusts me that people who don't understand reality and science pretend that a 40 year old reactor design in Fukishima, or a completely unsafe design as in Chernobyl, have ANYTHING to do with modern nuclear energy generation technology. The ironic thing is that so often it's the people who pretend to care about the environment who are ignorantly opposing modern nuclear energy plants.

Re:Biggest social disaster in millenia. (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903757)

You have lived for too long in the Fallout universe, time to return to real life. Fission reactors are - at best - an intermediate technology until fusion power is finally working, not some kind of a holy grail.

Stay down (0)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903553)

It will be interesting to see if the shutdown will be permanent.
If so, it could make precedence and mark the end of nuclear power world wide.
That would be truly amazing

There is a way for NP to thrive (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39903769)

Every time this topic comes up, there is the same string of irrelevant nonsense. Wake up.

There are only two long-term, large, successful, safe nuclear power projects on Earth - the U.S. Navy's and France's. Last year, the Navy logged its 6,500th reactor-year of experience w/out a single serious accident - nuc subs Thresher and Scorpian went down for reasons unrelated to their power plants. Both the Navy and France use a high degree of standardization between plants, rigorous operator selection and training, and procedures enforced by iron-fisted independent regulators - anathema to the unregulated free-market mavens designing and selling reactors and the natural-monopoly privatized power companies either trying to maximize profit or with guaranteed profit margins regardless of efficiency. The U.S. nuc power system failed as much because of the heterogeneous designs afoot - and resultant inability to insure standardized reliable performance and procedures, as because of the political resistance. But, the two are highly related - that is, there was good reason to be skeptical of promises of safe, long-term operation. A small, compact variation of the Navy's system is being marketed to U.S. communities for local power production at this time, but its adoption is meeting strong resistance in the regulatory agencies and congress due to big power and big energy special-interest influence - i .e. corruption.

So yes, there is a way to have safe, long-term nuclear power right under our feet and it is only our inept corrupted political system that keeps us from realizing it.

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