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Fukushima Disaster Leads Japan To Backpedal On Emissions Pledge

timothy posted about a year ago | from the feeling-electricity's-pull dept.

Japan 274

mdsolar writes with this excerpt from the New York Times: "Japan took a major step back on Friday from earlier pledges to slash its greenhouse gas emissions, saying a shutdown of its nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster had made previous targets unattainable. The announcement cast a shadow over international talks underway in Warsaw aimed at fashioning a new global pact to address the threats of a changing climate. Under its new goal, Japan, one of the world's top polluters, would still seek to reduce its current emissions. But it would release 3 percent more greenhouse gases in 2020 than it did in 1990, rather than the 6 percent cut it originally promised or the 25 percent reduction it promised two years before the 2011 nuclear disaster."

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Ah, the nuclear boogeyman rears its ugly head. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447159)

Fear has caused their inability to act responsibly, when if they had the will to do what was right, they'd have been able to solve the real problems with Fukushima and move on.

I swear, we need a gom jabbar test for politicians.

Re:Ah, the nuclear boogeyman rears its ugly head. (5, Insightful)

thej1nx (763573) | about a year ago | (#45447335)

Get off your high-horse!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions#List_of_countries_by_2012_emissions_estimates [wikipedia.org]

Why exactly have US and China managed to stay on top of the list continuously for past few years, without managing to act the least bit "responsible"? Mod me troll or flamebait if you want to, but Japan even on per-capita basis is lower on list than most other countries. If US and Chinese politicians are willing to sit on their asses and screw the world, why this special onus of "responsibility" on Japan? USA could have done better, and should have so long ago. But US government was more busy trying to convince everyone that global-warming was a "myth" and attempting to argue that it was better to kill the planet than "harm the economy". When we go painting Japan as "one of the world's top polluters", let us remember to name and shame the top two or three as well.

Re:Ah, the nuclear boogeyman rears its ugly head. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447431)

Now... time for me to smear the insides of your asshole with my magical creampies!

Re:Ah, the nuclear boogeyman rears its ugly head. (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year ago | (#45447633)

Actually per capita the US is like number 3 and China is much lower. How come Australia never gets the guilt trip?

Re:Ah, the nuclear boogeyman rears its ugly head. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447689)

No one in their right mind wants to fill Australia with enough people to cause a problem.

Re:Ah, the nuclear boogeyman rears its ugly head. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447773)

What do you suggest, building nuclear power plants all over Australia? I am sure that nothing bad can ever come from making their wildlife radioactive.

Re:Ah, the nuclear boogeyman rears its ugly head. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year ago | (#45448063)

What could it hurt? Maybe it would mutate them in cuddly safe critters that sing every sunrise and sunset.

Re:Ah, the nuclear boogeyman rears its ugly head. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45448411)

What do you suggest, building nuclear power plants all over Australia? I am sure that nothing bad can ever come from making their wildlife radioactive.

Australia is one the world's largest exporters of Uranium, there's tons of the stuff in the ground. Probably explains the wildlife, actually.

Using the stuff up in plants instead of selling it to India to make bombs would probably be beneficial, but there's only one ancient rickety reactor in Australia at Lucas Heights in Sydney. It doesn't generate power though, just radioactive isotopes for medical use (chemotherapy, dye, etc.) and industry (silicon chips).

Re:Ah, the nuclear boogeyman rears its ugly head. (1)

james_shoemaker (12459) | about a year ago | (#45448213)

I saw a chart with the US down around 19 per capita, though that data was suspect as it didn't discount international bunkerage consumption.

Re:Ah, the nuclear boogeyman rears its ugly head. (2)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#45447685)

No flamebait.
+1 cutely devoid of history and social studies credits.
Why questions are fruitless and can produce any answer the respondent feels like, not to mention it deals with motive, which is never a clear answer except to a first party. However, If you will note which countries produce the worlds goods and find a history of how they came into this, you will have answered your own initial question and can extrapolate the rest for yourself effortlessly.

Re:Ah, the nuclear boogeyman rears its ugly head. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45448305)

I have no problem also holding the US and Chinese accountable, notice I didn't specify which politicians.

Re:Ah, the nuclear boogeyman rears its ugly head. (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#45447665)

Like they were fulla beans or something.
Gotta fart, can't hold it, here's your 6% more, BRAAAAAAAAAPFFFFFFSSSSSSssssspoot!
ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....

Re:Ah, the nuclear boogeyman rears its ugly head. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447815)

Fear has caused their inability to act responsibly, when if they had the will to do what was right, they'd have been able to solve the real problems with Fukushima and move on.

I swear, we need a gom jabbar test for politicians.

We need any kind of test other than the current

if ((you.rich || you.haveRichSponsors) && (you.canConvinceNaivePeopleThatYouBelieveYourOwnBullshit)) electability=true;

Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (4, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#45447161)

Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions, according to Japan.

OK, so is the most important thing to be anti-nuclear, or to actually save the environment?

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447167)

It should be pointed out that this depends on the energy source it's displacing.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0, Flamebait)

BlueStrat (756137) | about a year ago | (#45447265)

Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions, according to Japan.

OK, so is the most important thing to be anti-nuclear, or to actually save the environment?

It should be pointed out that this depends on the energy source it's displacing.

Not quite.

It actually depends on what benefits the set of politicians and their propagandists with the most power and biggest bullhorn the most. It has nothing whatsoever to do with achieving objective, real-life, positive results for society and mankind, nor with accruing benefits or empowerment to anyone besides those who control the levers of power & law and their cronies.

If it became known that someone came up with some sort of "John Galt" type way to generate super-cheap and pollution-free energy anywhere with a relatively small lightweight device, they and everyone around them would be killed or otherwise silenced, and all their research, experimental data, and any experimental models confiscated and/or destroyed faster than one can say "drone".

They want energy and energy distribution systems which they can control and use to confiscate even more of people's hard work better and thus control people better while enriching themselves, not better/cheaper/cleaner energy that empowers the individual and allows them the freedom to be less dependent and more self-reliant.

Strat

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#45447317)

If it became known that someone came up with some sort of "John Galt" type way to generate super-cheap and pollution-free energy anywhere with a relatively small lightweight device, they and everyone around them would be killed or otherwise silenced, and all their research, experimental data, and any experimental models confiscated and/or destroyed faster than one can say "drone".

A bullshit assertion because it has never come up. Note this didn't happen in the internet world with stuff like email or web pages.

They want energy and energy distribution systems which they can control and use to confiscate even more of people's hard work better and thus control people better while enriching themselves, not better/cheaper/cleaner energy that empowers the individual and allows them the freedom to be less dependent and more self-reliant.

And once again, it's demonstrated that it's easier to make up shit than to actually come up with economic energy producing technology.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0)

BlueStrat (756137) | about a year ago | (#45447587)

If it became known that someone came up with some sort of "John Galt" type way to generate super-cheap and pollution-free energy anywhere with a relatively small lightweight device, they and everyone around them would be killed or otherwise silenced, and all their research, experimental data, and any experimental models confiscated and/or destroyed faster than one can say "drone".

A bullshit assertion because it has never come up.

How would you know if something was successfully suppressed, given that the definition of "successful" includes those who use bullshit assertions themselves while attempting to label others statements as such?

They want energy and energy distribution systems which they can control and use to confiscate even more of people's hard work better and thus control people better while enriching themselves, not better/cheaper/cleaner energy that empowers the individual and allows them the freedom to be less dependent and more self-reliant.

Note this didn't happen in the internet world with stuff like email or web pages.

Of course not. It was a government-funded research project, FFS. It also makes them money and allows them to more easily, cheaply, and completely identify, monitor, track, and perform data analysis on any individual or group as well as provide valuable feedback on propaganda effectiveness. The wet-dream of a tyranny, beyond even the "telescreen" of "1984" fame.

And once again, it's demonstrated that it's easier to make up shit than to actually come up with economic energy producing technology.

The "economic" part is easy if government reduced or eliminated artificial government-imposed restrictions that are more to do with ideology, politics, and social engineering than actual safety, cost, or environmental impact.

This will also help reduce the effects of "regulatory capture", revolving-door, etc we've seen for decades getting worse with every added regulatory agency, dept, and bureaucracy, and actually improve enforcement and effectiveness of those core regulations that actually work to improve safety, cost, and reduce environmental impact.

But again, that would disadvantage those in power. And I mean all of them, not one party or wing...or even one nation. The US isn't the only nation facing dire economic circumstances or experiencing loss of individual economic and civil freedom and increased government intrusion and control. All of them that have had controlling government power between them over the last 60-plus years that want to increase their control and grow their power even further.

This hasn't happened in the US or the world overnight.

The world right now, especially in the West, reminds me of Prohibition-era Chicago and the gangs that divided up Chicago into "turfs" and who all had corrupt politicians and officials in their pocket to make certain people kept drinking and making them money and giving them power, while they fought over turf, alcohol supplies, power, and money.

That's actually a pretty good analogy for the "NWO" as well. It isn't some shadpwy, tin-foil hat conspiracy. It's simply gangs of corrupt assholes in power in each country warily cooperating with other gangs in each helping to oppress the other's people (keep 'em drinking/consuming/monitored) while increasing their own power, control, and wealth.

If you're oppressing your people, you don't want some other more-free, less-oppressive country around to give hope and possibly asylum and other assistance to your dissidents. It's simply common self-interest among those in power in the West (and increasingly including the East/ME as well).

The *real* fun will begin when the US dollar crashes and the supermarket shelves become bare. That will either be the trigger for, or be triggered by, economic collapse in the EU. It's dominoes all the way down either way.

This in turn will trigger a cascade of major national and international changes and events, and global and national power structures and ideological/political paradigms will shift and some collapse. Many will die globally from wars, rebellions, military coups, riots, purges, even mass genocide and starvation, exposure, and disease within a very short span of time.

Strat

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447913)

If it became known that someone came up with some sort of "John Galt" type way...

Actually, something entirely different would happen. Those folks would be hired for a handsome sum by the military, and those generators would serve well to power ships, submarines, tanks. Civilian use would be mostly forbidden, "regulated" so it became uneconomic, and horrible scare stories about these devices would be circulated so nobody dares to touch them, except in dire circumstances, such as war.

Sounds familiar? Exactly, we call these devices "nuclear reactors". (Okay, granted, they are too big for tanks. Everything else fits, though.)

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447791)

It should be pointed out that this depends on the energy source it's displacing.

Let us see... solar wear out and needs to be replaced too often to be environment friendly, wind power is too erratic to work well as a power source.
The only other viable power source that actually seems environment friendly is hydroelectric and I've never heard anyone shutting down a hydroelectric power plant to replace with nuclear.
If we are in a hurry to reduce emissions then nuclear is currently the only replacement we can do fast enough. If we can wait twenty to fifty years then other power sources might be viable.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447891)

Oh, does it? Whereever nuclear power could displace anything, that "anything" is coal, oil, gas or hydro power. In all four cases, that's a net reduction in GHG emissions. (For coal, oil, and gas, that GHG is carbon dioxide, in the case of natural gas additionally leaked methane. For hydro power, the GHGs are methane and nitrous oxide, emitted from biomass decomposing in the anoxic reservoirs.)

Now you were probably thinking of the politically correct Unreliable Energies solar, wind and biomass. Pray tell, where could you displace those with anything, given that they aren't being used anywhere where there isn't much more coal being burned? And then, iff you manage to find such a place, we'll talk about the Unrealiables' need for backup power and maybe even about life cycle emissions.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (4, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#45447177)

One important thing would had been competent people handling the plant.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (5, Insightful)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about a year ago | (#45447215)

It would help if it wasn't a 40 year old reactor design.

Often missed when talking about nuclear reactors among the general media is that most are old and few new designs have been built.

We have newer, safer, designs. We should, quite frankly, scrap the 40 year old reactors and replace them all with something much newer and much safer.

And yes, hire people who know what they are doing.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447375)

The "build new ones and tear the old ones down" is a straw man argument. Even if you build many new reactors, the old ones will not be scrapped. The old ones are kept running as long as they're profitable. Decommissioning a nuclear reactor is unbelievably expensive, and if there's anything people like less than building a nuclear power plant in their backyard, it's tearing one down. The only thing you achieve by building new reactors is that you'll have more problematic old reactors that nobody can shut down in a couple of decades.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447577)

Replacing the reactors every 40 years doesn't make them viable for their price.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#45447715)

We have newer, safer, designs.

The newer designs are not that different though. They are better, but can still fail in similar ways if emergency cooling is unavailable for some reason. They are still vulnerable to extreme lateral motion from an earthquake.

And yes, hire people who know what they are doing.

Can you guarantee that for the entire life of the plant? Actually I'd question if you can guarantee that even for the building stage or first month of operation. Nuclear is expensive and the desire to drive down costs and maximize profit will always make safety considerations secondary.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447821)

We have newer, safer, designs.

The newer designs are not that different though. They are better, but can still fail in similar ways if emergency cooling is unavailable for some reason. They are still vulnerable to extreme lateral motion from an earthquake.

Fukushima reactor handled the earthquake well, it was the tsunami that caused the problem.

LFTR reactors offer many attractive passive safety features. Kirk Sorensen notes that because LFTRs operate at atmospheric pressure, hydrogen explosions as happened in Fukushima, Japan in 2011, are not possible. "One of these reactors would have come through the tsunami just fine. There would have been no radiation release."[19] Meltdown is impossible, since nuclear chain reactions cannot be sustained, and fission stops by default in case of accident.[15]:13[20]

Thorium-based nuclear power [wikipedia.org]

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45448177)

It wasn't the 40 year old reactor design that was the problem though. It survived both the original earthquake and the tsunami.

Japan is about to break through on methane hydrates anyway. They essentially won't need nuclear power anymore. Natural gas is not going anywhere because renewables won't be enough to power or heat our homes and businesses. By 2100 we will hopefully have eliminated coal as a source of power, and only use natural gas, nuclear, and solar/wind where applicable.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#45447331)

One important thing would had been competent people handling the plant.

This has never been shown to be an actual problem at Fukushima. I've complained about this attitude since shortly after the disaster happened. Where's the evidence that TEPCO acted incompetently? Instead, I see now as I did back when, that TEPCO recovered well from a huge disaster.

The Fukushima plant was exposed due to one of the largest earthquakes of modern history to conditions beyond its design specifications and it behaved as intended with a contained meltdown of several reactors.

TEPCO then acted to prevent the situation from getting worse. They've since expended considerable effort to clean up their mess and take responsibility for their actions (which includes compensating those who have been harmed by the Fukushima accident).

So where is this alleged evidence of incompetence?

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#45447361)

Some TV-show I saw pointed out that they didn't knew they had to manually turn on the emergency (don't know what it was called) condenser and just assumed it already was turned on when it wasn't.

When it finally was turned on after a short while they wasn't sure it hold any water any more so they turned it off again because they didn't wanted to risk that any pipes would burst but afterward it has been said that it would had hold anyway and that it would had been better to let it remain open.

They would likely had acted differently had they knew that and it could possibly had changed the outcome so of course it would had been beneficial if they was more competent as in knew the plant better than they did.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#45447385)

I ask again. Do you have evidence of incompetence?

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447691)

Any design requirements considering local environmental extreme parameters for only the last 100 years for a nuclear reactor planned to be operated for 50 years is an evidence of incompetence.

It is either an evidence of incompetence or willful neglect.

Another example:
http://enenews.com/multiple-assemblies-deformed-in-fukushima-unit-4-pool-one-bent-at-a-90-degree-angle-tepco-mistake-occurred-when-handling-the-fuel-25-years-ago [enenews.com]

"According to TEPCO, one of the damaged fuel assemblies is bent at a 90-degree angle [literal meaning: bent in the shape of a Japanese character "ã"; actual angle could be less]. It was bent 25 years ago when a mistake occurred in handling the fuel. The other two were found to be damaged 10 years ago; there are small holes on the outside from foreign objects."

Again, either an evidence of incompetence or willful neglect, or both.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#45448285)

It's a fact the condenser wasn't used before a long time had passed and it's also a fact that once they had started using it they stopped using it soon thereafter.

Re: Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45448481)

There is plenty of face-saving attempts to go around.

In my book, if you suck up to the boss at a situation like this, yes, you are incompetent.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (4, Informative)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year ago | (#45448385)

One important thing would had been competent people handling the plant.

This has never been shown to be an actual problem at Fukushima. I've complained about this attitude since shortly after the disaster happened. Where's the evidence that TEPCO acted incompetently? Instead, I see now as I did back when, that TEPCO recovered well from a huge disaster.

The evidence to the contrary has been examined by appropriately legislated independent Japanese bodies. You just refuse to recognize it as such, your complaints are, therefore, irrelevant.

The Fukushima plant was exposed due to one of the largest earthquakes of modern history to conditions beyond its design specifications and it behaved as intended with a contained meltdown of several reactors.

TEPCO re-rated the plant to 600Gal, the plant was only ever exposed to 150Gal during the Earthquake, so clearly this is an incorrect statement.

TEPCO then acted to prevent the situation from getting worse. They've since expended considerable effort to clean up their mess and take responsibility for their actions (which includes compensating those who have been harmed by the Fukushima accident).

Your posts come across as if you are you an apologist for TEPCO or the Nuclear industry. Are you in any way related to, paid for by or sponsored in any way by the Nuclear industry or TEPCO in a professional or other capacity?

So where is this alleged evidence of incompetence?

I ask again. Do you have evidence of incompetence?

Yes. The answers you seek are contained in the official report of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission [google.com.au] prepared for the The National Parliment (Diet) of Japan, which cites (amongst others);

  • a multitude of errors and willful negligence that left the Fukushima plant unprepared for the events of March 11
  • serious deficiencies in the response to the accident by TEPCO, regulators and the government
  • TEPCO must undergo dramatic corporate reform, including governance and risk management and information disclosure—with safety as the sole priority.

The most telling citation I can provide you from the official report is how the nuclear industry managed to avoid absorbing the critical lessons learned from Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. I'm sure you've sen that before. [slashdot.org]

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (3, Insightful)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about a year ago | (#45447233)

Sadly, from everything I've heard from "environmentalists" for the past 20 years, they seem to be against almost everything that might do something bad at some point.

Look, I don't knock the idea, harming the enviroment is bad, polution is bad, and there is a reasonable chance that all this CO2 is bad.

Ok, fair enough. But the "environmentalists" are against coal, they are against natural gas, they are against oil, they are against nuclear, they are against... well, everything.

Are they expecting us to all go back and live in caves?

Solar and wind are nice, they help, but they aren't going to become our primary power source anytime soon (and probably not ever).

So what then? What exactly can we use to power our world?

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0)

will_die (586523) | about a year ago | (#45447493)

No, look at the lifestyle that Pol Pot pushed.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447555)

They are for solar and wind... as long as it's not getting build behind their backyard! Then Wind suddenly makes shadows, noises, kills birds..

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447579)

Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378775312014759 [sciencedirect.com]

We find that the least cost solutions yield seemingly-excessive generation capacityâ"at times, almost three times the electricity needed to meet electrical load. This is because diverse renewable generation and the excess capacity together meet electric load with less storage, lowering total system cost. At 2030 technology costs and with excess electricity displacing natural gas, we find that the electric system can be powered 90%â"99.9% of hours entirely on renewable electricity, at costs comparable to today'sâ"but only if we optimize the mix of generation and storage technologies.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (-1, Flamebait)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#45447943)

This has got to be the most full of crap post I have ever read on slashdot. Even in Australia, where they have a history of being big on Carbon (enough to spark a backlash of late) they won't claim half of that. Australia has ideal solar capacity and even they are projecting that they theoretically could reach 50% of baseline with renewables by 2040 [aph.gov.au] and that is the most aggressive credible study I have ever heard of.

Keep in mind that Australia is largely ideally suited for renewables with ample sunshine, and a low population that is largely either in large cities or small towns and very little in-between. That makes it about one of the best places you could possibly have short of a small island for having a renewables based energy source. The resources to scale up windmills, solar panels and other forms of renewables are not infinite and have to come from somewhere.

Windmills and solar panels require [energy.gov] rare earth minerals [columbia.edu] and those come from mines that are almost exclusively in China. A new mine has recently opened in the US so at least one mine will be run with environmental standards. However your notion that we have enough supplies to build enough windmills to power the world is absurd. Don't forget about present shortages in silicon for creating solar panels with the today's production capacity. The idea that we have the materials to supply the world is absurd as cold fusion.

Even when you get the power which often comes at less than ideal times (when it's sunny, windy etc) you have to store somewhere. That means creating batteries and batteries are either going to use materials that are bad for the environment or going to be hyrdopower based or air based and difficult to scale. They can be built, however you simply cannot scale these on a world wide basis at any kind of realistic rate, no matter how well they work at a small scale because the capacity simply isn't there.

I firmly support renewables and have followed the technology for decades. However I have to call out pie in the sky posts like yours as being environmentally irresponsible. The result of always claiming baseline renewables were right around the corner has been decades of keeping society firmly in the hands of the coal industry. Meanwhile we could have had real environmental change by building nuclear power plants instead of more coal power plants because people forget the power has to come from somewhere.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (3, Interesting)

livingboy (444688) | about a year ago | (#45447613)

It might surprise you, that some environmentalists are engineers. I did take one environmental course during my B. of Science studies, that was toughest course I did during my studies.

On that course I learned that there are alternatives, all alternatives have their own problems, but solutions exist.

Main alternative is reducing power consumption on consumer products, then comes renewable energy sources and hybrid power production.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (3, Interesting)

bmajik (96670) | about a year ago | (#45447969)

Are they expecting us to all go back and live in caves?

Main alternative is reducing power consumption

To the GP, yes. That is apparently the plan.

I think it is ethical to identify and mitigate "flagrantly wasteful" misuses of power and abuses of environmental resources. But beyond that, there are ethical and intellectual problems with some environmentalists

People need to realize a few things

The ideal amount of pollution is not "none". No pollution necessarily implies no resource usage.

To maintain a quality of life better than Ogg the caveman, we need to continue using resources to improve our comfort, safety, health, etc. Whether that is cutting down trees or burning coal, we need to continue doing both, because people want shelter, heat, and electricity.

To develop the quality of life we have now, we had to use resources and create pollution. People who advocate for sharp declines in pollution and resource use necessarily advocate stopping human progress.

Given how much suffering there is left in the world, suffering that requires our hard work, investment, and energy to address, people who ask us to stop resource consumption and power production are essentially anti-humanists. They, whether they know it or not, ask for more suffering, less comfort, and a reduced quality of life, for most people.

Perhaps there is a deeper underlying question to address.

What is the point of environmentalism? What is the goal of humanity?

Environmentalists often talk of "saving the earth". Sometimes, they say this in terms of "its the only one we have" and sometimes they are more honest and sinister when they explain that the Earth deserves to live long after humanity has died.

These latter type disgust me. We'll not discuss them further.

These former type are correct, but are missing the point.

While it is true that Earth is currently the only home we have, in my view it should be the goal of humanity to sustainably and indefinitely move beyond the earth to other worlds.

That is a significant undertaking; not everyone believes it is possible. I do.

We know that saving the earth is impossible. And our contributions to its demise are finally measurable, but are unlikely to be the fatal wound.

At some point, we will take a hit from a comet, meteor, alien race, etc, and it will end most or all human life on our home planet.

If we have not used our resources quickly and wisely enough BEFORE then to allow us to have permanently escaped the Earth, we have failed.

I think we should accelerate our usage of resources and production of energy, with a goal towards escaping this rock. Note that I said "a goal". Certainly making life better for people here who are here and alive today is ALSO a goal, and that also requires energy and resource consumption.

Obviously, building nuclear plants that are cleaner and longer lasting is a better way to do this than building more unscrubbed coal plants, but we need to accept that "more power production" is a necessary reality of the human condition, and get on with the show.

There are still people out there with no light and no heat. There are still people who die every year from flooding and basic sanitation issues.

Will you deny them new power plants when they develop enough to desire them?

It is horrendously myopic for people living the luxury of western lives to look around themselves, see that they are finally comfortable, and then demand that the world stop innovating and using resources to improve itself.

Finally, here's the bottom line about nuclear power safety: more people die _every year_ from petroleum drilling accidents than will ever get cancer from Fukushima emissions.

There has been ONE large scale nuclear incident with high loss of life, and it was in the despotic Soviet Union. How many people do you think died in the Soviet Union from coal mine collapses? From oil drilling explosions? From building hydroelectric plants?

How many environmental disasters exist in places like former SU and China that have NOTHING to do with nuclear power, but are just plain inhospitable due to basic industrial destruction?

It's important for anti-nuclear activists to not move the goal posts. Power production is dangerous and results in loss of life. Accidents happen and make areas unpleasant. All told, nuclear is actually BETTER than other relevant base load systems in these regards. But people have difficulty seeing small distributed effects and have an easy time seeing big events that happen once every few decades.

Proper perspective is critical to rational behavior.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (2)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | about a year ago | (#45447739)

hydro, geothermal, wave, leaf (and other biomass) gassification, biogas, biodiesel (not ethanol)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_energy [wikipedia.org]

It is false to say there is a technology problem. It's more of a political problem. Indeed with simply changes (proper insulation, solar water heater switch in summer, requiring new buildings have south facing windows), we could get dramatic energy savings.

Those who the most powerful economic interests in the world do not benefit from deterring from business as usual oil, coal and natural gas.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/10/21/1249269/-For-the-Koch-brothers-possible-100-billion-in-tar-sands-profit-if-Keystone-XL-pipeline-is-approved# [dailykos.com]

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (2)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#45447857)

Are they expecting us to all go back and live in caves?

Not caves but... well, most environmentalists don't want to raise the average to modern standards. Looking at the current estimates the average CO2 emissions in tons/capita is:
World: 4.9 (2011)
EU: 8.6 (2011)
US:16.4 (2012)

So if everyone were to pollute as much as the US our total emissions would over triple. People like to blame China but they're "only" up to 7.1 tons/capita, they're lower than the EU they just happen to be a billion people plus. And there's huge countries like India with 1.6 tons/capita that aren't going to stay down there just to get everyone else off the hook. Of course they want the same standard of living as the rest of us. So it is this vast inequality while the environmentalists feel the current 4.9 ton/capita is already far too high. They don't want just the US down, they want China down, the EU down, hell probably India down because the world can't take it.

And you know what? The world won't take it, nobody and I mean absolutely nobody wants to back down to 4.9 tons/capita voluntarily. The EU would have to find ways to cut emissions by 43%, the US by 70%, even China would have to cut 30%. Even if we admit that there's a lot of excess consumption as well, there's a whole lot to modern living that I don't consider luxuries and that do consume power. People lived before refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, TVs and computers too but I don't plan on being one of them. And cars and bikes, maybe they'll go electric or whatever but we're never giving up that freedom of personal transportation. Bicycles aren't a full substitute.

Honestly, I don't know what the f*ck Americans are doing to have almost twice as much emissions as here in Europe. But the reason you should get down to EU levels is because otherwise China is just going to point to the US and say why aren't you dealing with the bad boy in class and instead picking on us? That way maybe we could all meet somewhere under 10 tons/capita and agree that's a reasonable maximum for a modern country. Even with the world at EU levels it'd still be a 75% increase from today, but I'm more worried that if nothing happens China decides to become 1.35 billion Americans and if the whole world follows it'll be a 235% increase instead. Because if you can, so can we.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0)

felrom (2923513) | about a year ago | (#45448021)

You have to realize that there is a difference between being an "environmentalist" and being a "conservationist."

The conservationist says, "Let's do things responsibly so we can live well, and so that our children will still have the same opportunities to live well with what we leave behind."

The environmentalist says, "If humans alter anything at all, we've failed."

The results is that the environmentalists push policies that actively hurt people in their attempts to prevent anyone from changing the environment at all. The EPA is currently the most destructive organization in all of America because of all the harm they do in the name of pseudo-environmental causes.

Conservationism is the reason we still have a logging industry that responsibly replants trees for the future and doesn't clear-cut and destroy the land. Environmentalists still protest having access to toilet paper.

Conservationists are the reason that game animal populations in North America are healthy and that people have the opportunity to enjoy hunting. Environmentalists still want wolves to be protected even while they're destroying the livelihoods of poor rural ranchers.

Like many leftist causes environmentalism has the lofty goals of making the world a better place and helping people, but the unintended consequences of trying to achieve those goals does immeasurable harm to people.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45448451)

So what then? What exactly can we use to power our world?

We can use our brains.

Taking environmental concerns into consideration is hard. Excellent stuff for nerds. You can't just blame "the environmentalists" for not having a definitive answer. Go and figure out a lifestyle that can be maintained for 7 billion humans and the next few 100 years. That's the challenge.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (1)

jcr (53032) | about a year ago | (#45447241)

Maybe they're both less important than not freezing in the dark.

-jcr

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | about a year ago | (#45447511)

Maybe they're both less important than not freezing in the dark.

The silver lining to global warming: not freezing in the dark.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447843)

Freezing in the dark will become a luxury if greenhouse warming continues unabated.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447257)

This is a false dichotomy. Nuclear power has no capacity to "save the environment" as deployed. It also has the power to destroy it entirely if mismanged.

It is one tool of many.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (3, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a year ago | (#45447289)

Nuclear does emit fewer greenhouse gasses than either coal or oil. Energy generation isn't usually a dichotomy between nuclear vs. coal, but for Japan, who had to shut down all of its nuclear plants in a hurry, it basically is. The only way they could compensate for that loss in capacity in such a short time is oil/coal. Obviously poor planning, but thats where it is at, not a lot you can do about it now.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (1)

greg_barton (5551) | about a year ago | (#45448267)

Sure there is something they can do.

Turn the reactors back on.

Re:Nuclear energy reduces greenhouse emissions (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year ago | (#45447297)

Japan is a democracy. If the people in that country don't want another nuclear power station, then it won't be built.

And so life goes on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447173)

A little irony in this, I keep seeing TV commercials for the comeback of nuclear power here in the US, and it seems the Fukushima plant only brought back fears of the "what if" among US citizens. Despite the steps the US has on placing 6'+ thick domes over the reactors to prevent fall out from contaminating the air, and water table.

What should piss off Japan and everyone else is these plants are US plants, Westinghouse and Japan didn't follow the same standards for US nuclear plants, otherwise this whole thing wouldn't be were its at.

 

Re:And so life goes on (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about a year ago | (#45447315)

It's probably been five years since I saw a TV commercial.

Re:And so life goes on (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#45447343)

What should piss off Japan and everyone else is these plants are US plants, Westinghouse and Japan didn't follow the same standards for US nuclear plants, otherwise this whole thing wouldn't be were its at.

They are Japanese nuclear plants built and operated in Japan.

And why are the standards for US nuclear plants supposed to be better than the standards for Japanese plants? If a USSR design bureau had built some nuclear plants in Japan, would you be similarly claiming that these plants should be built to Soviet standards rather than Japanese standards?

Re:And so life goes on (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year ago | (#45448023)

What should piss off Japan and everyone else is these plants are US plants, Westinghouse and Japan didn't follow the same standards for US nuclear plants, otherwise this whole thing wouldn't be were its at.

They are Japanese nuclear plants built and operated in Japan.

Two plants in the disaster were supplied by General Electric and the other two plants were manufactured by Toshiba and Hitachi to the General Electric design. Obviously they were "built and operated in Japan" because they just don't fit things that big onto a ship and iirc G.E is still an American company.

And why are the standards for US nuclear plants supposed to be better than the standards for Japanese plants?

Simply because the U.S plants have a massive concrete dome encasing the entire reactor with a Thermal power to pressure rating related to the power output of the reactor. The Fukushima reactors didn't have the same feature, if it was a regulatory requirement then the reactor would not have been operating.

Haven't the Japanese went through enough hell? (5, Insightful)

anubi (640541) | about a year ago | (#45447195)

Anyone watching what happened must be aware the Japanese took one helluva hit.

I, for one, am extremely impressed with the Japanese, making do despite such a setback.

My take: Salute them and cut them some slack. A lot of slack.

Re: Haven't the Japanese went through enough hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447207)

Totally agree! Plus, they supply us with half our shit, of course there is pollution!

Re:Haven't the Japanese went through enough hell? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447219)

Cut them some slack? Who? The people, who are the victims, the government, who are failing to hold the corporations responsible, or the corporations absolutely failing to clean up their mess?

Re: Haven't the Japanese went through enough hell? (2)

JWW (79176) | about a year ago | (#45448329)

How about cutting the country that got hit by one of the worst Tsunamis in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD some slack.

Re:Haven't the Japanese went through enough hell? (2)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#45447323)

They ran a dangerously unsafe reactor, protected to a size of tsunami and magnitude earthquake less than is possible in the area, and then completely and utterly fucked up the aftermath.

Now following that they want to make the whole situation worse by not doing as much to reduce CO2 emissions, which don't just contribute to global warming but go hand in hand with burning of fossil fuels that have been linked to increased incidences of things like asthma and other illnesses.

I don't blame all the Japanese of course because I'm sure many as dismayed at this new decision by their leadership, but this is just a classic case of taking a bad situation, and making it even worse.

There's no escaping the fact that this whole situation exists because of complete and utter ineptitude throughout. Fukushima shouldn't have even happened if they at least had a sane policy on both ageing nuclear reactors, and the protection of them against natural disasters. Even if it happened anyway for some other reason it could've still been mitigated by better post-disaster planning.

Re:Haven't the Japanese went through enough hell? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447499)

They ran a dangerously unsafe reactor, protected to a size of tsunami and magnitude earthquake less than is possible in the area, and then completely and utterly fucked up the aftermath.

Yes. All of the deaths caused by this horrific nuclear disaster are on their hands. *zero deaths*

Re:Haven't the Japanese went through enough hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447625)

http://enenews.com/fukushima-daiichi-worker-dies-from-heart-attack-tepco-questioned-over-fatality-rate-at-plant-not-caused-by-radiation-because-he-died-of-a-heart-attack [enenews.com]

"Date: Aug 23, 2012
The worker, in his 50s, suffered cardiac arrest when he was installing an additional tank to store contaminated water, TEPCO said. He was confirmed dead after being taken to hospital.

He was the fifth who has died after falling sick during work at the plant"

http://enenews.com/tepco-admits-link-between-death-and-fukushima-disaster-for-1st-time [enenews.com]

"This is the first time that TEPCO has admitted a causal link between the death of an evacuee and the accident at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant."

http://enenews.com/legal-expert-3-police-died-acute-leukemia-after-being-sent-area-50-kilometers-fukushima-daiichi [enenews.com]

[...] After 311, in order to prevent theft, a lot of police officers were sent to [Soma, less than 50 km away from Fukushima Daiichi] and 3 of them died of acute leukemia. [...]

http://enenews.com/fukushima-daiichi-worker-dies-had-been-preparing-cover-for-unit-no-3 [enenews.com]

And so on and so forth...the death count is rising.
And that is just the dead that have been attributed to Fukushima radiation. You know, it is very difficult to pinpoint smoking as a 100% cause for any single death of an individual, so it isn't being counted at an individual level. And almost all the population-wide stats are being kept secret. What is known is that relative death counts neighbouring the Fukushima area have been rising, also more cases of leukemia, thyroid cycts, etc.

Re:Haven't the Japanese went through enough hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45448437)

And that is just the dead that have been attributed to Fukushima radiation. You know, it is very difficult to pinpoint smoking as a 100% cause for any single death of an individual, so it isn't being counted at an individual level. And almost all the population-wide stats are being kept secret.

Being kept secret by whom? And since it’s a big secret who are you to have this information?

I’m posting as Anomymous Coward because I’m moderating. What’s your excuse?

Re:Haven't the Japanese went through enough hell? (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#45447657)

They ran a dangerously unsafe reactor, protected to a size of tsunami and magnitude earthquake less than is possible in the area, and then completely and utterly fucked up the aftermath.

To be fair they are not the only ones, and the international atomic energy community was praising their safety up until it happened. In other words it isn't just them, it's a world-wide and industry-wide problem of over-confidence and failure to appreciate risk when profits are threatened.

Fukushima shouldn't have even happened if they at least had a sane policy on both ageing nuclear reactors

Name one country that did. Now Germany and a few others are ditching nuclear, but only after Fukushima gave them that wake-up call.

Re:Haven't the Japanese went through enough hell? (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#45447679)

The final estimates is that it was a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, it's on the top 5 list of recorded earthquakes and the others were in Chile, Alaska, Sumatra and Kamchatka, Russia. It tops the list of property damage by earthquake by a factor of two. If this had been a "normal" 8.0 earthquake (which is an amplitude 10 times smaller and 31 times less energy) we almost certainly wouldn't be having this discussion. It's like the engineers of the WTC towers, they had simulated a small aircraft flying into the towers but not a 747. Yes, in perfect retrospect of course it was too little but I think you're being more than a little unfair.

Re:Haven't the Japanese went through enough hell? (1)

greg_barton (5551) | about a year ago | (#45448277)

Does increasing emissions cut the world any slack?

Japan and Nuclear Energy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447221)

Just don't seem to go together.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447255)

Global warming is a load of crap anyway.

Carbon politics (4, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | about a year ago | (#45447271)

Australia just elected a government on an unapologetic anti-carbon tax platform.

France has thousands of truckers shutting down the major roads protesting carbon taxes, and the people support them widely.

Japan is all done indulging carbon caps; reality has imposed itself and they have other priorities now.

I don't know whether our CO2 is going to Venus the Earth. And neither do you. What I am absolutely certain of is that we're going to find out — people will not subject themselves to energy poverty and they are no longer in doubt about the consequences of carbon caps and carbon taxes.

Re:Carbon politics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447333)

And of course we'll get a barrage of holier-than-thou comments how we should embrace nuclear power, from the people who consume more fossil fuel per person and in total than any of the countries which are mentioned in the story.

Re:Carbon politics (0)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#45447347)

I don't know whether our CO2 is going to Venus the Earth. And neither do you.

I do know that conditions have been considerably worse in the past than they are now and the Earth didn't turn into Venus.

Re:Carbon politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447659)

Our Sun was dimmer back in the past. And mankind is ramping up greenhouse gas concentrations and ocean acidification faster than has happened at any time during geologic times.

http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/03/02/436193/science-ocean-acidifying-so-fast-it-threatens-humanity-ability-to-feed-itself/?mobile=nc [thinkprogress.org]

"⦠the current rate of (mainly fossil fuel) CO2 release stands out as capable of driving a combination and magnitude of ocean geochemical changes potentially unparalleled in at least the last ~300 My of Earth history, raising the possibility that we are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change."

Re:Carbon politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447753)

I don't know whether or not an asteroid is going to wipe out 99% of life on Earth either. What are you doing about that, exactly?

Re:Carbon politics (1)

PsychoSlashDot (207849) | about a year ago | (#45447883)

Not going into the Oort cloud and flinging a bunch of asteroids Earthwards.

Look, we all know walking across the street could get you run over. Nobody's saying that you can never, ever, cross the street. Instead the wisdom is to look both ways before crossing. In the context of environmental change, the wisdom is "do as little change as practical". That may mean slowing down "progress" somewhat and that may mean more expensive iPhonePadBerryDroids. That's a small price to pay to minimize the risk of making our planet less habitable.

Re:Carbon politics (2)

KeensMustard (655606) | about a year ago | (#45447669)

Australia just elected a government on an unapologetic anti-carbon tax platform.

The new government has exactly the same emissions target as the old one. They just plan to do it in a less competent fashion.

Re:Carbon politics (3, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#45447671)

All your examples are short sighted. In the case of Japan they put too much faith in nuclear and didn't have enough diversity when it failed. In the other cases countries are having short term economic problems due to the lingering financial crisis and high cost of living, and carbon reduction is an easy target for politicians and newspapers.

The irony is that these two factors should re-enforce just how important carbon reduction is. Forget climate change, countries need diverse and distributed energy sources that are not reliant on one dangerous technology or resources from other countries that might become hard to get (coal, gas, oil). From a purely economic point of view it makes sense, to protect energy supplies and dampen sudden price rise shocks.

Re:Carbon politics (0)

greg_barton (5551) | about a year ago | (#45448291)

Nuclear reduces carbon. Why is it not an option?

Re:Carbon politics (1)

delt0r (999393) | about a year ago | (#45447917)

I don't know whether our CO2 is going to Venus the Earth.... What I am absolutely certain of is that we're going to find out

Yes we do idoit and not we won't. Venus has an atmosphere more than 50 thicker and its almost 100% CO2. To even think that, is to show such gross ignorance of AGW and its predictions that you are a joke. I bet you brought a boat after Water World.

LDP setting stage to restart reactors (5, Interesting)

ingulsrud (568946) | about a year ago | (#45447281)

Regardless of the safety of modern reactor designs, Japan's seismic instability and high population density makes it an inherently inappropriate location for nuclear power plants.

The back-pedalling on previous emission pledges and blaming it on idled reactors is all about convincing the domestic electorate to approve nuclear power. The LDP is responsible for putting Japan on the path of nuclear power dependency in the first place, and now that they are back in power they want this particularly bad idea resuscitated.

Japan has a long way to go before exhausting its latent solar, wind, geothermal and conservation potential. With plenty of industrial capacity to embark on leading the world in non-nuclear, non-fossil-fuel energy infrastructure, the LDPs obsession with nuclear is a clear sign of their lack of wisdom and cozy relationship with the like of Mitsubishi.

Re:LDP setting stage to restart reactors (3, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#45447325)

I'm yet to see any evidence of this "latent solar, wind, geothermal and conservation potential" not being thoroughly exhausted as far as meaningful numbers go. Japanese went through amazing campaign of conservation after the tsunami and shutdown of all nuclear plants in the country in the middle of very hot summer after it was made "cool" (in Japanese way) to conserve energy. It still wasn't enough to prevent occasional brownouts.Fact is, you need base power, especially when you're industrialized country with a lot of heavy industry. There's not much conservation potential beyond what was done back then. Wind and solar offer zero solution here.

The location is appropriate as long as plant is up to date and not a 60s design. If anything it proved just how safe plants are, that the plant designed for magnitude 7 took a hit from magnitude 9 which is a hundred times stronger and still survived it with no problems. It took a followup tsunami that killed over 30.000 and devastated a huge area to kill it.

I do see the typical "industry is BAAAAAD" claim here repeated a lot though as that is the main source of "nuclear dependency". LDP was specifically responsible for industrializing Japan, uplifting it to its current level of wealth from poor post war state. Calling this "bad" is nothing short of treason against humanity.

Reality is, Japan has a grand two options for sufficient base power generation. Burning coal/carbohydrates or nuclear. It has unsuitable geography for hydro, geothermal could increase earthquake risk even further which is a far greater risk to human health than nuclear and other options are too marginal in terms of power produced. And right now, with nuclear being off the table because of hysteria, they're stuck with coal. A lot of which is older coal plants that emit significant SO2 and NOx, which is far more dangerous to human health in short term than Fukushima. Not to even speak of long term greenhouse gas CO2 consequences.

Re:LDP setting stage to restart reactors (5, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#45447707)

Japan has enough off-shore wind to power the entire country at all times, if enough turbines were build. Of course no-one is suggesting that as there would be other issues, but off-shore wind is a massive resource for Japan. In case you were wondering, the Kamisu offshore wind farm was not damaged by the tsunami despite being hit by it directly.

Offshore wind can provide base load. As long as it is distributed over a wide geographical area you can guarantee a certain amount of generation at any time.

Japan doubled its solar output this year alone. There is a vast amount of untapped energy there, and increasingly it is being paired with battery packs so that the energy can be used at night.

Energy efficiency is also a big deal. There are lots of new technologies, like LED lights that automatically set their brightness to maintain a constant ambient level in an office. Blinds that automatically rotate their blades to reflect as much light and heat into the building as possible are also becoming more common.

the plant designed for magnitude 7 took a hit from magnitude 9 which is a hundred times stronger and still survived it with no problems.

Actually no, it was damaged by the earthquake which was considerably weaker than magnitude 9 by the time it reached Fukushima. It wasn't known at the time due to the tsunami damage and radioactive leaks making inspection impossible, but some of the emergency cooling systems were damaged by the earthquake and wouldn't have worked even if the tsunami hadn't arrived. How well the plant could have survived that damage depends on what the operators did, so not good odds.

Fault lines have been discovered right under some reactors using new technology to locate them which was not available when the plants were first built. It is doubtful that any design could safely survive so much lateral force or ground liquification.

Re:LDP setting stage to restart reactors (4, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#45447829)

A few corrections:

Fukushima Daiichi took a magnitude 7+ Richter hit from the Great Tohoku earthquake, it was magnitude 9 at the epicentre out at sea. The plant's buildings got through that shock pretty well though (there may have been some damage to some internal equipment in the reactor buildings, it's too difficult to inspect them properly at the moment). The reactors at Onagawa further up the coast and closer to the epicentre rode out the earthquake and tsunami safely with no problems.

The tsunami killed about 20,000 people, not 30,000. Nearly all of them died because the towns and cities along the Tohoku coast weren't as well protected from the tsunami as the Fukushima Daiichi plant and other nuclear plants like Onagawa were.

Japan is currently burning mostly natural gas for its electricity generating needs. It has to import all of its fossil fuels and NG is as easy to transport and handle as coal and burns a lot cleaner. It's still releasing a lot of CO2 and causing an increase in smog and air pollution. Efforts are being made to bring about a dozen reactors back online this winter, whether that happens or not is in the lap of the gods.

Re:LDP setting stage to restart reactors (0)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#45447351)

Regardless of the safety of modern reactor designs, Japan's seismic instability and high population density makes it an inherently inappropriate location for nuclear power plants.

Why? No place on Earth is perfectly safe. And nuclear power can have a quite high benefit for its risks.

Japan has a long way to go before exhausting its latent solar, wind, geothermal and conservation potential.

And it reasonable to exhaust better alternatives to these "potentials" first.

Re:LDP setting stage to restart reactors (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year ago | (#45448083)

Japan has a long way to go before exhausting its latent solar, wind, geothermal and conservation potential.

And it reasonable to exhaust better alternatives to these "potentials" first.

It looks like the shutdown of the entire Nuclear Industry in Japan points to that already occurring so perhaps Japan will make inroads to wind and solar manufacturing in the same way it did with the car industry.

Re:LDP setting stage to restart reactors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447373)

Build a modern reactor on a plaform out at sea.

Re:LDP setting stage to restart reactors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447427)

We all have excellent 'conservation potential'. Just unplug yourself from the internet.
there.

Re:LDP setting stage to restart reactors (1)

Splab (574204) | about a year ago | (#45447549)

Nuclear power as it is today is inherently unsafe, however, there are lots of nuclear alternatives that aren't problematic during major earthquakes and tsunamis; they do however, require people to actually get educated about the subject instead of running around screaming the sky is falling at the mention of nuclear.

Re:LDP setting stage to restart reactors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447941)

Unless we go back to living in mud huts, we all have a lot of "latent coservation potential". Are you already living in an unheated mud hut? No? Then shut up, spoiled brat.

Nuclear as it stands is horrible (0)

Endimiao (471532) | about a year ago | (#45447379)

Despite how many cheerleaders in the US nuclear may have, the reality is that nuclear power as it stands right now is a damn liability, profitable only to those that benefict from the short-term gains, and not-competitive if we include costs and risks down the line. When we estimate that, due to human negligence we may have to evacuate whole countries due to one meager nuclear power plant, then its better to start considering alternatives, be it renewable or, if you keep hammering the nuclear key, just go thorium or fusion already (peak uranium/plutonium is already knocking at the door as production can't keep up with demand).

In my perspective, greed-versus-safety, the only safe place for present technology nuclear power plants to be place is in sterile, out-of-the-earth environments.
Put those dirty eyesores on the moon and just tight-beam the energy to earth. How competitive with plain solar power would that be then?

Re:Nuclear as it stands is horrible (0)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#45447477)

When we estimate that, due to human negligence we may have to evacuate whole countries due to one meager nuclear power plant

Which isn't much of a standard since a number of countries are no bigger than small cities and human negligence hasn't been responsible for a big nuclear accident in almost 30 years.

Re:Nuclear as it stands is horrible (3, Insightful)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year ago | (#45448431)

When we estimate that, due to human negligence we may have to evacuate whole countries due to one meager nuclear power plant

Which isn't much of a standard since a number of countries are no bigger than small cities and human negligence hasn't been responsible for a big nuclear accident in almost 30 years.

I refer you (again) to the official report of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission [google.com.au] prepared for the The National Parliment (Diet) of Japan, which says;

Although triggered by these cataclysmic events, the subsequent accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant cannot be regarded as a natural disaster. It was a profoundly manmade disaster – that could and should have been foreseen and prevented.

So it would seem that the official findings differ from your opinion.

Re:Nuclear as it stands is horrible (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about a year ago | (#45448159)

The moon is pretty, leave it alone, build them in Nevada instead where they won't bother anyone. By the way just how many entire countries have been evacuated due to nuclear disasters?

What "greenhouse gases" are they talking about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447469)

CO2 isn't one of them.

www.climatedepot.com

the story of nucear power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45447937)

One day, man discovered fire.
Then, man burned his fingers.
Man decided never to use fire anymore.
At night, man was cold and eaten by a grue.

Reality definitely cuts into play time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45448005)

Funny how having something serious to worry about cuts through superficial bullshit like "anthropomorphic global waming" and "carbon taxes". The ex-hippies have had life way too easy. They need an existential challenge.

Reliance on nuclear power increases emissions (3, Insightful)

mdsolar (1045926) | about a year ago | (#45448019)

There are a couple of big ways in which nuclear power does a bad job on greenhouse gas emissions. First, it is expensive and slow. So much so that its opportunity cost is bloated and when effort is ill spent on nuclear power, alternatives which are faster, cheaper and better are hindered. http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/E09-01_NuclearPowerClimateFixOrFolly [rmi.org]

Second, as we are seeing here, one accident can lead to a massive pullback from nuclear power, both in the affected country and around the world. Even France has announced a planned pullback. When the pullback is rapid, then relic fossil fuel plants rather than new clean energy replacements are pulled into service to make up the difference in generation. This makes nuclear power not just a slow response to climate change, but a retrograde response since these bad accidents are inevitable.

There are other ways it has a bad influence as well, such as pretending to be a silver bullet to the adolescent mind for example, so much time is wasted on fantasy scenarios. But these two big ones are bad enough.

industrial scale shame death ON! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45448073)

They should just restart all nuclear reactors in japan. i mean why listen to the voice of reason?
obviously there are still people around that witnessed and survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki and simi valley
and Chernobyl and 3 mile island and ... and ...and ...
nuclear pollution is not CO2. it cannot be absorbed by lil tiny green engines in the ocean
or massive living self-multiplying crystal pillars.
the only way to get ride of nuclear power is a massive influx of reactors and their unavoidable
catastrophic breakdowns that will annihilate the users. it's WIN-WIN for the anti-nuke camp really!

Don't anger climate priests (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45448163)

The people of japan just need to have no electricity at all and no quality of life... for the earth. Everyone will submit to the climate religion.

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