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The Jehoshua Novels


Power Corrupts, Nuclear Power Corrupts Absolutely

Michael Collins


The Chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Gregory Jaczko, told a US House of Representatives subcommittee that: “There is no water in the spent fuel pool [at the Fukushima I plant] and we believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures.” A “utility spokesman” for Tokyo Electric responded quickly claiming that the “condition is stable.” AP, March 17

The New York Times, China’s Peoples Daily, and other outlets covered this extraordinary asymmetrical exchange between the highest nuclear regulatory official in the US government and a “utility spokesman.” (Image)

The public disagreement between two close allies in the midst of a severe crisis is highly instructive on a number of levels. If chair Jaczko wrong, it is a terrible embarrassment for the US. If he’s right, we can conclude that much of the information from Tokyo Electric is questionable.

The nuclear disaster at Fukushima I is a complex event. Logical progressions are difficult to grasp and follow, particularly when the United States and Japan disagree so fundamentally at the highest levels.

Concerns about human loss and suffering are paramount. Information on that is also challenging. One theme from the start has been, this is not another Chernobyl. As failures continue and risks become apparent, the comparison to Chernobyl is less important than the risks to the 103 million Japanese on Honshu Island and those in surrounding nations. The best scenario advanced for a major release of toxic elements from the Fukushima I plant involves winds taking the danger west to the Pacific Ocean.

Guenther Oettinger, Commissioner of Energy for the European Union (EU) issued an ominous statement just hours ago:

“The site is effectively out of control,” Guenther Oettinger, commissioner for energy, told a European Parliament committee. “In the coming hours there could be further catastrophic events which could pose a threat to the lives of people on the island.” Dow Jones, March 20

Ottinger went on to say that information from Japanese government sources was contradictory and that he had an information network beyond just official statements from Tokyo.

When the top US nuclear official and the commissioner of energy for the EU make major hedges on the worsening events in Japan, it’s time to take notice.

The Larger Issue

In the midst of all this, it is important to pose the question that may have prevented this disaster and changed the world’s energy future. Is nuclear energy an acceptable source of power?

The issue of fuel rod storage combined with the initial regulatory approach to the dangers of nuclear power plants can help answer the question.

The spent fuel pool consists of spent nuclear fuel rods that are stored in the Fukushima reactors (and other GE reactors with a similar design) after they have outlived their usefulness. They’re placed in the pool of water designed to maintain the rods in a safe state. The storage needs will exceed capacity in the US by 2015.

Take a look at the image above of the reactor design at Fukushima (and 23 nuclear reactors in the US) and ask this question. Does this make any sense? The spent fuel rods, pilled up in the fuel pool, are above the reactor vessel and active fuel rods. If there is a meltdown or an explosion of sufficient quantity, toxic elements from both the reactor and the fuel pools may breach the containment structure and enter the atmosphere. Why create a design that compounds the most serious problem, the meltdown, with additional toxic emissions? Don’t nuclear regulators understand the concept of a reasonableness test?

Market Driven Regulation

Robert Gillette wrote a classic investigative report for the Los Angeles Times 1979. He described the acceleration of nuclear plant sales and installations and the parallel retreat of regulators. There were no sales of nuclear plants in 1964. By 1966, 63% of new power generation came from nuclear plants. The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was swamped with new proposals and short of staff. As larger, more complex reactors were designed, the AEC’s budget suffered a series of cuts. Gillette summed it up nicely:

“Larger reactors would … build up larger amounts of radioactive wastes, which if dispersed in an accident, which if dispersed in an accident would amplify the consequences.” Robert Gillette, Rapid nuclear growth at root of accident. Los Angeles Times , April 9, 1979

Despite budget cuts, there were farsighted regulators. One of them, Stephen Hanauer, wrote an internal AEC memo in which he suggested that GE was less than serious about it’s reported tests of reactors like those at Fukushima I:

“Recently we have reevaluated the GE test results and decided on a more conservative interpretation than has been used by GE all these years (and accepted by us). We now believe that the former interpretation was incorrect, using data from tests not applicable to accident conditions.Stephen J. Hanauer, Atomic Energy Commission New York Times pdf September 20, 1972 (Article)

GE’s use of “data from tests not applicable to accident conditions” is the height of reckless cynicism taken to an extreme.

After praising the logic of Hanauer’s the suggestion to discontinue the GE reactors with the Mark I design, nuclear energy chief Joseph M. Hendrie suggested that adopting the plan, “could well be the end of nuclear power.” He concluded that such an act would generally create more turmoil than I can stand thinking about.” Joseph M. Hendrie, 1972 from the New York Times pdf, March 17 (Article)

Myopic Testing – The Past and Right Now

A flawed approach to testing compounded the problems of US nuclear regulators. A 1962 AEC regulation defined testing as the analysis of all credible accidents. Robert van de Poel’s analysis showed the following: “What counted as an unacceptable credible accident was defined by a postulated maximum credible accident (MCA) which was laid down in official regulations in 1962. Changing Technologies 1998 van de Poel p.248 If industry scientists and regulators decided that an event couldn’t take place, no matter how arbitrary the decision, the nuclear plant’s requirement to withstand that event was forgiven.

Safety testing for Fukushima I by Tokyo Electric and Japanese nuclear regulators followed the exclusionary tradition of maximum credible accidents and its successor, probabilistic risk assessment. The credible level of stress on the plant, based on probability analysis, resulted in tests for a 7.9 Richter scale earthquake.

Why? Because that’s what the plant could withstand, if you’re a bit skeptical and presume that they tested the maximum stress tolerance prior to performing the official test. Why not test it for higher magnitudes on the Richter scale? It is not as though regulators and energy companies had to create a real earthquake for testing. This testing is done with software. Why not extend the effort to a 9.0 on the Richter scale? How hard is that?

They knew that there was a problem in 1972 and did nothing. They know now there are serious problems and they do nothing.

The US government recommended that the Japanese government adopt a 50-mile evacuation radius to around the distressed Fukushima reactors.

That same US government approved nuclear facilities with the similar designs, GE Mark I boiling water reactors. Each reactor or cluster of reactors is within 50 miles of a the population area listed in the chart below.

That same US government recommends boldly pushing forward with more nuclear installations. It says nothing about the obvious dangers based on a history of flawed assumptions, testing, and performance review for the GE reactor type and the entire array of reactors in place.

Is this technology safe? Is it acceptable? Can we trust those in charge to tell us the truth? The answer to each of those questions looks more like no every day.

END

N.B. Nuclear energy firms in the United States questioned the governments suggestion that US citizens observe the suggested 50 mile radius around the Fukushima reactors.

This article may be reproduced entirely or in part with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

47 comments to Power Corrupts, Nuclear Power Corrupts Absolutely

  • Numerian

    The Prime Minister of Japan had to go in front of reporters and the cameras this week to both admit and complain about the fact that TEPCO wasn’t giving his government any meaningful information about what was going on at Fukushima. Is Obama noticing how his colleague in Japan is being treated? Does it remind him of how the banking industry rolled right over him a few years ago and continues to do the same today?

    Nuclear energy has been from the start a private sector show. Ultimately it is not about providing the safest possible nuclear plants for production of electricity; it is about achieving the company’s 15% ROE targets year after year. Safety must by definition take a back seat if that is necessary to achieve profit objectives.

    The private sector is also obsessed about secrecy, partly to protect trade secrets, but increasingly to deflect criticism, regulatory interference, and public concern about the industry.

    One of the best recommendations I heard to get this situation changed is to force the board of directors and executives of TEPCO to don hazmat suits and get out there with the workers manning the firehoses. Let them all absorb a little of that radiation that they assure us in under control. I would get Jeffrey Immelt of GE and his predecessor Jack Welch on their private planes immediately so they can get to Tokyo as fast as possible to help their fellow executives in this urgent effort. I know this idea sounds as snarky as possible, but maybe we should take it seriously. Why is it in these situations someone earning $50,000 has to take on a life-threatening task when the executives lie low?

  • Jeff Wegerson

    Some water sprayed from the ground is getting into unit 3:

    According to workers on site, the water cannon strategy appeared to be working as they saw vapor rising from the No. 3 housing 30 minutes after the operation ended, indicating water had reached the spent fuel rods pool.

    By 5 a.m. (2025 GMT Friday), radiation readings taken around the reactor fell slightly to 279.4 microsievert per hour, down from a previous 292.2 microsievert Thursday, according to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

    Public broadcaster NHK said more special fire engines are expected to arrive Friday afternoon to continue the water spraying operation on the No.3 reactor.

    However, aerial water bombardments would not be resumed, Defense Ministry spokesman Ippo Mayama said Friday, without specifying the reason. The effect of the aerial drops remains unclear.

    http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90851/7324741.html

  • steeleweed

    you could build nuclear power plants a lot safer and run them better. That, however, would probably increase the costs to the point they would not be financially feasible. Beyond that, I’d like to see the true energy cost of building & running, including the energy spent mining, refining, transporting and disposing of fuel.

    The issue of safe storage of spent fuel is still not firmly settled, either. Finding places tectonically stable and overcoming NIMBY is a problem.

    Of course, providing energy cleanly and safely is not the concern of the owners or their government. Profit is all that matters.


    Retiring Mainframe maven, active curmudgeon, poet, writer.

  • Jeff Wegerson

    Discussions around social power, deceit and can nuclear power ever be trusted are very much needed and obviously important.

    So am I being off topic by using this post as a vehicle for updates on the situation at Fukushima?

    Hopefully we can do both here, eh?

    —–

    Well maybe this disaster will turn out like Chernobyl after all:

    “TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese engineers conceded on Friday that burying a crippled nuclear plant in sand and concrete may be a last resort to prevent a catastrophic radiation release, the method used to seal huge leakages from Chernobyl in 1986.”

  • NateTG

    I’m not an expert by any means, but this passage was a little shocking to me when I first read it:

    “…There is no need for fuel fabrication. This reduces the MSR’s fuel expenses. It poses a business challenge, because reactor manufacturers customarily get their long-term profits from fuel fabrication. Since it uses raw fuel, basically just a mixture of chemicals, current reactor vendors do not want to develop it….”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_reactor

  • Zman1527

    If vapor started rising only after the water bombardment of unit 3, this seems to indicate two things. One, that the rods are hot and boiling the water off. Two, there was no water on them before and thus they are hot. This is not good unless they can keep the bombardment up.

    Sounds like it is time for the sand and concrete burial. Hang your heads in shame nuke power industry, you have failed mightily when you might have succeeded with some planning, foresight, and investment. Short term profits uber alles.

  • Tina

    http://listentothedeep.com/acoustics/index.html

    also there are simulations here of the waves as they crossed the Pacific here:

    simulation NOAA:
    http://nctr.pmel.noaa.gov/honshu20110311/

    story and pics here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/18/honshu_tsunami_noaa_simulation/

    TeH Goddess Rocks ;)

  • Michael Collins

    I’d say thanks but it’s just too dreadful to contemplate.

    What do you think is up with the NRC head here and the EU energy chief?

    They’re in political positions that rely on discretion but they’re making these really stark comments implying, it seems to me, that there’s a big mess that’s about to surface.

    ————-
    The Money Party RSS

    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • NateTG

    I’d think the problem is U-233 proliferation. Pr-233 is nasty stuff, but with a half-life of 27 days it turns into U-233, which is apparently a relatively clean nuclear fuel, but good for making bombs.

    Regardless, the fundamental issue here is that running infrastructure of any kind as a for-profit endeavor leads to skewed incentives.

  • Awake

    Nuclear energy is not only a private business, it would not exist without heavy subsidies from the taxpayers, including initial investment and tax breaks.
    And when things go wrong, the taxpayer is expected to pay for the cleanup.
    Yes, just like the banking industry.

  • Joaquin

    Decays into even more dangerous Actinides which are very short lived.

  • Anonymous

    They’d never do it but it would be refreshing to see someone prominent demand it. The King of England shared the risk during World War II by remaining in London, at real risk. Immelt must be banging his head against a wall. There may be sufficient liability protection but the focus on the GE equivalents here will not help a company that trades on the image of bringing good things to light.

    There are viable alternative fuel strategies that get dismissed by a professional choir of nay sayers – solar and wind. Who knows, there may be others. It’s time for an energy version of the Manhattan Project. It might even help the employment situation.
    ————-
    The Money Party RSS

    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • Jeff Wegerson

    I went back and read the wikipedia article on Chernobyl. There the government did not announce anything until it was discovered by the rest of the world. In Sweden a power plant’s sensors started registering out of order numbers. They began an investigation of what was wrong with their own plant. Meanwhile the entire town of Chernobyl was effectively evacuated before anyone else in the world knew there was a problem.

    So yea the NRC and EU energy chief, their role in all this is to manage perceptions that will affect the ability for their constituent nuclear industries to continue operating business as usual and hopefully full speed ahead on new plants.

    They likely know that to underplay things and have them then go badly awry will mean a loss of credibility. That would be bad for the industry going forward. Well, worse going forward as this disaster has already made things bad, short term at least, for the industry.

  • Jeff Wegerson

    One of the difficulties for movements like the ones in Tunisia and Egypt is the need for fair elections. This has been true in a lot of places.

    It would be great if there were a UN election commission which could step in and provide an entire ad hoc election infrastructure. From registration to counting.

    ——-

    As a second role I think the UN should be authorized to step-in and take over the management of disasters such as this one and Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. They would commandeer any private and public plant ownership personnel into service. And then draw upon pre-structured international teams of experts and resources. During non-disaster times the teams would be regularly training and practicing.

    I get it that these are both blue sky notions. Still…

  • Tina

    the problem is you are being logical and no one would make money off such ideas ;)

    TeH Goddess Rocks ;)

  • NateTG

    Actually, solar and wind power see a lot of development and use, but they’ve got issues. For example, I’ve heard that the additional inefficiencies and polution of running coal and oil plants in standby mode in Germany largely offset the benefits from using wind and solar tech. (Obviously that may change in the future, but…)

  • Jimbo92107

    TEPCO = BP = Enron, etc.

    Why does this continue to surprise people?

    Might as well believe Mo’emdown Ghadaffi when he says he’s declaring a cease fire. If their actions do not convince you of their intentions, then you’re not paying proper attention.

    The nuclear industry provides a fine example of how bribery undermines the protective functions of government. Just like with Republican politicians, denying global warming requires in infusion of a magical ingredient: a bribe, deposited in an untraceable foreign bank account.

    That’s why WikiLeaks makes politicians and CEOs pee their pants.
    .
    Cows get milked, rubes get bilked,
    And fat cats dine on fools and cream.

  • Jeff Wegerson

    project sentence. Or the Man to the Moon crash effort started by Kennedy. A global effort along those lines can likely solve all the various issues in a relatively short period of time.

    To name one soltuion, for instance, if every car had a set of Lithium batteries, then the power charging them in power-surplus times could be used in the other direction during power-deficit times. Yes there is this that and the other issue with that particular idea, but you get my drift. There is not going to be a single magic bullet. But many many magic bb’s.

  • duality rules

    The author writes:

    The spent fuel rods, pilled up in the fuel pool, are above the reactor vessel and active fuel rods. If there is a meltdown or an explosion of sufficient quantity, toxic elements from both the reactor and the fuel pools may breach the containment structure and enter the atmosphere. Why create a design that compounds the most serious problem, the meltdown, with additional toxic emissions?

    I share the horror at the arrogant and careless planning, the US manifestation of which is described in The Nation article referenced above.

    While you are correct that the placement of the cooling pond seems foolish, it makes sense from a practical standpoint. This layout makes it possible to quickly move spent fuel by crane from the reactor into the storage pond. Remember that the decision to build the reactor was not based on safety at every stage: the decision came first, and it was left to designers to come up with suitable compromises or be replaced by someone who will. If a manager doesn’t accept that there is sufficient safety, he too will be replaced by someone who does.

    At times, it seems like an vengeful genie has conspired to escape. People and resources have gathered around like lifeforms clustered about an undersea volcanic vent. At least that is how I picture it.

    Or it is a temple to a fickle firebreathing goddess with the power to bless with riches or to smite. Around gather worshippers inured to the ritual sacrifice.

  • zot23

    Is the idea of increasing conservation standards and enganging in an aggressive scheme of tax breaks / credits and and new standards for houses/apartments/buildings. There is a lot we could do with smart conservation and lowering our overall energy suck going forward. It’s reachable, it pays for itself very quickly, and it always zero pollution.

    My wife’s 1996 Saturn SL1 got 40 MPG, why the heck can’t a 2 seater Smart Car at least match that today?

  • yogi-one

    As larger, more complex reactors were designed, the AEC’s budget suffered a series of cuts.

    Hmmm…the regulatory agency is neutered while corporations go on a spree…why is this the DEFINING dynamic of the American marketplace?

  • JustPlainDave

    …than arrogant and careless planning. Compare the amounts in the Japanese spent fuel pools with the amounts contained in their American equivalents. Then consider why the divergence.

    Let us overthrow the totems, break the taboos. Or better, let us consider them cancelled. Coldly, let us be intelligent. ~ Pierre Trudeau

  • quiet Bill

    Free the reactors!

  • Tina

    just enter your zipcode: CNN

    TeH Goddess Rocks ;)

  • Lex

    That 1996 Saturn SL1 would never meet all the safety standards for a new car today. For example, passenger side dashboards must be engineered so that even without an airbag, the dashboard protects an unbelted passenger…even though it’s illegal to ride without a seatbelt. And now occupants have to be protected from the statistically high chance that an accident will involve a 6000 lb, body-on-frame SUV with a bumper height at (or above) the SL1′s beltline.

    This sort of thing means additional weight. Between those and comfort adding weight gain, savings from lighter weight components get washed out. And the real increases in engine efficiency get partially canceled out too.

    …and the EPA changed the cycle to better reflect shitty drivers with automatic transmissions using a lot of accessory power.

  • Awake

    Just require that EVERY car sold in the USA in 10 years have double the gas mileage of today’s standards. The auto industry would figure out how to do it if faced with a ban on sale of gas guzzlers. That would basically cut the US consumption of automobile gas in half in 20 years, even accounting for increased automobile use.

    Increase the minimum mandatory Air Conditioning rating to 18 SEAR.

    Provide a tax break or reduced energy price to people that sign up for 100% renewable (non-nuclear) electricity in locations that have provider competition, like in Texas.

    There are plenty of solutions available, all it takes is the willingness of politicians to stop agreeing to industry demands and the voices of a small but vocal minority.

  • Jeff Wegerson

    The problems aren’t technical they are political and political/economic.

  • Jeff Wegerson

    The 51 mile is actually two GE Mark I BWR like Fukushima.

    Of course they fail to tell me about the spent fuel pools 34 miles away in a retired reactor but still active storage pool.

  • Jeff Wegerson

    that the 56 mile one and the 34 mile storage pools sit a few hundred yards from my drinking water source, Lake Michigan.

  • Raja

    Discovery That Indian Point Nuke Is Most Exposed To Quake Risk Prompts Reuters To Release An Evacuation Map

    Zero Hedge, March 18

    According to a recent report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission the California Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant (built in proximity to the San Andreas fault) which everyone always points to as the biggest earthquake risk in the US, is actually ranked 9th in the US in terms of earthquake risk (we somehow really doubt this). The top one? The same we wrote about yesterday as having had a leaking seal for the past 18 years according to the Union of Concerned Scientists – Indian Point in Buchanan, NY. Of course its proximity to New York City has immediately stirred cries of concern from the world’s most banksterous city and demands for a shutdown by Andrew Cuomo. It has also prompted Reuters to release an evacuation map of the surroundings should “something” go wrong with Indian Point, an event which will likely only further instill a sense of soothing calmness and a “tranquility effect” in the New Yorker community.

    From Reuters:

    New data shows the Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York City was the nation’s most vulnerable to an earthquake.

    That has stirred concerns about protecting the city’s eight million residents in the event of a disaster.

    The plant sits about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of New York City, inside a 50-mile radius that U.S. authorities have recommended be evacuated around the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan.


    Also: TEPCO Director Weeps After Disclosing Truth About Fukushima Disaster


    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • Michael Collins

    That’s a sign of the times. They make a boatload of money and threaten our well being and livelihoods.
    ————-
    The Money Party RSS

    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • Michael Collins

    That’s a sign of the times. They make a boatload of money and threaten our well being and livelihoods.
    ————-
    The Money Party RSS

    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • Michael Collins

    The movement of the spent rods from the core to the fuel pool is an elegant solution from an engineering perspective but that’s largely due to the danger that the pose. They should be moved as short a distance as possible. The nuclear industry just wants to keep things moving.

    I found the two memos dug up by the NYT absolutely fascinating. Truth, by Hanauer and reality by the big guy. But Hanauer was absolutely on target. How utterly outrageous it was for GE to present test data that excluded accidents.

    I think we need to let the fiery goddess sleep and hope that the serene one, in the form of fusion, arrives at some point.

    In the meantime, we’ve got Obama serving as spokesman for another dead industry by saying press ahead, gotta do it. He’s just Bush in stylish drag.
    ————-
    The Money Party RSS

    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • Jeff Wegerson

    The holy grail of technological centralized power. There are some potential issues with Tritium in some versions. Otherwise incredible amounts of power from abundant resources and which when it fails everything simply grinds to a halt.

    Or something like that.

    A favorite of Lyndon LaRouche since 1975. Not that because a nut loves you you are nuts.

  • Michael Collins

    I didn’t get a chance to check it out until about an our ago. Here’s my excellent adventure.

    This is a current Google search for this text, in quotation marks.

    “TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese engineers conceded on Friday that burying a crippled nuclear plant in sand and concrete may be a last resort to prevent a catastrophic radiation release, the method used to seal huge leakages from Chernobyl in 1986.”

    This is the Google result that I received at around 12:30am ET:

    I found what I was looking for. Is that ever a perfect description of epic failure.

    But when I clicked each of the links and the “Cached” link on #3, that story had disappeared. Somebody has it and Google, bless their hearts, still shows the search results. But the failure was too hot too handle and Reuters pulled the story.

    Link 1

    Link 2

    Link 3

    Cached Link 2

    Cached Link 3

    Here’s the lede at those links:

    March 18 (Reuters) – Exhausted engineers attached a power cable to the outside of Japan’s tsunami-crippled nuclear plant on Saturday in a race to prevent deadly radiation from an accident now rated at least as bad as America’s Three Mile Island incident in 1979.

    It looks like Reuters got ahead of the time line. They presented the denouement out of order.

    ————-
    The Money Party RSS

    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • Michael Collins

    I get some harsh mail from one of his successors every now and then.

    But these guys love me. Why else would they keep calling asking for money (the U, not the nuke department)

    Fusion Science and Technology, Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of California at Berkeley

    ————-
    The Money Party RSS

    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • Michael Collins

    ————-
    The Money Party RSS

    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • Jeff Wegerson

    http://xkcd.com/radiation/

    Click link above for full size readable chart.

  • Jeff Wegerson

    The late great environmentalist David Brower, used to tell audiences solemnly, “Nuclear plants are incredibly complex technological devices for locating earthquake faults.”

    Via CounterPunch

  • Anonymous

    WSJ – By REBECCA SMITH, BEN CASSELMAN and MITSURU OBE –

    The Fukushima Daiichi power plant was already one of the most trouble-prone nuclear facilities in Japan, even before the devastating earthquake and tsunami that knocked out its cooling systems and precipitated the worst nuclear crisis in 25 years, a Wall Street Journal analysis of regulatory documents shows.

    In addition, a standard practice at Japanese nuclear plants—to remove fresh fuel from a reactor and park it for weeks or months in a less-protected “spent fuel” pool during maintenance—appears to have been a significant contributor to the crisis, engineers say. …

  • Michael Collins

    This was a mess all along. Excellent addition.

    The nabobs could write of Chernobyl because it was Russian inefficiency. But a look closer at Fukushima I shows us that that process was characterized by corruption at key points.

    They had to make the GE Mark I containment system look safe and they did.

    It’s time to question the 23 nuclear reactors in the US of similar design.
    ————-
    The Money Party RSS

    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • Raja

    Reuters, By Risa Maeda and Kazunori Takada, March 22

    Tokyo – Japan’s earthquake-stricken nuclear complex is still emitting radiation but the source is unclear, a senior U.N. atomic agency official said, as workers made progress restoring electric power to the site.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also raised concerns about a lack of information from Japanese authorities, as workers battling to cool the nuclear reactors faced rising temperatures around the core of one reactor.

    “We continue to see radiation coming from the site … and the question is where exactly is that coming from?” James Lyons, a senior official of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told a news conference in Vienna on Tuesday.

    [...]

    Hidehiko Nishiyama, the deputy-director general of Japan’s nuclear safety agency, later said the smoke at reactor No.3 had stopped and there was only a small amount at No.2.

    He gave no more details, but a TEPCO executive vice president, Sakae Muto, said the core of reactor No.1 was now a worry with its temperature at 380-390 Celsius (715-735 Fahrenheit).

    “We need to strive to bring that down a bit,” Muto told a news conference, adding that the reactor was built to run at a temperature of 302 C (575 F).

    Via ZH: Fukushima Update: Reactor 1 Core Now At 380 Degrees Celsius, 80 More Than Normal Running Temperature


    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • Raja

    Zero Hedge, By Tyler Durden, March 22

    Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry at a press conference Friday morning, the day before the No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Daiichi TEPCO announced that it was found that the temperature of 400 degrees in a nuclear reactor.


    Fukushima Smoking Gun Emerges: Founding Engineer Says Reactor 4 Has Always Been A “Time Bomb”, Exposes Criminal Cover Up

    Zero Hedge, By Tyler Durden, March 22

    It was only a matter of time before someone grew a conscience, and disclosed to the world that in addition to the massive cover up currently going on with respect to the true extent of the Fukushima catastrophe, the actual plant itself, in borrowing from the BP playbook, was built in a hurried way, using cost and labor-cutting shortcuts, and the end result was a true “time bomb.” Bloomberg has just released a report that if and when confirmed should lead to the prompt engagement of harakiri by the Hitachi executives responsible for this unprecedented act of treason against Japan’s citizens. Quote Bloomberg: “One of the reactors in the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant may have been relying on flawed steel to hold the radiation in its core, according to an engineer who helped build its containment vessel four decades ago. Mitsuhiko Tanaka says he helped conceal a manufacturing defect in the $250 million steel vessel installed at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 4 reactor while working for a unit of Hitachi Ltd. in 1974. The reactor, which Tanaka has called a “time bomb,” was shut for maintenance when the March 11 earthquake triggered a 7-meter (23-foot) tsunami that disabled cooling systems at the plant, leading to explosions and radiation leaks….“Who knows what would have happened if that reactor had been running?” Tanaka, who turned his back on the nuclear industry after the Chernobyl disaster, said in an interview last week. “I have no idea if it could withstand an earthquake like this. It’s got a faulty reactor inside.” What follows is the harrowing tale of a criminal cover up at the only reactor that luckily was empty when the catastrophe occurred. We can only imagine what comparable horror stories will emerge in the next several days as other whistleblowers emerge and disclose that Reactors 1 through 3 (which unfortunately do have radioactive fuel in their reactors) passed the same “rigorous” quality control process that makes them the same time bombs just waiting or the signal to go off (and probably already have… but since the truth is the last thing the public will uncover one can only speculate).

    [...]

    After the meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986, Tanaka was asked to narrate a Russian movie documenting the disaster. A team of Soviet filmmakers had taken 30 hours of footage inside the plant, getting very close to the ruptured core. The movie’s director died of radiation poisoning about a year after the filming. While watching the footage, Tanaka had a breakdown.

    “All of a sudden I was sobbing and I started to think about what I’d done,” Tanaka said. “I was thinking, ‘I could be the father of a Japanese Chernobyl.’”

    Two years later Tanaka says he went to the Trade Ministry to report the cover-up he’d been involved in more than a decade earlier. The government refused to investigate and Hitachi denied his accusations, he said.


    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • Raja

    Radiation Level At Fukushima Reactor No. 2 At Its Highest Level Recorded So Far, Neutron Beam Observed 13 Times

    Zero Hedge, By Tyler Durden, March 23

    Per the Japan Nuclear Agency: the Radiation level at Fukushima reactor No. 2 at its highest level recorded so far. From Reuters: “Radiation at the crippled Fukushima No.2 nuclear reactor was recorded at the highest level since the start of the crisis, Japan’s nuclear safety agency said on Wednesday. An agency spokesman said 500 millisieverts per hour of radiation was measured at the No.2 unit on Wednesday. Engineers have been trying to fix the plant’s cooling system after restoring lighting on Tuesday.” And some more truthy news from Kyodo:

    Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it has observed a neutron beam, a kind of radioactive ray, 13 times on the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after it was crippled by the massive March 11 quake-tsunami disaster.

    [...]

    But the [small] measured neutron beam may be evidence that uranium and plutonium leaked from the plant’s nuclear reactors and spent nuclear fuels have discharged a small amount of neutron beams through nuclear fission.


    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

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