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It's no surprise that this is happening.  The Fukishima plants have been flooded with water to keep them cool for over two years now.  It seems logical that at some point saturated soils would cause the contaminated water to spread.  Have these people NEVER heard of a cofferdam?  What are the implications if these contaminated waters enter the sea/Pacific Ocean?

It is interesting where a story will take us.  After reviewing the latest Fukishima news, I thought I'd check in on the NRC "incidence" reports for our aging nuke plants, most of which now exceed their "Don't Use Expiration Dates" and which NRC is giving 20-30 year extentions to (not 2 or 3 year).

Towards the end of this diary, there is a story about Duke Energy's recent McQuire Nuclear Plant "incident."  It is truly a WTF story as well.

Fukushima Groundwater Shows Record Radiation Levels

"We don't know what is the reason behind the spike," Tepco spokeswoman Mayumi Yoshida told Reuters. "We're still looking to determine the causes behind it."

The operator has been flushing water over the three reactors to keep them cool for more than two years, but contaminated water has been building up at the rate of an an Olympic-size swimming pool per week.

The reading for caesium-137, with a half life of 30 years, was some 85 times higher than it had been three days earlier.

The latest findings, 25 metres (yards) from the sea, come a month after Tepco detected radioactive caesium in groundwater flowing into its wrecked plant far from the sea on elevated ground. The level of caesium found in June was much lower than the amount announced on Tuesday.

The spike, combined with recent discoveries of high levels of radioactive elements like tritium and strontium, suggest that contaminated water is spreading toward the sea side of the plant from the reactors sitting on higher ground.

Sadly, it is reported that:
one of the Fukishima 50, Masao Yoshida, credited for minimizing the disaster, died on Tuesday of oesophageal cancer - unrelated to his duties.
Unrelated to his duties?

This is the best site I have found for those interested in followig up on Fukishima news, and energy news in general.  You might want to book mark this site.


In other news, here are 6 reported "incidences" from the NRC for July 2nd & 3rd.

The NRC website makes nuclear incidences public here.

Well, NRC used to provide a morning report  That changed in 2009:

Current Morning Report
Headquarters Daily Report

As of September 1, 2009, the NRC will no longer use Morning Reports as a communication tool.  For prompt information related to significant generic safety or safeguards matters, please refer to the Preliminary Notifications web page.  

The existing information on this page will remain active for a period of one year.

And the page is now empty.

Let's go to Preliminary Notifications link:

Preliminary Notification Reports

These are brief descriptions, generated by NRC regions when needed, of matters that are of significant safety or safeguards concern or have high public interest. PNs are used to promptly inform the Commissioners and others in NRC and Agreement States with new and current information.
2000s: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 |

Let's see what was considered "when needed" for July.  Only one incidence, not included as one of the 6 listed above is shown:
PNO-III-13-006    07/02/2013    FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company: Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station: Davis-Besse Unplanned Shutdown Greater Than 72 Hours on June 29, 2013, Due to Trip of Reactor Coolant Pump and Subsequent Discovery of Reactor Pressure Boundary Leakage
Davis-Besse plant did make the news:

Failure shuts down Davis-Besse

Davis-Besse Nuclear Power plant is shut down after a motor in one of its four reactor coolant pumps failed.
THIS IS A RICH WTF story!  This North Carolina, Duke Energy, McQuire Nuclear Plant report, one of the 6 listed above, is concerning.  I wonder why it's not considered a "when needed" report:
"Notification is to be made to an offsite agency: North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources [NCDENR].

Due to heavy rains on site, a holdup pond overflowed to the Catawba River. Holdup pond overflow included chemicals (Rotenone) used to treat macro fouling in the Standby Nuclear Service Water Pond. Notification to NCDENR will be made by telephone Saturday morning 6/29/13."

Apparently, the Rotenone contamination was treated with Potassium Permanganate:
"Due to continued rains on site, the holdup pond continues to overflow to the Catawba River. The overflow includes a new chemical, Potassium Permanganate, used to neutralize the Rotenone treatment of the Standby Nuclear Service Water Pond. This new chemical has the potential to initially turn water purple, which is normal when applied. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) has been updated."  
WTF!  The nuclear scientists and environmental engineers couldn't have anticipated heavy freaking rains in their pond design?  Really? In heavy rain North Carolina?  WTF!

Quite frankly, I smell a Rotenone Rat in the report above because of this 1979 story.

In 1979, Duke Energy used Rotenone to kill over 2,000 fish.  

I found this news article.  Note the irony of the HUGE FISH KILL article and the add for a $2.29 Fish Night Special.  $2.29?  Can you buy a large drink for $2.29 today?

Duke energy, McQuire Plant, Rotenone, Fish Kill 1979

About 2,250 pounds of fish were killed to allow Duke to take its sampling.

The chemical does not harm any other animal or plant life.

GOOD FREAKING GRIEF!  You just never know where you will end up when you start a diary.

ROTENONE IS HARMFUL TO HUMANS!!!  And it was, still might be, an ingredient in flea powders:

In March and April 2006, registrants of rotenone in the U.S. requested voluntarily cancellation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of all livestock,
residential and home owner uses, domestic pet uses, and all other uses except for piscicide uses. A data call-in was issued in 2004 requiring a sub-chronic (28-day) inhalation neurotoxicity study to further investigate the results of independent studies in animals that led to Parkinson’s Disease-like symptoms.

Since 1994 a large amount of information has emerged from research that showed harmful effects of rotenone on the human system, leading to Parkinsons' disease and other health problems.

Where were we.  

Fukishima is the disaster that keeps on being a disaster.

With industries now self-reporting, we won't know about the disasters in our own back yards until it's too late.

Thank you, you ignorant, heartless, stupid, even murderous "less government" fanatics.  STFU!

LASTLY, NUCLEAR ENERGY IS NOT RENEWABLE.  It creates harmful waste that lasts for thousands of years and, in our new extreme weather climate, is too vulnerable to life-threatening disasters capable of harming large swaths of populations.

Originally posted to War on Error on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 11:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK and DK GreenRoots.


I am confident that the EPA is protecting us from harm.

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Comment Preferences

  •  i suspect the holding tanks at Fukushima have (9+ / 0-)


    designed for a year, they have been in use for 2 years.

  •  New nuke plants are better, but too costly (5+ / 0-)

    so how do we do nukes anymore?

  •  another WTF moment . . . do a Google for (16+ / 0-)

    Progress Energy's Crystal River nuke, and see how they broke their own nuke by trying to upgrade it on the cheap.

    (This was before Progress Energy merged with Duke Energy to form the largest electric company in the US.)

    Duke has already announced they won't reopen the Crystal River plant.

    Meanwhile, it is expected that Duke will abandon Progress Energy's plans for two new nukes in Levy County, Fl.  Originally budgeted at $5 billion for both plants, the cost has already soared to $20 billion--and they haven't even gotten a permit yet. It is expected the final cost will at least double again.  Duke is widely expected to pull the plug on the project.

  •  More information from and about Masao Yoshida (7+ / 0-)

    Just In: Masao Yoshida, #Fukushima I Nuke Plant Manager at the Time of Accident, Died

    In the first and the only interview he gave was right before the emergency brain surgery. He said he saw divine beings in the workers, who would go out and do the work in a hellish situation, come back and go out again. He said he would like to spend his time speaking for the workers.

    He did not get the chance. He must have had so much he wanted to say. He has now joined the divine beings. May he rest in peace.

    For those of you who haven't read them, here are my posts from August 2012, on his interview on July 10, 2012, right before he fell ill...

  •  Nukes are not in the set of sustainable energy (4+ / 0-)

    I agree with you War On Error. Sustainability is the state where each generation leaves the planet in equal of better condition. As part of that, all processes have to be closed. The Nuclear power industry mines ore with low levels of radiation, concentrates it and produces large amounts of radioactive material during operation.  There isn't even a half hearted attempt to close the cycle, and the inevitable radiation releases occur. Spent and partially spent fuel rods are being stored long term onsite. It's hard to point to any man made structures that can last as long as some of the radioactive half-lives of some of the material produced. We are fortunate that nuclear energy has remained as a relatively small part of the mix, with only 104 active nuclear power plants in the US. The real cost of nuclear energy is going to have to include safe long-term storage of all of the waste generated, a process that relies on technology not yet invented.

  •  As to the NRC morning report (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error, Simplify

    it didn't serve much of a purpose. It generally reported things like utility management changes and summarized information that was already reported in the daily events report. I can't speak for the NRC but I suspect someone realized it was largely redundant to the the Preliminary Notification Reports and was not providing value. I doubt there was anything ominous in the decision to discontinue them.

    As to Davis Besse, if you pull up ENS report number 49163 on the NRC's web site you will see that the leakage was 8-9 drops a minute. The news article you linked to is misleading. The leak didn't cause the plant to shut down. It was discovered while it was shutdown and any known reactor pressure boundary leakage, no matter how small, is required to be repaired prior to starting up again. It would be more accurate to say the leakage was keeping the plant shutdown. When plants are running they are required to constantly measure leakage and would not be allowed to operate if the total unidentified leakage (mostly valve packing leaks that are not considered RCS pressure boundary leakage but includes this type of leakage as well) exceeds 1 gallon per hour. It is usually a tiny fraction of that.

    All power plants, including coal and gas combined cycle, use chemicals to treat their water systems. They use chemicals like sodium hypochlorite (aka bleach), hydrazine (a highly toxic chemical used in rocket fuel and found naturally in freshly picked edible mushrooms) and others. Nuclear plants try to avoid releases like this because they have to report any non-routine interactions with state and federal environmental agencies. Similar reports from fossil plants would be harder for the public to find out. From the report it appears the rotenone was neutralized and would not have posed a threat to wildlife. The concern seems to have been more that the contents that overflowed was purple, which had the potential to generate calls to the DNR from concerned citizens living nearby. I know of a plant that makes similar notifications to the NRC when they are not able to recapture all of the little sponge balls they run through the condenser to clean the tubes. If a bunch get released back to the river some will wash up down stream and members of the public will call DNR. They don't harm fish and will degrade on their own with time.

    The NRC reports that tend to grab my attention are from hospitals. There was one awhile back where a woman with a dangerously hyperactive thyroid was given radioactive iodine to destroy it. She didn't realize she was pregnant at the time and treatment affected the fetus as well. It destroyed the baby girl's thyroid too so she will require synthetic hormones the rest of her life. Just like her mom. The truly WTF events like this get reported to Congress annually. It is called NUREG-0090.

    •  Very informative. Thank you. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldpotsmuggler, WakeUpNeo

      Re North Carolina

      It seems odd that the pond design was insufficient to contain the waste water to begin with.  Not rocket science.  And, if such a comparatively low end technical misjudgement can be made, it doesn't lend much faith that all the very technical details are in perfect order.

      It's been 30 years since the nuclear power peak.  I think we have learned enough to make those in power think twice about a new nuclear rennaisance.

      Especially that we now know the huge expense of decommissioning nuclear plants.

      There are cleaner, safer, less expense alternatives to nuclear.

      Germany is a great example.

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 06:11:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  After being in the business for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        War on Error

        thirty years one thing I've learned is that there is frequently more to the story. I would not be quick to judge. I've read many stories over the years of municipal sewage treatment ponds overflowing too as a result of flooding and excessive rainfall. So you could backseat drive and call the city engineers who designed them idiots too I suppose. Catawba may or may not be worthy of criticism. I just don't know all the facts. But I can say with a fair degree of confidence this was not an event that raised many eyebrows in the industry or the NRC in the grand scheme of things.

        Utilities are required to accrue decommissioning funds over the life of the plant and report the value to the NRC regularly. The total needed seems large but over the course of 40+ years and billions of megawatt-hours of electricity generated it amounts to a tiny fraction of a penny per kilowatt-hour. It is a minor overall cost of doing business.

        While the German public is still generally supportive of renewables (except when the power lines needed to move the power run near their property) the businesses, particularly those that use a lot of electricity such as aluminum smelters, are groaning at having to pay among the highest electricity prices in Europe because of the generous feed-in tariffs for wind and solar. It is believed by some that it is hurting Germany's competitiveness and is creating a drag on the economy. Angela Merkel is trying to scale the subsidies back legally. Meanwhile, the country still has far higher CO2 emissions per capita and per GDP than France, which has low to average electricity prices. I know Germany's renewable energy goals appeal emotionally to progressives but the jury is far from out that their policy regarding sustainable energy is economically sustainable.

        •  What do you think of the coffer dam (0+ / 0-)

          for containment to keep contaminated waters out of the ocean?

          It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

          by War on Error on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 08:44:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I confess I don't follow the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            War on Error

            Daily happenings at Fukushima closely but it appears Tepco is building a cofferdam type structure and started it last year but it needs to encircle the entire site to do any good and it is a large site. According to this article it won't be completed until next year.

            •  That's not a coffer dam, just a barrier (0+ / 0-)

              I picture a coffer dam many feet higher than than the highest fuel rod pool, filled with water, maybe capped with high tech gaseous and excess water capture.

              Frankly, if it is going to take years to "cool the fuel" if any is actually still there in tact, I don't see how the water can be onsite contained.  But what do I know.

              Humans only species capable of destroying their environment.

              It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

              by War on Error on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:16:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  that cofferdam seems unlikely to help (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            War on Error

            far too much open contamination
            and far too likely the cores breached containment.

        •  don't believe the German electricity hype (0+ / 0-)

          the costs haven't risen very much over a decade.

          •  This brings up an interesting point. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            War on Error

            Who do you believe and why? I ask myself that question all the time. It is easy to fall for confirmation bias and gravitate to opinions that reinforce existing beliefs and reject information that is contrary. I suspect I do it subconsciously on occassion despite my best efforts but the rule of thumb I try to live by is to seek out the consensus opinion of objective experts if available and not rely on any one person's view. Or at least those who don't have a horse in the race.

            I have been reading Amory Lovins work (or more accurately have tried to read his work) since he started talking about "soft energy paths" in the late 70s. I am still trying to understand anything he says other than I get that he likes renewables and hates nuclear. The article you linked to is a case in point. The chart clearly shows the renewable surcharge is a significant fraction of the total cost but then he goes into a jargon laden spiel about wholesale prices and energy taxes and exemptions to explain why it isn't really that bad. I have worked in the industry for a long time and like to delude myself that I have a passing understanding how those terms are used and relate to the market but when he uses them it just comes across as word salad. I can't even say I disagree with him. The prerequisite to disagreement would be that I understood his arguments. I don't think I am alone.

            My sources include the Economist. It comes out on the side of the scientific consensus regarding global warming but like true economists seems generally agnostic on specific solutions as long as the decisions are based on sound economic principles. It regularly reports on the German electricity market and the last issue stated Merkel is concerned enough about the costs of renewables that she is trying to slow things down. Whether she is right to or not at least I understood the article.

            •  I read Germany completely differently. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              War on Error, patbahn

              I think Germany is a classic example of how renewables should be rolled out.  Significant long-term governmental and regulatory support in the beginning, and then once they've taken off wildly (which there's no question that they have in Germany) and really operating more under their own momentum, slowly phase the support out.

              Also, contrary to many here, I think Germany has a rather responsible approach to baseload - not perfect, sure, but pragmatic.  They're not phasing out coal.  Rather, they're making a new generation of coal plants.  Which has had a lot of liberals screaming, but it's important to note the details.  The new plants are nearly twice as efficient as the old plants (which are being phased out, not added to), which right off the bat means half the emissions per unit power generated.  But on top of that, the new plants are designed to be able to ramp up and down in 15 minutes or so.  Aka, they're peakers.  This means that the more renewables come online, the less the coal plants get used.  In the end, decades down the line, they'll basically just be backup generators.  I think that's a very pragmatic approach.  Once they near their end of life, hopefully timing will be good for some even better gap-filling solutions, be they energy storage, baseload renewable, or whatnot

              •  That is one way of thinking about it (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                War on Error

                But I would never have reached that assessment from anything I've read. As I indicated I read the Economist a lot, among other sources, and the latest issue discusses a 10 billion euro offshore wind project that is horribly over budget and behind schedule. Time will tell whether the subsidies will have been temporary  training wheels or permanent crutches.

        •  Info (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          War on Error, Sandino

          Wikipedia has a nice handy-dandy list of CO2 emissions per capita over time.

          1991: 12.0
          2008: 9.6
          Ratio: 80%

          1991: 7.5
          2008: 6.1
          Ratio: 81%

          Win: Germany

          Yes, Germany started out in a much worse position, but if you want to look at the result of their policies, Germany's have done better.

          What about costs?  Germany provides about $18B per year for renewables deployment ($225 per capita) - a rather small amount compared to the size of the power industry and given that such infrastructure will generate for decades with only simple maintenance.  Nuclear subsidy costs in France are not disclosed, so it's hard to do a direct comparison, but studies on French power plant construction costs put them in the $4.5 to 5k/kWh range, which is much higher than unsubsidized renewables and is a figure that could never be supported by simple market capital.  Plus, this doesn't include the potential cost of accidents.  The cost of a single major accident at the Dampierre plant in France alone was estimated by the French government to range from €760 billion to €5.8 trillion.  The latter number is over three times France's entire GDP.  And while renewables prices are dropping fast, nuclear is rising at a pretty steady pace.

          I really recommend reading the above link, btw - it's pretty damning of nuclear power, both in France and elsewhere, with hard numbers and history.  It goes into all sorts of other problems beyond the obvious.  To pick one, it goes into how the long lead times on nuclear lead to gross miscalculations on demand - in France leading to dramatic overconstruction based on overforecast of consumption, which forced them to use power inefficiently, such as becoming dependent on electric space heating, ruining incentives for efficient use of electricity, and led to an essential devastation in the French renewables industry, to the point that Spain adds more renewables in one year than France has total.  This is ignoring the obvious massive negative, the saddling of France with the cost of these unneeded reactors.  

          •  Thank you so much for joining the discussion (0+ / 0-)

            And helping to clarify the issue re nuclear vs renewables.

            It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

            by War on Error on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:32:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  All your ratio means is that (0+ / 0-)

            Germany has reduced its CO2 emissions at a slightly faster rate than France. When you start from a higher starting point, it isn't that hard. It would be like comparing somebody who weighed 500 lb. in 1991 but who only weighs 400 now compared to sombody who weighed 200 in 1991 but only weighs 162 now. If you go by ratios the heavier person "won" but in absolute terms the lighter person is still lighter. By a lot. In absolute terms Germany's CO2 emissions are roughly half again more than France's. Much of that reduction over time occurred subsequent to German reunification when old inefficient factories were closed in the east. It wasn't all due to the addition of renewable capacity.

            I will try to read the link when I have the time but when electric utilities need to add new generation capacity or replace older units it isn't an academic or theoretical exercise for them (or the state Public Utilities Commission if the market is regulated). Utilities have a feduciary responsibility to pick among the viable options and choose the one that promises the best return on shareholder value and the PUCs have an obligation to ensure the new generation is in the pubic interest and is the lowest cost option for rateholders. The process is designed to be hard nosed and objective and strip out any preconcieved biases. Up front capital costs are only one factor in the decision, along with projections regarding financing costs, O&M, fuel cost volatility, state and federal subsidies, amount of supporting infrastruction needed (e.g. the need to built a long transmission line to connect wind power in one part of the state to the population centers in a different part). Currently fracked natural gas is the generally preferred option for new baseload power in most areas of the US. But each circumstance is unique. That is a big factor in why there are only four new nuclear plants currently under construction in the US.

            I have heard before suspicions that France heavily subsidizes its nuclear industry and I suspect it does to some degree or another (it seems like every industry everywhere is subsidized to a certain extent). But I've never seen it quantified and put in context with other subsidies in the EU. At any rate, France was smarter than the US early on and developed standardized designs for its nuclear plants, which greatly improved the economies of scale. Whereas early US plants were like custom cars built around a similar theme, French plants were rolled out like Henry Ford Model Ts with standard training procedures, common parts, etc. As lessons were learned an modifications were made to improve them the modification design only had to be done once before being deployed everywhere.

            Just as it would be wrong to project future automobile fatalities based on an assumption that everyone in 2020 will be driving a 1971 Ford Pinto, it would be a mistake to attach any relevance to accident costs for 1970's era nuclear plants with the plant designs being deployed currently or in the future. Moreover, cost does not equal risk. Risk is cost multiplied by frequency. To my mind, the calculus centers on your beliefs on the how certain global warming is, the rate of deployment of low carbon options and the environmental costs that are going to result. Right now, gas is a very cheap option in the US and it is uncertain how much additional renewable capacity will be added once the various state renewable energy mandates are met (most of which have targets like 20% renewables by 2020). It really comes down to how much you fear global warming and how much you fear nuclear power. Opinions vary. James Hanson (noted climate scientist), James Lovelock (Gaia Theory) and others are more concerned about global warming and view nuclear power as necessary (or at least a necessary evil). And of course others like Amory Lovins who tied their fates to a non-nuclear world view long ago feel differently.

            •  Re (0+ / 0-)
              Germany has reduced its CO2 emissions at a slightly faster rate than France. When you start from a higher starting point, it isn't that hard.
              First, it's not only a higher ratio, but it's much more dramatic in terms of actual emissions cut.  Ratios downplay the significance.  

              Phasing out consumption and bringing something else to take its place, something else which minimizes CO2 emission, is precisely the issue at hand.  It's the policies that have been in place over the last several decades that are in debate, not what existed beforehand.

              Furthermore, as to "what existed beforehand", even that is something you can't just compare directly.  Here in Iceland we have bad per-capita CO2 emissions, despite the fact that we have some of the cleanest power in the world (99.6% geothermal or hydroelectric).  Why?  Because we have a low population, which skews per-capita numbers, and lots of industry comes here to use our cheap, clean power, especially the aluminum industry, which emits CO2 in the process of refining ore - plus, our biggest resource is fish, which requires a large fishing fleet, another major industry is tourism, which is also very high Co2, and we have one of the world's lowest population densities, so there's a lot more driving involved.

              So no, you can't just raw compare countries together like that on a raw person-to-person basis.  But it's more than fair to see how their policies are succeeding at reducing their emissions on a per-capita basis.

              Much of that reduction over time occurred subsequent to German reunification when old inefficient factories were closed in the east.
              And France's happened during a period of faster population growth which diluted their numbers while allowing them to make use of more of their overcapacity.  We can make excuses all you want, but the facts are, Germany is not the disaster story that you make it out to be.  France's nuclear finances, however, are a disaster story.
              I will try to read the link when I have the time but when electric utilities need to add new generation capacity or replace older units it isn't an academic or theoretical exercise for them
              As discussed in the paper, there is only one non-subsidized nuclear reactor under construction anywhere in the world, and to try to finance it they're requiring a 60 year payback guarantee period from ratepayers, and it's already turning out to be an economic disaster.  Nuclear exists because of subsidy, period.  Giant, massive subsidies that dwarf renewables, and governments picking up most of the liability tab for catastrophic disasters.

              There is simply no relevant market support out there for nuclear reactors; the numbers don't even come close to being economical, and there's a serious "negative learning curve", aka, costs are on a well established curve of rising with time, not dropping.

              Nuclear is a ward of the state.

              At any rate, France was smarter than the US early on and developed standardized designs for its nuclear plants
              Actually, that's a major focus of the paper.  Contrary to popular myth, France's "economies of standardization and scale" do not exist (to any practicable extent).  Their reactors are, as stated in the $4.5-$5k per kWh range.  This is several times higher than unsubsidized renewables, which require no fuel and minimal mainteinance.
              Just as it would be wrong to project future automobile fatalities based on an assumption that everyone in 2020 will be driving a 1971 Ford Pinto, it would be a mistake to attach any relevance to accident costs for 1970's era nuclear plants with the plant designs being deployed currently or in the future.
              As well demonstrated in the paper (might want to read it), nuclear has a long and well-documented "negative learning curve".  This is mainly focused on the economic picture, but the same applies to accidents. "No, Windscale could never happen again, newer reactors are safer!"  Chernobyl.  "No, Chernobyl could never happen again, newer reactors are safer!  And they were Soviets, they're always screwing up!".  Fukushima.  And I can point to it keeping on going.  For example, every nuclear fanboy's favorite, the PBMR, doesn't even have a bloody containment structure, despite using a graphite moderator (the same contaminant-spreader in Chernobyl) and with plans for in the event of a rupture to be air cooling, and in some designs, with a secondary water coolant backup circuit right nearby (hot graphite plus water equals hydrogen explosion).  New designs are more of a (thusfar largely failed) attempt at costcutting than anything else, pushing the same tired refrain of, "it's so inherently safe, we can cut all these safety features everywhere to save money" that's been a well known BS marketing line since the Titanic.

              Why a negative learning curve?  It's a case of problems compounding.  The paper goes into it in more detail, but in a nutshell: nuclear is way too expensive, and the industry knows it.  And the more they learn about current plants, the more expensive they get (defects are discovered, decommissioning costs rise, etc).  The problems are of a scale that you can't simply optimize current-generation designs, you need to make next-generation designs.  But these inherently require either moving to greater scale or moving into lesser explored territory in terms of tech, both of which start the learning curve over.  And the same trends in rising expense happen with each generation.

              To my mind, the calculus centers on your beliefs on the how certain global warming is, the rate of deployment of low carbon options and the environmental costs that are going to result.
              If speed is at issue, you should look precisely the opposite direction from nuclear.  It's incredibly slow to deploy from project inception to full generation capacity.

              The main problem most people have with renewables is of the "I can't picture it" variety.  The can picture building a 1GW nuclear plant.  It sounds so simple in their heads.  Certainly sounds simpler than building the equivalent 3000 1MW wind turbines and all their supporting infrastructure, right?  It's so hard to even picture all those wind turbines!

              Well, "hard to picture" does not reality make.  The reality is that nuclear plant is an economic nightmare and you could build 10,000-15000 such wind turbines for the same price.  And operate them for peanuts.

              James Hanson (noted climate scientist), James Lovelock (Gaia Theory) and others are more concerned about global warming and view nuclear power as necessary (or at least a necessary evil). And of course others like Amory Lovins who tied their fates to a non-nuclear world view long ago feel differently.
              Do we really have to play the name dropping game?  YOu could at least drop names who are experts in their fields (Hansen is a climate scientist, not an economist nor a nuclear scientist; Lovelock is a futurist and Lovins is a physicist).
            •  Want to know, in a nutshell, why nuclear... (0+ / 0-)

              ... which sounds so great, so easy, so cheap on paper, consistantly proves to be an economic nightmare and disaster-prone?  At the heart of it all, your fuel does not stay as what you put in.  Nor does it simply become something else (like, say, burning).  No, it becomes almost everything else.  The radioactive decay chains lead the fuel through almost everything on the periodic table.  Every kind of corrosion problem under the sun, solids, liquids,gasses, varying solubilities, compatibilities, and so on down the line, and all changing over time - days, months, years, constantly shifting what's inside -- all housed in a structure that's hot, generally wet, and constantly being weaked by constant exposure to extreme neutron flux.  And what you have to contain?  Deadly, long-lifespan poison.

              Could one possibly design a more trouble-prone operating environment than that?

  •  Atomic Guitars (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error, juliesie


    Atomic Guitars, Played by Decaying Atoms

    Two canary yellow stratocasters, mounted on stands to face each other and wired into squat black amps, buzz with a tentative open string drone. Next to the guitars hangs the shell of a radiation-proof suit. The stage is set for a band that never arrives:

    Fuyuki Yamakawa’s Atomic Guitars – recently on display at the Tokyo Art Fair – are played by decaying atoms.

    At the base of each guitar is a Geiger counter and a pot of radioactive soil. The counters are plugged into tactile transducers – sound-to-movement converters most often used in home cinemas – that shake the guitars whenever the counters click, making the strings vibrate. The first time Yamakawa exhibited Atomic Guitars he used soil taken from the grounds of the Tokyo National University of the Arts in Toride, a small city 118 miles away from the burnt-out reactors of Fukushima Daiichi. For the Tokyo Fair he took soil from the Imperial Gardens. Radiation doesn’t stay still, it follows the weather. Yamakawa’s guitars are the same colour as the yellow rain that reportedly fell in Tokyo a couple of days after the Fukushima meltdown.

    •  Really cool (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Couldn't help but notice the Nuclear Music has a funeral dirge sound to it.

      Is the article saying that most of Japan's soil is radioactive?

      I wonder if the seaweed in sushi is free of contamination.  Most of the nori is made in Japan.

      I closely watched the jet stream the day of and after the Fukishima explosions.  Sure enough, the jet stream went directly from south to north covering the entire State of Utah, which didn't report any measurements.  I haven't seen that jet stream set up since.

      Thanks for the info.  Fascinating.

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 06:17:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Key point, in my opinion: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        patbahn, War on Error
        Radiation doesn’t stay still, it follows the weather.
        I recall when a friend who was an engineer who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope and related projects shared how the ambient radiation monitors at Kodak Park (Rochester, NY) had 'gone off the charts' within a couple days after Chernobyl --- an "event" on the opposite side of our planet.

        Never heard much about that from media sources, did we?

        •  i expect a lot of mortality/morbidity (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WakeUpNeo, War on Error

          issues in Japan

        •  We were supposed to be in Argelis (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          In southern France when Chernobyl nuked the planet
          Cancelled our trip because we bombed Libya the night before our flight so we missed being majorly nuked.

          All the crops had to be destroyed where we would have lived for a month.  We dodged that bullet.

          Remember all the sheep in Wales had to be destroyed.

          The hubris of the nuclear advocates exceeds the dangers of nuclear water boilers IMO

          Thank you so much for clarifying the debate, btw.

          It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

          by War on Error on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:30:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The McGuire Plant (0+ / 0-)

    is about 12 miles west of me the way a bird would go !


    Thanks for posting !

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