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Fukushima Resident Checked for Radiation
Officials in protective gear check for signs of radiation on children who are from the evacuation area near the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant in Koriyama, March 13, 2011. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano confirmed on Saturday there has been an explosion and radiation leakage at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The biggest earthquake to hit Japan on record struck the northeast coast on Friday, triggering a 10-metre tsunami that swept away everything in its path, including houses, ships, cars and farm buildings on fire. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/REUTERS)

The White House released a statement Sunday offering support for the people of Japan which included this:

The U.S. Ambassador declared an emergency which opened up an immediate funding of $100K from USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. They set up a Response Management Team in DC and sent a Disaster Assistance Response Team to Tokyo, which includes people with nuclear expertise from the Departments of Energy and Health and Human Services as well the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NRC members are experts in boiling water nuclear reactors and are available to assist their Japanese counterparts.

Reliable news on the precise state of Japan's Fukushima nuclear facilities has been hard to come by, suggesting solid info is scarce and what is available is subject to both spin and speculation. Throughout the weekend mixed reports of a possible fuel melt, and updates/corrections on same from Japanese officials and nuclear experts, swirled around the media landscape like smoke from the damaged unit. SciAm has a review of worst case scenarios, and Kbman wrote this nformative diary here on what a nuclear meltdown might mean.

Nuclear power brings up intense debate on a variety of fronts and touches on several fundamental energy vs environmental policy issues. My personal view is current commercial reactor designs are expensive, suffer from regulatory issues, and carry a potentially substantial and equally irreducible element of risk. In fairness, the same could be said of other energy sources we rely on such as oil and coal.

But even if newer designs were to prove viable and safer, the capacity of Big Business, and especially the energy industry, to arbitrarily write, rewrite, avoid, evade, and even ignore regulations on a whim is a real concern when considering the large scale implementation of next generation nuclear power.

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Comment Preferences

  •  great interviews this morning on (18+ / 0-)

    Democracy Now:  Japan Facing Biggest Catastrophe Since Dawn of Nuclear Age

       Yurika Ayukawa, Professor of the environment at Chiba University in Japan. She is formerly with the Citizens Nuclear Information Center.
        Harvey Wasserman, Longtime anti-nuclear activist and the editor of nukefree.org. He is also a senior advisor to GreenPeace USA and the author of the book, Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth.
        Kevin Kamps, Specialist in nuclear waste at the nuclear watchdog, Beyond Nuclear. Last year he was in Japan assessing the state of its nuclear facilities.
        Arnie Gundersen, Nuclear industry executive for many years before blowing the whistle on the company he worked for in 1990, when he found inappropriately stored radioactive material. He is now chief engineer at Fairewinds Associates.

    Satyagraha 2.0 ~ there is no force in the world that is so direct or so swift in working.

    by under the bodhi tree on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:14:45 AM PDT

    •  yes, I am waiting for the transcripts (6+ / 0-)

      they mentioned reactors with the same design, even one in Vermont.

    •  excellent summation without nuclear industry ... (3+ / 0-)

      .. sock puppet kabuki dance.

      Humanity is one family ... with one heart.

      by abarefootboy on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:15:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  BWR / PWR nuclear plants on the US West Coast (4+ / 0-)

      Harvey Wasserman, longtime anti-nuclear activist and the editor of nukefree.org, also a senior adviser to GreenPeace USA and the author of the book SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth was interviewed today by Amy Goodman. As the transcripts are coming out I wanted to spread the words I heard this morning on the radio.

      Abouthe significance of fuel rods to be exposed:

      AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to Harvey Wasserman. He’s speaking to us from Columbus, Ohio, long experience in dealing with nuclear plants in this country. Harvey, this latest news of the Japanese nuclear reactor, water levels inside almost empty, according to the power plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power. Then, the news agency Jiji saying a meltdown of fuel rods inside the Fukushima Daiichi complex’s No. 2 reactor could not be ruled out. Can you explain the significance of this, the exposure of the fuel rods?

      HARVEY WASSERMAN: Well, it’s hugely significant, and it’s a very, very dangerous situation. I should note that the first reactor at Fukushima is identical to the Vermont Yankee plant, and which is now up for relicensing and which the people of Vermont are trying to shut. And we should also note that this kind of accident, this kind of disaster, could have occurred at four reactors in California, had the 9.0-Richter-scale earthquake hit close to Diablo Canyon at San Luis Obispo or San Onofre between L.A. and San Diego. We could very well now be watching Los Angeles or San Diego being evacuated, had this kind of thing happened in California. And, of course, the issue is the same in Vermont. There are 23 reactors in the United States that are identical or close to identical to the first Fukushima reactor.

      Now, this exposure of fuel is about as bad as it gets. It means that these fuel rods, superheated fuel rods, could melt if they are exposed to water, which they’re trying to pour water in there. It could create radioactive steam, conceivably bow off the containment and result in another Chernobyl and a horrific, horrendous release of radiation that could, and in fact would, come to the United States within a week or so, as the Chernobyl radiation came to California within 10 days. This is about as bad as it gets. And we are not 100 percent sure we’re getting fully accurate information. We only know that the worst case scenario is very much a possibility. There are 10 reactors at the Fukushima site—two separate sites, one with six reactors and one with four. And the fact that a U.S. aircraft carrier has detected significant radiation 60 miles away is very much a dangerous sign. It means that radiation releases are ongoing and probably will only get worse.

      And here what Marvin Fertil, the president of the Nuclear Energy Institute, said yesterday  in Meet the Press:

      CHUCK TODD: We have a couple of nuclear power plants in earthquake zones, or at least in California. Is there a concern? Should Americans be concerned about the fact that these power plants are sitting in earthquake zones? Are they safe?

      MARVIN FERTEL: Yeah, all of our power plants, whether they’re in California, which is a high earthquake area, or in the Midwest or other places, are required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to design to be able to withstand the maximum credible earthquake. And the NRC continues to update and upgrade what the requirements are.

      CHUCK TODD: And you said post-9-11 that there were some extra upgrades put in to make sure that—that these nuclear plants could handle a total power shutdown, correct?

      MARVIN FERTEL: Yeah. We’ve done things post-9-11 to make sure that if something happened in our plant, like happened in Japan, where you lost all power, that you could get water to the core and continue to cool it.

      I would like to know WHAT they did exactly.

      And here Harvey Wasserman's response to that:

      HARVEY WASSERMAN: Well, that’s what he’s paid to say. You know, I was in Japan in the mid-1970s. That’s exactly what they said about Fukushima. I spoke at the Kashiwazaki plant, which, less than five years ago, was also hit by a huge earthquake, and seven reactors shut there. The people of Japan were repeatedly assured that this could not happen. Those reactors in Japan, and the ones in United States, are designed to withstand a 7.5-Richter earthquake, and this is a 9.0, which is more than 10—a significantly higher impact than what they’re designed to withstand. We’re also seeing pressures inside these reactor pressure vessels and containment domes that are in excess of design capacity. The nuclear industry is defending a product that cannot withstand Mother Nature, both in the United States and Japan.

      BTW I counted on this map of nuclear power reactors more than 23 that are Boiling Water Reactors.

      On this list  Diablo Canyon Unit #1  and San Onofre 1,2,3 are listed as a Pressure Water Reactor You can see a nice the lovely location of Diablo Canyon 1,2 here and here and read something about their license extension going on here

  •  Second explosion (8+ / 0-)
    A new explosion hit Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on Monday, two days after an explosion at a different reactor housing unit at the power plant. Japanese officials said cooling systems have also failed at a third reactor as a result of Friday's earthquake and tsunami that knocked out electricity to much of the region.

    "If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest”[...]what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples[...]?" - Justice Antonin Scalia

    by indiemcemopants on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:18:21 AM PDT

    •  Explosion is at Unit 3 (previous was Unit 1) (4+ / 0-)

      Both reactors are part of the same plant.  

      11 workers injured.

      Reminds me of the workers who sacrificied their lives to keep Cherynobyl from being much, much worse.  

      Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you should throw them back.

      by Into The Woods on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:54:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  POTASSIUM IODIDE REFUSED ON WEST COAST (3+ / 0-)

      Got a call from a friend in Cali who said she cannot find potassium iodide anywhere.  Like many, she suspects that for political reasons surrounding nuclear mandates, we are not being told the whole truth.  As I spoke to her on the phone, weird digital warbling was distorting the conversation.  The frequency of the crackling-warbles felt like "sparks" you saw on Chernobyl film clips from the radiation.  

      So it's coming.  They say it isn't but it is.  And people going into pharmacies and the like in the thousands in Cali are being told to "go home, don't worry, everything is fine".

      If my friend dies of thyroid cancer, I'm suing the feds.  Like Katrina, they're waiting too long and people are going to get unnecessarily sick for the sake of politics.

      •  Yikes! I feel ya... (0+ / 0-)

        Who knows what the effects will be, except that we will be the last to find out...

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

        by Radical def on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:16:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Tell your friend (0+ / 0-)

        to buy as many bottles of kelp supplements as possible. It's just dried and powdered seaweed in gelatin capsules, an excellent source of stable iodine and sold as a metabolic booster (thyroids produce metabolic hormones with iodine). Take 2 or 3 with meals and again at bedtime for as long as iodine is detectable. I would take them even if they say there's no iodine "above natural background."

        This handy little ruse has been in place for years. There are limits on what can be released, unless you're having an accident. There are limits to how much radiation can be at the plant gate too, also non-applicable in an accident. But once the shit gets off-site, it becomes "natural background" regardless of how dangerous and deadly it might be.

        Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

        by Joieau on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 12:19:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I miss a liveblog for the reactor meltdown watch (4+ / 0-)

    it will be a long process. Could someone who knows explain which reactors on the US West Coast have the same design as the ones in Japan.  

    us_west

    I miss a discussion of why a pressure water reactor is more safe (or not) as a boiling water reactor.  

    WNP 2 is an operable BWR according to the INSC.

    Unfortunately I can't research more right now.

    •  GE, I think that's the short answer. /nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      under the bodhi tree

      Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

      by DRo on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:21:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  . (3+ / 0-)

      For more information, see: http://www.nirs.org/...
      Reactor   Location  Size   Year operation began
      Browns Ferry 1*  Decatur, AL  1065 MW 1974
      Browns Ferry 2*  Decatur, AL  1118 MW 1974
      Browns Ferry 3*  Decatur, AL  1114 MW 1976
      Brunswick 1*  Southport, NC  938 MW  1976
      Brunswick 2*  Southport, NC  900 MW  1974
      Cooper*   Nebraska City, NE 760 MW  1974
      Dresden 2*  Morris, IL  867 MW  1971
      Dresden 3*  Morris, IL  867 MW  1971
      Duane Arnold*  Cedar Rapids, IA  581 MW  1974
      Hatch 1*  Baxley, GA  876 MW  1974
      Hatch 2*  Baxley, GA  883 MW  1978
      Fermi 2   Monroe, MI  1122 MW 1985
      Hope Creek**  Hancocks Bridge, NJ 1061 MW 1986
      Fitzpatrick*  Oswego, NY  852 MW  1974
      Monticello*  Monticello, MN  572 MW  1971
      Nine Mile Point 1* Oswego, NY  621 MW  1974
      Oyster Creek*  Toms River, NJ  619 MW  1971
      Peach Bottom 2*  Lancaster, PA  1112 MW 1973
      Peach Bottom 3*  Lancaster, PA  1112 MW 1974
      Pilgrim**  Plymouth, MA  685 MW  1972
      Quad Cities 1*  Moline, IL  867 MW  1972
      Quad Cities 2*  Moline, IL  867 MW  1972
      Vermont Yankee* Vernon, VT  620 MW  1973
      *has received 20-year license extension from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
      **20-year license renewal extension is under review by Nuclear Regulatory Commis

      Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

      by DRo on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:41:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Millstone unit 1 in Conn is same design (5+ / 0-)

      and if it was hit by 30+ foot wave it would fail just like the Japanese plant.

      There are many GE Mark 1 BWR's in the US.

  •  May? ...should be IS getting worse. (12+ / 0-)

    I do not think there is any question that it is getting worse. There have been two explosions of buildings surrounding two reactors and a third is quite possible.

    There were three back up systems to prevent what has happened. All three have failed.  and this AM I heard one reason the most recent reactor is in trouble is because one of the generators used for pumping water ran out of fuel.  

    Russia is now monitoring for radioactive contamination.  Predictors indicate the West coast could be contaminated in approximately a week..more or less.  When will the US begin to monitor for contamination?

    "You can almost judge how screwed up somebody is by the kind of toilet paper they use." Don van Vliet, Captain Beefheart

    by Muggsy on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:19:47 AM PDT

    •  Just listened to NPR (10+ / 0-)

      interview re: wind currents and potential effect on U.S.  Monitoring is being done currently -- potential and degree of radiation on U.S. or elsewhere is not known at this point -- and as you indicate, may not be known for weeks.

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:23:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The US should be monitoring (7+ / 0-)

      for radioactivity all the time anyway.  Of course that costs money, so regardless of the need it's probably not possible as long as the deficit hawks are in charge of government.

      And to think there are still people in this country lobbying for building more nuclear reactors and calling them "clean energy" - and not just paid lobbyists.  Nuclear reactors are "clean," that is, until they're not.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:17:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They are. 17 members of US militiary exposed (4+ / 0-)

        to "radioactive plumes" by flying through them.  For those folk coming to aid Japan and supplementing the US Airforce Base in the earthquake area, they will be testing.  Now that the plumes have been identified, they will need to up the level of their monitoring.  

        One question is whether low level or jetstream will determine where these plumes are carried.

        Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you should throw them back.

        by Into The Woods on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:34:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The monitoring is already done, continuously (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NYFM, under the bodhi tree

        Any facility that deals with even tiny amounts of radioactive material has monitors that would pick up any significant release of radioactive material, even from outside the facility. That's how the releases from Chernobyl were detected, even while the Soviets were denying anything had happened. There are so many diverse monitoring points that it would be impossible for any party to "suppress" the results. Large radioactive leaks simply aren't capable of being hidden.

        If you Google "headache brain tumor", you will come away convinced that your headache is actually cancer—Seth Mnookin

        by ebohlman on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:27:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They probably won't (0+ / 0-)

      tell anyone if they do. By the time it gets here, it's "natural background." Just like bomb fallout is. I'm trying to rig up power for my RM-14 now. It's probably less than a week away.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 12:23:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And the right wingnuts wonder (13+ / 0-)

    why we oppose nuclear energy.

    I'm a Mainer, and I WANT MY STATE BACK!!!

    by The Truth Shall Set Ye Free on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:20:33 AM PDT

  •  The tendency of developers to lowball risk (26+ / 0-)

    is what makes regulation of critical facilities so hard to do. When profits and dollars come first, there is always pressure to cut costs, corners and safety.

    We need to look at the total costs and risks of all our energy and transportation choices to make rational policy decisions.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:22:39 AM PDT

  •  Well, all things being equal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pashupat, cdreid

    what cannot be said of other forms of power is that if something goes terribly wrong, the form of energy itself will literally cook operators from the inside out as they try to repair or contain damage.

    Not trying to be a wise ass, it's just a fact.

    "May the fierce be with you." - RuPaul

    by Kimberley on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:24:22 AM PDT

  •  Of course it isn't just big business that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Peace Missile, Matt Z

    can interfere, i.e. Chernobyl.  It seems to be more an issue of human nature.

    •  Well, that and catastrophic geological (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      toys, Matt Z, Joieau

      events.  If you think about this particular plant in Japan it is a really bad thing that it is placed on the shoreline because the tsunami played a big role in its failure, but, on the other hand, it is a really good thing that they have access to the sea water to cool the reactors given the fact that the infrastructure around them is wiped out.  So, for those plants that don't have massive bodies of water to tap into that are sitting near or on fault lines, what can we expect to happen if their infrastructure is completely out of commission?

      Anyway, the point is that Mother Nature's power and force simply trump all at a certain point.  There's no human design that can stop an earthquake, volcano, tsunami, hurricane, etc.  My theory is that whatever we build, we should be comfortable with losing totally and completely; and to the degree that we can be assured that that total and complete loss does not have harmful lasting effects that would prevent us from rebuilding and re-inhabiting the area.

      •  Well, you really have to (0+ / 0-)

        question the basic intelligence of planners who put the diesel generators outside the plants in the lowest lying portion of land in the entire reservation. Where the tsunami found them easily and sent simply washed them away...

        Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

        by Joieau on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 12:41:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  No Nukes! (13+ / 0-)

    I'm sick of listening to Pro-Nuke supporters trying to spin this horrific Japanese nuclear tragedy into a triumph for nuke power safety. Are these people for real?  

  •  seawater water leaking out of one (8+ / 0-)

    of them is what i heard on ABC, so instead of steam in the air , maybe a more concentrated contamination flushing away....?

    Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

    by certainot on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:27:26 AM PDT

  •  When there's a 5-6 hour gap in (14+ / 0-)

    hard news from mainstream outlets, it probably means bad things are happening. TEPCO is trying to get its story straight and the people who know what's going on are being instructed not to talk.

    That's the general pattern.  If they had good news they'd rush to get it out.

  •  Just saw this video (5+ / 0-)

    ...on a meltdown proof reactor technology based on thorium, which is more plentiful than uranium, produces much less waste, and the waste has a half-life more on the order of several hundred rather than thousands of years. This "remix" video of some google talks covers it:

    Basically, despite its advantages for power reactors, thorium/liquid fluoride technology lost out because it wasn't suitable for weapons development.

    That's analogous  to what happened in the nuclear fusion field, where laser fusion got more attention than magnetic confinement because it enabled military testing objectives, even though magnetic confinement (tokomaks) is more promising for power production.

  •  Just posted - What the Fukushima 2.0 (16+ / 0-)

    I published an initial diary over the weekend, here's a followup from this morning.

    WTF 2.0

    The fuel pools, the fuel pools, the fuel pools...

    Solidarity: The GOP inadvertently lit the fire in Madison, and we must now carry the torch, for as long as it takes.

    by Richard Cranium on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:28:58 AM PDT

  •  They Deregulate with impuniity (17+ / 0-)

    The Republicans have demonstrated over and over that they will gut regulations. It would be a fools errand to trust them to keep enough regulation over nuclear power when they are currently working against regulations of chemical plants, mining, drilling, etc. A deregulated nuclear industry would be frightening.

    The tea is not strong in the West.

    by Stumptown Dave on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:29:39 AM PDT

  •  part of drive to delay alt energy subsidization (12+ / 0-)

    and development is probably coming from the GEs and Halliburtons who would love to have republican politicians beg them to take more tax trillions to build more centralized power sources.

    Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

    by certainot on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:29:57 AM PDT

  •  What I don't know about reactors (10+ / 0-)

    is a lot; but I can't escape the nagging question in my head.  If electricity for cooling water pumps was so critical, how in the bloody hell weren't dependable backup generators in place?  That seems like such a no-brainer, I'm gobsmacked that this crisis has occurred for that reason.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:29:59 AM PDT

  •  I think it's interesting that France (11+ / 0-)

    has a very substantial usage of nuclear power (including recycling some of the waste material generated) BUT I believe that the industry is highly regulated there.  It seems as if  profits and deregulation are not overriding concerns, as they are here in America.

    •  but regulation doesn't prevent (3+ / 0-)

      acts of God as we are witnessing in Japan.  They can regulate all they want; if the earth shifts and the water floods and volcanos erupt, these plants are still vulnerable.

      Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

      by SottoVoce on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:39:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The French have already been thoroughly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquarius40, Matt Z

      demonized by the rightwing.  The Bushies made sure of that.

      •  profits (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SaraBeth

        are all that matters to the rightwing.  Oh yeah, control too, but that's just to make sure the profits keep flowing.  The little people are viewed as resource, cradle to grave.  Just ask big pharma for starters.

    •  Japan is fueling Unit 3 with MOX from France (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jfromga, randallt

      The fuel in Unit 3 is also a big concern.

         

      * Mixed oxide (MOX) fuel provides about 2% of the new nuclear fuel used today.

                  * MOX fuel is manufactured from plutonium recovered from used reactor fuel.

                  * MOX fuel also provides a means of burning weapons-grade plutonium (from military sources) to produce electricity.  

          About 5% of the content of MOX fuel is plutonium recovered from nuclear fuel already used in power-generating reactors

      And this:

      One of the byproducts of MOX is Americium, which  interacts with zirconium like matches interact to oil. If 5/6 of the reactor core is exposed,  has the Americium added to the difficulty and accelerated a fuel fire?

      If there is no fuel fire, but runaway heat buildup, how much time do they estimate the reactor has before it bursts?

    •  France (0+ / 0-)

      according to a Bill Moyers report (a decade ago or so i think. and im pretty sure it was Moyers) doesnt allow the press to report nuclear problems. Though truthfully neither does the US.

      A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

      by cdreid on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:28:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nuclear Power has greater risks (5+ / 0-)

    than coal. Radiation is not fun. Chernobyl is dead. Not coming back. Radiated beyond life....

    •  LNG is pretty scary also. (0+ / 0-)
      •  Go gas, go boom. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skillet, elfling

        It doesn't take much imagination to consider what one or two antitank rockets would do to an LNG ship or tank.  The explosive potential is similar to that of a small nuclear weapon.

        "I almost died for the international monetary system; what the hell is that?" ~ The In-laws

        by Andhakari on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:41:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ask the people of Boston where an LNG terminal (0+ / 0-)

          was proposed......NIMBY!

        •  For an idea (0+ / 0-)

          Texas City Disaster 1947.. although that was ammonium nitrate -- same kind of risk.

          •  I do not agree (0+ / 0-)

            While the Texas City disaster was horrific, it was localized and did not effect thousands of people down wind for decades. Nor did it prevent the area to be used.

            We have all been told that terrorists might get their hands on neuclear materials and make a dirty bomb that they could set off within one of our cities...

            Isn't the explosion and meltdown of a nuclear power plant just a really big dirty bomb going off?

            And we are not to worry about that?

        •  That isnt a realistic concern (0+ / 0-)

          be more concerned that right now, this insant, if you live in a large town there are trucks with explosives, tankers full of things like chlorine, and fuel tankers within 5-10 miles of your house as we speak. Consider that your water supply is not and cannot be protected and one barrel of say dioxin would .. well i dont want to think about it. Consider that by shutting down one or two key interstates in key areas you would literally shut the nation down within days. No fuel supplies no food supplies nothing. Consider there are tankers full of explosives delivering to harbors all across the nation as we speak. Consider that the real danger of a nuclear attack on the US is from someone just loading one up on a tanker .. and that it would never be inspected because.. well that costs money...

          A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

          by cdreid on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:34:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your list isn't unrealistic (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cdreid

            but if you live in, say, Savannah GA, with a large LNG dock and storage facility, the concern is perfectly appropriate.
            Personally I think America is going to Hell in a hand-basket regardless, so it doesn't matter much one way or the other.
             

            "I almost died for the international monetary system; what the hell is that?" ~ The In-laws

            by Andhakari on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:33:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Nuclear has great risks... (9+ / 0-)

      ...but I wouldn't go so far as to call them "greater than coal."

      Have you taken a look at the polar ice caps lately?

    •  What's the big deal? (4+ / 0-)

      People like the Kochs and the Waltons have their underground bunkers they can hide in (along with all their money).  The rest of us won't be so lucky but not as if we matter to begin with....

    •  need to grasp the risks of global warming (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Loge, cdreid, milton333

      + ocean acidification.

      basically, mass extinctions, including maybe us.

      I find it hard to conclude that nuke is more dangerous than coal, at least at the rate we burn it today.

      Tiny amounts of coal are safer than nuke. but relying heavily on coal as we do is a disaster in the making.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:59:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mitch McConnell's Rod Exposed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Runner, Tinfoil Hat

    On Sunday McConnell proudly explained that he has been bought and he is staying bought.

  •  Can't add anything other than my heart.... (8+ / 0-)

    is breaking for these people. Its a nightmare that refuses to end.

  •  3rd explosion on the way...worse to come (8+ / 0-)

    No. 2 reactor's cooling which had not been a problem was damaged by the latest blast according to today's reports.  So expect it to overheat in the next 24 hours and release enough hydrogen for a third blast.

    This is a shitty overall design where the reactors are able to take each other out.  

    The article in the link above mentions that the shape of these reactors will lead to collection of melted fuel in as smaller space in the base, worse than TMI's design.    TMI's core melted, but did not melt through the containment vessels bottom.

    Seawater is a bitch on stainless steel at high temperature!  Not sure which alloy of stainless they have as they have different susceptibilities.  Chloride stress corrosion cracking would be a primary concern, particularly with the extreme temperatures now occurring in the three reactors' containment vessels.  Wouldn't surprise me if this resulted in catastrophic failure to the containment vessel base in days or weeks.

    Makes me thankful I stuck with chemical reactors and didn't go the nuke route.

    Renewing the Bush tax cuts was the ultimate sell out of a presidency without any scruples.

    by Celtic Pugilist on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:41:21 AM PDT

  •  No to Nuclear Power until we have an empowered (6+ / 0-)

    Nuclear Regulatory Agency, one with teeth and no corporate influence.  Never going to happen, so NO to nuclear energy.

    Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. Harry Truman

    by temptxan on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:41:42 AM PDT

  •  The best I can tell (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, mightymouse

    is that the operators are at the point where they have two options:
    1- Slowly add seawater, as they are doing now, to cool the reactors in the hope that they can get system cooling back online.  The reason it is slow is because the secondary and primary containment structures are both pressurized with radioactive steam, so it is difficult to counteract the pressure with the firehoses they are using.  Plus, whoever is holding the hose in place will likely be at very high risk for lethal exposure.  I believe that tidbit came from NYT update last night.
    2- Open the floodgates, by which I mean open the pressure relief valves all the way, which would, I assume, allow for a greater amount of water to enter for cooling.  This will likely result in significant contamination.  I'm hesitant to speculate much beyond that, because I don't know what isotopes are present in the steam and their respective concentrations.

    At this point, I am concerned that operator keeps giving us fence numbers, as if they matter.  First, this is because their fence monitor is likely land based (I believe I read it is "mobile"; i.e on a vehicle) and not in the area where I would expect anything that has gone up the stack to be found.  Second, at this point in time the major concern is the sum of all fears scenario, and if significant releases can prevent that, then that should be done.  

    Aside from that, I hope that the USN will be monitoring the plume.  Do you think we have UAV that can handle that job?  That'd be swell.  If not, get to it DARPA!

    •  how are they getting cooling water in? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kicker of Elves

      you seem informed.

      I'm sure I missed part of the story.

      What I don't get is why they just can't use the regular cooling water pathway with a different pump. is the regular cooling line broken?

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:02:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  my hunch (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse

        is that they would have an inlet pump and effluent pump, neither of which have power, in the regular cooling pathway.  Somehow, and I believe it is through purge valves intended for releasing air pressure, they are sticking fire hoses into the damn thing and using them.  

        It would seem to make sense to stick these into the cooling system pathway, but I doubt the fire trucks can produce enough force to create the needed flow.  Also, it would likely require cutting into the cooling system with torches to install an inlet (or outlet on the effluent side) connection, which would depressurize the cooling system (cause a big honkin leak), which would further reduce the thermal mass of the containment vessel.  

        But I really don't know much.

  •  Goddamn. (9+ / 0-)

    That picture breaks my fucking heart.

    Regards,
    Corporate Dog

    -----
    We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

    by Corporate Dog on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:44:17 AM PDT

  •  Nuclear Plants around Washington D.C (10+ / 0-)

    If you want safer Nuclear plants built in the US then build them around Washington D.C.  They would regulate them properly.
     Remember Con Ed wanted to build a Nuclear Plant in Manhattan and the electricity would be too cheap to meter. LOL

    American Heart Association: Diet Soda can cause type 2 Diabetes. "Circulation" July 23, 2007. Read it for yourself.

    by jeffrey789 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:44:57 AM PDT

  •  I generally have no problem with nuclear power. (3+ / 0-)

    There are substantial risks, though I think the likelihood of those risks coming to fruition are fairly minimal.  However, when they do they are potentially catastrophic.

    My biggest problem is the fact that a corporation would run the plant.  As the diarist pointed out, corporations are too powerful at the current time to be trusted to carefully manage the risks associated with nuclear energy.

    My other problem is the waste.  I've never really heard of a viable solution for material that remains deadly for a period of time that is about as long as humans have lived in cities.

    Democracy is often an indictment of the voting populace.

    by electricgrendel on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:47:55 AM PDT

  •  My issues with nuclear power. (6+ / 0-)

    1-Earthquakes can happen anywhere on Earth. 2-Radiation is invisible; people living near a source of it may not know they're in danger. 3-There is no corp. on the planet I know of that I trust to not cut corners on safety with a poison that's invisible.

    Let tyrants fear.-Queen Elizabeth I

    by Virginia mom on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:48:28 AM PDT

    •  simplistic, but very true args against Nuke Power (0+ / 0-)


      80% of SUCCESS
      is JUST
      showing up

      Christine Taylor Green, RIP
      Gun Control?

      by Churchill on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:42:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree on no. 3 (0+ / 0-)

      but earthquakes actually cannot happen anywhere on earth (an earthquake as severe as this one can only happen where there is subduction); and invisible is not the same thing as undetectable.  Methane is invisible, but you know it's there.  

      It's not that nuclear isn't unsafe.  It is.  But it's safer than all other marketable alternatives.  (My preference is for geothermic.)

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:16:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No its not (0+ / 0-)

        neither wind nor biodiesel nor lng nor.. well almost anything i can think of have the kind of horrific risks, costs and consequences of nuclear power.

        A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

        by cdreid on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:41:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  radiation is invisible but easy to detect (0+ / 0-)

      which is why it is scary -- you can detect incredibly small amounts.

  •  You operate nuke plants with the corporations... (11+ / 0-)

    ...you have. Not the corporations you might with to have. That, to me, is one of the crucial arguments against nuclear power.

    Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

    by expatjourno on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:48:32 AM PDT

  •  falling back to fire equipment (9+ / 0-)

    All the primary and backup cooling systems have failed or been destroyed in explosions, operators have been reduced to using fire equipment to pump sea water:

    The explosion occurred as Tokyo Electric entered day four of its battle against a cascade of failures at its two Fukushima nuclear complexes, using fire pumps to inject tens of thousands of gallons of seawater into two reactors to contain partial meltdowns of ultra-hot fuel rods.

    Unfortunately the fire equipment can't generate the pressure to overcome the pressure in the containment units.

    •  yes, it is all down hill (4+ / 0-)

      I read the same article as you.  this has all been a learning experience for me.  All of my reservations regarding nuclear power have been confirmed.  I saw an interview on Japan TeeVee of one member of its nuclear agency (do not remember)
      who said that all three back up systems had failed and that he could not have predicted that happening.  Doh!

      "You can almost judge how screwed up somebody is by the kind of toilet paper they use." Don van Vliet, Captain Beefheart

      by Muggsy on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:58:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  this is helpful, thanks (0+ / 0-)

      not good news, though.

      are the cooling lines through the core still passable?

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:04:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is troubling (7+ / 0-)

    I worked in the US Nuclear Industry for over a decade. Japan has the most Technicall­y advanced nuclear plants on the planet. The engineers that I worked with would use Japanese engineered plants as a example for safety and design. I am REALLY troubled at what is happening.

    You Don't Happen To Make It, You Make It Happen !

    by The Omega Man on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:55:50 AM PDT

  •  LISTEN TO THIS PRESSER (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill, randallt

    http://www.ustream.tv/...

    I think this dude is telling the truth and the only person I've seen to do so.

    Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

    by Adept2u on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:56:08 AM PDT

  •  The French use Nuclear Power (8+ / 0-)

    which has an excellent safety record.  My belief is that it is due to the lack of an extreme for-profit capitalist (profit over product) orientation, unlike the United States.  With such an orientation, there are shortcuts, shoddy parts and replacement regimens, and there is usage of old/worn out components, etc..  Not to mention regulatory issues that defer to corporate profits. France has a history of success with large public projects that attract government investment (the German government invests in French Nuclear Power also) and public support.  That support is waning somewhat but the French have historically supported their Nuclear Power system and have had no great fear of accidents or meltdowns.  The French government attempts to protect its people with regulations and government inspections in all industries in that country, including nuclear power.

  •  But our new nuclear plants - (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill, Senor Unoball, cdreid, Joieau

    the ones that Obama is planning for us - will be rock solid safe.
    (didn't he campaign against nukes?)

    I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use - Galileo

    by hamm on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:15:50 AM PDT

  •  Explosion caused by exposure spent fuel rods (7+ / 0-)

    This is really bad. I've posted a couple of comments about the spent fuel pools being a big missing piece of the story.

    From WaPo about the explosion at Unit 3:

    Like the Saturday explosion at unit 1, the blast at unit 3 took place after a buildup of hydrogen was vented by the reactor. The hydrogen was produced by the exposure of the reactor’s fuel rods and their zirconium alloy casing to hot steam.

    Here's 2 experts addressing the spent fuel pools.

    Robert Alverez has a blog at the Instititute for Policy Studies - he's a Senior Scholar and former DOE official.

    Along with the struggle to cool the reactors is the potential danger from an inability to cool Fukushima's spent nuclear fuel pools. They contain very large concentrations of radioactivity, can catch fire, and are in much more vulnerable buildings. The ponds, typically rectangular basins about 40 feet deep, are made of reinforced concrete walls four to five feet thick lined with stainless steel.

    The boiling-water reactors at Fukushima — 40 years old and designed by General Electric — have spent fuel pools several stories above ground adjacent to the top of the reactor. The hydrogen explosion may have blown off the roof covering the pool, as it's not under containment. The pool requires water circulation to remove decay heat. If this doesn't happen, the water will evaporate and possibly boil off. If a pool wall or support is compromised, then drainage is a concern. Once the water drops to around 5-6 feet above the assemblies, dose rates could be life-threatening near the reactor building. If significant drainage occurs, after several hours the zirconium cladding around the irradiated uranium could ignite.

    Then all bets are off.

    On average, spent fuel ponds hold five-to-ten times more long-lived radioactivity than a reactor core. Particularly worrisome is the large amount of cesium-137 in fuel ponds, which contain anywhere from 20 to 50 million curies of this dangerous radioactive isotope. With a half-life of 30 years, cesium-137 gives off highly penetrating radiation and is absorbed in the food chain as if it were potassium.

    This is aninterview of David Lochbaum, nuclear safety engineer of the Union of Concerned Scientists and a consultant to both industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by Roger Witherspoon - this was after the Unit 1 explosion:

    The acid could also be used to help prevent a far more serious melt down in the spent fuel pool. The explosion, said Lochbaum, as dramatic as it was, was not likely to have been strong enough to destroy the walls of the spent fuel pools, which usually consist of about five feet of reinforced concrete. These reactors have 6 spent fuel pools above the reactors.

    But water containing boric acid has to continually circulate in the pool to keep the bundles cool. When the power was lost at the site, the cooling system for the pools stopped. And the batteries used to try and restore cooling to the reactor vessel itself are not strong enough to also operate cooling systems for pool. On average, the water in these pools would heat up and evaporate to the point where the tops of the fuel bundles were exposed about 24 hours after the cooling system shut down.

    In addition, if the explosion knocked debris from the roof into the pool, it could interfere with natural convection cooling of some of the fuel bundles, or even break some of them, sending the irradiated fuel chunks to the bottom of the pool where they could reach critical mass. Boric acid could be added to the pools to help prevent that development.

    Witherspoon's  followup:

    And then, there is the unspoken issue: the spent fuel pool.The most extensive assessment of the damage to be wrought by an exothermic fire in a spent fuel pool was developed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in October, 2000, and removed from public view following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The report is available here: http://bit.ly/...

    According to Paul Gunter of the non-profit Beyond Nuclear, information is crucial at this time — but it is just not available. The reactors at Fukushima have six separate spent fuel pools, each located above the reactors. If the reactors are overheating, is the spent fuel above them being slowly grilled?

    The situation, particularly in light of the second explosion at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3, raises these questions:
    1. Why hasn’t the government mentioned the disposition of the stored fuel in these pools?
    2. Has the water level dropped to the point where these fuel rods are exposed.
    3. Have any of them begun burning?
    4. What steps, if any, can they take to prevent an exothermic fire in the spent fuel pools.

    The link is to a PDF titled Technical Study of Spent Fuel Accident Risk at Decommissioning Nuclear Plants

    Sorry it's a long comment - maybe I should make it a diary

    •  Correction- spent fuel not exposed but growing (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      semiot, cdreid, Joieau, Rejoinder

      concern. Sorry for the error. I think I misread it because I've been concerned about what's going on with those spent fuel pools.

      But the WaPo article does say:

      Although Tokyo Electric said it also continued to deal with cooling system failures and high pressures at half a dozen of its 10 reactors in the two Fukushima complexes, fears mounted about the threat posed by the pools of water where years of spent fuel rods are stored.

      At the 40-year-old Fukushima Daiichi unit 1, where an explosion Saturday destroyed a building housing the reactor, the spent fuel pool, in accordance with General Electric’s design, is placed above the reactor. Tokyo Electric said it was trying to figure out how to maintain water levels in the pools, indicating that the normal safety systems there had failed, too. Failure to keep adequate water levels in a pool would lead to a catastrophic fire, said nuclear experts, some of whom think that unit 1’s pool may now be outside.

      “That would be like Chernobyl on steroids,” said Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer at Fairewinds Associates and a member of the public oversight panel for the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, which is identical to the Fukushima Daiichi unit 1.

      People familiar with the plant said there are seven spent fuel pools at Fukushima Daiichi, many of them densely packed.

      Gundersen said the unit 1 pool could have as much as 20 years of spent fuel rods, which are still radioactive.

  •  The people saying "no nukes"... (5+ / 0-)

    seem to not understand there's more than one kind of nuclear energy.  As for fission, yeah, that can lead to stuff like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

    But there's also fusion energy.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to have a Chernobyl-like event with fusion energy, thanks to the laws of physics.  THAT is where the future of energy is, with fusion, not fission.

    And anyone who doesn't understand the distinction between the two when talking about "nuclear power" really needs to STFU, and talk to a damn plasma physicist like I have to get the facts.

    It amazes me that with global warming, we keep saying, listen to the climate scientists who are the experts.  When it comes to health and medicine, we say, listen to the doctors and researchers.  But when it comes to "nuclear", why don't some of you want to listen to the plasma physicists?  You know, the EXPERTS?  The ignorance some of you have shown above in this thread that made a blanket rejection of nuclear power is astounding, and I'm embarrassed for you.


    The problem is fusion energy is still in the R&D phase, and we faced an 8-year setback under the Bush administration, which didn't give a shit about finding viable alternative energies.  Here at UCLA, we had the electric tokamak, which actually achieved plasma way back in 1999.  (This was a "big fucking deal".)  But then Bush won in 2000, and he promptly killed the funding we got from the Department of Energy, and the project died a slow and suffocating death, finally shutting down completely in 2005.  We fucking lost 10 years of potential research thanks to those Big Oil assholes.

    Most people don't seem to realize we HAVE the technology already to build a fusion reactor.  The problem is that, much like those early computers that took up entire rooms to operate, it would be too powerful.  One reactor would generate so MUCH power, it would necessarily need to power 1/3 of the U.S.  Which would then make it the most prized terrorist target in the world; take it out, and 1/3 of the country goes dark.  So the research needs to go into making a reactor smaller, to the point where it provides the same amount of power as any ol' regular power plant does nowadays.

    This will happen eventually.  And once it does, fusion will eclipse all the other forms of energy.  The question is whether this happen by 2020, or 2050, or 2100, or even further down the line if we keep blocking R&D funding from going to the plasma physicists at our nation's top universities.  (Actually, if we dawdle, most likely some other country's scientists will make it work, and then they'll get all the manufacturing jobs that come from it, and we'll be forced to buy it from them.)

    •  Dead on! From a PhD in Physics! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BruinKid

      Semiconductor physics anyway.

      I reinforce your statement if only because I am sick of people's "opinions" on scientific fact.  Did all the scientists get together and vote on gravity?  NO!  My beliefs have no input on the subject.  When people talk science, they should STFU and listen to the scientists.

    •  Do you have the technology to break even? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jmknapp
      •  That's kind of the rub, isn't it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        randallt

        Moreover, nuclear fusion would still present a nuclear waste problem, as the fast neutrons produced in the reaction will make the reactor components radioactive over time.

        •  if you consider nuclear waste a problem (0+ / 0-)
        •  And theres the little problem (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          randallt

          that we will be destroying water permanently. Not evaporating it. Not turning it into hydrogen and oxygen. Turning it into energy.. forever. With an ever increasing population and (with the advent of continuous fusion) geometrically increasing energy demands we  would use more .. and more.. and more of the earths water  supply up. Permanently.

          A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

          by cdreid on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:00:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Fusion wont work (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      randallt

      it cant because of a basic geometry problem of all things.

      The difference between fusion and fission:

      It is  hard to keep fusion reactions going (unless you have the mass of say.. the sun).

      It is hard to Stop fission reactions.

      A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

      by cdreid on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:58:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Please. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jmknapp

      "The problem is that, much like those early computers that took up entire rooms to operate, it would be too powerful."

      Actually, the REAL problem seems to be that you guys can't manage to sustain a fusion reaction for more than what? a few thousandths of a second, to a few seconds? As you seem to have problems with the plasma control and density necessary for sustained reaction, maybe you guys should get it WORKING before declaring that the "real" problem is that it "would be too powerful."

      B.S., M.S., PHD= Bulls*t, More S*t, Piled Higher and Deeper.

      Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. Denis Diderot

      by Asmodeus2012 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 12:25:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good luck getting (0+ / 0-)

      fusion funding from the Repukes. Who are busy like little bees right now trying to defund all public education in this country, at all levels.

      We've already got a very nice fusion reactor just 93 million miles away. I say we harness it.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 01:15:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  it could happen here (3+ / 0-)

    Let’s take a look at which nuclear power plants sit in the seismically active areas of the United States.

    http://www.mnn.com/...

    "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

    by agoldnyc on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:31:59 AM PDT

  •  Resources following a disaster (4+ / 0-)

    As someone who lives in earthquake country, I'd prefer that resources following a Big One go to rescuing people trapped in buildings and under freeways, and handling immediate threats to life. Having to relocate 150,000-200,000, or more, due to a nuclear reactor malfunction at the same time, as is happening now in Japan, means fewer resources for other relief efforts. And that's not even getting into the issues of the potential for a nuclear meltdown rendering land uninhabitable and damaging our health with fallout for months or years to come. Building nuclear power plants in earthquake country strikes me as insane. Wake up, people!

    "Action is the antidote to despair." --Joan Baez

    by Nancy in Berkeley on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:35:01 AM PDT

    •  well, no more insane then (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse

      most of the other bad 'decisions' that get made.

      it turns out much of the planet is highly susceptible to earthquakes.  even new york city.

      but obviously nuclear on the ocean in japan and california is a bargain with the devil.

      I am awaiting delivery of my new DK4 signature

      by BlueDragon on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:39:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes . . . (0+ / 0-)

        plenty of insanity to go around, including our reliance on fossil fuels, spurring on climate change. And given that earthquakes can and do happen almost everywhere (just not as frequently as they do in Japan and California), count me among those who don't think nuclear power plants are a reasonable risk.

        "Action is the antidote to despair." --Joan Baez

        by Nancy in Berkeley on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:47:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Obama's 5 bil loan for new Nuke= A JOKE (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdreid, randallt

    BP meat GE


    80% of SUCCESS
    is JUST
    showing up

    Christine Taylor Green, RIP
    Gun Control?

    by Churchill on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:37:02 AM PDT

  •  BP disaster meet GE Nuke Disaster (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdreid, under the bodhi tree


    80% of SUCCESS
    is JUST
    showing up

    Christine Taylor Green, RIP
    Gun Control?

    by Churchill on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:37:21 AM PDT

  •  limbaugh: wind en causes more deaths than nukes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jfromga

    so don't worry about nukes

    Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

    by certainot on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:21:35 AM PDT

  •  With the skepticism about info coming from (0+ / 0-)

    gvmt officials, do we have any decent Google Earth images so our "experts" can evaluate the situation better? We should be able to look right down into the mess at each facility.

    No home. No job. No peace. No rest.

    by A Runner on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:31:16 AM PDT

  •  This is another thing indiscrimate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdreid

    budget cuts impact - experts from DOE, HHS and NRC are sent to help Japan. Those are scientists employed by our tax dollars and people we need. Just like we saw with the NOAA proposed cuts.
    Rather than simply talking about cutting, Democrats - and other sensible people - need to start talking about what cuts really mean.

  •  From MSNBC: (0+ / 0-)
    SOMA, Japan — Water levels dropped precipitously Monday inside one stricken Japanese nuclear reactor, officials said, and the fuel rods inside three reactors at the complex appeared to be melting.

    Japan earthquake  Tide of bodies wash ashore in Japan
    Updated 23 minutes ago 3/14/2011 5:23:56 PM +00:00 A tide of bodies washed up, crematoriums were overwhelmed and rescuers used chain saws to search for more victims in Japan's devastated coastal towns on Monday.
    Updated 52 minutes ago 3/14/2011 4:55:06 PM +00:00 Official: Rods likely melting at Japan plant Nuke industry vows that reactors will be 'even safer' Japan's earthquake: How to help International rescue effort gathers pace in Japan  Japan disaster hits home for Petra Nemcova
    After she survived the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, Petra Nemcova founded Happy Hearts Fund (http://happyheartsfund.org) in 2005 to rebuild children's lives after natural disasters. Petra tells Dateline about the importance of supporting Japan in the months and years to come.
     Time-lapse of earthquake aftershocks
    Since the initial 8.9-magnitude quake, Japan has been struck by hundreds of aftershocks.
     Images of chaos, destruction
    8.9-magnitude quake, tsunami cause enormous damage.
    The water drop twice left the uranium fuel rods completely exposed, increasing the risk of the spread of radiation and the potential for a meltdown, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

    Water levels were restored after the first decrease, but the rods remained exposed late Monday night after the second episode at Unit 2 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

    In addition, a senior government official said the nuclear fuel rods appeared to be melting inside three reactors at the complex, Units 1, 2 and 3.

    No home. No job. No peace. No rest.

    by A Runner on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:58:44 AM PDT

  •  Fleeing Tokyo (0+ / 0-)
       Several European nations have advised their citizens to consider leaving the Japanese capital following two blasts at a quake-damaged atomic power plant 250km to the north, sparking fears of a possible meltdown.  France went further, telling citizens to leave the Tokyo area ‘for a few days’ if they had no specific reason to stay and warning that if a reactor were to explode, radioactive steam could reach the city in a ‘matter of hours’.

        ‘A third of our staff has left,’ Stefan Huber, the Austrian deputy head of the European Union delegation in Japan, told AFP.He said executives at several German companies such as Bosch, Daimler and BMW, as well as law offices, had evacuated their spouses and children, noting that in Tokyo’s German community ‘it’s a veritable exodus’.

    Satyagraha 2.0 ~ there is no force in the world that is so direct or so swift in working.

    by under the bodhi tree on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:18:43 AM PDT

  •  Withholding = Lying (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    randallt, cdreid

    http://bit.ly/...

    An international agency set up to monitor for nuclear tests is collecting extensive data on the levels of radionuclides in the air in and around Japan and the Asia-Pacific and transmitting this daily to its member states. The data would be of enormous public interest as it would provide a far fuller picture of the extent and spread of any current or future radioactive release from the major Japanese nuclear accident now under way. But none of these data are being released to the public, Nature has learned.

  •  After seeing the SciAm aricle the other day, I was (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    randallt, cdreid, Rejoinder

    noticing something about the coverage of the explosion at the reactor. It is often noted that it was a hydrogen explosion.

    What is conspicuously absent, is the identification of just where all that hydrogen came from, and what it really means. From the SciAm article:

    "Former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) member Peter Bradford added, "The other thing that happens is that the cladding, which is just the outside of the tube, at a high enough temperature interacts with the water. It's essentially a high-speed rusting, where the zirconium becomes zirconium oxide and the hydrogen is set free. And hydrogen at the right concentration in an atmosphere is either flammable or explosive."

    But nuclear power is the way to go, because it's safe and clean, right? If anyone really thinks that's true, I defy you to find the solar panel or concentrator, windmill, or sea current driven generators that will kill thousands or millions when an earthquake strikes.

    Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. Denis Diderot

    by Asmodeus2012 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 12:10:17 PM PDT

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