Japan to fire top nuclear officials in wake of disaster (via 1 Real News)

This disaster happened in March. Virtually everything you can think of went wrong and now, they fire people. I’m not impressed. Once it became obvious that the people in charge were grossly incompetent, it might have been better to fire them immediately than waiting for months for what is apparently a better political climate.

James Pilant

Japan to fire top nuclear officials in wake of disaster ReutersAugust 4, 2011Japan will replace three senior bureaucrats in charge of nuclear power policy, the minister overseeing energy policy said on Thursday, five months after the world’s worst atomic crisis in 25 years erupted at Fukushima.The move comes as Prime Minister Naoto Kan calls for enhanced nuclear safety accountability and an overhaul of Japan’s energy policy, with the aim of gradually weaning it off its dependence on nuclear power as p … Read More

via 1 Real News

High radiation found at Japan’s Fukushima plant (via National Post | News)

Just when you think the Fukushima crisis had finally been scrubbed from the news by various interest groups and the Japanese government, it comes roaring right back at you.

James Pilant

TOKYO — Pockets of lethal levels of radiation have been detected at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in a fresh reminder of the risks faced by workers battling to contain the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) reported on Monday that radiation exceeding 10,000 millisieverts per hour was found at the bottom of a ventilation stack standing between two reactors. On Tuesday Tepco said i … Read More

via National Post | News

The Most Contaminated Place on Earth: Chelyabinsk-40 (via Sometimes Interesting)

Currently there is a great deal of admiration in the American business press for nations like China and Vietnam. They are great places to invest, we are told; and we are told this with great confidence. One of the reasons they are great places to put your business or your money is the lack of “uncertainty.” You see democracy is messy while human rights crushing totalitarian regimes are predictable. A democratic country might consider raising the minimum wage while a Chinese regime can assure companies that such a thing will never happen.

However, there are occasional down sides to totalitarian Communist societies however friendly they may be to American business. One of these downsides is that their ability to keep secrets means they can do unethical, bizarre or ridiculous things without hindrance. Of course, sometimes when a large nation does these things the results can last much longer perhaps for as far as humans can perceive.

Please enjoy the article.

James Pilant

The Most Contaminated Place on Earth: Chelyabinsk-40 We’re quite familiar with the lore of various secret United States nuclear facilities; their storied history and operations being shrouded in secrecy has fascinated us for decades. What we seldom hear about are the secret nuclear laboratories and test facilities of our greatest Cold War opponent – the former U.S.S.R. One particular installation – Chelyabinsk-40 – was the first Soviet plutonium production complex and the site of three separate mas … Read More

via Sometimes Interesting

Shareholders hammer Tepco over nuclear fiasco (via MY VOICE)

My favorite sentence –

Another investor shouted that Tepco’s executives should jump into their stricken reactors and die to take the blame for the fiasco.

Enjoy the article and remember that TEPCO has paid out more than 19 billion dollars in damages but that if this happened in America, the responsible utility company would be out less than a hundred million dollars due to our government protecting them from losses.

James Pilant

Shareholders hammer Tepco over nuclear fiasco By KAZUAKI NAGATA Staff writer Tokyo Electric Power Co. faced a six-hour barrage of heavy flak from shareholders Tuesday at their annual meeting, with management blasted over how it has handled the world’s worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Demonstrators gather outside Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Fukuoka Prefecture. KYODO Many investors demanded to know why Tepco failed to foresee the tsunami … Read More


Nuclear Plant, Left for Dead, Shows a Pulse (via Energy)

You cannot kill these things.

Christopher Lee as Dracula in a mid-sixties Hammer film has the life span of a mayfly by comparison.

This nuclear plant, little more than a pile of looted wreckage is under consideration for construction.

I call upon anyone and every one for a little respect for the facts of the situation. Surely, we can think better than this?

James Pilant

By MATTHEW L. WALD/NYT HOLLYWOOD, Ala. — Spider webs line the 50-story cooling towers, parts have been amputated for the scrap value of their nickel or copper, and the control room still has analog dials at Bellefonte 1, a half-built nuclear plant here that was shelved 23 years ago. This does not seem like a particularly opportune moment to breathe life back into a reactor that was designed before the computer age. But its owner, the … Read More

via Energy

Worries Over Two Nuclear Plants (via )

I think there is definitely some grounds for concern. If you buy the idea that corporations are only in business to make money and have no other responsibilities, the idea that they might skimp on protections becomes very viable.

Nuclear plants are indemnified by the federal government if they cause more than a certain amount of damage. Off the top of my head, I believe that amount is fifty million dollars. That’s not a lot of incentive to protect the public. For many corporations, fifty million dollars is small change.

TEPCO, the Japanese utility that runs the nuclear plants that have melted down would have loved to have a deal like the American government gives out to our nuclear utilities.

It should be obvious that indemnification destroys a lot of corporate rationale for safety. If the money damages aren’t that big a deal, why not cut corners?

James Pilant

Worries Over Two Nuclear Plants As record floodwaters along the Missouri River drench homes and businesses, concerns have grown about keeping a couple of notable structures dry: two riverside nuclear power plants in Nebraska. Though the plants have declared “unusual events,” the lowest level in the emergency taxonomy used by federal nuclear regulators, both were designed to withstand this level of flooding, and neither is viewed as being at risk for a disaster, said a spokesman … Read More


Unsafe Radiation Found Near Tokyo, Vast Area of Japan Contaminated ! (via Socio-Economics History Blog)

I’ve been reading reports for some days now that radiation is being detected in “hot spots” outside the restricted in increasing amounts and in more places.

If you’ll examine a recent map of Chernobyl, you will find a phenomenon called “leopard stripes.” Hot radiation areas laid in patterns similar to leopard stripes on the map. Radiation does not spread evenly. So if we see hot spots popping up here and there, it is a new pattern forming.

I am uncomfortable with this. The tonnage of radioactive material is very large at these sites (Fukushima). Over long periods of time and with variations in wind and other weather, the radiation could contaminate countries in every direction.

James Pilant

Unsafe Radiation Found Near Tokyo, Vast Area of Japan Contaminated ! To those of you thinking of a holiday in Japan, you may want to think twice about it. The radiation level reported in the MSM since the 11 March inciden … Read More

via Socio-Economics History Blog

Coming Clean about Nuclear Power (via boltonnewyork)

I like this article. It is skeptical but willing to ask a lot of hard questions. I’m willing to give nuclear energy a chance to be part of our nation’s future plans but only if I can trust the industry. So, you can pretty sure I’m opposed to any nuclear plant development since that condition cannot be met. The industry track record is clear. I’ve been pounded with lies, half-truths and assurances that bore no resemblance to reality. Whether or not you believe that the damage caused by the various nuclear incidents justifies abandoning nuclear power, surely you can see that the industry’s credibility is gone?

Not only do we have to contend with industry PR so thin, that the smallest child can see through it, we have the problem of governments being industry captives blurting out even worse nonsense. In the United States, there has been no real changes in planning caused by Fukushima. It’s as if a car of identical make to yours disintegrated on the highway but you just go ahead driving yours.

But there’s more. Disagree with a future of nuclear energy and you get to meet up with the dogs of war, the partisans of a nuclear future. They believe several things – 1) if you are opposed to nuclear energy you are some left leaning tree hugger, 2) you just don’t understand because you’re blinded by anti nuclear propaganda, 3) you don’t grasp the critical need for nuclear power since all the other sources of energy are flawed, and (my very favorite) 4) radiation is all around us, we get it in chest x-rays, scanners in our airports, granite taken from deep in the earth has radiation in it, therefore all of these concerns about radiation are overblown.

This article is intelligent and asks some critical questions, like why is our evacuation zones in case of nuclear accident only ten miles while in Japan a much larger zone was found necessary? That’s a good question.

Let’s hope for more posts from this author.

James Pilant

Coming Clean about Nuclear Power San Onofre nuclear plant in southern California Image: David McNew Getty Images Ever since Japan’s battered Fukushima Daiichi reactor complex began emitting radiation in March, calls to abandon nuclear power have risen in the U.S. and Germany, among other countries. If only it were so simple. Nuclear contributes 20 percent of the U.S. power supply and a significant share in other developed countries. If we gave it up, what would replace it? Pollu … Read More

via boltonnewyork

The invisible threat (via Thematic Maps Blog)

I love maps. I wanted to do this on my web site, and while I have shown several maps of the fallout from Chernobyl, they weren’t as fancy as this.

I would like to say that this web site has many wonderful maps on it and if you enjoy maps as much as I do, please go and enjoy yourself.

James Pilant

The invisible threat The latest catastrophic news from Japan leave the impression that the disaster in Fukushima is more and more developing into Chernobyl-Dimensions. The course of events however is different in Fukushima compared to Chernobyl. Since the impact of the 1986 nuclear meltdown seem to be more and more forgotten but come back to peoples minds these days I browsed the web for some maps that show the distribution of the radioactive fallout after Chernobyl. … Read More

via Thematic Maps Blog

The Challenger Disaster (via Shouts from the Abyss)

This may well be the greatest business ethics lesson ever conceived in the modern world. This a story is which people died and only the innocent were punished.

It makes me angry every single time I read it. It is a precursor to modern corporate morality. Every element of PR, blame passing and simple greed are all on display in their disgusting finery. Once you understand Challenger, you understand how things work , you get the Wall Street Meltdown and the lack of responsibility. You get why so many people suffer and those who cause it not only feel no pain but blame the victims. This is the modern American story. Well placed greed outdistancing courage, loyalty and honor.

You can’t find a better story of corporate immorality and government connivance.

I used it in my business ethics class.

James Pilant

The Challenger Disaster I’m not always that bright. We were playing Trivial Pursuit and someone (not me) got the quest … Read More

via Shouts from the Abyss