And still the crisis goes on and on. Every few months, new unsettling information comes out. Every few months, new levels of incompetence emerge.
The reactor continues to leak radioactivity.
They can’t fix it.
Should that make you wonder about the future of nuclear power?
Better yet, what kind of business ethics is it that encourages taking these kinds of risks?
Fukushima: Third Anniversary of the Start of the Catastrophe | Eslkevin’s Blog
With the third anniversary of the start of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe coming next week, the attempted Giant Lie about the disaster continues–a suppression of information, an effort at dishonesty of historical dimensions.
It involves international entities, especially the International Atomic Energy Agency, national governmental bodies–led in Japan by its current prime minister, the powerful nuclear industry and a “nuclear establishment” of scientists and others with a vested interest in atomic energy.
Deception was integral to the push for nuclear power from its start. Indeed, I opened my first book on nuclear technology, Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power, with: “You have not been informed about nuclear power. You have not been told. And that has been done on purpose. Keeping the public in the dark was deemed necessary by the promoters of nuclear power if it was to succeed. Those in government, science and private industry who have been pushing nuclear power realized that if people were given the facts, if they knew the consequences of nuclear power, they would not stand for it.”
Based on those potential risks and terrible experiences, I cannot agree nuclear power is the best option for generating electricity. Nowadays, we still cannot control nuclear power steadily. Nuclear power is like a savage beast. If it becomes uncontrollable someday, we do not have the capability to control it. There is no perfect safety. We don’t know how serious problems will happen or when the next accident will appear. We cannot bear more catastrophes. We should decrease reliance on nuclear power. I hope scientists can develop new technology to obtain energy or improve other renewable energy and alternative energy resources, like wind power and solar power. We should learn from history to not repeat failure. For public health and for the safety of the environment, we should keep away from this beast.
As I wrote with some foresight years ago, the Fukushima disaster is going to last for decades. As a business ethics disaster, Fukushima gives fracking a good run for its money, and here’s how: We keep finding out new ways that TEPCO screwed up. That’s right, after enormous failures in management, truth telling and just basic competence, all of them staggering, we keep finding new ones.
Read below about the new one and relish their utterly responsible reason – they were real busy. That is precisely one step above “the dog ate my homework.”
We’re talking Strontium 90, an isotope of the element. Our bodies mistake it for calcium and thus incorporates it into our bone structure. And that’s because we all need silvery radioactive metals deposited right next to our bone marrow so that our production of blood cells can be illuminated by the glow.
So, it seems they got real busy and lost track of how much strontium 90 was being released. No big deal. After all, what is it going to do? – Deposit itself in the bones of adults and in particular children giving them enhanced opportunities for cancer and leukemia?
Nah. Don’t let that kind of thing worry you. After all, these are the kinds of people running nuclear power all over the world. They’re competent, cool, collected, well-educated businessmen. Not flaky environmentalists, no government officials, no liberal arts trained thinkers, just savvy businessmen who understand the real world, the world of competence, of money, the important stuff. Genetic structure? Screw it. It’s not on the balance sheet. Won’t cost the investors a dime, and that’s where the action is, after all.
Remember the free market can solve all problems. Government interference damages the free market and thus produces inefficiencies which cannot be tolerated. So, therefore, these gentlemen at TEPCO are heroes being unfairly stigmatized. We should get out of their way and let market forces naturally solve the problem.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) is re-analyzing 164 water samples collected last year at the wrecked Fukushima atomic plant because previous readings “significantly undercounted” radiation levels.
The utility known as Tepco said the levels were undercounted due to errors in its testing of beta radiation, which includes strontium-90, an isotope linked to bone cancer. None of the samples were taken from seawater, the company said today in an e-mailed statement.
“These errors occurred during a time when the number of the samplings rapidly increased as the result of a series of events since last April, including groundwater reservoir leakage and a major leak from a storage tank,” according to the statement.
Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) is pleased to announce plans for the construction of a new solar power plant* in Iwaki City, Fukushima. The largest of its kind in the Tohoku region, the 12,000-kilowatt facility is expected to start operating from mid-2014. The project forms part of MC’s overall strategic focus of developing its business in the renewable energies sector.
Known as one of the foremost industrial areas in the region and as well for being a major sightseeing area, Iwaki receives the highest amount of sunlight annually within Tohoku. MC is developing the mega solar project with full support from Nippon Kasei, as well as cooperation from the Fukushima Prefecture and Iwaki City governments. MC is simultaneously developing a 6,000-kilowatt mega solar project at the site of Onahama Petroleum Co., Ltd, a joint venture between MC and Tepco in Iwaki. Together, the two projects will constitute 18,000 kilowatts of solar power generation in total at Onahama.
For the first time since the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant three years ago, the government is lifting an evacuation order in a restricted area, allowing residents to return to their homes.
Residents of an eastern strip of the Miyakoji district of Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, are being allowed to return as of April 1, the first day of the 2014 fiscal year, government officials said at a meeting Feb. 23. The area lies within 20 kilometers west of where the accident occurred.
One reason the government is rushing to lift evacuation orders for communities affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster is cost. Tokyo Electric Power Co., which is being lent money by the government’s Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund to compensate evacuees, is required to continue compensation one year after an evacuation order is lifted. Lifting the orders will hasten the end of those payments.
According to the industry ministry, 1.5 trillion yen ($14.63 billion) has been paid in compensation to evacuees from 11 municipalities as of February.
In addition, decontamination costs will snowball if the government tries to achieve its long-term goal of lowering annual airborne radiation doses to 1 millisievert or less in areas where evacuation orders are in place.
A Reconstruction Agency official said it is unclear whether the long-term goal can be achieved even if the government continues decontamination work.
Prior to the Feb. 23 meeting, a senior Reconstruction Agency official asked Kazuyoshi Akaba, a senior vice industry minister, to explain the government’s policy to evacuees “even if it means rising to your full height and standing firm before residents.”
Akaba and Tamura Mayor Yukei Tomitsuka were tasked with explaining the new policy to the residents.
During a previous meeting in October, Tomitsuka had proposed lifting the evacuation order by November, but residents complained, saying too much contamination remained.
Some evacuees requested additional decontamination work because the radiation levels remained above 1 millisievert in some areas. The government promised to deal with residents who are still worried about high radiation levels on a case-by-case basis.
“If this abnormal situation continues, residents will lose attachment to their hometown and the community will collapse,” Tomitsuka has said.
South Korea has become the center of a nuclear corruption scandal. Basically, parts that meet the safety requirements of a nuclear plant are expensive. Sub standard parts can save a plant operator millions upon millions of dollars. So, they faked the required documents and used sub standard parts on what appears to be a gigantic scale.
Now, I’m one of those foolish people who keep pointing at the record of problems with nuclear safety. I have the perception regarded by many, even some modern environmentalists as foolish, that nuclear power has been distinguished by lies, exaggerations, safety violations and the occasional complete disaster during all of the history of its use.
Isn’t this a cautionary tale when many reactors in the fourth most powerful economic power in Asia are found to be using parts that in an emergency will fail?
What worries me is the enormous sums of money to be made by evading the safety standards. If a nuclear plant melts down, thousands of square miles can be unusable for human habitations for tens of thousands of years. In fact, the exclusion zone at Chernobyl is 1,006 square miles. For comparison, Benton County in Arkansas is roughly 880 square miles. Oklahoma City is 612 square miles. it’s a lot of real estate to lose permanently unless you consider twenty thousand years or so a reasonable amount of time to wait.
I believe that the temptation to make millions of dollars by evading the regulations in nuclear power plants makes a nuclear disaster inevitable.
Below are a few news stories on the South Korean nuclear corruption story.
South Korea charges 100 with corruption over nuclear scandal
October 10th, 2013 South Korea
has indicted 100 people, including a top former state utility official,
of corruption in a scandal over fake safety certifications for parts in
its nuclear reactors, authorities said on Thursday.
Asia’s fourth largest economy
has faced a series of shutdowns of nuclear reactors due to fake
documents going back to late 2012. Of its 23 reactors, six remain
offline, including three halted in May to replace cables supplied with
hope the so-called nuclear mafia style behavior would be rooted out if
strict investigations and law enforcement and system reforms continue,”
Kim Dong-yeon, a top government policy coordinator, told a news
Stung by Scandal, S. Korea Weighs Costs of Curbing Nuclear Power
October 28th, 2013 It started with a few bogus safety
certificates for cables shutting a handful of South Korean nuclear
reactors. Now, the scandal has snowballed, with 100 people indicted and
Seoul under pressure to rethink its reliance on nuclear power.
A shift away from nuclear, which generates a third of South Korea’s
electricity, could cost tens of billions of dollars a year by boosting
imports of liquefied natural gas, oil or coal.
Although helping calm safety concerns, it would also push the government
into a politically sensitive debate over whether state utilities could
pass on sharply higher power bills to households and companies.
Gas, which makes up half of South Korea’s energy bill while accounting
for only a fifth of its power, would likely be the main substitute for
nuclear, as it is considered cleaner than coal and plants can be built
more easily near cities.
“If the proportion of nuclear power is cut, other fuel-based power
generation has to be raised. If we use LNG, the cost will definitely go
up,” said Hwang Woo-hyun, vice president of state-run utility Korea
Electric Power Corp (KEPCO).
November 7th, 2013 Selling nuclear equipment is a point of pride for a nation that has
made stunning gains in technology in a single generation. South Korea
also has planned to step up nuclear power at home as a way to reduce
fossil-fuel imports and burnish its green credentials. Eighteen plants
are supposed to be built before 2030.
“That’s going to be in jeopardy,” said Katharine H.S. Moon, professor
of political science at Wellesley College. However, “if the government
can correct this efficiently and quickly and transparently, they will
have a better chance of resuming their export ambitions.”
The investigation isn’t the first problem to hit the South Korean
nuclear sector this year. Two reactors were temporarily shut down last
month after malfunctions, and corruption charges hit employees at the
state nuclear power agency earlier this year. In the latest scandal,
South Korean media reported that the forged safety certificates only
came to light because of an outside tip, which has added to the public
“I don’t think you can have confidence that the system is working
until the agencies catch these things on their own,” Lyman said.
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.
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
There is a lot of debate on the web about nuclear power. This is a different kind of take on the issue. Our author explains how the emotional aspects of the danger of nuclear power has to be taken into consideration. I’m sure there are many who would argue that only the rational arguments should be taken into consideration.
However, the advocates of nuclear power have cast every kind of insult at their opponents ranging from tree hugger to murderer (that’s right, since using coal power can increase death from particulate matter, opposing nuclear power is murder), I think the use of the irrational on that side is already well established.
In any debate over nuclear power, the people calling for a “rational” discussion tend to be proponents of nuclear power. In response, those in the “anti-nuclear” camp will often adopt the “rational” vocabulary of their “pro-nuclear” counterparts, basing their arguments on issues of cost and statistical risk (and perhaps some case studies to prove the viability of renewable sources of energy). And thus, there emerges a tacit consensus between thes … Read More
The key paragraph is this one. If there is anything that demonstrates the arrogance of the Berlusconi’s government is its intent to ignore a nation wide moratorium on the use of nuclear power. I’m glad to say this is not working out so well for his government which is increasingly the subject of comedy routines as its credibility erodes.
Mr Berlusconi’s government, a powerful advocate of the atomic industry, had planned to embark on a big new building program from 2014 with the aim of producing 25 per cent of the country’s electricity needs with atomic energy by 2030. Italy has had a ban on any industry expansion since 1987, when the electorate, deeply suspicious of nuclear power after Chernobyl, voted for a moratorium. Fearful of a similar backlash in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, Mr Berlusconi has waged an unstinting battle against the plebiscite, even offering a suspension of his nuclear plans in April in an effort to ride out controversy.Please read the whole article.
From bad to worse as grip on nation slips further out of Berlusconi’s hands By Paola Totaro Sydney Morning Herald They say bad things come in threes and for Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s Prime Minister, the week brought the full quota of political misfortune. On Monday Mr Berlusconi, 74, once seen as untouchable and invincible, witnessed Italy’s regional governments, including his home city of Milan, fall to a phalanx of communist mayors, some of th … Read More
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.
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
I’ve loved maps since I was a little boy. Unfortunately today’s map is something of a downer, a comparison of the Cesium fallout from the two disasters.
I didn’t say it wasn’t depressing.
From Not all alleged is apparent ….
To conclude the series of blogposts on the topic of comparing the color-maps of Cesium fallout levels from Chernobyl with the map showing this for Fukushima’s ongoing nuclear disaster, here’s my visual summary: … Read More
Seldom has a politician been so up front about his contempt for the masses –
From the essay –
On April 26th, the 25th anniversary of the catastrophic Chernobyl accident, Berlusconi held a press conference with French president Nikolay Sarkozy in Rome. At this press conference Berlusconi made his radioactive intentions clear for all. “We are absolutely convinced that nuclear energy is the future for the whole world,” he said. He went on to detail how recent polls showed that the referendum to block nuclear power for decades to come could pass at this time and that by temporarily suspending Italy’s return to nuclear program the issue would be revisited when the Italian voters had been “calmed down” and returned to the realization that Nuclear Energy was the most viable and safe way to produce electricity. He went on to explain how the “leftists and ecologists” had manipulated the emotions of the Italian voters after Chernobyl and penalized the Italian people who have to pay higher electric rates than France that operates 58 nuclear power plants. Berlusconi explained that the “situation in Japan had scared the Italian voters” and that the “inevitable return to nuclear power in Italy” would not be abandoned nor would the collaborations between Enel and Eletricite de France.
You see voters have no wisdom and judgment. When they err by disagreeing with you, for instance, their failure to realize that nuclear power is “viable and safe,” that can be fixed. If you have the media, you just patiently convince them of your point of view. You don’t worry about their judgment because there is nothing that cannot be fixed by good PR.
It would be difficult to find more open contempt for the democratic process or the facts of the situation. If nuclear power is going to be safe, there is some work that is going to have to be done. If that isn’t obvious based on the last twenty years, where have you been hiding?
The Radioactive Dictatorship of Silvio Berlusconi By MICHAEL LEONARDI – CounterPunch – May 13, 2011 Italy’s democracy is in tatters as Silvio Berlusconi and his ruling right-wing coalition work to block a citizen’s referendum that would repeal the decision of the Berlusconi government to return to nuclear energy production on the peninsula. Italy has not produced nuclear energy since 1990 and recent polls indicate that more than 75 % of Italians … Read More
The more kinds of radioactive material can be reasonably assumed to mean more leakage from the plant. Fortunately strontium is bad but not as bad as many other nuclear deposits.
Japan Broadcasting Corporation Tokyo Electric Power Company has detected high levels of radioactive strontium in soil inside the compound of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Strontium can cause cancer and like calcium it tends to collect in bones once humans inhale it. Up to 570 becquerels of strontium 90 per kilogram of dry soil were detected in samples from 3 locations. They were taken on April 18, about 500 meters from the N … Read More