Karen Fu was kind enough to comment on my recent article on the nuclear scandal in South Korea. Her comments are below. I visited her web site, Daring to Change, which is well written and impressive. I am now a follower though WordPress.
When you have people who lack integrity, anything can become a disaster. And when you let such people manage highly combustible nuclear energy, you are courting suicide. The economic attractiveness of using the fuel is often the main lure for using such energy. Ironically, it is that efficiency of using very little to produce that much that fuels potential safety threats both to heath and to the environment. The main issue with all these problems often do not come from the technology itself, but from the people who are behind these technologies. Man can be his own enemy or ally depending on the kind of belief he has. With wisdom intact, nuclear energy should be best scrapped at the current way social politics/ social economics is run. For all you know a nuclear plant run for power energy lines may well be used for nuclear weapons of mass destruction.- Karen Fu
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.
Why can’t the NYT just call the trade agreements being sent to the senate “trade” agreements? Why does it feel the need to mislead readers in the headline and several times in the article itself by calling them “free trade” agreements?
These deals do not free all trade. There will still be plenty of protectionist barriers left in place that will make it difficult for doctors, lawyers and other professionals from these countries from working in the United States. Furthermore the deals actually increase protectionism in the areas of patents and copyrights, which is one of their main purposes.
Presumably the NYT approves of these deals which is why it blesses them as “free trade” agreements, but this sort of editorializing should be left to the opinion pages.
He’s absolutely right. Our wonderful corporate press has decided that we must be led by the nose to eat our oatmeal and swallow another free trade deal. The United States will insist that these nations observe our patent and copyright laws however ridiculous they have bccome and in return American corporations will move jobs and money to their countries to escape American law.
Now, if you’re thinking about this, you might say “James, they want to move somewhere with more American law but at the same time with a lot less American law?” Exactly. You see our giant corporate sleaze operation wants other nations to have to protect their intellectual property interests while using them to evade American environmental and labor law.
Some doctrinal looney decided that free trade is always a good thing, and since our media, government and corporate leadership tend to act as a group of not very smart but greedy second graders, we’re going to get shafted again.
I am fascinated by the world, by all the people and different ways of thinking and doing. But I’ve never gone anywhere. I’d like to go to South Korea. Bizarrely enough, although I have known Koreans (and liked them) the main reason I want to go is because I have fallen in love with the Korean cinema, Sassy Girl, Windstruck, and Cyborg She among others.
Well, here is someone who is traveling and talking about it.
Ethiopia is exotic to me and I’m sure to most Americans. It sounds fascinating.
This is a good essay and I hope you enjoy it.
It has now been more than seven months since I arrived in Africa and I have to say that living here is starting to have a noticeable impression on me. I have adopted various Ethiopian mannerisms and quirks to the point that a few people in my town now call me Nach Habesha—white Ethiopian. For instance, I now clap loudly at restaurants to get a waiter’s attention. This is something that, having worked in the service industry for a decade and a h … Read More