First the reality check: Nuclear Disaster in Japan
Does it show a way forward for nuclear power?
Ronald Bailey | March 15, 2011
The crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants continues. Amazingly, a 40-year-old power plant built to withstand a 7.9 magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale shut down automatically as designed when the Earth began shaking. In fact, it stood up to an earthquake that released more than 40 times the amount of energy the plant was designed to survive. At the moment it appears that the 33-foot tsunami that knocked out its backup diesel generators for its coolant pumps was the plant’s undoing. (Reason)
As Japan reels from explosions and meltdowns at nuclear reactors damaged by last week’s tsunami, there’s talk in Washington about reining in the United States’ nuclear ambitions — discussions that will have an effect in Nevada.
Early cries for a moratorium on nuclear plant construction — some from Washington’s most vocal proponents of nuclear energy — suggest the disaster is going to affect the energy debate at home. (Las Vegas Sun)
Chu says White House is ‘committed to learning from Japan’s experience’
Huh? What does that even mean “committed to learning from Japan’s experience”? That even 40 year-old Gen II pants behave as designed when hit with monster quakes? That having backup generators in the basement isn’t the best design in regions vulnerable to tsunamis? From this it appears to be a simple throwaway line (“vacuous” springs to mind as a descriptor):
WASHINGTON — Regulators should press ahead with approving construction licenses for new nuclear power plants despite Japan’s nuclear crisis, President Barack Obama’s top energy official said Tuesday.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu told a House panel that “the American people should have full confidence that the United States has rigorous safety regulations in place to ensure that our nuclear power is generated safely and responsibly.” But he said that the administration “is committed to learning from Japan’s experience.”
Chu told reporters on Capitol Hill that he thought construction license applications pending at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission could proceed. (msnbc.com news services)
LONDON | Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:38pm EDT
(Reuters) – Panic over radiation leaks at Japan’s earthquake-damaged nuclear plant may be diverting attention from potentially worse threats to public health from a tsunami, like the cold and disrupted supplies of water.
Experts said efforts in Japan should focus on ensuring safe drinking water and the disposal of sewage to prevent outbreaks of killer diseases such as typhoid and cholera, although the likelihood of any such epidemic was remote so far.
“People are getting so concerned about what are at the moment pretty low levels of radiation as far as the general public is concerned. But the real problems … are in dealing with the earthquake and the tsunami,” said Dr Richard Wakeford of Britain’s University of Manchester. (Reuters)
With the terrible earthquake and resulting tsunami that have devastated Japan, the only good news is that anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now probably much less likely to get cancer.
This only seems counterintuitive because of media hysteria for the past 20 years trying to convince Americans that radiation at any dose is bad. There is, however, burgeoning evidence that excess radiation operates as a sort of cancer vaccine. (Ann Coulter, Townhall)
Shares in renewable energy sources rocket as public and investors recoil from nuclear
As Japan’s nuclear crisis unfolds, energy and environmental experts said that investor confidence in the technology was already beginning to wane, with renewable energy and fossil fuels the likely beneficiaries.
“Shares in renewable energy industries yesterday rose while most other energy stocks fell,” said Clare Brook, fund manager of leading green investment group, WHEB, in London. “This tragedy comes on top of the oil price rise, the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and unrest in the Middle East, all of which has made renewables more attractive. We would expect investment in renewables, especially solar, to increase. Nuclear has become politically unacceptable,” she said. (John Vidal, The Guardian)
By Alex B. Berezow
It was only a matter of time before environmentalists would point toward Japan, say, “We told you so,” and then declare a moral victory for anti-nuclear activism. Merely for the sake of argument, let’s pretend they are right.
Eliminating nuclear power might be a nice experiment. But there is one big problem: Environmentalists are trying to eliminate all the other alternatives, as well.
… By now, the following fact should be quite obvious: All sources of energy pose some sort of risk or cost. Risk-free, cost-free energy is a complete myth and simply does not, and will not, exist.
Groups that never propose realistic solutions are simply not worth taking seriously. Unfortunately, this characterizes the arguments put forth by some environmentalists. They should not be given a seat at the adults’ table until they demonstrate an ability to propose a serious solution to the most serious of problems. (RealClearScience)