Tag Archives | Nuclear Power

Does Safer Nuclear Power Exist?

Photo: Stefan Kühn (CC)

Photo: Stefan Kühn (CC)

Can thorium be a safer alternative to uranium? China thinks so. The Telegraph reports:

This passed unnoticed –except by a small of band of thorium enthusiasts – but it may mark the passage of strategic leadership in energy policy from an inert and status-quo West to a rising technological power willing to break the mould.

Chinese scientists claim that hazardous waste will be a thousand times less than with uranium. The system is inherently less prone to disaster.

If China’s dash for thorium power succeeds, it will vastly alter the global energy landscape and may avert a calamitous conflict over resources as Asia’s industrial revolutions clash head-on with the West’s entrenched consumption.

China’s Academy of Sciences said it had chosen a “thorium-based molten salt reactor system”. The liquid fuel idea was pioneered by US physicists at Oak Ridge National Lab in the 1960s, but the US has long since dropped the ball.

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Yellow Rain Falls In Tokyo? Pollen Excuse Exact Same As Chernobyl Yellow Rain Lie

Nuclear RainVia the Intel Hub:

While the Japanese government continues to say that the yellow rain seen in Japan was simply “pollen,” many have been reminded of a very similar occurrence after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Almost on cue, the Japan Meteorological Agency has confirmed the rain to be pollen after receiving hundreds of calls from concerned citizens.

The ‘‘yellow rain’’ seen Wednesday in the Kanto region surrounding Tokyo was caused by pollen, not radioactive materials as many residents had worried, the Japan Meteorological Agency said Thursday, reported the Japan Times.

That’s right, according to so called experts, enough pollen to cause hundreds to report their findings, rained down on Tokyo at the same time as a devastating nuclear disaster has released high levels of radiation at least 20 km from the nuclear plant.

This explanation has reminded many of the yellow rain that hit after the Chernobyl disaster.

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Japan’s Safety Regulators: Fukushima No. 3 Nuclear Reactor May Have Been Breached

Atomic EnergyDavid Jolly & Hiroko Tabuchi report in the NY Times:

TOKYO — Japan’s effort to contain the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant suffered a setback, an official said on Friday, citing evidence that the reactor vessel of the No. 3 unit may have been damaged.

The development, described at a news conference by Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director-general of the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, raises the possibility that radiation from the mox fuel in the reactor — a combination of uranium and plutonium — could be released.

One sign that a breach may have occurred in the reactor vessel, Mr. Nishiyama said, took place on Thursday when three workers who were trying to connect an electrical cable to a pump in a turbine building next to the reactor were injured when they stepped into water that was found to be significantly more radioactive than normal in a reactor.

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America’s Most Vulnerable Nuclear Power Plants

3596889720_f52826d665_zIs this list a case of fear-mongering? Possibly, but I would want to be aware if I lived nearby one of these wildcards. The Daily Beast presents a ranking of our nation’s most ripe-for-disaster nuclear reactors, as determined by a panel of experts, with Indian Point (Buchanan, NY), San Onofre ( San Clemente, CA), and Limerick, PA rounding out the top three:

1. Indian Point

Location: Buchanan, NY (24 miles north of New York City)
Reactors: 2
Electrical Output (megawatts): Unit 2: 1020; Unit 3: 1025
Year Operating License Issued: Unit 2: 1973; Unit 3: 1975
Population within 50 Miles: 17,452,585
Relative Safety Rating: bottom third

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Radiation Dose Chart

Randall Munroe of the blog xkcd took the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake tragedy (with its resultant fears of nuclear contamination) as an opportunity to construct a chart putting into perspective the quantities of radiation received from various sources — allowing for comparisons between Fukushima, Chernobyl, living near a coal plant, taking a walk, getting an x-ray, flying on an airplane, and the largest and deadliest cases of exposure. Read and learn:

radiation-dose-chart-4490-1300581517-54Read the rest

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The ‘Nuclear Boy’ Viral Video Sensation From Japan

For those of you who haven’t already seen this video, currently making the rounds of weirdness aggregation sites everywhere, here’s the Japanese cartoon that explains the Fukushima nuclear reactor crisis to children. Apparently Kazuhiko Hachiya’s “Nuclear Boy” is actually playing on national TV in Japan.

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Genpatsu-Shinsai: The Language of Disaster That Stalked Japan

Japan Earthquake 03/11/2011Interesting article from Leo Lewis in the Times from 2007, about how Japan nearly avoided a “nuclear power-quake disaster” back then. It always seems when these great disasters happen there was the one lone expert who no one took seriously. Leo Lewis writes”

Japan’s turbulent history of war and natural catastrophe has already given the world a terrifying vocabulary of death: tsunami, kamikaze, Hiroshima.

But the country now stands on the brink of unleashing its most chilling phrase yet: genpatsu-shinsai — the combination of an earthquake and nuclear meltdown capable of destroying millions of lives and bringing a nation to its knees.

The phrase, derived from the Japanese words for “nuclear power” and “quake disaster”, is the creation of Katsuhiko Ishibashi, Japan’s leading seismologist and one of the Government’s top advisers on nuclear-quake safety. He said that the world may never know how close it came to its first genpatsu-shinsai this week. Luck, as much an anything else, helped to avert it.

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The World Is In Denial About Nuclear Risks

Fukushima Nuclear Reactors 1-4. Photo: National Land Image Information (Color Aerial Photographs, Ministry of Land, Infastructure, Transport and Tourism

Fukushima Nuclear Reactors 1-4. Photo: National Land Image Information (Color Aerial Photographs, Ministry of Land, Infastructure, Transport and Tourism

What will it take for our world to recognize the dangers that nuclear scientists and even Albert Einstein were warning about at the “dawn” of the nuclear age?

Amy Goodman reminds us of the prophetic statement by Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett who tried to find words to describe the horror he was seeing in Hiroshima in 1945 after the bomb fell.

“It looks as if a monster steamroller had passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts … as a warning to the world.”

The world heard his warning, but seems to have ignored it. In fact, what followed has been decades of nuclear proliferation, the spread of nuclear power plants and the escalation of the arms race with new higher tech weaponry.

As Hiroshima becomes yesterday’s distant memory and Fukishima the current threat, the full extent of the casualties and body count are not yet in, partly because the Japanese government and the power companies don’t want to alarm the public.… Read the rest

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Fake ‘Radiation’ Text Messages And E-mails

Fukushima Nuclear Reactors 1-4. Photo: National Land Image Information (Color Aerial Photographs, Ministry of Land, Infastructure, Transport and Tourism

Fukushima Nuclear Reactors 1-4. Photo: National Land Image Information (Color Aerial Photographs, Ministry of Land, Infastructure, Transport and Tourism

Many citizens across Asia have been warned about faux messages being sent, such as this e-mail: “Japan Government confirms radiation leak at Fukushima nuclear plants. Asian countries should take necessary precautions. If rain comes, remain indoors first 24 hours. Close doors and windows. Swab neck skin with betadine where thyroid area is, radiation hits thyroid first. Take extra precautions. Radiation may hit Philippine at around 4 pm today. If it rains today or in the next few days in Hong Kong. Do not go under the rain. If you get caught out, use an umbrella or raincoat, even if it is only a drizzle. Radioactive particles, which may cause burns, alopecia or even cancer, may be in the rain.” BBC reports:

A fake text message warning people that radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant has leaked beyond Japan has been panicking people across Asia.

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