Friday, March 30, 2012

Radiation? What radiation?

The government wouldn't lie to their own people in such a dangerous situation, would they? ... Apparently they would, they did, and they will. Fukushima No. 2 Reactor Has '10 Times The Fatal Dose' of Radiation. Meanwhile, Original Contamination Data Was Deleted The whole world was watching, taking aerial samples, checking the seawater, and we knew that it was horribly horribly bad. It's still horribly horribly bad and will remain so forever. Japan just lost a massive chunk of their island because of their nuclear program. How many accidents and disasters do we have to go through before we realize we can't handle nuclear power plant mistakes? How much more of the earth do we have to make uninhabitable?


Steve Bates said...

The real problem is the time frame, something of which I have been unsuccessful at convincing even some very bright people (e.g., BadTux).

The earliest constructed nuclear power plants are now on the order of 40 years old, and we've already seen three catastrophic accidents (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and of course Fukushima). Yes, with each disaster, engineers have learned something, but as you point out, there is a disincentive to address the problems in existing plants. But let us suppose our descendants are more enlightened, and actually address those risks as best they can. Does that solve the problem?

No, and the reason is simple: how long do we have to maintain a nuclear power plant in a safe condition, whether operating or shut down? A hundred years? Five hundred years? A thousand years?

I don't know the exact figure, but my best guess is that the land around Fukushima may be safely inhabitable after five thousand years.

Five thousand years is longer than most human civilizations last. And there is no assurance that the technical capacity to maintain those plants will be passed down through that many generations. Shit happens; civilizations come and go; technologies are lost to the world.

The only sane course is to pursue energy technologies less hazardous in the long run. It's true, as BadTux will tell you, that immediately foreseeable solar technology generates nowhere nearly the energy of nuclear. That may be a compromise we have to learn to live with...

... or suffer a Fukushima every hundred years or so. It's our choice. I hope the leaders that make the choice are not so greed-blinded that they choose the more dangerous quicker profits.

ellroon said...

Only five thousand years? How many civilizations will come and go and only know the Fukishima as the Valley of Death but will have forgotten the reason?

I will be glad to forfeit some of my comfortable lifestyle to go to solar or even hamster power...