Skip to comments.Japan's PM Naoto Kan urges nuclear-free future
Posted on 07/14/2011 12:04:15 AM PDT by sushiman
Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan has called for his country to develop into a nuclear-free society, amid rising public anger at the continuing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
In a televised news conference, Mr Kan said the country should harness renewable energy sources.
The 11 March earthquake and tsunami wrecked the Fukushima plant, which continues to leak radioactive material.
A large section of public opinion has turned against nuclear power.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
Okay, no nuclear power; now, practical suggestions, please.
Unless and until nuclear fusion is a practical possibility, how do you supply electricity to a nation the size of California with something on the order of 100 million people and no natural resources to speak of?
Feel free to chime in...
Unicorn and Pixie dust.
See, they’re going to feed the unicorns magic skittles. And then when the unicorns get enough of the pink skittles in them, they start to giggle and prance around... and then they pass gas.
We collect the gas, pipe it through a vat of Swiss and Belgian Chocolate to make it even sweeter, and then we can burn it in our new generation plants without harming Gaia Earth.
Alternatively, we can rape the Smurfs to capture their smurfberries. One smurfberry will run a large building for a month!
when the rolling blackouts start,
people will change their minds
Sheesh. In the computer industry where I've been for 30 years, "What if?" is a way of life.
Ouch said Og we must never use fire someone will get hurt.
Civilization would never have happened.
Are we all scared little children?
You learn from your mistakes and you improve the processes. You make a better product, a safer power plant. You improve the safety of the power plants that already exist if it is financially feasible.
You dont abandon a technology that is useful simply because of a single failure.
I am not sure what Kan is thinking these days. His poll numbers are way down and nobody expects him to last much longer.
My gut reaction says that this “anti-nuke” push is more of a swan song to what remains of his semi-radical loyal base than a serious policy statement. But he’s going to be crucified for it.
Japan just signed a major deal to supply Vietnam with two new nuclear reactors in January. As far as I know, that deal is still on. Or, it was anyhow.
What’s going to happen when the Vietnamese find out Japan’s PM wants to abandon nuclear energy is anyone’s guess.
Right now the main concern in Japan is cleaning up this mess. They wont have access to the melted nuclear material for quite a few years now, from I have read. So basically Japan has weighed the costs of this one accident and have determined that the risks are just too great. That is their decision to make.
Well I am not sure about Japan. I dont think that they ever have taken nuclear safety as seriously as the US has.
They have had some screwy accidents there. One of which is that they had accidently had a nuclear criticality in a bucket at a nuclear fuel enrichment plant. That is to say that they accidently made a nuclear reactor in a bucket that went critical (made neutrons and a whole lot of gamma rays) that actually killed a the workers that made the mistake.
But in the US we have over the three decades that I have worked in nuclear power I have seen attention to nuclear safety continuously improved.
About ten years ago they started a whole new way of thinking about Severe Accident Recovery. This was planning for just the type of accident that Japan is going through.
We actually bought portable generators and made up wires so we could hook them up to the equipment we want to run.
When one weighs the risk of an action one also must weigh the risk of alternative actions.
If they actually take the action to shut down their nuclear power plants they will need to replace that generation with another power source. Renewables simply can not fill that void, nor can improved efficiency.
Their choices will be increased reliance on fossil fuel (that must be imported) or to become a preindustrial society.
Reliance on fossil fuel for electrical generation will make them more vulnerable to political and military constrictions of their energy supply lines. Their increased use of fossil fuels will also put upward pressure of the price of these commodities increasing the cost of fuel for other less affluent countries.
Although this accident is severe and cleanup will be costly it does not prove the inviability of nuclear power in Japan. As I said earlier they can learn from the vulnerabilities revealed by this accident and make improvements to their existing plants. They can also make sure that new power plants are designed to more robust requirements.
Japan needs nuclear power to remain a world class industrial country. With out nuclear Japan will be come a second or third tier economy.
Sheesh. In the computer industry where I've been for 30 years, "What if?" is a way of life.
If reactor plants were at the same level of reliability as computers, we'd be screwed.
I have worked on a reactor that had a coolant pump that ran nearly continuously for thirty years without servicing.
With that said, if you think "what if?" isn't a way of life for the nuclear industry, you're wrong.
Obviously GE got the "what if" wrong at Fukushima by building the tsunami wall around the diesel generators a meter too short.
Hydroelectric dams, wind power, solar, harnessing the ocean waves are a start.
Eventually they will come round. But it might take a few years.
They thought they had the contingencies covered. Their sea wall was designed with the data they had in the modern era. They’ve had tsunami and quakes as intense as the recent 9.0, but before the nice, tidy scientific era. There’s a recency bias in all data, because people today distrust the estimations and observations of people who didn’t have the very latest instrumentation and computers to do all the things they do now.
A huge part of the problem (in Japan and here) is that there are few to no engineers or scientists in the political classes. It comes as no news to anyone here that politicians are DUMB, but with that stupidity comes secondary and tertiary problems down the road.
eg, the Space Shuttle. The policy making bureaucrats at NASA, and the political leaders in Congress who funded it, thought that the chances of a loss of life in the shuttle mission (loss of life, loss of craft incident like mission STS-51-L, Challenger) were “one in a million.”
They have no clue what that means. They have no clue how many things have to work correctly absolutely every single time to achieve that “loss of life only once in a million launches” number.
In Dick Feynman’s (auto)biography, he writes of his time on the Challenger “blue ribbon” panel investigating the failure and wandering around the halls of NASA. The administrators had estimates of failures of 1 per 100K to 1 per 250K and the higher up the management chain you went, the more absurd these estimates got.
Then Feynman does something which makes Feynman the American character and hero he was: He goes down into cube-ville and talks to the working engineers, technicians and others who actually work on all the various subsystems and asked them “what are the chances?”
1 per 50 to upwards of 1 per 250 launches result in a failure. NB the estimates never got as high as “1 per 1,000” - not at this level of people. And, in hindsight, our mission loss rate, with two craft lost in flight now, is in the range of estimates from these guys in the trenches, taken in ‘86 when Feynman was wandering the halls, pestering people.
Huge divergences. Feynman could not believe how two layers of people working on the same project, in the same organization, could have estimates of failure rates so many OOM apart.
Getting back to Japan, the larger question (from my perspective) is: Why have they persisted in having the nation half on 50Hz and half on 60Hz? This affects reliability of nuke plants too - when you need to get emergency power routed around failures, having to convert frequencies as you go east/west on the island is not a helpful issue.
They are. Unfortunately they are also an end. There are only so many sites suitable for Hydroelectric and I find it hard to believe that a developed engineering-orientated society like Japan has not already tapped that avenue out for as much as possible already. Wind, wave and solar have a potential that could be important locally, but none of them will be able to generate the quantities of power that will be required. Improved efficiency and insulation is worth looking into - a lot of the energy that is generated is wasted - but that's only going to eke out existing sources, not provide new ones.
What about Geo-Thermal? The country is on the Pacific "ring of fire" after all...
Nobody's been able to explain to me why it was so impossible to get a temporary solution in place for a couple of days until a permanent line could be run in there. I'm not saying replace the cooling systems, there's nothing wrong with them. Or even replace the generators that power the cooling systems. There's nothing wrong with them either. They just lost power to the system.
For the life of me I don't understand why a ship couldn't be stationed off-shore to feed power to the system to power it up for a while. Or hell, they could have flown in generators to power the thing up. I don't care if they had to do 15 generators hooked up in parallel to each plant to get enough power to power them up. ANYTHING. No price should have been too much to pay to get power back into those coolant systems. They were the key to this whole fiasco. And nobody could figure out a way to jump-start them.
Like I said, I'm just a computer guy and don't know a whole lot about engineering, but I just never understood why it was impossible to get enough electricity to those pumps to power them up until a more permanent structure could have been devised. I thought the firetrucks and helo's dropping water in the things was kinda Keystone Kopish.
I'll grant that it may have been extremely diffficult, but as impossible as Tepco clearly found it?
I've always been of the contention that if they'd brought in an American team they'd have found or made a way to get those coolant systems online.
But maybe that's just me.
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