Fukushima and Nuclear Madness
Japan is a culture of mass conformity where rocking the boat is frowned upon and people are conditioned to believe in putting your head down and working hard. Perhaps this is what has enabled what is arguably the worst nuclear disaster in human history to continue to unfold and expand with no real sense of containment 2 and a half years later. Japan/TEPCO has now finally admitted that they need international assistance and stands at a critical juncture in terms of getting a handle on the situation once and for all.
A serious leak was reported recently that had deadly water seeping into the ground. The leak was bad enough to warrant a rating as a level 3 incident. This is in addition to the recent admission that there has been low-level radioactive water leaking ever since the 2011 tsunami.
An operation is slated to start in November (lasting 1 year ) to remove 1300 spent fuel rods from Reactor 4 of the complex. It’s unprecendented and promises to be very challenging and dangerous. Spent fuel pools were never intended for long-term storage, they were only to assist short-term movement of fuel. Using them as a long-term storage pool is a huge mistake that has become an ‘acceptable’ practice and repeated at every reactor site worldwide.
A recent Japanese article about a British nuclear decommissioning process highlights the absurdity of nuclear power. Old plant runs for 26 years and takes 90 to decommission. The Fukushima complex decommissioning is supposed to take 40 years. With these kind of cleanup costs and the problem of waste that no one wants to deal with, one wonders how these plants can even be profitable in the long run. Truth is the entire industry is heavily reliant on government assistance and when things go wrong the taxpayers have to pickup the tab.
Many people out there truly believe in the ability of nuclear power to be a low carbon alternative to fossil fuel energy with the scare of global warming shaking things up. However when the full life cycle of these reactors is taken into account as well as the possibility of mass contamination of huge areas of water and land from accidents they would seem to be a crummy deal for humanity.