Monday, December 26, 2011

12/23/2011 “Nuclear Can Be Safe Or It Can Be Cheap … But It Can’t Be Both”

Source: Washington's Blog
Date: 12/23/2011

Nuclear Power Is Unsafe Because the Operators are Pinching Pennies and Cutting Corners

Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen was said in a recent interview that nuclear power can be made safe, but not at a competitive price:
[Interviewer] With air transport, it’s incredibly safe. Could nuclear power ever reach that level of safety?
[Gundersen] I have a friend who says that nuclear can be safe or it can be cheap, but it can’t be both.
***
It boils down to money. If you want to make nuclear safe, it gets to the point where it’s so costly you don’t want to build the power plant anyway … especially now with plummeting renewable costs.
So can you make a nuclear reactor safe? Yes. Can it also at the same time compete with renewables, which are, of course, higher [priced] than natural gas? And the answer is no.
Wall Street is demanding federal loan guarantees for this and of course we already subsidized Price-Anderson insurance. So Wall Street won’t spend the money to build it, and won’t insure it.

Gundersen is right.
As I noted in April:
Apologists for the nuclear power industry pretend there are no better alternatives, so we just have to suck it up and suffer through the Japanese nuclear crisis.
But this is wholly illogical. The truth is that we can store spent fuel rods in dry cask storage, which is much safer than the spent fuel rod pools used in Fukushima and many American reactors.
As the Nation pointed out:
Short of closing plants, there is a fairly reliable solution to the problem of spent fuel rods. It is called “dry cask storage.”
***
But there is a problem with dry cask storage: it costs money….
We could build a new, safer generation of nuclear power plants which have inherently safer designs, such as low-temperature reactors and thorium reactors.
But the owners of the nuclear plants can make more money with the ridiculous designs and cost-cutting measures used at Fukushima and elsewhere.
As the Christian Science Monitor notes:
*** Russian nuclear accident specialist Iouli Andreev, who as director of the Soviet Spetsatom clean-up agency helped in the efforts 25 years ago to clean up Chernobyl … said the sequence of events at Japan’s Fukushima I suggested that the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), may have put profit before safety. The fire that broke out Tuesday in reactor No. 4′s fuel storage pond may have been caused by a desire to conserve space and money, he suggested.
“The Japanese were very greedy and they used every square inch of the space. But when you have a dense placing of spent fuel in the basin you have a high possibility of fire if the water is removed from the basin,” Andreev told Reuters….
And this is not limited to Tepco.
***
The nuclear accident was largely caused because of Tepco’s penny-pinching, just as the Gulf oil spill was caused by the fact that BP cut every corner in the book ( see this, this, this, this, and this).
***
Nobel prize winning economist Jospeph Stiglitz has been speaking out on this same theme this week.
As Linda Keenan and Janine R. Wedel note:
Stiglitz describes well the intertwining of state and private power [quoting Stiglitz]:
The personal and the political are today in perfect alignment. Virtually all U.S. senators, and most…[House] representatives…are members of the top 1 percent….are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office. By and large, the key executive-branch policymakers on trade and economic policy also come from the top 1 percent. When pharmaceutical companies receive a trillion-dollar gift–through legislation prohibiting the government…from bargaining over price–it should not come as cause for wonder….Given the power of the top 1 percent, this is the way you would expect the system to work.
Stiglitz points out that … Japan might not be facing a nuclear crisis, were it not for the fact that the very old reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant got an extension to keep operating despite safety concerns. That decision was a byproduct, critics say, of Japan’s own gamed system known as amakudari, or “descent from heaven”, a longstanding, widespread practice in which Japanese senior bureaucrats retire to high-profile positions in the private and public sectors.
As Stiglitz wrote Wednesday:
… Are there other “black swan” events waiting to happen? Unfortunately, some of the really big risks that we face today are most likely not even rare events. The good news is that such risks can be controlled at little or no cost. The bad news is that doing so faces strong political opposition – for there are people who profit from the status quo.
***
While Germany has shut down its older nuclear reactors, in the US and elsewhere, even plants that have the same flawed design as Fukushima continue to operate. The nuclear industry’s very existence is dependent on hidden public subsidies – costs borne by society in the event of nuclear disaster, as well as the costs of the still-unmanaged disposal of nuclear waste. So much for unfettered capitalism!
***
In the end, those gambling in Las Vegas lose more than they gain. As a society, we are gambling – with our big banks, with our nuclear power facilities, with our planet. As in Las Vegas, the lucky few – the bankers that put our economy at risk and the owners of energy companies that put our planet at risk – may walk off with a mint. But on average and almost certainly, we as a society, like all gamblers, will lose.
That, unfortunately, is a lesson of Japan’s disaster that we continue to ignore at our peril.
The bottom line is that if we continue to let the top 1% – who are never satisfied, but always want more, more, more – run the show without challenge from the other 99% of people in the world, we will have more Fukushimas, more Gulf oil spills and more financial meltdowns.
As one commentator passionately put it:
Make no mistake. Nuclear power can be safe… if designed by honest and prudent people. Make no mistake. The economies of nations and planets can function well, and life can continuously improve… if only real, physical goods (including gold and silver) are exchanged in transactions.
Make no mistake. Life can be good. Life can be efficient. Life can be benevolent. Life can continuously improve as years go by, and as humans learn more about the nature of reality. The reason everything is getting worse can all be traced back to the predators-that-be, the predator-class, and their endless dishonesty.

ShareThis

Radiation News Archive

Older Radiation News

DateSourceHeadline
4/29/2011Japan TimesTepco, and state, responsible: Kan No player exempt from nuclear crisis redress burden, as government promoted atomic power
4/29/2011Japan TimesTohoku bullet trains fully resume
4/29/201109:15 -0400Zero HedgeTEPCO Releases Video Of Spent Fuel Rod Pool At Reactor 4
4/29/2011 06:59AM JSTJapan TodayMitsubishi Heavy develops forklift with radiation-proof cabin
4/29/2011 06:14AM JSTJapan TodayJapan to launch nuclear accident investigation panel in mid-May: Kan
4/28/2011Truth Frequency NewsUS Government Takes Down HAARP Website to Conceal Evidence of US Weather Modification and Earthquake Inducing Warfare
4/28/2011Russia TodayVIDEO: Fukushima - gross miscarriage of radiation science
4/28/2011EX-SKF Blog#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: A Rare Ground-Level Video Footage
4/28/2011IAEA.orgFukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log
4/28/2011NIKKEI.comJapan Nuclear Operator Postpones Plan To Flood Reactor Vessel
4/28/2011EX-SKF BlogChubu Electric Wants to Restart Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in July
4/28/2011Washington's BlogStorms Knock Out 3 Nuclear Reactors in Alabama ... No Leak, But a Reminder of Nuclear Vulnerability
4/28/2011Kyodo NewsFOCUS: Chinese journalists change image of Japan after covering March disaster
4/28/2011 11:33AM EDTReutersJapanese to mark long holiday with volunteer work, not travel
4/28/2011The Japan TimesTepco woman took three times radiation limit
4/28/2011The Japan TimesFukushima city removing schools' topsoil
4/27/2011 03:50 PM JSTJapan TodayBig tank may be put under nuclear plant to store tainted water
4/27/2011Prisonplanet.comEyewitness in Illinois Reports High Radiation Levels on Forsythia Bush
4/26/2011Fairewinds AssociatesVIDEO: Gundersen Postulates Unit 3 Explosion May Have Been Prompt Criticality in Fuel Pool
4/26/2011EX-SKF Blog#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Contamination Map (Survey Map) by TEPCO
4/26/2011EX-SKF Blog#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool May Be Leaking
4/26/2011Washington's BlogIs a Rogue Computer Virus Shutting Down Nuclear Plants Worldwide?
4/25/2011Washington's BlogSomething Odd Is Happening at Reactor Number 4
4/24/2011 03:20 PM JSTJapan TodayVets to enter evacuation zone to deal with abandoned animals
4/24/2011 02:21 PM JSTJapan TodayGov't to launch massive 2-day search for quake bodies
4/24/2011 06:20 AM JSTJapan TodayWorkers locked in battle at nuclear plant; exposure to radiation rising
4/23/2011Japan TodayIs U.S. military relief effort Operation Tomodachi really about friendship?
4/23/2011ReutersChina, S. Korea rebuff Japan on import restrictions after quake
4/23/2011Lewis Whitefield HixsonHi-res photographic proof reactor core exploded at unit 3
4/23/2011Propheticseer.comVIDEO: Radioactive America! What the Mainstream media is NOT TELLING YOU!
4/23/2011EX-SKF Blog#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: "Radiation Contamination Map" of the Plant Exists, But TEPCO Hasn't Released It to Public
4/23/2011EX-SKF Blog#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Control Over the Independent Press Getting Tighter
4/23/2011EX-SKF Blog#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Unintended "Water Entombment" of Reactor 1
4/22/2011ReutersJapan earmarks first $50 billion for post-quake rebuild
4/22/2011PressTVJapan's radiation 20,000 times limit
4/22/2011Next Big FutureChina’s nuclear plans could resume by August
4/22/2011 10:06 AM JSTJapan TodayGov't seals off no-go zone around nuclear plant
4/22/2011 07:00 AM JSTJapan TodayAomori business groups ask TEPCO, others to resume building nuclear plants
4/21/2011BloombergTepco to Build Wall for Nuclear Plant After Fukushima Disaster
4/21/2011BloombergTepco Must End ‘Whack-a-Mole,’ Cover Fukushima Reactors as Typhoons Loom
4/21/2011Lucas Whitefield HixsonEPA RADnet Reports Show Plutonium in US since March 18th
4/21/2011The Intel HubDr. Steven Wing And Arnie Gundersen Discuss Global Radiation Exposure and Consequences
4/21/2011Alexander Higgins BlogJapan Nuclear Radiation Detected In Drinking Water In 20 US Cities
4/21/2011Scientific AmericanThe Japan nuclear crisis at Fukushima: A video summary
4/21/2011Wired ScienceOp-Ed: Psychiatric Disorder Could Complicate Japan Quake Recovery
4/21/2011Washington's Blog"The Risk of a Nuclear Catastrophe ... Could Total Trillions of Dollars and Even BANKRUPT A COUNTRY"
4/21/2011The Japan TimesKan to make 20-km no-entry zone binding Holdout households face ouster; some evacuees may get short visits
4/21/2011Japan TodayCo-op sells banned spinach to consumers in eastern Japan
4/21/2011The Japan TimesCarrier returns to Yokosuka as concerns ease
4/21/2011Japan TodayToshiba's U.S. partner withdraws from Texas nuclear power project
4/21/2011The Japan Times21 mini FM stations helping survivors
4/21/2011Washington's BlogIt's Not Just Alternative Energy Versus Fossil Fuels or Nuclear - Energy Has to Become DECENTRALIZED
4/20/2011ZeroHedgeTEPCO Releases First Robot-Captured Video From Inside Reactors 2 And 3
4/20/2011The Japan TimesPneumonia cases rise in Tohoku
4/19/2011 09:46 PMENENEWSJUST IN: Unpublished radiation forecast showed much larger Cesium-137 cloud over North America (VIDEO)
4/20/2011 09:40 AM JSTJapan TodayNuclear plant workers at risk of depression, death from overwork: doctor
4/20/2011 07:15 AM JSTJapan TodayGov't may hike power charges to help cover damages payments
4/20/2011 07:10 AM JSTJapan TodayTsukuba demanded evacuees show radiation certificates
4/20/2011 (Kyodo Time)Japan TimesPowder to remove radiation developed
4/19/2011CRYPTOMEFukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Photos 10
4/19/2011Washington's BlogFDA Refuses to Test Fish for Radioactivity ... Government Pretends Radioactive Fish Is Safe
4/19/2011NHK World (English)TEPCO to check if plutonium leaked to seabed
4/19/2011BloombergAreva to Deliver Water-Treatment Unit to Tepco's Crippled Fukushima Plant
4/19/2011NHK World (English)Death toll in Japan disaster exceeds 14,000
4/19/2011Japan TodayTEPCO starts moving highly radioactive water to storage facility
4/19/2011ReutersWRAPUP 1-With much at stake, Japan voices confidence in US debt after S&P move
4/19/2011BloombergTepco Robots Find High Radiation Levels in Reactor Buildings
4/18/2011Associated PressRadiation near Japan reactors too high for workers
4/18/2011ReutersJapan "eyes sales tax rise" to pay for post-quake rebuild
4/18/2011The Intel HubUS Nuclear Plant Without Power After Being Hit By Tornado
4/18/2011Washington's BlogNuclear Overseers Are "Fake" Agencies Funded and Controlled by the Nuclear Power Industry
4/16/2011BloombergNoda Says Quake, Tsunami Reconstruction Will Help Japan's Economy Recover
4/16/2011Truth Frequency News(VIDEO) What the Japan Earthquake Sounded Like Under the Water
4/15/2011ReutersCalls grow for Japan PM to quit in wake of quake
4/15/2011Japan TodayTEPCO to pay Y1 mil in provisional damages to 50,000 households
4/15/2011Global Security NewswireJapan Plant Fuel Melted Partway Through Reactors: Report
4/15/2011The Intel HubDr. Mark Sircus: Running For Our Lives
4/15/2011Scientific AmericanDose Detectives: Device Analyzes Radiation Exposure through Teeth and Nails [Slide Show]
4/14/2011Washington's BlogU.S. Providing Inadequate Radiation Readings to the Public
4/14/2011Washington's BlogWhat Foods Are Highest in Antioxidants? Some Inexpensive Foods Are Higher In Antioxidants than the Newest Pricey "Superfoods"
4/14/2011Associated PressJapanese risk radiation to rescue stranded dogs
4/14/2011Truth Frequency News(VIDEO) 400,000 to develop cancer in 200 km radius of Fukushima
4/14/2011Press TVJapan hit by more nuclear crisis
4/14/2011Japan TodayWorkers struggle to remove highly toxic water at nuclear plant
4/14/2011The American DreamMuch Of Northern Japan Uninhabitable Due To Nuclear Radiation?
4/14/2011Sofia News AgencyJapan Mulls to Move Capital over Disaster Worries
4/13/2011Fairewinds AssociatesFukushima Accident Severity Level Raised to '7': Gundersen Discusses Lack of US Radiation Monitoring Data
4/13/2011The Intel HubRecord Levels of Fukushima Japan Nuclear Radiation Detected In Pacific Ocean Will Be Carried Toward US
4/13/2011Zero HedgeTEPCO Confirms Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool Is Now An Uncontrolled, Open Air Fission Process
4/13/2011Washington's BlogNo, Japan's Nuclear Reactors Are Not "Stable"
4/12/2011Washington's BlogA U.S. Nuclear Accident Could Be a Lot Worse than Japan
4/12/2011 (4/13/2011 Kyodo)Kyodo NewsWorkers start removing toxic water in level 7-rated nuke crisis
4/12/2011PrisonPlanet.comFukushima Introduces Deadly Strontium Into Environment
4/12/2011Zero HedgeFukushima Vs Chernobyl - Compare And Contrast
4/12/2011 11:16pm EDTReutersTEPCO wary of Fukushima radiation leak exceeding Chernobyl
4/11/2011CRYPTOMEFukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Photos 6
4/11/2011Russia TodayRadioactive Japanese cars detained in Russia’s Far East
4/11/2011 3:50 PMEnergy NewsJapan raises Fukushima to Level 7, same as Chernobyl
4/11/2011Russia TodayRadiation caught on tape: RT talks to Fukushima zone stalker
4/11/2011The Intel HubJapan Nuclear Radiation In Hawaii Milk At LEAST 600% Above Federal Drinking Water Limits
4/11/2011 10:02AM BSTThe TelegraphJapan earthquake: Fukushima nuclear plant evacuated following aftershock
4/9/2011ForbesRadiation Detected In Drinking Water In 13 More US Cities, Cesium-137 In Vermont Milk
4/9/2011The IndependentJapan to pump radioactive water into sea until Sunday
4/8/2011Washington's BlogJapan's Nuclear Meltdown, the Economic Meltdown, and the Gulf Oil Meltdown All Happened for the SAME REASON
4/8/2011BloombergSony, Nikon Plants Knocked Out by Aftershock, Delaying Recovery
4/8/2011PrisonPlanet.comInside report from Fukushima nuclear reactor evacuation zone
4/8/2011Alexander Higgins BlogJapan Nuclear Radiation Found In Food Being Bought In California Stores
4/7/2011ZeroHedgeWater Leak Found At Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant
4/7/2011Washington's BlogSouth Koreans Wear Masks Out of Fear of Radiation from Japan
4/7/2011PrisonPlanet.comOnagawa Nuclear Plant Loses Power After Earthquake
4/7/2011The Intel Hub“Blinding”Blue Light/ Flash Seen During Earthquake In Japan, Nuclear Plant Loses Power
4/7/2011Natural NewsFukushima dumping of radioactive water into Pacific Ocean violates international law
4/6/2011Alexander Higgins BlogTrue Horrors Of Japan Nuclear Disaster Revealed In Confidential Leaked Government Document
4/6/2011Truth Frequency NewsGreat, now our oceans are sewers…
4/6/2011The Intel HubFukushima Daiichi Radioactive Seawater Model, Spent Fuel Rods DID Explode Into Atmosphere
4/6/2011Japan TodayTEPCO to inject nitrogen into No. 1 reactor to prevent explosion
4/5/2011 14:02Activist PostAmerica and EU Agree: Raise Radiation Levels for Food
4/5/2011 14:02Financial TimesTepco seals leak at nuclear plant
4/5/2011The New York TimesU.S. Sees Array of New Threats at Japan’s Nuclear Plant
4/5/2011The Economic TimesImported food items from Japan banned due to radiation fears
4/5/2011 5:58 AMBusiness InsiderJapan Finds Toxic Fish, As Ocean Radiation Soars To 7.5 Million Times Legal Limit
4/5/2011Kyodo News11,500 TONS of radioctive water dumped in to ocean by TEPCO
4/4/2011Prisonplanet.comUNBELIEVABLE: Fukushima Workers Trying To Plug Radiation Leaks With Bits Of Newspaper, Garbage Bags, Diaper Like Material
4/4/2011IMVAEnd of Week Three
4/3/2011The Intel HubRainwater in California Measured 181 Times The Acceptable Limit For Drinking Water
4/2/2011Washington's BlogUpdate on Japan's Nuclear Crisis
4/2/2011Bearishtrader's Trading BlogValuable Information for Dietary Protection From Radioactivity
3/28/2011Activist PostEPA to Help Mainstream Media Obscure The Truth About Radiation Exposure to Americans
3/17/2011RogueGovernment.comJapanese Nuclear Disaster Being Used To Justify The Elimination Of Nuclear Power To Ensure Supremacy Of Space Based Weapons
3/15/2011UK Mail OnlineAmerica on radiation alert: Japan faces world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl as experts warn fallout may reach U.S.
3/14/2011Bearishtrader's Trading BlogJapan Earthquake Causes Fukashima Nuclear Reactor Explosion: Potassium Iodide Recommended by Some
3/11/2011The Intel HubMassive 8.9 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Japan: Tsunami Warning In 20 Countries
3/11/2011BloombergJapanese Quake Forces Evacuation Near Nuclear Reactor; Oil Refinery Burns