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Japan Crisis

--------------------------------------------------

Fukushima is a BAD nuclear issue. HISTORY dictates that NO nuclear disaster has ever been as disastrous as the media and others had predicted it to be, this is FACT! If the Fukushima situation eventually results in the complete sealing and burial of the area and 14 mile restricted radius, HISTORY will once again prove the media frenzy wrong! There are NO large energy manufacturing sources without RISK and with ALL these accounted, NUCLEAR continues to hold the safest safety record of the industry.

POSTS BELOW INCLUDE OUR USNEF COMMENTS, A STATEMENT FROM AEHI,
AN EXCELLENT LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA FROM THE AMERICAN NUCLEAR SOCIETY
LINKS TO WEBSITES WITH JAPAN NUCLEAR STORIES
Fukushima Dai-ichi EVENTS SUMMARY MARCH 21
COMMENTS, VARIOUS SCIENTISTS ON RADIATION FACTS

Japan Crisis

We’ve been trying to keep up with the JAPAN nuclear situation and, as expected by listening to most media involvement, trying to separate facts from fiction is extremely difficult. Finally, someone wrote us and asked why we weren’t covering it. So, here is our “position” on the dialogue if you accept the fact we are not for the most part scientists or engineers but simply grassroots people with a common since approach to nuclear power advocacy and our common sense "opinion" of the Japan issue.

THAT SAID: We continue to be amazed at what the media portrays with their “coverage” of the issue. Even my wife said to me, why are they “talking about the nuclear plants” and showing “film” of the oil refineries burning? Effect! That’s showbiz. In fact, from the media coverage you would have thought that this nuclear accident killed over ten thousand people.  What tsunami caused by one of the largest quakes (9.0 on the Richter scale)? The last quake of this magnitude was, we believe, the 9.2 temblor in Alaska in the early 1960’s (not near the ocean).  Some streets in Anchorage had displacements of 20 feet.  Because of the low population density in Alaska at that time and the lack of any large buildings, little loss of life was observed.   One must remember the standard modern media mantra—“If it bleeds it leads!”  Back then Vietnam was already the bleeder.  Also note that although the recent major quake in Christchurch, New Zealand caused a lot of damage, almost nobody was hurt.  Point made.  If one goes to the USGS quake maps on a regular basis, you will discover that in the world as a whole, over 90% of the quakes each week are on the ring of fire around the Pacific Ocean.  A more detailed look at the US map shows that 40% of the quakes are in California and Nevada and that 45% are in Alaska.  There are typically over a thousand earthquakes per week on these maps.

Now to step aside from the foolishness, this “event” is an extremely serious global catastrophe. The primary catastrophe is being the earthquake and tsunami and the health hazards these issues this will cause are being sidelined for misinformation about the nuclear plant “issues”. With all the portrayed criticism about the safety of nuclear power I am willing to offer that nuclear energy “is the safest cost effective, large-scale energy producer” on the planet. Now, for those who choose to challenge this, I would simply ask for a worldwide “loss of life total” for nuclear energy development “COMPARED” to that of “coal mining deaths”. A 50 or 100 year comparison will quickly demonstrate hundreds compared to many, many thousands from coal production. Kindly indulge me and research an estimated total of coal mining related deaths over the past 100 years. In the US, coal mining alone is responsible for ~38 deaths per year.  This does not account for plant accidents.  The nuclear industry accounts for less than one.  Usually that is associated with some weird construction accident.  Approximately 15 years ago the US Department of Energy came up with new safety rules for the nuclear laboratories around the US despite having no real casualties in over 40 years.  With this disconnect between reality and reason, a worker at Los Alamos was killed- nuclear?  No, he was a construction worker who jack-hammered into an underground high voltage line that was not on any map!

Japan exists as a nation with very little fossil fuel natural resources which has always been a needed factor for advancing their society. The basic “life of Japan” is surrounded with “industrial manufacturing” which is dependent on electrical power. Obviously they recognized a long time ago that nuclear is the most productive method of electric power generation. Our media went bonkers over a statement issued in Japan that all of the nuclear plant workers were being removed.  They omitted the part that it was only temporary.  Today they are back working on the problem.  Has anyone noticed that Japan is not going insane like our government would and shutting down the other ~40 nuclear plants in Japan? The US Surgeon General came out with this incorrect suggestion for Americans to immediately race to get iodine tablets.  This is extremely deleterious to take large iodine doses (the human body needs micrograms per day, not grams).  If a large cloud of radioactive iodine were to get to the US (very unlikely given the distance), then one should take one tablet approximately one hour before the cloud arrives. Also, they never mention that those at Chernobyl who experienced the thyroid problem did very well. Thyroid cancer has a 96% cure rate.

There is little argument that we lose about 60,000 people annually from cancer related to the carbon releases of fossil fuel plants but this is a neglected dialogue compared to radioactive release, and then there is no discussion of the “life-saving” isotopes “produced by nuclear power plants” for “treating” cancer victims.

This is a very major natural disaster!  It is wholly inappropriate for the media or governments to politicize the misfortunes of common citizens who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Japan is on the ring of fire- they have had and will continue to have devastating earthquakes forever.  The challenge for them is to improve construction techniques for everyone that lives there to minimize this problem.  However, how are you going to tell people not to build on a beautiful sea coast!  You are not.  And you will not stop tsunamis ever because the forces are almost unimaginable.

• We don’t understand the issue concerning the nuclear plant employees working to secure its challenging shutdown. The point is, the media is blowing those workers out of proportion. 1) They are employees of the company, “key” to understanding the cool down process necessary. 2) Of this group of “key” people, we assumed they were asked to “volunteer” to take on that mission. (3 This cause should be treated no differently than any emergency worker attacking a mission putting them in harm’s way, (in a fire a building can collapse, (our World Trade Center heroes) in a nuclear plant, radiation exposure).

Generally, companies will ask for volunteers to go in.  Either they are very young and have no families yet or their kids are grown.  There is little doubt that they asked for volunteers, but knowing a bit about Asian culture, if asked, you would be disgraced if you turned the request down.  Even the DOE rules permit exposures exceeding normal workplace levels by up to a factor of 20 in the case of an emergency to save lives. 

They are volunteers, emergency workers at the last stage and line of a final effort to minimize a potential meltdown. Police, fireman and many other “emergency workers” live with the risks of their work every day. These volunteers have a very good understanding of these risks and they are “knowledgeable heroes” working on a noble mission getting foolish statements from some of the media.

As we have seen in recent days concerning the Japan earthquake crisis, the media chooses to portray outrageous statements and selective inquiry with participants in the dialogue about the nuclear plant situation in Japan.

In the letter below from the American Nuclear Society to President Obama, paragraph 4 indicates a continued concern by the nuclear industry about misleading media conversations.

We would encourage the nuclear industry and its associations worldwide to actively challenge media sources who publish inaccurate and/or misleading “opinion” concerning sensationalized coverage of nuclear technology.

As we have seen in recent days

In the not too distant future people in countries throughout the world are going to have to “learn discernment” concerning “media show business antics”. We have to start recognizing the fact that news throughout the world needs major restructuring in returning to truth and facts, NOT speculation. There is mounting evidence that half-truths in reporting lead to “full misunderstandings” and eventually these misunderstandings are going to injure the public. If enough of the public are affected by “media speculation”, eventually class action litigation may have to be considered.

Gary J. Duarte, Director,        US Nuclear Energy Foundation


World Disasters related to the Energy industry: Compiler, Piero Scaruffi

  1. Hydro (dams)
    • Johnstown, USA (1889): 2,200 dead
    • Santa Paula, USA (1928): 470 dead
    • Frejus, France (1959): 412 dead
    • Vayont, Itajy (1963): 1909 dead
    • Shimantan, China (1975): 85,000 dead    World Total 89,991
  2. Coal (mines)
    • USA: Thousands died in coal mines in the early 20th century
    • China, 1950-today: between 4,000 and 6,000 miners die every year in coal-mine accidents in China. 1950 to 2010 = 60 years, assuming the “low estimate” of 4,000 x 60 years totals 240,000.
    • The indirect deaths caused by coal pollution may be in the millions
  3. Chemical. Bhopal, India (1984): 14,000 dead.
  4. The indirect deaths caused by chemical pollution around the world may be in the millions
  5. Nuclear. Chernobyl, (1986): 30 dead in 1986, 19 dead in following years from radiation, 15 children who died of thyroid cancer by 2002, several killed building the sarcophagus in later years (the Ukrainian government claims the death of 93,000 people, but it never provided any evidence, and Russia accuses it of using those numbers to claim compensation - antinuclear activists use the numbers of the Ukrainian government to claim nuclear power is dangerous - Greenpeace even counts all deaths from all diseases in that region till the end of time as caused by the explosion, thus inflating the number to 200,000 - a United Nations report of 2006 estimated 9,000 direct and indirect victims of the explosion over 20 years but using a logic that would yield colossal numbers of deaths if applied to a coal mine and probably millions of deaths if applied to the pollution caused by cars). There has not been any other major nuclear-power disaster. The second worst is Mihama, Japan (2004) when non-radioactive steam leaked from a nuclear power plant killing four workers, followed by Tokaimura, Japan (1999), when radioactive gas killed two workers. Neither the Japanese government nor environmental organizations have ever found evidence of additional indirect deaths. These numbers are very small compared with the numbers of people killed in hydro, coal and chemical accidents.

Compiler: Piero Scaruffi received a degree in Mathematics (summa cum laude) in 1982 from University of Turin, where he did work in General Theory of Relativity. For a number of years he was the head of the Artificial Intelligence Center at Olivetti, based in Cupertino, California. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard Univ. and Stanford Univ. (conducting research on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science), has lectured in three continents on "The Nature of Mind" and "History of Knowledge" (most recently at U.C. Berkeley), and has published a number of books as well as hundreds of articles for magazines both in Italy and the U.S. "Thinking About Thought" (2003) and "The Nature of Consciousness" (2006) are his most recent books on these subjects.
As a software consultant, he pioneered Internet applications, Artificial Intelligence and Object-Orientated design.


DID THE MEDIA DO A MELTDOWN OVER FUKUSHIMA?

March 24, 2011
Nuclear Townhall

As conditions slowly continue to improve Fukushima and the situation comes into perspective, some journalists are beginning to ask, "Did the press overreact to the nuclear story at the expense of the much greater devastation caused by the earthquake?"

"Most broadcasters had one or two reporters focusing on the earthquake, compared to five or six talking about the threat from the nuclear plant," complains Fiona Fox, director of the Science Media Center, which supplied the press with teams of scientists throughout the crisis.  "The personal stories that usually have me in tears for days after a tragedy like this were comparatively rare, as journalists competed to summon the most alarming language possible to describe the nuclear ‘meltdown’. Terrifying headlines talked of a deadly radiation cloud descending on Tokyo, before drifting across the oceans to menace the United States."

In this long analysis on the BBC’s College of Journalism page, Fox observes that while the immediate call to her organization was for experts on earthquakes and tsunamis, within four days the press wanted only nuclear scientists and the earthquake was being completely ignored. "One tabloid’s Japan coverage was typical. Under the title `Japan’s Horror: Battle to Stop Nuclear Meltdown"’, the double-page spread included three articles by different reporters on the nuclear threat: `Now Food’s Nuked’, `Dangers Might Get a Lot Worse’ and `Despair of Victims in Nuke Zone’. The only piece about the earthquake itself was the story of a Brit who had a miraculous escape."

The same pattern regularly occurred in the U.S. press, where a typical headline would read, "Explosion at Nuclear Reactor, 10,000 Dead."  Only in the text of the story would it be revealed that the explosion involved hydrogen venting and the 10,000 dead were from the earthquake and tsunami.

Even when the Science Media Center had assembled a stellar team of nuclear experts, Fox reports, the press universally ignored their sober assessments and concentrated on their own visions of "another Chernobyl." 

"As we obligingly stood down our tsunami experts to find nuclear scientists," she writes, "a fair reading of the consensus would go something like this:  `This was a very, very serious situation - The Japanese operators appeared to have done a tremendous job in controlling it - It was not another Chernobyl’."

Almost everything that followed supported her experts’ assessment.  "So why," she asks, "did the best estimates of the best experts give way to another narrative? Why did so many responsible broadcasters and editors not allow the facts to get in the way of a good story?"

Fox offers many possible explanations, including the observation that any scientist who studies nuclear energy is suspected to being a "tool of the industry." This is a hard-hitting assessment of journalistic coverage of the situation in Japan well worth reading in its entirety.

Read more about it at the BBC’s journalism blog


LINKS TO OTHER SITES / REPORTS ON THE JAPAN NUCLEAR ISSUE

http://nei.cachefly.net/newsandevents/information-on-the-japanese-earthquake
Nuclear Energy Institute daily updates

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/fear-the-media-meltdown-not-the-nuclear-one/
The Media Meltdown - Not the nuclear one!

http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/03/15/2311653/madera-co-oks-nuclear-support.html
Support continues for Fresno County nuclear plant

http://ansnuclearcafe.org/
American Nuclear Society / Nuclear Cafe, daily updates

http://blogs.reuters.com/gregg-easterbrook/2011/03/18/the-danger-of-spent-fuel-rods-and-the-yucca-mountain-project/
The Danger of Spent Fuel Rods and the Yucca Mountain Project

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704608504576208840531837916.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
U.S. Declines to Give Details on Radiation

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/14/fukushiima_analysis/
A Triumph for Nuclear Power: Build more plants now

http://www.nucleartownhall.com/
Nuclear TownHall

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/radiation-dosage-chart/
Radiation Dosage Chart

http://www.world-nuclear.org/
World Nuclear Association

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11109
Anne Lauvergeon CEO AREVA with Charlie Rose July 2010

Japan 2011 Photos
The real Japan Catastrophe
Takes time to open, 90 awesome photos, PowerPoint-select slideshow from beginning

03-28-11_NV_GOV_BRIAN_SANDOVAL-F.pdf
Letter to Nevada Governor Sandoval: Re-assess Yucca Mountain

 

 

 

 

 


Japan Earthquake Crisis
Fukushima Nuclear Plant Facts
21-March 2011 - 0600 EDT

 

[March 21, 2011, 8:00 am (CET)] Updated info in bold red (Last update)

Fukushima Dai-ichi status

1)      Overall situation:

·         The plant includes 6 BWR units and an on-site intermediate storage pool for spent fuel (See site pictures before and after).

·         Units 1, 2 and 3 were in operation when the earthquake occurred on Friday at 2:46 pm (Units 4, 5 and 6 being in maintenance).

·         The combination of external events (earthquake + tsunami) resulted into:

·         The total loss of offsite electrical power,

·         The loss of the pumping station (ultimate heat sink).

·         The loss of emergency diesels.

·         This resulted into a loss of the core cooling of the units leading to core damage.

·         Water supply done via “water trucks” and/or mobile means.

·         Water available: sea water + boron

·         Personnel on site limited to employees necessary for recovery actions.

·         Electric power already available on north part of the site, to be connected to unit dispatching if not destroyed (Unit 2 being the first).

·         See infographics illustrating status of the 6 units.

·         Units 3 and 4 have a common Control Room.

 

According to TEPCO, external power was restored to unit 2 at 3:46 pm (JST) on Sunday, March 20. Actions under way to monitor radiation and other data, light the main control room and restore reactor and spent fuel pool cooling functions (this may last a few days or more if equipment replacement is needed).

External power restored to units 5 and 6.

Water injection in the spent fuel pools of reactors 3 and 4 was performed:

More than 2,000 tons of water is believed to have been put into the unit 3 reactor’s pool, exceeding its nominal capacity of 1,400 tons.

80 tons in the spent fuel pool of unit 4.

 

2)      Status Unit 1 (460 MWe, GE BWR3, Mark 1 type Containment, Commercial operation: 1970)
 

·         Core: Damaged (Water level in RPV at half core. According to TEPCO, 70% of the core is damaged)

·         Reactor pressure vessel: Likely not damaged

·         Containment: Not damaged

·         Building: Severely damaged.

·         Accident management:

·         Seawater injection into the RPV: continuing

·         Seawater injection into the containment: continuing

·         Venting: Temporarily stopped

·         Spent fuel pool:

·         292 Fuel Assemblies

·         Water emergency supply by fire trucks available if needed.

 

3)      Status Unit 2 (784 MWe, GE BWR4, Mark 1 type Containment, Commercial Operation 1973)
 

·         Core: Damaged (Recovering after dry-up. 33% of the core is damaged)

·         Reactor Pressure Vessel: Likely not damaged. It seems now that suspicion of RPV damage resulted from an erroneous pressure reading (45 kPa instead of 450 kPa).

·         Containment: Damage no longer suspected (?).

·         Drywell (containment upper part: unknown pressure)

·         Wetwell (suppression pool): atmospheric pressure

·         Radiological releases now seem under control.

·         Building: Slightly damaged.

·        Accident management:

·         Seawater injection into the RPV: continuing

·         Seawater injection into the containment: to be decided

·         Venting: Temporarily stopped)
 

External power restored: Preparing to monitor radiation and other data, light the main control room and restore reactor and spent fuel pool cooling functions.

·         Spent fuel pool:

·         587 Fuel Assemblies

·         Residual power: 1 MW

·         Status: Unknown.

 

4)      Status Unit 3 (784 MWe, TOSHIBA/GE BWR4, Mark 1 type Containment, Commercial Operation 1974, 32 MOX fuel assemblies)
 

·         Core: Damaged (Water level in RPV at half core)

·         Reactor pressure vessel: Likely not damaged

·         Containment:  Situation likely to be similar to Unit 2.

·         Building: Severely damaged.

·         Accident management:

·         Seawater injection into the RPV: continuing

·         Seawater injection into the containment: continuing.

·         enting: Temporarily stopped

·         Spent fuel pool:

·         514 Fuel Assemblies

·         Residual power: 0.7 MW

·         Steel liner of the pool intact.
 

More than 2,000 tons of water is believed to have been put into the unit 3 reactor’s pool, exceeding its nominal capacity of 1,400 tons.

 

 5)    Status Unit 4 (784 MWe, HITACHI/GE BWR4, Mark 1 Containment, Commercial Operation 1978):

·         Plant in maintenance, core unloaded.

·         Building: Severely damaged.

·         Spent fuel pool:

·         783 Fuel Assemblies [Total number of FAs increased by the plant core in addition to the “normal” spent fuel (due to maintenance work on the Reactor Pressure Vessel Internals].

·         Residual power: 3 MW

·         80 tons of water added to the spent fuel pool of unit 4.

Status Units 5 (784 MWe, TOSHIBA/GE BWR4, Mark 1 Containment, Commercial operation: 1977) and 6 (1100 MWe, GE BWR5, Mark 2 containment, Commercial operation: 1979)

·         Status seems to be under control (plant in maintenance)

·         Necessity to keep injecting water in the spent fuel pools: Temperature now below 40°C.

·         Back-up power sources restored.

·         In cold shutdown state following restoration of cooling functions late Saturday.

 

6)    Status of the intermediate spent fuel storage pool

·         Capacity: 6 840 FAs

·         Delay before fuel uncovery in case of loss of cooling: a few weeks.

·         No immediate concern.

·         Also to be noted: additional storage in dry cask conditions.

 

7)    Radiological consequences (Measured dose rate):

·         On site: Diminishing, typically about ten or so mSv/hr.

·         At site boundaries: typically a few mSv/hr during releases, currently about 0.3 mSv/h at 1 km of unit 2.

·         At the 20 km limit and beyond: typically a few tenth mSv/hr (0.04 mSV/hr northwards, 0.01 mSv/hr southwards ).

·         Localized “hot spots” linked to weather conditions during the radioactive releases measured between 20 and 30 km.

                                                       

Intermediate spent fuel pool storage             Image taken on March 16:
 

Infography from the Washington Post:            Water level restored according to latest information


THIS MEMO WAS SENT TO USNEF VIA E-MAIL PROVIDING SOME INSIGHT ON RADIATION

Notes, items, comments on this page and most of our website are posted with permission

03-17-11

Below is a news release from the NIH related to thyroid cancer in Chernobyl accident victims. Because of the interest in possible thyroid and other cancers among the Japanese population related to the current radiological situation and radiation doses (perhaps on the order of microgray to milligray levels) to the general public, please note that the dose units in the article below are Grays implicating large radiation doses to the thyroid for the Chernobyl victims that developed thyroid cancer.  You may also find the Ann Coulter article (not a typo) at the following link to be somewhat of a surprise in that the author sees through the fog of misinformation being continually propagated related claimed significant harm to humans from low-dose radiation (e.g., < 100 mSv).

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=42347

Even today because of news media having so-called experts comment on a regular basis that no amount of radiation is safe, residents on the west cost of the United States are now concerned about developing cancers from wind-transported radioisotopes from Japan. Many have purchased potassium iodide tablets, which will likely provide no benefit and can cause harm (a real risk unlike hypothetical LNT-based risks from low-dose radiation). Interestingly, some of the side effects of potassium iodide are identical to prodromal symptoms from high-level radiation exposure (nausea, vomiting, fatigue, black tarry stools). Thus, a person receiving a tiny harmless radiation dose and taking potassium iodide could be misdiagnosed as having been exposed to a lethal radiation dose due to the potassium iodide side effects.  My guess is that the daily dose of radiation received by a U.S. citizen on the west coast from fallout from the reactors in Japan would be significantly less than that from the thousands of beta particle emissions that take place each day in everyone from natural radiation sources. Another real risk was revealed following the Chernobyl accident, namely radiation-phobia-related aborting of wanted pregnancies among persons exposed to small harmless radiation doses.  This risk appears to be relevant to the current situation in Japan.

Sincerely,
Bobby R. Scott, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist,    Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute


Excellent letter from ANS to President Obama


An excellent statement from the AEHI nuclear group

 

March 2011

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Notes From the CEO
 

Don Gillispie, AEHI CEO

Greetings, 

It is with a great deal of sadness in my heart that I write this message, as like many of you, I have been following the events in Japan with great interest.

My greatest concern right now is for the people who have been affected by the tsunami, which has taken the lives of thousands of people.  My prayers certainly go out to  them and their families, many who are sharing in this horrible tragedy on a very personal level.

Of course I have also kept a close eye on the events related to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.  This is a facilty I know very well, having worked in and operated a very similar facility at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.  I understand how this facility works and what is being done to mitigate any potential harm to the public.  With that knowledge, I can tell you that to a large degree the safety measures are working as planned.

Despite a media backlash that has in many ways surpassed that of Three Mile Island, it is good to see that some sources are reporting the facts.  I now read that any radiation has remained at or below safe levels and is decreasing as the reactors continue to cool.  It is a very good sign that this event is subsiding with minimal damage, no loss of life and a very small chance of negative health effects.

Many of you have called or emailed our office, asking for comments as to how this event could affect the company and our plans to build a nuclear power plant.  It is why I decided to send this newsletter.  I hope that through reading it carefully, you will come to a better understanding of the issue and why I believe it should not stop our plans from moving forward.

My best to you and your families.

God Bless,

Don Gillispie, AEHI CEO

Interesting Facts

Nuclear Power Reactors
· Nationally: 104
· Globally: 439 in 31 countries
· In Idaho: 50 at one point now down to several at INL in Idaho Falls
· Being built: 48 in 15 countries
· Proposed: Over 1,000 in 65 countries

· Most per capita: France 59 

 

Historic Earthquake - Tsunami in Japan and its Nuclear Repercussions

Why There is Little to Fear with an Expansion of the US Nuclear Industry

Don Gillispie
AEHI CEO
March 15, 2011


The recent natural disaster, which has now reached historic proportions in Japan, is very saddening and our thoughts and prayers go out to those people who have been affected by this horrible tragedy.


Much has been discussed concerning the destruction the massive tsunami caused to thousands of people in Tokyo and subsequently to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.  People are worried about how the damage could continue to affect residents and how it could change the future of the nuclear industry in the United States.
Before discussing how it could affect the industry and by extension, AEHI, it is important to understand the background of the event and how the plant was initially affected.


When the earthquake happened off the coast of Japan, as a precautionary measure the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant immediately shutdown and resorted to backup diesel generators to maintain reactor cooling.  The earthquake was later followed by a massive tsunami that flooded the plant, including the diesel generators.  Ocean water then leaked into the fuel of the generators, causing them to shut down.


Engineers quickly moved to cooling the reactors with ocean water, which averted serious damage.  During that process, hydrogen was created, which vented from the containment to reduce pressure, but then filled the industrial building that surrounds the reactor.  While encapsulated, the hydrogen ignited and exploded, which destroyed the outside buildings of the reactors, but not the reactor containment.  The primary containment and reactor vessels remain intact.


To date, any radiation leaked from the plant has been minimal and has not reached levels that would harm humans.  This has been reported by a variety of credible industry sources like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), and Japanese nuclear safety authorities, just to name a few.  In fact the levels are similar to what you might find in a medical x-ray and with every passing day the reactors should continue to cool until little to no threat remains.


Should this unfortunate event be used as an excuse to limit the ongoing expansion of the nuclear industry in the United States?  In our professional opinion and in the opinion of many nuclear experts, the answer is a resounding NO!  Nuclear experts across the globe, officials with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a variety of high-ranking politicians, including President Barack Obama, have made public statements that indicate this incident will not halt nuclear expansion in this country.  However, we will learn from the events as is common practice in the nuclear industry. 


The reason for those statements is a very fundamental one - the problems caused by an earthquake that resulted in a tsunami have already been addressed with new advanced reactors and through current U.S. rules and regulations of the nuclear industry.


Some of these more pertinent improvements include:

1. Blackout rules: Nuclear power plants in the United States must have the ability to cool its reactors without any access to external power for a period of time, which is usually the amount of time it takes to reduce the reactor to a safe temperature and pressure.  Most advanced plant designs have a passive cooling system, which works on gravity, essentially feeding water to the reactor through a gravitational pull until it is cooled. Also, many have double-walled primary containments and even more redundant safety systems than first generation plants like those affected in Japan.


2. Seismic siting:  Under current regulations it is impossible to build a nuclear power plant on a site that has a good chance of earthquakes.  It is the specific reason AEHI's current site was chosen over many others.  The chance of any large-scale or even medium-scale quake is extremely remote, as the site in Payette County, Idaho is geologically sound.


3. Building inland:  It is not regulation, but most of the nuclear power plants in the United States do not exist next to the ocean and of those that do are unlikely to ever experience a 20-foot-plus tsunami, if any.  Despite that fact, most plants are built inland, which will also be true of the proposed plant in Idaho - nowhere near the ocean, with no chance of a tsunami.


These are only a small sampling of the safety measures currently built into any new advanced reactor, which includes both third-generation and third-generation-plus models currently being deployed. 


It is critical to remember that the plant in Japan is old.  It is a first generation reactor that maintained a small percentage of the safety features compared to today's advanced reactors.  It is no different than comparing safety features of a 1908 Model T to those of a 2011 Ford Explorer.  And yet no one would suggest we should stop driving because a car built more than 100 years ago didn't have enough safety features.


It is the very reason the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and the natural disaster that caused its malfunction, should not hinder the advancement of a power source that has been proven clean, effective and safe. It is important to note; western-designed commercial nuclear light water power reactors still have a flawless safety reactor regarding death or significant injury from radiation.


Based on those specific achievements, hopefully countries that recently decided to shutdown existing plants or stop new advanced plant construction, as result of this natural disaster, would rethink such hasty decisions. 

 
The results of such decision could destroy ways of life, industries and global economies based on what may end up being a multi-century event.  In the end, an event that still proves nuclear power is among the safest methods of providing large amounts of base load power.

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

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