The 'nuclear renaissance:' What went wrong?

Nov 6, 2013 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: 4029TV.com

For more than 30 years, Dan Dominguez helped operate the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station near San Diego.

Comments
1 - 19 of 19 Comments Last updated Dec 24, 2013
SpaceBlues

Houston, TX

#1 Nov 7, 2013
It's so sad to be driven to an unsafe nuclear energy. This reminds us of the first promise that has not been fullfilled by various nuclear reactor developers.

Maybe "karma" bites back, again.
SpaceBlues

Houston, TX

#2 Nov 8, 2013
Fukushima Daiichi (Japan)(AFP)- Nuclear engineers in Japan are preparing to move uranium and plutonium fuel rods at Fukushima, their most difficult and dangerous task since the plant's runaway reactors were brought under control two years ago.

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) is expected this month to begin removing fuel rods from a pool inside a reactor building at the tsunami-hit plant, in a technically challenging operation that will test the utility's expertise after months of setbacks and glitches.

Experts say the operation is a tricky but essential step in the decades-long decommissioning and recovery after the worst atomic accident in a generation.

But, they add, it pales in comparison with the much more complex task that awaits engineers in the future. They will have to remove the misshapen cores of three reactors that went into meltdown, probably relying on technology that has not yet been invented.

More than 1,500 nuclear fuel assemblies -- bundles of rods -- must be pulled out of the storage pool where they were being kept when a tsunami smashed into Fukushima in March 2011.

The reactor which the pool serves -- No. 4 -- was not in operation at the time. But hydrogen from Reactor No. 3 escaped into the building and exploded, tearing the roof off and leaving it at the mercy of natural hazards like earthquakes, storms or another tsunami.

Hiroaki Koide, assistant professor at Kyoto University Reactor Research Institute in Kyoto, said success was far from guaranteed.

"It is not easy work," he said.

The comments reflect an increasingly widespread view that the giant utility is not capable of dealing with the mess its nuclear plant has created.

Months of setbacks have included multiple leaks from tanks storing the water used to keep reactors cool, and a power outage caused when a rat electrocuted itself on a circuit board.

TEPCO's management of the problems has been criticised as haphazard and uncoordinated, with one government minister saying it was like watching someone playing "whack-a-mole".

The full decommissioning of Fukushima is likely to take decades and include tasks that have never been attempted anywhere in the world.

Meanwhile, villages and towns nearby remain largely empty, their residents unable or unwilling to return to live in the shadow of the leaking plant because of the fear of radiation.
BDV

Atlanta, GA

#3 Nov 8, 2013
What went wrong?
.
On one hand the discovery of additional sources of hydrocarbons (freacking)- I think that was more gas-electric powerplant capacity installed than existing nuclear capacity.
.
Unfortunately this was compunded by the US corporatist state coming apart at the seams. Like Japan, USofA has marginal ability to properly supervise nuclear electricity producing operations. Unlike Japan, US has alternatives (fracking, shale)
SpaceBlues

Houston, TX

#4 Nov 8, 2013
Study the nuclear history. The grade is fail.
BDV

Atlanta, GA

#5 Nov 8, 2013
Unfortunately oil and coal are worse.
SpaceBlues

Houston, TX

#6 Nov 12, 2013
Decontamination is woefully behind schedule in seven of the 11 selected towns and villages, forcing authorities to concede recently that they will not complete the work by the March 2014 deadline.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco], is supposed to pay back government loans to fund the cleanup but has balked at the huge expense while it focuses on a costly decommissioning operation at Fukushima Daiichi that is expected to last at least 30 years.

The government is prepared to borrow another 3tn yen to compensate evacuees and speed up decontamination of homes, schools and other public buildings in areas where reducing radiation levels is more realistic, according to reports.

The new funding will bring Japan's expenditure on the nuclear crisis so far to $80bn (£50bn). That figure does not cover the cost of decommissioning the damaged reactors.

"At some point in time, someone will have to say that this region is uninhabitable, but we will make up for it," the LDP's secretary general, Shigeru Ishiba, said recently.

It now appears that officials will abandon efforts to clean up highly irradiated areas closest to the plant and focus on areas where there is a more realistic chance of success.

The evacuated region is divided into areas where people may return but not stay overnight, those that are preparing for similar status, and those that will remain no-go zones for at least five years because radiation doses exceed 50 millisieverts a year.

The last category includes the small town of Okuma, where evacuated residents told the Guardian over two years ago that they had given up all hope of ever returning.

On Tuesday, evacuees reacted with anger at the government's about-turn.

"Politicians should have specified a long time ago the areas where evacuees will not be able to return, and presented plans to help them rebuild their lives elsewhere," Toshitaka Kakinuma, a 71-year-old Okuma resident living in nearby Iwaki told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

Mental illness, alcohol abuse and physical ailments such as deep-vein thrombosis owing to inactivity are reportedly on the rise among tens of thousands of Fukushima evacuees still living in temporary housing units.

As of August, the number of people in Fukushima who died from illnesses connected to the evacuation stood at 1,539, just short of the 1,599 deaths in the prefecture caused by the 11 March tsunami.

Few evacuees say they would go back, even if they could. In Okuma, just 10% of residents want to return to their old homes; the figure is 12% in Tomioka, one of the most heavily contaminated villages.

Some experts have criticised as unrealistic the government radiation target of 1 mSv a year. The UN's international commission on radiological protection states that annual doses of up to 20 mSv pose no demonstrable threat to human health.

The government reportedly hopes to persuade residents to return to areas with atmospheric doses below 20 mSv a year, while keeping the 1 mSv level as a long-term goal.

Meanwhile, Japan's popular former prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, has challenged plans by the current leader, Shinzo Abe, to restart nuclear reactors next year.

Koizumi, who stepped down in 2006 after five years in office, called on Abe to build on his popularity by honouring the wishes of the majority of Japanese, who want nuclear power phased out.

"[Abe] should use the power given to him to do what the majority of the people want," Koizumi said in a speech at the Japan Press Club. "It can be achieved. Why miss this chance?

"It is too optimistic and irresponsible to assume we can find a final radioactive waste storage site in Japan after the accident," he said, adding that even burying waste underground for 100,000 years could pose a threat to future generations.

"What language should we use to convey the hazards to those people in the future?" he said.

All 50 of Japan's working reactors are offline while safety checks are carried out.[theguardian.com]
BDV

Decatur, GA

#7 Nov 13, 2013
The slow progress of Fukushima clenup?

I'll worry about it when the Centralia PA residents' grandchildren can return to their grandparents' homes and when we go 12 months without a dubledigit (and up) petroleum explosion...
SpaceBlues

Houston, TX

#8 Nov 13, 2013
Japanese officials have admitted for the first time that thousands of people evacuated from areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may never be able to return home.

A report by members of the governing Liberal Democratic party [LDP] and its junior coalition partner urges the government to abandon its promise to all 160,000 evacuees that their irradiated homes will be fit to live in again.

The plan instead calls for financial support for displaced residents to move to new homes elsewhere, and for more state funding for the storage of huge quantities of radioactive waste being removed from the 12-mile evacuation zone around the plant.

The parties' admission that some areas closest to the wrecked facility will remain too contaminated for people to make a permanent return is a blow to official assurances that radiation can be brought down to safe levels.

The government has come under pressure to abandon those promises amid evidence that attempts to reduce radiation to its target of 1 millisievert a year are failing.[ibid]
BDV

Atlanta, GA

#9 Nov 14, 2013
Meanwhile bomb-in-waiting oiltrains keep running on schedule on the north American railways.

What is good for the nukular goose (ALARA of 10) is obviously not good for the petroleum gander (see oil containers, ALARA of 1).
SpaceBlues

Houston, TX

#10 Nov 14, 2013
Nuclear uses trains as well, duh.
BDV

Atlanta, GA

#11 Nov 14, 2013
Somehow I missed the one that exploded in a huge ball of fire, wiping outan entire town of the map. Oh, wait, that was an oiltrain.?
SpaceBlues

Houston, TX

#12 Nov 14, 2013
Heck.. why do they store spent fuel assemblies/pins at the site.. A nightmare at Fukushima..
BDV

Decatur, GA

#13 Nov 15, 2013
Why do they do it at a lower sefety standard than that for the reactor proper?
SpaceBlues

Houston, TX

#14 Nov 15, 2013
Stone Mountain? I had fried chicken there, once..
LessHypeMoreFact

Toronto, Canada

#15 Dec 13, 2013
An excellent study on how red tape and accountants killed nuclear power is at http://tinyurl.com/msxsl98

It also explains why a nuclear renaissance is improbable, even though safe nuclear would be a great tool to fight AGW.
Earthling

Hondón De Las Nieves, Spain

#16 Dec 13, 2013
LessFactMoreHype wrote:
Twelve years before then. I know that I have trouble remembering things exactly from twelve years before.

http://www.topix.com/forum/news/global-warmin...
LessHypeMoreFact

Toronto, Canada

#17 Dec 13, 2013
Oh, whoopeee. My stalker and sometimes heckler is back. Glad to see you are alive still. Merry Christmas and may your stockings be filled with high carbon coal..
Earthling

Hondón De Las Nieves, Spain

#18 Dec 24, 2013
LessFactMoreHype wrote:
Scientists use 'forecasts'. The misuse of the term 'predictions' for forecasts can be seen by the fact that science is never absolute (forecasts have percentages). Predictions are for astrologers since they claim perfect accuracy.
http://www.topix.com/forum/news/global-warmin...
What do we learn from James Hansen's 1988 prediction?
www.skepticalscience.com/Hansen-1988-predicti... ;
Mar 12, 2013 - Subsequent comparison of observations with predictions find that Hansen's Scenario B (which most closely matched the level of CO2 ...

Realizing the potential benefits of climate prediction to agriculture: issues, approaches, challenges
JW Hansen - Agricultural Systems, 2002 - Elsevier

Advances in application of climate prediction in agriculture
GL Hammer, JW Hansen, JG Phillips, JW Mjelde…- Agricultural …, 2001 - Elsevier
litesong

Monroe, WA

#19 Dec 24, 2013
toxic topix AGW denier dirtling wrote:
What do we learn from........
What do we learn from the pigisms of the slimy steenking filthy vile reprobate rooting (& rotting) racist pukey proud pig, "earthling has no brain", "eart hling(alien has no affinity to Earth)", "injun killer(has no love for human beings)" dirtling? We learn the racist being of euros that swept over & extinguished 15,000 Native Tribes & severely stressed 15,000 other Native Tribes around the world is alive & not so well in the slimy steenking filthy vile reprobate rooting (& rotting) racist pukey proud pig, "earthling has no brain", "eart hling(alien has no affinity to Earth)", "injun killer(has no love for human beings)" dirtling..

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