Friday, September 15, 2017

Nuclear Lessons Learned: US & Japan NONE!


The US and Japan appear unable to learn when it comes to nuclear power.

These societies' collective sense-making is impaired by their love of enriched uranium as surely as Midas was impaired by his love of gold.

In Texas and Florida, nuclear power plants were kept running at risk to surrounding communities and workers:

Melina Delkic (2017, September 11). Florida Nuke Plant Did Not Meet Fed Safety Guidelines as Irma Roared. Newsweek, http://www.newsweek.com/turkey-point-nuclear-plant-hurricane-irma-663188

Operators of a nuclear power plant in the path of Hurricane Irma kept one reactor operating during the cyclone, despite failing to bring the plant up to federal safety code and long-known concerns about the danger faced by nuclear power plants during power outages.  The Turkey Point nuclear plant in Homestead, along the southeast Florida coast, was in the midst of a region with 5 million power outages —"unprecedented," according to Florida Power and Light CEO Eric Silagy — yet kept operating even though the risk of a serious accident rises significantly in a power outage, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  “When there’s a possibility to lose power, why would you take the risk of increasing that?” Maggie Gundersen, founder of Fairewinds Energy Education and former nuclear industry employee, told Newsweek.
Japan's Nuclear Regulatory Authority has bowed to pressure and is allowing TEPCO, a company with a culture that has been berated by this same agency, to re-start reactors:
EDITORIAL: NRA too hasty in giving green light to TEPCO to restart reactors (2017, September 14). The Asahi Shimbun, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201709140030.html

Although the Nuclear Regulation Authority has decided to give the green light to Tokyo Electric Power Co. to restart nuclear reactors, we question the fitness of the utility, which is responsible for the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, to manage nuclear facilities. The NRA has been screening TEPCO’s application to resume operations of the No. 6 and No. 7 boiling-water reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture. The NRA on Sept. 13 acknowledged with conditions that TEPCO is eligible for operating nuclear plants after examining the company's safety culture and other issues. 
Meanwhile, Japan's nuclear commission is calling not only for a return to nuclear (with at least 20% of its fuel mix targeted for nuclear), but has also endorsed MOX fuel in a move that defies reason, especially given the conditions of Fukushima reactor 3 (which was running MOX at the time of the accident):
Mari MARI YAMAGUCHI (2017, September 14 ) Japan commission supports nuclear power despite Fukushima. The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com/business/japan-commission-supports-nuclear-power-despite-fukushima/

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s nuclear-policy-setting Atomic Energy Commission issued a report Thursday calling for nuclear energy to remain a key component of the country’s energy mix despite broad public support for a less nuclear-reliant society. The report approved by the commission calls for nuclear energy to make up at least 20 percent of Japan’s supply in 2030, citing the government energy plan. It says rising utility costs from expensive fossil fuel imports and slow reactor restarts have affected Japan’s economy. The resumption of the nuclear policy report is a sign Japan’s accelerating effort to restart more reactors. “The government should make clear the long-term benefit of nuclear power generation ...

The report also endorsed Japan’s ambitious pursuit of a nuclear fuel cycle program using plutonium, despite a decision last year to scrap the Monju reactor, a centerpiece of the plutonium fuel program, following decades of poor safety records and technical problems. Japan faces growing international scrutiny over its plutonium stockpile because the element can be used to make atomic weapons. 
  And to top it all off, Japan is now setting up its first "restoration hub" in Futaba:
Noriyoshi Otsuki (2017, September 15). First ‘hub’ set up in Fukushima no-entry zone to speed rebuilding. The Asahi Shimbun, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201709150058.html

An area in the no-entry zone of Futaba, a town that co-hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, became the first government-designated “rebuilding hub” after the 3/11 disaster. The designation on Sept. 15 means decontamination will speed up and infrastructure restored so the evacuation order in the town center can be lifted by spring 2022. Most of Futaba is currently located in a difficult-to-return zone because of high radiation levels. Rebuilding efforts have not started there yet, even six-and-a-half years since the nuclear accident unfolded.

As noted in the article, Futaba is located in the difficult to return zone. Here is a screenshot from TEPCO's 2016 report on air monitoring in the Futaba evacuation zone:




The air dose in Futaba is very high, with the highest reading reported at 9.6 microsieverts an hour.

Locating the first restoration hub in Futaba, located in close proximity to the still-unstable plant, seems like a propaganda move, rather than a thoughtful risk decision.

Fukushima is still belching radioactivity (especially from unit 3), as illustrated in this screenshot from yesterday:



The plant is still at risk from earthquakes and lifequefaction.

I must conclude from this series of news reports that neither Japan nor the US are capable of learning when it comes to nuclear policy making.


3 comments:

  1. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/09/mike-flynns-nuclear-side-hustle-gets-even-shadier

    Mike Flynns nuclear Hustle with Russia et.al. Gets Shadier. As long as there are govts like Abe in Japan, Trump in Usa, Putin in Russia, May in Uk, Porko and the neo-nazis in the Ukraine nuclear insanity will continue. The rickety, radioactive-nuclear ferris wheel will keep turning for all to see, and nothing done.

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  2. Also : Obama and corporate democrats in USA

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    Replies
    1. the lack of leadership is depressing, ensuring that our crises will be exacerbated rather than resolved...

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