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Nuclear Energy still looking good for climate change reduction post–Fukushima

Why did Japan abandon its climate change reduction plans? Chart Source: Data Source.

Since the March 2011 Fukushima Dai–ichi nuclear plant accident, Japan has effectively abandoned its commitments to climate change reduction.

After the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami led to a partial meltdown at Fukushima Dai–ichi nuclear power plant in Japan, erroneous reactions by some scientists and political leaders, compounded by misinformed reporting (including in this publication), have shifted public policy on nuclear energy in Japan, Germany and other nations.

How this happened is a story of paradoxical difficulties — just the sort of human dilemmas I follow on the Neutron Trail, a cultural inquiry into our shared nuclear legacy. The concepts are technical, the emotions powerful and the facts often counter–intuitive. Yet these issues are vital.

To a people traumatized by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the rogue release of radioactive fallout from the U.S. Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test in 1954, the Fukushima nuclear plant accident must have seemed, in the initial moments, as potentially deadly and destructive.

A Japanese friend who lives in Vancouver Noriko Nasu went home to Japan shortly after 3/11 and again a few times since. After her first visit, she told me, “People in Japan are very frightened.”

She described how even school children were ostracizing their new classmates — the children of families who fled the exclusion zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant. “A few of the parents, they’re calling them hibakusha,” she told me.

It’s a name with a distressing history coined to describe survivors of the atomic explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Literally hi = suffer, baku = explosion, sha = person.

The name was not only used in sympathy, after the bombings of World War II, it was used to exclude. Hibakusha suffered extreme physical pain and stares at their deformed bodies. Potential marriage partners rejected hibakusha, because they might be sterile. Even if they could bear children, the fear of passing genetic deformities onto future generations prevented marital unions.

I was upset and felt a sense of outrage to hear the term hibakusha being applied to people from Fukushima. “Those children shouldn’t be tainted like that — it doesn’t make sense,” I said to Noriko and, with sorrowful eyes, she nodded in agreement.

Noriko kindly researched the situation a year later. The City of Namie (aka Namiemachi), a town inside the 20 km exclusion zone, conducted a survey of approximately 1,000 of its schoolchildren (grades 1–9) in February 2012. 40% are still living outside of Fukushima Prefecture and a few of these children are still being ostracized out of an irrational fear that they carry radiation like a contagion.

The vast majority (79%) of all of the children are most concerned about their friends and when will they see them again. 54% worry about another earthquake and tsunami (aftershocks continue in Japan even now). 36% are worried about the effects from nuclear accident and 21% don’t want to play outside because they’re afraid of radiation. (Survey results in Japanese only.)

The atomic bombings of Japan and the accident at Fukushima have nuclear in common. But the dangers are not the same.

In the January 2012 Frontline documentary Nuclear Aftershocks, Professor John Moulder, a radiation biologist and leading expert on radiation sickness described three distinct radiation dose levels and their effects. He said, “Very high doses of radiation can kill you within minutes to hours. You get lower [doses], it’s not going to kill you outright, but it’s going to increase your risk of getting cancer sometime. And then you get down to background levels of radiation, and as far as we know, there are no hazards at all.”

Radioactivity and heat from the atomic bombs dropped in 1945 were in the high dose range — enough to kill approximately 200,000 people instantly. Many others received incredibly painful radiation burns, cancers, physical and emotional scars.

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Comments

Analogy

To a people traumatized by the naval cannon battles of the 18th century and the gun havoc of the Wild West, the failure of the Spruce Goose to gain altitude, when Howard Hughes piloted it during its maiden flight, must have seemed, in the initial moments, as potentially deadly and destructive.

After all, its engines were modified guns. The projectiles were, in theory, confined to their barrels by camshafts.

Oh wait, there wasn't a government involved that had an income of tens to hundreds of billions per year from some alternative to internal combustion power? Well all right then.

(In the nine months of 2011 following the tsunami, the Japanese government gained over a billion dollars in additional royalty revenue on imported LNG. Much more liquefied natural gas had to be imported, because so many undamaged nuclear plants had been prevented from restarting. This was, of course, by popular demand. The government's increased fossil fuel income had nothing to do with it.)

This article is a joke.

What is worse, maybe the hint of a possibility that the Earth's temperature will rise 1 degree (making it easier to plant more crops for food to feed the 7 billion residents or having a nuclear catastrophe (which has happened 3 times in the last 3 decades) which makes whole sections of the planet un-inhabitable because of toxic radiation that lasts millions of years?

Climategate 1 and 2 brings into question the whole AGW theory anyways. I would rather take my chances with the weather than with radiation which has already contaminated the food supply with regards to fishing in the eastern and northern Pacific as well as contaminating much of the food grown in the Western US and Canada.

 

Research what has already happened as a result of Fukushima here:
http://enenews.com/

Nuclear Power

Olivia's article makes sense to me. Why not build several next generation nuclear plants. We need a scientific break-through for cleaner power, for our 7 billion people, most of whom are very poor and would benefit the most from any success. Otherwise, we will burn more coal and gas and bring on global warming much faster. We didn't stop making cruise ships, just because the Titianic sank. We managed to make it to the moon, why not cleaner nuclear power.  

Nuclear Power

Olivia's article makes sense to me. Why not build several next generation nuclear plants. We need a scientific break-through for cleaner power, for our 7 billion people, most of whom are very poor and would benefit the most from any progress. Otherwise, we will burn more coal and gas and bring on global warming much faster. We didn't stop making cruise ships, just because the Titanic sank. We managed to make it to the moon, why not cleaner, safer nuclear power......Len

Nuclear Power

Olivia's article makes sense to me. Why not build several next generation nuclear plants. We need a scientific break-through for cleaner power, for our 7 billion people, most of whom are very poor and would benefit the most from any progress. Otherwise, we will burn more coal and gas and bring on global warming much faster. We didn't stop making cruise ships, just because the Titanic sank. We managed to make it to the moon, why not cleaner, safer nuclear power......Len

NUCLEAR ENERGY

Thank you Olivia for championing Nuclear Energy. It's tragic to see the race among nations to cut the use of it, when it is the ONLY certified, tested and proved alternative to oil and coal on a global scale. We know that there have been misgivings about its use for many years, before global warming, but now people have to adapt their thinking because of Global Warming, which is truly a danger to the planet. The waste is a problem that can be solved, with the political will to do so. 

Whose coal and oil is this anyways?

If we were to just stop and think about the real issue we would accept that all fossil fuel is a limited resource. 
The amount that is created naturally and the rate at which it is created whether by organic or other natural processes is so infinitesimally small and so slow that we will eventually run out of the stuff at even Kyoto agreed rates - so once and for all lets get our heads out of the sand and face the reality - we are greedy, irresponsible and power hungry animals that are the only ones that will destroy everything for our own comfort.

The cycle of civilizations will thus repeat over and over unless we change our ways. 
The evolutionary development of tapping in to molecular forces and energy sources that abound in the universe are a direct result of progress since the discovery and mastery of fire, chemical reactions, electrical charges and conduction, electromagnetic fields and currents and ultimately combustion of fossil fuel products.

Of course the human form as we know it evolved in a climate devoid of the man-made forms of energy sources and over billions of years we evolved body parts to detect and help protect us from natural radiant energy sources and ultimately our bodies survived to this day.

Nuclear plants are the playgrounds today, where we experiment with the natural elements and sadly - as the users - not creators of all things - we learn by making mistakes and often find solutions by accident. 
Should we stop experimenting? Maybe, but then I would not be posting this note nor any of the critics either as we would have remained apes clubbing each other with sticks and living in the forests at the mercy of nature.

So whose fossil fuel is this anyways?
I would suggest that we leave that decision to our children' children - always. 
Selling the family fossil fuel heirlooms will only temporarily enrich the few that shovel the stuff out of the ground and trade with it - then what?

Let us all be honest and recognize the current state of the world, which is in turmoil for most humans, and continue to improve upon all potential options for more efficient energy alternatives like creating local refineries to satisfy local demands for a hopefully decreasing demand for fossil fuels and in the interim develop sustainable and ideally renewable solar based sources that over time (at least a good few millenniums) will suffice for all the human needs on this wonderful planet upon which we are so lucky to find ourselves.

Its not about who is right or wrong but about how much risk we are prepared to take. 
I find it easy to be critical while I have the luxury of unlimited energy resources.

Hopefully we as a species don't outlive them.

Long live clean Nuclear Energy.

 

 

 

Paradigm shift: what evidence

Paradigm shift:

 

what evidence do you have that accidents (all preventable with simple uprates or passive safety) like Fukushima will render whole sections of the planet uninhabitable due to toxic radiation?

 

In the "contamination" zone, the radiation level is only slightly above that of N.E. Washington.  In a few years, due to continued decay and dispersal, the level will be below N.E.W.

 

Chernobyl's level is below Denver's.  

 

Do not cite links unless you can explain them a bit.  Why should anyone accept the views of Arnie Gundersen on radiation toxicity over epidemiologists like those cited in the article?

 

 

Nuclear Power is not the answer

Just because Olivia Fermi is the daughter of one of the world's most prominent nuclear physicists, does not mean she understands the full picture of nuclear energy. Here is a different view, that in light of her statements, Fuskushima and the thousands of possibilities for things to go wrong deserves a closer look.....

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31401