Fukushima 8 years on – the destroyed plant remains completely out of control. The non-stop radiation has annihilated the majority of life in the north pacific.
Is Fukushima really that bad? I see lot’s of conflicting info.
The push away from fossil fuels is renewing the push for more nuclear energy. But the potential failures can be costly:
San Diego Advocacy Group Releases TV Ads Warning About Nuclear Waste www.kpbs.org/news/2019/feb/27/san-diego-advocacy-group-release-tv-ads-warning-ab/
“Our biggest concern is that 99 percent of the people are unaware that there is deadly nuclear waste on the beach in San Onofre, and there is no plan to remove that nuclear waste. As far as we know, it’s going to be there for the next several hundred years,” said Charles Langley, the group’s executive director.
www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/11/fukushima-toxic-soil-disaster-radioactive – Fukushima grapples with toxic soil that no one wants
Away from the public gaze, they remove the latest of the more than 1,000 black sacks filled with radioactive soil and unload their contents into giant sieves. A covered conveyor belt carries the soil to the lip of a huge pit where it is flattened in preparation for the next load. And there it will remain, untouched, for almost three decades.
While workers inside the ruined nuclear plant struggle to contain the build-up of more than 1m tonnes of radioactive water, outside, work continues to remove, process and store soil that will amount to 14m cubic metres by 2021.
There is a renewed push of the technology inspired by climate change activists:
Can Nuclear Energy Save the Planet? knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/can-nuclear-energy-save-the-planet/
Goldstein said he was drawn to the issue of climate change by his children, who convinced him that it deserved his attention. He has a deep desire to “leave a livable world” for his children, but he grew up against the backdrop of nuclear power in the 1960s and 1970s and wasn’t sure that was the solution.
“There’s a lot of misunderstanding,” he said. “Similarly, nuclear waste is quite misunderstood. People don’t realize how miniscule the quantities are. It’s so much more concentrated than fossil fuels or anything else, that you could live your entire life with an American-style electricity use — all from nuclear power — and generate waste that would fit in a soda can.”
That waste is currently stored in casks that are certified safe for 100 years, he said. Perhaps by then, scientists will have found methods to re-use the waste. “That’s the 100 years when we need to be solving climate change,” Goldstein said. “So, nothing’s perfect, but nuclear has been struggling because people don’t treat it normally the way you would anything else, with costs and benefits.”
So do the potential benefits outweigh the costs?
Forbes says so:
“By now close to one million people have died of causes linked to the Chernobyl disaster,” wrote Helen Caldicott, an Australian medical doctor, in The New York Times. Fukushima could “far exceed Chernobyl in terms of the effects on public health.”
Many pro-nuclear people came to believe that the accident was proof that the dominant form of nuclear reactor, which is cooled by water, is fatally flawed. They called for radically different kinds of reactors to make the technology “inherently safe.”
But now, eight years after Fukushima, the best-available science clearly shows that Caldicott’s estimate of the number of people killed by nuclear accidents was off by one million. Radiation from Chernobyl will kill, at most, 200 people, while the radiation from Fukushima and Three Mile Island will kill zero people.
The question is not how humans can gain absolute mastery, since that’s impossible, but rather which machines, on balance, deliver the most good with the least harm. On that metric, nuclear power has always been, inherently, the safest way to power civilization.