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A Clean Energy Future Is Possible: A Message for the 4th Anniversary of Fukushima


#1

A Clean Energy Future Is Possible: A Message for the 4th Anniversary of Fukushima

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Just ahead of the four-year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, five organizations have issued a message that the only way to avert climate disaster is by embracing a clean energy future.


#2

There is one common inaccuracy perpetuated in the article -- namely that the tsunami was the primary cause of the accident. In facts much later determined, the actual earthquake caused the initial failure and the tsunami just made things worse.

This is significant because the nuclear power manufacturing companies all claim that they have so many safeguards in place that an earthquake by itself cannot cause a meltdown.

Another interesting fact is that GE takes great pride in its company safety record but conveniently looks the other way when one if its designs results in the worst commercial reactor accident in history. But what do you expect from a company which once spouted the motto "Men helping Man"?


#3

I'm an inventor. I want to drive down the cost of solar electricity to (best guess) 3 cents per kilowatt-hour in 10 years, with lower negative environmental impacts than solar power towers and wind turbines, and with lower intermittency than current solar and wind. In other words, I want my system to cover evening power generation.

Nuclear power is not only a horrid economic idea after (not if) it fails, it's going to be uneconomic even before it fails.


#4

Paul A question for you. I live on a hill that has lots of wind. I know that if I bought a wind machine I would never profit even if I sold all power to the grid. I would lose money. Who cares? A poor guy that lives on a hill with winds. Problem 1. not enough wind produces need for battery. 2. Too much wind destroys brakes then blades fly off to visit the neighbors.

Although batteries have problems, low speeds are just unproductive not destructive. High speeds are destructive so brakes are needed unless resistance is added. So for residential use think adding armatures for resistance while producing a surge of power. Sustained high winds adjusted by additional generation produces more power and saves brakes which still maybe needed but not so stressed. Extra voltage can be turned from battery and its limits to resistance heating of water and whatever that could be used for.

What do you think?


#5

Much like the Hindenburg disaster shows us exactly why we should not try to develop hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.


#6

We agree.

Oh, 10 Characters, that's new


#7

So, from I have read in other places...... we do not have time to "scale up" to save ourselves from climate change...and, if we try .... to do that really really fast... we will be creating so much Co2 from the production that is seems just wrong.. then, how do we make the new ones when fossil fuels are no more.....I know people say that we can have the factories using renewable energy to make the renewable equipment... but.. .really?... we have time to do ALL THAT... in time to save ourselves?... and what about the mining of the ore, producing the steel... transporting it all...all over the world... etc... I suppose, if I had the money, I would purchase some solar panels... and maybe a battery... maybe... but then again.. what about producing BILLIONS OF BATTERIES?... AND JUST THE RENEWABLE SETS OF EQUIPMENT... WILL BE IN THE MULTI BILLIONS>>. REALLY?...


#8

Fukushima has released 100 times the dangerous radioisotopes that Chernobly did and there is not even an adequate exclusion zone around it yet! It's going to cut Japan in half, according to Nuclear Engineer Arnie Gundersen and Dr. Helen Caldicot and Dr. Wing (who predict over one million deaths minimum) when everyone downwind of it starts dropping like flies in a few more years. Half the children in Fukushima have thyroid sickness. HALF. Tokyo is red-hot according to scientists who analyzed samples of black dirt that fell out on it.

Dozens of species in the Pacific Ocean had massive die-offs. What unstable man-made radioisotopes do is destroy the immune systems of life forms and then other pathogens finish them off. Possibly including us, since fallout continues to hit the US from the Pacific Ocean Plume and will be hazardous for 24,000 years.

Anything nuclear is insane.

TJ


#9

Fuel cells are working fine in west coast cities in small trucks and buses. The same things were said about kerosine and gasoline.


#10

initiate,

Solar is low-tech and has no moving parts. You don't need batteries! Batteries are optional. All you need is a switch that detects undervolt and switches you back to the grid at night or on really cloudy days. But my new solar panel produces good power even on cloudy days. Germany is extremely cloudy most of the year and she has switched off Nuclear in favor of Solar power generation. Solar panels don't use Steel at all. They use mostly silicon: SAND. A small amount of metal is used which can easily be supplied by recycling and eliminating auto and electronics production.

So stop it with the straw-man that Solar produces problems. It does not. It has ZERO emissions and maintenance after low-impact production.

Nuclear power is extremely complicated and reckless, and most of the dangerous radioisotopes it produces, we don't even know about yet. Boiling water with a bomb is insane, but that's where it came from: the bomb industry.

Nuke plants are nothing but the Devil's Playground and should all be shuttered. They produce deadly Pu-239 not found in nature, despite what the pro-nuke trolls here tell you.

TJ


#11

You're preaching to the choir here, Tom (as you know).
* Another thing that is rarely mentioned is that there is a huge die off going on of Phytoplankton, which produces half of the world's oxygen.
* Radiation is taking a terrible toll on the microorganisms that provide the bottom of the food chain. When those get beyond critical, the whole system will go down. We are at the top of the food chain, but when the chain breaks, we'll fall with the rest.
* I was in a store the other day and there was a big display about Krill. Apparently Krill is better than fish oil pills and you don't get a fishy aftertaste. It is more effective in preventing heart disease, and on and on and on.
* Krill is a tiny organism that feeds the baleen whales, for instance. It is a basic food for the smaller fish, that provide food for the larger fish, etc.
* Apparently, some billionaire has figured out that if you build a fine enough seine, you can scoop up the Krill. With a large advertizing budget, you can make people want ever more krill. Big profit!
* Meanwhile, whales and fish will be starving, right up the chain.
* I suppose, when the Krill are dying off from radiation it will become even more valuable when Big Ad convinces people that radioactive Krill prevents aging, or some such nonsense.
* I think we are facing a mass extinction that will make the dinosaurs look like a kid game. And, if some idiot pushes the button, the end will be quicker than anyone thinks.
* At my age, there is little to worry about, but for the young coming up, what a tragedy!
;-})


#12

More importantly, it was the anniversary of an earthquake and Tsunami that flattened whole coastal cities and killed about 18,000 - including a few workers at Fukushima plant. I'm sure that is what the Japanese are commemorating today. The Fukushima meltdown itself has caused no deaths at this point.


#13

Great Points Steve.

I wasn't addressing my post to you or the regulars who know the perils of nuke religion. A few posters persist, however, in perpetuating the myth that switching to Solar is a problem. Their message seems to be that we need to keep feeding the nuclear dragon since it will produce carbon to switch (is the dishonest message embedded in this fiction framed as confusion), when nothing could be further from the truth. Germany already switched off the nuke dragons and is using solar in cloudy Europe!

I agree with you. At my health and age, it probably doesn't matter for me. But I have kids I care about and know from my studies in college of Earth Science and Astronomy that extinction is on the doorstep. Perhaps enlightened minds here will eventually reach those in power who have never before read CD, and decide on their own that a war on fossil and nuke emissions must commence. Hence, my broken record.

Cheers,

TJ


#14

That would appear to be item 2 from Buchheit's four-step llist.


#15

"Another thing that is rarely mentioned is that there is a huge die off going on of Phytoplankton, which produces half of the world's oxygen."

This is well established.

"Radiation is taking a terrible toll on the microorganisms that provide the bottom of the food chain."

This is baloney.


#16

Yes, there's always some representative from the hydrogen industry who assures us these trucks and buses are working just fine, and claiming this is some newfangled, improved, safer kind of hydrogen technology, but we know from history what the risk is whenever you put hydrogen in a vehicle. At any minute, one of these vehicles could hit a squirrel and BOOM, another Hindenburg event could level an entire city. Oh the humanity.


#17

You are mistaken "Trog". I provided the source of those claims in my post.

USA today reported:

Four years later, Kanno and her extended family are still unable to return to this once-thriving village — and it appears likely they never will.

Radiation levels remain as much as 10 times above normal in areas surrounding the plant, and scores of towns and villages remain off-limits despite a massive cleanup effort. "At first, I thought we would be gone a few days or weeks. Now, I'm not sure if we will ever go back," said Kanno, 29.

As Japan marks the anniversary of the March 11, 2011, disaster, officials concede that recovery throughout the region is lagging.

Nearly a quarter-million Japanese still live in temporary or interim housing. Hundreds of square miles of forests, farmland and townships remain uninhabitable because of radiation. Endless rows of thick vinyl bags filled with contaminated soil litter the countryside — but represent just a fraction of the land that must be scraped up and hauled away before residents can return.

At the stricken power plant, radiation is no longer escaping into the air, but workers are still battling to contain leaks of contaminated water. The plant won't be fully decommissioned for at least three decades....

...Yet even in areas declared safe, many evacuees are reluctant to return. They harbor a deep mistrust of officials after conflicting or hesitant evacuation orders early in the crisis, radiation readings that shift with wind and rain, and disagreements over the risks of long-term, low-level exposure.

"The situation is not finished at all," said Hatsuo Fujishima, a senior official in the Fukushima prefecture. "We are moving ahead, but it will take another 30 years, probably more. This is going to be a long, uphill battle."

The magnitude-9.0 earthquake was the largest ever to strike Japan. It triggered a surge of water as high as 90 feet in some areas, washing away entire towns and communities along Japan's northeast coast, killing nearly 16,000 people. More than 2,600 are still listed as missing.

The one-two punch crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant and triggered a meltdown in three of its six nuclear reactors. The ensuing plume of radiation triggered full or partial evacuation of an area more than 18 miles away.

Yumi Kanno, 29, and her daughter Shian, 2, wait at a child care clinic for evacuee families in Fukushima City, Japan, on Feb. 26, 2015. The Kanno family left their home in Iiwate village shortly after the March 11, 2011, meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and have not been permitted to return. (Photo: Kirk Spitzer for USA TODAY)
Much progress has been made over the past four years. Virtually all quake and tsunami debris has been hauled away. Tens of thousands of temporary homes have been built. An interim storage facility opened in February that will accommodate the tens of millions of cubic yards of soil slated for removal.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which harshly criticized the plant's initial reaction to the radiation leaks, issued guarded praise last month for recent progress toward decommissioning the reactors.

Even so, a staggering amount of work remains. Completion of permanent housing for 230,000 evacuees has been pushed back to 2017 in some areas because of difficulty finding suitable land and shortages of construction workers and materials.

The toll of the disaster is evident here in Iitate (ee-DAH-tay) village.

Officials initially said the community, located about 19 miles from the plant, was safe from radiation. But just days later a general evacuation was ordered as radiation readings began to climb.

Residents have been allowed to return to their homes and businesses during the day, but still cannot stay overnight or return permanently. The village had a population of more than 6,000 prior to the disaster, but now only a few hundred venture there during the day.

"It's eerie here now. There are all these houses and buildings, but at night you see no lights anywhere. In the daytime, wild boars and monkeys roam around like they own place — and maybe they do," said Muneo Kanno, who owns a farm in the village and heads a volunteer group that monitors local radiation.

Radiation levels at the town hall have dropped to a level widely considered safe for long-term exposure. But Muneo Kanno (no relation to Yumi Kanno) said the radiation levels can fluctuate, and higher levels can be found in wooded areas not slated for cleanup.

Volunteer Muneo Kanno stands near a radiation meter
Volunteer Muneo Kanno stands near a radiation meter in front of the Iitate Town Hall on Feb. 25, 2015. (Photo: Kirk Spitzer for USA TODAY)
"Radiation is something you can't see and can't smell. The levels fluctuate all the time. Rain can wash the contamination into a small area, and suddenly you have a hot spot," he said. "Even now, we don't know when we will be able to return here permanently."

Government policy currently calls for decontaminating all homes and buildings in affected areas, as well as all farmland. But wooded areas will be left untouched. So residents and local officials will have to decide the level of exposure they are comfortable accepting, said Norio Kanno, the mayor of Iitate village.

"People still do not understand everything about radiation and long-term exposure. Some people think it's safe at a certain level, but others don't. Are you OK as long as you don't enter the forest? If you have children, are you willing to take that chance? I understand that people are reluctant to return," he said.

So Tepco lied about the seriousness of the situation. Self-appointed experts like R.F. Finston were wrong when they claimed everyone would return to Fukushima in a few months since radiation is harmless and the plant was in "Cold Shutdown" (another lie.) But the unvarnished truth that we will hear about in a few years, is that like Chernobyl, an area the size of Alabama will have to be evacuated for an average of 600 years.

If Chernobyl, which only had one meltdown, not three like Fukushima, is any guide.

TJ
(bold emphasis is mine).


#18

Yunzer claimed:

The Fukushima meltdown itself has caused no deaths at this point.

Yunzer,

Your post is a lie. Fukushima's Manager Masao Yoshida died of Esophagus cancer. Thousands of imported disposable workers from Europe were maxed out on radiation and deported without any follow up care. They are all dead for all we know. The cleanup was run by the Japanese Mob, the Yakuza, who was caught sending workers into high radiation areas without dosimeters or radiation protection suits or respirators and then not paying them for the work since they knew they wouldn't be healthy enough to show up in court. The police admonished Tepco for allowing the Yakuza to steal wages from clean up workers.

Folks, nuke plants are not the Disneyland Yunzer tells you about.


#19

I hate when people do that. I never said anything about nuclear.... I am totally against it....and I am not really against solar.... all I am saying is...we are really late in the game... and from what I am reading, we won't make it in time, to save ourselves from climate change.I think I mentioned that I would, if I had the money, purchase solar for myself and my family. I DO NOT believe we should stay on fossil fuels... so, do not say I was making a "straw man" argument against solar, because my argument isn't about not having solar, it is about what it will or will not accomplish. It will accomplish the ability for some people to be able to have electricity. At the rate things are going however, I will probably not have electricity. Not unless the grid gets completely switched to renewables.....


#20

I suppose you are lumping me in with all those who want to feed the nuclear dragon... you have read my posts in the past.... and you know I am against nuclear anything.... again... I have been reading a lot for almost 10 years now... and all I am saying is... we are more than likely too late for renewables to save our buts... however, I have considered living my life without any electricity. I have put forth ideas about how we could "power down" ... needing just enough electric.. ( yes, with some solar) ... for medical care... mabye some for running water.....etc... of course, who would listen to me... we could live without anywhere near the amount of electricity we use now... but, alas... our civilization thinks it needs to have humungous stadiums full of lights, casinos... and various other wasteful and nonsensical uses of electric.... we will not .... and should not expect to do have that... our expectations exceed what the earth can provide..