Dead Hands

Written By: - Date published: 10:43 am, August 20th, 2015 - 11 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class war, Economy, energy, Environment, Japan - Tags: , ,

Last week, Japan brought its Sendai nuclear reactor on line. It’s the first nuclear plant to be restarted since the triple melt-down at Fukushima and the shut-down of all 54 of the country’s reactors.

Sakurajima is a volcano sitting about 30 miles from the newly opened plant. Currently, the official warning for a large scale eruption at Sakurajima is set at its second highest level.

The public is against the country’s nuclear power plants being restarted.

In not unrelated news, the government claims that Fukushima will be ‘cleaned up’ in the space of three to four decades. This is in spite of ‘the elephants foot’, the 30 year old melted radioactive core at Chernobyl, still being ‘hot’ enough to kill after about eight minutes of exposure. At Chernobyl, no-one is thinking of tackling the core within the next 100 years. And at Chernobyl, the location of the core is known. At Fukushima, three cores are missing. And there is no technological ‘fix’ for melted cores. No-one knows what to do with them.

There is more on the technical and financial situation at Fukushima in the video and transcript for those interested.

In summary, Japanese financial institutions want payment on tens of billions of dollars lent to nuclear plant operators and a national media is running scared before a nebulous state secrets act. Up steps the government to ooze calm reassurances over nuclear start-ups and clean-ups.

That’s the workings of the rational, efficient and neutral market for you. And it’s all the same whether we’re talking New Zealand dolphins, nuclear power plants, social welfare, water quality or climate change.

Business prods. Government talks. People be damned.

11 comments on “Dead Hands”

  1. Blue Horsehoe 1

    We live an existence inside what could be described as, suicidal dictatorship

  2. Ovid 2

    This is a series of three short videos. The first explains the technology of nuclear power. The second why it is bad and the third is its positive (or less bad) points.

  3. tc 3

    Checkout the insanity that’s going on in the UK with yet to be built reactors having power prices locked in for decades when there’s no evidence they’ll even get completed in the timeframe on the table with all existing builds way over budget and timelines.

    Then there’s the insanity across the ditch with South Aus suggesting they can be the world nuclear waste dump for the byproducts of a technology that reprocesses existing waste, all unproven blueskies nuclear fantasyland PR.

    Oh and it’s now been shown that renewables and gas is more efficient and cheaper than the total cost of nuclear which is an inconvenient truth the nuclear industry is now rallying against.

  4. RedLogix 4

    Found this an excellent read. The right mix of the personal, technical and historic.

  5. adam 5

    Bill I was sent via social media this morning that there was a substantial earthquake in Japan in the early hours. The epicentre was Around Fukushima – no coverage in mainstream media as yet. I will keep hunting.

    Also there should be some ocean floor studies around Fukushima published in the next few day. From what I hear, they will be damning on the so called – clean up.

    • adam 5.1

      I feel like a idiot.

      What my friend was saying, was a series of earthquakes have been happening in the Fukushima prefecture over the last couple of months, and it substantial that it was not in the news.

      Again sorry Bill, my miss reading of his post.

  6. Colonial Rawshark 6

    Mayor of Futaba talks to RT (2014)

    Futaba was a small town adjacent to the Fukushima Dai Ichi reactor. The Mayor pours cold water on the central government declaration that Fukushima prefecture is now largely safe and free of radiation. He also has some damning comments about the unprofessional incompetency of TEPCO, the power company.

  7. the pigman 7

    Hi Bill,

    I remember you made a very ominous post many months ago about a procedure being taken (involving building a huge structure-above-structure in order to remove nuclear material at the damaged reactors) that you considered highly dangerous and likely to fail. That post was never followed up.

    In the interests of balance:

    I don’t have particularly detailed of objective knowledge on the issue, but as you say, the Abe government is doing some really awful shit with surveillance and security issues while using China/Korea as a distraction (the equivalent of a “flag debate”) to hype up tension and fear.

    As to the restart of reactors, living in Tokyo, I can only hope that lightning doesn’t strike twice. The clusterfukushima has, one hopes, led to better procedures for dealing with such a disaster in the unlikely event it does (sticking nuclear reactors below ground level right next to a tsunami-prone coastline in a seismologically active country was not a great starting point). However, I should say that I understand if they’re not restarted and the nuclear fuel is not used, there are ongoing risks and enormous costs (as there already have been with increased power costs since 2011 when the nation became reliant on oil and gas) attaching to the decommission and disposal of that material.

  8. Smilin 8

    The paranoia of a flat earth society continuing to justify its belief without proof ever being able to confirm they are right and we all suffer because they exist
    Does anyone get scared looking at the nuclear leakage graphics from Fukushima into the Pacific

    • the pigman 8.1

      Not clear where you’re going with this Smilin’, so let’s look at this article from January:


      “By June of 2013, however, it had spread all the way to the continental shelf of Canada.

      The amount of radiation that finally made it to Canada’s west coast by June 2013 was very small – less than 1 Becquerels per cubic meter. (Becquerels are the number of decay events per second per 260 gallons of water.) That is more than 1,000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

      Computer models that match fairly closely with the hard data that Smith collected suggest that the amount of radiation will peak in 2015 and 2016 in British Columbia, but it will never exceed about 5 Becquerels per cubic meter. Smith said:

      Those levels of cesium 137 are still well below natural levels of radioactivity in the ocean. [emphasis my own]

      Because of the structure of the currents, the radiation levels in Southern California are expected to peak a few years later, but by that time they will be even smaller than the highest levels of radiation expected in Canada.”

      My family and I (and, well, millions of Tokyo’s citizens) have swum at Tokyo’s city beaches (not very nice to start with) every summer since 2012. No sign of radiation-related illnesses yet.

      • Bill 8.1.1

        General radiation isn’t so much of a problem as hot particles.

        Due to their small size, hot particles may be swallowed, inhaled or enter the body by other means. Once lodged in the body, cells very near the hot particle may absorb much of its radiation, and be bombarded in a very sustained and concentrated fashion.

        Hot particles from Fukishima (they can be beta radiation that doesn’t penetrate your skin in normal circumstances) entered the ocean and air and have been found in almost all tuna tested: in the air filters of cars and houses: in mutton birds: in soil remote from Fukishima…

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