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Asia-Pacific

Mar 18, 2011

Fukushima directly from the Dr Strangelove script

The Fukushima disaster is not merely about one event at one plant. A pause on nuclear power is spreading across the world, with China -- China -- the latest country to announce a pause on construction to examine the industry.

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For those of us who are such absolute believers in the power of human beings to shape their own lives and control our own destiny that we think we can do better and smarter than the desperate kludge technology of nuclear power, the continuing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is that extraordinary type of event that speaks for itself, beyond any attempt to talk it away.

As I write, the Japanese are conducting direct overflies to try and control the continuing damage — most likely a suicide mission for the pilots and crew. The Soviets resorted to this earlier, during the Chernobyl crisis by the simple expedient of ordering airforce crews to do it.

No one knows how many died, but they died outside of the glare of publicity. The Japanese crews will slough their skin and muscles, and bleed out internally under the full glare of the world’s media. It may well be the reason why this step in dealing with the crisis was delayed for so long — because it would demonstrate that dealing with nuclear accidents will frequently involve the painful certain death of emergency workers.

While 50 go in, everyone else is getting out. Every major nation has now advised its nationals to leave Tokyo, if not Japan. In London, the media can’t find anyone to go there for obvious reasons. Disaster or war.

The event is that rare thing, something that signifies of itself. A pause on nuclear power is spreading across the world, with China — China — the latest country to announce a pause on construction to examine the industry.

Most likely it will resume. For those nuclear industries in places where they are reliant on private investment, insurance and public approval processes, nuclear power is dead in the irradiated water. The way to lose an election in Australia in the next decade will be to advance the option of nuclear power. The coalition of right, left, city, country, etc, would create a campaign that would trump anything. The posters have already been made for it by the page one layout editors of all major papers.

Everyone who’s read the news this week knows that Fukushima is a categorical event — the very character of the technology makes it so, cutting across any localisable framework, situation, condition. The only people who didn’t understand this were the pro-nuclear lobby, who were determined to fly a few suicide missions themselves.

The tsunami had barely struck the plant before they were rushing to the op-ed columns to decry the politics of fear and Armageddon, etc. Talk of disaster wasn’t hard to find — it was on the front pages of all the papers in which they were publishing pro-nuclear pieces. The spectacle was grimly hilarious — indeed black comedy appears to be a reactor’s chief byproduct, after lethally poisonous waste.

The Oz was quick out of the box, with a piece by Ziggy Switkowski. But it quickly became clear that a drab cost-benefit analysis didn’t really match the nature of the situation, and so my sometime editor Brendan O’Neill of Spiked was called in. He delivered. With crowds of exhausted and shocked tsunami-battered, possibly irradiated Japanese people talking about the “awesome power of nature”, human folly and hubris, etc, the debate could be put on a more abstract level, as a debate about humanity, nature and control.

For O’Neill, to focus on the possible effects of a nuclear accident rather than the actual deaths from the tsunami, was a misanthropic ceding to nature of a power that could be wrested from it, by human ingenuity, as represented by things such as nuclear power.

For years, Spiked has been a go-to place for an ideologically exhausted and clueless Right to find out how they think about their politics, and this was no exception. I like their sense of a revived, forceful humanism too, and it clarified a whole series of issues — I’ve just never thought it necessarily implied a Promethean relationship to technology. But it is this aspect that has most appealed to the right, and the B- and C-list adopted O’Neill’s line — Andrew Bolt in his blog, and Boris Johnson, who got in in the UK Telegraph.

Thus, as their papers kept us updated about exposed reactor cores, published ever larger maps of radiation spread, and pictures of besuited emergency workers running Geiger counters over small children, we were told that any concern about this was a return of nature worship, great Gaia, and so on.

By the time a third fire started, the Tokyo stock market plunged and evacuation calls began, even the mainstream right realised that a rethink might be required — and they went into a holding pattern, calling on Greg Sheridan to do what he does best, a piece of pravdesque boilerplate, all cherry blossoms and plinking koto.

The Fukushima disaster has pointed to a contradiction at the hot core of the Promethean/anti-Gaia argument, since for years it has championed a fearless support for mega-technology, and a belief in enlightenment, science, rational inquiry, etc. This would find as its target the more outlandish suggestions of the Green movement about high-tech, such as what would happen if, for example, a nuclear reactor was hit by a tsunami.

The Green argument that employed such unlikely scenarios was based on a simple argument — that if a technology was so transformative of basic matter as a single nuclear reactor, then its unintended consequences would be equally so, raising a whole host of political, moral and existential questions.

At a common sense level, most people understand this, which is why nuclear power has had such a tough sell in recent decades. Since it works by operating at the level of the constitution of matter, its meaning cannot be expressed as a simple aggregate of less transformative technologies, as thousands of coal-powered stations. It is a new order of reality, and we have a different relationship to it.

The failure to observe that fact put the Promethean argument well behind the general public understanding, implicit or otherwise. Deliberately so, perhaps, for it’s a way of subsuming public wariness about the technology to earlier “technofears”, of railways, steam, sticks, etc. But the result of that move was to tip into a sort of Promethean irrationalism, by which you were invited to switch off all human capacity for the rational understanding of nature and its processes, and simply march “forward!”

The move has left that whole argument straining at the straps. It wasn’t the wary general public, watching a piece of human technology, spewing lethal poison in an unstoppable manner for days on end who were being irrational — it was the people who thought they were distracted by some argument about Nature Worship from what they could see happening in front of their face.

O’Neill’s argument that to focus on a damaged reactor of unknown lethality was an insult to the people who had died from a tsunami, had it somewhat in reverse. We’re not imbeciles who react to some quantitative death-o-meter — we’re people who can see that a nuclear power station is a chain reaction, and a broken one is one out of control.

To build it in the first place we reached beyond the sealed atomic order of given nature, and now that unsealed process has become autonomous. Any fool can see that that is a greater real risk than natural (i.e. sealed) processes like a flood.

The rather dopey leader writer of the UK Spectator hit on it without knowing it by noting that radiation, because invisible, could be the subject of greater fear than water or fire — and that this was proof of the fear’s irrationality. Yes, how foolish to be more wary of a potentially lethal undetectable fast-dispersing micrological agent with no observable qualities, rather than water. What idiots we are.

Much of the pro-nuclear argument was in this obtuse manner. Indeed significant parts of it could be inserted into the script of Dr Strangelove, without anyone noticing. Andrew Bolt argued that Japan would come through it, “as they had through Hiroshima”. In Spiked, a Frank Furedi piece was headlined “a catastrophe, not a disaster movie”, and the speccie asserted that anti-nuclear activists were using the disaster to “push their own agenda”. You can’t fight in the war room.

The Promethean defence was effectively its own opposition. If Fukushima made people concerned about nuclear power, it left them freaking about the insouciance of the pro-nuclear lobby. The gap between the two was the product of a Prometheanism that had lost all connection with any wider notion of what life was for, or how people might think about different types of risk.

The Fukushima disaster is not merely about one event at one plant. To be sure, the conditions of its production continue the Dr Strangelove theme — a stripped-down, rapid set-up reactor, built in an earthquake zone, on a tsunami-hit shoreline. They relate to the way in which categorical risks have a different character to other types of risk. Something such as nuclear power raises issues of who gets to decide about what risks we should take, and who benefits from them.

But more importantly it offers a different type of risk — poisoning at the very basic level of life, annihilation of whole areas as zones for the living, all of which effectively undermine the meaningful basis of life.

To imagine this deep understanding of the conditions by which there is life can be talked away with the promise of more, cheaper, better anything is to miss some important aspects of existence — which is why the pro-nuclear response to this disaster verged on the self-parodic, and then gone silent.

Labour would appear to have abandoned its tentative desire to “re-open” the debate. The right will eventually be divided right down the middle by it — reminded of the conservative doctrine of prudence by the a disaster unravelling a whole corner of the Earth. We shall see. Doubtless it will be walked back. But whatever happens next, something has already happened. Fukushima has spoken.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle

Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle is Crikey's correspondent-at-large. He was co-editor of Arena Magazine for 15 years, and has written four hit stage shows for Max Gillies, two musicals, numerous books and produced TV shows including Comedy Inc and Backberner.

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45 thoughts on “Fukushima directly from the Dr Strangelove script

  1. John Bennetts

    David Harris thinks that the 52 cents per kWh that he receives for daytime solar is somehow analogous with energy and that he cooks his meals with the same energy, hours later, by withdrawing it from the transmission line.

    Wrong on several counts, David.

    Firstly, you are confusing energy and money. My own power bill has been inflated in order to provide money for the retailer to send to you. That 52 cents is about 46 cents above the average wholesale cost of power obtained from the NEM. Thus, you have received a windfall of 46 cents which I, and others must pay for.

    In addition, the retailers have to recover the additional costs of managing your account. In EnergyAustralia’s case, they asked for an additional $75M over 4 years. That is another cost which your rooftop solar system has foisted onto the public. Your benefit, my cost. Thanks, mate.

    My taxes probably went towards rebates and special capital incentives when you first placed these dangerous monsters on your roof. Again, this is a one way flow of money from me to you.

    When you cook your meal in the evening, you pay 21 cents per kWh or whatever. For power generated by coal, in all probability, not solar. And fed to you in the same way that energy is sent to me, via the transmission systems. You are not cooking with solar energy in any way, shape or form.

    The only net tangible outcomes of all of these rooftop solar panels are:
    – Make-work schemes for employment of sales persons, manufacturers, installers and maintainers;
    – Additional taxes for everybody;
    – Additional fees and charges for everybody except you, while you sit at home feeling smug about your good fortune;
    – Additional load on the nation’s economy, in the form of economic drag due to wasted expenditure and in the form of an increase in imports, to the detriment of the nation’s balance of payments; and
    – Hugely diminished safety outcomes. Solar is more dangerous than coal, which is much more dangerous than nuclear, on a cradle to grave basis.

    One final thought for you to ponder. Since your solar panels are on your roof, have you provided a safe working environment for them to be installed, inspected and maintained? In NSW, those activities are covered by the “Safe Working on Roofs” Guidelines under the OH&S Act and Regulations. My mate, the best man at my wedding, fell off his roof a couple of weeks back. He lived and is now recuperating at home, but his music playing and sailing days now appear to be entirely past tense. How many lives have to be lost or ruined before the rooftop solar industry is held to account for this stupid waste? This risk alone far outweighs all risks attributable to nuclear or, for that matter, coal or gas or hydro or … you name it.

    No matter how you spin it, rooftop solar in Australia, as elsewhere, has been nothing but a calamity from start to finish.

  2. David Harris

    Sorry, TINMAN_AU, my solar PV cells DO help me cook my dinner when I get home from work in the evening. During the day, when the house uses next to nothing my PV system is pumping power into the grid, for which I receive $0.52/kw.hr. To cook my dinner after sunset I buy it back at $0.21/kw.hr, so I cook my dinner for the same cost as without PV, but get a rebate of more than twice as much from the electricity supplier. I think that helps. I realise that the feed-in tariff system is different between states but for me, in SA, it works OK.

  3. tinman_au

    Solar HW should be mandatory (I think it is in newer places in Qld now). It works exactly the way you expect it to (heck, I don’t even need to use the booster unless it’s a really cloudy for a few days in a row).

    All the rest of the renewable energy systems are currently lacking for your average Aussie “mum and dad” though, either they generate at the wrong time (PV cells don’t help me cook my dinner when I get home from work for eg), or have other issues that limit where and/or when they can be used.

    4th gen reactors like Pebble Beds (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_reactor) solve a lot of issues people have with nuclear, and could well be what can help fill the gap till either the renewables get their act together for consistent, reliable power generation for peak times, or until someone finally cracks the whole fusion thing.

  4. Mark Duffett

    MRJ, I agree with just about all you say @2:02pm, (with the exception of renewables being ‘just around the corner’), especially on PV vs solar hot water. But that even professed nuclear hard-heads like having it (at least when it’s extremely heavily subsidised) is testimony to the former’s deep emotional appeal (though I’d hope they have solar HW as well). Indeed, I recently heard a Christian theologian/environmental ethicist describe the attraction of solar energy in spiritual terms.

  5. michael r james

    [JOHN BENNETTS Posted Monday, 21 March 2011 at 1:15 pm
    …..but it (Renewable energy) lies far beyond the reach of current technology…..]

    Well, in Australia it goes without saying that it is far beyond reach when it is perpetually starved of R&D cash and what programs exist to take it to the next level (Solar Flagships) is delayed for years at the drop of any old excuse.

    But forget Australia (I try to, it makes me depressed) renewables are just around the corner. While it seems we might have to give up on the USA for the moment, with Germany, Japan and of course ongoing efforts in China, I was serious that the Fukushima mess might be a turning point for ramping up renewables. (whisper it to save Australian research efforts, but if Japan tried geothermal they would probably hit the bigtime).

    And Mark, that rooftop PV was a disaster. Domestic solar-PV is currently unjustified in Australia because it is way too expensive and (unlike Germany, US, China) it doesn’t actually support our own industry (all the panels are imported, these days from China who is probably loss-leading/dumping on the world) except for those relatively low-skill installers. On top of that it is diverting big money from real efforts and has soured the politics of green energy (and RET & REC).

    On the other hand I look around at the rooftops of Brisbane (that gets so much sun even on a so-called cloudy day like today) and I reckon less than one in 20, maybe even fewer, have solar-HW. Not only is that very efficient cost-wise, it displaces the largest use of electrical power in households. And it reduces the need for those grid upgrades (one day when it is much more efficient and cheaper domestic solar-PV will do the same on an even bigger scale than HW).

  6. Mark Duffett

    @JB yes, your first point is illustrated by how many pro-nukes I know who either have rooftop solar PV or would like to.

  7. John Bennetts

    Michael R J, I am sure that many pro nuclear people would agree with me when I say that I really, deep down, would love our energy sources to be derived entirely from wind, solar PV, solar thermal and geothermal.

    That is preferable by far to the nuclear option, but it lies far beyond the reach of current technology.

    Because nuclear has its nose well in front of coal, gas and oil on matters such as climate change and the proven poorer cradle-to-grave safety outcomes, I remain convinced that nuclear options must be evaluated alongside all others and not removed on purely emotional grounds.

    Having said that, I accept that people must re-evaluate their options with care, given the issues uncovered in Japan re earthquake (Pass?), tsunami (Fail?), spent rod storage (Fail?), operations and regulatory oversight (TBA?) and plant layout (Fail?). It has not been pretty and there are some hard lessons to be learned, especially in regard to older designs.

    I cannot say that I support your suggestion that the older German plants be kept in operation. Removing them from service may be an inconvenience and perhaps a careful review will indicate that they can be returned to service later, but right now it is a valid and brave call by Angela Merkel. That’s one tough lady.

  8. Mark Duffett

    Thanks for the tip, by the way.

  9. Mark Duffett

    @MRJ, I’m quite certain that the current German position (a backflip on their backflip on their planned phase-out) is entirely politically driven, and has nothing to do with the economics. As such, my citation serves solely as a glimpse of the stupendous costs (and implied resource consumption) associated with renewables.

    The position in Germany (and all the other countries that have announced short-term moratoria or pauses) may well change again by the time those review periods are completed. I disagree that political opinion is irretrievable; I remain hopeful that the ground lost can be recovered once it dawns that the worst case scenario has now been realised, yet the environmental and human health impact has been comparatively tiny. Otherwise, as you say ‘more fossil fuel plants ramp up or…rationing energy’ is exactly what we face. Renewables may well prosper out of this in the near future, but coal and gas even more so. As I commented on Giles Parkinson’s Climate Spectator leader today, you only have to look at price movements in coal and gas producers over the last ten days to see what market wisdom says about this. Whether 3 decades of serious R&D would have made any difference or not, this is the reality.

  10. michael r james

    Mark, incidentally I would keep those German reactors going for as long as is deemed safe, because the extra life would get Germany through this transition period from fossil+nuclear to safer and affordable (not “cheap”) renewable power. But it seems the political opinion is irretreivable; worse, it may actually make things worse when the last nuclear plants close down and either more fossil fuel plants ramp up to replace them, or Germany starts rationing energy.

    I am not and have never been totally against nuclear energy. But it is not the future (even if China builds all its planned reactors it will still be only 15% of their power requirements) and all those massive subsidies takes away from what should have been 3 decades of serious R&D into solar, geothermal, tidal etc.

  11. michael r james

    @MARK DUFFETT Posted Monday, 21 March 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I just read that article on German push for green energy. Not at all sure of your comment about others reaching different conclusions then citing that article, since it all about a huge new German push into green energy after conceding this past week that their nuclear plants are history. This is the bit of good news to result from Japan’s Fukushima misfortune—even if the panic is overdone or not (not the point, in the real world this is a severe blow to nuclear power in the west if not China, even Barry Brook admitted that on the weekend on Adelaide tv.) That is, it might provide the push and popular political approval, for a really major effort to go green. I’m hoping the same thing might happen in Japan (though I suspect they will turn to new gas plants in the immediate future).

    Yes the grid will be expensive and ours will be too–but you do know that a lot of the increases in retail electricity prices have been to fund the grid upgrades? Very few commentators claim that green energy comes cheap but the problem with the nuclear advocates is they are in deep denial about its real costs and subsidies, similar to other fossil fuel subsidies.

    Incidentally if you put the URL comme ca, it will get thru the filter.
    (climatespectator.com.au/news/germany-sees-need-huge-push-widen-power-grid)

  12. Mark Duffett

    Indeed it is a hard headed look at the true costs that you and Bernard Keane have relied on to write off nuclear, MR James. There are others, which reach quite different conclusions. I wonder if the former have taken this sort of thing into account: climatespectator dot com dot au/news/germany-sees-need-huge-push-widen-power-grid

  13. michael r james

    @John Bennets.
    “BreveNewClimate”: nice Freudian typo because I dearly wish the BNC site was “breve” ie. brief and succinct instead of being bloated, constantly contradictory/internally inconsistent and close to unreadable. As to your denial of my claims:

    [abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2834489.htm(Barry Brook, March 2010):
    Is it possible to find ‘clean energy’ alternatives that are cheaper than coal, oil and gas? Not immediately, no, but it should be possible – indeed, inevitable, when future supply constraints are considered – if we avoid unnecessary and unfair regulatory and investment burdens. …….
    (..and..)
    Loan guarantees to kick-start private investment – which are not subsidies, but risk management aids – seem like one of the most effective forms of government intervention to making things happen. 

    (…and..)
    And if you wish people to take your plan seriously, you must be prepared to tell them how much it will likely cost…..]

    So, all that regulation is “unnecessary and unfair”. The gigantic governmental subsidies are really just loan guarantees, like the $36B the Obama administration wants to use to kick restart the US nuclear industry (but which his own Office of Budget & Management has warned will with high likelihood turn from guarantees into tax-payer losses (ie. direct subsidies), but see here:

    (theage.com.au/opinion/politics/nuclear-economics-just-dont-add-up-20091223-lcuj.html).

    It is in fact a hard headed look at the true costs that makes nuclear only a minor part of the energy future, as Bernard Keane said in Crikey last week and he and I and others have repeatedly written:
    (theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/nuclear-its-just-too-expensive-for-us-and-the-rest-of-the-world-20100225-p4y3.html)
    (crikey.com.au/2009/08/26/crunching-the-numbers-on-nuclear-energy-versus-renewables/)

    Brook wants to have his cake and to eat it. Claims nuclear is so, so safe that the safety regulation is unfair. It could be so, so cheap…yet is ruiniously expensive in reality. But never worry about all the awkward data on existing reactors actual real world costs, (or unsolved waste issues which is why all those spent fuel rods are still on site at Fukushima) the next-gen Type IV blah, blah will solve all these little problems.
    I sincerely wish Barry would use his considerable intellect, passion and energy towards solutions that will be truly clean, uncontentious and politically and financially practical.

  14. John Bennetts

    @ Michael James,

    You say “Barry Brook and his ilk already complain about too much regulation driving the cost up, and if we just left it to private industry to get on with it the cost of next-gen nukes would plummet”.

    Balderdash, several times.

    Firstly Barry has never published such a statement. He has published arguments indicating the safety of nuclear power… these arguments, eg in “Why Vs Why – Nuclear Power”, 2010, are as true now as they were last year. The human cost of competing energy sources is still demonstrably much greater than that of nuclear power in most cases. His web site, BreveNewClimate, contains wide ranging discussion from many contributors, some few of whom have indeed said such things, but they have not been supported by either Barry or the majority of contributors.

    Secondly, Barry has focussed his energies on the science, the engineering and the economics of nunuclear power generation and has clearly distinguished between the risks and costs of older technologies, eg BWR’s, as against more recent designs, through to the Type IV reactors which promise huge advantages in safety due: to ending the need to mine uranium for thousands of years; consuming 99% of uranium instead of only 0.7% of it; being able to accept and to dispose of as fuel, spent uranium, depleted uranium and weapons grade materials. Type IV reactors offer the only available way to rid the world of these materials for ever.

    Third: Next time you choose to put words into others’ mouths, please be so kind as to check your facts first. A citation might help you to avoid the appearance of being a liar of just plain lazy. A reference directly to the person concerned would be nice. Barry has demonstrated, via his blog and elsewhere, that he is prepared to review and amend his opinion as facts come available. Re=ad it and you will find recent instances where, in the light of unexpected emerging data (facts), he has immediately apologised, explained and proceeded with caution.

    Some appear not to worry about facts.

    Finally, emerging technologies, eg Type IV reactors and counting backwards to all of the reactors constructed after the 1970’s, are prime amongst the reasons for improved safety of modern and future power plants of all types, including coal and all of the rest, not simply a vague supposition that, somehow, it is all due to regulation within the US marketplace.

    Sweeping, vague, wild affirmations based on preconception are useless and are incapable of providing a basis for the rational analysis of what went wrong in Japan or of how to build a better future.

    In closing, I am sure that Barry Brook has posted many times his opinion that nuclear power should be considered along with all other possible power generation technologies, when planning for a better future. I am not aware of any occasion when Barry has advocated, for example, outlawing of even the most environmentally insensitive tidal power proposal or most expensive solar PV scheme – only that a full range of analytical tools should be used to assess all proposals, so that the best available may be selected.

    Barry has not written off any non-nuclear technology and neither is it reasonable for others to write off all nuclear technologies. I, too, recommend against writing off nuclear without first doing the numbers. As for 1960’s and 1970’s standard nuclear, as for all other power sources of that vintage, I am sure that the subsequent decades have seem substantial improvements in design and operation, safety and cost. To rule out consideration of these improvements is folly and the certain sign of a bigotted fool.

  15. michael r james

    @Smithy.
    No let’s not say they survived the quake perfectly well “but was then disabled by a separate catastrophic event” ?”

    The evidence is not there (yet) to support the first claim but we understand why you and Barry Brook and all pro-nuclear advocates wish it to be true. It now seems the fuel storage may have been damaged all along and took many hours or days to build up into the overt semi-disaster. And this is not trivial–and is why I wrote about it in my Wednesday summary on Crikey (blogs.crikey.com.au/rooted/2011/03/16/japans-nuclear-crisis-the-technical-facts/) before the storage pool fire first happened (but which had happened by the time my piece finally went to press). I wrote about it partly because it had been a problem in the similar situation in 2007:

    [Indeed Japan’s prior worst and most controversial nuclear accident occurred after the 2007 Chūetsu offshore earthquake shutdown all reactors at the world’s largest nuclear power facility, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa site in Niigata. In addition to radiation leakage from reactor buildings there was also leakage from a spent fuel storage pool and 40 drums of waste. ]

    And it has been exacerbated by the fact that Japan (along with the US and most other nuclear countries) has never resolved its long-term nuclear waste handling problem, so spent fuel was allowed to simply build up at the reactor sites. In itself that is not such a bad thing to do–EXCEPT that with these designs, the pools were perched in concrete tanks about 25 metres up in the air! (Most spent fuel was in the temporary storage pools relative to the single ground-level pool on the site.)

    You say “designed to fail in a safe and predictable way in an earthquake of magnitude X, did so in an earthquake of magnitude 10X” as if they should earn brownie points. They should have designed it for the higher quake but were just betting that the “one in 100 years event” would not happen. It did (not exactly a statistical outlier when the plants are >40 years old.) And the reason why these things are not designed for more extreme events always comes down to one thing: money. And the reason why these things happen in Japan is because private industry pretty much runs the show. Yet Barry Brook and his ilk already complain about too much regulation driving the cost up, and if we just left it to private industry to get on with it the cost of next-gen nukes would plummet, and could be churned out like Model T Fords. Oh, and why were these original GE designed-and-built reactors not as safe as the GE ones in the US? Because of regulation in the US that changed the design (and no doubt made them more expensive.)

  16. drsmithy

    You and others keep insisting that the Daiichi plants were earthquake proof.

    Actually, no. There’s a reason I put “earthquake proof” in quotes.

    The reactors were designed to survive an earthquake of a particular strength, and fail gracefully and predictably. The one that actually happened was nearly ten times as powerful and not only did the reactors survive, they shut down safely exactly as they had been designed to do. It was only when the ensuring tsunami knocked out the backup power for the cooling, that problems began to arise. It’s also worth noting that the two factors making Chernobyl so bad – no containment vessel, and a burning moderator that allowed radioactive particles to be carried far and wide from the site in smoke – would not be present even in a worst-case “meltdown” scenario at Fukushima.

    Further, modern designs are physically incapable of “meltdown”. Ie: even the worst-case failure mode is fairly benign.

    The first point here is that it’s not an inherently bad idea to build a new reactor in an area subject to earthquakes, any more than it is an inherently bad idea to build a new [anything] in the same area. The second point is that you cannot use the events happening here to decide whether or not a completely different reactor design is “safe” or not.

    But it has been reported that some workers were inside the main reactor buildings during the quake and were terrified the concrete structure was about to come down on them. And they observed (I think it was reactor 2) concrete cracking and water cascading down on them, not clear if it was from the storage pools. They also described how the buildings swayed widely rather than shook like most other earthquakes.

    You call the reactors shutting down as designed “hardly proof”, then offer up anecdotal reports of people being scared and describing a building in an earthquake as some sort of counter-argument ?

    In short, please, let us not describe these plants as “earthquake proof”.

    No arguments from me. How about we say “designed to fail in a safe and predictable way in an earthquake of magnitude X, did so in an earthquake of magnitude 10X, but was then disabled by a separate catastrophic event” ?

    I think the point about saying radioactivity is “undetectable” is that no one carries around Geiger counters with them; and that you would be completely unaware while receiving a lethal dose.

    Sources of radiation capable of producing a lethal dose generally don’t just appear without warning or secondary indicators (like, say, and earthquake and tsunami).

  17. michael r james

    @DrSmithy.

    You and others keep insisting that the Daiichi plants were earthquake proof. But that is an open question, though at the moment I would say the evidence is against it. We will have to wait the inquiry (and hope this time TEPCO does not lie and obfuscate like they have in previous reports). The fact that they went into shutdown mode is hardly proof.

    Yes, the buildings largely survived (and by the time this is all over and they can be examined in safety by experts, it may prove impossible to tell what damage was from the earthquake versus the hydrogen explosions). But it has been reported that some workers were inside the main reactor buildings during the quake and were terrified the concrete structure was about to come down on them. And they observed (I think it was reactor 2) concrete cracking and water cascading down on them, not clear if it was from the storage pools. They also described how the buildings swayed widely rather than shook like most other earthquakes.

    So there is evidence that some of the pool structure was damaged during the quake, possibly allowing some leaks (there are claims of torn inner stainless steel liners and broken outer concrete shells). Modelling has also showed that swaying of the structure with open top containers holding 2,000 tonnes of water (and >500 fuel rods) high up in the building is enough to cause a lot of spillage (doh, good design, huh!) , so this may have caused the low water levels. Or possibly both leaks and spillage account for what was mystifying the engineers as to where all the water went. (Incidentally, I know they had 3 live reactors to worry about and power and backup power failures and all, but it seems a tad negligent to have just ignored the storage pools for so long, apparently just assuming that the usual heat output would not be a problem until they got the water pumps working. Even though some workers had actually observed water spillage/leakage. And when they knew power loss etc meant none of the sensors–temperature and water level etc.–were working.)

    And ditto for the clean water storage for normal top-up and cooling circuits.

    Next, we do not yet know exactly what happened to knock out both power, backup power and pump/electrical control rooms, such that even providing diesel generators (brought in from off-site) could not restore cooling circuits. (On this issue, it is not at all apparent to me why restoring grid power as was done Friday, should solve the cooling circuit problem–maybe it wouldn’t, and was merely to overcome the constant difficulty in provisioning of diesel.) Was this comprehensive failure at multiple levels purely from flooding or was there also structural damage from the quake? And incidentally, even if the nuclear site itself had been tsunami proof, the surrounding town was not and so grid power was lost.

    In short, please, let us not describe these plants as “earthquake proof”.
    ……………………………………………
    @Mark D.
    I think the point about saying radioactivity is “undetectable” is that no one carries around Geiger counters with them; and that you would be completely unaware while receiving a lethal dose.
    (Crikey moderators don’t work much on weekends, thus long delays for moderation of posts caught by auto screening. Fairfax do not even allow Comments on weekends!)

    Just FYI everyone, these Japanese plants were constructed before the Chernobyl plant.

  18. Mark Duffett

    sorry, was actually referring to MLF @ Friday 9:13pm.

  19. Mark Duffett

    Just a tad annoyed with my comment being in moderation for over 24 hours, so I’ll have a go with a slightly stripped-down URL:

    Shorter Rundle (at least the bits I could make any sense of whatsoever): People are irrational about nuclear energy. Deal with it.

    No. We cannot surrender the Enlightenment so easily.

    “undetectable”? Radioactivity is actually one of the easiest pollutants to detect, because…it radiates. Sure you might not be able to pick up a Geiger counter or gamma ray spectrometer at your local Dick Smith’s, but they’re not that hard to come by. And “annihilation of whole areas as zones for the living”, when the Chernobyl exclusion zone is now one of the most fecund places in Europe? But I digress.

    I know Rundle likes to try to get ahead of the curve in his trend-spotting, but wouldn’t it be a good idea to wait until all the facts are in before spouting phrases like “disaster unravelling a whole corner of the Earth”? Could it possibly be that this is why nuclear advocates have ‘fallen silent’, except when we can’t take the Olympic-standard jumping to conclusions any more, such as here?

    Particularly (and coincidentally) in light of MLF’s last, above, the following was just posted by a friend of mine resident in Tokyo:

    npr dot org/2011/03/16/134567692/nuke-o-noia-the-worst-threat-to-japan

  20. MLF

    Don – re: your post last night. Yes, you would think huh?

    Yesterday was a terrible day, so much yuck in the world from here to NZ to Japan, Libya, Bahrain…. And then to see those people, mostly elderly, in Japan suffering like that, I mean, god. It’s just beyond heartbreaking. I am sure we are doing something, but like in every single natural disaster situation I can think of, all that springs to mind is – how hard is it to get food and water to these people.

    Anyway…

  21. Venise Alstergren

    “”No more “unwise” than placing any other building in such a location.””

    That is a cop out, and is verging on condescension; you know it. Even if you could find a mentally-challenged cretin prepared to build in an earthquake zone. He/she would find the insurance rates prohibitive.

    “”No more “unwise” than placing any other building in such a location.”” Once again think of the insurance rates. And don’t be patronising.

    Next question? And if you can’t forego downright rudeness, don’t bother to reply. I certainly have better things to do. Which re-minds me I have to eat something.

  22. drsmithy

    Do you not think it may have been unwise to place these things in proven tsunami/earthquake zones?

    No more “unwise” than placing any other building in such a location.

    After all Indonesia is another country about to construct nuclear power plants. Another country infamous for its earthquakes-Krakatoa anyone. Why build on known earthquake zones when another part of the same country may be safer?

    Is another part of country any “safer” ? What is “safer”, anyway ?

    Do tell me if the United States has nuclear power plants tucked away on the San Andreas fault line? I’ve a horrible feeling you are going to answer ‘Yes.’

    Probably.

  23. Venise Alstergren

    I’m sort of thinking that a nuclear power plant could have something in common with another nuclear power plant-just as each shoe has in common the need to put it on a foot. Therefore, and considering their importance, why not construct them in a similar manner so certain parts can be replaced? Not unlike a car, I suppose?

    Do you not think it may have been unwise to place these things in proven tsunami/earthquake zones? After all Indonesia is another country about to construct nuclear power plants. Another country infamous for its earthquakes-Krakatoa anyone. Why build on known earthquake zones when another part of the same country may be safer?

    Do tell me if the United States has nuclear power plants tucked away on the San Andreas fault line? I’ve a horrible feeling you are going to answer ‘Yes.’

  24. drsmithy

    QUESTION: Why is it OK to build earthquake-proof buildings, but not earthquake proof nuclear power plants? Seems a strange hypothesis to me.

    The power plants were “earthquake proof”. The problems only started when the tsunami disabled the cooling systems.

    Do you mean to suggest that an existing power plant doesn’t, as soon as the modern ones come onto the market, start replacing faulty and earlier designs?

    This doesn’t even make sense, but I’m pretty sure I know what you’re trying to say.

    The point, is that you cannot use the problems with old reactor designs to judge new ones. Or, to put it another way, what’s become a non-catastrophe at Fukushima cannot be used as a justification to avoid reactors that couldn’t even have had those problems.

  25. Venise Alstergren

    Whoa there DRSMITHY! Why do I have a couple of questions niggling at me? Such as the sheer size of this earthquake/tsunami makes me wonder why the loss of life hasn’t been greater? Could it be to do with the fact that quite a few large buildings survived, because they had been built to withstand earthquakes?

    QUESTION: Why is it OK to build earthquake-proof buildings, but not earthquake proof nuclear power plants? Seems a strange hypothesis to me.

    Finally, and I apologise for being obtuse, “”Modern reactors have already been designed that are physically incapable of meltdown.””

    Do you mean to suggest that an existing power plant doesn’t, as soon as the modern ones come onto the market, start replacing faulty and earlier designs? Woe is me, could it be, that the profit motive even carries over to deliberately fail to replace, or re-build something which has so much potential to kill half the population of a mega-city?

    If a patient presents him/herself to their local leech only to discover they’ve got a nasty case of diverticulitis; does the leech say “Your bowel is going to explode within three months, but there’s a new drug which has been developed. It should hit the market, in about six months, would you like to take the risk and wait?

    Or does he waltz you into the nearest hospital ASAP, because he wants to save your life? Would it be totally unreasonable to expect our civic leaders to insist on the same level of concern, the same standards, as we receive from our health-care experts?

  26. drsmithy

    All I need to know is WTF a nuclear plant could have been given governmental permission to be placed in an earthquake prone area?

    Because it was built to withstand it ? The reactors survived the earthquake just fine, even though it was an order of magnitude more powerful than the ones they were designed for. If that’s not evidence of incredible (over-) engineering, I don’t know what is.

    The real story here with the Nukes is that the industry appears to have learnt nothing since Chernobyl – and dismissed the day after there as simply a Soviet problem – whereas old Western nuclear reactors were better and planning for the absolute worse was not needed.

    Er, no. The difference is in the West planning for worst case (or even just plain bad) scenarios actually happened.

    ,blockquote>And we know what the worst case is – Chernobyl – a full meltdown. That the buildings and design are different is a minor issue in a worst case situation.
    Actually no, it’s not. Proper buildings and reactor design turn a catastrophe like Chernobyl into a relatively benign incident like TMI.

    100 years from now – energy consumption will be 100 times what it is today.

    At least. As electric cars start to replace ICE vehicles, public transport networks enlarge and the other two thirds of the world take up a western lifestyle, energy requirements are going to skyrocket.

    Personally I’ll be surprised if we make it fifty years without a near 100x increase in energy requirements.

    Fission is essentially 1940 era science, whereas today’s semiconductor manufacturing technology is being invented a new as we speak.

    PV cells today are the same as they were half a century ago, they just benefit from better materials science.

    Much like nuclear reactors. Modern reactor designs, for example, are incapable of “meltdown” and both the fuel and waste are much easier to handle safely.

    Incidentally, the first PV cells were made in the 1800s, so by that measure nuclear fission is “newer”.

    They saw what happened at Chernobyl and they simply dismissed it.

    That’s because everything that went wrong at Chernobyl had already been accounted for in Western designs and policies decades before. Which is why Three Mile Island, and now this, were not horrendous disasters like Chernobyl was.

    That’s a human failure to manage technology – and the technology might be much more manageable if the danger was taken seriously.

    The danger is taken very seriously, and any argument to the contrary is just flat out ridiculous. The reactors survived an earthquake ten times more powerful than the one they had been designed for. Modern reactors have already been designed that are physically incapable of meltdown.

    BTW: Australia will open up what’s left of her mines as places to dispose of everyone else’s nuclear garbage. Why? Because we will be told to.

    Or maybe because it’s the ethically responsible, and economically advantageous, thing to do ?

  27. Dogs breakfast

    Nail – Hammer!

    Nuclear proponents would do well to get their hand off it.

    Thanks Guy, except for the kludge word, the promethean aspects and reading right wing diatribes as research, pretty much exactly what my wife and I have been saying this past week.

  28. Don

    MLF wrote: “But what are these choppers not doing? They’re not dropping food or water or medicines to the thousands and thousands and thousands of people who are freezing and starving to literal death in the centres set up in those 3 precincts worst affected by last Friday’s quake and Tsunami. ”

    You would think that supplying Japan with as many choppers as it needs for dropping food and medicines to people freezing and starving to death would be the very least that the rich nations of the world could so easily do.

  29. Mark Duffett

    Shorter Rundle (at least the bits I could make any sense of whatsoever): People are irrational about nuclear energy. Deal with it.

    No. We cannot surrender the Enlightenment so easily.

    “undetectable”? Radioactivity is actually one of the easiest pollutants to detect, because…it radiates. Sure you might not be able to pick up a Geiger counter or gamma ray spectrometer at your local Dick Smith’s, but they’re not that hard to come by. And “annihilation of whole areas as zones for the living”, when the Chernobyl exclusion zone is now one of the most fecund places in Europe? But I digress.

    I know Rundle likes to try to get ahead of the curve in his trend-spotting, but wouldn’t it be a good idea to wait until all the facts are in before spouting phrases like “disaster unravelling a whole corner of the Earth”? Could it possibly be that this is why nuclear advocates have ‘fallen silent’, except when we can’t take the Olympic-standard jumping to conclusions any more, such as here?

    Particularly (and coincidentally) in light of MLF’s last, above, the following was just posted by a friend of mine resident in Tokyo:

    http://www.npr.org/2011/03/16/134567692/nuke-o-noia-the-worst-threat-to-japan

  30. MLF

    Meanwhile….

    “The devastating impact of the Japanese earthquake on the country’s ageing population was exposed on Thursday as dozens of elderly people were confirmed dead in hospitals and residential homes as heating fuel and medicine ran out.

    In one particularly shocking incident, Japan’s self-defence force discovered 128 elderly people abandoned by medical staff at a hospital six miles from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. Most of them were comatose and 14 died shortly afterwards. Eleven others were reported dead at a retirement home in Kesennuma because of freezing temperatures, six days after 47 of their fellow residents were killed in the tsunami. The surviving residents of the retirement home in Kesennuma were described by its owner, Morimitsu Inawashida, as “alone and under high stress”. He said fuel for their kerosene heaters was running out.”

  31. Venise Alstergren

    SIMON M: As long as Australians are mesmerised by the act of kow-towing to a superior power, so long will we not need to work out a solution. We will do what we have always done-we will do exactly what we are told to do. And, by way of defraying our national contemptible and supine acquiescence to a superior power- England, then America, China in the future?-we will go out and defeat the world in a noodle-throwing contest, or indeed, a spitting contest. This will prove to ourselves that we really are a relevant entity in world affairs.

    The cup attending the Olympic gold medal in the spitting contest, will be given by the then current king/queen/prince/princess of England. Australians will dutifully grovel before going out to get pissed.

    Clearly, you have the advantage of a technical mastery of the subject of things nuclear, to me. Where I, clearly have one advantage over you, in that I know how Australians think, and what our history has been.

    BTW: Australia will open up what’s left of her mines as places to dispose of everyone else’s nuclear garbage. Why? Because we will be told to.

  32. Simon Mansfield

    I guess my point is that we use have figured out how to use the quantum aspect to our advantage in chip design. And spintronics et al are now at the engineering design level. And the equipment to mass produce this exists or will soon be invented to exist. All technology evolves – and I think Guy has allowed a misplaced version of techno fear to cloud the issue.

    It really good be shoddy construction work and not the Tsunami that is the root cause of a key problem in the accident chain. And my critical point is that the nuclear industry appears to have done very little about dealing with events like this.

    They saw what happened at Chernobyl and they simply dismissed it. That’s a human failure to manage technology – and the technology might be much more manageable if the danger was taken seriously.

    There was a project to do a controlled meltdown that was shut down – I guess by Clinton – in the early 90s. That might have taught us how to do this properly. It is going to happen again. So we better figure out what to do earlier on.

    Moreover, the nuclear waste problem is not going away – so let’s figure out a solution. And leave the mega techno fear out of the equation. To go down that route is to simply give up – and that will achieve nothing – cause the waste problem ain’t going away without a solution.

  33. David Harris

    This also highlights our inability to really understand low probability events even when their consequences can be catastrophic. To say that you are building against a “possible once-in-a-hundred years” event does not mean that there will not be such an event for 100 years from now. It does mean that there is a small, but non-zero, chance that it will happen in ANY year, and that, over a time scale not much more than a human life, it will almost certainly occur – at least once. A more severe event – say once in 1000 years – can also happen any time, and in this case, it may well be unimaginable. So how do you design a facility to withstand it, especially when the investors and accountants are breathing down your neck and branding you a fear-monger and a wimp. Perhaps even an environmental activist!

  34. syzygium

    Simon, I think your energy projection is exaggerated. Anyway, we can’t predict 100 years into the future with any accuracy. I don’t disagree that we also need to find new sources of energy – and they can’t be from fossil fuels. But not nuclear.

    I understand microchip technology fairly well. There are two problems here – first a unilinear view of technology. Is metallurgy more or less “primitive” than paper? Metallurgy was developed first. The silicon transistor technology at the heart of the semiconductor is a 1960s technology, but you’re absolutely right – the improvements that are being made in production are incredible – to the point that we are reaching quantum limits in the design of semiconductors. Yet they still keep getting faster.

    But none of that is really the point. If you have another read of Rundle, what he’s saying is that this is something qualitatively different from trains, semiconductors or anything else people have made, because it has the possibility to alter the very functioning of life itself on a massive scale. Hence, Oppenheimer’s quote “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”.

  35. rubiginosa

    Kludge is exactly right. A primitive, inelegant, horrifically dangerous, hopelessly inefficient — but effective — answer to the problem.

  36. Simon Mansfield

    100 years from now – energy consumption will be 100 times what it is today.

    Read up on chip technology to understand the world we live in today and how fission is actually quite a primitive technology in comparison.

    Fission is essentially 1940 era science, whereas today’s semiconductor manufacturing technology is being invented a new as we speak.

    If you put your mind to it – no technology is benign – and you can kill a person with just about anything man made.

    In the 1860s trains use to be really dangerous. But who would think twice about getting on a Japanese bullet train today. Come to think of it – has a bullet train actually ever crashed and killed anyone in Japan.

  37. syzygium

    I’m not convinced that fission is primitive compared to semiconductors, but nonetheless – the fact that the iphone was adopted so readily while nuclear power remains politically unpalatable and will continue to be so for a long time, speaks to a fundamental unease we have with the technology. It has something to do with it being able to spread invisible death and render parts of the Earth uninhabitable.

    This isn’t about nature worship, it’s about recognising that not all technology is benign and that the decision to use or not use certain types of technology is a political issue driven by human beings. To me the difference between getting energy from semiconductors on a PVC array and getting energy from splitting an atomic nucleus is obvious.

    And technology, by the way, is not the only possible way to solve the energy problem. Lowering consumption can also help.

    And every nuclear disaster, there is always a reason why it happened this time, but next time will be better, safer. Until it isn’t. Then there’s a reason for that one, too.

  38. Simon Mansfield

    Actually splitting the atom is rather primitive compared to the semiconductor technologies that underpin today’s solar cells, memory chips, microprocessors and flat screens.

    All of these are far and away at the cutting edge of material science.

    Whereas splitting the atom – to boil water – to make steam – to drive a turbine – to generate electricity – to boil water – to make a cup of tea – so you can sit at your computer on the other side the world and pretend to write about science and technology in the early 21st century – is the old and primitive part here in this conversation.

    Technology made us human, and technology is the only possible way to solve a human material problem. To pretend otherwise is simply nature worship of the most deluded kind.

    The real story here with the Nukes is that the industry appears to have learnt nothing since Chernobyl – and dismissed the day after there as simply a Soviet problem – whereas old Western nuclear reactors were better and planning for the absolute worse was not needed.

    And we know what the worst case is – Chernobyl – a full meltdown. That the buildings and design are different is a minor issue in a worst case situation.

    My guess is that many of the old reactors – which is most reactors – are filled with design flaws that can lead to worst case situations that spiral out of control – if events conspire to make such a possibility.

    Then again it could be just a case of Japan’s only really corrupt industry sector – construction – coming back to bite Japan. In Kobe it was the pylons holding up the overhead expressways that fell over – they were filled with wood scraps to save on concrete – so who knows what short cuts were taken in these reactors during their construction – all those decades ago.

  39. Venise Alstergren

    All I need to know is WTF a nuclear plant could have been given governmental permission to be placed in an earthquake prone area? To me this bespeaks corruption on a scale comparable to a nuclear explosion itself. HOW did the Japanese government allow itself to be bought on such a gigantic scale?

    Recent articles have suggested that Indonesia is already planning it’s first nuclear plant installation. Hello? Has no one heard of Kracatoa? Or the last gigantic tsunami to have hit that country? Why not go the full caboodle and urge the Chilean government to install mega-plants? As the planet’s most earthquake prone country Chile is the obvious choice to lead with nuclear installations.

    As someone who has been edging towards being pro-nuclear, I am reversing my stand. Yes, nuclear probably is the way to go for the world’s power needs. It’s just unfortunate that people are too stupid, and governments are too corrupt, to utilise it properly.

    QED

  40. syzygium

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, Rundle. No, really, I couldn’t have. Which is why I’m glad you’re here. Thanks.

    Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and now this. Every second decade there is something, which is leading me to believe that the risk analyses are in fact wrong. The industry will say the next-generation reactors are much safer – maybe they are, but clearly we are also incapable of accurately calculating highly significant, rare events in an uncertain and complex world. To my mind that makes nuclear power unacceptable. Prometheus, indeed.

  41. Patrick Brosnan

    That Sheridan piece is insane. The first few pars about his trip to Japan 30 years ago look like the ravings of a dementia patient.

  42. Michael Sprange

    The predictable taking of sides for and against nuclear power through this tragedy is sad.

    Whilst I still have an open mind about nuclear power, I remain unimpressed by the spin the likes of O’neill and mophead Boris are delivering.

    We can only form a view in response to the current situation when it has settled down and we can fully assess it – which will be days away at least.

    Three points that no-one seems to have made clearly yet are:

    When police water cannon and helicopter water dumping is used to attempt to fix a problem you sort of know intuitively that those approaches aren’t prescribed in the operating manual – that’s scary and hasn’t happened with conventional power stations.

    One of the reasons for greater than normal fear is that the public information provided by the authorities has been inaccurate, incomplete, and regularly contradicted. This will naturally destabilise confidence. We need to assess if this applies to all nuclear plant operators or just TEPCO.

    Finally, inherently the “risk curve” of nuclear power is very different from conventional power generation. In a flood analogy it might be like saying with conventional power generation the risk is like low level floods at frequent intervals whereas the nuclear equivalent is catastrophic floods at extremely long intervals, although the relative net risk might be the same. We can only over time get an idea of how long those intervals might be, but our experiences right now leads us to think that they might be more frequent than we had thought prior to this earthquake.

  43. John Bennetts

    Sorry, not USAF pilots. Presumably, SDF pilots. Don’t know where that came from.

  44. John Bennetts

    Guy, you have decided to concentrate your bile on a single facet of a disaster which is many times as large as the reaqctor problems.

    References to “kludge technology” and to “skin and muscle sloughing off” are emotional and colourful, so they qualify under Limited News’ criteria, but where is the meaning, the essential truth?

    You and I may disagree, at least in part, about the merit of nuclear technologies for meeting this world’s energy demands, but what’s the meaning of “kludge” as against its inclusion for impact and emotion? It coveys no meaning.

    Regarding the supposed skin ailments of USAF pilots and crew, I suggest that you stick to demonstrable facts and stop doing a Bolter or an Albrechtson and relying entirely on fabrication and emotion?

    I like and look forward to reading so much of your work that this message is written, as they say, in sorrow. You can do so much better, and you owe it to your profession and to your readers to tone down the ranting.

  45. MLF

    And you know what else Guy, all the flying over the plant checking it out, dropping water etc. Essential activities in the current situation I grant you.

    But what are these choppers not doing? They’re not dropping food or water or medicines to the thousands and thousands and thousands of people who are freezing and starving to literal death in the centres set up in those 3 precincts worst affected by last Friday’s quake and Tsunami. Last Friday. A WEEK and these people are starving because everyone has to focus on the goddamned nuclear plants so noone is sending them food.

    Bugger me but I’m p-issed off with the world today.

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