You can’t say you have all the answers if you haven’t asked all the questions. So, at a conference on the medical and ecological consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, held to commemorate the second anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that struck northern Japan, there were lots of questions. Questions about what actually happened at Fukushima Daiichi in the first days after the quake, and how that differed from the official report; questions about what radionuclides were in the fallout and runoff, at what concentrations, and how far they have spread; and questions about what near- and long-term effects this disaster will have on people and the planet, and how we will measure and recognize those effects.
|By: Gregg Levine Monday April 8, 2013 2:05 pm|
|By: Gregg Levine Friday April 27, 2012 11:05 am|
California has two nuclear power plants. San Onofre, between Los Angeles and San Diego, has been offline for months as everyone tries to find an excuse for the alarmingly rapid wear on new reactor tubing. (Being shut down, however, did not prevent a fire from breaking out this week when a pipe ruptured and released radioactive steam.)
But as of Thursday, Diablo Canyon, the nuclear plant to the north, is also offline–thanks to. . . uh, salp?
|By: Gregg Levine Saturday April 7, 2012 11:30 am|
Late Thursday, the United States Coast Guard reported that they had successfully scuttled the Ryou-Un Maru, the Japanese “Ghost Ship” that had drifted into US waters after being torn from its moorings by the tsunami that followed the Tohoku earthquake over a year ago. The 200-foot fishing trawler, which was reportedly headed for scrap before it was swept away, was seen as potentially dangerous as it drifted near busy shipping lanes.
Coincidentally, the “disappearing” of the Ghost Ship came during the same week the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released its report on the effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster on the US marine environment, and, frankly, the metaphor couldn’t be more perfect.
|By: Gregg Levine Saturday December 10, 2011 11:11 am|
Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, made some comments to the press earlier this week. Jaczko, it seems, is worried. He believes, as noted in an Associated Press story, that “U.S. nuclear plant operators have become complacent, just nine months after the nuclear disaster in Japan.” The NRC head thinks that a slew of events at over a dozen domestic nuclear facilities reveal the safety of America’s reactors to be something less than optimal.
To be clear, safety concerns at any kind of plant, be it a soda bottler or a microchip manufacturer, are probably not trivial, but when the safe and secure operation of a nuclear facility comes into question–as the aftermath of Chernobyl or the ongoing crisis in Japan will tell you–it ratchets up concern to a whole different level. So, when the man who more or less serves as the chief safety officer for the entirety of the nation’s nuclear infrastructure says he’s worried, many, many other people should be worried, too.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday November 4, 2011 3:25 pm|
So begins a November 3rd story from Reuters assessing the potential political fallout from an administration decision to green-light the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada Corp’s plan to move crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to refineries in Texas. Reading the whole piece, one can’t help but feel that Obama is still of a mind to go ahead and OK this dangerous and much-derided plan, it is just the Obama 2012 campaign that’s agonizing over how to spin it.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday July 15, 2011 5:15 pm|
While most of creation is still trying to predict if Congress will raise the debt ceiling, and what will happen to the economy if they don’t, I thought I’d spend some quality time with disasters quite present, and in some ways, quite predictable. I am talking about nuclear power in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster.
|By: Gregg Levine Tuesday April 26, 2011 12:47 pm|
“There is no safe dose of radiation.” So begins today’s guest, Harvey Wasserman, in a recent piece, “’Safe’ Radiation is a Lethal Three Mile Island Lie,” and it occurred to me that it is hard to find a statement that is simultaneously so obvious and yet so controversial.
|By: Bill Egnor Tuesday April 26, 2011 8:50 am|
Forests around the Chernobyl plant are in the kind of shape where massive fires, the kind that last for months, can occur.
|By: Scarecrow Thursday March 31, 2011 2:00 pm|
Japanese officials on Thursday confronted significantly increased radiation readings, well above safe levels on land and sea. The increases occurred even as they continued efforts to inject fresh water in Units 1-3 reactors and spent fuel storage ponds and pumped contaminated water out of turbine building basements and nearby trenches.