FDL Book Salon Welcomes David Lochbaum, Susan Q. Stranahan, Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster

By: Saturday March 8, 2014 1:59 pm

David Lochbaum, Edwin Lyman, Susan Q. Stranahan and the Union of Concerned Scientists examine this question carefully in the long shadow of Fukushima Daiichi. The book contains both a gripping narrative of the nuclear accidents at Fukushima three years ago and a careful examination of the relationships between the nuclear industry and its regulators in Japan, especially as viewed from an American perspective, and as replayed on the American stage. The authors are experts in these matters and the writing is terrific.

 

The Party Line – September 16, 2011: Though Nuclear Crisis Continues, IAEA Can’t Force Safety Overhaul

By: Friday September 16, 2011 3:26 pm

On Monday, September 12, an incinerator explosion at a French nuclear waste processing center killed one, injured four, and created just enough nuclear news to edge this week’s other nuclear story right out of the headlines.

The explosion, which is reported not to have caused any leak of radiation, was at a facility that reprocesses used nuclear reactor fuel in order to create a more toxic, less stable form of fuel commonly known as “mixed oxide” or MOX. MOX, which is a tasty blend of uranium and plutonium, was in at least some of the rods in some of the reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi facility when it suffered catastrophic failures after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami–and the presence of MOX fuel made the fallout from explosions at the Japanese plant more dangerous as a result. (More dangerous than already extremely dangerous might seem like a trivial addendum, but it is of note if for no other reason than the manufacture and use of MOX fuel is what nuclear power proponents think of when they call it a “renewable resource.”)

The Party Line – September 9, 2011: Shaken, But Still Not Stirred

By: Friday September 9, 2011 4:01 pm

Sunday, September 11, will of course be the tenth anniversary of a tragedy that fundamentally changed America in ways we are still trying to understand. But this 9/11 is also a day for other anniversaries, ones that will likely get little, if any, recognition in the US.

The Party Line: Earthquakes, Hurricane Highlight Serious Flaws with Nuclear Power and Its Regulation

By: Friday September 2, 2011 3:22 pm

Spent fuel storage casks move in an earthquake. Hurricane Irene scrams a Maryland reactor and floods a backup generator. Radioactive sludge is rapidly accumulating at Japanese sewage plants. And yet, US nuclear regulators still see no need for quick action to improve safety regimes.

Virginia Quake Yet Another Wakeup Call for Sleepy Nuclear Regulators

By: Sunday August 28, 2011 7:40 am

It is now believed that a meltdown in at least one of the reactors started before the tsunami that followed Japan’s March 11 earthquake. In other words, as I reported previously, the earthquake damaged the containment vessel or, more likely, the cooling system before the massive wave knocked out the backup generators and, thus, power to the cooling system. So, the loss of power did not lead to at least some of the meltdown—earthquake damage did.

The Party Line: Japan Nuclear Crisis Continues, Highlighting More Potential Dangers in US

By: Friday August 19, 2011 3:00 pm

Imagine, if you will, living somewhat close to a nuclear reactor—not right next door, but close enough—and then imagine that an accident at that reactor causes a large release of radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere. Certainly scary, but maybe less scary because you know your government has computer models that show where the nuclear fallout will blow and fall, and they explain that the amounts that will blow and fall on you are negligible.

Sure, you might think twice about that reassurance, but it is not like they are saying everything is OK. The government, after all, did evacuate some people based on their fallout models. . . so they are on top of it.

The Party Line – July 22, 2011: Fixing a Hole

By: Friday July 22, 2011 3:12 pm

Why not take advantage of this situation—which has the added advantage of being the truth—and demand a clean vote, and only a clean vote, on the debt ceiling? Why not tell the American people that if we do this, and keep the money supply cheap and fluid, then government can do what it is supposed to do—what it can do: care for its people, create jobs in a time of need, repair aging infrastructure, research and develop new, greener energy sources (hint, hint—which will not only wean us off of expensive oil and nuclear power, but it could help build the economic engine that could power the US economy for the next decade), and provide a better life for every level of society?

The Party Line – June 3, 2011: A Tale of Two Countries

By: Friday June 3, 2011 12:17 pm

In one country, a government that campaigned on a move to green energy reacts to the nuclear crisis in Japan by reaffirming its commitment to nuclear power. In another country, a government that, only nine months ago, endorsed a plan to expand its reliance on nuclear power reacts to the Fukushima disaster by vowing to shut down all domestic nuclear reactors by 2022, and invest in conservation and alternative energy.

The latter of the two examples is, at present, actually the one more dependent on nuclear power for its domestic electricity production, so what can explain its more populist response to current events?

FDL Late Night: End of the World Sundae?

By: Tuesday April 12, 2011 8:00 pm

Let’s face it, things are weird. I am avoiding using any Dickensian references because I think they could be only half right and not the happy half, but there is a small of amount of hope: Fukishima may not be exactly as bad Chernobyl; Bradley Manning’s treatment got called on the State Dept carpet by AP reporters; the discovery of a 300-million-year-old shark jawbone found 700 feet below ground in a Kentucky coal mine may disrupt ebiblefellowship.com’s End Times calendar stating May 21 as the Rapture/Judgment Day and October 21 as the End of the World, which seems designed to one-up the Mayan 2012 countdown.*

Japan Nuclear Disaster Update: Increased Radiation Detected on Land and Sea

By: 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.

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