White House on Japan: Nuclear power remains a part of Obama’s energy plan

posted at 4:27 pm on March 14, 2011 by Allahpundit

Reassuring, but there’s a caveat. Isn’t there always?

Nuclear “remains a part of the president’s overall energy plan,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said at a briefing also attended by Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko and Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman.

Carney deflected questions on whether President Barack Obama would support Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman’s call for a freeze on permitting of new U.S. nuclear power plants until more was known about the causes of the Japanese problems…

Jaczko added that given the large distances involved, it’s “very unlikely” that harmful radiation from Japan will make its way to Hawaii or the West Coast.

We’ve had no fewer than four worthy pieces in Headlines over the past 18 hours explaining why the Fukushima crisis won’t be another Chernobyl. If you missed them last night and this morning, catch up now with Owen Matthews, William Tucker, William Saletan, and especially this widely-linked piece by Dr. Joseph Oehmen of MIT. In fact, even the stories today headlined by screaming warnings about possible meltdowns in all three damaged reactors at Fukushima tend to come with caveats like this:

International scientists say there are serious dangers but little risk of a catastrophe like the 1986 blast in Chernobyl, where there was no containment shells.

And, some analysts noted, the length of time since the nuclear crisis began indicates that the chemical reactions inside the reactor were not moving quickly toward a complete meltdown.

“We’re now into the fourth day. Whatever is happening in that core is taking a long time to unfold,” said Mark Hibbs, a senior associate at the nuclear policy program for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “They’ve succeeded in prolonging the timeline of the accident sequence.”

Supposedly the fuel rods at reactor number two — the latest to reach crisis stage — are now (or were recently) completely exposed, increasing the risk of a meltdown. After a weekend spent reading confusing/contradictory/hysterical stories, my layman’s understanding of the situation is as follows. There’s been at least a partial meltdown of the fuel rods in one or more reactors; small amounts of cesium-137 and iodine-121 have been detected in the atmosphere as far as 60 miles away. But the only reason even small amounts of radiation have escaped is because technicians have had to occasionally vent the containment vessels in which the reactors are housed to keep the steam pressure inside from building. A Japanese nuclear official said today that “it’s impossible to say” whether any of the containment vessels have been damaged, but apparently none of them have been breached. If they had been, radiation levels near the plant would presumably be much higher than has been detected.

Am I right on all that, nuclear experts? If so, then as long as the containment vessels hold, even a complete meltdown should provide no significant health hazard to the population in Japan or anywhere else. They’ll have to go on venting small amounts of radioactive steam for months, but there won’t be any sort of massive release of radiation the way there was at Chernobyl. Which brings me to a question I haven’t seen answered reliably anywhere over the past few days: How sure are we that the containment vessels at Fukushima can contain a full meltdown? Two passages that caught my eye, the first from Sci Am quoting physicist Ken Bergeron:

“[O]ne of the disadvantages [at Fukushima] is that the containment structure is a lightbulb-shaped steel shell that’s only about 30 or 40 feet [nine to 12 meters] across—thick steel, but relatively small compared to large, dry containments like TMI [Three Mile Island]. And it doesn’t provide as much of an extra layer of defense from reactor accidents as containments like TMI [do]. So there is a great deal of concern that if the core does melt, the containment will not be able to survive. And if the containment doesn’t survive, we have a worst-case situation.”

And just what is that worst-case scenario? “They’re venting in order to keep the containment vessel from failing. But if a core melts, it will slump to the bottom of the reactor vessel, probably melt through the reactor vessel onto the containment floor. It’s likely to spread as a molten pool—like lava—to the edge of the steel shell and melt through. That would result in a containment failure in a matter of less than a day. It’s good that it’s got a better containment system than Chernobyl, but it’s not as strong as most of the reactors in this country.”

And another from Time:

Experts differ in their opinions on whether a large-scale radiation release can be avoided in Fukushima, as it was in Pennsylvania 32 years ago. Edward Lyman, a senior scientist at the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists, cites a study by Sandia National Laboratories titled “Risk-Informed Assessment of Degraded Containment Vessels” that notes that the type of reactors at work at Fukushima are “unusually vulnerable to containment failure in the event of a core melt accident.” The most likely failure scenario, Lyman says, “involves the molten fuel burning through the reactor vessel, spilling onto the containment floor and spreading until it contacts and breeches the steel containment-vessel wall.” He acknowledges that it’s “not straightforward to interpret [the results of the Sandia study] in the context of the very complicated and uncertain situation at Fukushima. But they are a clear indication of a worrisome vulnerability of the [containment vessel] should the core completely melt and escape the reactor vessel.”

Oehmen’s analysis linked above seems to assume no risk of a breach in the containment vessel. His worst-case scenario is that they can’t get water to the core, the core fully melts down and forms a molten pool at the bottom of the vessel, and then eventually they get their cooling system back up and cool off that molten pool. Even if the molten core did melt through the vessel, it would fall into the graphite “core catcher” underneath, which would cool it off and prevent it from seeping into the ground or spreading in the environment. So there’s my question to anyone with the expertise to answer this: Is there really little risk of total containment breach here, assuming that they can keep venting steam to stop catastrophic pressure from building? Or, per the Time piece, are these 40-year-old reactors “unusually vulnerable”?

Here’s Jaczko at today’s WH briefing. If you’re wondering why Obama’s sticking with nuclear power even now, it’s because the left’s support for clean energy gives him plenty of cover.


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Obama is for nuclear energy the same way he is for drilling for oil in the gulf, if only it can be done safely, and it’s those pesky permits, and the complex process to get one that makes it so difficult.

Skandia Recluse on March 14, 2011 at 4:31 PM

..the liberal, anti-nuke, AGW, bleeding-heart, pinko, peace creeps better watch out on this one. It could *ahem* blow up in their faces. I mean the Fukashima Reactor was set for retirement after 40 years of service AND survived a 9.0 earthquake AND survived a tsunami.

Yep, time to tear down the old reactors an d built new ones..

..or freeze your a** off in some cave somewhere.

The War Planner on March 14, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Until he’s re-elected.

fiatboomer on March 14, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Many times more people were killed by high-speed rail in the tsunami than by the Fukushima incident. I hereby call for a moratorium on that dangerous, unproven technology until we fully understand the risks involved.

Fabozz on March 14, 2011 at 4:34 PM

I saw a bad car accident on the way home yesterday. It appeared that there were proper air-bag deployments and all involved were wearing seat-belts, and all safety equipment worked as it should. No injuries. The cars were totaled though and will have to be junked.

This made me realize how dangerous cars are and that we should try to do without them. Sure the safety devices functioned as they should, but what if they hadn’t? What if all the cars people drive were in accidents and the safety devices failed? That would kill millions. Can we take this chance?

slickwillie2001 on March 14, 2011 at 4:37 PM

How sure are we that the containment vessels at Fukushima can contain a full meltdown?

It can’t. The real question is, then what?

Mason on March 14, 2011 at 4:37 PM

There is always a butt … Which makes everything else inoperative.

BTW: Obama has an energy policy? What no energy is the new policy.

Never let a crisis go to wait.

tarpon on March 14, 2011 at 4:38 PM

If Obama is fully supporting Nuclear Energy then GOOD.

But why do I get the feeling that he supports Nuclear Energy and Reactor construction about as much as he supports gun rights?

Besides, I don’t think any of this would be an issue with pebble bed reactors.

Skywise on March 14, 2011 at 4:38 PM

The piece from William Tucker answers the “meltdown” question pretty well, I think.

The core of a nuclear reactor operates at about 550 degrees Fahrenheit, well below the temperature of a coal furnace and only slightly hotter than a kitchen oven. If anything unusual occurs, the control rods immediately drop, shutting off the nuclear reaction. You can’t have a “runaway reactor,” nor can a reactor explode like a nuclear bomb. A commercial reactor is to a bomb what Vaseline is to napalm. Although both are made from petroleum jelly, only one of them has potentially explosive material………If the coolant continues to evaporate, the water level can fall below the level of the fuel rods, exposing them. This will cause a meltdown, meaning the fuel rods melt to the bottom of the steel pressure vessel.

Early speculation was that in a case like this the fuel might continue melting right through the steel and perhaps even through the concrete containment structure—the so-called China syndrome, where the fuel would melt all the way to China. But Three Mile Island proved this doesn’t happen. The melted fuel rods simply aren’t hot enough to melt steel or concrete.

Tman on March 14, 2011 at 4:38 PM

There is always a butt …

tarpon on March 14, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Freudian?

Butt in Chief

Commander in Creep

O is all things to all, and really none to any.

Hisself in Chief

Schadenfreude on March 14, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Reassuring, but there’s a caveat. Isn’t there always?

Obama’s doublespeak is maddening. Let’s be honest. He’s lying. We need to balance the budget, BUT without sacrificing important investments. We need to drill for oil, BUT, safely. And now, we will pursue nuclear power, BUT regulate it so much as to kill the commissioning of any new plants.

He says one thing, and does another. That’s lying.

Paul-Cincy on March 14, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Many times more people were killed by high-speed rail in the tsunami than by the Fukushima incident. I hereby call for a moratorium on that dangerous, unproven technology until we fully understand the risks involved.

Fabozz on March 14, 2011 at 4:34 PM

Good start. But not enough. I say we outlaw Tsunamis. It’s the only way to stop the carnage.

Lily on March 14, 2011 at 4:44 PM

White House on Japan: Nuclear power remains a part of Obama’s energy plan

The 0bama administration watching over the country’s nuclear energy industry. That’s reassuring.

I’m so glad the adults are in charge.

UltimateBob on March 14, 2011 at 4:45 PM

What about Yucca Mountain?

ninjapirate on March 14, 2011 at 4:46 PM

I saw a bad car accident on the way home yesterday.

This made me realize how dangerous cars are

slickwillie2001 on March 14, 2011 at 4:37 PM

If it were up to the Obama administration, the EPA would require every person to have a permit to go to the bathroom, BUT never approve any, as it involves the discharge of dangerous toxins which are both a known and very serious biohazard.

Paul-Cincy on March 14, 2011 at 4:46 PM

After a weekend spent reading confusing/contradictory/hysterical stories, my layman’s understanding of the situation is as follows. There’s been at least a partial meltdown of the fuel rods in one or more reactors; small amounts of cesium-137 and iodine-121 have been detected in the atmosphere as far as 60 miles away. But the only reason even small amounts of radiation have escaped is because technicians have had to occasionally vent the containment vessels in which the reactors are housed to keep the steam pressure inside from building. A Japanese nuclear official said today that “it’s impossible to say” whether any of the containment vessels have been damaged, but apparently none of them have been breached. If they had been, radiation levels near the plant would presumably be much higher than has been detected.

Am I right on all that, nuclear experts? — Allahpundit

Yup!

OldNuke also had a comment somewhere in one of the threads which pointed out that after this amount of delay time (involved with adding coolant to all three reactors over the three day period), the chances of ever melting through the reactor vessel (steel) walls is very, very small. If it was going to happen, it would have happened by now. After 3 days, with cooling restored, it is pretty difficult to lose enough coolant to completely meltdown a full core. And as he pointed out, it doesn’t melt anyway. It collapses as it loses the metal (zirconium) holding it together. You end up with a rubble bed. The deepest penetration of the 6″ vessel walls at TMI was only 5/8ths of an inch and that core was way worse off than any of these three are.

And the pressure buildups in the containment buildings are going to get less and less, and so venting will be stopped. It won’t take months. It is likely already over, but may take another day or two to reach equilibrium. Once you get some cooling on the decay heat, it requires less and less to keep the plant safe as it decays away. These are logarithmic decays to an low level over time.

I’ll bet my firstborn that if it hasn’t melted through by now, it ain’t gonna happen unless another earthquake and tsunami kill most of the engineers at the site and eliminate the power generation they have just hooked up.

Subsunk

Subsunk on March 14, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Øbama: Say one thing, do another. Flim flam man, master of deceit.

petefrt on March 14, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Thorium.

KMC1 on March 14, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Good start. But not enough. I say we outlaw Tsunamis. It’s the only way to stop the carnage.

Well, since Republicans cause tsunamis or something, let’s get to the root of the problem and outlaw the GOP.

Fabozz on March 14, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Hopey’s Administration is saturated,with
Environmentalist Wackos,and I’m sure,that
Obama has them working on a “Study”,or,
“Environmental Impact Study on the Effects
of Japan and how it might,or might not affect
Chicago,er,Blue States er,America”!!!!!

canopfor on March 14, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Btw,the source of Japans current condition,could
be the result,of Iranian women,in Iran,wearing less
than they are allowed to wear,and so,the ‘Women’ cou
ld of been,the ‘Trigger’,so to speak,

and,

I think,with all the Progressive People Protest Flooder’s
that were flooding the streets,and the Capitol Building,
has caused the Flooding indirectly or directly,and think
about it,Lefty Hank Johnson was concerned about Gaum tipp
ing over,with excessive amounts of people on that Island,
so,maybe,he was on to something!!(Lots of snark).

canopfor on March 14, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Nuclear “remains a part of the president’s overall energy plan,”

Oh really, since when?

Can *anyone* show me one quote from Obama where he mentions “nuclear” as an alternative energy source? I always listen to him when he brings up alternative energy and he never mentions nuclear in any speech I’ve heard…

Geministorm on March 14, 2011 at 5:06 PM

It’s gratifying and reassuring to have the energy policy of the nation determined by a guy who’s not qualified to sell peanuts at the ballpark.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on March 14, 2011 at 5:07 PM

The testament should that it took an almost unheard of 9.0 earthquake and a 40 foot tsunami to put 40 year old design nuclear power plants in jeopardy when even bigger earthquakes and worse tsunamis would not cause the release of radiation in worst case scenarios with the nuke designs which are now common.

Nuclear is by far the best bet other than hydroelectric.

Hysteria politics aside.

Speakup on March 14, 2011 at 5:08 PM

When is the last time we built a nuclear power plan tin the USA?

Khun Joe on March 14, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Latest Seismic Activity
==========================

Earthquake Information
Earthquakes within the last week

[Information about Seismic Intensity at each site]

The map and text below show a) the observed Seismic Intensity (1 and above) and its location, b) the date and time of the earthquake, and c) its epicenter and magnitude.

http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/00000000091.html

canopfor on March 14, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Is there really little risk of total containment breach here, assuming that they can keep venting steam to stop catastrophic pressure from building?

We’ve been trying to say all along Allah that nuke plants are designed to contain “meltdowns”. Well, at least some Soviet ones were not designed for that – or we would not have had Chernobyl – but the ones out here in the adult world are.

It’s amazing to me that people just seem to think we operate these nukes with a potential of meltdown – but with no plan to contain the meltdown.

There is ZERO TOLERANCE for failure in the nuclear world. Every nuclear engineer and technician knows that one accident can set back the whole nuclear program for decades – if not completely end the public’s willingness to deal with it at all. I can tell you that if the news media had the high standards of performance that the nuclear world has for it’s engineers and technicians – 99 percent of working journalists would be out of a job.

HondaV65 on March 14, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Lieberman has politician’s disease. Ready, fire, aim. Anything to show he cares.

a capella on March 14, 2011 at 5:23 PM

US Navy in action,in Japan
===============================

110314-N-NB544-071 PACIFIC OCEAN (March 14, 2011) U.S. Navy Sea Hawk helicopters prepare to takes off from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) to provide humanitarian assistance off the coast of Japan following an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kyle Carlstrom/Released)
(A lot more………..)
=======================

http://www.navy.mil/view_photos_top.asp?page=1&sort_type=0&sort_row=1

canopfor on March 14, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Lieberman has politician’s disease. Ready, fire, aim. Anything to show he cares.

a capella on March 14, 2011 at 5:23 PM

a capella:I heard the Lieberman soundbites,throughout last
nights,top of the news hour spots,on Talk AM Radio
!:)
=======================================================

Japan nuclear woes cast shadow over U.S. energy policy
Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:21pm EDT
****************************

(Reuters) – Anxiety over Japan’s quake-crippled nuclear reactors has triggered calls from lawmakers and activists for review of U.S. energy policy and for brakes on expansion of domestic nuclear power.

President Barack Obama has urged expansion of nuclear power to help meet the country’s energy demands, lower its dependence on imported fossil fuels and reduce its climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

But as engineers in Japan tried on Sunday to avert a meltdown at three nuclear reactors following Friday’s massive earthquake, some U.S. policy makers were reevaluating their take on nuclear energy even as the industry itself offered assurances about the safety of new and existing plants.

————————————————————
“I don’t want to stop the building of nuclear power plants,” independent Senator Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said on the CBS television’s “Face the Nation.”

“But I think we’ve got to kind of quietly put, quickly put, the brakes on until we can absorb what has happened in Japan as a result of the earthquake and the tsunami and then see what more, if anything, we can demand of the new power plants that are coming on line,” Lieberman added.
————————————————————-

Since the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania, many Americans have harbored concerns about nuclear power’s safety. Controversy has also dogged the nuclear power industry due to its radioactive waste, which is now stored on site at reactor locations around the country.
(more……..)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/13/us-nuclear-usa-idUSTRE72C2UW20110313

canopfor on March 14, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Lieberman has politician’s disease. Ready, fire, aim. Anything to show he cares.

Word. Most of my career has been in computer games, and every six years–’94, ’00, ’06–Lieberman takes some populist shots at our industry, shakes us down for cash and then slinks back into his hole after reelection. And yet just about everyone in the business just lub lub lubs dem some Democrats–”oh, sure, Democratic policies are loathsome and destructive to my industry, but those nasty [oil drillers | incandescent lightbulb manufacturers | credit-card companies | for-profit colleges | etc. etc. etc] have it coming.”

Fabozz on March 14, 2011 at 5:46 PM

There is ZERO TOLERANCE for failure in the nuclear world. Every nuclear engineer and technician knows that one accident can set back the whole nuclear program for decades – if not completely end the public’s willingness to deal with it at all. I can tell you that if the news media had the high standards of performance that the nuclear world has for it’s engineers and technicians – 99 percent of working journalists would be out of a job.

HondaV65 on March 14, 2011 at 5:20 PM

While all that is true we are relying on what TEPCO is telling us. They don’t have the best record in the world. And the Mark 1 containment is old and according to the last NRC assessments does have a higher probablity of failure. Now I’m not saying that’s happening or going to happen, but honestly we really don’t have any independent on-site analysis to go on. Would you trust corporations here in the USA to be upfront about things, let alone the government? I hope you’re right, but can we be certain?

Deanna on March 14, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Jeff Imelt & GE are best buddies w/ Barry, that’s part of it too.

lizzie beth on March 14, 2011 at 5:47 PM

When is the last time we built a nuclear power plan tin the USA?

Khun Joe on March 14, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Khun Joe:If this is accurate!:)
============================================================
U.S. Energy Information Administration

Nuclear Power

Despite all of this relatively attractive news regarding nuclear power, there has been no new order for a nuclear power plant since the 1970s. The last nuclear plant to be completed went on line in 1996.
*******************************

A few, perhaps four, construction licenses are still valid or are being renewed for half-completed reactors, but there are no active plans to finish these reactors.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/nuclear/page/analysis/nuclearpower.html

canopfor on March 14, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Jeff Imelt & GE are best buddies w/ Barry, that’s part of it too.

lizzie beth on March 14, 2011 at 5:47 PM

lizzie beth:Yup:)
=================================================
Nuclear Renaissance Threatened as Japan’s Reactor Struggles
March 13, 2011, 6:50 PM EDT

GE, the largest U.S.-based reactor builder, is focused on the situation at the reactor in Fukushima and staff weren’t available to comment on the outlook for the industry, Michael Tetuan, a spokesman for the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company, said in an e-mailed message.

“In general, our business is going very well, but the situation in Japan is troubling,” said Vaughn Gilbert, a spokesman for Toshiba Corp.’s Westinghouse nuclear unit.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-03-13/nuclear-renaissance-threatened-as-japan-s-reactor-struggles.html

canopfor on March 14, 2011 at 5:52 PM

The perfect is the enemy of the good. We know oil works, we run a gazillion things on it. We have some we could get. Hydroelectric works. Nuclear works.

But they aren’t PERFECT – so we look for answers from fairyland, wind, solar, etc. The downsides of these are rarely expressed. On solar, for instance, there is a case to be made that we would be exporting our pollution to China, essentially paying them so we could be cleaner over here.

Also, recent research indicates desert insects are much more attracted to solar panels than to water for breeding. The bugs breed on the panels, the young bugs die for lack of food, everything higher up in the food chain suffers. Desert ecologies don’t have much margin for mistakes like these.

But what the hey, to a Dem removing profits from Evil Oil and transferring said profits to a Dem ally is worth it, it’s only money, and who cares about a few bugs in the desert. Pollution outsourced to China? Oh, well.

The enviroweenies are too busy jumping on the bandwagon to consider the consequences of thousands and thousands of acres of solar panels in the desert. What they really want is magic.

jodetoad on March 14, 2011 at 5:58 PM

While all that is true we are relying on what TEPCO is telling us. They don’t have the best record in the world. And the Mark 1 containment is old and according to the last NRC assessments does have a higher probablity of failure. Now I’m not saying that’s happening or going to happen, but honestly we really don’t have any independent on-site analysis to go on. Would you trust corporations here in the USA to be upfront about things, let alone the government? I hope you’re right, but can we be certain?

Deanna on March 14, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Deanna,

Read the NEI website. They have the latest info from the Japanese regulators. The information provided is corroborated by the USS Reagan radiation readings, and by the fact that radiation levels outside these plants are not exorbitant. Rest assured that if the containment buildings and reactor vessels were breached, and these cores have had fuel rod failures, as the Japanese admit, we would all know about it easily. You can’t hide the levels of radiation from a fuel core failure once it gets out of those containment vessels.

NEI

Be patient, it is getting a lot of traffic today.

Subsunk

Subsunk on March 14, 2011 at 6:02 PM

We’ll get a new nuclear plant constructed when hell freezes over.

The libs are too enamored of carbon-free rainbow colored unicorn farts.

GarandFan on March 14, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Be patient, it is getting a lot of traffic today.

Subsunk

Subsunk on March 14, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Oh I know all that. What I’m saying is that something could still happen, even though it’s unlikely. The mix of MOX and the Mark 1 seems like a bad choice in retrospect. And TEPCO isn’t going to give us all the details if it looks like they may be even slightly culpable, earthquake or tsunami or not. Sigh…again I hope this ends well.
Meanwhile so many lives gone and so many families forever separated. Buildings can be rebuilt but not lives. I pray for them.

Deanna on March 14, 2011 at 6:10 PM

The owner of Barry’s propaganda machine is owned by company that makes nuclear reactors.

AZCON on March 14, 2011 at 6:21 PM

until more was known about the causes of the Japanese problems…

Oy! Lieberman!

There was a 8.9 earthquake that effed up the plant!

You’re welcome.

catmman on March 14, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Oh I know all that. What I’m saying is that something could still happen, even though it’s unlikely. The mix of MOX and the Mark 1 seems like a bad choice in retrospect. And TEPCO isn’t going to give us all the details if it looks like they may be even slightly culpable, earthquake or tsunami or not. Sigh…again I hope this ends well.
Meanwhile so many lives gone and so many families forever separated. Buildings can be rebuilt but not lives. I pray for them.

Deanna on March 14, 2011 at 6:10 PM

I don’t think we are relying on TEPCO here anymore. The Japanese government is there on site. I sincerely doubt that TEPCO can cover up things at this point.

I believe we are getting the Truth simply because the training and nuclear backgrounds of those folks here on Hot Air and Blackfive, who know nuclear engineering, feel that the sequence of events is occurring as we would expect it to, based on the facts we have actually received, and the situation given that electrical power has been lost for the foreseeable future at Fukushima, and based on our knowledge of the physics of the nuclear industry.

Something bad could still happen, yes. But the likelihood of any possible bad event seems very, very remote at present. Concern is warranted for the future of the Japanese people due to the lack of food, water, and shelter. Worry over the possibilities of a major radiation accident are not justified.

Subsunk

Subsunk on March 14, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Nuclear “remains a part of the president’s overall energy plan,”

It’s the part labeled “do not feed, do not resuscitate” but it’s there nonetheless.

TexasDan on March 14, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Our best hope is that Japan chooses to immediately rebuild more nuclear reactors. That would completely remove any ammunition the left would have re: confidence in the technology.

TexasDan on March 14, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Shemp Smith is live in Tokyo tonight, so we are getting our Fox News sensationlizing live.

slickwillie2001 on March 14, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Our best hope is that Japan chooses to immediately rebuild more nuclear reactors. That would completely remove any ammunition the left would have re: confidence in the technology.

TexasDan on March 14, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Unlikely. France has had a showcase nuclear power industry for decades, and it hasn’t done us any good.

slickwillie2001 on March 14, 2011 at 7:12 PM

YEAH DON’T DRILL FOR OIL AND NATURAL GAS…… LETS GO RADIATION…. HELL…. TSA IS BUILDING UP AMERICA’S IMMUNITY WITH THE GROPE AND RADIATE PROGRAM ANYWAY….. HELL WE MY BE GLOW’N SOON ENOUGH THAT WE WON’T NEED THE STREET LIGHTS ANYWAY.

ROFLMAO

donabernathy on March 14, 2011 at 7:30 PM

I CAN SEE IT NOW…… MY ACORN RADIATION ADVISOR

ROFLMAO

donabernathy on March 14, 2011 at 7:32 PM

The mix of MOX and the Mark 1 seems like a bad choice in retrospect.

According to Vic, the nuke engineer, at Ace’s, Deanna, they aren’t using plutonium; the company was thinking about going MOX but hadn’t yet.

andycanuck on March 14, 2011 at 7:48 PM

The mix of MOX and the Mark 1 seems like a bad choice in retrospect.

According to Vic, the nuke engineer, at Ace’s, Deanna, they aren’t using plutonium; the company was thinking about going MOX but hadn’t yet.

But that doesn’t matter because EVERY plant runs on plutonium. There is no such interaction between “the choice of plutonium” and the Mark 1 containment. NONE. Plutonium is no more dangerous as a fissile material than Uranium and every reactor on the planet uses both.

deadrody on March 14, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Some 2700 or so people are already confirmed dead from the one two punch of the earthquake and the tsunami. How does that compare to the number of human life years lost to Chernobyl? Is Chernobyl outside of the heroic crew that sealed it up accountable for even 1% of shortened human lives that are already confirmed in Japan?

Let’s look at this with some level of rationality. It requires a disaster that produces 10s of thousands of deaths to crack a reactor and produce a sub-Chernobyl radiation leak.

Ironically the world’s experts on radiation effects, due to direct experience, are the Japanese. Look at their records from WW-II’s bombings. The dangers of radiation are vastly oversold in the US. It’s real but trivial compared to the human life cost of the disaster required to make a modern reactor leak and shorten a few lives.

I am beginning to become infuriated at the trivialization of the horrid death toll in Japan to promote fear of nuclear reactors that might hurt somebody somewhere somehow. The people doing this are sick, very sick, monsters.

{o.o}

herself on March 15, 2011 at 4:13 AM