Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nuclear energy for a "glowing" tomorrow

If you are one of those folks tilting toward nuclear energy as a safe alternative to hydrocarbon- based sources, conveniently forgetting both the stupendous construction costs and the trillion-year toxicity, here is a little reminder that there are more immediate disastrous consequences you should consider. It seems Mother Nature has PMS. This from Grist:

A Barrel of Gaffes:
Earthquake causes nuclear headaches in Japan
Blockquote A strong earthquake hit northwestern Japan yesterday morning, and aftershocks continued into the night. The 6.8-magnitude quake killed at least nine people, injured more than 900 others, and flattened houses and highways. It also led to a fire, leak, and waste spills at a powerful nuclear plant. The Kashiwazaki Kariwa facility, which produces the most electricity of any nuclear plant in the world, shut down during the event, but not before a transformer caught on fire and a reactor ruptured, sending about 315 gallons of radioactive water into the sea. The trembling also toppled at least 100 barrels of nuclear waste stored on site. Company officials delayed, then downplayed news of the damage, saying there was little environmental risk. But others in the country, which is home to 55 nuclear reactors, were left feeling uneasy. Weakness in the face of quakes is, said Aileen Mioko Smith of the Japan-based eco-group Green Action, "the Achilles heel of nuclear power plants." Or one of them, anyway. Blockquote

straight to the source: Detroit Free Press, Associated Press, Eric Talmadge, 17 Jul 2007
straight to the source: Reuters, Issei Kato, 17 Jul 2007
straight to the source: The Guardian, Associated Press, Koji Sasahara, 16 Jul 2007
straight to the source: Bloomberg News, Mariko Yasu and Jonathan Tirone, 16 Jul 2007

Remember, every nuclear facility is "an accident waiting to happen", with enough potential for harm to us and our environment that the Exxon Valdez oil spill will seem like a leaking lawnmower in comparison, and any "expert" who defends nuclear energy is flat out lying.

UPDATE 7/18/07:
It is now reported that the earthquake damage to the nuclear facility was a little greater than first announced. A company spokesman said that 400 drums of radioactive waste had been knocked over and the lids came off 40 of them, and that about 460 gallons of radioactive water had been released into the sea. OOPS !

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