Apr 19, 2016

Three Nuclear Meltdowns, and U.S. Politicians Want More Nuclear Power

UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank introduces Gov. Scott
Walker before he signed Wisconsin Assembly Bill 384
in April 2016.
'Fukushima reactors one, two, and three had been in operation on March 11, 2011, and all three suffered meltdowns,' Counterpunch.

When Scott Walker signed legislation earlier this month clearing the way for the construction of more nuclear power plants in Wisconsin, he had the broad support of unions, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, bi-partisan advocacy and a public relations message that nuclear power is clean and carbon-neutral, (Griffin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Energy Institute).

What Wisconsin politicians did not possess, nor offer any mention of, is a solution to such phenomena as radiation, nuclear waste, half-life, radiation-induced cancer and nuclear meltdowns. And certainly not Cesium-137; Strontium-90, and Tritium, (The Mainichi)—all radioactive wastes of the Fukushima March 11, 2011 meltdown in Japan.

Consider today's exposé with Katsuya Hirano and Hirotaka Kasai in Counterpunch.

Notes Dr. Hirano: "Last summer I interviewed Murakami Tetsuya. Just as the accident was happening he reached out to the government. But he got no response. He went to the prefecture. No response from them either. ... So really there was essentially zero emergency management in place. [I]t would seem that the myth of safety has so totally permeated the bureaucracy that there really is no one who thinks about these things – wouldn’t you say?"

A rational person would say so. And the myth of safety pertains not just to meltdowns, but nuclear waste as well.

Just to Wisconsin's north a massive Canadian utility recently proposed dumping nuclear waste next to the massive fresh waters of the Great Lakes. Short-sighted policymakers have to learn the lessons of nuclear power over again, (NukeWatch, Spring 2016). Notes NukeWatch:

In  what’s  been  called  the  most  counter-intuitive  and  irrational  radioactive  waste  disposal  scheme  ever  proposed, OPG, [the Canadian nuclear giant Ontario Power Generation], wants the government to allow burial of every sort of radioactive waste short of highly radioactive waste fuel, a mere 1.2 kilometers from the shore of Lake Huron.

The  waste  materials  would  be  from  OPG’s  eight-reactor Bruce  Nuclear  Generating  Station,  on  Bruce  Peninsula  northwest of Toronto. With five operating reactors and 3,800  employees,  OPG’s  Bruce  complex  is  the  world’s largest nuclear site. Japan’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa complex is  bigger,  but  has  been  closed  since  the  2011  Fukushima catastrophe.
Canada’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, the Honorable Catherine McKenna has stalled the plan to this point. See also See also NUCLEAR HOPE: A documentary about the deepest and darkest places on Earth.
As far as the human species is concerned nuclear waste is forever as the half-life of much deadly nuclear waste is on the order of magnitude longer than the span of the existence of the human species. In producing waste, we should be considering deep, geological time, not the next election.

As noted by Nukewatch:

Radioactive waste originates with nuclear power, weapons, industry and nuclear medicine. It comes from uranium mining, reactor fuel fabrication and fuel reprocessing. Nuclear waste is radioactive and by nature, dangerous. It can be called 'low-level, transuranic, intermediate-level or high-level depending on the country and agency categorizing the isotopes, or a label may depend on the radioactivity per mass or volume, or for what the element can be used. It can be long-lived or short-lived depending on the half-life, or the amount of time half of the isotope’s energy disintegrates. A half-life can be seconds or millions of years and the faster it decays, the more radioactive it will be. Radioisotopes are unstable configurations of elements in decay and through the decay process, radiation is emitted. Many radionuclides decay into other radioactive elements. Isotopes may be a gas, solid or liquid. Hundreds of human-made isotopes are created in nuclear reactors. ...

Radioactive waste is a lethal by-product and the wisest path to take is to stop producing it. 

When will we ever learn? The answer is to this question is anything but clear.

See Disasters Waiting to Happen: The Eight Most Dangerous Nuclear Plants Near Earthquake Fault Lines.

Perhaps Wisconsin does not wish to feel left out.

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