Japan reports a likely setback in nuclear crisis

After a few days of cautious optimism, the nuclear crisis in Japan has taken a more grim turn. In a speech to the nation Friday evening, Prime Minister Naoto Kan called the situation “very grave and serious,” and residents within an expanded 19-mile radius of the plant have been advised to evacuate.

What changed? After two workers were hospitalized yesterday after wading through highly radioactive water, officials tried to trace the water back to its source. They now believe the water may be coming from Reactor No. 3, suggesting a breach of containment.

As the Christian Science Monitor reports:

If that turns out to be true, the devastated nuclear complex may be much more contaminated with radioactive materials than officials had previously thought.

The suspected reactor breach would mark a major setback for the crews racing to return power to the plant and bring its reactors and spent-fuel pools back under control.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Friday that the situation at Fukushima remained grave: “We are not in a position where we can be optimistic. We must treat every development with the utmost care.”

… An examination of the water the workers sloshed through showed its radiation level to be 10,000 times higher than normal, said NHK. The radiation almost certainly came from the reactor itself, not the nearby spent-fuel pools, according to officials.”

So what does it all mean? For one thing, public support here in the United States has fallen significantly in the wake of the accident, as documented by a CBS poll released this week:

nukepoll

But on the other hand, there’s this. It’s a graphic representation of the number of deaths attributed to coal, oil and nuclear power, adjusted by the amount of power each generates:

Source: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/03/the-triumph-of-coal-marketing.html

Source: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/03/the-triumph-of-coal-marketing.html

That’s certainly fodder to argue that public wariness of nuclear power outpaces the actual danger it poses. However, you could counter that with the observation that oil and coal don’t require an evacuation zone with a 19-mile radius, an area of more than 2,200 square miles. A Russian nuclear expert has predicted that the immediate area around the Fukushima complex would be inhabitable again in, say, five years. But that was before the latest setback.

– Jay Bookman

269 comments Add your comment

jm

March 25th, 2011
12:59 pm

Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power

Japan’s disaster would weigh more heavily if there were less harmful alternatives. Atomic power is part of the mix

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/21/pro-nuclear-japan-fukushima

/drive-by

Normal

March 25th, 2011
1:02 pm

I heard that the infuse of salt water has caused a salt crust to form on the cooling pipes that is actually insulating the pipes from the cooling of the water. If true, bad stuff is happening. They are obviously making it up as they go now. They have no clue…

stands for decibels

March 25th, 2011
1:03 pm

Death rates, you say?

This might be a good time to bridge over from the last topic and remember an important 100 year anniversary being observed today.

RB from Gwinnett

March 25th, 2011
1:03 pm

Where exactly do libs think the power for all these electric cars is going to come from?

Adam

March 25th, 2011
1:04 pm

Normal: They are definitely winging it. Not exactly a good thing overall but if any engineers can wing something and succeed, it’s the Japanese.

Palin fan

March 25th, 2011
1:07 pm

The nucluler disaster in Japan just goes to show that we should be using more of the supplies of gas and oil that are available hear in America.

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times to you liberals:

Drill, baby, drill!!!

When will you get it through your simpleton little heads???

Mick

March 25th, 2011
1:12 pm

Really bad news…hope they can figure it out and contain but this is a nightmare and a very scary one at that…

rb

Solar baby, solar…

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 25th, 2011
1:13 pm

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times

Yep you have yelled it a million milliony times but it still does not provide al the answers nor have the risks been addressed….of course, permits are being issued.

Put the effort in solar, wind, waves and we can make tremendous headway in a very short period.

AmVet

March 25th, 2011
1:17 pm

Spill, baby, spill.

Sarah BarraClueless fan, when the profit-first, safety-last scumbags at BP, Transocean and the ever-disgraced Haliburton, can demonstrate they won’t kill a bunch of people and devastate entire ecosystems needlessly.

(Google that second to last word, if you must.)

But then you never hold these Titans of Malfeasance and Criminal Negligence anyway, as long as there is anybody else aroudn to blame, right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyOBIrslw5w

AmVet

March 25th, 2011
1:18 pm

Redact to read…hold accountable…

Normal

March 25th, 2011
1:18 pm

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 25th, 2011
1:19 pm

Amvet… they dont hold them responsible…they apologize to those titans when others hold them accountable.

Adam

March 25th, 2011
1:21 pm

Normal: exactly

mm

March 25th, 2011
1:23 pm

“Where exactly do libs think the power for all these electric cars is going to come from?”

We could capture all of the hot air from the wingnuts and use that to produce steam for the turbines.

We should send anyone that still thinks nulcear energy is safe over to Japan to help contain the reactors.

Peadawg

March 25th, 2011
1:23 pm

“Put the effort in solar, wind, waves”

We should but our efforts are too busy being put into Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 25th, 2011
1:25 pm

Pea, you are right about a great deal of drain on our economy…but afraid Iraq and Afghan were inherited and Libya hopefully limited…..

mm

March 25th, 2011
1:25 pm

“We should but our efforts are too busy being put into Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya.”

Funny how the righties never complain about military operations unless they are started by a democrat.

Adam

March 25th, 2011
1:26 pm

mm: Ok so if nuclear energy is CATEGORICALLY not safe then what is the solution? Because I’m getting the feeling you’re going to lean towards oil, gas, and coal. As though all of those are safe and don’t do any sort of environmental damage.

AmVet

March 25th, 2011
1:26 pm

Normal, I only got half way through that before I felt the need to hurl. Bombastic b&llsh*t from the serial liars HeadRush, Count DeMint, George of the Bungle and Candied Rice back to back to back to back?

You should have warned me!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a50_nJj699s

John

March 25th, 2011
1:28 pm

Good Fight… wind power will be great until enviros start protesting about bird deaths.

Peadawg

March 25th, 2011
1:28 pm

“Funny how the righties never complain about military operations unless they are started by a democrat.” – mm, please remove head from rear, read, then speak. Notice how I included Iraq and Afghanistan in the sentence as well. I believe a Republican started those.

mm

March 25th, 2011
1:28 pm

Adam,

Solar, wind, wave.

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:29 pm

Humans are most irrational animals. They just happen to be smarter than the other ones.

mm

March 25th, 2011
1:30 pm

Peadawg,

It it were not for Libya, you would not have even brought up the subject. Quit making excuses.

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:30 pm

“Solar, wind, wave.”

Oh good. Then we can power the state of Ohio. The other 49 states. Well, lights out.

Normal

March 25th, 2011
1:31 pm

AmVet,
It was at the end of it that made me sick…I couldn’t believe what I was hearing…

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:31 pm

Wave Power: here’s to saying goodbye to common sense. Everyone wave bye-bye….

Peadawg

March 25th, 2011
1:33 pm

“It it were not for Libya, you would not have even brought up the subject. ”

You may want to remove the crystal ball and tarot cards from rear as well. You really don’t know me.

Peadawg

March 25th, 2011
1:36 pm

“and Libya hopefully limited…..”

Let’s hope. But it seems nobody can decide on what our clear mission and exit strategy are. Seems like another Iraq in the making…..

Granny Godzilla

March 25th, 2011
1:36 pm

I remain a no nukes Granny…..

How’s this boys and girls, since we the people would be forced to pay for any clean up here in the US how about we shut all the ba$tards down
until they can find some other suckers to insure their safety.

If the ain’t safe enough for the good hands people it ain’t safe enough for we the people.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 25th, 2011
1:36 pm

Strange logic. An ancient design in a poor location suffered a 9.0 earthquake and a massive tsunami, and nobody died. This proves nuclear power is unsafe?

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 25th, 2011
1:36 pm

jm… you have a problem with wave power? Please do post a link to the scientific or actual problem?

larry

March 25th, 2011
1:36 pm

Hydroelectric power along with solar and wind turbines……………………………

Sounds good to me , i also like the fact there is very little waste.

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:37 pm

Nuclear. Natural Gas. Wind. More alternative R&D.

Problem (mostly) solved.

AmVet

March 25th, 2011
1:37 pm

“Seems like another Iraq in the making…..”

????????????????????????????????????

Leland

March 25th, 2011
1:37 pm

The comparison of deaths due to coal and radioactive emissions is misleading. Radioactive cesium adds to background radiation for generations and contributes to birth defects, stillbirths, cancers, immune disorders of all sorts, and yet causality is very difficult to establish. So, for example, a woman gets cancer at age 55 who otherwise might have lived into her 80s. Cesium radiation may have been the culprit, but because cancer genesis is multicausal, a number of other explanations are possible. Deaths and disability due to radiation are grossly underestimated.

Adam

March 25th, 2011
1:38 pm

Any sufficient power to be gained from solar, wind, wave, water, etc is only going to come if we try to make the technologies more viable. Solar power does a lot more now than it did, but imagine how MUCH more it would do if we had given solar power equal or even a fraction of the subsidies that oil companies currently enjoy?

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:39 pm

Keep. I like wave power in principal. The ability to capture it on a mass scale, in the notoriously tough (rust and weather) environment of the ocean, is highly dubious.

The best thing we could do require coal turbines be retrofitted to natural gas over the next 10 years. Build more nukes, and continue to (slightly) subsidize wind power.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 25th, 2011
1:39 pm

nobody died — so far as we may have been told…and you forgot the “yet”…. You also forgot the economic waste, the danger to actual safety, possible deformities and other issues….

Rather cavilier and disingenuinous.

George W

March 25th, 2011
1:39 pm

Isnt this what our scientist were warning about the entire time?

George W

March 25th, 2011
1:40 pm

I saw a Chevy Volt on the road on Wednesday…It is actually a good looking car.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 25th, 2011
1:40 pm

Dear Leland @ 1:37, your argument seems to be untrue. “Radioactive cesium adds to background radiation for generations and contributes to birth defects, stillbirths, cancers, immune disorders of all sorts, and yet causality is very difficult to establish” Turns out those not instantly killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki have significantly lower rates of cancer, and higher life expectancy. The nuclear exposure seems to be beneficial, although you accurately recite the conventional wisdom.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 25th, 2011
1:41 pm

Dear Keep @ 1:39, good afternoon, your rant answered @ 1:40.

stands for decibels

March 25th, 2011
1:42 pm

It it were not for Libya, you would not have even brought up the subject. Quit making excuses.

mm, I’m gonna call a 5 yard face mask on that. PD’s had his moments of rationality (he also doesn’t march to the climate change denier’s drum) and I can’t fault him a bit, here, for fretting about where we’re headed with this latest Excellent Middle East Adventure.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 25th, 2011
1:43 pm

Ragnar…you have a link to back your claim?

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:43 pm

George W 1:40 – no kidding? interesting…. i look forward to seeing one at some point. at dealerships?

stands for decibels

March 25th, 2011
1:44 pm

I saw a Chevy Volt on the road on Wednesday…It is actually a good looking car.

I’d sure like to have one. Alas, I think I have to put another 150K on the current beatermobile before I’m due for a new one.

AmVet

March 25th, 2011
1:45 pm

“…and nobody died.”

This mode of “thinking” reminds me of Andy’s and the other environmental-hating ostrich’s plaintive wails after the Deepwater Horizon debacle. “What oil? I don’t see any oil. Do you see any oil?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDAmPIq29ro

George W

March 25th, 2011
1:45 pm

stands…..I wouldnt mine having one either.

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:46 pm

FYI folks. People need to be prepared for $8 gas sometime not too distant in our lifetimes. Oil demand, highly inelastic and continuing to increase. People still driving all over Europe with $8 gas.

Bruno

March 25th, 2011
1:46 pm

For what it’s worth, our office is doing a fundraiser for Japan next Wednesday. We’re all in this thing together.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1KtScrqtbc

larry

March 25th, 2011
1:46 pm

I saw a Chevy Volt on the road on Wednesday…It is actually a good looking car.

I actually saw about six of them on the road on the way back from Marietta .

I plan on buying one ……………………

After i win the lottery tonight.

AmVet

March 25th, 2011
1:47 pm

“The nuclear exposure seems to be beneficial…”

Mann Coulter is alive and well in a man’s body!

George W

March 25th, 2011
1:47 pm

jm….have you been to europe….most drive scooters, bicycles and take taxis. Very few actually own cars. Especially those who live in the cities.

1811/1801 - 0311/0317

March 25th, 2011
1:47 pm

“Death Rate Per Watts Produced”

Now what nerd came up with that one ?

Oh, by the way, I like my eggs scrambled counter clockwise.

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:47 pm

“beatermobile” :) 192,000 miles and 12 years on mine and counting. runs like a charm and still looks good too….. I’ll get a new car when I feel so compelled and put the current one on standby for hauling

George W

March 25th, 2011
1:48 pm

Bruno….if I will the lottery…I am buying a Hummer 1 and driving by everyone in their Prius’s and shooting them the bird hahah.

Adam

March 25th, 2011
1:48 pm

Goerge W: That’s because in major cities public transportation is paid for and considered to be a valuable thing by most of the population. Many southern major cities HAVE public transport that is in disarray, dirty, not funded properly, etc.

Granny Godzilla

March 25th, 2011
1:49 pm

We are all aware of course, that Nuclear plants privatize the profits and socialize the risk…..

RB from Gwinnett

March 25th, 2011
1:50 pm

“Solar baby, solar…”

I wasn’t aware that technology was viable. Where can we get solar powered cars TODAY?

What beaches are those wave power generators going to be installed on?

What happens when the wind isn’t blowing? Are you ok with your house shutting down including your refrigerator because your house isn’t smart enough to know which things can be turned off and which can’t and you aren’t willing to pay for the systems to tell the difference?

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:50 pm

George W – yeah. people will switch to smaller cars, public transit (where available), diesel, etc etc.

But developing world demand is going to far outstrip any potential increase in supplies. It’ll be someone with a sandcastle watching the japanese tsunami roll in….

George W

March 25th, 2011
1:50 pm

Adam….I agree.

George W

March 25th, 2011
1:51 pm

Jm….I think it has already started to happen here. However SUV’s are still striving throughout America.

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:51 pm

“socialize the risk…..” unprotected sex orgies?

1811/1801 - 0311/0317

March 25th, 2011
1:51 pm

Drill, Drill, Drill !

George W

March 25th, 2011
1:51 pm

Thriving not striving

George W

March 25th, 2011
1:52 pm

jm….”unprotected sex orgies”

Been to the Velvet Room lately?

Haywood Jablome

March 25th, 2011
1:52 pm

Good afternoon, all.

As Ragnar points out, the A-bombs have only enhanced the lives of the Japanese survivors. Now, Ragnar, please use your always insightful brilliance to tell us about the effervescent joy that is the lives of the Chernobyl survivors.

Plu-leez, give us more douchiness.

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:52 pm

The Volt, incidentally, is insanely, highly subsidized. I just hope there’s a phaseout of the subsidy (I suspect there is after enough units are sold).

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

March 25th, 2011
1:52 pm

Well, I sure hope this don’t mean GA Power will stop building the nuculer power plants my bill says I got a share of. It says right there on the bill, “nuculer construction cost recovery.” If that don’t mean I’m paying on a share of the plants, I don’t know what will.

As usual, the pantywaists are all up in arms because a few nuculer plants in Japan went haywire. Well, sometimes things go haywire. I’m not in favor of stopping building nuculer power plants just because a few dozen people get nuked or die of cancer. We got to keep building so we don’t have to buy oil from Towelheads. Besides, I got no relations or friends down there where they’re building the plants. It’s no skin off of my—-nose if some of those people turn green or glow a little.

Have a good day everybody.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 25th, 2011
1:53 pm

RB… solar is a viable technology available for use in a number of situations throughout the country to supplement current systems and in some cases with proper design may be stand-alone with minimum backup.

Wave power may not need to be installed on beaches…river bottoms are some alternatives and offshore for some.

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:53 pm

Velvet Room? Um. no.

Peadawg

March 25th, 2011
1:53 pm

“The nuclear exposure seems to be beneficial…”

Eric Bana and Edward Norton would probably agree with you.

George W

March 25th, 2011
1:54 pm

Peadawg….”you wont like me when I am angry”.

1811/1801 - 0311/0317

March 25th, 2011
1:54 pm

Granny Godzilla

March 25th, 2011
1:54 pm

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:51 pm
“socialize the risk…..” unprotected sex orgies?

what risk? you’d be infertile

AmVet

March 25th, 2011
1:55 pm

B, I love the organic, grass roots nature of how American’s sometime come together and contribute to the suffering people there and anywhere around the globe. USA! USA! USA!

More from my muse…(recorded in Tokyo, 1990.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_ERGynR-CM

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:55 pm

Keep – solar’s nowhere close to viability. Except here:

http://inhabitat.com/north-chilean-mines-will-soon-be-powered-by-the-sun/solar-energy-chile-mines-1/

Cause they don’t get any rain, clouds, etc.

Otherwise, solar only works with goooooooooooooooooooooooooobbbbbbbbbbbbbsssssssss of subsidies.

Adam

March 25th, 2011
1:56 pm

RB: I wasn’t aware that technology was viable. Where can we get solar powered cars TODAY?

Just out of curiosity, how does solar power today compare to gas powered cars around, say, the 1930s? Because that’s the real comparison to make.

Are you ok with your house shutting down including your refrigerator because your house isn’t smart enough to know which things can be turned off and which can’t and you aren’t willing to pay for the systems to tell the difference?

Ever heard of capacitors?

jm

March 25th, 2011
1:56 pm

You know Granny, fortunately that’s not the case. But were I to have to make a decision between being infertile or having your affliction, I’d take being infertile.

Granny Godzilla

March 25th, 2011
1:59 pm

jm

aren’t you just the sweetest!

Bosch

March 25th, 2011
2:00 pm

“Very few actually own cars. Especially those who live in the cities.”

Because their cities are not set up where it is almost required to have one.

Bosch

March 25th, 2011
2:00 pm

Oh sorry Adam, hadn’t read that far.

Granny Godzilla

March 25th, 2011
2:02 pm

Bosch

March 25th, 2011
2:03 pm

………and if we’d only listened to Jimmy Carter 30 years ago……..

Adam

March 25th, 2011
2:04 pm

Bosch: No apology necessary. It’s an obvious thing. People in major European cities don’t NEED cars, and our major cities, especially in the south, REQUIRE personal transportation since the public transportation either sucks or is non existent.

George W

March 25th, 2011
2:05 pm

and if we’d only listened to Jimmy Carter 30 years ago……..

We may all be speaking Iranian now.

Bosch

March 25th, 2011
2:05 pm

Adam,

Zactly.

Bosch

March 25th, 2011
2:05 pm

Cute George, but no, we’d be well on the way to being off ME oil.

George W

March 25th, 2011
2:06 pm

Adam….or it is too overrun by thugs to feel you can safely use it.

George W

March 25th, 2011
2:06 pm

Bosch….how….what technology would we be using now?

Bosch

March 25th, 2011
2:07 pm

“or it is too overrun by thugs to feel you can safely use it.”

Bullsh*t.

larry

March 25th, 2011
2:07 pm

and if we’d only listened to Jimmy Carter 30 years ago……..

We wouldnt be supporting Iran, have our troops in Iraq……….

George W

March 25th, 2011
2:07 pm

Bosch……Marta? Really that is your response “bullsh#t”?

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 25th, 2011
2:08 pm

jm…you seem to lump all solar into one category….but its not that simple. Passive solar, active solar, solar to heat water, solar to provide electricity. Each has different uses and some more cost effective than others with current technology but that technology is changing and recent advances may change dramatically. Also the rising cost of alternatives including ground water contamination from fraking fluids and cost of oil change the outcome. Energy independence changes the calculation also.

Paul

March 25th, 2011
2:08 pm

sfd

“Alas, I think I have to put another 150K on the current beatermobile before I’m due for a new one.”

If the objective it to save money, that’s about the best way to do it.

Phrase I taught my kids “Car equals depreciating asset”

followed by “Car does not equal status”

JohnnyReb

March 25th, 2011
2:08 pm

The DOE was created in 1977 by the peanut farmer to end our dependence on foreign oil (just one of his many blunders). Our dependence on foreign oil has climbed steadily since as has the money given DOE each year to fix the problem. Obama budgeted $26.4 billion for DOE fiscal year 2010. This time next year, nothing will have changed for the better that can be attributed to DOE. Abolish the DOE and lower the budget accordingly.

The moral to the story is, we should pray for the people of Japan, but also for the USA to see clearly that Nuclear power is the leading candidate for at least partial replacement of fossil fuels. Windmills, sea wave generators, solar power, electric cars or everyone riding a bicycle are environmentalists wet dreams.

Bosch

March 25th, 2011
2:08 pm

George,

Well, I don’t know, because we did NOTHING to develop anything. Who knows what could have been developed and implemented in 30 FREAKING YEARS. I don’t have a time machine, wish I did, so I can’t go back in time and make people do what they should have done back then. But I do remember Reagan taking the solar power panels off the White House.

Bosch

March 25th, 2011
2:09 pm

“Marta? Really that is your response “bullsh#t”?”

Yes, George it is. When’s the last time you actually rode Marta?

Bosch

March 25th, 2011
2:09 pm

THE DOE — SQUAWKKKKK!!!!!