[FoRK] Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Tue Mar 22 16:57:14 PDT 2011

On 3/22/11 4:29 PM, Damien Morton wrote:
> ...
> This is a bullshit argument too.
> Fukushima is a narrowly averted disaster on top of a disaster.
> We dont know how much radioactive material has been flushed into the
> environment, and while the number of deaths TO DATE are 0, we dont know how
> many will be attributable to Fukashima in the years hence. We do know it

We're pretty sure: Zero.
Nearly all of the radioactive particles that escaped where iodine isotopes, which have a half-life of 8 days.
Apparently, the degree of radioactivity in the milk would have required you to drink 65,000 glasses of milk to have a likelihood of 
radiation effects.  So far, it seems that few people in Japan will have more radiation exposure than someone living in Denver.

> could have been much much worse, with the possibility of 10s or 100s of
> thousands of radiation attributable deaths over 10s of years. All that would
> have been needed is a bigger earthquake or a bigger tsuami, and they exists
> and will come in any give 100 year period.

Part of the advantage of nuclear power is that it is so concentrated, which should make it much easier to build up an indestructible 
series of systems around.  And to work toward fail-safe systems and aggressive remedial issues.

My favorite solution for handling immanent failure: build plants on or easily movable to super-tough robotic barges.  Start to lose 
control: ship out to sea to the uninhabited atol or least-upwind point while you solve the problem.

Also, there should be a way to modularize or otherwise split apart these things for active recycling.  We already can recycle rail 
cars, vehicles, etc.  While a nightmare for dust, containment, etc., it nevertheless would make sense to have a factory somewhere 
that could recycle these things actively.  Probably impractical.  We can just bury these things.  The radioactivity came from the 
ground, so back it goes.

> What Fukashima teaches us is that if we have nuclear plants, they should be
> plants with passive safety systems rather than active safety systems. There
> are any number of designs for such systems, including the Liquid Fluoride
> Thorium Salt reactors and various other reactors as well.


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