Three and a half years after the most devastating nuclear accident in a generation, Fukushima Daiichi is still in crisis. Some 6,000 workers, somehow going about their jobs despite the suffocating gear they must wear for hours at a time, struggle to contain the damage. So much radiation still pulses inside the crippled reactor cores that no one has been able to get close enough to survey the full extent of the destruction
Abe's Nuclear Energy Policy and Japan's Future
: "Japan has nearly doubled spending on solar power projects to $20 bn and ramped up renewable energy capacity equivalent to six nuclear reactors, pointing the way
to a sustainable and cheaper alternative to nuclear energy." [more inside]
Yesterday, July 29, 2012, saw a massive antinuclear protest, attended by young and old alike, in Tokyo. This video
, and this one
, too, (both well-edited and featuring English subtitles) bring you right into the center of the action, to get a feel for the energy that the movement is steadily gaining.
In the year and a half since the earthquake and tsunami caused an industry-wide Japanese nuclear shutdown
, Japanese consumers and businesses have been urged to conserve energy
whenever possible. Although a few reactors
are being brought back online temporarily, the Japanese government has pledged to move away from nuclear power sources. Yesterday the Japanese government announced what may be
the world's highest solar photovolatic feed-in tariff
at 53 cents per kWh generated. [more inside]
A month ago, the Japanese TV show "Morning Bird" discussed the current state
of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and specifically Unit 4, which is in terrible condition
. During an interview with Dr. Hiroaki Koide, Research Associate at the Research Reactor Institute of Kyoto University, who explains the immense difficulty in moving the radioactive fuel rods - a process that will not even start
until 2013 - the presenter asks what would happen if even a moderate earthquake struck near the plant before the fuel rods can be moved. Koide replies
That will be the end.
On the one year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster
, the Economist
magazine now considers Nuclear energy to be "the dream that failed
", in an issue with articles covering the history
, safety issues
, handling of nuclear waste
, and costs
(with emphasis on China) of nuclear power. [more inside]
Fukushima Robot Operator Writes Tell-All Blog.
"An anonymous worker at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi
nuclear power plant has written dozens of blog posts describing his experience as a lead robot operator at the crippled facility." [Via]
Reactor shutdowns nine months away:
Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced Sunday that it will take six to nine months to complete a cold shutdown of the damaged reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, while the United States proposed a daring plan to use a remote-controlled helicopter and cranes to pluck out their spent fuel rods... If all goes well, displaced residents from the evacuation zone should know within six to nine months whether they will be able to go home, trade minister Banri Kaieda said. [Previously] [Open MeFi pro vs. con nuclear policy thread] [more inside]
The long running "eyeball" series from noted cryptography and information freedom site Cryptome
] hosts hi-res photos of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear site taken from a UAV
and inside the stricken plant
. Also eyeball shots of other Japanese nuclear reactors
Even Japan’s infamous mafia groups are helping out with the relief efforts and showing a strain of civic duty.
"The Kanagawa Block of the Inagawa-kai, has sent 70 trucks to the Ibaraki and Fukushima areas to drop off supplies in areas with high radiations levels. They didn't keep track of how many tons of supplies they moved. The Inagawa-kai as a whole has moved over 100 tons of supplies to the Tohoku region. They have been going into radiated areas without any protection or potassium iodide."
Fukushima Dai-ichi status and potential outcomes
The Oil Drum has begun posting daily threads
about the Japanese nuclear plant event. As during the last energy crisis
, the comments there tend to have a good signal-to-noise ratio.
Preliminary magnitude 7.9 off Honshu at 05:46 UTC
The Pacific Ring of Fire has been living up to its name lately. BBC flash reporting a Tsunami Alert has been issued.
Strong earthquake hits Japan,
hundreds of homes have been destroyed, bridges have been leveled, tsunamis are forming, and most frightening, the nuclear power plant appears to be leaking radioactive water.
The quake registered as a 6.8 on the Richter scale
. I hope that our Japanese Mefites are safe and sound and will let us know if there is anything we can do to help.
U.S. faces bigger issues than hitting Iraq.
A former Japanese diplomat--now chairman of the English-Speaking Union of Japan-- offers a quintessentially Japanese view regarding the manifest folly of a US attack on Iraq. (From The Japan Times). Mr. Hanabusa underscores the formidable difficulty of the victor's creating anything but a puppet "regime change." Since Japan has had some recent experience in this regard, his words merit contemplation by those who favor an immediate attack and damn the foreseeable consequences thereof.
Sub Surprize - The Sequel.
Within two months of sinking a Japanese ship (and 24 hours of a recon plane landing in China) the US Navy have angered the Japanese yet again when the nuclear submarine Chicago showed up at a Japanese port without any prior notice.
Let's make a thread to track all the recent American military mishaps.