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Earthquake danger for nuclear power plants

Earthquakes are a fairly common occurrence in Japan, and so, if the earthquake was indeed the cause of the accident, it would call into question the safety of much of Japan’s nuclear fleet, including, presumably, the reactors at the Ohi plant.

The Nuclear Power Conundrum, Bill Chameides Dean, Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment HUFFINGTON POST,  07/06/20 “…. a report released on Thursday by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission concluded that last year’s accident in northeastern Japan at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) was “profoundly a man-made disaster — that could and should have been foreseen and prevented.”

While the official story has been that the accident was caused by the “once-in-a-millennium” tsunami, the report concludes that damage resulting from the earthquake (before the tsunami struck) could have been liable as well.

Earthquakes are a fairly common occurrence in Japan, and so, if the earthquake was indeed the cause of the accident, it would call into question the safety of much of Japan’s nuclear fleet, including, presumably, the reactors at the Ohi plant.

The commission was also quite critical of the response by Tepco and the government to unfolding events, and blamed “collusion” between the company, the government, and the plant operator and the country’s “reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority” as the root cause of the accident…..

California Has Its Own Nuclear Woes

Meanwhile, state-side, another nuclear mini-drama is being played out. The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, located in the very populous corridor between Los Angeles and San Diego, has been shuttered since January after it was discovered that damage to the steam tubes that carry radioactive water (caused by a computer modeling error and a flawed generator design) had led to a small leak of radioactive steam. A spokeswoman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission described the leaks as “unprecedented,” and the plant will remain offline indefinitely until officials of Southern California Edison, the plant’s operator, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission deem it safe to restart.

While anti-nukes have used the incident as a rallying point to keep San Onofre closed for good (as these advocacy sites here and here illustrate), officials from the California Independent System Operator, charged with keeping electrons flowing through the California grid, have had to scramble to devise a contingency plan [pdf] to keep the lights on and the air conditioning running as California enters the hot part of the summer season. (Read more on the San Onofre closure.)…. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-chameides/the-nuclear-power-conundr_b_1655338.html

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July 9, 2012 - Posted by | Fukushima 2012, safety

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