More important that Fukushima

At the one year anniversary the mainstream media will pull out various stories about the triple meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi reactors.  But what i am guessing is we will never hear another word in the MSM about two near meltdowns which happened in the US in Nebraska last summer at the Fort Calhoun reactor.

In late June of last year heavy rains flooded the Missouri river and put both the Fort Calhoun and Cooper reactors in danger.  The air space over both plants was restricted with no clear reason to my thinking except to minimize the number of pictures like the one above from hitting the airwaves and newspapers.

There are several reasons why Fort Calhoun is more important than Fukushima in my thinking.  The first is that the exact same thing could easily happen in Nebraska this year or worse with heavy rains.  And climate shifts are increasing the probability of this every year.  The second is that Fort Calhoun and Cooper are not some far off country on the other side of the world, where most Americans have never been and many can’t even find on a map.  People have relatives in Nebraska, they have driven through it.  Fort Calhoun is 20 miles from Omaha.  Third is that it did not take a 1 in 10,000 year earthquake and tsunami for this accident to happen.

We got lucky at Fort Calhoun.  Fortunately the reactor was down for a fuel change when the flooding started.  Fortunately, it did not keep raining the small amount more it would have taken to completely overwhelm the stations after the make shift berms which had been placed around it broke.

And because we are hiding from Fort Calhoun and looking instead at Fukushima, we are pretending that the “lessons learned” from the triple meltdown will enable us to continue to operate dangerous reactors in this country.  The real lesson learned is we should be phasing nuclear power out, like Japan, Mexico, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Venezuela, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands have done or are doing.  The world is souring on nuclear power it is time for the US to stop being blind as to why.

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

8 responses to “More important that Fukushima”

  1. bnmng says :

    With all of the things we have to worry about, nuclear power hasn’t been much on my radar. That’s partially because it just seems so hopeless. The alternatives are either heavy polluters or new technology which hasn’t proven capable of meeting our demands. There’s only one real solution: we have to use less energy. We have to drive less, be a little cold in the winter and a little hot in the summer, stop buying so much, and maybe even stop entertaining ourselves every waking moment with electronic gadgets. And it doesn’t seem like that’s about to happen. We ridiculed Jimmy Carter when he put on a sweater in the Oval Office. Had we listened to him, we might have avoided some of the pollution, terrorist attacks, wars, and nuclear melt downs.

  2. paxus says :

    @bnmng – i can understand why nuclear feels hopeless, certainly the pro-nuclear types (who have significant sway over the media) are interested in making you believe that a future without nuclear is unthinkable and thus it is all faustian bargains radwaste or climate change, which do you prefer.

    One of the interesting things in this Greenpeace paper on the lessons of Fukushima is that the nuclear reduced future is already largely here. In the last 5 years there has been 230K MW of wind and solar power installed world wide this is about the equivalent of 230 full sized reactors. In contract only
    a bit more than 10K MW of installed nuclear power has been installed over the same period about 10 reactors worth and less than 1/20th the renewables level.

    Renewables are able to meet our energy demands AND it would be a huge help if we were able to consume less, and resource scarcity will help us with that by driving up prices.

    Jimmy Carter also put solar panels on the white house roof, which Reagan then took down. i dont think much of Obama, but it would not take much for him to put them back up (or newer better ones).

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment

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