Least informed piece on Fukushima yet

(…) The [least-infomed] op-ed is titled Japan’s Nuclear Mobsters Escape Tsunami Pain: William Pesek. The general thrust of the commentary is that there should be criminal prosecutions of the people who built the reactor, the people who operated the power station and the politicians that allowed the power station to be built. Pesek refers to the entire population of the nuclear industry as a “mob” that is dangerous to the Earth.

That quote is from Rod Adams longish analysis of the recently released NRC SORCA report — such a remarkable contrast to the shockingly horrible Fukushima media coverage. Excerpts:

In the weeks leading to the one year anniversary of the demise of the Fukushima Daiichi power station, there have been a number of articles from the usual suspects that seek use the word “Fukushima” as a hypnotic code word that is supposed to result in fear and trembling. Individuals like Karl Grossman, Helen Caldicott and Arnie Gundersen have released documents or given talks implying that Fukushima should turn people away from the beneficial use of nuclear energy. Professional antinuclear organizations like Greenpeace have released lengthy reports aimed at the same purpose.

In contrast, some astute observers of the world like George Monbiot and Mark Lynas have dug deeply into the events and consequences and reached an aha moment. They found out that the dire predictions they have heard repeated about nuclear reactor accidents were simply not true. They recognized that Fukushima proved that even when reactors are hammered by the worst that nature can dish up and even when the people working to respond behave like real, imperfect people, reasonably well designed nuclear plants do not pose a danger to the public.

Just a few weeks ago, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission released the final draft report of a project they have been working on for about half a dozen years called the State of the Art Reactor Consequences Analysis (SORCA). That detailed study uses knowledge and data gathered over the fifty years that people have been operating large nuclear power stations and puts them into some realistic models.

The end result of the model provides the same answer as the inadvertent theory to practice exercise at Fukushima. In every scenario, no matter what initiating event occurred and no matter how poorly the response actions were implemented, the predicted damage from a reactor accident was limited to the plant and its immediate surroundings. The chance of hurting a member of the general public was calculated to be something like 1 in 10E-14. I will take those odds any day.

The lesson that the world needs to take away from Fukushima is that it is okay to build hundreds or thousands of new nuclear power stations and to place them quite close to the backyards of millions of people. Sure, the plants are not absolutely safe and may be subject to damage from various events. They will not be manned by perfectly competent individuals who know exactly what to do at all times. However the layers of defense enabled by an incredibly dense energy source are sufficiently robust to ensure that the public will be protected from physical harm no matter what happens to the plant. People living close to the plants have nothing to worry about.

For me, that is the definition of an acceptable neighbor, especially when it is a neighbor that can produce massive quantities of clean, reliable, valuable electricity with little impact outside of the gates since its fuel deliveries can fit onto a few trucks that only need to deliver every 18 months.Read the whole thing »

Thanks Rod – lots of good work in this piece. Read the whole thing »