back to article Sixth Japanese nuclear reactor loses cooling

Yet another reactor in Japan's Fukushima nuclear-power complexes has lost its cooling, bringing the total number of problematic reactors in northeastern Japan after Friday afternoon's megaquake to six. This information was provided in a one-line advisory by Japan's Kyodo News, which is closely montoring developments at …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sixth Japanese nuclear reactor loses cooling

    There's also some interesting info at the following link from The World Nuclear Association (a London-based industry body):

  2. another_vulture

    ancient reactors

    "Daiichi means "first". "Daini" means "second.." Reactors 1,2, and 3 at daiichi" were commissioned starting in 1970, and reactor 1, the one that failed first, was scheduled to be decomissioned this month after 40 years of operation. It was first designed less than 20 years sfter the start of the atomic age. It failed because the diesel backup generators (used only to run the emergency pumps) failed after an hour of operation after the worst earthquake in a thousand years, and the failure mode (so far, at least) means only that this reactor which is at its end life anyway, will need to be scrapped. The containment vessel did not (and probably will not) fail, and at worst a few workers will get a small amount of extra radiation. The new problems are at reactors 2 and 3, which share the same (failed) generators.) 2 and 3 are only slightly newer and have only 2 and 3 years of life, os the loss is small.

    1. Jesper Frimann
      Jobs Halo

      Looks like the Pro Nuclear crowd are out to lobby.

      Yeah, nothing like have a few partly melted down nuclear reaktors in your back yard. I've lived for most of my life just around 15 miles from a nuclear plant. I even get 7% of my electricity from nuclear power, or so the electricity bill says.

      Nuclear fission plants are complex things made by lowest bidding subcontractor. To be quite honest I think the people who are having their homes exposed to radiactive gasses, don't really give a damn that the plants were old and and and..

      Lets get some serious science into fusion research and in the mean time try to be a little more energy efficient.

      // jesper

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Norfolk 'n' Goode

    Tell us more, please.

    Apart from washing up by hand, what do you do to help indigenous natives in primitive parts of the world?

  4. Alan Firminger

    Sixth reactor ?

    I read the message qoted as meaning Reactor number 6 , so third reactor looses coolant.

  5. corestore

    I've said it before....

    ...and I'll say it again; the Japanese nuclear industry is now terminally *fscked*.

    Even if nothing worse happens, what has happened already - and appears to be happening as I write, now reports of cooling failures at FOUR different power stations - mean that the program is finished. Give it a month maybe, for the dust to settle and people to gather their wits, and every single reactor in Japan will be shut down permanently; the people won't stand for anything less. Relevant or not, they remember Hiroshima.

    I'm not cheering this; we *need* nuclear. Gen IV. Sooner rather than later. But by their appalling emergency preparedness, the Japanese have shot their nuclear industry in the head - and the rest of us in the kneecaps.


    1. Dale Richards

      Probably not...

      These events are unlikely to halt Japan's nuclear programme, in my opinion. Firstly, they don't have much of an alternative. Japan doesn't have vast fields of coal, oil or gas, and importing is an expensive business. These alternatives could also be politically unpopular (think Kyoto Protocol).

      Secondly, what's happened here is a meltdown of a handful of reactors, some of which were reportedly approaching retirement anyway. This is a *long* way off any kind of large-scale nuclear disaster like Chernobyl. I understand at least one plant worker has lost their life, which is always a tragedy, but compared to the death and destruction elsewhere in North Eastern Japan it seems these nuclear plants might statistically be the safest place to be.

      Finally, the Japanese know better than anybody how quickly technology progresses. There can't be many people who believe that a 40-year-old reactor design is the pinnacle of what they can achieve now. If anything, I predict this natural disaster will spark *more* investment in nuclear power in Japan.

  6. Simon Neill

    I really hope..

    ...this doesn't start more scaremongering about nuclear power (and that noone else dies of course). As others have said, nuclear power is overall one of the safest methods of electricity generation. Sure, when it goes bad it goes bad in a horrible way. Thing is it so rarely goes bad. A 9,0 richter scale earthquake is pretty damn bad. If a 40 year old reactor can survive that and not explode, come on...the rest of us are surely fine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Simon Neill

      Did you really mean to imply that it's OK for a few locals to be contaminated with radiation while the "rest of us are surely fine"? Perhaps it was an unfortunate turn of phrase, but to me it makes you seem like the most self-centred, self-interested, right-wing extremist little shit that ever walked the face of the earth.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Thank you for trying to educate me, Oliver

          I had never before understood that not expecting people to die for my convenience was a leftist stance.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Regulatory woes

    From what I remember, the biggest problem with TEPCO is that the Japanese regulatory body has great difficulty imposing compliance.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    leftist tsunami wipes out nukes - global plot

    "you'll be the first ones storming down to Westminster to demand more nuclear reactors."

    Nah, they'll be trampled underfoot by the nuclear industry shills

  9. Scott Broukell

    my ha'peth worth

    I'd say I think we have backed ourselves into a corner regarding nuclear power generation. It's not “Green” in reality, due to the emissions and energy required to mine, transport and refine the oar. It has an horrendous legacy of waste for future generations and if accidents occur they are likely to have a major impact on the environment. But, easily available hydrocarbon resources are becoming more and more expensive to exploit as we use up the low hanging fruit that propelled us through the plastic & silicon boom of the later 20th century.

    Add to that our growing populations and growing thirst for energy to power the dishwasher and all the other 'must have' items we are told (so easily persuaded) to buy and which don't last any way because they are built on the cheap to increase profit margins. So I am kind of agreeing with you on something I think. Our first washing machine (c. 1984) was built in Europe and was so easy to maintain (i.e. clean hoses, replace motor brushes, access any part you wanted too), we made it last over 25 years. (Washing was done in the bath / sink by hand up until that point). It was as if it had been put together with the mind of an engineer who understood longevity and maintenance. But equipment like that isn't going to make money for the makers nor are we encouraged to either get our hands dirty fixing things or even try to understand how things work.

    I'm just trying to say that there does need to be a change in mind set all round, with the emphasis being on our impact on the environment (waste), whilst we wean ourselves off the goal that profit / money must be King. We have become unwitting slaves to Money and Energy Resource.

    As a naïve kid in the sixties I remember watching one of those information films (when TV wasn't on 24/7), one of which described the efforts western engineers were putting into developing hydro-electric generation in Africa. It portrayed the west in a glowing light, monitoring the environmental impact, building new schools and villages for the displaced people (as a consequence of constructing damns) and generally bringing well-being and goodness to the people of a less well off developing nation. I bought into the story and believed we were right to export good governance, knowledge and development in this way. Now though I expect the benefits largely impacted on the richer echelons of African society.

    There are two ways for a group of people to climb a mountain; they can trample over each other in a race to the top, or, the stronger ones can turn around and help the weaker ones up the mountain first. Which model best fits human behaviour do you think.

    In our (western) race to the top of the mountain money is king. If you've got some you can afford; education, medical care, good housing and a 4x4 to take the kinds to nursery school in (you are a four-star consumer and get all the applause). If you don't have much, it must be your own fault and you struggle to afford even half decent food, clothes and warmth.

    In the developing world money is also king; you can afford arms and ammunition and suppress / exploit those weaker around you. It brings political power and you can sell off your nations resources to the hungry west to line your pockets whilst the rest of your people starve in poverty.

    I say we use our combined ingenuity to level the playing field, but that's pushing up against the weight of all those weaker people who were trampled on and against the power of the top-dogs who all ready made it to the top - not at all easy. We would also need to push against the weight of our own avarice and reliance on energy.

    We seem to make our history by the millisecond these days, with all the channels of communication that abound. All the ephemeral, transient, trashy information we ping back and forth between us distorts / shortens our perspective, such that we become blind to the real problems before us and blind also to the lessons that history can teach us. We can however, watch ourselves plunge into the information vortex and be damned!

    We can drill relatively microscopic holes through miles of this crust that we cling to, in order to sip out hidden pools of nectar (oil and gas). We can put so much trash into space we then moan when a piece takes out a lovely shiny expensive communication satellite.

    SURELY then we can put our collective minds to making the whole world a better place for all, and, who knows, we might even find that we behave better towards one another, quite naturally apply limits to our population, rid ourselves of a superiority complex or two (religion) and bathe in the warm glow of sharing equally in the very best things that our planet earth has to offer.

    BUT, that's not going to happen any time soon and I am probably guilty of letting my childhood naivety cloud my vision.

    So we are backed into that corner I mentioned earlier, with nations like Japan, (for all it's ingenuity and technical prowess), having to rely on nuclear power because it lacks available alternatives in sufficient quantity.

    Backed into a corner because we deal with dodgy dictators who happen to be sitting on huge reserves of oil and gas.

    Backed into a corner because we will even make up excuses to fight illegal wars over such reserves and throw away so many young lives.

    Nature, of course, has her own solution to all this and it's not nice. There's no point us hiding from the fact that the forces of nature have to be lived with, not fought against. Our present course will see us plunged into; global warfare, starvation, thirst, disease and, ultimately, a dramatic reduction in our numbers – natures way of saying STOP, that's enough now.

    We have, I'm afraid, probably gone too far along this road and we will continue to exploit each other right up until we almost reach the dizzying, unobtainable, mountain summit that we so ardently believe is our goal.

    The only hope for future generations is that they can somehow learn from our mistakes, because it doesn't look like we are man-enough to do it NOW for ourselves.

    The party is over folks, it's time to clear out the empties and freshen the place up a bit.

    For those of you inclined to accuse me of being just another nay-saying pessimist, I think it's actually a POSITIVE thing to believe that we could actually get ourselves out of this mess – we do have the where with all and the know-how to do it. And, ok, a near-utopia isn't the most the most exciting, adrenaline-pumping, prospect, but maybe we could give up on the hunter-gathering stuff now and nurture a little more instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The current reality, but not the only future ...

      Can we please get over the fact that nuclear power generates huge amounts of waste. Some forms of it do, but critically others do not. Let's not check the entire industry in the bin because the military types wanted a reactor which can produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. It's like claiming all cars are doomed and could never do more than 6 MPG just because the Hummer needs a 6 litre engine.

      An alternative reactor type was proposed back in the 1940's, and actually went as far as a working prototype which ran for a couple of years, but was canned because it didn't produce nuclear material suitable for weapons.

      Why? Because it burnt too much of it as fuel (it actually burns > 90% of the nuclear material as fuel, compared to only a few percent in the typical "conventional" reactor designs). The upshot - it needs much less refining to produce the fuel in the first place, you need much less volume of fuel (less mining) to run the reactor, what you get out has a half life of only a few hundred years, and utterly useless as a nuclear weapon, so less "terrorist" risks.

      Oh - and the reactor is much safer and less likely to go kabloey because it can self regulate, unlike a water cooled reactor.

      Downside - the nuclear industry has sold fuel supply and spent fuel rod reprocessing as the equivalent of an IT services contract, and use that to subsidize the cost of the initial plant. All of their $$$ come from the fuel supply, so actually getting them to propose such a thing to the UK government is exceptionally unlikely.

      Google "Thorium cycle" and "Molten salt reactors" for the details ...

    2. Denarius Silver badge
      IT Angle

      and your problem is ?

      What have you got against Darwins atheology being put into practice ? Anybody would think you wish to return to transcendant values, like right and wrong and all that old stuff. BTW, Plato got there first, but in this pig ignorant age, really old guys are not probably read any more for what they had to say.

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    Japanese anime has always extra-cool display and visualization magic of various tooling [which mainly works because the purported visualization software is imbued with the intelligence of the animation designer, a thing similar to what happens Microsoft concept demos, but I digress..]

    Why is it I haven't found not even a distantly related cousin of such coolness to update me on the momentary status of them there NPPs?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      in deference to Verka Serduchka

      Because at least three orders of magnitude more people are involved in the extremely competitive realm of animation/graphic design, and thus the lazy/stressed/clever have/had to trim every corner and 'leverage every advantage' to survive, never mind be successful.

      On a side note, check out Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 that was aired in 2009. The forthought and prescience is eerie, and it was very detailed in it's basing on several seismologist's warnings that something this bad was going to happen in the next five years or so.

  11. A.T. Tappman (Chaplain)

    i doubt that anyone is jumping for joy over this

    and I haven't noticed any posts to that effect.

    so who, exactly, are you shouting at? the voices in your own head?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it's not the radiation they have to worry about

    it's the giant mutated lizard monster that will stomp all over Tokyo.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Yes indeed!

      Quite a few engineers have suggested that in the past, and there are many things to recommend it.

      Uranium / plutonium fission was picked in the early days to generate plutonium for bombs, and to kick off the nuclear fuel cycle (which is what Sellafield was originally all about). Going back to first principles and choosing not to make bombs from the waste products means thorium is surely very viable.

      I know that the EU got asked by CERN to fund thorium reactor research. The EU, bless 'em, pushed the proposal over to some Frenchie for evaluation. His view was meh, won't work, so it wasn't funded. Turns out he worked for the French nuclear industry with a uranium PWR design to flog. Conflict of interest or what.

      India is putting some work in to it too. India has HUGE reserves of thorium...

      Getting back to the situation in Japan, things are pretty bad. But it is pretty impressive how so far, despite huge levels of abuse thrown at these things, the actual vessels themselves don't seem to have been breached. Let's hope it stays that way.

      There are going to be some interesting design reviews coming out of this. One is surely why was all the emergency cooling systems sufficiently low down to be affected by the tsunami (I am assuming that inundation is the root problem here). Put it on the roof out of water's way. Another is that these problems are seemingly arising because of insufficient electricity to run the cooling gear. One does wonder what would the situation be if they had just kept them running? Of course I don't know if that was even a viable option after the tsunami struck, and might certainly have been a gamble after the quake shook it all about in the first place.

      Also I wonder how well the staff themselves are coping. They must be under a lot of stress, and people don't often make the right decision under such circumstances. I wonder how long it took to transition from an attitude of 'can we save the reactor intact' to 'can we just stop a containment breach no matter what the cost'? No one wants to be the one to make that call, especially when such a transition inevitably means an acknowledgement of some sort of failure, some deviation from the acceptable norm. It is especially difficult to make such an admission in Japanese society.

    2. C 2

      Not just that, but it can 'burn up' existing waste products

      Thorium power reactors have a few more advantages.

      The first and MAJOR advantage to my thinking is that they can safely 'burn up' existing high level nuclear waste and the waste products produced only need to be stored for a few decades at most.

      Another nice thing is that thorium is pretty much evenly distributed so no country would be depending upon any other for energy. For instance the US has enough thorium resources within its borders to last 1000 years if thorium reactors were to be used to fully replace fossil fuels.

      There is no energy *shortage*, only an artificially created crises.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        @C 2

        "There is no energy *shortage*, only an artificially created crises"

        I like that line a lot. You are quite right of course. Energy productions is riven by vested interests, human ineptitude and profit motives.

        Given that a reliable large scale source of clean electricity would make most of the world's political problems go away, one does wonder why the politicians don't put more money into getting it. Of course, they only look 4 to 5 years into the future.

        One place I am permanently puzzled by is France. Forty to fifty years ago they decided to do nuclear power, high speed rail and space. They have the cheapest and cleanest electricity in Europe (mostly nuclear, no major accidents so far), they have a high speed rail network that is marvellous to use, and they have the worlds most successful satellite launching business. So how on earth did all that survive the intervening 40 years without becoming a victim of political infighting and economic downturn? Never mind the stereotypical views of the French, they have clearly got the ability to actually make these grandiose projects actually work. ITER is in France, and maybe that is a good thing.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      hmm no, that to is a rare earth commodity, fail.

      hmm no, that to is a rare earth commodity, fail.

      plus OC china as the worlds largest exporter of rare earth's around 95% of the global market have

      put a massive limit on that export growth for 2011

  14. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    @ Norfolk 'n' Goode


    What about those of us who have severe doubts about the ethics of passing on the disposal problems of nuclear waste to our distant descendants?

    You know what, some of us don't have central heating/air conditioning set to max.

    Some of us don't have the latest electronic toy.

    Some of us run the most economic car we can find (which we need for going to do real work where there are no public transport routes).

    Oh. Almost forgot. Some of us do, indeed, wash the dishes by hand (we also dry clothes on a washing line - or clothes airer if it's raining).

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Nuclear or not nucleur?

    There is an obsession with this question which will run on and on until human's no longer roam the earth.

    But is this the wrong question?

    The question should surely be: Do I really need to use so much electricity? If we can somehow reduce the demands of our power-crazed society it will mean that we don't need to give governments such wide-ranging scope to make decisions which will have a detrimental effect on our society as a whole.

    The lesson we should learn from this disaster is that we are too dependent on ENERGY. Not whether it is generated by nuclear or non-nuclear means.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Do I really need to use so much electricity?

      And, of course, "Do We need so many children?"

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I choose to be dependent on energy

      Because if I'm not it's back to living in caves and I like my home comforts. Also, as the human race, we need energy to progress.

      Dig out Horizon - Can we Make a Star on Earth? where everyone's favourite physicist sits down and works out just how much energy we all need on the planet (meaning in the West we'll have to make do with less, as with money) and what we need to generate it until we magically sort out nuclear fusion one day. We're faffing about and falling behind already.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Energy use is what seperates us from the middle ages.

      I fully agree that _inefficient_ energy use is to be avoided, but it is the precise application of energy that has liberated us from a life of toil. If we reduce energy use we have to replace it with manual labour, and turn the clocks back around 500 years back to the middle ages.

      I see no great crowd of people rushing to wake in unheated houses, go to a well to get unheated and untreated water and use an earth closet. The alternatives all use energy, so is that the lifestyle you want us all to have? There is always a reluctance to lead by example!

      Or do you divide applications into "acceptable" energy uses and unacceptable? Lets see some examples.

      Do you advocate energy rationing? How may Joules per person?

    4. bazza Silver badge

      A good question

      But it's one that the world has already answered with a resounding YES, and the world will want more of it tomorrow. Electric cars are the really stupid idea at the moment because they just move the problem elsewhere (and are argueably less efficient when you take electricity distribtion losses). If you want to run the world's cars on electricity alone an awful lot of power stations are going to have to be built. They can't be gas/oil/coal. Renewables won't do it either.

      It is worth asking what is truly essential uses of electricity. Hospitals? Not much arguement there. Schools? Well, they managed 100 years ago without. Homes? We all like our central heating and stoves and fridges, but really everything else is not essential to life. Factories? Ah, now we're getting geo-economic / geo-political with that one.

      Now for something controversial, especially in this forum. Large scale computerisation does not in my view actually make things better. It generally means that crap people/businesses can get away with being crap because they've got a computer system. Crap clerks don't actually need to know anything anymore, they read out what's on the screen ("Computer says no"). Crap retailers don't need to have a nose for their markets because the market analytics plots all sorts of graphs for them. Crap investors tap huge data repositories and have vast market models just so that they don't have to have an inuition or gut instinct for business. And so on. All of that takes a lot of electricity to run, and I suspect that it's expanding at a phenomenal rate. Domestic consumption of electricity is probably actually falling as fridges, TVs, etc. become ever more efficient. Commercial consumption outside of manufacturing is probably the thing that's driiving demand for electricity.

      Can't be bothered to google for relevant data. Anyone got any supporting facts?

      1. C 2

        @bazza, but "renewables" WILL do it and quite easily too

        Just an FYI people, if you want to know exactly how viable solar is, it would only take something like 2% of the worlds uninhabitable deserts to supply humanity's energy needs. Solar updraft towers which have been ignored for 30 years are safer and more reliable than even hydroelectric, and use about the same land area.

        Geothermal is another huge energy source that has been almost completely ignored, and is also fully capable of suppling our (relatively small) energy needs easily for the foreseeable future, thousands of years at-least.

        So WHY exactly are we having an energy crises?!

        A) big fossil fuel companies do their level best to make us all think that 'alternative energy' are wacky, infeasible and expensive. Its called advertising, oh, and the stupid amounts of money spent on lobbying. In reality a few alternate forms of energy are only about 20% more expensive than the subsidized coal and oil sources in use today.

        B) the oil/gasoline companies and futures investors LOVE IT when the prices go up, so they limit supply to accomplish this, OR they just by futures contracts up and don't sell till they get a big fat profit. However since peak oil production was in 2007 they don't have to limit this artificially (much) anymore. Also I think the greedy bastards that buy futures contracts should be required to STORE what they've 'bought' (and pay taxes on it) this would put a damper on the prices at the pump.



        1. bazza Silver badge

          @C 2

          "Just an FYI people, if you want to know exactly how viable solar is,"

          Ah, I've got to disagree with you there. Yes, technically a solar based energy generation system might solve world energy problem, but geo-politically it is not an option. Currently the world can get it's oil/gas from cloudy and sunny places. Solar based energy production rules out the cloudy places. The bulk of the reliably sunny places are politically problematic. No country in Europe would want to be beholden to, for example, Libya. And anyway, if a country suddenly gains limitless solar energy it is quite likely that some of that would be used to irrigate their desert thus cooling it down. Then the clouds and rain come back.

          Likewise not everyone has geothermal options.

          That's why thorium / fusion might be real winners. Clears out the political distortions of world energy supply quite nicely.

    5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother


      We are dependent on energy? Say it ain't so.

      Well, up until the point where we can simulate all those billions of brains on buried quantum computing mainframes that manage to run on the small heat differential between the upper crust and the mantle, energy demand will only go up!

      As for not giving "governments wide-ranging scope", Big Energy is the _least_ of your problems.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        did you get struck by lightning, or taking the piss after to much newky brown

        did you get struck by lightning, or taking the piss after to much newky brown !

        time to get you're shovel out and dig some more

    6. Denarius Silver badge

      not even close

      Really ? You evidence for this belief is what ?

      So far, observing the only sample visible shows the standard of living is directly proportional to energy use. If your saying that energy efficiency is good practice, then we agree.

      Mindless lighting of large buildings at night, building high rise where it is not needed and so on is indeed wasteful. If your suggesting we drop back to domestic and industrial slavery with 12 hour days because simple household and industrial machines are forbidden, then you show clearly you have (a) NC, (b) never lived a subsistence lifestyle, (c) never had to be cold and hungry (d) the usual unpleasant misanthropy that the average greenie demonstrates all to often.

      Finally, what other options for a decent standard of living are there ?

      Renewables, sure, if you live in Iceland or around Rotarua NZ. Elsewhere, yeah wrong . Coal and gas will run out eventually.

      Solar, and wind in Europe ? not in winter and not in whatever passes for summer.

      Thorium, definite maybe, except no reactors running yet to provide real data.

      Uranium maybe, if the process droids can be punished enough to make sure the safety systems actually work, instead of ensure the paper work is merely ticked off as done.

      Fusion, 20 years away forty years ago and still 20 years away.

      Solar power satellites ? Cost of getting stuff up there, failure rates unknown, considering the planet is surrounded in crap at LEO and geosynchrous orbits. Then we start with who wants to live near a ground microwave receiver, upper atmospheric heating, NIMBYs and so on.

      Deep sea generators. NIMBYs, save the whales, climate change as currents slowed and not many places suitable.

      In short, not definite long term options and not a good looking future.

  16. Stuart Duel

    So much for "safe, clean and green" nuclear power

    So in a worst case scenario, a nuclear reactor overheats, releases radioactive steam, and potentially goes into melt-down and releases a radioactive catastrophe because you simply can't have enough fail-safes in place to counter such an event.

    Anyone else see the fatal flaw with this method of generating electricity?

    At least with a coal or gas fired power station, when it shuts down, it shuts down, perhaps with a bit of a dirty fire for a while, but no deadly radioactive legacy for decades to come. And with renewable energy such as wind, solar, thermal, wave and hydro (and in spite of the bollocks written earlier, it is renewable - the sun keeps rising, the wind keeps blowing, the tides.... you get the idea) the worst that can happen is someone gets hit on the head with falling debris and of course the lights (might) go out for a little while.

    If you think nuclear power is the answer, then you're asking the wrong question.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      so if nuclear power isnt the answer then what is? renewables? dont make me laugh, the whole country and its coast line would need to be covered in them and they are massively dependant on weather effects, and we cant build oil and coal plants any more because thats not green, ignoring the massive amount of research that has gone in to them and in actual fact has made them considerably greener, but the public of today doesnt realise this, burning coat and oil MUST be bad

      so what is the answer?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        OK, a simple compromise for the pro nuclear advocates here

        OK, a simple compromise for the pro nuclear advocates here.

        how about this, the tenancy now is for micro power generation in the renewable sustainable market place , such as affordable micro wind,home PV, self contained micro hydrogen production and direct use and so on.

        it seems all the advocates of these are perfectly willing to take these options IF they where available at affordable prices and in some cases actually existed in an all in one micro self contained standard package you can just plug into your personal home grid one at a time as you can afford them etc , yes....

        great, so heres the compromise, all the pro nuclear advocates that have posted here are known to Elreg on their IP on the server and link that to your email registration so can send you the notification and procedure to register for the free gift below.

        i propose that your massive pro nuclear lobby ,finance a simple and cheap self contained micro nuclear reactor small enough to power your house and the next 10 houses next door, give and install them for free ASAP

        every time you move home , have them install a new one in on your pro nuclear abode, connected up to the new smart grid your pal's like to also advocate to save the planet by cutting off your washer when you need it the most, that way you get a free licence to use as much as you want without the smart grid tax at the going rate your paying now ( average £20 a week for an average single parent home apparently in reality).

        you do want these new micro nuclear home plan to proliferate in everyone's home's right ! and save the planet right and become affordable without massive subsidy kick backs.

        of course you do being a pro nuclear advocate your perfectly happy to take that option today, what they dont exist, err yes they do in the lab ,goggle is your friend

        1. Intractable Potsherd
          Thumb Up

          @AC small nuclear plants

          I'd love to - where do I sign up?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          id love to, the idea is very simple and micro nuclear plants have been designed, but govenment rules and regulations would get in the way, so, ill fire one back, all you anti nuke people join forces to get the govenment to allow us pro nuke people to build these devices and ill park one at every house i own, plus i will charge the national grid to supply you guys with electricity, of course much cheaper than what you currently get


    2. BenR


      ... if you're really that concerned, you could NOT build a large-scale nuclear power generation operation right on top of a fault-line with a history of seismic events?

      As someone else pointed out, look at the accidents France's nuclear industry has had over the past 20 or so years.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the reality is.....

    we are screwed,

    no seriously, im not getting in to numbers because im about to watch the England Scotland game and cant be arsed getting all the links but this is the reality

    we will not have enough power to run our country, even the new Nuke plants that have apparently been given the green light will not be online to stop the black/brown outs that will happen. there isnt enough power out there fo the UK, successive govenments have postponed these plants for decades because they knew that a large part of missinformed public were against them, its not the politically correct thing to do, so you leave it for the next govenment, only that one also left it because they didnt want to touch it and so on, finally we get to a point where the govenment realises we are screwed and has to do something, only its too late.

    we are screwed, we should have developed nuke plants a decade ago to stop the problem we now face, then we could concentrate on alternative fuels / fusion plants. but alas its not ment to be.

    Now for a quick point regarding the plants in japan, yes there are problems, yes its not good, but considering what they have just been through it could have been a lot worse, , the fact it isnt is a testerment to the people who built the things, we live in an area where we are not effected by such issues but i can promise you, if we did have anything like what they had out of the blue on the scale they had, half the country would be flatened, and the other half would moan about the govenment not doing enough. same sh** different day, for those who say we should rethink the nuke plants here i have one thing to say.

    if you want them gone, you can be the ones that live in darkness and in the cold at certain times of day because i sure as hell dont want too, not least because a bunch of folk do not understand the serverity of things.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Item number: 230388881483

    The guy on ebay who's selling potassium iodate pills has just upped his price from $15 to $100 and hey seem to be going like hot cakes. Every mushroom cloud has a silver lining ....

  19. John Sanders

    Reducing our dependence on energy...

    Normally you would like the kettle to boil the water, the oven to cook and the microwave to quickly heat up your milk in the morning. and the washing machine to wash your cloths.

    I do not know about you guys, but I like my boiler to provide me with hot water for my morning shower, and to keep my family moderately warm during the winter, specially when is as mild as the latest one. My iron helps to keep my shirts on pristine condition for work next morning.

    And here lies the problem, all of that requires energy, lots of it, and note that I am dispensing of the TV, the computer and the dishwasher, three of the most energy efficient machines on a common household. (well the TV not so much)

    What are we suppose to renounce?, hot water?, being able to cook?

    My wife expects the stove to turn on when food needs to be made, how am I supposed to convince her that we should not do it?

    I'm all for creating appliances that consume less energy, but to think naively that we can reduce our dependency of electricity easily is a bit of wishful thinking.

  20. Jemma


    Fact 1 : The systems in the Japanese reactors are 40 years old

    Fact 2 : They pre-date 3 Mile Island, so they have aux systems that run on external power - either electrical power or diesel aux generators are fitted.

    Fact 3 : The aux cooling failover procedure didnt - hardly surprising considering large scale diesel engines dont like a mouth full of sea water and assorted houses turned into matchwood, ditto with cooling water intakes. Even train sized diesel engines have to be blown through and vented before they are started to make sure there is not water in the cylinders... if there is, and you start the engine - say goodbye to it - bent cranks and valves and god knows what else will result.

    The primary safety systems WORKED, so please stop wingeing, because if they hadnt - half of America (depending on the wind direction, and assuming containment failed) would be enjoying luminous cow-tipping as the new national pastime. The 'shake sensors' worked perfectly - I don't want to think about what would have happened in a place that doesn't have these systems in place.

    All the reactors scrammed sucessfully - they all shut down - its the auxiliary systems that failed to maintain cooling after the event, so as such the reactors, and remember these things are 40 years old, older than alot of houses - hospitals and other buildings.

    Not to mention the fact that after being hit by a massive earthquake - they got a faceful of saltwater - a 20ft wave travelling at upwards of 15-30mph - full of debris - a situation that 40 years ago was not being designed into buildings - and even now is something we havent learned to control, and you begin to realise that these things performed far over their survival envelopes. Bear in mind that many of the scrammed reactors are still safe.

    As to the nuclear power plainchant wingeing - 99.99999999% of the time nuclear power is safe and clean. It is cleaner, albeit more expensive, than virtually all other forms of energy. The ones that are cleaner have a power/area ratio that is massively poorer - bar liquid salt solar towers.. that cant really be built in temperate zones since their output would be so variable and would need some sort of backups anyway. This is assuming that the much safer Thorium based reactors don't come on stream as they are expected to..

    In all the accidents that are well known the problems have either been human error, design faults (that in newer kit have been solved to a large extent) or a bloody great earthquake plus a side order of tsunami suburb salad...

    I'd like you to think for a second - as to what would happen to a nuclear rich country like France if the same thing happened there - an 8.9 quake in the middle of the channel and then a tsunami (of probably a lesser extent).... a moderate hydrogen explosion really isnt in it, in that situation.

    Do we need to use so much electricity - no we don't - converting all bulbs to LED - as I have done at home saves at least 80% of the lighting power requirement - yes, the bulbs are more expensive... but on the other hand they last longer. It takes electrical power to make petrol for example - so why don't we stop buggering about with Prii - and the government to fit sump/transmission heaters to all vehicles on the road and all new production... a 1995 Renault Safrane 2.2 Auto without heating 21/22mpg average for short journeys... plug the car in for 30/45 minutes before a journey 26.1mpg... which will probably improve if I fit a transmission heater as well, AD4 transmissions don't like the cold, which increases transmission losses and therefore further lowers efficiency. Oh yeah, and even running both of those for 45 minutes costs you less than 4p - depending on your energy prices. It saves you a lot more at the pump.

    There are all sorts of things we can do - but half of us don't know that we can do it - we look at the cost of LED bulbs and cringe - but we don't realise that these bulbs last much longer (some of the ones I have are still working after 3 years!). Its possible to get assistance to fit up solar systems, both PV/PH, to your home, and make money exporting money back to the grid...

    Get a free examination of your home or company premises - and look into assistance for the required changes.

    The local police station in my town - has a great big efficiency indicator on the wall - yet all the bulbs in the lights are conventional, energy wasting bulbs. The police complain about their problems with money... swapping over the bulbs alone (that are generally always on) saves around 80% of lighting energy use... less 'lectric, more money to spend on sitting waiting for speeders...

    As a closing argument - it says a lot when an ex director of a environmental organisation on the scale of greenpeace - is happy to sit on TV and admit to the fact that the safest type of power generation and that which most supports the environment... is Nuclear Power.

  21. Kerry Hoskin


    We've just finished renovating my parents old house, its an old house circa 1820's and we totally gutted it, the only things left were the roof, four walls and windows. We spent a considerable sum on the heating/hot water system, it was actually our single biggest expense costing us around £20k. We're in a small village in Cornwall, so no mains gas, so we've got an oil boiler 90 odd % efficient, a pretty decent wood burner 82% efficient all plumbed in to one of these babies a 700l thermal store. We've done basically everything we can to save on energy, we've changed all our downlighters to LED (we have nearly 30 and at £20+ for 50w equivalents its not cheap!) we spent a lot on top notch efficient Siemens appliances, we've stuck over £3k worth of insulation in the house, the walls are solid stone so we've battened them all off and filled them with 50mm celotex and we've got more than enough insulation in the loft. We've got underfloor heating in the main downstairs living space, again more efficient than rads, and rads upstairs.

    Now the thermal store has plenty more inputs and we have already put the coils in for solar thermal, BUT as we live in a fecking conservation area I have to get planning permission to put the panels up, and I can see us being knocked back on this as we have plenty of fecking moaners in the village. We're in a really good location SE facing large roof area, etc and in the summer it should provide most if not all of our hot water. So I'm minded just to put them up anyway, or I can put them on a frame in the garden, and if I'm told to move them I'll stick them in the garage over the winter and them bring them out again the next spring! If the government are serious about renewables they need to sort the planning out, we're already at a major disadvantage living where we do, energy wise with oil at 60p/l (I was paying 18p/l 6 years ago)

    Time this country woke up, if the attitudes that are around now were around in the Victorian era we'd have feck all in this country as nothing would ever get built!.

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  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But Why?

    Why all these failures? Was it earthquake damage or do these reactors use sea water for cooling? And was the sea water just a bit silted up after the tsunami thus blocking the vents.

    Either way this isn't an issue with nuclear power as such but the people who designed the plant.

    1. EducationOperation

      Probable Reason For Cooling Failure

      I suspect the pumps and the cooling pipe system has been damaged by the extreme violence of the quake.

  23. EducationOperation

    Facts About Oil, Coal, Gas and Nuclear

    * People killed by Oil production: Thousands per decade. Just one example:

    * People killed by Oil Wars: Millions.

    Just one of the smaller effects:

    There are also the Iran/Iraq and the UKUSA/Iraq war, just for example

    * Effects of Burning Coal: Heavy Metals, Dioxine and more nasty stuff - tens of thousands per year killed.

    * People killed by Nuclear: Hundreds in Chernobyl. None in Harrisburg. Japan expected to be like Harrisburg. Limited (as compared to Coal) deaths from Uranium mining (hundreds per year).

    The Western World praises itself for enlightened and rational reasoning. Which forms of Energy would YOU chose ? How many more Oil Wars would we have without nuclear energy ?

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