Japan Embraces Nuclear Power, Cancels Phase Out Plans

Essay by Eric Worrall

Nuclear power serves “an important role as a carbon-free baseload energy source in achieving supply stability and carbon neutrality”.

Japan reverses nuclear energy phase-out policy amid global fuel shortages, climate change

Japan has adopted a new policy promoting greater use of nuclear energy to ensure a stable power supply amid global fuel shortages and to reduce carbon emissions, in a major reversal of its phase-out plan following the Fukushima crisis.

Key points:

  • Japan plans to maximise its existing nuclear reactors by restarting as many as possible
  • The policy reversal argues that nuclear power provides stable output and serves “an important role”
  • A Fukushima disaster survivor says the new ruling is “extremely disappointing”

The new policy says Japan must maximise the use of existing nuclear reactors by restarting as many of them as possible and prolonging the operating life of old reactors beyond their 60-year limit, and by developing next-generation reactors to replace them.

Anti-nuclear sentiment and safety concerns rose sharply in Japan after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and restart approvals have since come slowly under stricter safety standards.

Utility companies have applied for restarts at 27 reactors in the past decade. Seventeen have passed safety checks and only 10 have resumed operations.

That was in line with Japan’s earlier plan to phase out nuclear energy by 2030.

In a reversal, the new policy says nuclear power provides stable output and serves “an important role as a carbon-free baseload energy source in achieving supply stability and carbon neutrality” and pledges to “sustain use of nuclear power into the future”.

The council also adopted plans to make renewables Japan’s main energy source and further promote hydrogen and ammonia as well as off-shore wind power and other forms of energy to promote decarbonisation, supply resilience and economic security.

Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-22/japan-nuclear-energy-phase-out-reversal/101803800

I’m not sure I believe Japan’s additional plan to make renewables “Japan’s main energy source”.

Japanese leaders appear to enjoy mocking Western green narratives, and sometimes appear to try to push the envelope, to see how much transparent nonsense Western greens will swallow. Such as when they provided “climate finance” loans for India, Bangladesh and Indonesia to build new coal plants.

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antigtiff
December 23, 2022 12:17 pm

The Japanese better take safety more serious. I read that the once a year safety review at Fukushima conducted by the builder of the plant was met with boredom by the employees. I recently read a story about a nuclear facility in Japan where the workers liked to ad lib stuff like putting uranium fuel in a container using buckets and were surprised when the blue light appeared in the room…due to starting a critical chain reaction. All the nuclear accidents are due to man made errors.Thorium powered liquid salts cooled reactors are the answer….cheap reliable safe electricity.

Steve Case
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 12:34 pm

Here’s a link that says China has approved a Liquid-Salt Thorium Reactor.

antigtiff
Reply to  Steve Case
December 23, 2022 4:42 pm
Peta of Newark
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 1:06 pm

from anything everything I’ve ever read and come to understand of Japanese people, your story is Pure Complete Garbage

antigtiff
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 23, 2022 1:40 pm

Are you familiar with the Japanese actions in WW2? Japanese “people” are not one….for instance….there is organized crime in Japan….their own “mafia”. I don’t think Peta would fit in Japan at all…better not emigrate there…

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 4:54 am

but the total amount of crime in Japan is extremely trivial compared to the rest of the world

MarkW
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 7:50 am

First off, so what? Pretty much every country has “organized crime”.
Secondly, what does that have to do with Peta’s comment?

Mason
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 23, 2022 1:43 pm

I have to agree with you. Having worked with them for 30 years, I don’t believe the story.

The blue light – we were shown the blue light when I was in college years ago at one of the ORNL test reactors. It sat in a swimming pool and the blue light emanating from it was fascinating.

Brendan
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 24, 2022 9:41 am

Peta…
My advisor (George Apostalakis) former NRC Commisioner, went to Japan to set up their risk assessment institutions for nuclear after Fukushima. They basically had none. Let me give you a concrete example.

Fukushima’s reactor set up was essentially the same as it was designed in US nuke plants in the 1970s. They keep spent fuel above the reactor and diesel generators beneath. Now, from a risk perspective that’s a horrible design your spent fuel needs to remain cool, yet if you lose main or offsite power, and your generators have been flooded (being in the lowest part of the plant) they will melt and then destroy the reactor below, causing more melting and damage. After being re-examined under the lease of PRA (probabilistic risk analysis) after three mile islan, us reactors were all modified to eliminate these weak points.

The Japanese did nothing.

Nuclear power was not a high status job in Japan. Not when automotive, electronics, robotics, and everything else was exploding. The Japanese weren’t building new nukes, so you weren’t getting interest or new blood.

Suffice to say, that was a disaster in the making.

George was one of the developers of PRA in the US. Taught for years at MIT before taking the NRC slot. And he was getting long in the tooth when he went to Japan. But their renaissance in nuclear is entirely due to people like him who have bought trust back to the Japanese industry.

Japan also is not insane. The heads of Toyota and Honda have said that they find batteries to be a dead end. So they are going to go fully nuclear with hydrogen as a carrier. So hydrogen cars and nuclear electricity.

Starting to sound pretty good to me!

Brendan
Reply to  Brendan
December 24, 2022 9:47 am

I should have mentioned that the tsunami that took out Fukushima flooded the reactor vessel, killed off the diesel generators, and without them, the spent fuel melted. Entirely predictable under the PRA methods used in the US (which is why lots of plants had explosions in costs to redesign – that would not be an issue in future plants).

In any case, the comment that Japanese nuclear engineers weren’t paying attention to safety doesn’t surprise me.

And they are taking it seriously now. They know that solar and wind are useless and they are vulnerable to oil and gas issues. So I expect them to be a full nuclear power with hydrogen in 10 years, making the us look ridiculous

cgh
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 24, 2022 1:37 pm

Of course it’s garbage. This was a dozen years ago and he’s pretending that nothing changed.

Duker
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 1:12 pm

The ‘blue light’ or Cherenkov radiation isnt connected to a chain reaction, its just electrons moving faster in some mediums ( often water around a radiation source) . Its the equivalent to a shockwave formed when going faster than sound
Its been observed in patients undergoing radiation therapy in hospitals, especially from patients being treated for brain cancers who might see flashes blue light

antigtiff
Reply to  Duker
December 23, 2022 1:47 pm

After the 2 atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, there were some plutonium cores for more bombs if needed…one physicist at Los Alamos was experimenting with one of the cores…placing lead bricks around it and measuring radiation when….Oooops….the lead bricks fell….the room was illuminated blue….he received a fatal radiation dose.

Mr.
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 3:09 pm

Well physicists are not excluded from qualifying for Darwin Awards.
Just sayin’

antigtiff
Reply to  Mr.
December 23, 2022 3:45 pm

There may have been another person in the room….it took several months of course before he died….I believe the lead bricks against the side of the plutonium ball caused neutrons from the plutonium to be concentrated in one area and start a chain reaction…neutrons causing more neutrons…no danger of any explosion but heat would increase…melting lead.

MarkW
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 7:52 am

.

Last edited 1 month ago by MarkW
michael hart
Reply to  antigtiff
December 25, 2022 6:21 am

Are you sure you aren’t telling the story about the experimental reactor where the guy manipulating and standing right next to it accidentally let it go past critical for a second or so before pulling it back apart?

He immediately knew he just signed his own death warrant, but the bloke further away survived.

Hivemind
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 6:40 pm

This is just made up. You won’t see Cherenkov radiation in the air. It happens when radioactive particles exceed the speed of light in the water.

raydt
Reply to  Hivemind
December 23, 2022 7:48 pm

Theoretically it’s possible, as the speed of light in air is slightly lower than in vacuum, but the charged particles would have to be moving very near the speed of light, and beta decay doesn’t generate electrons moving that fast (far as I know)

Light gets slowed down a lot in water, so it’s easy for beta decay electrons to generate Cherenkov radiation in a water bath.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Hivemind
December 24, 2022 12:00 am

The incident he recounts is one of two criticality accidents with the same plutonium bomb pit, both occurring at Los Alamos. The first was Harry Daghlian’s accident while assembling tungsten carbide (not lead) bricks around a plutonium bomb pit to see how close it was to criticality (measuring the rise in neutron flux as more bricks, which both reflected and moderated neutrons from the plutonium). He accidentally dropped a brick right on top of the assembly, causing it to go prompt-critical. That’s the condition where the prompt (as opposed to delayed) neutrons from a fission chain reaction continue the reaction. It’s what makes an atomic bomb possible. Daghlian knocked the brick off and shut down the reaction (though it was self-terminating in any event), but received a lethal dose of radiation. He died 25 days later. The only other person in the room was a military guard, who was far enough away to have not been affected. Both he and Daghlian, however, reported the “blue flash” along with a smell of ozone.

The second accident with the same bomb pit was with Louis Slotin, exactly nine months later. Instead of tungsten carbide bricks, Slotin used hemispheres of beryllium surrounding the pit to bring it close to criticality, keeping the two hemispheres separated with a screwdriver blade. He would twist the blade to increase or decrease the gap, all the while monitoring the neutron output. I recall, but can’t find, a reference which noted that Enrico Fermi had watched Slotin’s technique, and told him that if he kept it up, he’d be dead within a year. In any event, one day the screwdriver slipped, the pit went prompt critical, and Slotin (though he yanked the upper beryllium hemisphere off by hand) received a lethal dose of radiation. This time there were quite a few witnesses, and all reported the same blue flash. Slotin died nine days later.

I’ve had the privilege of standing on the grating over a TRIGA reactor as it was being started: the University of Maryland’s Training, Research, Isotope General Atomics (TRIGA) reactor. The view I had was the classic one of the deep pool of water with the eerie blue glow. However, one could never get something like that to happen in a bucket of water with reactor enriched uranium. It just isn’t a thing.

c1ue
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
December 24, 2022 3:53 am

Good story but you are wrong on the actual accident referenced by the OP.
The incident was the Tokaimura accident in 1999. I was living in Tokyo at the time; ironically was partying with a consulting nuclear engineer (who was Russian) that was in Japan working on a molten salt plant.
Tokaimura occurred literally due to Toyota “continuous improvement” thinking: 2 workers who were tasked with shoveling enriched uranium into buckets, decided it would be more efficient to “improve” procedure and shoveled many buckets’ worth into 1 bucket. I heard the actual details of the story later because the engineer was part of the investigation into what happened.

Duane
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
December 24, 2022 4:01 am

Yes – in any case neither incident is relevant to the silly fable spread by “anti gruff” here. The incidents in Los Alamos, widely reported and dramatized in Hollywood films, involved chunks of pure plutonium metal, machined into half spheres. Commercial nuclear power plant fuel consists of ceramic pellets of low enriched (generally around 4% U235). It takes a helluva lot more mass of the latter to achieve criticality than it does of the former.

Brendan
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
December 24, 2022 9:54 am

Spent fuel pools glow blue all the time. The spent uranium is still putting out fast neutrons and it’s the change of the speed of light due to the medium that causes Cherenkov radiation (it’s basically conservation of energy at work).

Brendan
Reply to  Hivemind
December 24, 2022 9:50 am

I haven’t heard that story about blue light but the criticality issue is real. I worked with plutonium once. And it was under extreme care and guidance because screwing up could cause a surge in neutron production and certain death. They were not careful about that in the early years and people did in fact die from criticality errors due to mishandling

nwblacksmith
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 7:10 pm

The Demon Core
Good rendition of the story at InfoGalactic:
https://infogalactic.com/info/Demon_core

Last edited 1 month ago by nwblacksmith
raydt
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 7:42 pm

Commercial reactor fuel is only slightly enriched, generally no more than 5% U235. Without a moderator present there won’t be a chain reaction and no glow.

Now if it were spent fuel pulled from the core, you might get a blue glow, but nobody working at a nuke plant would ever mess around with that stuff, it’s way too radioactive.

Brendan
Reply to  raydt
December 24, 2022 9:56 am

Just google image search it. You are incorrect.

Brendan
Reply to  Brendan
December 24, 2022 9:58 am

It’s not a chain reaction. Spent fuel rods still put off fast neutrons. In fact, the thorium reactor could use spent fuel to work since it needs a source of fast neutrons.

In any case, spent fuel rods are still reacting. You still have high energy particles hitting water and slowing down, and you still have Cherenkov radiation

MikeSexton
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 6:43 am

They showed that in the movie it was John Cusacks character

MarkW
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 7:52 am

.

Last edited 1 month ago by MarkW
Scissor
Reply to  Duker
December 23, 2022 2:26 pm

I used to see it at Walmart. It was special.

MikeSexton
Reply to  Scissor
December 24, 2022 6:46 am

That was K-Mart

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  MikeSexton
December 24, 2022 5:35 pm

See? It’s not what you know is true, it’s what you know is true that ain’t.

nwblacksmith
Reply to  Duker
December 23, 2022 7:10 pm

Electrons moving –faster than the speed of light– in some mediums.
Not going to happen in a vacuum but happens in water.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  nwblacksmith
December 24, 2022 4:56 am

no it doesn’t- nothing can reach the speed of light other than photons

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 24, 2022 5:36 pm

That we know of…

Beta Blocker
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 3:41 pm

What happens in a nuclear criticality accident is that fissile material is arranged in an unsafe configuration which can cause the material to go critical, resulting in an unintended release of radiation and heat energy. 

Nuclear criticality accidents are explained in this fairly readable article on Wikipedia:

Criticality accident

The two Japanese criticality accidents which occurred in the late 1990’s are described in this Wikipedia article:

Tokaimura nuclear accidents

When the root causes of a criticality accident are analyzed, it is most often seen that the accidents were a consequence of human error and serious breaches of safety principles, often happening in an operational enviroment where management oversight was largely absent and/or ineffective.

In the case of the two Japanese criticality accidents in the late 1990’s, regulatory agencies ignored indications that serious management and operational problems were present within the industrial facilities they were assigned to oversee and monitor. 

sherro01
Reply to  Beta Blocker
December 23, 2022 3:53 pm

It depresses me that dumb accidents still happen, although they are extremely rare. You do not have to be too smart to avoid criticality issues when handling fissionable material.
It also needs to be said here that the Fukushima aftermath was an earthquake/tsunami event that impacted a large area and many people, nothing to do with nuclear radiation. Sure, the reactor cooling system backup electricity was smashed and some radioactivity was released, but it had minor consequences compared to the large tsunami damage. Geoff S

Beta Blocker
Reply to  sherro01
December 23, 2022 4:31 pm

Both TEPCO’s management and the Japanese national nuclear regulator knew in 2008 that a high-wave tsunami was a high probability event, relatively speaking, within the remaining operational lives of the Fukushima reactors.

The long term solution would have been to move the backup generators to high ground and to harden the cooling pump power supplies to the intrusion of sea water.

The Japanese ignored the loaded cannon pointed directly at their reactors and did nothing whatsoever to prepare for a high-wave tsunami — even something as simple as installing enough backup battery capacity to allow 100-hour extended operation of the reactor cooling control valves, and a small Honda portable generator to keep those batteries charged.

Why didn’t they take even the simplest proactive steps to deal with the issue?

IMHO, it was extreme hubris combined with a psychological attitude that the massive pile of safety analysis documentation they had sitting on their shelves was by itself a barrier to a melt-down event like the one that actually occurred.

Brendan
Reply to  Beta Blocker
December 24, 2022 10:03 am

Their safety analysis was garbage. That design was used in the us and was redone after Fukushima.

I will say something was goi g on in the minds of the Japanese. I’m not Japanese and only have insight through a few conversations with my form NRC commissioner advisor (who went to Japan to redo their nuclear risk assessment industry). I think it was that nuclear power was not a high status profession and didn’t attract the best people. That’s changed now. Because Japan is going nuclear and full hydrogen and it’s one of their national priorities

Hivemind
Reply to  sherro01
December 23, 2022 6:43 pm

It’s worth noting that the four people died in the earthquake at Fukushima – nobody died of radiation.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  sherro01
December 24, 2022 12:12 am

Jay Leno was seriously injured by a gasoline fire accident in his garage. He is a classic car collector, and has worked on them his whole life. He’s probably more attuned to fuel safety than most mechanics, but stuff happens. How many people have been killed or injured by “conventional” and “renewable” energy sources. A huge amount more than have been (or ever will be) killed or injured by nuclear power.

MikeSexton
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
December 24, 2022 6:51 am

When I was a kid in jr high a friends dad died working under his car with just a jack no stands

Duane
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 3:53 am

What kind of bullshit stuff do you read? You think plant workers carry around buckets of uranium fuel pellets?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 4:53 am

don’t believe everything you read 🙂

MarkW
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 7:48 am

People read all kinds of things, once in a while, those things are actually true.
The things you’ve been reading about nuclear power are complete nonsense.

There is not a chance in hell that anybody just happened to put uranium in a bucket.

There is not a chance in hell that any “bucket” is big enough to contain enough uranium to cause a “critical chain reaction”.

meab
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 10:37 am

antigriff is correct. I worked at Tokaimura in Japan at the time, albeit not in the facility that had the accident. The accident he is referring to happened at the JCO fuel processing plant in Tokaimura. They had a safe process to make fuel for nuclear reactors. The process limited how much uranium in liquid form could be processed at a time by requiring that small batches went through a narrow tank that could not reach criticality before being pumped into a larger tank for further processing. The larger tank could hold enough material that it could reach criticality but wouldn’t because of the small batches. They normally processed low enrichment uranium, about 5% enriched, and had taken to bypassing the small tank and loading liquid uranium into the large tank by mixing it in stainless steel buckets to save time. They had gotten away with this, but when they tried to do it with highly enriched uranium for their Joyo reactor (~19% enriched), they overloaded the big tank with the buckets and it went critical. I was actually asked to consult on what to do to stop the ongoing criticality accident which lasted days. Lack of training and not following safe procedures were what caused the accident. Thorium powered reactors are not the answer – they will require similar processing to make the fuel. The answer is following procedures.

It’s terrible, but my Japanese co-workers called the man who received the lethal dose of radiation “Yakiniku-san” or Mr. Grilled Meat.

I hope a moderator on this site doesn’t alter my post. That’s what caused me to stop posting.

GoatGuy
December 23, 2022 12:26 pm

At least the Japanese aren’t so imbued with ‘must say the standard phrases’ that they couldn’t admit that-which-is-undeniably-true. Well run, competently managed nuclear is the safest, least polluting, highest energy source of practically inexhaustible energy that we have even invented.

Doesn’t matter whether you’re splitting uranium, transuranium, or thorium atoms, it is GOBS of energy. Ridiculous amounts.

I think all the First World countries ought to take Japan’s lead, and France’s … and invest hugely in nuclear. Immediately. Thousands of gigawatts worth.

THEN, in the coup de grace, institute full-on breeder reactors too, to repatriate the 50 to 100 times more uranium that was once separated from the natural feedstock … and make it work too. We have ALREADY MINED enough uranium (with breeding) for over 250 years worth of ridiculously potent energy. Let’s use it.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  GoatGuy
December 23, 2022 1:11 pm

and what is a Breeder Reactor if not Fusion Reactor – just using a different fuel with a different end product.

But the process is always the same:
i.e. Using Neutrons to convert one substance into another and energy outputs is always the same also = the radioactive decay of ‘spare’ neutrons into alpha beta and gamma rays

Loren Wilson
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 23, 2022 2:04 pm

The key difference is that various uranium-fueled fission reactors are commercially available, liquid thorium salt reactors have operated, but fusion devices are still a long way from practicality.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Loren Wilson
December 24, 2022 12:48 am

Well those are the commercial differences. Technologically – see my post above

Duane
Reply to  Loren Wilson
December 24, 2022 4:12 am

That is not the difference – see my response.

antigtiff
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 23, 2022 2:05 pm

No, fusion and fission reactions are quite different. “Dick” Nixon ended thorium reactors in the US in favor of breeder reactor development in his home state – Callyfornia. There is enough thorium in the US buried in Nevada as waste to power the US for a year. The liquid salts cooled thorium reactor was developed to power nuclear bombers….then ICBMs made that not needed.

Scissor
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 2:31 pm

Yeah, lots of thorium around. Incandescent bulb filaments used to contain thorium doped tungsten.

nwblacksmith
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 7:14 pm

Lobbying by the Uranium people. The US Government did not want to spend the money developing two separate processing lines.
Thorium does not go Ka-Boom. Uranium does. Uranium won out.

There is a huge amount of thorium in old silver and lead mine tailings – enough for several thousand years. Thorium is about as common in the earths crust as lead. Uranium is about as common a platinum.

Duane
Reply to  nwblacksmith
December 24, 2022 4:21 am

There is no “uranium lobby” in the US – it is an extremely small industry in the US, as we are only the 15th largest producer in the world. US mines account for only 0.02% of world production.

Besides, we haven’t used uranium for nuclear weapons material since the earliest days of the Manhattan Project. It’s all plutonium because of its performance in the superior implosion devices, which cannot work with uranium. Both uranium fueled and thorium fueled light water reactors can be used to produce plutonium bomb material.

Last edited 1 month ago by Duane
Duane
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 4:16 am

No – it was Jimmah Cahtah who issued the executive order restricting breeder reactors, not to protect any particular state or area but to address concerns over nuclear weapons proliferation. It is not a law, but it has not been terminated. Of course other nations are under no such restrictions.

There is no lack of nuclear reactor fuel and it is widely available and cheap to produce. Besides uranium there are large untapped supplies of thorium.

Last edited 1 month ago by Duane
Leo Smith
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 24, 2022 12:48 am

No Peta, they are two completely different things.
It so happens for reasons of I havent a clue what, that all the elements have a certain associated nuclear energy. The very light ones and the very heavy ones have more nuclear energy than the medium weight ones with Iron being the most stable.

Fission is the process by which heavy ones are bombarded with neutrons to make them unstable and split into lighter ones. In the process other unstable elements are produced and neutrons get onto other things and make them unstable too, and that is broadly your radioactive debris that causes green heads to explode

Fusion is the opposite. Light elemenst are heated to enormous temeperatures and subjected to massive pressures in order to ‘glue’ two light nuclei together. No heavy radioactive elements are produced, but the neutron flux does cause some short lived unstable elements to be produced.

A breeder reactor is a fission reactor where the surplus neutrons are use to interact with fertile elements like U238 and thorium, to make them fissile, so unusable depleted uranium (U 238) gets turned into IIRC one of the plutonium isotopes, which then powers the reactor.

In the case of thorium breeders, thorium gets turned into a very nasty and unstable uranium compound (U232) that is viciously radioactive. So that soon decays, but it makes if very hard to use the U233, that is the primary product of the breeding, in an atomic bomb.

All these technologies have been proved to work with more, or less, radioactive waste produced.

Modern nuclear power tends to use the reactor designs that are the most understood and can be built the cheapest, regardless of fuel efficiency, as there is so much energy in, uranium and thorium and so much of them in the world, and its dirt cheap, that it simply doesn’t matter .

The overwhelming majority of the cost of the reactors being built today is not related to the technology per se, but to meeting the massive and ever increasing regulatory burden imposed on them by governments who don’t understand, to placate people who don’t understand anything about them at all, bar what they saw in Hollywood movies, and is published in the scaremongering left liberal press, in their own right owned by fossil and renewable interests. Who are only too delighted to suppress the technology that is ten times safer and cheaper than either of them

Since it has been demonstrated that radiation is somewhere between 100 and 1000 times less dangerous than the regulations imply, we see once again the disastrous results of letting energy policy be decided by ArtStudents™.

The problem is that, as with ClimateChange™, the ArtStudents™ cannot roll back and say ‘er – we were, in fact, wrong‘ without losing all the credibility they have left as competent to govern or lead anything.

Hence we are stuck with pursuing utterly incompetent policies purely to save their face

Duane
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 24, 2022 4:11 am

No a breeder reactor is not a fusion reactor. A breeder reactor is where a mass of U238 is inserted into a conventional fission reactor where it is bombarded with thermal neutrons, which converts to Pu239 and is processed into fuel. There is no fusion reaction.

Steve Case
December 23, 2022 12:26 pm

If the lunatics running the “Net Zero” nonsense
were to embrace nuclear power …

But they won’t.

Dean S
Reply to  Steve Case
December 23, 2022 6:23 pm

Because it’s not really about reducing CO2 emissions, no matter what they say.

antigtiff
December 23, 2022 12:46 pm

Man screws up …a lot….that’s why we don’t have lots of thorium powered liquid salts cooled reactors today….emphasis and money was bet on “breeders”…..where are these breeders today? Fukushima had the back up generators in the basement instead of a few miles away on high ground. I would not want to live near one of these giant uranium fuel rod liquid water cooled reactors….too much danger of screw ups by man.

Duker
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 1:17 pm

Theres always screw ups by people . The worst industrial accidents arent from nuclear plants, heard of Bhopal.
even grain silos, fertiliser plants, oil refineries kill many many people when it all goes horribly wrong
Even now hundreds of lives are saved each year by coal open pit mining instead of deep shaft mining

antigtiff
Reply to  Duker
December 23, 2022 2:09 pm

That’s what I said…Man….like this Ras-Putin character for instance make mistakes and now over 150000 dead in Ukraine…..and nuclear plants at risk.

sherro01
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 4:03 pm

antigriff,
Clarify what you mean by “nuclear plants at risk”.
They are designed to handle aircraft crashing into them. Rather hard to cause risk from many causes. So many layers of safely mandated, that is why they are expensive.
Geoff S

antigtiff
Reply to  sherro01
December 23, 2022 5:01 pm

Some Russian soldiers have reportedly been poisoned by radioactive exposure in the Chernobyl zone. All those Ukraine reactors could become Chernobyls …they require cooling….Russian bombs and artillery can destroy them.

Leo Smith
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 12:51 am

If they were to walk inside the containment buildng to take snapshots of the ‘elephants foot’ yes, they would die.
No one outside the sarcophagus would be at risk from radiation sickness, though to the untrained eye, this looks exactly like vodka poisoning 🙂

MarkW
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 8:12 am

Once again, you read something, somewhere and assumed it must be true because it matches what you want to believe.

Chernobyl happened because the operators put the reactor into an unstable configuration in order to perform the test. They lost control of the reactor, and it melted down. It would have been a much smaller problem had the Russians built a containment vessel.

The remaining reactors of that type have had containment vessels built, and they’ve even built one for the reactor that melted down.

The level of radiation around the plant at Chernobyl has dropped dramatically in the decades since the accident. Locals routinely enter the area in order to hunt. The only restriction is that they have to let authorities test their catch for radiation before they eat it.

Dean S
Reply to  Duker
December 23, 2022 6:30 pm

I’m not sure that’s really true.

Open pits have certain advantages, mostly to do with a much higher recovery of the coal in the ground.

Undergrounds have much lower overall coal in ground recovery because coal pillars are left for ground stability during mining, the higher cost leads to only high value seams being targeted, and often only parts of those seams.

Most fatalities in ug coal occur in smaller poorly regulated mines which would not really be suitable for surface mining anyway. They are bolt on production, often mined when prices are high enough for them to make money. Surface mines will never help the people in such mines.

Surface mines are only suitable for limited geological circumstances, and often face significant approval hurdles in these enlightened times.

sherro01
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 4:00 pm

antigriff,
You need a course on the relative risks of normal life.
If you believe (wrongly) that nuclear power reactors are a threat to human health, you should lead a life where you never get closer to a car or bus or train or boat than half a mile away, because the relative deaths from transport are huge.
Learn from these words and stop writing childish crap about nuclear. Geoff S

honestyrus
Reply to  sherro01
December 23, 2022 4:40 pm

Yup. Bathtubs have caused more deaths than all of the nuclear reactors including Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima .

Dean S
Reply to  honestyrus
December 23, 2022 6:39 pm

The tsunami killed almost 16,000 times as many people as the plant accident.

Duane
Reply to  Dean S
December 24, 2022 4:29 am

No deaths due to radiation at Fukushima.

MarkW
Reply to  Duane
December 24, 2022 8:14 am

Though there were 4 or 5 deaths due to heart attacks during the unnecessary evacuation.

Dean S
Reply to  sherro01
December 23, 2022 6:33 pm

Totally.

When people learn I sea kayak, often tens of kilometres from shore, they ooh and ahh about the risks “What about sharks, what about if you fell in..”.

Yet those same people happily drive a car…..

Dean S
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 6:38 pm

Even though no-one was killed by the incident, 1 person subsequently considered to have died from the radiation effects, but 16k people were killed in the tsunami?

MarkW
Reply to  Dean S
December 24, 2022 8:16 am

That one person died of cancer many years later. The decision to count him as a victim of Fukushima was a political one, not a medical one.

Leo Smith
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 1:25 am

I would not want to live near one of these giant uranium fuel rod liquid water cooled reactors….too much danger of screw ups by man.

That is largely because you are almost completely ignorant of any understanding of technology and nuclear fission.
I live a few miles away from such a reactor. I would far rather live bang next to it than a wind turbine, Or a motorway. Or an airport.

Disputin
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 2:48 am

I would not want to live near one of these giant uranium fuel rod liquid water cooled reactors…

I’ve lived for over 40 years about 20 miles from one (now decommissioned) and I’m still here.

rxc6422
Reply to  Disputin
December 24, 2022 6:10 am

I spent 2 years living within 150 ft of2 reactors 24/7, and am still here 50 years later, with 2 large commercial plants about 7 miles away. I am very happy to have them, and not windmills or solar panels, even though I have a windmill and solar panels on my boat.

rah
December 23, 2022 12:58 pm

That’s a good move despite that whole island nation being on the ring of fire. They just need to be judicious in where they locate the facilities.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  rah
December 23, 2022 1:19 pm

Yes and is why I was wondering why ‘Fukushima Survivor’ is given prominence.

Fukushima wasn’t a nuclear accident per se, it was a disaster occasioned/precipitated by a sub-sea earthquake
Diddly Squat to with either climate change or nuclear power

It would have a much greater disaster if a monster mega-city was situated where the power plant is/was.
To really wind up the little Duracell Bunnies just suggest that to them, =Fukushima actually saved 100’s of 1000’s of lives

antigtiff
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 23, 2022 2:12 pm

If man had located the back up generators a few miles from Fukushima, it could still be operating today instead of melted down.

JamesB_684
Reply to  antigtiff
December 23, 2022 9:42 pm

If the backup generators hadn’t been located in the basement, which flooded, those reactors would likely have been back in production relatively quickly.

I still find boiling water reactors for civilian purposes to be quite … ill-advised.

Last edited 1 month ago by JamesB_684
Leo Smith
Reply to  JamesB_684
December 24, 2022 1:01 am

I still find boiling water reactors for civilian purposes to be quite … ill-advised.

They are no more or no less safe than any other sort of reactor, and have to meet all safety standards. They are cheap, somewhat inefficient, but perfectly OK. It’s like saying ‘McPherson struts and leaf springs on a solid axle are…ill advised in family cars’ .
I personally prefer all round wishbones (control arms, to you Yanks) , coils and fully independent suspension, but I dont regard it as ‘mandatory’ or ‘ the only safe solution’ ..

Rusty from the West
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 23, 2022 3:50 pm

I believe the fatalities at Fukushima were due to the evacuation chaos, nothing from nuclear.

Dean S
Reply to  Rusty from the West
December 23, 2022 6:43 pm

One was considered to be from radiation and a settlement with the family was reached. 16 people were injured in the resulting hydrogen explosions.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Dean S
December 24, 2022 1:01 am

Of course it wasn’t, but the government didnt want to fight it.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 24, 2022 5:49 pm

Yeah…. but… GODZILLA!!!

mohatdebos
December 23, 2022 1:20 pm

China resumed building new nuclear plants a few years ago; South Korea has also resumed building new nuclear plants. Both are also competing to sell nuclear power plants to other countries (Saudi Arabia, Poland, Czech Republic). It is only the western countries resisting the sensible path to carbon free electricity generation.

Rusty from the West
Reply to  mohatdebos
December 23, 2022 3:54 pm

Yes, nuclear is a good option but a “sensible path to carbon free” is a nonsense. Sorry.
The demon substance is carbon dioxide, not carbon and carbon dioxide does NOT control our climate so this cult idea of having to remove it from the atmosphere is lunacy.
We should be using coal but with a focus on sustainable materials to replace it in the distant future.

Duane
Reply to  Rusty from the West
December 24, 2022 4:32 am

Any planet that is carbon free is a dead planet.

Disputin
Reply to  mohatdebos
December 24, 2022 2:55 am

What the hell has ‘carbon free’ got to do – with anything?

Hatter Eggburn
December 23, 2022 2:53 pm

WUWT silence on the 40-year record cold storm in the USA? What’s up with that? O yes – this is the USA so it’s obvious mafia enforcers are putting the frighteners on. Frustrating for those of us curious about such things. You know – about climate and stuff.

Anyone interested in 40 year record cold in the USA?

antigtiff
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
December 23, 2022 2:57 pm

This record cold…is it…you know…caused by climate change?

MarkW
Reply to  antigtiff
December 24, 2022 8:21 am

Every thing is caused by climate change. That’s the beauty of this so called theory.

Mr.
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
December 23, 2022 3:22 pm

Big picture =
record cold conditions are recently and now happening in many places around the world, both NH and SH (e.g. Australia & NZ to mention just 2).

But for me that’s weather, not climates.

“Record” = “a number always just waiting to inevitably be superseded”.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
December 23, 2022 3:48 pm

Someone will probably get around to it — assuming a major blackout occurs in one of the wind & solar crash test dummy states.

rah
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
December 23, 2022 3:50 pm

Please explain to us exactly how a gas, any gas, disrupts jet streams as some “climate scientists” claim. Or more specifically how “Green House gases” cause blocking high pressure cells which push the Arctic air down here?

Joe Bastardi, using old school meteorology and his knowledge of what past weather patterns, started forecasting this Arctic blast about a month ago. Name any so called “climate scientist” claiming the “climate change” caused this that did the same! I have failed to find any! And I think that is because they are a bunch of ambulance chasing frauds!

Rusty from the West
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
December 23, 2022 4:04 pm

Not sure what you’re asking? Are you trying to allude that this site is covering up the record cold weather for some reason?
Have you not researched the theory that solar activity has a direct bearing on polar jet streams.
A theory that seems to be quite accurate going by recent weather conditions over the last few years – you know, weather events that all add together to form a climate pattern.
A pattern of a cooling climate which is exactly the opposite to the doomsday predictions of the CAGW Cult.

rah
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
December 23, 2022 4:32 pm

BTW I’m kind of disappointed. They were forecasting 6-10″ of snow here in central Indiana and all we got was about 3″. The cold is here. It was -10 this morning with a windchill of -39. But the snow didn’t show!

I was looking forward to taking my Grandaughter out and pulling her around on a saucer sled behind the ATV. Not sure we got enough to do even that.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  rah
December 24, 2022 3:57 am

“It was -10 this morning with a windchill of -39.”

Ouch!

Bone-chilling, pipe-busting cold.

I feel lucky. It’s +10F here.

In a few days everyone is going to warm up. It’s supposed to be in the 60’s around here in about a week. That must be the CO2 kicking in.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tom Abbott
rah
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 24, 2022 7:30 am

I slept outside in -30 with a windchill of about -90 in the Green mountains of Vermont. My sleeping bag was rated for -30 and we were in a two man tent with fly. I slept fine despite having my IV bags, canteens, and ointments and injectables in the bag with me and using my leather Hanwag mountaineering boots as a pillow.

real bob boder
Reply to  rah
December 24, 2022 8:09 am

Skied on Cannon in NH in the same weather, got frost bite on the top of my nose, one run was enough.

rah
Reply to  real bob boder
December 24, 2022 9:38 am

The cold up there is IMO some of the worst. Though I have been out in similar cold in other places, that old up in New England and upper NY has a character that hurts more than anywhere else, and that includes Western Europe and Alaska.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  rah
December 24, 2022 5:56 pm

In my area, Whidbey Island, WA, they predicted 1-3″. I predicted it would actually be none, or a foot. We got about 8″. So I was more correct than the professionals.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
December 24, 2022 3:50 am

I keep hearing the weather people claiming this cold snap is the “worst in a generation!”.

Where were these people in February 2021? Did they miss that cold snap?

MarkW
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 24, 2022 8:24 am

I believe this one is more extensive.

MarkW
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
December 24, 2022 8:21 am

40 year record, which means 40 years ago, it was colder.
What was happening back around 1980? Oh yea, it was the big “coming ice age” scare. The one you alarmists insist never happened.

When you learn the difference between weather and climate, just maybe, you will be on the road to true wisdom.

ResourceGuy
December 23, 2022 3:22 pm

It beats supporting Russian aggression expansionism with artic oil investments like China

Larry Hamlin
December 23, 2022 4:02 pm

The Fukushima nuclear accident was caused by the failure of the plant to be built to a tsunami event created by a great earthquake. The seismic design of the plant was not responsible for the core melt down accident.
There are no workers or members of the general public that died as a result of the accident.
There maybe a 1% chance of an increased cancers in the future for the workers but this increase is not detectable from cancer rates in the general population.
The radiation to the general public in the area evacuated was estimated to be between 89 to 251 mrem. The increase in cancers from this dose in the general population is undetectable.
The general order to evacuate 150,000 people from the evacuation area resulted in 32 known deaths from increased stress to the older population and up 2000 deaths from the entire general population due to accidents and other causes.
The lowest radiation dose known to cause increased risk in populations in10,000 mrem.
Japan has no technical reason not to proceed with employing increased nuclear power with the provisions to acknowledge the possibility of great earthquakes in some coastal regions.
The radiation risks of nuclear energy are grossly misrepresented by antinuclear media just as the risks of climate change are also grossly exaggerated by the media as well.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Larry Hamlin
December 23, 2022 4:45 pm

See my comments concerning what happened at Fukushima here: Had TEPCO and the Japanese regulator taken even the most limited proactive steps in 2009 and 2010 to deal with a serious known risk, the meltdown event in 2011 wouldn’t have happened.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Beta Blocker
December 24, 2022 1:19 am

Fukushima was sized for the biggest tsunami then ever recorded. Unfortunately the tsunami that arrived was even bigger. However, taken in the context of the overall damage caused by the tsunami, the loss of a reactor in the power plant was insignificant. All the safett stuff worked as it was designed to do, it just wasnt designed for that level of tsunami. And the final secondary containment worked well, limiting release of radioactivity to a minimal and perfectly safe level.

The only criticism I have is the amount of spent fuel stored on site. But, like the hydrogen explosion that popped the lid off, that was entirely the fault of anti-nuclear regulation.

If the operators had been allowed to vent the hydrogen, it would not have built up. If the operators had been able to take the fuel away for re-processing it wouldn’t have been sitting in those tanks. If the government hadn’t been required to evacuate everybody needlessly, no one would have died in the evacuation.

In the end, the safety regulations killed more people and resulted in more radiation than the accident.

The late professor Cohen, narrated how, in a fit of anti nuclear panic, the excavation of an old spent fuel location resulted in more radioactive release than leaving it where it was, would have.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 24, 2022 11:05 am

Leo, please see my extended response here.

Beta Blocker
December 23, 2022 4:04 pm

Can prototype nuclear reactors be licensed in the US under current rules?

From the article: “Using prototypes can be a way to accelerate development. They are common in a variety of industries that need approval from public safety regulators, most notably in the automotive and aviation industries. One might ask why it has been more than five decades since they were last used in atomic energy development in the United States.”

rxc6422
Reply to  Beta Blocker
December 24, 2022 6:21 am

Any type of prototype reactor COULD be licensed in the USA, if the owner had the money and desire to make it happen. But then you are stuck with a site that you have to cleanup, and that might cost as much as it initially cost to build.

Current LWR designs are based on prototypes mostly built by the US government in places that were considered to be godforsaken wastelands. But now those places are considered to be irreplaceable fragile ecosystems filled with vulnerable species. So, there is no place left to build them, other than China.

Full disclosure: I used to license nuclear power plants.

Last edited 1 month ago by rxc6422
Beta Blocker
Reply to  rxc6422
December 24, 2022 11:01 am

What is even more fun and exciting than licensing a power plant and its reactor initially is to build one of these hummers under the NRC’s strict quality assurance requirements as described in the plant’s construction license.

The challenge becomes even more interesting when senior management doesn’t take the stipulations of their approved NRC construction license seriously while component fabrication and site construction is underway. And more generally, when they don’t recognize that a nuclear project is a very different animal than a gas-fired project or a coal-fired project.

When that happens — among a host of other problems first seen in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s and then repeated again more recently — then you end up with VC Summer cancelled, with MOX cancelled, and with completion of Vogtle 3 & 4 delayed six years and its capital costs doubled from $14 billion to $30 billion dollars.

Here is one argument that advocates of the large unitary 1100 MWe size reactors are now pushing, as opposed to the oncoming small modular reactors: Now that the Vogtle reactor project is nearing completion, the industrial base for these large AP1000-size reactors is well enough enabled to justify investing in another similar project. Or so they say.

My opinion is that the use of scalability in managing technical and financial risk is a crucial facet of today’s market for nuclear; the SMRs enable the necessary scalability; and so I have my strong doubts about the wisdom of doing another AP1000-based project. But maybe you think differently.

astonerii
December 23, 2022 7:17 pm

Not as suicidal as we were led to believe.

DMacKenzie
December 23, 2022 9:36 pm

A translation from Japanese gives more details here:
https://www.nippon.com/en/japan-data/h01365/

Leo Smith
December 24, 2022 12:12 am

A bit more information in World Nuclear News.

Leo Smith
December 24, 2022 1:32 am

Nice timing. Its a pity the headline wasn’t ‘fossil fuel truck kills more people than Fukushima’

Tom Abbott
December 24, 2022 4:14 am

It looks like Japanese politicians are waking up to reality.

Maybe this will wake up some of our politicians.

MarkW
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 24, 2022 8:28 am

Given all the stuff we import from Japan, maybe we could add a few politicians to the list?

Beta Blocker
December 24, 2022 9:58 am

Let’s go into the causes of the Fukushima episode in greater detail.

=========================
Leo Smith said:

Fukushima was sized for the biggest tsunami then ever recorded. Unfortunately the tsunami that arrived was even bigger. However, taken in the context of the overall damage caused by the tsunami, the loss of a reactor in the power plant was insignificant. All the safett stuff worked as it was designed to do, it just wasnt designed for that level of tsunami. And the final secondary containment worked well, limiting release of radioactivity to a minimal and perfectly safe level.

The only criticism I have is the amount of spent fuel stored on site. But, like the hydrogen explosion that popped the lid off, that was entirely the fault of anti-nuclear regulation.

If the operators had been allowed to vent the hydrogen, it would not have built up. If the operators had been able to take the fuel away for re-processing it wouldn’t have been sitting in those tanks. If the government hadn’t been required to evacuate everybody needlessly, no one would have died in the evacuation.

In the end, the safety regulations killed more people and resulted in more radiation than the accident.

The late professor Cohen, narrated how, in a fit of anti nuclear panic, the excavation of an old spent fuel location resulted in more radioactive release than leaving it where it was, would have.
=========================

My extended response to Leo’s comments goes like this ……..

Fears were developing in the mid-2000’s that a high-wave tsunami which well exceeded the plant’s design basis tsunami event was not only possible, it was probable. An independent study group hired in 2008 to look into the matter confirmed those fears. 

The study group’s conclusions were ignored.

Back in 2008, the proper response for both TEPCO and for the Japanese regulator to the results of the study would have been to explicitly acknowledge that a ‘beyond design basis’ tsunami event was not only possible, it was probable. Action should have been taken immediately to deal with the threat. A plan of action could have been initiated in 2009 in which the technical and operational implications of the threat were analyzed and a phased plant modification and upgrade project begun. 

As an immediate short term measure, enough backup battery capacity to allow 100-hour extended operation of the reactor cooling control valves could have been installed, along with a Honda portable generator to keep those batteries charged. Operator training for dealing with a high-wave tsunami event could have been implemented. Emergency response assets for dealing with the immediate threat of a meltdown could have been pre-staged offsite and ready for quick action in case the worst happened. Hydrogen mitigation would have been an important element of both the short-term and the long-term operational response plans.

The long term solution would have been to move the backup generators to high ground and to harden the plant’s internal power distribution systems and the plant control systems to the intrusion of sea water. As Leo has said, other more expensive measures might also have been taken. For example, move the hottest spent fuel further away from the reactor buildings. Then move the spent fuel into dry cask storage after the usual five-year initial cooling period. 

Why were the study group’s conclusions ignored?

TEPCO’s management and the Japanese national nuclear regulator completely ignored the loaded cannon pointed directly at their reactors and did nothing whatsoever to prepare for a high-wave tsunami. Why didn’t they take even the simplest proactive steps to deal with the problem? Here are the major factors which I believe affected their decision to do nothing:

  • To acknowledge the possibility of a high-wave tsunami was to admit that the plant’s original design basis analysis was clearly inadequate for local conditions, and that the plant’s design basis had been inadequate from the very beginning of the plant’s operation. Such an acknowledgement would give ammunition to Japan’s anti-nuclear activists in pushing their claims that reactor owners and Japan’s nuclear regulatory agency were not truly committed to safe reactor operations.   
  • Japanese culture is exceptionally prone to a combination of hubris and a need to save face at all costs. That hubris and need to save face was augmented with a psychological attitude that the massive pile of safety analysis documentation they had sitting on their shelves was by itself a barrier to a melt-down event like the one that actually occurred. 
  • The fixes needed to implement a long term solution were time consuming and expensive. And even after those fixes were fully implemented, there was still a risk of damage from a high-wave tsunami, even though that risk had been greatly reduced. The fact that a somewhat heightened risk still existed after the plant upgrades were complete could be used by anti-nuclear activists to keep the plants shuttered even after the upgrades had been performed.

What TEPCO and the Japanese regulator did was to make a high stakes gamble that a high-wave tsunami wouldn’t occur in the remaining operational lives of the Fukushima reactors. The odds were stacked against them, and so it is no surprise they lost their gamble in a big, big way.

Larry Hamlin
Reply to  Beta Blocker
December 24, 2022 12:34 pm

I agree with your assessment. The nuclear licensing authorities recognized that although the great earthquake region did not dictate the seismic design basis for the plant this feature clearly could generate a tsunami event well above the size of the one assumed for the design basis. Two workers were killed when trapped in emergency generator building by ocean flooding with these building built on lower ground near the ocean wall. The tsunami destroyed the emergency power generators, the fuel tanks and piping for these generators, the electrical cable and motor control equipment that fead the emergency safety equipment, etc. This outcome was avoidable had proper care been used in defining the design basis tsunami.
Given the overall cost and death toll from the tsunami in Japan the loss and death toll at the nuclear facility area was small. Nevertheless could have been prevented.

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