Japan’s catastrophe and the future of nuclear power


Many have argued that ongoing events in Japan – yes I know such a pallid formulation is SO inadequate! – show once and for all that nuclear power generation, especially in Australia, has no future at all. Unfortunately I am not sure that is the only lesson to be learned; indeed, perversely, it could be argued that Australia is a far more sensible place to engage in nuclear power production than Japan is.  It could also turn out that given the most extreme tests imaginable – major earthquakes + tsunami – Japan’s safety standards come up much better than might have been predicted.

All sorts of things can be, and are being, argued.

Here are some items that my Google Reader throws up this morning.

Jim Belshaw: Japan, the media & limits on time.  Jim refers in turn to Don Arthur’s excellent factual post Background on Japan’s stricken nuclear reactor — Fukushima Daiichi No 1.

In How is the Nukie Ahmadinejad’s media covering Japan… Iranian-born blogger Neo Resistance writes:

I have been browsing the nuclear-energy seeking media of IRI to see if/how they are covering Japan’s earthquake-Tsunami-Nuclear leak axis of catastrophe. It seems that they are fully covering the Tsunami and Earthquake news, even exaggerate the number of fatalities, but are COMPLETELY omitting any news about the nuclear leak and the likely melt-down that is unnerving the world. Ironically, the top news on many sites is that Iran is ready to export nuclear fuels!…

In Scotland blogging medico Bob Leckridge focuses on Resilient Japan.

Every day just now we see more and more scenes of devastation from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It’s quite overwhelming. I’ve been in touch with a couple of my friends in Tokyo, and what they tell me, plus what I see reported on the news, reminds me again of the incredible depth of quiet strength and resilience which seems common in Japan. It got me thinking again about the story of the Diospyros kaki tree – the tree which survived the nuclear bomb in Nagasaki whose shoots have been spread around the world as a Peace Tree…

Environmental blog Climate Denial Crock of the Week – a brilliant site! – has been responsibly chronicling developments as they occur with a minimum of moralising. For example:

The Nuclear Energy Institute has posted some additional information on the current situation.

This helps to understand reports of several nuclear sites that are currently under emergency conditions.


Tokyo Electric Power Co. continues to implement emergency cooling and pressure relief operations at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. In addition, at Fukushima Daini, three reactors remain shut down. They have electrical power available at Daini, but the suppression water pools used for reactor cooling are saturated at both sites.