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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Is Fukushima the end of the Nuclear Middle ground?

Introduction

Back when I was growing up, we had Nuclear explained to us once, and once only in all of the years of Primary school. This was back in the Late 70's, early 80's. I think I remember it being in year 4 or 5 and covered as part of our energy learning.

We had nice glossy books, with pictures that explained everything to you. Yes, you could make bombs, but they learned that it could last nearly forever, and with 100% safety could boil water forever, so therefor could generate power and was clean and green.....

The diagrams were also interesting and reassuring. You see, the nasty water was seperated from the clean water, which would heat the clean water, turn the turbines, and then go safely back to the water source... no harm, no foul.

(Interesting to note: The first designs had the irradiated water turning the turbines)

See... all very safe and tidy
http://www.45nuclearplants.com/nuclear_reactor_designs.asp

And not to worry about any waste products, no it was not going into bombs (well, not all of it), but kept safely on site in spent fuel pools to keep them cool, as science would one day come up with a super-duper method of safe disposal; which after half a century to work it out, is yet to be seen.

Spent Fuel Pools Via Washington Post at Fukushima
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/04/a-visual-tour-of-the-fuel-pools-of-fukushima.html
What a spent Fuel Pool is meant to look like
SFP3 :
http://leakspinner.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/large3_8b.jpg



















The differences between Anti-Nuke, Pro-Nuke and the Middle Ground.

Anti-Nuke

Anti-Nuke has been around as long as nukes have existed. 

Simply put the arguments are well founded as to the first developments of the technology. Weaponry.

Nuclear was all about the end of the Second World War, and then bled over into the power race of the Cold War. This simple postulation, gives rise to the fact that without reactors "breeding" the required elements to make these bombs would not exist. To hide them from the Public, it was very convenient that the steam created could turn turbines which would create electricity.

This fact, and the fact that these 'breeders could be located in densly populated areas and promoted as simply electrical powerplants, gave rise to the poulations acceptance of them as a safe and reliable form of power generation.

Anti-Nuclear then goes onto argue the long term storage of higly toxic waste that lasts for thousands of years. Ineed, the best solutions, say the Nuclear industry, of long term storage have yet to be devised, even though postualting this for the last half a century, there is nowhere yet to store it all, and it is left on site.

Pro-Nuke

Well, we all know this to be a well established system. Pro-Nuke ascertain that whilst Nuclear is problematic, if it is kept within strict safety parameters, it is the cleanest form of energy on the planet. Whilst there are storage mile-stones to overcome, Pro-Nuclear are confident that storage sollutions will materialise some time in the near future.

The Middle Gound


Here is where it gets problematic. This is the realm of the general public.

Unsure as to which way to lean, it is a reliability on the Main stream media to keep them up to date, on news and concerns, with a belief that Government and Nuclear agency would inform us of successes and failures, and given a failure, a belief that 'someone' has our best interest at heart and maintains many safe checks to deal with any mishap.

As we can see with 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl and now Fukushima (and the many we never heard about),  the assumption of information and safety is callously a moot point. It is glaringly apparent who is being looked after in emergencies, and it is not the public. Indeed, the Public is rarely told anything unless the situation is so far gone, that they have to say 'something' to the public.

The middle ground is a basic understaning of how it all works, and that the Government and Nuclear Agencies have our best interests at heart.

Conclussion

After Fukushima, is it possible that this Middle ground will evapourate? Many question, isn't it already over? Shouldn't it dillute? 

With every event slowly being eroded in scientific fact, the News machines grind away daily to inform us that we are safe.... or are we?

NOTE: It is not the intention of this article to be alarmist, but merely to point out the obvious dilemma we face as we continue to ponder the Fukushima disaster, which is far from being fixed.

It is my personal observation that their are two camps... Those that debunk the people that watch this disaster with much concern, and those that are concerned and post what they can. Which side are you on, or still the middle ground? Personal decisions really...

CP





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