French Greens have anti-Nuclear field day
Greens, climate-warmers, and assorted protest groups across France and indeed much of the globe, have rushed to use the terrible Japanese tsunami tragedy as a big radiated stick with which to beat up nuclear energy.
Media reports, shriller than radiation warning sirens, filled airwaves and digital highways with trigger terror words like ‘Chernobyl’ while sounding an ‘alarmageddon’ about ‘meltdown’ at the Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor.
French greens, led by Europe Écologie MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit and other hardline eco-warriors, including Greenpeace, callously exploited the raw tragedy in Japan, with shrill demands for the world to turn away from nuclear, coal and oil and embrace wind turbines and solar panels, top solutions on the agenda of the UN’s climate change ‘experts’.
French president Nicholas Sarkozy hastened to reassure a nation dependent for 80% of its power on 58 nuclear plants, that France had no intention of abandoning nuclear generation.
That has not stopped the green lobby — helped by dramatic TV and media coverage of explosions and desolation at the Japanese reactor — from painting horrific pictures of imminent atomic disaster in a country still haunted by Hiroshima.
But has Fukushima been a disaster?
Japan has been hit by a monstrously destructive tsunami and earthquake (and the enormity of this epic and awful tragedy is still impossible to comprehend) so powerful that it rocked the earth off its axis. Yet as Lewis Page notes in this article in The Register “Fukushima is a triumph for nuke power: Build more reactors now!”, so far the aftermath has been a nuclear engineering safety success.
The Japanese reactors are BWR or Boiling Water Reactors, very different from the Russian Chernobyl reactor design which did NOT conform to international safety standards or design. Despite the intensity of the earthquake and the power of the follow-on tsunami, everything in the Japanese nuclear facilities functioned correctly. And while the tsunami knocked-out diesel generator backup replacements, this turn of events triggered other backups and “depth in defense” measures and these are still operating. (See a detailed explanation here)
Here is a briefing by the UN’s Geneva-based atomic energy agency, the IAEA:
IAEA Director General Briefs Media on Nuclear Safety in Japan (14 March 2011, 16:45 UTC)
At 16:45 UTC on 14 March 2011, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano briefed the media on the consequences of the twin natural disasters in Japan.
The press conference was opened by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, followed by comments from James Lyons, Director of the Division of Nuclear Installation Safety; Denis Flory, Deputy Director General for the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security; and Alena Buglova, acting Head of the Incident and Emergency Centre.
Whatever image setback Fukushima has caused to the nuclear industry, of which France’s Areva Group is a world leader, those suggesting that nuclear power-dependent countries such as France, replace it either by vastly more expensive, subsidy-hungry, ‘green technology’ incapable of generating stable base load, or reliance on Arab oil, are surely out of touch with current realities.
On Day 5 of the Japanese tragedy LePost.fr published a report headlined La centrale nucléaire de Fessenheim va-t-elle survivre au drame japonais?— Will the Fessenheim nuclear plant survive the Japanese drama? — a sign of how quickly the green lobby has been able to move to stir up latent nuclear fears.
Indeed and despite all the eco-noise by EU-backed green lobbies touting carbon cutting measures, a hard-nosed government in Germany, the EU’s economic engine-room, is reportedly investing heavily in a new generation of coal-fired power stations. So much for more than lip service to common EU concerns about man-made anthropogenic global warming (AGW)! See this report “What is going to sink the warmist ship, one suspects, is the fickleness of our EU colleagues, who might be talking the talk on greenery but are investing heavily in coal. The particular culprit here is Germany, and we have recently acquired a list of new coal projects in the pipeline – below:
– EVONIK, Walsum (Duisburg), 800 MW black coal (2010)
– RWE, Neurath (Cologne), 2 x 800 MW lignite (2009)
– RWE Westfalen (Dortmund-Hamm, 2 x 800 MW black coal (2011)
– EON Datteln (Dortmund), 1 x 1100 MW (!) black coal (2011)
– ENBW Karlsruhe, 1 x 800 MW black coal (2011)
– Trianel (municipality) Lünen, 1 x 800 MW black coal (2011)
– Vattenfall Moorburg (Hamburg), 2 x 800 MW black coal (2011)
– Vattenfall Boxberg (close to Leipzig), 1 x 800 MW lignite (2011)”
Meanwhile related further fallout, but this time not from radiation, could be expected on the financial front. The ftalphaville blog (published in the London Financial Times) has been reporting on the impact of the earthquake/tsunami disaster on Japanese banks and their equity holdings. “If the falls continue their (Japanese banks) capital bases will be impaired and the contagion fear of defaults will spread throughout the global banking system…The risk of a second (global) banking disaster (mirroring that of 2007/8) before we have begun to resolve the first suggests reforms to the existing global financial system remain flawed and inadequate.”
The graph shows France’s dependency on nuclear power generation:
The Internet offers concerned readers a huge range of resources to find out what happened and what can be expected to happen, at Fukushima. Some of these sources are industry-sponsored, others are UN agencies or academic institutions.
Below are some that hopefully provide a more complete and technical explanation of developments:
Key information from the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute or NEI
World Nuclear News
IAEA-International Atomic Energy Agency
IAEA Update on Japan Earthquake
Explanation of Hydrogen Explosions at Units 1 and 3 from the MIT NSE Nuclear Information Hub
An informed public is key to acceptance of nuclear energy
Details about the Construction of the Fukushima nuclear power or Boiling Water Reactor plants as set out in a post by Dr Josef Oehmen, a research scientist at MIT Boston.
According to TEPCO’s latest update, all four reactors at the plant are now in cold shutdown which means the coolant is below 100 degrees centigrade…
… and finally here is an summary, 25 years later and citing data from international bodies, of the actual impact of the Chernobyl disaster (as opposed to decades of scaremongering by the anti-nuclear lobby): Nuclear power – some perspective
Story: Ken Pottinger
UPDATE: Greenpeace co-founder Dr Patrick Moore recounts how ecologists have lost their way especially on nuclear:
Confessions of A Greenpeace Dropout – The Making of A Sensible Environmentalist (Beatty Street).:
“Since I left Greenpeace, its members, and the majority of the movement have adopted policy after policy that reflects their antihuman bias, illustrates their rejection of science and technology and actually increases the risk of harm to people and the environment. They oppose forestry even though it provides our most abundant renewable resource. They have zero tolerance for genetically modified food crops, even though this technology reduces pesticide use and improves nutrition for people who suffer from malnutrition. They continue to oppose nuclear energy, even though it is the best technology to replace fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They campaign against hydroelectric projects despite the fact that hydro is by far the most abundant renewable source of electricity. And they support the vicious and misguided campaign against salmon farming, an industry that produces more than a million tons of heart-friendly food every year.”