Friday, September 23, 2011

The Future of Nuclear: Fukushima Spews, Los Alamos Burns, Vermont Rages & We Almost Lost Nebraska'

The Future of Nuclear: Fukushima Spews, Los Alamos Burns, Vermont Rages & We Almost Lost Nebraska':
In light of the Fukushima meltdown, Germany and Switzerland are now phasing out it's nuclear power plants, last week Italy voted against starting a nuclear programme and the Chinese government has suspended approvals for new plants while it reviews their safety. At this juncture it seems reasonable to ask the question 'Are we seeing the beginning of the end of nuclear?'

In response to this shift in opinion against nuclear, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have met to review what lies ahead for the industry. Various reports reviewing this meeting suggest 'business as usual'. In response to the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years at Fukushima the IAEA's key recommendation was: "Plant layout should be based on maintaining a 'dry site concept', where practicable..." Hardly indicative of a significant change in policy. Building plants on fault lines does not yet seem to be a major concern for the IAEA. Indeed a plant under construction in India judged to be the biggest in the world is being built on a fault line in an area that has a history of earth quakes.

Globally there are currently 440 operational reactors and 65 under construction (See the graphs below for national distribution) This does not include those that are contracted to be built or are being planned. 52 countries have recently asked the IAEA for approval to build plants. In the UK it's nuclear all the way with a staggering 8 plants being planned (Bare in mind only 65 are currently under construction internationally) Saudi Arabia is planning to be build 16 by 2030, United Arab emirates 4, Turkey 2 and so on, this list is very far from exhaustive.

Meanwhile Fukushima workers bravely fight on risking all, not just at risk from radiation exposure but some reports suggest there has been near fatalities due to exhaustion. There has even been a suicide movement i.e a group of older citizens that are prepared to risk their lives by working on the plant to preserve the lives of younger workers. In addition US plants are currently in trouble; as this article title sums up Fukushima Spews, Los Alamos Burns, Vermont Rages & We Almost Lost Nebraska'. This is a reminder of one of the worst types of capitalist exploitation. An industry that need not exist, is financially, environmentally and socially irrational. Weaponisable by-products 'justify' the continued existence and the lies from the corporate-political alliance. The Tokyo Electric Power company (which ran the Fukushima plant) falsified safety reports in the late 1990's and in 2002 and just today the Guardian reports how the UK government launched a campaign to 'smooth the sharp edges' from the public mind about the ongoing Fukushima disaster. The nuclear industry cannot be trusted, much needed jobs can be created by a move toward a sustainable and safe future in the renewable industry.


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