UPDATE: Twist sends along this further link for context …
GlobalResearch.ca (4/15 ’11): “Killing the Unborn … With Radiation”
If 3/11 taught us nothing else, it’s that it’s totally insane to store (only about 10 percent-) spent nuclear fuel assemblies jammed together in swimming pools full of boron infused water. Whenever in the course of maintaining these storage pools you lose water, power or the human staff they rapidly become zirconium-accelerated dirty bombs capable of dead-zone contaminating the environment for tens of kilometers in every direction and sending lesser amounts of radioactive fallout around the world.
A heck of a lot of these things exist in the world already, and any ‘nuclear renaissance’ will create a lot more.
Enough is enough. Stop nuclear power dead until permanent hands-off storage is a reality.
MIT Technology Review (4/14 ’11): “The Case for Moving U.S. Nuclear Fuel to Dry Storage”
“What will likely happen very quickly is that the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] and utilities will arrive at a consensus that moving fuel to dry storage needs to be accelerated to get as much spent fuel out of the pools as fast as possible,” says Ron Ballinger, an MIT nuclear engineer. In Japan, he says, “the dry storage casks weathered the earthquake and tsunami with zero problems.”
We’ve already cited an analysis showing that the Fukushima meltdown is largely following the same script as the subprime mortgage meltdown which brought the world financial services industry to it’s knees by September 2008.
It’s not like this should have been a surprise. Back in December of 1952 Lt(USN) Jimmy Carter led a team of US military personel to the site of an exploded plutonium reactor just 228 miles away from Buffalo NY (Fukushima is 150 miles away from Tokyo in a similar direction). Twenty-four years later President Carter entered the Oval Office with experiences very similar to what the “Fukushima 50” are encountering today. Thank heavens for that!
Well, yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, and I’m off to re-read On The Beach (1957), by Nevil Shute in order to reflect on how close to the brink humanity came in that era. Wouldn’t it be ironic if we lucked out in those days only to get clobbered in only the second decade of the new Millennium by simple processes we humble housing bubble bloggers (and a host of Congressional committee members and independent financial analysts) now understand perfectly well?
A spent fuel pool at a nuclear power station is exactly the same sort of off-balance-sheet vehicle as a QSPE at a financial institution, and is ultimately unsustainable for exactly the same reasons. FASB was in denial about the latter for many years before they realized they constituted an existential threat to the world’s economy. Let’s pray that it doesn’t take as long to realize that we face an existential threat to humanity itself in the former.