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Danger of Nuclear Power Plants in California

Original post made by Mr.Enviro, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 18, 2007

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Here's some good real-world experience from Japan that should make anyone thinking about putting nuclear power plants in California - or any other earthquake zone - think twice.

The plants we currently have should be shut down!

Comments (9)

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2007 at 8:20 pm

Low level nuclear waste typically is less radioactive than your urine. California's nuclear power plants have all survived earthquakes approaching their design capability with no significant problems. If you are concerned, I understand there are no nukes in Nevada. Write if you get work.

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Posted by 14k/yr
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jul 18, 2007 at 8:58 pm

Do you remember the Santa Susana reactor? Comments?
I assume designs have improved since then.

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Posted by Henry
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 19, 2007 at 7:46 am

Cheap comment, Walter. Got substance?

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2007 at 10:13 am

14K, I would wish that every high energy lab would have as good a record of industrial safety as Santa Susana. Except for Greenglass, no scientists still promote the zero threshold theory that explains most of the panic about radiation.
Henry, look up the definition of low level waste.

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Posted by Henry
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 19, 2007 at 10:43 am

Oh Walter. I'm afraid you've missed my point. I wasn't talking about your comment on low-level waste. Rather, I was calling you on your low-level implicit suggestion that the original poster move to Nevada if he doesn't like nuclear plants in California. Not exactly a comment that furthers intelligent and productive discussion now is it?

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Posted by Mr.Enviro
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2007 at 11:58 am

Walter, If it happened in Japan, it can happen here. I thought engneers always strove for "faill-safe" - are you the exception?

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Nevada is a state that has foolishly adopted anti-nuclear as official policy. I was merely offering an alternative to someone fearful of the future.
The "it" that happened in Japan did no harm to anyone, largely because of the multiple fail safe mechanisms in power reactors.
The US Navy has been operating reactor powered vessels for years with no significant adverse effect on anyone. I shan't bother to list the adverse effects of a doubling again of energy prices or a disruption of energy, but you fill in the blanks. Available energy differentiates us from animals. The benefits of available energy far outweigh any possible adverse consequences. Pull the breaker for a week if you doubt me.

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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 19, 2007 at 9:21 pm

Mr. Enviro,

What was the major issue in Japan? As far as I can tell, the plant is safe, and could be up and running, but fot for local political scare tactics.

The take home lesson seems to be that modern nuclear plants are safe, even if they sit next to a major fault. Sounds pretty much "fail safe" to me.

Nuclear power cannot be stopped. It is now in a big growth phase, because so many people want a modern life style. For instance, they would like to have just two children, instead of ten, if there is a reasoanbly good assurance that those two kids will survive. Only relatively cheap, reliable energy will allow this to happen. Only nuclear power can provide such energy.

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2007 at 10:45 pm

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant did an excellent job of shutting down the 4 active reactors and the radiation leakage was minor. The main issue is that is built directly on the fault and Tokyo Electric was unaware of this fault (which produced a 6.8 earthquake). Because of this location issue, the force of the tremors were roughly twice the design limit of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

Nuclear power can be built and run safely. The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, however, has some serious safety concerns which need to be solved before restarting it.

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