Thursday, March 24, 2011

More Nuclear Power Plants Exploding in Japan

I remember becoming aware of Nuclear Power Plants many years ago. I even worked in a few. I was so impressed when I took tours through the guts of the plant under construction and enjoyed talking with the nuclear physicists about how a nuclear power plant worked. And always I would ask questions. What happens to the fuel? How long does it stay hot? Can anything really contain nuclear energy? The mumbled answer to my concerns was always, we will figure it out. Technology will develop what we need to solve these problems in the future. It all seemed like a pretty big gamble. And some how, ironically, not very smart.

I remember coming away from those many discussions thinking, the concept is great but it is a mistake to use a source of energy to power these generators, that cannot be controlled and that could potentially create conditions of vast contamination. I thought that the spent fuel and the vulnerability these plants presented to the communities that surrounded them made them a poor choice for energy.

To this day I think we should work more on individual passive sources for energy for homes and others that could provide power for communities. I always thought highways with trains that had solar panels on their tops and the side rails that created safety barriers on either side of them would be perfect places to install solar power conductors. Parking lots could be ideal spots for similar horizontal columns of solar powered conductors that could power cars while they are parked. You could plug your car in while you were at work and then unplug it and be fully charged for your ride home. Since the energy was in essence free, even parking and charging up our cars would be inexpensive. And we could have similar structures running along side our own driveways or on the roofs of our garages so we could charge up our cars when we were at home. But then, I have always been a dreamer.

For decades many of us have been saying we need to pursuit other avenues that include more passive sources of energy, like solar and wind power. But of course, the people making tons of money from constructing these power plants and then selling the electricity they produced, had great influence and created bias in the media so that anyone who talked about the importance of taking care of our environment and pursuing other options to supply our energy needs were simply portrayed as lunatics and crazy hippies.

Watching this catastrophe unfold in Japan is heartbreaking and will hopefully make people more aware of the potentially disasterous outcome we could suffer from the use of nuclear power. It would be great if full disclosure of these things was given to everyone before any decisions were made to construct them. But typically and predictably those who stood to make the most profit from this industry greased the wheels of progress and started building them all over the place.

Personally, I think, when it comes to creating energy, if we can't turn it off, we shouldn't build it.

These YouTube links are informative and they explain how these power plants work and what is going wrong in Japan now. As you click on each one you will see how quickly this disaster is escalating.

How the Nuclear Power Plants Were Operating in Japan after the explosions March 15, 2011.

March 15, 2011 Fears of Nuclear Meltdown and Radiation Levels Inside and Outside of Nuclear Power Plants.

Spent Fuel Rods Exposed and What This Means, March 15, 2011

Explosions Continue to Occur in the Nuclear Power Plant Complex in Japan, March 16, 2011

Trying to put out the fire of Reactor # 3 with helicopters, March 17, 2011.>

Here are some Chernobyl links to documentaries that will inform you and give you something to think about.

This is a BBC dramatic telling that is easy to understand.
BBC retelling of Chernobyl disaster.

Comparisons between Chernobyl and Japan Nuclear Disaster. Brilliant.

Driving it home: The Fukushima Nuclear Reactor after Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

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