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Friday, March 11, 2016

JAPAN'S APOCALYPTIC TRAGEDY: FUKUSHIMA (Part Two)

Yesterday I provided some background on the 9.0 earthquake that went on and on for 6 minutes, changing Japan forever.  Today, being the fifth anniversary, the world is only now more and more beginning to appreciate the menace of nuclear power.  All the while, Fukushima continues to add 400 tons of highly radioactive water to hastily built tanks every day.  This is crazy, but this could go on for another 200 years, while leakage into the Pacific continues.

Last week the Otsu District Court shut down the two reactivated reactors in Takahama (right).  Sendai in southern Kyushu is continuing to produce nuclear electricity.  While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Diet still seem hell bent on restoring nuclear, only 20% of citizens agree.  Prior to the calamity, more than half favored nuclear.

The average nuclear power plant annual revenues amount to about half a billion dollars.  Since the beginning of nuclear power in Japan, the total revenues from all their 50+ nuclear power plants added up to perhaps half a trillion dollars.

However, how much will it cost to clean-up the Fukushima nuclear power plant area, and settle all suits and such?  According to one study:  $1 trillion to $21 trillion.  Thus, the lowest estimate is already double the total electricity revenues and other benefits accrued in the lifetime of all the nuclear facilities in Japan.  Another more definitive government subcommittee speculation was $10 trillion.  Just the decommissioning of the 50 reactors is expected to cost $1 trillion.

According to a German study, the cost of a worst-case nuclear accident in the country has been estimated to cost $11 trillion.  The mandatory insurance is only $2.5 billion.  In other words, WHY BUILD ANY FUTURE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS WHEN JUST THE DECOMMISSIONING WILL COST MORE THAN THE TOTAL ELECTRICITY REVENUES PRODUCED?

Then, add on the potential risk of cataclysmic disasters, which seems to average around 10 to 20 times more than the entire lifetime revenues for nuclear electricity of the whole country.  In the Year 2000, nuclear provided 30% of Germany's power mix.  ALL NUCLEAR PLANTS WILL BE SHUT DOWN BY 2022, ONLY SIX YEARS FROM NOW.  CLEARLY THEY MUST KNOW SOMETHING MOST OF US DON'T APPRECIATE ENOUGH.

Mikhail Gorbachev, in his 1996 memoirs, said that it was the Chernobyl nuclear accident, not perestroika, which caused the collapse of the Soviet Union:

The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl 20 years ago this month, even more than my launch of perestroika, was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later. Indeed, the Chernobyl catastrophe was an historic turning point: there was the era before the disaster, and there is the very different era that has followed.

Will former Prime Minister Naoto Kan (left) or current PM Shinzo Abe someday write in his memoirs that Fukushima was the primary reason why Japan declined in the 21st century?  While Abe remains pro-nuclear, Kan has become a protester.  The Japanese people seem sorry:


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