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Saturday, October 29, 2016

4F Day 7: Latest News Regarding the Fukushima Nuclear Calamity

My Marriott Tokyo breakfast was fine:

One advantage of the Marriott over the Westin in Tokyo is that they have a free shuttle to Shinagawa Station, essentially leaving every 20 minutes:

For some dumb reason, though, they drop you off across the street from the station, and it is a pain to get across with your suitcase.  There is a second option, walk up an overpass with a bunch of steps, then down.  The pick-up is right next to the entrance.  Why they don't drop off and pick up at the same place is something I complained about.  After all, at the hotel the pick-up/drop off location is the same.

In the Shinkansen I took to Sendai, two trains are linked together:

Mine is the red one.  At Morioka the green goes to Hokkaido, while the red train heads for Akita.

The Westin Sendai has joined my list of very favorite hotels.  At one time, soon after the March 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Cataclysm, the cost dropped to $45/night.

Here are the latest radiation data (Sendai is 60 miles from the Fukushima nuclear reactors):

Well, the dose rate today in Sendai at 0.039 microsieverts/hour is lower than Sapporo (0.040), New York (0.045), London (0.114) and Seoul (0.118).  Hmmm....why is the radiation in London and Seoul so high?  Don't sweat it.  A commercial flight exposes passengers to about 10.0 microsieverts/hour.  The maximum recommended dose/year is 1000 microsieverts.

In any case, though, all is not well in Japan.  According to Forbes:
  • The 11 March 2011 9.0 Moment Magnitude earthquake sent 50-foot waves, flooding 500 square miles, killing almost 20,000 people, destroying a million homes/business and making 300,000 people homeless.
  • The direct cost of just clean-up will be about $15 billion and last for up to 40 years.  (See the latest data below, though, that $100 billion might be closer to the truth.)
  • Refugee compensation will be over $60 billion.
  • Importing fossil fuels to replace those nuclear power plants still largely not being used has already cost Japan over $200 billion.  This will double by 2020, but ONLY if most of the nuclear plants are restarted by 2020.
  • Of the 50 nuclear power plants, only 15 are at any risk of tsunami damage.  
  • Not sure if 1, 2 or 3 are on-line at this writing because they keep starting and shutting them down.
  • The earthquake and tsunami recovery costs will top $250 billion.
  • Since 2011, Japan's trade deficit has been their worst in history.
  • Japan is now the second largest net importer of fossil fuels.  Who is #1?  CHINA!
  • From all reports, Fukushima-grown food has no detectable radiation, same for fishing stocks.
  • However, Fukushima is continuing to leak radioactive fluids constantly into the Pacific Ocean.
  • There has been no radiation-induced cancer cases, nor deaths.  None of the 20,000 workers in the recovery process got seriously sick.
The Japanese nuclear industry has kept testifying that the recovery process will cost less than $1 billion/year....for 30 to 40 years.  However, a report just out this week showed that this cost will rise to several billion dollars/year.

The bottom line is that Japan will be saddled with these financial demands for many decades to come.  The real cost, though, keeps going up, inching closer to what France determined three years ago:  $1 trillion to $6 trillion, if Fukushima occurred in their country.  To quote from that article:

These incidents have almost no probability of occurring, we’re told. So there are currently 437 active nuclear power reactors and 144 “permanent shutdown reactors” in 31 countries, according to the IAEA, for a total of 581 active and inactive reactors. Of these, four melted down so far—one at Chernobyl and three at Fukushima. Hence, the probability for a meltdown is not infinitesimal. Based on six decades of history, it’s 4 out of 581, or 0.7%. One out of every 145 reactors. Another 67 are under construction, and more are to come....

Amen to nuclear fission.

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