By: Space Eagle

Well, it appears that the situation at Fukushima, Japan is much worse than they told the public… just as I told many shortly after it happened. Having been an operator at an oil company and having, at one point, considered going to work at a nuclear plant (until I investigated and understood the dangers), I know a thing or two about what happens when an upset occurs. I also know about the cracks in the reactors in
Texas at the South Texas Project in Bay City caused by a poor concrete job (I wonder if the same contractors went to work for Halliburton?). The story made headlines at the time, but they seem to have the info buried in pdf files now.

It seems that President Obama gave the go ahead to TEPCO, the company who built the Fuk-U-Shima reactor, to build a couple of their fine nuclear plants in Texas.  This article from an actual nuclear plant operator might be of interest to you.

Bad welds are sometimes a problem for units as well.

Nuclear power is far from “Green Energy.” How can you consider it green energy if it destroysand kills everything living? The truth is, nuclear power plants are a cluster fuck waiting to happen. I recently had an argument with a nuclear power plant engineer calling him on his bullshit on a friend’s blog. He was spouting the usual company rah rah crap company line saying that a meltdown was impossible;  the water was going to cool the core down, blah, blah, blah. I pointed out that it’s awfully damn hard to get water into a vapor-locked cooling system, especially on one where the temperature continues to increase. You might be able to BS the public, but it’s not quite so easy to BS an operator who’s had to deal with such experiences and had to argue the errors in their engineering theories. What looks good on paper doesn’t always translate so well into the field. Theory and practical application are two different things. We all now know that the company line was horse hockey.

You may remember the movie “China Syndrome” which was about an accident at a nuclear power plant. A little while after the movie had come out, the Foxboro water level indicator on our Catalytic Cracking Unit failed and falsely showed that the water level in the cooling tower was full. In actuality, the water level was so low that it caused our pumps to fail. This caused a huge upset in our unit. This caused a huge amount of hydrocarbons and other toxic chemicals and heavy metals to be released into the environment. Luckily, they were just harmful and not radioactive. If you’ve ever messed with a nuclear power plant simulator, you might get a little bit of an idea of how things can go horribly wrong. If you haven’t, here’s a free download of one from C-Net. I haven’t used this one yet, so I don’t know if it has the “stuck water level indicator” routine in the program.

All you have to do to understand the destructive potential of radiation poisoning is to look at some pictures of the survivors of the U.S. bombing of Japan and read up on the deadly effects they suffered in the long term. Although the Nagasaki and Hiroshima nuclear bombings are an intensified example, the effects of exposure to radioactive material, smaller prolonged doses still cause the cancers and after-effects which the Japanese suffered from the bombs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency site states the following.

“What kinds of health effects does exposure to radiation cause?  In general, the amount and duration of radiation exposure affects the severity or type of health effect. There are two broad categories of health effects: stochastic and non-stochastic.

Stochastic Health Effects

Stochastic effects are associated with long-term, low-level (chronic) exposure to radiation. “Stochastic” refers to the likelihood that something will happen. Increased levels of exposure make these health effects more likely to occur, but do not influence the type or severity of the effect.

Cancer is considered by most people the primary health effect from radiation exposure. Simply put, cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells. Ordinarily, natural processes control the rate at which cells grow and replace themselves. They also control the body’s processes for repairing or replacing damaged tissue. Damage occurring at the cellular or molecular level, can disrupt the control processes, permitting the uncontrolled
growth of cells–cancer. This is why ionizing radiation’s ability to break chemical bonds in atoms and molecules makes it such a potent carcinogen.

Other stochastic effects also occur.  Radiation can cause changes in DNA, the “blueprints” that ensure cell repair and replacement produces a perfect copy of the original cell. Changes in DNA are called mutations. Sometimes the body fails to repair these mutations or even creates mutations during repair. The mutations can be teratogenic or genetic. Teratogenic mutations are caused by exposure of the fetus in the uterus and affect only the individual who was exposed. Genetic mutations are passed on to offspring.

Non-Stochastic Health Effects

Non-stochastic effects appear in cases of exposure to high levels of radiation, and become more severe as the exposure increases. Short-term, high-level exposure is referred to as ‘acute’ exposure.

Many non-cancerous health effects of radiation are non-stochastic. Unlike cancer, health effects from ‘acute’ exposure to radiation usually appear quickly. Acute health effects include burns and radiation sickness. Radiation sickness is also called ‘radiation poisoning.’ It can cause premature aging or even death. If the dose is fatal, death usually occurs within two months. The symptoms of radiation sickness can include: nausea, weakness, hair loss, skin burns or diminished organ function.

Medical patients receiving radiation treatments often experience acute effects, because they are receiving relatively high ‘bursts’ of radiation during treatment.”

I can understand President Obama being mad at Texas, considering the asinine legislation and textbook changes that are destined to affect the rest of the United States, but HEY Mr. President, you DO have some supporters here you might not want to kill off. You don’t need to be so corporate-serving. Believe me;  the legislators in Texas are corporate-serving enough.

6 Comments on “Fuck-U-Shima”

  1. Having been an operator at an oil company and having, at one point, considered going to work at a nuclear plant (until I investigated and understood the dangers), I know a thing or two about what happens when an upset occurs.

    Wow. What credentials you have.

  2. Good piece, Cal.

    Most people have no idea what really goes on inside one of these places – and it’s the folks with the ‘boots on the ground’ who have the best idea.

    One thing you didn’t mention – although I realize this piece was from a different POV, I believe the production-statistics need to be mentioned by way of perspective: Even if we mined all the uranium in the United States and Mexico, regardless of environmental impact (think massive pit-mines and who-knows-what-all leached into everyone’s groundwater), the total energy created by this mess would supply the U.S. for (maybe) twenty years.

    When you look at it that way, there’s little reason to poison the country for the next thousand years.

  3. Not to mention that nuclear power plants are expensive; it costs an estimated two billion dollars to build one. If we can spend two billion dollars on a reactor, why can’t the same money be invested to a real green energy alternative?

  4. @Leo I was an engineering major before I ran out of college money. I also worked in the computer department for BP on occasion and showed them how to tie the instrument outputs into a computer program on the screens they and I designed. I won’t say more at this time.

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