The journal Nature inadvertently (I suspect) reveals why the nuclear power industry has a public-trust problem:

Robin Grimes, director of the Centre for Nuclear Engineering at Imperial College London … says that he believes the [Fukushima] event actually proves the safety of nuclear power plants. Despite being more than 30 years old, and having faced the largest earthquake ever recorded in Japan and a towering tsunami, the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi have, so far, largely contained their dangerous radioactive fuel. “Actually, it’s a success,” Grimes says, then adds: “Although do I think the general public will be able to see that? I think the answer is, sadly, no.”

Comments

  1. #1 Eric Lund
    March 15, 2011

    You keep using that word, Dr. Grimes. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  2. #2 Anon.
    March 15, 2011

    the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi have, so far, largely contained their dangerous radioactive fuel.
    I think the key expression here is “so far”.

  3. #3 Libtard Alarmists are Us
    March 15, 2011

    Why do libtards love any opportunity to run around with their hair on fire and be alarmist and act like libtards?

    Oh, because they are libtards.

  4. #4 Douglas Watts
    March 15, 2011

    But hey, look at all the other reactors whose containment structures aren’t exploding.

    Turn that frown upside down !

  5. #5 JackOCat
    March 15, 2011

    Robin Grimes is very premature with his decrees. As of right now:
    -One of the reactors (2) is not under control and might be cracked.
    -In addition one of the storage areas (that have minimal containment) might be damaged and was recently in or near a fire.

    Perhaps if the God forbid the worst happens, he could give us an equally prompt briefing on what new field his next career will be in.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    March 15, 2011

    The exact point I’ve been trying to make for two days, despite being told I’m not a proper rational skeptic for doing so. Holy crap.

  7. #7 Robert S.
    March 15, 2011

    I’ll worry more about the total effect caused by the damage to nuclear plants once someone has bothered to take stock of how much damage is going to be caused by other toxic industries that were also hit. Damage per megawatthour produced would also be nice to see.

  8. #8 Moopheus
    March 15, 2011

    “So far, we have largely not seen any oversized mutant lizards emerge from the sea,” Dr. Grimes added. “Or giant prehistoric bird-creatures. Our monster-containment vessels have prevented these disasters. We remain on alert, however, for flying space turtles.”

  9. #9 MikeB
    March 15, 2011

    Dr Grimes circa. 1865 – ‘So Mrs Lincoln, apart from that one incident, you’d have to agree that the play was really good!?’

  10. #10 Kettle Black
    March 15, 2011

    All you nuclear denialists crack me up.

    The science is settled. But you can’t argue with an irrational nuclear denialist.

  11. #11 Birger Johansson
    March 16, 2011

    Kettle Black.

    I do not think it is alarmist to require a powerplant be designed to survive a “worst case” event, considering the possible consequences.
    That said, it is possible to design a safe nuclear powerplant using passive safety measures that keep working without electricity. But the builders went for the cheapest option. Nuclear power is not so much about technology, it is about people.
    Wether it would be better to invest the money into other energy sources is another debate. Personally, I believe other roads give better long-term solutions.

  12. #12 Vicki
    March 16, 2011

    Kettle Black:

    What do you think “we all” are denying, again? That there is a problem at those plants, or that there isn’t? One of my local tabloids has the word “PANIC” in large, unfriendly letters on the front page this morning; that we can do without. That’s overreacting. But saying that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay more attention to proper siting of backup generators, or know when to evacuate.

    One of the things that killed a planned nuclear power plant on Long Island was the impossibility of evacuating quickly. But the deciding factor was criminal responsibility on the part of the people building the plant: when the contractor sawed through crucial supporting beams, the response was to edit the blueprint. Fortunately, their disorganization extended to dumping the paperwork in a field, and someone found it and went to the press. I think it’s reasonable to demand that power plants be built to a higher standard than Shoreham. (It seems likely that the Fukushima plants are; but it’s a fair question to ask.)

  13. #13 Marion Delgado
    March 21, 2011

    The proper skeptical movement has serious problems – taking them too seriously leads to Penn Jilette, who’s substituted “being the loudest asshole in the bar” for “being competent to discuss things” as his criterion for club membership.

  14. #14 mark
    March 31, 2011

    if spewing radioactive material, including gas,
    is considered a “success”, like he says,
    then why not break open all the other reactors and poison
    everyone, then there will be more “success”.
    something is wrong with his mind.

  15. #15 Robbin Mann
    April 1, 2011

    Fukushima like nuke disasters prove that nuke power plants cannot be full proof. They will always be vulnerable to one thing or the other.
    http://indoorbananatrees.com/