A new study by the analysts Maplecroft shows that scores of nuclear power plants worldwide are at risk from tsunamis or earthquakes similar to the natural disasters that crippled Japan's Fukushima reactors. The Independent reports that the Maplecroft study identified "seventy-six operating power stations in Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea, India, Pakistan and the US are located in areas close to coastlines deemed vulnerable to tsunamis. Of 442 nuclear power stations globally, more than one in 10are situated in places deemed to be at high or extreme risk of earthquakes – in Japan, the US, Taiwan, Armenia and Slovenia."
After a horrible piece last week - parroting the misleading "my coal is even more lethal than your nuclear" mantra which the nuclear industry loves (as if any people dying from these deadly industries is OK) - the Washington Post began to redeem itself this morning. A front page story - Chernobyl, a warning for Japan - discusses the scale of disease and the neglect of the liquidators and others around the exploded reactor. The story touches on the level of denial by the Ukrainian authorities that has left its affected population without medical help and compensation. A box accompanying the article details the genetic mutations and shortened lifespans of wildlife in the Chernobyl zone.
A fine piece today in The Guardian by the environment editor, John Vidal. Here is the lead: "
Every day there are more setbacks to solving the Japanese nuclear crisis and it's pretty clear that the industry and governments are telling us little; have no idea how long it will take to control; or what the real risk of cumulative contamination may be.
The authorities reassure us by saying there is no immediate danger and a few absolutist environmentalists obsessed with nuclear power because of the urgency to limit emissions repeat the industry mantra that only a few people died at Chernobyl – the worst nuclear accident in history. Those who disagree are smeared and put in the same camp as climate change deniers.
I prefer the words of Alexey Yablokov, member of the Russian academy of sciences, and adviser to President Gorbachev at the time of Chernobyl: "When you hear 'no immediate danger' [from nuclear radiation] then you should run away as far and as fast as you can.""
Vidal takes to task the so-called environmentalists who are serving as nuclear industry apologists by downplaying the impacts of Chernobyl and Fukushima and concludes:
"Fukushima is not Chernobyl, but it is potentially worse. It is a multiple reactor catastrophe happening within 150 miles of a metropolis of 30 million people. If it happened at Sellafield, there would be panic in every major city in Britain. We still don't know the final outcome but to hear experts claiming that nuclear radiation is not that serious, or that this accident proves the need for nuclear power, is nothing short of disgraceful."
The Los Angeles Times reports that water emitting 100 rem per hour of radioactivity -- enough to deliver a fatal dose of radiation after just a few hours worth of exposure at close range -- is flowing freely into the sea, despite efforts by Tokyo Electric Power Company and the Japanese military to dam it behind concrete in the plant cable ditches which it is flooding.
From Bloomberg: Moody’s Japan K.K. cut its rating on Tokyo Electric and warned it may reduce it further, saying the problems at Fukushima “appear far from being resolved” and the company is likely to remain unprofitable for a long time. Senior secured and long-term issuer ratings were downgraded to Baa1 from A1, Moody’s said in a statement.
"Tokyo Electric’s shareholders may be wiped out by clean-up costs and liabilities stemming from the nuclear accident, the worst since Chernobyl. The company, known as Tepco, faces claims of as much as 11 trillion yen if the crisis lasts two years and potential takeover by the government, according to a March 29 Bank of America Merrill Lynch report."