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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nuclear Lunch, Fukushima, and other issues.

Yesterday marked the third Ohio meeting of Nuclear Bloggers, an event that saw the full two hours we'd set aside totally filled with a regular future meeting schedule planned. The participants were Dan Yurman, who writes not only the blog "Idaho Samizdat" but who also writes for ANS Nuclear Cafe and for Fuel Cycle Weekly; Leslie Corrice, whose site "The Hiroshima Syndrome" includes a well done Fukushima update section; and myself.

We believe that only here in Northern Ohio is it possible to assemble three pro-nuclear bloggers in one spot. Are there other places this is possible? Or, can we make it four or more people here? Let me know through the comments if either is possible.

We carried on a number of widely disparate discussions - and of course touched on Fukushima Daiichi. I mentioned the abrupt cutoff of the wide range of press relations material TEPCO had been releasing around three to four weeks ago; Leslie had noted the same thing. Dan mentions that with TEPCO about to be nationalized in all probability, there might be a cutoff of what could be perceived as needless communication to the press. Further, I might add today, with the declaration of "Cold Shutdown" by the owner-operator, the regulatory body, and the government, there may be a perceived lower need for constant communication.

Speaking of Fukushima Daiichi news... here are two news items from today.

-TEPCO has begun to reduce the nitrogen injection rate at No. 2 plant in order to lower the containment pressure (injection rate lowered but gas handling discharge or suction rate maintained the same) as a preparatory step to drilling the containment for insertion of a camera probe as detailed here a short while back.

-There is exactly one news headline at the moment stating that the Japanese government has instructed TEPCO to prepare details on what would be needed to repair the Fukushima Daini nuclear station. This is curious considering the Fukushima Prefecture governor's statement that he will not allow further nuclear plant operation in is prefecture. One might imagine TEPCO would like to obtain revenue from operating these plants, and one might imagine the Japanese government would like to get manufacturing infrastructure up again (as well as electric power in the prefecture for recovery) which both run counter to that governor's wishes. We will have to see if the report spreads outside pay-walls and is actually true.

One of our discussion topics yesterday was the fact that the Japanese cannot survive forever without nuclear energy. Their manufacturing base requires a great deal of electric power; further, the nation cannot operate as a fuel importer. Nuclear energy has been one of the cornerstones of Japan's economic structure for decades and the loss of it now (if plants are kept idle by legislative action, not by safety related regulatory action) could lead to the collapse of Japan's economy. Of course, there are some who feel that the Japanese government also cannot assume the debts of TEPCO should it be nationalized -- making it all the more essential that TEPCO's remaining intact plants be restarted (once quake and tsunami proofed, that is) so that some revenue can begin to come in and add black ink to the books even if it does not erase the red. It does seem to this writer that the Japanese who are now intolerably anti-nuclear cannot see the bigger picture, at least for the short to medium term.

10:30 AM Eastern Wednesday January 11, 2011


  1. If I'd known about the lunch, I would have driven over from Pittsburgh. It's not THAT far!

  2. @tamarcerafici: Oh, there will be more of them, I can assure you!