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Monday, 28 March 2011

The Unsustainable World.
Fukushima, Japan: An Announced Disaster.

The truth most people prefer not to hear.

"The world began without man, and it will end without him." (Claude Lévi-Strauss Tristes Tropiques)

Fukushima plant
Fukushima nuclear power plant after the tsunami. (by Digital Globe)
There’s a whole host of reasons why this world has become unsustainable. Japanese nuclear disaster is a shining example of apocalyptic events that loom large over our future thanks to deep-rooted stupidity most modern human beings display. Let’s face it, we had it coming.

I’m at a loss to understand what kind of thinking process led Japanese luminaries to come up with the bright idea of constructing nuclear power plants in the most seismically active part of the planet. It was British and US companies who raised them, and they didn’t understand (or much more likely didn't give a damn about) the INSANITY of their decision, either. Why anyone in his right mind would slap the most destructive bomb on this planet to date right on the seashore that is at the highest risk to suffer from tsunamis and earthquakes flies in the face of common sense. Unless they (the boffins) aren’t, as I’ve always suspected, in their right mind.

In a magnitude 9 earthquake danger zones the Fukushima plant was designed to withstand only up to  magnitude 7 earthquakes! A thoughtful provision!
To crown it all, the diesel generators for cooling system were strategically set at and even below sea level! It turns out they believed the chances of occurrence of the waves higher than 5 metres were infinitesimal. As if God had sent them the table of all possible variations of ocean wave heights! Brilliant! But the moving ridge happened to be 10 metres high! And they call themselves experts! A bartender would have done better! Apart from their obvious dementia, it can also be put down to the corporation’s infinite stinginess. If the Japanese had some brains, they wouldn’t use nuclear energy in such unstable environment at all, especially after they had been nuked in 1945 and suffered the consequences of radioactive poisoning. So much for their famous preparedness for earthquakes!

You see, even though the earth over there trembles almost every day and the ocean floor is criss-crossed with geological faults prone to puckering up they couldn’t have possibly foreseen the epicentre in the ocean causing a gigantic wave! Only mental retards can be forgiven for such crass lack of forethought, and even pea-brains would expect the disaster strike at any time. I remember I learned in school that nuclear power plants shouldn’t be built in seismic areas threatened by tsunamis, but, of course, the Japanese have never heard about these concerns.

I’m pretty sure the scientists who work at Fukushima plant graduated from university with flying colours, yet their lack of common sense borders on outright madness.

On top of that, some lucid brains in Europe, especially in the UK, keep rambling that nuclear power is safe, that the LESSON Japanese catastrophe taught us after a bunch of people had died is that nuclear plants mustn’t be built on tsunami-ridden shore (that is, we see the brick wall after we’ve smashed our head against it), that the Japanese were prepared for earthquakes but not for tsunamis (they never heard about them before), that in Europe there was no risk of nuclear accidents since the occurrence of earthquakes and tsunamis is highly improbable there — as if Nature doesn’t have other catastrophes up its sleeve to screw us, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

The so-called experts, mainly weathercocks in political winds, and the trustful feather-brained hoi polloi opportunely forget about the shabbiness of East European nuclear power plants;
Chernobyl doesn’t ring a bell;
— they have no idea that years ago the director of the then under construction
Crimean nuclear power plant was prosecuted for something so wise as the theft of building materials from the construction site to put up his own dacha next to that very nuclear power plant;
— and, of course, they authoritatively rule out even the remote chance of a terrorist attack, war (Europe, Iran or South America, to name but few, are extremely stable regions, aren’t they?) or simply human error.

The tragedy is that even if Europe tried really hard to guarantee the safety of its reactors, all efforts would be in vain in the face of the sword of Damocles that could fall without the help of the above mentioned reasons. Something that the drumbeaters for nuclear energy avoid mentioning:

The water reservoirs of the Dnieper River in Ukraine pose a significant threat of a large-scale human-made disaster if their dams fail. Such a threat is typical for reservoir dams; however, the Dnieper reservoirs are especially dangerous because of the geographical conditions, as well as the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster and other nuclear-related environmental threats in the region. Even when not actively generating power, nuclear power reactors require cooling, typically provided by coolant flow, to remove decay heat. Dnieper reservoirs pose a potential threat of causing major flooding if their dams fail. a release of each but the southernmost reservoir would damage several top-hazard nuclear sites in the Dnieper basin. Subsequently, the whole Black Sea area would be radioactively contaminated to a significant extent. This would cause a Europe-wide nuclear disaster by means of large-distance air and water circulation.”

“It behoves us all to be ready”, bleat the gurus of nuclear energy, but the truth of the matter is, much as you try you can’t be ready for a nuclear disaster and no simulation provides realistic training for emergencies of such magnitude.
Nuclear power is by its very nature unsafe, especially in the hands of apes, and an intelligent species would rule it out completely — better safe than sorry, but we prefer first to be sorry and then maybe safe. We’ve seen that in Chernobyl, and now in such a technologically advanced country as Japan – early warning doesn’t work for tsunamis when the epicentre of the seaquake is too close to the shore, scramming a nuclear reactor isn’t like flipping a light switch off or pulling a plug out of a socket — the reaction doesn’t stop immediately and keeps giving off radiation and heat (that also needs cooling) in the process of radioactive decay.

Then when calamity struck the workers, understandably smitten with panic, resorted to desperate measures, such as sploshing seawater onto the reactors to cool the cores, which will eventually corrode the steel liners that contain nuclear fuel unless they rinse it with drinking water afterwards. Boron, raw material for neutron poison boric acid, had to be airlifted to Fukushima, Japan (one of the world’s largest economies) from France and high capacity pumps send from the US a week after the accident! Logically, the highly contaminated water is being released into the ocean, so little wonder high levels of radiation are detected in the ocean. They didn’t expect that, did they?

Now we need the workers to sacrifice their lives, trying to clean up the mess (about 200 000 workers died in Chernobyl) and prevent the meltdown — exposure to such high doses of radiation leads to indescribably painful death. As for the rest of the country, population is left with contaminated drinking water, farm products and food, large areas made uninhabitable, something so beautiful as rain turned into health hazard, piled up toxic waste, increased risk of cancer and other diseases, not to mention the impact on the animal life that no one seems to care about. Had that happened in non-technological society, the survivors wouldn’t be facing such an unpredictable and dangerous aftermath.
Japan on Sunday faced an increasing challenge of removing highly radioactive water found inside buildings near some troubled nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, with the radiation level of the surface of the pool in the basement of the No. 2 reactor's turbine building found to be more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour.

Exposure to such an environment for four hours would raise the risk of dying in 30 days.
... and provide the certainty of dying in 60 days, they forgot to mention.
Adding to the woes is the increasing level of contamination in the sea near the plant, although Nishiyama reiterated there is no need for health concerns so far because fishing would not be conducted in the evacuation-designated area within 20 kilometers of the plant and radioactive materials ''will be significantly diluted'' by the time they are consumed by marine species and then by people. (KIODO NEWS)
This means the contaminated water will spread all over the ocean (that’s why they build nuclear power plants on the riversides and seashore) and raise its radiation levels, but there’s no need for health concerns. Yeah, for the emperor and the rich, since they won’t be consuming these marine species, seafood from the area will be sold to the low orders. We forget that the poor ocean already has to dilute massive amounts of toxic waste daily, such as minor oil spills, industrial refuse, etc.
Radioactive iodine-131 at a concentration 1,850.5 times the legal limit was detected in a seawater sample taken Saturday around 330 meters south of the plant, near a drainage outlet of the four troubled reactors, compared with 1,250.8 times the limit found Friday, the agency said.

Nishiyama told a press conference in the morning that he cannot deny the possibility that radioactive materials are continuing to be released into the sea. He said later that the water found at the basement of the turbine buildings is unlikely to have flowed into the sea, causing contamination.

The pools of water containing radioactive substances have drawn attention after three workers who were engaging in work to restore the No. 3 reactor at its turbine building on Thursday were exposed to high radiation. Two of them had their feet in water without noticing then that it was highly contaminated.

The three workers, who were taken to a radiation research center in Chiba Prefecture for examination, will be discharged as early as Monday afternoon, officials of the center said, adding that the exposure has not affected their health. (KIODO NEWS)
So these workers were dabbling in the water at the basement of the turbine buildings that, let me remind you, are the parts of the damaged nuclear reactor, and the thought that it could be highly contaminated didn’t even cross their minds.
“They were not wearing protective boots, as their employing firm's safety manuals "did not assume a scenario in which its employees would carry out work standing in water at a nuclear power plant".

The employing firm’s miserliness doesn’t surprise me, they don’t give a hoot about their employees lives, but the workers ignorance and inability to think independently from the instructions of the firm’s safety manual is really shocking! And these smart guys run nuclear reactors. That’s the attitude! I wonder if they were humming ‘Singing In The (Radioactive) Rain’! The activity hasn’t even affected their health (according to official version)! Which means they aren’t likely to die immediately — it will take a while!

"The group is above the individual" the sneering ruling class instill into worker ants from an early age.

Mind that "The Group" refers to "the Club of the Rich and Powerful".

Once again the powers that be take the populace for what they are — morons.
The authorities didn’t bother to clear up and the rabble didn’t take the trouble to ask such important questions as
  • what kind of coolant (water, gas, liquid metal or molten salt that absorb the heat the reactor core generates and then is used to generate steam which in turn moves the turbines and thereby produces electricity) and neutron moderators (light water, solid graphite, or heavy water — which reduce the velocity of fast neutrons, turning them into thermal neutrons that other nuclei are more likely to absorb and thus sustain the chain reaction) were used in Fukushima;  
  • why neutron poisons (control rods that absorb excess neutrons, and thus control its power output) didn’t manage to stop the reaction completely;
  • why nobody mentioned that while hazmat suits provide protection against alpha and beta particles, they’re absolutely useless against gamma rays, absorbed either by high atomic number/ high density materials (e.g. lead) or large amounts of mass (e.g. concrete), and neutron radiation (only shielded by a large mass of hydrogen-rich material); 
  • why they haven’t started burying the reactors in sand and concrete yet, etc.
Since most people have no idea of nuclear physics, here’s a summary review of neutron radiation.

“Even more severe hazard of neutron radiation, is neutron activation, the ability of neutron radiation to induce radioactivity in most substances it encounters, including the body tissues of the workers themselves. This occurs through the capture of neutrons by atomic nuclei, which are transformed to another nuclide, frequently a radionuclide. This process accounts for much of the radioactive material released by the detonation of a nuclear weapon. It is also a problem in nuclear fission and nuclear fusion installations, as it gradually renders the equipment radioactive; eventually the hardware must be replaced and disposed of as low-level radioactive waste.

Neutron radiation protection relies on radiation shielding. In comparison with conventional ionizing radiation based on photons or charged particles, neutrons are repeatedly bounced and slowed (absorbed) by light nuclei, so a large mass of hydrogen-rich material is needed. Neutrons readily pass through most material, but interact enough to cause biological damage. Due to the high kinetic energy of neutrons, this radiation is considered to be the most severe and dangerous radiation available. The most effective materials are e.g. water, polyethylene, paraffin wax, or concrete, where a considerable amount of water molecules are chemically bound to the cement. The light atoms serve to slow down the neutrons by elastic scattering, so they can then be absorbed by nuclear reactions. However, gamma radiation is often produced in such reactions, so additional shielding has to be provided to absorb it.” Neutrons have a relatively high relative biological effectiveness, and are roughly ten times more effective at causing cancers or compared to photon or beta radiation of equivalent radiation exposure.” (Wikipedia)

This means that the workers of Fukushima plant are literally the walking dead. Wish I were wrong.
Now everyone praises the patience, discipline, orderliness, good manners and culture. Admittedly, these are indeed laudable qualities, much valued by the ruling elite in the great unwashed, but I’m afraid in this case they are just manifestations of slave mentality that gave rise to martyrdom, Seppucu, kamikaze to emperor’s order, total devotion and obedience to the company, willingness to sleep in coffin-like wall niches (in some countries the dead or urns with their ashes rest in similar walls) or morgue-drawer-like rooms. Wouldn’t the implementation of birth rate control policies be more reasonable? After all, it’s an overcrowded island.

Mind that in a city that has a population of 13 million only about a hundred people have marched against nuclear energy so far, while a wave of protests has swept through Europe.

Surprisingly, the nation renowned for its robot technology indulges in creating cyborgs for mere entertainment instead of devising a kind of remote control machinery to operate in radioactive contamination zone and consequently spare human lives. Why would they waste their money on sophisticated gadgets when there’re plenty of self-denying workers, ready to give their lives for the well being of the rich, who, by all means, will hole up in private bunkers or slope off to another planet (either that or they already live there) should some catastrophe, natural or manmade, threaten their safety and money?

So let’s love our miseries, endure the agony and die silently for the sake of large corporations, and because our way of life based on mindless squandering and vicious opulence must prevail over nature.

And that's what we get in return among other horrors:

A deformed piglet born near Chernobyl.
(Kiev, Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum)
To be continued...

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