Thursday, March 17, 2011

Welcome Fallout From Fukushima

"The grave troubles at the Japanese nuclear power plant in Fukushima following a massive earthquake and tsunami last week is sparking controversy over whether Korea should extend operations of its No. 1 reactor at the Wolseong Nuclear Power Plant in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang"— Doubts over aging Wolseong reactor.

Said Kim Ik-joong, chairman of the Gyeongju Federation for Environmental Movement, "As seen from the continuous explosions of reactors in Japan, there are growing concerns among residents near Wolseong that the Korean government should not extend the life of the reactor. No one can guarantee the safety of this reactor because it is already old and all we can do to prevent any possible disaster from happening in advance is to close the facility at an appropriate time."

Mr. Kim also informs us, "The Fukushima No. 1 reactor [that started operation in 1971] was to close down in February this year, but the Japanese government gave permission to extend operations for another 10 years, which was one of the reasons why the explosion turned even more catastrophic."

Th Wolseong Nuclear Power Plant is close enough to irradiate me and my family, and yes, we are willing to "face [the] blackouts during peak hours in summer and winter" with which the government apparatchik quoted in the article tries to scare us. May the debate sparked by the horrifying events in Japan end in sparing Korea and other countries such disasters.

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Blogger Lucille said...

IF "No Nukes is Good Nukes", then what power source do you recommend relying on that is both reliable and sufficient for meeting the need for electricity and wholly free from any possible environmental repercussions?

You talk about how you want to move away from nuclear power plants. Do you want to maintain our dependence on oil? If not, what is your preferred alternative?

9:57 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Wave power looks pretty good. Some students here are working on it.

Candles are good for light at night. TV could be abolished. I could give up blogging and the Internet.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Lucille said...

Candles are good for light at night.

Not really. They're very limited - you have to have it right next to you, as they don't diffuse light like electric lights do.

Never heard of wave energy. I'll have to look it up.

11:47 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Wave energy. Probably not the right word. Using tides.

You're right about candles, but I like it it kind of dark at night. Let the hospitals have the electricity at night.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Lucille said...

That's well and good, but for much of the year, you need artificial light at night (be it from fire or electricity) to get things done. I, like most people, can't just sit and read after sundown or before sunrise in the winter months.

If someone (that's most people) still has housework to do after dark (still thinking of the winter months), then under your system they'd be out of luck. If someone has specialized medical equipment that needs electricity at home, under your system they'd either have to buy a generator or apply for a special permit to have constant electric power.

And then there's the immense loss of one of the biggest benefits of electricity, refrigeration.

While a lot of use of electricity is indeed frivolous and can be reduced, on the whole electricity has been a good thing for civilization. I can't see how it would be better to only have power for a portion of the day.

7:08 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

You're right, of course. We'll have to find ways to reduce, though, even if oil is, as I suspect, abiogenic in origin.

8:24 PM  

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