Japanese Nuclear Meltdow

Nuclear Meltdown Appears Possibly but not Probably Imminent 031311

As Japan struggles to recover from a horrific earthquake and strong aftershocks, at least three nuclear power plants appear threatened. 

In a worst case scenario, one of the reactors could overheat after a hydrogen explosion or for other reasons, and the core would not be properly cooled, would undergo complete meltdown, burn through the container and into ground water where it would be hurled into the air as when water is thrown in a grease fire.  Pretty bad worst case.
The radiation might easily find its way to the West Cost of the U.S.

Many experts are not worried; they point out that Japan does nuclear power like it does everything: precisely.  The plants are too well constructed to melt down.

That’s probably not true, but probably there won’t be the kind of meltdown we really care about: the kind that would effect our backyard.  Even so, should we talk about the problems with nuclear power?

Apparently not.  Senators including Democratic senators, continue to want to expand our nuclear power capability.
There is powerful motivation for this.  As the population has increased, the power needed by each person has increased even faster.  Nuclear power is generated when nuclear material is placed close enough together to create heat but not close enough together to create a nuclear explosion.

Ooops!  The above photo is NOT supposed to happen in
the nuclear reactors “controlled reaction”.  
From HERE 

Nuclear has a great deal of appeal, to some because it means the continuation of centralized electricity, to others because it means huge construction projects, and to others because it has no carbon footprint.  That’s right!  Further, coal powered plants produce more radiation than a nuclear plant that’s running properly (however, see photo, above, and Japan).

Those who support nuclear power often use phrases “clean, inexpensive, almost unlimited power.”  In truth, it is not inexpensive, and not really clean, since until we perfect fusion there is that nasty problem of spent but still dangerous fuel.  In particular, we should worry about “almost unlimited”.  When has unlimited anything been good for anyone.

Is nuclear power safe:  Look at it this way, a nuclear plant is a million pound pit bull.  It might be the nicest thing to be around nearly all the time, but it really only has to go nuts once.

Only has to go nuts once
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