Ghost town story and pictures

The current events in Japan remind me of one of my favorite websites: kiddofspeed.com – Ghost town, a site by a motorcycle woman who took several rides through the chernobyl area in the 2000s and took plenty of pictures there.
I cannot understand how anybody can claim that nuclear energy is safe. It cannot be. Of course, if it is built and maintained correctly, if all personell behaves responsibly, if managers weren’t greedy, and if nothing extraordinary happens (like the quake in Japan) nuclear power could be safe, but we all know how likely it is that one or more of those conditions does not hold.

My thoughts and compassion is with all the people who are affected by the tragedy that happened in Japan.

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9 Responses to Ghost town story and pictures

  1. cwallenpoole says:

    Fact of the matter is that nuclear power is the least deadly of all of the forms of energy production. Yes, in cases of extreme tragedy a larger number of people will die at once, but as a ratio to the amount of energy produced, nuclear power is, by far, the safest available.

    Saying that nuclear is unsafe because of the occasional tragedy is akin to saying that planes aren’t safe because when something goes wrong, everyone dies. Yes, that is true, but it is also true that it is safer to be in an airplane than it is to be in a car, or, for that matter, your house.

  2. Aleksey Shipilev says:

    I can’t quite understand people who appreciate humankind consumes and needs a lot of energy, but in the same time trying to convince not to use most effective source of it.

    Oh well, even if nuclear energy poses that risks, the alternative is much worse: fossil fuels run out, pollute environment regardless of precautions you make; solar and wind energy have not enough power; hydro requires large areas to be unpopulated to have decent power; fusion is not ready yet.

    We can live without nuclear energy, but then prepare to live without computers, large cities, world-wide transportation, rich food industry, etc. That will also mean significant part of 6 billion population is slated for dying, maybe that part includes you and me as well.

  3. Clemens Eisserer says:

    I absolutly agree with you, Roman.
    It makes me sad how fast mankind forgets its tragedies and how little it has learned over all those years.

    Its also sad how this whole nuclear thing has been brainwashed into the minds of people. There’s still the “we have nuclear power plants – therefor we are a great nation” style of thinking.

    In my opinion the whole nuclear power problem will solve itself pretty soon, simply because its not proftable in any way to run a nuclear power station.
    Usually build and demolition is paid by state’s people, if you count that too, it doesn’t make sence anymore.

  4. Udo Schuermann says:

    The Fukuchima plant is quite old (late 1960s / early 1970s) and relied on external power for its active cooling. Modern nuclear power plants use passive cooling, without a need for external power. If the Fukuchima plant had been a modern design it would not have made the news at all.

    So, count me among those who regard nuclear power as a necessary evil: We cannot meet the demand for power in a way that is anywhere near as clean and safe as nuclear power. Making up the difference with coal would generate much worse pollution, and alternative energy sources, sadly, are not yet cost-effective.

  5. Clemens Eisserer says:

    Udo: alternative energy sources aren’t cost-effective yet, but it shouldn’t take long enough for prices to come down to justify building new nuclear plants.

    So I am also against shutting down all plants, but to graduallly develop and move alternative ways.

  6. Udo Schuermann says:

    Clemens: agreed, and I would love to see solar power cells in particular improve their power-to-cost ratio by at least two or three. Not only could that reduce the load on the power grid and begin to lessen the need for more nuclear power plants, but it has the potential of moving us farther away from single-point-of-failure systems that might be targets for attack.

  7. Chris B says:

    I think the only safe nuclear is Thorium based nuclear. Its safe, clean, and super cheap (US thorium deposits could power the US for 4-10 thousand years) The reason why w (the US) didnt go Thorium when we could, back in the 50s-60s, was because thorium based reactors do not produce plutonium, and we (as a country) wanted more nuclear weapons. Because we put all our R&D dollars in uranium based plants, most countries (Europe,Japan) went uranium too, it was just “cheaper”.

    Check out the wiki page for more info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_reactor#Technological_advantages_2

    excerpt (why Japans problems wouldnt have happened):
    “Because the fuel and the coolant are the same fluid, a loss of coolant removes fuel from the reactor and thus terminates the nuclear reaction. In addition, the coolant/fuel can be removed from the reactor simply by opening a valve below the reactor and draining the molten salt into holding tanks set aside for this purpose (these store the salts in a non-critical configuration).”

  8. Clemens Eisserer says:

    Chris B: A thorium reactor produces exactly the same nuclear waste as all others, going down the route Thorium -> U -> Pu, so its as dirty as all the other reactors.

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