Friday, March 25, 2011

Not in anyone's backyard

Meanwhile, the crisis in Japan seems to be getting a little worse.  The Japanese government has requested a “voluntary evacuation” of up to 19 miles around the Fukushima plants. 

Two workers were burned when they unexpectedly stepped into water that was higher than the tops of their boots.  I didn’t realize that radioactive water actually burned the skin, but apparently it does.  If it is that intense, these workers must be getting pretty large doses of radioactivity even if the waters don’t touch their skins.

In addition, there is said to be a long vertical crack running down the side of the reactor vessel – cracks only get bigger, never smaller – and water and gas are leaking out.

Since nuclear fission plants must produce nuclear waste that must be stored for centuries, I become even more convinced that nuclear power plants are fundamentally immoral and a threat to humanity, now and for centuries of generations to come. 

Regardless of what the experts end up saying to try to convince us all that future nukes will be safe, I can’t imagine any community allowing a nuclear fission plant to be built near them after this Japan catastrophe.

Engineers are not imaginative enough to design against unforeseen circumstances, nor smart enough to even design against foreseen possibilities.  I say this as an engineer who works with engineers and knows that designs are always a work in process, with mistakes corrected and improvements made all the time. 

The only safe nuke is no nuke.