Nuclear accidents

Did you know that:

  • yesterday's earthquake in Japan caused a fire, spillage of radioactive liquid in to the sea, and a complete shutdown at the Kashiwazaki nuclear power station?
  • there have been two accidents in the past month, causing complete shutdown of the nuclear power stations at Kruemmel and Brunsbuettel?
  • Vattenfall, the operators of Kruemmel nuclear power plant, lied to the public about the extent of the fire?
  • Kruemmel has yet to reopen, and may never, on account of its age, even though it was only built 24 years ago (around half the claimed lifespan of nuclear power plants)?
  • The operator of Brunsbuettel, which suffered an emergency short-circuit, is E.ON, who want to build new nuclear power stations in the UK?

So far as we know, there was never any risk of catastrophic failure in these accidents, but:

(a) Kashiwazaki is supposed to be constructed to a standard that would withstand earthquakes (which you would think is a pretty basic requirement for a nuclear power station in an earthquake zone) and Kruemmel should not be falling apart already. Clearly, one should take assurances from nuclear developers about construction and safety standards and economic lifespans with a pinch of salt.

(b) As we are in the middle of a Government push to encourage a new generation of nuclear power stations (to the extent of trying to override the proper consultation procedure), one would think that these stories are very relevant to current policy considerations, and would have received more attention. Unless, that is, most of the media agrees with the Government that we need new nuclear, and are therefore choosing to suppress stories that highlight safety and longevity concerns. I'll leave you to search for the editorials on the subject and judge for yourself.

Ever felt misled and railroaded?

Can we make our own choices, please, and not have the Government decide how much of which technologies are "good" for us? Generators might still choose some nuclear, but it should be on a competitive basis, incorporating full costs of construction, decommissioning, waste disposal, and risk.



More information on the German and Japanese nuclear accidents and industries, and the IAEA's view of the quality of construction at Kashiwazaki. Still barely a murmer on the subject from our politicians and media. Don't rock the boat, right boys? You know what's best for everyone.