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========================================= A NEW explosion and fuel rod exposure at Japan's stricken Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant have engineers racing to avert a reactor meltdown. What does the latest explosion mean for the reactor? The blast at Unit 2 this morning AEDT follows hydrogen explosions at Unit 1 on Saturday and Unit 3 on Sunday. Water levels have dropped precipitously inside Unit 2, twice leaving the uranium fuel rods completely exposed and raising the threat of a meltdown. The plant's owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPO), said the explosion occurred near the suppression pool in the reactor's containment vessel. The company had just minutes before revealed that the containment vessel had been damaged and warned that there could possibly be serious radiation leaks. It later said the fact that the radiation level had not jumped, indicated the vessel had not sustained damage such as a hole. There is a fire burning at Unit 4 at the plant, officials confirmed, however a Japanese minister said there were no fuel rods contained in that location. There are six units at the plant. Radiation levels have risen considerably, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan says. Mr Kan has told people within 30km of the plant to stay indoors. Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar. Related CoverageJoke: Family Guy writer sorry End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar. Follow our rolling blog for the latest on the nuclear crisis. How much damage has been done? No one knows how much damage has been done to the fuel rods. Has there been a meltdown? Officials have called the situation a partial meltdown, or "fuel-rod meltdown", because they have detected minute quantities of radioactive cesium and iodine – by-products of the nuclear fission that powers the reactor – outside the plant. This suggests that some of the metal casing enclosing the reactors' uranium fuel has melted. There is no indication that the uranium fuel has melted or indication of a "China Syndrome", where the fuel melts, gathers below the reactor, melts everything in its way and bores a path deep into the Earth. How does a reactor shut down and what happens in a meltdown? The operating reactors at Fukushima Daiichi power station automatically shut down during the earthquake. But after subsequent cooling failures, two of them went into partial meltdown. More at The New York Times here. Is a nuclear reactor meltdown a catastrophic event? According to the American Nuclear Society, not necessarily. It says that nuclear reactors are built with redundant safety systems and that even if the fuel in the reactor melts, "the reactor's containment systems are designed to prevent the spread of radioactivity into the environment. Should an event like this occur, containing the radioactive materials could actually be considered a 'success'" given that plant was not designed to withstand the combined forced of an earthquake and tsunami. What is the likelihood of a nuclear explosion? Zero. A nuclear bomb and a nuclear reactor are different things. What type of radioactive material has escaped? There are reports of radioactive isotopes of caesium and iodine in the vicinity of the plant. Experts say it's like radioactive isotopes of nitrogen and argon have escaped as well. There is no evidence that any uranium or plutonium has escaped. What harm do these radioactive materials cause? Radioactive iodine could be harmful to those living near the plant but can be treated with iodine tablets. Radioactive caesium, uranium and plutonium are all harmful but radioactive nitrogen decays within seconds of its release and argon poses no threat to health. How did the radioactive materials escape? When steam in the power plants built up to dangerous levels, small amounts were vented. How long will any contamination last? Radioactive iodine decays quite quickly. Most will have disappeared within a month. Radioactive caesium does not last long in the body – most has gone within a year. However, it lingers in the environment and can continue to present a risk. What happens if there is a nuclear fallout? Authorities have a several-pronged strategy for shielding civilians if there is an explosive breach of the reactor, but the three main weapons against contamination are: evacuation, confinement and iodine. Evacuation: About 200,000 people have already been evacuated from the residential areas around Fukushima. Confinement: If evacuation to a safer area is not an option, then the best strategy is confinement. This means taking shelter in an enclosed space, preferably a basement room with doors and windows sealed tight with plastic sheets and adhesive tape. This is to prevent radioactive dust from entering the lungs and the digestive tract. Those in the danger area should discard their clothes and shoes and shower off any contact between the fallout and the skin. They should avoid scrubbing the skin, nail-biting, smoking and sucking or licking their fingers. Iodine: In a nuclear alert, authorities hand out iodine pills to prevent cancers of the thyroid, which is a particular risk for babies, young children, teenagers and expectant or breastfeeding mothers. The goal is to saturate the thyroid with "healthy iodine", shielding it from radioactive iodine, said Mr Gourmelon. Prompt action is essential. The iodine should preferably be taken an hour before a known fallout incident. Japanese guidelines say the pills should be distributed when the likely absorbed dose of radioactivity is 100 milligray. What are the health effects of radiation exposure? Those exposed to even moderate amounts of radiation can expect to suffer sickness and vomiting within the first few hours, followed by diarrhoea, headaches and fever. More serious damage – such as widespread and potentially fatal damage to internal organs – may become apparent after a few weeks. These symptoms become immediately apparent after exposure to high levels of radiation. After the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster there were some cases of thyroid cancer and large numbers of birth defects. How do you treat radiation sickness? First, by gently washing off any contact between the fallout and the skin – scrubbing increases the risk of particles penetrating the skin. Second, taking special drugs to increase white blood-cell production with drugs to counter bone marrow damage and to reduce the risk of further infections due to immune-system damage. There are specific drugs that treat organ damage. On what scale is the Fukushima crisis? Andre-Claude Lacoste, head of France's Nuclear Safety Authority, says Fukushima is "worse than Three Mile Island but not as great as Chernobyl". Japan's nuclear safety agency had rated the damaged nuclear plant at four on an International Nuclear Event Scale of zero to seven. By comparison, the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the US was a five while the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine was a seven. However, Mr Lacoste said: "We have the feeling that we are at least more than level five and probably at level six. I say this after speaking to my Japanese counterparts." Is there a danger of Fukushima becoming a Chernobyl-like disaster? The combined impact of the earthquake and tsunami has been many times greater than any disaster envisaged at the Japanese plan but the Soviet reactor was a poor design and the technicians involved had much less understanding of the proper processes to follow. Yukiya Amano, the head of the UN's atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has said that "the possibility that the development of this accident into one like Chernobyl is very unlikely". Could Japan have done more to prevent the disaster? The mistakes at Fukushima were made long before Friday's earthquake. According to The New York Times, the diesel generators intended to provide back-up power for the pumps that cooled the reactor core failed because they were built behind a sea wall on low-lying coastal ground. The tsunami overwhelmed the barrier. Once the generators went out, the back-up batteries could not last for long and, as in Ukraine and Pennsylvania, the water level in the reactor started to fall. According to the Japanese nuclear safety agency, at one stage half the length of each 3.6m long fuel rod in the Fukushima No 1 plant was out of the water. Even after a nuclear chain reaction is stopped, a reactor continues to emit heat, which has to be cooled by water – the ocean was the only available source to Japanese engineers. To reduce the temperature of the reactor core, TEPCO started injecting sea water (reportedly using fire engines) mixed with the chemical element boron, which can squelch a nuclear reaction. In the process TEPCO accepted that the corrosive sea water will permanently disable the plant's core. In all, there are six units within the Fukushima No 1 plant . The reactors for Units 1, 2, and 6 were supplied by General Electric, those for Units 3 and 5 by Toshiba, and Unit 4 by Hitachi. All six reactors were designed by General Electric. Doesn't Japan have a record of understating damage at nuclear power plants? The Guardian website reports that the nuclear safety experts believe that the official information being issued about the Fukushima nuclear accident follows a pattern of secrecy and cover-ups employed in other nuclear accidents. John Large, an independent nuclear engineer who has worked for the UK government, told the site: "The actions of the Japanese government are completely contrary to their words. They have evacuated 180,000 people but say there is no radiation. They are certain to have readings but we are being told nothing." The site also posted diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks that states "a high-profile Japanese politician told US diplomats that the Japanese government department responsible for nuclear energy – has been covering up nuclear accidents and obscuring the true costs and problems associated with the nuclear industry. A senior nuclear industry executive in the US told The New York Times that Japan's power industry managers are "basically in a full-scale panic. They're in total disarray, they don't know what to do." Tilman Ruff, associate professor in the University of Melbourne's Nossal Institute for Global Health and chairman of the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, says companies running nuclear power plants in Japan have covered up potentially dangerous problems in the past. Leaving aside the latest accident, Professor Ruff says the increased threat of nuclear proliferation and problems disposing of waste are good reasons to avoid using nuclear power. "In terms of power generation . . . it's way too dangerous to be a safe or sustainable way to boil water," he says. What went wrong at Chernobyl? The four reactors at the Chernobyl power station produced electricity by heating water to steam that turned a generator turbine. Soviet reactors were badly designed and the reactor did not have the big containment walls common in Western reactors. The reactor was designed to slow down if it overheated but an experiment to test this went badly wrong. The emergency shutdown procedure failed, the reactor fuel ruptured and a violent explosion of steam and gas blew the 1000-tonne roof off the reactor building. That was followed by a second explosion. Temperatures reached over 2000C and the fuel rods melted. The graphite covering of the reactor caught fire and burned for 10 days, spewing vast amounts of radioactive material into the air. In all, 57 people died as an immediate result of the explosions. Nuclear regulators estimate that about 4000 people, most of them children, developed thyroid cancer as a result of their exposure to radiation and, by the end of 2002, 15 of them had died. Doctors estimate a further 4000 people in the areas with highest radiation levels could eventually die of cancer caused by radiation exposure. About 6.8 million other people living farther from the explosion received a much lower dose of radiation and it has been estimated 5000 of them could die from illness caused by that exposure. What happened at Three Mile Island? On March 28, 1979, feedwater pumps that cooled the reactor on Three Mile Island in the US failed and the reactor automatically shut down. This led to a pressure increase that triggered a safety valve automatically opening. But the valve, designed to close when the pressure dropped, failed. A second system failure meant plant operators thought everything was working properly. Cooling water continued to pour out of the valve, causing the core of the reactor to overheat. Alarms sounded across the system, alerting operators to contradictory problems, but with no evidence that the temperature of the nuclear core was compromised they reduced the coolant flow to it, making the situation worse. Without the required cooling, the tubes holding nuclear pellets ruptured and the fuel itself began to melt, resulting in a severe core meltdown. This could have led to a breach of the walls containing the reactor and a large release of radiation into the atmosphere, but the defences held. This first stage of the crisis occurred across 12 hours or so and, although there was a small release of radioactive gas in the late morning, by evening the core had cooled and the reactor seemed stable. However, on March 30, repair measures led to a second problem: radioactive gases from the reactor cooling system had built up in a tank in the auxiliary building and plant operators were pumping it to tanks designed to allow it to decay. But the compressors pumping the gas leaked and radiation was released into the atmosphere. The news generated panic in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the closest city to the plant. The crisis finally concluded at the end of April when the reactor core cooled and was shut down. There were no fatalities and the World Nuclear Association claims the amount of radiation released was a fraction of that used in chest X-rays. Read more: turtella Posted at 2:25 PM March 15, 2011 The Japanese knew very well that there was a good chance of them getting an earthquake and associated tsunami, there is no excuse failing to design their nuclear plant to survive those things- i don't understand how international regulations allowed such poor safety standards. mick johnson of brisbane Posted at 9:57 AM March 15, 2011 its a perfect excuse for all major powers that spend billions on wars and arming themselves to srat spending billion on nenewable energy sources…. from herein there is no excuse to advance development…after all we shoudl now be spending billions and billions to do so or this earth will be uninhabitable in a few thousand years time….. no excuses, this disaster is a major wake up call to us all….. col isnt the way to go and nor is nuclear unfortunately. …and bugger ziggy (alphabet) X telstra dude as well…go and retire mate… Comment 1 of 140 ij Posted at 9:59 AM March 15, 2011 There will be no meltdown. This is irresponsible reporting at its worst. What this shows is just how safe nuclear reactors have become. The reactors that have been deliberately flooded will never be used again, but they are no danger to anyone. Comment 2 of 140 SMiddi Posted at 10:25 AM March 15, 2011 This just highlights that Nuclear power is not safe. As much as I hate to admit it, the Greens are right. Comment 3 of 140 matt of Brisbane Posted at 10:27 AM March 15, 2011 so even when they do contain it, how long will it take Japan to recover necessary power supply? Comment 4 of 140 Jason of Melbourne Posted at 10:29 AM March 15, 2011 ij (9:59am) – how long did it take you to get your degree in nuclear physics? This whole thing has created an impressive number of armchair experts… maybe you should go and show them how it's done. Comment 5 of 140 James of Adelaide Posted at 10:31 AM March 15, 2011 @ ij comment 1: oh well then if you say its safe we are all good. How lucky we are to have such an expert opinion as yours… even though you aren't there, you aren't a nuclear physicist, probably not a scientist in any form. You are obviously too young to remember Chernobyl because this is EXACTLY the same reporting and "downplaying" that occured there as well… right before it blew up. Comment 6 of 140 Adrian Posted at 10:32 AM March 15, 2011 Horrible. Hopefully this willeignite the nuclear debate in Australia. Comment 7 of 140 KK of Brisbane Posted at 10:34 AM March 15, 2011 Good god IJ comment 2, you can not be serious. This reactor has blown mate, it has already leaked radiation and people are already being isolated and diagnosed with radiation poisoning. Please explain article 15 which the japanese have just invoked which forbids reporting any further news on the reactor. This thing has already caused untold damage, and if it goes pluthermal, which they are saying is likely, witht he MOX fule (which no one seems to want to talk about in the mainstream media) most of Japan will be uninhabitable. All of the nuclear experts are saying this, yet no one wants to listen and only listens to the government official line. In any past nuclear reactor failure the government has ALWAYS downplayed the result. They dont want to cause panic, but at the same time people rely on true information out of those that control the information. Now news on MOX, no actual true reporting on the reactor because its silenced by article 15. The wool is being pulled over your eyes mate. Comment 8 of 140 Krippy of QBN Posted at 10:36 AM March 15, 2011 You can stand on your head and tell me these things are safe.. but I am not buying it.. A wind turbine can fall and kill a kangaroo or twoâ?¦who cares.. but no nuclear plants here thank you.. Comment 9 of 140 syd girl Posted at 10:37 AM March 15, 2011 Those that are pro nuclear power always justify by saying that it's a fantastic energy source, cheap and that it's just where you put them or 100 other excuses but here we are in this situation…again. It does not matter what type of natural disaster caused it … the point is that mother nature can unleash it's power anywhere and human error is always there .. you can argue if the plant was put in this spot versus this spot then there would be none of this type of natural disaster but that does not rule out other type of land disasters or even war where stations could be left unmanned and can only run on their own for a certain amount of time before they meltdown and then cause complete environmental disaster and mass human casualties. Human error is always there as is terrorism and mother nature … all of which you can not predict. This is not where smart money should be spent. Comment 10 of 140 John Oh of Victoria Posted at 10:38 AM March 15, 2011 There will be no meltdown? The facts show other things. There is the possibility of a meltdown, due likely to mistakes both now and in the fact there shouldnt have been one built, let alone three of them, in close proximity to the earthquake zone. The planning for severe cooling problems wasnt considered it seems. Even now emergency cooling systems are failing. Fuel rods that need powered shutdown are a liabilty. The neutral rod position should be able to shut down by gravity when the reactors fail…To lazy to do it right? That was always suspected! Comment 11 of 140 wy Posted at 10:38 AM March 15, 2011 There's no requirement for "reporters" to know anything at all about the subject matter being reported upon. So it's quite understandable there is such a massive increase in fear, uncertainty, and paranoia being passed off as "news" these days. For the most part, it's people reporting from their own ignorance. Comment 12 of 140 Frank of Adelaide Posted at 10:42 AM March 15, 2011 How many people have died of radiation so far? Whats that? None? How many people died from the earthquake? Many. This 'nuclear emergency' is a massive media beat up. Comment 13 of 140 Sam Posted at 10:45 AM March 15, 2011 agree ij, if they bothered to be proper journalists instead of scare mongers they would focus on the fact that all experts in the field are saying there is nothing to worry about… but no, they have to hype it up, make it look like nuclear power is a massive tragedy waiting to happen.. then dumb inbreds all take the opinion of the news and so it would never accepted for the efficient and safe power source that it is Comment 14 of 140 JP Killion of NSW Posted at 10:48 AM March 15, 2011 "The reactors have been flooded and will never be used again,they are no danger to anyone", well that's good to hear,let's just hope there is no uranium-238 left in there because it has a half life of 4.5 billion years, that's a long guarentee you're giving mate. Comment 15 of 140 James of newcastle Posted at 10:54 AM March 15, 2011 They've only been delaying the innevitable, IJ. The arguement is over. Nuclear energy is too unstable to ever fully control despite whatever advancements in technology there are. Give it up. Comment 16 of 140 Veritas of Perth Posted at 10:54 AM March 15, 2011 @ij… what are your qualifications to make the assetions you do? My bet is they are a shareholding in a uranium exploration company, or a well paid job as a nuclear lobbyist, as opposed to any meaningful knowledge of the situation. Two words for you. The second one is OFF and the first rhymes with FRIAR TUCK. I'm intimately acquainted with the Japanese and have watched this drama unfold on their national broadcaster NHK… they've got a serious problem. I'm with @mick johnson of brisbane… there's no safe way to produce nuclear power and I don't want to be within a million miles of a reactor… Ziggy's a puppet and his rich mates are only in it to add to their already obscenely large piles of cash… bugger the lot of them. Comment 17 of 140 Ben of Perth Posted at 10:56 AM March 15, 2011 Here is a great summary of scientific reports on the events at these Japanese nuclear power stations: Comment 18 of 140 DavidG of Perth Posted at 10:56 AM March 15, 2011 imagine if it were an oil refinery or diesel storage faciliy. It would have been a massive explosive, hundreds of deaths, and toxic black fumes – we have them all the time, yet apparently Nuclear is just too dangerous. Bring on Nuclear – heaps safer. It took one of the biggest earth quakes ever and its still not killed anyone. A credit to the engineers – but a little more foresight in the placement of the emergency backup generators and all would have been ok. Comment 19 of 140 65DegN of Alaska Posted at 10:58 AM March 15, 2011 If Japan relied on off solar and off shore wind power none of this nuclear harrangue would have happened. Everyone should have panels on their roof. Comment 20 of 140 John S of Perth Posted at 11:00 AM March 15, 2011 How many people have been killed or injured in this event? What is the forecast for the final death toll? Curious to neglect to mention these figures? Tens of thousands of people died on Friday yet this trivial non-event seems to be grabbing all the headlines! I wonder why? Anyone think there may be another agenda here? Comment 21 of 140 Mark of Maitland Posted at 11:02 AM March 15, 2011 If you believe the Climate Change doomsayers, the consequences of Climate Change make an odd accident like this minute however the Greenies will once again try and use this to set back the nuclear power industry as was done in the 70's to push the renewable energies. If however they profess to the need to act on climate change now, nuclear energy is still the safest, cleanest and only reliable technology available now at an affordable price. Also no energy source is truly renewable and clean. Nuclear energy in fact offers lower green house gas emmisions than many of the so called renewables when everything is taken into account. Comment 22 of 140 Q&As Posted at 11:03 AM March 15, 2011 'What's an elt..down?' 'Stupid bird, I wish I had my reaching broom!' Comment 23 of 140 Joel Mumma Posted at 11:09 AM March 15, 2011 I still vote nuclear! Cars kill more people every year are we going to ban them? Smoking kills more people every year, alcohol kills more people every year…. I can keep going on about this!@! What happened in Japan is very tragic indeed, no doubt about that. This is a clean energy source taking a beating of public hype and emotion. These plants were supposed to be decommissioned within 18 months as they were a 1968 design. Think of a computer back in the 70s and now think of a computer of today's standard?! See the advancement in technology!@ Pretty good isn't it, well like everything in this world nuclear reactors have come a long way in technological advancements. All this knee jerk crap is starting to become a bit of a joke. Comment 24 of 140 Adrian of Brisbane Posted at 11:14 AM March 15, 2011 yeah, coal is much safer. Comment 25 of 140 Meow Posted at 11:15 AM March 15, 2011 @ij – did you fail to read where the sea water failed? Or that 200,000 people were evacuated? They don't want people like you to panic so they only give a fraction of the ugly truth. Nuclear power isn't safe. Or maybe we should set up a plant at your residence with only your family near it. If you don't mind, you're an idiot. If you do, you've proven my point. Comment 26 of 140 Jon of Toowoomba Posted at 11:17 AM March 15, 2011 Sad to see that the scaremongering has brainwashed the masses – I'd much rather live next door to a nuclear reactor than a coal fired plant, as the amount of radiation released from burning coal far exceeds anything from nuclear fission, plus coal fired plants don't have to comply with strict radiation standards! Whilst renewable energy sources are the future we still require reliable baseload sources, of which nuclear is the cleanest and safest form. The reactors performed as designed and underwent a successful SCRAM of the control rods, the issues now are in removing remaining decay heat from the core – a stark contrast to Chernobyl where the control rods never made it fully into the core, or Three Mile Island where parts of the core melted due to poor operator training (incidentally the other reactor at TMI is still fully functioning and one of the most reliable on the planet). Please stop the dramatic journalism, it isn't helping anyone, especially those who treat the media as gospel. Comment 27 of 140 Chris of Toowoomba Posted at 11:20 AM March 15, 2011 It's also interesting to hear this may help push a move to thorium reactors which would be safer, use a cheaper fuel source, and produce less waste. Comment 28 of 140 rjw Posted at 11:22 AM March 15, 2011 This is a nuclear disaster and the reactors are leaking. The US Air Craft Carrier has reported a contaminated cloud 100 miles off the coast of Japan with reports of contaminated crew. TEPCO are pumping SEA WATER into the cores to keep them cool but as they pump in sea water they must release the steam that is created – which is radioactive! Take a look at the first two explosions on youtube (search reactor 1 explosion and reactor 3 explaosion). Reactor 1 was a small sharp pressure explosion. Reactor 3 was a huge fireball which initially blew outward, then got sucked back into a vacuum, rapidly rocketed into the sky and mushroomed out. The Japanese Government are now distributing iodide tablets. Comment 29 of 140 The Other Phil of Sydney Posted at 11:24 AM March 15, 2011 It's clear that the people writing these reports have absolutely no idea about nuclear fission, or the safeguards that prevent an incident like that in Chernobyl happening again. Did any of you know that this reactor is actually older than the RMBK style reactor that exploded DUE TO ALL THE SAFETY MEASURES BEING TURNED OFF BY THE OPERATORS. The reactors were shutdown via the necessary SCRAM procedure built in to all nuclear plants, thus stopping any sort of reaction. These explosions will be from steam pressure that has built up. Meltdown is such an over the top word to use. If anything melts, it will pool at the bottom of the reactor and become completely unusable and only produce excess heat and radiation. The pooling is by design of the reactor. Please learn more about nuclear power before you either dismiss it (have a look at how quickly those oil refineries went up when the tsunami hit vs. how well the nuclear plants have held up over more than 40 years), and educate yourselves on the radiation spewed into the atmosphere by coal powered plants. Comment 30 of 140 Ricky Posted at 11:34 AM March 15, 2011 If people think this is another case due to global warming please be assured that it isn`t. Tectonic plates aren`t affected by the "global warming" we are having. This is just a case of tectonic plates hitting one another and the one with the least amount of force behind it is pushed upwards therefore creating the Tsunami due to the water levels rising and being pushed backwards from where the tectonic plates hit one another. This is tragic though, I do hope that Japan recovers from this. Comment 31 of 140 CHICKEN LITTLE of NORTH COAST NSW Posted at 11:35 AM March 15, 2011 Not going to believe anything until the sky falls in…..Anyway, what does it matter, we are but one layer on this earth of millions of years. There is NOTHING we can do to stop the evolution of life and earth!!! Comment 32 of 140 No expert Posted at 11:35 AM March 15, 2011 What a credit to Japanese engineering that these reactors have survived a threat 7 times great that what they were built to withstand, and a tsunami as well. There is no threat here. They have been ruined, but are not dangerous. This is fear mongering as most people don't understand how safe they really are. Even if there was a 'core meltdown' it would be perfectly contained indefinitely. Read up a little, and not just news sites. Comment 33 of 140 John of Sydney Posted at 11:36 AM March 15, 2011 Nuclear Energy IS safe and this proves it. Even when everything goes wrong the danger and pollution is minimal. It is nothing compared with the pollution that is emitted everyday from fossil fuel based energy generation which does so much damage to our environment. Australia is such a geologically inert country safe from large earthquakes and has plenty of ore to enrich uranium – it is perfect candidate for nuclear energy. Lets all get off the No Nukes hippy band-waggon and wake up to reality Comment 34 of 140 BD of Melb Posted at 11:37 AM March 15, 2011 This really just shows the redundant safety systems in place have their flaws also. As a result I've done a 180 degree change in my views & nuclear is NOT a safe power source alternative. I'd take my chances with rising co2 levels than have nuclear mishaps wrecking vast amounts of land for centuries to come. I don't blame anyone anymore for not wanting one of these bomb sites sitting in their backyards waiting to go off. Comment 35 of 140 healthy Posted at 11:38 AM March 15, 2011 IJ, it's already leaked radiation. It's already proven itself unsafe. Comment 36 of 140 Rob Posted at 11:38 AM March 15, 2011 I'm sure that soon someone is going to say that just like global warming radioactivity is a myth Comment 37 of 140 rjw Posted at 11:41 AM March 15, 2011 Japanese Government have confirmed fuel rods in Reactors 1-3 have partially melted – which means there is a meltdown. Comment 38 of 140 Pete of Melb Posted at 11:44 AM March 15, 2011 Godda love Andrew Bolton on Insiders on Sunday saying how safe Nuclear is 🙂 Comment 39 of 140 rjs Posted at 11:48 AM March 15, 2011 MIT Nuclear Science/Engineering seems to paint a different picture. Hmm… who to believe??? Comment 40 of 140 James Posted at 11:48 AM March 15, 2011 …..the sky is falling..the sky is falling…bwaakkk!! You idiots! Comment 41 of 140 The Grey Ghost of Cairns Posted at 11:48 AM March 15, 2011 ij I hope you're right, let's wait & see how much of the stuff does get out into the atmosphere before we say much else. Brown/Gillard /Wong/ Oily Rag must be pleased the lights of Tokyo are going off. They wouldn't know the energy isn't coal fired. Comment 42 of 140 Kika of Brisbane Posted at 11:49 AM March 15, 2011 Holy Mary, Mother of God… Green power please. No nuclear for Australia. Don't tell me it's 'safe'. I'd rather a wind turbine exploding than a nuclear reactor. Praying for Japan. Comment 43 of 140 Rabbit of Neptune Posted at 11:55 AM March 15, 2011 Thankyou. Finally. Now all these greenpeace loving hippies can get some education and stop spreading bs fears. Comment 44 of 140 Iwanasay of Medan Posted at 11:58 AM March 15, 2011 Lj 9.59 AM, Strange comment, are you a nuclear physicist, how can nuclear be safe in this situation and no danger to anyone, though the core will be shut down and never used again as you put it, the reactor will be radio active for centuries. Considering your immense understanding and knowledge of nuclear power please enlighten us all as to the safe storage of nuclear waste and the cost of decommissioning. In the time of war they are a prime target and bunker bombs will penetrate the reactor. In UK the cost of decommissioning power stations is estimated to be GBP56 Billion. From your statement it is clear that you would not object to the storage of nuclear waste and the building of a nuclear power facility in your back yard. Comment 45 of 140 Anne Posted at 12:01 PM March 15, 2011 I was 8 miles from the Three Mile Island plant with my baby daughter and husband in 79. Gov. did not order evacuation until days later as they didn't want to cause panic. It was not til way later that the amounts of escaped radiation were known. Officially the amounts were safe, unofficially there are cancer clusters in the area with residents still fighting for recognition and compensation.I still don't know all the facts but I never want people in Australia to go through the fear everyone felt in Penna. when a meltdown was a possibilty. I am very concerned for the Japanese people. I for one will never vote in favour of pro-nuclear politicians/policies. Comment 46 of 140 Andy Posted at 12:09 PM March 15, 2011 Flying is safer than driving, unless the engine fails. The same principle of safety applied to flying, applies to nuclear reactors. Comment 47 of 140 Dan Posted at 12:10 PM March 15, 2011 A 41 year old nuclear reactor gets hit by a magnitude 9 earthquake, then slammed with a 20ft high well, followed by several explosions caused by the buildup of hydrogen gas that blows the roof off of the building, and the core is still intact and contained. And you are trying to tell me that nuclear power isn's safe? Comment 48 of 140 Tim of Sydney Posted at 12:10 PM March 15, 2011 Mick of Brisbane, what do you propose we use to generate power then? Wind is not reliable enough to supply base load. Solar? doesn't work at night! Solar with batteries would be far too expensive and present other massive environmental issues with their disposal and the mining and refining required to extract the minerals for the batteries. Wave power (see wind). Geo thermal? Not efficient enough! Bio fuels bring up the issue of food production versus fuel production. Natural gas is not renewable. So do tell, what do you suggest? Comment 49 of 140 Go nuclear sparks of Wagga Posted at 12:11 PM March 15, 2011 Nuclear provides the US roughly 20% of it s power, Most of France's. and Japan's. It is a safe solutions, we are talking about a 9.0 earth quake, so can you imaging coal or even solar plants standing up to that sort of shock with out major damage? People are dying every day because of coal pollution not just CO2 but becuase of sulphar , carbon monoixide and everything else coal spews into the atmosphere. Nuclear has shown itself to be safe in this case. unless there is a major deterioration in the situation they have lost 2 reactors which is bad, but will rebuilt and continue to use nuclear. Did you know mostsolar cells use extremely toxic materials and they use rare earths, so there isn't a massive amount of the materials anyway. Comment 50 of 140 Benn of Adelaide Posted at 12:13 PM March 15, 2011 Why so much attention on the power plants? Thousands have perished and thousands more may be buried alive yet the media just seems to care about a reactor which might go critical (unlikely) but would still be nothing like the Chernobyl disaster. Comment 51 of 140 Dave of Melb Posted at 12:14 PM March 15, 2011 Urgent research is needed to find ways that coal can be burnt efficiently without producing huge volumes of carbon dioxide. It could be via a mixture of coal and gas or by methane and coal. There is probably a way to do it. In VIctoria we used to have laboratories that carried out this type of research but they were closed when the SECV was privatised. We now need to re-establish these laboratories now. Nuclear power is not the answer as there are too many risks associated with them as shown in Japan. Comment 52 of 140 brendan Posted at 12:14 PM March 15, 2011 ij. How can you say there will be no meltdown. Exposed rods basically mean that a meltdown was on the way.It may have been averted but it also may not. You won't know for sure untill they can probe the cooled reactor once all is said and done. As far as irresponsible reporting goes i suppose you would rather bury your head in the sand and not know what is going on. If i had one of those things near me i would be concerned in this situation. Comment 53 of 140 Michael of Sydney Posted at 12:15 PM March 15, 2011 Ziggi Switkowski says everything is ok, the media are over-reacting and the stations are operating safely within design specification – just blowing off a bit of steam and hydrogen? It's good to have experts like Ziggy reasurring us all as, for a lay person like myself, a 200 metre blast out the top of nuclear generator can be a bit alarming. Comment 54 of 140 to the fluffy brains of melbourne Posted at 12:15 PM March 15, 2011 i rate and i'd rather listen to ziggy than you stone throwers Comment 55 of 140 Seth of Melbourne Posted at 12:16 PM March 15, 2011 Hence the reason why nuclear power is not the solution for our power woes. Bring in Solar, wind and hydro electricity generation. There is no reason why each vehicle, each roof, each lamp-post cannot have a solar cell that generates and feeds the power back to the grid. If the demand for solar increases, there will be more research done and manufacturing would become cheaper. Comment 56 of 140 James of Brisbane Posted at 12:18 PM March 15, 2011 How much oil was released into the gulf again? Please explain to me why that was less of a disaster than a relatively minor radiation leak? Comment 57 of 140 Alex R of Sydney Posted at 12:23 PM March 15, 2011 lol @ the "this shows is just how safe nuclear reactors have become" remark. They may be safer than the ones used in Chernobyl (the RBMK's), however they are not foolproof, and the containment walls being a Saviour is a myth. If there is a FULL meltdown, the nuclear fuel will eventually make it's way through and pollute the environment. The containment walls buy maybe 100 years of time at the most. Do you know what the half life of plutonium and uranium are? Parts of chernobyl will not be safe for up to 25000 years (in the core of the chernobyl reactor where the "elephants foot" lies, that part will be dangerously radioactive for the next 250000 years. Nuclear energy doesnt make you just that little bit uncomfortable? Sorry but even if plants are 100% safe (which they are not), theres still the issue of hording all the toxic nuclear waste, who's backyard do you bury it in? There arn't infinate areas to bury it in, and eventually it will poison the environment. So much for "clean" energy. Comment 58 of 140 Ronin Posted at 12:24 PM March 15, 2011 Nuclear Power is clean and safe they tell us! How gullible do they think people are? Billions should be spent on improving solar technology in Australia. Comment 59 of 140 Robin Hilson of Sydney Posted at 12:25 PM March 15, 2011 ij says: they (the reactors) are no danger to anyone. Let's not concern ourselves unduly with over 100 people who have already been exposed to radiation. Whether ij is a PR person for the nuclear industry or not,this is another example of 'experts' like Ziggy Switkowski and gurus like ij saying something like this could never happen and then'managing' the fallout when shit does happen -shades of the crap we got from BP with their undersea oil gush. I suppose ij will say that the Japanese Nuclear industry was actually prepared for and expecting this and this is just a silly beef up from hysterical, stupid people.No worries people, everything is going exactly to plan. Let us put our faith for the safety and destiny of our children and grandchildren into the hands of experts like ij and Ziggy who are totally objective and who do not represent any lobby group -NOT! Comment 60 of 140 dairyfarmer of communist australia Posted at 12:30 PM March 15, 2011 so japan kill whales kill dolphins and now there poluting the planet coz they built em on fault line …geeez Comment 61 of 140 Mungo of Sydney Posted at 12:38 PM March 15, 2011 Any reference to previous nuclear power station problems is simply exploitive by the media. The design of the Japanese system are so far advanced from 3 Mile and Chernobyl that any other than praise for these systems is scaremongering at it's worst. If something disastrous does happen it will be the result of a monumental natural catastrophe not because the humans didn't build in enough fail dafes. Comment 62 of 140 Miss k of Tassie Posted at 12:43 PM March 15, 2011 I think this a great report and answers many questions that I had no idea of the answers to. I agree with ij, this information does show just how safe nuclear reactors and the fall out can be (I am not sure I am in total agreeance with their existence just yet) but I think this info is comforting for other like me that have been taking in the "end of the world" type reporting. Thanks! Comment 63 of 140 Mark of Brisbane Posted at 12:47 PM March 15, 2011 Just over 30 years and 3 nuclear disasters (3 Mile Island, Chernobyl and now Japan (3)). Not a good track record. Not in my back yard thank you. Comment 64 of 140 Noelene Posted at 12:49 PM March 15, 2011 It certainly proves that nuclear power stations are safer than I thought. Who would have believed that a power station could survive an earthquake and a tsunami? The only downer is the added cost to replace the power stations. Wonder how solar and wind power fares in a tsunami and earthquake?Imagine the cost to replace millions of solar mirrors and panels,and thousands of windmills,or windmill parts. Comment 65 of 140 jon b of syd Posted at 12:52 PM March 15, 2011 How silly/stupid was/is it to build nuclear reactors right near the coast? UH HUH Comment 66 of 140 MW of Adelaide Posted at 1:04 PM March 15, 2011 The content appears to be accurate and it is delivered calmly but the hysterical headlines are a disservice. Mick the reason not to arbitrarily "advance development" in unproven renewables is that wastes economic resources that do more good elsewhere. If you throw billions of dollars stolen from tax payers at renewables it will creates huge waste and huge bubbles as such measures have already done with pink batts and solar rebates. That's money and resources that could actually be applied to things people needed, you cannot artifically create demand for things that aren't requried. Comment 67 of 140 Peter of Adelaide Posted at 1:09 PM March 15, 2011 Thisplant is 40 years old and a 50 year old design. Can we please stop the knee jerk reactions. Nuclear power is still the most reliable, cleanest and probably safest form of power generation. 3 accidents in 50plus years remeber people. burning coal causes more medical issues yearly than nuclear power. Comment 68 of 140 Anthony Holt of victoria,australia Posted at 1:11 PM March 15, 2011 I cant understand them building a nuclear facility right on the coast where it would be subject to natural disasters of this nature. Comment 69 of 140 Shaun Newman of Townsville N.Q. Posted at 1:12 PM March 15, 2011 Australia is perfect for solar power, this is indeed a warning for this nation not to go down the nuclear road. Comment 70 of 140 Kosta of Brighton Posted at 1:12 PM March 15, 2011 seems like a lot of unfounded speculation here, I think the Japanese know what they are doing. So IJ what do you propose replacing coal and nuclear with ? a windmill on each house ? where are these replacement technologies ? Comment 71 of 140 cc Posted at 1:18 PM March 15, 2011 Well ij, thats not what the Japanese Prime Minister is saying at the moment. They are very worried now about the levels of radiation and are evacuating even more people. It depends on wind speed and wind direction….telling everyone to stay indoors with windows shut. Gee that sounds a bit serious not irresponsible reporting. Comment 72 of 140 CHA Posted at 1:18 PM March 15, 2011 Let us all hope that a meltdown does not occur. In the meanwhile I believe Australia should be volunteering to take in thousands of orphaned children and for that matter adults who have lost everything. They could stay in this Country until things are rectified in Japan . The orphaned kids could stay forever for that matter and may even be adopted by Australian Families who are seeking to adopt now but are unable to do so due to lack of opportunity. The Japanese are resilient hard working people who would contribute mightily to Australia Comment 73 of 140 Jol Posted at 1:19 PM March 15, 2011 Japan has been lieing to the world since day one. Take everythign reported with a grain of Idonised salt. Comment 74 of 140 john H of Qld Posted at 1:19 PM March 15, 2011 Well we've had 4 meltdowns since saturday morning according to the papers so another one today shouldn't be any problem. At lunchtime yesterday Fox News had 6 going into meltdown. Comment 75 of 140 nonukes Posted at 1:20 PM March 15, 2011 Ij – I suppose you would be confident enough to live with your family within the reactor exclusion zone then? Comment 76 of 140 Al of Sydney Posted at 1:23 PM March 15, 2011 ij – I think the point is that a partial melt down has occurred in some of the reactors, and may still occur if things go awry. BUT meltdowns are within the safety design of the reactors and doesn't pose any significant increase in risk. A China Syndrome event wont occur, as they are designed to prevent this too. These reactors pose no threat any longer, based on the Japanese design and response to date, so long as you're not in the close close proximity to breath the radioactive N² and Iodine. Comment 77 of 140 James of Brisbane Posted at 1:25 PM March 15, 2011 Mick Johnson and all others against nuclear energy, read up on Thorium based nuclear reactors, these are the next gen in development and are the only real solution to our future energy needs. Comment 78 of 140 Don't trust Posted at 1:25 PM March 15, 2011 Would you stake your family's lives on what pro-nuclear people tell you? Comment 79 of 140 Paul of Adelaide Posted at 1:27 PM March 15, 2011 Gillards say Australia will not build a nuclear plant, but she has got no problems to keep selling uranium to make the fuel rods for these Nuclear plants. She want to tax us australians people for a carbon tax, but in japn they product more carbon and now going to have a area which radiation all over it. So think about that gillard that the fuel rods was made from uranium dug out of the ground in South Australia. So people of Australia wake up and think about this joke of a tax when we are selling uranium to lots of Counrtys. Comment 80 of 140 Like attracts like Posted at 1:28 PM March 15, 2011 Funny how x-telsta CEO finds his way to Nuclear Power board, look what happened to Telstra, would you trust what this man tells you? Comment 81 of 140 Tinman of SA ICAC Posted at 1:32 PM March 15, 2011 Posted by Posted "They are no danger to anyone " ? What about the 200000 people whom have been evacuated from their homes ? The people whom are currently hospitalised with Radiation Burns ? As I have lived in some of the affected areas and have friends there ! I can be quite sure in saying Reactors are a danger to anyone whom lives or works near them. Comment 82 of 140 Tracker of Sydney Posted at 1:32 PM March 15, 2011 @mick johnson of brisbane, sorry Mick, but you are living in Dreamworld. Comment 83 of 140 David Graves of Brisabne Posted at 1:37 PM March 15, 2011 Nice to final see some facts being reported instead the scare tactics over the last couple of days. The containment system for modern day reactors is more than capable of handing this situation. Those operating these plants have done extremely well considering the disasters they have faced. Their procedures and diaster plans have worked and continue to work showing the level of organisation and planning involved. However the greens and lefty's will try their best to spin this to get rid of the only truely workable power supply that does not produce their so called dangerous carbon. They need to kill nuclear off to really get to the big dollars. The Japanese people deserve our praise and all the help we can muster during this terrible time. For this type of politcal scewed and irresponsible reporting that has been displayed of late you should all hang your heads in shame. Comment 84 of 140 Sammy The Bull of Sydney Posted at 1:42 PM March 15, 2011 Why does Tony Abbott still want to bring nuclear power to Australia? Comment 85 of 140 MAA of Brisbane Posted at 1:45 PM March 15, 2011 Look, this nuclear powerplant is completly safe. I mean for something to go wrong you would need a category 7 earthquake AND a tsunami chuckle chuckle, now really ,what are the chances of that happening ? Comment 86 of 140 dave of Asia Posted at 1:46 PM March 15, 2011 Sustainable energy does not work yet, sustainable energy does not work yet. You can keep saying it but the Greenies dont listen. Bob Brown please start generating power via sustainable energy sources and sell it at the current price, and produce enough for our needs. Please, show us how it is done. Comment 87 of 140 Binny of QLD Posted at 1:50 PM March 15, 2011 ij I agree how about the media focus on reporting on what has actually happened. As in entire town wiped off the face of the map. Tens of thousands of people dead and missing, and hundreds of thousands left without food, water and shelter. Instead of hyperventilating about what 'MIGHT' happen 'IF' the reactor's meltdown and the containment vessels are breached in an explosion. I would suggest to the media, when that actually happens – then you can report on it. Comment 88 of 140 Nigel Posted at 1:51 PM March 15, 2011 Thast right mick lets all install pushbike generators in our houses for electricity. it would fix obesity. Comment 89 of 140 HBlacly of Brisbane Posted at 1:52 PM March 15, 2011 As with all disasters there are positive developments. Lessons are learn't and problems are reviewed. This is a good development for nuclear energy for the long term. It is the certainly the cleanest and most effective source of energy for the planet and this Japanese incident will lead to improvements overall. Comment 90 of 140 DK Posted at 1:56 PM March 15, 2011 IJ – Let's just wait a few weeks and see what happens before we jump to the conclusion that "there is no danger to anyone." Your statement is at best a prediction – and a highly optimistic one given today's events. I sincereley hope you are right – but the greatest danger we all face is making assumptions ahead of the facts. Comment 91 of 140 Anne71 Posted at 1:58 PM March 15, 2011 Well said, David Graves (Comment 20) However, I have found that trying to have a rational discussion about nuclear energy (fission and fusion) is a waste of time, as all I get is "think of the children" and insults thrown at me in response. Comment 92 of 140 Michael of Sydney Posted at 2:02 PM March 15, 2011 Nicely done article, cuts through all the paranoia and myth. Nuclear power is perfectly safe, the same way aeroplanes are safe. The risk of large radiation releases is probably less then the risk of the wings of a plane simply detaching. Comment 93 of 140 Alex Samad Posted at 2:03 PM March 15, 2011 so go solar, 15 mile x 15 mile solar panel farm, with current technology could easily provide powet for all of australia…. Comment 94 of 140 Schmidty of Seven Hills Posted at 2:06 PM March 15, 2011 Bravo, informative and assuring rather than the ridiculous headline scare tactics – congrats News Limited, the best piece of reporting on this disaster thus far. Comment 95 of 140 AC Posted at 2:10 PM March 15, 2011 It should be noted that of the 3 nuclear energy accidents that have occured since nuclear plants came into use all 3 were caused by foreseeable errors. Things which proper safety guidelines and correct efforts to follow those guidelines could of prevented. Nuclear power has risks, but the facts are that we can are now at the point where reactors can be built that produce zero radioactive waste. There are risks in their operation but all of them can be controled if the proper procautions are taken. Chernobyl was caused by arrogance and ignoring established procedures, 3 Mile Island by not properly checking after a minor accident and the incident in Japan has been the result of operators ignoring advice to install aditional back up systems in an area prone to earthquakes. How many accidents have occured in fossil fuel planets? I'd bet it's a lot more then 3, and i'd bet most of those would have been genuine accidents, not a result of human arrogance as all the nuclear accidents have been. The problem isn't nuclear power, it's people being unwilling to take the steps needed to make it safe. Comment 96 of 140 BART of Sydney Posted at 2:12 PM March 15, 2011 Call HOMER SIMPSON… he can save the reactors… Comment 97 of 140 Nicolas Van Danziger of Sassafras/Vic. Posted at 2:18 PM March 15, 2011 Why oh Why do we keep bringing politics into this disaster, "he said this, she said that" ? This nauseating grandstanding doesn't help ANYONE, certainly not the hapless victims in Japan….. Think about it.!!!! Comment 98 of 140 Andrew of sydney Posted at 2:23 PM March 15, 2011 What i find distrubing is that whilst this shocking situation keeps getting worse all you labor, lib and green fanatics do is try to exploit it for political point scoring. My thoughts go out to all in Japan and hopefully the reported worse case scenario does not happen and things can start to improve so the recovery can start. Comment 99 of 140 Emily of Melbourne Posted at 2:23 PM March 15, 2011 Myself and a few friends are meant to be travelling to Japan in late June spending time in Tokyo. Is there a chance that we could be exposed to dangerous/damaging radiation? Comment 100 of 140 Read more: Comment 101 of 140 Shifter of Perth Posted at 2:25 PM March 15, 2011 @jon b – pretty intelligent. In the case of loss of power to cooling systems it allows sea water to be used instead. Comment 102 of 140 CC of Brisbane Posted at 2:28 PM March 15, 2011 This plant will melt down. You are kidding yourself if you say it wont. Even if they 'contain' it there are already radioactive isotopes floating about in the air. For those pro-nuclear fools, look at the big picture. Nuclear is not as clean as they would have you believe, and a catastrophic failure is utterly devestating for hundreds of years, just look at Chernobyl that is STILL to this day, a no-go zone. You can tell me it's safe all you like, but all it takes is one little mistake or one huge natural disaster and the proverbial has not only hit the fan but is sprayed over the entire country and neighboring countries through planetary winds, and into the ocean polluting the food chain of the entire world. As a risk vs reward analysis, nuclear simply is not worth it! "Behold, I am become Death, the shatterer of worlds" J. Robert Oppenheimer 1965 Comment 103 of 140 Shane of Brisneyland Posted at 2:29 PM March 15, 2011 Will people please stop throwing around the word 'disaster'. The earthquake and tsunami were a disaster. Chernobyl was a sort of disaster. Three-mile island and this potential meltdown are not disasters!!!! Comment 104 of 140 Shaun Newman of Townsville N.Q. Posted at 2:29 PM March 15, 2011 As the Prime Minister said last night on Q&A this nation has plenty of alternate power sources and does not need to go down the nuclear road. Comment 105 of 140 Daniel of Real World Posted at 2:30 PM March 15, 2011 to "DONT TRUST"… I would trust my families life on the information given by nuclear experts. Not fear mongerers like yourself getting scared off mis-information. Comment 106 of 140 Shane of Brisneyland Posted at 2:32 PM March 15, 2011 DK @ 1:56. I agree with you. However, keep account of that word FACTS. I guarantee you the real facts will not be reported, the scaremongerers will inundate the media with their unfounded 'facts' like they did with Chernobyl. Always 3 parts to a story! Comment 107 of 140 Rory of Canberra Posted at 2:35 PM March 15, 2011 Schmidty of Seven Hills and Michael of Sydney are obviously pro-nuclear power. I hope Ziggy Zwitowski cuts them in on his bonuses for promoting a dangerous, dirty and unnecessary for of power production. Comment 108 of 140 Scott of Gold Coast Posted at 2:38 PM March 15, 2011 @ij. You have hit the nail on the head. I think people have the impression that Chernobyl killed millions of people and nuclear power is so unsafe we shouldn't do it. This is so far from the truth that media scare campaigns like those being purported about this tragedy are fuelling the public belief that Nuclear Power is dangerous. If we could accurately measure the danger that Coal fuelled power stations were doing to us through pollution I think people would realise why Nuclear Power is a sustainable energy source for the future. Our future should be in Nuclear and renewable energy but scare tactics like these only pull us back decades and decades. Comment 109 of 140 bob Posted at 2:43 PM March 15, 2011 Uranium reactors were pushed by the US years ago because they could be used to make fuel for a bomb. Thorium reactors have no such safety issues yet we had uranium forced upon us. Don't throw out nuclear just over uranium! As for those advocating clean energy – look at the pollutants needed to make solar panels. Look at the energy required to make a wind or water turbine – clean energy cannot cut it – their production makes waste too. These reactors were 30 years old – are you driving a 30 year old car? No!!! I bet you are driving a car under 10 years old – then compare apples with apples – look at reactors that are under 10 years old and their safety design. Want a real comparison about various energy industries and the end to end deaths associated with each? World average deaths for coal is about 161 deaths per TWh. Nuclear power is 0.04 deaths/TWh. No other energy production can come close to the low death count end to end as nuclear – that's a fact, yet scaremongers and people who don't look at the whole picture will tell you otherwise. You cannot mine coal without releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide. Bring on Thorium reactors and overtune the bad decision made years ago Comment 110 of 140 Paul of Townsville. Posted at 2:44 PM March 15, 2011 Remember Australians where the stuff came from to make these nuclear rods. If you dont know, they dig it out of the ground in South Australia, with this goverment making lots of money selling to places like Japan and lot of more places. So Gillards want to tax Australians people for carbon what a joke. Comment 111 of 140 Gabriel Posted at 2:45 PM March 15, 2011 Gullible……….gullible…… people, the titanic could not sink; asbestos & cigarette smoke is good for you, all financial planners in government & other intuitions around the world falling asleep at the same time for a period of 2 years or longer prior to subprime mortgage crisis & YOU lot still put your fool trust in these so called eggspurts & are willing to put your life & limb in danger by still believing every word that comes out of their godlike mouth! Comment 112 of 140 G Posted at 2:47 PM March 15, 2011 To all the pro solar people on here fact is its a highly expensive solution for power, the cost of the panels, plus they use presious resources that are not in abundance – oh and the fact within 3-5 years most panels will only product 25% of the power they did on day one does not make it currently a sutainable solution to power. Sadly the best solution is nuclear, perhaps geothermal, but wind and solar are not the way forward for Australia. Comment 113 of 140 MrSmiley of Perth, W.A. Posted at 2:47 PM March 15, 2011 Nuclear Power Plants should not be built in unstable areas. Comment 114 of 140 Andrew of Roxburgh Park Posted at 2:57 PM March 15, 2011 Who knows how serious the situation is? The government will lie, as they always do… Fingers crossed the residents who live near the reactors are safe. Comment 115 of 140 Matt of afghanistan Posted at 2:58 PM March 15, 2011 AC, so your saying a 8.9 magnitude earthquake and a 20 ft tsunami were foreseable errors. Well in that case what about the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their homes on the coast. Did they all make that forseable error too? Nuclear vs Fossil fuel – case of risk vs reward. Fossil fuel – medium reward, high long term risk!! Nuclear energy – high and long term reward, low risk, pending catastrophic events such as those of last week!!! Comment 116 of 140 Brad of Perth Posted at 2:59 PM March 15, 2011 Fine Joo-Liar and Phoney Tony, If we have plenty of alternative energy sources, why are you cutting Rebates and Feed-In Tarrifs (which actually work) and replacing them with a carbon tax (which achieves nothing significant)?? Comment 117 of 140 concerned of melbourne Posted at 3:00 PM March 15, 2011 What about the threat to Australia? No-one is saying Comment 118 of 140 Shaun Newman of Townsville N.Q. Posted at 3:01 PM March 15, 2011 The news coverage of the event is looking disastrous Comment 119 of 140 SD of ACT Posted at 3:04 PM March 15, 2011 It's called 'whingervitis'! The symptoms are crazed eyes, mouth foaming, mania and using words like 'KRUDD' and 'Juliar' a lot. Sadly there is no cure. A change of govt eases the symptoms but doesn't stop the whinging entirely. Comment 120 of 140 jim Posted at 3:10 PM March 15, 2011 FACT – coal fired power stations emit more radiation than Nuclear power stations. There is something the coal industry isn't telling you. Once in a blue moon there may be an accident but on the whole give me Nuclear power any day of the week over coal. Nuclear also doesn't emit half the pollutants that are spewing our of coal fired power stations. Comment 121 of 140 The Grey Ghost of Cairns Posted at 3:12 PM March 15, 2011 I was fine with it right up until Ziggy Switkowski jumped on the band wagon. Now I'm really worried.How can such a knowledgable bloke still expect credibility after his fiasco with Telstra? Answer, he isn't knowledgable but the media love him. Owen vaughan, you should know better. Comment 122 of 140 Mario Posted at 3:14 PM March 15, 2011 The government of Japan, along with plant owners and managers of security would have to be going on the front line to try to cool the reactors, they are 100% responsible for this tragic event. Instead of watching the news on TV and send others to lose their lives. They are lords of a suit and tie, refugees in shelters. Comment 123 of 140 DavidG of Perth Posted at 3:15 PM March 15, 2011 The production of solar cells and wind turbines produce very toxic and long lasting by products which are as bad if not worse than the minimal radiation which will be mitigated very soon. But alas – too many uneducated people being led by the journal of sensationalistic news, want their IPhones and TV' but don't want a power source to charge them. Do your research people – nuclear has a much better and proven track record than ANY other form of energy production. Comment 124 of 140 nonukes Posted at 3:16 PM March 15, 2011 Emily of Melbourne – uranium 235/236 takes millions of years to lose half its potency. It has the effect of irreversible damage to DNA (through gamma rays) and can be passed through to offspring if affected.Check out what happenned to those close to Chernobyl. With wind blowing it around the air it could settle along way from leakage plants…don't risk it. Go to the Whitsundays instead. Comment 125 of 140 DC of Oz Posted at 3:16 PM March 15, 2011 There are a number of people commenting that we should give up on nuclear power because over the years, we have still not found a way to make it safe. Does that mean that we also give up on air travel, or even motor vehicles? How many people have been killed by nuclear meltdowns compared to those killed by air travel or motor vehicle accidents? The aim of the game is to learn from mistakes and make them better. If we just gave up so easily on everything, we'd have no mode of travel, contraception, anything at all! Australia needs nuclear power, and has plenty of land for it. We are not exposed to the same seismic dangers as Japan or in fact, most parts of the world. Comment 126 of 140 Justin of Perth Posted at 3:18 PM March 15, 2011 If you are buying the alarmist miss information provided by the media you are not only a weak victim of these sensationalist media companies, you are a complete and utter MORON. Grow a brain. There IS NOT and NEVER WAS a safety threat from these incidents at these nuclear facilities. The media loves to feed you "meltdown" and other emotive terms (notice they are always in quotes?) to strike fear in to you pathetic sheep. You are so stupid you have no right to have an opinion, so shut up. No doubt this will not be published. Comment 127 of 140 Shona of Fremantle Posted at 3:20 PM March 15, 2011 Nuclear Power Plants are consistently demonstrating a danger to human and planetary existence. When we have wind turbines, wave energy and solar alternatives, it is crazy to continue with Nuclear. Comment 128 of 140 Paul Posted at 3:21 PM March 15, 2011 As I understand it, it can't be a Chernobyl in the way Chernobyl exploded sending radiaoactive particles straight into the air and over half of Europe. In this case, if there is a worse case scenario, they just destroy the land within 10kms of the site for decades to come. If the contamination from a compromised core does get into the groundwater, that';s a different story. It can't possibly affect Australia other than make our stock market crash because Japan is a major trading partner.. Comment 129 of 140 Paul Posted at 3:25 PM March 15, 2011 Peter of Adelaide – "3 accidents in 50plus years remeber people". Your ignorance is truly astonishing mate. If you are going to preach to people about how safe it is, you might have to open a book and take an unbiased look at the number of accidents. Where people are involved, as Tony Abbott says, "*&^% happens". Except with nuclear, when it happens, you can destroy the land for decades and thousands of birth defects and death from cancer. Comment 130 of 140 John Howard II esquire of Kirribilli House Posted at 3:26 PM March 15, 2011 @ ij Posted at 9:59 AM Today: Your assertion that there will be no meltdown is at odds with what the Japanese Government is saying. The Japanese Government have not ruled out the possibility of there being a meltdown in 1 or more of the reactors. The extent the meltdown is however in question. It is very dangerous and idiotic for uninformed people like you to spread misinformation. Comment 131 of 140 Kimbo of Perth WA Posted at 3:27 PM March 15, 2011 @Concerned of Melbourne ..are you for real ? The threat is imminent, you should go dig a hole in your back garden and fill it in ontop of yourself. This might not save you but it will save the rest of humanity from your gross stupidity. Comment 132 of 140 Shaun of Sydney Posted at 3:38 PM March 15, 2011 People need to get there facts right. The reason Japan invested in Nuclear Energy is because of there colder climate. This means it is much more able to avoid melt downs. In Australia our climate would not suit these. Our humidity and heat would have already melted the fuel rods after being exposed by hydrogen explosions. For Australia to invest in this in our climate would be catastrophic. One major quake like Japan and we would have mass amounts of radiation exposure. ANSTO is very well managed but the reactor at Lucas Heights is only for scientific experiments. The plants in Japan are fully operational for energy consumption. Large output. Comment 133 of 140 Barry of Sydney, NSW Posted at 3:38 PM March 15, 2011 It's a media beatup. The Japanese will have the nuclear situation under control in the coming days. Japanese people know how to handle extreme disasters just as they have done in the past (Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Kobe). We need nuclear power in the future to bring down the soaring cost of power bills and reduce carbon emissions, and subsequently the carbon tax that all Australians will soon need to pay. Australia needs some serious investment in infrastructure, especially power and urban/national transport or be left behind. Comment 134 of 140 KK of Bris Posted at 3:42 PM March 15, 2011 Justin of perth comment 127. "There IS NOT and NEVER WAS a safety threat from these incidents at these nuclear facilities." It seems you are the complete and utter moron. If there is no threat, then why would they create exclusion zones, and evacuate 20 to 30 THOUSAND people in the close 20km radius of the reactor? I guess that's just for fun right, kind of like a fire drill, underwater? How you can sit there and say there is no threat, seriously, have you ever read a history book? Its not just the explosion and local radiation, this will alter humans on a genetic level, and our food sources in the ocean, and travel via air, causing mass sterility and cancers. How can you say there is no threat? My god, are you really that stupid? The question with a nuclear reactor is not IF but WHEN it will fail, how bad will it be, and how much radiation will it release? Stupidity astounds me. How are you going to compare genetic scrambling radiation to advances in automotives or flight, I mean…no wonder we are all screwed, it's fools like this in charge with no foresight! Comment 135 of 140 Stu of Brisbane Posted at 3:45 PM March 15, 2011 Even the Q and A section has been written by someone who knows next to nothing about nuclear reactors, and it shows. The uninformed commentary from the usual crowd of idiots only adds to the drama. Comment 136 of 140 Common Sense Posted at 3:48 PM March 15, 2011 Most of those who are pro nuclear side on the grounds that it's 'carbon free' are climate change deniers! So you can't be believed either way. Your comments discredit your previous denials and your pro nuclear stance. Comment 137 of 140 it crowd Posted at 3:48 PM March 15, 2011 I'm a former physicist at a radiation consultancy firm who spent my time analysing samples to see whether they met the WHO standards. I can tell you with 99.9999% certainty that if the power station had been oil/gas or coal there would have been far more fatalities. Remember this building withstood a 8.9 richter scale earthquake and a tsnurami with 0 fatalities. If you want a more balanced and in depth view of whats happening I suggest this link: Comment 138 of 140 Ironside Posted at 3:48 PM March 15, 2011 Clearly Nuclear is safe…. If there was any credible threat for "catastrophy" the Labour party wouldn't be fighting it and probably would have built reactors to "stimulate the economy"! Comment 139 of 140 shippo of Merwoolumbar Posted at 3:55 PM March 15, 2011 To all you people who say Nuclear power is safe….I think you have been watching the Simpsons as a reference. After all, Homer had a fuel rod stuck to his shirt….and he has been going strong for over 20 years….right? Comment 140 of 140 Read more:

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BioNyt Videnskabens Verden ( er Danmarks ældste populærvidenskabelige tidsskrift for naturvidenskab. Det er det eneste blad af sin art i Danmark, som er helliget international forskning inden for livsvidenskaberne.

Bladet bringer aktuelle, spændende forskningsnyheder inden for biologi, medicin og andre naturvidenskabelige områder som f.eks. klimaændringer, nanoteknologi, partikelfysik, astronomi, seksualitet, biologiske våben, ecstasy, evolutionsbiologi, kloning, fedme, søvnforskning, muligheden for liv på mars, influenzaepidemier, livets opståen osv.

Artiklerne roses for at gøre vanskeligt stof forståeligt, uden at den videnskabelige holdbarhed tabes.

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