Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Japanese Quake Delivers Devastating Blow to Nuclear Renaissance?

Could we be watching the beginning of the end of GNEP, and the Nuclear Renaissance that is being trumpeted by the Bush Administration as the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan unfolds?

In early reports out of Japan, we heard about a minor fire at the world's largest nuclear plant. Then, we were told there had been a very insignificant leak (a few pints)of radioactive contaminants inside the plant. Then we found out that there had been off site contamination. Next, a few liters of radioactive waste became, in the blink of and eye well over 300 gallons dumped into the sea. The next shoe to drop was the news that the Tokyo Electric Power Company and the Japanese government had hidden the truth from the populace for many hours.

Now today, we find out even more bad news (or good if you are anti nuclear). Seems that the quake far exceeded the plants DB plans, was well above the criteria the plants were designed to withstand, which raises some very serious concerns, or should raise some serious concerns. Additionally, Japan has announced the launch of a second leak investigation...which means, the structural stability of these reactors is now in question. Do we have a cracked core? Has the entire underground piping system been compromised? If there is a second leak, how significant is it, and can they even locate it so that repairs can be made?

In short, people that own stocks in companies like Entergy or Exelon might be wise to dump their investments, as a significant structural problem at Tokyo Electtrics reactor site will send shock waves through the nuclear industry.

Japan quake toll at nine; nuclear plant still shut
BBC reports that a second radioactive leak is being probed
By MarketWatch
Last Update: 5:43 AM ET Jul 17, 2007
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- The world's largest nuclear power plant by output capacity remained closed Tuesday, after seismometers indicated the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that hit northwestern Japan Monday produced shocks that exceeded the reactors' design strength, according to media reports.

The quake was reportedly the strongest ever detected at a domestic nuclear reactor.
Second leak being probed: BBC
Water containing radioactive material is already known to have leaked from the plant into the sea after that quake, but officials say it will not harm the environment. And Japanese officials are investigating the possibility of a second radioactive leak from the plant, the BBC reported on its Web site.

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