The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Plant owned by corporate embarrassment Tokyo Electric Power Company could be closed for at least one year, and if it turns out that the Earthquake fault runs directly under this poorly managed facility, the seven reactors may never again be turned back on. Despite the Pro-Nuclear rhetoric over on the NEI Blog about the reactors doing what they were supposed to, this story keeps getting better (worse), even though the nuclear power brokers are trying to squelch the truth. For instance, trying to spin the accident in a positive light, while bringing great shame to his family, Nuclear Safety Commission Chairman Atsuyuki Suzuki stated, "The list of problems announced by TEPCO have no serious effect on the safety of the reactor." but then contradicted himself by asserting the need to do much more extensive checking of the inside of the reactors.
Further, he referenced the list put out by TEPCO...they have already proven they, and their information are not to be trusted. The only way to know the full truth, and dangers at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Plant is for the Japanese government to order a top to bottom Independent Safety Analysis (ISA) of the entire nuclear facility, similar to the one the citizens of Westchester County New York seek for the trouble plagued Indian Point reactors that also sit atop a quake fault line. Reading Atsuyuki Suzuki's comments, one has to wonder if the man has a personal relationship with, or has taken speaking lessons from such NRC pundits as Sam Collins, Chip Cameron and Neil Sheehan...they too have a way of putting icing on a turd and selling it as a chocolate eclair.
In a further example of the nuclear industry's callous disregard for protecting human and health, we have this breaking news from Japan. Despite Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki urging the operators of Japan's 55 nuclear reactors to speed up safety checks for earthquake-resistance, the industry was quick to announce they have no intentions of speeding up anything without an official order to do so. This means, that many of these safety checks will not be completed until the end of 2010. Funny how the NRC wants to push through license renewal applications in 22 months, but safety issues and inspections can be put off for YEARS.
Current best estimates have the transformer fire starting as a result of the ground under same sinking, which in turn damaged cables that then started the fire. So, that transformer weighs how much, and if it sank, would not smart money tell you other significant parts of the plant such as reactors also sank? Lets hope we do not see another major quake or after shock while Tokyo Electric Power fumbles for truthful answers.
Meanwhile, trying to see safety take a second seat to its profits, Tokyo Electric Power is trying to play the FEAR CARD in hopes of seeing the seven endangered reactors started back up before all safety checks have been completed. Seems they started beating the energy shortage drums yesterday, claiming Tokyo could face dire summer energy shortages without said reactors up and running. All the bowing and humble apologies to officials aside, guess we can see clearly where Tokyo Electric Power's true concerns reside...kind of brings up and instant image of Entergy's antics and use of the Bankruptcy Courts after Hurricane Katrina. However, looking at TEPCO's previous wrongdoings, their hiding of serious safety problems, none of this comes as any surprise. What TEPCO described on Monday as a transformer fire, and no leaks is now being described by the Japanese Press as a BARRAGE OF LEAKS...sounds like it may be time for Japan to seriously rethink it's entire nuclear strategy.
With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe deeply involved in elections, he is taking the peoples side against the nuclear industry, stating in his weekly email magazine, "Needless to say, ensuring the people's safety is of utmost importance." Unlike President George W. Bush, do not see Japan's Prime Minister cutting a back room deal with TEPCO or the Japanese nuclear industry at this stage of the game, so Reuter's report that Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Plant could be closed for at least a year seems not only plausible, but probable. As was shown here in America when Maine Yankee went through a complete ISA (Independent Safety Analysis), it is very likely that TEPCO's reactors will never be restarted, and that would be good news for the safety and security of the citizens living around these failing and dangerous reactors. Japan more than any other nation knows the DARK SIDE of nuclear, and they do not need to add a Chernobyl like event to their nation's history books.
The Nikkie business newspaper is also reporting the possibility of the entire plant being shut for at least one year, which would make the financial losses for TEPCO staggering...look for plummeting stock prices soon. Financial analysis have warned, that if TEPCO has to fire up more traditional plants to meet summer energy needs, that it could face millions of dollars in extra costs and a possible dividend cut. Sure Wall Street is watching all this very closely, which is going to make them think long and hard before investing in the NEI's (Nuclear Energy Institute) dream of a Nuclear Renaissance. Not even the Price Anderson act can protect their investments in this kind of a scenario, and investors want profits, not excuses.
In other TEPCO related news, look for a citizens law suit to have new life. Back in 2005 a lawsuit that claimed the plant was built on a fault was dismissed as having no merit. Well, that line of reasoning has sure been shot to hell. Further, TEPCO has admitted that they believe the fault was found 30 years ago, but ignored as they did not think it could cause a quake of this magnitude...sounds like negligence to me.
GNEP (Global Nuclear Energy Program) is fundamentally flawed, and George W. Bush's Nuclear 2010 Initiative makes about as much since as his Iraq War strategy. The NRC can rubber stamp license renewal applications all they want, but when you get to the bottom line, this weeks serious problems in Japan have shown us Nuclear is not the great placebo to end Global Warming. We as a world need to take a long serious look at this Three Mile Island like event, look at TEPCO's lies and deceits, and rethink America's rush too build a whole new generation of AP1000 reactors...remember, the AP1000's are brought to you by GE, and if you do your homework, you will find they were INTIMATELY involved in the design and construction of TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Plant.