City Journal Autumn 2014

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Autumn 2014
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Nicole Gelinas
Too Radioactive to Fail « Back to Story

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Each of the Tepco reactors had spent fuel rods waiting to be reprocessed for months (years?). With the $12B loss I can see why they never reprocessed the spent fuel!
But its worse the finances were a cause for the melt down!
Tepco was running on empty and they neglected nuclear fuel management!
Did they neglect safety also?

It begs the: question what of Japan?
IS IT STUPID? DOES IT ONLY SAVE FACE?
The whole country is in hock -- How can it survive? Does it care?
TEPCO is quasi-public, Its major decisions are always negotiated with the government.

Look at the tradeoffs in Japanese policy. The plant was built to supply electricity to its industry and citizens. The alternatives to nuclear are, practically speaking, either imported liquefied natural gas or imported oil. The nukes allowed Japan to forego those imports at substantial savings (uranium is relatively cheap.) Would Japan had been better off depending on Mideast oil these 40 years? Note that some TV news report had text about Fukushima superimposed over flaming LNG tanks.

Likewise, Fukushima had seawalls 5.7 meters tall. Every video of the tsunami hitting cities showed a seawall also being overtopped. What would have been the better investment to save Japanese lives - a higher seawall at Fukushima or higher seawalls in her cities?
Jean-Fran├žois Rochon June 01, 2011 at 6:55 PM
I totally disagree... Tepco is a scapegoat. That plant has been there for years. Taken from wikipedia: "The plant reactors came online from 1970 through 1979." This means that Tepco set it up the way it was, but also that the japanese government, which enacts regulations, and its nuclear watchdog have been doing nothing for the last 32 years, about a potential risk that everyone (or no one, choose your angle, but same difference) new about. It means the same about Tepco's insurers and Tepco's banks. Powerful institutions with billions at risk, who should have done their homework. I refuse to see Tepco as the sole responsible party who should bear the blame. When a plane crashes (for example Swissair flight 111), we do compensate the victims, but the airplane company doesn't become a scapegoat. Hard lessons are learned. More people than in this instance die, and life goes on. Tepco is not more responsible than Swissair or Air France (Concorde or most recent flight 444 from Rio to Paris). They are all part of a system we tolerate. The only difference is that we are more afraid of nuclear power.