Sunday, June 29, 2008

JJNN 36 June 29th, 2008

Welcome again to JJNN for Sunday June 29th, 2008. Today I want to talk about a nuclear power plant that is near my house.

Before I go into the news tonight I just want to say that someone has a cosmically huge sense of humor. Not 3 or 4 hours after I wrote my blog yesterday about the lack of a rainy season where I live it started to rain. That is not a terrible thing, but the fact that it has not stopped raining yet is a very bad thing. It has been raining hard for about a day now and it shows no signs of slowing or stopping. I freeken hate this time of year.

Any way, let's get to the news, shall we? The original story is given here. It seems that a lot of people were up in arms about the decision to restart the nuclear power plant that is located in Kariya, a small town on the coast located in Niigata.

The seven nuclear power plants located at Kariya all shut down last year on July 16th after a major earthquake hit an area not far from the power station. The earthquake did a lot of damage to the power plants and it was amazing that there was not a nuclear crisis of some kind. The only thing that really happened was a little bit of the radioactive water escaping storage tanks and ending up in the ocean, but this is not as bad as the big bang that could have happened.

Because there is always the threat of another major earthquake happening on the same fault line, another earthquake could happen under that nuclear power plant at any time. When the nuclear power plants were first constructed there was a survey of the geology of the area, but they decided that the fault that lays almost directly below the power plant was not active and nothing would come of it. Boy, were they wrong.

They now know that fault is active, but they still want to go ahead and power up the reactors again. A lot of people don't like this. That is why a group of 1000 people marched on Kashiwazaki (the closest city to the power plants). The group wants the reactors to be put out of commission because they were hit with an earthquake that was stronger than the earthquakes they were designed to deal with. Not a bad point, I think. The group, seen below, marched chanting "We will not allow the reactors to start up again."

I don't think that these reactors should go back online. At this point the land where the reactors are built is still not in the best condition and there is always the chance of another strong aftershock in that area. Also, all of the energy created in the power plants is shipped to Tokyo, so none of the locals ever get to see any of that power in the first place. None of the locals like that place and most of them would like to see it go. I would have to agree with them. (Yes, I know, a major case of NIMBY, but oh well.)

Any way it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 原子炉(げんしろ). It is pronounced genshi-ro and means nuclear reactor. The design of nuclear reactors is really an interesting and beautiful science. Hopefully within the next 10 or so years they make a design that will help reduce the waste that comes out of the process.

That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.

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