Fierce Criticism on Nuclear Power

Source: 小出裕章参考人の原発批判 A casual trx by ggl-trx & most.cyak@gmail.com, 31 OCT 2018


Witness Hiroaki Koide

23 MAY 2011, Oversight of Administration, House of Councillors
私から見ると、重要なのは「逃げる」目標です。これは、その目標自体はウソ
の可能性がある、そもそも実現できないもの。全てでなくても殆どの政治標榜
のようなもの。 まつりごとは、政治標榜を文字通りに成し遂げるではなくて
ゲームをやり続けるのが真意である。 人々は大分(小出先生も)原子爆弾の
ことを本物として受け入れており、核兵器/原子炉の放射線は致死的/有害的
と信じている。 核兵器の存在について、その信憑性をかなり挑戦できる論説
あるいは物語は幾つかあるが、ここで注目すべき逃げる目標とは別件ですね。
小出先生・日本原発:311から七年放射能の今
放射線について参考:福島放射線全く問題なし!
原発も原爆も存在しない:断言できる幾つもの証拠 / (2) / (3)

Note by 2c34: To me, the point in this testimony is the “runaway” goal. This might suggests that the goal itself is a hoax, is an impossibility. So it’s like most, if not all, of political objectives, the real purpose of a political game is the game itself, not what literally on its motto. People (Mr. Koide included) generally believed A-bomb is genuine, believed radiant rays released by nuclear weapons/reactors fatal or harmful. To the authenticity of atom bomb, there are some considerable stories may have challenged the credibility of A-bombs’ existence, but that is another issue. Below is my casual translation of his testimony.

Today, I would like to state my opinion to the administration that has been promoting nuclear energy so far. I am a person who entered the field of nuclear engineering with a dream of nuclear power. Because I thought that nuclear power is inexhaustible, while coal and oil reserves are limited, so I believed that it will be the energy source in the future.

But after I came in this field, I found that nuclear energy is a very poor one. Let me show you those non-renewable energies by their amounts.

The most abundant is coal, we know enormously huge volumes of coal exist on this planet. I drew a square represents coal’s [究極埋蔵量] Ultimate Reserves. To those we are actually digging for economic purpose is called [確認埋蔵量] Proven Reserves, shown as a tiny blue-colored rectangle in that square. So, how abundant does the square mean? That tiny rectangle (Proven Reserves) approximately matches worldly total energy consumption for 60 or 70 years, by comparison, the square (Ultimate Reserves) equals roughly 800 years’ consumption.

Next to coal, there are natural gas, petroleum, and seldom in use today though, oil shale and tar sand. What I ever belived is, the so-called fossil fuel is going to be exhausted, so nuclear power must be the future, and for that it must be uranium. But in fact, uranium reserve is extremely poor, maybe some tenth to petroleum, some hundredth to coal.

But when I made such assertion, the administrative side who have promoted nuclear power would say, “No, that’s something different from your words.” they would say, “What we have planned to do is not by fissionable uranium, it’s plutonium.”

In other words, they planned to make unfissionable uranium into fissionable plutonium which can be used as nuclear fuel.

If so, let us see how will it goes.

First of all, it has to dig up uranium, then through some of processes to make it condensed before sending into nuclear power plant. This is what they said they are doing to this day. But what they have done just proved my point, that nuclear power cannot be the energy provider.

Be so questioned, those who are promoting nuclear energy will then say uranium will certainly be dug out, however, plutonium has to be produced at some certain place, where a special nuclear reactor namely [高速増殖炉] FBR (fast breeder reactor) is in construction, for multiplication of plutonium steadily. And well, at the end, very troublesome trash called [高レベル放射線廃物] High-level Radiation Waste comes out, so how it can be disposed, and so on and so forth.

Such plutonium is not a natural product, there is no a bit of reserve, it must be reproduced from the plutonium coming out of the current nuclear power plant, through a cycle of nuclear fuel processing, mainly by the FBR. This is the idea they are depicting.

However, the central role in this idea, FBR, is unfortunately impossible. I’m going to display how was the FBR project be planned and be bankruptively carrying out.

There are numbers from 1960 to 2010 written on horizontal axis, show the fiscal year respectively in which a [原子力開発利用長期計画] Nuclear Energy Development and Utilization Long-term Plan was given out. While the figures on the vertical axis from 1980 to 2060, the prospected years FBR could be put into practical use showed in these Plans.

  • The first time FBR be mentioned was 1968, the 3rd Long-term Plan, that said will put FBR into practical use before 1985.
  • However, in the next Long-term Plan, it was renewed that due to difficulties, practical use must be delayed to probably 1990.
  • Again, five years later, renewed to around 2000, and this time, it could not be done either.
  • Then again, put off to 2010, the same bad result.
  • More again, in the next Plan, the prospected year is 2020, but this time it’s no more about practical use but switched to aim at establishing the technical system. Even so, still it failed.
  • And the next Plan, it looks to establish the technical system in 2030.
  • Well then, while the next time Long-term Plan actually been revised in 2000, it simply gave up the indication of the prospected year. I felt that annoyed, so I made there a cross mark.
  • Another five year later, Nuclear Energy Policy Guideline, such an exaggerated name was putting on its new revision, that said it’s looking to finish building up the first FBR in 2050.

Gentlemen, how do you think about this illustration I have displayed. I think it has made things clear enough. The goal was running away again and again farther and farther. Each grid, horizontally and vertically, represents a 10-year-period, what is clear is, each 10-year-period we see the goal ran 20 years away. Does that mean we will never reach such a runaway goal? I don’t think this a neglectable error.

But, the Nuclear Energy Committee who has made such a plan, or the administrative office who has supported that plan, to this day, none of them take the responsibility about this.

Merely the prototype FBR called “Monju” alone, Japan has already thrown away 1 trillion more yen, a 100 million yen scam, by the current court system seems worth to one-year prison, so 1 trillion will cost them ten-thousand years prison. [原子力委員会] Nuclear Energy Commission; [原子力安全委員会] Nuclear Safety Commission; [経産省] Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; [通産省] Ministry of International Trade and Industry and others involved in this affair, how many people among them are responsible, I don’t know exactly, let’s say there are 100 men, then they all have to be sent in 100 years. But the fact is no any person takes any responsibility.

Nuclear energy is really an extremely unusual territory, my opinion.

Next, I would like to say a word about the accident in Fukushima that is ongoing now.

I think everyone here all know about that the nuclear power generation, is a technology that deals with tremendous radioactivity. For one nuclear power plant to work for one year, 1 ton of uranium has to be consumed while creating a radioactive substance called fission product. When that atomic bomb exploded on Hiroshima, the blazed amount of uranium is 800 grams, such a lightweight quantity, could made Hiroshima destroyed. Just give a comparison for the imagination of how tremendous it is.

Nuclear power plants are machines, it is commonplace for machines to sometimes cause failures even accidents, they are operated by human beings, not by gods, human beings occasionally make errors. Not that we wish for any accident to occur, but we must consider about possible accident that is catastrophic, consider about such kind of accident could occured unexpectedly. Then, what measures have been taken by those who promoting nuclear energy? Their attitude is being: catastrophic accidents rarely happen, it’s abnormal to suppose such accident occurs.

So they ignore it by branding it [想定不適当] inappropriate assumption.

For example, take an explanation from the website of [中部電力] CHUBU Electric Power Company, its rationale is there are many protective walls to keep the radioactivity from leaking to the outside, they prevent catastrophic accident from occurring, particularly the 4th wall called [原子炉格納容器] Reactor Containment Vessel, a gigantic steel container, it’s able to lock up radioactivity at any time.

There is something called [原子炉立地審査指針] Guidelines in Reactor Site Evaluation, so it shows us severe accidents are included in their considerations, then it presumes the last barrier is absolutely not to be broken, radiation can not come out, then based on that fact, they claimed that nuclear power plants are, under any situation, safe. So it’s inappropriate to assume accidents that radioactivity leaks. Ignoring the danger by branding it inappropriate assumption.

Actually, however, a catastrophic accident occurred, it is ongoing now. Probably all of you well aware of it, that terrible disastrous things are happening mainly in Fukushima now. But, concerning how the administration deals with the accident currently in progress, I think that there were a lot of responses quite inappropriate.

It should be the principle of so-called disaster prevention. Evaluate the danger to a greater extent and take countermeasures in advance. Protect the inhabitants. Even it had overestimated the danger, be criticized about that, if only it was good to keep the inhabitants from damage, that’s fine.

But actually what the Japanese government has done is being consistently underrated the accident and acted with an optimistic prospect. According to International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, at first, they did the estimation as Level-4, without any tone down, changing to Level-5, and then and then, became Level-7. Usaually reacted in a too late manner.

Furthermore, about the evacuation area, at the beginning, directed the evacuation of 3 km area, said it is a direction of prepared for the worst. After a while, this time, 10 kilometers, said it’s for the worst. And again 20 kilometers for the worst. Responding in such manner losing and losing the initiative.

I always think that the only way to avoid panic will be the constant-releasing of accurate information, only then, can citizens felt the administration and the nation trustworthy. Unfortunately the Japanese administration goes the opposite direction, always hide the information, always tends to say that there’s no crisis situation.

Right, they even kept the SPEEDI (System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information) that cost more than 25 years and 10 billion yen for its building-up in secret, beyond citizens’ knowledge.

Then, still continuing now, forcing sacrifice to workers and residents without clarifying the responsibility. Tending to raise the limit of exposure of workers who work at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, and to raise the criteria, quite differently from that has been decided by the current legislature, to enforce evacuation of the residents. I really don’t think it’s okay to do things like that.

Concerning the damage caused by the currently underway Fukushima nuclear accident, how severe it really is? It only made me bewildering.

Concerning the land to be forgiven means that if we adapt current Japanese laws strictly, I think we will have to abandon the vast, the whole of Fukushima prefecture. To avoid such conclusion, the only cure is raising the exposure limit of residents, and that equals forcing residents to be exposed in radiation.

I think that those primary industries will probably fall into a tremendous hardship from now on. Mainly agriculture / fishery products can hardly be sold. The inhabitants will be driven away from their hometown, and their lives should be going to collapse.

There are also talks about [東京電力] TEPCO ought to rightly compensate, but it’s impossible to do sufficient compensation, even if TEPCO is able to bankrupt several times, even if This Country can bankrupt for that purpose, still not enough to repay such an extensive damage. It will be such a large sum, if it’s a true compensation.

Finally, I’d like to bring in the Seven Social Sins here, [allegedly] from Gandhi’s words:

  • The first, “Politics Without Principle”. All misters gathered here are engaged in politics, so I hope you will fully understand this phrase.
  • And then, “Wealth Without Work”; “Pleasure Without Conscience”; “Knowledge Without Character”.
  • The fifth, “Commerce Without Morality”. I think that this likely is applying to power companys including TEPCO.
  • The sixth, “Science Without Humanity”. The academia, myself included, in its entirety, has been supported nuclear power, I’d like this reality to be questioned.
  • The last, “Religion Without Sacrifice”. I think that, especially religion followers, should well digest this phrase.

My all testimony. Thank you very much.


C/P fm: Why A Nuclear Reactor Will Never Become A Bomb by Alasdair Wilkins, Mar 17, 2011

As Japan’s Fukushima power plant continues to struggle with massive equipment failure and radiation release that could well reach Chernobyl levels, we can take some small comfort in the knowledge that a full-on nuclear explosion is completely impossible. Here’s why.

Chain Reactions

Both nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons depend upon chain reactions. Such reactions require the presence of fissile materials, which are any atomic isotopes which can, when they undergo a particular nuclear reaction, create the raw materials necessary for the same reaction to repeat itself. There’s only one naturally occurring fissile isotope, and that’s uranium-235 - all other fissile isotopes, such as various plutonium isotopes, have to be artificially “bred” from natural isotopes.

So how does a chain reaction work? Let’s consider the one involving uranium-235, which is the chain reaction used in nuclear reactors and many nuclear weapons. A free neutron hits a slow-moving uranium-235 isotope and is absorbed into it. Here one of two things can happen: the uranium will fission into two lighter, faster-moving isotopes, typically krypton-92 and barium-141, as well as some gamma radiation. The nuclear reactor is then able to absorb this energy, which is about three million times the energy the same amount of coal can produce in conventional burning.

Crucially, this reaction also creates additional free neutrons, which can then be absorbed into other uranium-235 isotopes and start the whole process over again. This is why, of the naturally occurring uranium isotopes, only uranium-235 is fissile - when uranium-238 undergoes such reactions, it can’t release neutrons with the energy to start up a chain reaction.

As long as the reactions create an average of one or more neutrons, the chain reaction can go on indefinitely. Frequently, these reactions create more than one free neutron, which can cause the amount of energy being produced to increase over subsequent generations.

Safety Measures

To prevent a potentially dangerous buildup of energy, nuclear reactors build in huge numbers of fail-safes and redundancies. One of the better-known methods is the use of control rods, which are made from materials such as boron that absorb neutrons but cannot undergo nuclear reactions. In the event of a runaway energy buildup, these rods are often rigged to fall right into the heart of the reactor to absorb all the free neutrons and shut down the chain reaction. Mismanagement of these rods was one of many factors behind the Chernobyl disaster.

And yes, if all the fail-safes and redundancies do somehow fail to stop the heat buildup - as they did in Chernobyl, as they partially did at Three Mile Island, and as they might do in the current situation in Japan - there can be some pretty nasty effects. The most infamous threat is that of a nuclear meltdown, which is when the heat buildup causes the entire core to melt, damaging the protective structures to the extent that intensely radioactive materials can be released into the environment.

A meltdown obviously can have horrific short-term and long-term environmental effects, but what about an actual explosion? Could a nuclear reactor explode with the sort of force unleashed in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? After all, Chernobyl exploded, didn’t it? Thankfully, the answer to all this is no, a nuclear explosion is impossible, and the destructive blast at Chernobyl was actually just a steam explosion - and a good thing too, because a nuclear blast of the same magnitude could have turned Chernobyl from a horrific disaster to a full-on cataclysm. But again, such an explosion is totally impossible, and to understand why we have to look at the difference between nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons.

A Matter of Quality

Although we think of uranium as the most common fuel for nuclear reactions, that isn’t strictly true. Natural uranium is pretty much completely useless for nuclear reactors, let alone nuclear weapons. This is because natural uranium is about 99.3 per cent composed of the isotope uranium-238, while just .7 per cent uranium-235, and only the latter is capable of sustaining nuclear chain reactions.

To make uranium usable for chain reactions, it needs to be enriched. This involves carefully separating out the uranium-235 from the uranium-238. The two have practically the same mass, particularly because uranium-235 is typically found in a compound state with fluorine, which nudges its mass to pretty much that of its big brother.

Nuclear reactors need low-enriched uranium, which is defined as anything with less than a 20 per cent concentration of uranium-235. Typically, nuclear power plants only need a 3-4 per cent concentration to have reactor grade uranium. Nuclear weapons, on the other hand, require highly enriched uranium for the sort of runaway chain reaction that can create a nuclear explosion. The cutoff for high enrichment is just 20 per cent, but the vast majority of nuclear weapons use uranium with a concentration of anywhere from 80 to 95 per cent. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima, for instance, used 80 per cent enriched uranium.

Critical Mass

So what’s the real difference between low- and high-enriched uranium? Why couldn’t low-enriched uranium create an explosion that’s just not quite as severe as its high-enriched equivalent? For that, we must turn to another term that is frequently mentioned but infrequently understood, and that’s critical mass. The term simply means that there’s enough fissile material present to sustain a chain reaction, and a supercritical mass is where enough material is present for the fission rate to increase.

Although mass is obviously an important factor here - hence the name - it’s possible to alter the point of criticality by varying other attributes of the material, including shape and density. A nuclear weapon is designed to release all its energy in one incredibly destructive blast, which means the material wants to be as densely packed with fissile material as possible, and the material should be packed into as homogeneous a sphere as possible.

That’s absolutely nothing like the design of reactor cores, which is meant to produce a steady, controlled release of energy, and even the sort of energy buildup needed to produce a meltdown can’t ever attain the speed and intensity needed for an explosive nuclear energy release. The geometric arrangement of uranium-235 in a nuclear reactor is just fundamentally not conducive to the spherical arrangement needed for an explosive chain reaction, and the amount of non-fissile uranium-238 in reactor-grade uranium also stops any runaway reactions dead in their tracks.

Why this matters

None of this is intended to minimise the very real dangers of nuclear reactor accidents. As seen in Chernobyl, meltdowns can have absolutely devastating environmental effects, and the nearby town of Pripyat remains uninhabitable twenty-five years after the accident. We don’t yet know whether the current situation in Japan will reach Chernobyl levels - experts have at least seriously considered the possibility, but we still don’t have a clear handle on the full extent of the danger.

Still, even in the midst of disasters of unimaginable proportions, it’s crucial to try to maintain some nuance regarding the line between real fears and hysteria, and in the case of nuclear safety the best way to do that is to understand a little of the science behind the technology. The threat of a nuclear meltdown is worrisome enough without having to invoke the specter of the mushroom cloud.

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