Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ex-NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko: No More Nuclear Power for Japan Unless Japan Is Willing to Have Another Accident

I do not believe anyone in Japan, regardless of whether he/she is pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear, wants to have another nuclear accident. But according to the former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Japan then has to abandon nuclear power.

From Wall Street Journal's Fukushima Watch (3/12/2014):

Fukushima Watch: Is Japan Ready for Another Nuclear Accident?

Is Japan ready for another nuclear accident? That is a question the country must answer before returning to large-scale reliance on nuclear power, according to a former senior U.S. nuclear energy regulatory official.

This has to be remembered — that there are certain accidents that are not preventable,” said Gregory Jaczko, former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “The question Japan has to ask itself is: Is the country willing to have another accident? And if the answer is no, then the answer has to be no more nuclear power,” he said Tuesday in an interview with JRT.

Mr. Jaczko made the remarks as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party debates whether to approve a new energy plan that defines nuclear power as an important “base load” electricity source that should almost always run at full capacity. During a ceremony Tuesday to commemorate the third anniversary of the March 2011 disaster that triggered the Fukushima crisis, LDP lawmaker an lower house speaker Bunmei Ibuki said “it seems as if we have reaped the benefits of electricity … while letting the people of Fukushima bear the cost.”

Reaffirming a commitment to nuclear power was one of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s campaign promises in the national election he won in late 2012. But during parliamentary deliberations Monday, Mr. Abe himself called for a reduction on dependence on nuclear power “as much as possible.” Nevertheless, he stressed the importance of nuclear power and called for the restart of reactors idled since the Fukushima accident.

Public opinion polls have consistently shown high approval for Mr. Abe’s leadership and strong opposition to nuclear power at the same time.

In the March 2011 disaster, an earthquake caused large tsunami waves that knocked out all backup power at the Fukushima plant, paralyzing cooling systems and eventually causing three of six reactors to melt down.

Investigations later showed the plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.9501.TO -2.51% had underestimated the potential size of a tsunami and the chances of losing all power, ignoring studies recommending stronger safety systems.

Mr. Jaczko said it was true Tepco had failed to sufficiently prepare for the disaster. “But at the end of the day, Tepco didn’t create the earthquake, Mother Nature did that,” he said.

Japan’s new, stricter regulations meant to prevent another big accident like Fukushima took effect in July 2013. Since then, the Nuclear Regulation Authority has been reviewing the safety of several reactors that power companies want to restart. The NRA is expected to identify one or two reactors that are nearly ready to restart when its board meets Thursday.

That nuclear power plant looks to be Sendai Nuclear Power Plant located in Kagoshima Prefecture in southern Kyushu. The operator, Kyushu Electric Power Company, is likely to face power shortage this summer, and there is little opposition in the city of Satsumasendai, where the power plant is located.

Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority's review of the nuclear power plants based on the new regulatory standard that NRA crafted in haste is mostly about hardware - plants, reactors, equipment, backup batteries, etc.. I don't believe NRA has even adequately investigated what went wrong on the "software" side of the Fukushima nuclear accident - how well or how badly politicians, regulators, scientists, TEPCO communicated with each other in the crucial first few weeks of the accident, for example. Or why the teleconference system at the Prime Minister's Official Residence was never turned on. Or why no one was able to tell then-PM Kan to shut up and listen to the experts.

They didn't communicate well at all, but the NRA commissioners - four scientists and one former diplomat - seem to think they can do much better and there is no need to learn from the mistakes from people like Dr. Haruki Madarame, who has publicly demanded that NRA call him and hear him out. Dr. Madarame is rather upset that the NRA commissioners don't think it necessary to learn from the mistakes he made as he was in the middle of the initial chaos after the start of the nuclear accident.

So, not for the reason that Dr. Jaczko cites - if Japan don't want another nuclear accident - but for the reason that practically nothing has been learned on the "software" mistakes from the Fukushima nuclear accident, I agree with Dr. Jaczko that Japan should stay away from nuclear power generation.


Anonymous said...

The sublime arrogance of the nuclear power industry is breathtaking.

Japan better get used to the idea of their children playing in an ever grayer wasteland.

At least the liars in Japan are in good company

Anonymous said...

From a wiser time:

We won't pontificate too much outside of Japan as the Carrington Event put all of humanity on notice, and how well has that been heeded?

I know you were just using a phrase, 1:58, but there's nothing about the nukers that's sublime. They're just bludgeon-like dumb.

Look at this sheer-est of madness in "The Other WIPP",
(click on the "The Other WIPP" link)
That's as sure a disaster incoming as there ever was.

I am willing to consider that "sublime" may apply to the narrators of the post-WW2 videos of nuke explosions.
Seriously, that thin reedy voice they adopted: wtf IS that affect?
(strange men were produced in that war) (yet-stranger men ignored they were strange)

Unknown said...

ex-skf, so if software side gets better you're all for restarting plants in japan?
you're crazy.
nuclear energy is simply not ready to be leaving research labs.
until we know a way to dispose properly of nuclear waste, and until we find solutions to repair the damage it does to the living, nuclear energy should not leave laboratories, and certainly not be exploited in real life, large scale, when we have no solutions for the problems it causes.

lately, according to some articles i see you posting, you seem a bit too much nuclear friendly.
iirc you also criticized arnie gundersen in another article ?
so you're pro nuclear in disguise, man ? or what?

Anonymous said...

Reactor 2 "basically airtight" [ok]
"retained within the building" [ok]

"Unit 2 is the only one of the four stricken reactors at the site that did not experience a hydrogen explosion and so remains basically airtight without the need for a secondary cover. Most of the radioactive material given off by the damaged core was retained within the building and is now distributed around its internal surfaces,"

Anonymous said...

@ Pharao
There's a big difference between putting lipstick on a pig and trying to scrutinize things effectively.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, recently it appears that Primavera-san is really Areva-san undercover.

One reason Japan should not restart the nuclear pressure cookers is that they are not designed to withstand the earthquakes that Japan routinely experiences. The Niigata-Chuuetsu earthquake and Fukushima prove it but we did not need such evidence. By *design* most nuclear powerplants in Japan are expected to withstand an earthquake of degree 5.5 to 6.0, an event that occours every 10 years in Japan. What if the next degree 9 earthquake strikes right under a npp?

As we have seen in Kobe, Niigata and Fukushima we are unable to predict where or when an earthquake will strike; nonetheless the NRA can determine whether a fault running right under a reactor is active or not. Amazing.

I believe that Jackzo is perfectly right and speaks honestly, so it has been fired. Same goes for ex-prime minister Kan and possibly for ex-governor Inose, who wanted to reduce Tokyo reliance on Tepco and build a gas powerplant with Tokyo Gas.


Hélios said...

Hi Ultraman and his readers, Arnie Gundersen about radioactive leak in New-Mexico :

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Oh great, a new one! I am an AREVA shill now! When do I see my fat check?

Anonymous said...

Beppe, there are many who consider Jaczko as anti-nuclear "shill". Your defense of Kan is mind-boggling.

I don't know who you are, Mr./Ms. almighty, but you need a course in reading comprehension before insulting the admin.

Anonymous said...

Now, now, areva, play along, big fella.

I'll fix this for you:
"Oh great, a new one! I am an [adversarial] AREVA shill now!"

see this for parallels,


Sure said...

@ Anonymous March 13, 3PM: Those parallels are vague, tenuous, & can be applied to a trove of other subjects. & that article is rife with BABBLE. No SHIT, journalism all over is ventilated of integrity. & water is wet.

Anonymous said...


Those parallels were presented with laughter, and whether could be applied to anything else is irrelevant. Therefore, we must assume that your "journalism" is improperly "ventilated" and that is assuredly what "we" are here to help you with as your "journo-" impulse is curiously "adversarial", also.

G.G.G., Glenn "Gatekeeper" Greenwald may be monitoring this so "we" will deliberate to some extent here.

Earlier today "we" ran across an article presenting the "recovery", albeit slow, of the fishing industry in tsunami lands. The article claimed Iwaki and Miyagi prefectures sustained tsunami damage but "not radiation damage".
"We" knew this site had done pages devoted to radio readings in those prefectures so "we" did 2 searches here for those prefectures.


People Invited to Eat Cesium Beef from Iwate

Sanjo City's Detection of Plutonium in the Iwate Debris and Soil Causing Excitement on Twitter (data on decades of Strontium-90 in Iwate soil)

Radioactive Cesium in Urine from Children in Miyagi, Iwate, Chiba

France's ACRO Finds Radioactive Cesium in Vacuum Cleaner Filters in Fukushima, Iwate
"in Iwate, with close to 6,000 becquerels/kg "

Female Junior High Student Died of Subarachnoid Hemorrhage in Ichinoseki, Iwate


Herbal Tea from Miyagi Had 20,290 Bq/Kg of Radioactive Cesium

Radioactive Rice Hay Found in Miyagi Prefecture

Radioactive Yogurt in Miyagi Prefecture, 6.5 Bq/kg Radioactive Cesium

These examples are in no way exhaustive, but serve to illustrate that "ventilation" is inconsistent, and verging on acutely bloviated, should you choose to read thru and note the positions in the past of this site's owner.

Rather than derail apprehension of past "data" as "babble", "Sure" should either as-Sure itself of what it's talking about OR "Sure" should make the effort to purge this site of info destablizing to its future planned efforts.

Anonymous said...

Ask for entertainment, and ye receive: on "babble",

"Instead, engineers used a method called “goal babbling,” a process of trial and error learning, similar to how infants discover their muscles. "

In this case, "journo-s" learn by trial & error the definition of "independence" and perhaps "paying one's own way"?

Anonymous said...

Fukushima should never have been built. Part of the structure was below the existing water table. It is usually a mistake to build an industrial facility with part of the structure below the existing water table, let alone a nuclear facility.

Our gracious host has been very objective, but both supporters and those opposed to nuclear power sometimes take extreme positions that have no basis in reason.

For example, from the Hoover Institute at Stanford University (

"On the fourth floor of Reactor No. 4—the reactor that exploded on the first day of the earthquake — 1,331 spent fuel rods remain stored in cooling water in a large steel tank. The tank, jolted by the quake, tilts to about 30 degrees."

For a respected institution like the Hoover Institute to peddle such a ridiculous lie does not serve opponents of nuclear power well. I praise our gracious host for repeatedly exposing such falsehoods over the past three years.

On the other side of the debate is the often repeated falsehood that "nobody has died." There is no method of large-scale power generation that has not resulted in fatalities, be it thermal, hydro, nuclear, etc. Finding the best way to generate the electricity needed to provide the benefits of our modern society will continue to be a great challenge.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:13PM, thanks for the link to Hoover Institute article. I'm dismayed at the extremely low level of the institution hosted at my alma mater. It's even worse than the likes of enenews and fukushima diary...

Anonymous said...

"Some tanks have started leaking due to the high temperature of the water itself, which melts the seams and, according to Tokyo Electric, because of the unusually hot summer weather last year."

Melts seams?? What is this person at Hoover talking about??

Anonymous said...


"We" has determined that your "valiant" defense @ 7:44am was "goal babbling" as per 11:25, part of your day's duties in what "we" will call Dirty Personas, a play upon Scahill's Dirty Wars.

Personas have metadatas, too, and their performance can be seen in this description by Schneier: "they can
perform analyses that weren't otherwise possible. The Washington Post
reported two examples. One, you can look for pairs of phones that move
toward each other, turn off for an hour or so, and then turn themselves
back on while moving away from each other. In other words, you can look
for secret meetings. Two, you can locate specific phones of interest and
then look for other phones that move geographically in synch with those
phones. In other words, you can look for someone physically tailing
someone else. I'm sure there are dozens of other clever analyses you can
perform with a database like this. We need more researchers thinking
about the possibilities. I can assure you that the world's intelligence
agencies are conducting this research."
Conducting research and performing duties, no doubt.

So the above relates to "babble" and "goal babbling" how?
Pursuant to news elsewhere on the net, "we" can conclude that "duties" have been performed when censorship is encountered whenever a commenter mentions things like referring to the Irish Sea as the most polluted ocean water on the planet, Greenpeace, Sellafield, and other sites with oscillatory coverage of nuke industry outrages do censorship whenever commenters gravitate toward suggesting that the British may be "getting out in front of" the discussion on things nuclear.

The "goal babbling" is identified as ineffective and infantile, and personas like "Sure" go immobile and are extinguished as metadata dead-ends.

In other words, as traditionally described, personas are "found out".

Anonymous said...

Rattling of Cages of those "gotten out in front of"

It is a colloquial expression that certain parties "should not be allowed to use the language". The "language" can be read as nuclear technology: humanity has failed across the board.
For the Irish Sea to be that most polluted ocean body in the world directly implies that the polluters are not to be allowed to "use the language" as the evidence directly points to their unfitness. "All that walks in the guise of human is not." and all that "uses the language" are not fit.

Denials and "getting out in front of" the discussion only confirms they are "found out".

Radionuclide transit times from Sellafield

"It is estimated that about 300 TBq of Cs-137 were remobilised from the immediate tidal area around Sellafield from 1989-2009."

Tc-99 has a half life of about six hours and is present in the waste stream from Magnox fuel reprocessing. In 2003, the introduction of a new effluent treatment process substantially reduced the amount of Tc-99 in the waste stream, allowing Magnox fuel reprocessing to continue well beyond 2012.
They are dumping the waste stream in the Irish Sea.

Anonymous said...

2.1125×10^5y is the half-life of Technetium-99.

6 hours is the metastable Tc-99m.

The Sellafield Technetium/Rubidium base-load experiment,

Radionuclide transit times for Potassium Analogs from Sellafield: "just let us"

Anonymous said...

In the very early days of the accident, Jaczko was claiming (and getting a great deal of traction in the press and on the hysterical web sites) that the spent fuel pools at Units 3 and 4 were either going dry, or had already gone dry. This myth persisted for a year, and formed the basis of some ridiculous assertions - for example the story that the pool at Unit 4 exploded and spread radioactive fuel over a wide radius. Busby claimed at one point that Unit 4 had undergone a nuclear explosion. Since that time we have learned that the fuel is intact at both 3 and 4, and that the pools never went dry. I think Areva should get far more credit for presenting the facts, but I'm sad to say that recently anything that isn't hysterically anti-nuclear gets plastered and ridiculed, and yes, seeing Areva get labelled as a Tepco shill or government shill gets a bit tedious.

Anonymous said...

@ anon at 7:22, March 16:
Couldn't agree with you more on the shill accusations. In fact, "tedious" is a kind way of putting it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous@10:56 seriously, are you really complaining you do not know who I am? from an anonymous post??? come on...
and next, you believe a former NRC head might be an anti-nuclear shill? who do you think appointed him, Greenpeace? please...

@Admin, this post on the "software mistakes" and the other one on thyroid cancer are a little disturbing. I should have used a different wording but still -- and I did not mention any fat check. Furthermore, I do not understand why you appear to view Madarame more favourably than Kan.

Restarting nuclear powerplants in Japan *obviously* implies the risk of another accident, the third one after KK and F1. 二度あることは三度ある.

Those who want to restart npps in Japan probably do not want another accident but they must think it would be acceptable, even if it were somewhat worse than F1 (which could as well be).


Joffan said...

Beppe, Jaczko was appointed as NRC chair largely to close the Yucca Mountain project. He was indeed paid to do that. So yes, he was an anti-nuclear shill.

(And who appointed him? Effectively, Harry Reid.)

Unknown said...

The reason nuclear power should be shelved is right in front of our faces. Its FUKUSHIMA!

Look at what devastation one nuclear power plant has unleashed on the entire world. Look at the dying Pacific Ocean.

How dare Japan even consider starting up another nuclear power plant while Fukushima is still spilling death into the ocean .... or ever for that matter. The fact that Japan has not acknowledged the extent of this catastrophe and is debating when, not if, they will restart nuclear power plants speaks to the selfish, greedy arrogance and irrationality of the Japanese people.

We are witnessing a mass extinction event in the Pacific Ocean and Japan acts like the only ones affected by this disaster are the people of Fukushima. What about the people of Tokyo, the animals in the ocean and the people affected around the world?
Stick your heads up your butts and pretend everything is happy happy joy joy if you put a Hello Kitty sticker on it is the Japanese answer to anything unpleasent.

The people of Japan are a weakminded and defensless mob of yes men who are incapable of speaking out against irrational, ego-maniacal leaders even when it means their own deaths and the deaths of billions around the world. Stand up for yourselves and speakout against this lunatic politician who is putting your lives and your childrens' lives in mortal danger. Admit that nuclear power is beyond your capability and send a clear message to the world that its beyond all of our capabilities since the technology to clean up the devastation at Fukushima does not exist.

Japan is a disgusting example of what happens when you naked apes get a little knowledge. Its not just dangerous its desaterous and deadly.
What happened at Fukushima, Chernobal and Three Mile Island will happen again if we keep using nuclear energy to make power.

End the use of nuclear power before it extinguishes all life on this planet.

Anonymous said...


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