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3 Years Later: A Fukushima Worker's Eyewitness Story 148

Lasrick writes "Tuesday, March 11 is the 3rd anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. In this article, a worker at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station gives his eyewitness account of what happened there in the immediate wake of a massive earthquake and tsunami that caused three of the station's reactor cores to melt." The witness, says the story, "was promised anonymity as a condition of providing his account."
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3 Years Later: A Fukushima Worker's Eyewitness Story

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  • Re:fusion? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @02:34PM (#46440637)

    Fission isn't unsafe. Gross neglect and building reactors in areas where very destructive natural disasters are know to happen is unsafe.

  • by Will_Malverson ( 105796 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @02:52PM (#46440719) Journal

    Almost 20,000 people died because they lived close to the ocean.

    A few dozen people might wind up with cancer someday because Japan uses nuclear power.

    The obvious conclusion? Nuclear power is bad and should be eliminated immediately.

  • by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @03:18PM (#46440827)

    And had the nuclear plant not melted down, another 20,000 people could've moved back into the area and attempted to devise ways to survive the next tsunami. But as it is, the meltdown has rendered a big swath of land uninhabitable. The tsunami would've killed those 20,000 either way. But the nuke didn't have to be there making things worse.

  • Re: fusion? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @03:31PM (#46440875)

    Not unsafe? The likelyhood of failure is higher than you think! Trying to contain the atomic dragon is a fools errand. The story dosent end with safe operation, even if that was possible? The waste products are still a major unsafe factor! Radioactive metals contain much more power than you realize. Not unsafe, tell that to the people affected by ionizing radiation, everyone on earth has an increased risk of cancer due to the atomic age! Don't be fooled by lack of published data linking it up! Radiation in your body from fusion isotopes are detectable! No where on the planet remains unaffected.

    All of humanities activities carry with them a certain degree of danger. The more energy involved, the more dangerous they become. A significant amount of effort must be placed in decreasing those dangers, but there will always be danger.

    Unless you plan to give up your computer, car, mass transit, pretty much all mass produced goods, and go back to an egrarian lifestyle, you will have to deal with industrial accidents. Engineers are pretty good at preventing known types of accidents from re-occuring, but the unknown will always cause bad things to happen. Claiming that Nuclear is worse than the alternatives just betrays your own ignorance. Indeed, we had all been largely ignorant of fossil fuels consequences for decades, but the use of Oil, Gas and Coal may have had far more dire consequences for the future of humanity than all of the radiation disasters put together. The liklihood that something else, we have been doing since the dawn of the industrial revolution, will be the death of us all is greater than the chance that nuclear will be our downfall.

    In the end, so called "renewable" resources may be our best bet, but they are not sufficient for our needs currently, and may never be, and who knows what genie those technologies have bottled up for the future.

    In the far distant future, mankind will have solved universe spanning power production using some technology we cant comprehend yet. In 1000 years, who knows what breakthrough power generation system we will use, but holding our breath waiting for a breakthrough will overwhelmingly likely end with all of us sitting in the dark. In 500 years, we most likely won't be using fossil fuels anymore because we probably wont have any more to use), and I'd give long odds that if we still have a global economy by that time, the underpinnings will be a fission or fusion power grid. Nothing else has the where-with-all to produce the power we have come to demand.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @03:32PM (#46440877) Homepage Journal

    So if another tsunami hits that (evacuated) area, does that mean we credit the meltdown for saving 20,000 lives?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @03:34PM (#46440883)

    I think you missed the point big time there. The potential death toll from the most severe nuclear incident in recent memory is fewer than the number of people who die by slipping in a bathtub each day, and absolutely dwarfed by all the things that actually kill people like smoking and car accidents. This makes nuclear energy a remarkably safe thing, which is in stark contrast to how it is portrayed by alarmist facebook posts.

  • by tp1024 ( 2409684 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @04:02PM (#46441029)

    At least none in the designated evacuation buildings deemed to be safe and high enough, where hundreds upon hundreds of people died. Where are the eyewitness reports of how those were crushed? (Oh right.) Where are the accusations of mayors and emergency planners who are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people?

    One thing is for sure. You don't care about people. You don't care about their lives, as was made abundantly clear [wordpress.com] on wikipedia. You don't care about what people lost. Some 400.000 people lost everything, in many cases even friends and relatives, not to mention everything in their households. Documents, photos, clothes. Their homes? That goes without saying. And that's the problem.

    I wanted to make the suggestion that everyone of the 100,000 or so people affected by the nuclear accident be paid half a million dollars. A family of four would get $2,000,000. Enough to start a new life. The problem is not the cost. $50bn is about a year's worth of coal, oil and gas being imported to replace nuclear power in Japan. The problem is the other 400,000 who will rightfully say that their losses were so much worse, that they should easily be entitled to get even more money.

    Yes, it's a terrible accident and an avoidable one as well. It has been known since 1966 (p.50) [nrc.gov] that the Mark I BWR containment is unable to withstand a meltdown under any conditions, because it is too small. In case of a meltdown you either vent the containment in a controlled manner, or it leaks uncontrolled. Japan only saw the need to install filtered containment vents in any of its nuclear power plants in 2013 ... they must have had a problem in one of their nuclear plants or something. Strangely enough, neither Germany or France needed that kind of reminder to get to that point. They did it a quarter of a century before that. (And yes, it was after Chernobyl. But it's not like the Japanese never heard about that one.)

  • by bidule ( 173941 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @04:10PM (#46441067) Homepage

    Who is right?

    Those who use the almost 30 years of studies on Chernobyl instead of counter-pulling sensationalized numbers. Anyone coming up with numbers larger than those studies have their arm so deep in bullshit that their shoulder smells.

    Despite the accident being much worse and the fallout being over land, the numbers affected are counted in thousands, dixit: "for a total of 9000 Chernobyl-associated fatal cancers". You could reasonably claim that Fukushima should affect one tenth that number and use 1000 as the death cap.

    Back of the envelope calculations, but at least it doesn't smell.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @04:39PM (#46441241)

    Thyroid Cancer.
    In this case the cancer rate was like a factor of 10 - 100 above the expected value, and the time relation was undeniable.

    Citation needed!!

    The only correlation was between children that drunk the milk of the cows that fed on the grass immediately after Chernobyl. The cows died from their exposure.

    So I'm sorry, but comparing mega-doses that kids from Chernobyl area got because of contaminated milk, cannot be compared to the rest of the population or Japan in general, because the rest of the population did not suffer from any cancer-rate spikes. If Soviet Union was not in denial with Chernobyl and warned people not to eat contaminated produce/milk/etc., there would be no detectable cancer rate increases.

    And where was the predicted spike of leukemia? That didn't happen and leukemia is most sensitive (most induced by radiation) of all cancers.

    Crazy people, like Greepeace, predicted *millions* of people will die because of Chernobyl. And today, they continue to issue ridicules numbers. They still believe that most of today's cancers are caused by 1950s and 1960s nuclear tests despite evidence to the contrary. For example, they'll say that lung cancer from smoking is because tobacco contains extra radioactive polonium and not because of the milliard of chemical carcinogens it contains.

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @04:58PM (#46441329) Journal
    And you shall have it.

    Apparently, all the familiar sorts of electrical generation and fueling compounds come with an environmental cost.

    Pick your poison: mine coal, crude oil and gas, harness the splitting of the atom, invest in wind and solar collection, damn mighty rivers... there is a documented downside to every way we generate power.

    The dottie armchair nuclear scientist in me would argue new nuclear technologies are being kept on the shelf using FUD-like tactics while several of the finite energy options are being used up. This is happening despite the fact that the renewables aren't ready yet to sustain a reliable grid.

  • by NeverVotedBush ( 1041088 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @11:29PM (#46442955)
    And amazingly, when anyone brings up conservation and alternative energy, people scoff, deride, and make fun of it or try to claim it's too expensive. Global warming and climate change are expensive. Nuclear accidents are expensive. Using less energy is cheap by any rational or reasonable measure.

    This message *is not* brought to you by the American Petroleum Institute.
  • by terjeber ( 856226 ) on Monday March 10, 2014 @08:18AM (#46444297)
    Nuclear power, the safest, cleanest efficient way to produce energy known to man.

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