10 years later Fukushima Daiichi still melts down my heart

Ten years ago this month, 22,000 Japanese citizens died in a huge tsunami that also caused the second-worst nuclear accident in history at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility. Because I know about nuclear safety, I wrote a total of four columns about the accident in the month that followed. You can read them in order here, here, here and here.

When I wrote within hours of the accident that none of the 11 reactors would ever operate again, I was the sole voice on the planet saying so out loud. Read the comments and you’ll see I took some flak for […]

Abe fiddles while Fukushima leaks

fukushimatanksIn the middle of a pissing match between the President and Congressional leadership it’s good to remember that the United States isn’t the only government that seems to have lost touch with reality. I was reminded of that today when I read this story about the contaminated water problem at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Now here’s a government that is truly paralyzed!

The story from Japan Times, if you choose to read it, says Japanese Prime Minister Abe is reaching out to foreign experts in an attempt to deal with the problem of radioactive cooling water that is accumulating in hundreds of makeshift tanks that are now beginning to leak. “We […]

The next Japanese nuclear accident (it’s inevitable) will be even worse

quake-probThis is my sixth column about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident that started last year in Japan following the tsunami. But unlike those previous columns (1,2,3,4,5), this one looks forward to the next Japanese nuclear accident, which will probably take place at the same location. That accident, involving nuclear fuel rods, is virtually inevitable, most likely preventable, and the fact that it won’t be prevented comes down solely to Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) incompetence and stupidity. Japanese citizens will probably die unnecessarily because the way things are done at the top in Japan is completely screwed up.

Understand […]

Truth About Fukushima Daiichi

Note — I have written previously about other aspects of this subject here, here, here, and here.  I am not by nature an alarmist about nuclear power or even particularly anti-nuclear. But sometimes truth just has to be told.

Nobody died following the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in 1979. I should know because I was there. But this fact can’t be attributed to any wisdom of the U.S. nuclear industry, but simply to dumb luck.  The two TMI reactors were (and still are) the only such devices ever built deliberately on the approach path to a U.S. Air Force base, now Harrisburg International Airport. An extra […]

By |September 20th, 2011|2011|85 Comments

Plutonium is forever

I have been doing business in Japan for 20 years, consulting for big and small companies, speaking at conferences, writing for Japanese publications, and helping both American and Japanese companies do business with each other. For years I flew to Tokyo once a month, generally in my role as giver of bad news, which I could get away with as an American. Throughout those 20 years I have been astounded by the energy and discipline of Japanese industry, and by its turgid impenetrability. For a country known for advanced technology, Japan is astoundingly resistant to outside ideas, as the current earthquake and nuclear crisis show yet again.

You’d think they’d want our help, and they do […]