Saturday, July 26, 2008

Nuclear power debate continues ...

[From Murali on the yahoogroups]

Nuclear power seems to be much-debated everywhere now. Some Counterpunch and Guardian articles talking about the shaky status of nuclear power in US, UK/France and India:

New nukes not ready for Prime Time (US)

A devastating blow to the much-hyped revival of atomic power has been delivered by an unlikely source---the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC says the "standardized" designs on which theentire premise of returning nuclear power to center stage is based have massive holes in them, and may not be ready for approval for years to come.

'It feels like a sci-fi film' - accidents tarnish nuclear dream (UK/France)

For the past two weeks, Eymard, 41, and her children, 13 and seven, have had a phobia of taps. To wash up, they go out to the yard and fill a bowl from a specially delivered plastic tank of purified water on a fork-lift tractor. They carry the water up to the bathroom to wash. Even the dog drinks bottled water, and it is left out for the birds.

"I feel as if everything's constantly dirty," Eymard said, her hands deep in soapy lather scrubbing plates.

The view from the house over the fields is dominated by the nearby cooling towers of the Tricastin site, a nuclear power plant run by EDF, the company which is poised to buy British Energy and take control of most UK nuclear stations.

Next to the plant is a nuclear treatment centre run by a subsidiary of Areva, the nuclear group which hopes to design many of the new British reactors. Last month an accident at the treatment centre during a draining operation saw liquid containing untreated uranium overflow out of a faulty tank. About 75kg of uranium seeped into the ground and into the Gaffiere and Lauzon rivers which flow into the Rhône. Eymard's house is 100 metres from one of these streams.

Eyes Wide Shut in India

India ratifies nuclear deal (and Parkinson's Law)

"A nuclear reactor is so vastly expensive and complicated that people cannot understand it, so they assume that those working on it understand it. Even those with strong opinions might withhold them for fear of being shown to be insufficiently informed. On the other hand, everyone understands a bicycle shed (or thinks they do), so building one can result in endless discussions: everyone involved wants to add his touch and show that he is there"

--Parkinson's Law of Triviality (from Parkinson's Law, 1955)

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