KGO Radio: Host Pat Thurston recently interviewed Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer for Fairewinds Energy Education on KGO radio to discuss the latest challenging news from Japan about the Fukushima Daiichi atomic power reactor including the high levels of radiation emanating from the reactors, all the failed robotic expeditions, where we should go from here, as well as how ongoing radioactive releases from the Fukushima Daiichi site may be impacting the west coast of the United States.
BBC Newsday: BBC Radio interviewed nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen to discuss TEPCO’s attempts to send a special robot into Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #2 in Japan to investigate the obstacles in the way of TEPCO’s progress determining the location and condition of the atomic fuel. Unfortunately even this specially designed robot failed in its attempt to clear the path for additional investigations as the nuclear radioactivity was so high, it shut down the robots before they could complete their mission.
Fairewinds in the News:
Enviro News: The astronomical radiation readings at Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #2 of 530 Sv/hr complicate the already complex task of decommissioning the plant. These levels are so radioactive that a human would be dead within a minute of exposure and specially designed robots can only survive for about 2 hours. Fairewinds chief engineer Arnie Gundersen says that the best solution would be to entomb the reactors, similar to the sarcophagus entombing Chernobyl, for at least 100-years, otherwise the radiation level that workers would be exposed to is simply too dangerous.
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Are the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi over? The answer is no. Made all the more prevalent a year out from it's initial release by the recent robotic expeditions into Reactor #2 which gave us a clearer picture on just how deadly the radiation levels are, watch Chief Engineer and nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen inform viewers on what’s going on at the Japanese nuclear meltdown site, Fukushima Daiichi. As the Japanese government and utility owner Tokyo Electric Power Company push for the quick decommissioning and dismantling of this man-made disaster, the press and scientists need to ask, “Why is the Ukrainian government waiting at least 100 years to attempt to decommission Chernobyl, while the Japanese Government and TEPCO claim that Fukushima Daiichi will be decommissioned and dismantled during the next 30 years?”
Like so many big government + big business controversies, the answer has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with politics and money. To understand Fukushima Daiichi, you need to follow the money.
Pacific Northwest ratepayers will save a conservative $261.2 million during the next 10 years if the Columbia Generating Station (CGS) agrees to close its doors for good, according utility economist Robert McCullough. Frequent planned and unplanned outages at CGS coupled with the increased costs of operating and maintaining atomic power reactors finds nuclear energy unable to compete with the falling prices of renewable energy production such as wind and solar.
This transition to renewable sources would replace the energy generated by CGS with emission-free technology, an example seen in the case study of Diablo Canyon owner PG&E, and still save ratepayers as much as $530.7 million in the same time period if the plant closes its doors before its planned refueling in May, 2017.
Read the full study here
The combination of falling solar and electric vehicle costs could lead to peak oil production by 2020 according to a new study by the Grantham Institute in London. Peak oil is the point in time where the maximum amount of crude oil production is achieved. After that point, oil production declines forever. Fossil fuels could lose as much as 10% of their market share within the decade the study found. To put that in perspective, it took only a 10% drop in the demand for coal in order for the U.S. coal industry to all but collapse. Solar costs, which fell 85% during the past 7-years, could account for 23% of total global electric generation by 2040 according to the Grantham Institute study.