I hope the officials in India and China are closely watching these developments, because one of the many issues with, for instance, with the proposed nucler power generation complex in Jaitapur in India is the fact that it will be located in a seismic zone. Though not as active as the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Indian Subcontinent experiences earthquakes, the worst of all in recent times was the quake in Pakistani Kashmir. China is not immune from shakes either.
“Ours is a very power-hungry country,“ Srikumar Banerjee, the chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission, said during a news conference Monday in Mumbai. Nearly 40 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people do not have regular access to electricity, Mr. Banerjee said. “It is essential for us to have further electricity generation.“
And in China, which has the world’s most ambitious nuclear expansion plans, a vice minister of environment, Zhang Lijun, said on Saturday that Japan’s difficulties would not deter his nation’s nuclear rollout.
One of the interesting ways in which India is going after its nuclear power program is this: the country:
makes nuclear power plant suppliers, not just operators, liable if accidents occur.Interesting how the American suppliers didn't want to play by those stricter liability rules!
Despite American pressure to change that provision, the Japan disaster could encourage Indian legislators to keep it in place.
G.E. and Westinghouse have said they will stay out of the Indian nuclear market unless the country changes its liability law to conform with international standards.
Anyway, back to the energy issue itself. I hope the Fukushima nuclear incident will be a serious wake up call on the growing energy demands and the limitations related to fossil fuels. We ought to have woken up to this back in the oil-shock years betwen 1973 and 1981. We didn't. We didn't even bother to talk about energy in the aftermath of 9/11. We simply dusted off the BP oil spill nightmare last year. And, yet again, I am afraid that we will ignore the energy question all together.
It is not whether or not we are for nuclear power that ought to be the discussion for the moment. To paraphrase that famous political slogan from years ago, it's the energy, stupid!
the cooling pools for spent fuels:
The pools are a worry at the stricken reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant because at least two of the reactors have lost their roofs in explosions, exposing the spent fuel pools to the atmosphere. By contrast, reactors have strong containment vessels that stand a better chance of bottling up radiation from a meltdown of the fuel in the reactor core.
If any of the spent fuel rods in the pools do indeed catch fire, nuclear experts say, the high heat would loft the radiation in clouds that would spread the radioactivity.
“It’s worse than a meltdown,” said David A. Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists who worked as an instructor on the kinds of General Electric reactors used in Japan. “The reactor is inside thick walls, and the spent fuel of Reactors 1 and 3 is out in the open.”
A spokesman for the Japanese company that runs the stricken reactors said in an interview on Monday that the spent fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini plants had been left uncooled since shortly after the quake.