Time for a Cold Shutdown

SUBHEAD: Cut down use of power company energy. Invest in producing some energy of your own. Eventually it will be all you have.  

By Juan Wilson on 17 June 2011 for Island Breath - 

Image above: Tokyo office workers witness 311 disaster. From (http://spreadia.com/Population/188791553/Population_soars_near_US_nuclear_reactors).

The terrorist attack September 11, 2001 (that we simply refer to as 911) was a wake-up call.

Unfortunately, America took that event as an excuse to abrogate our traditional freedoms and enter an endless war in an effort to control Middle east oil. We should take the Fukushima disaster as a wake up call. The reactions to a wake-up call are crucial. Some simply turn off the alarm and go back to sleep. Others jump into action by putting their pants on backwards and running off in a panic.

Neither solves the reason for alarm. It is good to have a plan in place for action once you have been warned what the alarm will mean.

The disaster at Fukushima Dai Ichi will create an exclusion area of thousands of square miles that will be so damaged as to outlast everyone alive today. Fukushima has already fouled the ocean and the skies with radioactive plumes that will poison our young even if we are thousands of miles away.

The six reactor disaster at TEPCO's Fukushima Dai Ichi nuclear plant demonstrates the fragility of backup cooling systems when the power grid is compromised by a natural (or man-made) disaster. Even the most hardened nuclear plants have only days of back-up power and water to control nuclear reactions.

All these plants assume that the grid will be back online in hours and that interstate, or other transportation systems, will be operational in order to relieve on site limitations in handling a disaster like Fukushima. According to the European Nuclear Society (http://www.euronuclear.org/info/encyclopedia/n/nuclear-power-plant-world-wide.htm) there are 442 nuclear reactors producing electricity in the world with a total production of 62,862 megawatts. As of January 2011 there were 65 more reactors to be built.

Nuclear plants require a high level of offsite support that we likely may not have available in another 50 years. That includes continuous:
  • Connection to a 24/7/365 robust energy grid.
  • Copious amounts of cooling water and ways to process it.
  • On demand delivery from a heavy duty transportation system.
  • An industrial base capable of replacing all crucial nuclear hardware.
Some castastrophic event, like a mammoth solar storm, could generate an Electro-Magenetic-Pulse (EMP) capable of interupting our ability to keep nuclear plants under control. Likewise, even a limited nuclear weapons exchange could wreck a vast region's ability to keep atomic power within its confines.

However, we do not even need a catastrophic event to endanger the support system for nuclear power.
Climate change due to global warming has already produced long term droughts that have reduced water supply to nuclear plants in France. Peak Oil produced fuel shortages that could play havoc with transportation networks and electric grid continuity.

And certainly the present world economic crises is resulting in collapse of many manufacturing plants, supply systems and infrastructure maintenance programs which are required to support the nuclear power industry. If we believe the evidence; that we are at Peak Oil and that Peak Energy will soon follow; we should take action immediately.
  • All planned new nuclear reactors should be abandoned.
  • A reduction of 62,862 megawatts of energy consumption should be phased in.
  • The cold shutdown of all nuclear power plants should follow that phasing.
  • All the while we should be substituting alternative energy as fast as resources allow.
The resources needed for this program will massive; on the order of what we waste on worldwide armaments. We need to get started soon.

Open discussion of this issue might eventually break the silence of our industrial and government leaders who seem merely capable of trying to support the status-quo.

Besides discussion, the most important contribution any individual can make is to get off the teat. Demand destruction reduction of load on the Grid is a primary thing you as an individual can do. This can be achieved with a two prong attack.

Cut down use of power company energy. Invest in producing some energy of your own. Eventually it will be all you have.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii Radiation Levels 5/27/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Hot Particles Japan to Seattle 6/14/11 .

1 comment :

Arius Hopman said...

The new age aounterculture revolution of the 60s pointed us in the direction this article talks about: renewable energy, getting off the grid, growing your own, organic farming, the civil rights movement's, reducing all forms of dependency alternative housing and schooling, etc. etc. all the seeds were planted then but withered with the Republican backlash of the last 50 years. The counterculture could see the crash coming and we did our best to get out of the way, but the momentum and reactivity of the dominant culture paled the new age. In the meantime there is an accelerated destruction of nature. We have lost thousands of species to extinction and the disruption is accelerating.

The good news is that the imbalance has become so great that it is now demanding our attention. Nature always has the last word and we may eventually come back to [what's left of] her. ahopman@earthlink.net

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