Fukushima’s Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant Again Shows Vulnerability to Mother Nature
All the problems from the Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant stem from one cause: underestimating the power of mother nature. The sea barriers to stop a tsunami were built too low and the giant tsunami following the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 3/11 easily swamped the plant, triggering the current crisis.
On Sunday, heavy rainfall caused highly contaminated water containing strontium-90 to overflow the containment areas surrounding the 1000 storage tanks at the plant. The operator, Tepco, estimated there would be 30-40mm of rainfall, when actually over twice that amount (100 mm) fell.
“Our pumps could not keep up with the rainwater. As a result, it flowed over some containment areas,” said Tepco
spokesman Yoshikazu Nagai.
Tepco said it will increase the number of pumps and lay an additional 10km of piping to prevent such an overflow from happening again.
This incident shows the main problem with nuclear power in a country like Japan. Japan has a much higher incidence of natural disasters, such as typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides and volcanic eruptions. Japan’s population is also highly concentrated with 127 million people living in an area the size of California.
Japan should abandon nuclear power for good. Nuclear power plants may run safely for decades, but all it takes is one bad day. Japan also has no place to store all the waste produced from its reactors. The government wants to build waste processing plants, but no local government wants such a facility built in their area.
Japan should focus its attention on safer, more environmentally friendly forms of energy and abandon nuclear power. Such a move may raise the cost of energy, but it would also raise the safety of the Japanese people and prevent more Fukushimas from happening.