11A074 Nukes, Revisited by Jim Davies, 3/16/2011    

Since blogging Nukes a couple of days ago, the situation in Japan has become worse. Some ask: have I had second thoughts?

Absolutely not! This will be out of date when read, events are moving so fast, but however bad it gets there is no rationale whatever for amending what was blogged: that nuclear fission is by far the safest way to generate power, and after government has disappeared the free market will bring much more of it - but not, because of the owners' own interests, located close to well-known geological fault lines. That's because (as it showed) absent government, owners and their insurers would carry full responsibility and be neither protected nor hampered by that meddlesome and distorting third party.

Whatever the outcome in Japan, government did it. Not a foot can be placed, anywhere in the nuclear industry, without nanny government's direction. If the half dozen nuclear plants were built where quakes often quake and tsunamis often flood, the Japanese government is responsible. The worse the outcome, the more powerful the argument for dispensing with government. That is the logical and accurate lesson to draw but, tragically, not a single government licensed medium will draw it. For conclusions that rational, you have to come here.

The design of the reactors in question was drawn in the late 1950s and is the boiling water type. Water is used both to moderate the fuel rods by absorbing neutrons and to produce steam for the turbines. When the rods are fully immersed the chain reactions end, but the circulating water is still hot and needs to keep moving after that action, for the fuel rods have plenty of latent heat remaining to be dissipated; so the design provided a backup pump for it in case the primary one should fail. Unfortunately, both the primary and secondary pump equipment in this case were swamped by the tsunami, so the water stopped circulating. Temperatures and pressures rose, the top popped and some hydrogen exploded, releasing a little radioactive gas. The operators managed to circulate some sea water to act as coolant - not clear to me yet how they pumped it - but still, the temperature kept rising and melted some of the fuel rod casings. Clearly now in retrospect, the design fault was to place the pumps where a tsunami - common enough in those parts, the word itself is Japanese - could close them down. The pumps were in a basement, ready to be flooded by the first incoming wave, and even their diesel fuel tanks were placed above ground level, in a perfect inversion of what common sense would suggest.

Again: those design flaws were examined and permitted by government. In a recent publication Simon Black has pointed out that while Japanese are a talented and resourceful people their whole economy has been so mismanaged by government as to have been stagnant for a quarter of a century, and this disaster will oblige it either to open up to free enterprise and immigration, or else to slide off the list of the world's most prosperous nations. His point about immigration is that law there has made it very difficult, but now with such a vast amount of rebuilding required labor will be sorely needed and plenty is available - from overseas. Only government can prevent people coming to help.

Just think: 30 years ago, statists here were clamoring for the USA to follow the Japanese example of an economy closely managed by government. They never admitted it (perhaps they were too dumb to realize) but that sentiment is pure Fascism. It never worked and never will, and additional proof lies now in the smoking hulks of half a dozen reactors.

You'll not hear this on Establishment TV, but the choice is clear: a very safe, clean, cheap and abundant source of energy for several generations to come, or else government - with its lethal, bumbling incompetence and its arrogant interference and its arsenals of nuclear warheads sufficient to wipe out the human race several times over. I've already made mine. What's yours?

Your feedback, please!

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