from the urls-we-dig-up dept
It's hard to express the devastation caused by the earthquake in Japan. And even though the aftershocks have subsided, now there's the threat of radioactive pollution from a nearby nuclear power plant. But make no mistake, the majority of the disaster has been caused by natural forces -- and the nuclear power plant meltdown(s) shouldn't shoulder too much blame.
- Japan is currently dealing with some serious problems after its Fukushima nuclear power plant couldn't quite handle both an earthquake AND a tsunami. Considering the scale of the damage, though, direct comparisons to Chernobyl seem unwarranted. [url]
- The Fukushima power plant has "generation II" reactors which need to actively pump cooling water through the system. Newer reactor designs rely on passive systems that don't require cooling water to be pumped into them. [url]
- So far, Fukushima is a "level 4" severity event. (Chernobyl was a "level 7" -- the most severe). There's still some debate if Fukushima will become a "level 5" with more than just local effects, but it won't get to level 7.... [url]
- Thorium reactors have been getting some renewed attention as "greener" nuclear power. China has stated a goal of producing a third of its electricity demand using thorium reactors by 2050. [url]
- There are also a bunch of "generation IV" reactor designs in various stages of planning. These reactors now face even more scrutiny (which is good), but the construction of future nuclear reactors will probably be delayed while everyone debates the risks. [url]
- To discover other kinds of alternative energy projects, check out what's currently floating around the StumbleUpon universe. [url]