DailyDirt: Drill, Baby, Drill!

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Hindsight makes it easy to criticize decisions that were made that, in retrospect, seem foolish. The word 'tsunami' was coined by the Japanese, and yet a nuclear power plant apparently wasn't designed to fully withstand one (and an associated earthquake). Lots of folks have asked: "How could they not see this coming?" But it's not that simple, and a nuclear power plant isn't the only energy facility that can devastate the environment. Let's not forget the BP Oil Spill. As a reminder, here are some interesting links about the Gulf of Mexico and the still-unfolding aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    ECA (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 5:43pm

    as long as the part you see, is PRETTY..they dont care.

    They THINK' you dont care.

    Even as residual bacteria eats up the oil, it offsets other chemicals, as well as the dispersion and break down of the oil in salt water. ITS A CESSPOOL.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Michael Ho (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 9:02pm


    To be more fair, it's not like the Gulf is completely dead and covered in oil. However, it would probably be a bit more genuine to show "before and after" pictures of the same beaches, so that people could actually see if anything had changed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    a-dub (profile), Mar 17th, 2011 @ 7:13am

    I live in Louisiana, about an hour from the gulf and it is alive but not well. I personally wouldn't touch gulf seafood, especially the oysters. BP has agreed to finance a $30 million campaign to promote Louisiana seafood, but I cant help but wonder what chemicals are in the seafood at this point. So many shrimpers take their catch directly to a restaurant or to a street corner or empty parking lot to sell by the pound. There's no regulation or testing done to these shrimp. Often there is no paperwork documenting the catch and that's why so many fisherman received $0 from BP. They make a living fishing but its cash only. If they arent paying taxes, they sure as hell arent getting their catch tested nor are they documenting where the catch came from.

    To be fair, this isnt true of every fisherman, but it happens enough for it to be common knowledge and generally accepted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Christopher (profile), Mar 17th, 2011 @ 8:34am

    The BP spill espouses exactly why we need strict and harsh regulation (including perhaps 2 12 hour inspectors on site 365 a year) on these oil companies who are doing deep-water drilling.

    Yes, it is safe if done ACCORDING TO BEST PRACTICES. However, companies have a history of ignoring best practices in order to try and make a buck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    okwhen (profile), Mar 17th, 2011 @ 11:41pm

    Michael Ho, I reviewed your profile and your intelligent is above approach. However, your statement “But it's not that simple, and a nuclear power plant isn't the only energy facility that can devastate the environment.” is nothing but unadulterated bullshit. The oil spill was and remains devastating to the Gulf of Mexico. The long lasting conditions and effects will last for twenty years or more.

    The unadulterated bullshit comment is based on the effects of radiation. The half life of radioactive material is measured in millions of years. Comparing the two as if they are of equal value is inappropriate at best. Please rethink your comment and provide an intelligent response or not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Michael Ho (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 7:26pm


    Hi okwhen,

    I think we both can agree that radioactive materials can have extremely long half-lives and are extremely bad for biological organisms like ourselves. But these facts alone don't seem to me to be sufficient to eliminate nuclear power from our options of energy technologies.

    The offsetting fact is that highly radioactive materials can also be contained (albeit indefinitely). Chernobyl's temporary sarcophagus is expected to be replaced with another, more permanent structure... and I'm optimistic that containment is a viable solution (though the new sarcophagus may also someday need to be replaced). There's an argument to be made that perhaps the costs of vigilant monitoring should be (and are not currently) incorporated into the plans of any nuclear power facility. But that's a different discussion....

    If wind or solar energy seemed more competitive and scalable, then I'd be inclined to agree that nuclear power shouldn't be used. But for the current available technologies, I think nuclear has to be included in the energy mix (as it already is) and its share of energy generation increased. We just need to learn from past mistakes. There will never again be a Chernobyl-like design. And the "Generation II" reactors should be phased out as "Generation III & IV" reactors are introduced (or retrofitted with even more safety features). Perhaps these older reactor designs should be decommissioned faster, but then replacing them with newer facilities in a timely fashion doesn't seem very likely.

    The current disaster in Japan will not be as bad as Chernobyl by many accounts -- which is proof that engineering designs are improving! So the evidence actually points in a good direction.... If more advanced reactor designs actually performed worse than older designs, then I'd have less (or a complete lack of..) confidence in nuclear engineering's ability to create safer nuclear power plants.

    Hopefully, this is an intelligent response.. :D


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    okwhen (profile), Mar 19th, 2011 @ 2:03am

    Re: Re:

    After reading your article I became acutely aware of your bias toward nuclear energy. You are simply following a set pattern of deflection resulting in additional irrelevant material to the mix. The news uses the exact method. Now in your reply your first thought it to defend nuclear energy. I never indicated my thoughts on nuclear energy I only pointed out the fact that comparing the Gulf oil spill to a nuclear release is ridiculous.

    Your entire response is debating nuclear power as an energy source. Your hidden agenda is transparent therefore, allow me to redirect your process. I worked as a contract instrument engineer for the majority of corporations. My works included nuclear, oil, gas, refineries, chemical, etc and this is absolutely the most inefficient fail safe emergency response in my career. Are their hospitals and other emergency centers backup generators built at ground level. The entire facility is designed for efficiency; small foot print, shared resources, spent fuel rods storage, etc. However, the design disregards safety with regards to well known possible natural events.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Laurie Wiegler, Mar 19th, 2011 @ 3:15pm

    Re: I write an Examiner column for New Orleans - pls email me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Laurie Wiegler, Mar 19th, 2011 @ 3:15pm

    Re: I write an Examiner column for New Orleans - pls email me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Michael Ho (profile), Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hi okwhen,

    I didn't realize I had an obligation to be unbiased about my opinion of nuclear power... :P

    I think we agree that the energy companies are notoriously bad about meeting AND exceeding the necessary safety precautions for their facilities. I'm not at all against requiring nuclear facilities to implement fail safe procedures that would prevent catastrophic events.... But your previous statements seemed to suggest that there might not be any possible way to prevent nuclear power disasters, and on that, I disagree. Already, the events in Japan demonstrate that safety precautions can prevent a Chernobyl-sized disaster. There's a good deal more that can be done, but we shouldn't kill nuclear power because one company cuts corners on safety.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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