Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. These days I'm retired, and I can't by law give you advice. While I do make mistakes, I try hard to do my analysis thoroughly, and to make sure my data are correct (old habits die hard!) Also, don't ask me why I called it "Volewica". It's too late, now.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Fukushima just keeps on giving

Plans to remove spent nuclear fuel have been delayed again, this time until fiscal year 2018 at the earliest; new fuel leaks continue to be discovered; cleanup cost estimates continue to rise; 300 tons of radioactive water are still pouring into the Pacific Ocean every day; and cleanup robots are still being destroyed by extremely high radiation levels. 
With regard to cleanup robots being destroyed by extremely high radiation levels, that’s in reference to one recently being sent into the Unit 2 reactor for the first time (since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami). The radiation inside the reactor is still high enough that it destroyed the robot’s camera, apparently, after less than 2 hours. 
The cleanup robot was apparently being exposed to an estimated 650 Sieverts per hour while in the reactor. For context, one Sievert of cumulative radiation exposure is the maximum lifetime limit for NASA astronauts, and short duration exposure to 4–5 Sieverts imparts a roughly 50% chance of dying within 30 days (often gruesomely). Higher doses will kill much faster. As an example, after being exposed to 36 Sieverts of radiation over a short period of time in 1958, Cecil Kelley died within 35 hours. 
Read more here.

Sorry, guys. I'm not persuaded that nuclear is safe or viable. Yes, we need to do something about global warming.  And we can and we will. But nuclear is not the solution.  Not when we have solar and wind, which are in any case much cheaper than nuclear and can be deployed far more quickly.  

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