2011 Earthquake Visualization Videos

Here’s a couple very well done earthquake visualization videos for 2011. It’s one thing to say Japan is prone to earthquakes but it’s quite another to see it.

With 52 reactors operating in such a seismically active area it’s no surprise that an earthquake triggered a nuclear disaster in Japan. The only surprise is that they got away with it for as long as they did.

The myths surrounding nuclear power don’t stand up to scrutiny.

  • Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986), and now Fukushima (2011) clearly disproves the myth that nuclear power is safe.
  • Radioactive contamination resulting from the inevitable “accidents” and the production of nuclear waste that will remain extremely dangerous for tens of thousands of years certainly disproves the myth that nuclear power is clean.
  • The perpetual expense of managing nuclear waste for the next 10,000 years should put to rest any notion that nuclear power is cheap.

Presently there’s no long-term plan for the storage of nuclear waste, it simply accumulates on site at nuclear power plants in spent fuel pools that are stuffed well beyond their original design capacity. At Fukushima there’s about 2,000 tons of spent fuel at risk and at the 104 nuclear power plants across the United States there’s roughly 63,000 metric tons of the stuff.

Obliging folks 10,000 years into the future to look after the toxic byproducts of our energy production today is morally wrong. And really, is there anyplace safe to park nuclear waste for the next 10,000 years?

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2 Responses to 2011 Earthquake Visualization Videos

  1. Mark Foreman says:

    I would like to know how you came up with the mass of the fuel (2000 tons) which is under threat at Fukushima, I would also like to point out that while radioactive waste may well be the thing of nightmares to many people it is not everlasting. Many hazardous wastes (like cadmium / mercury) are everlasting while the majority of the radioactive threat in a spent nuclear fuel will decay away within about 300 years. While 300 years might sound a long time, it is in the same time span as the lifetime of a stainless steel waste drum.

    • Mark,

      Here’s a link to a Scientific American article giving 1,814 tons as an estimate of the stored spent fuel at Fukushima. However, I believe their estimate for spent fuel pool #4 is about 100 tons low. Reactor 4 was recently de-fueled and the #4 spent fuel pool was double stuffed with hot fuel that had just been taken out of the reactor. That’s why they’re having so much trouble keeping it cool and that’s also why there’s concern about spent fuel pool 4 collapsing…it’s double heavy.


      I posted my estimate of the Fukishima spent fuel inventory here:


      I’m not sure what percentage of spent fuel is 30 year half-life Strontium-90 and cesium-137 but Is it really the majority? High level waste such as plutonium has a half life of 24,000 years so applying the 10 x half-life rule would mean it will be harmless 240,000 years from now. That actually makes the 10,000 year figure I used in my post seem conservative.

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