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  1. Fukushima clean-up costs expected to swell to Y5.81 tril < Japan ...www.japantoday.com/...fukushima-nuclear-clean-up-costs-expected-to-s...14 hours ago - The clean-up after the Fukushima nuclear disaster could cost five times more than estimated, figures have revealed, as Tokyo Electric...
  2. Fukushima cleanup could cost up to $250 billion - News On Japannewsonjapan.com/html/newsdesk/article/89987.phpA private think tank says the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could cost Japan up to 250 billion dollars over the next 10 years. The estimate is ...
  3. Fukushima disaster cleanup - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaen.wikipedia.org/wikiFukushimadisastercleanupJump to Costs of the clean-up operations - [edit]. Mid December 2011 the local authorities in Fukushima had spent already around 1.7 billion yen ...Overview - ‎Scope of cleanup - ‎Working conditions at the plant
  4. ASIA - Fukushima nuclear clean-up costs rise as steam seen againwww.hurriyetdailynews.com > WORLD > ASIA1 day ago - The clean-up after the Fukushima nuclear disaster could cost five times more than estimated, figures have revealed.
  5. Fukushima nuclear clean-up to cost $58 bn | Politics - Before It's Newsbeforeitsnews.com/.../fukushima-nuclear-clean-up-to-cost-58-bn-2537228....Fukushima nuclear clean-up to cost $58 bn.

ever do the numbers on fukushima EROI?

what a joke...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 25th, 2013 at 08:28:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sigh. you need to think your logic through. I was suggesting that society will go fission before it powers down. In that context - where the alternative is going without energy - the response to nuclear accidents would be to ignore them. The average life expectancy in energy starved societies is below 40. living in the chernobyl exclusion zone would take less off your life expectancy than that. Living in the area evacuated around fukushima would cost you less adjusted life years than living in wales. So if the alternative is no juice, fission will get used and when it goes wrong, people will eat iodine tablets and make morbid jokes.
by Thomas on Thu Jul 25th, 2013 at 09:28:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... are not the sole alternatives in reality, so society can only be limited to the choice between nuclear power and powering down by institutions that prevent alternatives from being deployed.

And those in society who would rather power down than go nuclear have the alternative of pressing for the fracturing of the institutions preventing the deployment of alternatives, instead.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jul 25th, 2013 at 02:41:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Firstly, people who prefer powerdown over nukes are crazy. Power is civilization. Everything that seperates us from the slaving patriarcal assholes of the medieval ages depends on it. More, without power, agriculture fails, all things get eaten until the ecosystem collapses and then we all die.

Secondly, while I agree it is a false choice - because there are ways other than fission to power civilization that are feasible engineering wise...

How to put this. This is going to seem rude.

 a lot of people that call themselves renewable advocates  and greens do not actually seem to believe that a society powered by alternative energy is feasible. Not in their bones.
If they did, they would not talk about powerdown. At all. Ever. Because given the choice between enlarging the solar array in the north african desert by another square mile and harsh energy austerity, no sane society would ever elect to use less power.  

by Thomas on Thu Jul 25th, 2013 at 03:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Going at it from the fundamental equation of sustainability, which is:

sustainable+unsustainable=unsustainable

... then clearly based on current technology, a genuinely sustainable renewable system requires massively less power throughput, because of the ecological impacts of the waste associated with the current technology.

But on the other hand, our economies have never "tried" to do it, in the sense of operating under rules of behavior that reward ecological sustainability and punish ecological unsustainability ...

... so the premise that we haven't done it yet so we can't do it ever is not one that I buy.

Rather, its an open question. We have to get to sustainability all around to get to sustainability, and its an open question whether we can. Given the alternatives, of ecosystem crash and of power down, I favor pushing ahead on all fronts and trying to get there.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jul 25th, 2013 at 03:36:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, locally we have examples (both good and bad) of trying to deal with lower consumption of raw materials and energy, or at least lower civilian consumption of raw materials and energy. I am mainly thinking about war times, but blockades serves as well.

For example, the Swedish response to the lack of oil during WWII included rationed oil, wood gasifiers, but also promotion (and I think expansion) of public transport and promotion of biking (saw a lovely little piece of propaganda where the husband does not want to bike because "I am a grown man, biking is for boys", but the wife pushes it with patriotism and health arguments. Wife wins of course and husband becomes stronger and healthier - indeed more manly then before).

Promoting and expanding public transport and biking can be done (and should be done). In addition city planning can be done to decrease commutes and spreading services so that basic services are within walking distance. These actions would save energy (wheter for powering down or using for something else) as well as promoting health, public interaction and human scaled neighbourhoods.

Hm, going of on a tangent apparently. What I meant to say is that decreasing power use while increasing utility is very possible indeed, and there are examples of it being done.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 03:01:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... silver bullet solutions, to kill the (evidently magical) beast with one hit.

I think we need to pack our shell with as many silver BB's as we can, blast away, then pack another round.

So I am all for pursuit of task efficiency of across the board, and if the end-result is neither power-up nor power-down but rather power-stabilize and improved standard of living through technical improvements ...

... well, if its powered by sustainable, renewable power, fine with me.

In these discussions, the "all eggs in one baskets" types have the forum discussion advantage of always knowing the answer, since their silver bullet is always the answer to every question, but I don't believe that complex systems are amenable to single solution answers.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 12:00:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hmmm so all those who don't share your trust in fission (and your faith in fusion) are crazies. Civilization-hating doomers.

Cue a Lolcatz "what could possibly go wrong?" meme.

The thing about electricity is that it turns out to be quite expensive (new build nuclear in the UK is just about competitive with CURRENT wind, i.e. considerably more expensive than wind by the time it actually gets built). A lot of people prefer a distributed network with lots of smaller-scale generation based on different technologies, rather than a hyperconcentrated, technocrat-dominated system of a few too-big-to-fail, what-could-possibly-go-wrong systems. Crazies?

A lot of people are also able to countenance the idea that the rapidly-fading past of ridiculously-cheap energy being behind us, we need to weigh up costs and benefits of energy use, and reorient away from things that cost ridiculous amounts of energy for very little benefit. This is not the end of civilization. Or if it is (i.e. if your postulate is that civilization requires ridiculously-cheap energy) then civilisation is already effectively over. I think this is crazy.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 04:44:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.. lets divorce things a bit from nuclear power, because it is distracting. I like using it as a proof of concept that energy is not limited, but that is probably a mistake on my part, because it just gets everything else I am saying ignored.

Every time you talk about powerdown, the message  everyone who is not already a true believer in the green project hears is

"We do not actually think renewable energy can sustain civilization, and are okay with dismantling industrial civilization in its entirety"

This is not a persuasive pitch. In fact, that is a pitch that makes you look like Hostis humani generis.

We need a vision which is better than that. We need a vision of a future which is better than the present. Buying into the austerity on green grounds is every bit as toxic as buying into it on economic grounds, because it is a toxic idea.

I believe in a future where the industrial cycles of matter are closed. - where waste gets recycled by any means necessary up to and including vaporizing them into plasma and then distilling them back down into base elements - Where energy production does not have intolerable externalities, and flows abundantly to every mothers child.
A future in which all 7 billion of us are have lives that benefit from and contribute to the Common Project.  In which we all have electricity, water, housing, education and culture. This is not utopian. The physical universe bends to human effort -  and there are so many hands and minds looking for worthwhile employment right now. Billions of them.

by Thomas on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 06:42:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where energy production does not have intolerable externalities, and flows abundantly to every mothers child.

Well, I don't have much time for utopians, especially when they don't have any viable pathways to propose. It may be that there is a vast conspiracy of dark powers who are preventing us from benefiting from too-cheap-to-meter fusion or thorium or whatever power. But I have a problem with suspending disbelief on such theories. On balance, I think it's likely that such technologies are actually quite hard, and will turn out to be quite expensive anyway.

The reality is that cheap energy has been overwhelmingly fossil. With the exception of hydro, which is intrinsically limited, it seems likely that sustainable energy sources are fairly expensive overall. Getting to sustainability will be hard graft.

I was more of a science fiction fan when I was younger.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 07:02:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it true that sustainable sources are expensive?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 07:09:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.. Expensive is a relative term. Try looking up the inflation adjusted price of electricity for any locale which has been electrified for a long time. You do not have to go back very far before you get numbers that are a lot higher than current renewable, even including pumped storage, let alone the cost of nukes.

Electricity is valuable because it is a huge multiplier on human effort - lighting, cooling, mechanization, ect, ect.
 I am not assuming power to cheap to meter, I am assuming that people will pay the meter.

by Thomas on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 07:21:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh well, there you go. We agree. Renewables are not expensive (historically speaking). This is a clear indication that we can, indeed, go renewable without breaking civilisation, and without needing "free energy" pipedreams.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 09:43:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Every time you talk about powerdown, the message  everyone who is not already a true believer in the green project hears is

"We do not actually think renewable energy can sustain civilization, and are okay with dismantling industrial civilization in its entirety"

The way to industry dismantling is paved by irresponsible indulgence in "max power now". I am all for maximal useful industrial metabolism given coming energy flow plateau. But other thinkers have the freedom to act without discussing with someone like me. Dismissing powerdown or climate change means even less pretense to influence industrial adaptation in a not-so-long term.

Positive thinking has limits. Mindful observance and non-judgemental anticipation are better recomendations.

by das monde on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 07:27:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your efforts to find some common ground are very appreciated.

We need a vision which is better than that. We need a vision of a future which is better than the present. Buying into the austerity on green grounds is every bit as toxic as buying into it on economic grounds, because it is a toxic idea.

The underlying assumption of a better future is a future with "growth". I argue that one of the fundamental battles of our time is precisely to defuse that idea.

Human beings exist on earth for a long time and there is no reason to believe that "growth" has increased happiness (as a blanket statement).

Surely, I appreciate having a decent health system and surely I appreciate having the Internet. But, after fundamental desires have been satiated (food, security, housing, basic education, health) growth actually does not bring nothing that is fulfilling to our species.

The current materialistic view of society has put on the backburner issues that are actually more important for human happiness and are being destroyed in the name of growth. For example: the ability to find a job close to your loved ones. For example: The fear and stress inducing properties of extreme income insecurity (today I might have more than enough, tomorrow I might be bankrupt and food-insecure).

We do not need nothing more than we have. Actually many of modern gadgets (mobile phones) are mostly increasing stress without bringing nothing fundamentally important.

What we really need is to have a vision where satiation of real human needs takes precedence. And that has more to do with re-distribution, social cohesion, reduced fear. And less with a view of more growth.

I like to believe that satiation of human needs is compatible with what the planet can provide (though population size might be a issue - I very much doubt that middle class western consumption can be sustainable for all humanity) and that it can be politically supported by large segments of the population (it is difficult political issue in the current setting, but not unsurpassable based on anything innate to humanity).

Desiring for more material wealth (after basic needs) is inherently supportive of more inequality. That is not needed.

by cagatacos on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 08:31:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like using it as a proof of concept that energy is not limited, but that is probably a mistake on my part, because it just gets everything else I am saying ignored.

Every time you talk about powerdown, the message  everyone who is not already a true believer in the green project hears is ...

... in that I expect that there are people who could write:

"I like using it [power-down] as a proof of concept that the issue is not the amount of energy but how we use it, but that is probably a mistake on my part, because it just gets everything else I am saying ignored.

Every time you talk about nuclear, , the message  everyone who is not already a true believer in the nuclear project hears is ..."

Criticizing those who talk about power-down because of what people like you hear whatever they actually are saying about it ...

... and then countering power-down with the most divisive, controversial relatively low carbon electricity source there is ...

... seems like you are setting one threshold of widespread appeal for the message that must be met by those you disagree with, and setting a substantially lower threshold of widespread appeal for your own message.

Indeed, for those power-down advocates who are convinced of the ecological and/or social un-sustainability of nuclear, using nuclear rather confirms them in their existing power-down conclusions.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 11:54:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Every time you talk about powerdown, the message  everyone who is not already a true believer in the green project hears is

"We do not actually think renewable energy can sustain civilization, and are okay with dismantling industrial civilization in its entirety"

This is not a persuasive pitch. In fact, that is a pitch that makes you look like Hostis humani generis.


This presumes that industrial civilization requires energy profligacy.

That is an untested hypothesis, since industrial civilization has never been faced with any substantial energy challenge before. And has therefore had no occasion to optimize for energy efficiency.

The remarkable ability of industrial civilization to optimize for manpower efficiency and farmland efficiency would seem to indicate the existence of tradeoffs within what is still broadly speaking industrial civilization.

Of course, industrial civilization isn't actually faced with any substantial energy challenge, unless you insist on idiocies like personal automobiles running on combustible fuel. Absent such gratuitous stupidity as burning perfectly good chemical feedstock, we will run out of fun things to do with electricity before we run out of harmless ways to harvest it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 02:58:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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