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TEPCO Admits Delaying Report Of Major Radiation Leak Into The Pacific Ocean For 10 Months

TEPCO Admits Delaying Report Of Major Radiation Leak Into The Pacific Ocean For 10 Months thumbnail

While faith in Japanese ‘economics’ is starting to falter (borne out by the split in the BoJ and endless macro data disappointments), trust in TEPCO and its governmental operators must be about to hit a new record low. Having promised and given up on the ice-wall strategy to stop radioactive water leaking into the ocean, Bloomberg reports TEPCO officials have admitted that it’s investigating the cause of a spike in radiation levels (23,000 becquerels/liter vs the legal limit of 90) in drainage water that it believes subsequently leaked into the Pacific ocean from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant. The bigger problem, as NBC reports, TEPCO failed to report the leak for 10 months!

The radioactivity increase was ‘reported’ on Sunday, the company said in an e-mail yesterday, and as Bloomberg reports,

No workers were exposed and tests of radiation levels in sea water in the port adjacent to the plant showed no significant increase, the company said.


Ocean water tests will be increased to daily sampling from weekly as it investigates the leak, it added.


Rainwater is believed to have become contaminated through contact with radioactive substances and then flowed into drainage ditches, a spokesperson for the Tokyo-based company said today by phone, asking not to be named because of company policy. The company is unable to estimate the size of the radioactive water leak, the person said.


Tepco, as the company is known, detected 23,000 becquerels per liter of cesium 137, from rainwater accumulated on the roof of the No. 2 reactor building, the utility said yesterday in a statement. The legal limit for releasing cesium 137 is 90 becquerels per liter.



Tepco has had repeated failures in stemming radioactive water leaks at the plant since it had three reactor meltdowns almost four years ago following an earthquake and tsunami.

But the fact that a massively radioactive leak occurred is not the worst of it.. As NBC News reports,

The operator of Japan’s tsunami-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant admitted it failed to report a radioactive rainwater leak from the facility for about 10 months.


The company noticed a spike in radiation levels in the plant’s drainage system, particularly after rainfall, in April, according to a Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) official who spoke at a televised press conference on Tuesday.


“This was part of an ongoing investigation in which we discovered a water puddle with high levels of radiation on top of the Reactor No. 2 building, and because this also happens to be one of the sources for this drainage system, we decided to report everything all at once,” the unnamed official said to explain why the findings weren’t reported immediately.



The governor of Fukushima Prefecture Masao Uchibori criticized TEPCO’s withholding of information.


“It is extremely regrettable the swift release of information and the importance of that awareness — these basic things were not carried out,” he said in comments carried by Nippon TV.

*  *  *

Good luck at The Olympics… though we suspect it will be hard to run in a lead vest?


69 Comments on "TEPCO Admits Delaying Report Of Major Radiation Leak Into The Pacific Ocean For 10 Months"

  1. R1verat on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 7:55 am 

    Don’t worry, be happy.

  2. Plantagenet on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 8:34 am 

    Why aren’t the TEPCO officials all in jail?

  3. penury on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 9:55 am 

    Even though the tests are questionable and the results are dubious at least the Japanese are testing(?) the waters. Good luck USA.

  4. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 10:15 am 

    Well, at least we have some numbers now. A becquerel is an incredibly small amount – 1 nucleus decay per second.

    That’s a single atom. I can’t do the calculation in my head, but the “leak” would be measured in very, very, small subunits of a microgram.

    As I’ve tried (with minimal success, I admit) to point out on other comments related to Fukushima, the legal levels for various types of release are based on best guesses by those doing the regulation.

    The US National Academy of Sciences BEIR VI report is generally considered the gold standard for the effects of ionizing radiation, and even they admit there’s not a lot of really good data on what effects levels that low have on humans, animals, and the environment.

    Put another way, if there were a noticeable effect they, and everyone else, would know about it pretty quickly.

    Not that any of this absolves TEPCO of their thoroughly reprehensible behavior throughout this. Nuclear power requires a tremendous level of communication and trust between those providing it and the communities it which it is provided.

    Though I personally think nuclear power is the safest and most effective way to provide grid level energy, I’m continuously reminded of how poorly some utilities behave with regard to the needed communication.

    At the end of the day I continue to watch the reports that come out from time to time on the state of the harbor where the plant is at. So far I have heard of no noticeable impact on the fish and fauna in the bay or surrounding area, despite terror stories of terabecquerels of radioactivity.

    I suspect the fish are fine, the fauna are fine, and the tuna aren’t noticing or paying a damn bit of attention to the fact that we think they’re highly radioactive. I mean, this is an animal that can swim across the width of the Pacific Ocean. If it were affected I suspect it’d have at least a little difficulty doing that.

  5. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 10:19 am 


    You, or anyone else, can buy and inexpensive geiger counter from any number of reputable sources, and measure your own environment whenever you want.

    I don’t have the link at the moment, but I’ll dig it up later. There are who networks of citizen and government radiation meters available on the Internet.

    You can look at them whenever you want. So can the folks in California. Or anywhere else.

  6. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 10:40 am 

    Here’s one, for the U.S.:

    Radiation Network

  7. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 10:42 am 

    Forgot to point out that site has links for Japan as well as a World Map. Lots of good info there for those interested.

  8. Charlie Bucket on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 10:48 am 

    This goes exceptionally well with this week’s post by JMG on the Archdruid Report about externalities.

  9. GregT on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 10:50 am 

    We never should have screwed around with things that we don’t fully understand. It doesn’t get any simpler.

  10. chilyb on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 10:50 am 

    TemplarMyst: when do all these small sources of radiation add up to a large source of radiation? As far as I am aware, no one has been able to account for three melted reactor cores.

  11. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 11:41 am 


    I’ll go into more detail this evening, as well as respond to Greg and Charley (Greg and I have been discussing this for a while now. If you’re interested just keyword fukushima in the News section on this site).

    To your immediate question: the three cores are where they were to start with. These things don’t migrate. They are very likely a meter or two lower than they were because they breached the containment vessel and then poured like thick lava onto the subflooring. When they get the cameras in there eventually that’s what they’ll see.

    That’s what happened at Three Mile Island too. That’s what a meltdown is.

    The Fukushima cores been cooling ever since. The radiation escaping into the environment is coming from those cooling cores. TEPCO can’t figure out a way to get the cores contained within a larger structure because of the earthquake damage, so water they’re pouring on the cores to keep them cooling is leaking out into the sea, for the most part.

    More later.

  12. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 11:44 am 

    Let me refine that. TEPCO is able to gather a great deal of the water being used to cool the cores. It is then stored in tanks next to the plant. What they can’t get is what is getting through the cracks in the structure and then going out to sea.

  13. chilyb on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 11:52 am 

    Actually, my immediate question was “when do all these small sources of radiation add up to a large source of radiation?”

  14. Kenz300 on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 12:07 pm 

    The disasters at Fukishima and Chernobyl continue today with no end in sight……….

    There needs to be outside monitors at Fuksihima….
    TEPCO and the government of Japan have show that they can not be trusted to provide timely, accurate and reliable information to the public.

  15. Plantagenet on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 12:08 pm 


    The whole point of science is “screwing around with things we don’t fully understand.”

    Thats what scientists do.

  16. Plantagenet on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 12:09 pm 

    The problem at Fukushima isn’t that they were operating a nuclear plant. The problem is the dumb engineers who built it put in a known tsunami risk zone….in fact a major tsunami had overtopped the plant site just a few hundred years ago.

  17. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 12:12 pm 

    Sorry. Basically when the small sources find a way to accumulate.

    Think of the sun. You get some every day, hopefully. (If not you’re going to have a Vitamin D deficiency). But we all know if you lay out in the sun you will get a sustained exposure and will get burned, even very, very badly burned.

    That’s just one sort of radiation. So to say “when do they add up” you have to think in terms of “what is my total exposure” instead.

    The leaks from Fukushima are not raising global background radiation levels in any meaningful way that anyone can see. We have the ability to measure radiation down to the atomic level so we can give amazingly accurate readings.

    What I think you’re asking is when will the leaks from Fukushima add up to an exposure level that will cause me problems?

    Even the NAS does not have a good answer for that, but based on Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and many other past examples, my own personal guess would be it will never reach a level that will cause issues. Certainly not radiation poisoning.

    But most folks are asking about cancer risks. And again, my own personal assessment, and I am NOT an expert, based on the above, is that there might be a slight risk increase going forward. But how we would know a particular thyroid or bone cancer happened from Fukushima as opposed to the huge number of cancers which occur spontaneously is anyone’s guess.

    Like I say, I am not an expert. But you did ask my opinion. Ask many other peoples opinion, and do your own research, before you reach your own conclusion! I’m giving you my assessment after doing that research myself. You have to do your own!

  18. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 12:32 pm 

    And, chilyb, I’m really not being evasive, or at least I’m not trying to be. I’ve put that same question to experts and have basically gotten the answer I just gave.

    The experts don’t really know. And that’s because there is scant reliable, scientific data on low level radiation exposure in large groups of human beings over time, with appropriate control groups and statistical assessments, and varying rates of exposure.

    The best we’ve got so far is the extensive studies on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But that wasn’t long term, low level exposure. That was an intense burst.

    So that’s why the experts all say “we don’t really know.” It’s because we don’t have good data.


  19. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 12:42 pm 

    And to further refine that, we do have some studies, such as those done on workers in uranium mines, which indicates an increased cancer risk. And there are some studies of nuclear workers too, which also indicate some increased risks over time.

    But for each of those studies there are open questions, and in the case of the uranium miners, workplace safety changes radically reduced the risks (basically, the radon needs to be ventilated, something that is an ongoing concern for everyone, because radon is present just about everywhere, and it can accumulate in homes and buildings under certain circumstances).

    The radon issue might be getting closer to what you were initially asking. It can accumulate, and thus your exposure can elevate because of that. If the accumulation increases and you maintain exposure to it your risk increases. How much is still debated in the medical and scientific journals.

    Again, I recommend doing the research yourself. It takes time, but it’s worth it, IMO.

  20. Kenz300 on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 12:43 pm 

    The sooner the government of Japan wakes ups and gets out of the clutches of the Nuclear power industry the safer the citizens of Japan and the rest of the world will be.

    A transition to safer, cleaner and cheaper energy sources is taking place around the world. Japan with all their technological expertise should be a leader rather than hanging on to a technology that was “snake oil” from the start. Too cheap to meter” is how nuclear energy was sold…….. how much will the government of Japan and TEPCO spend on this disaster and to store all the nuclear waste forever? “Too expensive and too dangerous to exist” is the reality.


    In the Time It Takes to Read This Story, A Solar Array Will Go Up Somewhere

  21. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 12:54 pm 

    And Kenz, that solar array will provide a very meager amount of electricity, and only then when the sun is shining, and even then, when the sun is hitting it at an optimal angle.

    But I’m open. Please start linking or going into detail how much renewable energy Japan would need to install in order to replace it’s fleet of reactors. Or you can site Germany, if you like. I’m open.

    Here is where my concern comes:

    David MacKay: A Reality Check on Renewables

    Interested in your counterpoint.

  22. keith on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 1:09 pm 

    It must be safe, since we don’t know.

  23. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 1:15 pm 


    Take it from the other perspective. If we there were a problem, we would know by now. No?

  24. GregT on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 1:43 pm 


    Take it from even another perspective. If we knew there wasn’t a problem, we wouldn’t be spending decades, centuries, or 10s of billions of dollars trying to clean these sites up.

  25. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 1:56 pm 


    And what if all those billions of dollars aren’t necessary? What if the low levels around Fukushima and Chernobyl are not really much of a threat at all?

    Trying to point out this possibility is forcing me to attempt to prove a negative. The burden is placed on me to prove the levels are NOT a problem.

    Obviously, this can’t be done. I can’t prove a negative, and neither can anyone else.

    What we can do is look for positive evidence of health impacts. High level radiation, we have those. Very clear. Smoking causes cancer. Very clear. Agent Orange causes birth defects. Very clear.

    Low level radiation, not so much. In fact the evidence is so small even the best scientists in the world can’t distinguish the effects from background. And when there is evidence of a health risk it is still tiny compared to other risk factors we face.

    What if we’re wasting billions of dollars and scaring ourselves silly over something that is not a significant threat at all?

  26. Kenz300 on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 2:00 pm 

    We can deal with the cause of Climate Change (fossil fuels) or we will deal with the impact………

    Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches | World news | The Guardian


    Renewables Beat Natural Gas, Provide Half of New US Generating Capacity in 2014


    Utility-scale Solar Has Another Record Year in 2014

    Solar and Wind Provide 70 Percent of New US Generating Capacity in November 2014

    Even with The RepubliCON party, the top 1% and the fossil fuel industry fighting any transition to alternative energy sources there have been great strides in moving to alternative energy sources in the US.

    In Japan the nuclear industry is very powerful and well connected. They will do all they can to slow any transition to alternative energy sources….

    The Nuclear industry “snake oil salesmen” and their “too cheap to meter” lies have been exposed to be to expensive and too dangerous to exist.

  27. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 2:04 pm 


    You’re not providing the numbers for the transition. Stating new generating capacity is not helpful. If you stated how much energy we’ve gotten from what we’re installed so far that would be helpful, for starters.

  28. GregT on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 2:06 pm 

    “What if we’re wasting billions of dollars and scaring ourselves silly over something that is not a significant threat at all?”

    What if the threat is actually worse than we understand it to be? What if we should be spending more money and resources than we already are?

    If we stopped screwing around with things that we do not fully understand, these questions would not need to be answered.

  29. chilyb on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 2:07 pm 


    Those are fair answers, thanks. And it wasn’t my intention to put you on the spot, but your comments about small amounts of radiation having no obvious effect on the environment trouble me. It seems obvious to me that there would be great differences between internal and external sources of radiation. I think the effects of an external source are somewhat well understood. But I would argue exactly the opposite for the latter. I would also argue that there is also tremendous uncertainty on to what degree radioactive isotopes bio-accumulate through the food web. But I think it is pretty well known that they do. So we are conducting a grand experiment on ourselves. Sure we have been doing it for the last fifty years, but the scale of unsecured melted fuel leaching into a vast ecosystem like the Pacific Ocean is unprecedented. I would also argue that the lack of transparency from Tepco does a huge disservice to the pro nuclear community. For the record I am not against nuclear as an option, provided there are practical solutions to a few issues. Like long term storage of spent waste, and how exactly are we going to clean up an accident like this. Entomb it in concrete? The whole site could be underwater in a hundred years. We don’t have these solutions right now. Do we keep building more nukes?

  30. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 2:09 pm 

    “What if the threat is actually worse than we understand it to be? What if we should be spending more money and resources than we already are?”

    If the threat were worse we should be able to see that. We can see it in all kinds of other threats that we face.

    We’ve been studying nuclear physics, energy, and effects for over 75 years now.

    How long do we need to study it before we find these dire consequences?

  31. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 2:13 pm 


    Thanks, and I don’t mind being put on the spot. I’m one of those loons who keeps questioning himself as much as he questions anyone else.

    To your point about TEPCO, I’m in complete agreement. They’ve acted in completely unacceptable ways throughout this, and they are doing no one a service because of it.

    To the issue of the release into the ocean, yes, it is unprecedented, but what effects is it having or going to have? I think it’s reasonable to ask the questions, but given the volume of the release and the size of the oceans, and the fact the oceans already contain significant levels of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes I’m still thinking the impact is going to be incredibly small.

  32. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 2:16 pm 


    To the issue of what to do with the site long term, I’m not sure at this point. The radioactivity and heat are decaying constantly. Most of the radioactive isotopes will decay into non-radioactive forms within a hundred years.

    The rest will have varying times. Perhaps when it is cool enough we encase it in concrete. I’m continuing to watch the developments to see what different engineers come up with.

  33. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 2:19 pm 

    To the point of whether we should continue to build reactors, I would think yes, given climate change and peak oil.

    But I’m open. I realize most folks don’t want to. If they don’t, they don’t. I’m just one tiny voice.

    If we’re not going to do nuclear, then I hope we come up with some way to make renewables viable. We desperately need grid scale storage. Pumped hydro works in certain areas, but we need something more universal and which we can drop into the existing infrastructure.

    Mebbe we’ll figure that out soon. But for now it falls under the category of unobtainium.

  34. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 2:26 pm 

    And finally, to the issue of internal vs external absorption, again there is controversy and open questions, but after 30 years of animals living in the Chernobyl area if internal absorption is an issue we ought to see it.

    These critters eat, breath, dig, swim, and drink this stuff in, after all.

  35. GregT on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 2:28 pm 

    “We’ve been studying nuclear physics, energy, and effects for over 75 years now.”

    And we still don’t fully understand what we are screwing around with.

  36. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 2:36 pm 

    “And we still don’t fully understand what we are screwing around with.:

    Greg can you be a bit more specific about that? What part don’t we understand? We have identified the decay chains for all known isotopes. We know their energies, their structures, and their half-lives.

    We have solid theory on how the elements were created, in novas and supernovas, and what their other physical attributes are. We know their relative abundance on the earth and in the universe.

    We know that happens when a human is exposed to 1 Gray, 2 Grays, 3 Grays, or more. We know that as the exposure decreases the effects decrease.

    What we don’t know is what the health effects are as we get to smaller and smaller doses. Since we see impact at higher doses we extrapolate and take the side of caution and presume the risk decreases but does not hit zero. Because there’s no place on Earth where there is zero radiation we assume there is no place there is zero risk.

    I think we know an awful lot. And what we have seen and observed and recorded is low levels have very minimal risks associated with them.

  37. GregT on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 2:39 pm 

    “Perhaps when it is cool enough we encase it in concrete.”

    “WE” won’t be alive when it is cool enough. Without fossil fuels in another hundred years or so, there won’t be any concrete.

    It is completely irresponsible of us to leave this stuff for future generations to deal with. Especially when we can’t figure out what to do with it ourselves.

  38. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 2:44 pm 

    We will be alive when it is cool enough to encase. We’re encasing, or I should say re-encasing Chernobyl now.

    And if we have nuclear power we will have the energy to create concrete. The base elements require a high temperature kiln, and nuclear has more than enough juice to drive those kilns, with minimal carbon load.

    If we want to close all the nukes down that can be done. But the kids and grandkids might want to have the energy. There are young people in college taking nuclear energy courses at universities around the world. It is a trainable technology.

  39. keith on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 3:03 pm 

    TemplarMyst are you retired, you sure have lots of time to discuss this issue? And since you stated you are no expert, why should I believe anything you say? Furthermore, why so condenscending, since you are no expert.

  40. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 3:08 pm 


    No, I work a standard job, I just have some time today where I can respond.

    And I’m certainly not trying to be condescending. I’m probably being a bit defensive, so if that comes off condescending I apologize. That is not my intent.

    You certainly don’t have to believe me about anything, of course! I’m just providing my input, based on my own personal research. When folks take an anti-nuclear stance I challenge it because I think it’s one of the few technologies that might realistically help us through climate change and peak oil.

    But I’m must another tiny voice in the discussion. Nothing more, nothing less. If my arguments are persuasive, great, if not, I and I think everyone else on the site welcome the counterarguments.

    I make the assumption, I guess, that anyone posting on the site has an interest, an opinion, and a point of view, and they want to share it.

  41. GregT on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 3:12 pm 

    “We will be alive when it is cool enough to encase. We’re encasing, or I should say re-encasing Chernobyl now.”

    Chernobyl itself will not be cool enough for more than 1000 years. It is hoped that the new sarcophagus will last for a century. Very few of us alive now, will likely be alive when Chernobyl needs it’s next new containment structure. None of us today will be alive when the structures following that, will need to be constructed.

    It is agreed that many of the areas in the exclusion zone will not be ‘cool’ enough for human habitation for several centuries. Estimates range between 300 and 900 years.

    While I do agree with Hansen that nuclear appears to be our best chance of maintaining some semblance of BAU while we transition to a vastly reduced energy future, I do not agree that the continuation of BAU itself is good for the future of humanity, and all other life on this planet.

    Human technology, and especially the generation of energy, is killing our planet. The Earth is the only home that we have, and in all likelihood, will ever have.

  42. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 3:20 pm 


    Okay, fair enough. May I ask for your sources on the duration of the time Chernobyl will be hot, and for the duration of time humans will be unable to occupy the exclusion zone?

    My understanding is there are already people in the exclusion zone, and that many moved quietly back into it not long after the accident. Reference Radioactive Wolves on PBS, 60 Minutes on Chernobyl, and Pandora’s Promise for interviews with these folks. The 60 Minutes segment shows the folks working on the sarcophagus, in addition to a young musician who moved back and considers the area somewhat sacred.

    I guess I’m coming off condescending. Again, that is not my intent. I’ve not read anything to indicate the reactor will be hot for a thousand years.

    The melted reactor at Three Mile Island was extracted and moved to the Idaho Research Facility for study. That facility specifically designed and melted reactors to better understand their dynamics. Those melted cores are being stored there now.

    And perhaps to address keith a bit, I learned all this stuff through sources anyone can use. I’m not an expert, but I’ve just tried to become an informed citizen on it, that’s all.

  43. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 3:27 pm 

    And Greg, to the issue of the continuance of BAU, I agree with you. Any future world would have to look substantially different from what we have now.

    I don’t know what it will look like, but I assume it will have to bring humanity back into greater harmony with nature. We would have to account for and recycle our air, water, and wastes. We would have to leave enough of nature alone to allow it to regenerate on its own.

    We would have to be much better stewards than we are today. I don’t know if we can do that or not. We haven’t shown the propensity so far. I think Hansen is thinking along the same lines. I fear that if we do not find a way to transition to whatever new paradigm comes next we’ll create a catastrophe. I suspect that’s Hansen’s perspective. In fact he’s said as much.

    It may seem counterintuitive to think of nuclear in this context, but it may be one of the ways we get there.

    Honestly, I think are chances are pretty slim. But who knows for sure?

  44. penury on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 3:53 pm 

    Never discuss religion with a religious fanatic. Faith is impossible to convince with facts. This applies to TM because that is all he has.

  45. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 4:04 pm 


    I’m the last person to site religion. I’ve asked for the counter sources, apparently a bit too harshly, for which I’ve apologized.

    I’ve stated my sources and tried to be as civil as possible about it. I’m open to your sources, but I don’t see them. If you have a site, or a reference table, or another place for me to look, I will do so.

  46. ghung on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 4:04 pm 

    TemplarMyst – I’m not sure if there’s anyone else posting here that is nuclear trained, has actually operated a reactor (heck, I slept 45 feet from a reactor core for several years), and has also provided most of his energy needs from solar for almost two decades. I’ve been deep into both worlds, and generally avoid these discussions, especially when BAU preservationists are involved. The problem isn’t our energy sources. They are simply artifacts of a more fundamental problem: children playing with fire. The most fundamental problem humanity has is humanity, and no amount of technology, no amount of energy, will change that. Humans, collectively, need to suffer the consequences of their horrible relationship to their biosphere or we’ll learn nothing; will continue down the path of self-extinction, and take many (most? all?) of our fellow Earthlings with us.

    I simply can’t take seriously those who are bent on enabling/continuing our proven horrid collective behavior; those who think there’s a technological solution to over-consumption, over-population, and a failure to care much about their waste streams.

    Those who cite the responses to the Chernobyl disaster as some sort of victory or success (See? We can handle these things!), who think we can get better at handling these Faustian bargain consequences, just don’t get it. In reality, that some of you think we can strike this sort of bargain with our own future is proof you just don’t understand the nature, the shear enormity of our collection of predicaments.

    We need to avail ourselves of the least worst options we have and learn to live with those. We may even discover we like it better than what we have; discover the joys of doing less with less, without fucking our children over with consequences we barely understand because we were selfish, greedy psychopaths. I have little hope this will come to pass; too many folks programmed to discount the future. Either way, humans will face the consequences, even though we could have taken a different path.

    Personally, I can’t condone and support any energy source we can’t simply turn off and walk away from, because I know, sooner or later, that’s what’s going to happen. It’s what we do.

  47. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 4:07 pm 

    And, if you do list your sources, and I have either read them, or do read them, and I disagree with them and which to discuss their assertions based on merit, how do we agree on the terms of the arguments?

    Is everything I say automatically assigned the status of non-factual? If so, how can this be portrayed as an open discussion, and which of us is actually being dogmatic?

  48. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 4:19 pm 


    Long time no chat. To your points I have answered before, but I will restate now.

    I have a strong tendency to think we will self-extinguish. We are just another bioform which overwhelmed the existing biosphere. We are the cyanobacteria of this age. Ironically, the way we are going, it will probably be the obligate anaerobes that survive. They’ve been waiting a couple billion years to reclaim their own.

    To embrace your point of view is, to me, to embrace a massive die-off, one which will very probably include the rest of life on the planet along with ourselves.

    Those of us arguing for a transition from one form of BAU to another are just trying to avoid that. However, it is probably inevitable that we will fail. We reproduce like any other bioform, only we have nothing to keep us in check.

    So if I have to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea, I will realize the choice is probably futile, but I will none the less try to swim.

  49. Davy on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 4:45 pm 

    Temple, you can try to defend NUK power but it is something we never should have got involved with along with countless other technologies. I think the bio-tech stuff and exotic chemicals are a few more. That said we have the built out NUK industry that is vital to BAU. We need BAU to transition out of BAU. The problem is most people are not transitioning out of BAU. They are hell bent on seeing BAU succeed.

    There is little chance of us transitioning out of NUK power and little chance of the industry growing. There is no BAU capital to grow the industry. There is no real growth today only the faux growth of wealth transfer and cannibalization.

    I am not sold on the idea some have on this site of pulling the plug on BAU. We need to maintain stability as long as possible. The crisis is coming and just around the corner. When this crisis comes each and every energy source will be needed to mitigate the drop in activity. Entropic decay will use up these built out BAU resources. There will likely be no new build out of BAU resources. We will struggle to keep the ship floating let alone build new ships.

    Any and all actions we make at this point are going to have consequences like never before. These dramatic consequences are because we are in now or soon to be in the bumpy descent. The descent will introduce systematic dysfunction and irrational policy. This chaos will further damage economic activity. This could be a runaway event with severe consequences of degree of societal stress and duration of the stress. Degree and duration are the key factors to a species survivability.

    It is likely to be the case that the economic activity needed by TPTB to solve any problems will not be there. Existing problems will magnify and converge. The key element now will be that moment of inflection when a crisis focuses the mind of those in charge. If we have any hope of an ad hoc plan B with mitigation efforts and adjustment actions it will be at a critical sweet spot of converging crisis factors. We will need the entire global system focused on an ad hoc plan B.

    This will be a short one chance situation. We saw it in 08 when the whole globe was fixated on DC and the tarp program. There is no guarantee this will work and the opportunity may come and go. When SHTF and countries make a mad rush for the door it will likely get ugly as an alternative to a global focus on a crisis. Any way will be ugly but panic is by far the worst option. That is pure chaos of a herd in stampede.

    We have a chance to adapt lifestyles and attitudes in a crisis. Nothing will change until a crisis. A crisis will end technological innovation and growth. A crisis will end complexity growth and energy intensive activities. The public will demand relief and TPTB will be obliged to do what they can. What I just told you is nothing more than a muse. A say muse because I am hoping to inspire some hope and meaning. It is not over yet until it is over.

  50. Apneaman on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 5:02 pm 

    Worse case is a meltdown and there is no one to there to try to contain it, because of war or natural disaster. Turkey Point power plant less than a hundred miles south of Miami had a near miss in 1992 with hurricane Andrew. Sea level rise and more powerful storms due to climate change greatly increase the chances of a disaster in the making. Another storm/hurricane will hit it the only question is when and how hard. The only thing they have done there is move the goal posts on safety issues….the wrong way. They can barley keep it cool enough as it is.

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