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To understand why the Germany became the first develop country to take action and start shouting down the nuclear program they have, we have to take a look on the history of nuclear in Germany. We all know until 1989 there was two Germanys the east and the west.

West Germany:

The nuclear program start at 1950s, however the first reactor opened in 1960 in Kohl am Main and it was an experimental nuclear power station. All of the German nuclear power plants that opened between 1960 and 1970 had a power output of less than 1,000 MW and have now all closed down. The first commercial nuclear power plant started operating in 1969. Obrigheim, the first grid station, operated until 2005. (Neckarwestheim). A closed nuclear fuel cycle was planned, starting with mining processes in the Saarland and the Schwarzwald; uranium ore concentration, fuel rod filling production in Hanau; and reprocessing of the spent fuel in the never-built nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at Wackersdorf. The radioactive waste was intended to be stored in a deep geological repository, as part of the Gorleben long-term storage project.

East Germany:

The first nuclear power plant in East Germany was Rheinsberg Nuclear Power Plant and they shutdown in 1990. The second to be commissioned, the Greifswald Nuclear Power Plant, was planned to house eight of the Russian 440 MW VVER-440 reactors. The first four went online between 1973 and 1979. The other four were cancelled during different stages of their build-up. In 1990, during the German reunification, all nuclear power plants were closed due to the differences in safety standards. The Stendal Nuclear Power Plant, which was under construction at the time, was cancelled.

Also Germany had three accidents. The first was in 7/12/1975 the locution was Greifswald, East Germany. Electrical error causes fire in the main trough that destroys control lines and five main coolant pumps, almost inducing meltdown. The second was in 4/5/1986 in Hamm-Uentrop. Operator actions to dislodge damaged fuel rod at Experimental High Temperature Gas Reactor release excessive radiation to 4 km2 (1.5 sq mi) surrounding the facility. The third was in 17/12/1987 in Hesse. Stop valve fails at Biblis Nuclear Power Plant and contaminates local area.

In 8/3/2011 the Germany government shutdown 8 nuclear plant in plan to take the nuclear power aout of the picture completely in 2022.Befor they shut down the plants the nuclear power was accounted for 23% of national electricity consumption. The announcement of the plan  was first made by Norbert Röttgen, head of the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, after late-night talks.

 

 

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Germany

 

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has published a preliminary
summary of their fact-finding mission to three nuclear power stations affected
by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The original document can be found here.

Some of the key findings include:

  • “Hydrogen risks should be subject to detailed evaluation and necessary mitigation systems provided.”This refers to how it is believed that hydrogen entered Unit 4, which has experienced spent fuel pool heating, but was on shutdown for maintenance at the time of the incident. It is now believed that ductwork shared between Units 3 & 4 provided a pathway for hydrogen generated by Unit 3 to enter Unit 4 and reach dangerous levels. This means that this possibility must be investigated in other plants that share these design aspects, and sytems to vent any buildup of hydrogen must be devised. The hydrogen buildup warrants a careful look at hydrogen venting capabilities for any plants that could suffer from the same design flaw.
  • “The tsunami hazard for several sites was underestimated. … Defence in depth, physical separation, diversity and redundancy requirements should be applied for extreme external events, particularly those with common mode implications such as extreme floods.”Two terms in this point require some explanation. The first, “Defence in depth,” refers to having multiple, redundant, diverse and independent safety systems in place, especially in the case of a single incident that can affect many systems, known as a “common mode” incident. “Common mode” refers to thefact that one incident (such as the tsunami) can disable many safety systems at once. Nuclear power stations will have to be re-analyzed to ensure that, within reason, no single incident or chain of events can disable enough safety systems
    to cause a major malfunction.
  • The IAEA mission urges the international nuclear community to take advantage of the unique opportunity created by the Fukushima accident to seek to learn and improve worldwide nuclear safety.The IAEA uses this opportunity to call for the world to learn from the Fukushima incident, in order to improve safety of all other nuclear plants. They see this as a learning opportunity, and there is indeed much information to be acquired by analyzing the situation as it develops.

    The picture belongs to Ben Hein


The Japan nuclear power system started in 1954 with budgeted reaches 230 million yen.it was limited only to peaceful purposes. The first nuclear reactor in Japan was built by the UK’s GEC. In the 1970s the first Light Water Reactors were built in cooperation with American companies. These plants were bought from U.S. vendors such as General Electric or Westinghouse with contractual work done by Japanese companies, who would later get a license themselves to build similar plant designs. Developments in nuclear power since that time has seen contributions from Japanese companies and research institutes on the same level as the other big users of nuclear power. The program face a lot of resistances at the beginning as Robert Jay Lifton stat:

There was resistance, much of it from Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors. But there was also a pattern of denial, cover-up and cozy bureaucratic collusion between industry and government, the last especially notorious in Japan but by no means limited to that country. Even then, pro-nuclear power forces could prevail only by managing to instill in the minds of Japanese people a dichotomy between the physics of nuclear power and that of nuclear weapons, an illusory distinction made not only in Japan but throughout the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite what happened in the world because of the Three Mile Island accident or the Chernobyl disaster. The Japan nuclear power program holds its ground through the 80s and the 90s and  construction of new plants continued to be strong.in the mid-90s there were several accidents occur in Japan , resulting in protests and resistance to new plants. These accidents included the Tokaimura nuclear accident, the Mihama steam explosion, cover-ups after an accidents at the Monju reactor, among others, more recently the Chūetsu offshore earthquake aftermath. While exact details may be in dispute, it is clear that the safety culture in Japan’s nuclear industry has come under greater scrutiny.Canceled plant orders include:

  •  The Maki NPP at Maki, Niigata (Kambara)—Canceled in 2003
  • The Kushima NPP at Kushima, Miyazaki—1997
  • The Ashihama NPP at Ashihama, Mie—2000
  • The Hōhoku NPP at Hōhoku, Yamaguchi—1994
  • The Suzu NPP at Suzu, Ishikawa—2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the biggest hits that the program took was the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant disaster on  March 11, 2011, This was the first time a nuclear emergency had been declared in Japan, and 140,000 residents within 20 km of the plant were evacuated. The total amount of radioactive material released is unclear, as the crisis is ongoing. However an energy white paper, approved by the Japanese Cabinet in October 2011, says “public confidence in safety of nuclear power was greatly damaged” by the Fukushima disaster, and calls for a reduction in the nation’s reliance on nuclear power. It also omits a section on nuclear power expansion that was in last year’s policy review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Japan

Chernobyl, Ukraine (1986)

INES listed the famous Chernobyl disaster as the worst nuclear disaster (of level 7: major accident) ever in the history of mankind to occur and it happened in 1986. Despite the fact that it should have followed all the necessary measures and adopted the appropriate safety culture, explosion followed by large discharge of radioactive contamination due to improper handling of the device coupled with design failures. The Chernobyl power plant is located on the border area between Ukraine and Belarus and it is stated the explosion of the reactor released 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki . Chernobyl disaster occurred during a low-power engineering test of the Unit 4 Reactor. Safety systems had been switched off and improper, unstable operation of the reactor allowed an uncontrollable power surge to occur. That resulted in successive steam explosions that severely damaged the reactor building and completely destroyed the reactor. Upon that, the large discharge of radioactive contamination followed suit, changing the lives of about 400000 people forever and the impression on nuclear power plant. Chernobyl disaster is a wake-up call where higher authorities related to nuclear industry, be it INES or IAEA will definitely improvise and enhance the already available safety culture. If it never failed, it would have never given way to development of the industry. When flaws are encountered, they can be rectified and the next time, the design will not fail for the same reason.

Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

Three Mile Island, United States (1979)

The United States’ most disastrous nuclear accident took place at the Three Mile Island Plant near Harrisburg, Penn., the state’s capitol. It all began with a simple plumbing break down. A small valve opened to relieve pressure in the reactor, but it malfunctioned and failed to close. This caused cooling water to drain, and the core began to overheat. The machines monitoring conditions inside the nuclear core provided false information, so plant operators shut down the very emergency water that would have cooled the nuclear core and solved the problem. The core began to overheat, and reached 4,300 degrees Fahrenheit. The water nearly reached the fuel rods, which would have caused a full meltdown of the core. But the nuclear plant’s designers were finally able to reach the plant operators several hours later to instruct them to turn the water back on, and conditions stabilized. The NRC determined that no one had died of causes related to the incident at Three Mile Island, but found there might be one excessive cancer death over a 30-year period as a result of radiation. Three Mile Island had a profound impact on the public’s attitude toward nuclear energy. In the 30 years since Three Mile Island, not a single nuclear power plant has been approved for development.

3 Mile Island Nuclear Disaster

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Japan (2011)

IAEA Fact-Finding Team completed a preliminary assessment of the safety issues linked with TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11. In the draft report, it said the biggest problems are the tsunami hazard for several sites was underestimated. Nuclear plant designers and operators should appropriately evaluate and protect against the risks of all natural hazards, and should periodically update those assessments and assessment methodologies. Officials already have concluded that the plant was not designed to withstand the 40-foot tsunami that hit it on March 11. But it is also likely that workers at the plant could have reduced the severity of the accident if they had made different decisions during the crisis. Some of the institutional issues have already emerged. Japan’s own preliminary investigation showed disagreement and confusion over who should be calling the shots. Barrett says this was partly cultural.

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

If you notice that it took 25 years for a disaster of such big scale in comparison to Chernobyl to happen. This is the evidence of concrete improvisations being made to nuclear safety culture to adapt well, along with the natural disasters. What happened in Fukushima is a wake-up call to continue improvising the safety enhancements for a better environment. However, the media has been exaggerating the event to instill fear in us A lesson to keep in mind is the accident but to ignore the steady increase of demand in power, that is irresponsible too. Opting out for other options in generating power has been one of the ever debated issues in organizations such as. However, if the sources are not compromised, can the demand be satisfied in 2050? People demand innovation, innovation needs energy, yet at the same time, being narrow mindedness when it comes to scaling into, be it renewable (wind, solar or hydro) or nuclear in our case is not helping the situation. Nuclear energy can offer a solution but is not the only option available for a greener environment.

INTRODUCTION

Nuclear science and technology has been growing slowly but ostensibly for over a century, embedding its depth in our society. The very first thing which comes to anyone’s mind upon hearing or coming across the word “nuclear” will have to be the incident of the United States dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which resulted Japan to surrender for our benediction. Undeniably, the success of Manhattan Project in developing the very first transportable atomic bombs triggered an alarming sense towards the expansion of the technology. Of course, the aftermath left scars. However, it was a breakthrough in the history of nuclear power and an eye-opener of what nuclear fission is capable off. The advantages of nuclear power are inevitable despite the various feedbacks from different organizations or countries regarding the matter and oppositions due to that. With our current theme of promoting a greener environment for all of us, nuclear technology will be an added compliment to it. It is indeed an emission-free energy as it does not contribute to global warming. Besides being a reliable energy by cutting down the dependencies on factors such as weather, foreign supplies or unpredictable costs, it can promote land and habitat preservation. The first ever nuclear power plant became operational in Obninsk, Moscow (1954) , providing a steady platform for other countries such as China and India to invest extensively. Moving from earlier decades to date, many safety features have been designed for implementation which contains improvements based on operational experience. The recent nuclear accident which happened in Japan’s Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant and other nuclear facilities raised questions among commentators over the future of the renaissance. Clearly, the incident casted doubts on the credibility of the energy, giving way to renewable energy the winning strike. Owing to that, Siemens, an engineering giant withdrew completely from the industry. Fukushima nuclear disaster has set the benchmark low, this time, till a safer solution is obtained and if at all, the trust can be regained once more. However, reassessment of the aspects of nuclear plant safety was highlighted and more safety factors are to be reviewed, thus employed in the upcoming safety designs of nuclear power plant. Yes, Fukushima’s nuclear incident is definitely a wake-up call to us but it does not have to question the validity of the energy. It was an obstacle where to find the solution is a mandatory act but leading the nuclear industry to an abolishment is simply irresponsible. Quoting from Dr.Yaron Danon, a professor of nuclear engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute , “I don’t see a reason why we should eliminate this technology, when someone dies in a car accident we don’t stop using cars. We work to make them safer.” this technology must survive for the betterment of us.

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