Nuke Plants Warm The Planet

Another invigorating night out at a local activist gathering. The grassroots organization "Association to Think on Miyazaki’s Nature and Future"(Shizen to Mirai wo Kangaeru Kai) hosted a biology professor from neighboring Kagoshima prefecture. He studies tidal flats, ocean wetlands and rivermouth organisms (annelid worms, cool!). Biologists that are excited about their field tend to be fun, vibrant people and Masanori Sato (1) was no exception. Hailing from Hiroshima originally he debunked the nuclear industry’s claims of mitigating global warming with his concern for living organisms. I enjoyed learning some biology (of river crabs, shrimp and the delicious Japanese eel and Ayu Sweetfish.) He stressed that eels (which like salmon) spend their parts of their lives in both rivers, pretty far upstream, and oceans, all the way over to the Mariana Islands, are ‘barometer’ of ecosystem health. We should look at them like canaries in the cave mine.

He started the speech out showing a newspaper ad, actually sponsored by the newspaper itself with ‘cooperation’ of an electric company, stressing nuclear energy as a global warming mitigation strategy. The words ‘fraudulent behavior’ came up at the end when this topic came up again. The electric utilities (where do they get off using their monopoly to charge the highest electricity rates of any OECD country and then using that to advert-propagand-ize to us?) were reprimanded for inaccurate commercials. Just because the turbines don’t produce CO2 doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to call Nuclear Energy ‘Clean’ (Ja).

Sato started the explanation showing that Sendai river, from which the Nuclear plant (2 so far) gets it’s name is the larges watershed in Kagoshima. It’s very productive and the average flow is 108 cubic meters pers second. This figure makes sense later when you see the width of the river mouth beside the nuclear plant and learn that each Nuclear turbine has to suck up 66.5 cubic meters per second of water to control temperature of the nuclear reaction.

 Look at the size of the flow in the rivermouth behind the nuke plant and think that the two nuclear generators a sucking up more water each second.

Only 33.5% of the heat generated by the nuclear reaction produces electricity. The rest is spent on the cooling water brought in to control the reaction so that the surrounding area isn’t nuked by a runaway reaction. I was in Pennsylvania at the age of 9 for Three Mile Island where people died and continue to die. I don’t think it would be good for the Small gene pool if my daughter was anywhere near another nuclear accident – not to mention the millions of other people that were/are even closer. Plus, what about all the little baby fishy Nemo’s being sucked up, chlorinated, heated and spit out all dead every second of everyday?

 The Third Nuclear Turbine planned for this area would require even more landfill, killing even more shrimp, just to creat more nuclear waste in what will be the largest nuclear facility in the world. Japan is already having a lot of problems (the glass pellet scheme to store the nuclear waste was literally been blocked up and the lost track of unbelievable amounts of plutonium or something – Yeah! Go Rokkasho)

  Getting back to Masanori Sato’s speech, Chlorine is used to kill off all the living organisms that might block up the cooling water. You can ask Charlie Cray – Chlorine is not a good thing – It should be banned unless it is safely bound up as salt.

Chlorine used on Nuke Plant Cooling Water Intake

As the water enters the cooling tank, it carries 193 species of vegetable plankton, 143 species of animal plankton, 61 kinds of fish eggs and 111 types of baby fish (little Nemosor the economically important clear-bodied little babies used to stock eel and ayu fish farms).

Life and Chlorine not Assessed Properly

The electric compan ignores the real researchers and comes up with their own little research projects to prove that just maybe 30% of the organisms that pass through this cooling process survive. The prefecture did their own body count for a few years after the plants opened in the mid-80’s and found some survivors. With Freedom of Information type movements gaining ground (as one reason I would imagine) in Japan the prefecture doesn’t even bother with this kind of data collection anymore.

And you have this image of nuclear plants and huge dam projects, tunnels, being scarily squeakily clean techno-wonders with a fascist freedom from life. Well, not to be Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park or anything but ‘Life will find a way’ to screw up even the most technical of plans.

Here is a picture of the cooling water conduits coated 10 centimeters deep with bivalve mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis or MurasakiIkai)

Here’s another picture of the AkafujiTubo shellfish (Megabalanus rosa) blocking a big concrete intake conduit. ‘Life will find a way,’ why not go with the flow and find ways to work with life instead of all this sterile Terminator(Monsanto) crap? It would be healthier for everyone, the little organisms too, if you want to be selfish about it maybe one of them has some kind of chemical that will cure your cancer or something..

The chart comparing the density of floating organisms around the intake valve with the area around the output conduit was damning also.

The ayu, like the salmon, spend parts of their lives at sea, and part in the river. Tasty fish. You have to learn how to press and squeze their bodies, break off the tail and fins and pull their bone right out with the head. It’s easier to eat a boned fish body.

They require decent rivers and decent ocean environments to flourish. Dams, pollution and Nuclear plants cramping their style isn’t conducive for this food source and ecosystem barometer.

There are three different kinds of eel. With the natural Japanese eel suffering from such environmental deterioration we end up eating cheap European eel raised in China instead of the larger, tastier Japanese eel. Eel have been importan and the subject of poems since ancient times. The nocturnal baby eel harvests are declining, they’re cute when their babies and the eels migrate! Actually a Japanese researcher found a way to discover how many of them actually spend time upstream in the rivers. The findings raises questions about if they’re life cycles have been changing to avoid the dammed and degraded rivers.

Three Types of Eel

These delicate looking shrimp migrate between the rivers and ocean also.

The Shrimp harvest is way down, and you gotta figure that this massive warming of the ocean, a whole river of water is returned to  7 degrees celsius warmer than it would normally be. So you get all kinds of invasive species that normally wouldn’t survive….

The deep blue is 3 degrees warmer than the surround water, the lighter blue 2 degrees and then you have a wide area that is one degree warmer. One Degree celsius is a big difference. How did the nuclear energy regulations end up with the magic number of 7 as the goal for water released back into the surrounding environment. It is not apparent that there were serious environmental assessment studies done, or followed up…

Here’s the shellfish from the Phillipines that normally aren’t found this far to the north.

And these cute little living fossils with have been found in Kagoshima as they are lost in other areas of Japan. There name in Japanese Slug Fish (Namukuji Uo) isn’t appetizing but they’ve existed for this long, why not help keep them around – even you can’t see them inspiring a Shriekback song like Coelacanth.

Sato provided a nice japanese language chart for discussing the effects of Nuclear Plants, other than C02, a map of all the Nuke plants in Japan, active, under construction and in the planning stages.

He also mentioned Iwai Jima island in SetouchiKai sea, one of the few places where the fishing community has people (Kokeisha) to carry on the profession.The media doesn’t cover their struggle. You have to find a traveling activist to get picture of the old ladies standing in the bay to obstruct heavy equipment, or all the fishing boats surrounding the boring set up to detain the development. Very impressive.

(1) Masanori Sato

*- SATO, Masanori

Biology of sibling species of Nereididae, Polychaete fauna in tidal flats and brackish-waters in Japan,

Dr/ Assistant professor Masanori Sato
Laboratory of Environmental Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science,
Kagoshima University
Korimoto, Kagoshima,, JAPAN, ( 890)

A lot of areas of tidal flats inhabited by many polychaete species are faced with a crisis of artificial reclamation with little importance in many places of Japan, even now. (back)

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