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Open Letter About Japan


This is an open personal letter from me, Craig Hesser, to those who read this blog.

The news media these days are full of the horrors of what has happened and what is still happening in Japan. I have the greatest sympathy for the Japanese people and I hope that their nightmare will soon end. Rebuilding – both psychologically and materially – will take years, and in some cases, generations.

The ultimate story of what will happen to the nuclear reactors at Fukushima is still untold. We can only hope for the best and support the owners, the technical people, the people of the surrounding areas, and the country as best we all can.

GEOCOGEN is an alternative to nuclear power. We believe that GEOCOGEN is the only viable base-load, large scale, sustainable power generation system available today, and that it is safe for the local population and the rest of the world as well.

We at GEOCOGEN are not out to stop nuclear power, and we do not have the resources to take on the nuclear power industry. We do believe that nuclear power will die a natural economic death in the next 2 to 4 decades. These beliefs are based on increasing costs of uranium production as the “low hanging fruit” ores are depleted, and on the additional construction requirements that will be required to obtain the measure of safety that individual governments believe will protect them from a Fukushima-style disaster.

I read that the conditions of the mechanical design at Fukushima were for a force 8,3 earthquake, and a 5-meter (17-foot) tsunami wave. This report indicated that TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company, the owner) had determined that both of these conditions were exceeded in the earthquake (9,0) and the tsunami (23 meters = 78 feet). I cannot blame the engineers or the designers for this apparent oversight. There had been no 9,0 earthquake in the recorded history of Japan. The tsunami wave design could have been for a greater height, but no one would have suggested a 20-meter design criteria. I read in the same article that the highest recorded tsunami in Japan was 35 meters in the late 19th century.

There were apparently other problems at Fukushima that should not have been allowed to continue, but that seems to be the case at many nuclear power plants, in Japan, in Russia, in North America, in the European Union, and even in our own Switzerland.

I have worked with a number of technical people in Japan. I have felt small earthquakes in Japan. It may sound strange to say this, but in my mind, the World is lucky that the accidents that were provoked at Fukushima were in Japan, and not some other, less regimented and less responsibly organised country. I am convinced that, in most other countries, what happened at Fukushima would have gone totally out of control and Fukushima 1 and Fukushima 2 both would have been completely destroyed, with the result that radioactive dust and aerosols would have circled the globe for years, and maybe even for decades or centuries.

I personally do not like nuclear power – not for what it is, but for what it has the potential to do to the world in general. The dangers from nuclear power take the form of a disaster similar to Chernobyl (regardless of the cause), and also in terms of the safe disposal of radioactive wastes. In Japan, there are very few options available for ways to produce electricity (relatively) inexpensively – Japan has essentially no fuel resources. Hydropower is used to the extent possible, but there are potential problems with earthquakes there as well. Wind, wave, OTEC, solar, biogas, geothermal, and other technologies are not capable of producing the amount of power that the crowded Island Nation needs. Nuclear power seemed to be a good fit, but now, there are many questions and afterthoughts. It is ironic that the only country to suffer from the use of atomic weapons during wartime now apparently will suffer from the peaceful use of nuclear energy as well.

Again, my heartfelt sympathy goes out to the Japanese people and particularly to the technical people who are working so hard to try to prevent the situation from becoming even worse.

Craig Hesser

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