Monday, February 10, 2014

Japan, UAE (Sharjah This Time) and Sadness in Vermont

From Japan:

A candidate backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won Sunday's election for governor of Tokyo, frustrating a rival's efforts to make the vote a referendum on the Japanese leader's pro-nuclear energy policy nearly three years after the Fukushima disaster

The widely-expected victory by former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe comes as a relief for Abe, who had suffered a rare setback in another local election last month.

So Abe lost one and won one – which proves only that Japanese voters are tough to move on a single issue – and that nuclear energy is not a potent enough issue, if it ever was, to sway elections.

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A striking example of how a nuclear energy facility can benefit neighboring communities:

The University of Sharjah has announced that three nuclear energy laboratories worth Dh7 million will be set up in the university, with the aim of preparing highly qualified human cadres specialized in nuclear power.

The first ever integrated laboratory for students of the undergraduate program in nuclear engineering will be opened in September, while the other two labs will be opened later, Dr Waleed Mutawalli, Coordinator of the Nuclear Engineering Program at the university, said.

The facility here being Barakah in Sharjah’s UAE neighbor Abu Dhabi. Sharjah itself has only about 900,000 people in it, so this program will presumably enroll people from around UAE and other Arabic-speaking countries considering nuclear energy.

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I ran into this definition of Barakah: 

“Barakah is the attachment of Divine goodness to a thing, so if it occurs in something little, it increases it. And if it occurs in something much it benefits. And the greatest fruits of Barakah in all things is to use that barakah in the obedience of Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’ala)”

This sounds a bit like the Christian concept of grace, but manifesting as a series of occurrences rather than a state of being. In the nuclear sphere, it seems to refer to a little uranium generating a lot of electricity, an unalloyed good. A guess, but it fits the metaphorical bill.

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This is a sad video of the impact to local charities when a nuclear plant closes. Now, a lot of what is covered in the video has to do with the charitable giving of Vermont Yankee’s employees, the people who have set down roots in the towns around the facility. But Entergy, which owns Vermont Yankee, has also sent charitable vines and shoots out into the community. Decommissioning the plant will take some time, so Entergy isn’t packing its fuel rods and decamping in the middle of the night all at once. An Entergy spokesman in the video makes it clear that the company will be making donations going forward.

Still – this is how it goes. It’s not unique to nuclear energy facilities or even energy outlets. Companies come and go and open and prune branches every day.  In each instance, the result is good or bad for the local people. In this case, the communities impacted will adjust their expectations and looks for other sources of charitable giving because – this is how it goes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

VT Yankee... any reason not to build a new plant in a less hostile state? Not that MA or NH are ideal in terms of nuclear politics, but with transmission and human infrastructure already in place, might be worth considering longer term. Oyster Creek in NJ will likely be replaced by a gas burner. Hopefully VTY won't ultimately share that fate.