Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nuclear energy. Consequences of Japan Earthquake and Fukushima incident

In addition to my previous post about nuclear energy, I would like to detail what is the impact of this sequence of catastrophes.
Surely the big earthquake and tsunami account for most of the life losses, Fukushima will account for a small amount, even in long term. Life losses related to the nuclear incident will be limited because Japanese government is able to take any measure to prevent it. But this comes at a cost that may be higher than that of reconstruction and economic restart of the earthquake affected regions.
Fukushima incident, like any nuclear spillage, will require costly actions of:
- population evacuation and relocation costs: temporarily distributed in emergency host sites, evacuated citizens shall receive contribution for getting a new house somewhere else. new cities (or neighborhoods) will be constructed. Just think that a flat for a typical 3 people family will cost 2-300k$ on average. Add 15k $ car per family
- the region which may be impacted by radioactive effects is not known, at this time, but it may be huge and Japan is a densely populated region. Dicing a number, let's say that 1% of Japan population will be affected by relocation: that's 1.3M people
- radioactive environmental tests in short and mid-term: costly equipment shall be used to monitor status and modification of radioactive impacts on environment. Just imagine rastering a region of 100 square kilometers with earth-air-weather sensors and elaborating a huge and complex amount of data.
- long-term screening for nuclear-related diseases: this means that about 2 M people shall be screened periodically to look for potential effects derived by radioactive exposition.

Now, if I were pure fact-oriented, I would like to estimate the benefit-cost-ratio of building this nuclear power plant, derive the advantage of economic savings with respect to "other" power technology, and add the cost of this incident. I need too much data, but I am sure there are people who have this data and I hope they will publish it.
Anyway, since I am not purely fact-oriented, I try to imagine what means to me -a man in his forties with a family, a job, a car, several hobbies, and few good friends- what means to me being picked with just my dresses and a lot of fear, hoping the rest of the family is safe and dry, and being putted in an alien city, and everything to restart again. And, with me, thousands of other people in the same situation.
I cannot monetize this cost, I am sorry.

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