Nuke done right - Japan

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All of the attention is focused on Fukushima Daiichi but Japan has a lot of other nuclear plants and these are doing just fine. More than fine in fact. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Post-tsunami, some Japanese shelter in nuke plant
As a massive tsunami ravaged this Japanese fishing town, hundreds of residents fled for the safest place they knew: the local nuclear power plant.

Nearly three weeks later, 240 remain, watching TV or playing ball games with their children next to three atomic reactors. It's a startling contrast to the damaged nuclear plant 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast, where radiation leaks have forced an evacuation of area residents and terrified the nation.

The town of Onagawa's embrace of its plant reflects the mindset in much of Japan, at least before the current crisis. Nuclear power was accepted as a trade-off: clean and reliable energy versus the tiny but real risk of catastrophe � one that now may be unfolding at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.
Within the nuclear plant, facilities are pristine, electricity flows directly from Japan's national grid, and evacuees can use its dedicated phone network to make calls.

"The general public isn't normally allowed inside, but in this case we felt it was the right thing to do," company spokesman Yoshitake Kanda said.

The plant has heavily guarded entrances and strict security checkpoints. Operator Tohoku Electric Power Co. barred reporters from the grounds. Many of the details for this article were gathered from employees and evacuees as they passed through the front gate.

After the tsunami hit, residents made their way to a company public relations center on high ground just outside the main nuclear complex. But that facility was damaged and had no water or power, so they were moved to a meeting room inside the complex � and eventually to the employee gym, where they now stay, near the reactors.
And the plant in question:
The Onagawa plant was built to withstand bigger tsunamis � 30 feet (9 meters) � than Fukushima's 18 feet (5.4 meters). It had only light damage, including a fire near a turbine and some water that splashed out of a fuel rods pool. A jump in radioactivity was attributed to leaks from Fukushima.
The differences between the two plants are telling. The Onagawa plant's first reactor came online June 1, 1984, Fukushima March 26, 1971. Only thirteen years separating the two but a world of engineering differences. Now if we would just get off our collective duffs and start building Thorium reactors, we would be all set...

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