General Electric is the 26th largest firm in the US and the 14th most profitable. So why can’t they make light bulbs that work?
In May this year I purchased six double packs of their ninety watt outdoor halogen bulbs for use in my security lights.
According to the pack, these bulbs will last 1.4 years. Then, the small print states that the figure is based on a usage of three hrs/day. Obviously, then, that figure won’t apply if the lights are used at night. This I found to be perfectly correct. My lights were used for six hrs/night through the summer. All twelve bulbs purchased in May are now defunct.
Given that my bulbs were on twice as long as recommended by GE, they should have lasted 1.4/2 = 0.70 years. That’s slightly less than nine months. All my twelve bulbs gave up the ghost within five months. Some lasted less than three.
“Ah, those bloody Chinese,” is the obvious response. Until one reads the pack blurb: “Assembled in the USA”. But, is that the same as “Made in the USA”? No, it just means the Chinese bits were shipped here for assembly.
One would think, given the size of the company, that by now GE would have learned how to make light bulbs.
Still, it’s only a bulb. I can always go out and buy another.
Have you noticed how Fukushima is decidedly out of the news right now? Remember the Japanese earthquake/tsunami of March 2011 that devastated whole communities, and took out six nuclear power plants that continue to pour highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean? It wouldn’t be surprising if you’d forgotten. The US media appears to have amnesia over the whole subject.
Which is all rather strange considering the United Nations and half the world’s atomic scientists are all rushing out to buy anti-diarrhea medicines because of it. You see, the problem with Fukushima’s six nuclear reactors is that they were badly designed in the first place. Reactor 4 is particularly critical right now. It houses about 1,300 fuel rods that, if they’re not removed safely, will cause a nuclear event roughly fourteen hundred times that of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
“The No. 4 unit was not operating at the time of the accident, so its fuel had been moved to the pool from the reactor, and if you calculate the amount of cesium 137 in the pool, the amount is equivalent to 14,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs,” said Hiroaki Koide, assistant professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute.
“They are going to have difficulty in removing a significant number of the rods,” said Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, who used to build fuel assemblies.
Spent fuel rods also contain plutonium, one of the most toxic substances in the universe, that gets formed during the later stages of a reactor core’s operation…”There is a risk of an inadvertent criticality if the bundles are distorted and get too close to each other,” Gundersen said.
He was referring to an atomic chain reaction that left unchecked could result in a large release of radiation and heat that the fuel pool cooling system isn’t designed to absorb.
“The problem with a fuel pool criticality is that you can’t stop it. There are no control rods to control it,” Gundersen said. “The spent fuel pool cooling system is designed only to remove decay heat, not heat from an ongoing nuclear reaction.”
One major problem for the Japanese is that the pool housing these rods is over one hundred feet off the ground, and that ground is unstable, making the building prone to collapse. It’s vital those fuel rods are removed, and TEPCO, the Japanese company that owns the Fukushima plant, has stated it will begin removal next month.
There’s a problem with that. Normally, rods are removed using computer technology. They’re very close together, and it’s vital they do not touch or it could spark an unstoppable nuclear reaction. Even using computers, the process can take many months. TEPCO will be attempting to do the job manually.
One eminent western atomic scientist has already decided to move her family to the southern hemisphere, if it all goes wrong.
Meanwhile, world opinion is forcing the United Nations to put pressure on Japan to allow an international team of scientists into the site to assist with this highly delicate task.
Given that the prevailing trade winds across the Pacific carry anything the Japanese eject into the atmosphere straight onto America’s western coastline, one can only hope they’re successful. So far, the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is in no hurry to cooperate, and TEPCO have proved decidedly ham-fisted in their approach to the problem.
As stated earlier, the removal of the fuel rods is complicated by the unduly bad design of the nuclear plant. Had the building housing the rod pool been on the ground it would be less susceptible to further earthquakes, or the gradually encroaching mud that is causing the building to sink further on its foundations.
So, who can we hold responsible for designing this ‘catastrophe waiting to happen’? Is it another example of that cheap Japanese rubbish they tried to parm us off with in the sixties?
Well, no. Actually, all six Fukushima plants were designed and built by the General Electric Corporation of America, otherwise known as GE.
Remember them? The company that can’t even make a decent light bulb?
Still, it’s only a planet. We can always go out and buy another.
 “Humankind’s Most Dangerous Moment: Fukushima Fuel Pool at Unit 4. “This is an Issue of Human Survival.” Global Research, September 20th 2013
 “Insight: After disaster, the deadliest part of Japan’s nuclear clean-up” Reuters, August 13th 2013
 “Caldicott: If Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 collapses I am evacuating my family from Boston (VIDEO)” ENENEWS (Energy News) April 2nd 2012