As Ferdinand Foch said back in the early 20th:
"My centre is giving way, my right is in retreat; situation excellent. I shall attack"
The situation at the quake- and tsunami-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear powerplant in Japan was brought under control days ago. It remains the case as this is written that there have been no measurable radiological health consequences among workers at the plant or anybody else, and all indications are that this will remain …
As Ferdinand Foch said back in the early 20th:
"My centre is giving way, my right is in retreat; situation excellent. I shall attack"
"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror ..." *
* FDR's inaugural address 1933
Perhaps if you can remain calm whilst all around you are frightened, you may be unaware of the true gravity of the situation. Or not...
"When in danger or in doubt,
Run in circles, scream and shout."
It seems subatomic particles generate their own reality distortion field. In any case, I've suspected Lewis all along has been taking the piss.
Wow I didn't see that one coming...
I watched BBC News 24 over the days on which the earthquake and tsunami disaster was unfolding; their coverage of the Fukushima 'event' was to my eyes quite balanced and seemed to convey only the facts, i.e. that the reactors ahd shut down during the earthquake, that backup generators failed during the tsunami and that efforts were underway to cool the still hot cores. They then covered the hydrogen explosions with very little speculation. As far as I can tell, theynever described the explosions as 'nuclear' and, certainly with the first one, made it clear that it waas only damage to the building, and not the reactor itself. They also stressed that the reactors in question were old 1960s designs and newer reactors would not suffer the same problems. I can only assume that the BBC, being a large organisation, has some journalists who like to go for the sensationalism angle, and I must not have been watching those in question.
If BBC News is anything like US news channels, there is probably a 1:5 ratio of news to utter shite. they'll do a proper news report every 6 hours, give everyone decent reporting and facts, you know, like how news is supposed to be. problem is, they then have 5 more hours to fill before the next dose of realative sanity.
24 hour news is a TERRIBLE idea. there isn't that much news!
Anywhere, but go. Now.
I note, Lewis, that the 'it's a triumph for the nuclear industry' claim is absent from this latest arrogant diatribe.
I'd like to register my displeasure at The Register's descent into tabloid, shock jock, journalism. Let me put it straight for all the pro-nuclear apologists high-fiving behind Lewis' lead.
Lewis, you shame true supporters of nuclear technology:
True supporters don't celebrate disasters.
True supporters don't publish apologist propaganda in attempts to mask mistakes.
True supporters don't wallow in gutter swill fights comparing kill rates of children.
True supporters don't provide 'comparison' and 'hysteria' smoke screens behind which bailouts are negotiated.
True scientists have the balls to face up to errors and correct them.
True capitalists compete of cost through competence and refinement.
The truth, which, Lewis' juvenilia doesn't touch on is that the bailout has already started:
"In a letter, the largest fisheries group accused the government of an "utterly outrageous" action that threatened livelihoods....
... The government has promised compensation for the fishing industry and Tepco has already unveiled plans to compensate residents and farmers around the nuclear plant."
I initially gave you the benefit of the doubt, Lewis. Subsequent constant red herrings have shown that to have been abused. You have set your stall out as an apologist for incompetence and you are offering no more than disaster mitigation industry PR. You are no friend if the industry. Industries supported by your type of denial descend into ripping off the tax payer.
Any US or UK citizens should watch out for this type of misdirection: this disingenuous neo-con pseudo-capitalism which favours monopolistic, corporate welfare. It is going on regularly now and is perverting the economies of both countries.
The latest UK example is the budget measures to prop up excessive property prices with publicly guaranteed part ownership deals... the bank will get it's money... and the risk will be taken by the gullible first time buyer and the taxpayer.
... protective plastic sheeting for Mr Page being delivered".
That will keep the nasty ikle wadiation away for you Lewis.
As was said the other day on this forum - it's about addressing the TRUE risk factors involved, and less about how many peeps fell off wind turbines because they didn't know how a ladder works.
The pictures published by Stern look ugly. However a lot of the damage shown on them is actually cosmetic - not the reactors themselves. Now can we have some pictures of the Tokyo petrol refinery for a comparison please.
"Mit Schläuchen gegen den Super-GAU"
I like the idea of describing this as a "Super-GAU", i.e. a "Super-Worst-Case-Scenario".
The Worserest Nuclear Accident Evar!
You just need to know what that "worst case" in GAU means. The term designates the worst case accident scenario taken into consideration when designing the plant. This is the maximum the containment etc are supposed to withstand. Think three mile island.
If things go beyond this scenario and leave the containment that's what's defined as a super-GAU
I stopped looking at the photos after the one where the safety lights were made to look like some sort of nuclear glow due to oversaturation.
Seriously guys, we all laughed at the 911 "truthers" when they did the same thing to try to prove there was molten iron at ground zero, and we're going to keep laughing at you blatantly making s**t up.
I was begining to think you had succumbed to reality but I'm glad to hear that everything is still rosy in your radioactive world!
"Viewpoint: We should stop running away from radiation"
Reminds me of J. Frank Parnell.
Ra-di-a-tion. Yes, indeed. You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked goggle-box do-gooders telling everybody it's bad for you. Pernicious nonsense. Everybody could stand a hundred chest X-rays a year. They ought to have them, too.
...the sensible, boring truth always gets in the way of a juicy story in the red-tops!
The only good thing to come out of it is that it keep the whole Japan situation in the public eye so they don't get forgotten about I suppose.
the hasn't been any science in New Scientist for years
ever since they got "captured" by the greenies and started printing global warming/icecaps melting scare stories...
Shintarō Ishihara was the one thing in that really got me. When Japan shows the world how well they can act in the face of a terrible disaster (the earthquake and tsunami) he opens his mouth!
I'm pro nuclear. Still, there is no question that the Fukushima situation is disastrous, at the very least from a PR standpoint. There have been uncontrolled explosions, makeshift solutions, and the possibility, however remote, that something more serious could go wrong. The news reporting has been a little on the scaremonger side, but Lewis Page responds with equally bad whitewashing. Forget the tone of the news reporting, the facts have largely been reported correctly. The real worry is given how out of control the situation has appeared to be over the past few weeks, how bad could it really have been, and what risks, if any, it could get worse. Even the Japanese government and Tepco refuse to say that this situation is entirely under control, something that the "expert" Lewis Page seems to think he understands perfectly.
Shame on the Register for giving page so much airtime for essentially repeating the same point over and over.
"Forget the tone of the news reporting, the facts have largely been reported correctly."
From the "nearing Chernobyl levels" part:
"which Wotawa theorises may have been emitted from Fukushima in amounts "20-60" per cent of those seen at Chernobyl"
So, based on a sketchy model, Iodine at 20%, possibly up to 60%, is "nearing Chernobyl levels." I would venture that "nearing" would imply a constant growth that is currently at 60% or greater with no signs of stopping. In the case of radio-iodine, it may have been detected at certain quantities, but is continually decaying and thus will NEVER reach anything "near" Chernobyl levels, since it is not being emitted anymore.
Yes, the reactor situation was a disaster. But so was the tsunami and earthquake. The disaster was that the facility was partially ruined, not that people are "glowing." In terms of preventing a REAL disaster (meltdown) from occurring, or harmful, long-term radiation escaping, this incident was a triumph. Not bad for a worn-down, 40-yr-old reactor design. I tip my hat to these dedicated workers for their calm in this.
What triumph Ammaross Danan?
Partial meltdown/damage of the fuel rods has occured in all three reactors operating at the time of the accident.
Reactor no 2 containment breach is likely.
Harmful long-term radiation has escaped.
Worn-down 40-yr-old reactors should not be operational.
I for one am not celebrating this triumph.
What do you mean "the facts have largely been reported correctly?" Other than the very rare voice of reason like Lewis, the reporting has mostly been beyond horrible.
Shame on you for speaking out of your nether orifice.
>There have been uncontrolled explosions, makeshift solutions,
>and the possibility, however remote, that something more serious
>could go wrong
I remember when a big oil depot caught fire near that there London - I think you could level the same criticisms there, except that oil polluting the ground and fire is better understood because it happens far more often.
Consider a less lightly disaster.
That took months, massive environmental damage.
Experts from all over the world unable to fix the problem as the problem was out of scope.
Wildly varying estimates of oil in the sea.
Food supply destroyed.
Containment on the surface patchy.
So yes, when accidents happen bad things go wrong.
In big uncommon accidents learning happens on the ground, and is written up for others to learn from.
I worked on a battery backup system for the safety systems of two nuclear reactors. I was an electronics engineer on the project... back in 1996 or so. To be more correct, I was an engineer on the safety system for the batteries which backed up the safety systems. There are many levels of safety systems in place. The system we worked on monitored all 720 two volt, 275 amp batteries 50 times per minute each, logged all the levels and performed maintenance tasks such as regular unloading and reloading of the banks of cells in order to make sure that they were always at 80% charge (the ideal charge level for those cells).
The reactors we built these for were reaching the end of their 30 year service life and would have been decommissioned and replaced with new reactors that run at MUCH higher efficiency and cleanliness, but the fear-mongers out there whined about how dangerous nuclear is and they'd much rather use the 30 year old plants which would have to be hacked and retrofitted to keep them running with under 60% efficiency while producing toxic nuclear waste as opposed to installing new reactors which run at 98% efficiency and produce relatively harmless waste (speaking strictly of the cores, not the other wastes).
What it boils down to is, the reactors in Japan should have been shutdown and replaced a long time ago, but these days, building new reactors to replace the old ones is getting harder and harder because people are too smart to realize how stupid they really are.
The performance of these reactors has been amazing. Beyond belief. When the plants didn't melt down outright, that was a sign of the incredible engineering skills that went into them. The fact that the workers got it under control goes to prove just how smart people like nuclear physicists really are. These are the best and the brightest people in the whole world.
This disaster did accomplish one truly important task. Those reactors will either be taken offline permanently and replaced with modern ones or the ones which are salvageable will be retrofitted with new core technology as opposed to simply rebuilding the old design. This will make them cleaner and more efficient.
So, those ancient reactors built in a time where we knew nearly nothing about nuclear physics will finally be replaced with something based on what we know now which is considerably more.
........would say that you should tone down the triumphalism in your articles a touch - you are damaging the cause you wish to serve.
I agree with Mr Fox here, this tone would often cause me to dismiss journalists outright, I don't trust authors who can't keep personal bias under control.
Well, at least its not as bad as a message we had relayed to us at Church last week from someone we support in Japan reporting that radiation levels in Tokyo were "5 times normal" which was classed as "very worrying" !
. . the lack of actual information from the Japanese government. They keep not saying anything and keep chucking more resources at it. They say there are possible cracks, empty cooling pools, trying different tactics etc. yet apparently all is fine and dandy.
It's the loud 'Nothing to worry about, nothing to see, move along please' that scares the shit out of me.
Have you actually looked at any of Tepco, the Japanese Government's, the Japanese nuclear heakth and safety regulator's, NHK's, the JAIF, or the IAEA's websites?
You've got status updates coming out of your ears. Complete listings of radiation monitoring results. Data down to inlet and outlet temperatures on the reactors. Spent fuel pond temperatures. Containment temps and pressures.
Just because you're too idle to look, or prefer to get your information from the "Daily Mail" isn't the Japanese Government's problem. It's yours.
If anything, they're being too open. When some half-wit from the press mouths off with some idiotic concept, they don't say "don't be f***ing stupid". They say "we'll consider that possibility". Which then get's reported as "Japanese Official confirms...".
And yet the Japanese government are filling thier trousers as they become ust a tad desparate about the situation.
I've got updates coming from all sides and so far it tells me absolutley nothing except they are shitting themselves - still.
Data < Information < Knowledge
You are bashing the Japanese government for being worried? Somebody that is leading a country that has just sustained a very large earthquake with a following devastating tsunami. And in this extremely challenging situation, where half their country is destroyed and their citizens is in danger of dying due to lack of food, shelter and power, they have to battle to avoid mass hysteria caused by a totally reckless western media. A mass hysteria that would kill thousands in any country on a good day in a good year, and in Japan atm would be threatening the relief efforts and thus threatening the lives to a rather larger group of people. You are seriously sitting in your basement writing, with that as a backdrop, comments like that?
(btw, if the updates you "got coming" tell you nothing, then it might just be your ability to understand them that is the problem, but personally I doubt that you actually have "updates coming from all sides".)
I am all done now. Yes, I feel much better, thank you. Thanks for your post btw, I value your opinions. Coat please!
They had one of the worst earthquakes in recorded history, a tsunami that did well nigh half a trillion dollars in damage, and had 6 reactors take a hit larger than they planned for ALL at once. If they *weren't* shitting their pants, they wouldn't be human.
Of course this is a disaster. But making it worse than it really is, is outright irresponsible, and you really have to consider that there's ulterior motives at work because of it. I'm sure greenpeace is preparing another [FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID HERE] press release as we speak. Do brits say "Arseholes", or does "assholes" work fine too? They're that. Yeah.
From Prime Minister Kan "I'm bricking it lads, I don't know about you.."
Grow up and go check out a few of the sources I mentioned. You'll find calm, candid and rational expositions of exactly what's known, and where it's got to.
Or, you could carry on reading the comics.
Thy name is Elmer Phud.
@Pet Peeve: "Do brits say "Arseholes", or does "assholes" work fine too?"
Yes, we say Arseholes. It also sounds nicely condescending ;)
Anyway, if a Brit says Asshole, it makes them sound like an Arsehole.
you mean fox AND sky.
n.b. watching the same 15 minute rolling news loop 96 times a day isn't really getting information from all sides...
unless, that is, you are part goldfish
Since when is Greenpeace's attitude towards Nuclear Power an 'ulterior motive'?
I went onto their web-site to look at these fantastic Armageddonist Factoids and, frankly, I was underwhelmed by understated, evidence-based press releases.
Bring me hyperbole or bring me cake!
IIRC, Greenpeace silently switched from being anti-nuclear to pro-nuclear a few years ago, when they realised that it is actually quite green compared to coal, oil, gas etc. power, and when they conceded that whilst nice in principle, there is little practical possibility of powerering our world with windmills and PV cells until the technology and cost improves quite substantially...
I appreciate that the scale of the tsunami was far greater than the units were designed to withstand, and also that the tsunami itself has been the major cause of immediate fatalities.
I understand that the media over hype everything, however I do not believe that Japan's government and nuclear industry are blameless in the ongoing situation.
The articles posted have been informative but veer towards trying to minimise a situation dangerous in most peoples books.
For sure the employees on site are to be commended for their bravery and dedication, however management responsibility for looking after a heap of toxic nuclear material should require more significant risk strategy.
The fact that those responsible do not have appear to have had anything but limited control of all 6 reactors and specifically reactor three, which contains plutonium and is now thought to have been breached, shows that the risks of citing powerstations on a coast exposed to certain plate activity a few miles offshore and the likelihood of catastrophic tsunami action at close quarters, slightly misguided.
"veer towards trying to minimise a situation dangerous in most peoples books"
It is dangerous but not apocalyptic, yet most of the anti-nuclear posts here don't seem to be able to make this distinction.
It's always "nuclear is not safe because if you place a reactor on every corner and without any shields and make it massively supercritical we are all going to die!". And the fact is that it is true but that's why reactors are not on every corner and they are shielded and have all sorts of safeties built into them. And what these articles are trying to say is that this protection works even in extreme and catastrophic circumstances, whether the reactors remain under full control or not.
Some corrections to your last paragraph are required:
ALL current nuclear reactors contain plutonium. It is a natural by-product of the nuclear reaction. All uranium reactors use a mixture of U235 and U238. Normally about 95% U238 and 5% U235. This is necessary to get a chain reaction without the risk of a runaway chain reaction like you get in a nuclear bomb. During the splitting of U235 nucleii, neutrons are released. These get absorbed by U238 to form U239. This is unstable and, through beta decay, quickly (in a few minutes) become Neptunium 239, which is also unstable and, through beta decay, in a few days, becomes Plutonium 239.
Reactor 3 happens to be a mixed oxide reactor which means the fuel is a mix of uranium and plutonium which in turn means there is more plutonium in the reactor. Plutonium, is worse from a health perspective than Uranium, if it is ever released.
Primary containment on reactor 3 has not been breached. The suppression chamber has supposedly been cracked, but that isn't really primary containment. There have specifically, as far as I am aware (and please correct me with a reference if I'm wrong), been no reported cases of heavy metal radiation from Actinides.
Shhhhhh! Don't get the panic brigade worried about Pu now!
Interesting related fact:
I read once somewhere (not an authoratative source, I know) that plutonium itself is actually very toxic; so toxic in fact that if you were to ingest enough to give you cancer from the radiation, you wouldn't get cancer, because you'd already be dead from the poisoning. Can anyone verify this?
Of course, the only thing that we learn from that is that it probably best not to eat reactor fuel...
"the risks of citing powerstations on a coast exposed to certain plate activity a few miles offshore and the likelihood of catastrophic tsunami action at close quarters, slightly misguided"
please see locations of Tokai and Onagawa power plants (also reinforcing previous commentards that, actually, you know, given that Fukushima is the Ford Cortina of nuclear plant design, its actually done bloody well, hats off to the original designers & engineers and those that have managed the situation).
Shame on the rest of you.
Visualization of deaths per terawatt/hour of all energy sources. Coal is KING of course -
Very interesting graph (although why they needed Flash is beyond me, although it does let you play around with it ).
Especially interesting is that natural gas can blow up entire neighborhoods in California and still come out with such a low death rate overall.
I considered the beer icon as indicitive of a better use of biomass until I started wondering if the biomass figures included traffic statistics, so decided to salute the boffins behind the graph instead (in spite of Flash).
The San Bruno explosion caused the neighborhood to burn down. It didn't blow it up.
thats to keep the fanbois out.
last thing wee need is a critique on how the design of the stations could have been much more aesthetically in tune with its environment :D