Ignorance is not the same as stupidity; ignorance is curable
For those of you who have tired of the largely fact-free editorials and posts about Fukushima Daiichi which have blemished The Register for the past month, I suggest the following:
1.) An article in the IEEE Spectrum, the leading publication of electrical engineers in the U.S., which both explains the INES rating system and the reasons, in the publication's opinion, that the new rating is correct. http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/energy/nuclear/fukushima-accident-upgraded-to-severity-level-7
2.) The extensive coverage in the Spectrum of every aspect of the Daiichi failure. This coverage is fully the equal of the work the journal did with respect to Three Mile Island, which was stellar. Among the articles is an explanation of why Japan's electrical grid design makes sending power from underutilized generators to the Tokyo area problematic. The home page for this coverage is http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/energy/nuclear/fukushima-accident-upgraded-to-severity-level-7
3) The 26 Mar NRC "threat assessment" of Daiichi, which may be found on many sites. http://www.fairewinds.com/content/nrc-report-official-use-only-fukushima-assessment-march-26th-2011
4.) The early April (dated 7 Apr on page 2) Areva "The Fukushima Daiichi Incident" Powerpoint which gives Areva's assessment. Areva has been heavily involved with servicing Daiichi long before the "incident." http://www.fairewinds.com/content/3-2011-areva-fukushima-report
While you're at the Fairewind site, you might profit from a look at the narrations of the missing water in fuel pond 4 and the demonstration of the effects of overheating on fuel rods.
5.) Nature, the most prestigious science journal in the world, has a special section on Daiichi which includes information not found in Spectrum. Well worth reading. http://www.nature.com/news/specials/japanquake/index.html
A few hours spent with this rigorously scientific material will make you far better informed than all of The Register's Daiichi articles and posts. The same material should also lead, if you are rational, to a far more nuanced set of opinions than have been displayed, for the most part, in The Register.
Finally, two current and significant quotes from well-informed and highly-placed nuclear energy authorities which should prove enlightening or at least thought-provoking.
1.) 11 MAR 11 from the Associated Press (WASHINGTON) The top U.S. nuclear regulator said Monday he will not change a recommendation that U.S. citizens stay at least 50 miles away from Japan's crippled nuclear power plant, even as he declared that the crisis in that country remains "static."
Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that the month-old crisis in Japan has not yet stabilized. But he said conditions at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant have not changed significantly for several days.
"We describe the situation as static but not yet stable," Jaczko said.
"It hasn't really changed too much in the last few days," he added, but it will be weeks or even months before the plant is stabilized.Jaczko said the most important job at the plant still is keeping water in the spent fuel pools to cool the highly radioactive fuel rods, reducing the threat of a meltdown and a catastrophic release of radiation.
Jaczko, who traveled to Japan last month, said the NRC has begun a two-pronged approach to review the safety of the 104 commercial U.S. nuclear reactors in the wake of the Japanese crisis.
2.) 12 Apr 11 from The Mainichi Daily News (TOKYO) The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said Tuesday that it is concerned that radiation leakage at the plant could eventually exceed that of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.
"The radiation leak has not stopped completely and our concern is that the amount of leakage could eventually reach that of Chernobyl or exceed it," an official from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.