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« Never a moment more destructive: Tsunami in Japan | Main | Astounding: Satellite photos of Japan, before and after earthquake »

March 12, 2011



The running theory is that hydrogen gas, relieved from the containment vessel, exploded withing the containment building, destroying it.


This sucks, but it's a non-event. Nothing bad will come of this, radioactively speaking, except envirowhackos will use it as an example of why we can't have nuclear power.

I hope the world focuses on helping the homeless Japanese more than this reactor crap. It makes for good TV, but that's about it.


From a posting at The Jawa Report site on this topic:

Just a note, this is a light water reactor. So, even if it was a full meltdown of one of the reactors the damage wouldn't be anything near as bad as Chernobyl. Chernobyl was graphite moderated, which made it less stable than modern light water reactors and therefore much more prone to meltdown. Since regular water is used to cool down the reactor at the Japanese site, it should be much easier to contain.

Contrast Three Mile Island, which was a light water reactor, with Chernobyl which was graphite moderated. In Chernobyl 50 people died immediately with an additional 4,000 dying from exposure to radiation. No one died at Three Mile Island, and 25 years later there has been no statistically significant increase in cancer rates in the exposure area.

So, not to take away from the real danger of a nuclear power plant run amok, but even in a plausible worst case scenario a meltdown here probably wouldn't be nearly as bad as Chernobyl.

Japan Earthquake: Nuclear Disaster Feared After Power Plant Explosion


It should also be noted that the Chernobyl area saw a nature paradise arise from its ashes within a year of people clearing out. There are no dead zones. Wildly prolific nature has made a mockery of even our worst nuclear error, and is currently walking all over those reactors and turning them back into dust.

Nature is the enemy, and the sooner we stamp it out, the better. IMO :).


An e-mailed note from a friend:

The one other major difference between Three Mile Island and Chernobyl is that the latter did not have a containment vessel, so all the radiation escaped. In Three Mile Island’s case, only a “minor” amount of radiation escaped, through venting.

What worries me is that the reports I read earlier today indicated that this was unit one, a 1970s model, and that fears were expressed that the containment on this unit may have cracked because of the earthquake, thus increasing the possibility (not probability) of significant radiation escaping. The containment vessel never cracked at Three Mile Island. Let’s hope for the best.

In any event, this incident undoubtedly has set back the U.S. Nuclear power revival for at least another decade while scientists study what happened and how we can be sure that it’s not replicated in the U.S. Of course, nothing is “for sure”, so it will take awhile for people to accept the need for new nuclear power projects. Too bad – just when gas was going to $5 per gallon, which would have increased public acceptance of new nuclear plants. Let’s hope I’m too pessimistic.


Glad you noticed that no one was killed at TMI, but in fact you understated the fact: there was not even an *injury*!

The worst result of TMI (during which the operators seemed, at first, to be *trying* to blow up the plant) was the psychological damage inflicted on the public by our alarmist, technically ignorant journalists!

Fukushima Daichi is gingerly under control under very delicate circumstances, so what we should be paying attention to now, is the devastation inflicted on thousands of people by the tsunami!


Dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant forced Japan to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors Tuesday after an explosion and a fire dramatically escalated the crisis spawned by a deadly tsunami.

Radiation level soars after Japan nuke plant fire


In the media-driven scurry to save ourselves from the radiation leakage from Japan, let’s hope and pray that the 127 million population whose lives became a living nightmare at 2:46 p.m., Friday, March 11 local time are not going to be forgotten.A strikingly dignified people showing tremendous grace under pressure, it is not the Japanese who are panicking in the face of nuclear meltdown, but their faraway friends and supporters overseas.

Environmental activism trumping personal plight of Japanese?


Japan's nuclear diaster is now worse than Three Mile Island, experts said, after the two most recent blasts exposed a spent fuel pool to outside air and might have compromised a reactor shield.

Japan crisis worse than Three Mile Island, experts say

jj mollo

Hysteria reigns. My daughter sent me this unsentimental analysis found in a Register article.

Frank Warner

That Register article may be premature. I still think we need to double our nuclear power production in a hurry, and we can learn from this disaster to make the new nuclear plants even safer.

jj mollo

Of course we can learn from it. It does seem a little short-sighted to locate nuclear power plants in high population areas, in flood plains, on fault lines, or by the ocean. The main lesson is that there are never enough backup systems. The plants should be designed to shut off safely without power. These are old plants. Today's designs are already a lot safer, but the performance of these old ones was far from a failure. It should be characterized as a triumph.

I heard an interview this AM on NPR with a scientist who has been investigating effects of the Chernobyl disaster. While people died there, the ongoing effects were difficult to detect. He suggested that the most prominent outcome of the disaster was the establishment of a large nature preserve. At Chernobyl people did everything wrong. Bad design, bad engineering, poor construction, poor training, neglect, laziness, contempt for procedures. And yet today, it's hard to detect any impact without a Geiger counter.

The Japanese got hit with an unprecedented disaster - a quake five times larger than the worst they could imagine, double disaster with tsunamis, triple disaster in some places where everything burned down. The safest place to be was in the nuclear power plant. All this nuclear hysteria is just further brutalizing people that have already lost everything and everyone they had previously known.

Frank Warner

I think the nuclear power controversy has reached a tipping point. Here, in the face of the worst nuclear plant accident in the history of the Free World, free people are weighing risks and rewards, and they aren't panicking.

It appears a majority are deciding that, if we are to have any chance of such civilized comforts as warm showers and basic health care over the next 50 years, and if we believe it might be wise to stop increasing CO2 levels, we have no alternative but to expand nuclear power.

The longer we put off the expansion of economical energy, the poorer we'll be.

jj mollo



EDITORIAL: CNN's Colorful Account of Tokyo Radiation "Danger" is Inaccurate

jj mollo

Gregg Easterbrook talks about the real disaster in Japan.




I stand by my original assessment. Still no big deal, imo. It sucks, but lots of things do that. Worst case scenario: They shut down a ten mile radius from mankind and allow nature... horrible evil nature, to wreak havoc on the area. And wreak havoc it will. Shakespeare should have said, "Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of nature."

Those of you who live in cities probably don't know this, but nature sucks, royally. I'm like the bad guys in that non-narnia trilogy by CS Lewis. Nature is horrible, and the sooner it is destroyed, the better for all of mankind.

Sadly, this nuclear accident will only strengthen nature, if it does anything at all :). imo, of course.


In case you doubt me, here is a tiny list of some of the horrors of nature:

poison ivy
that tree that makes strychnine berries
fire ants
african bees
fly's that grow under your skin in Belize
poisonous snakes

Good Lord, the list is endless. NATURE SUCKS! The sooner we end it, the better.


How about rockfish? If you put your hand on one, they sting you and you DIE! What sort of evil thing would create such a horror? Nature, that's who.

I'm like the bad guys in that CS Lewis trilogy where merlin did a tower of babylon thing on the people at the end of the third book. THE EVIL GUYS WERE RIGHT! Nature totally sucks. We can do better.

Step One: Spray Roundup. Everywhere that we are not growing crops.

I haven't thought of a Step Two yet. But Step One would be a good start. Maybe step two should be open season on all animals that aren't human, pig, cow, chicken or sheep. It's still an idea in progress. I'll keep you informed :).


Malaria. Those malaria mosquitoes are much worse than anything a few nuclear reactors can do... courtesy of nature, of course. Thanks a LOT nature, you bitch.


This post is old enough that I'm allowed to spam it, right? Because I've got yet another reason to hate nature. Poison Ivy. Seriously, why would you make such a horrible plant if you were not evil?

If I were a lawyer trying to put away a mass murderer, I'd say, "Your honor, this man has to be sent to jail. He's so horrible, he's almost as evil as nature herself!" Almost.


I think the death toll from Chernobyl was less than 60. About half from the initial accident and the rest from cancer.


Poisonous mushrooms. Am I right? Thanks for nuttin', nature, you jerk.

Frank Warner

Mushrooms of all kinds can get you!

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