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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Radiation plume to visit Los Angeles first

It should be there by Friday, according to this report.

Health and nuclear experts emphasize that radiation in the plume will be diluted as it travels and, at worst, would have extremely minor health consequences in the United States, even if hints of it are ultimately detectable.
"Extremely minor health consequences"? Does that mean that many people will have minor problems? Or that only a couple of people will get cancer?

And after that, it looks as though we're next, here.

Comments (27)

Listening to the Oregon public health representatives ....they remain confidently clueless. They're going to rely on EPA for accurate information. Translation- we're on our own now.

Where can we get some of those nice little face masks that so many in Japan are wearing?

Where's Obama? Picking his bracket.

Where's the trillion dollar Air Force? The trillion dollar Navy? The trillion dollar Army?

They know about the spent fuel stored outside the containment vessel. That is why the carrier turned and ran when #3 exploded. They don't want to get on TV and admit they are not in control of anything. The Emperor has no clothes.

It is exactly as the Big Lebowski said.

California comes in first, as usual.

Unfortunately there will be nowhere near enough radiation to clean the gene pool down there!

I'm so frustrated watching the efforts to get water on these beastly reactors in Japan. It reminds me in an eery way, of a certain column from long ago:

Call out big guns to battle forest fires
By Bill McDonald
The Portland Tribune, Aug 3, 2001, Updated Oct 30, 2009

Have you ever wondered if there isn’t a better way to fight forest fires? Is there anything as pathetic as seeing a helicopter with a little bucket under it battling a blaze that’s already taken thousands of acres?

What if we unleashed the full fury of our military arsenal to help in the battle, much as the Russians recently used their planes to break up the ice that was causing a river to flood? The whole concept of fighting forest fires could be changed. Technology could be employed to put the damn things out before they got so big. Rapid response with overwhelming force. Here’s the plan:

A satellite over the western United States spots anything burning bigger than a quarter-acre and relays the information to the nearest military base. Fighters scramble to get in the air with laser-guided, heat-seeking bombs full of anything from water to a high-tech firefighting gel and knock the blaze down while it’s still small.

Next, we get there with high-speed bombers for a second wave. Forget the vintage prop planes with the red stuff coming out. This buys enough time to get the big stuff off the ground. Helicopters with buckets? Try a gigantic transport plane with an Olympic swimming pool in the back. Then add 20 of them in formation focusing on beacons put in place by the jet fighters.

How about reusable high-tech materials that will soak up heat? Did you know the space shuttle heat tiles are so efficient that you can hold one in your bare hand while it’s glowing? Let’s drop in some ultra-chilled, heat-sink material. Finally, way in the future, we could have a particle beam that can sap out a fire line as fast as it takes to circle a word in chalk on the blackboard.

I have nothing but respect for the firefighters out there setting backfires and trying to create a fire line with shovels, chain saws, axes and the occasional bulldozer. But it’s not exactly an overwhelming force. That’s where you get phrases like “75 percent contained.” Doesn’t “75 percent contained” really mean “not contained”?

I never bought the idea that forest fires are just natural and should be allowed to burn. Make that, “They used to be natural.” Forests used to have trees so big, they could take a forest fire without dying.

Maybe we could be extra protective, until trees that big can return. When people who don’t normally seek out environmental solutions resort to the nature argument, it reminds me of hearing Newt Gingrich say that extinction is natural, too.

The turning point for me was one summer when the satellite picture showed one-third of Oregon covered with smoke. After thinking it over for years, I put all my ideas into a screenplay and sent them to my producer connection. The idea was fighting forest fires as a form of national security. The expense would be written off as military training.

Unfortunately, the producer thought my script was so bad that it actually came across as an argument for clear-cutting. He called back, though, when a forest fire was racing at full speed toward the nuclear lab at Los Alamos. Suddenly, the idea of having a better way to combat forest fires made all kinds of sense.

Here's a similar thing, about 24 hours old:

Too bad the surveillance satellites' imagery and detector data (we taxpayers pay for) is all so Top Secret that we can't be allowed to assess for ourselves and among ourselves an overview of the circumstances we face.

None of these stories have actual numbers so that people can get a scale of what we're talking about. Are we talking about microsieverts, or millisieverts? If it's the former, you'll get more radiation exposure on a flight to Europe. If it's the latter, then it's something to definitely worry about.

That picture shows a plume, but has nothing about intensity.

Where's Obama? Picking his bracket.

Where's the trillion dollar Air Force? The trillion dollar Navy? The trillion dollar Army?

What do you want them to do? Fire some missiles at it and make sure that we have a big radiological mess?

The discussion of risk to the west coast of the US seems a bit off-the-mark to me. This is definitely a terrible tragedy for Japan, on top of the earthquake and tsunami themselves, which were epic tragedies. I don't know jack about radiation, but the west coast of the US is thousands of miles from Japan. For heaven's sakes, we used to test atomic bombs in the atmosphere of Bikini Atol in the Pacific, and I am not aware of any catastrophic consequences to the mainland US. Obviously it is important for the authorities here to monitor radiation levels, which they are doing. Beyond that, the discussion of the risk here seems like worrying about something that has a pretty small risk of possibly maybe affecting us, when that same something (and its related somethings) just devastated a country of generally very nice, hard-working people. What am I missing?

Dear Bill,
Did you see the pictures of the helicopter dropping water near the reactors and ALL water was just blown away? Yeah, like that is working real well. The human race as a whole is just pathetic.
I wish I could take those folks out about 200 miles off shore in the ocean on a 40 ft sailboat during a nice little storm: say 40 knot winds and 20 to 25 ft seas. Man is no big deal, except that we make stuff that can blow up the planet! and scar it for thousands of years.
This is so depressing.

Charlie Sheen will be unaffected, and extends his pity for those who don't drink tiger blood.

What am I missing?

Perhaps a modern understanding of the effects of ionizing radiation on human health.

Above-ground testing of nuclear weapons was halted for a reason.

There is no doubt that the effects on Japan are far greater than they ever will be here. I feel bad for Japan, and as soon as I can stop worrying about whether playing outside over spring break is going to give my kids thyroid cancer 40 years from now, I will mourn for that nation.

In the coverage I've seen there hasn't been any discussion of the possibility of the planet blowing up. I can see why someone would be very worried if they thought that was imminent.

I'm surprised Sam and Randy aren't trotting out a special municipal surcharge for iodine pills.

Never let a crisis go to waste -- especially if you can turn it into cash.

"I'm surprised Sam and Randy aren't trotting out a special municipal surcharge for iodine pills."

They're working on a Coyote tax. Give them time.

When was the last time the government provided any level of truth during a major accident?

Our Trillion dollar military have radiation monitors and could be providing us with information. And more importantly, what we need to know is what TYPE of isotopes are floating our way.

If we get a dose of the Plutonium particles (from the MOX fuel reactor), we are essentially screwed.

Chernobyl radiation circled the Earth for 2 YEARS!

Italy had to eat frozen vegetables from the USA for 6 MONTHS!

How far away is Italy from Chernobyl?

I have an idea, and maybe others would pitch in, too.

All of these nuclear advocates should be first in line to go to Japan to figure out what to do - and folks like me would be happy to pitch in funds for their flight over there. (Would guess there's a good chance only a one-way ticket would be required.)

I nominate Jim Karlock to be first on board the flight.

How far away is Italy from Chernobyl?

Answer: from Prypiat, Ukraine to Milano, Italy: 1031 miles direct line. Milano is on the western side of northern Italy, so some parts of Italy would be under 1000 miles away (such as Venezia which measures at ~930 miles).

Jim Karlock is so dumb his science teachers used his brain to calibrate the microscopes.

My, Bill, that's classy, even if you met it as a joke. I guess you have to toe the party line around here.

It's kind of cute to see Bill and Tensk cuddling up, and now Ump's joining in. Next thing you know, they'll be doing it live, on-stage. It's legal in Oregon.

Legal in Oregon, huh? Sounds like you're quite informed about all this, Max. Do you make much money at it?

Though I'm not pleased with the radioactive particles eventually drifting over to the Western US, I have a gut feel that folks are blowing this way out of proportion with a great deal of sensationalism, in terms of effects here in the US.
My heart goes out to the folks in and around the Facility within the 50 KM radius and the 50 or so brave souls risking their lives fighting the fire and trying to get the exposed rods contained.
In retrospect, how many hundreds of above ground thermal nuclear war heads were set off between 1948 and 1963 at Yucca Flats in Nevada?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do not remember a huge increase in radiation poisoning or cancer in Utah and surrounding Rocky States.
I'm sure "60 Minutes" would have been all over that like white on rice.
Stay Calm and God Speed to the remaining workers.

I stumbled across one of your rehearsals, Bill. Called the cops and found out that in Oregon, it's considered "art". So, put a bird on it and don't fight the feeling.


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