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Monday, April 25, 2011

The news nobody's reading

The world's attention span is short, and the mainstream news media have grown bored with the story of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. But for those with an interest, lots of alarming news can be found from over there. Today they're going to step up the dumping of water into the damaged spent fuel pool in reactor no. 4, to try to bring the temperature down. This, even though they're also afraid that the weight of all the water might cause the building, already badly damaged, to collapse. Even in the best case, the water will become quite radioactive, and let's face it, most or all of it is going to wind up in the ocean next to the plant. Despite excruciatingly misleading headlines like this one.

They're sending veterinarians in to euthanize the livestock in the evacuation zone. Meanwhile, outside the zone, the government's advising residents not to spend too much time in the public parks -- there's too much radiation there. The kids should wash their hands after playing. No kidding.

They're debating whether to harvest stem cells from the emergency workers now, to try to use the cells to save the workers' lives when they come down with radiation sickness.

A highly radioactive chunk of concrete was found on the ground outside reactor no. 3 -- a foot square and two inches thick, it was throwing off 900 millisieverts an hour of radiation. The maximum exposure for the emergency workers is 250 millisieverts, which that concrete chunk generates every 17 minutes. That's so radioactively hot that it's adding to the speculation that that particular reactor underwent more than a hydrogen explosion. Indeed, when you look at the photos of that wrecked hulk and think about how the reactor top was on a high floor, it's extremely hard to believe that the reactor vessel is still intact.

And they're admitting now that they've been understating how much radiation has been released from the plant, and that it will be at least four months before the releases stop, even under the most optimistic assumptions. Add to this the fact that the Japanese government has taken over information flow and switched into serious censorship mode, it's as scary a story as ever. Just not one that the media cares much about.

Comments (8)

Serious censorship is what they did with Chernobyl 25 years ago. http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/04/2011420114756301442.html

It's all "over there...someplace".
And the problems are here too. The folks at Hanford have ramped up their research and development and every one there is working 80 hour weeks to get the project to make the nuke waste into glass blocks up and running.

The same thing happened with the New Jersey reactor leak about a year ago: brief, intense coverage of the leaks at the Oyster Creek reactor actually reaching an aquifer providing drinking water to ~1 million people (including a reappearance of our old friend, Strontium-90), followed by absolute silence.


Here's what I want to know, and what nobody in the US is talking about: should I stop drinking milk?

How about my 2-year old? Time for him to drink something else too?

How about some reliable and frequently updated rad test results for the milk supply in Oregon? Oh wait, we're not testing because it's perfectly safe? Well all right then.

Well we do live in the United States of Amnesia don't forget!

This coverage of yours should get a Pulitzer prize if you ask me.

“The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity - much less dissent.”
(Gore Vidal)

I didn't see in the news the fact that two nuclear facilities in Virginia had the power knocked out by one of the hundreds of tornadoes that ripped through the southeast recently. I would think that there would be devastating consequences if just one of the tornadoes hits a facility and pulverizes it.

Keep up the excellent work Jack. The Royal Wedding has replaced the Japan disaster on the national news programs.

The Royals aren't quite radio active yet. Just wait till the world finds out what a nut-ball HRH Charles really is. Now that will make the news.

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